384 Days of Primal: Focusing on the Process to See Results

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!

Hi Mark,

I’ve been Primal now for over a year. I came upon The Primal Blueprint when searching for resources on paleo dieting. Little did I know that I would find a whole lifestyle that would gel so well with my understanding of the human body.

My initial reasons for going Primal were that I was starting a family. I was studying Medical Nanotechnology at University and was working as an orderly at the same hospital my wife had been working at for 15 years. We were recently married and expecting our first child. Of course, my first child arriving during my mid 30’s made me sit up and think about my health. My initial thoughts had been, “I’ve never smoked, drank or done drugs, so I’m very healthy. I’ll last past 100 easy”. However, what I was seeing every day disturbed me.

As an orderly, the only thing you can offer patients is some comfort through a basic chat. What had disturbed me was the fact that I was talking to a great many people who had renal problems, cancer, etc., and swore blind they’d been following health guidelines as given to them by our government (Australian) and their doctors. At first I thought that they were obviously lying or delusional. However, when it occurred time after time I began questioning. I also began listening to my body and understanding that even though I had a job where I was walking 20,000 steps a day pushing beds and wheelchairs, I didn’t feel fit. My body ached, I injured easily and got easily out of breath. This was strange to me considering that I was following what would be considered a very healthy lifestyle.

So my search began in February 2011. By March 2011 I had read your book, joined your website and was living Primal. The transition for me was no issue. I had been trying to NOT live this way my whole life, so letting go of the reigns was incredibly easy for me. I had no low carb flu even though I was a carb machine prior to PB. I’ve transitioned back into IT (my previous career) as I needed a better income for when bubs came along. So every lunch I walk 4 km to get in my slow movement. I’m known in the office as the guy with the funny looking shoes (VFF’s) who’ll walk in any weather.

I brought a home gym. A Force USA Power Rack that I’m absolutely, insanely happy with. I stick to 3 workouts a week. It’s hard. I want to lift every day, but I force myself to do just the 3 sessions. Sprinting is proving difficult to fit in with bubs here now and another on the way. But I’ll slowly introduce it in.

I feel insanely fantastic. It’s sickening to others! I eat my fat-heavy Primal lunches at work and everyone shakes their head at how I got so lean eating that type of food. People always ask me how I did it, then their eye’s glaze over when I tell them. I don’t mind. More meat for me!

Previously I had been told that I could never jog again due to shin splints. Well, I went for a jog a few weeks ago. 2.7 km in my KSO’s. It was the first time I had jogged for any length of time in over a decade. I couldn’t believe the result. The whole jog felt super easy, my breathing was the easiest it has ever been and that’s including when I used to play rugby. The results were amazing and my shins didn’t even get a twinge. I’m not interested in making jogging a part of my normal routine, but it’s nice to know the capability is there when I need it.

Probably the biggest benefit though is that I always have energy for my family. I get up early, get bubs breakfast ready, do a full day of work with my walk in the middle. Come home, clean and sometimes cook. Feed bubs, play with her and bath her, then put her to bed. Then Mon-Wed-Fri I’m out in the shed lifting heavy weights. The amount of work I get through now makes me feel so bad for all the lost years when I had low energy and motivation. Our second pregnancy is taking it out of my wife, the exhaustion has really knocked her about. She’s been on bed rest in hospital for 6 weeks and it looks like she’ll be in there for 6 weeks more at least. Having enough energy to step up and take care of my family the way I have wouldn’t have been possible before Primal.

Although my goal was health, I was keen in watching my weight and waist size. I got so skinny at one point that my wife’s family held a mini-intervention for me during my father-in-law’s birthday party. I proceeded to tell them that I was eating plenty of food. Then I grabbed a little bit of fruit salad, and a massive stack of freshly whipped cream and said, “Try and keep up now!”

My biggest piece of advice to others would be to work the process exactly as PB sets it out. Forget the results for a year. I’ve charted my entire year on PB in an Excel spreadsheet and have some charts to share. I thought these would help people more than a photo of me. You can see from the charts that weight loss was anything but linear and consistent. Remember, this whole time I just worked the process. No real tweaking. I see a lot of forum posts that are along the lines of “It’s been 2 weeks and I’ve hit a plateau”. No, you haven’t. See my charts.

Pure Weight Loss

You can see from this chart that the weight loss was anything but linear and consistent. I tried to measure my weight as often as I could under the exact same conditions everyday. In total I lost about 30 lbs, but then you’ll notice the number go back up around the 273rd day. This was just after I got my Force USA Power Rack.

Body Fat %

I measured my BF with Tanita Body Fat Scales (impedance). I measured as often as possible under the same conditions (when I arrived home from work). You can see my body fat drop quite dramatically. It currently sits around 18%. However, I use the standard setting. If I use the Athlete setting, which I probably should now, it says my BF is 10%. But either way, you can see the reduction is quite dramatic.

Lean Body Mass

Probably the most telling chart of all. It didn’t change too much at all during the whole process. People kept telling me that eating this way would reduce my muscle mass and I’d rebound later with more fat. I would like to know how long I keep having to prove them wrong before they finally get it.


This is probably the most amazing chart to me. I haven’t had a 34 inch waist since high school!

To finish up I’d just like to thank you for putting all of the information together into an easy to follow lifestyle. That’s no easy feat and you and your team have nailed it. It’s made a massive difference in my life and I thank you for it.


Shane Roelofs

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