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

The Butterfly

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!

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…”

I will have my one year Primal Blueprint anniversary this 13 May 2012. Going Primal changed my life so completely, that I can only compare the transformation to a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

When I found The Primal Blueprint a year ago, I was beyond desperate. I had finally admitted to myself and others that I had an eating disorder. I spent almost 37 years (since I was 9) being a binge eater. During that time, I also had several bouts of anorexia and exercise bulimia. My whole life revolved around gaining and losing 5-10 lbs. I can’t tell you how much time was spent managing my weight. This included all the time that I spent obsessing, avoiding people and life, exercising to compensate for the weight gain, manically working hard to get the weight off – only to binge again and gain the weight back. I put my poor body through hell. I spent my entire life being uncomfortable with myself. My self hatred was off the charts. I was constantly depressed.

I learned very early how to disguise my weight and how I felt about myself. It was no accident that I found a career in fashion, as I was an expert at styling-using clothing to disguise any and all perceived or imagined flaws. I never wore any fitted clothing, and if I did, it was during the few times that my weight had gone down to where I felt happy. That never lasted. Soon I would be right back to where I had started, plus a few more pounds on top of that. I learned that when I wore fantastic pieces of jewelry and/or shoes, that no one would focus on what I looked like, but what I was wearing. My entire life’s work revolved around trying to become invisible.

I am a single mom. My son will be 20 next month, and I raised him by myself since the beginning. Before I went Primal, he would express extreme frustration with the fact that I would wear sweatpants around all the time, especially in public. But it didn’t matter what he thought. I just couldn’t live up to my potential as a human being in the miserable state I was in. I thought I would NEVER, EVER break this awful pattern.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, and I went and got help. It only took a one hour session with an eating disorder counselor for me to feel better emotionally. After that, everything snowballed synchronistically. It was as if all I had to do was admit that I had a problem and confess it to those near and dear to me in order for my circumstances to change. The universe stepped in and soon afterwards, I discovered The Primal Blueprint online. The first story I read was The Unconquerable Dave. I was hooked immediately. Everything I read clicked and made sense to me. I ordered the books and began living the Primal Lifestyle. I never had to go back to that counselor.

In the beginning I doubted that it would work for me. Could I, would I, ever really love my body and myself?

The transition from a high carb diet to Primal eating was not painless. I definitely experienced the low carb flu for a while. In addition, when the fat began to melt away, the toxins that had been stored there caused me to have major blockages in my lymphatic system. I also developed a Healing Crisis. But I kept going no matter what. I wanted what Dave had. I wanted what I had always dreamed of having – a great body with self confidence and self love.

Slowly but surely, I discovered which foods worked for my body (not my emotions). For the first time in my life, I was satiated. I have always loved food, but no longer looked at it from a love/hate perspective. I LOVE the Primal Lifestyle. During this whole year, I actually NEVER did ANY of the exercises. After years and years of manic biking, running, walking, etc., I just felt really comfortable doing nothing. Even without exercise the weight came off, and my body transformed. I am very lucky. I am Greek, so I have a strong body to begin with. The Primal Lifestyle is a perfect match for me. Last month I bought a set of ballet tapes and am looking forward to beginning an exercise regimen for the upcoming year.

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I stopped thinking about what I was doing anymore. Being Primal is truly a way of life for me – an ingrained habit. I still weigh myself everyday, as sometimes my brain tries to trick me into believing that I am still the same as I ever was. I sometimes don’t see the new me in the mirror. My friend who is a photographer has helped me with that. He has taken some amazing photos of me, some of which I am sharing with you here. It is through those photos that I can really see the results of my hard work.

Last week I had my first date in 15 years with a guy I went to college with. We hadn’t seen each other in 28 years!! The first thing he said was how amazing I looked and that he had never seen me look that good. We had an incredible time together. I felt beautiful. Not once during the time I spent with him did I feel insecure about my body, nor did I ever experience any slight level of self hatred. To be honest, if I hadn’t been Primal, I am not sure I would have ever shown up to see him.

I am SO incredibly grateful to Mark for the Primal Blueprint and to all the others on the forum who I followed and who helped me out in the beginning. I am healthy. I love myself. I love my body. I wear fitted clothing now. I feel like a million bucks. I feel sexy. I have maintained my set-point weight.

I am no longer the caterpillar. I am the butterfly.

Thank you for letting me share.

In joy and freedom,

Monica (aka mondawg)

I met Mark in NYC at CrossFit, May 2011

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. Such a great story and one that I am relating to at this very moment in my life! It’s stories like this that keep me motivated to change these unhealthy habits. Thank you so much for sharing Mondawg! :)

    Jessica wrote on May 13th, 2012
  2. I am inspired. Thank you for your honesty and sharing. Your light is brilliant.

    Jodi wrote on May 13th, 2012
  3. Thank you for all your kind words! They mean so much to me.

