I Feel Like a Normal Human Being Again

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!

My primal story starts about nine months ago. It was December, and we had just been visited by both of my brothers. My brothers? visits usually consist of copious amounts of eating and drinking. We?re generally healthy folk ? we exercise regularly and try to eat a balanced diet. But when we get together, we drink lots of beer and eat lots of delicious fried food. Well, the unhealthy binging was starting to catch up to me, and I was topping out at 147-149 (I?m 5? 6?), a solid five pounds more than my usual fighting weight.

In addition to being constantly uncomfortable due to the tight pants, I was also struggling with some serious anxiety issues. I would get anxious over the silliest things ? waiting in line at the grocery store, stopping at a red light, walking through the mall, etc. I always felt as if I was going to pass out or spin out of control. I finally talked to my awesome nurse practitioner/chiropractor and realized my issues were caused by allergies clogging up my head something fierce. I was able to get some relief through her treatments, but I still wasn?t feeling 100% normal.

Heather - Before

While trying to find a non-prescription solution to my problem (my MD wanted to prescribe anti-anxiety meds, of course), I ran across an article about eating primally in my Lifehacker RSS feed. I followed the links to Mark’s Daily Apple and was super intrigued by what I read. I ordered the 21-Day Total Body Transformation and instantly identified with what the book said. This was a ?diet? I could get behind ? one where I could eat the foods I enjoy and not have to count calories. The whole approach also meshed with other things I care about ? eating locally grown food, living a simple life, and disconnecting from the Matrix.

I started the 21 days in early January (after binging on carbs and drinks, of course). Within the first couple of weeks, I had lost a couple of pounds and realized that I was no longer waking up in the middle of the night, filling 10 tissues with green slime. Gross, I know. About 11 days into the diet, I had to go to a holiday party, so of course I drank. That very night I woke up in the middle of the night, snot just pouring out of my nose. I?m sorry to be graphic, but it?s true. A light bulb went off ? my body does not like alcohol (or gluten – surprise!!)!

I got such great results in those first few weeks, that I just kept following the plan over and over again. I think I did it three times in a row. It?s nine months later, and I?ve slacked off a bit on following the exact plan, but I still eat primally, I run at a slow pace three to four times per week and do pushups, squats, planks, and pull-ups at least three times a week. When I started I couldn?t do one real pushup ? now I can do seven. I could only do a flexed arm hang, and now I can do two pull-ups. I can do a plank for 90 seconds, and I can do 25 squats with 20 pounds. I?ve lost 20 pounds, so I?m at 129 at 5? 6?. I went from a size 10 to a size 4. I have TONS more energy. I no longer want to fall asleep at my desk in the afternoon. Best of all, my anxiety levels are WAAAAY down. I feel like a normal human being again ? no longer petrified to be caught at a red light. I cannot describe how good it feels to be relieved of that fear.

So I proselytize. To anyone who will listen, I tell them how eating primally is, “good for what ails ya.?

What?s bad about primal living? Well, it definitely takes more planning, but it?s so worth it. The food I make at home tastes way better than the food we get going out. I also don?t know what to say when people say, ?You?re so skinny!!? Um, thanks?? And change the subject. I also get made fun of mercilessly by my coworkers for my diet. They help keep me on track by judging me if I eat an occasional non-foraged doughnut or slice of homemade pumpkin bread. I’m sure they do it out of love. 😉 I actually got one of my coworkers interested in the diet. However, she Googled Primal Recipes, and the first one she ran across was “Tender Grilled Baby Octopus.” And…she was out.

I am so glad I found MDA. It really has changed my life! Thank you, Mark!! Like everyone else, I blogged about my experience. If you want more details, check it out here: HloDeCello.

Some stats:

Starting weight: 149.3 pounds, Chest 36 inches, Waist 31 inches, Hips 43 inches

Ending weight: 129.6 pounds, Chest 34 inches(sorry Hubby!), Waist 28.25 inches, Hips 38.5 inches

I?ve attached before and after pictures. I wasn?t really portly to start with, but I wasn?t thin or toned enough to want any photos taken of me in a bathing suit! After eating primally for six months, however, I happily bought a string bikini while on vacation on Ocracoke Island and let the hubs snap a pic.


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123 thoughts on “I Feel Like a Normal Human Being Again”

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  1. I can’t believe how exactly your story parallels my own. From the anxiety to the alcohol/sugar sensitivity to the primal living success! Good on you for listening to your body. I think that has been the best reward out of the journey for me so far! Thank you for sharing your journey 🙂

  2. Great read and I totally relate to proselytizing this lifestyle. Know your audience and let your results do your talking. People who want to change will notice you and ask questions. The rest are not worth using any of your increasing abundant energy on. (Unless it is a family member, then harp on them. Water wears down rock over time).

