Why Am I STILL Broken???


We’re gonna start this mini-novel with a story about someone that I know very well (total nutcase, seriously).  This individual has been Paleo for about 3-4 years now.  She’s definitely not ‘militant paleo’ – but with the exception of an occasional, sane, off-road – pretty darn close.  Her training – well that’s kind of a touchy subject.  With an endurance background (marathons), and a bout with a combo of CrossFit Endurance, Strength Bias, and normal WOD programming (all at the same time – yes, insane…).  This chick’s motto was, “I don’t just train, I over train.”  But this too has evolved to be much more under control (although she will admit that exercise is her addiction… we’ve all got something).  Even though her diet is clean, she sleeps at least eight hours every night, her training is moderating, and for the most part she keeps stress fairly low (as low as a Type A can manage) she still isn’t ‘fixed’.  Seriously, I thought this Paleo thing was supposed to work, right??  Well, that’s what she said… (And yes, in case you’re wondering, this is me – throwing myself under the bus for your entertainment once more.)

Does my story sound familiar?  Are you one of the three people out there that aren’t  paleo miracles, or did it seem like it worked great for a while and then the bottom just kind of fell out?  Well, you aren’t alone, and I can tell you right now that this is WAY more common than you think.  Many of us go into Paleo thinking that it’s going to cure EVERYTHING, and that it’s going to do it FAST.  In some cases that happens – these are the success stories that you see posted everywhere. There are tales of weight loss, miraculous healing, and life changing transformations – and yes, these stories are true.  But there are a lot of people out there that don’t have one of these earth shattering stories, and believe it or not, these folks aren’t writing to tell the world about changes that aren’t happening.  So here I am, taking one for the team.

So, what about the rest of us?  Why aren’t we seeing fast and marked changes like ‘everyone’ else?  Are we doing it wrong? Well… that’s debatable.  In some cases, yeah there might be things that need improvement (throwing myself under the bus here – I need to really be better about controlling my little exercise ‘problem’).  Many times we overlook the obvious and it’s important to remember that it’s not just about the food!!  Sleep, stress, exercise, PAST history (yes, this is a factor too), health, hormones, and over all lifestyle can make or break even the best of us.  Case in point – I just finished a cycle of Flagyl (an antibiotic) to kill three (yes, three) parasites that were happily living in my gut. (This might explain why I am roughly the size of his right bicep…)  And then there’s the adrenal damage I did back in my marathon running, insane over training, low fat, high carb, killer day job years…  Let’s just say ‘broken’ doesn’t even begin to describe my body.

I was frustrated to say the least – I mean how come I could help so many people get healthy and see the results they’re looking for, but when it came to fixing myself I was SOL??  Seriously, what a total buzz kill, and to be perfectly honest, it was/is embarrassing.  I want to look and be healthy – it’s not that I don’t know how to do it, I just hadn’t taken the time to actually figure out what was wrong, or to really evaluate my situation and habits.  Anyone out there with me on this?  YOU KNOW what you should be doing and you tell yourself that you are, but… (and that’s a BIG but), there are certain things that don’t apply to you, right?  You don’t really need 8 hours of sleep, you’ve trained like a freak since high school – those over training rules don’t apply to you, and stress? – you thrive on it, right?  And then there’s the food side of things, you’re ‘fine’ with dairy, some alcohol every day or two is totally cool, and that nightly chocolate bar is completely normal too…

I’m not saying that any or all of this applies in your situation, but if you’re not getting better, or if things seem to have taken a turn for the worse, it may be time to reevaluate the situation.  Sometimes a pair of outside eyes can help you put things into perspective.  When’s the last time you saw a doctor (and I’m not talking about a pill pushing, put a band-aid on it but don’t actually address the problem practitioner), or had labs taken?  Just because everything was fine two years ago, it doesn’t mean that things haven’t changed.  And remember, your past can (and most likely will) catch up with you.  My years of over training, low fat, high carb eating, super stressful jobs and inadequate sleep finally bit me in the rear – and let’s just say they left teeth marks and took a hunk of skin with them…   It finally took some outside eyes and a trip to an awesome alternative medicine doctor to ‘get my shit (literally) figured out’.  I’ve finally picked up the ball and started dribbling.  I haven’t made a slam dunk yet, but I’m working on it.

So, if you’re one of the other 3 people that haven’t reached a state of paleo euphoria – don’t give up!  If anything is certain, it’s that you’re definitely helping yourself by eating well, and turning back to a life of SAD food will do you no favors, unless you want to hit rock bottom faster.  Take time to evaluate your situation, make an appointment with a good doctor, take a hard look at your ENTIRE lifestyle, and take the advice that you give to others.  Because I can tell you first hand, it doesn’t work unless you actually do it.  Knowledge is powerful, but without application it’s not going to do much good.  A bottle of shampoo ain’t gonna wash your hair by itself – you gotta open it and scrub a little.  So quit feeling sorry for yourself – pick up the ball and start moving down court.  The defense is playing hard, but if I can breakaway – so can you!

The ball’s in your court – are you gonna shoot??

Categories: Digestion (UC, IBS, GERD, Celiac), Fitness, General, Paleo Diet Basics, Paleo Testimonials, Paleo/Low Carb, Sleep


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. Process going on says

    Great story and hopefully we get the happy sequel.
    My process:
    Dec: Functional lab tests.
    Jan: Paleo Solution.
    Feb: Autoimmune paleo and lab test results. Started DHEA and hydrocortison.
    March: FODMAP paleo. Started Armour.
    April: FODMAP paleo. More Armour.
    Future: Sustainable paleo. Two antibiotics for parasite. Huge dosages of probiotics. Get rid of DHEA and hydrocortison and possibly Armour.

