No, I don’t want to buy your $5 per serving shake/meal replacement/smoothie/whatever you are selling.

Has anyone else noticed that everyone is becoming a representative of some sort of product lately? Skin care, food, kitchen supplies, make up, etc., but the most common thing I keep getting asked to buy and become a part of, is shakes. But the most common thing seems to be shakes and meal replacements, but for me, the answer is no. I get it, though. It is a REALLY tough economy right now and everyone is scrambling to find income and survive. And kudos to all the awesome people in my life that these things work for, who are on a journey of health and wellness and have created a business they love. But please understand, this is not for me. Here is why.

When I tell you I can’t afford it, I really can’t. When you say things like “you are worth the investment”, I appreciate it, and I know that that my health is important and worth a lot of effort an attention. But that doesn’t change my ability to afford it. I use my campus food bank, I budget like crazy, and there are still nights that I have gone to bed without dinner, simply because pay day was around the corner and I had no food because it all went to rent or another crucial bill. This is not the norm every night, though, so don’t worry. I still manage to eat healthy foods on a $100 or less budget per week, in Toronto, for two adult powerlifters with big appetites. We both have smoothies for breakfast that cost $1-2 per person. Mine packs about 40g protein, 10g fiber, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, lots of fat and carbs, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I even eat an orange or kiwi on the side which will up the vitamins and fiber too. These are dietary requirements that are specific to my needs, and meal replacements generally do not meet these needs. Also, I can’t have gluten, which is surprisingly in a lot of that stuff, and I choose not to eat much soy, because it is bad for, and aggravates, all of my weird bodily conditions.

When you say that if I join the business, it will help with my money problems, please understand that I am a full time university student with multiple part-time jobs that I enjoy- I barely have time to shower in a day, let alone participate in the constant social media presence involved in these things. I do enjoy social media, but not for posting every meal and workout I do in a day. And my part-time jobs are ones that are enhancing my life in some way, and I enjoy them.

When you say that I won’t have to step foot in the gym or cook dinners, because all workouts are done from home and dinners are a shake (for example), this does not sound appealing to me. I LOVE going to the gym and cooking. Mostly, I love eating home cooked meals. I do powerlifting, which requires a gym, unless you have your own gym, which would be incredible lol! When you say that I can get weights and modify the workouts to include them, the answer is no. I do powerlifting, it is not the same as getting some dumb bells and following a video.

So I ask that you understand that I have different interests than you, and that is ok. I am excited for you that have a business you love and are healthy and enjoy what you do. I also enjoy what I do, it just happens to be something different. I am so proud of you for working hard towards your health goals! I am also proud of myself. My goals are a little different, and that is also ok. I am looking to gain muscle mass and intense strength, which requires intense workouts at the gym and lots of calories consumed. Hence, low calorie shakes are not suited for me, and meals that cut calories are out of the question. My basal metabolic rate, which is just to maintain my body, muscle, organs, etc. at rest is a little over 1600 cal per day. Add in a workout that burns probably 700 cal AT LEAST, plus add in additional calories to create a surplus for muscle building…that is a lot of food.

So all in all, these shakes and meal replacements just do not suit my life, my goals, or my interests. They may suit yours, which again, is ok. Lets focus on encouraging one another to strive towards our goals, no matter what they are ūüôā

A breath of fresh air.

Sometimes we just need some fresh air. ¬†There is something about spending time with nature that is soothing, and helps you find peace with whatever you are struggling with. ¬†We really wanted to go camping (secluded style, not in a massive field full of tents), and although it is a cheap thing to do, we just couldn’t afford it. ¬†I was really upset, annoyed, etc. but tried my best to stay positive and come up with an alternative. ¬†We decided to take a walk at Castlewood State Park, and then a drive through Lone Elk Park instead. ¬†Our walk was very beautiful, and the air was very crisp- just the way we like it. ¬†There was a bench on one of the bluffs, so we sat down and just enjoyed the view for a bit. ¬†We breathed in that beautiful fresh air and just talked, and although I still want to go camping, I didn’t seem to mind as much anymore. ¬†It was very calming. ¬†Afterwards, we drove through Lone Elk Park, and briefly got to seek some elk and even a bison in the distance!

