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

No More Styrofoam Rice Crackers for Us!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I was always super skinny as a teenager, and I ate rubbish everyday with no thought to my health or weight. I hated exercise and avoided it like the plague. I would do anything to get out of PE each week. My poor PE teacher, Mr. Jackson – I was on my period every week for two years! Anything to get out of cricket or touch footy! Will someone puh-lease make school PE fun??? At 15 years old I weighed 42kg/92lbs and stood 173cm/5’9” tall.

My mum was always overweight, and had Lupus and took a lot of steroid medication which she always said made her fat. That woman ate nothing bad according to CW. She was on every diet bandwagon that came to town. I admired her determination. She did Jenny Craig when I was about 15 and she was thin while she ate that tinned “food” but it never lasted. In the 80s both my parents went mad for aerobics and the Pritikin diet, but we all hated the food so much that it didn’t last in our house. My dad loved his ice-cream too much! We ate really basic old fashioned food. Porridge/oatmeal for breakfast in winter, cold cereal in summer, bacon and eggs on the weekends. Lunch was cold meat and salad with no dressing. Tea was meat and three veg with no gravy sauces or anything fancy. Mashed potato was for special occasions and everything was bland and boring. Salt was gonna kill you, and so was butter. I was known to get the butter and milk out of the fridge during dinner and mash my own potato on my plate. Mum baked scones, and biscuits, but we ate this homemade stuff in moderation.

My mum was a Weight Watchers lecturer in her 40s and I distinctly recall her stating in one of her classes, “sugar does not make you fat, FAT makes you FAT”. OMG Mum ☹ Her students may well have asked her – so why are you still fat? I mean she wasn’t obese but she was still big, and how she was allowed to lecture astounds me. My mum died a few years ago at 54 from skin cancer (not melanoma though), and there is not a day goes by that I don’t want to call her up to tell her that I’ve found the answer for her weight and possibly her health. I found the secret way to lose weight without starvation or 7 classes of aerobics a week. We could have a burning of the Styrofoam rice crackers, now in caramel flavor good lord!

So mum, this story is for you…

At school once I had pocket money I was allowed to buy my lunch from the tuck-shop, and I would eat lollies, caramel tart, plain milk, frozen yoghurt, cinnamon donuts and pies or sausage rolls. At home though it was back to basics and there were never any biscuits or anything in the house that wasn’t homemade. I was 16 before I ate a muesli bar/granola bar. By the time I was married and left home I had eaten Maccas/McDonalds twice in my life. Takeaway food was not a part of my family’s lifestyle or anyone else I knew for that matter. I guess that was a good thing. I got married young and had three babies about 5 years apart. During this time I got bigger and bigger. I tried everything. Gloria Marshall, Jenny Craig, shakes, Weight Watchers, the gym 6 days a week, swimming 80x100m laps of the town pool 5 days a week. I bought Susan Powter DVDs and I even dug out Richard Simmons “Reach”, another relic from my mother’s past. I walked everywhere until I was 25 yrs old and got my car license. I did try the Atkins diet way back when, and I lost a good 7kg in two weeks on it and kept it off for a year, but my vegetarian husband was dead against it and he made it hard for me to eat that way. I never got fatter than about 80kg/180lbs and my normal weight on any given year was 75kg/165lbs.

Several years ago my marriage ended. I got traded in for the younger and bloodier skinnier model, ha ha! I initially lost a lot of weight – stress and living on $3 a week for food will do that for you! One night for dinner I ate PEPPER that I got from Maccas. Funny now, but not very funny at the time! The stress got less and the weight gradually came back. I decided to go to university and get an education so I could have money – that helps, huh? I was doing a Bachelor of Dietetics and Nutrition. I chose this program simply because even as an uneducated single mother of three kids, I could tell that Australia was becoming fatter and that if I wanted a good secure government job then I should probably get on this food/diabetic bandwagon and get myself into an ever growing industry, pun intended. One of my first year subjects really blew me away…

Picture this. Biochemistry 2011:

So there I am in a class of a few hundred “kids” sitting next to another old girl (in her 40s like me). My lecturer (buff, shaved head, awesome biceps, probably in his late 40s early 50s) shows us up on the screen the metabolic pathway of proteins, carbs and fats. At the point where he describes the metabolic pathway of CHO I turn to my overweight neighbor and grab her on her fleshy arm and threw gritted teeth utter these words…

”are you f-ing kidding me woman? Did you hear what HE just said?”

She looks at me dazed and confused.


