Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
19 Apr

97 Pounds Destroyed!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. 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. Thank you for reading!

Hello Mark,

My whole life changed because of the Primal Blueprint. Ever since I can remember, I struggled with weight. Unsure why at times, since both of my brothers had no problem being thin and built. My bodily make-up was apparently different.

I tried many diets over the years. Accompanied by many short stints with gyms and home workouts. I lost 10, 20, and even 30 lbs one time, and gained it all back with vengeance. When I was 24, I suffered a back injury that required surgery. From that day on, I was constantly in pain from my lower back.

As life went on, I began to believe that being a big guy was me. I grew to accept what, I felt, I could not change. I also grew to accept back pain as a way of life (sometimes crippling pain). At one point in my life I remember weighing in at 350. Below is a picture of what I had become – 339lbs.

John - Before

Something about seeing this picture, triggered the biggest battle of my life. I left work one night and joined the nearest gym I got to. Once there, I was offered a trainer as part of the membership offer. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it full bore. Two days later, I started with a trainer and battled through every workout, till I had given it everything I had. As time went on, the workouts became easier and the bodily pain subsided. Back pain also greatly reduced.

I was put on a nutritional plan by my trainer. It was very similar to the low carb lifestyle of Primal Blueprint. However, it was very confusing to me and not very clear cut. I started making salads for lunch instead of ordering in at work. Pounds started to disappear. This transitioned my thought process into, how can I make it better? I checked out books on Amazon about how to lose weight and stumbled across your book. As I read through it I realized the similarities to my current plan. Only it had one key factor that I was missing; an understanding of how everything effects my body.

Two months later was weight check-in time. I had lost 38 lbs since this all began. This just gave me more drive. I was so close to dropping below 300 for the first time in, I don’t know how long.

I went out and bought a treadmill, weight machine, free weights and a rowing machine to build a home gym. I wanted something for the nights it was too late for the gym. I went a little overboard. Who would have thought, I’d convert my home bar into a gym.

I started experimenting with many Primal recipes. Concocting my own and spending free time searching Mark’s Daily Apple for new and exciting meals. I have eaten vegetables and fish that I have never tried in my life, and love it! I am always searching for new ideas.

With all the changes taking place, I decided to step it up a notch. After 16 years, I grew my hair back and shaved my goatee. I was surprised to find a full head of hair.

I even felt so ambitious that I signed up and started a 25 person team for the ToughMudder (inspired by British military training) in July. Twelve miles and twenty-five obstacles of Guns a Blazin’ Primal exercise. Everyone on our team must make it. When I make it through that will be when I feel I have completed what I set out to do.

And now 10 months later, I am weighing in at 242 lbs. 97 lbs destroyed!

I still have a long ways to go, but I’m getting there. Training hard for July. I just wanted to say thank you, Mark.  Your book has inspired me to fight the toughest battle of my life and has changed it forever…

John - Primal

Thank you,


You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Congratulations and good luck!

    Erin wrote on April 19th, 2013
  2. Thank you for sharing your story. Well done, congratulations, and good luck in July!

    Nicole wrote on April 19th, 2013
  3. Awesome job!! I’m excited about the upcoming Tough Mudder in Topeka! It’s one of my goals to make by September! Congrats man, you are an inspiration!

    PaperJenny wrote on April 19th, 2013
  4. John – great transformation, keep it up! Your story is similar to so many others and there are actually people that still doubt this way of eating …go figure.

    John wrote on April 19th, 2013
  5. Congratulations! Looking good. Good luck with the Tough Mudder!

    Jennifer H (Metric in MDA) wrote on April 19th, 2013
  6. You have a major achievement. It is something you can be proud of. You look good and obviously feel good. Keep going forward

    Edward wrote on April 19th, 2013
  7. W00t!!! Congratulations on your achievement!! Something to be HUGELY proud of!

    redsnapperuk wrote on April 19th, 2013
  8. Great job. You can take it to the finish line.

    Diane wrote on April 19th, 2013
  9. Congrats, you look amazing!

    Amber wrote on April 19th, 2013
  10. Looking awesome already, John! 97 pounds burned up on your march of health and well-being. And it is so important to know WHY to do something, isn’t it? Great point.

    Joy Beer wrote on April 19th, 2013
  11. AMAZING!! Way to go – I love your fire! I’m also training for a tough mudder in June, and I’m so scared – thanks for the inspiration! :)

    Susie wrote on April 19th, 2013
  12. Congrats, John! You are awesome! :)

    Kathy wrote on April 19th, 2013
  13. you look amazing, are you single? 😉

    CJ wrote on April 19th, 2013
  14. “Who would have thought, I’d convert my home bar into a gym.”

    Haha, I love it! You’re doing a great job, congrats on all the improvements you’ve made and good luck in your upcoming race! Sounds like a blast.

    Emily wrote on April 19th, 2013
  15. John, you’re doing amazing! Something I love about your story is you’re still on the journey. Thanks for sharing it with us so we can cheer you on!

    Anne wrote on April 19th, 2013
  16. Wow! You’re looking good! Congratulations on winning one of life’s toughest challenges.

