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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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October 25, 2013

A Simple Flip of a Switch: Body Fat Lost, Athletic Performance Improved, and Inspiration Served

By Guest
69 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. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Having always been relatively healthy—no chronic diseases or weight loss demands—I came into Primal living differently from many of the stories I read on Mark’s Daily Apple. Now 13 months into my Primal journey, I am grateful to be physically and mentally healthier than I’ve ever been.

My journey did, however, begin with a doctor. Despite my cushy shoes and custom orthotics, clicking, popping, and throbbing in the base of both big toes led me to seek a podiatrist’s help. I was quickly diagnosed with arthritis. A procedure had to be performed at a hospital to correct the problem and I was told to stop running and mountain biking. After telling the good doctor that I wasn’t going to take his advice because I absolutely love running and biking, I asked what he’d recommend to lessen the future degradation of my joints. He said, “Vibram FiveFingers, and read Born to Run.” I took that advice and “ran with it.” My feet have healed themselves, and now it’s rare for me to ever wear shoes. If I do, I’m in my huaraches or FiveFingers.

While talking to a colleague at work about my FF, he recommended that I check out MDA. I did and I never turned back. The Primal concepts were so simple—so logical—that I felt compelled to try it.

Like many guys in their 30s, I enjoy being active and tried to do whatever I could to stay active and not get fat. With two young boys, a career, and the Standard American Diet, this seemed to get harder every year. I wouldn’t consider myself a chronic cardio kind of guy, but runs of 5 or 6 miles and mountain bike outings for an hour at time were common. I also enjoyed an occasional 5 or 10k race where my times were respectable.

Trip - Before - 2011

Going Primal seemed like a simple flip of a switch that improved everything in my health. The very first thing I noticed was that my energy level was always the same, no matter what time of day, assuming I got the proper amount of sleep. Peaks and valleys of energy were gone. I noticed that my athletic performance drastically improved. I went from competing with myself in 5k runs to placing in my age group in almost every race—without really training for it.

Trip Running

Although I was never drastically overweight, I wanted to trim down for reasons of vanity (and subsequently, health). I cut ten pounds through calorie restriction prior to going Primal, but had energy problems and I really decimated my enjoyment of eating. When I discovered The Primal Blueprint I cut another 20 lbs while feeling great. I learned to love real food and discovered a passion for cooking that I never knew existed! My waist is now the same size it was when I was a competitive sprinter and soccer player in high school. My body has found its ideal composition and I’m very happy with it.

February 2013

What makes my experience more fulfilling is watching my parents have even more success than me. They saw my physique change, my diet become more fulfilling, and my athletic performance blossom, so they asked what I was doing. I introduced them to PB and their success has been astonishing. My mom doesn’t have to take her diabetes medicine anymore and my dad hasn’t weighed this little since the 1970s! They look great, feel great, and have had to replace their wardrobes because they lost so much weight!

Trip D. - 8 Months Primal

Nowadays, my siblings, my parents, and I will be seen together eating delicious plants and animals, avoiding grains, wearing goofy shoes with toes built in them, and enjoying the Primal lifestyle!

Trip D.

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69 Comments on "A Simple Flip of a Switch: Body Fat Lost, Athletic Performance Improved, and Inspiration Served"

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Primal and Proud
Primal and Proud
2 years 10 months ago

Great Job! Reminds me that I really need to give the FF a shot. I gotta get by the way they look with “work” clothes (dress pants and button downs etc).

It’s wonderful that you were able to enlighten your family to the primal life style as well! Kudos for that!

Jacob
Jacob
2 years 10 months ago

There’s actually minimalistic dress shoes that are similar to the Vibram FF except the there’s no individual toes. You might look into those.

Tom B-D
Tom B-D
2 years 10 months ago

For instance Vivobarefoot–definitely office-grade minimals in their arsenal.

Fish
Fish
2 years 6 months ago

Sweet! been looking for something like that, those heals on men’s dress shoes made me feel like i was walking on stilts

Trip
Trip
2 years 6 months ago
If you’re like me, and you don’t find those shoes “dressy” enough you might be able to modify a traditional pair of shoes to your liking. I managed to do this with a trendy-lookin’ Kenneth Cole shoe. I used various hand tools to pry off the heel block, discarded the block, then glued the thin rubber heel piece back on. They turned out very nice at nearly a zero drop. I will admit, this was an incredibly laborious project, but it was completed in one night. It’s a amazing how many staples and glue go into the heel block of… Read more »
Trip
Trip
2 years 10 months ago

Thanks! I got over the look with dress clothes very quickly once my foot pain and back pain went away. I’m lucky to be at an office where the let me wear FF. Although, if not doctor prescribed, I’m not sure how that would have gone over. I even had my desk raised earlier this year so I stand most of the day now, or lean against the arm of my chair if my feet need a break.

