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Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
25 Nov

I Am Forever Changed

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!

real life stories stories 1 2Hello Mark,

My name is Brian McKenna and I am an inspiration! I am 30 years of age. I live five minutes from Boston, in the town of Saugus, Massachusetts. I am currently 5’9” tall and I weigh 177 pounds!

I would like to thank you for all the work you do and for writing The Primal Blueprint, it is the most important book I have ever/will ever read! I first read The Primal Blueprint in December 2010 and I have forever been changed! While reading your book I would often find myself throwing a fist into the air and swearing vengeance against convention wisdom!

During late 2009, I was 28 years old and I weighed just over 400 pounds and I had not been happy with myself in years. I had just enough energy to go to work then come home and sit on my butt and play Xbox. I was only sleeping between 3-5 hours a night. My diet mainly consisted of coffee truck cuisine, fast food, takeout food, and lots of soda. I would get a cold roughly four times a year, and then the cold would turn into a sinus infection. I also had high blood pressure, and based on how I felt when I started to get hungry I suspected I may be diabetic. I started to think about how I have lived my life so far, and how I have never been happy with my activity level and the way I looked.

April142010385poundsSo at the start of 2010 I decided to stop drinking soda, instead I drank some grape juice mixed with water. On March 4, 2010 I decided to weigh myself on the shipping scale while I was at work. I weighed just less than 400 pounds. I said some curse words then I decided to start changing what I ate. I left work early so I could purchase a blender so I could start making Alton Brown’s buff smoothies! I had my first AB smoothie on March 5, 2010 just before I left for work at 6:45 am. The AB smoothie became my breakfast every day, my lunch went from some junk off of the coffee truck to something I used to call a salad (romaine lettuce, shredded cheese, croutons, homemade dressing). If I needed a snack I would eat a handful of nuts, and my dinner was usually chicken tenderloins with another poor excuse for a salad.

By July of 2010 I weighed 350 pounds, by November I was down to 300 pounds (I finally got back down to my High School graduation weight!). I decided I was going to start working out again. The last time I worked out was back when I was 19 years old. So I started to work out in the basement with the multi station machine. Lat pull downs, rows, leg presses, etc. I worked out alternating muscle groups; I also worked out every other day of the week. But I did not have enough energy to get though my workouts so I decided that I needed some more carbohydrates. I started to incorporate some pasta into my diet. After a few weeks of consuming pasta and working out I noticed that I stopped losing weight and that lifting x number of pounds on this machine means nothing to me. So via Facebook I asked a friend from high school, who just happens to be a power lifter and own a supplement company, if he would recommend a book about body shaping and nutrition. I was told that he had read many great books, but if he only could recommend one book it was The Primal Blueprint.

Picture9 3I picked up The Primal Blueprint after work that day and I started reading it in the car in the parking lot of the book store. Within reading the first 100 pages of your book, I was forever changed. I finally knew why I started to get fat when I was a kid, and how I became a morbidly obese adult. I decided to start following the 10 Primal Blueprint Laws as best as I could. I made a promise to myself that I would continue to always better myself for the rest of my life! I ate eggs in the morning and some fruit instead of the AB smoothie. For lunch I had a huge salad with lots of vegetables, and topped with some chicken. For dinner I ate more protein and I tried Brussels sprouts for the first time in my life! During that first week of my transition, I noticed I had a lot more energy, so I decided to start going for a walk after work. I think the next week I decided to incorporate some PB fitness. I did my fitness assessment, and then I started on level 1 of all movements! I started to pay more attention to my energy level and my output.

I weighed myself on January 1, 2011 and I weighed 274 pounds! I started to feel this unstoppable power flowing through my body. I could tap into this power at any time and do whatever I wanted to do, then get up the next day and do it again. Go on a 3 hour hike though Breakheart Reservation, no problem! Then the next day do my PB fitness! I had my first attempt at sprints during late January 2011. After I was done with my sprint session I could not believe that I just ran. I had not even attempted to run since my teenage years and now roughly 15 years later I just ran!

Picture10 3I love the way I live my life now. During a typical week I am in bed by 9:30 pm. I get up at 5:30 am, and I have my primal breakfast before I leave for work at 6:30. I work as a metal fabricator and I arrive to work usually 10 minutes before my shift starts. At work I have to wear steel toe shoes. And I spend my working hours standing on my feet running various metal processing machines. I bring a cooler to work; inside the cooler is my primal salad which I made the night before. I usually top my salad with chicken, tuna, or even sardines! I also bring a piece of fruit, some unsalted cashews, macadamia nuts or almonds with me, and one dose of whey protein. When I leave work at 3:30 pm, I have the energy to do whatever I want. Going for an hour long walk in my Vibram FiveFingers. Or having a quick walk before my PB fitness session. I save my sprints for the weekend. These are all things I love to do! For dinner I usually have chicken or a steak, and some Brussels sprouts or beets. Or if I am not that hungry I will have another dose of whey protein.

