Food No Longer Runs My Life

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!

 I’ve been wanting to share my success story for a while now, and finally decided to sit down and write one!

A little bit about my background, I grew up in Thailand as a child, and was a competitive swimmer since I was five years old. I was really talented and swimming was pretty much my life. I would go to competitions almost every weekend. I was quite small for my age, therefore my swim coaches and my parents would force me to eat. The “You are not leaving the table until you finish two full plates of rice” kinda thing. My diet since I was young consists of, a lot of rice and noodles, typical Asian diet. Every summer I would attend swimming camp, where most of the days are spent training and pretty much forcing me to eat. I honestly still hold a grudge on my parents about this, but they didn’t know any better.

Fast forward a couple years, my parents divorced. My mom and younger sister moved to New York City abruptly, leaving father and I behind. I was still swimming at that point and went to competitions. The point I am trying to make is that I have always been very athletic.

A couple of years passed, I moved to New York City to be with my mom and sister and slowly adopted the American way of eating, pizza, sandwiches, cereal, you name it. Also, still eating Thai food, as there are Thai restaurants everwhere. I slowly started to gain weight starting in high school, as I was eating two bagels with extra butter for breakfast. My weight climbed up to 145lbs at 5’4”. I know I wasn’t “Fat” but felt really uncomfortable in my skin.

By the end of high school, I started waitressing at a cool little burger place called Island Burgers and Shakes in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. The constant walking kept me in okay shape but I was still not feeling like I was in the best shape I can be. I always had extra pounds on my stomach, back, and thighs.

Fast forward another couple of years, I met my then partner who introduced me to the Primal Lifestyle. He was looking to lose weight and I joined him on his journey. Not only to support him but I was also ready for a change. He discovered Mark’s Daily Apple. We started by consistently reading the article and of course reading the Primal Blueprint.

I started to realize that everything Mark was saying just made perfect sense. We didn’t evolve to eat all these processed foods and carbs. We were always supposed to eat real food. Slowly, we both changed our diets completely. It took several months, but the weight steadily came off. I went from being about 135lbs to 120lbs. I was 22 at that point. I never looked better and felt amazing.

After two years relationship ended. I was pretty depressed from the break up. I went off the wagon and went back to my old habits of eating unhealthy foods, late night eating, plus drinking to drown my sorrows. I was no longer living my primal life, as I spent most of my time feeling sorry for myself and could care less about what I was putting in my mouth. My weight climbed back up to about 138lbs.

640 Me at 138lbs (2013)

For the next couple of years, I was able to come back up from the dark hole and took better care of myself. I finished grad school, got a teaching job at a New York City Public School in Manhattan, still worked at Island Burgers part time, and living my life. However, I never lost the weight I gained after my break-up. I consistently drank, went out to dinners with friends, and just didn’t care about what I was eating. I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror, but didn’t do anything about it. I would make a resolution every year and failed miserably.

When 2017 rolled around, I decided that it was time to change. I didn’t like how I looked, I hated what I saw in the mirror. I wasn’t happy with how my clothes fit and I knew that the Primal Lifestyle worked, because I’ve done it before. I started to go on Primal full gear. I eliminated grains, pasta, bread, rice, noodles, potatoes, and sugar. I focused on meat and vegetables.

I started off at about 137 lbs. I noticed that my weight wasn’t coming off as fast as I wanted, and realized that it was probably because I was consuming too many calories. So, I decided to skip a meal. I would only eat a small breakfast, a big lunch, and skipped dinner. I was no longer swimming and the only moving around I was doing was when I was teaching in the classroom.

640 me at 135 lbs (2016)

My weight slowly and steadily came off. Right now, April 2018, at 31 years old, I am 118-119 lbs and feel absolutely amazing. I finally look in the mirror and feel great about myself. I do get comments that I’m now too skinny, but all that matters is that I feel great. Since going back to my primal life style a year ago, I no longer depend on food. I used to think about food and what to eat all day long. Now, I no longer live my life that way, I’m rarely hungry and have very low appetite. Food no longer ran my life.

