I Am Scared

by Nasya
(South Korea)

My hair before

My hair before

My hair before
Another picture of my hair before
Picture of Hair Loss
More loss, in the middle

Hello Sheree, this is going to be a long one. My name is Nasya and I am 24. I teach English in South Korea, and until 3 weeks ago I had beautiful thick, long (when stretched haha) curly hair.


I went home on a visit to my family in America in late March, and I went to a salon to get my hair straightened. When I returned to Korea, my hair starting falling out in fist-full chunks all over my head in the shower. My hairline is okay, but the back of my head is very thin now and the nape hair line is receding.

I was so alarmed, I saw three dermatologists, got acupuncture and even skyped my dermatologist from home. Because let's be honest, black skin and hair is veeerrry different from Korean skin and hair.

All of them told me it was due to stress. I believe that, because living in Korea is very stressful for any foreigner, but especially stressful for black foreigners.

I became very depressed and frantic because I was also diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia when I was 22. I have been taking Rogaine and the hair that I lost previously grew back. Even new hairs grew in on my hairline.

In my frantic searching for answers I came upon this site. I have been doing the diet for two weeks now, and this is my regimen:

I start school around 2:30 p.m., so I have my first meal around 2:00.

1 salad including:
arugula
red lettuce
purple cabbage
baby tomatoes
carrots
red and green bell peppers
salmon or tuna
and 1 egg.

Snack: peanuts, soy milk, or almond milk.

Meal 2 - the same as meal 1 since I now pack lunch.

dinner: Swiss chard or spinach, veggie tuna soup including potatoes, scallions, baby tomatoes and carrots.

Supplements:
1 10,000 mg biotion
1 women's multivitamin,
2 vitamin D pills weekly (I have a deficiency)
And starting today Hasuo (the Korean name for fo-ti pills)

On the weekends I have some trouble because I go into the city for dance class and hang out with friends. Last Sunday was Easter, and after volunteering, someone gave me candy and I totally devoured it and drank a soda. It was my first time falling completely off the wagon.

I am scared because I don't want to go bald in Korea. There are no bald people here and I don't want to be the first bald woman.

Since starting this diet my hair loss has stopped, though I still shed when I wash my hair once a week. But it's back to the regular amount I would lose.

I am also scared because my hair texture changed and is limp now. I really appreciate this website and all that you have done, watching others' journeys is amazing, and I hope that mine will produce similar results.

Nasya

Comments for I Am Scared

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Apr 25, 2014
You Need a Lot More Food
by: Sheree

Hello Nasya,

What beautiful pictures. You have incredibly thick, healthy looking, gorgeous hair. The patch of hair loss showing a circular pattern looks like alopecia areata. I've personally seen this type of hair loss appear, and then disappear very quickly.

It's extremely important not to panic when you notice this type of hair loss, because stress will worsen it exponentially. Stick closely to the hair loss diet guidelines, and use mental stress techniques to control any further damage.

With the excessive hair loss you're describing, it sounds like it's diet related, along with features of alopecia areata. You can confirm this with your physician.

I think your doctors are right. Stress can cause severe damage to all internal organs, and it can lead to diffuse hair shedding all over the head. When you combine severe stress with a poor diet, the results can be extremely damaging and delay hair growth.

I see that you're starting your first meal at 2:00 p.m. For your hair, that's about six hours past the ideal starting point. You're going to need a lot more food. Skipping meals can cause your hair to shed. Your vegetables look great. Vegetables speak a genetic coded language that will turn the hair loss gene off.

For the cheating, although the candy and soda are not permitted, they will not cause the damage and the hair loss that you described. So an isolated incident of candy and soda are not going to affect your potential hair regrowth.

The most important thing you can do right now is hang on. This diet is such a gift, but it comes at a price. Hard work, patience, commitment, and most of all, time. Some people see results very quickly, and others take a bit longer. You're going to make it through this. We're here for you.

Love,

Sheree








Apr 29, 2014
Struggling
by: Nasya

Dear Sheree,

Thank you for the wonderful comments. I will definitely try to get up earlier so I can eat more. I thought I have only been doing the diet for 2 weeks, but actually yesterday made a month since I started.

