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
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!
I want to start by saying THANK YOU. Without you (and several thousand years of common sense), I was on the road to a significantly shorter and less fulfilling life.
My Primal success story was unintentional, but it couldn’t have come at a better time. My father was one to hop on random health crazes for a few weeks in order to lose weight, and the Primal Blueprint was his newest of many…or so I thought. I didn’t take it very seriously when he talked about it, but I figured I’d go on it with him for a week or so to try to keep him motivated.
This was me before that.
In August 2010, after just three days of completely Primal eating, a persistent and very frustrating rash that I’d been trying everything to get rid of for the last year disappeared. I didn’t immediately make the connection, but I loved the way that I felt while on the diet, so I kept going. Since I wasn’t totally serious about it, I still occasionally ate wheat products. Every time, without fail, the rash came back. Once the rash was officially diagnosed as a form of gluten intolerance, I had a very concrete reason to continue on the Primal path.
On top of the rash, I’d struggled with abnormally high blood pressure (typically around 150/110) since I was 18. It was almost overnight that I went from normal to hypertensive, and I had no family history and no debilitating habits like smoking that might have caused it. By the time that I started eating Primally, I had cut down my salt intake from ridiculous (adding salt to ramen ridiculous) to practically tasteless, and nothing changed. I was also on two different blood pressure medications that had done nothing, and I discontinued them around October of 2010. Eating Primally made a very tiny dent after a while, but I still didn’t see the results I was hoping for based on the success stories I’d been reading on Mark’s Daily Apple. I WAS losing weight, though, so I figured I just needed more time. I even started my own Primal recipe blog, Heather’s Primal Recipes.
Initially, I lost about 15 pounds (from 145 to 130). I couldn’t escape that plateau at 130, and I frequently got discouraged and spiraled into binge eating things that made me break out and feel awful. (Chinese takeout, anyone?) From August of 2010 to June of 2012, I went up and down on that roller coaster. Even on my best days, minimal exercise was a challenge. Thirty seconds of sprinting left me feeling winded and dizzy. To boot, my doctors (who were already angry at me for my newfound eating habits and lack of medication) didn’t want me to raise my heart rate too high, fearing heart attack.
In March of 2012, I finally listened to the one doctor who DIDN’T think my eating habits were unhealthful and got a renal duplex ultrasound. It turned out that I had a relatively unknown disease having NOTHING to do with eating habits called Fibromuscular Dysplasia, which causes arteries to grow like strings of beads instead of tubes. Unfortunately, because so little is known about it, it’s often confused with atherosclerosis (aka plaque). It was easy enough to point out that I had been following the SAD for several years WITH arterial stenosis before adopting this “artery clogging” diet, however. 😉
In June of 2012, I had balloon angioplasty to reopen my nearly closed renal artery. Within minutes of surgery completion, my blood pressure dropped to 117/67.
After about a week of bed rest and surgical recovery, I started to really pick up the Primal exercise plan, since I was now “allowed” to raise my heart rate. The weight couldn’t fall off fast enough. From June to September, I dropped from 130 to 118, (in total a size 10/12 to size 2/4) and I’m still going. I’ve never felt better.