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October 02 2015

Over 100 Pounds Lost Is Just Part of the Story

By Guest
71 Comments

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-1-2When I was 13, I started having a lot of sick days. Initially, I was having migraines from time to time. Then one day they seemed to be happening on a very regular basis. I started seeing different doctors, and they couldn’t figure out why I was having them. By this time I started vomiting, sometimes multiple times a day, but it was every single day. I also started having trouble sleeping. When 8th grade rolled around, I was seeing doctors all over the place, having weekly tests done for a million different things, but still nothing showed. I was on a lot of different medications that no child should ever have to take, and the only thing that happened was extreme weight gain, basically. My every day life was hell. On top of being so sick, and having no answers, I was tormented daily at school which didn’t help. Before I knew it I was also on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, and had begun therapy.

After two and a half years of constant testing, going to doctors all over the Midwest, continually being sick and getting no relief, we had a diagnosis: Lyme Disease. My blood tests were off the chart high. I began seeing a specialist that was eight hours away from home. During this time (and through the majority of high school), I had to be home-schooled, and I hated it. I was on nearly a dozen medications from extreme doses of antibiotics, to pain killers (Morphine, Vicodin…), migraine medication, sleeping pills, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills and the same anti nausea medications they give to chemo patients.

By this point I was 17 and getting weekly injections of the strongest antibiotic you can get. My nurses had me call them when I was on my way so they could warm the serum and change the needle to a smaller one because they couldn’t stand the thought of sticking me with the needle that came with it…yes, it was that big. It literally took a couple of minutes for them to push all of it into me. At the end of each injection, I was left with a rather large welt and bruise that would last until the following week when we would switch hips. The injections lasted for more than a year. I never got better. I think in time I simply became used to feeling like absolute hell day in and day out. This was my life. The only good things I had were my family, my friends and my faith. All I could do was trust that if God brought me to all of this, eventually HE would get me out of it. That is all that held me together, because believe me, I didn’t want to live. I wasn’t living. I was a zombie.

In time I got off of most of the medications because they no longer helped me anyway. From time to time over the next several years, new symptoms would show – bringing a new round of doctors, tests and sometimes medication (all while being uninsured mind you). More often than not, I tried to ignore my health problems because they were all I had known for so long.

heaviestBy the end of April of 2009, at the age of 23, I had moved to Florida in search of finding myself again. Shortly after I moved down there, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember thinking to myself, “Hey life, it’s been a while since you’ve turned upside down, so why not?!” I was devastated and so scared.

In time I found out that I never should have been put on a medication I had been on for a decade, so that was thrown out. Insert a new onset of health problems. Here I was 24, and now on top of my normal health problems, I was scared out of my mind that I was going to have cancer someday because the odds are SO high that I will. I starting having excruciating migraines again, I couldn’t sleep, and was now dealing with heart arrhythmia. New tests, new doctor, new meds, same ol’ song and dance.

By the time I was 26, I was living in Washington, D.C. and by all accounts should have been loving my life. The one thing I had been able to count on for thirteen years health-wise was that I could deal with (and on most days tolerate) certain levels of wanting to throw up all day (and thank God I no longer actually did every day), migraines, and bouts of insomnia.

In April of 2012, I sprained both ankles at the same time. Seemingly once I was fully recovered from that, something else started. By that September I would have rather been dead than feel the pain I was in every day. I had multiple emergency room trips, and the pain was chalked up to pinched nerves. I did everything suggested and nothing helped. I was throwing up pretty much daily again from the pain, and pain killers weren’t helping. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t do anything it seemed. I’m sure my ex was ready to be done with me and I felt like a burden to him. I became really depressed…again.

During this time, my mom was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Her doctor said you can be genetically predisposed to it and after telling him all of the ongoing problems I was having, he seemed to think it was very likely I could have it as well. I started seeing a doctor again after how bad the pain had gotten. I became obsessed with researching it. Because I had the Lyme’s diagnosis, we just chalked ALL problems up to being related to that. In reality though, Fibro made much more sense. During this time I began having such horrific joint and muscle pain that I cried throughout the day, and eventually cried myself to sleep every night. I would wake up in the middle of the night, practically screaming in pain. I wasn’t working and it was truly hell…again.

