Getting the Six-Pack Back!

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. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in line

I was a distance runner in high school, but as the years went by, my commitment to fitness went on the back burner for a busy family and career life. When my father had bypass surgery, it opened my eyes to the importance of taking care of my diet and exercise habits. I’ve always been able to go out and run a few, or more, miles; the biggest challenge for me was my horrible eating habits and late nights in front of screen entertainment. My addiction was sugar, and it was an easy drug to get to, since it’s pretty much in everything we eat. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, borderline diabetes and depression. I was slowly killing myself. I needed help, and I was ready and willing to do something about it.

I’ve tried everything from Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers to the ViSalus (90 day program). I was successful with the ViSalus program for a short time, but I felt like I starved myself to drop my weight. With ViSalus, I was able to go from 206 lbs down to 165 pounds…seemed like a successful attempt at losing weight.


But wait, what do I do now that I have reached that goal set for me? I turned to my childhood friend, Brad Kearns. He was always supportive and never judgmental of me, even at my lowest point. He gave me The Primal Blueprint, and I devoured it, peppering him with near-constant email and phone questions for over two years.

From that high point of 206 pounds, I now easily maintain a goal weight of around 145 pounds (I’m 5’7″). The journey I took to this point was not easy. There is no quick fix for this. It took me many years to get fat and ugly, and it took a while to get my six-pack back! Once you accept that it’s not a quick fix, write your goals down, log your intake of food, weigh in, and remind yourself it can only get better. And yes, there will be good days and bad days. All part of the cycle of life.


My daily eating habits: Breakfast is a shake with Primal Fuel, bananas, natural peanut butter, chia seeds and flax seeds. Sometimes my breakfast will be eggs from a local chicken farm and lean bacon. Lunch is sometimes a shake, grilled chicken or a salad. Dinner is fish, chicken, meat (depending on the mood I’m in) with lots of veggies. Dessert is fruit, nuts and seeds.

I do weights here and there (dumbbells 25 lbs each), but mainly sit ups, pull-ups, chin-ups and pushups….If I wear my hernia belt, I can also do planks…. Since getting healthy, my knees are not sore (had issues with them in the past…

I run between 120 to 174 miles a month at an aerobic pace. Yes, following the principles of Primal Endurance I was forced to slow way down. This actually helped me get the final success happening. I went from a stall at 170 pounds down to 145 when I slowed down my training pace because this helped me finally free myself completely from sugar addiction/sugar cravings. I decided to cut sugar out of my diet and focus on being a Primal eater….with more mileage on the road (running) – I was able to burn the fat, not muscle using the Maff formula and concentrated on HR training.


It’s hard to believe that it’s true. The sugar addiction that keeps us unhealthy can be traded in for a healthy lifestyle with positive support and a desire to live long and drop dead.

Gil Maroko, Wellness Coach

Meridian, ID

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23 thoughts on “Getting the Six-Pack Back!”

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  1. Fantastic transformation, great story and great advice Gil! I’m about one inch taller and 5 pounds more than you … and also probably 15 to 20 more years … you have a lot more hair than me LOL. I had inguinal hernia surgery on one side in 2015, took me a while to be able to do core work but now I can do planks and just about anything, although a little more careful these days as I’m not exactly a spring chicken. Anyway … thanks for the inspiration, you look awesome dude!

    1. Thank you !!! I missed the window to have the surgery prior to my marathon…so, I’ll be running with them. I was able to find hernia underwear and I successfully ran 13 miles with zero hernia issues.

  2. Great transformation and you look great. To keep the theme going, I’m 2″ taller and ten pounds heavier than you, Gil…and 15 to 20 years older. You were very smart to listen to Brad. Wish more of my friends would listen to me, lol!

    Just one question, what the heck is LEAN bacon?

    1. everyone I know is taller than me…I can’t win : ) ……. Lean bacon is also know as cottage bacon – it’s taken from a different part of the pig..the shoulder if I remember correctly.

  3. Congratulations! I’m always thrilled when I read of someone beating a sugar addiction. It gives me hope that I can, too. I’m a Boisean, btw, so I’m wondering if you’re running in all this snow?

    1. I found it pretty easy to get rid of sugar cravings. I just avoided all sugars and artificial sweeteners. After about a week I wasn’t interested in eating sweet foods any more. I don’t think you can ever get rid of a sugar addiction, however. I found out the hard way that the sugar cravings return if I go back to eating sweets. I can do the rare couple of bites (literally just a small bite or two) of dessert on special occasions, but even then, mentally, the first thing I want to do is eat more. I don’t, but it does take a bit of willpower.

