I, like Jn, am a basket full of hormone and endocrine mess.
I have always had a passion for food and nutrition. When I was a kid I had to try every new food possible. While friends were noshing on pizza and chicken fingers, I was ordering snails, avocado (which was virtually unknown to our tiny little town), sushi, goat, water buffalo, weird stinky cheeses...anything I could get my hands on. I distinctly remember my mother trying to figure out where to get leeks and lemongrass and rice noodles in our tiny little farming community when I requested to try Pad Thai for my birthday one year. And they nearly dis-owned me when I was in middle school and decided that I was going to be vegetarian. Just as I was so adventurous, so was I also very health conscious from a very early age. The only problem is that I had only ever been taught a German style meat and potatoes and Stroganoff kind of eating at home and an Italian "eat all the pasta you can grab" extended family. The only health nuts I knew were vegetarian.
I was a heavy kid and yo-yo-ed back and forth with my weight despite periods of time where I only ate bread, veggie broth with frozen vegetables, and apples. I was active and a hiker, biker, and outdoors person, but still put on weight. I went to college and after 5 years of vegetarianism, started eating meat again and continued to put on weight.
I was a Biology Major and became obsessed with Nutrition and Health. I promoted the Whole Grain, Whole Food, Organic balanced lifestyle and still never loved pizza or fried food, fast food didn't tempt me and still gained weight. I was still active and mountain biked, hiked, did trail construction work, went camping, long walks and snow shoe stints in the woods. I began to have all kinds of health problems. I have: 2 herniated disks which like to make my life miserable on and off, PCOS, Hypothyroidism, and all kinds of digestive issues with God only knows what laundry list of items that I have never clearly delineated. I continued to gain weight.
I got fed up and threw everything I knew about nutrition out the window and tried a few fad diets and some more well recognized ones. I tried Weight Watchers and actually gained weight while scrupulously following the plan, I tried the Abs Diet on Jn's recommendation. I stopped gaining weight but did not lose any and continued to feel like crap. The most success I ever had was with a company called "LA Weightloss" in which I lost weight and gained confidence, but couldn't stick to it as it required buying tons of their chemical based products that got really boring after a while and incredibly expensive. I went into police academy and ate crap and felt like crap but lost a ton of weight by sheer brute force of hours and days of sweat and stress and lack of sleep. I went into the hospital twice for my disks. I tried LA weightloss again and had some small success and reached my lowest weight that I can remember, but stuck with it for less time than before. I had to have steroid injections for my back and stopped being as active as it became more painful. I got depressed and gave up.
Then I got serious with my hubby. He was a fast food junky. I had, while being overweight and messed up, eaten "healthy" by most American standards until that point where we got serious; about when I had given up. I learned the wonder of fast food, the addictive flavors of chemicals, how to choke down pizza when he was craving it even though I hated the stuff. I put all my weight back on and picked up more problems. I love the man dearly and while he brought me to a low point food wise, he brought me eventually to my high place health wise. He introduced me to my Chiropractor. I have had (prior to then) steroid injections, physical therapy, massage therapy, electro-muscular stimulation therapy, sonic therapy...all of the happy drugs you can imagine in the name of fixing my back problems. As a very good biologist, I believed, like most biologists, that chiropractic was bunk. But when you have tried everything and nothing works, sometimes you start trying the "crazy stuff." A little over 8 months after my first visit at the chiropractor I was feeling pretty good and started working out again. But I was still gaining weight. I reached a point where I could no longer make progress while my body was imbalanced both physically and hormonally. I threw my back out again and this time rather than going to the hospital and taking drugs and shots and ...etc. I dragged myself screaming (literally) to the chiropractor and was unable to move when I got there. I was walking again that night. I'm sold on Chiropractic.
