Friday, December 12, 2014

Finding a Doctor Who Listened to My Symptoms

I've been getting a lot of messages from people who relate to my symptoms and want to find out what steps they need to take to find answers. By sharing my journey, I hope to help you guys uncover what is ailing you and help heal your body. 

I MUST emphasize that you have to be willing to be your biggest advocate and willing to LEARN, read, research. Don't simply rely on the advice of one doctor...especially if they aren't listening to you or brushing you off. And when you do find a great doctor, I recommend educating yourself if you do have a Thyroid condition (I'm much more likely to follow through when I understand the "why" behind lifestyle changes like going Gluten-Free).

For the past few years, I haven't been feeling quite like myself. Despite eating clean and working out daily, my results were not matching my efforts. For 5 months, I poured my HEART and SOUL into eating healthy and dedicating myself 100% to my workouts. It's not only demoralizing and frustrating when you don't see's kinda heartbreaking. 

You know it's bad when your significant other says, 
"Wow, you really aren't seeing results- are you eating meals I don't know about?
PS Jay is 100% supportive and would love me no matter. I was starting to feel like I was crazy or just being a big baby until he confirmed that this wasn't right. Something was going on with my body.

I know I am not overweight- but I am heavier than I've ever been and it's physically uncomfortable. I love my body and I think I have a beautiful figure- but it's frustrating when my body isn't responding to workouts and clean eating like it has in the past.
Weight aside...I just don't feel like myself.  I'm normally a laid-back, optimistic, happy, friendly girl. For the last two years, all of that changed.
When out with friends or talking to clients, I can channel the "old happy Kati" but it usually leaves me completely exhausted.
I am, by nature, a very introverted girl...but it started progressing to a whole other level with anxiety & depression.

I started writing down my symptoms...even the symptoms that my primary doctor would brush off.  She tell me, "Come see me if it gets any worse." IS worse..that's why I'm here... LOL

  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Insomnia (Trouble both falling asleep and stay asleep)
  • Tired even after 12+ hours of sleep
  • Low Energy. Tired easily
  • Weakness
  • Stress or pressure exhausts me
  • Stressed out easily (normally a laidback person)
  • Depressed for no reason
  • Loss of Ambition
  • Feeling overwhelmed by Tasks
  • Mood Swings
  • Anxiety
  • Cries easily/randomly
  • Easily angry and irritable
  • Restless
  • Always thirsty! Even after drinking a gallon + of water daily
  • Yawn often
  • Sensitive to Sound and Bright Light
  • Migraines (once a month or more)
  • Mental Fog
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Procrastination
  • PMS x100
  • Painful Cramps
  • Poor Memory & Concentration
  • Stomach Pain Daily
  • Acid Reflux
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating- I looked 6 months pregnant!
  • Hair Loss
  • Low Libido
  • Intense Sugar and Carb Cravings
  • Nausea after Meals
  • Always Cold- Especially my Feet
  • Weight Gain no matter what I do or eat
  • I start to feel awake and have energy at 7pm
  • Brittle Nails
  • Don't feel like myself
Dang, I'm exhausted just typing that out and shocked that Jay has endured the "sick Kati" for so long now! The man is a saint. After my doctor brushed me off, I just dealt with it. I thought...ok I'm getting older...this is how things are supposed to be...I have to soldier through. Truth be told, I look back and had some of these symptoms for as long as I could remember...other symptoms I can pinpoint starting TEN years ago!

For example: I've always had migraines, even as a child. I remember crying in bed because head hurt so bad. But my dad got migraines so I thought I just inherited them.

Insomnia: my parents have never had good/consistent sleep patterns...another issue I thought I inherited.

Fatigue: I worked YEARS in retail with crazy work schedule and lack of sleep. I'm a very ambitious person so I secretly loved being tired because I felt like it meant I was working hard.  

