My “Almost” Success Story

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. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in line I’ve entitled my story as an ‘Almost’ Success Story because my story is not yet complete. After having lost 50 kilos (just over 100 pounds), I still have about 10 or 15 kilos to go.

Can I say that while I don’t consider myself Paleo (mainly because I don’t believe in evolution, so I’m pretty sure that disqualifies me….lol), but I do appreciate the articles on all the individual foods that have helped me make healthful choices in what I eat and how many carbs I consume. They have been invaluable, and I am so very grateful for this community and especially for Mark and all he does to help people on their journey to good health. I have adopted the low-carb way of eating (between 50 and 150g daily), and I believe this has been the key to my success. I seldom eat anything refined or highly processed, and I eat all dairy.

For me, it all started after I got a blood test back on October 10, 2015. I was prediabetic at 47 Hba1C, had a slightly fatty liver, and my triglycerides were 2.9 mmol/L. I was also experiencing gout in my big toe (OUCH!), my hips would burn in pain after walking anywhere, I was barely able to move without feeling discomfort, and I had IBS which pretty much ruled my life (as any of you with that condition can attest to). When I got my blood tests back, I remember saying out loud (I was the only one in the room), “I am NOT going to get old and sick!” (I was 48). I had tried so many diets and failed. I, like many of you, had had some successes on the typical LF/HC diets commonly recommended, but I could never stick at it long term. Cravings were simply insatiable, and, let’s face it, who has the superhuman willpower needed to be able to apply it every single day for the rest of your life, which is what one needs to do if one is going to keep the weight off eating LF/HC.

beforeI had already done quite a bit of reading on this website, and I knew controlling my carbs and eliminating highly refined/processed foods was going to be the key for me. So I began immediately. I’m an all-or-nothing girl, and I literally went through my pantry and all my cupboards and ditched everything that was now out of bounds. My darling husband, who is simply awesome, btw, was supportive from the start. After being together for 25 years, and not once with him telling me I needed to lose weight (Oh, and he is slim and 6’4″), I knew that he would eat whatever I put in front of him and never complain. Just as well, because at that stage I simply didn’t have the energy to cook two different meals every night. He has also adopted this way of eating fully, although I am stricter with my carb load than he is.

So off I went, full tilt. I remember sitting on the couch about 3 days after I started, and I said to my husband, “I feel funny….in a good way, but I can’t put my finger on it.” It took me 24 hours to realise what it was: I was no longer experiencing any cravings! Seriously, you’d think I would have recognised that instantly, but what can I tell you. I didn’t. Then, after about two weeks, I was sitting on the couch watching some telly at about 10 pm, and I said to DH, “Man, I feel so good that I could literally get up and go for a long walk!! This is so weird!!”….lol.

Can you believe that! I mean, why couldn’t my doctors have told me that? I’m very grateful for the medical profession when it comes to broken arms, surgeries, etc…but nutritionally…..forget it. Man, they are hopeless at dealing with health issues using food.

I had a blood test three months after I began. Predictably, my fatty liver disappeared, my cholesterol improved (even though I was eating way more saturated fat than I used to), and my BS had gone from 47 to 32 (barely on the start of the scale they measure with). A couple of blood tests later showed that my HDL had risen, my Triglycerides had dropped from 2.9 to 0.4!, and my BS had dropped to 26 (with a note on my tests from my doctor that you don’t get much lower than that!!). My gout has gone, as has the burning pain in my hips. The tiny skin tags all over my neck have disappeared, and, unexpectedly, but very happily, my skin really cleared up! At 48, I still had terrible skin from acne, and the colour and texture also improved.

My hobbies used to be: couch potato or anything else that involved sitting on my chuff. And my poor, enduring husband, who hunts and is as fit as the day is long, would ask if I would accompany him on the odd walk, to which I occasionally agreed out of guilt, but would struggle to complete even short walks. Now he calls me a machine as I hike with him up and down dale (and this coming from a guy who would hunt deer and pig, walking for anything up to 8 hours at a time, carrying a pack and then meat from any animal he was blessed enough to get). So I take his encouragement as a real compliment.

after9A1C19C27I also love to cycle. I don’t think I’m super fit, by any means, but I’m pretty fit. The first time we walked up Kaiti Hill together (a local landmark in my city which is a 1 kilometre hill climb), I thought I was going to have a heart attack at the top. I was heaving and sweating like the proverbial and honestly, I only shuffled up that flippen hill at a snail’s pace. But it almost killed me….lol. Now it’s like a walk in the park. Really. I love it. And we do much longer walks together.

