You Want to Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer

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!

“You want to eat like a hunter-gatherer.” These eight words marked the beginning of a new life for me.  These eight words set into motion a change that would ultimately not only result in me achieving optimum health and fitness, they would greatly improve my relationships and day-to-day family life. I feel compelled to detail this journey in an effort to help others who, like me, were trapped by conventional wisdom into thinking they were making the right decisions for their health. This is for those of us who were convinced by advertising and marketing that we needed more of that essential “whole grain goodness”. Food has become an ongoing story in our house. Here is mine.

When I was in my early adult years and engaged to be married, I struggled with a chronic sinusitis condition that resulted in frequent use of antibiotics. So much so that I ultimately needed sinus surgery, and was concerned about my ability to go on my honeymoon without needing or having access to an antibiotic. I saw a specialist in addition to my family physician, and was taking two different allergy medications, year round, and ultimately advancing to the need for an inhaler and a daily antacid. One of the allergy medicines caused a dry-eye condition resulting in the addition of re-wetting drops to the menu of pharmaceuticals I was not able to live without. I was also battling facial acne. I was tied to my medications and weighed down by these chronic ailments.

At one point I had my blood tested by my family physician for allergies. The test results identified an allergy to white ash trees (where are they?) and a “slight” allergy to wheat and peanuts. Wheat and peanuts? Don’t people with this allergy have serious anaphylactic reactions to consuming them? I certainly had never experienced that. My family physician advised me that consuming those foods was probably contributing to my sinusitis and that it wasn’t necessarily something I would sense an immediate reaction to. Ok, so in other words, no big deal to continue eating them if they are not causing me any real trouble. Or were they?

In addition to these conditions, I also believed I was suffering from hypoglycemia, commonly referred to as “low blood sugar”. My mom and sister both seemed to experience similar symptoms and the idea that this was a hereditary condition made sense. For myself, I began to notice I could not go more than a few hours without food, or I would run the risk of feeling shaky and light headed, and not be able to think clearly. This feeling would be remedied by gaining access to any readily available food item – often these consisted of candy options in the checkout line at the grocery store. M&M’s and the like became the saving grace.

In talking to my family physician about the instability of my blood sugar, his recommendation was to eat small, frequent meals, and to eat more protein. Well, ok, but what does eating “more protein” look like? I could never make practical sense of the recommendation. What was interesting about the blood sugar problem for me was that I never tested positive for the condition during glucose tolerance testing. How could this be? Surely I was experiencing all the symptoms, according to the internet. Both my mom and sister had the same symptoms as well.

In the final weeks of my second pregnancy, my blood sugar tested high and the recommendation from my obstetrician was to avoid carbohydrates. Hmmm.  Ok, I am game and willing, motivated by my baby’s health to make any changes necessary. I go to the grocery store with open eyes, reading labels and trying to make the best decisions.  Should I still have Cheerios for breakfast? Plain rather than HoneyNut? I only found this more confusing and frustrating. I didn’t find a single commercially available item that didn’t have carbohydrates on the label.

I gained a total of 50 pounds with my second pregnancy. Admittedly, some of that is attributable to the idea that I was pregnant and that was my excuse to eat whatever I wanted. But some of it was also the paranoia I developed around drops in blood sugar.  I learned to eat frequently to avoid those symptoms, but I was consumed by this problematic routine as well.  It became difficult to get through a day without worrying about my blood sugar and I was fearful of becoming diabetic.

My husband and I went about our business being good parents however, I was not happy with myself both physically and emotionally, and had unsuccessfully attempted a few traditional weight loss methods.  I had a number of friends who had seemed to do well on Weight Watchers and so I decided to join online. The low-fat emphasis didn’t seem to work well with my blood sugar instability and I found myself consumed by the counting of points and food journaling that was suggested by the program. I became frustrated by dead ends with no results. I remained confident, however, I could not be the only person with this weight/blood sugar problem. I am a professional, a smart and educated person. I am determined I can figure this out, but why should this be so difficult?

I was about to consider Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem when the Discovery Health channel was airing their show the National Body Challenge – which I interpreted as their version of The Biggest Loser.  The show had a website that offered exercise and dieting information after creating a free account. They also offered a free 7-day pass to a local gym. Interesting. I belonged to the gym many years ago and had let my membership expire. Could I start going to a gym again? I wondered if I would know what to do once in the gym to effect meaningful change. I could see others on their obligatory treadmills not loosing an inch and even gaining at times. I wondered if I would I be able to make the time for a gym between work and family and certainly knew I didn’t have time to waste on treadmills and the like.

