Shift Your Body Fat to Reframe Your Life

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!

Dear Mark,

First of all, a great thank you for your work and offering MDA as a constant flow of good Primal advice and inspiration!

My success with the Primal lifestyle has not been as straightforward as some of the other experiences shared here. I am a 26 year old German man, living in Scotland and I am married with two children (1 and 3 years old). I lived in Germany for the first 19 years of my life and in all that time, I think it is safe to say I had some form of processed carbohydrates for each meal. We have a very strong bread culture back home and whole wheat bread is considered the basis of a healthy lifestyle. Although I had some weight struggles as a young teen, due to too many sodas, I would have considered myself fit for the most part of my high school years. Two big influences on my understanding of fitness in my young adult life were my father and a nutrition class I took back in school. My dad is a sports teacher and thus he always encouraged me to do sports, but chronic cardio and strength training sessions lasting for well over an hour were considered a must. The nutrition class back in school was heavily based on Conventional Wisdom’s understanding of which foods are “scientifically” considered best for our bodies. As a result I ended up spending three days a week doing 3 hours of cardio interspersed with weight lifting machine workouts in the gym in my last two years in high school. However, I never saw all my efforts pay off. This was extremely frustrating to me, as I counted the calories I burned in my gym sessions (around 1,500 kcals on a good day) and I would only add an extra 1,000 kcal to my daily consumption, which in my mind left me with a significant caloric deficit. But I guess adding more hash browns and fruit juice to my evening meal might not have been a very smart move on my part!

Once I had completed high school, I left for a gap year to Scotland and subsequently started University there as well as working full-time. I had set myself the goal to get properly fit once and for all and my active work environment was definitely helpful (wood-chopping in the Scottish winter is one Primal workout!). However, Scotland provided several challenges in that regard with one being the local “cuisine”, where apart from Haggis, deep-fried pizza with fries on top as well as a deep-fried chocolate bar are considered local specialties. Another factor was that I met my wife there and a new relationship brought a lot of relaxing with comfort foods with it. Nevertheless, I kept looking for alternatives to my previous eating habits and started experimenting with a more vegetarian lifestyle. This, however, only resulted in me eating more often and being extremely sleepy after my carb-heavy meals. Once I started Uni in my second year in Scotland, I met a Norwegian guy and somewhere along the line he discovered MDA, fully absorbed the Primal lifestyle and had incredible results. Since he was constantly preaching about it, I thought I would give it a try. This was the time before The Primal Blueprint was published and I never fully read my way through it all at MDA, but took away the points of eating lots of veggies and meat. At the same time I experimented with Intermittent Fasting and had great success with that. But then, due to my busy lifestyle and daily commutes, I switched from eating veggies to fruit and low quality meats. Once that happened it was only a small step backwards to a CW lifestyle. With the stresses of an ever increasing Uni workload (I study Economics), more responsibilities at work with me and my wife taking on managerial positions, us having our first child as well as the preparations for our wedding, takeaway meals became more and more of a habit. I still visited MDA from time to time, but somehow I never properly adopted the PB lifestyle. At the time of our wedding, both me and my wife were working out in the gym around 3 times a week and tried to look our best (see pictures below), but somehow we looked even bigger than we did when we first met.


Shortly after our wedding, my wife’s parents were in search of losing weight and they remembered me talking about the PB. So they went ahead, studied the books (from my Primal/Paleo library, which had been collecting dust for the past years), cleared out their pantry, stocked it with Primal approved foods and started exercising. Both of them had visible success within a couple of weeks and were highly enjoying their new lifestyle. This got me and my wife thinking and we made a promise to ourselves that we would do it together this time round, since we knew that being Primal definitely worked. Starting on January 1st 2013 we both shifted our exercise regimes, with me dropping my gym membership altogether, and we both ate Primal approved foods from then onwards.

Within six weeks I went from 200lbs at 6ft to 187lbs whilst dropping 4% of body fat and building muscle. I am now at 179lbs with 14% body fat, which is down from 21% measured at the start of our Primal transformation.

My wife went from 144lbs to 127lbs today whilst also losing 7% of body fat in the process.

