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

You Can’t See It, But Believe It!

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!

Dear Mark,

I can’t tell you how much I feel like a Primal success story although my before and after photos wouldn’t reveal a thing. You see, I haven’t lost a pound, not one. And I didn’t really need to, but I desperately needed a change.

A little backstory:

I am a stay at home mom. Three years ago, my husband began his graduate degree. He had also recently started a new job with no base salary. (He worked for 100% commissions.) Our two children, at the time, were ages 5 and 3. And then my brother-in-law moved in with us. My stress level went through the roof! And my health took a nosedive. Sleep was not a priority; it was usually just an afterthought. My weight, which has been the same number for the past decade, wasn’t sitting in the same places. And while my husband swore he didn’t notice, I did.

The worst part was the way the stress affected my overall health. I was getting chronic yeast infections. Chronic. Get one, clear it up, and repeat. The first couple times I tried treating it over the counter. Then I tried the doctor. Then I tried another doctor. It was affecting things in the bedroom too. My not feeling well made two of us unhappy.

I was also getting these weird bumps inside my nose. I thought they were pimples or something because if I washed my face or blew my nose they would hurt so much. But the doctor told me they were staff infections. How does that happen!? Maybe if you’re a habitual nose-picker with dirty hands, but for the rest of the population (meaning anyone over the age of six) what could possibly cause that? I had to coat cotton swabs in Neosporin and stick them up my nose. That was fun. NOT.

And overall, I just felt blah. I didn’t have any energy. I got sick or colds frequently. I felt rundown. My immunity was definitely compromised. But, I just figured it was the season of life we were in: small children, graduate school, career building, etc. I kept holding on, thinking eventually things had to get better.

About a year and a half into this awkwardness, I had my first awakening. I was referred to a new doctor who, in addition to treating my (current) yeast infection, told me he wanted me to try doing Sugar Busters. Not as a form of weight control, but to try to rid my body of additional sugar that could be feeding the yeast infections. This was something new: I had a doctor who not only treated me, but believed I could do something to help myself and encouraged me to do it. I felt empowered. I bought Sugar Busters that day and began my “new life.” Only, it didn’t work. I was at it for a year because I didn’t want to “quit” before it could work. (Plus I was desperate; chronic yeast infections are not fun.)

I still felt like the doctor was onto something though. I felt like there must be a way to take my health into my own hands if only I could figure out how to do it. I began to read more about nutrition, more specifically, to read about challenging conventional wisdom and the Standard American Diet. I was beginning to form my own ideas about what nutrition could mean for me.

It was at this same time that my sister began going Primal with her husband. She would call me and say, “I really think this could work for you.” I was skeptical to say the least. OK, I was ready to challenge the powers that be, but give up grains? ALL of them? Really? What would I eat? What would I feed my family? My sister’s only question to me was, “What do have you to lose?”

I bought a copy of The Primal Blueprint and read it in a few days. It made so much sense! Just reading and following your 10 Primal Blueprint Laws is transformative! And sleep is one of them! Oh, how I missed sleep. My husband was so busy I really had to lobby for more sleep, but he quickly saw that it made quite a difference to both of us! Getting him on board the food train didn’t take much convincing. Steak, bacon, eggs, avocados. I think his exact words were “H***, yeah!” He never much cared for all the “wheat poop” I used to serve him anyway. (Yes, those are his words for “whole grains.”)

I’m a much better cook now! I don’t think we ever realized how bland and tasteless pasta, bread, and breading can be. We buy grass fed beef and joined a CSA. My kids are trying and eating things I wouldn’t have expected young children to like (such as kale and salmon). The kids devoured Shawarma Salad. I made a bone broth stew from lamb necks and my son licked the bowl! My daughter’s favorite breakfast is your Sausage & Egg Breakfast Bites. I make them for her every week. And I don’t feel at all guilty giving them to her like I used to over Pop-Tarts and sugared cereals.

But here’s the success! I have been Primal for just over 6 months now and I haven’t had a yeast infection since we started! My nose? It’s just a nose, no weird bump things inside. I haven’t lost a pound, but guess what? My weight is all back in the right places. You wouldn’t see the difference with my clothes on, but I know it because of how my clothes fit! (My husband has lost 10 lbs. without even trying and would like to lose about 10 more. Totally doable.) My energy is up! I have learned how to listen to my body. I know what will give me energy and what will zap it! My husband loves eating a breakfast that fuels him until lunch or beyond. No more munchies in the office at 10 AM. I feel better and more in control of things now than ever before.

