A Primal Woman Looks at 50+

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!

Some things take a half a century to get right. . .

Background info:

We’ll start with 1976: 16 years old and a very happy childhood. Mom stayed at home and cooked everything from scratch but is Italian and pasta found its way to our table at least 3 days a week. I was definitely born a Type A – anxious, shy and fretful in my childhood and teens. College through the mid thirties was out of control—spent partying, always looking to alleviate some type of an edge. Nutrition was mainly home cooked and minimally processed foods but not Primal.

In my mid thirties I began making healthy lifestyle changes. Fitness and competitive obstacle course competitions replaced the wild lifestyle. Nutrition transpired to low fat, moderate protein and moderate carb (bodybuilding type diet). I felt better, more in control, body composition changed radically and confidence developed. The edge was still there but not as bad. Exercise had become a lifestyle; in my early 40’s in a quest for continued health & fitness it led to an even more functional training style. Nutrition on the other hand took a nosedive with a 3 ½ year vegan/vegetarian stint. Health slowly but steadily declined and anxiousness increased along with aggressiveness and anger to an all time high despite high level of fitness training.

At 44 after much reading and researching I decided to pull a 180; I had read Metabolic Typing and every “test” I took indicated I was a “protein type” that I did better on lots of meat/fat and very little carbs. I doubted it but desperate to feel better I decided to give it an 8 week try. Within 1 week of taking out excessive carbs (both whole grain and refined) and replacing with red meat and butter I felt like a completely different person. Within 1 month most of the edge was gone, for the very first time in my life. 3 months later I discovered CrossFit, after 2 weeks w/this combination there was no more edge. I was not anxious, I was not angry, no matter what life chose to put in my path, over, under around or through I would go. I could speak in public now, I could compete under pressure. Those things did not bother me anymore. Bring it on world.

I continued on this path, I experimented and gradually made more changes adopting my own personal interpretations as I discovered Paleo and WAPF principles. I found Robb Wolf then I found Mark’s Daily Apple. I spent months pouring over back posts and articles. About 9 months later I took out grains completely. Like anything else I had ever done is my life it was 110% effort, moderation and mediocrity were not in my nature. I embraced this new way of life and eating wholeheartedly; I bought primarily local, organic, seasonal produce, procured my meats from pastured farms, located a raw dairy source and rendered my own lard and tallow. If fat is good for you, more is better and no need to count calories. I love to cook and I love to eat. Life was good. I was happy, completely.

Well, at 51 years of age and post menopausal I woke up one morning this past spring and decided to try on my bathing suit. I don’t know why I just did. Most likely because it had been cold, spring was around the corner and I had been hiding out in my sweats enjoying mass quantities of comfort foods – I didn’t gain much weight – the scale could not be right. If I had gained it had to be muscle. Well, I put on that swimsuit, grabbed a mirror and checked my rear. I almost threw up. Dear God; the junk in the trunk was appalling. That could not possibly be my body looking back at me, what the hell had happened?

I am a CSCS and owner of a CrossFit facility that eats “right” and exercises year round. I am passionate in my efforts as well as my nature. I practically get on a pulpit and shout it from afar. I workout an average of 3-4 days a week consisting of 2 to 3 high intensity weight lifting and 1 day of some type of sprinting with mobility work interspersed throughout the week. How in the world could I have gained 12 pounds? And 10 ½ of it was in my rear – that’s pure genetics there. Could it be my age, I am 51? Could it be because I am post menopausal?

In my “youth” I often laughed and rolled my eyes at my older female friends who complained of life disrupting hot flashes and “inevitable” weight gain around the middle once they hit menopause. It seemed to be the scapegoat for whatever ailed them. My answer was always the same – “stay away from the donuts and do some wind sprints – it’s what you eat and whether or not you move your arse. You can look nearly as fit at 50 as you can at 30”. They did not appreciate it and most of them responded with “wait till you’re my age – you’ll see”. Well, life rolls along and here I am 51 and post menopausal. I was the heaviest I had ever been in my entire life at 126 lbs, 19% body fat and I had a roll around the middle. How could that happen; I follow all the rules laid out in the Primal Blueprint. Could I possibly have been wrong? Does the body change? Well of course it changes as we age but was it really out of my control?

First off I don’t even like the sound of the word “menopause”. It seems to be looked upon as a disease of some sort. For many I will admit there is definitely some dis-ease. But what exactly is the cause of that dis-ease and is it preventable through proper nutrition and exercise? I don’t believe it is something that necessitates a “pill” or a “replacement” for. It is a natural transition in a woman’s life, not something to be afraid of or looked upon as the end of life as once known. I have firmly believed if one eats right and exercises throughout their life – while there are definitely changes related to aging – one can do so gracefully, embracing this chapter of  life and avoiding the inevitable weight gain and other common issues. A few years prior I did experience a few “warm moments” in the spring and fall but nothing that disrupted my life or lasted very long. Until this spring and the roll in the middle I have felt basically the same as I have for much of my adult life. I decided to test my hypothesis: was this weight gain inevitable or reversible through lifestyle modification? I said reversible.

I love to read; after perusing MDA and loving all the articles I figured Mark definitely seemed to be on the top of things. I am very opinionated but I couldn’t find one thing I didn’t agree with. So, I ordered the Primal Blueprint. No coach knows it all. Those that aren’t willing to learn will stop improving.

I established a goal: 115 lbs and approximately 12% body fat. I chose a start and end date: 3/15-6/1. I kept a detailed food log for 3 weeks in www.fitday.com; changing not a thing for an honest assessment of what I had been consuming. If I did not know what I was consuming and in what amounts I would not know what I needed to change. Here’s what I found. . .

The macronutrient ratios were near ideal. The foods were all from quality sources and home cooked. But my average daily caloric intake was 2400-3200 calories a day and my “indulgences” were averaging 2-3x a week coming from homemade ice cream, 70% organic cacao bars and grits; my largest meal eaten late at night. So maybe that’s why all that junk was in my trunk?

I knew what to change and now had a plan. I adjusted Mark’s advice for Kelly Korg based on my stats/circumstances and cut the calories and fat. Calories ranged from about 1700 to 2000 a day with an occasional high or low day. Never a chronic cardio girl and always a sprinter I was already exercising Primally. I just changed my portions, took out the “indulgences” and the fat began melting off my arse.

I lost about 1 ½ lbs per week the first 3 weeks, then about 1 lb per week thereafter. After about 3 weeks on 50 g a day of carbs I added back in sweet/white potatoes every 3rd or 4th day, cycling both calories/carbs. It seemed to help with energy in my heavy weight days and sprinting. Last 2 weeks, I did drop the calories to about 1300-1700 to get the final body fat off; ending up at 112 lbs and 12.1%.

That was fine for about 10 days but it’s not to be maintained; I like to eat too much. I settled in at 115 lbs and 14-15% bf. I eat moderate portions all week and enjoy a splurge meal on the weekend. Splurge meal is usually a nice piece of fatty meat, a potato of some sort, maybe grits (yes I know that’s corn and corn is a grain but this is the south and I am not perfect) and some homemade ice cream from raw cream, maple syrup and egg yolks. Seasonal adaptations are more fruit in the summer, less in the winter and more fatty meats in the winter, less in the summer. Life is still good and I am even happier now that I fit into my size 3 short shorts.

So thank you Mark, for the knowledge, for your blog – for the time and efforts you put into the research and writing. I linked my site to yours, I send my friends and clients here and your book is a must read for all new clients embarking on the Primal Lifestyle. Best to you and yours in health & fitness!


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268 thoughts on “A Primal Woman Looks at 50+”

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      1. For over 50!? Heck she looks incredible for a person in their 20s!

  1. Paula, very impressive!
    I also am in menopause and weight loss has stalled so I like the idea of taking an honest assessment for several weeks. I am 100% Primal so I have often wondered if it is my age (52) that is making this so difficult, but I’ll do the assessment and see what surfaces.

    I’m in nursing school and time to exercise is at a minimum so I’m wondering just how many hours a week you work out?

    1. You’re in nursing school at 52?? Good for you. I just went back to school to work on my teaching licensure and was feeling a little silly (in two years when I finish, I’ll be 47)
      I get up at 4 to get my run in before my kiddos go to school… then it’s to the books for me.

      1. I am 46 and finishing up school for a new start in life. We are never too old!! 🙂
        Thank you sooo much Paula for sharing your story! I need to do this, as well. I think I need to adjust my caloric intake a tad…otherwise, I am like you–I eat primaly and weight-lift. I try to do aerobic walking a few times a week. I’m pretty sure the calories are what is doing my in. At our ages, we probably just don’t need as many calories as we used to. I am so glad to see that one can look as great as you in their 50s. You rock, Paula!!

        1. Lol! The longer i hang out at MDA, the more people I find that have stuff in common…I am also in graduate school, and started when I was 42. I only go part-time,so its a long way to graduation!

        2. I love all these replies. I am 46 and currently battling Lyme’s disease and co-infections. Haven’t been able to work out much and lost my 6-pack abs. Not only am I looking forward to restored health and exercising, but I too plan on going back to school. NP, PA, or something like it.

          This post is SO inspiring and gives me hope that I can achieve my goals

      2. Frankly, I’m not surprised so many are going back to school. This lifestyle is completely life-changing. When you realize you won’t be spending the rest of your life with increasing aches and pains it’s like being re-born!

        1. I am 51 and will finally graduate with my Master’s in Nursing as an FNP in – count ’em – 7 months and 10 days. Encouraging to read this story AND the replies.

      3. I’m 46 and in law school, so Grok on, ladies!!

        I’ll be 47 when I take the Bar, and may be 48 when I get sworn in as a new attorney. Good grief!! I’m not sure I would have done this if I was better at math! 😀

        1. It will be great; I went to law school at 43, so I was also 47 when I actually passed the bar and got sworn in. Now, these few years later, it is great! As they say, you’ll be 48 ANYway, whether or not you go to law school, and this way, you’ll have an entire new profession for the rest of your long life.

