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How to recover from 3 years of overtraining and undereating .. Hypothalamus, pituatary, thyroid issues

by (2544)
Updated about 2 hours ago
Created January 22, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Hey guys,

So I am 21 year old male who back in high school got way to competitive wiht cross country, ran about 50-60 miles a week for a long perioid of time, never able to eat enough, lost about 30-35lbs in the course of a year (2006-2007) stayed there at 105-110lbs until spring 08, quit running and just ate cause I realized how scary i looked and how horrible I felt. Ate a ton of junk, just got a bit chubby at 140 by December 08.. stayed there till I found PB in May 08, went down to 130, was quite fit doing heavy lifting, not too low in the carbs, felt good. Went to Zero carb thinking it would fix some skin issues I had since high school... felt like shit by 2009 and decided I needed some veggies. Stayed Very Low Carb till about August this year when I said screw it and went on a 30 day all raw milk diet, took in about 2500-4000 calories of raw milk a day (again thoght it would heal the skin issue and it actually did mostly).

Since October I have been making a huge effort to eat more, eating at least 100-150 grams of carbs a day through yams, potatoes, trying to get more protein, eat more organ meats, drinking raw milk keifr.. my weight is stable at 137 but I am skinny fat ish. I have muscle and you can see it but there is a fairly thick coating of fat, maybe 7-8lbs (I am 5'7) from the raw milk diet that could probably go.

The problem is... I have just realized that my overtraining and then undereating from a few years ago, combined with going VLC for way too long and lost a bit of weight from that too unintentionally, has really really screwed up my HPA-HPT axis. I have been chronically stressing my body, I don;t sleep well (hard time getting to sleep and wake up alot). I have recently quit melatonin cause I took it since 2008 and I am tired of being reliant on something to sleep.

I want to heal my Hypothalamus, pituitary axis but how can I do this besides sleeping, eating alot, lifting heavy???

I want to bulk up and add some muscle but at this point I'll just get fatter because of my cortisol levels which I think are low in the morning and high at night. My thyroid levels are fine on papaer, very good actually, but I have the anxiety, dry skin, trouble sleeping, etc. Testosertone was low for my age when I tested it back in August but it went up in October after the milk stint.

And funny, the skin sorted itself out pretty much when I just left it alone.... how ironic.

Does anyone have any experience in recovering hormone levels and from chronic stress? I guess I should be looking at recovering anorexics... I am 22 year old male and it really blows to think that I have possibly screwed myself over for life.

Note: All weight loss on said diets was never intentional. If anything, I wanted to be bigger but my skin was always the big issue.

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195 · November 29, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Paula, this is excellent information. Thanks for sharing!

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12847 · November 29, 2011 at 12:32 PM

fructose and glucose are very pro-thyroid. I'm guessing by the "skins stays clear" comment that fruit makes you break out, if this is the case its because the fruit is increasing your metabolism/thyroid and you need more nutrients(specifically vit A in my experience).

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18701 · March 12, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Did it work? How are you feeling?

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2544 · January 24, 2011 at 12:07 AM

would kill for that 30 lean lbs you got

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1397 · January 23, 2011 at 3:10 AM

haha switch in wrestling and cf for cross country, and add 30 lean lbs, and this is me lol haven't checked out my blood values though.

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1600 · January 23, 2011 at 2:37 AM

I'm going to try that supplement, thanks!

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1146 · January 23, 2011 at 1:12 AM

I am in the same situation. I am also a 22 year old 5'7 male who has had similar problems. You my twin??

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11 Answers

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7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705
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18701 · January 22, 2011 at 10:21 PM

RELAX. I would say to give yourself a month off of any type of training. Eat well during that month and work hard on your sleep.

If you can black out your windows, do it. If you can't, get a sleep mask. Cover your clocks and any other type of ambient light in your bedroom. Keep yourself away from tv and computers for an hour before bed and make sure you are getting enough sleep. This is the most important part of fixing cortisol issues.

During this month, if you really hate not moving, do long slow things, like walks or swimming or leisurely bike rides, but don't push yourself.

When the month is up, then work in 2 or 3 days of lifting heavy things or HIIT. Less is more. Work smarter not harder. It's weird sometimes and I kind of feel guilty not working out every day, but I feel so much better because of it.

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18701 · March 12, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Did it work? How are you feeling?

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195 · November 29, 2011 at 12:25 PM

I have had very similar issues. I grew up as a competitive ballroom dancer (18 years) I was always told to lose more weight, purge, starve, etc. So I did. Not only did I yoyo diet for years, but I ended up vitamin d deficient and hypothyroid at the ripe age of 27.

There is good news though - your body is an incredible machine and do not be too hard on yourself. It will heal and correct itself in time. The key is to stick to the way nature intended for you to eat. Don't restrict meals, don't over-exercise, and I would stay away from dairy.

