July 24 2015

My Top 11 Benefits of Going Primal

By Guest
133 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!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2I have, in the name of health gain and weight loss, experimented with vegetarianism, veganism, low fat dieting, a sugar-wheat-and-dairy-free diet (still low-fat or I’d have probably stuck with that one!), calorie counting and juice fasting over the past thirty years. Many of you reading will recognise the pattern of interspersing these oft-repeated and generally short lived regimes with periods of overeating either junk or a “healthy balanced diet.” It’s a frustrating, demoralising and damaging way to live.

During this time I have seen my weight yo-yo anywhere between 140 and 224 pounds. And along the way I’ve suffered crippling depression, anxiety, acne, frequent bouts of tonsillitis, chronic constipation, binge-eating, inexplicable periods of exhaustion, insomnia and brain fog.

I’ve always known that many of my issues were diet related, so I read everything on nutrition I could get my hands on. I even qualified as a nutritional therapist! But, despite seeing astonishing results with private clients I couldn’t seem to sort myself out. I felt rubbish. My confidence was shot.

But in May 2014, aged 41 and after suffering my worst and longest depressive episode yet, I read Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar.” And having gained some confidence over the next few weeks with a zero fructose intake, I looked into her suggested resources, which included Mark’s Daily Apple. Inspired by the success stories and encouraged by Mark’s obvious expertise, I got each of the fabulous Primal Blueprint books. It was like I’d come home! Finally something that instinctively, intellectually and academically made sense! I also devoured everything else I could get my hands on (pun intended) in the paleo/keto/bulletproof/bio-hacking world of books, blogs and podcasts. Even when I didn’t follow advice, it kept me inspired to just keep reading and immerse myself in this world.

I’ve not taken anything to extremes. Low energy and a household to run have meant that I’ve taken a two-steps-forward-one-step-back approach over the last year. But my diet is now based on eggs, meat, fish, veg, butter, cream, yoghurt, coconut oil, nuts and seeds and I feel better than I have for years. Here are the top ten benefits I have noticed in my own health and well being in the past 12 months…

Benefit #1

I no longer suffer with anxiety, or it’s tricky cousin, social anxiety. I can now deal with problems, incidents and events both at work and socially and I am now able to work through them without complete melt down, tears, belly ache, racing pulse or insomnia.

I’ve even been out with friends, which had not been possible for months before adopting a Primal lifestyle, and not agonised over each detail, felt responsible for other people’s moods or been paranoid that nobody wanted me there in the first place.

Benefit #2

No depression. No moping. No crippling lack of self-worth. No wishing the world would swallow me up. In 2013 I was unable to enjoy my summer holidays. My mood refused to elevate no matter what I did. Camping in the middle of nowhere, beautiful walks, parties with friends, even reading, playing the piano and family mealtimes – you name it, I was struggling not to cry at the sheer frustration of being able to enjoy it.

In contrast, the summer of 2014 was my best in memory, the highlight of which was having complete hysterics when I face planted off a paddle board in Cornwall rather than making the graceful dive I’d planned to execute. I howled with laughter until the tears streamed down my face. I’ve felt real joy on a number of occasions over the past year. I can’t stress how big a deal this is. Even with the day-to-day stuff like walking in the forest with my husband or curling up with my daughters – I’m finally able to live in the moment and fully enjoy these times.

Benefit #3

No binging. No cramming down a huge bar of chocolate / packet of biscuits / hastily made cake and then eating a meal an hour or so later. No eating until I physically throw up. No mindlessly working my way through a loaf of bread in an afternoon and then fighting to stay awake when my family arrive home. I occasionally lose control over crisps (potato chips?) but we are talking a couple of small packets, not an entire family bag of kettle chips.

I do still eat a lot, but I am not afraid of hunger any more. I’ve tried intermittent fasting but I’m not sure I manage very well on it. Having said that, my blood sugar is pretty stable now and, if necessary, I can skip the occasional meal without trauma!

Benefit #4

I get to sleep at night! Having suffered nightmares and insomnia since childhood I now sleep soundly. No more pacing the house in the early hours. No more tossing and turning. No more night sweats, hallucinations or midnight carb cravings. It’s like general anaesthetic! I turn the light out and I wake up 8.5 hours later.

Benefits #5, 6 & 7

My nails have stopped peeling, breaking and flaking and have become strong, shiny and flexible.

My previously thin and brittle hair is thickening up and becoming soft.

