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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 27, 2011

3 More Primal Blueprint Success Stories

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60 Comments

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means more Primal Blueprint Real Life Stories. 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. Thanks for reading!

Hey Mark,

After reading some of the other stories on your site, I decided to share mine with you too.  I too was your typical high school athlete, I played basketball year round and some football, got strong fast, and I could eat Arby’s 5 for 5 without thinking twice. Then came college (do you see a pattern here?). I actually stayed pretty fit throughout college somehow without much more than the occasional pickup basketball game, but over time the beer and crap food choices began to catch up with me. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back at pictures I was a poster boy for “skinny fat”. I graduated from college in 2007 and came home to an always exciting cubicle job, and that’s when all…physical…activity…stopped. I got an apartment with my girlfriend (now my wonderful wife), tried P90X for about a month and quit, obsessed over wanting to look and feel better but never did anything about it.

My wife and I got married in Key West in January 2010. Looking at the pictures as time went on I was not really satisfied with myself, but I kinda figured at 27 (about 215 pounds), maybe I’ve passed up any opportunity to really look how I want to look. Turns out I was dead wrong. One day in the spring of 2010 I was exceptionally motivated and we (Krista and I) went to a local personal training facility. We did a workout, learned alot (like my usual giant bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch was less than ideal) but were in no shape financially to pay for personal training (we just bought a house within the last year). So now what? We spent a weekend up in Northern Wisconsin with two friends; we spent our time trying handstands on the beach and having my friend Jason talk our ear off about thing thing called CrossFit (thanks, by the way Jason). He heard about it from another good friend we had in college who had been training using the functional crossfit methods for sometime. We came home and called our local box, and signed up for a 2 week trial. I literally barely made it through the warm up on day one but we loved it and have been going strong for almost a year now.  During that time I’ve learned alot about nutrition. I recently finished your Primal Blueprint book while on vacation and before that I read The Paleo Solution. In the time I’ve adopted the Primal way of eating and living, I have noticed my body composition change unbelievably fast (now I weigh about 190), I haven’t been sick and I always feel perfectly rested and alert everyday. I cook all of our meals everyday for my wife and I and we’ve even signed up for a local CSA farm share this summer. Between that and our small garden we’ll have more fresh, home-grown veggies than we’ll know what to do with! By no means are we perfect (a point in your book I thought was pretty important), we definitely treat ourselves to some sweets now and then, but overall I’ve been living the Primal life (and my wife too, indirectly) and I love everything about it.

So before I ramble on for too long here, I just wanted to say thanks for putting together such a great book and I hope you’ve enjoyed my story. I’ve attached a couple of pictures, one from January 2010 in Key West and the other from April 2011, after about 10 months of doing CrossFit and about 1 month of eating pretty strictly Primal.

Justin

_________________________________________________________________________

My dad is a food scientist for a major processed food company and my mom is Italian. Needless to say, I grew up on carbs. I always had things like chips, cookies, microwavable meals, mac ‘n cheese, soda, and ice cream in the house as a kid. We ate plenty of starches and grains in our Standard American Diet household. I never questioned the Conventional Wisdom because my dad had a degree in nutrition and knew everything about food. We were eating “healthy” as far as I knew.

I started putting weight when I was pretty young. I was never really big, but always had a gut. I assumed I just needed to exercise more. I spend a lot of my high school and college life trying to motivate myself to run and work out more.  Nothing ever worked. I’d lose a bit here and there, but always gain it back. It didn’t help that I’d have half a bag of Doritos after a workout. I always stayed pretty chubby. It never occurred to me that it was the eating habits, not the lack of exercise that was keeping me fat.

I went to college and the belly continued to grow. I managed to lose some weight in my second year there through lots of working out and working my butt off while pledging a fraternity. But by the end of college I still ended up with my “Freshmen 15”. I started to learn a bit about eating then and totally bought into the whole grains thing. Of course this didn’t help the spare tire I was accumulating.

