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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 22 2013

How the 21-Day Challenge Helped Me

By Guest
182 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 slowly getting my feet wet with the paleo/primal nutritional way of living for around a year now. It started with a better way of cutting the highly addictive sugar out of my diet. Many of those types of diets don’t address the need for higher fat consumption though and they don’t consider behavioral changes that need to be made as well.

If I want to tell my weight loss journey story right, I have to start at the beginning. I was obese my entire life. I remember being called “Miss Piggy” in second grade by classmates. I remember writing to diet and weight loss scam ads in the back of teen magazines begging for help as a preteen. But nothing ever changed and I stayed obese until I moved across the country (away from my family’s environment) and started the process at the age of 26. My entire family is obese, so I have to admit that I didn’t see a lot of hope for losing weight based on lies my Mom shared with us our wholes lives (that we are supposed to be this way).

Naomi - Before

When I started my weight loss journey, it was not the healthiest choice I could have made in going about doing it. I joined a local gym (the first one I had ever stepped foot into) and started doing repetitive cardio before going to work and after work each day (6 days a week). I also worked 8 hours a day on my feet. I tracked everything I ate obsessively and broke down every macronutrient. I strived to eat 1200-1400 calories a day with a 30/40/30 ratio. I wore a heart rate monitor 24/7 to make sure that I expended more calories than I consumed each day. I was preoccupied with becoming my own “biggest loser” and whipping the weight off of me as quickly as possible. And I did. It took me around seven months to go from 285 pounds to 154. On the outside, this appeared to be a great success, but on the inside I caused new problems for myself.

Some problems that resulted:

  1. I was so focused on losing weight and exercising that my relationship failed.
  2. The result of a lifetime of being obese and losing weight very quickly left me with loose skin. I felt defeated that I still was not happy with my appearance even after all of the hard work and dedication. I will never look good naked.
  3. My obsession with tracking food and restricting what I ate caused disordered eating patterns for me. I suffered with bouts of binge eating for the next two years during stressful times. The only way I managed to keep the binge weight off was to go back to restricted eating again and excessive exercise (like running marathons).

In an effort to try to get over my preoccupation with food (especially sugars), I read every sugar addiction book available and even attended Overeaters Anonymous meetings for four months. The meetings were inviting and helpful at first, but then they stopped helping because everyone wallowed in their own self-pity about their addiction to donuts or ice cream. It just made me want to run to comfort food even more. The books were insightful, but the diets they promoted were not. I could not give up all refined sugars and keep the rest of my diet the same.

Around this time, I ventured into the paleo lifestyle and it made more sense to me, but like most people, I was scared to start eating that much fat in my diet (no matter if it was healthy or not). So, I introduced certain ideas from the paleo plans into my life slowly. I started eating more organic meat, avocados, nuts, and eggs. The problem was that I still had grains, legumes, soy, and sweeteners in my diet. After a few more months, I read somewhere that the paleo diet was actually credited with helping some people with eating disorders to overcome them. Maybe this was the golden ticket I was looking for?

I began to realize that living healthy wasn’t just about eating healthy and working out. It was a complete behavior shift. I suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (not OCD), so I tend to be perfectionistic and rigid in my way of living anyways. My goal has been to accept myself the way that I am and have more compassion for myself when I fail and allow my life to just flow instead of being scheduled all of the time.

How the 21-day challenge helped me:

  1. I finally gave up stevia in my morning coffee/tea.
  2. I finally gave up my morning oatmeal for eggs.
  3. When I am hungry, I have the mindset now to eat something with more fat and protein.
  4. I stand at my desk now for at least 2 or 3 hours a day.
  5. I take time to myself now to avoid getting too overwhelmed or stressed out.
  6. I ask for help from my fiancé with chores around the house.
  7. I can now do over 40 pushups in a row.
  8. I still cannot do a full pull-up, but I’m getting closer!
  9. I can see my abs for the first time in my life.
  10. I don’t need to obsessively workout.
  11. I’ve started fermenting my own sauerkraut.
  12. I purchased a slackline and use it for fun and entertainment with friends.
  13. I spend more quality time with my fiancé (not talking about food or exercise).

Naomi

My journey has not been easy. When people ask me how I lost the weight, I could say “With diet and exercise”, but that really discounts all of the physical and mental struggle and anguish I went through because I chose to lose weight the somewhat unhealthy way and I have a personality disorder that controls much of how I behave on any given day. The paleo nutrition plan is simple, which is great because I tend to over-complicate things. It was really hard for me to believe that something so easy could actually work. But I figured that 21 days of eating and behaving this way couldn’t hurt to try.

Naomi

After a full month of eating paleo, I weighed and measured myself for the first time. I dropped 8 pounds on the scale and am currently at my lowest body fat percentage. Even when I weighed 154 pounds, my body fat was slightly higher than what it is now at 165 pounds. The best part is the difference I could see in my “after” photos this time. I can actually see more definition in my stomach and arms. A friend also kindly pointed out to me that she noticed a big difference also… I’m smiling! I never smiled when I was obese.

