July 13 2012

From Cancer Back to Health

By Guest
166 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!

Hi Mark,

I’ve been holding off on writing up any “success story” about myself even though I have met and even surpassed my weight loss goals with Primal eating and the Primal Blueprint Fitness plan.

That is because this journey, for me, has been much more about regaining and maintaining my health for life. Looking good in a swimsuit is just a side benefit.

Five years ago, at the age of 45, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a fast growing invasive bugger that surely would have killed me without medical intervention. Over the course of two and a half years, I had eight surgeries and six rounds of chemo. That is a lot of time with a lot of enforced inactivity and the pounds just piled up. Chemo also does a number on your thyroid function which didn’t help any.

And then there is the psychological aspect of being seriously ill. The feeling of, screw it, I’m going to finish the pizza if I feel like it. I have cancer. A few extra pounds are the least of my problems.

As it turns out, those extra pounds were a major problem. When I asked my oncologist what I should be doing to help prevent a recurrence, his first words were a no-nonsense, “You need to lose weight. Extra fat cells are a source of estrogen which can trigger cancers such as this.”

That was the kick in the pants that I needed to start doing something about the problem. But where to start?

I had always been an active, healthy kid and young adult, into surfing, backpacking, hiking, swimming and even taken a detour into bodybuilding in my 20’s. My diet had always been the health food version of CW, lots of veggie and tofu stir-fries with brown rice, never the SAD at all.

A few pounds had crept up on me as I passed 40, but during my illness I ballooned up to a size 16 and 210 lbs. I am 5’10” but that is still too big.

Note my chin’s evil twin and the tank top strap disappearing into squishy stuff.

I tried white knuckle calorie restriction and got nowhere. A friend had some good results with Atkins so I started looking into lower carb eating and came across several interesting articles about ketosis as an adjunct to cancer treatment.

In addition to battling cancer, I have also had a seizure disorder since college. I had also been doing some research into the ketogenic diets that have worked so well for many with epilepsy.

At Johns Hopkins they are using something they call the “Modified Atkins Diet” or MAD in the treatment of epilepsy with excellent results.  This spurred me to look further into Atkins, but I was dismayed by all the fake ingredients in the bars and shakes you supposedly need to do their program.

So, both my cancer research and my epilepsy research were pointing me in the same general direction as I went looking for an all natural alternative to Atkins.

On the way to Primal I stopped off for a while with the book called “Diet Evolution” by Dr. Stephen Gundry. Its induction phase is basically the same as Primal and it worked beautifully. I lost 30 pounds like falling off a log. Gundry explains about neolithic/paleolithic dietary changes and that made a lot of sense to me. But then Gundry goes on to “evolve” the diet further back in time so that you are basically eating like a gorilla, only veggies with a protein garnish and then he re-introduces grains. At that point it stopped working, surprise, surprise.  That’s where he lost me and I went looking again.

So this was my long and winding path to Primal. I thought I had found the holy grail. I lost five pounds in the first week, in hindsight probably water weight due to ditching the dairy and soy.

I was already grain and sugar free and had always been a big fan of lots of veggies and salads all my life. Primal just gave me “permission” to embrace all that evil animal protein and fat. And I did, with a passion and with excessive portions.

This is where I would like to say to all newbies around here: READ THE BOOK FIRST before you listen to forum advice. In The Primal Blueprint there is an entire chapter on portion control and calorie targeting. Much of the forum “wisdom” however said to chuck your scale out the window and just eat your bacon and be happy and the pounds would fall off magically.

Guess what. Didn’t happen. I gained back those first five plus five more and then read the book and realized I needed to cut portion sizes and get my calories under control. I think Taubes got part of the story right. There are good calories and bad calories, but even with just good ones, too much is still too much.

I dialed back on all that yummy fat and increased my lean protein intake while cutting overall quantities of food. The scale started moving again and kept going down for another 35 pounds to 145, five pounds under my goal of 150 and a size 6 when my goal had been an 8.

Since then I have put on a few pounds by taking a cruise, and taken them off again the same way, Primal with sensible portion control. All in all I have been maintaining here quite easily.

