October 31 2014

A Journey Just Begun: How I Lost 60 Pounds in 6 Months and Became a Man on a Mission

By Guest
111 Comments

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-1-2I have been contemplating for about a month now whether I should write my “success” story or wait until I reached my ultimate goal. After thinking this through, I realized I will never reach my ultimate goal since I am now living a new lifestyle, and this lifestyle has no end (other than my eventual death, which hopefully isn’t until I am a very old man). With that realization, I am here now, typing my story…

Growing up, I was the typical chubby kid in middle school and early on in high school. I then fell victim to the “you must be skinny” mentality. I stopped eating regularly, but also became quite active with biking and walking long distances to work (especially to Harvey’s—a fast food joint in Canada). I ate very little, but when I did, it was a bag of chips, cookies, hamburgers, poutine, fried chicken, and pizza (you know, those types of foods). I thought I was doing great. I basically stayed at 160 lbs from grade nine (when I was 5’1”) to grade 13 (when I was 5”11”). I was finally the skinny guy at graduation; albeit my blood pressure was 150/90 at that young age. Everything was fine according to multiple medical tests. I was skinny, so I figured everything must be okay. My gut was also a problem at this young age. I was told that it “ran in my family.” I constantly had to run to the bathroom after each meal with cramps, diarrhea, etc.

I then started University. I went into nursing, so I started adhering to what was considered a “healthy lifestyle” in terms of eating. I really tried to follow Canada’s Food Guide, which recommended of a ton of grains and very little meat. I began lifting weights and doing cardio, but I got into liquor a little too much (the weekend parties, the mid-week cheap beer pitchers, and the slow times between classes at the pub having liquid lunches). Slowly and surely, I gained 15 pounds that first year of school. The thing is, I started looking better in the mirror. I was gaining muscle, and ultimately felt like I was doing fine. The problem is, the weight slowly kept coming on at a rate of about 5 pounds per year. Also, my gut issues, blood pressure, and everything else just got worse.

Ian before Primal

I also met my wife to be at the end of my first year of university. It was love at first sight for sure. We loved going to bars and clubs together. Drinking got heavier, and when I started working as a nurse, my drinking got even worse. The stress and pain that I saw at my job made me turn to liquor. It would numb the horrible things I saw that humans could do to each other.

Ian and the famI got engaged, then married, and finally had two wonderful kids. I loved them to death! But through all of these wonderful things, my weight and health kept getting worse, to the point where I was during last August, 2013. I was not feeling good for a while, but kept dismissing it as a “stomach bug.” I had been sick at least 10 days in the last few months, and I was starting to get concerned about missing so much work. But then the fever hit, and I was laid out for a few days before finally getting in to see my doctor. I was given the full assessment and diagnosed with a diverticulitis flare-up. This was the first time ever in my life that something scared me about my health. I was put on a course of antibiotics, and the diverticulitis flare-up went away. I immediately changed my diet to include as little meat as possible, no nuts, plus lots of beans and legumes…because it was healthy, right?

Well, my gut just got worse over the next few months. I had been at my heaviest for a few months at 242 lbs. I was having trouble keeping my breath with very simple activities. Romance was starting to lag and performance was too. I was not keeping up with my kids as I should have. All in all, I was just really at the lowest in terms of health at this point.

I had been reading for a while on Mark’s Daily Apple, but was not able to get my wife to switch over—that is, until one of her friends started talking to her about it. This friend is also featured in the “success” section of Mark’s Daily Apple. After a few months of contemplating and seeing me suffer, she was on board, and we both jumped into this full force. We started in March 2014, and within one week I had lost 10 lbs. The weight was great to lose, but the bloating, gas, running to the bathroom, and energy levels improved immediately as well. I was in disbelief. There was no way in the world it could be that easy…

The weeks blended together, but even without exercise, the weight was melting away. Within one month, I was down to 215 lbs. I felt like a new person. People at work were amazed, and I began actually walking my talk of health. I began working out at the small local gym. I focused only on four bodyweight movements, but it was enough. I stuck to the Primal Fitness book, and slowly began changing things up, just to have fun. I was getting stronger, faster, and yes, lighter. I was getting people interested, and, slowly but surely, a few more people at my work decided to try the lifestyle. They have seen amazing results so far.

