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!
In 2011 I was 80 lbs overweight, I was on 8 medications, I was sick, sad, and scared. As a doctor, I couldn’t understand how I’d ended up there. I “knew” what to do. I just had to eat less and exercise more, right?
I’d done Weight Watchers (which worked for a while, until I gained all the weight, plus more, back), seen a nutritionist, a therapist, and even a hypnotist to control my lack of willpower.
I was eating low-fat meat and dairy, whole grains, and tightly controlling my portions. I ate vegetarian meals frequently and snacked on pretzels and hummus, and chips and salsa. I went to the gym 3 times a week and did 30 minutes of cardio. I was doing everything “right,” and this was me.
One day a friend, who had no medical background, told me he was going to do this “Paleo” diet. Meats, eggs, nuts, fruits and veggies. No grains, no dairy, no legumes. I was horrified. “You can’t do that,” I said, “you will DIE!” All that meat and eggs and fat would spike his cholesterol, no dairy and his bones would all break, no grains and he wouldn’t get any fiber. “Wait,” I said. “Don’t do anything crazy. Let me research it and get back to you.”
So, I set out to save my friend’s life. To find evidence to convince him that this Mark Sisson guy was crazy. What I found was shocking. I read Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf. And it all made sense. From a biochemical standpoint, based on everything I knew about physiology, it all made sense.
Well, I knew that couldn’t be right, so I set out looking for criticism of the Paleo diet. And none of it made sense. The criticisms were weak, they were not based in science.
So, I did it. For 4 months I ate Paleo. I lost 20 lbs, I felt better, and I wasn’t so damn hungry all the time like I’d been on Weight Watchers.
Then life, a move, and a divorce got in the way. But in 2013 I found It Starts With Food. I read it while I polished off a box of donuts and cried. I didn’t know why I couldn’t stop the donuts, but Dallas and Melissa told me. I did a Whole30. I kept reading medical articles supporting this lifestyle. I met Dallas Hartwig in 2014. I was still struggling because over enthusiastic exercise had led to injuries. He told me “Just walk. You can still be an athlete if you just walk.” So I started walking. And walking.
And in 2015 I walked a half marathon. I got serious about eating well. I started dropping medications (with my doctors permission). I had followed Mark’s Daily Apple sporadically, but when the New Primal Blueprint came out, I bought it. I still believe It Starts With Food, but it doesn’t end there. I was ready to dial in my exercise, my sleep, my relationships, my stress.
I have lost 70 lbs, I’ve lost 6 clothes sizes. I no longer take any of those 8 medicines. I lost my depression, my anxiety, my snoring, my insomnia, my rosácea, my thinning hair, my chronic constipation, and my glasses/contacts. I’ve lost cravings. I’ve lost interest in highly palatable junk food. I’ve lost the need for “willpower” over food. I’ve climbed glaciers in Iceland and volcanoes in Hawai’i. My sex drive is back, and I have the stamina to enjoy it. I’m happy, peaceful, and calm.
I’ve cured patients of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, rosácea, IBS, PCOS, and autoimmune disease. I’m taking patients off more medicines than I’m prescribing.
I’m inspiring others. I’m inspiring my kids. I’m inspiring myself.
Happy, healthy, fit, confident. I enjoy exercise, I don’t obsess about food, I sleep like a baby and wake with the sun. I turn off my phone and read books. I have a loving relationship. Life is good.
I’m Grokking On!
Joanne Watson, MD