Monday, May 06, 2013

Not Eating Enough?

I've read a couple of posts recently about the similarities between signs of adrenal fatigue and starvation.  A lot of people are being diagnosed - or self-diagnosing - with adrenal fatigue.  Here's a tidy definition:
Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress, it can also arise during or after acute or chronic infections, especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia. As the name suggests, its paramount symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep but it is not a readily identifiable entity like measles or a growth on the end of your finger. You may look and act relatively normal with adrenal fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet you live with a general sense of unwellness, tiredness or "gray" feelings. People experiencing adrenal fatigue often have to use coffee, colas and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.  (Source)

I think I might be unwittingly starving myself, ever so gradually.  After this past weekend, these articles have really hit home as I try to figure out what the heck is wrong with me.  This weekend was ridiculous.  After 7 hours of sleep Friday night, I dragged myself to the pool and swam a crappy 2500 yards. I felt so, so very tired.  I got home and prepped some things for a party we hosted Saturday night, and then I took a 3-hour nap. 

I don't nap unless I'm sick.

Sunday I woke up after 8 hours of sleep, feeling ok.  I made it through church and then Evensong, but by the time we got home, I was dragging. I fell asleep on the couch at 8:45 PM.  Jason told me to go to bed and I protested that it was too early.  Then 15 minutes later I decided he was right.  I woke up on my own this morning at 5 AM, had a good swim, and so far today I'm feeling pretty awake

So we all know that I had the flu, followed shortly by shingles.  Suffice it to say, my body has not been at its best.  I think I'm well past the shingles fatigue period, since I think I had a pretty light case of the shingles.  I think my issue might be lack of fuel, especially as I'm starting to get more regular with my workouts (and adding more intense things like kickboxing).

My nutrition guru friend has told me before that if I'm not losing weight and I'm eating clean and working out, the problem might be that I'm not eating enough.  Logically, in my brain, I know I have to eat enough to fuel whatever I'm doing.  However, I also know that my job consists mainly of me sitting on my bum typing on the computer.  So I'm much more apt to follow the adage of keeping my calories low, even while I amp up my workouts.

That's a surefire recipe for stressing out my body and packing on/retaining weight.  I am nothing if not metabolically efficient.  On the savanna, my people could totally outlive your people.

So the other night I found this BMR calculator. I really like that it has several different activity inputs, so you can really tailor it to what you're doing each day.  I entered my stats for today, and just to stay alive (ie, my BMR), I need 1739 calories.

I've been kind of sporadic lately with logging food, but I usually eat the same general diet, and after tracking calories for YEARS, I know I average around 1400-1600 calories per day.  Including the days when I kickbox or swim.  As other people have noted, the World Health Organization defines starvation for women as 1800 calories per day. 

(Think about that if you're only fueling yourself with 1200 calories per day...)

For the next few weeks, in addition to focusing more on being active, I'm also going to focus on fueling my body.  I'm going to be more diligent with logging my food, and my goal is to eat at least to my BMR every day.

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