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Hashimoto, Health, Life, Weight Loss

My Crazy Hormones: Part 2

My Hormones Make Me Crazy.

Last year I wrote a post about how my hormones were making me crazy. I never really revisited that after that post so I wanted to write one. When I had my hormones tested last year I had a Mirena IUD and wasn’t having periods at all (TMI? Sorry…) I did use the prescribed creams for awhile but I still felt off. One of the problems is that Progesterone rises and falls as a woman progresses through her cycle, and at that point I wasn’t having one. I had plans to have my IUD removed and decided at that point to stop using the creams just to see what my body would do on its own. That was back in May of last year. My cycle came back pretty quickly and was pretty regular for the first few months, even with my surgery and everything. Once I got through my recovery and started to figure out what normal felt like again I was still feeling off. Foggy brain, sluggish, tired despite getting 8 hours of sleep on average, and most of all a more noticeable difficultly losing weight. I had even gained close to 10lbs since my Surgery and despite my best efforts with food and exercise I haven’t been able to lose it. I also started having some weird period issues… going from 28 days most cycles to 52 days at my longest cycle. Not too mention the PMS, cramps, mood swings were horrible. This article about the symptoms of low progesterone pretty much sums up my life lately.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone

At the recommendation of my nutrition coach (after following detailed nutrition plans and seeing little to no body composition changes) I made an appointment with RevitaLive Wellness Center. I actually made the appointment last year, November I think? They were booked for 3+ Months! I decided to go to a specialist who works with hormone issues regularly instead of my general practitioner, which is what I did last time I got my levels checked. I went in January and got a bunch of tests done and went back last week to finally get the results. I absolutely loved that they did such a wide range of tests, including genetic testing for heart issues which my family has a history of. They tested not just my hormone levels, but also some vitamin and mineral levels, tested for markers of celiac, cholesterol, and tons of other things. I literally have a stack of around 20 pages of test results and explanations. A few things came back flagged. I’ll touch on each one a little bit.

Low Vitamin D and Omega 3 Levels – My Omega 3 Index came back at a 4.8% when the optimal levels are anything above 8%. This wasn’t terribly surprising as I don’t really eat fish and have been sporadic at best with my Fish Oil Supplements. My Vitamin D level came back at a 32, she said the optimal level is above 50.

Low Progesterone/High Estrogen/Low Testosterone- This would be classified as Estrogen Dominance. My estrogen wasn’t extremely over range, it was at 175 where the highest they like to see is 200. So on the higher end of normal. My progesterone, however, was super low. I had a 0.56 and she said they like to see a level between 5-10. My testosterone came back at 28 and she said they like to see it between 30-50.

Hashimoto’s/Hypothyroid- It’s no surprise that my markers came back positive for the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I was diagnosed back in 2009. I’ve been on Synthroid/Levothyroxine for almost 6 years now. My TSH levels have fluctuated in that time from a 9.0 down to 0.5 and averages somewhere around a 2 most testing periods. They tested me out at 2.49. The acceptable levels are anywhere from .5-4.0 depending on the lab. I have always said I feel better when I’m closer to a 1.0. She said they like to keep patients under a 2.0. She also said because of my hashimoto’s that my body has a harder time converting the Synthyroid to Free T3. She suggested upping my dose and switching me over to Nature’s Throid, which is supposedly more easily converted to what the body needs despite my autoimmune condition.

So, what now?

The first thing we changed was my thyroid medication and dosage. I’m now taking a higher dose of Nature Throid instead of Levothyroxine. I also got a small injection of testosterone to bring those levels to the optimal range. They recommend the injection monthly, but will test my levels again so see where they are. Finally, I’m going to be taking a progesterone pill to bring those levels up to a normal range. I’ll be cycling those pills for 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. I haven’t started them yet, as I have to wait for a certain time during my cycle to do so.