She looks panicked like I might just jump and in the theatre and scream like a madwoman, raises her eyebrows and shhhs me!

I wanted to jump up in that theatre and scream like a madwoman. It was like someone flicked a switch.

At the end of the lecture I raised my hand and asked Dr. Hotstuff (name change due to privacy or something), “Excuse me, can you tell me WHY Im eating lots of “healthy” carbs like on the food pyramid, please?”… and my lecturer, god bless him, answered me with this – “that’s a very good question Jane, perhaps you should look into that.” Or at least that’s how I recall it going. I was a bit mesmerized by his amazing guns, six pack stomach, smooth skin and general buff looking self. ☺ I wonder to this day if he’s Primal. He sure looked like he might have been. That hot and in your 50s, cmon???

So from the very week I took my biochem exam I gave up carbs. Carb flu and headaches were no match for my determination. I ate eggs and bacon with abandon. I ate tuna and veggies for lunch. I had steak and salad for tea, and in between I ate cheese cubes, olives, salami sticks, macadamia nuts. I still drank a load of Pepsi Max though (seriously, is there crack in that—is that stuff legal?)

I had no book or anything to follow but I typed “carb counter” into Google and basically avoided carbs like the plague…  I did happen upon Mark’s Daily Apple and I don’t think I slept for a month. Ironic when you’re reading about turning the laptop off to ensure good sleep at 2am because you’re too excited to sleep! I was about 80kg at first. Here is a picture of me in all my awful glory.

I have no clue what possessed me to think I could pull that bikini off. Truly it’s a shocker. Shudder. The kicker is I paid $200 bucks to look that ugly. AND it’s a “slimming bikini”, as in it’s about a ¼ of that size when off your body, and takes two muscle bound men and a shoe horn to get me into it. When wet, getting it off is a workout in itself. I used to cut myself getting it off wet…. I’m not kidding!

After my last child was born I found I was suffering from back pain so bad I was taking anti-epileptic drugs to quiet the nervous noise down. It didn’t help. I was going to chiropractor several times a month. I was taking pills for the pain and doing a lot of self medicating with prescription drugs that had belonged to my dying mother. I had bakers cysts behind my knees and my feet were killing me. I was in a fair amount of pain on a daily basis and very frightened about the bleak looking future. Any exercise that made my hip move, made my back worse. Anything that made my back worse made me depressed, and depressed made me fatter.

The second I cut sugar and grain out of my diet many of my aches and pains left. I lost weight effortlessly and immediately. I had energy. I woke up one day and thought, “what the hell, let’s go for a run.” It was winter and I had to dig to find summer shorts to run in. Here’s me in them…

I didn’t go running, as I couldn’t find a thing to wear! I was actually disappointed that I couldn’t go running! What would Mr. Jackson make of THAT!

I lost about 15kg/33lbs in the first month. People noticed. They asked me if I “meant to do that”. I was whispered about at work. People thought I was sick or had cancer! I was shocked. When I told them what I was doing I got “the look” and now 9 months later I’m still getting “the look”. It’s very frustrating! I am adding some exercise in soon. I really want some definition and some muscle.

I’m now 173cm tall, and weigh about 58kg/127lbs. I took this picture in January 2012. I’m wearing  size 8 (size 4 USA)  jeans whereas I was a size 16 (USA 12). I’ve gone back to the bra size I wore in high school – good old 12B! OH my god, my shoes are too big! My 15 year old daughter said I have Victoria Beckham knees (wrinkly from losing so much fat around the knee cap area). GOD BLESS HER COTTON SOCKS!!! Sometimes, when I’m driving my car I don’t recognize my own wrists. Mate, it’s crazy!

This pic was taken January 2012.

So that’s my story. I am currently going through an anger stage. I want to grab random people in the supermarket and scream, “STOP buying diet poison”, and “here, eat some bacon you poor hungry fat thing.”

I am no longer studying to become a dietitian, as I fear that it will kill me to regurgitate lies in exams. So I’m going to teach high school maths and biology. I might even be able to slip a few metabolic words of wisdom in there. I want to start a Primal school group. I wonder how that might work – get ‘em young and get ‘em buff? Woohoo!

Finally, I wish to say a big thank you to Mark, you’re fantabulous mate, and please come visit Australia asap. Our bacon is superior to anything anywhere in the world and that fact alone should make you want to visit…. In the words of Bill Bryson (my favourite author), “Australian bacon…. looks as if it was taken off the pig while it was trying to escape. You can almost hear the squeal in every bite.” Is that Primal or what?

