From Skinny Fat to Healthy Fab!

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!

 In the past, even though on the outside I was British size 8 (American size 0) on the inside I was skinny fat with numerous health problems. I was sick of feeling sick all the time. Constant migraines, bloating, cold after cold, yeast infections, low energy levels and lack of concentration. were all I knew at that time. In fact, I was most probably on my way to become another victim of modern diet type 2 diabetes. Finding the Primal/paleo/keto way of living allowed me to reverse all my health problems.

Currently, I live in Shanghai, but my journey began in Poland in a small village next to the Baltic Sea. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a pollution free environment and on organic produce from my Granny’s farm. Sadly, my Granny stopped raising animals and growing her own vegetables when I was 15, and that’s when my family and I discovered processed food, coated in vegetable oils and sugar.

My favourite food to eat became chocolate, and because I’ve never struggled with weight I felt invincible and thought it was O.K. to eat it in unlimited quantities daily. I was also a carb addict, eating so called ‘healthy’ foods. My breakfast consisted of cappuccino and croissant, followed by freshly squeezed orange juice. For lunch, I would often opt for a sandwich (made out of ‘healthy’ whole grains, of course!), a pack of crisps and a chocolate bar. For dinner, I would have homemade pasta or a rice dish cooked in vegetable oils. I would often end my day with a dessert or a piece of fruit and a glass or two of wine. This high carb and sugar diet left me hungry, so grazing throughout the day on chocolate and fruits to sustain my energy level was also a daily occurrence.

Being too preoccupied with studying, working, partying, drinking, toxic relationships, traveling and staying up late throughout all of my teens and twenties, I failed to consider what was going on inside my body, my spirit, and my soul. Finally, in my late 20’s, I hit rock bottom with all sorts of health issues. This desperate “aha” moment brought me to the Primal Lifestyle. I finally realised that my dress size had nothing to do with health and simply being skinny didn’t equate to being healthy.

During this time my father was also diagnosed with malignant gastric cancer, which left me devastated and confused about the lifestyle my family and I were leading. I took this moment as a very loud wake-up call and decided to embark on a journey that would heal my broken relationship not only with food but also my soul.

For the past three years I have been studying, researching and experimenting with the healing properties of different foods, essential oils, and relaxation techniques. Thanks to my newfound application to a healthy lifestyle, I managed to overcome my health challenges. During my healing journey I had to restore my insulin sensitivity, treat my leaky gut, and cure my insomnia. Staying away from my best ‘friend’ chocolate and other man-made carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, chips, cookies, and cutting out refined sugar including ‘natural’ sugar like honey wasn’t easy, but these were the first steps I needed to take.

Luckily, I just happen to love food and was eager to bring everything I learnt about nutrition into the kitchen and create new meal plans without sacrificing the flavour. The food I make nowadays is gluten-free, vegetable oil-free and sugar-free, and it tastes scrumptious. When choosing ingredients for my meals I focus on locally grown, organic vegetables and grass-fed meat. I love to cook using coconut oil, real butter, ghee and plenty of anti-inflammatory herbs and spices. Through the healing properties of food and daily yoga practice I overcame my health problems. This new lifestyle changed the way I look at food, stress, relationships and exercise.

Of course, these changes didn’t come easily, and I met a lot of resistance—surprisingly mostly from people who I thought, at that time, cared for me the most. This new lifestyle among other things brought changes to my social life, some of which were too big for some of my ‘friends’ to handle or understand. Instead of happily going out for late nights drinking, all I wanted to do was to be active during the day and go to bed at 9 p.m. with my favourite book.

Izabela_FullMy true friends were happy to meet up, go hiking or play other sports and then make a paleo dinner together, something I really appreciate to this day. Now I understand that having a lot in common in every relationship is key, as without it love or friendship will naturally fizzle out.

“Don’t die with the music still inside you,” is one of my favourite quotes by Wayne Dyer. This journey made me rediscover parts of me that I thought were lost forever and gave me the courage to embrace the music within and get to know the person I truly am.

Now as a Primal Health Coach, my mission is to empower women to become the best versions of themselves by offering guidance through the journey to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The Primal way of life has nourished my body in all the right ways and made the best quality of life possible.

Izabela Misiuk, Primal Health Coach,

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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26 thoughts on “From Skinny Fat to Healthy Fab!”

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  1. Great read and very inspirational Izabela, thanks for sharing! Hope you allow yourself a bite of 88% chocolate from time-to-time. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment! I’m back loving my chocolate but this time it is homemade from organic, raw cacao, raw cacao mass and raw local honey… delish! Also, I love unsweetened cacao nibs.

  2. You look fantastic. Thank you for sharing your journey. Lifestyle is key for me as well. I am fortunate to have supportive and loving family and friends. Taking time to enjoy nature and curl up with a good book is a great way to spend down time.

    1. Thank you! Having family and friends who accept, love you, and support you is soooo important. My desire and efforts to create loving and authentic friendships have definitely paid off and I am very grateful for my current circle of friends. And, yes! Curling up with a good book (there are so many!) is one of my favourite activities, especially in winter.

  3. Congratulations on your success, Izabela. Thanks for pointing out that it’s quite possible to be naturally thin and still be unhealthy–and that it’s also quite possible to get lulled into a false sense of security regarding chocolate.

    I’ve noticed a number of times that some of the commenters here seem to think copious consumption of dark chocolate is a righteous part of the Paleo diet. In fact, it isn’t. Most chocolate is nothing but heavily processed candy that is necessarily loaded with some form of sugar in order to make it taste good.

