What about the rest of us?

Stories about people who have lost 50,75, and 100+ pounds are so awe-inspiring. The struggles, the overcoming of so many obstacles, that one moment where they realized they were headed for certain death and made that life altering decision to change. We all love to see the before and after pictures.  I have a few friends and family members who have undergone these amazing transformations and I am SO proud of them because I know it wasn’t easy. But I can’t relate.

I’m not overweight, and I really never have been. I gained a TON of weight with my first pregnancy but I was extremely young and it seemed to just fall off. After my third baby, I hovered at around 140-145 for a couple of years, but I’m 5’6″ and am broad-shouldered, so I carried it pretty well. So, where’s my big inspiring story? My before and after? Unfortunately, it can’t be shown in pictures. Yes, since making the decision to take better care of myself after baby #4, I have dropped that 20 extra pounds and am now “skinny” by the average person’s description. Yay, me.

So, what about US?  Those of us who are average weight, no real need for a “diet and exercise program” per se? Why should we care what we eat? We have good metabolisms, and are in decent health, right? What does any of this have to do with us?? Well, how do you FEEL? Are you experiencing the “normal” aches and pains of getting older? Do you have skin issues? Are you tired and always using caffeine as a crutch? Do you have depression or anxiety?

There was a time I was being treated for depression. With meds. It was short-lived because those meds made me into a zombie, and I wasn’t having it. I was also having nasty pain in the knee that I injured when I was 18 causing me to be in a toe-to-butt cast for 8 weeks. I had acne for the first time ever after my 3rd child.  I had insomnia. I was a ferociously moody bitch…If you caught me in a good mood, we were best buddies, if not….well, it wasn’t pretty.  You know, the ‘normal’ aches and pains and crazy hormonal changes that happen to us as we get older and have babies. NORMAL.

What does any of that have to do with food? I didn’t know it until this year, but it turns out, EVERYTHING. After reading and researching and talking with MANY people who had switched to the paleo lifestyle, I tried it for myself. I lost a few pounds. My face started to clear up. I WANTED to work out. I had energy. I felt GREAT.  Woo freaking hoo! I was EXCITED!!!  I wanted to tell the whole world – everyone I knew and everyone that they knew – that THIS was the thing to help them. But there are no before and after slideshows with dramatic music and amazing presentation. There’s just “skinny little me” preaching on about good health. What the hell do know about anything, anyway? I get a lot of “why are YOU on a diet, anyway?” I ‘m not on a di….ahh, nevermind.

Then there was this weekend – a HUGE eye-opener for me. I guess I never realized how deeply nutrition affected the whole person. I occasionally have a treat here or there, and it never really sits well, but this weekend I dove off the deep end and belly-flopped.  Friday night my husband ordered Pizza. I had 3 pieces along with 2 bread sticks, and it was freaking delicious. It’s not like one night will cause me to be overweight. My tummy hurt all night, which was completely expected. It was worth it. Sort of.  It’ll be gone by morning.  However, Saturday morning,  I woke up “on the wrong side of the bed”. I was PISSY, and for no particular reason. The sun was shining too brightly through the window. (I live in South Florida – this is not a new occurrence.) The bacon was frying too loudly. My hands and feet were so swollen they hurt. My stomach felt like someone kicked me between the ribs. I was making everyone in the house miserable with my mood, so I finally decided to get my workout in, and it SUCKED. I felt like I was in slow-motion. We went to Red Robin for lunch and I had a bunless burger and water, and I was beginning to perk up.  Then, while we were walking around the outdoor mall, I spotted a Kilwins and INSISTED we get ice cream. What the hell? I already ate pizza last night anyway.I never do this, it won’t hurt me. I’ll start over Monday. It’s Thanksgiving week anyway….all the justifications in the world. I had opened up the flood gates and my addiction to carbs was back with a BANG.  We ended the night with a nice steak and salad, but continuing on my binge, I had to add in a couple of Hornsby’s hard apple ciders. Why not? They’re gluten-free! (nevermind the 21g of sugar each). So here I sit, on Sunday morning, hands so swollen I can barely type, stomach in knots, annoyed that I’m even awake. I found out this weekend that although I didn’t gain a single pound, my poor husband is about ready to head for the hills and my body wants to leave me and go with him.