Though I still weigh more than I would like, Paleo has done wonders for me. Glucose and fructose is poison to my body, so I don't eat fruit even. My skin stays clear and my hair is shiny and healthy, in addition to noticing slow and steady improvements in my body every week. I think your body will naturally return to its optimal state if you take it easy, stay paleo, and just be ok with yourself. Your body has been through a lot of trauma, and I think it will take a while. Just don't get discouraged. Best of luck!

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12847 · November 29, 2011 at 12:32 PM

fructose and glucose are very pro-thyroid. I'm guessing by the "skins stays clear" comment that fruit makes you break out, if this is the case its because the fruit is increasing your metabolism/thyroid and you need more nutrients(specifically vit A in my experience).

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960 · June 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

I ate a very low calorie, low fat, vegetarian diet for years while also training extensively. I didn't sleep much, etc etc. It's a very similar story, and unfortunately pretty common.

It's been about a year since I both started paleo and graduated University--and therefore made a committed effort to "relax" -- and only now is my keratosis pilaris (a skin condition) clearing, only recently have I begun to feel satisfied when I eat, it took about six months for my acne to fade away, and it took about .. six months?.. for my hair to stop falling out. My point is that my health has continued to improve over time, but it really has been a slow journey. Give yourself some time and be as good to yourself as possible, and I promise (?!) you'll see improvements.

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0 · June 25, 2014 at 10:31 PM

I have been struggling through the same thing. 3 years ago i collapsed in my house. Went to the doctor and they could not figure things out. They thought it might be my heart and made me wear a holter monitor to check my heart for 24 hrs. Gluten is a major culprit in my case. I have some serious sensitivities. After overtraining 3 hrs a day and not eating enough, but instead making a diet of protein and meal replacement shakes, my body gave out. One of my doctors is saying it's adrenal fatigue, I have never commented on these forums, but this is the closest to what I am experiencing. My body was in tip top condition until I hit a wall, and everything stopped. I have brain fog once ever other day and I am getting better. Feelings of passing out, dizzy, and off balance have reduced. I thought it was an inner ear problem, but as soon as I stopped with the Gluten and dairy my body has been getting better.

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0 · June 25, 2014 at 10:31 PM

I have been struggling through the same thing. 3 years ago i collapsed in my house. Went to the doctor and they could not figure things out. They thought it might be my heart and made me wear a holter monitor to check my heart for 24 hrs. Gluten is a major culprit in my case. I have some serious sensitivities. After overtraining 3 hrs a day and not eating enough, but instead making a diet of protein and meal replacement shakes, my body gave out. One of my doctors is saying it's adrenal fatigue, I have never commented on these forums, but this is the closest to what I am experiencing. My body was in tip top condition until I hit a wall, and everything stopped. I have brain fog once ever other day and I am getting better. Feelings of passing out, dizzy, and off balance have reduced. I thought it was an inner ear problem, but as soon as I stopped with the Gluten and dairy my body has been getting better.

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0 · November 29, 2011 at 4:17 AM

Hi. I know it's been 10 months since you posted this but I hope you still get to read these comments. I've also experienced the same thing. Very, very much alike!

I train for triathlons, and I've been training very hard to make it to the national team. I weigh 110 lbs but I wanted to lose 10 more, thinking that it will make me a better runner. My weekly schedule is so intense, run+bike or run+swim or swim+weights 6 times a week, for AT LEAST 3 hours a day. My rest day is Sunday, which many times means race time.

But the thing is, I was also trying to lose a lot of weight while training. So my average meal is like this: (breakfast) banana+peanut butter, (lunch) salad and chocolate drink, (dinner) peanuts and apple.

After years of training, I've experienced hypothyroid symptoms: weight gain of 10 lbs. in three days, no appetite, can hardly wake up, can hardly sleep, lethargic, etc. Blood exams told me I had low thyroid function. It was so frustrating: cannot train, cannot even find the energy to wake up, etc.

Five months after, as I'm writing this, I saw a dramatic improvement in my thyroid. Thank you, God! :-) I bought this book by Dr. Kharazzian (ordered from Amazon), "Why am I Having Thyroid Symptoms when My Lab Tests are Normal?" (something like this; I cannot remember the exact wordings). Then I religiously followed all his recommendations:

Absolutely no gluten (wheat, etc) , dairy, eggs, corn, soy, yeast Sleep 7-8 hours a day MODERATE exercise Less sugar, and no sugar at night Take recommended supplements (depends on your Thyroid Problem type, also indicated there). As for me, I took L-Tyrosine, B vitamins and Phosphatidylserine. All these measures worked wonders.

Yep, the thyroid is a very sensitive organ and it takes time to heal. But it's all worth the wait. Now, I'm back training again and I've lost all the weight I gained for the past five months. It will naturally come off with the regulation of your thyroid. :) And really, I'm eating more healthy now, and I'm feeling way better. Also, I listen to my body now more than ever. If I'm super tired from yesterday's training, no guilt feeling, I'd rest.

