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

Starting from Zero

With yesterday’s launch of this year’s Primal Challenge, I hope you’re all feeling as pumped and excited as I am. Whatever your biggest goal coming into it (e.g. weight loss, stress management, fitness performance), you’re in great company. Thousands of readers every year find the annual Challenge a powerful catalyst for transforming their well-being. Having made the initial commitment, we’re now on the journey itself. This is where the rubber meets the road, folks. Rush turns to focus. Vision becomes reality one day at a time. For some readers, however, staring down the path might seem especially long and arduous. The road side, so to speak, might be littered with the psychological scraps of past disappointments, long-term illness, or emotional issues. Some folks can feel like they’re starting their journey from a formidable zero.

You might be in the worst shape of your life. You might be tipping the scale at an all-time high. You might be fighting a serious health condition you never dreamed you’d encounter. You may have battled disordered eating. You might not remember when/if you ever had a good self-image. My good readers, how many of you felt this way before going Primal? A good percentage of our Friday Success Stories tell this story. An inspiring number of our 2012 Success Stories in the Making reflect the same.

In all my years talking with clients and readers, I’ve heard people often say they’re starting from zero, from rock bottom, with no baseline at all. I understand where they were coming from. Everyone is beginning this journey with a different level of fitness and health. I get that. Yet, I have never in my entire career met anyone starting with nothing. The concept defies physiological reality.

You might get winded walking up half a flight of stairs. You may have lost significant muscle mass. You might struggle to simply sit with (let alone carry) around the extra 50, 75, or 100+ pounds you’ve put on. However, your body is still made to move. It still craves it. I ran across a quote recently “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.” I’d second that. It’s feels harder to train at times, but – make no mistake – living and breathing within you is that pure physical force, that Primal Grok, that evolutionary extraordinaire. Choosing to live Primally – with the right fuel, the expected movement, the necessary sleep and sun – simply allows you to live out the full measure of that vital potential.

And let me say something else about one’s “baseline.” When beginning a journey like this, baseline is about much more than VO2 max, mile time, bench press weight, or lipid profile. Numbers don’t tell your story, and they don’t determine your prospects for success. Think for a minute about what else you bring to the Challenge. What about the motivational power? What about the emotional stamina? What about the social strength of friends, family, and Primal community? What about the force of full-on personal investment or raw will? Those count for something. In fact, those often count for everything. Your physical baseline determines the particular level you start from, but it doesn’t define the trajectory of your journey or the fulfillment of your experience along the way.

Along these lines, let me offer a few suggestions and invite each and every one of our readers to give their own perspective and encouragement.

Invest in Support

As you begin the Challenge, make sure you’re taking full advantage of the support system you have. Not everyone in your life is on board with the Primal Blueprint, it’s true. Regardless, look to those in your life who bring a Primally sympathetic or just open mindset. Some friends, even if they can’t understand why you’re eating so much fat, will support you because they want to simply celebrate any investment you make in your health and happiness. Embrace that. Open yourself to the support of folks in this community. Participate in the comment boards, join the forum, and you’ll see what I mean. Finally, if you feel like past issues like disordered eating still have a grip on you, enlist the professional help you need and deserve.

Develop Big Picture Perspective

Sometimes people get caught up in a particular goal and lose sight of the full process. Embrace daily Primal living and not just specific Challenge goals. (For some people, this might be an important Challenge focus itself.) Going Primal will get you to the destination you have in mind, but it’s not the deprivation-focused, white-knuckle experience you might be used to. Use the Challenge to transform your life as well as you physiology. Relish the myriad of benefits going Primal offers. It’s more than the weight loss and lean muscle mass. Notice the better quality sleep, the more even mood, the sharper focus, the more consistent energy in your day. On that note…

Prioritize Feeling Good (Primally Speaking) Every Day

You’re making a point of eating real, ancestral-worthy food, of adding an exercise regimen. Rest assured, you’re remaking your physiology in the process. You will absolutely reap the benefits long before this Challenge is over. But also make a point of doing something (or several things) that make you feel good today. These healthy “indulgences” can help get you through a rough day of low carb flu or unexpected stress. Relax in the sun. Relish turning in early for a full night’s sleep. (Remember what that feels like?) Share a walk with a good friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Play. Enjoy an old hobby. Take a personal retreat. Make a masterpiece dinner and savor it in real ambiance. In other words, let yourself enjoy the process. Make the Challenge an indulgence as well as an investment in yourself. And make sure you have good Primal fun every day.

