by Lisa LeStrange
Don’t believe that headline? Well, it’s true!
Let me start by telling you a little about myself. I am a 55 year old breast cancer survivor and have been in full blown menopause for four years. I also have Hashimoto’s disease, which means my thyroid pretty much doesn’t function. Maryellen is my sister, so I have been advised on the most recent studies of how to be the healthiest version of me for years. This includes support from Jack (Maryellen’s husband) on the nutritional and supplement plan that best serves me based on a hair mineral analysis.
When I received my breast cancer diagnosis in October of 2013, things changed significantly. I was lucky. My cancer was caught early. And, after a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation, I was declared cancer free. But the story doesn’t end there. One year later, I needed a full hysterectomy and wham … menopause. With it came relentless hot flashes, sleepless nights and weight gain.
As the weight started to creep up, I thought I could just work out harder to fight it. Miles logged on the treadmill, fast walks/runs with the dog and begging Maryellen to train me harder and longer didn’t get me the results I wanted. In fact, the weight just kept creeping higher. I’d argue with Maryellen asking her to push me more. But she would tell me I was done after just a few reps. So, I would sneak away and do more at home. Then, I’d lay in bed wide awake and tossing for hours – especially after a particularly hard workout. But I kept saying, “More, more, more!” And all I’d get was less sleep and the scale became my worst enemy. Maryellen and Jack would send me articles explaining that my body was completely stressed out – from the radiation and the heavy cardio exercise – but I just couldn’t stop.
“Because of Lisa’s breast cancer, radiation, Hashimoto’s and a full hysterectomy her adrenals took a huge hit. Her body was extremely stressed,” explains Maryellen. “The hair mineral analysis showed how stressed she was. Menopause made her body become more stress-reactive and even more sensitive to sugar and high glycemic foods. And she didn’t have the hormonal back-up to counteract the stress of her over-training.”
“When I would train her,” she continues, “I knew when she needed to stop the exercise session by using a heart rate monitor. When her heart rate remained elevated and did not come down as quickly as I would have liked to see, it was a signal that she was not adapting to the stress of the exercise. The increased stress, therefore, was only going contribute to her gaining body fat not losing it due to the higher amounts of cortisol that she was producing. Little did I know she went home and did the total opposite of what I encouraged her not to do! Funny! The truth comes out!"
A couple months ago, I stepped on the scale and about lost my mind. I finally hit rock bottom and decided it was time to listen to Maryellen. I stopped working out, and to my surprise, but not to Maryellen’s and Jack’s, I started losing weight. I also removed gluten from my diet. I knew that I was sensitive to gluten – I would get a yucky feeling in my gut after eating something with gluten. And, there are studies that prove that gluten has a negative effect on people with Hashimoto’s, so this was a good choice on several fronts.
Now I take nice leisurely walks with the dog, and I rejuvenate on the Power Plate twice a week. This is a marathon, not a sprint, but based on how I feel and what the scale says, this is the right choice for me. We recently vacationed in Colorado and I was concerned that since I hadn’t been doing any cardio, I would have trouble with the hikes in the altitude. Surprisingly, it was not an issue at all!
Do I look forward to going back to Buns, Guns & Core? Absolutely! But I will wait until my body (and Maryellen and Jack) says it’s time.
“Admittedly, Lisa is an extreme case,” concedes Maryellen. “But as women age we cannot exercise like we did before the age of 40. We see new clients coming into the studio on a daily basis who are suffering the effects of over training, including difficulty sleeping and weight gain.”