All it took was one click on the weblink on the National Body Challenge website and a representative from the gym was calling my house to schedule an appointment to visit. Once in the gym, a representative met with me to convince my why joining the gym that day, and forgoing the 7-day pass, was a better deal and reviewed the options available to me through the National Body Challenge special. While I recognize these attempts as the sales tactics they were, the representative said something to me that really connected. She asked about my outside commitments with caring for family, etc., and asked who would take care of them if I were unable to myself? If my health failed, who would care for my family? Her question made me realize that I needed to take the time to do this. I needed to get into the gym in a meaningful way and not feel guilty for taking time from my family to do it.

But part of my National Body Challenge benefits was a single session with a personal trainer. “You want to eat like a hunter-gatherer”, he said when I asked if he could prescribe a diet that worked well for “low blood sugar”. Like a what? Gordon was, by luck, the trainer assigned to me for an initial work out session. He took me through a challenging work out that was largely based on lifting weights. He said he could help me achieve my goal if I wanted to come back and work with him, which meant purchasing sessions through the gym. I had seen the light! I knew that this was the answer and that this could not fail.

I started dieting and training in January of 2008 after graduating from graduate school with a PhD in educational psychology. I weighed 180 lbs. and my BMI was 37%. Gordon gave me a written schedule of what foods to eat and how often to eat them. He had started me on a low-carbohydrate diet consisting of lean meats, sprouted grains, brown rice, nuts and nut butters. It was a drastic change from the processed foods I had become used to consuming. After all, I had studied behavioral psychology and was board certified in my specialization. If I couldn’t change my own behavior, how effective was I going to be at helping others change theirs? This had implications for my confidence in my profession as well.

I did this on my own. I didn’t know anyone else following this diet, or any low-carbohydrate diet for that matter at the time (I had friends that had also tried South Beach off and on for a while with similar short-term results to Weight Watchers). It was an initial adjustment but once getting a feel for the diet and food prep, following it became routine. During this time, my allergy symptoms seemed to improve and I decided to try not taking the medications. Following that, I also discontinued the antacid I had been taking for 10 years. While this was promising, after losing 35 pounds I seemed to plateau and had stopped losing.

Naturally I went to Gordon with my plateau problem. He then suggested a protein/fat diet and provided a similar “to do” list with food prep and eating. This diet eliminated the grains completely and focused on lean meats and healthy fats. I was motivated to achieve optimum health and dutifully followed the diet for 6 weeks. After going through additional symptoms of the “low carb flu”, where your body attempts to convince you it needs carbohydrates from sugar and grains but is really an addiction withdrawal, I did then achieve my weight loss goal (and ultimately 17% BMI!).

By now I had a new addiction, my new-found strength from lifting weights and the intensity of my training sessions with Gordon, and at the end of the 6 weeks was faced with what to do with my diet. Go back to the low-carb version? Re-introduce the grains? Seemed reasonable at the time. Renew the sessions and continue training? I was in love with the results I had achieved (a side benefit was winning a “biggest loser” contest we had a work) but I wasn’t sure I could replicate the intensity on my own. I was willing to give up a house cleaning service in exchange for renewed training sessions. I was also continuing to do great medication free.

The following year we started receiving Men’s Journal magazine (a magazine dedicated to men’s health and fitness), which I suspected was the result of an unsolicited promotion. I was flipping through the magazine when I came across an advertisement for something claiming to be a “diet for athletes”. I could possibly be considered an athlete at this point, couldn’t I? Certainly based on the intensity of my training sessions it was worth a look.

The diet was Loren Cordain’s Paleo Diet for Athletes. The article was brief, but intrigued, I quickly did a Google search to learn more. The information on the website outlined the philosophy of eating foods humans were genetically determined to eat, which meant the elimination of grains. Holy cow! I was practically here – already doing this to a large extent.

I continued reading as much as possible, first finding the site Mark’s Daily Apple and purchasing Mark’s book (The Primal Blueprint) and cookbook. I found his site and books to be easy to read and follow, and the cookbook a necessity for knowing which foods to eat and for recipe ideas. At this time, my husband Scott (who was in the vitamin business before becoming an elementary school teacher and who had read Life Extension) became dissatisfied with his own physical health and decided to also join the gym. Yeah! In the beginning he attempted to go “low-carb” but was still eating granola, oats, sugar-laden yogurt, and a few other processed foods. As a result, he wasn’t losing the weight he had hoped. My only feedback to him was, “You are still eating grains and dairy”. It was at that point that he got on board and committed to a grain-less and limited dairy existence. He is down 25 lbs. and has developed an amazing physique at age 48 (could he be looking better than I do?). On the same page, we can now focus on encouraging our children to limit their grains and sugar and make healthier food choices.