I often find myself craving to spend time outside or be with nature in some way, which I take as a sign that I am carrying around too much stress and need to take care of myself.  So, take care of myself I did.

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Chocolatey all-in-one breakfast smoothie!

I have been searching for a breakfast smoothie that is a “complete” breakfast, that I can take on the go, and that actually tastes good. ¬†Finally, I have discovered a combination of ingredients that tastes amazing and fits my breakfast needs! ¬†With breakfast, I aim to get a good source of fibre, a good source of protein, and at least one serving of fruit (or vegetable). ¬†Smoothies seemed like a good option to me for days when I am working in my office and can bring this smoothie to drink at my desk, but I struggled to find something that worked. ¬†The struggle is over my friends…..I am in love with this smoothie! ¬†It is so chocolatey, which for this girl, is a win. ¬†I could eat chocolate forever! ¬†There is no signal in my brain to tell me to stop eating chocolate ūüėČ

Note that this recipe is very forgiving, and each ingredient can totally be adjusted to your nutritional needs and taste preferences.  Below is what suites my taste!

Chocolatey all-in-one breakfast smoothie:

(approx. 20g protein and 11g fiber)

– 1 banana

– 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

– 1/3 scoop of vanilla protein powder

– 2 tbsp chia seeds

– 2 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder (***see note on this ingredient below)

– splash of water (***see note on this ingredient below)

– variations: drizzle of honey, scoop of peanut butter, etc.

– 2 or 3 ice cubes (optional)

Directions:

Place all ingredients, except the ice cubes, in a blender, and blend until smooth. ¬†Feel free to add the ice cubes if you want a more slushy texture, see below for how I like to make mine! ¬†I use a Magic Bullet blender, as it is so easy and uses less dishes because you make the smoothie in the cup you use to drink it…it comes with travel lids to screw on and everything!

Note on the Dutch cocoa powder: I use Dutch cocoa powder instead of the regular kind because I prefer the taste of it.  I had never tried it until recently, and have totally fallen in love.  It makes for a darker colour, and a more rich and chocolatey, sort of brownie-like taste.  I highly recommend trying it!

Note on the water: I add a splash of water and then blend it. ¬†Then add small amounts of water if necessary to adjust the consistency. ¬†Sometimes I am in the mood for a thicker shake, sometimes thinner ūüôā

Right before I head out the door, I like to add 2 or 3 whole ice cubes (the same way you would add ice cubes to a glass of pop for example).  This keeps my smoothie nice and cold- just the way I like it!  I like to keep the smoothie thick as this thins it slightly as the ice cubes melt.

Sometimes I like to switch it up with honey or peanut butter too!  Sometimes I have just this smoothie for breakfast, but sometimes I might have a handful of berries on the side or drink a small glass of freshly squeezed orange or carrot juice as well.

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Workout

I consider myself to be reasonably healthy and fit. ¬†I consider myself one who works out fairly often. ¬†I consider myself as being reasonably strong. ¬†I ride my bicycle to and from each workout. ¬†I enjoy challenging exercises and pushing myself hard. ¬†I enjoy that “high” after a good workout.

This however, was so out of league.  Did I miss the memo that this cardio class is for hard core athletes only?  What you are about to read is the honest truth of my experience.

I have been to lots of cardio classes, zumba, kickboxing, and general cardio that involved aerobics, steps, etc. and enjoy them all.  I started out in pretty rough shape, but I have improved a lot since.  I needed some cardio, so I tried this new class being offered right before the yoga class I normally go to.  these classes are drop-in style.  Only 6 of us were at the class, and the other 5 girls were insanely fit, muscular, and had been involved in athletics at least in high school (not sure if they are still doing it now in university or not).

