February 13 2015

Being Primal: The Sustainable Change I’ve Always Wanted

By Guest
57 Comments

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2Note: I wrote most of this during the challenge last year, but stopped short of sending it in, thinking “I’m not done yet.” This last year has taught me there is no finish line, just continual betterment and progress for the life you want to live.

My primal journey started in December of 2011, when at 22 I was face to face with my unavoidable future. I was 241 pounds, 5’7”, had a terrible relationship with food, and had been overweight my entire life. Type 2 diabetes also runs in my family. I remember the moment distinctly: I was on a mini family vacation, at our hotel, and I watched my dad inject insulin into his leg. I was stunned. He had been diagnosed with the disease when I was in my teens, but up until that point had only needed pills. I was scared. For my dad, yes, but also for myself, because I knew that if I didn’t change something, then that would be me. That was my future.

I’ve struggled with weight my entire life. As early as grade school I was teased about my weight. I distinctly remember “health day” in the 5th grade when I weighed in at 100 pounds. Boy, did the ugly comments commence once that got out among the class. So began my very negative self body-image and my relationship with food. Despite being fairly active by playing volleyball and softball, playing outside on our farm, and chasing our cats around with my mom’s camera, I stayed slightly overweight. Every year at my physical my pediatrician would show my mom and me that little health chart that tells you what you should weigh, and I was always above that line. My mom and I tried to lose weight together, but I could never stick to any kind of “diet” or plan. I was a kid, and I wanted to be like everyone else. I didn’t want to be on a diet when I was in middle school. What kid does? It was just another way for me to be different, and another source of ridicule on top of the teasing about my weight.

So despite family efforts to lose weight and become “healthy” via conventional wisdom (I had a huge disdain for low fat ranch), my weight kept going up. I probably gained ten to fifteen pounds every year of high school. By the time I was a senior, I think I was around 185. I remember being so frustrated because I played volleyball, did track and field, and played softball. I was an active kid, and I was extremely strong. But I was overweight and so self-conscious about my body that I developed an emotional eating habit. Food was always the answer. Sad? Eat. Happy? Eat. Angry? You guessed it—eat. Then I would hate myself for eating junk food, and it would start all over again.

But I managed to keep all of that frustration, anger, and sadness to myself for most of my life. I internalized the constant teasing and comments about how I was fat. I shrugged it off and looked fine, and happy, to the rest of the world. And for the most part, I was. I had amazing friends in high school, I was passionate about volleyball and played varsity since my sophomore year, and had a family that loved and supported me in every single way. But I would still occasionally cry myself to sleep because I was so unhappy with my body. If I could just be thin, everything would have been so much better—or at least that’s what I kept telling myself.

After high school, I was off to play collegiate volleyball. That sport has been (and still is) one of my biggest passions in life, and I was beyond excited to keep playing at a higher level. But along with the challenges of entering college and playing at a higher level, I was faced with the reality that my weight kept me from being the best athlete I could be. My coach and I had several discussions over my four years of playing about losing weight. It was always emotional for me because of my life-long struggle with my weight and my inability to lose any of it. We talked about diet, we talked about cardio—all the things conventional wisdom tells you to do to be healthy. Even though I loved lifting weights, I forced myself to do more cardio instead, spending an hour on the elliptical because I thought that would help me lose the weight.

Meanwhile, I had moved out of my parents’ house, was living on my own, hardly ever cooked, and began dealing with the stress of college. While my weight stayed constant during the season (it might have even gone down a bit because of our intense workouts and practices), in the off-season I would gain it all back, plus some. Talk about a huge spike in my body image issues—try being overweight when you’re surrounded by strong, fit athletes in a college setting. I was hyper-aware of my weight and my size, still had a terrible relationship with food, and had only conventional wisdom to help me. I failed, time and time again. And every time I couldn’t lose the weight, I felt more and more defeated, like I was not only letting myself down but letting my team and my coaches down as well. My senior year (2009-2010), I took training for volleyball extremely serious. It was my last year and I wanted to be in the best shape I possibly could. I followed a strict meal plan (read: calorie restriction), did my workouts religiously, and hardly ever hung out with friends because that would typically involve food and alcohol. My life was training for volleyball and losing two to three pounds per week.