I remain working with Gordon (now in private business!), and read the daily Primal and paleo blogs to continue learning as much as I can about food and other potential environmental contributors to health problems. I have watched family and friends die from cancer. I know people with diabetes and heart disease. I look around in public and see most people carrying too much weight around their mid section. As a society, we aren’t informed about the foods we eat. We don’t understand about the role of fats in human health, the right fats to consume, the inflammatory effects of processed grains, etc. We eat blindly, wanting momentary pleasures, without concern for what our bodies biologically want or need.

Many of my friends think I deprive myself because I don’t eat sweets or because I eat healthy all the time. It is hard to imagine all the wonderful food I have “found” since waking up to what nature has to offer. Healthy fats, spices, vegetables, grass-fed and organic meats, and wild seafood are incredibly satisfying. I no longer have allergies, acid reflux, or low blood sugar. I’ve learned to cook real food (rarely eat out) and willingly and routinely answer questions via text, email, and Facebook from friends and family who are trying to make healthier choices. If I can impact one decision, it is worth the effort. I don’t miss any parts of the old diet or lifestyle and certainly have no regrets, only thankfulness for the resources, opportunity, and knowledge bestowed upon me.

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147 thoughts on “You Want to Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer”

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  1. Great job! Now you can help others achieve great health and vitality. Good to see you took action before it was too late…keep up the good work!

  2. Great testimony! And one of the most dramatic before & afters I’ve seen.

  3. Congratulations to both you and your husband – you look great!

  4. Wow those results are mind blowing (: keep up the great work and I’m so proud that you’re spreading the word!

  5. Great story and transformation. You were very lucky to randomly find a trainer who was on board with this stuff and didn’t continue to push the whole-grains.

    Just for clarification – body fat is measured in percent. BMI is just a number that’s calculated based on height and weight. There is no such thing as %BMI.

    1. yeah that kind of confused me too.

      I believe you went from a BODY FAT percentage of 37% to 17%

      but I do not believe that you went from a BMI of 37 to 17… or else you would look like a skeleton in your after picture.

  6. Congratulations on changing your life! Your post really resonated with me b/c I too suffer from on and off chronic sinusitis. It came to a head a few months ago when I was hit with a debilitating bout of vertigo and was completely bed ridden. The dr noted that chronic congestion due to “allergies” led to “Eustachian tube dysfunction” which affected my inner ear and caused the extreme dizziness. I asked him why he thought I had allergies in the midst of the northeast winter and he noted it was probably “indoor allergies”. This despite the fact that my house has no carpeting (all hard wood) and pretty dust free.

    I got back into strict Primal which I was following loosely at the time. It’s truly striking how quickly I noticed a difference and things cleared up. Until PMS hit and I indulged my sweet tooth and BAM! Back to horrendous bouts of dizziness. Reading your story has reinforced my determination not to falter in this way again. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    1. I’m so glad to hear your story about this. I suffered with the same thing for years and couldn’t figure it out. Went Primal 3 weeks and ago and the symptoms haven’t been entirely eliminated yet, but are much improved! Thanks for sharing!

      1. Great! Just an FYI that I also made an effort to cut down on dairy. It’s hard b/c I love cheese and I did sneak some here and there but I was still consuming significant less dairy that I had done previously. But I’ve heard that cutting back on dairy can help with sinus issues so that might be a factor too. Good luck!

      2. Way to go, keep up the good work! Stick with it, you won’t regret it.

        1. I’m loving the primal way of eating. I’m about 85% to 90% primal, much more energy. I eat yogurt twice a week and drink almond milk. If everyone would at least try for 85% then some days try for 100%. Sometimes I dip pita bread in soup or spread hummus on it.

    2. That is remarkable. I too have hardwood floors. Nothing helped until I started the diet.

  7. If I didn’t know better I’d say those were pictures of two different people.

  8. You make me cry everytime I read one of your success stories. The pictures are an amazing testimony that every time that this really does work. I feel like I want to jump up and down and scream it from the rooftops! “you don’t have to “look” or “feel” this way people!!”. Mark Sisson I have seen it written before, I do believe you are saving my husbands life and mine, Indeed!(another story for another time). Paleo since January 1, 2012.

