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Idea Needed

Gail S

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I need some ideas on what I need possibly change to obtain more success (sorry for the length of this post but I am thinking the history may give someone some idea of what i may need to change):

My history. I am a 45 year old female who until 3 years ago ate the standard American diet and experience all the symptoms that come with it. I was morbidly obese (think 300+ pounds), low energy, rising glucose levels, cholesterol, etc issues. Definitely heading down the wrong path. Three years ago I started on a life change to change my health and my future. Using a national advertised plan that had me eating 6 times a day and mostly highly processed soy food-like products I managed to drop 120 pounds in ~ a year. I was feeling better and all my health numbers dramatically improved. Then two things happened. First I hit a major plateau and second I had been educating myself on food and became 100% convinced that I needed to get away from the processed foods and go more whole food focus. I also had added exercise and had been doing a couch to 5k program along with some exercise videos in my home At this point I still felt I had ~80 pounds to lose.

Over the next year and half I experiment with all sorts of different food ideas, anything from juice fasts, raw, vegan, etc but didn't feel any of them were sustainable. Also my chiropractor recommended I get involved with a formal exercise program focusing on strength/core training along with some cardio. I joined a boot camp program which alternated strength and cardio days and over the that same year and half I had improvements in strength but my weight did not budge.

Then my weight suddenly increased (~40 pounds in a 3-4 month period) so I had some basic blood work completed (I have a strong family history of thyroid issues) but nothing really showed up except for my glucose levels where slightly elevated but my A1C were fine. My MD decided to take a wait and see attitude My trainer recommend the Dallas and Melissa's book so I picked it up and read it. Wow, it made a lot of sense so starting Sept 17 I jumped on board with my first Whole30. In 30 days, I started sleeping better, my skin cleared up, my energy soared, I lost weight (16 pounds) and felt the best I have had for a long, long time. This way of eating just felt right. It was great not to weigh and measure all my food and not be controlled by the scale. I decided to continue to eat this way for another 30 days and re-introduced dairy and grain just to see how I would react but did not leave them in my diet long term. I had on occasional cheat but have also returned immediately to 100% clean diet. In the next 30 days I lost another 6 1/2 pounds and was feeling great until about a week ago. I have continued boot camp training but have been restricted for the past 3 months to only strength days due to a nagging knee and ankle problem.

The issues I am trying to figure out are:

1. A week and a half ago my energy took a severe dive and now I feel is even lower than it was before I started the Whole 30

2. I can't seem to get pass the nagging problems I am having with my knee, ankle and shoulder. The strange thing is they are all on the left side. My chiro, trainer, and myself seem to think inflammation might be causing the problem. I have went back through my diet to make sure it was clean and nothing had creeped in but it looks good Tonight was the final straw when I couldn't complete the workout because of the pain. (I iced tonight and plan to see the chiro tomorrow)

3. I completed some more blood work and everything again came back fine except my glucose levels were still slightly elevated. Now though my platelet count is very low and my thyroid (TSH) level is right on the bubble of being low. My MD once again is saying wait and see. I am trying to decide if I insist that additional things need to be looked or if I need to find a new MD or go a totally different route (and what that would be I have no idea). (I actually feel like my body is just a total mess and the more I try to correct the more messed up it gets It is like a fight that I right now I feel like I am losing)

I definitely want to continue eating as clean as I enjoy how it makes me feel but I also need to figure out the above issues. I need to be making some forward progress in my overall health but once again feel stuck.

I welcome in any thoughts or experiences any of you might have. Thanks in advance for your help.


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First..I may have been on the same 6 times a day thing you were on. Does 5&1 sound familiar?

I did lose and keep 84 lbs off, but after I transitioned and reached maintenance, a bunch of us gathered together on a thread we called Paleo and started researching. Luckily, one of us had done it for a while and recommended books, sites etc. Then we all decided to do a Whole 30 August of 2011. Best thing ever.

It sounds to me that you do need to rest like Alana said. Healing with both proper food and rest is so important. You should not be in pain when you exercise. Not that kind of pain anyway. I can't address any of the medical stuff, but you are on a good road with Whole30. Don't think too hard about the weight you want to lose. Get everything else figured out and what needs to come off will come off. How frustrating to feel the way you do and have your MD say "lets wait and see" not once, but twice. I would have a hard time with that. I do get the "lets not rush into anything", but I think I would want different words than wait and see if I was feeling as lousy as you are.

Hopefully a Moderator with a more sciency background will hop in here and hopefully give you some ideas.

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A few thoughts...

Getting healthy is a process that cannot be managed on a defined, steady, routine schedule. Hitting plateaus is normal and they do not mean you are following the wrong approach. Sometimes you just have to relax, trust the process, and wait for the magic to happen. And the magic may take more than a year to fully develop. Hang in there!

