The Extra Challenges Associated with Fitness and Celiac Disease

After going through my own weight loss journey, I realized the fitness industry was severely lacking the kind of trainer I needed and wanted – someone who was educated on fitness, motivating to keep me coming back for more and just as excited as I was when I started seeing results.

You see, time after time, I went to a gym or met with a trainer that always wanted to push his own goals on me and then brushed me off when I said that I wanted to do something else. I also ended up with a knee injury requiring surgery because I had damaged it so much during our training sessions from being told that it was “weak” and I needed to lift heavier. Quite the contrary actually – the knee was so damaged, I needed to go lighter.

I’ve had trainers that didn’t pay attention to me the whole session because they had so many other people training at the same time. I’ve had trainers that took me to Chipotle after our workout sessions. I’ve had trainers that didn’t listen to me when I said something hurt or didn’t feel right. I’ve had trainers that wanted me try unsafe moves or exercises to “sculpt” me.

I opened my own business to be the complete opposite of everything horrible I saw while I was losing the weight myself.

You see I’ve learned over the past 4 years, people want to feel like they belong somewhere. They want to feel a bond with their trainer and the environment. Losing weight is an intimate process. Not everyone wants you to prod them, take pictures of them and feel their sweaty bodies during measurements. They don’t want to feel like a scolded child if they go out for drinks one night and have a life. While I certainly believe there are people out there that are hardcore and want their trainers to yell at them and force them to do crazy stuff, there is a larger group of people who want to be nurtured towards their results. Trainers that push their clients to do fad diets, crazy weight loss plans, extreme cardio or other unsafe weight loss mechanisms will see results very quickly. However, that will soon fade and those clients will be binge eating at a food truck sooner than you can say “grilled chicken.”

Your goals are not my goals. Your goals drive the results of the training sessions. It is not your trainers job to force goals upon you during or after your sessions. Results are a direct response to your goals.

Which is why this post is completely relevant to those of you seeking fitness services while having auto-immune diseases like fibromyalgia, celiac disease, arthritis, endometriosis and the rest of the lovely things we all struggle with along with celiac.

It is essential for us to find a facility with a great reputation for being caring, supportive, encouraging AND results oriented.

You should NEVER feel bad, awkward or uncomfortable talking to your trainer about any pain, physical struggles and emotional struggles. This is an essential component to our health and wellbeing. If the only thing we can do is show up to the session and try our best, than that is what should be acceptable. You are paying THEM to help you get to your goals. Don’t let them treat you poorly. I’m not saying they shouldn’t give you a push or challenge you, but they need to understand there is a limit. I would never want anyone leaving my facility to go home and cry because of me!

Last year I struggled tremendously with my own fitness program and I know how hard it is to get out of bed when you are exhausted and in pain. All it takes is a gluten incident, lactose incident or some other weird food thing to make me ill forcing me to stay at home than go to the gym. A migraine can off shoot 3 days for me sometimes. The cramping from the endometriosis didn’t get better when I worked out.

We need more trainers in the world that are understanding and caring to their clients individual needs. We need more trainers that want to learn about our conditions and help motivate us to keep going even when we would rather lay on the couch and watch tv. I can tell you someone who tells me I’m lazy or a wimp will not motivate me what so ever.

This industry is so quick to say you aren’t trying hard enough or you’re lying about your diet when weight loss goals aren’t met. No one thinks that you could have a hormone problem causing you to retain the weight. No one thinks that maybe you are struggling with water retention from a health condition preventing weight loss. No one thinks that those pills you are taking for XYZ could be adding pounds to the scale and not your eating habits or work ethic in the gym.

At Bexa Body Fitness, we focus on our clients 150% – their goals are our goals. We understand that not everyone is looking for a tremendous weight loss story or wanting to run a marathon. There are lots of people out there that are just trying to improve their quality of life, not win a body building competition. We need to educate trainers on our diseases and start training them to have more coping and coaching skills to go right along with their awesome motivational and training skills.

