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

I Decided I Had Nothing to Lose

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 Pamela Mathews and I’ve always been an active person. I also have never been shy when it comes to eating. After three kids (the last one having an emergency C-section) and two arthroscopic knee surgeries on the same knee (six months apart), my weight started to skyrocket. I bought my first pair of size 14 jeans and I weighed 180 pounds. I could no longer play on my city tennis team due to my knee problem. Two doctors told me I needed a knee replacement but they wouldn’t perform one until I was 50 years old. I had almost 10 years to go. I couldn’t run anymore and I thought my stomach didn’t have a chance after my C-section. My husband, David Mathews, and I have a garage gym that we used at least 6 days a week. We also thought we were eating correctly. You know whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, black beans and brown rice, Kashi cereal, plain yogurt, meats, fruits and vegetables.

In June 2007, my husband went to a certification. When he returned he said, “Something is not right. The people running the certification are all so lean. We are missing something.” David did some research and discovered they were eating Primal. He bought your book, The Primal Blueprint and after reading it he started to eat Primal. He spoke with me about eating this way. He suggested at first I cut out cereal in my yogurt each morning. I did and I lost a little weight but then he told me he was going to eat Primal for good and he wanted me to do the same. I’ll have to admit it was not an easy decision for me. I thought long and hard about it for a while. I thought, “This might cause a huge problem between us. If I prepare a meal and he doesn’t eat it then I’ll be upset.” I wasn’t sure I could eat Primal for good but David was dedicated to this way of life. I decided I had nothing to lose, I was 41 years old and overweight and I was concerned about developing diabetes.

On November 15, 2007, our 21st wedding anniversary, I went Primal. I made my decision that I was going to give this a month. I cut out all pasta, bread, sugar, beans, and potatoes. I had already eliminated cereal from my diet. I was now eating nothing but meat, vegetables, very little fruit and a few almonds and walnuts. After two weeks, I was looking in the mirror and it looked as if the fat on my midsection was melting away. What an incentive! After one month, I lost ten pounds. The next month, I lost another ten pounds (I had a lot of fat to lose). I ended up losing 40 pounds and since I continued to exercise while I lost weight I became toned. It was amazing!! I was back to wearing a bikini. I never thought I’d see that day again and my jeans are now a size 6.

During this time I cleaned out our pantry and donated everything we were no longer eating. We became a Primal Family. One of our boys lost 15 pounds before tennis season started by eating Primal. My husband’s dad is on your Primal program and he now takes zero medications. He is 79 years old.

My husband and I have been married for 25 years and we walk the walk and talk the Primal talk. It works!! I forgot to mention that I have excellent blood work. You can’t get any healthier than that.

Our boys are in college and they cheat a little, but they know Primal eating works. They saw their mom’s body transform for the better. Our teenage daughter struggles, but I believe she will change to strict Primal one day. She knows so much about it.

Thanks for writing The Primal Blueprint. It has helped me, David and our family. We have shared your book and recommended it to others to purchase and they too had success. My husband recommended your book to someone recently and he lost 20 pounds in two months. For others that didn’t need to lose much weight, it helped their blood work.


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. Wonderful story! I am so glad you found a lifestyle that is working for you and that your family is happy and healthy. Keep up the good work

    Michelle wrote on February 17th, 2012
  2. Love Success Story Fridays! Thank you for sharing your inspirational journey with us :)

    Cortney wrote on February 17th, 2012
  3. Awesome story and pictures! So inspiring. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    Happycyclegirl wrote on February 17th, 2012
  4. Way to go, Pamela! I LOVE how you brought the whole family along with you for the Primal ride!

    Anne wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • I know! I LOVE that you did too :)

      Becca wrote on February 17th, 2012
      • I love to hear about the kids. I, too, have a son who has also lost a significant % of body fat since we’ve been primal and the ripple effects outwards within a family are one of the best things about PB, IMO.

        Alison Golden wrote on February 17th, 2012
  5. Awesome results and outcome. I know where you’re coming from regarding the both of you needing to be Primal. My wife & I struggle with this as I push for Primal and she still reaches for the chips/pasta/rice. It’s a work in progress but I think we’ll both get there. Congrats to your family for finding the right path to success!

    Tony wrote on February 17th, 2012
  6. It’s all so simple. Anyone who doesn’t see dollar signs everywhere they look can understand it.

    Grokitmus Primal wrote on February 17th, 2012
  7. Congratulations! You and David have established not only a health middle age – but also set the stage for healthy senior years. Now is the time for that.

    And, those pictures really tell the story. Handsome family, mom and dad definitely into middle age. Then, THAT’s a middle aged couple? Wow do they BOTH look great! What’s their secret? LOL!

    I totally get what you mean about eating “healthy” – I was doing the same thing. Yet, I can promise you that eating “healthy” doesn’t stop the creeping weight gain nor the risk of diabetes.

