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

Stare Your Excuses in the Face, and Take Control of Your Health

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!


Thank you so much for e-mailing me back! I’d love to share my story! I find that even though people are constantly asking me how I lost so much weight, they tune me out immediately when I try to answer.

Believe it or not, my story starts with a car accident. I fell asleep at the wheel, and I realized that I had a problem. I had been much more tired than usual, my decrease in cognitive ability was affecting my grades, I was “throwing things” or falling for no reason, and my crazy hallucinating nightmares were keeping me completely stressed out. Since I was 18 when this started (I’m 19 now), I had a hard time finding the help I needed. I was sure that I had a neurological disorder, but my family and friends kind of thought I was crazy.

Since I was tired all the time, I was eating constantly. I was a chubby kid starting in middle school, and my weight had never really affected my happiness. All I wanted to eat was grains, even though I have IBS and grains make me incredibly sick. I knew that on top of my other health issue, I had some sort of weird addiction to grains and sugar. My stomach problems were enough to land me in the hospital for a night, and get me a colonoscopy/endoscopy as a high school senior. Though I tested negative for celiac disease, grains were definitely the culprit. Following my gastroenterologist’s suggestions I cut out all grains for a while, and my stomach started to improve. However, I was still eating a bunch of processed crap that I knew I shouldn’t eat; but I kept telling myself that it was normal for college students to eat that way.

Finally, I found a physicians assistant that would see me about my neurological issues (no one would see me without a referral from my doctor, which was impossible to get because my pediatrician was unreachable 99% of the time and my new adult doctor couldn’t give me a referral because I’d never actually gone to him). My physicians assistant’s name, ironically, is Mark and he changed my life. I went through some crazy tests and found out that I have narcolepsy. I was so incredibly tired all the time, I was actually damaging my memory and my thinking ability. Even though I was sleeping, my body wasn’t going through sleep cycles correctly. My body was looking for the energy that I missed from sleeping, so I tried to fill that need with food. Finding out I have narcolepsy was a difficult thing for me. I had done poorly in my first semester of college, and I was disappointed in myself for letting my health go for so long.

When I finally coped with the fact that I have narcolepsy, I started to take control of my life again. Medicine and new advice about how I could improve my situation allowed my life to go back towards normal. I realized that I wanted to be as healthy as possible so I started exercising. I was always active, playing sports up until high school and taking dance classes until college, but I was definitely not fit. Overweight and lazy, I started slow. When I saw results, I decided to stop “winging it” and find a plan that would work for me. Through my search, I was changing what I would and wouldn’t eat by the day – one day I would eat sugar and the next day I would only use artificial sweeteners.

I found real structure when I bought a pair of shoes. A friend of mine bought a pair of Vibram FiveFingers, and I fell in love. Before long I blew a week’s pay (my babysitting money) on my very own pair. I knew that Vibram’s were a cultural phenomenon, but I never realized that a pair of shoes could start what they started. Every time I wore my FiveFingers in public, someone would tell me to “Grok on”, ask me if I’m “Primal”, or say something about “Mark’s latest post”. I was confused. Finally, a mom that I babysit for told me about a friend of hers. She told me all about MDA and The Primal Blueprint, so I bought the book.

I jumped into the Primal Blueprint eating and fitness lifestyle full throttle. I started losing weight immediately. Now, I’ve lost a little over 100 pounds and I’m still going! I had to make a few psychological changes when I started to get healthy, and these changes are what I like to share with people most:

1. Stop rewarding yourself with food – I thought that I “deserved” a “treat” for everything. If I got a good grade I could “skip” a workout and go “relax” because hey, I worked hard. I had to change my mindset. I realized that unhealthy food will never be a “treat” because all it does is hurt my chances of reaching my weight and fitness goals. Food is something that humans eat in order to gain the necessary nutrients to survive. Fueling my body correctly is important for living the life that I am living, and that is the “treat” that I “deserve” for working hard. OK, let’s be honest, this mindset is harder to change than it sounds. So, I stopped biting my nails. I grew them out and began getting weekly manicures. My new reward was relaxation, pretty nails, and smooth hands.

2. Prepare yourself mentally for the people that will sabotage your good intentions – I’m Italian, and my family eats pasta. Thankfully, my parents are very supportive and they ALWAYS make sure that there is something for me to eat. My boyfriend’s family, however, is not as supportive. They don’t intentionally trap me by only serving food covered in flour, they just simply don’t understand that “no grains” doesn’t mean “a little bit of grains”. It’s hard to change people’s minds. I’ll never be able to respectfully get it through their minds that I will never eat “low fat” salad dressing (or any dressing out of a bottle) because it’s full of sugar and other chemicals that I don’t want in my body. They are sure that these foods are healthy, so I am still learning how to speak up for myself about my dietary preferences.

