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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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March 11, 2011

Four Christmases

By Guest
113 Comments

In 2007 Paul weighed 300 pounds. Today… well you’ll just have to read his story.

If you have your own Primal Blueprint success story and you’d like to share it with me and the MDA community please feel free to contact me here. Have a wonderful Friday, everyone, and thanks for reading!

Mark,

I am a 26 year old software developer and I have been a mixture of paleo and Primal for approximately two years now. When I first decided to lose weight, I was sitting at around 295 – 300 pounds. As I went through college my entire life consisted of sitting in front of computers and the TV playing video games and watching movies. I felt like a slob and I lived like a slob. While I was generally a happy person I always felt like I was doing myself a disservice. I wanted to become more involved with people, I wanted to become more involved with the opposite sex, and I wanted people to start taking me more seriously. Unfortunately, a mixture of World of Warcraft, a steady diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew, and a horrible social anxiety caused by my weight and general appearance made these things very difficult to do.

One day, after eating an entire container of Walmart potato salad I contracted a horrible case of food poisoning. After three days of horrible sickness, I turned out to be 15 pounds lighter. I had also passed out at some point and face planted onto my tile floor and shattered my glasses. When I saw myself in the mirror without the glasses and with a slightly thinner waistline, I made up my mind right there that I would fix myself and become a member of society again. I immediately jumped onto the whole-grain wagon and started eating oatmeal by the boat load, whole grain bagels every morning, fiber crackers with lunch, and every other classic conventional wisdom food you could imagine. A few months into this lifestyle I developed a crippling case of diverticulitis that resulted in having a foot of my colon surgically removed at the age of 24.

I continued to eat the way I had been as I just did not know any better, but I did join a CrossFit gym and started attending the sessions regularly. I was so horribly out of shape and was completely humbled and embarrassed to see myself next to the hard bodied and sexy machines training all around me.  I used them as inspiration to keep pushing myself harder. Over the first month of attendance I was constantly bombarded with the paleo diet and then the Primal [Blueprint] diet.  It seemed like all the best athletes at the box followed these diets and if it worked so well for them I knew it would work for me too! I then read your book, The Primal Blueprint, and Cordain’s book and finally saw how my low-fat, high-carb diet was killing me. My diverticulitis, I believe, was a direct result of my attempts at eating “healthy” whole grains.

I jumped feet first into 100% paleo and then Primal and I have not looked back ever since. The first two months that I went Primal my weight plummeted from 300lbs to 250. Everyone around me was amazed. A couple more months in and my weight had dropped to around 215. CrossFit had built me some muscles and endurance, and I was feeling the best I ever had in my life. People were paying me attention and girls didn’t look the other way when I walked into a room. I felt like I was finally becoming a person I could be happy with.

I continued to train and dial my diet in and over the course of a year and few months I had reached my goal of 150 pounds. At this point in my life, due to my new looks and self confidence I was able to begin making friends and getting over my social hangups. I really started to enjoy life and knowing that I could go out and actually do things in the fresh air and in public. I began to focus on building strength and really transforming myself into an athlete who could compete in a competition and not be ashamed. Everything about me was becoming something I could be proud of.

By switching to the Primal [Blueprint] diet and following a good fitness plan, I turned myself into a powerful, lean, and self-satisfied person. I now also train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and have more friends than I’ve ever had in my life. If it wasn’t for your book and website with its amazing forums to keep me on track and answer my questions, I do not believe I would have ever reached where I am now especially as quickly as I did. All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart to both you and the amazing forum members who helped me get here.

Here is a picture of me from Christmas of 2007 through each consecutive Christmas up until this past one.

Paul

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109 Comments on "Four Christmases"

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Tuck
5 years 8 months ago

Paul, the same thing happened to me. I was a big fan of whole wheat and fiber. My first diverticulitis attack was in my 20s, the second was in my 40s. Lucky for me I didn’t see a doctor after the first one, but I did for the second.

My doctors told me to eat more fiber, so I did, got sicker, and wound up having surgery.

http://yelling-stop.blogspot.com/2010/08/diverticulitis-my-story.html

I can now reproduce my diverticulitis symptoms at will by eating wheat.

The Primal way of eating is without a doubt the way to go.

