Years ago, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I’m pretty sure the doctors had just given up on trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I had an array of confusing health symptoms that didn’t seem connected to any particular disease or incident.
After years of not having enough energy to go out with my friends or join sports teams, I was so happy to finally have a diagnosis. This seemed like the first step towards figuring out what exactly I could do about my health.
Boy, was I wrong! My CFS diagnosis brought with it no real medications or treatments, and most people thought I was making it all up. My bosses rolled their eyes at me and told me that perhaps I should just go to bed earlier or not party all night. (Despite what I told them, I had been going to bed very early for a 19-year university student and I had zero energy left over each day to head out anywhere to ‘party’ at night!)
Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
It seemed like I was going crazy. Fatigue would spiral into depression, which would spiral into fatigue. Sometimes I felt better if I did some form of exercise so I would crawl my way out of bed long enough to do a class or drop in at the gym for 30 minutes every couple of weeks.
I had no support system. My parents believed me but even they seemed skeptical at times. It was my Mom who eventually started adding things up for me – my fatigue was worse when I was stressed from writing exams, an impossible roommate or a jealous boyfriend. I started having digestive issues a few years after the CFS diagnosis too, along with poor concentration and general full-body pain.
I admit, I gave up on the medical profession not long after these problems started. They couldn’t help me (maybe they didn’t want to?) and they sure as shite didn’t offer any useful advice.
(Sleep more, you say? Sure, I will add another couple of hours to my 10 hour nights.)
Things got worse after I started my desk job. Sitting all day pulled any energy I had so I was destined for a night on the couch when I got home from work. Eating kept me awake so I turned to food to study, get through a good book or even just to unwind in front of the TV. I told myself that I couldn’t spend my entire life sleeping. It just didn’t seem normal.
And it wasn’t normal! All of these symptoms were so real to me yet no one understood.
Confusing Health Symptoms Are Normal???
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Do you suffer from confusing health symptoms that no one takes seriously?
Are you frustrated because maybe you’re meant to not have as much energy as your best friends?
Do you feel destined to be overweight, tired and sick for the rest of your life?
Well, let me be the first to tell you that your confusing symptoms are VERY real and they need to be addressed. They are NOT in your head and you are NOT crazy!
They are also NOT normal.
The Life You Dream About
You ARE meant to have a lot of energy so that you can hang out with your friends, be there physically and emotionally for you kids and still feel pumped to attend your favorite exercise class! (Imagine this, hey? Are you thinking that this isn’t possible? It is! Trust me!)
And, my friend, you are not destined to be miserable in any way at all. Your symptoms are telling you (and me) that your body is in distress. And I am here to help you figure out what the root cause of your confusing health symptoms are so that you can feel alive again!
Find the Root Cause, Find the Solution
I can’t diagnose you or claim to fix your confusing health symptoms. But I can help you identify WHY you feel the way you do and provide advice on WHAT you can do to reverse them.
And one of the main reasons for confusing health systems is chronic stress. You may not realize it, but your body is exposed to dozens of stressors every day. Each of these stressors can trigger a stress response, which means that cortisol, the stress hormone, is released. And when cortisol is released often throughout the day, with no real way to counteract it, our bodies become chronically stressed.
It May Be Adrenal Fatigue
Chronic stress can lead to a real health problem called adrenal fatigue.
Let’s do a comparison. First, I’m going to list some of the common confusing health symptoms women experience. Then, I am going to list the common adrenal fatigue or chronic stress symptoms. Read these carefully and see if anything interesting jumps out at you.
Confusing Health Symptoms
- Excessive fatigue, sometimes diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Extremely low energy
- Poor memory or lack of focus on important tasks
- Anxiety or depression
- Low motivation or ambition
- Trouble with sleep
- A need for sugar or coffee in the afternoon just to get by
- PMS or painful periods
- Infertility for no apparent reason
- Upset stomach, diarrhea, stomach pains
- Chronic or frequent infections or illnesses
- Food intolerances
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Insulin resistance
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
Adrenal Fatigue / Chronic Stress Symptoms
- Fatigue / Insomnia
- Feeling ‘wired and tired’ at bedtime or waking up at 3am
- Low blood sugar or other blood sugar issues
- High or low blood pressure
- Digestive tract upsets
- Depression / Anxiety / Irritability
- Tendency toward diabetes or cardiovascular disorders
- PMS, menstrual issues, menopause symptoms
- Cold hands and feet
- Low immunity
- Cravings for sugar or salt (or both), especially mid-afternoon
- Feel like you can’t get by without coffee
- Frequent headaches
- Stress or emotional upset causes exhaustion
- Memory issues or inability to focus
- Muscle and/or joint pain
Did you notice how similar the two lists are?