    1. Well put Sir.Worth being said again.–

      Not worth the wasted energy on folks who don’t want change. However FAMILY is another story. Wear them down like water on rock.

    2. Sorry for being completely off-topic here, but I just wanted to tell you, Paleo Ron Burgundy, that I read ALL of your posts in the Ron Burgundy voice.

      Occasionally, I hear jazz flute in the background, too.

      1. Agree with the previous three comments. PRB gets it (despite some questionable economic tastes) 🙂

        Looking good Heather!

        1. Breaking News:

          The ideas of individual liberty and free market based economics is alot like breaking away from the SAD diet.

          You live and experience social and economic problems, knowing something has to change but people keep doing the same detrimental things over and over. The problems accumulate and are amplified.

          Then maybe out of personal introspection, desparation, or for whatever personal reason, something makes you question and challenge the convention. Naturally you search online and find these “others”.

          You have your doubts, you read, you troll, you find polar opposites, you find the material difficult to digest because it challenges your current orthodox. You try to wrap your head around this “insanity” in front of you.

          You tell yourself there is no way that the majority of what I was taught, told, sold, and marketed, these inputs that have molded and shaped me, are really not good for my optimal living experience. Yet this new paradigm kinda makes sense.

          You continue gathering info until you try it. And it sucks. People have warned you that it sucks at first, but then it will get alot better and you will not believe the difference.

          Still nothing and you’re pissed off because you want to punch that person eating pizza and take it. You wonder if you’d been had again. But you’re constitution prevalis and you stick with it. Then “boom goes the dynamite!”

          After that, your lens on the world changes. Where you once saw normal people, like yourself, you now see all these pill popping, blubber bodies lifelessly moo-ving around, blathering about the mundane and regurgitating nonsensical statements as facts.

          And you want to help them because you successfully helped yourself.

          So you proselytize, often to deaf ears. Others were interested but when you speak to them, if you can call it that, you provide so much info so fast you have equivalently vomitted all over them. They were not ready for their current paradigm to be challenged.

          Hopefully you learn to tone it down and you interact with other like minded individuals. You focus on how to positively channel this energy, this passion into smaller, tantalizing tid bits in the hopes to inspire someone to THRIVE instead to meekly exist.

          Now and then though, you still “vomit all over people” because your passion takes over. Usually happens after a few drinks.

      2. Same! I’m also suddenly aware of all the lamps in the room…

        1. Exactly!! I try not to be aggressive about it, and I know my friends get tired of me when they tell me about an ailment, and I say, “You know, a lot of people have been able to cure that by eating a paleo diet…” They roll their eyes, drink their soda, and keep feeling bad. So I try to bite my tongue. But it’s SO HARD!!!

          My brother has started following the paleo diet pretty close, and I have two friends at work who are trying the 21 Day Challenge next month. I’ll take those WINS!!

        2. ouch! so it’s not only me :-). my wife told me i am being agressive about spreading the word. will have to tone it down. anyway, i found out the effort is mostly fruitless, most people just don’t care and go on suffering.

      3. +1 me too lolol

        “eating locally grown food, living a simple life, and disconnecting from the Matrix”

        Great quote Heather! You summed up perfectly what we love about MDA! Congrats to you and happy new year!

    3. Bom – I prefer to take my vomitting out on my tv since the pickings are so ripe. Then I remember to turn the damn thing off all the while thinking…..jeez what a bunch of %$#*&^%$ sheep. Can’t wait for your new movie – wink wink nudge nudge

    4. Depends on the family. Harping on my family will only cause me to be a social outcast eventually. Sometimes the absolute last person someone can hear good advise from is a family member.

      So I’ve contented myself with my cheerful good example and to contribute the stunning silence when everyone else when everyone else is complaining about their health woes.

      1. You state a valid point Amy. Sometimes it takes an outsider for information to resonate, even though their message is the same as yours! I recall hearing this from the woman who runs “balanced bites”. (Her name eludes me at this moment).

      2. I`m hoping that I will intrigue by example and then send anyone interested to MDA – it`s like teaching someone to drive, best done by someone else!

  3. Great story. My hubby has been diagnosed with chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia, it was on the edge of becoming life changing and debilitating. I feared I was losing the man I’d married. We started eating 90% Primal (we’re still around there) and I cannot believe the improvement in just one short year. He’s very in tune with what his body tells him and if he slips and has dairy, sugar or gluten, he will definitely have a few not-so-good days. We are what we eat and Brooke is right, we need to listen to our bodies.

