My S'moo Story - @measuremewhole
Hey friends! My name is Kaili Mills. I’m a Certified Nutritionist, military wife, mommy to be & fitness fanatic. When I’m not creating nutritiously delicious recipes in the kitchen or training in the gym you can find me out adventuring with my sweet hubby, Brad. Nutrition is a large part of my life, so much so that I received my degree in Nutrition and Food Science with a Community Nutrition emphasis from Georgia Southern University. My passion for health and wellness began back in 2013 when I decided to convert my unhealthy lifestyle into one that honors my body by viewing nutrition as a lifestyle and an investment in myself. After graduating with my degree in 2017, I wanted to take my passions for helping individuals to become the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves to another level. I founded Measure Me Whole, a health and wellness coaching business who’s aim is to aid people in finding “Joy in Wholistic Living”. It is my firm believes that in order to live life to the fullest it’s not just about how healthy one is nutritionally. It’s about working on our mental, physical, and spiritual fitness as well. Measure Me Whole is founded on the principles that health and wellness is a way of life and food is viewed as medicine for the body and down right good for the soul!
Over the past three years since Measure Me Whole’s birth, I have created a website as well as a flourishing social media presence. I share all of my nutrition secrets, wellness tips and tricks, and delicious recipes in order to inspire others to become the happiest, healthiest, version of themselves that can be all while achieving a balance lifestyle. It is my belief that balance is the key to achieving your wellness goals, maintaining your progress & living this beautiful thing we call life to the fullest. Now that you all know a little more about who I am I would absolutely love to share my hormone imbalance journey with you all.
For day’s now I’ve been trying to figure out where to even start my story. There are so many places that I could begin but I think it would help you fully understand my struggle if I started in January of 2016. I had been approached by a Graduate Assistant in my Nutrition & Food Science degree program. This girl was someone I admired and looked up to. She was a boss babe who was not only killing it in the fitness circle at our university, but she was career goals. She was one semester away from graduating with her Masters in Nutrition & Food Science and she was going to have her Registered Dietitians License. During a 4:30AM gym sesh, this dietetics god approached me and asked me if I wanted to be apart of her masters thesis. All I had to do was commit to competing in a figure competition that May, and allow her coach me through it. I don’t know if you know how expensive having a competition coach is but it can run you upwards of thousands of dollars. Of course I was not only extremely flattered that she approached little ole me but I was STOKED to be able to do something I’ve always wanted to do for a fraction of the price!
We immediately got started. She informed me that over the next few months she wanted me to bulk up. According to her observations, I needed to gain a significant amount of muscle before I stepped onto the stage that May. She set my macros up and told me that I needed to eat A LOT of food in order to achieve what she wanted for me. I started this whole endeavor off at 115 lbs. I’m 5ft tall on the dot so 115 lbs for me was a good solid weight. I wasn’t too thin but still the tiniest I had ever been in my whole life. I had accomplished what I felt was an athletic build and I was happy with it. I was very satisfied at where my body was physically at and it had taken me years to get to a healthy weight. You see I grew up unhealthy and overweight so it was a HUGE accomplishment to be down to 115 lbs. From the time I graduated high school I worked super hard to get the weight off in a healthy manner. Three years later I had dropped 25 pounds and kept the weight off. I expressed to my coach that it frightened me to purposely put on weight because I had spent years getting it off. I had also expressed that my metabolism has always been on the slow side and that I would most likely need more time than most getting the weight back off before the show date. She brushed off my concerns and told me that she had things under control. “Just trust me girl. I got you.” There was "absolutely no need to worry” and with her reassurance we were off. From January through March my coach had me “bulking”.
When the time came for me to cut I was starting things off at 130 lbs. YIKES! I had gained “only” 15 pounds but it honestly felt like 50 lbs on my tiny 5ft frame. I was panicking because I only had two months to get those 15 lbs off and history has shown that it takes my body a solid month or so to lose 5 measly pounds. My coach adjusted my calories and dropped my food intake to a more reasonable amount. At my checkin two weeks later she was surprised to see that I had only lost half a pound. She said no worries and adjusted my macros again this time dropping me into the 1,200 calorie range. Now I knew that 1,200 was EXTREMELY LOW. I had actually learned the week before in one of my nutritional science classes that its physically detrimental to place someone who wasn’t morbidly obese on a 1,200 calorie per day diet. Your body physically won’t function properly. I mentioned this to her and she brushed my concerns aside in an annoyed manner and basically told me that she was the one with the RD and that I don’t need to worry. At my next check in I dropped 5 pounds in 10 days. I was shocked and relived. I thought “great I’m making progress... whew” but my progress wasn’t good enough for my coach. She adjusted my calories again dropping me to 850 calories per day.