Every time the subject of calories comes up on the forum, people seem to square off into two extreme camps. One side is the “It doesn’t matter what you eat, only how much you eat” strict CICO approach. In the other corner there are is “CICO is bogus, you can eat as much as you want as long as you eat the right things.”

And then there is me saying wait a minute. Why does it have to be either the quantity OR the quality of the calories. I think it’s BOTH. Eating the right kind of foods (Primal) makes it easier to restrict the quantity of food without feeling like you are going to faint from hunger.

The people who say that you can just “eat when you are hungry, stop when you are not” don’t get what it’s like to have a completely messed up metabolism. When you can’t just “listen to your body” because it’s telling you lies about how much to eat, you need to impose some control on the situation from the brain down.

Now that I am at a healthy weight with a well functioning thyroid, I can listen to my body and trust what it’s saying. It’s wonderful.

Last year I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and it was pretty easy. My knees don’t hurt anymore. I don’t get puffy ankles like I used to when I was heavy.

Then a couple of weeks ago something wonderful happened for me. I had my five years post cancer check up including mammogram, bone density scan, and blood work.

The mammogram was clean and the post chemo osteopenia I had is gone. My thyroid is healthy again and I have healthy levels on all the vitamins and such.

This all-clear was the news I was waiting on before calling myself a success.

I want to shout out to all the people out there who have suffered an accident or illness that has put them way deep in the hole of despair mentally as physical health spirals out of control. I know how you feel. But, please don’t give up on yourself. Yes it is hard to battle back from the bottom of that hole, but it is SO worth it.

I am so glad to be to be healthy again.

Sure, there is scar tissue. I don’t care. I’m alive.

These undies (NSFW – scroll to last post in thread) were something I bought for a cancer fundraising campaign when my size 16 behind would never have fit into them. Now cancer can kiss my size 6 behind.

PaleoBird

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166 thoughts on “From Cancer Back to Health”

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  1. Congratulations! You look stunning and feel great. Good for you! Thank you for sharing your amazing story.

  2. You look terrific and sound like you feel terrific too. Congrats!

  3. I am 5’10” as well, about the same age(48) and about 160 lbs. Trying to get to 155 your story inspires me to get there!

  4. You are looking amazingly awesome. 50 is truly the new 30, if one uses PaleoBird as the standard. Here’s to many more years of vibrant health, and cancer ever more distant in the rear-view mirror.

  5. Wow, this one brought tears to my eyes. I’m a cancer survivor too, but my non-Hodgkins lymphoma took my thyroid. Like you, the chemo treatments made me balloon in weight. Like you, I’ve now found Paleo and am once again at a weight that I am pleased with. But, more importantly, I have my health back. I will need to take thyroid meds all my life, but am just happy to be alive. Congrats to you for kicking C’s butt. Congrats to you on all your achievements! Wow!

  6. This is a really inspirational story. To be in such a difficult situation, put on weight, and then take it off, all in that difficult situation is really amazing. Congratulations. Just goes to show, no excuse is a good excuse.

  7. Wow! You look amazing, healthy and young! Congratulations for being cancer free and restoring your thyroid health. Truly inspirational.

  8. Paleobird, you are such an inspiration to us all. And omg on that bikini pic! Didn’t realize what a hottie you are!!

  9. Thank you for bringing up portion control. I think especially in the beginning, it is so important to be mindful of calorie intake. You look so “alive” and happy in that climbing photo. Congratulations!!

  10. Truly awesome, Paleobird, and very, very motivating! Thank you for sharing your story!

  11. Wow. The before and after pictures made me swear out loud. My mom is a breast cancer survivor. I want her to read this.

  12. Last year I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and it was pretty easy”

    That’s the craziest f#@%ing sentence I’ve ever heard, you recovered from breast cancer and a life time of bad food eating, and you it was easy. You’re awesome.

  13. What a fantastic success you have shared, and good points you’ve made 🙂 Thanks for sharing your awesome!!!

  14. Truly inspirational, and you look Paleo Hot to boot! Love the suit.

  15. You look amazing, healthy and full of life. Recovering is never easy but knowing about people like you gives hope to those fighting -and feeling terrible about it.
    Who cares about scars, if you ever care about it cosmetic surgery removes them all (I wear mine proudly, they show I beat the hell out the “end stage” concept all the way). And as a photographer I’ll be more than happy to have a model with an attitude like yours.

