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Feeling Healthy For The First Time In My Life!

20 Comments

Written by Andy:

Dear Robb

Just wanted to give you a short feedback on my Paleo experience and how you changed my life. I downloaded the Quick Start Guide, but I had downloaded your book about a year ago on our Honeymoon. I can’t even remember why I did so – probably because a fellow CrossFitter had told me about it. I started reading, and after only a few pages it struck me. I had tried to live “healthy” all my life, but I had never felt that way.

I used to be a skinny guy. 6’2 tall and 155lb. Later I gained weight, but it was fat. About a year ago I weighed 180lb or so, and didn’t look too sexy… :-/. I Suffered from severe digestive problems. My English isn’t quite good enough to describe this properly without sounding disgusting. Let’s put it this way: 7 out of 10 meals left my body within 10 minutes after eating. And that became even worse in times of emotional stress, or when I had to hurry eating a meal.

My skin was dry, very dry, and every single night I woke up 7-12 times. This lead to severe hormonal disorders. My testosterone levels dropped to almost unmeasurable, my libido completely disappeared, and I was constantly tired.

I wanted to look healthy and put on some muscle mass. So I started to lift weight, but every single time I tried out a new program, I got sick after only a few weeks. I had so many anginas in my life I can’t count them anymore. Every bit of newly gained muscle mass disappeared in the 8 days or so I had to lay in bed with fever every time I got sick.

Hmm, what more? My mood was terrible. Not all the time, but I suffered from heavy mood swings. Because of the hormonal disorders, I developed a

n ugly case of gynecomastia, which I had to undergo surgery for. Twice. I never ever took drugs, this was due to imbalances in my endocrine system.

After reading your book, I was sold. Could it really be my diet? Might the whole wheat products, all the processed so-called health foods and supplements, and the “healthy” milk products really be killing me?

fiji diet

Food in Fiji

I started right in our Honeymoon, which was easy, because we traveled the Fiji and Cook Islands and had access to fantastic organic and unprocessed foods everywhere. Mostly meats, fresh fish and sea foods, some fruit and berries, veggies, some eggs, coconuts and a little sweet potatoes every now and then.

The quality of living increased instantly. And even more so after 4-6 weeks being on the Paleo diet.

Flash forward to today. I’ve been following your recommendations for about a bit more than a year now and I can not thank you enough. What I am going to write now will be very hard to believe for our fellow cynics: I gained around 20 pounds, but lost tons of fat! Not kidding. And I eat far less than I used to. Is it really possible that my body was so chronically inflamed (e.g. my gut) that I wasn’t able to build muscle? To absorb nutrients properly?

I look pretty good for an almost 40 year old. My bodyfat fluctuates around 7-8% nowadays.

after-pic
My strength exploded. It’s ridiculous! Just hit a 462lb deadlift the other day. More than 100 pounds more than a year ago.

training

Now for the probably more important stuff: no, NO digestive problems anymore. Not a single time.
I eat – I feel great. 10 out of 10 meals.
I sleep like a baby.
My mood is fantastic. All the time. No mood swings anymore. How is that even possible?
My skin looks very good. Still a little dry, but not comparable to what it was like.
I have not been sick in a year. And we had a very long and hard Winter in Switzerland this year.
I work out 5 times a week. Never, ever feel exhausted.
I have my hormones tested every 8 weeks. Testosterone is up to “more than normal”. Around 1.5-2x as high as the upper value of the normal range. I believe this is normal, and that that’s how men are supposed to be.

I know it sounds unbelievable. I just wanted to let you know. And I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Please excuse my clumsy English… Still learning.

Kind regards and again: thank you, thank you!
Andy

 

Follow up email with numbers:

February 2012:
Weight: 181.4lb
Bodyfat: 12.6% (measured with caliper, 9 skin folds, Jackson/Pollock method)
resting heart rate: 67
Estradiol (E2): 124pmol/l
Testosterone: 4.9nmol/l
Free Testosterone: 13.3pmol/l
SHBG: 43nmol/l
Prolactin: 6.4ug/l
Cortisone (morning, fasted): 129nmol/l
Cortisone (noon): 408nmol/l
Cortisone (7pm): 480nmol/l
Vitamin D3: 23ug/l

The doctors told me that the high estradiol is a strange phenomenon in the light of the low testosterone. My aromatase activity must have been very high for whatever reasons. I have always been sensitive to estradiol effect – thus the two gyno surgeries.

Then, 14 months later, April 7, 2013
Weight: 202.4lb
Bodyfat: 7.3% (same method)
resting heart rate: 55
Estradiol (E2): 69.4pmol/l
Testosterone: 39.7nmol/l
Free Testosterone: 118.9pmol/l
SHBG: 43nmol/l (unchanged)
Prolactin: 6.4ug/l
Cortisone (morning, fasted): 508nmol/l
Cortisone (noon): 400nmol/l
Cortisone (7pm): 74nmol/l
Vitamin D3: 23ug/l

I don’t really understand the numbers and the docs didn’t seem to be able to explain them to me. What struck me was the dramatic increase of my testosterone and free testosterone.

I have no idea what mechanisms interfered with my natural testosterone production. Or what caused such a high aromatase activity. I can only guess (chronic inflammation, bad absorption of essential nutrients, etc.).

I really, really felt and still feel that me endocrine system has somehow been fixed. I lost so much bodyfat and gained a lot of strength and muscle tissue.

I feel that this is the way my body is supposed to work, look and feel. Being skinny, sick and constantly tired was just not natural.

I really want to point this out: I had to take some kind of medication ALL my life: pain killers, proton pump inhibitors, aromatase inhibitors, heart medication (I forgot to mention: I suffered from heavy heart palpitations), anti-histamines (ah, this I forgot to mention, too: I suffered from hay fever. This has disappeared completely, too!).