  2. says

    You make a lot of good points here. Things don’t always come easy for people and instead of digging a little deeper they tend to get frustrated and give up. Way to not give up :)

  3. Stacey says

    I found myself nodding along when reading this post. I was not one of those Paleo miracle cases for sure. I wasn’t really eating a typical SAD diet before, but cutting grains/dairy and upping my fat did solve some of my bloat problems. Other than that, the miracles haven’t happened here yet. I’m trying to work through what it may be. I started CrossFit and am having a blast. Overtraining? Maybe. I have to also learn to experiment on myself as far as food goes to find what works best. It’s a long process and is frustrating when you see all the fast weightloss and other types of progress people are making and I feel stagnant. Thanks for the reassurance I’m not alone!

  4. says

    Thanks so much for posting this as I’m one of those people. I’ve been eating Paleo for over a year and weigh more now than I ever have in my life. I’m strength training with experts yet the fat keeps pouring on. I started the Whole 30 last week and it definitely has helped. More than anything it shows me how many little “cheats” I actually had in a given day. Just finishing things my kids didn’t eat all of. I feel much better on the Whole 30 but still the fat isn’t falling off. I definitely need my hormones tested but alas, it cost money and frankly I’d rather spend that on my training. I’m glad to know I’m not the only Paleo not a miracle person out there!

    • says

      Hi Stacey,

      Reconsider getting the hormone testing. Fat metabolism is not an independent system – it ties into all other body systems, including hormone production and regulation and storage of toxins. Someone can exercise to the cows come home and lay on lots of muscle and still have fat factories at work because of a hormone imbalance or other exposure to stuff the body stored in fat cells instead of getting rid of it through the GI tract.

      At one point I taught 12 fitness classes a week and was still a size 16 while eating well. Yes, I had lots of muscle, but the fat just wouldn’t leave!

      After the hormone testing, both blood and saliva, the fat is starting to go and for once, from the bottom half not my top half :)

      Good luck on your journey!


  5. Jason says

    DAMN THYROID! A lot of improvements have come from paleo but feeling better has exposed the little issues that I wasn’t previously aware of. After a lot of experimenting I finally went to a Naturopath and it’s looking like a mild food allergy is leading to hypothyroid issues. It’s an odd chain of events, eat onions or garlic, thyroid tanks, cholesterol jumps, energy drops, skin dries out…

    I’m happy that I’m finally getting close an answer.

  6. Jason Seib says

    Awesome, Amy! Thanks for sharing this. So many need to hear that we can’t just eat our way to perfect health. Paleo is not a diet, it’s a perspective!

  7. Kim says

    Hey – that’s me you’re writing about! After 6 months of AIP, methinks finally, finally, FINALLY things are taking a turn for the better. Fingers crossed.

  8. Sara says

    Well, I guess there are officially more than 3 people who fit this bill!

    I just wanted to say, Amy, that you’re SO AWESOME for sharing all of these stories with us. I have huge respect for any professional who can admit that they, too, have some problems to work on. I worry when I see the amount of perfectionism that shows up in some paleo circles, expecting all “gurus” to be super-lean, super-smart bad-asses… sometimes the stress of “perfect” isn’t worth the really terrible side effects, and our figureheads should know that for sure!

    This post is great even for those who aren’t in this situation–constantly evaluate things to see what works and what doesn’t, because everyone has a breaking point and ignoring it gets you in trouble! (Conversely, you want to catch that one little thing that works miraculously when it happens!)

    • Amy Kubal says


      Thank you for making me smile today! If you keep reading I’ll keep sharing – if it helps just one person, it’s worth it. :)

  9. Kurt says

    That bit about ‘I’m fine with dairy, and I can drink a little (or a lot?) of alcohol sometimes…’ is my favorite. That subtle self-deception kept me stalled from seeing a lot of improvements until I finally bucked up and addressed it. And deep down I knew it the whole time, I just didn’t want to face it. Hopefully your piece inspires more people to be more honest with themselves.

  10. Bjossa says

    Reading Robb’s book and following his suggestions for a paleo diet have made me way healthier, and have helped with some issues, but I too am still struggling after 2 years with pretty bad HPA axis/adrenal issues. I suspect an underlying chronic infection, but I really don’t know what to do to get rid of it. It seems like so much testing for lyme etc is pointless with the high rates of false negatives, or that there just aren’t tests for everything. I also want to do more labs to review my nutritional levels, but they’re pretty pricey too.

    • Kate Spanton says

      Heya – I know this is not what you wanna hear but – go the stool test – Amy obviously has and found two parasites. I have had autoimmune issues for two years now and finally, a couple of weeks ago went to a naturopath who said “go the stool test” – it too has showed up a rare parasite has been eating me alive. Try it – you never know what you will find in your sh..

  11. Cassiel says

    Thanks for posting this. It’s a nice reminder that the success stories, while motivating and encouraging, are not everyone’s experience, and that it doesn’t mean I’m a failure somehow just because I don’t see miracle changes like that!

    Going paleo really did change my life, and I saw a HUGE amount of health benefits right away that have lasted, everything from chronic gastro to severe eczema to major depression/anxiety. But I’m still a long way from healthy, and it’s been frustrating to battle with that, knowing that I could be so much better than I am. Especially when I have such low income that seeing alternative health doctors just isn’t something I can afford. (We have Medicare in Australia, and traditional GPs are covered, but naturopaths/etc generally are NOT.)