Ian before and after

Buff IanNow, six months into my new journey, I am at a happy 182 lbs (my ideal weight). I am in the maintenance swing of things in terms of my diet, but my physical abilities are my new goal now. I am slowly seeing progress in the gym, and in the mirror. I want to continue to lose the fat, but put on the muscle to look nice, slim, and toned. I am getting there—down to 17% body fat from my initial 42%. But my ultimate goal is to begin competing in the Tough Mudder series. I want to tell everyone my diverticulitis is completely gone. My blood pressure is perfect at a routine 120/80, and my resting heart rate is routinely at 55 beats per minute. I never thought that I would see success with health. I had always tried, but the North American Diet did nothing but horrible things for me. Now, with this new lifestyle, I am able to effortlessly attain and maintain my goals.

I try 100% compliance, but, I must admit, there are the odd cheats here and there (like a wrap or a few too many beers). But ultimately, the way the cheats makes me feel (with stomach cramps, bloating, and pain) reminds me that I do not have to cheat. I am perfectly happy with the way things have turned out and the path in which my life is going.

Just recently I saw my wife looking at me the way she looked at me when we first met. I had not seen that from her for a while. I know she is not hung up on physical features, but she is hung up on me being healthy. I think that is what she saw in me: that I am really trying and I am succeeding in this. We both are.

I have just signed up for the online Primal Blueprint Expert Certification program. I will start a local education series once I am done. I want to share this knowledge with as many people as possible. But more importantly, I want to help as many people with health issues as possible.

Ian

Thank you all for such an amazing transformation. I am just at the beginning, but the steps I have taken so far are just amazing. I could not have done it without Mark’s Daily Apple!

Ian

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111 thoughts on “A Journey Just Begun: How I Lost 60 Pounds in 6 Months and Became a Man on a Mission”

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  1. Great stuff, bud. You look younger in the last picture than you did in the first one!

    1. +1 Congrats! and keep up (all) the good work and your goals. You’re an inspiration.

  2. Congratulations on the success, Ian! Primal since March and such great results in your health and weight, great for you!

  3. Wow! Great job and great inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

    1. No problem.. I just hope it helps a few more people make the change!

  4. Wow Ian – great job in such a short time! So glad to hear that as well as looking so much better, this lifestyle has made you so much healthier.

  5. Great story Ian. I can relate. Just 6 months ago, at age 63 and in the throes of a sedentary lifestyle and an unimpressive diet, I weighed in at 230 with high BP and a rising blood glucose. By changing my diet and incorporating exercise into my schedule, I’m down to 170 and the BP and glucose issues are much improved. I’ve recently discovered MDA and love the simple, intuitive philosophy, and I’ve got to say that the quality of my life has blossomed. Better sleep, more energy, less stress…contentment and happiness. What more is there to say?
    Thanks for posting Ian.

  6. Harvey’s? Poutine? Grade 13? So you grew up in the 80’s in Ontario:) Welcome to Paleo fellow Hoser.Well done Dude!!

    I used butter coffee and IF to get to my ‘Grade 13’ weight of 175-180 lbs, alongside a reduction in pasta and grains too. Started Jan 1 2013 @ 210lbs and hit the mark in September 2013. I don’t run, but my BP is 115/75 and resting HR sits between 58-62 BPM. As a 38 yearl old male, I’ve kept this weight for a year, and the maintenance is easy.

    Next step is to add the 1609 metre (1 mile) sprints 2-3 time per week to keep everything in check.

    I’m so thankful for the guidance and inspiration from this site and others like yourself. Our son is 2 1/2 and has benefitted the most, as will your children. Live Strong, Live Long, then Drop Dead my friend!

    1. I had to Google poutine. It does not look like I’ll be indulging on that any time soon…

  7. I really love the part about your wife seeing you for trying your best, and succeeding. It’s so rewarding to see someone you love pour their heart into something, and DO IT. She must be really proud – and good on both of you for doing it together. Congrats, you look great and I’m sure feel just as awesome!

  8. Well done, that’s a phantastic success that you had! It makes me *just* a little bit jealous as I have been primal for 6 months now and only lost 30 lbs….and have been stalling for weeks now which is very frustrating as I have so much more to lose. But as you say it’s all about feeling better and healthy so whatever comes off is worth it in the end I reckon 🙂 Keep on the good work:)

    1. Thanks for that! I hit walls regualrly… a week would go without losing… Changing things up really boosted my loss. Intermitent fasting broke down the walls most times, but then really cahnging it up in the gym helped a ton too… Good luck!