As most of you know, I have been struggling in the intense heat that has been in St. Louis all summer. ¬†So the first sign that this class may not be for me was that we were starting outside. ¬†It was a sunny, hot day. ¬†Yes, the crazy hot days are getting less and less frequent, but this day was quite warm and the sun was blazing. ¬†No one grabbed water bottles or anything, and since I was new, I followed suit. ¬†So we started running around this little path of sidewalk at the campus (I workout on the campus where the Artist goes to school). ¬†I definitely should have brought my sunglasses out. ¬†And my water. ¬†And a towel. ¬†I kept up with group for the first lap, and we had to go again. ¬†Then backwards. ¬†Then backwards again. ¬†Try running backwards with my crazy flat arches and feet that don’t bend properly, and you get shin splints. ¬†I get shin splints often because of this, but running backwards does it in about 2 minutes. ¬†And yes, there were ledges to the sidewalk and I tripped. ¬†I didn’t wipe out though, phew. ¬†Eventually I had to take walking breaks, I am not a runner, I don’t know how to run properly, I look insane when I run, and I just overall suck at it, along with having no interest in it. ¬†So everyone laps me, and finishes, and starts doing walking lunges around this little loop. ¬†Again, I am last. ¬†And so far behind the rest they are all waiting for me at the end. ¬†So girls, if you by chance stumble upon this- I swear, I was trying my very best to keep up!

Then we go inside. FInally, air conditioning and some fans. ¬†My water bottle, and a towel to wipe my sweaty, bright red face. ¬†When I hear that that was the warm up, I think my eyes widened quite noticeably. ¬†We did burpies, planks, lunges with weights, jumping lunges, side lunges with weights, squats, sit ups with a partner passing a pilates ball, and lots more that I can’t remember. ¬†My lungs were burning for air, I couldn’t ever seem to catch a minute to catch my breath, no matter how much water I drank I felt like my throat was so dry it was going to crack. ¬†Finally, a 2 minute break. ¬†Time for water, yay! ¬†And I find my towel because I am soaked in sweat.

Back outside. ¬†Oh gosh. ¬†Running. ¬†Again. ¬†Then we did Indian running where you jog in single file and the person at the back sprints to the front. ¬†When we were told to do another lap, I couldn’t. ¬†I had to stop. ¬†It was either be embarrassed and stop, or faint. ¬†Even then I couldn’t catch my breathe before we were back inside doing all the same lovely things. ¬†I had to modify some of the moves to fit my abilities and needs. ¬†Obviously I was the only one to do this.

Crap, I ran out of water.  Ugh, and I need a new towel, this one is saturated.  Good thing they had a fresh stack.

As we put our weights and balls away I could feel my muscles quivering. ¬†As I put the equipment on the shelf, not only could I feel my muscles quivering, I could see them. ¬†My arms were shaking as I placed the ball on the shelf. ¬†I couldn’t make it to the floor to sit down for yoga, which was right after, and found myself “plopping” down on my mat. ¬†Thankfully, this yoga class is a regular I have been going to, and there was no way I could ride my bike home at this point, and at least the deep stretching this particular class offers might help my muscles.

I needed a bathroom break from all the water I drank.  As I got up, there was a perfect butt imprint formed by sweat on my mat.  You could even see the creases from my pants.  Good thing they were black.  As I went into the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  Ew.  There are not enough words to describe my sweaty, red, face.  You know when you are swimming, and hop out to use the bathroom, that feeling of pulling your bottoms down and then back up again?  All wet and yucky?  That is what it felt like.  That is how much I was sweating.  How could one even produce that much liquid?  While sitting on the toilet, I noticed sweat running down my shins.  Yes, my shins.  As I was washing my hands, I noticed in the mirror the huge rings of sweat around my armpits, and on my back.  The collar of my t-shirt was drenched.

I headed back to my yoga mat, and realized I had to take my shoes off. ¬†Uh-oh. ¬†My feet probably smell really bad. ¬†So I leave my socks on for a bit so I can cool off and stop sweating a little first. ¬†Someone asked me if I worked out before the yoga class. ¬†Ha. ¬†What gave it away? ¬†I am surprised there weren’t crunchy white salt stains on my clothes. ¬†So I responded by saying yes, I did the class before yoga, and that if anyone smells something strange, it because I have been pouring with sweat for the last hour, and I apologize. ¬†Looking back, I was in a state of delirium. ¬†Especially based on what happens next.