I realize that my life experiences have put me in the position to intimately know the emotions and physical distress but it’s unfortunate to see so many people struggling with seemingly nowhere to turn. I’m ready to help educating this industry to the best of my ability, hoping to help so many more in the future.

What is Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism anyway?

Hashimoto’s autoimmune Thyroiditis – such a long name for such a little part of your body controlling so much!

According to Dr. Aukerman, Hashimoto’s disease is a chronic thyroiditis that causes more than 80% of all hypothyroidism in the United States. It results when the thyroid gland has lower or slower functioning than normal throwing your entire body off balance.

One of the ways you can get Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is from the autoimmune response due to gluten in your small intestines. The onset of the disease is very low and more frequent in middle age women and families with a history of thyroid disease.

Summer 2011, I could tell something was wrong with my body. I felt exhausted, irritable, was gaining weight, extremely dry skin, hair and nails and the amazing thing was how much hair I was losing. Even my husband noticed how much was in the drain after I took a shower and my hair stylist would ask if I was under a lot of stress showing me the aftermath of a hair coloring.

January 2012 was my first appointment with Dr. Aukerman. You will hear me talk about him frequently because he impacted my life so much and finally gave me some hope with why my body was failing me at only 30 years old. When he walked in the door, he did an initial once over and said you have a latex allergy, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and most likely Celiac disease.

He observed that my thyroid was swollen in my neck and tender to the touch. I just always thought that’s how it was supposed to look and feel.

Your thyroid is the pink part.
Your thyroid is the pink part.

Frequent signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism: Intolerance to cold, difficulty concentrating or thinking, weight gain, fatigue, constipation, joint stiffness, dry skin, hair loss, heavy or irregular menses, facial swelling, enlarged neck and/or presence of a goiter.

thyroid_gland

According to MedicineNet.com,  there are more serious consequences to having untreated hypothyroidism-

“As hypothyroidism becomes more severe, there may be puffiness around the eyes, a slowing of the heart rate, a drop in body temperature, and heart failure. In its most profound form, severe hypothyroidism may lead to a life-threatening coma (myxedema coma). In a severely hypothyroid individual, a myxedema coma tends to be triggered by severe illness, surgery, stress, or traumatic injury. This condition requires hospitalization and immediate treatment with thyroid hormones given by injection.

Properly diagnosed, hypothyroidism can be easily and completely treated with thyroid hormone replacement. On the other hand, untreated hypothyroidism can lead to an enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy), worsening heart failure, and an accumulation of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion).”

So, now that we know what this autoimmune disease is – how do you diagnose it? I did a little bit of research online and found labtestsonline to be the best source and easiest information on testing for Hashimoto’s.

Tests

The goals of testing include detecting thyroid dysfunction, diagnosing Hashimoto thyroiditis, and monitoring Treatment.

For monitoring thyroid function and hormone production:

To help diagnose Hashimoto thyroiditis:

  • Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody (anti-TPO, see Thyroid Antibodies). This test detects the presence of autoantibodies against a protein found in thyroid cells. A high value usually indicates autoimmune damage to the thyroid due to disorders such as Hashimoto thyroiditis and Graves disease.
  • Antithyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) — if positive, may indicate Hashimoto thyroiditis; while thyroglobulin antibodies are often positive, they are not as sensitive or specific as anti-TPO so they are not routinely ordered.

My TSH levels came back high on my first test around 4.976. To put that in reference, it should be between .5 and 3. My PTH Intact also came back high at 37.5. This level should be around 14 or less.

Treatment:

The doctor has not put me on thyroid medicine yet because my blood levels dropped after my second testing in July 2012. They are still a little elevated, but they are going down at a great pace without taking any kind of medicine. This is because I’ve tried to control my gluten intake as much as possible. By stopping the autoimmune response of gluten, my thyroid doesn’t have to work as hard and the levels are going down.

Synthetic hormones:
This usually involves daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid). Synthetic levothyroxine is identical to thyroxine, the natural version of this hormone made by your thyroid gland. The oral medication restores adequate hormone levels and reverses all the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.