In April 2010 I was over 200 lbs. I had stopped using the scale after reaching 202 lbs, so I couldn’t tell you my heaviest weight.
This first photograph was taken at a friend’s wedding in Las Vegas. I was painfully insecure at that time; I hated how I looked, but more importantly I hated how I felt: Tired, riddled with GI issues, awful PMS, I was easily irritable, very sensitive to the touch, sound and odors, I was extremely insecure, jealous and accusatory, depressed, anxious and fidgety, and I experienced occasional heart palpitations (possibly panic attacks), lots of brainfog, and I mixed up my words.
By then I had already been diagnosed with neck pain, Chronic Migraines, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Vertigo, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
For my friend’s wedding, I tried to hide all of the above under a nice outfit, huge sunglasses, and long, dyed hair. But I might as well have been naked.
After meeting a Neurologist specializing in Ayurveda named Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary (you may have seen her on Dr. Oz), and following her detox program, eating more organic, whole foods and less processed junk, I was able to lose 30 pounds (photo below taken in 2011). Because of the weight loss, and having a series of cervical neck blocks, I was able to start a modified exercise program.
By early 2012 I shifted my focus from Migraine Treatments to Migraine Prevention through nutrition. Because a change in diet helped reduce inflammation and Fibro flare ups, as well as lessen PMS symptoms, I figured the same could hold true for Migraines. I was researching how the Standard American Diet was making us fat and sick.
I decided to stop following blogs and forums that discussed pain. In a March 2012 post from my old blog “Jasmine’s Cove,” I wrote
I’m in the process of changing my approach to health – more specifically, what it means to get healthy versus the too often used what-it’s-like-to-be-ill format.
I’ve trimmed down on social network sites, and I no longer read blogs, tweets or forums that discuss illness or the latest pain drugs. It may seem odd, since I have health issues, but those topics and rants only drain and immobilize me.
There was a point in my life where complaining about my pain, or needing to make others understand what I was going through, was necessary for me to forge ahead. But I realize, as important as venting may be, doing so on a daily basis only held me back. Where I once chose to commiserate with others online, I’m now surrounding myself with motivating and inspiring people. By doing so I’m achieving better health, and along with it a greater outlook on life.
I let go of a few toxic friendships because they too were draining me. I had to learn to accept putting my needs first, and in those relationships I was strictly giving to make others happy. By late 2012 it was evident I would need to remove toxic relatives from my life as well. And once I stopped fretting over that decision, my heart and mind opened up and allowed health and positivity in.
Because of losing our home of eight years, and having to move across the country, I found myself eating to deal with stress. My weight was increasing, and with it inflammation and pain. As old symptoms crept back in, I knew I had to make a serious lifestyle change.
I had toyed with the idea of going Paleo in the past, but I was extremely intimidated and didn’t feel ready. Fast forward to March 2013, and well…you can see six months of my hard work paying off in this next photograph.
The rest of these pictures were taken today, Decemeber 31, 2013, New Years Eve. As you can see I’m having some success with Mark Lauren‘s body weight routines found in “Body By You” and “You Are Your Own Gym.”
Because of everything Paleo has done for me (reduced inflammation, severity of head pain, wheat belly, food cravings, PMS, and eliminated Sleep Apnea, cystic acne, and mood swings), I decided to expand my tribe, learn from others, and share what I’ve learned along this journey. I created the Meetup group and have met some amazing people, many who similarly found their way to Paleo because of poor health.
As the clock moves closer to midnight and 2014, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year, and a Happy New You!