The connection between real food and health is a very personal topic for me.
It began when I was 15, sitting in a pastor’s office with my parents. (I was about that age in the photo above. I’m on the left.) My poor mom and dad were at their wits’ end: they couldn’t figure out why their daughter had turned into Dr. Jekyll and Miss Hyde. I was prone to such angry, violent outbursts that I sometimes frightened my own mom and dad. I could see it in their eyes.
After listening to our story for a bit, the pastor asked my parents a surprising, pivotal question: “Have you had her tested for hypoglycemia?” (low blood sugar).
I remember when I first felt a glimmer of hope that I might actually be able to lose the weight I’d gained over the course of several stressful years. I found a website for a personal trainer, and the people in the “before pics” looked a lot like me. But what was even more encouraging was their “after pics.” They looked leaner, healthier, happier — but not like they were spending two hours a day working out. Maybe this is possible, I thought. And I actually cried from relief. I hadn’t realized just how hopeless I felt until a little ray of hope shone into my gloomy heart.
For years, I had only temporary success at weight loss. I’d exercise for a while, lose some fat, then stop exercising and gain it back. Or I’d cut out some foods, lose a few pounds, then gain them back. Usually the cycle ran less than a year.
I’m not alone. Nearly 65 percent of dieters return to their pre-dieting weight within three years, according to Gary Foster, Ph.D., clinical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania. (source)
I’ve summarized this before, but never written a detailed post about how I eat mostly Paleo, most of the time. I thought that might be helpful for you to see what #foodfreedom looks like for me.
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.)
“The second day of a diet is always easier than the first.
By the second day you’re off it.”
So, are you thinking about starting a new eating plan? Whole30, Paleo, 21-Day Sugar Detox, Mediterranean, or ketogenic? Good for you! But maybe you’re a little worried because of past experiences you’ve had starting — and stopping — a new diet.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of my Instagram friends. We’ve never met in real life, but I was so impressed with her story when she shared it on IG, I asked to share it with you.
I love that her story includes backtracking without giving up; that she kept trying till she found what worked. And of course, that she’s discovered how great it feels when you eat real food!
Here’s her story in her own words:
Funny saying – serious topic. If you struggle with frequent cravings, check out these posts:
Your four hungers – and why you should stop feeling guilty for every craving
How emotional eating keeps you stuck
Kicking the sugar monster