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!
Thanks to MDA, my husband Jesse and I are reformed from our carboholic ways. To give you an idea of the magnitude of our addiction to carbs, this is what would happen during our normal weekly grocery shopping trip: We would hit the bakery section first. They had those huge fluffy loaves of French bread. Warm. We would get two. We would tear off chunks of the bread and eat a whole loaf as we walked through the grocery store. The other one, we would turn into garlic bread to go with our spaghetti for dinner that night. And that was after having a whole grain English muffin or oatmeal for breakfast (because at least the whole grains and oats were good for you, right??)
Other than our diet, we were pretty healthy. I lifted weights 7 days a week; for Jesse, 2-4 days a week of weight lifting and cardio. Living in Hawaii, Play was super easy – we would climb a mountain or go spearfishing on the weekends. (Side note: catching your own dinner is extremely satisfying!) We got plenty of sleep. But I was still never able to get below a size 9, no matter how much I worked out. Jesse had a 38 inch waist. It never dawned on us that maybe we should change what we were eating!
Jesse came across your website in July 2011, and suggested that we give the diet a try. I told him he was crazy – grains were half of my diet and there was no way I could give them up! He was smart enough to show me a picture of Carrie Sisson, and I realized that she looked way better than me. Working out 7 days a week I wasn’t even coming close to looking as good as her, so I was willing to give it a try. Jesse quit grains and sugar cold turkey, I limited myself to one processed food item a day for the next 3 weeks. He got the low carb flu, I did not.
We were amazed at the results! We were sleeping better at night and had much more energy during the day. My face cleared up. My one irritable day a month disappeared, and took my cramps with it. My rosacea vanished. Doctors had put me on six different prescriptions for it, and nothing had ever helped. With rosacea, you can’t even take a hot shower or get too hot when you are working out without your face turning bright red and staying that way for an hour. I’m happy to say I can now take a hot shower and workout as intense as I would like without any adverse effects to my face. These aren’t just minor improvements, we are talking about a drastic increase in quality of life!
Three weeks after we started the diet, Jesse’s term was up with the Navy and we moved to South Carolina. Starting with an empty pantry, it was easy to Primalize it. By October, we looked great! Jesse had dropped four inches to a 34-inch waist, and I was down from a size 9 to a size 5. We have worked very hard to make sure that we are eating quality foods and sticking with the Primal guidelines. We had no problem buying healthy foods, our only weakness was eating with others. It took many months, but we can now finally turn people down when we are at their homes and they push a platter of brownies towards us.
In the past few months, our weight started to creep back up. It wasn’t until I read your posts about the 21-Day Challenge that I realized why – we were doing great with the diet, but we were neglecting many of the other aspects of being Primal! We didn’t find it as easy to Play here – it is flat and the water is cloudy, so our favorite activities are out and we hadn’t really tried to find anything to replace those activities. Working out had definitely slid to the back burner without us realizing it.
It would be super easy to make excuses. I get up at 4:30 am and don’t return home until 6 pm (and not until after 10 pm on Mondays and Thursdays). It doesn’t leave much time for working out and getting enough sleep. But, instead of making excuses I decided to figure out how I could incorporate working out into my day. Now I do squats and calf raises as I brush my teeth in the morning and evening. I get into what Tony Horton calls horse stance (legs out to the sides, knees bent, thighs almost parallel to the ground), up on my toes, while I do my face and hair. I do a set of pushups off the side of the bathtub before I get in the shower. Our home is long and has a straight shot from the office, through the living room and dining room, into the kitchen. Now I run as fast as I can when passing through these areas. These mini sprints get my heart rate up. When taking a break at work, I walk around the outside of the building and jog up the stairs. I put my dumbbells on the living room floor to remind myself to stop and lift them throughout the time I am at home. I’ve started taking quick naps some days after work and longer naps on the weekends.
For Play, we go stand up paddle skateboarding. (Kind of like SUP, just on land. It’s a great upper body workout!) Jesse uses Ultimate Frisbee as well for his Play. He has made a renewed commitment to working out 3 days a week when he gets home from work, and I have committed to at least one real work out session on the weekend. Jesse even created some pieces of equipment for us to work out with at home: a balance board to make squats and dumbbell work harder. A 5 gallon jug filled with water, with a straight bar through the handle, to use for curls and rows. A PVC pipe filled with sand, with old rotors on the end, to use as a barbell. Three different size tires to lift and throw. A sturdy wood box for jump training. An incline made out of wood (functions like an incline bench, just with your behind on the ground). And 30-40 pound rocks to do curls with and to throw.
We are definitely excited that you have once again helped to spark a commitment in us to be healthier, and to realize what we were lacking. While we know we won’t be ripped in just 21 days, we can’t wait to see the long term results! In less than 2 weeks I’m already down 3 pounds of fat and Jesse’s clothes are fitting him much better now. Thank you for everything that you do to inspire all of us!