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

Midpoint Check-In: The Power of Community (Plus a Simple Comment Contest)

CommunityWith all the action around here, it’s amazing to me we’re already at the midpoint of the 21-Day Challenge! The flood of feedback, comments and contest participation has been awesome, and it’s all a reminder of how great a community this is. It never ceases to amaze me actually just how positive a group we have. Seriously, in all the blogosphere, I’ve never stumbled upon anything like it, and I have people tell me as much all the time. Sure, the growth and engagement that all the web number crunchers measure are stellar, but I’m talking deeper than that. I mean the genuine support that is shared here.

From day one of this blog (hands for how many of you were with us way back in 2006!), it’s been the case. People want to help people. There’s great conversation and healthy challenge on the boards, but the spirit of exchange is impressively constructive. Readers themselves have told me how much that collective energy impacts them – how they’ve tapped into it to get them through rough patches or to help motivate them toward bigger visions of thriving and transformation.

The fact is, it’s all too easy to isolate and live with the misguided view that we have to do it all alone – that we should do it all independently. Sure, maybe some of us can conceivably get to our goal without the support, guidance, sharing, etc. But why would we? What are we trying to prove to ourselves? Some people find it noble, but I think it’s just unnecessary. There’s something small and surrendered about the self-contained approach. The fact is, when you open yourself and your process to others, your view of that process and your vision of what’s possible become more expansive.

Likewise, when you’re feeling discouraged because of a setback or crisis of confidence, others can hold that promise for you. They can be the mirror for you. You may not be able to envision great progress on certain days, but seeing it in others – and imagining it for others as you encourage fellow readers on their paths – makes your own possibility of success feel less remote. A community holds optimism – and wisdom – collectively.

On that note, how goes the journey? What is everyone up to – trying, cooking, lifting, feeling, enjoying etc.? I want to encourage each and every one of you out there to interact today (and every day would be cool, too) on the comment board. In fact, it’s the focus of today’s Contest….

Epic BarsThe Prize:

The EPIC bar is a 100% grass fed animal based protein bar. It’s paleo friendly, gluten free, and low in sugar. The names of their bars alone leave the mouth watering: How about a Bison Bacon Cranberry bar, a Beef Habanero Cherry bar, or a Turkey Almond Cranberry bar? Yes, please. To all three, thank you very much.

Catch EPIC bar on Facebook.

The lucky winner of this contest will win 3 boxes of EPIC bars plus an EPIC bar t-shirt. Retail value: $125.

BONUS: Use the code EPICHEARTSMARK at and get free shipping on your order. Valid for five days.

The Contest:

Leave a comment on the board about what you’ve struggled with lately in the Challenge, and/or give your advice to others. Share your anecdotes, stumbles, questions and successes. Share the totally random and nagging craving you’re having, the annoying vestiges of low-carb flu, the odd sleep disturbances or dream patterns (not unheard of), the strangest comments you’ve gotten from various people, the hardest part in the process so far.

Likewise, offer your suggestions and encouragement to others. What strategies did you use to kick cravings? How did you motivate yourself to exercise on days you were tired and it was raining buckets outside? What did you tell naysayers that seemed to get them off your back? If another reader has a struggle or a question and you have an answer–go for it! A winner will be randomly selected from all the comments.

So, there you go! Throw in your questions and responses, and see the support of the MDA community at full throttle! I’m looking forward to reading how everyone is doing and what comes of all the great community feedback. Thanks for stopping in today, everybody. Here’s to an even more amazing and successful second half of the Challenge!

The Deadline:

September 26, midnight PDT.

Who is Eligible:

U.S. residents only for this one. Sorry international readers!

How the Winner Will Be Determined:

A winner will be randomly selected.

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. OMG!!! We love the bison, bacon, cranberry bars – just took them to be lunch while we were in Zion and Grand Canyon earlier this month. Yummy and satisfying!!! Our biggest struggle is staying clean when we go out to eat with friends…

    Rachel-Ashley wrote on September 26th, 2013
  2. My biggest struggle is free donuts and cookies. I love them all, LOVE them. My wife made some paleo apple crisp which helps take the edge off my sweets craving, but i also cheated a couple times. I’ve replaced my daily beer with red wine. I’ve been doing the 80/20 for a few months this is my attempt at 100% and to see how it makes me feel.

    Overall, with only a couple slips in the challenge I do feel good not much different than 80/20 (except for cutting out beer), but I am extremely hungry all day at work. This week i’ve been bringing lots of food with me and eating a lot (all primal), I’m concerned that this may be driving up my calorie count and I wonder if I’ll see weight gain. How do you all stay satiated on primal diet during the day?

