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

Overcoming the Insurmountable

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!

Mark,

I never thought I would be writing or sharing a success story. Not because I didn’t’ think there would be success, but because I am really not the sharing type. But what happened to me and my wife is important, and I want you to know. I have been telling anyone who will listen:

First, a little background. I was and still am an active person. I used to work out daily at the gym for an hour, played hockey twice a week and was an avid skier, but I was really starting to loathe my workouts. I ate well, or at least I thought I did, but I also had a sweet tooth and we had no shortage of cookies, candy and everything in-between stocked in the pantry. I would go through phases of what I would call the Atkins diet if I felt I was getting too flabby. I would cut out refined sugars, bread and pasta, but was still keen on items like Diet Coke and anything a grocery store would classify as meat. My weight and body composition fluctuated regularly.

I didn’t know I was looking for an alternative, but fortunately I found one shortly after reading Born to Run. I was doing some Google searches on barefoot running, and sure enough Mark had an article on the subject. I think I bought the book the next day and not too long after that started making some very positive changes to my diet, my exercise routine and my lifestyle because I now understood what I needed to do and WHY!!!!! And I am happy to stay I’ve not only stuck to it, but I have been a good influencer for others and that is where this story gets interesting.

I am married and the proud father for 6-year-old twin girls. Twin girls that came to us through extensive time, energy and money spent at one of the top fertility clinics in the country. My wife suffers(ed) from Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which is one of the most common female endocrine disorders. As you’ll find on Wikipedia and can verify elsewhere:

PCOS produces symptoms in approximately 5% to 10% of women of reproductive age (12–45 years old). It is thought to be one of the leading causes of female subfertility and the most frequent endocrine problem in women of reproductive age.

The principal features are anovulation, resulting in irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, ovulation-related infertility, and polycystic ovaries; excessive amounts or effects of androgenic (masculinizing) hormones, resulting in acne and hirsutism; and insulin resistance, often associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol levels. The symptoms and severity of the syndrome vary greatly among affected women.

We always wanted to have another child but the thought of going through the required process – which includes a heavy load of hormone drugs and the 25% chance of twins – seemed like too much for my wife and too much for our family. We essentially made the conscious decision that we were done! Or were we?….

In Dec 2011 I was finally able to convince my wife that it was time for her to make some lifestyle changes as well. She was very aware of the positive results I had been experiencing, but lacked the understanding, as I had, to make the changes needed. I gave her my copy of the PB and the next day we emptied our house of all the “bad food” and she was off and running down the Primal path. Little did we know that the path would take us to a growing family. My wife’s menstrual cycle quickly normalized when she eliminated unnecessary grains, gluten and sugar from her diet. In March, 3 months after going Primal, she became pregnant with our third child.

We had no idea this would happen and we are thrilled (and surprised). I wanted to say thank you because you have provided us the knowledge and given a lot of guidance – making it very easy to make what seems an insurmountable change.

warm regards,

Jeremy Creed

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 that you tell everyone this!!. A friend doctor told me a while ago that many a plump female patient got pregnant after restricting sugar intake.
    He runs a fertility clinic.

    Álvaro wrote on September 7th, 2012
  2. Congrats on the baby! I am trying to convinve a friend to change her diet afer a couple years of unfortunate miscarriages and failed conception. She is what I call a junkfood-itarian.

    Team Oberg wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • Maybe mention to her acupuncture. it has helped 2 of my friends conceive after a year + of trying, between that and a new diet, that can only help!

      Patrice wrote on September 7th, 2012
      • In my friends case, eating a vegetable every once in a while and laying off things that are breaded and deep friend would help. It is sad when you want to help people who continually refuse it.

        Team Oberg wrote on September 8th, 2012
  3. Nice, I can relate to the Low carb seesaw. Until the PB came along it was easy to second guess whether grains, carbs are really that bad for you.

    You look like you’re in great shape, and your wife obviously is healthier. Congrats on the little one.

