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

What 5 Weeks of Living Primal Looks Like

It’s Friday, which means success story time. Today it is my pleasure to share Dorene’s story. She went Primal on January 1st, not long ago, but as you’ll see from her pictures, sometimes five weeks is all that’s needed to see change.

If you have your own Primal Blueprint success story and you’d like to share it with me and the MDA community please feel free to contact me here. Have a wonderful Friday, everyone, and thanks for reading!

Wowzers, my body is changing!!! I’ve done the low carb thing for 10 years on and off but not the Primal way…

The first time I did Atkins, I lost 20 lbs. Like I was on crack.

I think I was Primal without realizing it. I ate burgers, no bun, shrimp in garlic butter sauce, bacon, eggs and basically only meat. Very few veggies. At the time I was 28, surfing 4+ hours every day (playing), waiting tables (walking), no car (more walking), and lifting weights.

I gained the weight back a couple years later (bad eating habits never die if you don’t change your lifestyle). I tried to lose it again using Atkins, but I would binge on pepperoni, salami, cheese, more cheese, diet cokes, weird Atkins bars, pork skins, ranch dressing and basically low carb crap. I would lose the water then stall out. Or I would lose a few pounds, then cheat. I cheated because I felt crappy eating all that dairy and processed crap and I would crave fruit and carby stuff. I thought maybe I had made myself immune to low carb living by eating that way for so long.

I finally found the Primal way of life through CrossFit last year. The CrossFit I went to actually recommends Dr. Cordain’s book. I read the book and tried to change over but since I was eating low fat meats I was always hungry and my portions were huge. I would eventually end up cheating because I was always hungry. Then I was introduced to this website by a friend who told me this was much easier because Primal wasn’t as strict.

So finally, after researching and reading the posts, I went Primal on January 1, 2011. I cut out dairy (trigger food and I over consume), coffee, and limited fruit and nut intake. I have lost 10 pounds. My scale occasionally will say I’m 129 and I haven’t seen the 120’s in about 10 years. I’ve always been very active with yoga and paddling competitively and still couldn’t get below 132. Now my clothes are too big, muffin top is gone, I look toned, my stomach is going back to its flat self and the best part is my cellulite is going away. Cheeee hooo!

Though, I haven’t been perfect. I probably ate more fruit in the beginning than I should have, too many nuts at times, a few cheat days when friends were in town including late night grilled cheese sandwiches and fries after a night of drinking. One dinner party, I couldn’t resist the dessert… a few too many 80% chocolate bars and one incident with too much ice cream. The difference is, when I cheated I didn’t feel guilty; and the next day I continued with my Primal way of life. Before, that would have ruined me. One day would’ve turned into a week, maybe a month, or even a few months of cheating. I would gain weight with the mindset that “tomorrow I start my diet, so let’s binge today!”

This is a lifestyle change, not a diet, and this has changed my thoughts on food. Last year I spent too much money going to the doctor trying to figure out why I felt weak, dizzy, low energy, depressed, moody and tired all the time. Since changing my way of eating, I have so much energy. I don’t need coffee and I look forward to the gym and my long walks. I also notice what the scale says doesn’t mean sh#%. I lost 6 pounds the first couple weeks, then, according to the scale, gained that back the 3rd and 4th week but my clothes were big and I was definitely smaller. I hid my scale so I wouldn’t freak out. I think it was the new muscles making my scale creep back up. Last week I weighed my self and low and behold it said 129.5 I’m starting to buy new clothes because some of my things are too big.

About me : I’m female, 38, fairly active and definitely cheat a li’l bit. I rarely eat dairy (I use it as a cheat meal). No more processed meats like salami (also a cheat meal). Almost zero fruit because I’m trying to lose weight. I walk 5 miles about 4 times a week and lift weights about 3-4 times a week (not CrossFit, can’t afford it). Lots of beach time (live in Hawaii), walk to work and around town. I don’t do sprints (yet). I do yoga a couple times a week. I hope this helps anyone that may be struggling. Ignore the scale, listen to your body and try to eat real food. Grok on!!


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. Hottie!!!!

    Melon wrote on March 4th, 2011
  2. Awesome job Dorene! Glad you’re feeling so well. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Jon wrote on March 4th, 2011
  3. Wow! Thanks for sharing your story!