Grokkers, please chime in – whether you identify with the “starting from zero” or want to support those who do. What perspective and advice do you have? Thanks for reading today, everyone. Check back tomorrow for the 8 Key Concepts you need to understand for a successful Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I definitely support anyone willing to try something new, including myself. I’m not starting from rock bottom–I’ve lost ~45lbs over the past couple years (not with primal, although many principles were the same).

    My rock bottom was May 2010 when I weighed 275lbs on a 5′ 8.5″ female frame and had almost no energy to do anything.

    Charlayna wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Hi

      Sorry don’t know where to post my question so here goes….. I dont eat legumes with the exception of fresh string green beans as they are great in soup and with raw butter. However is this Paelo or should I be avoiding them? I’ve just started reading your book but can’t locate an answer to my question.

      Heather wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • http://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-peas-and-green-beans-healthy/

        This site has a search bar, for future reference.

        Bill C wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • Go to the search at the top and type in green beans–Mark has discussed this before–says their OK and has even included them in several of the recipes in his cook books.

        fritzy wrote on September 11th, 2012
  2. I think it helps to pick some smaller goals sometimes, just as a day-to-day thing. Today, I am feeling pretty down, but I am going to make myself some applesauce to try with my homemade yogurt. Not only is making my own food totally Primal, it should be delicious! It’s also a way for me to start carefully reintroducing fruit into my diet after some severe Candida issues (cooked is easier for digestion).

    Tasha wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • I totally agree about picking smaller goals! If I need to tell myself I only will do two sprints to get myself out the door, then I tell myself I only need to do two sprints. Often times momentum will pick up, and I’ll end up exceeding my goal.

      Ben Hirshberg wrote on September 11th, 2012
  3. I’m not starting from zero either, but pretty close! I’ve fallen off the primal wagon and the challenge is just what I need to get right back on board. I support everyone willing to give it a shot, what do we have to lose?

    Shana wrote on September 11th, 2012
  4. In Oct.of 2010 is when I relised I was not the real me. I saw a 65 year old man who had droped down to what he called fighting weight. If he could do it so could I. I did I dropped down to 118 and I no longer hert all over. I stll am not as fit as I should be. But with the challenge I am going to make stides toward being more fit.

    Debi wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Every success. I took a Minimalist approach to gaining weight and building muscle some years ago. I’ve periodically dropped off the wagon, but what keeps me motivated over the long-term is having females 20+ years younger check me out as I pass. I believe the same will happen for you.

      All The Best

      J. Delancy wrote on September 11th, 2012
  5. Today I shared with a co-worker/friend my Primal diet. She was kind of surprised by the “no grains” aspect, and I thought for sure she’d say something critical… but all she said was, “Eating more fat? That sounds… delicious!”

    BonzoGal wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • I got the same reaction from my friends… More steak and fat please… why waste stomach space with pasta/ bread when you can enjoy more tasty things!

      One thing that will help anyone starting on this road is to focus on achieving just 1 thing per day. Those small successes daily are habit forming, and a great way to build to bigger things!

      Patrice wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Exactly what I love about paleo.. I LOVE FAT! I’m born to eat pork belly. I knew it from the first memory I had it.

      Gift Clumsywarrior wrote on September 11th, 2012
  6. Even though I’ve changed a lot since starting paleo two years ago, I start at zero every day. I have a long term plan, but I don’t think about it too much, I try to stay focused on today. My priorities change every day, sleep, movement, food. If I ignore what I need, I get the feedback pretty quick. I’m learning how to just live and not obsess. I’m liking the result.