My acne has finally, after nearly 30 years, nearly cleared up and my developing wrinkles have been replaced with softer, plumper skin. (You can see from the photos below that I’ve lost that puffiness round my face too.)

Benefit #8

My body temperature is better regulated. I only realised this when I was swimming in the sea (UK summer water temperature maxes out at around 15 degrees Celsius) with only a bikini and light rash vest. I haven’t been able to do that since I was a kid! I’m getting better at handling heat too, which used to make me feel very uncomfortable. I’ll be putting handling these extremes to the test in November when I plan to take part in a Wolf Run, which includes swimming across a lake!

Also, despite having spent years trying to find a deodorant that worked on me, I don’t even need one any more. I’ll use a quick swipe of coconut oil if I’m working or running, but that’s it.

Benefit #9

A clear head. I have no idea how I made it through school let alone university; the combination of constant brain fog, undiagnosed dyslexia and social anxiety made my educational experiences somewhat sub-par. My reports were devastating. Teachers were frustrated with what they perceived as sheer laziness but the reality was that I was struggling to focus on what they were saying and to read while the words danced all over the page. I no longer suffer with brain fog unless I have eaten wheat, (which I still do occasionally and consciously!) and my focus is significantly better. I can also remember short sequences of numbers, letters or instructions which was previously impossible.

Benefit #10

I’ve only lost around 14 pounds, but look slimmer than I did previously at eight pounds less again; I guess I’ve made good muscle gain too. And I’ve been eating a lot! I take my coffee with thick (heavy) cream. I use a lot of butter. I eat homemade ice-cream. I devour pork crackling and streaky bacon. I certainly eat until I’m full at each mealtime!

After a great deal of experimentation I have discovered that I function best on a high fat breakfast, a small fat and protein based lunch and a large evening meal of meat, veggies and rice or sweet potatoes. No more heartburn or night sweats for me.

Running used to be a strain on my knees and ankles but there’s no discomfort now. I’m also getting to grips with a pull-up bar and a kettle bell (not simultaneously!). I plan to take my abysmally low fitness levels in hand this year, confident that I’ll soon be in better shape in my forties than I was in my teens.

Benefit #11

Now that I don’t need to cram food in – to give me energy, to make me sleepy, to comfort, to fill up, to alleviate or block out whatever emotions I cannot otherwise deal with, I am really enjoying my meals again. I do not fear hunger or get anxious before mealtimes. And so I get to savour and appreciate whatever I’ve served up. Bonus! My family is also enjoying the new variety of food that I’m dishing up and have noticed how much better their energy is compared with many of their friends and colleagues.

florence

In essence, life is good and I feel like it’s only really just getting started. I still get upset, angry, nervous and tired – but these states of being are generally proportional to what’s actually going on. Leaving me to get on and enjoy the rest of life without self-sabotage. If this is what getting older is like then bring it on!

Huge thanks for all the time and effort you put into your books and website Mark. Truly inspirational!

Florence

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133 thoughts on “My Top 11 Benefits of Going Primal”

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  1. Sounds like a gratitude list anyone would envy! It allows you to be present in you life. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I hadn’t thought of being able to be present in my life in that way but you are exactly right – thank you!

  2. Thank you for sharing! Sleep is a blessing I didn’t have for a while and that lack definitely contributed to stress and anxiety for me. You look great.

    1. Ahh! Thank you so much! And yes – sleeping is bliss. It’s underrated by those who haven’t struggled with it!

      1. I’m so happy for you and the changes you’ve seen. As someone who has also experienced severe depression, insomnia and anxiety so bad it led to 8 hellish years of agoraphobia, I’m always thrilled when I read of someone else who has/is overcoming it. All the best to you and your loved ones, Florence!

        1. Yes, I’ve fought through the agoraphobia and crippling anxiety for the most part, and now, thanks to sites like this with all its excellent science-based info, I’m losing the excess weight the meds caused and am feeling so much better in every way–thanks for asking 🙂

  3. I am a primal Fresher and that list is motivating me to start full swing and experience the benefits myself.

  4. You look amazing! Congratulations! I’m glad you feel amazing too! 🙂

  5. Great story! You sound a lot like me years ago, until I discovered low carb/high fat & MDA. I went from 165 to 108 on a 5’2″ frame. I now SLEEP about 9 -10 hours every night. My husband went from about 195 to 162 on a 6′ 2″ frame. Years ago, he worked nights, for what seemed like forever. After he retired, he had a terrible time sleeping. After a couple of years on this lifestyle, he lost all that weight & now sleeps like a babe — about 8 – 81/2 hours nightly. Not to mention ALL the other great things that following this lifestyle does for one! YAY – O – YAY for Mark’s Daily Apple & all his books! And the other lc/hf folks out there

    1. How crazy is the sleep?!! Although I am laughing that you sleep more than your husband – earlier bed time or do you wake later when the coffee’s already brewed? 😉 thank you so much for your reply!