    Not going to have regrets about not making this change earlier in life. But, you and David are definitely ahead of the game! Give that man a big hug for encouraging you to make this journey with him. Hope you both have many more happy, healthy years together. :-)

    rarebird wrote on February 17th, 2012
  8. Pam–YOU LOOK FANTASTIC IN YOUR BIKINI!!! (hubby is lookin’ great too!!) I worry my kids (who are still so young–6 and 7) who also know so much about primal eating even so young–will end up rebelling as young adults and choose a SAD path. I think that is my greatest fear as a parent!! I guess if that is my greatest fear, we are doing alright. Take care, Pam. Thanks for sharing your story!!

    Tonja Pizzo wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • It seems like once kids are done rebelling, they realize that their parents really had the right idea, and they eventually go back to the old ways. Don’t stress, it will just make it harder for everybody if and when they start eating CW foods. Plus, if they’ve been eating Primal for so long, they will just end up feeling awful when they eat poisonous foods, and it won’t be hard to quit.

      MrsToon wrote on February 17th, 2012
      • +1!!!

        rarebird wrote on February 17th, 2012
      • Our teenage daughter really struggles with primal eating. She has days when she binges and I can always tell because her attitude changes. It upsets me because I want her to be healthy too. My husband always says to her, “What everyone else is eating or doing, do the opposite. The majority of the population is sick.” We only keep primal foods in our home but if the kids want something else then they need to buy it. She is probably rebelling but I believe in my heart she will see that her parents are right.

        Pamela Mathews wrote on February 17th, 2012
        • Its great that you expect your kids to finance their own detours from the primal diet. You are already fully meeting your responsibilities as parents by making sure that they eat well and regularly. That’s how we handled teen age fast food rebellion in our household, too.

          rarebird wrote on February 17th, 2012
        • I’d suggest not making it an issue with her because it’s a battle you can’t win. A teenager’s developmental job is to separate from parents, and part of that is rebelling against limits set by parents. If you draw hard lines, she’ll rebel.

          In addition, teen girls have raging hormones that ultimately affect their insulin levels and their cravings, so she has to learn to deal with that.

          I’d say keep your home primal, be a good example, and let her eat what she wants on her own dime.

          Janknitz wrote on February 17th, 2012
  9. You look amazing, congrats!

    Proof that you can banish the “mummy tummy”. Love it!

    Cat wrote on February 17th, 2012
  10. This is really encouraging to hear. :)

    I talked to my folks about me going primal. My dad has type 2 diabetes/sleep apnea and they’re concerned that he might have colon cancer. I REALLY hope they give primal a go, since last I checked their pantry was stocked to the gills with wheat/pasta/flour items.

    Good to hear about how going Primal can change not just your life, but your loved ones’ lives as well.

    Peter wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • I wish all our loved ones would go Primal. All we can do is try. Unfortunately we can’t help everyone. My whole family saw what happened to me but they didn’t change their eating habits.

      Pamela Mathews wrote on February 17th, 2012
      • What’s that saying – you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Hard when we care about someone but there it is.

        rarebird wrote on February 17th, 2012
  11. You two look amazing! I’m glad to hear you’re teaching your kids about it too…we can’t have too many Groks running around.

    Ed wrote on February 17th, 2012
  12. You guys look fabulous! I really want my kids to eat primal but we are struggling. What is your workout routine like?

    MusicMama wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • Thanks. You need to be committed to Primal eating. When we started all the meals we prepared for the family were Primal. I can’t control what my kids eat outside our home. As parents we need to keep teaching them what’s best for them and hopefully they will learn from it.

      I workout six days a week. The 7th day is housework or yard work. David works out 7 days a week. He is my trainer. We do a maximum effort lift each day followed by a short crossfittish workout.

      Good luck to you and your family.

      Pamela Mathews wrote on February 17th, 2012
      • Thanks for replying! I’ve been primal over 18 months, DH is new to it. The kids are fighting tooth and nail as they love bread (and one of them won’t eat veggies – I sneak them into smoothies for him). We’re trying to do it in baby steps…

        MusicMama wrote on February 18th, 2012
  13. Wow! You guys look great. My story is very similar. My husband started on the diet then got me hooked on it. I just started 2 weeks ago. You’re story inspires me to keep going

    Blair Sieber wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • Keep it up!! It’s great when you both are in it together. You can do it!

      Pamela Mathews wrote on February 17th, 2012
  14. I love the stories that reach out and touch multiple generations of a family. Congrats, Pamela… and David!

    Primal Texas wrote on February 17th, 2012
  15. Wow!!!! Great job!

    Sara wrote on February 17th, 2012
  16. Wow- you both look amazing! Such a great story.

    Shannon wrote on February 17th, 2012
  17. You look AMAZING in a bikini! Awesome job, congrats.
    I especially enjoyed reading about how your entire household is pretty much Primal. That’s a goal I have for my own family. I’d love for my husband to be as passionate about the lifestyle as me….Maybe one day!! You’ve motivated me, thanks. :)

    Ashley North wrote on February 17th, 2012
  18. You look hot! I hope my girlfriend looks that good when she is 40+ :)

    peter wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • I second the hotness.

      Todd wrote on February 17th, 2012
  19. Another thing that is so great in this account is the longevity of your success. To have started in 2007 and be still going strong in 2012 is inspiring!

