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. This is an inspiring story. I’ve been researching ways to eat healthier and just discovered this blog.

    I find myself gravitating more to fruits and vegetables. I’ve been eating alot of fish this past week, but I don’t crave red meat like I used to. Perhaps I’m

    Looking forward to learning more from you. Thanks!

    Maria Palma wrote on September 1st, 2012
  2. …’strewth mate’….thats bloody bonza!

    zef wrote on September 2nd, 2012
  3. Wow Stephanie,
    what an inspiring story!!! Atta girl!!!

    CavewomanNL wrote on September 2nd, 2012
  4. You’re so lean it looks like you lost more than just “those last 10 lbs.” You look great!

    Deanna wrote on September 2nd, 2012
    • Thanks Deanna! You pile 13 lbs of butter on the table and image that on my 5’2″ frame…it had nowhere to hide! That being said, I assume what’s happened is that I lost more that 13 lbs of fat and added some muscle. When I started leaning out it was the inspiration I needed to push myself and lift heavier at the gym because I was finally able to see those muscles that I’d worked so hard for. They were there all along just hiding… I’m much stronger since going primal. I don’t know the science behind it but have to beleive that a high protein diet is conducive to building muscle.

      steffturner wrote on September 2nd, 2012
      • …high protein and low protein-destroying adrenaline/epinephrine from no longer having to deal with reactive hypoglycaemia (and 99% of overweight people have to deal with low blood sugars at least to some degree from a broken carb metabolism)
        Perhaps the reduced inflammation also helped…

        mm wrote on September 3rd, 2012
  5. first, congratulations on your husband’s recovery.

    second, WOW! you look like a completely different person. i’m sure you feel amazing too.

    well done.

    noodletoy wrote on September 2nd, 2012
  6. My wife at age 45 said she can’t lose her “pooch” because she’s past that. Thanks for the pictures and story that it can be done! I finally got her to give up her morning oatmeal in favor of eggs with spinach, we’ll see if it makes a difference!

    Chance Bunger wrote on September 2nd, 2012
  7. Just back from holiday in Itlay – ever tried to be primal in Italy? But managed to stay clear of pasta :-)) and stories like this have motivated me to get back on track. You look great and I want your stomach – now!!! Well done.

    Sheena wrote on September 2nd, 2012
  8. That’s amazing. Well done. I like a story with a happy ending :-)

    pterodactyl wrote on September 2nd, 2012
  9. We are soul sisters! My husband was just diagnosed with Leukemia in May 2012 and I too had just started primal and struggled to find options in the hospital cafeteria. I haven’t been as diligent as you and your story is exactly the motivation I need right now. Thank you! I hope to be a success story one day with your same good news that my husband is cured!

    Missy wrote on September 2nd, 2012
    • dear Missy… so sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis. I hope that your story has a happy ending like ours. Everyone’s different…eating primal helped me cope but another person might find it more stressful. One thing I can say for sure is that it kept me healthy and by his side in a time when his immune system is low. Had I caught a cold or other bug that they would have kept me away from him. Keep us posted on how you and your husband make out

      steffturner wrote on September 3rd, 2012
    • If your husband still has a functional immune system he can go zero-carb/ketogenic and starve his cancer while feeding his immune system… cancer cells won’t be able to handle the immune response, much less chemo without their sole fuel source.
      Cancer cells must deactivate their mitochondria to disable programmed cell death; without doing this they wouldn’t stand a chance in hell against your immune system.
      But without mitochondria, cancer cells cannot burn ketones, fat, or even glucose combined with oxygen/cellular respiration – they must rely solely on glucose fermentation.
      This is an inefficient process and means they can only burn sugar and its fermented byproducts… to compensate cancer cells will put up large amounts of insulin receptors and as they constantly multiply, they never become insulin resistant; they always gobble up all the carbs you feed them.
      This is why cancer is a disease of civilization – our whole bodies, the entire function and biology of multicellular organisms hinges upon programmed cell death. Without cell suicide, all the cells in your body would rebel… they’d be pissed that brain cells gobble up excessive amounts of energy while only gonad cells get to spread their DNA… The fact that cancers can survive long enough to kill us is a freakish anomaly of modern carb-laden, insulin-spiking diets.
      Cancer cells and white blood cells are fighting a cold war, a tonnage war against each other. Cancer cells are inherently disadvantaged as they can’t burn fat/ketones.
      Why would you want to throw a banquet feast for your cancer by feeding it carbs and insulin-like growth factors? Especially as this can also suppress your own immune system.
      Mike Eades blogged about a study on ketogenic diets stabilizing/slowly reversing end-stage brain tumours in patients that were no longer responsive to chemo (basically at death’s door)
      But the basic science of this stuff is sound; you don’t need to read a study as much as you need to understand basic cellular biology and biochemistry to understand this…
      Even radiologists use irradiated molecules that mimic sugar to detect cancers – they know the cancers will gobble up the fake sugar before any other cells get a chance to…

      Look up the warburg effect…

      mm wrote on September 3rd, 2012
  10. Congratulations, Stephanie! Your story is inspiring, you look amazing, and so happy that your husband is doing great!
    I’ve been primal for a little under 2 years. My husband is completely on board, and my 15 year old is, as well. He was my pickiest eater, who refused all vegetables. Now, he eats everything. I soak kale in coconut milk and then stir fry it in coconut oil…..both my 13 yo & my 15 yo think it’s amazing. I think it just takes time, allowing them to try things, but also refusing to buy certain things. I got to the point with my 13 yo daughter that I just won’t buy the stuff she wants me to buy. So, she has to try what I cook….and guess what? She likes most of what I make…’s amazing how much better veggies taste cooked in fat. :)

    Michelle wrote on September 3rd, 2012
  11. Stef, you said that you arent satisfied with paleo baked goods. Have you ever tried Raweos? They are soooooo good. I cant help but splurge the $7.50 every time I see them in the store and all the ingredients are paleo.

