stress pillar

by MrsFatass on August 20, 2017

I’ve explained before how I’m looking at my recovery from Adrenal Fatigue like different pillars holding me up. Right now, this is a time in my healthy living process where I’m really being  forced encouraged to consider the importance of REST and the elimination of STRESS. I’ve skimmed articles here and there that talk about stress and sleep and how these things can be preventing you from losing weight or building muscle/strength the way you want to and I just kind of thought “yeah, right”. It was never an option for me to “reduce stress”, or so I thought. Anyone with a family and a job is going to have stress. I’ve gone through bouts of insomnia too, and would turn on the tv or scroll my phone until I got sleepy again. Then the flipside were periods where I would sleep and sleep and sleep but never ever feel rested. And the final blow for me, I believe, was when I added a 5:30AM class to my lineup. It was never really possible for me to get to bed at night before 10 or 11PM, and I was up by 4:45 (which got pushed back to 4 once I went to the gym and then on to personal training).

And as my clients got leaner, fitter, stronger, and happier? I got slower, angrier, weaker, and fatter.

And it didn’t make sense. Because I was training, and I was clean eating, and I was hydrating.

Eventually I was sent for a sleep study, which opened my eyes to a lot of things.

In the hour that we went over my results, we talked about my weight, my job, my life, the results of my endocrinological workup, and the fact that I was barely managing to get enough REM sleep to keep from going insane falling apart. “No wonder you aren’t getting results from your efforts! Your body has no ability to recover right now!”

He made all of my test results come alive. On the surface I presented to him as someone with fibromayalgia (I have every symptom but the nerve pain) and he said at the rate I was going, more serious autoimmune issues were going to be a given. We talked about how to get better sleep, how I should be supplementing, ways to be using oils, reducing stress, and how I needed to rid my life of toxic relationships.

The last one made me give him one of my BLINKS.

He asked me about the nature of some of my closer relationships. We discussed my business partnership, and how I basically traded one brand of stress for another when I escaped went to work at the gym. We talked about friendships (both current and past) and the types of conversations and activities they included, and my feelings about that. We talked about my faith, and how I was grasping at it for answers to why I was working so hard but feeling so awful.

He said that it seemed that I wanted to release a lot of “toxicity”, but for whatever reason I wasn’t allowing myself to do it. He suggested that what I was doing was swallowing it, bending around it, and finding ways to justify other people’s toxic behavior when really, what I needed to do was eliminate it.

He explained that wellness meant much more than the results of a blood test. He said that if I had the balls to make real, impactful changes in my life, that I’d be able to reclaim peace, which would lead to health.

At the height of my “crash” I was sleeping maybe 6-7 hours at night, in chunks, and falling asleep oftentimes sitting up) in a chair throughout the day. I was physically exhausted from both by training schedule and my own personal workout schedule. I was drinking both daily whey protein and a daily amino drink for “energy”, which was the tip of the iceberg in terms of things I was eating that caused my body immense inflammation. I was turning to screens to “unwind”, sometimes scrolling social media, but also reading books on my phone when I couldn’t sleep at night. I was living with near constant pain for months. I was feeling so physically terrible that I manifested negativity in many personal and professional relationships. I was swallowing toxicity by the gallon.

So. What is all of this leading up to? Well, while I realize that everyone reading this who may be drowning in a sea of stress might not be able to go to Key West with friends who have known you from the start of your adult life, have an epiphany, pack up your life and move it to your happy place, there are probably things you CAN be doing right now to either remove stress, or better deal with that which you can’t get rid of. Here are some suggestions that have worked for me.

  • MEDITATION. So, I’m a pray-er. I have always been a pray-er and there have been many times over the last year that I have white-knuckled my faith in hopes to hang on long enough to find answers. But I have learned that in addition to devotionals, studies, worship services, and prayer, taking time for daily meditation has helped ground me, and has trained my mind and body to be able to breathe through stressors and challenges in a more fluid way. Little by little the tension in my neck and shoulders is releasing, I’m clenching my jaws less, I don’t swear as much, my road rage is softening. Using a mantra, doing breathing exercise, using guided visualization – all of these have given me great clarity, and I am now easily able to see myself healthy and whole someday. (Don’t know where to start? I just downloaded some free apps on my phone in the beginning! I find that being guided by another voice helps me focus more clearly on my practice.)
  • AROMATHERAPY. If you know me even a little, you know that I’m an oil junkie. While sniffing oils doesn’t “cure” adrenal fatigue, aromatherapy absolutely helps me deal with my reaction to the stress and the symptoms. If you can identify what’s in my diffuser, then you can pretty much tell where my head is at that day. Right now a blend of Balance and Bergamot. Sometimes Lavender or Cedarwood for sleep, sometimes Peppermint for energy, Citrus for clarity, or Ylang Ylang for femininity and bow chicka bow wow. I sniff my bracelets and my car diffuser and I usually have a bottle or two in my purse.
  • TAKE CARE OF MY EYES, LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY. I look at screens. I look at them A LOT. Google how bad that is for sleep later! It’s quite an education. So I now have filters on my screens and my glasses also block blue light. However, I also took a figurative turn with this one and began protecting my eyes from other things that were keeping me up at night. Let’s just say Unfriend/Unfollow/Block lifted a huge weight. I changed the things I was reading, choosing more uplifting, motivational books and magazines. I finished some household projects, so even the walls of my home were pretty to look at. I began driving more scenic routes to places, even if they weren’t the most direct. And this summer I looked at the ocean as much as I possibly could.
  • PURGE. Trophy Husband and I decided we would not move anything with us to Florida that had any bad energy. So we purged. Any material item that had negativity associated with it – gone. Old emails or text messages or photos – deleted. Anything that didn’t deserve a place in our new life – eliminated. The pile of things wasn’t all that big, but it was hugely meaningful, and letting go of those things has created so much more room in my heart for my beautiful circle of family and friends that are family.
  • SLOW DOWN. Initially, this was about my workouts, but since my island vacation – where time seems to stop – I am consciously slowing down other things in my life, too. I don’t feel the need to power walk, or to push the speed limit, or to cram a thousand to-dos into one day. I do what my body feels capable of, and I rest when I need to. There have been many times over the last year when people have said to me “I don’t know how you’re doing it all”. But I have learned that a “one at a time” mindset is better for me than a “how can I multitask it all” one does.