Naomi - Working Out

Thank you Mark and the whole paleo community for opening my eyes to an easier way of living my healthiest life (mentally and physically)! I hope to be able to write to you in the future to let you know that the disordered eating patterns have completely vanished (and I’ve gotten even healthier).

Naomi - After

Sincerely,

Naomi

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182 thoughts on “How the 21-Day Challenge Helped Me”

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  1. Woman! That is just an amazing transformation- especially the smile. What a motivating story for people to read and feel hopeful.

    1. I was just going to say – that SMILE is the first thing I noticed!!
      SOOOO intoxicating 🙂
      congratulations on your succesful Journey Naomi!!

    2. Awesome transformation! As I am currently going through my own physical transformation, I find your story very encouraging. I have just created a new information website/blog for my family and friends regarding Paleo information. I hope to educate them on the basics of the diet and lifestyle in general. I would appreciate any comments and/or suggestions from the “primal” group on this site. Mark is right! This crowd knows a lot!!

      The site is: Maxgigicare.com

      (Your Portal to Self-Directed Health)

  2. Amazing! You have done so well to overcome the pull of family influence and societal influence as well.

    Your extra skin had to disappear too. Did that happen naturally?

    You look beautiful inside and out!

    1. Tara,

      I still have loose skin. It’s something that has not went away on it’s own. I have grown more comfortable with it, but hope to have surgery for it (after having children).

    2. Tara, that’s what I was thinking about too. It’s CRAZY hard to try and lose weight (or make any change, really) when your closest family members don’t think you can, say you can’t, or just kinda ignore your attempts.

      Major props Naomi! You look awesome !!

      1. Don’t forget when your family intention or unintentionally tries to sabotage you.

  3. WOW! This is such an awesome story and you look great. Sad to hear about your Mom’s comments. I found paleo for myself and family in my 40’s, and always think, I hope those 20 somethings realize they are ahead of the curve in finding it and benefiting their health at their young age.

    1. Colleen,

      My husband and I eat paleo because we know how important our health is. I just turned 30 and my husband is 40. We know people our ages suffering from food-related illnesses. I think it’s never too late to start eating healthy.

      We love life and like being able to feel good every day. 🙂

  4. Thank you Naomi for sharing your inspiring story and photos! I’m so happy for you!!

  5. Congratulations. Thank you for the inspiring story. You are beautiful. Keep up the good work.

  6. Wow – you look amazing! Like a totally different person! Kudos to you for making yourself and your health a priority because in the end, everyone around you benefits. Keep smiling!

  7. Wow wow wow! Congrats. “An easier way of living”. This is something I think is so huge and important and try to relay to clients of mine. So many people think its so much work I have to cook and spend more on food.

    I agree it’s so much easier when you just feel better, sleep better, and don’t have such a tug of war with food and exercise.

    Awesome job, feeling inspired on Friday as usual!

  8. Congratulations! It’s not easy to motivate yourself to change when all of the people in your family are telling you, “you’re supposed to be that way”. That takes tons of courage and self love! Best of luck overcoming the eating patterns you struggle with. You have already made such an incredible transformation, you should be so proud of what you have accomplished! Keep going!!!

    1. Congrats Naomi. I hear it everyday with obese people that say that they have their parents genes. Way to break those chain of lies.

  9. Wow, you went from being pretty to being BEAUTIFUL. Not only are you thin now, but you look truly happy. Congrats.

  10. Such an amazing smile! You should be so proud of yourself. Everything you accomplished you did by your own strength of will. You Rock!

  11. wow! what a journey. you look fabulous, and i love how you’re celebrating life and health, not a “perfect” weight or airbrushed body image. i’m curious–why did you give us stevia in your morning coffee?

    1. Jenny,

      I gave UP stevia because any added sweeteners mean big trouble for me. I just got used to black coffee (sometimes with half & half) and it tastes just fine to me now. The sweeteners mask the real taste of the coffee in my opinion.

      1. Naomi, what things specifically did you do to try and kill the sugar cravings?

        I know for many people it’s black or white – there’s no such thing as sweets in moderation for them, so what did you try to fix those cravings?

    2. Sweeteners of any kind were trouble for me too. Stevia might be healthier than sugar, but for some of us, replacing one type of sweetener with another doesn’t eliminate the cravings. It was much too easy to rationalize my way right back into eating sugar and junkfood until I eliminated all sweets.

      1. It was so much easier for me to give up grains than sugars. I’ve found even dried fruit can cause problems for me. One bit of sweetness on my tongue turns into a binge, so I have cut it out too. I slip up once in a while, which helps me realize how I react to sugars. I wonder if I will ever be able to look back and say I don’t want sweets the way I can say that about grains!

  12. Absolutely amazing and inspiring. You are beautiful inside and out. Thank you thank you thank you so much for sharing your story to the world. Stay strong and enjoy the journey because it definitely continues! Much love!