  4. Congrats. I always think it’s cool when people have things like depression or anxiety clear up. Far to often we think it only affects the pounds.

    I had the same green slime nonsense, I feel ya!

  5. Heather – congratulations to you. You look great! Do you have personal goals for how many pushups, pullups, etc. you want to eventually be able to do?

    1. No specific goals really – I just want to be able to do more every day. I just finished the ramp-up program tonight at a Cross Fit gym, so now I just need to work up the courage to try a real WOD! I envision myself passed out on the mat, knocked out by a 14 lb medicine ball.

      I only have a 1 month membership at the gym. After that my husband and I are joining a different gym with a pool because we are going to start training for a Tri-athlon in June.

      1. I’d like CrossFit alot more if it was more affordable. I did it for several months and decided to learn more about body weight training because I already have that, for free even! So searching around and I found “Convict Conditioning” via Dragon Door Publishing (or amazon). I highly recommend it!

        1. I’ll have to check that out. The cost was a huge deterrent for me, but one of our CF gyms ran a special where for $50 you got the ramp-up class and a 4 week membership. I won’t be able to afford it after that – I think it’s $80-$100 per month. It is fun though!

        2. We do CrossFit at a normal gym without the classes. If you’re willing to DIY it’s cheap. Through classes..not so much.

        3. I tend to go to MovNat than CrossFit. It’s that feeling in the wild that you can do anything you need or feel like. Plus side, is that their is no trainers, just a tree branch and a boulder. Both are equally Primal so keep at it!

        4. You might also want to check out You Are Your Own Gym (The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises)by Mark Lauren

        5. GO OUTSIDE people. I love this community so please understand that I say this from the heart. But if you are still exercising in a gym, under fluorescent lights, probably alongside a bunch of people totally ignorant to this lifestyle, you are severely missing the point. If you have any contact with civilization whatsoever, there is likely a high school near you. It will have a track, some well maintained fields, maybe a soccer goal or football goalposts, or some monkey bars or things like that. Take advantage, you paid for it. This is all you need to do any of a number of forms of exercise that will return results at least as good as CF.

          What would Grok do? Pass this up to pay money to exercise indoors? No way. Cut the cord already. You finally learned the danger of prepackaged, for profit, convenience food. Don’t compromise that with prepackaged, for profit exercise. Exercise is one of the few things left in the world that is totally free in any quantity. So long as you feel the need to validate it or yourself by paying for a packaged version of it, you have not freed yourself from the old ways that drove you to the primal lifestyle in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying CrossFit is BAD. Just totally unnecessary. There’s a big beautiful world out there. Go out and enjoy it and leave the stinky gym behind.

  6. It’s so nice to see that gigantic smile at the end of your story!

    I originally went primal to deal with pain and inflammation from Chronic Lyme disease. But I read so many stories on MDA about how it helps with anxiety so I switched my anxious ADHD son to it and he is so much better. He just turned 7, but he isn’t interested in non-gluten “bad” foods anymore because he can recognize in himself how badly he feels when he eats them.

    One idea to help with the pull-ups that I implemented was putting up a pull-up bar at the start of our hallway. Any time I have to walk to the bathroom or bedroom, it’s there staring at me as I go by. I jump up and do a pull-up or a flexed arm hang for a few seconds before going on my way. I end up doing several during the day this way. Every couple of weeks, I try to do as many in a row as I can and I usually find that I can knock out a couple of additional reps. Doing one at a time this way really does help improve your strength without you even realizing it.

      1. Yes, he is! Thanks for the reminder. I always forget to bookmark his site, but I will now. His videos are so inspiring. Someday I will be able to do a one-arm pull-up just like he does.

      2. I love AL!!! I love sending YouTube clips to *my* brother Danny. His goal is to do human flags too 🙂

        1. I can agree with free market economies because it’s the most “Primal” economy. Social Darwinism anyone? Supply and demand, equilibrium are all apart the natural order of things.

        2. Paleo has nothing in common with out of control and anarchy of natural greed under crony-capitalism…what you call “free markets”.

          As an economist….people in the US are kidding themselves if they buy into the rubbish of libertarianism for anything larger than a group of 5 or 6 people….certainly not 315 million.

          Where has it worked? Unlike paleo, it not only lacks good science, it lacks practical application and examples of success. In fact, where it has been attempted, it destroyed more than it helped.

