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

I Now Have Respect and Love for My Own Body

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!

I know I sound crazy. Like, Hare Krishna, ran off and joined a cult, crazy. But this is all true, and I know it is, only because I experienced it firsthand. Am I a good example, or a horrible warning? Hopefully, if I play my cards right, I can be both.

My memories of childhood are hazy. Especially names, places, and dates. I spent a lot of time, just sort of “drifting” with the current. I remember images, and faces. And I remember being sick a lot. Not like “I HAVE THE SCARLET FEVER!” sick, but just a runny nose, and teary eyes. Since I grew up in California’s Central Valley, no biggie: seasonal allergies were legendary there. Hay fever was just assumed. The fact that it turned into sinus infections on a regular basis was just a given- right? As I got older, it would last year-round. Inevitably at the first cold snap, I would lose my voice. There was always a chalky pink bottle of amoxicillin in our fridge door, right below the milk.

I was also prone to ear infections, and vividly remember a procedure at around age 5 where they made me swallow “something that glowed” and then not being allowed to move so they could get a better idea about the bladder infections I couldn’t seem to kick.
I seemed to outgrow most of it: with the exception of the lethargy and the sinus stuff. Poor Mom knew something “wasn’t right” and dragged me to so many doctors: to have my thyroid tested, to check for allergies, and everything came up “fine”. The ENT guy finally just said, “This kid is sniffling constantly because she has teeny nasal passages, and gigantic adenoids. She might grow out of it, or she’ll need surgery as an adult.“ Great. By default, I became a chronic mouth-breather.

School was OK. I was quiet, usually characterized as a “dreamer” and by teachers who paid attention, an “underachiever.” Since I wasn’t a behavior problem, what would now probably be diagnosed as “ADD” was never noticed. I tested well, but in a noisy classroom, I had the attention span of a gnat, unless I could focus on one thing at a time. Two things I was great at: reading books or watching TV. If I was on my own playing with a friend, I was fine, but slumber parties were a disaster: all my high-pitched peers in a room together talking at once were absolutely overwhelming. I viewed these rites of passage with dread, as I knew I didn’t fit in, and my involuntary snoring was something humiliating I would be teased about later on. And I was always tired, so I’d be the first to fall asleep.

The first recollection I had of sneaking food would have been around the age of 10. Maybe it’s just that I was embarrassed to be caught at that age: I think it probably started earlier, but was written off as just being a kid. I was always hungry, and was getting “chubby”. My parents didn’t say anything about it: just implemented family walks after dinner, or I would ride my bike while Dad jogged. It just seemed to make me hungrier.

My first official diet was in the summer between 6th and 7th grade. I begged Mom to send me to Weight Watchers. Kids had been teasing me at school. I wasn’t 12 yet, so I needed a note from my doctor. I remember the scornful faces of the other kids in my group when they heard I only had 10 lbs to lose. They wanted to know just WHY was I there? They had been forced to attend these humiliating meetings, by their parents, by medical professionals. Back in the mid 80’s, there was usually only one kid at school who resembled Augustus Gloop, which was the limit of my experience until then. There they were, all gathered at Weight Watchers in an obese and resentful horde. They had 40, 50, 60 lbs to lose. To this day, I hope I wasn’t smug. I do remember thinking, in my 11-year-old ignorance, “If I ever get that heavy, I would just want to die.”

So Mom encouraged me to fill in my nutritional log. She joined with me for moral support. We went to the store together to shop for special diet food, and I learned to count – this was before points, I think they were called “exchanges” back then. I got more exchanges because as a kid, I was still growing. I checked off my boxes, and rejoiced because I could have peanut butter on my rice cakes for breakfast every morning. Which may be the most depressing food-related sentence ever written.

I lost 8 lbs that summer, writing everything down, checking off boxes, exercising faithfully. Between that and my graduation from thick glasses to contact lenses, I was evidently unrecognizable. When I went back to school, I was like Clark Kent, except my phone booth was a diet center, and instead of spandex and a cape, I had ankle-zip acid washed Guess? Jeans, Reebok hightops, and an Esprit book bag. Mom was excited not to have to shop in the “Big Girl” section, and we had gone all-out.

At my 12th birthday in November, I got a clown sundae from Farrell’s, and devoured it under the disapproving eyes of my father, who said, “You’re not going to eat that, are you?“ And of course, by the time Christmas rolled around, I ate a pizza pocket or three from the snack bar, and had gained all that weight back plus more. Mom was still packing a nutritious lunch: carrot sticks, celery, a sandwich on white diet bread with turkey breast and a slice of low-cal plastic cheese (mustard only!) along with a little bag of pretzels (lowfat!), sometimes a non-fat yogurt sweetened with aspartame and flavored with God-knows what, and a diet cream soda. I would say 50% of the time, into the trash it went. My peers could eat pizza pockets with no problem, and I desperately wanted to be like them. But metabolically, I just wasn’t. At 12, this was difficult to understand.

This is around the time I started having problems with cystic acne. I didn’t know what it was, just told dad that my ear was hurting me. I do remember the look on his face when he peered inside my ear and recoiled. The next thing I knew, there were needles and matches and alcohol and pressure and pain and blood and yelling. OH the yelling! Mostly from me.

After a few more incidents like this, my long-suffering mother took me back to the pediatrician. He peered into my ears with his trusty otoscope, and said, in his German accent: “I don’t like this. Usually, this is an indicator of outbreaks as a teen and young adult.” I sat sullenly through this, and as a gesture of pre-teen hostility, refused to let him draw his trademark duck on my arm with a ballpoint pen.

So I religiously swabbed my ears with alcohol, and tried to avoid chocolate. The acne continued, and worsened, and spread. And inevitably, every summer, and sometimes in-between, I was on a diet. Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers (multiple times), Low-fat on my own, you name it. Some of them worked for awhile, but I would inevitably take a break and get discouraged, and BOOM: twice as much to lose next time around. I remember lying in my bed, listening to my stomach rumble, and looking at the tiny pink hearts on my wallpaper in my bedroom, and just wishing. My weight became something I prayed about, a constant reminder that Something Was Wrong With Me.

