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”.

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

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. I’m speechless too…congratulations.

    Mark wrote on June 24th, 2011
  2. Love seeing these stories about women. Sometimes it seems as if primal/paleo doesn’t work as easily for us, especially those of us in our 50s, so this is great inspiration to keep on trying.

    Laurie D. wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • I read this too, that weight loss was virtually impossible during the menopause, but not true!

      50s + menopause + CW = weight gain + frustration
      50s + menopause + Primal = freedom!

      Lin wrote on June 24th, 2011
  3. I was just getting ready to schedule my yearly physical and blood work when I realized the doctor, who I had spent the last three years educating on the primal lifestyle, has left the practice.

    I have eyeballed another MD at the practice who, based on his profile, appears to be a progressive doctor. Only time will tell if I will be starting over and training another doctor….

    Mike wrote on June 24th, 2011
  4. Congrats on your sucess!! Great story!
    I love how baffled the Dr was. LOL
    Scary that he had to be educated on somthing that should be basic for Dr’s to know.
    Keep up the great work! :)

    Heather wrote on June 24th, 2011
  5. Off topic, is unrefined palm oil good to cook with? Unfortunately, i can’t afford unrefined coconut oil. What would you suggest?

    Sean wrote on June 24th, 2011
  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This was a fantastic story and just what I needed to feel motivated again. I am 52 and really want to get off the BP meds.

    You look fantastic! Congrats!

    Melissa wrote on June 24th, 2011
    • It is possible to get off the meds. I was told when I started them that BP was a family trait and even if I lost weight I’d probably have to continue with them. Though I don’t suppose they expected me to lose so much!

      Lin wrote on June 24th, 2011
  7. Omg. Yayyyy for you!! Makes me glad. ^_^

    Allie wrote on June 24th, 2011
  8. What a great story! Well done.

    slacker wrote on June 24th, 2011
  9. Great stuff! Nice to read about a good English success. GPs can be utter dimwits at times. Glad you put yours straight.

    Indiscreet wrote on June 25th, 2011
  10. WOW. What a story…

    I’m happy for you! Congratulations on your victory!

    Patrícia wrote on June 25th, 2011
  11. Hooray for you! What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

    Ute wrote on June 25th, 2011
  12. Way to go and so inspiring. Congrats!!!!

    Pamela wrote on June 25th, 2011
  13. Thanks for sharing your story! GROK ON

    skeedaddy wrote on June 25th, 2011
  14. Your story was so fun to read. I know what you mean, about needing to be able to answer people knowledgeably about why you eat the way you do. I’m still learning, reading here and there when I can, even though I’m eating primal every day, I can’t always defend why I’m doing it, and it can be frustrating when loved ones don’t understand, or just wont understand (which is probably more often the case.) I also love how you just told your doctor straight out how it is. It sounds like he didn’t give you a hard time either which is…… something. Good for you, I loved reading your story. Thanks for sharing it.

    Granuaile wrote on June 25th, 2011
    • Actually the doctors is really nice, one you can talk to. he’s the one that helped me through my depression.

      Lin wrote on June 26th, 2011
  15. Congratulations Lin you look wonderful

    debbie_downer wrote on June 25th, 2011
  16. Lin, you look amazing!

    RitaRose wrote on June 25th, 2011
  17. This is awesome.

    In some ways Doctor’s are years behind the knowledge we have available to us.

    Tom wrote on June 25th, 2011
  18. Yours is a truly inspirational story! Congratulations!
    Thanks for sharing with us!

    albertasara wrote on June 25th, 2011
  19. I look at all the terms for different blood tests and my eyes glaze over. Got rid of grains in diet…then found good doc. Blood test numbers are of an athlete in 20’s. I am a woman in 60’s and do a lot of bicycling, skating, running, weights. New doc saw old numbers and asked what I’d been doing…I gave him Mark’s book…he loved it, and he’s been giving that book to his patients!

    cjbrooks wrote on June 25th, 2011
  20. Thank you everyone. All your kind comments have been overwhelming.
    I am so thankful I found MDA and became Primal – its a lifesaver!

    Lin wrote on June 26th, 2011
  21. Great story, congrats!! You look amazing!

    Chava wrote on June 26th, 2011
  22. I love your sense of humor about this whole thing – especially if the fat clothes were pretty, that was a bonus! Well said. Congrats on your weight loss and leaving your doc speechless. Priceless.

    hiker wrote on June 26th, 2011
  23. Wow, just wow.

    pocopelo wrote on June 28th, 2011
  24. Doctors should not be labeled the “bad guys” in these stories and comment. If your general practitioner doesn’t see eye to eye with you…find a better one. The belittling of medical doctors in general is completely misguided. Go see an osteopathic doctor who WILL know what you are talking about and won’t send you home with a laundry list of prescriptions to “cure” your problems.

    If you don’t like your doc because they don’t know the simple characteristics of LDL, then go find a new one. I see an MD because my insurance doesn’t cover DO’s but I have never had a problem with the staff not being up to date. My OB/GYN suggested cutting out sugars and carbs completely and taking a folic acid supplement for my chief complaint rather than handing me a pill to take. There are good doctors out there, so don’t throw a few bad ones into the bunch and label them all as less superior.

    jbrunner wrote on June 28th, 2011
    • The doctor in my story is actually very good. I wouldn’t hesitate to see him, he listens and would never just issue a prescription. He helped me through my depression. But I really stumped him with eating fat and losing weight.