I was doing very well for 3 weeks, but this weekend and into this week was a huge struggle. It is hard to do this diet in one's native land, but as I am discovering, it may be harder to do it in a foreign country.

I often find myself not wanting to be rude, or offend people here, and as a consequence this weekend, I have been eating outside the diet. On Saturday a friend of mine had a going away party and I had 3 bottles -ugh- of beer. Then on Sunday I ate a Korean pancake which I originally thought was made from egg, but might have had flour in it, now that I think about it.

Yesterday I was offered Ramen, and rice juice, and since it is considered rude to turn down food here, I ate it. There was a salty soup with it, so I don't know if that lowered the GI count, but today I feel so bloated and in general have a sense of malaise.

Today a friend of mine from work brought in black bean bread because she knew I cant have wheat. Is this ok to eat?

I am struggling so badly and I just want this food out of my system. I hope my hair doesn't start falling out again. I washed it yesterday and I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, and I hope it stays that way.

Thank you again for your kind words,

Nasya

Apr 29, 2014
I hope my comment was submitted
by: nasya

Dear sheree,

I just posted a comment I hope it made it.

May 02, 2014
Navigating the Diet
by: Sheree

Hi Nasya,

I completely understand when you're talking about the social problems with the diet. It's true in all cultures around the world. If somebody gives you something to eat, it means they are trying to love you. And if you turn down the food, they feel you're rejecting them, and they feel hurt.

You're probably going to end up offending them. Brace yourself for that one, because it's going to come up over and over again. Just smile graciously and be as kind as you can to them.

It would take hours and hours to explain to them why you cannot eat their food. But when you look at the long-term consequences of eating foods restricted by the diet, the heartache for you is much worse.

It gets much easier as time passes. Later, when you get used to this, you will say, "I do not eat sugar," and they'll hear something in your voice that will make them pause.

The black bean bread is wonderful. You can eat black bean bread every day. Beans are great for your hair.

Good luck sweetie!

Sheree








May 16, 2014
Is it normal?
by: Nasya

Thank you again Sheree,

I have been doing the diet now for about 5 weeks, abut I have had some major setbacks. I have never completely stopped, but I have had a day or two of eating bad foods, mainly because they were offered to me.

I know it can take up to three months before I see any change, but I am also concerned about my hair and it being damaged.

I mentioned earlier that back in March I went to a salon in America and had extreme heat damage from it. Since then it has been very fragile and breaks/sheds easily. I was wondering if you have ever experienced this and what you did to save it, because I noticed we have similar hair textures.

I have been keeping it in twists, so I am not constantly playing with it, and I think that has been helping a little bit. Also, last week I was shedding more than my usual amount when I wash my hair, and I was wondering if it is normal after being on the diet for this to happen. Some of it was due to breakage, but I'm not sure how much.

Is it okay if I put up more pictures to have a objective point of view about my hair? I think it has shrunk a lot, but I can't tell. I am starting to become stressed again.

I know that beer is 100% off limits, but is other non barley/wheat/rice based alcohol okay? Soju is made from tapioca, and it's such a part of social life and everyday dinners here. I don't drink it every week, and only on occasion, but I was wondering if this is ruining my diet.

May 17, 2014
Hair Damage
by: Sheree

Hi Nasya,

Congratulations on making it to the fifth week.

For the bad foods, it only affects your hair regrowth if it's a repeated pattern. So if it's once a week or so, then no problem. If it's all day bad foods, then you're going to have to start over with the hair loss diet. When you have a few days of cheating full time, you have to reset the diet and begin again. Also, the non gluten containing alcohol should be limited to about twice per week.


I've had really bad damage like you're describing. There's only one cure. And that's a hefty trim. You may only need to take off an inch or two, but that should shear off any split ends that have accumulated. For our hair type, it's best to carefully control the use of heat. Hair is like silk and is very, very fragile.