It wasn't until my stomach pain and nausea started back in 2012 that I started to look for answers.
I would eat something and within 5 minutes...I would be doubled over in pain. OR I would have a protein shake and be so nauseous that I had to lay down.
I tried to avoid foods that made me sick, but it felt like everything was making me sick. 

In April of 2012, I moved across the country and moved into an apartment with my love. So many life changes! I quit my job to pursue Beachbody full-time, I was in a new relationship, and we moved in together right away.

I LOVE my own space (again I'm an introvert) so when I moved from my 3 Bedroom house in a one-bedroom apartment in a brand new was a big adjustment for me.

Jay & I struggled in the beginning because I would have terrible mood swings, anxiety, depression, I would get angry over anything and everything or just burst out crying.  I chalked it up to the changes...moving to a new relationship...starting Beachbody full time...getting a puppy (Baby Bear!)

Finally in 2013, Jay said enough is enough! I needed to figure out what was going on with me- every single day I felt sick, had a stomach ache or was depressed.

Finding a Doctor:

The thought of even finding a doctor was overwhelming to me so I kept putting it off. Finally, our friend Barbie Decker shared her story and results after consulting Sagi Kalev, the creator of Body Beast.  Sagi is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist ANDDD a professional bodybuilder and fitness model.
Sagi was amazing and the first person to really listen to me. He told me that no symptom was too small and encouraged me to share everything about how I was feeling. It was the first time I felt HEARD...the first time I felt like I could stop sweeping symptoms under the rug or rationalizing them. 
If you'd like to find out more about what he does and/or schedule a consultation, you can visit his site:

Here's where I am a total dork.  I did bloodwork with Sagi...but never followed through! One of my symptoms is anxiety, feeling completely overwhelmed, and stressed out about things so I put it off. 

I realized that it would be helpful to work with someone local, so I tried to find a doctor in Pittsburgh.  In the meantime, we were thinking about moving to Tampa...and ending up finding a house MONTHS before I thought we would again...I put things on hold. 
Luckily, my good friend here in Tampa connected me with her doctor and recommended his office.

Dr Springer at LifeWorks Wellness Center 

My first visit with him was almost two hours. We discussed all of my symptoms, my history and what led up to this point.

We blood work, a stool test and muscle testing.

His initial assessment was that I have (to the best of my memory)
  • Leaky Gut 
  • Food Sensitivities 
  • Hormonal Imbalance 
  • My Liver was being taxed 
  • My immune system was compromised
  • Mold and yeast in my gut 
  • And I wasn't absorbing nutrients from my food properly. 

  • After 6 weeks, we got the blood work and stool test back. All of that was confirmed PLUS they discovered I have parasites (specifically Trichinosis aka the "Pork Worm

  • AND biggest of all, I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's. 
If you think you have a Thyroid disorder, make sure they not only test Thyroid (T3 and T4 levels) but ALSO the ANTIBODIES

Ok, so here are my test results...and Im sure it looks confusing but
  • T3 was 2.4 (normal range 1.8 - 4.6) 
  • T4 was 0.86 (normal was 0.9 - 1.7) 
Those were considered low but "normal"

  • Thyroid Peroxidase was OVER 600 (normal less than 35!) 
  • Thyroglobulin was 475.6 (normal is less than 115!)

Finding a Doctor:No matter what I need, I always go based on recommendations whether it's a nail salon...contractor or doctor lol

When looking for a doctor, start by asking around and see if any local friends can refer you.

You can also look up Endocrinologists, naturopathic, or holistic doctors in your area.

I highly HIGHLY highly recommend finding a doctor that will help you get to the ROOT CAUSE of the issue instead of just prescribing meds. 
Your first doctor visit should be between 1-2 hours. They should want to sit down with you and go through your history and symptoms. It typically costs about $250 for that first consult if you go to a holistic doctor, naturopath or functional medicine doctor. To be honest, MOST of the places I've had great experiences do NOT accept insurance.
In total, I've spent about $3500 so far on my diagnosis and healing.  It's not pocket change, but our health is our most greatest asset!

