Friday, March 23, 2012


I recently went to the doctor and discovered I was severely anemic. By severely, I mean - I already take a daily multivitamin containing 100% of my Daily Value (DV) of iron, as well as eating red meat and iron-rich vegetables, and I still fell into the "anemic" rating.

Now I'm on an iron supplement and I can't even begin to describe how much better I feel.

I originally went for fear of my family's personal genetic curse - hypothyroidism. It is not an exaggeration to tell you that it afflicts almost 100% of my female relatives on one parent's side. Luckily (for now, at least!) I've escaped that particular hurdle.

I am fat because I am fat!

Hypothyroidism and iron deficiency fatigue have strikingly similar characteristics. Joint pain, physical exhaustion, confusion, depression, lack of concentration/motivation. (And no wonder, with pain, exhaustion and depression would YOU be motivated??)

I am overweight, and not particularly proud of it. But since January I have been trying to do something about it. I even started a grueling diet and workout, in which I consumed 1,200-1,500 calories of strictly water, veggies and almost all lean proteins with a 3,000+ daily caloric burn. This would mean I would lose 1lb about every other day.

Well, actually I gained weight.

Mathematically, it doesn't make sense. Nutritionally... the fact is, while I wasn't "starving", my body thought it was (stupid body). So it held onto every tiny bit of every morsel of food that came into my body... so even though I was running/biking a combination of 6 miles a day, plus strength training and eating about half my output... I gained weight.

This is a symptom of hypothyroidism (which I mentioned I do not have). I read, for severe hypothyroidism, a person could need to burn NINETEEN THOUSAND calories a day to lose 1lb a week! How exhausting!

In fact, my doctor told me something I thought I'd never in a hobojillion years hear, "You need to exercise less and eat more." How funny! So now I range between 1,700 and 2,000 calories a day, and during my "exercise" portion of the day, I burn 600 instead of 1,000 calories. Throughout the day, I still end up burning around 3,000, because I walk the dog, and strength training benefits your metabolism for 24 hours afterward.

The good news is that I am now seeing progress. I had my 60-day fitness test today. In January I went to the gym, in February it was a big life upheaval and I didn't, and this month I've been really steady. I go three days and am off the fourth, so I end up there 5-6 days a week depending on how the "breaks" fit.

Soooo, for mostly this month's work, I've lost 6lbs of body fat! Yeah! I still have a lot to go (boo!). My 1-minute-do-as-many-sit-ups-as-you-can, went from 27 to 31 (4 increase!) My muscle endurance stayed the same - I can lift 100lbs once, but not 105 :( But the good news is, with the weight loss I had, that 100lbs I can STILL lift, is a greater percentage of my overall weight. At my "ideal" weight range, 100lbs is actually perfect (by that I mean average, because I am not a bodybuilder.) I lost a number of inches (enough to need both hands to count :D).

My heart is still strong and healthy and I lowered my resting heart rate by 2 beats a minute. (My heart doesn't need to work as hard to get oxygen to my body.)

Overall, I'm happy with my progress. I know the work I'm putting in (and how much easier EVERYTHING has gotten since I started taking iron supplements). As I jokingly say:

"When my books make it big and it's time for me to do the talk show tours and the interviews, I want to look goooooooood" ;)

But besides that, general health is important to me, and I want to take care of my body if I can. And as far as the changes since the iron supplement - I am so much more on the ball with writing! That's fantastic, seeing how it's my life :P

Any health stories anyone else would like to share?

1 comment:

  1. Woot! Congrats on the second greatly positive post in a row.

    No health stories from me, 'cause I've been pretty blessed, and have only myself to blame for carrying enough weight that I have to lose 20 pounds to be considered obese... And the meds for my eyes cost $90 a month! But the wife puts up with me and so far I can still see, so I gots no complaints.

    Keep up the good work and thanks so much for being willing to share!