      4. I found that being older made learning, or at least making the grades, a whole lot easier. When I returned to the U in my late 40’s I joined a group on campus called “Students Older Than Average”. There were a few white haired folks in that group. Anyway, I found that older folks have life experience to relate the classroom lessons to. They called us ‘curve buster’ in some of our classes, and all we did was show up and listen. We didn’t even have to study in some classes because it all related to things we’d seen or done.

        So, anyone who’s been holding back on being a student again, go for it. It’s easier now!!! You’ll see.

        1. I totally agree. While I’ve been a physical therapist for 26 years, it wasn’t until 2006, when I discovered a mentor (though she doesn’t know it), that it changed from a job to a profession. I then went back to school and, in 2010, earned my Doctor of Physical Therapy (I was 57). I found that “making the grade” was beside the point, and hence easy. I’m sure it would be even easier now that I’m mostly primal (that 20% sometimes grows). Life is good!

    1. Yep, but it works best when you get your hormonal ducks in a row via Primal eating, exercise, sleep and play!

  2. Holy muscle definition, Batman!!
    Well, being of the exact same age, this gives ME some ideas on how to get those last bit of jelly to roll off.
    Thanks for sharing, Paula and WOW!!!

  3. Somewhere Mark said that calories do count, not to obsess about it,just be honest about what you are treating yourself to…one of many good things about the 30-day challenge is REALLY assessing yourself. Paula, you look MAH-velous,and I hope I can look so good. Only a few years to go until I’m 50!

  4. I think most women in their 50s, certainly myself, would be satisfied to have a body like your before pictures, but your after pictures are incredibly inspiring and should be on the cover of Shape Magazine or something!

    How tall are you? It would be good to know what height looks that good (not too skinny) at that weight.

      1. That result is fantastic. I’m 52, and like you I am paleo and CrossFit 4 – 5 times a week. My size now is a little bigger than what I would like, although still a good deal less than my highest body fat, and easy to maintain – but I’d love to get your really lean look! Well I’m inspired. Tighten up on food, and I could look really lean by summer (i.e. New Zealand summer – Christmas time)

        1. Wow, that’s horrible. I never thought about it, but you guys have to deal with Christmas cookies and bathing suits at the same time.

  5. Fabulous, Paula! Post-menopausal women can get ripped! I’m going to be smiling all day!

  6. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not sure I agree with her “wanted to throw up” assessment of her middle photos.

    I can understand being dissatisfied with the way one looks but I know MANY women who would LOVE to look like those “junk in the trunk” photos.

    I applaud Paula for her accomplishments and admire her greatly for them. She inspires me on many levels to strive for improvement.

    But it occurs to me that some women won’t take that away from this. I certainly wouldn’t have just a few months ago. Some will look at those middle photos, read Paula’s self-assessment and judge themselves in a way that benefits nobody.

    I’ve decided to actively put aside the self-hate since that’s not what PB is about. Just my 2 cents …

    1. I agree. I though the middle set of photos were the “after” set, and I thought she looked great! I sometimes feel like this site promotes a very limited definition of ideal and what healthy looks like. For a woman to have under 20% body fat in her fifties…that in itself is enormously unusual. So many women struggle with body image and the saturation of our media with images like this…seems counterproductive. I like it when MDA focuses on how people feel and health benefits versus dramatic (and for many, unrealistic) weight loss pictures.

      1. As far as health benefits go. . . I forgot to mention I reversed autoimmune disease after 1 year grain free.

        1. Bingo! Really…this is the most important information to take from this. Looking great means very little if you’re battling health problems. May I ask which autoimmune disease have you been fighting?

        2. What type of auto-immune disease do you have? Did you cut out any foods like eggs or dairy or nightshades? Or did you just do standard paleo?
          (I’m asking because I have auto-immune issues, joints and thyroid)

        3. Hi Paula,

          Again thanks so much for sharing this. Also I find your experience about getting anxious when on a grain-type diet interesting; I was a vegetarian from age 12-~23, and only lately (now at 38) have kicked off (most) grains…when I was a teenager I was absolutely terrified of public speaking to the point that I would be nervous for months before a planned talk. Perhaps by changing my diet (and joining Toastmasters, too!) I now love public speaking and am less anxious in general than when I was a teenager. Interesting stuff…

        4. Paula, you look great! Kudos to you for all your hard work and your fantastic results. That’s great about the reversal of your autoimmune condition. May I ask what disease you reversed?

    2. Hi Charon, maybe I should have phrased that differently; there’s no self hate there at all. I’ve always been rather “well endowed” in the rear and am sensitive to how that area looks. First place my weight goes and I like it better smaller and tighter.

      1. Hi Paula! Thanks for clarifying. I’m one of those who carries weight there too so I can relate! High school was pure hell. No bustline but plenty of “junk in the trunk” as it were.

        Fortunately I’ve come to like my body a great deal and PB has also helped me reverse a TON of gastric issues which had me hospitalized multiple times through my teens and twenties.

        I look very much like your middle photos at present so I’ll completely own my oversensitivity on this one. 🙂

        Thanks again for your inspiring story. You make me look forward to the big 50!

    3. It’s all relative, people.

      Obviously, and obese person will look at the second set of photos and think how nice it would be to look that way.

      A person who has maintained healthy weight and fitness has a whole different perspective.

      Paula is allowed to dislike her “heavy” pictures, just like a severely obese person can dislike theirs.

      Striving to reaching our personal goals is what this is all about.

      And yes, let’s be honest…lean and toned is what most people generally find attractive, and wish for ourselves.

      1. It is good to be vigilant. I was considered underweight (125 at 5’8″) up until I got pregnant. That was the beginning of having to battle excess weight. It is insidious, accepting 10 extra pounds leads to “well a little more will be OK” etc. Good for you Paula, you are an inspiration.

    4. So folks like Paula shouldn’t submit their success stories and photos because someone with less self esteem might feel bad?

      1. That’s not what was said at all. Just that the body in the middle pictures was not the disgusting pile of fat she thought she was. Being unhappy with your body is one thing, but saying that 19% body fat and a perfectly normal body weight is too fat… it’s just a little frustrating for those of us who have struggled for years to overcome obesity. Even on the Primal path, my body wants to hang on to all the fat it can.

    5. It is all about perspective. Paula was obviously used to be leaner so having that extra weight was new to her.
      I have been around 125 pounds since high school (I’m 5’4″). I was around 135 pounds and a size 8 when I saw a picture of myself from behind and “wanted to throw up” because I knew that I was well beyond a healthy weight. It had nothing to do with self hate. It is more about disapointment in myself because I knew that I had not been taking care of yourself.
      I for one think that level of honesty with ones self and holding yourself to a higher standard is important in all aspects of life. Perhaps it is the perfectionist in me but I am inspired by people that continue to strive to be the best person they can be. I don’t ever want to stop trying to be better, that doesn’t mean I don’t take pride in my current accomplishments.
      Thank you for the story Paula! You are an inspiration and reminder of the potential of the human body!

    6. “But it occurs to me that some women won’t take that away from this. I certainly wouldn’t have just a few months ago. Some will look at those middle photos, read Paula’s self-assessment and judge themselves in a way that benefits nobody.”

      Yeah… my highest weight is literally twice hers…240 pounds. Her highest weight is below what my ideal weight is. I completely understand that everyone has body issues and that 19% may seem like a lot to someone who has always been small… but I’m sitting here with my 40% body fat at 210 pounds wishing I had the body she had when she was “fat”. I never have been so small, even as a child.

    7. I’m taking this as inspiration for making positive changes. I’m happy with her “before” as a goal (well, close, I have a different body type but am aiming for something equivalent for mine) and most of us “get” that this is her profession as well as her lifestyle, so her goals are more stringent and a little different than those for most of us. In my younger days I trained alongside bodybuilding ladies and knew the goals for our end results were different but similar enough that I could be inspired by their hard work and dedication. It’s nice to see what the “ultimate” can be for a body even if most of us won’t go to that extreme, actually encourages me that I can get to my own goals.

    8. I agree too. I saw the middle photos and was like – wow she looks great and thought that was her after! But I’ve never been one to love seeing lots of muscle so I’m having a hard time getting on board the low body fat percentage. I just don’t care to go that low. In fact I just think women look better with a little softness to them. At least that is what my husband says, lol.

  7. Paula, even though you had some extra fat in your before pictures, it was’t “middle age lady fat”…know what I mean? That back view looks like you could be in your 20s right after you gained the Freshman 15.
    Good job trimming off the excess. I’m starting to see 50 on down the pike and I’ll keep you in mind for inspiration.

  8. LOL I’m 23 and I want to look like your “what the hell happened” pics

  9. Congratulations on your hard work; your discipline is inspirational.

    I really like the “fatty loses 200 pounds” stories, but it’s also great to see the stories of relatively healthy people who’ve experimented with the Primal Blueprint and tailored it to their own specific needs.

    1. I completely agree. I often wonder if my own struggles with weight-loss via going Primal/Paleo are because I am in the category of wanting to lose 10lbs for aesthetics. I have family members who have gone only mostly Primal and trimmed down with ease. But for some people, as Mark has said before, some more tinkering is required.

      I am sooo glad to hear that calories do in fact count, and that even an already Primal chick can get to her ideal body composition by being honest about what (and how much) she eats, and adjusting accordingly.

      Thanks so much for your post, Paula. Inspiring!

  10. Hi Paula! You look GREAT. That fitday.com is awesome isn’t it. I am trying to lose weight and I was not tracking anything except in my head and I was not losing ANY weight hardly. Then I rediscovered fitday through this site, i entered what I was eating and wow I was blown away by the number of calories and carbs I was ACTUALLY eating. No WONDER I was stuck!:)
    But now using fitday to lower those cals/carbs I have lost almost 9 lbs since Sept 1.
    Again congrats on your success and your before pic even looks good.