I knew that it would be at least slightly inconvenient to eat out (at restaurants or other people’s houses) but I didn’t realize how much my feelings would get hurt. It’s really hurtful to watch people in your life completely disregard your lifestyle and cover everything in stuff you can’t eat. My favorite is how everyone chooses Italian restaurants to eat out at; I am Italian so nothing there is going to impress me anyway but unless there is steak on the menu, I can’t eat there. I’ll admit, I had my share of hysterical fits when I came home to find my perfect organic (and expensive) chicken marinating in something that had sugar in it. It’s important to educate your family and friends about your choices, but it is imperative to your own mental health for you to realize that they won’t listen at least some of the time.

3. Listen to your excuses… they are the hurdles you need to overcome before you can commit to a healthier lifestyle. I am the first person to call bull$#!% (excuse my language) when someone says that they are simply too busy to eat healthy. The time a person spends at the drive-in could easily be spent preparing a salad. However, if you have no salad in the house, you aren’t going to make one. Instead of saying you’re too busy to eat healthy, realize that you are too lazy (probably because of the tiredness invoked by your hectic schedule) to eat healthy. However, if you feel that eating healthfully is “too hard” for you, then you’re not going to do it. You need to make it easy. McDonald’s isn’t going to start serving Primal meals, so you have to take your health into your own hands. Find one recipe that you can do quickly and easily and keep the ingredients around. Slowly expand your healthy meal making, and you’ll love the food you’re eating so much, you’ll be “too busy” to eat unhealthy food before you know it!

If your excuse is that healthier food is more expensive, I’m going to tell you that you’re flat out wrong. Grow your own vegetables, buy what’s in season, use the money from your daily run to Dunkin’ Donuts to supplement your new healthy food grocery bill. Whatever you do to figure out a way to buy the foods you should be eating, just remember that eating healthy now will probably save you costs in the form of medical bills in your future.

Another excuse I hear a lot is “well, every time I try something it doesn’t work so I’m just going to eat whatever I want”. Here’s the deal: you haven’t tried the Primal Blueprint. DO IT. If the success stories, the easiness of the plan, and the clarity of the core ideas aren’t enough to prove that the Primal Blueprint is awesome, then try it yourself. you will see the results that you want to see. Why would you stop trying to get healthy just because you think it’s hard? What if a heart surgeon stopped operating because it was too hard?

If you examine your excuses, you will be able to come up with a clear plan of how to jump over your own personal hurdles when it comes to getting fit. Seriously, the only thing standing in your way is you.

4. Take control of your health – When I was trying to find out what was wrong with me, I blindly listened to any medical advice I got. Instead of fighting to see a doctor, changing doctors when I should have, and putting my health first I acted like I was wrong for seeking answers. I felt that I should be apologizing for “wasting” people’s time. I felt like a big baby who was whining about my problems. Here is what I didn’t realize until later: it is never wrong to be cautious about your health. Don’t let a busy doctor or a person who can’t feel what you’re feeling tell you that there is nothing wrong. You know your own body, and your health is something to fight for. If you feel like you might have a medical issue that is affecting you, let that become part of your new healthy lifestyle. Take control of your whole health, not just your fitness.

After you commit to stop rewarding yourself with food, prepare yourself mentally for the hurdles you might encounter, stare your excuses in the face, and take control of your health, here are some tips to make the transition a little easier:

  1. Prepare a few “healthy” recipes that you LOVE. These should be foods that you look forward to eating.
  2. Do something fitness-wise that you’ve always wanted to do: go on a hike, swim laps at the local pool. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, break down your barriers when it comes to exercise and you will reap the rewards.
  3. Plan rewards. I bought myself really nice new clothes for my vacation because for the first time, I love to shop and I can’t wait to take pictures on the beach (something I never would have done at my old weight). When you see results, celebrate them.
  4. One thing that I did was make a “thin-spiration” poster. I put pictures of the resort I’ll be visiting on my vacation, a swimsuit I’d love to wear, fitness moves I wish I could do, and a quote from Kim Kardashian: “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels” to remind me that my goals are so much more important than the momentary temptation to eat something unhealthy.

I’ve attached two pictures, one of me before I started the Primal Blueprint (last fall, peach picking) and two of me taken recently (at an outdoor concert with my boyfriend, and a picture of me and my boyfriend before a night out). I hope my story is helpful in some way. The Primal Blueprint has really changed my life!

Thank you again!


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. What an awesome, well written story with great tips!

    jkc wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Agreed – inspirational.
      I especially appreciate the thought you have put into writing the tips that you used to make this work for you. As a nutritionist – I find that having one’s mind in the right place is a big part of the battle.

      julianne wrote on August 27th, 2011
  2. Congrats! That’s awesome that this started from buying Vibrams. Keep it up girl!

    dani wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • The story makes me want to ask everyone I see wearing vibrams if they’re into Primal. If they’re not, maybe the question will save another life!