          Oh sure….we need a lot more lead, a lot more mercury, a lot more radiation, a lot more chromium 6, and a lot more arsenic in our drinking water. Oh sure….the free market will eventually solve that….and I still believe in the tooth fairy.

        3. @go2goal:

          At first I thought your post was tongue in cheek- given the poor positions and the abuse of ellipses. Upon a second a reading I realized you are serious.

          Please note this response is not for go2goal, as this person has a set paradigm. This post is for all others.

          Let me say I agree with you given your premise. The premise you stated equates free markets to “crony capitalism”. Your premise is the antithesis of my position.

          Crony capitalism describes an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business and government. The real word for this fascism.

          What I described has and does work. Remember when US President Andrew Jackson smashed the second central bank in American history? What followed was one of the most rampant growth periods in standard of living in US history.

          Today, look at Chile. They have adapted the idea of “america”.

          Economics today is viewed as a real science. There in lies the problem; it is not. Economics is a social science based upon human action. Human action is vastly different than the Newtonian approach that today’s economic wonks embrace. Please follow the hyperlink in my name for more info.

          Regarding heavy pollution, this is a matter of property rights. Unfortunately, property rights are not often upheld in law to property owners. Please keep in mind that that the biggest environmental polluter is the US military. Look no further than the super fund sites that correlate to military bases.

          These sites are not products of the free market place, nor are property rights upheld. They are the result of force and coercion, which is the antithesis of free markets and property rights.

        4. What a nice, respectful response. When asked where has libertarianism worked I also point out the first 150 years of America. It may not have been pure libertarian, but its as close as there ever have been. During that time the lowest economic class had the largest gain in living standards in the history of man.

        5. Not to belabor the point (is this thread already done?), but that description equating making a personal choice to control your diet and lifestyle and “deciding” you are going to believe in a particular school of economic theory is highly flawed. Namely, you have full control over your own input/output, something you do not enjoy operating in and around today’s global markets.
          PRB’s lengthy response above could be a justification for any sort off-mainstream life decision, be it becoming a scientologist or removing your homestead from the grid and making it entirely self-sustaining.
          I fear the Austrian school enjoys the position of many minorities that have never been the majority in that they can peck away at(e.g. Keynesian) current economic thought endlessly without any tangible evidence of their own, pure approach being put into action, much the same way physicists conduct experiments in a vacuum. Pointing to specific points in American history and suggesting that “this or that” policy decision was all-Austrian and proof that the mechanism works is more like cherrypicking than anything that could appproach real evidence.
          Also, suggesting non-adherents of libertarianism are somehow anti-liberty or anti-market (major world economies are already market-based) as you do above (“The ideas of individual liberty and free market based economics is alot like breaking away from the SAD diet.”) is disingenuous, and I think you know that. That, along with Rev. Dave suggesting that people who do not agree with you both are not intelligent enough to understand “free markets” (read: “Vacuum” for our purposes here) is not going to win any good will either.
          That said, I do appreciate you defining economics as a social science and a few other things along this section.
          Cheers to our differences! Way to go Heather!

        6. Jeffrey,
          You are quite incorrect. The first 150 (ie 1775-1925)years of this country was not some sort of libertarian paradise. Please read up on this. You can start by googling “gilded age”.

      3. Just watched Al’s videos and call me impressed.

        When I took the fitness portion of my USAF officer training school entry exam, I was informed that I had the highest pullup total in the entire country (I mailed in 29 in one set). At OTS, I was a living legend taking down one challenger after another in pullups. Sometimes 2 or 3 in a row in successive sets with minimal rest. Nobody in the class of 300+ soldiers could touch me.

        So it is with that in mind, and you now aware of who I am, that I say that Al Kavaldo scares the crap out of me.

        Thanks for the heads up. Al is my new Ivan Drago. We all need someone to gun for….

    1. I do kind of the same thing! We have a Power Tower in our basement, and I try to do as many pull-ups as possible every time I’m doing laundry. I still can’t do a pull-up from a fully extended arm position, but I’m hoping to get there eventually.

    2. Years and years ago, when I was in the Army, they had a set of monkey bars at the entrance to the mess hall. We couldn’t go in without doing them. Had I not been hungry, I’m pretty sure I would have said I “couldn’t” do monkey bars. As it turned out it got to be effortless.

  7. Awesome – amazing what this can do for you! Heather please feel free to post as many bikini pictures as you want! Now I just have to go look up “proselytize” in my dictionary and I’ll have accomplished something today….

