My weight struggle began when I turned 21. I got really stressed out at my job, and in turn I became depressed and very anxious to the point that my Doctor put me off work. That was the beginning of my search to feel well again…so here’s my story.
In 2002 I was prescribed Antidepressants, which at the time I definitely needed because I was not in a good place. However, this increased my appetite like crazy and I really started gaining weight. I ballooned up to 87kg and I’m 5’6”, so my ideal weight is something like 60kg. I searched online for an answer and I came across Atkins, so I started it straight away. I was really successful with it and I lost a lot of weight. I got right down to 54kg so I was thin…great, ah not really. I didn’t emphasise health enough. Veggies weren’t a large part of my diet, but diet coke and artificially sweetened chocolate was. I kept the weight off for a wee while but I was still having anxiety and depression. So in my search to find a cure I did more research online and came to the conclusion that low carb was exacerbating the problem….
In 2005 I started eating whole grains after what I had read, and I was convinced that they were the key to healing my body… boy was I wrong. I was so stubborn that I had found the answer that I just kept eating and eating, hoping that one day my anxiety would vanish. I still can’t believe how much faith I had in eating this way.
2008 This is the year where I reached my lowest point and my highest weight. I was now considered morbidly obese and I was extremely unhappy. I was eating every 2-3 hours and even before bed just to keep my blood sugar “stable”. I would eat whole grains, protein and “good fats” thinking I was eating well, but I was constantly hungry and just getting bigger and bigger I was so stubborn and convinced that this was the right way to eat. My anxiety levels were not good, and deep down I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea just how misinformed and misled I had been.
I knew that I was large but you see what you want to see in the mirror, and although I knew I was fat, I was definitely in a state of denial for months. I remember buying a size 20 pair of jeans and thinking “oh they must be a big sizing” until I hopped on the scales and saw 107kg!! And even then I thought the scales were giving me the wrong reading. Then my husband suggested he take a photo of me. I was so shocked that I was actually that size and I remember just sobbing, and being so angry with myself.
In Oct of 2008 I started my online search again Knowing that Atkins had worked in the past was my main motivator, but I was a bit apprehensive. Now there had been a lot more research done, so I managed to find some great websites and blogs that were very informative, which helped me make my decision. With the combined ideas of Atkins, Protein Power and Paleo, I cut out all my whole grains and started eating plenty of veggies, protein and fat, and quickly started dropping weight. No diet coke this time, just water, soda water and herbal teas. I started feeling energised and so great. I still had a little anxiety, but nowhere near as bad.
Once I’d lost about 10kgs I came across Marks Daily Apple and was glued to the site for days!!This is what I had been looking for. It helped me to change my mindset, and to realise it is all about lifestyle, not just about dieting. Since then I have lost another 25kgs and now I weigh 72kgs, and fitting a size 12! I joined the gym to start weight training about 2 months ago and I’m hooked! I’m really looking forward to changing my body composition. My anxiety is far more manageable now and I finally feel like I’ve got it sorted. I now know what works and what doesn’t for my body.
The primal way feels so natural, coming from a person who had to eat every 2-3 hours otherwise I would be lightheaded and sometimes even dizzy. Now I can do the odd 24hr Intermittent Fast with no problems, and if a meal is late it’s no biggie. I finally feel freed from my obsession with food, and the handcuffs of my eating timetable. That is one of the best things about going primal.
When people ask me “what’s my secret?” I don’t talk about it like it’s a diet. This is just the way we were meant to eat. Hopefully I can help others to realise it’s all about mindset, feeding yourself with the best fuel, and using that knowledge to maximise exercise and movement. I’m definitely a bit of a preacher when it comes to Primal living, and talk about Mark Sisson like he’s my best buddy. I started a blog so I wouldn’t drive my friends and family crazy talking about it.
So, it can be a tough pill to swallow when you realise there is no magic pill, and you have to make some major changes if you want real results. Now, when I’m in a situation surrounded by unhealthy foods I have to make conscious choices. Most of the time it’s easy because eating primal foods are so satisfying and makes me feel so good that I never feel deprived. And holding onto my old pair of size 20 jeans is a great reminder and motivator of just how far I’ve come!
Michelle – New Zealand
Thank you for you inspiring story, Michelle!
Read all about Michelle’s Primal journey on her fantastic blog.
If you’d like to share your story (and photos) with fellow MDA readers and enter this season’s Tell Your Story contest in the process submit your own personal story by August 28 for a chance to win a pair of Vibram FiveFingers and a Grok t-shirt. Grok on!