  13. Wow, what an amazing story! It’s so awesome that you found the healthy way to live NOW and not later after adding more years of frustration and pain. Way to go!

  14. Wow! Congratulations, that is truly incredible! I too struggle with a family who can see my transformation but refuse to acknowledge that the way I eat can have SUCH an impact. I think you’re doing great, keep up the great work!

  15. Naomi this is great 🙂 I love how you were so conscious of the emotional part of eating and exercising.

    Also, what is wrong with stevia?

    1. Meagan,

      I try to stay away from anything that is too sweet. Once I start, my mind starts rationalizing and making excuses to eat other sugar foods. Pretty soon, I’m defending my right to eat brownies and ice cream again.

  16. Naomi, you are amazingly strong! How wonderful to discover the gift of compassion to yourself.

  17. First and last photographs – Photoshop, right?!!! 🙂

    Congrats Naomi for having the courage, discipline, and self-respect to break the paradigm within your family.

    1. Thank you Jeff. My hope for the last 5 years has been that I could help my two brothers and sister with their weight issues also, but they are unfortunately not in the right frame of mind for that. It’s tragic because one of my brothers weighes well over 600 pounds now and I cannot even help him.

  18. Wow! You look like (and sound like) a completely different person! Although I’m not overweight, I do live with an obese family and know how hard it is. You must feel so free and strong to be out of your family’s mindset of living.

    This is very inspiring! Now, if every obese person could see your story too. You really looks great, I have to keep looking back at the pictures!

    1. Nathan,

      Its one thing for every obese person to see the story, it’s another thing to change their mindset! Mindset is everything. 🙂

      1. Very true! Motivation is probably also a issue for a lot of people. Unless they see that they are killing themselves, why change? It’s different when the news channel presents a weather disaster or series of murders; that’s clearly showing people at risk, they see that and often want to help with sympathy or donations … Different story when they check-in on their own well-being. Just my thoughts

        1. Motivation is an issue for all of us at some point.

          I think part of the trick to staying motivated is building on past successes. “If I could do that, then I can do this…”

          As far as seeing and believing, that’s another mindset issue.

  19. wow! what an amazing transformation. thanks for sharing all the challenges and successes.

  20. Another inspiring and informative success story, just love it! I too, am approaching my 1 year anniversary of being Paleo, and owe gratitude to all its awesome people here on MDA; with so much good info, that have guided me as well, thanks to all…..

  21. Wow! What an amazing transformation – and so inspiring! I am so glad to hear taht you are on the path of health and wellness. Good luck on your continued journey and thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. I love Fridays at MDA!!

  22. Naomi, you look great, and undoubtable feel great too. The smile says it all.

  23. I have HUGE admiration for you, that is one hell of an accomplishment to drop so much weight and make such a transformation. Few of us have ever faced such a difficult emotional and physical challenge. I hope you will congratulate yourself on a continuing basis, you have demonstrated tremendous personal power. I’m seeing that you are strong enough to accomplish absolutely anything you want in your life.

    As far as perfectionism, none of us are perfect but your results look like perfection to me!

    1. Success builds on success. Thank you for your very kind words. 🙂
      Like many people, I’ve had a lot of different adversities in life to overcome, but I don’t feel sorry for myself. These adversities have helped make me the stronger version of myself that I am today.

        1. Heh, it seems like *everything* is an astrological trait. I once dated a girl who was way into astrology. I personally do not beleive in it, but I was young and wanted to be way into her so I played along. Naturally she would call out my virgo ways. Perfectionism, attention to detail are a few of the traits.

        2. funny this thing of signs:
          In the conventional signs at home we are a mix

          In the chinese:

          I am a dragon
          My son is a dragon
          My wife is a snake
          My daughter is a snake

  24. Hi Naomi! Way to go, you’re awesome! I see the Spokane Marathon bib – I live in Spokane and its a great place to get outdoors! Keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Lindsey,

      Moving to Spokane was the very first big step I took to changing my life. It’s the best place I’ve ever lived. 🙂

  25. What a transformation – amazing!
    Wow Spokane – I’m a Spokanite too. We’re so damn subversive!

  26. Wow! I am so impressed -such a dramatic difference! I know someone says this every week, but once again the healthy, happy glow on the faces of the success story people always gets to me as much as the body transformation. So many other dieter’s “after ” pics look tired, haggard, with dry skin, hair, etc.
    What an accomplishment -especially with the sugar addiction (my downfall ….) Congratulations!

    1. Rene,

      When I was obese, I didn’t take care of myself. Therefore, I likely lacked a lot of vitamins and minerals to give me a “glow”. I started supplementing when I started my transformation and I attribute a small portion of my new healthy hair, skin, and nails to the biotin I supplement with daily. 🙂

      My smile, all mine. 🙂 When I was obese, people told me I had a nice smile (and teeth), but I had really low self-worth and did not believe any compliments I received. Therefore, I did not smile very much at all.

