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!
Shame and disgust were what I felt when I first saw this cringe-worthy photo of myself. I am a deaf mom of three boys. This picture was taken in July 2009, five years after my youngest son was born. I was fast approaching 40 years old. I did not have a weight problem growing up as I was very active and played in several sports. It was when I got to college that I gained the infamous “Freshman Fifteen”. I successfully lost my pregnancy weight with my first son. However, more pounds creeped up from the next two pregnancies. In the July 2009 photo I was hovering between 185 and 195 pounds and by the way, I’m 5’8″. I would delete, throw it out or crop off the bottom half of me in every full-body picture taken of me. My instincts told me to keep this one and I now know why.? I love receiving your weekly Friday Primal Blueprint Success Story e-mail and always feel inspired by whoever had the courage to share his/her story. I want to share my story and help others find the magic in themselves.
I was not much of a yo-yo dieter. Weight Watchers and the Atkins Diet were the only programs I tried. I would lose maybe ten pounds at most but the weight always returned over time. That was when I decided to take up running for the first time. I never ran in my entire life except for what I had to do as part of organized sports programs. It took me two failed attempts to succeed on the Couch to 5k program. I couldn’t follow the program timeframe. I had to go at my own pace and that meant repeating some of the weeks to allow my body to catch up. I ran my first marathon two years later. As you would see the photo below, I still had not lost very much weight in spite of running on almost a daily basis. I was always hungry and I ate more. Does this sound familiar?
I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2005 after becoming ill with a full-blown celiac-episode overnight. After two weeks my health was not improving. I had not had any obvious symptoms prior to that and nobody in my family had celiac disease so, needless to say, being diagnosed was a big shock. I went on the gluten-free diet right away and followed it to a “T”. At around the same time, I developed year-round seasonal allergies leading to constantly recurring sinusitis. Chronic fatigue and joint pain made themselves at home in my body.
I started having major anxiety attacks out of the blue and I blamed it on peri-menopause even though I was tested negative for it. I was prescribed Xanax and I never took it. I’ve never liked taking medicine. I kept the bottle in my purse and would just look at it to calm myself down whenever I felt an attack coming up. At the same time, I was put on the allergen immunotherapy program (weekly shots) and my body reacted violently. I had suicidal thoughts and my anxiety attacks worsened. I pulled myself off the immunotherapy program after a few months and stopped taking the allergy medicine completely. I decided to live with the stuffed up nose year round. I was also having ongoing stomach pains and bloatedness even though I was religiously careful about avoiding the gluten cross-contamination. I had an endoscopy and the gastrointestinal nuclear scan, which revealed only gastritis of the stomach lining. Everything else looked healthy. My doctor prescribed Nexium for my stomach pain. I threw the prescription out when I got home because I knew he had not gotten to the root of my problem.
Needless to say, I was frustrated with all of my health issues. They were popping up out of nowhere. For someone who is a lifelong optimist I started to think, why me?
It was through a friend when I first heard of the paleo lifestyle. He kept talking about how bacon is good for you and how his health problems were resolved. I became intrigued and did my own research. I was still skeptical but I decided I had nothing to lose by giving it a try. I removed every processed food; Diet Pepsi, sugar, and the rest of the gluten free junk food from my kitchen. I ate bacon every morning. In a matter of days, my stomach pains completely disappeared. Bloatedness gone. My energy levels skyrocketed. Most of my allergy symptoms vanished. My joint pain faded away. I had a much improved skin complexion with no more acne. I was STUNNED! Who knew that food was the culprit of all those health problems I had?!?! Five months later, I decided to remove dairy from my diet for 30 days. Lo-and-behold, the remaining allergy issues went away. Even though I was tested negative for lactose intolerance, I now know I have histamine intolerance to dairy. I no longer eat dairy. I now see the importance of removing certain foods from the diet for a period of time to see how the absences of these foods positively affect your bodies. What I love about the paleo diet is that there is no calorie counting. There is no marketing gimmick. There is no requirement to pay for any diet program. The information is all right there at your fingertips with the help of Almighty Google.
After turning to the paleo lifestyle, I ran four marathons in five months. Three of them were part of the 3N3 Alabama Challenge (3 marathons in 3 months). The energy I gained from the paleo lifestyle made this possible without any injuries or fatigue. Then this past March, an “uh-oh” happened. I broke my foot during a mountain hike. I had to put my running on the back burner. Restlessness was getting the best of me. I had to find another exercise outlet. This helped me find Bikram Yoga. I could not run on my injured foot but I had no problem standing on it. I became hooked to hot yoga and I now go six days a week. That broken foot was a blessing in disguise, indeed. I’ve come to understand that long distance/endurance running is not exactly good for my body; putting too much stress and raising my cortisol level. I’ve gone back to running but it is not as often as I used to. I may do one marathon a year. I’m now all about Namaste-ing.
To date after 11 months, I’ve lost a total of 35 pounds. I would love to lose the last ten elusive pounds to reach my high school weight. I am just so elated that I am in the best health and shape of my entire life. I have become so passionate about the paleo lifestyle that with the help of the friend who introduced me to it, we created a Facebook group, “DeafPaleo” to help educate and inspire others in the deaf community. I so desperately want them to become aware of the healing power of proper nutrition and exercise and to lower dependence on the pharmaceutical industry to help get them through life. We now have 612 members and it continues to grow. Because I am still learning about the paleo stuff, I do not always have the answers immediately when they ask questions. I am always asking myself, “What does Mark have to say about that?” and I resort to your website for helpful answers. Thank you for being there, Mark.