      Peggy The Primal Parent wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • I thought that was the highlight of the story! No one has ever asked me if I was primal when I wear mine, but they do love pointing them out and asking me about them!

        Primal Recipe wrote on August 26th, 2011
        • That’s actually how I found out about Primal people on campus… via VFFs and barefooting conversation. :)

          Vivian wrote on August 26th, 2011
        • I did too. This really stood out to me as I have NEVER been asked if I am primal or paleo or a caveman. But, I do get asked questions a lot. And, whenever I wear my bacon T someone asks about it or stairs at the written words on the T.

          I may have to start doing this… asking people if they are primal if they are wearing vibrams… I am in a perfect city of Chicago to do this!

          Primal Toad wrote on August 26th, 2011
        • Primal Toad, I’m not a huge “commenter” but I always enjoy your comments. I didn’t realize, though, that you are also in Chicago! Awesome! I may have to join the Chicago Primal Meetup group and meet you sometime, seeing as you’re a Primal celebrity and all 😉

          Aimee B wrote on August 27th, 2011
        • Hey Aimee!

          Please do join the primal chicago meetup group! There are 75 groks/grokettes and we will take over the NY City group soon! They are my target.

          It’s Chicago vs NY!

          I enjoyed the potluck with 8 of us 1.5 weeks ago and I met about 5 people today at the greencity farmers market which may have to be an every saturday event!

          Primal Toad wrote on August 27th, 2011
    • You can now get silver, sparkly Vibrams from Molton Brown in London? Who knew they would become a fashion statement. But perhaps it was only a matter of time. 😉

      Alison Golden wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • Oops. That was supposed to be a period not a question mark. You can definitely get them from there.

        Alison Golden wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • silver sparkle vibrams? that got my attention. I googled that store and went to the website to find them but I don’t see them. Do you know the model name?

        Andrea wrote on August 26th, 2011
        • I believe they are only available in the physical store in London. A friend of mine had them sent over to her in the US. They do look cool though so if you know someone over there…

          Alison Golden wrote on August 26th, 2011
  3. Great work! I like that you mention taking control of your own health. I have been thinking this a lot lately… Why do we listen to others explanations of what is healthy for us when it clearly is not working?!

    It sounds like you have found what ACTUALLY works for you. Great job!

    Crunchy Pickle wrote on August 26th, 2011
  4. Go girl, great job. Your right can’t listen to the “it can’t work sayers”, there always seem to be people who will find something wrong or lacking with great success such as your. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing

    Richard wrote on August 26th, 2011
  5. Congratulations and thanks for the helpful advice.
    I, too, found no support from my friends. They just don’t understand the changes, what “grains” means and when eating in public (at picnics, get togethers) I don’t find explaining it helpful to them. Like you said, they just don’t get it.
    Again, congratulations and thanks so much for your input.

    Pam wrote on August 26th, 2011
  6. I love the story and the tips. This week my wife and I “treated” ourselves with some frozen custard. We both felt horrible physically the next day, and I said why do we “treat” ourselves by hurting ourselves? I love the idea of treating yourself with something else like new clothes instead of bad food. Keep it up and enjoy the vacation.

    Caleb wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Whenever I eat anything “bad” now I get dizzy and don’t feel right. Not worth it!

      Jason wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • yeah, isn’t that strange? When I eat suger, I feel like I just drank a generous double whisky.

        Ulla Lauridsen wrote on August 26th, 2011
        • My wife actually passes out as if she drank too much!

          This time it was actually a quinoa salad. (Not even a grain!) She ordered it thinking it would be Mediterranean and full of olive oil… instead it was a PeiWei style HOT MESS, drenched in cheap (improperly fermented) soy sauce. (I know there was some residual gluten in the soy sauce b/c it gave me a stomach ache and I’m gluten intolerant.) Almost no fat or protein (except in the quinoa itself)… and she’s down for the count.

          I’m sure her A1C “looks” perfect, but like most Americans, she can’t handle the giant bolus of raw carbs. Blood sugar disaster.

          Another Halocene Human wrote on August 27th, 2011
      • Me too! I get kind of a headache and feel so off after grains. Everyone else thinks I’m silly and it’s all psychological. It’s kind of frustrating

        Vivian wrote on August 26th, 2011
        • Tell them it’s an allergy. It may actually be just leaky gut syndrome or some sort of non-allergic auto-immune mess or maybe just blood sugar gyrations playing with your brain, but ya know? Just say you have a mild allergy (“not to worry, I don’t have to carry an Epipen”) to wheat.

          Headaches are caused by a lot of things. One of those things is inflammatory cascades inside your body. Listen to your body and don’t make yourself sick for the sake of other people and their completely uninformed, non-medical opinions.

          I personally have a lot less headaches and migraines when I avoid eating things that don’t agree with me!

          Another Halocene Human wrote on August 27th, 2011
    • This comment convinced me not to “treat” myself with pizza tonight. Thanks!! I know I would have regretted it.

