Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
15 Mar

It Will Pass and I Will Be Stronger

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real life stories stories 1 2Dear Mark,

I have been completely Primal for just over a year, and working towards that for almost three years. It has changed my life from feeling like I was living in an unlit and windowless room, to really participating in life and finding fulfillment. It’s been that dramatic.

I was an active, healthy kid with a good diet until I was twelve. My home life became very unstable. I was moved around a lot, and lived with several different relatives and attended different schools. It was hard on me. I was a very introverted kid to begin with, and I didn’t make friends. I read books and did homework and ate. I quickly became very sedentary, and very sad, and I had access to a lot of processed, sugary foods that my mother had never kept in my childhood home. I was given a lot of autonomy over my diet, and I quickly became addicted to these foods.

By the time I was 16, I weighed 240 lbs at 5’7″ and I was extremely depressed, bulimic and very unhealthy, with bad skin. That was the year I was also diagnosed with PCOS, an explanation for my painful, irregular periods and other symptoms. I tried to lose weight by restricting calories, but when I was depressed I would care less about my long-term health than my need for something comforting to eat. So I would binge, and feel guilty, and purge, and my bulimia got worse.

By the time I was 18 and living on my own, I was very sick. I was binging and purging more or less all day long, sometimes close to ten times a day. I remember feeling very scared the first time I threw up and had blood start pouring like water from my nose. I was more scared to stop throwing up, though. I wasn’t having periods at all, but occasionally I would go to the bathroom and find that there was nothing but blood in the toilet. That scared me, too.

When I was 20, living alone and in college, my depression and bulimia continued, and I also started drinking, alone, most nights. The nights I didn’t drink alcohol, I would do other drugs. I also started smoking. Once I was intoxicated, I would go out for a walk, alone, in my very bad neighborhood at three in the morning. I would occasionally get bursts of energy, and in one such burst, I got a new roommate, a new job, and I joined a community group. Then I was assaulted by someone I thought was my friend. I felt like my depression was a black hole sucking me in, that my life would just feel worse and worse until I died. I wanted so badly to die, but I was afraid to kill myself. I was hoping, I think, that the world would take care of it for me.

When I was 22, I had another one of these moments when my depression lifted. I bought a gym membership this time. I started going all the time, I would use the gym sometimes, and run on the treadmill. I wanted to know what to do at the gym, so I was looking at lots of online resources. I found nerdfitness.com, and through them, I found Mark’s Daily Apple. I remembered that a customer at my old job had, a couple of times, mentioned that he ate a caveman diet, but I hadn’t cared to look into it at the time.

When I did read about eating like a caveman, it resonated with me. I had started learning how to cook, and I was enjoying it, so the idea of a diet made of whole, unprocessed ingredients appealed to the chef in me. I love reading about science, so the more I read, the more it appealed to me, and the more Primal principles I started to apply to my own life.

I found that not counting calories and not throwing up was nerve-wracking. I gained weight at first, started purging again. I stopped weighing myself. The better my diet gets, the less I get an urge to binge. With no binging, I don’t purge. I slip up once in a while, but those incidents are getting further and further apart. I also got a physical job that I love: working in the produce department at the grocery store. I lost a lot of weight. My high weight was around 290 lbs, and now I weigh between 155 and 165 lbs.

My depression started to lift even more after I eliminated grains and sugar from my diet. Within 3 months I could feel a major shift. I no longer had long periods of apathy and hopelessness interrupted by the occasional “good month.” I now feel very calm and still inside. I feel tethered, and even when I do get sad (because it’s got to rain sometimes), it no longer feels like I’m getting sucked into a black hole of depression. It will pass, and I’ll be stronger.

I am stronger. I get stronger all the time, and calmer, and happier. That’s what keeps me doing this caveman gig. I’m so strong, in fact, that this spring I’m leaving on an adventure, I’m going to walk across the USA, from my home on Vancouver Island, to my parents’ home in Connecticut!

Thank you for giving me the tools I needed to save myself.

Lindsey

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. All I can say is wow!! You are one strong woman. I am so happy for you!

    Meesha wrote on March 15th, 2013
  2. Thank you for sharing your story. It gave me the chills to know that i can do this too..

    sommer wrote on March 15th, 2013
  3. Food (especially the wrong foods) can be like a drug that you’re never allowed to fully quit thanks to that pesky problem of continued living.

    Groktimus Primal wrote on March 15th, 2013
  4. What a powerful story! I wish you nothing but success for you in all of you endeavors. You deserve it!

    JennF wrote on March 15th, 2013
  5. You go girl! What a fantastic story. Congratulations and go conquer the world. It is waiting for you, Lindsey!

    Alison Golden wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • I also want to add that apart from the fantastic success you’ve had, I think getting a physical job was a really smart idea and your transition (not counting calories and it being nerve wracking) is a aspect of this lifestyle change that is often overlooked. We need to be more aware of it in order to manage it better if we this kind of experience.

      Alison Golden wrote on March 15th, 2013
      • I agree, Alison, it’s a hard habit to break, and a big source of anxiety for a lot of us.