I really hope that I never, ever have to take such drugs again. I don’t need any of them anymore.

What I took all year was 2’500 IU of vitamin D a day (not much sun in Switzerland…) and 450mg Magnesium. That’s it. Nothing else.

From the bottom of my heart I can say, that reading Robb’s book has literally saved my life!

I feel and look so much better than a year ago (I’m feeling healthy the first time in my life! And I’m 38 years old now), the quality of living has increased so dramatically. That, in turn, had a huge impact on my mental health, my mood, energy, and generally of how I think about life. I became a better son, a better husband, a better brother, and friend. I started to pay things forward, to care about others, and to understand that life is a huge gift.

I know I might sound a bit overly enthusiastic, and some might find I’m exaggerating – but I’m not. All I can say is “thank you” and I just wanted to let you know how much better you (ambassadors of the Paleo diet/lifestyle) have made my life. This feedback is highly deserved.

 

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  1. Bjjcaveman
    May 20, 2013 at 7:05 am

    What a change in biomarkers! Great job.

  2. Christelle
    May 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Great testimonial Andy! Where do you live in Switzerland? I am in Lausanne and don’t know any other Paleo people locally yet.

    • Andy
      May 20, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Thank you very much.
      I live in Zurich. I know a few Paleo people, mostly friends from my local CrossFit box.
      Let me know if you are interested in sharing some info about where to but the right foods in Switzerland, Paleo-friendly restaurants etc.

  3. Elenor
    May 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    This is wonderful, Andy — your amazing recovery just makes me tear up (almost cry with joy for you!). How fantastic to read of your recovery. What a huge change! Congratulations! (And your English is very good!)

  4. Michael
    May 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Wow, Andy this is truly an inspirational story! You look great! Dropping 5% of body fat in exchange for an additional 20lbs of muscle too. I have a long way to go, but it’s successes like this that keep me going! Thanks for the motivation!

  5. Susan
    May 21, 2013 at 5:36 am

    Awesome results Andy! It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a few changes. I had my Dad switch to a Paleo diet and after 40 years with colitis, he’s totally normal again.

  6. Bernhard Schmid
    May 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    My wholehearted admiration goes to Andy. He catapulted himself from severe illness to a super healthy state. You may call it Paleo or otherwise – just leave the processed food. Watch the shape of youngsters with their energy drinks replacing their healthy breakfast…

  7. Kang
    May 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I love this post. Feeling motivated. Well done andy!

  8. Daniel
    May 23, 2013 at 5:45 am

    First of all congrats on your achievements!

    I find it funny that you forgot to mention your hay fever, heart palpitation etc. in the first mail! Guess when you’re healthy you forget how sick you were, good sign!

    And thanks for sharing your story it made me think. I was paleo for about a year but the last two months i kind of abandoned it and i got the flu (i still didn’t fully recover from it after 3 weeks), i feel a bit tired again. So i’m back to paleo again!

  9. Alan Torell
    May 23, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Dramatic change in cortisol from an abnormal pattern (high in AM, low in PM) to a normal pattern (high in AM, low in PM).

  10. Andy
    May 23, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Thank you all so much! Your responses motivated me even more to stay on this kind of diet – or better put: to follow this way of living – forever!

    What’s “funny” is, that I really did not realize how dramatically sick I was alomost all my life. Hay fever, constant fatigue, catching a cold every few weeks, etc. – I though the life was supposed to be that way.
    I believed that my condition was normal.

    The thing is, we are built to be strong, not to get sick easily, to feel energized throughout the day and to sleep well and restful at night.
    We are thought to to a lot of physical work without burning out, to have a high libido, not to be allergic to our envirornment (at least not to pollen, which have been around for millions of years…).

    Only after following the Paleo diet / lifestyle for a while I started to realize what my body was capable of and how I was supposed to feel, function, be.

    I wrote my mail(s) to Robb/Chris with no intention to being “featured” in this blog. I just wanted to thank the people who saved my life.
    Now, I’m happy that this blog was published. If I can only inspire one single person to finding his/her way back to health, than this would mean even more to me than having found the way to health and happiness myself. Pay it forward.

  11. Anna
    May 25, 2013 at 4:06 am

    Hi Andy

    What a great story and very inspirational. I have been thinking about changing my nutrition as well, having hormonal and digestive issues also. Which box are you at in Zurich? I am in Zurich too and would love to hear more.

    Best,
    Anna

    • Andy Toscan
      May 26, 2013 at 6:33 am

      Hi Anna

      I’m in CF Zurich’s comp team. Don’t hesitate to contact me. You can also drop me an email on andreas.toscan@gmx.ch

      • Andri
        July 21, 2013 at 2:16 am

        Hey Andreas,

        What was it that fixed your sleep issues and how long did it take? A few weeks back I started developing some stomach issues and after that I wake up 5-6 times every night and get very little rest.

        Thanks!

        Andri

  12. Sue
    May 28, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    IMHO we’re led to believe that feeling sick and tired is normal. In that way they can justify peddling their pills.

    I’m very happy you’ve turned your health around and eating a diet that you are biologically designed to eat.

    Today most people have completely lost touch with nature and the real world. What freaks me out is that we have a generation of kids who are being brought up on food that comes in packets. They really have no idea what real food is.

    Great inspirational post and thank you for sharing.

  13. Mary Giggs
    May 30, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Wow! Very inspiring!

  14. Andri
    July 29, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Hey, I have tried contacting you via email but havent heard back. But I would love to hear from you what you eat daily and such. Thanks!

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