A Look at Some of The People Being Helped by “Bad and Incomplete Science” Part 2

A few more to add to the collection.

~ Mike shares.

I’m 47 years old and have been yo-yoing with my weight since my parents got divorced when I was seven. I had to go to my grandmother’s house after school and being the typical grandma, fed me all the sweets and ice cream and sugar and cinnamon rolls etc. that any young kid would want. So by the time I was 10 I was an obese kid.

When I went to Jr High I played football and wrestled and by the time I was a freshman, I had started to lean out and thought it was all good. I mostly maintained a healthy weight all the way until my Junior year in college.

From there, life took over once again. You can guess the rest, so at the age of 32, Im 5’9″ and 232 lbs. I joined a gym near work, ate a low fat diet, 5 meals a day, got back down to 185 lbs and all was going well. But even at that weight I was still real smooth, but I was happy to be where I was. Then the owner of the gym died of cancer and, the gym closed and I didnt really look into joining anywhere else—so I just gave up and this is the time the real weight gain started.

So fast forward 10 years later. I had been drinking 10-12 beers a day for at least the last 8, eating shit, and my pant size had crept up to the point where I went from size 34 pants, blew past 36, to 38. My wife bought me 2 pairs of jeans for Christmas in 2010 and I couldnt wear them. I had to sneak out and buy 40s because I was embarrased to tell her they wouldn’t fit, so I hid the 38s in the back of my closet. In January of 2011, I dropped myself from our family health plan and started to go to the VA for my health care. At my first appointment I weighed 262 lbs. I was demolished.

I started eating less and by April, I was down to 250, but after that I still kept on drinking the beer.

When my father died on Nov 9, 2011, I realized that I didnt have anything to wear to the memorial, so I took my son and myself to get us suits for the ceremony. I was measured at a 42 waist, a size 50 coat, and a 23 inch neck for the shirt. This was the start of the embarrasement.

After the ceremony we went to a relative’s house for dinner and my nephew—whom I hadn’t seen for about 6 months—came in, and I noticed that he was incredibly smaller than the last time I’d seen him. I asked him what he’d been doing. He told me his Dad put him on a paleo diet. So naturally I sought out my ex brother-in-law, who it turns out is a certified trainer and puts all his clients on some form of paleo diet.

I scoured the internet (must have wasted 80 hours of work time) gathering as much info as possible, and decided to give it a go on Nov 29th.

Your website and Marks Daily Apple have been a great source of information and motivation. So 5 weeks in, I’m down to 227 lbs, have been going back to the gym and using the information on your site about the Leangains approach for a workout, and feeling great. Iwas able to pull the jeans I had hidden from my wife and wear them, and just this weekend, bought 2 pairs of 36 that actually fit.

I know I have a long way to go, but I am enjoying this and no longer crave beer which is the biggest blessing so far.

Well, that was the beginning of January, and as of a couple of weeks ago, I have an update in the form of pictures.

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From 2010 to May, 2012

And how about another?

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From December, 2010 to June, 2012

~ Kim shares:

I’m writing because I have a bit of a success story to share, though I’m still on the journey towards the optimal. As of today, however, I have lost 50 pounds since April of 2010, when I began my path to wellness.

My story actually starts well before that, however. Fuck, let’s just start at the beginning (hope you have a few minutes). I was an athletic kid, played on tons of sports teams, lived in the type of neighborhood where you played outside for hours after school and all day every day in the summers, had two older brothers that enjoyed kicking the shit out of me, etc. Our family ate the very definition of the Standard American Diet, however. Breakfast was plain sugary cereal (didn’t like milk) and OJ. Lunch was a sandwich, sugary yogurt or whatever the school cafeteria was serving up. Dinner was some meat (lots of ham and chicken), a canned vegetable (which I usually fed to the dog) and loads of grains. We had “pizza night” once a week and my mom made casseroles every week as well. Due to my high activity level at time, my poor diet seemingly had little effect on my body composition/health.