    But I kept researching, pushing, reading, talking to people, and finally someone suggested zinc/copper imbalances as a suspect. I was able to get blood tests done (that’s covered by Medicare, just had to push the GP who didn’t see the point in testing zinc and copper) and wow, my copper and zinc were SO out of whack it wasn’t funny. (As in, I am so overloaded with copper.) I talked to more people, got advice, and started supplementing zinc, and I cannot tell you how much BETTER I feel since then! It’s the extra nudge that has really changed my life.

    I’m still on a journey to full health, and now I’m looking at stuff like gut flora because my remaining issues all seem to be gut-related now, but I’ve really learnt that the most important thing is to keep on pushing until you find your answers — they ARE out there, and they may not always be what you expect.

    Paleo is a foundation for good health, but it’s not a magic fix for everything. You need to keep finding your answers… but paleo is what will sustain you along the way to finding them, that’s why it’s the FOUNDATION. If I’d tried eating SAD while seeking these results I’d be a wreck, and I doubt I’d have seen such great results from zinc supps while eating crap!

  12. Christine says

    Thank you so much much Amy! You gave me hope on a very dark day. I think it is very important to include your past in the healing process as well. I am seeing a holistic doctor on the east coast next week and praying she can shed some light on my situation.

    Thanks again and know that you are not alone!

  13. Kathleen says

    Amy — what a great piece! And, as for the responders out there…. what a great little club we have!

    Honestly Amy, you have me more intrigued with ‘your’ journey itself and what your prognosis may be so I can possibly get off this winding road I have been on for quite some time. Paleo has been a part of my life before I really knew what Paleo was…. with the exception of some odd grains and rice which I ditched when I fell over a Paleo blog. I do see a fairly progressive doctor and somehow have slipped backwards instead of forwards for the past 18 months.

    I hope you continue to move ahead on the highway to well. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Robert Crosby says

    Thanks for telling your story. I hope you are feeling better after the parasite treatment. I too had a bout of colitis that required treatment with Flagyl. After that experience, I decided to read up on herbal medicine, and I found that there are plenty of naturally occuring plant-based antibiotics, that are effective against parasites and bacterial diseases. As microbial resistance to conventional antibiotics is increasingly becoming a problem, a return to natural medicines might be our best option. Don’t believe all the nay-sayers, some of these treatments really work. Check out this book by Stephen Buhner http://www.amazon.com/Herbal-Antibiotics-2nd-Edition-Drug-resistant/dp/1603429875/ref=dp_ob_title_bk


  15. Erica says

    This is ME!!! Countless clients seeing amazing results and yet, I’m the same.
    Time to seriously evaluate myself…

  16. says

    Hi Amy, I had a patient that sounded amazingly similar. Massive over-trainer and really sensitive to Nightshades. Diet was almost perfect but she never got there and couldn’t get pregnant. She changed up her training (I think she was trying to prove me wrong rather than right)

    Really reduced her heart rate when running never going over (180- her age)in bpm and dropped the days a week in the gym to 1 (I really do think she cried when I told her no gym for a few weeks). Happy to report that she is expecting her second child in a few weeks.

    I believe it was Jack Lalane that said Diet is King, Exercise is Queen. If you have both balance you have a happy kingdom!


    • Amy Kubal says

      THANK YOU so much for that! I can’t hear the training thing enough. I’m really stubborn about somethings and every bit of encouragement and positive stories like your patient’s help so much. I’m going to go cry a little now too… 😉

    • Stefanie says

      Me too! JJ Gregor, you client sound like me. Having so much trouble getting pregnant and even having a period (tmi…sorry). I am about to begin the saliva hormone tests. My chiropractor thinks it may be adrenal fatigue. I am also sensitive to night shades and several other foods. My heart rate is insane when I run, super high! Always thought that was normal. Any advice on getting pregnant?? Thanks!!

      • says

        Hi Stefanie, Adrenals are a great start! Also, you probably should check the entire female panel to see what your hormones are doing and when. You may want to consider using Cyrex labs to see if you are cross reactive to other body tissues. But Basic Paleo principals are where to start. No processed foods, NO Grains at all, NO Dariy, no corn, NO SOY!!! If your gut is a mess you need to cut out Nuts seeds spicy food… anything that irritates the gut.

        As far as exercise, 1-3 days of cardio per week. Cardio = Keeping heart rate low. The formula I use is based off of Dr. Phil Maffetones work, 180 – Age = Top number (you don’t go above this number). Take another 10 off that that is your bottom number and don’t go below that if you can… When you can’t keep your heart rate blow the top number your done or 45 min whichever comes first. No weights for about a month or two.
        Good luck any other questions let me know

        • Stefanie says

          Thank you JJ. I am beginning the saliva test next week. Will this give me my full hormonal panel? Ugh! The no weights thing makes me very sad. I love my routine :/ but it will be worth it. Thanks for the encouragement!

  17. says

    One of my favorite posts, thanks for sharing your story. While we did see improvements immediately, I share your type A personality and have been very frustrated to have hit a plateau. It also is important that we all realize we aren’t all the same, each situation is unique and that specific people in my life come to mind as those who have more to overcome and their process will not be identical to mine. I know plenty of people who teeter on the edge of throwing in the towel when results aren’t immediate who will benefit from this post! Thanks again!

  18. Cliff says

    So how did they diagnose the parasite and the adrenal damage? What functional lab tests did you do?

    [Sorry for the broad questions; I’m sure there’s something on this site if you can point me the way. Searching for “functional lab tests” came back with a load of results.]