      Alicia wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • Keep this up and pizza won’t even seem like a treat any more. (Unless you live in NY or NJ.) Sugary sauce, awful, smelly dough, and cheap, carby cheese with a miniscule amount of meat. Whatever. After 6 months gluten free pizza just seems like fool’s gold to me. Wheat flour is bitter and doesn’t even taste good and the amount of real food on a pizza is rather disappointing. I’d much rather have a nice country sausage or some eggs cooked in saturated fat or some nice beef stew.

        Chicken breast is also low on my list these days. Too dry! And forget about using chicken fat–grain-fed chicken fat makes me break out!!! (I guess I will not be eating traditional Kosher cooking, which uses shmalts.)

        Another Halocene Human wrote on August 27th, 2011
      • what you should do is get some of those large brown mushrooms, grill them for a bit, and while that’s going on, fry up some bacon bits in garlic. Take the mushies out, put the bacon bits and garlic on, slice up any other veggies you feel like (sometimes I take a walk on the wild side, and put just a few pieces of banana on, then add a small amount of your favourite grated cheeze over the top and bake till the cheeze is golden brown. Tastes just like pizza, with none of the icky side effects! We have ‘pizza night’ quite regularly now!

        tinz wrote on August 31st, 2011
  7. Congratulations on your success! You look radiantly happy (and wide awake!) now!

    Karen wrote on August 26th, 2011
  8. Love the tips you have given!

    Croí wrote on August 26th, 2011
  9. Fantastic story. I definitely will be referring people to it. Very well written. Also, it is great to see a success story from a woman.

    Your experience of finding a PA who would help parallels my own. Three doctors brushed off my side pain as “arthritis.” “You’re getting old. What do you expect?” Finally a PA sent me for an x-ray that confirmed my suspicion of a kidney stone. Over the years 6 different PAs and nurse practitioners have given me the time that doctors never seem to have. When I call a doctor’s office and they ask if it would be ok to see the PA, I say “Sure!”

    Harry wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Wait… you had long term chronic pain from a kidney stone? Was this lower backpain by any chance? I’ve wondered since last December if I have one.

      Dave wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • From time to time I would have some pain on one or the other side of my lower back. It was not the “as painful as giving birth” pain you hear described about kidney stones, although I have had that with more recent stones. All it takes is an x-ray to find out.

        Harry wrote on August 26th, 2011
        • If it’s the kind that shows up on x-rays. Not all kidney stones will. Glad yours was and they found it though. I love PA’s! Of course, my son is one so I have to say that.

          Cindy wrote on August 27th, 2011
  10. Hey beautiful girl, you look gorgeous!

    I have a friend with narcolepsy and she found it difficult too when she found out, so I can imagine how you felt with your diagnosis. And at such a young age.

    Love your ideas – I always say, nothing good in the weight loss department ever came out of an Italian restaurant. And you’re right on about it not costing more. Not if you plan, organize and take advantage of the opportunities that are out there.

    Congratulations, Sarah!

    Alison Golden wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Agreed. It does not cost me more, either. And I even eat grass fed and free range.

      Ginger wrote on August 27th, 2011
    • Not fair, the Italian restaurants in Rome, Italy were wonderlands of bufalo mozzarella, tuna, and arugula (rocket). :DD

      They do sell Roman pizza but it’s really meh. I did have a nice pizza once in Tivoli. It was covered in the local ham. They are very serious about their ham. You see the whole hog’s leg in the window, hoof and all. Now that’s primal. ;-D

      There was also the Pieroni brewhouse which had Bavarian-style grub. They brew dark-style beers but you really can’t get those in a the States. Too bad.

      And meloncello. Oooooh, ghoooood. Move over, limoncello.

      Italian-American restaurants are usually Americanized Sicilian-Greek cuisine with an overemphasis on pasta. (Pasta today is made by machines out of subsidized grain so it’s cheaper than feeding your guests real food.) From what I understand, real Sicilian cooking has a lot more seafood and fresh produce in it.

      And Greece is getting slammed by the obesity epidemic as rising prosperity has introduced all sorts of sugary and convenience foods–the improperly leavened, gluteny breads, and chocolates, ice creams, and fast foods displacing offal, oily fish, spring vegetables, and so on.

      Another Halocene Human wrote on August 27th, 2011
  11. Hi Sarah, thanks for sharing your story!

    My kid has narcolepsy as well, since he got the H1N1 flu in 2009. His symptoms include tiredness and crazy hallucinations and he’s got cataplexy as well.

    So I’m interested to know: did you find that going primal helped at all with dealing with narcolepsy apart from increased energy? If so could you detail the changes?

    Congratulations with your result, again and grok on!

    Jon Th wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • I can’t speak for the author, but I can tell you that high fat (ketogenic) diets were used years ago to treat seizure type disorders.

