Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
August 10 2012

My Healthy Lifestyle Was Killing Me

By Guest
171 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!

Amidst all of the holiday parties near the end of 2010, my BMI tipped from normal to overweight. Concerned that at age 52 my luck might be close to running out in evading the type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease that run in my family, I decided that it was time to lose weight. I’ve never had a major weight issue, but 20+ years of treatment for endometriosis, the onset of menopause, and 20+ years of living the suburban, increasingly sedentary life with an obese spouse had finally caught up with me. I set a realistic goal of losing 20 lbs by April of 2011.

I’ve never believed in “diets” since I have seen what happens in the overwhelming majority of cases – follow the “diet,” lose weight, back to the same-old-same-old, pack on more pounds than before. So I decided to be sensible and follow conventional wisdom. By instituting sustainable changes to my diet (counting calories, adding more healthy whole grains, less fat, less junk food) and a manageable exercise routine (worked up to chronic cardio!), I met my goal. By mid-April 2011 I was down 23 lbs and 2 sizes. Woo hoo! I should have been ecstatic, but I knew I had a problem.

I’d lost the weight, but I was feeling weaker and had experienced a couple of really scary incidents of severe diarrhea which lead to incapacitating dehydration compounded with hypothermia. I had to be rushed to the emergency room twice over a two-month period. After numerous tests and consultations between my GP and the ER doctors, the diagnosis both times was stomach virus. Great. They were clueless.

The second incident had been worse than the first. By the time the paramedics arrived (quicker than the first time) my veins had already started collapsing and I was non-responsive. I didn’t feel too confident about surviving a third bout. I learned to become aware of the initial signs of dehydration and was able to manage it by drinking ridiculous amounts of water (12 – 16 glasses a day!) supplemented with Gatorade. There had to be a better way. Of increasing concern to me was that over the next three months I dropped another 10 lbs without trying, and started developing sagging skin – a sure sign of muscle loss. Being small-framed and with a family history of osteoporosis, this was not good.

Somehow I stumbled upon MDA. As I started reading, a lot started making sense. The exercise portion was a lot like what I did as a kid. Having grown up in NYC with no car in the family, my feet were a basic mode of transportation. Sprints were how my friends and I got to elementary school (had to wait for mom to catch up to cross the street), lifting heavy things was how we got groceries home and up the stairs, and let’s not forget going up and down stairs (2 or 3 steps at a time weighted down with books in Jr. and Sr. high school) in the train stations, as well as regularly climbing 2-5 flights of stairs to reach family members’ and friends’ apartments (elevators were not an option).

After reading The Primal Blueprint (the only “diet” book I had EVER purchased), I came to the realization that my “healthy” lifestyle was going to kill me, literally! I must admit that even in spite of that, I had a lot of trepidation about going without the grains and legumes and increasing my fat intake. I had no problem dropping processed foods because my dad didn’t consider anything out of a can or pre-frozen to be “food,” and my mom made the distinction between real food and party (i.e. junk) food. For over 50 years I had eaten oatmeal or cream of wheat as part of my healthy breakfast almost every day. Breakfast without grains just did not seem like it would fill me up. Being of Caribbean ancestry, rice and beans had also been lifelong staples. However, on July 23, 2011, I decided to give this Primal thing a try for a week. One week later I was down another 3 lbs, but, in spite of my husband’s concerns about my “anorexia” – no worries – I was also down one full size! Using one of the online body fat calculators, I estimated that my body fat had gone down about 3%, which correlates well with the 3 lb weight loss. Over the next few weeks I took a few forays back into the world of SAD foods, because who the heck was this Mark Sisson guy to deprive me of my old comfort foods. I quickly discovered that what Mark had to say didn’t matter because my body was saying the same things loudly and clearly.

After 5 months of having said goodbye to the “healthy” whole grains and legumes, embracing the fats, dropping the chronic cardio, exercising less (but more effectively) and playing more, I lost a total of 6 lbs. Almost a year into my Primal journey, I’ve regained all of the weight that I lost since I went Primal. What has left me and all that have seen my transformation dumbfounded, is that from July 2011 to now I dropped from a size 4 to a size 0 while with a net weight loss of ZERO pounds!  Let me summarize that – I dropped 36 lbs and went from a size 8 to a size 4 following conventional wisdom. I’ve dropped a whopping 0 lbs and have gone from a size 4 to a size 0 following the Primal Blueprint.

More importantly, I’ve noticed that a lot of nuisance health issues that I had attributed to aging and/or had for so long that I accepted them as “normal,” are gone. To name just a few, the achy shins and joints, compliments of power walking (I read that it was easier on the joints than jogging, lol!), are no longer achy. I no longer feel like I am going to pass out if I don’t have breakfast within the first 30 minutes after I wake up. I no longer need to constantly pack snacks for my mid-morning and mid-afternoon hunger pangs/shakes. I no longer get in a foul mood when I’m hungry. I don’t drink anywhere near the amounts of water I drank regularly when I was constantly fighting dehydration, nor have I had a need to drink Gatorade. I have more energy than ever (I was anemic from childhood until a couple of years ago). Spicy foods no longer mess up my stomach. That stuffed feeling 10-15 minutes after a meal is gone. My pipes no longer leak.

My Primal journey continues as I try out different things and continue to learn how my body wants me to live. At age 53 I am stronger, leaner, more energetic and feel healthier than ever. Thank you, Mark, for teaching me what a healthy lifestyle really looks like.

