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

What a Difference 110 Pounds Makes

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!

real life stories stories 1 2All of my life I’ve been a social creature. I could adapt to almost any environment that I was placed in. I joined the US Navy at age 27, and went to language school in Monterey, California, nearly a decade older than most of my peers. But, I adapted, developed an amazing group of friends, and learned a foreign language.

I was stationed in Seoul, South Korea, and even there I was able to find a niche and thrive. Granted, I was with the military (where there is always a sense of community) but it was not within that community that I found my footing. It was with a group of ex-pats who all played soccer. We were a family, albeit dysfunctional, and we always had each other’s backs.

About six months after moving to Seoul, I broke my ankle, and put on some weight. One of my teammates and I decided to do Body for Life together. During this 12 week program, I lost over 40 pounds and was in the best shape of my life. I learned then, that my body was capable of doing great things.

goalie
I have never been the “skinny” girl – but I was definitely fit! This was 2003.

As with any “diet,” it did not last. A broken heart, a move back to the states, and an uncertain future all contributed to my gaining weight. I was able to stay within standards of the military, but after a few deployments to Afghanistan, and the decision to move on from the military, I really started to gain weight.

In 2008, honorably discharged from a nearly 10-year stint in the Navy, I decided I needed another change in environment, and found myself in Huntsville, Alabama. I had no friends, no family, nothing here, but it just seemed to be a good place for me to go. The cost of living was low, and I had a great opportunity with my company. It took about six months for me to realize that my ability to socially integrate anywhere was not working here. And I sunk into a depression.

There were so many factors at play. I had just moved. I had just ended a 10-year fast paced work life (where you are essentially issued friends and a network). My future was uncertain, and then I suffered a compound fracture of my wrist. When I started taking anti-depressants, I really started to put on the weight. When I first started seeing my therapist in 2009, I weighed around 280 pounds, and at the end of 2012, I weighed 314 pounds.

I told my psychiatrist that I wanted to stop taking the meds, and he didn’t disagree with this, but I am pretty certain he was a little worried. I don’t think that the medications were hurting, but I also don’t think they were helping. I was numb, I felt nothing, and my desire for change and a healthy life were not forthcoming.

So, I decided to sell my house, as I realized that living alone at that time was not a prudent choice for me. I rented a small in-law apartment from a co-worker, and decided to look into bariatric surgery. My insurance fully covered it if I met certain requirements, one of which was a recorded BMI over 40 for at least one-year. Check! I had to meet with a nutritionist once a month for six consecutive months. Check! I had to consult with a general physician and attempt weight loss. Check! Then a date would be set, and I opted for the sleeve, which is removing 80% of your stomach.

I had to spend a month on the road for work, and when I got back to Alabama, the first thing I did was call the nutritionist and start the process. In April 2013 I received an email from a friend with details about The Biggest Loser Casting Call. I decided why not…

I had started to make tiny changes in my diet. Nothing drastic, but adding a protein shake once a week instead of a trip to McDonald’s. And I started to make tiny changes to my habits, again nothing drastic, but I parked at the absolute furthest spot from my office building forcing me to walk an additional 40 yards to and from my car.

BiggestLoserThis was one of the outfits I considered for the auditions – it was summarily vetoed on account of the tie-dye and polka dot combination. I realize now, looking back – I intentionally would dress like this to draw attention away from the weight. People would notice the outrageous clothing combinations, and comment before they could say anything about my size. Of course, now, I have zero clothes that fit, and no sense of style or how to wear clothes for my new body – I am trying a different avenues to remedy this, but ultimately need a total makeover!

I got to the auditions after careful consideration of my outfit, and sat down, and was asked, “Why Biggest Loser?” I honestly had not thought about it until that very moment. Sure, I want to be on TV, sure I wanted the benefit of the trainers, nutritionists, medical staff, sure, I want to do nothing but focus on my weight loss for however long I lasted on the show… but really, “Why?” I stated the following: I am motivated, I am ready for this. I miss the freedoms of not carrying over 300 pounds. I miss being able to play soccer without fear of getting hurt. I want the accountability. I want America to watch me and say, “You will not fail today!” I want 25 million people to stand behind me and tell me that I can do this, because I am not sure if I can.

I walked out, and my friend asked me how I did. I said, “I don’t think I was traumatic enough…” and sure enough, I didn’t get a call back.