For the first time, it worked. I spent most of the summer exhausted and I was extremely lonely, but I managed to go from 220 to 200 pounds by the time season started. Not an ideal weight, but definitely a better one. Despite losing the weight and feeling stronger than ever, I didn’t feel fit (although I did have some rockin’ biceps that year). I was always exhausted from our workouts. I felt like I had no energy. I couldn’t finish some of our conditioning, and I would break down crying in frustration and anger because I felt trapped in this weird limbo where on one side, I needed to lose weight, but on the other, I needed to be strong and fuel my body for these intense training sessions. I couldn’t find that balance, and I just remember being so angry with myself for not being able to do either one.

FullSizeRender_2After a very successful senior year (we won conference for the first time in ten years), I transitioned to coaching and started pursuing my master’s degree in English. Without the motivation to stay fit for volleyball, the weight piled back on. That’s when I found myself suddenly weighing 241 pounds in December of 2011, seeing my future with diabetes right before me if I didn’t change in a sustainable way.

So I did what any English nerd would do: I started reading. The first book I read that changed my perception of food was I’m Mad As Hell, and I’m Not Going to Eat It Anymore, by Christina Pirello. Although she promoted being vegetarian/vegan, this book opened my eyes to all the marketing that surrounds food and all the crap we are fed every day to buy food that could literally kill us. After this, I started cooking more whole foods, and continued to look for answers. (As a farm girl from Nebraska, being vegetarian was never going to take.)

That summer, I started doing Medifast and Take Shape for Life. A friend of mine asked if I would be interested, and she became my health coach as I took on the program. I read the books, and things started to click. Medifast limits your carbs to less than 100 grams a day with pre-packaged, dehydrated “meals,” and you get one “lean and green” meal—the program puts you in fat burning mode. That’s also about the same time I started reading Steve Kamb’s Nerd Fitness blog, which eventually led me to Mark’s Daily Apple. Many of the things I had read from Medifast seemed to line up (but not completely) with the things I was reading on NF and MDA.

FullSizeRender_1I felt amazing that summer. Since I was limiting carbs, I was burning fat. I suddenly had this ridiculous amount of energy, I was sleeping better at night, and the weight seemed to melt away. From June to September, I lost 35 pounds, while still managing to do all the things I loved. I felt my attachment to junk food and my emotional eating cycles diminishing, and found a new kind of attachment to taking short jogs, riding my bike, playing sand volleyball without gasping for air, and making amazing, delicious food. I also slowly started incorporating more Primal foods into my daily, home-cooked meal. Coconut oil, loads of veggies, and grass-fed butter became staples, and I took more time to find quality meats and fish like grass-fed beef and fresh caught salmon. I was starting to consider becoming a full-blown Primal Blueprinter, and knew that this could be the answer I’ve been looking for.

Once I returned to school, I started to get fed up with the Medifast meals. I craved real food. So I stopped eating the pre-packaged meals, and gained about 10 pounds back. I continued to read MDA religiously, but for whatever reason (perhaps teaching for the first time and dealing with the stress of grad school again), I didn’t commit 100% to the primal lifestyle.

FullSizeRenderIt wasn’t until the spring of 2013 that I finally felt like I could jump in, full steam ahead. I weighed in at 215 pounds, and decided to be primal for a month. Just one month. I shot for 90/10, and many times felt like I was doing better than that. I loved getting that high energy level back and sleeping better at night. The way I felt on the inside made being primal easy, and that month evolved into a lifestyle. I dropped 20 pounds without much effort that summer and maintained that weight easily while Primal.