I am lucky that I have had time the last few months to reorganize and reprioritize and really DO things to eliminate stress. I can’t even believe that we live by the ocean now. I love that I can see my mom and dad any time I want to. I run into my cousin at the grocery store. I text with my aunts. I walk on the beach. I’ll begin working soon, and will have to juggle all of these “tips” with a schedule, so maybe it will all go out the window.

But maybe it won’t.

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following your gut

by MrsFatass on July 10, 2017

So, the other day, a reader asked me if I was mad that it took so long to get a diagnosis. It was an interesting question to think about, because I’ve been feeling like something was wrong for quite a long time. A couple of years, really, maybe longer. For sure while I still owned the studio, because that is really when my sleep habits changed, which I now understand is a big part of all this. And stress of course. But while it is indeed true that it took a long time to string my list of symptoms together to form a diagnosis, I’ve never been mad at a doctor for not getting to the root of it a long time ago, but I have definitely been frustrated with myself for being talked out of things that my intuition was telling me were true.

I mean, it doesn’t really matter now, for my journey, because here I am finally feeling justified, and learning to understand my illness, but I still think it’s important to look back and discuss some of the bumps in the road for other people who are going through this, and who are being told they are wrong.

There are a few symptoms I was experiencing that my gut told me were happening for a particular reason, and when I discussed them with a doctor or a PA, I was told I was wrong. Had those symptoms not been written off in the beginning, yes, I may have gotten to the bottom of my illness sooner, but who knows? But I’ll share this process with you in hopes that if your intuition is really trying to tell you something, follow your gut.

  • There was a period where I was using a lot of supplements that I think were directly related to last year’s 7 months of pain and inflammation. They were products I began using because they were sold at the gym where I worked, and I was expected to be able to talk about them and encourage clients to shop in our store. Today, I understand that my body has become super sensitive and reactive because of Adrenal Fatigue. Because at my stage of the game, my adrenals are not producing cortisol, which is anti-inflammatory. As a result I am having more sensitivities to food, chemicals, and stress than I was before. So when I thought my body was maybe reacting to whey, or to the stimulant pre-workout drink I was using, I was right. Sadly, it began happening again while taking Thrive, a product I really believed in, that in a lot of ways was helping me a lot. Unfortunately, the inflammation was returning, and I’m going to assume it was the whey protein in the drink. So I’ve had to stop using it.
  • This led me to start thinking about gluten as well, and I had mentioned before to a PA that I felt like eating gluten made me bloated, made my joints achy, and made me want to fall asleep sitting up. I was told that if I tested negative to celiac, then the gluten itself wasn’t a problem, and that being gluten-free is simply the fad diet du jour. She told me that my Google searches were secondary to her degree, and that I was better off just to focus on measuring appropriate portion sizes, not overindulging, and that “what is a life without warm fresh bread or a bowl of pasta anyway?” However, I understand now after the battery of tests with my endo, that even though I’m not positive for celiac, when I thought I was having a reaction to gluten, I was right. And while there are times where I still indulge, I can feel it within hours in my achy hands and feet, in my bloated, gassy belly, and in my inability to stay awake.
  • After two years of triathlon training, I could swim or run no further than when I had started. In fact, I would argue that it was harder now than it was when I started. No matter how much I practiced endurance activities, the clients and friends around me who were following my plan were experiencing gain after gain, and I was feeling left in the dust. I talked to my primary care doctor about this earlier in the year, and while he is of the firm belief that weight loss is 100% calories in versus calories out, he did say that as a “fellow athlete” he did believe I wasn’t seeing results. He is the one who referred me to the endocrinologist, who told me that he was sure we would uncover the reason to tell me that I was right. And he was the first person to tell me to stop the training, because of the stress it was putting on my body, and my body’s inability to overcome it.

So I share these things not because I have sour grapes about getting diagnosed. I actually feel so lucky to have experienced the roadblocks, because it led me to the doctor that told me I wasn’t crazy. Well, not for this, anyway. I don’t know that there are many MDs who place as big an importance on a patient’s intuition as the number on a test result, you know? And I don’t know of a great many MDs who are open to or supportive of holistic or functional medical practitioners. So I do feel very lucky.

