June 17, 2014   By Kelly Bejelly

paleo success story

It’s hard to forget how sick I was when I found the Paleo Diet.

For years I had been hiding that I was suffering from anxiety and depression.

I had so much shame for how much weight I was carrying.

Now first, I‘m the last person you would ever call a waif.  I know that for me, good vibrant health means being a size 12, not 2.

However, when I discovered Paleo, I was pushing into a 28 and had just realized that I was pre-diabetic.  I was also suffering from depression and daily panic attacks.  I was at rock bottom and I remember going into my bathroom and weeping because I felt trapped in my body.

My Paleo Success Story

So let’s start at the beginning of my journey.

I was 19 when I decided to become a vegetarian, one of the worst diet mistakes I have ever made in my life.

Now, I’m not “hating” on vegetarians, but the diet did not work for me.   I have always been a carnivore and, a whim of youth, left me deficient in B12 and Omega 3 fatty acids resulting in all the anxiety disorders I was suffering from.

I gained weight steadily after I became a vegetarian, but truthfully in college, my diet consisted of beer and pizza.  My anxiety started in college and by the time I graduated, I could not look at myself in the mirror without being repulsed.

In my fashion, I hid what was happening to me and after I graduated, I moved home and immediately started a low calorie, low fat diet.

I worked out 4 hours a day.

I ate 1400 calories and less than 40 grams a fat a day.  I was on my own biggest loser diet – before the show even came into existence.

The thing is, I lost weight.

From a size 28  (yes, I’ve been a size 28 twice in my life), I got down to a size 10 and while I looked amazing,  my mental health was even worse than when I had been binging on beer and deep fried onion rings.

I didn’t seek medical help and instead turned to my faith to get me through this.   A part of me is glad that I didn’t see a doctor, only because I more than likely would have been prescribed medication to fix my problem rather than addressing the root cause. NOTE: This is not me giving you any medical advice.  This is just what I did, good or wrong.

Anyhow, I moved to Portland and well, I met my husband and well, I got comfortable.

paleo sucess story I love to cook and I had a sweet tooth that would rival Paula Dean pre-diabetes (By the way – I love butter as much as this gal does).  So, I gained weight, slowly but surely as the years went by I packed on, egad, 90 lbs.  Yep.  90 lbs.  

I remember waking up every morning and my ritual of walking on my heels since it was so painful to walk.

I remember waking hoping that today would be a good day and I wouldn’t have a anxiety attack or worse.

My husband is the kindest man who wants nothing more than a healthy wife so he shared that he was concerned about me in the only way I will listen – by being blunt.   After this tearful chat, I started to take charge of my health.

I started walking, yoga and watching my calories and I lost 25 lbs but I was still suffering mentally and physically.  

It’s around this time that I stumbled onto   Weston A Price when I was on the raw vegan diet and discovered raw milk.

I decided to start eating meat again and my first taste of bacon was, well, it wasn’t fantastic but I’m sure I didn’t start off with some amazing brand like Nieman Ranch.

I kept it up and start mixing in bone broths and cod liver and was finally finding some relief.

However, I gained weight on the diet as I thought, hey, as long as what I was eating was real food and soaked, it meant it was healthy.

So I was still eating tons of sweets and breads.

I found out shortly later that I was pre-diabetic and I felt like the world was closing in around me even more.  I have always been afraid of needles and Doctors and here I was, on the verge of becoming a lifetime patient.

This was the straw that broke the camels back and I started searching for any information I could find about insulin resistant and I found Marks Daily Apple 

After reading through every word of the website, I made the decision to give up all grains and sugar.

 My transformation was amazing.  

I was eating loads of fat, protein and veggies and losing weight, 65lbs in six months to be exact.family2014b

It was the first time in 10 years that  my brain was  humming with happiness.  If you have ever suffered from mental issues, you know that once you find sweet relief, you will never go back to your old ways and it’s one of the reasons I have stayed true to this diet.

I am by no means a Paleo purist.  It’s so easy to slap a label on someone but in truth, everything in life is multifaceted.

I have a sweet tooth that thankfully, I’m able to satisfy on this diet, and still keep my old demons at bay.

I only have a handful of photos of myself from the “Large” years,  something that I seriously regret now.  I had to dig for ones to show you where I started from before I went Paleo.   I was actually bigger than what these photos show  at two points of my life.

I am still a work in progress and trying to get back on track after creating my cookbook (seriously I have a book baby).

