Darren 264 lbs
Jenn 214 lbs
Darren shirt size XL
Jenn dress size 18
Jenn – January 2013
Darren – January 2013
Darren 212 lbs
Jenn 162 lbs
Darren shirt size L
Jenn dress size 10 – 12
Jenn – July 2013
Darren – July 2013
How did you hear about the Primal lifestyle?
As a first step to making a healthy change in our lives, we applied to be super contestants in the Belleville General Hospital (BGH) Foundation’s 2nd annual Quinte’s Biggest Loser competition. Super contestants get paired with sponsoring gyms and lifestyle coaches to support them on their weight loss journey.
It wasn’t until BGH called to tell us we were accepted that we had even heard of the Primal lifestyle or the amazing people behind Living Primal, Carolyn Coffin and Kevin Beatty.
At first we were a bit thrown off by some of the basic guidelines. “It’s ok to eat fat? Really?” The “fat makes us fat” mindset was so ingrained with us, but we have really changed our outlook and have been able to make sustainable changes.
“I used to drink my coffee with skim milk,” Darren explained. “Now skim milk looks like water!”
What surprised you most about your Primal journey?
Jennifer: “Not being hungry. After we did the first weigh-in for Quinte’s Biggest Loser at five weeks in, another contestant [on a non-Primal program] commented that she was hungry all the time. Before Primal eating, I used to get to the point of strong hunger. I just had to eat something and I wouldn’t care what it was. But now I never feel that way anymore.”
Darren: “Mine was more the realization that I could exert myself and miss a meal and that was still ok, in fact it was encouraged. The ‘Don’t skip meals’ advice is meaningless on a Primal diet that regulates your blood sugar. Within the first few weeks of our Primal journey, we got into a car accident [everyone was ok!] and had to miss dinner. We were fascinated by the fact that we were not starving to death. We ended up eating dinner later, but we realized we could have skipped a meal and been ok.”
What was your biggest challenge with the Primal lifestyle?
Jennifer: “Grocery shopping! I found reading every label overwhelming until I finally said, ‘Why am I looking in this part of the store?” At first I sent Carolyn pictures of food to see if it was Primal-approved, but eventually I figured it out.”
Darren: “I am my own worst enemy. Initially I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get past my own brain. This is why I have failed in the past – initially I go hardcore and then I try to find loopholes in the system. My biggest challenge was getting out of my own way and putting myself in my coaches’ hands.”
Can you comment on your successes – and flops – in the kitchen?
Bacon wrapped pineapple was very well received in our household!
We didn’t have any super flops, but we did learn that mayonnaise is so hard to make! We destroyed four batches in one day, but it taught us that we can substitute Greek yogurt and sour cream for dip (rather than make mayo). We also couldn’t make the cauliflower crust pizza work – too much water, too thick. The almond flour crust is better.
”How do you feel now compared to pre-Primal?
Jennifer: “I have a lot more energy. I sleep solidly and feel refreshed on waking. It’s awesome!”
Darren: “More energy! And my sleep has improved too. In general, I am capable of doing things I couldn’t do before, such as Ultimate Frisbee. I can now even play in the heat.”
Anything else about your Primal journey you would like to share?
Jennifer: “I just never knew what normal felt like. But the way I feel now, I can’t imagine going back to what I ate before. Even after gluten-free pizza, I feel awful. Oh, and – bacon is good.”
Darren: “Forget all you know and have an open mind. The Standard Diet doesn’t appear to be working for most people so why not give this a try for 30 days and see how you feel?
Also, think about what you eat. I was a mindless eater – I just shovelled it in. And now I contemplate what I am going to eat and what it’s going to do to me. I listen to myself and to my body. But at the same time we are realistic and shoot for 80/20 balance. North America is a mine-laden place. It can be a slippery slope so we just do our best.”