      1. Hey, read Healthbutter–great stuff especially on eggs! I finally got my wife eating them almost daily and the benefits of the protein alone are significant.

        1. Agreed David. Ever since I started out with Atkins in the late 90s, eggs have been staples for me. My wife and I eat at least 2 a day every day (though I’ve done a full dozen on occasions). We have all kinds of nifty names for them from ‘dead babies’ to ‘protein mcnuggets’. The former nickname came when I lived in California and got turned on to balute. Not for everyone, but definitely the same wholesome protein punch.

          The incredible edible egg should be a the core of any primal fitness regimen I say. Cheers.

  8. You look GREAT, Heather. Really well done!!

    Yes, consistent Primal eating does indeed reduce anxiety and deliver a nice, zen-like state. I’ve found that too.

    And, as you wrote, “The food I make at home tastes way better than the food we get going out.” Yeah, there’s that too. It’s rare these days that anything I eat in a restaurant is better than what I can make at home (and I live in NYC!).

    Not so sure that the prep required is a “bad” thing. It just … is. I’ve come to really enjoy my prep time in the kitchen. It’s when I listen to NPR and/or do some much-needed quiet thinking (with busy hands).

    Great story. Keep calm and carry on!!


    1. I totally agree! I put Pandora on and chop chop chop. I really enjoy cooking now – much more than I did before. Although I royally screwed up chorizo last night. It smelled, looked, and tasted REALLY wrong. I blame the pork. 🙂

  9. Heather, I’m so happy for you! And thanks for the encouragement, because I just started my own 30 day challenge this morning. I usually eat primal, but I’m not too excited about giving up wine for 30 days. Thanks for convincing me it might be worth it 🙂

    1. You can do it! When you crave wine bang out some pushs up. Change the mental call and response and give your body new rewards. There probably is a support forum here on MDA.

    2. It’s TOTALLY worth it!! Good luck! Send me a note if you have any questions about anything!

  10. Great story!! I had the same experience with the anxiety. If only doctors told people there was a solution OTHER than drugs!

    1. I can’t believe how willing doctors are to prescribe those drugs. They don’t even CONSIDER coaching people on changing their lifestyles first. They listen to you for 2 minutes, and as you are talking, they start writing a prescription.

      1. As a converted primal MD, I can assure you that 90% of the patients that I proselytize to could care less about the Primal/Paleo lifestyle I yammer on about and would rather I just write a prescription that I try like mad to avoid doing. Just can’t win…

        1. Maybe you docs who get it should have a support group.

          I was DELIGHTED when my doc (awesome to start with) started taking the words out of my mouth when I told her how I’d lost 30 pounds and got my weight under control after my hypothyroid diagnosis.

          She was one who said “primal” not me. She said exactly what you are saying.

          When we look at strategies to address type 2 diabetes developing in children and parents don’t realize that liquids contain calories, I’ll suggest we have a long way to go in terms of basic nutrition education in this country before we even get to the proselytizing.

          If you are getting to 10% keep it up, you are making a difference fighting against huge forces and supporting your pts who are listening.

      2. Also, in fairness to the Docs – medical school is geared to train surgeons. Every Doc out there has gone the base training to walk into an operating room, regardless if the most they ever do after that is a few stitches. Surgeons don’t have training in nutrition because it doesn’t impact their work all that much. I have no idea why 1/2 the course for primaries isn’t nutrition/biochemistry. Oh well.

      3. Thank you for sharing Heather:-) I used to feel like fainting when waiting in line at the grocery store. I thought it was dehydration, medication, stress or anxiety… Going Paleo cured it. Now I think there’s almost nothing Paleo can’t cure.

  11. Congratulations Heather! It is refreshing to see a success story from someone other than a bad *** Me Tarzan guy.

    Primal has helped my emotional state too. A lot.

    As for selling primal, if you click on my signature, you will find my thoughts about that at my blog.

    Keep up the good work!

  12. “Disconnecting from the Matrix…” Priceless!! 🙂 Well done!

  13. Congratulations! It is funny how people will respond to the changes in our physical appearance, when the biggest and best changes we’ve experienced by going primal were more in how we feel that how we look (though lookin’ good is sure a nice side benefit!).

    People have asked us about the changes we’ve gone through, but for many when you say “NO wheat, no grains” I hear “I could never give up bread!”. That amazes me – as my husband says, “it is just some stupid food; if someone told you to stop eating something because it makes you sick, why would you keep eating it even if you love it? There’s always something ELSE to eat!”.

