Last month I wrote a blog talking about my “I don’t” list – aka a list of all the things I don’t do anymore in order to make time for my priorities (without feeling overwhelmed by trying to do ALL the things).
It prompted a LOT of discussion and responses – and it really highlighted how many of you are working yourselves into the ground trying to be the best mum/ wife/ partner/ daughter/ boss/ employee/ friend etc etc that you can be by doing everything. Usually at the expense of your own health.
But the thing is, even when you do learn to prioritise and not do it all, sometimes you still feel like crap. A couple of months ago, despite cutting right back on the things I deemed non-essential in my life (cleaning, making school lunches, folding laundry – the list goes on!), I was feeling super rundown; I was struggling to get up in the mornings (when you run bootcamp six mornings a week, that’s a problem!); feeling like I needed to nap in the afternoons (but there was always too much to do of course, so I didn’t); not wanting to go out at night because I wanted to stay home in my PJs and Ugg boots!
And – the clincher – I was struggling to lose a couple of stubborn kilos. Whereas in the past if I’d wanted to get a bit leaner and lose some body fat, I would just watch my calories and increase my training for a little while and it would come off almost effortlessly – but this time it just wasn’t happening.
It was really frustrating because on the surface I was doing all the right things; my diet was really good – I was eating plenty of protein and getting enough carbs and good fats; I rarely drank; I got 7+ hours of sleep most nights; I was training 5 or 6 times a week. So I couldn’t explain the fatigue, the lack of energy and the stubborn weight (especially around my hips and thighs).
So I did what I get my clients on my new Hormone Health Kickstart Project to do – I got a full blood test and I got my hormones tested.
As an aside, I’ve been astounded since I started this program and have been talking to loads of women about it, just how many of us are content to accept that as women, being really tired is part of the job description.
Never mind that you never felt this tired in your 20s or early 30s or that you’re experiencing other symptoms like anxiety, depression, weight gain, headaches, heavy periods etc etc that are new to you as well.
We tend to think, well that’s just part of getting older right? Or, it’ll get better once things calm down a bit (when, exactly, do you think that’s going to happen – when you retire and the kids have moved out of home?).
So instead of being proactive and finding answers, we just put up with it and suffer in silence. And I can’t criticise because I was pretty much doing the same thing. I thought, “things are really hectic, there’s a lot going on, of course I’m tired!”. But I knew deep down that I shouldn’t be THIS tired.
So I got my blood tests done and my hormones tested and they showed some surprising things. My iron was OK – not amazing but not drastically low. Same with B12 (they’re two of the usual culprits when it comes to fatigue). Nonetheless, my doctor and I decided that even though they were in the “normal” range, they could be better, and we decided to supplement those. BTW a lot of doctors will say you’re “fine” if things are within the normal range, but if you are at the bottom or top end of normal and you don’t feel “fine” then ask if it would be worthwhile supplementing anyway (or find another doctor). Remember it’s YOUR health, you get a say too!
The surprising finding from my hormone test (which was done via a saliva test as that’s more accurate than bloods) was that my DHEAS and progesterone were both low. Which would totally explain the extreme fatigue and stubborn weight. And low levels of these hormones can be a result of stress. Makes sense.
And now that I know, I’ve been working on boosting those hormones naturally and with the help of supplementation. Three weeks later and I already feel my energy coming back. No more 3pm energy slumps where I reach for caffeine/ chocolate/ sugar!
My take home for you, is that if you know you’re not feeling yourself – you don’t have the energy you once did, or you can’t shift the weight no matter what you do, or anything else that’s not “right” then please don’t just accept that this is part of being a mum/ a woman/ getting older. There is quite possibly an underlying reason – hormonal or otherwise – why you’re feeling like this. So take the time to go and get things checked out! And don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion if you don’t get the answers you need.
It’s my mission to help 100 women over 40 lose unwanted body fat and regain their energy. If you want to chat about what you’re struggling with, and what you can do to breakthrough your fat-loss roadblocks (without exercising more and eating less), then book a call with Amy here.
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