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Barefootmama's primal journey to happiness



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  • Barefootmama's primal journey to happiness

    I've been a carb fiend all of my life, and cycled just outside the realm of eating disorders as long as I can remember. I remember as a pre-teen fixing slice after slice of cinnamon toast and just eating and eating, and topping bowl after bowl of ice cream with whipped cream, eating in secret so I wouldn't get in trouble for finishing the can of whipped cream. I binged but never purged, then cycled just to the brink of anorexia in high school by living on diet soda and not much else.

    As an adult I've struggled with my weight and gone down to as low as 125ish at age 21, up to my all-time high of close to 210lbs. On my 5'4" frame that's quite a lot of weight to be carrying around.

    I've also struggled with depression, anxiety and rage for most of my adult life, turning into severe post-partum depression after the birth of each of my 2 sons. In the past year, my mental state has become debilitating. I'm not the mom I want to be, and I can no longer work to support my family.

    Last year I eliminated gluten for various reasons and noticed an immediate improvement in my overall health (and shed about 10lbs), but my mental state actually became much worse in the same period. I've suffered from anxiety so bad that I haven't been able to sleep without a mild sedative in several months.

    I came across MDA when a friend suggested it to someone else online. I started reading and stayed up most of the night. When I got up the next morning I gravitated toward the higher protein/fat foods in the house and avoided sugar except for a teeny bit in my coffee. Later that day I had a small soda, and that was the last bit of refined sugar I've eaten. I hit the grocery store that day and stocked up on primal foods.

    Yesterday marks a week since I found MDA, and today is day 8 of eating primally. For the first 5-6 days I was in the best mood I've been in since I can remember. I was able to wean myself off of my sedative and go to sleep like a normal person. I had fun with my kids. I took them to the park and ran with them like a little kid (they can run FAST - talk about sprinting!)

    Yesterday I had a really stress-filled day and was coping well until I got home and found the whole family rather grumpy. I ended the day on a bad note, and woke up grumpy today. I think I discovered the cause when I entered my food from yesterday into and realized I'd consumed less than 1,000 calories the entire day, and about 4g of carbs! Definitely not what I'm going for! Today I'm aiming for more like 50-100g carbs, and at LEAST 1,500 calories. Already after a big breakfast of about 1/4lb ground beef & 2 eggs cooked in a healthy heap of bacon grease I could feel my mood lifting.

    I started running at the beginning of the year, barefoot because I live barefoot, and have really enjoyed it. I typically run 3-4x/week and I haven't gotten much past about 1.5mi at a time of real (slow) running. I've noticed a slight difference in my lower body shape since I started running, but definitely haven't lost any weight.

    In just a week of eating primally I can feel a definite difference. My jeans have gotten a bit looser, and I think I see a little bit less flab on my belly "flap" (2 kids + nonelastic skin = big flap!) I'm excited about the changes and looking forward to even more to come.

    Oh and I've managed somehow to convince DH to join me on this journey, and we're moving the kids to primal eating as well. DH is quite overweight and suffers from mood issues as well, and my kids have multiple food allergies/intolerances so I'm curious to see if eating primally helps with these issues.

  • #2
    Hi There, I am new here as well, I started last week. I'm a mom of 3, a barefoot runner (mostly barefoot all the time actually) and a lifelong battler of eating disorders as well.

    May we both find wellness here!
    Strict Vegetarian going primal as of 3/2011. This is a tough row to hoe!

    So far I am down:
    • 6lbs
    • 1% BMI
    • 1" in my waist
    • 2.5" at my belly button
    • 1" in my hips


    • #3
      Hi Jillian! I'm nearly always barefoot too. I haven't worn a pair of regular shoes in about a year. Had to don flip flops a few times over the summer when the pavement was scorching, and I have some homemade mocassins that I wore a few times over the winter to keep my toes warm.

      Today has been much better food-wise than yesterday.
      Breakfast: ~.25lb ground beef + 2 eggs scrambled with about 2T heavy whipping cream, cooked in bacon grease. I added a bit of salsa for dipping.
      Snacked on a few dried apricots and pecans.
      Lunch/snack: Yogurt with blueberries and a dollop of coconut milk. YUM!
      Dinner was bacon and several little almond/banana pancakes (almond butter, bananas & eggs.) I ate way too many of those things. haha. I did add some heavy cream for extra fat, plus ate them topped with pastured butter. So yummy. I also snacked on a couple handfuls of pecans and almonds while I was cooking.

      I've been in a much better mood this afternoon. Amazing what a difference a few carbs and calories make.
      Last edited by barefootmama; 03-22-2011, 08:38 PM. Reason: ch-ch-ch-changes...


