Let’s go back to when I was younger, around 11-13 years old. I was a typical girl that loved sugar, and when I say loved, I mean seriously addicted to it. I would easily go through a whole box (or more!) of cereal per day and lock myself in my room eating stored up chocolate while eating more cereal. Yep, I was THAT girl.
My mother has always tried to get me to eat healthy, but that was the last thing I wanted to hear. Fights started when she tried to take the chocolate away and get me to eat a vegetable, and every time she mentioned juicing, organic foods, or Suzanne Somers, I would get angry. I WOULD NEVER EAT HEALTHY!
I was never a fat kid, but I did start to store up all the sugar I had been eating, particularly when I was 12, when I had gained ten pounds in just two months. My body wasn’t the only proof that I had been over consuming sugar; my face and back was covered in terrible, infected acne which got worse and worse.
One day my mom made me test my sugar with my dad’s diabetic sugar testing machine; the evil kind that you have to prick your finger on. When the number showed up on the screen, my parents were furious: My sugar level was twenty points higher than my dad’s, and he is diabetic! I had diabetes!
Mother told me I had to try to eat better; I was slowly killing myself; and if I didn’t try, she would take me to the hospital. This just made me even more angry and want to eat more sugar: maybe I did want to die! Keep in mind, when you eat so many chemicals and sugar, you can’t think straight.
In October of 2010, my aunt was diagnosed with cancer and my mom was always down in Florida helping her and her family out. Of course I was sad about my aunt, but with my mom always gone, I could eat as much sugar as I wanted; YAY! No one to control me, and I won’t have to go to the hospital and get insulin shots.
Fast forward a little to the day I realized I needed to change. It was about March of 2012 and I can clearly remember that night. Mom was gone and dad had taken me to Sonic for dinner, where I got a cheesy breakfast burrito, large tater tots, and a large milkshake, which was followed by a Snicker’s bar. After eating my dinner in my room, I got up off the floor to go downstairs and suddenly, everything was spinning. My vision became blurry and I guess I blacked out, because all I remember was waking up on the floor. When I woke up, I started crying. I knew I had just had a sugar crash, but a scary one. I had to eat better and get healthy. I was tired of my face and back being covered in acne and being embarrassed of my body and the fact that I was not strong. I had to change.
When my aunt died in April of 2012, that began my “change.” I tried to eat healthy, which was basically just a “healthy” Kashi waffle for breakfast, rice cakes and a cheese stick for lunch, and a lean cuisine meal for dinner. All these foods were labeled as healthy, so that’s what I believed. I was happy because I was eating “healthy” foods, now I wouldn’t have diabetes or cancer; and even better yet, I would have a great body with no acne!
I lost a lot of weight at this time, and it really was weight that was okay to loose; but the problem was that I had lost it so fast and the foods I was eating offered no real nutrition.
After about four months, I began to get really sick of this whole “healthy eating” thing. I got really grouchy and tired of eating the same thing day after day. Why couldn’t eating healthier be more fun?
My mom and I thought that it would be a good idea to visit a dietician because we wanted to figure out a way that I could eat healthy, but with more variety.
I remember walking into the dietician’s office and feeling a little unsure: there were plastic foods laid out on the table, as well as the so called “healthy” food pyramid on the end.
There in the chair sat my dietician, an overweight woman wearing a cabled turtle neck sweater and corduroys. I know I shouldn’t judge, but her appearance made me not want to take her seriously.
She looked at me with a judging smile and asked me what my “story” was.
A little confused, I told her I used to eat sugar and now I don’t, and that I had lost weight by eating “healthy”, but I was bored with the foods I was eating. She looked up from her little clipboard and proceeded to tell me that I had anorexia.
WHAT?! I did not have an eating disorder! I used to be unhealthy and now I eat “healthy” and I lost some weight, so that means I have an eating disorder?!
I was in shock and angry, and even more so when she walked me over to a scale, wrote down the number, and told me that I needed to get back to my “healthy weight”, the weight I was before my “eating disorder”.
I was outraged. My weight when I ate all the sugar was NOT a healthy weight. And if I did have to gain weight, why did I spend four months eating healthy?
We continued the session and she gave me my “well balanced” meal plan consisting of lots of grains, dairy, and a little meat and produce. She told me to drink Ensures and Boosts, “healthy” drinks to help me get my nutrition in.
I wanted to continue to go there, not because mom and I thought I had to gain weight, but so that maybe the dietician could give me some insight on how to eat healthy; after all, she WAS a dietician, they have to know what they are doing. Right??
I continued to follow her “well balanced” meal plan which left me sick and bloated, due to all the grains and dairy, and after a while, I couldn’t stand the way I felt when eating these foods.
After a few months, I finally decided that I needed to figure out my own way of healthy eating. I hated feeling bloated and nauseous. I had to figure things out for myself.
I somehow stumbled across the paleo lifestyle in May of 2013 and it seemed like a lifestyle that wasn’t restrictive and allowed me to eat good foods. I began slowly incorporating paleo and real foods into my diet and even began cooking; something I thought I would never do!
Since following the paleo template, I have never felt better. I now have no acne (!), no diabetes, and a strong and healthy body that I am proud of, and even better, I have found what I love doing: cooking and sharing my knowledge with others. That is the best thing I could ever ask for.