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. You both look soooo awesome! Thanks for sharing your story!


    Shirley @ gfe wrote on February 17th, 2012
  2. Great job! I’m Primal for life an my fiancee is currently struggling with making the transition (much more of a sugar problem than I ever had), so this really resonates with me. Verrry hard to turn down food someone has made for you without majorly rocking the boat.

    Graham wrote on February 17th, 2012
  3. Great job by the whole family, Pam! You look wonderful, and are an inspiration for this 40-something to stay the course!

    Finnegans Wake wrote on February 17th, 2012
  4. What a great story – Congratulations to you both! Thanks for sharing!

    aliseya wrote on February 17th, 2012
  5. You both look great and loving life.

    svend wrote on February 17th, 2012
  6. I love hearing inspirational stories like this but must admit they upset me a little because I have been eating strict paleo since October and have not lost a pound. I work out 5 days a week. I eat low carb paleo- no high glycemic foods, limit myself to one glass of wine a week, no dairy except occasional goat cheese. I mainly eat eggs, veggies, and meat. I take my vitamin d etc. I have been feeling much better, more healthy, stronger immune system etc. I have PCOS and my symptoms have improved significantly…would just LOVE to see some actual weight loss that everyone talks about when they go paleo. I am getting married in 3 months and freaking out. I’ve struggled my whole life and for someone who eats and lives so healthy, I feel like I deserve a better body.

    ellie wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • Hey Ellie! Sorry to hear about your troubles :(
      I’ve had a similar experience, though I did lose some weight in the beginning I have about 40 lbs to go and the scale hasn’t budged for the last four months.
      Have you listened to Robb Wolf’s podcasts? He recommends females like us with PCOS and other androgen issues to try supplementing with Calcium D-Glucarate or Diindolylmethane. Mine are in the mail right now since I live in rural Thailand it’ll take a while but I’m sure you’ll be able to find yours at a regular health shop.
      Good luck! And congrats on your wedding :)

      Neha wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • I am speculating that in cases like Pamela’s where people haven’t been carrying a lot of body fat for very long AND were previously very active the body is more likely to let go of that pretty easily.
      I have to remind myself that for someone like me who has been overweight since their early teens and stressing their body with starvation diets it may take some more tweaking to shift the fat. I will keep researching and tweaking my Primal diet and activity until I find what works for me.
      I am so happy that I no longer feel bloated or moody, have eliminated the irritatiting post nasal drip and ongoing indigestion!

      Yvette wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • It took 5-6 months for my body to start letting go of the weight. Over a year later, I still have weeks where I lose easily and quickly then plateau for a month or so. I’m halfway to my goal in pounds, but my body shape has changed dramatically for the better! Make it your lifestyle and you’ll get there, maybe not as quickly as some, but you will! Congrats on your upcoming wedding! :)

      Kristy wrote on February 18th, 2012
    • If your doing everything right then don’t worry about the scale, go by how your clothes fit. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

      Pamela wrote on February 19th, 2012
  7. Thank you for the inspiration!! I was thinking of driving to Krispy Kreme after work. But after seeing your pictures, I changed my plans and bought 2 organic chickens and some vegetables. One for soup and one for roasting. It’ll be a Primal weekend. Wow, I want to look like you two. Your story offers me hope. Congratulations.

    LaurenK wrote on February 17th, 2012
  8. Your abs tell the whole story. WOWZA!

    Robert wrote on February 17th, 2012
  9. I cannot believe you are the same couple as in the first picture! You look so amazing! I want to look that good in a bikini again – thanks for the inspiration!

    Sarah wrote on February 17th, 2012
  10. What strikes me is how successful you and your husband have been since 2007. It shows that the Primal lifestyle is one that works for both health and fitness. Very well done!

    Guy wrote on February 17th, 2012
  11. Oh my goodness me – is it the same person??!

    Congratulations bikini girl! The transformation is just incredible – what a wonderful inspiration you are.

    Keep spreading that good primal word (and primal respect to gramps – btw is he the oldest primal success story??)

    Sian wrote on February 17th, 2012
  12. Wow! Amazing, Pamela!

