My Transformation Was So Miraculous I Went on to Coach 200 Others

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in lineThe version of me on the left side of this picture taught 12-16 group fitness classes per week, fueled on 6-7 daily meals made of lean protein, steamed vegetables, and healthy whole grains. I did everything right and yet found myself staring down the barrel of Type 2 diabetes.

When I saw this picture, taken by my sister while on vacation to Cuba in 2009, I didn’t even recognize myself. The abdominal weight had accumulated so quickly, I didn’t have a chance to notice it. And how does a girl like me get a belly like that anyway? The math didn’t add up: my calorie balance had been squarely and obsessively in check since my mid-teens.

Even more troubling than the weight gain was my completely unmanageable energy levels. I couldn’t get through a fitness class unless I drank orange juice the entire time. Every workout needed to be book-ended by precisely-timed carbohydrate feeds, or I’d sink into a nap that would occupy the rest of my day. My high-stress day job as an advertising Account Manager was suffering because I couldn’t make it through a meeting—an afternoon!—without nodding off or needing a nap in the car. Speaking of car naps, anytime I had to drive anywhere it became a game of chicken: will I manage to stay awake behind the wheel this time?

Kudos to my Western doctor for thinking somewhat outside of the box and declaring me “pre-diabetic.” It got my wheels turning on how everything we’d been taught to believe about exercise and diet—everything I’d ever preached in my 20+ years in the fitness industry—may not have been as cut and dried as we’d believed. Furthermore, the stress of my professional day job, she suggested, may have contributed to my body’s resistance to insulin. What a revelation! Health struggles and weight gain relating to lifestyle factors, and not simply as a result of a mismatch of calories in versus calories out.

By the way, I rejected that diagnosis. I immediately set out to reverse what the doctor declared was an inevitable descent into full-blown diabetes. Like most of us, the thirst for understanding HOW this could have happened to someone like me doing absolutely everything right lead me to Google. And Google brought me to Mark’s Daily Apple, and the Primal Blueprint book. I devoured every word of the book, the blog, the forum. It all made so much sense.

Within weeks of implementing the Primal Laws, everything in my life changed. The weight effortlessly began to vanish. My energy surged, and it has not stopped since I started that day seven years ago. My relationship with food can only be described as “effortless”—a revelation for a former-athlete-turned-fitness-professional like myself who’d battled disordered eating and body image issues literally forever.

The transformation was so miraculous that I couldn’t help but be evangelical about it. I told everyone I encountered that they needed to go Primal right this very minute. I convinced a few, but I wanted more reach.

I wanted a nutrition credential to help lend credibility to my impassioned rants, and so that I could build a legitimate business delivering the wisdom of Primal. I just couldn’t bring myself to register for a four-year degree in Dietetics, so instead I found a diploma program that offered more nutrition flexibility and wasn’t tethered to Canada’s Food Guide (our version of the Food Pyramid). In 2014, I graduated as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and got to work quitting my day job and spreading the message of unconventional dietary wisdom far and wide through my nutrition consulting and health coaching business, eat.simple.

The second the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification came into existence, you’d better believe I threw my credit card at it immediately. I was one of the early adopters of the the program, even though I didn’t open the portal or start reading the first module until a full calendar year after paying for it.

I quickly discovered that the piece that was missing from my nutrition consulting business was any hot clue how to coach humans through the process of large-scale lifestyle change. So when I got the email that the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification had evolved and grown to include a greater emphasis on coaching, and was being rebranded the Primal Health Coach certification, that’s when I logged in for the first time. I struggled through the program spectacularly, despite having a nutrition credential and dozens of fitness certifications under my belt. It challenged me, and I loved and respected every grueling moment of those mind-bending multiple choice quizzes. I could feel that I was growing; the coaching pieces built into the program, which had been lacking in every single other course or certification I’ve ever taken, were going to change the game for eat.simple.

The Primal Health Coach program is what took my business from a wobbly, uncertain start-up, to a growing and proven mini-empire that actually helps people enact massive lifestyle change in an accessible way. I no longer have the worry looming over my head “Will I be good at this, or will I have to admit defeat and return to the advertising rat race?” I’m getting set to hire eat.simple’s first employee to help me manage the workload of a client roster that just continues to grow. The clients are out there. They want your help. Go get them!

