Finally Off the Sugar Roller Coaster!

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. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in line My life-changing Primal journey began seven years ago when I discovered Mark’s blog and read his book, The Primal Blueprint. Back then, I was about 25 pounds heavier than I wanted to be, completely addicted to sugar, experiencing food cravings or food comas almost constantly, and living in my head where daily battles occurred regarding the food that I had eaten or wanted to eat.

At that time, I was 42 and had spent my years since age 15 obsessing over food. Nutrition and fitness had fascinated me in a healthy way during this time, but a powerful sweet tooth combined with a persistent vulnerability to self-sabotage caused my twenties and much of my thirties to be mostly wasted.

At different points during this time, depression and bingeing caused me to live in a bubble. I kept people at arms-length and let very few people into my world. At my lowest point, when friends would ask me to come out with them socially, I would lie and say that I already had plans even though my “plans” consisted of buying a lot of unhealthy food and eating it – stuffing all the feelings that had come up during the day — and then wallowing in my self-hatred. My overeating was so out of control that I attended Overeaters Anonymous meetings. And even though alcohol has never been a problem for me, I attended one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting out of curiosity just to see how similar it might be to my problem. It seemed exactly the same; I used food as a drug in the same way that alcoholics used alcohol.

Thankfully, therapy and anti-depressants helped me get over the worst of these behaviors so that I could feel pretty happy and healthy by my mid-thirties. But I still remained between 10 and 25 pounds heavier than I wanted to be. And years of excess sugar had deposited a heavy layer of fat on my thighs that I was self-conscious about. Fortunately, as an athletic person with an outdoorsy lifestyle, I exercised frequently which helped prevent greater weight gain.

Fast forward to April 2009, age 42. A stressful job and ineffective coping mechanisms translated into this being another High Sugar Era. Fortunately, I was exercising enough to keep me from being depressed, but I remember lots of sugar-highs and Red Bull to help pull me out of the sugar-lows. I know now that on top of the job stress, all the Red Bull was stressing my body out further and exhausting it with excess cortisol. It pains me to think of the abuse that I put my body through! But the miraculous human body can tolerate a lot of mistreatment, often without obvious side effects if you’re as out of touch with your body as I was.

Anyway, at this time, a friend pointed me toward markdailyapple.com (thank you, Jen C!) and The Primal Blueprint. I’m sorry for the cliché, but here it is: reading the book changed my life. It made perfect sense. Until then, I had probably tried ten different diets. Since reading the book, none. Diets don’t interest me anymore. The Primal way of eating feels right for me.

The last seven years have been a slow but steady journey of two steps forward, one step back, over and over again until now, when I can finally look back and see how far I’ve come. With my sugar-addiction and history of compulsive, emotional overeating, I had a lot of deep-seated, unhealthy habits to break, but here are just a few that I’ve finally broken:

  • Emotional eating
  • Eating more food than my body needed at almost every meal
  • Mindless snacking
  • Sweets – multiple times a day
  • Dessert after lunch, dinner and sometimes breakfast!
  • Out of touch with my satiety signals – truly having no idea when to stop eating
  • Often snacked after dinner or before bed

And I’ve developed many new healthy habits:

  • My taste buds have changed dramatically: I have learned to LOVE veggies and natural, whole foods
  • I recognize and respect my body’s hunger and satiety signals
  • I exercise regularly and love it, without doing it to excess
  • I happily take the stairs at work (I work on the 7th floor)
  • I ride my bike to work seven months a year
  • I bring my lunch to work, ensuring that it’s healthy while also saving money and avoiding temptations
  • I use a stand-up desk at work (raising and lowering it throughout the day)
  • I fast once in a while, with little-to-no suffering
  • I go to bed early because getting enough sleep is a priority

Now, at age 50, because of the Primal Blueprint and the Primal lifestyle “laws,” I feel healthier, fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been, including high school when I was thin, healthy and played sports all year. My energy is off-the-charts—not in a hyper, bouncing-off-the-walls way but just feeling incredibly clear-headed and alert. No more brain fog! I feel like a machine running on the cleanest fuel, like there’s no sludge in my veins, and everything I eat is being put to good use. I look forward to and enjoy working out.  I’ve finally gotten rid of the excess fat that made me feel self-conscious for my entire adult life. My moods are steady, and I feel peaceful. I face my problems now rather than stuffing them with food. And, most importantly, I don’t live in my head anymore. The daily internal battles are gone, freeing up my thoughts so that I can actually engage with and enjoy other people.

