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Working with a Clinical Nutritionist + Brick Betty Trunk Shows!

I apologize if you got a little bit of the run-around when coming to this post. I realized that I had made a major mistake, and being the stickler that I am for providing correct information, I had to fix it!

And welcome back to another weekend of kicking ass and taking names. My weekend was very, very chill, and I’ll tell you about that in a moment. I would say that the biggest “event” that happened was my initial visit to the clinical nutritionist on Friday. This was not your average nutritionist visit, so I wanted to share with you all a bit about it because it was a completely different experience that I was expecting. Also, I have an exciting Brick Betty announcement for EVERYONE!


Sharing my journey to the healthiest body possible starting with a visit to the clinical nutritionist. The experience was very different from what I expected! Find out more at @suzyfe

Working with a Clinical Nutritionist cum Physician

On Friday, I had my first visit with Dr. Gina Sirchio, DC, of the La Grange Institute of Health, a practice associated with Spine and Sport of Chicago, the chiropractic practice that I had been working with prior to my MRI and new diagnosis. Gina is a physician of functional medicine and clinical nutrition. Going into this appointment, I will absolutely admit that I was a bit unsure as to how the appointment would shake out, as my experience with nutritionists in the past has been less than optimal. The two nutritionists I have seen have not seemed to be able to understand the impact of Crohn’s Disease on my absorption, and the experiences were far more frustrating than helpful.

Kill you with kindness meme

I have worked very, very hard on my nutrition; I have brought myself back from an unhealthy weight and unhealthy mentality regarding food (food fears and need for control as a result of my Crohn’s and anxiety), and my marathon training has sealed my commitment to and capacity for health and wellness. My current outlook and approach to nutrition and food intake is perhaps one of my greatest points of pride: I love what and how I eat, and I have one of the most balanced diets of anyone that I know. I eat what I love, I love what I eat. Sometimes I eat too much, but I rarely eat too little.

The veggie omelet at Tempo Cafe in Chicago's Gold Coast is entirely massive and delicious and ive yet to not finish it! What do you order at brunch?

Well, this was just ridiculous, but you get the point.

The questions that are leading my work with the dietitian or nutritionist:

  • Are there any holes in my diet that I can work on? What are they, and how can I work to “tick all the boxes” nutritionally?
  • What is the extent of  the damage already done to my bones by years of steroids, irregular periods, and inflammation (preventing proper absorption)? (Still waiting on DEXA bone density results)
  • What can we do about the damage in order to strengthen my bones and reduce any inflammation that doesn’t show up as a result of my medications?
  • In short, how do we promote greater resiliency within my body?
  • And, ultimately, how do we get me as healthy as possible for pregnancy in the future?

What I expected:

  • That we would sit down, I would go through my diet (an average day, number of calories that I aim for, basic nutrient distribution, how I deal with/compensate for exercise), and she would assess and make recommendations based on holes that she found. 

What happened:

  • We sat down, and we discussed why I was there. 
  • I talked to her about my previous hesitations with working with nutritional professionals, my previous experiences. 
  • Gina and I discussed my medical timeline, my menstrual timeline, and when I had been on what medications. 
  • She asked about blood tests, and I brought up my My Chart results, which she printed off to go through.
  • We discussed some blood tests that will tell us more about my nutrient, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies, as well as some other tests to help rule out underlying conditions that might not show up due to the fact that I am on such powerful medications. Also, she made some really interesting comments on how I could be “doing all the right things” but still not accomplishing my mission of giving my body everything that it needs (I’ll explain in a minute).
  • We discussed various markers that she would be looking for with regards to my bloodwork.
  • She sent me home to get bloodwork and specific tissue tests done, and we will meet again once the bloodwork is back (approximately the first week of January). 

Notice what she didn’t do? Tell me I wasn’t getting enough kale, etc. In fact, she outright told me, “I’m not going to sit here and tell you ‘eat more kale’ when a) you already have a great diet and b) more kale might not do you any benefit. So I’m not going to tell you that unless we know that it will help” I loved that. She respected that I do know my body, that I know my disease, but she also demonstrated to me in a very sensible and mon-confrontational way (this is big for me) that even with as much good as I am doing my body, I might still be fighting a losing fight due to my past. 

