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“Dear Paleo, it’s not you, it’s me…”

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I have to admit that I’ve never ended a relationship with a “Dear John” letter and I’m pretty sure I haven’t pulled out the “it’s not you, it’s me..”  line when trying to sell a reason to break-up…at least not since I was about 14 years old.

But, when your relationship isn’t working out the way you planned, or when you grow apart, what do you do?

Do you pull the pin, pack your bag and sneak out of the house in the middle of the night, leaving only a note in explanation?  Do you have a big fight and make a big grand exit while slamming the door behind you?  Or do you drag your reluctant spouse to marriage counselling, work out what has gone wrong and attempt to fix the damage?

(In case you are worried, this isn’t a break-up letter to my Paleo Diet, but it is an acknowledgement that it’s been a very rocky relationship this past year.)

So…

What do you do when you are getting worse despite eating a squeaky clean Paleo Diet?

I chose the ‘relationship counselling’ route in an effort to try and work out why the wheels had fallen off my Paleo wagon and where I’d gone wrong.

My situation definitely has all of the ingredients for a juicy drama or a tragic comedy.
There has been a betrayal of trust, a giant masquerade of confusion, titanic power struggles, dastardly deception, unmet expectations and massive over reactions with battle lines drawn and armies amassed.  (More on this in future posts).

However, Paleo isn’t the problem in this particular relationship.

The Paleo principles are sound. An ancestrally-based, real food diet is the most nutrient dense diet you could possibly put together.

And eating this way, I initially had big improvements in:

  • My body composition, losing around 15kgs and putting on muscle mass
  • Mood, I became generally happier and much less irritable
  • Energy levels, which were at an all time high and I felt capable of achieving anything that I set my mind to
  • Strength, I was getting stronger and faster in the Crossfit box
  • Bloating, which only returned when I had inadvertently or intentionally eaten something I shouldn’t have
  • Brain fog and alertness
  • Skin clarity, with less acne and eczema on my face and smoothing of the skin on my upper arms and back of my calves

So, my first year of Paleo was awesome.  I looked good, felt good and everything was right in my world.

Then, despite the fact I continued eating to a Paleo template, my bloom of wellness started to wilt and I went on what seems like the slowest moving health roller coaster ever!

“I’m eating the most perfect diet in the world, why am I no longer enjoying perfect health?”

This is a question I found myself asking over and over.
My health has very definitely been more of a bell-shaped curve than a linear progression to stardom over the last couple of years!

Bell-shaped Curve of Crystal, part of my notes for The Primal Shift Podcast

I have learnt that hard way that Paleo isn’t a magic bullet.
You have to make allowances for the human factor.  We are all flawed after all.

You could be putting all the good food in, but it’s what your body (and your mind) does with it that matters.

And that is before you take into account all of the other lifestyle factors that play into ‘perfect health’.
My food didn’t change, but I did.  My stress levels, my body and my thoughts all did.

So, my second year of Paleo was not so awesome:

  • I definitely did not feel as good as I did before.  My moods have been up, down and all over the place.
  • I get tired and irritable much more easily and I seem to have a low tolerance for frustration.
  • My stress levels have been through the roof and my ability to ‘cope’ is through the floor.  I often find it difficult to be effective when completing even the simplest of tasks from start to finish.
  • My bloating, acne and eczema have all returned and bought with them brain fog, fatigue, breathlessness, heart palpitations, anxiety, grumpiness, general irritation, clumsiness and muscle aches after eating certain foods.
  • But I don’t just get brain fog or fades, I have total brain farts sometimes!
  • I have cycled through diarrhoea and constipation. Sometimes not going to the toilet for an entire week!
  • I have developed a sensitivity to foods that contain high levels of salicylates and amines.
  • I have progressively cut out a lot of Paleo legal, nutrient dense and perfectly healthy foods, because my body can’t tolerate them.  To the point where I joked that by the end of it I would wind up a breatharian (the only problem was, I was only half joking!)
  • I have tripped and fallen into disordered eating.  Cycling through craving, binge eating and rejecting the foods I’m sensitive to.  Resentment and resignation to eating from a restricted list of foods that I found distasteful.  Unnecessarily restricting my foods further and making no attempt to create nice meals with the foods I could eat.
    Sometimes deliberately eating meals cold when I could have heated them up.  There have been times when I have slipped up or consciously eaten something to test my sensitivity to it, then I’ve sabotaged myself by eating a heap of other foods I may have been sensitive to, which confounded the results and added to the confusion (not a good way to run an n=1 self-experiment).  And I have even hated food full stop.
  • I lost a further 8 kilos of both fat and muscle and looked like a starvation victim.
  • I stopped training at the Crossfit box because I was just too exhausted, both physically and mentally, to cope with training.
  • My muscles get fatigued from just walking up short hills or trying to hold a squat position.
  • My menstrual cycle stopped altogether and has not yet returned.
  • I have been pinging around a heap of different practitioners, C.H.E.K, ACNEM GP’s (GP’s who are members of the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine), naturopaths, chiropractors, kinesiologists, meditation teachers and energy healers.  Some of which have been helpful, others not so and most of which my husband refers to as “fish clappers” (in reference to an old ad on TV for claiming complimentary, preventative extra’s on your health insurance)
  • I have spent thousands of dollars and had my blood, saliva, urine, breath and poo tested in a multitude of different ways looking for a seemingly never ending list of maladaptions, deficiencies and gene mutations (which totally sucks because I am more than a little needle-phobic and always have to ask to lie down when they take blood from me!)
  • I have consumed a larger variety of pills and supplements than food groups.
  • Had complete and total meltdowns when I realised that going away for work meant I would have absolutely no control over what I was eating for the week.  And no control over how that would affect my symptoms.
  • Looked at lists of symptoms for various different disorders and been able to identify with around 2/3 to 3/4 of the list and say “yep, that’s me”  (Luckily, I have had some good practitioners that have given me some perspective and assured me that in fact I am not in early menopause!)
  • And, probably not surpisingly, I have become increasingly neurotic and self-absorbed with severe control issues and perfectionism.

I got pretty skinny despite the fact I was packing myself full of food

In this past year I have been told that:

  • My body is not producing enough stomach acid or pancreatic enzymes to digest and absorb food properly.  I was not breaking down fats, carbohydrates or proteins during digestion.
  • I have a functional protein and amino acid deficiency despite eating more meat than I ever have in my life, essentially that my cells were starving.
  • Which also explains why I was very low in the ‘happy’ neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine which the body creates out of these amino acids.
  • My body is not producing energy properly on a mitochondrial level and that I have big-time mitochondrial functional impairment
  • My body is in a fair amount of oxidative stress and I have an anti-oxidant insufficiency.
  • My liver detox pathways are overwhelmed.  Particularly my methylation pathways in phase II detoxification.
  • I have IBS and possibly fructose malabsorption (the breath tests were frustratingly inconclusive)
  • I have a gut bug called Blastocystis Hominis (a protozoan) in my gut.
  • I have a leaky gut.
  • I have a whole heap of nutritional deficiencies including: most of the B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, copper, carnitine, CoQ10, GLA (gamma linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, go figure!)
  • My adrenals are a bit shot and my DHEA is pretty low.
  • I am suffering from pregnenolone steal.
  • My morning temperature is below the range for normal thyroid functioning (and possibly normal menstrual cycle.)
  • My body is not readily converting my thyroid hormones into the active T3 that makes all the metabolic magic happen.
  • And, that my body is producing thyroid auto-antibodies off the measurable scale
    (ie my body has begun attacking my own thyroid, not good!).
  • I need to resolve any inner conflicts before my body can heal.
  • It might be useful for me to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.
  • Holidays from work seem to really agree with me.
  • And, that most if not all of this can be put down to stress.

How is that for a list of woes?  Tragic comedy indeed!

The good thing is that I am now in the right headspace where I can look at all of that and have a laugh!
I can let it go and move on with the process of healing.

(Thank god because the alternative is hysterical tears and tantrums!)