I have gotten so many IMs and emails asking questions about various aspects of my process and my recovery, so I plan to continue to address them here. Please know I’m no expert though; I’m simply strong willed enough to keep on. And I hope that you are, too.

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by MrsFatass on May 29, 2017

This photo is from 2012, the summer before things started to take a turn.

So I had a dream the other night that I was walking through a restaurant and I saw a baby choking. I swooped the sweet pea off of her mama’s lap, flipped her over, whacked her back, and the food she was choking on flew out.

Significance? Well, I think a pretty big one. For the last couple of years I haven’t really been aware that I was dreaming at all, and the other night I had one, and I remembered it. I’m going to call that progress. It’s a step forward in terms of fixing my sleep. I’ve adopted a new bedtime ritual, which includes oils and ACV and realty trying to put my screens down, and I have a sexy new mouthguard that makes me look like a hockey player fabulous, and I’m getting closer and closer to actual consistency with all the steps.

I’ve continued my research on Adrenal Fatigue, and feel like I’ve learned so much. I’m visual, so I think about recovering my health like there are pillars holding me up: Sleep, Food, Supplements, Stress and Exercise, and I have work to do on each one. Since my last post, lots of folks have reached out, and it seems like everyone has a story, experience, or suggestion to share, which makes me very hopeful. But the flip side is that there is so much information to sort through that it can be a little overwhelming. A million years ago when I was at the doctor’s office with my baby boy, and I was stressing out because he was lactose intolerant and I wanted him to be all organic and I couldn’t afford to buy all organic and OH MY GOSH I WAS ALREADY DOING MOTHERHOOD WRONG, and he said “Sue, my recommendation is that you pick your biggest priority and start there. Don’t worry about the rest. Handle one thing at a time.”

I’ve kept those words in the back of my mind as I’ve been researching and listening and asking and reading. 

One pillar at a time. 

Food is next.

Some who suffer from AF are keto, some are strictly grain free, some are anti nightshade, some say increased carbs and even rice and white potatoes are okay. How do you choose? Well, here is what I know:

  • Both the sleep doctor and the endo said that they were expecting I’d have fibro. I have some symptoms, but not the widespread nerve pain. I don’t want it either. Keeping inflammatory foods out of my day to day diet is a priority.
  • I know there are certain foods I eat that make me feel achy, puffy, and uncomfortable. I’m breaking up with whey protein for good, and I’m continuing my break from gluten/grains. I’m temporarily eliminating nightshades just to see.
  • I think pretty much every article and book I’ve read about advanced AF has talked about reducing/eliminating sugar. I’m good with that.
  • I’ve invested in some good quality cinnamon, maca, and collagen, and I’m not afraid to use them.

There is a much longer list of things I DON’T know. But even so, it feels so good to be interacting with people who have experienced what I’m experiencing, who have come out the other side feeling healthy again. Many people, along with eliminating the “offensive” foods, pointed me toward carb cycling, and I’m going to give it a go. Lots and lots of folks suggested I read Dr. Alan Christianson’s book on Adrenal Reset, and so that’s the text I’m working with now.

There is a lot written about AF and exercise, and it still freaks me out to scale back. But I follow lots of fitness folks who had to suspend high intensity training for anywhere from 6 months to 3 years! I have gone back to yoga classes when I can make them fit my schedule, and decided in the first one that I was going to take every modification that was offered, whether I felt like I “needed” to or not. It will take a pretty fair amount of practice to stop pushing and competing with myself, and to get in a more restorative mindset. And I don’t love a typical yoga class. I like it when it’s over, I like how I feel stretched out at the end. But I miss the flow and connection to music. So, I take a Yoga class like medicine, because I know I need it. 

Anyway, I kind of got in the groove of being gentle on myself in class, and then came my first scheduled obstacle course race of the season. Participating in the race didn’t really fit in with my new Adrenal Fatigue lifestyle. Plus, I was sick as a dog, with a fever and a cough, and it was cold and wet and I had no business being out there. Pride wouldn’t let me skip it though, so I showed up, but sent my team ahead because my lungs would not let me keep up, and I did the race by myself. And I kind of got into it! I nixed running early on because of my cough, so I just power walked from obstacle to obstacle and did what I could. I was happy with it until one of the volunteers got me right in my insecurities when she asked me if there was anyone on the course behind me, or was I the last one. THE LAST ONE. Ugh. But at that point I was waist deep in swamp muck and had no choice but to keep going. My teammates were cheering for me at the finish and it made me uncomfortable because I didn’t do it the way I’d trained THEM to do it. It was a little emotional for me on the inside.

But I’m finding my way to a new normal and I can’t expect it to just happen overnight.

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palm trees

by MrsFatass on May 15, 2017

I’ve made a decision.

I am no longer trying to lose weight.

Nope. I’m done. Because over the last few years, the harder I try, the bigger I get, the crappier I feel, and the sadder I am.