    MattyT wrote on September 7th, 2012
  4. Congratulations!!

    Colleen wrote on September 7th, 2012
  5. Yay! Great story. Short and sweet. Congrats!

    Liz wrote on September 7th, 2012
  6. PCOS is caused by insulin resistance.It’s too bad more doctors don’t recommend the primal diet. Often women are told they need to lose weight to get rid of the PCOS, but are not told it is important to cut way back on carbs. In fact, a minority of women with PCOS are not overweight, but probably consume too many carbs.

    Carol wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • Actually, it is important for normal weight women with PCOS to eat enough carbs. Going low-carb made my hair fall out and made me irritable and tired. Added in carbs (anywhere up to 200 a day) and my hormones are much better, although still not perfect.

      Marisa wrote on September 8th, 2012
    • I was once diagnosed with pcos, tho wrongly, Ive never met someone with pcos that was overweight in some way or another. You dont have to be obese or overweight to be “fat” Being overweight appears more likely to be a cause for pcos, not saying every woman overweight gets it. If your overweight you become insulin resistant and if you genes predispose you to PCOS you may get it. In turn if you have pcos its likely you are insulin resistant, a vicious circle you cant get out of. When I was “diagnosed” all the “doctor” told me was to lose weight. As a fat teen I had no idea what that was, living with family on reduced fat everything, we couldn’t afford alot of meat either.

      B_shaw wrote on September 10th, 2012
    • Inspiring story. I had to go the same route with IVF. I am happy to say that I had a wonderful fertility doctor who suggested I read the PB and change my lifestyle. I’m hoping my lifestyle changes will allow me to conceive naturally the second time.

      Kris wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • PCOS is caused by a pituitary screwup that deranges a woman’s sex and reproductive hormones. Too many carbs will definitely aggravate it though–I had it back in the 70s when it was much less common than today and surgery to remove a section of each ovary was the preferred treatment. I was overweight but not obese only b/c I was already on a carb-restricted diet for hypoglycemia; my daughter has it, eats tons of carbs, and at 5’9″ weighs about 300 lbs.
      Going as Primal as I can afford starting in the morning; may experiment w/carb tolerance but I’m thinking that 60 gm/day is about right. Hopefuly as my daughter sees my success (I need to lose about 95 lbs) she will follow along; don’t want to see her dead in a few years w/ a forkful of pasta in her fist.

      shrimp4me wrote on October 14th, 2013
  7. Just awesome Jeremy. Congratulations on the good work and for the little one on the way.

    Anders wrote on September 7th, 2012
  8. Congratulations! I love to read these success stories. Just think how well your children will do in life starting off primal!

    Andy wrote on September 7th, 2012
  9. Well, this made me cry at 8:30am on a Friday morning! :-)

    I have twin sons, same experience and route as you. So happy that you were able to turn it all around. I always say to women now, if you’re having trouble conceiving the *first* thing to do is change your diet. If we can’t even conceive then our bodies must be very sick.

    So happy that you have this groundwork done now, you’re kids will benefit from it tremendously. Congratulations!

    Alison Golden wrote on September 7th, 2012
  10. I have some friends I need to share this story with. Congrats on your growing family!

    Anne wrote on September 7th, 2012
  11. Great story! And so encouraging to see how your wife was able to heal herself. Congratulations on your health and your baby!

    Shara wrote on September 7th, 2012
  12. Congrats! It’s so encouraging to see stories that are about the health and not the weight.

    Myra wrote on September 7th, 2012
  13. Wow congratulations! You look fabulous too!

    mars wrote on September 7th, 2012
  14. Congrats!! Wonderful inspiring story. I also became pregnant after a year of primal eating and losing a ton of weight. Its a wonderful thing, I’m also very thankful to Mark for sharing his knowledge and ideas with us all.

    Shana wrote on September 7th, 2012
  15. I hope it doesn’t work for endometriosis. At 71, I’m too old for another baby (but my wife isn’t).