    Ami wrote on March 4th, 2011
  4. I wanna live in Hawaii!

    Graham wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • I do, and believe me some of the most beautiful women in the world are here…

      Good for you Dorene, Aloha FBI.

      Shawn wrote on March 4th, 2011
  5. Wozers Dorene!! You look fabulous! I moslty just tinker with primal eating(eat way too many carbs)but you’ve inspried me to go at it full tilt. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    Michelle wrote on March 4th, 2011
  6. Woops, that should read Wowzers!

    Michelle wrote on March 4th, 2011
  7. WOW! You have the body that I thought was never attainable for me, but when I started this I was closer to your before picture! You have given me a lot of motivation, definitely going to cut out the dairy and fruit and add in more walking.
    Thanks so much!

    Nora wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • Ditto on this. My “before” body is almost exactly like Dorene’s, and we have similar levels of activity. Knowing that I could get to that kind of “after” has motivated me anew… gotta cut the dairy and fruit once and for all.

      You look awesome, Dorene!

      heatseeker wrote on March 4th, 2011
  8. Great story :) just ate a big plate of spinach with some cheese and feel guilty about the dairy now! hehe

    Mauricio wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • I think maybe there’s a little too much fear of dairy out there. MDA considers it a grey area. I’ve never had a problem tolerating dairy. Just listen to your body. If you feel bad when you eat dairy, then avoid it. If you don’t, then do whatever you like. But please don’t attach guilt to real honest food. And never substitute a non-dairy fake industrial product for real food. As long as you eat real,unprocessed food, guilt is a silly response.

      Nancy wrote on May 18th, 2012
  9. Gorgeous. Thanks.

    Rachael wrote on March 4th, 2011
  10. I compliment you, Dorene, for your change and success. You look stunning.

    I only wish you had provided photos from January 1st 2011 and not April 27th 2010. And before I sound too creepy: It’s in the EXIF-Metadata of the photos 😉

    Is there any chance you could change that?

    Best wishes regardless,


    Lukas wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • Trust me I looked exactly the same on January 1st as I did when I took those photos. Which is why I didnt re-take new ones. I also didnt expect such dramatic results or realize the results were as dramatic till I looked at the photos side by side. My motivation to really do this, this time was my health. I had tried several times before and like I said it’s been 10 years since I was able to motivate again to really do it. Thanks for all the compliments. If I can do it trust me so can you!!

      Dorene wrote on March 4th, 2011
  11. Wow. You are gorgeous, keep being awesome.

    Drew wrote on March 4th, 2011
  12. Amazing! And it looks like she shed a lot more than ten pounds!!! Amazing transformation and HOT body.

    flavia wrote on March 4th, 2011
  13. Very enjoyable article, full of helpful details. Great going, Dorene!

    pmpncali wrote on March 4th, 2011
  14. Dorene,
    You look absolutely lovely and I hope you are super proud of yourself! Can I ask how tall you are?

    Elle wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • I’m 5’4 so 10#’s goes a long way.

      Dorene wrote on March 4th, 2011
  15. You look like you could be in your 20’s…you look fabulous with a body to die for! I started Primal eating last month and my weight has been all over the place, yet my clothes are falling off…glad to see I’m not the only one!

    Keep up the great work :-)

    Amanda wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • Yeah, I was a bit surprised at the age but then I’m 36 and get mistaken for mid to late 20’s all the time. It’s the melanin I think.

      MountainDew wrote on March 4th, 2011
      • Not necessarily. I’m a lot paler than she is and I still get pegged for younger. (I’m 37.)

        Dana wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • Im genetically blessed with looking a lot younger than my age. No one believes I’m 38. I believe it’s no stress living in hawaii and having a job I love that has helped also.

      Dorene wrote on March 4th, 2011
      • wow you really don’t look 38!!!! you look MY AGE! I am 23 now and would die to have your body! You are looking awesome! I have started PRIMAL today…YOU did inspire me to start this Primal lifestyle Dorene! Congrats!!!!

        mariaz wrote on September 24th, 2011
  16. Hey Dorene,

    You look great and I bet you feel even better. I have to ask though, why did you give up coffee?