I’ve spend the last month or so talking to several doctors about my symptoms, and have undergone about a gazillion tests. My endocrinologist, who I think is a pretty good doc, finally said to me “I see these different symptoms, but I can’t make them connect into a diagnosis that I can treat.”

Blink. Blink.

His plan is to wait and see, run all the tests again in 6 months and “hopefully” things will progress to a point of being able to treat. And while I don’t fault him for saying that, I’m not interested in just waiting for my enlarged, nodule-ridden thyroid to peter out. I’m not interested in waiting until I’m diabetic. I’m not interested in waiting for my low cortisol to turn into some chronic inflammatory nightmare. I’m not interested in waiting until I’m sicker, fatter, and more exhausted to get some kind of “treatment”.

He did mention along the way the notion of “adrenal fatigue” and suggested a few things. Rest. Changing the way I work out in order to really avoid the physical stress of what I’m doing now. Emphasis on yoga, weights, and everything low in impact and high in rejuvenation and meditation. He said to definitely keep with the low carb, grain free, no inflammatory way of eating that I’m trying to master. And he said I may want to turn to functional medicine.

I had a sleep study done as well, and that doctor was truly enlightening. Long story short, even though I’m sleeping all the time, I’m not getting nearly enough rest. I’m kicking myself out of REM all night long with clenches and twitches and rubbing my legs together and he says basically I’m getting the minimum amount of deep sleep I need to keep from going insane.

And again, I sat there blinking.

He said he left being a surgeon because he was trained only to cut, and when it finally hit him that he was doing nothing to actually heal people, he had to make a change. He and I talked a long time too, and he said he doesn’t know what came first, the bad sleep or the rest of the issues, but to correct my sleep problems will go a long way to help. Without real rest, I’m not regenerating, I’m not rebuilding, I’m not doing anything. So I left his office with a plan for less screen time, for using more lavender oil, for supplementing with ACV and vitamin C, and for a bite splint to help me with the clenching. We talked a bit about melatonin, which can be used if these other things aren’t enough, but he’s wary of people going straight for the bottle. He said in most countries around the world, melatonin isn’t available over the counter, and he sees it being overused and abused here all the time. So I’m going to hold off on that.

So. I went home and for a week I just took it all in. My symptoms include extreme fatigue, unexplained weight gain, decreased (and decreasing) endurance, slow to heal, slow to poop, slow to build muscle, slow to get into ketosis. Constipation. Thinning hair. Swollen joints. And did I mention weight gain? Which was probably the one that bothered me the most. For so many reasons. I’m a trainer for crying out loud! A triathlete! A Spartan in training! How can I keep getting fatter? And a close second is my endurance, which, even though I incorporate cardio into my workout plans 3-4 times a week, seems to be going BACKWARD.

And I decided that I need to take some time off from competing with others myself. I need to take some time to heal.

I am taking many of the suggestions of these doctors to heart:

  • I am going to fix my bad sleep. I’m limiting screen time: no more kindle app on my phone. No more Candy Crush in the bathroom. No more Facebook in bed. No more falling asleep with the TV on. I am going to bed early, using lavender oil in my diffuser, taking some ACV, and supplementing with Vitamin C.
  • I am going to continue with grain free eating, in a low carb/moderate protein/high fat breakdown.
  • I am also going to take some time to “detox”, which will also include removing dairy, nightshades, sugar, and caffeine for a period of time.
  • I’ve allowed some chemicals back into my personal hygiene products, too, and I’ve got to be disciplined again about keeping them out. I also bought some glass sun tea jars for water in the fridge, and am chucking the plastic water bottles and Tupperware.
  • I am changing my workouts. No more endurance training. No triathlons. I am going to focus on mind/body workouts and weight training. For how long? I don’t know. I’ll know when I know. I’m still leading a Spartan team and I still want a trifecta. But this year may end up being more about my teammates and their success than mine. We’ll just have to see. And I’m also considering a return to Zumba, which was the thing that uplifted my spirit AND changed my body for the better in the first place.
  • Something that we are doing as a family is kicking our spring cleaning up a notch, doing a major purge. It’s the “no bad juju” purge of 2017. Call me crazy, but I think objects carry energy, or, if not, our feeling/reaction to certain objects carry energy, and I’m freeing myself of all that which does not serve me well. Lots of filled up garbage cans and trips to the donation center are happening, and I feel lighter.
  • Find a good functional medicine doctor, and continue to supplement with Thrive. This is listed last on purpose. Thrive is just a given in my life right now. And a functional doctor, while important, is an expense I need to get ready for. So it will come, but I think I have got a pretty good start on my own.

I will never be able to avoid stress, but I am going to take more care about how I deal with stress. More walking the dogs, laughing with my friends, hugging my kids and hiking in the woods. More writing. I was recently on vacation on an island, and if you have been on an island, you know that there is a “vibe”. I’m taking great care not to lose the vibe. More music, more time spent with good people, more family, more love. For me, the palm tree symbolizes hanging on to this feeling of positivity, welcoming change, and the kind of energy I’m putting out into the universe.

Nowhere on this list do you see “weigh myself daily”, “count every calorie eaten and/or burned”, or “feel bad about my pants size.” I’m done with that. As I heal myself, the rest will come. I have to believe that.