How could this be possible? How could I be getting all the necessary calcium, but still not have strong bones?

This all started to make sense as she was discussing the tissue test that we are doing:

  • Tissue tests are actually better markers of actual health than blood tests, as blood will take anything and everything to be as powerful as possible. As she said, “Of course your blood tests might look good, and meanwhile your tissue is in the background waving and hoping to get noticed.”
  • Some of the best vitamins and minerals for bone health are absorbed and taken into the body via similar receptors; thus, if you are getting too much calcium, you might still not be benefiting your bones because you are flooding those receptors and thus not getting the other vitamins/minerals essential to bone health. This made so much sense to me! As fitness professionals, we recommend to our clients that they not aim to get all of their nutrition, water, salt, etc at once, but rather to spread it out over the day for maximum absorption. I never thought of it on an even more micro level–the same idea, but where certain nutrients were literally fighting for reception, period. 

Gina also asked if I had ever had a food allergy test done. I responded honestly: no, I have simply done the work myself and discovered what works for me/doesn’t work for me through time and work. But Gina once again made a very good point: just because I am not exhibiting “flare” symptoms doesn’t mean that there isn’t underlying inflammation that is preventing absorption and better health. Of course, I realize this, but I hadn’t had it put into the context of my bone health and later fertility. But she did say that as I am largely doing ok and also about to try to have a family (and so many things can change during that process), that it would be fine for me to wait a bit before doing that.

Overall, I found the session very interesting, and I am eager (and a bit apprehensive, I admit) to see the results of my blood and tissue tests. 

Not your average diet review: check out @suzlyfe's visit to the clinical nutritionist #health #fitfluential Click To Tweet

The Rest of My Weekend

The rest of my weekend was occupied by coaching, both in person and online. I gave a Mindful Eating clinic at Fleet Feet Old Town (translating Sara’s work in my own words), then did some plan development for some new clients that I am very, very excited about! I also had to rework one of my client’s plans nearly completely–unfortunately, my client that was prepping for the Phoenix Marathon sprained her ankle very badly, so we are coming up with some alternate plans for her. She is a champ, though, and taking the news amazingly well! I love her attitude!

turtle dude nemo

That afternoon, after I brunched my heart out (on my own) at home, I took advantage of my Saturday and indulged in the luxury that is 2 1-hour long naps. You know the type: you wake up, think about it, go back to sleep. It was glorious 😀 I did manage to convince myself to go do some biceps and shoulders after, though. 



Sunday was super quiet, but still relatively productive: I put together workouts and the intro sheet for my newest personal training client and then took myself down to gym for some back. I needed to pick up some groceries, so I grabbed my backpack and crutched around the local grocery store, but it didn’t have everything that I needed, so I mostly ended up with the things that I didn’t actually need, but that were “wants” on my list.

Also, if you wondered, large size pizzas don’t fit into backpacks. SAD FACE.

Upcoming this Week

The week, I’ve got a few holiday parties and a follow up with my PM&R. Not too much else on the docket, except for 2 opportunities to get yourself some Brick Betty!

Join Suz for a Brick Betty Trunk Show at Orangetheory Fitness Old Town Chicago!

Tonight, I will be at Orangetheory Old Town from 4:30-8:30 with the full line of Brick Betty activewear and workout apparel! Come take a class and then see for yourself why this is the Rolls Royce of activewear!

Brick Betty Virtual Trunk Show and Flash Sale on Facebook!

Don’t live in Chicago, or simply can’t make it to class? Join us on Facebook for the first ever Brick Betty Virtual Trunk Show this Wednesday and Thursday. There will be HUGE deals on apparel, and even GIRLS sizes! So if you know a young lady who needs some pink leggings…. you know where to find us. Check out the event page for Wednesday and Thursday!

That’s all I’ve got for now. Have a fantastic week, and I hope that I might get to see you tonight! Thank you Katie for the Marvelous Monday Link Up!

I'm so excited for the @brickbetty trunk shows on FB and at @otheoryfitness hosted by @suzlyfe! Click To Tweet

Have you ever been to see a doctor of nutrition or a clinical dietition, as opposed to a nutritionist?

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever tried to fit in a backpack? 

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