Written by Andy:
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?
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.
My strength exploded. It’s ridiculous! Just hit a 462lb deadlift the other day. More than 100 pounds more than a year ago.
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!
Follow up email with numbers:
Bodyfat: 12.6% (measured with caliper, 9 skin folds, Jackson/Pollock method)
resting heart rate: 67
Estradiol (E2): 124pmol/l
Free Testosterone: 13.3pmol/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
Bodyfat: 7.3% (same method)
resting heart rate: 55
Estradiol (E2): 69.4pmol/l
Free Testosterone: 118.9pmol/l
SHBG: 43nmol/l (unchanged)
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.