So, where did it all go wrong?  Well, although it starts with food, it certainly doesn’t end with food.
Even though my food was causing me to have physical, mental and emotion symptoms…the root of my problems wasn’t what I was eating.

It was (and will always be) stress that was taking such a heavy toll on my body and my mind.

As Chris Kresser has often said in his podcasts and on his blog, you can be doing everything right from a nutritional standpoint and still be coming up short from a health and longevity perspective if you are not also getting enough sleep, managing your stress and having some fun.

Definitely eating whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible will get you a very long way, but also getting enough good quality sleep, getting in some kind of movement and managing stress are all also super important.

“Paleo, it’s not you, it’s me…”

So, the problem really was me.  Within me.

You know those times when you feel that there are in fact 3 people in your relationship?  You, your partner and your projected neurosis?

It’s like when you walk into the house after being away on conference for a week and you see the dirty dishes sitting in the sink and the washing basket overflowing with dirty clothes and that immediately triggers the mental tirade.  You have a big, pitched battle in your head imagining all of the things you are going to say to your husband when he gets home and of course to help yourself out, you imagine his responses as well.
So the dialogue builds and swells and gets totally blown out of proportion.
By the time the poor man gets home he is likely to find himself accused of singlehandedly causing world hunger, the global financial crisis and smuggling weapons of mass destruction into the house.

In this scenario Paleo is my unwitting partner and all of the conflicts in my personal health drama have actually been playing out inside me.

The stage has been my body and my mind.
(I will talk a lot about the “mind-body connection” in future blog posts)

Where to now?

This blog post has been over a year in the making, simply because it has been the hardest blog post I have ever had to write.  (Don’t worry, I haven’t actually been writing it for a year, so it’s not ten billion netpages long, you’re almost there now!)

Mentally, emotionally, psychologically I have been torn to shreds and am now just starting to put the pieces back together.  I have wallowed in self-pity, confusion and overwhelm at various stages on this roller coaster ride and have felt totally unable to explain to myself what is going on with me, let alone explain it to anyone else.
I have lost perspective, I have gained perspective.  I have gained some of my weight back

I’ve had the best of advice and support from my good friends, Ivy from Paleo in Melbourne and Jo who heads up the Melbourne Paleo Meet-up Group; both assuring me that once I started writing it all out, I would be able to untangle the plot lines and begin the process of healing.
Even still, I was paralysed by vulnerability, perfectionism and a fear that what I was writing might be wrong.
That the conclusions I was drawing might be incorrect.

But, I am ready now to change the script and move the stage from inside myself, out into the blogosphere.

As you can probably guess, there is a lot more of this story to tell.
I have turned the corner now and I now have the energy and the willingness to open myself up and tell it.
I have stopped with the “poor me” routine and have stopped wandering round and round in circles.  I now have a focus and I’m moving forward again.  (Yay for me!)

So, over the next few months I will be telling my story.
And, whether they be right or wrong, sharing my failures, feedbacks and learnings.

Warrawee House, home of Peninsula Meditation & Mindfulness

As a bit of a primer, here are some things that are working for me right now:

  • Meditation.  Seriously!  I have been going to a mediation course for a couple of hours each week and also meditating for 7, 12 or 15 minutes every morning (depending on time).  And, it has made a huge difference to my outlook on life and my perception of my ‘stressors’.
  • Mindfulness.  Especially when I’m eating.  I now slow down, breathe and pay attention to my food, I notice it’s taste, texture and temperature and think about how this food will heal me.
  • Journaling.  Again, seriously!  I have started my own “Crystal Blueprint Bible” where I am journaling what foods are ok for me, and which are not ok, what I am hacking, what I am intending on hacking, what’s working, what’s not, my progress with various symptoms, my meditation insights and insights from kinesiology and self-enquiry.
  • Focusing on only one thing at a time.  I was caught up in a very scattergun approach where I was just throwing all manner of  s#&@t at the wall to see what stuck.  I was confused and all over the place, but also trying to control the healing process because I didn’t trust that my body was up to the job of self-healing.
    I’m sure my poor body was also very confused!
    Right now my focus is on practices that will reduce stress in order to heal my gut.
    Recently, my chiropractor and naturopath did an intervention on me to cut my 30-different-supplements-a-day habit down to 5 supplements only.  Just those that are needed to heal a leaky gut.
    As you can imagine there is a lot of trust involved, and that has been a big part of my journey.
  • Talking it out.  As I mentioned, I am lucky to have the love and support of some close Paleo friends, Jo & Ivy who have been a fantastic sounding board.  As well as my husband and family, all of whom have been concerned about me over the last year and have been free with their advice and strategies to help me calm down and cope.
    I have found that putting your fears, issues and problems into words or writing them down in a journal really does help you to work out what’s going on!
  • Reading the work of Marc David at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.  I highly recommend checking that out!

