I’ve been waiting to write this post since the first day I started the Gerson Therapy: 1 year, 5 months and 7 days ago.
I knew I’d made huge progress – it’s become pretty evident in the last few months, although sometimes I would still doubt it a little. It’s hard to tell on a day to day basis. But when I was going through the photos to put this post together, I realised just how much of a difference there is. I was completely blown away.
I was also surprised by the photos from when I was at my worst health – I had no idea how bad and sick I really looked. I knew it was bad – but back then I was more focussed on how terrible I felt.
This isn’t just a before and after of weight loss, or even of healing illness, but it’s a before and after of me as a person. It’s been a tough few years – healing isn’t easy. I had to show up every day and spend my time focussed on healing – juicing, coffee enemas, food, meditation etc.
So, allow me to walk you down memory lane and show you when and how I got sick, and the journey I’ve been on to get here!
2006: Rebel Without a Cause
Hey, have I ever told you how cool I was when I was a teenager? Well I was. Definitely.
Band t-shirts and jeans were my uniform. Metal and hardcore music gigs every single weekend. Getting drunk as much as possible was the name of the game. Me and my then BFF were getting up to mischief every weekend. Black and grey were the only colors I wore. Selfies before there was even Instagram. Myspace was my whole universe. I even had a hiptop phone. A bad attitude was my signature accessory. And the stretched ears still scar me today (so do the tattoos).
2007 – 2008: Chaos and the great depression
These years was highlighted by more partying, more drinking, more girl fighting, more craziness. I finished high school and went to TAFE to study graphic design. 2008 was the year of the breakdown, as I call it. The dark year. Towards the end of 2008 I had severe depression and was on anti-drepresants (that made it worse), I spend my days lying in bed suicidal, and I mixed that with extreme drinking. I was going through a huge personal crises and I wasn’t handling it too well.
By the end of the year I had quit TAFE (due to personal problems), and the stomach pain was getting started, along with severe constipation – I was starting to get a little concerned and was seeing doctors trying to get some answers.
PS. That picture is me at my Dress Up Year 11 Formal on a boat dressed as a dead Prom Queen (an homage to the band I Killed The Prom Queen) and I won an award for how cool it was. I’d also been drinking from a flask all night so it was a good time.
2009: Retreat from the world
This was the start of me trying to hide from real life. I’d quite TAFE the year before and started doing freelance graphic design. After a really fun trip to Bali at the start of the year with my then boyfriends family, I went back to the doctors to get ultrasounds and then a laparoscopy done.
The doctor at first though it may have been endometriosis, since the sharp pains were near the ovaries (but so are the intestines!) hence the tests they were doing. The laparoscopy showed nothing but an inflamed colon (HINT HINT) and the doctor never followed up with me. I gave up on answers.
I also quit with my casual job (McDonalds) mid-year that I was doing while studying – my excuse was I wanted to get more serious about doing graphic design freelance, but I was having trouble being around people anymore. I’d cut off contact from every single friend I had at the time because of the thing that went down the year before (the reason I quit TAFE).
I cut myself off from the world, sitting at home doing graphic design in a house far away from the world, without a car. I became terrified of driving and wouldn’t do it anymore.
I had a quick trip to New Zealand to visit my extended family and go to my Pop’s funeral (picture on the left: me climbing Mount Maunganui).
2010: Somethings Gone Terribly Wrong
This year was non-eventful, except for a two week holiday to the US of A with my then boyfriend, my sister and brother-in-law. It was such a fun vacay, and I’m so glad I got to do it before my celiac diagnosis, because I’m not sure how easy visiting America would be with celiac! There were giant bread baskets at every single meal, and I’m pretty sure the gluten has extra gluten in it over there. This trip definitely accelerated my symptoms (although they were already there).
This was when I can remember the most obvious first signs of some more serious problem. The 12 – 14 hour flights there and back I had severe stomach pain. It was hard for me to sit in my seat the whole flight. I was trying really really hard to ignore and not think too much of it, brush it of as normal – but it was pretty bad.
I adopted this baby girl, and she became my little BFF, my sidekick during the next years which would become the hardest years of my life. Always by my side. Keeping me company on my bad bed days. Sitting on my tummy when it hurts. This is Cupcake.
2011: The year of celiac
This was the year I was diagnosed with celiac, in October. I remember the day I knew something was up so well (and not much else because my memory loss was getting bad at this point). I’d been to the grocery store food shopping with the then BF, we always got some sort of giant bread thing – they have these awesome pull apart with different flavours but our fave was the vegemite and cheese. This was what we were eating for lunch that day. Just the bread.
Half way through the meal my stomach was going mental – pain, noises, gurgling, movements, bloating you name it. I realised it must have been the bread because it was literally all we were eating. So I did some googling and found out about this thing called celiac. Next thing I know I’m at the doctors being told I have this disease, not to eat gluten anymore and find a support group.
As you can see, my weight was already going up and I was starting to get really ill, and continued to get worse even after my diagnosis.
2012: The spiral continues
Now my weight was really ballooning and I was looking worse and worse. I was sick, I was miserable and I was trying really hard to find answers to get better again.
I started getting really into health – green smoothies, eating organic, and I was trying really hard to clean up my diet. But my health continued to get worse.
2013: When does it get better?
Me and the boyfriend had been living in my Grandmother’s house (in our own space there), and in November she passed away. I was really sad and shocked, I’d been checking in on her everyday, talking and becoming closer with her. Just a week or so after she passed, I got some kind of viral stomach infection and was in so much pain I was in bed for 2 weeks, and it ended with a trip to the hospital and an IV bag.
