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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 31, 2012

The Perfect Storm (a.k.a. How I Lost Those Last 10 lbs)

By Guest
160 Comments

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!

Female, age 45, 5’ 2”

Starting weight: Flirting with 130 lbs

Goal weight: 120 lbs

Current weight: 117 lbs

I’ve always eaten a  fairly  “healthy” diet (according to the latest conventional wisdom) and exercised regularly (cycling, hiking and BodyPump™twice a week), but as the years were going by my weight was creeping up. I was still at the high range of “normal”, but I was puffy and didn’t feel like my efforts with BodyPump™ were showing.

In April 2011 I stumbled upon Mark’s Daily Apple. It just clicked for me. I adopted the Primal way of eating immediately and had no trouble giving up grains and sticking to the 80/20 rule. In 2 months I had lost 5 lbs without even “trying”. My husband was skeptical.

In June 2011 my husband was diagnosed with Leukemia. He was in the hospital for 6 months. I stopped working and was by his side the entire time. This would have been an easy time to abandon the Primal lifestyle, but it was just what I needed. A little project to keep my mind busy. I read everything I could…books and online about Primal/paleo. My food choices were limited at the hospital cafeteria…hard-boiled eggs and bacon for breakfast was easy. For lunches and suppers I usually walked to a grocery store to hunt and gather. It gave me a purpose and reason to get out of the hospital, move slowly and clear my mind. Despite the stress of the situation the Primal Blueprint kept me sane and healthy. I continued to lean out and people started worrying that I wasn’t eating. I told them I was eating more than usual, but they didn’t believe me. My staples included avocados, mini cukes, cherry tomatoes, berries, tinned sardines and salmon, nuts, full-fat cheese, smoked chicken thighs, liver pate, coconut water, coffee with heavy cream, dark chocolate and plenty more! My occasional treat…good quality vanilla ice cream (and it’s still my weakness).

My husband had a stem cell transplant in November 2011. I’m thrilled to report that he has completely recovered from his illness. He’s back to work and we’re cycling again. Although he thinks I’m a little extreme on following “the cult”, he’s totally supportive. He’s even started to adopt some of the Primal ways (although it will be a while before he gives up his muesli for breakfast before work and his sandwich at lunch). Between us we have 3 “normal weight” teenagers. I feed them healthy meals at supper time, but for the rest of the day they make their own choices…often not very smart ones. As they get older I hope they become more aware of the connection between their diet and their health. In the meantime,  I love it when they ask me, “Is this Primal?”

Stephanie Turner

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160 Comments on "The Perfect Storm (a.k.a. How I Lost Those Last 10 lbs)"

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Carlos Morales
4 years 30 days ago

That’s a fantastic transformation. Well done.

leida
leida
4 years 30 days ago

This is so inspiring because it is succinct and no nonsense. I am so glad to hear that you weathered a hard time in your lives, and now it is back to great!

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
4 years 30 days ago

What leida said!

I have to “let go” with my little one’s food choices when she is elsewhere, too. She likes what I feed her at home and that’s good enough for me.

Danny
Danny
4 years 30 days ago

You look great!

The tone/definition/tightness of your arms is impressive! (arm flab is the bane of my wife’s existence)

Of course the ab definition is awesome is well.

Good for you, and kudos for not using the stressful period as an excuse to bail and eat ‘comfort foods’. Truly an inspiration for me.

Cat
4 years 30 days ago

Wow,looking good Stephanie! Your results are inspiring and reading about your ‘hospital diet’ is making me hungry. I hear ya on the vanilla ice cream.

Wishing continued good health for you and your hubs.

Sam Girgis
4 years 30 days ago

Wow, you had great results.

It’s amazing how much diet influences your health, weight, and fat composition… even when you are working out and exercising very rigorously. Carbohydrate loads cause insulin secretion, which then goes on to increase adiposity.

Keep up the good work!

Doug
Doug
4 years 30 days ago

The non believers spur me on. As you know the proof is in the pudding or in this case “the primal”.
Your results speak for themselves. Good job!