I would also like to say to my mum, you were always an inspiration to me mum. I wish you could be here to share this journey with me, but wherever you are please sit down, put your feet up and EAT. No more Styrofoam rice crackers for us! Woo hoo!!!!!


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. Great story, Jane! I love your attitude, so Aussie. Fun read. Oh, and congratulations on the weight loss/health gain too. Awesome! :-)

    Alison Golden wrote on February 10th, 2012
  2. Congrats! I greatly enjoyed reading this. You are one funny, attractive Aussie.

    Felix wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • Haha, definitely a fun read. Eating styrofoam is the worst! Butter is better.

      Abel James wrote on February 10th, 2012
  3. Fantastic story Jane, congrats on coming out the other side of diet hell.

    Your recovery is such a wonderful tribute to your Mum, I’m sure she’d be beaming with pride :)

    P.S I hear ya about PE in school – there’s probably a whole generation out there who were put off exercise for life because of that.

    Cat wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • Hey! I was a P.E. teacher back in the 1960’s. I always tried my best to make it fun and emphasized to my students that they needed to find a sport or exercise that they could do for life.

      I certainly hope I didn’t put them off exercise for life. However, I do know what you are talking about. Some P.E. classes are run like it is a punishment.

      Jane, your bikini description had me laughing big time. Loved your story.

      Sharon wrote on February 13th, 2012
  4. The end of your story gave me chills :) Your enthusiasm is contagious – thanks so much for sharing your success!

    JennF wrote on February 10th, 2012
  5. Great story, well told. Reminds me why I like Aussies so much! Congrats!

    Prazak wrote on February 10th, 2012
  6. I’ve never been to Australia, but after having read your description of the bacon, I may have to cash on some frequent flier miles to get there!

    Congratulations on your amazing transformation! As someone who has horrible lower back pain, you are definitely an inspiration to me.

    Will wrote on February 10th, 2012
  7. Nice story! I’m in the Nutrition and Dietetics program now and yea – it’s a load of bull! Good job on your transformation 😀

    Emily Mekeel wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • Agree. You might enjoy having a look at this course on nutrition. I’m currently studying this course and think it is amazing and totally different to any of the mainstream nutrition courses. Enjoy!

      Leighanne wrote on February 14th, 2012
  8. Congrats Jane! Your transformation is another testament to the Primal lifestyle. Not only did you get a much sexier body by cutting out grains and sugars, but you also improved your overall health. Great work!

    Robert wrote on February 10th, 2012
  9. great inspiration here! I love the Bill Bryson quote about bacon.

    It’s definitely frustrating when people judge your diet as unhealthy, but I think the results speak for themselves; point that out to them and watch their mouths snap shut!

    Daniel wrote on February 10th, 2012
  10. Well done, from a fellow Australian PB/Paleo enthusiast.

    Freeagent wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • This fellow Aussie enjoyed her bacon with coconut cream scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning :) You go girl!

      Amanda wrote on February 13th, 2012
      • I second both the breackfast menu, and fellow Aussie bit!! :)

        Veronique wrote on February 13th, 2012
  11. Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing with us the details of what changed your life.

    Michelle wrote on February 10th, 2012
  12. Fantastic story – so inspirational!

    Paula wrote on February 10th, 2012
  13. I have a new slogan “here, eat some bacon you poor hungry fat thing.” I fell out of my chair after reading that.

    Fantastic story! Thank you for sharing.

    Jason Cole wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • I am cracking up, too. Well done!

      Kim wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • Me too!!

      Kris wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • I just sent this quote to my three primal friends…hilarious!

      Liz wrote on February 23rd, 2012
    • OMG, too funny! But so right on.

      Maxmilliana wrote on February 23rd, 2012
  14. I, too, lament that both my own parents and hubby’s parents would all be here with us today if it weren’t for the completely careless eating and smoking that led to their deaths.

    Too bad it took their deaths for us to become interested to learn how to prevent them for ourselves.

    Since then, both science and I have learned a lot–science learned how to create pills, techniques, and devices to profit from their various chronic ills, while I learned how to eat better, what really causes sickness in the first place, avoid all these health problems for myself–and most importantly, learn how to care for and feed a husband who is the (needless) genetic recipient of much of his parent’s health woes.

    Hubby and I are the first generation of both our families that isn’t racked with numerous health complaints, isn’t saddled with expensive med bills, and doesn’t have to have a mental Rolodex of specialists and what floor of the hospital they’re located on.