The ultimate lightning strike in this feel-good story happened in 2016 when the Primal Health Coach team announced it was growing, too, and put out a call for resumes for folks with fitness, nutrition, and business backgrounds to come and work with the Primal team. I was hired as the Client Care Lead, supporting students and graduates through the Primal Health Coach program and afterward, as they set out to build their businesses. That I now get to call Mark Sisson my boss? “Dream come true” does not even begin to cover it, my friends. I know you know.

Back to that before and after photo. The picture on the right was taken in winter of 2016, on yet another tropical winter vacation, this time to Belize (it’s how we get through those long, cold, dark, Canadian winters). Once again I was taken aback: “Is that me?” I had to ask. Seven years later and my relationship with food, fitness, my body, and my metabolic function has become so effortless that I forget to notice how good it looks. But there’s no denying how good it feels. Not one day goes by when I don’t celebrate my own good health and that of the over 200 clients I’ve coached toward Primal living in the last three years.

I feel remarkably blessed that I get to live my authentic truth in life and in work, every darn day. Primal has changed my life, just as I know it can change yours.


Does the impact of the Primal Blueprint in your life move you to consider coaching others to share the promise of health and vitality? Visit the Primal Health Coach website to learn more about the program, and be sure to check out our free information session.

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42 thoughts on “My Transformation Was So Miraculous I Went on to Coach 200 Others”

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    1. I get this
      “The transformation was so miraculous that I couldn’t help but be evangelical about it.”

      But I am a bad preacher it seems: my conversion rate is … zero 🙁

  1. Isn’t it amazing what the elimination of grains and sweets can do for the human body? I always ate what I thought was essentially a healthy diet, but over time I developed “weight creep” to the tune of about 45 excess pounds. I cut out sweets first and lost about half of that, but it wasn’t until I dumped the grain products that I really noticed my belly flattening and the rest of the extra pounds disappearing..

  2. Wow, your transformation is amazing! So happy for you! And what a great example you can be for all of the people you are coaching. I’m currently enrolled in the Primal Health Coach program and love it. Although I already have a health coaching certification under my belt, and have pretty much been a student of nutrition forever, I will be the first to admit that it is very challenging. Thanks for sharing your story…I look forward to getting these doses of inspiration on a Friday 🙂

  3. What happened to the tattoo on your shoulder in the after pic?

    1. Love it; you are not the first intrepid reader to point this out! I had it removed.

      Kids, let me be your cautionary tale: having a tattoo removed is 20x more expensive and 50x more painful than getting the tattoo in the first place, so enter into those decisions wisely! 🙂

  4. Erin, I feel your enthusiasm all the way through my computer. Hopefully there will be another promotional price for the certificate soon. Being a boomer, I think there will be lots of them needing help now and in the future. You look happy. Congrats!

  5. Thanks to all who spoke back to the negativity of one comment earlier this afternoon. MDA is a respectful community for sharing and supporting health and well-being. Comments contrary to that purpose will be removed, as that one was today. Now back to celebrating an inspiring story. Grok on, everybody!

  6. Congratulations for this amazing change and your desire to share the knowledge, impressive transformation! By all means could you please point me to where you got your Holistic Nutrition degree in Canada? I am currently working trough the PC certification but was looking at getting “recognized” certification as well to help prime my business once it comes to life, and without having to spend half a decade at it.

    1. Hey there – the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition is the educational and certifying body for holistic nutrition in Canada. But truthfully, the education you get from the PHC program and the graduate support materials will set you up for a health coaching business without requiring additional credentialing. Clients don’t actually care about credentials too much; they care more about voice, experience, and results.

      1. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, you have my gratitude. Wishing you the best of success in life and your endeavors.

  7. Was that picture taken in Placentia?
    Miss the warm sun!! Nice work!

  8. Erin, Congrats! You’re an awesome example of what healthy eating and exercise can do. Plus, as a bonus you got to quit the rat race advertising biz and go to work doing something you love, helping other people get their. Health back.

  9. Great story Erin very inspirational and hope your business as well as your health prospers.

      1. Oops! Those question marks were originally emojis (at least they’re showing up as question marks on my phone…). *cat with heart eyes*

  10. Imagine if you hopped on one foot to get everywhere.

    All your friends did it. Your family did it. In school they taught you that was the proper way to get around. The government even put out proper hopping guidelines for locomotion. The American Hopping Association spent millions promoting it and offered lots of advice on which drugs to take for shin splint pain and what leg braces work best for increasing stability.

    Then one day someone says “hey, have you tried putting one foot in front of another, it’s more natural and honors our bipedal nature. It’s called walking”.

