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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 (Like gluten-free mac and cheese comfortable). .
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 gluten-free sourdough 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.
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