Inflammation might be the source of your knee, ankle, and shoulder problems, but maybe not. You may have some imbalances that your chiro and trainer do not appreciate. I have personal experience with professionals in my life not recognizing issues other professionals see readily... I've had serious problems with my left elbow and shoulders for years. I've been to 4 different chiros, completed two series of physical therapy treatments, and worked with several experienced trainers, none of whom talked with me about the fact that my left side was over developed in comparison with my right side. Then I started working with a new trainer who told me I was probably overcompensating for an old injury. She told me I should try yoga to resolve my issues. I began to work with a knowledgeable Iyengar yoga teacher who helped me recognize issues with tightness in my shoulders that explained all the "mysterious" problems I had had for years. My problems have begun to resolve as I practice yoga regularly. I've made a lot of progress because I am finally working on what is wrong instead of addressing symptoms. My answer might not be your answer, but I have developed a lot of respect for the wisdom of a good yoga teacher.

Waiting to see what develops is sometimes a good plan, but a good doctor explains options fully enough that you feel good about waiting. Your doctor either isn't explaining enough or he doesn't have good ideas about how to proceed. I changed doctors about 4 months ago and am really happy with how things are going now. I've learned more in two visits with my new doctor than I did in the previous 10 years with my old doctor.

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First, good for you for taking control of your health! You have an amazing story!

In addition to what the others have said, I have a couple of questions:

How are your sleeping? Do you make it a point to get enough rest each night?

How are your stress levels? Instead of boot camp, maybe you could look into yoga or simply meditation.

As for your TSH, is it low as in the number on your bloodwork is high? Remember, a high TSH indicates a sluggish or hypothyroid.

You can always ask for a T3 and T4 test to go along with that. That often tells more than the TSH by itself.

How are your iron levels? Eating the correct amount of protein has been key for maintaining my iron and energy levels.

Just some thoughts!

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My chiro recommended an intriguing book. "Your Body Speaks Your Mind". Some of the content is a bit...bizarre. But I have to say, it enabled a few breakthroughs for me in both my mental and physical health. Our body and mind are so very connected; you cannot influence one without affecting the other. Learning how to manage them both simultaneously, and respect them each as part of you as a person (as hokey-sounding as it may be), can go a long way to overcoming health obstacles and restoring balance. When we encounter physical ailments, it is frequently our body screaming at us for attention. We just have to learn how to be quiet and listen and give it what it needs.

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Thanks everyone for your ideas and thoughts. All this support is greatly appreciated.

Alana: Yes, I agree rest can be a scary thought although I a learning that taking a break from my exercise routine is not necessary a bad thing and I love my boot camp so much that it is not a problem for me to go back.

slw600: 5&1 plan is exactly what I was following and while I am greatly for the help it gave me initially to give me the jump start I needed (or kick in the rear depending who you talk to) I was more than ready to move on. It has been difficult not to focus on the weight I want to lose but over this last year between my chiro and my trainer (and now Whole9) I know the number of the scale is no the ultimate decision of health. It is a very poor measure. I just want to make sure I am not fooling myself.

Tom: As much as I would like the fact that success would be a straight linear line to the end goal I have found it definitely is more of a windy road with lots of turns and twists. Thanks for including your own journey. It is helpful to know others have had to try change things up to find success. It gives me hope.

kb426: Here are some answers to your questions. Up until this week my sleep has been excellent up until approximately a week ago and then the pain has been definitely interrupting my sleep. My stress levels are definitely off the chart. I have a sibling who nearing the end of his battle with cancer and that is definitely causing lots of stress. I do know that is most likely influencing some of the issues I have been having but it also is something that I have been stressing about for last 4 years so it is not totally new. My actual TSH level is low in that is is .49 when the normal range starts at .3 and my iron levels are good.

Breezygoat: Thanks for the recommendation

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So this morning I had an emergency appointment with my chiro. He was surprised at how bad I as feeling. In his words I am having an acute flare up. He is also puzzled as to why we just can't get any forward progress. He mentioned I may need to move away from boot camp (my time in that environment may have ran its course) and look more into yoga. We are also talking about my stress level in regards to what is going on in my life right now (brother dying of cancer) and what impact that can have.

The plan right now is to rest, ice and more rest and ice. Take some short level walks (basically keep moving) Keep my food in check and try to reduce stress. I will be going in again Monday for adjustments and therapy. Definitely staying away from boot camp at least until we get this under control. In the mean time we are going to explore different options such as different workouts, different MDs, tests, etc and see if we can map out a plan going forward. I love the fact he and his office team is 100% behind me in assisting me to regain my health and is not afraid or too busy to research alternatives.

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Gail, I feel the same way about 5&1. It was great at the time, but once I moved from it to Paleo, I was in heaven. Then we all did Whole 30 and I never looked back. :)

Sounds like you are making some great decisions and I like the idea of finding another MD. HMOs make good health care fairly difficult (not a political statement :) ) so if you don't have the right doc, they can just do the "wait and see" thing too much.

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