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A Veritable Transformation

I know you know this, but I thought I should just come right out and say it, so you know I am fully aware: I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking lately.

I feel a little bit guilty about leaving you mostly recipe-less, but only a little, because I know it’s only a temporary situation.  I think it would be fair to say that conjuring up 136 (!!) recipes for my 3 cookbooks in the space of 5 (!!) months made my interest in cooking sneak out a side exit, like it was having a smoke break.  Instead of wanting to stand at the counter chopping and mixing and sautéing I was far more interested in curling up on the couch with an oversized blanket, a cluster of cats, and a peaceful, uplifting read.

The other reason I am only a little guilty about the whole lack of recipes thing is because I have come to realize with startling clarity that we need more than just delicious new *SANE recipes to reach our health and body-fat goals, although you tell me over and over how my recipes make this journey easier and a lot more tasty for you.  While *SANE eating and eccentric exercising are two essential keys to a SANE lifestyle, there’s a lot more to living better.  And as you’ll see as you read this post, there’s more to health and fat-loss too.  It’s all so inter-connected.

This clarity came early on in the year when my adrenal glands decided they didn’t want to play any longer, having already supported me through 18 months of chronic stress while I merrily ignored all the physical signs along with endless words of wisdom from my therapist.  By the time January rolled around I was completely exhausted and finding it increasingly difficult to function.  My brain refused to switch on in the mornings, my body had less energy than a bowl of cold rice pudding, and all I wanted to do was sleep, which was ironic given the level of my insomnia.  Getting more than 2 hours of sleep a night was like trying to get pants on a fish.

Then one day my body just quit.  Reason #2 there’s been a distinct lack of recipes around here the last few weeks.  I enlisted the expertise of a Naturopath and after running a battery of tests – some of which, interestingly enough, entailed mailing vials of my spit to Tacoma – the results were clear.  My adrenal glands had shut up shop; something I could no longer ignore.  So I took an giant step back  – hugely grateful to my employer for allowing me the time away – and surveyed the scene, determined to do whatever I needed to do in all areas of my life to turn my world right way up again.


And here, lovely readers, is the real purpose of this post.  The changes that I implemented to repair my long-suffering adrenal glands had an unintended benefit – I magically started to burn body fat.  I freely admit that some comments I received back in November that prompted this post bothered me deeply.  I didn’t want anyone to look at me and say, “This whole *SANE thing obviously doesn’t work.”  Imagine how thrilled I was then when a couple of weeks ago I saw Jonathan for the first time in a month, and when I walked in the door and ditched my coat over the chair he exclaimed, “WOW! You look amazing!”  Quite the result, especially bearing in mind that it had not been my focus, and given my struggles since my weight-loss stalled earlier last year.  That whole stalling deal was pretty annoying for the girl who is supposed to be a poster child for *SANE living.

Have you been doing everything right in the *SANE eating and eccentric exercise department and are still not seeing a shift but don’t know what the hold-up is?  Then this post may be exactly what you need.  I knew you’d all want to know what I’d done to get over the hump and start losing again – even (or maybe especially?!) if it was unintentional.  I knew my fat-burning hormones had switched on as soon as it happened because my once-legendary appetite tanked.  As JB put it, “Now your body is going ‘Ooooh! There’s some fat to burn right there on your leg!  I don’t need you to eat as much food now’.”

Now, you’ll have to bear with me here because if I wrote everything I want to tell you in one loooooooooooooooong post it would take me two months to write it and you all day to read it.  So I am not going to do that.  I am going to write one post per topic.  This will also make it easier for you to find and re-read the bits that you feel are most relevant for you instead of having to trawl through the whole darn post again.  You can add this as reason #3 for the lack of new recipes – this stuff is important, so I am going to focus on these posts until they’re done.  Then I’ll get back to the recipes.  Promise!

So now you have some context I can tell you that for the last 7 weeks I’ve been focusing on me.  In doing so I now {finally!} realize how hugely important it is that we all spend time focusing on ourselves – not in a self-ish way, but in a self-care way.  Taking care of ourselves is what will keep the wheels on the bus and the lights on.  Had I taken a little me time on a consistent basis I wouldn’t have got to the place of collapse.  I was forced to get off the merry-go-round.  I encourage you not to wait until you are.

