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Let’s Get Personal: Springtime Update


Springtime-Update Follow Me on Pinterest

April showers bring May flowers.

Spring has arrived and I love it! I hope your Spring has been lovely so far!

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It’s been a couple months since I have written. Life has been very, very busy and I have been struggling to find life-work balance. While I have been wanting to write this post for some time, by the time I have a few free minutes, I am pooped and ready to relax. I also have struggled with wondering if I should even write these anymore. Just when I think about tossing in the towel on the “Let’s Get Personal” series, I will receive a nice email or comment from one of you, sharing your own personal story with me, and it re-energizes me. Some of you might find these posts a bit boring, and that’s OK. All I can hope is that at least one person finds some value or comfort in my story, and perhaps it helps them keep their head up and moving forward on their own journey! We’re all in this together, even though I often feel very alone. I’m sure you do too.

As busy as I have been, I have been making positive baby steps towards better health. Healing naturally can be a very slow process. Did I mention s-l-o-w? For someone with very little patience (like me) this can be exhausting and frustrating. I keep waiting for that big “a-ha!” moment that tells me I am making progress. I have yet to have that moment. The other issue I face is psychological, in that I can’t seem to let myself feel better. I’ll have a day where I feel really good and instead of relishing in the goodness, my brain says “Oh, it’s only temporary“. Silly brain!

Here’s a run down of what I have been working on (with the help of the chiropractic neurologist I’m working with):

  • Lowering my thyroid antibodies
  • Working on weight loss
  • Supporting my blood sugar
  • Supporting my adrenals
  • Healing my gut lining
  • Calming my immune system
  • Reintroducing foods
  • Weaning off my blood pressure medication
  • Working on frontal lobe brain function through a variety of exercises

If you want to read my journey up until this point, including posts on blood sugar, adrenals and thyroid, fertility, and more, you can read all of those here.

Let’s Talk Success

I have had some big successes over the last few months and also some things that fall into the not-so-successful category. Let’s kick off with the good stuff first!

Thyroid

First up! In regards to my thryoid antibodies, we have made great strides in that department. In my last labwork in November 2012, my thyroid antibodies were still off the charts, with my Thyroid Peroxidase AB being over 1,000 (reference range is supposed to be under 35). My Thyroglobulin AB was 36 (reference range is supposed to be under 20). We tested my thyroid antibodies again a few weeks ago and, drum roll please ….

My Thyroid Peroxidase AB had dropped to 336! My Thyroglobulin AB was 35. We’re making progress.

How did we do this? Well, I’m not really sure, and that’s what freaks me out a bit. We did a strict 36 day cleanse / detox where I eliminated what remaining inflammatory foods I was still eating – nuts, seeds, and nightshades. I was already gluten, grain, legume, dairy, and egg free. I also received a lot of nutritional and herbal support through this. I thought that the nuts and seeds would be the hardest thing for me to give up, but turns out it was the nightshades I missed most, specifically dried peppers, because I use my homemade blackening (Cajun) spice mix in pretty much everything I make!

Exercise and Fatigue

Next up, about 8 months ago, I stopped doing any sort of weight training, because I was experiencing such fatigue after a workout that sometimes I couldn’t walk up the stairs. My muscles would feel like I had just ran a marathon, when I had only done some squats and lunges. Well, I am happy to report that I have started to incorporate some weight training and interval training back into my exercise routines and my fatigue is worlds better! I am no longer experiencing that severe, debilitating muscle-fatigue. I still get tired, but it’s a “normal” tired now, not the extreme fatigue from before. For the most part, my weight training has been giving me more energy, rather than making me feel fatigued, so that is a major improvement. I have always been more interested in weight training than cardio exercises, so when I started experiencing such horrible muscle fatigue, it made me really sad. And, I started noticing such a decrease in my muscle tone, which also didn’t make me feel so hot! All in all, I am stoked to be back in the game. I am still taking it easy, but as I continue to gain strength, things will continue to improve. I walk for about 45 minutes almost every day and then do 15-20 minutes of strength training 3xs per week. I am trying to do some intervals a few times a week on my walks, but sprints are just too hard on my knees and ankles, so that is not going as well as I’d like. I also try to throw in some yoga classes here and there too.