As I got closer to college, and gained and lost, and gained it all back plus more, I got more discouraged. I needed to lose 40 lbs, then 50 – my parents got more concerned. Bribery: promises of money, of new clothes, of the choice to attend the private university I had fallen in love with on my visit there – they were all dangled before me. And oh, by God, I tried. When conventional methods failed, I tried to make myself throw up – and am now thankful for the fact that it didn’t work.

I was so embarrassed by my seeming lack of control over my body, of my appetite that strove to thwart me, of the fact that I constantly felt like I was starving, of my figure, which was an exaggerated hourglass that was impossible to shop for in the junior section. It was also impossible to walk to the bathroom in a TGI Friday’s without some dudebro at the bar trying to pick me up. Dad would walk me to the bathroom when we went out to eat. I was 16, and I looked like a 30 year old cocktail waitress.

This is also when the long-awaited facial breakouts started to happen. I ping-ponged back and forth from the allergist, to the endocrinologist, to the ear, nose, and throat doctor. I didn’t get any answers, but actually did lose some weight, due to the mass quantities of antibiotics I was taking, both orally and topically (I constantly had stomach acid). And then on my last checkup before college, I went to see the same gynecologist my mother went to: an old-school gentleman, who ordered my mother out of the room, asked if I was sexually active (NOPE) and gruffly handed me a prescription for birth control pills, with the instructions, “You’re a lovely girl: don’t ruin your life.” Then he added, as an afterthought, “These might help with your acne, too.”

I coasted through college. I was still drifting through life like a jellyfish, but now I was away from my family and still not technically an adult, so I had zero guidance or parameters. Luckily, I made some great friends, and learned how to fake it. I grew up: I got a little edgy. I threw parties, and went to more parties, and then everything just came to a screeching halt.

I just sort of abandoned any kind of responsibility in my life. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what happened. There wasn’t any sense of choice about it: I evidently had coasted for so long, I just traveled straight into a brick wall. I am guessing what I was dealing with was depression, although I didn’t know that at the time, and couldn’t explain it when my parents wanted answers – WHY?!! I couldn’t get enough sleep, and I stopped returning calls. I checked out.

Back to the endocrinologist. Back to a doctor, who was a friend of the family, who had been briefed beforehand. Also, a psychiatrist. My parents were frantic for any explanation. Alien abduction? Hormonal imbalance? I had only ever been marginally present in my own life anyway, and I look back at this entire time through a haze. There is no real answer. I couldn’t tell you if I blocked it out in the interest of self-preservation, but that is a guess. I was in a dark place, just drifting. I just remember the reaction of the endocrinologist the most, when he reassured me that I was normal and there was nothing wrong with me, and I burst into tears. He patted me on the shoulder sympathetically, and said, “I do not think the problem is you. I think the problem is something else.”

I moved back in with my parents briefly, realized immediately that it wouldn’t work, and moved out again as soon as I got a job. A super-cheap two bedroom apartment with a roommate was my salvation. I was half-heartedly attending a local college because I didn’t know what else to do, and somehow ended up playing swing music on the college radio station at 1 AM. This dovetailed nicely with my job doing graphics and filming the news at a TV station. I also started to “wake up” – with a vengeance. I had gone into my coma at 180 lbs, and come out of it at…I would estimate, 260. I don’t know for sure, because I refused to get on a scale. I lost some of it on my own, but the solution for the rest was to go to a “medical weight center” and they hooked me up with a pill called Bontril. They weighed me weekly and took my blood monthly, and for the first time in my life, I could wake up for work on time and lose weight, spend an hour on the elliptical at the gym every day, and clean my grout at 4 AM with a toothbrush. In the plainest sense, it was probably a lot like crack. However, my thoughts had a crazy sharpness. For the first time in my life, I had some clarity. I remember wondering, “If everyone functions at this level all the time, why can’t I?”

I met the man who would become my husband when he called into the radio station late one night. A lot of guys would call: they evidently found my 2 AM rants about Cheez-Its and my husky and congested voice strangely alluring – but he was the only one who had asked me about the music I was playing, not what I was wearing. I remember being shocked when I met him – what I thought would be just a funny story for my friends later, ended up being someone who I hit it off with immediately. We will celebrate our 10 year anniversary at the end of July, 2012.

By the time we had gotten engaged, I had gotten down to 200 lbs, which for me is about a size 12. I’d done it thanks to the looming threat of the impending wedding, my willingness to exercise like a crazed hamster on a wheel, the fact that I had no appetite thanks to chasing the Bontril Dragon, and the fact that surviving pretty much solely on reduced-fat Smart Pop microwave popcorn didn’t kill me first.

I got married. I think I gained back 20 lbs over the course of my Bontril-free honeymoon. My husband was deployed for six months, and when he got back, we started trying to start a family. And trying. And trying. Once again, after a full workup, the doctor said there was nothing technically wrong with either of us, but suggested weight loss would help with my fertility. I tried Bontril again, but it didn’t work. I tried anything and everything I could think of. We went through horrible fertility treatments. At the end, we were emotionally and financially drained. I was back in depression central, and all I could do was eat cookies and cry. I never had much direction in life, except wanting to be a mother, and this seemed like the ultimate betrayal of my body. It could not even do this, something that every woman should inherently have the capacity to do, and what I had always wanted.

Surely, this should be the motivation I needed. Motherhood was my brass ring. But the weight, which once would disappear (albeit, briefly) if I followed the rules, had begun to defy the guidelines I had so carefully drilled into myself. I would get down to a certain weight, 215, and exercise faithfully, lift weights, count every calorie – and gain. I bought a pedometer, I bought a polar heart-rate monitor, I bought a Go-Wear Fit, I tried eating more whole grains, I went to the doctor, I did the math, all to no avail. The doctor I went to actually said I wasn’t being honest with myself, and tried to explain how to do circuit training to me. Me, veteran of many gym memberships, personal trainers, and hour-long sessions on the elliptical! Pfft! But what was worse, I was getting debilitating migraines once or twice a week, crazy PMS, my acne had branched out into rosacea, and my hair started falling out! I blamed stress.