      Best of luck on your own journey.

  27. John,

    I moved to Spokane 5 years ago, so I’m not really a Spokanite. Maybe in another 5 years. Haha

    1. Naomi-what a transformation! You look fabulous! Congratulations and keep up the good work!

  28. Naomi- Thank you for sharing your story! It’s so encouraging to me, as I find myself struggling with the idea of “relaxing,” yet making good, disciplined changes in my life. My tendency is to micromanage my food, exercise, etc., and as you rightly point out- it can be damaging. Congrats!

    1. Stephanie,

      Micromanaging is perfectionism at it’s finest. It is not only damaging to yourself, but everyone around you.

      No one or thing is perfect or ever will be. Your way is not always the best way (even though it may seem like it at the time). And you aren’t really “helping” anyone when you control them.

      These are things I’ve had to learn about myself on my life journey (weightloss and just life).

  29. I like that you point out that just saying the standard “diet and exercise” doesn’t really cover it. When people ask about my weight loss I say “paleo and crossfit” because, for me, it’s been that specific diet and that specific workout regimen that has gotten me where I am.

    You look fantastic! Congrats!

  30. Congrats on the transformation. It’s incredible and you look great. Love the smile in the last pic as well.

    “I was scared to start eating that much fat in my diet”. Amazing how that conditioning permeates our consciousness despite evidence to the contrary. I was talking with co-workers yesterday and they were commenting about how they avoid fat at all costs and interestingly they were all overweight themselves. When they asked what I ate to keep so slim I told them. They looked at me like I was full out insane followed by the inevitable comments that I was insane. They went on to tell me how healthy their SAD was when their appearance obviously said otherwise. All I could do was smile…”you can lead a horse to water but…”.

    Glad you found your way to the Paleo lifestyle. This was one of the best transformation stories I’ve read. All the best on your continued journey!!

    1. Squatch, maybe you need to hammer on those people a little more and point them to this website. I always tell people to go to Marks Daily Apple, read the success stories, then go to the Start Here tab and read everything. Or I loan them The Primal Blueprint book. People will take things more seriously when they see it in print.

      1. Agree!
        Even though I have always been slim, it was very difficult to break that thought of “I shouldn’t be eating this fat”. Now I just put that big tablespoon right in the coconut butter jar and have me a melting mouth of heaven.

  31. You rock, Naomi. The beautiful smile on your face in the last picture really says it all. Congratulations to you!

  32. You’re a wonderful inspiration. I’ve been lurking on this site for a year, I look like your before photos. Your after photos and journey are going to be my starting point. x

    1. Really? I hope that my story really is motivation to get you started, but remember, you are not me. Your story is totally unique to you. Make it a good one!!!! 🙂

  33. I don’t mean to sound shallow, but damn you are hot! I’d hit that in a second!

  34. Congrats! Amazing story, you look great, and happy.

    However, I have to say, your fiance shouldn’t be ‘helping’ you around the house. If you live together, it is both of your homes, and he doesn’t ‘help’ with upkeep – he should be doing his fair share, like any self-respecting adult!

  35. I think out of all the pictures, I like the last one with the smile the best.

  36. Amazing story!!! And not to diss those that say you went “from pretty to beautiful”, but I saw the first photo and thought “What a beautiful woman!” Then I saw the later pictures and thought “What a beautiful HAPPY woman!!” Congrats to you for becoming a happier and healthier version of you!

  37. Another inspirational story about the transformation of body and mind and overcoming considerable obstacles, congratulations! On a side note, I see folks on this site recommending to avoid stevia. I’m curious as to why, it does not raise your blood sugar and is a natural sweetener. I put one packet of a brand that is organic (and the first ingredient is fact is FOS) into my whey protein drink along with green powder, cinnamon and I use unsweetened almond beverage (sometimes add a few frozen berries). I don’t crave sweets, but wonder if someone has a compelling reason for me to stop doing that? I’m 5’8″ and weight 150 pounds, pretty toned for a 60 year old guy but still have a bit of a lower belly, maybe that’s the reason I shouldn’t LOL.

    1. OK, see the answer in a previous post, sorry about that. Makes sense if even a sweet taste can trigger cravings. I’m going to examine my diet, which my family and friends already think I’m too restrictive, to see if I have hidden sugar, I’m sure I do. Lean protein, veggies, leafy salads, berries, olive oil and some nuts are what I try to focus on. I bet I can do even better, good stuff.

      1. Yes you can do better. Add fatty GRASS FED meat. Lean is ok, but why the lean meat?

  38. Amazing and inspirational…you look strong and beautiful:) Thanks for sharing!

  39. Wow-what a transformation! I’m amazed and inspired! Every time I feel lost in the non-primal world, stories like this remind me why we live this crazy lifestyle! You should be so proud of yourself and your megawatt smile!