Overall, my energy levels are much better than they used to be. I’m not getting the mid-afternoon slump that I used to. I feel more stable and consistent from day to day when it comes to mood and energy. For adrenal support, I am taking some herbal supplements, in addition to an herbal cream that I use twice per day on the insides of my elbows. I have to say that the cream really seems to be helping. I also use a glutathione cream directly on my thyroid three times a day for additional antioxidant support. So far, so good!

Blood Pressure

Lastly, and this is a BIG one. I have completely weaned off the BP meds!! HOORAY for ME! I took my last BP pill on March 11th and haven’t looked back! I still take my BP at home regularly and my numbers are looking good. I know that my BP is directly tied to my adrenal health, and I can tell when things get a little off. Typically, I can pinpoint why I might be having a higher reading too. I was taking a calcium and magnesium supplement, as well as a potassium supplement daily to help support my BP. I am only taking those occasionally now. Also, I’ve gained more control over my panic associated with taking my BP. Not many people know this about me, but I used to get really freaked out about taking my BP, because I was scared the reading would be high. It’s kind of funny, because it’s counterintuitive. If I’m stressing out over it, then of course the reading would be high. But, the mind can be a terrible enemy some times, so it had taken me a long time to get comfortable with the process and not freak out. This is a MAJOR accomplishment for me.

Let’s Talk About the Areas that Still Need Work

Weight Loss

Now, one of the things that is supposed to happen during the 36 detox/cleanse protocol that I mentioned above is that you’re supposed to lose weight. Well, I didn’t. As a matter of fact, my weight has plateaued and I have not lost any more weight since January 1st. From August 1st, 2012, to January 1st, 2013, I lost a total of 43 pounds. Not an easy feat in and of itself, and I know I should be really happy and proud of myself. As a matter of fact, we purchased some kettlebells recently, and I was picking up the 35 pound one and telling my husband how it’s hard to believe that I had lost that much in weight and then some. I still kinda feel like a fat girl.  And that’s just a bad body image demon that I need to work on.

I have been trying not to fixate on the lack of weight loss, as I know plateaus happen and you just have to figure out what your body needs to break through that. There are some things we’re going to take a look at, including hormones and my detox pathways, so hopefully by the next time I write an update, I will have something to report in this area. I think the most frustrating part of this is that I was losing weight at such a great pace and then, boom! January 1st hit and nothing has happened since. I also completely understand that weight loss is not the be-all end-all, and that I have to continue healing my body, but it’s just hard sometimes. When you’ve been 65 pounds overweight for so many years, weight loss and then sudden lack of progression, is hugely emotional. Unless you’ve personally gone through it, it is really hard to understand. I have about 25 more pounds to get to a place where I feel I healthy. I won’t be skinny, I will still be curvy and womanly, but I will be back to my happy place.

Blood Sugar

Regarding my blood sugar, nothing’s really changed there, as this is an ongoing area that needs support. I strive to eat every 2-3 hours to avoid any blood sugar drop. I’m focusing on grass-fed proteins, lots of fresh and cooked non-starchy veggies, and some starchy veggies like yams, squash, etc., in moderation. Lots of healthy fat too. I don’t feel deprived. I don’t really miss any of my “old” foods at this point, though on occasion, I do miss a nice slice of cheese. Of all of the foods I eliminated, dairy, specifically cheese and butter, is what I miss most. Last year, my labs showed that I am insulin resistant, so this is just the way things need to be. The hardest thing for me is the eating every few hours. I get so busy that sometimes I forget to eat, so it has been a challenge to always keep an eye on the clock and have lots of snacks prepared and ready to grab when I’m on the go.

Food Intolerance

I have also reintroduced some foods, which has been interesting. Eggs are definitely a no-go for me. I experienced some noticeable GI upset on the day I was reintroducing those, so no eggs for me. I have had numerous people mention that people who find they can’t tolerate chicken eggs can often tolerate duck eggs. I find this interesting and plan on trying those sometime in the near future. I also reintroduced nuts and seeds and did fine with those. Nightshades are questionable. I can eat peppers and tomatoes in a very small amount and not have any intestinal distress, but if I eat a lot of them, I do. So, for the most part, I avoid them, though I will allow myself to have a little every once in awhile.