Christmas 2012 I got a juicer and I started researching natural Fibromyalgia treatments. I began reading The Primal Blueprint (and a few other books) a few months into juicing and was astonished. Everything made absolute sense. By going Primal, I had cut out virtually all dairy, all grains, all legumes, and all processed foods. I juice (though you don’t have to in order to be Primal, but I do because I love the energy that comes from the extra doses of fruits and veggies) and eat incredible tasting foods. Within the first two months of these changes, I had gone without a single prescription pain killer for the first time in literally 14 YEARS. I had a mere three migraines in those two months, and they paled in comparison to what I used to experience with them. I began sleeping well every night for the first time in 14 years. A bad night consisted of maybe 15-30 minutes of numbness or tingling sensations going up and down my body, but even that had become rare.

tressie

By May of 2013, I was down 104 pounds from my highest weight. I did my first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (5K, but still) and felt great. I traveled a lot that summer. I stopped blogging, hit a huge plateau and then God started shaking up my life…again.

tressie1

October of 2014 brought changes that I never thought would happen. My ex and I moved out of our apartment and into separate places, I stopped being pseudo step-mom to the child I loved as my own. I fell late that month and tore multiple ligaments in my foot and stopped working out for months because of it. My depression came back tenfold and I stopped caring. I stopped caring about making sure I was living the life that I knew made me feel better. When you are THAT depressed (though you don’t care and it’s all you can do to get up), you put on a happy face, go to work and not fall apart until you get home. In time, we finally broke up and I made the decision to leave DC and head back to my roots. I needed my people.

In May of 2014, I moved to St. Louis, which is two hours from my hometown and has been a second home to me for most of my life. By the middle of June I had spent more time with my family than I had in the three or four years prior. My heart needed that. Towards the end of that month, a very old friend that I grew up with was taken from this Earthly world far too soon. His death made me do a lot of soul searching. Through the rest of the summer, I realized just how much of myself I had willingly given up and/or had taken from me and decided that was no loner happening. I made the decision to embrace all of the good things that I had in my life. I had a pretty brutal fibro flare that lasted for a couple of months. By Labor Day I had gained back roughly 30 pounds. The funk that I had been in finally was gone.

down130lbsI started really getting back into the gym, bike riding, small reps of lifting and taking core muscle classes. I got back into juicing in the mornings to give me the instant boost I need and eat as Primal as possible the rest of the day. I’ve more than lost the 30 pounds I had gained back. I am at 130 (which makes for about sixty pounds since Labor Day 2014) pounds gone now. I still have another 80 or so to go but I feel SO good. The only medication I take now is Claritin. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go off of it, but to go from a dozen medications to ONE is amazing. I live life now. I embrace it. I own it. I know I have quite a ways to go still, but I know how far I’ve come. I have a blog about my experiences with juicing, Primal and obtaining a general sense of wellness in my life. It’s been read in 38 countries now, which is mind blowing to me. It’s therapeutic for me, but honestly, I feel like it’s my duty to let others know that they can absolutely change their stories. Just because your life has been a certain way for however long does not mean that is how it should be or how it has to be.

What’s different for me now is that my journey isn’t just about weight loss. The journey I’m on is one that I will be on for the rest of my life. It’s a journey of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness. It’s a journey of helping to prevent some of the rather unfortunate genes I have inherited. It’s a journey about truly living life instead of just getting through it.

Tressie

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71 thoughts on “Over 100 Pounds Lost Is Just Part of the Story”

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  1. You have come a long way Tressie. Those who know you are proud of you. You serve as an inspiration to us all. Now that more people are seeing your story, I hope that inspires you as well. You’ve done an amazing job. Keep it up.

    1. I will forever be thankful that you were there for the beginning of the journey. The love and support you gave got me through days that nobody else ever saw. I hope you always know that.

  2. Tressie, so glad you mentioned the importance of the whole journey. Spiritual, physical, emotional and mental. It’s everything….and weight is really just a side show. Congrats!