When my eating was at its worst, I remember thinking that I’d never have the willpower to eat well consistently. But I’m grateful to have discovered that once you get in the habit of eating well, your body adjusts and no longer craves the crappy stuff. So it’s not a matter of willpower, it’s the chemical properties of the food you’re eating! Your body is smart enough to tell you what it wants, but most of us don’t hear the messages because the communication lines are clogged with junk food. After having wasted so many years living inside my own food-obsessed, self-hating head, I finally feel free to live a normal life, with the extra bonus of feeling healthier and more energetic than I’ve ever been.

I’m sure there will be food and exercise slumps in my future, but I won’t worry about them; they’ll just be food and exercise “vacations,” from which I will always come home. I’ve been happy with eating Primally as my foundation for the past seven years, and I know it will remain my foundation for the rest of my life. (By “foundation,” I mean I’ll be mostly Primal but not 100% all the time.) It’s not something to start and then finish; it’s forever for me.

Until now, I’ve told very few people about the extent of my eating issues; I’ve felt ashamed of how much they ruled and nearly ruined my life. So it’s difficult for me to reveal such personal information to such a wide audience. But since Mark Sisson has helped me so much, I share my story with him and MDA with the hope that it might help others.

Thank you, Mark, for helping me turn my life around and for all the work you to do improve people’s health.

Gratefully,

Jean

Jean

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85 thoughts on “Finally Off the Sugar Roller Coaster!”

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  1. Jean, I love this line: “Your body is smart enough to tell you what it wants, but most of us don’t hear the messages because the communication lines are clogged with junk food.” I believe most people are addicted to SAD food and that is why it is so hard for them to change. Great story and thanks for sharing knowing it is hard to open up the way you did here.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, JoeBrewer. I agree about people being addicted to SAD foods, if you can even call that kind of food “food”. So much of it is manufactured in factories or so far from its original form in nature. And the manufacturers use additives that are intentionally addictive.

  2. Wow, Jean. Just wow. I think it’s a testament to how eating the way the body was meant to. And primal living. You look 20 years younger than your age in that second photo. No exaggeration. The difference is jaw dropping. You look fantastic.

  3. This really resonates with me. I have been on the paleo/primal wagon for about 4 years but still have problems with emotional eating and sugar addiction. I’m definately moving forward though but it’s a long process. I was just putting myself down this morning (I’m in NZ) because of reading other success stories where people have changed their lives around relatively quickly after following a primal diet and me feeling like my progress was way too slow because of self sabotage. It’s great to see that I’m not on my own with this!

    1. Thank you for your comments, Lily. I’m sorry that you’ve suffered from some of the same issues that I’ve had. I understand your frustration with not getting immediate results. If someone had told me that it would take seven years before I got to my ultimate goal in terms of health and body composition, I would have been extremely discouraged. But now, looking back, I think the slow journey was totally worth it because I’ve changed so many unhealthy habits and created so many new, healthy ones. It’s almost like I’ve totally rebuilt a new me, inside and out, and that can’t happen overnight. The quick fixes never last but this slow transformation is going to hold for the long haul! Hang in there! You are not alone, and slow changes are worth it!

      1. One more thing I wanted to add is that, even though this has been a long journey for me and I’ve had a lot of “steps back”, the small gains along the way were enough to keep me encouraged and on the Primal path long-term. I sincerely hope you’ll find similar encouragement in your progress even if you find it to be slower than you’d like.

  4. I’m 50 as well, and while not having the past issues to the same severity that you had, I can entirely empathize! I’ve been following MDA for a year or so, and have experienced good results, but not to your level yet.

    You look fantastic. You go girl!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Julia. Congratulations on your good results as well! Keep up the great work!

    2. Don’t despair. I started MDA 5 1/2 years ago at age 52. Somewhere along the way on some blog I read that it takes about your body about 1 month to recover from every year of bad eating. In my case that has borne out, but the progress has kept happening. It will for you too!

  5. Fantastic story Jean. Thanks for sharing. All of us over 50 can concur with you about energy levels after going Primal. Off the charts with an even, steady and clear mind.

