1 Couple, 4 Months, 90 Pounds and Newfound Health

These Primal Blueprint success stories seem to have become a regular feature on Mark’s Daily Apple in recent weeks. I love to hear from readers and I’m more than happy to publish these stories as long as they keep coming in. I know that every MDA reader out there has their own health story. If you’d like to take a moment and tell me yours shoot me an email here and I’ll respond ASAP. Thanks everyone and have a great Friday!

Dear Mark,

In March of 2010, I went to my sister’s wedding, and had a great time. When I got home, I saw the pictures and was horrified. Over the past five years, I had put on a lot of weight, and I was at the heaviest I had ever been. I wanted to do something about it, but I felt like I failed at every diet I tried.

I was feeling pretty hopeless, but my father had recently started living the Primal Blueprint lifestyle (and lost 50 pounds). He kept telling me about it, but I never listened. I am in nursing school, and I knew that what he was saying flew in the face of conventional wisdom. He finally convinced me to read The Primal Blueprint, and I did hoping to find evidence that it was wrong. After every chapter, I was convinced more and more that this was RIGHT. March 26, I threw away all of the junk in my fridge and cupboards and our family devoted ourselves to living Primal.

We got our own chickens to raise for eggs, we joined a community garden for the organic produce, and we cut out ALL processed foods. For the first 30 days, I decided to not even have one bite of sugar or sweeteners. Not even gum. It was a hard 30 days, but I felt SO good when I was done, and I had already lost a lot of weight!

Since then, my husband and I have really started working out again. As a teenager, my father had a martial arts gym, so I was very fit and taught martial arts classes almost nightly. I hadn’t practiced martial arts in years, but now that I am Primal, I feel confident enough to practice again. I have been teaching kick boxing at a local gym and will be starting a kids martial arts class next month. I also ran my first 5K this weekend! It feels so great to finally be in shape enough to play how I want to play.

My husband also feels better than ever, and our two children (ages 5 and 2) have adapted beautifully to our new diet. They especially love their daily hard boiled eggs. I feel more confident, more alive, and I finally feel young again. I am only 26, but while overweight, people always mistook me for being in my late 30s. Now I have people tell me they thought I was younger than 26!

I was worried when I started this diet that it would mess with my blood lipids. My results (about 4 months into it):

Total Cholesterol before: 181
Total Cholesterol after 4 months of Primal: 145

Triglycerides before: 106
Triglycerides after: 53

HDL (good) Cholesterol before: 43
HDL (good) Cholesterol after: 45

VLDL Cholesterol before: 21
VLDL Cholesterol after: 11

LDL (bad) Cholesterol before: 117
LDL (bad) Cholesterol after: 89

In addition to this great blood work, I have lost 50 pounds, and my husband has lost 40. I can’t wait to see what this year will bring. I look forward to playing more than ever and enjoying my newfound health! Thank you so much!


Sonia Yaksich

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42 thoughts on “1 Couple, 4 Months, 90 Pounds and Newfound Health”

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  1. Wow! Stunner! VERY motivating!!

    I’ve finally gotten my husband to commit to a meat-only December: he’s the original sodas, french fries, juices, breads, and desserts guy — despite being 6’2″ and “only” 215 pounds. {eye roll}

    I can’t throw stones, at 5’6″ and 285 pounds, but since treating my adrenals and thyroid, I’m feeling WAY better. I do water aerobics twice a week, and have added sprinting. (Alas — I’m only up to 2-1/2 minutes, in minute-increments, but that’s up from just 1 minute!) I am gearing up to start weight lifting again. (The adrenal thing really knocked me flat.)

    My husband has started us walking: we reach the top of our neighborhood hill and I’m panting like a locomotive and his heart hurts… but we’re adding one-driveway-longer a day… (Start where yah are…) (Thankfully, my breath-recovery is very good — less a minute and I’m breathing normally again…) Takes him 5-10 minutes for his heart to stop hurting so we can walk home…

    (Yes, I know: REALLY dangerous. I used to be medical affairs director and crew chief for an ambulance corps. {shrug} He won’t see a doctor (even if we had insurance, which we don’t.) And I can’t even get him to take a blood test! ({sigh} Start where yah are…)

    After the saw palmetto worked (he’s 60 so big prostate = interrupted sleep), he agreed to take a few daily vitamins (krill oil, 10,000IU of D, and I just switched him from baby aspirin to nattokinase when he finally told me he heart hurts…)

    So — just wanted to let you know, Mark, that these success stories keep me from losing hope. We have trouble going Primal cause neither of us likes vegetables (I mean, to the point of gagging when I try them! Which I still do… {sigh}) So, hearing about people having such success gives me hope we can get at least partway there…

    Thanks Mark — you’re a ray of hope and joy in a grim world. And way to go Sonia!