The twists are perfect for you. Also, bantu knots, flat twists, and other protective styles will do wonders until your hair grows back. And with this diet, it grows so much faster, so within a couple of months, you'll have the hair back that you snipped off.

For the shedding, here's what I've seen. When you are suffering from hair loss, every strand counts. So people have a tendency to be super cautious about hair they're losing. When the hair goes through its shedding phase, it may shed a bit more, but still be within the normal range.

I think you're fine. Five weeks is too early. We're in May right now. August/September is when I fully expect you to be getting some serious results. It could be sooner, but I'm just using that time frame as a general guideline.


I would love for you to post more pictures. If you're going to add pictures, you will have to start another thread, and then the link will prompt you to add pictures.

Let me know how you are.

Love,

Sheree



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I Am Scared Part 2

by Nasya
(South Korea)

middle part

middle part

middle part
side part update
side part update
side part today

Hi Sheree, it's me, Nasya. I wish I were here to share good news but I'm not. I stuck with the diet for a little over 2 months and then I completely fell off.

I am leaving South Korea for good in a week, but I am sad to say my hair continued to fall out, and now it is noticeable, It has also changed textures, and I don't feel comfortable doing certain styles anymore because my hair line is receding.

I look back at old pictures, even the ones I posted to this website when I started the diet, and I cry. The diet became extremely difficult to continue here. It's not like in America, where I can have fruits and vegetables at my convenience for low prices all year long. It is expensive here. And once something is out of season, it is gone until the next year.

While I have been avoiding breads, I have fallen into sugar cravings, eating popsicles and ice cream frequently. I know it's my own doing, but now I fear my hair will never grow back.

For anyone who wants to succumb to temptation, please read this as a cautionary tale. I am scared and anxious and when I come home I will be signing up for coaching as soon as I set up a bank account. I really need emotional support.

Every time I look at my hair, I feel a dull pang of anxiety in my chest. There are more important things to worry about than my hair, but it consumes me.

What makes it worse is I have had the habit of pulling it out since I was 14. Then it didn't matter because my hair was as thick as a wig, but now, every strand counts, but its something I unconsciously do when I feel anxious which is close to all the time now, due to the stress of migrating back to America. Please help, I really just need support and some kind words.


Nasya

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Aug 22, 2014
The Battlefield
by: Sheree

Hi Nasya,

I looked at your pictures. I don't know if it's the lighting or the angle of the camera, but I truly cannot see the hair loss. I think you look beautiful. You really do have very thick hair, and I'll bet that anyone looking at it would have no idea.

Thank you so much for telling me that you fell off the wagon. It's extremely important for you to understand that this is perfectly okay. The only thing that's not okay is quitting. We all have setbacks. When you tell the honest truth about going off the diet, the next step is knowing where to begin.


You've seen those movies where you admire the people that get up over and over again, even after being knocked down 100 times? I mean, you wince just watching it. They just flat out won't quit. Those are the types of people we are. You can get hit by lightening and thunder, and you just keep getting up over and over again. Like grunts on the battlefield. Grunts are strong by their very nature, and keep going despite all of the odds. You're stronger than you know.


You mentioned hair pulling. In extreme cases, this condition is called trichotillomania, which is simply an irresistible urge to pull out your hair. This compulsion to pull your hair out can even occur during sleep, and you may not be aware of it. This would require treatment and therapy. This could also be adding to the issue of hair loss.

When you come back to the U.S., you'll have a wide variety of foods to choose from. When you get back, pick a day and start again.

You're going to succeed.

Love,

Sheree




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Nasya's Hair Pictures

by Nasya
(Korea)

my hair line

my hair line

my hair line
right side
left side
top

Hi Sheree! I know now that I have to start over. It all started last Friday when I had to cook Tteokbokki at my school for my students. Tteokbokki are like glutinous rice cakes that are soft with the consistency kinda like really soft taffy. That is the best way to describe them. There are pictures on the internet if you want a visual.

While Tteokbokki is eaten as a savory dish, I was asked to put brown sugar in the pot because the pre-packaged sauce they were cooked in would have been too salty. That day I still had my morning spinach and my daily salads but I was also eating little by little of the Tteokbokki as I cooked it. I probably ate a serving size.

