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...

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August 27, 2009

Cardio Queen Gone Primal

By Guest
98 Comments

I was always a little on the heavy side, ever since I had my tonsils and adenoids taken out in kindergarten. I would say 3rd grade was the last time I really felt “normal.” After that it was all down hill. I can remember my childhood being filled with snacks, cakes, and overall poor food habits. As I got into my teens and after graduating, that’s when I started really suffering the emotional consequences. By the time I was 18 I weighed 200 lbs, and being a teenager, that made life pretty much hell. My life was generally unhappy and not going the direction I’d always dreamed, unable to afford college and working at minimum wage jobs. Food was my comfort. It was so comforting I ended up at 250 lbs… at least that’s where I think I ended up. I stopped weighing myself after that.

I had just ended a very serious relationship and I got fed up with my life. I decided it was time for some change. I moved into a new apartment where for the first time in my life I could cook for myself and eat what I wanted- which meant finally eating healthy food. I remembered back to when my sister went into the Air Force and had to lose a lot of weight just to get in. Her recruiter told her no “white” foods. No bread, no pasta, no potatoes. I started following that rule, and was thrilled to see the weight start to slowly come off. My mom bought me a treadmill for my birthday. At 250 pounds I was no runner, but I could at least walk. Gradually as the pounds came off my speed went up, until I was at the point of slamming out 6 miles on the treadmill every morning, faithfully. I was meticulous when it came to my meals. Every hour and a half to 3 hours there would be a “mini-meal” or a snack, you know- so my metabolism stays high. (At least that’s what I thought.) Every day was planned out, what I would eat, when, and how many calories. It was all right there in my journal- what I ate, how many calories, along with a log of my weight, my workout, and how many calories I burned from running. It seemed like the more weight I lost, the more obsessive I got about food, exercise, calories, cardio… the whole shebang.

I remember when I got down to my goal weight of 150 lbs. On one hand I was absolutely thrilled. I couldn’t even remember the last time I weighed 150 lbs! On the other hand, I still had a lot more fat than I imagined I would at that weight. I was a little shocked. I was a runner and runners are supposed to get skinny! What happened!? So naturally I cut calories a little more, and increased my miles. At my max I was eating 1800 calories a day and running almost 50 miles a week. I knew deep down that this was not a pace I could sustain for long, and what’s worse, at 140 lbs the weight completely stopped coming off. I was so frustrated and depressed.

During my “Cardio Queen” phase I’d joined a forum for runners, and a fellow runner directed me to MarksDailyApple.com. I’m an admitted Foodie and was looking for recipes, and boy did I find some great recipes! I couldn’t believe all the great foods, no grain required. What really impressed me was Mark, and his wife. I remember seeing a photo and thinking “Wow… I want to look like that.” I did some reading through the archives and decided to take the leap. It was incredibly hard wrapping my brain around the idea of eating more fat, and running less.

So I got my diet straightened out and restructured, and it really was surprisingly easy once I got over my fat phobia. It was a little sad giving up my Kashi TLC bars and my yogurt. Of course I don’t miss the gurgly gut the yogurt used to give me. Eating Primal has opened doors to new foods I never knew about. Coconut milk is one of my new favorite ingredients, and I love cooking with beef tallow that I render myself. It has also spurred me to think more in depth about the meat I eat, and where it comes from. I’m proud to say I’ve gone from buying the cheapest CAFO “club packs” for $1 per pound to shopping for a chest freezer to hold my grass fed/finished beef, and the wild boar I will soon be ordering- uncured bacon and all. I’ve also broadened my food horizons to foods I thought I hated, like radishes and liver. Yes, I actually like liver.

That’s not the end of my Primal evolution. I’ve learned great lessons about not only eating Primal, but living Primal. I sleep better, and I play more. I also exercise differently. No more pounding miles on the treadmill at 5:00 am, annoying my downstairs neighbor. I’m sure she’s as grateful for my lifestyle transformation as I am. I do still get up at 5:00 am, but now it’s of my own accord, without the alarm clock, to go to the gym to play leisurely on the elliptical, do tabata sprints on the stationery bike, or lift lots and lots of heavy things. Admittedly, random outdoor exercise is better, but I do like the structure the gym provides me, and I certainly don’t turn down an opportunity to use my lifting and sprinting skills in the outdoors. One of my favorite games, part exercise, part play, is “chase the rabbit.” If there are no rabbits in sight, it becomes “chase the parents’ Jack Russell terrier.” He loves it too.

I noticed some other side effects of my new lifestyle. I wasn’t hungry every hour like I used to be. I don’t have to plan out an entire day’s worth of food, nor do I need to keep an emergency Soy Joy bar in my car in case I’m lost out in the concrete jungle without a snack. I only eat 2 or 3 times a day (rather than 5 or 6) and yet I had energy- and lots of it! My boss recently commented to me how I was “too chatty and upbeat” too early in the morning. We were pulling overtime at 6:30 in the morning, and I was wide awake and ready to go, while my co-workers were dragging themselves around by their coffee cups and breakfast bars. When I get home from work, I’m proud to say I don’t pass out on the couch after dinner anymore. The energy levels I have now are amazing, albeit sometimes frustrating when my non-Primal friends and family aren’t raring to go, go, go with me.