Did you also notice how unrelated each symptom is to the others?
That’s why it can be so hard for medical professionals to pin down what’s going on in your body. Many doctors only test for full-blown adrenal dysfunction, when your adrenals stop functioning at all. With adrenal fatigue, they can go from overstimulated to understimulated but never fully shut down.
Interested in digging deeper? Download this free Hormone Questionnaire by clicking the box below. If you check off 5 or more in either category, your confusing health symptoms could actually be adrenal fatigue.
Let’s Get Started
Addressing your confusing health symptoms can take some time. The longer your chronic stress symptoms have been plaguing you, the longer it will be before you see results. But, don’t despair because through proper nutrition, a few very important supplements and some awesome lifestyle changes, you can feel happy, healthy and energized. Or, what I like to call the TRUE NORMAL!
Make some dietary changes as your first step to support your adrenals. If you can do one thing this month, ditch all refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. Why? Because sugar and sweeteners mess with your body in a number of ways:
- They are both toxic to the body so they interfere with detoxification processes. You need healthy detoxification pathways to remove excess cortisol from the body.
- They are gut irritants. Anything that irritates the gut is a stressor to the body because it causes your adrenals to release more cortisol.
- They rob your body of vital nutrients. Vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals are needed to keep organs healthy, boost immunity and ensure that everything is functioning properly. Unhealthy organs and tissues can add stress to the body.
- Any type of sweetener messes up blood sugar, whether it’s a ‘natural’ or ‘fake’ sweetener. This leads to cravings and interferes with sleep.
Eat fresh, whole fruits and vegetables daily, and I highly recommend 7-10 servings each and every day.
Choose lean protein, like poultry, eggs, wild-caught fish and grass-fed bison. If possible, go for products raised without hormones or antibiotics. If you’re vegetarian, choose whole grains, beans and legumes to get your protein requirements.
Healthy fats are important for hormone production, cellular integrity, regulation of inflammation and cognitive ability.
Despite what your doctor may tell you, our food is losing nutritional value faster than ever. Tomatoes have lost 60% of their vitamin C value since the 1960’s. Supplements are important to ensure your body stays healthy and on track for longevity without disease.
My top recommendations for supplementation for people with chronic stress are:
- Greens powder. This will help support liver detoxification and energy.
- Pea, hemp or sprouts-based protein powder. Collagen peptides is good too, but I like non-soy vegan protein because it is easy to digest and is least likely to trigger gut irritation. We all need more protein than we realize, and protein is vital for immune support.
- Multivitamin/mineral complex. A high-quality source will ensure you’re giving your body a strong fighting chance.
- A broad-spectrum, refrigerated probiotic boosts healthy gut bacteria to help avoid irritation in the gut. Healthy gut bacteria also produces some very important vitamins and builds up immunity.
- B-Complex. Your body uses up so many B-vitamins when it is chronically stressed that it’s important to get as many as you can. B-vitamins support your adrenals and your central nervous system, and they promote a better sleep.
Take each of these daily, as directed on their packaging. Watch for any contraindications with any medications you’re taking (ask your pharmacist or holistic health coach for advice). You can also email me directly to inquire about brands or options, too!
I think that this component is the hardest for most people because they feel like they’re ready to make a lifestyle change.
I admit, this is the hardest area for me to change too! But, if you are committed to feeling energized, healthy and happy, you’ll need to just go for it.
Find 15 minutes each day to do something relaxing. Depending on your personality, this could be coloring, watching TV, reading a book, playing with your pet, dancing in your living room, or cooking. It doesn’t matter what activity you choose so long as you feel happy and calm while doing it.
And, make sure you don’t pick an activity that counteracts the point of stress-relief. For example, yes, drinking a glass of wine can feel like it’s relaxing but the alcohol is a stressor on your body.
Get outside and enjoy nature. Being outside in the fresh air has been proven to reduce one’s stress response, even if it’s just for 20 minutes a day. Vitamin D from the sun helps improve sleep and mood, and appreciating nature’s beauty reduces cortisol. Win-win!
Go for a massage, see your chiropractor for an adjustment (yes, physical problems are stressors too!), ride a bike or attend a Zumba class. Pick up yoga or tai chi. Take a painting class or learn a new language.
Stress Management is Really the Key!
Managing your stress and helping to relieve those confusing health symptoms means giving yourself some self-love. Put yourself first often because you deserve it!