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

I Am in the Best Health and Shape of My Life

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!

Shame and disgust were what I felt when I first saw this cringe-worthy photo of myself. I am a deaf mom of three boys. This picture was taken in July 2009, five years after my youngest son was born. I was fast approaching 40 years old. I did not have a weight problem growing up as I was very active and played in several sports. It was when I got to college that I gained the infamous “Freshman Fifteen”. I successfully lost my pregnancy weight with my first son. However, more pounds creeped up from the next two pregnancies. In the July 2009 photo I was hovering between 185 and 195 pounds and by the way, I’m 5’8″. I would delete, throw it out or crop off the bottom half of me in every full-body picture taken of me. My instincts told me to keep this one and I now know why.☺ I love receiving your weekly Friday Primal Blueprint Success Story e-mail and always feel inspired by whoever had the courage to share his/her story. I want to share my story and help others find the magic in themselves.

Beth - July 2009

I was not much of a yo-yo dieter. Weight Watchers and the Atkins Diet were the only programs I tried. I would lose maybe ten pounds at most but the weight always returned over time. That was when I decided to take up running for the first time. I never ran in my entire life except for what I had to do as part of organized sports programs. It took me two failed attempts to succeed on the Couch to 5k program. I couldn’t follow the program timeframe. I had to go at my own pace and that meant repeating some of the weeks to allow my body to catch up. I ran my first marathon two years later. As you would see the photo below, I still had not lost very much weight in spite of running on almost a daily basis. I was always hungry and I ate more. Does this sound familiar?

July 2011, First Marathon

I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2005 after becoming ill with a full-blown celiac-episode overnight. After two weeks my health was not improving. I had not had any obvious symptoms prior to that and nobody in my family had celiac disease so, needless to say, being diagnosed was a big shock. I went on the gluten-free diet right away and followed it to a “T”. At around the same time, I developed year-round seasonal allergies leading to constantly recurring sinusitis. Chronic fatigue and joint pain made themselves at home in my body.

I started having major anxiety attacks out of the blue and I blamed it on peri-menopause even though I was tested negative for it. I was prescribed Xanax and I never took it. I’ve never liked taking medicine. I kept the bottle in my purse and would just look at it to calm myself down whenever I felt an attack coming up. At the same time, I was put on the allergen immunotherapy program (weekly shots) and my body reacted violently. I had suicidal thoughts and my anxiety attacks worsened. I pulled myself off the immunotherapy program after a few months and stopped taking the allergy medicine completely. I decided to live with the stuffed up nose year round. I was also having ongoing stomach pains and bloatedness even though I was religiously careful about avoiding the gluten cross-contamination. I had an endoscopy and the gastrointestinal nuclear scan, which revealed only gastritis of the stomach lining. Everything else looked healthy. My doctor prescribed Nexium for my stomach pain. I threw the prescription out when I got home because I knew he had not gotten to the root of my problem.

Needless to say, I was frustrated with all of my health issues. They were popping up out of nowhere. For someone who is a lifelong optimist I started to think, why me?

It was through a friend when I first heard of the paleo lifestyle. He kept talking about how bacon is good for you and how his health problems were resolved. I became intrigued and did my own research. I was still skeptical but I decided I had nothing to lose by giving it a try. I removed every processed food; Diet Pepsi, sugar, and the rest of the gluten free junk food from my kitchen. I ate bacon every morning. In a matter of days, my stomach pains completely disappeared. Bloatedness gone. My energy levels skyrocketed. Most of my allergy symptoms vanished. My joint pain faded away. I had a much improved skin complexion with no more acne. I was STUNNED! Who knew that food was the culprit of all those health problems I had?!?! Five months later, I decided to remove dairy from my diet for 30 days. Lo-and-behold, the remaining allergy issues went away. Even though I was tested negative for lactose intolerance, I now know I have histamine intolerance to dairy. I no longer eat dairy. I now see the importance of removing certain foods from the diet for a period of time to see how the absences of these foods positively affect your bodies. What I love about the paleo diet is that there is no calorie counting. There is no marketing gimmick. There is no requirement to pay for any diet program. The information is all right there at your fingertips with the help of Almighty Google.