    2. Keep trying I lost 45 lbs in 6 months it came right off, I have always avoided the grains but I ended up giving up some of the dairy and it fell off, I only now use butter and some hard cheese and that does not seem to effect me. Keep trying many times I would plateau for a few weeks and then it would start again. Every body is different, I went to more of a ketogenic diet and that started it up again. Keep experimenting, my glucose meter was a live saver and told me what and how much I should be eating by testing myself .5 hour 1 hour 1.5 hours and 2 hours after every meal. I found intermittent fasting actually caused my blood sugar numbers to rise so I did not do it, I think women’s metabolism are different and intermittent fasting may not be a good thing for every one. Listen to your body, and test, test, test.

    3. Congratulations on your 30 pound loss! The rate of 5 pounds a month is great success! I went through a similar stall around 4 months in…part of it was a typical plateau and part was taking too much advantage of the “20%” a little more and more as I saw progress – although I don’t think I ever went over 20%. And I can relate to the feeling of having so much more to lose. I’m estimating I’m a little more than halfway to my goal weight. Becoming more consistent with ALL primal points (not just diet and exercise) and then starting a Whole30 diet really kicked the fat loss into gear for me (and at day 19, I feel fantastic!). Keep going and you will continue to see results. And yes, the best results are feeling better and improving our health. The weight loss is just a bonus!

    4. Mel, 30 lbs in 6 month is a lot! I´d guess, it took you much longer to put them onto your hips 😉 . So … “take it easy – but take it!” (as I heard someone say yesterday)

      And: wow, Ian!!!

  9. I’m so happy for you and your whole family, Ian. Your kids will grow up ahead of the game. Ontario? That would explain what I call the “Michigan roll” on the cap brims. They look familiar. 😉 Best wishes for a healthy future!

  10. Hoser! Someone beat me! Holy flashback. Harvey’s “veggie” burgers were my go-to, although my first job was at Wendy’s bc, you know, they had that salad bar. Triple Triple…or candy coffee at Timmy’s. I was a skinny fat person for sure. I too loved the part about the way your wife looked at you. I get it. It’s not shallow. Congrats, eh!

  11. Wow man, huge transformation! Good luck with your mission of spreading the word! Congratulations!

  12. Ian, this shared story is awesome. your journey in finding yourself rounded many similar curves that millions herd to in their daily. I myself surely included. Thank you for sharing and providing the glimpse to those who may stumble into your words that the HOPE is not only alive, but fully attainable. Cheers from California.

  13. Congratulations, Ian and thanks for sharing your story. Being a beer lover here, did you find it difficult to stop drinking? If so, how were you able to overcome and resist the cravings?

    1. + 1…I’d like to know too! I am learning to like whiskey a little more, but beer is sooo good

    2. I still enjoy me beer, but just on a limited basis. I go in spurts… If it is a celebration, I do endulge, but I then get back on track. As with anything, moderation… It does slow the progress, but I find it mostly with the water retention and bloating aspect, not the long term gain. I will pee like a race horse for a dy or two after endulging a bit much in the beer… just getting rid of the excess fluid…

      1. That´s funny! I will pee like the mentioned animal on the very same day (within a few minutes after the first sip) but will find myself utterly dehydrated on the next day. That´s why I reduced the consumption to some special days.

        But today is Halloween, one of those exceptions! Cheers, Ian (and Kelly)!

  14. This was awesome! Thanks again for sharing your story! Now I need to think once again about how to inspire my husband to start living a healthier lifestyle . . .

  15. I’m curious – how much exercising / weight lifting did you incorporate into your weekly routine? The transformation was great but curious to know your weekly regime! And maybe some of your favorite/easy to make primal meals!