The hard-learned truth: when you eff with Mother Nature, Mother Nature effs right back with you. 25 years of yo-yo dieting and chronic cardio, not to mention a constant barrage of pharmaceutical crap in the name of health, had trained my body to hang on to whatever it could for the upcoming famine ahead. I know that now.

I was at rock bottom, and had been flailing for awhile, when I found The Primal Blueprint.

There’s a sentence in the book that details the many things gluten sensitivity can cause: Brain fog. Infertility. Migraines. Congestion. Acne. Lethargy. Depression. Those are the things I can remember. Because when I read them, I screamed, and threw the book against the wall. It was like opening a dictionary, and seeing my face. All I could think of was all the stress, the doctor visits, self-flagellating behavior, the pills I had taken and shots I had given myself and money that had been spent. Could it really boil down to this? The recurrent infections and depression and congestion and ditziness since childhood? This whole acne/infertility weight loss nightmare? Was it true that a change this simple could have seriously changed my entire life?

I just thought, well, I just thought it was me. But that long ago Indian endocrinologist, maybe he was right. It wasn’t me, it was something else. Maybe grains and sugar were that elusive “something else”?! I looked at myself, a thirty-five year old woman, who loves her technology, her smartphone, her curling iron, high heels, jewelry, and cosmetics. Underneath that sophisticated (albeit, obese) veneer, could I really be a cavewoman?

It was time to find out. I chucked grains. All of them. I cut drastically back on sugar.

Within three days, my rosacea was noticeably diminished. Within a week, my snoring was quieter, and I was waking up refreshed for the first time in years.

In two weeks, my skin was clear. I get the occasional zit, and the scars still remain, but this in itself is a minor miracle. Also, I had lost 5 lbs. And I was not constantly hungry. My eyes, which were always, always bloodshot, like I had been hotboxing in someone’s VW van, suddenly revealed that they had white sclera!

A month in, I was 10 lbs down, and I had my waist back. News flash -you typically look better and it’s a lot easier to wear clothes when you are no longer shaped like a potato. This is also when I realized that my debilitating migraines were blood-sugar related, because they stopped happening. I also was waking up in the morning before my alarm. I had amazing amounts of energy.

Two months in, I could breathe through my nose. This is still something I have to focus on, as I have been conditioned by decades of having to breathe through my mouth. Those teeny tiny nasal passages and giant adenoids? I am guessing that was chronic inflammation, even as a kid.

That winter, My “hair guru” reported that my hair was thickening back up, and no longer falling out. And my seasonal depression just didn’t happen. My husband called me a pet name, his “little black raincloud” – or at least he started to, and then he said “You know, that really doesn’t suit you anymore.” “My little piranha” also seems to have disappeared from the repertoire without comment. Thank God.

Another traditional winter hallmark: my horrible recurrent sinus infections: didn’t make any appearance. And let me tell you, I sure as hell don’t miss them. I haven’t had one since. I have a familial history of high cholesterol: While I did get a big scary number recently, my ratios are good and my triglycerides, after decades of being elevated, are nice and low.

After 6 months, I went home for Christmas, and saw a friend of the family, who asked, ”What are you doing? You look so…healthy. And happy!” And without thinking, I smiled and said, without thinking, “Thank you! I AM happy!” And it’s true. I am. Nobody is more surprised about that fact than I am. When I run into people I haven’t seen in awhile, they will inevitably ask, “What are you doing?!” And I am happy to tell them.

I almost didn’t write this because, well, I didn’t magically get skinny. There’s no “big reveal” with me wearing a crop top to show off my 6-pack abs. I do still have bad days, when I have to remind myself that skinny and healthy are not the same thing. I do occasionally get the “stink eye” from some poor deluded schmoe when I throw uncured bacon into my shopping cart. While I haven’t lost a lot of weight, I am able to eat like a normal human being and maintain. I am repairing decades of damage that I did to myself, and it’s just going to take time – and patience.

By that token, I have been spared adding another 30-50 lbs to my grand total for the 2.5 years I have been eating this way. Which is no mean feat! And I am getting stronger, and exercising more because I enjoy it now, not because it’s a chore. Life is short. I do what I love: Zumba classes, walking, riding my bike and playing active games on the Wii. And occasionally go on new adventures. The last one was going opal mining in the Nevada desert over Memorial Day weekend. My (new, awesome) doc says she will clear CrossFit when I get a little lighter. I know, you can scale, but as she says, you only get one pair of knees. Can’t argue with that.

There are so many gifts I have gotten from following the PB. My health, my motivation, my identity, the ability to buck the system and go with my gut, self-worth, and respect and love for my own body and what it can do. Hopefully, motherhood is next. All of those things are beyond price. Thanks a million, Mark, for what you do!!!

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. I loved this story. I can relate to so much of it – the childhood illnesses,the chalky pink medicine in the fridge, the “brain fog, infertility, migraines, congestion, acne, lethargy, depression.”

    I’m so happy you’re finding your way out and you’re doing a great thing for your fertility. Keep going, onward and upward, it will get even better. Good luck!

    Alison wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • Same here. It sounded like she was describing my childhood. It’s funny. I did the SAD with calorie restriction for 6 months and I lost weight but I FELT the same. Then I went Primal. I lost more weight (10-12lbs below my adult low!!!). I found out I DO have insulin resistance (damn genes!). But what I got from Primal was my health. I didn’t get it BACK. I got it for the first time in my life. You go, girl!!! What’s amazing about Primal is that it benefits any age.

      Heather wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • Me too. I am in tears, recognising that moment of recognition.

      Congratulations, and welcome to the real world.

