Be The Best (Insert Your Name)!

I have wasted way too much time in my life trying to be like somebody else in regards to physical fitness.  Movies I liked and magazine articles I read featured muscle-bound guys who were ripped to shreds.  I read articles where folks said that if you did this workout, or if you ate that much food, you would achieve their coveted physique.

This never worked for me.

I would try someone’s prescribed muscle-building workout, but then I would fall off either because:

  1. I did not count the cost….OR
  2. I simply got bored.

I would stuff myself with food to gain weight – I am a hardgainer – and although I would gain some weight, I would repeatedly plateau.  I also would get tired of trying to eat so much, as well as of spending so much money to do so.

Not anymore.

It has been only within the past two or so years that I finally decided that I would do me.  In other words, instead of trying to achieve someone else’s physique, I would work hard doing workouts that I liked, and see where I would end up.  Instead of trying to eat so much food, I would focus on eating healthier and eating enough to be satiated, trusting that my body will respond.

Because of this, I live a much freer life.  Why force myself to do hours of exercise that I may not even enjoy?  Why stuff myself with large meals every 3 hours when my body is going to fight tooth and nail from gaining the weight anyway?  I want to have fun working out.  I want to enjoy my food.  I want to LIVE!

I want you to live, too.  If you do not get anything else from this article, read the following tips to help you to do you:

  1. Accept yourself.  There is literally no one else in the world like you.  Just like the folks you admire are one-of-a-kind, you are one-of-a-kind too.  You are no different than they are.
  2. Do NOT compare yourself to others.  Not smart.  How are you going to compare yourself to someone else, and you lack the same experiences, the same physical and mental makeup, and so on?  The bible talks about how this kind of comparison is not smart.
  3. Receive motivation – and that alone – from others.  There is nothing wrong with being motivated to get in shape by someone who is in shape.  When you want what they have though, you begin to cross into bad territory.
  4. Focus on exercise you actually likeThe more you actually like the exercise, the more likely you will stick with it, and the better results you will see.  Find what you like to do, and do that…a LOT.
  5. Eat healthy most of the time.  As long as you follow some basic principles for eating well, such as avoiding soft drinks and a lot of the packaged stuff, and focusing on fresh food, you should do well.  You might need to tweak that here and there, but there is no need to follow somebody’s crash diet.
  6. Wean yourself from needing fast results.  This is a big problem for us in our culture…wanting everything fast.  I like to say that anything that is truly worth something is going to take some time.  So get comfortable with being consistent with your eating and exercise for a LONG time.

Oh, one more thing that I must say to elaborate on the accept yourself point is that, while you should be happy to be who you are, please do not settle for an unhealthy version of yourself.  If you are truly overweight, you will only hurt yourself if you do not get to a healthy weight.  I understand the acceptance movements and sympathize with them, because society is cruel, but to be your healthiest, you have to lose the extra pounds.

I hope this article helps someone.


Stop “Exercising.” Find What You Like. Do that…a LOT.

The term “exercise” does not quite work for everyone.  Some automatically think of some ultra hard regimen that will open them up to injury, while others think of some boring activity that takes up too much time.

No sweat; if you do not like “exercise,” check this out:


It really is that easy.  Let me show you.

What do I like to do?

  1. I like playing basketball.
  2. I like to take walks to clear my mind, and I like to take walks with my family.
  3. I like to train for (and to run) 5K races (and perhaps a Spartan Race in 2015 if one of my trainees convinces me).
  4. I like to work out with people I train.
  5. I like to do bodyweight exercise challenges (like this).

This is how I stay in shape.  I do all of these things, and I try to do them a LOT.

How do you stay in shape?  How did you stay in shape?  What did you like to do in the past?  Do that!  Eliminate the excuses!

“Just Let Your Thyroid Die” – A True Gluten Free Story

This guest post is a powerful testimony written by Kendrea Tannis.  She was given a bad diagnosis by the doctor, but took steps to learn about what she could do naturally to overcome it.  If you are dealing with an autoimmune disease, or know someone who is, I know this story will be a blessing.  There IS hope for you.  This also is a strong encourager to us to be informed patients.  No one will take care of your health like you will!

For weeks I had been exhausted. 8-9 hours of sleep the night before weren’t enough to keep my eyelids from closing by 2 pm on most days. I felt low. I was grumpy. On edge, sleepy, foggy –and the worst part? I had no clue why.

A few Google searches of my symptoms made me almost certain that I was depressed. So I made an appointment to see my doctor. Surely she would have the answers.

Fast forward a few days and I am sitting in the quiet office of my brand spanking new endocrinologist. As it turns out, I wasn’t depressed after all. A battery of blood tests revealed that my thyroid was underactive. Before long I was grappling with new labels—Hashimoto’s Disease, Thyroiditis, Underactive Thyroid, Thyroid Replacement Hormones.