    1. Hey there… I don’t follow any strict regime. Basically, I know I need to do my slow cardio as much as possible… So I just like going for lots of walks, lunches at the gym on the rowing machine… In terms of weights, I lift heavy 3 times a week, rotating body groups, but without a set routine. I just lift.. heavy… Kettlebells, dumbbells, machines… Then on my off day, I like to do a full body bodyweight routine. I focus on pullups, dips, pushups, planks and bodyweight squats.
      I sprint also, once a week. Usually about 6X100m.
      I will be getting into more organized routines however,as I do want to try the Tough Mudder next year. So I have a line on a great gym in my area that should help me with that!
      In terms of meals, again, I take the easy road. I just use the pyramid and make my food as I go… Handful of lettuce, whatever veggies I have, and a big hunk of meat… I wish I were more creative, but I find if I fool around with those fancy meals I just get discouraged…
      Eggs are a favorite… 3 eggs, whatever veggies (spinach is amazing in eggs), some cheese, butter, and leftover meats… amazing!
      Then I indulge in my organ meats… Heart, liver… I tend to try and stick with lamb from my local store… It is much milder than beef and has a great nutrition profileas well… I consider my organ meat meal as my weekly multivitamin!
      Thanks!

      1. Thanks for the detailed response – very helpful! I feel like I was reading about my husband when I read your story… we have tried primal before but it didn’t stick and he got discouraged…so want to support him to get to 185 – his goal, not mine 🙂

      2. Wow, my own success story is unavoidable, now, since this is exactly my nutrition plan (except the cheese and butter) and exercise regimen – with the only difference that I have my squats done with a kettlebell in front of my chest, so I´m earlier done in 🙂 .

        Ian, I also found it most helpful to be “intentionally un-creative” and stick to a small sample of simple but working meals and exercises. Too much variety distracts me, too.

        1. On my “leg” days I go heavy on leg lifting… I do heavy squats, walking lunges, overhead barbell squats, leg presses, calf presses… whatever really… Again, nothing specific, just heavy and hard!!! My full body day is 100% bodyweight… I am at 115 bodyweight squats… I will keep going forever!!!!! I am done at 115 now though… it hurts! haha

    2. This is so awesome and inspiring Ian. I too am interested in your exercise/meal routines that worked for you. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  16. Wow Ian. Congratulations on your success! Reading your story, then seeing that photo at the end of you and your daughter brought tears of joy to my eyes.

    Way to go, dude. Keep it up.

  17. Ian, you remind me so much of my son. Congratulations on your success, you look terrific–both of you! My husband and I (ages 71 & 65 respectively) started in March also. It’s slow going at our age, but we have each lost 25 pounds and we feel GREAT! We have also lost migraines, asthma, and arthritis. Tell everyone!

  18. A very powerful story! I hope you will tell it often and guide many more to the right path. You and your wife are a stunning couple!

  19. Wow, great job Ian! You’re going to make a great Mentor-Nurse-Instructor when you finish the certification and start teaching more people in your community about the Primal lifestyle.

  20. Great job Ian, and congrats for doing it as a family.

    From one family MDA success story and Certified Expert to another, I hope you bring the course to the attention of your workplace. I don’t know if you need continuing education credit or not, but the course is very solid and should count for folks CE. I’d like them to give you a reason why it would not count or where the information is wrong.

    But it is extra wonderful to see someone working within the health system to be pursuing Primal living. Best well wishes for helping as many others as you can.

    I sure hope your workplace is open to Primal and hopefully at least give people options at the hospital for whole foods, no grains, no sugar.

  21. Ian – great inspiring story. May 2013, I went from eating the low fat high grain ‘healthy’ diet to a primal diet. I eat as much as I want and am amazed that I’m still losing weight. I even eat a little bit of cheese, cream and butter – taboo foods. My exercise is walking and ranch work – shoveling/hauling/weeding/raking, etc. I’ve do squats and pull ups intermittently throughout the day. I’ve lost almost 50 pounds to date. Each winter, I gained 10-15 pounds. I would spend the spring walking the pounds off. On the primal diet, I did not have the winter weight gain last year! My goal is to get to the size I was in my 30’s. I have 15 pounds to lose to get to 5’6 – 130 pounds. I’ll be 60 next year and haven’t felt better. Last physical, great blood work – pre-diabetes numbers gone. Years of trying diet after diet, I can say that I found the lifestyle to carry me through. I wish I would have known all of this decades, ago. All that time wasted, trying to find the cure – I even was vegan for years. I will look into the primal certification, also. Thanks!