Tobi and Harriet Emonts-Holley

For the past few months the shifts in our weight have been more gradual, but we find that we both have reached our ideal body composition, given that we are both working, looking after two toddlers at home and I am also studying full-time for a PhD at the same time. My wife is slimmer and fitter now than she was before she had kids. She often skips meals without even noticing it and her skin is glowing all the time now. For my part,  I have never been this fit in my life with my energy levels constantly being high. When I am asked what type of workout I do, I feel embarrassed to say that I do not follow any particular program. I do pull-ups, dips and push-ups on a daily basis, but never a completely fixed number or set of exercises. I do what I feel like, for example, when the weather in Scotland is not too wet and windy (remember this is a country where you can literally experience all three seasons: Fall, Winter and Spring in one day), I will strap on my 26lbs weight vest, one kid in a rucksack on the back and one in a sling in the front and go hiking in the hills for 30mins.

Tobi and KidsHaving said that, the flexibility that the Primal lifestyle allows us is the biggest benefit in my eyes. If we spent a few days without breaking a sweat then that’s ok. Equally, just having been on holiday in wonderful California, I am able to hike with the kids in the morning, rest at lunchtime in the sun and then go out kayaking with my boy. The Primal lifestyle is extremely individualistic and everybody can really just do what their bodies tell them and still get into fantastic shape. I feel I have much more energy for a wider variety of activities than especially in comparison to my gym-marathon times.

Another important revelation of our Primal journey has been that we need to pass on these eating and movement habits to our children, albeit them still being very young. It has been very interesting to see that both of them enjoy their Primal lunches of avocado, meat, cucumber and carrot sticks much more than the previously served good old wholegrain sandwich. Also, they both love beef jerky and we have now our own food dehydrator so we can make our own organic jerky. With our kids we have experienced much more stable energy levels with hardly any mood swings as well as our son showing a huge reduction in the eczema that he has been suffering from for nearly two years.

Finally, I wanted to share a thought with you that has accompanied me over the past half year. My life always seems to be very busy with a lot of demands. Especially with us having two young children, it got to a point where I was not too sure that I could manage it all. The transformation that both my wife and I have experienced, however, gave me a daily proof that anything is possible if we put our minds to it and the extra energy from our Primal lifestyle has led to a huge productivity boost. Having gone Primal has not simply shifted body fat for us, it has changed our enjoyment of life and we are hopeful that our story might help someone, who is not too sure about it all to simply give it a go and experience another Primal transformation along the way!

Thank you,

Tobi and Harriet Emonts-Holley

TAGS:  guest post

About the Author

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

84 thoughts on “Shift Your Body Fat to Reframe Your Life”

Leave a Reply

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

  1. What a fantastic story, and what a gorgeous family!! that photo of you with the two kids strapped to you made me smile. And I’m glad to hear your son’s eczema is going away! Well done!

  2. Sounds like you have found a great way of living!

    I just wanted to ask if it was going back to CW or eating fruit that was a problem from the body comp wise? Did you have detrimental effects from just eating fruit in addition to/instead of vegetables, or they did not show up when you went back to CW, i.e. eating fruit was Okay?

    [quote]But then, due to my busy lifestyle and daily commutes, I switched from eating veggies to fruit and low quality meats. Once that happened it was only a small step backwards to a CW lifestyle.[/quote]

    1. Hi,
      the problem was that I just considered fruit to be ok and did not fully understand the impact too much fructose would have on my body. So I ate fruit without limits and that got my body back to a carb-burning mode and thus the slip back to CW eating style.
      I have no problem eating fruit now, but obviously I moderate it now with two pieces per day on average.

      1. Good explanation. I’m not big on veggies, and consider fruit to be an improvement over all the grains I was eating. Maybe I should pay closer attention to how much I’m getting.

        1. I have gone through several phases of carb-fear and carb-loving, but in the end if you’re talking about specific real-food sources of carbs, fruit is not the enemy.

          I would be astonished if you could overeat fructose from fruit unless you’re a fruitarian and eating little else – whether you’re talking about body composition or general health.

          “low-dose fructose (?10g/meal) may benefit glycaemic control”

  3. I love the photo of you with your kids! You guys look great and so happy! I am delighted for you and your family.

  4. Exemplary story! Be proud, you’re doing it all, with no excuses – just being the best you can be for yourselves and to serve as the ultimate role models for your kids to follow.