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it’s time

by MrsFatass on May 7, 2017

To my beautiful Thing Two;

It’s well known in our family that your big brother was not a sleeper.

He wasn’t a huge crier, he wasn’t really fussy or anything like that. He just always preferred to be awake. No matter how much we rocked, tried to cry it out, read stories, adhered to a bedtime routine, getting him to sleep was always a battle. Early on, there were many late-night car rides to try to get him to nod off. Later, there were deals struck between Daddy and I about who would go to bed early, and who would stay up with him but then get to sleep in the next morning. And from his earliest days, he absolutely hated a pacifier.

This is just one of the many ways you and your brother differ, because you are my sleeping beauty. You slept so much in the beginning that I worried something might be wrong. You instinctively knew how to soothe yourself; you had your favorite corner of your favorite pink blanket, and your thumb. You didn’t want to be rocked or snuggled to sleep, you could do it all yourself.

And lord was I thankful. Your brother took almost three years to sleep through the night. You barely took three months and we were down to just one middle of the night feeding. It was blissful.

There were many well-meaning folks who suggested that I work harder at giving you a pacifier instead of your thumb. They said how much easier it is to break you of a passy. They said how bad it was going to be for your mouth and your teeth coming in. But I politely ignored them all. After all the nights of hard work getting your brother to sleep, and after all the years of 2-3 wake ups per night, I got a kid who didn’t need or want my help in the sleep department and I wasn’t about to mess with it. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, I said. I’m sure she won’t want to go to elementary school with her thumb in her mouth.

And, as The Universe is so wont to do, it laughed at me. Here we are with you almost 10 years old, still soothing with your favorite corner of your no-so-pink-anymore blankie. And your thumb planted right there in your mouth. With the dentist suggesting that I should have handled this years ago. With me worried that any day now you’ll come home and say someone at school teased you about your teeth. With your Dad and I bracing ourselves for what the Orthodontist is going to say. You’ve learned on your own not to suck your thumb at school, and you know that there are certain people who will tell you that it’s time to stop. One day at the doctor’s office a nurse tried to tell you what a bad habit it was, and that it was time for you to stop. Your eyes brimmed with tears and you looked over at me, astonished at the news, and my heart broke. And I said “baby, you don’t have to stop sucking your thumb yet. I’ll let you know when it’s time.” And you were so relieved.

One of the first things you do when you get home from school is to get your bang bang and take a few minutes to chill on the couch. In all of your years, you haven’t ever had to go to bed at night without the blankie/thumb combo. Your thumb has been there to pass the time on road trips, or tailgating, or even going to the movies. I love that it is still a part of you that hasn’t grown up yet. You’re still my baby, this is part of your innocence, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to see this go. But now, baby girl, I’m thinking that it’s time for us to have a talk about you stopping the thumb sucking.

You have absolutely zero desire to stop so I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to handle this. In order for a habit to become a habit (or, in order for a BAD habit to be broken) there has to be a payoff, and I’m not sure that either of us really knows what that payoff will be. You aren’t being picked on. You don’t care that some nurse thinks it’s a dirty habit. And you don’t really concern yourself with the braces that are in your future. And me? Well. I’m not really sure why I think now is the time. Except that I do.

So, my sweet care bear, know this: You are strong. You adapt. You are kind and compassionate. You are mature and wise beyond your years. You are a wonderful communicator and you are open and honest. You are sensitive and emotional, but you are also tough. And you believe in Girl Power.

You are amazing.

And I think you will continue to be all of these things, even without your thumb in your mouth.

I love you, sweet girl.


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why i thrive

by MrsFatass on April 3, 2017

So, last week I began to use the Le-Vel Premium Supplements that many people know by the name Thrive.

Yeah, I know. Some of you have seen my posts and let me know you find it hard to believe. Me, too, because before I knew anything about it, I assumed it was just another MLM company preying on those of us looking to lose weight, promising some great result without having to do anything or change anything about our current lifestyle or habits. Just slap on this patch and your life will be perfect!

But over time I began to see other ‘fitness’ people posting about Thrive. Other trainers, other group fitness people, other athletes. And their messages weren’t all about “weight loss made easy!” which, come on, we all know it’s not. But it was focused on increased performance; more energy, more stamina, more endurance, more gains, better results. And, as a trainer AND team captain for our Spartan Race team, those messages made me take notice.

I am going to admit here that there was a period of time in the not too distant past when I laughed out loud with other people about THAT PATCH. But the people I was laughing with? Used supplements. Heck, I used supplements. If you’ve ever used a protein powder or bar, that’s a supplement. If you’ve ever gulped down a Gatorade after a workout? Supplement. Pre-workout energy drink? Supplement. Chocolate milk after a long run? Supplement. Multivitamin? Folic acid? Probiotic? Magnesium? Fish oil? Supplements.

You get my point.

So once I understood that Thrive wasn’t trying to “cure” anything, I was able to listen a little more closely. I have often used protein powders, bars and amino drinks, and I have lots of friends and clients who have, too. Then, last November, when I began to follow the Wheat Belly protocol, I added a whole shelf full of supplements to my medicine cabinet (magnesium, fish oil, kelp, Vitamin D, probiotics, prebiotics, tryptophan, and I think some B vitamins as well. What am I missing?) The protocol is strict, and while I felt better when I would get the pattern right, I was often forgetting them, not sure if they were with food or without, running out of them, etc and eventually they kind of fell by the wayside. It took more effort than what I was able to expend.