A couple of years into high school, I found myself exploring interests other than sports. I joined services organizations and began doing theater. As a result of lessened physical activity, coupled with my continuation of the SAD diet, I started gaining weight. […]

Ever since, I’ve been battling overweight, following the same old “eat less, exercise more” bullshit advice that encumbers the mainstream. For the next 10 or so years, I would bounce anywhere from 160lbs – 200lbs, depending on my situation at the time (stress levels, ability to work out, etc.). At one point, in about 2003, I resorted to using ephedra (Stacker) to loose weight. It worked and I dropped to about 160, maybe a little lower. […]

In 2008, I worked hard to get into shape, because I wanted to begin conceiving a child. I weighed 170lbs when I got pregnant in early 2009. Stupidly, for a good deal of my pregnancy, I followed the same bullshit pregnancy advice and pretty much “gave into cravings” and ate whatever the hell I wanted. At some point in my pregnancy, I watched Food, Inc. and read Nina Plank’s Real Food. This started me on what I now call my “Wellness Adventure.” I started drinking raw milk and eating grassfed meat. I dropped my obstetrician, and started seeing a midwife.

Even with these changes, though, I managed to gain a whopping 70lbs. during my pregnancy. Prior to giving birth to my amazing son in December of 2009, I weighed in at 240lbs. Yikes! Not long after, in April of 2010, I weighed 197 pounds and decided I really needed to do something about my weight. I stumbled onto the Whole Health Source blog, as I was looking more into traditional foods. The first post I read was about Stephen being on jimmy moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Show. I listened to that podcast, and down the rabbit hole I went. From there, I found your blog, Robb Wolf’s podcast/blog, Mark Sisson’s blog, among the multitudes.

Just by going “low carb,” I lost 20 pounds by the end of that summer. In addition to the lost weight, my skin had cleared up (I had constant acne), my allergies were nearly gone (we used to say I was always … “leaking”), and I had a ton of energy (not bad for a new mother who wasn’t getting a hell of a lot of sleep). Since I was reading all of these Paleo/Primal blogs, I learned about the dangers of grains and industrial seed oils (never liked legumes, so they were already nixed from the diet – easiest food group to give up EVER). So, I started eating a primal diet (still haven’t been able to kick the cheese habit, though it’s no longer the main source of protein as it had been in my old diet). I stopped eating pretty much all processed food, sugar and all grains. Once my son turned one, and had less nursing needs, I slowly added intermittent fasting into my routine, as well (your Leangains posts were great motivation to give this a go).

As a result, I now have lost 50 total pounds since April, 2010, and I feel amazing. I have boundless energy to play with my toddler son, who loves to wrestle (great workout!). I exercise now because I like the way it feels to move and challenge my body (not because I have to work off that extra slice of pizza). My skin and allergies have improved even more. My mental clarity is better. My lipid profile has vastly improved (lower trigs and higher HDL). I’m happier (less of the monthly mood swings, so the husband is happier too – lol). A primal life is a good life!

Anyway, as I said at the beginning of this email, I still feel I have a way to go. I weigh 147 as of this morning. My ideal weight for my height is probably closer to 130. I’m positive I’m going to get there (I constantly tell people how amazing it is to know you are on the right path and to have no concern that you aren’t going to meet your goals). […] I’m happy to share my story with you, and am so appreciative of what you do.

~ Dan loses a huge amount of weight on a low carb approach.

The sudden death of my wife of 37 years prompted a lifestyle change that has led to a weight loss of 143 pounds in the last 20 months. After researching diet and nutrition. I’ve adopted a low carb/Paleo lifestyle.

I tell my story on my blog at:

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340 & 52″ Waist to 183

~ Here’s Lauren with a “facelift” transformation.