    Anyway, congrats!

    ProudDaddy wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • LOL, I’ve been on/off primal for about 5 months now, and just had surgery to correct my endometriosis in June. Still trying to conceive #2, at the ripe age of 40!

      Defrog wrote on September 7th, 2012
      • I cannot resist the endo comments. I am now 36, but suffered severe endometriosis since age 11 up until about 2 years ago. I had already had 2 surgeries, 6 years of hormone treatments, and was getting ready for my 3rd surgery after my one child was born. I had already switched to primal and had everything else improve for me, but on a fluke, I decided to cut out eggs too. 3 months after quitting eggs I was 100% pain and symptom free of endometriosis and ended up not scheduling the third surgery. That was a few years ago now. Since I love eggs, I would try to have one a month, but I can’t do it, the endometriosis comes back right away. I’ve been to many doctors and NOT ONE ever mentions eggs…so, I just thought I’d share my experience.

        Elanie wrote on September 7th, 2012
        • Hmm, that’s interesting. I’ve had endo for 20 years, 5 surgeries and more shots and drugs than I can care to mention. I’m now symptom-free and have wondered about eggs as being a contributing cause many times. Treatment and understanding for endo hasn’t improved since I was diagnosed two decades ago – unbelievable.

          Alison Golden wrote on September 8th, 2012
    • This made me giggle. I am 27 and have endometriosis. I do want a baby but not for another year or so. Maybe I should go eat a sandwich!

      megs wrote on September 7th, 2012
  16. great story, congratulations!!

    Burn wrote on September 7th, 2012
  17. Great story and thanks for sharing man! You look awesome and it’s nice to hear about your wife. Ive been trying to convince my girlfriend to jump on my Primal blueprint but she has friends who are (fat) nutritionists who discount all the evidence I have. We will be married soon and we both want a child within the next year. I’m going to look into this more. Maybe this will be enough to push her over the fence. It was pretty hard to make the switch so I’ll be there to support her every step of the way. Thanks for sharing man!

    Steven wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • watch out with going primal because you will become the fertility king of the neighborhood. from my own experience – you might drop a baby even where you don’t want to :-)

      einstein wrote on September 7th, 2012
  18. Congratulations on your growing family! After several years of being told I was not fertile due to an overproduction of my prolactin hormone, both my husband & I have gone primal (about 2 months now). At last month’s check-up, my doctor ran some bloodwork and I am fertile again! So we are trying and hope to add to our family very soon as well. Very inspiring to hear your story!

    Rosemary B wrote on September 7th, 2012
  19. Tears! That is so wonderfully amazing that your wife was able to get pregnant after going primal. I am 24 years old and the path I’m on will [hopefully] leave me with not having time for a baby till I’m about 35 years old. A lot of my female friends are feeling the same about not wanting to have children for another 10 years, but THEY are concerned they won’t be fertile at their older age. I’M NOT worried though! I’m pretty confident that if I stick to my primal lifestyle for the next 10 years (as I have for, WOW, 1 full year now!), I will have no fertility problems. Thanks for the affirmation and congrats to you and your wife for bettering your lives!

    Kait wrote on September 7th, 2012
  20. Great job man. It’s great to hear when you can get someone into primal and they see great results from it!

    Savage Paleo wrote on September 7th, 2012
  21. I had a similar experience. Went off the pill, had no menstrual cycle for a year. My OB wanted to give me drugs to have one and wasn’t at all concerned as to why it was missing. I went to an RE, and was diagnosed with PCOS. I was put on metformin, and conceived my son. After having my son, I found marksdailyapple. I quit being a vegetarian and went somewhat primal while nursing. I had been a bad vegetarian for 15 years, basically gave myself PCOS. After nursing I went fully primal. I am now having regular cycles on my own, and my blood work looks totally normal. The RE was shocked. I find it so annoying that docs will give drugs instead of counseling on nutrition.

