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

How 21 Days Transformed Me for Life

It’s Friday, 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!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2What do I like best about Primal eating for weight loss? NO COUNTING!! No counting calories, no counting portions, no counting values.

What do I like second best about Primal eating for weight loss? I’M NOT HUNGRY!

I have not been hungry since I began following the Primal strategies nearly six months ago. That has been unheard of in my multiple experiences with weight loss “diets.” It has been so easy with minimal amount of effort. Let me tell you the story of how my Primal journey began.

About 10 months ago my family physician insisted I begin a cholesterol lowering drug because my bloodwork numbers were too high. I explained that I wasn’t willing to use drugs without trying other interventions. She was not happy with me. Her nurse kept calling and leaving messages about filling my prescription.

In the meantime, I tried an herbal cholesterol lowering product which was supposed to capture the cholesterol and send it out of the body. I faithfully took the product with meals for two months and returned for a bloodwork update. Unfortunately, even after taking the product without fail, my bloodwork numbers were EXACTLY the same as the prior results. My physician emailed me that I needed to get started NOW on the cholesterol lowering drug. Her nurse called at least once a day, leaving me a message about filling the prescription.

alice before

I was very disappointed because I know that cholesterol lowering drugs could eat away your muscles. I decided that if I did, indeed, need to take this drug, I wanted to be sure my muscles were as strong as possible.

Here is where my fabulous personal trainer comes into the picture! My lifelong exercise routine had been following various workout videos. I wanted more individualized help, so I located the best-rated women’s gym in my area, and signed up to work with Anthony Munkholm, Fitness Director and personal trainer at Sweatshop Health Club in St Paul, MN. Little did I know how this decision would change my life!

As I began working with Anthony, he asked me about my fitness goals. In the beginning, I was only interested in building my strength; later, my endurance. I had been stuck at the same over-weight for nearly ten years, and I could not think about one more discouraging weight loss attempt. For now, I was happy to be so excited about my training sessions. I had more energy and was actually beginning to see definition in my muscles. I couldn’t wait for training days!

Anthony never pressed me to think about a weight loss goal. When we chatted about my ever-evolving goals, I would say that losing weight with my new exercise program would be a side benefit. After a month of training sessions, Anthony said he had a book he thought I might be interested in. He shared The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation with me. It was just the thing I needed.

Chapter after chapter, I said to myself, “Yes, I believe this. Yes, I can do this.” And I realized that Anthony had already been using the Primal philosophy in my training. He incorporated the Primal Essential Movements with a few sprint bursts in between. He conveyed confidence in my own intuition, which is also part of the Primal philosophy.

Checking in on my bloodwork…after six weeks of training with Anthony and eating Primal, my results improved so much, my physician said I should return in three months for reconsideration. The new results, three months later, had even greater improvement: Total cholesterol down 20 points, LDL down 14 points, BMI down from 31.3 to 28.3, and body fat down from 43.5 to 37.9. You can imagine how thrilled I am with these results. And so is my physician!

alice afterChecking in on my weight…I’m down 25 pounds off the scale, replaced by more and more muscle, of course! With total body fat down, down, down, and dress size down as well, I am back to a size from over 15 years ago! And I’m not worried about a final weight goal; I just keep eating Primal 80/20 and the pounds seem to melt away.

Stocking my cupboard with delicious Primal choices makes eating at home easy. Special requests like meatballs and marinara sauce over double broccoli, instead of spaghetti noodles, makes eating out easy as well. My lifelong sweet tooth has disappeared. Walking passed a bakery or junk food aisle is not temptation. My blood sugar levels have evened out, and I don’t miss the grains or sugars at all. Successes are all around me!

I am relentless about keeping my training schedule, even though I work out of town on a flexible basis, sometimes being gone for a couple weeks at a time. Anthony plans an “away” training routine I can do on the road. I meet with him regularly the weeks I am home. I am proud of my exercise accomplishments. Push-ups on the squat bar, going lower and lower; beginning at 5-14, now 2-3 sets of 15-24. Goal for next year is 10 on the floor! Assisted pull-ups, consistently made harder; now I can do 12! Squats, starting with leg press, moved to ball squats to the TRX, now perfect body weight squats! I also do a “mean” plank!