      We’re about to head into winter here (Southern Hemisphere), and I’m hoping that the winter depression won’t make an appearance this year. We’ve been primal for about 8 months now and I my only regret is that I only learned about it as an adult.

      homehandymum wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • Wow, you’ve inspired me. I’ve been trying to get to the Primal Blueprint lifestyle and failing. I lost some weight on one month with no sugar and now I’m back to eating sugar and grains. I’m sixteen years old and can totally relate to the small nasal capacities and large adnoids… I’ve had them taken out once already but apparently they “grew back.” The acne problems… yes its there. Thank-you so much for sharing your story, I hope mine will be as sucessful

      TyraLeann wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • TyraLeann: I am thankful, excited,(and yes, just a wee bit jealous) that you have found this info at this time in your life. I wish I had known the damage I was doing to myself 20 years ago in the name of “health.” Please give it a try. It’s so worth it! Think of it as an investment. It will save you so much time, frustration, and money down the road- not to mention your sanity and your health. Also- as you get older, you’ll look younger than your age, which is a benefit that cannot be overlooked. I hope to be reading your success story here some day. Good luck!

        Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • Me too, except take out infertility and add asthma. I can so relate to “floating through life” and I am pretty sure I threw the book too. Thank you for sharing. I am not anywhere close to a six pack either, and I was thinking it must be because my body was so damaged for my whole life. Oh the wasted years. Isn’t it amazing just to not have to think about what you’re going to eat or not eat?

      rabbit_trail wrote on June 16th, 2012
  2. OK, so not only is this such an awesome success story, and I am super happy for you– but you are SUCH a gifted writer and story teller! This was a really great read, and I hope you are writing in other areas of your life, because you express yourself so well, and have such a knack for bringing the reader in. VERY happy for you!

    Ariana wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • I agree. I was really moved throughout the entire story. I think this is the longest success story on MDA but I read every word.

      The style and what was involved in the story hooked me in!

      Primal Toad wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • +1!!

        patrick larson wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • I thought that too, and I am a technical writer and editor.

        rabbit_trail wrote on June 16th, 2012
      • You are a gifted writer and story teller! I was not only inspired but hooked though the whole story. Thanks for sharing and keep up your writing. Maybe a blog? It’d do great!

        Rachel wrote on June 20th, 2012
    • +1!

      Chris wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • +1

        Ma Flintstone wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • +1!

      Paul wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • +1!

        etta wrote on June 16th, 2012
        • +1

          doghug wrote on September 1st, 2012
    • I agree with Ariana–you are an amazing, gifted writer!! Are you an author, by chance. If not, you should seriously consider it.
      And, congratulations on your switch to the Primal way. It is the only way, in my book. Thank you Mark for sharing this wonderful woman’s story!

      Sue wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • +1! You need to write more things!

      SentWest wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • I agree as I read so many familiar things in your story, I kept thinking how well it was expressed. Beautifully written. I am with you, significant weightloss, but a huge turn around in health, but i will never be skinny. Give yourself time, I think for me it’s the liver and thyroid that are slowly healing which shows, but subtly. Good luck

        Heather wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • Thank you guys so much. I love writing: and am glad that it shows. Writing is something I have considered in the past, but: well, you need discipline and momentum- not to mention confidence- to do it well. I have been considering freelancing for awhile, but have been too “chicken” (not to mention, preoccupied with other things!)to really give it a go. I guess I should start doing some research!

        Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
        • Darn right you should! That was one of the most entertaining things I’ve read on this site! (alas, it was at your health’s expense, but we never would’ve gotten a chance to read about it had you never gotten out of it, so congrats!) Ditto about the sudden lack of depression/acne/lethargy once ditching the grains and sugar. I can relate to the “All this time, BREAD was trying to kill me?! Good, ‘wholesome’ bread?!”


          An Also Wannabe Writer of the “Maybe Someday” Variety

          koalabear wrote on June 15th, 2012
        • Please do. I love Friday stories, but this was a situation where I was frankly enjoying the reading experience itself. I think you could have been writing instead about your bike ride in Thailand and I would have been delighted as a reader.

          Joy Beer wrote on June 16th, 2012
        • Start slow.

          You say you have considered it in the past and it is pretty damn clear that hundreds of others agree with the fact that you are a born writer.

          I say hundreds because, well, hundreds are nodding there head yes to these comments but just aren’t writing it out and leaving a comment.

          Start a blog. It’s INCREDIBLY easy to set up. You can have everything set up and ready to go in just a few minutes. Adding a few plugins, etc. will take you less than an hour.

          Publish what resonates with you. Leave comments on this blog and you will get targeted traffic.

          Start small. Free write. 500 words a day. Build the habit. Post one blog post per week. Do you have 3 hours a week to start your passion in life?

          I’d love to help you get started if you are interested in starting a blog! Just leave a comment here or email me too – Todd @ Primal Toad . com.

          Check out too. Best blog to learn how to start a writing career.

          If you really LOVE writing then you have to do this!

          Primal Toad wrote on June 16th, 2012
        • Please do it. You have real talent! And congrats on getting healthy.

          Susan wrote on June 16th, 2012
        • Posting this from my phone- am out of town for Father’s Day! Thank you for all the encouragement. I do have a baby blog out there- if you want to do a little detective work, it’s linked on my Forum profile at MDA ( also under Lady Grok.) You can scroll down towards the end of the comments and I managed to figure out how to link my profile on a few of them- my (not updated in forever) blog is in my sig. Primal Toad- once I get back to my home base, I will shoot you an email!

          Lady Grok wrote on June 17th, 2012
        • Don’t be chicken! You already have talent. You just need to DO it. That’s how you build confidence. Go, lady, go!

          Tina wrote on June 22nd, 2012
        • Please write! You’d make a great blogger and blogs lead to article writing for bigger blogs. Wonderful, wonderful story. I was captivated.

          Erin wrote on June 25th, 2012
    • Yes! Agreed!

      Joe wrote on June 18th, 2012
    • I agree. You are a great writer with a very compelling voice. As someone else said, if you aren’t writing professionally, you should consider it.

      And your story was very touching. I recognize so much of what you are feeling and what you have gone through.