    1. Hi Elenor! My husband hated most vegetables too! Then he got worried about his health and decided to start eating salads and more veggies. For probably the first 20 times he ate salad he gagged through it and chugged water. One bite, gag, chug water. He choked down every bite, like torture. But after a while he started to get used to them, and now he actually likes them! If you can last through the gagging but just keep trying, you may find that after a while you learn to like some veggies. Good luck in your Primal journey!

  2. Wow, Sonia – apart from the health, you both look so much more attractive. Very attractive, actually. Way to go!

  3. Congratulations on the results! The steep decrease in triglycerides also means a shift in LDL particle to large and fluffy (i.e., non-atherogenic):


    The low trigs also suggest good glucose metabolism, which is probably one of the most important factors (more important than lipids) in increasing longevity and health:


  4. Oh. p.s., I think I’ve read somewhere (?) that you’re not a ‘true believer’ in adrenal fatigue? (If not, forgive me for confusing you with someone else.)

    I attributed to old age, many hours of “computer posture”, and mostly sedentary behavior, my problems with awakening feeling like someone had taken a bat to my kidneys, a stiff neck, carpal tunnel pain, and sole of the foot and Achilles tendon pain. Treating my adrenals made all that go away. In fact,I can tell when it was time to raise my adrenal/thyroid meds by the return of the carpal tunnel (and by its nearly instant disappearance on taking more support!).

    Adrenal fatigue is absolutely real. Treating it is absolutely necessary for treating under-performing thyroid. Weight loss and health are *out-of-reach* for someone with a messed up thyroid. It’s all connected — as I know you know! Thanks (again) for all your good information and motivation!

  5. I am so excited for both of you! The more I read these stories the more I notice the common theme. Most of us resist and resist the primal lifestyle at first. We try desperatly to find something wrong with it (my friends still do this. It amuses me). Then one day it all clicks. It took a year and a half to click with me. Once the lighbulb goes off the grok comes out in full force. The biggest thing I have learned on my journey…treat you body with good nutrition not medication. Your blood tests prove that nutrition can heal. Keep it up. Grok on!

    Side note: A few days ago I met a vegetarian woman and she was telling me about her vegetarian meet up group. I told her I was a primal eating carnivore. She said “I’m surprised. You are so thin”. Take that you low fat eaters.

    1. Yes I know what you mean about that lightbulb–I’ve seen that happen with a few loved ones lately and it’s great. Nutrition is HUGE and our society is so quick to medicate when all we need to do is get back to the basics. I really respect and admire the people featured lately who have made such huge strides with their weight loss and health. Even if they aren’t yet to their ultimate goals, weight wise, the transition is amazing. You just never know how far people have come, and also folks can be really healthy without having a super trim physique. But a skinny waist and cut muscles does get attention…it’s a little embarrassing to admit but I’ve been hyping the diet to the women talking food and weight loss in the locker room adjacent to the pool where I swim laps and it helps the argument to be pulling a swimsuit on to my 5′ 4″ 112 lbs strong not skinny looking bod…I tell them my diet is 70 percent fat 15 percent protein, 15 percent carbs and they are pretty surprised.

    2. I believe it was Hippocrates who said. “Treat medicine as food, and food as medicine.”

  6. Impressive results. I like how you all are raising chickens and getting local organic produce. It is a beautiful thing to know where your food comes from.

  7. I love the chickens idea but my husband won’t go for it. That and composting 🙁

    Ah well, I will concentrate on myself.

    Great job, both of you. I love these stories, they keep me going in the face of the doubters!

  8. What an awesome story! I read it several times just to keep getting the smile that came to my face! Let’s not fool ourselves, the Primal lifestyle is a little more work than the fast food rut most Americans are in, especially since so few families actually eat at the dinner table anymore. So I think a lot of parents are convinced that they are too busy just taking care of their children and they can’t worry about a “dramatic lifestyle change.” Sonia shows us it’s not impossible– my gosh, she’s in nursing school (probably graduated by now, working long hours) with a husband who works and two small children– if she can do it, so can others! Of course we all know she’s abusing her children by not buying breakfast cereal and Ritz crackers…but I’m convinced they’ll survive!

  9. Congrats to the both of you. You both look so much healthier and happier. Keep up the good eating/works.

  10. Great transformation! I can’t believe the difference in you faces, looking so much younger.

    I’m excited that we are buying our first home next month and will be planting a garden and maybe even chickens now that the other poster planted that idea in my head.

  11. Congratulations Sonia. You and hubby both look fantastic. Hard to believe that you could lose that amount of weight but the pictures show the truth.

    You are just going to keep feeling better and better. Way to go!

