#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

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The Waiting Game… #slayingSIBO

Have you ever been told you’re a ruminator?

Well, I have been one all. my. life. I was born a type-A, worry wart of a child — truly, I tell you it’s a miracle I’ve made it to age 26 without becoming a total basket case. The self-induced stress I have put my body through has probably primed me for SIBO!

Have you ever been told you’re a ruminator?

(I’ll give you time to google “ruminate”)

Well, I have been one all. my. life. I was born a type-A, worry wart of a child — truly, I tell you it’s a miracle I’ve made it to age 26 without becoming a total basket case. The self-induced stress I have put my body through has probably primed me for SIBO!

At 26, almost 27, I will say that I have made VAST improvements in my almost obsessive ruminating behaviors. I mean, I no longer spend hours on hours on WebMD… just short half hour periods here and there (hey, old habits die hard, ya know?)

But I swear I’m not a hypochondriac – I am just innately in tune with my body, and I know when something’s not right. And finally, my persistence and “worry” has brought me some bonafide truth and answers.

Unfortunately, the time between when I received my test results and my follow-up with my doctor on Friday is a week. ONE WHOLE WEEK. Do you know how much time that is for me to think about this, worry about this, and GOOGLE THIS?

A lot. But the waiting game is to my favor, really, because I have been deep-diving into the world of SIBO and how I am about to kick this thing’s butt. Receiving this diagnosis can be overwhelming. The scarcity yet vastness of information on SIBO can be truly mind-boggling.

Because of this, I wanted to share a comprehensive short list of resources I’ve found in my research that I have found extremely helpful thus far incase anyone else feels lost in the midst of a SIBO diagnosis! I am by no means an expert (yet), but I’ve already learned a lot. I still want to do more research on more areas, and as I learn, I’ll post on the blog.

You can find that list HERE 🙂

While I wait for Friday to come (two more days!!), I have already started to make some changes in my life to start truly healing and get my life back. It’s amazing how news like this can really spur you to assess your life.

  1. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting this week – – thinking about what and who causes me stress, and better yet, what and who brings me joy.
  2. I’ve been extremely self-aware. I’ve taken care to notice every feeling and thought that I’ve experienced this week to help me notice things like stressors and dark places in my mind (so I can work on fixing them!)
  3. I made an appointment with a therapist – not for anything specific, but from what I’ve been reading, stress management will be VITAL in helping cure SIBO, and honestly, I’ve never really been that great at stress management… I like to think I’m a rockstar at suppressing it though 🙂
  4. DANCE PARTIES: Yes, I’ve started having a dance party to music I used to love in my teenage years (think Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers) every morning before I leave for work, and honestly it just MAKES. YOU. HAPPY. Try it.
  5. Gratitude. Through all of this, I’m trying to be grateful. I’m trying to be grateful for the fact that it could always be something worse, and I’m trying to be grateful for the fact that maybe this will lead me to a better quality of life in the long-run.

I know we all love a weekend, but especially this week, Friday can’t come soon enough!

I’ll be sure to update the blog after my appointment.

Until then,

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

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

 

 

At it again: GF/DF Banana Choco Chip Muffins!

After being so happy with how my GF/DF/refined sugar-free/low calorie delicious Zucchini Bread turned out, I had to try my hand at something else!

Luckily, I happened to have some persnickety bananas that decided to over-ripen far too quickly, and I, hating to be wasteful, had to find something to do with them! 

After being so happy with how my GF/DF/refined sugar-free/low calorie delicious Zucchini Bread turned out, I had to try my hand at something else!

Luckily, I happened to have some persnickety bananas that decided to over-ripen far too quickly, and I, hating to be wasteful, had to find something to do with them!

Like the zucchini bread, I LOVE my mama’s banana bread, so I decided, hey, the substitution recipe can’t be that different than zucchini!

And lemme tell ya sis, I was right. Another spot on recipe, and this was super quick and easy! I made them early in the morning and they were mixed, out of the oven and in my mouth in about 45 minutes. These muffins are full of banana-y goodness, with a hint of naughty from chocolate chips without all the calories, gluten or dairy 🙂 My cousin even said they taste like Panera’s – I’ll take the compliment!

 

Bananabread

If you have some unruly bananas lying around and an itch for some muffin goodness, take notes:

Bananabread-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mashed bananas (about 3-4 bananas)
  • 1/4 cup Truvia Nectar (or honey if you’re not trying to get the calories/sugar!)
  • 3 tablespoons egg whites (can sub for 1 large egg or flax egg if vegan)
  • 1/2 unsweetened applesauce (could use greek yogurt if not dairy free)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened nut milk of choice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I don’t measure this)
  • 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour (or whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour if you don’t mind gluten)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (can sub melted butter or vegan butter)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips! (I use Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips to keep it dairy free and no sugar added!)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Mix bananas, Truvia Nectar, eggs, nut milk, vanilla extract, coconut oil and applesauce until smooth. This an be done in a bowl with hand mixer or in a mixer if you own one!
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Next, add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Finally fold in the chocolate chips and mix again until well combined (leave a few to sprinkle on top later!)
  6. Pour into prepared muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes until tester comes out clean.
  7. Transfer to wire rack to cool and enjoy!

Nutritional Profile:

For 1 muffin:

Calories: 129 | Fat: 3.3g | Carbs: 25.9g | Fiber: 3.7g | Sugars: 9.1g | Protein: 2.6g

Nutritional Benefits:

Did you know that bananas pack some serious health benefits? Many people shy away from them because they are high in sugar and carbs, but they are HEALTHY sugars and carbs! Check out some main reasons of why I love bananas and you should too:

  1. Bananas provide so many vitamins! 
    • Potassium – supports blood pressure, cardiovascular health, bone strength and muscle strength
    • Vitamin B6 – helps maintain a healthy nervous system, helps boost mood, and helps create important antibodies
    • Vitamin C – helps fight against chronic disease, improves iron absorption and boosts immunity
    • Magnesium – ALL THE THINGS – energy creation, nervous system support, muscle movement, protein formulation, so important for woman issues!
    • FIBER – we all know why this is important 🙂
  2. They help moderate blood sugar levels
    • Anyone else deal with dizzy spells? Yeah, bananas are your friend, girl.
  3. Bananas can help with digestive health! (Hello dear friends ilysm)
    • Bananas contain pectin (although it decrease as they ripen), which is said to help prevent colon cancer.
    • Bananas contain resistant starch, which bypasses digesting and ends in the large intestine, feeding good gut bacteria.
  4. ANTIOXIDANTS!
    • Do I really need to talk about why we need these? (Let me know if we do, I’ll do a post!)

So, bake these yummy bad boys and feel no shame while devouring them!

Comment below if you try – would love to hear your thoughts!

xx

happily haleigh