Beth - Post Primal

After turning to the paleo lifestyle, I ran four marathons in five months. Three of them were part of the 3N3 Alabama Challenge (3 marathons in 3 months). The energy I gained from the paleo lifestyle made this possible without any injuries or fatigue. Then this past March, an “uh-oh” happened. I broke my foot during a mountain hike. I had to put my running on the back burner. Restlessness was getting the best of me. I had to find another exercise outlet. This helped me find Bikram Yoga. I could not run on my injured foot but I had no problem standing on it. I became hooked to hot yoga and I now go six days a week. That broken foot was a blessing in disguise, indeed. I’ve come to understand that long distance/endurance running is not exactly good for my body; putting too much stress and raising my cortisol level. I’ve gone back to running but it is not as often as I used to. I may do one marathon a year. I’m now all about Namaste-ing.

Beth - Yoga

To date after 11 months, I’ve lost a total of 35 pounds. I would love to lose the last ten elusive pounds to reach my high school weight. I am just so elated that I am in the best health and shape of my entire life. I have become so passionate about the paleo lifestyle that with the help of the friend who introduced me to it, we created a Facebook group, “DeafPaleo” to help educate and inspire others in the deaf community. I so desperately want them to become aware of the healing power of proper nutrition and exercise and to lower dependence on the pharmaceutical industry to help get them through life. We now have 612 members and it continues to grow. Because I am still learning about the paleo stuff, I do not always have the answers immediately when they ask questions. I am always asking myself, “What does Mark have to say about that?” and I resort to your website for helpful answers. Thank you for being there, Mark.

Happy Beth!

Beth

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. These stories make me so happy. Well done Beth!

    Also: bacon! ;-)

    Stacy wrote on July 28th, 2013
    • Mmmmm, bacon! :D

      Beth wrote on July 28th, 2013
  2. As I see in many stories, you look 10 years younger! Beautiful and at peace with yourself. I love it.

    Pam wrote on July 28th, 2013
    • Thanks Pam!

      Beth wrote on July 30th, 2013
  3. Wow, Beth! I’ve been reading these stories for so long, but I’ve never commented before. Your story and journey is just amazing! You should be so proud of yourself. You look absolutely stunning and bear no resemblance to the first picture you posted. Your health is just beaming from your post-pictures!

    Diana wrote on July 28th, 2013
    • Thanks, Diana!

      Beth wrote on July 28th, 2013
  4. Hi Beth,
    I found very interesting your story, wow! I am agree with you, I threw the prescriptions often. I always to do the research myself on internet and I love the yoga too. I never heard about Paleo, thank you for sharing.

    Annick

    Annick wrote on July 28th, 2013
    • Hey Annick! You’re more than welcome to join DeafPaleo if you’re curious about the paleo lifestyle. You know where to find me ;) Hugs, Beth

      Beth wrote on July 28th, 2013
  5. Go Beth! :)

    Robo wrote on July 28th, 2013
    • :P

      Beth wrote on July 28th, 2013
  6. Awesome post, thanks for sharing.

    Mitch wrote on July 28th, 2013
  7. Your face looks radiant in the last photo! It is obvious that you are much healthier, as well as thinner. Nicely done!

    Danielle Cumberland wrote on July 28th, 2013
    • Thanks Danielle!

      Beth wrote on July 28th, 2013
  8. Your story really touched me. Your happiness and spirit absolutely glows in your transformation pictures. Beautiful and inspiring!

    Mel wrote on July 28th, 2013
    • Thanks Mel!

      Beth wrote on July 28th, 2013
  9. Beth,
    what a great success story!!! You are very inspiring… I am going to show this to my patients!!! you will inspire them too!!

    Randy wrote on July 28th, 2013
    • Please do!!!! I wish all doctors would share this knowledge of how eating real food from nature, nothing man-made, and avoiding processed foods would improve one’s health so much. Thank you for doing this for your patients :)

      Beth wrote on July 28th, 2013
  10. Wow! Your glowing smile in the last picture says it all! Way to go, Beth!

    Taylor wrote on July 28th, 2013
    • Thanks Taylor!

      Beth wrote on July 31st, 2013
  11. Just curious: when you refer to DAIRY, what exactly are you referring to?

    I’m drinking raw locally-procured sheep and goat milk and eating raw-milk cheeses. I am convinced the store-bought “milk” is a completely different animal from the raw stuff.

    BTW, kudos to you!

    Jan Rendek wrote on July 29th, 2013
    • I was not much of a milk drinker, but cheese? OMG, I LOVED cheese, all kinds of cheese! I’d put cheese on almost everything. I haven’t tried the raw-milk cheeses, but now that I’ve overcome my cheese addiction that I no longer want to look for a substitute. Maybe one of these days, I’ll try the raw-milk cheese.