So. When I finally had a talk with someone about Thrive and the basic 3-step delivery system, my ears picked up on things like ‘easy to follow’, ‘once a day’, and purchase once a month all together, so you aren’t running out of things at different times.

The other thing I heard that I liked was that the supplements are intended to bridge various nutritional gaps, NOT to replace nutrition from food altogether. The capsule, the drink or the patch – NONE of them are intended as meal replacements. Healthy whole food is best; this system supports that notion.

So, I’ve been living out loud my experience using this line of supplements. Here’s what I like:

  • I like the fact that they are all from the same place so they all work together.
  • It is super easy to use every day.
  • It is not a stimulant-driven product. I feel an increase of energy, but NOT in a jittery way. I haven’t been reaching for my morning (or afternoon) cup of coffee, I haven’t had an afternoon crash, I haven’t fallen asleep sitting up in my chair, and I haven’t felt increased butterflies or anxiety in my chest while using this product. (Now, there IS caffeine in the system, but in amounts equivalent to the morning coffee and afternoon coffee or soda I would have prior to Thrive. People who consumed zero caffeine before trying Thrive may need to consider easing into the required dosage). (Also, I don’t know anyone who consumes zero caffeine).
  • Aside from the 3-step basic system, I like being able to use a pre-workout drink that is similar to one I used to love that helps me have the same energy with my evening training groups as I have with my morning training groups.
  • I like that, in almost every product in their Plus line, the ingredients correspond closely to supplements I’ve taken either with Wheat Belly or Venice Nutrition (the company that certified me as a diet coach), so I am pretty comfortable talking about why they are good or valuable or legit.
  • I like what I hear OTHER people say about it. Probably 75% of the people I know who use it say they have better quality sleep. That’s so huge. At least that many people I know say the increased energy has helped them get to the gym or do more active things. I don’t know anyone using it right now who say they aren’t experiencing the energy lift. I know several people who say that using Thrive has helped them do what they needed to do to lose weight. The buzz is good, and I like that.
  • I like that if you’re interested in the business opportunity associated with the product, there are no hefty join fees, and it’s super easy to earn enough credit for you to get your basic 3 step system for free month after month. And I like that if you’re not interested in the business opportunity, that’s fine too.

Weight loss just isn’t a factor for me right now. I want it to be, but time after time I am disappointed, and it’s all in the hands of my endocrinologist and the 12 vials of blood he’s testing to find out why I have steadily put on about 10+ pounds a year. But many people (Trophy Husband included) have been able to take that energy boost and roll it into better workouts, which, in turn, makes him want to make good food choices, and yes, he’s losing weight. The jerk. That said, you still have to pick a clean eating plan and stick to it. My grain free/keto drive has waned a bit lately; a few “cheat meals” have found their way back into my eating, and the basketball tournament and warm spring weather have helped me pick up a few beers. But, whatever. That’s MY problem, not Thrive’s problem. In all other ways, I am a person who is experiencing the benefits of the product in a very textbook way, exactly the way the company said I would. No jitters. Immediate improvement in my energy level (which was my main complaint). Regularity! Woo hoo!

What don’t I like?

Well, I’ll be honest. I don’t love that whole MLM thing. While I understand that direct selling is a great opportunity for people, somehow it still has a stigma with me. I’m a person who has been working in health and fitness for a long time. I have a lot of experience with a lot of different methods and I am SUPER PROTECTIVE of my platform. My “upline” in this company is very knowledgeable and very successful, and the opportunity to make money with Thrive is real. But for me, I had to put the brakes on some of that in the beginning; I do not want to make an empty promise to someone who trusts me, I’m not going to pressure someone into selling OR buying, and I kind of just prefer to be left alone to do my own thing because I’m NEVER going to look at a client or a customer in terms of what they need to buy or do to benefit ME, to build MY personal business, or help ME bonus. I prefer to help you buy what is best for YOU. My whole way of doing what I love is based on what I can do to benefit a client. You know? So if you ever decide to try Thrive as either a customer or a promoter with me, I will do everything I can do to help you succeed, but I’m not going to push anyone into anything.

The business model also utilizes lots of conference and 3-way calls. I don’t love that either. I mean, I’m cool with it if YOU want to call me or WE plan a 3-way, wink, but the idea that I’m supposed to put my friends, colleagues, contacts, clients…my people on calls with uplines and such is not a notion I love just yet.

It’s also taken more effort for me to find the information to learn about the products than it has to find the information about how to sell the products. I don’t love that.

Myy apprehensions all have a bit of a theme. I don’t want my network to feel like a giant dollar sign to me. But again, that’s MY issue, not Thrive’s issue.

Today is my 10th day on the product. I’m 100% staying with it for the full 8 weeks, and if I continue to feel the benefits, I’ll use it indefinitely. This post is called why i thrive, and right now I thrive because I can make it through my day without a nap. The fatigue I’ve been fighting the last couple of years has been ridiculous, and makes doing my job seem like an impossible task at times. I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, and until I can figure out how to turn this weight gain around, I’ll take gladly take daily energy in the meantime.