    1. Thanks, Nocona. Congrats to you as well for the high energy levels and clear-headedness that you’ve achieved!

  6. Wow you look amazing. Can you share a little insight to your eating and workouts? You back story is very similar to mine. Loved reading this thank you.

    1. Thanks, Mishelle! Yes, I’ll give you some details about my eating and workouts. Can’t do it right now but will do so tonight!

      1. OK, MIshelle, here’s a VERY long answer to your question about how I eat and work out. I’d say that both my eating and exercise routines have evolved in phases. Phase 1 for eating was to remove all non-Primal food from my kitchen, develop some core Primal meals to cook at home, and get used to eating Primally at restaurants. (All of these things seem easy and obvious to me now but I remember that they felt like a huge departure from my previous routines at the time.) Phase 2 was cutting down the amounts of Primal food that I was eating. Even though I had removed non-Primal foods from my way of eating (I don’t want to use the word “diet”!), I was still eating emotionally and way too much. Phase 3 was realizing which Primal foods were still dangerous for me and then cutting back on them. (They were dangerous because I had a tendency to eat way too much of them, or they were extremely high in calories (ie. nuts) or both. And being high in calories isn’t necessarily a bad thing but since I wanted to lose weight, eating tons of nuts wasn’t helping.) Phase 4 was getting in touch with my body’s hunger signals which caused me to eat less food. I cut way back on snacks and the size of my meals. For newbies, please don’t be discouraged by this! I do eat much less food now than I did years ago but I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satisfied. I do not feel deprived! I think most Americans eat way more food than they really need. Some people criticize the Primal/Paleo way of eating because they say it’s expensive but I am absolutely positive that I’m spending much less money on food now because I’m eating much less food!

        Regarding exercise, I’ve also had different phases, but these are not as much an evolution representing progress as they’re just what keeps me motivated and interested at the time. I think people should do whatever exercise they enjoy but it should involve periods of high intensity, some bodyweight exercises, and some type of sprints, just as Mark recommends.

        I experienced good results in terms of weight-loss and fat-loss with two different exercise phases. The first phase was a two-year period when I was doing my own self-designed Bootcamp; the second phase is my current one involving working out at a gym. My Bootcamp workout involved working out five days a week for about an hour. I alternated Bodyweight Exercise days with Sprinting Days. The workouts always involved a slow jog as a warmup and cool-down as well as a few minutes of stretching after the warmup jog. The core part of the workout was high-intensity. (HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training) On the Bodyweight Exercise days, I did about 12-15 minutes of bodyweight or calisthenics exercises with as few breaks as possible. My heart-rate got way up there! Then I would go for a slow jog for about 30 minutes. After the HIIT, the jog felt like a pleasant relief and like I was burning fat.

        On Sprinting days, my core workout involved either hill sprints or flat sprints. (I alternated these as well). Again, the sprints got my heart rate way up there.

        In the past six months, I’ve been working out at a gym on weekdays and usually some kind of jog and sprints on one of the weekend days. After two years of my bootcamp, I thought it was time for some exercises with more than just my body weight so I turned to lead weight! At the same time, I also experimented with cutting back on calories to speed up the fat-loss.

        In the past, I found that I was disciplined with either the food or the exercising but usually not both at the same time. But in the past six months, I finally was able to eat and exercise Primally at the same time, and, not surprisingly, got the best results.

        I hope this helps! ?

        1. Thank you for sharing your story and so many details! I am your age, fighting sugar addiction and frustrated with my lack of progress (following this blog about the same amount of time). You’ve given me some serious inspiration!

          1. Ellen, I’m sorry for the similar difficulties and challenges you’ve faced but am glad that my story has inspired you. Hang in there and try to focus on all the positive baby steps you’ve achieved. They really add up over time. Best wishes to you!

  7. I could almost say “ditto” when reading your story. My situation was very similar. I went Primal-esque about three years ago after a lifetime of disordered eating and have shared your experiences. Am about your age too 😉 It was a very motivational read for me!! Thanks for sharing and, of course, congrats.

    1. Thanks so much, Sarah! I’m so glad to know that my story resonated with you. Do hang in there, and try to focus on all progress you’re making. Some back-sliding is inevitable but I’m sure your net results are positive. The journey is worth it!

  8. Well done Jean you look amazing. Thanks for being so brave and sharing your story – every story has the power to help someone, somewhere.