I enjoy your blog and have seen you mention several times the idea that a person’s face changes when they switch to paleo. I don’t really call myself paleo as I read and admire MDA, your blog, and archevore equally. Regardless I eat the diet that you all basically promote and my face is quite different now. The first two photos were taken directly following the birth of my first baby. Two and a half years later, I had another baby. The two after photos were taken following the second child. The difference is quite strong, I think. I won’t bore you with a big long story, the photos speak for themselves. I will say that I was a vegetarian for 13 years and that celiac runs in my family. I did one pregnancy as a vegetarian and one as a carnivore.

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~ Jim gets motivated.

My name is Jim, and I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how much I enjoy your blog. I think I first stumbled upon it the day I also found Mark’s Daily Apple…someone on that forum had linked to a post of yours I believe. For quite some time I had been looking for both the method and the motivation for losing some of my extra weight. I was an all-American thrower in college, but had lost control in the past few years and at my heaviest was 335lbs. On a 6′ 7″ frame it’s not the worst, but I remember how I felt physically at that point, and I hated it, but couldn’t seem to do anything about it. In the couple of years after that I was able to get down to about 310, but no further.

Anyhow, Mark’s Daily Apple helped show me the method I was looking for, but it was your “New Year’s Resolutions Are Bullshit” post that really gave me the motivation to get after it. Specifically, the picture with the caption “Fuck you”. That day, I remember looking in the mirror and saying “Fuck you!” to what I saw – since that time (October 1, 2011), I’ve lost almost 30lbs and am exercising much more effectively. In addition, I’m taking more of a “follow your instinct” approach to almost everything. In short, my whole attitude has changed, and it really feels like I’ve figured a lot of things out.

Wow, all of these people figuring out all of this on their own, with “Bad and Incomplete Science.” But there’s nuthin’ to see here. It’s all anecdotal. Just more bad science.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. A Look at Some of The People Being Helped by “Bad and Incomplete Science” Part 2 » Bydio on June 19, 2012 at 12:24

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  2. rob on June 19, 2012 at 13:29

    Great job, I’ve got about three months left in my four-year self-improvement program which ends when I turn 50.

  3. Sean on June 19, 2012 at 13:38

    Why is it just guys who show off their transformation with naked torso pics? I’m pretty sure the patriarchy is to blame. I encourage Richard’s female paleo transformators (and females in general) to fight against the patriarchy by showing us their all in order to inspire the rest of us to health and fitness.

    I know I am always inspired by such things.

  4. Richard Nikoley on June 19, 2012 at 13:39

    “I know I am always inspired by such things.”

    Well, at least something gets in-spired.

    • Sean on June 19, 2012 at 13:50

      Richard, just walk away, you don’t want me to bring out the “yer mamma” ’cause it will just end in tears. Your tears.

      And I will bottle those tears and sell them at AHS ’12.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 19, 2012 at 14:18

      Mail order?

    • Sean on June 19, 2012 at 14:43

      Well, yes, I’ve been banned for life from stepping foot in MA for having improper political thoughts. Don’t know how the hell you’ll manage to get there, but I’d advise stocking up on Che shirts.

    • Andy on June 20, 2012 at 10:39


      The only time I was in Cambridge, MA, I saw a coed wearing a MONOCLE.

      Cambridge makes Berkeley look like Toledo.

  5. Galina L. on June 20, 2012 at 11:48

    The inspirational value of diet advice often gets overlooked. On one hand, it is important to understand what is going on and which things work for you and which don’t, one another hand, a physiology of human body is extremely complicated, and no one is able to micromanage such complex system anyway, we only control the “intake” part most of the time. It is reasonable to have realistic expectations. Good luck to find the perfect source of absolutely correct science and a perfectly flawless advice, or at least blog which is tailored for you 100%. No one on internet or in a book will give you a “complete” advice about your personal health situation or will be able to micromanage the plan of action for you in order to achieve an optimal health.

  6. pfw on June 20, 2012 at 12:17

    My random brain fart of the day, triggered by something common to all of these. Being chewing on this for a bit actually.

    Strip away all the back and forth about physiology and calories and other bullshit, and the power of paleo is the heuristic. The mental model. The raw, irrational “duh, that makes sense” moment that you can see in EVERY ONE of those stories.

