Thursday, January 2, 2014

Puttin' It Out There.

Happy New Year everyone!!  I hope you guys had a few wonderful weeks celebrating the holidays...I know I did.  It was filled with friends and family, and we certainly made some wonderful memories.

For most people, the new year is a time to hit the reset button and start over.  As cliché as it sounds, I’m joining everyone and doing just that.  I’m starting my second round of Whole30I had such wonderful results after the first time, that I knew I’d be dying to take on the challenge again...especially after a ton of indulging over the holidays.

Everyone’s Whole30 journey is different.  Most people ask me if I do it for the weight-loss aspect, and I’ll be 100% honest...that’s just not why I did it the first time around.  {But boy was it a fantastic perk...}

I took on the challenge of changing my eating habits purely for health purposes.  I’ve been struggling for quite a long time with health stuff, but of course, you never see that here on the blog.  Sure, I have no problem keepin’ it real with you guys and letting you know that our home is nowhere near perfect or styled like a magazine.  It’s a home.  We live in it.  Yes, we tackle things every day to make it the prettiest and most functional it can be, but come on.  Most of the time it’s a mess because of the 45 projects I've started, but not yet finished.  Our guest room is so crammed full of to-be-projects and other junk that you can’t even walk into the room.  {One of my goals for this year is to get our house purged, organized, and finish projects before I take on something new...which, I admit, is tough for this girl who is constantly dreaming up new things.}

But, I digress…back to the health stuff.  It’s hard to get so personal for all the world to read, but I’m hoping I can help at least one other person who may be struggling.  If I can touch one person, then my job is done…so here goes nothing!!

In short, I hated to talk about it.  In fact, it took me a super long time to talk about things with my hubby, who is my bestest friend ever.  Before I opened up to him, I pretty much just confided in my parents because, well, they made me, so they can’t think less of me!!  I used to think people would judge.  Don’t get me wrong...some do, but not everyone.  And one day, I heard someone else open up about their struggle.  It moved me so much that I literally burst into tears.  Her words were my words.  I felt like she was speaking for me.  She was going through the exact same thing as me, and from then on, I didn't feel so alone anymore. I became more confident in my own struggle because she vocalized hers.  She has no idea how much she helped me by courageously telling her own story, so this is my own version of trying to pay it forward.

Here is the {not-so} condensed version of what went wrong….

Growing up was great…I was healthy and social and all was right with the world (or as right as a girl’s world can be while going through middle and high school...am.i.right?).  But then I got into college and things started to change.  I battled a nasty parasite for well over a year and had some suuuuper stressful relationships {putting it lightly}.  Then when I graduated, my parents moved 12 hours away.  For some, that may not have been a big deal, but my parents are my best friends.  It was a huge adjustment for me, and simultaneously, I bought my first place and started a stressful "big girl" job that involved more commuting than any person should have to deal with.

Notice a theme there?  STRESS.  After years and years of chronic stress…I broke.  I remember the month things really changed, and it was of course, smack in the middle of my busy season.  I started getting awful dizzy spells, which really scare the heck out of someone who drives 3+ hours a day.  I began getting sick after every meal I ate.  My heart started having funny rhythms.  Basically everything was just off, and I broke down.  I started having major anxiety from all of these things happening and I began to see every type of doctor under the sun.  I’m pretty sure most looked at me like I was crazy.  They just wanted to write me an Rx for Xanax and send me on my way.  But something physically wasn't right.  I knew me, and I knew it wasn't just in my head {no matter how many people and doctors wanted to tell me differently}.

Fast-forward a few years, and my symptoms hadn't changed much.  Anxiety had become the norm for me, and it completely warped my social life because, ummm, hello…I was terrified I’d go out and get sick in unfamiliar territory.  I just wanted to hang home in my safe zone, with people who I was comfortable with.  I can’t even explain how sick and tired I was of feeling sick and tired.  I. Was. Not. Myself.  Something had to be wrong, even if no one else was seeing it. 

Finally, my life started to change when my mom looked into alternative doctors who deal with thyroid, adrenal, etc. conditions.  She herself was having some issues, and was going to see a doctor recommended by the Broda O. Barnes Research Foundation, and told me I should get their doctor list and find one near me.