This is all just me sharing my experience with you. I’m not a doctor or medical professional. I know some people have very purist ideas about hormones and doing it all naturally and while I’ve tried to do that as best I can on my own I’m looking forward to seeing how this process works for me. I’m trying to have an open mind and pay attention to my body as best as I can to see what works for me. I’ve been on the new Thyroid medicine for about a week now and I’m noticing small changes, like not feeling as foggy mentally and not feeling like I need to go back to sleep as soon as I wake up. I’ll check in after my first round of progesterone and let you know if I felt like it worked or not.

Have you ever had your hormones tested?

 

 

Health, Life, Reviews

3 Tips for Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions with Progresso™ Light

This post was sponsored by Progresso™ through their partnership POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Progresso™, all opinions are my own.

 

 

If you are like many people you probably made some goals or resolutions for this year. When January 1st rolls around people are high on motivation and spend the day planning out their meals and workouts, organizing those overflowing closets, and setting up their plan for getting out of debt. By the time January 15th rolls around we have become overwhelmed and our meal plans turn into take out, our savings becomes spent, and workouts are sacrificed in favor of sleeping in.

3tipstomakeresolutionsstick

So, how can we make our resolutions stick? The difference between a wish and a goal is plan. In order to set ourselves up for success we need to have a plan. Once you have determined what your goal or resolution is there are a few tips you can use to make your resolution become your reality.

 

  1. Break it Up
    Setting a goal like losing 20 pounds or saving $1000 can be overwhelming. Instead, break it up into smaller, more manageable goals. If you want to lose 20 pounds this year make your goal to lose 5lbs per quarter, or a little over 1.5 pounds per month. This makes it far more reasonable and easier to stay focused, instead of getting overwhelmed by a massive goal.bigchangesinsmallsteps
  2. Make One Change at A Time
    Trying to change everything at once is far too overwhelming and sets you up for disappointment. Make one change at a time. Instead of going out to lunch every day, pack your lunch a few times a week. Packing a lunch doesn’t mean you have to give up flavor. One of my favorite ways to add extra flavor without the extra guilt is to include Progresso™ Light soups as a part of your healthier lunch.

progresso

They have 40 delicious flavors at 100 calories or less per serving! You can have your favorite flavors like Creamy Chicken Alfredo without sacrificing your goals, liking feeling good in your clothes!

 

KV18

 

  1. Avoid Absolutes
    Telling yourself you will not eat dessert at all the entire year or resolving to not make any impulse purchases all year almost guarantees your failure. Making 100% absolute resolutions awakens your inner rebel. That rebel wants to find a way around the rule. Instead of making absolute goals or resolutions, make limited resolutions like enjoying dessert on special occasions or having a certain amount of the budget allotted to impulse purchases. This allows you to still indulge in those things within reason and relieves the pressure of striving for perfection.

 

Hopefully using these 3 tips for sticking to your resolutions helps you stay on track throughout this whole year. Don’t give up. You are worth it!

 

Do you set resolutions? What are your tips for making them stick?

Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss

The 5 Limiting Factors That Can Stop You From Reaching Your Fitness Goals

Happy first Monday of the New Year! I know it is just another day, but motivation and resolve seems to be at all time high on Mondays. and first Mondays are even better. The best though… the best is when the 1st falls on a Monday. I’m not alone, right? My OCDish personality loves it when that happens. I am particularly excited about today because I finally started to feel better. After about a week of battling a sore throat, cough, and congestion I’m finally starting to feel somewhat human again. Aside from feeling better, I’m also really excited to get back to a sort of normalcy. I enjoy the holidays, I really do, but I also really love the rhythm of a well created routine.

This is my life.

A photo posted by Courtney Norman (@courtnorm) on

That pretty much sums it up.

As we dive into a new week… month… year… Goal setting is at its peak. I love having goals, giving me something to strive towards. Many people have set goals related to their health. It may be the first time you have resolved to change your lifestyle or maybe it is the 100th time. Either way, let’s make this time different. The best way to reach your goal is to pin point what has been stopping you from achieving that goal and remove that obstacle. When we are talking about your ability to live a healthy life there are 5 major limiting factors that stop you from reaching your fitness goals.