Dan
Dan
4 years 30 days ago
What a great story, congrats on your transformation and for your husbands health. My wife (age33) is also a cancer survivor….it was one of the hardest things we have ever gone through as a couple but it brought us much closer together. Your transformation has been incredible…I am a bit frustrated as I have been eating 80/20 now since April and I have stayed pretty true to it..sometimes more that 80, sometimes less…but I really haven’t seen any weight loss. energy levels up..yes, sleep patterns better..yes….over all well being better…yes but no weight loss yet. I am sure it will… Read more »
Susie
Susie
4 years 30 days ago
Hi Dan, Just a thought, but it might help your weight loss if you go 100% for a period of time, say 30 days. For especially insulin resistant people (me) or people with food sensitivities (me, again) 20% non primal foods is too much for me to lose fat. Perhaps try getting rid of dairy to see if that helps? Also try tinkering with your carb intake – perhaps really cutting down on carbs (even primal ones like fruit and sweet potatoes) will help. I had been primal/paleo for a long time and didn’t really lose a lot of weight.… Read more »
Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
4 years 30 days ago

I will add my own experience as evidence to Susie’s suggestion regarding dairy. Being insulin resistant, I found that kicking the dairy was what I needed to finally lose the weight. (Not to mention that I felt much better as well.) 🙂

Ms. Zing
Ms. Zing
4 years 30 days ago
I concur, and did something similar to Susie but shooting for under 50g per day. Also, it may help to move sweet or higher carb foods to later in the day if they stimulate cravings. If I have fruit during the day it makes me ravenous. If I have 1/2 portion (non-berries) at night after dinner, although I rarely do (mostly berries if at all), I sleep off the cravings and am able to start clean again the next day. I still eat about 1/2 an ounce of dark chocolate most nights, regardless. This simple change re-started weight loss for… Read more »
Rev. Dave Deppisch
4 years 29 days ago

Right on– my carb intake is under 20g’s a day and I feel great. I am a meat, egg, bacon, and turkey burger consumer.

I often find that, as Mark suggests, eating only when truly hungry, IF and not eating in the evening Work for me and helps my exercise routine of running sprints, boxing, and starting Tuesday– STANDING AT MY DESK!

W. J. Purifoy
W. J. Purifoy
4 years 30 days ago

Hi Dan,

I’ve heard that muscle weighs more than fat, so as you lose fat and gain muscle, you won’t lose weight. Stop using the scale and let the mirror and your clothes tell you how you’re doing.

Dan
Dan
4 years 30 days ago

thanks for the tips every one…i think it just takes more commitment by me and a real dedication to some more exercise….thanks all

George Henderson
George Henderson
4 years 29 days ago

Muscle does weigh more than fat; Dr Atkins says that a tape measure round the waist is more reliable than scales when it comes to measuring improvement in leanness.

iloveprimal
4 years 29 days ago

Um, muscle weighs the same as fat….
You mean muscle is more dense than fat, and takes up less space than a pound of fat….

Roger in Korea
Roger in Korea
4 years 29 days ago

For the same volume, muscle does weight about 5X as much as fat. For example, a liter of muscle will weight about 5x as much as a liter of fat.

Mayya
Mayya
4 years 29 days ago

When you compare weights, you compare the same volume of material. This link provides a good example.
http://haveanamasteblog.com/2012/07/yes-muscle-weighs-more-than-fat/

David
David
4 years 29 days ago

+1

Shane
Shane
4 years 28 days ago

Good answer, 2 lbs of feathers = 2 lbs of steel
It is as stated above, based on volume

Jonathan Swaringen
Jonathan Swaringen
4 years 29 days ago

Or a Dexa scan or a Bodpod test or a tape measure 😛

I’ve gotten a Bod Pod test for free…though in my current area the closest one is 45 mins away. Not sure all locations offer free though mine was at a school.