    1. Wow, very encouraging Ian. I’m of the same age as you Bamboo – about 230 lbs – taking medication for blood pressure & high glucose. I’m much encouraged & motivated to follow what you did & still doing & hope to achieve the results that you & Ian achieved. After reading your story, I am very hopeful.

      1. It wasn’t easy at first. My husband and most of my friends are carb junkies. Even today, I read that the American Diabetes Association recommends a diet of healthy grains, beans and decreasing meat. I was on that diet and had high blood sugar! Primal is the way I’ll live my life out , God willing. All I can say is keep at it, even if you have set backs. Stay in these kind of communities for encouragement. You will see results!

  22. Great Story, Ian! Thank you for sharing. I have thought the exact words of your opening paragraph many times. Even though I may not be at my goal weight, I feel as if I am already a success story! I, too, would love to share this lifestyle with the world, and I keep brainstorming ways to do so. The Primal Blueprint and Marks Daily Apple have helped ME change my life and I am so grateful. Also, congrats on getting your wife involved…my 12 year old daughter is along with me (after reading Paleo Girl which is a great book for teens), but my husband and son are still resisting…(I give them no choice at dinner, though, since I do the cooking) :-).

    1. That’s how it starts! Kepp serving the great food! I have heard, people who hate healthy foods tend to have significant mineral dificiencies… The flavour they are tasting are the minerals.. They taste so strong due to the deficiencies… I don’t know if there is science behind it, but a holistic nutritionist told me…. Who knows…

  23. Way to go Ian! I am on a similar path as your story. Very inspiring story that i could really relate too!

  24. Hey Ian,

    Thanks for sharing your great story – and one thing you didn’t mention that I’d like to hear about is: How did your 2 children react to your transformation?

    Are your kids now duplicating their parents good eating and exercise/activity habits too, despite all the junk foods, sodas and other crap their friends might consume?

    Poutine -yuk!

    Way to go, you are an inspiration to all the people you come in contact with.

    Tom

    1. Thanks. We have transitioned our kids gradually… Pretty much all store bought packaged stuff is gone. We have them almost all off of wheat, but still do rice and rice flour with them.
      They loved my transformation… What really hit me hard was when my son told me I had a fat belly like grampa… I didn’t like that, so that was one of my tipping points. Now I am He-Man! haha

  25. Great stuff, congratulations!

    Also, great to see you still enjoy a couple of beers. I mean, what would life be without beer?

    1. Thanks… I find a need to enjoy things still. I pay close attention, but ultimately, Primal is not about not living, but living right…

  26. Holy cow! Great story Ian! I’m also Canadian and primal.

    You look 20 years younger! Honestly you do, so happy and healthy, no wonder you’re getting ‘the look’ from your wife! In the last pic you like a teenager, keep the beard it’s very sexy.

    Wishing you all the best on your journey.

  27. I am in process of getting back on track with Primal life as I crashed and burned a few months ago! Reminding me how much better I feel when thriving on proteins and veggies! So glad you decided to write about your journey now! Thanks Ian for the regained incentive to take better care of myself! Continued good health to you 🙂

  28. I love reading these particularly when the individual is part of the healthcare profession – keep spreading the word!

    1. I have seen many local people with diabetes switch over. I have had people be able to cut their medication in half, eliminate it all together, and even decrease their insulin by over half, as well as lose weight and lower BP. It works, and works much better than the current “Best Practice”… Thanks for the support!

      1. Only this afternoon I gave this website to a friend whose son is diabetic 🙂

  29. Ian, do you eat grass fed beef, non-grain fed poultry? I live in Ottawa, ON, trying to go primal but find difficulty finding these. Need to order direct from the farm… Just wondering if you live nearby, where you get organic meat? Or which farm should I go to?

    1. I am lucky, we have a store that only sells local organic meats. I also have a local place that raises lambs… I can’t afford the lamb regularly, but the lamb organ meats are a satple of mine!

  30. Congratulations, awesome job! You look great, and I’m glad to read about you getting relief from diverticulitis. I know someone who has that and they may be interested in your story. Thanks for sharing and wishing you continued health and success!

    1. Thanks! It was amazing how fast the change happened for me too… It was like the grains were the ultimate cause of it!

  31. Awesome story! Great that the switch was with your spouse, I’m sure it makes it a lot easier to stick with it when you’ve got an accountability partner!! Are your kids on board, too?