If you think you might have Hashimoto's, PLEASE get to the doctor! If it's left untreated...your thyroid could be destroyed and you would develop HYPOTHYROIDISM...meaning your thyroid cannot produce enough thyroid hormone and you would need to be on medicine for the rest of your life.

I also recommend snagging this book:

Disclaimer:  This information is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your condition.

Monday, December 1, 2014

I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Some of you know that I've been on a journey this year to figure out what's going on with my body.
Sometimes I felt like a crazy person and would think to myself, "I'm FINE stop being a baby" but it's tough feeling like complete poo. I haven't been myself.  Which is why I've all but stopped blogging. I used to be on here 5x a week AT LEAST- sharing recipes, workouts and fun ideas...but it's been such a challenge to find my mojo again. 

My symptoms:
- crazy bloating 
- extreme fatigue
- weight gain
- always cold 
- mood swings (sorry babe)
- nausea
- patches of dry skin 
- funky sleep patterns 
- migraines
- Muscle achiness
- Brain Fog 
- very painful cramps on my period

Starting to connect the dots- my body has been trying to tell me something. I've been working with a holistic doctor here in Florida and found out I have leaky gut, food sensitivities, mold & yeast in my gut along with a parasite! (eek!), hormonal imbalance, and most life-changing of all...I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease. Basically, Hashimotos is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid.

I was really sad because autoimmune diseases scare the CRAP out of me. They are common in my family, and I've been trying to do everything RIGHT to stay healthy. BUT I'm using this as an opportunity to learn and grow. I have an incredible GIFT...a PLATFORM to share what I learn to help others who are experiencing the same struggles.

Part of my treatment is transitioning into a GLUTEN FREE lifestyle. I'm reading and researching like a mad scientist over here. The mailman is going to love me because I just ordered 50 lbs of thyroid book & cookbooks books! haha

Researching & Reading like crazy!
I'll be sharing what I learn & creating a GF Accountability Group (to help ME stay on track) If that is something you feel might benefit you or if you have similar symptoms, please reach out to me or request to join here!

