Remember Michelle? Griff? Sterling? These are just a few of the Mark’s Daily Apple readers that sent in their inspiring success stories  during last year’s Primal Blueprint 30 Day Health Challenge. I think I can say that we were all captivated by their stories. Testament to this fact are the numerous emails I receive from fellow-PBers asking how they are doing. Griff, for example, was just two weeks into going Primal when he originally wrote in. Michelle was nearly a year into her weight loss journey. How has the last 6+ months been for them and others? Read on to read (and see) their progress and check back next week for more success story updates.
As you probably know, since I went Primal back in August I have been an active member of MDA’s forums. I’ve established a reputation as the go-to guy for cholesterol questions (and I’m learning more about that every day), and I’m loving the heck out of the people here at MDA.
I’ve made a number of positive changes by going Primal. The first (and most obvious) is that I’ve dropped about 80 pounds since August 13, 2009. The second is that by stopping grains, sugars, and starch-loaded foods, I’ve eliminated my arthritis, my IBS, and my migraines, and I’ve brought my blood sugars down to normal (they’ve been there since mid-November, usually in the mid-80s to mid-90s). My doctor is absolutely flabbergasted by my progress. I’m still losing about 8 to 10 pounds a month, too. And I’m no longer in a wheelchair! I can walk quickly and sometimes even run for short bursts. It’s amazing.
Other changes have been my attitude towards food and my attitude towards exercise. I used to love food and hate exercise. Now I love Primal food, detest CW food, and can tolerate exercise (I’m working up to enjoying it). I still need knee surgery on both knees, due to some damage I did to the kneecaps with a few too many trip-and-fall injuries, but I’m waiting until I’m down to a reasonable weight before I pursue that. Once I’ve done that I’m sure I can start working towards being an athlete as well.
To give you an idea of where I’ve come from and where I’m headed, here’s my bloodwork from the month before I went Primal and the bloodwork that was just performed this past week. Although my HDL is still not where I want it, I’m sure that as I drop more weight it’ll begin to bounce upward. When my doctor saw my test results, he told me that he would have bet me a paycheck that I wouldn’t have these awesome results due to my size – and that I would have won the bet. (I wish I had!)
Total Cholesterol: 195
LDL: 152 (pattern B)
Fasting Glucose: 209
Rheumatoid Factor: 47
Total Cholesterol: 177
LDL: 137 (pattern A)
HbA1c: 5.4 (non-diabetic)
Fasting Glucose: 98
Rheumatoid Factor: 38
I’m not having the stunning rises in HDL or drops in LDL that most people may have had (yet), but my LDL pattern changed from the “bad” pattern B to the “good” pattern A. My ratios all dropped a little bit, which is good, and my glucose and HbA1c scores tell a whole new story about my insulin levels, as does my Trig/HDL ratio (below 2 is “excellent,” and lower numbers indicate lower free insulin levels).
As far as the non-medical things that I’m preening about: I can move the seat forward in my car and not bump into the steering wheel. I can tilt the steering wheel down. I can sit in a restaurant booth and not feel crammed or cramped in. I have an enormous amount of slack in my seatbelt. I can fit in a student desk at school (and I could never do that before, ever). I can walk both up and down a flight of stairs, alternating feet as I do it. I can walk all the way across campus and not get out of breath. I can sit in a chair and not worry that it’s going to break under me. I can dance! I can hug my tween-aged children and they can clasp their hands together behind my back. I’m stronger, I’m fitter, I’m more energetic, I’m sleeping better – the list goes on and on and on.
Oh, and I went from a size 68 jean (which was getting really, really tight) to a size 52, and it’s loose and has been for a while.
Here’s a couple of pictures for you, too – me at close to my heaviest and me now.
This is the first time I’ve been brave enough to share them. While I was standing closer to the camera in the picture I took in September, you can still see the obvious weight loss in my belly and my arms. And the September photo was taken after I’d already lost 26 pounds. I don’t have any photos taken of me in June or July, when I was at my absolute heaviest, so imagine another 26 pounds on the September photo. (Also, notice that the jeans in the March photo are loose! It’s time to buy new ones.)
If it weren’t for this site, I’d be sucking down my hypoglycemic pills, hating life, and wondering how I’d ever get my sugars out of the 300s again. Mark, I can’t thank you enough for giving me my life back. Check back with me in another six months, and grok on!
Read Griff’s original Success Story here .
Where am I now…? Well since submitting my story last year I’m still Grokking on! I’ve lost another 7 kgs and 6% body fat.
As I get closer to goal it’s definitely getting tougher. I find myself allowing a little more lenience on some non primal foods around celebrations but this does set me back a little from my goal. However I’m still living primal 80% of the time and slowing reaching my goal. I feel like this way of live is so sustainable and it doesn’t ever feel too restrictive, if I ever do have a minor set back from the non primal foods I find myself feeling pretty ill and hanging out to eat my ‘normal primal’ food again. Loving my primal life 🙂
Read Michelle’s original Success Story here .
Hello, I am still doing the primal blueprint! I made the move back to the US from Sweden this summer and I now live in New York City. It was here that I finally connected with other paleo dieters in real life through a meetup group called Eating Paleo in NYC founded by John Durant . This had always been an internet thing for me and it was great to be able to finally meet, eat, and hang out with similarly minded people. In January our group was featured in both the New York Times  and The Colbert Report when John was a guest. We have been growing rapidly ever since! We have done cowpooling, cooking workshops, and farm tours. We had one huge awesome party and potluck that attracted over 30 people who brought delicious foods ranging from wild boar to steak tartare.
I started my own website called Hunt. Gather. Love.  where I now blog. I also got my father into The Primal Blueprint and he has lost 50 lbs so far! 
NYC Paleo has big plans, including a hunting workshop and our own awesome website.
Read Melissa’s original Success Story here .
My success with a primal-like/Grok-like lifestyle is continuing. I vacillate between 9%-11% body fat depending on the discipline of my diet. Taking the recommendation of MDA readers and fellow Primal Blueprinters after my “More Like Grok ” success story, I started a health, fitness, and fat loss blog in late 2009 – sterlingadvice.blogspot.com . I’ve enjoyed helping others who want to change their life and wave goodbye to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Mark continues to be an inspiration as he is one of the most disciplined guys I know and I enjoy the friendship we’ve established.
To those readers that are just starting to eat and move primally: read all you can, enjoy the ride, seek help when you need it, and don’t let your goals of grok-like lifestyle and body cause you unneeded frustration and grief. Just follow a plan, stick to it, and you’ll get there.
Read Sterling’s original Success Story here .