    I especially liked reading about how you decided to go Primal even though you weren’t so sure you could, long-term. Seems like it took being honest with yourself (overweight, risk of diabetes) and then just going for it. Sure beats excuses and rationalizing!

    David looks great as well. Nice beach pic of you two!


    Susan Alexander wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • Thanks. It wasn’t an easy decision but I’m so glad I did it. My baby brother had Muscular Dystrophy and he lived to be 27 years old. He was amazing. I watched him fight to live his whole life. Some of us have no excuses.

      Pamela wrote on February 19th, 2012
  13. Thank you for sharing your story Pamela! You are an inspiration!

    Kari wrote on February 17th, 2012
  14. Y’all look sooo good! Wow you started on this way back in 2007. I was on Atkins and low carb back in 2004 but I did not really know about Paleo/primal and MDA until 2010.
    I live alone but I envy people like you who are a couple doing primal together in a committed way and having gotten your kids (for the most part) and other family on board. Congratulations again you and hubby look fabulous such a dramatic change.

    Gayle wrote on February 17th, 2012
  15. This is a great success story! I am so happy that you and your whole family went “whole hog!”

    I convinced my vegetarian daughters to do this too. They are 12 and 15. I’m convinced it’s helping with allergies.

    Patrick wrote on February 17th, 2012
  16. What speaks to me about your story is that neither one of you are youngsters anymore! Pamela, you’ve had your pregnancies (3 of ’em!) and your husband isn’t a kid anymore, yet you’ve proven how effective a PB lifestyle can be.

    I love the way you eased into a Primal lifestyle not being sure that this was the way to go: “I made my decision that I was going to give this a month. I cut out all pasta, bread, sugar, beans, and potatoes.” I probably couldn’t count the number of people that I know that have that same feeling and reaction when hearing about PB.

    Without a doubt there’s hope for us “older” folks! Not to mention the health benefits that go along with it. Thank you so much for posting your story and all the very best to you and your family!

    PrimalGrandma wrote on February 17th, 2012
  17. I’m inspired! Thank you for sharing! You two look amazing!

    Julianna wrote on February 17th, 2012
  18. Great story! Great achievemtnts !Congratulations !

    Jano wrote on February 17th, 2012
  19. Great story! Thanks for sharing.

    Daniel wrote on February 17th, 2012
  20. How is your knee doing now?

    v3spera wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • It’s so much stronger now. I don’t have any pain or swelling.

      Pamela wrote on February 19th, 2012
  21. That’s fantastic! I have to admit, I needed to do a double check on the photos because it didn’t look like the same people… Well done.

    Robert wrote on February 18th, 2012
  22. Only one thing wrong…. Not enough ‘after’ photos. Hotness is right!

    Velocity.X wrote on February 18th, 2012
  23. WTG!!! I read Gary Taubes’ book and started my journey 6 weeks ago. I just got Primal Blueprint and so excited! I am down 17lbs in 6weeks and my partner just started a week ago. Excited about this process and love seeing stories with great results!!!!

    Shannon wrote on February 18th, 2012
  24. Great story, congrats! inspired very much by it, good for you. I am approaching 48 years, been primal for 4mo, lost 30lbs, and it is the best thing that happened to me health wise.

    Same in our house, my wife is onboard, college going son is slowly getting into it, college and high school daughters not that much, but hope they do too.

    Asif wrote on February 18th, 2012
  25. Very inspiring and congrats! You guys did turn back the clock and more, and look so much happier, which is what really counts!

    Elsie Harrington wrote on February 19th, 2012
  26. Pamela, you guys look fantastic! You are my age and you are now officially my bikini hero! :)

    olehcat wrote on February 19th, 2012
  27. I have a story very similar to yours. I am a primal follower for life. My biggest struggle is not sticking to the lifestyle, my biggest struggle is not being annoying and talking to it about everyone I meet — especially when I see someone eating a bagel with margarine, potato salad, and soda!