      Lance wrote on June 19th, 2012
  3. I love this story. Very beautifully written, and like the previous poster said, very relatable. Congratulations on your successes into Primal and keep up the great work!

    sakura_girl wrote on June 15th, 2012
  4. Great read, and really well written. You know what is an inspiring part of this story? Your parents. They didn’t have all the answers (who did in the 80s?) but from the bike rides to food journals, it sounds like they really tried their best to help you get healthy. They must be really happy for you.

    Mike wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • Seconded! Also your husband, for sticking with you through your “grumpy stormcloud” times. He sounds like a wonderful guy (and , if the picture of you guys in front of the GG bridge is any indication, a bit of a looker himself 😉 )

      cTo wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • Awww, thank you. Hehe- yeah, he’s OK. 😉 I know, right? Who would think that guy would be calling up anonymous ladies on the radio at 2AM and asking them out?!

        Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • They are. However, the daughter who was mellow and went with the flow is gone, and the bossy one who is there in her place- well, it’s taking some getting used to! I suspect they are sick of me sending them email articles about how much statins suck. 😉 (They both take ’em- GAH!)

      Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
  5. Awesome story ! The journey continues for so many of us and Friday is my favorite day to read MDA and look forward to a new and inspiring story. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    Chance Bunger wrote on June 15th, 2012
  6. great story. and great that you aren’t concerned about your weight, but how you feel.

    i can relate. i gained and lost 40 pounds so many times that i’m now 35 and my fat cells are highly “trained” to hold on to what they have regardless of what i did. including a 1,200 calorie primal diet consisting of less than 10g of carbs per day. not a big deal as i felt amazing, no hunger, no health issues period since i went primal. and yet, it bothered me that i had screwed myself so bad in regards to weight loss.

    UNTIL i started daily fasting a couple months ago (one meal a day) which has finally ignited the weight loss. 12 pounds in two months, while adding muscle. crazy thing is, i have the same amount of calories as I was before… a BIG primal dinner of 1,200. but the hormonal and metabolic changes that come with fasting are truly effective.

    to the author: the last paragraph shows you are a very emotionally and physically healthy (and beautiful) girl with the world at your feet. but in case the lack of weight loss still ends up bothering you, give I.F. a shot. Mark did a great write up on it recently and after a year of primal living with ALL the benefits except weight loss… i am finally dropping the weight i training my body to resist so badly.

    in any case, best of luck in getting pregnant and thanks again for such an inspriational story.

    luke wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • Just a word of caution on women and IF:
      While I also saw some success from IF,
      it may not work as well for some women (and may work against them). See Stefani Ruper’s guest post on Free The Animal where she notes in the study that the effect on insulin sensitivity occurred only in male subjects.
      Stefani Ruper Post

      Would be great to know if she tries it and has success though!

      Melissa wrote on June 15th, 2012
  7. Very moving story! I got all teary at the point where you realized what had been taken from you all those years. I love how real and honest you were with us!

    jana wrote on June 15th, 2012
  8. I read this, laughed out loud, tears in my eyes, relate to the illnesses you mention, and said to self, “I just LOVE this woman!” Awesome story. I hope you get to be a Mum.

    Joy Beer wrote on June 15th, 2012
  9. It took me twice as long to read this as it should have because I spent 5 minutes laughing my ass of at “News flash -you typically look better and it’s a lot easier to wear clothes when you are no longer shaped like a potato.”

    IcarianVX wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • +1

      Alyssa wrote on June 15th, 2012
  10. wow, written like you were a professional writer. almost unbelievable you got so many conditions cured by going primal. very well done. grok on and good luck with your most important goal of giving birth to a child.

    einstein wrote on June 15th, 2012
  11. What a well told story! I sympathized, laughed and then cried at the end. So glad you found your way out of that nightmare of a health history.

    How have your parents responded and is your husband on board?

    Sharon wrote on June 15th, 2012
  12. THANKS

    Noatak Girl wrote on June 15th, 2012
  13. Oh my goodness – I’m 17 and have had been breathing through my mouth for as long as I can remember! I home mine clears up as well as yours did. Thanks for the story.

    Molly K wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • After reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration I’ve learned that most of us living today are mouth breathers because we have narrow nostrils. This is due to the lack of nutrition during conception and pregnancy.

      We can still breathe through our nostrils effectively with a healthy lifestyle but none of us are supposed to have narrow noses. The more wide the better.

      I learned so much from that book. It’s HUGE but very enlightening!

      Primal Toad wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • I just finished reading Nutrition and Physical Generation as well. It’s an incredible book, and the conclusions that are drawn from Dr. Price’s research are simply invaluable, especially to current and future parents. Knowledge is knowing stuff, but wisdom is knowing what to do with it. And this book (just like Mark’s) is pure wisdom, in liquid form for your brain to absorb.

        Beautiful story! I got choked up a bit as well, and I am so happy for you in your success and happiness! GROK ON!

        Aleksey wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • Hey Toad, did they mention small jaws in that book? My daughter’s orthodontist mentioned low fat diets of pregnant mums and small jaws at my daughters last appointment. I’d forgotten about it until this post… fascinating.

        Jane wrote on June 15th, 2012
        • Yes he does. You can read the whole book free at project guttenberg, since it’s out of copyright:

          Shaun wrote on June 16th, 2012
        • Shaun, thank you for showing me where I can read Weston Price’s book online.
          I have not been a ble to get my hands on a copy yet!
          I feel so close to Lady Grok, as I am almost the same lady! I have been a Primal girl for almost 7 months and have lost weight but it is not falling off. What I have gained is health, huge amounts of new energy, near perfect sleep, a loss of stress and anxiety, a new positive outlook on life, and now a happier husband 😉
          Thank you for sharing your journey.

          Sarah Martini wrote on June 23rd, 2012
  14. This is AMAZING. and reminds me so much of my own personal story. Losing yourself in a constant array of flashing pictures while the world and people around you have all the power and you’re left foggy, unclear, and desperate. Very touching story, and a great reminder that, like you said, not all success stories are ‘6 pack abs’ picture perfect, they’re even BETTER!

    Rachel wrote on June 15th, 2012
  15. OSH*T I didnt know there were opals in Nevada! I LOOOOOVE opals, and that sounds like an awesome adventure! I’ll have to look into that!

