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

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

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

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. 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.

    Cathy Johnson (Kate) wrote on August 31st, 2012
  2. 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 wrote on August 31st, 2012
  3. and congratulations on your husband’s triumph over illness !!!!

    Jill wrote on August 31st, 2012
  4. 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 me and he doesn’t even exercise! His heartburn and indigestion has disappeared and my digestion has also improved.

    Kathy wrote on August 31st, 2012
  5. 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

    Matthew Beavers wrote on August 31st, 2012
  6. Awesome congrats to you and I am glad for your family!

    Ed wrote on August 31st, 2012
  7. Wow! Great job keeping yourself rational during hard times, and sticking to it! You’re awesome!

    sarah k. wrote on August 31st, 2012
  8. You look ten or even fifteen years younger. Good for you.

    Sarah wrote on August 31st, 2012
  9. 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. :-)

    CS wrote on August 31st, 2012
  10. 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!

    Shara wrote on August 31st, 2012
  11. You. Look. Fabulous.


    You’re my new role model.

    Amy wrote on August 31st, 2012
  12. So happy to hear your husband has recovered! amazing story! and I am extremely happy to read about another wonderful mother who doesn’t feel guilty about allowing the kids to make choices at their age. I have 2 teen boys at home and have become frustrated worrying that they will not be healthy as an adult because I can’t get them to see the primal or paleo way yet. I am relieved to know that I am not failing as a parent of teens. In the end, they will come to understand my reasoning and hope they will adapt a healthier lifestyle at least 80/20!
    and btw- i need to have those abs of yours!

    Gracie wrote on August 31st, 2012
  13. Very nice! You look awesome. Question: are you still doing the same workouts as before, or did you change your exercise routine with the switch to primal?

    Shannon wrote on August 31st, 2012
  14. truly inspiring story! best to you and your husband!

    cindy wrote on August 31st, 2012
  15. Great story–even better that your husband fully recovered! I am working on my last 10 lbs and this morning weighted in at 167– only 7 from my goal.

    Keep primal and stay healthy and never, never let the naysayers influence you!

    Bike on!

    Pastor Dave

    Rev. Dave Deppisch wrote on August 31st, 2012
  16. You look at least TEN years younger.. And how wonderful your DH made a full recovery. So happy for you. Hugs all around. Judy

    Judy wrote on August 31st, 2012
  17. Fantastic! For both you and your hubby!

    wendy wrote on August 31st, 2012
  18. Wow Stephanie, you look like Zuzanne (previously from body rock tv site)
    Amazing !!!

    WildGrok wrote on August 31st, 2012
  19. I love hearing that your kids ask “Is it primal” – that means that the info is sinking in.

    I remember being a kid and KNOWING things were bad for me, but just not caring. The stuff my mom was yammering about, though, stuck with me – and in my later years, you better believe I remembered those things she told me. Funny how we come around :)

    I’m sure your kids will totally appreciate the hard work you’re putting in for them. Maybe not today, but one day!

    Nick wrote on August 31st, 2012
  20. If your husband’s leukemia/metastasized cancer ever comes back, he should try a ketogenic/zero-carb diet. That and some chemo will destroy it, as long as he still has a functional immune system.
    Cancer cells, due to the warburg effect, can’t burn anything but glucose and its fermented by-products. This is extremely inefficient and cancers need loads of insulin (and insulin-like growth factor), as well as carbs to keep them fed and multiplying.
    They have their mitochondrias shut down because otherwise the mitos will kill the host cell once they receive tumor necrosis factors released by white blood cells.

    When they scan your body to see where the cancer is, they use an irradiated chemical that functions just like glucose… because they know the cancer will gobble most of it up – they need to to survive. This is why cancer is a disease of civilization

    Neurologists were able to slowly reverse end-stage brain tumors that were unresposive to chemo by doing this… not that you really need a study to show you this works – this is basic chemistry/cellular biology. Basic logic and critical thinking is all you need (same reason why no one ever bothered to do a double-blind placebo-controlled, peer-reviewed study on the effectiveness of parachutes)

    intermittent fasting and eating more Omega-3 can also help.

    mm wrote on August 31st, 2012
  21. Hi everyone… sorry I’m just getting to this now. I was so suprised to see that I was Mark’s success story today. Thank you for all the very kind feedback! As for the questions… “Did you change anything else besides going Primal? IF, calorie count, carb cycle? Do you lift weights?” ANSWER: I do not count calories or carb cycle. I have recently started IF’ing but really just as an experiment…I’m not trying to lose any more weight. As for my workout… I do Body Pump twice a week (religiously) with the heaviest weight I can lift with proper technique. 6 months of the year my husband and I bike approx. 100 km per week but it’s not what I would call chronic cardio. We bike at a fun pace…it’s really more play! Stephanie

    steffturner wrote on August 31st, 2012
    • What is Body Pump? Sorry if I missed what that is somewhere?