Throughout my life changing experiences, I have kept others informed of what I was doing and why I was doing it. I have even inspired others to make changes. I am so proud of myself that I made those changes and kept going. I am also proud of anyone that is not happy with the way they live and have decided to change. I would not be where I am now if I did not have the life experiences I have had so far. I will never go back to drinking bottled beverages, or consuming food that is processed. I will always stay active. I can feel all this energy flowing through my body. I have to put it to use!

Enclosed are some pictures of me. The fattest picture of me was taken on April 14, 2010. I weighed roughly 385 pounds. The picture of me with the greatest book ever written, that picture was taken February 2011. The last picture was taken in July of this year around my 30th birthday, and I was weighing around 200 pounds! Please share my story with others and if you want to know more just ask!

Thank you for reading this,

Brian McKenna

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. very nice job, Brian!

    jenella wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Brian , you are amazing , you look great !
      Keep living the good life !

      wanda sobran wrote on November 26th, 2011
      • wanda thank you! I will keep living the good life!

        Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
    • Thank you! jenella

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  2. Inspirational Brian. thanks for sharing. Stay Primal!

    Corinne Spiers wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thank you for reading my story and for your comment! Corinne

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  3. Way…to…go….Brian!!!!! You are an inspiration.

    Rebeccab wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thank you!!!!! Rebeccab

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  4. What a phenomenal story! Great work, Brian! You are a perfect holiday inspiration. :)

    Crunchy Pickle wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Perfect… thank you! Crunchy P!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  5. Absolutely incredible. A conquering hero!

    Brian, everyone who knows you must be amazed. I hope that your own journey is just the beginning and that you save many other lives by your example.

    Timothy wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Everyone I know is amazed, I am still amazed and I will always feel amazing!
      Thanks for commenting! Timothy

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  6. Dayum!!! You lost some weight, man! Congrats! I love it.

    Way to go on making the change, Brian – you look so much healthier! I just love Fridays :) – thanks for the inspirations!

    Nick wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Nick, Thank you! I cannot wait till next Friday!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  7. Wow, way to go, Brian! Amazing!

    XtineBeanie wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • XtineB, Thank you!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  8. Congratulations on an amazing life transformation! It’s funny that we used to drink sugary drinks and fast food because that’s what we thought made us ‘feel good’. But there’s nothing like the feeling good of healthy eating and a healthy body. You look great!

    Kathy wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Kathy, Exactly we thought it used to make us feel good. But know we know what feeling good feels like and how to achieve it! Thank you!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  9. Looking good, man!

    Dan wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Dan, Thanks!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  10. AWESOME JOB, BRIAN!!!!

    Erin wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Erin, Thank you!!!!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  11. Truly amazing! You are an inspiration! I love primal success stories – keeps me motivated :)

    Primal Housewife wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Primal Housewife, Thank you! and thank you primal success stories!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  12. *thumbs up*

    :)

    Simon Kemp wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thanks! Simon

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  13. That’s great, Brian. Congrats and thanks for sharing your story.

    Tuck wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Tuck, Thank you! for taking the time to read my story.

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  14. A thousand high fives!

    rose wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • My arm.. anyway thank you! rose

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  15. what a transformation! very inspirational. Gongrats!

    PaleoDentist wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thank you! PaleoDentist

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  16. Brian, You look fantastic! but I hear in your voice that how you feel is the real miracle here. This is what I try to impart to other people who have doubts about what I’m doing…that I just feel so damn good.

    Nice job and thanks for sharing.

    Melissa wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Melissa, It is amazing how great a person can feel when they take the time and make the effort. Congrats on your success! and thank you!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  17. Great post-Thanksgiving post to remind us why we are all here. Great job!

    Laurie D. wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Awesome thank you! Laurie

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  18. Way to go. Great story, thanks for sharing.

    Joe wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thanks! Joe

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  19. Super good, very inspiring, I am forwarding this to everybody!

    WildGrok wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thanks for spreading the word! Wildgrok

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  20. Amazing transformation….good job!!

    Ed wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thank you! Ed

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  21. Brian:

    Way to go! I admire you and anyone willing to try new things and create a working strategy that you internalize and adhere to long term.

    In your story, I see nothing about the things that so often hold people back from change (anger, blame, skepticism, the need to defend what you did before, or anything from the whole host of well-worn excuses we’ve all heard).

    It seems like one thing that really helps you is how you listen to yourself. Your wrote, for example:

    “I started to think about how I have lived my life so far, and how I have never been happy with my activity level and the way I looked.”

    “I started to pay more attention to my energy level and my output.”

    “I can feel all this energy flowing through my body.”

    It’s amazing, isn’t it, what can happen when we put denial aside, and pay close attention to what we know and what we feel. Those things begin to harmonize, and it leads to real transcendence, as your story clearly shows.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Susan

    Susan Alexander wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Susan, It is amazing! Your comment is amazing as well! I started out small with the idea that I was going to try to make changes. In a short amount of time I realized that I could do it and the attempts before were not even attempts. I kept building on the changes and before I new it I realised that this movement in my life was unstoppable! I had some negative thoughts and feelings along the way but anything negative I turned into a positive!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  22. Way to go!