    • Amy Kubal says


      My alternative medicine doctor, Amy Myers, ordered the tests for me. It’s not exactly a fun bunch of tests (one involves crapping in a paper nacho dish and mixing specimen in bottles…), but it does give you answers. I highly encourage you to check out the Paleo Physicians Network and find a good doctor to help you get on track if you suspect some issues.

  19. Charlie says

    Glad to see I’m not the only one! I’m dealing with parasites and adrenal problems too! That definitely seems to be a pattern in those who dont receive the paleo miracle results. Super Type A-ness as well.

    Thank you so much for this post! Good luck to all of us in the future!

    • Rosalie Lenihan says

      Well, Charlie, What do you mean by super type A-ness? I also did the poop test and had hook worm, plus two gut bacterial infections and systemic yeast. Then tested so high with anti-gliaden markers the nutritionist wanted me to have the biopsy for celiac. No point, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the same diet for celiac as it is for highly gluten intolerant. Do all these go hand in had? Is that “type A-ness.” Yes, I am type A.

  20. Laura says

    This is me-I actually gained (and I did NOT need to gain) weight. I am very active. I’ve tried eating more, I’ve tried eating less. I’ve tried eating high fat, less protein, and all other different combinations. My head is clear from the clean eating but I don’t know what to do-the scale KEEPS inching up. I’ve gone from 145 to 180. This has been a 4 year experience. I hate it. I’m definitely not going to start eating crap again but I really don’t know what to do. I search the web every day. I can’t afford an alternative health doctor and my doctor thinks Paleo is crazy.

    • Amy Kubal says

      First step – THROW THE SCALE AWAY!! It’s only going to make you crazy! Please let me know if I can help you figure this out. Maybe a pair of outside eyes will be able to see the missing link. You can do this! We’ll figure it out!

  21. Steph says

    Thank YOU Amy so so much for this awesome piece – it echoes my story. Militant paleodiet brought some great improvements but not the solution to everything: parasites x1 and adrenal issues are still to be conquered. I am going at them with a small herbal army…. in my usual TYPE-A-ness (yup, working on that one too:)

  22. JMH says

    I skimmed the comments, so if someone else has done this I apologize, but I cannot recommend Chris Kresser’s “Paleo isn’t Magic” series enough.
    Some people come around with a diet change. Some people have far more broken bodies, and need a little help. Paleo has made me feel a lot better, but eating and even lifestyle alone isn’t fixing half a colon, Crohn’s disease, lifetime of antibiotic and narcotic prescriptions, half a lifetime of cortisone prescriptions, Mother who fed us low-fat high-fibre food, and doctors who told me to lean on simple carbs once the Crohn’s nearly killed me. I’ve starved to near death, decimated my intestinal biome, and spent twenty years vitamin deprived. That needs additional support, and patience. It’s not going to be fixed in one thirty day detox and a better night sleep, and I am prepared for that. I’m not a front-page success story, but I’m a stubborn little turtle. It’s okay to need additional medical support. It’s okay if it takes a few years instead of a few weeks. We can reclaim our bodies, and we’re just as cool as the Crossfitting superheros. :-)

  23. says

    I suggest that anyone who is having ‘slow’ results or ‘no’ results gets their pituitary gland checked. Check out http://www.Pituitary.org.



    When they are small, they don’t cause problems. When they get big, like mine did… well, look out! Makes your whole body go slowly but surely nuts. Thank God mine was discovered (the size of an extra large egg) before it ruptured and killed me.

  24. grammasmitty says

    Sounds like there are a few more than 3! And I am one of the droves. However, I do need to qualify that a little. About 25 years ago I went on Atkins, which turned out to be very strict paleo. I lost about 70 lbs in 6 months and had about 35 to go to reach goal. But I hit a plateau that never broke in 3 years. I eventually went back to SAD, gained it all back and quite a bit more and destroyed my health along the way. Time will do that to a body as you age.

    About 6 years ago I finally decided I had to do SOMETHING. While considering surgery (because Atkins didn’t work any more), I ran across Kevin Trudeau and hCG. Lost 125# in 11 months (actually more but kept gaining between rounds – I went down 125 on the scale), with 55 more to go, but as stress entered my life, the pounds came back and I couldn’t get a handle on losing again.

    All the time I kept reading and learning more and discovered lots of problems in my health/diet. So, here I am, needing to lose 125 again to get all the way to my goal (just a number, but in the ball park). I’ve been to a GOOD doctor, had blood tests, know the basic things to avoid (actually all the things to avoid, but still working on that), and am trying to get my health in good shape. If I can do that, hopefully the weight will follow. There is NO grain in my diet at all, no starchy carbs. But I do have a problem with cheese. That’s next on the agenda. As I stick to paleo/primal, my blood numbers come into normal range. But it is going to take much more time for everything to balance and heal and balance again and heal more.

    I figure it is a life long journey. At 62 I’ve had a lot of years to destroy my health. Can’t expect healing to take place in just a few weeks or months. And every time I slip up, I take several steps backward. This time I’ve had a 4 month stretch with only a few carby meals. Doing well, moving forward. No sense looking back except to learn a few lessons.

    • Amy Kubal says

      Definitely keep moving forward! It’s never too late to ‘get fixed’. Find what works for you and what feels good. If you’d like any help, let me know I would love to help you make this journey a success! YOU CAN DO IT!