  11. Incredible! Paula, you look ten times stronger, healthier, and more beautiful than your teenage picture. What an inspiration.

    The more I read success stories like these, the more I look forward to reaching my 50s!

  12. WOW! what an inspiration you are… i am 49 and hope to be you when i grow up! but you didn’t get there by hope… you worked and made the right choices… good for you.. you are amazing!

  13. I’m 57 and a lot of this rings true for me, although I look more like the middle pictures than the end pictures! I agree that Paula actually looks fine in the middle pictures. I am 5’3″ and I weighed about 137 when I started PM a year and a half ago. Now I’m down to 130 and still slowly losing weight.

    I hit a couple of plateaus on my way down. I got over one plateau by getting some Low Blue Light glasses and using them in the evening, and going to bed earlier. That’s how I went from 133 to 130 in about a month, with no other changes!

    I also like to indulge in corn sometimes. I grow field corn in my garden, and I have a lot of it. I grind it for cornbread and hoecakes. But I think I might be allergic to it: it exacerbates my rosacea.

    ONe problem that I’ve had for years has disappeared since I began to pay attention to glycemic load: my stress incontinence which started after the birth of my son. I did kegels a lot, but to no avail. When I stopped eating high glycemic foods, though, it went away. The other day I ate a lot of native persimmons and it came back for a little while. Wild they might be, but they are high glycemic foods.

  14. What I see among my friends is that they lament their 50+ year old bodies (men and women). They ask what I do, but none of them really try hard, at least based on what I see. They just moan and resign themselves to it and continue the Dr. Pepper and donuts. They see it as inevitable and tell me how they “just can’t give up…(insert favorite garbage food here)
    They all complain together. Misery loves company I guess.

  15. I’m afraid I find the “after” pics are a bit over the top. Paula is happy with her shape and that’s great for her, but I personally wouldn’t want that body at any age. Looking toned and healthy is great, but that’s just not natural nor attractive.She looked better before.
    Sorry Paula.

    1. What! As a guy I can say She DOES look attractive. And fit. And healthy. And confident.
      I don’t like the women muscle bound look like the female body builders, that is gross, but she’s not approaching that.
      Are there ANY guys here who think she isn’t “attractive”?

    2. There are so many versions of attractive, and as a guy, I can say that she is attractive, differently in before and after pics (even though attractiveness is not the point of this post, imo). Also, how she “looks” to one person or another is highly subjective and one should not use their “feelings” to judge the effort she has put in to attain what she desired, which is the whole point of this post

    3. she is attractive because you can clearly see that she FEELS attractive and radiates joy and confidence.

      that’s all that matters.

      1. mate; you said it……i agree…she thouroughly radiates an energy that touches us all through her photos….

        energy does that….its able to transcend time and space…she is doing that…

        joy and confidence…but mostly JOY….


    4. It’s amazing to me that people feel the need to post such opinions in response to someone’s personal story and sharing of personal photos. Loser.

      1. And it’s amazing to me that on a site that promotes unpopular truths, somebody would be taken to task simply for stating her opinion.

        Personally, I’m with Margaret. I think she looks feminine in the before pictures. In the after pictures, she’s getting dangerously close to female bodybuilder territory, which I don’t find attractive. And I know I’m not the only one.

        On a more positive note, the fat loss between the before and after pictures is very impressive.

        1. It’s not about how YOU want to look or what you find attractive. It’s not about NOT stating an opinion. People submit their success stories and sometimes they might look like a body builder and some folks don’t like that look on a personal level, but it’s not about them.

          What if others started posting “opinions” like, “Eew, you still look to fat to me!” Would that be an acceptable opinion?

          There is a distinct negativity here towards those who are into being buff that I don’t understand.

          At the least it’s just plain rude and insensitive to the person putting themselves out there with pictures and all.

        2. Hold on, isn’t she a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in addition to owning a CrossFit gym?!?

          Of course she’s ripped, more so when she is careful with calories.

          Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, she looked beautiful in both the before and after, but one’s own standards for how they want their body to look are just that. Their own! If my lifestyle revolved around fitness, I would want my body to reflect that. In her after pics, Paula looks like a perfect model for a fitness magazine, and there is nothing wrong with that!

          Paula, you look inspiringly attractive. Thank you again for sharing your story.

        3. Reading comprehension fail: those are Paula’s “cut” pictures–she actually maintains at least 3% higher bodyfat, which would give her skin a smoother, more feminine appearance. Still, the muscle def is impressive (and that’s the whole idea behind taking “cut” pics).

        4. i’m sure if that was a man, you would be okay with him looking like a bodybuilder. and attractive to boot.

    5. I agree. This is what my 15yo fit and athletic daughter said when she saw the photos “Ew, I would never want to look like that and that’s not what guys like either.”
      I applaud Paula’s hard work, determination and tenacity but seriously the first thought I had was of those anorexic runway models that everyone bemoans because of the unrealistic body image they set forth for young women.
      I am a big advocate for limiting and even eliminating grains, for WAPF traditional foods and preparation methods, for CrossFit training and for being STRONG and fit but… the “from all causes” death rate RISES in people with such minimal body fat and this is definitely an example of minimal body fat.

      1. Do we really care about what guys like? Really? If a guy doesn’t like a toned, athletic body because it’s not “feminine” enough, that’s messed up.

        1. Guys do like toned, athletic bodies, why do you think so many are (how do I put this gently?) homosexuals?
          Especially the greek, no?

          “Not that there is anything wrong with that.” (Jerry Seinfeld)

      2. she looks nothing like an anorexic runway model. she looks strong and fit. she looks like someone who can deadlift three times her bodyweight.

        ridiculous analogy.

      1. I agree. Incredibly rude thing for Bebe to say, as well as all the other naysayers who have nothing positive to say. Recall this is the Friday Success story post. Every person who puts themself out there by sharing their story should be lauded. If Paula’s “before” shots were in fact someone else’s “after” I would be just as impressed. You do not like figure/bodybuilding types, go express your opinion elsewhere. Honestly. As a 48 year old man, I find Paula gorgeous. Well done!

        1. i’m female and it’s disheartening to see how most of the negative comments here are by women. we seem to enjoy tearing other women down.

    6. Only positive opinions are allowed, eh? What a joke.. I have to agree, I liked the before photos better.

  16. I think she already looked good in her before pictures. But the after….wow.

    She looks better at fifty than most of us (including me) at twenty. I bet this makes a lot of women less frightened of aging. I’m hopeful again 🙂 Thanks for sharing Paula!

  17. … and then there’s the “well that just doesn’t work for me…” excuse. They even make fun of me and say “are you sure you don’t want a donut”? I stay away from those toxic people now in favor of the bunch at Crossfit. Nice people those are!

    1. I’ve been called a “health nut”…and, not in a nice way, either. I just know I need to do what works for me. Thanks to Mark Sisson for having this website where we can all support each other in our personal “health nut” goals. 🙂

  18. whoa!!! i want to be as sexy as you are when i’m 51 (i’m 40 now).

    great story.

  19. I’m 51 too and prerty much where Paula is at with the junk-in-the-trunk pictures. Those of you who are heavier and trying to get to those “before” pictures – don’t feel bad or judge those of of us who want to be thinner and fitter. Everyone is different. I was always like the picture of Paula at the beach – a skinny minnie. Menopause hit me with a bunch of excess weight just like Paula in the tummy and butt. For us, this is the biggest we’ve ever been and we go from there.

    I am starting to do a more strenuous workout (for me) with kettlebells and I am seeing a difference. I also need to get on Fitday and count my calories. I think menopausal women should be in a special needs category, LOL. Our hormones are whacked and most of us do not work out that much I imagine. To get back to bikini heaven, if that is your goal, I now believe, after 8 months primal, that calorie restriction is necessary.

    Way to go Paula. Any gal who can look that good and be that healthy at our age is a SupahStah!

    (Chocolate and grits, LOL!)

  20. Whoa. I’d never guess your age from seeing that last set. GREAT work.

    Self-control is da bomb.

  21. Thanks for sharing Paula. Do you think the diminishing “edge” was all lifestyle change, or partly life experience?

    @Anna, it does make me a bit more optimistic about aging!

  22. Great Job, Paula! I’m still trying to get to your “before” pictures, lol. It is definately a journey, with lots of learning along the way.

  23. Hah, I knew I recognized your face somewhere! I’ve watched you on YouTube; the first video I saw was your how-to-make lard tutorial. When you dropped the p-word (pastured), I knew there was a strong chance that you were primal. And then you came out from behind the counter so that your body was visible, and I was like “Yep, she’s primal”.

    1. Hi Reiko! Yep,that was me in the lard video. I love cooking with it and keep a nice supply in my freezer:)

  24. Alright! Alright! I hate keeping track of what I eat but Paula, you just may, I say may, have convinced me to track my diet on fitday.

    Thanks for the inspiration and you look fabulous.

  25. Great work Paula…As I am 45 yrs young, I completely admire what you have done for yourself…Rock Out with your Grok Out!

  26. Hey! Good story for us menopausal women! I also was not losing weight, and then noticed, during one week of eating less calories by mistake, that was when it started melting off! I think we just don’t need so much anymore. Metabolism (mine anyway) is low. Eating light partic at dinner/eve was the big key for me. As well as yogurt – gave me the tummy pooch. I also started noticing how things made me feel after I ate them. Anything not right went on the bad list. YOU LOOK GREAT! I need to work out more that’s for sure! CONGRATS and thanks so much fr sharing.

