I titled this post as “My Humbling Summer” but honestly it would be more accurate to say my humbling year. I choose to focus on the summer because this is when things started to turn around, fall into place, and I was once again comfortable with my life and in my own skin. The story ends with a photo shoot to celebrate getting “myself” back and being on the road to recovery. But before I explain that further, let me (as briefly as possible) give the events that led to that point.
Last September, my beautiful fourth child was born. I typically have miserable pregnancies but bounce right back after the birth. This was true for the birth of Brooke in the beginning and I even ran a half marathon 2.5 months after she was born. But my knees ached a lot with that run so maybe my body was not doing as well as I thought. Then, fast forward to early 2013. I went back to my weekend work as a physical therapist and started my nutrition and exercise counseling business, Nurturing Fitness. I was feeling a little tired and drained but chalked it up to having four kids (2 of which I homeschool), my own business, and working weekends. In March 2013, my sweet six month old daughter decided breastfeeding was not her thing because she would rather watch the entertainment (my other three children) like she could when Grandma gave her a bottle. So, I reluctantly decided to stop breastfeeding (I had breastfed my other three until they were one). At that point, all kinds of stuff started happening. I was having problems sleeping, I was tired all the time, exercise became hard and a chore, I didn’t feel like doing much of anything, I had joint/muscle aches, and my clothes were starting to get tight. The weirdest feeling I had was that I wanted to/needed to crawl out of my own skin. At this point, I decided to have my adrenal function/cortisol levels checked because I have had issues with that in the past. I did not think that was the problem because I had remedied that problem with the same nutrition, exercise, and supplementation that I was currently using. The tests showed that overall my adrenal function looked normal.
So, receiving no answers, I decided to go for further blood work/testing but could not get in until July. By this point, I was feeling depressed, scared that I would always feel this way, and embarrassed because (as a fat-loss coach) I was helping all my clients make great progress but I could not help myself. During my initial visit, the PA noted the white film on my tongue likely indicated a systemic yeast over-growth and that my symptoms sounded very much thyroid related. Two weeks later, I got the results of food sensitivity testing and it indicated an issue with yeast as well as sensitivities to over fifteen foods. So, I immediately began medication for the yeast, eliminated the foods that were irritating to my gastrointestinal system, and healing my gut. It is ironic to me that I had such digestive issues because I did not have gas, bloating, cramping, ect. It is also ironic because I had already treated many clients successfully for gut restoration but had no idea I needed it myself. The amazing thing was that within a couple of weeks, my clothes were a little better fitting and the strange symptom of swollen fingers upon waking (that I had complained about for many years) was almost gone. A month after that initial visit, I found out that my thyroid function was very low and I was put on Nature Thyroid.
It is now almost a month after I started the thyroid medication. The PA told me that I would feel better to a point but that I would need a higher dose because my function was so low. I go back for that in October. As of right now, I honestly feel much better than I have in years. I am actually almost a morning person again, I am sleeping much better, my clothes are fitting, and my workouts are much more tolerable. I still have some symptoms periodically, but I am happy again and feel comfortable in my own skin.
I debated about whether to share my experience because I am a fairly private person and because I have some feelings of embarrassment that, as a fat-loss coach (who counsels clients in the areas of nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle), I needed help. I decided to share my story because ultimately I am proud of where I am now and this personal experience only adds to my knowledge and ability to help my Nurturing Fitness clients. I also wanted to share my story in the hope that some of the lessons I learned may help my readers and clients. So, here are the major lessons I learned.
- Coaches/experts do not always have everything figured out and this is OK. I have a lot of knowledge and certifications in the areas of physical therapy, nutrition, and personal training. I also have a lot of years of experience under my belt at being fit and healthy. But I will never know everything. The amount of knowledge I have gained from this experience is enormous. It has taught me that the only shame in not knowing is if you do not seek answers/help and the rewards of seeking help can be very great.
- You should trust yourself and your gut. Our bodies and minds talk to us! Listen to the signals your body is giving you and seek answers. Some of the symptoms I had been seen for in the past and dismissed by other doctors. Find a medical professional that will listen to you and work to treat the root of your problems, not your symptoms.
- Do not resign to being unhappy and feeling bad. It is not normal to walk around this world feeling depressed, hurting all the time, and feeling very unmotivated. Life is too short to live this way. I know it is hard as a mom, wife, and often employee to find the time to take care of yourself, but you owe it to yourself and your family. Answers are not always easy to find but do not give up.
- It is essential to take time for yourself in order to be the best mom you can be. Self-sacrificing your health and well-being for your family or a job will only decrease your optimal performance. Take care of yourself and you are both teaching your children to value themselves and will be able to provide much better care to them.
I hope my story is helpful to you. I would love to hear from you or if you might like to work with me. You can email me at email@example.com.