    Before going primal, I was in the market for a total knee replacement and living on Naproxen. Now my knees feel really good considering what the MRI’s look like and I can’t recall the last time I took a pain med; and to think that I almost got one of my knees replaced just 3 months ago – scary! To this day I am amazed at the kismet that led to my husband seeing a copy of Primal Blueprint at the library and bringing it home. I am so, so thankful!

  14. Congratulations Heather..you look great! I’ve also had anxiety issues that have greatly improved. It’s so nice to feel in control again.

  15. Losing the anxiety is every bit as interesting to me as losing weight and becoming stronger. Every bit.

    1. Losing the anxiety was definitely the biggest benefit I received. I was hoping to lose about 5 lbs, but not 20. I should have mentioned that that is a downside of going primal – you have to buy a whole new wardrobe! Actually, you have to buy a “stepped” wardrobe – 8s, then 6s, the 4s. I watch my eating really closely to stay where I am. If I eat TOO clean, I start dropping weight again. I can’t afford more clothes!

  16. Friends and family started telling me that I was skinny. Well, I’m not but I am LEAN. 5’7″ 120 lb 63 year old female who can run circles around women 1/2 my age. My husband is down 70lbs We start with low carb in Feb 2010 and went Primal by July of that year. I love what we are doing for us and the example we are setting for our family. :-}

    1. Isn’t it nice feeling BETTER as we get older instead of worse?

  17. Well done, Heather– you look radiant! I too find that primal eating helps assuage anxiety & emotional swings. Especially not touching sugar. After a sugar free Fall I allowed myself a very sweet gluten-free Christmas gift “just this once” on the morning of the 26th & that evening had a tearful meltdown & sleepless, anxious night. I didn’t make the connection at first but now I’m thinking it was very much related. I feel all the more resolve to stick with TPB now!

    1. I know what you mean – sugar is the devil! It’s so tasty, but so cruel. If I eat too much/drink too much, my heart races when I go to bed, and I feel all shaky. Bleh.

  18. Great story. Eliminating grains and legumes and eating the right kinds of food, exercising and getting some sun and fresh air is the way to go. As for all the pseudo-paleo trappings … hey if it helps people to be healthy, could be worst ways to frame things.

  19. Heather, great inspiration. Once again a long list of health issues disappear when we switch to Primal. Keep up the fine lifestyle.

  20. Although thin to begin with, you lost SOOO many inche! You look so healthy and happy in the after picture. Congratulations. It’s all about persistance – isn’t it? Doing the majority of the time Primal rather then the SAD diet.

  21. Heather,
    How cool that changing your diet and lifestyle helped to alleviate your anxiety. I love to hear about positive results besides the usual weight loss. Also, congratulations on your strength gains. I can do pushups, but I can still only hang from a bar. I’m working toward a pull up in the new year!

  22. Heather, your before and afters remind me of how my older (vegan) brother WOULD look if he only stopped with veganism and quelled the anxiety he pretends he doesn’t have.
    I remember he could smile properly when he was about 7yrs old. You know, with full face. Now it’s just a sort-of closed-mouth ‘Hm’ for a laugh or smile. And he gets so cross and tense at perceived problems, whether they’re there or not- sort of conjuring them out of a desperate need to sound PC and correct and ever-so-educated. I used to do it too, but the feeling has subsided enormously since primal has worked its charm over the course of (almost) a year. I’m super-non-anxious zen personified now, by comparison.
    Husband and I figure we need vegans, vegetarians etc. as a slightly less-cruel way to help the population decline, as opposed to open warfare. It’s such a shame though. It messes with their quality of life/mind so badly.
    Anyhoo, you look great! On ya!

    1. Yeah – it is truly amazing how what you eat affects EVERYTHING in your body – not just your weight!

  23. Thank you, Everyone, for the awesome feedback!! I was really nervous about telling my story, because I didn’t lose 50 lbs or put MS into remission. My story is pretty unexceptional, but I’m so happy to hear that others found it interesting and encouraging.

    Thank you!!

    1. Heather, I just want to give you a 100% shout out. Totally agree with the comments about addressing anxiety, but your story is really meaningful because you caught yourself out of the typical slide into a “few more pounds” and feeling like cr*p all the time and did something about it.

      If everyone in this country whose health is “ok” improved to “great,” health care costs in this country would plummet and we could put our money into grass fed beef — or of course bacon. It IS a huge deal.

      I celebrated my mid-forties bday last night with friends and we talking about being “skinny fat.” For years I weighed 123 pounds of goo! Then I gained weight, lost the weight, and I’ve started weight training which has been an object lesson that pounds alone are not a measure of health.

