Beating Hypothyroidism

Archive for the tag “energy”

Holidays, Deadlines and Colds

This past month has been absolutely crazy. December is always a busy month, but I was also working under a deadline, brainstorming with another author about her next book, and then I wound up with a cold.

Yup. Me. The person who takes a boatload of supplements every day. It’s not as bad as my previous December colds have been, but I’ve still coughed enough that my ribs are aching, my throat hurts, and it’s making it seriously hard to sleep. I finally broke down and picked up some Mucinex-DM today. Much as I hate taking any sort of medication, I’m just too tired to keep being so stubborn.

So there you have my excuses for being AWOL for the past few weeks. Oh, and did I, by chance, mention the increased fatigue from eating too much gluten over the holidays?

Uh-huh. Sometimes I swear I need my mom here to take control of my lousy eating habits….because I really can act like an out of control two year old when I decide I can’t stand it and need something with gluten.

It drives me crazy because I KNOW what it does to me. The fluid retention, the getting out of breath, the digestive issues…and the fatigue I’ve already mentioned. It’s not like I don’t struggle with that enough with the hypothyroidism. Nope. I have to make it worse by eating foods that I know will make feel bad.

All in the name of making my taste buds happy.

So it’s a new year, and one of my goals is to do better with this gluten free stuff. And trying to keep my carbs lower 3-4 days a week. That also helps with the energy.

My health, and feeling better, is what prompted me to start this blog last year, and I’ve come a long way. I just need to work on the discipline to follow through on everything now. All the time. I also need to spend a little more time experimenting to come up with acceptable substitutes for the foods that cause me to screw up every time.

I just wish there was a way to have ‘real’ dumplings with my chicken stew…without having to resort to the ones chock full of gluten.

Okay. I think I’m finished now. The cough suppressant seems to have kicked in as good as it’s going to, today is Saturday…and it’s time for me to try to catch up on a little sleep.

Feeling a little better

I’m starting this blog late Sunday night (technically it’s 2:02 Monday morning, but it will continue to be Sunday for me until I go to bed and sleep a few hours).

Okay, so I made it to the pool three times last week, dragging my heels all three times.  However, I noticed when I went grocery shopping today that I was walking quite a bit faster, with less pain and barely limping at all.  So I’m enthused about heading back tomorrow (Monday).  And I may be bumping the visits up to six days a week again…effective immediately.

About that radish recipe for my hypothyroidism…

I think I’ve already owned up to not being very fond of radishes, so I put it off and put it off, and didn’t even try it until around four o’clock this afternoon….too late to work in a second dose (in case it worked, I didn’t want to see the sun come up again).

First, it didn’t taste nearly as bad as I thought it would.  In fact, it’s a heck of an improvement over organic vinegar, and I use that very regularly.  I did the 4 radishes, juiced, then added about 3 ounces of low sodium V8, several drops of the Tapatio hot sauce (I have to pry the thing out of the top of the bottle because a drop at a time is a pain in the neck), and a couple of good shakes of cayenne pepper.  It did have a bite, but I used a straw and sucked it down quick.

Now, before I forget to mention this part, I did get seventeen hours sleep this weekend.  And eight hours of that was in a row, except for waking briefly to take my Synthroid (I set an alarm to take it at the same time every day).  The other nine were in three and five hour increments.  I just wanted to be clear on that.  I did catch up on some sleep.

That said, I have had no supplements, other than digestive enzymes with supper, and no coconut oil, but since drinking the radish mixture, I shopped at two stores for over an hour, got supper around, washed a mountain of fruits and veggies, washed dishes, and got some laundry and housework done.  This is a very productive day for me.  (I should also mention that I juiced some carrots and apples and had a glass of that, too)

I’ve had days where I’ve caught up on sleep before and I haven’t accomplished nearly as much…even with the supplements and coconut oil.  Now I’ll admit I’m starting to feel tired again, but I’m still more alert than I’ve felt in awhile.