In all honesty, I was not that confident that I was motivated and ready. It just seemed like the right thing to say. I was scared. I was nearing another birthday and I didn’t want it to be another birthday with a dim outlook for my future. I was fortunate in that I was a “healthy fat person.” I didn’t have blood pressure issues that warranted weight loss and I didn’t suffer diabetes or any other obesity related ailments. I was just overweight—overweight and more self-conscious than ever. Overweight and alone. Overweight and lived for eating fast food, sugar and grains; my favorite was the McGriddle, which combined all three.

I went home and started to put together a video for submission, but my dog was acting pretty needy, and work was busy, and there were just a lot of excuses. So, I didn’t make the video. But I thought a lot about my response. After my initial post about going to the auditions, two friends from high school approached me about Isagenix. I was willing to try anything. There was a lot of outward concern also about my desire to have surgery.

Derby20092 1
Every picture I took I would make faces – again – to mock the size – to beat people to the punch – there was never “Gee Felicia, you have really let yourself go” because it was always “Gee Felicia do you ever just take a normal picture?”

When I was in the military, there was a family that adopted me on holidays. We clicked so well, that it continued on through the years, and I genuinely love them. There were two sides of the argument there. Husband: If she was dying of heart disease and open heart surgery could help, would you argue against it? Wife: I just think that she could lose weight without invasive surgery. Both are right. But, just “losing weight” is a daunting task. And for someone who is independent, with nothing but a dog by her side, there was no one that I thought would be able to hold me to my goals. I knew I couldn’t do it alone. So I went back to thinking about my response to The Biggest Loser.

Accountability… So, I may not have America, but I have 500 people on Facebook that in some way, shape, or form over the course of my life have had an influence, and they can still…

So, I reached out on FB – I decided that I would be shameless, fearless, and put it all out there. It is not like I could “hide” the fact that I weighed over 300 pounds. Right? It is not like I didn’t know I was ‘fat,’ even though most people in my life were all very kind, there was no denying that I could stand to lose a few pounds.

I posted this:

“Friends…I have decided that my dream of Biggest Loser is officially over – However, the goal was not to be on the show, but it was to be able to be in a situation with a personal trainer, no distractions and only gym for 10 hours a day, a nutritionist to help make meals, and the support and accountability to all of America. So, since that dream is dead…here is my new plan – I am still planning on going through the motions toward surgery – I am still watching what I eat and starting to exercise little by little – Amy and Kymberly are talking to me about Isagenix (still waiting to see how the shakes are), and I am going to start a blog. I will be calling it “From Fat to Fab!” And my goal is by my 43rd birthday (July 1, 2014) I will weigh at least 100 pounds less than I do today – to be healthy and be working toward running in a marathon – stay tuned for details of the blog! And please help me – if you see me doing something I shouldn’t or need a little motivation – just a subtle nudge here and there.”

I started the blog the same day (fleepyear.com).

What happened next was nothing short of amazing…

The outpouring of support and help that I received flooded me with emotion and drive. My former teammate that I did Body for Life with posted:

“I’ve seen u do it before. So you know it’s not impossible. Let me know if I can help. I’m happy to be support on your accountability team.”

And so many more comments that pushed me in the right direction.

Two weeks after I posted my Facebook status, I posted that I was going to start shopping for a gym. A girl I played soccer with over a decade ago sent me a private message encouraging me to try CrossFit.

I googled it.

I laughed.

I wrote back, “Thanks, but not so much.”

She pressed.

I considered the fact that I had been willing to dump over $500 into Isagenix without blinking an eye, and that I might as well go and talk to these people.

I was desperate. Someone could have approached me and said, “Listen, if you chant every morning while wearing polka dots and flowers, you will lose weight.” I would have done just that.

I walked into the CrossFit box and felt terrified. But, after a few minutes, I felt that this was just what I needed, and the attitude of the head coach was unbelievable. He was positive without setting me up for failure. He was realistic and explained what I needed to do to be successful. And that was listen to the coaches, listen to my body, and not be in a hurry…

So, I signed up for CrossFit.

