Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
29 Jun

384 Days of Primal: Focusing on the Process to See Results

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Hi Mark,

I’ve been Primal now for over a year. I came upon The Primal Blueprint when searching for resources on paleo dieting. Little did I know that I would find a whole lifestyle that would gel so well with my understanding of the human body.

My initial reasons for going Primal were that I was starting a family. I was studying Medical Nanotechnology at University and was working as an orderly at the same hospital my wife had been working at for 15 years. We were recently married and expecting our first child. Of course, my first child arriving during my mid 30’s made me sit up and think about my health. My initial thoughts had been, “I’ve never smoked, drank or done drugs, so I’m very healthy. I’ll last past 100 easy”. However, what I was seeing every day disturbed me.

As an orderly, the only thing you can offer patients is some comfort through a basic chat. What had disturbed me was the fact that I was talking to a great many people who had renal problems, cancer, etc., and swore blind they’d been following health guidelines as given to them by our government (Australian) and their doctors. At first I thought that they were obviously lying or delusional. However, when it occurred time after time I began questioning. I also began listening to my body and understanding that even though I had a job where I was walking 20,000 steps a day pushing beds and wheelchairs, I didn’t feel fit. My body ached, I injured easily and got easily out of breath. This was strange to me considering that I was following what would be considered a very healthy lifestyle.

So my search began in February 2011. By March 2011 I had read your book, joined your website and was living Primal. The transition for me was no issue. I had been trying to NOT live this way my whole life, so letting go of the reigns was incredibly easy for me. I had no low carb flu even though I was a carb machine prior to PB. I’ve transitioned back into IT (my previous career) as I needed a better income for when bubs came along. So every lunch I walk 4 km to get in my slow movement. I’m known in the office as the guy with the funny looking shoes (VFF’s) who’ll walk in any weather.

I brought a home gym. A Force USA Power Rack that I’m absolutely, insanely happy with. I stick to 3 workouts a week. It’s hard. I want to lift every day, but I force myself to do just the 3 sessions. Sprinting is proving difficult to fit in with bubs here now and another on the way. But I’ll slowly introduce it in.

I feel insanely fantastic. It’s sickening to others! I eat my fat-heavy Primal lunches at work and everyone shakes their head at how I got so lean eating that type of food. People always ask me how I did it, then their eye’s glaze over when I tell them. I don’t mind. More meat for me!

Previously I had been told that I could never jog again due to shin splints. Well, I went for a jog a few weeks ago. 2.7 km in my KSO’s. It was the first time I had jogged for any length of time in over a decade. I couldn’t believe the result. The whole jog felt super easy, my breathing was the easiest it has ever been and that’s including when I used to play rugby. The results were amazing and my shins didn’t even get a twinge. I’m not interested in making jogging a part of my normal routine, but it’s nice to know the capability is there when I need it.

Probably the biggest benefit though is that I always have energy for my family. I get up early, get bubs breakfast ready, do a full day of work with my walk in the middle. Come home, clean and sometimes cook. Feed bubs, play with her and bath her, then put her to bed. Then Mon-Wed-Fri I’m out in the shed lifting heavy weights. The amount of work I get through now makes me feel so bad for all the lost years when I had low energy and motivation. Our second pregnancy is taking it out of my wife, the exhaustion has really knocked her about. She’s been on bed rest in hospital for 6 weeks and it looks like she’ll be in there for 6 weeks more at least. Having enough energy to step up and take care of my family the way I have wouldn’t have been possible before Primal.

Although my goal was health, I was keen in watching my weight and waist size. I got so skinny at one point that my wife’s family held a mini-intervention for me during my father-in-law’s birthday party. I proceeded to tell them that I was eating plenty of food. Then I grabbed a little bit of fruit salad, and a massive stack of freshly whipped cream and said, “Try and keep up now!”

My biggest piece of advice to others would be to work the process exactly as PB sets it out. Forget the results for a year. I’ve charted my entire year on PB in an Excel spreadsheet and have some charts to share. I thought these would help people more than a photo of me. You can see from the charts that weight loss was anything but linear and consistent. Remember, this whole time I just worked the process. No real tweaking. I see a lot of forum posts that are along the lines of “It’s been 2 weeks and I’ve hit a plateau”. No, you haven’t. See my charts.

Pure Weight Loss

You can see from this chart that the weight loss was anything but linear and consistent. I tried to measure my weight as often as I could under the exact same conditions everyday. In total I lost about 30 lbs, but then you’ll notice the number go back up around the 273rd day. This was just after I got my Force USA Power Rack.