    Grokitmus Primal wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thank you! Grokitmus Primal epic name!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  23. 200 hundred pounds in two years, and you’re keeping it off. i say it’s time we ditch Jillian Michaels.

    What about the colds and high blood pressure and the sinus infections? Are those gone too?

    oxide wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • I no longer have high blood pressure, and the last time I had a cold was October of last year!

      Brian McKenna wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • I so love your comment, Grokitmus.

      Jillian Michaels is always in my refrigerator, or all places, because she’s sold out to the brand of coconut milk I like best, so I “get” to see her picture several times a day (next to the quote that says she loves coconut milk on her cereal and baked goods (!!!).

      You can tell just by the look on her face at her that she really doesn’t care about anyone, and that she’s “milking” the moment for all its worth.

      I wish she would disappear, you know?

      Meanwhile, those like Brian, though, should totally Grok on. :-)

      Susan Alexander wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • oxide who is Jillian Michaels? and thank you!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  24. Awesome job Brian! :-)

    Happycyclegirl wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thank you! Happycyclegirl

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  25. wow!! you reduced yourself by 50%!!!
    And kept the good half :)

    What a fantastic job you’ve done and how nice of you to share.
    Keep up the good work!

    peggy wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • I am so going to use that line. “I reduced my self by 50% and kept the good half.” Thank you! peggy

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  26. Awesome job, sir!

    Todd wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Todd, Thank you!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  27. Brian, love the dedication and spirit behind your story. What an awesome success! Thank you for sharing, and all best to you!

    Jen wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Jen, thank you! and all the best to you as well!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  28. Congrats and happy thanksgiving!! Continue to inspire! We need people like you!

    Primal Toad wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thank you! Primal Toad I will always continue!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  29. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m brand new to this and found your words very inspiring. The photos are amazing. It could be father and son, never mind the same person.

    Jill wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Jill, Welcome I am glad my words and pictures have that effect and thank you for reading my story! I was brand new to all this once but how things can change!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  30. Way to go Brian!!!

    Roman wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Thank you! Roman

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  31. Brian is my cousin and for all of you reading this, it is impossible to overstate how proud we are of him and what massive challenges he has overcome. Our family is wonderful and supportive in many ways but we also have some pretty horrifying eating habits that tend to get magnified when we are together.

    But Brian made a decision to change his life and he surrounded himself with a protective blanket of self-care; once he made the decision to change his life, he had the Primal Blueprint by his side no matter what else was going on. This decision to persevere is such a HUGE accomplishment especially in the frozen tundra that is New England in the winter. Makes it hard to do anything outside. Brrrrrrr…..

    I couldn’t be more proud of you, Brian for the strength, determination and self-care you have exhibited over the last bunch of months. You really are an inspiration, and I am hoping that the universe guides the rest of our beautiful family in the same direction that you took to get where you are today.

    With much love from Austin,
    Lynn

    Lynn wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • “protective blanket of self-care”
      Love that statement. Love that philosophy.

      Congrats, Brian, you are very inspirational.

      Thanks for sharing.
      c

      Cindy wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • I did stumble a little but that protective planket of self-care was always there. Thank you for all the help and support. I hope they will decide to change as well.

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 29th, 2011
  32. Another awesome Friday success story. Congratulations Brian. (I still can’t eat Brussell Sprouts, though).

    Duncan wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • try stir fry with bacon grease and sprinkle crumbled bacon over them. Surprised myself, I actually ate them :-)

      bbuddha wrote on November 27th, 2011
  33. What a transformation…you don’t even look close to the person in the first photo anymore, I can’t believe this is you!

    Just awesome dude, very well done:)

    Arty wrote on November 25th, 2011
  34. Great story! Very inspiring!

    DreadedTess wrote on November 25th, 2011
  35. Fantastic effort, Brian! Once again PRIMAL living comes to the health rescue!

    Condor wrote on November 25th, 2011
  36. Boom. High five brother.

    BW wrote on November 25th, 2011
  37. This is absolutely AMAZING! When I scrolled down and saw the second picture I was in awe, then I saw the third picture and I litterally let out a gasp as my jaw practically hit the floor. I am truly inspired and although this is my first time visiting this site, I HAVE to buy the book..riiiiiight abooooout….. NOW!

    Brooke wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Yes, absolutely read the book, or the 21 day total body transformation. I am going to start my challenge on Monday!

      Missy wrote on November 26th, 2011
  38. Another incredible story, love em!

    Erik wrote on November 25th, 2011
  39. Yes Brian you are inspiring!!! Well done mate xxx

    ms jane wrote on November 25th, 2011
  40. These are the posts I most look forward to each week, out of the 80+ blogs I subscribe to. These posts and the Latest In Paleo podcast really keep me going.

    Down 33 pounds in 7 weeks and feeling great!

    Eric Dobson wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Eric, 33 pounds gone in 7 weeks keep it up you will continue to feel greater!

      Brian McKenna wrote on December 1st, 2011

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