    Former PCOS-er wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • Ugh! In these cases you’d be better off going to the mechanic rather than the doctor, at least the mechanic will recognize the importance of the right kind of fuel in order for an engine to work…
      Even nutritionists do not want to make the connection between how you eat and stuff going on in your body (I’m talking normal nutritionists, not highly informed nutrition researchers).
      I have a friend who is a nutritionist and she told me that without a bowl of pasta a day (or other carbs) my metabolism will slow down and cause me to gain weight! What! I told her (for sake of argument, to see her reaction) that I felt so much better and more energetic and that I have lost weight, she told me then that i must eat carbs if not I’ll basically die, and that my weight loss was probably due to cutting out sweets…
      Thank GOD I didn’t take her seriously as it was on 2 weeks into primal at that point!

      Primal Wanderer wrote on September 7th, 2012
      • I am in a dietetic internship and my peers are the same way! We are supposed to know the most about metabolism but yet most dietitians don’t use basic nutrition concepts to put two and two together, eg insulin driving fat metabolism. I was talking with a peer today about how when we eat fat we burn fat so we don’t need carbs, she said “that’s true…I don’t like the idea of that though”. Sadly our field is about 20-30 years behind the research. We make all the carbs we need from protein, just look at the inuit tribes who eat close to 0% carbs.

        arro wrote on September 7th, 2012
        • Anybody looking for a nutritionist in the central PA area, go visit Monica Montag at Be Well Associates. She’s not Primal, but has family members who are, and is very sympathetic to it.

          Erin wrote on September 9th, 2012
  22. This is just what I needed to read, as I am in the midst of an infertility struggle. I conceived once but miscarried shortly after (about two years ago) and have not been able to get pregnant since then. However, I did begin to eat primally about two months ago, primarily in the hopes of improving my fertility (I’m anovulatory, although I haven’t been diagnosed with PCOS.) This is still creating significant stress in my marriage, as my husband’s “baby clock” seems to be going off now, and my natural route of diet modification isn’t working fast enough, in his opinion. :( So it gives me hope to read that it is possible to get pregnant through diet change- it just takes a little time!

    Kay Pease wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • Whoa lady…tell the husband to lay off. Stress can affect fertility as much as a poor diet. This can cut both ways if you’re both anxious about it.

      Agi wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • I have had PCOS for 11 years. I went 5 years with no period at all. Finally began working with doctors to try to find out what was going on. That’s when I was diagnosed. Of course they wanted to put me on birthcontrol, metformin, an anti-androgen, and other things to treat the symptoms of the PCOS but not help to get me pregnant. After several frustrated years I tried seeing a fertility specialist and took clomid. 4 rounds later still hadn’t conceived. I gave up andover a year later, after going “lowcarb” or “atkins-ish” for 4 months discovered I had conceived naturally! That was in 2009. I have a beautiful baby boy who is the light of my life now. But I am so stubborn that I haven’t stuck to maintaining a healthy eating regime and I am right back where I was before becoming pregnant the first time. We are ready to try and have another baby but I am, of course, without menses and have been since the birth of my boy. I went paleo in September of last year for 2 months and it triggered a period! But, I went back to bad habits. Did it again in June of this year and yet again…triggered another period. So, in the long post what I am trying to say is: changing your diet, going paleo/primal will most definitely affect your hormones and fertility. It is very very possible that you could conceive within mere months of doing so. I am proof. However I, myself, cannot seem to control my own habits! Ergh! :(

      Misty wrote on September 9th, 2012
    • Mine divorced me because I couldn’t give him the children he longs for. I conceived and miscarried at least 4 times in our 7 year marriage.

      Belinda wrote on October 14th, 2013
  23. I have PCOS and was told I’d need meds to get pregnant. After several months on a lower carb diet and a significant weight loss, I was totally surprised to find that I had conceived. I realized years later that it was not luck, but my diet. :)

    gibson girl wrote on September 7th, 2012
  24. I have PCOS too and I was on birth control pills as a “treatment” when I first went primal. I quit them about 2 months after I ditched grains. This will be my third month off of them and I’m still waiting for things to normalize, but I have high hopes!

    casey wrote on September 7th, 2012
  25. Awesome man. Truly awesome.