I've realized how commercialized foods are, that manufacturers sneak in gluten in various forms just to save money. Be wary. Diet contributes A LOT to our well-being.

On average day, it goes like this now: 1-1.5 hour training Breakfast: oatmeal+banana Lunch: rice+vegetables+a bit of protein A bit of walking Snack: banana+milk 1-1.5 hour training Dinner: vegetables+fruits+a bit of protein

Hope this helps. Let us know how you're doing.

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195 · November 29, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Paula, this is excellent information. Thanks for sharing!

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3976 · January 23, 2011 at 1:26 AM

I started taking a raw, dessicated pituitary supplement (bovine from NZ, no mad cow there) in addition to adrenal and thyroid glandular complexes as well. Adding the pituitary (the "master glad") really gave me the extra somethin-somethin I needed to feel normal. My situation is entirely different, but I figure the pituitary stuff will help anyone as their body needs it. Sublingual B complex helps a lot, too. Of course "consult with your physician before starting any..." blah blah blah. I get the stuff from Amazon, where I read all the reviews, and no one reported any negative side effects, which is why I felt comfortable trying them out.

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1600 · January 23, 2011 at 2:37 AM

I'm going to try that supplement, thanks!

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2544 · January 23, 2011 at 12:19 AM

Thanks guys!

I think the raw milk is a problem now that I think about. I'll drop it for a couple weeks and see how I do with just raw milk kefir. I mainly started drinking it to help my gut flora post-antibiotics and I think it helped and it's job is probably done from here. I don't eat cheese or even butter really, dropping it is certainly not a huge problem so thanks for the extra push... I was relying way too much on it for a source of calories.

Got a sleep mask and earplugs. Going to try Yoga Nidra to help me relax at night.

I can't remember what my testosterone went up to... think it was 425 from 306... still for my age I think. TSH was 1.27 with T3 at 3.5 and T4 at 1.1... then tested again after taking some iodine and T3 and T4 were the same but TSH was 2.11... I am thinking it was raised from the iodine. No antibodies and I have tested those 3 times, will do again though.

Could be my symptoms are more low testosterone than thyroid.

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1600 · January 22, 2011 at 10:54 PM

I'm still dealing with years of residue from trying to exercise 2 hours a day,plus walking 2 miles back and forth to work,smoking,high carb eating,and no definite sleep schedule(I go from third to first to second every week).Torn my quad during this time, and, as the fat/muscle ratio on my body changes, it is VERY obvious how badly it healed..big gaps and lumps from thigh to knee.Getting good fats in,cutting back on dairy(if you can't stand the withdrawal,use fermented,raw,or non homogenized products), and lowering carbs to a minimum comfortable level can help.Cutting all carbs can be a bit too stressful,sometimes easing back is better.As far as sleep goes,keep the lights out, and,when you can let your body sleep,do it.It may be 6 hours,it may be 16. The body knows when it needs more sleep to repair or less when it's feeling healthy.Just listen to it.

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2246 · January 22, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Seems like a lot of issues going on there, I don't even quite know were to start.

The mid section could be from cortosol it could also be from insulin resistance.

For the sleep, make your room 100% pitch black, get 8-10 hours of sleep a night. (When I say dark I mean can't see your hand 1 cm in front of your face dark) Also, try to avoid eating carbs right before you go to bed.

Also If you take a magnesium suplement before you go to bed, it should help with your sleep as well.

Are you taking fish oil? Personal I would get rid of the milk but I have not drank milk in years.

Cut back on the amount of carbs you are eating, switch over to more vegs per meal with a handful of berries.

What about the quality of the food you are eating? You are eating organ meats are they comeing from a good source or grain fed animals?

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-6 · April 30, 2011 at 7:50 AM

Wow, you're trying to kill yourself.

No carbs or extremely low carbs diet are a way to do it. Excess of meats and milk (organic, raw or whatever) is a sure way to get cancer and add lots of bodyfat.

Your skin got fixed because of low testosterone--it's responsible for certain skin problems. Yes, your testosterone is very low. Not worth training like that and eating wrong, like you do, to mess up your system. Your HPTA should recover, with prolonged period or taking it easy and healthy eating. I don't notice you mentioned any antioxidants in your diet--well this is too bad. You need to include a lot of them and a lot of vegetables and fruit, organic.

Really, you're not in the right mind for going on all-milk diet--you're not 1 a year old anymore to live off milk, you're a grown up now and need to chew your greens, like nature intended. Try taking Tribulus Terrestris for HPTA and other testosterone-production herbs, you can get the whole complex in nutrition store. In general, for overcome exhaustion, take Rhodiola Rosea. But vitamin C and other antioxidants, wide range of them, should be central.

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