    For my heavy lifting / sprints yesterday I was done in less than 40 minutes. Warmed up with deadlifts, went 5 rpm for 5 minutes with cleans, then 1000m rowing for my sprint. Felt good, in and out of the gym quickly.

    Also, is anyone able to find grass fed chicken eggs? All the organic brown eggs i see are “free range” but fed grains. Its hunting season now so every weekend I am out searching for my free range, organic, nature raised venison and elk in the woods.

    Aaron Boom wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I wanted to reply to your comment about feeling hungry all the time. I think it takes our bodies a little while to get accustomed to eating this way. I remember a post Robb Wolf wrote about feelings of hunger — is it true hunger for food? When I found myself hungry (and I know I just ate a good meal!), I would assess the feeling and determine if it was true hunger, or just a habit of munching… The first week of the challenge I was hungry a lot, but since I recognized that I was eating very well – protein, fat and veggies, very little fruit – I ignored the hunger feelings. I am now in the second week, and have ZERO hunger cravings. (Of course, I am not working out as much as yuo are, and I am a woman, so there will be a difference:) Also, much to my surprise, my clothes are feeling loser, and my pants are a lot looser – super exited!

      Kim wrote on September 26th, 2013
  3. Biggest challenge for me would be abstaining from rice and pasta. I’m naturally inclined to eat both as I’m half Italian and Filipino. Sheer will power keeps me from eating either. Lately, I’ve just been adding more meat and fat to my diet to keep my mind off of the lack of grains. Don’t really crave grains when I’m eating a nice piece of spicy sopressata.

    fsol wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • From a former lover of pastas and rice — Nobody likes either. What we really like is the stuff on it. Think about it. Who eats a plain bowl of pasta with nothing on it? Who eats plain, boiled rice with no seasonings or anything else? We love the stuff we put on both the pastas and rice. So why waste time with the filler? Eat the good stuff — the stuff you would have put on/in the rice/pasta.

      Myra wrote on September 26th, 2013
  4. My biggest challenge is to not let a little cheat (like a warm organic apple cider from the farmer’s market) spiral into an all-day cheat (like going out to sushi for lunch and topping off the day with ice cream).

    That has happened. But we get back on the horse.

    katieCHI wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I feel you on that one. Yesterday, I “allowed” myself to have one of my favorite foods at lunch: deep fried seafood. After all, I was at a restaurant on the water and it smelled delicious wafting out of the kitchen. Combined with the fact that I skipped breakfast as part of my intermittent fasting plan, I caved and devoured the plate of fried goodness. Since my defenses were already down, I even allowed a beer to go with it. Although it was delicious, naturally I felt terrible about an hour later. I used this as encouragement to eat properly for dinner and made a Big Ass Salad with some grass fed flank steak. That seemed to get me back on track and I felt great this morning during my workout.

      Keep getting back on the horse no matter how many times he bucks you off!

      Marion wrote on September 26th, 2013
  5. 2 words – Cheese balls.

    I can pass up the birthday cakes at the office, the leftover sandwiches and pizza from meetings, even the fresh bread and pastries that show up in our break rooms but if you put a bucket of cheese balls in front of me they will be destroyed, demolished, erased. I think it’s a combination of the salt, “cheese”, and crunch that makes them so darn irresistible to me. The good news is I don’t cave and purchase them very often but I crave them all the time.

    Anyone have any suggestions as a replacement for these chemical, carb balls? lol.

    Sarah wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I found these Beets and Sweets chips, they even sell them at walmart. They may not be the best but they are failry primal and satisfy my cravings by having just a few.

      Toni wrote on September 26th, 2013
  6. Mrs. Griffin and I have been following along more-or-less diligently with the 21-day Challenge and piggy-backing the 21 Day Transformation book as well. So far:

    We’ve increased our slow-pace cardio with more regular evening walks,
    We’ve started Lifting Heavy Things (namely ourselves),
    We went on a 3-1/2 hour hike on Saturday through a Nature Reserve in a ravine near home,
    We’ve played frisbee,
    We had a celebration dinner on the Autumn Equinox,
    I’m standing more at work, (and moving more as well),
    We’re having a Grokfeast this weekend with our neighbours, and
    We’ve entered a few contests. We’ve even done some of the challenges that we can’t win in, but are participating nonetheless.

    For us, the benefit is that we are back on track. Our diet hasn’t been the issue but our lack of exercise has been. Now we’re trying to exercise more diligently and we’re trying new things. Mrs. Griffin thought she hated frisbee because she’s “not very good at it,” but we had a great time with lots of encouragement and running around (our aim needs some improvement). The Nature Reserve we walked through is a couple kms from home but we’ve never been there in the 10 years we’ve lived here.