My trainer, Anthony, lives a Primal Lifestyle. He shares his own challenges, successes, knowledge and recipes with me. I am indebted to him for providing the Primal Lifestyle information. I am thrilled that my 21-Day Transformation has grown into an Every Day Life Transformation.


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. Love your determination and transformation!! And confidence in your self and your intuition! You look great!
    (I am 60; glad to see another woman near my age!)

    Geranium wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Thank you, Geranium, for your kind words! The intuition stance in the Primal philosophy has empowered me to believe in myself in a new way. I love not worrying about food all the time. It has been very freeing! And, yes, this strategy has worked well for me, in spite of what some in Conventional Wisdom say about losing weight being harder as you add candles to your birthday cake!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  2. Thank you! It is so encouraging to see people transform their lives. The first photo looks like it’s from the Pacific Northwest (Multinomah Falls by Portland OR) so I at first thought you were from around there.
    You look so happy in both photos, however, in the second you happy and strong. Also, no more “mom jeans” for you!
    I may look into getting a personal trainer here in Oregon.
    Again, THANK YOU for sharing your journey with us.

    2Rae wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • The first photo is from Minnehaha Falls – a great spot to check out if you ever visit MN and it’s right in the city!

      Amanda wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Thank you, Geranium, for your kind words! The intuition stance in the Primal philosophy has empowered me to believe in myself in a new way. I love not worrying about food all the time. It has been very freeing! And, yes, this strategy has worked well for me, in spite of what some in Conventional Wisdom say about losing weight being harder as you add candles to your birthday cake!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • 2Rae, I appreciate your comment! Yes, the first photo features the falls near Portland. I have a happy disposition, but have never been happier with my “earth suit” until adopting the Primal philosophy. Working with a personal trainer has propelled my success and progress beyond my wildest dreams. I bet you will find it helpful as well, especially if they embrace the Primal philosophy.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  3. Congrats to you. I travel a lot and know how difficult it is to eat well and carry out exercise routines, especially with my erratic schedule. Keep it up.

    Cat wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Cat, I appreciate the challenge of eating out and dealing with an erratic schedule. Here are two tips which work for me, as I eat out quite often. First, I read over the whole menu and select the dish which appeals to me. Then I read the appetizer section and the list of sides. That helps me decide what I might want substituted, given offerings from their menu. Second, never be shy about making a special request. I might say something like, “I won’t eat the potato. Can I have double vegetables instead?” I have never been denied! I am also 100% committed to practicing Primal 80/20. I never beat myself up if I can’t eat at least 80/20 one day! Good Luck!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  4. What nice inspiration for 2016! I just turned 63 last month and I was thrilled to see a contemporary who has been successful with the Primal lifestyle. You are a lively woman and you look really fantastic.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Chris wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Chris, thank YOU for your comment and kind words! Everyone needs inspiration. Each success with Primal has inspired me to continue, especially with the number of candles on my birthday cake! I am preparing for an exciting next chapter of my life, and I love the freedom that eating Primal provides.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  5. You look Marvelous…. Thanks for the inspiration.

    perennialpam wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Dear Perennialpam, I appreciate your sweet comment. It is a bonus to be an inspiration to others.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  6. So cool to see a fellow Minnesotan on here! I’m actually checking out the gym you mentioned via ClassPass. Looking forward to it even more now!

    Amanda wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Hello, Amanda! Yes, I’m a Minnesotan with California roots. I encourage you to visit the Sweatshop—-every single person there has been exceptional in their knowledge and their affirming attitude. I cannot wait until training or pilates days! You’re going to love it.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  7. Congratulations! It is great to see a success story I can relate to and, more importantly, one that friends and relatives considering Primal can relate to.

    Harry Mossman wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Harry, I am honored that my story clicked for you. I can’t believe how grateful I am for learning about Primal.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  8. You’re beautiful! Lovely story. Great inspiration for me to finally step up and get healthy. Been reading on Mark’s Daily Apple for almost 4 years now, I was 15 when I first stumbled on this site, and never went primal unfortunately. I’m like some other people in that I lack motivation simply because I’m already at a really healthy weight. But how I feel is what matters, and since breastfeeding I’ve lacked energy immensely, so it’s time to get on the primal train. Let’s do this, guys! WOOOOHHHHH

    TF wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Yes, TF, you can do it!! This is by far the easiest system of caring for you earth suit with a few simple steps. You will also be modeling for your lucky little one.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
      • Thanks for the encouragement. :) Have a lovely day!