Body Fat %

I measured my BF with Tanita Body Fat Scales (impedance). I measured as often as possible under the same conditions (when I arrived home from work). You can see my body fat drop quite dramatically. It currently sits around 18%. However, I use the standard setting. If I use the Athlete setting, which I probably should now, it says my BF is 10%. But either way, you can see the reduction is quite dramatic.

Lean Body Mass

Probably the most telling chart of all. It didn’t change too much at all during the whole process. People kept telling me that eating this way would reduce my muscle mass and I’d rebound later with more fat. I would like to know how long I keep having to prove them wrong before they finally get it.


This is probably the most amazing chart to me. I haven’t had a 34 inch waist since high school!

To finish up I’d just like to thank you for putting all of the information together into an easy to follow lifestyle. That’s no easy feat and you and your team have nailed it. It’s made a massive difference in my life and I thank you for it.


Shane Roelofs

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I love the charts! I’m totally making charts now :)

    lorraine wrote on June 29th, 2012
  2. Congratulations on your wonderful transformation and new family. It’s great to hear from an Aussie too. The glazed over look is so common with the primal lifestyle. My mum used to do the same thing until I convinced her to try it and she lost 10 kg. Now she can’t imagine living any other way!

    Liz wrote on June 30th, 2012
  3. Thanks for all the kind comments everyone. It’s humbling that you find my story an inspiration and for some, a confirmation that you’ll eventually get the result.

    Shane wrote on June 30th, 2012
  4. I hear you on the feeling of all that time ‘wasted’ before you found your energy. I’m having similar feelings at the moment. I’m a few months into primal living and feel like I’ve woken up from a 20 year slumber. Congratulations on your regaining your health and energy.

    Waleed wrote on June 30th, 2012
  5. Great job! Your story was very inspiring :)

    doghug wrote on June 30th, 2012
  6. P.S. Love the charts:)

    doghug wrote on June 30th, 2012
  7. Oh wow, another primal biomedical nanoscience engineer with shin splints. Maybe you’re my long lost twin. All the best!

    Edin wrote on June 30th, 2012
    • How awesome is Nanotech!?! I had to put my study on hold for now while I support my family but I am so keen to get back into it. It’s funny, we follow a lifestyle that bases practices on human kind’s ancient past yet we’re interested in a field that promises to lead human kind in to he future. Too cool!

      Shane Roelofs wrote on July 2nd, 2012
  8. Thank you! I plateaued after 2 weeks (it’s been a month). I was going to start tweaking but decided not to after reading your story. I will take the walking more seriously though. Haven’t been doing that…

    Xena wrote on June 30th, 2012
  9. Good onya Shane – awesome story. Love your graphs too (in kilos/cms please). And yes that glazed over face is a common response for me to. I start by saying “no grains, no preseravites or artificial foods”. If I can keep their attention that long then I tell them Paleo. I keep emailing people Mark’s website, but who knows who reads it. And I am 53 and thought the days of having a waist were long past me – “oh yeah, as women get older your waist just thickens up” Pffff in 5 months I have lost 9cm (I think, my trainer has the figures) off my waist and have had to dig out some belts to hold up my jeans. Oh yeah!!!!! And my daughter saw a great idea recently. Get some business cards printed – red on one side with a list of “no go” food, and green on the other with a list of “gimme more” food. Just hand those out when people ask what you can eat!
    Thanks for your story Shane…..hope all goes well for you and your expanding family…..

    Hilly wrote on June 30th, 2012
    • I love the business card idea!! I would add Mark’s website to it :)

      CgirL001 wrote on August 6th, 2012
  10. Gday fellow Aussie,

    well done mate. Great idea with the charts, I would have liked a before and after also tho! Im girly, I like the visual stuff.

    Im a year primal too, and while I didnt do the charts I do weigh myself daily, and write down kgs. My only reason was to lose weight though as I didn’t care about my health (strange but true). Nothing could be further from the truth now!

    Lost nearly 30kg. But the bonus of weighing daily for me, was that I really learnt what my body was doing. It got to the point where I could tell to the tune of 100g what weight I’d be and more importantly why.

    Even though I don’t get a period (IUD) I know when it’s “that time” due to my weight gain. Up to 2kg.

    I also know my bowel movements schedule, (up a few hundred grams) usually means I will go the next day! It’s crazy, but it’s true!

    Cheating can raise the scales by 500g but it goes away within two days or less by getting back on track.

    Fasting drops 1kg about a day after.

    I know my body very well.

    I keep preaching Primal, sending everyone to Mark’s site or to my own little fbook group. (60 of us on there now).

    I can’t bear to be silent.

    Congrats! and may I add, weighing daily is not for everyone. Do it with caution as daily fluctuations can be really hard to bare when they go up up up and you feel youre doing everything wrong!

