In March, I started a wellness journey that has truly transformed my life. What began with just trying to feel strong and be more active with pilates has become a full life change for me. In the process of establishing a regular fitness routine at Core Body Pilates, I found out that my ANA levels were high which is an indicator of an auto-immune issue. I'm no stranger to autoimmune problems with a history of Hashimotos disease and rheumatoid arthritis, but up until now I thought my inflammation had been under-control. I was wrong.

I discovered these high levels after seeking help from a dermatologist about some unexpected hair loss. And though I was glad my hair falling wasn't due to aging, I was bummed to find out that my hair loss is most likely related to another auto-immune issue. UGH! 

I have made an appointment with a rheumatologist per the recommendation of my dermatologist and primary care doctor to find out what else is going on, but I know that often steroids are prescribed to bring down inflammation. I really would like to avoid steroids, so I've started trying to see how my diet could also help lower inflammation in my body. And after a lot of research and asking others who have similar diagnoses, I have decided to be gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free for a minimum of six months to see if it really changes my inflammation (loosing following the auto-immune protocol diet).

I started these dietary restrictions at the beginning of May, and it surprisingly hasn't been too hard to do. I will say that traveling makes it much more difficult to stick to though. Cooking at home and preparing snacks and meals ahead of time is really key to this new lifestyle (be sure to follow my Recipes to Try board to see what I'm making). In the process I feel as though our family is healthier because they eat what I make, and eating out isn't as tempting. Overall, I feel a lot healthier already. I had no idea how many crackers and pieces of bread I was filling my body with instead of healthy proteins and veggies.

My stress levels and my joint pain have been non-existent. It's crazy! I can't say that I know it's indefinitely due to the diet change, but it's a possibility I'm not ruling out. I'm also down from 140 to 130 with more muscle.  This is seriously a surprise to me because with all of the sickness that has been in our house, all of the travel and busy schedules my stress levels should be even higher. Nope!

I'll be sure to continue to update you guys at the end of June when my fitness challenge has been completed and my ANA levels are tested again. If you are a in a similar boat as me with auto-immune issues I would encourage you to start this journey as well. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.