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

I Will Never Go Back to the Broken Conventional Wisdom of My Past

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!

Dear Mark,

I first heard about the Primal Blueprint from Slick Rick, the long haired, five fingered shoe wearing odd ball my cousin married. He had ditched grains four years before and never looked back, and was always dropping jokes about how he loved bacon. I thought he was crazy with his caveman talk and dismissed his low carb philosophy as one that didn’t fit into my modern diet.

You see, I took carb-a-holic to an extreme, consuming well past the 600 carb a day average of most Americans. I maintained a medium body size until I hit college, when I gradually began to pack on the pounds. By the time I was married at 28, I was overweight headed to obese, suffering from gastric reflux, fatigued, and unmotivated. The big blow came when my general practitioner diagnosed me with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) after several unsuccessful months of trying to get pregnant with an irregular cycle. I assumed this was some genetic curse (after all, that’s what every doctor I talked to told me) and started down the path of Metformin and fertility drugs. I felt miserable, the meds made me crazy, and I got fatter on my SAD. After two years of failure, we took a break. I hated the way I looked and felt now 60+ pounds overweight and still without a baby. I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer determined to at least feel good about my body. Following six months of cardio four days a week, light weight training, and a restricted diet of healthy whole grains and low fat tasteless foods, I had a pathetic 15 pound weight loss, raging appetite, and shin splints to show for it. By this time my husband and I had decided to adopt, and brought home our little boy in October of 2009. I had a renewed “healthy” outlook and was determined to feed our growing family the best balanced nutrition I knew. We had the food pyramid down pat. Our diet was filled with whole grains, lean meats, and processed carbs and over the next two years I continued to gradually gain another 20 pounds.

As 2012 approached, and I began to think about New Year’s resolutions, my mom decided to motivate me and my sister-in-laws with a little weight loss challenge. She set up a Facebook group for us and a few friends to help encourage each other along the journey, told us to pick our diet of choice, and rewards were set for each month’s weight loss percentage winner. Almost everyone but myself went with Weight Watchers. I just couldn’t do the same old failing plan again. My mind began to drift back to Slick Rick. Could he be right? Maybe he wasn’t so odd after all. His diet seemed to go against everything that didn’t work for me in the past. My gut (no pun intended) told me I was eating too many carbohydrates, so I decided to give it a try and devoured The Primal Blueprint in just two days. I don’t like to do anything halfway so I fully committed to change and ditched grains, potatoes, and sugar, and ate lots of meat, vegetables, and fruit. I kept a Primal journal for the first few weeks to help me get started. Immediately the weight started to melt off just as I had read that it would. I began walking a moderate amount because of the new energy I gained, and slowly worked up to sprinting once a week and body weight exercises. Within a month, my gastric reflux was gone and I could eat all kinds of Primal foods that had given me indigestion in the past when paired with grains. I never felt deprived, and noticed heightened taste awareness of foods that wouldn’t have appealed to me previously. I lost my cravings for sugar and carbs and the desire to consume the foods that had been making me fat for years. I found foods that I enjoyed just as much or even better than those that had gotten me in trouble on the scales. I regained my love for bacon! I started intermittent fasting a couple times a week and was surprised at my lack of hunger pangs. At last! I was a fat burning beast!

After six months I had lost over 50 pounds, had a regular cycle for the first time in my life, and won every one of our group’s monthly challenges. (I really think my sis-in-laws were ready to kill me!) Everyone noticed the positive difference and many friends and family decided to adopt the Primal lifestyle as a result. I even converted a few of the ladies at the blood donation center as they watched my weight drop along with my cholesterol and blood pressure. My Type 1 diabetic husband was skeptical at first, but after several months he joined me along with our two year old son, and the benefits to our family grew. My husband lowered his A1C, took half the amount of insulin he had taken previously, and lowered his body fat from 18% to under 10%. We committed to buying locally sourced organic produce and grass fed meat, started our own backyard garden, and even became urban chicken farmers so that we could have the freshest eggs to support our growing habit!