  6. Very encouraging to all of us, thank you! Writing down what we are grateful for helps to keep going forward in the same path. Good idea that you’ve passed on…. I have been writing a grocery list so I can maybe step it up a notch and write a gratitude list.
    I have solved one of the things preventing me from sleeping past 2:24 AM, fwew. I like waking up just before my radio comes on instead of at 11/12/2/3 and then finally getting up at 4:30 as planned.
    Again, very encouraging! Thanks for sending this in!

    1. You are very welcome! I think a list can be useful (or a mind map – I like those too!). Health impacts so much about our lives that it can be hard to remember much beyond what we see in the mirror. Glad to hear your sleep is sou h improved!

  7. Nice story!! Some of the sections could have been written by me. I have experienced similar, including a faceplant on a surfboard recently, that just had me laughing – and sporting a black eye. I’ll let you know when that goes away…
    I may end up sending my own story someday.
    Good luck!

    1. Ok, a black eye is a bit more dramatic! :/
      Yes, write your story! Written down feels more real…
      Best of luck to you too!

  8. You look positively incredible! Congratulations on your success! You are yet another example of how this lifestyle just works!

  9. I loved this gratitude list! My diet sounds identical to yours….I do intermittent fasting though, coconut oil in my morning coffee…eggs and bacon, lots of greens and very little fruit, although we have raspberries growing in the yard and they are hard not to gorge on! I’m 50 years old and have given birth to sixteen children, my body was in shambles..then came the hot flashes. They interrupted my sleep, and were simply horrid. I was already eating paleo-ish, but decided to go low carb/high fat to see if I could get the hormones under control. Within two days, the hot flashes were GONE. Absolutely gone. My sugar cravings which had tried to ruin my life for years and years were under control, and I feel better than ever. Weight loss has been slow, I have lost 12 pounds now in two and a half months, and still have 60 to go, but I feel good! My labs were good, fasting glucose was 90, cholesterol levels good, ect. Food is medicine, and I love love love when people figure that out and take control of their health! Thank you for sharing!!!!

    1. Oh wow! That’s really good to hear about the flashes – I’ve yet to hit that time yet but hoping that being primal will knock symptoms before they even think about starting!

      12lbs seems like a lot – took me months but my shape change was more dramatic than the scales showed wish I’d taken measurements. Well done on the cravings too. Mine didn’t go until I phased out the sweeteners…
      Glad you’re enjoying the ride!

  10. Love this! Your story is so inspiring for everyone as you are so present in your body and notice not only the physical benefits but the emotional ones as well. The benefits of eating for our design are so far reaching!

    1. Ah! Thank you for that! I found the emotional benefits profound, far more than the physical. 🙂

  11. Congratulations! Your story is inspirational and uplifting!
    It’s interesting to me that you said, “frequent bouts of tonsillitis”. I used to have this twice a year like clockwork. Since I started Paleo lifestyle in 2009 I’ve never had it even once! Rarely even get a sore throat anymore.

    1. Urgh! Tonsillitis sucks (used too!) I even ended up hospitalised after one bout developed into quinsy (so much antibiotics…). Here’s to neither of us getting it again!

  12. I can’t believe that is the same woman on the left as on the right. You look amazing. Not that you were ever unattractive.All the benefits you have experienced are worth it. Even if you didn’t lose a pound.

    1. I’m blushing! Thank you so much! But I agree, weight loss pales into insignificance compared to all the other benefits. 🙂

  13. Some your post primal symptoms seem like distant relatives to my own. It is emblematic of the relationship between body and mind. I applaud your success and wish you well as you endevour to increase your fitness level and explore the limits of human potential.
    Cheers from across the pond

    1. Thank you for that; much appreciated. If that’s 12 months progress I’m can’t wait to see 24 and beyond! Hope your symptoms remain a distant memory too.

  14. Awesome story I can relate to.
    Congrats to your success! Keep on going!
    You look a lot healthier in the 3rd photo and you’re sporting a thin waist, nicely done.

    1. Thank you! Oh man, I feel so much healthier – and this is the first time in my life I’ve had a waist. I always wanted one!!