    The thing we’ve struggled the most with are the lifestyle challenges, getting to bed on time, limiting social media, television, email, etc., especially at work.

    Oh well, there’s always room to improve.

    Thank you Mark and everyone else for taking us on this ride!

    Griffin wrote on September 26th, 2013
  7. Having been a lifelong smoker and drinker I had an epiphany a month ago and have not touched either. I’ve lost 26 pounds following the challenge and I’ve noticed my sleep patterns are really erratic, almost like they are resetting themselves to a healthier version! Thank you for helping me change my life to one that I am proud of!

    Chad Ritter wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Congrats Chad!

      Toni wrote on September 26th, 2013
  8. I am still trying to wrap my brain around bars – Paleo bars – because, they are still processed. So many companies have Paleo-friendly bars but people who are still trying to reach optimum wellness should not be eating these as daily snacks or as meal replacements, right? They should be focusing on the real deal meat, seafood, veggies, eggs, a bit of fruit — not a bar. I understand eating one while hiking or stuck on a plane, but a daily snack or in place of a Big Ass Salad?!
    I don’t buy bars, regardless of how “natural” they claim to be because I want to ensure I’m getting the most nutrition possible with each bite I take. If I cannot take that bite, due to travel or whatnot, then I choose to fast. I am fat-adapted and therefore can go without food for a day!

    Laura Santagata wrote on September 26th, 2013
  9. I would love to be the one to give encouragement today, unfortunately, I’m in need of some myself. I’ve been eating primal since July and am very pleased with my weight loss. Every week my clothes are getting looser and looser; I love it! But, I am having extreme difficulty with MOVING! When I first started eating primal, I was extremely fatigued all of the time, so, of course, I didn’t have any energy to move at all. Now, I am waking up before my alarm and feel good when I get up; then, I head off to work and am there 9 hours or so and drive 40-45 minutes back home. I tell myself all the way home, “I’m going to do something when I get home”, but, when I get there and say I just wanna relax a minute and you guessed it, that minute turns into the whole night!! sigh………….So, my little talks I’m having with myself are doing nothing!! It’s pitiful! And, of course, I feel bad and put myself down for not doing anything. Has anyone else been where I am?

    SLC wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • What helped me get over that was to schedule about 30 minutes worth of household chores to complete each evening before I allowed myself to sit. The added bonus is that by the time the weekend rolls around you have more time to do fun stuff!

      Myra wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • I Love this idea!! That is absolutely something I think I would actually do. Thank you!

        SLC wrote on October 2nd, 2013
    • Can you take a longer lunch break and go for a walk?

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 27th, 2013
  10. I have been primal (mostly) on and off (desserts & the fun of trying new foods) again for 2 years. Desserts have always been a sticking point for me. I tell myself that gluten is bad, and sugar will kill me, but then i say “but it’s just once.” The problem is that that quickly becomes “just once” this afternoon followed by a “just once” this evening. And then sometimes a “just once” quart of Haagen Dazs every night for 4 days on top of that. Sugar is my brutal mistress. I want the freedom to partake every now and again, but it’s something that i really have to watch.

    To help me work on this lately i’ve set specific goals that must be met and worked towards before i can allow myself to indulge a bit. And then I also have a predetermined portion in mind as the treat. If i don’t then the whole quart will be gone in a sitting. My current portion is ~1/4-1/3 inch off the top. And i’m not allowed to do that more than twice a week. It’s working pretty well, too. Of course the more you go without sugar the less you want it, and so it’s helping to reduce the cravings as well.

    Another thing that is also helping me to get back on track after this last bit of time off the wagon (off the hunt? plain? barefoot, loin-cloth clad animal chase?) is to start counting carbs again. Even during my times of strict primal adherence i always had a bit of carb-creep, and it’s worse when i’m off track. So counting is helping to re-orient myself to the primal track.

    JosephTheBrawny wrote on September 26th, 2013
  11. As I have been paleo for awhile, my most recent struggle is trying to eat right in my first year of college on a mandatory meal plan. There is free pizza, candy and other neolithic processed foods galore. It’s amazing seeing all the processed foods I see everyone else eat. Though I rarely have such cravings for them anymore, stress, hunger and isolation are potential triggers for me.

    Fortunately, I have gotten into the routine of ordering bunless grilled burgers (my school even uses all grass-fed beef!), hitting the salad bar and keeping my own arsenal of canned fish to stay on track. College sure is demanding, both physically (I have to walk around 2-3 miles a day with a heavy load on my back to get to classes) and mentally (all that studying!), but good food goes a long way to providing fuel. Keep calm and carry on.

