November 16 2012

I Will Never Go Back to the Broken Conventional Wisdom of My Past

By Guest
95 Comments

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Dear Mark,

I first heard about the Primal Blueprint from Slick Rick, the long haired, five fingered shoe wearing odd ball my cousin married. He had ditched grains four years before and never looked back, and was always dropping jokes about how he loved bacon. I thought he was crazy with his caveman talk and dismissed his low carb philosophy as one that didn’t fit into my modern diet.

You see, I took carb-a-holic to an extreme, consuming well past the 600 carb a day average of most Americans. I maintained a medium body size until I hit college, when I gradually began to pack on the pounds. By the time I was married at 28, I was overweight headed to obese, suffering from gastric reflux, fatigued, and unmotivated. The big blow came when my general practitioner diagnosed me with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) after several unsuccessful months of trying to get pregnant with an irregular cycle. I assumed this was some genetic curse (after all, that’s what every doctor I talked to told me) and started down the path of Metformin and fertility drugs. I felt miserable, the meds made me crazy, and I got fatter on my SAD. After two years of failure, we took a break. I hated the way I looked and felt now 60+ pounds overweight and still without a baby. I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer determined to at least feel good about my body. Following six months of cardio four days a week, light weight training, and a restricted diet of healthy whole grains and low fat tasteless foods, I had a pathetic 15 pound weight loss, raging appetite, and shin splints to show for it. By this time my husband and I had decided to adopt, and brought home our little boy in October of 2009. I had a renewed “healthy” outlook and was determined to feed our growing family the best balanced nutrition I knew. We had the food pyramid down pat. Our diet was filled with whole grains, lean meats, and processed carbs and over the next two years I continued to gradually gain another 20 pounds.

As 2012 approached, and I began to think about New Year’s resolutions, my mom decided to motivate me and my sister-in-laws with a little weight loss challenge. She set up a Facebook group for us and a few friends to help encourage each other along the journey, told us to pick our diet of choice, and rewards were set for each month’s weight loss percentage winner. Almost everyone but myself went with Weight Watchers. I just couldn’t do the same old failing plan again. My mind began to drift back to Slick Rick. Could he be right? Maybe he wasn’t so odd after all. His diet seemed to go against everything that didn’t work for me in the past. My gut (no pun intended) told me I was eating too many carbohydrates, so I decided to give it a try and devoured The Primal Blueprint in just two days. I don’t like to do anything halfway so I fully committed to change and ditched grains, potatoes, and sugar, and ate lots of meat, vegetables, and fruit. I kept a Primal journal for the first few weeks to help me get started. Immediately the weight started to melt off just as I had read that it would. I began walking a moderate amount because of the new energy I gained, and slowly worked up to sprinting once a week and body weight exercises. Within a month, my gastric reflux was gone and I could eat all kinds of Primal foods that had given me indigestion in the past when paired with grains. I never felt deprived, and noticed heightened taste awareness of foods that wouldn’t have appealed to me previously. I lost my cravings for sugar and carbs and the desire to consume the foods that had been making me fat for years. I found foods that I enjoyed just as much or even better than those that had gotten me in trouble on the scales. I regained my love for bacon! I started intermittent fasting a couple times a week and was surprised at my lack of hunger pangs. At last! I was a fat burning beast!

After six months I had lost over 50 pounds, had a regular cycle for the first time in my life, and won every one of our group’s monthly challenges. (I really think my sis-in-laws were ready to kill me!) Everyone noticed the positive difference and many friends and family decided to adopt the Primal lifestyle as a result. I even converted a few of the ladies at the blood donation center as they watched my weight drop along with my cholesterol and blood pressure. My Type 1 diabetic husband was skeptical at first, but after several months he joined me along with our two year old son, and the benefits to our family grew. My husband lowered his A1C, took half the amount of insulin he had taken previously, and lowered his body fat from 18% to under 10%. We committed to buying locally sourced organic produce and grass fed meat, started our own backyard garden, and even became urban chicken farmers so that we could have the freshest eggs to support our growing habit!

I’m now at a 65 pound weight loss and I’m confident I will reach my goal of 80 pounds by the New Year. I’m more active than I’ve ever been and I know I’m becoming the healthy mom my son deserves. In June we became foster parents, and I love that this is one way we can have a positive influence on the health of the kids that share our home. This new lifestyle has truly changed my perspective and I will never go back to the broken conventional wisdom of my past. Slick Rick has now become one of my biggest supporters and frequently emails me the latest paleo videos, blogs, and recipes…and I promised him the Five Finger shoes if I win!

Thanks, Mark!