Before I go into the next chapter, I need to make mention of a few milestones that occurred along the way. There were these small little occurrences of friendship through my time in Alabama that for whatever reason, mostly because of my own insecurities, I never put much stock into them. I assumed that these people were being friendly for the sake of professionalism and kindness, but not that I had anything to really offer them. One of these friendships is a man named Wes. Wes was that guy in the office that is Chris Traeger (ref: Parks and Rec). We worked on a project together, and once day he came in to my office looking for me and found nothing but a half eaten Egg McMuffin. He snapped a picture and that was the image that showed up whenever I texted or called. When I say he was Chris Traeger, I mean he would come into my office and mid conversation would just start doing squats. Most of the time I felt an overwhelming urge to punch him, but he came from a place of good. I was in charge of diversity and inclusion in my office, and he approached me wanting to get more involved. I teamed him up with another of these “friends” to do a Biggest Loser sort of challenge within the office.

The competitive side of me forced me to talk to Wes about my diet. He mentioned paleo then, and I giggled, and it was another “friend” that suggested that Atkins would be more my style, since I had zero desire to do any sort of activity beyond switching the channels on the TV. All was going well, until I ended up spending a month in Colorado Springs living out of a hotel. I had lost about 20 pounds, but it quickly came back when I would eat anything and everything I could and sit at my desk for 15 hours straight.

Then I met Jon, who was crazy, and did this thing called CrossFit and ate “Paleo.” He was not very strict, but tried to stick to the principles of it. I worked with Jon on another project immediately following the one in Colorado, where I learned a little more about his lifestyle. I still thought he was crazy.

So, here I was, about a month into my “journey” (I really hate that word), with no real direction, failed at Isagenix, and was just starting at CrossFit. I was not really following any sort of diet or meal plan. I was watching what I was eating, but still eating grains, sugar, legumes, and dairy.

The girl that told me to start CF is a coach at a box in Lexington, KY, and quite accomplished I might add. When I played soccer with her, she was a doe-eyed, sweet 17 year old, hanging toe to toe with a group of dirty old has-beens, never was, and social alcoholics. We were not a soccer club; we were a drinking club with a soccer problem.

Kelli had gone on, went to college, gotten her masters in nutrition, and was now coaching full time at CrossFit. Another friend of mine from my military days had just started coaching, and her and her husband had just opened a box.

I started a conversation with the two of them on Facebook, and on a daily basis went to my “secret” coaches for tips, tricks, and advice.

At first it was all about CrossFit.

Then, I had heard enough about paleo that I decided to start to research it. This was a week prior to my 42nd birthday. I had mentioned it in passing to a couple of people, and on my birthday, was given three paleo cookbooks.

After receiving the paleo cookbook gifts, I did more digging. I was led to Mark’s Daily Apple, Paleohacks, and Nom Nom Paleo – and I was off and running. On a daily basis I was consulting these websites and my secret coaches and now nutritionist on Facebook.

I was focused, determined, and positively neurotic.

And it happened… magic… over the course of the year, I literally shed over 100 pounds, gained strength, and so much more.

Compare1

I could tell you all about my blood pressure and cholesterol and scale and inches, but the two most important things I gained were my confidence and friendships. I don’t hide in pictures anymore. I don’t only post pictures of my dog on FB, although I do shamelessly post pictures of my food.

I once loved to cook for people and for myself. But over the course of the weight gain period, this became too labor intensive and too depressing. Now, with my new lifestyle, I have no problem spending eight hours in the kitchen laboring over Mexican beef or Kahlua pork. I love discovering new recipes and tweaking them to my palette.

And what I also love about this is how easy it has become to sustain. I can count on both hands the number of “cheat” meals I have had over the past year. There is no shortage of information, knowledge, and people willing and able to share.

Make no mistake about it; the magic was the result of hard work and putting in time in the kitchen and gym. I tell people now, it is not just calories in and calories out, and it is what kind of calories in and what kind of calories out. Is CrossFit high-risk? Sure, but so is driving, and so is sitting for prolonged periods of time, and so is breathing in some parts of the world. I never stopped listening to my coaches, and the more I did it, the more in touch I got with my body. I knew when a pain was more than just, “Hey, you are sore…” but I also learned through research that there were foods that I could eat post workout that would lessen the soreness and pain.

On days when I would lift heavy, I would add a sweet potato or plantain. On days when it was more cardio intensive, I could add more fruit. I bought a pig from a local farmer, and truly looked at everything that I did as an investment in myself. I was worth it.

Needless to say, the surgery never happened… in July, literally two weeks after the decision was made by the birthday gods for me to be paleo, I was no longer eligible by BMI standards. I had lost too much weight.