My life has changed completely. I am, in the first, so grateful to God, and second, to the people who have encouraged me along the way, and to the people in this community who have shared their stories of encouragement, and of course, last but certainly not least, to Mark and his diligence in food research.

To anyone who is contemplating changing their eating to reduce carbs, eat whole foods, eliminate grains and sugars…..don’t wait one more day! Do it! I am turning 50 this year, but I feel like I have gotten younger!

Thank you, everyone.

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113 thoughts on “My “Almost” Success Story”

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  1. what an inspiring success story about how health and lifestyle changes have brought so much more life to you! i also love how you and your husband have had love and respect for one another all these years, even with really different health habits. sometimes, i’ve wanted to convert my husband to one way of thinking or another, which does not make for a happy household!

    1. Thanks, Jenny. Yes, I’m sure my husband wanted to convert me, but he had the wisdom to understand that nobody wanted me to lose the weight and get healthy more than I. I just couldn’t do it the old way. But once I was armed with new tools, it was on!…lol. All the best with your journey. 🙂

  2. Congratulations on finding a lifestyle that is healthy and sustainable! I love the happy, contented look in your second photo – it tells the story without saying a word.

  3. Great for you! What’s with the Almost?Success is a journey not a destination and are clearly benefiting from your lifestyle choices.

  4. Nice to see this about the evolution, too, as I have a lot of family who are very biblical and my dad’s a geologist from a six-day world so, you know, hard to know where Grok would be. Therefore it’s nice to see that people can still eat well whatever their belief is on creation and such. And the older poet in me notes that fit and fifty go together like sex and sixty (I’ll keep y’all posted on the poetry of other decadal markers as we go along). Thanks again for this excellent story, which is apparently ongoing. Also at 6’4″ I’m hoping for some of the women in my life to climb hills with me…

  5. Great job!

    Just one thing: Paleo does not mean evolution. When I talk to other people, I always mention:
    If you believe in evolution, then we evolved to eat a LC/HF diet, to run on our bare feet to hunt or get away from predators, etc.
    If you don’t believe in evolution, then God created us to eat a LC/HF diet, to run on our bare feet to hunt or get away from predators, etc.

    1. Agree. People tend to take the nomenclature too literally. In practical-speak, the term “Paleo” just means ancestral, and not all the way back to the Stone Ages. For one thing, those foods don’t exist any more. Even if they did, most of us would find them unpalatable. For me, Paleo means eating as close to nature as possible and avoiding the processed man-made stuff–in other words, sticking with healthful whole foods that I prepare myself. Nobody ever found a sugar-laden pie growing in an apple orchard, or a bag of refined white flour sprouting in a grain field. Whether you believe in evolution or not, you can’t go too far wrong eating food as nature intended it to be.

    2. This sounds right. Although ‘Paleo’ refers to the paleolithic, and some people who believe the Earth is very young might not believe there ever was a paleolithic, the basic idea is that we were made (designed or evolved) for a specific range of environments, and there is now a mismatch (to varying degrees). This is completely compatible with a literal understanding of Genesis, say, where the primordial humans are living in a ‘garden’ but then are thrown out of the garden, and have to ‘toil the ground’ instead (which suggests a move from a kind of gatherer life to an agricultural one).

      The Paleo approach is just to ask what that environment might be, and how we can recreate. Certain ideas common in evolutionary theory might provide a useful heuristic for coming up with ideas that work (and have), but anyone can take the ideas that work and use them.

  6. Nice job, and your after picture looks like you are 28. Congrats!

  7. As a pastor I also don’t buy into evolution– But Mark’s ideas on diet and our physical make-up do make sense and I love the paleo lifestyle!
    Congrats– keep going– I have GROK on my cubicle (near me stand-up desk) and it reads: Live Long–Drop dead!
    Enjoy every day you have above ground and in the sunlight– just don’t ever think though that it’s all there is to living!

