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...Tell Me More
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. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!
My story of how I gained and lost 130 pounds is intertwined between psychological drugs and diet. First, I’d like to give a bit of history. I’ve been on different medications for “ADHD”, “Insomnia”, and “Bipolar” disorder since I was 8 years old. I’m now 24, so two-thirds of my life has been neurologically influenced by drugs.
It started when I was 8. I was having issues concentrating at school, and rather than looking at my diet or questioning the educational merits and practices at my public school, a neurological disorder was determined to be the culprit. I was sent to a psychiatrist who – after some “tests” – diagnosed me with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder; in order to cure this “diseases”, I was put on Ritalin which is an amphetamine that is similar to another well known drug – cocaine.
When I was on Ritalin, I began to respect and never question authority. Much like a zombie, I just existed without actually living. About 5 years later, at the age of 13, I was put on Adderall – another type of amphetamine. This can cause issues with temper, heart problems, and insomnia.
My emotions began fluctuating more often and going through puberty didn’t help. I got into a few fights and got into more than a few arguments. As a result, I was then sent to another psychiatrist who diagnosed me with Bipolar disorder, at the age of 13. I was then placed on a bipolar drug, known as Depakote, that would begin to truly destroy my individuality.
Depakote, normally prescribed to patients to prevent seizures, causes massive weight gain as well as, in my case, a drop in IQ and ambition. I had always been quite energetic, but this completely wiped me out. In order to compensate for the drop in IQ, my dosage of Adderall was raised. And then, in order to compensate for insomnia due to Adderall, I was put on an anti-schizophrenia drug called Zyprexa that also causes weight gain and severe drowsiness. All this happened within a year.
Then the inevitable happened, and my body crashed. One night, at the age of 14, I collapsed to the ground. I was suffering from atrial fibrillation – i.e. severe irregular heart beat – brought on by the mixture of drugs, the largest culprit being the Adderall. I was sent to the hospital, where an electrical cardioversion – the restoration of the heart rhythm through the use of electrical shock – was used to get my body into working order.
As a result, I was taken off of Adderall and put on a heart medication. Adderall, being a stimulant, was the drug that prevented the weight gain side-effect of the other drugs that I was put on – which I was on due to the side effects of Adderall. On top of this, the heart medication I was given slowed me down even more. By preventing my pulse to get high, the drug didn’t allow me to exert enough energy while exercising, and a lowered my ambition to do anything. So the inevitable happened again, and I began putting on a massive amount of weight. From the ages of 15-18, I went from being 180lbs to 330lbs.
(320LBS at the age of 18)
When I got up to 320LBS, I was incredibly unhealthy. I had such severe acid reflux, that I was vomiting twice a day and had chest pains all the time. I couldn’t do a single pushup; I had terrible skin and severe sleep apnea as well. As a result, I switched psychiatrists again. The psychiatrist I saw didn’t deal with insurance companies, normally dealt with the elderly, and wasn’t as keen to giving children drugs. He looked at my drug history and was shocked. He began weeding me off of all my drugs, and gave me a very light mood stabilizer so that my body wouldn’t go into shock. I immediately began losing weight.
At first I simply switched my diet to predominantly whole foods (still consuming grains, though) and started losing 2-3LBS a week. Within a year I lost 80LBS.
My weight loss stopped, so I took an unhealthy approach of almost starve dieting. I was going all out on the elliptical machine for 2 hours a day, while consuming a high carbohydrate low-fat diet. I felt like hell, but I continued to lose weight.
Once I was at 230LBS, my body refused to lose any more weight. Then a friend told me about the Low-Carb Diet and Mark’s Daily Apple, and everything got better after that. I knocked out all grains, table sugar, processed food, and the majority of post-agricultural food. I began eating a lot of fatty meat, which I had always been told to not eat, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Though I do not have the budget to only eat grass-fed beef, pastured raised chickens, and organic veggies – college students do not make much money – I still do the best I can to live the Primal life. After I implemented these changes the weight began shedding quickly, I was able to get off my heart medication, my skin cleared up, my joints stopped hurting, and my acid reflux issue diminished significantly. I recently cut out dairy (except for whey protein) and lost even more weight and my psoriasis and acne – which I have had issues with my whole life – went away.
(Left: Costume Party 🙂 (Right: Doing a little gardening)
I’m now at 200LBS and feel amazing – I can do one armed pushups and pull-ups and run a half-marathon without the need or want for neolithic junk. The majority of my health issues are gone and the Primal Blueprint diet, along with other positive life changes, has helped my concentration and depression tremendously.