  9. Ok, two things: wow…you really look great! Well done. When I see your before picture, I see a person who I see everyday…the kind of person who you would bet your house that they will live and die fat and unhealthy. But you found “it” the knowledge (yes, of course) but, more importantly,the will to apply that knowledge.
    Second, as a middle ager who’s gone back to school for my teaching licensure: educational psychology??really? ON PURPOSE?? Hee hee, not my favorite course so far, but to each his own 🙂
    I wish you continued success!

    1. Ha ha! Thanks – I’m a behavior analyst by training if that helps. 🙂

      1. Hi Kelly – Loved your story very inspiring. I’ll be 43 in the fall and although I’ve lost 20lbs am still another 30lbs away from goal. Would you mind if I emailed you to ask you questions offline?


      2. Really interesting story. Well done. I came to Primal through Doug McGuff’s HIT Body by Science. Being changing my diet to eat more primal for about 6 weeks and I’ve now got down to the lowest fat levels I’ve had for many years – without all the pain of hunger and not spending my usual many hours a week doing chronic cardio- just 12 minutes a week of HIT weights and lots of walking. Quite amazing. I’m also a fellow behaviour analyst -BCBA from the UK. Maybe we’ll bump into each other in ABAI Seattle? Too true about the point about changing your own behaviour first!

    2. FYI, there are people out there who never got fat but who wind up on cholesterol and BP meds and who wake up one day to the unpleasant surprise that they have gone type 2 diabetic. I’m suspicious that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg on this; people who think they’re healthy will not go to the doctor as often, a phenomenon we see most often in the 20yo set; and people who are thin automatically think they are healthy.

      I don’t buy into the “fat acceptance” notion that a person can be absolutely healthy at any size. Serious overweight never happens without an underlying physiological reason, and it could be something as obscure as a benign tumor in one’s hypothalamus gland! But I also do not buy that only fat people deserve to be called unhealthy. There are skinny people out there gorging themselves on PB&Js and Mountain Dew day after day, suffering from high blood pressure and mental illness but they think they’re healthy because they ride their bike everywhere and they only inherited the other stuff. And if that sounds oddly specific it’s because I’ve known a specific person in that situation. I myself was a skinny pasta and soda addict with migraines and weird mental health issues. No one ever said anything to me about cleaning up my diet because there was nothing wrong with my weight. I’m actually grateful I wound up fat before I wound up diabetic–I consider it a warning. My mom was diagnosed with type 2 at age forty and so far, at 38, I’ve got a fairly clean bill of health.

      1. You know who comes to mind? America’s Oldest Teenager, Dick Clark. He appeared to be ageless. He was always slim, trim, and had smooth skin. Yet, at some point in his life he became Type II diabetic – he shared the news on TV in 2004 when he was 75. Then, he had a stroke later that year.

      2. Dana…that is so true. The example is me. High cholestrol, perfect BMI, but type 2 diabetes. Anyway I have reversed it…or rather in total control 🙂 Just by diet and exercise, and all that veggies, good carb, good fat, and just whole foods. Did it in 4 weeks, went from 220 BG levels to 87 fasting. Never felt any better than this.

  10. Sneaky, sneaky, Gordon; he didn’t immediately scare you off with a “No grains!” commandment. Some folks are ready for that step immediately, but many aren’t. You got lucky.

  11. It’s amazing how many stories involve people getting off an overload of different medications. I’m so happy to now be primal and “medicating” myself on meat, fat, and veggies! Good job on your transformation and good luck bringing your kids along on the journey.

  12. Like most of us, you lucked out on finding this lifestyle and there is no turning back. You look wonderfully healthy and thriving.

  13. I have known Kelly for probably 10 years now and I have watched her through this amazing transformation! I would always ask her questions, but didn’t think I would ever be able to give up grains or sugar. Finally, almost 8 months ago I decided to give it a try. I lost 20 pounds rather quickly and will never look back. Kel – Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful knowledge with me. Keep working hard! You look absolutely amazing and you are just glowing every time I see you. You are an inspiration! I am so excited your story was selected for a Friday Success Story!!!

    1. Just to let everyone know how Kelly is paying it forward…I’m Erin’s husband and I’ve been primal for 6 months. I’m down 25+ lbs to , and after 10 years of my doc badgering me to go on cholestorol meds for high LDL and low HDL he looked at my latest labs and told me “Wow, you don’t need meds, keep doing what you’re doing!”. Thanks Kel… It’s great that you are an inspiration to all those around you and now to many more through MDA! I know our family is trying to follow your example and be an inspiration to others.

