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January 21, 2011

A Cereal Addict Goes Primal

By Guest
96 Comments

Many of you may relate to the story of Derek and his wife. It’s not a tale of dramatic weight loss, but a story of discovering an ideal body hiding within the body you’ve grown accustomed to.

If you have your own Primal Blueprint success story and you’d like to share it with me and the community please contact me here. Have a wonderful Friday, everyone, and thanks for reading!

Hi Mark,

Love your website and all the success stories. Our story is a little less profound than some in regards to total weight lost, but eating Primal has significantly improved both my life and that of my wife’s.

I’m 38 years old and my wife is 36 years old. I’ve been athletic my entire life, nordic ski racing, bike racing, climbing, backcountry skiing, endurance running, etc, etc. My wife, since she has been married to me (10+ years), has been very active as well. With my athleticism, I always had a ferocious ability to consume food, with my staple being Frosted Shredded Wheat, home made bread, pasta, and a myriad of other wheat based foods. I’m 6 feet tall and have weighed 200lbs for the past 15 years. I could run a marathon off the couch or ride a century, endurance was my specialty. I was always really aerobically inclined and just assumed that 200lbs was my ideal weight. But then I saw a picture of myself one day, then my mother joked to my wife that I was “getting a gut”, then I hopped on the scale and it read 204lbs. That was the beginning of the end for me.

My wife, when I met her, was a “skinny fat” product of the standard American diet, weighing in at a paltry, protein deficient 105lbs at 5’3″ tall. Over the years, her activity level rose and she became quite athletic and a strong rock climber. During those years, her back went south and she suffered with sciatica and eventually had a microdiscectomy to correct a bulging disc. After surgery, and even before, her weight steadily crept up to an eventual 135lbs despite being very active. She too just considered that her homeostasis.

So last February I decided to measure what I ate for breakfast every day. I was shocked when I realized my morning bowl of Frosted Shredded Wheat with 1% milk was 900 calories! I have been a cereal addict my entire life. I could eat it three meals a day. So I started simple by eating 1/3rd less, then eventually 1/2 less of my cereal. I cut out the big cookie I had at lunch, then quit snacking throughout the day. Eventually my breakfast self-evolved into egg whites, 1 piece of toast, and some ham. Then it was usually flat bread, tuna or lean meat for lunch, and a light meat diet for dinner. I was burned out on back country skiing and skiing in general that winter, so I spent 3-5 days per week lifting. Needless to say, my weight plummeted by about 1lb per week or slightly more. I was pretty excited.

As time progressed, my diet continued to self evolve into a more Primal Blueprint diet. I stumbled across your website, and upon first read, I thought it was a little extreme. But after more and more reading of this site, and others like it, I decided to gradually eliminate all wheat and processed foods. The weight continued to come off, I felt very healthy, did far less “chronic cardio” and primarily lifted and did aerobic hiking/cycling about 4 hours per week total. Last spring I reached 175lbs (lost 25+ pounds) and have stayed there since, fluctuating by a few pounds lately due to increase muscle mass. I have absolutely no difficulty maintaining.

Besides the pleasant side effect of losing weight, the biggest improvement in my health has been no more acid reflux and no more exercise induced asthma. I used to have terrible acid reflux that would keep me up at night and plague me throughout the day. It is now ENTIRELY gone, but will come back in a hurry if I get tripped up in eating wheat to any extent. I also used to have terrible cold weather, exercise induced asthma leading to frequent winter pulmonary infections, a constant cough, wheezing, and the need to take Albuterol and inhaled corticosteroids, and often times antibiotics for mild pneumonia following otherwise benign chest infections.

My summary: Eating Primal and exercising “smarter” allowed me to be leaner, fitter, and stronger in everything I do, it has also rid me of asthma and acid reflux. The benefits of eating paleo are in no way subtle for me, they are night and day.

