Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
31 Dec

Contest: What Did You Learn This Year?

It’s December 31, the last day of the 2000s. It’s always fun, and often quite moving, at times like these to take a look back and remind ourselves how far we’ve come, to recall where and what we were and how and why we are different now. These exercises can seem a little cheesy, but I think they’re quite useful. Some change comes so gradually that you hardly recognize it’s occurring at all. With a little self-reflection you can acknowledge that real change has occurred, be proud of it and own it, and then commit to further personal growth.

I was inspired by this Mark’s Daily Apple forum thread. In it forum user bonesheal asked, “What did YOU learn this year?” Seeing that Mark’s Daily Apple may have played a small part in raising the consciousness of the people that responded makes the experiment that is MDA all worth it. I started MDA over 3 years ago now with the goal to, as I say, empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigatng, discussing and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be trued about health and wellness. I’m thrilled to see that people are doing just that. And I look forward to continuing to provide the resources and this forum for change.

At this time I’d like to echo bonesheal and ask, What did you learn this year? List and share your thoughts in the comment board.

I’ll be choosing one lucky commenter at random to win the Primal Holiday Package. This contest ends when the Primal Holiday offer ends – Dec. 31, midnight.

Check back tomorrow for an all new contest! Grok on!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I learned:
    – that I don’t have to eat every 3 hours. I won’t die from hunger.
    – that I don’t have to exercise like a madman to be relatively fit.
    – that the fats I thought were good are bad and vice versa.
    – that I am addicted to sugar and it’s a hard addiction to beat.
    – that it is better to just lead by example rather than try to convince everyone my way is the right one, especially when it comes to dispelling conventional wisdom myths.
    – that I am a better person for stumbling upon the primal blueprint.
    – that I have lots more to learn.

    Thanks, Mark!

    lbd wrote on December 31st, 2009
    • I have learnt that the primal lifestyle has cleared my head I feel better look better sleep better have lost all my insulin issues & killed off my cravings have gone from 1 tub of ice cream a week to nothing now

      Sam Mirabile wrote on December 31st, 2009
  2. I learned that I need to chill out a little, and learn how to play again.

    Evelyn wrote on December 31st, 2009
  3. I learned all about the wonderful goodness of coconut products. In particular, the more coconut oil I ingest, the better I feel. I’d never had it before several months ago, and now it’s a staple of my diet.

    dragonmamma wrote on December 31st, 2009
    • No kidding? I’ve used coconut flower, but haven’t tried the oil. I’ll give it a shot.

      D wrote on December 31st, 2009
  4. I learned that I need to be present and mindful. If I do that, everything else falls into place. It’s the mindless eating and absenteeism from activity that cause harm.
    In 2010, I vow to be present in each and every moment, enjoy life, and be aware of my nutrition and surroundings. In doing this, foloowing those 10 steps just happens naturally, doesn’t it?

    Wendy wrote on December 31st, 2009
  5. I learned that I am not hyperglycemic and I learned that I can and did lose weight! Thanks Mark!!!!

    Kira wrote on December 31st, 2009
  6. That it feels good to try to run hard, even if I’m still relatively slow.

    That I can still do a few pullups two months after the arrival of Baby Two and at least 15yrs after my last pullup. :)

    Thanks for an inspiring blog!

    Nicole wrote on December 31st, 2009
  7. I learned that I’m VERY sensitive to Grains and Dairy. I’ve learned that a diet of veggies, protein, fruit and healthy fat is effective AND makes me feel good:)I’ve learned that sugar is the devil.

    I also learned that setting constant smaller goals is the key to accomplishing the big ones.

    Happy New Year!


    Barbara(Blood, Sweat and Heels) wrote on December 31st, 2009
  8. I learned that I have the power and the knowledge to turn around my health and only eat foods that benefit my body.

    Jen Nelson wrote on December 31st, 2009
  9. Guess what?! I learned that grain free is way more fun, easier and healthier than gluten free. Yippee!

    Lisa wrote on December 31st, 2009
    • This was my big lesson too! Going from gluten free to grain free simplified my life, made me lose 25 lbs, and makes me feel better overall! Thanks

      Karen Baldwin wrote on January 1st, 2010
  10. I learned that it was possible for a fat woman of 40% body fat to change her life and eating habits to become a woman of 18% body fat. Eat more fat, eat less cereals and feel, sorry guys, fucking marvellous!