  25. Sandra Brigham says

    I was Paleo/Primal for 2 1/2 yrs. Lost the bloat and some weight, gained to reach a new grand weight, lost a few pounds. Was doing all the right things. Only had 20-25# to lose. Then I did Gaia Adrenal Health (one box worth) and Primal Mind Primal Body – lowered my protein, cut out all starches and voila! I am in constant ketosis, feeling great and losing so long as I don’t touch nuts. Finally! The protein and occasional starches were keeping me back. No safe starches for me.

  26. Casey Bjorklund says

    Thank you so much for sharing as I feel EXACTLY the same way and have been really down about it lately. I am the healthy one but it’s hard to keep trying to motivate others to my lifestyle when I still feel like crap and am at the highest weight I’ve ever been and am the healthiest lifestyle to boot. I finally found a functional doctor who realizes something is very wrong here so I too am hopefully closer to finding that “magic pill” that is right for me. Thanks for making me realize I am not alone…and best of luck to you:) Hope you keep posting on your progress!

  27. Sharon Miles says

    Back in February while I was working I overheard a lady talking about the Paleo Solution. I got real curious and downloaded book to my I-Pad. I already had one of the factors down and that is I am gluten senitive. Then I cut out sugar & dairy. Within 2 weeks I had dropped 4 lbs and then I got at a stale mate for awhile and then another 2 lbs, stale mate and just recertly another 2 lbs. I am 70 years of age with a bad hip so I do not exercise at all. I walk occasionally until I can’t bare the pain. This plan is working for me and not feeling hungry is a blessing. My sugar level does not go up and down & I hardly want to eat between meals. I am 5′ and I started out at 146 and today I am 138. Would like to lose 8 more lbs and I know I can do it with the Paleo Solution.
    Thank You,

  28. krista says

    Thanks for this . . . I too have been struggling. Great success to start, effortless weight loss and energy to boot for the first four months. Fell off the wagon and had GF (croutons in a salad) and “Paleo treats” at Christmas, I was tired for two days after . . . i mean like under water tired. Been seeing a Nutritionist who does live blood analysis and is also Paleo, he has been amazing. Peeling back layers of abuse and cleaning up the bod, intra and extra-cellular detox as well as parasite cleansing and soon heavy metal detox (lead). Adrenals have been burning high for a long time and have hit the hormonal system. Seen many doctors, specialists, homeopaths, naturopaths to no avail, but this guy has hit the mark. If the diet alone is not working, look deeper . . . or address those sneaky emotional cheats (chocolate, alcohol etc.,) that we convince ourselves are okay. that part hit home in the article . . . oh I can have a bit more chocolate . . . wine at dinner is okay (every night?) sure, okay . . .

  29. JoAnne says

    I am so glad to have found Paleo. I am a diabetic and had a very difficult time keeping my glucose levels under 150. After only 1 week on Paleo I was at 70-90
    which is normal levels for non-diabetics. It has been 6 weeks now and I am 30 lbs lighter and still keeping my levels under 100. I am very strict in following the diet too. Thankyou to all who contribute to the Paleo lifestyle. PS I am 66 yrs old.

  30. Jen says

    Interesting perspective.

    I’m with you, Amy, though I recently saw a highly rated naturopath and had full labs – nothing up, just stress. I have been changing gradually, so I figure maybe I’m just one of those people who needs time; ironic given my Type A fast-paced immediate-gratification mindset. :)

    Interested what you did/learned to “start dribbling”. I don’t think I’ll get answers from the doctor, just overpriced supplements and homeopathic nonsense.

  31. Vicki says

    Amy – you have totally described me! I have had great things happen for me while eating and living paleo, however it has still not fixed me. It has relieved my IBS symptoms, helped me manage my blood sugars, given me unbelievable energy and cured me of PCOS-related acne, however it has not fixed my underlying hormonal imbalance or restored my periods. After years of eating strict paleo and trying both low carb and high carb, I have finally faced the fact that something in me is ‘broken’ and the hormonal imbalance cannot be fixed by diet and lifestyle alone. THis is exactly why I feel so strongly that my kids eat paleo – so that they will not ‘break’ under a SAD diet

  32. Laurie says

    It’s funny, I felt great until I was about three months into paleo then everything took a turn south. Low progesterone, burning mouth syndrome, adrenal fatigue, acne, extremely painful menstruation, depression, anxiety, the list goes on. I stayed on the diet for another two years, but knew that my symptoms were somehow related. A few months ago I discovered the trying low oxalates website and found that most of the foods that I had been eating are very high in oxalates (spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, all nuts, dark chocolate, cinnamon, black pepper, just to name a few). Unfortunately leaky gut+oxalates can wreak havoc on a person. It leaks out into your system and because our bodies can’t handle it, it stores the oxalates in various tissues throughout where it causes unpleasant symptoms. The solution is to reduce your oxalate intake to a point where your body feels it can start excreting that which is already stored. I’m in my fourth month of low ox and improvements are slow going, but finally, there are improvements.

  33. says


    Great story! Why don’t you pop up to Dallas some weekend and I will personally coach you on Paleo mass gain so you can totally cast a shadow across Johnny’s bicep! I charge 5 cents per pound, and I bet I can get a whole quarter from you if you just give me 3 days.* :)

    Do nothing Monday-Thursday. Squat heavy on Friday, and then I’ll demonstrate how to easily consume 3000-5000 calories per day on real food. And we’ll do it on nothing but meat, fat, and veggies. No nuts to artificially pump up the calories.

    Happiness is a thousand calories of sweet potato hash browns cooked in a combo of ghee, coconut oil, and bacon fat.

    *Cost of larger pants not included in consultative fee.

