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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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February 03, 2017

After So Many Diets, This Is a Lifestyle I Can Maintain Forever!

By Guest
26 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 lineAs a 40-something woman, I’ve tried a lot of diets over nearly 30 years. And quite a few exercise programs, too. I’ve gained and lost 20 pounds multiple times. I was pretty good at losing weight once I put my mind to it – but the changes never stuck, old habits creeped back in, and the weight came back.

In 2006, I was feeling heavy, lethargic and desperate to lose weight once again. The South Beach Diet had been all the rage for a couple of years, and I decided to try it. I lost 30 pounds, and this was the first time in occurred to me that a lower carb diet might be better for my body. I wasn’t so good at the maintenance phase, however – a piece of whole wheat bread on occasion became a regular part of my diet. I restarted my love affair with chocolate ice cream, and the pounds gradually returned with several years of bouncing around on the scale.

In 2012 I began to have gastrointestinal health issues – I lost about 20 pounds, but not in a good way. After many months of doctor’s visits and tests I was diagnosed with a form of colitis. In looking on the Internet for guidance how to heal myself, I found Mark’s website. I devoured the information on his site and read his book, The Primal Blueprint. As a scientist, the technical explanations of how our bodies weren’t adapted to newer (on the evolutionary scale) foods like wheat made a lot of sense to me. I started gradually improving my diet, and I do mean gradually, over the next couple of years but with multiple stops and starts depending what was happening in life.

In late 2014, I took the next step and consulted a naturopath for additional help. Testing showed that I had an intolerance for wheat and oats -knowing that what you’re eating is actually harming your health is a big wake-up call. The testing also showed that I was pre-diabetic – also a huge wake-up call. I started reading books on the dangers of wheat to our health – Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD, and Grain Brain, by David Perlmutter, MD. Armed with this additional information, it became clear that my beloved bread could no longer fit in my diet. I got serious about the Primal lifestyle – no wheat, no processed foods, minimal sugar, etc. In my household we now eat meats, eggs, fish, and plenty of vegetables! It took some time, but eventually my body became fat adapted and the weight began dropping off. No feelings of deprivation, just a sense that what I was eating is good for my body.

The results? I’ve lost over 40 pounds and feel amazing. My colitis is under control-eating whole foods that nourish my body has made a huge difference. My blood sugar level is normal. I’m more active, exercising in a manner that is energizing rather than depleting. After so many years of trying diets, this is a lifestyle that I can maintain forever.

Having seen what a Primal diet and lifestyle can do for one’s health, in 2016 I completed The Primal Health Coach certification to teach others why this lifestyle works and to support clients who want to change their lives for the better. I also blog and provide healthy living tips on my website, theprimalhealthcoach.com.

I am so grateful to Mark for showing the way to good health-it has made a huge difference in my life.

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26 Comments on "After So Many Diets, This Is a Lifestyle I Can Maintain Forever!"

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Troels Rasmussen
Troels Rasmussen
7 months 20 days ago

Sorry, if I’m a downer, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a success story that doesn’t mention the Primal Health Coach Program. But fair enough, this is a business.

Jack Lea Mason
7 months 20 days ago

One other observation is that those who make the commitment to become certified have the best overall results.

Shary
Shary
7 months 20 days ago

I think it should be pointed out that a Primal Health Coach isn’t necessary for success. We can all be our own coach with a bit of knowledge and effort. IMO, the greatest value of having a coach would be the encouragement factor, but for those who are challenged by the produce aisle at the grocery store and intimidated by their kitchen stove, coaching could certainly be beneficial.

Heather
Heather
7 months 20 days ago

I think that is true-or to put it another way, those of us who find success on Primal want to share it with others and certification is a way to prepare to do that!

Mark Sisson
7 months 20 days ago
Troels, thanks for your comment – and for noticing that a lot of our stories lately have been written by Primal Health Coaches. It’s been about 9 months since we launched the new certification, and a lot of coaches have graduated the program recently. I encourage them to share their stories with clients as I share mine regularly. This is why we live the way we do after all. MDA has been fortunate to have many of the coaches offer their success stories for the blog, and I’m happy to share them. That said, I’m always looking for stories from… Read more »
barry
barry
7 months 20 days ago

True it’s a business, Mark sells his own book as well. However it’s hard to argue when most (if not all) of the information is free right here on MDA. I bought the book for a good read and to support the cause. Besides having the book is handy when you want to introduce a friend or coworker to a healthy alternative lifestyle.

Alison
Alison
7 months 20 days ago

I am impressed and grateful for the amount of free information available to us on the MDA website. I found the website via Mark’s book. Compared to other similar programmes – which require you to be a paid-up monthly member to even access comment boards similar to this one, let alone all the nutritional advice, recipes etc – Mark does not appear to me to give the ‘hard sell’ at all. Thank you.:-)

Troels Rasmussen
Troels Rasmussen
7 months 19 days ago

Regardless of my previous comment, I do feel grateful for all the content that Mark and his helpers provide. I’ve visited this website for most of the days of the latter 5 years, and a place to go for for sound advice and information.

