I Cannot Believe the Way My Body Has Changed

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!

Today’s is a special edition of Primal Blueprint Real Life Stories. Last year, I put out a call for people to make a public commitment to going Primal in 2012. Over 500 Mark’s Daily Apple readers joined the “Success Story in the Making” challenge, submitting their personal goals, before photos, and updates throughout the year. At the beginning of this year, I reached out to the participants to see how they were doing, and the results were impressive. While it’s an ongoing journey for many of them (all of us!), the stories were familiar: weight lost, energy gained, illness overcome. Some of the participants were gracious enough to share their stories for an eBook I’ve put together. You can get it for free as a newsletter subscriber (see the details below). The following story from 26 year old Ganeesha is one of the inspiring stories included in the eBook.

First Submission – January 7, 2012

I’m Ganeesha. I’m 26. I’m Trinidadian. I’m a primary school teacher.

My goal for 2012 is twofold. First, I intend to kick my asthma’s ass. Second, I want to do it while getting back to the size I was most comfortable at.

And I want to do it while keeping butter, bacon and play in my life.

I look forward to Groking Out for the rest of my life 🙂

This first pic is what I looked like for all of 2011. I was 190 lbs.

Ganeesha - 2011

I went Primal at the end of November, but could not say no to corn until January 1st. I’ve lost 15 lbs so far. I’m 175 lbs right now.

This second pic is a picture of me 5 years ago, strutting (or at least not wobbling) my stuff down a runway in Barbados. I was 145 lbs. That’s what I want to be again.

Ganeesha - Barbados

Second Submission – April 5, 2012

I cannot believe the way my body has changed. Before I went fully Primal, I had lost about 15 pounds. Since January however, I have lost a further 25.

I’ve lost 40 lbs. And I feel freakin AWESOME.

Ganeesha - April 2012

Asthma’s ass has been successfully kicked. Asthma was the symptom, not the problem. The problem was gluten. Turns out, I’m allergic. :-s

I joined a gym. I go to spin once a week, twice if I’m being extra hyper. I do a bit of weight training as well. And most notably, I did my first ever push up. Laugh all u want, I’m proud. 😀 Since I joined the gym, my weight loss slowed down, but my fat loss continued. I’m still losing inches and I have teeny baby muscles starting to form. God, It feels good.

I won’t, I CAN’T go back. My skin has cleared up, I have all my energy back, I can breathe normally, even my work performance has improved.

My family is catching on too. I’ve put them all on to MDA. They’re still trying to wrap their minds around “No grains? EVER?” (We’re big on pasta and rice). But they’re making the effort to improve their health and they’ll get there. Eventually. I hope. Maybe my whole generation will escape diabetes. *crosses fingers*

I cannot thank all of you at MDA enough. I’m beside myself. I’m happier than I have been in years. And it’s because I found this. Thank you.


P.S. Now that I’ve gotten this far, I’m going to spend the next 90 days trying to convince myself that “moderation” also applies to cheesecake and dark chocolate.

Third Submission – July 7, 2012

In my own case, My weight has stabilized at around 150 lbs. Since April however, I’ve lost some more inches. My waist, for example, has gone from 30″ to 28″. This time last year 28″ was the circumference of one of my thighs.

Next year, for the first time, I will be putting on a costume and playing mas for Trinidad carnival. I’ve wanted to for years. Now, I can. I’ll look fantastic, but more importantly, I’ll have the stamina to dance in the street for 2 days straight. 😀

I’m not as disciplined as I would like to be with exercising, but I go to spin class, or dive in a pool once or twice a week.

I just feel so good about everything; I feel healthy, energetic, and so freaking HAPPY all the time, that I want to practically evangelize from the rooftops about Primal Living.

And it’s contagious.

I have my own little tribe of cavemen. It’s about 10 of us (friends and family) who follow Primal Blueprint now. The results are astounding. My uncle has lost 25 lbs. My best friend has lost 30. My cousin’s weight has remained the same but his muscles are ripping out! We’re a sexy little Primal Tribe!