  40. Naomi – your mother didn’t know any better, it’s not that she lied to and told you are naturally obese, it’s just that like you had before, thought that’s just how it is.

    The fact that you broke the cycle in your family, they can look up to you with hope and know that it CAN be done.

    Awesome transformation! 🙂

    1. Robo,

      I do not blame or hold hard feelings against my parents for my obesity. Like you said, they did what they knew how to do. And blaming instead of accepting responsibility is an easy way out.

      My family doesn’t look up to me. They are still in their negative mindset and I cannot change that.

      I’ve had to learn to accept that I sometimes cannot help the ones I want to the most. But hopefully I can help others instead. 🙂

  41. You look awesome Naomi! How tall are you?
    I have given up all grains without much problem but i still use xylitol as a sweetener, just a tablespoon or so in my coffee. It did not hinder my weight loss from 177 to 157 . I count it as part of my 10% ie 90 / 10 compliance to paleo/primal along with dairy ( butter and a little cream, no milk however)
    I also found tracking my food intake online REALLY help me drop the lbs. It is just habit now…
    Again congrats

  42. Congrats from one Naomi to another. Good thing you have that tattoo on your arm to prove you’re the same person!

  43. Naomi,

    Congratulations on your transformation and every single effort, tiny or huge, to make the shift and become your smiling, healthy self. You’re so on the right track to reach your goals. You rock, girl!

    Naomi (and respondents Shary and Carrie S.)

    Can you pass along any practical tips for taming the sugar monster? I’ve been Primal for over two years for the purpose of getting my sugar habit under control, and I’m so much better than I used to be. I’m fit and lean and get much better sleep than ever as well. But I still fall off the wagon periodically in a sugar binge and I want to end this, too. Eating high levels of fat and protein doesn’t always work to stop my behavior pattern. How have you curbed eating refined sugars?

    1. I have sugar cravings when I’m tired, stressed, and cold. I always keep an eye out for these factors. You might want to look for the reasons why you binge. Then, manage those factors by taking care of them. If I’m cold, I put on extra socks, drink tea, and wear a sweater. Because the longer I’m cold, the more I will want to seek comfort in food.

      We have to give our bodies what they really want, not sugar. I hope this is a little bit helpful.

  44. Wow, Naomi. Way to go!

    Aside from your extraordinary body transformation, your face looks completely different from the photo at the top of the post. Just beautiful, and so happy.

    I admire your good efforts and how much thought you put into them. Really clever of you to keep that 21 day challenge list. It seems to yield real-time awareness of changes as they happen, including how good you’re feeling from the process. I think that sort of journaling is just as important (if not more) than conventional tracking, like pounds lost, etc.

    Really good of you to figure out along the way what WASN’T working (like those meetings). I’ve heard so many people say the same sort of thing you did (i.e. that hearing all the self pity and rehashing of people’s problems actually undermined the change process).

    Great story. Carry on. I hope you’ll keep Mark posted on your continuing efforts and that he’ll post them for us to see.

    Susan

  45. Wow. I really have to say that it’s truly incredible that you were able to detach yourself from the “reality” your family crea

  46. Naomi, forgive me for piling on. But this is truly amazing! You set such a great example with your open-mindedness, commitment, self-awareness, and positive attitude. I hope that countless others will be inspired by your example.

  47. Naomi:

    A few questions for you about mindset ….

    In the comments (replying to Nathan) you wrote about your change in mindset. When did that change occur? Before you got started? Or during the process? Can you compare your old mindset with your new one, and talk a bit about how the change happened?

    Would love to know these things, if you feel like sharing. Thanks so much!

    Susan

    1. Susan,

      I cannot go into that much detail right now. But my mindset is always changing and evolving. I would like to think that’s part of being an aging individual.

      The start of my new life did not begin with weightloss. It started with an epiphany I had that allowed me to move across country on my own at the age of 25. That was a shift in mindset. Many others followed. Events in people’s lives also trigger changes in mindset. Sometimes, it’s a forced change and sometimes voluntary.

      I cannot list of just one mindset change that has happened to me in the last 5 years. Nor can I list off (on here) every mindset change I’ve had and what triggered them.

  48. Wow. I really have to say that it’s truly incredible that you were able to detach yourself from the “reality” your family created for you, and pursued this journey to health without them. While it’s admirable of you to wish you could help them, all you can do is show them how different you are now, and how much your life has changed within only a few years. The rest is up to them.

    For your part, it takes such will power to do something like this in a family where everybody is obese. Many people grow resentful, and take your dietary change as a jab against what they eat. Obviously I don’t know how they reacted towards your transformation, but from personal experience I can attest that it takes something more than just good habits to change oneself when you’re surrounded on all sides by everything you are trying to run from.

  49. Naomi,
    Wow. Great story. Congrats. Your transformation is wonderful.

    I agree with you on the avoidance of all sweetener. I’ve learned (the hard way) that I do better with just the whole food eating experience rather than trying substitutes, gluten food look-alikes, or “paleo friendly” pizza, breads and desserts.