For me, after about six months of consciously thinking about everything that I did as, “This is a choice that I have to make,” it became second nature.

100lbs2

My views on cheat meals… well, I looked at paleo like a husband. It is not like after you get married you say to your spouse, “Okay, it has been three months, time for a cheat!” You make a commitment, to yourself, your body, and to your will power. I will “cheat” when there is no option, a work function, or I don’t want to be “that person” who is super difficult to invite places. It is not hard to stay on course, but there are times when I have admittedly taken the easy route and just eaten the pizza – guilt free – worry free – and happily. I do make painstaking efforts to always be prepared, but no one is perfect… Right?

Compare4
One year to the date – same shirt, same hoodie, same glasses.
100lbsdown

I am not stopping, it is not like I hit the year mark and said, “Okay, goal achieved, time to hit the ice cream truck!” Instead, I look back at my year and think, how can I help others achieve this?

So, the running joke with a friend is “body by bacon” – she told me at some point that I could not sustain weight loss and eat bacon every day of my life. I begged to differ. So, there has been some nights where it is well past my bedtime, and I realize, “I have not had my daily Vitamin Bcn,” and will throw a few slices on the stove and enjoy… and then tell my friend, “Do your research… fat doesn’t make you fat!”

nomnom 2
I stalked this poor woman – asking for help on recipes, and telling her repeatedly that it was her food that inspired me to get back in the kitchen and start taking this nutrition thing seriously! In order to get this, I sent a pregnant mom of a toddler and busy career woman the book and forced her to go to a book signing in her neighborhood. No, that would not be inconvenient… Michelle needs to make a trip to Huntsville!

Whenever I start to doubt myself, wonder where the magic is, think it is not happening fast enough, I look at the pictures of a year ago, and realize that with determination, discipline, bravery, courage, willpower, and above all, friends… you can do anything! My advice to the world… believe that you are worth it; the investment in yourself is not just about the money spent, it is the time put in. The information is there, and it takes trial and error to find the right combination for “magic.” It is okay to stumble, and even fall down; I have been known in some WODs to fall down hundreds of times, (it is called a burpee), but you get back up.

I have had a few friends reach out to me over the year to ask me what my secret is, and for help. And it usually brings a tear to my eye. I never set out to be inspiring. When one of my colleagues at work called me and said, “Thanks to you, I have lost over 50 pounds,” I was overwhelmed. I may have provided the proof that it can work, but I didn’t tell my colleague what to eat and how. I didn’t tell the girl I once coached soccer with, who has grown up and had babies, specifically what to eat—I pointed her in the direction of the same websites that I went to, and offered an ear whenever she needed. I didn’t tell the girl that I did CrossFit with to show up on a consistent basis and eat clean, but I did tell her that she was transforming before my eyes, just as I was to her. There are sources of inspiration all around; it is just a matter of choosing to see them.

In April of 2013, I weighed 314 pounds. I was wearing a size 24 pant, and a 26/28 top. I only shopped at Lane Bryant or online plus sized stores. I was far from confident and happy… Today, I weighed in at 210, and I own three pairs of pants that are size 12 and  one shirt with a collar that fits!

But more amazing, (yeah, I went there) is the fact that I have lost a total of 88.5”. That is 7’ 4.5”. To put this in perspective, Yao Ming is 7’ 6” (Shaquille O’Neal is only 7’ 1″). I have nearly lost Yao Mong, a 2 month old horse, and an ostrich egg. But what I have gained…

Felicia

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. Great going! Keep up the hard work!

    Jacob wrote on July 11th, 2014
  2. Congratulations Felicia! You’re determination is inspiring! No more Yao Ming – woooo! I’m going to refer everyone to your vitamin bcn anecdote every time anybody doubts it.

    Mark wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • I was recently traveling for work and in the Colorado Springs airport was a t-shirt Body By Bacon – I was with the friend who said I could not eat bacon every day – needless to say I bought a t-shirt in an airport for the first time in my life! Thank you!

      Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
      • congrats! felicia

        marsha wrote on July 14th, 2014
      • I am heading down to the Colorado Springs airport right now!!! Love it!!

        Susan Etherton wrote on July 24th, 2014
  3. Felicia,

    That is just amazing! Well done, lady. My favorite part: that the two best things you’ve gained are confidence and friendships.

    Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story!

