A Doctor Finds Primal Balance
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: Action
Item #1: Eliminate SAD Foods
Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal
Blueprint Real Life Story from a Marks Daily Apple reader.
If you have your own success story and would like to share it with
me and the Marks Daily Apple community please contact me here.
Ill continue to publish these each Friday as long as they
keep coming in. Thank you for reading!
physician and budding blogger, and Ive been a fan of MDA for
a few years now. You are my blog-crush, always combining the perfect
blend of serious scientific information with colloquial content.
Primal living is about much more than just what we eat and how we
exercise, and your posts always reflect that!
My story begins
around the time I found your site and your book, The
Primal Blueprint. A bit of background: Im a very tall
(over six feet) woman who was raised on Conventional Wisdom and
the Standard American Diet, replete with Oreos for breakfast, bologna
sandwiches for lunch, and spaghetti for dinner with Cheetos and
Hostess snack cakes thrown in between! In high school, I was heavily
recruited for athletics due to my height but was never courageous
or confident enough to learn how to play sports. I focused more
on my schoolwork and music studies, and I couldnt have cared
less about what was going on with my body. This all changed when
I met my husband in my freshman year of college: a very tall and
athletic rock climber who inspired me to exercise and learn more
about health and fitness. My newfound love of fitness grew through
our climbing adventures around the world, and it eventually prompted
me to pursue a career as a physician.
to 2007 and the transition from medical school to Anesthesiology
residency, where I felt the healthiest and fittest I had ever been.
The future was bright with possibilities in all sorts of outdoor
athletics and my budding career as a physician. As many MD trainees
do, I had developed some bad habits related to food like
eating junk because it was free and available at the time you encountered
it, as you never know when youll again have time for your
another meal. Ironically, the medical establishment perpetuates
these habits by providing the unhealthiest food free for the taking
during our required lectures and call shifts
pizza, you name it. But for a year or so, this poor eating style
failed to affect me much and I was able to keep a semblance of fitness.
The Chronic Cardio queen that I had become kept slogging through
post-call runs, group exercise classes, or rides in an effort to
stay fit and counteract my poor nutrition with the math
of Calories In, Calories Out.
When I started
my specialty training in Anesthesiology, I began to feel the effects
of chronic stress on my body and mind. While I couldnt put
a finger on it at the time, in retrospect I was not myself. I began
to suffer depression, sleep disturbance, and a general lack of vigor
that affected my work and relationships. I suddenly hated going
rock climbing. My poor eating habits worsened in a vicious cycle
of treat/reward and overexercise/remorse, and my then 35-year-old
body started to show the effects. My previously toned
(read: skinny-fat) body that could handle eating a half box of Lucky
Charms after each step class was slowly becoming fat-fat. Being
tall, this wasnt too noticeable to the outside world, but
I fell into an even deeper pit of self-loathing.
I continued to chow down on free hospital doughnuts, cookies, and
cake at all hours of the day or night. I tried severe calorie restriction
with cheat days, but the cheats turned into huge binges
and the frequency increased from once a week to every other day!
My cravings for sugar became insatiable. Any exercise I did in attempts
to counteract this out of control situation was deteriorating in
quality. In fact, I began to suffer an incredible fatigue that left
me needing a nap after even a short walk. Getting up for an early
morning cases in the OR became a daunting task.
I knew deep
down that something was seriously wrong, but I chocked all of these
changes up to my stress level and the general process of aging.
The only medical manifestation I could report to a doctor
was the absence of my period for the past several months. After
much laboratory testing, it was decided that I had stress-induced
amenorrhea, which was basically akin to saying that I had self-inflicted
menopause at age 35. I was devastated! My estrogen levels were so
severely low that I had started to show the signs of osteopenia
on a bone density scan. A 24-hour urine study revealed high levels
of calcium in my urine. My thyroid labs were out of whack. There
was talk of scanning my head for tumors, which I immediately shirked.
At the time, it all seemed like a ridiculous, far-fetched Zebra
the rest of the article
to Lew's recent podcast with Mark Sisson
September 17, 2012
© 2012 Mark's Daily Apple
Best of Mark Sisson