So it's been a little over a week since I began the paleo diet - and exercising daily. Basically the only thing that can motivate me to get off my ass and get healthy is my skin. And hey, works for me.
I basically started the diet really abruptly, without tapering off carbs or sugars and whatnot. Thankfully I'm a total carnivore and definitely not one of those people who ever really craves bread or sweets, so it wasn't especially difficult. At first though it was definitely strange not having a carb component, because I never really felt like I'd had a meal. I guess because I didn't feel incapacitated by fullness. I adjusted to that pretty quickly though, and it hasn't been too rough. Also I'm not absolutely militant about my diet, so I'll let myself have a macaron or whatever if I want to.
So far it's going fairly well, but meat is pricey, especially if you want good/lean cuts, and if you're having meat at every meal. Another con: it's difficult to remember to eat enough; people on the nutrition board suggested that I'm not getting enough calories, because I used to get a lot of those through bread and rice. This means I've lost some weight, so I need to make a point of adding in more fats - so far it's been primarily protein, vegetables and fruits, with fats added only incidentally.
What else... I've also been taking supplements: magnesium, zinc, fish oil and vitamin A. I noticed my skin becoming oilier upon adding the fish oil/vitamin A (can't tell which is the culprit), so I've started taking these every other day. I was intensely upset about the oily skin thing because it was so unexpected - typically my skin is dehydrated to the point where I'm not getting dryness-related irritation breakouts that actually look rash-like. Within a matter of days though, it became about five times oilier, which I assumed would lead to horrific breakouts. Not really the case (KNOCK ON WOOD), and red marks actually seem to be fading faster and my skin feels suppler and healthier. Makeup looks a lot better on, less cakey.
Finally, I've factored in exercise. Exercise is not something I ever do. I used to get winded walking up single flights of stairs; it was really pathetic. Once I started paleo though I figured I'd add in exercise too, so I've been jump-roping daily. It's only been a week but my stamina has improved greatly: I've gone from panting over 300 reps to doing 1000 without breaking much of a sweat. It is fantastic for stress relief and I feel a lot more physically capable, and hopefully this is benefiting my skin as well.
This entry's all over the place, but here's my rational for going paleo: I suspect I *may* be somewhat insulin resistant, or that I've exhausted my adrenal glands completely. I think I would have 'outgrown' my acne at 17 years old if I had maintained a reasonable diet and exercise routine, because around then my skin was fairly clear (I got the occasional spot, which was easily treated with BP). Then when I went off to college, stress levels, coffee consumption, and eating habits gradually went completely into the toilet. I'd skip meals regularly, or eat terrible ones (to "save money"), and stay conscious by consuming massive amounts of coffee.
At my worst I could easily consume 10+ cups, or 4+ Red Bulls (honestly) and still feel tired. I had to take in huge amounts of caffeine just to function, but ultimately it just made me feel worse. I kept this up for YEARS... then wondered why my skin went to crap. I figured I was young so I could abuse my body any which way and expect my skin to still look good. And hey, some people can, but I'm genetically predisposed to both acne and diabetes so...
This is total speculation, but I thought maybe the caffeine consumption, poor diet, and carbs/sugar was contributing to hormonal imbalances - which I could never correct with birth control pills (which I don't want to go on, and which never cleared my acne). I cut out caffeine almost completely several months ago (everyone was so proud), but my diet was still a mess and so here I am.
I'll probably update sporadically because I don't check back here too often, which is a good sign. I'm actually not doing anything special to my skin, because I've given up on spot treatments and such altogether (they just seem to dry out and irritate - skin's still rather thin and fragile from Accutane). I've been sticking to my usual simple cleansing routine, and I'm still using Mario Badescu's glycolic foaming wash. Recently got a hold of Alpha Hydrox's 10% glycolic gel, which I'm testing on my forehead. My skin seems to like glycolics so hopefully that works out well.