  32. Great story. I will also agree, I eat the same set up of meals everyday. Meat, veg/salad, broth/mayo. I’ve found it less stressful, quick and easier to stay on track. Every couple of weeks I try and crack out a recipe. Maybe a post on this would help others who find it intimidating trying to create a “meal” every night and hence decide this is too hard to change……

  33. Great story. Thank you for sharing. I also was struck by how young you look in your last pictures. You don’t even really look like the same person! Have fun on your journey.

  34. Well done from Steve in England….lm starting right now ….your story is inspiration x 10..well done Ian ….

  35. Congratulations, Ian, on a tremendous story and a lot of dedication to your health and your family! I haven’t read one of these success stories in years, and I also haven’t commented on a blog in years. That said, I don’t necessarily think it is a coincidence that I “happened” to read your story today.

    I know you are a nurse, and that you had a “full assessment.” My family is littered with medical professionals, too. My own area was opthalmic care. I also had “gut issues,” and I know they “ran in my family,” because my mother had them, as well. I don’t want to be too verbose here, but I had stomach issues from the time I was born.

    Flashing lights and sirens kept going off for me as I read your story. It seems that when you “cheat” with certain foods and drinks, you wind up with bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Those are classic symptoms of Celiac, the auto-immune disease related to the Gluten in Wheat, Rye, and Barley! Wheat pasta = gluten. Beer (barley) = gluten. Also, cookies, fried chicken (batter), hamburgers (buns), and pizza (crust). You ate “tons of grains.”

    You got better when you went Paleo, because you quit ingesting so much grain. But when you cheat, you have symptoms again. (Been there, done that.)

    Celiac and Gluten have been in the news a lot over the past few years, and often, the information is either wrong or just confusing. The simplest way to explain the difference is:

    Celiac is not an “allergy” or a “sensitivity.” It is an AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASE, wherein your own body attacks itself when you ingest gluten. You are damaged inside. For Celiacs, a strict lifelong gluten-free diet is essential to their health.

    Gluten Intolerance may have many of the same symptoms as Celiac, but the DIFFERENCE is – it DOESN’T CAUSE DAMAGE in the body. Might make you miserable, but doesn’t damage you inside.

    If you have Celiac, failure to follow a STRICT gluten-free diet can cause severe damage to the villi (where nutrition basically takes place) in your small intestine, which can cause an unbelievable list of bad health situations. One cheat can set you up for months of damage by self-attack. You may not feel like you’re being attacked by your own body, but, if you cheat while you have Celiac, most likely you are.

    Now, hopefully, your med team did the routine blood tests for Celiac, based on your symptoms. But, be advised, Ian, that I had those repeatedly, and they were always inconclusive. I went to the lead gastroenterologist in a large organization, where I had an EGD with stomach and small intestinal biopsies, as well as a host of other tests. Inconclusive.

    THEN, one day, I was on Celiac.com, as well as some Celiac organizatioinal sites doing some “light reading,” because I was always searching for WHAT was wrong with me, and I came across a list of the “best doctors in the U.S. for Celiac.” One of them was less than an hour from where I lived.

    I saw him, got all the tests again, as well as another EGD with biopsies, and I waited for the results. This doctor ALSO used a PATHOLOGIST who taught about Celiac at the university. The pathologist requested a sample from the block taken during my first small intestinal biopsy (They keep them for years.), and she compared the new one with that one from several years earlier.

    Guess what? She diagnosed me with Celiac. My doctor broke the news, and I discovered through reading and research that my personal medical history from birth read like a “Who’s Who” of Celiac. Celiac can be the “great pretender,” because the symptoms can be so varied and down to none at all.

    My biggest Celiac issue was BLOATING with capital letters. I blew up with gas until it was hard for my diaphragm to move up and down when I breathed. That hurts a LOT, and it didn’t do my intestines any good either. I had developed DIVERICULITIS, too. I’ve always wondered if the frequent high gas pressure in my gut hadn’t caused some of the pockets to form – in the same way that a bicycle tire will burst if you over-inflate it.

    My Celiac journey began at birth, and I began having upper GIs in high school. It wasn’t until I was nearly 50 that I received the correct diagnosis. My poor mother had not known until she was around 70. When I was diagnosed, the average time between when a Celiac feels bad enough to start doctor visits and testing until they get a Celiac diagnosis – if ever – is 11 YEARS!!! That situtation has improved greatly now, as Celiac has been in the news a lot over the past few years. But, still, most sufferers are undiagnosed.