I love reading Mark’s Daily Apple. My favorite post was the one about which 10 foods you would take on a trip to Mars. You inspired me to try salmon skin. I’d always peeled it off and thrown it away before. “Bacon of the sea.” I love it! You are so helpful, and thought-provoking, and encouraging. I love the way your readers respond to one another and encourage each other. And your wife is gorgeous, by the way! (As if you didn’t know.) My husband is pretty stoked that if we continue with this lifestyle I’ve got a good chance of looking like that in my 50’s!

I’m not sure if my story is as inspirational as those who look like they have had a total body makeover, but I have transformed my body! It’s just in ways you can’t see. I feel like a success! I think that’s what counts. 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. Great transformation. I love your story thanks for sharing. It is amazing how this can change your life. Much health to your and your family

    adrienne wrote on January 13th, 2012
  2. As usual with these stories, the best part is the contrast between the “Before” and “After” pics…absolutely astounding! You guys look like you feelgreat, nice job!

    Josh wrote on January 13th, 2012
  3. Congrats to you Beth! I also have never had a weight problem but had tons of health problems for my whole life that literally disappeared once I gave up grains, sugar, and dairy. Focusing on sleep was a huge issue for me (I still have to work on it from time to time) but wow, what a difference. Thank you for sharing your story, I’m sure there are more people out there like you and me who look okay but are not okay who will be inspired by your success!

    Jessica wrote on January 13th, 2012
  4. Hey Beth
    It was great to read your story. It was actually a nice change from all the weight loss successes. Though they are wonderful it is good to hear about how primal affects other health issues. Thanks!

    Aoife wrote on January 13th, 2012
  5. I love this. Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

    Meagan wrote on January 13th, 2012
  6. Congratulations!! In fact, I was waiting for this kind of success story. I doesn’t have to always rely around fat loss!

    Cheers from Quebec!

    Félix wrote on January 13th, 2012
  7. Fantastic story! My weightloss has stalled, and I think it’s because I still have underlying things to heal: but I feel great ! The SAD (whether it’s Aussie or American) is a depressive diet. Sugar and the junk food are downers of that I am sure. My sister in law has gone onto a primal stlye diet and her eczema which she has had from BIRTH, has gone. just like that. Cheers

    Heather wrote on January 13th, 2012
  8. Wow, as you can see from the comments, your story is really inspiring to those of us without weight to lose but have other health issues. Thanks for sharing!

    I have a question about fruit for you – did you have to cut it out to get rid of the yeast infections and can you eat it (in moderation) now? I’m currently trying to rid myself of chronic yeast infections and have completely cut out fruit, but I really hope I’ll be able to add it back in at some point as it’s about my favorite thing to eat (for dessert!).

    Heather wrote on January 13th, 2012
    • I did not cut out fruit. Since I wasn’t trying to lean out, I wasn’t as worried about bringing my total daily carbs to the lowest point possible. I really love apples; I have one probably 3-5/wk. I stay away from the other high fructose fruits though: bananas, melons, grapes, pineapple. I eat those only in moderation and try to stick to berries when I want more fruit. I love veggies too, so getting my fiber hasn’t been a problem.
      I did COMPLETELY cut the wheat products. And I do NOT “cheat” on those. If I do “cheat,” I may have some blue corn chips or a tiny bit of white rice. In the beginning, though, I avoided those too.
      I hope that helps.
      I wish you complete success!

      Beth wrote on January 13th, 2012
      • Thanks for the reply. I’m glad to hear you didn’t have to cut out fruit! My naturopathic doctor recommended I stay away from fruit for now since the candida feeds on sugar. I learned my lesson pretty early on with wheat – cutting it out for 2 weeks and then eating a small amount made me never want to eat it again.

        I also cheated with corn products and white rice but now I’m fully committed to eliminating grains entirely (at least while I’m healing, I don’t expect to be perfect forever). It’s really not that difficult except that my husband likes to go out to eat a lot. I was using the rice to soak up sauces at Thai restaurants, not even because I really wanted rice. I told my husband that we should get take out and then I can replace the rice with cauliflower rice at home. He agreed since he’s more interested in eating yummy ethnic food than in the experience of eating out (although we do enjoy going out to breakfast together).

        I’m coming around very quickly to the primal diet. It’s hard to believe I was vegetarian just 3 months ago, and I just swore off soy a week ago (my last hold out just because I used to eat it so much). I just hope I didn’t do too much damage and my body will learn to heal itself over time with good food. I’m so thankful to have this community to share experiences and tips with. :)

        Heather wrote on January 13th, 2012
  9. Im particularly happy to hear its helped your yeast problems. I went on a anti yeast diet which introduced me to the idea of meals without grains. Feel fantastic for it, and now making my way (along with hubby -yay!) into primal. I am happy to hear that this will also help get rid of any remaining yeast problem without being on SUCH a restrictive diet :) its hard work. Primal however is YUM!!! :) thanks for sharing.