    1. Haha, “Live Long-Drop Dead!” love it. Thanks, Dave. 🙂

    2. Lots of pastors who don’t deny science and actually recognize that evolution happened. Always surprising to see people proud of their willful ignorance.

  8. Evolution isn’t something you have to “buy into”. It’s a scientific fact. The evidence is overwhelming. The fact that evolution is true doesn’t have to impact your religious beliefs at all.

    1. I’m sure a lot of people were agitated by the statement that the Apple doesn’t believe in evolution. But, let’s not look for someone to fight with about it. It’s irrelevant to her wonderful transformation, and there are many places on the internet to pick those fights already. I will say that every pastor I’ve ever had has believed in evolution, and most Christian churches acknowledge the reality of the big bang. You see? I want to fight, too. But, there’s no reason.

    2. I’m with you Ryan, that any reasonably intelligent person would assert they don’t “believe” in evolution just blows my mind. I stopped reading after that.

      1. And any reasonably thoughtful person would celebrate this woman’s remarkable achievement, regardless of her beliefs. You could believe the moon is made of cheese, HealthyHombre, and we here in the MDA community would still celebrate your success if you turned your life around through Primal eating the way she has!

        1. P_O I don’t have patience for someone who is anti-science and / or tries to foster their religious beliefs on me. That is antithetical to the pursuit of the truth which to my way of thinking is a large part of what this site is about. This is on her IMHO, her story could have been documented without those comments and would not have created a controversy.

          1. @HealthyHombre, not the place, not the time. Her beliefs should not be a challenge for you, she merely stated her belief, something that she is under no obligation to hide. She did not say that she is anti anything, and did not try to force you to believe as she does. You are not hiding your beliefs either.

            If we all can respect each other, we can all find peace in our own way.

    3. And belittling her, when all she’s trying to do is celebrate one of the biggest achievements of her life, is going to convince her to believe in evolution, how exactly? Your comment is as bad as the “christians” who stand on the street corner with a hate-filled sign, and somehow expect it to make people want to go to church.

      1. You really believe that? Wow, you all need to learn science in your schools.

        1. I am a scientist. And I respect people. Perhaps you might want to check how you appear when you make comments that can appear to be made in a snide manner. If you did not mean it that way, I stand corrected.

    4. Thank you. It’s like saying, “I don’t believe in science.” Well, science exists whether you believe in it or not.

  9. Not believing in evolution is like not believing in water. It’s your right not to believe, but that doesn’t make it any less true. And I’m saying that as a Christian. They are compatible if you open your mind.

    Having gotten that off my chest, congratulations on making positive changes to your health and happiness! That matters far more than whether we agree on science.

  10. Well done! There’s nothing like getting a new lease on life. I like MDA for many reasons and one of them is that’s religion free, so I think that it’s best to keep it that way – no pun intended..

  11. Congratulations to you! I wish that every believer would take the Paleo/primal leap. None of this hinges on “believing” in proven irrefutable science. Evolution is not a belief system it is scientific fact. Physiology is also science. Please reserve the word belief to things that have no proof behind them. I don’t “believe” in the Prinmal lifestyle. I KNOW that it works. No leap of faith involved.?

    1. And let’s stick to being a warm, supportive community of Primal enthusiasts!

      Because the internet intellectualizing is not going so well. “Reserve the word ‘belief’ to things that have no proof behind them” Why? I believe that 2+2=4, that heat is mean molecular kinetic energy, and that sugar is bad for you. I hope you believe these things, too! Knowledge doesn’t exclude belief, it logically entails it.

      My apologies to MDA for adding another comment to the negativity, but FrothyChocolate is too decent to come to her own defense against this unkind and unnecessary criticism.

    2. Science is not irrefutable. To say so is deeply unscientific. And it’s a mistake to drive a wedge between belief and facts. Facts are what should be believed. I take it you think others should believe in evolution, right? I agree. So why insist that belief is reserved for things that have no proof? That’s exactly backwards: we should believe most strongly in those things that have strong proof behind them.