    Wendy wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • I really like this:

      “I start at zero every day. I have a long term plan, but I don’t think about it too much, I try to stay focused on today. My priorities change every day, sleep, movement, food. If I ignore what I need, I get the feedback pretty quick. I’m learning how to just live and not obsess.”

      I started eating primally about a week and a half ago and this is exactly how I feel and want to approach my days. I have obsessed too much in the past. I need to pay attention to the simple things, not too many at once. One step at a time.

      Liz wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Thank you for this perspective, Wendy. It has been very helpful to me.

      Barb wrote on September 19th, 2012
  7. I was at my all time high weight on July 1st and did 30 days of “pure” Primal – no cheating. I felt fantastic and by day 30 had lost 11 lbs and it was in ALL the “right places”. I’m enjoying every meal and my new size! I still have 2/3’s of the way to go to my goal weight. To anyone starting this 21 day challenge – If I can do this, YOU can do it! Signed, a former sugar junkie

    MoodyGirl wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Oh, and did I mention? My doc took me off the Blood Pressure meds I had been taking for 15 years!

      MoodyGirl wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • CONGRATULATIONS! A thousand fold MoodyGirl.

        J. Delancy wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • That’s really the dream — getting off these meds that have come with unfit middle age (in my case). Congratulations!

        Sal77 wrote on September 11th, 2012
  8. I’m definitely starting from zero. Well, I’ve made serious progress over the past 45 days, but, when compared to the damage I’ve done over the past 35 years, I’ve got a LONG way to go. Although I started eating and exercising primally last month, I’m using this challenge to make sure that I continue on the right path while incorporating ALL of the aspects of the primal lifestyle. Good luck to all. Must go eat fish now.

    Steve 'Caveman' V. wrote on September 11th, 2012
  9. I think the concept of ‘starting from zero’ can be a relative one. My family and I just recently finished relocating a few states away, and the subsequenty stress, bad eating, bad sleeping that accompanied that time period. I am ‘starting from zero’ now to continue to improve my health. Is today’s zero better off than the zero years back? Absolutely. I probably weight 225 [at 6’2]. I used to weight 305.

    I know I am better off, but the concept of ‘starting anew’ is a powerful one and I continue to use it as life throws me challenges.

    Mike P wrote on September 11th, 2012
  10. I read this blog via an RSS feed on Livejournal. If anyone else on Livejournal wants to connect with me as we do this challenge I’m at Gwendally.livejournal.com.

    Dally wrote on September 11th, 2012
  11. My rock bottom was 314 pounds as a 5’2″ female, not fitting into cars, chairs, bathroom stalls, airplaine seats, breaking toilet seats and no longer fitting into clothes even from the “Big girl” stores. I couldn’t tie my own shoes, put on my own socks or lift my hands above shoulder level. I sent other family members to the back of the grocery store to get milk because it was too far for me to walk.

    I’m now 139 pounds and getting fitter and stronger every single day. There is nothing special about me. I’m as ordinary as they come. I just DECIDED to get healthy. I so encourage anyone out there who is where I was to just make that decision. If I can do it, you can to.

    Ravey wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • For those that think that they are too far down the wrong path and there’s no way back, here’s a thought:

      The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today. It is NEVER too late to make a positive change.

      Ravey wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Amazing! I’m very happy for you Ravey!

      Patrick wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • That’s amazing! Congrats

      TaiChiHolly wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Please please please submit a Success Story!!

      oxide wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • +1

        Beth wrote on September 13th, 2012
    • Great job. Wow down to 139 lbs. Awesome!! I’m really thinking of doing the primal diet now after reading this. I have had the book for several months now but haven’t stuck with it.I’m going to start the journey.

      Joe wrote on September 20th, 2012
    • Ravey,
      That is awesome!! I have a co-worker that we are all so worried about (fits what you had described above) and I wish there was some way I could encourage her to try something, but I feel like she really needs to want to lose the weight and get healthy and she is not there! BTW, I have been primal since May 2012! Down 30 pounds and feel amazing!