  15. Congrats. What a great list. Your comments about when you eat fat, protein etc have inspired me to tinker with my intakes and hopefully see more improvement in sleep and mental clarity.

    1. Thank you! It took me a while to get the balance right for myself but getting it right (or not!) makes a big difference. Good luck!

  16. Yay, lady!
    you look amazing and I can feel your gratitude through this slow moving laptop
    It may sound cheesy but I am immensely happy for you because I come from the same dark land .
    Good luck , enjoy life and spread the word

    1. Ahh – that’s a lovely thing to hear! I hope you are in a good place now too, or at least getting there. Take good care of yourself! 🙂 🙂

  17. Man I love Fridays! This story should be on every front page in newspapers across the country.

  18. Brilliant! Yours is the kind of story that could inspire the average person. “Hey! I could do that!” Congratulations!

  19. Wow! Great story, really. Maybe it’s just me but I think you bare a striking resemblance to Ellen Pompeo!! Congrats!

    1. Thank you! I had to google Ellen Pompeo up (I don’t think she’s made it this side of the pond yet!) and I am very flattered! 🙂

    2. A definite resemblance to Ellen Pompeo, or to Renee Zellweger. And your transformation is so much deeper and richer and life-affirming than anything Bridget Jones achieved. Congrats!

  20. Hello! Yes, I sleep more than my husband — I go to bed about 11/2 hours before he does. We both get up at about 4 — 4:30 AM. And, maybe I should wait & let him make the coffee!

  21. Flojo your story inspires me to try again. I am in the middle of a life like your old one. Ups and downs in the paleo lifestyle have been frustrating. Awful sugar and dairy cravings sabotage every new attempt. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and being 55 have made it seem impossible but your story gives me hope, I’m not going to give up.

    1. You’ve brought tears to my eyes. Yes, please try again. It’s every bit worth it. You are every bit worth it.
      I do believe that every craving is a sign of something you aren’t getting, whether nutritive or otherwise. For me, sugar cravings show I need more fat or more sleep. It’s nothing to do with willpower.
      You can do this. Life is waiting for you xx

    2. I am 55 as well. I think the hardest part is getting rid of sweets in the midst of well intentioned yet misguided friends and family. Then, getting rid of grains, then legumes, then excessive fruits. Rome wasn’t conquered in a day, and neither are cravings. I’ve had to get very good at saying, “No, thank you. That looks lovely.”
      I’ve been able to reduce my diet to paleo, but it’s tough while maintaining friendships.
      Good luck to you!

      1. Patty – I have the same issue (I am 57) with the friends. When they say “oh you have such good willpower not to eat/drink that” I just say to them, that it is how I feel, nothing to do with willpower. It (usually the glass of wine for me) will make me feel crook/keep me awake/give me a headache/give me hot flushes, so why would I have have it? For sweets/desserts I just say that I’m full. It’s not easy, but good friends should be pleased that you feel so well when you choose not to have something.

  22. What a wonderful success story. I can’t believe the difference between the first picture and the third one. The first one tells your whole story, you look worried, scared and ready to cry. AND the third one you look beautiful, alive and full of joy and life. What an awesome inspiration you are to your family, I do hope they can see the change.

    1. That’s pretty observant, you are spot on! Thank you so much for that – really appreciated. And yes, my family is loving the change in every way! They inspired me to sort myself out, I wanted to be present for them! 🙂

  23. This might be my favorite MDA success story ever (and I think I’ve read them all). Because when I’m overly focused on weight loss, or having perfect blood sugar (I’m a type 1 diabetic), or generally being perfect in some other way, it’s the mental benefits that bring me back again and again. What primal eating (especially the part of staying off sugar and flour and gluteny, processed food) does for my anxiety, depression, PMS, cravings, self-image, and overall feeling of emotional well-being is nearly miraculous. The benefits you describe are truly the real benefits for me, as well, even if I never wind up with a primal-babe-body or cure all my diseases. I just feel so much better being me. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Oh wow! I feel very honoured – thank you! I agree, you can’t fix all the other stuff by just being slim but fixing all the other stuff gets you your own brand of primal-babe-body right?!

  24. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your success with going primal. You’re quite insightful and what a great writing style you have. Do you have blog?

    1. Thank you so much!! I do – I think if you click on my name below this reply it should link to my site. Be nice to see you there!

  25. As another MDA success story, congrats. The joy in being alive is amazing isn’t it? I attribute it to becoming the human animal we were designed to be.

