Since many of you have opened up to me about your health journey, I wanted to share with you what I’ve been through to get to where I am today and what I’ve learned along the way. And I bet many of you will relate because so many of us experience some kind of hormonal imbalance, gut issue, uncontrollable craving, anxiety, and other health challenge.
It Started With the Pill
I believe a pivotal moment for me was when a doctor put me on birth control at age 18 to ease my severe menstrual cramps and help with my acne (which at the time wasn’t that bad, now that I look back on it). Anyone with debilitating cramps can probably empathize – I couldn’t function like a human being when I got my period. I would vomit, cry, squirm in bed to find a comfortable position while all of my muscles twisted painfully as if someone were squeezing the life out of my insides. And then when the cramps finally subsided, I would be so exhausted that I would pass out or be on the couch recovering for the rest of the day.
At the time, no one thought to investigate why I was having such painful periods. Without hesitating, my doctor gave me my prescription, which I took without question. I never knew there were other options – never even thought to ask. After a few years of being on the pill, I began to feel like I wasn’t myself anymore. The old me used to cry at sad commercials or want to go home and curl up in a ball when I saw a homeless person. On birth control, those things didn’t affect me anymore. I was beginning to surprise myself and others by my lack of emotion.
That’s when I decided that I wanted to be an emotional human again. Because what is life without emotion?
Somewhere down the line, I stumbled upon some material on the risks associated with birth control – depression, hair loss, blood clots, loss of libido, and a messy aftermath as well – post-pill acne, loss of period, and emotional chaos. I resolved to stop taking birth control after that. For a while, everything was fine and I thought I dodged a bullet. Boy, was I wrong!
The sh*t really hit the fan.
Cystic acne, weight gain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and loss of my period for four months. At the time I experienced all of these lovely side effects, I was abroad and I didn’t feel comfortable going to the doctor. I turned to food for comfort, morphing into Cookie Monster to stuff my face with cookies and cakes in the privacy of my room. Going out with friends caused a lot of anxiety because of my acne. I would walk down the street feeling like I was dragging a body that wasn’t mine.
The Path to Healing
I was approached by a stranger – a stranger, y’all – who commented on the state of my skin and gave me the name of a doctor who could help. At that point, I had spent hundreds of dollars on different products trying to find something that would ease my eruptive skin. I figured, what the hell, worth a shot. So I went. And it was another pivotal moment in my health journey, but this time a good pivot.
For an hour and a half, this doctor sat with me and discussed gut health, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, the importance of nutrition and exercise, and supplements like omega-3’s. I followed his advice to a T and in a month, lost most of the weight I had gained and saw my skin start to heal. My period came back and was surprisingly not painful – I could actually function in society!
When I returned to the States, I had a few different insurance plans over the years and was under the care of many different doctors. I can’t tell you how many times doctors wanted to put me back on birth control, refused to order tests I ask for, or told me to eat soy. I’ve even been prescribed anti-depressants to address my insomnia. I was beginning to feel like my doctors were working against me.
Becoming My Own Health Advocate
I went back to graduate school to study nutrition so that I could heal myself and help others heal. Now before I go to the doctor, I do my research – I have a list of questions to ask and know which lab tests I want. In educating myself, I know now that there are lots of paths to healing that don’t involve medications. You better believe that I will never take a pill again or slap a cream on my face without doing my research and seeking out alternatives that heal the source, not just the symptom.
Be your own advocate.
Doctors don’t always know what’s right for you. YOU have the answer and YOU have the power to find a provider that will listen to your concerns, present you with alternatives, and help you fix the root cause rather than cover up the issue with medications. Don’t get me wrong – Western medicine has a time and a place and sometimes medications are very necessary.
But if your doctor’s recommendations don’t sit well with you or align with your beliefs, I challenge you to ask for natural alternatives with little-to-no side effects. I challenge you to find a naturopath, a nutritionist, a health or life coach that will listen to your needs. Remember, it’s your life and it’s your right to achieve optimal health. Never stop asking questions and never stop advocating for your health. I am here for support if you need it.
My Gift to You
I want to thank you for reading my story, for being a loyal supporter of my blog and my nutrition practice, and for sharing your story with me. As a thank you, I’ve created a blood sugar balance guide to share with you. You don’t have to be insulin resistant to nurture your blood sugar health. Balancing your blood sugar can lead to more energy, prevent cravings, help with sleep, alleviate painful periods, and improve mood. Click the link below to download the guide. Enjoy!
Get my Blood Sugar Balance Guide.