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My Health Journey: February-April 2022



I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.







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UPDATE: Since publishing this story, I had the chance to speak with the Marketing Director at Elite Personalized Medicine. We talked about my amazing experience and she thanked me for sharing my story with all of you. In our conversation, she offered a gift to my readers. Just mention my name when you call to make an appointment and they’ll take $50 off your first visit! You do not have to be in Atlanta to work with EPM– they work with people across the country through televisits!

I start every calendar year by picking a word. In the past, the words I’ve chosen have been pretty intense. Words like rebuild, courage, present, abide. Last year was a pretty challenging year in itself, and I made the joke around a table of friends during the last hours of 2021 that I was going to pick an easier word. A word that would allow me to experience joy and fun. Something simple.

Mind you, I was eating some of the most amazing green beans I’d ever had in that moment, and that sparked an idea.

Vegetable. My word for the year was going to be vegetable. And by that, I would simply be adding more vegetables to my daily life. It sounded easy and fun. It was manageable. I surely thought God couldn’t do much with that word, and I would have an easy year ahead.

I set out into 2022 with a vegetable vengeance. I was cooking, baking, and sauteeing more veggies than I’d ever imagined, and it was terrific. I cleaned up my diet, not by eliminating things but by adding items in. The start of the year was some of the cleanest eating I’d ever experienced, and it felt so freeing.

Around mid-February is where I started to ask some hard questions. I’d been eating vegetables for six weeks and felt no change in my body. I’d been dealing with chronic fatigue for months. I felt exhausted and in need of a nap nearly every single day. I would get a workout in, making me more tired. No matter how hard I tried, I could not lose any weight. Weight loss is not the number one goal for me, but it felt frustrating to go nearly two years and only see the scale go up.

My therapist recommended going to a functional medicine doctor.

Friends, I was hesitant to take this step, but I want to share the good news up ahead: This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself.

I made an appointment with Elite Personalized Medicine. I went in for a blood draw and returned two weeks later to go through my results. The whole time I was driving there, I kept praying to God for some answers. I wanted to be better than I was. I was tired of feeling constantly tired. I needed a new season. Badly.

I was amazed and shocked by my bloodwork:

I had low thyroid, as I suspected. It was nothing off the charts, but I had no idea that the thyroid controls over 200+ functions within the body.

My body produces hormones just fine, but it has a hard time eliminating the excess when it comes to testosterone.

I was low on essential nutrients and vitamins.

My adrenal glands were tired, and my gut was imbalanced.

The Process

My doctor laid out an extensive rehabilitation plan, and it was go-time.

I was going to detox, starting the next day, and begin taking natural thyroid medication. I felt so grateful to have a plan in place finally.

One of the most significant parts of the plan was hard to swallow: I had to eliminate gluten from my diet. Not just a little bit. Not 50/50. Entirely. My doctor said it would be one of the best things I could do for myself so I chose to listen.

I’ve gone back and forth on this for a long time. I’ve known for a while that gluten doesn’t benefit me.

It makes me tired.

It makes me bloated.

It spurs anxiety and brain fog.

I often say that I was in a toxic relationship with gluten. Gluten is not inherently wrong or bad, but I knew it wasn’t suitable for me. Like in any toxic relationship, I liked its idea, but I never liked the way it made me feel. I had to take a step of obedience and say goodbye. I’m blown away by what that small act of obedience led me into. I went through a 2-week detox period that, simply put, was miserable. It was challenging and exhausting, and the supplements I had to take were disgusting, but I knew they came packed with everything I could need to rehabilitate my body. I didn’t have to start with this detox, but I knew it would clear out my liver and give it a jumpstart, so I wanted to. I avoided all processed foods, alcohol, caffeine (that was tough but ended up being incredible for me), gluten, and dairy in this detox. The detox was one of the more complex things I’ve ever had to do for my health, but I committed, and once the first few days were down (I had to fast for 48 hours to kick things off), I was starting to feel hopeful and excited for a future with more energy.

My New Lifestyle

I want to pause and clarify that I am not a medical professional. I can’t give you holistic advice. I can only show up to this space and share my story.

Post-detox, I started taking supplements. What I love about this is that I’m not on a million supplements. I’m on four supplements, and it’s a manageable practice. I spent too many years taking supplements based on what other people said worked for them. Today I am on a multivitamin, magnesium, a supplement called Estrodim to help with my hormones, and Vitamin D.

