Sweet 60: I’m More Fit Than Ever!

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!

I read The Primal Blueprint a little over a year ago and was inspired to try it. For decades I’ve been health conscious but have had little success avoiding the yo-yo cycle of weight gain/weight loss. The worst mistake I made was succumbing to the low fat craze in the 80s. I was a marketer’s dream!

I became aware of the perils of “white poison” (sugar, bread, etc.) about 10 years ago. As a nurse anesthetist, I was seeing an alarming number of children coming to surgery either overweight or obese with some of the maladies that come with it. Most notable were high blood pressure, high lipids, and depression. They were already taking a host of medications to
treat them as young as age 10!

It inspired me to write and publish a booklet called “Carbavoid….The Fuel for the Future,” but I was still delusional about grains and touted whole grains as a part of a healthy diet. Until I read The Primal Blueprint I was completely unaware of how unhealthy my diet was. I was amazed as I read it and became obsessed with learning all I could.

Cindy_BeforeI was surprised at all the information out there and yet surprised that there was so little knowledge about it in the general public. I readily consumed whole grains, dairy, soy, peanuts and legumes proudly, thinking I was promoting a healthy lifestyle. I also suffered daily bloating and abdominal discomfort, daily mid afternoon lethargy, and arthritis (that I blamed on genetics). 

When I decided to go Primal I spent a few days preparing, and I suggest this for anyone else. I cleansed my pantry of all the things mentioned above. A list can also be found in any Paleo related source. Then I carefully shopped around to stock my pantry and fridge with organic vegetables, uncured meats, cage free chicken and eggs….lots of eggs, ghee, macadamia nuts, berries, and olive, coconut and avocado oils.

The 1st week was very difficult and I kept a daily journal to document my progress. I’m so glad I did because I recently read it from the beginning and was so proud of myself for persevering. I suffered from brain fog and fatigue until day 5 when it gradually began to clear up. Then I experienced near euphoria as my mental clarity improved and energy level skyrocketed!

By the end of the month I noticed a decrease in knee pain from my arthritis and even canceled an injection I was due for. After the 1st month I knew I was hooked. I didn’t want to introduce anything that I avoided to start with, but I did eat a little more fruit. I began running and biking the low level way described in the book. I actually enjoyed working out because there was no pain involved.

I also went to the gym for 30-45 minute workouts for my muscle growth. Weight that had hung on my midsection for decades began to melt away. As my upper body became more lean I could appreciate the muscle growth I was obtaining.

As each month passed I would see another 2-3 pounds of fat melted away. It was comfortably slow because I was never hungry. After about 10 months I realized I was at a stabilizing weight and added more nuts and paleo protein friendly bars and shakes to my diet.

Cindy_AfterIt’s been 13 months now, and I am at a weight I haven’t seen since my early 20s! I am happy with my muscle definition, and strangers have complimented me out of the blue in public. I am more fit at age 60 than I’ve ever been in my life! I have motivated many coworkers and am happy to be a consultant for them when they are inquisitive about this lifestyle.

I will never go back to the lifestyle I lived for the first 58 years of my life. I choose not to have many “cheat” days, though I confess on Christmas I ate one of my mom’s yeast rolls AND a piece of her pecan pie with no harm done.

I encourage anyone but especially those who are already diagnosed with pre- or type II diabetes to give this lifestyle a chance. I guarantee that you will alter the course of your future for the better.

Good luck and hang in there!!

Cindy Howlett


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98 thoughts on “Sweet 60: I’m More Fit Than Ever!”

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  1. Continued reinforcement of the primal advantage and you look great Cindy!

  2. Good job, Cindy. These Friday success stories are always so uplifting.


    Please tell me you live in the Indianapolis area. ?

  4. Great job! You look outstanding. Thank you for the inspiration.

  5. This is so wonderful! I turned 61 this past year and this is such an inspiration. I’m not unhealthy and much healthier than many women my age, but I have scoliosis and have had surgery for it, but have a curve in my lower back also. It’s the source of a lot of pain, and I have osteoarthritis as well. That makes exercise so difficult and painful sometimes. I just ordered the 21-Day Transformation book and I’m so excited about trying it. Nothing else has worked, but Mark’s plan makes so much sense. Congratulations, I know it was a lot of work but you look amazing!

    1. I might add, I’ve gained almost 20 pounds in the past 18 months from overeating from stress and dealing with the pain but I’m going to learn to be strong!

