Saturday, January 8, 2011

Goals For My Health Part 1

I Assumed It Was A Physical Problem

For six years, I’ve been fighting a fatigue problem I told you about in the “Don’t Have That Luxury” series. All this time, I assumed it was a physical problem, that there was something wrong with the way my brain was working, so that I not only needed to sleep a tremendous amount of time, but brain fog kept me from thinking clearly much of the time.  
I figured it had to be something like a chemical imbalance, so I tried herbal serotonin increasers; Niacin, St. John’s Wart and Vitamin D3, which didn’t do anything for me at the recommended doses. I didn’t know how much more I could safely take to see if they would work at higher doses, and couldn’t afford to go to a naturopath who could tell me that, and the pharmacist wouldn’t tell me that. So, I went to my doctor and asked him for a prescription antidepressant, but it didn’t work at the lowest dose, and made me barfy and dizzy at a higher dose, and still didn’t work. So I figured it was just something I’d have to learn to live with graciously. 

Then, about a month ago, I came across a book that said something I didn’t know; that an hour’s worth of exercise, fresh air and sunshine increases serotonin as well as antidepressants do, but the exercise has to be vigorous enough to make me sweat and breathe hard.  The problem is that even a slow, meandering walk exhausts me, so I decided to do an experiment. 

Maybe the biggest problem wasn’t so much physical, maybe it was mental; that I had talked myself into being this weak thing that can’t walk more than a mile an hour, and most certainly shouldn’t walk if I don’t feel like it, or walk when it’s cold, or too hot, or when it’s raining, or…… get the idea?


  1. A body at rest tends to want to stay put (inertia)... so it does take effort to get into the move groove. You also can't go from no exercise to 1 hour every day tomorrow.

    When I was recovering from hip surgery, I had to walk -- it was a Dr.-ordered mandate. But it hurt and my leg was swollen. So I put on some bellydance music and I walked in the living room with my walker as support for 2 minutes...the next day I upped it to 3. When I got to 5, I had a little party (some chocolate). And I'm not talking dance steps here...just walking in place with a few side steps here and there to keep it interesting.

    And believe me, I was huffing and puffing, but it slowly got better. I didn't increase my time every day, but I did commit to doing something every day. When I got to 15 minutes, I got a walk-indoors video -- Target has cheap ones from Leslie Sansone (whom I love) and there's also some good ones from Denise whatshername...I can send you one or two if you email me.

    Once I was able to consistently walk indoors for 15 minutes (and do the cool and stretch -- very important), I went outdoors with fast music on my mp3 player (I have an extra one of those, too, if you want it) and walked halfway out, and halfway back and that was my workout for a week, then I found and made a route in the neighborhood for a mile and started walking that. You can get some free workout downloads at steady beats from -- I like anything under 140bpm.

    And if it's cold and yucky, go back to the living room and walk -- I find that a half an hour of vigorous exercise keeps me energized all day, but if I skip 2 days, then I start lagging again.

    You can do this! And you will!!

    Are you sure all thyroid imbalances are ruled out? Are you getting enough iron and B vitamins?

  2. Natasha: I'm going to hold off answering this until you've read the rest of the series, as it will make more sense then.