  27. Congrats Paula! You look great! (Just ignore those judgmental comments! 🙂 Yeah, your junk pics are where some of us would like to be, but everyone has their own journey and their own goals and that’s fine!) Thanks for keeping such close track of your intake and telling us about it. The specifics really help. I’m just wondering, though, did you feel hungry or have cravings during the very low carb or low calorie times? Did you eat to satiety, or did you eat until you reached your calorie limit? Did you find that all the exercise you do increased your appetite? Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! When I used to compete (back in the day) and dieted I was always hungry–it was miserable. On this “Challenge” I was never hungry, very satisfied and had no cravings, I would attribute this to the higher fat as compared to yesteryear. After about 3 weeks w/ 50 g’s I added a little sweet potato in and that righted the energy levels.

  28. Wow you look amazing Paula. I suspect the majority of 50+ women would look at your before pictures with envy but I understand how your standards would be different working in the crossfit world and there’s no arguing the final results are outstanding.

    Great job and a good reminder that calories aren’t the most important factor but they are factor, specially when working to get sub 15% bodyfat.

  29. Paula, I’m 30 and I want to be like you when I’m 50! What an awesome job!

  30. Hi Paula, I loved hearing your story, thanks for posting it! I was wondering whether you had any children. It’s not an excuse, but my body shape changed after 4 kids. I’m 47 and it makes my heart sing to know that I don’t have to lose muscle and gain fat after menopause- thank you!!! I am in the best shape of my life right now, but have had a jelly roll since I was 20. I just assumed that I’d always be built that way, but I’m going to track my calories for a few weeks and see where I stand. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Only of the feline variety but I do have a couple of moms that train for figure competitions and have done an amazing job with the Primal diet and regaining their pre baby shapes and health

    2. Yeah, I’ve had four kids too, and the more I lose the more elephant skin I get. 🙁 but it’s better than fat!! I have a friend that lost 60 pounds after 3 kids and her belly skin “sleeps” beside her at night!! Oh well, the trade offs we make in the name of children heeheehe.

  31. Thanks for sharing Paula. I am actually more inspired by people like Paula who can lose that last stubborn 5-8lb than by someone who is morbidly obese and cuts out soda to lose 50lbs.
    I look very similar to Paula’s “middle” photo. And though when I wear nice clothes, no one can tell I’m chubby, I seriously feel extremely uncomfortable in my skin every morning when I have to change clothes.
    I’ve been off and on primal for about 2 years, but I need to cut the cheat meals and get real about portion control.

  32. This is a great story. Paula, you look amazing! And as someone who’s been trying to get rid of the last 5-10lbs for a while now, I totally appreciate the effort you put into getting that defined. I am curious though, can you tell me just what your fat/carb/protein ratios were to get this lean? This is the one thing I can’t seem to figure out.

    1. Fat 45-55%, protein 25-35%, carbs 10-20% varied some but those are the general ranges. Fat is higher for maintenance

      1. Paula, I’m sure you won’t see this now that this has become some weird post about how your too ripped, but thanks for taking the time to reply. I’ve adjusted my ratios a bit and am hoping to see some improvement over the next two weeks. I’m at my crossfit gym 4 days a week, so hopefully just tightening up my diet a little more is all I need to get where I want.

        And for the record, you look amazing for any age! Not sure what all the hate in here is about, but I am blown away and big time motivated by this story.

        Thanks again!

      2. Thank you for the ratios. I am just starting the PB lifestyle. I have been tracking for a week. I also use Fitday. My fat is always higher than my protein. I didn’t know exactly how that stands. My carbs are higher than yours but in the weight/fat loss range. At this point I don’t have any body goals, etc. My goals are more to just develop healthy lifestyle habits. I’d like to lose fat and gain muscle tone and that will come in time. Perhaps my goals will be more body oriented when eating and exercising primally become a way of life.
        I am 51 and it was amazing to see your before and after photos. You are an inspiration. Though our journeys are different I feel we are on the same path and you give me a glimpse into the future. It confirms I am on the right path. Thank you Paula.

      3. Could you give an example of daily meal?
        I’m new to all these. To be honest I’m still confused how much FAT should I consume, it’s so hard to believe that FAT actually helps to loose weight and gain muscle, am I missing anything?
        Thank you

  33. Holy sh*t! I was not expecting such a drastic transformation! I really appreciate your honest writing. I am only 33 and have long believed that I could be hot, fit, and strong forever if I treat myself right–thank you for proving that it is in fact absolutely possible.

  34. I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to get into Figure competition shape with PB, and I think you’ve just answered my question! Amazing and beautiful, Paula! I’m wondering if you could give a sample meal plan of what you ate on a roughly 2000 calorie day and a roughly 1300 calorie day? Specifically, I’m wondering if you changed your sources of protein and fat at all (more fish, less beef, etc.)?

    1. AMEN!

      Obviously Paula, you have inspired quite a lot of interest, so many comments! (most of us have been very moved in a positive way, lol)

      Perhaps in a follow up article (hint to Mark), you could give us a sample meal plan?

      Specifically, do you eat dairy? Drink wine? What are your main carb/fat/protein sources?

      I am in the “fine tuning” stage of going Primal. My body type at 26 is very similar to your middle pictures.

      I would love to hear more from you!

      1. I second this– Paula, you are inspiring and I would love to hear more details about what you eat on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing your story!

      2. Hi Eryn and thanks. Only raw dairy, no wine (I can’t control it). Main carb sources are veggies, some fruit, occasional potatoes, fat is butter, coconut oil, lard and tallow, protein is grass fed beef, fowl, pork, game, seafood and eggs.

    2. Absolutely! I train a few women for figure competitions and they look amazing; I used this personal Challenge to fine tune that and see how my body would react as compared to when I dieted for fitness comps when I was not Primal. I would not do it any other way. Protein sources towards the end were slightly leaner choices. Added in more fish but kept the beef (my favorite) just chose sirloin and flank over ribeyes. Grass fed of course

  35. Wow! Now that is a TRANSFORMATION! Congrats!

    My favorite line was this: “Splurge meal is usually a nice piece of fatty meat, a potato of some sort, maybe grits (yes I know that’s corn and corn is a grain but this is the south and I am not perfect) and some homemade ice cream from raw cream, maple syrup and egg yolks. ”

    The fact that none of us are perfect is perfect. It’s what makes us all so uniquely beautiful!

  36. Paula,

    I think you look stunning, you glow with health. Thank you for reminding me that there is much more ahead than feeling as old and miserable as I do right now at 41! I’m truley inspired! ps, I’d take your before pictures but I’m gonna push for those after shots!!

  37. Paula –

    Phenomenal job! You are quite inspiring to me. At 41, I find myself at your before pictures wanting to get to your after pictures. I just started on PB, and can’t wait to see what my ending results are going to be!

  38. Congratulations Paula! Did you do a figure competition? I recognize the stage suit in your final pictures. 😉

    1. That was an old suit from my last comp in Women’s Tri Fitness in 2006. At least it still fits. This Challenge was just to see if I could achieve that look on a Primal diet at 51

  39. Good job Paula, you re-assessed mid-stream and that’s something we all should do. You look happy & healthy.

    I too just had a Summit with my backside and we decided it needed some attention! tee hee. Crossfit freaks me out so I’ll start w/ other approaches.

  40. Your commitment to reach your goal was awesome and inspirational. I think you looked sexy in your “before” pics though.

  41. Wow Paula you look incredible and have shown us all that 50 can be fabulous, you look better than most 30 year olds do, something to aspire to for sure! Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

    1. She looks better than the 20 year olds in my town…and 30 year olds, and 40 year olds…
      All the men would lay down a red carpet, bow down and drool on the ground.

  42. Well, I have been inspired to look into crossfit more seriously and MAYBE do a little tracking of my diet. I lost 40 pounds just by switching to WAP and I have been off gluten for a couple of weeks with no weightloss but I still eat grains and probably more fruit than is necessary. I feel bloated a lot lately and I can totally relate to the “edge” feeling and angry/anxious/aggressive. For me dieting isn’t for weightloss but for the overall feeling better. Thank you for your inspiration.

    1. Agree there– it’s not just about weight loss. It’s neat to see different types of success stories, some people who want to be extremely lean (like Paula) and others who are fine with a, um, softer look (like me!). 🙂 Eating well can get you there, wherever “there” is!

  43. Those after photos are amazing. Great work! And it’s good to know that menopause/andropause doesn’t mean being 40+ lbs overweight, on insulin and wearing dentures.

    Nice smiles 🙂

  44. I am at 20% body fat now and people think I look good, but once you’re that far and you can still pinch an inch it’s too much of a challenge not to try to get the last bit off. I had no idea what to aim for so I’m glad you included that your end result was 15% body fat.

  45. Awesome an inspiration to us women!! I do have a question and I hope Paula or anyone else can answer. The primal/ paleo method suggest we should eat fat, but to lose weight we need to cut our fat intake! I’m confused because I thought primal you can eat fat. I don’t eat a lot of fat my fat intake is avocado, olive oil grassfed butter and coconut oil and I would have no more than 3 tablespoons a day of a combination of these!
    Love everyone’s advice as I have been paleo for 4 years and can’t seem to budge the stomach fat! I train crossfit 4 x week. When I was body building and eating no fat the weight stripped off me, but I know body building and chronic cardio is very unhealthy. Thanks guys appreciate your help.

    1. My fat intake rarely dropped below 50%. My sources: the fats from meat, fowl and fish, olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, lard and tallow.

  46. Wow Paula, I just sent in a similar story but not quite as detailed. I left out the part of the belly fat. I have toyed with the idea to log what I eat and see where I am at but easier not to. You might call that being in denial as I believe it is my cortisol levels causing the problems. The cortisol is effecting my sleep thus effecting insulin sensitivity and insulin/glucagon balance. Maybe I will try ur suggestion. thanks for sharing.

  47. AMAZING work Paula and Congratulations on what you’ve achieved. ESPECIALLY as a woman over 50.

    I am amazed also that even on this site WOMEN are putting down your success. As someone put it so well, if someone said they look and feel great after a transformation, no one would DREAM of saying, “sorry Paula, you still look fat to me”.