There’s ten things that I’ve been working on that together caused my body’s transformation.  Over the next few weeks I’ll write in depth on each topic with exactly what I did and why.  Take the bits you need and skip the bits you don’t.  I hope you find it useful.  I hope it helps you get on track if you’re not, stay on track if you are, and most of all stops you from getting thrown off the merry-go-round – it’s quite the fall.182645_588848494477397_965781092_n


Jonathan waxes lyrical about our bodies need for lots of good quality sleep and it’s the reason why I have this as my #1 transformer.  You can eat the best *SANE diet in the world and exercise eccentrically to perfection every week, but if you’re not getting enough great sleep life will suck and it will be much harder for you to burn body fat.  Insomnia can literally make you go crazy, not to mention how it impacts our ability to perform in every other area of life.  Nothing else that I was working on was worth a hill of beans until I got the sleep bit figured out.  If you’re not sleeping, make this your #1 goal.  Everything else you implement will work out much better if you get the sleep down first.  Here I share here how I solved my insomnia.


Next to sleep, getting my stressors under control was critical.  If your body is constantly under major negative stress it doesn’t matter what else you do to support your health, it won’t work – or at least it won’t work nearly as well.  For example – the adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones that play key roles in the stress response and metabolism.  Cortisol is one of those hormones, and cortisol serves an important role in controlling the metabolism and use of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.  So no matter how good I was with my *SANE eating, with a messed up adrenal gland – caused by stress – my metabolism sucked.  Here I share what I am doing in the area of stress management to bring everything back into balance.


Consistency is absolutely key to lasting and effective change, and setting routines makes consistency so much easier to maintain.  Routine may conjure up thoughts of boring or stifling, but in reality routines make it possible for you to get far more of the exciting stuff in life.  Here I share why that is so and what routines I’ve now established, plus how and why they have helped so much.


Woah.  Wait.  You mean you weren’t eating *SANE before now, Carrie Brown???  Hang on there, tiger – don’t panic!  I have been eating *SANE foods almost exclusively for 20 months now, but there were two things I was doing that were not allowing that *SANE food to be effective: I was regularly skipping meals altogether when life got too hectic, and I was eating the wrong ratio of macronutrients – too much protein and fat, not enough non-starchy veggies – because for me protein is the easiest thing to grab on the go.  Here I share what I did to change all that and what I do now to make it easy for me to keep the ratios right.


It’s no secret that I do not like to exercise, but the real reason I kept falling off the eccentric wagon was two-fold: I was constantly exhausted and my schedule was nuts.  Here I share what changes I made so that I now look forward to my eccentrics and interval training every week.  Yes, I really did just type ‘look forward to’.


It took me a long while to heed Jonathan’s “Drink green tea!” mantra.  It’s hard when you hate the taste of the stuff.  Here I share how I conquered the green tea monster.


It’s a good idea to take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement just to make sure all the nutritional bases are covered – and Jonathan agrees with me.  Depending on your own particular needs there may also be other things that would be helpful for you to supplement with.  Another thing that fell foul of my exhaustion, ridiculous schedule, and soaring stress levels was supplementing my body with things it needed to thrive.  Here I share how I got that back on track and what supplements I take on a daily basis.

#8. YOGA

I have learned how important it is to re-boot your brain regularly, and yoga is a great way to do that.  My first yoga class was a revelation to me – my brain was still for 75 minutes straight.  Here I share what kind of yoga class I attend and go into the myriad of reasons why it’s so good for us.


It’s really essential to get your R ‘n’ R in – something I have only got my head around in the last 6 weeks.  I have always been hopeless at relaxing because I always felt a compelling drive to be productive for every waking minute of every day.  Here I share what I did to change that and what I now build into my life on a regular basis to ensure I allow myself to get rejuvenated.