I’ve adopted a paleo/primal lifestyle when it comes to diet, and I couldn’t be happier. The first few weeks were a tough adjustment, but I think this is a step of obedience I’ve needed to take for a long time. I was 100% off gluten, and I don’t miss it anymore. Sure, there are some occasions when you wish something at the restaurant was gluten-free, but I have to remind myself that I feel energized for the first time in a long time, and there are other alternatives for me.

When it comes to dairy, I am embracing the 80/20 lifestyle. I think life is too short not to have cheese in it (and you’ve never met someone who loves a meat + cheese plate more than me). I don’t make a ton of dishes with cheese in daily life, but I still like to eat greek yogurt because it’s a fantastic protein source, and I want to feel the freedom to have ice cream every once in a while (read as Jeni’s).

Many people ask about primal and what makes it different from paleo. A few things:

  • Primal is considered more of a lifestyle than a diet.

  • This lifestyle incorporates rest, sleep, play, and time outside.

  • Primal allows for some dairy while paleo does not. A lot of dairy products have good, high fat in them. Primal limits but embraces aged cheese, ghee, full-fat cream, Greek yogurt, kefir, and half-and-half.

  • Primal exists on the premise of 80/20. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about restricting yourself. It’s about building a sustainable lifestyle.

What’s Working

  • I’m okay with the boundary lines. I’ve gone back and forth with eliminating things like gluten and dairy from my life. I’ve added them back in when I’ve endured too much messaging about how restrictive eating isn’t beneficial. But I have the clarity to say this now: restrictions are not the same as healthy boundaries. I’ve established healthy boundaries in my life, and I thrive because of them. If you knew something was hurting you, why would you allow it to still be in your life? I don’t feel restricted; I feel the opposite. The constant chatter in my brain about what I can or can’t have has ceased. I don’t think about it anymore, and I feel so much more freedom because of that.

  • I’ve lost weight. It’s not about that, but I feel the frustration of anyone who wants to lose weight and cannot. The second I started the thyroid medication and eliminated gluten, it’s like the pounds fell off of me. I am 5 weeks into this new season, and I have lost 10 pounds. I haven’t worked out more than a handful of times, and I’ve focused on whole foods.

  • I have so much more energy. I’m marveling at this. I no longer feel fatigued or drained. I’ve taken some naps over the last few weeks, but they were by choice, not because I felt like my body couldn’t go on. A huge testimony was traveling the other week to Colorado. It was a whirlwind 48-hour trip, and I knew it would be a benchmark for my health journey. In the past, traveling has taken me out. I need days to readjust and get my energy back. But I was so in awe of how my body showed up for that trip. I didn’t need naps. I didn’t feel awful. I was present and adjusted to the time zones with little effort. This was such a victory for me.

  • I think I’m finally done with quick fixes. Trust me when I tell you, I was the queen of quick fixes in this area for a long time. I wanted to try every possible diet. Keto. Fasting. Low carb. All of it. And each of these things worked for a little while. But I failed to look at the long haul. The long haul would have asked me the question, “What changes can you make for a lifetime?” I didn’t care about the lifetime. I cared about the immediate now. My mindset is shifting every single day as I focus on longevity and feeling good. The extra room in my clothes is a bonus but it’s really about learning to listen to my body and fuel it in the way it wants to be fueled.

  • I finally feel at peace. I’ve wrestled with this area of my life for a long time, and it’s exhausting to constantly feel like you’re doing your best and seeing no results. The best part of this is how I’ve been able to loosen control and embrace the process. Lane is fully onboard, and I understand what a privilege that is. It can be so hard to make healthy changes when a spouse or friend group, or family members aren’t supportive of the changes. We’ve enjoyed some of the best family dinners through this process. We’ve even moved our dinner time a few hours earlier. I feel excited for the future. I feel like I’m finally doing something for myself that I’ve wanted for so long. Honestly, I feel like it’s all one big act of obedience and I’m reaping the fruit of that now.

Over the next month, I’ll be going back to test my adrenals again and get more bloodwork drawn. This process is a long-haul, not a quick fix. I am embracing the slow road and enjoying the process as I go. I will be sure to keep this space updated as I go on this journey.

If you have any questions about my personal story, I’d love for you to leave them in the comment section. That’s where I’ll be hanging out! I am excited to share some of my favorite recipes, hacks, and helpful resources in the coming weeks!