Of course, what would a success story be without results? I’m very proud to say that I’ve lost another 15 lbs after 3 months of going Primal, and am continuing to improve my body composition. That’s a grand total of 125 lbs of weight loss in 2 ½ years. I am exactly half the weight I used to be. How freaky is that!? I’m building muscle tone in my arms and don’t look quite so “skinny fat” anymore. I still can’t do a regular pushup, but I can do several “girl” pushups- a huge improvement over my previous state. I have to say, I look amazing! I can’t wait to finally wear a bikini.

The biggest change in my life, beyond what I eat, how I exercise or how I sleep, is the simple freedom that the Primal Blueprint has afforded me. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. If I’m running late for work, it won’t kill me to skip breakfast. Some mornings I don’t feel like lifting weights, or doing sprints, so I don’t feel guilty for just taking a walk, or doing no workout at all. I don’t have to measure every serving of food and count every calorie, and make sure I burn off a certain number of calories on the treadmill in order to lose weight. I can eat meat, and fat, and eggs in butter without the fear of getting fat again. I can be free… free to eat, to run, to breathe, to live Primally.

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98 Comments on "Cardio Queen Gone Primal"

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Aaron Blaisdell
7 years 1 month ago

OH. MY. GOD.

marci
marci
7 years 1 month ago

I second that!!!

Grok
7 years 1 month ago

Can I do thirds?

FANTASTIC!!!

Adam Kayce
7 years 25 days ago

I call fourths – wow! Good for you, Diana!

Aaron Blaisdell
7 years 1 month ago

And what’s the cute little rat’s name?

one_eye_mike
one_eye_mike
7 years 1 month ago

What an accomplishment!

Max Lambert
Max Lambert
7 years 1 month ago

AWESOME story

C2H5OH
C2H5OH
7 years 1 month ago

Photos really make this story a lot more interesting

Yummy
7 years 1 month ago

WOW! Awesome story and I love the way you write. Congrats on your amazing success.

fritchbeetle
7 years 1 month ago

Wow. Just. Wow.

Natalie
7 years 1 month ago

Holy crap, woman. You’re everything I want to be!

maranne
maranne
7 years 1 month ago

Brilliant!!!
M x

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
7 years 1 month ago

I would never know those before/afters were the same person!

Congratulations, fellow rat-lover. (I assume you’re giving it a kiss and hug, and not eating it.)

Bourgogne
Bourgogne
7 years 1 month ago

What an inspiration! Looking at your transformation, I have to say, “Wow… I want to look like that.”

John
John
7 years 1 month ago

WOW! Good stuff you look great!

Ridgeback Runner
Ridgeback Runner
7 years 1 month ago

Amazing and inspiring! Keep it up!

Gfly
Gfly
7 years 1 month ago

My hats off to ya…great work.

Deanna
Deanna
7 years 1 month ago

Aaron took the words right out of my mouth. The first thing I thought when I saw the after picture is “OH. MY. GOD.” You look great. Talk about inspiration!

arthurb999
arthurb999
7 years 1 month ago

Awesome story!

maba
maba
7 years 1 month ago

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Diana! I so want to show this post to all the naysayers!

Kim Birch
7 years 1 month ago

You are AMAZING, girl! An inspiration to us all.

Nico
Nico
7 years 1 month ago

First off congrats!

And second:

You’re HOT!!!

ohiolopez
ohiolopez
7 years 1 month ago

This if off to my daughter and a friend.

I cant believe your success. What an inspiration.

fishergirl
fishergirl
7 years 1 month ago

WOW you look so hot girl!!! if anybody needs proof of the workings of the primal blueprint… holay! 😀

Marc Feel Good Eating
7 years 1 month ago

I don’t leave comments to often but I have to chime in with Holy Sh..!!!!!
Congratulations!!!!

Marc

Peggy
Peggy
7 years 1 month ago

ditto what everyone is saying!!!!!!!!

DiabetesCanKissMyButt
7 years 1 month ago

Holy sh*t! I had a grin on my face the entire time I was reading this. You are SO AMAZING!

MDS
MDS
7 years 1 month ago

Wow what a difference you look amazing. What a inspirational story. – How long did it take for you to go through the complete transformation once you went primal?

Kelli
Kelli
7 years 1 month ago

Wow…I totally agree with everyone. You are an inspiration!

Tim
Tim
7 years 1 month ago

I agree with the guy who said he doesn’t normally comment ….but holy sh**!

Amazing…just amazing.

kateryna
kateryna
7 years 1 month ago

If you helped but one other person with your amazing story it’s been worth it. I wish I had discovered this way of eating when I was young instead of at 55 years of age when almost everything had either stopped working, broke down or hurt. Spreading the word like you are doing can save many lives.