I’m now at a 65 pound weight loss and I’m confident I will reach my goal of 80 pounds by the New Year. I’m more active than I’ve ever been and I know I’m becoming the healthy mom my son deserves. In June we became foster parents, and I love that this is one way we can have a positive influence on the health of the kids that share our home. This new lifestyle has truly changed my perspective and I will never go back to the broken conventional wisdom of my past. Slick Rick has now become one of my biggest supporters and frequently emails me the latest paleo videos, blogs, and recipes…and I promised him the Five Finger shoes if I win!

Thanks, Mark!

Angela

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. Congrats to you and your husband for losing so much weight. It is impressive that your husband got down below 10% body fat. I just got back down 9% body fat yesterday after a weekend of intense cheating on my diet. I started at over 20% body fat and have an ultimate goal of 7%. I hope to get there before Christmas.

    Wayne wrote on November 16th, 2012
  2. Congratulations on your successes! You look so happy and healthy in your after picture. I love how your family came around when they saw your results, I am working on mine, but it’s slow going.
    Way to rock the PB!

    Carol B wrote on November 16th, 2012
  3. You look amazing !
    Congratulations !

    Theodora wrote on November 16th, 2012
  4. Congrats girl! You rocked it!

    calahmae wrote on November 16th, 2012
  5. Congratualtions, you look great! Keep up the good work. And props to Slick Rick!

    Primo Loco wrote on November 16th, 2012
  6. Very impressive indeed, but you cheated. Your mom said to pick a diet … you chose to change your lifestyle ;)

    Aaron wrote on November 16th, 2012
  7. Just have to tell you, Angela, that you were a very pretty girl before but Primal has worked its magic again, unveiling the stunner within! Congratulations!

    So glad your crazy cousin-in-law Slick Rick was there as a model for you, and that you now serve as a model for so many others. That’s the way the word spreads…

    Chica wrote on November 16th, 2012
  8. Great going! Anyone else think of the rapper?

    Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • I did! Slick Rick, hehe, good old school memories. Well done Angela, do I recognise you from the forums?

      Flying Pig wrote on November 16th, 2012
      • yes I did :)

        Onge wrote on November 16th, 2012
      • Flying Pig- are you from Cincinnati?

        Tina wrote on November 16th, 2012
        • Cincinnati Grok culture is growing!

          Vince wrote on November 19th, 2012
    • LOL, yes.

      Violette wrote on November 16th, 2012
  9. You look amazing. Great work. :)

    James wrote on November 16th, 2012
  10. Way to go Angela! You look fantastic.

    Being urban chicken farmers is awesome.

    John wrote on November 16th, 2012
  11. Great job! You look fantastic!

    Stacy wrote on November 16th, 2012
  12. I’m glad that you didn’t wait to post your success story until you had reached your final desired goal weight. Your weight loss to date is dramatic and you look wonderful. Loosing the cravings for carbs and sugar is a wonderful benefit of this lifestyle. (Would you have believed it before you experienced it personally?) Congratulations to you and your family.

    Cindy wrote on November 16th, 2012
  13. Great story, how about your two year old? Since my son, 19 month now, is eating normal, he is allowed to choose his food, he prefers primal all the time. He has got more energy than other kids, he is thin, but tall and he does chin-ups every day, much better than me. ;)

    Vollzeitvater wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • That’s awesome! The biggest change we’ve seen is in his behavior. He is much more focused and less tantrum prone while primal. The biggest challenge has been navigating preschool, birthdays, etc. where the norm is goldfish and saltines. Drives me batty!
      He is definitely a healthy kid with LOTS of energy, though I’ve got to get him on some chin ups! I’m always encouraged by other primal parents. Thanks for sharing.

      Angela wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • Chin-ups at 19 months!? Call me inexperienced in the ways of toddlers, but wow. That is going to be one fit kid.

      Bill C wrote on November 19th, 2012
  14. Dear Angela: I look forward to reading the success story every Friday. I have to say that your story caused me to tear up. Your ‘before’ photo is of a beautiful lady, and your after photo is a stunning woman, who quite clearly exudes confidence and has such a presence. You should be very proud of yourself, and your husband for looking outside the box for a solution to a very personal challenge. Your story will provide mentorship and hope for numerous others. Way to go! /Lu

    Louisa wrote on November 16th, 2012
  15. Angela, congratulations on changing your lifestyle for the better! Isn’t it amazing what this type of change can do for us?