  5. I love the picture of you and your kids – you all look so happy! Congratulations and way to go 🙂

  6. Stress free fun! That’s what it’s all about! Awesome that you guys chose to do whatever it took to get in shape and maintain that for your family! Life can get crazy so making exercise a priority is key no matter how or where you do it! Congrats on the success guys!

  7. Sounds like you and your family have found the “sweet spot”. Congratulations!!

    1. Great way of putting it. Yes, it does feel like we have found the “sweet spot”. Once you know what to eat, how to listen to your body properly and not shy away from moving around it is just fun rather than a tedious program one has to follow

  8. Well done to you and your lovely family – happy and healthy, who could ask for more?!

  9. Love seeing you use your kids as part of your primal fitness! It’s just another example of how we can make primal living fit into whatever phase of life we are in. Congrats!

  10. WOW!! You both look great! Congratulations on your success and your lovely family

  11. Wholesome! Please submit photos when you take your family to the Alps!

  12. did you really eat haggis? also, congratulations! I love reading these success stories and especially nice to hear from those in different countries.

    1. Of course! Although Haggis is not really Primal given all the grains in it, it is absolutely delicious!!

  13. Nice work, Toby and Harriet. A very inspirational story for those who think they are too busy to stick with the PB. Grok on!

  14. Eine wunderbare Erfolgsgeschichte! Sie und Ihre Kinder sind sehr niedlich! Glueckwuenche!

  15. Congratulations to all of you. It is wonderful you have found, as someone said earlier, your “sweet spot”, especially in Scotland where it is all too easy to curl up and eat comfort food. Deep-fried Mars Bars are too frightening to behold but you have gone way beyond the norm and hopefully are encouraging others around you with your example. Great job! And your wife looks a beautiful “wee lassie.” 🙂

  16. Congratulations! Reading your success is motivating me to get back on track food-wise, and put the fun back into my fitness routine. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, this is what we hoped our story might achieve. Inspiring even a single person to get back on track makes all the more worthwhile!

  17. You tried to go vegetarian in Scotland, up near the Arctic Circle?! That must have been a miserable experience.

    Gratuliere on the Primal success you’re having!

    1. Well, luckily it is not too close to the Arctic Circle although it might feel like it at times. But you are right, especially when it is cold outside and the wind sucks the heat right out of your body, you need some good fat energy rather than any other energy source!

  18. You lazy bum, get back to the gym–2 hours of treadmill!

    Kidding of course–great story very well told. You two are fortunate, and perhaps even more so are your kids–way to go!

    1. I am sorry, I will set up a new gym membership straight away!

      Yes, we feel most passionate about our children’s health now. But it seems that we needed to experience the immense benefits first ourselves before we could truly see the amazing power of the Primal lifestyle. We will never go back to the CW lifestyle and I hope my kids will stay right on course for their lives too.

  19. You both make it look so easy when we know that a busy life + two children + new country + school = lots of extra focus and energy. Best of luck to the four of you!

  20. Great story. Most people who diet don’t realize why it doesn’t work. Lifestyle changes that you can sustain are the way to go and you two prove that. Well done.

  21. Hi everybody,

    thank you so so much for all those wonderful, warm and supportive comments! We are thrilled that our story has been shared here on MDA, and one of the most amazing parts of it has been this, your feedback. We love being part of the Primal community! Thank you all!

  22. great transformation! you both looked great on your wedding day, and now, you’re even healthier! i love how this is a whole-family thing for you, and that you have more energy for LIFE now.

  23. So how did the in-laws do? Are they still Primal?

    You all look incredibly happy and healthy. That’s the biggest reward, I think: happiness and health.

    1. Well, they seem to have experienced a similar fall back to CW as I had. So I am hoping that this story now inspires them in turn again, that way we keep up the good life altogether!

  24. Love your story, congratulations and thanks for telling us about your success. You guys all look so happy and fit.

    Perhaps by the time you have another child (?) your eldest will be trotting along side of you, bursting with his own energy for walking, and you will still carry the other two.