The question is, how much of it is due to the radish mixture?  I don’t know.  But I’ll be doing it twice tomorrow, along with more juiced fruits and veggies…and my supplements and coconut oil.  Hopefully, by the time I post the blog in about twenty-four hours, I’ll have even better news to report.  🙂

****

So it’s 9:15 Monday night…

I do not have news as good as I’d hoped to have tonight, but that’s only because whatever sleep I caught up on over the weekend must have been just enough to feed the flames of the insomnia.  The sun was just coming up over the horizon when I finally fell asleep somewhere between 5:30 and 6:00 (I don’t know for sure because I refused to look at the clock or open my eyes again when I realized it was starting to get light out).  Then I woke up about forty-five minutes later to full daylight, fell back asleep somewhere between nine and ten…and then woke up for the day about 12:45.  I know that sounds scandalous, but I didn’t sleep a full five hours.

However…

I still made it to the pool for a good workout, went shopping again (one store this time), and don’t feel too bad right now.  I haven’t been nearly as productive today as I was yesterday but it could be worse (and has been!).  I’m also about to grab my daughter and head into town to get a Frosty.  I don’t know if it’s the extra nutrition, lack of sleep, or a combination of both, but I haven’t eaten much today…and I need some calories.  Might as well get it from ice cream.

Hopefully by Saturday I’ll have a better idea of how this juicing, especially the radishes, is working out for me.  I won’t expect miracles because it won’t even be a week until Sunday.  But who knows?

I’ve hit the two month anniversary of being gluten-free, Wednesday will be seven weeks since I gave up the electronic cigarettes, still doing the digestive enzymes and trying to tweak the supplements…and I’ve started my second week back at the pool and added juicing.  That’s not too bad considering I just started this blog two and a half months ago.  I’ve made some very positive changes

The improvements haven’t been very dramatic, or even very consistent, but I’m not giving up.  I am, however, going to have to reschedule my doctor’s appointment.  I forgot to get the blood test done again.  I really hate having a needle stuck in my arm.  🙂

Feeling Improvements Already?

So I’ve kept a sort of record of how I’ve been feeling this week.  Being the sort of person who expects immediate, unrealistic results, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I wasn’t completely disappointed.  Tuesday night I realized that I wasn’t ready to crawl onto the top of my desk and take a nap after supper.  In fact, I felt more alert than I had in a long time….well into the middle of the night.

***

Wednesday I expected to feel a lot worse because my daughter was away for two nights.  No, I didn’t have trouble sleeping because I missed her, though I did miss her.  No, I had trouble sleeping because one of her cats missed her.  Jasper, our weird little black cat…with a tail and legs that are really short, and ears that look too large for his head…decided he was lonely.  And let me know it.  Frequently.  The entire time I laid in bed trying to lose myself in dreamland. From kneading my back, to climbing up on my shoulder when I was laying on my side, to walking on me…my sleep was disturbed so often I lost count of the times he woke me up.

This is a picture of the little stinker, after he climbed into the dryer when my daughter’s back was turned.  If you click on the picture you can see him staring at her.  He has gorgeous eyes.  Looks pretty comfy there on the warm, formerly clean bedding, doesn’t he?

I was really dragging when I finally crawled out of bed, couldn’t even focus my eyes for the longest time.  But then, after my yogurt and banana (and enzymes), I felt better.  And I felt fine all evening.  Not bouncing-off-the-walls-good, not by a long shot, but definitely better.

I should have been sporting a waffle face from falling asleep on my keyboard, but I was even awake and alert enough to help a friend, via telephone, set up some online accounts.  It was amazing!

Things kind of went downhill on Thursday, and are pretty much the same today, but that’s because of three nights in a row with too little sleep.  But technically I should be feeling worse than I do, because that’s just the way things have gone for a few years now.

I want to say that how I felt earlier in the week was because of the supplements I’ve been taking, and I think that’s part of it.  But I really think the enzymes are helping me to actually absorb them now.  I also suspect that the reason I feel so lousy today is because of the enzymes, too.  First I said it might be because of too little sleep.  Then I realized that, except for the night Jasper was bugging me, I haven’t gotten any less than I usually do.  At that point I remembered reading something mentioning that, as your body becomes able to rid itself of toxins (finally, and thanks to the enzymes), you can feel a little worse for awhile.