    Annie wrote on July 11th, 2014
  4. Thanks for sharing that amazing story! You look great and you absolutely are inspiring :)

    Melissa wrote on July 11th, 2014
  5. GOOSEBUMPS, that’s what I’ve got. You have an amazing story! Wow! I love it :) Thanks for helping my Friday start great!!!

    Nick wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • Agree! Your story nearly brings tears to my eyes. Congratulations. You are truly an inspiration.

      aaron wrote on July 13th, 2014
  6. Great success story! Congrats Felicia!

    I think my favorite part is the husband reference in terms of cheating, it really is amazing the things we’ll do to ourselves but not to others. I like the way you put it into perspective!

    Danny wrote on July 11th, 2014
  7. What a dramatic transformation, Felicia! Way to go!

    Hao wrote on July 11th, 2014
  8. Wow! Felicia great story. Good job on seeing it through. I love hearing how it’s so much more than the numbers on a scale!

    Luke wrote on July 11th, 2014
  9. Super story Felicia – excellent job. Congrats from across the Atlantic (Ireland).
    This is an inspiring story and one that resonates with all of us. You need to get this personal story out there. I think it could help many many people.
    Thanks again for sharing.

    Dave wrote on July 11th, 2014
  10. Wow , I loved your comparison of marriage and cheat meals. I’ve been spending way too much time in the land of 20%. I’ve got lots of excuses, really lame ones, but you snapped me right back into reality, I’ve been cheating on myself! That’s it I deserve better I leaving …. Leaving the land of 20%

    Thank you Felicia!

    Donna wrote on July 11th, 2014
  11. I have tears TEARS on my checks right now and goosebumps all over my arms. You are a ROCKSTAR! I’m in awe and while I’ve made the same pledge (to hit a weight goal by my 43rd birthday) I won’t make it to my goal. I can’t seem to stay on track. When stress gets too high, I turn right back to the sugar.

    You are truly motivating. So proud of what you’ve accomplished!!!

    Melissa wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • You can do it – I found comfort in the littlest things for stress and comfort food – apples dipped in honey – not ideal, but so much better than a cupcake – berry smoothies with coconut milk, chia seeds – I was fearless – Even if you don’t make the goal – you are working toward it – I was allowed a lot of freedoms with work and flexibility in my life. Stay with it! It is worth it!

      Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
  12. You look beautiful, Felicia! I loved hearing about your process and how your success didn’t come all at once-very realistic.

    tiffany cain wrote on July 11th, 2014
  13. Felicia, your story is truly inspiring to me! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Erica wrote on July 11th, 2014
  14. This sentence/viewpoint —- I looked at everything that I did as an investment in myself. I was worth it.

    Is LIFE CHANGING! Thank you Felicia! You’re awesome – Grok on!!!

    Jessica wrote on July 11th, 2014
  15. I read these every week. Today, I *cried.* I never comment, barely even read the comments, but…today. This woman is different.

    Felicia, you are amazing.

    Katie wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • thank you – if it makes you feel better – this has all brought tears to my eyes all morning – good happy emotional tears!

      Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
  16. absolutely amazing! thank you for sharing. and i know the nom nom kahlua recipe you are talking about…yummmm

    diane wrote on July 11th, 2014
  17. Felicia, you’re not only inspiring but seriously FUN– & you have quite a way with words & imagery too. I can certainly see why others are drawn to you & your story, & why they want to follow you.

    Huge congratulations & here’s to your continued success!

    Paleo-curious wrote on July 11th, 2014
  18. Your whole story is inspiring, but your analogy of not cheating on a spouse was exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I was on the straight and narrow for 8 months and felt better than ever, and while I live an 80/20 life at the moment, I am painfully aware that my 20% is actually an cop-out and I need to stay faithful. Thanks for sharing.

    You look amazing, and I hope you write back in another year so we can see how far you continue to go!

    Mindy wrote on July 11th, 2014
  19. ME! I am in tears reading the comments – thank you all! So proud to share this with the world!

    Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
  20. Felicia – that’s a great journey you shared with us. It shows there can be a lot of ups and downs, false hopes and starts, but when finally meets Mark’s site, all the pieces seem to fall into place. Make no mistake, like you said, it still takes a lot of hard work and diligence, but if the choice is important enough, it’s sustainable. Thanks again for the inspiration and serving our country!

