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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. Iโ€™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 weโ€™ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 04, 2011

What 5 Weeks of Living Primal Looks Like

By Guest
202 Comments

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 youโ€™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!!

-Dorene

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202 Comments on "What 5 Weeks of Living Primal Looks Like"

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Melon
Melon
5 years 6 months ago

Hottie!!!!

Jon
5 years 6 months ago

Awesome job Dorene! Glad you’re feeling so well. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ami
5 years 6 months ago

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story!

Graham
Graham
5 years 6 months ago

I wanna live in Hawaii!

Shawn
Shawn
5 years 6 months ago

I do, and believe me some of the most beautiful women in the world are here…

Good for you Dorene, Aloha FBI.

Michelle
Michelle
5 years 6 months ago

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
Michelle
5 years 6 months ago

Woops, that should read Wowzers!

Nora
Nora
5 years 6 months ago

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!

heatseeker
heatseeker
5 years 6 months ago

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!

Mauricio
Mauricio
5 years 6 months ago

Great story ๐Ÿ™‚ just ate a big plate of spinach with some cheese and feel guilty about the dairy now! hehe

Nancy
Nancy
4 years 4 months ago

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.

Rachael
Rachael
5 years 6 months ago

Gorgeous. Thanks.

Lukas
Lukas
5 years 6 months ago

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Is there any chance you could change that?

Best wishes regardless,

Lukas

Dorene
Dorene
5 years 6 months ago

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!!

Drew
Drew
5 years 6 months ago

Wow. You are gorgeous, keep being awesome.

flavia
5 years 6 months ago

Amazing! And it looks like she shed a lot more than ten pounds!!! Amazing transformation and HOT body.

pmpncali
pmpncali
5 years 6 months ago

Very enjoyable article, full of helpful details. Great going, Dorene!

Elle
Elle
5 years 6 months ago

Dorene,
You look absolutely lovely and I hope you are super proud of yourself! Can I ask how tall you are?

Dorene
Dorene
5 years 6 months ago

I’m 5’4 so 10#’s goes a long way.

Amanda
Amanda
5 years 6 months ago

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

MountainDew
MountainDew
5 years 6 months ago

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.

Dana
Dana
5 years 6 months ago

Not necessarily. I’m a lot paler than she is and I still get pegged for younger. (I’m 37.)

Dorene
Dorene
5 years 6 months ago

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.

mariaz
mariaz
5 years 22 hours ago

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!!!!

Tee
Tee
5 years 6 months ago

Hey Dorene,

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

Dorene
Dorene
5 years 6 months ago

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.

Yoni
Yoni
5 years 6 months ago
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.… Read more »
Dana
Dana
5 years 6 months ago
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… Read more »
Natalia
Natalia
5 years 6 months ago

“Also, WAPF says that saturated fat has an omega-3 sparing effect, so you wouldnโ€™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.

Dorene
Dorene
5 years 6 months ago

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.

fritzy
fritzy
5 years 6 months ago

Dana;

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

Steve R.
Steve R.
5 years 6 months ago

Coconut oil? I don’t know about that but I tried coconut *milk* in coffee and it’s *SPECTACULAR*.

Sonagi
Sonagi
5 years 6 months ago

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.

Charlotte
Charlotte
2 years 4 months ago

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!!!

Purple Reign
Purple Reign
5 years 6 months ago

Lookin’ good! Don’t tell my wife I said that.

Gayle
Gayle
5 years 6 months ago

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

Dana
Dana
5 years 6 months ago
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… Read more »
Gayle
Gayle
5 years 6 months ago

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.

Ashley
Ashley
5 years 6 months ago

Dana,
Can you share the website you mentioned above, with the common meats and PUFA contents? I would really appreciate that.
Best,
Ashley

Gorm
Gorm
5 years 6 months ago

Dorene,

Well done, keep it up!

Bodhi
5 years 6 months ago

Awesome results. You look great!!!

Darcy
5 years 6 months ago

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” ๐Ÿ˜‰ and after that I think “maybe I should cut back on the cheese more”.

Dollface
Dollface
5 years 6 months ago

Awesome transformation!! Well done you look incredible ๐Ÿ™‚

MountainDew
MountainDew
5 years 6 months ago

Dear God,

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

Sincerely,
MD

Dorene
Dorene
5 years 6 months ago

I guess you better start believing. haha!

Mellymel
Mellymel
5 years 6 months ago

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.

emily
emily
5 years 6 months ago

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…

Alison Golden
5 years 6 months ago

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.

