Meet Mark

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...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
February 24, 2017

A Few Simple Lifestyle and Diet Changes Have Transformed my Health

By Guest
17 Comments

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. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in lineI’ve always had an interest in biology, evolution and how the body works.

As a child I loved the idea of being a medical doctor. However, in my teenage years my dreams of becoming a medical doctor started to waver when I discovered that I would often feel faint at the sight of blood.

All hope was not lost, however. After attending a career workshop at the age of 16, I discovered that there were plenty of other ways I could be involved in medicine. I soon became fascinated with the idea of becoming a medical researcher. I was quite taken with the idea of being involved in the discovery and development of cutting edge research that had the potential to change the world.

I was an idealist back then, and I still am now.

While undertaking my undergraduate degree in Biotechnology, I became interested in inflammation and the immune system. I pursued my interest in this field during my PhD and investigated how the immune system was involved in the rejection of corneal grafts.

After completing my PhD, I was lucky enough to land a post-doctoral position at the University of Cambridge, where I worked for four and a half years. Here, I investigated the role that endothelial cells (the cells that line the inside of our blood vessels) play in the inflammatory process in relation to lung disease.

I look back at my research career with fondness. I am proud of my findings and my contribution to medical research. However, the long hours and the competitive nature of the profession made it hard for me to see research as a long-term career option after the birth of my daughter; being a mom had changed my outlook on life.

I had always been so focused on my research career, I had never envisioned myself pursuing another profession. However, as a woman with a child, the odds of landing a coveted tenure-track position were stacked against me. The idea of living from grant to grant became less appealing now that I had a little person relying on me to provide a stable, secure life for her. Even less appealing were the long days in the lab, which every post-doc can relate to.

I wanted more from my life than working all day in the lab. More importantly, I wanted to be a positive role model for my daughter, and my husband and I wanted to create a home environment that would promote a healthy, happy lifestyle for our children.

The desire to pursue a career outside of medical research began to play on my mind, but more on that later.

My Primal Health Journey

My health story isn’t one of massive weight loss, and I don’t have an awesome before and after photo. Don’t get me wrong, my health story does include total body transformation, but my biggest changes were those that most people couldn’t see: my mindset and my digestive health.

I’ve always been an active person. I was a competitive swimmer in my teenage years, and I’ve played Ultimate Frisbee at the international level. However, it wasn’t until I discovered The Primal Blueprint at the age of 29, that I can honestly say that I was healthy.

At face value, my pre-Primal lifestyle may have seemed quite healthy. I went to the gym 2-3 times a week. My favourite classes were cardio blast and spin, and I would play Ultimate Frisbee around 2-3 times a week.

However, pre-Primal Sarah suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, largely due to my terrible diet. I ate low-fat everything, and I proudly boasted about eating a breakfast pizza on my wedding day. Back then I couldn’t tell the difference between bloating and the sensation of feeling full after a meal.

I was at the point where I was ready to do whatever I needed to feel healthy again.

In 2012, my husband and I moved from Adelaide, Australia, to Cambridge, England, and our Primal health journey began the moment our plane landed at Heathrow Airport.

I’m going to admit that I was a total skeptic in the early days. How was eating MORE fat going to help with my bowel problems? And I wasn’t entirely convinced that I wasn’t going to gain weight. Workout less? This didn’t seem right.

The first few weeks of Primal living were tough for me. I suffered from the low-carb flu, which made me irritable and tired, not to mention the added stress that my husband and I were under after moving to a new country and starting new jobs. There were times that I really wanted to pack it in and order a Twister Combo from KFC.

With the guidance and support from my husband, I managed to stay on track with my Primal lifestyle, long enough to notice that my “hanger” was gone, and that I could skip lunch if I was busy with an experiment in the lab—something that I didn’t think was at all possible previously. My bloating was a thing of the past, and I had started to become noticeably leaner. I had become a fat-burning beast without even realizing it!

We saw our move as a fresh start. We had no bad habits to shake, and no temptations sitting in our pantry. It was the perfect opportunity to put our health first, and the best part of all was that we did it together. We cycled or walked everywhere. We replaced soft drinks and juice with cups of tea, and we enjoyed discovering tasty new Primal and paleo recipes.

