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Episode 202: Kat's Story... Healing Leaky Gut, Candida, Hashimoto's, SIBO, H Pylori, and More!

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I’ve been a weight loss coach for over a decade. Which means I’ve shared my story of overcoming disordered eating. I’ve shared the story of healing my metabolism. I’ve shared the story of growing up dancing and battling with body image. 

What I haven’t shared (at least not fully) is my 2-decade-long health journey. 

For a long time I thought no one would be interested. I was told by business coaches of my past that anything outside of weight loss wasn’t ‘sexy’ enough.

But I know there are women out there who are struggling right now.

Struggling to be heard/understood by their doctors.

Struggling in a body that doesn’t feel like their own.

Struggling to hold onto hope that they could one day live symptom-free.

Struggling to figure out what to do next when they feel like they’ve exhausted every option.

And this story is for those women. Buckle in… it’s a doozy.

I was 11 years old when it all started. I was at summer camp trying to cover up itchy white patches that covered my body. Dermatologists were stumped. 

I was 12 when the chronic loose stools started. My mom came into the kitchen one day after cleaning my bathroom and asked if I was ok. I thought I was, it had become my new normal. A doctor prescribed me a cholesterol-lowering medicine because the side effect was firming up stool. That didn’t last long…

Even then I knew masking symptoms wasn’t the answer.

I was 13 when I was diagnosed hypothyroid. That’s when the fatigue started that would debilitate me for the next 8 years. I could sleep for 8, 10, 12 hours. It didn’t matter. Energy was a luxury my body couldn’t afford. 

Yet still, I pushed myself. I pushed to do well in school, I pushed to become the best dancer I could be. And my body suffered for it. I got sick with bronchitis every couple of months and it always took weeks to heal. 

I was 14 when I had a period that lasted 17 days. 17 days. The answer? Birth control of course! (If only I knew then what I know now…).

I was 18 when I realized the cystic acne on my face, chest, and back wasn’t just a stubborn side effect of puberty. And I was 24 when my then-boyfriend told me he wasn't initiating sex anymore because my skin made him unattracted to me.

With each passing year and each stubborn symptom, I felt more and more dejected.

I was 20 before I got my first set of real answers. I hade gone to upwards of 10 doctors without success (I even went to a functional medicine doctor who found that I had a 5-page list of food sensitivities - what I now know is a clear sign of leaky gut - and he didn't even catch it).

So I took matters into my own hands and got my holistic health coaching certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. 

Through my education I unwittingly stumbled upon the answer (and the topic that would define my career)… my gut was fucked.

I had another functional medicine doctor confirm the leaky gut and candida infection I suspected, and then he added an autoimmune diagnosis just for good measure.

Shoutout to my fellow hashimoto’s warriors out there.

Thus began a healing journey that would last another decade. 

I could write you a novel about the rest.

I went through 3 major elimination diets: the first was a 90-day candida cleanse that healed my cravings, the second was Whole30 that brought back my energy and got my acne 80% clear, the last was a 9 month elimination just last year to clear my H pylori, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (AKA SIBO), and parasites. And even as I write this I'm waiting for the results of a toxins and hormones test to see what my next phase of healing will look like. 

Over the years I've had cessation of some symptoms, recurrence of others, and occasionally new ones would pop up out of nowhere like my hair loss and stubborn eczema which would always lead me down the path of more testing, peeling away another layer of my health onion.  

But my healing didn't just come in the form of the gluten and dairy free lifestyle I adopted, or the supplements I took, or the stress I managed. I also began to understand how trauma impacts the body's ability to physically heal, so off to therapy I went to heal from my past relationship trauma.

So what are the key lessons I took away from this saga of a story??

  • Anything short of root-cause-resolution will only send you in circles. 
  • Doctors are great for diagnosing, acute injuries, and symptom management, but they are not good for prevention, holistic solutions, or getting to the root cause of anything. 
  • When it comes to labs, 'normal' does not mean 'optimal'. 
  • Take your healing journey in strides. With each phase you'll feel better and learn more about your body, but this is definitely a long game. 
  •  You can do a lot with diet, but more often than not you will need other interventions too. 
  • Whatever parts of life you have to 'miss out on' in order to heal will be well worth all of the life you gain on the other side. 

 Even sharing all of these lessons though, I want you to know... no one should have to go through what I’ve gone. 

You should be listened to, understood, and validated.

You should be given the right tests to get the right answers faster. You should be educated and empowered to be your own advocate.

You should be treated like the individual you are, not put on a generic program that may or may not work.

And that is why I decided to become a functional nutritionist.

Because I want to give options to the women who don’t resonate with the western medical model of symptom management, who feel like they've tried everything and nothing is working, who want to get to the root cause of their dis-ease, who want to heal their body holistically - not with potentially harmful drugs and prescriptions, who want to understand their body and how to support it with the right diet and supplements for them.

I want to give hope to the women who feel hopeless. To give answers to the women who feel lost. 

If that’s you, I'm just a couple short weeks away from graduating Functional Diagnostics Nutrition and launching my newest program: Follow Your Gut to Healing where I'll finally be able to run functional labs and give you the answers you've been waiting for. Click here if you want to be notified when doors officially open (and get dibs at grandfathered pricing)!


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