MD
MD
4 years 28 days ago

I didn’t lose weight eating regular primal, but I’m eating semi-vegetarian primal with lots of fat, and I’ve lost 20 lbs. I had been doing Atkins off and on for ten to fifteen years, which kept my weight steady, but I never lost weight, and I think I just overdid the protein. My body needs a rest.

MD
MD
4 years 28 days ago

(That was a reply to Dan who’s not losing weight.) And I should add that semi-vegetarian means I’m getting my proteins from eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds, and then having meat or seafood two or three times per week.

Kate
Kate
4 years 27 days ago

Perhaps you need to up your work out, get in some more variety. I suggest Robb Wolfe’s Paleo Solution book as a compliment piece to Marks. He has lists of suggestions for variety in work outs. He also explains plateaus and lack of weight loss. There are great recipes as well. Stay strong! you should start seeing results. Maybe move down to 90/10.

Anne
4 years 30 days ago

Stephanie, what an amazing story! You look terrific, and I’m so glad you feel it, too.

Thanks for sharing how this primal way of eating helped you keep it together during a tough time. I’m so thankful your husband is doing well.

Lauren
4 years 30 days ago

Wow, you look amazing, I weighed myself at 117 this morning after my 30 day paleo challenge, but I don’t look nearly as toned, very impressive!!

CJW
CJW
4 years 30 days ago

Ha! It’s funny how friends and relatives always worry about your health when you go Primal and start losing weight.

I can’t count the number of concerned, delicately-phrased questions I got from family members (especially my mother) when I went from 215 to 160 in a matter of months… And they never quite believe you when you tell them you feel healthier than ever. 🙂

Jon
Jon
4 years 29 days ago

I’ve gotten the “your too skinny” comment from family too many times. I finally told them that I am going to start responding with my own “help

Jon
Jon
4 years 29 days ago

I’ve gotten the “your too skinny” comment from family too many times. I finally told them that I am going to start responding with my own “helpful” suggestions such as “you’re looking a litte big there, you could probably stand to lose about 20 lbs” Shut them up pretty good!

Tracy
Tracy
4 years 22 days ago

like

Ashley
Ashley
4 years 17 days ago

like

Tina
Tina
4 years 1 day ago

Yup.

Shary
Shary
4 years 29 days ago

Indeed. It’s a sad state of affairs when people become so used to weight gain that they question the health of someone who is of normal weight. I guess obesity has become the new “normal.” It’s everywhere you look.

Tina
Tina
4 years 1 day ago

So, true. I get the don’t-lose-anymore-weight thing and I’m smack dab in the middle of the doctor recommended weight range for my height and frame. I think I could still stand to lose 7-10 lbs though I’m not going nuts over it.

Krys
Krys
4 years 30 days ago

You look fantastic! And that is wonderful news that your husband has recovered! You are an inspiration to those who think they can’t stay Primal in a stressful situation. Grok on!

Lynn
Lynn
4 years 30 days ago

Wow, you look amazing. Congrats.

doghug
doghug
4 years 30 days ago

Great Job 🙂

Alison Golden
4 years 30 days ago
“I feed them healthy meals at supper time, but for the rest of the day they make their own choices…often not very smart ones.” Ha! Amen, sista! I have a couple of those. 🙂 I, too, hope that one day they will remember what their mom taught them way back when. But back to you. You look ten years younger and those abs are very impressive. Immense kudos to you for managing the crisis by deepening your commitment to Primal and keeping healthy to help your family. You could so easily have gone the other way. You are an inspiration… Read more »
Heather
Heather
4 years 29 days ago

+1here too, I have 3 nearly young men in my household who think I am a bit cracked. I only dish up primal evening fare, don’t buy cereal products of any type, so if they want them they have to buy them themselves. I usually bury the bread in the bottom of the chest freezer to make it harder to get to. If they eat breakfast at least it has eggs and bacon in it, and like you, I just have to be patient and keep modeling good health thru great food and mindful living.

