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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 24, 2011

Don’t You Just Love Making Doctors Speechless

By Guest
156 Comments

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!

In July 2010 I went to the blood pressure clinic for my six month checkup. I had been on various meds for 6 or 7 years, the dose gradually getting stronger.

They also put you on the scales to check how much you weigh. So with my eyes shut, I stood on the platform, I didn’t want to know. Usually there is a “yes you’re overweight, try to eat healthily”, sort of comment – not this time. This nurse was matter of fact, “You are five stone (70 lbs) overweight, you need to do something, and it might help lower your blood pressure.” Quick to defend myself, I said, “I come from a long line of small round women (I’m 5’3″).” “No,” said the nurse, “you come from a long line of bad eating habits.”

< flashback>

I didn’t think I had a bad diet growing up, very little processed food, good home cooking, Sunday roasts, Yorkshire puddings, apple pie, all good English fair. I was taught to clear my plate. And I was always fairly active playing outside climbing trees, riding miles on my bike, but into my teens I stopped doing these things, and I gradually put weight on. Being painfully shy (still am to some degree), that hampered any chance of joining in sports and other activities that involved going somewhere or other people. It was safer to stay at home and sew something.

1980 off to college. I could cook and boy did I. Away from home I needed comfort, and that meant food. Towards the end of my three years study I came to my “senses” and starved myself back to a sensible size.

1985 Got married and piled the weight back on (154 lbs). This time I starved us both and got back into a UK size ten (124 lbs). The look on hubby’s face at the two fish fingers and spoon of cabbage on his plate was priceless, but hey he could have a cereal bar later – got to count those calories!

1988 I got ill, and ended up in hospital, losing an ovary. “Ah,” they said, “you could have problems having children especially at your age (27), better get on with it…”

Fast forward to 1996. I gave birth to my fourth child, ah hem, no problems there (three girls and a boy), but my weight had yo-yoed up and down between pregnancies and would not shift after son was born. And it steadily rose over the next 13 years.

I was staring at my 50th birthday as fat as the long line of women of my family that had gone before. High blood pressure, never finding nice clothes to fit the rotund shape I was. Clothes were just a means of covering up; if it happened to be slightly pretty it was a bonus.

I thought our meals weren’t too bad, I still cooked, we didn’t have fast food regularly, only when we had a journey or on holiday. But thinking back we loaded up on bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, following the “Eat Well Plate” guidelines from the Food Standards Agency. Not much variation in vegetation, as it was a bother to prepare especially during a 3-4 year long bout of depression I had from 2001. We had a salad once in a while, but the children didn’t like them, so rather than let them go hungry I cooked what was easy.

Looking back, the depression aided the weight gain. I wanted comforting. I was in denial of the fact, but there were the comfort treats no one knew about. I found a pecan pastry container under my car seat a few weeks ago, don’t remember when it was but I remember stuffing both pastries down whilst waiting to pick the youngest up from school. Well, I deserved a treat and I was fat anyway so it wasn’t going to make any difference. Not that I told myself I was fat ever, I was ’ok’ ish….but plump and fated to be that way.

<flash forward>

So back to July 2010, and in one of those daydream moments I thought about going on a diet during the summer holidays and returning to school (I’m an ICT support technician) thinner to everyone’s amazement (anyone got one of those magic wands?).

But the nurse’s words had spurred me on to at least start on yet another weight loss quest. So at 213 lbs and armed with my pocket size calorie counter I began, loosely sticking to the restricted diet whilst on holiday in Cornwall. I even went swimming! After all there were worse sights on the beach and (adjusting halo), at least I was doing something about it.

The first 20 lbs melted off, and my clothes were looser. And yes only six weeks after I started, my colleagues noticed and that was encouraging. The weight loss continued up to October and I stopped at 182 lbs. Nothing shifted for 4 weeks and I searched the internet for a solution to my plateau and I found Mark’s Daily Apple and The Primal Blueprint.

It was a Holy Grail moment. The more I read the more light bulbs went off in my head. This was IT!

Armed with newfound knowledge I switched my eating to Primal. I won’t say it is 100% as budgetary restrictions won’t cover grass-fed meat at the present, but perhaps in the future. That was November.

A month later I felt lightheaded at times and not well at all. So I stopped the blood pressure meds for a day or two. I felt better. So made an appointment to see my GP. I told him I wanted to stop taking the meds and I had been home monitoring my blood pressure and as far as I was concerned it was normal. He agreed to cut the meds in half over Christmas. I took them for two days; felt awful so didn’t take any more. Went back after Christmas and told him, so he booked me for 24 hour ambulatory monitoring – which came back normal. So after years of prescription charges I was off the tablets!

