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. oh yay! this story just makes me HAPPY!

    Cecilia wrote on June 24th, 2011
  2. Congratulations Lin! You do indeed look great. I’m just starting out and seeing success stories like yours is very motivating.

    David wrote on June 24th, 2011
  3. 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)

    Malika wrote on June 24th, 2011
  4. You GO GIRL!! You look amazing, congrats!

    Ashley North wrote on June 24th, 2011
  5. Wonderful job Lin!! You look amazing!

    Susan wrote on June 24th, 2011
  6. 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!

    Alison Golden wrote on June 24th, 2011
  7. I want so much for that first nurse to see you again!!! Great job!! How long have you been primal now?

    Jenee wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • 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!

      Lin wrote on June 24th, 2011
  8. Congratulations Lin! LOVE your story – especially the silence from the doctor. Priceless.

    Jessica wrote on June 24th, 2011
  9. 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 wrote on June 24th, 2011
  10. Way to go, Lin! Awesome work!

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

    fritzy wrote on June 24th, 2011
  11. Congratulations! You look amazing and must feel that way too. Never look back :)

    Katie wrote on June 24th, 2011
  12. Very inspirational!! Go Lin Go!!!


    Brett wrote on June 24th, 2011
  13. “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.’ ”

    Britain is probably the only place in the world where you can find nurses to be so blunt to your face. 😉 It must have hurt, but I’m am so glad she said it because it obviously helped move you along to find the right path.


    cTo wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • Great comment. I think many doctors and nurses tread too lightly when it comes to discussions of weight. As uncomfortable as this topic is, more health professionals need to address this topic head on to catalyze people to change their lives. (Of course, it would help if more doctors were on board with the Primal diet and lifestyle, too!)

      Shay wrote on June 24th, 2011
  14. Yay for Lin! From another woman of a certain age looking to be better at 50 than ever!

    belinda wrote on June 24th, 2011
  15. Congrats and great story.

    Bodhi wrote on June 24th, 2011
  16. Lin, you are my goal weight! I can’t wait till I’m a UK size 12! 😀 (I’m already a US size 10!)


    Steph wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • I’ve lived in the UK, and, in my experience, you are already a UK size 12 if you’re a US size 10. So, congrats, lol!

      Sanctus Real wrote on June 24th, 2011
  17. Wonderful story! Kudos Lin!

    FoCo Girl wrote on June 24th, 2011
  18. Good on ya girl! As a fellow 50ish gal, I love that you are tucking in your shirt! Every middle aged woman knows the untucked shirt is the modern muumuu!

    HillsideGina wrote on June 24th, 2011
  19. HOLY $#!T! Amazing!
    I guess I can’t use my 40-something metabolism as an excuse anymore =). Kudos to the nurse for actually “giving it to you straight”, though. A lot of doctors won’t say stuff like that bc the patients get mad and won’t come back.

    ottercat wrote on June 24th, 2011
  20. Great job and continued success !

    HankT wrote on June 24th, 2011
  21. Great job Lin!!! I’m so happy to hear your success story! And it was so well written! You look amazing in your final pictures, you are beautiful!!!

    Jenny wrote on June 24th, 2011
  22. Job well done on getting off of those statins! Congrats Lin!
    Sure wish I could convince my sister to be primal…she swears by a mediterranean diet of breads, pasta, pizza and vegetable oils…yuck.

    Primal Palate wrote on June 24th, 2011
  23. Congrats Lin! You look great and your sense of humor made your story a joy to read!

    Jessica wrote on June 24th, 2011
  24. It’s great that your kids have been so supportive. Very well done! Your story was very enjoyable to read, as well, I like your sense of humor!

    taihuibabe wrote on June 24th, 2011
  25. Well done, Lin!

    Rklmaj wrote on June 24th, 2011
  26. Wow! Great job! It’s amazing what less than a year of being Primal can do for a persons health!

    These success stories are what keeps me motivated: I’m always hoping that one day, I’ll be one. :) Down 15 pounds in a month and a half!

    Aly wrote on June 24th, 2011
  27. Awesome job!!! I know it feels good to have come so far. Yours is a very inspiring story that I will share with family and friends. Keep up the good work. :)

    Kvalhion wrote on June 24th, 2011
    I was able to assist my doctor with retrieving his jaw from the floor when he saw my blood work this spring..LOLOL>>>

    Daveman wrote on June 24th, 2011
  29. I loved this story, it really touched me. Thank you for sharing Lin, and I’m thrilled to see that us “older” women (I’m 46) are not doomed to gain weight as we are told over and over in magazines and news articles. You are an inspiration!

    spincycle wrote on June 24th, 2011
  30. Thanks for sharing an Amazing story.. U look GREAT and I’m sure feel GREAT.. Congrats ..

    Joy wrote on June 24th, 2011
  31. Very well written and entertaining.
    You should write a book- bet it would be a winner.

    alley cat wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • Well, actually there is one sitting on my computer, but as i couldn’t even get my family to read it, it has just sat there. So I’ve been editing it for the past 8 years!

      Lin wrote on June 24th, 2011
  32. What a great story! I’m sharing this!

    Joanna wrote on June 24th, 2011
  33. Lin, you are awesome. 😀 Thanks for sharing your story with us!!!

    Cate wrote on June 24th, 2011
  34. It’s hard to imagine that the first and last photos are of the same person. Amazing!!

    C. wrote on June 24th, 2011
  35. You go, girl! I love reading stories like yours. I must confess, though, I am unsurprised by your doctor’s reaction. He’s probably been brainwashed by CW, he’d probably allow poor eating to kill him rather than admit that there’s a better way.

    Sanctus Real wrote on June 24th, 2011
  36. Awesome, Lin! Congratulations on your accomplishments. Heehee, you said “stone”, I’d forgotten about those!

    anotherMark wrote on June 24th, 2011
  37. You look fabulous! Congratulations.

    Kim wrote on June 24th, 2011
  38. Lin, my annual visit was in early June. I was about 40 pounds lighter than last year, and though my cholesterol numbers were up slightly from last year, my trigylcerides were so low as to be laughable (31). I explained that I wanted to know if my LDL was the big fluffy as opposed to the little bb type; my doctor laughed. said he’d never heard it explained that way, but maybe next year we’d look at having that tested.
    Congrats, you look fabulous and so much happier.

    Barb wrote on June 24th, 2011
  39. Lin, thank you for sharing such a great story. You look fabulous and it is clear you feel great as well. Your posture is so great (relaxed yet confident) in the third photo!

    Shay wrote on June 24th, 2011
  40. Amazing transformation! :)

    Sarah wrote on June 24th, 2011

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