        Lindsey wrote on March 15th, 2013
        • So is weighing yourself each day. I still do, I just can’t shake a habit of a lifetime. Lindsey your story is chilling, good on you for pulling yourself away from the abyss. No one is joining the dots between the processed diet on offer and the mental health of our population. Congratulations I am in awa of your achievement :)

          Heather wrote on March 15th, 2013
        • I hid my scale out of immediate reach under the bed at first.

          Ganeesha wrote on April 13th, 2013
  6. I am reading this at work, and I need to stop myself from crying. Your story is amazing! What a journey you’ve been on (and continue to travel)!

    Melissa wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • Yes, this was the first time I had tears reading the Friday success story! Amazing story Lindsey.

      Nocona wrote on March 15th, 2013
      • +1

        Elizabeth wrote on March 15th, 2013
      • me too! – so moving :-)

        Jenn wrote on March 16th, 2013
    • Ughh….I can’t help but cry reading this. Even though I’ve never experienced depression, reading your story gives me a glimpse at how lonely and dark it must have been for you. I hope you feel empowered now because you look SO happy in the last picture. I’m so proud of you!

      Jen wrote on March 16th, 2013
  7. You are such a strong woman and so inspirational! I’m about 8 months on Paleo. I’m hoping I get a 6 pack like you by the 1 year mark! Unbelievable transformation. I am so inspired by you as I too have pcos. Paleo has completely gotten rid of all associated problems.

    What is your work out routine?

    Rebecca wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • I’m so glad your PCOS is under control!

      I do most of my “working out” at my job, which has me walking about 10 miles a day and lifting about 10,000 lbs over the course of the day. Other than that, I tend to get really into one activity, like sprinting or Pilates, for a few weeks at a time, and then move on to something else. I like trying new stuff. I also have a chin-up bar in my kitchen doorway, and I do push-ups on the stairs.

      Lindsey wrote on March 15th, 2013
      • Hey Lindsey, I’m also from vancouver island!!! reading your story here today really moved and inspired me and I want to thank you for it. I wish you all the best :)

        gwen wrote on March 15th, 2013
        • Thanks so much! Go Team Van Isle! I’m in Campbell River…for 49 more days :)

          Lindsey wrote on March 15th, 2013
  8. Wonderful to see you come out of your shell and into the cave! You look great!
    Grok on!

    wedward wrote on March 15th, 2013
  9. That’s one hell of an ambitious walk! You going just through the states or cutting through Ontario on the way?

    Peter wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • I’m thru-hiking the American Discovery Trail ( discoverytrail.org ), so I’ll just be in the states this trip.

      Lindsey wrote on March 15th, 2013
      • Fair enough then ;) It would have been nice to meet you if you were passing through the bottom end of ontario. Either way it’s nice hearing your amazing story! Good luck on your journey!

        I’d love to connect sometime- On the forum I’m under the username Ecks and I keep a regular journal on the forum.

        Peter wrote on March 18th, 2013
  10. *tears of joy*!!!!!!!!!!
    The last picture says it all.

    Peggy wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • Hooooooly crap was along the lines of what I was thinking.

      300 pounds to six pack ! Somebody give her a medal

      Alexander wrote on March 16th, 2013
      • +1
        Amazing transformation, Lindsey- great job! You look soooo happy and solid inside now. Yay!

        Lindsay Coleman wrote on March 16th, 2013
      • +1

        Alexandra wrote on March 19th, 2013
      • Yes, quite amazing. I wish you continued success! Please post regularly during your walk.

        Patrick wrote on March 19th, 2013
  11. Wow, Lindsey, what an amazing story! It’s so sad that you had to go through all those years of pain, and most of it due to the “foods” you were consuming. But it’s wonderful that you found the right path to health and happiness!

    NJ Paleo wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • +1

      Melissa wrote on March 15th, 2013
  12. Keep on walking!

    Molly wrote on March 15th, 2013
  13. amazing story – you should be so very proud

    Beverly wrote on March 15th, 2013
  14. “Holy shit.”

    Those were the words that audibly came out of my mouth when I saw your after pics. Seriously, awesome work, not only on improving your diet but improving your outlook. Way to go!

    Fritzy wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • Haha I wasnt sure how Mark felt about swearing but I literally just said the exact same thing!

      Congrats Lindsey it’s like a brand new you, sounds like your going to have quite a journey ahead of you with that walk! The mental health improvements are always the coolest!

      Luke DePron wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • +1

      William wrote on March 17th, 2013
  15. Happy 25th, Lindsey! What a great story!

    Anne wrote on March 15th, 2013
  16. Amazing transformation! Love that smile in the last pic – you can just tell you’re loving life.

    Susie wrote on March 15th, 2013
  17. Reading this was like a punch to the gut. I have a lot in common with you — at least the Before side of things. Your After is an inspiration, and something I’ll save to work through tough times. Congratulations on your success, and thank you for having the courage to so candidly share your story.

    Lindsay wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • Same here. With the exception of certain details, she could be telling my story.