You can’t fix the consequences of long-term chronic stress – or anything else – overnight, as much as you might want to.  I am giving my body the time it needs to rest and recover.  I know if I keep on doing the right things consistently my body will heal itself.  That will take time.  I am learning to enjoy the journey. 524895_538514342836984_1619299567_n

You may find that by reading my list you’ve already pinpointed areas you think you need to change.  My list may prompt you to take action you already knew you needed to take but hadn’t made a priority.  You may be just starting out and need to work on everything.  Wherever you are at I look forward to sharing the specifics of my transformation over the next few weeks.  I can’t tell you how excited I am that I have re-kick-started my *SANEity!

In the meantime, whatever makes you feel good – do more of that.


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  • Sue RochesterDear Carrie I was so pleased to read this post and glad you are feeling so much better. Can’t wait to read your changes in the next few posts. We have plenty of recipes to be getting on with so don’t worry about creating new ones just yet.
    Take care and keep up the good progress, you inspire us in so many ways thank you xxReplyCancel

  • Andrea M.So glad you’re taking some much-needed, much-deserved ME time!! Good health is about much more than SANE eating and exercise, and we’ll look forward to reading what you have to share. Keep taking good care of you! <3ReplyCancel

  • Gina SAgain you have the exact words at the perfect time. Just what I needed. I’m in the same boat and am ready to fix my body inside.
    Looking forward to the next installment!
    Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • AlexisCarrie, I’m glad you are taking time to reset and take care of YOU! I’m particularly interested to hear what you did for rejuvenation – I’m also hopeless at relaxing and know I need to get better :)ReplyCancel

  • jolandaDear Carrie, thank you for sharing these very private life situations. I’m sure you needed some courage to take this step and I’m grateful for it. It’s awesome to read you feel so much better and you are in charge of things in your life again.
    People say look at the big picture, I like to see the small details in the picture. You reached me a lot these last couple of months and id like to thank you for that. Looking forward to the details….take care :)ReplyCancel

  • NancyGo girl! I love your posts, and of course the recipes. But the recipes are second to how much I admire your bravery and your humor. You do us, your ‘lovely readers’, a great service by your honesty about mental, emotional and physical health and how they all interplay for you-so we can see how they might work for us. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Gary MossThis all sounds so familiar. Or most of it. I am left to wonder why my mind and body want me to sleep twelve hours a day, but I’m allowing it to happen instead of overriding it. We’ll see where this and better structure for meals and exercise go. I am patiently waiting for a big change in my body sometime in the next months. Thanks for putting it all down for me to read about.ReplyCancel

  • Gary Mossps. My physician prescribed an hour of intensive cardio five days a week to get through this time. I do not agree!ReplyCancel

  • TheresaCarrie, I am so glad for this post! I was feeling a bit frustrated by the lack of results today although I know they will come eventually. Like you, I spit into tubes and mailed it off and found that I had low cortisol so I know that’s a factor in this process that I need to attend to. I’m doing a lot of things to reduce stress and encourage healing. I am looking forward to reading your upcoming posts about your journey. Thank you for sharing :)ReplyCancel

  • Maree ChappellDear Carrie,

    How I laughed at your description of feeling so low you want to crawl into bed with your cats! Amen to that one! I do love those furry little buggers!

    And getting pants on to a fish – well the mind boggles. So in the midst of your struggles and ill health, Carrie you are still making us laugh! You are a rare one. May you heal fast and the fat loss continue!

    God bless!


  • JanThanks Carrie, you have shone the light on my health status. I love your frank honesty, no wonder you are the poster girl for sane eating. I look forward to your future posts and in the meantime, I am getting my adrenals checked!ReplyCancel

  • JulieCarrie girl, thank you for letting us know what is going on with you. You know, when you recently said that you couldn’t eat as much as you used to, the first thing I thought was “well, the Sane way of eating is really kicking in for her”. That’s what happened to me. I just can’t eat as much. I am looking forward to hearing about all you are doing to heal. Thank you for being honest with all your lovely people.ReplyCancel

  • AllieHooray, Carrie! What a great update. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this with us. I’d be really interested in you also sharing what the naturopath did – especially what kind of testing. This is something I’ve been considering for some time now. Much love to you on this journey.ReplyCancel

  • AllisonThis is amazing. There’s so much more I want to say but suffice to say, this is amazing. I can’t wait to read more. And we lead parallel lives, honestly!