  16. I needed to hear the reminder about calories. Thanks for the encouragement. Your story is inspirational.

    1. This.

      A great reminder that not all of us can sit down with a package of bacon and a half-dozen eggs every morning and expect the weight to come off….

  17. Wow, what a dramatic transformation. So glad you are are physically feeling great and are free of cancer!

  18. What an inspiration, totally amazing. Also made excellent point re the calories, too many people on primal here seem to think calories don’t count and it’s all about low carbs.

  19. Great story..!! Thanks for sharing, I feel encouraged and inspired! thanks for the calorie reminder, I just adjusted mine and have seen great results from it.

  20. That bikini shot for the “after” picture is amazing. Congratulations on the transformation.

    I personally believe that everyone can make this quantum jump to amazing bikini body with paleo.

    Unbelievable stuff all in all, I wish had known this method 10 years ago.

  21. All I can say is WOW. Just wow. I’m so happy for you! I actually felt tears in my eyes when I saw you looking so gorgeous and healthy in that tiny little bathing suit. And again when I saw you standing on Kilimanjaro.

    WOW!!!

  22. What an inspiration you are for all those out there going through cancer treatments, who may be reading your post, but are weak, unable to reply, yet are utterly drinking in all this hope, optimism, uplifting story of recovery, and how primal can be of healing aid to them. Amazing story, glad you shared!

    1. Yes! I am one of those people! I was diagnosed last week and am currently going through testing to determine how invasive the cancer is and treatments I will need. I was just sitting in my car this morning, weeping and feeling sorry for myself, when I decided I needed to find something positive to focus on and I came across this post. This is 4 years later, mind you – but thank you!!

  23. What an inspiring example! Congratulations and may you have many more healthy years!

  24. Paleobird, I’ve stalked your journals since I started eating primally. Your view on calories has gotten me past more than one stall on my own journey. When Ive stopped noticing changes in my body I inevitably have been abusing the CICO. Your view on CICO may be unpopular but it has proven itself true for me.Congrats on the All-Clear, you go girl!

  25. Wow, thanks SO much for your mention of portion-control. I’ve gained 10 pounds of pudge around my middle in the last year, and I’ve begun to suspect portion sizes. I have no memory of Mark writing about portion control in PB–so I’ll have to go back and look for that.

    And congratulations on all your success!

  26. Looks like you’re kicking everyone’s butt! I’ve read about your story in the forum and I think you are a great inspiration. I had to stop reading the forums because there is a lot of misinformation on there. I just read Mark’s articles, books and the success stories!

  27. holy shitake mushroom! i audibly gasped when i saw the after pics. but, even better, so happy to hear you’re healthy!

  28. Paleobird, I couldn’t WAIT to read your success story and it’s no less inspiring or thrilling for knowing a good bit before hand. I was shocked to see the before pictures, you really are the butterfly who shed more than just pounds while reclaiming your health.

    Thank you for reminding us to return to the basics of Mark’s Primal Blueprint. Primal is more than the black or white extremes that are often argued about in the forums.

  29. Wow! It’s so awesome to read your story! I met you at primal con in 2011. Continue to be the awesome inspiration that you are!

  30. Absolutely and simply AMAZING! Such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story and CONGRATS!

  31. This is an amazing, amazing story. I emailed it to a friend of mine with the subject line: THIS! Holy Heck THIS!

    I thought I was the only one with the portion control observation. Thank you for the story and the validation.

  32. Awesome! You are my new true hero and have inspired me to share my story of living with and stabilizing Pulmonary Fibrosis. You’re an inspiration and thank you for sharing.

  33. “Eating the right kind of foods (Primal) makes it easier to restrict the quantity of food without feeling like you are going to faint from hunger”

    This is soooooo true and I’ve recently come to this realization. I don’t know who these people are that can eat all the fat and bacon in the world and still lose weight, but it’s not me. I’ve started tracking again, watching portions and total calories, still keeping carb grams between 30-70 and the weight is coming off again.

    I think I’ll reread the book again too.

