First, the good news. I’ve lost seven pounds in the last month. The bad news: six of those pounds were muscle.
In early May, I started seeing Dr. Heather Walker at Advanced Wellness to see what was going on with my hormones. I’ve known for some time that things weren’t right because 1) despite all my work, the fat was not coming off below the waist, 2) I’ve struggled with perimenopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, and 3) a myriad of other issues ranging from sleep to allergies.
Through fascinating testing, she discovered that my endocrine system, ovaries, sinuses, and other areas weren’t functioning properly. So Dr. Heather put me on a regimen of several different herbal supplements. The hope is that these supplements will straighten things out, then I can live without them. She’s tweaked things along the way, based on my feedback and further testing. It’s been a process, for sure. But many things have improved. Some have not. I trust it just takes time. After all, it took years of not taking care of myself to get to this point. The fix won’t be quick.
Why do you care? Because hormones are king. You can work your butt off in the gym, eat clean, meditate and live green, but still struggle to lose weight, suffer from depression or have digestive issues. I’ve seen a meme on social media that basically says, “exercise, eat right, it’s that simple.” Well, no, it’s not simple. Hormones are very complex, and I don’t fully understand them. If you struggle despite feeling like you’re doing everything right, find someone like Dr. Heather.
Now, the weight loss is an exciting result. But when my trainer gave me the latest numbers from my body fat measurement, I was more than frustrated. I expected the weight loss would translate into fat loss, especially because I could see a difference below the waist. But I felt deflated when he told me most of that loss was muscle. Sure, there are worse things I could go through than to lose muscle. I still have plenty of it. But considering the style of workouts I do, the fact that I lost muscle was a shock. That’s what I do: I build muscle. So, what? How?
Well, it later occurred to me that here’s how: I’ve slacked on my diet. Not that I’ve been eating crap, but I haven’t been eating enough. Specifically, I haven’t been eating enough protein. My motivation to cook and to cook in big batches has waned. I’m not always getting my post-workout protein shake, which I swear by. Some don’t believe in protein shakes, and that’s fine. But if you don’t get protein into your body ASAP after your workout, your muscles will catabolize. Those of us who work out five, six, seven days a week need to get even more of it than the average person. My goal is 90 grams of protein a day. I’m vegetarian, so that makes it even more challenging. But I found ways to get it before through greek yogurt, cottage cheese, almond and coconut milk, nuts, beans, and protein powders. So I just have to stay focused and motivated.
I am a continual work in progress. So are you. The key is to keep working hard and push through the frustration. Health and happiness are worth it.