2014 started off well: I competed in my first triathlon, played in the adult national volleyball tournament in Phoenix, and really took advantage of a wonderful summer in Alaska. One year of being mostly Primal, though, wasn’t quite enough to make all the good habits. Slowly, old habits crept back into my life, and that number on the scale slowly crept back up. 90/10 turned into 80/20, and by the end of 2014 I think it was more like 50/50 (!!). If anything, 2014 showed me that I’m still a work in progress. I’m using the 21 Day Challenge to get back to basics: eating Primal 90% of the time or more, moving more on a daily basis, and getting out in nature as often as possible (yes, even during the winter…in Alaska).

skiing

Cross country skiing in Anchorage on Powerline Pass a couple weeks ago. This is where I play!

meThe good news is I know this works—I’ve done it before. I’m more focused and motivated than ever to make this stick, because I know this is the sustainable lifestyle I’ve been looking for since I was in my early 20s. I still have weight to lose, but that’s no longer as important as living a full, healthy life. Changing has been a long process. Sometimes I look back and wonder how much better I could have been in volleyball if only I had the PB sooner; but I know that it has taken all my experiences to get me where I am today, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I look at these photos and am humbled by how much this has changed me, inside and out. I’ll be graduating with my master’s degree this spring, and from there I’m planning to become Primal Blueprint Certified and become a health coach through the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. I feel nothing but compassion for those struggling with weight and body issues, and I know I’m meant to help people find their way to a happy, healthy life.

Mark, you have changed my life, possibly even saved it from a future of insulin medication, and my gratitude seems inadequate in exchange for that, but it is all I have. For anyone teetering on the edge of committing to this way of life, I urge you to stop being hesitant. Believe in the process, and stick to it. This lifestyle simply works. I will leave you all with my mantra, the one that kept me pushing forward on those days when I thought I would only fail again: Today you are closer to the person you were always meant to become. Thank you.

Stacie

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57 thoughts on “Being Primal: The Sustainable Change I’ve Always Wanted”

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  1. Stacie – congrats on your amazing transformation! I’ve lost 50+ lbs myself and know that it will require constant effort on my part for the rest of my life to maintain the weight, but isn’t it SO worth it?

    1. Erica,

      It’s so worth it! I’ll never look back to what I was doing before. I feel better than I ever had :).

  2. Wow, what a great story! And a big round of applause for you, Stacie…not only for your accomplishments, but for sharing as well. Also, I find it interesting that we both came upon MDA via Nerd Fitness. Both Mark and Steve were recently listed among the 100 Most Influential People in health and fitness, and both are very deserving.

  3. Stacie, you are unrecognizable from the first photo to the last. You look so healthy! My congratulations to you. And my admiration for your ability to get out in cold weather. This is my weak spot so I’m always impressed with those who have tackled it successfully!

    1. It’s because I’m hiding behind those terrible bangs in the first photo, isn’t it? 😉 Kidding aside, thank you! As for the cold weather….just remember, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing! (At least, that’s what I tell myself…)

  4. My heart sheds tears for your teenage years (and for every other teenager who cannot understand what is “wrong” with them).
    I think you will be a wonderful health coach! Maybe even focus your work on youth. You would definitely have compassion and empathy for them, and be a personal inspiration!
    Best wishes for continued success!

  5. Thank you for sharing Stacie! I normally don’t read these Friday features, but I read yours today & felt like I had a kindred spirit! You and I have had a similar journey with Primal and I’m glad I’m not alone! Congratulations on your success and your future becoming certified 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story!! It is so encouraging.

  7. Thank you Stacie for sharing your incredible journey and finding your health! My journey definitely has some similarities to yours and I just recommitted myself to 90/10 a couple of weeks ago and already feel better. Good to know there are others out there like me. Keep on truckin’ girl!

  8. Stacie, right on. Sustainability is the true gift of being Primal. Love your story. Congrats!

  9. What a great story. Thank you for sharing it and emphasizing the journey. Your story really spoke to me (I love NF too); we are all works in progress and I really needed that reminder today. You will be a wonderful and empathic coach. I wish you all the best!

  10. You look great. Glad you had success. I’ve lost about 20 lbs, and working towards another 30.

  11. Stacie, Your closing statement says a lot – “Mark, you have changed my life, possibly even saved it from a future of insulin medication, and my gratitude seems inadequate in exchange for that, but it is all I have.”

    Mark – The overwhelming flood of gratitude that you have from all us Primal folks is available to a few – You are indeed blessed. Thank you for everything you do and for touching so many lives in such a positive way.