Angela

TAGS:  guest post

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

95 thoughts on “I Will Never Go Back to the Broken Conventional Wisdom of My Past”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Congrats to you and your husband for losing so much weight. It is impressive that your husband got down below 10% body fat. I just got back down 9% body fat yesterday after a weekend of intense cheating on my diet. I started at over 20% body fat and have an ultimate goal of 7%. I hope to get there before Christmas.

  2. Congratulations on your successes! You look so happy and healthy in your after picture. I love how your family came around when they saw your results, I am working on mine, but it’s slow going.
    Way to rock the PB!

  3. Congratualtions, you look great! Keep up the good work. And props to Slick Rick!

  4. Very impressive indeed, but you cheated. Your mom said to pick a diet … you chose to change your lifestyle 😉

  5. Just have to tell you, Angela, that you were a very pretty girl before but Primal has worked its magic again, unveiling the stunner within! Congratulations!

    So glad your crazy cousin-in-law Slick Rick was there as a model for you, and that you now serve as a model for so many others. That’s the way the word spreads…

    1. I did! Slick Rick, hehe, good old school memories. Well done Angela, do I recognise you from the forums?

  6. Way to go Angela! You look fantastic.

    Being urban chicken farmers is awesome.

  7. I’m glad that you didn’t wait to post your success story until you had reached your final desired goal weight. Your weight loss to date is dramatic and you look wonderful. Loosing the cravings for carbs and sugar is a wonderful benefit of this lifestyle. (Would you have believed it before you experienced it personally?) Congratulations to you and your family.

  8. Great story, how about your two year old? Since my son, 19 month now, is eating normal, he is allowed to choose his food, he prefers primal all the time. He has got more energy than other kids, he is thin, but tall and he does chin-ups every day, much better than me. 😉

    1. That’s awesome! The biggest change we’ve seen is in his behavior. He is much more focused and less tantrum prone while primal. The biggest challenge has been navigating preschool, birthdays, etc. where the norm is goldfish and saltines. Drives me batty!
      He is definitely a healthy kid with LOTS of energy, though I’ve got to get him on some chin ups! I’m always encouraged by other primal parents. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Chin-ups at 19 months!? Call me inexperienced in the ways of toddlers, but wow. That is going to be one fit kid.

  9. Dear Angela: I look forward to reading the success story every Friday. I have to say that your story caused me to tear up. Your ‘before’ photo is of a beautiful lady, and your after photo is a stunning woman, who quite clearly exudes confidence and has such a presence. You should be very proud of yourself, and your husband for looking outside the box for a solution to a very personal challenge. Your story will provide mentorship and hope for numerous others. Way to go! /Lu

  10. Angela, congratulations on changing your lifestyle for the better! Isn’t it amazing what this type of change can do for us?

  11. Congrats Angela to both you and your husband. Very cool that you got the garden going and the chickens wish I could do that!

  12. Angela, I love your story–it’s one of my absolute favorite transformation stories. You look stunning in the after picture. Keep up the great work! You are a great example for your family.

  13. Awesome job, Angela! Way to go 🙂 I’m going to forward your story to my two daughters who are both at university and struggling with their weight.

    Just an FYI. I found taking L-Glutamine in my protein shake really helped me get past my sugar cravings of the not-too-distant past.

    Have a great weekend, everyone.

  14. Congrats! Stay slim, healthy and don’t let big pharma milk you like they do with the sick and unhappy ones.

  15. Congratulations, Angela! Way to go!

    By the way, I don’t know if you have planned this, but I am sure you can have a biological child now, if you give it a try. I hope you are blessed with a pregnancy and a child soon, if this is your wish! Good luck!

  16. Wow! Thanks for all the encouraging comments! I am honored that Mark let me share my story as I have enjoyed reading those posted here every week. MDA has been a big resource for me. Just an update; shortly after writing this, I reached my 70lb weight loss goal and then got a big surprise…I’m pregnant! We are super thrilled and I know my Primal lifestyle is what got me here. Now I’m working on a primal pregnancy, something I never thought I’d get to experience!

    1. Fabulous news! Congrats again and best of luck for your primal pregnancy!

      It seems that so many young women I know have infertility problems or have had multiple miscarriages. And so many of them are eating CW/ vegetarian/ vegan “healthy” diets to try to get pregnant or bring their child to term. After reading many success stories like yours, I am utterly convinced that most of these women would be able to have a child within a year or two of going primal.

      1. Chica — we’re witnessing Pottenger’s Cats on a nationwide scale.

      2. I was near vegan, starting at age 15. Diagnosed with PCOS and put on metformin at 21, started trying to for a baby at 27, and started getting help at 28. On a fluke, I got pointed toward an acupuncturist who put me on WAPF, and five months later I conceived naturally and kinda accidentally (I was told to stop trying for a but while my body healed).