      Jennifer wrote on October 5th, 2012
  12. Hey Mark (and all others here), for 6 years I have struggled with an eating disorder. I went Primal for a good 8 months, hoping that that would help, that it would change things. Though I loved eating Primal, my mindset still became utterly restrictive and eating disordered. After adding some grains back in to my diet and gaining the necessary weight, I want to try and change my diet to what feels good for my body–but I still question if it is good for my mind. Have you ever encountered anyone else who has such a question? What did you tell them, if so. If not, help??

    Z.E.S.T. wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Z.E.S.T., I’d recommend the book “Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection” by Jessica Prentice. She advocates for a whole-food diet (based on the Weston Price Foundation precepts). She had eating disorders most of her life and writes about healing herself both physically and mentally with a high-fat, whole-food diet.

      BonzoGal wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • Thank you!

        Z.E.S.T. wrote on September 11th, 2012
  13. I reached zero on the day my daughter was born. Looking back, I was swollen and looked unhappy in pictures. I decided to make a dramatic change.

    While I didn’t follow Mark’s specific plan, I did follow a similar low-carb diet (as promoted by Gary Taubes).

    I had dramatic results.. within 2 months I was down over 40 lbs with little exercise.

    My teeth were healthier, I had no more gas or bloating, I had more sustained energy, I managed to lose a persistent hand rash, and (most importantly) I was no longer a grizzly-bear when I hadn’t eaten within 2 hours of my last meal.

    Be warned, though, the first 2 or 3 days can be rough if you have serious sugar withdrawal (as I did). Tough it out and you will feel amazing.

    Also be warned that many of your friends or family may be worried or hostile to your diet (especially when you splash butter on a steak and skip the potato). The problem is that low-fat dogma is so engrained in our collective consciousness that it is hard to convince people otherwise..

    Let the results speak for themselves.. I have my whole office coming to me for advice now.

    Good Luck!

    Matt Dyck wrote on September 11th, 2012
  14. In a way we’re all starting from zero when you consider the benefits even the “conventionally ” healthy get from changing this to this frame work.

    If you come from thinking bodybuilders are good models of health you’ve got lots of muscle but you’re starting from zero.

    If you come from thinking Marathoners are good models of health you’ve got lots of stamina but you’re starting from zero.

    I’ve been studying and practising this stuff for the last two year and I start everyday at zero.

    alex wrote on September 11th, 2012
  15. Thanks for the reminder that this is about lifestyle change, not just meeting big goals! I’ve been struggling with getting my eating back on track and letting anxiety get to me. Time to focus on living Primal and feeling good today, rather than on the remaining 60 lbs I need to lose.

    Matt Meeks wrote on September 11th, 2012
  16. Almost three years ago, I started at zero, or close to it. It was exhilirating, because there was nowhere to go but up!

    I had tried to get healthy before, but didn’t really know what I was doing. The Primal Blueprint changed all that. Just live like your ancestors! This simplified everything and gave me total confidence. It wasn’t long before I started reaping the rewards, which kept me motivated to this day.

    Even now I feel like a beginner. And I hope never to lose that feeling! When you are just starting out, any change is possible, and every change is amazing.

    Embrace the humility of the beginner. You will achieve more than the so-called experts!

    Timothy wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • That’s an inspiring post, thank you.

      Sal77 wrote on September 11th, 2012
  17. My rock bottom was in 2005, after my father passed away from cancer, I continued with my poor lifestyle habits in excess, the same ones that took his life. As a 5’8″ small frame person who graduated high school at 150 lbs, I had ballooned up to 205 pounds of pure fat, no muscle. I had just purchased a puppy and while I was chasing her around the yard, i felt my heart start pounding in a way I had never felt before, I was short of breath, had tingling in my head, felt dizzy and though I was going to pass out or have a heart attack. I was 26 years old at the time. I looked like I was 46. It was a wake-up call.