      Dave, RN wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • Hi,
        yeah I know. But I’m more interested in knowing whether gluten free would help. My kid could do gluten free, and/or mostly primal.

        Ketogenic, I’m not so sure about.

        Jon Th wrote on August 26th, 2011
        • I too got the H1N1 in Fall of 2009. Started developing symptoms immediately but brushed it off as ‘recovering’ for a few months and stress from school.

          Around March 2010 I started suspecting that all the problems had something to do with carbohydrates, so I started looking for low carb recipes online and found this site. Did a week of Primal and felt a lot better almost immediately! I continued to do elimination diets until I narrowed the source of the problem down to gluten a couple months later.

          I don’t do 100% Primal now, but going gluten free/mostly Primal has improved my health SO much and made me suspect that gluten was a problem even prior to getting H1N1. Though I wasn’t getting the ‘typical’ (eg celiac-like) symptoms, I used to have a lot of mood swings and food cravings that i just don’t get much anymore.

          Hope this helps, it’s worth a shot anyway!

          gator wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Going primal definitely helped me deal with my narcolepsy. That being said, it is important for me to eat PLENTY of protein- for some reason, if I go light on protein I see more symptoms. Chronic cardio was hurting my sleep cycle so primal fitness has helped me over come that a lot!

      Sarah wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • Thanks! He’s doing karate, which I don’t think is too much for him, but I’ll keep an eye on protein and too much cardio.

        Also thanks to you gator! The reply link seems to missing from your post from some reason :-)

        Jon Th wrote on August 27th, 2011
  12. This is an awesome story.
    I know so many that ignore their own bodies signals that something is wrong and they try to satisfy that wrongness with food, because it is the only pleasure that they feel.
    Also, I think heavy folks shouldn’t be embarassed about being seen from the neck down. Take the bicycle and take walks in a tank top and shorts, buy a big bathing suit and go swim laps…start somewhere.
    You did the right thing, Sarah, big congrats on your success. Beautiful smile btw :-)

    I can relate to your #4. For me it was hard to figure out what was wrong because Internet didn’t exist back 20 years ago, like it does now.
    I had severe allergies (from outdoor stuff I thought), that I now know was high Omega 6, grains, processed sugar and ultra-heated 2% store milk. I used to have a monthly medical bill of around 150 bucks, just on over the counter + prescription allergy meds.
    My husband and I are dishing out 400-500 bucks LESS every month on food now because we shop local, fresh, in season and healthy. This allowed us to also feed our 4 dogs primally and we cut down on their vet bills completely, too.

    Your story is very inspirational to all the other girls out there wondering wth is going on with their bodies.

    Grok on, girl!

    Primal Palate wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • I feed my dogs Primal too for the most part! I’m involved in Dog Agility (which, of course, I run in my Vibrams) so when I’m training I have to use kibble (highest quality I can find, of course).

      Cool to know that other people have thought the same way and are feeding their pets healthy food.

      Grok on, indeed.

      Ash wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • Why not use some all-grass-fed beef jerky, instead of kibble with grains and corn and soy? Sure it’s costs more, but you won’t be feeding poison to your dogs!

        Elenor wrote on August 26th, 2011
        • Elenor,

          True. I will look into it. But just so you know, the kibble I have does not have ANY grains, soy or corn. It is Orijen brand kibble. Look it up, you might be pleasantly surprised. :)

          Ash wrote on August 27th, 2011
  13. Sarah,

    You are wise beyond your years. Way beyond!

    Daryl wrote on August 26th, 2011
  14. “Prepare yourself mentally for the people that will sabotage your good intentions” Great line. People are always going to question what you do and why you do it. Just got to prepare for it.

    “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” -John R Wooden

    Dennis wrote on August 26th, 2011
  15. Bravo Sarah! What inspiration. Some of her points are spot on, especially the one about always feeling the need to reward yourself. Honestly, I feel eating Primal is the biggest reward unto itself because you feel absolutely amazing. No bloating, no intense cravings, decreased appetite overall, better sleep, better performance, better mental clarity.

    Personal success story… I’m down 15 lbs in 20 days. I hope to lose 45 more by Halloween!

    Jason wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Way to go Jason!

      Brooke wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Alright… then you can wear that King Leonidas costume from 300!

      Gorillaboy wrote on August 26th, 2011
  16. I can relate to the lack of support from the friends and boyfriends family. My family however is incredibly supportive. Stay true to yourself and do what you need to do. You do look beautiful!!

    Brooke wrote on August 26th, 2011
  17. one of my biggest things is being embarrassed to be seen when i exercise. im very self conscience. its something i really need to work on, thanks for the tip as its something i dont really think about much although it effects me greatly

    Mike Gager wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Hey Mike,

      Find a secluded trail if you can. Work out in the garage with the door closes, a basement, a nighttime sidewalk, all work great to help alleviate the problem. I’ve been there done that!