    What has happened to your knee pain? Are you back to playing tennis?

    mommymd wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • Primal eating is our way of life. The muscles around my right knee are so much stronger that I don’t have any pain. I still don’t play tennis. David and I did the Warrior Dash race in January and I ran most of the 5K and I didn’t have any pain or swelling. I was so Happy.

      Pamela Mathews wrote on February 17th, 2012
      • That is inspiring to hear! I am 17 and i’am already having knee issues. ugh. It’s so great to hear of someone proving the doctors wrong! Hopefully by eating well I can be as active as you are at 40+! You guys are an inspiration!

        Hannah wrote on February 17th, 2012
  20. sex-ay couple!!!
    Way to involve the whole family :)

    peggy wrote on February 17th, 2012
  21. So inspiring and very well written! Thank you!

    Michael wrote on February 17th, 2012
  22. Yay for Fridays!

    Awesome story Pamela! You two look AMAZING in your after photo. What a eye opener for people who have not been exposed to the PB. I am always sharing the Friday stories out to my friends and family (who know we’ve made the change but still remain skeptical) in the hope that we’ll convert others with constant steady pressure of the success of others. :-) Cheers.

    Jessica wrote on February 17th, 2012
  23. Awesome Pamela! I have preteens so it was interesting to hear about your kids. I just *know* they have pizza when I’m not looking. But one day, I hope they will get on the PB bandwagon for good with the example they’ve been set at home.

    You look great, so does your husband, what a transformation! :-)

    Alison Golden wrote on February 17th, 2012
  24. great story! did the weight loss help signifiantly with your knee pain?

    Tommy D wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • Definitely. It’s so much easier walking around without carrying another 40 pounds. Years ago I had a custom made knee brace I had to wear. Today, I don’t need it and it’s a good thing since the brace doesn’t even fit my leg. The strength training has also helped.

      Pamela wrote on February 19th, 2012
  25. Amazing story, Pamela! You guys look so great and vibrant! This is good encouragement to keep working on my grain-loving husband. :)

    Danielle wrote on February 17th, 2012
  26. This story hits home for me. Postive reinforcement!!! Your after picture speaks volumes. Just started the transition to primal about 2 weeks ago and hoping I can be a success story just in time for summer! My daughter (21) is trying to make the change too – but struggling, so I am trying to just SHOW her it works!

    Kat wrote on February 17th, 2012
  27. I’m confused. I thought The Primal Blueprint came out in 2009.

    Dustan wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • I think the blog’s been around longer, but I could be wrong. This story is great. I love Fridays! I just sent this to my mother :)Hope she doesn’t kill me!

      Trish C wrote on February 17th, 2012
  28. Both you and your husband totally look ten years younger in the second picture 😀 Congratulations on building a healthy family!

    cTo wrote on February 17th, 2012
  29. Congratulations you two!! You look incredible. I’m going to make sure my mom reads this because it’s very inspiring. She went primal less than a month ago and has already lost 12 lbs!

    Laura, RD, LDN wrote on February 17th, 2012
  30. What are great looking family! Congrats on your success!

    Ed wrote on February 17th, 2012
  31. wow!

    trista wrote on February 17th, 2012
  32. Holy cow! Great job, Pamela! Did you have stretch marks before your weight loss? I’m nearing my goal weight now, and I don’t think I’ll ever be confident enough to wear a bikini again. My stomach and sides are just covered in stretch marks and losing weight so far hasn’t helped them much. Did yours fade on their own?

    Cherice wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • I have stretch marks and some did fade but it still doesn’t stop me from wearing a bikini. I’m proud of my accomplishment.

      Pamela wrote on February 19th, 2012
  33. Another inspirational story: congrats to Pam and David- who would have thought that middle age could look/be so good? Are you sure you are not just out of college? 😉

    Paul Devine wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • Thanks.I’ll be 46 in April!

      Pamela wrote on February 19th, 2012
  34. Pamela, you didn’t mention how your knees are now.
    I would imagine after 5 years grain free that they are fully recovered.
    A great success story!

    Bill wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • My knees feel great. I’m still bone on bone on the right knee but it is stronger and I have no pain. My legs are much stronger since I do heavy back squats and front squats.

      Pamela wrote on February 19th, 2012
  35. Pamela, you and your husband look GREAT on the beach–lovin’ those six-pack abs!

    Congrats on all your progress, and thanks for being a little bit of inspiration to all of us today :)

    Dr. Mike Tremba wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • Thank you.

      Pamela wrote on February 19th, 2012
  36. It’s so great that this is a family thing for you guys!! I’m on the other side- I’m the teen who keeps trying to convince her parents and brother! Congrats on your success and on having such a beautiful family to share it with :)

    Alyssa wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • Thank you. I wish my teen would take Primal eating seriously.

      Pamela wrote on February 19th, 2012
  37. Admit it, that After picture was taken on your honeymoon, right?

    Just kidding, but it looks like it!
    Congratulations on being healthier!

    Strawberry wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • Thanks.

      Pamela wrote on February 19th, 2012
  38. Wonderful! What a great story! I hope your knee problems have improved too!

    gilliebean wrote on February 17th, 2012
  39. Cougar!

    Chris wrote on February 17th, 2012

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