    I was able to drop down to 160 lbs during the course of that summer, but not by the healthiest means. I never felt truly “healthy”. This past winter I once again put on extra weight and was 180lbs at christmas time. I thought I would never be able to find a comfortable weight and manage it, especially without working out for 2-3 hours per day. Thus began my search for true healthiness.

    I went on a strict vegan diet starting in January, and during the first two months I felt great and was able to drop down to 143 lbs which I consistently remained at until just over a month ago. After a grain-binge, I put on 10 lbs that hasn’t seemed to want to go away.

    Thus begins my transition to a Primal Life. Nothing to lose right? I’ve already eliminated all of the other poisons from my life, now I am one week free from grains. All I have to do is up the fat intake a little and slowly incorporate some meat into my day. I’m a little nervous, but also excited.

    I love this community, so glad I came across this site several months ago, and look forward to becoming a fellow Grokker.

    Good luck to all who are starting anew, and thank you to all who have already done it, your words and testimonials are awesome!

    jrVegantoPrimal wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • You have already become a fellow Grokker!
      Welcome!

      HeyDianne wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • well i haven’t yet consumed any meat, but soon i think. so i guess i’m “gatherer grok” right now haha! one of these days, i just need to build up some courage.

        jrVegantoPrimal wrote on September 11th, 2012
        • Ham-Bone wrote on September 12th, 2012
        • @Ham-Bone

          I really appreciate the link. I read the article and almost all of the comments. Since I haven’t been on this diet for even a year, I don’t think much of it applies to me. I’m trying to think of what is causing my hesitation and honestly I can’t really identify one particular thing. But for the most part, I have actually experienced many health benefits over the last 8 months of being a vegan. Granted my previous diet consisted of daily wheat, sodas, sugars, breads, cereals, milk, cheese and meats, and by eliminating all of them I was certainly going to see a boost in my health. Now that all of the other poisons are out, I might be thinking that meat could be a gateway into the other stuff. However I like to think that I have more self control than that.

          Some of it might be a personal identity issue as well, I sort of enjoy being an “outlier” and being different from the norm. eating strictly raw fruits, veggies and nuts is certainly not the norm. Especially being someone who trains in boxing/mma.

          Also, I used to have a major problem with the last part of the digestive process. The very last part. I feel a little concern that adding meats and fats back into the diet will “bind” me up again, and that is something I cannot afford, physically, mentally or financially. My issues are finally gone after ten years of agonizing pain and now I have the most pleasurable movements ever!

          Anyway, starting small should work. I don’t think I will ever go back to meat in every meal, I’m thinking one meal a day, a couple days a week. And smaller portions, 4-6 ozs. The fact that I am a small individual to begin with factors in as well. Does a 135-40lb person need as much meat/protein as a 185-205lb person? I would think not.

          Thanks again for the link!

          jrVegantoPrimal wrote on September 12th, 2012
  18. Right, take it one day at a time. Now is what we have and we can make changes now. I started today with a great walk with the dog, and then a session of LHT. I feel great this am. All I needed to do was get up and walk out the door. Griz (the dog)was thrilled to go for walk with me.

    Dave Heaslett wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • I start every single day with walkin the dogs :) Isn’t it a grand & glorious way to begin each day?

      peggy wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • I do too! Somedays I don’t feel like going, but I am ALWAYS glad I do. And my dog loves it :).

        Sarah wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • I’ve started to add in some short sprints to our walk. My pooch is getting a little old and I think the running helps her arthritis. Although sometimes she won’t follow me and gives me a funny look!!!

        jrVegantoPrimal wrote on September 12th, 2012
  19. Baby steps, many of them, add up to long distances. Compare progress month-on-month, year-on-year, not day-to-day or meal-to-meal.

    Alison Golden wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • I agree that we need to take baby steps for any significant life change. Jumping in feet first can cause frustration and the abandoning of promising programs and structures. When it comes to changing a lifestyle that is the only way to go!