      Also have you read Body by Science. That is a great workout book and Doug McGuff supports Paleo/Primal.

      I loved The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living/Performance as well.

      Jonathan Swaringen wrote on September 1st, 2012
      • Body Pump is a Les Mills program/class workout offered at Goodlife and Nubody gyms. It’s an hour long total body group weight lifting class done with barbells. The routine is set to great upbeat music and the class is led by an instructor. They change the routine every 6-8 week (not sure) to keep it fresh and challenging. I am not an official spokesperson for Body Pump just a huge fan! I’ve tried using the machines at the gym but I get so bored!I have nightmares about they stopping the class… I’m really addicted!

        steffturner wrote on September 1st, 2012
  22. Well done to you Stepheanie,you look fabulous. Do hope my arms can reveal themselves like yours have! And great news that your husband has recovered. My husband has chronic illness & I have spent lots of time at the hospital over the years. But his last 2 week stay was the first after I went primal. The hospital cafe has “healthy food” but not much primal food. I cooked roast meat, or slow cooked primal stew so I had something healthy to eat at night all week, and did’t have an excuse to buy junk at the hospital or on the way home. I reckon it helped me cope with stress better too.
    What a great example you are setting fort those teenagers of yours. Congratulations.

    Hilary M wrote on August 31st, 2012
  23. Wow, you look great! And younger (always a bonus!) Congrats on your success and on your husband’s recovery :)

    Kitty =^..^= wrote on August 31st, 2012
  24. Love this story! Fantastic how you were able to latch onto Primal in such a difficult time of your life.


    Ashley wrote on August 31st, 2012
  25. When a family member of mine was dying, Primal got me through healthy and strong. I’m sure I would have become sick on the SAD. You look like a fresh 25 Y.O. HOT, I might add!!!

    Nocona wrote on August 31st, 2012
  26. Wonderfull story. Enjoyed reading. You look great

    Dave Fereday wrote on August 31st, 2012
  27. I keep looking at your photos and it’s amazing. What an accomplishment. And I’m so happy your husband is better.

    You are straight out of ‘Kill Bill’ and I bet you could kick Uma’s butt.

    Dave wrote on August 31st, 2012
  28. “[…] 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. […]”

    LOL I can totally recognize this! My soon-to-be mom in law keeps telling me I should be careful, I’ve lost too much weight already as she tells me… I keep telling her that I eat plenty of protein and vegetables, but it doesn’t sink in!

    Anders Emil wrote on August 31st, 2012
  29. Isn’t it amazing how much youth you can reclaim with a few simple choices

    Dave wrote on September 1st, 2012
  30. Stephanie – amazing! You look fantastic. I’d love to hear what the “more” is in your diet. What does a typical day look like for you? Glad to hear your husband is doing well, too.

    Alyssa wrote on September 1st, 2012
    • thanks again everyone! the staples I described in my story were the things I ate while my husband was in the hospital…easy, little prep work, single serving for the most part. Now that we’re home I love to prepare more elaborate meals. I’m a member of a CSA (community sponsored argiculture) program so get a bounty of fresh veggies and a dozen free run eggs every Monday. I’d say I consume at lease 80% of the produce myself and my goal is to eat it all by the next week and NEVER let anything go to waste. Steak on the barbeque is a favourite but we also love beef and chicken liver.

      steffturner wrote on September 1st, 2012
  31. I hope I wasn’t the only one that hoped she meant ‘mini cakes’ instead of ‘mini cukes’ 😀

    I learnt something new today!

