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!
My name is Christy and I’m an 18 year old high school student. I’m an athlete, primal fitness enthusiast and have been paleo for over a year now. I’m pretty much your standard high school Grok. I do my best to sleep when the sun goes down and move slowly many times throughout the day. It can be hard when you go to school, work, play sports…but I love everything about the paleo life. I enjoy long walks in my Vibrams and have been known to eat chicken and sweet potatoes multiple times a day…
I’ve always loved the outdoors. My earliest memories consist of afternoons in the park and endless trips to the zoo; you could find me swinging in the trees and splashing in the mud while the other kids clung to the jungle gym. My parents never complained…
Once I hit middle school I began to notice my weight. Keep in mind I always loved food and lots of it; I could proudly put down a rack of ribs or an entire order of P.F. Chang’s fried rice. I hit 125 lbs at 5’2”, not obese by any means but a bit pudgy for my taste. So I cut back on the rice, upped the chicken and veggies, and hit about 118 lbs feeling great and as though I had taken control of my body for the first time. This sparked my interest in nutrition and sent me into high school feeling great.
I went into my freshman year as a varsity tennis player and track runner. I began sprinting and power lifting, falling in love with cleans, squats, and bench presses and could easily crank out 10 pull-ups. I loved lifting, but I missed running as I was a pole vaulter, so I naturally began doing extra on the weekends causing me to burnout by the end of the season.
Track gave me a new passion for fitness and a desire to change my body, so I continued working out through the summer, slimming down to 108 lbs but losing a large amount of muscle. I was lethargic most of the day, running each morning and thinking about food constantly; I wasn’t following a certain diet but restricted my portions and ate foods like low fat cereal, turkey wraps, and chicken, veggies and rice for dinner. I stopped menstruating and became irritable. I stopped strength training because I lost all desire to lift. I stayed slim for the next two years, eating more and lifting again throughout the school year but I still obsessed over food and staying thin rather than my overall health.
So I tried out for the girls lacrosse team my junior year never having played, which gave me the motivation to eat more and focus on what I could do rather than what I weighed. I wanted to reach my maximum potential physically, so I trained twice a day, eating things like Greek yogurt, oats, chocolate milk and Gatorade. I turned myself into a decent player but would burn out easily as I ran mostly on sugar. It was frustrating for me because after all these years of dieting and working out I felt I should have been the fittest girl there was, so I continued to look for answers.
I saw “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” one day on Easter vacation, read it and felt an immediate light go off in my mind. Eating what our bodies were meant to eat, plenty of meat, fresh fruits and veggies (I’d always enjoyed carrots out of the bag), this diet couldn’t have been more perfect.
I ate high carb at first, not quite grasping the “fat is GOOD” concept. I fueled up with egg whites and spinach, fruit, carrots, Lara bars, nuts, DATES, and smoothies and was feeling good but was having some minor stomach pains due to excess fiber/sugar. I immediately had more energy and felt how efficiently my body was beginning to run. My year ended with a few too many hard workouts and carb cravings, so I reduced the cardio, took up sprint days, plyos, hiking and rock climbing and had the best summer of my life. I ditched processed foods and cooked more, bought Vibrams, went out with friends and enjoyed life. I was feeling great and headed into my cardio-heavy tennis preseason eating eggs, grass fed butter, sweet potatoes, and plenty of meat and veggies. I felt like a machine: no longer taking medication, sleeping soundly, working two jobs, and always having energy at the end of the night.
The success of that summer sent me into my senior year feeling better then ever. However being 18 provided many distractions and I derailed more than a few times. I ate ice cream, had cravings, binged, I got off track and back on, then got off again, but I never forgot how I felt that summer. Food had taken a grip on my mentality but I knew what a healthy body felt like. I wanted that body back so I kept fighting and eventually got back to the primal way. I know what my body likes and what it doesn’t, and while I still have days where I have a bit too much almond butter-dates-dark chocolate I always know I can come back to the foods I love and the training style that treats me right. I currently sit at a comfortable 120-123 lbs, can pump out 100 push-ups or an easy 4 mile run, and eat to fuel my performance, life and happiness.
By far the most rewarding part of this journey has been my friends asking why I do this “paleo thing” and if I recommend they try it. I give them your website, suggest what to eat, and answer any questions they have along the way. I’ve helped a best friend lose weight and change her life, given your website to complete strangers, and constantly use social media to expose the paleo life and express how passionate I am about it.
I’m heading to Penn State University to study Agricultural Sciences (where food comes from) and Dietetics and Nutrition (how to get the good stuff into people). I’m so excited and ready to help people beyond my close circle of supporters. I know I’m young and have a lifetime of information to learn, but I can’t wait to learn it and love having the energy to do so. Thanks, Mark, for inspiring me to inspire others everyday, for keeping me above the influence, and for making me the happiest, healthiest version of myself. I look forward to exploring campus next year and maintaining my diet throughout the year. Grok on!