    1. Thanks, Grokesque! I appreciate your reading my whole story. 🙂

  9. Great success story! It’s an awesome thing breaking food addiction and allowing your body to work and function the way it was designed to.

  10. Congratulations from another bike-to-work colleague and thanks for sharing this with us

    1. Thanks, wildgrok! Thanks for reading my story, and have fun and stay safe on the roads!

  11. Great story! All of us in the 50+ category can relate to the improvement that primal living has made in our lives. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I am so happy for you, Jean.
    I have given a lot of thought (and n=1) to whether sugar and wheat actually trigger depression, anger, and self-denigration. As I learn more about the gut-brain connection, I am convinced that some of those foods help to distort thinking and emotions.

    1. Thanks, Geranium. Interesting thoughts about the sugar and wheat. I wouldn’t be surprised. For me, they triggered more and more sugar (of all types), which just lead to a rollercoaster or sugar-highs and food-coma lows, and self-hatred, etc. Not good.

      I wish you all the best!

  13. Congratulations Jean. I’ve been trying paleo on and off for the last 3 years and at the moment am in an off stage. I haven’t read Mark’s book, and am thinking maybe I should. I just fall back into old habits, even though I know I feel so much better when not eating bread and sugar. Your story encourages me to get back to paleo eating but at the moment it’s just another thing to think about. Like Mishelle I’d like to know what your day looks like.
    You look amazing in your photos and you have inspired me to try again. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Hi Jan. Thank you so much for your comments. Yes, I had plenty of “off stages” too, and they are valuable as well since you can keep learning during this time and possibly get motivated for your next “On” stage.

      I strongly recommend Mark’s book. (I think he’s on his 3rd edition now — you might as well get the latest one! They keep getting better.) For me, the book made the whole Primal lifestyle make sense rather than just being a set of rules that would otherwise feel like restrictions.

      I hope you won’t get discouraged by your On and Off stages. You really are making progress even if it might not feel like it because you’re in an Off stage right now. You’re paying more attention to how different foods make you feel, and that’s an important step! I’d guess that most Americans do not have this awareness.

      Try to focus on the positive steps you’ve taken!

      I wish you all the best.

  14. Thanks for sharing! You look fantastic. I’ve adopted a primal way of eating (a couple months) and building in one positive or taking away one negative habit each week. I already see changes in my mood, focus and body You’re an inspiration to keep chipping away. Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Kendra, and congratulations on all that you’ve accomplished in just a couple of months!!

  15. Very well written and inspirational, thanks for sharing Jean, you should be very proud of yourself! You looked fine with a wonderful smile in the first picture, but in the after you are definitely ripped and most importantly you feel better and have enhanced health and happiness.

  16. Jean, this is a marvelous success story. I love the statement about getting rid of brain fog and being clear-headed. I find this benefit to be one of the greatest things about eating this way. Congrats

  17. What a great success story! I just turned 48, so I love hearing about having high energy levels at 50! I’ve been reading about the Primal Lifestyle a lot and am going to do the 21 day challenge after the New Year with my mom. Hoping to have some amazing results like you! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Dawn. That’s great that you and your mom are going to do the 21-day challenge together in the New Year. I hope you both have fantastic results and a super-healthy 2017!

    1. Thank you so much, Judith! Best of luck to you and have a happy, healthy new year!

  18. Wow, you look amazing. I love what you say about “off” stages. I discovered MDA about 5yrs ago after persistent bouts of tonsillitis and needing to lose the baby weight. I think I gradually drifted off, but this last year I have got back on track. I am definitely a slow burner, and prefer making small but long lasting changes.

    1. Thank you, Tanya. Congrats on getting back on track and being patient enough for the slow, healthy, long-term results!

  19. “After having wasted so many years living inside my own food-obsessed, self-hating head, I finally feel free to live a normal life, with the extra bonus of feeling healthier and more energetic than I’ve ever been.”

    Jean- this statement resonated with me so much! Thank you for sharing your story. It is so inspiring to see real stories and I love how authentic you were in sharing that it wasn’t an overnight success but rather a journey. I too felt that Mark’s book was a GODSEND. Mark has such a way of making food, play, and connection all so light yet so meaningful. For me, I felt lost for so many years in trying to “figure out” the secret until I realized all of us are fully capable of having what we want once we fully surrender and begin to enjoy life in the way Mark so eloquently writes in his book and on this blog. Thanks again for being a true inspiration!