    Adrian Lynch wrote on September 1st, 2012
  32. a typical weekday would be
    BREAKFAST: 2 cups of coffee (with heavy cream or blended with virgin coconut oil). 2 eggs fried with fresh sage OR a whole avocado. I also take a shot glass of kefir every morning.
    LUNCH: usually a) large chicken souvlaki salad from the “food court” in our local city market(with hot sauce of course) OR b) a piece of salmon with a side salad and a large peppermint tea.
    SUPPER: meat and veggies. Occassionally a glass of dry red wine and a couple of squares of dark chocolate or a small serving of fruit.
    SNACKS: I rarely snack between meals or in the evening but if I do it’s a) handful of almonds b) a tin of sardines with mustard c) left over raw or cooked veggies d) a chunk of good cheese.
    TREATS: my rare treats are approx 20 plain pringles or a small bowl of ice cream or a small cookie. In the past I tried some primal/paleo baking recipes… I never felt they compared to the “real thing” so I decided that if i’m going to induldge it would be a true indulgence.

    steffturner wrote on September 1st, 2012
    • Sounds like Bulletproof coffee. Do you use Upgraded Coffee? I’ve been thinking about trying that.

      It sounds great but 18.95 for 12 ounces is a good amount. I will also need to buy some kind of grinder for the beans and a coffee pot.

      I’d love suggestions for a good cheap pot and grinder if anyone has any.

      Jonathan Swaringen wrote on September 1st, 2012
      • Btw great story

        Jonathan Swaringen wrote on September 1st, 2012
        • Thanks Jonathan. I think bulletproof coffee is made with raw grass fed unsalted butter which I cannot get in Canada. I guess coconut oil is a variation on the idea. I use certified organic beans roasted close to my home. I buy my beans pre-ground. The package is vaccum sealed and comes with a little valve to let all the air out after you open it. Pretty nifty and tasty!

          steffturner wrote on September 1st, 2012
  33. Great story and you look amazing. Grok on!

    James Hunter wrote on September 1st, 2012
  34. What a great story. I’m so happy for your husband’s recovery and your before and after photos are great.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    JB Primal wrote on September 1st, 2012
  35. That was indeed an inspirational story with very inspirational before and after pics.

    Congratulations on your husband’s recovery.

    Roger in Korea wrote on September 1st, 2012
  36. I had the same issue for months following primal.I lost a few inches but nothing on scale. I kept my carb in take below 40 and ate no dairy. I then went and had live blood analysis done (google it). I was told my body isn’t processing fat or protein. That my hormones were shot ,i was retaining alot of water and all this was causing an inability for my body tolose weight. So i have begun taking alot ofsupplements to heal my body still eating primal with some added dairy. Hopefully it all helps. Already i feel immensely better in two months, way more energy, chronic migraines gone and much more. No weight loss yet but more inches. I wanted to share my story because its an aspect to weight loss on primal that i have yet to see here. Hopefully i will have success story in 6 months and can be a missing puzzle piece in someones journey on primal.

    Karen stiles wrote on September 1st, 2012
    • Karen… it must be comforting to know that you may have identified the problems! good luck and keep us posted.

      steffturner wrote on September 1st, 2012
  37. Awesome! At times I think, maybe it’s my age or that I’m different. NOPE…it’s just being dedicated and knowing that it’s a long process. It’s a lifestyle.

    Belinda wrote on September 1st, 2012
  38. This is an awesome story. Thanks so much for sharing. My mom has the mentality that she is too old in her late 40’s to do anything physical, because she gets “out of breath”. I think it’s so sad and such a shame that she thinks that. I’m 28 and have been primal for around 3 months, but my biggest motivation is to be the opposite of my mom at that age – and your story has given me more inspiration!

    Stephanie R. wrote on September 1st, 2012
    • Stephanie R. You are very lucky to have found Primal at an early age and it’s such a shame that you’re mother feels that it’s too late for her. I’ve always felt young and I plan on cycling, hiking and lifting weights the rest of my life (they’ll have to pry that barbell out of my cold fingers lol). Have you heard of Ernestine Sheppard? She’s my role model!

      steffturner wrote on September 2nd, 2012
      • oops typo^ it’s a shame that YOUR mother…

        steffturner wrote on September 2nd, 2012
        • Thanks for the encouragement :) Ernestine Sheppard is an amazing woman!

          Stephanie R. wrote on September 4th, 2012
  39. BodyPump instructor here! Going Primal is helping me out so much in my teaching!! I’m lifting heavier and have more energy during class. =D

    Allison S. wrote on September 1st, 2012
  40. First, it is wonderrful that your husband made a full recovery! It was refreshing to read that you did not abandon your eating plan. Most Americans would have. I am a fitness instructor and it is hard to get folks to get out of the “all or nothing” mentality. We are either working out, or we are not. We are on a diet, or we are not. Again, congrats for sticking to your own eating plan even thought you were in a challenging time of your life.

    Brian wrote on September 1st, 2012

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