    The longer I do this the longer I realized our ancestors, especially 10,000 plus years ago lived very risky lives. But also very joyous and amazing lives filled with wonder and deep, deep joy.

    All of you not yet Primal, trust me. Weight loss, great. Health, oh yeah. But you become the human animal you are capable of being.

    Getting my wife to write up her story. We are both successes. I think she will have some great insights I don’t so excited on how that will turn out.

    Grok on!

    And I bet your kids are tons happier if they are doing it. Have them pass it around. I want the teens growing up now to be the healthiest generation ever, not the sickest.

    1. Ah – now I’m going to have to scroll back and see which story was yours! Awesome reply – thank you!

      And yes, 10 and 12 year daughters – about 80% primal eaters and even better primal lifestylers! Happy and vibrant girls both. The oldest is continually laughing off her friend’s lecturers about the evils of fat – she has constant energy to climb trees, sprint barefoot and hang off branches (and focus fully at school). Meanwhile my husband’s inflammatory issue are clearing up a treat.

      I look forward to hearing your wife’s story too!

      1. Linked to in my signature.

        Fantastic on your kids! Have your daughter show how debunked the diet heart hypothesis is.

        Plus I use this common way sense to explain fat isn’t bad.

        You have sun, then grass, then cows, then omnivores and carnivores.

        What is fat? The cow cannot digest the grass directly. The gut bacteria does that. Then it converts it to fat which is what the cow actually ‘eats’ or consumes for energy and growing and building itself.

        Is the fat or muscle or anything else from a properly raised cow or any other herbivore were bad the animal would be killing itself. Especially the fat. The cow itself uses its fat. So it is quite literally impossible for it to be bad (as long as not CAFO).

        1. Ooh, nice explanation! I’m hoping that my girls will be inspiration enough. They glow!

          I just re-read your story – I remember it, truly inspiring story and very nicely written. And I see you are into your bacteria and mitochondria – my latest obsession! Lots of great new stuff hitting the “mainstream” right?

    2. Exactly, we are human animals and we need to exert ourselves like all healthy animals do. Intellectual pursuits are overvalued in our modern societies and the physical is held to be of low value. That may be generally true in terms of employment skills but for robust health and life satisfaction it’s misguided. I always tell people this (Primal health) is better than money!

  26. “If this is what getting older is like then bring it on!”

    That says it all doesn’t it? I wouldn’t mind being 40 again but nothing has been more rewarding than getting in top shape at age 60. I have just spent the last 3 days chain sawing, splitting and stacking 2 huge oak trees that recently fell on my property. That level of exertion would have near crippled me 10 years ago. Now I can go at it day after day on a couple bulletproof coffees in 100 degree heat without any soreness or joint pain.

    You look very fit to me already but when you step up your strength training you may become even more euphoric. My wife and I love working out at home, nothing is a better mood lifter. Congratulations on your great success!

    1. Now that’s inspiring! I see I have a way to go if I’m going to start splitting oak logs – something to look forward to 😉

      Thank you for your kind words too – strength work needs to be my next focus – looking forward to it!

  27. This has to be my favourite of all the Success stories! So well written and I could relate to much of what you described. It’s great to know we’re not in this alone. All the best as you continue on this path, Florence!

    1. Thank you so much!! What a compliment! I hope you are increasingly relating to the good bits 🙂 best of luck to you too!

  28. My new inspiration to keep trying, expecting our first grandchild in January. I regret how my fatigue robbed my children of so much. I want to really be there for my grandchild. Small steps, one day at a time. Just made my first batch of Kombucha today, now to throw away the latest forbidden food I have hidden away and get back on the paleo wagon. Thanks again, Flojo.

    1. Please keep me posted! My name (just under this comment) links to my blog – you can contact me through that! X

  29. I loved that you have focused on how this makes you feel and not just weight loss. That is what keeps me on this path. My weight loss has been slow (30) with a lot more to go (30) but the fact that I feel so much better is what has hooked me. I used to be a slave to carb hunger. I feel free now that the constant feeling to eat is gone. When I get hungry I am truly hungry and not experiencing a dip in blood sugar. I eat very similar to you which is nice to hear. Interested in more detail on your activity level. As a 50 yo female I find long nature walks and yoga and leisure swimming (anything to bring down the cortisol) to be key. What’s your activity look like? Congrats

    1. Ooh – similar food issues then!
      My activity levels are variable. I try and walk a minimum of 30 mins daily, some days I’ll do a couple of minutes (yes really!) body weight exercises and about every ten days I’ll go for a run or do about five minutes maximum of sprints (including rests). I am naturally very lazy!! I have plans to increase but whenever I do I seem to get ill or I just stop altogether so no hurry. I’m getting fitter, just very slowly!

