I may just be the sickest healthy person you know…

“You eat so well!”

“You crush it in the gym!”

“You’re young and look so healthy though!”

All comments that have been said to me — and yet, here I am, about to turn 27 and feeling like an 80 year old whose life has been ripped away from her far too soon with every new medical discovery and diagnosis I receive.

Yesterday, I had my second appointment with Dr. Nicole. If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll remember her to be my new functional doctor. Since my first visit with her, I’ve finished my round of Xifaxan prescribed by my no-longer gastro for the SIBO (and no, I’m not feeling magically better as I had wished) and have also completed more bloodwork – something pretty routine to me by this point.

At my appointment yesterday, we went over the new bloodwork Dr. Nicole had requested, and boy, it was quite the overwhelming experience. I’ll be honest, my happy-go-lucky, can-do attitude broke a little yesterday.

Dr. Nicole, is great – let’s not get that confused. She sat with me and talked through all the findings, and summarized everything into her plan of action very clearly. She answered all my questions, and is just a great human overall. But the information she shared was less than appealing, and although knowledge is power, yesterday, knowledge just felt like a ton of bricks.

Picture this: A movie moment — cue the dramatic and triumphant music (you know the one), a track-star about to win the race, smiling ear to ear, he makes his way toward the finish line in slow motion. The end is in sight, the gold so close he can taste it, and out of nowhere, he starts to trip and his smile fades slowly. Zoom into his ankles turning this way and that way, his knees knocking, now back up to his face that has now gone from a look of victory to full-on defeat before cutting back to real time with the winner-to-be face-planted on the track with a furry of feet trampling him to take his place for first, second and third as he just lays there, defeated.

That is how I felt after my appointment yesterday. When I had the SIBO diagnosis, I felt like I was on my way to victory – FINALLY! Something to blame all my problems on, and medication to potentially fix it! However, the antibiotics haven’t left me feeling any better (deep-down I knew that 2 weeks wouldn’t truly make a difference). But today, I found out that in addition to the SIBO, I have candida, and have also been living with 3 chronic viruses in my system. THREE.

Epstein Barr Virus (two strands of it, actually), some other mono-causing virus, and herpes (no, not that kind). And before you ask, NO I AM NOT CONTAGIOUS.

Am I totally shocked? I mean, not really. Yes in the sense that these viruses are still in my system, but I had mono in college my sophomore year (2012), and since then, have struggled a lot with my health.

In addition to the viruses, I also found a few different things were off with my autoimmune response, candida, some vitamin levels, thyroid levels, etc.

Basically, I’m the sickest healthy person you know. What I mean by that is I do everything right. I do my best to eat well, I exercise regularly, and just generally take good care of myself, and it’s not enough. And isn’t that frustrating? It is. I really can’t even put into words at the moment just how draining it feels.

Dr. Nicole has a protocol for me which I’ll chat about in a different post, but for now all I’ll say is this: it’s a lot of supplements that of course insurance won’t cover, so of course I’m starting to stress about money. But stress isn’t good. How do I not stress? NOW I’M STRESSED ABOUT STRESSING. (Do you see how for a type A personality, this can be a black hole?)

Anyway, the short of it is this: start the supplement protocol, complete the stool test (which cost me $500 – yikes), follow a candida diet, and follow-up in 5 weeks when the aforementioned test results are in.

I know this post was a little more negatively toned than what I typically convey, but I’m having a moment. I feel like I am wasting the prime years of my life just trying to heal myself. At 27, I should be going out and enjoying life and spending my money on fun experiences and meeting new people — not worrying about spending my money on supplements and how much sugar and carbs I’m eating and if I’m doing everything to lower my viral load and kill yeast and bacteria… UGH. Somedays I just feel like an old shell, and it’s hard, because that is NOT me. I used to be, and want to be, a very full person. But it’s hard some days, and that’s just the truth of it.

With my birthday approaching in 2 weeks (May 11th if ya wanna set a calendar reminder!), I feel so conflicted. I know I’ll want to celebrate, but I’ll feel guilty knowing it won’t be good for my body – but am I supposed to just not celebrate? WHERE IS THE FUN IN THAT?!

