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

Flab to Fab in 7 Easy Months

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!

P.S. This story was titled by the author of the story, Erin.

Dear Mark,

I am so excited to have a story I feel is worth submitting to the Primal Blueprint Real Life Stories. It’s certainly not anything I imagined at the beginning of this journey.

My story began like so many of the other stories I’ve read on Mark’s Daily Apple. Although I was very skinny in my younger years, sometime around puberty I started to pick up “baby fat” even though I’d had none previously. Through college my weight would fluctuate up and down. One year I’d be a size 6, and the next a 10. My eating habits, like most college students, were awful, but I walked almost everywhere I went, and my job working with children kept me on my feet all day, so I always stayed in an “average” range.

In my early 20s, when I stopped living within a mile radius of everywhere important I had to be and started working a job that involved a lot more sitting, I noticed the weight start to creep on again. However, this time it stayed. I wasn’t happy with this new development, and started to make some changes.

Thus began the vicious cycle of Chronic Cardio and CW diet that would inevitably lead to disappointment and giving up, only to try again 6 months later when my pants didn’t fit. I can remember at one point going to two back to back fitness classes three times a week (one strength and one cardio), and spending 60 grueling minutes on the treadmill or elliptical the other four days. I would go home and eat some low fat, whole grain dinner and count my calories like my life depended on it. However, despite all of this work, I could only take off 5-10 lbs and wasn’t seeing the kind of results that would make my effort feel worth it.

In my mid-20s my doctor did some routine blood work and told me I was hypoglycemic. She recommended I check out an insulin resistance diet and make some changes, since the cycle of hypoglycemia can often lead to diabetes. I started to eat more protein and less carbs (I still held tight to the whole grains, I was a self-proclaimed pasta addict), and did actually lose some weight. But life happened and I quickly fell off the wagon.

Somewhere along the line, I resigned myself to “the way things were” and decided I clearly wasn’t blessed with the genes to obtain the body I wanted. Unfortunately, that resignation, combined with taking on an incredibly stressful and demanding job in the summer of 2011, led to a hefty weight gain.

In the spring of 2012 I attended a dog show (I show Australian Shepherds) and was so excited to have a wonderful weekend full of many wins. Winning dogs means taking win pictures. When I pulled up the website to order my win pictures, though, I was horrified at the me that I saw. I mean, yes I had had to buy a new outfit the week before because my usual skirt and jacket suits didn’t fit anymore, but I wasn’t prepared for the image I saw. It was truly a low point for me to have a visual that, at only 26 years old, I was heavy and out of shape.

Erin - Before Primal

I knew it was time for a radical change, but didn’t know what that was since nothing had ever given me “big” results before. Around that same time, one of my Facebook friends shared an article from Mark’s Daily Apple titled “17 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight.” I was hooked.

I spent the next week reading through everything on MDA and immediately went out and bought The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation. I was hesitant to get my hopes up, since I’d only been disappointed in the past, but was shocked to lose 7 lbs in the first two weeks! The poor people around me got really tired of hearing about “Primal” and “Mark says…,” but they were certainly noticing my results.

After a few weeks on the PB diet I noticed I had more energy, slept better, and was just generally a happier person. I walked, a lot, and even got my company to put in a standing desk for me at work. The weight just kept melting off without any kind of effort on my part. For the first time in years I stopped getting that awful low blood sugar feeling if I didn’t eat something every few hours. And the best part is I was never hungry.

A couple months in I added some IF into the mix. I never really planned a fast, but I would wake up and just wouldn’t eat until I was hungry. The fat really started to come off then, and my body was starting to really shape up.

I’ve gotten into boot camp recently, and do it 2-3 times a week for my strength training and play (I genuinely love it). The most amazing thing, to me, is that I can “exercise” just a couple of times a week and get much bigger results than when I used to spend hours in the gym. When your body is doing what it was meant to do, it’s actually not difficult at all!

All in all, I went from a size 12 or 14 (I’m honestly not sure as I stopped keeping track at some point and wore a lot of clothes with “give”) down to a size 4 in about 7 months. I never thought I’d see a 4 again! I’ve lost over 40 pounds, and the fat is still coming off as I continue to work on toning my body up and building some muscle.

I can now go for a run “just for fun” and not be out of breath in a quarter mile. I can have a camera turned on me and not feel instant anxiety. I can skip a meal and not be tired and grumpy because my blood sugar is low. And most of all, I feel great and I look great.

Oh, and those dog show suits… they still don’t fit, but now it’s because they fall off of me.


Erin - After Primal

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. Congratulations Erin!

    Robb wrote on January 5th, 2013
  2. Erin, 40 pounds in 7 months is a remarkable accomplishment. You must very proud of your transformation. You are a real head turner! Congrats.

    JoeBrewer wrote on January 5th, 2013
  3. You look beautiful, Congrats!

    Katie wrote on January 5th, 2013
  4. Loved your story. Congratulations on the new you. You look beautiful, confident, healthy and happy. Your new attitude shows, in a good way. I also lost 40# following PB (in 7 months), and it keeps coming off. So happy to be living this lifestyle. It sure looks good on you.

    Nurse wrote on January 5th, 2013
  5. Great story Erin and WOW you look SEXAY… What a transformation!

    What really strikes me in this tale (after reading many a success story here on MDA) is how one Facebook share of a great article can change somebody’s life. Who knows how many other people that share influenced.

    And let me tell ya… what Mark does is one of the HARDEST freakin’ things you can imagine. To collect and present information in such a way that it doesn’t trigger your BS alarm and so it has a certain pop appeal that the average Joe or Jane can read it and think “that makes sense”… so big props to Mark, big props to Erin and let’s keep these sexy success stories coming!