    Here’s one of my favorite recipes from Renegade Health Show dot com. You can watch it on Youtube:

    Cucumber Arame Salad
    1 c Arame or Hiziki (or any other finely chopped, dried sea vegetable)
    2 large or 4 pickling cucumbers, very thinly sliced (I use the wavy plate on the mandolin slicer – it gives room for the liquid to get to all sides)
    1 or 2 red peppers, diced or sliced
    1 small red onion, diced
    1/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar
    2 Tbsp EVOO
    1 tsp sea salt (I use less)
    pinch or two of pepper

    Soak arame for 15 min covered in filtered water. Drain arame, and add to cucumbers, peppers and onion. Add all other ingredients and toss. Let set for a while to mingle tastes.

    I hope you enjoy this recipe. I try different vinegars and oils. Sometimes I add carrot shreds for more color.

    W. J. Purifoy wrote on April 19th, 2013
  17. Awesome story!! I keep looking for those keystone habits and changed mindsets we’ve been talking about lately and here they are right in your story! I also love that you are still on your journey, but wow! You look ten years younger (and it’s not just the hair!)! Grok on, John!! Give us an update after the mudder!

    Rhonda the Red wrote on April 19th, 2013
  18. Great job. Keep up the good work and enjoy your new body.

    Jeff wrote on April 19th, 2013
  19. You look fantastic, good job! Send an update and more pictures after the race.

    Sandy wrote on April 19th, 2013
  20. You look amazing! Very inspiring. I bet your trainer is thrilled to work with you.

    joey wrote on April 19th, 2013
  21. Great job John. One less chin to tote around. You will have no problem with your upcoming challenge. Grok on!

    Nocona wrote on April 19th, 2013
  22. Wow, I don’t even recognize you in the new pic! Congrats! Oh, do you like older women? :)

    Siobhan wrote on April 19th, 2013
  23. You look amazing already. And more importantly, it sounds like you feel amazing as well. Good luck in July!

    b2curious wrote on April 19th, 2013
  24. Congratulations on your successes! You are such an inspiration!!!

    Gwen wrote on April 19th, 2013
  25. Nice work, John. Keep it up!!!

    James wrote on April 19th, 2013
  26. You look great! Congratulations!

    Sunny wrote on April 19th, 2013
  27. All I can say is WOWSA!! You look amazing!

    I am in a similar situation. I am planning to do the Warrior Dash later this fall and end the year with a 1/2 marathon. I’ve never ran more than a 5K so these will be a challange. I am slowly switching over to a primal/paleo diet – which for me is neccessary since I am gluten intolorant. I am trying very hard to switch over 100% and bring my boyfriend over to the Paleo Side :)

    Tabs wrote on April 19th, 2013
  28. Looking like a new man! Congrats and good luck with the tough mudder.

    Luke wrote on April 19th, 2013
  29. And that’s how a MDA Success Story ought to be written: problem described, issues faced/hindrances to success outlined, path to success touched upon, proof of ongoing success shown. Great job, John! Best of luck with future progress!

    Patrick wrote on April 19th, 2013
  30. Thank You Everyone!!! I always found these stories to be a great motivator. I still have roughly 30 or so, pounds to go, and I’m chugging along. Thank you for the recipes and no, not single but thank you lol

    John wrote on April 19th, 2013
  31. Way to go, John! Looks like you use small wins along the way as your fuel to keep going. Mark posted yesterday about small wins. (It’s a big part of what I write about.)

    Looks to me like small wins are a recurring theme in what you’ve written here:

    “I had lost 38 lbs since this all began. This just gave me more drive …
    I went out and bought a treadmill, weight machine, free weights and a rowing machine …. I started experimenting with many Primal recipes. With all the changes taking place, I decided to step it up a notch …. I even felt so ambitious that I ….”

    See? Small wins fueling the process. Very cool. For you, it doesn’t seem at all like it’s about one big end-goal. It’s day-by-day love of the process and the intermittent small win that keeps you going.

    Would you say this is an accurate read on you?

    Again – great work, John. Carry on and keep us posted!


    Susan Alexander wrote on April 19th, 2013
  32. John, you look great- and not only are you a good-looking man, but you sound like an impressive guy. Good luck in this race.

    Celine wrote on April 19th, 2013
  33. Wow John awesome work! You look amazing. All the best in the future…keep it up! :)

    Rebecca C wrote on April 19th, 2013
  34. Congrats man, looking great! Keep it up and good luck!

    Brian wrote on April 19th, 2013
  35. Wow, you look wonderful! VERY inspirational!

    Anne wrote on April 19th, 2013
  36. great job, you look awesome! Way to make such an awesome positive change

    melissa wrote on April 19th, 2013
  37. Congratulations on a great achievement. An inspiration. I am amazed almost more by the fact that you have not only changed your body – but you appear to have even changed your face – do you realize now that you were hiding a handsome man behind your excess weight, your beard and your tough man hair? Thanks for your story. I’m still working on mine.

    Nigel wrote on April 19th, 2013
  38. Good for you!

    Mike V, wrote on April 19th, 2013
  39. great work! you look like a young man should – happy, healthy and ready to take on the world!

    HopelessDreamer wrote on April 19th, 2013

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