Life isn’t fair, but I’m trying to remember that there is a lesson in all that we experience. What is meant for you will find you when it’s right for you.

Look out for my next post on my protocol and a few more deep-dive details (if you’re following me for specific health interests!), but until next time…

xx

happily Haleigh

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#slayingSIBO // general update

SO.

Here I am, 3 days after finishing my two-week round of Xifaxan, and I feel… the same.

In fact, I might feel worse? Because along with not finding relief, that ROUGH round of antibiotics left me with some fun side effects: breakouts, weird rashes, swelling in my limbs, worsened joint pain… super fun times, my friends!

Thankfully, I have another appointment with Dr. Nicole on Monday. The plan is to chat about anything she found in my bloodwork, and discuss about next steps (remember that super fun test I talked about previously? Yeah, that’s probably gonna go down LOL).

In the meantime, I have also secured an MRI for my chronic lower back pain and emailed a doctor about my toe pain (I was set to actually have a toe surgery in January, but getting a new job threw a wrench in that!). Not only is my original, right toe still hurting, but now my left one has started bothering me. OOF.

Today in Chicago, it is snowing. Yes, in April. And honestly, while I’m not THRILLED about it, it’s given me the perfect excuse to take this Saturday and truly do nothing. As I’m typing this, I’m laying in bed in the middle of the afternoon with no plans for the rest of the evening, and it’s glorious. I did start my day off nicely though – woke up for a workout where I met a new friend, grabbed a coffee, went to my first therapy session, and wandered Whole Foods just because (does anyone else do this?! Didn’t even buy anything – I just love it!)

Tomorrow, I’ll be attending a restorative yoga session – yoga, something that doctors have told me time and time again to partake in for stress management, and something I usually blow off. However, in the spirit of working on my mental health, I’m going to try. Again.

So anyway, this post was really not substantial because truly, there has not been much change. More to come, and I’ll keep you all posted, but until then, I hope your life is beautiful and your days are wonderful.

xx

happily Haleigh

On to the next… #slayingSIBO

As hopeful as I was, I should have known the appointment would be frustrating, leading me to the search of yet another doctor.

Well, it’s Friday, and thus, I had my follow-up appointment with my GI doctor about my SIBO results.

As hopeful as I was, I should have known the appointment would be frustrating, leading me to the search of yet another doctor.

So here’s The Skinny:

I walk into my appointment, expecting to see my doctor. Instead some tall, slightly dopey looking man walks in and introduces himself as a resident, and then proceeds to ask me about how I’ve been feeling. I’ve never interacted with this man, so I have to go through my entire medical history… AGAIN.

Talk about frustrating. While speaking with him, I shared that at one point since my last appointment, I had stopped taking Miralax for one day, and due to that, was dealing with constipation again. In fact I was dealing with it when I took the breath test. Looking back, I should have just left this tidbit out.

Anyway, I asked all my questions I came prepared with:

  • Antibiotics:
    • Q: Is it best to dose Xifaxin with Neomycin since I read it was most effective for Methane dominance?
    • A: I haven’t heard of that, but I’ll ask the doctor.
  • Diet:
    • Q: Should I start a lowfodmap diet while taking antibiotics or after?
    • A: No definitive answer.
  • Prokinetics:
    • Q: I read that these may be useful in cases of constipation – should we consider this?
    • A: Mmm, probably not, we can talk about that later.

He asked me a series of questions regarding my stress levels, diet, etc. then went to talk to the doctor.

My doctor comes in and tells me that they no longer know if I have SIBO. WHAT.

She says that since I was dealing with constipation during my breath test, it could have been a false positive. She then said she’d like to just continue treating my constipation with Miralax, saying it’s fine because they give it to pregnant women all the time.

I straight up looked at her and asked “So, you’re not prescribing me the antibiotic?” She looked a little flustered and asked “Well, the thing to note is if you feel bloated even when you’re not constipated…” and to that I said….

YES. Look, I have been dealing with this for 2 years. I’m uncomfortable when I wake up, and worse when I go to bed. No matter what I eat, what I do.