Brian Smith
Brian Smith
2 years 10 months ago

Trip,
Is this your personal story? Would you be willing to speak with me personally? I just want to ask you a few questions, etc. If you are willing, please shoot me an e-mail at smithdaddy2222@hotmail.com. Thank you my friend. I hope to hear from you soon. Great story by the way!! Keep up the good work!

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[…] It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily …read more […]

Amy
2 years 10 months ago

I think it’s awesome that your parents followed suit. Nice job being an inspiration!!

brittanee
brittanee
2 years 10 months ago

Wow! you look great> such an inspirational story. I always thought that you reach a certain age and point where you cant look like you did in HS. But youre proof that you can and with the PB lifestyle it can be achieved. Thanks for sharing.

Anna
Anna
2 years 10 months ago

It’s a funny thing many of us have assumed, myself included, that age necessarily comes with a certain degree of physical degeneration. But I think modern day hunter gatherers likely look like they did in HS – or rather, at that age!

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 10 months ago

Yup, just look at the old men in Papua New Guinea…freakin’ studs.

Josh
Josh
2 years 10 months ago

Dude, you look awesome! Well done for coming so far in such a short period of time. What a wonderful doctor you must have as well for recommending vibrams! Maybe some of them are catching on after all. Bonus points for getting your parents on board, keep spreading the word!

Luke
2 years 10 months ago

Great story Trip. Sounds like a cool doc you went to! Congrats on getting your parents healthy I’m sure that was hugely rewarding!

Debbie
2 years 10 months ago

I’m happy for you, and so grateful that your parents were reasonable 🙂

Sandy
Sandy
2 years 10 months ago

What a change in the last before and after picture!! You look great. And your parents are improving their health too — not too many parents take advice from their grown kids so yours are smart. Great story, thanks for sharing.

sjoshua
sjoshua
2 years 10 months ago

Smile its more fun 😉

Great story!

Trip
Trip
2 years 10 months ago

Noted 🙂 Guess I do look a bit too serious in those pics!

Sofia
Sofia
2 years 10 months ago

So glad I got to read this! But it got me very curious know more about what you eat? I’m mostly wondering about how much carbs, if you take any supplements and recovery meal? I’m also a FF-runner, and have been eating 90% paleo over the last three months, i feel so good and full of energy, but nothing has happens with my 20 lbs I want to loose…

// Swedish fan

Terri
Terri
2 years 10 months ago

Sofia, have you heard about The Whole 30? Look it up if you get a chance.

Sofia
Sofia
2 years 10 months ago
Thanks for your answer! Yes I have… The thing is that I’ve been compeeting in orienteering during the last months, used to be att elit level but now after injuries I’m trying to come back. So I’ve mostly looked att “the paleo diet for athletes”. The competitions has aslo meant that I’ve been travelling and living in hotels which is the reason for only eating ~90% paleo. The first 1,5 month on paleo I ate around 50-70g carbs per day, except for evening before competition. But after being one month on paleo my performance was getting worse and worse without… Read more »
Trip
Trip
2 years 10 months ago
Part of the primal lifestyle that was so appealing to me when I got started was that that I didn’t have to create a rigid plan for eating or exercise. I never have, and still don’t, count my macro nutrient intake or calories. I don’t have planned meal times either. I simply eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satisfied (not full!). I exercise when and where I’m able and make sure to mix in some soft of lifting (or pushups/pullups) as often as possible. I know that’s vague, but workouts are generally 2 or 3 times per week… Read more »
Sofia
Sofia
2 years 10 months ago

Okey, thanks again!! 🙂

Tom
Tom
2 years 10 months ago

Well done Trip! And your response above to Sofia…well, you nailed it, for me at least anyway. Your approach as you described it is exactly why PB and going primal in general works for me…and I suspect quite a few others.
Thank you for putting so succinctly into words…couldn’t have said it better myself.
I’ll add…using the same approach, I just hit 50 and I’m happy to say…hit it pretty hard! I didn’t think to take any before pics but the after pics keep me going, stronger and happier than ever!