    Paleo “works” because it gives people a way of looking at food and even the world that generates mostly healthy behavioral choices. Most normal humans don’t give a shit about nutrition science, nor should they. They have lives to lead. Animals eating real food don’t have to understand calories or statiety hormones in order to maintain a healthy weight, and once a human animal acquires a good heuristic for food, neither should they. It’s a waste of energy and mental bandwidth which could be productively applied else where.

    It seems like a lot of weight loss arguments miss the human for the bio-chemical burning in the bomb calirometer. Real humans are irrational bundles of emotionally driven behaviors with a layer of rationality on top battling the demons. You have to win your own mind over before you’ll accomplish anything, and for many, paleo is just the right nudge needed to get their mind working for them.

    That’s its power. That more than anything is “why” these people lost the weight they lost. Not the calories or the hormones or the food reward or the *insert new buzzword here*. The fact that the paleo concept struck a chord and handed them their mind – their most powerful tool – back to them.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 20, 2012 at 13:03

      Very well thought out, pfw. That’s where I’m putting my energies. In a couple of words: inspiration and motivation. The knowledge needed is quite minimal and in fact, probably the less the better. Doesn’t mean it’s bad to have knowledge at all and to seek better understanding and knowledge. But most people don’t operate on that level.

    • Galina L. on June 20, 2012 at 14:58

      “Most normal humans don’t give a shit about nutrition science, nor should they. ”

      I agree, being constantly occupied with natural science or counting calories while eating your food is pretty un-natural. I like the combination of IF with paleo-diet because it takes care of most decisions about what and how to eat . However , taking science completely out of making food choices will turn paleo-eating into something like religion practice. May be it would be convenient at the end of the day.

  7. Pauline on June 21, 2012 at 02:49

    Wow! well done. These journeys are often arduous and slow but the rewards are high. Brave for sharing your photos, takes courage and commitment. We do have a fascination with these stories – both the biological and psychological journeys people take to get themselves into a better place. I have learnt a lot from Richard’s thoughts on calories/portions because I never really considered that part of my paleo/low carb research, its kinda being the missing piece for me. Now I am finding its pivotal in terms of where I am. We all get there somehow, some of us ‘know’ a lot but take longer to work out the ‘how’ and have to fine-tune our ways to improve our overall well-being.

  8. Timothy on June 21, 2012 at 11:24

    What great stories. When we’re fat and ill, we all look and act much the same. But as we recover our health, amazing individual differences appear and magnify. You never know what kind of mental and physical talents are trapped within the husk of disease until the hammer of paleo breaks it open. Everyone emerges unique and this makes their success stories endlessly fascinating.

  9. Richard F on June 21, 2012 at 20:40

    After you wrote part 1, I was infuriated for the same reasons you are: asshats calling themselves “researchers” piling on the hate because they either hate someone associated with paleo, or they are too stupid to understand how science works. Most of them are the latter, very few are actual researchers looking at the data, scientific or otherwise, and making determinations based upon that.

    So as I wrote on my own site after reading your post is that this “bad and incomplete” science isn’t bad because someone may not agree with it and, by definition, ALL science is “incomplete” because that’s exactly how science works. If something isn’t a scientific law, it’s just a theory or a hypothesis and will forever be incomplete (unless it becomes adopted as one of the few vaunted laws) since anyone can test and re-test to prove or disprove the data. Data can always be complete, but the research on that data can continue until the end of time with the infinite number of investigative variables and vectors scientists can come up with.

  10. Dan Moffett on June 30, 2012 at 17:08

    Thank you for including my before and now pictures and my blog on your site. It is my goal to help as many folks as possible with my story.
    If a 55 year old man (now 57) can lose weight and get in shape others can to. I’ve lost 158 pounds to date. I’ve got about another 10 pounds to go. I went to out growing a 52 inch waist down to a 32 inch right now. From a 4x shirt to a medium now. I feel great. If I can help you in any way please let me know.


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