      • #4
        I'm only a week and a half in, but I decided to take some pictures and I'm a little shocked.

        I'm wearing the same running skirt in both pics. The pics in the white shirt were taken one month ago. The pics in the purple shirt are from tonight.

        (Sorry about the dirty mirror. I think my 3yo decided to "help wash" it.)
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Looking at those pics, one of the things that's striking to me is the shape of my left arm in the first set. I'm amazed at how much less "chubby" it looks now compared to before I started.

          My mood is great too. I had the one bad day, but other than that it's been really, really good. I kind of keep waiting for the other shoe to drop because I haven't felt this good in... well ever I guess. Not for more than a day or two at a time. It's weird. I'm so much more patient with my kids, even when they're acting up. Things that drove me over the edge and into yelling territory a couple weeks ago now just roll off my back. As a result, the kids themselves are happier and are less prone to acting up, and the whole house is rather peaceful. I love it.

          I also don't freak out if I can't eat right away. Used to be if I got up in the morning and didn't eat something pretty quickly, my mood headed steadily downhill until I ate and took all of my supplements. Now I sip a cup of coffee with heavy cream until sometime around lunch, and then fix myself a few eggs and some meat and I don't much worry about food until it's time to start prepping dinner.


          • #6
            Oh and 2 other things I've noticed... I now have super-smooth skin on my elbows, without doing anything to them. No moisturizer or scrubbing, just one day I noticed the skin there is smooth now.

            Also my vision is improving. I am very nearsighted, and a few months after cutting gluten, I had to get new glasses in a much lower prescription. Now I think I may need to go see the eye doctor again because these glasses seem way too strong.


            • #7
              Yay! Another great success story in the making!
              Ancestral Health Info

              I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

              Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.


              • #8
                Good day today. Started to get a little edgy mid morning so ate kind of an early breakfast for me. Ran out of eggs (DH and I went through FOUR dozen eggs in ONE week!) so I had 1 egg fried in bacon grease, with a big sausage, cut up and fried in the bacon grease. (I also ate 2 silver dollar banana/almond pancakes.)

                Went to a birthday party this afternoon and had lunch at the party. LOTS of meat available - yay! I ate a big helping of brisket with pickles and a little mustard, along with a few strawberries and a bit of pineapple, and managed to completely avoid the (gluten free!) cake the host made just for our family (in addition to a huge sheet cake + a little vegan cake for another family - did I mention the host is the sweetest woman??) My kids did thoroughly enjoy the cake so it didn't go to waste, and they were so happy to get to eat cake at a party. (Our whole house is gluten free for health reasons - we have some allergy issues, including gluten and a few others.)

                Not hungry for dinner, but I did eat a square of baker's chocolate while I was fixing dinner for the kids. Now it's 1am and though I shouldn't be awake, I was getting pretty hungry so I just snacked on olives and bacon. Yum.
                Last edited by barefootmama; 03-27-2011, 11:39 PM.


                • #9
                  Crap. Lunch yesterday must have had trace gluten. I woke up with a headache but thought it was just caffeine withdrawal (I drank 1/2caf yesterday morning and none since then.) Then I began to get dressed and realized I ache everywhere, but especially my chest. Ugh. This is going to be a long day.


                  • #10
                    I've been very very busy and managed to skip dinner last night (slept through, which I needed) plus breakfast and lunch today. I did eat a few pecans and a couple of dried apricots (um, plus a square of baker's chocolate) late in the day. Finally got home and got to eat dinner - some lovely grilled chicken thighs that DH cooked up for me, plus broccoli with a bit of shredded cheese. Suddenly I have gas for the first time in at least a week. Unpleasant to say the least.

                    I haven't really noticed any more difference in my shape, except that a few of my t-shirts seem a little big.

                    What I have noticed is that my dry, flaky skin seems to be clearing up. It's not gone, but it's diminished quite a bit.

                    I managed to get out and run yesterday, which I hadn't done in about 2 weeks (except for some sprints, aka playing tag with my very fast kids.) I found myself sprinting instead of my usual snail-paced plodding along. I had to walk more than usual, but it was much more fun and I actually almost beat my best min/mile time for that route. Very cool.

                    Does roughhousing with my boys count as lifting heavy things?


                    • #11
                      Hi Barefootmama!

                      Just popping in to say, Congrats! I definitely think your pics show a difference!

                      And absolutely, playing fast tag = sprinting, and roughhousing with your boys = LHT!

