“Hello everyone! I reached a huge personal milestone today, this being the end of an entire year of sticking to the 21-day cleanse and applying it for 365 days with no breaks, no cheats and no compromises. I don’t weigh myself often, but when I did a few weeks ago I had released over 90 (NINETY!!!!) pounds all from the confinements of bed with ZERO exercise (I’ll explain in a sec). I wanted to share my story with the hopes that it might give a boost or that extra nudge to somebody out there who is struggling or who has not yet taken a leap of faith like the one I did a year ago. I haven’t seen many men share their stories, and especially anyone with a similar health circumstance to me, but there’s a first for everything, so here goes nothing (apologies for such a large post)…
I have been living since my late teenage years with an auto-immune illness known as M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). Unfortunately, I find myself living with a rather severe case of it. As a result I have been housebound and bedridden for the past 8 years. At my worst my illness leaves me unable to speak, open my eyes or move, and lying in a dark, noise restricted room alone in a comatose state with pain virtually across my entire body. At my best I am still extremely ill, but I am able enough to focus on the positive: to smile and to laugh, to write things like this post (albeit at a snail’s pace) and to find ways to try to enjoy life within the small confinements of my room and from my brain foggy mind.
The elephant in the room during my journey coping with a chronic illness has been the continued weight gain and water retention. I have gained a lot of weight over these 9 years by eating foods that made me feel good. Surely it was a coping mechanism I chose for losing my previously active and promising life as well as dealing with the loss of most of my friends and family who chose to close the door (some with more blunt force than others). It’s not that I had an unhealthy diet (in fact I was always very conscious of the food I put into my body having been raised by a mother who always took healthy eating habits to heart), but a combination of factors including habitual spouts of nausea and quite picky food choices created an environment where the staple of my diet tended to be centered around white, carb-y “safe” foods. I knew I could do better, but in order to take the easier route out I suppressed any feelings of guilt by rationalizing that, in my situation and with so few things to look forwards to in my day-to-day life, I deserved to indulge in food that I craved as my comfort. To put it simply, I just didn’t want to face the weight. Not today. Not at this time.
One year ago, I hit my rock bottom. I looked at myself in the mirror and absolutely hated who I saw. I hated how far I had let myself go, and I was scared of what the consequences the direction I was headed in could be. The idea of self inflicted and irreversible or life threatening damage is a reality for many people who mistreat their bodies, and that terrifies me. None of us are invincible, and eventually bad habits will catch up to us. I didn’t want this for myself. And to be honest, I didn’t want this for my family and friends who did choose to stick around and who have been supporting and caring for me. Coincidentally (or maybe not?), I casually flipped on my TV to see Dr. Kellyann’s seminar on the Bone Broth Diet which was airing on public broadcasting. Normally as soon as I see a sales pitch for a diet, I tune out instantly. After all, over these years it’s not like I hadn’t tried to lose weight or to make what I believed were positive changes. I had gone on soup cleanses, I had cut out sugar for a long period of time, and I had cut out gluten for two years, amongst other things. Sadly, none of these attempts made me feel better physically or mentally, and in fact instead had cast a dark, looming cloud over my mood because I very much missed the foods I couldn’t eat.
But this time, for some reason, I stayed with Kellyann and her information. Her convincing words, and her inspiring and comforting personality gave me the extra nudge of confidence I needed to push me over the edge. I decided right then and there to give her challenge a shot. What did I have to lose ? I had so much to gain, if it worked (I realize the oxymoron in my words…). And I thought to myself that, in the cope of things, three weeks wasn’t so long. I believed I could survive it… and then I thought, “if I could just lose 15 pounds…”
Here I am, one year later, 365 days and 118 fasts later. I have lost close to 100 pounds with no mobility. I’m no longer overweight. All of this has happened from the confinements of my bed. It has not been an easy journey. The detox in the first few months was more difficult than I would have imagined. The carb flu I experienced came hard and fast. I had lymph nodes the size of tennis balls and pimples larger than I had ever had before. I experienced very sudden mood swings where I embarrassed myself in front of those closest to me who had the misfortune of being at the brunt of those very brief episodes. Nevertheless, I pushed through all of those hurdles, and even within the first week on the cleanse I noticed changes. I literally began to drain of fluids starting at the top of my head and working its way down my body on a day-to-day basis. Sure, I had tons of diarrhea, gas and bloating initially, but after a couple of weeks my stomach was beginning to feel so much better and so much flatter. At the end of the initial 21 days, I had lost 15 pounds. I had almost given up to the idea that I could lose weight in my situation. With this incredible change I was so motivated that I decided to continue the cleanse for the the rest of the month. By the month’s end, I had lost even more weight, and I decided to continue indefinitely taking it a month at a time, because how could I ever give up this incredible feeling of healing that I was experiencing?!