One of the things I’m most impressed with is how I’ve felt after eating.  I haven’t been uncomfortable even once.  And I purposely overate at supper on Wednesday.  My own little science experiment.  Just normal meals had been leaving me feel full and bloated for hours, for as long as I can remember.  But I took the enzymes and was perfectly fine.  I didn’t need a nap, or feel the slightest bit of discomfort.

So far I’m very impressed with digestive enzymes.  As a side note, no problems whatsoever sticking to my gluten-free diet five days in.

***Well I just found out something on the Mercola website that may have contributed greatly to my fatigue.  Apparently gum chewing causes your brain to signal your pancreas, stomach, and other digestive organs to start producing enzymes…because it thinks you’re getting ready to eat.  Do this enough, for too long, and the pancreas gets exhausted…and is unable to produce enzymes when you actually need them.
When I stopped smoking six or seven years ago, I started chewing gum.  Even though it was a habit I’d always hated, I wound up addicted to that…popping the first piece in my mouth shortly after getting out of bed every morning.  Not only that, but I’m chewing gum pretty much every waking minute.  That’s a long time for me to be fooling my body into thinking I’m going to feed it round the clock when all I do is chomp on sugar-free gum.
If my pancreas and other digestive organs have been producing minimal enzymes to help digest and absorb the nutrients from my food, it could account for my feeling better so quickly.  My body has likely been getting very little nutrition from my food and supplements for several years.  I’m also positive that’s why it felt like everything I ate just sat in my stomach for hours, too.  It was getting digested at a snail’s pace, and likely not as digested as it should have been anyway.

D-Day Has Arrived

So far, so good on the first day of my forever gluten-free lifestyle.  Unless it involves a slice of coconut cream pie or dumplings every once in a great while.  But before it comes down to that, I’m going to keep looking for something that will satisfy those cravings…something without gluten.

I wasn’t sure what my attitude was going to be when I woke up this morning.  Would there be a little residual resentment lingering?  Would I come up with one more thing I had to have…and postpone starting until tomorrow?  Would I actually be excited?

The answer to all three questions is no.

It’s hard to describe how I feel, when you get right down to it.  There is no sense of loss like there was last year.  No sense of panic, anger or any other negative emotion.  Maybe it helps that I had three months to play around with the diet and learn what was available, so I know what to expect now.  That it’s not all deprivation and nasty food (although, to beat a dead horse, those lasagna noodles were really nasty!).

I don’t want to say that I’m resigned, because that makes it sound like it’s a bad thing.  Maybe hopeful is a better word.  Confident, empowered, challenged, determined…they all work fine for my present state of mind.

It always felt like I was being a little dramatic when I would write that I wanted to ‘get my life back’ following an auto accident in 2008.  And it might have been.  But it was true.  It still is, only now it’s for a different reason.   I just want to feel good and energetic again.  I want to think clearly.  I want to be able to write without feeling so exhausted that I’d like to nap…for two days.

So I’m taking the bull by the horns and I am getting my life back.  I will do everything I want to do, when I want to do it…and stop feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck afterward.  Hypothyroidism and gluten-sensitivity are finished controlling my life.  I’m getting my energy back!

Now I want to share something I found out about this weekend.  I’m not sure what path led me to this particular subject, but I’m really glad I stumbled onto it.

Digestive enzymes…

An article at iThyroid.com says that people with hypothyroidism likely have inadequate digestive enzymes.  Another at Livestrong.com says that inadequate enzymes slow your metabolism, and we all know that a slow metabolism makes it nearly impossible to lose weight.  Inadequate digestive enzymes can also contribute to fatigue because your body isn’t getting all the nutrients from your foods that it should be.

