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A Cereal Addict Goes Primal
Posted By Mark Sisson On January 21, 2011 @ 8:35 am In Success Stories | 97 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!
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.
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