Where Do We Go From Here

Well, we keep moving forward. The hardest thing for me to accept is that this is all a slow process. I am ready to see major results now and sometimes find myself getting frustrated when I don’t. I have to keep remembering that I didn’t get here overnight and I’m certainly not going to get better overnight either. But, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and making the best choices I can make for my health. The areas I plan on focusing on over the next little bit are:

  • Continuing to make sure my blood sugar is managed.
  • Reducing and eliminating (if possible) various stressors in my life. While I know stress is inevitable, there are some areas that I think I need to take a hard look at and see about changing.
  • Improving my sleep, both quantity and quality.
  • Getting back into my yoga groove. I’ve lost my mojo for yoga over the last few months and I can tell it has affected me physically and emotionally.
  • Spend more time outdoors and away from my computer.

So, how are you doing? I know many of you are on your own healing journeys and I’d love to hear how things are going for you. Thank you again for all of the support up to this point and I look forward to continuing to share this journey with you!

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About Jessica Espinoza

Jessica is a real food nut, coconut everything enthusiast, avid reader and researcher, blossoming yogi, and animal lover. She has had a life-long passion for food and being in the kitchen is where she is the happiest. Jessica started Delicious Obsessions in 2010 as a way to help share her love for food and cooking. Since then, it has grown into a trusted online resource with a vibrant community of people learning to live healthy, happy lives through real food and natural living.

Discussion

24 comments

  1. Jessica this is a really encouraging update. So often all we ever hear from bloggers is “After only 3 (4, 5, 6) weeks my health was completely restored and now everything in my life is perfect!” I am amazed by your patient perseverance in pursuit of what is best for your health. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.

    reply 

    Dana
    Posted 05/13/13

    • Hi Dana – Thanks for stopping by. Boy do I wish that I was completely restored in 6 weeks! HA! ;) It is a looooooooooooooooooooong, sloooooooooooooooooooow process, but it will be worth it! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/13/13

  2. Yay for progress! I’m in the same boat, watching sloooooow improvements, but improvements nonetheless with my antibodies, etc. I’m currently in the beginning of a 35-day G. I. Wellness Program that coincides with GAPS, so I’m anxious to see how the Lord will use it and what I will need to do after finishing it. Keep on!

    reply 

    Stephanie W.
    Posted 05/13/13

    • Good luck Stephanie! I hope everything continues to progress forward for you as well, and thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment! I hope to hear more from you as your health improves! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/13/13

  3. Big congratulations are in order for you!! I too have been walking that path & am finally free from thyroid hormone prescriptions and others. I still struggle with adrenal issues periodically, especially when I pack too much in a week. But gosh darn, it feels so good to feel alive now, I try to do everything I’ve wanted to but couldn’t as I was so ill for so long.

    I would like to know more about the frontal lobe brain exercises & updates on your healing journey. Very, very happy to your progress!!!

    reply 

    Carolyn
    Posted 05/13/13

    • Hi Carolyn – Thanks for stopping by! Happy to hear about your progress! It’s encouraging to be able to see progress, even if it is small and slow. I think most people in today’s world will deal with adrenal issues forever. I think the adrenals always need to be supported and we need to be aware of taxing ourselves too much. I know that is an area that I need to work on. I constantly take on too much and try to do too much. I am hoping to take a hard look at things and simplify my life over the next few months! Wish me luck! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/13/13

  4. You are doing great! I remember when you started this journey – you didn’t want to do and now you are plugging away and so dedicated! Congrats on your successes – you’ve come a long way baby!!! Kudos!

    reply 

    lydia
    Posted 05/13/13

    • Lydia – I would not be in this place if it were not for you. The fundamentals that you have taught me will stick with me for life. And, your friendship and support has been ever so important in my journey. HUGS! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/14/13

  5. I am glad you’re seeing improvement! I need to write up my own update, because yes there has been one in a week and a half.
    Having done the “slow and steady” weight loss in the past, I hate the plateaus too. They seem like old friends in a way. Keep focusing on the good parts and not the annoyances.

    reply 

    Soli
    Posted 05/13/13

    • Hi Soli – Thanks for commenting! I can’t wait to read your latest update and hear how things are going for you. Yes, focusing on the good, rather than the annoyances is key for me. I have to work hard at doing that, as I tend to always gravitate to the negative! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/14/13

  6. I love how you mentioned the mindbody connection in relation to your blood pressure and your body image. It’s so integral to who we are, and absolutely part of the healing process. I know it’s vulnerable to write these posts. I’m so impressed with how far you’ve come, and your persistence moving forward. Oh, and just a reminder, you’ve been at this less than a year, so your progress is actually very swift! (I know it doesn’t feel that way.)