    That you would share your story today is just reinforcement for me as to how important it is to hold my personal truths for myself. (note to mom, “NO, I can’t eat that just to be social.”)

    Thanks for being so inspiring.

  50. Hi Naomi, you look great!! When I read your story, it hit very close to home. I struggle with sugar, and am still trying to stop, it is really an addiction. I have had success with other diets as well, losing large amounts of weight, and over the years have gotten my weight down from 265 to around between 180 and 200 pds depending on what time a year it is. I was usually exhausted from so much exercise and irritable all the time.
    I have success with eating primal and have felt 100% better when eating primal, but I still seem to fall back into eating sugar in stressful times and when I am angry. When I say I eat sugar i mean by the bucket full in all forms, chocolate bars, donuts, icecream ect.
    Even though I know this is dangerous and will have a negative effect on my health, I continue to do it. Is there any tips you can give me for dropping the sugar habit once and for all?

    1. hiya misha! im going through the same problem as you! i know i shouldnt be eating all this crap and yet i still do it and do it to the absolute excess! and i can tell you one thing, its not your fault! i live in a flat w 9 girls who eat absolute crap and my brain sees that every single day. My nose smells toast every single day and my eyes see biscuits, oreos, ice cream and milk chocolate. so how can i have such strong will power as to reject all these foods?? We are constantly bombarded w all this crap its impossible to ignore. with time and practice we can but for that to happen extreme determination and calmness is a must! i reckon support is what i need, in terms of like a health buddy of some sort maybe? 🙂 if you wanna talk to anyone about your problems or even form like a buddy system where we can maybe support each other lemme know 😀

    2. Mischa, Can I suggest, instead of trying to “manage” your stressful and angry times with FOOD — you try to address what are actually psychological states with psychology?! We paleo/primals tend to point out that you cannot manage (physical) hunger with (psychological) therapy; well, you also cannot manage anger and stress with nutrients. (That’s not entirely true, but it’s a place to start in rejiggering your mindset! Broaden your viewpoint to include dealing with ‘mental states’ (psychology) as different-from-but-associated-with ‘brain states’ (physiology) right?)

      Learning some ‘self-calming’ methods such deep breathing, tai chi, affirmations, ‘dealing with difficult people’ training… I’ve never been fond of counting to ten, but hey, whatever works! By finding a method of changing your brain chemicals without using sugar and carbs (to physically change them), you will quite probably be able to stop responding to anger and stress with ingested chemicals! Please start with Julia Ross’s “The Mood Cure.” Marvelous helpful book — that addresses both diet and psychology!

      1. Thank you Elenor, Yes I also think that sugar just adds to my stress and anger, it is a visious circle. When I am eating Primal I am much calmer and happier. I know I can do this, but it also means all sugar behind forever, not even a little.
        I will read the book you suggested, thanks again for the support. 🙂

    3. Much like Elenor said, you have to deal with WHY you are stressed (or any other emotion that triggers the eating) first. Some people eat because they are lonely, bored, stressed, etc. Instead of going for food, we should seek comfort in a close friend. It’s human nature to want comfort, love, and belonging. Food only very temporarily provides that (if at all), being around other humans does a better job.

      My sugar addiction was so bad at one point that I got angry that my husband (then boyfriend) would not leave me alone so that I could finish off eating the ice cream that was in the freezer. I was pushing away love for a sugar high to make me feel better. That’s when you know something is not right.

      1. Hi Naomi, I can totally relate to the ice cream story , thank you for your reply and tips. 🙂

  51. what a super success story! You look so happy and vibrant now! Congratulations!

  52. This is amazing, how wonderful results, I believe that this post is a “mind change” for a lot of people.

    Thank you

  53. Day-um! Girl! You went from someone who looked uncomfortable in her own skin to …day-um!
    Nothing is sexier than a beautiful truthful smile that tells the world how beautiful you think you are.

  54. That is absolutely amazing! im kinda like you in a sense that i lost so much weight in so little time by over exercising/ calorie restriction and then i lost my period and thought shit! i need to eat! but my mind was still controlling and whenever i would eat the restriction period that came was crucial. I have quite a lotta shit going on now but reading your story just tells me that i will go through it, i will survive and but i must be strong!

    thanks for being such an inspiration, you look like a million dollar baby 😉

    1. Be compassionate with yourself. It doesn’t matter how strong you are… you’re going to fail at some point. If you don’t know how to be compassionate with yourself (many people don’t), I suggest reading Brene Brown’s books. Good luck to you.