Pheww…this was a bit of a mammoth post to break the radio silence.

If you’re still with me, congratulations!
I’m going to kick it over to you now.

If you too have found that the Paleo glow has worn off with time and you’re not continuing to get the results you want to, I hope that some of this resonates with you.

Instead of breaking up with Paleo, I fully encourage you take a deeper look at what is going on and I invite you to follow along on my journey back to wellness.

You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram and sign up for email updates in the box below.

If my story does resonate with you or you think it might be helpful for your family and friends please share it on Facebook or Twitter and feel free to leave any comments below.

To good health and wellness,
Crystal

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35 Responses to “Dear Paleo, it’s not you, it’s me…”

  1. Maria Sunday 10 November, 2013 at 8:40 AM #

    Do yoga. It really helped me.

  2. Jayne Monday 16 September, 2013 at 6:43 PM #

    I’m a Paleo fan, I’ve had similar problems crashing; I’ve been fixed by a health practictioner who does (woowoo) muscle testing and the GAPS diet. So I’m now on various supplements: for stress and fatigue: Adrenal rebuilder, adaptogens (withania, rhodiola), to stop reverse T3 in the thyroid, pyridoxal 5 phosphate (form of vitamin B6) for concentration Lavandula (for neurotransmitters), for low stomach acid and liver pains, 3x per day cider vinegar in water before meals, plus digestive enzymes and bile acids; for the consequent mineral deficiencies and detox manganese, zinc and molybdenum; for detox vitamin C; for gut healing bone broths homemade from bones in vinegar, plus probiotic powders homemade yoghurt (I tested OK on our raw milk) raw cheeses and some fermented veges; for glucose intolerance insulin resistance NO sugars, one piece of fruit. Its great having my energy back and stopped weight gain too. Probably the biggie for me was the Adrenal Rebuilder, and the cider vinegar. I hope this helps.

  3. Larina Wednesday 17 July, 2013 at 10:06 PM #

    Really interesting post! I’d love to know why you mentioned you saw a tonne of practitioners but didn’t mention dietitian…after all they study food and its relationship with the body solely for their career. Im not in any way judging you or saying you should have or shouldn’t, I’m just very curious as to the reasons why they weren’t someone you appeared to go see. Was it because they would try and turn you off paleo, or make you eat a tonne of carbs, or not ‘get’ you? Would love to find out! Thank you.

  4. Emma Hutton-Thamm Tuesday 28 May, 2013 at 8:24 PM #

    Crystal this is brilliant. ABSOLUTELY brilliant. I am so so grateful that you shared.

  5. Westernrosella Sunday 21 April, 2013 at 1:09 AM #

    Can I recommend a book by Nora Gedgaudas -- Primal Body Primal Mind. It is excellent. You may find it very helpful and insightful.

  6. Madeleine Friday 29 March, 2013 at 10:56 PM #

    Hi Crystal
    We met and had a lovely long discussion at the Paleo meet-up in Preston in January. I’m interested and intrigued by your journey. There are parts that resonate with me, yet I’m newer on my Paleo journey. We are all different and I’m looking forward to hearing more about your revelations as you understand more about what works for you and what is your Crystal Blueprint for Absolute Wellness.

  7. Margaux Thursday 28 March, 2013 at 4:11 AM #

    Great post, so much information and insight! Thank you for sharing your story and words. One day at a time!