640 Me now, April 2018 (119lbs)

This is how I eat almost everyday:


  • 3 organic soft boiled eggs
  • Coffee with a splash of heavy cream

On Weekends (When I have time to actually make breakfast)

  • 3 fried or scrambled eggs with Applegate bacon
  • Or cream cheese pancakes with honey


  • A Big Ass Salad (like Mark’s)
  • Or meat and vegetables like roasted broccoli
  • Or cauliflower pizza
  • An avocado
  • Chicken Salad


  • Blue Diamond Almonds (Not the best, but I follow the 80/20 rule)
  • Sardines in olive oil
  • Dark chocolate (85% and up)

I usually skip dinner and just snack on a couple of almonds or cheese.
I still indulge on 1-2 glasses of wine a couple of times a week

Yes, I do cheat (Once a week on average). There are days that I would let myself eat whatever meal I want. I would come across situations where my partner and I would go to a nice restaurant (I live in New York City) I will allow myself to indulge. I have a weakness for a good vanilla ice cream and bread with butter. I no longer feel bad about “Cheating” as it’s planned, I know when, why and how I will do it. And the next day I go right back to my primal lifestyle.

The 80/20 Rule is truly a blessing. I follow that rule religiously and it makes me not feel bad when I do cheat. Life is too short not to sometimes indulge. But putting the food my body truly wants and needs 80% of the time, will make me live longer and without any illness. I see people around me constantly catching colds, having fevers, having life-long illnesses, I believe that living a primal life will prevent me from going through that.

I’ve never felt better in my life. But this time, I will never fall of the wagon. I wanted to truly thank Mark for changing my life. I still want to go down to 115 lbs and work really hard to maintain that weight.

These are a couple of random things:
1. I barely exercise. I don’t go to the gym, I don’t lift. All I try to do is walk a lot, when I can. It is so true that 80% is what you eat. I am a living example of it.

2. It is true that when your body is keto-adapted you are rarely hungry and you are completely not dependent on food. I see people around me being completely controlled by food and need to eat every couple of hours, so they don’t become hangry. I am happy I am able to not live my life that way.

3. I try my best to get at least 8 hours of sleep and spend time in the sun.

4. I have a really supportive partner, who doesn’t fully understand my primal lifestyle, but is accepting and tolerates my “unusual” eating habits.

Mark, you are inspirational and thank you for changing my life.

Instagram: @Casandra.115

640 pool

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24 thoughts on “Food No Longer Runs My Life”

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  1. Great story, Casandra! You look amazing and you are proof that the 80/20 rule really works. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your continuing success!

  2. You look great, but as you said, the important thing is feeling good. I completely agree regarding the 80/20 rule, and I don’t “exercise” either. Anything involving reps or weights is a huge turnoff for me. Been there, done that, and hated every second of it. Like you, I just walk. I’ve actually corrected a few longstanding musculoskeletal problems by just walking. It’s gentle, natural, and involves moving almost every muscle in the body. What could be better than that?

  3. Nice story Casandra. I really enjoyed your eating list. You look healthy and happy.

  4. Is this a Primal Living blog or a Super Model blog? 😉

    Great story Casandra thanks so much for sharing and inspiring us. I’m guessing if you start exercising again you could up your food intake a tad. Not only are you eating clean but you are on an IF schedule which has obviously done great things for your metabolism.

  5. I agree, some people don’t need to eat as many calories. Especially if they have cheat meals. Sometimes you have to look at the weekly or monthly caloric intake and take everything into consideration. I don’t eat as much as many people I know, and I always get flack about it. People are always telling me to eat more and it’s annoying! lol

  6. I loved this story, it was different. Not everyone wants gains, guys! I think you look healthy and vibrant. I love the honesty in your story.

  7. Cassandra, you look great and thanks for the wonderful story. Everyone has their own goals when it comes too health and their isn’t a one size fits all. Sometimes we’re just not used to seeing a fit person.

