I don’t know about you, but I hate the month of February.
There’s just something so cold and dreary and miserable about it, and even though I know spring will soon be upon us and we’ll finally be able to put our thick coats and salt-soaked boots away for 6+ months, I am officially fed up.
And while I like to think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping my winter blues at bay for the last few months, I have been really struggling for the last couple of weeks. I’m tired, I’m irritable, I have no energy when I go to the gym, my skin looks pasty and pale, and I’m very easily distracted.
(In the time it took me to write the last 100+ words, I’ve purchased 2 skirts I don’t need, watched 3 hair tutorials on YouTube, and checked my Facebook feed at least a dozen times…)
Now, my husband would argue that I’m ALWAYS this way, and that there’s no need to be alarmed with my irritable moods and internet shopping, but when I turned down a mall date with my BFF in favor of an afternoon of watching Peppa Pig re-runs last weekend, I knew something wasn’t right.
So while my husband was happily watching poker on TV later on that evening (yawn…), I grabbed my computer and started to do some research, and after going through THIS IRON DEFICIENCY SYMPTOM CHECKLIST on The Iron Maiden, I was surprised to see how many symptoms I have.
I always associate winter with sleep, and while I still think there’s a link between the frigid temperatures and my desire to stay under our down duvet as long as humanly possible every morning (thank goodness for these awesome running late hairstyles!), chronic fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency. So if you’re feeling more sluggish than usual, it’s worth a trip to your doctor to get your iron levels checked!
2. DIFFICULTY CONCENTRATING
While I love watching YouTube tutorials and shopping for clothes I don’t need online, I am actually REALLY disciplined with only working on my computer when my daughter is either at preschool or sleeping because I don’t want her childhood memories to be of me being constantly distracted. But for the past few weeks, it’s taking me twice as long as usual to get things done, and while I know we all go through periods where we’re less productive than usual, I was really surprised to find there’s a link between iron deficiency and concentration.
3. IRRITABILITY/EMOTIONAL MOOD SWINGS
I always thought my emotional outbursts were 100% due to my hormones, but it turns out there is also a link between irritability and iron deficiency, so if you need me, I’ll be munching on bowl of spinach…
4. PALE SKIN
While lack of sunlight obviously results in a paler complexion in the winter months, lack of iron also plays a role, so I’m hoping that bowl of spinach will also add a little life to my skin!
5. LOW EXERCISE TOLERANCE
I have been working out religiously 5+ days a week for the last 6 months or so, and while I continue to push myself to get in 30 minutes of cardio most days, I have really been struggling to get through my workouts lately, which is very unlike me. But low exercise tolerance can be caused by a lack of iron, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that my dip in motivation can be fixed.
6. CHANGES IN FINGERNAILS & HAIR
While all of the symptoms above have been bothering me, I could easily explain them all away by blaming the cold weather, lack of sunlight, and my hormones, but once my fingernails started splitting and my hair became dull and lifeless, I knew I had to do something because I love nail polish and having fun with my hair way too much!
So over the course of the last week or so, I’ve doing a lot of poking around on The Iron Maiden, and after reading a lot of different articles on the site, I not only know how I can incorporate more iron into my diet, but I also know which foods to avoid so I can enhance my body’s ability to absorb the iron I’m consuming.
And guess what?
With a few additions (oatmeal, spinach, and beans) and a few reductions (coffee, red wine, and cheese), I’ve noticed a HUGE change in not only my energy levels, but also my mood.
If you think you may have an iron deficiency, CLICK HERE for a list of iron deficiency symptoms in adults.
If you would like suggestions on iron-rich foods to add to your diet, CLICK HERE.
If you’re looking for a list of things to avoid to help increase your iron absorption, CLICK HERE.
What shocked YOU most about the symptoms of iron deficiency?
PLEASE NOTE: If you suspect you have an iron deficiency, please talk to your doctor before making any dietary changes and/or taking supplements.
DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored. All products mentioned and reviewed on this page are compliments of FeraMAX®. All opinions of the products are my own.
If you’re looking for healthy recipes, snacks, and food as well as fitness tips, tricks, and ideas, you will LOVE my Health & Fitness board on Pinterest. You can check it out below!