      Thanks, Jan!

      Beth wrote on July 31st, 2013
  12. Hey Beth — great story! Could you tell me more about how your weightloss went in those 11 months. I have a very similar body composition to you and am looking to lose about the same amount of weight, though I’m an inch taller. And, I’ve loved all the rather quick results a lot of folks have gotten, but for me, the weightloss has been markedly slower. The first month was 2 lbs and the second month 4 lbs. Definitely moving in the right direction, but I’d love to hear how it worked for you to help readjust my expectations.

    Lindsey wrote on July 29th, 2013
    • Sure. I started last August, almost a year ago. My weight loss throughout the year….

      Aug – 8 lbs
      Sept – 3
      Oct – 4
      Nov – 0
      Dec – 0
      Jan – 7
      Feb – 4
      Mar – 1
      Apr – 3
      May – 5

      As you can see, it did not all come off quickly. Just that first month and then January when I did the sugar detox and dairy elimination 30-day diet. I started doing hot yoga in May so that helped with the weight loss. It was a slow journey and it got frustrating at times. I had to remind myself that how I was feeling inside was more important than the scale. I recently broke up with the bathroom scale because it was just adding on the unnecessary stress on me, ha!

      Feel free to ask if you have other questions. Thanks, Lindsey!

      Beth wrote on July 30th, 2013
      • Before you did Bikram in May what was your workout like? Thanks

        Edna wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • Edna, I used to run almost everyday, short runs would be between 3 to 6 miles, and then do the long run between 10 miles to 15 miles once a week. That was all I did. Run, run, run.

          Beth wrote on August 2nd, 2013
  13. Great article, its amazing how much better you feel when you have proper nutrition… and a little exercise

    Darren wrote on July 30th, 2013
  14. Amazing Beth!!! Isn’t Bikram Yoga amazing? I just wrapped up a 30 Day Challenge and I feel amazing. That yoga glow is in full effect. Cheers to good health!

    Chika wrote on July 30th, 2013
    • Oh yes, I love Bikram yoga! You have that yoga glow yourself, too, in that profile picture :) Namaste, Beth

      Beth wrote on July 30th, 2013
  15. Beth — thank you so much for the weightloss numbers. I really appreciate it. I’ve done Bikram on and off for a few years and do really love it. But I moved recently and haven’t found a local studio that works with my new commute/work schedule. Plus, with all the changes (first month = diet, second month/now = working on the strength — doing a 3×5 Starting Strength regime), I’m trying to keep new changes to one per month. Next, I’m set to add in the sprints, and after that, I may re-incorporate Bikram as I’ve always loved it. If I ever get to a full standing head to knee position that’s half as good as yours, I’d be pretty stoked!

    Having the road map of someone else who has walked what I think will be a similar path really helps. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Lindsey wrote on July 30th, 2013
  16. What a fantastic (ending) story! Thank you for sharing. This has definitely motivated and solidified all of the great information on Paleo-living.
    :)

    (what runs) Lori wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Thanks!!!

      Beth wrote on August 9th, 2013
  17. wow Beth what an inspiring story. It is SO similar to my story, but I am not where you are yet… I just started! Am 49, overweight, tested negative for celiac altho I was so sure I had it due to constant bloating/gas, am lactose intolerant, am going thru peri-menapause, bloated all time, don’t feel well, low energy, stiff joints… have been on bio-identical hormone therapy, worked in the beginning, but now not at all, and have stopped taking it. In desperation, I went to acupuncture, and that’s where I found Mark’s book Primal Blueprint – 3 weeks ago. I have been reading religiously and have changed my eating completely. I do feel SO much better, it is quite incredible. But I have not lost weight yet, I am hoping that will come with on going eating plan and the exercise and getting my hormones back in balance. I have also started yoga, like you, and am loving it.
    Thanks for such an inspiring story. It makes me know I am on the right track. I am so happy for you. Best Yasmin

    Yasmin Bendror wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Yasmin, I’m so glad you found this lifestyle! You’re going to love it, I promise you :)

      Beth wrote on August 2nd, 2013
  18. Wow Beth! I have several pictures in which I look very much like you did in your before pictures. I am working hard to become a primal success story like you!

    Susan wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Susan, hold on to those photos. I wish you all the success on your primal journey!