At the time I started changing my diet, my wife obviously did too. It was winter, and she doesn’t ski much, so she started doing P90X. Her weight plummeted as well, about 0.5lbs per week by simply eating less processed foods, counting calories, and doing strength training. Her goal was initially 120lbs, which she reached fairly easy in about four months, with a few plateaus along the way. She eventually phased out wheat almost entirely as well, only eating small amounts very infrequently. Over last summer, she reached 115bs, was very lean, looked great, and was an aerobic machine when we went hiking or biking. It was pretty amazing. I would be hiking my normal pace, which was usually quite a bit faster and out of her comfort zone, but last summer she was absolutely killing it. Always right behind me, charging away, even sometimes with a heavy pack on longer trips.

Intelligently losing 20lbs and gaining muscle on her already small frame was impressive, but this wasn’t the most significant gain for her from eating paleo. We have been trying to conceive for the past four years with absolutely no success, none at all. About mid summer last year is when she eliminated wheat/grains almost entirely from her diet and had reached a comfortable set point in her weight, and was doing mostly strength training with some light cardio. This last September, she announced to me that she was pregnant. There’s no proof, but it seems suspicious that we had no luck with this at all until she started eating Primal and eliminated wheat. Perhaps it’s just coincidental, but I don’t think so.

During her first trimester she had significant nausea and vomiting and a highly erratic palate for foods. During that time, she pretty much ate whatever she could, which often times was processed foods, lots of sugars, etc. But it was that, or eat nothing at all. We didn’t worry about it in the slightest. She is now in her second trimester and back to mostly eating Primal, getting her carb cravings from potatoes and fruits. She looks great and mostly feels great. The funny observation about her “diet” is that of her coworkers. They are all convinced she should discuss her “diet” with her doctor, because apparently, eating whole foods isn’t healthy. Hahahhaha! I love the logic of the ill informed.

My wife’s summary: Eating primal and exercising “smarter” has allowed my wife to become a lean, fit, healthy woman, and we think, was a significant adjunct in her being able to get pregnant.

We are looking forward to busting myths that having a child means you have to eat processed foods and live in the drive through window. I’m sure we’ll both be just as fit at forty as we are now. Maybe more so.

Best regards,

-Derek

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96 Comments on "A Cereal Addict Goes Primal"

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Resurgent
Resurgent
5 years 8 months ago

As always – Awesome, Inspiring..!
Grok on ! everyone!!

Jenny Morris
Jenny Morris
5 years 8 months ago

Congratulations, and best wishes for a fabulous pregnancy and delivery! Very happy for both of you. Thanks for sharing your story.

Lee
Lee
5 years 8 months ago

Your story sounds pretty darned profound to me. You and your wife both look terrific, and your health gains are impressive. Congratulations all around!

Ray
Ray
5 years 8 months ago

I am always amazed! Congrats!

barb
barb
5 years 8 months ago

nice story – i too have watched gut/reflux issues disappear in the past year i ve been primal.

Brittany
Brittany
5 years 8 months ago

Very inspiring story — thanks for sharing! You both look great. Congrats on the little one!

sarahfrance
sarahfrance
5 years 8 months ago

What a wonderful story! Very inspiring. Primal living is about so much more than losing weight. Congratulations on the pregnancy, you must be so thrilled. I wish I’d known more about the adverse effects of carbs when I’d been pregnant… Wishing you all the best!

Rhys
5 years 8 months ago

Hey where are those pictures taken? It looks a lot like Kings Peak in Utah…

primal tree top
primal tree top
5 years 8 months ago

you both look younger now than in the first pictures. Congradulation on expanding the family!

I think that sometimes it is more dificult for those that are not significantly over weight to see the primal logic.

It is great that this couple did and got such awsome results.

Lynn
Lynn
5 years 8 months ago
Well, Derek, I raised 4 children and rarely hit the drive through window. Couldn’t afford it, although we did have some processed foods, lunchmeat, spaghetti, homemade mac and cheese, hotdogs every now and then. They were all competitive swimmers through high school and one even went on to swim in college. We pretty much survived. One thing I’ve learned from my 7 year old grandson is feed your kids a variety of foods even when they are little. He rarely ate jarred babyfood. He was eating salad at 4 years old and today eats sushi, asks his daddy to buy… Read more »
Dana
Dana
5 years 8 months ago

My daughter will eat those little dried and salted whole fish that they sell in Japanese restaurants. The whole thing, eyes and all. She’s six.