It’s awesome. I’m always so inspired by the stories I see on MDA, and I’ve gotten to pass that inspiration on to others. I kind of feel like a Superhero!

Ganeesha - July 2012

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

eBook Submission – March 18, 2013

What were your goals in 2012?

I just wanted to feel like I owned my body again. I wanted to be able to lead my class by example during PE and run around with them. I didn’t want to end up in the hospital wheezing anymore.

Why did you decide to go Primal, and what exactly was your plan to accomplish your goals in 2012?

After “asthma” attacks landed me in the hospital 5 times in 2011, I’d had enough. I knew something was wrong so I saw a doctor. My blood tests showed that at 26 I was pre-diabetic and pre-hypertensive. At 190 lbs, I was borderline obese. I was told that if I didn’t change my habits I would have diabetes, hypertension and heart problems before I hit 40. (All 3 run in my family.) I was instructed to give up gluten immediately (since it was an allergy to this, and not asthma, which was causing my breathing issues), along with meat, dairy, coffee, and everything else I loved. I politely refused to ever give up meat in favour of flavoured soya chunks and sought out a plan that better suited my palate. I stumbled upon a blog entry that began, “What do you feed a lion?” Grok stole my heart… And stomach.

How successful were you in sticking with your plan?

Apart from the occasional cheesecake slice or scoop of chocolate-caramel-pralines ice cream, I’ve had no problem sticking with my primal plan. At first, I can’t lie, tears were shed over the loss of bread. After about a week though, I stopped noticing the smell. Through a happy accident involving dried fruit in the spice cupboard, I now crave raisins every time I smell Cinnabon. I’ve lost 50 pounds so far, going from 190 to 140. I’m still working on my 6 pack, but my legs are amazing! Who knew this body was hiding under there all this time!

Ganeesha - December 2012

Ganeehsa - December 2012

What were your biggest hurdles, and how did you overcome them?

Honestly? My biggest hurdle wasn’t dietary. I had no problems adjusting to caveman food (apart from the aforementioned bread tears). It was getting off my ass. I had to really kick my own behind to start spin class. I started walking everywhere. I lived at the top of a hill for a while, so I made it my business to walk it every day. When I moved, I started doing sprints once a week. I currently do my own version of Shaun T’s Insanity (in my version, I only do it 3 times a week and almost never go past 30 minutes. I’m not trying to pass out on the floor or cry after a workout here.)

What was your biggest accomplishment?

I feel like a Primal Evangelist. My whole life has become so much more organised since I went primal. I graduated from university, I’m more effective as a teacher (I’m as energetic as my 11 year olds!), I’m taking better care of myself and it shows… and it spreads. Several of my friends and family members are now Primal as well (my best friend, Saidi, lost 50 pounds too!), and we have our own little tribe, swapping recipes, stories and inspiration all over the place! It really is fantastic.

What did your average daily meal plan consist of?

On mornings, I have coffee with a pinch of sugar. If I have breakfast, it’s usually a layered omelette (egg, bacon, cheese, random vegetable, another egg on top). Lunch is more often than not a big salad with lamb, chicken or fish. Dinner is usually a bunch of vegetables tossed in a pot with whatever seasonings I feel like (but always including cayenne and cumin) and whatever meat is closest at hand. When I feel like dessert, there’s always fruit available and when I’m celebrating, I have cheesecake. Because sometimes I want to indulge, dammit.

What did your average weekly exercise routine consist of?

Sometimes, it’s Capture the Flag. Sometimes, Cops and Robbers. Sometimes, I swim, or run, or just walk around my neighbourhood for a while. As mentioned before, I do pseudo-Insanity 3 times a week and sprints once a week. After that, it’s all play and leisure.

What else did you change in 2012 (sleep, sun, stress management,etc.)?