  12. A great post to start off my day with! You both look fantastic, and I applaud how you got the whole family on-board at the same time. I also especially liked that you checked your lipids before and then after a few months. I did my “before” lipids in September, and will be checking them again in March. I hope my numbers look as good as yours do now!

  13. You’re very beautiful! Your dimples are very charming and you look much happier in the picture from the race. Your husband reminds me of my husband. He seems like a sporty guy, a natural athlete. Now you can both tap into your natural athletic talents without trouble. Congratulations a thousand times, you’re an inspiration!

  14. Congratulations! You guys look fantastic. Your story really hit home with me… I think a lot of us can relate to the feeling of walking into a room full of super-fit people and feeling really out of place. But obviously you have found your niche right there with everyone! I think having a great support group, and a community like MDA, makes all the difference.

  15. Thank you all for the supportive comments! It has been a lot of hard work- but so very very worth it! I hope we’ll meet our goals by our one year mark!

  16. What a transformation. Both of you are HOT! I am glad to see what you all did worked. Kudos on your plan. I sincerely hope that you get to your 1 year goal as well!

  17. Sonia thanks for your story and congratulations on your success so far. Every story like yours is an inspiration to me for continuing my own journey.

  18. This story is so inspirational to me. I recently started doing this style of eating so that I could lose 100lbs and go back to martial arts after a 10 year break. This story really motivates me to keep going. Thanks and congrats!!!

  19. Hey, you guys! My husband, Kerry, and I started eating Primal in the middle of June. I’m close to 60 years old and was feeling so badly about my increasing weight and lack of energy. My husband is five years younger and always worked out, but my cooking kept a perennial pot belly on him. Glad to say, we’ve each lost 30 pounds and I haven’t even started working out yet. He’s an 80-20 eater, but like I said, he works out. I’ve started to work out a couple of times, but I really have to make a place and a time that I can live with. The thing is, I’m not even worried. If I lose 2 pounds a month, eventually I’ll lose the other 40 pounds, right? I will never go back to bread, pasta, M&M’s, and anything with high fructose corn syrup! We were health conscious before (eating organic, etc.) but didn’t know about the relation between eating grains and ill health, including gaining weight. I was an accomplished artisan bread baker and didn’t know if I could make the switch! But I love to cook and have Mark’s cookbook and the user cookbook. Next stop—a workout routine I can stick with! Thanks for sharing your story. The best thing that ever happened to me was reading Mark’s book (my husband’s idea) and starting out on this journey. Glad to know there are other couples who are trying this out as a couple. Makes it a lot easier, huh?

  20. Wow, you two look absolutely fantastic! Congratulations and thanks for the inspiring story.

  21. When I read the comment from Elenor saying that neither she nor her husband like vegetables. It just blew my mind. I can’t imagine how you could live without vegetables and how you could simply throw everything that is a vegetable into the same class. If I had homegrown veggies constantly, I could live off nothing but that but I know it’s not healthy. I can’t wait for the first asparagus spears next spring, so sweet and melting in my mouth. Same goes for every vegetable I eat. I admit to not caring for canned veggies but frozen are plenty good. It’s just the amount of types of tastes and the type of food that’s included in veggies I can’t get over. I don’t know how you’d live without vegetables. I think I’d quit eating altogether without hot peppers in most of what I eat. I can’t imagine a life without beans or peas. Since my wife and I live alone, we had a couple over who eat very little meat and had homegrown black eyed peas and cornbread for Thanksgiving supper. Everyone was raving about the peas. It wouldn’t put me out to eat peas every meal or beans for that matter. We practically live off pico de gallo during the summer months. I’m still trying to get my mind wrapped around someone saying they can’t stand vegetables. It’s like saying “I can’t stand water or air”. Good luck to you. I can’t imagine what you have been eating all your lives but I don’t even want to think about not having every type of vegetable I can get my grubby paws on. I’m almost always full when I get back from picking the garden. I’ll eat a couple of tomatoes before I ever put one in the bucket. Same thing for countless veggies. I’d have starved to death without eating vegetables. I can remember eating nothing but Israeli melons for two weeks because it was all we had to eat. It wasn’t a hardship at all. Hang in there, you’ve missed a complete world of great food. You’ll like them eventually, I guarantee.

  22. First of all, you guys are really a cute couple. Secondly, I just wanted to add that some of us don’t want to lose weight, but eating this way is very helpful for us, too. My body works so much better now.

    Congratulations on your success.

  23. Thanks for the pics. You’ve both done well. And the cholesterol results are brilliant. You’ve inspired me to start eating properly again.

  24. Nice job people! I found this website myself about 5 days ago. There is a ton of great information in the forums. Decided that this type of lifestyle may actually be what I need. Also you guys get points for being from Kentucky ;). I see Big L there in the background =D