Release from my Invisible Prison

This is what the last year and a half of my life has been like and what 22 years of misdiagnosed symptoms has led to.  And 5 weeks ago, I was able to name the culprit that has been stealing my life, trapping me inside my own body, making me feel defeated and sending me into hiding.  I’d like you to meet Hashimoto’s Disease.

In short, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the thyroid.  It is often diagnostically undetected until the later stages of the disease once the thyroid has been damaged.  However, a person can suffer a myriad of symptoms for DECADES without their thyroid levels going out of normal range.  This is because the body is working so hard to keep thyroid hormone levels normal that other functions are essentially taxed and/or neglected.

For me, things really came to a head summer 2016.  I noticed that I was exhausted all the time, no matter how much I slept, I couldn’t focus and my mind was constantly cloudy, I had mood issues that included anxiety, depression and irritability.  I didn’t see any life in my face anymore and started to hate taking pictures.  I had a lot of joint pain and my hands and feet were often swollen.  My hair was falling out, literally entire sections of locs were just coming out.  (I actually found another bag since filming that video so the total is approximately 200.)

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And the one that had me and those closest to me truly baffled was the weight gain.  Despite my clean diet and 6-day-a-week workouts, I started gaining weight.  At first it was a few pounds so I thought maybe I’d had a few more cheats than normal so I cut them all out and the weight just kept coming.  I was gaining 2-5 lbs a week, every week.  For months I tried everything in my fitness and nutrition arsenal to get the weight off but I honestly would have settled for just stabilized.  Each time I’d make a change I’d lose a couple of pounds at first and then they’d come back, sometimes bringing friends.  After all of that, some unhelpful trips to the doctor and useless blood work (I’ll talk to you more about all of that another time), I honestly felt completely defeated.

Here I am, a fitness and nutrition coach who suddenly had an unexplained weight problem.  Talk about being bad for business!  And aside from that, the fatigue and brain fog were so bad that I felt completely unproductive in many areas of my life and my normally calm and even temperament had been replaced with anxiety and mood swings.  I truly felt like a prisoner in my own body.  And I have one of the most amazing support systems in the world, but still felt very alone.  So, I retreated into myself.

Good news though.  I can treat this homeopathically, which is my preference.  And no, there is no conventional medicine alternative, for those who may think I’m anti-medicine.  The truth is that conventional medicine’s solution to Hashimoto’s is to prescribe synthetic thyroid hormone to replace what your thyroid can’t.  The dosage is increased as the damage becomes more severe and eventually the thyroid gets so damaged it has to be removed or no longer produces any hormone and your dosage is increased once again.  That doesn’t address any of the symptoms that you may suffer NOR does it do anything to answer one really good question.  Why did my body start attacking itself?

So, I’ve been treating myself since I named my villain 5 weeks ago, with the help of Dr. Izabella Wentz and her online resources and books.  Hashimoto’s Protocol has become my healing Bible and I highly recommend it.  I’ll talk about how I’ve been treating it much more in the coming weeks and months as I learn more and continue to heal, but just briefly, I have removed gluten, soy, dairy, sugar and caffeine from my diet as well as doing a liver cleanse that I’ll complete in a couple of days as well as some supplementation.  Also, I simply don’t have the capacity to do as much and I need to allow my body some time and rest to heal, so I’ve had to find my “no”.  Honestly it’s my new favorite word.

I will say that I have already lost 7.5 lbs, 3.2% body fat (and they’re continuing to trend downward), I have more energy (still not awesome, but improved), less brain fog, the glow has returned to my face, my joints don’t hurt like they did, and my hands and feet have returned to their normal size 😊.   I’d love to take you on this journey with me so if you’re up for the trip, you can follow my new YouTube channel Conquering Hashimoto’s or hashtag #conqueringHashimotos for all of my updates.  Thanks everyone for your support and I’ll talk to you soon.

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Motivation, Discipline and Habit

Despite the fact that I was up until after midnight, this morning my alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. simultaneously with the chirp of a “get up” text reminder from my success partner.  This has  been the story of my life Monday – Friday for the last six weeks, without fail.  The good news is that I’ve actually been getting up when that happens…for at least the last three weeks 🙂  It took a LOT of effort to get to the point that I just go on and get up, no matter what time I turned in or how warm and cozy my bed and husband are.  And this morning as I was getting ready for a 6:30 “meeting” I could see the 5 hours of sleep in my face (I’ll work on that next) but I had to smile because I’m so excited that my 5:30 wake-up time has become a habit.  That’s when I decided to talk to you about the difference between motivation, discipline and the sweet reward of habit.

The best way that I can explain this is to first explain why on earth I worked so hard to achieve a habit that makes most people cringe 😛  I don’t have an office to report to at 7 or a field and animals to go tend to; I simply like getting my day started early.  If I wake up even at 6:30 or 7:00 I feel like my day is rushed and I find myself in a constant state of overwhelmed.  My motivation was that I was so over being overwhelmed all of the time.  But that motivation hadn’t really been enough to help me make the necessary changes to my day…every day.

Now, as I mentioned, this successful practice didn’t happen overnight.  I spent months trying to figure out the best rhythm for my days.  Once I knew that getting up early was my ticket to success (which I already knew and was avoiding because I came to like sleeping in), I made the decision that I needed to figure out how to make it happen.  That’s when discipline got invited to the party.  This is where I had to drag myself out of bed and go to the living room.  Even if I only got up because I wanted to be able to text my success partner back that I was awake.  Even if I only read one verse in my Bible or prayed one sentence before nodding off.  Even if I started my workout and had to give it 50% effort because I was tired.  Getting up on time had to become a “no matter what” goal.  Over time, I was able to tell myself to turn the TV off and put the phone down a little earlier at night so that my mornings weren’t as much of a struggle.  And eventually, I was rewarded for my efforts.

By getting up at 5:30, I am able to drink my detoxing green tea while I have my quite time with the Lord, then plan my day and maybe even start working (or working out) all before the house starts to wake.  These practices start my day on the right foot and bring a sense of calm to my mind and spirit.  It is this time that enables me to have a more productive, energetic and positive day, even if I haven’t gotten enough sleep.  And I love that feeling.  I CRAVE that feeling.  That feeling of success and the great increase in my productivity are the trigger that allowed me to create the habit of getting up early.  And the beauty of habit is that I don’t even have to think about it anymore.  I just get up 🙂

I encourage you to stop relying so much on motivation.  Motivation is simply your desire to do, to change, to have; but it doesn’t get you results.  Discipline is the secret sauce.

Stop Seeking Perfection and Be Excellent

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I don’t know if you can tell or not but that smile was just a reflex today. I have had a crazy few days for some reason and haven’t slept much since Thursday. I even missed my workout yesterday. (I know, right.) I’m exhausted. I’ve been feeling like I can’t think straight and I just haven’t feel like myself.

But with all of my muscles and joints wanting to milk every possible minute of sleep before Jeremiah’s alarm went off, I literally jumped out of bed and got my workout in. I’m not going to lie, I struggled quite a bit through it but I just backed off when necessary and got it done. And you know what? I’m still exhausted but my day is going smoothly and the endorphins from my workout broke the fog over my brain. So glad I didn’t sleep in!

The truth is life happens and things don’t always go as planned. There will be days that you just don’t feel it. There will be times when your best in the moment is less than 100%. And that’s OK! If you genuinely have 50%, give your most excellent 50%. It’s not about perfection; it’s about really SHOWING UP and being intentional with what you have.