  12. Michaela, congratulations on your incredible success. And thanks to everyone for offering their good wishes and support. Though we come from many different places, experiences, and viewpoints here, we’re all moving toward the same vision—to build a life of deep thriving. Thanks to every single one of you for sharing that journey.

    1. Thanks, Mark. I just feel I’m on an incredible journey, and I’m so grateful for it. 🙂 BTW, I’m down another 2 kilos since I wrote my story. Yay!

  13. Yay to all of the positive changes in your life, from a fellow Turning-50-This-Year Grokette!!

    1. Wow, Cathy. Didn’t that 50 just creep up on us then all of a sudden pounce!!!…lol. Hey, but I don’t mind ageing if I feel like this! All the best for your 50th. xx

  14. You look . . . amazing! I am stunned by your before and after. You are cute in the first one, and downright glowing and gorgeous in the second!
    I find your perspective unique and refreshing (and knew there would be comments that would focus on that rather than the story you had to tell about your health). I have a very religious family and I like to tell them that I think of primal eating and living as the way it was in the Garden of Eden, before humankind was cast out to toil in the fields (agriculture). God bless!

    1. Hi, PrimalPlum (I love your name). Yes, I knew my comment would elicit the many comments here, but I refuse to respond to some of the things said. However, I am very encouraged by a great community from which I can ‘feel the love’ and the push on towards the goal line of great health. Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

  15. What a lovely success story. And you look frikkin’ gorgeous! Glowing with health!
    Good on you!

  16. If this is “almost success” I can’t imagine what the “full success” will be 🙂

    1. Haha. Thanks. Hopefully it will be about another 10 kilos, although I’m down another 2 from when I wrote this. 🙂

      1. Thanks so much for sharing your story, FC, you look and sound very healthy and happy. I don’t know if you’d consider intermittent fasting to help rid yourself of the last 10 kilos, but I’ve been reading about so many people lately doing it to get rid of the last stubborn 10. Either way, you’ve obviously found what’s working for you–kudos! 🙂

        1. Hi, Tee. You’re welcome. 🙂 Yes, I am considering intermittent fasting (or other ways to shift the last 10 kilos). It’s a beast, that last lot of weight!! It’s coming off at about 500 grams/fortnight to a month now. I’m just not that patient… Thanks for the reminder about IF.

  17. Don’t call it an “almost” success story…you are totally a success! We are all a work in progress, but the way you are glowing in the second pic says it all…congrats!

  18. I am so inspired by you and your story. I’m in my mid 50’s and find it so hard to lose weight, and fit in more time for fitness. But your story has given me renewed energy to keep at it. Thank you!

    1. Oh, Jean! You can do it! Have you read the success story on here about a lovely woman in her 80s (I think…or at least 70s). She has an amazing testimony to the change it has made in her life and health. Do keep at it, Jean. 🙂

  19. I agree with others, this is a full success story. The destination is never reached because you can always improve on something. That is the fun part, trying to always reach a higher level. You look so healthy and beautiful, great job, great story.

    1. Thanks, Joe. Yes, there’s always room for improvement, as you say. 🙂

  20. First, congratulations!! You look fantastic!!

    Second, I just have to say how great it is that (for the most part) people are so encouraging of your “evolution” comment. I don’t really call myself religious, but I do lean more towards theistic evolution, so it’s always frustrates me that the mere mention of a higher power sets off a storm of insults. I’m glad that this online community isn’t like that (and that the members that are are quickly reprimanded).

    The way I see it, we either evolved to eat this way, in a wild environment with limited access to grains and carbs, or we were created to eat this way, in a wild environment, with limited access to grains and carbs.

    You may not be paleo, but you’re definitely primal!

    1. “…the mere mention of a higher power sets off a storm of insults.”

      Not really. Clarifications perhaps?
      Religion is based on belief.
      Science is observations and hypotheses (millions of observations support the hypothesis of evolution).

      These things are different. There’s no need for argument.

      1. A woman shares her amazing Primal story on MDA and just because she happens to reject evolution the scolds come out of the woodwork with their half-baked philosophizing! I don’t understand it. Who appointed the belief-police? Not Mark, that’s for sure. His comment here was gracious and inclusive.