    Isn’t it amazing how these stories make the world feel so small – I sit in Melbourne Australia, reading about a German guy, living in Scotland, who follows the principles of a guy in the USA. Gotta love the internet.

    And yes, how did the in-laws go with the Primal lifestyle?

    1. Doesnt it? I am an Aussie, living in Edinburgh Scotland, who has been thinking and researching a Primal way of living for the past 18 months and who has been struggling to fully commit to the lifestyle for the past month. I am so sick of feeling bloated and tired from all these grains (not to mention the digestive issues I have experienced for the past 10 years (and I’m only 24) which have really gotten me down).

      Tobi, you and your wife’s story has inspired me to put down the deep fried mars bars and haggis and to make a permanent change in my lifestyle and health in country where comfort food is taken to a new level and drinking is national sport. Thank you both for your timely inspiration!

      Ps. your bairns are the cutest!

      1. Hi Lauren,
        thanks for your comment! I feel there is a case to be made for a “Northern Primal Community”, as I think that it is certainly harder to find the ‘sweet spot’ up here. Having been to California just a few weeks ago, we found staying active outdoors and not requiring comfy foods against the cold are much easier. My experience is that you need to build up some mental toughness to really be able to turn down the bread at the beginning of a meal out or try to navigate your way through dinners at work/conferences. Also, being able to say “I don’t eat bread” is a much stronger statement than “I can’t”!

  25. Congratulations, what a beautiful family you have, looks like we will be starting as a family over the weekend, have dabbled myself, and you have proved that you can do it in Scotland with our weather, thank you for the inspirational story Tobi, all the very best for your future in Bonnie Scotland.

  26. What does Grokette Harriet do for fitness? She lost close to 20 lbs and looks amazing! Does her workout “routine” differ from yours (e.g., does she sprint, lift weights, etc.)? Does she eat the same things as you do? 🙂

    1. Hi,
      her workout routine is quite different from mine. I walk a lot, do bodyweight exercises and kettlebells sporadically. She does a lot of Pilates, Yoga and Zumba. We found that having fun with your workout is the top priority! She felt that she wanted to lose weight rather than lose muscle, but I think the fear of bulking up has gone away now and she has started incorporating bodyweight exercises into her workout routines as well.
      We do eat the same thing most of the time, but I do eat more. That results in me having either bigger portions or an extra meal (e.g. breakfast when she doesn’t feel the need for it). I hope this was helpful?

  27. Congratulations on the great transformation Tobi and Harriet! A healthy lifestyle is definitely a journey, at first a lot of ups and downs with your experiments, then once you get into a groove things level out a bit more and you tweak here and there. In a nutshell … eliminating grains, compressing your eating schedule, some exercise and recreation, and living life with joy really seem to be the biggies in terms of a big impact on your health.

    1. Thanks George.
      As you and others have said, joy/happiness is definitely the key! When you love what you eat and how you move, living a fit and healthy life is simply a bi-product!

  28. Tobi, I have a question about dairy, is it a yes or a no for you guys, if its a yes, how much?

    1. Hi,
      dairy is a yes for us. I personally love cheese, but I have found that it needs to be consumed in real moderation. Haloumi on a BBQ is fantastic, but definitely not a daily basis. With the kids it is different, as they love their milk, and we get it from a family farm, so quality is very good. Unfortunately, it is really hard to get any raw dairy products here, which makes me want to put a cow and a goat in my backgarden!

      1. Unfortunately it is illegal to sell raw milk in Scotland. I wish the law could be changed as I love cheese, yogurt and double cream but they don’t love me and I might be able to tolerate the raw milk products. Many congratulations on your achievements.

  29. Thanks Tobi, really useful to get tips from you, thank you, will source some good quality milk locally, great post, beautiful family.