  3. Thanks for being so vulnerable and sharing all your story with us. You are an inspiration. 🙂
    P.S. Did your mom embrace a Primal way of living as well, given you both were diagnosed with fibromyalgia?

  4. Thank you for sharing your amazing story. What comes through so loud and clear is how strong you are. You have accomplished so much all while battling mightily to regain your health. I wish you the best of luck as you continue your journey.

    Boy I love Friday success stories, Mark. Keep them coming!

    1. Thank you so much. Later I will make a post to the whole page of comments about where I am at now. I submitted my story to Mark in April.

  5. Susan G Kommen gives money to planned parenthood. So there is that. Stand and fight for our ways!!

    1. So??? *Planned* parenthood sure does seem a lot better than unplanned parenthood…

      1. I’m not sure why out of anything I talked about the fact that I did the Susan G. Komen 5k after losing 100 pounds planned parenthood is the topic of interest.

  6. Your story of pain sounds so much like my friend’s. For years she has had such pain that life was really not worth living, however, with a disabled child who has even worse pain and raising your grandson she would plug on. I was constantly telling (yes, nag, nag, nag) her to go primal/paleo and she would feel “pain free” …… FINALLY she did, she quit all the inflamitory foods and just ate real food, viola NO PAIN throughout her body 24/7…… She called me the other day and said she had a body filled with pain and the only reason why was because she thought her stressful life was a good excuse to eat poorly….. So now she knows to stay on the wagon of good food. No food is worth that kind of pain that no pain killers will even come close to numbing. Glad you know that too. Thanks for your story!

  7. All those doctors. All that sophisticated medical treatment. All useless.
    And then you take charge of your health and good things happen.
    Thanks for sharing, you’re doing great.

      1. I read that as “lost 130 and still have 80 more to go”. Not as, “at 130, still 80 to go”.

        1. I definitely don’t weight 130! 🙂
          I’m 5’9. I would be anorexic looking if that were the case! My story was submitted in April. I’ve lost another 20+ since then.

  8. Thank you! You look wonderful 🙂
    It is so helpful and relieving to hear about the cessation of all those,….varied and non-specific symptoms and pain that so often people keep dealing with because there is no one diagnosis that can be pointed to.
    And YOU resolved them 🙂 Cheers to you

  9. You poor thing! You’ve been run through the mill since your youth, a mill I can unfortunately relate to, in a different way with a different unpleasant illness. All the best in continuing to improve your health going forward.

  10. So happy that you have gotten to a place in life that you finally feel a balance. It’s spiritual for sure, and the rest of your journey has been just that… A journey. Keep up the great work. Love you girl.

  11. What an inspiring story! You are just a beautiful person and I wish you all the best as your journey continues. After a lot of misdirection, I’m glad that you’ve found the right path. You mentioned that you have a blog, but there no link. I would love to read about this adventure as it unfolds.

    1. Thank you so much!

      My blog is about all of the twists and turns my life has taken during this journey. This summer I lost my dad pretty suddenly and it definitely has played a roll in all of that. The bulk of the posts from this summer relate to grief and what it does to your health and wellness but things are starting to turn. The posts come up in order by most recent.

      embracethegloriousmess.blogspot.com

      1. I found your blog yesterday! You have been through so much; my heart hurts for you. I also lost my dad this year, due to cancer. I’m older than you, so losing a parent is more likely at my age, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Just like you, I have days where I can’t believe he’s gone. And I see and hear things that I want to share with him, but I can’t.
        Hang in there. You have made such great progress, and now you have the support of all of us in the MDA community too.
        God bless you.

        1. Thank you for sharing that story with me. It’s definitely not something I thought I would be dealing with right now for many reasons. Some days it’s all I can do to just get through it, other days I don’t think about it. Then when it really hits me all of a sudden, I wonder how it is that I “forget” in the first place. When Mark’s assistant emailed me on Thursday to tell me they were publishing for Friday, my first instinct was “I HAVE to call Mom and Dad” and then I realized I can’t call my dad and my mom didn’t answer…there was a decent amount of tears after that. But I know how proud he was and I hold on to it.

