November 01 2013

I Am Healed from the Inside Out!

By Guest

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!

It’s a privilege to write to you and I have been meaning to do so for months now.

I am a Registered Nurse and was taught the Standard American Diet (SAD), therefore, I taught my patients the same, “whole grains and brown rice are good for you!”

After my incredible Primal transformation, I started teaching the Primal lifestyle to my patients and have been passionate about teaching this lifestyle to everyone.

My story begins in early 2012 when my soon-to-be-husband, David, told me about an interesting podcast he had heard by Tom Woods who interviewed Mark Sisson. He was fascinated and thus continued to learn more about The Primal Blueprint. After David was convinced of this Primal lifestyle, he tried to convince me. I remember saying, “but David, you NEED grains!” “Why?” he asked. “Well, I’m not sure, but it’s part of the food pyramid.” I look back at that silly conversation now and giggle!

Later, after a little private research of my own, I started to eat Primal most of the time with David and felt better. Months later in June 2012, I went to a doctor and hesitantly started an oral birth control pill as our wedding day was nearing. I was put on a very low dose of estrogen birth control due to the horrible experience I had had in the past with an oral form of birth control.

You see, I grew up with clear skin. I had occasional breakouts on my forehead in high school, but that was about it. When I graduated high school and was getting ready to go to college, I went to my first OBGYN appointment. The midwife there suggested birth control to clear the little breakout I currently had on my forehead and I unknowingly took her advice. Months later, I had large, red and painful blemishes ALL over my face. I was embarrassed and depressed. I then went to a dermatologist who put me on Acutane for 6 months which was horrific to say the least. After 6 months of Acutane and stopping the birth control my face cleared, but the scars remained. Eventually, the scars lightened and my face looked better, but I was left with indentations in my skin. My skin was no longer smooth and even.

Back to my story, I started the low estrogen dose of birth control in June. By August 2012 when David and I got married, I started to see my skin have an occasional breakout or two, but I still looked great on my wedding day!

Brian - Wedding Day

Months after our wedding, I noticed the same reactions with my skin just as before. Breakouts and redness. I knew right away what the cause was, so I stopped the birth control immediately and started some other form which was not as systemic.

I was back to the redness, breakouts, and scarring as I waited for the hormones to run its course through my body. I continued to eat mostly Primal and started Cecilia Wong Skincare (hand-crafted organic products) which both helped my skin. Then, I decided to go board with The Primal Blueprint and try the 21 day challenge in May 2013.

I took a picture of my skin before and after the challenge to see if there would be an effect. My results left me speechless. In just 21 days, my breakouts went away, the redness lightened up immensely, and the scarring was fading. I was relieved and SO happy!

Briana - Before and After 21 Days on The Primal Blueprint

The scarring has continued to drastically fade and I now feel confident in going out in public without makeup on, whereas before that would have been a death sentence.

Here I am with very minimal makeup on.

Happy Briana!

Besides my skin transformation, I have had many other incredible results with eating Primal: I no longer have bloating/pain after eating and my stomach is always flat; I no longer deal with any occasional constipation or other unwanted intestinal symptoms; I have energy all throughout the day; I think clearly and feel alert; I lost inches in my stomach, arms, and legs; I easily gained muscle tone.

Overall, I look and feel great. I am healed from the inside out!

Thank you, Mark!


Be Primal

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76 thoughts on “I Am Healed from the Inside Out!”

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  1. It never ceases to amaze me how diverse the benefits of this lifestyle truly are. Congratulations, you look wonderful!

    1. Well said. I think the diversity of benefits is one of the reasons we PBers are inclined to stick with this thing for the rest of our lives. This is, in a sense, a magic pill that improves every aspect of our lives

  2. This really makes me want to go primal. My hormones are all out of whack and I had acne even worse than yours. But everytime I try to restrict grains and dairy – I binge. I’ve failed many times, and although the paleo diet sounds like it could work for me, I can never seem to go a full week without collapsing and eating everything 🙁 I also have PCOS which just complicates things. Anyone else struggle with similar issues?

    1. I’ve fallen off the wagon more times than I can count, Krystal. I keep trying. After yesterday, I sorted through my children’s Halloween candy and let them keep a few pieces, had a few Almond Joys because they are my candy addiction, sent the rest to work with Husband so he can share at the break table, and woke up this morning and cleaned out the cabinets (again!).

      I find I try to do too much at once – the true story of my life. Don’t stress every aspect of being Primal at the same time. Getting food in line is critical, then sleep. Don’t be afraid to eat ad libitum the first few days – you WILL most definitely notice a diminished appetite and will no longer be eating two burger patties and an avocado to accompany three scrambled eggs for breakfast by your third or fourth day. Unless you’re already used to being very active, don’t worry about exercise too much. Just focus on food until you feel adjusted to eating this way, even if it takes a few weeks. Then work on getting exercise, etc. in line.