This yoga class focuses on deep stretches and lots of floor poses. ¬†I have been going regularly for awhile now. ¬†But my muscles are so weak and tired and shaky, I was having trouble holding the poses for a long time, and was toppling over often. ¬†Then the giggles started, and for no particular reason. ¬†Probably because I was also getting hungry for dinner. ¬†It wasn’t long before my stomach was rumbling too. ¬†My giggling was getting out of control, and others started giggling too. ¬†I am going to pretend they were giggling with me, and not at me, haha. ¬†Luckily, the teacher likes to encourage us to smile and laugh his jokes while practising, but also having a time and place for meditation and concentration. ¬†So at least he got a chuckle out it. ¬†Normally, I am not so disruptive. ¬†But, when you try not to laugh, it makes it worse and you laugh harder. ¬†I had tears coming out of my eyes I was so out of control delirious. ¬†At this point, delirious from the previous class, but now from hunger too.

I come home and flop down on the bed. ¬†Exhaustion hits even harder. ¬†Taking a shower is a necessity, but feels like too much work at this point. ¬†And remember I had to ride my bike home. ¬†After I eat and shower, you would think I went straight to sleep. ¬†But I winded down with watch DVDs of Arrested Development and calling my mom. ¬†I told my mom this story and she is like, “what if you were filmed and put on the internet?”….no, they would need our permission first. ¬†And she says, “no like someone walking, like a pedestrian, used their phone when you were outside and filmed the crazy girl lagging behind the group, and they put it on YouTube?”

Oh crap.  I feel like that is a realistic possibility.  The Artist said the based on my recap, I will end up on the Ellen Show if someone posted it on YouTube.  Ha.

Then I proceeded to watch Arrested Development and after we turned the TV off, I got the giggles again.  The Artist and I laid in bed quoting Buster and giggling until like 2am.  And I had to get up early.

And the worst part is, like I said at the beginning, I consider myself a reasonably fit, strong person.

The next morning, my quads were so sore, I could hardly walk. ¬†And I had to get up early, and my day went several hours longer then it was scheduled to. ¬†And since I normally don’t bring a lunch because I get home around lunch time, I was famished. ¬†What a day.

But oh well.  That class, was definitely not for me.

I feel like I am prone to awkward, embarrassing, crazy situations.

Lets see what today brings! ūüėČ

T-shirt Art and Orzo

As I am watching Melrose Place, the series from the 90s not the newer one, the Artist gets up from doing his readings for school and starts puttering around. ¬†I continue to watch my show on the computer with headphones, because I don’t have the DVDs and the computer is so quiet, headphones are needed to hear better. ¬†I guess I could have hooked up speakers, but come on, that is just way to much hassle and avoiding any unnecessary movements are key to beat this heat. ¬†Besides, I disturb the Artist much less this way. ¬†Then I see him look like he is trying to talk to me, so I take my headphones out. ¬†He is holding up a shirt, asking me how on earth it is made because this particular t-shirt does not have seams down the sides. ¬†We conclude, that neither of us have any idea. ¬†This shirt was from the pile of clothes that are too small, have holes, or are otherwise unwearable, and are used for rags, fabric for sewing, or whatever else we devise.

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Having lived with the Artist since before we were even dating, I didn’t think anything of this. ¬†I continued to watch my show and hear the faint sounds of rustling and bustling in the distance. ¬†When the episode is over, I see this on the floor beside me:

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Funny looking on the left side eh? ¬†And then I see the scissors nearby, and immediately knew what he had done- began a masterpiece. ¬†Earlier, he had wanted to buy some blue camping tarp, just the cheap stuff at Walmart for one of his pieces, but said that the colours sucked and didn’t get any. ¬†Clearly, this was the colour he was after. ¬†So I go in to the other room to find the Artist smiling proud, in front of this:

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He is arranging and rearranging the fabric pieces on canvas to decide how and where to attach them.

How can I do anything but smile at this?  Instead of donating the old shirts, he insisted on keeping them, as he does with everything else, because you never know when you might need them.  I have quickly learned that yes, they will actually get used.  Even old cans, pop bottles, cardboard, etc. gets used in his art.  What talent.  And I love finding his shenanigans and then hearing the story of they came to be.  It is always hilarious, yet impressive.