We still have to contend with finickiness but she eats things that would horrify the average kid her age. I think it’ll work out OK in the end.

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alltop Lifehacks, Jose Seminario, Real Bodybuilders, Dieting is Hard, Potential bundle and others. Potential bundle said: A Cereal Addict Goes Primal: Many of you may relate to the story of Derek and his wife. It’s not a tale of drama… http://bit.ly/fPMxu5 […]

earthspirit
earthspirit
5 years 8 months ago

You guys are having a girl!!!!

This happened to me, well not the conceiving part, but the nausea and couldnt eat anything first trimester part. It was horrible! I was so so so sick for about 12 weeks. A little bit of beef soup with some bread, I dropped 8lbs. I ate whatever I could, and went back to primal in my second trimester. I swear its the excess estrogen in the body from a female fetus that makes u sick =P

I love fridays because I love these stories and pix 🙂

Lynn
Lynn
5 years 8 months ago

I was sick as a dog with my first, a boy – chicken, mashed potatoes and stringbeans were my food. With my twins, I took bread, a slice of cheese and fresh tomato with a little oregano and some fresh chopped garlic and ran it under the broiler – settled my stomach right away.

Jessica
5 years 8 months ago

I was terribly sick my first trimester and had a boy…I think it’s very individual. I also ate some non-primal foods during my pregnancy, especially early on, but was about 90% primal and had a healthy pregnancy and baby. I also found that primal eating helped me drop the baby weight very quickly.

earthspirit
earthspirit
5 years 8 months ago

Darn it cut out a little of what i was saying in there of what i could hold down for food. oh well, doesnt matter that much.

Maryann
5 years 8 months ago

Wow, thanks for sharing your story. Very inspirational and congrats on the pregnancy! You all are going to make great parents of a healthy child!

wilberfan
wilberfan
5 years 8 months ago

I hear you, my brother! I was vegan for 18 years and used to snack on my “healthy” cereals–handful after handful. It got so bad that I–literally–put a small padlock on my pantry door to make it more difficult to get at the stuff.

I went Primal in Mid-October and am LOVING the “dont-have-to-watch-what-I-eat” thing. Although–full-disclosure–I went to eating handfulls of walnuts and almonds like I used to do with the cereal!

I just LOVE crunchy. Instead of locking the cupboard again, I’ve just stopped buying the walnuts and almonds… 🙁

chipin
chipin
5 years 8 months ago

Yes, I like almonds. My jaw gets tired chewing them long before I can eat too many!

Dasha
Dasha
5 years 8 months ago

yes! I’m sure the pregnancy is not a coincidence at all. Congrats.

Rich W
Rich W
5 years 8 months ago

Congrats on the little one! Can’t wait to see what primal kids end up like in the future.

Paleo_or_Die
5 years 8 months ago

Howdy there, love the article nice to see people shake nasty habits. I do have a question, has anyone out there came across some convincing literature on the dangers of diet soda ? My mom will not stop drinking the stuff no matter how hard I try. The only thing she seems to be really concerned about is loosing weight. Anyone have any articles about diet soda causing weight gain ?? A nudge in the right direction would be great, thanks!

66jzmstr
66jzmstr
5 years 8 months ago

I’m in the same position. My mom drinks diet soda at all times of the day, and it has me worried. A synthetic imitation of something that is already not healthy can’t be good, but I haven’t found any studies saying so. Anyone with any leads?

Kelda
5 years 8 months ago

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/diet-soda/

also try putting diet soda in the box top right to search the site and in the forum search facility too.

janet
5 years 8 months ago

Dr. Mercola has many articles about artificial sweeteners and how dangerous they are for our health.
http://search.mercola.com/Results.aspx?k=sweetener
Here’s an interview with Dr. Russell Blaylock about aspartame http://www.whale.to/v/Aspartame_Truth.pdf

Dana
Dana
5 years 8 months ago
I think a lot of the arguments against diet soda are bogus, personally. It’s just people being hateful about the obese because they want any excuse they can get to make fun of them (us–I’m still well overweight). Like the remark I often run across that “the only people I see drinking diet soda are fat people”–well no s?!t, Sherlock, we’re guilt-tripped about every calorie that goes into our mouths, you think we’re not going to cut those where it’s easy to do so? I know people think I’m ridiculous on the rare occasion I ever drink a mainstream diet… Read more »
Bailey
Bailey
5 years 8 months ago

Guess I should have read this before I posted my other comment. A lot of great ideas. Thanks Dana! Your posts are always awesome, informative, and long enough to be to be truly helpful. Don’t ever go away!

