This is a guest blog post from Angela Tonkin. We met Angela earlier this year to chat all things thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue, leaky gut and healing with Real Food. We hope you enjoy her paleo success story. Always merrymaking, e + c
Adrenal fatigue, constant lack of energy, night sweats, waking at 3am, loss of confidence, clouded thoughts, bloating and IBS.
3 years ago these were some of the most painful and life-controlling symptoms I experienced. It was at this time when I took action with changes to my diet, exercise and lifestyle.
I couldn’t possibly face another day living this way. I went to countless doctors who told me “it’s depression” or “it’s in all in your mind”. My own research led me to a very knowledgeable guy, Cameron Nell, a Movement and Lifestyle Coach. He suggested I look at the ‘Candida diet’, an anti-fungal cleanse to clean out any bad bacterial overgrowth in my stomach and to begin cleansing my liver to rid toxins.
At this stage I was desperate to try anything to make me feel better. As I cleansed my gut and body, I felt horrible. I could feel the nasty toxins leaving my body, I knew it was working. It wasn’t long and I began to feel refreshed, revived and ready to take on life.
A couple of months or so later, I began to gain weight and couldn’t understand why. I was training around the clock and eating SO healthy. Test results came back and my thyroid function showed up extremely low, barely functioning at all.
This led me to an Endocrinologist who first told me I could have a brain tumour (I thankfully didn’t!).
I had no idea why my thyroid stopped working, I believe my constant partying, over-training, under-eating and stressful job ALL played a huge role in my adrenal fatigue, however I also sensed it was the cause to my thyroid issues.
My Endocrinologist prescribed me Thyroxin but I couldn’t give up on doing more. I wanted help speed up the healing process and get to the bottom of my health issues.
I was referred to a Gastroenterologist who conducted an internal investigation and told me my bowels were inflamed and red. He told me I should continue my gluten free diet that I had started a couple months prior.
At this stage, I was eating basic meat, vegetables and fruits. I researched the Paleo lifestyle and started experimenting with my cooking and food. In the beginning it was difficult, as I didn’t have much knowledge.
I heard about The Merrymaker Sisters through my sister and mum, my lifesavers.
My mum, a total blessing and huge support during my journey, always trialling recipes and cleanses with me. The Merrymaker Sisters however, made me realize I wasn’t alone and that eating this way wasn’t difficult, in fact it could even be fun! I could even have the delicious sweets I so often craved and had deprived myself of.
Today, I still continue to strive towards a happy and healthy lifestyle.
I live a balanced lifestyle and train a healthy amount, to ensure I won’t stress my adrenals and impact my thyroid function. I was so fortunate to meet my coach, Simon Bennett at Tri-Fit in Balgowlah. He encourgaes me to train with specific goals while allowing my body adequate rest and recovery.
He also believes health isn’t just fitness, that nutrition is equally if not more important. I’ve also introduced meditation and mindset changes. I now meditate frequently to clear the added stressors in my life, I enjoy yoga and have a positive mindset whilst striving to achieve my goals.
The one thing I’ve learnt is that I need to prioritise my health. It’s all very well to eat proteins, carbs and good fats everyday but vitamins and minerals ensure our bodies and minds function at their optimum.
Although I eat my dark leafy greens I began taking a whole food nutritional supplement (Juice Plus). Once I added supplements in to my diet my energy began to peak, I could now sleep through the night and as a teacher, I am able to fight away any nasties.
I honestly believe the damage I caused to my body has begun to reverse. My recent thyroid function test is evidence of this, showing a positive increase in my levels. Through my holistic lifestyle I aim to completely heal my thyroid and stop the medication by the end of the year.
My biggest advice I could give to anyone going through a similar experience is to listen to your body, don’t ever give up and make changes so the future you will be forever grateful for!
To anyone going through a similar situation, you’re not alone! Feel free to get in touch via the comments section, I am always happy to listen and share experiences.