    reply 

    Eileen @ Phoenix Helix
    Posted 05/14/13

    • Hi Eileen – Thanks for stopping by and commenting! You know, I honestly think that my mind is 50% of my problem. I have always been a high stress, high anxiety, worrier, mind-always-on-overdrive personality. I know for a fact that my mind has made me sick in the past and so I know it is also playing a strong role in all of this too. I am thankful that my doctor focuses on a lot of the brain-body connection issues and has me doing brain exercises to help with this. Also, I am becoming more aware of the triggers that create mental stress for me, and learning how to avoid or minimize their effects. I appreciate your kind words and support. They really mean a lot! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/14/13

  7. Thanks for the update, so encouraging and I hope you continue to progress. It’s definitely a marathon not a sprint this healthy journey. :-)

    reply 
    • Hi Starlene – Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I agree. We have to be in it for the long haul! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/14/13

  8. Awesome job! I wonder if we appreciate progress as much if it happens quickly. I think we become more aware and mindful if the progress is slower.

    reply 

    Barb @ A Life in Balance
    Posted 05/16/13

    • Very good point Barb! Thanks for stopping by! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/16/13

  9. You are making very good progress Jessica. Congratulations for holding the posture in the fire as we say in yoga.

    Have you ever listened to the free podcasts by clinical nutritionist, Byron Richards, of http://www.wellnessresources.com? He says he’s one of the first to connect the affect of leptin on weight loss. He used to work for a famous thyroid doc (sorry I don’t know the name).

    Byron says that weight loss plateaus are the body shifting around so that the body doesn’t dump toxins that had been stored in the fat into the bloodstream and throughout the body. That was news to me.

    I wish I had known that when I had started on my weight loss plan about seven years ago. What no one told me was that faster weight loss can leave hanging, saggy flesh. Blech!

    Another bit of advice I was given years ago when I was trying to sort out my life and feeling overwhelmed and directionless was “inch by inch it’s a cinch. Yard by yard it’s very hard.”

    You cannot not solve the mystery of your body. Everything is happening for your highest good, even if you don’t see it at the moment. Also remember that the energies blasting on this planet are also blasting through you. Some of your symptoms may not be physically based. Search engine “Ascension symptoms”.

    Hang in there!!

    reply 

    Gopika
    Posted 05/18/13

    • Hi Gopika – I have not listened to any of Byron’s podcasts, but I will check them out. My doctor also says similar things in that my plateau is a sign that my detox pathways are clogged and so we probably need to spend some time detoxing my body and see how that helps. It makes sense, and I am looking forward to the next chapter! So far, I have not experienced any wrinkly, sagging skin. I am quite thankful for that. Slow and steady is the best way to go, IMO. It’s more manageable long term, easier on your body, and healthier. I will look into “Ascension symptoms”, as I have never even heard of that, but along the same lines, I have quite a bit of mental and emotional healing that needs to take place before I can progress much further. I have a lot of inner demons that need to be removed! Thanks for taking the time to leave such a great comment! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/19/13

      • I was listening to podcast with Truth Calkins and Patrick Timpone at oneradionetwork.com. Truth said that building the body is as important as detoxing. Makes sense, but I hadn’t thought of that before.

        It’s challenging to remember that bodies aren’t just clumps of cells that don’t do what we want. Why can’t we eat cheesecake and not suffer any repercussions?

        We aren’t just bodies; we just spend so much of our times as if that is all we are. I hear you on the mental/emotional issues. They are very important and cannot be leapfrogged over. Yet they don’t have to be stumbling blocks either.

        If I may, other sources you might be interested in are masteringalchemy.com for spiritual tools. Healing isn’t a straight line, so here’s to tools that help the process along.

        I look forward to your future updates, Jessica. Your voice is important.

        Happy lunar eclipse tonight. Magical time of letting go of the past.

        reply 

        Gopika
        Posted 05/24/13

        • Hi Gopika – Thanks for sharing! You are so right. I am doing a lot of soul searching right now and I am feeling very optimistic about the future! I’ll check out the podcast. I have so many podcasts that I need to listen to! :)

          reply 

          Jessica
          Posted 05/26/13

  10. I’m so glad that you’re continuing to post the Let’s Get Personal updates! Your progress may be slow, but the important thing is that it’s happening, and that is huge. It sounds like you’re making great progress w/your thyroid, and a BIG congrats for being able to get off of BP medication! That’s awesome.