      It’s hard for me because my children are Obligate Carbovores who think I’m ruining their lives by depriving them of pasta. I keep GF versions of pasta and bread around for them, but these become dangerous triggers for me, so we have less and less as the time passes. Eventually I’ll get them to go primal. My husband? He will never, ever give up his bagels and English muffins (I hope and pray) so I’m dealing with more than a few landmines around here.

      If you don’t have those issues, it will be easier. Just get those foods out of the house. Don’t worry about the wasted money, think of your health. Don’t go grocery shopping hungry.

      Get the 21-Day Transformation guide and follow it faithfully. Get Primal Cravings to make primal versions of your favorite foods. Eventually you’ll want that stuff less and less anyway, and will get cleaner.

      OH, and as much as I’m a nutrition nerd, I had to absolutely stop reading info contrary to what Mark and others teach w/r/t GF/Primal/Paleo. I’d think “hey, bread isn’t so bad and calories do matter to an extent so if I just limit my bread to a little here and there I’ll be OK” but guess what? I know better and I’m just deluding myself. So go on an internet fast if you have to, keep the PB by your bedside as your sole reference point until you get it body, mind, and soul.

      1. @ Krystal and Amy: I don’t really understand the idea of “falling off the wagon.” I don’t see eating primally as a black-and-white, absolute issue. I spend most of the time eating at least 80% primal, but sometimes its closer to 100% and sometimes it’s closer to 50%. If I decide to eat junk, it’s usually a conscious decision to cheat and I’m willing to endure the bloat or brain fog or whatever for the moment of junkfood pleasure. I can’t say that I’ve ever “binged”, but if I did, I would wake up the next day and start again with healthy choices. In life, we can only do our best and we always have the rest of our lives to do better. Krystal, so you binge–so what? It’s not like you’re shooting heroine or beating your children. If you can only go five days primal, then have a binge weekend, then back to five days primal–so effing what? That’s still a lot better than many Americans eat. Just celebrate your successes. Please forgive me if I sound preachy; I just think that rigid thinking is a big obstacle to personal growth and that expecting perfect adherence to any program, and perfect discipline or willpower, is a recipe for failure. People who have perfect discipline, who never fail on their diets or in their goals, are usually WAY more screwed up than people who give themselves permission to be human and let themselves fail. You know the kind of uptight, overbearing person I’m talking about. You’re clearly not that type, and that’s awesome.

        There is a reason Mark suggests we have an 80/20 rule. Amy, what if instead of saying that you “keep trying” to be primal, you just declared yourself successful? If you’re doing it, then you’re doing it, whether or not you still eat candy occasionally. You’re not “trying”, you’re doing it.

        I am a forty year old woman, with about 16% bodyfat, and very disciplined about my eating and fitness regimen. I look awesome and I care about my health. But yesterday, when my office had a catered lunch, I ate the tops off 5 mini cupcakes (cuz I mainly wanted the frosting) and had about a cup of macaroni and cheese, which is one of the few pre-primal comfort foods I really miss. I had a little bloat afterwards and a strange sense of dizzyness. But did I feel guilty? Hell no! And I don’t consider that falling of the wagon. It was a cheat, sure. And since I track my calories on Fitday, I simply entered the crap into the website instead of my usual primal food, and went about my day. Today I’m back to normal healthy eating and life is good.

        You guys may not need my two cents’, but maybe someone will benefit from reading this…

        1. Congratulations, you can veer off and have some junk food and go right back to eating well and be healthy.

          I’m 37 with almost 40% body fat and a single cupcake or some candy just does me in and I will go on a binge for days and days. Eating foods that have gluten in them makes me fell ill yet I feel compelled to eat them non-stop. If I start with a slice of bread, in spite of myself, in spite of knowing it’s a bad choice, in spite of knowing I have other healthier options, I find myself filling my face with bread or pasta like an addict who craves another drink even though he’s already too drunk to stand.

          I never used to think food addiction was real. I never believed that people had uncontrolled food issues, only bad morals and sinful gluttonous eating patterns and a lack of concern for manners w/r/t food. Years of doing some trials and eliminations and calorie counting and dutifully exercising only to go nowhere and break down into a sobbing mess because I could not control myself around food taught me differently.

          For me, I cannot go off the path. I cannot have one cupcake and move on. I cannot eat a Snickers bar and be satisfied by it. I will eat junk until I am sick and bloated and still crave more, it’s like a frigging addictive behavior – no, it’s not LIKE addiction, it is addiction.

