Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Listening to my body

One of the things that I was so excited about when I started my eat-clean diet last year was how it would increase my energy level, level out my moods, etc.  A week into my diet, I had already noticed changes, and I was thrilled with them.  I can remember texting my sister that my body was " la la!"  That's how good I felt.  It continued like that for a while.

This fall when school started for the kids, as well as all of their sports, I started feeling more tired.  I was more impatient, felt more blue, etc.  However, I attributed that to the fact that we were transitioning to a busier time, and don't most moms feel this way a lot?  It's a busy, stressful life full of many ups and downs.  I continued to feel this way through out the fall and winter, especially through the holidays.  But again, don't most people feel stressed, tired, cranky at that time of the year?  Plus, I was so cold ALWAYS, which might not be entirely shocking to those of you who know me well. It was so easy to blame the way I was feeling on my circumstances at the time.

I couldn't imagine that any of how I was feeling was due to my diet.  I thought I was taking care of myself the way I should, so I kind of ruled that out.

It turns out that I was pretty anemic.  A simple blood test at my yearly physical told me that.  Most of how I was feeling could partially be attributed to that.  I was perplexed.  Yes, I don't eat much red meat at all, but I do eat plenty of other iron-rich foods.  How could this be?

A talk with my doctor and a little internet research answered my question for me.  A few factors were at play here.  First of all, the long-distance running that I do increases my need for iron.  Second, many women are at risk of developing anemia due to their monthly cycle.  And third, apparently the tannins in the tea I was drinking with EVERY meal (because I love it!) were blocking my body's absorption of the iron that I needed.

All of that added up to a tired, impatient, discouraged, cold Sarah who thought that she was taking care of her body the way that she should.

In the end, this situation is such an easy fix.  I'm taking an iron supplement during a time of the day at night when I don't drink tea or have calcium.  I am looking forward to feeling stronger, more energetic, more patient and happier.  We'll see if I wind up feeling warmer too. ;)

Here's what I learned from this...In order to do the best job that I can do as a wife and as a mom, I have a responsibility to take care of my body.  I need to listen to my body more, trust/believe what it is telling me and not just grin and bear it or write it off to the rigors of this job I am blessed with.

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