      Beth wrote on July 31st, 2013
  19. I was loving this story (because it is completely similar to my life) until I read the phrase “bacon is good for you”. HUH??? There is no sane person on this planet that would ever say that bacon is GOOD for you. Sure, everybody thinks it tastes great, but in no way, shape, or form is bacon good for you. I used to follow the Paleo diet until I saw how meat heavy it was, and then I started doing research into vegetarian and vegan diets and decided that those diets were so much healthier and went down the vegan path, and also cut out dairy, which is the best thing I ever did. Diets heavy in red meat and pork are what is killing people in this country. Heart disease and cancers are directly linked to diets heavy in red meats, pork, and processed meats. NO THANKS. I am plant-based all the way and feel better than I have ever felt in my life!

    Amy wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • ” NO THANKS. I am plant-based all the way and feel better than I have ever felt in my life!”

      Sure you are..for now. Give it about 2-3 years — the annoying inflammations come first. Then it’s harder and harder to fight off little colds (and big ones). Memory loss can start to creep in (vegetarians, other than nursing home seniors are the most likely to suffer B12 deficiencies.) If you decide to not listen to your body and ignore the advise about (mandatory) B12 supplements, you can also look forward to spinal column difficulties in a few years.

      You’re an obligate omnivore. You don’t get to choose what you eat. If you want long term optimal health, you’ll need to at *least* include some animal products. Traditional vegetarianism (as found in India) includes eggs, lots of butter (ghee), and not a few bugs (really!)

      What’s killing people in this country are the Doritos and all the over processed junk food. Meat is not the enemy and never was. Our “too large brains for our bodies” require the nutrient density of meat. If you’re a vegetarian for moral reasons, I don’t agree, but it’s an honest reason. There are no health reasons to be vegetarian.

      Amy wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I take B-12 supplements at the advice of my doc, who was fine with my decision. I am not a vegan for moral reasons, but for my health.

        Amy wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I have relatives that are both vegetarian and vegan. They are all very good at finding what they need for good health, however, they are eating pretty much all day to keep from feeling hungry. One has grayish skin, another has cancer and is getting worse even though it’s not usually a fatal cancer and another has dementia from the lack of animal fat in his diet.
      Others who have switched to eating primally from being vegan or vegetarian have become healthier and better looking. Most of them have puffy tummies from either gas or gluten issues.
      Myself, eating just a vegetable based diet left me sick and foggy in mind and sluggish physically.
      I disagree about bacon, not ALL bacon is bad. Research and you will find some is really made well and healthy.

      2Rae wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • oops, the vegan ones have puffy tummies…. not the primal.

        2Rae wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • I will agree that most vegans and vegetarians eat lots of pasta and bread (I have noticed) but I have been wheat/gluten free for over 5 years now. Which makes my diet even cleaner! It’s basically fruits, veggies, seeds, and quinoa.

          Amy wrote on July 31st, 2013
  20. wow amazing congratulations this is one of the best stories I have seen here, you are incredible, liked this part especially “That broken foot was a blessing in disguise”, I can relate to it. Namaste to you from a yoga addict!

    wildgrok wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Thank you, wildgrok! Namaste to you, too!

      Beth wrote on August 2nd, 2013
  21. What a wonderful transformation, those last several photos say it all, you look positively physically and emotionally healthy! I have always believed that these success stories are as much about a spiritual and mental change as the more obvious physical changes. When you go from shame and disgust to being in the best health and shape of your life that is a breakthrough accomplishment and a singularly life altering event. The word empowerment is bandied about a lot these days but this is what it truly looks like! It’s really wonderful that you are reaching out to others with your Facebook group, that is going to bring profound benefits to those that will listen.

    I can’t tell you how happy I get when I see stories like yours, I wish they would broadcast these Friday success stories prominently in the national media, we could all use the inspiration and a positive path shown to us. Imagine if everyone got their act together like you have, imagine if all of America were to turn their body and souls around like you have!

    Bayrider wrote on August 3rd, 2013
    • I wholly agree. The more success stories we see, the more people we reach and inspire them to improve their health. Thank you for the nice note :)

      Beth wrote on August 9th, 2013
  22. What a great story! Thank you for sharing your journey, Beth. I have been Primal for almost a year, have lost 65 pounds and still have more to lose, and the benefits have been remarkable. You’ve inspired me to continue and share this great path! You look amazing!