At my following check in I was down another 10 pounds. I dropped 15 pounds in the first month of my cut. I was sitting back at 115lbs and I felt like I was looking better than ever. But rest assured it wasn’t good enough. She wanted my body fat percentage to be below 10%. So back to the chopping block I went and she slashed my calories down to 645 calories per day. I literally wanted to die. I was so weak and hungry. I remember eating a head or iceberg lettuce just to have something on my stomach. I was doing 2 hours of cardio per day on top of an hour of weight training and being a full time summer semester student. I was tired all the time, had sever brain fog. It was time for my next check in with my coach but I hadn’t heard from her in over a week. I texted her and never heard back. I asked around and found out that she had turned in her thesis and that she had left the country to celebrate. I was devastated. How could she do this to me?!? I didn’t want to back out because I had not only dedicated SO MUCH time to this contest but I had also paid so much money to do this dang thing. $500 dollars went to cover my entry into the competition and my DFAC competitors card and another $300 was put into a custom made bikini for the show.
I began to panic because I had no clue what to do. My contest was three weeks away and I still needed to work on my posing routine and plan out my day of show routine. Finally show day was here and I weighed in at 100 pounds even and at 9% body fat. The day was honesty such a blur. I placed third out of 12 novice bikini competitors. I was shocked that I even placed at all. The biggest reward was the fact that the whole thing was over. That night I binge ate like a crackhead in a cocaine factory. I ate myself sick. I wish I could say that things went back to normal. For months after my contest I experienced many different health issues. I was having severe gastrointestinal distress. I was still depended on laxatives for daily BM function. I had severe bloating after eating (literally anything I ate by belly distended like I was in my first trimester). I had severe anxiety, mood swings and cystic acne. I completely stopped having a period for months and I was a total basket case. I finally went to an OBGYN and we discovered that my hormones were imbalanced. My estrogen was super high and my progesterone was super low. She told me that it was most likely due to me starving myself for so long. She prescribed me a low form of synthetic progesterone based birth control. Within three months things were back on track. I got back to a healthy 115lbs, I had a regular period and my acne had completely vanished. My digestion got itself back on track and I felt like me again! The only thing that I didn’t like about the birth control was that it did make me a little agitated at times but I would take that over the latter any day.
I finished out college May 2017 happy, healthy and ready to take life by the horns. A few months after college graduation the love of my life got on one knee and asked me to be his bride and by that December we were Mr. & Mrs. May 6th through December 26th was literally the most magical time of my life. I was married and ready to start my new life with my best friend. Life couldn’t get any better. On Wednesday December 27th 2017 just four days after our wedding day, I went to my OBGYN to get an IUD. I had heard lots of great things about the IUD. I mean for starters it’s super convenient not having to worry about taking a pill. It also has a higher chance of pregnancy prevention than the regular ole pill. And here’s the kicker, it’s not supposed to make you gain weight! Honestly the last “pro” is the reason I wanted the IUD. The traditional pill had made my body carry around 5 extra pounds that I wouldn’t be sad to get rid of. No matter what I did those last few pesky pounds decided to stick to my belly and thighs and not budge. So I decided why the heck not and switched to the IUD.
At my OBGYN appointment to get the IUD my doctor went over with me some things to expect after getting the IUD in place. She said for the first week I would be pretty swollen and bloated in my abdomen area. I would also have some spotting here and there for the first two weeks but after that things would be fine and I would be normal. Cool, great, let’s do this.
Five minutes later I emerged from the outpatient room doubled over in pain from the worst cramps I’ve ever had in all of my life. Thankfully my sweet husband was there to drive me home. The pain was so terrible that there was no way I was going to be able to drive. We got home and I then proceeded to lay in the fetal position for the next 3 hours and slip in and out of consciousness. The cramps I was having made me so nauseous that food was not an option. I just kept thinking, “suck it up this is temporary”. Oh man, was I wrong. Fast forward a month and the bloating that I was told I would experience was still there. I had been”spotting” on and off so much that I constantly had to wear liners in my underwear. And those cramps were still happening here and there. I called the OBGYN and they said that since I’m small my body might need more time to adjust. So I waited another month.