  30. Amazing story! Loved reading it and I hope this will be my family this time next year. I’ve had similar experience of cronic cardio and just generally trying to starve myself because I nothing will shift the weight. A ‘good’ day (in my warped cardio munching dieting days) would be a bowl of cereal with skimmed milk for breakfast, a slice of toast with low fat margarine & and apple for lunch, a low fat yogurt for a snack and a small bowl of pasta with chicken and a low fat sauce, and salad with low fat dressing for dinner!!!! Ugh! It was awful and I would never be able to sustain it and would beat myself up for falling off the diet regime even though it would never get me anywhere anyway. I would then binge even more carb based foods for the rest of the week and feel terrible about it until I got to Monday and tried the whole thing over again. This would be whilst doing 5 runs/aerobics classes a week. Much more exercise that any of my friends, you can imagine my frustration. The real change for me came in JAn this year when my mum decided on her boot camp trainers advice to cut out carbs. I can’t believe I mocked her, you cant manage to cut out carbs that’s ridiculous was my attitude. But then I saw her amazing results & her glow & energy!!! And she completely lost all the stomach cramp and ‘wind’ issues that we’ve both suffered from for years (nice eh). So I gave it a try and I feel so much better. Its taken me a good while to get to the point where it feels ok to say no to those food but I do it. And now I’ve found crossfit & my trainer introduced me the The Primal Blueprint. Its the only diet/lifestyle book I’ve read that actually clicked. I’ve been doing proper Paleo for 2 weeks now and I just love it.

    Best news though is that my 9 year old daughter who a year ago was diagnosed with ADHD. Its been a real struggle and you dont seem to get any support in the Uk other than just being handed some pills. Anyway she is now trying Paleo too and I can already notice a difference in her behaviour. I’m so proud of her, I told her I won’t dictate what she can/can’t eat but I will help guide her to make choices. She’s done so well. Not only is she making much better choices and limiting her occasional sugary treats to one or two sweets instead of a bag full, she’s also really noticing the effects of what she eats on her behaviour. At a friends the other day she had a big bowl of sugary cereal and she came home saying she felt too ‘jumpy’. Then another morning she was particularly calm and gave me a big hug and said ‘mum my new foods are really helping me be me’. I cried! It was the best moment ever!

    I also have a two year old and am determined to change her eating habits now so it just becomes the norm. My husband may take a bit longer but he will be supporting us and hopefully will eventually join us too.

    So again thanks for the great story, it’s truly inspiring!

    (sorry my comment is so long! Just felt compelled to share!)

    1. Thank you Jenny, this is one awesome comment!
      I really hope that you and your family will find a way in your lives to adopt the Primal lifestyle as it is so rewarding and positively life transforming. We find that if our kids have had a couple of days of not being fully Primal, all their old symptons (especially skin related) come back. But then again it is reassuring to know that once you get back on that horse, it will be all good again.
      We have also notices behavioural differences in our kids. Their mood is so much more stable and calm, it is a real bliss.
      I wish you all the best!!

    2. I really enjoyed your story too. I understand the concerns with having a child with ADHD. I have a 20 year old son w/ ADHD (Inattentive) and Asperger’s syndrome. Primal Does help, & it’s great that your daughter is experiencing the improvements firsthand. it is much easier & effective for kids to be raised primal than to try & change an established lifestyle/ foods that aren’t good for them. I wish I had known about Primal living much sooner, because my son is resistant to change, loves sugar, and dislikes physical activity. So, I do my best to teach him, I cook primally & hope that it will influence him more & more over time. I’m a big believer in the concept that it is never too late!

      I’m truly happy for your daughter’s progress, and you should be proud of yourself as the driving influence, Mom! Best wishes.

  31. I, too, was really inspired to read your story and it was rather timely too. I have been completely Primal since the end of May this year and have lost 20lbs so far which is very pleasing but the biggest revealation of all is the stabilising of my mood. Just recently I had got into the habit of eating one large fruit meal a day. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was leading me towards more carbs – mostly potatoes. Anyway, I fell off the Primal wagon big time yesterday and carbed out. I felt a little bloated and nauseous but otherwise OK. Today, however, I have been very highly strung, irritable, moody, feeling very low indeed and tearful. I feel terrible and can’t wait for tomorrow and the next day to come when I shall start to feel better again as I am shunning those carbs… Your story has come as a reminder of how well this lifestyle works and I wish you and your family every happiness and continuing excellent health!

  32. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story and making such thoughtful comments and answers to reader questions! Your family is just beautiful. I’m hoping it will inspire me to turn back from my own fall back to the dreaded CW. Congratulations on all that you have achieved!