She answers “Okay, then we’ll give it to you!” *insert eyeroll*

I then asked: “What does follow up look like? Do we need to retest to ensure it’s gone”

Response: “No, no protocol – we just treat the symptoms.”

I had so many problems with this appointment:

  1. The fact that they sent a resident in first really bothered me.
  2. The fact that the doctor was so changeable really bothered me.
  3. The fact that they were fine with saying I should just take Miralax the rest of my life really bothered me. This means my body isn’t working right!!
  4. She told me I was not a person at risk for SIBO, when honestly she never took into account all of my other health issues that most DEFINITELY have put me at risk for this.

This was such a typical Western Medicine approach. I was hoping for so much more because the doctor seemed so proactive in getting me the test in the first place, but the follow-through is lacking.

I was very emotional this morning, but I’m trying to take the positive out of it and no that this experience served its purpose, and now it’s just time to move on. I got the antibiotic out of it, and I’ll start there, but now it’s time to find a functional doctor in Chicago (who accepts insurance) who can help me with the rest of the process.

Another bump in the road, but what’s new!

Stay positive people!

xo

happily Haleigh

Slaying SIBO:

Answers. I finally have some answers. I finally have evidence that some of the extreme, debilitating, social-life stealing, soul-sucking symptoms I’ve been experiencing for the past two years are not in my head, but can indeed be backed up by scientific proof and number-defining results.

It’s freeing, in a sense, but the diagnosis itself is anything but, because the diagnosis of SIBO means I have a long road of healing ahead of me.

On finally being diagnosed, living with SIBO, the road ahead, and how it all makes sense.

Answers. I finally have some answers. I finally have evidence that some of the extreme, debilitating, social-life stealing, soul-sucking symptoms I’ve been experiencing for the past two years are not in my head, but can indeed be backed up by scientific proof and number-defining results.

It’s freeing, in a sense, but the diagnosis itself is anything but, because the diagnosis of SIBO means I have a long road of healing ahead of me.

SIBO – Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (sexy, I know, right?)

In a nutshell, SIBO is when there is too much bacteria in the small intestine. There are a myriad of reasons why this can happen (will get to this in another post later this week), but basically, those little buggers are NOT supposed to be there!

Where are they supposed to be? Well, the bacteria is supposed to live happily in your large intestine, but they’ve found their way to the wrong home!

Why is SIBO a big problem?

Well, SIBO is an issue because it causes a lot of symptoms and creates a cycle of poor digestion, leading to issues throughout your entire body (remember, the gut-brain connection is a real thing).

With the bacteria in your small intestine, they start eating the food you eat too early in the digestion process, and the food ferments in your small intestine, creating gas that affects your digestion – primarily affecting the motility of your digestive system. This can result in anything from the runs, being backed up, or a mixture of both (yep, we’re getting real here, people!). This becomes a perpetual cycle that is very hard to break.

I should have known it was SIBO a while ago (and honestly, I did):

If you’re close to me, you’ll know I’ve been dealing with a lot of health issues for a while (2+ years).

Some of the symptoms I’ve been dealing with:

  • Daily bloating (even upon waking)
  • Abdominal pains and cramps (sometimes debilitating to the point I have to just lay in bed)
  • Chronic constipation
  • General digestive issues (regardless of what foods I eat – y’all know I’m a healthy gal!)
  • Missing period since March 2017 (around the same time my extreme digestive issues started)
  • Joint pain
  • Frequent injuries
  • General inflammation
  • Water retention/swelling
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Hormonal imbalances (reproductive hormones as well as neurotransmitters)
  • Bad skin – skin rashes, peeling skin on face along with acne
  • Hair loss
  • General lack of zest for life
  • Resulting anxiety, loss of confidence, sadness, etc

ALL of these symptoms make sense – if your digestion is chronically damaged, your whole body is sick! It’s stressed! It’s trying so hard to function how it should, but it just can’t keep up.

