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. WOW! I am so motivated NOW! THANK YOU! please share some recipes with us (“,)

    Shelley Walters wrote on March 12th, 2011
  2. You look fantastic! Your story has inspired me!

    Jeanna wrote on March 16th, 2011
  3. Lost 10 lbs in five weeks with cheats along the way, clothes falling off. i need to lose weight but my doctor and i are focusing on one thing get me off 3 cholesterol meds with primal diet and berries, weight loss will be the side effect, off 2 so far :-)

    Greg wrote on March 17th, 2011
  4. Hi There. I am exactly where you were. I am using Cordain’s book, The Paleo Diet and am doing all low fat meats. Please tell me what you switched to to make it work for you. You didn’t say what you used for guidelines, books, etc. Can you email me at ?

    I feel like I am failing and just started 2 days ago.

    Thank You.


    Lynette wrote on April 5th, 2011
  5. Why did you give up the fruit? I am curious because I have about 10lbs to lose and I eat a relatively clean diet,but am struggling with getting rid of it. I currently eat fruits…probably too much. I thought PB says fruit is okay?

    Michelle wrote on April 6th, 2011
  6. This has really inspired me to just cut out dairy and eat limited fruit and nuts. Its really hard when your going primal, because those two things seem to be my fillers when I am cutting out carbs. I had been eating a sourcream dip with my veggies which was kinda my cheat( sad face ) okay I will give it up. I think you look absolutely amazing and hope I see results like you, and feel as if I have the same amount to lose or tone. Do you have FB? Can you add me? I would love to talk more and get more tips one on one if you have some free time :) :)

    Danielle Storzuk wrote on May 11th, 2011
  7. Hey I also have another question, when you cut out all dairy, almonds, how do you get your calcium. Do you take a supplement or just eat a lot of brocoli and bussel sprouts? And is that enough…cause I read that my age (26) woman should be intaking 1000 mg of calcium a day. 1/2 cup spinach is around 115 and brocoli is only 35 for half a cup.

    Danielle Storzuk wrote on May 16th, 2011
  8. Also did you cut out anything else, like red wine or dark chocolate?

    Danielle Storzuk wrote on May 16th, 2011
  9. Dorene you look amazing, thank you so much for sharing your story and for posting your pics, I am now convinced that Primal is the way to go.

    Kathy wrote on June 15th, 2011
  10. So I have implemeted these strategies for about one month. I have been cutting back my nuts and fruits. I have completely cut out dairy. I cheated a few times in between(but that is normal and moderation you have to still listen to your needs) I have went from 168 5’9 to I just weighed myself at 153 today :) :) Its amazing what 15 pounds lose can do. I feel amazing having cut out dairy. And I honestly don’t miss it. I think my body thanks me too. I have been eating all organic, and non medicated meats. Also I have snuck in drinking alkaline water :)

    Anyways, when I first read this post I was scared of the change, but realized that I really want to feel good. These small changes were a little tough, but worth the exploration of the needs of my body.

    Thanks for the motivation!

    Danielle wrote on June 15th, 2011
    • Hey Danielle-

      This question is for you because you followed Dorene’s tips after asking a lot of pertinent questions and said you lost 15lbs in the first month but that was last year. How are you doing now?

      Hope to hear from you!

      Michelle Bunderson wrote on August 5th, 2012
  11. Also its really cool to see your body start to form to its natural state. And makes you feel, wow… do I really look like this… its a sure a beautiful journey to balancing yourself and really finding your true identity :) Exploring your body is the first step.. at least it was for me… So many other good things have come out of this…. starting within, it all starts to fall into place from there… I feel that is where true happiness lies…

    Danielle wrote on June 15th, 2011
  12. Great job, Doreen! Keep up the great work.

    Chef Rachel Albert wrote on July 14th, 2011
  13. Wow! My Jaw dropped when I read you were 38, thats amazing you look like you could be 24 or something! Nice.

    Goran wrote on August 17th, 2011
  14. Dorene,
    Thank you for posting! I am so inspired. You look incredible!
    It’s so encouraging to see how you reshaped your body. (I’d be curious to see what your bodyfat ratios were and are now.)
    It’s super helpful to see REAL PHOTOS of women, front and back, without photoshop. I fear we are beginning to forget what a real, fit body looks like.
    Thanks again for reminding me how great I could look and keep us posted!
    Auretha Callison
    Image Coach, Sexy Stylist!

    Auretha Callison, FunFashionFairy wrote on September 8th, 2011
  15. Aloha Dorene,

    Hawaii in all it’s beauty has so much to offer. And yes being from the islands myself and the amount of luaus and family get togethers add up on the pounds on the body. Thanks for your story and it got me pumped for primal living. Been on it for 8 weeks and lost 17 lbs. Had a bad week but ur article is very encouraging!

    Rhonda wrote on September 23rd, 2011
  16. Dorene, You are so beautiful and look so healthy! Great inspiration!

    MelissaJaney wrote on November 4th, 2011
  17. Will you marry me? 😉 Nice work.

    Jon Griffith wrote on November 4th, 2011
  18. ohhh dorene
    i keep re reading your story every time im about to sabotage my discipline
    my obstacles are similar to the ones you used to have
    and I know that staying off the dairy and nuts is the way to see results for me as well
    hope you doing great these days

    AniaMaya wrote on February 9th, 2012
  19. dorene!
    totally inspired and yes the dairy must be off the menu for me too
    hope you doing great these days!!!

    AniaMaya wrote on February 9th, 2012
  20. You look amazing!! What do you generally eat in a day?

    Pia wrote on June 2nd, 2012
  21. Great! I just went primal 3 weeks ago… and I think your (and other’s comments) about dairy nailed it for me. I’m dropping the daily yogurt (or two). I think that is holding me back. Thank you for reinforcing that idea.

    Jura wrote on June 3rd, 2012
  22. Wow Doreen! This is motivation to keep going, almost 4 months in and my physical transformation hasn’t happened as quickly but my mental one has. Clear head, loads of energy and generally happier. My day to day food looks like yours maybe my fat component is too much? I’m eating nuts everyday so today I’m having a nut free day! I’ve ditched dairy a few weeks ago do hopefully in another month I’ll see some more physical results! My husband is now primal with me and as of yesterday he too has ditched dairy. Well done Doreen, send some sunshine over to Australia please! I’m jealous! Regards Di

    Di wrote on August 12th, 2012
  23. You look amazing! I secretly believe I could have as dramatic results if I would quit cheating with dairy and chocolate and alcohol and potatoes. I mean, who am I kidding – do I want results or do I want to eat all the junk?? 30 Days…here I come!

    Caro wrote on April 26th, 2013
  24. just saw this success story, you were hot before the Primal!!! now you look amazing, great job!

    Figgzie wrote on October 12th, 2013
  25. Dec 2013…Please do provide a status update. Have you hit a wall or are you easily cruising with the primal lifestyle? Side note…there is a new book called Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter. He emphasizes to stay far away from grains and carbs high on the glycemic level as chronic inflammation is a major contributor to dementia/Alzheimer’s. Dr. Perlmutter is a board certified neurologist…

    Keith wrote on December 13th, 2013
  26. Wow! I’m inspired! I’m looking down the barrel of 40, 5’4” and carrying the excess weight if having had 3 kids in two and a half years. I’ve lost weight with Primal before but I am staggered by the difference dairy could make. I thought giving up cereal was hard. Dairy might be a bridge too far but I think I have to try.

    Please keep posting update photos. I’d love to follow your journey. And move to Hawaii!

    Fiona wrote on March 13th, 2016

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