    You look GREAT and more importantly, you look the way YOU wanted to look! 🙂 Rock it and ignore the whiners 🙂

  48. OMG, you are amazing! You managed to jump the barrier I can’t get through no matter what I try to do. I am just stuck in that place were you started! The cursed 19% and 123-127 lbs. I was of a mind to give up, but now I will try to try harder. If you can do it, there is hope! It’s just crazy how much of a difference the cursed 5% crucial percents hold!

  49. Can we get a link to Mark’s advice to Kelly Korg that was so inspirational?

  50. My fearless gym leader! I have been a client at Paula’s crossfit gym for a year and a half now, and she always full of energy and passion exercising and nutrition. Since it is her job and she used to compete, you would expect her to strive for the after photos, but she doesn’t expect everyone to have the same goals as her. I know I feel and look great due in large part to joining her gym and changing my nutrition to what she and MDA recommend.

  51. Thank you Paula, for your honest and inspiring story! All the Friday Success Stories are fantastic, but being in your age group, yours has been especially meaningful. Great work!

  52. Fantastic job! It’s amazing how being fit not only makes you feel better about yourself but you look 20 years younger on top of it! It gives me something to strive for 🙂

  53. First I want to say congrats to Paula for taking control of your health and happiness….but I need to respectfully say this

    Your Quote:
    “Well, I put on that swimsuit, grabbed a mirror and checked my rear. I almost threw up. Dear God; the junk in the trunk was appalling. That could not possibly be my body looking back at me, what the hell had happened?”

    This sends a very bad message to many many many women. It speaks volumes to women’s self body images, and what is beautiful. We have to remember on this site that health does not = hot ripped, muscles everywhere for everyone. Some of us would be super happy to look as BEAUTIFUL as Paula in her “Before” pics.

    We need to be careful on MDA what kind of advice we are handing out to women!!! Is it really appropriate to tell women out there that if they look like her before pics that she is fat and not good looking!!?? NO NO & NO

    Let’s be careful folks. Remember going Primal is about overall health….not being able to walk around in a bikini! Although if you get to that point way to go……

    We need to celebrate all body types and whole happy healthy people!!!!

    1. Coming from a family that’s tall and slender (too slender) and every relative being tall and slender it is difficult to look in the mirror when you add even only 5 kg!
      5-10kg immediately shows up in the face, boobs and rear and everybody will notice it.
      Also coming from Europe, we are not as forgiving as Americans are about being fat.
      Being used to a slender body most of your life, it will shock you when 1 day you wake up and see ‘behind the curtain’.
      To most of americans at 30 lbs overweight I was still a bean pole. But to Europe’s standards I was slightly chubby.
      I moved to the states and let myself go, eating SAD instead of sticking to my native, traditional foods. Glad I found MDA to catch it all before my health went totally to sh*ts.
      I am very thankful for Paulas story, I can totally relate to how she felt.

      If you’re the pear shaped type, well, we all wish to be different only when we feel insecure about how we look, based on what’s currently being promoted in the fashion and fitness magazines, on tv and what not.
      No need to tell Paula what’s right or wrong here on MDA. This is HER story and HER success and I am super jealous because I want flat abs like her! 🙂

      1. I understand for sure. She totally has to make up her mind about what she wants to look like and is happy with!! And she looks great!!

        My point is that we shouldn’t be telling other women how or what makes them beautiful.

        We just need to be careful, with media telling us how we “should” look we need to make up our own minds about what makes us happy and healthy!

        Its not about imagine its about health!

        I am thrilled for Paula and love her story!!

        My real point is we have to be careful the message we are handing out to other women, it shouldn’t be about media standards, or other standards, it should be about our standards.

        I am not telling Paula that she is right or wrong! She is awesome and I say GROK on to you all! Do what makes you happy and what helps you live the best life!

        1. “We” are not telling women anything! Paula shared her opinion and her story. No need to get evangelical on her or the MDA site. If Mark disagreed with the message, surely he’s the one who would edit it?

    2. It seems to me that Paula has her own idea about what is beautiful, healthy, and acceptable to her. She did not, as some other commenters have suggest she do, shape her body to fit the ideal of some men, neither did she suggest that I need to look like her cut photos to be beautiful. I think this is a wonderful attitude to promote.

      My own ideal for myself doesn’t look like Paula’s, but I feel confident enough about my health, fitness, and personal sense of aesthetics that I feel inspired, rather than threatened, by Paula’s incredible results.

    3. I have read all the available success stories here – they are so motivational and uplifting for me. Not once did I consider any one individual’s story and success to be the example I should personally follow. And I didn’t see anyone tell Papa Grok Dave that his dramatic weight loss was an unrealistic goal that sets a bad example for the rest of us.

      What the heck is wrong here? Why is Paula being torn down by woman after woman? Why do you feel so threatened by her? It’s so wrong.

      I am never going to look like Paula’s afteer pix. I don’t have the dedication and stamina to do that. But I do know that I have it in me to look better, and I love seeing Paula’s pictures and read her story. Every individual’s success is their own and something that should make the rest of us feel like “right on!” and “good for you!”

      Not wah, I can’t do that therefore noone should. Wah, boo-hoo I will never look that good. Wah, this is bad for women.

      Well, you know what? Get over yourself. You CAN do better. Your own way with your own goals. It’s possible. Just do it and stop tearing someone else down.

  54. I completely admire you and could only hope to look so beautiful in 20 years!

  55. Paula,
    I think you look awesome and you are an inspiration to a 30 something mom 🙂

    Keep up the great work!!

  56. Great story and a great job indeed. Lots of hard work but it just goes to show you…a calorie is still a calorie. You can’t disobey thermodynamics regardless of whether you go primal or not. You must eat less than you burn.

  57. Success stories come in all shapes and sizes. Thank you, Paula, for sharing yours.

  58. Paula, you look absolutely wonderful! I’m 67 and have been in “menopause” longer than most of the gals posting here on MDA have lived! (Well, maybe just most of the gals, but still—)

    You’re a true inspiration because I hear daily about the pitfalls of menopause from my not-so-healthy friends who choose to pig-out on sugar and processed carbs and prefer to “take” pills instead of “taking” control.

    And I really think you look a hellovalot better in those after pics than you did in the before pics. And as a Crossfit trainer you are sending out a truly inspirational message. Thanks for sharing and all the best to you!!

  59. From one Paula to another…
    Damn girl, your butt looks good!

  60. I’m a 49-yr-old male thinking about my approaching 50th, and your story just gave me some serious inspiration. These posts really do change people’s lives for the better.

  61. You’re my hero of the week, Paula. Thanks for your story – you look fabulous. Love it!! — NG —

  62. Wow, what a great post! Congrats to you girl – you go girl go! This makes me keep thinking, I have got to let go of those grains…mercy, not sure I can do it..but giving serious thought!

  63. Holy cats! You killed it! Hawtness!

    This is inspiring to see. Had a vision of who you wanted to be and made it so. Kick ass.

    As a 42-yo guy I know that at a certain point stuff starts getting harder. Big part of my motivation is looking good naked – not going to lie about that. Feel like I’m doing great at that so far, but this has me all fired up to turn it up to 11. Thanks!

  64. I’m glad you said that calories count, even on the PB diet. I’m doing the 30 day challenge, and the few pounds I gained over my birthday are not just “melting off”. I’m 45 and it’s definitely harder for me to lose the weight, and much easier to gain it these days. I’m a similar build to you in your middle photos. However, I don’t look forward to counting calories and cutting them out. I was always hungry when I was doing that a year and a half ago to lose about 6 pounds from 123 down to 117. I know it doesn’t sound like much to lose, but like I said, I’m like you. A few extra pounds on a small frame does not look good. Oh, and I’m Italian American too. I also was not eating as much fat as I am now. The fat definitely helps with my mood too. I too have problems with being angry.

  65. I’m wondering what happened with your mood when you cut the fat?

    1. Rarely did my fat drop below 50%, my mood was actually improved from taking out some of the “indulgences”

  66. I would kill for those biceps! I’m glad to know it’s possible on a woman, without steroids, etc.

  67. Congrats to you Paula for reaching your goal. Thanks for sharing your story.Reading through your post and various comments, I take away several things, among them:

    It is important to reassess along the journey.
    Everyone’s goals are different.
    At some point, calories do count.
    Muscle gain/fat loss is possible after menopause. I have had discussions with a 50+ friend who insists that it is not possible. You have proven my point.
    Thanks so much.

  68. I would like to comment on the before and after preference. Since this is a “Primal” site, let’s consider our primal preferences. Our (Male) genes want us to succeed at procreating. We are genetically programed to desire women of breeding age, 15-45ish. This would include Lighter hair, breasts, more fit, curves etc… See “evolutionary psychology” for the details. So the beach one and the after one are more sexually appealing on an instinctive level. I am not trying to offend anyone, nor suggest I want to sex with Paula. I am married for 22 years to a 48 year old who is 5’3″ and 100 pounds. I personally prefer she stay that way!

  69. Different people have different motivations and objectives. The message here is not to pursue Paula’s specific goals but that she went ahead and did what she wanted to do. Thanks for sharing.

  70. Paula, at 44 I am starting to deal with big changes in my metabolism. Your story makes me want to kick middle age in the arse! I now planning on fighting it very aggressively with diet and exercise. Thanks for the inspiration. I’d love to see a snapshot of what you ate during your challenge. Just a day or two would be most helpful.

  71. Paula –

    Very well done! Here’s what I especially like about your approach:

    1) that you believed you had more to learn (i.e. that you didn’t think you knew everything);

    2) that you didn’t allow your age and what supposedly comes with it to lull you into a state of acceptance;

    3) that you were very metric about it (start and end date, macro balance, calorie range, fitday, etc.)

    Your story shows what happens when a person takes control. And that’s just what you’ve done. I admire you.


  72. I’m with you! Let’s start getting honest and post our own 50+ photos!

  73. Paula,

    Fantastic job and you inspired me to get a better idea of my caloric intake to help things progressive faster.