  34. My favorite post and “post” pose. 50 yo cancer and more survivor and thriver. Thanks a million beautiful Paleo Bird!

  35. I have seen this lady and story somewhere before? Is there not one doubter in the crowd? I’m just sayin’. Testimonials are all well and good but do you have a fact checker or even want one?

    1. I’m guessing you saw her and her story on these forums. She’s been on this site for a while. Kind of lame to make an accusation that has no basis.

  36. Remarkable! I love your honesty about food.
    Congrats on your success and excellent health!

  37. You got it right. CICO still applies no matter what you’re doing. For those who have trouble with controlling their portions, i recommend IF. This is pretty much the only way to make “reckless abandon Primal” work. If you throw in two 24hr fasts a week, that’ll definitely put you at a calorie deficit. Props to Brad Pilon and ESE. Mixed together PB and ESE are untouchable.

  38. I too, believe in finding a balance with regard to fat, calories and portion. Jump starting the metabolism after years of SAD abuse takes a bit of fine-tuning. You look amazing and sounds as though you fee that way, too. Grok On sister and God Bless.

  39. OMG what an incredible story paleobird! Thank you for sharing it!

  40. Wow! You look amazing! That is what I love about being Primal. It is so much more than losing weight-it really heals your body.
    Also, I agree with you about the quantity issue. Too much of great food is still too much. Especially for people who have unknowingly screwed with their body for too long.

  41. I LOVE fridays. Reading each story is like my dessert after lunch. Your story is inspiring, full of hope and so encourages me to GrokOn! Thank you for sharing. And congrats on your success!

  42. Thank you for sharing your amazing story. It will be such an inspiration to others. Great Job!

  43. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I had an instant gut recognition for your comments about the number of CICO as a complement to the right calorie sources. Particularly that it is not as simple as “just listen to your body” when your metabolism is recovering. So many aspects of my health have drastically improved eating primally, but the weight loss has not come. You’ve given me new-found motivation to hunker down on my primal eating.

  44. What stage breast cancer did you have? My sister got diagnosed with stage four last year and it has been rough going.

  45. hats off! to climb back from a hole as deep as that, wow! good reminder for the more fortunate who never had serious illness, not to be whining about relatively small problems like “just” being overweight with messed up metabolism.

  46. What a wonderful story. As someone just starting out on their paleo journey, coming out of very ill health and cancer risks on the left and right hand, this was very helpful. And as a fiftysomething female? Very inspiring! Thanks so much. Great pics. Rock on, PB.

  47. a great success story and inspiring transformation, paleobird.
    I had malt lymphoma 10 years ago, but my wake-up call wasn’t till 6 years ago — I hit 265 on 6′ and it was double-bypass time.Then I found Mark, and other paleo sites — lost 80 easy. Did a lot of reading in addition to mark — peter, richard, masterjohn, weston price society and others — always with an eye on cancer. Now I post occasionally on several different cancer boards, on nutrition issues — and sadly, the message is mostly unwelcome, nearly scorned. Our entire consensus-based nutrition belief system promotes a plant-based diet for fighting disease. And the people on the boards aren’t looking for any challenge to their beliefs. They want to juice, and supplement, and sip fruit smoothies. It’s frustrating…and i post less…
    Last year I had a clean CAT scan and upper endo — 10 years, lymphoma free.
    ron

    1. hi ron congrats with those 10 years ! me too I sometimes feel desperate for friends with cancer who just can´t believe there´s a way beyond going juicing and ditching animal protein … Do keep posting ! Anette

  48. love u, paleobird..
    have learned loads from you~
    such willpower and drive!

  49. Amazing! I’m 5’10” also, and when I was 145 years ago, I wore a size 10!

    1. yes sizing has definitely changed, i think. but 145 is a very good weight for a 5’10” frame. Right now I would be satisfied @ 155 (am currently around 160)

  50. Your journey is such a powerful story of change, hope, and perseverance. Thanks for writing this!

  51. WOW! Amazing story and you look damn sexy in that swimsuit. I wish you all the best and continued good health! 🙂

  52. You look Fabulous! Nearly unbelievable, your transformation.

    Kudos and Namaste, Bird.