Myra

TAGS:  guest post

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

171 thoughts on “My Healthy Lifestyle Was Killing Me”

Leave a Reply

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

  1. Amazing story for Friday inspiration! You look amazing and what’s more important is that you feel and perform so much better than before. I’ve been following the paleo diet for the last year, and it’s been the same story. I haven’t gained/lost any weight really, but I am more lean and toned than I ever have been. And I keep getting stronger in the gym. And I’m still wearing the same jeans that I wore in high school. Thanks for sharing your story to inspire others!

      1. Congratulations, Myra. I am Jamaican, I never had a weight problem, but have fibroids (enlarged abdomen), my skin doesn’t look so great anymore. I used to be “semi-vegetarian”, I prefer savory to sweet. I only have cravings close to menses. I think I may give this way of eating a try. I have been reading alot on “sacred foods”. Need to get back to them. Again Congrats. Any pointers would be appreciated. Peace

  2. Way to go! What an amazing change.

    It is amazing how the positive external changes are mirrored if not exceeded by the internal ones. It goes beyond the infatuation with ‘appearances’ that drives so much of our society.

  3. Wow! You look awesome. As someone a similar age (late 40s) I particularly appreciate your story and how you look and feel. It drives me MAD when I see people in the media talking about women as though they were ‘over the hill’ in their early 40s. Thank you for telling your story.

    1. Hah yeah…. I keep being told by a friend that if I get to my goal weight I’ll be ugly and skinny (even though I never was when I was at that weight at a younger age) because I’m “getting old”… I’m only 39!! It’s not as if I’m 65 ;).

      I still consider myself YOUNG and I’m always a bit horrified by this idea that at my age I’m practically “getting old”. lol.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story Myra! You look so healthy now! I too haven’t lost much weight on the scale, but have definitely slimmed down since eating primally. Amazing how that works.

  5. Amazing! You look wonderful! Did you determine what was causing your stomach issues? Was it gluten?

    1. Gluten is the primary suspect, but since I dropped it before anyone suggested a test, I don’t know that for sure. I dropped the grains before I dropped the legumes or dairy and the changes were almost immediate.

  6. Thank you for sharing, this is such a cool story. Congratulations on your hard work and relentless pursuit of health… you knew it was out there and traversed the forest of health knowledge (the good and the bad) to find what worked for you best. Awesome!

  7. 53!?! I want to be 53 NOWWWWW. I love your summary of the body composition effects. What a great Friday feature.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story, Myra! I’m 53 myself. Could you tell us more about what kinds of exercises you do?

  9. Myra, that is an amazing story! I love the success stories from women who are my age or thereabouts. (I turn 50 in less than a month.) I am curious as well about the gluten aspect. Do you think that had anything to do with the chronic diarrhea? You look great. Thanks for sharing your story.

  10. Shoot, I think we cross-posted or I didn’t see your response. Can gluten intolerance come up that suddenly?

    1. I don’t think it came on suddenly. I’ve had recurring GI issues for years, generally attributed by doctors to stress, stomach virus, fried foods, fast foods, etc. Nothing was ever serious enough to warrant extended medical treatment, but in retrospect I think it’s been the same issue all along. My lactose intolerance appeared to come “out of the blue,” but again, once I gave up lactose I realized that the symptoms had been building up for a while.

      1. I’ve read that up to 29% of people produce anti-gliadin antibodies in response to wheat gluten an immune response but that their symptoms are typically sub-clinical so they either don’t get seen by a doctor for it or diagnosed correctly.

        Great story, by the way!! GOOD ON YOU for taking your health seriously, doing your research, and sticking to it until you found what actually worked not what you were told works. And, you look healthy and fantastic!! I hope I look like that at 53! That was a really interesting thing you said about body composition. I had no idea a change could be that profound without the scale showing lower poundage as well.

        1. It’s actually about 83% of the people whose GI immune system reacts to the presence of gluten not 29%…

        2. I too am noticing the same thing. I’ve been primal for 2.5 months. Dropped 10lbs the first 2 weeks and nothing else since. But, within the last 2 weeks I’ve noticed and been getting compliments that I look thinner and I suddenly can fit into a size 10 (from 12)! My body composition is definitely changing. I’m happy to see this phenomenon confirmed as I wasn’t sure about what was really happening. Thanks for sharing!

        3. Actually it is 29% of people who are asymptomatic, who have no symptoms of celiac disease that produce the anti-gliadin antibodies in response to wheat gluten.

      2. My mom and a friend of mine both had alarming instances like that. Both of them were taking Prozac at the time, both incidents occurred after they had taken Lactaid and then consumed dairy, and both of them had the “episodes” dismissed by their doctors . My mom had it happen twice, the second time she was alert enough to figure out what was coming on but the first time I found her semi-collapsed in the bathroom and had to call an ambulance. Scary stuff!

        1. Amy, that is scary. The second time I had to call a coworker from my cell phone because I didn’t have the strength to get to the phone a few feet away. By the time she ran into the break room less than a minute later I could barely speak.

  11. Myra – great story! I am curious if your “obese” spouse also went primal? Thanks for sharing.

    1. No. He has a slew of weight-related health issues and is still listening to his doctors/CW in spite of the results.

      1. So sorry to hear that. I wish my spouse would change also. Especially after seeing the changes I have gone through being primal/paleo.

        1. wow! u mean to tell me that even after seeing you all’s remarkable physical transformations AND drastic health improvements, the spouses STILL are NOT convinced? wow.