Then I graduated and got a nice desk job where I could sit all day long! I kept going with the whole grains, legumes, low fat dairy, and lean meats thing. I ate a lot of turkey and mustard sandwiches on wheat bread back then. Add to it plenty of oatmeal, granola bars, fruit, and “yogurt” and I thought I was eating healthy. Not to mention the hour long elliptical sessions…

Then about a year and a half ago, I was doing more research on how to lose weight. At this point I was pushing 230 at 6’. I know this is not terrible, but I started having to buy size 36 pants and was not happy about it. I used calorie trackers religiously and did plenty of cardio and weight machines. None of it was working though. I was the fattest I’d ever been.

While doing that research, I happened to find Mark’s Daily Apple on Reddit and started reading. I think I read the whole archive of the blog in the next two days. It immediately made sense to me. I realized that I hadn’t been eating real food this whole time. It was like having a blind fold pulled off. It was all finally making sense.

Within a few months of eating about 80% paleo/Primal I dropped back under 200 pounds. I felt better and looked great. To this day, I’ve kept it under 200, even getting down to 190 at one point. I still have an inch around the belly that I’d like to lose, but it’s not much. Now I’m getting more into heavy weight lifting and some intermittent fasting to get rid of that last bit. Today is actually a big day for me because I squatted 195 pounds (my current bodyweight) in the gym.

Now I’m focused on getting stronger and living a more paleo/Primal life. The Standard American Diet is truly a product of advertising with no regard to the wellbeing of the actual consumers. I find that a lot of this goes along with minimalism and rejection of what TV tells people to buy. (There is no way kids need to eat fruit loops just because there is extra fiber added) I try to keep with the paleo/Primal mindset of questioning everything that Conventional Wisdom tells us and thinking for oneself.

My next goal is to work on getting my dad to try the Primal/paleo eating plan. It’ll be a bit of work convincing a food scientist that food products are bad for you. But his gut is bigger than mine was so I hope he listens. That and figure a way to not need this desk job anymore. Grok definitely didn’t know what a cubicle is.

LeeSurviving the Cubicle

_________________________________________________________________________

I wanted to share some interesting results with my Primal lifestyle.

About five months ago I decided to get off the couch and get in shape. I use to be in shape (Sprint Triathlons), but after the birth of our two children – I let myself go – work stress, no time to exercise, kids first, et cetera… same situation as many people. I decided I needed something to motivate me – so I signed up for something dramatic. I signed up for Navy SEALs “hell week” training for civilians.  I learned about this from an extreme vacations show on the Travel channel. The program is called Extreme SEAL Experience (www.extremesealexperience.com).  As a side note, I do not receive any compensation for posting this. I’m posting it just in case someone else is interested. Mark Sisson> Interested in taking the challenge?

After signing up, I started going to the gym, running, etc. I was feeling better, but I wasn’t losing any weight for the first two months – I figured it was because I was converting fat into muscle… and muscle weighs more, right? Then I remember seeing an old friend on FaceBook awhile back that had lost a lot of weight since the High School days. He said his “secretS was the Primal Blueprint. And that was the turning point for me. I read the book and changed my eating habits and workout routines according to the Primal Blueprint. So during the last two months prior to my civilian SEALs course I lost 17 pounds. I was pretty excited and motivated to see my love handles and double chin fade away. I was starting to feel fit enough for my civilian SEALs course.

The civilian SEALs course is as demanding as you can imagine. However, one thing I was not expecting was the huge meals they provided. I was thinking we would be eating military style MREs. But instead they were large “Southern Comfort” foods. The meals were loaded with pastas, breads, rice… a very high carb intake… which at that point I wasn’t use to eating. However, with as much energy we were expending – I needed fuel from any where I could get it. So I ate everything they provided. (Everything is delicious when you are exhausted.) After seven days of burning several thousand calories a day I was expecting that I would lose some more fat and build more muscle tone. (We did about 800 push-ups the first day?!) But when I got home and weighed myself I had actually gained four pounds. Perhaps it was muscle, but I account it to the very high carb intake. I quickly changed back to the Primal lifestyle and I lost those 4 pounds in about two weeks.