          Alcoholics “fall off the wagon” often when they begin recovery. I wouldn’t advise an alcoholic or drug addict to just have one beer or one bump and move on. I know which foods trigger my compulsive eating and know I have to avoid them in order to stay healthy and keep my weight and my sanity in line. When I eat those foods and trigger binges of ridiculous proportions, I know I’ve slipped back into the pattern of addiction/self-recrimination/endless promises to change.

          I just have to change, and I can’t eat a piece of candy or cheat. It’s hard to resist those foods, but still easier to not eat those foods than it is to go through the physical and psychological pain of a binge/guilt cycle.

        2. I’m with tkm on this one. I have been “primal” for almost 4 years. But guess what, when I go off the wagon, I am like any other recovering addict deep in recidivism. this time of year (2 1/2 months!!) is the hardest. bowls of candy, plates of cookies, pies, etc. “Oh I can have a couple, I’ll eat better tomorrow to make up for it” Wrong. I cram it all in my pie hole. all it takes is one bite. I have no off switch. I don’t stop when I feel full – I keep going. and now, all 4 years of progress is gone. I have to start all over again. Today.

        3. I am with Krystal and Amy. If I ever write my success story, the title will probably be “I Had To Treat It Like An Addiction.” Like Amy says, for me it’s rarely just one meal or one day of indulging, it can trigger weeks of addictive and binge-like eating. First of all, I have significant, difficult to control thyroid symptoms that have contributed to other hormone problems and I may be in early menopause. I have read elsewhere that women with thyroid and hormone problems may have more problems cutting back on carbs, and I think that is true with me. Also, we have debated here whether there is a real opioid effect from gluten; we know it produces exorphins, just not if it crosses the blood-brain barrier. It does with me. I am very sensitive to morphine/codeine like pain killers, will get mild withdrawal symptoms after taking only 2 or 3 doses, usually headaches and nausea, same as when I get off gluten, and eating gluten gives me a definite pain-killing kind of “high,” especially if I have been off a while. And then I get a “low” that is really hard to resist “treating” with more gluten. One of my breakthroughs has been looking up the symptoms and timeline of opiate withdrawal, which both explained a lot of my weird symptoms, like significant increase in runny nose and diarrhea in the first few days (common in opiate withdrawal because they are so constipating, and gluten is also constipating to me), and also helped in figuring out why I have trouble getting past certain ‘hurdles,’ for me especially the 3-day and 2-week points are tough to get past, and those correlate with common phases/timelines of opiate withdrawal. I should make clear I am not saying what I go through is anything like people going through withdrawal from true drug addictions, but I do think it seems much more difficult for me than what most people describe here.

          So I do see my ups and downs on this journey as ‘falling off the wagon,’ because it can be so dang difficult for me to climb back on. But I keep trying, and I do better if I take things slower. I am just focusing on staying completely away from gluten (I should mention that gluten also definitely affects my thyroid symptoms, even the size of my thyroid gland noticeably changes whether I am on or off gluten). I still eat rice and plenty of fruit. And I still drink Dr. Pepper – horrible, I know, but getting off sugar and/or caffeine (don’t like coffee or tea, and caffeine in a pill gives me unpleasant over-caffeinated symptoms followed by a crash) at the same time as getting off gluten has just not been possible for me. I am not giving up, but like Amy said, even knowing how bad certain foods make me feel and how they my trigger a prolonged downward spiral, it still can be incredibly difficult not to eat them. So I need to treat gluten like an alcoholic treats bars – don’t even go there. Ever.

        4. I agree with Krystal, Amy and Ashley. I’m fine if I don’t touch the sugar (for me), but just one bite will have me back on the stuff uncontrollably within a couple of weeks. If I’m off it, I don’t crave it, don’t think about it. Then someone will offer/insist I have some and I think to myself, “one little bit won’t hurt”, but once it’s back in my system, the cravings return and I give in to them. I just have to learn to say “NO!”

        5. TMK~

          I’m not sure if you will see this or not, but man, do I appreciate your attitude and you are 100% right, when we think we have to be perfect we have more issues then we imagine!!!! Any recommendations on a book to read that will help obtain such an attitude, sense of acceptance of one self and confidence????


          P.s. If anyone else reads this any suggestions?

