I’ve been neglecting my blog, and for that I am ashamed. <hangs head in shame>
In my defense, however, my boyfriend has been in town and I’ve been *ahem* distracted. Teeheehee… ;)
So I’ve gone over WHAT it is to be Primal (at least, an abbreviated version of it), WHEN I went Primal, and HOW Primal has changed my life. What I haven’t yet covered is WHY. What was my “a-ha” moment? What sent me over the edge? What spurred the deep-seated need to change my life, for the better, once and for all? For those of you coming from MDA, you’ll find that today’s post is in response to Mark’s post about tipping points. I wanted to share my story there, but found it too long for the comments section. But since this is MY blog, I can delve into detail all I want. =)
My tipping point was a blouse. Yes, a blouse. But not just any blouse, a beautiful, flattering, ballet slipper-pink silk blouse that looked absolutely fantastic on me. One warm morning this past August, I pulled it out of my closet, slipped it over my head, and looked in the mirror, expecting to see the usual figure-flattering image of me draped in lovely, silky, damn-I-look-good wonderfulness. What was looking back at me was horrifying. I looked like a stuffed sausage. My belly protruded from under the delicate silk draping. Back fat rolls jutted out beneath the clearly visible lines of my bra. My arms looked as though they had been squeezed into- and subsequently out of- two tubes of toothpaste. Doesn’t sound all that bad… except that I had bought the blouse only 4 months before that morning. I went through a whole spectrum of emotions in that moment: astonishment, anger, shame, hopelessness, and finally, determination. I had had enough. Yo-yoing between 125- 150 lbs for 10 years had finally taken its toll on me and I was sick of it. I had tried several low-carb diets: first Atkins, then Curves, then South Beach- twice- all with some initial success, but as usual with typical “diets” the weight came back as soon as I started eating “normally” again. Additionally, I had developed seemingly random stomach problems 6 years before, which ranged from mild and infrequent to acute and numerous. I chalked it up to stress (a divorce, the loss of 2 jobs, and some other heavy things that happened over that time had me on an emotional rollercoaster), but even after things settled and I was living a happier life the “little attacks” as I called them didn’t go away. I figured there was something else wrong with me, and I self-diagnosed everything from esophageal ulcer to Crohn’s disease. Even doctors couldn’t figure it out: I got several prognoses, from gall stones (nope) to pancreatitis (wtf?), but never any solid answers. I tried cycling different foods out of my diet to see if I could pinpoint the cause: again, nothing conclusive (I didn’t even consider that grains could be the culprit).
That same day, I decided to give the South Beach Diet another go in my attempt to lose weight and get back into that beautiful blouse, which worked (sorta, I lost 7 pounds of what was probably water weight), and I applauded myself for a job well done. I celebrated with a piece of organic whole-wheat toast the day after Phase 1 was over. Oh boy, what a mistake. The stomach cramps and nausea had me holed up next to my toilet for HOURS. By that point in time, gluten-free/ grain-free had become the new “fad” diet, and I had heard bits and pieces of how wheat made people sick a la Celiac’s disease, so once I was able to lift myself up off the bathroom floor I got to surfing the interwebz. The next day at work I heard an interview with Karen DeCoster, who mentioned that she liked Mark’s plan, and I was off chasing answers, ultimately winding up at MDA and buying The Primal Blueprint that weekend. I haven’t had a single “attack” since I started my Primal journey, and I’ve been able to get back into that blouse… it’s actually too big for me now. =)
Ultimately, like so many other people in the Primal/Paleo world, it’s not a numbers thing, whether it’s the number on the scale, the number on your clothing tag, or the number of miles run, reps completed, or pounds lifted. The real reward is subjective, qualitative, and completely un-measurable by any standard of science (outside of the numbers on blood test results, of course). What we get out of this lifestyle is the overall better quality of life, the improved sleep, the elimination of medications, the happiness and satisfaction that comes from a good meal or a sweaty but fun-filled play session. My turning point was a blouse, but my sticking point is the knowledge that I’ll live a long healthy life, full of adventure and wonder, far from a nursing home, hospital, or hospice.