I first heard about the Primal Blueprint from Slick Rick, the long haired, five fingered shoe wearing odd ball my cousin married. He had ditched grains four years before and never looked back, and was always dropping jokes about how he loved bacon. I thought he was crazy with his caveman talk and dismissed his low carb philosophy as one that didn’t fit into my modern diet.
You see, I took carb-a-holic to an extreme, consuming well past the 600 carb a day average of most Americans. I maintained a medium body size until I hit college, when I gradually began to pack on the pounds. By the time I was married at 28, I was overweight headed to obese, suffering from gastric reflux, fatigued, and unmotivated. The big blow came when my general practitioner diagnosed me with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) after several unsuccessful months of trying to get pregnant with an irregular cycle. I assumed this was some genetic curse (after all, that’s what every doctor I talked to told me) and started down the path of Metformin and fertility drugs. I felt miserable, the meds made me crazy, and I got fatter on my SAD. After two years of failure, we took a break. I hated the way I looked and felt now 60+ pounds overweight and still without a baby. I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer determined to at least feel good about my body. Following six months of cardio four days a week, light weight training, and a restricted diet of healthy whole grains and low fat tasteless foods, I had a pathetic 15 pound weight loss, raging appetite, and shin splints to show for it. By this time my husband and I had decided to adopt, and brought home our little boy in October of 2009. I had a renewed “healthy” outlook and was determined to feed our growing family the best balanced nutrition I knew. We had the food pyramid down pat. Our diet was filled with whole grains, lean meats, and processed carbs and over the next two years I continued to gradually gain another 20 pounds.
As 2012 approached, and I began to think about New Year’s resolutions, my mom decided to motivate me and my sister-in-laws with a little weight loss challenge. She set up a Facebook group for us and a few friends to help encourage each other along the journey, told us to pick our diet of choice, and rewards were set for each month’s weight loss percentage winner. Almost everyone but myself went with Weight Watchers. I just couldn’t do the same old failing plan again. My mind began to drift back to Slick Rick. Could he be right? Maybe he wasn’t so odd after all. His diet seemed to go against everything that didn’t work for me in the past. My gut (no pun intended) told me I was eating too many carbohydrates, so I decided to give it a try and devoured The Primal Blueprint in just two days. I don’t like to do anything halfway so I fully committed to change and ditched grains, potatoes, and sugar, and ate lots of meat, vegetables, and fruit. I kept a Primal journal for the first few weeks to help me get started. Immediately the weight started to melt off just as I had read that it would. I began walking a moderate amount because of the new energy I gained, and slowly worked up to sprinting once a week and body weight exercises. Within a month, my gastric reflux was gone and I could eat all kinds of Primal foods that had given me indigestion in the past when paired with grains. I never felt deprived, and noticed heightened taste awareness of foods that wouldn’t have appealed to me previously. I lost my cravings for sugar and carbs and the desire to consume the foods that had been making me fat for years. I found foods that I enjoyed just as much or even better than those that had gotten me in trouble on the scales. I regained my love for bacon! I started intermittent fasting a couple times a week and was surprised at my lack of hunger pangs. At last! I was a fat burning beast!
After six months I had lost over 50 pounds, had a regular cycle for the first time in my life, and won every one of our group’s monthly challenges. (I really think my sis-in-laws were ready to kill me!) Everyone noticed the positive difference and many friends and family decided to adopt the Primal lifestyle as a result. I even converted a few of the ladies at the blood donation center as they watched my weight drop along with my cholesterol and blood pressure. My Type 1 diabetic husband was skeptical at first, but after several months he joined me along with our two year old son, and the benefits to our family grew. My husband lowered his A1C, took half the amount of insulin he had taken previously, and lowered his body fat from 18% to under 10%. We committed to buying locally sourced organic produce and grass fed meat, started our own backyard garden, and even became urban chicken farmers so that we could have the freshest eggs to support our growing habit!
I’m now at a 65 pound weight loss and I’m confident I will reach my goal of 80 pounds by the New Year. I’m more active than I’ve ever been and I know I’m becoming the healthy mom my son deserves. In June we became foster parents, and I love that this is one way we can have a positive influence on the health of the kids that share our home. This new lifestyle has truly changed my perspective and I will never go back to the broken conventional wisdom of my past. Slick Rick has now become one of my biggest supporters and frequently emails me the latest paleo videos, blogs, and recipes…and I promised him the Five Finger shoes if I win!
HERE IS AN UPDATE FROM ANGELA (It was posted in the “comments” section after the original post):
Wow! Thanks for all the encouraging comments! I am honored that Mark let me share my story as I have enjoyed reading those posted here every week. MDA has been a big resource for me. Just an update; shortly after writing this, I reached my 70lb weight loss goal and then got a big surprise…I’m pregnant! We are super thrilled and I know my Primal lifestyle is what got me here. Now I’m working on a primal pregnancy, something I never thought I’d get to experience!