  33. Thank you so much!!
    As I said before, your comments are just amazing and inspiring, so thank you thank you!

    Using kids as a workout tool or planning your workout around your kids is really essential I found. I obviously cannot do kettlebell swings with the kids around, but I can use my rings for some pull exercises, whilst my kids climb on top of me for some extra weight.

    I feel all of you will do just fine, you have realised that you fell off the wagon somehow and you also know that you would feel better being Primal. That is really essential, so just head back to some good old fatburning and you will feel great!

  34. I do love the Friday success stories, but this one in particular struck a chord as I live in Scotland too. Congratulations both; you look incredible.

    I agree with you and others who have commented here that our location does make Primal life a little more challenging – I’m just contemplating a walk, but the rain is really heavy today – and it can be hard to get your Vitamin D from the sun as it doesn’t make too many appearances. But we are lucky enough to have access to incredible meat and fish, so pluses and minuses.

  35. Yep there’s nothing more to Scottish food than deep-fried Mars bars and haggis. What a tiresome and clichéd point you are labouring.

    Forget that the vast majority of Beef produced in Scotland is grass fed and you can find locally produces grass-fed butter almost anywhere. Farmers markets, organic grocers and supermarkets for vegetables in every major city. Yeah I’m having a really hard time eating healthily in the frozen wasteland of Glasgow.

    You were just giving yourself an excuse to not live healthily.

    1. Shame that you had to go down this route. I never said that there was nothing more to it and it was obviously meant as a little anecdote. I love living in Scotland (your country I take it) and I have also found ways to enjoy the abundance of good food that is offered here. You are very right that Scotland does offer a lot of good high quality products and I feel very fortunate to be able to enjoy them.

      1. Great response, Tobi. I don’t understand people like Craig. As my kids say, “Haters gonna Hate”. Your story is wonderful, I Loved it!

  36. I am inspired by your story Tobi and Harriet as I have been reading the books and dabbling in Primal/LCHF for about a year now. I can see now that I have never really committed fully to it which accounts for the results I have ended up with but I am now going to commit (you heard it here first!) and stop making excuses.
    I live in Kent, so don’t generally have the very cold weather excuses I could come out with for getting outdoors although, in my defence, I was injured during the London Marathon and am only just able to run/walk again now. I know that’s no excuse as primal lifestyle doesn’t promote chronic cardio.
    Anyway, I shall stop procrastinating and take responsibility for my own health. Thank you again!

  37. What a wonderful story! You and your wife look great and that picture of you with the kids is too cute!

  38. Wow- Love seeing people getting fit and improving quality of life. Great photo of you & the kids, and your wife is lovely! Glad to hear Primal has helped your son’s eczema. If he still has symptoms, you might try Sappo Hill’s fragrance-free soap (they are round bars) for him- It has made a huge difference in our son’s eczema. Good luck, and congratulations! Hoping your in-laws are still enjoying the primal lifestyle as well!

  39. Thanks guys, your comments are very much appreciated!

    Also, thank you Taluca for the advice with the soap, we have found Weleda’s baby soap to be also very helpful, but I will try Sappo now as well!

  40. Your line, “the extra energy from our Primal lifestyle has led to a huge productivity boost. Having gone Primal has not simply shifted body fat for us, it has changed our enjoyment of life” captures exactly what I needed to hear today. I’ve been in that yo-yo state recently and I know that when I’m focused on being primal, I’m happier and more productive. It might be a little extra energy, but it really is worth it. Thank you so much for sharing. You have a beautiful family and I wish you nothing but the best!

  41. Great story-another Glaswegian here we really must start a community! Although I have gone much more perfect health these days as too low car was making me ill. Craig I am interested in your comments about most of the beef being grassfed – here in the west end I find it really hard to find grassfed beef when you closely question lots of the independent butchers they confess it is too cold to keep the cows out all the time- they are ‘finished off’ with cereals – so really interested in your sources . Also hardly a cliche to point out that our diet here is really poor life expectancy is 54 in some bits of glasgow- because we are the poorest city in Britain – so not always that easy for lots of people to make those good choices.