      Lin wrote on June 29th, 2011
  25. Great job. I just started eating primal today. I did Atkins ten years ago and had success, but could not stay on it. I was too run down. Tonight my stomach is not distended and I feel good.

    Joan Cortez wrote on June 28th, 2011
  26. Congratulations Lin! I have a similar success story. I didn’t have any weight to lose, but have been attempting for years to combat familial high cholesterol without meds (after severe digestive and joint side effects from Lipitor and Red Rice Yeast.) I went Primal in January of this year and just had my lipid panel done in May – my LDL went down from 200 to 130, and my HDL up from 55 to 77. My digestive problems are resolved on this diet as well. I’d long suspected that grains and sugars were my worst enemy, and this diet confirmed that to be true. My naturopath tells me she’s seeing more such success stories within her practice, and subscribes to the Primal lifestyle herself – though I initiated the change prior to seeing her. Haven’t yet returned to my G.P., but suspect she’ll still want my LDL down below 100, so may not be as pleased with the numbers as I am.
    Side note: my 23 year old son has also been Paleo since January – much stricter than I am – and has lost 50 pounds, feels and looks great, is more energetic, more inclined to a more active social life, and has had a reduction in rosacea symptoms as well. I’m spreading the word to all who will listen, and gradually I’m seeing a movement here in east Hawaii towards this sensible lifestyle. Yippee!

    Lee wrote on July 1st, 2011
  27. Last visit, my doc was positively bubbling about another 11 pounds lost. Even though she is (still) ignoring that I no longer eat grains and do eat (according to her) waaayyy too much meat… It’s just about time to bring up reducing blood pressure meds. I do have atrial fibriliation, and am still reading up on that. Any suggestions?

    Way to go, Lin. You look fabulous, including your beautiful smile.

    Mary Anne wrote on July 5th, 2011
  28. BTW, my doc is a DO. She’s a bit too much on the pill end to suit me, but she is, at least, willing to discuss. I agree that vilifying docs is counterproductive; the main goal should be to get with one who will work with you.

    Mary Anne wrote on July 5th, 2011
  29. I really enjoyed the pictures, and the story, but I’m not sure if I believe it 100%, as the first two pictures look like “Lin”, or the same woman, but the very last one she’s got her face covering her arm…which I find rather strange, especially since “Marks DA” would want us to really believe that this is a TRUE story. So, even tho the writing is very good, and it all sounds real, i’m just not convinced it is, because of the last picture I’m just not buying it.

    sharon wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • I think that’s just how it is with mirror shots. If you want the camera to see what you see in the mirror, then you have to hold it close to your face. And depending on your coordination, it might be quite difficult to get a good “mirror shot” without steadying the camera with both hands. The fact that her face is covered in one pic is not necessarily an indication of a fake story…just saying :)

      Reiko wrote on July 12th, 2011
  30. Lin, yours is my favorite success story on this site. :) We have the most in common & I can most relate to you. You are a real person, you didn’t start out as a frustrated fit person who had a spare tire to lose…you really get it. And you really did it! I am about to start on a year of eating Paleo, I am about the same age, weight & height as your starting numbers so the weight you have reached is extremely encouraging for me. I have done Paleo before & know it works but fell off the wagon. I wish you well & thank you for sharing your story. I am looking forward to being where you are in a year from now. Thanks for the encouragement, now I really feel like I can do it! :)

    Keet wrote on November 3rd, 2011
  31. Lin, thank you for sharing your story. I am a 40-something mother of four and it is very inspiring to see that the changes you made can work for (formerly) sedentary women in midlife as well as for others. Thank you!

    Maggie wrote on May 16th, 2012
  32. Way to go Lin! I am 55 and you and I have much in common (or had, prior to your success). I’m hovering at about 171 lbs on a 5’5″ frame and miserable! I’ve never weighed this much in my life! My Mom (76 years old) just had quadruple bypass surgery last July and we are both in need of weight loss. I have thyroid issues, high cholesterol/triglycerides and a host of aches and pains. She has heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
    We’ve tried to go Primal before but never stuck to it. Huge bread/carb eaters! Lately though, I’m more and more convinced that my headaches and other ailments are probably a result of gluten/sugar intake.
    Anyway, didn’t set out to write a book here, but I feel close to your story and to the inability to afford the grass fed beef, etc. (I know someone is bound to say something to the effect of in the long run, it’s cheaper, etc. well, guess what? That doesn’t work for us. We are on a strict fixed budget and it just isn’t a possibility) I know I can make an improvement with lean cuts of meat and lots of veggies, etc. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration and I’m sure you’ve lost that 12ish pounds you wanted to lose by now.
    Take care!
    Tj

    Tjtriangle wrote on December 1st, 2012
  33. Amazing and inspiring story! Congratulations…You look great! :)

    Carla

    Carla wrote on March 10th, 2013
  34. Congratulations! I have finished with my blood pressure meds too.
    – two different ones a day for the past 6 years -now none in little over a month! I am so glad to have found the Primal Blueprint.

    Jeannie wrote on May 25th, 2013

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