    NJ Paleo wrote on November 16th, 2012
  16. Congrats Angela to both you and your husband. Very cool that you got the garden going and the chickens wish I could do that!

    Luke DePron wrote on November 16th, 2012
  17. THAT’S SO GREAT!!! YOU GO GIRL :D

    Meagan wrote on November 16th, 2012
  18. What a great story. You look beautiful! Congratulations!

    Jessica wrote on November 16th, 2012
  19. Angela, I love your story–it’s one of my absolute favorite transformation stories. You look stunning in the after picture. Keep up the great work! You are a great example for your family.

    Sabrina wrote on November 16th, 2012
  20. Awesome job, Angela! Way to go :) I’m going to forward your story to my two daughters who are both at university and struggling with their weight.

    Just an FYI. I found taking L-Glutamine in my protein shake really helped me get past my sugar cravings of the not-too-distant past.

    Have a great weekend, everyone.

    Mark Cruden wrote on November 16th, 2012
  21. Congrats! Stay slim, healthy and don’t let big pharma milk you like they do with the sick and unhappy ones.

    einstein wrote on November 16th, 2012
  22. Congratulations, Angela! Way to go!

    By the way, I don’t know if you have planned this, but I am sure you can have a biological child now, if you give it a try. I hope you are blessed with a pregnancy and a child soon, if this is your wish! Good luck!

    Sol y Sombra wrote on November 16th, 2012
  23. WOW awesome!!!! and thank you for being foster parents!

    mars wrote on November 16th, 2012
  24. Wow! Thanks for all the encouraging comments! I am honored that Mark let me share my story as I have enjoyed reading those posted here every week. MDA has been a big resource for me. Just an update; shortly after writing this, I reached my 70lb weight loss goal and then got a big surprise…I’m pregnant! We are super thrilled and I know my Primal lifestyle is what got me here. Now I’m working on a primal pregnancy, something I never thought I’d get to experience!

    Angela wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • Fabulous news! Congrats again and best of luck for your primal pregnancy!

      It seems that so many young women I know have infertility problems or have had multiple miscarriages. And so many of them are eating CW/ vegetarian/ vegan “healthy” diets to try to get pregnant or bring their child to term. After reading many success stories like yours, I am utterly convinced that most of these women would be able to have a child within a year or two of going primal.

      Chica wrote on November 16th, 2012
      • Chica — we’re witnessing Pottenger’s Cats on a nationwide scale.

        Oly wrote on November 16th, 2012
      • I was near vegan, starting at age 15. Diagnosed with PCOS and put on metformin at 21, started trying to for a baby at 27, and started getting help at 28. On a fluke, I got pointed toward an acupuncturist who put me on WAPF, and five months later I conceived naturally and kinda accidentally (I was told to stop trying for a but while my body healed).

        I am a firm, firm believer in animal fat. :D

        em wrote on November 16th, 2012
      • Considering that rats on a diet of GMO food became sterile within two generations. Colour me surprised that we’re having steriliy issues already. Coincidental link? I don’t think so.

        Doug D wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • That’s wonderful news, Angela! Your body was finally ready. I will be embarking on trying for baby #3 in January and it will be my first since going Primal. Keep up the great work!

      Cheralyn wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • Hi Angela — I was waiting to read you were pregnant — thanks for sharing in the comments :-D

      Oly wrote on November 16th, 2012
      • Me, too! Me, too!

        Joy Beer wrote on November 19th, 2012
    • Congratulations! I was reading your whole story thinking “And then she got pregnant, right?”

      em wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • What a wonderful ending to a great story! I have a young friend who gave up being vegetarian after not being able to conceive. She started eating meat and – lo and behold – she’s expecting a baby very soon! I find this aspect of nutrition to be quite fascinating.

      Louise Forman wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • Congratulations on your pregnancy! This is very, very good news! I hope you have a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby! And best of luck!

      Sol y Sombra wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • You just brought tears to my eyes! Congratulations to you on so many levels.

