Success story: Annie sought relief from chronic pain, and changed her life

success story; Paleo Annie, before and after

Today, I’m sharing a success story that touches on a topic near to my heart: lupus. My dad suffered from lupus for a little more than three decades before he went home to Jesus in 2010. Before he was actually diagnosed, he was bedridden and in severe pain for weeks at a time, for more than a year. After diagnosis, he was on heavy-duty meds that kept the pain and inflammation under control for many years, enabling him to live a more-or-less normal life. Once a week, he went in for his methotrexate shot, and I think he took other medications as well. In the end, lupus + the meds + the stress of caring for my mom as she declined in Alzheimer’s did him in. If only we’d known then how much of a role food can play in lupus and other autoimmune diseases, he may have been able to take less medicine, and been with us longer.

But now, many lupus sufferers are discovering that the Paleo diet or some variation of it helps reduce their symptoms. On Instagram, I met Annie through the #paleo hashtag, and I was intrigued when she mentioned that she has lupus. She recently shared the before and after pics you see above, and I asked if I could share her story here. (You can find her on Instagram as @wholepaleoannie.)


One year ago was a turning point for me. I wanted to lose weight, I wanted my lupus pain to go away, and I NEEDED something that worked and that I could stick to. I decided to take on my first life changing Whole30 in September of 2016. [Whole30 is 30 days of strict Paleo]

Annie, before and after one year of Paleo Whole30

Just a year ago, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I felt uncomfortable in my body and I didn’t want to live with chronic pain my whole life. Flash forward to this year: I’m in my gym clothes because I came from my gym class. (It’s the specialized one I pay extra money for — and you know how I hate wasting money!) I’m full of energy, I feel confident in my body, I have a healthy relationship with food 95% of the time. And I have hope that I WILL go into Lupus remission with a combination of my medicine and the food I put in my body.

I’ve officially been off prednisone for five months after being on it a year and a half. I’ve also cut back on over-the-counter NSAIDs that I use to manage pain.

It’s night and day with my symptoms! Before, the summer heat would wear me out, and all I could really do is work and sleep during the weekdays. Before rain would hit, my joints would swell up and everything would ache. Now I have very minimal pain, if any at all, these days. Last time I saw my rheumatologist, he even commented that my joints are stronger!

I honestly stumbled upon this weight loss journey. I tried a Whole30 on a whim that it would help with my chronic pain. I had no idea that this lifestyle change would actually stick for the first time in my life. I’m thankful for this life every day. I’m humbled by how far I’ve come and the people in this community that continue to inspire me. If you want to make a change, it’s possible, and it’s never too late to start.


Interested in trying a big change in diet, but not sure if it’s more than you can handle? You might like my recent post 7 questions to define the perfect eating plan for you now.

Already committed to Paleo but looking for help? I also wrote about 15 tips to make eating Paleo easier.


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