    Anyway, amazing story 😀 Easily one of my favorites. I was probably about ten years behind you in my own childhood journey but so many of the things you talked about rang 100% familiar. It’s so inspiring to hear about someone with a similar past pull themselves up and out and back into health 😀 Congrats!

    cTo wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • We mined in the Virgin Valley of NV (ironically, you drive past a few cathouses to get there). I would recommend camping at The Royal Peacock mine, and getting “the bucket” from Rainbow Ridge. We were probably the only group of all-lady opal miners, and it’s hard work, but we had a blast- check it out!

      Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • I totally will! It looks like a bit of a hike from SF but could make it into an awesome camping adventure trip!

        cTo wrote on June 15th, 2012
        • It is a trek, but we are “neighbors” (I am in Marin, so it’s totally doable. We broke up the drive by staying overnight in Reno on the way there and the way back, and it was perfect. (Also, nice to take a “real” shower on the way back!)

          Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
  16. Fantastic story and so well written. Proof positive that there is so much more to “the big reveal” than weight loss. I wish you the best as you and your husband look to become parents.

    Brooke wrote on June 15th, 2012
  17. We were so so so much alike at age 10 especially the food sneaking part. I was a cat burglar about food. Nowadays I tell people that I am a recovered foodaholic. Still fixated about it, doing all I can not to give in and haunted by the past. People see the skinny me and wonder why I am vigilant.

    Steve wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • That’s like when people see you wearing a coat and ask if you’re cold. Of course not, you’re wearing a coat. You wear the coat so you don’t get cold. You eat healthy so you don’t get unhealthy.

      Joshua wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • I get the same thing. I guess most people think that once you hit your “happy point” that you can just go back to the way it was before and your weight/health will be fine. But you can’t. You have to change for good. That’s why this isn’t a “diet”. Diets are temporary. I get treated a bit like a “freak” sometimes but it’s who I am now. And alway will be. Thank you, Mark, for opening my eyes to an amazing world. I’m getting healthier as I age while everyone around me is getting sicker (and fatter).

      Heather wrote on June 15th, 2012
  18. THANKS so much for sharing your story! There is an entire generation of women our age who have suffered from the Low-Fat (pro carb/gluten/sugar) mantra. I just made these discoveries in the last 6 months and at first was very angry (and wanting to throw the book across the room). There are a lot of other things in your story I relate to, so thanks again for a great story. But I don’t worry about the people looking askance at me with my bacon, eggs, and meat laden grocery cart, because I’m looking at the poor saps with their OJ, sugar filled yogurt, fruit, whole grain bread and pasta thinking this is healthy and that was me only a little while ago.

    Noatak Girl wrote on June 15th, 2012
  19. Thank you for your story, and Mark for posting these stories.
    When my wife was a teenager, she was prescribed obscene amounts of steroids for allergies. Immediately it puffed her up to more than double her weight and brought on the next 15 years of obesity and poor health. Just Sunday, she finally decided to begin Primal with me. These stories give me so much hope that all of her headaches and allergies and nagging issues can be solved and her weight brought back in line. I have such high hopes that the woman I love more than anything can one day have health.

    Joshua wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • Joshua, your loves just shines through your words. With you by her side your wife is a lucky woman

      Maureen wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • +1

        Susan Kelly wrote on June 16th, 2012
  20. Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments! I have to admit, I was terrified to put this out there, as it is really personal in spots.

    To answer a couple of questions: My parents are still figuring it out. They have really latched onto the “gluten-free” part of the equation. Mom called last night and said she had bought gluten-free granola bars. (I know, *headdesk*) So they are adapting, albeit slowly.

    My husband has lost more weight incidentally than I have: which is a good thing, as he is the child of two type-2 diabetics, and needs to be careful. I would say he is about 60/40. He gets a desperate look on his face sometimes when I ask them not to bring the bread basket at the restaurant, but them’s the breaks! For my part, I do the best not to nag, and he has been wonderful and supportive of me.

    I’ve tried tweaking the PB several ways: VLC, IF-ing breakfast, high protein breakfasts, calorie counting, you name it. Right now I am bumping up my exercise and really watching calories and carbs. After everything I put my body through, I hesitate do do anything too crazy! I figure that as long as I feel amazing, I am on the right track.

    Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • lol! like when my mom proudly told me she was making grain free brownies with pureed black beans! gak. love the parentals :)

      yoolieboolie wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • Amen. I had to stage an intervention and stop poor Dad from putting Wondra flour in the sauce for the short ribs. “What, even this tiny amount?!” Yes Dad. LOL- I love them both. :)

        Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • Oh my, that sounds horrific. Did you feel obliged to eat some?

        Jen wrote on June 16th, 2012
        • I meant the black bean brownies. Bleccch!!

          Jen wrote on June 16th, 2012
        • luckily (?) she lives 1800 miles away. She’s coming for a two week visit where I ‘ll feed her properly :)

          yoolieboolie wrote on June 17th, 2012
    • Bingo. Hey, that whole spouse-reluctantly-goes-primal thing could have legs for many blog posts. I know I’d be interested since my sweetie is about 60/40, 70/30 but I’d be thrilled if he bumped it up a notch or two.

      Tina wrote on June 22nd, 2012
  21. I related SOOO much to this story. Everything, from the childhood food sneaking to the way you always felt so blah, the “brick wall” and not being able to get enough sleep (oh god I’ve been there) to the “If everyone functions at this level all the time, why can’t I?” and to how all the doctors you ever saw said everything is normal. And thank god for a realistic success story that doesn’t end with 6-pack abs. That’s not normal for a woman and I think a huge amount of us primal women are secretly berating ourselves for not being able to attain it. Thank you again for your story. I was riveted.

    Diane wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • I agree with Diane … as much as I like to read these stories, all of the “I lost a ton of weight and now look awesome” stuff can be discouraging for those of us who can’t lose weight. It’s not surprising that most of the women who have great weight loss success with PB are young. I don’t care how healthy you are, if you are overweight – especially if you are a woman – no one looks past that (and I know that’s true even in the Paleo world).

