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I Believe, and Now Is the Time


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My before:

Life was just sort of okay, maybe a little bleh. I felt like I couldn't really complain, but kept feeling something was missing. I had my “health†after all.

I got really, suddenly, very sick in 2003. I had just graduated from college, was working in a research lab at a university, and was getting ready to start a PhD program. I woke up one day feeling as if an elephant was sitting on my chest, and through the day, my heart would just start racing for no reason. I ended up being admitted for almost a week due to a pulmonary embolism and a blood clot in my leg. Instead of getting better, I got sicker. I lost like 15 pounds in a few short weeks. Everything made me sick. I had no energy, just taking a shower made me feel like I was 80. I had horrible joint pains that would wake me in the night. My stomach felt like someone was reaching in and just squeezing. It took just a few months (though they did not feel short, and racked up 20+ emergency room visits) to be diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. The next 4 years were pretty rough, regular admits to the hospital, liquid only for months to rest my intestines, medications with side effects that were very real and very scary, and a total redefinition of my life. A trip to the grocery store became my big outing for a week. I was “disabled†and Social Security. And when you're in your 20s, that's not a good thing at all.

But then, I started to feel a little better. I have not been admitted for a few years now. I was able to start working, just a sedentary desk job to ease back into the work force. Not exactly the job I had dreamed of and worked towards through school and college. I take one immune suppresser these days, not 48 pills of 5 different medications like I have in the past. I started to eat more and more foods as time went by.

But I didn't feel good, not as good as I knew I could feel. I just wasn't deathly sick. So, I started searching, and wondering. I wanted to feel great, to be the healthiest person I could be even with a disease they don't know how to cure. I wanted to be happy and full of energy. I wanted to start my day ready to go, not wondering when I could take a nap. I wanted to not be irritable and almost anxious feeling. And I always wondered, why isn't food a part of what we talk about when I see my specialists? When I was really sick, it took the GI specialist almost a year before he suggested cutting out dairy as many people with Crohn's become lactose intolerant!?!

Besides wanting to feel better, I wanted to be healthy. The medications I have taken to treat my Crohns can cause cancer (not to mention the 20+ cat-scans). That's not something I want. My dad died of a brain stem cancer when he was only 42. Two years ago I cared for my mother in my home while pancreatic cancer killed her. I have a sister that had ovarian and cervical cancer before age 45. I take cancer risks very seriously.

This Is How I found Whole30:

I stumbled on the paleo diet. The science geek in me that longed for that PhD in Molecular Biology fell flat out in love with Robb Wolf's podcasts. And I can't resist snark (and he's a little snarky). I started listening, in order, to podcasts from 2 years ago. I bought his book and started moving towards a Paleo way of eating and sleeping. And one day, he had Melissa and Dallas from the Whole9 on. So I checked them out online. And I ran out that night and bought ISWF. I read that in about 2 days. And then I read it again. And thought “yeah, why not today?†So I started working on my sister and may have forced her to read it. I'd already been cooking more Paleo for my husband. I told him he was welcome to join in, as all the food in the house was going to be Whole30 compliant. And I started on September 19th.

Now that I've finished my Whole30:

I could cry. This didn't just change my life, it's blown my mind.

I've been so sick and so tired before. I thought just the absence of horrible pain was maybe going to be what I settled for. That I was going to settle for a less than dreamy job because maybe I wasn't healthy enough to go for more.

I love reasons, not rules. I have loved science and experimentation since I was old enough to read. I want proof. And now I AM THE PROOF.

I feel so good. My sleep (I need 9 hours and I refuse to feel bad about that) is restful. My energy is even and high. I wake up excited for the day, even just regular old workdays. Even when I'm tired, it's not a bone-numbing cranky fatigue. It's just simply tired. My mood, well, I didn't think I had mood issues before. But I must have, because I feel awesome now. I'm happy and calm and just great. When people ask me how I'm doing, I'm working on saying the words “fabulousâ€, “great†and “wonderfulâ€. I'm not good, I'm better than that and I want to share that. I eat. A lot. And I love it. I love eating fat and meats and vegetables. I feel satisfied. And I can tell I'm healthier. Joint pains I've dealt with for years are gone. My skin is just nicer. I feel confident this way of eating and sleeping and caring for my body is a way to battle cancer, that I'm arming my genes in the best way I can.

My body just feels good, like every cell in my body is rejoicing in some serious sunshine and rainbows.

I don't know how much weight I lost because this journey moved me to banish the scale (it's in the basement, and likely on its way to the landfill instead of being donated). I know that my clothes fit better. I know that I feel like dancing. And running. And lifting some heavy stuff.

What's next? Well, we're going to keep eating like this. I'm going to follow the re-introduction plan to check out dairy. But I don't miss any grains. Maybe someday I'll be tempted, but I'll wait for that day. I'm never going to drink pop again (I had an unhealthy relationship with a certain diet soda). I will also follow the plan to check out some legumes. And honestly, I want the solid data from doing a re-introduction.

With my husband's support, I'm looking at a graduate program. But instead of molecular biology in a pure research lab, I'm going to pursue a degree in food science and nutrition. Because, I BELIEVE, It Starts With Food.

Thank you, to everyone on the forum for their support. To my sister Sarah for sharing the cooking and the cleaning. To my husband for coming along for the ride.To Dallas and Melissa for sharing with all of us.

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That's pretty dang amazing, thanks for writing this!

How soon after you started did you see dramatic results?

Thank you. Really, about a week in. Day 5 was my cranky, am I really doing this day. And things just got better every day since then.

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Wow. I got chills reading this story. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. You have no idea how many people you will inspire with your story - and send them on a path to better health and quality of life, too.

You should be very, very proud of yourself.



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I kept meaning to post my measurements, because, Wow, what a difference!

I didn't weight myself, got rid of the scale because it really does bring me down.

I took my measurements on 8/20/12, and here's what happened with my Whole30 when I measured on 10/19/2012

Right bicep 11", down 1"

Underarm 34.25" down 1.5"

Chest 34.75 down 2" <_<

Ribcage 28.75 down 4"

Waist 27" down 2"

Belly 33" down 1.25"

Hip 35.5" down 2.75"

Right thigh 21.25 down 1"

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