      1. that makes this SS even better. way to go to both of you too!

    2. Thanks for suggesting I submit the story to MDA Erin. Keep up the good work!

    3. Thanks for suggesting I submit my story to MDA Erin. Keep up the good work!

  14. Wow! You look 10 years younger in the “after” photo! Great job!

  15. Wow, bravo! An inspiration to try paleo 100% myself! 🙂 Keep on doing so well! I love your determination and willingness to try. Most of us tend to lack discipline and the “why” to what we do and decide on. But your story radiates just the opposite. Great story! 🙂

  16. I can totally relate. It took me three hours to do the grocery shopping the first time I decided to ‘do something about it.’ You look awesome. Strong. I am a twiggy thing and am envious! Congratulations.

  17. NO WAY! That has got to be your larger cousin!! You look strong, vibrant and full of health – what a way to live. Go primal girls!

    What a great story – so heartening to hear – thankyou so much for sharing

  18. Awesome job! You look brimming over with health n happiness 🙂

    This really hit home with me: “Many of my friends think I deprive myself because I don’t eat sweets or because I eat healthy all the time.”

    It’s so true – as soon as you mention the d’word (‘diet) people picture you as on some kind of miserable deprivation kick which couldn’t be further from the truth!

  19. Candidate for Primal Poster! It just makes me so happy to see your after shot. Way to go! ps: if your husband looks even better, can we see his photo too? 😉

    1. I did ask him, he’s concerned he’s looking to pale these days (winter for us in PA). I would post anyway – he looks great.

  20. Great results! Seriously, it looks like two different people standing next to each other.

  21. Wow! I can’t believe that’s you in the before picture. You look so healthy and beautiful now!

  22. Holy Cow!! You can seriously see major changes! Your story is inspiring 🙂 Congrats on your successful health transformation!!

  23. You look amazing!! It’s hard to believe that is you in the first picture. Congrats on all your sucess and continue to inspire others. 🙂

  24. Congratulations on your continued successes.

    Your story is well-written and inspirational. I think there are a lot of people (out there and here as well) who felt the same or feel the same as you did before you made the switch.

  25. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story! I just posted it in a Facebook group called “Lose It Together” that some friends and I have…I keep posting info and stories about going Primal, because it totally changed my life and like you, I just want to share the wealth. Grok on!

  26. Hey Mark,

    I agree 100% with leading a primal lifestyle and am struggling in college trying to become an RD. I disagree with EVERYTHING they have to say. My professors regurgitate everything the government wants them to and I can’t see myself becoming an RD and giving the wrong information to my clients! What should I do?????

    1. Danielle, I’m in the same boat. I’m in school too to become an RD because I want to help people (and learn about nutrition myself), but I disagree with so much that they are teaching…I feel they are trying to indoctrinate and brainwash me. And when I challenge the status quo, I am nearly ridiculed. I’m really in this to get the credential, and after that hopefully give clients the RIGHT information (not as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and CADE see it).

  27. Congratulations! My husband also suffered from low-grade nasal inflammation (also termed environmental allergies) for many years. Since going primal, he has no problems breathing. Save for the odd cold. 😉

    Myself? I have had a harder time getting off sugar. I was glucose intolerant for both pregnancies and put on a diabetic diet. I should have known that something was wrong with CW when I was told to keep carbs in my diet while on a diabetic diet!

    I am almost 100% dairy-free and that has made a huge difference in my sugar cravings. It is happening naturally. I just don’t want to eat the dairy and, often, the sugar. Slow but sure.

    Thanks again for sharing. You’ve inspired me to refine what I am doing a little more.

  28. WOW! The transformation is amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I read it aloud to my husband. He could really relate! Most of his life he couldn’t imagine not taking his antacids. If he did, he was in incredible pain.
    We eat primal and feel better than ever!

    We love the community here.

  29. Congratulations and Good Job!

    Your success with allergies is especially encouraging to me as a fellow perennial allergy sufferer. New to primal, I am just starting to see improvements to the allergies – but that is way more than any other lifestyle/diet/health method has ever done for me before.

    I have had a subjective experience that eating grass fed, organic meat provides relief beyond simply eliminating grains and dairy. My guess at this time is that other types of meat are pro-inflamatory, which is like throwing gasoline on the allergy fire.