Dave
Dave
4 years 30 days ago

What a difference 10 or 13 lbs makes! You look like a ninja warrior now, congrats!

Deuce
Deuce
4 years 23 days ago
Funny you say that. I do a lot of electronics projects as a hobby. Not long ago the guy at the local Radio Shack told me I looked like Bruce Lee, and asked me how I got this way. He had actually heard of Paleo, and was using some of our strategies to keep off weight he had lost after an appendix surgery. After our conversation I believe he has become a wholesale convert. Everyone wants to be a Ninja. Only some have the mental discipline to do so. In that way it is a fitting metaphor for paleo. Grok… Read more »
Erin
Erin
4 years 30 days ago

BodyPump, represent!!!

edearl
edearl
4 years 30 days ago

Ninja warrior! Totally and that is awesome! Great story Stephanie. Thank you for sharing.

Linda A. Lavid
4 years 30 days ago

Great story. And I’m wondering if going Paleo helped your overall mental attitude in dealing with so much stress. Congrats!!!

Carol
Carol
4 years 30 days ago

Great story and so inspirational. I’m at almost the exact place height & weight wise where you started. Seeing your after pictures my first thought was – “Wow! That’s what I could look like!!” Thanks for sharing your story and giving me the visual I can use as my inspiration!!

Kate
Kate
4 years 29 days ago

+1 I’m also in the same place height and weight-wise. Very inspiring to see the possibilities. Your photos and story may end up posted on my fridge for that daily kick in the pants 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

samui_sakana
4 years 30 days ago

Is this primal? lol. It reminds me of my six year olds biggest wish – that sugar could be healthy.

Les
Les
4 years 30 days ago

hahaha! I wish that too!

Anke
Anke
4 years 30 days ago

That’s wonderful lady!
You look very young for a 45 year old.
Now and then a good kind of ice cream is also my weakness.

Diane
Diane
4 years 30 days ago

Wow you look great. I’m like you in the before pictures, getting lots of exercise, taking a Pump + Abs class, sprinting, all that, but I eat Primal and have been for a year now, and still can’t lose that last 15lbs.

Heather
Heather
4 years 30 days ago

http://www.paleoforwomen.com/the-evolutionary-perspective-liberating-and-empowering-a-womans-self-hood/…when I get down on myself – at 41 – although the healthiest I have ever been – I will never have the body of a twenty-something now – I read her words. Relish in being a strong woman and love yourself!!

Leeann
Leeann
4 years 29 days ago

Just a thought-take a look at your stress/cortisol science and how it can limit your progress. Robb wolfe ‘the paleo solution’ might be your answer.

Deuce
Deuce
4 years 23 days ago

Drop the Pump and Abs classes and keep the sprinting. You’re giving your body mixed messages.

Long, moderate pace workouts will trick your body into selectively burning any available sugars and carbohydrates. Sprinting will keep you in fat burning mode.

Also, you can try moving breakfast back a few hours. Extending your overnight fast will give you some extra fat burning time.

This worked well for me. I’m 37 and was challenged by those last 15 lbs too.

Heather
Heather
4 years 30 days ago

Amazing. I’m 41, 5’2″. My starting weight was 130-ish. I dropped to 120lb and then found Primal Bluerprint..in April 2011. I have since seen 108lb but my body maintains a 110lb average. i can’t see my abs, though. Not enough exercise. You look amazing and so happy to hear hubby is 100%. Note to self: check out BodyPump!