                      Isn't it amazing, all the additional benefits (smoother skin, etc) that come with this way of life?
                      50 yo single mom
                      Primal since 12/1/2010. Now Whole30ing until I feel WHOLE again, my goals are no longer scale-related.

                      Aila's Primal Journey

                      "If I cling to circumstances, I could claim to be not responsible. Only she who says she did not choose is the loser in the end." Adrienne Rich


                      • #12
                        Thanks for stopping in Aila!

                        More roughhousing this weekend. The boys love it when I chase them around the house, and my 3yo wants me to carry him while I chase his big brother. Talk about a workout!

                        I'm thinking of taking a bellydance class that starts next week. I love the music and it looks like a lot of fun.

                        This week has been incredibly stressful, but I've kept mostly on track with eating. I think I've had a bit too much chocolate, and carbs have been a bit higher than I'd like but I'm having no trouble staying completely grain-free. My mood has definitely tanked a bit but I'm not sure if it's more diet, stress or a combination of the two. I'm determined to get back on track ASAP. Oh I've also been sick the past couple of days. That sure didn't help my mood!

                        I'm supposed to run a 5k next week. Since I had so much fun sprinting/walking the other day I think that will be my strategy for the 5k. I have no intention of doing anything but finishing, and I signed up for this months ago with a few friends so I think it will be a lot of fun.

                        I had to shop for new capri pants and found that I'm a full size smaller than I was about a month ago. I even went ahead and bought a pair of shorts I had to pass on last month because they were just too small at the time. Now they fit perfectly!
                        Last edited by barefootmama; 04-02-2011, 10:50 PM.


                        • #13
                          I've been sick for days with a nasty head cold that settled in my throat, leaving it swollen and raw and unable to swallow much of anything. So... I broke out my new blender and have been living on delicious ice-cold smoothies. A banana (cut up and frozen), coconut milk, an egg yolk, bit of crushed pineapple and a splash of heavy cream, plus a bit of yogurt if I'm in the mood. My 5yo is in love with these and he actually seems to be staying full (versus begging for food every 5 min all day no matter what else I feed him most days!) My 3yo says they're disgusting and won't even taste them. Hehe. So they're a bit high in carbs and probably too much dairy, but oh so wonderful and perfect for my current ailment.

                          I haven't owned a scale in about a year. My last weigh-in was at a doctor's appt in September, where I was right at 200lbs. I went ahead and bought a scale yesterday so I can have a concrete measure of progress, and I was a little disheartened to read 196ish (cheapo rotary scale haha.) But because of the way some of my clothes were fitting (and my exceptional indulgences in ice cream over the past few months before going primal, along with all sorts of carby and sugary goodness) I suspect that I got up well over 200 again, possibly up to 210. If that's the case (and I have no way of knowing) then I've had a fairly significant weight loss. If not, then I'm still seeing progress in inches, and any weight loss is good, so I'll take it.

                          Oh wait... I'm remembering a day late in winter... maybe mid-Feb... when I weighed myself on the scale at my MIL's after a run. I was shocked to see 208, and dismissed it as a fluke. After all, I'd been running for 6 weeks so there's no way I could be that heavy! It was probably more accurate than I was willing to admit at the time.


                          • #14
                            Today my exercise was a 1.5mi walk through town with my 36lb 3yo on my back in a wrap. Barefoot. Exhausting, and my feet were SORE, but we got lots of sun and kiddo was so happy to be in a carrier. It's been a while since he got that luxury.

                            Then we walked the mall for a bit, just a nice slow and easy pace. After which I came home and collapsed. Ha!


                            • #15
                              Long hiatus. I was really sick for a couple weeks and then had a sore throat that lingered for nearly a month. I ate way too much sugar while I was sick because only ice cream and milkshakes felt good on my sore throat.

                              I finally had my thyroid tested and I officially have Hashimoto's Disease, meaning my immune system is attacking my thyroid. The recommendations for this disorder include eliminating gluten, dairy and sugar, so I'm definitely on the right track. I've since also eliminated dairy and eggs because of allergy issues (probably also related to my thyroid/immune function.)

                              I started taking Naturethroid (dessicated thyroid hormone) a week ago, and I'm already seeing positive changes in addition to those I saw when I first began eating primally.

                              As of today I've lost 27 lbs, and gone from a tight XXL/18-20 to a loose L/12-14. My mom pointed out to me yesterday that I look like I did when I was 20, which really made me realize how much I've changed for the better. Hearing things like this, seeing the way my clothes fit, feeling so good, all combine to keep me on track.

                              I never got to run my 5k because I got sick but I'm doing a 2mi "pub run" with friends next weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.