Without experiencing my very own health transformation, I would have found it difficult to believe that making a few simple lifestyle and diet changes could have such an impact on my health. After years of suffering, my bowel health had healed, my work productivity had increased, and I had become more content with life.

The Beginning of My New Health Coaching Career

Before the birth of my daughter, I had no idea what a health coach was, let alone any idea that I would consider a career in this profession.

My husband and I had been living a Primal lifestyle for about 2 years before I fell pregnant. During this time, no one (at least to my knowledge) ever saw me as a health expert.

I started CrossFit 8 weeks after my daughter was born, and I immediately fell in love with it. My two hours of CrossFit every week were what got me through those first few months of being a parent. I loved the workouts, the heavy lifting and the sense of community that comes with most boxes (CrossFit gyms are referred to as boxes). Most importantly, I was working out because I loved my body, not because I loathed it.

Within 4 months of giving birth to my daughter I actually felt stronger and healthier than I did before my pregnancy, and this was all from living a Primal lifestyle and attending two CrossFit sessions/week.

Friends, colleagues and acquaintances watched me regain my pre-baby health and fitness with relative ease, and I soon found myself being asked health related questions on a daily basis.

What is your health secret? What do you eat? How often do you exercise?

I was amazed and embarrassed that people were asking me for health advice.

Who was I to give anyone health or fitness advice? I wasn’t a nutrition expert or a fitness instructor.

At first I had no idea how to answer these questions, but once I got over the embarrassment of being seen as a health advisor, I realized that I enjoyed sharing my tips on healthy living with anyone who was interested enough to ask. I also realized that my years of working in medical research helped me explain the science behind the Primal concepts, which made it easier for people to understand how the Primal lifestyle works on a physiological level.

And so the idea of becoming a health coach was planted in my mind.

I took my first big step towards my new career when I completed my CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course. Because CrossFit had made such a difference to my life, I was eager to share this knowledge with other women, especially mommies who may feel intimidated in that kind of environment. After getting my CrossFit trainer qualification, the head coach at CrossFit RNA, Cambridge, UK, took me under his wing and allowed me to help out at the box 1-2 times a week. This is where I fell in love with coaching.

With my confidence growing, I decided to enroll in the Primal Health Coach program. As Primal living had made such a huge impact on my own life, I knew that I wanted to help others achieve their own health goals. Following this, I next enrolled in a personal training course.

I now had a clear vision for my new career. I wanted to start my very own health and fitness business. My business ethos would be to empower women to love their bodies and to become the happiest, healthiest versions of themselves.

Studying, while working as a researcher and looking after my little girl was challenging, but rewarding as I knew what my end goal was.

Taking these initial steps towards my new career as a health and fitness coach was terrifying and exciting. I was on my way to living my dream! Little did I know that it was all going to happen for me very quickly.

I left my medical research career in Cambridge, UK, and moved back to Australia with my husband and daughter. This was when I launched my own health and fitness business Nourish & Lift.

Nourish & Lift started out small. I began by coaching close friends and family, which led to friends of friends coming along, and now my client base is steadily growing. Coaching is my passion and I can honestly say that there is no better buzz than seeing my clients make progress towards their own health goals.

But my story doesn’t end here.

My Health Coach Blog Writing Career

To complement my own health and fitness business, I’m also a freelance blog writer for the Primal Health Coach Program. I feel honored to be given the opportunity to give back to the community that has turned my own life around. Working for the Primal team really is a dream come true.

Leaving my career as a medical researcher was absolutely terrifying, but I can honestly say that it has been the best decision for my family, my health and my career satisfaction. There are times when I felt like I was crazy to give up my academic career. However, I can honestly say that I’m living my dream.

My health coaching story is about going after what you want, following your dreams and turning them into reality. Ultimately, I’m doing what I had always wanted to do as a child. I’m making a difference in the world and having a direct impact on peoples’ health and happiness; the very reason why I wanted to be a medical doctor all those years ago.