    Victor Dorfman wrote on January 5th, 2013
  6. First things first: Gorgeous dog, what’s his breeding? If you are like me, you spend a small fortune feeding the best version of raw to your dogs and absolutely no attention to what you are eating…..until I found Primal. Now my Aussie is my best running buddy, we run for the fun of it.

    Second, you’ve done a wonderful job.

    lisa wrote on January 5th, 2013
  7. You look beautiful! Great job!

    Shamra wrote on January 5th, 2013
  8. Good on you Erin. I look forward to the “transformations” each week and some, like yours, I can really identify with. Although much older than you, I am about the same before size, so you are an inspiration. I often think about ‘how long’ it’s going to take, and get discouraged, especially having just seem my 50th birthday photos. Uuugh! I have lost weight without really trying, mosty importantly by NOT being on a diet. Friends and colleagues look at me with a kind of ‘tut-tut’ look, fat & not on a diet??? Don’t care, I’m finally doing what’s right for me. Have just started IF, by accident in the beginning now getting into it a little more. I am also loving the gym, but not like the old days. Thank you so much for sharing, I am sitting with a tear in my eye… 7 months isn’t that long in scheme of our whole lives. I will continue to eat this way long term as it’s right for me. Erika in Australia

    Erika wrote on January 5th, 2013
  9. So, yeah, forget the “you look so happy!” and all that-you’re a SEXY f***ing cavewoman! 😉

    StateSmashinCaveman wrote on January 6th, 2013
  10. Wow, what a cutie!

    Tom wrote on January 6th, 2013
  11. This is really inspiring for me because I’ve just restarted the Paleo lifestyle. I’m around a size 12 and I’m 5’7…I’m not fat by any means but I’m concerned that my prediabetes is going to transform into type 2. Also, I’d like to feel beautiful again. This was a huge inspiration for me…thank you for sharing. Hopefully I can stick with it like you did!

    Morgan wrote on January 6th, 2013
  12. Wonderful story. You are beautiful young woman.

    I have to echo the cravings comment. Since going low carb-high fat it was a shock to one day notice that the periodic cravings and hunger were gone. I am more likely to eat when I am ready or it’s convenient. It might only be twice a day. When I get that desire for something that I know won’t help me, I have the option to sit back and think about it instead of an impulsive binge.

    Keith wrote on January 6th, 2013
  13. Love this

    “And most of all, I feel great and I look great.”



    WildGrok wrote on January 6th, 2013
  14. Hubba Hubba……..

    zeph wrote on January 6th, 2013
  15. Congrats, Erin! You look terrific. You wrote: “Somewhere along the line, I resigned myself to “the way things were” and decided I clearly wasn’t blessed with the genes to obtain the body I wanted.” Man, I so felt that way too. I felt hopeless, really, until I found out about paleo/primal. Now that I have the tools (and MDA is such a helpful tool), I finally feel like I can reach my goal.

    The Crunchy Mama wrote on January 7th, 2013
  16. You look AWESOME!!! I am so proud of you!!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

    Debbie Hallock wrote on January 7th, 2013
  17. I am probably the only one who was super psyched that you included a photo of your dog.

    Awesome transformation (and nice to hear from a fellow dog geek).

    Dev wrote on January 7th, 2013
    • Don’t worry Dev, you’re not the only dog geek here. All the evidence says that Grok never could have evolved into us without his trusty dog by his side. Many of us still cherish this bond.

      I think animal lovers are naturally predisposed to primal eating, because we can see its benefits reflected in our animal friends. I have always been awestruck by the brute athleticism of the average housecat. To me cats are strength, grace and power personified (in a fuzzy cuddly package). All of which stems from a predominately meat based diet. This was not lost on me when I decided to go primal over a decade ago. I still can’t clear a 6ft fence with a single jump like my cat, but I can almost take him in a short sprint now. Followed by a shared catnap of course.

      That said we would all be wise to be dog geeks. If we all followed our animals’ lead, few of us would have ever ended up our pre-paleo selves. Once we go paleo, we always have a partner and comrade in our dogs and cats. Its a beautiful and natural thing and Grok would be proud.

      Dutch wrote on January 10th, 2013
  18. Congrats Erin and good job!

    Am I the only one that was distracted by the awful dress the other woman is wearing in the first picture?!! Oh my gosh. Your weight in the first photo wasn’t the concerning thing, it was that woman’s dress!

    Lisa wrote on January 7th, 2013
  19. Great story! Do you have a blog or website where you share about your experiences? Or any other blogs/websites that you like to follow? (Other than MDA of course!!)

    Adriel wrote on January 7th, 2013
  20. You look amazing, well done Erin!

    Chris wrote on January 7th, 2013
  21. You’re gorgeous Erin !
    Congratulations !
    (I love your dog too)

    Theodora wrote on January 7th, 2013
  22. You really look very good, Erin. Before losing weight too, but even more so after. Glad that going primal helped you.

    Erik W wrote on January 8th, 2013
  23. Hot damn, baby, you look A-MAZING! Congratulations on getting back in shape and regaining your health. Isn’t it GREAT not to be hungry every 2 hours? That’s my favorite part! Ok, no, actually it’s being the size I want to be and wearing what I want! And, being healthy! Can I have 3 favorite things? 😉

    Tina wrote on January 9th, 2013
  24. Amazing transformation Erin. Good on you. Your arms tell the whole story. What a difference between the before and after pics. You look great and look like you feel great. Grok on.

    Your doggie is adorable too. You can feed him primal too you know. He’ll thank you for it.

    Dutch wrote on January 10th, 2013
  25. You were always beautiful and now you have the good health that you deserve!

    Norma Bonar wrote on January 12th, 2013
  26. You are an ‘altered winner’.

    Scott UK wrote on February 1st, 2013

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