    Tee wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • I gave up coffee because I wasn’t doing dairy, sugar or sugar substitutes. All of which I need to enjoy my coffee. I found after giving up coffee that I really didnt need it. I like the flavor so I will occasionally have a decaf.

      Dorene wrote on March 4th, 2011
      • Coconut Oil is great in Coffee.

        Funny Atkins and Fit for Life are the only “diets” I have ever done. I re- read an old Atkins book I had – it is amazing that when I did Atkins it was a lot like the way you did it, with all the unnatural foods high in nitrates.

        I also wasn’t exercising – but I did have a pretty active job.

        The other things not so great about Atkins, were the Chemical Sweeteners, and all the Soy products, most GMO, as well as not being that great for Guys, or our Thyroids.

        The book I have is the last He wrote and in that He was advocating heavily on Organic Veggies and Grass Fed Organic meats – Funny how all that was off my radar back then. He does have a lot of Positive things in the diet as well.

        I did go mostly raw last December – with meat/fish once a week.

        The last time I did a blood test was while I was on Atkins ( with lots of processed junk) – After going most raw/real foods – my Cholesterol and Lipids were about 10% better this time (both times about 3 months) – I felt better a first – but really lacked sustainable energy – Yet I always missed the bread, now once a week I will have a slice of “Daves Killer Bread” – all organic with 21 nuts and seeds and organic. Usually 1 or 2 slices a week with some raw tahini and raw sesame seeds on that.

        I am debating going primal – it is much more expensive ( IMHO) since grass fed and wild meats are more expensive.

        When I did Atkins It was with the cheapest meats I could find CAFO (i.e. $.99/lb hamburger/ Chicken/ $1/dzn eggs)

        Perhaps I just need to add in more IF, or larger portions of Vegetables and smaller portions of meat.

        Yoni wrote on March 4th, 2011
        • The bars are Atkins Nutritionals, not original Atkins stuff. Get his 1970s-era book. I found it at Goodwill. You will be amazed how Primal it is even with the artificial sweeteners being allowed. Which, he used to limit them to so many packets a day. And of course you don’t *have* to eat the stuff.

          You don’t have to eat grass-finished meats to go Primal. I was reading another blog that tends to sympathize with low-carb and paleo and they had a list of common meats and their PUFA content. There’s actually less difference between grass-finished and grain-finished beef than there is between pastured and feedlot bison, and chicken is downright ridiculous. So if you get by on the beef you would be pretty OK. Also, WAPF says that saturated fat has an omega-3 sparing effect, so you wouldn’t have to supplement that as much either.

          Dana wrote on March 4th, 2011
        • “Also, WAPF says that saturated fat has an omega-3 sparing effect, so you wouldn’t have to supplement that as much either.”

          What do you mean by this? I’m curious because i eat a lot of beef and not always grass-fed.

          Natalia wrote on March 4th, 2011
        • Living in hawaii where everything is so expensive I buy most of my meats from costco the majority of the time. Right now I cant really afford the organic grass fed. Maybe one day. I just do what I can and eat the best I can with my resources and it seems to be working fine.

          Dorene wrote on March 4th, 2011
        • Dana;

          What are the stats on the Omega 6 content in conventional vs organic chicken?

          fritzy wrote on March 5th, 2011
        • Coconut oil? I don’t know about that but I tried coconut *milk* in coffee and it’s *SPECTACULAR*.

          Steve R. wrote on March 7th, 2011
      • Coffee made from freshly ground locally roasted beans has a complex flavor without any harsh bitterness that needs to be masked with sugar and cream. If you don’t miss coffee, no need to restart the habit, but I enjoy starting the day with a small cup of half-caf and sometimes an afternoon treat of decaf.

        Sonagi wrote on March 5th, 2011
      • Thanks for your input on coffee. I am in the process of giving up coffee—when my last 6 filter are gone then I’m switching to tea with honey. I LOVE coffee but with it goes sugar and dairy. I’m not sure if I am lactose tolerant so I really want to eliminate all dairy at least for a while.

        As a pre-present to myself, I am purchasing this really cool Breville tea pot so that it’s my “official” I’m full tilt going the proper direction. To me, this is the start of another great adventure. THANKS for the inspiration!!!