I don’t know about anyone else but usually, within half an hour, I’m so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open after I eat.  It also feels like it take hours for my food to digest.  Like it just sits like a stone in my stomach forever.  It’s always uncomfortable, and sometimes downright painful.

Those things didn’t happen both times I took the enzymes yesterday.  Well, not at all the first time.   The second time there was still a little bloating, but not nearly as much as has become normal for me.  But that time I’d had some cheese, and I’ve had trouble with that off and on for years.  Not that I’m ready to cut dairy out of my diet or anything.  I’m making quite enough changes right now, thanks very much.

Just a really quick addition here…

All I’d had to eat early in the day was a yogurt and a few bites of a too green banana (yuck…they’re powdery when they’re too green…and they taste bad, too).  So I didn’t have any enzymes until supper.  Once again, I’m impressed.  No full, bloated feeling…at all.  Guess I’ll be ordering a bigger bottle from Amazon before I go to bed tonight…because these babies are going to be a part of my life for as long as I need them.

I’d read about the ‘oatmeal test,’ so I was very pleased to find a video that demonstrated it.

***Yet another quick addition…I would strongly, strongly, strongly advise against taking triple strength fish oil (1400 mg) softgels within a few hours either way of taking digestive enzymes.  Even if it says ‘enteric coated’ on the label.  Even if it says no fish burps.  I’ve been taking them for awhile and never had a problem…until I took it with supper.  Never again.  YUCK!

Fleshing Out My Plan

Back in December my doctor told me I should just accept that my life was what it was…and I should just get used to it.  At first I was ticked off and determined to prove her wrong.  That lasted for about a month, until a schedule change seriously impacted my already sleep-deprived life.  Being even more exhausted than I usually am, I started feeling more than a little depressed and hopeless, wondering if the doctor might be right.

I’m not sure what happened a few days ago but the rebellious part of me kicked up a heck of a fuss and I decided I was not going to accept that diagnosis.

Yes, it’s sounding like I have some sort of disease.  I don’t even know what hypothyroidism is classified as, nor do I care.  I just know it impacts my life in almost every area because of the relentless fatigue.  The Synthroid prescription that’s supposed to make everything better isn’t cutting it.

And so I’m finally ready to take the doctor’s advice and increase the nutritional density of my diet, though she suggested it for another reason.  Obviously (to me) the best way to do that is by increasing my fruit and veggie intake.  The only problem is, I’m too tired to invest any time in healthy cooking and food preparation, so I had to come up with another plan.

What is that plan?

Two fresh fruit smoothies, an apple with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 2 cartons of yogurt, 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil, and at least 1 serving of powdered green superfood every day.  In addition to that I will continue taking at least 2 grams of vitamin C, a B-complex, B-12, melatonin, and a few other supplements.  I also want to increase my water intake to help flush toxins out of my body.

I would not add a sweetener to this, but other than that, it looks really good!

No, I’m not going to stop eating real food.  I expect to have anything I want for supper.  This will ensure that I get in the six meals and snacks every day needed to get-and keep-my energy levels up.  At least I hope things will work out that way.

I experimented Wednesday night with a smoothie-and learned what I’m not going to do again.  If I’m going to add a heaping tablespoon of psyllium husk to the shake, I won’t be using a whole banana.  The texture leaves a bit to be desired.  But I think that including fiber is important.  First it will help keep me full longer.  It will also increase my fiber intake-which has been seriously lacking with the quick and simple meals I’ve been preparing for too long now.

It’s hard to keep from getting excited about all of this, even though I’ve barely begun.  When you feel as bad as I have for as long as I have, this seems like it could be the light at the end of a seemingly endless tunnel.

When the energy starts picking up (soon, please!), I intend to start working out in the pool a few days a week and putting some miles on my treadmill again.  Maybe I’ll even start back with Pilates, though I have  a love/hate relationship with that program.

Anyway, at this point I plan on posting on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  Not sure if anyone else but me will be interested in my progress, but maybe some readers will chime in about what works for them.  Until next time, when I hope to have some real news to report, take care and feel better.

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