      Jason wrote on August 26th, 2011
  18. What a nice twist on the usual story…no exercise plan, no eating details (which everyone here already understands), but thoughtful dissection of the pitfalls that make all of us less likely to succeed. AND how to overcome them. Outstanding!

    “Instead of saying you’re too busy to eat healthy, realize that you are too lazy… to eat healthy.”

    Tough love, there. And #2 and #4 go hand-in-hand: there are just as many “health” professionals out there as loving-but-not-getting-it relatives, who will give you the look and sabotage your efforts with a dismissive comment. Good for you for persevering in finding the right fit!

    Keep it up, kiddo. You’re a winner!

    Nannsi wrote on August 26th, 2011
  19. Sarah, I am struck by your maturity. Your analysis and conclusions qboit your situation have saved your life, no doubt. At the very least, they have improved the quality ten fold! I also love that a simple, seemingly superficial act like buying a pair of shoes launched a giant change in your life. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story and thanks again to Mark for being such a positive force in people’s lives.

    Perry wrote on August 26th, 2011
  20. “Stop rewarding yourself with food – I thought that I “deserved” a “treat” for everything. [….] Food is something that humans eat in order to gain the necessary nutrients to survive. Fueling my body correctly is important for living the life that I am living, and that is the “treat” that I “deserve” for working hard.”

    I’ve been having a hell of a time with this lately, and it’s incredibly helpful to hear somebody else nail it so succinctly. Thank you.

    Grok on!

    MW wrote on August 26th, 2011
  21. Actually the only comments I ever get from my VFF’s are “eww those are wierd” or “are those comfortable?” (as if I’d be wearing them if they weren’t.)
    It would be cool to meet somebody who ate Primal because of them.

    I had a doctor once who thought I had narcolepsy because I was so fatigued and fell asleep so easily, even though the sleep study did not show that. He put me on the drugs anyway. I dumped that doctor and finally discovered years later it was the grains that were making me so tired.

    Also – it makes me sad when family members do not support our eating habits. Never apologize for your diet!

    Pam S. wrote on August 26th, 2011
  22. Sarah, congratulations on dropping 100 pounds! You look fantastic! I hope the narcolepsy is no longer troubling you.

    Your tips are excellent. I especially like “don’t reward yourself with food”. Rewarding yourself with an addictive substance like grains is a method of self-destruction.

    Also, I second your recommendation to first learn to make one healthy meal. I never cooked before going primal, so the first thing I learned to do was make bacon, eggs, sausage, and broccoli. I leaned on that pretty heavily for the first couple months, and slowly branched out until now I can prepare a dozen different meals that I love. When you get to that point, restaurant food isn’t even appealing, because it doesn’t come close to your own home cooking.

    I only wish that I had your insight at such a young age. Keep on grokking, for your journey has barely begun!

    “Bliss was it in that primal dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven.”

    Timothy wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • “restaurant food isn’t even appealing,…” OMG, I so agree with you there.
      We went to our favorite (used to before primal) restaurant, thinking we deserved a night out and be lazy not cooking at home. We came home bloated, sick and extremely fatiqued, something I hadn’t experienced since primal. And on top of it the food tasted like shit…

      Arty wrote on August 26th, 2011
  23. Thanks Sarah. I passed on your great advice to a friend who is in the process of changing to a Primal diet. Perfect timing.

    P.S. You look great!

    Sharon wrote on August 26th, 2011
  24. SO glad to see younger people taking charge of their health – you are our hope (for the future)!!
    Very well written and thought-provoking. Thanks for saying so many of my own thoughts when confronting non-primals.
    Congratulations on your successful journey!!
    and +1 on that gorgeous, infectious smile! that alone should win over more converts :)

    peggy wrote on August 26th, 2011
  25. You look fantastic!! I love your advice.

    Cassie wrote on August 26th, 2011
  26. Awesome lifestyle transformation, congrats! Most people twice your age can’t get it right, so well done! BTW, where is that outside concert pic taken….the scenery looks strangely enough like the arts center that’s in my hometown!

    Primal Recipe wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • The concert pic was taken in Connecticut at a town green!

      Sarah wrote on August 26th, 2011
  27. The “treat” mentality is huge. I went 12 weeks completely grain free, alcohol free, totally primal….28 scale lbs gone, and my body finally getting that healthy, toned look back again…15 more scale pounds or so to go.

    So this past Sunday, it was my birthday. I did a 2 1/2 hour mountain bike ride, (2 hours of it climbing)…but then that evening, broke down to “treat” myself. With several sips of bourbon. Which then led to late night gorging on crusty italian bread I had bought as a “treat” for my mom who is staying with me for the summer…I have her 80 percent primal too.)

    Monday…I felt like absolute CRAP, and was STARVING hungry…two things I had not experienced for 12 weeks. I was wracked with regret for throwing that curve ball at my body. And it was supposedly a “treat”???? Which friends were encouraging me to enjoy (the bourbon) because “It’s your birthday!!! Live a little.”