While I’ve been experiencing these, I have been to SO many doctors (and have spent so much money!) Normal doctors, naturopaths, endocrinologists, OBGYNs, etc. They could all tell me that “yes, you have hormonal imbalances”, “yes, you have no period but you don’t have PCOS”, “yes, your cortisol levels are extremely low”, “yes, you have food intolerances (that you’ve never had before)” — but until this point we haven’t known why.

I tried gaining weight to get my period back, I did elimination diets to cut out food intolerances (I’ve been GF/DF apart from the one off occasion these past 2 years), I took supplements – nothing has helped.

IN FACT… I’ve probably been making it worse this WHOLE. TIME.

Why do I say that? Well, let’s think about our current health-crazed, wellness-seeking world we live in. We live in a world with instant access to information, which don’t get me wrong, can be GREAT. However, this instant access allows for the ability for people to share information at lightning speed, whether they are qualified to share or not, and fads quickly take hold.

Think probiotics, prebiotics, fermented food – all things that have been extremely hyped up in the last few years. “WE NEED MORE GUT BACTERIA! Gut issues? PROBIOTICS! KEFFIR! KIMCHI! KOMBUCHA!”

But the thing is… someone with SIBO should NOT be feeding his/her body with MORE bacteria!! THAT IS NOT HEALTHY FOR THAT INDIVIDUAL!

But of course, without answers until now, I fell prey to trying all the probiotics, prebiotics and fermented things on the market, praying they would be the solution to my issues — I was really just fueling the fire. GOSH DARN IT!

So how did I finally find out I have SIBO?

This year I started a new job, and it has been such a blessing. My insurance through my new company is stellar, and I know I am so, so lucky. Because of this, I finally was able to see a gastroenterologist.

In my first visit with her, she felt my abdomen and noted that I did indeed have a lot of gas (like yeah, lady, I KNOW THAT’S WHY I’M HERE LOL!). She did initial blood work and an abdominal x-ray. Blood work came back normal – i.e. no gluten allergy or anything major like that. The x-ray showed that I was extremely backed up (again, knew this).

She prescribed me the cleanse that you take prior to a colonoscopy to help clear me out, and if I still didn’t feel well after this, I was to try the elimination diet again to see if it was any of the food I was eating, and then I would have a follow-up with her in April.

I completed the cleanse on a Sunday – HOLY MOLY, DON’T DO THIS UNLESS YOU HAVE TO. This was like, 3-4 days of misery for me. The cramping and discomfort eventually passed, but I was to continue taking Miralax daily. That week I felt much better, until I just didn’t again. Basically, I noticed if I skip one day of Miralax, it puts me into a tailspin again. Because of this, I reached out to her and explained the cleanse hadn’t helped and I was still miserable, and she just decided to order the SIBO test for me right away. (WAY TO BE PROACTIVE, SIS, LOVE IT.)

The Test:

The test itself was simple. The prep was a little annoying, but honestly not horrible.

The purpose of the test is to test your hydrogen and methane levels in your small intestine. To get to the point, high levels of either of these gases indicates SIBO.

The day before, you are only allowed to eat plain protein, white rice, white bread, and plain coffee – SO FUN. Then, you fast for 12 hours prior to the start of your test.

The test is 3 hours long, consisting of blowing into balloons every 15 minutes after drinking a solution of lactulose.

I’ll chat more about the specifics of the test in a later post.

My Results:

I had done some reading on SIBO prior to my testing (remember, I said I had suspected this a while ago), and from what I had read, I expected my methane levels to be elevated.

Sure enough, my results were posted the day after the test, and I am in fact methane dominant. My resting state measured at 58ppm and maxed out at 98ppm (for reference, anything over 10ppm is considered to be evidence of SIBO).

SO NO WONDER I HAVE BEEN IN MISERY!! IT’S NOT IN MY HEAD! – That’s the relieving part. The daunting part is taking this on…

Treatment:

I’ll chat more in detail about this in a later post, but generally, treatment is not simple. There is not a magic pill to fix this. This is largely because SIBO is not a primary condition, but is secondary, meaning it is caused my something else — something you have to figure out (aka MORE tests). In general, you’re looking at multiple rounds of antibiotics, supplements and diet/lifestyle changes, and praying for no relapses.

