My Story

Hey there! I’ve moved websites. You can learn about how I healed my depression through nutrition by visiting the link below:

My Healing Story

21 Responses to My Story

  1. Wow! Bravo to you! You are such a motivation and I truly appreciate you sharing your story for people like me who are trying to get away from anxiety and be healthier and happier. Can’t wait to read more about your journey! Thanks for inspiring me 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for sharing! I found your instagram account a couple weeks ago when i was in the middle of my first whole 30. I have struggled with depression for my entire life as well, and i am hoping to come off my medication within the next year or so. I feel great eating paleo, and I really want to continue with the lifestyle….. but it is so hard! I would love to hear your tips for keeping on it, and making it easier for yourself!

    Thanks so much for sharing, I will defiantly be following along, and coming back!
    Megan

    • Hi Megan,

      I really appreciate your comment! Congrats on your Whole30 and health journey. It can be really tough.

      Here’s what keeps me going: Yes, this stuff is hard and it takes commitment and planning. But for me personally, it’s much harder to feel like crap, be sad and anxious, and live with the fact that I COULD feel better if I put in the effort. There are a lot of other strategies I use to keep myself on track, but I’d say 80% of it has been mental for me. Reminding myself WHY I eat paleo, exercise, and get plenty of sleep is key. Stay tuned for more posts on this soon. 🙂

      In regards to your own journey, I definitely think establishing a healthy baseline diet-wise can be incredibly beneficial for a medication taper. I did it backwards — I tapered while eating a crappy diet, THEN I went Whole30. Things probably would have been a lot easier if I’d done it the other way around. Also, don’t rush yourself. You’ve gotta go s-l-o-w when tapering, and you’ve gotta do it when the time is right.

      I’m always here for support. Thanks again for checking out my site!

      Holly

      • Thanks so much for the reply! I’ve been thinking about your story a lot, and after trying to reintroduce other foods back into my diet, i’ve pretty much given up on my old lifestyle. I am going to do my second whole30 starting January 1. But i’ve pretty much gone back to whole30 in the meantime. I just don’t want to “officially” start over the holiday’s. I am still amazed at how much whole30 has changed me, and i think it’s shaken me to my core. I think i’m still grieving my old lifestyle and way of eating, and that has probably got to be the hardest part! Did you go through that as well, giving up your old way of life?

        • Hi Megan!

          As far as grieving, I did and I didn’t. By the time I got to Whole30, I was so desperate for a way to feel better that I didn’t care how restrictive it was. I was thrilled that after trying so many things to lose weight and feel better, I’d finally found something.

          I’m not Whole365 — I do “by the book” Whole30s as needed (I’ll be joining you in January!), but the rest of the time, I pretty much stick to the plan, but I do allow myself paleo “treats” and I don’t worry about added sugar. I’ll also have butter here and there.

          But yeah, it can be hard and I do “grieve” from time to time. Today, there’s a freaking cream cheese-apple-cherry danish wheel in the break area, and I LOVE cream cheese danishes. But I know that if I have one, I’ll get sick, and then I’ll beat myself up about the choice I made.

          There are also social inconveniences. I do get sick of feeling like THAT person — e.g., when a meeting is catered at work and there are sandwiches, I have to order a salad or bring my own lunch, etc. I really hate sticking out in that regard, and it can be very uncomfortable.

          But, any time I’m tempted or feeling sorry for myself that I can’t have something, I ground myself and remember my reason for doing all of this. I remember my worst times and remind myself how far I’ve come. I DON’T want to go back to where I was.

          It does get easier with time.

          Life handed me some pretty crappy genes and some terrible situations. I have to fight harder than most people to maintain a good disposition. That stinks, and it’s not fair, but I’m thankful that I’ve FINALLY found something that helps — the alternative is much worse.

          Sorry for the ramble. I hope that was helpful!

          Holly

  3. What an amazing story and how wonderful that you are taking this information out into the world to help others! I love the resources you are sharing here!

    And yes to the power of paleo and real whole food for mood!

    You’ve commented favorably a few times on facebook about the amazing amino acids but I don’t see them mentioned in your story. I ‘d love to know…did you use/do you use tryptophan or 5-HTP or GABA or DPA or tyrosine or glutamine?

    • Hi, Trudy! I am such a huge fan of yours! Thank you for your sweet comments.

      I haven’t used amino acids personally YET, but I plan to. Several months after I successfully got off of antidepressants, I found out I had adrenal fatigue, so I have been working with an amazing functional medicine doctor on that. He has a very specific protocol he has patients follow — first stabilizing blood sugar, then providing adrenal support, then providing hormonal support, and then supporting the brain through amino acids. My work with aminos is a couple of months out, but it’s coming! I honestly can’t wait, because I did take a neurotransmitter saliva test and I’m super low on everything across the board. Especially serotonin.

      However, my husband recently came off of antidepressants, and we used your book as well as Julia Ross’ book to transition him onto aminos. He was having a very rough time, but a combination of 5-HTP, DLPA, and GABA have absolutely saved him. I think he would have ended up reverting back to Prozac if it weren’t for the aminos.

      Which reminds me … I need to update my resources section to include your work! I am going back to school through the Nutritional Therapy Association, and I have been so busy.

