Finding My Balance

17 May

Recently, I decided to reach out to a nutritionist on campus for the first time. Lately, I haven’t been feeling like the energetic, outgoing, and upbeat Katie and to be honest, I can’t take it anymore. Things I do on a daily basis seem like a chore to perform, convincing myself repeatedly to exercise when it’s something that I naturally love to do, eating and never feeling satisfied, and being just.plain.blah. This internal battle has been going on for quite a while now and it’s really starting to affect me; this time in my life should be one of the happiest, graduating from NC State, starting an internship at SAS, packing up all my things and heading to a completely new state (Michigan), new school (Oakland U.), new program, new friends, new environment; NEW EVERYTHING! Stressful? Yes. Exciting? Unbelievably. Nervous? Extremely. Open to change? Definitely. Will it be hard? Without a doubt. Bring-It-On. I like to believe I welcome change with open arms; moving to NC when I was 18 to attend a college I had NO ties to, NO family around, and NO prior experience being on my own. I MADE IT!

“You must welcome change as the rule but not as your ruler” (Denis Waitley)

You: Katie, you’re stressed out.

Me: No, not me-I don’t stress! Palease.

When I finally made a decision to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist, I finally let my stubborn-guard down and realized, dang. I’m-stressed-out. Cortisol, the stress hormone, has got the best of me. Too much cortisol leads to:

  • impaired cognitive performance
  • suppressed thyroid function
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased abdominal fat
  • decreased bone density and muscle tissue
  • decreased energy levels

Although I don’t feel I show all of these signs, a majority I do. I’ve never experienced these symptoms simultaneously, that’s what I believe put me over the edge. Before anything got worse, I talked to my mom about it and made a responsible decision to contact the nutritionist. I briefly explained my situation, 1. because I’m still hesitant to realize there may be a problem, and 2. it makes me vulnerable. She recommended I keep an online food journal a week before our appointment so she can track and discuss my diet and exercise regime; My Fitness Pal is a knowledgeable resource that’s easy to use and has an extensive list of food choices (one of the major pitfalls of keeping an online journal is the limited food choices you have to pick from which leads to inaccuracy). My caloric intake goal is ~1800 calories/day with an emphasis on increasing fat intake as well as overall calories. Some tips the nutritionist recommended for me:

  • post-exercise, eat a small snack within 30 minutes of my workout that incorporates a healthy fat (I do this currently, but sometimes it’s not within that 30 minute window)
  • drink chocolate milk before bed.
  • eat iron-rich foods more often (leafy greens, red meat)
  • consider an omega-3 supplement as well as a daily vitamin.

She also recommended I see my doctor and have my thyroid gland checked. One of the thyroid glands main function is to regulate the body’s metabolism which affects weight, body temperature, hair, skin, and mood (among other things). A thyroid problem may be the cause of my excruciating stomach pain after a meal, feeling bloated all of the time, and lack of energy.

Being in the fitness industry, high-energy and enthusiasm all the time are a must and it (being a love of mine) should come naturally to me. I don’t want to have to force myself to do something I’m so passionate about. I’m taking the necessary steps to resolve the problem, learn from it, and move on. I need to feel like the energetic, outgoing, and upbeat Katie again :).



10 Responses to “Finding My Balance”

  1. Life After Swimming May 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    I have to have my thyroid checked often as well due to history of problems in my family. Can’t wait to see if this helps you get back to normal again 🙂 Sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling this way!

    • K.E.P.T. You Fit May 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      Have you gotten it before? What are your symptoms? (if you don’t mind me asking!) I really hope everything is okay and it’s just a stressful time but better safe than sorry!

      • Life After Swimming May 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

        I actually don’t have anything wrong with my thyroid but my mom had to have hers removed due to thyroid disease and two of her brothers had thyroid cancer. It’s more of a precautionary thing so that they can assure that nothing is wrong. At one point, my weight was fluctuating like 10 pounds weekly so they thought something may have been wrong but couldn’t find anything!


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