Since going Primal, things sort of fell into place. I became less stressed. I sleep better. I read more. I have a constant level of energy that wanes around 10 pm and I just go to sleep. I hardly ever watch tv now. I go to the beach after work sometimes (and almost every weekend) and just relax. My body’s happier than it’s ever been and I think because of that, my mind is at ease.  I just enjoy life now.

What are your goals for 2013 and beyond?

I’m happy with my life exactly the way it is. I just want to maintain that. I’m compelled to keep moving and keep healthy. I do want to organize some Primal Island recipes, that is, adapt some Primal recipes to a Caribbean ingredient list. I keep telling people about the Primal life and hopefully I can convince even more that this is the way we were meant to be. We don’t have to be shaped by our family history. We can change our own lives, bodies and destinies through our choices.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’m a primary school teacher. My class used to get excited about pizza. Now they scoff at it and encourage their parents to make them salads for lunch. They swap ideas and recipes for that and bring fruits, nuts and veggies to school as snacks. Not all the time, but hey, it’s a start.

Success Stories in the Making eBook

Success Stories in the MakingIn this free eBook, dozens of Mark’s Daily Apple readers provide insights into how they took control of their health. Learn about their personal struggles, and what they did to overcome them. Find out what what they ate, how they exercised, what worked and what didn’t in their personal health journeys in 2012.

If you are an existing newsletter subscriber, click the “Free eBooks” link in the sidebar of any past email newsletter to gain access to the eBook. Or wait until the next newsletter is sent out this coming Wednesday.

If you aren’t yet a newsletter subscriber, what are you waiting for? Sign up here to get this eBook and numerous other freebies and special offers. Grok on!

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104 thoughts on “I Cannot Believe the Way My Body Has Changed”

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  1. Damn girl! I can’t believe how much your body has changed either! Lookin hot! 😉

    1. No kidding, I’d like to be one of her Cavemen…LOL! Great job Ganeesha.

  2. What a fantastic way to take a mental break after a crazy busy work week — I look forward to these posts every week and Real Life Story Fridays are one of my favs! As always, another inspirational story to keep us moving forward and remind us why Primal ROCKS (not that we really need the reminder, but you know, it never hurts 😉 ). Congrats!!

  3. First of all, I’m impressed that you were diagnosed with a gluten ‘allergy’ and that instead of treating the symptom, they encouraged you to deal with the cause. Second, WOW, what an amazing transformation! Finally, I’m totally jealous that you have a beach to relax on after work!

    1. I went to a holistic health center eventually. When I went to my regular doctors, they just kept switching my medication and telling me that if I lost weight, I would get better. Turns out it was the other way around. When I got better by dealing with the gluten problem itself, I lost weight.

      1. Ganeesha,
        Your story is amazing and the highlight is that you have a little tribe! I went Primal last June and my life is upside down in all the best ways! Try as I may I cannot convince friends or family that I am not just odd, but living a better life! You must be an amazing teacher and I hope to learn something from you of how to inspire others. My family and some friends and coworkers are now entertaining the idea that the Primal Principles make sense and are no longer just questioning and refuting all I say, but so far no one wants to bite the bacon and forego the bread! I hope to motivate others so that their lives can turn around much like so many Grokers lives have.

      2. Hey Ganeesha –

        I have Asthma too, so I’m curious. In what regard did your Asthma improve? Did you have fewer overall episodes of strained breathing, or was it just less severe over all?

        1. Once I removed gluten from my diet, my breathing issues went gently into the night. So I suppose to answer your question, it became less severe (to the point that I’ve had no episodes of strained breathing since I cut out wheat).

  4. Congratulations Ganeesha….its great to see you happy and healthy and looking awesome. MDA has been a life saver for so many of us. Life is good indeed!

  5. Ganeesha, congrats on EVERYTHING! What a great inspirational success story you are! What a great life lies ahead for you!

