Saturday, April 09, 2011

Eating well, exercising, losing weight: part II

Picking up where I left off . . .

When I visited my new doctor last week she had several theories as to why it might be so hard for me to lose weight despite my best efforts.

The first theory is the birth control pills I am taking to control my monthly cycle which in turn will help increase my iron levels. Birth control pills are notorious (well, not to me, but a quick google search seemed to say otherwise) for causing weight gain (or difficulty losing weight) in its users. Why? Because of their levels of hormones, namely estrogen.

The second theory, though less likely for me personally, is taking anti-depressants. I have been messing around with different pills in different dosages for a while in hopes it will make me less crazy (to no avail! ha!) but they may be a contributor. Why? Anti-depressants can slow your metabolism, which is the amount of calories your body uses simply to function. People who have a "high metabolism" burn more calories simply sleeping, sitting or doing laundry than people who have lower metabolisms.

Another theory, which is one I am testing for, is that my adrenal glands are all skewampus. The adrenal glands sit atop each of your kidneys and are responsible for all sorts of cool things, including producing hormones that affect your metabolism and producing cortisol which can cause weight gain. Cortisol is necessary for your "fight or flight" functions. If you are constantly in "fight" mode your body and your body is over-stressed to the point that your adrenal glands stop functioning properly your cortisol levels can go crazy. If they can't keep up with the demands of your body then weight gain, or difficulty losing weight, can occur along with many other things.

If you interested in more info on this, there is TONS of it online and in books. It's worth a read to at least become familiar with what adrenal glands are good for so that you have that information should issues arise and you need to talk to your doctor.

So how do you test for adrenal gland imbalances? With a simple saliva test, which I am actually doing today. You collect saliva at four different times during the day and then send it on in to the lab and it will be analyzed. Easy peasy.

And this brings me to something that I am sure will smash any smidgen of credibility I might have about these issues: I recently read a shall not be named book by a shall not be named author mostly because I love said "author" so much and enjoy her workout DVD's. I got the ebook from the library on a whim and read it all in pretty much one night. But you know what? Despite a terrible title, this book actually talks quite a bit about hormone balance and what effect it has on weight loss! I was really surprised and it was good timing since I had just talked to my naturopath about it.

This book outlines some foods and supplements that you can use to help balance your hormone levels and detox and it is pretty decent advice, overall. It's not cutting out all food groups or anything crazy like that. It's more about focusing on specific foods within the food groups. I don't know anything about taking free-form amino acids or creatine but other than that her other supplement advice is fairly solid, as well. It's mostly just promoting good overall health.

Since I am a sucker for such things, I am going to follow the plan in the book to see what happens, even before I get these test results. Like I said, nothing about it is harmful or dangerous to my body, so it will be interesting to see if it helps. I am sure if/when I get a diagnosis my naturopath will have natural ways of helping the issue so maybe I can get a jumpstart on things now! It suggests a two week plan to ease in to the diet, which won't be TOO much of a stretch for me since I typically eat a decent amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grains anyways. There are some ways I am going to have to adjust so this is still going to be a fun challenge. I made this chart as a way to easily track the things I need to include in my diet every day:



If you are interested, you can click on the photo to see it bigger.


Here is today's breakfast: Pretty decent, no? I am also drinking a lot more water, this plan recommends 3 liters per day which is about 50% more water than the standard "eight glasses a day" plan.

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