I’d love to hear from you:

In moving my blog to a newer platform, I sadly had to let go of the thousands of comments and conversations that came from readers over the last 10+ years. This grieves me deeply but I know there will new conversations, fresh words of wisdom, and opportunities to create close community once again. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. I’ll be reading + replying on a regular basis.


  1. Lillian Kendley says:

    I don’t eat that many products with gluten, but I will be checking with my doctor to be sure.
    Thanks for the information, I am going to be following your progress.

  2. Brooke says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience! I love when people develop lifestyle changes because they are the healthiest I know about from my limited knowledge with a degree in Exercise science. I also am glad you know you’ve been experiencing healthy weight loss! I noticed you looked thinner in a recent photo on Instagram and it crossed my mind that I hope you were doing well congratulations on your journey to sustainable healthy habits!

  3. Caroline says:

    Hannah, this blog is really timely for me. I am feeling frustrated with my health & ready for a change. Thanks for the reminder that change is possible. <3

    • It absolutely is, Caroline. And this is coming from someone who started to lose hope in this area that anything would ever be different. Don’t give up.

  4. Kat says:

    Hannah, thank you for sharing your journey with transparency and vulnerability, as you so often do. I love the way you’re highlighting the discipline but also the intentionality and reflection behind food lifestyle changes (something we talk about often at The Known Food Place). Thank you for highlighting the complex interconnected systems that are our bodies and how important it is to get the data, from a place like functional medicine, to see the bigger picture and make thoughtful decisions.

  5. Amy says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve been wondering about my thyroid for awhile now…how did you find the doctor you’re seeing? Any tips on how to get started would be so helpful!!

    • I originally saw a general practitioner who said I didn’t have issues with my thyroid but the functional medicine doctor took a full panel! I would recommend looking into functional medicine. They get to the root of the cause rather than just trying to treat the symptoms!

  6. Emily says:

    Oh I am tempted to try functional medicine too. One day I might pull the plug and try it.

  7. Diane Kemp says:

    This sounds wonderful! So happy for you Hannah :). How do I find a functional medicine doctor ? I’m having some of the same issues with my health and would love to look into this.

  8. Bridget says:

    I recently did a 3 month program called WildFit and it transformed my way of thinking about food and my diet. I’ve lost 26 pounds, but most importantly I feel so much better and have begun a lifelong journey of fueling my body the right way. Love surrounding myself with others on the same path! Thank you for sharing your journey.

  9. Kris says:

    I’m not familiar with functional practitioners. Typically what is their training and how is that field regulated? Do they take insurance?

  10. Jill says:

    Thank you for sharing? Would you want to share some of your favorite recipes?

  11. Katelyn Howard says:

    This was such a great read and I am really enjoying following your journey. I struggle with the longevity of these lifestyle changes. It’s something I want to do and know would be great for my health, but I seem to always fall back into my old ways whenever I try. How do you stay motivated to maintain these changes long term?

    • It’s definitely difficult but I remind myself of how good I feel and how different I feel compared to when I started. I want to keep feeling this way and I know it’s a sacrifice to give up some of these foods I really loved but the pay-off comes through energy and feeling great!! One day at a time though!

  12. Emily Reynolds says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! My husband has had to give up dairy and then gluten so we are on a similar mission with him. Please share some of your favorite recipes! I am trying hard to encourage him and I shared the benefits you have felt just to see if he has noticed them or others.

  13. Jenn says:

    I have highly considered going to a functional doctor for some time and feel this is encouraging me more. What did it look like for you in searching for one? It seems a bit different from a PCP and trying to determine where to start.

  14. Cardissia says:

    Wow, just read this and it’s right where I am. I’m in the elementary stage’s of learning about the thyroid and would greatly appreciate your prayers as I have a biopsy scheduled for Monday of the thyroid. Your recent post of recovery and this article has truly sobered me up to the real and consistent lifestyle changes needed. Praying to find the right functional medicine doctor.

  15. Kendall says:

    This has been my journey since last May too! Eliminating gluten brought so many of my hormones back into order, along with adding in vitamin D! Thankful for a doctor who told me to go and sit in the sun a bit more

  16. Brittney Gilbert says:

    So proud of you and all that you have accomplished. And I’m so happy your feeling better! Love you, bblich

  17. angie says:

    This article has been me for the past 2 yrs . I am going to do more research and consider this lifestyle change as well . I have all the same symptoms and even more . I went from being very active and healthy to down and out.
    I’m so thankful God put me here today .
    Thank you for sharing .
    ( Newbie ) Angie P

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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