    Tara wrote on January 13th, 2012
  10. Great Story. Congrats!

    Joe wrote on January 13th, 2012
  11. The thing I love about the primal diet is that it is about so much more than just losing weight. It is really about becoming healthy in every way. I think your story shows how listening to your body really pays off.

    I have noticed that I hang onto stomach fat when I am under stress. Recently the stomach fat has returned. I thought I was fine stress wise but then looked into my sleep habits. I have been having an awful time with sleep lately. This is what I love about this lifestyle. Instead of thinking, “Oh, I am fat.” I am looking at the reasons that I am holding on to this fat. Great job!!!! You both look so happy.

    Cathy wrote on January 13th, 2012
  12. Congratulations on your success! May it continue on for the rest of your days :)

    Caleigh wrote on January 13th, 2012
  13. Thanks for sharing! I have the same experience – from I was 13 until I 27 yeast infection was on and off, sometimes really bad! I could wake up crying in the middle of the night. Shifting my diet to a more paleo/primal one has changed everything and yeast infections are history!

    Keep up the good work, you look like a wonderful couple :)

    Sara wrote on January 13th, 2012
  14. I did and do have weight to lose, but the surprise benefits of saying goodbye to chronic yeast infections and the apparent healing of gall bladder issues are what make this life style so much more than a “diet”. I emphasize these other benefits to people who ask about my weight loss. Truly, I am hoping to be the pebble that casts a great ripple to help others in my circle. I am so delighted to be part of this encouraging community. Thanks Beth, for putting it out there, congratulations and Grok On!

    T Hut wrote on January 13th, 2012
  15. Thanks for sharing your story. I also had/have chronic yeast infections. When I began Primal last February they went away! But moving back to the US last May meant I also slacked some on my Primal goodness. I have begun getting yeast infections again over the past few months. Your story reminded my of the direct correlation I noticed last year. I have gotten back on track over the past few weeks with some new, specific and very attainable goals for the coming months and year.

    kris C wrote on January 13th, 2012
  16. Thank you for sharing your journey! I’ve been struggling for years with unexplainable fevers, symptoms that mimic Lupus and RA, as well as a thyroid disorder and have seen several docs over the years to no avail. I can’t even remember what it feels like to feel good anymore. I’ve been slowly making the transition to being 100% primal over the last couple of weeks and seeing your story just gives me that much more motivation to keep it up and not give in to temptation.

    StephanieM wrote on January 13th, 2012
  17. Wheat poop! I love the phrase, that’s exactly what it is. You guys look great! Thanks for sharing. To our blood stream and pancreas wheat/grains are SUGAR. Sugar feeds infections and undesirable body um, lumps. I evaluate all doctors & “health experts” on what they say or don’t say about wheat.

    Linda wrote on January 13th, 2012
  18. I love your story! Success Stories are my favorite email of the day!

    Melinda wrote on January 13th, 2012
  19. LOVE this story & so many people could relate to it! I do need to lose weight, but i know so many women who are thin & think that is enough. I wish everyone – no matter how good they look in a bikini – would begin to see the benefits of eating this healthy! LOVE your story, Beth. Y’all are a cute couple! And yeast infections.. yuck! I don’t have them chronically, but enough to know they are awful! Glad you are feeling so much better! :)

    Melissa wrote on January 13th, 2012
  20. Super..Your story is VERY Inspiring!

    Linda Marcy wrote on January 13th, 2012
  21. A good reminder that it’s not just about weight loss and how you look, but about your overall health.

    Matt Meeks wrote on January 13th, 2012

    Tom wrote on January 13th, 2012
  23. Beth, that IS inspirational! How cool!!

    Kate (Cathy Johnson) wrote on January 13th, 2012
  24. Love this story! While weight loss is part of my goal it s second to reclaiming my energy/health! Love it, still a little scared about eating salmon skin though :/

    Raclbaby2000 wrote on January 13th, 2012
    • For me, the key is: It has to be CRISPY!

      Crispy Salmon Skin = Yummy!

      (I don’t like soggy pork bacon either.)


