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

It’s Not Just About the Weight Loss

scaleA whole lot of people come to the Primal Blueprint looking to lose weight. Some come with significant excess weight. Their before and after photos showcase amazing physical transformations that can have us doing a double take wondering how it’s the same person. Others, however, come to the PB with few actual pounds to lose. Their photos display less dramatic outward differences, but their stories tell otherwise.

Inherent to many of their narratives is the common refrain that people didn’t understand their interest in going on a “diet.” Why would they bother? What were they trying to prove? What exactly are they trying to accomplish anyway? As reader Stephart shared in her comment to last week’s gluten-free post, she’s been directly told, “You don’t need to diet. You’re tiny!”

Readers who begin the PB without weight loss goals tell me they’re often accused of being obsessive or vain. Family and friends worry and admonish them for imagining a problem where there is none. Others guilt them for their commitment, taking offense at their concern, which surely must be some kind of slight to those in their lives who really do have weight issues. Such are a few of the uninformed, insensitive or just inappropriate judgments they receive.

Not only do these accusations cross some serious personal boundaries, but they completely disregard the larger health picture any person may be dealing with at a given time. Sure, a person might look like a “normal” size, have a normal (or even low) BMI. They might even have genetics or youth or an expert side pose to suggest that they’re the ideal everyone else in mainstream society seems to be going for. We here know better. Weight isn’t the issue. Size isn’t even the issue. It’s health. And while thinness is correlated, it doesn’t guarantee it.

How many people fit the “skinny fat” label? Skinny fat means looking thin but having less lean tissue and more body fat – particularly around the abdomen – than is healthy. Those who are skinny fat are more likely to develop (or have) osteoporosis. Research suggests they’re also a lot more prone to developing diabetes than you’d guess. Almost 1 in 4 people of normal weight are “metabolically obese.” What’s more? They’re more likely to die, as well, than their slightly heavier counterparts, in part because they were likely less rigorously tested and followed by their doctors for conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

We all know people (or perhaps are one of these people) who can eat a typical S.A.D. diet or worse and not gain anything noticeable. It can be maddening, in fact, for the folks who work harder to maintain their weight. That said, don’t think for a minute that skinny folks get off the hook. They might not suffer the same social stigma or bear the inconvenience and weight-related mobility or joint issues that their heavier friends do, but they might be lured into complacence about poor health choices without the indicator of added weight. As our Success Stories show, those who begin with less weight to lose end up gaining more in their health and vitality than they ever thought possible.

What have “skinny” Groks reportedly lost in lieu of weight? Check it out.

I’m Going Into My 40th Year Feeling Healthier Than Ever

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Night sweats
  • Bone pain
  • Skin rashes
  • Bloating
  • Dry eyes
  • Sinus headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Menstrual pain
  • Diminished energy

Primal Ripples: Deeper Than Just Food

  • Less need for pain medication

The Primal Lifestyle Has Given Me a Life Worth Living

  • Chronic heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Crippling hunger
  • Random nausea
  • Chronic muscle pain
  • Debilitating joint pain
  • Body stiffness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Random chest pain
  • Memory Loss
  • Low testosterone
  • Acne
  • Low sex drive
  • Teeth grinding
  • Liver problems
  • Cracking joints
  • Body odor
  • Balance problems

I Was Unhealthy and Getting Sicker: Something Had to Change

  • Dizziness
  • High Triglycerides

We Have More Energy to Be Better Partners, Parents, and People

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Shakes

Finally, I Am Me

  • Anxiety
  • Knee pain
  • Back pain
  • Tendinitis
  • Migraines

I Am Finally on the Right Path to Optimum Health and Happiness

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Chronic infections

I Am in Harmony with My Body and Mind for the First Time in a Long Time

  • Psoriasis

It Will Pass and I Will Be Stronger

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

How the 21-Day Challenge Helped Me

  • Sugar addiction

The Pain and Stiffness Disappeared and Has Never Returned

  • Mid-afternoon energy crashes
  • Finger pain and stiffness

I Feel Healthier, Stronger, and More Energetic

  • High blood pressure

The Primal Lifestyle Has Been a Game Changer

  • Sleep apnea
  • Gall bladder issues

And the list goes on and on…

Now, I’m not claiming the Primal Blueprint will solve all of your problems. There’s no such thing as a panacea in health and wellness. But I think it’s abundantly clear that its impact reaches much, much further than just weight loss. With all the benefits of the Primal Blueprint, it’s hard to justify withholding all the possibilities from your life. Am I wrong? If you’ve been on the fence or dabbling in the PB, the perfect opportunity is right around the corner. How about committing the upcoming 21-Day Challenge (commencing Monday, September 16th) and see what the PB can really do for you? And, yes, the skinny are encouraged to join. Your tribe awaits.

Would you describe yourself as presently – or formerly – skinny fat? What’s been your experience when you’ve told people you’re doing the PB (or any other dietary and lifestyle change)? What health issues has the PB changed for you, and what would you tell those who have fewer pounds but just as many benefits to gain by going Primal? Thanks for reading, everyone. Enjoy the end of the week.

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 had to change my diet for my mental health and energy. I had no life!

    Debbie wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • ditto

      barb wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Interesting. I will be keeping an eye on my elbows from now on!