      Thank you for your story – very much appreciated!

      Angel wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • I think for most women, especially those of us who have been pregnant, yo-yo-ed, and too many other issues to even list, the goal of getting skinny can so easily eclipse the goal of getting healthy.

        Maureen wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • Wow, great story! I identify with so much written here, too. As a child i was a heavy breather and my weight has yo-yo’d my ENTIRE LIFE. The first time I lost weight was in high school on Fit for Life. I was slim all through college then started gaining (really gaining!) in my late 20’s. I lost a lot with Atkins, then ballooned up again. Now I eat primal but the weight loss is going slowly, in fact I’m one of the healthiest eaters at work but that doesn’t matter to people if you still appear overweight. I’m just wondering how long the “healing on the inside” takes for a broken metabolism…

        jen wrote on June 15th, 2012
        • Is this a topic that Mark has already addressed? I FEEL so much better now that I eat primally, but I sure don’t LOOK any better. Are there any guesstimates for long it takes an abused-by-low-fat-dieting body to heal?

          zaftiguous wrote on June 16th, 2012
        • I think it depends on how long you’ve been dieting following CW, and how much damage has to be repaired. There is a wonderful book I am reading: “The Schwarzbein Principle” which is written by an endocrinologist, and talks about how people who are lifelong dieters can mess up their hormones and how to get yourself back into optimal balance. She’s a big believer in “real food”, and her targeted approach and dietary reccs would be easy to whittle down and fit within the scope of Primal or Paleo living. (For example, she offers grains as an option, but any starchy veggie will suffice.) That’s the good news. The bad is that it takes patience, and potentially, isn’t a quick fix. The good- if you’re already following MDA, you will be on the right track!

          Lady Grok wrote on June 18th, 2012
  22. Not much to say to this except you’re awesome and I really enjoyed reading it. I too was put on the pill by a very impatient doctor who practically threw it at me just to get me out of the office. If I could back in time and slap myself, I would.

    Well done for getting healthy and happy. Good luck with the motherhood thing – praying for you and your hubs :)

    Cat wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • If you manage to get back there in time, don’t slap yourself, slap your doctor!!

      Elenor wrote on June 16th, 2012
  23. This is a beautiful story that left me teary eyed. I really enjoy your writing. Congrats to you on your ongoing success! Hope you get to be a mom one day too. :)

    mama bear wrote on June 15th, 2012
  24. Through this whole thing, I was teary eyed as I read many parallels in our lives, and I just want to give you a hug. *virtual hug* Congratulations. <3

    N3P3N7N3 wrote on June 15th, 2012
  25. Thank you so much for taking the risk and writing this. I really appreciate the detail as I could see myself in your story.

    Happycyclegirl wrote on June 15th, 2012
  26. You are a fantastic writer!!! I love your line about how skinny doesn’t equal healthy. I love the flashbacks- I was suddenly transported back to my middle school lunchroom where all the cool kids had pizza and guess jeans. I love your story and am so glad you decided to share it. With so many changes for your body to make- hormonally, emotionally, etc. I find it inspirational that you are holding on to your goal of motherhood instead of still trying to fit in with the cool kids.

    You are awesome and amazing. Thanks again so much for sharing :)

    yoolieboolie wrote on June 15th, 2012
  27. I love these stories, but yours is now one of my favorites. Besides your marvelous writing style and tremendous progress towards physical health, your attitude and approach are inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story with us!!

    KerryK wrote on June 15th, 2012
  28. Congrats!!! What a great story!

    I can relate to sneaking food! I remember my grandfather always picked on me because every time he would see me…I WAS EATING. I was not an overweight kid…but I shouldn’t have been as hungry as I was all the time! In high school I ate what I wanted and I would get HORRIBLE stomach aches after lunch (cheese pizza, soda, cookies, nachos with cheese) and I could never figure out why. Now I know.

    Good luck to you!!! :)

    Primal Pants wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • Thank you! I never realized until I wrote this, but the things I was sneaking? Were things like butter. And coconut flakes. And chocolate. And a bunch of other stuff, but the butter in particular was seen as weird. I guess I was just trying to be primal: and evidently, my body wanted fat! How random.

      Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
  29. I wish you luck with your husband (people really give me terrible looks when I send bread back in restaurants and so does my partner), but over it all I really hope your own personal wish will come truth.
    Weight control is about health, I don’t know if women were designed to have a six pack but the picture I see of you, happy and content, enjoying life and full of energy, less puffed up and breathing freely well, that sounds a lot as how life should be.
    Reading your story has been great, thank you for sharing it.

    Luce wrote on June 15th, 2012
  30. Thank you so much for your wonderful post. I finally have read a story that sounds like my experience–at least since choosing to go Primal. I have not lost a lot of weight–not like the stories I read here. But I feel better than I have in years. My eczema has cleared up; I feel strong and healthy. I have stopped weighing myself for four months and won’t get on that “treadmill” again. I feel like a normal person and even if I don’t lose more weight, I am going to continue eating and exercising this way because it just feels right and I feel great! Thank you for this story.

    rebecca2rowe wrote on June 15th, 2012
  31. I have to add my thanks as well!! As yet another middle-aged female victim of Susan Powter (remember her? Stop the Insanity?) and the low-fat craze, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. I became a fat kid at 7 and transitioned straight out of Pretty Plus size 16 girls to size 13 juniors to size 16 womens and beyond. A couple of times in my life I had some success with weight loss–portion control then yeast-prevention–but when stress came calling and the wheat re-entered, the weight came back. Now I am off wheat and corn for good. Yes, the weight is coming off, but more than that I feel good again. It’s wonderful to hear a success story like yours!! Grok on, fellow cavewoman!!

    Rhonda the Red wrote on June 15th, 2012
  32. I so appreciate your posting this story – and am grateful that you are so brave! Like you said, there’s a lot of personal stuff in there. I showed this story to my sons who are 15 and 18. They have a pretty good mom (If I do say so m’self), who has taught them compassion and empathy. They are just teenagers (and boys on top of that) though, so sometimes they can be very harsh and judgmental of overweight people. Nothing I said to them about it really hit home with them until they read your story. I truly believe that you reached them and taught them something they didn’t understand before, and I think they have been changed by your words. Thank you for that!