      Beth wrote on January 14th, 2012
  25. Beth – As a Grandma trying to do the best for our granddaughter (who is 4-1/2 years old)- I soooooo appreciate the tips on how to handle PB with little ones. Fortunately, my daughter is on board with the Primal alternatives I’ve chosen for GD when she’s with us when we’re babysitting. Unfortunately, 99% of the time GD is either with the regular babysitter (who doesn’t have a friggen’ clue about PB) or at pre-school (ditto) so healthy alternatives get mixed in to the regular equation.

    Parents who take their kids to a pre-school or babysitter who watches several kids is aware of what I’m saying — it’s the general consensus that prevails. In our area, sitters are very, very hard to find let alone one that is Primal!

    PrimalGrandma wrote on January 13th, 2012
  26. What an inspiring story. It’s great to see how people can change their lives by simply leading a better lifestyle!

    Sarah wrote on January 13th, 2012
  27. Hi Beth:
    I LOVE your story!!! Not that you’ve had to endure years of one of THE WORST maladies EVER to plague women–but that you took control of your health. I LOVE it!! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Tonja Pizzo wrote on January 13th, 2012
  28. Beth, I know everyone is big on sun here, but your complexion is gorgeous…don’t risk the sunspots that will come in your 40s!
    I’m glad you’re feeling so much better; you definitely look healthy.

    Milemom wrote on January 13th, 2012
    • Thank you, and funny you should say that about the sun. I think the great thing about primal is that everyone is able to tweak the lifestyle (not diet) to meet their personal needs.
      While I’m glad I’ve never had much trouble with blemishes, I have already had to treat pre-cancerous spots on my face twice. When I take in the sun, it’s for moments, not hours. I cover up and have learned to wear a hat.

      Beth wrote on January 14th, 2012
  29. GOOD, GOOD JOB people!!! I know it’s not easy sometimes to try to stick to PB with the young ones, but I’m so proud of you and so happy that you’ve been able to carry it out thus far, and I know you’ll continue to do so! Congratulations and all the very best to you and your very lucky family.

    Absolutely just loved your story – thank you so much for sharing, and thanks to Mark for posting it, as well.

    PrimalGrandma wrote on January 13th, 2012
  30. I’m so glad you posted this. My husband and I have been primal for 4-5 months now. We have noticed great non-scale improvements, but our weight hasn’t budged. (neither of us need to lose weight though) We then had a friend who went primal and lost 30 pounds in six weeks! I kept thinking “What are we doing wrong?” but it’s nice to be reminded that success doesn’t neccessarily mean weight loss. We’re both happier and healthier, which is enough for us.

    Hannah wrote on January 13th, 2012
  31. Awesome. I love your story because I have a friend who is considering going primal but is naturally a twig and doesn’t see how going primal will help him. I try to tell him it’s about total health, not weight loss, but it doesn’t seem to sink in. Thanks for sharing, and grok on!

    Graham wrote on January 13th, 2012
  32. i love hearing about the weight loss stories but this is just as inspirational. this just shows that living paleo or primal is so much more than just about weight loss – it makes us FEEL better!! i too don’t have weight to to lose but, let me tell you, i sure do feel it when i’ve strayed. great job on your success and kudos to you for giving your kids a good start on life!

    sonja wrote on January 13th, 2012
  33. Success can certainly be measured in non weight related ways and your success shows just what eating Primal can do for all of us. Like you I didn’t have weight to lose but regaining joy and having so much more energy in my daily life has made a world of difference.

    Marg wrote on January 14th, 2012
  34. congratulations. Nice to see a young family moving into a healthy life style.

    Lachlan wrote on January 14th, 2012
  35. Thanks for sharing this. I think we get hung up on people’s dramatic changes in appearance, while forgetting that it’s just a reflection of overall health. Glad it’s working out so well for you!

    SeanM wrote on January 14th, 2012
  36. Love the story. Love it.

    Sameer wrote on January 14th, 2012
  37. Beth, congratulations! You look so radiant and happy. Your story is an important reminder of how our health can suffer when our life is not in balance. Stress is such an overlooked factor in causing physical aliments. My health broke down under stress too and at the time I was the skinniest but unhealthiest that I have ever been. It’s really not all about losing weight. Keep up the amazing work!

    Sabrina wrote on January 14th, 2012
  38. Great to hear a health transformation success story NOT about weight loss from a woman!!

    Lily wrote on January 14th, 2012
  39. Congratulations! Great story. I’m like you and don’t have a major body transformation to share but even if we don’t have 20, 30, 40+ pounds to lose, we still reap so many other benefits and your story is a great example of those types of other benefits. Thanks for much for sharing! Best wishes to you and your family. :-)

    Jessica wrote on January 14th, 2012

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