    You see that they get around very quickly and effortlessly. They don’t have leg braces and don’t seem to be in pain. But this “walking” thing looks so unnatural.

    You’re skeptical at first, but you can no longer take all the shin splints and falling over. So you give it a try.

    Three weeks later, your shin splints are healed, you easily doubled the distance you can cover in a day, and your shoes wear evenly now.

    Your family is impressed that you get around so easily and ask what’s the secret. You tell them you follow the “walking” lifestyle now and just put one foot in front on the other. It’s how our ancestors got around and it’s more in line with our biology.

    They say that sounds dangerous and weird and decide to keep hoping on one foot and suffer though additional years of shin splints, collapsed arches and bruises from falling over and bumping into things.

    Enthusiastic about what you’ve discovered, you then repeat this futile conversation with every person you meet for the rest of your life. Over the years a few friends and family members follow your example and start walking – but most don’t and die crippled.

    But hey, at least your legs don’t hurt and you’ve permanently reduced travel time by fifty percent!

  11. Congrats, Erin, what an awesome transformation. What did you eat for lunch when you were losing? Having been a MDA reader for several years, I know “what” to do, but can’t seem to get it done. I’ve seen the good results before, but it crept back on and here is why: The grains and sweets are pretty easy to eliminate. However I don’t get any results unless I am fastidious about also eliminating the bad oils, and that means no restaurant food (salad dressings, “healthy soups”, they all have soybean or canola oil). It seems the body doesn’t know what to do with the bad oils, and shoves them in a fat cell and says, “ok, Amy, I stored those 120 calories in a fat cell cause I didn’t know what they were; now go eat 120 calories of something else cause I’m still hungry!” I find it nearly impossible to cook every bite of food myself, as I have a demanding regular day job. Breakfast, snack, and dinner are a lot of cooking and packing, so I usually eat lunch out. (Disclaimer: I only ever have about 7-8 lbs to lose, and I’m over 50, so the “devil is in the details” for me. ). Any ideas on what to eat for lunch on a workday? Thanks, and you look fantastic!

    1. Hi OctoberAmy–

      One tactic that I used to get started (and which I often implement with my clients) is a thing I’ve named The Funnel. Very simply put, I like circadian meal timing, or front-loading the day with the most fuel-dense meal, emphasizing fat and protein. Then the second meal of the day (lunch) is a bit smaller, lighter — more emphasis on high fibre veggies. If there’s a third meal, it’s even smaller. I should also mention that this ends up becoming almost an unconscious meal timing schedule. The dense breakfast influences your lunch choice, your dinner choice.

      To specifically answer your question, meals are comprised of PFFs: Protein, Fat, Fibre (veg). Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. As for what I SPECIFICALLY specifically eat… um, some kind of meat and some kind of veg with a good amount of fat included somehow? Truthfully I didn’t follow any kind of meal plan and I don’t do recipes:

      Someday I’m going to create an app that’s like a randomized spinner that pulls up a random meat, a random veg, a random fat. *smile*

      These days I don’t personally use The Funnel; I’ve graduated to fasting and keto and other sort of “next level” stuff. But my realllllllly roundabout answer to you, to get you started and stay started: think about your breakfast. It’s a great place to start and it will help to influence your appetite and food choices throighout the day.

      Sigh. Sorry; I’m rambling. 🙂

      1. No! Thanks for including that information. I found that very interesting. Sometimes we all assume that these success stories cut out sugar and grain and up the exercise and that’s it. I find it very informative to learn about the variation in this way of life. Teaches me to be flexible until I find the methods that work for me. I think I’ll experiment with “front-loading” like this.
        Does make it hard to give a simple answer to people who ask about my way of eating. Because all of us are different and the primal version of one person will not be exactly the same as the next person. It’s all good!
        Loved your story. You look fantastic! And so happy.

  12. Congrats, that is amazing!!! Very inspiring. I am curious, what happened to the tattoo? Do they disappear also when you stop eating gains? lol

    1. Ha! No sir; I had it lasered off. Usuallly the OPPOSITE happens when people lose weight: they get a better tan, a pile of tattoos and a much bigger smile in their After pic.

  13. Great story! I see we are in the same city. Despite years of following primal badly, my shape is definitely more like your before pic. Maybe time for me to avail myself of your services!?

  14. Amazing progress. I am just starting my version of the program, alkalizing and not eating meat, but I have already seen a difference. Sugar is poison, at least for me. It is addictive too. I’ve lost 11 lbs. – 19 to go.