When to listen to your body. In the past 20 years I’ve worked with a lot of men and women from all walks of life and ages. I’d like to think that I was always sensitive to their physical requirements. Even though I pushed my clients and didn’t give in to their whining, I learned from a fairly early age that some complaints are legitimate and should be further investigated, regardless of your age.
WHEN TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
No pain no gain? I was always a high energy person (as a trainer) and it seems that A-plus personalities gravitated to me. These were, by far and large, people who wanted to train harder, train longer and never wanted to take a break. Very few were actually willing to train smarter. Now, I can understand that way of thinking because I’ll be the first one to join a class even with an injury, but there are times when you have to listen to your body and what it’s saying. So when do you stop moving and start listening? There was a time in my life when I was super crazy busy and stressed out, so I was tired all the time and my energy levels were at zero. For a long time I felt like this was to be expected, I probably wasn’t eating that well and I wasn’t working out very much. In fact, I remember feeling tired after a 1km walk. This should have been a huge warning sign, but all it did was prompt me to work even harder because clearly I was just out of shape. Well, what had actually happened was that my iron levels had fallen so low that when I finally did do the blood tests, the doctor called me almost immediately to come in because the test wasn’t even picking it up. Kind of scary.
Know when to listen. Now of course there are times when you are simply over tired, have trained for too long or too hard, or are getting over a simple cold and that’s probably not something you should worry about. If, however, your symptoms are unusual and persist then it’s time to see someone. If it’s nothing to worry about, you might just benefit from seeing a dietitian and reworking your schedule a bit. Then again, it could be something serious and trust me, you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t go sooner.
So what now? Once you’ve determined that you can’t just push through the issues, the first thing you are going to do is put together a food/exercise/lifestyle/family history diary because I guarantee that your doctor will cover all of that in your first meeting. Write down what you are eating (and drinking) and roughly how much. Write down how you spend your day. Are you an active gym goer or are you very sedentary? Next, you also want to take a look a what a typical day looks like. Is all your time spent running to high stress meetings or do you get to set your own schedule? Make note of any major changes in your life like a big move or perhaps you are taking care of a sick parent. Talk to you your family and find out if anyone else is suffering from any illnesses or if there is a history in the family. Lastly, you are going to take note of all of your symptoms. To give you an example, mine were: brain fog (this was probably the worst since I couldn’t focus on anything), constant exhaustion, unexplained weight gain (and the inability to lose it), feeling cold all the time and a lot of stomach issues. This is all very important information your doctor needs to know as it will help determine a preliminary course of discovery. Remember, the symptoms are unique to you, so there is no right or wrong answer.
Everyone has off days, but you know your body best and you need to be in charge of it! Read about my Thyroid struggles in: Health Fitness & My Thyroid.
If you have anything to add I would love to hear it!