So my result was that even with a very physically demanding exercise routine combined with a very high carb intake – it did not result in weight lost or increased muscle tone for me. Afterwards, switching back to Primal eating habits with low intensity activity/sprinting resulted in weight loss.

Enjoy the moment,

-Craig

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60 Comments on "3 More Primal Blueprint Success Stories"

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Jeanna
5 years 3 months ago

Always so cool to hear of others going Primal! Love it!

Primal Toad
Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

Justin! No way! My sister is getting married in key west next February! It’s a destination wedding. Do you and your wife live down there now? Do you have any must have restaurants to eat at? Places to visit? Things to do? If you live there now then we must meet up. I plan on being there for about a week or so!

Primal Toad
Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

I just finished reading all 3 stories. Pretty damn inspiring. These things never get old. I am now accepting success stories on my blog .anyone care to email me there’s? Just click on the contact page at the top of my blog!

Justin
Justin
5 years 3 months ago

Hey! Yes it was a destination wedding, but no we live all the way up in Wisconsin. How can I get in touch with you to give you some pointers on The Keys?

Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks for the reply Justin! Feel free to email me, Todd@PrimalToad.com.

My blog is PrimalToad.com – it did not show up as a link because I was on my iPad when I left the comment.

Thanks!!

Krista
Krista
5 years 3 months ago

hey! i’m justin’s wife. unfortunately, we do not live there, but sometimes we wish we do! The restaurant in the beachside Marriott called the town and tavern was excellent! that is where we had out wedding dinner. Where is your sister getting married? You definitely have to go to Duvall street its a different world down there and so much fun! Does your sister already have a photographer? If not, I recommend Sean Michael Scott and his website is seanmichaelphoto.com

Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago
Thank you for the recommendations! I posted my email in the comment reply to your husband but the comment is awaiting moderation. It is: Todd @ Primal Toad . com (with out the spaces). She just texted me back an said they are getting married at the beachside Marriott! That is way to amazing. Small world, yea?! I am guessing the Dinner will be there too. I am seriously going crazy right now. And, you guys live in Wisconsin?!?! I am here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My mother grew up in Eau Claire and went to school in Madison! My… Read more »
phil
phil
5 years 3 months ago

Blue Heaven

Hal
5 years 3 months ago

There’s also SealFit, for those of you interested in really pushing your body and mind in the pursuit of fitness… kinda contrary to the concept Mark’s laid out, but definitely something to consider if you want to truly become an elite athlete in both body and mind.

Albert
5 years 3 months ago

Yep! Keep ’em coming 😀

Congrats to all of you guys. Determination and good food does it!

Foxgrok
Foxgrok
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks for sharing! I’m working on my own success story currently. Can’t wait to share it! =]

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[…] if you have some extra time after writing down the recipe check out Mark’s Daily Apple Blog, he has three great stories that are sure to inspire you to change your healthy eating […]

Timothy
5 years 3 months ago

Congrats, Justin, Lee, Craig! Very inspiring stories from all.

Lee, your story sounds particularly familiar to me; I too was raised on crap, tried to be healthy with CW only to watch my waistline expand a little in college and then a lot after I got the desk job. Working from a chair originally seemed like the cat’s pajamas but now feels more like a case of fleas.

I love your blog, Surviving the Cubicle! You’ve got some awesome and original ideas on there. Definitely recommended reading for all cube-caged primalists.

Lee
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks! Sitting all day is not fun. It definitely makes you feel like a rat in a cage.

Keep reading, I’m just getting started, but have tons of stuff lined up. It’s been a long time coming so I should have plenty of material.

Croí
Croí
5 years 3 months ago

Awesome Job you guys! Keep it up!

Peggy The Primal Parent
5 years 3 months ago

Oh America why can’t you see!!!? So much misery so easily abated!

(that was a rhetorical question btw)

Crunchy Pickle
5 years 3 months ago

So true! Here’s to less misery!!!

Brian
Brian
5 years 3 months ago

Nice VFFs in the second pic!