Then we go about our days.  I go to yoga and the Artist goes to an evening class.  I get home around 7pm and immediately re-heat some left overs of this delicious dish:

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Orzo, baked chicken, tomatoes, olives (for the Artist, I pick them out- yuck), onions, and a mediterranean inspired seasoning with balsamic. ¬†It is absolutely delicious, one of our favourite dishes ever. ¬†It is a take on a dish that friends made us when they had us over for dinner, and we have been experimenting with it ever since. ¬†You know who you are, so if you are reading- THANKS ūüėÄ ¬†I hope there is enough left for lunch later. ¬†Then I jump in the shower, and the Artist comes home and heats himself up a serving, it is not about 8pm. ¬†After catching up on how our days went, we decided to watch House, because we just borrowed the DVDs from the library and were anxious to see what happened to the Dr. in rehab.

Me: I am kind of hungry, like I could eat again.

The Artist: I am f*#@ing starving.

Me: (laughs)

The Artist: You know when you are hungry and you could be handed any option of all your favourite things, but nothing seems satisfying?  Like you have no craving or desire?

Me: Ya, that is the worst.  I have been wanting Ruffles brand All Dressed flavoured chips for so long, but no where seems to have them.  Anywhere.  (so to any American readers, are there Ruffles All Dressed flavoured chips in St. Louis, or in America in general or is it a Canadian thing?)

The Artist: Actually, my one thing that I could never turn down and enjoy no matter what, are Tim Bits.

Me: They have to be actual Tim Bits from Tim Horton’s right?

The Artist: Yes, sour cream glazed or old fashioned glazed. ¬†F$#k. ¬†Lets drive to Michigan, they have Tim Horton’s right? ¬†Nothing else will suffice right now. (closes his eyes and lets out a huge sigh of yearning)

So we continue to watch House, and cuddle up to go to bed.

I can’t help but come to the conclusion that we are always hungry, eating, or preparing food. ¬†Always. ¬†Maybe we have big appetites? ¬†Or maybe because we lose our minds if we get hungry? ¬†Or maybe because we just love cooking and eating? ¬†All of the above? ¬†Whatever it is, I love to cook, especially when we get to do it together, and I love to eat. ¬†I guess I am fortunate to have these interests and enjoy them, because I get to enjoy preparing foods and get to eat healthy, home cooked meals often ūüôā

Under-active Thyroid

It has been going on 9 years since I was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid, and every time I go to a doctor, for any reason, I still get nervous, anxious, and crippled with worry. ¬†Even if there is nothing wrong, or I am going for something routine. ¬†Blood tests, check ups, going for something unrelated like a cough or sinus infection- anything- and I get all worked up. ¬†To the untrained eye it looks like, why? ¬†It’s nothing serious, thyroid conditions are common, doctors are helpful, etc. ¬†But for me, it is more then that. ¬†I think I was, for lack of a better word, traumatized a little back when this was first diagnosed, and now every time I worry that something scary will happen again.

But first, I would like to tell you what an under active thyroid does. ¬†Most commonly it involves weight gain, fatigue, low mood, and feeling tired. ¬†The most common reaction I get is usually along the lines of, “I think I might have that too”. ¬†Why? ¬†Well because the biggest complaints among the Western world, especially women, are wanting to lose weight, have more energy, etc., especially for busy people who work long hours, get little sleep, have a family to care for, and the like. ¬†Well, for me, it is so much more then feeling just tired. ¬†When I am low or feel like I need a medication increase, I usually gain weight, and I am not talking like 5lbs, I have in the past gained as much as 20 pounds in less then a month. ¬†For no reason. ¬†As a young women entering adulthood, that sucks. ¬†I was even skating about 4 days a week for a good 2 hours each time, it is not like I was lazing around, although the fatigue wanted me to. ¬†Most recently, other then a bit of weight gain, was the extreme fatigue. ¬†Getting 10 hours of sleep a night was not cutting it. ¬†My brain was foggy all the time, it took everything out of me just to function for the day and stay awake, I was overwhelmed and stressed out easily, and by mid afternoon I was so tired I couldn’t stay awake. ¬†Yes, sometimes in life an afternoon nap sounds great! ¬†Especially during hectic times. ¬†But this was all consuming. ¬†If someone asked me a question, trying to respond was too taxing. ¬†I felt like I couldn’t control it, and sleep was coming for me. ¬†My eyes were heavy, my brain was foggy, I had no energy, and therefore despite my hugest efforts, I could no longer fight it at this point. ¬†Extreme lethargy is the best way to describe it, but even that doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head. ¬†And to the world, I just look like a lazy bones taking a nap, but really, I am trying with all my might to stay awake. ¬†I tried to take advantage of being in the car and would take a little nap then, or if I am home alone I would sleep for a bit so my life would experience as little interference as possible. ¬†Because in the end, wherever I was, I would sleep. ¬†At this point, falling asleep is beyond my control. ¬†On the bus, subway, in the car, at home, when I was in school- during class, on the couch, in bed, sitting up, etc. ¬†This is just the main way it affects me. ¬†Other things that have occurred include, thinning of my hair (all over my body, especially my eyebrows), constipation, low appetite, low moods, brittle hair (on my head), puffy face, among others. ¬†I take medication daily for hypothyroidism, which relieves most of these symptoms if I am on the right dosage. ¬†Occasionally I need an increase, which is usually accompanied by these symptoms to various degrees, and then after awhile on the new dosage, I feel better. ¬†But one thing that has never left me, is my need for sleep. ¬†Less then 8 hours- forget it. ¬†A good 8 hours allows me to function, but 9 allows me to function, feel alert, feel refreshed, and consciously be present and enjoy my day. ¬†I can cope with less then 8 hours once in awhile, but it can’t be a regular thing. ¬†It is a physical need for my body’s conditions.