  12. Wow-this is fantastic. I’m getting close to 50 and I’ve been primal for about a year. While i haven’t enjoyed the weight loss you mention, I have stabilized at healthy weight and I feel great.

    Jana

  13. Myra, thank you so much for sharing your story. It gives me a lot of hope to see “50 years young” women making such positive changes in their health and well being and body composition. You look amazing! Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Myra, I am so impressed and inspired! Thanks for sharing your story. Getting yourself to a state of vibrant health with a primal lifestyle while your spouse clings to CW is beyond brave and a commitment to self care that I hope to parallel someday.

  15. Wow! You are a hot mama at 53! Every week I pray for a success story of someone like me (menopausal, history of SAD diets and chronic cardio, etc.) and today here you are. I have been struggling with trying to be consist with PB/paleo by myself and stories like yours and other women on the forum are becoming the key.
    You go girl!

  16. Myra, I am curious about the dehydration – my 18 yo son seems to have a problem with this type of thing every once in a while (not to the serious extent that you did, but he seems to get dehydrated kind of frequently). He eats fairly primal, but he does tend to eat like, well, a typical teenager – sugar, pasta, bread, etc., but he is very lean. I’m wondering if you have discovered a correlation to what you were eating to the dehydration, or if it is another condition you have been diagnosed with that PB is helping with?

    1. The cause of the dehydration has never been officially diagnosed beyond “stomach virus” since doctors thought it was brought on by the sudden diarrhea and not drinking enough fluids. I don’t think they took seriously the amount of fluids I said I was consuming on a regular basis. Within a week of eliminating the grains and sugars, the thirst and dehydration were gone for good.

      1. Diets high in dry – non fruit and vegetable – carbohydrates cause dehydration because every gram of carbs binds with 2 grams of water pulled from everywhere in the body, so much so in fact that large high carb meals eaten just before bedtime can cause imbalances in cardiac electrolytes sodium, potassium and magnesium which disrupt cardiac electrical signalling (electrophysiology) and can cause atrial and ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac death.

        From Wikipedia re Fatty Acid Metabolism:
        “Fatty acids, stored as triglycerides in an organism, are an important source of energy because they are both reduced and anhydrous. The energy yield from a gram of fatty acids is approximately 9 Kcal (37 kJ), compared to 4 Kcal/g (17 kJ/g) for carbohydrates.
        Since the hydrocarbon portion of fatty acids is hydrophobic, these molecules can be stored in a relatively anhydrous (water-free) environment.
        Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are more highly hydrated. For example, 1 g of glycogen can bind approximately 2 g of water, which translates to 1.33 Kcal/g (4 Kcal/3 g).
        This means that fatty acids can hold more than six times the amount of energy per unit of storage mass. Put another way, if the human body relied on carbohydrates to store energy, then a person would need to carry 67.5 lb (31 kg) of hydrated glycogen to have the energy equivalent to 10 lb (5 kg) of fat.”

        1. From Home Remedies Pro dot com:

          “Bangungot or sudden unexpected death is a condition observed by people living in Eastern Asian countries. Bangungot is a term which means “bad dream” or “nightmare” is originated from the Philipines. It is a silent killer that mostly affects men. Although this condition has claimed many lives in East Asia, it is still rather uncommon among the western countries. In Eastern Asia as well as South East Asia, cases are more common among people who are in their adolescence and adulthood. Despite the deadly condition, these people still do not know how it occurs. Some believes that sleeping right after eating rice causes the sudden death, and this is one reason widely believed among the people living in the Philippines.

          Bangungot Prevention

          Several medical specialists from Japan, China as well as other Asian countries have indicated that eating noodles before sleeping is one of the most common causes of this problem. It isn’t the noodle that kills the victim, but the dehydration caused as a result of eating noodles. By eating these foods (and also alcoholic beverages) could create an electrolyte imbalance in the body thereby causing the body to lose water and dehydrates. Hence, it would be advisable to avoid eating noodles right before going to sleep. Take at least two hours for the body to digest the noodles before bedtime. In addition to that, studies have also found that going thirsty when going to bed is also a bad idea. It can also trigger bangungot when your body dehydrates during the 8 hour sleep cycle. So, better forget about the frequent bathroom trips as a result of drinking too much water before hitting the sack. Drink at least one or two tall glass of water before bed is advisable.”

    2. My son suffered with periodic bouts of uncontrollable vomiting, dehydration, hand tetany (cramping) for years (age about 7-16). Nothing seemed to trigger it or relieve it. The only thing that would bring him out was a brief bout (about 1-2 hours) of iv saline. As you can imagine, it took a long time for us to figure that out. As he got older, he could feel it coming on and head it off with immediate Gatorade. He is now 23 and hasn’t had an incident in about 8 years. Very scary-especially the first few times. Once we were traveling in SE Asia and he was couldn’t hold anything down for about 10 days-looked like a skeleton. Dangerous for the kidneys. He was/is very lean and otherwise healthy. Now I am wondering if it is going primal would be beneficial for him. Thanks so much for this post.

  17. Great story Myra, and encouragement to the many of us who are right behind ya age-wise! 50? Who’s scared of turning 50?!

  18. Great job, Myra! I wonder if you could share a typical day’s menu. I feel that I have the fitness aspect down, but the weight loss continues to elude me. Thanks!