          Thank you for your support and encouragement.

  12. God bless you Tressie. What a terrible start to life you had from such a young age.
    Here’s proof of the SAD in action and it’s not your fault that you have been eating this toxic processed poison that big food, big pharma etc, the ADA and the rest of those people have told us is ‘healthy’. What a total crock!
    Keep up your great work healing yourself, you are doing so well.

  13. Thanks for sharing your amazing story. I’m happy to hear your faith sustained you as you “walked through the valley of the shadow of death.” God has used such unimaginable difficulties in your life to bring hope to people all over the world!

    1. Eventually I think some symptoms were compounded by medications. But the migraines, sleeping issues and stomach issues were there before the medications started. As the disease stayed in my body without proper treatment due to lack of a diagnosis, it became chronic and much harder to treat. Nothing really ever helped it. I was so sensitive to the effects that a lot of the medications had, so much so in fact that I had to start the injections so it would bypass my stomach and hopefully stay in me.

  14. Wow Tressie, What a life you’ve lived so far! How much you’ve overcome already! I feel you will now be completely unbeatable in whatever you choose to do. Well done!

  15. This woman needs psychiatric help. No, nothing adds up. Paleo does a lot to “cure” issues but she had no substance in this one. I hope Mark will screen some. We all look for legitimate stories.

    1. C Austin, sorry you don’t believe Tressie. As somebody who lived with her for more than two years, I assure you her story is true.

    2. What about this did not ring true to you? People who share their stories here are looking to inspire and give hope to others. She doesn’t need judgment from you.

    3. That’s an incredibly harsh thing to say about someone else. I would hope you know for a fact your claims are true before posting something this mean.

    4. C Austin,
      Some people think that any number of diseases are psychosomatic, even when you have a legit diagnosis. I treat my symptoms naturally, but in my case, that doesn’t mean the disease has left my body, but I control it now, not medication. The very first person to comment on my story, and the first person to defend me to you is actually the ex who was mentioned in my story. He started the journey with me a year after we had already been together and saw the absolute hell that I went through. He also knew my story better than anyone. If you actually read the story carefully, you would have read about all of the doctors that I went to and that I did have a confirmed Lyme Disease diagnosis and that the markers for it were off the charts high. If you tested me to today it would still show up in my blood because it doesn’t go away. You can treat symptoms with medication or you can naturally. When the medications did more harm than good to me for the first 14 years that I was sick, I opted to try to make myself feel better in a natural way. Regardless what you think, Mark’s books and his passion changed my life. I live now instead of merely existing. How fortunate are you that you have never had to deal with something for as long as I have. I’m not even 30 and that has what my life has been made up of since I was 13.

  16. ????We will always have Deana Carter and her “Strawberry Wine!!!” Fabulous as always my dear!!! ??

  17. Awesome story Tressie. You’re an inspiration. I’ll be sure to share this with other’s. Have a great weekend.

  18. You are an inspiration to all. Keep on doing what you’re doing!

  19. I have said this before, but I have to keep trying

    will you marry me? I am 63 but in good primal shape …

    (damn, wife is coming …)

    hey congratulations you look goooood!

  20. Hey, I’m in St. Louis too! Great story! Amazing you found the strength to use diet and lifestyle to overcome that horrible list of symptoms. Good for you!!!

  21. Thank you to everyone who has posted really supportive comments. They are much appreciated. I submitted my story to Mark at the end of April. Since then my life has changed again in a pretty big way. In May, I made a couple of other life changes truly felt amazing. In June, my world was crushed by the sudden loss of my dad. The first two months I could barely sleep, hardly ate and when I did, more often than not it made me sick. The next month or so was spent trying to start getting my life back. This last week I finally felt like I was at a place mentally and emotionally to dive back in fully physically, and amazing things have happened.
    This post was a week before losing my dad:
    http://embracethegloriousmess.blogspot.com/2015/06/17-miles.html

    These two were about a month ago:
    http://embracethegloriousmess.blogspot.com/2015/08/crawl-if-you-have-to.html

    http://embracethegloriousmess.blogspot.com/2015/08/after-season-of-suffering.html
    :
    This was from this week:
    http://embracethegloriousmess.blogspot.com/2015/09/keep-on-climbing.html

    I’m always happy to reply to messages sent to me on here, the blog or through google, which is tied to my blog.