      Ed wrote on September 11th, 2012
  20. I’m down 50 lbs from my rock bottom. I loathed looking into the mirror and seeing a bloated, tired, inflammed blob; a complete 180 from my younger days. Life happens and it is really easy to make bad food/health decisions, which compound over time. I no longer use weight as a set metric, but I think I have at least another 30 lbs to before I add on lean muscle. Any one can do this!

    Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • When you do take up dumbell curls be sure to use the Ron Burgandy “count” 1001… 1002… 1003…

      skeedaddy wrote on September 11th, 2012
  21. For me I learned to turn the ‘negative’ emotion of disgust with myself into exactly what I needed for motivation. It felt like starting from zero because it was my rock bottom as it were. I realized for quite a while that I was sliding into bad habits and poor health, but with all the pep-talks I had with myself and positive affirmations posted on my mirror, it wasn’t until I was truly disgusted with myself that I said “That’s it, I’m not going to let this take over my life.
    I’m going to live my life to the fullest and be the healthiest I can be.” – Or words to that effect…
    I still conjure up that feeling of disgust when I feel myself falling off the wagon and it still works.
    Good luck to all of you who feel like you’re at that place now. Don’t see disgust or even despair as negative – use it to your advantage and go kick some butt.

    JackieVB wrote on September 11th, 2012
  22. I’ve done a 30-day challenge before and gained 5 pounds on an already 100 pound overweight frame. I SO want this to work, it’s a life I can get my brain around, so I’m putting the “but” behind me and going full on one more time.

    Mamachibi wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Hey, you can do it! I’ve been Primal for 38 days. I haven’t lost any weight, but I had some lab work done and the diet change is reflected in my blood work/cholesterol. Please don’t get discouraged. There might be changes happening that aren’t reflected on the scale!

      hilarydanette wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • My doctor is having a COW about my lab work. It’s gotten worse and she’s pushing pills at me. Not gonna happen. So far the only changes I’ve seen are that I LIKE the food! And at my age, better to enjoy the food than spend an hour plus every day weighing, measuring and counting calories (did that for MANY years.)

        Mamachibi wrote on September 12th, 2012
  23. I am also not starting from scratch, have lost 60 pounds since December eating Primal, but I have slid off it lately. My goal is to get back in the Primal eating and the heck with those who say they are concerned that I will die of a heart attack before I am 40!

    Tana wrote on September 11th, 2012
  24. The timing of this 21 day challenge is perfect to get me to refocus on healthy living. I have been all over the place lately caring for everyone else but myself. Time to refocus on what my priorities are, and the life that I want to live. To be the best that I can be also. It’s a beautiful sunny day. I have been procrastinating on exercising for 3 weeks. ENOUGH – DAY 1 of 21: I am going to start the challenge with an hour bike ride, with tons of oxygenating, with taking in the sun,and with lots of infused positive loving bear-hugging “YOU CAN DO IT” thoughts. Talleeehoooooo!

    DEBRAKADABRA wrote on September 11th, 2012
  25. I’m 39 and in ways I feel like I’m starting anew. I’ve been Primal for a few years now, but I’ve recently quit some bad habits that will have a tremendous positive impact on my health and happiness.

    No matter what it is, or from where you start, you can take a positive step.

    At times I envy the folks that discovered primal living in their 20s, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

    I can only measure against myself, and what progress I’ve made.
    Good luck everyone!

    Lars

    Lars T. wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Understand where you’re coming from Lars! Good luck to you too!

      Jen wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Lars,
      I envy YOU for being Primal at 39!!

      Signed,
      Finding Primal at 60

      Kara wrote on September 12th, 2012
  26. Hi Mark. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

    Tanja wrote on September 11th, 2012
  27. It’s always better at the very beginning because the progress you make at the very beginning is always so much faster than when you further along.

    Diane wrote on September 11th, 2012
  28. While I’m not starting from a physical zero (by living Primally, I lost 70 pounds in the past year-ish post pregnancy – pretty proud of that), but I’m starting from an emotional zero. I’m doing this challenge to be healthier and to actually, intentionally care for myself. And, as this post suggests, this involves doing something “special” every day. This post was a good reminder that it’s not just about inches or pounds, it’s also about finding your joy and being content with who you are, even if you’re not exactly where you want to be.