  12. Stacie,

    I loved reading your journey and I am so happy for you! I too have had moments where I go from 80/20 to 50/50 so your story resonated with me a lot. The amazing part of living the primal lifestyle is that you feel results almost instantly the minute you go back to 80/20 or better. I feel the hardest part about being primal is keeping it yourself when others are not open to it. Thanks for sharing your story, it was just what I needed since I too just started a 21-day challenge this week after slipping a bit. You literally saved me from going outside and ordering a chicken arepa (corn cake) from a food cart! 🙂 I wish you the best and I hope your family is doing okay and going primal as well.

    Best regards,

    Mati from Connecticut.

  13. Stacie–

    That is a beautifully written, humble, self-assured, generous story. Thank you SO much for sharing. I’m saving the link to your contribution on MDA and will share it will all my friends who are similarly struggling with body image and looming health issues, as it’s been the most realistic and inspirational Friday Post I’ve read to date. (Your work towards your Masters Degree in English is well-represented here.) I hope your contributions to the social network by being a “health coach,” will especially target the Middle School / High School demographic as that is where I see the main tipping point resides for descending down a rabbit hole of poor food choices that will do great harm later in life. Regardless, you ARE a true champion. Congrats.

    1. Thank you so much for these kind words. I really do hope to work with middle school and high school kids, especially girls and athletes. I had bounds of well-intentioned people in my life try to help me with my weight issues, but the pervasive misinformation that was given to everyone led us all down the wrong path.

      I spend a lot of my extra time coaching high school volleyball, and I see myself in so many of the young women I coach. They are a huge part of my motivation to enter the health field and help change people’s lives.

  14. Stacie,

    This is a great story – setbacks and all – that’s moving and well-written. You look and sound healthier, happier and more peaceful. I’m glad you shared and good luck with your coaching and everything else.

  15. Wow, you look amazing, what a transformation!! And you are in a perfect position to help young girls with genetics similar to yours help find great health instead of get led down the garden path…and it is also great that you can appreciate the journey. without that journey the appreciation wouldn’t be as strong right? Quick fix and all that…keep up the great work; just having the knowledge there means that even after a few days of 50/50 you now how to return to 90/10 and find that energy again when you need it 🙂

  16. Stacie: Thanks for your story. I found MDA at 45, so consider yourself way ahead of the game! Too cool being in Alaska for a winter.

  17. Hi Stacie

    Fellow Alaskan here (Fairbanks). I looked up your bio on the UAA website and realized that I had been a spectator one or more times when you played UAF in Fairbanks (don’t recall we ever beat you).
    I am curious whether SAD was an issue for you during the winter months? I have found that I feel like I am a different person, especially in the dead of winter, when we only experience about 3 hours of minimal daylight. I also find that to be the period when carbs have the firmest grip on me.
    Congratulations on your success. Great to see a fellow Alaskan on MDA. I suspect that there our numbers are few and (literally) far between.

    1. Oh, absolutely! Winter hits me hard, and it’s the time I struggle staying primal the most. Last winter was when I finally thought about the correlation, so this year I’ve been taking Vitamin D from pure pharma and eating a few more sweet potatoes than I do in the summer. I feel like it’s pretty natural to want more carbs during the winter months, so I don’t fight it and just make sure I’m trying my best to make them nutrient dense carbs.

      As for the UAA/UAF rivalry….UAF beat us both times my junior year, in 5! Very close games. But we dominated the next year 😉 Fun to know you would have watched me play! I have one friend here that is also an MDA follower. It would be nice to have an event somewhere, like a mini-Alaska primal con, so we could see who is all up here!

      1. Thanks so much for your response, Stacie. YES, totally agree on the idea of a “Mini Alaska Primalcon”. At least you know of one other Anchoragite; I am not aware of any fellow Fairbanksans. I suspect I may have the dubious distinction of being the farthest north MDAer.

        Regarding SAD, I have found (as I suspect you have) that if I force myself outdoors near the highest peak of the sun (which is barely over the horizon midwinter) for at least 30 minutes, I feel much better. Hard to do when it is south of negative 40° degrees Fahrenheit. Even though vitamin D affect is de minimis, I do always feel better afterwards.

