Thursday, November 4, 2010

My life struggle with food

It has taken me a couple of days to digest and gather my thoughts after attending my second Robb Wolf  nutrition seminar.  A good friend encouraged me to get personal on this blog. Would people really give a shit? I guess we will see.

I hesitate to give up so much personal information. Yet, to really know how far I have come to have to know where I started. To really paint the picture of how my life has changed, we gotta go way back when I only wore dresses and white hose with rhinestones, blonde hair, a sweet disposition, and an obvious buddha belly. Here is some background:

I have been sick all of my life. In Kindergarten I remember shaking so much and looking at my yellow flower was drenched with sweat and I was so confused, I had trouble seeing which bus I was supposed to be on. I was so out of it, I got on the wrong bus and headed somewhere in New Braunfels. Eventually the driver caught on and called the school and I got home.

In high school I ran cross country and track. Every morning was an experiment as to what I could eat before I ran that would not make me sick. Cereal, gatorade, lots of trying. Every practice ended with me on the bathroom floor vomiting, vision loss, confusion, and shaking in a pool of sweat. I won most of my meets the last two years. I was known as the "snickers girl" because right before we stepped on the line I downed a snickers bar so fast, I looked like a starving child. But I ran fast and won district! Fuel= snickers bar. My mother decided we should probably get me checked out.

Doctors had no explanation and blamed my diet. I visited seven or eight different nutritionists. Nothing helped. So the doctor started not believing me, and made me prick my finger every 4 hours to check my sugar levels. NEVER NOT ONCE did I prick myself and get a reading over 70. Normal levels are 90-120.  Not even after I ate. The doc dismissed my readings because I obviously would not have a sugar level of 40 when I woke up, that's not possible. I must be doing it wrong, I was fine...just a teenager starved for attention in a big family. So that ended me going to the doctor for my issue that plagued my everyday life. I was told to learn how to deal with it. I cried on the way home because I knew none of the other girls on the team had to do this. They all ate when they wanted to, ran whatever time of day. I had to run immediately in the morning right after I ate because of energy levels. I decided that this situation officially sucked. Just like a 18 year old, I pouted and blamed my parents.

In college I ate whatever I could get my thieving little hands on. I worked days at Jack in the Box, nights at the Police Department. So if any food so happened to be set in front of me that I did not have to pay for- I ate it. Gotta stay alive people- I was eating to survive, not for taste. This was every two hours, gotta eat so I don't pass out..gotta eat...get those carbs in or you will be fainting soon. One day while driving I got tunnel vision, sweat pools formed in my seat, all the normal stuff. I passed out right there in the intersection in San Marcos. I was out cold, woke up in the emergency room.

I started training for marathons. I got off work at 430am from the police department and shoved down a whole bagel covered in peanut butter with one big bowl of oatmeal. That was the only way to get through a 15-20 mile run without being picked up by EMS....AGAIN.

My husband is trained to know what to do when this happens. GET FOOD NOW. Literally, he was for years with food in his pockets, in his car, wherever we were we had food on hand. I could never pick out a time when it would happen...we just knew it would.  I was putting my wedding dress on and he had sent my best friend up with a plate of food with instructions " she must eat this before." It was really out of hand at that point.

The first time I attended Robb's seminar I was in the middle of Crossfit Centrals' I AM CROSSFIT eight week challenge. At the time, I was eating at base zone levels. This is code for hungry, pissed, angry, and super-bitch.  I lost a lot of body fat. Look at this skinny chick!

As usual I ate a normal runners diet of bagels, oatmeal, pasta, granola, peanut butter, yogurt, fruit, and more gluten filled dairy crap.  So cutting my calories was killing me, I was sleeping between meals. Robb Wolf introduced me to Paleo eating. I took baby steps cutting bread, then pasta, then dairy. This was HUGE for me. For the first time I was living on only meat and vegetables. It took me weeks to feel good, and for my body to adjust. Once it did I lost a lot of body fat and my workouts were 100 percent better.  I still had sugar level problems but only once or twice a week now, that was a breath of fresh air for me. I was sure this was it, It couldn't get any better. I was completely satisfied !

That was over a year ago. Lately, I have had more sugar and digestion issues.  I am at a point where I can't loose some excess body fat that I have been trying for months. My workouts have been sluggish and I have been tired a lot more than normal. Something has been going on with my sugar levels.

This past weekend, I believe I found the holy grail= TIMING. Its like when you read a book once, and then you go back and read it again years later. You get more out of it the second time. That is what happened for me when going to Robb Wolfs' Paleo Seminar again. I learned not about food quality- but timing. Instead of 6 small meals a day, I am on 3 large ones and a post workout snack. Man, do I feel like a superwoman!!! I am known for shoving down eggs and almond butter immediately before starting to warm up. Now, maybe a little snack or nothing at all. I have not been hungry, shaky, or any of the usual symptoms.  I now have a post WOD carb and protein meal within 30 minutes. My meals are 5-7 hours apart and I feel like a new person.

Robb also confirmed my thoughts ( he did not say for sure, but he's definitely smarter and more literate than most doctors I have been too, and cheaper-ha) - I HAVE FOUGHT OFF TYPE 1 DIABETES THROUGH PALEO EATING ALONE, NO MEDS. ( I am adding this because I have already had people question it- NO I have not seen a doctor for 7 years now to confirm- YES I could be wrong. Yes I have adjusted my diet and all is right in the world again. All women on my side of the family have had type 1 from  birth to age 20. Who knows I might be wrong...its been known to happen. I will not be going back to a doctor for them to tell me I am crazy.)


