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Weight Loss Success Stories

Other people’s successes inspire me whatever goal I am pursuing, and weight loss is no different. I particularly like stories about people who have both lost weight and transformed their health in the process.

Here is a selection of weight loss stories I really like. Not everything these guys advocate would work for me, but the success they have had is irrefutable and amazing. We can all learn from their journeys.

Read how Greg got rid of hypertension, pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome and 75lbs in 6 Months.

Kristy Griner tells us how she conquered depression, lost 120lbs and discovered the joys of being a strong and healthy Mum.

I wonder how you must feel when like this guy you have lost more than half your total body weight going from 538lbs to 268lbs.

The Unconquerable Dave has become a bit of a celebrity on Mark Sisson’s website. No surprise, his transformation is amazing and he is quite a character too.

Jay Meyers lost 80lbs along with his dandruff problem by eating primal. It’s hard to believe his before and after pictures are of the same person.

Tell me about the success stories that have inspired you by leaving me a comment below.

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Primal Beginners’ Q&A: What snacks are allowed?

Question:

Hi Peter – Hope you’re in fine fettle? Thought I’d give you an update a week and a day in…the big headline is that I’ve lost nearly 4 kg (8 lb)!! I honestly cannot believe it, I’ve been eating quite a lot, but been very strict as to WHAT I’ve been eating. Nicki is gobsmacked!

I’ve arranged the visit to the Dr’s this Friday as well, and I’m feeling great – finding time for good breakfasts, and also finding time to cook too. I wish we’d have had that chat earlier….

Anyway – my week two questions move me onto desserts and snack-type things for when I’m a little peckish and whilst I’m reducing the need to feed my sweet-tooth

Also, Nicki mentioned about calcium, although I suspect that you’ll say that it’s present in many of the primal foods anyway….Last one, I like biltong and jerky, is that a suitable item to eat from your perspective? I read that as long as it’s low sugar content biltong then it’s a good nibble to include on one’s diet…

Richard

Answer:

Congratulations, Richard, and well done on sticking to the foods a Primal diet allows!

When it comes to snacks the Primal rules still apply. Stay away from grains, starches and sugar. You are right, jerky and biltong are good options. Make sure they don’t contain sugar or are chemically processed, though.

Other snacks I used to enjoy include nuts, full fat greek yoghurt and grilled bacon rashers left over from breakfast. I don’t snack much anymore, though. You will find over time your need to snack will wane. As your body gets better adapted to burning ketones (fat) the period between meals and hunger will gradually get longer. I also find the hunger I now experience is completely different. It is a less urgent and less stressful sensation. This makes it easier to defer eating when I find myself in a situation where there are no good food choices available.

With regards to sweet things, the best thing you can do is stay away from them, endure the cravings and wait for them to pass. The cravings are part of the adaptation process. Some of it is physiological and some of it is psychological. Eventually you will have fewer cravings and all foods will start to taste much sweeter.

If the cravings become too much, go for a small bar of organic dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids. The cocoa is packed full of actioxidants and a small 35g bar of Green & Blacks dark chocolate contains 12g of carbohydrate (mostly sugar, I imagine) which is not too bad for an occasional treat.

At times, you may find yourself giving in to temptation when you are offered sweet treats or other non-primal foods at social occasions. Don’t beat yourself up about that. My philosophy is the same as Mark Sisson’s which is to aspire to 100% compliance, but to be satisfied when I achieve 80% compliance. Now I probably comply 95% of the time, but achieving that was much tougher in the beginning.

The calcium question is a good one. The short answer is that a high-carb diet causes your body to leach calcium. Consequently, on a typical western diet, you need to ensure you get plenty of calcium in your diet. If you restrict your carbohydrate intake, the calcium you get from vegetables is plenty. I don’t remember the details of how the biochemistry works for this, but I will research it and post an explanation on this blog.