    I follow a gluten-free diet, and my last EGD showed a “normal” small intestine. It is possible to heal most or all of the damage by diet. But I will always have Celiac, and there are worse things to have, for sure.

    Well, I ended up being verbose anyway, and my lunch is cold, but I try to help people with Celiac, because I’ve lived in their shoes. It’s a rare trip to the grocery store these days when someone doesn’t start asking me questions about it.

    Good research on Celiac would be:

    Peter H.R. Green, M.D. (Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University and President-Elect of the North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease. Author of: Celiac Disease, A Hidden Epidemic.)

    Alessio Fasano, M.D. (Secretary of the NASSCD and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, where he is also director of the Center for Celiac Research.NASSCD.)

    1. This is very interesting to me as “stomach issues” also runs in my husbands family with his mom having a large section of her intestine removed due to diverticulitis. My husband also had the typical ibs symptoms which got worse when his gallbladder was removed. We have been living a primal lifestyle for almost two years now and when he is 100% he has no issues but even allowing some gluten in the 20% results in issues. He recently had his medical and all his numbers (BP, blood glucose,cholesterol) were great but we were surprised when his doctor said he wasn’t allergic to wheat (not sure what test was done). He didn’t specifically ask him to test for celiac as he doesn’t need a diagnosis to tell him what makes him feel terrible when he eats it and we were just going on it being an intolerance. However, if he does have celiac and there is damage going on even after the initial symptoms disappear that would be beneficial to know so that he can permanently remove it from his diet to avoid having the same thing happen to him as to his mom. Do either of the books you recommend tell what tests to ask for, specifically if your diet is basically gluten free already?

  36. True inspiration. I have struggled with my weight for years and I am currently dieting. Tonight I felt a bit weak, so looked for motivation. You definitely helped my determination, thank you.

    1. I am glad I could help man! Inspiration is what got me here… Know that it is not only possible, but relatively easy… Good luck!

  37. Pretty much note for note same story as my own… Hoping to cure my own Diverticulitis.. Eating hf/LC paleontology since September.. Now down 10 lbs . and inflammation way down.. Never realized all my life that I was inflamed and irrittated from the back of my tongue to the end of my rectum all my life… All Suddenly gone with the elimination of grains, and unfermented dairy.. Not that the docs believe any of that… keep up the great work… And Hi from Vancouver

    1. Glad to hear… and yeah, many Docs won’t believe you! Mine is open minded, but he doesn’t attribute my change to the diet, but he claims it is cause by weight loss… regardless of me telling him that when I now try to have wheat, I feel like someone is stabbing me… hahaha

  38. Congratulations to the both of you, you’re looking totally renewed and energized!

    You are doing really well if you were still drinking beer throughout the year. Best of all worlds!

  39. Love your success story your courage in action, your happiness shining through and the inspiration to your children, your wife, and me! Thank you for this clear sign that we have the Power to change, to choose better choices every day and to realize health and joy. You show it! I am grateful. After a year which included healing pneumonia and acute bronchitis with all natural organic food and herbs and remedies, and rest & without antibiotics, it has been a journey getting my energy and clarity back in full. This story will stay with me and encourage me onward.
    Every blessing to you, your family, and you all! Me ke Aloha, onward with Aloha, Claire

  40. Oh, I think your narrative is the saving grace of my day. Thanks for the “aha moment.” I was almost going to give in to our “traditional” Halloween pizza. Just going to make some steak fajitas instead! Thanks, Ian. I wish you and your beautiful family all the best as you continue on your journey.

  41. Fantastic story Ian. I am always pleased when someone in the health profession gets on board and has such great success. Makes me optimistic that doctors and hospitals will soon start to open their minds more to the fact that this is a healthy way of eating, NOT a fad diet.

    You look so healthy, and are giving your kids a great start in life. Congratulations.

  42. Your wife was looking at you THAT way because she thinks you’re hot!

  43. O.K, I think we should start a new reality show called the “Biggest Winners”. Of course it should be on every Friday. Great job Ian.