Then today I caved and had popcorn at the movies, a chocolate muffin, and a smoothie. The muffin wasn't even as delicious as I thought it was going to be.

I am struggling so badly and this diet is really difficult here because I don't have all of the resources to make creative meals, so I just eat the same thing every day.

I have also had to stop taking fo-ti because it upsets my stomach. So now I am only taking biotin and vitamin E.

I am going home for good in August. I know I have to start over again, but will this mean my hair will start to fall out again? And I guess I won't be seeing any results until October or November. I could really use your encouraging words.

Thank you for all you do,

Nasya

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May 26, 2014
Let's Start Again
by: Sheree

Nasya,

Don't worry too much about the cheat meals. There's a lot worse food than Tteokbokki, and I really can't see it causing any hair loss all by itself. Tteokbokki does have a little gluten, but there are far worse foods out there.

I'm a little more worried about the chocolate muffin. In your situation, wheat products are a definite no-go. Everybody slips up. Don't worry about that.

Don't worry about the mistakes. At times, this diet can feel like you're walking on a tightrope.
Just start again, and keep going at it until it feels like second nature.

Thank you for the pictures. There's something about the texture of your hair that is just beautiful. You say you have hair loss, and I believe you. It's just that your hair is so thick and healthy looking.

When you come back home, you can start experimenting with recipes that will maximize your hair growth. This will help you as well. You have to have variety so you can stick with it.

I believe you will notice hair regrowth much sooner than October or November. So let's begin again. Today is 5/26/14, and this is your new start date.


I'm here for you.

Love,

Sheree






May 29, 2014
soups
by: Nasya

Oh Sheree,

I hear that all the time about my hair, but at least you believe me. Some people don't, including my dermatologist for a while. And I felt like a crazy person.

I have just been worried lately, because after I stopped using Rogaine, a lot of my edges, the fine hair at the hairline, that grew in from using Rogaine, have fallen out. I am worried that they will not grow back in.

Also, I really enjoy the soups here which are made up of hot pepper paste, kimchi, tofu, leeks, tuna, and onions. Can I eat these?

I only indulge once a week due to the fact that they are served with white rice to cut the salt. These soups contain a high salt content and it is a common belief that eating them with rice will reduce it.

Does this count as a cheat meal, or are these soups okay on the diet?

Every time I read your comments I feel more hopeful!

May 29, 2014
Kimchi, Soup & Korean Food
by: Sheree

Hi Nasya,

All in all, the Korean diet is absolutely amazing. But there are still a few things you need to avoid.

The pepper paste is made with sweet rice flour, so keep that one to a minimum. All white rice should be kept to a minimum.

The soups you mentioned, the kimchi, tofu, leeks, tuna, and onions are superb for your hair. You can have as much of this as you like.


Rogaine

The Rogaine is only effective for as long as you're using it. And that's for the people who have been successful with it. I've never heard of anyone stopping Rogaine, and continuing with the progression of hair regrowth. There are definitely some major limitations with Rogaine.

Stay strong!


Love,

Sheree





Jun 01, 2014
Rogaine
by: Nasya

Oh no!

Does this mean my hair will never grow back? Should I start using the Rogaine again with the diet? Was it a mistake to stop? I'm sorry Sheree I'm just a little worried now.

Jun 01, 2014
Rogaine and Hair Regrowth
by: Sheree

Hi Nasya!

I'm so sorry. I totally worded that wrong. What I meant to say was I've never seen anyone taking only Rogaine, stopping the Rogaine, and then continuing with hair regrowth. In other words, the Rogaine is only good for as long as you're using it. And that's only if that's the only thing they're using.

What everybody tells me is that their hair loss resumes when they stop taking it. This is completely independent of the diet. I've seen people use both the diet and Rogaine, and then the Rogaine still caused hair loss.

I've seen people use Rogaine along with the diet and still regrow their hair. It seems to have different effects in different people.

Your hair is going to grow back no matter what. You're going to do great!

Love,

Sheree



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