There was me – fat, frumpy and nearly fifty, and going nowhere fast in life. I was tired, bored and lonely, but I stuck a smile on my face and believed I knew what happiness was, and for the most part I was content.
I had a reasonably good job which I enjoyed. I had a few friends, a comfortable place to live – even if it was tiny and cramped – but it was in a gorgeous part of the city. I drifted along working by day, well by afternoon actually as I wasn’t a morning person and rarely got out of my nest before 11 am. After arriving home late in the evening from work, I would have a drink or two of wine and then play computer games until the early hours of the morning, and I was drunk enough to sleep without dreaming. On weekends I would shop, occasionally meet with friends, or go to the movies, but mostly I just cooked elaborate meals and played more computer games and drank yet more wine and sometimes wonder how I got here.
When I was younger, fitter and healthier, I got my trade in Sugar Processing (up until 2006 I was Australia’s only female sugar processor) working for Bundaberg Sugar. As part of my job, I saw firsthand how they took something natural and processed the life out of it, and the incredible quantities that companies like Coca-Cola would take every single day would astound you!
It would certainly be fair to say I enjoyed a glass of wine or three working in that hot and rough environment, which was considered normal. However, once I got out of the industry and into a less physically demanding job, I didn’t change the way I ate or drank. Small changes in how I lived my life slowly accumulated. Each day blended into the next, and so the years went, and I got bigger and bigger, and I just accepted that this was it, this was my life.
And then I woke up.
Late in 2014, I was having a lot of medical problems, most of them related to my weight. I had reached a high for myself of over 100kgs, which on my rather small frame was almost twice what I should have been. I suffered from aching joints, rashes between my legs and under my breasts. I started taking high blood pressure medication, sweated all the time, got tendonitis in my elbow, sprained an ankle, and tore ligaments in my foot. I was regularly getting colds and then wound up with a nasty case of the flu.
Finally, in the new year of 2015 on a visit to my doctor, I asked about losing weight, and my doctor handed me a list and said:
‘I’d like you to try this. Eat all the fat and meat, vegetables, cream and cheeses you want, but stop eating bread, pasta and rice and limit fruit and chocolates. Reduce the amount of wine you drink, and I can guarantee you will lose weight.’
I was astounded. Can I eat things I adore but contain fat and had avoided for years? And I would lose weight? It seemed too good to be true.
I trust my doctor, so I did it.
Unbeknown to me, I had started down the road of the Paleo lifestyle and rather quickly lost 10kgs, although I was still drinking and my exercise consisted of running my characters around in a computer game!
I had joined a dating site as I wanted to get back into the world and begin meeting new people, even though I didn’t think there would be much demand for a chubby almost fiftyish gamer techno nerd.
Experiencing internet dating for the first time (much easier than I expected), I quickly met a few men – some good, some bad and some just weird. Through one person I met, I discovered a website whereI could post my poetry and start to express my creative side again.
I discovered a talent for writing poetry, and painting – well art at the very least! I took up ‘steampunking’ nerf guns using paint and decorations. I started feeling rather good about myself, and I even went to yoga classes to try to get back some flexibility and fitness.
I lost yet more weight, to my continuing surprise.
I had dropped another 8 or so kilogrammes and started going out on weekends to coffee meets with new friends and the occasional evening party. I assumed this would be as much as I would lose, a couple of dress sizes was a fantastic result, I even started needing new clothes! I hadn’t been this small in years; I felt amazing.
So I started adding small amounts of carbohydrates in the form of potatoes and went back to my gluten free bread, that I missed terribly. I was still drinking wine, although in slightly smaller amounts. The weight loss slowed, but I was still pleased to have lost as much as I had and be tipping the scales at a much-reduced 85kgs, and I ‘knew’ this was as much as I was going to be able to lose at my age.
One sunny Saturday, I opened a message from a guy on the poetry site.
He sounded rather nice, and his picture was rather cute, so we began chatting and arranged to meet for a coffee before I went to work on the following Wednesday morning.
Something shifted in the universe that day, and nine weeks later I moved in with him!
It turns out Anthony had begun his journey about well before me and had already lost an incredible 70kgs!
So following his example, I took Paleo to the next level and made the change to fully Primal. While I reduced my carbohydrates down to only leafy vegetables, I ate as much as I felt like, along with the occasional root vegetables like sweet potato, pumpkin and carrots.
I ate lots of grass fed meats, fats, free range eggs, seeds, and nuts, with a little fruit. I cut out all processed foods and sugars and made everything we ate from scratch. My love of cooking quickly came to the fore, and I began experimenting with what I could make that was both super healthy and tasted great…
He gave up his muesli bars, and I gave up my wine, which surprisingly I didn’t miss at all!
I’m no longer on a diet. I’ve simply changed the way I live my life and the foods I choose to enjoy.
My cooking however quickly got out of control. While Anthony admirably filled the initial role of guinea pig, it was his ability to consume copious amounts of food at an astounding rate like his dog that made me start calling him the Primal Labrador – and his nickname was born.
I started writing a WordPress blog, as people kept asking how I was losing weight, so I told them about my cooking and the Primal eating. Next thing you know we’re starting a business, and I’ve even become certified as a Primal Health Coach!
Here I am now, as we near the end of 2016 some 12 months after having moved in with the Primal Labrador, and I’m fit, healthy, incredibly motivated to improve myself and genuinely happy. And happiness is what it’s about!
So from my peak of 106kg and 51% body fat almost two years ago, I am now 62 kgs and about 24% body fat, a loss of around 44 kgs. So much for thinking 85kg was the lowest weight I could manage… and I’m by no means finished!
My aching joints, the rashes and profuse sweating I used to be bothered by all disappeared. I stopped taking all medications, and I haven’t had even a sniffle let alone the plague of colds and flu I had suffered from before changing my eating habits.
I also found as the weight came off my body clock switched back to a more natural rhythm, and I now have the energy to be up and busy all day. I do bodyweight exercises several times a week and regardless of the weather ride my pushbike to work – sometimes even taking the long route for an extra workout. In fact, I’m up at 4:30 am most mornings and working on improving my mind, my body and my lifestyle… what we have come to call the Primal Approach.
I’m happy and active, and enjoying life to the full again…