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

Don’t You Just Love Making Doctors Speechless

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”.


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


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

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. 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!

    Peggy The Primal Parent wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • 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 primal challenge. My bro called me the other night to tell me he bought some chicken, steak and salmon at Trader Joes. He wanted to know which one he should eat last and which one he should eat first since it was all fresh.

      Keep up the great work everyone. The community is growing exponentially. Stories like this help big time!

      Primal Toad wrote on June 24th, 2011
      • Oh and CONGRATULATIONS!!!

        Primal Toad wrote on June 24th, 2011
        • Thank you. Yes, Hubby is doing great.
          I’ve just got to keep him out of the cheese… and nuts… and dehydrated banana…

          Lin wrote on June 24th, 2011
  2. 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…

    peggy wrote on June 24th, 2011
  3. Congratulations!!

    Inga wrote on June 24th, 2011
  4. Amazing. Congratulations!

    Richard wrote on June 24th, 2011
  5. 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.

    Todd wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • 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…

      Primal Palate wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • Thats good to hear, we stopped buying meat at the supermarket and started supporting a local butcher – it tastes better.

      Lin wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • 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 of you who want to live a primal lifestyle but are on a tight budget… DO NOT WORRY ABOUT BUYING GRASS-FED STEAK. Go for grass-fed ground beef. I get minefor $4 per lb. at the farmers market here in GR, MI.

      Primal Toad wrote on June 24th, 2011
      • same

        frank wrote on June 24th, 2011
      • “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 as you mentioned, you should be able to get ALL the cuts at $4-5/lb. If you get a half, quarter, or eighth of a cow, that price should hold, and you’d get 1/2 to 1/3 of the total weight in ground beef, and the rest in various cuts, some of which should be flank, skirt, round, sirloin, etc. For the best price, go direct to the rancher.

        Luke wrote on June 24th, 2011
      • 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?

        cjbrooks wrote on June 25th, 2011
      • 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

        DThalman wrote on June 27th, 2011
  6. An amazing transformation! And congratulations on getting off your meds.

    Daryl wrote on June 24th, 2011
  7. Congrats!!!

    Kaylee99 wrote on June 24th, 2011
  8. Way to go!!!

    Bobbi wrote on June 24th, 2011
  9. 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!

    localad wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • 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 wrote on June 24th, 2011
      • Congrats, Congrats, Lin! I will show your story to some discouraged family members…

        Crunchy Pickle wrote on June 24th, 2011
      • I wish 5 guys would have that option

        Christine wrote on June 24th, 2011
        • I have ordered a protein burger at five guys! You can do it ANYWHERE even McDs. Just order with no bun and extra lettuce.

          Amber wrote on June 26th, 2011
    • The next life phase can wait awhile, I’m enjoying myself too much!

      Lin wrote on June 24th, 2011
  10. 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..

    Dasbutch wrote on June 24th, 2011
  11. Awesome! Inspiring.

    Ryan wrote on June 24th, 2011
  12. Way to go, Lin- It’s awesome that you were able to transform your health. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s an inspiration!

    Patty wrote on June 24th, 2011
  13. 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!

    Nick wrote on June 24th, 2011
  14. Fantastic Transformation!


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


    Jill wrote on June 24th, 2011
  15. 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.

    denise wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • I teared up too Denise. I’m so happy for you Lin, inside and out! You look fabulous!

      Heidi P. wrote on June 24th, 2011
  16. Wonderful story (and superbly written, I might add).

    JT wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • I agree!! One of the most well-written and entertaining stories here to date! 😉

      Olivia wrote on June 24th, 2011
  17. 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.

    Tuck wrote on June 24th, 2011
  18. 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 about your cholesterol” (which is what happened 3 years ago when my LDL was 130 and HDL 90, triglycerides were 50 and she asked if I wanted to do anything about my cholesterol; I though it was a joke, but apparently not!). I asked if I could have a particle size analysis for LDL, because I suspect that mine is “good” LDL and she proceeded to disagree with me that light, fluffy LDL particles and/or high HDL correlate with lower incidence of cardiac problems. She did agree to order the LDL analysis, but the lab people had trouble figuring out how to do that.
    I also asked for insulin levels, which seemed completely alien to her! (I have a major family history of “diabetes” and I told her I think insulin levels are more important than blood sugar. She absolutely didn’t get it.)
    On a side note, she is in her late 30s and overweight – I am 58 and normal weight. She knew that I was preparing for a 4-day bike ride of over 250 miles. I wonder if she will be able to do the same when she is my age?

    Peggy Holloway wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • Let’s hope she ‘gets it’ :o) and will be able to when she is 58!

      Cecilia wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • 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.

      Susan wrote on June 24th, 2011
      • That’s why I only go every 2 or 3 years whether I need to or not:)

        Peggy Holloway wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • They will give you the names of good labs in your area, if in the US.

      cjbrooks wrote on June 25th, 2011
  19. Lin, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope to join your success of getting off the blood pressure meds soon.

    Goldengrokette wrote on June 24th, 2011
  20. 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 :)

    Brittster wrote on June 24th, 2011
  21. Bravo! An amazing turnaround in one short year. I’ll show your story to others and thanks for the inspiration.

    Aaron wrote on June 24th, 2011
  22. Wow, incredible. Amazing what one can do with knowledge of the human body. Keep up the great work. Very inspiring.

    Steve wrote on June 24th, 2011
  23. 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!

    Dawn wrote on June 24th, 2011
  24. 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!

    Leslie wrote on June 24th, 2011
  25. 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 continued to tweak my lifestyle. The addition of intermittent fasting (8-hour eating window) has made another huge difference in my health and physique.

    I couldn’t be more grateful.

    Dustin Bopp wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • Oh, and a hearty congratulations for your own success!

      Dustin Bopp wrote on June 24th, 2011
      • How the heck did you ever have 25 pounds to loose??!!??

        James wrote on June 24th, 2011
        • 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.

          Dustin Bopp wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • 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!

      curiousalexa wrote on June 25th, 2011
  26. Thanks for sharing your story! It’s really encouraging to me.

    Lorna wrote on June 24th, 2011
  27. So happy for you, Lin! Great story, and I identify with so much of it too! Thanks for sharing, you are an inspiration :-)

    Sue wrote on June 24th, 2011
  28. Awesome! Just AWESOME!

    BobChase wrote on June 24th, 2011
  29. 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!

    Nutritionator wrote on June 24th, 2011
  30. 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!

    paul wrote on June 24th, 2011
  31. 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 Doherty wrote on June 24th, 2011
  32. I love this! Hopefully your doctor will get the message too and go do some research on LDL particle size.

    Daria wrote on June 24th, 2011
  33. Fab but what is Shanahan?

    PaleoMum wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” C Shanahan

      localad wrote on June 24th, 2011
  34. 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. :)

    Kris C wrote on June 24th, 2011
  35. “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 efforts before discovering PB. Thank you again for sharing!

    PrimalGrandma wrote on June 24th, 2011
  36. 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!

    bradley wrote on June 24th, 2011
  37. 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!

    Debs wrote on June 24th, 2011
  38. You look fantastic…Great job!!
    xo jana

    Jana wrote on June 24th, 2011
  39. 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!

    Miss*Kris:primal wrote on June 24th, 2011
  40. So fantastic.
    Congratulations. I’m still working on it, and keep reading and learning.

    Turbo Kelly wrote on June 24th, 2011

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