I did just that, and have been thanking God for it every day.  My new doctor (Dr. Michael Doyle) is the first doctor who has looked at me as a whole, and ran extensive tests to get to the bottom of things.  He looks at numbers differently than most doctors and examined things others wouldn't even think to look at.  He found that I am hypothyroid and have adrenal insufficiency {hello major stress and anxiety}…I also had such low iron and magnesium.  With his guidance and NATURAL treatments, I have started to feel like myself again.  I truly believe he has given me my life back, and in the quest to continue my journey of health, I started looking into food for healthy thyroid function and stumbled onto the book “It Starts With Food”.  The book was so interesting and informative, and confirmed my suspicions that the Whole30 challenge was right for me.

After my first Whole30 experience, the system-wide inflammation marker that came up in my first few blood tests with Dr. Doyle, was completely normal.  The constant bloat, problematic skin, low energy, ravenous-sugar-cravings, elevated anxiety, trouble sleeping...all improved or disappeared.  Through proper treatment and nutrition, I've regained so much!!

2013 was a wonderful year where I began my journey to become healthy again, and I’m continuing that into 2014!!  So basically {if you are even still reading} this is why I’m taking on the Whole30 challenge again.  I want to feel as good as possible, and that starts with the food that I put into my body.  So today is Day 1…here’s to the next 29!!


And since I’m getting all personal on the blog today, I just want to thank all of you for letting me share my story!  And a major thank you to my hubby, parents and friends for all the support you give me every single day.  You guys make life pretty darn amazing!! Xo! :)

78 comments:

  1. i am so glad you shared! i don't have ay health issues to this extent, but i suffer from migraines, and when i have less stress i get less migraines. i also think i got so sick yesterday because i are badly for a couple weeks (not bad by anyone else's standards, mind you) but i think it messed with my system. healthy eating is the bottom of so many problems people have! so glad you have figured out what works for you and i know that your story has helped someone else!

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    1. Totally agree...nutrition is where it all starts!! Thanks so much, Cassie! :)

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  2. Wow, how lucky you were able to find your doctor! Your Whole30 experience is really inspirational. Will you continue doing the program every so often throughout the year? Or are there ways to incorporate it into everyday life outside of the 30 day program?

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    1. I couldn't agree more...I'm so thankful that I found Dr. Doyle!! I could definitely see myself doing the program when I need to reboot and reset my system, but when I'm not doing the program, I definitely try and eat a Paleo diet.

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  3. So many reasons for doing the program again and I think it's GREAT that you didn't just take a prescrip but really are trying to get to the root of the issue. Healthy 2014!

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  4. it's hard to put such personal things on the internet. but we are here for you :) Glad you are finding something that helps, I'm sure it has to be so much better emotionally as well and physically!

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    1. It definitely is hard to put yourself out there like that, and having supportive friends like you helps a ton! :) Thanks Trina!

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story Gabbi, I know there will be so many who can identify with you. That's so good that you found a good doctor. My whole family is actually starting whole 30 tomorrow. My mom's birthday is today so we had to squeeze in one last hoorah :) I've heard such great things about the program and can't wait to get started. My dad actually started about a week ago and has already seen a huge difference. Any favorite recipes you found from the first time you did it?

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    1. I hope you guys had a great experience with your round of Whole30! I want to hear all about it! I was in love with simple meals...steak and roasted veggies, cobb salads, stuffed peppers, taco salad...

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  6. Hey girl! Thank you for sharing your heart! I always think if you feel the need to share that, there are people out there who need to hear it :)

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  7. Thanks for sharing this! I also have thyroid issues (hyper) and have been treated. If you ask my doctor, i'm all better, BUT I don't feel better! It drives me crazy. I'm absolutely going to look into this book!

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    1. I'm so sorry for your continued troubles, Deanna! Are you on a synthetic or bio-identical treatment? If it's synthetic, ask your doctor about a bio-identical alternative. That might help you out too!! Good luck! :)

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  8. Thanks for sharing such a personal story! I am so happy you are finding something that works!