    • Amy Kubal says


      Let’s start next week! I know where you live and I’ve had some of your awesome sweet potatoes. I think we can make this work… I’d even be willing to pay 10 cents/pound if you eat anchovies with me.

      *Breath mints not included post anchovy eating. 😉

      • Bill Strahan says

        I actually love anchovies as long as they’re not cooked on pizza. In a salad? Yes! Any time you’re up near Dallas, let us know and the meat and sweet potato is on us. Plus, Becky has perfected broccoli as well as squash so we can make a feast.

        • Amy Kubal says

          I ate my first anchovy with you Bill!! Remember? And I may take a trip to Dallas just for the eats and to see you guys! :)

  34. Michele says

    Thanks for this great post Amy and good luck with getting rid of the nasty critters living in your gut!

    I will be finally getting the results of some lab work I got done testing my thyroid. Finally I found a practitioner willing to test more than my TSH which was normal. I am hoping it will help me figure out a solution to my super sluggish metabolism. I can also stand to do some more cleanup in my diet, especially when it comes to dairy. I do get grassfed raw dairy but do I really need it in my diet? Probably not so much.

  35. Janeway says

    Great article. I have some comments — not complaints — but sources of frustration for me in this process. First of all, I read almost nothing on this site about people in my age range (61). Our age-related health concerns or standard wear-and-tear are almost never discussed.

    Paleo has improved my health a lot, but it did not touch the osteoarthritis, which is getting worse. My hands, feet and knees are really feeling it.

    Also, despite my best efforts, sleep is a joke. Menopause is famous for taking away our sleep, and many of us never get it back. But I know guys in their 60’s who can’t sleep either. It’s terribly frustrating. We don’t want to take those meds that make you binge eat in your sleep, but many (including myself) take anti-anxiety drugs now and then or use melatonin, even Advil PM, just to get a night of 7 hours every now and then instead of the usual 4 or 5.

    And finally, it’s really hard to find a doctor whose eyes don’t glaze over when you say “Paleo Diet.” Even my doc, who’s an osteopath by training and claims to be very knowledgeable about nutrition and complementary medicine, told me she could never do Paleo because she “likes spinach.” She actually thought we eat meat and nothing else! She puts people on statins for high cholesterol numbers, and thinks eating fat makes you worse. If I come in with any issue, she immediately relates it back to the fact that I eat meat…

    Come to think of it, as I type this, I realize I need to dump my doctor. But who to replace her with (and who takes my insurance)? Now there’s the rub.

    Point is, there are some factors that make resolving all the health issues difficult, even with Paleo. (And I’m NOT one of those who drinks booze, cheats with the dairy and the chocolate on a regular basis (once a month maybe), etc.) I’ve been very faithful to the diet for four years, and will continue to be. But I see the sleep issue as intractable, and the doctor issue is a very difficult nut to crack.

      • says

        I stopped dairy for several years because of sinus/allergy problems. The only times I have been sick and needed to go to the doctor in the last 5-6 years has been when I get rebellious and restart the dairy.

        I started with heavy cream for my coffee. Then Greek yogurt. Then cheese. Then ice cream.

        Yesterday I went to the doctor. Steroid shot to help me breathe. It did not enter my mind that I did it to myself again until I read your post.

        I told myself that gluten was really my problem so I could have dairy now. Wrong. I made a ‘gluten free’ brownie mix yesterday and it caused me more problems than the two slices of pizza I ate last weekend. Yes, I am in denial.

        I have been mostly paleo since last fall. Long enough to know that I feel great when I’m making good choices and not good at all when I don’t.

        • Amy Kubal says

          Cindy, ultimately we all ‘know’ what’s best for us – but it’s that denial piece that gets us every time. I used to think I was ‘fine with dairy’ – but after I took it out for awhile and then added it back I sadly found out that was definitely not the case… No more denying it. Do I still want cheese, greek yogurt and ice cream – hell yes! But I know if I want to truly get well – it’s not in the cards for me. Yes, I cried a little (well, actually – A LOT!), but if I can do it SO CAN YOU!!! Stay strong – you can do it!

  36. Sofia says

    Great post, Amy! I have been easing back into Paleo. Lost 7 lbs in 8 weeks when l was true Paleo last year. Then life got in the way: job issues , less workout time, and menopause! I have not seen that issue addressed in any website. Any modifications for better results? Weighing and measuring? Much smaller meals? Don’t forget about the gym rats at 60!

    • Amy Kubal says

      So many ‘factors’ and obstacles!! Stick with paleo and let me know if I can help you dial everything in based on YOUR situation! Hang in there!

  37. says

    As a physician with over 30 years of clinical experience, I know that patients can react very differently to the same lifestyle changes. Each of us has a unique genetic makeup and we know that the process of epigenetics can influence our genetic expression without any changes to the underlying genes.

    I agree that honestly and persistence are critical. We need to be honest with ourselves because we are imperfect humans. Strive for improvement, not perfection and just keep at it. Positive changes sometimes occur rapidly but more often they tend to be slow and subtle.

    I also agree that it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your lab tests and to have periodic checkups with a good physician. After all, you don’t want to miss a serious medical problem.

  38. Reba says

    Hey, great post. I too, was one that didn’t have great results on the Paleo diet…Until I went to my naturopathic physician for a food sensitivity test. I discovered that I am sensitive to (my body makes antibodies in response to) eggs, dairy (any kind, even whey protein powder), garlic, green beans, sesame seeds, cranberries, etc. Now, some of these things aren’t paleo friendly, but things like eggs and garlic I was using in abundance on the paleo diet and that’s why I was feeling like garbage still. I am happy to report that I am now paleo/allergen free and feeling the best I have ever felt!!

