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!
My husband Tim and I met while I was in college, and we quickly fell in love. After seven months, we decided to get married, and two weeks later, we did! We celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary in April.
Growing up, both of us were larger than our peers. We both have always struggled with our weight and our relationship with food. When we got married, it didn’t get any better. We knew how to cook—frozen pizza, mac and cheese from a box, and spaghetti. So that, plus lots of fast food and tons of Mountain Dew, is what we ate. Our weight continued to climb as we started our lives together. At our heaviest, Tim weighed 380 and I weighed 315.
We went on a vacation with a group of friends and took tons of pictures. It wasn’t until a few months after the trip that I got to see the photos. I was completely devastated at how I looked. So becoming discouraged with my ever growing waist line, I started doing what conventional wisdom told me to do—I cut out the fat from my foods and started counting my calories.
I did lose weight. About 30 lbs. And I was miserable. I felt hungry all of the time, even though I’d eaten my daily allotted calories. I felt really sluggish and got sick easily (I had a respiratory infection for an entire summer!). And after 30 lbs, I couldn’t seem to lose any more no matter how hard I tried.
One week Tim had to go out of town for work and I thought that might be a good time to try something new. I told him I was going to just try not to eat anything that “came out of a box” and just focus on veggies, meat, and fruit.
Daily we’d talk while he was gone, and he couldn’t believe the experience I was describing. I was already experiencing positive results—falling asleep faster, waking up easier, sleeping more soundly, my acne had started to clear up, my 3 PM brain fog started to lift, and the list went on.
When he returned, I stepped onto the scale. I had lost 12 lbs! How was that possible, when I didn’t count calories or go hungry any day?!
So Tim agreed to try it for a week to see what his results might be. He experienced the same positives, and he lost 15 lbs. In a week! And eating until full every meal!
I’ve always been told that you need to eat lots of grains, and so I went online to make sure it was okay for us to be eating this way. And that’s when I found Mark’s Daily Apple and learned that in fact, this thing we were doing was really a thing, and it was called the Paleo Diet. From there we found all of the big names in the Primal/Paleo community.
I researched and researched. I found recipes, studies, blogs, articles—everything I needed to feel confident that it was okay to eat the way we were eating. Not just okay, but ideal!
So we decided to try it for another two weeks. And then a month. And then three months.
And then we took all of the boxed foods out of our cabinets. And then we stopped drinking soda and eating fast food completely. And then we found farmer’s markets.
And then we did our first Whole30. And then…we adopted the Primal/Paleo lifestyle as a full way of life.
Which brings us to four years later in our journey…
My husband found a huge passion for cooking and nutrition because of our new relationship with food. He decided to intern at a local restaurant in his free time, which sparked his love of food even more. He’s currently taking the Primal Health Coach course with hopes to further his knowledge of nutrition to see where this takes him.
I’ve always been interested in fitness, but it always seemed harder for me than everyone else. As the weight continued to come off, my ability to fully do the exercises I wanted to do—like yoga and running—increased. Eventually, I felt confident enough to move beyond my 24/7 gym into a more structured environment, and we joined a CrossFit gym. My passion for fitness continues to rise as my relationship with my body improves.
Because of my new love of fitness, I subjected us to many, many walks around the neighborhood (Mark says they’re good for you). Which then became hikes at local state parks. Eventually this love of walks and the outdoors turned into something completely different. We found a huge love and passion for backpacking and hiking! We have developed a hobby together we never would have found if it hadn’t been for finding this lifestyle.
A fun part of our backpacking trips is figuring out how to still eat primal while we’re on the go, in a place with no refrigeration, limited supplies, and only a fire to cook on. So far, we’ve been able to maintain our Paleo lifestyle (with the occasional inclusion of rice) even in the most primal of settings. We also really enjoy unplugging from the world completely when we’re on the trail. There is something magical and real that happens when you can’t access your phone for an entire week (or even weekend).
As we fine tune what we eat and how we move our bodies, we are enjoying experimenting to see how certain things make us feel. For instance, intermittent fasting (which you can read about on Mark’s site) is something that we’ve tried and absolutely love the way it makes us feel. We recently made Mark’s Warm Coconut and Pancetta Kale—we loved it! We’ve both become open to trying new things, new ideas, and new ways of thinking. And when it comes to food, Tim’s motto is, “You don’t dislike that vegetable. You just haven’t had it cooked the way you like it yet.”
The past five years have been a crazy journey. As our relationships with ourselves have improved, we found that we’ve become closer to one another than we ever thought possible.
We are now in the midst of doing a Whole100 and are loving how our bodies are feeling. To date, Tim has lost 160 lbs and I have lost 125 lbs! We both still have more to lose, but somewhere along the way, that stopped being our focus. The way we feel about ourselves and one another, the way we spend our free time, and the way we use food as a tool and not as a crutch has become an important part of our lives.
I can’t imagine the life we’d be living without this lifestyle. We both feel like we’re the best versions of ourselves. When we’re on the trail and come to the top of a peak, we often stop for a moment to enjoy our surroundings. At the top of that peak I always think, “We’re living the life I always dreamed we would live.”