A friend send this to me
Hi. My name is Hashimoto's. I'm an invisible autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid gland causing you to become hypothyroid.
I am now velcroed to you for life. If you have hypothyroidism, you probably have me. I am the number one cause of it in the U.S. and many other places around the world.
I'm so sneaky--I don't always show up in your blood work.
Others around you can't see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me.
I can attack you anywhere and any way I please.
I can cause severe pain or, if I'm in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over.
Remember when you and energy ran around together and had fun?
I took energy from you, and gave you exhaustion. Try to have fun now.
I can take good sleep from you and in its place, give you brain fog and lack of concentration.
I can make you want to sleep 24/7, and I can also cause insomnia.
I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else feels normal.
I can also give you swollen hands and feet, swollen face and eyelids, swollen everything.
I can make you feel very anxious with panic attacks or very depressed. I can also cause other mental health problems. You know crazy mood swings? That's me. Crying for no reason? Angry for no reason? That's probably me too.
I can make your hair fall out, become dry and brittle, cause acne, cause dry skin, the sky is the limit with me.
I can make you gain weight and no matter what you eat or how much you exercise, I can keep that weight on you. I can also make you lose weight. I don't discriminate.
Some of my other autoimmune disease friends often join me, giving you even more to deal with.
If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away from you. You didn't ask for me. I chose you for various reasons:
That virus or viruses you had that you never really recovered from, or that car accident, or maybe it was the years of abuse and trauma (I thrive on stress.) You may have a family history of me. Whatever the cause, I'm here to stay.
I hear you're going to see a doctor to try and get rid of me. That makes me laugh. Just try. You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively.
You will be put on the wrong medication for you, pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given anti-anxiety pills and antidepressants.
There are so many other ways I can make you sick and miserable, the list is endless - that high cholesterol, gall bladder issue, blood pressure issue, blood sugar issue, heart issue among others? That's probably me.
Can't get pregnant, or have had a miscarriage?
That's probably me too.
Shortness of breath or "air hunger?" Yep, probably me.
Liver enzymes elevated? Yep, probably me.
Teeth and gum problems? TMJ?
Hives? Yep, probably me.
I told you the list was endless.
You may be given a TENs unit, get massaged, told if you just sleep and exercise properly I will go away.
You'll be told to think positively, you'll be poked, prodded, and MOST OF ALL, not taken seriously when you try to explain to the endless number of doctors you've seen, just how debilitating I am and how ill and exhausted you really feel. In all probability you will get a referral from these 'understanding' (clueless) doctors, to see a psychiatrist.
Your family, friends and co-workers will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and just how debilitating I can be.
Some of them will say things like "Oh, you are just having a bad day" or "Well, remember, you can't do the things you use to do 20 YEARS ago", not hearing that you said 20 DAYS ago.
They'll also say things like, "if you just get up and move, get outside and do things, you'll feel better." They won't understand that I take away the 'gas' that powers your body and mind to ENABLE you to do those things.
Some will start talking behind your back, they'll call you a hypochondriac, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity trying to make them understand, especially if you are in the middle of a conversation with a "normal" person, and can't remember what you were going to say next. You'll be told things like, "Oh, my grandmother had that, and she's fine on her medication" when you desperately want to explain that I don't impose myself upon everyone in the exact same way, and just because that grandmother is fine on the medication SHE'S taking, doesn't mean it will work for you.
They will not understand that having this disease impacts your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, and that every cell and every body system and organ requires the proper amount and the right kind of of thyroid hormone medication for YOU.....Not what works for someone else.
The only place you will get the kind of support and understanding in dealing with me is with other people that have me. They are really the only ones who can truly understand.
I am Hashimoto's Disease.
((Credit:: ))

Reading this almost made me cry (which of course is one of the symptoms! haha) But I felt like FINALLY someone understands! Jay is wonderful and tries to be empathic, which I totally appreciate, but it's hard when everyday I'm so tired/sad/sick to do anything. I actually started feeling like this back in 2012 (3 months into our relationship). When you feel like crap, at first you think...oh I'm sick...this will pass.   Months went by and I was still tired, food made me sick constantly, I had massive mood swings, etc..... Quite honestly, I thought, "I'm getting older- this is just how I am now."

It's such a relief to finally have some answers! Now I can focus on healing my body and avoiding trigger foods that zap the life out of me.
I'd be honored to have you along this journey too!

As of this second, I don't have any Gluten Free Recipes on my blog...but I WILL be adding some here: Recipes

You can follow me on Facebook here

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bombshell Dynasty Team Call: Kati Heifner Attracting your DREAM Coach

Listen Here:
Attracting your Dream Coach by Kati Heifner

I'm a visual learner, so here are the slides to reference!
Listen to the call & they will make more sense =) 

If you find these helpful, please share my blog and/or pin these pics!
Follow me on Facebook: Kati Heifner

Developing your Brand

Monday, November 24, 2014

Just a Girl Who Decided to Become a GirlBOSS

 In 2010, I really felt as though I had lost my way. I resigned myself to the fact that work was hard (and completely UNfulfilling), I would never be able to get ahead of my bills, and everything from weight career advancements would be an uphill battle.
Stress, weight gain, lack of confidence, and the dying of dreams started to become my reality. For a girl that graduated from High School early...bought my first house at 21...and always had BIG was such a dark time for me. The worst disappointment you can experience is when you feel like you failed yourself.
I am THE ULTIMATE Skeptic so I can't explain what compelled me to make a completely LIFE CHANGING decision...but my intuition told me to trust I typed in my SSN and paid my $40 coach sign up fee... and became a Coach (holding my breath because I was SURE it was a scam LOL)