    1. I’ve always been a big breakfast eater and have always consumed the bulk of my calories between breakfast and lunch. I’ve never particularly cared for dinner. With that said, this is what my typical daily menu looks like:

      Breakfast – Some type of 2 or 3 egg, bacon, vegetable (spinach/mushrooms/onions/peppers/garlic) concoction (“muffin”/omelette/fritatta) on a bed of greens topped with guacamole; a handful of berries; coffee.

      Lunch – 6-8 oz. of meat with a side of green vegetables and/or squashes and a salad. Berries & nuts (sometimes sprinkled with shredded coconut) for “dessert.”

      Dinner – An apple with almond butter or
      a couple of squares of dark chocolate and a handful of macadamia nuts.

      I keep a good stash of primal goodies around for the days when I am more active and get hungrier.

      1. Hi Myra,
        Thanks for the post. I appreciate the menu…I have a similar breakfast and boy do I feel it if I miss it! I have little fruit though, and nuts rarely but the eggs and veggies ‘concoction’ had me smile because that’s what I call it too! Whatever veggies i have (cut, grated, chopped, raw or cooked) and leftover bacon, chicken or whatever meat lying about, in the pan and scrambled up with our duck eggs or made into omlette. YUM!!!
        Many thanks for the post.

    2. Hey, sorry to butt in when I wasn’t asked but, for myself, weight loss goes out the window when I eat too much fat. I still can eat a goodly amount, well more than one would on a low fat regime, but it’s easy to go gonzo on the stuff since it’s a lot of calories by volume. 2-3 spoonfuls of coconut oil with stevia, cinnamon, and pecans look so small and harmless! I pay for it on the scale the next day, though.

      1. I appreciated your comment maddieaddie. Same for me. :)Or any treats which I try to eat only a leetle bit of (every day) 🙂

      2. Good for you Myra! Gee, I look at what Myra’s eating and I have way more fat and protein! While I lost inches at the waist, I haven’t been losing the weight…after 1 1/2 yrs Primal, I’ve only lost 5 lbs! I actually gained 6-7 lbs doing whole cream initially! Tina, I think I’m gonna drop the coconut milk, coconut oil, whole avocados, and temper the 3 eggs with less bacon and maybe less meat for dinner (I only do 2 meals). I’m 5’4″ and 47. Thanks for sharing your meal day – that’s the part I love to hear. Exercise is Primal for 12 minutes every 7 days. With CF, I have to pace the body wt. training a lot.

        1. I think you should cut down on a few of them, but you don’t need to cut all of those. Everyone is different and for 2 years I have been heavy on the fat and protein side. You are already only eating two meals. Why cut your protein with dinner? Add green leafy greens and veggies instead and maybe less fat during the day, but don’t cut them. If you want this for life, don’t go for a quick fix by cutting your fat. Plus… stay off the scale. 😉 If you are working out you are gaining muscle and changing your body composition. If I got on the scale I would hate my number, but my size is exactly where I want it. Scales only depress you. 😉

      3. No worries, Tina. I’m glad you are sharing your experience too since we are all slightly different. My weight goes up when I have several consecutive non-primal days. When I was on vacation earlier this year I gained 3 lbs. in 10 days, probably a combination of eating too much and less primally. The excess weight was gone within 4 days of returning home.

  19. Awesome inspirational story Myra, my wife and I are about 3 to 4 weeks into primal and she is having struggles. I am going to share your story with her, I know it will help her seek the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks again.

  20. Myra, you look great! 🙂

    When I went to Primal eating, I quickly also went to strict paleo eating (Primal minus all the neolithic foods) because over a short period of time, I found that I couldn’t eat dairy or peppers or garlic (and a bunch of other things) without consequences, and then I realised that those symptoms had always been there, like you found. It’s amazing what a thick layer of grain-induced inflammation and mucus will hide.

  21. Love, love, love this success story! Definitely confirms my belief that one is never too old to change health for the better. Middle age does not have to be the end of the trail. You look fantastic, Myra, and–I am sure–feel even more so!

  22. Myra would you mind sharing your height and weight? I’m curious as to what a Size 0 is.

      1. Oh no…I’m 4’11”, headed down to about 105 (cw 123) and when I get there I am going to have to wear kids clothes! I remember when I was 98lbs and a solid size 0. The vanity sizing these days is getting out of hand.

  23. We need more girls like you to be able to look up to.
    I also would like to know more about your works.
    Blessings

    1. Not big on workouts — mostly I play. I love to walk and hike and live in a great area to do so (plenty of sidewalks, hiking trails and hilly terrain within 100 feet of my front door). When I’m in the mood, I play in the children’s playgrounds (several of those around too). At home I generally have some type of dance music on and I dance as I do household chores. I also do my own landscaping and yard work. The only “formal” things I do are yoga and Zumba once a week. I’m trying to throw in Crossfit a couple of times a month, as long as it doesn’t interfere with socializing. Basically, I don’t let exercise get in the way of my social life.

      1. Oooooo! I love that you just move like a human! 😉 I don’t like workouts either, and my insistence that they are not a natural human activity has been met with much resistance (the very rare time when it is even a topic, that is). I also just dance through the day, do occasional yoga and qi gong, and otherwise, my life’s chores require intermittent heavy lifting (child-lifting, water hauling, etc…), squats (woodstove tending, tidying), lots of bending and plodding along at a leisurely human pace, and whatever else happens to be necessary.