  8. Irena Wednesday 27 March, 2013 at 1:19 PM #

    What a candid, brave post, Crystal. It was very insightful to read your ‘full’ story having followed you on Instagram and FB for a while. I kind of saw you were trying different things but I didn’t know why. I can’t exactly relate as I haven’t had any major issues with paleo but I am also not very strict, as you would know, so perhaps that’s what works FOR ME specifically. I do know that poor sleep and stress really affect me, regardless of what I eat so that’s the first things I address when I’m not feeling well.

    I really applaud you for being brave enough to step outside of yourself and look back at your past year, your thoughts, your inner conflicts, issues etc. When I was reading the post, for some reason I kept thinking that it sounds like a kind of eating disorder, where the mind fixates so much on food choices that it eventually turns into stress, which eventually crosses into other areas of your life and the whole thing becomes a vicious circle. I really hope you can break the loop, if it is in fact that, and find your perfect, relaxed, enjoyable paleo way of eating.

    And how lovely it is that you have a wonderful support group around you.

    xox

  9. Lindsay Wednesday 27 March, 2013 at 5:51 AM #

    Hi Crystal!

    Lindsay here at the Institute for the Psychology
    of Eating -- we just wanted to reach out to you and congratulate you on
    this new healing journey you’ve embarked on! And what a journey! It
    takes great awareness and heart to recognize that “trip” into disordered
    eating and then choose an empowered approach in creating a new reality.
    We are so happy that Marc David’s work has been helpful to you in this
    new endeavor. Best of Luck!

    Warmly,

    IPE

  10. Errol B Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 8:05 PM #

    Gotta say, your commitment to wellness and holistic balance is incredibly inspiring. Congratulations and all the best for future growth!

  11. crystalmaree Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 7:16 PM #

    Thank you all for your comments, well wishes, support and advice! And especially thank you to those who have shared some snippets about their own journey!
    It has been very clear from all of the feedback that a lot of us are REALLY struggling with managing modern stress and that endless, neurotic tinkering with diet just doesn’t cut it for a lot of people!
    When it was pointed out to me that all of my biomarkers improved after a holiday with family and that stress seemed to be the biggest contributor to my symptoms, my first thought was “great, now I have something to focus on and work with” the second was “So…what do I actually need to ‘do’ …like specifically?”
    Stress is such a general word!! It’s not like you can get a prescription to ‘reduce stress’

    P.S I can assure you that I definitely do not eat a low carb diet (starchy veggies are some of the few I can tolerate) and on the advice of my naturopath have been eating a bit of quinoa most days up until recently

    • Erin Fraser Sunday 21 April, 2013 at 2:51 AM #

      I think people routinely underestimate the effects of stress on health and fixate on diet as the main factor in health when, in reality, it might actually be secondary to things like stress and emotions.
      I’ve been watching lectures from Gabor Maté, who wrote “When The Body Says No: Exploring The Stress-Disease Connection” and it’s pretty mind-blowing to hear about the emotional profiles of certain diseases. It’s made me much more aware that acknowledging and expressing our emotions and dealing with/reducing stress are absolutely vital to wellness. If we don’t do it, our body will eventually force us to stop.
      It sounds like you’re headed in the right direction. Meditation and mindfulness are so wonderful. Good luck on your journey, Crystal!

  12. su js1 Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 4:14 PM #

    I stopped reading at “Crossfit”…

    http://baye.com/crossfit/

    • blersian1980 Wednesday 27 March, 2013 at 2:20 AM #

      Then you lost a wealth of information based on your bias

  13. Jen Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 9:23 AM #

    Wow what a post! Its the first time I’ve visited your site and I will be back. I can relate with pretty much everything you wrote. I was strictly paleo for about 6 months and felt great -- lost weight, was thinking more clearly, was happier, less moody, less tired etc etc. Then I got busy, and stressed and let a few cheats in thinking they wouldn’t hurt -- and since then I’ve been in this roller coaster ride and am struggling finding my way off! It feels like each time I get close to the end of the ride I find a way to start the roller coaster again! Its all self sabotage! I haven’t found a solution for myself yet but know that stress is a huge factor for me so will look forward to hearing more about how you approach it. And I think having some paleo support close by helps -- I struggle with that a bit!