    Judymac wrote on December 31st, 2009
  11. I learned that willpower is a precious commodity.

    rafiki wrote on December 31st, 2009
    • So did I. Everything else I learned began with this realization.

      CFS wrote on December 31st, 2009
  12. I learned that growth, in all of its varied forms, is seldom painless, but always worth it.

    Matt Zimney wrote on December 31st, 2009
  13. I learned that it’s ok to take a nap, and that getting more sleep is vital. I also second Ibd’s comments, especially that it is better to lead by example than trying to change those who follow conventional wisdom.
    Happy New Year Mark and family! Grok on!

    Krys wrote on December 31st, 2009
    • Krys, the link in your name is misspelled. The p and s in spot are swapped. Just a FYI.

      Matt Zimney wrote on December 31st, 2009
      • Thanks Matt! I’ve fixed it on this reply. Guess my fingers were just flying too fast! Cheers!

        Krys wrote on December 31st, 2009
  14. I learned that nearly everything I thought I knew about nutrition and healthy living was wrong. Thanks and Happy New Year!

    eastwall wrote on December 31st, 2009
  15. I learned that I need to be gluten-free, feel great eating grain-free and I can eat meat without GI issues.

    onelasttime wrote on December 31st, 2009
  16. I learned how the research, dedication and hard work of one man could create a community of supporters who’s main objectives are to help and enlighten the masses who stumble onto MDA. Way to go people! Life is great when you have what it takes to be healthy…knowledge.

    Chris wrote on December 31st, 2009
  17. I learned that getting older doesn’t have to mean getting old.

    SuperMike wrote on December 31st, 2009
  18. I learned not to be afraid of challenges at work and in my personal life: new job, new non-fiction writing project, new committment to anti-global-warming activism, new committment to working out and healthy primal eating. My new motto is “God hates a coward.”

    Anne wrote on December 31st, 2009
  19. – I learned that I’m very susceptible to the neural problems arising from too many carbs.
    – I learned that my thought processes are much clearer and I’m nearly ADD-free when I eat properly.
    – I also learned that carbs make my heart race and may be responsible for my high-ish blood pressure.
    – I learned that I don’t need to knock myself out on my bike to get a good workout each day to and from work.
    – And most importantly, I learned that it doesn’t take too much for me to lose 4 inches around my waist and to gain countless self-esteem points.

    Jamie Fellrath wrote on December 31st, 2009
  20. These past few months I have learned to love myself and not compare myself to others..I still struggle with this but seeing my improvements in my workouts and the small changes in my body are keeping me going and reminding me that I AM worth it and I am strong. I continue learning new nutritional tools everyday from fellow bloggers and get excited to try new things. I also learned NOT to focus on the number on the scale. I feel better now then I did when I was 10 lbs lighter because I actually have some muscle AND the weight will eventually come off but IN THE RIGHT WAY. MDA and primal eating has not only helped me but it has helped my relationship with my husband because he sees the confidence come through as well.

    Lindsay0311 wrote on December 31st, 2009
  21. The biggest—and most far-reaching—lesson that I learned this year is that quality trumps quantity, every time.

    I see it in my diet, my workouts, my interactions with family and friends, my work; everywhere. MDA has been instrumental in reinforcing this lesson over and over again.

    Have a great New Year everybody!

    Adam Kayce wrote on December 31st, 2009
  22. – I learned about Crossfit and lifting really heavy things with explosive compound movements. I also learned that in order to feel good, I need to do this at least twice a week.

    – I learned first about paleo eating and then about the Primal Blueprint. I learned that eating a good amount of animal and other healthy fats makes me feel hugely better than my old fat-avoiding diet. I learned that I’m actually really sensitive to grains and sugar and that I feel better when I avoid them.

    – I learned to sprint again when the mood strikes and to be okay with my leisurely hikes the rest of the time. I learned that never doing more cardio than a 10 minute warm-up at the gym is awesome.

    – I learned that adopting elements of Crossfit and PB have become honest-to-goodness lifestyle habits. After abandoning and healthy eating over the Christmas weekend, I didn’t feel like I was “getting back on the diet” on Monday, but returning to my natural way of living and eating.

    Thanks for all the information you’ve given me, Mark! It’s been life-changing!

