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DrRussMD
DrRussMD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 65266
Experience:  Board certified Internal medicine and Integrative medicine. Many years of experience all areas.
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This is a diet/fitness question. I am female, aged 20, height

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This is a diet/fitness question.
I am female, aged 20, height 5ft 7 inches, vegetarian. For the last two years I have been working out 3-4 days a week for an hour at a time on a crosstrainer. The machine was broken so it wouldn't display my stats, but I think I was running pretty hard on its easiest setting. My diet consisted of a big breakfast of cereal with milk and fruit, then snacks of cereal and fruit throughout the day, followed by a low-carb, protein-based meal in the late evening. My weight was a steady 112 pounds.
Since moving to America two months ago, I found the cross trainers at my local (unmanned) gym surprisingly difficult to use consistently, so after a short break from regular exercise I started using the exercise bikes instead, for 1 hour 10 minutes a day, 4-5 days a week (to compensate for the fact that they're not as good for fitness as a cross trainer). I also sometimes experiment with the weights (although I'm not sure how to use them), and walk the mile to and from the shops about four days a week. My diet is pretty much the same, although might contain a little more sugar and I'm probably eating more due to the fact I now spend more time at home with food.
I have recently become aware that my thighs seem thicker and flabbier, my front above my naval is fleshier, and my arms feel weaker. I am also finding it harder to use the gym bikes due to fatigue, the fact that my legs ache, and general boredom with the exercise. Convinced I had put on weight, I weighed myself yesterday and found that I had dropped four pounds! As I certainly haven't slimmed down, this must be muscle I've lost.
My goal is to put this muscle back on, maybe a bit more; regain my stamina for more enjoyable workouts, and become generally stronger, healthier and fitter. My plan is to substitute the snacks for a small meal, substitute a bike session with a fitness class, eat more protein and learn to use the weights.
I would appreciate any advice from an expert about anything I might have overlooked, either that could be causing the weight loss or that might help me regain my fitness (specifics, such as types of exercise and foods, would be appreciated).
Thank you.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  DrRussMD replied 3 years ago.
Hello
first of all, have you seen a doctor
had any lab tests?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, I haven't. I don't feel sick or anything though.

Expert:  DrRussMD replied 3 years ago.
Arms feeling weaker, fatigue more than you had, these are not normal necessarily.
So, for example, you need to have thyroid function tested. Low thyroid can cause this.
All routine labs should be done, to look at albuin levels, liver and kidney fuction.
vitamin D levels and B12 levels, probably magnesium and zinc should be run.
Also a Cpk to rule out muscle disease.
That should be your first step.
Then an anti inflammatory diet....protein should rely on seeds and nuts, some fish, minimal meat.
OK, so that is an initial answer….
Please use reply to expert if you have further questions. When you are ready, please click a positive rating [hopefully excellent]. If you forgot something, come back. I am here daily.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi. Thanks for getting back to me.

I checked the symptoms for thyroid problems and while I do seem to have some of those symptoms, most (like tiredness, irregular periods, etc) could also be related to the fact that I've recently moved to another country, and the stress and body-clock/dietary changes associated with that... I think.

I don't want to have to go in for expensive tests unless necessary. Is there anything I could try at home first to improve my health and rule out any less serious causes, or would you recommend that I go to a doctor as soon as possible? (I assume this isn't something I can test at home using a kit.)

Thank you.

Expert:  DrRussMD replied 3 years ago.
Hi
The tests are not expensive.
IN addition, what you describe is not normal, and not a home/self help situation.
You can not use a kit.
I would not be ethical to recommend other than what I have.
OK, so that is an initial answer….
Please use reply to expert if you have further questions. When you are ready, please click a positive rating [hopefully excellent]. If you forgot something, come back. I am here daily.
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