  8. Being free from constant hunger or thoughts about food is a HUGE success! Congratulations 🙂 I think you look healthy in both before and after pictures, but as you said, *feeling* healthy is what’s important! I am 5’6 and my natural (pre-pregnancy) weight is 125. People used to tell me to eat fried chicken (which I did because I loved it) because I was skinny. I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t gain a pound. Now, after having 2 children, my weight ranges between 130-140, so I TOTALLY understand wanting to lose some more weight even if it’s not necessary. I would love to look like my 16 year old pre-pregnancy self, but I am not by any means overweight or unhealthy, and I still get comments about being skinny. (with a bloated belly, which makes people think I’m pregnant because I’m so skinny everywhere else. Sorry, rambling!). Anyway, it’s totally normal to want to be skinny or a certain weight, and I’m sure if you were feeling unwell you wouldn’t have posted a success story about how good you feel! So keep on keepin’ on, you look happy & beautiful!

  9. Casandra, I have lost about 40 lbs eating like you do. Lots of mixed comments form “wow, you are buff” to a physician pulling me aside to ask if I was ok. You do you. N=1. We have found what works for us! I do Crossfit and love working out. That’s me! At 60 yrs. I get a lot of comments. I workout for function and fun. You look great and more importantly feel great. Thanks for sharing what works for you! It reminds me that I want to eat more big ass ?. Peace from n.c.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story and also a big thank you for sharing examples of what you eat and the ‘rules’ you follow for happy good health.

  11. Too skinny? No, the word that comes to mind is… “HOT!” You eat the same breakfast I do, except i eat the eggs raw. With a dash of Fresh Sicilian Olive Oil brought to us from a friend in Sicily. You go girl! Don’t let anyone influence the way you are eating now. It, (from how you look in the pictures) obviously works for you. Keep it up!

  12. Wow you look amazing. Good for you! Thank you so much for the success story, i love the details you gave… thank you thank you!

  13. Mark,

    I wonder about the health of your online community. Only the positive/enabling comments have been retained. What do you guys think that means to your contributors? How do you think it goes over in terms of engagement/customer lifetime value/brand loyalty?

    I encourage you to set out an objective list of rules for people to follow. If you chose not to, and chose to censor us subjectively, you will lose your following.


  14. I second “SpottedChui’s” assessment of the comment policy. I understand you don’t want people to be unkind or contribute negatively to the conversation, but is there space to not just say (in so many words), “I blindly agree with everything. Hooray!” I imagine reading this post made a lot of women slightly uncomfortable for various reasons. I think you addressed some of our issues in the next posts regarding intermittent fasting and women, and maybe that is the area to have the conversation; not in a safe place where someone’s feelings are at stake. You can handle us arguing the merits of various dietary strategies in the comment section of your regular posts.

    1. Jennifer L., thank you for your thoughtful response. Yup, the staff and I apply different standards for comment moderation to people’s success stories compared to regular posts by me. I appreciate that it takes some fortitude to put one’s experience (and photos) in a public forum. We vet stories, sure, but we also protect our readers, and that will never change. Folks are welcome to challenge my writings and respectfully disagree with one another on regular blog posts. That’s the place to ask the questions regarding difficult subjects and sensitive limits in one’s health journey. Glad you’re here, and thanks again.

  15. Hi,
    Quelle chance d’avoir connu ce mode de vie si jeune. Tu es incroyablement bien à présent et tu as l’air vraiment en pleine forme.
    Merci pour ce témoignage si précis. Il est encourageant. Je vais le faire découvrir à ma fille…
    Bravo. Tu es superbe.
    Be happy

  16. Cassandra,
    Your story is so similar to mine in so many aspects. I applaud you for being able to maintain the primal lifestyle, and you look great! One question for you… what are “cream cheese pancakes”? They sound great!!! Good luck to you!

    1. Hi Lora,
      Sorry for the late response, I just saw this. I literally just mix a cup of cream cheese with 3 eggs. Mix them together very nicely. Then cook it in grass fed butter. It’s delicious.

  17. Real inspirational success story. This type of real stories inspires those people who are still considering what should do to be fit and healthy. So I think we should read this post and get motivated about their health and fitness.