    Jason Lander wrote on September 7th, 2012
  26. Awesome! I love these!

    Ashley wrote on September 7th, 2012
  27. Wow, those are great results! We see similar success with our real food diet program as well. Way to go!

    William Curtis MD wrote on September 7th, 2012
  28. Great story! Very inspiring!

    Tribe of Nature wrote on September 7th, 2012
  29. Jeremy how long have you been primal and what are you cheating with. I have yet to see someone that has been primal for a large amount of time with so much body fat. Are you not watching your portions? Anyways this is not meant as an insult just want the advice on how to avoid whatever mistake you are making. Thanks in advance

    Tony wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • What are you talking about, “so much body fat”?! He looks pretty well-muscled. Not everyone has a “thin” build, and Jeremy has a nice, strong, low-fat, high-muscle build!

      BonzoGal wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • Tony, you must be jealous. Jeremy looks great to me – I like men with a little meat on their bones (I accidentally posted this at the end of all the comments)

      Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/overcoming-the-insurmountable/#ixzz25p1r2xVp

      Maxmilliana wrote on September 7th, 2012
      • Thanks for agreeing with me about the extra body fat. I understand some people prefer it because they are uncomfortable with tight skin. This was not an insult just a question for him. Why you chose to insult me is despicable.

        Tony wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • Hi Tony, send Mark your primal story along with photos and then we can talk about body fat. Other than that you should go and procreate with yourself you donkey.

      G Custer wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • What a horrible comment to make. You are missing the point of this forum. If you don’t find this story inspirational, just move on. There is a tone of information on this site. If this story isn’t helping you towards your goals, then just move on. There is no need to make a comment like that. Jeremy, great story and thank you for sharing.

      Swango wrote on September 7th, 2012
      • I don’t appreciate your comment honestly. The guy runs high body fat. It’s not an issue and clearly he intends to have that much extra baggage otherwise he would simply change it. As I said it wasn’t meant as an insult, just curious as to why because mostly all of us in the primal community with some good lean body mass on them burn fat so quickly and efficiently 10% body fat is the norm. This guy Jeremy however has the lean body mass but is running about 15% body fat which isn’t even considered athletic, just a healthy body weight. My question as to why is not inappropriate.

        Tony wrote on September 7th, 2012
        • Tony,

          It sounds like you have been in the primal community for a long time.I will be honest that I am new to the primal life style.I am starting to see amazing results, and I am feeling wonderful!That being said I have a long way to go, and eventhough my body fat is lowering, it isn’t to the point that it will be as I continue. I am also suffering from fertility issues and that is why Jeremy’s story hit home with my husband and I.It was very inspiring. I understand your questions about the body fat, but I felt this story was so much more than just about the obvious benefits of going primal. This web site has been motivating as well as informative. The reason I found your comment so insulting was how you phrased it. I don’t know what your journey has been, but perhaps you don’t understand and/or remember that those of us starting to go primal may be still considered “fat”.Everyday is a chance to do better and get healthier. Seeing comments like yours don’t encourage people to feel comfortable in a normally supportive forum. I know that it was not your intent to insult anyone, and you may be feeling attacked. Which I did not mean to contribute to. Sucess is defined differently for each of us. We all want the best for our health or we wouldn’t be here. We just may not be on the same level as you yet. As Jeremy said, his journey continued and that picture isn’t representative of his current numbers. I hope this explanation clarify’s a little more why your comments were taken so offensivley, and reminds you that each of us has are own life experience. All the best to you on your journey.

          Swango wrote on September 8th, 2012
  30. Congratulations Jeremy! Sometimes it amazes me the ways in which the foods we eat can change our lives.