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  9. Thanks for sharing Gabbi. While reading your story I found similarities to mine. I am starting to wonder if I can change my aches and pains with the help of food as well. I also have anxiety and all the doctor ever does is give me Xanax. I only use it for flying though because I also believe in natural products way more. In Germany that's what they mostly look at first. A way to help you naturally and I wish they would do this here too.
    I also don't sleep well.
    I actually just bought the book. Lets see what I think after I read it ;) but this certainly might be a good thing for me too. I just hate the thought of putting a lot of time into cooking or preparing food LOL ;)

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    1. I totally believe you could relieve some of your issues by changing eating habits. I won't lie, it's definitely a lot more work and less convenient, but I'll take that over feeling awful. I wish more doctors in our country would look to natural remedies too, but they are more interested in handing over an Rx. Grrrr, it really frustrates me..and makes me very thankful I found my new doctor. I hope you find some relief!! :)

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  10. Thank you SO much for opening up about this! I've been suffering from anxiety and (not common, but debilitating) panic for a couple years now. My doc has suggested blood tests to check my adrenal and thyroid functions but I haven't done it bc I'm terrified of needles! As in...pass out cold. This may have been the push I needed to finally woman up and do it already. I can't thank you enough!!

    XO,
    Lisa @ Double Door Ranch

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    1. I'm so very happy that I might have given you the nudge you needed to go get things done!! Just tell the people that you WILL pass out from the blood tests and they will have you lay down from the get-go. Then you can just get it over with and figure out what some of the causes may be. My doctor also told me I can take Inositol to help with anxiety if it creeps back up (you can email me for more specifics on that)...but it's be almost non-existent after getting my adrenals and thyroid working. Please, please, please keep me updated!! Xo!!

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  11. It's too bad that all doctors can't look at the body as a whole! I'm glad you found a healthy solution! Cheers to an amazing 2014!

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  12. So awesome to see others sharing personal struggles like these - there are so many of us out there with the same issues that we've been dealing with, and it's nice to finally put them out there and feel like you are not alone in your struggle. So glad you've found things that are working for you! and yay for feeling like you again!

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    1. Thanks so much for the support, Melanie!! Means a lot! :)

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  13. The best part about this is the light at the end of the tunnel. It feels so great to know what you are doing actually works. I'm proud of you for not giving up on finding someone/something that could help you be you again. XOXOXO and what not.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ashley...that means a lot! :)

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  14. Thank you for sharing Gabbi! I always struggle with all of the information and programs out there because it is so overwhelming and I don't like to "diet" but I love hearing this from a personal perspective and I am going to look into it! I do think our eating habits can change and heal so many afflictions we suffer from and you are proof of that. Here's to good health! If we start now we might have a fighting chance when we are older :) I also would love to hear some recipes you have tried. I have such a love for food I don't know how my will power will be. It would be nice to do it with a group of people.

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    1. You are so right...our eating habits are definitely our first defense and effect how we feel. Plus, if we start now, we'll definitely have a better chance as we age! :) I'll have to put a post together of some good recipes for you in the future!

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  15. Awe I heart you so much! There are so many people out there dealing with this. I went through the same thing years ago. I remember being terrified to leave my house because I felt like I had no control over my body, the major heart palpitations and feeling like I couldn't take in a full breath..ugh! The worst!! My doctor put me on Paxil which made me sick to my stomach and then ultimately Xanax which turned me into a zombie! It wasn't until I went to the book store and bought a self help book called From Panic to Power that I saw there were so many people suffering from the same thing and it made me feel so much better knowing that. I remember reading stories and just being "that's exactly how I feel!" I think it was just a very bad time in my life at that moment. I've been lucky enough to not have to deal with it much anymore or at least having control over it but it's so great that you're putting your story out there because people need to know that it's ok and that they're not alone! And so awesome that you're working so hard to beat it and that you're feeling like yourself again. That's the best feeling in the world and from what I can gather, your self is awesome!!
    xo

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    1. Aw, thank you so much, Cindy!! You are the best!! Xo!

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  16. So impressive for you to share your personal struggles! Everyone's got 'em, but not everyone is brave enough to share them. Great inspiration for the new year. :)

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  17. I love you even more for writing this. I'm so thrilled that you fought for yourself and your health and that you've found a doctor who is willing to look at the whole you. And THANK GOD for Whole30! It's amazing to experience what our bodies are supposed to function. I've also battled adrenal issues and they're terrifying. (As is your 3 hour commute!)

    I can't think of a better way to start the year!