So, I mentioned I should have known it was SIBO – why do I think I have developed this? I have a few theories for me personally:

  • I had either an extreme case of the flu, or more likely, food poisoning (#1 cause of SIBO), in February 2017 – right before all of my extreme symptoms started
  • I’ve taken NSAIDs all my life for chronic headaches – NSAIDs are notoriously damaging to the gut lining
  • I had mono in college
  • I was plagued with strep throat every 3 months in college until I got my tonsils out in 2014 – so a lot of antibiotics in my life time
  • I already have an autoimmune condition – Sjogren’s.
  • BASICALLY I AM A BREEDING GROUND FOR THIS NONSENSE.

So, what’s next?

Well, I have my follow-up appointment with my doctor on April 5th. Until then, I’ll be doing my own research to come prepared for self-advocacy.

I have already started curating resources and completing my own research, and I’ll be updating this blog with my findings so that I can help others experiencing this! You can follow my journey on here, as well as my social media platforms, and I’ll be utilizing the hashtag: #slayingsibo

I want to hit this head on, and I’m willing to do just about anything to #slaysibo.

xo

happily Haleigh

It’s been a minute!

Just a little update on what’s going on in the world of Haleigh!

(or 4 months, same thing)

Hey everyone!

Isn’t it kinda weird that we start off posts with salutations, as though we expect people to be reading these updates? I highly doubt many of you read these, but to those of you out there, hello, again 🙂

Well, I realized that I hadn’t posted since 2018 (oops, you all know I’m bad at this), so I thought it was HIGH TIME I wrote a little update on life!

Actually, quite a bit has happened since I last posted, so let’s break it down into some handy-dandy bullets:

  • Fitness update: I stopped adhering to a strict bulk. Ugh I know, I was so committed. Feel free to yell at me, but with my health issues, it was hard to keep up with. I have found that I am just not able/don’t want to go to the gym quite as often as necessary to stick to a proper bulk, and right now, I’m committed more to trying to listen to my body than a program.
    • In terms of fitness programs though, I’m going to start Meggan Grubb’s Peach Plan next week – has anyone else tried this?!
  • Health update: Still dealing with the SAME OLD ANNOYING ISSUES OMG HOW.
    • Endocrinologist – I started working with one, and we checked my pituitary for any tumors. We found a 2mm one, but she doesn’t seem to think that’s causing my hormonal imbalances (although, I still think this could be a possibility – anyone with any experience here?) Now she is sending me for ovarian and uterus ultrasounds since I haven’t had a period in 2 years.
    • Gastroenterologist – I started working with one of these – she basically told me I’m super backed up (duh, and sorry for the TMI), and I had to go through this super cleanse that they put you through before a colonoscopy. It was hell. AND it didn’t really even help. She’s having me take Miralax everyday, but I still have issues. This morning, I went in for a hydrogren breath test to test for SIBO – to be continued here…
    • General health issues I’m still dealing with:
      • No period
      • Hair loss (has stalled, so I’m hoping this was seasonal and hair starts growing back soon)
      • Acne
      • Weird, peeling skin on my face
      • Joint pain
      • Fatigue
      • Gastro issues
      • FUN FUN FUN
  • Career update: I STARTED A NEW JOB! In January, I started a new job at amazing consulting company in downtown Chicago. Honestly, this job has been a God-send. I struggled so much in finding a job with a company that I valued and respected, and a role that I somewhat enjoyed but also paid the bills (city living is expensive, ya know?). But this year, I found it! Everyone here has been so great, and I no longer dread going to the office everyday. It’s a great starting point, and I feel less stressed in my work life – MAJOR win.
  • Other life updates:
    • I’m still single
    • All my friends are getting married or having babies
    • I am enjoying new co-worker friends
    • I am BEYOND excited for Chicago summer
    • I’m trying to get back into practicing piano again
    • I’m so ready for my favorite show The Bold Type to come back like I cannot wait.
    • I’m looking forward to more life changes later this year!