    This has come at the perfect time. Just amazing.ReplyCancel

  • EllenThanks, Carrie! This is going to be very helpful, and is incredibly timely. You are awesome!ReplyCancel

  • ellenp.s. ditto on the info about the naturopath. sounds exotic – wonder if they have those here in North GA? :)ReplyCancel

  • LynnThanks so much for this Carrie, i’ve been going through a similar situation and coincidently have started to look at some of these factors too. You are further down the line than I am and it is an inspiring read.
    Looking forward to the next bit…ReplyCancel

  • EllenCarrie,

    Thank you SO much for addressing this topic and your experience with it! I am in a similar situation, having abused my body for way too long, and I love your reminder to treat our bodies with compassion even when we are frustrated with “cortisol belly” and exhaustion and such. I can’t wait for your follow-ups!ReplyCancel

    • carrieSo glad these posts are helpful, Ellen! I don’t want anyone to feel the way I have for the last several months.ReplyCancel

  • The Transformation: Rejuvenation » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane[…] then my adrenal glands went on strike and my world came to a screeching halt.  Most days when I got home from the day-job I barely had […]ReplyCancel

  • The Transformation: Meal Plan » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane[…] the results from my transformation started to become physically apparent I’ve had bucket-loads of requests for more detail on […]ReplyCancel

  • TinaDear Carrie,
    I can’t thank you enough for your time to share these single steps of your transformation. In my fourth month of SANE eating I didn’t lose much weight or inches – and indeed I can relate to so many aspects of where you found yourself before turning things around: insomnia, huge stress levels, being overwhelmed by exponentially growing to do lists – and then the additional stress of justifying the way I was eating now, and what I was not eating anymore, for months, without any visible results.ReplyCancel

    • carrieFood is a huge part of the puzzle, but there are other things in play that can help us on our journey to health and fatloss which we would be wise to consider.ReplyCancel

  • The Slippery Slope » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane[…] have often mentioned that since my transformation I can eat a treat every once in a while without any issues whatsoever.  I now know I need to […]ReplyCancel

  • Get Yourself A Pedicure » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane[…] this year I’ve been working on self-care, although admittedly it took a crisis for me to recognize that it was vital to my existence as well as making me more useful to the […]ReplyCancel

  • MeganThank you so much for sharing. I am relatively new to SANEity and am finding your posts so inspirational. I have been really struggling with my sugar addiction, which is not helped by the fact that my husband does not share my enthusiasm for healthy living. Thank you for giving me direction and permission not to be perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Getting Unstuck » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE Lane[…] last year, after my adrenal fatigue caught up with me and my brain simultaneous went offline I knew I had to just stop.  Outside of my day job – […]ReplyCancel

  • We Have Liftoff! » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE Lane[…] We did a 4 show series on exactly that, and produced a Creative Live event after my fat-loss transformation where we talked about all the reality I had faced on my journey.  JB knew from the get-go that […]ReplyCancel

  • Patricia DearnaleyHi Carrie,

    Some words of support from North Lincolnshire, albeit a bit delayed!

    Earlier I read that you were getting some flack from online naysayers.

    Surely the whole point about SANE is that it’s about re-engineering your body’s natural state, not just another diet fad. So for me, SANE is about going back to nutritional basics within an environment that pushes over-processed food.

    Ignore them. You’re a great ambassador for the UK, and for the SANE lifestyle.ReplyCancel

  • Testing! Testing! » Carrie Brown | Life in the Sane Lane[…] to round things out we decided we may as well re-do the adrenal stress test that I had done way back in January 2014 to see what my adrenal glands were – or were not – up to.  Spit was hurled into vials […]ReplyCancel

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  • WeaverGraceCarrie, thanks for all that you’re sharing here. Your 10 points are fantastic!

    I did the saliva test, too, but NY has a law that prohibits sending saliva anywhere any way, so I drove 2 hours to the closest place in a neighboring state where I could send it across the country.

    Regarding stress, I discovered the Samsung Health app on my phone just when I got my saliva test results back, which indicated adrenal fatigue. I was stunned to see how high my stress measured on the app. Within a couple months, I’ve gotten it to be much lower by using the meditation skills that I have developed intermittently most of my life. I must be digesting my food much better now.ReplyCancel

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