Since that day, 4 years ago, I've gone from a stressed out retail manager working long gaining THE most important thing to me in life: FREEDOM. 
This little fitness company has helped me regain control of my life, my finances, my future, my health, my confidence, my passion AND it's given me a stage to share my story to help others make positive changes in their lives  And PS I met the love of my life through Beachbody!
 Whether Beachbody is your passion or not, I URGE you to stop wasting any more time and follow your dreams. You and I are no different...I'm just a girl who DECIDED to GO FOR IT!
What is stopping you from pursuing your greatest life?  For me, looking back I now realize that fear of failure...fear of the unknown...fear of judgement were all roadblocks.
I neverrrr thought in a million years that I would be posting my chubby pics and show my cellulite (see below). I know I have a beautiful body and it's not about being skinny... But it IS important to me to me HEALTHY, to feel good in my skin, to EXUDE confidence and love myself. 
I might not always enjoy my workouts, but fitness has opened a door for me for more energy, happy endorphins, and it's become a time that I can do something for ME. 

I share this because I want the same for you. Freedom. Confidence. Happiness. Self Love. You deserve it!
 Dream Big! Live More! Inspire the Next! xo
‪#‎girlbossDynasty‬ ‪#‎followyourdreams‬

If you've thought about coaching (or are now thinking about it), this video is a bit cheesy...but it explains what I do. What is Beachbody Coaching?

If it pulls at your heart strings...if you are starting to dream in possibility...if you want to create a future of freedom...I would love to hear from you!

Help me pay it forward  If you have recently made some positive changes, I want to hear about them in the comments below!

Friday, November 21, 2014

9 Tips to Survive Thanksgiving without Gaining Weight

From fat-laden gravy to creamy pumpkin pie...just LOOKING at the Thanksgiving dinner table is enough to make your jeans feel tight!
Then, add in some competition: Who's going to get the turkey leg or lay claim to the most mashed potatoes? (My sister always wins!)
Who's going to finish fast enough to be the first one back for seconds? I know I'm not the only one who has experienced a "get-your-hands-off-my-dinner-roll" moment during Thanksgiving. ;)

Considering all of's really no shock that the Avg.American consumes about 4,500 calories and up to 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving! EEP!
So, how can you stop yourself from gaining more than a pound in a day? Here are 9 tips you can lean on for this holiday season, so the bird is the only one stuffed at the end of the day hehe
  1. First...Get a good head start. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, such as two eggs and whole-grain toast and a side of mixed greens, or any combination that's high in protein and fiber.2 This will create a foundation of satiety and make you less likely to inhale the appetizers. Since you won't be starving, you'll be able to more likely to enjoy the main meal in moderation! I KNOW I'm not the only who who was so busy cooking and cleaning that I skipped the most important meal of the day!
  2. Don't go overboard on appetizers. It's easy to consume 1,500 calories before the turkey even hits the table. Instead of skipping the baked brie altogether, fill most of your plate with vegetables and healthier choices, then leave just a little room for a taste of the indulgent snack. An average serving of dip or cheese is one ounce, roughly the size of your two thumbs.
  3. Trick your brain. The average plate is 14 inches wide, and we tend to finish 98% of the food on our plate No wonder it's easy to eat too much on Thanksgiving. To trick your brain into thinking you've eaten enough, use a smaller plate and/or fill half a normal plate with salad. (Just go easy on the dressing.)
  4. Enjoy your favorites. One of the best things about Thanksgiving is the memories/traditions of the day. Don't limit yourself from enjoying your favorite dishes, but only have a small scoop of those that are less healthy. According to Brian Wansink, PhD, Director of the Food and Brand Lab at the University of Illinois, it only takes four bites for your nostalgia of a food to reach its peak.
  5. Get a better bird. Most Thanksgiving turkeys are about as succulent as woodchips. No wonder we cover them up with gravy, cranberry sauce, or stuffing. Instead, find a recipe that results in a more flavorful turkey, or cook a different protein—ham, fish, or chicken—that you'll enjoy on its own, and have only moderate portions of the heavy sides. If you're not hosting, consider skipping the bird altogether if you feel the need to smother it in sauce.
  6. Improve traditions. Hosting? Take some of the pressure off yourself and ask guests to bring a healthy side dish or dessert. If you think they might be stumped, you could even provide them with a list of healthy side dishes they could make. Going to someone else's home? Bring a healthy side dish of your own! They'll appreciate it way more than the gift of cellulite ;)
  7. Don't get drunk. Limit yourself to one drink before or during dinner and one drink after dinner. Drinking too much alcohol can increase your craving for salt and may set you up to eat 30% more than you intended.6 Get drunk at dinner and all your inhibitions will be down by the time dessert comes. Two pieces of pie, a couple of cookies, a scoop of ice cream later . . . and you'll need a forklift to get you off the couch and a cab to take you home. Don't be that person.
  8. Forgive yourself. Did you read this and still overeat? Don't keep slipping down the slope. Get up and encourage someone to take a walk with you. If it's too cold for a walk, break out a game of Twister® or fire up the Wii® or Xbox® Kinect®! Getting moving will ease some of your guilt and also start the digestion process