    • crystalmaree Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 7:20 PM #

      Thanks for sharing Jen!
      I can’t recommend highly enough how much of a game changer having support is!
      If your family and friends aren’t on board you could try checking http://www.meetup.com to see if there are any meet up groups near you :)

  14. Anon Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 8:03 AM #

    Hi Crystal, I think you’ll find these stories very enlightening -- http://www.ididntquitsugar.com/meet-kate.html and http://www.ididntquitsugar.com/meet-cassie.html. Perhaps time to reassess Paleo. :)

  15. Jaimelee Steurer Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 4:49 AM #

    I love this, I am sure you will get a lot of Paleo peeps giving advice as to why what and how. I am an avid supporter of Paleo but I am even more so an advocate for what works. I am glad that you posted this I love it! I currently broke up with strict paleo and honestly the biggest impact it has had is just on my peace of mind. I added back dairy and oats, I am allergic to wheat so I decided oats and occasionally rice would be beneficial to my sanity as far as food planning goes. I cook for my husband, 2 kids and myself, being able to make different easier non-paleo items is refreshing not to mention my kids giving me the ugh eggs for breakfast again! Haha, I hope your body finds balance soon, I have been on a nearly 2 year journey of trying to heal my body after being hospitalized with salmonella so I feel your pain. Good Luck and Good Health!

  16. Unholy Fire Dragon Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 4:46 AM #

    All “eating Paleo” means is that you eat as close to nature as possible (perhaps minimizing overprocessed/chemicalized stuff, as well as the stuff that’s been altered in ways that nature generally doesn’t do, or at least not in the specific ways that we do it anyways), eat a variety of foods (basically, always try stuff out that you’ve never tried before), eat foods that make you well and avoid the stuff that harms you in the long-term. The specifics will depend on yourself and it could very-well completely change over time (in a similar way that a workout may need to be changed after some time for surpassing fitness plateaus). You might be glad to know that there’s cultures that actually eat grains (wild, and what may have existed about 10,000 years ago) and/or dairy (often raw and straight from a grass-fed animal) and/or carbs (ex.: dried fruit, amber maple syrup, etc.).

    From what it sounds (and looks like from the picture), it could very-well be that you need carbs. You could go for quinoa, oats, dried fruits, dark and rich natural sweeteners, or whatever kind(s) of whole food(s) you’re craving (as long as it’s more satisfying than addictive). If it helps you in making better decisions, I’ve found that cooked foods are more digestible, usable/nourishing and fattening than raw foods, while raw foods tend to be great for “clearing/cleaning out” the body. So, feel free to use this information to help you in becoming healthier, fitter and happier if you want.

    Paleo, or whatever dietary lifestyle you’re on, is nothing like “I must either commit to this %100 forever or never do it again!”; it’s much more than that. It’s more about getting to know your own body and how food affects you and to take enough control of that information to improve yourself over time.

  17. Lara Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 3:57 AM #

    I think if you/we stop naming this thing “Paleo” and remove silly expectations that somehow we are eating something magical and special, and instead just eat fresh, real food, perhaps all this wrangling wouldn’t exist. I’m fed up with all the haranguing going on about simple food choices! Take the cult out of it, stop with the special conferences and meetings and meet-ups; just eat right and be done with it.

  18. Gina A. Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 2:25 AM #

    Wow. No, it’s not you. It’s definitely Paleo. If anyone ever needed Matt Stone and/or Ray Peat, it’s YOU. Right now.

    • crystalmaree Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 7:05 PM #

      Thanks Gina, I have read some of Matt Stone’s work (mainly his “Paleo Myths”) and have been intrigued by his story and those of his followers. I definitely do not eat a low carb diet (starchy veggies are some of the few I can tolerate) and I am certainly planning on looking into his theories are little bit further :)

      • Ashley Monday 9 June, 2014 at 12:44 AM #

        Wow! That’s exactly what I was about to say (Matt Stone/Ray Peat). I am so glad you shared your story, because SO many of are going through the same thing. I too felt amazing on SCD/Paleo for almost two years, then had some stressful life events that I think the “strict” versions of those diets just can’t support. From what I’ve read on the interwebs, 6 months to a year seems to be the timeframe after which the diet stops working. (And BTW, I was using it to gain wait and heal colitis).

