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. Excellent Brian! Keep it up!

    Patrick wrote on November 27th, 2011
  2. Brian, way to go dude. You look great

    bbuddha wrote on November 27th, 2011
  3. Fantastic and amazing!! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story and many congratulations to you.

    Tina wrote on November 27th, 2011
  4. Amazing, and SO impressive. Brian’s story actually brought tears to my eyes!

    Jessica wrote on November 27th, 2011
  5. Brian,

    Great job! I loved reading your story! I too have found a new way of life pretty much ditching processed pre-packaged garbage. I love the energy I have and I just want to keep going. Thanks for adding additional inspiration!

    Suz wrote on November 27th, 2011
  6. Nice Job, Brian! You’re a prime example of someone who put their mind to making a positive change, and ‘stayed the course’. Congrats, man, and like Timothy noted, my hope is that you save a bunch of lives along your life’s path.

    Chad wrote on November 27th, 2011
  7. Well done Brian, I love your energy and enthusiasm which just shouts out a me from the page – what an inspiring story!! Huge congratulations and keep up the wonderful spirit you have!

    Julia wrote on November 27th, 2011
  8. Brian — what an inspiring story. My first thought: you lost the equivalent of another person in order to find the real person that was inside of you. Your commitment and character really shine through. Many congratulations!

    Marianne wrote on November 27th, 2011
  9. Great story.

    Jason wrote on November 28th, 2011
  10. Wow, Brian! That is awesome, and congrats on your decision to live a great healthy life! You look amazing!

    Mel wrote on November 28th, 2011
  11. Thanks for sharing your story Brian. I am 16 days into being Primal and I love hearing about these incredible sucesses!!!!

    Erik wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • Erik, be sure to tell us all about your incredible success with living primal!

      Brian McKenna wrote on December 1st, 2011
  12. YOU ARE an inspiration Brian. Way to go!

    sarah wrote on November 28th, 2011
  13. Congratulations on the amazing changes you’ve made! You really are an inspiration.

    Monica wrote on November 28th, 2011
  14. hell yeah Brian, amazing life story, keep it up you inspired me!

    thetomcat wrote on November 28th, 2011
  15. Way to go, sir! I really wish more people had your drive!

    Jack wrote on November 28th, 2011
  16. I love these success stories and how the photos show folks becoming more and more beautiful, with a sparkle in their eyes! You look great, B!! Such an inspiration.

    LDub wrote on November 29th, 2011
  17. Wow, you are remarkable. This is my first time on this site and your story is my first. You had me in tears, such a joy in reading this!

    Strobins05 wrote on November 30th, 2011
  18. This almost made me cry! I’m in the same position you were in. I’m just discovering the Primal Blueprint and I have a long ways to go but I’m just starting small… Just going for a walk everyday is a huge improvement! It’s amazing how much sense living primally makes – it’s the first thing that resonates with me.

    You’re a great inspiration Brian, and you’ve certainly motivated me!

    Kaz wrote on December 1st, 2011
    • Kaz, starting small is the only way to start! I remember the first time I went to the track for a walk I think I weighed 380 pounds. I walked two laps about half a mile, and I was in so much pain. I felt defeated but I told myself I was going to come back after I lost some more poundage! Keep at it and be sure to share your success story asap!

      Brian McKenna wrote on December 1st, 2011
  19. WOW! Congratulations Brian! That is truly inspiring. I just recently came across PB and can’t wait to have a story to share after reading yours! Keep up the good work and sharing your progress, it reaches more people than you can even imagine.

    Garrett wrote on December 2nd, 2011
    • Brian,

      Wow! Congrats on taking control of your health. Do you have any recent blood work numbers that you would be willing to share and possible compare to older numbers prior to going Primal?

      Nice work,


      Scott Ludwig wrote on December 2nd, 2011
  20. Brian,

    Thank you for writing your story. I like your honesty and straight-forward approach, which shows that if people have the right ideas, then they can reach their goals by making relatively simple changes in their lives.

    All the best,

    Peyton Stafford

    Peyton Stafford wrote on December 24th, 2011
  21. Hi Brian. I am 51 years old and I sit here on New Year’s Eve just finishing hamburgers and hot dogs from the grill and feeling like that if I don’t make a change in my life, I will die in the next few years. I am going to make a change starting today and I won’t stop until I lose at least 100 pounds. No excuses. I will talk to you again one month from today (12-31-11).

    k wrote on December 31st, 2011
  22. Brian — What a great inspiration you are! I’m 54, right about 400lbs myself. I have been kidding myself by going to they gym 5X a week, and still eating carbs — breads, sweets, etc. like crazy. I feel like crud, and have made the decision to take responsibility for things and make a change. Today is my first day being Primal. I will keep reading your story, and hope to follow in your footsteps.

    Thank you Brian!

    John K. wrote on January 3rd, 2012
  23. Mr. Brian, my dad is 48 and weighs close to 300 pounds and works almost all day (from 6am-6pm basically) an when he gets home he is too tired to workout with me or go for a walk or bike or run, is there hope to get him in shape? I’m really worried about his health

    Will wrote on March 1st, 2012
  24. Brian, what an awesome motivating story. I grew up not far from you playing sports against Saugus HS. Over my life I went from a lean muscular 185 to now, weighing 250. I story has me jacked as I just starred the Paleo diet, after a couple of days I feel a awesome. Your story has given me a goal to shoot for. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work

    Mark wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  25. This is what I needed to find.This helped me tremendoously . Such an inspiration, and I can’t wait to show my family that living primal changes your life. Sick of people bashing primal living when there are so many stories out there to prove its worth, like this one. Thank you !!

    PrimalRach wrote on July 16th, 2012
  26. You now look like the son of the 400 lb guy that you were! You must feel so accomplished. How wonderful!

    Debrakadabra wrote on November 3rd, 2012
  27. Amazing, congratulation and very good job Brian. I hope you good life. Many many thanks to Mark Sisson for his work.

    Khalid wrote on January 20th, 2013

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