Brendan
5 years 8 months ago

Wow, what a story. My grandmother was just diagnosed with diverticulitis and when I told her to eat Primal, she thought I was crazy. Her doctor told her to eat whole grains for high fiber. Maybe your story will convince her I’m right!

mm
mm
5 years 1 month ago

Epic fail on multiple levels by your doc…
#1 is not knowing the difference between water soluble and insoluble fiber (water insoluble will damage your intestines, just like water insoluble solids will damage a hydraulic pump),
#2 is suggesting fiber that could feed colon bacteria and lead to more damage/infection,
#3 is thinking fiber is anything but near-useless,
#4 is being so nutritionally retarded your doc is a prime example of the dunning-krueger effect…

fritzy
fritzy
5 years 8 months ago

My sister was told to do the same thing by her doctor. My sister is smart. She saw how ridiculous this idea was and cut out the grains from her diet on her own. Then she received confirmation from reading The Primal Blueprint. She’s had very few problems since.

Chris Lampe
Chris Lampe
5 years 8 months ago

Awesome transformation!! Congratulations on all your hard work and discipline paying off.

Elle
Elle
5 years 8 months ago

Damn, of course the ladies don’t look away! Congrats and you look amaaaaazing!

yodiewan
yodiewan
5 years 8 months ago

Go Rivvin! Your progress is inspiring and you are a great asset to the forum here.

dantheman
dantheman
5 years 8 months ago

Yeah, it’s pretty incredible what motivation and the RIGHT information will do for you. Inspiring.

Chris N.
Chris N.
5 years 8 months ago

Very nice! Keep up the good work!

Jana
5 years 8 months ago

Truly inspiring!

John
John
5 years 8 months ago

Simply amazing.

Georgette
Georgette
5 years 8 months ago

Absolutely amazing Paul! In each picture, you like a different person!!! Keep up the good work.

Adam
Adam
5 years 8 months ago

I like the photo progression:

2007: Obese
2008: Pudgy
2009: Skinny
2010: Muscular

Great job!! 50 lbs in 2 months? Awesome! I myself lost 35 lbs in 3 months (208 down to 173) and people were shocked as well. Especially since I wasn’t even working out, just eating right.

What I find strange about the general public is that they see results like this and are still skeptical. Oh well, our gain… their loss. 🙂

localad
localad
5 years 8 months ago

John Goodman to Matt Damon!

Darcy
5 years 8 months ago

Great job Paul very inspiring. I swear World of Warcraft should be labelled an addictive health hazard lol. I had a harder time quiting that than I had quiting smoking.

Stef
5 years 8 months ago

I LOVE these stories every week. I love seeing people take back their life and make it the way they always hoped to be. We all have that power in every aspect of our lives…

Awesome.

Andrea
Andrea
5 years 8 months ago

Hot! Nice work!

Sharon
Sharon
5 years 8 months ago

Love these inspirational stories.

Your story will inspire many more to take your path. Congrats.

Rivvin
Rivvin
5 years 8 months ago

Thanks for all the kind words, it is a bit of an odd feeling seeing my story up there but if I can convince just one more WoW player to step back and look at their health than I’d be happy!

MountainDew
MountainDew
5 years 8 months ago

This is so crazy. Earlier today I had remembered about a PWO meal/snack that you had mentioned involving sweet potatoe and cinnamon (I believe). I wasn’t going to start looking through all the forum posts to find it so I made a mental note to PM you in the forums later and ask about the recipe. And as I come to the front page of MDA, there you are. Good job on your transformation bro!

Crunchy Pickle
5 years 8 months ago

Great job! I need to link this to my blog so that others who ask will understand that whole wheat is NOT a super-food!

Danielle
Danielle
5 years 8 months ago

This had me tearing up. Congratulations Paul!

Guy
Guy
5 years 8 months ago

Outstanding job! Now you’re the inspiration and after all that, you got that Matt Damon thing going for you too. Yehaw!

George
George
5 years 8 months ago

Congrats Paul – no tears from me mate – just a big grin. You do truly look like a different guy. Awesome!

wildshan
5 years 8 months ago

You look fantastic, congrats! 😀

Marcela
Marcela
5 years 8 months ago

Congratulations! You’re an inspiration to a noobie.

Buttercup
5 years 8 months ago

Amazing. An absolute inspiration. I’m also glad your humor has remained intact, your forum posts are must-reads.

Rivvin
Rivvin
5 years 8 months ago

Haha thanks, I appreciate that. I unfortunately got lazy while I’ve been down for ACL surgery so I need to get off the lazy-train and come up with some new material soon I think. 🙂

Ashley North
Ashley North
5 years 8 months ago

Paul is HOT! Congrats!

I just love these weekly success stories, keep ’em coming!!

Sam
Sam
5 years 8 months ago

You don’t even look like the same person! Way to go. What an inspiration!

Alison Golden
5 years 8 months ago

Wow, you’re unrecognizable from your before picture!Congratulations!

And that WoW is addictive.

Drewsome
Drewsome
5 years 8 months ago

Wow!