    We are free thanks to Paleo eating, Mark’s daily apple, and the croaking of Primal Toad. I crushed up my own rice cake “packing material” and fed it to the birds when I started Paleo–isn’t that who should be eating grains?

    Wenchypoo wrote on February 10th, 2012
  15. From another 40 something…Great Job, and keep the youth:-)

    Dennis wrote on February 10th, 2012
  16. Great story! I am only 2 months into my primal journey and it’s stories like this that make it so much easier. What an inspiration. Keep up the good work.

    Beverly wrote on February 10th, 2012
  17. fantabulous story Jane. Thank you SO much for sharing it! Rock on.

    lanz wrote on February 10th, 2012
  18. I so enjoyed reading this story! What an inspiration you are! I’m so glad you chose to change career paths, as I’m sure you can be much more effective teaching math instead of spreading lies and bad information about diet and nutrition to young minds. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

    tomi wrote on February 10th, 2012
  19. Wow, great story! Congrats!

    olehcat wrote on February 10th, 2012
  20. that was the best post i have read. you are great!! you need a you tube channel to talk about the diet. you are so clear and funny, so many people would releate. i loved your story. I look forward to fridays, yours is the funniest hands down.

    adriennestressrecovery wrote on February 10th, 2012
  21. Congratulations! You took ten years off of your age!

    George wrote on February 10th, 2012
  22. Thanks for your great story, Jane. So glad you didn’t go the dietetics and nutrition route–especially when so many nutritional recommendations are influenced by lobbyists that have their company’s interests in mind as opposed to our health.
    What a great personal journey, as well–my little nugget of inspiration for today.
    Wishing you all the best:)

    Dr. Mike Tremba wrote on February 10th, 2012
  23. What a fantastic story! Congratulations!!!

    Carla wrote on February 10th, 2012
  24. Jane, Jane, Jane — you are WONDERFUL! I am re-inspired to really commit to this Primal thing…Thank you!

    Marianne wrote on February 10th, 2012
  25. What language was that written in? 😉

    bandmeeting wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • that my dear was the queen’s english with a touch of convict thrown in…

      jane britton wrote on February 13th, 2012
      • Woehahahahaaaa!
        ”The English and Americans have everything in common…
        Except their language” (Oscar Wilde)

        This is the funniest success story I have read, and you look spiffing!

        Aafke wrote on May 3rd, 2014
  26. One of the best success stories! Love it!

    samui_sakana wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • No kidding!… I had fun looking up the meaning of some of those words and phrases we don’t use around here… like “tea” (A meal?…).

      Amazing story Jane!

      Primal Texas wrote on February 10th, 2012
      • breaky is breakfast,
        lunch is dinner
        dinner is tea
        so we have breaky, dinner and tea
        although lunch is becoming more common nowadays.
        also dessert we call pudding, but that too is becoming unheard of, we are becoming more and more Americanised here in oz. shame really as I love that we are different.

        jane britton wrote on February 13th, 2012
        • Acutally, lunch, dinner, tea also very much depends on which state you live in :)

          Tia wrote on February 23rd, 2012
        • I think it must depend on the state too. I’ve grown up in Sydney with parents on both sides going back 7+ generations on each side and I have never heard of lunch referred to as dinner & the only people I’ve heard call dessert pudding are from the UK or 1st gen kids from UK parents. Tea and breaky are Australia wide I think.

          Great Story. I also wonder what on earth PE teachers must have done to us to make us hate PE so much – my sister and I both LOVE to exercise now (since our early 20s) but we both despised PE/ school sport.

          kirstie wrote on February 23rd, 2012
        • While I like Australia you guys have ENTIRELY TO MANY SPIDERS!! Seriously your house spiders are big as a tarantula, you have Orb Weavers everyhere and they are huge. Ive see pictures of houses in Australia that have 100s of spiders just hanging around. LOL

          Kevin P Carey wrote on July 16th, 2012
  27. Congrats! Wonderful story! And I totally relate to the “anger phase”. I see chubby/fat people in the grocery store with a cart full of “low fat, whole grain” processed crap and want to steal their cart and fill it full of steak.

    FoCo wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • I just want to shake my daughter when she tells me my husband is going to have a heart attack from all the fat we eat, when she can’t conceive but insists on staying on “healthy” low fat, whole grain diet.

