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A Not so Cinderella Story: My Journey of Triathlon and Weight Loss

Cinderella stories. We have all heard them. Someone posts about how they started a sport a year ago, lost a whole lot of weight, and are doing great. First, congratulations to anyone who has done that. Second, this is not that blog. My name is Jill, and I have been into endurance sports for a long time. I have lost weight and gained weight but still have a love of running and triathlon.

In 2009, I decided I was tired of classes at the gym and was going to run a 5k. I was told my whole life I am just not an athlete. Mhl5k program and nine weeks later completed a 5k. Since then I have worked my way up to marathons and now triathlons. Regardless of what I have done, I have always struggled with my weight.

Whether it's perception or reality I feel judged based on my weight. It's hard to try new things. It's hard to get involved in a group, because I feel like everyone wonders what I am doing there. It's hard to enjoy myself when I am in social situations because if I want to treat myself, I feel like everyone thinks yep that's why she can't lose weight.

I tried numerous diets and discussed with doctors my problem with the inability to lose weight. I was told I was fine, and I didn't eat as well as I thought I did. I also discussed symptoms of fatigue and excessive hair loss. I was told I'm young that I can't be that tired and learn to suck it up. I simply started pushing myself through the fatigue and acted like I had boundless energy because basically the doctors that had treated me made me feel like a complete wimp.

In 2021, I became very ill and for nearly six months, getting out of bed was an effort. I gained nearly fifty pounds, and was completely exhausted. I visited my doctor for my physical and complained my fatigue had gotten worse. I could barely workout and I had to choose what I would do for the day. If I wanted to workout that was it. I would get up workout, come home and sleep for the day. If I needed to clean, it was clean for 15 minutes at a time, sit down for thirty minutes and repeat until the house was done. Most days I woke up after eight to ten hours of sleep and I felt like I could sleep for eight more hours. I had researched hypothyroidism. While my numbers were barely in the normal range, they were far from optimal. I researched my old blood work results and found they had been far from optimal for a very long time, but they were "normal" so most doctors felt they didn't need to treat this. I went to my doctor's appointment armed with research showing you can be symptomatic and have normal numbers. He told me I was fine and suggested taking a Vitamin D supplement. If the fatigue didn't subside he would order a sleep apnea test. I asked why when people were treated for their thyroid most doctors wanted numbers far lower than mine but wouldn't treat my numbers. He said you just don't treat those numbers. I knew I didn't have sleep apnea. I felt like he wasn't listening and going through the motions of an appointment but I didn't know what else to do. I was tired of being exhausted after workouts. Triathlon is me and I am happiest when I am training. The fact that I could barely make it through sessions was affecting my mental health and I was becoming very depressed. I didn't dare tell my doctor because I was worried I would be put on antidepressants. I knew it all came back to the fact that I couldn't workout efficiently and I couldn't lose weight.

After months of getting no answers, and basically being told it was me. I decided to train for Ironman Mont Tremblant. I thought it would be a kick in the butt to get my mental toughness back and get in shape. No matter what I did, I couldn't get through the training. I finally realized I needed more help when two months before the race, I was so exhausted I began falling asleep on my bike. I would have to stop and stretch and walk around to wake myself up to finish my ride. My hips and shoulder joints began to feel like they were jamming into their sockets. When walking it felt like a hammer was being hit into my hip sockets. I still had not lost any weight and was still exhausted. I knew I had to drop out of the rest of my races for the 2023 season and figure out what was going on with my health.

I visited a functional doctor, discussed my symptoms, set up a nutrition plan, did bloodwork, and set up an appointment the following week to discuss the results. I received a B12 shot and started the nutrition plan immediately. It may have been mental but within an hour after the B12 shot I started to feel so much better I wanted to cry. I don't know if it was because I was finally being listened to or the kindness of the new doctor's office, but I finally felt like I was getting the help I needed.

The next week I returned to the doctor's office. We went over bloodwork. Luckily nothing was dangerously high but it wasn't great either. I hadn't discussed the possibility of thyroid medicine because I was worried I would get told there was nothing they could do for me. I patiently waited while we discussed my numbers. Finally, the very friendly nurse practitioner said she would like to discuss my thyroid numbers. She explained while labs found them normal, they were far from optimal. She asked if I was open to trying thyroid medication with the nutrition plan which I most certainly was.

For the last three months, we have been working to get the perfect dose for me. What a difference it has made, I wake up ready to conquer the world now. I feel rested after a good nights sleep. I have lost 15 pounds so far and am seeing progress in my training. I recently set a pr on a 500 yd swim, runs are getting faster, and bikes are feeling great. While I have had several endurance journeys, this is a new journey. Follow me as l get faster, lose weight, and most importantly have fun racing. This blog will feature race reports, triathlon news, new technology and healthy recipes I try throughout the week and rate them.

Thank you for reading. If you would like to subscribe to my blog, please visit the homepage or email


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