Daria
Daria
5 years 3 months ago

Great stories! Yes these cubicle are killing us! Lee, I’ll be checking out your blog. I work for a large soda manufacturer right now and I couldn’t be less interested in this job. I was never a big soda drinker, and now I’m a health nut and I feel that most people that work here don’t understand me. I think our products are evil and wasteful, but I can’t tell anyone that.

Happy long Memorial Day weekend to everyone.

Lee
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks! Plenty more to come on Surviving the Cubicle

tootsie
tootsie
5 years 3 months ago

Every success story motivates me to keep working on my own. Keep em’ coming!Grok on…

Alison Golden
5 years 3 months ago

Congratulations to Justin, Lee and Craig. I particularly liked Craig’s story. Mark needs to get the military onto PB.

Noëlle
Noëlle
5 years 3 months ago

Yes he does!! There are usually hardboiled eggs and fruit and salads in the chow hall, but a lot of the stuff in the hot lines is NASTY… I bet the results would be amazing if the military got onboard with PB!!

Evan
Evan
5 years 3 months ago
Maybe I just haven’t drunk the cool aid, but am I the only one who finds these pretty unimpressive: #1 — 10 months of crossfit + 1 month of primal… Which do you think would be more likely to give you a body like that? 10 months of crossfit or 1 month of primal? #2 — that’s a pretty good weight loss but that’s what happens when you sit on your butt all day long at work and eat a bunch of sugar and then discover oh yeah maybe I should be working out and eating better. #3 — I… Read more »
Shaun
5 years 3 months ago

I think you’re missing the point that these are “Success Stories” NOT “stories that prove that PB is awesome and is the only reason for anyones success ever”

Or something like that.

Shaun

I Love Primal
5 years 3 months ago

I kind agree… not that even a tiny success isn’t a success….. but is this all the success this site is hearing about?? I would LOVE to be able to repost this to all my friends every Friday to inspire the hopeless and discouraged… but I don’t feel these success stories are compelling enough to mention to aforementioned crowd… BUT CONGRATS ANYWAY, of course!!!

DThalman
DThalman
5 years 3 months ago

I guess we could all use a little help being cool, so maybe drink that. Kool-aid’s not primal though.

Justin
Justin
5 years 3 months ago

Evan,

Sorry you found all of our stories so unimpressive. Why even bother coming on here if you’re not supportive?

It’s funny you bring up that point about my 10 months of crossfit and 1 month of eating primal. I’m a firm believer that you cannot out exercise a bad diet. I saw my body comp change significantly quicker once I ditched the grains and sugars all together. I shared my story for those who would see it as a source of inspiration.

Evan
Evan
5 years 3 months ago
Hey Justin, I think you’re taking it the wrong way. I do think what you’re done is awesome and I’m not trying to be unsupportive! I own a couple of Mark’s books and agree with a lot of what he says but with how much self promotes the awesomeness of primal I would expect the success stories to be more impressive and clearly attributable to primal. Put it this way: if a person had done Crossfit for 10 months and then took a new drug made by one of the drug companies for 1 month, would anyone here believe their… Read more »
DThalman
DThalman
5 years 3 months ago
It’s easy to “go primal” and eat all primal foods but go overboard on fruit and nuts…it doesn’t take too many handfuls of that to get one’s carbs back up to 100-150 grams or more daily. For most people, that level of carbs won’t let them see the leaning out benefits of the diet. (Probably you’ve read “Why We Get Fat” by Taubes, which explains the why of this so well.) That’s probably what’s happening with your clients. That and cheating on the diet excessively. It’s insidious. I’ve seen that happen with family members. They say, “I’m eating primal,” and… Read more »
Van
Van
5 years 3 months ago

Evan-

I am assuming that Mark follows the plan he puts forth. He has photos and many stories that prove it works from himself and many subscibers to his plan. I have not seen pictures of you or read any plan you have put forth for analysis. Until then, follow your mothers advice and keep your mouth shut if you don’t have anything positive to contribute.

Evan
Evan
5 years 3 months ago

Van,

Actually my mother taught me to speak my mind even if it’s not popular but thanks anyway.