It’s now February 2018. At this point I’ve gained 8 pounds and nothing I did would make the weight gain go away. I was still bleeding... now almost daily. Some cool new side effects that started happening: I developed cystic acne, I started having strange allergic reactions to foods that I’ve never been allergic to before, constant headaches, sever mood swings, anxiety, depression, GI issues (like I didn’t poop ever), pain/cramping during and after sex, and my breasts had swollen up so bad that I had to buy new bras. I was an irrational, moody psycho who cried over puppy commercials and would throw hissy fits over the grocery store being out of the brand of almond milk I like. It was like someone else had inhabited my body and I just had to sit back and watch her totally destroy everything around her. I was miserable, depressed and totally not myself. I was honestly in the darkest place I think I’ve ever been mentally. I’m not saying all of this for you to feel sorry for me or for attention. I honestly want those of you reading this to know that this experience was incredibly hard for me to go through but it was also extremely life altering. It’s shaped me in ways I didn't know I needed.
February is about to come and go and I am still going through hell. I decided to do research and figure out what is going on with me. After days of searching I concluded that the IUD was the culprit. I decided that I needed this thing out of me NOW! I called every OBGYN in my area to see who would be available to get me in ASAP. I made an appointment and had the IUD removed the day before my husband and I had to move to Pensacola, FL for his flight school training. One five minute appointment later and I was a free woman. I felt SO relived! Brad and I packed up our U-Haul and made our way to Florida. 24 hours later we had made it to Sunny Florida. As we unpacked, I hunted for my scale because I was eager to know if my weight had changed any (cause that’s and important measure of health right? *hard eye roll*). Eureka! I found it! I rushed to the bathroom, stripped down to my birthday suit and jumped on the scale. To my excitement my weight was down FIVE whole pounds! I did a little happy dance in the bathroom, got dressed and finished unpacking our house. I was just three pounds away from being back to my normal weight and I knew that it would be no problem. Just lots of clean healthy food and a little extra cardio would do the trick. WRONG! About two weeks after my victory dance in the bathroom my weight had shot back up. This time I was 12 pounds heavier. I started to panic. I quickly found an OBGYN in the area and went to see her. I attempted to tell her my entire story but she interrupted me said she’s seen this before and “diagnosed me” right then and there. No testing done, she just was that gifted that she knew right away what was wrong (I couldn’t roll my eyes any harder even if I tried). Fifteen minutes later I was leaving the doctors office with a prescription for birth control and sent on my way. I started taking the pill and boom I had a period. I thought things were going to be fixed. Lol, nope (getting tired yet? Yeah, me too).
I went back to the doctor, this time my visit was a whopping 5 minutes. She prescribed me another pill and with a pat on my back sent me on my way. She said if I needed anything to call and let her know. This pill did this really cool thing where it made me swell up really huge, like to the point where I had to buy new sports bras and wear extra stretchy pants cause none of my clothes fit (totally a Regina George moment). It also induced a period where I bled for 10 days straight. I was bleeding so bad I started to have blood clots the size of grapes and when I called the doctor no one answered. I left 3 voicemails and sent two emails. I finally quit taking the pill and my period stopped two days later. I got a call back from a nurse three days later and she said to quit taking the pill... wow great advice lady, thaaaanks. My doctor had told the nurse to have me schedule an ultrasound and to have blood work done. The ultrasound results results came back normal and the blood work showed that my progesterone was super low (history repeating itself). During my third visit to go over the results of my testing the doctor told me, and I kid you not that I was “probably being dramatic”. After all I had just gotten married and lots of people gain “a little happy weight”. REALLY!?! I had enough. I left upset and with another prescription for another pill.
I so badly wanted this to be OVER! I was desperate and was willing to try anything. I decided to try one last thing. I googled hormone specialists near me and researched the few doctors in my area. Eventually I found a doctor that peaked my interest. Let’s call him Dr. P. I researched all about him to make sure he was legit and when I was satisfied with what I found I made an appointment. At my first appointment I explained my story in its entirety. Dr. P intently listened to my story and when I was finished he asked me lots of questions. He said that many of my symptoms were consistent with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS. He said that he did not want to diagnose me until I had an extensive blood panel done. He advised me to get off the pill and any supplements that I was taking (including S’moo) for two weeks before getting my my blood work done. I quit taking the pill that day and my constant headaches were gone two days later. My weight also went down 6 pounds in 4 weeks, my acne cleared up and my mood was almost normal gain. I felt 60% better. I was a little more than halfway back to being me just by getting off of the pill! I had my blood drawn and two weeks later I went back to see Dr. P again. He went through my results with Brad and I and explained that I do not have PCOS but that my progesterone was extremely low. During this entire journey I have only had two periods. So in 11 months i’ve only had two mensural cycles thanks to my progesterone being so low. This concerned both Brad and I. We both were beginning to talk about starting a family and the fact that I was still so hormonally out of whack was concerning.