  39. Lyn says

    Hi Amy,

    I’m so moved by your story. You are absolutely a wonderful person for sharing this. I wanted so badly to be a success story somewhere but I wasn’t able to, and I think that the reason my version of robb’s diet or mark sisson’s didn’t work for me was because I was too low carb which both fixed and exacerbated existing health issues. I’m the kind of person that can become religious about something (except going to church, sadly), and it was only when I really understood how to eat, what to eat, and how to fix a chronic infection that I started getting better. low-carb was not that way and I’m grateful to robb for coming out with his posts about it. I still think the advice of Robb, Dr. Cordain, Art de Vany, and the early adopters of Paleo out there have a lot to say, but Paul and Shou-Ching jaminet were the most helpful in explaining the role of infections-bacterial, fungal, and protozoal- in our health. They really brought the diet together for me. I know that it’s a competition out there for $ and book sales and I poured a lot of mine into the paleo community – I have robb’s book, two of mark sisson’s, 1 of chris kresser’s programs, have bought a whole 30 program, and had the book from the jaminets. I thought it was me-so strict I was!- but I think it was because I didn’t understand enough how much an infection was dragging me down and how to supplement and eat a better diet to enhance glutathione production.
    I think infections and the work of jaminets will help Robb help more people. For you Amy- a big hug. It’s ok not to be perfect and it’s ok to sell the message even if you’re not there yourself. I guess that’s why your industry of training and diet can be so tough and brutal. I hope this doesn’t come off sounding high and mighty or that I’m trying to dissuade people from Paleo or that I’m judging you or something! I just felt compelled to comment how brave you are for putting this out there. thanks.

  40. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, SO much for posting this. Judging by how much I had to scroll to get to the bottom of the page to write a comment, I don’t feel so alone anymore.

    Like many on here, I cannot put into words how disappointing it is to get some “new guy” in the gym, watch him cut out soda or some other crap for a week, drop 20 lbs, get to 13% bf and look like the freakin’ statue of David. I mean, what the hell!

    “Bro, this paleo shit is awesome!”… yeah… awesome… been at it 4 years now. Still look like I’m carved out of butter.

    Anyway… again, thank you for posting this. You are absolutely right when you say that if it isn’t working, you need to stop thinking you’re a special case. In my case, regular sleep isn’t a possibility at all right now, so I am just doing the best I can on any given day. Sometimes that isn’t great, but I have adjusted my expectations (i.e. pretty much given up) for now.

    • Amy Kubal says

      Bryan, Thank you for the comment and don’t give up! Keep reevaluating and doing everything you can to be as healthy as possible for you. Let me know if I can help you figure things out and HANG IN THERE!!

      • says

        Thanks, Amy! There’s really not much to “figure out”. Sleep is impossible, so I just do the best I can without really expecting much to change until we can sleep normally on a regular basis.

  41. Jane says

    Thanks Amy!
    I’m just getting to the pointy end of my diet coaching qualification and I have cometo exactly the realisation you write about. “If I’m going to help and support people to sort out their diet, preferably to a paleo diet, then I’d better be the 40 year old poster child for this lifestyle”
    I’ve really had to have take good hard look at myself in the mirror. I’ve been 18months “okay with a bit of dairy paleo” and my weight loss stalled out after 20kg about 6 months ago.
    Since then I’ve started to lift heavy (4 months ago), kicked the dairy habit, and my body has slowly started to change.
    Thanks again for the gentle reminder that I’m not alone, and that I can give my clients a realistic and honest paleo journey to look forward to.

  42. says

    Thanks for your great story Amy. Yep, I’m one of those too!!! Although I love the Paleo lifestyle, have converted a few folks(my hubby included) and at 60 yo I’ve never felt better, I still have yet to lose that roll of fat around my waist. I’ve tweaked my food here and there and if I ever get out of my denial I’ll have to admit it probably comes down to sleep (Thank you Jason and Sarah)!!
    When I hear about people dropping x amount of #’s/fat I think “So WTF??? What am I NOT doing right? I think it’s got to be sleep, and for me that’s just the hardest. Busy life, getting up early for CrossFit or work (I’m a Pilates trainer and own a studio here in the SF Bay Area). Sometimes I work evenings, etc etc….I’ve got every great excuse in the book for not getting to bed early enough….but I’m working on it.

    Paleo really is not a diet but a lifestyle. I love connecting with the greater and local Paleo community.
    Thanks for all you folks do….keep it up. You are helping so many of us.

  43. Sean Grady says

    I hoped for the magic from Paleo. I think there were major changes, but, like Amy said, I had to deal with the past too. After a year being VERY Paleo and doing Crossfit (I was already a runner), I found myself in the hospital getting a triple bypass. The Paleo and the Crossfit didn’t save me from that. The doctors and the ICU staff were, however, amazed at how healthy and strong I was (I am 60). They told me that EVERY cardio patient that went through there left on insulin-no exceptions. Not me. They kept repeating the tests because they thought something was wrong with their results. Except for the blockage/baggage, I was in perfect health and stronger than anyone they had ever dealt with. That was the magic of Paleo living. Our bodies can do amazing things when they have the chance. Don’t give up! It is working! You may still have some hard times to go through, but there is no better companion than a Paleo lifestyle to get you through them. That and good friends! Amy’s support and encouragement was instrumental in getting me through some very dark days.

    • Amy Kubal says

      Sean! You are AWESOME! I loved working with you and thank God you went to the doctor! Send me an update on your recovery!