    I know exactly what you mean about your mind not letting you be happy. Our mind plays such a HUGE role in our health, and most of us don’t even realize it. I’ve come across so many stories of how people have used the power of their minds to turn their health around. I know that I fall prey to negative thinking way too often. I have tried so many things, spent so much money, seen so many doctors, and my symptoms have all gotten worse over time. I will admit that there are times when I start to think that I will never get better, that this is just the way that life is going to be from here on out. The most frustrating thing is that I don’t know WHAT is causing all of these random symptoms, so I don’t know what to do to fix it. I will go for chunks of time where I have a very clean/strict diet, take all of the right supplements (I think), avoid alcohol completely (admittedly, a tough one for me), and I see no change whatsoever. Deep down, I know that eating well and avoiding alcohol and exercising are all the right things to do, but the lack of any improvement makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and say, “If it’s not making any difference, I may as well just enjoy myself!” I’ve always said that my biggest fear is the loss of hope. I do still have hope, but more often than not lately, it’s tough to stay positive.

    So here’s where I’m at in my healing journey:
    I stopped seeing my integrative MD, who I had started seeing in December. He was great when it came to doing all of the right blood work, but he never actually helped me. Though we went over all of the results together, I found out a lot more information researching the results on my own. He ended up being very stubborn, and there were some things that I wanted to test or to try, and I think he felt a bit threatened that I was doing my own research and not just blindly trusting him for everything.

    One day I heard something on a podcast that I started looking into, and everything CLICKED. I was certain that I had small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and that it was the cause of my leaky gut (which I tested positive for via the Cyrex Array II test). It made sense – I hadn’t been successful in healing my leaky gut because I hadn’t addressed the underlying cause.
    I was determined to get tested for SIBO and found a gastroenterologist who could do it. I was devastated when it came back negative. It left me back at square one. I started seeing another holistic doctor, a chiropractor/nutritionist who emphasizes paleo. Someone I know is a patient of his and couldn’t say enough good things about him. It sounded like it would be a good fit, so after getting in touch with him to make sure that he was experienced w/ treating leaky gut, I went to see him.

    The appointment was great, the doctor-patient vibe is very good. He’s ecstatic that I do a lot of research on my own and that I’m already on a paleo diet. We went over my blood work much more thoroughly than my previous doctor did, and he took the time to explain how everything works and affects everything else. Good stuff. We put together a plan of action. While I think he’s a great doctor to work with, I don’t think that he really knows what’s going on with me. I’ve made quite a few suggestions about what I think we should do, and he’s been open-minded and followed my lead. Next up is more testing (of my choosing) – an Organic Acids profile by Metametrix (which according to Chris Kresser is a better test for SIBO than the breath test that I took, and also shows a lot of other markers), and BioHealth’s #401 for parasites (which I read a blog post about from the SCD Lifestyle guys). I’m hoping that the results will give me SOME idea of what’s going on.
    So while I really like this new doctor, I still feel like I’m the one leading the treatment. I would love to have a doctor that could say, “If you do THIS, you will get better.” There’s nothing that I couldn’t/wouldn’t do if I knew that it would help. The biggest problem for me is just not knowing what the cause is and not knowing what to do to make things better. Which is why after weeks of doing what I think are all the right things, I end up saying “screw it”.

    I’m sorry that wasn’t more of a positive update, but it’s the truth of where I am right now. My weight has increased, the bloating has gotten worse, my BP has gotten a little bit higher, my knees ache all the time now, and my melasma has gotten darker. And all of that makes me very frustrated. So I’m just taking things one day at a time, I’m going to see what these new tests have to say and go from there.

    reply 

    Beth
    Posted 05/20/13

    • Hi Beth – Thanks for stopping by and sharing! We are on such a journey huh? While some of us may be facing similar issues, it’s amazing how differently we all heal. Great info that you shared and I’m going to look into some of what you mentioned for myself. It is sometimes really frustrating that you and I have to be the ones to take charge and lead our treatment. It would be nice to surrender some of that to someone else — frankly, I find the whole thing a constant struggle and thoroughly exhausting! But, we will be so much better off for it in the end! One day at a time is all we can do! Hang in there and I can’t wait to hear more about how things go for you! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/22/13

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