Paleo Bailey: I Knew This Couldn’t Be How My Life Was Meant To Be Lived

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!

Today’s amazing success story is offered up by a special guest: Bailey Ryan, a.k.a. Paleo Bailey—health blogger extraordinaire, paleo food writer, and personal health coach. She’s joining us today to share how she found Mark’s Daily Apple, lost 125 pounds and claimed a new life in the process. Be sure to check back tomorrow, too, when she shares one of her favorite Primal-friendly recipes—a comfort food dish that’s perfect for this weekend’s family dinner. I’m thrilled she’s joining us today. 

At 22-years-old, and just 7 pounds shy of 300 pounds, I was completely miserable. I was out of breath just walking into work, had started avoiding any social or family gatherings, and was completely out of control with my binge eating. I knew that this couldn’t be how my life was meant to be lived, and I knew I would be dramatically shortening my life by continuing down the path I was on.

Mark’s Daily Apple came into my life as I was nearing the end of my first Whole30®. I had never even heard the term Paleo before. By random chance, my best friend told me about Whole30 one day, and with nothing else to lose I decided to try it with her. As we were getting closer to the end of it I couldn’t believe how good I felt. It wasn’t really about the weight at that point, as I was still almost 300lbs. I just had finally caught a glimpse of how feeling good really felt and finally realized how feeling crappy had just been “normal” for me for YEARS. 

I have been overweight since early childhood, and this had been the first time in my life I didn’t feel controlled by food. I didn’t have any idea what to do after Whole30, but I knew going back to my old habits weren’t an option. The Whole30 wanted me to reintroduce foods, but I also recognized I had way too many food issues (binge eating, lack of knowledge, compulsive tendencies) and that reintroduction wasn’t going to work for me and that I needed more time.

Again, I didn’t know Paleo was a thing at this point, so I started researching “after whole30” and “healthy grains,” because I thought things like quinoa, wheat bread and low-fat yogurt should be something I eat—again, lack of knowledge of widely accepted “health food.” Both of those searches, and many others, popped up with Mark’s Daily Apple. His words, research, and practical advice was what helped me realize I can make this into a long-term lifestyle, and I didn’t have to keep living like I had a death wish.


I ordered The Primal Blueprint. You should see my first copy. It’s got sticky notes and tabs, and I still refer back to it often. It was basically my bible my first year of eating Paleo and working to reverse some of my food issues that partly were influenced and perpetuated by the societal norms in the current food industry. It gave me a sense of community and a guide to feeling the best I could. I went from being totally in the dark in terms of how to live my best life, to educating and empowering myself to actually do so.


Since then, I’ve not only lost the weight, but I feel like I’ve been given a whole new life. I cried when I went kayaking, because for the first time ever I was under the weight limit. I can rock climb, run half marathons, travel oversees alone and hike mountains in Italy, something I never would have mentally or physically done at 300 pounds. I enjoy spending time with people again because I’ve stopped trying to shrink myself down whenever I was in a room full of people. I started treating myself like I was worth it, and now I’ve realized that I was all along.


Bio_BaileyBailey spent the last 2 years changing her relationship with food and herself. She lost 120 pounds while working 12-hour overnight shifts in a Minneapolis hospital and is now living a “whole” new life. She shares it all on her Instagram, @paleobailey and writes about healthy living, easy yet delicious recipes, and the ups and downs as she navigates finding overall wellness on her blog

Bailey Ryan | IG: @paleobailey

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42 thoughts on “Paleo Bailey: I Knew This Couldn’t Be How My Life Was Meant To Be Lived”

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  1. wow this is amazing, super inspiring, showing it to everybody, thanks for posting this !

  2. Wow!!! You are such an inspiration for so many people. I just love these success stories.

  3. An incredible transformation. Way to go Bailey. You got your best life back.

  4. Love how you talk about how you FELT, not the weight, being the biggest shift in mindset. So pleased you found something that gave you that insight and that you could sustain it to open up so many possibilities for you. You look fabulous.