Sarah Appleby

Sarah_Success_Feature

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

17 Comments on "A Few Simple Lifestyle and Diet Changes Have Transformed my Health"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Wilson William
Wilson William
3 months 16 hours ago

Love to hear these success stories. Bad diet and over training left me with a chronic illness. The primal blueprint showed me how training less and eating better can lead to true health.

wildgrok
wildgrok
3 months 15 hours ago

Hi Sarah:
I liked this a lot

“my biggest changes were those that most people couldn’t see: my mindset and my digestive health”

Reminds me of the Le Petit Prince 🙂

Congratulations, your story is one of a kind

Sarah
Sarah
3 months 36 minutes ago

Thanks for the kind words wildgrok! It has been an awesome journey so far and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. 🙂

grey
grey
3 months 15 hours ago

“guidance and support from my husband”…sigh (from all of us who couldn’t get our partners on board)…

wildgrok
wildgrok
3 months 15 hours ago

add another sigh here 🙁

Sarah
Sarah
3 months 35 minutes ago

Sharing my journey wth my husband was what got me through the hard times. Keep persisting grey. I’m sure you’re influencing your partner more than you realize…

John
John
2 months 29 days ago
I’ve been primal for 6 years, and though my wife has never “bought into” the primal life style lock-stock-and-barrel, her eating habits have slowly changed for the better. She eats far less bread than she used to. She was also very fond of fancy coffee creamers (i.e. chemicals and tons of sugar), but now uses just half-and-half and prefers it. And I notice that she checks the labels at the store, trying to avoid foods with lots of artificial ingredients. I don’t push it (well, ok, perhaps I have occasionally stood in the kitchen and practiced my oratorical style by… Read more »
lke
lke
2 months 29 days ago

Ha! After three years of doing it on my own, my husband’s doctor just told him he’s pre-diabetic and needs to try a “paleo-type” diet for six months and see if that helps. What did i say when he told me the news? – I TOLD YOU SO!

In other news though, what’s with all the success stories that are “primal coaches” or whatever lately? It just feels like advertising and branding and BS.

Guy
Guy
3 months 14 hours ago

After four years of paleo my before and after photos wouldn’t be that impressive either. You just can’t represent improved energy, the freedom from eating every two hours, stronger joints and even stronger nails with pictures. I just wish my digestive issues had improved as quickly as yours. Thanks for your story.

Sarah
Sarah
3 months 32 minutes ago

Thanks for your kind words Guy. I’m sorry to hear that you’re still battle your digestive issues. Have you tried eliminated dairy, fructose or other inflammatory foods?

HealthyHombre
HealthyHombre
3 months 4 hours ago

“Who was I to give anyone health or fitness advice?”

LOL … Sarah I think earning a PhD in Biotechnology and doing leading edge research on endothelial cells makes you more qualified than 99.9% of heath coaches out there. And you walk the walk as well as talk the talk. 🙂

HealthyHombre
HealthyHombre
3 months 4 hours ago

AND health coaches too. Mark … my kingdom for an edit button (some sites give you a 10 minute window to edit).

Tom Flint
2 months 29 days ago

Congratulations on your successes with the lifestyle! It’s also great to hear from a fellow Adelaidean who moved to the UK. My wife and I moved in 2011 to London and we’re now in Winchester with our little boy with our second on the way.

Are you back in Adelaide now or elsewhere in Australia? I’d never heard of Primal in Adelaide so, if you’re there, I’m really pleased there’s someone so well qualified to help people change things for the better back home!

Sarah
Sarah
2 months 27 days ago

It’s always great to discover a fellow Primal-Adelaidean Tom Flint! My husband and I moved back to Adelaide in Oct 2016 and we were amazing at how much the Paleo/Primal lifestyle has grown in Australia during the 5 years we were away. I know of a couple of other Primal Health Coaches here in Adelaide, so our community is growing which is great. Wishing you and your growing family all the best, and please get in touch if you’re ever back in town. Sarah 🙂

barry
barry
2 months 29 days ago

Great story. The Primal Blueprint….Making America healthy again!!!

Chuck Ciaccia
Chuck Ciaccia
2 months 29 days ago

Congratulations on making your dreams a reality. What a great story.

Sarah
2 months 16 days ago

Awesome story Sarah, thanks for sharing! From another Sarah 😉

wpDiscuz