    Rachael wrote on September 11th, 2012
  29. Another great post! For me, starting from zero means defining your purpose. If you are able to articulate your purpose and stay aligned with it, you will succeed. Its very simple but not easy and often overlooked. This simple but powerful first step propelled me to get in the best shape of my life. I gained almost 60lbs when I lost my purpose. I redefined my WHY? and have dropped 40lbs since then. I have made it my life’s mission to help others find their purpose and succeed.

    Hassan wrote on September 11th, 2012
  30. Starting from zero & eating short ribs, sweet potatoes, olives & chicken, pate, tomatoes & peaches, dark chocolate, wine…then playing & sleeping? Sign me up!!

    Starting from zero & resigning yourself to dry chicken breasts and yogurt w/splenda…torture. A grind.

    Primal is not a grind. Its aligning your body, mind & spirit with all the stuff that makes us happy: play, sleep, amazing food. The fun stuff also happens to make us healthy. Good luck everyone!

    fitmom wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • My zero was having so many food allergies I couldn’t eat anything BUT primal: meat, some veggies, berries. Then I started feeling great. Really great. Lost 25 lbs, very slooowly, off my 5’2″ frame, but have gained a ton of good health markers. So glad I stumbled on this!

      fitmom wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • I am in the same state you were – can’t eat anything but primal because of food allergies (itchy ears are the worst symptom). Love hearing that things have shifted for you. Do you now eat any of the foods that you were previously allergic to?

        Mara wrote on September 11th, 2012
        • Mara – I too have food sensitivities and allergies. I’ve been very slowly losing weight, as fitmom says. I’ve been eating Primal since January and I have one major food victory: I just got avocados back! At the end of last year they started giving me major mouth irritation (super itchy). Two weeks ago I gave them another try and I’m so pleased! I will also say that I visited an allergist who’s helping me with vitamins and supplements to heal my digestion. It’s definitely working! All those years of the SAD have taken their toll. Slowly my body is recuperating. I hope that’s encouraging to you! Just keep on keepin’ on :)

          Miss H wrote on September 11th, 2012
        • I eat all of them except for wheat and beans. Some, like uncultured dairy, still have negative effects (breakouts, stomachache), so I skip those for the most part. The GAPS diet is also great for healing gut health & reducing food sensitivities, & aligns nicely with primal, as a temporary measure. Good luck!

          fitmom wrote on September 12th, 2012
  31. This challenge is such perfect timing. I’ve been slipping for the past month or so, and man, I have totally been feeling it this past week. Tired, weak, annoyed more often, unable to focus…now I know why I went primal in the first place! My words of advice would be, EDUCATE YOURSELVES, folks! I think the most inspirational, motivating tactic for me was RESEARCH! I subconsciously began making better food choices when I had the knowledge of what they were and why. It got me excited and it made me feel special [and admittedly a little superior at times] that I knew so much more about health and nutrition than most of the people around me. Devour MDA and read some of the blogs Mark recommends. Get yourself amped up and stick with it! To quote an infamous Men’s Warehouse ad, “you’re gonna like the way you look…I guarantee it”. Good luck all!

    Kait wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • That quote is so fitting, nice touch.

      Chika wrote on September 11th, 2012
  32. When I found MDA 3.5 yrs ago, I *was* at rock bottom! A year before my (then) spouse had left me AND he had been diagnosed with cancer. I lost over 25# on the doom-despair-heartbreak “diet”, leaving me at 102 on a 5’4″ frame. A yr later I had gained back that weight at such a high speed that my skin felt too tight – I was miserable & uncomfortable in my own body. A couple I knew (who were also vegetarians) mentioned “paleo” in a blog. I started the switch. Within 7 days I felt marvelous! Then while looking for recipes, I discovered MDA.
    Long story short: MDA/PB brought me back! Still a work-in-progress, but I’ll never go back :)

    peggy wrote on September 11th, 2012
  33. I started at 288lbs 5’5″. I am down 130 lbs by eating a primal type diet and a lot of running. I now don’t run as much and have added Crossfit.