        I am a firm, firm believer in animal fat. 😀

      3. Considering that rats on a diet of GMO food became sterile within two generations. Colour me surprised that we’re having steriliy issues already. Coincidental link? I don’t think so.

    2. That’s wonderful news, Angela! Your body was finally ready. I will be embarking on trying for baby #3 in January and it will be my first since going Primal. Keep up the great work!

    3. Hi Angela — I was waiting to read you were pregnant — thanks for sharing in the comments 😀

    4. Congratulations! I was reading your whole story thinking “And then she got pregnant, right?”

    5. What a wonderful ending to a great story! I have a young friend who gave up being vegetarian after not being able to conceive. She started eating meat and – lo and behold – she’s expecting a baby very soon! I find this aspect of nutrition to be quite fascinating.

    6. Congratulations on your pregnancy! This is very, very good news! I hope you have a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby! And best of luck!

    7. You just brought tears to my eyes! Congratulations to you on so many levels.

    8. Wow, Angela. Congratulations and God’s blessings be upon you and your family.

      I wish more of my family would listen to me on the Primal front and ditch the crap they feed themselves and their families. I cringe to see the constant stream of carbs. My brain feels more focused when I do low-carb, I bet their kids’ brains would too.

  17. Thanks for sharing Angela. BTW, I have the same green sweater. Grok on!

  18. I love the confidence exuded in “after” pictures here on MDA. Way to go Angela!

  19. Angela, you are a hero to your husband, your child, and to me. Unfortunately you are probably the object of envy of your sister-in-laws! You look great. Thanks again for sharing your story.

  20. Thank you for this story. I have a bunch of gyn problems, including PCOS, and they have snuck up on me unexpectedly this month and are making my life unpleasant today. Primal definitely helps with said problems, although it doesn’t banish them completely for me. I read this story before heading out. I often use “gyn issue days” as my cheat days for the 20 of 80/20. Before reading this story I was seriously considering some Chinese take out and a huge chocolate bar. I was inspired though, since I have been doing really good on Primal lately, and chose some somewhat more healthy squid and a handful of little dark chocolates to be followed by a hike. Thank you for inspiring me.

    1. Hang in there, and keep making the healthier choices. It all comes down to one decision at a time, day after day.

  21. Great Job! You look amazing…I am inspired every friday and look forward to these stories. Congratulations on your pregnancy…I was thinking while I was reading your story that you would find yourself pregnant before long and lo and behold you are!

  22. Congratulations, I am passing this to everybody, thanks for posting!

  23. YOu look fantastic, but I know that feeling better is the best reward! Congrats!

  24. Congrats on your success, you certainly look happy and attractive in the before photo, but wow, add ‘alluring’ for the after one! Great Job!

  25. Wow, what an inspiring transformation; and congratulations on your pregnancy!!

  26. Congratulations Angela, on your new found health AND your pregnancy! You look great, and have achieved multiple goals, and with just the healthiest of lifestyles to thank (and your crazy cousin-in-law). I certainly know a few people who I think could benefit this way if only they would “get it” too! Thanks for your story and best wishes for a healthy pregnancy.

  27. I too have PCOS, and recently started Primal. Already my cycle is normalizing and I look amazing, 5’8 and 125 lbs after a lifetime of weight fluctuating between 140-160. I am a biologist, so when doctors told me at 18 that PCOS was genetic I knew they were wrong (how could a disease that causes infertility be genetic!?). A friend with PCOS started Primal 6 months ago and after years of trying to get pregnant, she is now 3 months pregnant and feeling great! I love this story. Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. “how could a disease that causes infertility be genetic!”

      AMEN TO THAT!

  28. Congrats!! wonderful story. would love to see piccies of the whole family!

  29. Uhh…ROCKSTAR! You look great Angela! I’m very curious as to how Slick Rick presented primal info to you. I have a ‘Slick Rick’ in my family but he’s ultra pushy and just pisses people off and makes them want to eat a banana split just to spite him. How did you respond emotionally/psychologically to his bacon odes?

    1. Thanks! Slick Rick was definitely not ultra pushy but he was unforgiving when he talked about his lifestyle. He patiently answered all my typical doubter questions and often sent me links to answers when he didn’t have them off the top of his head. I just dismissed him at first but the truth I couldn’t deny was that he was healthy and ripped without an insane workout regimin. I think most of our family thinks he’s a little crazy for his diet, but after seeing the results I’ve had and my support of it, they definitely are thinking twice.

  30. Woo hoo! Congratulations! You look wonderful. I started at needing to lose 110 pounds. So far I’ve lost 12 lbs. I’ve been doing primal for 3 or 4 weeks now. You are an INSPIRATION 😉

    1. Thanks! Keep it up and one day you’ll look back and be surprised how quickly time flew by! Stay motivated by your losses and let them propel you forward.