So going back about 9 years, I was 15 years old and going in to see the doctor about my knee. ¬†He asks questions, doesn’t seem too worried, but runs some bloodwork anyways. ¬†Well it turns out, he found some hormones that were quite out of whack. ¬†My free T4 was extremely low, and my TSH was, literally, off the charts. ¬†The lab stopped counting at 600. ¬†The normal range is 0.5-5.0, I think. ¬†Something like that anyways, which pointed to a hefty case of hypothyroidism. ¬†So he ordered a “semi-urgent” MRI of my head to look at my pituitary gland. ¬†I went to the appointment a few weeks later, got the MRI, and they told us it would be a few weeks to get the results. ¬†So we asked where the nearest walk-in clinic was because I had a nasty chest cold, they directed us, and my mom and I went. ¬†When we got there and I handed them my health card, they told me my doctor was looking for me, and to call him right away. ¬†It turns out, they looked at my MRI images right away, found something, called my doctor, and told him we were planning on going to a walk-in clinic. ¬†He, in turn, called every clinic in the area asking them to watch for me to come in. ¬†So my mom was on the phone with him, crying, and dragging me back to the car. ¬†The doctor told me I had a pituitary adenoma, and arranged for me to see a neurologist immediately at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. ¬†We hopped in the car and drove. ¬†As a kid, if I was ever scared, I knew it would be ok if my mom told me not to worry, or went into my scary dark closet to check for monsters, and appeared calm. ¬†But she was crying, and exploding with worry all over. ¬†Hence, I was freaked right out. ¬†You know it’s bad if your mom is scared. ¬†The neurologist, and my family doctor, were concerned about my peripheral vision because my pituitary was so enlarged it was pressing on my optic nerves. ¬†But nothing. ¬†To their astonishment, my vision was, and still is, normal. ¬†He referred me to an endocrinologist, and ordered another MRI in 3 months time. ¬†Meanwhile, I returned to see the endocrinologist. ¬†She put me on medication, which is essentially synthetic thyroid hormones. ¬†She started me on a low dose, and increased it slowly over several months to avoid “shocking” my body with such a high dose. ¬†I went for the next MRI and to everyone’s amazement, everything was normal. ¬†The neurologist discharged me, saying he thought that it was mainly a thyroid issue, and I had follow up eye exams for a little while afterwards. ¬†They expected it to take a long time, but in a very short time, my images were normal. ¬†They continued increasing my medication slowly for about 2-2.5 years and I had found a comfortable dose, when I was about 17. ¬†Then when I was 20, I needed an increase, again when I was 23, and now again at 24.