      Lisa wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Since going Primal this past November, I’ve been labeled, “Extreme”, “Party Pooper”, and “Obsessive.” What’s worse is I have 2 children in elementary school that I have raised eating Primally since birth. A vast majority of people, be it family, friends, or mere acquaintances make comments such as, “I feel badly for your boys,” “Let them be kids!” and “You are raising them to have an unhealthy relationship with food.” That last comment was made by my one and only sibling who allows her 3 children to chow whenever on junk food. I had to laugh out loud directly at her when she made that ignorant comment.
      As far as some positive changes for me following this way of eating/nourishing:
      I no longer have a tingling sensation in my fingers & toes throughout the day.
      I no longer get charlie horses in my calves.
      My toenail fungus went away after 6 months of eating Primally (I had the fungus for over 2 years!)
      My throat no longer feels scratchy and mildy sore (found out it was the dairy).
      I lose less hair in the shower now.
      I’ve gained 4 pounds of muscle (though I lift heavy on top of eating Primally).
      I’m happier and feel more empowered than ever!

      High Energy wrote on September 12th, 2013
      • Maybe you should have said “I am letting my kids be kids – healthy kids that won’t grow into unhealthy adults!”

        Congrats on getting such great benefits from PB too!

        KariVery wrote on September 12th, 2013
      • I’m so glad to hear someone else noticed they lost less hair! I noticed after 30 days of eating this way. After “falling off the wagon” for a month hair is falling out again!! Back on the wagon now. And waiting for the brain fog to lift.

        Jen wrote on September 13th, 2013
      • I’ve also heard the same kind of comments from people, especially about my children (6 & 4). Upon hearing that I don’t let them have sugar in any form except for a bit of fruit I was told that I’m mean and that when they’re older they’ll ‘go nuts’ and try all the sugary stuff that they were never allowed to have.

        My answer to that was this: by your logic then, should I light up a few cigarettes for them? Maybe pop open a couple of cans of beer to go with their dinner? So that they don’t go nuts for that stuff when they’re older, of course.

        One day at work I was eating bacon, eggs, and veggies that I’d sautéed I’m bacon grease for lunch when someone told me that I was so lucky that I was thin enough to be able to eat what I do.

        I told the overweight woman who said this to me that she had it wrong. I said “I don’t eat like this because I’m thin. I’m thin BECAUSE I eat like this.”

        Unfortunately I don’t think she believed me. Too bad because besides losing that extra 20 pounds since going Primal over a year ago, I’ve also seen many of the benefits that have already been listed and so have my kids.

        I will never leave this tribe!

        Egglet wrote on September 15th, 2013
    • Hi Debbie,

      Can you deliberate on that?
      I feel overall better on primal lifestyle,yet sometimes my moods just go down andI need to fix that with carbs.
      So I’m trying to find mental balance aswell.

      Thanks,
      Petra

      Petra wrote on September 12th, 2013
  2. My elbows are smooth, and I don’t get yellow funky earwax any more. That’s in addition to getting blood pressure and weight under control.

    Ryan wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • ditto for funky earwax and smooth elbows

      barb wrote on September 12th, 2013
      • Funky Earwax and the Smooth Elbows sounds like a great band name…

        KariVery wrote on September 12th, 2013
        • yo im FUnky earWax and my elbows are smooooth
          you gonna get down to my primal grooove
          its not just about the weight see im feelin great
          dont listen to the haters and eat your sweet potatoes

          Tom B-D wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • I never really thought about the elbow thing. But it’s true.
      Never had the earwax deal.

      IcarianVX wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • I still get quite a lot of earwax. But I live in what’s technically a desert and wear a headset all the time…

      Aria wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • I just did an elbow check and they’re so smooth! Whoda thunk. They used to be all scaly and cracked.

      Abby wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Just checked my elbows and waddayaknow, nice and smooth! :D

      Kitty =^..^= wrote on September 14th, 2013
      • I think I get less “sand man” in the eyes upon waking!

        Meagan wrote on September 14th, 2013
  3. love this! I think the quicker people learn that “diets” dont lead anywhere good- and that you have to change your lifestyle and eat/ exercise smartly, not just with the sole focus to be skinny- the better. i used to be skinny fat. no more :)

    Charlotte wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • People want a quick fix – especially Americans. The struggle in the health field is taking this concept to cross cultural lines. Traditional Asians or Hispanics don’t respond too well when you tell them to cut out their main staple of carbohydrates out of their diet.

      Matt wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Me too Charlotte. Skinny Fat, looked good in clothes, but not really any muscles underneath…all my heavy friends always called me lucky, while I had migraines, 8 colds a year, sinus infections, sore joints, dry eyes, etc. All completely gone now. When I would complain about my health, the friends would just laugh and thought I was healthy as a horse. Skinny means NOTHING!

      Nocona wrote on September 12th, 2013
  4. I lost the guilt when eating bacon :)

    Stevemid wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • haha great. This comment made my day :)

      Camilo wrote on September 12th, 2013
      • +1

        Vanessa wrote on September 12th, 2013
  5. I’ve lost weight and my mind :)

    Groktimus Primal wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Of I’ve all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most. ;)

      Amy wrote on September 12th, 2013
  6. I think PB fixes everyone on the inside first, weight loss (for those that need it) comes second.