        I don’t think our ancestors consumed vast quantities of food to fuel unproductive body exertion. It just doesn’t make sense. I think they moved as they needed to, and the result was a body that looks like ours, so the same plodding with variety of speed, movement and timing should produce an optimal condition for each body. The trick in modern society is of course to move through the day rather than let the machines do *all* the work. Some, sure. But not all. 🙂

        1. LOL! I quickly figured out that, as you put it, moving like a human is excellent exercise. Driving around my neighborhood I noticed that all of the landscaping dudes were buff. They eat off of roach coaches and don’t make enough to pay for a gym membership. I didn’t see any sense in paying someone else to work out in my yard while I paid to work out at the gym.

        2. +1 on the “workouts” – why pay someone else to do your yardwork, and then pay for a gym, when you can do both. Plus, doing the yardwork gets you outside for fresh air, sun exposure & Vitamin D production, and moving your body in natural ways vice a treadmill or elliptical – awesome!

      2. Excellent story, results and encouragement.It would be fun to have you for my neighbor. 🙂

  24. Your story is awe-inspiring Myra! Thanks for sharing it. As an African-American woman it feels great to read your story as part of the continuing testimony of Primal lifestyle successes. You’ve given me inspiration to make my transformation (in progress) part of MDA too.

  25. Hi Myra,
    My experience is very similar to yours. I’ve lost about 20 lbs eating primal, but my body composition hasn’t changed as dramatically as yours. I’ve lost weight every where except the lower abdomen and hips. I wonder if you could tell us a little more about your work out.

    1. I’m genetically small-hipped, so I’ll leave this one to someone better suited to answer (sorry). My problem area had always been the belly, which also runs in the family, but that was the first area where I saw the biggest difference by eating primally.

  26. Holy guacamole, what a great story- inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing.

  27. Myra,
    Congrats! Your story is awesome.

    You mention the Carib. That pic looks like Palm Beach Aruba. Are you Aruban? (I live there, thus my curiosity. 😉

    1. No, the picture was taken on Prickly Pear, Anguilla in the BWI. My ancestory is from Puerto Rico, Cuba and Jamaica.

  28. Great story Myra! I am glad you shared your story because more people need to hear that they control their health and not the pharmaceutical companies and doctors.

  29. I love your emphasis that the numbers on the scale didn’t change but the numbers on your clothes did. ;D You look fabulous! I hope you are as much a health-inspiration for your family as you are for us!

  30. What a great story! Thank you for sharing, Myra. Women take note – weight isn’t the number you should be worrying about. The scale lies! I have lost a dress size since last year and I weigh between 3-6 lbs more now. My waist shrank from 32″ to 29″ in that time. Take your bust/waist/hips/arms/thigh measurements or if you can, use accurate bodyfat measurements to measure progress rather than screaming at the scale.

    1. Sharon, you’re absolutely right! I’m so glad that I measured myself and used an online body fat calculator before I started, because within a week I lost 3 lbs. I was trying to hang on to the weight I had at that point. The only thing that kept me on the primal journey was measuring myself after one week and using the same body fat calculator. Realizing that my weight loss correlated closely with my change in measurements made me realize that this stuff could actually work. I had to drop the fat and heal before my body could start rebuilding.

      1. Yes, if it wasn’t for the tape measure I would have been very confused. I lost 7 inches at the waist and more inches everywhere else. I was wearing stretch pants size 10 which I think must really be a 12 or 14. I’m down to a size 6 (squeaked into a 4 at the store) but only down 5 lbs. I know I regained all the muscle I had lost and lost a lot of fat; but I’m just not losing the remaing fat as quickly as most people do. 47yo, 5’4″ started at 139 or so and gaine 6-7 from cream. Ditched the cream and am now down to 134.5 and stalled for 3 wks now. So frustrating. But your post is a good reminder of how the fat is coming off even though the scale is not moving. Need to let go of more dietary fat me thinks.

  31. Great success story Myra! I’m a 60 year old male and have been living the Paleo lifestyle since March dropping 44 lbs and feel amazing. 60 is the new 40 when following Paleo!

  32. Holy moly! I can’t get over how great you look! I loved your success story. Zero weight loss but oh man look at you! I also love the part about the end of those aches and pains. That’s been my experience, too!

  33. Great story Myra, and awesome attitude! As a 46 year old(turning on the 31st this month) yungin, I admire those that have taken their own health in their hands(as have I) and said NO to CW. Keep up the great work, and Rock out with your Grok out:-)

  34. Nice work Myra. And thanks for the additional comments concerning what you eat and your movement/play. You look radiant! I too am 53 and having been mostly Primal for 9 months I notice I am leaner and more toned and my clothes fit more loosely. I have lost weight (about 10 lbs) but that is not the point so much as FEELING better! Here’s to a lifestyle that keeps us feeling well and whole.

  35. WOW!!!!!!!!You look AMAZING. I am 48 and now look forward to 53 and the intervening years. I will look at your photo as contiuing inspiration!! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Gayle! I have a photo of Ernestine Sheppard, the world’s oldest weightlifting competitor (age 75) posted on my wall at work. I want to look like her when I get there, just no desire to work on it as much as she does. I’m going to prove that it can be done!!

      1. I just looked up Ernestine Sheppard and … WOW! I want to grow up to look like her (I’m only 66)!

        Your story has given me some insight as to what some of my health problems might be. I have not yet started going primal, I’m still reading the book and working up the courage to “jump in”.

        Thanks for sharing!

  36. wow, that’s fabulous! i haven’t had your kind of weight loss, either, like someone else commented, but do feel more energetic.

