Friday, February 15, 2013

New Eating Plan: Goals

Warning: I'm opening up here...it's personal and it's not easy, so here goes nothing...

I have a couple goals that I am looking to achieve with a new eating plan. Some are physical and some are mental, but all are part of being the best version of myself possible. That means being healthy, happy, and in tune with what my body needs.

First and foremost, I have alopecia and I have been having a little flair up over the last month. This means that I have two perfectly round bald spots on my head. One isn't very noticeable, but the other one is and it is embarrassing and takes a stab at my confidence. As a woman, hair is a very important part of my appearance and when you see it fall out, it's scary.  I have had to change the way I wear my hair to ensure that it is covered and I have my stylist do a series of blonde highlights around the area to make it less noticeable. I have also been treating the spot with castor oil, which is said to help hair growth (I also put it on my eyebrows). In the past I have had plenty of other medical treatments to stop the hair loss, but since this flair up isn't severe, I am going to try to deal with it in other ways, mainly nutrition and supplements.
Re-growth from an former episode. 
I have also been having some other weird symptoms that I just thought were random, but after getting some advice from professionals, they suspect they may be food allergies.  Have you ever gotten hot ears? Every couple weeks, I get really hot and irritated ears in the evenings. I also occasionally get really red hands. I am a cleaning fanatic, and I have to ensure the kitchen is completely clean before I go to bed, so I attributed the red hands to hot water and cleaning supplies, but again....it may not be the case.

In conjunction with nutrition, I am having a whole host of tests done at the doctor to see what is going on with my hormones/liver/nutrient balance. I've had some tests done before, but here's crossing my fingers that this time we find out what is going on and I am able to get some insight on what is happening and how to treat and heal the symptoms. 

As someone who prides themselves in living a healthy life, I find this very frustrating. I eat pretty healthy, I exercise, I don't smoke, I am conscious of harmful chemicals....why me? When your body starts to do things without an explanation, it's tough. I want to know what's going on, why my body isn't functioning in the way it was designed to. 

Secondly (I actually feel really stupid writing this), I would like to lose a couple pounds. I know that I am a healthy/normal weight, but I hate the feeling of always wishing I was just a little leaner and less "fluffy" in some parts of my body (I'm looking at you thighs). Over the past couple years, I have very gradually lost a little weight and I am happy with the way I look, but I am always curious about how I would look a couple pounds lighter. Could I get some ab definition? Could I get the confidence to wear something I normally would shy away from? Would I feel confident in a swimsuit instead of slightly terrified? Who knows. I'm not saying that losing a couple pounds will make me happier, but I'm saying that I want to be the best version of myself that I can. I live in this body, and I may as well make it fabulous, right? 

Thirdly, I am training for a marathon. I generally eat pretty healthy, but when I increase my mileage, I don't always refuel correctly. My mindset when I burn an extra couple hundred calories is that those are "free for all" calories that I use for something I normally wouldn't eat. That's stupid, right? My body is doing something really amazing and I'm not giving it high quality nutrition. Another issue I have with increasing my mileage is eating the idea of eating a lot of carbohydrates. I just don't like that idea. The idea of gaining weight while putting in a ton of work into my running, sounds like a pretty terrible combination. I am not an experienced runner or a nutritionist, so enlisting a professional made sense. I may make decisions out of my out messed up rationale and personal agenda, but a nutritionist has a much better understanding of the body's needs and I want that assistance. 

Fourthly, I have a sweet tooth. Some of it is physical craving, and some of it is mental, but it exists, and it needs to be put into perspective. I get away with making lots of sugar free treats and combos using stevia, but I still think that it's something that needs to be addressed. Eating sweets makes me crave sweets, and I want to have a bit more control. 

So, just to recap: 

Goals of Working with a Nutritionist and Trying a New Eating Plan: 

1. Figure out what is going on with my body. Do I have allergies/hormonal imbalances? Address them! 
2. Look smoking hot
3. Run a marathon and fuel/refuel my body properly
4. Show the Sweet Tooth who's boss

I have had a lot of people reach out to me throughout the years about alopecia and I haven't really found the right solution. I think I am fine for a couple months and then I suddenly see a little spot start to form. I can recommend hair growth shampoo and different products that help with re-growth, but I can't help with the cause or prevention.  Obviously the above reasons are very personal, and sharing what I'm eating and not eating opens up a door for criticism and questions. I'm okay with that. I'm sharing because I may find input, support, inspiration, and even some constructive comments. On the other hand, I may find out some interesting things about my condition that may help others.