    MattyT wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • I believe this is an important point. Healthy food consumption along with some exercise should start with results coming from the inside out. Energy levels go up and the body becomes healthier before you see dramatic physical changes.

      Tom T. wrote on September 12th, 2013
  7. I am a male with decent muscle mass and about 20% body fat…so while clothed most people don’t think there’s much to lose.

    It’s a tough situation here in the midwest where I live as some degree of being overweight is the norm. Thus to be careful about what I eat causes a reaction…and to say I do it just for health reasons also seems to imply unhealthiness for the other person…which can also offend people.

    Danny wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Midwesterners tend to worry about offending others. A good line my friend uses is, “I feel best when I eat this way.” Bingo! Conversation is over. The comment is self-directed and there is no looming “maybe you should eat this way too” feeling.

      Rachel wrote on September 12th, 2013
      • +1
        Perfect response, in my book. Who can argue with how something makes you feel? No one, that’s who.

        Cledbo wrote on September 13th, 2013
      • I like this response. I am formerly skinny-fat, and a guy friend was waxing poetic about how awesome it is to be like us and eat whatever we wanted. He was eating cake, I think, and I just smiled and nodded: bacon!

        Yep, I’m lucky that I get to eat whatever I want…

        Deanna wrote on September 13th, 2013
  8. My allergies have not gone away, but they have been greatly reduced since I have started the primal diet.

    Brian wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Hey Brian. Have you tried raw local honey? I just recently found some at my local farmer’s market and plan to go back soon to buy a ton of it!

      Try putting a tablespoon in green tea once a day. Hope it helps!

      Jacob wrote on September 12th, 2013
  9. “Your tribe awaits.” Is that going to be the slogan?! I’d totally buy a shirt that says that.

    Ham-bone wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • I absolutely would as well. I can’t wait for the Challenge!

      JennF wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • was just going to say the same thing – love that slogan!

      Stéphane wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • My local JCC beat you to it.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Love it! I’d totally buy a Primal shirt that said that too!

      Lisa wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • I would definitely buy this t-shirt!

      TLC wrote on September 13th, 2013
    • Tank top for me, please!

      Egglet wrote on September 15th, 2013
  10. I am 46 years old. A few months ago, I completed a 2 year weight loss journey, losing 60 pounds and getting my BMI into the healthy range at 23%. I went from a size 16 to a size 6. But I still needed to do more. I was skinny fat! I had to decide, do I really want to keep losing, and be a size 2, or do I want to lose fat? I was on my way to being a skinny-fat size 2!

    So I decided to stop focusing on my weight or my size (although I still eat mostly primal and watch the scale for creep), but instead focusing on “moving more” and “lifting heavy things”.

    I have gone from 31% to 25% body fat in just 2 months, although I am the same weight and the same size. But the “muffin top” is gone, my stamina has improved greatly, and I feel much younger and stronger. 46 is starting to look real good on me!

    Tina wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Oh and I have lost 2 inches off my waist and hips.

      Tina wrote on September 12th, 2013
      • Sounds like you could write a good success story for Friday.

        Alice wrote on September 13th, 2013
  11. Following a primal template really allowed me to get to low bodyfat albeit not that low. I have to eat a high carb approach to fuel training and get to the levels I need. The biggest difference for me was clear skin. I sweat like an animal and have always struggled with acne on my body and it was virtually non existent after going primal.

    Ray wrote on September 12th, 2013
  12. An excellent and overdue post. I think it should really be “fat loss” rather than weight loss since the improved quality/quantity of protein combined with becoming more of a fat burner rather than a carb burner has left my weight fairly consistent but replaced body fat with muscle. I think the mantra should be: throw out your scale and look in a mirror. If you can see fat you are fat, so lift heavy and strive to continually improve your diet, and your weight and body will be whatever nature intended. Also, being overly carbed can have negative hormonal consequences as sock-doc has done a good job of describing, and I think this is an underappreciated aspect of age- related hormonal decline, especially for us lifter types who have a tendency to be over-carbed without looking obviously fat.

    Superchunk wrote on September 12th, 2013
  13. I was considered” in shape ” by family and friends, even when I hit 208# at 5’9″. I woke up with a headache every morning, blew my sinuses out like a trumpet, craved sugar every night, and drank a 16 oz. energy drink everyday just to get through it, then wondered why I could”nt sleep before 12:30-1:00.Bloating after every meal with epic flatulence also.After going primal on April 30th this year ALL THAT HAS GONE AWAY! Occasional backslides come with painful recurrences, my body reminding me what it really needs. I trained chronic cardio and overtrained with weights and havent seen more than a “two pack” since my twenties.All the benefits above are enough to make my case for going Primal, but the icing on the cake is my 33# weightloss , emerging six pack, and my family jumping on board for the primal lifestyle too. Thanks Mark for what you do

    John Snyder wrote on September 12th, 2013
  14. Bingo, this is what I’ve gone through! I wasn’t overweight, but I decided to give it a go and came out of it feeling better than ever. People would make comments like, “you’re thin, why bother?” It wasn’t about “thin” it was about not feeling bloated and tired all the time.

