I wanted to dedicate a separate post on what I am doing – and have been doing – over the last three months – that have helped me start to feel better.
**Please keep in mind that I am not a health professional. I am not trained in nutrition or supplement-use. This post is merely from my experience with trying to get some of my levels back up so I could feel normal again!
My diet while I felt lousy wasn’t as great as it normally is. When my stomach hurts, I feel tired or am cranky, I turn to comfort foods. For me that means chocolate, ice cream, milkshakes and sugary candy (Swedish fish and hot tamales are my favorites). I knew that in the long-term these would actually make me feel worse rather than better, but I also felt like now was the time to eat what I wanted, when I wanted. I pride myself on eating very healthy when I am knee-deep in marathon training. This was my window to live a little and satisfy all those cravings that I have. And so I’m sure that my diet was adding to my not feeling as good as I normally do.
There was a handful of indicators that were low or at risk based on the blood work I got done with my wellness doctor and Inside Tracker. I decided to focus on the two lowest ones first – which also were the two that were likely the biggest culprits for how I was feeling.
I needed to increase my ferritin levels (so more Iron) and my Vitamin D levels. I also wanted to start taking a multi-vitamin which I hadn’t been taking in a long time.
I love gummy vitamins. I’m sure there are healthier, less sugary options out there but it’s one of those things that I don’t want to give up! I take two gummy multi-vitamins a day. I typically get the Walgreens brand (drugstore closest to my work); but I ensure that it does not have Iron.
I usually take my multi-vitamin before I leave the house – and right around the time I have something light to eat (cashews, almonds, etc) as I’m headed to work.
My vitamin D supplement was recommended to me by my friend, Meg. It’s 5000 IU of Vitamin D(3) per serving. My recommended dosage by InsideTracker was 4000 IU/day. So what I typically do is take these pills 4-5x/week. Keep in mind that you should factor in the Vitamin D in your multi – I am getting 800IU per serving (2 gummies) with mine – so I don’t take the 5000 IU one every day.
I take my vitamin D late morning (while I have my mid-morning snack – usually around 10/11am).
As I mentioned yesterday, I tried multiple Iron supplements before I found one that agreed with my stomach (Mary recommended them to me). I tried to give each one a few weeks to see if my stomach just needed time to learn to manage the Iron – but after 2-3 weeks with each, I felt I had stomached enough. Just keep in mind that what works for someone else may not work for you.
My iron levels were so low (14) that I am taking these pills at least once, sometimes 2-3x/day. The first is always right after my breakfast in the AM when I get to work. The 2nd is late-afternoon and the third is often before I go to bed.
Once I made the switch to these pills, the stomach issues almost entirely went away. I felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my back.
I’ve been focusing on other areas of my life as well. I am trying to get more sleep the last couple of months. I can’t change my work hours or commute, but I am trying to nap a bit more on the weekends. Even just lying down on the bed for 30 minutes makes me feel much more energized.
I’m learning to let go with some aspects of the house work. We do not have anyone who cleans our house and since returning to work, I’ve made myself nuts with trying to spend hours and hours on the weekend vacuuming, scrubbing floors, doing laundry and getting ready for the following week. Looking back, there was absolutely nothing relaxing about the weekends. Sure, I wasn’t working in the office. But I was trying to cram everything that I had been doing within the house over the course of a week into two days. Add in that I still needed time to blog, write for Women’s Running and Active and coach. It was too much. My house isn’t as clean as I would like it to be. I see the dust on the stairs and part of me wants to immediately start cleaning, but I’m learning to just let it go. It doesn’t have to perfect 100% of the time.
I’m also exploring other work options. I know what I’m doing now is not sustainable in the long term – either on my heart, for my body or for my family. There are other options available out there and I’m working hard to find the right fit for me and my family.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions that you may have about these topics! I’m not an expert but I will try to help in whatever way I can!