Deuce
Deuce
4 years 23 days ago
Read the post again. BodyPump was what was not the thing that got her there. It was the thing that was stalling her progress. Quote: “(cycling, hiking and BodyPump™twice a week), but as the years were going by my weight was creeping up.” Long, moderate pace workouts trick your body into selectively burning carbs and sugar. You have to leave the old paradigm behind. These types of workout programs do not work at burning fat or building lean muscle. The last few lbs are always the litmus test for whether or not you have truly broken yourself from the old,… Read more »
spincycle
spincycle
4 years 30 days ago
Did you change anything else besides going Primal? IF, calorie count, carb cycle? Do you lift weights? Sorry for all the questions, I’ll admit that I’m skeptical that “only” switching to Primal foods got you down to such leanness and visible abs. And in the interest of full disclosure, I am a 47 y.o. female who switched to Primal eating around the same time you did, I lost about 5-6 lbs. of fat, but am now following Leangains which includes IF, to see if I can move that stubborn abdominal fat. Eating Primal and not tracking calories/macros just didn’t do… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 30 days ago

+1 Please let us know your exercise routine or if you tried IF to get such a great cut look. I am at a similar place where I only need to loose a couple more lbs of fat to achieve my desired look but I am finding it difficult to do so.

Patrícia
4 years 30 days ago

Fantastic. Leanness apart, you look so musch younger and sexy!

Cute story, cute lady.

Jess
Jess
4 years 30 days ago

You look amazing!!

Maggie
Maggie
4 years 30 days ago

Eating primal helped me loose the initial 30 lbs, then we reached a plateau that lasted 6 months until we started a calorie-restricted diet.

mars
mars
4 years 30 days ago

You look fabulous! You and I are the exact same height and weight. When you’re only 5’2″ it’s easy to feel “puffy” and not see the cut defined muscles we work hard for!

Great news about your husband! Here’s wishing you, him and your kids great health!

W. J. Purifoy
W. J. Purifoy
4 years 30 days ago

Stephanie, you are inspiring. I hereby resolve to get my bicycle out Saturday evening, check it over, air up the tires and dust off the cob webs. I will ride it Sunday!! That will kick start my riding habit again. Thank you for sharing your story. You look fabulous!

kimberley
kimberley
4 years 30 days ago
You look amazing! For all of you calorie counters out there; I’ve counted calories for the last 10 years. I’m 51 yrs, 5’6″ and 155 lbs. I’ve not been able to get below that weight for the last 2 years, in spite of keeping cals at 1200/day and exercising. I’ve ditched the calorie counting and have been following primal plan for 1 week now. I’ve changed my gym routine as well. So, I hope I will have as much success as so many of you have following primal living. I’ve also found myself going to the grocery store and “hunting/gathering”.… Read more »
Rev. Dave Deppisch
4 years 29 days ago

Kimberly– You’ve found the only way to eat– the loss will follow. Good luck.

Ara
Ara
4 years 29 days ago

I lost 10 lbs very quickly when I went primal then stalled for 2 months. I just broke through the plateau by INCREASING my calorie intake by eating more fat! I was very surprised, it kind of happened by accident. When I stepped on the scale I expected to be up 2 lbs but was instead down 2. Try increasing your calories with good fats and see what happens.

MamaB
MamaB
4 years 28 days ago

Yeah same here. I got on the scale today thinking I would be up – I have been eating more fat because I have been so pressed for time this harvest. Its hard to scarf a huge salad in a tractor/grain truck/combine as opposed to some cheese and cucumbers, frozen coconut oil cubes – the calories were way up and I was 4pounds down.

kimberley
kimberley
4 years 26 days ago

Thank you for the info. I will definitely try increasing my fat consumption.

Jason Lander
Jason Lander
4 years 30 days ago

Holy smokes!!! iT seems as if those were 2 completely different people. Great job!

Mark Cruden
Mark Cruden
4 years 30 days ago

You look great! Glad your husband is doing well. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Julie
Julie
4 years 30 days ago

I am very moved by this story as I was not as fortunate when the love of my life was fighting cancer. Instead I was depressed, became quite sedentary and gained a lot of weight. I have just started the Primal way of life and envy that you had it as a support when you were your husband’s caregiver. It would have been wonderful to have as a distraction, and to take care of me, as you did!