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    1. Aw, and I love you for saying that! :) It's nice to hear that I'm not alone in some of the battles I've been facing and how they made me feel. Thanks for your sweet words! Xo!

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  18. I'm glad you're on the right track and feeling good! Happy New Year Gabbi!

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  19. Gabbi, thank you for sharing your story! It is so hard to put personal stuff online, but you rock for being so brave! And I'm so happy for you that you are in such a good place in your life now! I can't imagine feeling like none of the doctors were really getting it. You were persistent and it paid off!! Here's to a fabulous 2014! :)

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    1. It definitely is super scary to put yourself out there, but I felt like it was something I had to do if I could help even one other person. Thank you so much, Whitney! :)

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  20. I'm so glad you finally found a doctor that listened to you that you're getting better! I've had similar issues but mine always do end up being stress and nothing more. I have found that the better I take care of myself (both physically & mentally) the better I do. I will say that I vastly underestimated the powers of a probiotic and multivitamins! I know that sounds absolutely crazy but I don't have bloating issues and my body just feels better. Thanks so much for sharing Gabbi!

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    1. Yup, the better we take care of ourselves, the better we will feel! Thanks Jenn! :)

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  21. Thanks for sharing Gabbi! I am so sorry you have had such a touch go of it, but happy to hear that the whole 30 is a game changer for you! Love ya girl! xo Kristin

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  22. Thanks for sharing :) This saying is so true - Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. So glad you are kicking your battle's butt! Mad props to you for doing Whole 30 again! I will try not to share what I am eating on Instagram! :)

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  23. I love your honesty - thanks for sharing!!! I'm glad to hear that you are figuring out how to get healthy! (looking forward to checking in more frequently again - we're back to blogging)

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    1. Thank you so much, Katie!! :) Glad you're back!!!

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  24. I know how you feel writing this post Gabbi....I've written a couple and was actually in tears writing them just remembering what experiences I had been through. BUT it's because of those experiences that I have changed toward being an advocate for my own health and my family's and I been able to understand and help other people going through the same thing. Heck, was on prednisone for two years of my life. I'm so proud of you for sharing and putting yourself out there and inspiring others to be there best and feel there best. Love ya girl!

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    1. Aw, thank you so very much for your kind words, friend!! It really was hard to bear it all like that, but I just wanted to say it all in case I could help one person who might have been struggling like I was. Love ya! :)

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  25. Thank you for sharing your story (no easy feat even for an awesome blogger such as yourself)! I'm in complete awe of you & the steps you took to a healthier you. Not to take away from your story at all, but I empathize with how confusing & scary it must have been. I still emember the heart murmurs, the uncontrollable muscle spasms/shaking, low energy, foggy memory in my pre-diagnosis days. You're a strong gal for coming this far (and naturally!!!) so amazing, & I don't say that lightly!
    Love you to pieces,
    xoxo

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    1. Aw, thank you so so much for saying all that!! It really means a lot to have the support from you, and it's nice to know that I wasn't alone in the struggles I was facing. Love you right back! Xo!!

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  26. You are such an amazing person and I'm so glad that the Whole 30 worked for you. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there, but I know it will help others.

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    1. Kim, that means so much...thanks a million! Xo!

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  27. Thank you for sharing this! Read your post 2 hrs before my doctors appointment.The same story here:I was treated for anxiety, but as I'm getting more and more sick physically, doctors have decided to check my thyroid.Hope you have wonderful "Whole30" results! xx Mila

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    1. How did your doctor appointment go, Mila?! Keep me updated...I hope you are feeling better!! Xo!

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  28. Gabbi, what a great post to start off the year. I loved reading your story and can totally relate. It's so refreshing to know that there are other women with this issue. We are not alone, and we can find help!
    Just a few weeks ago I mentioned to my husband that I need to find a new Endo. The info you provide is God sent! Thanks!

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    1. You're very welcome, Judith! I hope you find a new Endo that will give you the help you need. I'm so happy to hear from you and others that are going through the battle...it makes me feel like we are in this together!! Xo!!

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  29. You're brave to share this! And I'm so glad you're feeling well. Hubby and I are both eying our diets relative to minor health issues!