What’s the point of sharing this with you? The point is, hormones do control just about every aspect of you. What we don’t realize is, those hormones are changed dramatically by what we stuff into our faces. Mood swings, that “PMS” effect, bloating, inflammation, depression, aches and pains are all DIRECTLY RELATED TO OUR INTAKE. So, we don’t have 50-150 pounds to lose, or some of us even 20. But those things we’ve come to accept as normal ARE NOT NORMAL, and we don’t have to put up with it. I encourage you to read “Primal Body, Primal Mind” by Nora Gedgaudas and  “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf  just to start. You will be amazed at how much our biochemistry depends on what we eat. Like momma said, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Good luck. I’d love to hear your non-dramatic “before and after” stories!



21 thoughts on “What about the rest of us?

  1. Ha haha ha… I hear you. I was smiling while reading about the binge because same thing happen to me last week. It was cookies. Just a few cookies, and the flood gates were wide open D: “But the carbs will just fuel my workout later!” BS!! It sucked! I stayed away from the gym for a whole week… damn you, cookies!!

    • Damn you, junk food indeed! I hope you’re back on track now. I had a great breakfast and am planning to get in a stellar workout today, drink lots of water and get on track. Keep me informed!

  2. Great post! I always look at the MDA success stories in awe because they have come so far. It’s only now that I realize how far I’ve come as well. I was so depressed pre-paleo that I had no idea how depressed I even was. My family is better for what Paleo has given us.

    • Chrisi,
      Never ever feel silly asking a question. Chances are if you’re thinking it, someone else is too. I choose to fast that particular day because it is a light day for me at work and I don’t have school that night. The reason I fast at all can be better explained by someone much smarter. Check this out: Mark Sisson’s http://www.marksdailyapple.com/fasting or go to Robbwolf.com and check out his articles on it. I’m sorry my link feature isn’t working. Good luck!

    • Thank you for your comments, Tara. You’re one of my favorite bloggers 🙂 Thanks for all your great recipes to help keep us on track. And you’re right. We’ve all come very far, just in different ways. I like to celebrate my small victories every day! Keep up the awesome work you do.

  3. Great post Nichole!!! I will definitely pass this along!! You are just as inspiring as anyone who dropped a ton of weight!! Doing what you do with the family size you have and dealing with that many personalities along with yourself on a daily basis is hard enough!! I am happy that you were able to recognize the issues, work past them and understand the connection to mind/body/food!! It really does matter!! Love you!!


  4. Wow! Something similar happened to me. We went to a friends house last night for the MMA fights. I was being good, eating the grilled chicken wings, salad and some tomatoes. But there were these little cheesy puff pastries, all warm and smelling like heaven. I ate 3, and had 1 rum and coke.(regular coke). within 30 minutes my stomach was so upset, I had to go home. I’m still feeling like crap today, all bloated and achy. Those 2 bad decisions ruined my night! 😦

  5. I love this post! I have been Paleo for 3 months. I want to shout from the rooftops how wonderful I feel! Until last night that is, I had pizza and topped it off with a handful of skittles. Oh, man, I feel horrible. My stomach is so mad at me today! I was actually thinking about eating another piece of pizza (crazy huh?). Now I think I will pass. Thanks for your post! It is nice to hear others have the same issues as I do!

  6. Amen sister!!!!!! I know exactly how you feel this weekend. Thanks for sharing this. I am going to share it on my wall. Maybe some lived ones will take this lifestyle if they hear a story like this. Feel better and please keep writing!!!

  7. I totally can relate to this post…when I started this switch to choosing real food I was considered thin (6’0/165 and a college athlete). Everyone kept telling me to just eat the bread/sweets because I was skinny. Well I don’t do this for weight loss. I do this to be in control of myself and feel the best I can. Food and big bad food companies don’t own me or my belly anymore. Thanks for always sharing great info!