We also know that our hunter gatherer ancestors had denser bones than modern man, and osteoporosis is virtually non-existent amongst contemporary hunter gatherers. This is despite a complete absence of diary in their diet. If you think about it, we are the only mammal that habitually consume the milk of other species. My personal intuition is that diary is not essential for humans.

Nevertheless, I do eat yoghurt and a small amount of cheese, but that’s because I enjoy it, and I don’t think it does any harm. As I mentioned in my last post, Paleo purists take a different view, and I respect people’s personal choices with regards to diary. As long as you tolerate lactose and casein (the most common causes of diary alergies), go ahead and enjoy it. I do avoid milk  because lactose is a form of carbohydrate, and milk sits high on the glycemic index. It is likely to trigger a spike in insulin secretion, which is something I try to avoid in the interest of keeping my body conditioned to fat burn.

I am sure I don’t have to tell you this, but be aware that the spectacular progress you have made in week 1 is not going to continue forever. Your rate of weight loss will slow and you will also hit a few plateaus along the way. When that happens, focus on how eating primal makes you feel rather than what it does for your weight. Here is a post on how Primal eating makes me feel: link

Keep the questions coming and good luck!

Peter

Primal Beginner’s Q&A: What to eat for breakfast

Question:

Hi Peter, I spent last evening scouring your blog and planning to start things off, and, duly inspired,started this morning by cutting out milk from drinks, and have had none of the other non paleo items, which has been great much to my surprise considering how much I usually eat in the dairy/pasta/bread/grain family. I did, however, find myself scratching my head somewhat at breakfast time, wondering what the breadth of choice is in this area…..so, my question is – what sorts of things do you have for breakfast? I went for a couple of eggs in the end, but shouldn’t think it’s wise to plump for that each day. I did look up a couple of websites, and whilst they had sample eating plans, they were rather more exotic that my lifestyle affords me to be….I thought of mushrooms, obviously cold meats (which is a continental thing isn’t it?). I don’t fancy veg for breakfast really….so, I wondered what sorts of breakfasts you usually have???

Look forward to your thoughts….

Richard

Answer:

Firstly, congratulations on getting started, Richard.

Most mornings I have 2-3 rashers of bacon along with 4 eggs either scrambled in butter or fried sunny side up in coconut oil. Some mornings I supplement this with a bowl of full fat greek yoghurt. Other mornings, I will have a salad of whatever vegetables we have in the fridge. I dress my salad in olive oil, lemon juice and I season it with a little salt. I particularly like salads that include some avocado. I also sometimes have spinach or mushrooms.

I consider eggs one of the best wholefoods around, and I eat in the region of 25-30 a week. I used to eat more when I was really focused on weight loss.

Some people are concerned about the high cholesterol in egg yolks, but studies have shown dietary cholesterol does not increase your blood cholesterol materially. Here is one such study: link

If your doctor insists eggs raise your risk of heart disease, then I would say it’s time to look for another doctor. It’s a good indication that he or she does not bother to follow developments in medical research, and personally I would not want to discuss my health with a doctor who is intellectually lazy. But each to his own, off course. You can also refer your doctor to this blog post if the topic of cholesterol comes up: link

If you can afford it, I would go for the best quality produce. This means organic free range eggs and nitrate free bacon. But, on balance, it is more important to eliminate the grains and sugar from your diet than worry about every breakfast ingredient being organic.

Paleo/Primal dieters, who are more purist than I, consider bacon a processed food and will either not eat it at all, or try not to eat it every day. To get around this I hear a lot of primal dieters say they make extra dinner in the evening, and have the leftovers for breakfast the following morning. I sometimes do this also. I personally think it is ok to eat bacon regularly, though, and I never seem to tire of it. It feels like a treat every time I have it!

For anyone who is about to start a paleo inspired diet, I strongly recommend taking a blood test early on, and to repeat it after 4-6 weeks. After this inital period, I would test every 3-6 months. You are about to make some dramatic changes to your diet, and blood tests will help spot if your physiology responds adversely in any way. I predict your health markers will improve along with your body composition, but every person is different. In the beginning there is also the possibility that you get one or two things wrong and don’t make the progress you expected. A blood test will give you clues about what to change to get back on track.