    1. Thank you so much for your comments, Suji. I’m really glad Mark’s book and blog have helped you too and I wish you continued health and happiness!

  20. Thanks for sharing your story Jean-as a fellow 40-something woman your story is similar to my 25 year journey to Primal living and good health. Really enjoyed reading this-you look great, happy and healthy!

    1. Thank you, Heather! I’m glad to meet another Grokette on the long journey. I wish you continued health and a great 2017!

  21. Thank you so much for sharing your story! It was like I wrote this myself. It’s so inspirational to see your transformation and know that I can do it too. Get it girl!

    1. Thank you, Stephanie! You can totally do it! Good luck and have an awesome, healthy, happy 2017!

  22. thankyou for sharing your whole story… for being honest and courageous…it is sure to help many people.

    Really appreciate that you are so honest and forth coming about your issues… and it is great that there is a very happy ending.

    Yes… you do look so very hot!

    Thankyou Mark for getting the truth to many and helping them change their lives for the better.

    1. Thank you, Valoja. I appreciate your reading my story and your encouraging comments!

  23. OMG thank you for writing this!! I have been on a very similar path to you, I am still a working progress though (currently one week back on the primal bandwagon after a year of stress, grief and emotional carb bingeing!).

    1. Ana, I’m so sorry for the difficult year you’ve had. It sounds like you had a lot to deal with at once. We are all works in progress, for sure, but congrats on being back “on” for the past week. Every “on” period helps, no matter how short a time you might judge it to be.

      Thanks for letting me know that my story resonated with you — that means a lot to me.

      Hang in there, and I sincerely hope you have a happy, healthy, 2017!

    1. I put in a cool medal emoji, but they put it in as a question mark. Ugh! ?

  24. Jean, you look amazing. Almost everything you wrote felt so similar to my experiences with food. I’ve been primal since 2013 but I’m just now really learning to listen to my body. Thank you for your inspiration! And I love, love, love your bikini in the second photo. Can you share where you got it? I feel like having it would motivate me by reminding me of your success!

    1. Thank you so much, Becky. And congrats on your Primal accomplishments as well! Learning to listen to your body is a huge, important step.

      I’m pretty sure I bought my bikini from a company called Venus. I’m glad you like it and hope you can find it. (I bought it online a couple of months ago so it should still be available.)

      Keep up the good work and have a happy, healthy 2017! 🙂

  25. Jean,

    Your story resonates so well with me. It could be pretty much the same story except I’m a guy. Thank you for your inspiration. You look awesome! I’m keeping your story handy as it gives me the motivation to reach a level you have. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you for the nice words, Joe! I’m so glad my story inspires you and I sincerely hope it will help you reach your health goals. You can do it! Be sure to congratulate yourself for all the baby steps you take toward your goals because it might not happen all at once. And I hope 2017 brings you new levels of health and happiness!

  26. Happy new year! And thanks for sharing! Your story really hit home with me, especially the self-hating, “living in your own head” part. At 31 Im now looking back on my 20’s feeling like I wasted them completely, shutting myself up inside and “solving” all my emotional problems with junk food, living in my own little bubble and not in the real world. Your story makes me want to make some changes, so that I dont end up spending my 30’s the same way…
    I’ve been on and off primal eating for a few years now, I can never seem to get into the habit of exercising or eating healthy for a long period of time. The lack of any big changes/improvements makes me give up after a few weeks every time. The biggest struggle for me is finding a balance between boring repetitive routine eating, and variation. The latter tend to send me into obsessive mode, trying to find lots of different dishes to try etc, and in the end that always makes me burned out and sick of food in general, for some reason..
    May I ask how much and what do you eat on a “regular” day? I think for unorganized people like myself, having a set schedule/plan for the first few weeks (until a habit is formed) might be a good idea, and hearing how more successful primal folks do it, might help on the motivation. 🙂

    1. Hi Halkatla,

      Thank you so much for writing. I understand your frustrations with not feeling like you’re making any progress with the Primal eating. I remember feeling that way too. In my first year or two, I would have one week on, and then maybe four months off, and then two weeks on and maybe three months off. It seemed like such slow going in the beginning! But no matter how short the “on” periods were, I did notice that I felt better. And the food that I was eating felt right. So I tried to focus on the tiny bits of progress made with each Primal burst. I replied to a woman named Mishelle a couple weeks ago and described what I remember as four different phases of progress. If you scroll up and read my second reply to her, knowing about those phases might be helpful to you??