Dr. Poppy’s mouth seemed to be forming sentences that I couldn’t string together for the life of me….

I heard “Just let your thyroid die … nothing you can do… don’t worry about it…20 million Americans … you won’t be alone… Syntheroid….pharmacy …next appointment.” And just as quickly as she had broken the bad news, she slipped out of the room and closed the door behind her.

On the short ride home, I panicked as I pieced together the meaning of Dr. Poppy’s words. My thyroid wasn’t producing enough TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and because of this was considered to be an “underactive thyroid.”

Symptoms of underactive thyroid include fatigue, grogginess, dry skin/hair, brain fog, weight gain and a myriad of other unpleasantries.” Dr. Poppy’s solution for my underactive thyroid was standard – prescribe me medication to supplement the hormone that my thyroid wasn’t making on its own.

Despite the wave of anxiety that flooded over me, I managed to squeak out one question before Dr. Poppy made her fast exit. My question seemed to both stump and frustrate Dr. Poppy…

What could I do to encourage my thyroid to make more TSH hormone on its own? In order words, how could I address my underactive thyroid at the root instead of simply treating the symptoms?

Dr. Poppy’s answer was clear—there was nothing I could do. Medication would be my only hope of fixing what seemed broken.

So I went home dejected. I cried to my husband. I couldn’t believe that at 27 I would likely be on medication for the rest of my life. And given a recent strike of Type 1 Diabetes in my family, I thought that for sure my underactive thyroid was the first step towards even more health problems.

I felt low, depressed, and tired—the same feelings that sent me running to the doctor in the first place.

Then I got inspired. Inspired by Dr. Poppy’s pessimism, mad at myself for believing her words hook, line, and sinker, and inspired by the idea of healing my body holistically. Was I going to cry my way to the pharmacy or look for other solutions?

The internet became my best friend. Famous last words I know, but in my case, it offered me access to information posted by folks who were once in my shoes. The same word kept coming up over and over again—gluten –– gluten free. I was on to something.

Three months later, I was back in Dr. Poppy’s office for more blood work. I could tell she was excited to see me when she entered my room. She had good news. My TSH number were significantly improving. I still technically had Hashimoto’s but my numbers were moving steadily in the right direction.

“Those thyroid replacement pills are kicking in.”

I gently broke it to Dr. Poppy that I had tossed the pills after taking them for only 1 day.

“What did you do to bring your numbers down then?”

I told her about going gluten free cold turkey for the last three months. She was somewhat encouraging but still pessimistic about my long term prognosis.

Nine months later, I heard the words that were like music to my ears….

“I’m not quite sure what you’re doing or why it’s working. I’m definitely not prepared to call it science, but keep it up because it’s working for you.”

I have been gluten free now for more than a year and my numbers have improved drastically to the guarded surprise and dare I say astonishment of Dr. Poppy. I’m not sure how my story ends as I am improving significantly but not 100% clear of Hashimoto’s but I am trusting God to bless my efforts and to add the increase.

I also want to point out that the medicine Dr. Poppy prescribed wouldn’t have cleared me of Hashimoto’s either. It simply would have replaced the hormones my thyroid wasn’t making. So, in my opinion, I’m on par with what the medicine would have been doing because my TSH numbers are now within the normal range.

So, now that you’ve read my story, you should cut up your insurance card, never go back to your doctor, thrash all of your prescriptions and find the answer to any medical issue you might have on the world wide web right??

Of course not.

But you should feel encouraged to use your common sense and to do a little research on your own behalf before settling into a comfortable life of pill popping.

Common sense told me that maybe I could encourage my thyroid to heal itself instead of simply taking medicine to make up for what my thyroid wasn’t doing. My gut told me that maybe a few lifestyle changes could prolong my needing to take medication for the rest of my life. Turns out I was right.

My research revealed that the gluten molecule looks eerily similar to the cells in the thyroid. So, when I ate foods containing gluten, my body, having a sensitivity to gluten, tried to destroy all of the undigested gluten in my system. And in a case of mistaken identity, my body was also destroying the cells in my thyroid because they look very similar to the gluten molecule.

When I shared my findings with Dr. Poppy she offered only a vague “Yes, I read an article about gluten a few weeks ago….” Doctors know a lot, but they don’t know everything.

I can already hear you, “But they’ve gone to medical school … and what do I know about medicine anyway… and they’re going to think I’m being a difficult patient … and what if …”

My answer to that is to consider what is on the line: Your body, your health and your future. That MUST be worth asking a few extra questions and doing your own research!

My doctor told me to “just let your thyroid die.”

I told her “No.”