    Rachel wrote on December 31st, 2009
  23. A billion things, but above all, I learned primal. There’s nothing more to say besides that.

    Thanks Mark and happy new year!!

    Jack wrote on December 31st, 2009
  24. I learned that working out and not eating clean was not an option if I wanted to improve my health and my bod.

    I learned that having “graves disease” proves that the primal way is the only to continue my quest.

    I learned that you can find incredible information from sites like MDA and for that I am grateful.

    I learned that even I armed with this information can make my 22 year old son see the difference in his eating paten really do make a difference.

    I learned that everyone in a while you realize how grateful you are for communities such as yours.

    Chris wrote on December 31st, 2009
  25. I learned something I thought I’ve known ever since high school: That it doesn’t matter what other people think.

    damaged justice wrote on December 31st, 2009
  26. This year, I learned how to eat. Not diet, not “try to get healthy”… I learned to eat. Real food. Delicious food. Powerful food.

    I grew up in a cooking, eating family, but in 2009, I FINALLY learned to respect my food and what it does for me. I stopped being afraid of fat, and I banished “poison” from my kitchen.

    My husband and I have found fun cooking together. We get local deliveries of produce and meat — our pantry is stocked with coconut oil and coconut milk and freshly-ground spices.

    I have a calm joy about my food that’s made my whole life better. I sleep through the night. I look forward to kale. I power through my workouts. And once in a while, I eat a HOMEMADE cookie.

    Eat. Cook. Love. Live.

    Happy 2010!

    Melissa Joulwan wrote on December 31st, 2009
  27. I have learned that some of the “good foods” for me are really not. I have learned that excuses only slow you down from living the life you want to live and you should be kind to others at all times.

    Thanks Mark

    Terry Elrod wrote on December 31st, 2009
  28. I learned that I need to sleep more. I always thought that if I could make it through the day and function, I must have gotten enough sleep.

    Now I realize that although I can function, I am not thriving. Five hours of sleep is not enough for true health.

    Mary wrote on December 31st, 2009
  29. As a lifelong vegetarian/sometimes vegan I learned that not only will meat not kill me – it will make me strong and healthy.
    I also learned that I do not need to kill myself with running an hour every single day followed by another hour of chronic cardio at the gym most days.
    I learned that I don’t have to be tired all the time and suffer from massive mood swings that drive everyone (including myself) crazy.
    I learned that it is sometimes just better to let things go and enjoy what time I have.
    I still have a lot more to learn though and I plan on doing so every day in 2010.

    Alex wrote on December 31st, 2009
  30. since i only discovered this site and its information this year, i learned a hell of a lot. the best thing i learned, though, was that eating an entire chicken all by myself in one sitting, without utensils, is awesome.
    also – the idea of the big salad, which i call the ‘epic salad’. been eating it every day (sometimes twice a day) for 8 months now and still love it, look forward to it, it helps me save money and it totally satisfies me. screw you, sandwiches and pasta.

    gwen wrote on December 31st, 2009
  31. I learned so much this year…

    The year started out with a trip to New Zealand and some amazing sight seeing and photography opportunities.

    Then, my wife and I had our first child in July and I learned to love someone more than I ever knew was possible.

    I also learned around the same time that my blood pressure was 150/105 and I had topped the scales at 200 lbs. (I’m 5′ 7″). Suffice it to say, I was shocked at how I had become absent to myself and my own well being over the years, and how it could now seriously affect my ability to see my son grow up.

    I got fired up to change my ways and get my health back in order, and what a journey it has been! I started with an eliptical machine, Men’s Health Magazine, hours of chronic cardio and a low fat diet.

    This was back in August. I lost 8 pounds in a month and a half and was feeling great. Then I hit a wall and no amount of lifting or cardio did anything for me. I also started to slip on the diet and revert back to some of my old eating habits – french fries with my sandwhich, bad desserts, etc.

    In late October, my frustration at myself and lack of progress lead me to a Google search on cardio “methods” to find something that could get me back on track. Through this search I stumbled across Mark’s article on chronic cardio and it opened my eyes to the world of Primal living.

    Man what a change! I ripped the band aid of carbs away and cut all carbs out of my diet cold turkey. I had a few rough days at first but nothing major that I couldn’t bear. I changed my diet accordingly and got myself onto a good primal diet of lean meats, good fats, nuts, and all the rest, and I love it. My workout schedule changed from one hour chronic cardio 5 days a week to light cardio, walking my dogs, and sprints (which I love). I still lift as I used to but now results are happening because of the dietary and cardio shifts.