Thanks

tee
tee
7 years 1 month ago

Woooooow! You look fantastic. The thing that really shows in the “after” photos is how much more happy you look. I don’t know you, but I’m really proud of you.

Grok on.

Dude
Dude
7 years 1 month ago

Forgive my admittedly tactless curiosity, but where’s the excess skin?

I ask because I always thought that skin stretched out and would remain saggy when obese people lost that much weight, but you don’t seem to suffer from that problem at all! You look like you’ve been lean and healthy your whole life!

leslie
leslie
7 years 1 month ago

AMAZING! You are beautiful!

Ariana
Ariana
7 years 1 month ago

Way to take charge of your health!

I also like how you focused on how much better you feel, how you have more energy in your day to day life. This is the key to living better IMHO.

Your story is going to help so many people. Congratulations!

Girlwithnoname (Jackie)
7 years 1 month ago

pardon this outburst but:

!!!! HOLY CRAP !!!!

GREAT JOB GF!!!!!! WOOOOWWWWWWWWW!!!!

You look totally completely 100% without a doubt AMAZING!!!

ok, I’m picking myself up off the floor now. thanks for a great hit of inspiration!!

Tom
Tom
7 years 1 month ago

That has to be one of the best (if not THE best) inspirational story of primal living. I don’t think the billion dollar diet industry can beat that.

Amazing! Great Job!

Oliver
7 years 1 month ago

Very impressive!!! I bet life looks a lot different now. Now make sure you enjoy it…

Arielle
Arielle
7 years 1 month ago

Beautifully written and my gosh, you are one gorgeous woman! All the best!

Michael
Michael
7 years 1 month ago

What you doin’ later tonight? :o)

Supplement Berto
7 years 1 month ago

WOW congrats!!! You are a hero!

How Ironic – Just this morning I found out about coconut milk. I mixed it with my smoothie at lunch and it’s going to stay around. I’m about to drink the rest of it raw because it’s so delicious. Unfortunately this can is ‘light’ coconut milk and is mixed with water, but it’s good enough for now.

nessa
nessa
7 years 1 month ago

go, go, go, indeed! you look and sound amazing. 🙂

Simone
Simone
7 years 1 month ago

It’s just incredible! You look *AMAZING*! Thank you so much for your story, it’s exactly what I needed right now. THANK you! Congratulations!

denis
denis
7 years 1 month ago

Wow that is a great story! you look awesome! keep the great work up

RichD
7 years 1 month ago

OMG!

chris a
chris a
7 years 1 month ago

Way to go! what an amazing transformation!

Diana Renata
7 years 1 month ago
Wow… thank you everybody. 🙂 I’m not really sure what to say. I know I’ve been complaining a lot lately because I don’t have the “beach body” I picture in my head, but doing this project has really put things in perspective for me. It makes me very grateful and appreciative of my accomplishment and I can accept this gift for what it is- a second chance at life. Now I just have to find a Primal dude for my “happily ever after.” LOL. Life really is 1000x better now, in ways I never even imagined, and I’m thankful to… Read more »
Mark Sisson
7 years 1 month ago

Thank you again for your story, Diana. As you can see it has inspired all of us. You’re looking fierce in those photos. Say hello to Zaster for us!

Sonagi
Sonagi
7 years 1 month ago

Eliminating grains and nearly all dairy helped me shed about ten stubborn pounds of middle-age weight creep and simplify meal planning. Meat/fish/eggs + 2 non-starch veggies + olive oil/butter/coconut oil/red palm oil + spices = one healthy and delicious meal.

Dollface
Dollface
7 years 1 month ago

WOW you look incredible and what an inspiration you are! You go girl 🙂

FlyNavyWife
7 years 1 month ago

Dollface, I don’t know if you wrote a “story” for this contest or not, but I wanted you to know that your blog and progress are just as inspiring as Diana’s story here, and I’ve sent your blog to several people hoping it would inspire them to try this way of life…

thought i’d put that out there, in case you didn’t know.

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
7 years 1 month ago

Diana, until you commented a little while ago, I didn’t even know this was your entry. Is your name on that post somewhere?

Min
Min
7 years 1 month ago

Incredible. Congrats on all the positive changes! 🙂

Sonagi
Sonagi
7 years 1 month ago

Echoing other commenters, I agree that you look absolutely amazing. Your skin looks firm and taut, thanks to toned muscles and slow and a slow and steady weight loss of about 1 lb. a week. Your story is a testament to your incredible perseverence and the resilience of the human body.

Sue
Sue
7 years 1 month ago

What the first commenter said –
OH MY GOD!!!!
What a fabulous transformation inside and out!

Kate
Kate
7 years 1 month ago

Way to go! This really gives me hope and motivation because I’m around the same weight you started as. Thanks for sharing your story!

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