  6. Congratulations! Your story is so inspiring. I love that you intended to reach your goals SPECIFICALLY with butter and bacon in your life. Those are two of my favorite foods of course, and I eat them with abandon. I recently got my bloodwork checked for a work health challenge and I was trilled to see my triglycerides at 38. THIRTY EIGHT! That’s the power of primal, with LOTS of butter and bacon. 🙂

  7. Wow!! You look amazing!!! And even better than in your model days!! I so hope you share your Caribbean recipes with us too! Way to spread the word about Primal living. I wish you and all your Primal tribe the best!!

  8. “My class used to get excited about pizza. Now they scoff at it and encourage their parents to make them salads for lunch. They swap ideas and recipes for that and bring fruits, nuts and veggies to school as snacks”

    Now that’s an inspiring teacher! Congrats on your success! Will be forwarded your story along!

    1. Yes, exactly! You’re giving your kids the same gift you gave yourself! Go, Team Ganeesha!

  9. Fantastic to see someone from the Caribbean finding the Primal path. I was in Barbados in December and was shocked at the diabetes epidemic taking hold there. The sugar trade has a lot to answer for, in so many ways.

    A great to see a young Primary teacher out there flying the flag; that’s the way to permanent change – inspire the youngsters 🙂

  10. gyurl, you look amazing! i am from the USVI (living in the states now) and i know the rice and beans is hard to give up. you are an inspiration. congratulations!

  11. Eh eh! Ganeesha, get some! I’m also from the USVI (St. Croix MASSIVE!) and it’s so wonderful to see another islander taking control of their life and health. Rock on with your bad self, girl!

  12. My favorite part about this post is the embracing of joy and happiness in life and doing healthy things because they make you feel good. Maybe that’s just part of island living, but here in the middle of the US, it seems like the typical suburbanite who’s trying to be healthy does nothing but fret and worry, as if a good life can possibly be born out of fear.

    It’s also amazing to see the contagiousness of primal living. People are drawn to health and happiness!

  13. Wow. You feel like a superhero and you look like one too! Love that smile! And I love that you are bringing family, friends and students along with you, clearly you chose the right profession for your talents! Congratulations on your success, A+.

  14. I keep looking at the after photos and thinking “that USED to be 190”.
    Wow, you give me hope for my wife’s transformation!

  15. “I do want to organise some Primal Island recipes, that is, adapt some Primal recipes to a Caribbean ingredient list.”

    Yes please!

  16. “I have my own little tribe of cavemen. It’s about 10 of us ”

    Love it.

    Each person you add to the group is getting a new lease on life thanks to you.

  17. Most inspiring post ever. Tears in my eyes. The pure joy that you radiate is beyond awesome. Thank you so much for sharing!

  18. You tell a wonderful, inspiring story, Ganeesha! I’ll be looking out for those “Primal Island” recipes (great name for a book)!

  19. Hi Mark,

    I very much like your recent inclusion of here’s what I did to the on-line stories. And your e-book of stories in the making.

    I *finally* bought your latest book. It is fantastic. Really nice piece of work. I especially like you clear and repeated explanations of each ‘step’.

    Probably the most memorable title for me was: I never knew I felt so bad until I started to feel good!



  20. Whoaaaa!!! Hot mama!
    You look frigging fantastic. But most importantly, you look very happy.

  21. Congrats, you look amazing and your attitude is truly inspirational. Thanks for making me smile today

  22. This is amazing. Every Friday I wait patiently for the story of the week and some inspire me more than others. I really enjoyed reading this story. It helps me stay motivated during my own journey.

  23. Congrats! You look so much more confident in your after photos, and you deserve it! You’re beautiful!

  24. Since you are named after the Indian elephant god, I can imagine losing weight was a challenge. Congrats!

  25. Ganeesha, you look amazing! What a babe! I’m so inspired by your hard work. Love these success stories so much, and look forward to them every Friday just like others have mentioned.

  26. Great transformation and the fact you are reaching out to others to make a positive impact on their lives is even more impressive.