      Diana wrote on November 17th, 2012
    • Wow, Angela. Congratulations and God’s blessings be upon you and your family.

      I wish more of my family would listen to me on the Primal front and ditch the crap they feed themselves and their families. I cringe to see the constant stream of carbs. My brain feels more focused when I do low-carb, I bet their kids’ brains would too.

      Michael Maier wrote on November 22nd, 2012
    • Yay! Congrats on your pregnancy! So exciting :)

      Nadine wrote on December 4th, 2012
  25. You’re positively glowing in your after-picture!Way to go!

    Sophie wrote on November 16th, 2012
  26. Thanks for sharing Angela. BTW, I have the same green sweater. Grok on!

    Happycyclegirl wrote on November 16th, 2012
  27. I love the confidence exuded in “after” pictures here on MDA. Way to go Angela!

    edearl wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • +1

      Madama Butterfry wrote on November 16th, 2012
  28. Angela, you are a hero to your husband, your child, and to me. Unfortunately you are probably the object of envy of your sister-in-laws! You look great. Thanks again for sharing your story.

    Jeff F. wrote on November 16th, 2012
  29. Thank you for this story. I have a bunch of gyn problems, including PCOS, and they have snuck up on me unexpectedly this month and are making my life unpleasant today. Primal definitely helps with said problems, although it doesn’t banish them completely for me. I read this story before heading out. I often use “gyn issue days” as my cheat days for the 20 of 80/20. Before reading this story I was seriously considering some Chinese take out and a huge chocolate bar. I was inspired though, since I have been doing really good on Primal lately, and chose some somewhat more healthy squid and a handful of little dark chocolates to be followed by a hike. Thank you for inspiring me.

    Grumpy Today wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • Hang in there, and keep making the healthier choices. It all comes down to one decision at a time, day after day.

      em wrote on November 16th, 2012
      • +1

        Heather wrote on November 17th, 2012
  30. Great Job! You look amazing…I am inspired every friday and look forward to these stories. Congratulations on your pregnancy…I was thinking while I was reading your story that you would find yourself pregnant before long and lo and behold you are!

    Shelly wrote on November 16th, 2012
  31. Congratulations, I am passing this to everybody, thanks for posting!

    wildgrok wrote on November 16th, 2012
  32. Beautiful, Angela! Congratulations and thanks for sharing!

    Christie wrote on November 16th, 2012
  33. YOu look fantastic, but I know that feeling better is the best reward! Congrats!

    Sandy Azancot wrote on November 16th, 2012
  34. Congrats on your success, you certainly look happy and attractive in the before photo, but wow, add ‘alluring’ for the after one! Great Job!

    Dave in NOR CAL wrote on November 16th, 2012
  35. Wow, what an inspiring transformation; and congratulations on your pregnancy!!

    Kitty =^..^= wrote on November 16th, 2012
  36. Congratulations Angela, on your new found health AND your pregnancy! You look great, and have achieved multiple goals, and with just the healthiest of lifestyles to thank (and your crazy cousin-in-law). I certainly know a few people who I think could benefit this way if only they would “get it” too! Thanks for your story and best wishes for a healthy pregnancy.

    Hilary M wrote on November 16th, 2012
  37. I too have PCOS, and recently started Primal. Already my cycle is normalizing and I look amazing, 5’8 and 125 lbs after a lifetime of weight fluctuating between 140-160. I am a biologist, so when doctors told me at 18 that PCOS was genetic I knew they were wrong (how could a disease that causes infertility be genetic!?). A friend with PCOS started Primal 6 months ago and after years of trying to get pregnant, she is now 3 months pregnant and feeling great! I love this story. Thanks for sharing!!!

    Lorinko wrote on November 16th, 2012
    • “how could a disease that causes infertility be genetic!”

      AMEN TO THAT!

      Ashley wrote on November 16th, 2012
  38. Wow! You are glowing with good health!

    Pamela wrote on November 16th, 2012
  39. Couldn’t ask for a nicer outcome!

    skeedaddy wrote on November 16th, 2012
  40. Congrats!! wonderful story. would love to see piccies of the whole family!

    Jane wrote on November 16th, 2012

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