  30. CongrAtulations! How great is feeling good? And you look great also. I started primal eating about 2 years ago and for the first time in my life, I feel good in my own skin. At 59, who’d have thought? I’ve always had social anxiety but now that I feel good, I chat up all kinds of people and others chat me up also.

  31. You’re right!!! I DO deserve two cups! And before I forget, you look fantastic, &, more importantly, you feel fantastic. Isn’t it wonderful what finally getting the right diet/lifestyle can do? Keep up the great work!

    1. Ah thank you! For that, I’ll bring you your two cups myself! (Time zones and travel times permitting.)

  32. Mmm, the list of woes overcome is my list of current problems, but I’ve been Primal for more than 5 years! Sleep being a huge issue along with a 12lb plus weight gain and depression.

    You say no fructose seemed to be the biggest leap for you. So do you have no fruit at all, don’t have any added sugars, no honey, no chocolate etc?

    Great to see another UK success story 🙂

    1. Yikes! I occasionally have berries when they’re available and I have a teaspoon of honey a day. I’ll have dark chocolate occasionally but have to watch myself with that, and try and also have some fat like coconut oil with it or I forget myself and eat too much. That’s it though. I’d say my top three were avoiding sugar, avoiding wheat and increasing fat.
      Keep researching though. I’ve been reading and experimenting for a year and still feel like I can tweak things. I hope you find your tweaks!

      1. I cut out wheat 5 years back, and stay away entirely from anything that contains gluten.

        Ah, a teaspoon of honey a day – snap! For me it seems to let my body know there isn’t a carb famine! Coconut oil, tick, dark chocolate, tick and yes this can be my gateway to oblivion too, LOL! I think some brain wiring is affected by the theobromine it contains.

        The research never ends does it, the tweaking, and I think particularly for us mid-life females no one ‘thing’ works all the time or for long stretches of time. At 48 I’m definitely aware I need to keep adapting as the hormones fluctuate.

        Exercise has been key, when that falls away the clouds gather, which makes the motivation harder! All chicken and egg.

  33. Egads! You not only shed weight, you also shed many years. You do present a younger version of yourself in the last photo. Great story and I am delighted for you and yours. ( I did repost it on FB, in hope of swaying my second daughter to adopt the Paleo/Primal protocol) After reading this, you’ve inspired me to get a t-shirt with the motto : ‘ Stay Calm, More Bacon Please’ Thank you!

    1. Man I feel younger! Thank you! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your daughter (if you are the daughter in question – do it! 🙂 ) and that t-shirt sounds spot on perfect.

  34. Great to see a UK success story! You look fab! I’ve been on and off primal for the last year or so, I have been switching up birth control and anti-depressants, so sometimes the carb cravings are unbearable! I always feel better when I stick to it for a while but I struggle with perfectionism and, in contrast, can be a bit of a self saboteur…Working on it though! You are an inspiration to get back on the Primal horse… Or buffalo

    1. Ah, thank you so much! Yep, it’s the on-and-off but isn’t it? I’ll have sourdough toast for a couple of days, then realise I’m anxious at night, then I don’t sleep, and the next day I’m justifying every carb known to (modern) humankind. Takes a real effort to get back, but then the momentum carried me towards feeling awesome. So I think, ooh a slice of sourdough won’t hurt! Luckily I’ve not had to juggle any pharmaceuticals, I imagine that sucks!
      Get back on that horse!

  35. (wife in kitchen, not looking):

    hey will you marry me?

    (she is back)

    hi congratulations, you look great !

  36. Thank you so much for sharing your story–and your transformation–Florence. I love being able to share stories like yours with my patients. Really, really makes a difference for a lot of people just starting…or just curious. Much gratitude for the inspiration you offer others!

    1. That’s really lovely to hear – thank you!
      I’ve just followed your blog – looks interesting!

  37. Isn’t it fabulous that your story has evoked so many responses from people who recognise your improved state of being as the key benefit, and weight loss as secondary! I haven’t weighed myself in ages. How I feel is my guide to how well I am sticking to the program. You look much healthier, and shaplier (is that even a word?) in the last pic.

