As most of you know, I have been in contest prep for my first bikini competition, for about 6 months. Yep- 6 months. It is not uncommon for people to contest prep for 6 months but it’s rare and not really recommended. I thought this was normal, seeing how I was sticking to my meal plan and working out just like my nutritionist recommended. I was seeing my supportive nutritionist regularly and some weeks we would have super results and others we chalked the not so great results up to stress and life in general. I am a busy mom so stress sounded fitting to me, although I didn’t feel very stressed.
As my body fat continued to either not change or increase slightly no matter how we manipulated my foods. My nutritionist would try something and then two weeks later we would try something else, trying to trick my body into reacting the way I needed it to. I am sure there were times that she thought I was not eating properly although I told her I was. She never implied that but I couldn’t help but think that she was thinking this. After all, you do the work and the results are supposed to follow, right? Well, I quickly learned that is not always the case.
The last straw for me was almost two weeks ago. I began losing muscle while gaining fat, while on my strict contest nutrition plan. I felt so defeated. Nothing was appearing to work and now I am going backwards. I finally made a phone call to a bio-identical hormone specialist that kindly had been referred to me. They immediately scheduled me for blood work. I went in to see the doctor a few days ago to discuss the findings and I must say, I was a little taken back.
This doctor ran a complete comprehensive screening- not the basic 4 hormones that your OBGYN or family practice doctor will do. My husband and I had to fight for a hormone test at my OBGYN because they felt I did not show any reasons to have the testing done because I am under 40 and considered healthy. This was very frustrating for us. When they were tired of my husband demanding the test be run, they ran just the basics and told me everything was ok although I knew something was still very wrong. The specialist confirmed my feeling.
His findings were that my blood work did not detect any testosterone in my body. Testosterone is needed for a few different vital reasons but the most noticeable one for me is being able to build or maintain muscle mass. He also shared with me that I am very low in progesterone, which is the female hormone that regulates your menstrual. The hormone I was most surprised with that I am lacking is my thyroid. Apparently, I have an underactive thyroid which hinders fat burning, makes it difficult to keep your body temperature up, ( I am ALWAYS freezing, just thought this was normal), and leaves you with a lack of energy. I don’t know how long these hormones have been low but my “normal” has been identified as “abnormal”. I just received my daily meds to begin correcting this issues. The specialist is going to run additional testing in 6 weeks to see if the current hormone levels that he prescribed are enough for my body.
I am glad to know that I am on the road to recovery. I am also relieved to find out that all the work I was doing in the gym and on my nutrition plan was giving me the best body it possibly could, under the circumstances. I look forward to a new “normal” for me and secretly, I am looking forward to seeing how this new normal will allow me to reach my fitness goals with a little more ease….in time.