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. Great job Lindsey! Keep up the good work, Stay Strong!
    Have a great weekend everyone!
    Rod

    Rod Hilton wrote on March 15th, 2013
  2. Very inspiring story. This is a cautionary example of the devastating effect that highly processed foods can have on the psychological balance of humans. These foods cause us to develop unhealthy behavior patterns in every aspect of our lives.

    The only way to regain control is to eliminate those non-foods from our lives, and replace them with the real thing, as you have done. Well done, Lindsey.

    Dane Thorsen wrote on March 15th, 2013
  3. You Rock Big Time

    wildgrok wrote on March 15th, 2013
  4. You’re an inspiration, Lindsey…SO glad for you!

    Cathy Johnson (Kate) wrote on March 15th, 2013
  5. Lindsey, you are a wonderful person but the plans for a 3,000 mile walk suggests that the new diet has helped with your undiagnosed bipolar disorder but not completely solved it. Good luck and God bless, but consider a little counseling before you embark.

    Tom C wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • I appreciate your concern, and I’d like to reassure you: I’ve completed some counselling, I will be travelling with an experienced backpacking partner, and I have the full support of my family, who will be tracking me via GPS and keeping in regular touch. These plans are 6 months in the making and I have been diligent about my preparations.

      Scratch wrote on March 15th, 2013
  6. Lindsey, It would be great if you posted your hike on trailjournals.com so we could follow your progress. Great site for hikers currently on the AT, PCT and CT. You can do it!!!! (forget Tom C.)

    Janet wrote on March 15th, 2013
  7. Wow, your story gave me goosebumps. Happy 25th indeed! Congrats on your amazing new life, healthy body and healthy mind. And good luck on your walk!

    sapphiric wrote on March 15th, 2013
  8. Thank you so much for sharing such a marvelous story! I sincerely hope that you will continue progressing and become healthier every day!

    Luis wrote on March 15th, 2013
  9. oh my goodness! What a GREAT success story! you were so sad and depressed, it was painful to read, but now you are happy and seem like you have a new lease on life! That is SO AWESOME!! COngratulations!!

    Sandra Azancot wrote on March 15th, 2013
  10. I’ve never read a more moving personal story on this blog

    Steffo wrote on March 15th, 2013
  11. You look really healthy now! Great job!!

    Jana Miller wrote on March 15th, 2013
  12. I look forward to these real life stories every week. I love them all but this is the first time I have commented. Amazing transformation and inspiration story!!

    Elizabeth wrote on March 15th, 2013
  13. Lindsey, you are amazing. I’ve never posted a response to the daily posts before but had to for you. You inspire me. I want to reach through the computer screen and give you a hug. What an adventure your life will be (already is)! Hugs.

    Naomi wrote on March 15th, 2013
  14. So wonderful to read that you’ve changed your life, and so young too. You’ve been through so much pain but you’ve got many many decades of wonderful living to make up for the last 20 or so years… Strong, wise, healthy…. yay!

    Jane wrote on March 15th, 2013
  15. Thank you Lindsey for sharing your story! It was so moving… I am so glad to know that you are out there, working hard every day to overcome the immense challenges of modern life, and finding joy in it! I will think of you when I am feeling depressed and anxious. If you can overcome, who am I to want to give up?!?! Thanks for the inspiration!

    R wrote on March 15th, 2013
  16. I was drinking a glass of wine while I read your story and the last picture of you I wanted to lift my glass and clink on yours and toast you. I understand about the “black hole” that depression feels like. I found, for me, that it was the gluten in the wheat that kept me down and wanting to die for so long. I took anti-depressant drugs for about 25 years when it was the wheat all along. It took about 4.5 years of eating like a cave woman to finally turn the sunshine back on, but this diet helped right away by relieving the sit-in-the-floor-sobbing-uncontrollably-wishing-I-would-die episodes that followed wheat by 2.5 days (no wonder I didn’t suspect it). The sadness lifted, but the happy didn’t come for several years, but it’s here now!!! And I feel so happy for you. Clink! to you. And many more.

    W. J. Purifoy wrote on March 15th, 2013
  17. Wow! Simply amazing! Thank you for sharing.

    Mike Troy wrote on March 15th, 2013
  18. Congratulations Lindsey. I agree with the others, this is one of the more moving posts we’ve seen here on MDA.

    I hope you’ve found great support emotionally to compliment the physical/nutritional support you’ve been brave enough to find on your own. Sounds like you’ve been through a lot and then some.