    Also, as others have said, Girl – your writing! Wow! You have a gift. You sound like such an awesome person and I’m so glad you found PB and it is making you feel like a beautiful person like you should! Best wishes to you, and congratulations on what you’ve already accomplished! Kudos to the “Hub” too – I have a good one as well, and I know how wonderful that is.

    Kariberry wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • That means so much to me- that age especially is hard to get through to. My chubby, tortured teenaged self thanks you on behalf of the young ladies they encounter every day because- OOOoh, I have some memories of that time in my life, and they still sting. Although- that’s how I recognized my wonderful hubby when he showed up. He liked me for me- which is a blessing I am thankful for every day. Congrats on achieving that yourself- it sounds like your boys have wonderful role models. :)

      Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • Thanks for your kind words. I know you will make a great mom someday soon 😉

        Kariberry wrote on June 18th, 2012
  33. This is story is VERY long. Yet I read it all. Every single word. I guess it was really moving. Extremely inspirational.

    Millions can relate to a story like this yet those millions don’t know about living Primally. Thankfully Mark posts stories like these who reach to thousands around the world.

    Because of this post hundreds will go Primal and hundreds will be changed forever.

    Keep on going!

    Primal Toad wrote on June 15th, 2012
  34. I knew you guys here at MDA were (are) awesome. It is strange to think about how many people are reading my story. Especially because it IS so long. Mostly because- well, for me, the PB is life-changing, and for anyone to know the scope of that, you would have to know what my life was like!

    I have to head off to work- I teach, and have never been so frustrated not to have a “desk job”, because I can’t check in on the comments throughout the day! But I will go through and respond to any questions when I get back this evening.

    The outpouring of support from you guys is absolutely overwhelming. What a great community!

    Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • I loved your story! It is very inspiring. I had a great GYN who told me that metformin + Clomid really helps with infertility that is unexplained (“nothing wrong”) or PCOS, because apparently the ovaries can be thrown out of whack by chronic high insulin levels. I wasn’t able to get pregnant (we did not want to try IVF, so we didn’t get very high-tech) but he had a higher than usual success rate and maybe that was part of it? We adopted a baby who is absolutely wonderful and now my infertility doesn’t even make me the least bit sad. I think you will be a great mom!

      Jen wrote on June 16th, 2012
  35. I loved reading this. You are an inspiration and wish you and your husband only the best. I especially loved that you wrote this despite not having a big weight reveal. I didn’t lose any weight following primal (I actually gained) and am often embarrassed to explain to friends my eating habits even though I have no “and I lost 10 pounds!” to close my explanation. I feel incredibly healthier and stronger, and I feel like I now have a natural glow about me. Thanks again for sharing your incredible story, you have a lot to be happy about.

    Miss J wrote on June 15th, 2012
  36. Thank you for posting your story! Even though I’ve read PB and have been incorporating into my life, reading your story gave me a couple a-ha moments. Now I’m wondering if the sinus surgery I had just 3 years ago because my sinus passages were so small (and supposedly the cause of my daily sinus headaches), was really necessary or was it just inflammation from the way I eat?

    I’ve had trouble going totally grain-free – living with someone that isn’t on board…he supports me, but doesn’t “get it” 100%. And since he does all the cooking (to include cookies, cakes, etc.), it makes it difficult for me. But lately the more I read I’m finding one example after another of why I should do this and the stronger my resolve becomes (so this means another talk about his cooking is in the very near future). Your story is one more confirmation for me that this is definitely the way to go! Thank you!!

    Carol wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • Carol, I’ve found that for me the best way to avoid grains when I’m tempted by sweets is to make primal ones instead! I used to love baking and struggled with primal eating to begin with because I thought I had to give up baking, but finally realized that I don’t!

      I can totally be a ‘normal’ person by eating a muffin for breakfast every once in a while. Here are a few good primal baking websites:

      The first is my favorite for primal baking-best of luck!

      Becca wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • One of my challenges with finding recipes is that so many of them include almond flour and I’m allergic to almonds – growing up they were my favorite nut and then one day I started having reactions to them :o(

        I’m starting to try out recipes with coconut flour or no flour at all. I know you can’t substitute coconut flour for almond or regular flour 1:1 ratio and I haven’t figured out how to alter recipes yet. I’m working on it though – I’ve found a couple things that I really like and others, well, they were a complete disaster! It’s a learning process and I’ll keep trying!

        Thanks for the websites – I’ve been doing a lot of searching on line for recipes and it’s always nice to find more!

        Carol wrote on June 16th, 2012
  37. I got tears in my eyes when you started describing, symptom by symptom, all your ills clearing up when you eliminated grains. Wow!

    spincycle wrote on June 15th, 2012
  38. Great story! I had a question regarding you infertility issues. I was just wondering if things ever changed on that front? As someone diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” I was hoping that my move to ancestral eating might help.

    Courtney wrote on June 15th, 2012
    • Well- it’s hard to say. I wish I had your email, because I don’t want to “TMI” everyone, but I will say this: My morning temps used to be 96 degrees. Not the case anymore. I used to have a short luteal phase- not anymore. And when people mean well and tell you to “just relax and it will happen”- if your body is nutritionally deficient and full of inflammation, it’s just not possible. Not only do you increase your chances of concieving eating this way- you increase your chances of having a healthy baby. Win-win! Please give it a try- and wishing best of luck and “baby dust” to you. :)

      Lady Grok wrote on June 15th, 2012
  39. I can relate to your childhood! I even went to fat camps! Thank you for writing and sharing this. I have found this lifestyle as simple, wonderful and a blessing.

    valerie v wrote on June 15th, 2012
  40. This is great–wonderful writing! So funny, so engaging, so real-life. Good for you! Go girl!

    Susan Slattery wrote on June 15th, 2012

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