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My personal healing plan – The Fitnessista

Sharing my strategy and how I’ve increased inflammation and resolved some health issues over the past year.

***Warning: this post contains red eyeball pictures. If that freaks you out, please feel free to skip this post! 

Hi friends! I hope that you’re having a great week. Ours has been spent slowly putting the house back together – I’ll share some pics of the new floors soon!- and getting ready for spring travel and adventures.

For today’s post, I wanted to share a bit more about my health journey over the past year and my plan.

Please keep in mind that I’m not a doctor, and this is not medical advice. If you’re struggling with your health, please reach out to your doctor and get the support you need. Also, please don’t take, “you’re going to have to live with this” for an answer. There have been a handful of times in our family where I was told that was the case and it was not true. Sometimes you need a third or fourth opinion, but someone is out there who can help you. You can heal, and you deserve to feel amazing.

This time last year, things went wacky with my eyes. It was a pretty stressful time – the Pilot was traveling a lot, it was dance competition season, and I had to do a few of the dance competitions, and the big Disney trip for the parade solo parenting. It was all fun stuff, but it was a lot. We were getting ready for our end-of-the-year party, planning for Liv’s first communtion, and I was pushing myself the hardest I’d ever pushed with strength training and intervals.

I don’t want to recap the entire story with my eyes – I have a post here, and a podcast episode here – but the nutshell version is that they were neon red for many weeks, and the multiple eye doctors had differing opinions on what caused it. At first they thought it was pink eye – I did antibiotics and it didn’t resolve, and kept coming back – and something had triggered it. The only thing that kept the inflammation down was very intense steriod drops. One doctor wanted me to take them for three to four months!

I kept getting different answers, and after seeing multiple eye doctors, and my PCP, who helped me do some digging, we learned a few things:

– I had blepharitis, which was inflammation of my eyelids, MGD (meibmoian gland dysfunction) and dry eye

– Two markers for Lupus came back positive (ANA and DS-DNA)

– Something was causing inflamamtion in my body

The Lupus thing kind of made sense to me. I’d had random stress rashes over the years, and sometimes my hands would ache. I figured it was because I spent so much time on my phone and typing. I felt low-energy, like all the sleep in the world wouldn’t make me feel rested, and had a hard time recovering from my workouts. I would do one really hard workout, and not be able to work out again for 3-4 days afterwards. I started to get sick more frequently… and when I had the flu, I was in bed for 9 days. I knew something was causing my immune system to be on high alert.

My hair was unpredictable. I wouldn’t lose hair for a while, and then all of a sudden, I’d be losing handfuls in the shower.

I got a referral to rheumatology, but decided to wait until I could do some functional testing, and see if I could find some answers. While I knew that this was going on in my body, no one could tell me WHY. Why did it happen so suddenly? What was causing my eyes to flare so frequently? Why was I a host for blepharitis?? Since I wasn’t in any dire cirumstances, I decided to create an action plan to see if I could get the inflammation down.

I’m 100% symptom-free, and have been since the end of December. When we re-did my blood work at my PCP in December, both Lupus markers were negative. (A lil note: I didn’t *cure* myself from Lupus. I was never diagnosed because I didn’t go to rheumatology.) Honestly, every day I hold my breath a little when I wake up and check my eyes. When I wake up, they’re bright, clear, I can wear contacts again, I no longer have joint pain, and I wake up with energy.

While I’m still working to heal myself and find balance with my body, I feel really thankful that things have improved so much. When you’re working to heal yourself, it’s important to remember that it’s not a quick fix!! It can take years to repair, but your body does want to heal. <3

My personal healing plan

Here’s what I did, and what I’m doing currently:

No gluten or dairy:

– I started reading and researching as much as possible regarding autoimmune conditions and Lupus. ALL of the books I read had a common theme: get rid of gluten and dairy. I cut them both out last July – have only had them a handful of times since then – and noticed an immediate improvement. I honestly don’t even miss them that much because there are so many amazing gf and dairy-free recipes and options at restaurants, and because I feel so much better without them. (I’m working on a gluten-free sourdough and will post the recipe when it’s perfect!)