      Regarding what I eat, I’ll describe a typical day. It might not appeal to you, or you might need to adjust the quantities — everybody is different. And keep in mind that I’ve been on this journey for seven years and my quantities have decreased over time but I hope this will be helpful. Also, I work out at a gym every weekday morning and try to make breakfast my biggest meal of the day. It doesn’t always work out that way, depending on social events that might be happening but on a normal, average weekday, my eating is something like this (sorry, the formatting is a mess):

      4:45am 1/2 scoop of Primal Fuel
      6:30am Protein shake (3 scoops of Primal Fuel made with nettles tea instead of water, 1/2 cup frozen kale or spinach, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, /4 cup frozen raspberries, 1 T. coconut oil) – heated up and then blended (I don’t like to drink frozen smoothies for breakfast in the winter — I prefer them warm)
      3/4 cup baked sweet potato OR 3/4 cup cauliflower fried rice
      1/4 cup sauerkraut

      11:30am 4 boiled organic eggs (medium-boiled) with a little bit of sea salt
      Cole slaw that I made with Primal Mayo, and a small amount of currants
      If I’m still hungry (and I usually am), I’ll either have a packet of tuna or 1/3 package of beef jerky or bacon jerky or one or two scoops of Primal Fuel with water

      6:00pm Grilled protein (I keep individual servings of chicken breasts, pork, ground beef, halibut, salmon and steak in my freezer and thaw one for dinner each day) in a little bit of olive oil or coconut oil
      Sautéed green veggie (broccoli, spinach, kale, brussell sprouts) in a little bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      1/4 cup sauerkraut

      This might seem dreadfully boring and limited to you!!!! Other lunch options I’ve used in the past are to double what I make for dinner and have half of it for lunch the next day. But this is just my routine for now that I can easily break from. I allow myself diversions from this routine once or twice a week and it’s fine. So this is just the foundation that might seem awful to you but as I mentioned in my story, my taste buds have changed, and real food tastes so good to me now. I love eating my boiled eggs for lunch! I like them medium-boiled so they’re not runny or hard-boiled. I mash them up, and the dark orange yolks taste so good!! (Until about six months ago, I was eating two eggs fried in browned butter every morning for breakfast, and that was delicious too! But I switched to boiled eggs when I decided to cut calories to drop the last few pounds.) I appreciate healthy food so much now that even eating plain sauerkraut (something I didn’t like at all a year ago) is enjoyable because it tastes so vibrant to me. My awareness of its nutritional value has made me love it, if that makes sense? The probiotics and billions of healthy bacteria in it just make me feel good when I eat it!! 🙂

      Again, this is my basic routine and it’s pretty low-calorie right now but I DO stray from it. For example, tonight for dinner, I made paleo banana pancakes with butter and real maple syrup and then grilled up a little bit of steak for some protein, and then a little bit of sauerkraut. 🙂 Yesterday, I treated myself to two thick pieces of pizza and four chocolate chip cookies! (Not Primal!!) But I didn’t eat much else that day. When I do stray, I try to get back on track soon — at the next meal preferably, so that the non-Primal food doesn’t become the habit.

      With my weekday routine, I cook the eggs the night before. I often cook cauliflower fried rice on the weekend and then have the leftovers over the next few mornings. I cook sweet potatoes one or two nights a week and then keep them in the fridge until I’m ready to eat them for breakfast.

      When I go out to restaurants, I ask them to hold whatever the white starch is offered (potatoes, rice, pasta…) and ask if they can just add extra green veggies instead, like sautéed spinach or broccoli. It’s much easier to skip French Fries when they’re not sitting on my plate smelling good and taunting me! ?

      Anyway, I hope this helps!!! I wish you all the best on your Primal journey and a very happy, healthy 2017!

      1. Halkatla, if you’d like, let me know your email address. I’ll email you and we can chat some more over email.

        1. Hey Halkatla,

          One final thing: I’ve been feeling guilty that I gave you a typical day’s diet from my life right now – I should have given you one from a few months ago, which was pretty standard for the previous few years. At that point, I looked and felt great and was eating without measuring anything at all. It was only when I decided that I wanted to lose A FEW more pounds – the most stubborn ones – that I started measuring portions and even counting calories. I don’t know if you’re trying to lose weight or get rid of some health issues or just feel more energetic, but you can feel great without measuring portions or getting as detailed as I was in the typical day’s diet that I gave you, okay? ?