Christmas dinner wasn’t difficult either; I just left off the potatoes, bread sauce and stuffing. Although I did gain back 2 lbs due to 2-3 Irish coffees, cheese and fruit which I’m usually careful about – but it was Christmas. My gifts were excellent: a dehydrator, slow cooker and The Primal Blueprint Cookbook! The 2 lb was quickly lost again, and I continued to steadily loose.

Early June 2011, I went to the hypertension clinic. I knew sitting there that the reading was going to be up – I knew I shouldn’t have, but I was expecting congratulations on my transformation and the anticipation was playing havoc with my nerves, and no matter how I willed it to go down by the time I was in the room it was 142/90, (at home I get readings of 118/76 ish). I was totally deflated as I got a lackluster “you’ve done quite well,” for the weight loss (78lbs) – this coming from the obese practice nurse doing the tests (it wasn’t the same nurse as last year unfortunately) and an instruction to return to the doctor for further evaluation. Fume. I knew my BP was normal.

There was also a routine blood test that included lipids… Yup, a week later I got a letter inviting me to make an appointment to discuss further treatment. Geared up to resist an attack of statins, I saw (another) GP. I need not have worried, apparently they use a formula at my surgery that calculates your risk of heart disease and even with the elevated total I was not at risk.

“Ah, it must be the rise in fluffy LDL,” I said to him. He looked at me blankly, “I’m not familiar with those”, he said.

“You know, pattern A LDL?”

Nope he didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. So I explained that the way of eating that had resulted in my weight loss sometime gave elevated totals of LDL but not the bad type.

“Well I would have suggested a low fat diet anyway,” he said.

“I haven’t been on a low fat diet,” I replied, “I’ve been on a Good fat diet, you know, butter, dripping, bacon and eggs”.

Silence.

Don’t you just love making doctors speechless… another victory for Team Primal!!

Oh and my blood pressure was normal so he took me off the hypertension register and I’ll have a check up in 3 years!

I love being Primal. I have now read many books (Taubes, Groves, Eades, Shanahan), blogs, listened to podcasts all improving my understanding of proper nutrition, (bought the Fat Head video – fascinating) as I like to know WHY this WOE works, and can answer knowledgeably if I am asked about how I have lost weight.

Hubby joined me after Christmas after seeing my success, he has lost 31 lbs. We go for walks most nights and I do sprints on my stationary bike.

To date I’m down to 133 lbs, a total of 80 lbs with 12ish lbs to go. I’m having fun buying clothes and taking care with how I look. So now 50 might be fun after all.

Was 15 st 3 lb (213 lbs) UK size 20/22

Now 9 st 7 lb (133 lbs) UK size 12

Goal UK size 10

Lin

Grab a copy of Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals for over 100 Primal Recipes You Can Prepare in 30 Minutes or Less

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156 Comments on "Don’t You Just Love Making Doctors Speechless"

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Peggy The Primal Parent
5 years 3 months ago

Ha! What a great story! I love the way you told the doctor matter-of-factly that your sensible diet is exactly the opposite of his recommendations. That’s awesome!

Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago
I did too. This is one of my favorite stories to date. You told it so well and you stumped your doctor – excellent. Its amazing what we know compared to what most doctors know. Great to hear your hubby is on board and has already had success. My sister has been asking me countless questions for the past few months and now her best friend is on the paleo “diet!” Her boyfriend is a certified crossfit trainer and wants to open up a gym here in GR. Any day now and my sister will be doing a 30 day… Read more »
Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

Oh and CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Lin
Lin
5 years 3 months ago

Thank you. Yes, Hubby is doing great.
I’ve just got to keep him out of the cheese… and nuts… and dehydrated banana…

peggy
peggy
5 years 3 months ago

YAY Lin!!!!!
As I see other people my age getting in to this it is so encouraging!
I know I wish I knew about this 30 yrs ago…

Inga
Inga
5 years 3 months ago

Congratulations!!

Richard
Richard
5 years 3 months ago

Amazing. Congratulations!

Todd
Todd
5 years 3 months ago

Great stuff!

In case you didn’t know, most UK beef is forage/grass fed, but can be finished for from a couple of weeks to a couple of months with grain. This does shift the Omega ratios somewhat, but it’s better than standard grain-fed beef.

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 3 months ago

That’s true, especially if you’re living on the countryside somewhat and shop from a small local butcher.
Also, I think most or even all european butters come from cows that graze on pasture all year around.
My parents live in germany and shop at a local butcher who buys animals from local farmers around the area…makes bloodwurst (black pudding), liverwurst…

Lin
Lin
5 years 3 months ago

Thats good to hear, we stopped buying meat at the supermarket and started supporting a local butcher – it tastes better.

Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago
I am all for grass-fed beef. I buy half cows, 25 lbs of grass fed ground beef from US Wellness Meats, etc. BUT, consuming grass fed beef for omega 3’s is pointless. If that is the only reason you are consuming grass-fed beef and are on a tight budget then one may want to forget about it. Really. The only difference is that grass fed has a bit more omega 3. The nutrition remains the same. There is moer CLA too. But, again, its not a HUGE DEAL. I just want to let everyone out there know about this. Those… Read more »
frank
frank
5 years 3 months ago

same

Luke
Luke
5 years 3 months ago
“consuming grass fed beef for omega 3?s is pointless.” This is not true. The mechanism is not well-understood, but the small increase in N-3 fatty acids in grass-fed cows does translate to significant increases in blood levels of N-3. There are a couple of studies on it. Robb Wolf posted on it a while back, though I’m not going to look it up at the moment since I’m already procrastinating on other tasks by commenting here. Otherwise, I do agree that getting ground beef (when grass fed) is a good idea, and often cheap. Oh, and when buying in quantities… Read more »
cjbrooks
cjbrooks
5 years 2 months ago

Yo! Primal Toad! My daughter lives in Byron Center, and there appear to be ZERO food co-ops in that area…or Trader Joes’, or Whole Foods…or any health-food type stores. I have to bring good meat…and GHEE…and cage-free eggs with me when I visit. Any ideas?

DThalman
DThalman
5 years 2 months ago

i am able to get a “steak pack” that includes 15 pounds of grass fed ground beef and 10 pounds of steak for $100 at a local butcher shop in southern oregon…$4 per pound avg. AND you get a lot of steaks…only drawback is the cash outlay and room in the freezer but maybe something to consider, buying quantities frozen

Daryl
Daryl
5 years 3 months ago

An amazing transformation! And congratulations on getting off your meds.

Kaylee99
Kaylee99
5 years 3 months ago

Congrats!!!

Bobbi
Bobbi
5 years 3 months ago

Way to go!!!

localad
localad
5 years 3 months ago

Well done Lin. Good story. All set up for the next life phase now, (Grandma Lin)! And long may it last; thanks to all your efforts and reading.

Funny how all those practice nurses are obese!

Crunchy Pickle
5 years 3 months ago

I went to see a doctor the other day (mainstream general practitioner paid for by my insurance) and the whole staff had their hamburgers wrapped in lettuce for lunch. I couldn’t believe it!

There’s one office that will have trim nurses if they keep up that eating style!! Certainly this is not the norm in my experience…

Crunchy Pickle
5 years 3 months ago

Congrats, Congrats, Lin! I will show your story to some discouraged family members…

Christine
Christine
5 years 3 months ago

I wish 5 guys would have that option

Amber
5 years 2 months ago

I have ordered a protein burger at five guys! You can do it ANYWHERE even McDs. Just order with no bun and extra lettuce.

Lin
Lin
5 years 3 months ago

The next life phase can wait awhile, I’m enjoying myself too much!

Dasbutch
Dasbutch
5 years 3 months ago

You look marvelous, Lin, way to go PRIMAL!
When are you going to host your P.A.S.T. in the UK?
That’s how you tell them all how you did it..

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 3 months ago

Awesome! Inspiring.

Patty
Patty
5 years 3 months ago

Way to go, Lin- It’s awesome that you were able to transform your health. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s an inspiration!

Nick
Nick
5 years 3 months ago

Excellent story! I love that you had to “educate” the doctor. It’s inspiring to hear people taking health into their own hands, and not just blindly following conventional wisdom. Thanks for the perseverance! It must feel so nice to have your life back in your hands, and not be at the whim of pills! You go!

Jill
Jill
5 years 3 months ago

Fantastic Transformation!

Congratulations!

You’ve “fixed” your outside beautifully and how wonderful that you have medical proof that your insides are beautiful too!

🙂

denise
denise
5 years 3 months ago

So much for the major womens magazines and their doom and gloom stories about how difficult it is to lose weight after age 40. I’m tearing up at this story!! She looks fantastic.

Heidi P.
Heidi P.
5 years 3 months ago

I teared up too Denise. I’m so happy for you Lin, inside and out! You look fabulous!

JT
JT
5 years 3 months ago

Wonderful story (and superbly written, I might add).