    2. I’m going to reiterate Naomi’s statement about being compassionate with yourself. About 25 years or so ago (when I was in high school, or maybe junior high), I read an article called “How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy.” I saved it for several years and would pull it out periodically and reread it. The advice boiled down to “don’t be harder on yourself than you are your friends.” When you make a mistake, or slip up, or even fail at something and want to say “How could I be so stupid?” or “I’m such an idiot/failure/whatever,” think about what you’d tell a friend in the same situation. Would you tell your friend that he/she was stupid or a failure or whatever? Or would you tell your friend that it’s okay, everyone makes mistakes, you’re only human, or whatever, and offer words of encouragement? Mind you, being compassionate with yourself takes practice. Every time I said something cruel to myself, I would have to stop and then tell myself what I would say to a friend. It got easier with practice, but it’s still not perfect, I still slip up every now and then, but then I turn around and forgive and encourage myself.

  55. You are an inspiration. I do not have to tell you to ‘keep it up’ because clearly, you got this under control. Way to take your life back!

  56. Thank you for sharing your journey, so much of your story I can relate to…
    Wish I could give you a big big hug, you inspire me and make me feel like I am not alone (and a freak like too often my family and friends do…:-( ).
    Thank you again and keep being strong and much happiness to you.
    Chantal

  57. Lovely….just lovely. Naomi, stories like yours continue to inspire me.
    I’m only a few months into this wonderful world and can’t wait to post my own story down the track.
    Well done!

  58. !!!! beautiful !!! I am showing this to everybody, congratulations !!!!

  59. you look amazing!!

    i’m similar to you and am losing weight quickly with chronic cardio. i started at 309lbs and now i’m at 250 (still have a ways to go). i already have a lot of loose skin. did it stretch back over time? did going primal help it stretch back? thanks!

    1. Madi,

      No, my loose skin really did not go back to “normal” after losing so much weight. Please reconsider the cardio and start lifting weights. Your body will thank you for it later.

  60. Naiomi,
    Congrats! I hope I can say the same one day about the disordered eating. I suffer from binge eating due to obsessive tracking and restriction of my food intake. This started about a year ago and I have gained a lot of weight. It has been very heartbreaking for me because I had starved myself into quite a thin person a year ago. I don’t even like to go in public anymore. I had tried to cut carbs in the past, but did not understand that you had to add the fat. It has been kind of scary, but I have found that I really enjoy bacon and eggs for breakfast instead of oatmeal.
    I hope that I am where you are soon!

    1. C. Allison,

      Baby steps and self-compassion are the key to overcoming this. You have to first realize you are GREAT just as you are. Once you can truly love yourself, then you will respect your body that much more. I don’t believe in jumping in with both feet when it comes to changing something this big. Changing one small habit at a time is great. I’m so happy to hear your eggs and bacon transformation! I got my husband to make the switch about 6 months ago also and I know he feels better too. 🙂

  61. I’m late chiming in, just finally had a chance to sit down at the computer, but wanted to add a comment on the sweetner/stevia discussion. I’m pretty much primal–about 90/10. However I drink iced tea all day which I used to sweeten with stevia. I’m always sipping on one. I had arthritis in my knees and took every supplement I ever heard of that might help. I exercise a lot. Some days were better than others, but the good days didn’t seem to be related to anything I was doing. It was just random.

    Then I read a report that said women who drank diet drinks actually gained more weight than those who drank sugar-sweetened beverages. Their bodies secreted just as much insulin (fat storage hormone) even though the drinks were non-caloric because there are sensors in the mouth that register with the pancreas telling it to secrete insulin because the body THINKS sugar is coming. A light bulb went off. Insulin is an inflammatory and I was causing a constant, low-level secretion of it. Within two days of stopping stevia my arthritis was gone! And has stayed gone for six months now.

  62. Naomi,
    thank you for sharing your story- it’s truly inspiring. My boyfriend and I went Primal almost 3 months ago. Over this past year I’ve lost 100 pounds, but the last few weeks I’ve struggled to feel motivated for a number of reasons. Your story is incredibly motivating. You were beautiful before but your strength and your courage make you even more so now.

    1. Tressie,

      If you’re lacking motivation, you need to take a look at the WHYS of staying with this lifestyle change. WHY is it important to you? Are your WHYS big enough???

  63. WOW WOW WOW good for you 🙂 ps great smile your friend is right

  64. Wow, what an amazing success story!! Dedication & hardwork truly do pay off! I have found that what makes healthy eating, exercising, & staying motivated easy is the right mindset. A weight loss mindset is 90% of the game if you wish to see lasting success! Diet & exercise is only 10% of the solution. Thank you for sharing your story!

    1. JoLynn,

      There is a reason why 99% (is that the correct statistic?) of people who lose weight put it back on. Diet and exercise is actually pretty easy, but maintaining the new body composition is impossible without the change in mindset. 🙂

  65. What a GREAT story! So inspiring- and your smile is so wonderful it makes me smile, too!

    For the mental aspects you mention, you might consider (if you haven’t already) trying Emotional Freeing Technique, Tapas Acupressure Technique and/or EMDR to settle those right down forever. I’ve been using EFT since 2005, TAT for a few years and just experienced EMDR this year. They are each incredible and the three used tag-team on emotional problems is fantastic! The first two are free to learn off the web. I got EMDR through a therapist. Give them a try- it’s well worth the effort!