  53. Just curious…you mentioned you also had a seizure disorder. How has that been affected by your new way of eating?

  54. Congratulations! What an awesome success story! I don’t think they get much better than this!! You LOOK amazing, healthy and gorgeous and SO young too!!
    I’m going to share on my FB!! All the best in your continued great health!!!

  55. You look fantastic (and what a great suit!)! As a fellow survivor of BC, I salute you, and thanks you for the inspiration–I’m going to read your blog for more!

  56. PB – thank you so much for the info about total calories! I think the penny has finally dropped. I’ve been eating too much fat!!! I went to The Primal Blueprint and found the chapter about how to calculate your calories, etc. and, simply put, I now have more pieces of the puzzle puzzled out. Now I just have to put it into practice, and viola! Let’s all watch the fat melt away.

    Your story was beautiful, like you. Thanks again!

  57. Thank you for sharing your success story! Not to make this about me, but it was such a good pick-me-up after after a long hard week of work.

    Congrats! You look fabulous and best wishes for continued good health.

  58. Wow.

    Wait.

    Paleobird? Dat’s YOU?! WOW! You’ve had quite the life, woman! Truly amazing recovery. Thank you so much for sharing!

  59. Thank you paleobird, I am 46 and am eating 90 % primal. I am feeling better but haven’t sorted out my portion control. I get frustrated at the “boys in mens undies” on the forum who are quite condescending and tell 40 something women to eat up with no regard to calories.

    It sure changes after 40, and I didn’t believe it til I got there myself. Lets hope these numnuts learn a little civility and empathy as they reach TRUE manhood. 😉

  60. Great story. Really inspiring. You are one smart, strong lady.

    Love your words, especially these …

    “And then there is me saying wait a minute. Why does it have to be either the quantity OR the quality of the calories. I think it’s BOTH. Eating the right kind of foods (Primal) makes it easier to restrict the quantity of food without feeling like you are going to faint from hunger.”

    “The people who say that you can just ‘eat when you are hungry, stop when you are not’ don’t get what it’s like to have a completely messed up metabolism.”

    There’s a ton of information out there, and no shortage of people who think their way to do primal is THE way.

    The truth is, there’s no one way. It’s up to each of us to read and think clearly and experiment to find out what works for US. And that’s what you’ve done.

    And now look at you!!!

    1. I totally agree. I go back to the triangle-balance … diet, move often then sprint, and LHT. For me it has to be all of them … especially until you get to your “sweet spot” – every body / system is slightly different. The type and amount of calories matter for your system (once your remove the crap.) That’s why I think it was brilliant for Mark to develop / write the N=1 Log Book. Our bodies can really be manipulated and changed. It’s actually fun to experiment.

      Thanks for sharing. Thanks for being strong, smart, and tenacious. Thanks for inspiring others. God Bless.

  61. Thanks for sharing your triumph! It was great to meet you and the pup at Primal Con last year.

  62. You are an example to all women, especially those that are being duped these days by the Paleo female guru hacks. THANK YOU!

  63. What an awesome success story! I forwarded your story to a friend of mine who has been struggling with weight issues and has also been diagnosed with Stage 1 leukemia.

  64. Your story is MIND BLOWING! My brain is still buzzing. You are now a spectacular example of WOW.
    I got my first clue on portion control after a recent injury. My brother and sister in law were kind enough to let me stay with them and they are a strict Weight Watchers household. I politely explained that I don’t eat grains or processed foods and that I do eat saturated fats. In the 16 days I was there, I lost 10 pounds. This happened in spite of using a walker for 4 days and very little activity. I believe PB was responsible for my relatively quick recovery but I admit to succumbing to the siren song of ice cream since then. I haven’t regained any of my 70 lb loss, but it was only a matter of time. Your story has stiffened my earlier resolve.
    You rock!

  65. You look mahvelous!

    Just remember “It is better to look good than to feel good.”

    Or is it better to feel good than to look good?

    Anyway, you look mahvelous!