    Jeff F. wrote on July 11th, 2014
  21. Well done Felicia, you tell a great story and you are a great story. Some of those lines are going to be on post-it’s around me – the cheating, investment, vitamin bc – brilliant and inspirational!

    Grokesque wrote on July 11th, 2014
  22. What a fantastic, inspiring story Felicia! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Craig wrote on July 11th, 2014
  23. Great story, just what I needed to read today…nice job!

    Josh wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • Yep!

      Julian wrote on July 11th, 2014
  24. I LOVE your story! And thank you for posting all the pictures. You look so beautiful and healthy!

    Susan wrote on July 11th, 2014
  25. So proud of you Felicia. I knew that you’ve always had it in you to accomplish anything you wanted. Proud to see how far you’ve come, and how happy you are. Stay strong, and stay the course.You’ll be back tending the goal sooner than you think;-) The Duck Man is smiling:-)

    Dennis wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • <3 you!!!! thanks to you and Ed I can safely say I blocked a flying worm! Not many people get to put that on their resumes! Miss you tons!

      Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
  26. I’ve never commented on here before, but your story has compelled me. You had me cracking up (love Chris Traeger!), gave me goosebumps, and made me cry (in a good way :). The people in your life are lucky to have you- you are inspirational and beautiful. I hope you are filled with pride for all you’ve accomplished and the motivation you are undoubtedly providing to countless others.

    Nicole wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • There is a Chris Traeger in every office in America. My Chris Traeger, which I failed to mention, ended up doing CrossFit with me. He checks on me, and keeps me motivated… And i have come to learn and appreciate that his friendship is genuine- I have a War Bar in my office now, and my former office mate also started CrossFit, and the three of us may, on occasion done OHS or good mornings with the war bar. Maybe I am becoming Chris Traeger? I think I am more Leslie Knope though… She is a personal hero of mine!

      Felicia wrote on July 12th, 2014
  27. You are a beautiful person Felicia! Thank you for speaking to even the hard things, like loneliness and insecurity, and being so brave as to share your story in such a deep way… You are truly an inspiration to myself and so many! Keep rock in it lady!!

    Hannah wrote on July 11th, 2014
  28. Oh Felicia….what an “amazing journey.” (Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.)

    Love your sense of humor and I can guess your friends love you lots. I love you lots and I don’t even know you.

    I’m positive your story will inspire many more as it gets passed around. Thanks so much for sharing.

    BTW if you are still interested in being on TV, would you be interested in sharing your story on Joy’s Fit Club on the Today show? She keeps parading out people who have lost weight on low fat diets. I would love to see at least one of our tribe featured although I don’t know if she would be willing to go there. Maybe just send her this story as is.

    Sharon wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • I would love to tell the world “fat doesn’t make you fat!” And chomp on some bacon while doing it – (nitrate free uncured bacon of course!) I will send her the story! And maybe even add some butter to my coffee!

      Thank you so much – I am very loved by the most amazing group of friends anyone could ever ask for!!! Truly -

      Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
  29. This might be one of the greatest things I have read. My journey has been slower going than yours but the things you are saying ring true for me (insulin resistance is not helping me). I too have bacon nearly every day (unless I don’t want to eat it). You are a huge inspiration and just freaking AWESOME. Way to go.

    I was wondering what your strength training is like. I am making it my goal to be able to do a real pull-up without any assistance from the stupid machine (no matter how long it takes) and although my assistance is decreasing it feels like it is going slow. Any tips for us weaklings? :) Again. Thanks so much for sharing this. You are such a rock star.

    Stephanie wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • I follow the programming at CrossFit Huntsville. Our head coach is incredible (will be going to the games) – for a while I was doing additional oly lifting classes on weekends – I am without a pull-up – I can do them one at a time, kipping with ONE band. I am close, but I think it is more technique and fear that is holding me back. If you have not looked in to CrossFit in your area, you may want to, most boxes set up their programming for certain strength escalation. Some will also offer special classes on the more core moves – There have been a few pull-up workshops at my box, but I have yet to go to any – in the beginning I didn’t want to take the spot of a person who was closer than I was, and the last one I was in Colorado.

      Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
  30. You inspire me!

    Alex wrote on July 11th, 2014
  31. That’s a truly beautiful and inspiring story. You are awesome!