Marlowe
Marlowe
5 years 6 months ago

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.

Lisa
Lisa
5 years 18 days ago

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!

cateydid
cateydid
5 years 6 months ago

Thanks so much for sharing stories like this! They are so inspirational.

Joe from A2
Joe from A2
5 years 6 months ago

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Eating primally works!

Jessica
5 years 6 months ago

I am going to send this to some of my girls, I’m sure they will find your story (and your bangin’ bod) inspiring!

Andy
Andy
5 years 6 months ago

Damn, your sexy!

trackback

[…] *** BONUS SUCCESS STORY JUST POSTED AT MARK’S DAILY APPLE HERE! […]

DaiaRavi
5 years 6 months ago

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!)

JZell
JZell
5 years 6 months ago

So what do you usually eat a typical day?
More interesting than what you don’t eat ๐Ÿ™‚

You look awesome btw…

/J

Dorene
Dorene
5 years 6 months ago
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… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
5 years 6 months ago

CONGRATS! Awesome success!!

Alison Golden
5 years 6 months ago

I want a stomach like that.

Great job, Dorene!

fritzy
fritzy
5 years 6 months ago

Way to go, hottie! Your story is an inspiration to many. Keep it up and Grok on!

Rachel
Rachel
5 years 6 months ago

You look amazing!

Katie
5 years 6 months ago

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 http://wellnessmama.com/1926/i-challenge-you-go-grain-free-for-40-days/

bee
5 years 6 months ago

**applause**. well done.

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

Polly
Polly
5 years 6 months ago

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…

tess
tess
5 years 6 months ago

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!

Turbo Kelly
Turbo Kelly
5 years 6 months ago

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.

Liz
Liz
5 years 6 months ago

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.

Turbo Kelly
Turbo Kelly
5 years 6 months ago

@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!

Dana
Dana
5 years 6 months ago

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. ๐Ÿ™

freewaydiva
freewaydiva
5 years 6 months ago

Strong work! You’re looking fantastic!

Crunchy Pickle
5 years 6 months ago

Awesome results! This mom-of-three is hoping to join your ranks soon! It seems to be a slower journey for me but I love the inspiration!

Jase
Jase
5 years 6 months ago

You look amazing girl!

Marci
Marci
5 years 6 months ago

Wowzers, indeed! You look amazing, and this is just the motivation I needed – thank you!

Molly Bean
Molly Bean
5 years 6 months ago

Wow Doreen! Great job! Thanks so much for sharing.

wilberfan
wilberfan
5 years 6 months ago

Is there a non-creepy way to say “Yummy!!”? Yikes, you look awesome. Congrats, and keep up the good work!

DTinLA
DTinLA
5 years 6 months ago

Amazing! And very inspirational, since we share very similar body shapes/types. I’m cutting out the cheese!!!! lol

Jenn
Jenn
5 years 6 months ago

Ditto to what DTinLA said! Thanks Dorene you inspired me to get seriously focused. Your changes are amazing and a real life role model (I’m four years younger, same height, and now think maybe only 10 more pounds to go instead of 20-25). Grok on! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tifanie
Tifanie
5 years 6 months ago

Your look fantastic!

I just started CF 3 weeks ago and primal 2 weeks ago. I’ve now lost 16 inches and right at 3 pant sizes. Still have a little way to go to get to my goal.

However, I really wish I would have taken before pix like you did. I had no idea how well this would work! <3

Brandi
Brandi
5 years 6 months ago

You look great, and I really needed this inspiration today. I started CrossFit 2 months ago and am up 6lbs from muscle gain and am discouraged about my weight. I gave up dairy this week, so hopefully that will help me too! Good job!!

Rob
5 years 6 months ago
Dorene, great job! Reading the comments I see that you have motivated more than a few readers (add me to the list!). You’re to be highly commended! I’m going to tear a page out of your book and (finally) go dairy-free and see what happens. I make so many excuses for cream (what do I put in my coffee?) and cheese (it tastes so good!), but perhaps I will be better off without it. I will keep my coffee, but I will drink it black as the night… I just wish I lived in Hawaii and could swim and paddle… Read more »
Sonagi
Sonagi
5 years 6 months ago

I posted earlier about coffee without cream or sugar, but in case you missed the post, have you ever tried coffee made from freshly ground locally roasted beans? The taste is soooo much better. Give yourself a few days and see if your tongue doesn’t acquire an appreciation of black coffee made from good quality beans.

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