Captain Competition
2 years 10 months ago

Love this story. I am at the point where I need to lose about 15 more lbs. This is inspiring to hear that primal concepts got you there.

Anne
2 years 10 months ago

Way to go, Trip! I love how you did it for vanity, and that inspired your parents to do it for health. So awesome.

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[…] Daily Apple / Posted on: January 01, 1970Mark’s Daily Apple – It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a […]

gardengal
gardengal
2 years 10 months ago
Congrats and thank you on two fronts; one, for commenting on FF and two, for talking about your parents’ success. Most success stories are by people younger than I am (middle aged) so I like to hear the “we older folks” PB success stories. We are the most indoctrinated by our doctors on SAD because we are moving into the “at risk” categories. For those of you wondering about “oddness” of FF with business attire, I bought a pair of New Balance’s Minimus in black. While they are a compromise from the FF design (probably) I like that I can… Read more »
Lisa
Lisa
2 years 10 months ago

+1

Stacie
2 years 10 months ago

Vivo Barefoot also make a few shoes, in all black, that should be acceptable with most business casual attire. I work at a law firm and no one bats an eyelash at mine! (Although, I do live in Alaska and the dress here tends to be more casual than other places. To each his own!)

trackback

[…] 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 […] Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Matt
2 years 10 months ago

Congrats. Great story.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
2 years 10 months ago

Good job. The red mohawk photo reminds me of the wrestler “Hawk” of the Road Warriors.

Linda A. Lavid
2 years 10 months ago

Sharing the love. Great story!

Fritzy
Fritzy
2 years 10 months ago

Good to hear you have a podiatrist who is wise enough to step away from the unsupported “well cushioned, supportive shoes with good arch support” mentality. The idea that there is something inherently wrong with feet that needs to be corrected by modern footwear appears to be a concept that is (thankfully) on it’s way out the door, even in conventional medical circles.

Congrats on you and your families successes. Great job!

perelmanfan
perelmanfan
2 years 10 months ago

Great story! While it’s always interesting to read about someone who lost 100 pounds by going primal, I think a story like yours actually has wider applicability. Like you, I always had enough discipline to remain relatively thin and reasonably healthy, but I knew deep down that I did not feel or look “optimal.” That’s what primal living has given me.

Brent
2 years 10 months ago

Cheers on the transformation, and double cheers on inspiring your parents. We’ve worked to do the same, and have had little success–although they will eat whatever we cook them and not miss the junk. Baby steps, right?

Papa Hotel
Papa Hotel
2 years 10 months ago

Trying to convince your parents? Robb Wolf has lost both of his parents to diseases and complications of the SAD – his dad 8 years ago, and his mom 3 months ago. He has a couple interesting posts about it (including the personal toll it costs trying to convince someone to change).

Siobhan
Siobhan
2 years 10 months ago

So great when you inspire other people! Thanks for sharing your story.

Stephanie Paris
2 years 10 months ago

I love the success stories! Alway great reassurance that I’m doing the right thing. 🙂

Christin
Christin
2 years 10 months ago

Thank’s for sharing! Very inspiring 🙂

Algebra Grok
Algebra Grok
2 years 10 months ago

Great story!

I’ve had a similar experience with introducing my parents to the PB. I’ll have to share my success story soon!

Evan
2 years 10 months ago

Did you ever ask your doctor why he first went to a procedure before recommending PB?

Chica
Chica
2 years 10 months ago

I was wondering the same thing. If he knows that VFFs will help heal/prevent problems, he is also probably aware of PB. Kudos that he did finally recommend VFFs when you refused surgery, but why on earth was he sending a young guy like you to surgery in the first place if he is even semi-enlightened?!?!

And I want to live where you live: docs who recommend VFFs, colleagues who ask about them, then recommend MDA, and parents who listen to their son and follow his example! What a combo!

Trip
Trip
2 years 10 months ago
What a combo indeed! It’s been a fun journey. The doctor said that the level of arthritis in my left foot (the one that had the procedure) should never been seen in someone my age, unless he’s perhaps a soldier or a professional athlete. When he looked at the x-ray I could actually sense the concern in his face about how bad the joint was. I’m sure this is a result of playing soccer for about 15 years in tightly fitting cleats and running in horrible cushy shoes with arch supports when I wasn’t wearing cleats. The procedure was essentially… Read more »
Adam
Adam
2 years 10 months ago

Great transformation!