    George wrote on September 26th, 2013
  12. I struggle with eating too much. After a tough workout this morning, I was crazy hungry by noon. I ate totally primal – protein, veg and fat – by way too much to lose those last 10 lbs.

    I struggle with what to eat between meals. In trying to lose weight, I’m not eating fruit, nuts or dairy. Too many vegetables in a day cause gastro issues, so I usually snack on protein, like canned tuna. But if I’m already eating 4-6 oz. of protein for each meal, is that too much protein?

    I’ve been primal for a year and a half, but can’t get rid of the spare tire. I move slow, I sprint and I either lift heavy or do body weight exercise. It’s very frustrating.


    Kim wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Fat, that’s what you need! Maybe coconut oil? Olive oil? Or fatty meat like bacon to help fill you up.

      HB wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • It sounds to me like too much exercise for the amount of fuel. Did you eat before your morning workout? How much are you exercising? Are you using Mark’s exercise pyramid to help you regulate your exercise? Are you denying yourself the fuel you need by being so strict about what you’ll eat? It’s possible to try so hard to do this right that you end up doing it wrong which can also increase your stress which is not a good thing.

      Linda Sand wrote on September 26th, 2013
  13. My mother told me yesterday that her best friend, Edie, (my “second mother” of sorts) has been diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. The doctors told her to stick to a low-sugar diet, since cancer cells grow faster when provided with sugar. My mom called me to ask about my “Paleo thing” and I provided her a summary and then directed her to MDA’s website.

    My question is: Has anyone else started a Paleo lifestyle because of a cancer diagnosis? Do you have any advice or success stories that I can provide for sweet Edie?

    Maggie wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • There is a success story on this site entitled From Cancer Back to Health. Check it out.

      Myra wrote on September 26th, 2013
  14. Since I’ve been doing Primal for a while, I decided to use the challenge to 1) go 100% on eating and 2) focus on the aspects I don’t usually focus on. Because I’m in pretty good shape and exercise a lot, I’ve tended to ignore the 3-5 hours of “movement at a slow pace.” So I bought a FitBit, and that was eye opening! Now I’m trying to incorporate more slow movement overall, which is challenging, but also fun and relaxing.

    Dawn wrote on September 26th, 2013
  15. I’ve struggled with giving up my weekday morning mocha, partly because the coffee shop is right there when I get off the bus, it smells great, and the baristas are always so happy to see me! I have cut down to an 8 oz instead of 16 oz–baby steps!

    Nanc in Ashland wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I hear you on that! I’ve started to keep a bar of dark (70%+) chocolate at home or in my desk and when I have a mocha craving, I pop one piece in my mouth as I sip on a coffee or Americano. The coffee melts the chocolate and it’s like a tiny version of a mocha in my mouth, haha!

      Maggie wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • That’s a great idea! I’ll have to give it a try.

        Nanc in Ashland wrote on September 26th, 2013
  16. I think the toughest challenge is eating meals with other people. Whether it’s going to lunch with co-workers at a place like Noodles & Co. (ew), or going to someone’s house and they suggest, “Hey, let’s order pizza!” On my own, I’m fine making my own food or picking restaurants that I can get what I want, but with others’ it can be a real challenge.

    Andy wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • If you feel like going out for lunch and know a place that you can eat clean at, you can invite others to go with you. That way you can pass on noodle places and still be viewed as a “team player”.

      Can you I/F when presented with non ideal meal choices?

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 27th, 2013
  17. I have been 85/15 primal since Juanry 1, 2013, and have lost 60 pounds, all my inflamation issue, and feel better than ever. The last few weeks prior to the challenge I started those Old Cheating Eating Habits. This 21 day challenge has helped me get refocused on 100% primal, and enabled me to lose an additional 7 pounds so far. The best thing is that I started this just to feel better from eating better, the extra benefit is the eight loss!

    Mark wrote on September 26th, 2013
  18. I started about a month before the challenge began and I love it, this is how I have approached it, I have resisted the urge to tell people about what I am doing. I just go about my routine, my wife and kids understand that I have changed a few things. My co-workers give me a little hard time when we go out for lunch but it’s all in good fun. Even my beer drinking buddies have cut me slack for switching to hard cider.

    Here is what I notice is happening, and I’m not sure whether it’s the changes that are happening to me physically, or people noticing that it doesn’t take too much effort to do, or the fact that I have been able to lower my blood pressure enough to stop taking a prescription for it, but it’s creating interest. First it was a co-worker that asked me to share what I am doing and I told her about the challenge, then 3 more co-workers. The biggest shocker to me is my wife is taking part, and our kids like most of everything we are making.