We were told that by getting on progesterone and a strict hormone regimen that our worries would be no more and that we would be able to have children in the future. Unfortunately treatment was not going to be covered by insurance so we were going to have to come up with $1,700 smack-a-roos on our own. Brad and I obviously decided to move forward with treatment because we were both ready for this to be over. Through the next three months I went through a trial and error process with my medications trying to figure out what dosage was going to work for my body the best. I had bloodwork done once a month. By the end of the three
months Dr. P wanted me to stick with my current medication regimen for six months and then we would regroup after. He said that his wife/secretary Mrs. P contact me a month before my prescription ran out with orders to have more bloodwork done so we can evaluate where I am at and if any more adjustments needed to be made.
For the three months I was able to see some positive changes. My mood had been evening out and my other symptoms were are decreasing. I lost weight, how much I honestly don’t know. I quit weighting myself almost a year ago. I thought that things must be coming to an end. Suddenly, my body had begun to do some strange things. I started having a period every fifteen days. I began experiencing severe cramps between periods, major bloating in my midsection and swollen breasts again. I’m not gonna lie my reactions had been so severe at times I’ve thought I was pregnant which would excite Brad and I and eventually cause us to be severely disappointed. These symptoms concerned both Brad and I that we decided that I needed to contact Dr. P. I had contacted his office to express my concerns as well to let them know about our move to Texas at the end of October (2019). I called and sent emails both with no reply. After two weeks of waiting for a reply I decided to contact the pharmacy at the end of September to see how many more refills I had. My prescription refills were going to end mid October and to be honest I panicked a little because I still haven’t heard back from Dr. P’s office. On top of it all we are preparing for to move to our next duty station at the end of October so my time was limited.
I asked the pharmacy if they wouldn’t mind contacting the doctor’s office to see what’s going on and they did. Miraculously I received a call from Mrs. P within hours of getting off the phone with the pharmacy. She said that my email had accidentally gotten sent to their junk mail (yeah okay). I basically restated everything in my voicemail and emails that I had sent and that I was willing to go have more bloodwork done in order to make any adjustments before our move. Side note: Brad and I both explained to the doctor and his wife that we were military and that we were going to be moving at some point in the near future. We explained that we did not want to move forward with treatment if us moving was going to be an issue and both the doctor and his wife assured us that we could continue care anywhere in the country. When I mentioned about the blood work Mrs. P interrupted me and told me that they were not going to be able to continue patient care since we were moving and I could not come in for any more visits (since they don’t file with insurance one visit is $350 ). I asked her why this was the case and she didn’t even answer my question. Before I could say anything else she wished me well and hung up the phone. That phone call made me feel so defeated and frustrated. How could this be? After all these years, all the money and time spent getting me mostly back to normal to have the rug yanked right out from under my feet. I had no time to panic because our move was coming up and that’s what I needed to focus on. We packed up our Florida home and we made the twelve hour move to Texas in late October.
Fast forward to November 2019. I finished up at an OBGYN appointment at our new duty station in Texas. I left there feeling an overwhelming sense of peace. I had stopped taking the pills from Dr. P during the late part of October. I began taking S’moo powder again religiously. At my appointment I was diagnosed with PCOS but my new doctor told me that my levels were actually looking good. She wanted to monitor me but she made sure I was not taking any form of birth control and wanted me to “let my body work itself out”. So for the next month or so that’s what I did. I ate clean, exercised a normal and healthy amount and I took my S’moo powder. Christmas came and went and shortly after the first of the year I began to experience some strange symptoms. I was extremely tired all the time, fatigued and just didn’t feel like myself. I was also nine days late on my period. I refused to take a pregnancy test because I did not want to experience the pain of disappointment again. Brad convinced me to take one and to our surprise WE WERE PREGNANT! I can remember that moment so vividly. We both cried and danced around the bathroom for an hour! THANK YOU LORD! Now we are in our 20th week of pregnancy and so ecstatic to know that we will be welcoming a precious little boy into the world in September.
Although my story is long and at times a little cumbersome it has taught me SO MUCH! I’ve learned that my body is amazing and can do so many things without the use of traditional medications. I learned to stand up for myself and be my own advocate. I will not be silent. And it’s taught me that I need to always, always, always love and care for my body because it’s the only one I have during this lifetime. I hope that my journey gives you hope and that you know that you are not alone. There are many women who struggle and I feel like we all need to share our stories. Take heart friend. You are stronger than you think! Thank you S,moo Co. for creating a product that has helped heal my body and given me the gift of life. My little one and I thank you!