I was addicted to sugar, fats, and food additives. In my mid 20’s I got diagnosed with high blood pressure and also noticed my lower back giving me problems; stiffening up, hurting when I walked, and it was hard to straighten myself out after sitting up from a chair. I went to a chiropractor and I was told I had, “an injury.” Not really understanding the extent of what this injury was, I did the recommended back exercises and got chiropractic adjustments until the pain lessened, which it did after a bit of time. Around 2012-2015 I noticed my left leg going a bit numb in the upper thigh area, though it didn’t seem to happen often. I was walking to the store one day and suddenly my entire left leg went numb. I was so alarmed and confused, I went to an urgent care thinking it was a blood clot though it was determined immediately the problem was coming from my spine. The day this numbness happened changed everything. Each day after, as soon as I placed any weight on my left leg I had an enormous amount of pain. Walking was terrible for me. It felt like a rubber band wrapped tightly around my upper thigh, choking out my entire leg. I thought I was going to need a wheelchair, but had too much pride to use a scooter or chair at a store or in a public setting. I walked through the pain and just got used to it. I often tried to push myself with walking further than I could and it just wasn’t working, I would cry from the pain after 5 minutes in. I was living in Chicago at the time and sought out new doctors and it was revealed that my L4 vertebrae was slipped over my L5 vertebrae about 45%. I was born with weak pars in the lumbar region, which over time the pars broke and my spine got slipped out of place. This displacement is squashing my lower spinal canal which explained the left leg pain, spinal stenosis. A surgeon told me nothing would ever take away the pain except for surgery. I didn’t want to do that, as back surgery is risky. I didn’t continue on with medical care.
I had been following Marci’s journey closely for some time, and in early 2016 I started to “play around PD” and see if it was something for me. I did manage to lose a bit of weight, though reflecting back now my eating habits were still pretty extreme. I went to several of Marci’s potlucks and in July 2016, I enrolled as a Premium Protective Diet Member. Enough was enough and I wanted my pain to end or at least die down. I was only having relief when sitting and it was getting tiresome. This was also my introduction to veganism, as I never had a veg or vegan junk food period of my life or participated in any activism. I was always the, “I could never go vegan” kinda person. It’s really funny to look back on that now.
Protective Diet classes were easy to get into. I was committed and diligent about doing whatever was recommended by Julie Marie. Learning about food additives and label reading was so new to me, but I followed along each lesson and didn’t let any non PD foods get into my meals. I was however still drinking alcohol, alcohol had been a big part of my life since young adulthood. The first month was astonishing and I lost 20 pounds! There was a definite learning curve in having conversations with friends and family, as I was so passionate and excited about this new lifestyle I just assumed everyone else would be too. That unfortunately is not always the case and just something people need to learn on an individual basis. As time goes by, conversations with others people become easier to navigate. As Jerry says, people are always trying their best.
My pain wasn’t really going away, but my weight was going down so I kept on with PD. About a year later I had lost dozens of pounds and dress sizes. My leg and back were still hurting but a little less often which was good. My blood pressure went down, too. I had however stopped losing weight because I was still including beer on a weekly basis. 2 years into a Protective Diet practice and still having alcohol, my leg had been feeling better than ever, hardly any pain from walking, but after nights of drinking it would hurt again the following day. I was doing a lot of research about alcohol and watched Julie’s lessons about it several times. I knew in my heart that it was bad for my goals, and I dug up the strength to stop it all together. It has now been a full 6 months alcohol free and my leg and back pain is barely there. Weight loss had also started up again and my BP is still totally normal.
In late September I joined in with the next level of the PD community of day fasting which has been going really well. No more mid day lulls and it was just discovered by a doctor, my thyroid function is even a little better. Since I was feeling better than ever, in October I also took on a modest exercise regime that I am consistent with 3-4 times a week. I can feel loose skin tightening up and muscles defining, exercising on a fast feels wonderful and I get a natural high after each light workout.
Today I have lost well over 100 pounds and am quite close to what I think is an ideal weight for my body. I’m still seeing changes after 2.5 years. I know I will reach the goal and probably even pass it. It’s all a part of the journey and I am thankful to have been receptive to a lifestyle that was so different to me and different than what 98% of my friends are following. This has changed my life for the better and I can’t imagine ever returning back to my old ways. I’ve learned so much about food, animals, our planet, and the human body. The learning never stops. I am meeting the real me for the first time and it’s exciting. Thank you Julie and the entire PD community!