    1. Felicia,

      Thank you for the advice. I have used EFT in the past with no success. I will look into the other techniques though. I remain open-minded.

      1. EFT cured me of my lifelong juice habit (since childhood.) Daily must have to have not had in months. Used also for light coca-cola use and now sugar in general as I’m primal, but still ate a bit daily. Don’t give up too soon using it! TAT works too but eft is a bit faster.

  66. AWESOME job, lady! And, you figured it out while you’re still so young. Think about all those years of wellness and feeling good you have ahead of you. With that smile lighting up the joint, maybe you already are!

  67. Awesome just awesome. I to am trying to change my life around and this is definitely motivating. Keep up the good work.

    NickyB

    1. NickyB,

      Just remember on your journey that you are worth it! And remember all of your successes. One accomplishment will build on another and keep you motivated! 🙂

  68. Your story and photos are awesome! Thank you for sharing this. I’m curious how your obese family members are experiencing your success. Genuine happiness? Envy? Denial?

    Blessings to you!

    1. Russell,

      My family members mostly do not speak to me. There is a lot of envy and ill feelings that I cannot change within them.

  69. Your story is amazing and inspiring. You should be so proud of what you have accomplished and all of the obstacles that you have overcome. I am inspired by your dedication. Keep up the great work!

  70. Wow that is just brilliant and so inspirational, your smile says it all, well done. 🙂

  71. Whoa. This is one of the most amazing transformations I’ve seen on this site. It ranks up there with Papa Grok Parsons.

  72. Hi Naomi,

    I have to say you are absolutely gorgeous, that has not changed but I had to examine the tats to make sure that was you in the end photos. Your fiance is a lucky dude! But I have to say, if you have to ask him to help you around the house you might want to consider some more changes.

  73. Naomi- Great job! Thank you for sharing your story. I live in Spokane too. I have lived in many places and it is the best! Love the people & the outdoors. Take care! Hope

  74. Congrats Naomi! I’m really excited for you.. I was also called Miss Piggy by this kid on the bus while the rest of the bus just laughed at me and nobody ever did anything about it. I am so happy for you!

  75. What a wonderful journey! I started the primal lifestyle on Feb 22, 2013 at 279lbs, and your story reminds me that this journey is worth the effort and that changing your life is possible. Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you lots of joy and success in the future! WTG!!! 🙂

    1. Rebecca,

      Congrats on your own journey! Starting is always hard, but worth it! Change IS POSSIBLE!

  76. Amazing Job! You have come such a long way and you look awesome! Well done!

  77. This is a very inspiring story for me, and resonates very closely with my own. My big hurdle right now is deciding whether or not to abandon my life-long vegetarianism. After thirty years, it is part of who I am, but I am afraid it is also part of what is killing me and has helped keep me 30-80 pounds overweight most of my life. I hope that you have continued success, and that all of the new research being done on high-fat, low-card lifestyles will change the way we look at obesity, and ourselves.

    1. Lydia,

      Part of the problem is that we allow ourselves to be defined by what we do. Example: I run. Therefore, I often define myself as a runner. However, what if a tragedy happened and I could no longer run? We can’t define ourselves by what we do!

      We also have to be open-minded to self-experiementation and also realizing that what might be healthy for one person, won’t be for another.

      If something isn’t working for you, why are you holding on to it so tightly? You need to examine your reasoning.

      I had my blood panels done last month and my triglycerides are very low and cholestrol levels are EXCELLENT. I eat a lot of saturated fat and no wheat and very little sugar. I also do not have good genes. But, with my dietary habits, I can affect change. So can you. 🙂

      Look deep within yourself.

  78. You’re amazing! So inspiring!!!

    Haven’t got the words to say how awesome I think what you’ve done is!!!!

  79. Hi Naomi ~

    First of all I want to say how much I admire your honesty about your family’s attitude about “that’s just the way we are.” I find that so sad. Especially when they can see the results of your efforts. Just plain sad.

    I agree with so much of what you’ve stated in your story and answers to some of the posts. Self-knowledge is a key factor and I, too, believe we can affect change in our own lives when we’re of the right mindset.

    My biggest challenge in going Primal has been giving up my beloved Diet Pepsi. Right now I’m tapering down on my consumption with the goal of giving it up for good. I have no problem with giving up all grains and processed foods. I still eat a little dairy such as shredded cheddar cheese in my scrambled eggs.

    I had to check your tats too to make sure those before/after pics were of the same person. I also have a couple of tats (one on each arm) and have been lifting weights to help lessen the extra skin after weight loss. I want to LGN too. 🙂

    Thank you for your very inspirational (and thought-provoking) story; keep on smiling!

  80. Hi, Great story. I know this post is old, so I may not get a response, but I’m curious how you’re doing with OCD. Have you developed any new thoughts on how to combat OCD since this article? Thanks ahead for your thoughts.