  30. Umm… I don’t think your graduation gown is gonna fit anymore.

    The Primal Blueprint seems to be good for writing skills. These Friday segments are SO good to read.

    1. Use it for curtains, or maybe a tent. You are so beautiful in BOTH pictures. You do look a lot more comfortable in the second pic, though. I celebrate your health!

  31. Hi, I too have been interested in pursuing a RD designation. I can read and do research and talk about healthy living, diet and exercise literally all day long and would love to be able to inspire others and open their eyes to the truth through nutritional and physical advice; however, after learning about the primal lifestyle, I believe I would have a very difficult time having CW shoved down my throat and in turn sharing that with others?? NOWAY! I would love to hear your advice on this, Mark.

    This is an inspiring story! Great job! You look Fabulous, Kelly!!

  32. So great to see people change their entire life around like this! I know so many folks that just go: “Oh, but I can’t live without bread…” and it’s such a pity. Most folks would see amazing results with the simplest changes to their eating, and stopping to see crap as ‘special treats’. Congrats to your family!

  33. What a great story! I’m going to forward it to my sister and see if it’s the push she needs to leave the SAD behind and finally feel good!

  34. So proud of my mentor. She’s inspired many of her students/colleagues at work to take charge of their health and eat better!

    1. Cindy is 100% primal and spreads the word every chance she can. And she just thought she was signing up for a psychology internship!

  35. Oh geez, are we being punk’d? 🙂 Just kidding- you look so vibrant and strong and beautiful in your second picture, it’s hard to believe that you’re the same person as the first! Thank you for your inspiration.

  36. What an awesome story, you look fabulous and healthy!

    I loved this quote of yours: “…and willingly and routinely answer questions via text, email, and Facebook from friends and family who are trying to make healthier choices. If I can impact one decision, it is worth the effort.”

    I answer a question at least once a day for family and friends in other parts of the country, some days I literally spend an hour or two on their questions. And, I love it! If I can help anyone get healthier, I am happy to do so. Thanks for spreading the good word!

    1. The bulk of it was 60 lbs. Started at 180 and got down to 120. As I built muscle I ended up hovering around 124.

  37. Wow! Such a dramatic transformation. So glad to hear your family is going on this Paleo journey with you. I’ve only recently started moving in this direction and you’re a great inspiration to keep on this path.

    Oh, by the way, your friends are right.;) You are depriving yourself. You’re depriving yourself of allergies, acid reflux, or low blood sugar. You go, girl!

  38. Phenomenal! You look incredible! Thanks for sharing your complete journey. It will inspire many, including me!


  39. Awesome! What a journey…and how wonderful your family is onboard! I’m not very articulate so I can’t really explain to the the kind folks who offer me “Healthy Pizza on Whole Grain (or Gluten Free!) Crust!” to understand why I would rather go hungry than eat that shi…er…shtuff. I wish we didn’t call it “Primal” or “Paleo” eating because it makes it sound like we’re following some sort of wild fad diet. Maybe we should call it something like” Genetically Predisposed Eating”, or something. “I’m sorry. I have GPE… I’m genetically predisposed to not eat grains of any kind. Thanks for offering.”

    1. In talking to Gordon recently about this same thing his response to me was ‘Just don’t eat food made by humans’!

  40. Whoa, thought this was Mark talking until I got to the “pregnancy” comment. Whew.

  41. Wow! What an amazing transformation and what a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    I can’t agree more with your last paragraph, about all the foods that are WONDERFUL, full of flavor, and just down right good eats, and how outsiders (SAD eaters) think that I’m never eating, or constantly depriving myself. They just don’t understand. I often look forward to eating my leftovers or salads that I bring to work; they are certainly more appealing than a Subway sandwich or a fast food burger. Blech!

  42. I love reading these, and so wonderful to see you’ve taken control of your health. The weight loss is great, the health benefits are fab, you look awesome, life is good!

  43. Inspiring!! Love these stories…keeps me connected to what’s important when all those around me think I’ve lost my mind! Almost 3 months primal and feeling better every day!

  44. Wow – just plain WOW! And I especially like all the health benefits you’ve gained by thinking for yourself and not falling for CW.
    Friends and relatives will eventually figure it out as you are one marvelous role model – actions speak louder than words, etc. etc.!

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  45. Wow, this could be my story almost exactly, even the part about gaining 50 lbs with my second pregnancy because I was worried about my blood sugar dropping and hurting the baby. I had the same allergies, acid reflux, and acne disappear after switching to primal. I had the same hypoglycemia thing, to the point of fainting a couple of times, and the same “normal” results on a glucose tolerance test. You look great. Thanks for sharing.