        To say “religion is based on belief” is simplistic and dismissive.Religion is a complex phenomenon with many sources. True, some believe on blind faith. But many people hold religious belief the same way they believe anything else: a complicated mix of reasoning, personal experience, weighing of evidence, and so on.

        Nobody comes to MDA to read casual insults toward those who believe differently, especially in fields unrelated to ancestral health.

        (And, yes, I suppose I’m guilty of being the self-appointed critic of the critics in this thread! Fair enough. But some push-back is warranted.)

    2. Thanks, Steve. Yes, I have to say it gets a bit tiresome. I tossed up whether to even mention that I don’t consider myself Paleo (and here’s why), but I thought it was part of my ‘story’, and so I left it in. I do appreciate it when we can differ and still be respectful without any ad hominem attacks (almost made it, but not quite… Regardless, I have been really supported through this time by both my family and friends, and, generally, the online community who is struggling with the same issues.

      1. Thank you for sharing your story…all of it! Every success story is unique and encouraging – I love that there are different stories that touch different people according to their life stage, experiences…and yes, spiritual beliefs. For me, your story was meaningful, inspirational and encouraging. I, too, have had to wrestle with the paleo/evolution part of it – I, too, have come to a place where I know that I can embrace the nutritionally sound advice and healthy lifestyle without getting distracted with the issue of Grok. I can choose to focus on God’s design for my body and my life and still be a part of this wonderful community. And for that I’m grateful.

        Your story has also inspired me to “go for it” in a more intentional way! I’m 55 now, but was introduced to this way of living/eating about 4 years ago. I have “lived” it in fits and starts with some prolonged periods of success….but not consistent enough for true longterm weight loss/lifestyle change. I know it works for me and is best for me. As a grandmother, mother, & wife living in a traditional role I’m sure you know all the reasons I could give for not giving it my all. I know that I need to be “all in” for significant change, especially at my age, and with about 50 pounds to lose. Thank you for taking the time to share a bit of you with us – it came at a good time for me! I hope for you continued blessings and awesome health! 🙂

    3. Yes, it’s unfortunate that the conversation is getting somewhat off track here and there, but just when I think it’s calmed down, another person on either side speaks up. And even though I had decided to stay out of it, your comment about the insults that believers in a higher power can receive caught my attention. Believers need to realize it works both ways. A non-believer not only gets hit with insults, but also death threats. That’s not hyperbole, it’s a fact. So let’s all just celebrate Michaela’s great success and keep the controversial issues for another site.

  21. Your beliefs are irrelevant, and your success is self evident. Congratulations from across the ditch! You look fabulous – 50 is something to celebrate, with so much more to look forward to.

    1. Hey’a, my Aussie mate. Thanks for your kind words. Yes, the future is indeed looking brighter!

  22. A Gisbornite on MDA! Congratulations on finding that link between food and feeling ?

  23. Oops my last comment was supposed to have an exclamation not a question mark!

    1. Sorry – somehow my smiley face icon printed as a question mark in my comment… You positively glow in that photo. How lovely.

      1. Thanks, Caroline. About your question mark, see the comment right above you. It’s not an isolated incident…..hehehe. 🙂

  24. Great inspiring story that is helping to motivate this 51 year old almost success story too. I’m about 25 lbs from writing my story and it is one of my goals to someday draft my story. That being said I like you feel so much better even though I may not have met the end point i have set in my brain. You reminded me how blessed it is to feel a body that is working with you and not against you. To not be consumed by cravings and blood sugar swings are successes that I need to remember and not just the numbers on the scale. To feel muscles and toned legs in my 50s that I didn’t have in my 40s is awesome. Thanks for a great story that I can really connect with. Blessings to you!

    1. Hey, thanks, Pam. So glad to read that it encouraged you. Yes, as you say, it’s so much more than just the numbers on the scale. Bless you, too, and I will keep a lookout for your success story!

  25. And it’s always surprising to me when people choose to forego basic courtesy on the internet.

    Of course facts are subject to belief. The facts are precisely what we should believe! Everyone makes cognitive mistakes, even you, FAB, and your fellow critics here in the comments. For instance, you’re making the cognitive mistake of thinking that facts are not subject to belief. But every one one of us makes mistakes about what the facts are—that’s why we engage in rational persuasion! To try to convince others to believe the facts.