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    1. Thanks so much, Erin! I hope you guys are healing your health issues! :)

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  30. Good for you Gab! I actually started blogging after I had an online journal on a health forum for 3 years. I learned how much diet and exercise impacts our well being and that the mind & body are codependent. Both have to be healthy in order to function like a human. I'm thankful for posts like this. It makes your blog more relatable because you are a REAL person.

    XO

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    1. You are SO right..both do need to be healthy in order to function!! Thanks for your kind and supportive words, Mindy! Xo!!

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  31. So sorry to hear about your health struggles, that must have been so frustrating and scary! Glad to hear your body is back on track. Kudos to you for doing the whole30 again!! I don't think I could ever get through it. Keep on keepin on girlfriend!!

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    1. It definitely was terrifying and super frustrating. I feel like the world has been lifted off my shoulders. Thanks so much, Sarah! Xo!

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  32. Way to go on doing the whole30 again! I'm excited to see how it goes for you. :)

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  33. Gabbi…I am so so happy that you shared your struggles. All this time, I thought that Whole 30 would help with an array of things, but I never thought it would help with anxiety. I have been struggling with anxiety for as long as I can remember and it's definitely getting worse with stress (which is HUGE for me right now). I am waking up feeling panicked and spend so much time talking to myself to calm myself down at times. It really is such an draining, emotional thing to have. I'm going out right now to get that book you recommended…I am willing to try anything to not have to live with this anymore. It truly affects every aspect of your life. Thank you for finally sharing your struggles…it struck such a chord with me! I think I reread your words 3-4 times completely wide eyed because it describes my day to day life/struggles. Amazing. Thank you so much. xoxo.

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    1. I am soooo sorry to hear about your struggles! You are very right...it literally effects every single aspect of your life. I'm glad I was able to share and connect with you about this. Hopefully our emails have helped a bit, and I'm ALWAYS here for you if you need anything...even just to talk! Xoxo! :)

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  34. Thanks for sharing this. I have a hypoactive thyroid and I have a feeling I also have adrenal issues. Does this Dr. work with just local patients do you know? ( I'm in Pennsylvania.) Thanks again!

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    1. Hi Kelly! I'm in NJ and he's in CT...so as long as you go see him, he'll work with you!! Good luck with your journey, and keep me updated! :)

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  35. Thank you so much for sharing this. Brave girl! Stress is the WORST and I'm so glad you are beating it!!!

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    1. Thank you Eileen! Stress definitely is the worst and finding any way to deal is super helpful for your health!

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  36. Thanks for sharing this. I have been having much the same issues with stress, adrenal and inflammation, chronic fatigue, but with my new way of eating, it has just gone away. Pffft - gone. So happy! Having energy holds such a high value for me now, I don't want to give it up again :)

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    1. Isn't it crazy how changing your diet can have such a drastic and positive effect on one's health?! I'm so happy you have found your health!! :)

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  37. Holy cow you just described a very similar experience I had been going through over the past 2 years! Passing out, blood sugar issues, EXTREME dizziness, anxiety from fear of passing out, heart palpitations, extreme exhaustion (just to name a few). After a few months of thinking I was going crazy, I finally started to do the research. Hypothyroidism majorly runs in my family. Turns out my sister went through the EXACT same experience when she was my age (26). I went to the doctor and was put on medicine. For the first time in SO long, I feel NORMAL!! Crazy huh?? No anxiety attacks, no heart palpitations, no dizziness. So happy you were able to get everything figured out!! I totally feel your pain! Literally:)

    xo, amy

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    1. Oh my gosh...I can't believe how similar our situations were!! I'm so happy to hear you found the answers to your problems and you are feeling better now!! Xo!

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  38. I was diagnosed with Adrenal & thyroid insufficiency back in 2002, after falling into a coma with low blood sugar. My doctor had no idea what was wrong with me before then, she thought it was just post-baby hormones.An endocrinologist immediately diagnosed me, that's the person to ask your doctor to refer you to if you think this is your issue. I have been taking hydrocortisone since then, but my energy levels have never got back to where they used to be. I'll be giving this Whole30 a try to see how I feel...

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Lindsay!! I'm glad they finally figure out what was going on with you, and I'm hoping your energy returns to you!! :)

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  39. Thank you so much for sharing this. I feel like I was just reading about myself!!

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    1. You're very welcome, Diana! I hope I was able to help you in some way!! :)

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