    And apologies for possibly sounding like a typical male, but, you look hot..21 or 51, doesn’t matter. :o)

  74. Wow, thank you for sharing. Your post is extremely motivating! I was wondering Paula (or anybody else that knows) how do you measure your body-fat accurately?

  75. I don’t know if people are still reading this thread but I do want to add one more thing 🙂

    If a man had commented that Paula was “unattractive” it would be considered incredibly RUDE, and socially unacceptable by all who read it.

    Meanwhile some women think it is perfectly fine to say so, because they think they are functioning as the voice of social commentary, championing women and their issues of body image, the pressure to be thin, etc.

    I think the MOST damaging social issue with women today is that unfortunately in regard to body type/image, women don’t support each other enough that each one believes it’s okay to look the way they want to look; then any social pressures to look a certain way would have much less psychological effect.

    Instead women so frequently judge, pick apart, put down other women…then the social pressure to look a certain way carries much more influence!!

    So while I certainly don’t blame women for the social pressures to be thin, tall, (and young, gorgeous) etc…..the fact that women spend any time at all putting each other down for how they want to look (if it doesn’t appeal to them personally) only perpetuates the problem !

    And after all, when it comes down to it, it’s just RUDE.

    I still don’t understand why, if someone if considered less than attractive because they are overfat, it is taboo to say anything. But if someone is considered unattractive because they have low bodyfat and more muscle mass, it is considered perfectly okay to comment…because achieving a better muscle/fat ratio is intentional and overfat is considered a fault??

    I urge anyone who cared to comment negatively on Paula’s “attractiveness” – girls, come on – to please post their photos and we will be happy to come together on a public forum and comment on whether we find you sufficiently attractive or not.

    This has spurred me on with surprising drive – I am now determined to be able to post my transformation photos here in the next 6 months. I look forward to the comments. 🙂

    1. agree 100%. it’s sad to see women criticising another woman for looking “too buff” when they complain about social pressures with regard to appearance. they are perpetuating the problem.

  76. I am almost 48 years old and quite healthy. I had four children. I’m 5’3 and weigh 113.

    I am flabby. The kind of exercise I’m willing to do isn’t cutting it anymore. I used to be a runner but now I power walk, hike, and sprint (but just to impress myself, not regularly). I have joint pain from old injuries and dislike weight training.

    I am thinking of having some kind of lipo done to sculpt this aging body.

    Anyone here ever do that – specifically Vasar lipo? Pros and Cons? Is this totally outside of primal philosophy? My “numbers” are all excellent, I never even take pain reliever, so I’m not ignoring health indicators.


  77. Paula, You look MAHVELOUS!!!! As a soon to be to be 50 year old man you are an inspiration!!! Can you say HOT!!!
    What’s with all the haters on this site. She looks great. I had an 85 lbs transformation with PB in 8 months, reversed my diabetes, high cholesterol, and COPD and really turned my life around, bit what do I hear-snide comments about having AIDS, Cancer, or a meth addiction. I guess you can’t please everybody so please yourself.

  78. What an inspiration you are … it’s so exciting to see mature women taking control of their lives and being willing to work for what they want!


  79. I think the main point of this story is that the Primal Blueprint offers the knowledge we need to be healthy at whatever weight we decide we want to reach.

    I personally look like the “before” photos, which is just the way my husband likes it. (He LOVES some junk-in-the-trunk!) But it’s nice to know that IF I decided to look like the “after”, I know how to do it.

    Great job, Paula. You went for what you wanted and you got it!

  80. Hi Paula,

    You’re a hottie. All the women trash talking you just have self image problems.

    Keep up the good work. My wife is 14 years younger than you and is impressed, not insulted or threatened, by your strong physique.

  81. O.k… first of all: I had no intention to be rude. None. Please forgive me Paula. I was speaking out of a deep concern for the tendency in our society to take everything to an extreme… including fitness.
    Second: I was really caught off guard by the cut photos. While I am used to seeing shots like that in a body building context I never realized that was the goal of Crossfit. I say eww to photos of bodybuilders in general because it’s so unnatural looking. I’m sure she looks great in a normal setting.
    Third: I honestly do not believe it is rude to disagree with someone who puts their stuff out there for public scrutiny.

    1. I don’t think anyone here puts up their transformation photos/story for “scrutiny”.

      They do it for mutual support and encouragement, to show what they, and others, can achieve despite what CW says can be achieved. So that others may find their own strength with others’ support to find their way to their own goals.

      Yes, this is a public forum; but social decency and common courtesy should still apply.

      1. I agree Jill – what ever happened to “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all” Really… common courtesy and some common sense of when to keep your opinion to your self. And YES I know we are all entitled to our opinions – but sometimes just keep them to yourselves, I don’t understand why one feels the need to make a complete stranger feel bad after all she has accomplished.
        Great job Paula, I am glad you finished what you set out to do!!

  82. As a friend of Paula, I can vouch that this girl has had NO work done. She looks this amazingly good and it’s all 100% naturale my friends!

    1. Is there anyone here who HAS had work done? I’m using Paula’s story as a springboard to ask if anyone has had lipo to get the look without the work? Or part lipo, part hard work? Or whatever?

      Is there a place where this question fits better or has been discussed. I bring it up in Paula’s story only because she and I are roughly the same age and size and we have totally different “thin” looks.

  83. Paula, amazing work. I hope I remember your story when it’s my turn to go through menopause. I’ve often wondered how the hormonal changes will affect me, and you’ve given me hope that my destiny will still be in my hands, just with perhaps a few changes.

    As for the comments here, I’d like to say that when I found Primal, I weighed 15 pounds heavier than I do now. For me it was never about a number, but my appearance, and I can tell you I didn’t like being naked or in a swimsuit anymore. NONE of my friends thought I needed to lose weight, but I found their “supportive” comments to this effect rather disheartening. I just wanted to be heard and supported. I got really depressed one night looking around a dinner table of friends and thinking to myself how I worked out as often and as hard (sometimes much more so) as some of them, but they all looked better than me. And that if I continued my SAD madness, I would be sitting at this very table in ten years with high blood pressure, about 5-10 more pounds, and my doctor probably pushing statins on me, despite all my efforts.

    So even though I wasn’t morbidly obese, I was still experiencing symptoms that felt beyond my control and it did nothing for my peace of mind. Our goals and situations are all different. But we’re all in this fight alone together, if that makes sense.

    So let’s not pretend there’s any one body type ideal. Let’s all rejoice that Primal is available to all of us and we can share it. We all have success stories, some just less obvious than others.

    1. Karen, I LOVE your comments. I was about to sit down and write the same thing.

      Paula, I love your story and it has inspired me to think a little differently about my situation and how to get the results I want. I have been following Primal and working out primal for over a year now and not seeing the results. I am feeling better but not happier with my looks. I only need about 10-15 pounds, maybe less. No one would say that I do but I know that I need it. And we are all different. I am going to try to method and your ratios and get back to really tracking all my food.. i used to be great at it. It is the calories and the fat and the ratios.. and making sure to move. THANK YOU for sharing your story and the pictures/weights it means SO MUCH to so many of us in your same boat and thank you to MARK for posting it as a success story. Success is different for everyone and it is hard for those of us who struggle with that 10-15lbs point only seeing stories of exceptional weight loss. We are inspired by those stories as well but also need a story that we can see ourselves in, so thank you both.

  84. We hear “it’s not about the micro-nutrients, it’s about healthy eating…” and that’s true. I’m trying to lose (a lot) of weight and it has slowed down. I’m going to try what Paula suggested, first look at what’s going in and when, then see if I need to make an adjustment.

    We don’t have to be in exactly the same place to take something great away from these stories. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  85. You grock, Sistah! Post-menopausal at 51? Lucky. I’m 57, still dealing with weird periods and so forth, but I have found that Primal eating has helped immensely with PMS cravings. Pre-Primal all I wanted to eat 10 days prior to my period was chocolate & potato chips. I still have mood-swings, but I don’t crave the junk, anymore. I keep trying to tell my friends and family about the positive changes to my body since I started eating Primal but they don’t want to believe me. Perhaps after I have a significant amount of weight loss they’ll sit up and pay attention. You look smashing. Good on ya’.

  86. O.k…. First I would like to apologize. I never meant to be rude. Really. Paula, please forgive me for being insensitive. I was really speaking out of a deep concern that we as a society take everything to extremes, including fitness.

    Second: I guess the “cut” photos really threw me off. The only time I’ve seen those kinds of shots has been in connection to bodybuilders and I never realized such minimal fat and ripped physique was a goal of Crossfit/Paleo.

    Third: I DO however believe that when a person puts their stuff out there for public scrutiny it allows for discussion that might disagree with your point/s.

    Fourth: yes I DO care what guys think, at least MY guys: husband, sons and sons-in-law! I refuse to make it the center of my life but yes, I do care.

  87. Paula,

    You look fabulous!

    Did you do any other specific exercises to get your butt to look so good? I’m 38 and have had your “before” butt my whole life. I’ve started on kettlebells but would be interested to know if you have any specific exercise tips.

    1. Hi Lisa, my main “butt exercises” have been squats, lunges, deadlifts–heavy and sprints for about the last 10 years. They have developed the gluteal muscles. The main difference in those 2 photos was my nutrition. I genetically carry extra body fat in that area and as it was so aptly put in a mutual and awesome post with Mark and Robb I had a “mouth like a vaccuum cleaner” last winter even tho it was primarily all good Primal foods.

      1. Well this gives me even more hope since I tend to carry fat in my butt (and thighs) as well. I am sooooooooooo looking forward to getting back to exercising. As someone else mentioned, would love to see a couple of sample days in fitday.


      2. Thanks, Paula–you give me hope! I’ve also exercised *forever* and can’t get rid of it. I’ll plan to really watch my nutrition. Thank you again!

