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Starting in high school, I began to experience severe abdominal pain with every other period. The pain was so intense that I frequently had to visit the ER and I later found out that this pain was caused by ovarian cysts. This went on for a few years, getting progressively worse and worse. During this time, I was also dealing with digestive issues like getting nauseous after meals and having bowel problems. I eventually had my gallbladder removed and during surgery they checked my ovaries, that’s when the doctors discovered a cyst the size of a softball that completely engulfed one of my ovaries. They tested the cyst for endometriosis, which came back positive, explaining the constant pain I was having in my back and throughout my body, all the way up to my chest.
During this time, my mom was (and still is!) an avid listener of the Dishing Up Nutrition podcast. Six months after my surgery, I decided to start listening and was completely drawn into the nutrition information that was shared in each episode. I tried eating the Weight & Wellness Way on my own after learning about it from the podcast and eventually signed up for the Online Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program. Listening to the podcasts before taking the class helped me connect the dots and get started on my own eating plan. Then the class taught me about proper portion sizes and helped me manage my eating better.
I loved that the program included two one-hour nutrition consultations and I met with my nutritionist, Melanie, over the phone. She quickly pinned down my hormonal and digestive issues and put me on a low-FODMAP diet (FODMAPS are a group of fermentable carbs that are known for triggering digestive issues like bloating, gas and stomach pain and are found in a wide range of food).
After eating the low-FODMAP diet for three or four months, my system started to repair itself and the weight started to come off. I am able to be more intuitive with when I am actually hungry. I feel more comfortable with grocery shopping on my own, and more knowledgeable about what food I should be putting in my body and how to create my own recipes. I switched from drinking pop in the afternoon to drinking sparkling water, and found that I no longer needed my afternoon pop for sugar and caffeine since I was eating frequently and my energy was much better. Secondary to my weight loss was the turnaround in my mental health that had suffered due to the hormonal swings from my endometriosis. My anxiety and depression are gone, and I’m able to manage stress more easily. Plus, I’ve only had one or two ovarian cysts in the past three years.
Because of my history with endometriosis, I was worried I would have fertility issues. I continued to have phone consultations with Melanie every couple months. I love the follow-up nutrition counseling packages. For me, it replaces going to the doctor to get antibiotics or prescriptions. It helps keep me on track. Meeting with Melanie helps me continue to improve my health and see what is not working and what we need to readdress. I am so happy to say that the first time I tried, I got pregnant! I am currently 29 weeks and I believe that eating well before my pregnancy has helped me to maintain a healthy weight gain during my pregnancy.
McKayla was able to end endometriosis pain and anxiety with the power of nutrition education and personal support. Sign up for the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program today and be on your way to improved health. The 12-week program is available in-person or online and includes two one-hour consultations with a licensed nutritionist or dietitian.
Find more tips and advice on hormones, PCOS and fertility in these additional articles to get you started on the path to better health!