  5. Oh my goodness, I love this success story, your website and your Instagram! I can tell that I will be spending a lot of time digging into your blog archives. You write with heart and I appreciate that so much. Thank you for sharing- I know your story is a huge inspiration to so many people.

    1. I am Paleo two yrs but I have stopped losing I have gained 6 lbs I have not added anything that should do this.What should I do?

      1. Maryann, I’m not sure who you’re asking here, but maybe I can give you a few tips. Have you tried keeping a journal of everything you put in your mouth? Sometimes a week or two of keeping close track of what you eat will reveal the problem.

        Have you recently started taking prescription meds? That could slow the metabolism down enough so that what previously worked no longer works.

        Have your portion sizes gotten bigger? Not all Paleo-approved foods are “free” foods. For example, sweet potatoes, fats, excessive protein, too much chocolate or nuts, etc. can add up and stall weight loss. Artificial sweeteners and replacement breads and desserts (other than whole fresh fruit) aren’t a good idea if eaten frequently. The body will respond better to a clean, nutritious diet, versus junk food made with “Paleo” ingredients. (Not saying you do this, but it’s worth keeping in mind since the temptations are out there.)

        Have you tried the keto diet? A month or two of ketosis or a Whole 30 could possibly help reset your body so you can start losing weight again. Mark offers guidance in his book, and there are also a number of instructional keto websites, although some are better than others.

        If all else fails, you might want to look for an MD that specializes in nutrition and weight problems. They have seen it all and could possibly formulate something that will work better for you. Sometimes a few tweaks are all that’s required.

        1. I agree with Shary, Maryann! I would start by keeping a food journal. Pay attention to when you are eating: are you eating when you are truly hungry? Are you stopping when you are satisfied? I went through a similar situation and realized I was going overboard with nuts and nut butters when I wasn’t paying attention. Good luck!

      2. Maryann, are you working out? Maybe you are adding muscle weight. Remember, you don’t want to lose weight…you want to lose fat. Never muscle.

      3. Maybe you lost too much weight and don’t think you’re thin enough. Your body knows

  6. I’ve been following you on Instagram and was thrilled to see your success story published here on MDA. You look amazing and it sounds like you feel even better. What an inspiration!

  7. Bailey, you’ve really changed for the better. Working at a hospital as you do, you’re in a position to “spread the gospel” so to speak where it can be most effective.

  8. Wow, your story is inspiring, but unfortunately for me, I can never stay and do it for me. I am sitting here reading your story eating a box of Cheez-Its. I just want to have a better relationship with food and don’t know where to begin. My body screams for food even when I am not hungry and I know its what I am eating. I need someone who will be my coach and know that I have someone to call on or to talk to.

    1. Caroline- I just heard a psychologist named Glenn Livingston on a podcast and he described a very unique approach to end overeating. I found it intriguing and thought I would share his name with you as a resource. His book is called “Never Binge Again… and it is a free digital book on Amazon right now.

    2. Caroline, we feel for you. You’re not alone. If you have a chance, read Bailey’s post on food binging and addiction. It is so personal and moving, and you might see yourself in her story, as many of us did. I am certain if you reach out to Bailey she can help you in some way. Finding a coach might be helpful, and seeking out professional treatment. Figuring out how to do it for YOU though, that will be the real work! Good luck! We are here for you!

  9. Great Story, I’m going to check out your website and send some people there.

  10. I love to follow her on IG, and read her blog. She is one of the most real women in the health movement. She never makes it look “easy”….she makes it look worth it! And she has the best dogs to crush on IG

  11. Thanks for sharing your amazing transformation. Your future looks bright!

  12. Astonishing! Great willpower and self-discipline – well done. You look great.

  13. Bailey, you made me cry! How inspirational, I will be checking out your website. The only issue I have with you is you took away my excuses! 😉