    I am 57, and since changing my lifestyle 3 1/2 years ago have found most of the affects you have, with the added bonus of also losing those hot flushes that had been plaguing me. And I too found my waist! I had lost weight yo-yoing before but still been a pudding shape, but the 18kgs I lost this time revealed an hour glass figure! Who knew? And I am pretty lazy too, but a good weight workout session (about twice a week) is the best feeling in the world to me.

    Love seeing that another generation of healthy kids is coming through, and your girls will be setting an example for their friends hopefully. Thanks for writing your story.

    1. Ah – I’ve been genuinely touched by all these lovely comments. Been quite emotional!

      Sounds like we’ve had a similar primal experience then – I’m looking forward to getting to grips with weights – although my sister has just shown me how to use her punchbag today…. I want one!

      Think my girls are going to be poster girls for the primal lifestyle – no pressure!
      Thanks for your lovely reply 🙂

  38. So happy for your success!

    Personally my hair is growing too fast, i need to cut it every month now….

    A good thing, but so expensive…. Eye lashes look good 😉

  39. Thanks for sharing your story Florence. Great to know that you have been able to makes such positive changes. I have also made similar changes to help my husband who has Lyme – as recommended by his Lyme literate doctor- but, while I’ve benefited he unfortunately is still unwell and remains over weight, depressed and with high blood pressure – just to name a few. I assume this is due to the complexity of the disease.
    However, I had to laugh at your reference to pork crackle! I’m like you and eat it regularly and I am always searching for the trays of just pork rind to cook. I’ve tried to refine the best way of cooking it. At the moment I usually pour boiling water over the rind that been scored, pat it dry with paper towel, rub in a good quality salt and fennel seeds and leave exposed overnight in the fridge, then cook at a high heat. Can you share how you prepare yours? I can’t locate organic pigs, free range is the best I can source. Cheers

    1. So sorry to hear about your husband. I’m hearing a lot about Lyme at the moment. Sounds like a nightmare. Hope he sees some improvement soon. It does seem like this is the right path for all and every disease, but specific tweaks for specific conditions are generally necessary, just can be tricky to find the right ones. I imagine that as the primal movement gathers momentum more research will highlight those tweaks. Best of luck.

      But fabulous to hear you are doing so well!

      I’ve only ever cooked the cracklings while still attached to the joint, and then giving it a final blast with the heat turned up when the joint is removed. But buying it separately? Never done that and am now totally looking out for some!! Thank you for the idea 🙂 I use salt and fennel too. I’m dribbling now..

  40. Congratulations! You look so well and you sound so positive.
    An inspiring journey and very well written.
    You have given me some much needed motivation and some light at the end of the tunnel.

    Most village butchers will find you the pork rind from the fridges and the butcher in my local Sainsbugs definitely digs it out for me, always worth an ask.

    Great to see a UK story, thank you.

    1. Thank you so much! You can do this. Get your own story up here 🙂

      Good call on the pork rinds – I’ll ask at my butchers.

  41. Hi Flojo,
    I really enjoyed your story, it has obviously struck a chord in this wonderful community. When I first started down this path, I gave up sugar, and although I didn’t loose a gram, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face, I laughed at the daftest things! I have since read that sugar (and I guess carbs in general) is a depressive, and I wonder at the epidemic of depression in our young ones these days. At 53, being largely primal, I crashed and burned last year and was finally diagnosed with Hashimotos. For all those out there that are not marking headway, or seem to be going backwards after an infection (my experience), get your thyroid checked, including antibodies. All the things you listed are also thyroid issues. Although I held off symptoms with primal, it was only when I started on thyroid hormone that everything really clicked into place. Now with a stricter paleo approach and attention to stress and sleep, my weight has finally normalised and a whole host of niggles have moderated, and I can finally start walking again. Every journey is different, but I encourage people that need to explore further to get their thyroid checked first.
    Thank you for writing your story????

    1. Wow, you’ve got quite a story too – going to submit it?!

      I have always suspected thyroid for me (have on and off supported with omega 3 and lugols) but testing here in the uk can be tricky and expensive to access. Primal seems to have added the final jigsaw pieces. Paying attention to my microbiome and supplementing with vitamin D seem to have made a whopping difference too.

      I get you on the sugar-depression link too. Depression as an inflammatory disease seems to be a strong line in new research. Combined with blood sugar… Not good!
      Thank you for your comment and glad you’ve made such huge progress!

