Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I think the key to succeeding in reaching my goals is starting TODAY. Not tomorrow, not on Monday, not after the holidays, not when it's convenient. TODAY. Because, in my experience, tomorrow just gets further and further away.

So I asked myself, what is one problem I would like to solve, and what can I do TODAY to start fixing it?

I came up with an answer. I am tired. A lot. I am tired almost daily... hourly. It has gotten worse since the passing of summer. In fact, I think there are two things at play here:

1) The predictable beginnings of seasonal affective disorder. Living in the north, daylight has been fading fast. Every year about this time I start feeling like hibernating. I lose steam. I feel blah. I want to eat and sleep.

2) Adrenal fatigue. I don't have a medical diagnosis, but have been reading up on this feeling that I am always dragging and too tired. My consumption of caffeine has gone way, way up in the past couple of months. I start my day by pushing the button on the coffee maker for 2 or 3 cups of coffee. I do it again in the afternoon sometimes. I have a Diet Coke here and there. I use Medifast infusers, which are like caffeinated Crystal Light. And I didn't even think about this but I also habitually add instant coffee to my hot cocoa, once or twice a day. That's a LOT of caffeine! I used to feel energized after drinking it, but now it has no effect. I am just tired. This, from what I am reading, could be a symptom (and cause) or adrenal fatigue.

What can I do about it?

1) Get out the light box and start using it. Twenty minutes a day at breakfast does wonders for my mood and energy level. I have been using that light box since 2008 and love it. Last winter, I added a Sunrise Clock, and that helps me wake up refreshed.

2) Obviously, cut back on the caffeine. Less coffee, soda, and infusers. Stop adding instant coffee to things habitually.

What I am doing about it TODAY:

I put away my automatic coffee pot, and got out my single serving French press. This way, I make one cup of coffee at a time. Today I had one cup in the morning and one in the afternoon. As I stated before, I am not buying anymore diet sodas at all, so that won't be an issue and today I did not have any caffeinated soda or infusers.

I am going to try and limit myself to two caffeinated drinks per day total, including the coffee, and that has worked fine for today. I have found that green tea has far less caffeine than coffee and also has health benefits, so I will use that in place of coffee in the afternoon as I wean down to one cup of coffee per day, max. I am getting out my light box this evening, and after the time changes next week I will see whether I need to start using the sunrise clock yet.

I am also going to get more sleep. I am just exhausted! I got about 4 hours last night. It is tough with sick kids. Tonight I will be taking a nice long, relaxing bubble bath for the first time in ages, and going to bed at 10. Hopefully my daughter will sleep well, too. She sure didn't last night!

So that is my step towards better health for today. I need to make sleep a priority so I can continue to have an energetic life.


Princess Dieter said...

I had to cut back on caffeine last year, since coffee and tea are essential parts of my "appetite control' strategy. :) I found excellent decafs that I can grind (or order preground) to suit my drip or French press or espresso pot. You should try the PARADISE ROASTERs Paradise decaf. DREAMY. without the caffeine. don't even miss it. It has a strong dark chocolate taste. They also have a nice decaf sumatra origin. The DECAF COSTA RICA from George Terroir is lovely, too. And both offer excellent espresso decafs that I use in both press pot and drip.

Going decaf can let you enjoy the wonderful coffee flavor (I find it as satisfying as dessert to have a really good cuppa), without the adrenal or sleep disturbance issues.

So glad you're finding solutions to these things. God bless...

Cathy said...

I found that cutting back on artificial sweeteners helped raise my energy levels a LOT.
I love coffee, but I have had to cut back on that. Age is catching up with me...
Good luck.

Brooke/ Bitchin' Nutrition said...

I agree with Norma those are good ideas! I am so happy that you made progress toward your goal :)

Lisa said...

awesome! :)

Anonymous said...

Google decisions !

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I meant
Good decisions !

Diandra said...

This is completely unrelated to the topic (I'll return later and read), but I found this article online and thought it might be interesting for you as well:

Basically the study mentioned suggests that extremely low-cal diets lead to long-term hormonal imbalance, with the hormones regulating hunger being out of whack even twelve months after the diet regimen ended, leading the participants to regain quickly. This may sound like depressing news, but it may help us understand (and work around) our bodies.

timothy said...

sounds like a good plan sweetie...........being from the south i never heard of a light box??? mayhaps i should look into it as i KNOW my body does NOT appreciate this climate. i switched over to caffeine free soda ages ago. maybe you should do that with soda and coffee as well. plus if you have an herb shop check into thier mixes they might just have a joy or energy tea that would help. if not lemme know there's a shop in fl i can reccomend that does mail-order. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Lori said...

Sounds like a great plan, Lyn. In my journey that is often the hardest part. Once I make a plan, all that is left is to work it. You can do it.
PS I think I have SAD, and I live in the south.

Anonymous said...

The key is there is no "starting"...there is only living our lives. Anything you "start" implies you eventually will "stop".

Anonymous said...

Sleep is so important to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, too. Good for you for the changes you're making. :)

(BTW, I had the same experience as Cathy. Once I cut out the AS, my sleep improved dramatically.)


Lyn said...


everything in life has a beginning and an end, even breathing :)

But seriously... one has to 'start' many things and can choose to continue them or not. I started brushing my own teeth when I was a kid and have no intention of stopping!

Erika said...

I used to be tired all the time too, but one of the best ways *for me* to combat that is exercise! Also, fresh-squeesed orange juice is a HUGE pick-me-up. Cutting back on the coffee is a great idea too!

Also I've found that if I'm just very active throughout the day I sleep super well at night. I used to nap all the time but that just made me more tired!

Anonymous said...

Last spring my Dr. had me take a salivary cortisol test. You collect your saliva four times throughout the day then send it off to a lab. My levels were low and my Dr. diagnosed adrenal fatigue. He prescribed hydrocortisone. I took it and after a week began feeling 100 percent better. Over the summer and fall I have tapered off and am down to a low dose in the morning.
You might want to have your dr. check you for this.

Sheryl said...

@Diandra, that is definitely an interesting article, and there have been many studies done over the past decade looking at the roles that leptin and ghrelin play on weight loss. I just wanted to point out these hormones are not only disrupted following "extremely low-calorie" diets, but from even modest calorie restriction. Like in this study The same mechanisms were in place even with only what is deemed a low calorie diet of -30% of caloric expenditure.

It sometimes seems like we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. But, on the bright side, exercise seems to be the best antidote we have now for counteracting this physiological effect of rebound eating following weight reduction. This article here talks about that:

@ Lyn--good for you for taking care of yourself! As someone else has already said--sleep is so important to weight loss. Fatigue is a trigger to eat for many people, as the brain sends out signals for energy (carbs) when we're very tired. Kudos to you!


Louella said...

I think you look great, awesome job on losing weight! And it is good to get away from the artificial sweeteners, that is just poison. It is artificial... that should let us know right there that it is not good for you.

I have less ambition in the winter months, too. That is a tough thing to overcome... but more sleep will help!
Thanks for your blog.. I enjoyed it !!
God Bless us all...

bbubblyb said...

If you aren't already taking one I know a muli-vitamin always helps make me less tired. When I stop taking it regularly I can really feel the difference. Sleep of course is the big one for me too.

Nanette said...

oh my heck, I hear you about the shorter days. I'm doing everything in my power not to go into hibernation. Keep active... keep moving... don't. give. in!

I've never tried a sunlamp as I'm a redhead and the thought of anything like the sun makes me shrivel and burn. But at this point, I'm willing to try anything to keep going with the weight loss...

A week of maintaining is making me sad.