  88. Paula, would you mind sharing some details on your exercise routine?

  89. This is an awesome post. Thank you for the honest, open and insightful discussion on what you felt and thought. You look better at 50 than at 30 and as a guy in his mid 30’s who has definitely started to thing about healthy lifestyle choices, I found this put me in a great, optimistic mood. Cheers.

  90. Awesome story Paula – I will use yours like I have used others to continue to inspire me in my quest for health and fitness. I have blasted 105 pounds off in just over 3 months.

    You look great!!

  91. Inspiring Paula. I read all the posts, and know that you inspire vantage aged women because, regardless of our sizes, we can all know that whatever level of fitness and body ‘look’ we want, is possible.

  92. Paula, thanks for that. So inspiring. Although I like to be positive I was starting to ‘accept’ that at 53 maybe I couldn’t achieve quite what I wanted. Now I’ve read your story,what I have accepted is that I have been ‘fooling’ myself. Low carb is fab, but not a total miracle. I have been eating far too many calories, and far too many treats: choccy every day for example. Too many ‘cheat meals…

    tomorrow is another day and I can’t wait to begin anew.

    I too think some of the posts have been a bit mean: What is right for one of us, may not be right for another. Every case is subjective…

    Even is people do not want to gain that level of lean themselves, surely it is nice to know it can be done.

    Paula, well done, you are an inspiration to us all. And I realise I have been starting to use the ‘over 50 mantra’ as a wee bit of an excuse. Well, thanks to you, no longer!!

    You look amazing!!!!!!!

    And Mark, thank for the fab site!

  93. Wow Paula you look great! After suffering with undiagnosed celiac disease for most of my life, since I have now been diagnosed at 41 I have never felt better! I am a martial artist, crossfitter, and now I have even been in a fitness magazine. You are truly an inspiration!

  94. Hey Paula, would love to see a sample menu for a day or two to see what you were eating to help restrict calories. You look absolutely fabulous! Definitely an inspiration!

  95. so this lifelong healthy living woman had to go to extremes and learn a lot more of the fine points while she was already in the fitness business!!..
    this really does not look too promising for all those want to bees who will also have to take up a near starvation diet while sending a lot of time sweating their butts off. she even had to back off the extreme caloric deficits.
    let us hear some real life stories of normal people, forget the extreme health nuts.

    1. sorry, we hear “normal” stories all the time of people losing 80 pounds after losing the wheat and soda. i find this story more interesting.

      paula’s diet is nothing near “starvation” and “sweating her butt” off is something she seems to enjoy doing.

  96. Incredible transformation and super motivational, Paula! Kudos to you! I’m 33 and have a very similar body type to your before picture. I am a personal trainer as well and I have many overweight female clients who have all types of issues stemming from menopause that seems to be preventing them from achieving their goals. Whether it is as bad as they say, or a bit of an excuse, or whatever, they can no longer brush me off by saying I don’t understand! I’m sending them a link to this page and also linking this to my Facebook page so that these women and others can see that it is possible.

    I too would love to see an example of your daily menu. The more specific the better. 🙂

    Keep up all the great work and I hope I look half as good as you when I’m…well…34. Ha. Let me go get started on that right now!

  97. It is sad how much this turned into something about “looks”.

    There is a woman who is 60 at the gym I go to when I have to due to work, that “looks” in much better shape than Paula does, isn’t Paleo or Primal and could pass for 28 easily.

    I would have enjoyed this much more without the pictures so the real focus could have been on going Primal. Instead it became about pictures, yet again “looks” ruin a perfectly good article.

  98. I am 3 years from 50, in the midst of perimenopause with all the hormone ups and downs, former Chronic Cardio Girl…..I have always been athltetic, very muscular, lean. I am not going to change my body type. I am a classic mesomaorph, as is Paula. When I put on a few lbs, I feel like I look like a Russian Shotputter. That said, Paula, you are my hero. I am so impressed with how you look, am so glad there is hope for me, that I don’t have to fall into that “I’m in menopause” fat-trap. I don’t want to look like a Russian Shotputter. I want to look like a lean, mean body pumping Grok Girl…..just like Paula. 🙂

  99. Paula, anyone with a negative attitude is ridiculous and jealous.. just sayin.. Paula you have been a true inspiration to me and my whole family! Even my children.. we all workout at Crossfit Jaguar and you are such a great example! I am so glad you were chosen as the transformation story! I love learning from you and coaching with you at crossfit! Maybe I will post some pics and a story of me when I shave my head for tough mudder and really stir up some fun opinions. Everyone needs to lighten up and be supporitve! She not only looks amazing, but is amazing inside and out!

  100. Thanks for the tip on fitday.com! I switched to Paleo and have had lots of benefits, but no weightloss. After a couple of days of fitday I can see that I am not eating enough fat yet, and a bit too much carbs. Now I can change it!

  101. You look amazing and make 50 look better than most people’s 30. If you feel strong maintaining 14-15% body fat that really is great for a woman. AND you look amazing! (did I already say that?)

  102. Paula is my trainer, my friend and my fitness/health mentor. She prides herself on nurturing her body and feeding it the proper fuel it needs. Paula’s philosophies are pure and fundamental. Being a mother of two young impressionable girls, I feel completely comfortable letting them learn from Paula. There are far to many websites out there promoting “skinny” to young girls. Paula focuses on health, strength and mental power. 3 traits I wish for in my girls.

  103. Totally inspirational and awesome! No need to go over grounds already covered so just one more question: what’s your website, please?

  104. It’s awesome to hear a success story from someone who wasn’t a diabetic/hypertensive/ADHD-ridden disaster before going Primal. While I love reading those stories, I don’t relate. I’m more like Paula. If I woke up one day and took those middle photos of myself, I would cry. Seeing her final “after” pictures is completely inspiring, because regardless of whether or not that’s the look I want to go for, it shows me the huge spectrum of possibilities. I think what she was able to accomplish is amazing and just keeps me interested in staying Primal. I also appreciate that she kind of outlined what she did to get her results.


  105. To put things in perspective it her after pictures look very dieted down to a low bodyfat%, and from the suit she is wearing, I would assume for a Figure Comp. I don’t think that is ideal health wise for most women nor sustainable for long periods of time.

    And to be honest her before picture aren’t bad at all if that would make someone cry, actually I find that sad that someone thinks she looks THAT BAD it would warrant tears for them. But I am black so maybe its a cultural aesthetic but she looks actually pretty normal and okay there even with the so called “junk in her trunk”.

    1. gyday;

      i can see what you mean…but its what she wanted to achieve and she did it…

      im an aussie bloke and it gave me great encouragement and motivation to read her story and despite the language she chooses to use she is probably a really lovely person …why not give her a break..


      1. I was really commenting on the fact that another poster said she would “cry” if she had pictures of herself like Paula’s middle “before” pictures.I think she looks really good and healthy there!

        And I wouldn’t want people to think that her “after” pictures are normal for everyday life as to feel bad about how they look themselves.

        People assume ripped and lean means healthy. Just as too much body fat can wreck havoc on people and their health so don’t low bodyfat%, especially in women. But it looks good!

  106. …..’strewth’…..thats a bonza set of abs you found…..power to you!

    good stuff for sharing those photos….gutsy and humble…your results are amazing mate.

  107. ..come on now you amazing women….stop bringing each other down and being sooooooooo hard on someone who is most likely an amzing person and just a joy to know…..

    get off her case…..she looks great…in all those photos…

    women rock!

    am im a bloke from australia who is not a feminist but wants to see all people empowered to live a great life…

  108. I just read this story and I have to say … wow!

    I would love to look like Paula in her “after” photos; her story gives me hope that such a physique is achievable.

    I have always wanted to be strong and muscular. I think your body is the primary mechanism by which your mind interfaces with reality, and when I have been at my strongest physically, I have also been at my strongest mentally.

    I have a feeling that if I work towards the kind of musculature Paula has, then few things in my life would be able to sneak in and psychologically floor me as much as they do at present.

  109. UHHH what? this is NOT a success story. u looked better (despite being slightly overweight) in the swimsuit pictures! no one should be so lean esp as an older woman…. and clearly Paleo failed you as you kept overeating.

    I don’t get this story. You should consult the leptin 5 rules too, those rules on WHEN to eat and how much relatively throughout the day is just as important as WHAT to eat.

      1. I thought this comment was for the most recent success story.

        To be honest, I actually had a similar thought. The look in the first photo and second to last photo looks the most attractive to me. Muscle is great but I am personally not a fan of way too much.

        Mark looks great but the Lean Gains guy has a bit too much. I personally would not want to look like Martin Berkhan.

        What he is doing is great and if someone wants to look like that then go for it! Really!

        I don’t so I won’t. But, to say that this is not a success story is wrong. How is it not success? She has the body SHE WANTS not the body that you want her to have.

        That’s what matters.

  110. I got bored of reading these squabbling comments, so forgive me if it has been said, but I think it’s obvious that the picture Paula looked best in was the one from 1976.

    And, to be honest, the “before” pictures look most like that Paula.

    What Paula has done is absolutely an achievement, and a personal choice, but it speaks of the very “edge” she kept referring to in her story- it’s just all so much.

    I would also like to point out that it isn’t necessarily hypocritical to expect different things from the ways in which men and women develop their bodies. We’re shaped differently, and thus ought to be muscled differently. That being said, it seems reasonable to assume that many people out there might not prefer that much muscle definition on a person of either gender. Just so, there are always going to be some who do, so I wish you well Paula.

  111. Yeah Paula! I workout at Paula’s gym and she works hard to look the way she does! She also helped my husband lose 80 lbs. this year and I lost 15 lbs. She is a real, genuine, super sweet person who is really great at helping others achieve their fitness/health/weight loss goals!

