I dealt with chronic insomnia and fatigue for several years in my mid-twenties. Just when I should have been at my peak health I felt like everything started to fall apart. I would struggle to sleep through the night (sometimes not at all – eek!). Then I would spend the day in a haze of brain fog and physical exhaustion feeling tired and dizzy. Thankfully I discovered a healing lifestyle and I am now fully recovered!
Healing is never linear and I still feel like my body is still sensitive at times. But overall, I am very happy with my health right now and how dramatically I have been able to increase my energy over the last three years. I no longer am feeling tired and dizzy on a daily basis. I rarely experience sleep issues and I have the energy to follow my passions, work, move my body and have an active social life too.
How a low metabolism can leave you feeling tired and dizzy
Now you’re probably wondering what I did to get here and I have to say it was quite a journey. There wasn’t one simple change that fixed everything but rather a complete lifestyle overhaul. But the element at the centre of all of the changes I made was focusing on energy and metabolic health. Most importantly, I learned that feeling tired and dizzy can be a result of a low metabolic rate.
Like many women who grew up in the 90s, I spent my teenage years dieting and working out trying to stay skinny. On top of that, I was a high achiever. I threw myself wholeheartedly at getting top marks at school and university. The combination of coffee fueled library and gym sessions followed by late nights of with friends drinking eventually led to my body to crash and burn big time.
Even after I left university and settled into a calmer work life, my health didn’t improve. I was still feeling tired and dizzy on a regular basis, although I continued to act like everything was normal. During this time I switched to a high carb vegan diet. I thought that it would help me to heal my body but actually the opposite occurred. Without realising, I continued to spiral down into a metabolic hole.
Eventually I discovered the basic fact: our bodies need A LOT of energy and nutrients to function and thrive. The attitude of deprivation that is so prevalent amongst women (i.e. the idea that we should constantly be fighting our natural appetites and cravings) coupled with the “do it all” mentality is exactly what is causing us to feel fatigued, irritable and miserable. We are asking too much of our bodies and not giving enough in return!
How I stopped feeling tired and dizzy: phase 1
Once I discovered that my body was seriously in need of support, I took the first steps towards restoring my energy balance by:
- Eating more and good quality food (I was still mostly vegan at this time)
- Quitting intense exercise
- Daily walks outside and gentle yoga
- Implementing a supportive morning routine
- Practicing yoga nidra or guided mediation daily
- Taking a break from caffeine
- Releasing emotional stress through journaling and TRE
- Tracking and syncing with my menstrual cycle
These steps worked synergistically to increase my energy input (through food and constructive rest) and decrease my energy output (from physical, emotional and mental stresses). This really helped take some of the load off my body. It got me to a point where I was more stable with my energy levels and moods. I stopped feeling tired and dizzy so often and having a total meltdown every month before my period. Best of all, I was able to get enough sleep to make it through the day.
However, I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be long term. Firstly I had a vision for my health which included being active on a regular basis and spending quality time with friends. I love hiking, dancing and of course yoga. But at this time I was quite limited as to what I could do and without feeling wiped out afterwards. I never stopped these things throughout my healing journey but I wanted to fully enjoy them without feeling limited by my energy levels.
I also felt like my health issues were showing in my physical appearance too and I really hoped that healing would improve this. My skin was dry and I often got minor acne breakouts. My hair had become noticeably thinner and broke more easily. I would get upset when I looked in the mirror because I saw the the fatigue was aging me rapidly, especially around my eyes. Call me vain but I didn’t like it – the eyes are the window to the soul and I felt like mine looked dead!
How I stopped feeling tired and dizzy: phase 2
So once we moved to Greece in October 2020, I decided to take my healing journey to the next step. By this time I had discovered Morley Robbins and the Root Cause Protocol as well as the work of Ray Peat and Broda Barnes on the importance of optimal thyroid function and good metabolic health. They were all speaking about minimising the stress load on the body as well as increasing mineral availability through diet which really made sense to me.
I started to implement some of the supportive practices that were recommended, particularly:
- Reintroducing high quality organic dairy
- Drinking daily adrenal cocktails (orange juice with salt and potassium)
- Adding back coffee but in a supportive way
- Eating liver and seafood on a weekly/monthly basis
- Reducing refined vegetable oils and processed food
- Eliminating all unnecessary supplements
- Adding in magnesium supplements (transdermal then oral form)
- Focusing on specific breathwork practice to increase CO2
It’s important for me to say here that I wasn’t obsessive about these things. I knew that being too strict would only lead to further stresses so I did my best each day and focused my attention on enjoying life. During the never ending lockdowns I threw myself into hobbies including gardening, learning to play guitar and sewing projects as well as my work supporting women through teaching yoga and nutrition and wellness coaching.
It has been a gradual, continual improvement over the last year and a half. I would say that it was after about 6 months of implementing these things that I really started to feel like my body had healed. Eventually I stopped waking up in the night completely and now get 7-9 hours of sleep per night (unless life gets in the way). Rarely am I feeling tired and dizzy as I was before.
I feel passionate about my work and hobbies plus have energy left over for my friends and family. Finally life looks bright again and I am excited for the future!
Over to you…
If you have any questions or if you would like to work with me to overcome fatigue and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach and we work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs. You can read more about my training and qualifications here.
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