  31. Congratulations! Stay primal during the pregnancy, don’t let the doctors talk you out of it. It is safe. Look for Andreas Enefeldt’s interviews with Dr. Michael Fox if your resolve waivers–he’s a reproductive endocrinologist who uses low carb diets in particular to help his patients with PCOS conceive and carry healthy term pregnancies. It’s the BEST thing you can do for your baby.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement and the leads. I am familiar with Dr. Fox but not with these particular interviews.

  32. Wow! You are really kicking butt on this weight loss effort. You look gorgeous! And good on you for adopting and taking in foster children.

  33. You look like a completely different woman. So happy, vibrant, fresh and ALIVE. And look at those FABULOUS curves! *wolf whistle* Well done! You and your family stand to continue reaping the benefits of your new found health! Keep it up.

  34. Hi all – I’m going to post in the forum, too, but does anyone have a suggestion for the vegan blues?

    Somehow I’ve surrounded myself with amazing, funny, intelligent women — who have gone vegan one within the last year or two. I also have a friend who suffers from chronic cardio on top of doing a pseudo veganism.

    I’m old enough to know that talking won’t do much good. They are convinced how healthy they are despite some starling evidence to the contrary. I cringe when I hear about the constant cold type illnesses and the weight gain issues. It’s so frustrating. I know what’s going on (including the biochemistry) but I’m powerless to prevent this self inflicted suffering.

    And yeah, I know I’m taking this too seriously but it’s still bumming me out. Any thoughts on how to counter the vegan blues?

    Amy

    1. Nothing you can do :\ Just live your life, set a wonderful example! And don’t waste your energy trying to save people who don’t want to learn!

      1. Let them see from your own results that PB works. If they ask questions – send them a link to MDA and let the message speak for itself.

        Otherwise, just Grok On! 🙂

  35. Congratulations on your amazing weightloss and Now your Pregnancy! I shed a little tear of joy when i read your follow up comment announcing your pregnancy – all the best for you and your family XX

  36. Good job! It’s inspiring to see folks going through the same thing many of us do, and making the tough changes to improve our lives. However, the changes don’t seem so tough after you make them for a while…. and they’re well worth the effort. You look amazing, and more importantly, your new baby will have the background to live a wholly healthful life.

  37. Way to go! You really look like a whole new person. The person you’re intended you to be. That’s what’s so great about these stories, you don’t even have to read them (although I do). The pictures tell the story, all of it. In the before pictures we always see someone, yearning for happiness, a vibrant life, a love for life, and just not quite getting what they’re after; we see someone suffering. And this is what you see if you look closely at any heavy person in the general public eating SAD. They are everywhere, and they are all in pain. It’s terrible. The after pictures always show a better, happier person, someone who is getting what they want out of life, and Angela’s pictures are a perfect example. It’s amazing. Angela, Thanks for your story. You look wonderful.

  38. Oh wow, you’re so beautiful! It’s great that you and your family feel so much better now. You look like a very friendly person and I hope you’ll continue to feel this great!

  39. Congratulations on transforming your life and that of those in your family. I love that you are sharing this lifestyle with the wonderful foster children who have entered your world… What a gift! Tell Slick Rick we’d like to hear his story, too!

  40. Angela,
    You look absolutely amazing, what a transformation. 🙂 Congratulations on taking control of your life and regaining your love for bacon

  41. Hey, well done. As someone else said, you looked good before, and you’re obviously a good person, but you look great now, but the most important thing is that you feel good now, and better about yourself and you’re out there now on the road to a long and healthy lifestyle. Great commitment – adoption and chickens! I’m one of the rare UK adopters of this lifestyle, no-one over here knows about this. I was never that heavy, so it’s a way fo life for me, but me and my wife love the freedom of it!

  42. I would like to know more about your husband’s success. My son was diagnosed as type 1 diabetic only a week ago. Hospital food was 90% carbs and his BG was still high. We were discharged 2 days ago and I immediately started the whole family on a paleo diet. Already his BG has decreased, but I would like to know what to expect in the future. Thanks.

    1. From my husbands experience, it has overall helped him to regulate his BG. The less grain carbs you eat, the less BG spikes, the less insulin you take…which means less calculating and less margin for error. He lost weight when he started eating Paleo and had to adjust his insulin intake but if your son’s starting from the beginning that shouldn’t be a problem. Being first diagnosed, your son has probably seen a dietician or will soon. My husbands experience was they told him he needed 300-400 carbs a day and you obviously don’t. Remember that there are still a lot of “professionals” that follow conventional wisdom. In the end, my husbands Dr. couldn’t argue the results he has had with a LCHF lifestyle and told him to keep it up!