  27. Thank you, thank you, thank you for submitting this. As someone who is still on the sugar roller coaster, it is so encouraging to see that it is possible to give it up.
    I’ve bookmarked your story to give me inspiration when things get a little challenging.
    🙂

    1. Thank you, Anita, for your kind words! Yes, if I can do it, anyone can do it, because I could not have been more addicted to sugar — emotionally and physically. I know you can do it too!!! I wish you a very happy, healthy 2017, and let me know if I can help. 🙂

      1. Oh Jean, this is just awesome to read. I’m now 5 days off sugar. Felt like crap the first 3 and am still not feeling the best but I know it will pass.

        I do have one question for you. How do you handle fruit? In past, for me, it would be a trigger that would lead to a sugar binge. I’m still wondering how I’m going to navigate the world of sugar and fruit. I know some people cut it out while others moderate. Would you mind sharing your experience?

        1. Hi Anita, congrats on going 5 days without sugar!!!!! That’s fantastic!!! I know how hard that is.

          Regarding your question, I treat fruit with caution. Even though it’s natural, it’s still sugar so it still causes an insulin spike. I put about 1/4 cup each of frozen blueberries and raspberries in my smoothie for breakfast (along with Mark’s Primal Fuel and some frozen kale or spinach and some nettles tea instead of water), and that’s pretty much the only fruit I eat. (And I just throw these fruits into the smoothie for their antioxidants. I can’t really taste them because their flavors are kind of overpowered by the chocolate Primal Fuel, the spinach or kale, and the tea.) Occasionally, for a treat, I’ll throw a frozen banana (I freeze banana slices) into a blender with some full-fat cream (and sometimes some 100% cocoa powder) for some Primal “ice cream” but I treat this as a dessert, so I only have it maybe two or three times a month?

          Everybody’s different but I guess it’s easier for me to cut it out (mostly) than to moderate.

          I hope this helps! And congrats again!! 🙂

  28. Top motivator! Thanks Jean. Have had the exact same experience and set backs, although not as many years under the belt.
    You look great 🙂

  29. Wow, I am so impressed Jean. You look amazing and even better it’s obvious that you are feeling great! I have read many, many of the MDA success stories but yours spoke to me more than any other. I feel like we have the same story! I just wish I found Primal years ago like you… I’m doing well on it though but still have these last 5 pounds to lose. I swear they are all accumulated in my lower stomach. So frustrating! How did you finally manage to lose the last bit of belly fat and how long do you think it took for you to be totally lean? Do you track your macros? If so, would you mind sharing them? I would also be interested to know approx how many calories you take in on average. Have you ever tried intermittent fasting or ketosis? I apologize for all of these questions but feel I have tried so many ways to lose this last little bit but it just won’t budge. I know I can do it with maybe a bit of guidance – you are an inspiration!!!

    1. Thanks for your note, Michelle! And congrats on only being 5 pounds away from where you want to be! I totally know what you mean about being frustrated with those final pounds. They wouldn’t budge for me either until I actually started counting calories. Yep, to get the final 7 pounds off, I had to cut fat and calories. I didn’t want to do it because I prided myself on happily being primal without having to count calories. And if I weren’t vain, then everything would have been fine! But I really wanted to lose those final pounds and that extra fat. So, I downloaded an app called My Macros+ and started tracking my macros. I experienced the most success when I ate about 120g of protein, 90g of carbs and 70g of fat, which is 1470 calories per day. I workout in the mornings, and also found that front loading my carbs helped. I usually had 45-50g of carbs for breakfast.

      Regarding fasting, I have done it here and there and think it’s good to do once in a while. But I don’t have any dramatic fasting stories and even though I’m pretty sure I’ve experienced ketosis a few times and felt like it was an effective combo with exercise, I don’t have any impressive stories — just a positive enough experience that I’m sure I’ll keep doing it now and then! I hope this helps! Good luck with those final pounds, Michelle. I know you can do it too!! 🙂

      1. Thanks Jean for your support and encouragement. Love this primal community!!!