    And my “treat” is seeing in the mirror the changes in how my body looks, and being inspired to stay on that path. And simply feeling healthy. Nothing I put in my mouth as a “treat” will ever compare to that.

    Great post Sarah!!!!

    Peter wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Peter, don’t beat yourself up for eating the way you used to. Look at it this way: you just verified the reasons for going Primal and verified why you gave up all that junk in the first place. Now that you’ve reminded yourself, it will be “full steam ahead” for your Primal lifestyle.

      As far as that “live a little” BS from well-meaning friends — tell them you don’t intend to live a “little”, you intend to live a “lot” — they can live a “little” if they so choose. Grok on!

      PrimalGrandma wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • Live a lot…love it, and will use it next time the opportunity comes up. Probably this evening, as I’m heading to someone else’s bday party, and as I will be drinking water and avoiding cake, the odds or high at least one person will tell me to “live a little.” Ha! I’m ready…

        Peter wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Well put!

      Jason wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Peter,
      First off: Happy Belated Birthday!
      Second, I’m glad you shared!! My birthday is coming up this Tuesday, and I’ve been pondering how much leniency I’m going to give myself, but you’re right, it’s not really a treat at all! So, my plan has shifted back towards ordering the steak dinner, and taking ‘er easy at the wine bar after dinner.
      Sarah and Peter, thanks for the reminder/kick in the butt!

      Laura wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • It’s interesting…in the moment, I did consider the bourbon, and the bread, a treat. And could have easily gotten past it and back to my primal nutrition on Monday. But the problem was, that couple of hours of “living a little” cost me more than a full day. Monday I felt tired, dull, and in no way able to do anything physical. And was so hungry when I got up. I did eat only primal foods, but leaned too much in the satisfying (eggs/sausage/meat) direction, with very little vegetable or fruits. I felt completely “off” all day.

        Everyone reacts differently, but I know I have to go VERY easily, especially with alchohol, to avoid the same thing happening. I have felt so good every day, and how I felt Monday was NOT worth it, and NOT worth the little “buzz” I enjoyed on Sunday night. Oh, and I didn’t mention how lousy I felt at bedtime, when the alcohol started wearing off, and I felt like garbage…and got a terrible night’s sleep.

        In any case…Happy Birthday to you too!

        Peter wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • For your birthday have someone make you a speacial primal cobbler with coconut ice cream or something of the like. Its the one day you can make all about you. Primal desserts are awesome anyways.

        samui_sakana wrote on August 28th, 2011
  28. Hey guys – I think “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels is actually a Kate Moss quote and is pretty much the banner slogan for the pro-ana (anorexia) crew. I can absolutely understand why Sarah used it here in sharing her wonderful story with us but thoguht I’d caution that both this phrase and “thinspiration” are widely associated with pro-ana (sounds weird that there is a pro anorexia movement, doesn’t it? but there is). Maybe “nothing tastes as good as healthy feels” is a sentiment more in keeping with PB?

    LK wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Thank you for mentioning this. This is a great story, and if it is going to be shared with many people it is good to point out the main focus of the Primal Blueprint is HEALTH, not getting thin.

      Trisha wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • I was going to add this. This is an amazing story – I love reading primal/paleo testimonials and this is a great one. Everyone needs motivation to stay on track, but I do agree that the focus should be on health rather than weight or thinness. Besides, one of the best things about the primal lifestyle is that it isn’t about self-denial!

      Congratulations to Sarah for getting healthy!

      Susie wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • “nothing tastes as good as healthy feels”

      Wow, I love it!

      Arty wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Love “nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!” So true. People ask me all of the time how I “do it” (say no to bread/pasta, etc) and I always reply, “It’s really easy when you know how good it feels to be ‘off’ the stuff.”

      kg wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • And Kate Moss toke the quote from the Duchess of Windsor.

      Miriam wrote on August 27th, 2011
      • Yeah, I LOL’d when I saw that quote described as coming from Kim Kardashian…it has been around probably 50 years….seriously!! But, great job on getting healthy ! Grok on!

        Nini wrote on August 29th, 2011
    • What LK said.

      Griz wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • I would like to very strongly second this comment. Having a lot of experience with eating disorders, this point made me extremely uncomfortable. Primal is so much about loving food and teaching your body AND mind to dislike NON-food, and its principles seem so far removed from the mindsets of disordered eating, that I felt really disappointed and in disagreement with pro-ana terms and slogans being incorporated into this post.

      a woman wrote on August 30th, 2011
  29. You could be a very good motivational speaker. Took away all the excuses I hear when I talk Primal. Well done.

    Vance wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • I thought the same thing! You would make a wonderful inspirational speaker, especially on this topic. Congratulations on your transformation, too!

      Sarah wrote on August 27th, 2011
  30. Another great success story.