This week I am also incorporating a couple of the Plus products that are focused on increasing my results in the gym. Activate is a pre-workout supplement to help me have stamina for a workout, and Form is a post-workout recovery shot. With all of the heavy lifting, bodyweight work, and stop and start training I’m doing to be ready for Spartan, I’m super gains-focused, and feel good about adding these products.

And aside from all that, I am recommitting to getting the grains back out SEVEN days a week, not four or five. And recommitting to the low carb way of eating that makes me feel good.

If you’re interested in talking about it or learning more, whether you ultimately decide to try or not, feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll give you MY straight scoop. Or, if you’d rather browse on your own, you can set up your own free customer account. All it takes is your name and email – you don’t have to add any other personal information unless you decide to make a purchase.

And if this is not your thing, I get it. Just go out and do something GOOD for you!

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as time goes by

by MrsFatass on March 27, 2017

Well, I’m once again sitting here starting out another post with “well, it’s been a while.” It was my goal at the beginning of the year to write once a week. Then time passed, and my goal was once a month. Now, writing for the first time in the first quarter of 2017, I’m again wondering what purpose this space is serving in my life and my path. I’m still journaling, and doing a lot of bullet pointing. I still connect with lots of you on Facebook and Instagram. And with the podcast, Margo has given me a huge gift. I’m really enjoying our collaboration there. So, I haven’t disappeared from the scene. But I can’t ever seem to make myself take my post ideas and write them, when there are so many other ways to work them out.

Yet, I still can’t give up this space.

Part of me feels overwhelmed by the idea of playing catch-up here, but the other part of me says to just take my list of post titles that I’ve been scribbling in my notebook, and turn them into bullet points. And once we are caught up, maybe it won’t seem like such a chore to come here to write. So here goes.

  • Does this Wheat Belly make my butt look big? The last part of 2016 was about my last-ditch effort to heal myself. I was at my butt’s wit’s end about the pain I was living with, and all that resulted from my colonoscopy and follow up visits was zero about the underlying cause of the problem, and chemicals and surgery to manage the symptoms, that may or may not just keep coming back over and over again. I could write pages and pages about my WB experience, but this is a bullet point post, so I’ll keep it short. Removing grains and adding some supplements made me feel better almost instantly. Wheat Belly books gave me great ideas about how to get started with some ingredients new to me. I met some lovely people in the WB Detox forum that became my personal FB friends that I can talk to and exchange ideas with. Without reservation, I can recommend the WB books and basic tenants to anyone. The downside? While 95% of the Wheat Belly community is fantastic, the 5% that is not fantastic is really NOT FANTASTIC. The plan has a LOT of rules, and you are expected to follow ALL OF THEM 100%. Any deviation is considered a CHEAT, and I put that in all caps not because I’m dramatic, but because there are WB followers who are extremely passionate about REMAINING COMPLIANT. For me, being someone in the health/fitness/weight loss tribe, I look at this kind of extreme obedience to the program as it’s own version of disordered eating. I’m more of a “do the best you can with what you’ve got” kind of girl, and I refuse to assign moral value to food. Food is nutrition, food is fuel, and I refuse to allow myself one more day of self-hatred or guilt for a food choice. But there is a Wheat Belly militia that act as the muscle for Dr. Davis, who himself has a very positive and encouraging demeanor. So. My take is that the info is great, some principles really helped me, and if you can scroll past drama, then join the group, but the culture can be just too intense for me.

  • Save the drama for your mama…After a couple of years of, um, lots of intensity in my life, I have committed to dealing with the challenges as they come by trusting my own instinct. I have a very strong inner voice, but over the years have allowed it to be drowned out by forces around me because of insecurity, or lack of discipline, or fear, groupthink, or laziness. But at the end of certain situations, I would usually end up saying to myself “if you would have just paid attention to your gut, you wouldn’t be in this mess.” When I decided to step away from the studio and go out on my own, it set things in motion for me to trust my inner voice, without being guilted or manipulated otherwise. Now, big changes don’t happen overnight, and I certainly didn’t get everything right the first time. But that awareness was a start. And last year, as life was happening around me, and I was again leaning on my circle for support, that inner voice of mine was telling me that something wasn’t right. The way I was being encouraged to cope, the activities I was encouraged to partake in, the priorities I was encouraged to make, for many months just seemed, I don’t know, just off. And instead of coming apart about it, I stayed still. I took breaths. I listened. It can make you feel a little crazy, you know, feeling like things aren’t what they seem, and when nobody will give you honest answers, it can be kind of a make or break time for your sanity. But I trusted my gut and my choices, and before I knew it, the background noise was gone. I am comfortable in the fact that today, I am living a very authentic life. Comfortable in my skin, my choices, my relationships, my parenting, my marriage. It certainly doesn’t mean there is a lack of dramatic situations in my life, no, but it does mean that there is no drama. There’s a difference. And now I understand that.