    NJ Paleo wrote on September 12th, 2013
  15. The primal blueprint cured my ongoing sinusitis (2+ years of congestion) and my constantly inflamed adenoids. I have minor osteoarthritis in my hands an no longer suffer the pain caused by it. More importantly though, is the normalization of my mom’s high blood pressure. She has spent the last 10 years on increasing doses of all manner of medication with no changes, along with multiple hospitalizations due to very small heart attacks. About 5 months ago she went primal, and 3 months in had her first normal blood pressure reading in 10 years. THANK YOU MARK! There is no doubt in my mind that the primal blueprint saved my mothers life. Now myself, my wife and 4 children and my mother are all primal and loving it. Grok on everybody!

    Mack wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Yay for your mom!

      Vanessa wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Aww that is amazing! Happy to hear :)

      Brittany wrote on September 13th, 2013
  16. this is me. I was 170 at 6’2″ when I started and am now 175.

    I’m leaner, stronger and more mobile than I was before, which is all great.

    But more to the point — I spend less time working out, more time with my family, more time playing and I finally feel like a member of the planet’s dominant species.

    pablo mablo wrote on September 12th, 2013
  17. So many things have improved for me (allergies, joint pain, digestion issues, sugar cravings, low energy … all pretty much gone) and while I didn’t really need to lose weight, I also weight and am much trimmer overall.

    I do, however, take exception to one thing in this post: “They’re more likely to die, as well, than their slightly heavier counterparts …” We’re ALL likely to die. In fact, we’re all guaranteed to die. I’d just like to have a long, healthy life and not a slow, painful deterioration to an early grave, which is something I think the PB lifestyle goes a long way towards facilitating.

    Lauryn wrote on September 12th, 2013
  18. I’d say I fall into the skinny fat camp. Most of my adult life (I’m 48), I’ve been between 160-165 lbs at 6’2” (BMI~21). After going primal, I dropped to as low as 148 lbs. Then after adding in weekly push-ups, pull-ups, and squats, I’ve settled in at about 155 lbs.

    Health improvements include:
    • Feet/legs don’t feel heavy/stiff in morning
    • Chronic itchy skin (mainly torso) is gone, probably caused by gluten & casein
    • No longer need prescription meds for ED
    • Occasional 3-day bouts of heartburn are gone
    • Hand-joint soreness/tendonitis has cleared
    • Recurrent, moderate low back pain is gone
    • My ~2 colds/yr are gone (usually a week long cycle of: sore-throat, sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, cough). I’ve had 2 or 3 days in 3 years with a bit of sneezing, then I’m fine the next day.
    • I am now 6’3”+ having gained an inch using Gokhale techniques

    I’m thankful that those close to me support my lifestyle but also frustrated that I’ve been largely unsuccessful at convincing others to follow. They worry I’m too thin and that my LDL has risen.

    Kevin wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Why isn’t #3 in 36 point font!?!

      Kenny wrote on September 12th, 2013
      • Because Kenny has nothing to compensate for.

        michael wrote on September 12th, 2013
  19. Dang! After reading the comment about elbows, I felt mine (Hadn’t thought about it since starting primal.) and they weren’t rough anymore either! Even though I’m on my elbows more now (planks) then I used to be. (situps)

    ninjainshadows wrote on September 12th, 2013
  20. Loved this. I’m 5’2″ and 140lbs was my highest weight – I gained almost 20lbs in the year after I turned 38. I starved myself down to 130 and ended up with a Fibromyalgia diagnosis. 6 months on the SAD – slightly calorie restricted, low fat, very low added sugar, lots of whole-grain. Lots of exercise. I was becoming diabetic as I DROPPED 10LBS. Those whole grains and fruit were giving me hellacious hypos – they were destroying my pancreas. I used to get them when I didn’t eat all day but they were now happening 90 minutes after eating – I was eating all day and constantly hungry. And I was only eating about 160-180g of carbs per day. According to 23andme.com I am 3% below the average risk in my population. BUT – I have more high risk than low risk markers. I have a father on dialysis and an older brother who is diabetic. I have a serious dysfunctional insulin response. Primal Blueprint was my fountain of youth. My list of things that went away: eczema; bloated belly; IBS and all associated problems that come with it; hiatal hernia; indigestion; PLMS, scaly dry skin; hair loss (receding hairline and thinning crown also), constant headaces, sinus infections and sinus congestion; ear infections and issues with fluid in the cancals; Fibromyalgia; Reactive Hypoglycemia; slight depression (melancholy); daytime drowsiness; bad sleep; breaking, weakening, decaying teeth and gum problems; HSV-1 (I had a recent breakout thanks to some beef gelatin but this time I researched and found out why L-Lysine has always been my savior – also found a conncection between HSV-1 and ApoE4 of which I have one copy), sunburns. No more carpal tunnel flares either. I’m sure there’s more. The extra weight loss was just a very, very small bonus. I really think that the biggest bonus of all was KNOWLEDGE. I got outside of that damn box and I’m never going back in it. I think I actually saw a comment – maybe on here? But it was about not thinking outside the box but thinking ABOUT THE BOX! Well, shoot did I ramble!!