  37. You look awesome Myra!! I’m turning 49 this year and have made it my goal to be in the best shape/healthiest when I turn 50 the end of next year – I love seeing inspiring stories from women our age! And you are so right about the scale – in 2 months time, I didn’t loose any weight, but lost over 8″ – unfortunately along with my other measurements, I only measured 1 arm & 1 leg instead of both or the number would be higher – I’m not sure what I was thinking! The scale messes with my mind too much – I love the measuring tape!!!

  38. you look fantastic! i, too, was afraid to give up the grains at first, but it’s really so easy once you start seeing & feeling results!

  39. WOW! WOW! WOW! Just tuned in and have to say you are amazing! You really saved your life beautifully — you are an inspiration — Thank You!

  40. Fantastic story Myra! I haven’t been eating primal for very long (It’s been about 2 months of experimenting with Low Carb, paleo and now Primal, the latter of which has been life changing in a VERY short period of time!) Like you, I no longer have the urge to eat breakfast right away (I love that I just eat when I’m hungry and don’t need to have a snack with me at all times), and I don’t have the hunger pangs, shakiness and foul mood that I have experienced for years, especially after a crazy cardio workout (which I USED to do at least 4-5 times per week! No more!). I can especially relate to the lack of weight loss but the drop in dress size…this seems to be happening to me lately, which is very exciting, especially considering my wedding is in 2 weeks!

    You look so vibrant and happy in your beach picture! Congratulations on your success and I hope that your husband reconsiders and starts to follow the Primal way of life! You are an inspiration!

  41. Dang- hot mama rocking a bikini at over 50. Thank you for sharing and re-upping my motivation. I want to be that hot at 40!

  42. Myra, congratulations!! You’re an inspiration, keep up the amazing work! *cheer!* ;D

  43. Myra, amazing! Profound that “healthy” from conventional wisdom can be “deadly” for some of us, and your proof that the scale can be meanless also blows me a way. Keep sharing your story, you look fantastic!

  44. I’m 52, menopausal, just a bit overweight (about 20 lbs), so many similarities. Thank you for such an inspirational story for us middle-agers. I love opening MDA on Fridays to see who is being profiled, and it’s wonderful to see my own gender and generation represented. Good on ya!!

  45. Great story Myra. I’m always glad to see stories from “older” grokettes, lest people think primal or paleo is something that only works for younger women. I’m 65 and have been primal for about a year and a half. I dropped fifteen pounds and a number of nagging health problems almost immediately–lifelong migraines,rosacea, shin splints, leaky pipes, brittle fingernails, thinning hair, food allergies. People are always amazed when they learn how old I am, because I’m in great shape, very limber and flexible, and have plump, supple skin in spite of avoiding sunblocks, and don’t need glasses. For me the biggest payoff of going Paleo is I FEEL GOOD!

  46. Awesome story Myra! Thank you for sharing it. I can relate to the clothing issue… my weight hasn’t changed in 6 months but my clothes keep getting roomier. Going out to buy smaller pants always feels so great! Eating this way and lifting heavy things is a game changer!

  47. Thank you Myra, As a primal woman of 53 this is an inspirational story. I especially love that you don’t have to train like a crazy woman.

  48. Awesome! It’s funny how the pounds don’t always fall off, but the inches do!

  49. Absolutely inspiring, motivating story..Huge congratulations for taking charge of your health and vibrancy…You are a true primal role model for your fellow Grokettes (this 52 year old included) and you exude health. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    Just an aside…I too have “leaned out” since going primal..and I wonder if this does not have to do with inflammation/water retention (whilst being dehydrated!) from grain and/or dairy or chronic exercise..The great thing about going Primal is that it does allow you to pinpoint problem foods/reactions and creates the perfect environment for healing!

  50. Myra, you’re an inspiration – thanks for sharing

    And your post-primal lifestyle there looks way more fun!

  51. “My pipes no longer leak.”

    I love this! Myra, you are a beautiful woman! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  52. I just started the paleo diet recently and am also growing thinner without actually losing much weight. I keep looking in the mirror and thinking, `Woo-hoo, I am so thin!!!`and then I step on the scale and it says I`ve lost nothing. Interesting.

    1. As I’ve told many of my friends, you don’t really want to lose weight. What you really want to lose is fat. Fat loss without muscle loss will not necessarily result in a number change on the scale, but it will change the way your clothes fit. When you need new pants in a smaller size because your old ones are getting too baggy, you’ve succeeded, regardless of what number is displayed on the scale.

  53. I think all of us feel and look younger and healthier after following the primal diet. Great stuff!

  54. Wow I am the back end of the comments today, being in Australia, I am always late. Thank you for your story Myra, I am 50, and have been primal for a year, not huge weight loss (12kg), but huge changes health wise. Thanks for your info about your “exercise”. Too often I hear the phrase “incidental exercise”, which almost denigrates the exertions of getting through a day. I try and be somewhat inefficient in my work to get more squats in, lift more wood, buckets of feed for my animals, and the garden. Girls try not to obsess about the scales as I do, focus on the joy of good health, of the small things that make you smile, and play.
    Thanks again Myra,
    Cheers

    1. Myra & Heather…have you noticed any hormone altering responses? I have always been thin, looked after myself, ate not much fast food or junk. My problem is never weight loss, but the last 12 months is hormones gone nuts. I am interested if Primal has made a difference. My biggest problem with Primal is being disorganized from shift work and nothing but CW and junk food available at work (hospital too! Scary!) so I have to make sure I always have food to bring. I find this the hardest aspect actually. Going without sugar or grains is pretty easy so long as I have something else available. Not that easy if you have to go buy takeaway of some description! Not so many Primal options out there!