    Pat wrote on August 5th, 2013
    • Way to go, Pat! Keep it up! And thanks for your support :)

      Beth wrote on August 9th, 2013
  23. Wow! What an inspirational story! I have all the same health issues as you! I, too, threw my medications in the garbage (including Singulair). I’m still suffering from chronic sinusitis, and I know it’s because I haven’t yet eliminated all dairy. All of my other symptoms go away when I avoid grains. I wish our fellow sufferers would understand that it’s not just about getting rid of gluten. If you are gluten sensitive, intolerant, or full blown Celiac, you need to get rid of all grains to heal completely. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m throwing out my frozen yogurt and milk right now! :)

    Julie wrote on August 7th, 2013
    • Good for you :) I hope that your sinusitis issues will be completely resolved now that you’ve removed dairy. In fact, I’m pretty sure it will!!!

      Beth wrote on August 9th, 2013
  24. Beth –
    Congratulations! Your story is inspiring.
    I love your Standing Head to Knee pose. Awesome!
    Bikram is my favorite compliment to the Paleo lifestyle.

    Jane wrote on August 9th, 2013
  25. Wow Beth !! Very nice success story you have shared with us. That is inspiring .

    Robert Hansen wrote on August 9th, 2013
  26. Thank you for your story. Very inspiring. I have been struggling with 15 lbs that I keep losing and gaining. I will lose 8 lbs and then I lose my motivation and then start letting the little things creep back in. I give up before I reach my goal. I will also be 40 this year and want to prove to myself that I have the drive to get to my goal. Thank you for reminding me why I need to keep pressing on. You look beautiful. Go you :-)

    Laura wrote on August 22nd, 2013
  27. You’re amazing. Very inspirational and a Yogi! I love it. You’re so positive and I Love your photos. Congratulations on changing your life, to becoming happy, healthier and pain free. I stand and applaud you. Well done my Dear. Namaste, Laura in England. X x

    Laura wrote on September 5th, 2013
  28. Thanks so much, Beth! What an incredible story! I’m also 43, but am where your “before” picture is. You look so incredibly youthful in your post-primal shots… at least 15 years younger than your first picture… amazing! I’ve just started my journey into primal eating. Your story is such an inspiration to me. :)

    Terri Sisson wrote on September 5th, 2013
  29. Wow Beth, you’ve inspired me… I know I need to commit to this diet but haven’t had the willpower so far…. hard with teenage kids in the house who crave junk food…. You look FANTASTIC!

    Fiona wrote on September 6th, 2013
  30. Hi Beth. I am completely new to the paleo diet. Just found it three days ago after seeing the documentary “The Perfect Human Diet.” I am 44 and a life-long athlete. I found hot yoga two years ago and am now an avid yogini. I was a vegetarian during two periods in my life, but found that I had constant headaches. I have had digestive issues my entire life, including severe stomach aches, hemorrhoids, anal fissures (sorry, maybe tmi). Outwardly, I am the picture of health, but I know that something’s definitely wrong. I am on day two of no grains, and I woke up with a horrific headache this am. I am going to push through because I really want to see if this “diet” or should I say way of life can finally make me as healthy on the inside as I am on the outside. You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your story!!

    jan wrote on September 10th, 2013
  31. You look great! I love your story and I feel like I can really relate to you and the health issues you were experiencing. I had a doctor tell me, “Well, maybe don’t exercise so much.” when I told her how exhausted I was feeling.

    I read in PB that wild rice is ok. Do you eat wild rice? Still trying to see what works and doesn’t work for my body.

    Sarah wrote on September 11th, 2013
  32. Beth,
    WOW! You look amazing now! So alive, vital and happy! Good for you. I sent your story to my friend….I truly hope it impacts her and she gets on the Primal wagon with me and improves her fitness as you have – BRAVO !!!

    Patrice wrote on October 11th, 2013
  33. Wow Beth, you look amazing! You look so happy in your last photo – truly glowing! Thank you for sharing your story

    Jo wrote on November 5th, 2013
  34. What an inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing, Beth- your face glows with energy and vitality as well as your body being so alive and fit!
    I, too, love yoga and did Bikram for 1 year- 5-6/days week. Now I do yoga at home by my wood stove in the winter or outside in the sun in the summer.
    Thank you again for your words of hope- I’ve always had those last 15 lbs. lingering on my body- I am ready to start a new food journey- this is Day #1!!!
    Wish me luck!

    Ella wrote on December 10th, 2013
  35. Oh my god, you look 100 years younger!

    Jessie wrote on January 27th, 2014
  36. Whether you’ve been referred by your doctor or physio, or you feel you need to start doing some exercise or just ready to get more out of life, our team of certified instructors provide an extensive range and variety of classes.

    garryhanks wrote on April 24th, 2014

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