5limitingfactors

Genetic Makeup

This was one of my fall back excuses for a long time. I was convinced that my genetics prevented me from losing weight. A good portion of my family was overweight. After my mom lost a huge amount of weight when I was in my early twenties that excuse crumbled for me. If she could do it, I could to. The truth is most people don’t come close to realizing their genetic potential for health and fitness. No, you may not be a Rich Froning… he is a genetic freak. But your genetics typically allow for improvement in health, fat loss, and muscle gain.

Physical Activity Patterns

This is one that we often acknowledge. If you live a pretty sedentary life that could be what is holding you back from reaching your health and fitness goals. The recent influx in popularity of fitness tracking gadgets has helped many people become more active simply by making them aware of their inactivity. Even though I coach CrossFit, I still have a desk job that has me sitting for hours at a time. If I am not purposeful about my exercise and activity it doesn’t happen. Start wherever you are at. You don’t have to go from sedentary to marathoner overnight. If you want to get fitter, leaner, and healthier you are going to need to pursue an active lifestyle as well as purposeful, regular, and intense exercise.

Physiology

This is one I will preach about until I’m blue in the face. While exercise and nutrition are important, there are certain physiological imbalances that will severely impact your ability to reach your goals. This includes all kinds of things like thyroid problems (Hello, Hashimoto’s) and hormone imbalances (oh, and hey there estrogen dominance). These may not be issues with every person who struggles to lose weight or get fit. They were, and still are, very real issues with me. You know your body.  You know when it just doesn’t feel right. You could very well have some physiological limiting factors, but please please listen to me very closely here… While these may be limiting factors, they are not excuses for not trying. Yes, I’ve had to work twice as hard for half the results in some instances. Yes, I’ve felt like my body was fighting me every step of the way. But I did not let it defeat me. It may have been the medical reason why losing weight was hard…. harder for me than others…. but it did not stop me. I identified it as a limiting factor and did my best to remove it, or manage it. If you think your limiting factor may be physiological, find a team willing to help you get to the bottom of the issue. A good doctor, trainer or coach, and nutritionist. It’s worth the fight.

Mindset

Maybe I should have put this at the top. Having the courage to believe you can is the biggest part of the battle. After being overweight the majority of my life it took a lot of courage to step out and say maybe I can change this. Getting to that point is huge, but it isn’t the end all to the mental battle. Once you believe you can you must have the mental strength to stay in the battle once the feel goods fade away and all thats left is hard work. Getting up early to work out, eating healthy, and most of all staying consistent is not always easy. Your mindset is critical in determining if you will reach your goals.

believe

Nutrition

Ah, yes. This is the one. The one that more often than not will hold people back. It could be from lack of knowledge, lack of implementation, or being inconsistent. Nutrition is almost always, if not one of many, the most important limiting factor. It can be overwhelming with so many different points of view on nutrition. There is no right or wrong answer. There is no one best diet. You have to do something that works for you! Fad diets may help you for awhile, but what you need is something you can sustain for a lifetime. You can’t out exercise a bad diet. The truth is most people who think they have a generally good diet, but are still unhappy with where they are in regards to their fitness probably aren’t eating according to their goals. Regardless of what your goals or what “diet camp” you find yourself a part of there are a few things that all types of healthy eating philosophies have in common like making you aware of what you are eating, focusing on food quality, help eliminate nutrient deficiencies, they help control appetite and food intake, and they all promote regular exercise. So regardless of what route you take to get there all the popular healthy eating philosophies will help you reach your goals in similar ways. Stay consistent. Don’t give up because you mess up. Nutrition will be the make or break piece of the puzzle on your journey to health. If you’re looking for some one on one coaching to help you figure out this nutrition stuff, check out the  Precision Nutrition Coaching Presale List. this is the company I am doing my certification through and they offer a year long coaching program to help you reach your fitness goals.

Now that you know what the top 5 Limiting Factors that stop you from reaching your fitness goals you can see which of these may be problem areas for you and start making a plan to remove them so you become an unstoppable fitness force! For me it was a combination of many of these factors. Once I identified the problem, reaching my goals became just a matter of time, hard work, and consistency.

Do you struggle with any of these limiting factors? If so, which one(s)?