    1. Thank you! Now I love my guilt-free raw organic cacao nibs (in moderation, of course!). But as you mentioned not all chocolate is created equal, not even close. I agree that the health benefits of processed, sweetened chocolate are none but the health benefits of good quality dark chocolate are numerous.

  4. Congratulations, Izabela. I enjoyed your story of finding true health and true friends. I’m sure you are an inspiring and effective primal health coach.

  5. Thanks for the success story Izabela. Sounds so similar to my own journey of being skinny-fat and having all the ailments that came along with it. May you have good fortune with your Primal Coaching.

  6. Fabulous indeed and as HelathyHombre said, a cube of high quality chocolate (85% or 90% in my case) every now is perfectly OK. The world came a long way, if you can obtain all these good foods in Shanghai.

    1. Shanghai is actually pretty good for healthy grocery options and it’s getting better every year. I’m surrounded by health-conscious people with small businesses selling coconut yoghurts, fermented veggies, activated nut butter, raw cacao nibs, mycotoxin free coffee, organic veggies and so on. Probably not as great as a small town in Europe or Tasmania or California but still can’t complain.

  7. Thanks for sharing! I’m interested in learning about body composition changes that I don’t see talked about. That is, I feel like–without lifting heavy things or doing sprints yet (my adrenals aren’t quite strong enough to support that)–my body is building muscle. I wish I had done a body fat composition baseline because I feel so much more solid now, like very muscular where I once was flabby/squishy. In the past, only weight lifting could bring these results. After 6 months being primal, two of which have also been keto, I feel my body composition is just changing from diet alone. I thought muscle was built through weight bearing activity, for example, not simply diet changes. I’d love to read about this or listen to a podcast on it.

    1. Pleasure! I think diet is very important but healthy movement also matters. I do yoga (in many poses I use my own weight to create resistance to build strength), walk, hike, swim, and play badminton with my friends. What’s your movement like? Do you exercise? Perhaps because you have been eating a primal diet for a while losing weight revealed your muscles?

      1. Thanks for the response. I was sort of just musing “aloud.” I hope someday to understand the changes in a scientific way. I walk like I’ve always walked, even at my heaviest I walked regularly. I lost 18 pounds the first 6 weeks of Primal, and 5 months later, I was still at 18 pounds lost, yet my body is changing all this time. My chiropractor and massage therapist each thought I was lifting weights because even though I stopped losing weight, my muscles have gone from flabby to buff, when, in reality, I’m walking with less weight to carry than before so there’s no reason for my body to change this way due to exercise. It’s all diet. I’m still obese in terms of my BMI. I still am at least 40 pounds above the highest weight in the range for being “normal” weight. If only I had done a body composition test. Anyway, I suddenly lost 2 more pounds a week ago, and I feel like I’ll begin losing again now. My body is healing.

  8. Izabela, thanks for sharing your story. I’m really into quotes, and I’ve always loved that one from Wayne Dyer. I”m so glad you talked about being “skinny-fat.” As vegan, I was extremely thin but not healthy…I had anxiety, acne and digestive issue. It gets frustrating because people assume that thin = healthy and that’s not always the case. You look wonderful…glad to hear how well the primal lifestyle is working for you. Always love these success stories.

    1. Love Wayne Dyer. Just an FYI, the original quote is “Many people die with the music still inside them,” and is from Oliver Wendall Holmes.

  9. “Don’t die with the music still inside you,”

    Thanks for sharing your music with us 🙂

  10. A fellow Pole – nice! I grew up in Krakow and, just like you, had a grandma who always cooked healthy local foods (she had a fantastic fruit and veggie garden that she maintained on her own well into her 70’s!!). Moving to the US as a teenager was definitely a hit to my diet: processed foods everywhere!! But I have made it back to local whole (mostly organic) foods and now as a wife/mother I have the responsibility to cook for my whole family, including two boys. I, too, am naturally skinny but with that comes physical weakness that I hope to overcome in 2018. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Hi Magda! Thanks for the comment. The primary concern in the world at the moment is weight loss and not weight gain so I feel our stories aren’t really talked about all that often. Having said that, lots of my Polish female friends share a similar story so I often help them with their health journey.

      Anyway, I hope you’re doing great in the USA. I went to the USA for the first time when I was 19 (15 years ago!) for a year and stayed with an American host family. Lovely family but their dietary habits were far from optimal. We mostly ate highly processed food and my body really freaked out… I lost my period for an entire 1 year! Got it back during the first week after returning to Poland. I learnt then that my body reacts very strongly to any dietary changes. Anyway, back then it was very difficult for me to find a suitable diet that would allow me to gain weight in all the right places (curves!) and then maintain this healthy weight without compromising my overall wellbeing. Using the Primal Food Pyramid as a temple works for me as it is a total switch from a man-made high carb diet to a whole food diet with no caloric restrictions (no guilt or shame assoiscated with eating!). Another massive thing I learnt through following Mark Sisson’s teaching is that genetics account for very little and that lifestyle which promotes positive gene expression counts for everything ( a life free of chronic diseases!). With this knowledge, I realisied that it is up to us to make lifestyle choices that either promote our health or destroy our health.

  11. A British size 8 is not an American size 0. I wear an American 2 and buy British size 6.

  12. Great story and inspirational too. Your story inspires other peoples that only think about weight loss and stop their ideas soon. But after reading your post, they get boosted.