With all due respect I can tell from the level of reasoning in your response that you are not particularly intelligent. So I’m not going to waste my breath trying to discuss/argue with you. Good luck and I hope it everything works out for you!

Cheers,
Evan

PS Is what this blog has become? When someone expresses even a moderately skeptical viewpoint they get attacked by all the true believers? Sad…

Aaron
Aaron
5 years 3 months ago
Mark, hey I’m a 30yr old police officer, and have been primal for about three weeks. I’m 5’6, and have went from 172 back down to 156 in that short period. Here’s my question..I had to chase a guy down today and I ran out of fuel quick. I dont mean winded, but my legs actually started failing (within I’d guess about 15 sec or so). Why was this? Was I lacking the glycogen to keep them going? I know I’m not in as good of shape as I used to be, but I’m known for being able to catch… Read more »
Eric
Eric
5 years 3 months ago

There is a transition period when you go off carbs. Your body takes a little while to adjust. It could be that.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/low-carb-flu/

Warrior
Warrior
5 years 3 months ago
Love the Friday success stories Mark. My only quibble is when I finally reach the “money shot” (after pic) I immediately want to go back and compare it to the before pic. Kind of annoying having to scroll up through the intervening text, especially without a mouse. While I think it is good to have the before pic at the start to help “set the scene” it might be good to show it again immediately before the after pic to make it easier to compare. Or even add a composite “before and after” pic at the very end with cropped… Read more »
pete smith
pete smith
5 years 3 months ago

Primal Toad….get a life, a life off-line.

fritzy
fritzy
5 years 3 months ago

Pete–as opposed to your life that evidently revolves around flaming others online? Irony is such a fickle lover, isn’t it Pete?

brooki
brooki
5 years 3 months ago

I look forward to these every week… FAVOURITE part of the blog

fritzy
fritzy
5 years 3 months ago
Lee– I had to laugh at the part in your success story in which you talked about “eating healthy” according to conventional wisdom: “I kept going with the whole grains, legumes, low fat dairy, and lean meats thing. I ate a lot of turkey and mustard sandwiches on wheat bread back then. Add to it plenty of oatmeal, granola bars, fruit, and “yogurt” and I thought I was eating healthy.” I used to eat like that too. And it was just aweful. Flavorless, unsatisfying crap. Yet I have coworkers feeding themselves this sub-standard fare who then tell me the food… Read more »
Gingersnapper
5 years 3 months ago

Primal Toad: I recommend La Te Da on Duval Street. Very fun place, great food.

Meagan
5 years 3 months ago

GREAT stories!!

This was the best part…. “The Standard American Diet is truly a product of advertising with no regard to the wellbeing of the actual consumers.”

Jesse
5 years 3 months ago
Great job all 3 of you! My own journey is stalled right now due to stress and low will power…but I’m getting back on track slowly. What I really wanted to do was agree with the comment made about consumerism and advertising. I’m finding, the more I meet people and read blogs etc, that the very same people who are able to see the facts clearly and ditch CW with regards to their diet are the very same people who are able to see through the cr@p that advertisers spew and ditch consumerism as well. Living simply encompasses all aspects… Read more »
Lisa
Lisa
5 years 3 months ago

I don’t want to join the Debbie Downer party, because any step in the right direction is awesome. Still, what I’d like to see more of on this site are stories from people who didn’t have existing conditions (ie insulin resistance, poor eating habits, the like.)

It’s clear that this way of eating helps people to lose, but I want to see are people who maybe switched from veganism or vegetarianism — and not the potato chip kind!–, were in good shape to begin with who got better results eating like this.