        6. TKM- I totally agree with you!!! The less I beat myself up about me “cheats” the better I feel and the better I follow the diet for longer periods of time. The 80/20 rule is why I feel more comfortable sticking with PB over other versions of “Paleo” diets. When people ask me about my diet and say they are thinking of switching, I always tell them that nobody is perfect, and that whatever 20% non-primal they need to do to stay mentally happy is great 🙂 .
          I used to have at least one all-day cheat binge on the weekend. I would think, “today is my day to cheat, so I have to make the best of it! I’ll have cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and sandwiches for lunch, and pasta for dinner, and sweets allllll day long!” And then I would feel terrible and regret all that food I ate! I have found that if I just loosen up on the weekends and don’t force every meal in one day to be a binge, or every meal to be primal, it goes a lot smoother. I had a primal breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner yesterday, but when we went out with friends I had some wine spritzers (made with Sprite) and a bowl of French onion soup complete with bread on-top! I woke up feeling normal and not guilty, and I plan on being Primal again today. Tomorrow, I’m making homemade pasta for my husband and myself. So the weekends are just kind of free-times for me, but I have found I feel better if I don’t force myself to binge all weekend, so now, I just eat what I want (which is more and more often Primal food).
          I understand “falling off the wagon,” as I live in Germany and when friends and family visit, I like to indulge in all the goodies and traditional food with them, and end up taking a week or two off Primal completely. But then I go back to it like an old, faithful friend!
          I love your description of just saying, I eat Primal, instead of beating yourself up by saying, but I eat this or that or I fall off the wagon sometimes. If you are attempting this diet and you can follow it even 50% of the time, you are way better off than anybody who doesn’t even attempt to make themselves healthier or look into this kind of information!
          Keep you heads up, people! Just reading this blog means you are proactive about your health! Be proud of yourselves 🙂

        7. Oh, and Amanda! I just saw your book request!
          I can’t think of a book specifically about gaining that level of confidence and acceptance, but if you are looking to focus more on the good in your life and maybe have a different perspective, I would recommend Tuesdays With Morrie (its a tear-jerker, so be careful!)
          If you are very open-minded, I would also check out Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah!
          I hope you get something positive from these books! I know I have 🙂

        8. Krystal and Amy,
          The Truth About Beauty by Kat James is a great book. The author had an eating disorder for many years but was able to over come it through diet. It’s a great book and it may help.

        9. Oh, tkm, you speak the truth!!! I’ve been following the primal plan since August 26 when I committed to a lifestyle change.

          I feel great, have tons of energy, my 51-year-old skin looks great, my mind is sharper/clearer, my mood is stable and good, and…. I weigh myself once a month and I’ve lost 19 pounds!

          Have I ‘cheated’?? Heck yeah!!! I don’t even like the word ‘cheat’… I say I’m ‘eating off plan’. I plan for the ‘off plan’ meals and make sure I do well for the rest of the day. After a weekend off plan, my body actually can’t wait to get back ON plan!

          I really can’t stress how much this is a lifestyle change… not a ‘diet’ or short term modification. Once you have that mindset, and realize that it’s the bigger picture that matters, you don’t focus as much on the small missteps. Who does ANYTHING 100% of the time and does it perfectly? It’s exactly those types of highly restrictive eating plans (or diets) that cause people to give up as no one can tolerate them for very long.

          80% Primal is WAY BETTER than 100% SAD any day!!!

        10. Very well put tkm. I give it my best and regroup when needed. I’m only human and I love it.

      2. Hi Amy

        I have these issues too, in fact I’m just coming off a 2 week sugar and gluten binge today (I will not eat them today).

        I find that if I beat myself up about it all it generally takes longer to come off it again, so I am gentle with myself and have faith in my own ability to get back on the ‘wagon’. Stressing yourself out is not productive, even if you feel that it is part of the process you use to start eating primal again.

        You can do it and so can I, it’s just going to take longer than other people. I promise myself that I will not give up and that’s all that matters.

        Good luck to all those who struggle with this way of eating, because it’s not easy resisting the modern world around us.


        1. Hello Ashley. This came out yesterday and may be another piece for your journey. “The Grain That Damages The Human Brain” Do search and know it may be true for you. Hmmm search is not bringing it up. Was posted yesterday. Green Med Info site. What is the poilicy regarding posting links here?

      3. I eat primal, but I still have a huge appetite. Because of such, I’m having a hard time losing weight. I don’t know why I eat so much. I’m trying ketosis so I’m eating a lot of meat and less vegetables. Does anyone know what could be the cause of always being hungry?

        1. Kimberly, How long have you been primal? Maybe you just need more time. Or, maybe you’re working out so much that you’re stoking your appetite? I’m hardly the expert here except from the personal, anecdotal viewpoint. I used think about food ALL the time, and felt hungry all the time. My theory is that I was leptin resistant and had something wrong with my ghrelin levels. Do some googling here to get the correct information but these are the hormones governing when you feel hungry and when you register being full. It took being primal for awhile before that subsided for me. I’m not sure how long but not overnight and not within a month, probably several months. I still have a vivid memory of skipping breakfast one day and not being able to eat lunch until 1:30pm and feeling absolutely ravenous. I ate a huge chicken breast on a sandwich, a bag of chips (small), and an apple, plus a drink, and then sat through a seminar STILL FEELING HUNGRY for another hour and a half. That’s how long it took my brain to get the message from my stomach that I was no longer hungry. Check out Dr. Jack Kruse’s Leptin Reset Protocol which is supposed to help reset your leptin levels which should address the hungry all the time issue. I never followed it explicitly because by the time I read it I was no longer having the problems with hunger and satiety. If I do start having them, it’s usually because I’ve been cheating with sugar and I often cut it out entirely for awhile and focus on having a heavy protein breakfast. That seems to help. Good luck, hang in there, and keep at it!