  42. Hey Tobi,
    What a great story and super inspiring. My wife and I read your story and we felt like kindred spirits. We both also started in Jan 2013 and we did lose some weight but then after some long trips fell back into a mix of primal and carb/sugar binges. Now we are almost exactly at the weight of you and your wife when you guys started your journey and we are getting back to it. Since we are wanting to do his as a couple and really get into shape this time. We are struggling to figure out the combination of grassfed meats, dairy, fruits and an exercise program that will work for us(my wife needs it to be fun) but not be chronic cardio. The most effective in a reasonable amount of time. Would you mind answer a few questions?

    How often a week do you guys exercise? What types of exercise days(Sprints vs Pilates vs.walks)How strict on Primal are you? Do you have any cheat days? What do think made the biggest difference?

    Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing your story, it really hit a chord with us and inspired us to push to the next level.


    1. Hi Colin,
      of course I don’t mind answering some questions. My wife usually exercises 3 times a week (4 max), which usually consists of some type of aerobic class, pilates or yoga. I try and do something every day, but I try to alternate the activities. During our first 6 months I focused on bodyweight exercises, sometimes aiming for a few hundred pull-ups or push-ups per day, sometimes just walking, and other days trying to do an intense 10-15 min circuit workout. I have now started Crossfit and I am aiming to do that twice a week (but I guess the day after a heavy WOD would be a complete rest day). Now, if I really did not feel like doing anything, I wouldn’t. But sometimes it is nice to push yourself a bit…
      We do not have cheat days, but definitely cheat meals. Once a week we might have sth like a tub of Green & Blacks chocolate ice cream (very hard to resist when it waits for you in the shelve). But generally, our meals are always Primal with only the very rare slice of Pizza when we are out.
      The biggest difference… for me having failed previously so often, the biggest difference was doing it together. The second most important part was immersing ourself into the Primal/Paleo world. We regularly listen to the fatburningman podcast, share news and talk to people what we love about being Primal (we also own some of Mark’s shirts, which is a daily reminder!)
      Does that help? If you have any more questions also down the road, please just contact me again (here or on Twitter @primonomist)

      1. Thanks Tobi those are super helpful! I will keep in touch and give you are updates, thanks again for your story and the answers. They helped alot.


  43. To the other comments:
    thanks for your kind words, it is really appreciated and we feel very grateful for your support! Thanks

  44. Toby and Harriet, Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful, inspiring story! How great that your Primal lifestyle is established at an age where your children will benefit, and Primal will simply be the norm for them. I needed something uplifting today, and you guys are it. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for your comments! It is wonderful to get such positive and supportive feedback. Your comment made my day in return!

  45. Well done Tobi and Harriet.

    You are going against the grain (excuse the dodgy cliche!) pursuing such a diet in Scotland. My experience in sourcing beef is as Colin mentioned. Plus I have seen the sheep given what I thought was extra feed pellets out on the hills. Any farmers please tell me if I misunderstood!

    Craig’s post upthread was over-sensitive as our national diet is appalling and needs to be addressed. The cliches have currency for a reason. The effect of environment and peer pressure on adults as well as children is immense. I live in urban Central Belt and “junk” food is seen as normal food nowadays. (If we could go back to Scotch Broth and haggis we’d doing better.)

  46. Hi Toby ~

    I just read your wonderful, inspiring story and thank you so much for sharing it with us. I love your trial & error approach to finding what truly works for you and your wife and then just doing it. The pictures you posted show the results. Wow! Your kids will greatly benefit from growing up Primal from the get-go.

    Have you considered sending your story to a few parents’ magazines? I think they could benefit from your discovery of the PB lifestyle, especially the effect that cutting out carbs & sugar has had on your kids’ health/dispositions. Just an idea.

    I used to ride piggy-back on my Daddy’s shoulders too. That picture of you caring your kids brought back fond memories and made me smile. They look like they’re having fun too!

    All my best to you and your entire family (Mom & Dad too) for continued PB success.

    Grok On!

    1. Dear Darlene,

      thank you for your comments, it was a nice surprise to see someone reading our story again.

      We have not thought about sending it to a parent magazine, but I guess that would be a great idea and I would know of a couple that might be interested!

      Thanks again,