  6. Cindy, You rock and are an inspiration to all of us in our 50s, 60s and beyond. Well done!

  7. Yay, a woman success story, and near my age (I just turned 63).

    Looks good and it’s very encouraging for all of us women!!!

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. And most importantly, a post-menopausal success story. I’m 46 and I hate the idea of having a “deadline” to get thin or else be stuck forever.

  8. Good to hear from a lady in her 60’s. I’m 69 and plan every year, to be in better shape then the year before. You look great but the best news is how your health has improved. These posts always encourage me to keep up this lifestyle. Keep up the good work.

  9. Awesome Cindy! My husband Dee Bowe and I have been following a paleo/primal diet for over 5 years now. Dee had always watched what he ate and exercised regularly, but didn’t realize that we still weren’t eating right until we learned the primal way.

  10. you look so fabulous and it’s evident you feel fabulous as well – proof that us ladies can still be healthy hotties at age 50 and above!! 🙂

  11. Nice. Getting rid of the pain and discomfort in the body first, with Primal principles, and that follows with WANTING to work out. Natural continuence.

  12. I’m 59 so am excited to see a success story from a similar age and stage. A real inspiration!

  13. Very admirable! Big kudos for making a change that you felt was necessary and important in your life! Feeling better is the first and foremost goal of any lifestyle, regardless of which type of eating your espouse. I personally am reluctant to go paleo/keto as I am thin already on a normal 60/40 (protein/carb) type diet and I could not afford to lose more weight or I would look probably gaunt and drawn (I’m 51) . I think maintaining some appreciable level of ‘normal range’ body fat is actually healthy as you age. I am fit, exercise regularly but do not eat paleo, but do eat clean. I may give it a try and see how it goes and if the weight really begins peeling off, I will back away. Very low weight is not always a good thing.

    1. Hi Sue,

      I’ve been paleo/primal for years now after being vegetarian/vegan for over 30 years. I did not lose weight going primal. Like you, I’m naturally pretty thin. But eating primal I have more energy, better muscle definition and better focus. If anything, I put on a few pounds of muscle. So I would encourage you to give it a try.

      1. Hi Elizabeth (well done Cindy), like you I have not lost any weight on Primal. I have been living 80/20 for approx 2 years now and have lost only a couple of kilograms. If I fast for 16-18 hrs I lose half a kilo only to put it on again the next couple of days I am 73 walk 4-5 days a week, swim another day and maintain a big garden. So here I am still 15 kg overweight.it is all very dispiriting.
        I guess all I can say is that I feel good eating the primal way .

        1. Maybe 80/20 is not quite enough. Cindy did not even add nuts until weight stabilized. I too have a hard time both going beyind 80/20 and losing weight. Im thinking there is a relationship betwen that.

  14. Great job Cindy! Inspiring, as I am turning 60 this year. Love the arm muscle definition in the last photo. I hope to be more disciplined in 2018 …. 🙂

  15. This is awesome! Curious, did you just ‘eat paleo’ or did you also purposefully restrict/count calories and track macros at all? Your added leanness is incredible!

    1. ‘increased’ leanness is more what I was trying to say 🙂

    2. Thank you! I didn’t count calories at all. I kept carbs less than 50 gms a day for the 1st month and now maintain them around 50-100 depending on whether I run or ride that day. I try to eat at least 100 grams of protein a day to grow and maintain my muscle mass. I didn’t and still don’t track fat but only consume the ones listed in Primal Blueprint

      1. It would be so helpful if you could share a typical day’s meal plan. Say, for a weight-training day. Thanks! And great job! You prove it CAN be done!

        1. i would love to know this too…you are blowing my mind you look amazing!! thanks for sharing!!

        2. Happy to. This is what works for me….
          I start the day drinking a protein shake with 30 grams of protein.
          I often have 2-3 deviled eggs for a snack (made with Primal Kitchen’s avocado mayo, organic Dijon mustard and sugar free pickles) I’ll also add blueberries, blackberries, and/or strawberries.
          Lunch is often organic chopped salad with eggs and uncured meats, chicken, or shrimp added. I like Primal Kitchen’s honey mustard dressing. I’ll also add a few pumpkin seeds.
          An afternoon snack is often a Paleo bar and an orange.
          During the week after work is when I go to the gym for weight training, and I run 4-6 miles on Saturday and Sunday.
          I rarely eat a big dinner as you can see I front load during the day. The weekends are the exception, when I eat less during the day and have a bigger dinner. I love grass fed beef, fish, scallops, pork, etc….
          during the week, I’ll add another protein bar (I love them and they seem a treat to me) and/or a few nuts.
          This is a general synopsis of my diet but it varies day to day.
          Paleo living is more of a template and it’s not cut in stone. However, the 1st 30 days I encourage all to follow the guidelines in the book.
          Good luck to all!!