  44. says

    Hey, nice post. My experience whenever I’ve had less than stellar success with a training or nutrition program is that it comes down to a number of factors conspiring to bring me down. With me anyway, it usually involves some amount of cheating, but also factors like lack of sleep and also stress and life’s abundant distraction hurt my results. Thanks for the article!

  45. Joe K says

    Good article, I’m in the same boat. Paleo gets me lean and looking healthy but overall I dont feel vibrant/dont have good digestion/ dont feel I thrive from working etc.

    I’ve gone down the route of looking at adrenal issues, thyroid issues, and now onto the metametrix GI effects stage like yourself. Unfortunetly, I didn’t get the specific findings you got; yeast/fungi present taxomony unavailable, parasite present taxonomy unavilable, low Sig A, Low Butyrate, High proteolla.

    Seems the closer you get to the “pointy end” of whats going on, the more variables there are when it comes to treatment and lifestyle choices!

  46. says

    Perhaps I am doing it backwards, but I have approached the lifestyle stuff first from a personal interest in organizing my day (that means sleeping at least 7 hours, preparing food to strict dictates, and getting the exercise in FIRST (and that means 5 AM for me). Still, the changes have been slow, but it seems to be working. I am very busy with the enterprises I run (most of them home-based, all rather intense from time standpoint), but that gives me the ability to adjust my schedule. I hate to use a cliche, but fitness is a lifelong marathon and not a sprint. Your GPS should be your long-range plan and your pathway should start (and finish) with self-discipline, as difficult as that may be at times. Great post.

  47. says


    Super job. I’m one of many that breathed a sigh of relief seeing that I’m not the only one who is still broken.

    I’m living in Berlin, Germany right now…anywhere/way I could find some good healthcare practitioners in my area? Much appreciated.

    I don’t really mind changing up what I eat, I’d just like to know. It’s actually, in my experience, a weapon (in the good way) when you can say to people “I’m allergic to that, no thanks”.

    Keep up the great work!

  48. Kate says


    How did you suspect that you might have had parasite issues? Would you mind sharing what the parasites were?

    Thanks so much!

    • Amy Kubal says

      Kate, that’s a long story but the short of it is that I did a lot of backpacking and climbing in the past. At one point my ex boyfriend had had Giardia and then got C. diff – I somehow managed to dodge both of these while living with him. That was about 4 years ago and since then I’ve struggled with energy, health issues and with keeping weight on. I have the names of the parasites on my lab info – I just moved into Austin and once I dig out the paperwork I’ll let you know the names of my little friends… 😉

  49. says

    Will Paleo eating affect your training? If you periodize your training, you have changing nutritional needs throughout a training cycle and during the season and off-season. There may be times when Paleo eating is more suitable and times when it is not. For example, carbohydrate needs are higher during more intense training. Sometimes athletes learn great things about their diets through trial and error, but be sure it’s an appropriate time for experimentation.

    • Amy Kubal says

      Lamont, Great point and the paleo way of eating can be easily modified to fit the stage of the training cycle that the athlete is at. It can be higher carb during heavy training and lower during the off-season.

  50. Janeway says

    Amy, I was interested to see that you found a doctor to work with (Amy Myers). I’d love to work with such a person too. I have two questions:

    1. I notice that she thinks it’s okay to eat “gluten-free grains and legumes.” In other words, she’s not a Paleo doc. Are you sticking with Paleo or going her route?

    2. Does she require you to purchase her products? I’m always suspicious of doctors who tell you they can fix you but you have to buy their magic cures.


  51. says

    Hi everybody! A few things:

    1. The HPA Axis — I had soooo much trouble losing weight, for YEARS. And all the joint pain, depression, bad digestion, etc. you could imagine. WELL. Turned out I had a pituitary tumor, so large that it had squashed my pituitary, forced my skull bone to grow out to accommodate the tumor bulk, and it was squashing my hypothalamus and growing up in between my two brain lobes. Ouch!!! I went through so many doctors, and finally one of them figured it out. Two surgeries later, I am now tumor-free. Sometimes, there are signs of these tumors — ONE IN FIVE PEOPLE HAVE A PITUITARY TUMOR!!! — but doctors are not trained to “connect the dots.” Visit http://www.pituitary.org to learn more. Only an MRI of your brain can diagnose it.

    2. It’s A Lifestyle — I started paleo after a tremendous weight gain from the tumor. Towards the end, I was gaining two pounds A WEEK, and that was while carefully tracking my food in journals and working with a nutritionist. The paleo lifestyle really is a “lifestyle” and not just a diet. I do not over-exercise. Right now, I exercise twice a week, gradually working towards three sessions, all in a warm water therapy pool. I sleep A LOT — 10-14 hours a night. Before, it was constant insomnia. I played around with paleo from January to June, 2013, and did feel better, and I did lose a solid 25 pounds. Now, I just completed a month of clean paleo, and lost 16 more pounds!

    3. Patience — I have a long way to go, but the paleo approach (getting good quality and a lot of sleep, eating paleo foods, going “organic” with my food and cleaning supplies, exercising very moderately, getting time outside every day, keeping stress low – I stopped watching the news!) has generally been really great for me.

    One day at a time is my mantra. I take it one day at a time, keep reading and learning, and keep my expectations within reason. I don’t WANT to be an overnight success story. I want to embrace a lifestyle that will serve me, for the rest of this precious life I’ve been blessed with. With the paleo lifestyle, I think I’ve finally found my path. Hang in there, it may take some time but you are walking a good path!!!

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