    One of my goals is seeing my abs by Christmas, which is no easy feat when you are 47.

    Greg wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • 47?

      Is that pounds overweight, years of age, or what Greg? 😉

      Cal wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Great call on the cider.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 27th, 2013
  19. I’ve been having the most issues with getting enough sleep. My legs and feet cramp at night, painfully. The muscles seize up and I have to stand and bear weight for the cramp to ease up. I’ve been supplementing with magnesium glycinate, 1200 mg before bedtime. This is barely keeping the muscle cramps in check. I do fall asleep very well, though.

    Diane wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Diane, I’ve found having a little extra potassium helps get rid of my night leg cramps. I try to have a small banana or a few Brazil nuts late afternoon or early evening.

      Nanc in Ashland wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Thank you. :)

        Diane wrote on September 28th, 2013
    • I try to eat broccoli most days, it can add calcium and potassium. Helps to curb the “blow me out of bed” leg/foot cramps I can get.

      2Rae wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Thank you. :)

        Diane wrote on September 28th, 2013
  20. I would say that the biggest challenge that i personally face is staying on track in college. The only food available is usualy processed and not exactly primal, so much that at time in the dining hall I need to resort to fruit and peanut butter just to kill the hunger from the day. Will power builds upon its self, but the more times you give in to peer pressure and urges, the less likely you are to stand up to them next time.

    That being said, I am proud of everything I have done so far. The best strategy I have is staying with a friend group who is ok with me staying in on weekends to get a little more sleep and a girlfriend who loves to try new foods with me

    Kevin wrote on September 26th, 2013
  21. I’m enjoying the challenge this year. This week has been crazy busy at work, and I haven’t been able to get outside much, or go to CrossFit since last week. I feel confident though that good nutrition is 80% of the battle, so there’s a bit of comfort knowing that if I eat right, I’ll be okay if I fall short on the physical activity now and then.

    I’m continuing to encourage my family to jump on board with me.

    Dan wrote on September 26th, 2013
  22. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve seen is when my brother started eating more Primal. He had enough energy and was losing weight despite having thyroid issues. All was going well, and then his doctor gave him the OK to go back to his old way of eating, and the progress halted for the time being. Just hurt to see progress be dismissed fairly easily.

    Kevin P wrote on September 26th, 2013
  23. The no-carb brain fog was crippling for the first few days. The adjustment to the lack of carbs took about two days and during that time I could hardly focus or concentrate.

    Primal Jim101 wrote on September 26th, 2013
  24. I’ve been primal almost a year now. Despite appreciating so much about it, I am frustrated by the negative effects on my social life. Living in a small college town in Texas, restaurant options are VERY limited. Vegetarians are more mainstream here – in Texas! Who would have thought? I find myself dreading – or skipping – some social events (school potlucks and the like) because I know all the food will be yucky, and bringing my own food would be awkward or inappropriate.

    Worse yet is feeling rejected by friends and family here who frequently say, “I would have invited you over but…” followed by some variation of “I don’t know what to feed you.” I’ve explained, given website links, recipes, ingredients, and even food at times (all only when asked, of course). It seems so simple to me; I don’t understand why it is so hard for them. I wish they’d just invite me over, tell me the menu, and welcome my contribution, but I guess that goes against “southern hospitality.” (For the record, though, neither I nor my family are southern, so I don’t get what their problem is.)

    Elizabeth wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Maybe they feel judged and guilty for knowing they aren’t eating as well as you are? I would bring my own food (with enough to share with those interested) and let their problems be theirs. Just don’t pressure them to eat your way or to provide your food.

      Linda Sand wrote on September 26th, 2013
  25. I have been plagued by a sweet tooth. SO difficult to say no when the craving hits. My indulgences haven’t been crazy, but still, I’ve given in when I should’ve just left and taken a walk to eliminate the feeling that I NEEDED something I really don’t need.

    Shannon wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • A sweet tooth is natural Sweet cravings can be linked to fat cravings. Bacon is already hyped up alot on here but it does have its place. I always keep lardons in the fridge. Lardons is bacon cut into small, square rectangles. I cook them on the fattier side and use country cut. Lardons travel well in aluminum foil. This helped me overcome sugar cravings when I first went primal. Caution: If you keep lardons on you animals may approach you.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 27th, 2013
      • Or random people who are attracted to the fabulous smell of bacon.
        MMMMMMM B A C O N ! ! ! !

        2Rae wrote on September 27th, 2013
        • Wasn’t there a taco bell commercial similar to that?

          Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 27th, 2013
  26. So we are in our second month of Primal and I’m having issues with my hair. It’s so shiny and healthy now that my usual shampoo and conditioner are weighing it down and making it stringy. I’ve bought several “no residue” shampoos and none of them seem to be much better.

    Is anyone else having a similar problem? And have you found products that work?

    Loren wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I stopped using them every day and use them as needed. Rinsing in hot water in the shower seems to work for me on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

      2Rae wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I stopped using hair products at all. I just use a wet washcloth on my hair and body with no soap at all. Mine seems to appreciate me not messing with its natural balance. I actually don’t have to wash my hair as often now.

      Linda Sand wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I use Dr Bronner’s and only every other day or every three days.

      Fritzy wrote on September 27th, 2013
  27. My challenge is eating after dinner. It’s habit, not hunger. Once I slip, it’s a slippery slope for sure.
    (then I started reading the comments – now I’m challenged to not run out and buy ice cream)

    kris wrote on September 26th, 2013
  28. I too would like to give kudos to this community. Rarely do we get mean remarks and if we do, they are usually ignored or someone calls them out. It is a pleasure to not only read Mark’s blog but the comments. When I occasionally find myself on some random comment page at some other site, I am appalled at how mean and rude the comments can be.

    Honestly, eating Primal is no problem for me. Our whole family and some friends are on board as well. I cannot seem to keep any kind of exercise program going so I do my best to incorporate as much as I can into my daily life. I do not have a sit down job and am able to walk most places I need to get to. I could do more, I know, but don’t think it is going to happen.

    I have a good size garden to tend, I do housework, carry heavy (for me) loads of wet wash to hang on the line, practice balance when I brush my teeth, took up Tai Chi and I live with lots of stairs. I know I climb at least 10 flights a day and sometimes more. I need to add some sprint type thing on a regular basis. I think jumping rope would easily fit into my life. I will write it on the calendar to remind myself. Here I go right now to do that.

    Sharon wrote on September 26th, 2013
  29. Big Challenges for me are office parties and eating with Friends. No one is ever happy until you eat some of what they have or give you the “everything in moderation” schpeel. A simple no thank you never stops the speech.
    Solutions for me have been to simply load up on “the good stuff” and let them know that I’m in the 21 day challenge and encourage (not pushy, after all I’m not a vegan or anything :-)) them to give it a try given how good I’ve been feeling.

    Ben wrote on September 26th, 2013
  30. 21 Day Challenge Struggle: Ridicule/funny looks at work.

    This is my first time participating in the 21 Day Challenge, and it’s realligned my Primal path.

    The minor struggle I’ve had, is reigning in the glass of wine after work. I got into a pretty regular routine of a glass of wine with dinner, every night, so I decided to break that habit and abstain for the 21 days. It’s hard to do on the weekend, but I have to say, I’ve been getting up Saturday mornings, going to the park and excercising – walking, sprinting, lifting weights – and feeling good!

    Now, the major struggle is that I started to stand at my desk for a couple of hours in the morning, and a couple in the afternoon. I put my keyboard and mouse on two boxes and raise my monitors. Well, my boss loves to make fun – he thinks I’m a bit crazy. Other people ask if I have back problems. When I say no, they get this strange look on their face, but I explain how unhealthy it is to sit for 11 hours a day, and how I have more energy when I stand. I’ve also started doing some isometric exercises, some leg swings, some torso twists while standing.

    Beside more energy, I’m sleeping better too!

    Midlife Cavegirl wrote on September 26th, 2013
  31. My biggest hurdle during the challenge is my wife’s eating habits. She refuses to get on board with the PB and even more vehemently refuses to exercise. It’s not holding me back with my own Primal lifestyle even though I’m the cook of the family. I don’t even mind cooking two separate meals, and have mostly given up on asking her to get active with me. My problem is that it just breaks my heart to see the woman I love making unhealthy choices. I just know that it will catch up with her some day. We are both young (Me: 34, Her: 31), but I feel like she can’t continue this lifestyle forever without negative effects.

    Anybody else in the same boat? How have you dealt?

    Marion wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Same boat and we’re older — me 54; he 55. He already has a host of chronic conditions that would probably see vast improvement with the PB, but he refuses to join my “crazy a$$ed diet” in spite of the health improvements I’ve made in the past 2 1/2 years. Yes, it is heartbreaking, but he is slowly making some lifestyle improvements. Since I am the cook and do the groceries, if he wants any non-primal fare he has to go out and get it and prepare it himself. He doesn’t like to exercise, so I’ve resorted to stealth exercise — walking the dogs; slowly paddling back and forth the length of the pool so he has to keep up if he wants to talk to me (I know, not swimming, but it beats being rooted to one spot!), etc. After all of this time he has finally decided to do yoga once or twice a week.