    Heather wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • And one other slightly odd thing. My hair has gotten curlier! (And I’m 3% below the average risk for DIABETES in my population – European – see 23andme.com for definition of European population)

      Heather wrote on September 12th, 2013
  21. Great post! I came to the primal way of life for health reasons since I had already lost more weight (not fat) than I wanted to following conventional wisdom. My gut issues have cleared up and issues that I didn’t know were issues (had them all my life) have cleared up. I’m still working on other issues that have surfaced, but I am sure I am on the right track. Although I initially dropped 6 lbs. on PB, I am now 4 lbs. heavier than when I started, but 2 sizes smaller. As I approach my 55th birthday, I am much healthier, stronger, leaner, happier, more mentally alert and no longer concerned about the “normal” chronic conditions associated with aging. Even so, I still get concerned comments from well meaning relatives/friends/acquaintances about my weight (well within the healthy BMI range, for whatever that’s worth), how much I eat (a lot), and what I eat (how can you stay away from breads, pastas, etc. and, of course, the eggs/beef/fat are going to kill you!). PB is about the health — the weight is a side effect.

    Myra wrote on September 12th, 2013
  22. I have been lifelong skinny fat, always very active in sports like skiing and windsurfing but shunned exercise for it’s own sake other than walking to and from work etc. I am 5’9″ and my weight has been stable around 172 for the last 30 years. Looked fine as long as I sucked in the belly! One year ago at age 57 finally quit smoking (40 yrs seemed like pushing my luck a bit) and the weight hitting around 178 after an ocean cruise (never again!) I went full primal. I ride a bike vigorously and do bodyweight workouts, walk dogs, swum a half mile just yesterday, etc . My weight is down to 163-165 and I have quite a bit more firm muscle mass, 16% bodyfat. My face, shoulders, arms, legs have all leaned out considerably and lost the puffy look. But still have a bloated looking fat roll around the midsection and underdeveloped chest. I had great results in the first 6 weeks and have plateaued since then, it’s infuriating. But the first time I went skiing on Mt Shasta last winter I was elated at the stamina and power I had recovered, it was pure joy to attack the slopes top to bottom without stopping due to leg breakdown. So at 59 now I am actually in great shape but still look skinny fat with a pot belly with the clothes off. I never quit drinking beer so just recently I have switched to 2 glasses of wine to wring off that belly fat. I am determined to get down to the abs I have never seen in my lifetime. I am contemplating trying some testosterone to help lose that last stubborn flab and gain bulk in the chest, that belly is some lifelong stubborn mess.

    Bayrider wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Forgot to mention that all my cholesterol and blood numbers showed huge improvements after 7 months primal. 20-50% across the board, very impressive, it blew my mind!

      Bayrider wrote on September 12th, 2013
      • Great job Bayrider. No matter how much we abuse our bodies, it’s amazing how they can regenerate and become very healthy again.

        Nocona wrote on September 12th, 2013
  23. I think it was in Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich,” that I first learned that family members and friends don’t want you to succeed. It makes them look bad.

    As to the skinny fat issue: I saw before and after MRI scans of a thin fiftyish woman. The before showed the thigh bone, a little muscle and a lot of fat. The doctors put her on an exercise program and after six months took another MRI scan. Now it was the bone, a lot of muscle and a little fat. Like it should be and like following the Primal Blueprint will do for people.

    D. M. Mitchell wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • +1 on Napoleon Hill. Well worth the read.

      Amy wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Tall poppy syndrome will getcha only if you let it.

      Cledbo wrote on September 13th, 2013
  24. I started eating PB due to high blood sugar. Got my blood sugar under control, lowered my blood pressure, I lost weight/fat, I felt better, I am no longer hungry every hour or 2, etc., etc. Plus, I love being able to eat lots of grass fed beef, lots of healthy fats & lots of healthy veggies.

    T J wrote on September 12th, 2013
  25. I was and always will be “skinny”. At 53, over two years into Primal, I am still skinny. Through menopause I gained weight in womanly places, yes. But with my long lean limbs, I am still a stick compared to most people today.

    What I lost going Primal? –

    Daily sinus congestion.
    Bloating after every meal.
    Gas.
    Being so hungry I would have killed you.
    Being so hungry my brain would not function.
    Sugar and carb addiction.
    Inflammatory ailments – bunions, hip bursitis, gum disease.

    I’m sure I’ve left out a couple of things. My husband benefitted greatly as well – getting rid of huge digestive issues that would surely have ended up very badly, and severe dandruff and gum disease. (He’s also skinny.)

    So those of you sitting on the fence because you think you don’t need to lose weight – ditching the Standard American Diet and going Primal will change your whole body makeup and bring you much better overall health. What have you got to lose to give it a try?

    Pure Hapa wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Since going paleo 1 year ago, I have experienced many benefits:
      - I lost 7kg, still need to loose another 3 (need more exercise!)
      - my mind works better, it’s more focus and i’m with better mood
      - I’m not constantly hungry, or thinking about food all the time
      - I’m able to skip a meal (this would have been a disaster 1 year ago)
      - i have more energy and no sugar cravings
      - my period got shorter and on time
      - I’m more compassionate and more spiritual (i still don’t believe in any religion, but can understand more why people do)
      - I’m better tanned, I used to get red when exposed to sunshine
      - I was able to jog for 12 km with no previous training (before I would do max 6 km)
      - I spend less money

      Unfortunately, sometimes I take the wrong path, and the experience is not pleasant, but it actually helps me to put me back on track.

