In college I played Division 3 volleyball, was the dance team captain and an avid skier/ski patroller who worked out 3-4 days in the campus gym. And my “healthy” vegetarian diet and “active” lifestyle had me weighing in at 190lbs on my 5’ 8” frame with a total cholesterol in the 220‘s.
My typical afternoon in college consisted of the following pattern: I’d have my vegetarian lunch in the dining hall consisting of pasta with a veggie burger and marinara sauce and a large salad with fat free dressing- (no cheese, no nuts and no oil because I had high cholesterol). Then I’d go to class and fall asleep in the middle of answering a question. Or I’d fall asleep taking notes. Or I’d fall asleep sitting at the lab table looking at a petri dish. And these were in subjects I loved!
The medical community decided I had narcolepsy. While they thought about how to “fix me,” I had to resort to standing during all my afternoon lectures, performing jumping jacks and splashing water on my face to stay awake. This was embarrassing for me and hugely distracting to my classmates.
I started trying to arrange my schedule so I could nap in the afternoon because all of my medical tests were negative and I assumed the fatigue was just something that I would have to learn to deal with.
In graduate school I started eating smaller portions, less simple carbohydrates and in the first year lost 15 pounds. Suddenly I was able to stay awake with only 1 mid afternoon coffee! Life was good. I continued my weight loss trend as I switched to fewer and fewer simple carbs/sugars and my energy levels went through the roof. Coffee became a thing I enjoyed as a treat, not a mandatory food group! I got to 145 lbs and thought I was in Heaven. Life was great!
Over the past 3 years my food intake has been further refined by incorporating the principles of Food Balance using the Soma Science℠ philosophy. As I sit here writing this, I can tell you that I am way down from the 190lbs I was in college to a healthy 135lbs. My cholesterol is down from a total of 224 to 153. I eat 5 times per day in volumes that are appropriate for my weight and a good balance of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates (including all of the oils, cheeses and eggs that I avoided in college). I keep a schedule that has me going from 5 or 6 in the morning until 10 at night- without fatigue, without coffee in the afternoon and without a single medication for “narcolepsy.”
There wasn’t a pill for what was wrong with me. There’s no magic pill for unhealthy food behaviors and sugar/simple carbs addiction. But there is the possibility for change. And it’s worth it. I’m done sleeping away my life. I’m living it with more energy than I ever dreamed I’d have!