  42. Patti
    great job you look gorgeous and sound so Happy
    i just restarted the paleo lifestyle my self only lost about 8 pounds so far but feel so much fitter,

    Your story is inspiring and people like you keep me going!
    You do look like Ellen P from Greys Anatomy ( TV medical drama in the states) surely a good compliment

    Thanks
    Mike

    1. Do you mean me? There was a lady called Patty in a comment thread a couple of days ago. And I’m Florence in this week’s story but I sign off Flojo… I’m going to assume you meant me and say a big thank you! (I’m going to have to check this Greys Anatomy out.) congratulations to you too 🙂

  43. Awesome story. The part that excites me the most and inspired me to make my first comment ever on MDA is concerning depression and anxiety. My wife and her sister both suffer severely from depression and anxiety. I have tried to steer them both towards primal, especially the no refined sugar part, but it’s not an easy sell to a sugar addict. I will definitely share your story as an inspiration to them. As others have said, the changes in weight and appearance are insignificant in comparison to feeling great. Congratulations and keep up the fight.

    Travis

    1. I will keep my fingers crossed for you. I didn’t bother sorting my own diet out for ages because my confidence was so shot that I didn’t think anything could make the difference. How my husband managed to keep his own sanity and good humour is beyond me. I just read your comment out to him and it really struck a chord.

      But, light at the end of the tunnel! I do hope they find the energy to take the leap, the difference has been profound for me. It’s taken a full year for me not to miss the sugar but if you feel good you find the willpower. Wishing the three of you all the best 🙂

  44. I just started Primal eating again yesterday; remaking a commitment to FOOD (as my coach also put it). The bread and sweets were just occasional treats until…they weren’t. WELL DONE with your success and you look incredible! 🙂 You seem to be radiating good vibes with your gratitude! <3

    1. Thank you 🙂
      I’ve just recently made that connection that some foods cease to become a treat. You’re way ahead of me! I am very grateful, just wrote a blog post on it!
      Best of luck with your re-start 🙂

  45. Hi!!!

    Is there a place to go for a Primal bootcamp?!?! Please?!?!

  46. Wow, great success story, thanks for sharing. And nice to hear from another U.K. primal enthusiast (who goes to Cornwall and eats much the same foods as I do!). Best wishes xx

    1. Thank you!! No Cornwall for me this year, hitting Welsh shores instead (and hoping this weather brightens up…). All the best to you too – contact me via my blog if you like! X

  47. So sweet! I encourage you to keep on enjoying life the way you want! You deserve it!

    Chees from Spain

  48. Hi, just read your story as I’m starting the PB 21 challenge tomorrow. I’m neurotic about gaining weight as I’ve taken so long to get to the weight I am. Very similar to you, I’ve yo yo dieted for years. Since April I’ve been LCHF. So reading your story has really encouraged me to go for it. I just want to be relaxed around food and lose weight. Eating breakfast tomorrow (not done that in months) eek! Also seeing you are in the UK also made me hopeful, that this will work for Brits too!
    Thanks again for sharing.

    1. Hi Sally! Sorry, just seen this (wish I got automatic notifications!) How’s the breakfast eating going?!

      1. Hi again,
        (wish I got automatic notifications too)
        so far so good with breakfast, although one day I really wasn’t hungry until 3pm just had acoffee and cream about 10am.
        Just wondering about sugar, I’ve had really bad cravings and would have eaten anything sweet, chocolate, biscuits, cake etc if I hadn’t purged my cupboard. Just wondered how you handled it? Do you eat fruit or have you cut that out too?

  49. I love your list!! I have really been struggling lately and you are truly an inspiration.

  50. Florence, what an inspiring story. I’ve just started on this path 9 days ago and I’m just about the same age.

    I must say, you look so much like Renee Zellweger- you’re beautiful…and I’m so glad to hear you’ve overcome so many challenges.

    Sincerely, WS

    1. Thank you so much WS! (And what a lovely compliment!) I hope that you are doing really well – life really does begin at 40 (and then some!)
      ????

  51. I know this is an old post and you might not be reading this, Flojo, but if you are, could you please let us in on how you get enough carbs in your diet without eating fruit? Do you eat any rice and/or white potatoes?
    Im obsessed with grapes, melons and anything fresh and sweet, but it does make me crave chocolate, which in turn makes me crave even less healthy carb heavy food… Ive been tinkering around in a nutrient calculator thingy, to see how I can cut back on fruit and still stay above 50 carbs (anything lower and I get that dreaded keto breath – NOT PLEASANT, lol. Keto just isnt for me!).. and it just doesnt seem possible without adding rice or potatoes…?