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. you do look like Matt Damon (in his slimmer years)!! congratulations!!

    anamaria wrote on March 12th, 2011
  2. Paul, yeah!! What a great, inspirational story. And what a good looking guy!

    Stephanie wrote on March 12th, 2011
  3. WOW!!! amazing transformation! thanks for sharing, you have again reaffirmed my belief in Paleo!

    Maryann wrote on March 12th, 2011
  4. Holy hell man! What a transformation! Your story screams “You have no ****ing excuse. Get off your ass.” I think you definitely will convince at least a few people to unglue their face from the computers/TVs

    Conner P. wrote on March 12th, 2011
  5. Congratulations!

    You don’t even look like the same guy – and you look fantastic now! :-)

    Jill wrote on March 12th, 2011
  6. Don’t hate him because he is so beautiful (inside and out)!

    Ginger wrote on March 12th, 2011
  7. Congrats! Amazing story you have :)

    Sarah wrote on March 12th, 2011
  8. Another ex-WoWhead here, best thing I ever quit! I had a great time with it, but I have an even better time being out and about and actually DOING things. I confess, every time I start something hard, I think “Ok, I’m level 1″… DING. Get better. Ding! Get better at it. Ding!

    You look fantastic, and are an inspiration. The best part, is you’re now a buff hottie with that inner core of geeky goodness, and sense of humour only a true ‘net junkie has 😀

    Elaine wrote on March 12th, 2011
  9. Thanks for your inspirational story Tim, I’m going to forward this to my daughters as further proof that eating plants and animals with a bit of primal exercise is so worth the minimal effort. 😉

    They keep telling me I’m a bit wack, but I’m down from 226 to 211 simply by moving to primal with my food choices.

    Thanks for your encouraging words, and for more fodder for my daughters.

    Michael wrote on March 13th, 2011
  10. +1 for BJJ. Good to know there’s another Primal Blueprinter who trains.

    miguelito wrote on March 13th, 2011
  11. Awesome Paul! Inspiring !

    Andy wrote on March 14th, 2011
  12. Holly COW! What a great journey.
    I actually think you kind of look like Marky Mark..uhm…sorry, Mark Wahlberg now with your big arms and all:) Nicely done!

    chocolatechip69 wrote on March 14th, 2011
  13. Paul, You look incredible! Keep up the good work and thank you for being such an inspiration.

    Reena wrote on March 17th, 2011
  14. Congrats on your well-earned success Paul. You look wonderful, but even more I am happy to hear that your mental space is less cluttered with self-defeating chatter. You’ll be a champion from this point forward in your life.

    Celeste wrote on March 27th, 2011
  15. I know I’m quite late to this thread, but had to chime in. I’m really happy to hear that Paul and several commenters with diverticulosis have found success with the Primal Blueprint. I’m hoping this lifestyle will make a huge difference for me and my husband (who happens to have diverticulosis). I’ve seen lots of reference to the “eat lots of whole grains” recommendation, but a couple of my husband’s doctors also told him to strictly avoid nuts and seeds. I’ve read that there’s a decent amount of controversy over that recommendation, but to err on the side of caution, he’d avoided them until we began our Primal journey this week.

    With a couple of flare ups still in recent memory, the thought of him eating nuts when strictly warned against them makes both of us a little nervous. Of course, I know that it may just be more CW that we need to look past. Can anyone with diverticulosis weigh in on the real risk/consequence of adding in more nuts to his diet? He’d of course be making all the other adjustments like more fat, protein, fewer carbs, and no sugar/junk/processed stuff. Have you been eating nuts with no issues, or do you avoid them (and let your fat and protein come from meat and dairy sources)?

    Thank you so much, Paul, for sharing your impressive and inspiring story!

    Karen wrote on September 1st, 2011
    • I don’t have div but I have Crohn’s Disease… Eating fiber to improve health is an idea completely devoid of sanity.
      Try to eat as near as zero fiber as possible… at first your gut may need to adapt but as long as you’ve got healthy bacteria that can actually digest the food you’re eating you’ll be fine. I’ll copy and paste a reply I made further back about a doctor recommending fiber:

      [i]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…[/i]

      mm wrote on October 12th, 2011
      • In theory you can eat nuts if you calculate the Omega-6 content and add in Omega-3 to keep a 1:1 – 1:6 ratio, and avoid the fibery ones (all nuts have water-insoluble fiber) or eat them with large meals so the fiber won’t press against and damage your colon as much – the less fiber grams you eat compared to the total grams of food you eat, the less damage you’ll cause… at least in my experience… (good idea to treat nuts as a side-dish treat anyways)

        What you’d need is a good method of determining direct feedback from the foods you eat. With my autoimmune disorder my gut will tell me if I ate too much fiber or too much of a certain food it doesn’t like. But it’s not 100% accurate as the healthier it is the more punishment it can withstand.

        mm wrote on October 12th, 2011
        • Wait…. if even CW docs are warning you against nuts why would you even want to eat them?! They’re barely even primal/paleo as they still have anti-nutrients (white potatoes are more paleo and healthier than nuts imo, so is white rice & baked beans, relatively speaking). It’s already hard to find nuts that won’t promote advanced aging from the high polyunsaturated fatty acid content (and if oxidized PUFAs don’t bother you perhaps the insane amounts of Omega-6 in some of them will)

          I used to love nuts. I stopped eating them. Now, I might go back to eating some as dessert, but I might not; I don’t miss them that much.

          mm wrote on October 12th, 2011
  16. Dude, I had been diagnosed with diverticulitis back in March and had to have a foot of my colon taken out. Just decided to go primal last month after my brother started over the summer and kept nagging me about it. This story definitely gives me hope that I can get rid of that disease with this diet.

    Jonathan wrote on October 1st, 2012

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