Alrighty, that was short and sweet, but sometimes, in a world where we’re all “connected” on social media but don’t actually speak, it’s nice to write things out, in case you care to know anything about my life.

I sincerely hope you are doing well, and if you aren’t and you’re reading this, I want you to know that I am always willing to listen to any word vomit you may have. Let’s chat.

xo

Haleigh

Week 4 Update

Four weeks already?! Whaaaaa….. Crazy.

Anyway, I actually shared the below vlog a week or so ago now, so we’re actually in week 5. BUT, if you’re interested, check out the following vlog for a few little updates on how my bulk and health journey are going.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional vlogger, so please excuse the lack of quality! This was uncut and unedited because it was just what I was feeling and dealing with in the moment.

UPDATE SINCE THIS VIDEO:

  • Continue to deal with weight fluctuations – went all the way back down to 116lbs but now I’m stable around 120lbs.
  • Eating around 1850 per day – I’ll probably stay here for a bit just because I know I have the holidays and work travel coming up, and I’ll probably inherently end up eating more in those coming weeks – natural bulking :p
  • Still dealing with hair loss (obvi) and IT IS THE MOST ANNOYING.
  • I have a doctor’s appointment with a new endo next week – I am PRAYING that this doctor takes all of my past and current medical struggles seriously. Curious if anyone has experience knowing what thyroid tests to ask for? I know that you have to be really proactive with the information going into one of these appointments. Comment below if you have any tips!

So that’s the little update – enjoying bulking so far, taking it slow, trying not to freak out about all my health ailments and keep my stress in check which is virtually impossible because money sucks, life is hard, and health is silly LOL.

xx

happily haleigh

It’s bulking season… and *I guess* I’m here for it.

Hey hey hey! 

If you keep up with me on instagram, you probably saw a recent story of mine chatting about how I plan to do a bulk this winter, starting now.

Hey hey hey!

If you keep up with me on instagram, you probably saw a recent story of mine chatting about how I plan to do a bulk this winter, starting now.

Now, I’ve attempted to do bulks before, but have always stopped because my goals of having visible ab lines and no cellulite have outweighed any other motive. At the first sign of fat gain and fading cut lines, I’d stop, lower my calories again, and up my cardio, just continuing a vicious cycle.

However, I had a somewhat frightening wake up call the other day. I realized my once thick, full, crazy-curly hair has suddenly become EXTREMELY thin. I’m talking you can see my scalp in certain areas thin – something no 26 year old should be worrying about! Aside from this most recent symptom, I have been dealing with health issues the past year and a half now, things that I truly need to get sorted, and things that I hope this bulk will help with. Let me take you through some Haleigh history.

Here’s a quick snapshot of my health journey the past few years:

  • High-school: I was a stick, danced 6 hours a day, didn’t get my cycle until my senior year.
  • College: Stopped pretty much all physical activity, put on a good amount of fat, started getting my cycle every 3 weeks (annoying!) so I went on BC.
  • Post college, started doing some workouts like BBG, super basic things, etc.
  • August 2016 (after switching to a new BC that caused me extreme water retention to the point of pain), went off of BC because I was sick of hormones. I lost my period then (normal after going off of BC), but end up getting it back in January 2017.
  • October 2016: I was sick of being “skinny fat” and wanted to be a fit instagram gal. I stumbled across this amazing online trainer who preached about reverse dieting (adding more food and getting leaner, heck yes!). I reached out to him and started working with him for 6 months. This is what kicked off my fitness journey and I fell in love with weight lifting.
  • January 2017 (got my period back)
  • March 2017: My leanest point ever.march2017
    I was feeling on top of the world. I was up to eating 1800 calories a day. I felt great. Except for the fact that this is the point I lost my period, and have not had it since.
  • Moving forward from March 2017: I’ve dealt with continuing digestive issues, no cycle, hormonal acne, water retention, fluctuating weight, lack of energy, frequent injuries, pain, hair loss, now having to eat less, just feeling blah about life, etc. FUN FUN FUN.
    • I have had multiple sets of tests done including food sensitivities, hormone testing, neurotransmitter testing, and in a nutshell, I had developed a bunch of food sensitivities (although I have avoided them and I still don’t feel much better), my cortisol was/is so low that I don’t follow the typical rise and fall pattern (it’s just always in the basement no matter what time of day!) AKA adrenal fatigue, and my estrogen and progesterone is low.
    • I have tried progesteral creams (starting this again), herbs, supplements, you name it, and I’m still dealing with all this crap!