          1. Thank you so much!!!! I have sent this to alot of my friends you are giving us hope lol seriously you are a huge inspiration 🙂

          2. You are amazing, Cindy!
            I am just preparing to begin my keto journey. I am 55 and was heavily into crossfit for about 4 years until a back injury sidelined me for a good year and a half, in 2013. Since then, I have lost all of my hard earned muscle. I was wondering how many days you lift weights? According to the keto reset book, less is more. That is a hard concept for me to wrap my head around, given all of the previous workout guidance from the past.
            Thank you for the inspiration!

  16. These are those great stories where folks can help but look at you and say well if she can do I can do it. Very inspiring!!!

  17. It’s great that you look and feel so awesome, Cindy. You are a welcome inspiration to many of us in your age-bracket who want to go a little bit farther on our health journeys.

  18. Amazing , congratulations, this is one of the best success stories

  19. You look awesome. I started the primal lifestyle 1 week ago after listening to the audio book. I hope that I will be a success story like you. Way to go!

  20. Wonderful to read a success story from a woman in her 60’s! I am 65 and would to read more about the lifestyles of the “old” and healthy.

    1. Kara, that’s my aspiration! I want everyone to know that we are never too old to get fit. Thank you!

  21. Great success story ! – you have also effectively removed any excuse people use that they are “too old” to get in shape – its about finding a way and working with the circumstances you have – I think the key to success 80% diet, 20% exercise, and 100% determination.

  22. Cindy, as another 60 year old woman who’s just started on this adventure, you are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story and your before and after photos. You look incredibly fit!

  23. You look awesome Cindy! You are seriously an inspiration! I hope I look as good as you when I’m 60. (I’m 56 now and have been very sick, so I’m hoping to get back to my workouts soon)

  24. Hi Cindy,, Well you gave me motivation. I just turned 60 and I am working on losing weight and getting in better shape. It’s tough after the big “M”. You look great and I know I can do it. Still, have 35 pounds to go but I’m on my way.

  25. Thank you for your story and for the pics. Fantastic job, Cindy!!

  26. You are my new role model! I love your story and you look AWESOME!! I have no doubt 20 years from now, you will still be healthy, fit and beautiful.

  27. Thanks for your great story. So very motivating on my journey to a healthier, fit body. Started 3 yrs. ago on Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution gluten free diet. For last 9 months have been on Keto diet. Close to my desired weight but want the muscles and am working towards that goal. So, thanks again for the pictures which are very motivational. I just celebrated my 70th birthday and feel healthier than I did at 50.

    1. That’s great, Sharon! Good luck with your muscles. If you feed them, they will grow 🙂
      Thank you!

  28. What an inspiration you are! Thank you for encouraging us! I read your description of what you eat and was wondering about the protein. It seems like you eat a lot more protein than the recommended amount. Could you tell us why? Thanks so much!

    1. You’re right! That’s the main addition to my regime that is different from the paleo template.
      I do that because I think it’s extremely important for people my age, especially women, to grow muscles. It will make our bones stronger. It will make us live longer and feel better doing it!
      The only way to grow muscle is to eat protein. Eating fats or carbohydrates will not do it.
      I’m inspired to write a blog that I’m calling gogopaleo and I’ll post it on Mark’s Facebook page when I do it. I’ll be writing about this.
      Thanks for the question!

  29. If only I could look like that at my age of 64… but alas…. to heavy for to long. Highest was 244…. 218 at present…. would love to be 160 but I am sure I will look like a sharpe (wrinkled doggy) at that point….. Although having my health would be worth it.

    1. You are way too hard on yourself! You’re absolutely right…..your health would be worth it.
      So what if your skin is loose? You will feel more comfortable in that skin than the skin you’re living in now! You can change your whole future. Just start it! That’s the hard part.. come on Vicki. Gogopaleo?

  30. When I pick my jaw up I may be able to say more. Job very well done!

      1. Wow, Cindy, you look terrific. I’ll be sixty in May, so this was beyond inspirational. I like the tip about the extra protein.