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. 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.
You know that Texas Style Toast?! It’s thick, white, and usually comes with mouthwatering butter spread across it?! Or even better, the French Toast version of Texas Style Toast? If you do you know it, you know it tastes amazing. *Mouth begins to water* Bet you never thought you would read the words TOAST on MDA. That’s okay, I would have never expected it either, but this is where my story semi-begins.
I honestly never felt good growing up. I always had a stomachache and without fail was continually bloated. I have pictures around the age of 9 where you can tell I have something wrapped around my stomach. I laugh now but my nine-year-old self would self-prescribe and wrap those hot pads you buy from the drugstore to relieve the pain. Even then I sensed something wasn’t right.
My anxieties throughout my childhood were crippling. I struggled to be happy yet I had every reason to be happy. I had amazing parents, a great life, but my little kid brain didn’t see it that way. It was like I couldn’t help but feel scared all the time. I hated it.
I was involved in the sport of gymnastics for about 12 years. And even though it was great, and taught me more than anything ever has, I would write in my journal how I wished I could be less scared and criticize myself less for being too tired during practice. I wanted to feel like all the other kids. But again I was too young to pinpoint what was wrong. I just didn’t know and lacked the knowledge to look toward what I was eating.
In high school, I tried doing cross-country. I loved running and the way I felt afterward. Suffering from anxieties and depression, the running ‘high’ would give me a little relief and I was grateful for it, but then I would proceed to sleep for hours after that. Looks started to become super important to me. It was nothing abnormal for a high-school girl, but I started noticing how no matter how hard I ran, I still gained weight. This didn’t help with my confidence and depression. Again, the red flags were popping up and I was noticing.
I remember I was traveling with friends for a high school event and we ate at Texas Roadhouse. By this time I was eating “healthy,” or what I thought was healthy. I was eating a lot of fruit, dairy, and processed carbs. But this specific time I decided to have the glorious smelling Texas Toast, and almost immediately, I felt super sick. My stomach hurt, I felt like I was going to puke. My friend exclaimed, “Kristina, how come you always feel sick?!” Ding!
Oh and here’s another interesting point, maybe a little TMI, but I still hadn’t gotten my period yet. RED FLAG.
Now that I think back, maybe it was all the stress I was putting myself under (obviously I hadn’t discovered ADRENAL FATIGUE lol). But either way, I wanted to feel as confident as I knew I was capable of being. Gymnastics had already given me the reality to know I could be strong.
Fast forward. I went off to college for my freshman year. I thought I was eating well. Lots of fruit and dairy from the dining hall, and had done enough self-reflection to know that bread was not sitting well with me. I went gluten-free but not completely and considered gluten-free processed food good for me. I wanted more and more to feel good. By the time summer break came along I had hit my breaking point. I wasn’t doing as well as I would have liked at school. I would keep to myself in my dorm room because of my social anxieties and would binge on all that gluten-free processed food and sugar.
(Side note; I had been to doctors throughout high school who put me on Synthroid and told me to workout more. I was the typical story you hear on StopTheThyroidMadness.com. I love this website, by the way.)
My mom, that summer, brought me to a functional doctor who turned my whole life around from the first appointment. I broke down crying in front of my doctor. I wanted change. She put me on a non-processed foods diet. Higher protein, low-carb and no sugar. I didn’t question her, I was desperate. I’m not joking when I say that I felt like a whole new person within five days. I honestly did not realize how fast I was improving. People asked me if it was hard and I replied with, “You know what, it really wasn’t because nothing was as hard as how badly I had been feeling.”
And I think that was the key and what kept me so consistent with never going back to my old habits. Hard was not being able to be fun around my friends. Hard was feeling sick and tired all the time. Hard was being unable to believe in myself. Hard was not feeling like I couldn’t physically doing things people my age were.
Within two weeks my acne cleared up, my period came, my bloating went away, no stomach aches, and the depression lifted. I had morphed into the person I knew I had always been. The person I had always wanted to feel like. It sounds too good be true, but oh my gosh I couldn’t be more honest here. The shift was so evident I knew I never wanted to EVER go back. I loved myself enough to know that this was worth the effort.
That week I started researching a real food diet and stumbled upon Mark’s Daily Apple. Never before this point had I realized the impact food had on me and could have on others. It’s been almost six years since that point. I still struggle but nothing like before. The knowledge saved my life. And continues to do so.
My mom has been a huge lifeline for me and always believed in me from day one. I still struggle with bouts of flares from Hashimoto’s, but nothing like they could be. I have the knowledge now to know better and help me through. Plus podcasts have been such a helpful way for me to discover more. MDA podcasts are GREAT!
A lot of the success stories involve pictures of weight loss and mine included weight loss too. When I was first going through this, I thought weight loss was the best part. Weight loss was the success I needed to see at that point to continue. But that was not the best product in the end.
I can get up in front of a large group of people and talk. I can hang out with my family and friends and smile. I cook a lot now and rarely feel sick.
I have been coaching gymnastics and the gymnastics and CrossFit correlation has been so fun getting to learn!
I love everything that this lifestyle has given to me and continues to do so.
P.S. A bit of advice from my 9-year-old self: If you are a parent please look into the food your family is eating. It has the ability to change your whole world around in the most positive way! 🙂 Seek the knowledge.