      Maxmilliana wrote on February 23rd, 2012
      • I get angry too! And sad! And I REALLY have to avoid talking to any vegetarians about food.
        Great story! I remember a similar revelation when I read Gary Taubes’ artice in the NYT magazine back in 2002, I think–unfortunately it took me a LOT longer to shake off the conventional wisdom. I remember thinking that I loved bread so much… now I can hardly believe that I ever thought it was worth eating.

        Louise wrote on March 22nd, 2012
  28. Fabulous story and I LOVE your “voice”, Jane! Your writing feels like a friend is chatting with me.

    AustinGirl wrote on February 10th, 2012
  29. Jane- loved your funny and inspiring story. Thanks for sharing and keep up the excellent work! Crazy how the US sizing is SO different from that of other countries and how the actual material used here gets larger while the sizing number stays the same. Now when I mentioned to someone I wear a size six, I always add the caveat, “but its a Gap size 6 :(“. LOL

    mama bear wrote on February 10th, 2012
  30. Nice! And I bet you’ll outlive the trophy wife 😉

    Christine wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • hahaha that’s a good point!

      rarebird wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • success is the best revenge, and also a great motivator LOL
      wink wink

      jane britton wrote on February 13th, 2012
      • hi jane ~ would love to connect ~ are you on fb ?


        kc wrote on January 19th, 2015
  31. Love, love, love this week’s story! Awesome, resounding success from a very likeable-sounding lady! Wishing you much joy in your new life, Jane.

    Rachel wrote on February 10th, 2012
  32. Funny lady. Did you ever read In A Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson’s book about Australia? That book had me laughing so hard I was crying in several spots.

    You look great! (FYI I’m sure that if I showed your bikini pic to my husband he would think you looked totally hot; he likes a bit of flesh on women.)

    dragonmamma wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • Hi and yes I did read that book its my favourite one, it’s where the bacon quote comes from in fact. He’s a great author.

      jane britton wrote on February 13th, 2012
    • I agree with your husband: women look great with curves, and Jane’s bikini picture is tantalizing.

      REN wrote on February 13th, 2012
  33. Congrats, Jane! What an amazing lightbulb moment!

    Anne wrote on February 10th, 2012
  34. What a great read! And, what a wonderful example of a healed metabolism.

    You look and read like someone who nature intended to be tall and slender – and now you have reclaimed that natural heritage.

    Btw, I hope your husband takes a second look and has a few regrets about trading you in. Serve him right. Not that you aren’t better off without his dogmatic vegetarian a** in your life.

    rarebird wrote on February 10th, 2012
  35. Jane, Congrats on all you’ve accomplished. You are truly a hoot!

    Susan wrote on February 10th, 2012
  36. congrats! you look lovely!

    Fonda LaShay wrote on February 10th, 2012
  37. Great story and so funny!! I about died when I read, “here, eat some bacon you poor hungry fat thing.”

    Laura, RD wrote on February 10th, 2012
  38. “I am currently going through an anger stage. I want to grab random people in the supermarket and scream, “STOP buying diet poison”, and “here, eat some bacon you poor hungry fat thing.””

    I can totally understand that feeling, although I haven’t yet experienced it myself. What I have experienced is a spooky time in the grocery store where somehow – in my imagination – all the “poison” has just disappeared from the shelves. First happened in the Costco (large warehouse type store).

    Can you imagine how little most stores would actually have to sell if the poison all vanished? Of course, they could then stock the shelves with the good stuff . I still think that there would be so much less overall to buy – given the long rows of variations on the crap theme. How many versions of soft drinks and snack foods do we really need…..????

    rarebird wrote on February 10th, 2012
  39. This is so incredibly inspiring. You are beautiful, and you deserve to celebrate what you’ve done. You’ve done it.

    Kim wrote on February 10th, 2012
  40. Am I the only one who couldn’t quite follow the story between the ‘carb counter’ on Google and the birth of the last child, and, I assume, following Primal by Mark? I just wanted to see if it made the difference for Jane? Did she lose weight on just carb counting?

    leida wrote on February 10th, 2012
    • Hi before I found Mark I just knew that carbs were making insulin release, and that was what was making me fat, so before I opened my mouth and stuck food in it, I googled “how many carbs in an apple” and if it was going to throw me over 50g a day, I didnt eat it. I knew enough from my Atkins diet try decades ago that 50g was not much. After a while this got boring, and so I started googling low carb web sites, and Mark’s Daily Apple quickly became my favourite. It was in fact the success stories tab that made me stay here. I LOVE these stories, but really at the time had NO clue that I would be writing my own EVER, flat out in a matter of months.

      jane britton wrote on February 13th, 2012

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