So, reluctantly, I have challenged myself to put on weight. Now, strangely, I’m not NEARLY as lean as I was when I lost my period (as you’ll see below), and I’m actually eating less food (sadly, at about 1650/1700 calories a day) because I probably did some damage to my metabolism after becoming so lean. So in theory, I feel like I should have enough BF to have my cycle again , but alas, that is not the case and I’ve been without it for over a year and a half now. My thought process is maybe I’m actually under-eating for my activity level, so my body thinks I’m starving myself so it’s holding on to weight/water it doesn’t need truly? Not sure. I might just need more food and nutrients to heal than I’m thinking, and I may just have to be okay with gaining some fat.

Gaining fat. Ugh. I know this sounds so vain, but when I worked with my trainer, I worked SO hard for the body I achieved, and I honestly will be so, so sad to watch that fade. I know I shouldn’t be so concerned with my appearance, but my body image has always been something I struggled with (that could be a whole separate post). So, sticking to this bulk and seeing my body go through changes I don’t necessarily want (added fat, cellulite, saying by to my abs, being fluffier), is going to be so difficult. And, I’m struggling because I’m not currently as lean as I would want to be before starting a bulk, but I guess that’s the issue that landed me here in the first place… Logically I know that I need to do it, but emotionally it is stressful.

I realize that this post and journey actually comes at an interesting time as today is World Mental Health Day. I want to verbalize that I know that much of my struggles are as much mental health struggles as they are physical health struggles. I own that, and hope that if anyone else is going through something similar, that you know you’re not alone!

 

Recently, I found the KK Fit twins (@kk_fit_) on instagram. They are so open and honest about their fitness journey, how they put on a good amount of fat on their bulk, and how they came out the other side and added healthy muscle and are now basically beasts in the gym. Seeing their progress, I bit the bullet and got their 10-week bulking guide, and honestly, they have been so supportive and interactive so far, even though they aren’t technically coaching me!

So following that 10-week guide with very slooooowly upping my calories, I hope to start healing myself this fall/winter, and if you’re interested, I’m going to be very rawly and openly documenting my journey with weekly updates right here, and possibly some vlogs. I’ll be uploading progress pics, weigh-ins, nutrition information, bullets on how I’m feeling/what I’m experiencing, and any  tips and tricks I discover along the way.

So to start off, here’s me, week 1 of the KK-Fit bulking guide and the first week of increasing my calories slightly.

Side note 1: I’m stressed posting these photos because I’m not happy. I personally feel I’m far from where I’ve been before, so I’m bummed, and stressed that I’m going to have to get even more uncomfortable with my appearance before it gets better.
Side note 2: Not looking for pity comments or “Haleigh you look great though!” comments, because we all live in our OWN reality, so all we need to do is support each other in how we feel 🙂
Side note 3: I’m flexing so hard in these lol. The light is helping, but I left these unedited for that #reality.
Side note 4: You can see that I just look kinda puffy – a lot of inflammation, a little fat from celebrations, but I guess I’ll need to get used to that!

P.S. Looking back at these pics, I noticed my little card that I have displayed “You are one badass female” and I really feel that I just need to vibe with that more, ya know???

Week 1 Calories: 1,750 a day || P: 113g || C: 200g || F: 55g

Weight: 124.9 lbs (already 4 lbs up from where I was averaging… again probably water retention). I also took measurements, but I’ll share those at a later date.

How I’m feeling: hesitant, already fluffier, trying to resist the urge to go do cardio as we speak, slightly sad, honestly stressed, but hopeful.

Alright y’all, that’s all for now! I’ll be updating my journey weekly! If you are or have gone through something similar, I would love to connect with you!

xx

happilyhaleigh