Functional testing:

– Since I finished my IHP2 certification last year, I ran some tests on myself. I did a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, Candida, Metabolic and Vitamins test, and an IgG food sensitvity test. From here, I could see how stress had depleted my body, so I could work on rebuilding my mineral levels.

I learned that I had high levels of bacteria, candida, and yeast markers, as well as multiple nutrition deficiences that I could work to repair. I also had some food sensitvities to avoid while I started to heal my gut.

Journaling for trends:

– I kept notes of everything in my phone. When I had a flare – my eyes would start to itch, become super red, and watery – I noted my food intake that day. I started to become aware of a common theme: histamines.

Histamine load:

– Histamine was a huge lightbulb moment for me. It wasn’t just high-histamine foods that triggered my eyes, it was a compound effect of histamines and allergens. The worst flares – the April one and the one in August – were the result of multiple things. In April, I’d been out gardening all day and didn’t wear sunglasses. It was windy, and the dirt and pollen were flying into my eyes. We went to the movies, where I had an enormous black tea; I’ve learned now that black and green tea are HUGE triggers for me. One I cut them out, my life changed. The good news is that I can still have coffee 😉

This is why I can have some high-histamine foods here and there, but am just mindful of my histamine load throughout the day.

Gut repair and healing protocols:

– Gut repair. I’m doing the CBO protocol right now to heal my gut. It’s 12 weeks long and while it was a little challenging at first, I feel amazing. I can definitely share a recap of my experience with CBO.

– I’ve been eating a lot of veggies, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats (I have an avocado or fatty fish most days of the week), and have been eating more beans than I have in my entire life. I’m also having way more potatoes (so good with Kerrygold butter and Redmond’s salt) and root veggies.

– I’ve done the parasite protocol – parasites live in biofilm, just like the bacteria in my gut and the demodex that was in my eyes!- so I wanted to clear it out. This protocol is an easy one.

Exercise:

– Since last year, I’ve only done strength training and low-impact workouts. I finally feel like I can push up the weights again, and build on more intense cardio. I think cardio is great for us, but when you’re in a state of high stress, it can be helpful to scale back.

– Here’s what my routine currently looks like:

F45 twice a week (only strength or hybrid days)

Barre once or twice a week

Hot yoga once a week

Peloton or Sculpt Society for cardio once a week

Daily walks or a hike

Detox:

– I’ve kept up with my quarterly functional detoxes, and have made an effort to reduce toxins in our house. We got these amazing shower filters, continue to filter our drinking water, and also got rid of our couch and carpet because they tested positive for mold. I keep up with my sauna blanket, dry brushing, and castor oil packs, too.

Nervous system regulation:

– This can have such a huge impact on healing. When my eyes first flared, I was SO incredibly stressed. I didn’t sleep for many weeks because I was up all night Googling my symptoms and crying. This was 100% what I should not have done, but I couldn’t help myself. I had to start to tell myself that I was going to get better, my eyes were going to heal, and I was going to be ok.

I started to make more time for stillness and have stopped trying to fill every moment of every day. I’ve made sleep even more of a priority and aim for 8 hours each night, 9-10 hours on the weekends. I pray every day and meditate on the PEMF Go Mat while I do my eye mask; it’s such a relaxing treat.

While nervous system regulation has been the most challenging aspect of all of this, and I still have a LONG ways to go, I’m proud of myself for making strides this year.

It looks like a lot when I type it all out, but this has been building and evolving over the past year. It’s all just a part of life now and is inherent; I don’t have to really think about it anymore. As I’ve learned more and as I’ve continued to heal, I’ve made adjustments to the plan. I’m just looking forward to our next trip to Europe when I’m not worried about my eyes the entire time 😉

Thanks for making it this far and for sticking with me over here. While I was in the depths of this, I was at a low point. All of you were a bright spot in my day.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them!

If you’re curious about functional testing, email me gina@fitnessista.com subject: TESTING

Have a great day and I’ll see you soon!

xoxo

Gina

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