        2. Are you eating enough fat? I have a good dose of protein/fat for breakfast (which my dogs/cat like to share) every morning. I noticed that I can work through lunch without thinking of food. if i do eat lunch; it’s a clear meat broth with veges or a big salad w/fat dressing. typically, I really don’t need dinner after all that. Don’t skimp on the fat!

        3. Kimberly. I always had trouble dropping weight when I ate to much protein. Once I upped my healthy fats like nuts, avocado, animal fats, and coconut oil; decreased my protein and ate more lower carb veggies I did better. However I did seem to break out more, and I’m not sure if it’s because I upped my fats or if I was having to much nuts or dairy (heavy whipping cream, sour cream, cheese, and butter). I may just not be able to eat dairy. Anyway that really took care of my hunger and I usually eat 2 Meals a day when I eat that way.

    2. It’s November 1st, and there’s no time like the present. See how you feel on Thanksgiving.

      Good Luck!

    3. Krystal,

      Not sure if you read yesterday’s post but it touches on this topic and may help you. Also search the web for the article “The Extroadinary Science of Addictive Junk Food” and read that article.

      That article is helpful in that it sheds some light onto how addicting some foods are (purposefully). This is important to understand, so if you decide to “cheat” or “treat” you have a deeper understanding of why it’s so hard to stop. I think this knowledge alone makes it easier to resist such foods, and helps remove or ease some of the guilt so many people experience when they do binge.

      Usually trying to resist those foods or moderate them is a losing situation. So
      don’t keep it in the house or you will likely eat it!

      1. Yep, definitely agree Luke! I think most of us here understand the benefits of eating primally–it’s just the psychology of actually doing it that gets in our way. As someone with a history of problems with falling off the wagon like Amy and Krystal, I can say it helps enormously to explore info about mindset, willpower, and the like. It also helps to realize that there are aspects of Primal life that don’t involve food and its addiction, like better sleep, more sun, stress management, effective exercise, etc., all of which have positive effects on your health and happiness independent of your diet.

      2. I agree with you totally, Luke. If I have a problem with any food, I just don’t allow it into my home. Control for me starts at the supermarket. Once it’s in the door – I eat it period.

    4. Yes, I have struggled with giving up certain foods, and I have the PCOS/insulin resistance thing going, too. For me, it helped to restrict things gradually. For instance, I first gave up sugar. Once I felt like I had that under control, I gave up wheat, then rice and other grains. Then white potatoes. I am starting to lower the amount of dairy in my diet, but haven’t given it up entirely. I still use cream in my coffee, and I still eat cheese, but not nearly as much. I also occasionally eat legumes, but in very small quantities. I know I would be much farther along if I’d been able to go primal/paleo 100%, but this approach is working (slowly) for me. Good luck!

      1. Thanks for that Janey. I’ve taken the same approach and that’s the only way I could do it too. I wish I had a story similar to some of these that start and a few months or a year later they’ve reached their goals. But, I’m simply not one of those people. Slow and steady is working for me though. It just means my success story will take 2-3 years instead of 1 but I’m confident it’s coming.

    5. Maybe just give up the grains first without worrying about the dairy so much. If you aren’t lactose intolerant, then it shouldn’t be a big deal. Also, choose high fat dairy over low fat because less of the negative stuff is in the high fat dairy.

      Consider alternatives or lower “toxicity” items ie. quinoa instead of pasta, almond milk instead of regular milk (I love the unsweetened vanilla), primal granola instead of cereal, primal muffins, crackers, and breads instead of conventional ones. Most of these are still in the treat food category because they are often heavy in nuts or nut flours but if you let yourself have them once or twice a week maybe you won’t feel deprived. LOTS of recipes out there including on this site (look for the reader recipes PDF when you sign up for the mailing list) as well as others sites: PaleoOMG, Civilized Caveman, The Clothes Make the Girl, Nom Nom Paleo, I Breathe…I’m Hungry, Pinterest boards, etc. You can find almost anything Primal-ized to be a substitute for your favorite grain recipes. Again, watch out on the nut flours and overdoing them.

      Try also eating a very hefty protein breakfast (like 30-50 grams of protein). That is really good for kicking cravings in the butt.