      As I think about getting older (which is one of my personal goals), improving my functional fitness means that I am so much more likely to have a good quality of life and be able to do some good in the world v. sitting in front of a TV talking to my cat.

      I talk to my cat when he crawls underneath me while I am doing a plank. “Cat, was that not an awesome plank!?” So much better than “Cat, Matlock is wearing the same suit again.”

      But I digress. It was great fun to sit at dinner last night and watch the men watch the women show off their biceps.

      You truly are an inspiration. And I love your goal of “doing more.” Happy new year!

      1. Ha! I love this comment! Gaining that “functional fitness” has been so amazing. My brothers and husband and I did the Mohonk Rock Scramble in NY in July. A year ago, I would have been petrified the whole time and exhausted by the end, but this year, I kept right up with the boys. It was exhilarating.

  24. Getting rid of anxiety attacks by changing what you eat is pretty exceptional. To outsiders, curing anything without a prescription is exceptional.

  25. Heather don’t for a minute think your story isn’t exceptional. I have two daughters who’ve suffered with anxiety and there is NOTHING blase about fixing that. Meds only disguise it.

  26. Ohmygosh!!! I thoroughly enjoyed your story.. it was so relatable! You had giggling there a few times 🙂 Thank you for the details, reps, inches, etc because it helped paint an accurate picture in my head of the footsteps you leaving. Anyway, awesome, you are rockin it girl! Take Care and God Bless! 🙂

  27. Great story – great smile. Your energy is obvious. Your workmates don’t know what they are missing out on (well actually they can SEE your results so they do know!) Thanks for telling your story and for responding to so many posts……..

  28. Loved your story. You look great, and happy ! I agree with your comments on the Primal/Paleo plan helping to reduce anxiety, and many other issues as well. I am a nurse (RN) and stand alone in my work place as an advocate for making the change. I have challenged the doctors and nurse practitioners I work with to try advocating the lifestyle and dietary changes to patients rather than just writing prescriptions. I am the only person in our group of 15 or so to LOSE wt and keep it off. (I went Primal/Paleo February 2012) I regularly get teased about what I eat and don’t eat when I bring my lunch to work. I have lost 47 # in 9 months (I’m 5’7″ and dropped from 183 to 136), and every single one of the other staff have gained at least 10 or more pounds. Yet, their eyes glaze over when I hint at how much better life is without all the bread, grains, and sugar. Happy for you that you feel so much better. Keep trying to get others on board. Thanks for a good story. I really like the Friday success stories. Always inspirational.

    1. A friend of a friend is studying to be a nurse. She is lean and pretty. After camping with them for a weekend was I blown away. She chain smokes, lives off of sweets and grain based snacks, and is on a huge bag of pills for anxiety, ADHD, and other things. I watched her peak and crash many times that weekend. Her mood swings, wow. After talking with her she told me she hardly poops. (Funny how bad pooping or not pooping seems to ail so many people). When I suggested suggested ditching grains and sugars for 30 days she flat out said no way.

      She wants to be a nurse to help other people, yet she struggles in helping herself first.

      I applaud you, Nurse Nic for being a positive beacon in the health care industry.

      1. My Mother was an RN. Let’s just say some people are attracted to nursing because they are closet hypochondriacs. She’s not particularly warm or caring person, but she loves rules and the idea that someone out there will save her regardless of her own actions.

        My Mother was a whole lot like your camping friend – she’s in a nursing home at age 72 (and overweight) basically because any advise to cut out the sugar and or even simply to eat better is totally ignored. That’s where your camping nurse (unfortunately) will end up if her habits don’t change.

  29. Right on Heather– I’m slowly losing my last 10 lbs of fat and Mark’s site is a daily read full of more resources than I could ever fully ingest!

    But think about it– When others are wolfing down cookies, cake, pizza and such, and you KNOW what it’s doing internally to them– it’s easy to stay primal!

    Congrats, I’d send in my own success story but I am afraid the pictures might scare the fainthearted.

  30. My story will be similar to yours. I have only about 35 lbs to lose, but I don’t look like I have that much to lose. I’ve been trying to follow a paleo lifestyle for a few months now, but I get side tracked. Starting in January, I’m going to do a 21-day challenge. Hopefully, I can get back to the weight I was when I was climbing mountains on my days off, not just sitting around surfing the interwebs.

  31. I enjoyed your story, especially where you list how many pushups, planks and squats you do. I have struggled to achieve the kind of weight loss I see here that others get so effortlessly. I took up weight lifting hoping that maybe it would be the key to success. Instead of helping, it caused me to have a huge crash. Too much adrenaline, maybe. Too much stress. Maybe 20lb squats are better than 100lb.