  22. Great job Tressie, you’re truly an inspiration to others. My Mother and daughter are both breast cancer survivors and I lost my sweet Dad in 2006 so I too know this pain and am so very sorry for your loss. I am a type II diabetic and by counting calores and carbs along with medication lost 103 pounds. Sadly I’ve packed 50 of those pounds back on caring for my husband, diagnosed with stage III cancer 14 months ago. It is so true, when you do not take the time out to care for yourself, know one else will and you suffer the consequences. Have started researching the paleo method and am very interested in your paleo lifestyle. Do you follow a particular plan that you can share with me? Keep up the amazing work, you’ve got this!

  23. What an inspirational story. I’m so glad that your health and your life has improved. You look great. Keep up the good work.

  24. I think that one of the great things about the Primal Lifestyle is that every day we come across amazing, inspirational stories. It’s people like you who are really determining that this is a Movement, a revolution in health – and not just a diet fad. Thanks.

  25. Amazing story, Tressie, thank you for sharing. So sorry you have had such a hard time so young. Great to hear of your success. Sounds like you are very strong and an inspiration to others!

    1. Thank you, Caroline. Life is what you make of it, right? It has been very difficult but I’ve chosen to have the mindset that everything happens for a reason. I share my story with others in hope of getting people to see that it’s never too late to change your story, your life and that of others, too.

  26. Wow this is a great story. You look so happy in the after picture.

    Beautiful girl, beautiful story.

    I am truly inspired.

    Prayers that you continue on your journey and so glad to hear your mother and aunt are better! 🙂

  27. Just wanted to say thank you for helping inspire me to get back on track. I also have suffered from migraines (for over 30 years!) and was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I have dabbled with the primal/paleo lifestyle for a couple of years now, but never stuck with it for more than a few weeks at a time. (mostly out of self pity because due to multiple food intolerances I can’t eat what everyone else around me eats seemingly without consequences). Anyway, last night I pulled out my copies of the Primal Blueprint and the 21 Day Total Body Transformation to read over the weekend. My goal is to start the 21 Day program Monday – my next birthday is a little over three weeks away and I can’t think of a better present to myself than to complete the 21 days and finally commit to a lifestyle that enhances my health and well-being instead of degrading it. God bless you!

    1. Hi, Teresa! Thank you show much for sharing with me. My journey is an ongoing one but you are exactly the reason why I share my story and my progress thus far. It’s never too late. My birthday is next month so I get it. I’ve been fighting tooth and nail to try to pull myself out of this grief funk and really focus on myself physically again like I know I should be, like I was before losing my dad. I feel for you obviously with the migraines and fibro. I’d love to talk more with you. You’re welcome to email me– ttucker1113@gmail.com

  28. Great inspiration, Tressie! Thanks for your encouraging story. I thank God for this far He has brought you!

    I began my journey 3 weeks ago. I’m inspired, especially by your before and after pics. I’ve shared your story with my friends and family.

    God bless!

    1. Good for you, Rose! I’m thankful for the grace He continues to bestow upon me. It’s daily process, especially throwing grief into the mix now, but it’s all part of the story. My blog is up to almost 70 countries now. Knowing that what I’ve been through has reached and is helping people all over the world somehow makes the struggle I’ve faced for more than half of my life worth it.

  29. Yayyy! Tressie, I’m thrilled to read your story and am very inspired by it. So proud of you! You are such a beautiful and strong girl for working hard all through this journey!

    1. Thank you so much, Kay. My apologies for just seeing your post! I’ve struggled a lot the last ten months since losing my dad. I also had an accident in January and spent almost three months going in for adjustments and therapy three times a week. I’m finally physically feeling good again, and emotionally I’m in the best place I’ve been in since my dad. It’s time to get back to thriving instead of merely surviving.