        Best wishes for your continued success. I am rooting for you ?(even though I wasn’t when you were playing against UAF)

  18. Great story Stacie. You have achieved so much already, and I am happy for you that you found this information while you are still young. Think what a difference it could have made to your Dad’s health! I love also that your story doesn’t dwell on “100% compliance” and shows that even if you slip back into old habits all is not lost. I also love that you see your health and feeling well as the goal here, and not specifically weight loss. In my experience the two go hand in hand, but without a healthy attitude and healthy mindset, no amount of weight loss will make you feel good. So go for your health coach career – catching young teenagers is definitely the way to go, and I suspect you will do really well at it.

    1. It took a a very long time to separate the number on the scale from my vision of “success,” and it’s something I still struggle with. That’s why I love MDA so much–Mark seems to have a knack for reminding me when I need it most that I need to *feel* better before I can make permanent changes and then see that number go down as a side effect. I think my long history with the obsession over my scale weight really forced me to approach this differently than others who were perhaps not overweight when younger. It’s a different psychological beast all together.

      As for my dad, we talk about paleo/primal quite a bit when I’m home, and I know he has made some pretty significant changes, albeit slowly. He’s never been a bread and pasta person, so he at least has that going for him! I love how he is always willing to listen to what I have to say about being primal. He’s a great man.

      1. My wife had diabetes. We went 2 years primal, pretty much averaging 80/20 the entire time. She was able to control her sugars pretty well with just metformin, getting her A1C down to a 5.4-5.6 range pretty consistently. She lost a decent amount of weight (over 50 lbs), but then hit a brick wall. We not only live together, we work together, so I know she was staying on the straight and narrow. But if she was ever ‘bad’ – like having a single sushi roll with rice – her sugar would blow up.

        She was able to control her sugars by going primal, but in spite of her A1C readings, she still clearly had full blown diabetes.

        I think that what is today called “diabetes” should be called “Stage 2 diabetes” . No, NOT Type 2, but STAGE 2. “Pre diabetes” is more like Stage 1 diabetes. I believe that you should be considered to actually have diabetes when your insulin is consistently elevated, no matter what your sugars are. When you get what is now called diabetes (what I term Stage 2) is just when your body finally gives up the ghost after trying to cope for years (or decades in many cases) with the SAD diet.

        If you go primal before you get to ‘Stage 2’, you can fix it. Not control it, but FIX it. After your body gives up the ghost and can no longer cope with all the carbs it is being fed, it is broken. While it may be possible to actually reverse diabetes once it has progressed this far (especially for guys), it is extremely difficult.

        My wife finally decided to get the sleeve. I had always been strongly against gastric bypass surgery. Cutting out big chunks of your body, or bypassing major organs always seemed so drastic and final. Plus I think that many people just do it so they can continue to eat the same crap. However, my wife did it to get control over her body. It was a drastic step, but it pushed her back out of “Stage 2”. Instead of 80/20, she has been more like 90/10 or 95/5. The weight has been falling off again (now >110 total loss from her heaviest a few years ago), and her fasting sugars have been down in the 70s and 80s without any medication at all. If she is occasionally ‘bad’ – eating potatoes or a little rice – she now has a normal response.

        I don’t know that she is ‘cured’, but I also don’t know how a cure would look any different. I guess time will tell.

        I know this is a long post, and well off the main gist of the success story (great job by the way!), but reading about your dad and his “significant” but “slow” changes really hit home with me. It is really tough to stay with something that only gets you part of the way to your goal and then stalls for month after month after month, no matter how much sense it makes, and how much better you feel.

  19. Stacie

    Thanks for sharing. Your story made me cry, it’s so similar to mine. I’m just really pleased you found the Primal Blueprint in your 20s. I didn’t come across it until my 40s!

    I’m now a PT and Group Fitness instructor. It’s so rewarding to help others make their lives better!

    Good luck in your coaching career and in life.

    Jacqui

  20. Wow, look at you! You totally and completely rock!! When I look at your before picture, I see myself two years ago. (I’ve been pretty diligent in following a primal lifestyle, but now realize I need to make a few adjustments: a little less animal protein, a lot more veggies, and more heavy lifting).
    I also am planning to incorporate wellness coaching into my future career path. I’ve been an instructor for many years in a different field; I now realize it has all been in preparation for this change! I’m back in school for a degree in health promotion, and plan on getting Primal Blueprint certified either later this year or next year. I’ve also been looking at coaching programs, so thanks for mentioning the one you were going to follow. I’ll check into it.
    When I see your current picture, I also see myself; your path in mind have been very similar in many ways. Thank you for your honesty and your inspirational story. (PS – If by any chance you’re coming to PrimalCon, I’d love to meet you, shake your hand and give you a big hug.)