        Charlotte wrote on May 1st, 2014
  17. Lookin’ good! Don’t tell my wife I said that.

    Purple Reign wrote on March 4th, 2011
  18. you look great! You experience is sort of like mine. Lost weight on Atkins when I did it the first time about 20 pound. but then gained it back during the ‘add back some carbs’ phases where you can chose low carb products and low carb bread etc. Now I have been pretty strictly primal since November 2010 and I also use dairy(apart from butter) as my rare cheat.
    Congrats, very inspiring photos

    Gayle wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • What I like about Atkins is the way you can find your level of carb tolerance. I was thinking I might try it in a more Primal style but with adding more servings of veggies and nuts and berries rather than worrying about ever dealing with grains again, except maybe on a cheat day (and then probably not wheat–I miss rice a lot more).

      Sugar-Free Sheila’s been pretty successful with Atkins and she sets herself one free day a month. I think that’s a pretty good system. I wouldn’t be completely “bad” on a day like that, though–too much sugar would make me sick.

      Dana wrote on March 4th, 2011
      • Yes Atkins was good. But I like the ‘purity’ of primal. I mean just cut out grains entirely. Eat real food. Don’t use artificial sweeteners (like splenda). It just makes it easier IMO.

        Gayle wrote on March 4th, 2011
      • Dana,
        Can you share the website you mentioned above, with the common meats and PUFA contents? I would really appreciate that.

        Ashley wrote on March 4th, 2011
  19. Dorene,

    Well done, keep it up!

    Gorm wrote on March 4th, 2011
  20. Awesome results. You look great!!!

    Bodhi wrote on March 4th, 2011
  21. Amazing results Dorene. I started Dec 29th myself with some good results over 12 pounds gone and clothes are fitting bigger. However, I haven’t been watching my dairy intake (cheese is my vice). I look at your results and think “HOT” 😉 and after that I think “maybe I should cut back on the cheese more”.

    Darcy wrote on March 4th, 2011
  22. Awesome transformation!! Well done you look incredible :)

    Dollface wrote on March 4th, 2011
  23. Dear God,

    If this woman is single I will start to believe in you again.


    MountainDew wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • I guess you better start believing. haha!

      Dorene wrote on March 4th, 2011
  24. Thanks for the story! You look amazing! I just started Tim Ferriss’ “4 Hour Body” Primal diet, and I lost 5 lb in a month. In the last week, I’ve gained it all back +1 lb. 5’5″, 169 lb (as of today; I was 163 lb last Friday). Funny thing is, my waist is still the same measurement it was last week. I’ve done Crossfit for 2+ years, and am fairly strong… I needed to read this to get encouragement to KEEP GOING and maybe my body is changing in ways I don’t see just this second.

    Mellymel wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • I was doing Tim Ferriss’ 4HB recently, but found my body reacted really poorly too it, mainly due to “cheat days” and beans, beans and more beans. I think true primal is much more a HEALTH (with a great side effect of body fat loss vs. 4HB which has much more focus on size… Getting MUCH MUCH better results after reading Primal blueprint…

      emily wrote on March 5th, 2011
      • I didn’t do well with it either – cheat days turned into cheat (read binge) weeks. I do much better simply cutting it out a la PB.

        Alison Golden wrote on March 5th, 2011
        • My weight increased by 8lbs in the first 2 days, by simple eating all of those beans. Then it took me 1 week to lose what I gained after my cheat day. And man oh man, those binge days were hard to kick and get back on track. I gave it 2 weeks, then went back on PB.

          Marlowe wrote on March 11th, 2011
        • I had the same problems–with binge days (and the beans).
          I wound up gaining a significant amount of weight but
          now on PB I am back to where I started and then some. I did get started on kettlebells though, which is great, although I didn’t start to see results until I did PB.

          Doreen thank you for sharing!

          Lisa wrote on September 6th, 2011
  25. Thanks so much for sharing stories like this! They are so inspirational.

    cateydid wrote on March 4th, 2011
  26. Dorene, you look lean and muscular and beautiful. Great job! I am 62 years old, have lifted/cycled/walked for 20 years, and eaten ‘mostly’ paleo for the past 5 years. Could not lose my 10-15# spare tire. Two weeks ago, I began eating *absolutely* nothing but meat/fish/poultry/eggs/vegetables and have lost 8#. Still drink my espresso, though :-) Eating primally works!

