Just FYI, this post gets a little personal. You’ve been warned.
This week, we are starting a 3-week Primal Blueprint Challenge at CrossFit Jai. The parameters are pretty much the same as any and every Paleo challenge I’ve undertaken in the past, except that with the Primal Blueprint you are allowed some full-fat dairy if you tolerate it well (I don’t), some dark chocolate, and some carbs depending on your weight loss goals. So, basically, it’s Paleo, but for real life. I dig it.
Anyway, as part of the challenge, TJ had little paper journals made up for all of the participants, for us to track our meals and our points. Five points if you workout that day, one point for every hour of sleep you got, negative ten points if you don’t eat clean all day. That sort of thing. And on the very first page there are little spots for you to fill in your starting measurements: thighs, butt, waist, chest, weight. So tonight I went to fill out my little booklet, and I stepped on the scale for the first time in a few months. And I was shocked, to say the least, to see the highest number I’ve ever seen on a scale blinking back up at me. 138. Really? I weigh 138 pounds? For someone who has had a hard time tipping the scale past 125 for the last 2 years, how is that even possible?
But, I know how it’s possible. And no, this is not a story about how my muscles have gotten bigger and how I need to accept my body at any weight and how any size can be healthy. Those things can be true, but really this is a story about hormones, and about something that I haven’t really wanted to talk about, because it’s embarrassing. But isn’t the whole point of a blog to tell people the things that most people would never publicly admit? I thought so.
The reason I have gained almost 15 pounds in the past 6 weeks is because I have been taking bio-identical testosterone supplements. Why on earth am I taking bio-identical testosterone supplements? Because I, an otherwise remarkably healthy 26-year old, have zero sex drive, and I don’t know where it went. It rather mysteriously disappeared almost three years ago, during a very stressful time where I had recently been laid off, moved from Moab to Denver, was in the process of applying to dozens of jobs a day and hearing nothing back from anyone, and was generally racking up debt and feeling like I was unworthy of contributing to society. Ok, so maybe that’s a pretty obvious reason to lose your sex drive. But I did eventually get a job, I made some friends, I started CrossFit, I cleaned up my diet, I started sleeping better, I even started therapy. All of the things you’re supposed to do if you need to reset your system and uncover the secret to hidden health issues. But none of those things have helped. So, about a month and a half ago, I started taking testosterone supplements in the hope that they would help, kick-start something, anything, and give me something to work with. According to my doctor, my testosterone levels weren’t actually outside of the normal range, but we decided that it couldn’t hurt to at least try a little testosterone for a few weeks and see if that did anything.
But for 6 weeks, all that’s happened is a single day of headaches and some new acne on my chin. Oh, and apparently I’ve gained 15 pounds. So there’s that. But my sex drive? Nope, still hiding. And you guys, three years is a REALLY long time for a sex drive to go away. What the F.
Anyway, obviously I realized that I was putting on a little weight, but I pretty much just chalked it up to a few very busy weeks out of the gym. Never did I imagine that I would, seemingly out of nowhere, find myself at my heaviest weight ever. And at first, I really tried to be ok with it. I tried to remind myself that all bodies are beautiful, etc etc. But in case you can’t tell by the tone of this post, this is, ultimately, not a development I’m ok with. Usually these types of “Wow I gained weight” epiphanies come with the caveat that you are also hitting PRs, getting stronger, performing better. I, on the other hand, found myself about to pass out during the 2nd mile of Murph, almost literally blacked out last night during some rowing intervals, and couldn’t get within 10 pounds of my clean 1RM at a recent competition. Let’s just go ahead and say that this weight gain is not a sign of anything except for my body being seriously out of whack.
So now I find myself at a bit of a loss. I’m looking forward to getting through this Primal Blueprint challenge and hopefully returning to a more comfortable weight for my body, and I’m really looking forward to my job ending at the end of this week which means I will get to spend hours and hours in the gym every day if I want to. But I am really not excited that I still having no idea why this sort-of-important function of my body is not, well, functioning.
If you have ever dealt with this problem and have successfully come out on the other side, I would love to hear what worked for you… For the record I have tried just about all the L-whatever supplements, I’ve tried decreasing my workouts, increasing my workouts, adjusting my diet, un-adjusting my diet, stopped taking birth control, tried spicing up my sex life, and I’m even in regular therapy. But nada.
I think this is where I’m supposed to tell you the moral of this story, but so far I’m not really sure there is one. Except to say that I think I’ll be waiting a few more weeks to buy a new bikini. And that I think I just learned that sometimes, being ok with your body at any weight can actually be problematic if that weight gain is a hormonal cry for help. But hey, maybe this way I’ll win the nutrition challenge… So I’ve got that goin’ for me, which is nice.