      One of the things that I have learned with age is that we cannot change others — we struggle enough to change ourselves, lol! All we can do with those closest to us is to continue to be a quiet example, don’t pester them, and be available to answer questions when asked and offer encouragement.

      Myra wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Excellent advice. Thank you Myra. I plan to continue this lifestyle in hopes that it will influence her in the future.

        Marion wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • You could stop cooking her food. If she doesn’t want yours she can provide her own; she’s a grownup. For exercise have you tried inviting her out dancing? Even square dancing fits in the move frequently at a slow pace if your go often enough. Don’t tell it’s exercise; just invite her to go dancing.

      Linda Sand wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Good thinking…I just may see if she wants to go dancing this weekend. (-:

        Marion wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Stick with it. After she sees your progress hopefully she’ll come around.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 27th, 2013
  32. My struggle with being paleo is battleing the the thought “when does this end”. My mind is used to following plans for a month or 6 weeks and although I believe in this way of eating, love how it makes me feel and plan on sticking with it for the long term, I still think about life after paleo. I take one day at a time and make a choice to eat clean food, pass up the junk in the office and at parties and give my body what it really needs. At the end of the day I need to always remember that “off paleo” means stomach aches, foggy thinking and bloat….I love living without those things!

    I love this community, thank you Mark for championing this way of life!

    Amy wrote on September 26th, 2013
  33. So let’s get started. When I first started this program my wife did not think that it was a good idea but after some convincing, she gave me permission to go ahead and do it. Whenever you start a program this extensive it is a very good idea to get your love one’s involved so that they can encourage you to do it. Also, she cooks a lot of my meals so it helps her out if I tell her in advance what I need to eat. So my struggle at the beginning was just that…starting.

    So far I have lost 5lbs and almost 2% body fat. My shoulders, back, and chest are toning up and my face is reducing. Everyone knows face fat is the hardest to get rid of. Haha. Another benefit that I am seeing is the reduction in inflammation in my joints. I have had three knee surgeries on my right knee and have always had inflammation. Sure enough, the majority of the inflammation in my body was coming from my diet. Kind of crazy. I also purchased “minimalist” shoes and absolutely love them. After the first week my feet and legs have adjusted. I am going to the zoo tomorrow so I will be walking all day so I will see how I feel after walking all day.

    Now on to negatives. The low car flu sucks and the first week was horrific for me. I had very bad headaches and I was tired. Also something that I noticed was when I would do full body lifting; I would burn out faster because of the low carbs. Going along those lines, I stopped real heavy lifting and have been doing more mace-bell, Indian club, and kettle bell training. I live in Arizona and this is the first week it has been “nice” weather (95 degrees) so I went to the park with my 3 year old, chased him on the playground, did pull ups, and bear crawls. Exercise is now less stressful because I don’t feel like I “have to exercise”.

    Anyways, I will continue on with the program and lets see how it works.

    Josh wrote on September 26th, 2013
  34. I have been doing fairly well on the diet side of things so I am not changing too much there. I started with Primal at the start of this year and was able to lose about 18 lbs and have maintained that for a couple months at probably around 90/10. My biggest struggle is with the moving. I was always quite active but over the last several years my body seems to be fighting back. First I had to give up swimming because of my shoulders and then running because of my feet. For the last five years I have had chronic back pain and my feet just seem to get worse. I used to go to the gym on a regular basis but when that membership expired in the spring it didn’t get renewed, partly because I wasn’t happy with the gym anymore and also because I had just been laid off. I have purchased a few weights for at home but motivation is pretty low. I set up my bike in my living room and manage to get about 2.5 to 3 hours of slow riding in a week and recently started adding in some sprints on the bike. I walk to do most things around town but can’t do any long hikes any more. I am supposed to try some new treatments for my back and feet in the next month so fingers crossed.

    I have also been a lousy sleeper for most of my life- almost always wake up in the middle of the night sometimes for 2-3 hours. I have just started experimenting with magnesium so will have to see how that goes.

    Joanne wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Give bodyweight training a shot Joanne. You don’t need equipment or a gym.

      And, you can always modify exercises from difficult to easy (e.g. one-arm floor push-ups to two-arm wall push-ups).

      Mark offers this free — see his Fitness eBook (under Freebies [at the top of the page]). And a great book is Body by You (by Mark Lauren) at Amazon here:

      Here’s to your health! :)

      Cal wrote on September 26th, 2013
  35. To be honest, I have not done well sticking to the health changes I’ve wanted to make during this challenge (or the past two months, for that matter). I jumped in to the Paleo/primal way of eating with a Whole30 in February and did pretty good through mid-July…and then I hit a wall.