      1. Michelle, because of the treatment for endometriosis, I was medically put through menopause at 35 for several months. When it happened again naturally 10 years later, the symptoms were not as severe and were pretty much over before I went primal. Perhaps other ladies would like to comment on their experiences which would be more typical.

  55. Love your story Myra – you look absolutley fabulous! I am 53 post menopausal and have had very similar health improvements to you since going paleo (mostly) about 8 months ago. I actually really enjoy lifting weight at the gym, so I keep doing it, but it is fab to have a lifestyle that doesn’t insist you find time to exercise, but rather just to keep moving & lifting naturally. You are proof that this is what we need. I love the “my pipes don’t leak” comment too! Cheers – from another late reader in Australia.

    PS: Hope your husband soon sees the evidence that is before him and at least gives paleo a try – for his sake and yours.

    1. Hi Hilary M – just wondering where you are in Oz – just reading your response to Myra – isn’t she amazing? I ‘m very new to this – similar age to you and workout in gym and looking for a bit of support closer to home – I ‘m in northern NSW. Can I perhaps PM you? Cheers aussiepossum (leila)

      1. Hi Aussiepossum (Leila). I am in the burbs of Melbourne, so not near you at all. However we are in the same hemisphere! I would like to have a cyber support buddy, though. At least we are in the same time zone most of the year! How can we do this? Hilary

  56. Thanks Myra for your story. I’ve been trying to convert fully over to the Primal Life Style and struggling. These Friday stories are what keep me going. And I realize we are all unique. So I am going to stop obsessing. I will have my oatmeal in the morning, but I have cut out all other grains and 99% of procesed sugar from my diet. I’ve cut back on dairy significantly. I’m making point of eating whole foods and loving eating red meat. I turn 50 in 13 days, and all I want is to feel healthy and be able to MOVE!!!

    1. Zoe, oatmeal was my morning staple for 50 years. I didn’t think bacon & eggs would do the trick, but the first time I tried it I wasn’t hungry for the next 7 hours! Give it a try. If time to cook in the morning is an issue for you, check out the free recipes on this website for other options/ideas. You can do it!

      1. Thanks, Myra. I love eggs,but I’m allergic to them. I’ll check out the recipes. Ironically, oat meal was a recent fool love: I’ve only been eating it about five years. But I have to say that since I have significantly cut back on the sugar and carbs, I’m not enjoying things like cookies! Woohoo!!

  57. Myra – I want to be like you when I grow up. Actually, I want to be like you now. Awesome, awesome story!

  58. Awesome. Have been waiting for “someone like Me”. Not that the others haven’t been inspiring. It just helps to see one of us mature ladies rocking a bikini after 50 and looking like you haven’t had plastic surgery to do it. Thanks for sharing. I needed this today.

    1. No plastic surgery for me! I’m terrified of pain and other unintended side effects. By the way, I also don’t Botox, rarely use sunscreen unless I’m in the tropics, and don’t spend a wad on cosmetics.

  59. Awesome Post! Myra, you look fantastic- and it really shines through your story that you feel fantastic, too. Good for you! I hope your stubborn spouse eventually gets on board: mine took forever (two years!) but has finally admitted he’s much happier since giving up grains. Baby steps. 😉

    1. At the risk of bringing down the celebrating (but super-way to go Myra!); my husband had *only just* decided to go kinda-sorta primal, too — stopped the sodas and breads (and doughnuts)… He wasn’t overweight, but had had occasional angina, which he was successfully treating with some OTC stuff and fish oil. (No, could never get him to a doc — or even to take a blood test…) and he had a heat-stroked-related heart attack and died at 60.

      He LOOKED the picture of health, but it wasn’t real. And because he was reluctant to give up his food-pleasures, because despite agreeing with all the primal / paleo / low carb books and blog posts I’d read to him (for my own education, but he enjoyed hearing it-all), I lost the anchor of my life…

      I know you can’t force a horse to drink… but (who was it who said?) you can ride the hell out of him till he’s too thirsty not to? {sigh}

  60. Holy crap — you’re FIFTY-THREE?? You look about thirty. Congrats on the success and good health. You look AMAZING!

  61. Great story! I am curious to see if you would be so kind as to write down a typical day’s food/menu? Thanks!!!

  62. Great account of your experiences. I am 50 and dealt with ibs/diarrhea for years. Lately I’ve been marvelling about how the same size 0 pants fit me now at 118the lbs (5’4″) as when i was 107 lbs , at my ibs “lowpoint”. I exercised all along but now have so much more muscle. 11 lbs heavier but waist is the same.

  63. Super job with lovely results! I just turned 54 and have had great results so far, but slowing down. Heavy lifting, ala yesterday’s post, is my next step. I hope they make 50 lb kettle bells.