So now, after that initial whirlwind, being terrified, I think it affects my appointments now. ¬†I went to the doctor to get my knee looked at and I was sent immediately to a hospital to see a neurologist because of a pituitary adenoma?! ¬†So when I see a doctor for a chest cough, routine bloodwork to get my levels checked, a physical, anything, you can see why I get a little anxious. ¬†Who knows what they will stumble upon. ¬†And at the time, I didn’t think anything was wrong. ¬†Symptoms don’t come overnight, they gradually take over your body, and from a day-to-day perspective, you don’t notice changes. ¬†But looking back, I had lots of gradual symptoms. ¬†I was 15 years old, with no signs of puberty whatsoever, I was less then 5 feet tall, I was very chubby, had a puffy face, pale skin, no hair on my arms, thinning eyebrows, 24/7 lethargy, brain fog, no energy or ambition, constipation, no appetite, and other things that are probably a little too descriptive for this blog. ¬†But feel free to ask me if we are Facebook friends ūüôā ¬†It is like being on autopilot, and when my medication gets adjusted, I feel like I come back to life, haha ūüėõ

Now recently at my last doctor’s appointment, I got a physical with the nurse practitioner, and bloodwork done. ¬†My free T4, which is my thyroid levels, were normal, but my TSH, which is what stimulates the thyroid gland to produce hormone, was high, at 29. ¬†So if one has hypothyroidism, TSH is high and free T4 is low, because the TSH is working hard telling your thyroid gland to produce, but it is not. ¬†She said that TSH can still be high when thyroid is normal, but it does need to be brought down, so she increased my medication. ¬†Initially she wanted a 6 week follow up blood test and a referral to an endocrinologist, because my TSH was even higher then my previous test. ¬†I was freaked right out. ¬†I had been discharged from my endocrinologist when I was around 17, because I was under control and could continue care with my family doctor. ¬†And now I needed to see one again?! ¬†Yikes! ¬†Obviously something is wrong if I am producing too much TSH when my free T4 is normal. ¬†But, she had misread something, and the blood test and medication increase that she thought was just 3 months ago, was actually 1 year and 3 months ago. ¬†So the TSH increase was over the course of a year, and not just a couple months was fine, and normal. ¬†She was only concerned because she thought I had a medication increase due to high TSH 3 months ago, and my levels got even higher instead of staying the same or lowering. ¬†So I now take 137mcg. ¬†She told me what to look for in case it is too much, and I get a follow up bloodwork check in December, provided I don’t have any big symptoms that it is too much for me. ¬†I have been taking it how for a bit less then a month, and my days of experiencing that mid afternoon crazy lethargy are now few and far in between. ¬†So, hopefully, this new dosage is all I need, and the blood test in December will at least show improvement. ¬†But I know too much for my own good. ¬†I can’t help but think why is my pituitary producing TSH if my thyroid is normal, and doesn’t “need” it? ¬†Or what if my free T4 gets to high from this dosage, but my TSH improves, then what? ¬†Oh the scary thoughts that run through my head. ¬†I try hard not to “google” it, because that will just make it worse. ¬†There is a lot of stuff out there that isn’t necessarily true, or reliable information.

But to make it all better, I have my Artist. ¬†He is extremely supportive, and drops everything if I get worried or upset or anxious around this stuff. ¬†He is so comforting, I am such a lucky girl to have such a great husband. ¬†He knows exactly how to calm me down, because in reality, I am not worried about some”thing”, but rather, what “could happen”. ¬†So he brings me back to Earth, somehow, and soothes me. ¬†“One step at a time, no matter what, we will figure it out.” ¬†“If that is what your body needs, then it’s fine, everybody is different.” ¬†And he always brings me back by re-telling me my own thoughts; life is precious, take advantage of your time, lets do something fun together instead, and if something happens, we will figure it out when the time comes. ¬†And of course, our mantra that we always say, “No matter what, we always have each other.” ¬†When one of us is stressed, worried, frustrated, etc. we say “no matter what….” prompting the other, upset one, to say “…we always have each other”.

And it is the truth.

No matter what.

That is all I need.

‚̧

P.S. ¬†The Artist always cheers me up, he is so hilarious, and can get a laugh out of me anywhere, anytime, ¬†Literally. ¬†One time he was in the shower, and I was sick, so I bursted into the bathroom and threw up in the toilet, and while I was vomiting, he said something that made me laugh ūüôā ¬†Haha. ¬†Currently, he has been having really bad allergies, and uses this as a trick to torment me ūüėČ ¬†He plays the “sick” role, and when I bring him something, what I think is a hug or snuggle, is really a trap to tickle me (I am extremely ticklish) or pull a prank of some sort. ¬†And it makes me laugh, sometimes to tears ūüôā ¬†I am so much less stressed then I used to be, and can handle things so much better now. ¬†Thank you, my Artist, for teaching me.