    6. Krystal, I’m glad you posted since there are so many replys here in support of your struggle. I would encourage you to give primal a go like Amy recommends.
      I after a year of ups and downs, I have come to understand that treating the problem (binge foods) as an addiction is better than allowing a taste here and there (yes I’m a former frosting eater too). Each time I ‘use’ it gets easier and easier to go a bit further. So now I see it as “I used to eat that but I don’t now” foods. I don’t like a puffy tummy on me so when I see that food I see it as a puffy tummy and its easier to leave it be. Also, throwing food away is helpful – like pouring that alcohol down the drain, it can be theraputic and easier to see it for the garbage it is. As tkm seems to feel (my interpretation as to what it meant to me at least), we are all on the wagon, sometimes we are being drug along and sometimes we are riding happily.
      As I tell my son, do the best you can, sometimes it’ll be better than at other times. Just do your best and keep improving on what that is.

    7. Especially when you are just starting out you HAVE to get rid of all temptation in the house. Treat it like you’re a heroin addict. If you have the carbs, you can’t help it, you will want to eat them. At that point you are a victim of your physiology. Once you’ve gotten past that first 2 weeks, you won’t have carb cravings nearly as bad (or they will be easier to satiate with alternatives). One of my biggest challenges is my husband. He doesn’t follow paleo and likes to have carby snacks. Our rule is he can only have them in his office and they have to be out of sight.

      Another thing that helped me was

      I made a daily goal for myself that I would not eat grains or sugar. Just being able to click the button that I acheived that for a day is also a huge motivator.

      And finally, when you feel tempted, think about yourself. Think about your health. Think about what those carbs will do to your body. The documentary Fat Head has a great animation. Just visualize the havoc those things will wreak on your poor body and that should help you find the will power to get through the cravings!

    8. Hey Krystal, I struggle, too, but I’ve found that, unless I’m exercising super-hard, cravings are usually my body crying out for fat. I can eat too much protein, and if I don’t balance it with something, I end up with cravings. If I give in and eat chocolate, then I can end up on a total bender.

      I don’t have PCOS, but I do have some hormonal problem that’s been diagnosed as secondary amenorrhea, which is doctor-speak for “I don’t know what’s wrong, but you’re not producing enough estrogen or progesterone.” It’s very frustrating.

      I am finding that I do well eating low-carb *as long as* I’m eating enough fat. Too much protein and I end up unbalanced. I think I can only get about 20% of my calories from protein, and from there if I make 60% fat, I’m okay. But goodness, low-fat meat makes me feel like garbage. I can’t eat chicken breast with skin on these days — I’ll give it to my husband and keep the legs and thighs for myself.

      I don’t know if that helps, but it seems to work for me.

    9. Krystal,

      I struggle and I’m a paleo blogger. I’ve discussed total abstinence and addiction on my site.

      But I also advocate taking a long term view, being kind and caring towards oneself, and avoiding comparisons because this is a journey, and for some of us it can be long and bumpy, more so than for others.

      You have good advice here – reminders via education, immersion, extreme self-care and above all, persistence, will get you there.

    10. Its normal to fail, if you try to change whole ur life at once. At first just eat 1 crescent instead of 3 and put in it more healthy fats. Drink small capuchino instead of big one etc… if u r like me, it gonna take years, but still better than never 😉

  3. Good for you Briana!

    I often like to think what could have been possible if I had known about primal eating in high school.

    I too suffered from severe acne and eventually resorted to accutane while still in high school.

    At the very least, I used to fear having a child and being the one to pass down the propensity for acne when they hit their teen years….but now I feel I have the tools to help them if that ever comes to fruition.

    You look great and congratulations!

    1. I had acne as a teen and worried so much about passing it on to my child as well. I agree with you, now we have the tools to help them. 🙂

  4. Briana, great story. Won’t lie when I saw the first pic, I thought what is this girl talking about?? Then scrolling down I see you were dealing with some difficult skin issues. Amazing change! Congrats on the wedding!

  5. people who haven’t suffered with uncontrollable acne and scarring don’t know, but it makes the sun shine brighter when you can leave your house without feeling reviled.
    i also have hormonal acne that leaves deep scars and discolorations and have had my self-esteem slaughtered because of it. people on the train giving unsolicited advice, people in bars staring, little kids commenting, co-workers saying things like, “you’d be so pretty if it wasn’t for your face”; the list of public shamings goes on and on…
    ive been eating primally for only 5 weeks and have noticed a slight decrease in blackouts. its too soon to see any real difference, but the indicators are there. looking forward to salvaging some self-esteem.

    your story is a huge inspiration– thanks for putting your work out there.. those of us following this lifestyle to drop the shackles of public humiliation are grateful for your light.
    best of luck, sister!