    SRMJ wrote on July 11th, 2014
  32. Felicia, Keep going girl and show others what “CAN” be done! Thanks for sharing. Tom

    Tom Brennan wrote on July 11th, 2014
  33. Felicia, thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story–beautifully told, with sincerity and wit. You’ve given me renewed inspiration to cut out the sweet snacks (my sneaky weakness) and you have me interested in checking out Crossfit!

    Margie wrote on July 11th, 2014
  34. I LOVE your story. One of the best ever. This makes my Friday!!!

    Joey wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • and you made MY Friday!!! thank you so much!

      Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
  35. No surgery. No Biggest Loser. This is the way! The very best way! Congrats!!!

    Linda A. Lavid wrote on July 11th, 2014
  36. Yours is my favorite Friday story in years. Love your writing AND your spirit.

    Holly wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • +1 and I love your same shirt, same hoodie, same glasses… no funny face in the after pic too :D CONGRATS.

      Veronique wrote on July 14th, 2014
  37. Smart and funny story. You’re a great writer and I can see why you have loads of friends.

    You look incredible.

    One of my friends did just go through with the gastric bypass surgery. You want to say there is another way but she has been vegetarian/vegan for years and refused to “compromise her principles”. So surgery it was.

    I like your way better!

    Jeanne wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • I think surgery is a very viable option for some people. I think that there are great risks and a lot of untold stories that need to be told. Removing part of your stomach or bypassing it or lapband, does not change he symptoms that made a person gain weight in the first place. Thee are circumstances where genetics and hormones play a factor, but if a person has the surgery and is not willing to change their relationship with food, I fear for the results. When I was headed toward surgery, I remember thinking to myself, that a lot of my habits are going to have to change, so why not start changing them now. When I played soccer, I would practice before a game, so why not practice eating right. I want to walk around life carrying a sign “results not typical” – when I say I was neurotic, I was horrible. It took a year for me to really get comfortable with the idea of NOT disrupting an entire event just for my dietary needs. Most of the people in my social circle now are paleo to a degree, so that has also helped. I wish your friend luck – I tell people who also ask about paleo “it is the exact opposite of a vegetarian, I am determined to eat all of the meat that they are not…” :) this being said, the world needs everyone, vegetarians to not eat the meat, and primals to eat the whole carcass! Making bone broth now… :)

      Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
      • You just reminded me I need to up the bone broth. That stuff is so healing for the gut! And my gut needs it.

        I think the thing which surprised me most about the surgery she was describing (she didn’t do the sleeve, she did the regular bypass) was finding out it really is meant to be sort of a jumpstart for the first 12-18 months. And then if you have not changed your habits by then you stand at real risk to regain a good portion or all of the weight. So like you said, why not start making the changes anyway….you are going to have to change no matter what you do.

        Jeanne wrote on July 11th, 2014
  38. Gorgeous spirit and story! You are inspiring! Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.Sure would like to have an update in about a year, because you are going places, lady!

    Sanas wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • I will check back in next year…promise!!!

      Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
  39. So glad you didn’t do biggest loser and found paleo instead! Congratulations, what an amazing accomplishment. Wishing you the best!

    Michele wrote on July 11th, 2014
  40. That’s beautiful, and you’re beautiful! Congratulations! I absolutely love the reference you make to eating paleo and comparing it to cheating on a husband. I feel like I needed to hear that.

    Any time we have a lot of burpees in a workout at CrossFit, my coach always yells, “A burpee is a metaphor for life! You’re going to fall, but you can always get yourself back up!” Annoying but true :) You’ve certainly proven that you can get yourself back up!

    Thank you for being inspiring and keep at it!

    Emily wrote on July 11th, 2014
    • Up until penning this missive, I used to ask all of the time “If CrossFit is functional movements, what function will a burpee serve?” I moved in the middle of all of this and had to ‘clean’ a refrigerator to get it up a 1/2 flight of stairs, so I was thankful for all of the power cleans I had done to that point, but aside from college and falling down drunk, I could not figure out the function of a Burpee. It dawned on me as I wrote this – no, there are countless times when you need to be able to pick yourself up after falling…. thank you!

      Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014
      • Don’t let your goalie coach hear that, Flee! He’ll make you do a hundred…

        Terry wrote on July 11th, 2014
        • Or we can wait till it is pouring rain, have some unsuspecting kind hearted soul kneel down and force me to fly over him…. chances of a cleat mark from a brightly colored cleat on back of said kind soul – 100%!

          Felicia wrote on July 11th, 2014

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