    Theresa wrote on February 19th, 2012
  28. Congrats to you both, you look wonderful and I am sure feel much better than you ever did.
    I am dragging my teens kicking and screaming into the Primal life also.
    My 16 year old daughter is a carb addict and can not fully commit.
    It is sad to know that her acne, mood swings, and chubbiness would all be gone if she followed the Primal path.
    I can only pray that she will see how well we are doing and want to follow someday.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Sarah Martini wrote on February 19th, 2012
  29. Congratulations! You guys look great, with smiles to match.

    I’ve only been on this for a few months, but I’ve got a bad knee too and it’s definitely helping. I still don’t look as good as you guys do, but it seems more attainable with every Friday’s success story.

    My family is on board too. My mom and dad saw all the weight I lost and the change in my mood, and now they’re off wheat and doing their research. My dad is diabetic, but in the last few months his blood sugar numbers have really improved.

    It’s easy to get healthy and stay that way: Just listen to what the government tells you… and do the opposite!

    SeanM wrote on February 19th, 2012
  30. Awesome! You guys look incredible! I hope I look like that in a bikini when I’m in my 40’s!

    Caleigh wrote on February 19th, 2012
  31. very inspiring.. what a marked change in body composition.. i have been primal for 2 months now and feel better and look better than i have in years..

    buffettfan wrote on February 19th, 2012
  32. Seeing these results on you guys is amazing, you guys look great on the beach, if you did not say you were in your mid 40s I wouldve said you guys were in your mid 30!

    I whish I could get my parents to even think about this, I gave them everything to read, yet still when I ask what are you guys eating in the morning, they say “Oats”, or they bring out a whole bread at dinner and ask me if I want a slice?

    Ive been Priomal for 3 years they know what I eat etc.. Yet their minds are so stubborn that they just plainly ignore it, sometimes I think they do it on purpous.

    There isnt a day my dad has not made some kind of cake, its rediculous if you saw him youd think he was a pregnant man yet he still doesnt make a change! So sad…

    Goran wrote on February 20th, 2012
  33. You youngsters do too many things the hard way.
    Want to be healthy? Eat no processed food. Drink only chlorine/flouride free water. Is that hard to understand?
    ‘Primal’ is for sex.

    IndianaJohn wrote on February 20th, 2012
  34. You are one hot mamma! I’m not even kidding. I’m about half your age, but your body is absolutely rockin’!

    Bruno wrote on February 20th, 2012
  35. hi pamela- i hope you are still reading comments. after being paleo since 2009, i look similar to you except for my abdomen. i am wondering where you usually gain weight- is it mostly on the abdomen or all over? also, it would be so valuable if you could go more in-depth into your experiences. how can you workout and do squats with bad knees? i don’t workout nearly as much as you and now i’m thinking maybe i could lose my 3 month pregnancy look if i worked out more. i’m 46 and gained a lot of weight with both pregnancies. my last pregnancy was when i was 32. how old were you at the time of your last pregnancy? thx and congratulations.

    v wrote on February 20th, 2012
    • Hi! We are about the same age. I’ll be 46 in April and David is 52. I was 28 with my last pregnancy. The majority of my weight gain was on my stomach. As I lost my weight I worked out faithfully 6 days a week in our garage gym. My husband is my trainer. Contrary to what a lot of people still believe squatting is maybe the best thing you can do for your knees. I back squat(below parallel) once each week and front squat once each week along with dead lifts, press, bench press and power cleans/snatches. I do a short crossfit style workout after each of these. This has strengthened my legs and knees to the point where I can now even jump rope and I did the warrior dash recently, running very slowly. However, I can’t do box jumps so I do step ups. Also, I do a lot of rowing on our concept 2 rower in place of running intervals. Good luck to you!

      Pamela wrote on February 22nd, 2012
  36. Congratulations Pamela. This is a great story. Are you able to play tennis now? Have you felt improvement in your knee pain?

    Cuse wrote on February 21st, 2012
  37. I just saw your reply to mommymd about tennis.
    I am glad you have felt improvement nonetheless. I hope your story gives my wife incentive to try primal life. She also suffers from bone on bone knee pain.

    Cuse wrote on February 21st, 2012
  38. Congrats on the dramatic change for the good, inspiring!

    Kohhal wrote on February 21st, 2012

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!