  66. Absolutely amazing! One of the best success stories I’ve read. Well done.

  67. Isn’t having your health back amazing? So happy for you! For all the newbies out there, heed Paleobird’s warning of portion control. Eating all the fat and protein you want (a la forum advice) may very well make you gain weight! It did for me. I had 25 lbs to lose and health to regain. I gained 10 lbs by eating all the fat and protein I wanted. One yr into Paleo is when I realized “mainlining whole cream”, as Robb Wolf put it, was causing my weight gain. Have lost the extra wt ditching cream/cheese and am now *slowly* losing more eating leaner (no more bacon every day). If only I could stop mainlining coconut milk!

  68. Well I’ve had hundreds of customers of my Biggly software confirm that simply low-carb doesn’t shift the last few pounds.

    Calories DO count and as such it’s worth counting your calories – but as Paleobird says, mention calories around here and you tend to get jumped on…

    Re-stocking on sugar once a week or once a fortnight seems to help too, as low-carb forever tends to hit a wall.

    A.

  69. You’ve gone and got me all teary eyed with this encredible story! I too have had to learn quantity is just as important as quality. Much thanks for sharing your story with us!

  70. Love love love! The story and the good advice on portion vs. food type. It IS sensible to be a little more sensible about the balance between the two.

    I find that when I go completely nuts, I usually don’t feel so hot if it is meats or anything besides veggies.

    All in all, I’ve found that I don’t have to worry about portion control much if I do my weekly 24 hour fast on the weekends.

    Fasting has been the capstone for me which has allowed me to have the drive, motivation, and power to stick to primal eating long term.

  71. Amazing! I’m not into pointing my husband into the direction of women in bikini’s but this, he’s got to see! What a transformation… Thank you for sharing! You are a True Survivor!!!!

  72. PALEOBIRD said: “The people who say that you can just ‘eat when you are hungry, stop when you are not’ don’t get what it’s like to have a completely messed up metabolism. When you can’t just ‘listen to your body’ because it’s telling you lies about how much to eat, you need to impose some control on the situation from the brain down.”

    Exactamundo. I keep reading “I lost XX pounds in YY months” but that’s never happened to me; a pound here and a pound there is almost a major victory. (I have lost 40 pounds but it has been a two-year struggle.)

    It’s taken me a while to figure this out but with my trashed metabolism, I simply cannot “listen” to my body; everything it says is a lie. I must apply objective brain-power, rather than will-power, though that does come into play, if I want to lose weight. I cannot merely “eat until I am sated,” I must use my eyeball-to-brain connection and empiricism to determine the amount of food I should consume. Once I figured it out, I lost a few more pounds, if not effortlessly, at least a bit easier.

    (Want to know what really pisses me off about this whole dietary situation? Since the early 1970s and the Viet Nam War days, I have assumed everything put out by politicians and the government is a lie, yet I was a willing participant in their dietary guidlines. Shows just what a dumbass one can be.)

    Congratulations, PaleoBird.

  73. So happy for you! And good advice about portion control. I find it easier to limit myself in the hot weather when my appetite in less, but it is easy to comfort myself too much in the winter!

  74. You are NOT over forty. No way. I don’t believe you. 😉

    Wow, great job and truly inspiring!

  75. Glad to hear you’re feeling great and you’re back to health, and thanks for the wise words about not giving in to despair.

    I’m never going to say no to primal bikini pics — WOWIE — but that last one is the one that blows me away. You look like a college kid!

  76. You inspire me! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m just starting out and am always so happy to read these success stories. Excellent job, I’m so happy for you! (You look lovely)

  77. Great story.

    By the way, they have a new sign on the top of kili. Since it was easy, you should go take another look.

  78. Lol! Great story, your comment that Kilamanjaro wasn’t that hard and your ankles don’t get puffy make me think you do not understand how awesome an inspiration you are. I have been on the fence about going 100% into this life style. You just convinced me. I’m in.

  79. frankly, when i look at the first two pre-paleo pictures i think “she’s just beautiful”. the transformation is impressive yes, but i like the 2 first pictures a lot … you look like a very warm-hearted and gentle person … 🙂 amazing story. thank you soooo much for sharing!

  80. Wow, Paleobird. You look amazing. Your little forum avatar doesn’t do you justice! Congratulations on beating cancer. Keep on hiking.

  81. That’s a great story that really shows how holistic our approach to health has to be. Thank you for sharing this. I have a neighbor who is in a bout with cancer and this is a good story I can share with her to pass on some of the PB benefits my wife and I enjoy. I get a lot of mileage out of this site!

