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

Four Christmases

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!


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.


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


    JohnC wrote on March 11th, 2011
  2. Amazing! Great work!

    FlyKev wrote on March 11th, 2011
  3. Paul,

    Well done man! Great story thanks for sharing!

    Gorm wrote on March 11th, 2011
  4. Also, good to hear that Paleo is owning up the gym crowd. It is hard to argue with results, after all…

    eko wrote on March 11th, 2011
  5. 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 10lbs within a month of not playing because all I did was walk my dog every afternoon by the creek instead. Something that simple. Then I dropped another 10 lbs with primal diet. Then I got pregnant so now I can’t really do anything til I’m done – 10 days til im due! HURRY UP BABY!!!

    Earthspirit wrote on March 11th, 2011
  6. 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.

    David_dc wrote on March 11th, 2011
  7. Amazing!

    maba wrote on March 11th, 2011
  8. Congrats Paul. Thats crazy to rebound from surgery like that. A lot of people would use that as an excuse.

    Gary Deagle wrote on March 11th, 2011
  9. Wait, did somebody say this is Rivvin? You forgot to testify about the power of butt rotations! Just in case anybody missed it…

    dragonmamma wrote on March 11th, 2011
    • Haha I didn’t expect that video to show up here. Its my primal opus.

      Rivvin wrote on March 11th, 2011
  10. Awesome transformation!! Congratulations on your great success!!

    Leigh wrote on March 11th, 2011
  11. I love these stories, they always inspire me to continue on (or get back on track). =P

    Shawn wrote on March 11th, 2011
  12. I am someone that has recently began the primal thing. You have given me some great news that this process is all worth it. Thank you for your story!

    RunAwayNightmare wrote on March 11th, 2011
  13. Go Rivvin! Even before getting to the pictures, I knew it was you from the story. Great transformation! I only wish you (and all of us) had found this way of life before you needed surgery…

    Suzanna wrote on March 11th, 2011
  14. The guy in the background of your 2009 (your brother?) photo looks like the same guy as the 2007 before picture. Out of curiousity, has that the brother tried this lifestyle yet?

    Karen C. wrote on March 11th, 2011
    • That is actually my twin brother! While he is still very overweight he is slowly becoming more interested in a healthier diet.

      My goal is to one day have him do crossfit with me and be able to keep up. It would seriously be the greatest thing ever for me.

      Rivvin wrote on March 11th, 2011
      • Neat! You definitely look like twins. I bet he will get onboard soon, you have to inspire him so much!

        Karen C. wrote on March 11th, 2011
  15. Nice work Rivvin!

    Runnergal wrote on March 11th, 2011
  16. Wow is an understatement. You look great and what a wonderful story!
    Knowing how to treat your body and being able to do this with ease means you will be able to keep those unwanted pounds off for as long as you desire.
    Nothing like being able to have control over your health, and weight.Keep up the good work handsome.

    primal tree top wrote on March 11th, 2011
  17. Wow, you look like a movie star! Way to go!

    Anne wrote on March 11th, 2011
  18. So awesome, Rivvin. Love the video, too!

    Jac wrote on March 11th, 2011
  19. Once upon a time, there was a tub of Walmart potato salad…. 😀
    Awesome job, especially overcoming that social anxiety!

    Teebirdy wrote on March 11th, 2011
  20. Paul, you are a hottie! And CrossFit didn’t give you those muscles, you earned them. (I’m a level 2 CF instructor, I know!)

    Alise wrote on March 11th, 2011
  21. Nice, Paul! You had an awesome drive and when you find the key to unlocking your perfect healthy you were unstoppable! Way to go! I hope your new found energy paves the way for more love and fun!

    Lauren wrote on March 11th, 2011
  22. You’re a weight loss/muscle building warlock. You Leroy Jenkins that journey!

    huntergirlhayden wrote on March 11th, 2011
  23. You look amazing!!! I think I’m going to go to the gym now…super inspiring!

    Tori wrote on March 11th, 2011
  24. Nice job dude! Cant wait to see the 2011 xmas photo!

    JW | Natural Mana wrote on March 11th, 2011
  25. Wow – way to go Paul. Now , go out and start a blog and let the world know about it. You are a superb inspiration. You got it.

    Dominic DiCarlo wrote on March 11th, 2011
  26. Awesome job Paul! I found your story about diverticulitis and some of the other commenters interesting. I was diagnosed with diverticulitis last summer, a few months before I ditched the conventional wisdom. The doctor asked me if I ate “enough fiber” and was incredulous when I responded that I was eating tons of fiber. And I was–big heaping bowls of oatmeal, whole grain bread, tons of veggies and nuts. And yet here I was with a torn up gut. I just lived on juice, broth and yogurt for a week and fortunately it resolved without me needing a gut resection. But obviously not everyone is so lucky, and the advice to eat more and more fiber (especially our favorite–the grains) is probably causing the problem to begin with.

    Anyway, again, amazing transformation.

    RobG wrote on March 11th, 2011
  27. So inspiring! Great job you look awesome!

    Hannah wrote on March 11th, 2011
  28. Dude! Hot!! Thanks for sharing your fabulous journey.

    obligatecarnivore wrote on March 11th, 2011
  29. All these replies, and not one mention of sauerkraut?

    Awesome job, Rivvin, and you’re also a wonderful, hilarious writer.

    aktres wrote on March 11th, 2011
    • Fortunately I doubt the sauerkraut experience will ever hit the front page of MDA… whew! :)

      Rivvin wrote on March 11th, 2011
  30. That is one hell of a transformation. Cutting your weight in half in a few years?! Damn!!

    Grok on Paul!

    Primal Toad wrote on March 11th, 2011
  31. Awesome! What a great story! So many people in the position you were in feel trapped and see no way out. I am so happy you found it!

    slacker wrote on March 11th, 2011
  32. Hellloooooo good lookin!

    Noctiluca wrote on March 11th, 2011
  33. I swear the guy in the back of 2009 is the guy in the original picture, lol

    dustin wrote on March 11th, 2011
  34. That’s how he lost the weight! He took it all and made another person! Great detective work Dustin!

    Monte Diaz wrote on March 11th, 2011
  35. WOW! I’m thinking the next time doppleganger week comes around on Facebook you need to stick a Mark Wahlberg picture on your wall. You look fantastic!

    Abigail wrote on March 12th, 2011
  36. What a happy story,Paul,actually brought tears to my eyes! There are so many people out there who could have a more fulfilled life if they were just eating right.

    CKP wrote on March 12th, 2011
  37. Awesome job man! Keep up the great work!

    fritzy wrote on March 12th, 2011

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