    “Another excuse I hear a lot is “well, every time I try something it doesn’t work so I’m just going to eat whatever I want”. Here’s the deal: you haven’t tried the Primal Blueprint. DO IT.”

    This is where I was at before I discovered MDA and I did DO IT and haven’t looked back. 😀

    David wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Well, that one I can identify with:) PB did not help me loose my extra-pounds that I was so hoping to get rid of. In fact, I gained about 7-8 lbs since I started this lifestyle 2 years ago, but I’ll be damed if I disagreed with my overall wwell-being and just a simple piece of mind knowing that I treat my body like I’m suppose to.

      chocolatechip69 wrote on August 29th, 2011
  31. I am three times your age and just now leaning how to eat healthfully. You are so far ahead of me! Good for you!

    Linda Sand wrote on August 26th, 2011
  32. Congrats on the healthy transformation!! Losing 100 lbs is an amazing accomplishment!!. I totally agree that rewarding with food is a terrible practice…but for most of us, we were rewarded as kids for good behavior or something else with treats. I reward myself now by buying myself something small from my ever-expanding Amazon wish-list.

    I also agree, and experience, the family-will-sabotage-you thing. It seems whenever I am at any family function [my family or my wife’s], since I am a larger guy [6’2″], whoever is getting ready to clear the table after a meal will always look in my direction and ask “do you want the last ?” It doesn’t matter how much I try to tell them about my eating choices or lifestyle, it still happens like clockwork.

    Taking control of your health at 18/19 years old can be difficult, with college pressures and family pressures, among everything else. That was the age that I took control of my health and I feel that I am so far ahead of the game in terms of being healthy and living a long, fun, energetic, happy life. Keep up the good work!!

    Great story!!

    Mike wrote on August 26th, 2011
  33. Maybe I didn’t read carefully enough, but I’m curious to know whether her narcolepsy decreased in severity (or maybe even was completely cured) after going primal.

    Alexander Boland wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Yeah, I asked the same question. Really curious.

      Jon Th wrote on August 26th, 2011
      • I didn’t see a comment on that either and I am wondering the same thing….

        Mary wrote on August 26th, 2011
    • Hey guys! I wanted to answer your question about my narcolepsy…I still experience troublle with it if I don’t take my medicine. However, going primal (fitness and diet wise) has helped me very much! Getting away from chronic cardio has allowed my sleep cycle to get regular. Cutting out grains has made me experience less tiredness during the day!

      Sarah wrote on August 26th, 2011
  34. Wow, people — don’t you just love Fridays??!! It’s getting to where I can’t wait to read another inspiring story!

    Sarah, congratulations on your very inspiring achievement. Thank you for sharing your story in such a thoughtful and motivational tone.

    As far as eating in an Italian restaurant, it depends on the restaurant obviously, but I always get the biggest salad they offer and ask for separate olive oil and vinegar on the side. Some places have it in cruets so you can mix your own. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought my own dressing in plastic bottles. If I get any flack from anyone about not eating pasta or whatever, I just tell them this is how I choose to eat,and they are free to eat however they choose as well. That usually shuts them up—

    Grok on, girl! Great job!!

    PrimalGrandma wrote on August 26th, 2011
  35. Well done Sarah…you look GREAT! I too get lots of looks, comments, and questions re: my VFFs(I have 4 pair, and are all I wear).

    Dennis wrote on August 26th, 2011
  36. For someone so young you are very wise. Congrats on all your successes now and in the future.
    PS The ‘young’ reference wasn’t meant to be condescending, I’m old enough to be you’re Grandmother. :)

    Susan wrote on August 26th, 2011
  37. WOW wonderful story. I too have had family and friends give me stuff I can not eat ,I just keep plugging away.

    sherl oliver wrote on August 26th, 2011
  38. Hey is that Polliwog Park? Great writing Sarah – you have a natural ability, and it shows your analytical skills as well. Congratulations on taking your health into your hands and winning!

    HillsideGina wrote on August 26th, 2011
  39. Sarah, what a wonderful story. All the others who raved about how well written it was? They’re absolutely correct! I especially liked the section about not letting healthcare professionals get away with not taking you and your concerns seriously.

    Not to mention you look great in your pictures, and so happy!

    Karen F wrote on August 26th, 2011
  40. I LOVE your insight and strength when it comes to taking ownership of your health and well-being! Every time I hear someone say “oh I don’t think I could give that up” or “but what about ” I think “Oh but you should educate yourself on what it really means to our bodies to eat that.”

    I can totally relate to people who want to sabotage your efforts; I have people in my life that constantly demand to eat high sugar/inappropriate food, make fun of the way I eat, or just don’t believe in it, and it does hurt. That being said, as I am sure you are aware, it is totally worth it. I have learned to throw research and studies at those who try to discount what I am doing; that generally shuts them up.

    Mary wrote on August 26th, 2011

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