    I have been eating and working out in a primal fashion for a month and a half now. My energy levels are soaring, I have lost 10 more pounds, and I’m shedding about a pound a week. Primal eating and specifically Mark’s workout programs have busted me through my plateau and have changed my whole outlook on my diet and lifestyle.

    I love the science behind it all too. Learning about insulin, glucagon, macro and micronutrients has kept me so interested in the program and my own progress as I see it all happening to me.

    I have taken to intermittent fasting and enjoy this the most. I never thought I would like to go without food for 24 hours, but now I can’t imagine a week without at least one fast day. The affects it has on my well being and mental clarity have been awesome. I just did a 36 hour fast yesterday and feel tremendous.

    I am so excited for 2010. Mark, you Primal diet/workout lifestyle is amazing! My wife has embarked on her own journey and is joining me as her New Year’s commitment to a Primal lifestyle. She has done a mere carb reduction so far and dropped 5 pounds in a month. Between that and watching me morph into a completely different person physically and mentally has convinced her of the merits to this lifestyle.

    Needless to say, you have made a convert out of me and my whole family. Here’s to 2010 and another 5 pounds lost in January! All the best to you and your family this new year and may it bring you all the attention and success you deserve!!!!


    jfarley33 wrote on December 31st, 2009
  32. This was my “Primal” year! I learned the fundamental truth about our bodies, nutrition, and how to bring all of it together with fitness to create transformational change!

    Thanks Mark! You’re making the world a better place!!

    Barry Napier wrote on December 31st, 2009
  33. I learned that I eat more interesting food when I have some healthy constraints on ingredients and prepare it myself. Having fewer options opened my eyes to all these foods that I hardly even considered before.

    Jonathan wrote on December 31st, 2009
  34. I learned I can go for much longer than 4 hours without eating and feel really good about it.
    I learned that grains and sugar make me feel pretty awful.
    I learned that my job is killing me.
    I learned that I need to take sleep and rest more seriously.
    I learned that money really isn’t everything.
    I learned that my husband is more supportive than I could have imagined.
    I learned that I need to see my family more.

    Alex wrote on December 31st, 2009
  35. I learned that overeating does not cause obesity, but rather that overeating is often a consequence of obesity and that obesity is caused, rather, by the inability of the body to utilize the fat it’s already stored. And, that severely limiting carbs and eating healthy fats and protein can fix the problem.

    Sharonll wrote on December 31st, 2009
  36. I learned that Crossfit, fat, protein, and green things are the true key to a happy me.
    I learned that I don’t have to eat every 3 hours, or suffer from low blood sugar headaches.
    I learned that Grok Rocks!

    shepherd wrote on December 31st, 2009
  37. While this particular lesson has been life-long for me so far, I’ve come the farthest in 2009 in learning it: The only person I can control is me.

    Jamie wrote on December 31st, 2009
    • Amen, Jamie!

      Dougie wrote on January 1st, 2010
  38. I learned about fasting this year. That despite CW fasting complemented by a good paleo diet does way more for my blood sugar regulation than 5 meals a day. Most of all though I continue to learn that following the cues of my body is the most important thing.

    Amanda wrote on December 31st, 2009
  39. I’ve learned that cutting high fructose corn syrup out of my life isn’t as difficult as some make it seem. Doing so has stopped my blood sugar from bouncing up & down all day long.

    I’ve learned that even the smallest healthy changes make a huge impact.

    I’ve learned that using natural products (like jojoba oil for moisturizer, a deodorant crystal, & baking soda + peroxide instead of toothpaste) work much better than any chemicals we can come up with.

    I’ve learned where my food REALLY comes from. I grew up on a farm, in farm country, & learned more from Omnivore’s Dilemmna than I ever thought I would.

    I’ve learned that yes, I can live without fast food & soda.

    I’ve learned that yes, I really do feel much better when I avoid dairy products.

    I’ve learned that meals cooked with a few simple ingredients are the most satisfying of all.

    Finally, I’ve learned that it’s time to take the final step & cut grains out of my life entirely. Here’s to a primal new year!!

    Sarah wrote on December 31st, 2009

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