Bailey
Bailey
5 years 8 months ago
I have a severe addiction to Diet Soda. It is my one vice, and the biggest true barrier in front of me and true Primality. I would be curious to see studies too – real ones that address specifically WHAT diet sodas do health-wise, and not in comparison to regular sodas. We’ve all heard fake sugars give cancer to rats, and I am always annoyed when I click a diet soda link/story/study and it is the same old, same old “Drinking sweet beverages increases one’s desire for sweet foods” BS. I, for one, looove my diet soda and drink it… Read more »
debbie
debbie
5 years 8 months ago

check out EFT {emotional freedom technique} it looks weird, but it works. I’m an RN, by the way, so I’m not too “new age”.I’ve used this myself for some serious sugar cravings.
I’ve been doing this diet for about two weeks now, and most of my sugar problems are gone. I spit out a bite a cupcale at church last week!

Dawn
Dawn
5 years 8 months ago
Please be careful with artificial sweeteners. This is not a “study” but a personal anecdote. I had HORRIBLE migraines while using protein powder sweetened with sucralose/acesulfame K mix. Knocked out for three days, nausea, crazy psychedelic visuals, etc. It got worse and worse over about 18 months, and started to happen a couple of times a month. I read online that sucralose could be a migraine trigger and chucked the protein powder in the trash — and the migraines vanished completely. (That was about a year ago, and not even a hint of a migraine since.) My mother became very… Read more »
Shary
Shary
4 years 3 months ago
The first thing to understand is that sweets are definitely addictive for many people. It doesn’t matter whether your thing is diet soda or cheesecake; it’s still the sweet taste that the body and brain are craving, and the more you eat or drink, the more you are going to want. You kick the habit by eliminating ALL sweets from your diet, and I do mean ALL. Even fresh whole fruit should be avoided for a while. Yep, you will crave sweets like crazy, but it usually only lasts a few days. Stay busy, keep your mind on other things,… Read more »
Poppabear
Poppabear
5 years 8 months ago

Excellent stories you two! I’ve just started on my primal journey, and am enjoying every minute of it. And, congrats on the little one!

Alan M
Alan M
5 years 8 months ago

When I mentioned to my dental hygienist I lost all my weight eating a primal/paleo diet she told me her reproductive endocrinologist recently recommended her read The Primal Blueprint. In that doctor’s mind there must be something to this crazy lifestyle. Go figure. 🙂

mrsmoesy
mrsmoesy
5 years 8 months ago

Congratulations! I’m so pleased that switching to PB helped you to conceive. I wouldn’t be surprised by it in the least.

You know this means you have to send in primal baby pictures too, right? 🙂

Sameer
Sameer
5 years 8 months ago

Wow, loved the post!

Anne
Anne
5 years 8 months ago

Yayy, what a happy story! Congrats and be sure to keep us posted on the Groklet! Definitely send in pics!

Lynn
Lynn
5 years 8 months ago

Does the dog only have three legs?

Primal_Joe
5 years 8 months ago

GERD (Gastric EsopoghealReflux Disease) is a real pain in the arse. Glad you are not bothered by it anymore. Going Primal really has a lot of diffrent benefits.

Jessica
5 years 8 months ago
Wow, Derek, congratulations to both of you! I am not surprised you were able to conceive after fixing your diet, Robb Wolf discusses this phenomenon in his paleo/primal book that recently came out. And it IS possible to raise a primal baby! My son is 19 months and has never eaten any grains or sugars, he eats 100% primal and his health is spectacular. Wondering if, with your acid reflux, you were affected at all by acidic foods. I have been trying to convince my mother-in-law to try giving up grains just for one month to address reflux but she… Read more »
Paleo_or_Die
5 years 8 months ago

I just pointed my sister toward http://www.everydaypaleo.com to help her with getting her kids to eat Paleo, great resource for those with families.

