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About The Blog
The Girl in Yoga Pants blog is the story of my journey to health and weight loss using variations of the paleo diet to heal fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, gallbladder problems, irritable bowel syndrome, and other health issues.
I tell my story in order to educate others about the devastating effects of chronic illness and to offer hope, support, and a good laugh or two to those suffering from these life-changing health conditions. I’m also passionate about helping people improve their health by encouraging them to identify hidden food intolerances, to adopt a clean, plant-based diet, and to exercise as able – after they’ve fed their bodies good, nutrient-dense foods for a while. I believe if you clean up your diet, everything else will improve. Food is medicine.
Living with chronic illness isn’t fun or always positive, but I try my best to keep you laughing and learning.
The blog is called The Girl in Yoga Pants because I wear yoga pants. A lot.
What You’ll Find On This Blog
You can also read stories about my personal experiences with doctors, drugs, alternative therapies, and coping with chronic illness, such as:
- My Life Before and After Fibromyalgia
- What my rheumatologist told me about fibromyalgia
- The kind of strength living with fibromyalgia builds
- My experience with different drugs, like Effexor and Cymbalta for fibromyalgia
- What getting a colonoscopy is like
- The time I thought I had serotonin syndrome and almost died on the toilet
- How a “Mystery Illness” turned out to be my gallbladder dying
- How I lost 50 pounds
- What song was playing in the emergency room when I went to get blood tests
- What my immunologist told me about food allergies and sensitivities
- How I was finally diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalance after two years of misery
- How much I LOVED coffee before I gave it up
- The Fun of Fibromyalgia Immune System Dysfunction
…and much more.
I try to post at least one article and one infographic each week. However, due to the unstable nature of fibromyalgia, my posting can become erratic at times. If I’m feeling well, I post more. If I’m not, I may miss a week or two. Fear not…I will be back as soon as I recover from whatever is trying to kill me, then tell you all about it. If you ever wonder if I’m still alive, check Pinterest. I’m probably pinning.
Or, send an email to toni at thegirlinyogapants dot com.
You can also find me on these social networks:
- Pinterest (tgiyp)
- Facebook Page (thegirlinyogapants)
- Twitter (@tgiyp)
- Check out my Zazzle shop.
- I also have a CafePress shop.
Who is The Girl in Yoga Pants?
My name is Toni Dawn, but you can just call me Toni. Dawn is my middle name. I’ll answer to about anything, though. I’ll even answer to the “B-word,” but you probably won’t like how I answer ;).
I’m was born, raised, and am still living in Bristol, Tennessee. I don’t plan to leave, but if I do, I’ll move somewhere tropical, like Hawaii, to grow coconuts and teach yoga and healthy living.
I have three children, all born eight years apart:
- Little Tiger is my oldest daughter. She’s in college now majoring in microbiology. She hopes to become a doctor.
- Little Dragon is my youngest daughter. She’s in the last year of elementary school. She’s an awesome artist and loves to sing.
- Tater is the youngest of all and my only son. He’s not yet in school. He likes playing with cars, watching Curious George, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and trying to run me over on his “motorcycle” while I’m walking.
My professional background is in fitness and pharmacy. I worked for several years as a personal trainer and fitness instructor before becoming a pharmacy technician. I took five years off after having Little Dragon to stay at home with her and to finish my bachelor’s degree in organizational management. After that, I worked at a training store, where I got to train newly-hired pharmacists and other technicians how to do their jobs. I taught some classes at a local college on my days off. I also did another brief stint as a personal trainer and fitness instructor while I was pregnant with Tater. After having Tater, I was too sick to return to work. I am slowly getting better and hope to improve enough to return to work soon.
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in early 2012, a few months after the birth of my youngest child. I was also suffering from hormone imbalance (low progesterone) that caused endometrial hyperplasia (thickened uterine lining, which leads to cancer if left untreated), but my gynecologist refused to keep me on synthetic progesterone for fear of it causing . . . cancer. My health slowly declined to the point that I could barely walk and when I did, I walked with a limp from the stiffness and pain.
After taking a number of medications with nasty side effects that caused tremendous weight gain and gave little relief, my rheumatologist told me to forget the medications and let food be my medicine, instead. He was adamant that I give up dairy. Up to that point, I had been following a paleo diet that allowed dairy products and I was implementing a rule where I allowed myself one splurge a week, usually in the form of pizza. I had experienced some improvement, but It wasn’t enough to get me healthy again.
I later discovered through using the autoimmune paleo diet as an elimination diet, as well as some trial and error, that I was suffering from hidden food intolerances to dairy and gluten. Continuing to eat these foods on “cheat days” because I was addicted to them was keeping me sick, tired, stiff, and in pain. Also, I was eating too much meat and not enough plants. I lost my gallbladder shortly after this in early 2014, thanks to too many years of eating the wrong foods.
Inspired by Dr. Terry Wahls’ amazing recovery from multiple sclerosis, I switched to her whole foods, plant-based paleo diet, and also began implementing Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum’s SHINE protocol. I also found a clinical pharmacist to treat my adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalances with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and high-powered vitamin supplements.
Getting rid of dairy, “eating my colors,” taking my vitamins, and HRT (basically, everything in Dr. Teitelbaum’s SHINE protocol, with Dr. Wahls’ dietary recommendations added in) have turned out to be the key to my recovery. I’m not cured and I couldn’t save my gallbladder, but my health is definitely improving. I have more energy, less pain, and a better immune system – without a bunch of prescription drugs! I still take prescriptions for my stomach and sinuses, but I’m not on any fibromyalgia medications. I am now able to walk normally and even exercise, although I still have a long way to go.
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