    Joe from A2 wrote on March 4th, 2011
  27. I am going to send this to some of my girls, I’m sure they will find your story (and your bangin’ bod) inspiring!

    Jessica wrote on March 4th, 2011
  28. Damn, your sexy!

    Andy wrote on March 4th, 2011
  29. YEA DORENE! Just did a post over at DaiaSolGaia compiling a whole lotta success stories from Mark and around the web – check it out – get inspired!

    (pinged this one too!)

    DaiaRavi wrote on March 4th, 2011
  30. So what do you usually eat a typical day?
    More interesting than what you don’t eat :-)

    You look awesome btw…


    JZell wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • Breakfast turkey burger (i like the taste better than hamburger) cooked in coconut oil with 2 over easy eggs and avocado or 2 scrambled eggs with 4-5 slices of bacon or scrambled eggs with spinach and turkey sausage.
      Lunch- Salad with avocado, cherry tomatoes, and some kind of meat. dressing olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
      Dinner- Usually ribeye steak or pork chops with a salad, spinach or zuchinni and lately brussel sprouts cooked in bacon fat.
      I dont eat a lot of variety I’m not that creative and dont like to spend the time. Usually season with only salt and pepper and sometimes I just eat meat cause Im too lazy to cook veggies. Once in a while I will make spagetti squash with tomato sauce and italian turkey sausage. YUMMY!

      Dorene wrote on March 4th, 2011
  31. CONGRATS! Awesome success!!

    Sarah wrote on March 4th, 2011
  32. I want a stomach like that.

    Great job, Dorene!

    Alison Golden wrote on March 4th, 2011
  33. Way to go, hottie! Your story is an inspiration to many. Keep it up and Grok on!

    fritzy wrote on March 4th, 2011
  34. You look amazing!

    Rachel wrote on March 4th, 2011
  35. Congrats! you look awesome! Thanks for sharing.
    I’m hosting a 40-day grain free/sugar free challenge to help people go primal. Check it out at

    Katie wrote on March 4th, 2011
  36. **applause**. well done.

    off with my fruit binging. i eat about 5 a day. and i eat too many nuts.

    bee wrote on March 4th, 2011
  37. You look fantastic! Thanks for sharing your story.
    I seem to be a freak of nature – everybody is having these great results and I. just. stay. the. same.
    I started on Jan 5 – have lost about 2 lbs. Cheating has been very minimal.
    But I am grokking on…

    Polly wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • hang in there, Polly, some of us just have more stubborn bodies…. i may not be as thin and fit as i’d like, but eating this way definitely makes me FEEL better!

      tess wrote on March 4th, 2011
  38. 38??? I had to go back and read that again. When looking at the photo, I though early 20s.
    Fantastic job!
    I’ve got a lot of fat to lose yet, and I do eat too much fruit on occasion, for sure, and probably a few too many 90% chocolate bars, as well.

    My food obsession is pretty much GONE though with this lifestyle, as well as 18 pounds since Jan. 3.

    Turbo Kelly wrote on March 4th, 2011
  39. Thanks for sharing. It’s wonderful to see another success story and a female success story! I’ve been paleo since Jan 1 and lost 8kg thus far (17.6lbs).Still a long way to go since my starting point was a lot higher than yours, but I’ll get there.

    Liz wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • @LIZ:
      I did this last June/July, and lost 17 pounds in 8 weeks. Won’t get into falling off the wagon and having it back over me several times, but will say that this time, that isn’t going to happen, especially after reading
      Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, and learning the real science behind this stuff.

      I started at 222 on Jan. 3 of this year (I’m female, 5’6″) and am not going to stop. I passed my 8 week mark from last year, so it’s all good!

      Turbo Kelly wrote on March 4th, 2011
      • Your stats are almost the same as mine! I’m about three pounds heavier than you right now. I used to run about 130 in the summer, 135 in the winter and I’m medium build so I carried it well. I haven’t seen the other side of 200 since 2005. :(

        Dana wrote on March 4th, 2011

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