Marks Daily Apple
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!

Hello 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.

So 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.

I 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!

I 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. You are such an inspiration! Way to go! And the best part is that you are saving the lives of others through your transformation! That’s a pretty cool win/win if you ask me.

    Brendon wrote on November 25th, 2011
  2. Loved the “fist pump” as well, as you realize the lie of CW. I have had several moments like that!

    Brendon wrote on November 25th, 2011
  3. Amazing! You are truly an inspiration!

    BeccainSC wrote on November 25th, 2011
  4. That is awesome!!

    Jonathan wrote on November 25th, 2011
  5. Hi Brian,
    I can’t comprehend the enormity of what you had to overcome to achieve this, but I am awestruck nevertheless! Your motivation and discipline, sparked by the PB, are truly inspiring.
    Congratulations on reclaiming your life spirit.

    Mo wrote on November 25th, 2011
  6. Wow…. I can’t stop saying wow…. Very inspiring story, Brian. I just came to the website to look for some motivation and inspiration to start back on my primal journey. I just found it. Thank you!

    wendy wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Wendy, I am happy to hear you found your inspiration to start back on your primal journey! I had a little trouble a few months ago so I read The Primal Blueprint again and I was good to go!
      Be sure to post your PB success story! and thank you!

      Brian McKenna wrote on December 1st, 2011
  7. What a great and inspiring story. Congratulations on your transformation.

    marika wrote on November 25th, 2011
  8. ok, Brian, all I have to say is ‘WOW’!! What an inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Laura wrote on November 25th, 2011
  9. Wow! You should be so proud!

    Bigdick1 wrote on November 25th, 2011
  10. AND this is why I love, love, love Fridays! Congrats Brian – your transformation is amazing, the high BP is gone and your family has embraced you! Thank you for sharing and contributing to the motivation!

    Leanne wrote on November 25th, 2011
  11. Amazing, just amazing!

    wendy wrote on November 25th, 2011
  12. I am proud of you Brian. Looking good man!

    Gerry Endres wrote on November 25th, 2011
  13. I have been reading this blog for about a month (and still heaps more to read) but haven’t commented yet, but Brian, your story brought tears to my eyes. What an incredible inspiration you are!

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing your journey.

    Carolyn wrote on November 25th, 2011
  14. Hey buddy! Keep up the good work!!!

    frank wrote on November 25th, 2011
  15. Brian – good job!
    I especially like to hear that you are using super healthy but low mercury sardines. We have been discussing different sardine recipes on our site, but I’ll admit I haven’t sorted them into paleo and non-paleo buckets yet. Eating them straight must be maximally paleo :)

    hal | wrote on November 25th, 2011
  16. Brian – All the progress is just 1 1/2 years – that’s awesome.

    Glenn Whitney wrote on November 26th, 2011
  17. good stuff mate..

    i applaud the guts and determination…

    I just dont get the symbolism of the hand gesture ( right hand) in the photo…..

    have you embraced satanism also?

    zephaniah wrote on November 26th, 2011
    • Given the context of the story Brian’s hand gesture is more likley sign language for “I love” The Primal BluePrint.

      DTC wrote on November 26th, 2011
      • thats fair…..i would think two thumbs up would convey it better though..

        im definetly giving him two thumbs….well done champion.

        no offence intended mate.

        zephaniah wrote on November 30th, 2011
  18. Well done Brian! You certainly lost a lot! I think a lot of people who get to ur weight feel they’ve gone way too far to do anything about it, like they’re a lost cause….but u really did turn it around – and some! Well done!

    H x

    HelenC UK wrote on November 26th, 2011
  19. Way to go Brain!

    Missy wrote on November 26th, 2011
  20. Great job Brian the story is inspiring.
    We are neighbors have you found any ultimate frisbee leaques by you?
    I live in Marlborough mass!

    Mike Wetzel wrote on November 26th, 2011
    • Hey neighbor, ultimate frisbee sounds like fun I will look for some games after this winter!

      Brian McKenna wrote on December 1st, 2011
  21. What an amazing transformation! Congratulations on your success! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Grok on man!

    Janis wrote on November 26th, 2011
  22. You look amazing Brian, what a transformation. Congratulations.

    Debbie_Downer wrote on November 26th, 2011
  23. Congratulations, Brian! I am very happy for you! Keep up the great routine!

    John G. wrote on November 26th, 2011
  24. Brian, Thanks for sharing your story…the turning points in your life were very well expressed. What levels have you achieved in the 5 basic exercises? I made it to level 4 after a year then took up barbell lifting (“Starting Strength” by Mark Rippetoe) for a few months….really kicked in the afterburners!

    skeedaddy wrote on November 26th, 2011
    • I am currently on level 5 squats, level 2 overhead presses, level 2 plank, and level 2 in both pushups and pullups!

      Usedtoberlyfat wrote on November 27th, 2011
  25. Great Job Brian, what an inspiration you are to your tribe. Hope you continue to inspire others on your journey. Have you gotten to check out the history of Obesity in Gary Taubes book Good Calories, Bad Calories? It shows some of the American Indian tribes and the way they ate before the Standard American Diet (SAD) took hold. If you get a chance check it out. Yawah.

    Brenda Living Primal wrote on November 26th, 2011
  26. Wow, such a great job! 200 pounds is no simple task. Your family & friends must be so proud as well as all the primal/paleo community. Hats off to you my friend!

    Tony wrote on November 26th, 2011
  27. love it!

    primalpal wrote on November 26th, 2011
  28. You’re so inspiring! My husband currently weighs 365 lbs. I wish I could get him to read this so he understands that he doesn’t need to get a bariatric surgery to lose weight. He’s resigned to the idea that that’s the only way he could lose weight. I’ve tried to get him to read the Primal Blueprint book but he refused.

    Majorie wrote on November 26th, 2011
  29. Amazing journey. Thank you for sharing your story, it’s very inspirational. You should be very proud of the work that you have started. Keep it up !!!

    David wrote on November 26th, 2011
  30. Brian,
    You have transgormed your life and willbe motivsting many others to transform theirs. Congratulations!

    AdrianaG wrote on November 26th, 2011
  31. SO impressive! I too thought the middle picture was the “after”–I was already gasping with awe. My jaw really hit the ground when I saw the last picture: “Unbelievable!”. Your story is really inspiring. Chapeaux!

    Louise wrote on November 26th, 2011

    Becca wrote on November 26th, 2011
  33. Brian are a true inspiration to all, like Susan said..theres no blame, no excuses, you just did what you had to do & you did it very well. If everyone thought like you, this world would be a much healthier place my friend !!

    chris wrote on November 26th, 2011
  34. This story just made my night! Great example of the human spirit at it’s best!

    freddie-set-go wrote on November 26th, 2011
  35. What an awesome story…well done Brian. Stay fit and stay well always!

    Mark wrote on November 26th, 2011
  36. Refuse to fall into the growing victim culture. I like it. Keep it up and go out and lift some heavy things.

    Oh and buy your friend a beer. What a recommendation.

    Larry wrote on November 26th, 2011
  37. Congratulations to you!!

    natalie wrote on November 27th, 2011
  38. Awesome! Thanks for being an inspiration :) Stay strong!

    belinda wrote on November 27th, 2011

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