    1. Oh, I would LOVE to go to PrimalCon. Maybe I’ll start looking into it… Thank you for reading and commenting!

    2. The Institute for the Psychology of Eating really resonates with me, because I have had the greatest success when first tackling my mindset. A fellow Alaskan I spoke with did the training, and she said it was life changing. I don’t think she is exaggerating, at all. Even though she has a BS in nutrition, she advised me to go through with the training and supplement nutritional information from PB certification–a huge relief because the thought of getting another 4-year degree was not very appealing, especially thinking about the conventional wisdom I would have to wade through.

      I taught English comp for a year too, and I feel like that has really prepped me for going into this field. It’s kind of funny how that all works, isn’t it?

  21. Great work, Stacie. I love reading the success stories on Friday. They are always so inspirational!

  22. Way to go Stacie and all the best to you and your future students.

  23. Stacie, loved your story! It made me cry too as I was always a chubby child, always a little bigger than everyone else. I had a Mom who was a size 2-4 and could eat anything. Made it hard for her to relate to my struggles. You look absolutely gorgeous and I see nothing but success and wonderful health in your future!!

    1. It’s tough growing up overweight. I think it does more damage psychologically than physically. I often think about how if I wouldn’t have “known” I was considered fat, would I have had a better relationship with food and eventually shed the extra fat more naturally? Especially considering how active I was. We will never know….

  24. Stacie, thanks for your story. How encouraging to people mid journey!!!

    I texted a few people to check your post out because I think it could help them “get their feet wet” in this type of lifestyle. They both said they would check it out…. hope you helped them move forward. Simple carbs are soooooo hard to get rid of at first, you are a poster child for that.

    Plus, good news, my daughter just noticed that her chronic pain that had disappeared was back and she could trace it right back to some noodles she ate. That’s my girl, all my preachin’ is paying off!!! I’m giving her my spiralizer so she can make noodles out of zucchini instead.

    Again, THANKS for your story. You ROCK sister!

    1. Aw, yes, I’ve also noticed a huge decrease in pain that I used to get in my bicep. I really think I had bicep tendonitis my last two years playing collegiately, and it crops up here and there. The more primal I eat, the less it hurts. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, especially after I read It Starts With Food. Once we make the food-body connection, it makes so much sense–but it’s startling how often professionals don’t address chronic pain with dietary advice.

  25. I am also a health coach for Take Shape For Life. I loved reading your story! Fantastic job!!

  26. Reading Tony the Navy Man’s story a few weeks ago and now yours, what really stands out is that most very active people with careful diets don’t really have much of a problem with bread or carbs. Your and his bad responses to conventional wisdom were unusual, which has to be frustrating. I came to the Primal Blueprint after six months of carb cycling (Cheat to Lose), but before that I was in a state where any sort of dietary discipline or regular exercise would have been transformative. I’d already lost the fat, and the Primal Blueprint resolved some rashes and digestive issues — I don’t mean to understate the impact, I’m very grateful. I just notice in these two success stories in particular, you were exceptionally intolerant of the Standard American Diet.

    1. I suspect genes might have played a large part in that intolerance. I’m reading Gary Taube’s book Why We Get Fat, and it seems I had issues with fat tissue regulation from a very early age. With a family history of overweight and diabetes, this doesn’t surprise me now.

      But, I think that SAD will catch up with most people, regardless of genes or activity levels. Our bodies and hormones can only take so much abuse before something has to give. This “catching up” could manifest as chronic disease or excess fat gain later in life.

      I would have to disagree that our responses to conventional wisdom are unusual, because our stories are a lot like others’ here on this site and elsewhere.

  27. Wowza girl, good work! You’ve inspired me to move more everyday, even those days when it is cold and dark outside. Keep it up!