You should also bear in mind that I am not medically qualified. I am just some guy who had some success loosing weight. You should not take my advice (nor anybody else’s for that matter) without testing independently that your body is responding well to your new diet.

I am about to have a new blood test, Here are the health markers I plan to request. The last four on this list are not generally included in a standard blood test and some may be unfamiliar to some doctors:

  • HDL cholesterol
  • LDL cholesterol
  • Triglycerites (low is best)
  • Fasting serum insulin
  • Blood glucose
  • High sensitivity C-reactive protein
  • HbA1c
  • Omega-6/Omega-3 blood assay
  • Vitamin D3

It is also worth exploring the materials I provide links to in my blog posts. Aside from changing your diet, the best thing you can do for your health is to be curious about how your body works and what is good for it. I would also invest a little money and little time reading a book by one of the leading lights in the ancestral health movement. Here is a list of my current Top 3 books on ancestral health: link

If you want more inspiration for Paleo/Primal breakfast dishes, here is a cookbook we use a lot in my family:

“Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals” by Mark Sisson

Hope that helps. Good luck and keep the questions coming!

Peter

How I lost 68 Lbs eating plenty of saturated fat

If you have tried low-fat approaches to fat loss, it may surprise you how I lost weight. I consumed plenty of saturated fat and I didn’t count calories or even track the macro nutrients I consumed.

And it is important to emphasise that I have not only lost weight. All my health markers improved, including my blood cholesterol, which goes counter to what many health professionals would have predicted.

I know this may sound too good to be true. Especially, if you have tried a multitude of diets that promised so much but ended in failure. Can it really be that easy?

I will let you judge whether this approach is easy or hard. It depends on your personal circumstances, I suppose.

Here is my 7-step eating plan:

  1. My diet consists of meat, fish, poultry, eggs and vegetables.
  2. I mainly eat things that are prepared from scratch (mostly by my very supportive wife) and we try to use ingredients that are local and/or organic.
  3. I avoid all grains, tubers and legumes. This means cutting out bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans and lentils.
  4. I also avoid drinks that contain calories. I do not drink fruit juices, milk or sodas, nor do I take any sugar or other sweetener in hot drinks. I do make one small exception to this rule. I enjoy the odd alcoholic drink once or twice a week. I tend to mostly drink red wine.
  5. I restrict the amount of carbohydrate in my diet. This happens more or less by itself if you follow points 1 to 3 above. The only additional measures I take is to avoid sugar and I also eat very little fruit. Periodically, I spot check my carbohydrates, so I know my daily consumption is between 30g and 60g per day.
  6. I make sure I get plenty of fats from meats and wild fish. I supplement this with coconut oil and butter for cooking. I use olive oil for salad dressings. I avoid all other vegetable and nut oils.
  7. I eat when I am hungry and I eat as much as I need to be full.

Those of you who have studied low-carb and/or paleolithic nutrition will recognise this diet. There is nothing particularly original in what I practice. Researchers and thought leaders like Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Art Devany and others all recommend diets that are similar to this with minor variations. There is plenty of information available on this and I recommend you study the writings of these men.

You will also notice that there is no mention of exercise in my plan. I do exercise, but the truth is exercise is not strictly necessary to loose weight. I will discuss this further in future articles.

I would also like to make an obvious but important point here. Loosing weight is not just about what you eat.  If your head is not in the right place, it is very hard to change a life-time of unhealthy habits. Watch this blog for future articles about how I stayed the course by changing the way I think about diet and life-style.

Further Reading

Here are some links to on-line resources that explain the basics of paleo/primal diet and exercise principles.

Modern Paleo Principles by Diana Hsieh

Mark Sisson Primal Blueprint 101

Robb Wolf FAQ page

Loren Cordain FAQ page

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