  64. You look like a beautiful woman, a size zero here in the UK is a 6 ft anorexic. Your height an frame makes you look normal. (and beautifully toned) Not at all what I was expecting as I scrolled down the page to read what you had written. I am 5ft 8 and a size 14, just 5 pounds to go to ‘normal’ BMI. I love this way of eating, it makes me healthy and that is more important to me than anything. I am nealy 50 and feel that as long as I feel great and I watch what I eat and keep fit, then size (0 or 14) are just a number. I think that you look fantastic, but everyone may not end up looking as good you. We are all different heights, different muscle tone, different in every way. Great Friday read and interesting. Thanks Mark

  65. Congratulations on your success – you are an inspiration for me to continue living primally.

  66. Wow wow and wow! You look hot mama! I’m about your age 56, and loved your story. Since going Primal my arthritus is completely gone. I’m more fit than I think I’ve been in years.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

  67. What a wonderful testimony, Myra.
    You look hot and healthy.
    You are a great role model for all of us.
    Thx so much for writing.

  68. Fantastic, and really inspirational. I have only be eating primal for about 2 months and have to say I have been disappointed with the lack of weight loss, but maybe I should forget the scales. Feeling so much better though! thanks Myra for sharing your experiences.

    1. I know it takes a while to change mentality after a lifetime of brainwashing, but you don’t necessarily want to lose a lot of weight (I don’t know where you’re starting from). You want to lose FAT. Depending on your starting point, that may or may not translate into weight loss. I have a primal friend that gained about 15 lbs, is a smaller size and looks phenomenal. She’s big on crossfit, so her weight gain has been muscle. Build your muscles, melt your fat and don’t worry so much about your weight. More importantly, measure how you feel.

  69. Wow, Myra. You look absolutely fabulous and are glowing! Congratulations on feeling your best!

    Grok on, mama!

  70. I think Myra made a typo in her story. She says she is 53 but the photos make me think she is actually 35!!! Way to go, Myra. Very inspiring!

    1. No typo. I wore bikinis that covered more of my belly when I was 35.

  71. Congratulations, very inpiring story, you look terrific! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  72. Have you been able to inspire your “obese” husband as you mentionned? You have inspired us all. THANK YOU.

  73. One gram of protein per pound of body weight.

    Stephen D. Phinney Low Carb Living youtube

    He is on a ketogenic diet of less than 50g of carbs a day. The Inuits, who have the healthiest cardio system on on the planet when living in the northern wastes. They eat no carbs.

    These is primal extreme. Know before you go there.

  74. myra, great, great, great story!! congrats on wrapping ur brain around this thing called primal! i am turning 45 in a matter of days, i wanna look and feel like u when i get to 53!!! thank u SO MUCH for ur inspiring story! love fridays on MDA!!!

    1. Hey Shelly! Just wanted to say Happy Birthday from another MDA fan who turns 45 in a matter of days (the 15th). I , too, am really jazzed by Myra’s story. I definitely want to look and feel as fantastic as she does when I’m 53 (and before then, and after then)!

  75. I’m a bit of a lurker, but I felt compelled to comment on the fact that Myra eschews jogging because its easier on the joints. Bones need impact. It keeps them dense and strong. With a family history of osteoporosis I would investigate the studies conducted on jogging and bone health, and then pick up jogging using minimalist footwear (Vibram 5 Fingers, Merrill Trail Gloves, etc).

  76. Great story I must say and congratulations to you on achieving such an arduous task. I hope so same thing happens for me because I am lying on my bed eating,eating and eating.

  77. Great story! Thanks for sharing. As someone who is also in their early 50’s it is great to hear your tale.

  78. Thanks for sharing! I’m also close to your age and just beginning this journey. Can’t wait to see what a year will bring.

  79. Great story, one more proof that our bodies are not designed to eat a high carbohydrate diet no matter if it’s whole or processed foods. This probably has to do with the fact that grains are genetically modified.

  80. Super inspirational! I had similar results too – leaner, thinner, and much more defined but not weighing significantly less.

  81. Great story! Well written and a happy ending.

    Looking at the after picture, hard to believe that you are 53, or even the same person as the before picture.

    Enjoy your new life! Best!

  82. Love this story!! I’m less than 2weeks primal, and find this very encouraging especially also being from a caribbean background and having my husband and friends looking at me like I’m crazy. Thanks for sharing, I’m even more inspired to continue this journey.

  83. Thank you for sharing your story! I especially enjoyed the part where you say you lost 0lbs but went from a size 4-0. I too have lost sizes but not very many lbs and have been second guessing the body changes I thought I was noticing. Reading through the comments I am finding several people are experiencing the same thing. Your story has helped me go from discouraged to encouraged 🙂 Thank you.

  84. What a beautiful woman your are. And such a sexy body. Wow! So glad to see that it’s possible at our age to be gorgeous and not be ashamed to want this.

    It’s as if society expects older women to accept ourselves as fat and out of shape. Many people’s attitude towards older women, who want to look after themselves is “who cares what you look like; you’re old so what does it matter?”

    Well, it matters a lot. And so it should. We have a right to be as fit and healthy and sexy as possible and not to just roll over on the couch like a beached whale.

    I have only a few pounds to go, or should I say just a bit more body composition tweeks to make, before I, too can wear a bikini with pride. I’m 55, 5’5″ and a size four, a muscular size four that is. Don’t want to be skinny that’s for sure

    Thank you for your inspiring story. 🙂

  85. Thanks so much for sharing your story! I’ve been searching the web for inspiration with women my own age (52) and been a memeber of MDA for awhile but haven’t really paid attention to succes stories as most seem to be much younger (not to take away from young folks hard work) but I wanted “proof” that someone my age could get and have a flat belly. I need to lose 40 lbs,and my belly is my biggest problem area. You look fantastic!

  86. I also am in my 50s and am wondering if anyone has seen a reduction in menopausal symptoms – mainly hot flashes and night sweats with this lifestyle?