      1. HI Gil,
        Brian Cooper here, I too have a bad sugar addiction. I was the assistant buyer at Robinson’s Department store in Candy and Gourmet Foods, for a while. It was there that I developed my foodie instincts. Ever since I have been hooked. At 6’4″ tall I saw no weight gain until I turned 40 and injured my back. It is now fractured in 4 different places. Making it
        Hard to walk for get the [email protected] mile hikes on the weekend. Where before I could not get past 185 no matter what. Now I weigh 239I should be 200-210. With those fractures all I can do for now is
        I need one that will help change eating habits and teach how to prepair healthy good tasting food. Not a diet of frozen food for life that I have to buy from the diet people. As I also help my partner take care of his ailing dad at our home in West Hollywood.

        1. Hi Brian,
          Not clear if you are ‘Primal’ yet but just want to add a word of encouragement if not. I believe this way of eating will get you where you want! I’ve found eating this way (as a sugar addict) to be effective even without exercise- as Mark says your composition is largely due to avoiding sugar and grains & eating real food.(Your former job sounds like heaven!) I’ve dropped 60lbs (not all at once, but since eating this way). Fasting a bit (Dr Jason Fung has the best books on this!)-eg just coffee & coconut oil for me- til lunch or dinner, sometimes- has been the final piece of the puzzle (although I could always increase my exercise!!). Don’t buy those diet meals- been there done that many times! Good luck!

        2. Hello Brian…yup – you have always been tall…at least from where I stood : ) – forget the word diet and try calling it a lifestyle change. eat fresh daily…and do it one day at a time. grab a white board and log everything…weigh yourself everyday – it keeps you in check.

          ..have you had surgery on your back? if not, have you considered working on your core with just simple sit ups?

      2. it makes me sad when I see people shop in the supermarket and load their carts with garbage…

    2. Hello fellow Boisean : ) – cutting sugar from my diet was the most difficult thing I’ve ever tackled. I have been running in the snow…nothings gonna stop me…and I didn’t fall on any of my snow filled runs.

  4. Wow what a transformation! I had double hernia surgery years ago and it definitely affected working on my abs for awhile so I can relate. Sugar addiction is real…I honestly think some people just can’t have it ever, while others can moderate themselves. Either way, it’s an addictive substance. Glad to hear you beat it! It’s great to have supportive friends.

  5. Really good example, congratulations
    Brad Kearns … you know people 🙂
    Chiming in with the others: almost 6 feet tall, weight hovers around 184, 64 years old and also with less hair!

  6. Thanks for sharing your story Gil! It is interesting to hear you had to slow your pace down quite a bit and I’m excited to dig into Primal Endurance (just ordered it yesterday) to learn all about HRV and see what adjustments I’ll need to make in my workout routine as well. Keep up the great work!

  7. I want some of those abs too. I have been pretty much Primal since I quit smoking at age 57, now 62 and 5’9″ 172lbs. I was more skinny fat all my life, when I started Primal eating at a bloated 175 lbs I quickly dropped down to 162 but still had a belly. A couple years of weightlifting and sprint bicycling later and I have gained back to my lifetime weight of 172 lbs but now it’s hard muscle everywhere, but still with a somewhat bloated belly. It took several years for the muscle to pop, all of a sudden I started putting substantial visible muscle on at age 62 by pushing the max weight possible and cutting my workouts back from 3 to 2 per week. I never had any real muscle in my entire life even though I have always been very active at adventure sports. It’s amazing that I have become a much more impressive physical specimen now that I just started collecting social security. l feel that my hormones have become boosted from consistent sleep and exercise. I find I need 3 days rest between upper body workouts for max gains with a week off every six weeks or so. And I learned to eat more more more to the point where I’m reluctant to cut back and drop this bit of belly that remains.

    I was mountain biking high in the Catalina’s the other day, paused at the top doing yoga stances and planks and pushups all over the massive boulders up there. I realized that I am much more solidly planted on my feet and balanced than I have been in many years, that may be the biggest benefit to muscle apart from the vanity of it. My wife and I like to do silly stuff like occasionally eat dinner while standing single footed, we always do yoga stands on the boulders when hiking. Balance is the ticket.

  8. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on being a distance runner while eating a primal diet. I have had great success going primal myself, but I always struggle to maintain my momentum because my wife refuses to participate in my Primal eating habits which means that when we cook together the carb-laden side dishes are always present, and my will power breaks. She is a marathon runner, and has a deeply ingrained belief that she needs a higher carb diet to fuel her running schedule. I know that this is a lifestyle that works for me, and I believe that it would be much easier to maintain if we were a Primal family versus a mixed-diet family. I just need a bit of ammo to get her consider giving the Primal life a try as well.