Sonia
Sonia
5 years 3 months ago
Hi Lisa, I have kept a very close eye on everything I ate since I was 15 years old. I ate whole grains, low fat…all the stuff you were supposed to. I worked out regularly but, despite that, my weight creeped up a bit as I hit my early thirties. Since switching to PB, I never have to watch my weight. I immediately lost ten lbs that had crept on in my early thirties and a lot of lingering joint pain I’d grown to accept disappeared. My stomach looks less bloated and far more toned than it did before…and it’s… Read more »
Tracy
Tracy
5 years 3 months ago
Lisa- I have always been thin and worked out. I ran marathons as a skinny fat vegetarian. Then switched to being a figure competitor and had to follow a low fat, “balanced” diet filled with bland chicken, brown rice, oatmeal and veggies. Got my body to the leanest I have ever been in 12 weeks. Post show was insane and caused sugar binging problems. I did that roller coaster and two competitions in year. Post second show in August I discovered Marks Daily Apple. From August 2010 – January 1st I ate primal except for one cheat meal a week… Read more »
Tracy
Tracy
5 years 3 months ago
Oops-Wasnt done… On January 2nd I went 100% Primal with no cheating and within a few weeks 100% Paleo. I am going on 5 months and I will NEVER go back to my old way of eating low fat, grains, etc. After doing figure competitions you quickly gain weight and cannot control it. So hard mentally to deal with. After 5 months eating like this and working out more crossfit style I am leaner and a size smaller than I was. Everyone tells you when you do figure competitions that it is a waste because you cannot maintain that body.… Read more »
Dallas
Dallas
5 years 3 months ago

Lisa, visit your local Crossfit. I am sure you will find the proof you are looking for. Look for the people that have been long time members. The ones that have done a few Paleo Challenges.
You can really see the changes in speed, power and leanness in the athletes that are dedicated

Aaron
Aaron
5 years 3 months ago

Hi, could someone take a look at my comment from yesterday, and offer any advice? It would be greatly apprieciated…thanks!

fritzy
fritzy
5 years 3 months ago
Difficult to say, just from the info you provided. Are you lifting heavy things several times a week? Sprinting (other than at work to catch “bad guys?”) Are you moving at a slow pace for several hours a week? Most importantly, are you getting enough quality sleep and are you getting enough rest in-between workouts? Overtraining is an easy problem for those who dive in to something like this head first and get a little too ambitious. You’ve only been at this for three weeks. It typically takes people a little time to get used to Primal. For me, I… Read more »
Robyn
Robyn
5 years 3 months ago

Aaron-
Losing 16 lb in 3 weeks? That’s pretty fast. My guess is you’re not eating enough. It’s a hard adjustment, but I think (esp in your job) you need to eat more. When I’m 100% primal, I feel like I’m stuffing my face (compared to a calorie restricted diet), but I’ll tend to lose about 2 lb a week, consistently.

fritzy
fritzy
5 years 3 months ago
Agreed–particulary fat. A common thread I see among people who have just started Primal is that they are still fat phobic (hard not to be in our culture–it takes a little practice to make that mental leap.) They think they are eating enough fat but really aren’t. That could definitely lead to quick exhaustion when exerting yourself. You need that fat for lasting energy as well as preserving muscle mass. I don’t keep strict count, but I would guess that I consume about 150-200 grams of fat a day (out of about 2200-2400 calories a day.) You should not feel… Read more »
Ivan
Ivan
5 years 3 months ago

Congratulations to all of you, inspiring stories.

Justin: May I ask, how many times of a week do you do crossfit workouts?
Thanks!

Justin
Justin
5 years 3 months ago

Ivan, we’ve always done 3 times per week. Generally every other day.

Tim
Tim
5 years 3 months ago

Another great set of stories!! To those who don’t find these inspiring as I read through the comments, you don’t understand the points of this. Each person is different, each person finds their motivation different.

These 3 people have adopted the Primal lifestyle and that in and of itself is A SUCCESS STORY!!

Congrats to all of you, I love reading each and every Success story on this journey!!

Tim

Find me on facebook
http://facebook.com/bigtimsprimaljourney

Paleo Josh
5 years 3 months ago

Wow. Inspired. check!

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[…] Read Justin’s Story >> […]

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[…] Read Craig’s Story >> […]

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[…] Read Lee’s Story >> […]

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[…] kids, the obese, the hopeless, the eating disordered, the depressed and mood-swingy, the “skinny fat,” those in search of their inner kick-ass underwear model, endurance athletes, much of the […]

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