Lori
5 years 8 months ago
The best theory of acid reflux I know of is that it’s caused by too many carbs. Carbs create gas when they’re digested, which pushes up stomach acid into the esophagus of susceptible people. (Google Norm Robillard.) So yes, too much grain is bad, and so is too much tomato or any other fruit. A primal or paleo diet helps acid reflux because it reduces carbs; the Atkins diet (which is basically what I follow) does the same thing. As for acidic foods, I can have as much coffee, tea and spicy food as I like now that I’m low-carb.… Read more »
Dana
Dana
5 years 8 months ago

I don’t think it’s acidic foods in themselves that cause reflux. If that were a problem we’d constantly have reflux since our stomachs contain acid. Rather, something’s triggering that upper sphincter in the stomach to open up. I’ve also noticed that wheat seems to cause reflux, which is a PITA since I have been a wheat addict most of my life and occasionally still eat Dreamfields pasta. Guess I will just have to give it up. Meh. But I wonder what precisely it is about wheat that triggers that opening. Hm…

Sue
Sue
5 years 8 months ago

Bloating can trigger the upper sphincter in stomach to open up.

Damon
Damon
5 years 8 months ago

Another great story. I’m planning on being one of these stories myself by summertime. I know I’m going in the right direction and I just need to live the lifestyle and let things happen.

Aram Hovsepian
5 years 8 months ago

When we do what we meant to do in the nature we always great great results. Great story. Thank you for sharing!

Nikki
5 years 8 months ago

I loved this one! Congratulations!

Debra
Debra
5 years 8 months ago

I love this story! I’m so happy for your improved health and fitness and congratulations on your pregnancy!

kweber
kweber
5 years 8 months ago

Cutting back and eventually giving up cereal was my first primal step too! You two sound like you feel great! 🙂

slesca
slesca
5 years 8 months ago

Yep, I didn’t conceive for 1.5 years, then, poof, 2 months after eliminating grains and chronic running I was pregnant. I know, it could be lots of things but it all seems too coincidental to me.

Lia
5 years 8 months ago
Congratulations on the baby on the way! First trimester was bad for me too, I was so sick I could barely eat anything, so not to worry. I even lost weight but quickly gained it in the 3rd trimester. You guys looked younger now in the new pictures. My husband also went grain-free(we’re also dairy and soy-free) and the weight started falling. He’s healthy and buff and looks hot! He’s forty and he gets mistaken to be in his early 20s all the time 🙂 I’m glad my daughter will grow up not eating GMO and processed foods. She eats… Read more »
Robin
Robin
5 years 8 months ago

Thank you for sharing your story Derek and congratulations!! A similar thing happened with me. My husband and I tried for 4 years to get pregnant. We just figured if it was meant to be then it will happen when the time was right. Ironically the time was right after I’d been eating primal for a few months!! I’m happy to say I’m now 8 months pregnant and it’s been a wonderful experience!!

Tara
5 years 8 months ago
Congrats on your new found health, vitality and the upcoming baby! I have 2 year old twins and we’ve been raising them (mostly) Primal for all of their lives. I say mostly because once they enter preschool, it’s hard to keep things away from them when all the other kids are eating them. However, we have NEVER been through a drive thru or given them processed foods. It is hard, I’m not going to lie, it takes planning and dedication, but you are already capable of doing that for yourself, so it will be much easier. Their first solid foods… Read more »
Katherine
Katherine
5 years 8 months ago
My acid reflux was cured when I gave up wheat too. Used to be horrendous, gulping acid back down my throat 24 hrs a day. It wasn’t due to reduction of carbs as someone suggested above, as I switched to gluten free carbs at that point. I don’t have any problem believing that going off wheat helped your wife to conceive. One of the symptoms I had from gluten intolerance was irregular cycles, often annovulatory. I had hormone tests and an ultrasound to try to figure out the cause. Makes sense if your body is struggling to cope with regular… Read more »
Katie
5 years 8 months ago
Congrats on healthier lifestyles and your pregnancy! There is definitely a connection between a primal/paleo way of eating and increased fertility. Mark has well documented how this way of eating normalizes hormone levels, and of course, this helps with fertility. Increasing good fats also contributes to proper hormone production and longer luteal phases. As a nutrition counselor specializing in fertility, I work with a lot of women who are hoping to conceive, and always recommend some variation of a primal lifestyle with certain supplements. So far, I have not worked with a single woman who wasn’t able to conceive this… Read more »
Karen
Karen
5 years 8 months ago