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
4 years 29 days ago

Did you lose your love to cancer? I hope not, but if you did, I’m sorry for your loss. (hugs)

Pam
Pam
4 years 30 days ago

You look so much younger in the ‘after’ shots. I love it! You are telling my story…

Kristina
Kristina
4 years 30 days ago

Great news about your husband! and you look great! Just what I need to get me over that ‘just one more day of dairy’ excuse lol… I’m sure I’d enjoy cycling a lot more once I get that power to weight ratio down too. Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

Elisa
Elisa
4 years 30 days ago

Congratulations! I always find it helpful to see the amount of time from start to finish! I often have to remind myself that it is a process and even if my body composition doesn’t change as quickly I would like, the key is to not put in the towel! I have to remember to look at things in terms of months rather than days!

Gift clumsywarrior
4 years 30 days ago

You look great!! Congrats! And very nice on keeping yourself occupied with self-transformation during the hard time. 🙂

Ms. Zing
Ms. Zing
4 years 30 days ago

Inspiration I need for my last 10 lbs, too!!! Thank you, Stephanie. You look so happy and so strong. Your children are lucky to have such role models as you and your husband.

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[…] Read Stephanie’s Story>> […]

Grokiana
Grokiana
4 years 30 days ago
Congratulations on your primal success, and joy on your husband’s recovery! Your story reminds me that times of stress aren’t best relieved by throwing health out the window. While studying for the bar exam this summer, I was so stressed out, and I looked for relief in the nearest, cheapest source: sugar. At 5’6″, I’d primaled myself down to 133, but sugar and bar exam pushed me back up to 145. It’s been a month since the exam, and that 12 pounds is still hanging around, annoying me and bringing its own stress. I’ve learned my lesson!
Ms. Zing
Ms. Zing
4 years 30 days ago

This is too funny. I was contemplating whether to include the pre-bar exam primal hiatus in my earlier post about tweaking my diet to make it work better. I took California in July. So much fun! Haha. You?

Cathy Johnson (Kate)
4 years 30 days ago

Wonderful story! I know having something like Primal to focus on in times of stress can be very helpful…something positive in a sea of uncertainty. And I’m so glad to hear your husband is back on his feet…this is a feel-good story all the way around.

Jill
Jill
4 years 30 days ago

I love this transformation because it is the relatively small amount of “thick” or “chubby” weight, those last 10 or 15 pounds that stop us from looking just the way we want to, that exasperates so many people. And you lost it, at 45 no less, and it made such a difference!!! I love the change in your arms especially!!!!

Jill
Jill
4 years 30 days ago

and congratulations on your husband’s triumph over illness !!!!

Kathy
4 years 30 days ago
Wow, Stephanie! You’re looking great! I’m getting there a bit slower than you, but am getting there. I can fit into an old skirt that I thought I would never fit again. I totally identify with the kids not following. I do cook them eggs and bacon for breakfast so at least one meal a day is sorted. I’m not going to force them to my way of thinking – it must be a choice. At least one day when they’re older, they’ll remember what a difference it’s made in my husband and my life – he’s lost more than… Read more »
Matthew Beavers
4 years 30 days ago

Great transformation. Your arms and stomach look lean and defined. That is not easy to do so congrats.

Eating at the hospital must have been tough. Hospital food is not exactly the most nutritious food out there, there are some exceptions.

Eggleston hospital in Atlanta offers good healthy choices. I was able to get a piece of grilled chicken and a salad.

Matthew Beavers

Ed
4 years 30 days ago

Awesome congrats to you and I am glad for your family!

sarah k.
4 years 30 days ago

Wow! Great job keeping yourself rational during hard times, and sticking to it! You’re awesome!

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 29 days ago

You look ten or even fifteen years younger. Good for you.

CS
CS
4 years 29 days ago

Wow! What an awesome transformation! I find your story particularly encouraging because you are my age with a similar height and starting weight. I thought the flab on my arms was a genetic trait that I had to live with, but look at your arms now! Unbelievable. 🙂

Shara
Shara
4 years 29 days ago

You look amazing! We have the same height/weight but you clearly have more muscle. Are you still doing body pump? Congrats on a healthier you and a good report for your husbands health!

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