      Ailata wrote on September 12th, 2013
      • Awesome!

        Amy wrote on September 12th, 2013
  26. Migraines gone, blood sugar shakes gone, IBS greatly reduced — but also great is a sense of ownership over my health. If I get stressed and the IBS creeps back, I can recognize it and takes steps to fix it.

    katieCHI wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Being Migraine free is truly a gift from the Gods isn’t it? Man, that is by far and away the number one benefit of going Primal. Type II Diabetes was definitely my number one health issue, but migraines meant ZERO quality of life! I had chronic migraines for 43 years and for all of those years I was nothing but a prisoner!

      I liken it to be stuffed inside a hamster ball and being rolled down a forever hill!

      I was dead inside and just waiting to die!

      IT made such a huge difference that I know consider the day i went Primal as my new Birthday! I’ll be two years old on the 25th!

      George Regal wrote on September 12th, 2013
  27. I always appreciate articles and blog entries that remind us not to focus too much on weight. That being said, I am personally finding it tough not to do so. I’ve been Primal for a little over a year. I shed about 55 pounds and at least 10 percentage points of body fat (even by relatively inaccurate Tanita, the body fat % has gone down; I’ve also dropped clothing sizes and seen more muscle definition). All great stuff, and I’m extremely thankful to Mark as well as some other figures in the community. But now I’m very, very, very frustrated that I can’t seem to lose overall weight any more. I can and have put on muscle, no problem, e.g., new bench max of 295, other weight maxes also increased (I’m 47.5 years old, 250 lbs, 5’10″, BTW). But I can’t seem to reduce any more fat or overall weight. I check my calories – don’t seem too high or too low. I eat a pretty low carb Primal 90% of the time. I am, however, extremely stressed out almost always. And I’ve read/heard that can make a big impact. So while I *know* rationally I shouldn’t worry about the scale, I’m still letting it get to me despite my good progress. Maybe it’s because I hear about people losing even more weight, e.g., 70-90+ pounds in a year or less doing what I was doing. So I have to wonder what I’m doing wrong. In any case, thanks to Mark for this great site and his awesome book.

    Chris wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Stress could be what is stalling your weight loss. Figure out a way to deal with whatever is stressing you better and stop stressing about weight loss.

      Myra wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Throw out the scale. The only scale in my house is for weighing food – and only because I need to know how long to roast those huge chunks of meat for!

      Cledbo wrote on September 13th, 2013
      • Also, don’t forget it took you a lot longer than a year to put all that weight on. Cut yourself some slack, give your brain a break, and focus instead on all the other cool changes going Primal is causing in you – like, apparently, smooth elbows! lol.

        Cledbo wrote on September 13th, 2013
    • I find stress is what puts weight back on and keep it on.

      About the time I started going primal, I was coming off a two year period of constant high stress from working on a complicated project with people who were not team players. I was not eating right, not exercising, leaving me hovering around 200 lbs at 5- 10 1/2″ . Had a list of health problems, low energy, acne, bad sleep, snoring, etc.

      Now I try to minimize the stress, by balancing work more with family and activities, do circuit training 3 times a week (from a P90 routine), and stay around 170 lbs with the health problems largely gone. If I get stressed, I find I put the weight back on and it stays, but when I get out of the period of stress, I find I can burn off fat quickly.

      WRT body image I’m thinner than I was, loose in 31 inch pants vs tight in 36 inch pants, and can just see the hint of ribcage and abs. If I want to get ripped I know I will need to be tighter on the primal diet (about 75% right now) and do more dedicated and focused training. At this point though, I rather use my time to do other things rather than just hitting the gym.

      Hope this helps.

      James wrote on September 14th, 2013
  28. My trainer got me hooked on Paleo this past year. Thank you, UGH! One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is that I don’t experience those low blood sugar moments when I almost feel like I’m starving. His mantra “fat and fruit” has proven useful at snack time. Replacing my morning bowl of cereal with bacon and eggs really super charges my day, and I look forward to “playing” in the kitchen. I love eating real food! And since I installed wood floors, I spend more time going barefoot in the house; my balance (compromised by neuropathy) has improved.

    Stone wrote on September 12th, 2013
  29. Have you ever found yourself around an annoying loud noise that went on and on until you no longer paid conscious attention to it? But then the noise suddenly stopped, and you felt tremendous relief with the comparative silence? Going from S.A.D. to primal was like that for me.

    Stan the Man wrote on September 12th, 2013
  30. Things I did that I couldn’t before going primal:
    - climbed certain trees / walked on fallen trees, branches, leaning trees
    - walked distances and rough surfaces barefoot or in shoddy footwear
    -swam/immersed in cold water
    -stayed awake traveling for two days on a bicycle (with plenty of rest)
    -gone two days without eating
    -lived in an unheated trailer for a winter

    Animanarchy wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Beautifully Grok…

      Nocona wrote on September 12th, 2013
  31. I’m a 31 year old Mom of 2 kids (son: 2.5 & daughter: 12 months). I’m 5’9″ and currently 137 pounds. On July 10, 2013, I weighed 150. That was the day my family went Primal and we aren’t looking back. My husband has lost 15 pounds and my Goldfish & pancake loving son now begs me for kale chips. I thought we were healthy and by SAD standards we were. Losing weight has been a nice bonus but I didn’t really think I needed to. We went Primal bc I wanted to set a healthy example for my kids, especially my daughter, who will grow up with even more body image scrutiny than I did. It’s nice to think of the things I’ve lost but I enjoy thinking about what I’ve gained even more.