Matt
Matt
5 years 8 months ago

Wow – impressive transformation indeed! The 2010 pic doesn’t even look like the same person

Timothy
5 years 8 months ago
Well done and amazing work, Paul! Your new physique is enviable. From one ex-WoW-junkie to another, I know what a dramatic change it is to go primal. But I also suspect that our dearly departed hobby prepared us in some key respects for the primal journey: sharpening our analytical skills to trace the connections between environment and health; honing our competitive urges to match and exceed the accomplishments of others; and most importantly, teaching us that life’s most epic achievements aren’t won in a day, but are ground out one tiny unit at a time with relentless dedication to a… Read more »
Brian
Brian
5 years 8 months ago

Also a recovering WoW addict. Also down 40 pounds (took longer cause I wasn’t as gung-ho and gradually cut things out) on a paleo/primal diet.

Losing that much weight (I was 350 years ago and now down to 215) is like wearing a disguise. Keep up the work!

wildshan
5 years 8 months ago

… I thought you and Matt were talking about Workout of the Week for a minute there. I am proud that I figured it out! Haha.

So you went from WoW to WOW (workout of the week) and ended up wowing. Nice.

wildshan
5 years 8 months ago

I meant Timothy, not Matt.

Alex "Dude Where's My Muscle" Siddy

WOW nice work! Always an inspiration hearing (and seeing) stories like this. Congratulations.

Derek Weiss
5 years 8 months ago

Nice work! The 100lb transformations are always amazing. One can only wonder how much better you feel every day of your life now.

Stephanie
Stephanie
5 years 8 months ago

A ‘video game playing slob’ has revealed he really was a HOTTIE!!!
Congrats on the amazing transformation!
Isn’t it great to FEEL GOOD on the inside. 🙂

gilliebean
5 years 8 months ago

I love Fridays.

I also love a story that shows that even though it may take a while for the weight to come off, it will come off eventually and stay off!

P.S. What a cutie!! ;D

Arthurb999
Arthurb999
5 years 8 months ago

Awesome work man! Wow…

Brianna
Brianna
5 years 8 months ago

WoW! All I can say is /sexy.

Hays
5 years 8 months ago

That is an amazing story! Awesome job!

Emily
Emily
5 years 8 months ago

Holy cow! I wouldn’t even think you are the same person! Congrats to you!

Kim
Kim
5 years 8 months ago

Amazing story…. and a very handsome man! Keep up the great work!

Rivvin
Rivvin
5 years 8 months ago

I love seeing comments from other WoW players on here, maybe Mark needs to add that as a marketing angle for his next book.

“Tired of sitting alone in your basement? Read my book to see how bacon can fix that!”

JohnC
JohnC
5 years 8 months ago

“Everything about me was becoming something I could be proud of.”

Nice!

FlyKev
FlyKev
5 years 8 months ago

Amazing! Great work!

Gorm
Gorm
5 years 8 months ago

Paul,

Well done man! Great story thanks for sharing!

eko
eko
5 years 8 months ago

Also, good to hear that Paleo is owning up the gym crowd. It is hard to argue with results, after all…

Earthspirit
Earthspirit
5 years 8 months ago
I’m a recovering WoW addict too! I never got obese or anything, but I went from 125lbs to 155lbs (I’m 5’9″) within the 5 almost 6 years I played that game. I quit just before this latest expansion came out. It got to the point where I became too disgusted and literally sick when I looked at the screen. People’s voices on ventrilo annoyed me, standing in Dalaran jumping in circles or doing the same stupid daily quests every single day, having to have gold to raid, blah blah blah…. That’s when I knew I couldnt play anymore. I dropped… Read more »
David_dc
David_dc
5 years 8 months ago

Amazing story Paul! Way to go man! This site, this lifestyle and everyone involved is such an inspiration to me as i’m just 2 1/2 months in. Congrats and thanks for the inspiration.

maba
maba
5 years 8 months ago

Amazing!

Gary Deagle
5 years 8 months ago

Congrats Paul. Thats crazy to rebound from surgery like that. A lot of people would use that as an excuse.

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
5 years 8 months ago

Wait, did somebody say this is Rivvin? You forgot to testify about the power of butt rotations! Just in case anybody missed it…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHcE0Q10YSI&feature=player_embedded

Rivvin
Rivvin
5 years 8 months ago

Haha I didn’t expect that video to show up here. Its my primal opus.

runnergal
runnergal
5 years 8 months ago

Could have been the sauerkraut thread. Just sayin’ 😀

mm
mm
5 years 1 month ago

sauerkraut thread = pure win of epic proportions

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread16440.html

Leigh
5 years 8 months ago

Awesome transformation!! Congratulations on your great success!!

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