        TF wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  9. Congratulations, well done!

    wildgrok wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Thank you, Wildgrok!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  10. Alice, Your story is very inspirational and just what I needed. Thanks for reminding me that my health is in my hands. Have a great 2016!

    Judy wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Hello, Judy! I am delighted to inspire you. Yes, our health is our responsibility, and Primal has provided me just the information I was missing. I mistakenly thought eating whole grains was healthy. Little did I know I was metabolizing them as sugars. No wonder I was on a constant blood sugar roller coaster. wishing a healthy 2016 back to you!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  11. Trainers and gyms over doctors and their drugs, imagine that. You showed such rare good sense and got fantastic results in only 10 months, wow!

    Meatballs and marinara over broccoli, why didn’t I think of that? I will borrow that idea, thank you very much!

    bayrider wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Hey, Bayrider! Had another MD checkup and receive an A+. Sooo exciting! The Primal info has given me such valuable information. Look at my reply to Cat above about my restaurant strategy. It has been incredibly easy, much easier than I thought when I began Primal.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  12. Alice I am so proud of you!

    Anthony wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Yes, Anthony, I am borrowing Hilly M’s words from the comment below: My personal trainer (YOU!) was a great find! You are amazing, and I am the lucky recipient of your amazing-ness!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  13. Awesome, Alice! Thank you for your encouraging story.

    Granny Gibson wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Thank you, Granny, for the uplifting comment. Sending encouragement your way!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  14. Alice, thanks for sharing your story and you look amazing! I love my peer group success stories and working on my own. Happy 2016.

    Donna wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Can’t wait to hear about your successes, Donna! I’ll look for it in 2016.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  15. Alice, thanks so much for sharing your story with us! I’m a 54 year old grandmother, and it’s so encouraging to hear from someone more closely my age. It just doesn’t happen as easily or as quickly for those of us who are female and more “mature”. It can be discouraging at times. Having a trainer seemed to really help you with your transformation…in physical strength as well as motivation and encouragement.

    Donna wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Yes, Donna, this system worked well and incredibly easily for me, in spite of my age. You can, too! Find your inspiration and dig in, then your successes will fuel you forward.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  16. Now you can be Alice in Wonderland. Great story and so happy you left the doctor in the dust! Those darn rascals.

    Noconago wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Hellom, Noconago! Bucking those in CW can be a challenge. The ease of making Primal work propelled me on; then the blood work numbers reflected what I believed would happen. My MD is impressed with my progress which is informing her of alternative interventions.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  17. What a great story! You seem to have found the perfect support system with your trainer, and will undoubtedly achieve all of your goals.

    Jessica wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Jessica, you are right that my trainer is a fabulous encourager; so is my husband. My goals keep evolving, but mostly I was happy to adopt the Primal stance that my body will tell me when I am at my healthiest weight. The pressure is off in terms of meeting some number on someone’s chart. It is very freeing.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  18. Wow Alice – you look fantastic. Your story is very similar to mine, joined a gym saying I just wanted to feel better, met an awesome trainer who very gently suggested this site, and the same thing happened. Fitness, weight loss, no hunger, no sugar spikes/cravings, heaps of energy, better blood results. I am in my 50’s and never felt better. Sounds like your Anthony is a great find …………..

    HillyM wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Hello, HillyM! Yes, we have had similar successes with Primal. What an excellent turn around. I especially appreciate the “gentle” attitude the Primal trainers use—-no pressure, no guilt. This is the best exercise/weight loss endeavor I have ever tried.
      Thank you for sharing common parts of our journey!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  19. Wow, Alice, congrats! I like the way you were focused on building muscle rather than losing weight. You look amazing and I love your positive attitude!

    Elizabeth wrote on January 1st, 2016
    • Thank you very much, Elizabeth! It was a new goal for me to focus on building muscle/strength. I had always been focused on aerobics, but on my own. Having an encouraging, affirming trainer inch me along has been the best. I have never been happier with my “earth suit!”

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  20. Alice, you are an inspiration! Loving the twinkle in your eye in the second photo!