  6. Briana, it’s fascinating to hear the different ways the primal diet has helped different people.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story and your beautiful pics!

  7. Congrats on the wedding and healing; you look amazing! I, too, have found major success going primal and it continues to get better.

    A month ago, I started using honey and apple cider vinegar as face cleanser and again, awesome results! In the morning, I splash warm water on face, pat dry, then put raw honey on my face and let it sit while I brush teeth, etc. I then rinse off using warm water, pat dry and use a cotton ball to apply a mixture of half ACV and half warm water. At night, I apply just the ACV, either straight or in the water/ACV mix(if you have sensitive skin). When I found this remedy, it was also suggested to apply olive or coconut oil to your face at night then rinse it with ACV but I have found such success with just the honey and ACV that I have yet to try it!

  8. After a few years of eating primal/paleo, and self-experimenting with a wide variety of foods to eliminate and then reintroduce to see the before/after effects, for me it turns out that dairy and chocolate (yes, even 80% or more dark chocolate) are the strongest factors in triggering acne outbreaks. Dairy is particularly bad for me, I even had to switch from butter to ghee and avoid dairy by-products in ingredient lists.

    Excess consumption of processed sugars and processed carbs is the next most severe trigger. And a combination of all of the above (like say, Halloween candy full of milk chocolate and processed sugars) is the perfect storm for bad skin.

    I don’t seem have any problems with breakouts from natural whole foods sugars or carbs, so I do fine with fruit and starches.

  9. Congrats! Keep up the good work. Living poof of what can be acheived when you rethink the food pyramid

  10. Way to go! And I’m not sure if it wad mentioned, but your hair looks wonderful in the After picture too!

  11. Thank you for sharing. Acne should be considered a marker for gluten intolerance or other food “allergies.” I guess any of the autoimmune diseases, really. Best of luck Briana, with the final healing.

  12. Briana, what a great story! I will for sure be sharing this with some friends of mine who struggle with the same skin type issues and feel helpless at times. Hopefully, your story will help my friend try Primal eating before they turn to serious medical treatments like accutane. Thank you!

  13. Briana, hope you read this. Congrats on your results with the primal diet. But for sure, you’re beautiful whether you have some scars on your face or not. The wedding photo is just lovely.

  14. so many wonderful “side effects” of ditching grain… every time my coworkers complain of a problem I say “primal eating will fix that”
    Arthritis – primal!
    pimples – primal!
    migrains – primal!
    eczema – primal!
    heartburn – primal!
    hair/nails – primal!
    fatigue – primal!
    hunger – primal!
    my coworkers now just say primal all the time whenever someone has a problem… and then they all laugh!

    🙂 I laugh too, but it’s not really funny…

  15. Nice! I had moderate to awful eczema breakouts as a child/teen/adult (around age 13 I basically had dandruff on my cheeks…super exciting for a teen girl right? and occasional scalp plaques/flakes/bleeding. Super gross and the dermatologist said “Just don’t scratch it.” Yes, thank you.)…have not had anything that bad since heading primal. I do notice that, especially in the drier months, more than a small amount of wheat or sugar will make my lips dry out and crack in the corners for a few days, and sugar will make my legs itch. Seriously. My husband is coming more and more on board w/ the diet so we’ll see if it helps alleviate his adult acne.

  16. Great work! lovely skin! as to the sugar addictions mentioned here, i found that fermented foods, specifically home made kraut, rich in probiotics, have made the sugar addiction really disappear! and, when i do indulge, not such a backlash, or unstoppable urge. Try it!

  17. Briana, isn’t is wonderful that we can change and heal inside and out, from the foods we eat. You look absolutely beautiful and proud!!

    I have had very similar benefits from going Primal. My skin isn’t 100% where I want it to be but it’s a million times better.
    Congratulations on your amazing transformation. Your story will be helping and encouraging others to go Primal!

  18. Tom Woods! Once you listen to that guy, you will never think the same way again. He is utterly brilliant. Congrats on the success, also, of course.

  19. It has always been great to read and see the success stories on Fridays. Briana, congratulations! The change is amazing!

    I usually scroll down and check out the comments, and this weeks comments hit home more than usual. The whole falling off the wagon thread was interesting, and I have been dealing with the same problem myself. I have been primal only since February and I’ve lost about 40 pounds so far. But the main goal for me is to get the blood chemistry into check. My family history includes a lot of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. What I have discovered lately is that when I up my carb intake even modestly, my weight will jump. I, too, crave the sweets if I eat even one. Then I bloat and gain weight. It comes off again when I get back to eating and moving primal again, but it is having to retake lost ground again. So I am learning that for me, for my body, I have to keep the carbs to roughly 50 or less per day to maintain or lose slowly. Every person’s body is different, but the primal lifestyle is the framework in which we can all learn to listen to and nurture our bodies. Some will find that they binge when they take in a single slice of cake or bread. Others will have a high carb day and think nothing of it. Either is ok. We learn what works for ourselves and live the healthy life within those bounds. I personally think that in the future I will be able to eat a higher carb meal someday without having to worry about going on a binge. But for now, while I am still on the beginning of this journey, I have to walk a straighter, narrower line.