    Thanks for being generous enough to share your experience and best wishes for a life that gets only more and more beautiful. :)

    JB wrote on March 15th, 2013
  19. that change is unbelievable! very inspirational story. thanks for sharing it. sending you a big hug fm Europe:-)

    einstein wrote on March 16th, 2013
  20. Good for you, my friend. And thumbs up on the long-distance walking. Please report!!!

    Txomin wrote on March 16th, 2013
  21. Wow, you are an inspiration! Have a stupendous adventure…every journey begins with one small step.

    Fran wrote on March 16th, 2013
  22. Were you ever prescribed birth control pills, or any other hormones, for your PCOS? Just wanted to give you the heads up that these drugs can cause depression. I had MAJOR depression while on the pill, but none of my prescribing doctors ever tipped me off. In fact they didn’t realize there could be a link.

    Anna wrote on March 16th, 2013
  23. Wish I had read this on Friday– I fell off the primal wagon for a day or two and felt horrible– thanks to this story I am back on with the reins firmly in my grip.

    Thanks!!

    Rev. Dave Deppisch wrote on March 16th, 2013
  24. You’ve worked so hard, you have so much to be proud of. You are right – you are strong. Look at what you’ve done. You’ve changed that course of your life! That’s extraordinary! Congratulations!

    Lucy wrote on March 16th, 2013
  25. You are amazing!! :)

    Octopus Wrangler wrote on March 16th, 2013
  26. We are often surprised, upon finding a bucket of strength, that the well has been in us the whole time. The more you pull from the well, the more vast the reservoir. Revel in your adulation… you deserve every exclamation mark, every admiring nugget, every silent “we love you”.
    Enjoy your stroll, realizing that you’re not crawling along the surface, but rather turning the entire globe below you with your powerful strides.

    dogfood wrote on March 16th, 2013
  27. Thank you so much to everyone, I am overwhelmed by you! This has been a great experience for me, I am so happy I have this community to share with!

    Scratch wrote on March 16th, 2013
  28. Wow! What an incredible story. You truly are an inspiration.

    Tanya wrote on March 16th, 2013
  29. Thank-you for sharing this honest and brave story! It takes alot to “put yourself out there”. Your parents must not only be proud of the healthy physical daughter you are but also proud of the honest woman of great character that you are. This is mandatory reading for my beautiful 14 year old daughter tonite. I want her to see what a REAL woman with character looks like. Thanks for being the role model so many young ladies need. Good work!

    Patrick wrote on March 16th, 2013
  30. Lindsey,
    You make an amazing, strong role model to young women. Congrats on your success and finding happiness. It is amazing how getting back to basics is so healing, and you should know that the entire Primal community is rooting for you and will continue to cheer you on!

    Stephanie wrote on March 16th, 2013
  31. Lindsey, your story is so inspiring to me. Not to mention, you look so wondrously happy in the final pic on your 25th birthday. I too am turning 25 this May and am on the road to becoming primal although not there 100% yet. Your story gives me strength. Thank you for sharing :)

    Candice wrote on March 16th, 2013
  32. Lindsey,
    You are such a strong and brave woman! Congratulations on your success in gaining physical and psychological health. You look absolutely beautiful!

    Sabrina wrote on March 16th, 2013
  33. That is just so cool Lindsay. I never did the bulimia gig, but depression, for sure. Getting one’s mind back is the ultimate finger to the ‘food/health’ industry. Brilliant, every happiness to you.

    Madama Butterfry wrote on March 16th, 2013
  34. Honestly, this is the first post I have placed for the the success stories, not that the others haven’t been inspirational and motivating, but I am so pleased for you and you look fantastic. As the others have said, it is so sad that you went through the heartache and pain over the years, but look at you now. Thank you for sharing your story and your strength of character. I am only 3 months into being a cavewoman, but loving it too.

    Sheila wrote on March 17th, 2013
  35. Fantastic!!! What more could some say!

    Michael wrote on March 17th, 2013
  36. Lindsey you are an inspiration–thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. Not only is your strength to rise above your hardships beautiful, but you are as well. Truly amazing.
    And your abs are killer:)

    LisaLisa wrote on March 17th, 2013
  37. Wow. Good for you Lindsey. Well done.

    BW wrote on March 17th, 2013
  38. AWESOME! Very happy for you, and very inspiring!!!

    lanz wrote on March 17th, 2013
  39. From a fellow British Columbian and woman (and someone just in the start of the primal journey) I have to say: you have UTTERLY INSPIRED ME! Thank you for sharing this!

    Chris wrote on March 17th, 2013
  40. The smile on your face says it all! Congratulations!!!!!!!

    Carol wrote on March 18th, 2013

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