  9. Remember why you're there. Between the football game and your sister's amazing pumpkin pie, take a moment to pause and reflect on what you're thankful for this year. As tasty as the dishes are, nothing compares to the people we share it with.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Overcoming Your Fears to Follow Your Dreams

I was just thinking about what it takes to reach your highest potential...
Vision, Passion and quite possibly the most important...Courage
Courage: When you are afraid...hands shaking... butterflies swarming your tummy...and you forge ahead and follow your dreams anyway.

Sometimes making a BOLD move is the only way to force yourself to grow into the person you were meant to be. I look back on some of my boldest moves...quitting my full time job to become a coach...buying a one way ticket to California... At the time, they were the scariest decisions I've ever made, but they also turned out to be the most rewarding.

Fear is a poison that will try it's hardest to immobilize you and paralyze your actions. Every Time you give in to your fear, you lose strength and belief in yourself.

Draw a line in the sand and decide that no matter how difficult the path ahead may will push past your anxiety & keep moving forward.

I've been afraid to rejection, afraid of what others might think & afraid that I would stumble and fail. What I am most proud of is being fearful and taking action regardless. Many times, I have surprised myself by rising to the occasion and prevailing. But there have also been moments of great failure. While I may not have understood it at the time, those are the experiences that taught me the MOST valuable lessons.

So I'm asking you to trust me and challenge you to step out of the norm. Take a chance and vote on YOU. There will be obstacles, others might not understand what you are doing, you'll stumble, you'll fall, some people might think you're crazy (and others will be crazy enough to tell you so).
At times you might feel like the world and everyone closest to you is against your dream- telling you it's not possible. Telling you that you can't possibly achieve it so don't bother.
In those moments, you may falter. You might find yourself giving in to the fear. You may be so frustrated that you want to give up.
But consider the alternative... if you give up on your dreams.... will you be content living in a rut? With an endless loop of "woulda, coulda, shoulda" playing through your mind?
The pang of regret, "What would my life be like if I didn't care so much about what people thought?"
What if instead of achieve success beyond your wildest dream? What if pursuing your dream gives others the courage to bet on themselves? What is finding your joy and following it means a life of fulfillment?

Instead of fear being a roadblock, look it right in the eye and decide that you're going to GO FOR IT no matter that. The TRUE measure of courage is not whether or not you reach your's how many times you get back on your feet. It's standing up and pursuing your dreams.

You're never going to feel READY...and you might always feel that fear...but weight the FEAR against the incredible POSSIBILITIES...and I have a feeling you'll be ready to dive in headfirst 
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. 
‪#‎punchfearintheFace‬ ‪#‎girlbossdynasty‬