Mark: I’m eating according to the primal blueprint I’ve been avoiding grains and I like the results. Did you see this post on grains:

http://gutflora.com/?p=2040

I found it very interesting and would really like your input

Laurie
Laurie
2 years 10 months ago
I had a similar discussion about orthotics and cushy shoes with a physical therapist this week. I asked why, when people come to PT with low back pain, you don’t want them to wear a back brace or support. It relieves some of the pain and feels good, but docs and PTs all say the brace just weakens back muscles because they are so supported by the brace. Precisely my point with shoes! So why do they recommend “bracing” feet? The PT admitted that was a very good point. I told the podiatrist the same thing and he’s quit telling… Read more »
Grokesque
Grokesque
2 years 10 months ago

Great job Trip – well done to you and your parents on the success. Another great Friday success story to inspire us all!

Erik
2 years 10 months ago

Great work Trip! Keep it up!

rlarson
rlarson
2 years 10 months ago

Ha, goofy shoes!

Rob in Alaska
Rob in Alaska
2 years 10 months ago

I had a show-and-tell discussion recently with two primal brothers about footwear. One was wearing a “dress” shoe by Vivobarefoot, and the other was wearing a BOOT by Lems (lemsshoes.com). Lems has some great casual shoes including one called Primal 2. (?) Returning my Merrell Gloves to REI (always fit too tight) and picking up a pair of Lems!

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[…] 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 […]… Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Jane Britton
Jane Britton
2 years 10 months ago

Great story, please ask your parents to pay it forward and share their story with Mark, it might be very beneficial for those of us wishing to inspire our parents or other older folks with a story heard in their voice… Id especially like to see their thoughts, when they watched you change and how this made them open to trying new things… Im a little weary of the, “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks” and think that a story by them might be just the trick some people need to get thinking about change….

Trip
Trip
2 years 10 months ago

Just talked to them about it this morning 🙂 I hope you’ll see their story soon! Great suggestion.

goldfish
goldfish
2 years 10 months ago

Yay! I was hoping they’d put their story up too.

Jane Britton
Jane Britton
2 years 10 months ago

can’t wait! thanks

HillyM
HillyM
2 years 10 months ago
Thanks for your story Trip. I always a love the stories that talk about people taking control of their health issues without drugs/surgery if possible. And I too think it would be great to read your parents story. I am probably their age, and have had great results. But people ask me what I am doing, then look at me like I am crazy when I tell them, and then proceed to tell my why it is wrong! It frustrates me that so much of society has that “oh well, what do you expect when you are MY age” mentatlity.… Read more »
Helen
Helen
2 years 10 months ago

That’s amazing!! And so awesome that your family has gotten involved as well. I wish my parents would take it seriously, my mum believes in a balanced diet which involves grains and as I have always been pretty skinny, she can’t see any results to be serious enough to change. 🙁

Jenny Stafford
2 years 10 months ago

That’s so great by reading your post!! Have heard somewhere that we should remember that in order to be in shape your lifestyle needs to change. Diets do not work. A more accurate way of measuring if you are on track with your weight loss is to record your measurements.

Lizzee
Lizzee
2 years 10 months ago

Well done. You look so healthy.

James
2 years 10 months ago

Nice work! Grok on!

Pablo
Pablo
2 years 10 months ago

Great job!

Margit
Margit
2 years 10 months ago

Congratulations! I envy you for your openminded parents. And for vanity reasons you definitely succeeded, with or without smile.

Kyle Craig
2 years 10 months ago

Congrats! This is fantastic! I’m working on my second go round of going primal. First time was fantastic. Lost over 60 lbs but then I let others tempt me in other directions.

Cyndi S.
2 years 10 months ago

Well done! My husband and I are only 45 days into Primal Paleo- and loving it! Your photos inspired him to say “That’s me in a few months!”

Trip
Trip
2 years 10 months ago

I’m happy to have helped inspire! I wish you both success in your transitions. It’s fun journey – enjoy it!

Tazza
Tazza
2 years 10 months ago

Wow! Vanity as motivation certainly paid off for you. 😉

Trip
Trip
2 years 9 months ago

It certainly unlocked some great life and physique changes! Thank you! 🙂

trackback
2 years 8 months ago

[…] A Simple Flip of a Switch: Body Fat Lost, Athletic Performance … 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 w. […]

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