If this testimony on paleo eating is not enough you should come by the gym so I can convince you in other ways.

This is life changing for me. LIFE CHANGING. To go through the day without the fear of what might happened with your body- knowing I am in complete control for the first time in my life makes me smile while typing this. Thanks Robb, you have no idea how happy you have made my husband.


  1. Wow Jen! Thank you for sharing that!

  2. Jen!!! This is the best post you have ever written. Thank you for sharing this and I am so happy you feel in control! It's amazing what one day can do to change your life and how much power food actually has. You are strong for putting yourself out there :) I look forward to hearing more over the next few weeks.

  3. Atta Girl, way to share you story Jen!! This will impact so many people you have no idea! So glad you found something that works!!

  4. That is a really great post Jen. Thank you so much for sharing it. I agree with Jess, you are going to help so many people with this insight. Keep up the great work!

  5. Great post! Thanks for sharing. I literally posted on our Just Like Mom Never Made blog about my HUGE breakfast and it lasting me 5+ hours. Check it out on Saturday =). So proud of you! Changing lives 1 day at a time.

  6. Jen, thank you for posting your story, it is very moving. I'm sure it will resonate with many and help them find this path to wellness. My positive experience with the paleo diet pales next to yours, but suffice it to say that it helped me too and I only wish I'd found it sooner. Your story will help others find it sooner, so thank you for being brave and sharing it.

  7. Thank You for sharing this! I have been thinking about transitioning to 3 bigger meals and eliminating the snacks, and this helps motivate me to do so. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  8. Go girl, that was awesome! Very inspiring!

  9. Outstanding. You are proof that paleo works! So people better give a shit! Thanks for sharing this Jen.

  10. Jennifer I love your amazing, heartfelt story! :)

  11. Jen,
    Glad to see how far you've come. This blogpost shows a lot. You, we and I have so far to go. Keep killing it, Stay humble and let's change the world!

  12. Glad you gave it a shot kiddo. You are changing lives, glad I could play a small part in that.

  13. Great story Jen. And now you are changing lives.

  14. Jen, a friend suggested that I read this post because I am Type 1 diabetic. I was a gymnast for 16 years, so I can appreciate the quality and intensity of Cross Fit, as well as the value of a regimented diet for performance.

    First, I'd like to congratulate you on stabilizing your hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) through diet. That takes dedication and commitment.

    However, I think both you and Robb should pause before suggesting that you prevented Type 1 diabetes. Your description of your blood sugar crashes (dropping below 80 mg/dL glucose) effectively outlines how hypoglycemic individuals present in their condition. By definition, if you are naturally hypoglycemic, you are over-producing insulin and are therefore not Type 1 diabetic (Type 1's cannot produce any insulin). There is a small chance that you could have been in a honeymoon period wherein the last remaining pancreatic islet cells produce excessive amounts of insulin to make up for the loss of the other, destroyed islet cells.

    However, that wouldn't have lasted for the duration of your adolescent and mature life. It usually lasts a few months to a year, after which then a Type 1 requires a daily injection regimen. This honeymoon period is effectively determined by how long the remaining islet cells can maintain that pace before they expire. Sadly, because the immune system antibodies have already targeted the proteins of the islet cells as foreign bodies, there is little chance for reversal at this point. The only medical group to reverse this process did so by irradiating a patient's entire bone marrow (to destroy the immune system) and performing a complete bone marrow transplant. This has not been replicated to date.

    Lastly, I have a hard time believing that every doctor and nutritionist overlooked the likelihood of hypoglycemia or reactive hypoglycemia (neither of which are a walk in the park). If those words never came up in discussion, I'd suggest you read up on those conditions. You'll see that both can be resolved through diet, as you have done.

    Please do not take my comment as an attack on what you have achieved. You have made an enormous difference in your life, and that is extremely important. However, it is an affront to Type 1 diabetics, who work extremely hard to simply stay alive day-to-day, when folks suggest that a change in diet will "fight off" Type 1 diabetes once the immune system has already targeted the pancreas. False hope is the most dangerous form of hope.

    If you or Robb would like to discuss this more offline, I'd be happy to provide my insight. For the time being, I'd suggest that one refrain from miracle cure claims. The capacity to change one's diet has existed for much longer than our knowledge of Type 1 diabetes, yet no application of diet to date has reversed the condition. (We would have heard about it long ago if it were as simple as that.)

    Best of luck in your continued success!

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  16. What an awesome post. I am totally inspired.
    I have been on the paleo diet for almost two years and the benefits to my health are such I cannot contemplate any other form of living. Well done.

  17. I've never heard anyone explain it like that before...except for me. No one believed me either. I passed out as well. I guzzled carbs. Only changing my diet helped. Congrats, and thanks for sharing!

  18. Miles, clearly you didn't read the post entirely. I did not read anywhere in it where the writer or Robb Wolf said they prevented Type 1 Diabetes. I read that she got control of it through diet alone, no meds. That is a HUGE difference in words, my friend. She also stated repeatedly that she could be wrong about her diagnosis, however, I would think even you would come to the conclusion after reading everything she wrote, it's more likely than not that she is Type 1. This diet, does change lives, I suggest, you put it to the test for yourself, it's not false hope that she is healthier and feels better. You certainly can't go wrong eating in this healthy manner, it beats the hell outta the ADA diet. That's the absolute worst diet for diabetics to be on!