Happiness is contagious.

 

*Note:  This is my personal experience, and how a low thyroid affects me personally.  Everyone has different experiences, to varying degrees.

Almost a Year With my New Lifestyle.

It has been almost a year since I made a big change in my life. ¬†About a year ago, the Artist and I were talking and we decided we wanted to get gym memberships at his school. ¬†We had been doing “home workouts” here and there, and were really excited to start working out in an actual gym again. ¬†I had been been a little displeased with my body, and found myself wondering how to maximize these workouts. ¬†The Artist is an expert in all things fitness and food, so when we were talking he was able to explain to me how the body works with regards to eating and exercise- my mind was blown. ¬†This conversation changed my life. ¬†With the incredible knowledge the Artist had, I was able to re-evaluate my lifestyle and decide what I wanted to change. ¬†We are such a good, supportive, encouraging team. ¬†The Artist was supportive of me in my goals to change my lifestyle, and I couldn’t wait to get home to tell him about my workout or how I had improved on something, and he was so happy for me every time. ¬†And I was encouraging and supportive of his workout goals too, and on the weekends we would exercise together.

So not only am I proud of my body, but I am proud of how I changed it- with a healthy lifestyle. ¬†For me, it is not about how many calories I consume or how many hours I spend exercising each day, it is about where my calories are coming from and the type and efficiency of my exercise. ¬†I eat like 5-6 times a day LOL! ¬†I treat myself about once a week, and try to do a variety of exercises including strength, cardio, core, and yoga. ¬†I also like to do fun classes like kickboxing or zumba for cardio, I am not much of a runner. ¬†Another goal I had was wanting to ride my bicycle more, so I rode it to and from each workout. ¬†Even in the winter (in St. Louis…what winter? HAHA!). ¬†It has taken a long time, weight has come off slowly, but that means it will be off forever, because I have a whole new outlook on food, exercise and being healthy. ¬†Learning about foods and exercise and how they effect my body sort of “shocked” me into change.

So all in all, I have dropped about 20 lbs. ¬†My pant size before: 14, other clothes: S-XL, weight: 170-175lbs. ¬†My pant size now: 14 (maybe a 12 if they are stretchy), other clothes: S-XL, weight: 150-155lbs. ¬†Now much change right? ¬†Well actually, there is a huge change. ¬†I have much more muscle, less fat, I am stronger, I have a lot more endurance and stamina, I am more flexible, and I have tons more energy and am often in a happy mood. ¬†My body is very different, but based on the scale and my pant size, it doesn’t look like much. ¬†Which is why I don’t pay too much attention to those, but going by how I feel- and I feel great. ¬†Yes, some of my clothes are much too big to wear now, but mostly, my clothes fit nicer, my “muffin top” has shrunk, oh it is still there for sure, but definitely smaller. and I feel more comfortable and relaxed in my clothes because I am not constantly thinking my stomach is hanging out or having my pants dig in because they are too tight.

And just to make myself a little more proud, I continue to do all this while combating a pretty hefty thyroid condition and a little genetics, none of my female relatives have small frames, we are curvy ūüėČ

I love how good I feel. ¬†I love to exercise. ¬†And I really love food. ¬†That’s right, I ate/still eat pasta, pizza, etc. on a pretty regular basis, and I did not go running/jogging every day for hours, and I still lost weight. ¬†But most of all, I love my Artist. ¬†I am so lucky to have him as a coach, and to have shown me good fitness routines and eating habits.

I feel much healthier, and have more energy. ¬†And therefore, the energy to embark on lots more fun adventures with the Artist. ¬†‚̧

I don’t have any “before” photos really, but here are some recent photos of me, down 20lbs and feeling great ūüėÄ

New Jammies :D

New Jammies ūüėÄ

Heading to the gym.

Heading to the gym.

Sewing project complete

Sewing project complete

The Zoo

The Zoo

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park