    There has been a lot of change in my life the last couple months (multiple moves, boyfriend’s job loss, back to college full-time, ridiculous amounts of commuting) and this has seemed to be the first thing I let slide, first out of convenience (it’s much easier to eat SAD than primal when you’re constantly driving somewhere and not planning ahead) and now out of I don’t know what. I seem to follow every successful day or two with several days of epic fail (yesterday was McDonald’s, pizza, and maybe 6 hours of sleep).

    It’s just been hard for me to regroup. I know how wonderful I felt when I was sticking to it…I would like to feel that way again. I just need to figure out where and how to begin again.

    Angie wrote on September 26th, 2013
  36. The low carb flu definitely one of the more annoying issues; but have started dreaming again far more vividly and often, like I used to as a child, so that does add something to bed each week! Keeping the warm full fat milk a little before bed for sure.

    dan wrote on September 26th, 2013
  37. I’m loving Paleo so far – weight has been falling off, and as someone with Hashimoto’s, that’s not exactly usual. No real trouble with cravings – my sweet tooth, which has always been legendary, has almost completely vanished!

    My biggest trouble is getting enough sleep, not because of my insomnia (though I’m pretty much a lifelong sufferer), but because of my son’s. If I go to sleep before he’s asleep, he’ll give up on falling asleep, get up and end up staying up all night. Usually followed by him missing school, because getting too little sleep causes him significant stomach upset. So I got to be between midnight and 2am, and then have to get up a bit after 6am to get the kids off to school. Some days I can go back to bed after they’re off, some days I can’t. I’m trying to experiment with afternoon/evening naps to see if I can sneak some more hours in, but in general I’m badly underslept, and have been for years now. I have noticed that even when I’m very sleepy, I have a lot more energy eating Paleo than I did before.

    My kids are not on board with the Paleo thing. They’re teenagers, and they aren’t at all keen on changing their usual daily foods. My husband is willing to try the foods, and doesn’t complain about being served Paleo meals at home, but doesn’t really buy the concept, and continues to eat much as he has before (minus some of the starch and sugar) outside the house, and to buy the kids the foods they prefer. I’m practicing patience, and having the boys try Paleo foods I’m pretty sure they’ll like. I’m hoping that over time the new recipes and foods will seem less weird, and more just like how our family eats.

    Tapetum wrote on September 26th, 2013
  38. I feel like I am eating a lot more food this way than I was before and a trip to Costco that used to last my family two weeks is now only lasting a few days. Maybe it’s because of the fresher, tastier, ingredients, we are actually enjoying the food? I made a huge paleo meatloaf Sunday night expecting it to last me all week for lunches and it was gone by yesterday. My 1 year old loved it! :)
    My biggest challenge so far has been in planning and purchasing good food. I find myself scrambling at each meal to figure out what to eat and I don’t have to budget to go load up at Whole Foods or go out to eat every day. I need to make a budget friendly plan, go shop and stick to it.

    Toni wrote on September 26th, 2013
  39. The hardest part for me has been starting a grad program in Nutrition and Food Policy. We’re doing a diet analysis now to see how well our eating aligns with my plate.

    Day 1 results? 60% of my diet form fat, 23% from protein, 17% carbs.

    I call that beautiful, and at the end of the semester I have to write a paper essentially on why this diet means I’m going to die of heart disease and high cholesterol within the next year, and what I need to change in my diet so that I don’t have such a morbid future.

    Regardless, I’m going to continue ignoring the pleas to add 6 servings of grain to my diet, and maniacally laugh when the program reminds me that I’m about to consume more than 1/3 of my daily caloric intake from breakfast, and am I sure I want to do that? Why yes, I am quite sure.

    Abby wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Sounds like you’ll be in a position to influence Conventional Wisdom with your credentials when you graduate…Awesome!

      Marion wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • “maniacally laugh when the program reminds me that I’m about to consume more than 1/3 of my daily caloric intake from breakfast, and am I sure I want to do that? Why yes, I am quite sure.”

      Love it! By conventional wisdom, by the time dinner time rolls around, I can only have a small snack fo dinner. And the problem with that???

      Good luck on that required work of fiction at the end of the semester!

      Myra wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I hope you are doing blood work along the way so you can document why you are not going to die next year when you have to write that paper. I also hope your instructor doesn’t fail you for being the healthiest person in the class.

      Linda Sand wrote on September 26th, 2013

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