We moved back in with my Mum because I was barely working (even doing freelance) and the costs of trying to heal were getting a lot – healthy food, supplements, naturopaths and trying anything new that I came across.
This photo was taken when we went to Byron Bay for our 7 year anniversary. We went to dinner this night and I accidentally ate gluten (never do a buffet – even a healthy vegan organic one!), and spent the night in the bathroom and on the bed – it was the most painful glutening I’d ever had. Romantic, hey? Celiac is really glamorous you guys.
2014: Stopping the spiral
Who is that in the picture? I didn’t even recognise myself any more. I didn’t feel like ‘me’ at all – and I was so ashamed and embarrassed of the weight, and I was frustrated because I was doing everything right – eating healthy and making sure I was completely gluten free. But it wasn’t working. And I was incredibly sick. It was a huge win when I could put a bra on that day.
This year was a big year of change for me. My weight had gone up even more and I was the sickest I’d ever been – you can see it so clearly. I was so depressed about how bad my health and my weight had gotten that it was hard to see a way out. I discovered juicing and coffee enemas and they actually made a difference.
Around mid-year I decided that I needed to do something really really drastic – and so I started the Gerson Therapy. It’s a strict (almost) vegan healing diet with many many juices a day, coffee enemas, specific meals and specific supplements. And it started working.
I also called a truce with my Mum around that time, after having been not in a good place for pretty much my whole life. I learned to forgive and let go (with my Dad, too), and we developed such a good, close relationship – she helped me enormously during the last few years, and I’m not sure I could have done it without her. It also made a huge difference to my happiness, because we were living with her, and it was really affecting me negatively not being in a good place with her.
I started facing some of the traumas, regrets, shames from my past and worked on becoming a better person so I could finally find some peace and happiness that I’d never had before.
2015: Healing and happy
My days were (and are) always filled with this: lots and lots of juices. Drowning in carrot juice. As you can see, I’m much much much happier that I ever have been in my whole life now. This year was still filled with ups and downs, but things are looking better and brighter than ever before. I finally feel hope for a better future. The lows this year were not nearly as ‘low’ as years past.
In about April I made some changes to my diet again, and added in bone broth and lots of fat rendered from making the broth, while sticking with the basics of Gerson. I also added in sauerkraut and probiotics. These all made a huge huge difference.
Good days and bad days. The bad days were a million times better than the bad days before. This is what ‘bad’ days look like for me, lying in bed, with my kit kat and trying to get my brain to work so I can get something done. They are becoming rarer.
Healing has been REALLY hard. I have been dealing with the detox and healing symptoms every day for this whole time – mostly headache and fatigue, but sometimes more. Then there were the healing crises – flu symptoms, fevers etc. When healing, sometimes the symptoms of it flare up before they go away. As well as some lingering celiac symptoms – but that’s a post for another day!
MAY vs NOVEMBER. The puffiness and inflammation have all but faded.
And this was taken in May 2015. If I’d of taken the first photo a year before that it would have been a lot worse.
No make up in this picture. I know, I’m brave right? I would have rather died than even leave the house without makeup just a few years ago. But being ill changes you. I barley wore makeup while doing the Gerson Therapy. I put in on maybe once a week. The rest of the time, I focused on healing not what I looked like.
Around August, the weight literally started falling off me. I’d only lost around 3kg in the whole year doing Gerson up until then. What changed? I’m not exactly sure, but these are my guesses:
- I’d already been doing Gerson for a year, and perhaps much had already healed so my body could then focus on losing weight.
- I’d been doing bone broth + sauerkraut for a few months and it was making a big difference.
- I started taking activated zeolite – which I do think had something to do with it.
- I read the Gabriel Method and started listening to the weight loss meditation everynight while falling asleep.
- I started using visualisation much more than I had before. I found pictures of the body I wanted and have them stuck to the wall so when I wake up and before sleep I look at it.
- I was eating about a third of what I was before. With the Gerson Therapy, the meals are really huge – potatoes, salads and cooked veggies. All healthy of course. But in August I had what felt like a bad stomach bug (similar to what I’d had in 2012) that I believe was a healing crisis and after that I just wasn’t nearly as hungry as before.
And now? 15kg GONE, BABY!
This year I went even deeper into facing all my fears and clearing the negative gunk that was taking up space in my brain and stopping me from being happy. I found a way to be happy – even if I was having a crappy sick healing day. I developed a deep spiritual practice and meditate every day.
Me on the left: being Aunty Shae to my brand new neice born in late July. She is seriously the cutest baby I’ve ever seen – I wish I could show off a photo but my family aren’t into putting photos online. SEE! I am the black sheep.
Me and my long-time boyfriend decided to separate just a few months ago, which I wrote about here. So, my future is a big question mark now – which I am fine with. It’s exciting. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but I’m excited to find out. I know it’s going to be amazing. I’ve done the work. The mental and emotional work, the physical work to heal and get my health to a good place so I can have a bright and happy future.
2016: The best year ever
I’m so excited for 2016. I know it’s going to be an amazing year. I just know it. I’ve almost got my health back. I’ve got lots of plans for this blog and for programs I’m creating. But as for my personal life? I’m just taking it one day at a time and seeing what happens. I have an idea of what I want, but I’ll be sharing that another time.
I’ve still got a little bit of healing and weight loss to go, but it’s feeling easy breezy now! I’ll be writing another post to share more about that.