    PS, For those that have sensitive stomachs like I do, or for those that just want the most nutrition out of coffee, look into cold brewing tea and coffee. I do cold brew both coffee and tea. I find that it tastes the best, it has way less acidity that you get from heating coffee or tea. And its gonna have more of the antioxidants etc that coffee and tea has. Mmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmm!

    dennis wrote on September 3rd, 2012
  12. I rejoice in everyone’s success stories and the determination/self worth they all involve. I am 70yo and when I look around my apartment complex I see obesity, depression and illness that I don’t want in my senior years. I did the Atkins years ago but had forgotten the success until I read ” WHY WE GET FAT. . .”, then followed up with Mark
    Sissons wonderful website. I have been following a high fat/low carb (20) plan for a month, but have only lost 2lbs. My energy level is lower than I would like, so I am gradually increasing my exercising (walking/stretching-2 lb weights). How does one measure(?) 80% fat/ 20% protein? My carbs are usually lower than 20, with meat,salad greens, veg,some dairy. I am going to continue, as I believe in this, so any suggestions are welcome. Thank you and I am happy to be part of this group.

    shirleyjeanne wrote on September 3rd, 2012
    • Shirleyjeanne. At 70 you’re very smart to be joining the primal movement. It’s never too late and I’ve found it’s a great community!

      Regarding your questions “How does one measure(?) 80% fat/ 20% protein?”

      I don’t think anyone is suggesting that 80% of your diet should be fat. To clarify… when I talk about the 80/20 rule what I mean is that 80% of the time I eat “real food” that is primal “approved” and the remaining 20% I indulge in foods that would be considered non-primal (like a piece of bread/ white potatoes/ rice/ pasta/ cupcake/ice cream etc…)The idea behind the 80/20 rule is that you don’t have to be “perfect” and trying to be “perfect” causes stress which is not good!

      steffturner wrote on September 4th, 2012
    • It is very key that you don’t mix your 80 and your 20. You don’t want to eat 80/20 within the course of a day. Otherwise there is always carbs for your body to burn and it will selectively burn them first. If you’re not noticing an increase in energy level, this is likely what is going on.

      Try going 8 days primal then relax for 2 (at least once, so you know). You may find this works better. Also, try to make your exercise as intense as safely possible for your age. Even if this just means jogging in place. These two things should start a snowball effect for you. Typically the older you are the stricter you have to be on these core principles. But it will work if you commit to them.

      Deuce wrote on September 7th, 2012
  13. You look fantastic. Great effort

    birdy wrote on September 3rd, 2012
  14. Stephanie,
    You look amazing and are so inspiring me!!
    What kinds workouts do you do?
    Your arms and abs shredded!
    Glad to hear your hubby has recovered.

    Dani wrote on September 4th, 2012
  15. Great story! Glad all is well! We did BodyPump a couple of times in my police academy, it was a nice workout!

    Mike H. wrote on September 4th, 2012
  16. GEEZ! You are ripped. Congrats on your transformation and your husband’s recovered health.

    You’ve got lots to Grok on about. Don’t let me keep you…

    Deuce wrote on September 7th, 2012
  17. What a really good story and I’m glad that your husband is also doing well. And look at those muscles! Wow I’m really impressed. What consist of your diet?

    riverside rheumatologist wrote on September 12th, 2012
  18. Wow, nice guns and guts! You really leaned out there! SO glad to hear your hubby is well again and I wish you and the whole family continued great health!

    Tina wrote on September 28th, 2012
  19. Very inspiring story I would encourage you to research and try Lugol’s iodine for your husband, it is extrmely powerful for anti cancer support and promoting overall health. Lugol’s and coconut oil are my favorite supplements.

    Shep wrote on October 6th, 2012
  20. Well Done you, you look fantastic. I hope I look that good in 15yrs. And well done you for sticking to it during the hard times and also living with those that don’t follow it, call it a ‘cult’ or are total skeptics and think it nonesense without really giving it a go themselves..ok now I am just talking about those around me haha!!! it isn’t easy but you just give me more inspiration and like you said some people just take longer to make the changes

    Victoria wrote on October 16th, 2012
  21. I’m officially inspired. Thank you for sharing your success story!

    Sandee wrote on February 26th, 2013
  22. Stephanie your arms are absolutely great!I am dreaming to get to that point!
    I’m 37 when I started I was about same weight and same height as you, now I’m 119 lb . Mostly I was eating right, but recently decided to tone my body. You are inspiration for me, especially the way you mentioned about your kids :)
    How long does it get to get those arms? It seems like I’m missing some key……I jog once a week for an hour, go to gym 3 times a week , but it seems like notting is changing. Any advice?

    Hilola wrote on May 22nd, 2013
  23. Amazing journey, Stephanie! So happy about your DH’s recovery too. I’m fairly new to PB and find your pictures truly inspirational. Now I feel like whipping out my barbells!

    Happy New Year (it’s now 2014)! :)

    Darlene, San Francisco, CA wrote on January 3rd, 2014

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