    Evo wrote on September 7th, 2012
  31. Tony, you must be jealous. Jeremy looks great to me – I like men with a little meat on their bones :-)

    Maxmilliana wrote on September 7th, 2012
  32. I agree with”Maxmilliana” I think Jeremy looks very healthy. And I amd glad that my husband got fixed after our last child or I would be with child at 49. (I have been primal for about 3 mounths) I have grandbabys to play with.

    Debi wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • Wow, I think Jeremy looks great, could make me blush! Congrats to his lucky wife.

      Amy wrote on September 7th, 2012
  33. Congratulations on a wonderful lifestyle change. And congratulations on conceiving a new baby. So by now, do you know the sex of your little miracle and care to share with us?

    Cindy wrote on September 7th, 2012
  34. Wow! Thanks for the inspiration … I have been toying with following a Primal lifestyle and I think you just helped seal the deal … I am 35 and was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago. I would like to have children in a couple years and it really helps to hear these types of stories. Thanks for sharing!

    Elizabeth Randles wrote on September 7th, 2012
  35. What a great story! You look fantastic and congrats to you and your wife on conceiving a baby!!

    Kitty =^..^= wrote on September 7th, 2012
  36. Congratulations! I am glad it worked for you but it doesn’t for everyone. I have PCOS & have restricted my sugar/grain intake, and am physically active. I am a UK size 6-8 but still don’t have regular periods. I might never do, I might also never conceive. I don’t think I can do anything else to improve my chances any more, I can’t change my genes.

    Tara wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • Great to read your inspirational story Jeremy! Congratulations to you both :)

      Hi Tara,

      I am also a UK 6-8 and still experiencing menstrual issues even after being what I’d describe as strict primal for several months. Yet only recently realized that I really had been missing some of the key elements of solid nutrition, e.g Bone broth, fermented cod liver oil, etc.

      In the last couple of weeks I have started to add more nutritionally dense foods to my diet and also do hope to conceive without any issues next year.
      The reassuring thing I am finding is that the body really can heal itself given the right building blocks to work with!

      Would like to recommend reading ‘Deep Nutrition’ which covers in great detail the research supporting that actually our “Junk” DNA is ultra responsive to diet changes and how that can be much more critical to our bodies function than just our genes, which only make up about 2% opposed to the other 98%.
      It is a fascinating read, with pretty much all the book geared towards helping us develop a deeper understanding of healthy reproduction and nurturing of our children and ourselves from conception onwards.

      All the best, Marie.

      Marie wrote on September 8th, 2012
    • Yes you can change your genes. If you have any hormonal issues or just want to understand other ways that a primal lifestyle contributed to this success story, you need to check out the blog of Dr Jack Kruse.

      Greg wrote on September 9th, 2012
  37. Wonderful story – I always love Fridays and the happy stories. BTW: Love the labs and the abs :) Great Job!

    Darlena wrote on September 7th, 2012
  38. Congratulations! It took me a long time to get pregnant with my second child- luckily I did eventually. I wish I had discovered the Primal lifestyle sooner, but I guess it’s better late than never.

    sqt wrote on September 7th, 2012
  39. Congratulations on the baby! Thanks for sharing. It’s an amazing story.

    Gift Clumsywarrior wrote on September 7th, 2012
  40. My husband and I have gone primal for 5 days now, lived on sugar, and always tired, neither one of us are tired just after 5 days, have lots of energy, I’m wondering if this primal way of living will help with mene pause, hot flashes have been driving me crazy and probably my husband for 10 years

    diane wrote on September 7th, 2012
    • Hi Diane, I have been about 90% primal for the past 8 months (i am 53) and the hot flushes I had been having for about 5 years have all but disappeared. If I drink wine, I will wake up in a sweat, otherwise I don’t notice any flushes any more. Can’t say whether it is the primal diet, or it was just time they settled, but I don’t care. I do think cutting out sugar & carbs is a big influence on the ravages of hormone hell we women in the prime of our lives experience. Hope you get some relief too.

      Hilary M wrote on September 8th, 2012

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