However, I am so many light years away from the woman I was before I started this journey.

Now, if you are just starting on this journey, please read Are you a girl or guy worth saving?

 

 

 

Family Portrait Photo Credit: Crystal Genes Photography 

Leave A Reply

25 Comments

  • June 17, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Great to see success stories for those on the Paleo diet. Thanks for sharing with us

  • June 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    So wonderful to read your story. I so appreciate your sharing it. 🙂

  • June 18, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. I have the same amount of weight to lose and am trying to switch over fully to Paleo – I am starting the 30 Day Paleo challenge on the 29th and tomorrow I am starting Turbo Jam for exercise.

    • June 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      I wish you much success Karen! I just started T-Tapp again and will be watching my carbs.

    • Maxine
      June 19, 2014 at 7:12 am

      Turbojam rocks! I love it.

      • June 19, 2014 at 7:21 am

        I’m going to have to break out my copy Maxine!

  • Rene
    June 19, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have been practically Paleo for about six months now. I was never overweight, but at the higher end of “normal” for the last 15 years. I adopted Paleo hoping it would help with my allergies. It didn’t, but I lost 10 pounds and my mood has brightened considerably! I was feeling a little down today, so your story was inspiring. I am probably off because I took my niece and nephew to a water park for two days…. nothing really edible there! I did bring some of my own food, but it wasn’t enough.
    Thanks for your wonderful recipes. They keep me from getting in a rut.

    • June 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

      Thank you so much Rene. Yes, it’s amazing how quickly you mood can change with just a few cheats.

  • Pamela
    June 20, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for sharing…there are parts of your story that seem to be straight from the pages of my story! I am Sooo happy for you and hope that in a few months I have as positive and inspiring message as yours…

    • June 20, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      Thank you Pamela and I can’t wait to hear about your success story. Please share!

  • Beth
    June 25, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I started out grain free abaout a year ago, and Paleo about six months ago. I have suffered from really bad breakouts/acne from the age of 17, and I am currently 32. After a month of gluten free, and especially now with Paleo, my skin has completely cleared up, I never break out anymore. I had tried every prescription and topical treatment out there over the years, but it was my diet that was the problem. I didn’t have ,uch weight to lose, but I have noticed my body building signiificantly more muscle during my workouts than it ever has. I am so happy to have found Paleo, I am so thankful to have clear skin!

    • June 25, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Yeah! Congrats on your success Beth and I can tell you feel like a million bucks!

  • Michelle Axiak
    July 8, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Hi Kelly, I have RR Multiple Sclerosis and although started out on medication, have been off it since June of last year (2013), seeking alternative natural means of healing, granted, some need to work harder at it than others. Like you I read that a vegetarian lifestyle could help with my healing…. I embraced it as much as I could, however a blood test a year later would show numerous deficiences… Low B12, dangerously low iron, borderline zinc, low COQ10… Low low low… I freaked out! It wasn’t about MS anymore, it was about balancing everything else!! I have been off sugar for over a month, doing well… A few slip ups, but I expected these. I’ve also cut out dairy and grains and feel the pangs of pain when I slip up big time (It hurts!!). I have just stumbled across your blog and I am extremely grateful! Thank you for being a pillar of support for all of us. Thanktou x

    • July 8, 2014 at 10:39 am

      I wish you the best on your journey Michelle and if you haven’t heard of the Autoimmune protocol, I check it out to see if it can aid in your healing.

  • Christina
    September 13, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    The name of your blog is the most inspirational thing I’ve read in a long time! Thank you for giving me hope in knowing that I, too, am a girl worth saving 🙂

    • September 13, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      You are hun! Be blessed on your journey!

  • October 15, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I’ve also suffered for years from depression and anxiety. I’ve been paleo for over 4 months and am blown away with all the positive changes I’ve experienced (healthy digestion, energy, etc), but actually feeling happy is by far the best. I haven’t had one panic attack since going paleo, and the only anxiety or depression I’ve felt is when I got “glutened”.

    Keep up the good work of taking care of yourself! Great blog!

    • October 26, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Congrats on your success Sage 🙂

  • Emily
    November 10, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Your story is so inspirational! I just started on the whole 30 challenge and am planning to go full paleo after it. I’ve been on my own battle struggling with anxiety and depression and I am hopeful that pairing this new lifestyle and exercise will get me through. Thank you 🙂

    • November 10, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks so much Emily! I wish you the best on your journey hun <3