The Zen of Recovery from my SAD Life
So, hello to everyone! I'm a newbie to MDA Forum although I've been reading and enjoying the MDA website for the past year, and just started reading the MDA Forum a few weeks ago before registering (finally).
Warning: Long Post Ahead...
I'm a 43 yo woman, 5'8" and 155 lbs. When I first spoke to my brother in October 2011 after he'd read PB, he got me interested in the benefits of eating primally. I was intrigued at his continuing success in eating a 75% saturated fat diet.
I didn't read PB myself, but promptly bought the PB Cookbook and PB Quick & Easy Meals. I mainly wanted to get started with the eating and needed ideas for getting primal meals underway.
Disclaimer: I've just passed the 48 hour mark on my first conscious period of fasting. Hoping to get to a 4 day fast, even though 48 hours was my original goal. After reading more about the topic and the potential benefits of autophagy, I decided to try it. I've been keeping well - but not over - hydrated and electrolyted on water, lemon juice, sea salt, a little baking soda, and nothing else except black coffee in the morning and herbal tea at night. I'm feeling quite spiritual and very satisfied at having come this far, both in the fast and the past 14 months.
I haven't reached my goal weight, being about 20 lbs away. Considering that I was for the past 18 years between 100 (at the worst) and 70 (at the best) pounds over a healthy weight, I consider that an incredible success after eating mostly primally for 14 months.
I don't care that I'm at a plateau, and I feel far from stuck. Just the fact that I don't have to starve myself, relentlessly count calories, and kill myself off with long bouts of daily cardio in order to maintain weight loss is an incredible gift. I don't keep track of nor worry about how much saturated fat I eat. I try to not go overboard on protein, and round it out with a few veggie carbs. I admit that I don't count calories and think I understand the CICO vs. HF LC argument. I think I understand why calories may matter, which might explain my initial losses then coming in to land where I am now.
Yet compared to where I was over the past 18 years, and how miserable I was, this is heaven on earth as far as I am concerned. I like it here. I can go clothes shopping in regular stores and find things that fit without a problem. If and when I decide to "lose" the final 20 I can easily modify my caloric intake while still paying attention to fat/protein/carb ratios that appear to work best for me (and that I like to eat, which is equally important). I know that when I'm ready to look into the benefits of lifting heavy things and sprinting, I'll incorporate them. I've seen so many improvements, and I know I'll get there. I'm in no hurry. That's a beautiful thing as far as I'm concerned.
I find that I don't sweat the small stuff like I used to. If a friend invites me to a dinner party, I no longer feel "unable" to eat what they prepare because I know that 80-90% of the time, I'm still eating primally and will continue to enjoy the benefits of doing so.
Instead of binging on sugary high carb (always loaded with transfat) junk food like I used to do, if I'm feeling emotional and want to eat to comfort myself, I'll grab some bacon. For so many years it was a 'forbidden food'. If eating too much calories of bacon fat and protein is keeping me "stuck" here, that's a triumph.
I suppose I could double my current caloric intake of fat/protein and regardless of low carb content start to gain weight, but that has so far not happened. The satiety of eating a high fat ratio makes it pretty hard to stuff myself as I could with high carb calories. I find that if I eat much of anything that contains added sugar, or much grains, or a lot of starchy foods, I do start to notice clothes fitting a bit more snugly. When I stop eating them, I'm back to my beloved plateau.
So I'm pleased, in the middle of this fast, to realize that being happy with "good enough" is glorious. It has been a triumph simply to do my best, see amazing improvements, and be grateful for the journey and having learned what I have - without feeling irrationally greedy. Oh no! I'm not a size 8! Rocking sizes 10-12 is a delight, especially when I pull out my size 22-24 pictures and the one pair of jeans I can't believe I used to wear.
No, I haven't cured one of my two autoimmune diseases yet. But if I can train and eventually work up to a 10 day fast in an attempt to reset gut flora composition while getting some autophagy working - and after that eat close to 90% primally including plenty of home-fermented foods - who knows what is possible?
In addition to having seen amazing results in weight, and being very happy to be stuck on my plateau with this nice view, I have experienced the near-complete remission of at least one autoimmune affliction: hidradenitis suppurativa. I'd been suffering from that particular nightmare for over 15 years. When I began eating primally, I began to notice a change, and I was in no way expecting it. That it has continued to be in 99% remission for the past 14 months as I've eaten primally is more than enough reason for me to remain happily blase about pitching a tent on my plateau and enjoying a few hundred sunsets from here if I want to. What an unexpected gift.
Oh, and can I just end by saying how much I love cooking from the PB cookbooks, and how many great ideas they've given me to branch out into my own experiments? Thanks Mark!!