This was me just 11 weeks ago.
After winning my competition I was on top of the world. I felt great, but I knew something wasn’t right.
I didn’t have much of a treat meal that night because I was driving home and it was already late when I was leaving. The next morning I had a treat breakfast planned of sweet potato pancakes with mashed bananas and almond butter. No gluten or dairy (the usual culprits of my intestinal distress), nothing big, but I still had the worst stomach cramps afterward. It was not a good sign. Most of the stuff that I ate for the next few days caused me pain too. The symptoms had been brewing for a while, but I had been in denial.
I had been very excited at the start of my competition season. I had worked hard in the off season and was looking forward to seeing the results. Of course, there’s always a bit of nervousness that comes with the start of a new season. I’m still not good trying to be on a competition diet in social settings and having to explain why I’m not eating or drinking in excess. But that’s a pretty small part of it anyway.
Everything was going pretty well right up until the last 3 or 4 weeks. Then I just felt like something was wrong. I didn’t have the energy I used to. I was used to the slightly lower carbs and overall calories during the final few weeks, but this was different. The weight was not coming off like it used to and the dreaded “c-word” (cellulite) plagued me right up to the bitter end. In fact, the Wednesday before my competition I felt lower than I had in a long time.
I felt so bad that I almost didn’t even go to my competition. I was very tired and depressed and I had no idea what was causing it. Luckily, I have some great clients and just being around them and my family helped me get my head back in the game. I didn’t want to keep chasing symptoms though so I needed to get to the bottom of why I wasn’t feeling great despite my very clean diet.
Over the course of 6 weeks, I had two different sets of blood work done. The first showed signs of sluggish digestion. I immediately began working on my digestion, but still had some problems. The second was about 6 weeks later and showed my digestion was improving, which I already knew, but it also showed that my liver was sluggish and my thyroid function was a little low. This was very surprising for me to find out because I thought that eating clean would be good enough to help my body’s detox system- the kidneys, liver, lymph, and skin- function properly, but I was wrong.
Because of all of this, the weight has come back on very easily over the past few months. I’m not following my competition diet, but I’m eating mostly clean. My sleep has been a little messed up while I’m on vacation. My clothes are…ahem…tighter than they’ve been in a while. I’m just not feeling as well as I used to. All of these are outward symptoms of what was reflected in my blood work.
I have really been digging in to detoxing, liver, lymph, thyroid function, adrenals, gut health- pretty much any kind of information I can get my hands on over the summer- in between family fun and vacation and I feel like I have learned so much. We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made and learning how the different organs and systems in the body work together is amazing.
It’s also been kind of scary to see how so many of the things that we do on a regular basis can get our system bogged down. I live in a rural area where there might be less pollution than someone in a big city might see, but it’s still there. I go for a run down a road that is not far from my home and as I’m taking a big breath in and feeling the endorphins from exercise, a big truck spitting out farm diesel fumes will pass by me and I almost have to stop running because I’m choking. Then there’s the skin products, sunscreen, bug spray, and many other things that we all come into contact with on a regular basis. Many cleaning products- even the ones that claim to be natural- have harmful chemicals in them that can bog down the liver and lymph systems and cause us to feel less than 100%. Even the fluoride and chlorine that is added to our water supply can interfere with thyroid function. There are so many more examples of this, but I’ll stop there.
It has also been amazing to learn how the various vitamins and minerals work within the body and how certain food and drugs can interrupt those reactions. For instance, selenium can protect us from mercury toxicity and it also helps the thyroid function properly. Magnesium has over 300 biological jobs in the body- it helps to absorb calcium, boost protein synthesis, and even gives our metabolism a boost. There are many other jobs that other vitamins and minerals have so it’s easy to see how many of us don’t feel as good as we used to, even though our doctors tell us we don’t have anything wrong with us.
I’ve been treating these past few months as research. I may not be in bikini body shape, but I’m okay with that. I’m learning about how my body is reacting to various foods and nutritional supplementation. I know that when I get it all figured out, I’ll be better off so I’m just enjoying the process. I’ve also been motivated to come up a clean-eating detox that I can use to help my clients.
If you’re intrigued by my story and want to stop chasing symptoms and get to the bottom of what’s going on with you, then join my end-of-summer clean-eating detox. It starts the 11th of August. I’ll also do one that starts the 2nd of September for those that need to wait until the kids are back in school.
It lasts 11 days and includes recipes, shopping lists, workouts, and much much more. For more information and to register, see here.
This past few months has truly renewed my passion to help others reach a vibrant health through proper food and nutrition and I really look forward to helping you too.
Questions? Comments? Please let me know.