  28. Lady, you look amazing! Congratulations, you have come so far! Good luck with the last part of the weight loss. I’m at the last ten pounds and finding that I had to dial back the fat. I’m doing a modified form of something mentioned last week, a protein-sparing modified fast (measured protein, moderate fat, green veggies, no starch) with a carb re-feed (high carb, low fat) at the end of the week. Seems to work when I stick to it and don’t cheat other than the one allotted cheat meal (which is often still Primal but maybe higher in fat, sugar, calories). Like you said, you’ve got the most important part down which is the right attitude, plus gratitude, plus knowing you’re in a long-term lifestyle not a diet.

  29. Your story sounds so familiar and very much like my own childhood and teenage years! I started living primally at 280 pounds which wasn’t even my highest ever as all my life has been a rollercoaster of losing and gaining weight. Sadly it took me many more years than you to discover the Primal lifestyle and I am already in my 40’s now, but still I am happy to finally have discovered the secret of how to eat. I have lost 45 pounds within 9 months, not that much really because there is so much more to come off, but then again I am not doing any sort of exercise at the moment (I feel that I am still too heavy for it, but can hopefully soon start doing “something”). But it’s a start and it’s the journey that counts and not the end just as you said. Well done you!

    1. Hey, 45 pounds is nothing to sneeze at! Good for you. I feel very fortunate to have found primal early in my life. Thank you for reading this and taking the time to comment. It really means a lot!

  30. Staci, I pray for you that you can stay off from insulin and away from diabetes. Remember though it is not just a weight issue, it is also genetics, you may still get it, I’m sorry to say. Please though, keep up with primal, even with diabetes it is the only way to live.
    I’ve only started primal recently and as a diabetic am learning it is the best thing for me. My insulin dosage has decreased amazingly and I’m feeling the best ever. One day my story will be up here, but for now,your story is much like mine.
    You go girl.

  31. This is just the story I needed to hear, thanks so much for sharing!

    I have been at least 80/20 primal since July 2013, but October of 2014 my percentages started falling… 70/30… 60/40… I have probably been maintaining a 60/40, and shockingly have only gained about 10 pounds back (from my very thinnest). But I have definitely not felt well. Migraines have returned, energy levels dragging. Today I am on day 3 of the 21 day challenge to reset my body. I had not realized how much my body had become dependent on my little ‘cheats’ throughout the day.

    I am so impressed by your story, and your resilience has encouraged me in my weakness today! Thank you!!!

  32. This sounds so much like me. I have battled being overweight since I was in the 6th grade. I have always loved sports and they are my Passion. I played volleyball, basketball, track and softball. I was always on varsity but never lived up to my full potential. Coaches, teammates and my parents would try to help and give me conventional advice but I could never stick to it or it didn’t work. I tried veganism and everything else you can think of. I just recently found this type of lifestyle. It is the first time I have felt satieted and I look forward to doing this the rest of my life. I still have weight to lose for sure but I am excited because I am going to try and play volleyball and basketball at college. I know I’m good enough and many coaches have told me so. It is just kind of hard though with no support system. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!! It gives me hope

  33. Stacie,
    My mouth is hanging open at the moment. You just wrote my life (though I don’t live in Alaska). The key is how much I miss playing volleyball. Unfortunately I’m on a downswing in my quality of life right now (upswing in weight – goddamnit!). But I’m so mad at myself that I am about to begin to change that. Again. I want to do the things that I want to do again. Like volleyball! I lost with primal before and felt better, even improving allergies. Why would I ever stop?!?! But the science behind it all REALLY resonates with me, so I will be back. When you get certified, let me know, I could use the help. And I will be your first student success story!!
    Congrats on making it work for you!

    1. Alice! I’m so with you! We are also in the same boat. Lets do this!

  34. Thank you Stacie! You are an inspiration. My story is soon much like yours, even the volleyball part! I have 60 lbs to lose and I feel like nothing works for me, so I’m discouraged a bit. I’m diving into the 21 day challenge wholeheartedly starting today. I’m scared and nervous and hopeful and grateful all at the same time. I worry about the calories I’m consuming from fat but trying to trust that people like you lost weight this way> I know I need to adjust my thinking! Thank you to you and everyone else and of course to Mark! If you have any suggestions for starting out, I’d love to hear them. Blessings!