  27. MMM… did she say primal island recipes?!?!
    That sounds deliciously fantastic!

  28. Congats! you look absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s so inspiring!!!

  29. Yes! That story made me happy. Great job. You look incredible. Good for you.

  30. Ok, I’m going to sound like a whiner – where are the success stories by men? I’m pleased these young women are doing so well, but I’m inspired more by men. And as a 62 year old man who is not having the amazing success these women have had I’d like to see a story about men more my age. I’d like to be one of your success stories myself but that will have to wait since I’m not yet primal – and my partner is not an easy person to do this with since he does not subscribe to what he considers a fad diet.

    1. Oh, there are plenty of mature guys’ testimonials – go to the start of the success stories and scroll through; Dave “Papa Grok” Parsons, and more. Mark has a good mix of stories, all ages, and with different circumstances. All very inspiring!

    1. It can be done if diet is the cause of the asthma, but there are many different triggers for asthma, for example, pollen, grasses, cold air, pollution etc. If they is your asthma trigger then changing your diet won’t help that.

  31. Awesome work girl…………and teaching your kids at school that there are alternatives to junk food and sugars is setting them up for a great future. Well done to you. 🙂

  32. Thanks for the motivation…as well as the desire to visit Trini!

  33. What a great story!! Ganeesha, you were a beautiful woman before, and you are even more beautiful after, but not because of the weight loss. Your pure joy and happiness has added a beauty that is indescribable. Way to go!!

  34. You look awesome and strong, and it’s so great you’re inspiring your students! Impressive!

  35. I think this is my favorite success story on MDA, ever. You look amazing, but it’s your words that really make this all shine! The ‘get off your ass’ problem is mine as well, I can eat primally just great but I’m not exercising enough – thanks for lighting a fire under my lily white butt hahaha…. keep up the great work! (and post up those Caribbean-spiced up primal recipes!!)

  36. Good going Ganeesa. You look amazing and your attitude is even more amazing. You may also be saving the lives of some of your family members and friends by getthing them to focus on their health and just not taking lifes “illnesses” lying down. I have a little tribe of my own, it certainly helps! Keep up the good work.

  37. Congrats you look A-mazing! I love that you have your own ‘tribe’ to be with. Trying to create one of my own. 🙂

  38. Day-um. I mean… wow

    This story is so inspiring. I am trying to go Primal in order to get better energy, get stronger and feel awesome, and I want my family to do it with me.

    I wasn’t sure how I was going to get Dad to give up his bread, Weetbix and jam, but I think this story of weight loss may just be the kick up the bum he needs.

    1. I started off on my own, don’t worry about it. They’ll come around when they see your results. That’s when it hits home. As for dads…. Mine STILL won’t give up his bread. But he knows that when he’s at my place, bread, pasta, roaches and grasshoppers stay outside. He eats primal in my home.

  39. Layered omelette! Yum! Running to my kitchen to make one now!

    One thing I can never get over is the difference in people’s smile in the “after” pic. You look like you’re smiling from deep down inside. Awesome 🙂

    1. I’m about to have one now too! I think today will be ham, edam and mushrooms in between the eggs.

      And yes, the smile comes from WAY down. PB is what I live by now. It’s simple and incredibly fulfilling. I feel great. I live in paradise. I love my job. I love my life. I have no reason to NOT smile.

      1. I know how you mean. before I found PB I had this feeling like I was always waiting to start living. Now I am living. Simple. I still have a way to go on my PB journey but stories like yours keep me focused- thanks for your inspiration.

  40. I love your story. You look wonderful. The best part is how you helped change 10 more people (or more because of your students).

    To those with stubborn partners: it can be done. Mine is so stubborn he will never admit I am right but slowly he has changed to where he is enthusiastic about beef and lamb, likes a little bacon for flavoring in his Brussels sprouts, buys dense European bread with super thin slices instead of the big bagels he used to, and wonder of wonders he buys gluten-free energy bars and dehydrates his own gluten-free backpacking food. And biggest miracle of all, he doesn’t argue with me so much when I forward one of Mark’s links to medical studies. I’ve never seen someone take such tiny baby secret baby steps.

