We just get used to being tired. We think it is about getting older, and wish we could go back
to the energy levels of our 20s. As overcommitted parents, and specifically moms, we never
stop to say, ”Is it supposed to be like this?”
We keep going, in perpetual motion between carpools, sporting events, music lessons and yes, often a job on top of it! Then, perpetually exhausted. As a mother of four kids I went back to
school and then started building a business. Of course I was supposed to be tired, right?
I constantly compared the energy level I had with my first child (at 28) to my fourth child (at 38).
One of my favorite medical experts/authors, Dr. Mark Hyman, refers to sluggishness that affects
millions of Americans as FLC Syndrome, as in FEELS LIKE CRAP Syndrome!
Everyone is different, and the root causes could be complex and be totally different from person
to person (as Integrative Nutrition, IIN, calls Bio-individuality). Tapping into my knowledge of
holistic nutrition, I finally looked at myself objectively, as I would a client. Yes, we have to step
outside of the box and look at our health objectively and care for ourselves like we would our
children. I was tired of being cranky and feeling lousy, and searched for answers.
Fifteen years after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, my research, done
during the summer of 2013, explained that this was an autoimmune disease. This means
a body is attacking itself…but why? Autoimmune illnesses (MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1
Diabetes, Lupus, Crohn’s, Celiac’s to name a few) have been on the rise in America. In my
case, my body was attacking the thyroid and had been quite successful. My thyroid barely
worked. My endocrinologist wrote a prescription once a year and I moved on. Never
questioned it even though I wasn’t feeling great, despite the medicine. Now my research
pointed to….Gluten? Inspired by one family member who basically cured their diagnosed
Crohn’s Disease through dietary changes (Gluten), and another who bounced back from
chronic stomach distress (Gluten), I knew my path. I got quite a few eye rolls, but embarked
on a completely gluten free lifestyle. A few of my kids tried to do it with me for support, but
the longest one last exactly three days.
For 7 months I have been completely gluten free, with the exception of a few cases of being
‘glutoned’ in a restaurant. Around a month or two into it I woke up and the whole world
seemed brighter, as if someone had put a “color enhance” filter on my eyes. The bloating
around the middle that I had attributed to my age (49) suddenly disappeared, the brain fog
cleared and my energy level started to improve. Sometimes these food reactions, whether
gluten, dairy, corn or soy as the most common, are so subtle that people don’t even realize
that it is the root cause of their feeling lousy and lack of energy (and extreme cases, depression).
People don’t realize how bad they feel until they emerge from the other side.
So when you are fed up with perpetual exhaustion, look for the root cause of it. It could be diet, dehydration, lack of quality sleep or stress related. But delve deeper and look at yourself and
your symptoms objectively. Listen to your body. Could it possibly be food allergies or intolerance?
Give a little self-love here, and care for yourself like you would your children. Try an elimination
diet and consider getting outside support. Go to your doctor with a list of symptoms, and if your
doctor doesn’t respond, get another opinion. Insist on blood tests that include full thyroid panels.
When necessary a doctor may also do blood tests to detect celiac or other food intolerances, but an elimination diet can also help provide answers.
Although I am huge advocate of carb cutting and a gluten free diet, this isn’t about convincing
people to try a gluten free lifestyle. One man’s food is another man’s poison (this quote supposedly
dates back to BC), so what works for me isn’t necessarily your answer. This is about drawing a
line in the sand and saying “I’m tired of being tired”. It’s the airlines’ oxygen mask notion, as in
you can’t take care of your child unless you take care of yourself adequately. Start listening to what
your body is telling you and don’t stop until you get answers, and feel better.
*(Note: Dr. Hyman is releasing The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, which addresses FLC
Syndrome caused by sugar and flour addiction, later this month).
Jeanine Toes, AADP
Certified Holistic Health Coach