Olivia
Olivia
5 years 3 months ago

I agree!! One of the most well-written and entertaining stories here to date! 😉

Tuck
5 years 3 months ago

I look forward to each one of these stories every Friday. The conversation with the Dr. at the end is priceless. “What’s pattern A?” Sad, but funny.

Peggy Holloway
Peggy Holloway
5 years 3 months ago
I love your story. Congratulations! I saw my primary care doctor yesterday for the 2nd time in 5 years just because I wanted to be sure some stomach discomfort was the vestiges of a virus and not gallbladder before traveling 8 hours from home to ride my bike for 4 days, and because for the first time in my adult life I get a “free” preventive care check-up with my new health insurance (only US citizens can relate to that statement). I wanted a blood lipid profile and she said “well, I can’t see why since you won’t do anything… Read more »
Cecilia
5 years 3 months ago

Let’s hope she ‘gets it’ :o) and will be able to when she is 58!

Susan
Susan
5 years 3 months ago

Now, we just need to educate all these doctors so that we can get real bloodwork done! Until they can get on board with proper nutrition and its impact on bloodwork results, I don’t see the point of visiting them.

Peggy Holloway
Peggy Holloway
5 years 3 months ago

That’s why I only go every 2 or 3 years whether I need to or not:)

cjbrooks
cjbrooks
5 years 2 months ago

LEF.com They will give you the names of good labs in your area, if in the US.

Goldengrokette
Goldengrokette
5 years 3 months ago

Lin, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope to join your success of getting off the blood pressure meds soon.

Brittster
Brittster
5 years 3 months ago

Your doctor definitely isn’t the only speechless one, way to go! You look amazing, and I love how you can see your nice high cheekbones in your second picture. Congratulations on reclaiming your health and paving the way for many more healthy decades ahead 🙂

Aaron
Aaron
5 years 3 months ago

Bravo! An amazing turnaround in one short year. I’ll show your story to others and thanks for the inspiration.

Steve
Steve
5 years 3 months ago

Wow, incredible. Amazing what one can do with knowledge of the human body. Keep up the great work. Very inspiring.

Dawn
Dawn
5 years 3 months ago

What a great story – brought tears to my eyes! As you say, Primal is IT! No matter how many times people, including a loved one, give me a hard time about this “special diet,” (and we know it’s so much more than that) I stand firm because it’s the only thing that makes sense and WORKS – and I have tried a lot of things. Thanks for sharing your story!

Leslie
5 years 3 months ago

I am surprised that the doctor didn’t know LDL. All my doctors here always test for HDL and LDL seperately, as well as combined. That makes me sad.

But you look Great! Congrats!

Dustin Bopp
5 years 3 months ago
I’ll never forget trying to explain to the nurse at my doctor’s office that, “No, your scale is not broken. I lost 24 lbs. since my last visit.” “But that was just three months ago.” “I know.” I started the Primal Blueprint around the same time of my last doctors visit and in that time I lost the weight and weaned myself off of my BP and cholesterol meds. My doc was skeptical but couldn’t argue with my labs so he told me to just keep doing what I was doing. That was over a year ago and I have… Read more »
Dustin Bopp
5 years 3 months ago

Oh, and a hearty congratulations for your own success!

James
James
5 years 3 months ago

How the heck did you ever have 25 pounds to loose??!!??

Dustin Bopp
5 years 3 months ago

I was just plain puffy. Since I was lifting weights and was gaining weight (muscle, I thought)over the years I thought I was making progress. Now that I look back it was just well-distributed fat. I never had a belly but boy did my cheeks and double-chin give it away when I look at pictures from back then. I was 174 at one point. Now I am a very consistent 150. Since this was the weight I was from puberty until I was 30 I think this is where I am really supposed to be.

curiousalexa
curiousalexa
5 years 2 months ago

I had a similar experience. The nurse did a double take when charting my weight, as I had lost about 30 lbs over the summer. On my most recent visit, my doc congratulated me (I’ve lost over 60 lbs), but did caution me to not get carried away, lose for the sake of losing. I assured him I had already considered that risk, and at this point don’t really care what my weight is, I just want to feel good!

Lorna
Lorna
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks for sharing your story! It’s really encouraging to me.

Sue
Sue
5 years 3 months ago

So happy for you, Lin! Great story, and I identify with so much of it too! Thanks for sharing, you are an inspiration 🙂

BobChase
BobChase
5 years 3 months ago

Awesome! Just AWESOME!

Nutritionator
5 years 3 months ago

I’m due for a checkup in the beginning of August and I’ll be doing very strict paleo/primal from now until then so I can have this exact effect on my doc.