    P.S., on the CICO thing…Yup.

  82. Wow! Thank you for sharing your amazing story! I also want to say thanks for your advice. I have been trying to go Primal and falling off because I am not losing any weight. I love what you said about having a messed up metabolism that is probably me. I will listen to your great advice, thanks.

  83. EXCELLENT!! What a great testimony!! I am 5’11” and currently sitting around 196, I have already dropped 36+lbs and have some more to go!! You just gave me a little fuel to keep moving….!! You also made me realize that 145 is not an unrealistic goal. My whole family tells me I will be too thin if I get down to that and I just think now after seeing you that they are blowing smoke up my you know what!! 😉 Kudos on the great work!!

  84. Wow! Very inspirational…I wondered what happened when I, too, being new to this Paleo path, lost the first 5 lbs, then a few crept back on. Low and behold I was eating the really good stuff (bacon, jerky, steak) with abandon and not including enough of the other good stuff (veggies). I agree that it’s both – the kind of Paleo calories you consume and the quantity – thanks for confirming. Thanks for sharing your story!

  85. Hell, YEAH! I love your story and your fighting spirit. Congratulations on passing the 5 year mark and on your continued health!! That is the best gift of all but being a size 6 is pretty damn awesome, too. How in the hell are you 50? You do NOT look 50 or like someone who’s had 6 rounds of chemo, for that matter.

    I am a breast cancer survivor, as well, who ate the “healthy” version of SAD for years and was overweight to boot so your story has a lot of resonance for me in many ways. (gettin’ all teared up now.)

    One of those ways, and thank you for bringing it up, is the whole issue of caloric intake in regards to weight loss. Like you, I cannot eat too much fat, or my weight loss stalls out. It’s really easy to maintain one’s weight Primally but losing weight requires a little more concentration on calories in even if they are, as you say, all good calories. Again, good on you for taking charge of your health and I wish you many happy, healthy years ahead.

  86. Great story with lots of great advice!

    Congratulations!

    The only problem are the pictures. You really expect people to believe the last two pictures are of a 50 year old woman?

    Be honest, you took those twenty years ago.

  87. Super inspiring story. I am so happy for your improved health and your victory over cancer! One thing I like to correct every time I see it, however, is that Atkins in no way requires you to eat their products for the program. They offer them. It is up to you to eat or not eat them. Even their nutritionist, Collette Heimowiz will tell you that.
    Keep up the good work!

  88. Congratulations on your recovery.

    My mom, who died of breast cancer in 2010, received the opposite advice.

    She underwent several surgeries and chemo over the last few years of her life, and she was encouraged to eat what she wanted, when she wanted, to keep as much weight on as possible.

    Despite that advice, she kept losing weight due to the treatment she was on, and because she, like so many other cancer patients, found much food to be unpalatable in the face of nausea and dead taste buds.

    Since she passed, I’ve read articles about how low carb diets starve the cancer, and ultimately can slow or even reverse the progression of the disease.
    I read Gary Taubes’ article about sugar causing cancer and contributing to its growth, and it just about broke my heart.

    1. Yes I wish I had know about Paleo/Primal 20 years ago, I believe it would have helped my late Mom as well

  89. I love how she wasn’t afraid to experiment within some general concepts with a basic goal in mind. The fact is, no program is a 100% perfect fit for any of us. Mark talks about that discovery and improvisation being important and this is a super example. Not only inspiring but a very practical story Paleobird.

  90. Yahoo Robin!!
    So glad you finally wrote your success story and submitted it.
    You go girl 🙂

  91. extremely happy for you…what a character! wow! I wish you nothing but the best!

  92. so happy for your success, if you are reading this, can i ask, do you think you would have had success if you tried portion control on Gundrys diet?