  112. Hi again, I messaged about a week ago thanking you, Paula, for the inspiration, and Mark for the fabbo website…

    Just over a week later I can see and feel such a difference. I hadn’t realised how the calories and treats were adding up – I was using low carb as a free ticket to eat what I wanted…

    I am 53 years old, 5′ 6″ tall, with a small frame. A week ago I weighed 134 pounds, this week I weigh 130 pounds, and I think most of it has gone from my tummy! The combination of primal and calorie control is dynamic…I have been eating between 1200 and 1400 calories a day…

    I’ll stop and maintain when I look and feel ‘just right’ for me. We all have our personal happy weight and look.

    Thanks again Paula, it was the pics that did it!

  113. Inspiring! You look amazing. I’m nowhere near 50(I’m 35) but I am realizing that caloric intake does matter, even if the food is clean and primal. I can have my steak but I better not have 5.I also started keeping track of my calories and was shocked to learn I was downing 2000-2400 a day as well!

    AT first doing low/carb + paleo I was losing but as my body became more efficient with my workout routine, I just got stuck. I decided to still stick with low carb and paleo but reduce the calories.

    It worked!

    I am not 21 years old anymore. I gotta watch what I eat. I’ll still keep it paleo but the amount still matters.

    Btw..u look GREAT!!

  114. your before photos don’t look bad to me at all.

    the after is a little too thin (in my book), sorry, i prefer a slightly softer look for women.


  115. Paula, I have to agree with those that say you did actually look great before. But… You look fantastic now! Aside from that, how you feel and perform is the most important thing though, and if that’s improved too, ignore the haters on here.

    Did I mention that you look great?

  116. Hi Paula,
    Want to thank you for sharing . I am just 10 lbs or so overweight and intentionally SCROLL through success stories to find someone just like you, that “I” can relate to…

    It is hard to find …most stories are of the morbibly obese and I want someone the same height and weight as myself so I can get inspiried . I think most people do better when tney can relate.
    I was surprised then to find ridiculous negative comments when all you were doing was sharing the truth of your experience.

    Why don’t the people who are offended by your story just scroll past and find someone whos weight struggle is similiar to their own ? Someone they can relate to instead of taking the time to write a dumb comment that serves no one ?

  117. Wow! That’s about all I can say is WOW! I am so impressed. I am 47 and still have not found the right balance for me. I attempted Primal but fell off…your story has inspired me to re-read the book and get back to it and just maybe by 48 I can look as good as you Paula!

  118. Hi,

    I’m not offended by Paula’s success story. I’m also not belittling her achievement.

    her before (19% BF, for a woman, hardly fat, in my opinion. the before soft look is due to lack of muscle tone, NOT due to excessive body fat. & her initial goal 12% is way too low for a woman. (ok. these all in my opinion)

    mine BF is 20%’ i feel very comfortable
    here cause this is what i can maintain _effortlessly_.


  119. You look great! Can you tell me what your nutrient ratio (Protein, Carb, Fat) was when you were eating between 1700 to 2000 calories a day? Also when you dropped to 1300 to 1700 per day? I’m eating around 1600 calories per day right now. While keeping my carbs in the 50 – 100 gram range per day, I’m still wondering about the protein and fat. Did you eat 1 gram of protein per lean body mass per day?

  120. When you added white/sweet potatoes to help with your heavy lifting days and rotated carbs/cals, did you still stay within your nutrient ratios? Or was your carb ratio slightly higher for those days?

  121. My kids saw your after pics and they were so shocked you were 51 yrs old. They said you looked super great. They are 8 & 11 yrs old and we’re about to embark on our Primal Blueprint journey.

    You are inspiring.

  122. Paula, you are truly amazing. I’m so inspired by your before and after pictures. I’m new to the MDA site but loving it already. I was already sugar and caffeine free and a regular jogger but didn’t realise that my carb heavy diet was setting me up to fail. So I’m loving this site and everything it has to offer.

    I am only tiny – 155cm – and my first weigh in 3 weeks ago had me at 53kg and 20% body fat. which doesn’t sound so bad (especially at 40), but I’m what’s known as ‘skinny-fat’. I fit into small clothes but still have a biggish butt, belly fat and have biggish arms and chunky thighs. I’m now down to 52kg and 15.5% body fat and following the MDA diet/training advice.

    My goal is to hit 12% body fat just for the experience (and Facebook photo’s LOL) and then find a happy, sustainable medium to stick with.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. You are truly an inspiration.

  123. Hi Paula,

    I am totally inspired by your story!! You look absolutely awesome and pretty much what I aspire to. I am new to this site and like several others have said, I was looking for a success story from someone who was more like me–50 something and just a little out of shape with about 10-15lbs to loose and I was so glad to read your story. I feel like I’ve been in exactly the same spot–doing the primal/paleo thing and not losing a pound! I was glad to see that as far as food, all you did was figure out what you were eating and adjust your calories because I feel like I’m probably just eating way too much. Just because it’s primal doesn’t mean I can eat 4000 calories a day!! I don’t know why that obvious little thing seems to get lost around here–it seems like many people say to just eat and not worry about it or eat tons of fat and not worry about it. It may work for some, but it seems that women may have a harder time with it.

    Anyway, you should be really proud girl!! You’ve got a fantastic physique and you’re healthy to boot, which is even more impressive!

  124. you are a true inspiration ! Really! Grok on and crossfit 🙂

  125. Paula, thank you so much for your contribution to the success stories. I am 49, having the many “warm moments”, was carrying around about 20 more pounds than in my 20’s, reading the same messages about “just having to accept” the additional weight/inches that are wont to come with menopause and thinking that it just didn’t have to be true (for me, anyway). What it really amounted to was a wake-up call that I was not doing what I KNEW I could be to be fitter. When I found MDA and the success stories, I went searching specifically for a female, 50-ish, who had achieved the lower numbers I felt could be mine again (or at least in the neighborhood), found you and thought, “YES!!!!! If she can do that, I can achieve my personal goals”. My body weight is now down about 10% and my body fat is down 7 percentage points from my ATH (“All-Time High” 🙂 My goal numbers are not as low as yours were and I’m not specifying them here in order to maintain my point that it is your determination and willingness that provide me with great inspiration.

  126. Sorry, the main mistake in the whole story is that Paula isn´t around 19% body fat in the before pictures – I would guess it is around 24%. I am around 19% body fat when I am lazy (usually around 17%) but, ladies, believe me, 19% look fit and fine and Paula is definitely “fatter” (sorry!) than 19% before. I think that flaw in the story is what demotivates a grate deal of the female readers!

    1. I agree. I look similar now and my body fat is about 24%. At 22 % I look way leaner than her first photo

  127. I think we over complicate this issue to much. Here are some points to keep in mind.

    1) Before weight loss can happen you have to be in a calorie deficit. (Period)

    2) 75% of all people can not process the amount of sugar they consume. (reduce carbs)

    3) Fat loss/body recomp takes time. it’s not a 6 week program.

    4) Being fit is a mindset, you have to make it your top priority forever. That doesn’t mean it has to consume 100% of your life but it has to be the number 1 priority.

    I’m 50, I don’t compare myself with folks my age because that would not yield the results I’m after. My goal is perfection. Will I achieve it? No, but it’s my goal. Raise the bar folks. It’s over when the fat lady sings and until then I go after perfection.

    My 3 year story,


    watch this over and over again,


  128. I just want to say that I’m inspired by Paula and the rest of the readers but I don’t think it matters a lick what anyone but Paula thinks of how Paula looks. As a 55 year old woman, new to PB and taking my fitness efforts up quite few notches, I’d love to hear more stories of females over 50. Am I the only one making progress but not buying a new pair of jeans every month like the 20 and 30 somethings?

  129. Hi Paula, I just wantd to say thanks! I’ve been trawling through success stories and I really appreciate how you have shown to tinker with your already primal diet to drop some extra fat! I’ve taken up your advice and am now using fit day to track my food, I already realized I’ve been doing a similar thing to you and wondering why the fat wasn’t coming off!! So now have a much better control of my daily calories and carbs! I was having nuts and more nuts and then a few dates, this pesky little things have 18g of carbs each!! Who would have thought!! so now just some blueberries for me, and I’ve ditched the dairy and will use that as a treat once every few weeks!! Fingers crossed this tinkering works, already after a few days I can notice the difference!
    I hope you’re still following this thread.

  130. Paula

    I first read your story here a few years ago and it is the most inspiring that I’ve seen here at MDA. Do you do “remote” coaching (i.e., via email etc.?). I’d love to have a butt like yours!


  131. Paula,

    I am new to MDA and have spent several days reading through the success stories. You look great in all of your photos, and I think that what matters most is that you are happy with the way you look and feel.

    Way to be classy in ignoring the rude comments some people have made. I love that you didn’t even bother to address them, and that you only responded to legitimate questions people had for you. Not only are you fit and beautiful, but you are wise and confident as well. 🙂

  132. Hi
    How do I get in touch with you about training??

  133. Wow! This is very inspiring. I have done a couple of body building shows and really found the diet to be unsustainable. I want to be able to compete, but I want to be primal rather than the standard low fat bb diet. I was primal before I trained for the shows. Now, it’s my goal to get back on the stage with a full on MDA primal diet. This post has reignited my excitement. Thank you!

  134. Proof that it isn’t inevitable that one has to gain the “menopausal middle.” I’ve been researching this and trying to discover how hard one has to work to avoid it. I”m 45 and seeing the signs that the fat is gravitating to my butt and middle. I’ve always been able to easily lose weight but that ability is slipping away. I’ve leaned toward Primal eating for two years, and I think the key is to become stricter. Less sugar, more sprinting and heavy weights. I just wonder how hard I’ll have to work–I have a threshold and it is before Paula’s! She’s driven!

    I know I can commit to grain free, very low sugar and low carbs (except veggies.) Time will tell! Just started my mission January 10th. Need (want) to lose a size to fit into all my clothes again.

    1. Hi, Jodi. I just read your post from a year ago. How are you doing today? (I’m 55 and looking at 12 unwanted pounds around my middle/hips…)