I'll be 25 next month.

25 years I will have been on this Earth. My will to live life is strong but most of the time I feel my body is not able to take on the task and if I don't do something now, I may not have much of a life ahead of me. This in turn can at times make life increasingly less livable.

My username is Byakko, Japanese for "white tiger". The tiger is my Eastern Zodiac sign. I chose that handle because I wished to channel the energy, courage and beauty of the tiger.

I used to be quite an active kid. Took ballet for a small while, never played sports, but always active. I'd climb over the back of the couch to take my seat and watch cartoons. I'd swing and flip from the dangling rings at the daycare playground. I'd take my toys and let them view my awesome dancing and twirling. What I ate was not particularly healthy but I suppose my young body was able to handle things aside from the occasional stomachache from too many sweets. The older I got however, I noticed I became pudgy. Some might argue that it's nothing but my body growing and other girls will at times put on a little weight. However from what I know now, I'm not so sure that it was normal. Since then I've never felt comfortable, attractive or even particularly healthy in my body. I dreaded tucking in my shirts for fear of showing my fat stomach. I started to shun dresses, shorts and skirts. I eventually became depressed and I was no longer the happy active imaginative kid I used to be. Though my weight only had a small part in this, it didn't help the situation.

A few years ago, after witnessing a stressful event in my family, I developed IBS. Years of bullying and being a loner had made me sensitive and I worried easily, but this particularly event was too much to take. One day I found that I could not finish chewing the second bite of my breakfast without running to the bathroom with urgency. And since then, I've become a paranoid hypochondriac. But believe me when I say that the pain I feel is all too real.

I know that stress helps nothing, but when I'm faced without assistance or an answer I become depressed and panicked. Well I can't just sit by and let this continue. I want to become stronger, mentally as well as physically.

I never dreamed I'd have a disorder such as IBS and although it's not lethal, it felt as though nothing would be the same. I felt embarrassed and helpless, as if I were the butt of a joke and I wanted to crawl into a hole. Things have only gotten worse within the last 3 years.

-lack of energy
-pains in my joints (especially lower body)
-foot problems
-lack of mental focus
-lack of coordination and clumsiness (which may be slightly inherited)
-sensitive itchy skin

Now it has reached the point where I can't eat the same things I used to without pain and suffering. A simple bowl of cereal, my staple breakfast for most of my school-aged life, is now a danger zone. The very act of eating anything is now something I fear, a habit I developed when I decided I needed to lose weight.

But it's not about numbers on a scale now. It's about feeling alive.

Seeing that you're only 5 pounds away from 200 can light a fire under you. So after becoming informed through wanting to lose weight and eat better, I started eating the CW way. Switched to yogurt from ice cream. Stopped drinking soda. Measured out each serving and counted calories. Some of the weight came off and then I hit the wall. My weight would yo-yo up and down 5 pounds. A few months ago I tried seeking help from a weigh loss center, who wanted $700 just to customize meal plans and keep track of my progress. I was devastated and disgusted. Then I decided to give Weight Watchers a try with a free trial. But I found that I knew most of the information they had to offer and simply replaced calories with the word "points". Another dead end.

Then it occurred to me.

I live in a rural area, surrounded by pastures and trees and farm animals. I love nature and never skip the chance to take it in. I looked around me one day and thought:

"All of these animals go about their day, eating what they need to thrive and rarely if ever deviate from it. They don't need to worry about counting calories, tracking points or weighing food. They don't have to worry about what foods are best for them and which ones aren't. They don't think about whether or not they have eaten enough. How is it that we humans have gotten to a point where we don't know how to feed ourselves? Food is a basic need. We need it to survive and yet we've somehow botched that up!"

It was like being struck by lightening. I'd never thought of this before.

So I was on the search to find a way of eating that made sense. Despite being very imaginative and creative, I can also be pragmatic. When it comes down to it, I want things to be plain, no nonsense. I don't believe we should go through life having to keep tabs on what we consume…not if it comes natural and is healthy. And somehow my search landed me in the realm of Primal/Paleo.

But wait? What about all of the things I'd learned about nutrition? Getting 6-11 servings of grains, getting my calcium from milk, avoiding unhealthy meat and eggs and oils? I began to think that other humans simply created differently, explaining away why native tribes people seemed so lean or I thought perhaps they were just starved. As I continued researching my mind began to change. A fiber-rich diet was recommended to me for my IBS which included lots of whole grains. Well, despite my addition of those grains (such as Ezekiel bread) my problems were not improving. One would think that all of those nice barley kernels and rye would help move things along. But it never did. And I saw that these so called "starved" people were robust and agile.

And here I am, hoping to give this a go.

Even now I am battling the notions set down by CW. I've never been much of a meat eater and have always been picky (though that has improved in the past few years.) This is all very overwhelming and a tad confusing and it will be and interesting road, but at this point and time I'm running out of choices.

I want to feel alive again.