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Two words: adrenal fatigue.

I saw this term for the first time a couple of months ago while devouring the never ending supply of paleo-knowledge. I looked past it until I read the symptoms: tiredness, dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, indigestion? Hmmm…

These symptoms, I had convinced myself, were normal. I was nearing the end of my marathon training, so I felt that the way my body was acting was “the usual” for someone running 30+ miles a week.

Looking back now, I’ve had the symptoms for a couple of years. Feeling lethargic and ill had brought me to the doctor 2 years ago, where I was diagnosed as “severely dehydrated” and sent on my way. From there on I figured I was always dehydrated, as my symptoms generally continued no matter how much water I consumed. So I kept exercising, sometimes 7 days a week.

Even  today, 2 weeks since I ran the marathon, I experience the same symptoms (albeit somewhat alleviated, I believe due to paleo eating). Along with the lethargy has come heightened anxiety, exacerbated by my hidden Type A personality who has a list of a million things that “need to get done”. It is my high-stress, gotta-do personality that I believe has pushed me over the edge during times of heightened exercise, life changes, and general busy-ness.

Reading more about adrenal fatigue, I am convinced my adrenals are not up to par. My lifestyle habits haven’t helped:

  • I get only 5-6 hours of sleep a night
  • Have a constant to-do list, and
  • Always feel the need to do something. I can never quite relax.

So, over this initial 30 day challenge, I am challenging myself to one more thing: step away from the gym.

Instead of pushing my body through a workout, worrying over when I’ll possibly have time to make it to the gym, and stressing over what routine I should be doing now that my running is over,  I’m going to incorporate taking a walk during my lunch break at work 2-3 days a week, with possibly 1 day a week of super-slow strength training, (just to try it out!). That way I can focus on having time to relax, getting to bed earlier, and completing some to-do’s that cause me more stress than good.

As I said before, to me paleo is much more than a diet. I would never have stumbled upon the symptoms of adrenal fatigue without my research into paleo. By adrenals have paleo to thank, for instead of letting my body rest I may be going to the gym and just trying to drink as much water as possible.

Want to learn more about adrenal fatigue? These are some of my favorite resources:

Adrenalfatigue.org
All of these podcasts on Balanced Bites
This post by Diane Sanfilippo on Robb Wolf’s website
This post on Body Ecology

Update!

I submitted a question to the Balanced Bites podcast about this a few weeks ago and guess what? They answered it! It’s like I’m almost famous.

They didn’t really give me recommendations about exercise (though I know what to not do based on their past podcasts) but they did offer dietary recommendations, such as paying attention to hydration (and possibly supplementing some water with bone broth), increasing magnesium (suggestion: epsom salt bath), vitamin c (suggestion: BioFizz supplement), and vitamin b consumption, and working on determining the underlying issue, perhaps helped by reading Paul Chek’s book Eat, Move, and Be Healthy.

I’m so excited about these recommendations, and looking forward to implementing them. I’m debating supplementation but will definitely try to purchase the book and will include foods that are dense in their recommended nutrients.

I encourage everyone to listen to the Balanced Bites podcast, and check out my question in Episode 63! (Thanks Diane and Liz!!)