  32. Congrats! i loved your story because it shows how much you can change when you don’t even think you have that far to go!

  33. It’s funny, I was just posting on the forum about how I’d made a connection between consuming sugar and my irrational anxiety. Honestly, I need to lose quite a few kg of weight, but eradicating anxiety is probably even MORE IMPORTANT (I’m overweight rather than obese, and generally pretty healthy…). I don’t like the idea of remaining the weight I am (I don’t feel like ME) but if I had a choice between losing weight and being free of anxiety for the rest of my life, I’d have to choose the latter. (Sure I’d be miserable about my appearance but I can deal with that easier!!).

    Fortunately with primal it’s not an either/or situation 😉 Eating clean will help me lose the weight AND ditch the anxiety. After just two days without sugar I’m already feeling less anxious!

    I also find that you can’t TELL people about the primal lifestyle. If they’re not receptive… they’re not receptive. I was on another forum recently where a girl posted that she’s suffering from alopecia and is stressing about her thinning hair. I mentioned that when I went primal and ditched sugar, my hair loss (which had been quite extreme) slowed right down, and when I got lax with my diet my hair loss started increasing again. I did say I wasn’t 100% sure there was a connection, but it was worth a shot to try ditching the sugar and see what happened! Well her response was something along the lines of “oh, I love sugar too much, I couldn’t do that!”. If someone had told me something like that, I’d have at least considered TRYING it! Same with weight loss. My sister is obese (probably borderline morbidly obese) and I told her about primal (she was on lite ‘n’ easy) and she was like “Oh, I couldn’t go without grains!”. She lost a bit of weight, but as far as I know it’s stalled… and she’s probably 40kg overweight still! So she’ll eat low fat, and deprive herself in other ways, rather than at least opening herself to the possibility of change in another way. I sometimes really don’t get people!!

  34. Another great success story, thanks Heather!!!

    Trust me, you have no reason to say “sorry Hubby”. 😉

  35. Awesome story, don’t you feel incredible and thanks for the inspiration. The. Re is no denying it, when our outside is working like the inside there is nothing like it.
    I need a boost and this Thursday when I have some extra money I am going to join the gym and start , if You hold be accountable guys it will help.

    1. I think that writing about your efforts really helps. I literally had 5 people (all friends and family) who read my blog when I did the Challenge, but it helped me stay on track because I didn’t want to lose face to those 5 special people. You can start a WordPress blog for free!

  36. Heather, thanks so much for your story. It’s so great to hear from another, everyday woman. The stories from atheletes are nice, but it’s always great to hear how other women like me are doing following the paleo lifestyle. I’m not doing this to increase my performance, I’m doing this to be as healthy as I can be. And like you, I’ve loved all the side benefits I never thought I’d get out of it. So happy for you!

  37. Wow, I struggle from anxiety, and this story is a huge motivator! Thank you all!

    1. From my nurse practitioner, I found out that my lymphatic system wasn’t draining, which caused a lot of my anxiety issues. I take magnesium and PureBalance PureLymph daily, and that really helps.

    1. It’s a beach on Ocracoke Island, NC. SUPER beautiful beach.

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  39. Hi Heather! I read your story almost a year after it was posted and find it very relevant to me as well. I have a lot more weight to lose than you did but am so awed and encouraged by your results – just amazing! Great smile & bikini!

    I’ve only been on PB for a couple of months now (without the exercise yet) and have lost 10 lbs. I do not have any of the ailments members have dealt with so didn’t go PB to cure anything. My main goal was to LGN and not have to ever take any prescriptions. FTR – I just turned 70 this October (2013.)

    I am now realizing I’m not annoyed as much by the little stuff as I used to be. Also, since I’ve stopped drinking enormous amounts of Diet Pepsi ON a daily basis I’m also much calmer. Saved a ton of $$$ and my ankles are back!

    Taking a cue from your comment – I think “Disconnect From The Matrix!” should be on t-shirts. 🙂
    Grok On!

    1. I’m glad to hear you are getting good results! I’ve been primal for over 2 years now, and I’m still feeling great. I do have to watch my cheats more, however. Since I don’t eat much gluten or sugar, when I DO eat it – YUCK. I ate a piece of cheesecake (which I love to an ungodly amount) for my birthday and later that day had a flashback to the stoplight anxiety. UGH. So glad those days are behind me! Good luck as you keep progressing!!

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