Congratulations, what a great story! I had a similar reaction from coworkers and found it so ironic that no one would suggest you consult your doctor to take a trip through a drive thru or order a pizza. But people think you need a professional to hold your hand if you want to eat healthier! Best of luck on the pregnancy!

Michelle
Michelle
5 years 8 months ago

Congratulations on your wonderful pregnancy and the “new” lifestyle choice! Inspiring story,thank-you

Paul C
5 years 8 months ago

Congrats on the great health improvements. Much of what you have seen, I have seen as well. Terrible daily acid problems completely gone within 24 hours, and now gone for 18 months. I was just looking at my container of Tums at work, wondering I should give them away.

HillSideGina
HillSideGina
5 years 8 months ago

Use them for calcium supplementation, LOL! I wish my mother would change her habits – she’s 71 and has suffered from reflux for a year or so. Her favorite thing to eat is pastries. And she is as stubborn as a mule…

John
5 years 8 months ago

Wow, I saw myself in this post. Some people have ice cream – for me it’s a bowl of cereal late at night that does the trick. When you realize how many calories there are in the average cereal it makes you put the box down fast.

Sue
Sue
5 years 8 months ago

Isn’t it amazing how you think you are healthy and your normal weight and build is the best you can hope to be. Then you start eating primal and you see what YOUR NORMAL was really meant to be!

Sue
Sue
5 years 8 months ago

The wife probably had PCOS until she went primal and was able to conceive.

richard
richard
5 years 8 months ago

awesome..been there..keep it going…

DaiaRavi
5 years 8 months ago

CONGRATS on all your accomplishments – and not to get all broken-record-y – but please investigate all the medical procedures (vit k, vaccines, shots) that the hospital will try to perform on your little new one and make sure YOU are comfortable with them –

PLEASE REMEMBER YOU CAN REFUSE ANY AND ALL OF THEM until you have been fully informed! (sometimes they will try to tell you you can’t…)
good luck!

Erin
Erin
5 years 8 months ago
I will totally agree with your assertion that living a Primal lifestyle increases fertility (either that, or we’re genetic freaks). When my husband and I got married, we decided we weren’t going to “try” for a baby, but we would let nature take its course instead of obsessing over preventative measures or timing, etc. of our *ahem* activities. We had both been Primal for some time. Five weeks later, I announced the conception of our daughter to my husband! I would also like to share that our midwife made me go in for a test to look for gestational diabetes,… Read more »
Primal Toad
5 years 8 months ago

Congrats on your success and the little one! Its amazing what side BENEFITS come from living a primal lifestyle. Grok on!

Fitgrl09
Fitgrl09
5 years 8 months ago

Congratulations on changing your lives and the new baby on the way. What a great gift to your baby to raise him/her primal. It’s so much harder to change their ways when they are older.

Debbie
5 years 8 months ago
Congrats on the pregnancy, and a great story. My son and his wife also conceived, after three years of trying, within a month or two of switching to a not-totally paleo diet, but more of a WAPF-real foods sort of diet. My 16-month-old grandson is the joy of my life! His favorite real food, when he began supplementing his mom’s breast milk with real food, was pureed liver and banana. 🙂 He’s never been fed any commericial “baby foods”, just real foods. He even loves steak, which his parents – in a true primal fashion – pre-chew for him, since… Read more »
Sally
Sally
5 years 8 months ago

Congratulations!

Hire a doula!!

(consider a homebirth–it’s so Grok.)

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