  44. Hi Ian, congrats on your success! I’m afraid I’m getting close to your starting point, enjoying the same delicious but damaging bad habits you described. Question: You say: “After a few months of contemplating and seeing me suffer, she was on board, and we both jumped into this full force.” Can you give specifics on what you did those first few days, the “jumping in” transition? I’ve been reading the blog for about a year now, just having a hard time getting started. Need a push!

    1. We read all the books, had a specific plan in terms of meals and such… We picked a “start” day, enjoyed our last weekend, then jumped in to our new lifestyle. Threw out all the junk, and followed the Primal Plan to a tee!

  45. I would totally have a cheat meal if there was a Harvey’s here in the US. I think it’s been about 11 years.

  46. Great story. Friday on Mark’s Daily Apple is one of my favorite days.
    Congratulations and good health on your continuing journey.

  47. You should be so proud of what you have done. Keep up the great work. I too had gained a huge amount of weight over the last 4 – 5 years and am finally on track to getting slimmed down, fit and healthy again. So far 26 pounds gone of the 45 I need to lose.

    but I seem to having one problem and wondered if anyone could enlighten me. The last couple of weeks, I am having trouble with irregularity. I eat 2 prunes each morning and then one piece of fruit with my “brunch meal” each day. Is there anything else – naturally, of course – that I should be doing? Don’t want to take any kind of pill for this, just a way to get myself back on track again.

    Any suggestions would be wonderful. Thanks for the help.

    1. I find that as long as I have plenty of veggie fibre, I am fine…. Spinach in my smoothies, at least one salad type meal per day, a long with a good sized handful of nuts at night keep me ok. I have to agree, that if I lag in my veggies for a day, I am in for a workout in the morning… on the toilet… hahaha
      Also, ensure you have plenty of water… I mean plenty… 8-12 cups minumum to keep things moving!

  48. Jennifer, I can spend a bit more time answering during the week. Weekends are my “project time,” and I have enough of those to last several lifetimes! :o)

    The most important advice I could give regarding testing for Celiac is: Don’t go on a gluten-free diet prior to the tests! I know, that sort of lets you guys out, but if your hubby has ingested enough gluten regularly, then the biopsy might work.

    What the pathologist looks for is damage (stunting or shortening) to the villi in the small intestine. It you’ve been off gluten enough, you might not show too much damage even if you had Celiac. Because the only “cure” for Celiac is to eat a gluten-free diet the rest of your life.

    Depending on the severity and damage done, it can take a year or more to heal as much as possible, but many people experience better heath and healing from the get-go.

    I was also diagnosed with IBS for years, and that is true for many Celiacs. Doctors just didn’t check for Celiac, because they had been taught in medical school that it was extremely rare.

    In the year 2000, they said 1 in 5,000 people in the U.S. might have Celiac. Now, that figure is 1 in 133, and possibly 1 in 100. Quite a change, huh?

    Because they learned about it and began testing for it. Now, it is recommended that when someone is diagnosed with osteoporosis, they be checked for Celiac, too. It is a disease of malabsorption.

    There are blood tests, as well as the biopsy, which is considered to be the “gold standard.” Even then, you need to be sure the pathologist is experienced with diagnosing Celiac.

    Not to say you can’t have both Celiac and IBS. I do. IBS tends to be related to the motility of the bowel. My best advice for that: get regular exercise like walking, which helps “move things along;” set aside several 3-5 minutes sessions during the day when you do what I call “deep belly breathing.”

    Slow and steady inhales – in for 4 beats, hold for 7 beats, and out with a little hiss for 8 beats. Do that at least 4 times in a row. Then, stretch and try to fake a big yawn.

    My body usually begins a yawn on its own or soon replaces the fake one with a real one. It’s hard to produce stress hormones when you are deep breathing or yawning! After you get the hang of the breathing exercise, you can do it in stressful situations. I can regularly lower my blood pressure by quite a bit, just by doing that exercise! Stress always seems to be a big trigger for my IBS.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  49. A very inspirational story Ian, well done. I too work in healthcare & often recommend this site to patients for inspiration & motivation. I tell them to check out the success stories first in the hope that they’ll find at least one that they can relate to to get them started on their own personal journey. Unfortunately, the old saying is very true: you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink! People have got to WANT to change so good luck with your future plans to educate others & I hope you have lots of thirsty horses come your way!!! :0)

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