    So the only question is, why the arrogance and rudeness by so many commenters here? Let’s keep MDA inclusive.

  26. Oh, wow! You look so much younger in your second picture, and your skin is absolutely gorgeous! It must have felt amazing to receive those blood test results at the three month mark. What incredible progress you have made. Thank you for sharing your journey; I can’t help but think that all of these stories are going to shift the trajectory of humanity into a renewed actualization of health and passion for life.

    1. Hi, Katie. Thank you. Speaking of shifting the trajectory of humanity: the internet is such a gift in many ways. Yes, it can show the worst of humanity (social media), but it has offered up a tremendous amount of access to information which used to belong only to a few (doctors, for one). That free access to information has really brought about a change in how people inform themselves and create a plan for themselves. Once we used to ‘worship’ doctors (unfair to them and to us), but now the internet has well and truly burst that bubble!….lol, for our benefit, I think. 🙂

  27. Congratulations! I too am beginning the primal life and facing 50! You look great but most important is the fact that you feel great! Keep going loving life!

    1. Thanks, Donna. All the best for your healthful eating journey! I’m sure I’ll be reading your story one day. 🙂

  28. This sounds wonderful! And you look so much healthier and happier in your recent photo! Life is a continuous journey, but you have already found multiple successes! Congratulations on your healthier, happier life!

  29. I’m editing the “Almost” out of your title 🙂 Your success is inspiring, and you should be proud of your great progress. Way to go!

    1. Thanks, Mark. Edit away. You’re not the first to “tell me off” on that point….lol. Cheers. 🙂

  30. Congratulations! What a great achievement, very happy for you. 50 this year myself and have been Primal over 3 years. Best decision I have made in all my life. Keep moving forward to become Better Every Day!

    1. Thanks, Chuck. Yep, life is certainly easier to live (at least physically) when you’re not half dead!….lol.

  31. Congratulations! I’m very happy you’ve found a way to change your lifestyle. I had similar issues with my blood work and was labeled type 2 diabetic – insulin dependent. I said “No way!” And then I started a LC/HF diet with some borrows from paleo. Everything is improving!

    As for your beliefs, thank you for sharing! I, also a non-believer in evolution, had some difficulty with Gronk. But I realized it didn’t matter because the diet was likely the same for our imaginary caveman friend as it was for Adam & Eve. Not believing we evolved from primates doesn’t make one ignorant. And not buying into all things science as fact doesn’t make one stupid. Even science has to go back every now and then to fix something it believed was true. Maybe our science experts should refresh on the scientific method?

    Anyway, keep up the hard work!

    1. Thanks, Keith. Yes, when science can’t even decide if it’s safe to eat three eggs a week or fewer, then I don’t have much of an issue having a healthy scepticism around a scientific theory based on unobservable events. 🙂

  32. I’m inspired by her story!! I’m “new” to Paleo… waiting on my copy of the Primal Blueprint from my local library. Excited for this new lifestyle.

    1. Thanks, Tina. Hey, enjoy your journey into health. It is SO worth it. 🙂

  33. I want to add this … science and religion aside … your story is fantastic, you seem like a wonderful person, your transformation is amazing and an inspiration (a beautiful smile in both pictures) and I wish you all the best and continued good health and blessings. – George

    1. Thank you, HH. Very kind of you. I didn’t intend it to be a debate on Evolution vs Creation. There was only one single sentence in my whole story on that, but, well….human nature and all that….lol. Thanks again.

  34. People are so rude here, I don’t even want to be part of such a collective. ? She didn’t ask for your stinky opinions on her beliefs.

  35. Very unprimal of you to push this story despite her clear lack of sanity not believing in the ample and infinite evidence for evolution

  36. This is an awesome story! Thank you for sharing your personal experience and how it has changed your life!

  37. I am so inspired by your story! I am so unhealthy and have at least 75 lbs to lose. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure……the whole nine yards! But after reading your story I am so encouraged and ready to make a change! THANK YOU! God bless you and good health!

  38. I’m happy for your success!!! I wanted to ask you, if your IBS symptoms got better or remain the same?
    I’m an IBS-D, so would love any news 😀