Lora
7 months 17 days ago

Thinking the same thing ..success stories feel like hidden ads, wasn’t like that before.

Karen Manning
7 months 16 days ago

Lora, did you read Mark’s response? Scroll through and find it. He has encouraged those who have become primal coaches to share their stories. And of course they are sharing them, that is why they have become coaches! It’s not to advertise, it is to share, which is what this site is all about. : )

Geranium
Geranium
7 months 20 days ago

You look great!! More importantly, your blood sugar and colitis are under control. Thanks for sharing your story.

HealthyHombre
HealthyHombre
7 months 20 days ago

Thanks for sharing your story and the positive reinforcement to inspire us! Also congrats on your certification and reaching out to help others, neat that you have that science background.

Elizabeth Resnick
7 months 20 days ago
Congrats on your success! I never get tired of these success stories. And I totally agree that programs like South Beach are hard to maintain for some people after the initial weight loss…some people can eat a little bread and/or ice cream in moderation, but for others it just starts the cravings cycle all over again. Love to hear how great you are doing! As far as the comment from Troels, I had noticed the same thing. But I see it as a positive. I think it is wonderful when people make positive changes in their health, which typically lead… Read more »
Heather
Heather
7 months 20 days ago

Thanks so much! The certification is definitely heavy in the scientific background of the Primal lifestyle-I have a graduate degree in chemistry and it was not easy! But I love knowing why it works so well.

barry
barry
7 months 20 days ago

Nice story, glad things are working out. I’m wondering though, what are you doing for calcium? If you truly only eat meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables your calcium intake is minimal. That was the same dilemma I ran into when I was following Cordain’s strict Paleo diet. I still eat the same way pretty much, only thing is I drink raw goat milk or raw goat kefir now. I suppose you could eat bundles of kale, spinach, and sprouted almonds everyday. Those are fair sources of calcium.

Heather
Heather
7 months 20 days ago

Thanks Barry-I eat kale and/or spinach regularly, love ’em! I also take a daily multivitamin for extra assurance. I do eat a little grass fed heavy cream in coffee and cheese occasionally (tested ok for dairy).

Shary
Shary
7 months 20 days ago

According to more recent information, sufficient calcium is easily derived from a healthy diet, even one that contains minimal dairy products. This is because some degree of calcium is in almost everything we eat. A magnesium deficiency (possibly even more crucial for healthy bones) is much more likely.

Anemone
7 months 20 days ago

I’ve read that plenty of bioavailable calcium is available in meat. There are people who eat nothing but meat but do fine. (I am sometimes one of them.)

Casey
Casey
7 months 18 days ago
I have a true dairy allergy and so does my son. My son has never been able to have milk and I haven’t had it in almost a decade. Neither of us drink alternatives or take supplements and our calcium levels have always been fine. Calcium isn’t so much about the amount of calcium you have but the balance with other minerals. This is part of why we can have such a high calcium through dairy intake in the US and still have a high rate of Osteoporosis. You should really read more about calcium balance to understand why it… Read more »
Alison
Alison
7 months 20 days ago

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. In many ways, it is similar to my own. I have been diagnosed with crohns disease (an inflammatory bowel disease similar to ulcerative colitis). I am hoping that the primal lifestyle will be helpful in decreasing my calprotectin levels. Either my calprotectin levels decrease naturally through diet changes, or I will have to go on medication for life. Can you tell me if your change in lifestyle has had any effect on your calprotectin numbers? Thanks – Alison.

Heather
Heather
7 months 20 days ago

My specific condition is collagenous (microscopic) colitis, where collagen overgrowth occurs in the colon. My doctor says it’s not uncommon in middle-aged (!) women. It was diagnosed by scoping, not by checking any levels in the body-haven’t heard of calproctectin as an indicator. It is very well controlled on a Primal diet-I have a steroidal medication as a backup in case of a flare-up but haven’t needed it since going fully Primal. I wish you the best in figuring this out- chronic gastrointestinal issues are the worst!

Georgina
Georgina
7 months 20 days ago

If I could only get the collagen to return under the skin where I want it instead of the gut. I would be rich!

Ferris
7 months 20 days ago

I’ve actually never heard of a naturopath, but I feel like I should find one

Heather
Heather
7 months 20 days ago

I found mine at paleophysiciansnetwork.com – good luck!

Heather
Heather
7 months 20 days ago

Found mine at paleophysiciansnetwork.com – good luck!

Guy
Guy
7 months 19 days ago

Another great story. I too changed my life and health by stumbling upon MDA while researching my health issues. It’s been nearly four years now since I converted to primal/paleo and like you, I know it’s a way of life I can maintain forever. Thanks for your story and thanks Mark, if you’re reading.

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