    Monica wrote on May 13th, 2012
  4. This was such a nice read. It was so striking that as I saw your “before” and started to read below, when your face came into view in the “afters”, I was so struck by your glow and positivity, I actually said out loud:

    Oh My Gawd Honey

    And immediately scrolled right back up to look at the before to make sure I wasn’t imagining. Didn’t even have to see your bod to know how happy and complete you felt.

    Congrats and thanks for the share Monica!!

    Jessica wrote on May 13th, 2012
  5. Oh my God, you look so beautiful! I had to read your story twice because it’s so wonderful and I ended up smiling in admiration in front of my computer.

    You can really be proud of yourself and you have a right to feel good and sexy! There are so many people fighting with eating disorders, but you’ve managed to find an effective way to combat yours.

    Isabel wrote on May 14th, 2012
  6. I am a 46 year old single mum (for 10 years now). Your story has TOTALLY inspired me.



    Frankie wrote on May 14th, 2012
  7. Smiling for you! I know you must be like a baby enjoying your new-found life!

    Patrick wrote on May 14th, 2012
  8. Great story and transformation. I would go so far as to apply the term MILF, but only in to convey the full scope of your newfound hotness and younger-than-your-years new look.

    But seriously, enjoy your new life, especially the part where you can fully love yourself and others. As you can see there are many happy and supportive people here enjoying the same benefits of this lifestyle. We are all Grok, and happy to welcome you to our tribe.

    Deuce wrote on May 14th, 2012
  9. Best line of your post: “I am Greek, so I have a strong body to begin with.” Awesome self-acceptance. You. Go. Girl!

    primalmichael wrote on May 14th, 2012
  10. Thank you. Your support is amazing and it makes my day!! <3

    Monica wrote on May 16th, 2012
  11. Miss Monica – Your after photos are stunning, and not just outwardly . . . you can see the happiness from within shining right through! But, let me be perfectly honest with you (and I know you’ll never believe me), but your before photo also shows a very beautiful woman. NOT a happy woman, NOT a really fit woman, but still very pretty. You were just too emotionally miserable to realize it. Congratulations on your new-found health and happiness! :)

    AmyC wrote on May 16th, 2012
  12. Holee crap, girlfriend, you look awesome! What a difference not just in your body (which, though you look fantastic now, in the Before pic is what many people would be happy to have including myself about 95 lbs. ago) but also in the joy radiating out of you. And you say you did it without exercise?? Maybe I should try that! LOVE the pic of you and Mark!

    Tina wrote on May 18th, 2012
  13. Hi Monica, I am so happy for you that you found your real way of living. I found it already three years ago, but not because I was not happy with my body, but because of some health issues. Good luck an you truly look beautiful.

    Damian wrote on May 18th, 2012
  14. Monica,

    you look awesome. is it ok to call you a “spandex babe” now? ^_^


    pam wrote on May 19th, 2012
  15. Thanks so much! Life is definitely sunny now. 😉

    Monica wrote on May 20th, 2012
  16. Hi Monica!

    Congratulations on overcoming your issues with food and being uncomfortable in your own skin :) Your story is very inspirational to me. I am going through something extremely similar (binging, purging, over exercising…you name it) and am having loads of trouble getting over it. I know how horrible this is for my body physically and mentally, but I just havent been able to overcome it. I stuff myself, feel horrible, then purge. I am really good at hiding it and putting on a positive front, but, in reality, I am depressed, anxious, and insecure..even while eating Primal. I would love to talk to you or just get some advice from you :)

    Thanks and congrats again!

    Kacey wrote on June 11th, 2012
  17. Monica, you look great well done!

    Lee wrote on June 13th, 2012
  18. Monica. Outstanding story! We are all proud of your tenacity and envy your smile. I too was inspired by Dave, which now six months into Primal, I have lost 40 pounds. Now you are a new inspiration!

    May God bless your life Monica!

    Bear wrote on July 3rd, 2012
  19. Thank you for sharing and your story…I see myself in your story,eating disorder (anorexic /bulimic )….diet…self hatred…went as a flight attendant (supposed to be glamorous and exciting)I would lock myself in hotel room and binge and cry and hate myself…)
    I am now primal (although I still restrict at times) for 3 months.
    You give me hope, thank you and much, love
    Chantal :-)

    Chantal wrote on July 27th, 2012
  20. Simply want to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your post is just
    nice and i could assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep up
    to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep
    up the gratifying work.

    Nannie wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  21. Love your story. You inspire!

    Helga wrote on March 10th, 2013
  22. Of all the success stories that I have read, this is the one that resonates with me the most.

    These are the emotions that I have been dealing with for most of my life. Self loathing, self hatred. I avoid doing anything really because I hate how I look and how I feel.

    Relationships? Ha! You must be kidding.

    Interesting that I too will use clothing to hide myself. Larger t-shirts, etc.

    So I get it.

    Thank you for sharing. This is the kick in the ass that I have needed for a long time.

    I will be printing your story and putting it on my refrigerator.

    Mark Lowe
    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Mark wrote on June 22nd, 2013
  23. It is great joy to see that everything went well. You found the power to become different person. Congratulations!

    Ubranka dla dzieci Gdańsk wrote on January 16th, 2015

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