  93. sorry, methink calories do count but we should not be counting them. a successful diet should minimize the role of will power.

    paleobird, you look stunning!
    u were pretty good looking (in the before photos)

    cheer,

  94. Amazing story paleobird! I’m sharing your story with a friend, I hope it may inspire her to not give up.

  95. Hi, I’m so glad you were able to find your way back to health! My mom was diagnosed w breast cancer last fall, has had a mastectomy, a couple rounds of chemo, and is now getting to the end of her radiation treatments. She’s doing well, which is so exciting, but lacks energy, and doesn’t often even feel like eating, and so depends on so much processed food to feed herself and my dad (though she does include quite a few no organic fruits and veggies, following CW) Now, they are much older than you, at 70 and 75, but how did you have energy to fix whole foods while you were sick? I’ve wanted to encourage a change, but am not close enough to help fix food for her, and don’t want to place undo burden on her. Especially since I’m not doing well eliminating the carbs from my family’s diet, and barely have the energy to run my own household, at 30 weeks pregnant with a 3 1/2yo and almost 2yo, so I can’t even practice what I would like to preach, Though I did pretty well during the first trimester. Anyway, so I would appreciate tips. Blessings,
    Rebecca

  96. Wow, this sure did hit home. I am a 9 yr breast cancer survivor and still battling the extra pounds from the steroid treatments given to me with the chemo, WEEKLY for 4 MONTHS. You are an inspiration…thank you.

  97. Thank you for your post. I too have had epilepsy since college and for the past year or so have been “playing around” with primal eating. My most recent EEG showed no spikes but I didn’t put the two together. You have motivated me to take this more seriously and put 100% effort into a paleo lifestyle. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing.

  98. Congratulations Paleobird! You look amazing, but more importantly have regained your health! I’m a one-year breast cancer survivor on a Primal path too, so your story is especially inspiring to me. Thanks for sharing!

  99. I am trying to survive cancer by improving my health. I was just introduced to this site/book and was wondering if this is the best way to go to avoid cancer. It all sounds good, but eating meat or at least as much as it seems this lifestyle requires scares me. This story really is inspirational.

  100. I really enjoyed reading your story! You are a true inspiration PB. I agree 100% about CICO, I enjoy your no nonsense posts on the forums too. The only time Ive lost wt is when I track calories (no matter what kind of “diet” I follow) Thank goodness for Primal/Paleo. You’re so right, this way of eating is so much easier even with counting calories because we can actually stay full for a long time AND enjoy REAL food!

  101. There is no way you’re 50! Seriously the single greatest inspiration I’ve ever seen, page firmly bookmarked, thank you!

  102. Hey, I missed this story when it was posted. Too bad because it’s awesome! I’m glad you put out that calories do count, because a lot of people think they don’t. My friend and her husband both ready Gary Taubes’s book, and they both dived head-first into a VLC diet. She had a ton of success initially, but her husband wasn’t losing weight because he would eat an entire brick of cheese in one sitting. Now he’s just watching his portion sizes and, lo-and-behold, he’s lost a bunch of weight and looks great!

    Speaking of looking great, what an amazing photo! That swimsuit is so Paleo-sexy that I’m having a moment of jealousy that you have the cajones to wear something like that! Wow!

  103. Thank you so much for this. I, too, had an agressive form of breast cancer and then found paleo. Pretty much just followed my instincts because the overriding theme for anti-cancer diets is to ditch meat completely, eat lots of beans and whole grains. Don’t really know why, but that just didn’t make any sense to me and then I started reading the science behind paleo (thank you, Mark Sisson) and feel confident that I’m on the right path. Just got my 5-year mammogram today. All clear. Feel fantastic. Have regained some weight in the past year, but am aware of my wanderings and why it’s happened. Just want to say to anyone who is wondering what on earth to do with their diet when facing cancer, I say go with your gut, literally and figuratively, and pay attention to the science. Also, I highly recommend checking out the nusi.org website and Dr. Attia’s blog.

    1. Thanks Christine. Have been diagnosed with BC (rare, potentially agressive) since going paleo. However wonder whether didn’t originate when was overweight + eating way too much sugar. My sub type doesn’t show up on scans (incidental finding on biopsy of fibroadenoma) so don’t know for how long it’s been around. Have checked out articles on Pubmed and decided against changing my diet, except for more green tea, cruciferous vegs, mushrooms, turmeric, and pomegranates. Highly recommend Dr Susan Love’s book + videos (youtube).
      Paleobird, congratulations, you are an inspiration!