    Annie wrote on September 12th, 2013
  32. A daily Alka Seltzer — gone.

    Bleeding gums when I brush my teeth — gone.

    Toe jam fungus — gone.

    The previous phenomenology of hunger (ie panic ) — gone (replaced by a gradual slowing down feeling, plus mouth-watering once I’ve decided to eat).

    About 20lbs and 3 inches from my waist — gone.

    Fear of fat (and odd bits of animals) — gone.

    (And, my food diary and cholesterol numbers almost gave my doctor a heart attack, until he saw that the high Total was made up of very high HDL.)

    Scott UK wrote on September 12th, 2013
  33. I just started going Primal this week. I haven’t had bread in about a year and the only grains I ever ate were oats (and that wasn’t a daily occurrence, more once a week maybe). I have all the symptoms of PCOS except the overweight part. While researching PCOS, I discovered high insulin and possible diabetes (which is the one health issue I fear the most). I am still learning the ins and outs of primal living, but have read different girls accounts of healing their PCOS. I used to be skinny fat but workout regularly doing different forms of exercise. Now I’m skinny fit, but am looking to healing internally. I’m keeping a food diary for now to keep track of my macros until I get the hang of portions etc.

    Sue wrote on September 12th, 2013
  34. I am like Chris above. I lost significant weight but have not been able to achieve the kind of cross-fit or bikini model physique you see in the typical success picture. But I continue with the program because of the health benefits. I feel like a completely different person. I’m stronger than I used to be, my weight is more stable even if it’s not actually “skinny”, my hunger is more stable, my mood is much improved. I don’t go crazy periodically like I used to, flying off the handle, yelling at people, feeling depressed and worthless. I’m even-keeled. I feel confident, calm and quiet inside. I won’t go back to what I was before.

    Diane wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • I think it’s definitely worth pointing out, and for everyone to accept, that those models/cross-fitters are a specific physiological ‘type’. A mate of mine I did the Whole30 with last year was complaining because he’d been paleo/primal for nearly 2 years, and while I was getting what all the boys termed “lady abs”, he was still stocky. I told him, it’s just how you are. You’ll probably never get the six pack look without a level of effort that simply isn’t worth it.

      Pinning your hopes and feelings of self-worth on looking like someone else is a fool’s errand. Some people will get that look, and some simply can’t – the same way that I will never be tall, I will never have slim thighs (though I love my big thighs ;) and my rib cage will always be a certain circumference. It sounds so obvious, but I’m built this way – and you are too.

      All the ladies out there need to remember, as well, that there’s a minimum amount of body fat you need to be healthy and function as a woman – and it’s more than 15%!!

      Cledbo wrote on September 13th, 2013
  35. I guess I am one of those “skinny fat” folks. I have been blessed (and cursed) with being small and skinny my whole life. As a teenage boy, I hated being so skinny and tried to gain weight (I would have taken fat or muscle at the time). I ate 3,000 calories a day for awhile (double-cheeseburgers and fries with milk shakes, etc.) I couldn’t gain weight. I was 5 feet 8 inches tall and 120 pounds dripping wet. Stayed that way throughout my twenties and thirties. Now I am 45 and up to a whopping 140 pounds. I still look thin, but I have a little belly fat. Very little muscle tone. I am not doing this to lose weight; in fact, I would not mind gaining a few pounds. I am doing it because for four and a half decades I have been eating anything and everything and I feel like crap because of it. Pop Tart and Coke for breakfast; chips and salsa and enchiladas with beans and rice for lunch; ice cream, chips, donuts, cookies for snacks. Burger and fries for dinner. Blech. I have finally had my fill of all that stuff. Been doing the Primal Blueprint for a week, including a long weekend eating out every meal in San Francisco, and have never felt better. Haven’t had any of the processed, packaged crap in seven days. Been shopping at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and only getting Primal Blueprint foods. Lots of veggies, eggs, meats, fruit, seeds, and nuts. Loving it. And now I feel like exercising because (a) I have the energy for it! and (b) it’s not something I “ought” to do–I want to do it. I have never been on a “diet” before. This is not a diet for me; it’s a lifestyle change. My wife and I are both committed to it. If our bodies end up looking better, great. But for us it is about a lot more than that. We just want to feel fantastic and actually BE healthy, not just look healthy.

    Eric S. wrote on September 12th, 2013
  36. “Your Tribe Awaits” would be great on a shirt! Do it Mark!!