    I recently tried on clothes that were a very small size, and noticed my body had changed shape significantly and yet weighed the same. I was wearing a size 8 jeans, and a size 6 top. I used to be a 16 pants and 14 top. (Aussie sizes) So I am an advocate of measuring and graphing AND weekly photos in the same clothes, until it’s unreasonable (ie they fall off). Also the underwear shot is priceless once you’ve lost the weight and want to remind yourself..

    Ok I think my post is longer than the original!


    Jane wrote on July 1st, 2012
  11. Congrats Shane, for the results and for the great job at recording such accurate data.

    You mention Australia, are you living here (Aus) now and if so where are you?

    (Brisbane, Australia.

    Peter wrote on July 1st, 2012
    • Hi Peter, I live in Penrith just outside of Sydney.

      Shane Roelofs wrote on July 2nd, 2012
  12. Thanks for sharing your story. The graphs were a wake up call that I am indeed progressing ( even when the scale goes back up for no reason)and that I need to just ” trust the process” and not waiver from doing PB. Thanks & congrats!

    Lyn wrote on July 1st, 2012
  13. well done Shane from another fellow Aussie. I’m now 10 1./2 months along and my weight picture is exactly like yours, a sharp loss, slow ramp down, long level patches (I am in one now) but a steady trend downwards.

    I have dropped 4 1/2 pants sizes and 3 top sizes and still shrinking.

    I swim as my chosen exercise – 6 days a week most of the year and 3 days a week now it is colder. Don’t have any electronic scales as I had 2 sets and the subtropical humidity killed them – annoying and expensive.

    Keep up the good work!

    Odille Esmonde-Morgan wrote on July 1st, 2012
  14. Yes, thank you for sharing your incredible story and for keeping those charts! Wow. The greatest thing (for me) was hearing about your energy level – thumbs up!

    Congrats on your new little one who is set to arrive-best of health to your wife :)

    Lucy wrote on July 1st, 2012
  15. Thank you for sharing! Also if you want to work out 5 days/week theres a good program over at MuscleHack. I’ve done it for 6+ months while eating paleo/low carb and it worked great.

    Niklas Wallis wrote on July 2nd, 2012
  16. I’m glad to hear that your shin splints are better. I have been battling with stress fractures from shin splints. I’m hoping going primal will help with some of the pain! Thanks for sharing your story!

    Erin wrote on July 3rd, 2012
  17. Okay, folks, I really need some advice if you’ve got it. I keep loosing weight, and I wasn’t terribly fat to begin with. My BMI is about 17 now, and I’m NOT starving myself. I eat eggs, something for lunch, a huge primal dinner, a piece of dark chocolate every day, wine etc. Never had any foodissues, and like having a ‘waif’ figure now EXCEPT – I’m definitely loosing muscle. My muscles were always puny, but I could do five pushups on my knees. Now I can do two, and I feel like a weakling. I freeze all the time, and I start to look like an old woman. I’m probably approaching menopause, but still, the lifestyle seems to have hastened this development. How do I build muscle and get to look and feel strong again? I haven’t trained much ever, but neither more nor less with paleo.

    Ulla Lauridsen wrote on July 3rd, 2012
    • Try supplementing with whey protein in 8oz. of organic milk a couple times per day. Increase your training to 3x per week. Heavier weights and not too many reps. Work on building your strength, setting a baseline in basic exercises like bench, shoulder press, squat etc. and then adding small amounts of weight each session.

      Chuck wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • Look at the “How to Gain Weight and Build Muscle” article on this site. It’s under “Top Posts” on the right side of the page (towards the top).

      Les wrote on July 6th, 2012
  18. borntobelean
    I’m so jealous! 53 and cant get stomach to form 0ne muscle!!! here’s my email if u could send me your work out thanks

    bill wrote on July 4th, 2012
  19. Thanks for sharing this! I have been at this for several months but have my whole family joining me – mum, dad, hubby and daughter. The scale says I have only lost 10 lbs (and I think someone stuck chewing gum on it as it is not budging) but everyone comments that I look like I have lost a ton of weight. Down two dress sizes actually so your charts were very helpful. The energy is a definite plus. My biggest gain? I can drink coffee again after having to give it up for five years! Love this stuff…

    Jill wrote on July 5th, 2012
    • LOVE coffee Jill! I have it with cream now, no milk :) Real coffee too, not instant. I found that I don’t get the caffeine withdrawal headaches with real coffee.

      Shane wrote on July 6th, 2012
  20. My colleagues was “horrified” when I took 1-2 tablespoons of blend coconut/olive oil with meal.

    Gaba wrote on July 5th, 2012

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