    I would have to say the journey is as rewarding as reaching the goal. I celebrated every new accomplishment, like losing 10, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50…etc. pounds and adding time to my running every week. I started with jogging only 15 mins on the treadmill and then walked the rest of my work out. I challenged myself to add 5 minutes every week. It was hard, but I did it and it felt so good to accomplish so much.

    Celebrate every little success you have!

    Alicia wrote on September 11th, 2012
  34. I got to rock bottom December last year, I was 104 kg (229 pounds) and even tho I was quite fit for that sort of size, you couldn’t see my muscles but I knew they were there. I had heard about low carb and got on to MDA by googling that and found a lifestyle rather then a diet. I remember it was a big oh Yes! moment. I followed the food part strictly, the exercise not so strictly and lost 10kg quite quickly, maintained that for a while and now have lost another 10kg so I am 187 pounds and have been for a couple of months. I felt great and it seemed to be sorting out some lifelong hormonal problems caused by PCOS. Lately I have not been so strict, I have gotten lazy and some starch and carbs have been creeping in. I want to feel like I did a few months ago and I want to loose another ten kilo so this challenge is my chance to refocus so I don’t hit the bottom again before I decide to change!

    Juli wrote on September 11th, 2012
  35. I’m one of the “in the making” types. I’ve had enormous success this year. I have one strong recommendation: get fiber every day (no skipping a day), and drink plenty of fluids. I got a rectal fissure from dehydration and lack of fiber shortly after starting, and it’s taking some time to heal. Ouch!

    Ken wrote on September 11th, 2012
    • Been there, although it was horrible choices and diet in my college days that brought me the agonizing pain for the next ten years. In my case I had to have surgery, but it was well worth it. I no longer fear daily “duties” and have a bounce in my step again. Gotta love the human body, treat it badly and pay the price!!!

      jrVegantoPrimal wrote on September 11th, 2012
  36. Started my 21-Day-Challenge by whacking myself in the knee with my sledgehammer! Luckily it was just a glancing blow. Perhaps there is such a thing as too much enthusiasm!

    Siobhan wrote on September 11th, 2012
  37. I’m at zero, got an office job five years ago. I used to build houses and had more muscle than I knew what to do with. Now I’m 35lbs over weight and no upper body mass. I do run and mountain bike ALOT and it just doesn’t help me to loose weight. I have studied primal for over a year. I had a hard time with the thought of giving up grains and beans and milk etc.etc.etc. I have read the Primal Blueprint, have the cook books, signed up for the e-mails, and hope this works! My wife is supportive so here we go!

    Joel wrote on September 11th, 2012
  38. I am 55 have been primal for about 6 months now. People always told me I didn’t need to lose weight but I knew better. I am tall and carried the spare tire pretty well. It is mostly gone now but intermittent cheating (IC) has stopped me from finishing it off. This 21 day challenge is just what I need to lose that last 5 pounds. Each time I am tempted I tell myself I can wait til October. I told my wife I still have a little way to go. She said, “I don’t know, your butt looks sculpted already”. Now that’s motivation to stay primal.

    Craig wrote on September 11th, 2012
  39. I started primal at one of my lowest points a little over 2 months back. I clocked in at 335lbs, my heaviest weight ever. The year before my blood work came back with pre-diabetes. Now that i’m on primal, i’ve already lost 37lbs (first time in 2 years i’ve gotten below 300lbs!) and feel the best i have in almost a decade.

    Chris wrote on September 11th, 2012
  40. I’ve found that it’s easier to live primally by focusing on each day, rather than some future goal. It’s a lifestyle shift, after all. If I invested too much energy into getting to the end of 21 days, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much, and would be much more likely to binge on day 22 (and each day thereafter).

    Adrian wrote on September 11th, 2012

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