Amazing progress, congrats!

paul
paul
5 years 3 months ago

Well done Lin. I’m Head of Nursing and Primal/Paleo but my colleagues scoff at the idea that grain based products can be bad for me! Duh!

Pete Doherty
5 years 3 months ago

Fantastic result Lin. You should be very proud of what you have achieved. Loved the bit about the eggs and butter.

This is definately the way to eat. I have also read the same books and now reading the Primal Blueprint and have started PDF what a refreshing change.

Pete

Daria
Daria
5 years 3 months ago

I love this! Hopefully your doctor will get the message too and go do some research on LDL particle size.

PaleoMum
5 years 3 months ago

Fab but what is Shanahan?

localad
localad
5 years 3 months ago

“Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” C Shanahan

Kris C
Kris C
5 years 3 months ago

Well done! Congrats to you for your hard work and fantastic results! My favorite part was when the doc didn’t really know what you were talking about with the fluffy LDL. 🙂

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
5 years 3 months ago
“I was staring at my 50th birthday as fat as the long line of women of my family that had gone before.” Thank you for putting an end to the myth about us gals having to live with weight gain when we get older – not to mention the obligatory meds (BP, cholesterol, HRT) we are encouraged to take. Congratulations! You not only look wonderful but knowing that you feel wonderful is even better! And congratulations for convincing your hubby to follow PB with you as well. I’m almost 67 and could really relate to your story and all your… Read more »
bradley
bradley
5 years 3 months ago

great job!!! I have had similar situations with doctors. And to think that what they control over the non knowing. It is is borderline abusive that they do notlook into this blueprint giving to us from the ages. Keep it up!

Debs
5 years 3 months ago

Yey – British primal ladies rock !!

Amazing story – you’re setting such a wonderful example – thank you so much for sharing your story and well done Mrs!

Jana
5 years 3 months ago

You look fantastic…Great job!!
xo jana

Miss*Kris:primal
Miss*Kris:primal
5 years 3 months ago

That was awesome! and Hilarious! TEAM PRIMAL ALL THE WAY!

I’m happy and impressed for you, Lin. You’d be happy to know, That I’m studying to become a naturalpathic doctor, to help people be more intuned with primal blueprint!
Psh. Convention Wisdom… Kiss my primal ass!

Turbo Kelly
Turbo Kelly
5 years 3 months ago

So fantastic.
Congratulations. I’m still working on it, and keep reading and learning.

Cecilia
5 years 3 months ago

oh yay! this story just makes me HAPPY!

David
David
5 years 3 months ago

Congratulations Lin! You do indeed look great. I’m just starting out and seeing success stories like yours is very motivating.

Malika
5 years 3 months ago

Hey Lin, great job girl! Your story gives me goose bumps at how similar the mindset is to many when we think we’re “not eating that bad”…. Until you change it and MELT! I think you’ll have so much fun, a UK size 8 might be the new norm ;0)

Mark Sisson
5 years 3 months ago
Ashley North
Ashley North
5 years 3 months ago

You GO GIRL!! You look amazing, congrats!

Susan
Susan
5 years 3 months ago

Wonderful job Lin!! You look amazing!

Alison Golden
5 years 3 months ago

Hey, Lin.

That standard British diet is a killer isn’t it? My kids love Yorkshire puddings but they only get them very, very occasionally and when I go back to the UK, it’s very, very difficult to keep off the cake – it’s everywhere – so I admire you enormously for making the change. I haven’t been back for a holiday since going Primal so I’m going to keep your story for inspiration. Hopefully that way my normal holiday weight gain can be limited. Congratulations and thank you!

Jenee
Jenee
5 years 3 months ago

I want so much for that first nurse to see you again!!! Great job!! How long have you been primal now?

Lin
Lin
5 years 3 months ago

I’ve been Primal since Nov 2010 and it is so much fun rediscovering real food!

Thank you everyone for all your wonderful comments – it is boosting my determination to lose the last few pounds!

Jessica
5 years 3 months ago

Congratulations Lin! LOVE your story – especially the silence from the doctor. Priceless.

Olivia
Olivia
5 years 3 months ago

Hi Lin, I hope you read this! Your story is incredibly inspiring to me!! I couldn’t help but smile the whole time I read the post!! Thank you for making my day a bit brighter — and congrats on your great success!!

If you don’t have a blog, I strongly urge you to get one! You are a wonderful, entertaining, and talented writer!!

Olivia

fritzy
fritzy
5 years 3 months ago

Way to go, Lin! Awesome work!

Love your story about your doctor’s reaction. Always great to confound a medical practitioner!

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