    Goddess wrote on September 12th, 2013
  37. Ever since the first time I measured my BMI, it’s been slightly below “perfect.” I’m lean, had a six pack as long as I can remember, and nothing I eat changes my weight.
    But, I’ve had Ulcerative Colitis for about a decade now. For anyone who’s not familiar with it, I would gladly trade for obesity. I eat stuff and people say “how can you not get fat?” to which I reply “I just get really sick. It’s heaps worse.”
    The Primal Blueprint has changed my life. Years ago, I discovered the SCD and GAPS diets, but I didn’t have the motivation to combat my cravings for carbs. The caveman aspect of the PB, with lifestyle factors and lifting heavy things, has gotten me much more involved. I’m not better yet, and I’m only sticking to the diet around 70% of the time, but I feel soooooo much better.
    I get married in 3 weeks (Oct 5th), so maybe I’ll hit up the 21 day challenge to make sure I start my married life with good health. :)
    Oh, and my bride used to have PCOS. Used to.
    Thanks heaps Mark.

    DrVladic wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • “I’m not better yet and I’m only sticking to the diet 70% of the time”. Hmmm … maybe you should focus on that phrase and make a logical connection. Just sayin’ :)

      Glad you are feeling better, and congrats on your upcoming marriage!

      George wrote on September 12th, 2013
  38. I started PB a size 10& 3 yrs later I’m still a 10. After all the awesome things that have happened as a result of 100% primal I still wish being slender was a part of my story. Now THAT is vain.

    Dart wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • Look into IF (such as Leangains), that may be the missing element for you. Mark has some nice articles on the subject.

      George wrote on September 12th, 2013
  39. I’ve gained a better relationship with food and have been able to combat the symptoms of Meniere’s Disease by keeping my blood sugar stable and inflammation down. My skin is clear and I had a wonderfully healthy pregnancy. I have been breastfeeding exclusively for 4 months and feeling great (and eating a ton)

    Truly amazing how great I feel! (And recovering from pregnancy has been much easier than expected! )

    MommaH wrote on September 12th, 2013
  40. It is just shy of 2 years since I went primal. Oh how things have changed. In the past two weeks I have gotten comments from my massage therapist,”you are in really good shape. Compared to a lot of younger people you are doing so much better then them. And I mean it, your muscles are smooth, no knots, very good shape”. I was at the gym today doing a session of boot camp and the comment from one in our group was “man you are in such good shape”. Earlier this summer I’m walking down the street in shorts, but shirtless, wearing my vibrams and I get photographed by a woman in a passing car. I feel great and must be looking better too haha. I love it! I had my 53rd birthday in August but feel half that age. Weight wise I’m down about 25lbs but have also gained over 10lbs of muscle. Body composition doesn’t lie. My eyes are bright and clear, skin is smooth, hair is shiny. Nice muscle definition. No joint pain, no back pain, toe fungus is gone, gums don’t bleed. I’m alert, energized, totally freaking happy. I absolutely love food. I have become a wicked cook. Sex is awesome. When I reflect I just can’t believe the transformation. And so achievable. This is life and I’m glad to be enjoying it.

    Rob wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • “When I reflect I just can’t believe the transformation. And so achievable.”

      You’ve captured the essence of my experience with PB. I’m 57, female, 5’2″. I’ve never been obese or excessively overweight but after menopause, I started packing on the pounds-about 35–and couldn’t take them off. I accepted and made jokes about my pudgy self; I thought that’s just the way it’s going to be so there’s no use getting upset about it.

      The problem was I felt horrible. So I took the PB plunge in late February of this year after a miserable winter of aching joints and one illness after another, figuring, what did I have to lose?

      Surprisingly, I lost a LOT: chronic hunger and cravings!! (I would eat all the time and never be satisfied); chronic heartburn with pain so excruciating, I’d been to the ER 3 times thinking I was having a heart attack; back fat (ewwww!); muffin top; saddle bags; bloated, lookin’ like I was 7 months pregnant belly; puffy, pasty, dry skin, most of my joint pain; chronic fatigue; 27 pounds; 3 dress sizes (approaching a 4th) and the list goes on. It simply blows my mind!

      I now have nice muscle definition and cuts (!!!), an almost flat belly and a mirror-friendly body. :) My original goal was to lose another 10 pounds but I’d be thrilled if I stayed right where I am, which is totally achievable; I love primal food and don’t have a problem sticking to it. I have far more energy and endurance. I can hardly believe how much better I feel! Yeah, about half my age is accurate.

      My work is outdoors and fairly physically demanding (likely why my transformation happened so quickly). In the summer, I usually wear shorts and a tank top. I’m not one for seeking external approval but I sure have gotten a lot of it and I’d be a liar if I said it isn’t enjoyable. Rarely a day goes by that someone, friend and stranger alike, doesn’t say something to me about what great shape I’m in. I’ve been whistled at, “hit on” a number of times and even told, “nice abs” (I had to go home and look in the mirror; I hadn’t even noticed hahahaha, probably too busy admiring my “new” legs). This just makes me laugh and laugh. Seriously? I’m 57! This is not supposed to be happening! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d look or feel this good at this age.

      I’m also loving watching the transformation in some friends and family whom I’ve talked into trying the PB lifestyle. It’s amazing!

      I owe a debt of gratitude to Mark and the community here-I read all this for about a year before I took the plunge. My life and health has been transformed. Thank you all!

      Tammy wrote on September 16th, 2013

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