At the Doc.'s office they talk about Paleo all the time. No grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar. All the things that I thought were so healthy and ate so much of. All the Kashi and Quinoa, and brown rice, all the yogurt and black beans that were supposed to make me healthy I'm now being told by these Doc.'s, that I've come to trust, are bad for me. Well, I was wrong about Chiropractic I said to myself, let's read some more about Paleo before brushing it too off as bunk.
I picked up the book called "The Paleo Solution" by Robb Wolf and read it preparing to dissect it like all other fad diets as is my personal hobby. I'm known as the one who when you say you are on the (fill in the blank) diet will tell you all the ways it is unhealthy for you, and sure you'll lose weight for a little while, but you will die earlier in the end. I found nothing in this book to criticize. As a scientist, this made SENSE to me. Here I had been thinking my whole life that I was just not dedicated enough, or had the right idea, but just ate too much, or not enough, or had my ratios wrong, or it was my messed up hormones that was the problem. My problem, though, it seemed, was a little talked about thing called inflammation. So simple.
I was a believer right off the bat, however my cravings are a strong and dangerous thing and I had long ago sold my future to Dunkin Donuts and MacDonalds. I just couldn't seem to stick with it long enough. I went through long periods of half heart-ed attempts and mild failures, to just giving up entirely. My hubby and I even followed paleo for lent once. We both lost a ton of weight and felt soo much better, but as soon as lent was over, we were off the wagon and feeling crappy again. I hold that lent in my head as just a taste of what my health could be if I stuck with it for the long haul and without Sundays off and the Monday morning intestines yelling at me very loudly for my lack of stamina.
In my typical fashion, even though I am not following it myself, I start telling Jn about Paleo and telling her to read the book. I told her about our lent and how great we felt. I told her about the science; I pushed again and again. And she read the book and ran with it and did so much better than my little cheating heart could ever do. She was my final proof. This is absolutely the way to go. I read the Michael Pollen books and became angry at the government and advertising for feeding me health lies for my entire life. I started seeing lies in everything. But still I yo-yo. On and off and on and off and lose 5 gain 10.
When Jn started mentioning the idea of keeping a blog, my initial reaction was skeptical. I've started so many blogs before and never kept up with one. But if I'm being honest, truly honest about what I'm eating publicly: maybe just maybe that and Jn's scold-face when I fail will keep me on the straight and narrow enough to kick my addictions and finally do this thing that I know so much is right. So here I am. Blogging. Who knew! I'm a foodie on a journey to health. A health nut taking a side track. A cop putting up the donuts and coffee for good. On April 2 I will join Jn on a full 30 day Paleo trial, but I know in my heart it is not a trial, it will be life. If I can do 30 days with no days off and no cheating, I will be too healthy to want to ever go back. Even by yo-yo-ing I can no longer eat cake or donuts without feeling ill. I know without a doubt I will never be the same. I just need to step up and make the commitment. While you don't know me and you have no reason to believe me or trust me, I think you should too.
I'm starting my journey on a tough note. While Jn is binging on her travels, I will start my Paleo journey on a business trip. My real no-excuses Paleo day-one will be in three airports, two airplanes and a motel. The me that yo-yo's would find that as an excuse to postpone the Paleo, but the me that is determined for real life change thinks it's an excellent opportunity to prove to myself that this is doable and possible in all circumstances.
You should read Robb Wolf's book if you want the whole skinny, but the basics are: no grains, no sugar, no legumes, no dairy. And yes, soy is a legume. Eat tons of wholesome organic vegetables, some organic free range, grass fed, all natural, no chemicals, no antibiotics...etc meats, a little fruit, nuts and healthy fats.
For posterity I should remember all the things that are wrong now:
Obese: 218lbs at 5' 5"
PCOS with all that entails
Major sugar crashes
Painfully unhappy digestive system - especially at the later end of the tract
Constant back soreness and weakness
Low energy and difficulty focusing without coffee (I gave that up two months ago fairly successfully)
Out of shape and out of breath
Itchy dry flaky skin
Low self esteem