Do you or a family member have food allergies? How did you find out? 
Additional questions....? If you have a personal question/comment/experience, you are always welcome to email me. 

27 comments:

Kelly Janowski said...

I can't believe we haven't discussed this yet. I have alopecia as well. Lost most of my hair as a kiddo and my mom had to take me to get my haircut at a place where they would artfully style around the missing patches. They told my mom it was stressed induced (because apparently being 5 is really stressful). I have hair now (obv) but I still have a weird hairline where it grew back.


Self-conscious hair people unite!


I hope the new regime helps. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Bethany said...

I really respect you for being so open, for starters, but even more so for going to see a nutritionist and doctor. I think a lot of people are very quick to consult Google, M.D. (or even worse, Random Blog I Read Occasionally, M.D.) and self-diagnose their issues and self-prescribe their solution based on information that works for others. Being human, we all obviously have a lot in common as far as nutritional needs go (we all need minerals, vitamins, fat, carbohydrates, protein, etc.), but the specifics of exactly how much we need are so individualized that I think it's much better to see someone who actually can tailor a plan to you rather than do something because it worked for someone else. I hope this experience helps you out!

Lindsay said...

As you know, I have quite a few food allergies that appeared in my early 20's. It's incredibly frustrating when all of a sudden the foods you were eating (and are healthy!) start causing your body to do strange things. I ended up seeing a naturopath/nutritionist and had a ton of labs done that pointed to food allergies. After cutting out the culprits, I seriously feel like a new person. It's amazing how much better I feel! I hope that you're able to figure something out that works for you and if you ever want to talk or bitch about food allergies, let me know :).

Dana said...

Love your honesty! I hope these changes help you figure things out. I also totally 'get' your other reasons. I'm not running a marathon but I have trouble fueling after crossfit a I don't eat meat.

kelsey said...

I love your honesty. I know this post must have been difficult to write. You are the best and I love you so much for it.

Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian said...

Wow - thank you for being so honest and open. I had a friend I went to school with who has alopecia. She started losing her hair in elementary school and by the time she was in middle school it was completely gone, and still is. She wore a hat for a very long time, but in college she let it go and totally embraced her baldness. Her case was very serious (no hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, body hair) so I can't offer much advice, but I hope that you can get a handle on it. You're so beautiful either way! :)

Alexandria Strielkauskas said...

i love that you are so honest and don't mind sharing it (one of the reasons i love your blog) I completely understand wanting to loose a couple pounds too. I feel that way as well ( hello abs! ) and i've expressed it before and get crazy reactions from people. These kind of things make me hesitant to share my goals with people because a lot of people just don't get it. At the end of the day you should strive to make your body fab for you. Thanks for sharing :)

Katie @ Peace Love & Oats said...

I'm sure it was hard to share all of this, but I'm so glad you opened up. I know I always feel so much better when I do, and the support is great! I feel you with confusing symptoms and no real solution, I'm hoping to go back to an endocrinologist to get some things figured out but food wise, I'm calling it IBS and trying my best to manage the symptoms for now. I'm really interested to hear about the nutritionist though, how she determines what you need and where you found her! Definitely something I'd consider doing.

Traci said...

It awesome that you are honest about what is happening with you and your body, and being proactive on finding out why! I found out almost 3 years ago I was allergic to gluten and weirdly still find myself embarrassed to talk about, and I cringe when my Husband or Mother annouce it to anyone and everyone. I have no idea why I feel this way, considering I feel a million times better now that I have been off gluten for a good amount of time. Its amazing sometimes when you figure out what your body is telling you it needs! Sending postive vibes your way and I hope you find what you and your body need to be 100%!

Jaime said...

I have suffered with recurrent alopecia areata most of my life, so I appreciate this post so much! Keep us updated on the progress/improvement!

Sierra said...

I'm getting the vibes...thank you! It's amazing how food can totally affect your health. If you think about it, it is the fuel that creates the whole body and clearly each body has different needs.

Sierra said...

I am thankful EVERY SINGLE DAY that I only have small spots. My problem is nothing compared to other cases I've seen. Embracing baldness would be a challenge for me. Your friend is amazing. Thanks for the flattery...I'll take it!

Sierra said...

I think we all know that I only put up flatting photos of myself. I have mastered the iphone skinny angle. I carry most of my weight in my lower half and I agree that sometimes my arms and chest look really small. Obviously, I am my own biggest critic and I just know how good it felt to be a couple lbs thinner (like I was at my wedding).


Yes! Liquid stevia is great in hot drinks. I have been heating up almond milk and adding a couple drops of chocolate stevia for a pretend hot cocoa. Plain chobani-liquid stevia-strawberries-walnuts.