      You’re an inspiration Lindsey!

      S-piper wrote on March 15th, 2013
  18. Great story. Thanks for sharing.

    Miki wrote on March 15th, 2013
  19. Happy Birthday! A Votre Sante!

    Kathleen wrote on March 15th, 2013
  20. you have done an amazing thing. I got goosebumps reading this story and am trying not to cry at work. I am so happy for you. Thank you for sharing your story <3

    Merky wrote on March 15th, 2013
  21. Congratulations on your awesome transformation. And thank you for not being afraid to share the details of your purging days. People need to know how scary that can be and how it damages the body.

    Chelsea MW wrote on March 15th, 2013
  22. Lindsey, what a story! To come from such a dark place back to a happy life. There are so many good things to look forward to in life. It’s a lesson for us all not to believe we can’t improve our lot in life – how we feel is in our control more than we might think.

    BTW you’re looking awesome these days – you rock girl!

    Primal V wrote on March 15th, 2013
  23. Such as inspiring story. Thank you so much for sharing!

    ErinFS wrote on March 15th, 2013
  24. Like others, I was teary reading your story. Love the phrase – It will pass, and I’ll be stronger. What a great mantra. Keep a blog so we can follow your journey. I think your life will hold amazing things for you. Grok on and stay primal!

    Judith wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • +1

      Kathy wrote on March 15th, 2013
  25. You are one strong woman. A great song for your walking journey is an old Motown one. Look up on You Tube, Edwin Starr’s “25 Miles.”

    Ellen wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • +1

      Anders wrote on March 15th, 2013
  26. Damn fine.
    Compared to the journey you’ve been on, the walk across the continent should be a piece of (primal) cake!

    Anders wrote on March 15th, 2013
  27. wow, good for you for embracing life, and then gradually making lots of changes to take care of yourself better! it’s great that you feel much more solid and stable, and great that you can MOVE and adventure!

    Jenny wrote on March 15th, 2013
  28. Congratulations! Good to see that you found your way. Sounds like quite a journey.

    James wrote on March 15th, 2013
  29. I don’t think I’ll stop smiling for a week after reading this. Amazing job! I’m so happy for you.

    Decaf Debi wrote on March 15th, 2013
  30. Thank you so much for showing the awesome power of transformational living ….I hope you find much more enjoyment in the future. Heal well!

    Ken Harbour wrote on March 15th, 2013
  31. Congratulations!! You look amazing on the outside, and you can tell that you feel darn fabulous on the inside too!

    AustinGirl wrote on March 15th, 2013
  32. I don’t normally respond to these stories as I read them, but I feel compelled to today.

    The health and emotional issues you faced seem scarier and more severe than anything I can relate to. I am enlightened by the pain and suffering of such disorders, and inspired by your story and your success.

    Fantastic work!

    DeftTitan wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • +1

      spayne wrote on March 15th, 2013
  33. Congratulations on such an amazing turn around in your life story! I’m always surprised on Fridays – who would have thought so many different stories/problems/lives could all be so dramatically helped by PB? Or that so many lives can be damaged by the wrong foods?

    Grokesque wrote on March 15th, 2013
  34. The smile and the eyes are the same, but everything else is different! You look great, and from the sounds of it, feel great too. Awesome and inspiring.

    b2curious wrote on March 15th, 2013
  35. Way to go, Lindsey! You rock!

    Stormy wrote on March 15th, 2013
  36. Lindsey, what a beautiful person you are, and what an inspiration for those needing to lose weight. Your photos make me smile.

    I lost 20 pounds over the last two years just by eliminating sweets. More recently I began to suspect that I’m gluten sensitive and eliminated all grains, sticking with protein, lots and lots of mostly low glycemic veggies, and a small amount of whole fresh fruit. The result was downright astounding. I lost another 18 pounds without even trying and got rid of my IBS problems as well.

    I recently started adding a few of the starchier veggies back into my diet on a 2 or 3 times a week basis because I was afraid my weight would drop too low. My weight is now at an ideal level for my height. It’s also better for the blood pressure and easier on my arthritic knees, so I’m pretty happy about it.

    This approach might not work for everyone, but it sure worked for me.

    Shary wrote on March 15th, 2013
  37. AMAZING! And like others, I am sitting here at work trying not to cry! What a moving transformation! From the valley of hell you walked out to tell the tale! You, woman, are an amazing survivor!

    Red wrote on March 15th, 2013
  38. I am another trying not to cry at work! I am so proud and happy for you, girl!! Way to rock that 25th birthday! Love your story and your beautiful smile!

    Rhonda the Red wrote on March 15th, 2013
  39. What an inspiration you are, Lindsey! Thanks for sharing your story. I will be forwarding this to several people I know who might just benefit from hearing it. Best wishes for the future, have a great life, and be sure to check in here from time to time!

    Siobhan wrote on March 15th, 2013
  40. incredible. the strength to do what you’ve done is amazing, and you look gorgeous! to life!

    adina wrote on March 15th, 2013

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