By the end of the second month I noticed my cravings for sugar and carbs had VANISHED. In month four I could feel bones all over my body that I had not felt for years. At the half year mark I could easily fit into clothes that were multiple sizes too small for such a long time. My skin complexion totally transformed, my hair became shinier, and that “sparkle” in my eyes that had faded finally returned (at least on my good days). I look so much younger now, and I can feel that my joints and muscles (especially my heart) don’t need to work nearly as hard as they did before. The list of positive changes is long and still absolutely floors me. With that in mind, however, I am still very ill and my underlying condition has unfortunately not fundamentally changed, but I am living a much higher quality of life. I have to add that seeing the changes before my eyes and having the knowledge these changes and these new choices were in “my control” continues to keep me determined and disciplined every day to never give into sudden temptations to stop, to cheat or to ease on the brakes. I don’t ever want to go down that pit I put myself in before, and I personally feel that cheating every so often or being lenient would open the flood gates and potentially lead me down a slippery slope, so it’s better to go cold turkey.
I don’t know how far this can take me, but I am excited every day to continue with this lifestyle change I have made. And I should add that it’s not just the dietary changes I have made that have so deeply impacted my life: it’s the whole package. I decided when I began this journey that I would simultaneously tackle other poor lifestyle choices I was making. Thus, I adapted the time I took to eat and enjoy my meals to a minimum of 20 minutes (rather than the 7 it could take me to scarf down an entire pizza). I made absolutely sure that I ate on a regular schedule, and that I never went past 7:30PM for dinner. I began daily affirmations and meditation to keep my mind in a healing and positive space. I learned the importance of never going hungry, by drinking warm teas in the morning and in-between meals (I live by my daily morning mug of ginger tea to not only kickstart my digestion but to also help with my nausea). I also learned to keep healthy snacks on hand with me at all times, including mixed nuts (especially pepitas!), coconut chips and beet chips (with no additives, of course!). Finally, I also learned the importance of keeping a well detailed food and fluid journal, and this is something I recommend to all of you. It helped me stay on the path and to keep and hold myself accountable when my sugar-starved mind did everything in its power to trick me and pull me away from my hard work and from my goals. It also helped me visualize and understand (and marvel at) the changes I was making and the changes my body was going through. It’s my belief that it is so much more difficult to succeed long term without this important tool.
I am so thankful for Dr. Kellyann’s guidance and motivation and for my closest friends and family who supported and cheered me on. I want to be a cheerleader for anyone here who is currently on their own path or who are on the fence but haven’t yet taken the plunge… The mountain ahead is tall, and you will face many plateaus as I did, but every day that you keep going you will be closer to your goals, and I speak from my experience when I say that the view the farther up you travel is all the more glorious and well worth the climb! If you are still undecided or worried about starting, my advice is to just start. Don’t think, just do. The longer you contemplate the more hurdles you will create for yourself. You can do this, you deserve it, you are not a failure and you are not alone!!!
I am so proud of this young man. Literally this is the reason that I was put here on this Earth to share this plan. Thank you for writing in to me and allowing me to share this message—and I completely support your decision to keep your name private. Friend, you have completely changed my life and helped me double-down on my motivation with this message.
Love, Dr. Kellyann