  46. You kick ass lady! Keep it up 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration!

  47. Wow, thanks for sharing your story! How true that we are so “informed” about nutrition but sadly armed with the wrong facts given to us by those who “know better”.

  48. It never ceases to amaze me how much people’s faces change when they lose a lot of weight.

  49. Your story is incredible, and I have to add like everyone else, you look awesome! I covet those arms! Anyway– how long did it take your reflux to disappear?

    1. Also–did you attribute your reflux to your weight, or did you always have it?

      1. I tried going off the Nexium probably 3 months into the diet and training. I had tried going off it before but could never stay off of it. In hindsight now I attribute it to wheat/grains.

    2. I tried not relying on the meds probably 3 months into my training and dieting. I was still not making the connection then, but was trying to get off meds in an effort to just ‘get back to basics’ and find myself.

        1. No problem! I was taking zyrtek, singulair, advair, and nexium. The singulair caused dry-eye and so I needed to add a re-wetting drop.

  50. Looks like 2 different people in the photos. Well done! Great story.
    Would be great if you had a few of your favourite recipes to share. That’s where I get stuck. Thanks!

    1. I love sharing recipes with others and I appreciate the folks who post recipes on their sites. There are a number of really great sites – MDA, Chowstalker, Nom Nom Paleo, Clothes Make the Girl, Frisky Lemon, just to name a few. I subscribe to the feeds via Google Reader and peruse the sites for what looks interesting. If you email me I can send you some I’ve downloaded. [email protected]

    2. I love sharing recipes with others and I appreciate the folks who post recipes on their sites. There are a number of really great sites – MDA, Chowstalker, Nom Nom Paleo, Clothes Make the Girl, Frisky Lemon, just to name a few. I subscribe to the feeds via Google Reader and peruse the sites for what looks interesting.

  51. Wow! What a great story. I relate to how much better you much feel. I have also suffered from hypoglycemia and nasal allergies. Great job and Congratulations on your success!

  52. Thank you all for your kind words and inspirational support. Thank you also to Mark for allowing me to reach others through his very awesome website. I always send people who are looking for more info to MDA and suggest they read the definitive guides (and get the book of course!).

  53. What a transformation and inspiration!!Way to go! If only those treating diabetics could catch on!!

  54. Wow! Even knowing that the woman in both photos is you, I can’t see a hint of a resemblance.

    I’m so often struck by how different people’s faces look when they transform themselves as you have. The body differences are remarkable too, of course, but to me, the face is super noteworthy because it illuminates the new person someone (like you) has become.

    To be honest and simple in my words, in your new picture, I see a beautiful, fit, happy woman. In your old picture, I see a fat lady who couldn’t possibly be O.K. with the way she is.

    I admire your openness to trying new things, continuing on a trajectory of learning and doing, and sharing what you know.

    Really well done!

  55. Congratulations on your transformation … and the PhD. I am in the same field 🙂 just finished a masters’ and am waiting to hear from PhD programs!

  56. Lady, you look gorgeous in both pictures but the important thing isn’t how you look, it’s how much better you FEEL.

    I go off and on the wagon with cleaning up my diet in a more Primal direction but let me tell you, I at 210 (give or take) feel a LOT better on Primal than I felt at 130 pounds on gallons of soda and pounds of grain foods every week!

    I remember going to bellydancing class a few years ago, passing a slender guy jogging in the other direction and it suddenly occurred to me that he might have had an unkind thought about me “clearly needing to exercise” when I was in fact on the way to an exercise class. (Ever done bellydancing? It may not be running a marathon but it will kick your butt!) It really drove the point home to me that you never know about a person on appearance alone.

    But reality intrudes and I know people are going to continue to see me as the lazy glutton til I make my outside match my inside. Yet more motivation to finally get this squared away.

    And you are even further inspiration. 🙂

  57. I love your comment “Many of my friends think I deprive myself because I don’t eat sweets or because I eat healthy all the time” – This is just so true!! People think it is hard but it is the easiest thing in the world once your appetite is controlled and you are eating great food! Well done to you.

  58. I did a real double take when I got to the bit about “[Mark’s] second pregnancy.” Figured it out.

  59. I am a journalism student and am writing a feature story on paleo lifestyle. May I use this and quote you? Just want to make sure I’ve got permission to quote and share your amazing story!

  60. I’ve got a picture of me that looks just like the one on the left, including the color of the hood. Now I want one of me that looks like the one on the right.