  • No! More! Wire! Hangers! Evahhhhhh!!! So you know how some days, seeing a wire hanger in the closet can make you hit people with cans of comet cleanser? No? Well, how about when the asshole in front of you is going slow in the fast lane and you can’t get around him and you use every curse word you know yelling at him? Or when you go to your favorite coffee shop and it’s somebody new behind the counter who insists that the coffee order you come get every single day that is no longer on the menu but they make it for you anyway only this new chick says she can’t and you want to come across the counter and throat punch her for interfering with your first caffeine intake of the day? Those are all examples of a small dramatic situation bringing out very big drama. And they can ruin your whole day if you let them. But for me, 2017 is The Year of the Spartan (Race), and when we signed on to spend the year training together, I decided as Team Captain to devote myself to study. And those Spartans were some tough mother you know what-ers. And whether or not you ever decide to do a Spartan race, I recommend reading Spartan Up! and Spartan Fit! and then take a moment to consider if you’re navigating the obstacle course of your life highly trained and prepared for anything, or only able to handle the most predictable of situations. My experience training for this race and with this team has me forever changed. For the better.

  • Is that a fat bomb in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? So this trend you’re seeing of being open to experience, but not to drama, continues on when I decide that the COMPLIANCE of Wheat Belly was too much, and I changed my focus to Keto and Pinterest. Still low carb and ultimately grain free, but less focused on 6 hour cycles, and timing of supplements, and feeling like I need to hide it when I don’t set up a creamery and make my own cheese. My goal at the end of 2016 was to be a grain free athlete; I amend that now to be keto athlete. Those Keto (and Paleo) people seem to be a bit more go with the flow.

  • First do no harm…The focus on my inner voice has also taken over my pursuit of better health. Google is not a doctor, I agree with that. But you know what? Even doctors or nurses or PAs don’t always get it right the first time. It took me a long time to pursue the nagging feeling that gluten and grains were bad for me simply because I know someone who makes fun of the “gluten free fad” and so I kept ignoring my symptoms. Even though I knew I was feeling awful. And 7 days into going grain free, I was 100% changed. So, I continue to seek answers to why, when I eat clean, log my food, and train like a Spartan, I have put on close to 50 pounds in the last 5 years. After a series of appointments I am now in the care of an Endo who believes me, and I’m awaiting the results of 150,000 tests and the thing I like about him the best is that he said “while I think this testing with turn something up, if it doesn’t, I won’t just turn you loose. It just means we’ll have to keep looking.” I’m feeling very good about finding Dr. Awesome Two Point Oh. Don’t let anyone intimidate you when you’re trying to get healthy!

  • Time to THRIVE. So, this bullet is going to become an actual post, but I have to mention it because, if you follow me on IG or are friends with me on FB, then you know I’ve begun using Thrive products as my supplement of choice. And you know I’ll give you the straight scoop about it. So we’ll save this one for later.

  • You like me, you REALLY like me! Almost a year ago now, I was fired from my job at the gym across town. Nobody likes being fired, of course, and I’m no different. Even though it was truly a blessing to be set free from the intimidation and the surveillance and the insults and the threats, at the time of The Firing, even some of my very closest friends suggested I should have done a better job of, uh, trying to fit in and get along with my boss. And I really don’t know why, considering what I was living though, what the motive was in saying I should stay there, but it doesn’t matter now because, once again, my inner voice knew something was off. Today, I am still working as a personal trainer, and I have a team of clients who are succeeding. I am continuing my education in fitness, and we are trying new things, we work as a team, with positivity and accountability. Some days, I am busy enough that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get to everyone. And other days, instead of scheduling a workout, we schedule a social and we laugh as hard as we’ve worked. And even though there are stresses and challenges, there is also great joy. We train in parks and driveways and tracks and parking lots. We have a spring and summer full of events, obstacle courses, races, (holy crapballs) an open water tri, and the Spartan. We have focus, and we have each other’s backs in a way that just wasn’t possible in the other environment. And last Friday, late in the afternoon, I learned that I won first place in our local newspaper’s Reader’s Choice Award for Favorite Fitness Trainer. Apparently 130,000 votes were cast, and I snagged enough of those votes to get myself a ribbon to post on my Facebook. And I love it. It’s a super fun little piece of validation that my inner voice knows her shit, and I’m so thankful I decided to listen to her.

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October 3, 2016

my wheat belly

If we are friends on Facebook (and if we’re not, why AREN’T we?), then you may have seen that I recently decided to go grain free. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment. One step further than gluten, being GRAIN free rules out a whole lot of food I love. Warm tortillas, flour […]

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September 26, 2016

birthday blessings

I celebrated my birthday last week. Now, I have had some pretty wonderful birthdays. When I turned 9 I was completely gobsmacked when my parents gave me a piano. How does one move a beautiful upright piano into a house completely unnoticed? Well, THEY did and I was blown away. When I turned 20, my […]

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September 20, 2016

Did we just eat that out loud?

We’ve teased. Alluded. Mentioned. Vaguebooked. It’s time for an announcement already, isn’t it yall? Okay. Here goes. I am super excited to present to you a collaboration that brings about great social change  espouses deep provocative thoughts   presents life changing information  provides lighthearted entertainment while you are in the gym getting your cardio! Yes, Nacho […]

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