    1. LOL! That’s HILARIOUS! It’s because saying anything out loud will prove that you were right all along and Grok knows we can’t have that happening…

  41. She really is a primal evangelist. My journey started because I intended to give up grains in solidarity with her…. why should she have to suffer alone? Turns out, it wasn’t much suffering. And 50lbs lighter, one year later, I’d make the same choice all over again.

    So thanks Neesh, and thanks Mark (and the MDA family), from just one member of our little Primal tribe 🙂

    1. Woot! Go Saidi! You realise that between the two of us, we’re almost back to the fitness level we were at in school, AND we lost the combined weight of my little sister and a rottweiler?

  42. A teacher living by example will do so much for those kids, that a picture of a coloured plate or an anthropomorphic vegetable cartoon never will.

  43. Ganeesha,
    Your lust for life and fit life bubbles up from your story. It’s a great one. Thanks so much for sharing it!! All best to you and your tribe.

  44. Good for you, my friend, good for you.

    Wishful thinking, I know, but one can only hope that the next time “experts” do a review of Paleo, they first read the following before claiming it is “for men” or “all meat”:

    “I’m a primary school teacher. My class used to get excited about pizza. Now they scoff at it and encourage their parents to make them salads for lunch. They swap ideas and recipes for that and bring fruits, nuts and veggies to school as snacks. Not all the time, but hey, it’s a start.”

  45. Amazing!!!! apart from how great you look, I am so happy to read that your health is great and your life enjoyable!

  46. Wow this is just amazing!
    This is the type of change I love seeing in people, they change their life for the better and they feel more comfortable in their own body.

  47. i’ve read every success story in the past two years and yours is my favorite.. i will submit one of my own very soon.. you look ravishing, stunning, alluring, appealing, charming, cunning, delightful, engaging, fascinating, and glamorous.. congratulations on your success.. <3

    1. Oh geez….. All those flattering descriptions in one place… If I could turn red, it would be happening. As it stands, all I can do is look bashfully at my feet and mutter, “Thank you.”

  48. This is very inspiring! The transformation from just a few months of paying better attention to what goes into the body is amazing. Sticking to it seems to be the key once you find something that works.

  49. This is truly a tremendous achievement! I am sure this will motivate thousands of people.

  50. Looking goood!And who said you have to take bacon and butter off the menu?This is where many go wrong.Keep up the positive frame of mind,and share your story with many more who need this kind of inspiration.

  51. Well done. This is fantastic how you are getting yourself back to the size you want to be and inspiring others especially school children so they can start out on the healthy track.

  52. This is an amazing transformation Ganeesha! Congratulations! I am just beginning this journey and I know I will return to your success story often. Thank You. I am unable to download the success stories EBook – is anyone else having problems with this?

  53. Ganeesha,

    Just one week into MDA, this is just what I need. The past weekend was my most difficult days so far as my entire house still eats rice. I have lived my whole life on rice and the week was the first time I ever go without grain of some kind. I am already feeling the impact as I have lost 3lbs already.
    Your story gives me hope and strength to carry on.

  54. Sounds like you’ve great sucess in getting your tribe in on the primal way. I’m still having a hard time convincing those I love to switch over. How can I get my GF, my bro and his girl to go primal?

  55. You look fantastic. I love your positive mindset and the ability to do what you want. I just wish many older people would inspire to be like you. You inspire me x

  56. I’m very late leaving a comment here, but what a transformation! You’ve given me the inspiration I need to go on another walk today (glutes still hurting post-squat sesh a couple of days ago- overdid it perhaps!) This story is going to be my pick-me-up for down days! Thanks for sharing!

  57. Congratulations on your discipline and results Ganeesha!
    I’d like to ask you how you maintain your feminine figure. I started going primal for 6 months and it worked too well – lost 10 pounds in a month – but unfortunately, the boobs left first, so I stepped down because I don’t want to end up like a breadboard. What works for you? Thanks