  61. Kelly, wow! Wow! Wow! Good job ! You look fantastic ! Am getting on board!!

  62. Kelly: I am you before story. I’m on two allergy prescriptions that I take year-round. I struggle with frequent sinus issues. I have periodic problems with acid reflux. I get the shaky feeling when my blood sugar drops too low (sometimes with very little warning). I have a lot of digestive issues on top of that. My cousin has been eating Paleo and recommended I try it. She sent me the link to this blog and I’m so glad she did – can’t even imagine not having to struggle with all of those health issues anymore. You look fantastic!

  63. Hi Kelly,

    First, congrats! You look absolutely amazing! Healthy & glowing. I have suffered almost identically what you have with allergies (right down to the ash trees…along with elm, juniper, oak & ragweed), sinusitis, acid reflux and unstable blood sugar (including gestational diabetes). It made me wonder if there was a common denominator that could be causing these problems. It was doing this research trying to put it all together when I stumbled across this website and your story. I think the offender might be wheat. I stopped all wheat consumption two weeks ago, and after feeling like complete h#ll for about 4 days, I now feel amazing. And I’ve lost eight pounds in two weeks. I think I may be onto a whole new way of life here! I think divine intervention led me down the right path and I am hopeful at 43 that I can feel young again. You have definitely given me hope! Thank you!

  64. Hi Kelly,

    Just saw this and wanted to say congratulations! It’s great to see that women over 40 can achieve the same transformations. It gives me inspiration and a mindset that I may be here one day, sharing my success story.


  65. I went primal last september. I’ve gained four pounds since then and I need to lose 100. sigh.

    I’ve been strict, and eating the healthiest of food.

    All I can think is that the one pound of fresh mozzarella a week I tend to eat and the cup of milk a day in my coffee?

    Or maybe this isn’t the diet for me?

    Could it be that I have to go from 60% meat meals to 60% vegetable only meals?

    i duno. Primal didn’t work for me. I’m very frustrated. I’m going to try foregoing the dairy as well at this point as a last chance.

  66. Wow! I love your story and hope to acheive the same results! Today is day one of a lifetime!

  67. I relate to so much of your story (except the husband, kids and graduate degree lol!) For the health reasons you mentioned sinuses, allergies, antacids – THOSE are the reasons I’m going primal Your story is motivating and you look fantastic and I’m sure you FEEL unstoppable!
    Thank you for sharing!

  68. I am on my second paleo challenge through my gym but I haven’t yet successfully gone full time primal/paleo. I am currently three weeks in and down 6 pounds so far. I was going through mda last week looking for inspiration and I found it! I am 29 and live with my mom, who has never considered doing this with me… Until I emailed her your story. Yesterday she bought the primal blueprint on her kindle and started reading furiously. She’s planning a July 1 start date. I think you’ll see her success story on here shortly! 🙂

  69. It’s the friends thing that gets me too. My friends and especially my partner seem to think that I am missing out on something by not eating sugar. They just can’t get their head around the fact that it has no nutritional value whatsoever and therefor we don’t need it. Even when I tell them I still get sugar from fruit they seem to think I must be starving myself or doing myself harm because I don’t eat it anymore. I constantly hear I couldn’t go without my coffee(and sugar in it)every day. It’s a tad frustrating but as I have only just started this way of life I am hoping that soon results will have them saying ‘wow!’ rather than giving me disapproving looks!

  70. Wow, I had all the same symptoms of allergies, acid reflux and low blood sugar, and all went away when I started the PB lifestyle just a month ago! At this point, even if I don’t lose the desired weight, I feel sooo much better, I can’t imagine going back to grains and junk food.

  71. Interesting. I’ve had quite the journey too, I lifted weight s and when my boyfriend left me covid hit, plus the gym I loved closed down forever. Smh I miss the after work out high, green tea pills are a performance booster pre work out by the way and local vegetables are better than international imported goods, also don’t push yourself if you’re treating a toe fungus because it affects your heart rhythm and can kill you, I almost had a heart attack when u pushed myself in the treadmill, most creams work with glucose and increase sugars in blood thereby rising heart or sinus rhythm. I went through so much loosing weight. Then comes fasting and the benefits, cutting out wheat and yeast helps shed pounds plus no meat but fasting increases gall bladder issues, I just got mine taken out because I was in dire pain.bSi it’s important to point out the pitfalls in one’s journey to save a fellow sister or woman on earth we all are human and need each other’s advice.