  8. Your post has been weighing heavily on my mind since I read it this morning. First time reading you. I have been Primal for a little over a year now. Started out fantastic and lost the 10 pounds I couldn’t get off after baby number 4. But I slip up regularly and often times they end in binges. Unfortunately they don’t usually make me physically ill, so I don’t have a big regret preventing my future slip up. But what struck a chord was your talk about hormones and anti-depressants. Would you mind sharing what med you tried? I have four children and live in Alaska, for several years the winter depression has worsened each year for me…then this last summer I suffered with PMDD half of every month. I was at the end of myself and desperate for help, so I finally saw my doctor and started Prozac. I’ve only been on it for a month and I don’t feel great. Not necessarily zombie-ish, but low energy for sure. I just don’t know what else to do! I can’t be angry or sad all the time. I guess I just need to step up my game with the elimination experimentation, but I feel so overwhelmed with all I have to do and such a tight budget….

  9. Let me tell you my story. Started out thinking, okay, another fad diet. Several years ago I was diagnosed with a mood disorder. I don’t think I’ve ever publicly admitted that. I also had severe PMS that lasted about 2 and a half weeks every month. It would come on a week or so before my period, and end a week or so after. I basically got two “feel decent” weeks a month where I didn’t want to kill everyone. I’d fly off the handle at anything, and everything. You never knew which mood I was gonna be in cause anything would set me off. I also went to the ER several times with severe back pain, and the doctors told me it was everything from kidney stones to ovarian cysts. My stomach ALWAYS hurt. My chest hurt. I had high blood pressure, high anxiety, severe insomnia and was always on edge. I just had a hard time accepting that I had a “mood disorder”. I called BS and quit taking the meds that never helped me to begin with. I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’ve been Paleo for months now, and it’s EASY. I also gave up caffeine as I noticed how sensitive I was to caffeine (I drink decaf coffee now). I gave up my 2-3 Diet Coke a day habit. No more sugar, no more whole wheat, no more starchy carbs. I eat meat and I eat vegetables and I also eat dairy because it doesn’t seem to bother me. I have NEVER felt so good. I sleep like a baby. My back stopped hurting. No more chest pain, no heart palpitations, blood pressure is normal, my anxiety and mood swings are gone. GONE. I still have PMS, but I haven’t had a violent outburst in months. My mood is stable and I did it all without DRUGS. I feel great. I did slip up and had some pizza and drank a caffeine free diet Pepsi the other day, and OMG, my back hurt SO BADLY the next morning. I was bloated and swollen. And yes, I craved ice cream, candy, sugar…you name it. As for those complaining about being on a tight budget…pppfffft!!! If you can’t afford organic, you can’t afford it. So be it. You’re still ahead of the game by not eating boxed food (aka hamburger helper). Dinner is simple: cook a meat and two vegetables, side salad, and viola. I’ve actually managed to SAVE money by eliminating the processed foods we USED to eat!! You may not realize how good you feel right away, but after a few months you’ll look back and go, heyyyy…you know what…I DO feel good! And you’ll never go back.

  10. Been there, done that!! It’s amazing how the body works. I really messed up this summer (you know, it was summer and we were away and impractical with cooking and eating on the road and everything..!), and 4-5 days of crappy eating was all it took to ruin me completely. And because of the carb cravings, I stayed like that for a month before I finally was able to snap out of it again. Will never be that stupid again!

  11. Wow! I thought I was crazy for thinking that my weird symptoms here and there that disappear when I eat Paleo was true. I would tell my friends, you know my knees don’t hurt when I Paleo, or the little bumps on the back of my arms are gone, or I don’t have any menopause symptoms any longer, or, or, or. This list is becoming endless. My friends look at me like I am crazy, but I swear these things are really happening.
    Thanks for sharing this story…makes me feel a bit more ‘NORMAL’

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