Hi! I’m Georgie; one half of Healed by Bacon! I’m crazy, a bit neurotic and a little too open when talking about bowel movements (everything comes down to poop right?)! But the main thing is, I want to help YOU! If you are anything like me (like to talk about poop – ha I’m kidding!), you have struggled with your health, weight and happiness in the past and are looking for a way to heal yourself. And that’s where Healed by Bacon comes in!
Where it all started…
My journey began in grade 2 when a certain friend said to me ‘no offense, but you’re fat’. Well, no offense taken!! Since that moment, I was well aware of the extra weight I had around my belly, but I thought it weird that it was only around my belly and nowhere else, in fact, I was quite thin everywhere else.
Then as I got a bit older, I noticed how tired I was all the time! There was an unexplainable fatigue with me at all times, regardless of how much sleep I got. Plus I had an overwhelming craving for salt but since I grew up in a ‘healthy’ household (margarine instead of butter, wholegrain instead of normal, etc etc etc) I was by no means, allowed to add salt to anything! Soon after, weird symptoms seemed to be popping up all over the place, depression, brain fog, further abdominal weight gain, food intolerances, menstrual irregularities, so I knew something was wrong.
I also had severe scoliosis and kyphosis (basically a curved spine). My spine was so curved that it was beginning to crush my internal organs, so in a 7 hour operation, I had two titanium rods screwed into my back to straighten things up. Everything went as planned, although the stress to my body seemed to make my period go missing.. and never come back…
By the time I was in high school, mum suspected something was wrong and took me to our local [western] doctor. The doctor told me my blood tests were ‘fine’ but I could try some thyroxin for a suspected underactive thyroid. Finally I was relieved to have a diagnosis, however my happiness was short lived. The thyroxin actually worsened all of my symptoms and shortly after starting it, I had to stop.
Mum then took me to a nutritional doctor who, after taking one look at my blood test results, diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis; an autoimmune disease whereby my own body was attacking my thyroid gland. She prescribed me some desiccated thyroid extract (from a pig’s thyroid!!) and gave me a new diet to follow. This diet involved eating a heap of protein, fat and vegetables and avoiding fruit, diary, soy and grains (something that was unheard of in my ‘healthy’ family). I struggled to follow the diet, given I still believed my brekky of fruit, low-fat yoghurt and honey was more healthy than bacon and eggs. But the desiccated thyroid extract did in fact help.. Temporarily, anyway.
So I was on this pig’s thyroid stuff and feeling slightly better, but I was still gaining weight and struggling to think clearly. How could I still be gaining weight when I’m running 3 times a day (before breakfast, after school and after dinner) and eating what the food pyramid told me (wholegrain toast and an egg for brekky, fruit toast with a spread of Nuttelex for recess, tofu stir-fry for lunch and a skinless, boiled chicken breast with salad for dinner). I could see everybody else around me eating delicious food in greater quantities than what I was eating, and I just thought how the hell is everybody else so thin and I’m so fat and have to eat disgusting food (tofu) all the time! I was also getting pretty exhausted from all of this running but I had to run off all of my calories (calories in, calories out, remember)!
All of this calorie counting and exercise was getting quite obsessive now, and at the end of year 12, everything sort of came to a head. Long story short, I was diagnosed with anorexia and things just got worse from here. After a few long, and very hard months of this debilitating disease, I was able to see myself through my own eyes, not Ana’s eyes. I was 34 kilos and just about on my death bed when I could finally see what everybody else saw; a sick, emaciated girl.
As hard as this was, it was the turning point in my recovery. From here, I started adding things back, bit-by-bit. An iced Vovo here, some peanut butter there, I was loving recovery! Not to say that there wasn’t any roadblocks in recovery, but as soon as I got some nutrients in, my brain could think clearly again.
Another piece of the puzzle came together when mum found the RT3 Yahoo Forum. This forum is absolutely amazing! It is run by people who have suffered from all sorts of metabolic and hormonal issues, not doctors, and it is obvious experience is much more valuable than years at med school when it comes to chronic, metabolic disease. The forum suggested I try T3 only therapy; a medication that didn’t need to be converted in the body, so it was just rapidly absorbed. From looking at my blood tests, they also suspected I had Addison’s Disease; another autoimmune disease whereby the body attacks the adrenal glands and therefore can’t produce enough cortisol. Well, this explained my salt cravings!
So I went to another nutritional doctor who prescribed me T3 only and suggested I try hydrocortisone for my adrenal insufficiency (aka Addison’s).
And I’ve never felt better!
After adjusting my medication to the right levels, I began to re-evaluate my diet and exercise regime. Even though I thought I was doing the right thing, wholegrains, low-fat, tofu, after I had finished reading Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar and Chris Kresser’s Personal Paleo Code, I realized that everything I had ever known meant nothing. I adopted a low-carb, moderate protein, high [saturated] fat, paleo diet, which only added to how good I was feeling. My exercise took a little longer to change; firstly I stopped running 3 times a day, then I cut down to 1x8km run and 1 weights workout, then 1x5km run and 1 weights workout, and now where I am today, whatever I feel like when I wake up. Sometimes I feel like a run (6km tops these days), sometimes a leisurely bike ride (don’t worry, I don’t wear the lycra) and sometimes a 45 minute cross fit style workout (just to fit with my paleo eating style!).
Where I’m at now…
Right now, I’m as healthy and happy as I’ve ever been! I’m in my third year of a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology and can actually think clearly for once (brain fog be gone!). For the first time in my life, I enjoy (rather than dread) exercise and look forward to eating delicious food (not involving tofu) at each meal! And the best part of all, I don’t fart nearly half as much as I used to!