    I guess what I am getting at is that this whole thing is a journey. We all use the primal plan as a framework, but we all also have to learn. Learn about food. About exercise. About how our bodies respond to changes in our primal efforts. So to all you who are fresher on this journey I would say keep after it. Be as strict as you need to be. But keep trying, keep doing. It will be easier as you get farther along. And I applaud those who are far ahead of me. You can be less strict and it is ok. I look forward to being where you are some day. And someday, my story will be posted on the Friday post.

  20. I am a sugar junkie! and there is no doubt in my mind that carbs are a KILLER!!!!!!. Carbs hurt you in so many ways from your health to your personality and sex drive. I have dealt with the effects of sugar for a long time and even though I understood what it was doing to me, I continued with my addiction. I feel great when doing LCHF but demon sugar always pulls me back. Today I will try again after going through a weekend of hell. From brain fog to nervous leg syndrome and just being nasty it sucks. LCHF relieves all of this and I function much better when eating this way. So you would think this would be the ultimate choice until a Hershey bar is sitting in front of you. Well let me tell you these carbs and others are POISON!!! If you are sick, depressed, lazy, bloated. constipated or just have given up you must stick to LCHF and stay away from the carbs. I know it can turn your life around and I have to do this once and for all. When I start here is how I eat. I start my day with two tablespoons of virgin olive oil. My food intake throughout the week consist of (bacon, eggs, steak, hamburger, fish, chicken, pork, butter, olive oil. sea salt, pepper, garlic, spices, certain vegetables, waist watchers soda, water, seltzer, coffee black and that’s that! I wish you all the best and stay true to yourself.

  21. Also my current weight is 360 pounds and I’m 6 foot 4. I had a goal weight of 250 but now my goal is to be a 38 waist instead PS I do use splenda once in awhile with heavy cream in my coffee!

  22. Please comment on my way of eating looking forward to hearing from someone. Also I don’t go crazy with protein when I eat it add lots of fat.

  23. You look beautiful…and healthy. You might want to have a consult with a dermatologist who specializes in working with different lasers. I had my old acne scarring fading removed…and I am a redhead very fair skin.
    Be well!

  24. Great story! No need to do hormonal birth control since you already know it makes such a big difference in your skin. I would STRONGLY recommend looking at the Fertility Awareness Method and read the book, “Taking Charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler or visit the website. You’ll never look back, plus learning more about your natural rhythm.

  25. I’m a nurse, too, and I remember how colleagues used to tell me that my kidneys would fall out when I went low carb back in 1998. Discovered primal/paleo in 2009 when I picked up Mark’s Blueprint as part of my ongoing education and journey. I’m nearly 49 and I’m leaner with more muscle than “kids” half my age.

    During my vacation in AZ last month, I spent mornings hiking and scrambling in the Superstition Mountains, without hunger and fatigue. And it’s an awesome feeling to be leaner and have better endurance than my younger-by-seven-years husband who bitterly clings to his carbs and sugars 😉

    1. Oops, I forgot to send congratulations on your success. You look great and I’ll bet you feel a lot better too. I love reading that a simple dietary change yielded such a dramatic result when pouring hormones and drugs–the “best” that medicine has to offer for this condition–into your body yielded nothing.

      I hope the rest of the medical profession catches up to primal/paleo eating and exercise; to do anything less is to shortchange our patients.

  26. I love this story and I love that she is a nurse. I am a nurse as well in school to become a registered holistic nutritionist. We need more healthcare professionals that realize the importance of diet to all aspects of health and healing.

  27. Congratulations, Briana, on choosing the PB lifestyle and reaping one of its many benefits – healthier/clearer skin. I’m so happy for you.

    Since starting the PB lifestyle my main challenge has been talking myself out of buying a non-Primal food. I have to think through all the benefits of not having it in the first place. Ninety-percent of the time this works. Control for me starts at the supermarket. And shopping the perimeter really helps.

    Ice cream is one non-Primal food that I’ve found particularly difficult to give up entirely so I started allowing it at one meal on Sat. or Sun. – and outside of my home. It still doesn’t come in the door. By allowing myself the “choice” of having it then I can forego having it during the rest of the week. So far this is working and there have been weekends where I didn’t even think of having it. Progress and not perfection.