        I too am still working on my return to health, but I believe I inadvertently went too low carb (especially from a women’s fertility standpoint) and even too low calorie to be sustainable. Incorporating Matt Stone’s RRARF philosophy has helped tremendously, even more so that than the “adrenal fatigue” supplements I’ve been taking. Hope you can get some insight from that camp! (And maybe you already have; I realize this is an old post.)

  19. Liz Davis Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 1:56 AM #

    Thank you for sharing your story. I believe too many people in the Paleo world think that all of their mental and physical problems can be solved simply by changing the foods they eat. The fact is that the puzzle is much more complicated. Mindfulness meditation has been a life-saver for me. Good luck on your continued journey to wellness!

  20. Skye G Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 1:34 AM #

    Boy, I sure can relate to this!

  21. Paul Mabry MD Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 1:31 AM #

    If you cut your exercise to 2 thirty minutes sessions a week in which you repeatedly got your heart rate up to it’s max for a minute or two two relaxed a little for a minute or two then went back up to max and a 1 hour session of resistance training each week in which you did one set of 10 reps with the heaviest weight you can lift for all major muscle groups preferably eccentric lifting, in 2 hours a week you would have done more than enough exercise to increase your strength and endurance. I am suggesting that crossfire because of the endorphins stimulated can be addictive and lead to over training and break down of the body leading to symptoms such as your’s. Good luck, Paul Mabry, MD, http://www.scienceofnutrition.info

    • crystalmaree Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 10:22 PM #

      Thank you Paul, I am in agreement that overtraining at the Crossfit box helped to land me where I am. Instead of the box, I have been walking on the beach recently and “working in” with a CHEK practitioner to build energy in my body rather than expend it. This has been working well so far :)

  22. Kristin Jekielek Tuesday 26 March, 2013 at 12:33 AM #

    I went through something VERY similar during the past 2 years. Stress absolutely can and *will* undermine all of your healthy eating & exercise habits if you don’t manage and minimize it!

  23. superminx Monday 25 March, 2013 at 8:38 PM #

    Oh, i’ve looked around now and see you’re only 30. Still, it’s not unheard of…

  24. superminx Monday 25 March, 2013 at 8:26 PM #

    Um… wow. You sound like me. But I’ve just gone a year without periods and am officially menopausal at 47. A year of hell which is taking an upward turn now. Anxiety, disordered eating, depression, bloating, palpitations… Have you considered menopause? I don’t know how old you are.

  25. Belinda M Monday 25 March, 2013 at 8:00 PM #

    I’ve only just recently stumbled on your blog, and wow what a post! Thanks for emphasising how it starts with food but doesn’t end there, and how personalised paleo needs to be for each individual. I don’t want to be over-simplistic here and I’m sure you’ve heard of PHD by the Jaminets, but I found their recommended increase of safe starches (if you tolerate them) to be really important for my overall wellbeing/health. Adequate sleep/destressing is also something I need to get disciplined about -- so easy to forget! Thank you for sharing your personal journey and hope you find some real solutions soon.

    • MN_John Tuesday 16 April, 2013 at 3:05 AM #

      I agree with trying the Perfect Health Diet, and the book is an amazing resource of information, a very well referenced book. As you said, Its basically Paleo plus safe carbs. The addition of potatoes (sweet and white) and white rice make all the difference! You won’t lose weight as fast but you’ll feel amazing and will continue to slowly lose. btw: I have full blown Fructose Malabsorption (FM), it took over 20 years to discover (and I have reason to believe it goes back to my childhood). If you think you have any level of FM you should quit all fructose today (especially HFCS!), within a week you’ll know it was the right decision. Fructose at modern consumption levels is not healthy anyway, many scientists believe it leads to various health issues, such as high blood pressure, and type II diabetes! So it won’t hurt anyone to quit.

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