      Thanks again for all that you do. It changes lives. I’m thrilled that you were interviewed for The Depression Sessions!

      Best,

      Holly

      • I’m so pleased to hear you’re working with a great functional medicine doctor and are getting answers. I would like to share that I have my clients start trials of amino acids on day 1 as this helps the adrenal-healing and blood sugar balancing (with glutamine)and also starts to help overall hormone balance (progesterone/GABA link and estrogen/serotonon link). It also gets them feeling great mood-wise right away. I don’t mean to put a damper on your enthusiasm but I feel obliged to share this with you.

        Do you mean neurotransmitter urine test? if yes, please be cautious as they don’t often correlate with symptoms. I find using the amino acid questionnaire and trials to be so much more effective. This is likely what you did with your husband. I’m so pleased to hear he did so well!

        All the best with your studies and thanks for your very kind words and support!
        Trudy

        • Hi Trudy,

          Yes, I meant urine test — I did it through Neurolab, which bundles the cortisol test (saliva) and the neurotransmitter test (urine), so I got confused. The results match up with the questionnaires — I’m basically pooped out on everything. I have heard that the tests aren’t always reliable, though.

          You certainly didn’t put a damper on my enthusiasm, and I am grateful for your perspective. I have also been curious as to why he doesn’t want to start me on aminos. My mood has been pretty low lately, and I would love to feel better. I think I might schedule a quick phone appointment with him to get more clarity on why he doesn’t want me to start.

          With my husband, we used the questionnaires in the book. He was getting back to a very low place after his withdrawal from Prozac, and the aminos made an immediate difference — literally within a few hours! I have been recommending your book to lots of people.

          Take care!

          Holly

          • Hi Trudy,

            Of course! I spent almost a year on a pretty in-depth adrenal protocol, and I also used several amino acids over the course of treatment, including tryptophan, 5-HTP, Mucuna, L-tyrosine, and a few others that I’m probably forgetting. I did very well on most of them, but had some pretty bad mood swings with a few of the catecholamine boosters. I have been off of all amino acid supplements and adrenal supplements for about a year, and am now just on a few basic supplements for maintenance. I am in wonderful health and my mood is fabulous!

  4. Hi Holly,

    How did you find the energy, focus, and determination to begin and then stick with such a restrictive plan? I’ve been wanting to do a Whole30 for a while now but still find it all so overwhelming – from the pantry planning to the food schedule to the limitations to actually finding the energy to cook for myself and to resist the bad influences who live with me.

    I too suffer with long term and hard to treat chronic depression, and I too have gained over 60lbs as a result of one or more of the drugs I’ve been taking (esp Abilify). I just tried to get off that Rx but my mood dropped, my energy is gone, and I spend most days in bed now. So my Dr & I decided that I wasn’t going to get any better until I had the positive mood and energy to move forward…. which meant going back on the Abilify that had caused all the weight gain.

    So now I’m back on the problematic (but effective) med and I need to find a way to throw myself into a Whole30 session or three. Unfortunately I live with an enabler with food issues of her own, have a tiny kitchen, and strongly dislike to cook.

    Any tips to help me commit and follow thru on a Whole30 when all I want to do is hide in bed all day?
    Thx

    • Hi Cat,

      Kudos for wanting to make positive changes, even though it’s hard! Many people struggle with this. Some of my clients have to make smaller changes at first (e.g., giving up gluten, or giving up sugar), and those motivate them to go all in with a Whole30. It’s different for everyone, and you will have to find what works for you.

      For me personally, I just got to a place where I was so tired of being sick, depressed, and overweight that it literally filled me with rage. I channeled that rage and used it to make positive change.

      I hope you found at least some of that helpful.

      Wishing you the best,

      Holly

    • I’ll also add this: I don’t know anything about your enabler situation, but it is worth a heart-to-heart talk. Make the conversation about YOU, not her. “I really want to make some changes, and part of that is trying an elimination diet to see if certain foods are triggering any of my health issues. This is really important to me, and it would mean a lot to me to have your support.” Then, let her know the ways that she can be supportive of you during this time.

  5. Aloha Holly,

    Your story is truly inspiring to me as I feel I am in the same boat you were in with the weight gain. I have depression, anxiety and fibromyalgia. Despite my doctor saying otherwise, I KNOW antidepressants contributed to my weight gain. I tried to go off meds for a short time but my fibro turned into a month long flare up so I returned to them. I feel stuck in this weight but I know I need the meds to avoid the pain of flare up to that degree and also with my depression.

    I was about to throw in the towel and just accept it when I heard about Whole 30. Do you think Whole 30 could help me lose some weight even if I remained on the meds? I am planning on starting when I return from vacation in a week.

    Thank you so much for your story and sharing it. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Mahalo,
    Melissa

    • Aloha, Melissa!

      I’m so happy to hear my story inspired you. 🙂

      I think Whole30 would very likely help you lose weight, even if you are on the meds. It differs for everyone. The other thing to consider is that Whole30 is extremely anti-inflammatory, so it will also help your fibro. And, if you choose to attempt a taper in the future, doing an anti-inflammatory protocol like the Whole30 will set you up for success, and make the withdrawal process easier on your body. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!

      Best,

      Holly Higgins, NTP

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