Sierra said...

Everyone is complicated....why not just be honest? Feels better.

Sierra said...

Thanks Bethany. I feel like everyone likes to have their two cents. I've heard everything from it's an egg white allergy to I just need to relax. I want to try to understand what's going on and I'm willing to invest my time and money into figuring it out.

Sierra said...

Hey fellow alopecia friend! Glad I was able to connect with so many people with the same issue. Hopefully I will find out what's going on and share some insights

Sierra said...

Thanks Maggie! I don't mean to analyze your body (you started it...), but you have clearly lost quite a bit of weight over the past couple years through your pictures and you look great. Were you actively trying or did it just come off naturally with your running?


I have a trick for skin...I will tell you in person. It's extreme...


Luckily, it appears I am fine with dairy, but soy may be a culprit. Cheese stays...tofu has to go. I'm okay with that!

Sierra said...

Everyone says it's stress induced! I was stressed the first time I had a bad episode, but I feel great now...so that logic isn't making sense. Have you gotten a patch since the first episode?

Sierra said...

Everyone has been so nice...support is great and I feel like everyone has their own issues and battle with eating and fitness. Bodies are SOO confusing. I feel as I get older I am so much more in tune with my body and I know that something is up...


We will chat...Maria is great!

Sierra said...

Thanks Alexandria! I know that everyone has their own view of their body and others and it's hard to judge with clothes and photos. I simply want to be the best version of myself while I am young. I really appreciate your support...go get those abs! I'm cheering you on!

Sierra said...

Thanks! Luckily, the things she suspects I have allergies from are not "biggies". I would be seriously pissed off if I was allergic to eggs and coconut, so your bitching is allowed.

Livehalffull said...

My cousin just found out she's allergic to corn and she's also Celiac. It's been pretty crazy to hear about her allergies. She found out through testing.


When I was a kid I was allergic to red food coloring. It was a tough one as a kid!

Backpackbee said...

Hang in there! You have an amazing figure and eat very healthy (from the looks of the blog). I think you are doing all the right things. In the end you have to be happy with your choices and life. If you think you need to loose a few to be happy... then do it.. just do it in a healthy way.

As for your gorgeous locks of hair, I'm so very sorry that you occasionally have to go through that. I have you in my thoughts and prayers that this nutritionalist can pinpoint an underlying cause of the fair-ups.

Christina said...

um, we win the most honest/brave bloggers awards of the week, don't we!? appreciate the honesty girlfriend. i know what you mean about being thin but still wanting to lose a couple. it's hard for us petite girls bc a couple pounds on us shows a lot more than it does on someone bigger/taller. i have been struggling to lose about 2-3 pounds for months. it's frustrating. i'm sure with your new plan that you will be feeling amazing in no time!! xo and good luck!

Lori said...

First off, kudos to you for being open and honest. It can be scary to reveal our insecurities in such a public forum. I pray you get nothing but positive support and encouragement in response.

I can completely relate to your desire to be just a couple of pounds lighter. I seem to never be satisfied when I hit a goal and always figure I can go just five pounds more. Maybe working with a nutritionist will help you to better gauge what your best weight is for your body type and activity level. I look forward to reading about what you learn.

And don't even get me started on the sweet tooth. I know I am an emotional eater and I truly need to get a handle on that. So many other issues would work themselves out if I could just reign this in.


Best of luck to you!

Kelly Janowski said...

No, it's mostly cleared up. It's been a long time since I had an actual missing spot (maybe college?), but my hair line is still very strange. I tended to lose behind my ears and right at my hairline on my forehead.

marciaelise said...

It took courage to share such a personal piece of yourself, and for that I thank you. As a blogger it is difficult to bare such a private part of your life. First, you have AMAZING hair - I seriously have hair envy - its so gorgeous, and long! Second, while it feels trivial, weight loss (no matter the amount) will prompt feedback (wanted or not). Personally I've learned to do what's best (and healthiest) for my body, after all you have to live in your skin. I'm constantly striving to better a version of myself, and weight loss is always on the list - I fell better, have more confidence, and make better food choices. Third, nutritionist is the smartest thing to do. I began seeing one earlier this year for the exact reasons! While I'm still learning (and fighting her on the carb issue, lol), I've noticed a true difference in my overall hunger/full and mindful choices, especially pre run (which is my downfall b/c I rarely eat anything b/f an am run - sensitive tummy). I wish you the best of luck on your journey, and thanks again for sharing :)

-Marcia
http://yeartwenty-nine.blogspot.com/

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