    Faye wrote on January 2nd, 2016
    • Thank you, Faye! Can you tell how happy I am?

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  21. Well done/doing!

    Julian wrote on January 2nd, 2016
    • Julian, you are right. I am not done using these strategies. I have never had so much fun losing weight and getting healthier!!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  22. I love how you manage to win the battle against your doctor. It’s really hard to do in my opinion. My mother, who has the same problem with her cholesterol (thankfully her doctor is not yet talking about meds), has the pleasure of seeing her doctor showing her his diploma when she tries to explain that she doesn’t think she should eat less saturated fat.

    I love your name by the way!

    Coco wrote on January 2nd, 2016
    • Bucking CW is a challenge, but the Primal information is excellent. I just had another MD checkup, and she was impressed with my numbers. I received an A+, so we can’t give up sharing our beliefs and desires. Find an open-minded MD and help educate them. You have good information to back up you mother with her medical folks.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  23. Go Ask Alice!

    skeedaddy wrote on January 2nd, 2016
    • An awesome literary reference!

      Rae wrote on January 3rd, 2016
    • Yes, I do have some answers! or I know where to find them!! Thanks, skeedaddy.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  24. Rock on! What an inspiring story to start off the new year. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on your new lifestyle.

    Linda wrote on January 2nd, 2016
    • Thank you, Linda, for your uplifting comment. I truly am enjoying my new lifestyle!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  25. Good job Alice!

    Vanessa wrote on January 2nd, 2016
  26. Thank you for sharing your journey. You look amazing / radiant and full of life. I’m so glad you found a primal trainer right away. Imagine all those who go to a personal trainer or and all they get is the conventional message. Congratulations on your success

    Salina wrote on January 2nd, 2016
    • Yes, Salina, I count my blessings every day to have found an excellent gym and fantastic trainer. I knew the first day that my trainer was a perfect fit; he “dripped” information on me and patiently waited as my goals evolved. Then I learned about Primal and the rest is a wonderful story!
      Thoughtful comments like yours send inspiration back. Thank you.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  27. Congratulations Alice! Such an encouraging story; thanks for sharing 😊

    Caroline wrote on January 3rd, 2016
    • And thanks back to you, Caroline, for your comment!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  28. Goldurnit. I keep saying I’ll do this and I keep not doing it.

    You have shamed me into it! What do I want 2016 to be? I want it to be the year of not counting. I’ve got all the books. I have the resources. The only thing stopping me is me.

    Julie wrote on January 4th, 2016
    • Me Too! Time to put the knowledge and volition into action!

      Jody wrote on January 6th, 2016
    • Oh, Julie, once you commit to using this system, you will LOVE not counting. Take sugar, grains and beans out of your life. Look forward to ALL the other foods you can choose from. Have you ever used a weight loss plan that suggests eating nuts for a snack instead of carrot sticks with no dip, of course. Good Luck to you! I can’t wait to see your success story!

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  29. You look beautiful Alice!

    Christina wrote on January 21st, 2016
    • That is very sweet, Christina! Thank you.

      Alice wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  30. Alice–you’re story is SO similar to mine! I also started with a personal trainer after turning 53 and being at the highest weight of my life after menopause dealt me a blow. I also didn’t care about the numbers but just wanted to feel better, stronger, able to do what I want to do without pain. After two back surgeries and 3 abdominal surgeries, I was sure I would never have strong abs and back muscles again, but my trainer proved me wrong. I have been doing primal going on two weeks and already lost 10 pounds! I am never hungry and feel fantastic. I know I can do this forever and my cravings are all but gone. Thanks for your story–it gives me hope that this will never end and is truly a lifestyle to be enjoyed! You look awesome!

    Linda wrote on January 28th, 2016
  31. Alice, you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story.

    celticswede wrote on February 3rd, 2016
  32. Congrats! Thanks for sharing your story. It’s encouraging to hear that this can work for women of our age range. I’ve tried paleo several times in the past and it didn’t help me at all. Think I have figured out this time what didn’t work for me in the past and hoping to have a success story like yours this time. Some women just don’t lose weight the same way on paleo so slight modifications need to be made to the advice that works so well for men. That’s been my hard-learned experience.

    Paula wrote on February 14th, 2016

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