Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
14 Jun

I Am Now the “Healthy Guy”

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!

Dear Mark,

I was never concerned with my health, my weight or my looks. I joined the Marine Corps in 1998 weighing 190 pounds and left boot camp at 165 pounds. I quickly gained back about 15 pounds and sat at 185 throughout most of my Marine Corps career. During this time, I exercised a lot but didn’t really restrict my diet very much. I had a high body fat percentage even though I was making weight requirements. When I injured my knee and could no longer keep the Marine Corps PT pace I began to gain weight. I left the Marine Corps in January of 2002 weighing 200 pounds. I quickly began eating junk that I had not allowed myself while in the service. By the time my wife and I moved back home to Mississippi in 2003, I was weighing around 250 pounds. I got a job working in corrections when we moved back. The hours, stress, and lack of time to exercise caused my weight to bloom to an all-time high of 315 pounds. I wore a size 48 pants and a size 3XL shirt. I spent 8 years in corrections. Six of those years were in a supervisory role. My blood pressure was regularly at 190 over 95.

Gabe - 2010 Gabe - 2011

In 2012, I decided to leave corrections because it was killing me. I didn’t have time to spend with my family or my church. I was unhealthy, stressed, and grossly overweight.

Leaving corrections gave me the opportunity to enjoy social media, which was a security risk before. When I got onto Facebook, I found and friended a former Marine Corps buddy of mine, Seth Williams. Seth told me that he’d had a life changing experience with this new lifestyle he had discovered called the “caveman” diet. He gave me this website,

At first I was very skeptical. I have seen so many “lose weight” schemes that I had become jaded. I was wondering where the hook was, or the catch, or the money making trap. But I had come to a point in my life where I wanted to change. I wanted to hit the “reset” button. So I went to MDA. And it seemed very very simple. It fit totally with the lifestyle I wanted to have. I always enjoyed meat and veggies and never really loved bread and pasta. I didn’t want to believe how easy it sounded.

I started at the end of June 2012, with the diet change. I stopped eating bread, fried stuff, sugar, and legumes. I stopped going to the gas station for chicken and chips. I stopped eating fast food completely. Because I was trying to lose weight, I began watching the amount of carbs I took in. I fasted through breakfast and lunch a couple of days a week. The only thing I refused to give up was Coke Zero.

After a week, I began to have to cinch up my belt. At the end of a month, I couldn’t keep my pants up and had to punch holes to make my belt fit. At that point, I began to exercise as well. When I started, I could only do one single push-up. The rest was done on my knees. I began to work out doing pushups and sit-ups every other day.

In September 2012, I had to buy a new wardrobe because my clothes were all too big. I was wearing a 36 pants size at that point and a size large shirt. By Christmas 2012 I had dropped below 200 pounds. My stomach had gotten so used to small portions of meat and veggies, that when I eat more than I normally do, I feel sick. I can’t handle large portions. Even the thought of eating bread is revolting to me now. Now I weigh between 185 and 190 pounds. I am in a size 34 pants and a medium size shirt.

Gabe - 2013

I have introduced more carbs into my diet since I have begun to level out my weight. I cheat on the diet every now and then, with some sweets (about once a week), but still stay away from grains. I have not been working out as much as I want to. I still have some fat that I want to lose and the Primal lifestyle is the way to do it.

I ran 4 miles last weekend up hills near our home while my 8 year old rode her bicycle. That was something I could never even have imagined doing a year ago. My blood pressure was 126 over 76 when I checked it last. I can do 40 pushups and over 100 crunches. I feel better about myself, the way I look, the way I feel, and the way I live. To top it all off, I was able to fit into my Marine Corps Dress Blues last week. I am now the “healthy guy”. Everyone has been asking me how I did it. I always give them the MDA website. MDA changed my life. Thank you, Seth, and thank you, Mark!

Gabe - 2013


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. WOW!! What a transformation! I really look forward to these stories every Friday, and this is why…
    Your story is very inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

    Sheena wrote on June 14th, 2013
    • Gabe i totally know the feeling when i first started career in Corrections i was 190 I was on the Prison’s version of SWAT ran 2 miles a day with a couple of 7 mile days. Then I to promoted and gained almost 80 pounds. I was recently turned on to the primal bluebrint by a partner of mine and I have lost 27 pounds since April 1st. Congrats on your weight loss!!

      Aaron wrote on June 14th, 2013
  2. Very impressive, sir! Love the photo with the pants. Great job.

    Alison Golden wrote on June 14th, 2013
  3. Awesome job, Gabe!

    Thank you for serving our great country!

    Jacob wrote on June 14th, 2013
  4. Awesome!

    Joyce wrote on June 14th, 2013
  5. Way to go, Gabe. I’m guessing the reduction in stress after leaving corrections was a big factor in your getting healthy. What a great first step. And I can relate to punching holes in your belt. It’s a great feeling.

    Tim from New York wrote on June 14th, 2013
    • Ahhh, the beauty of punching holes in belts instead of the walls out of frustration…great job Gabe!

      Nocona wrote on June 14th, 2013
    • +1 on the belt thing.

      Grok Korg, Jr. wrote on June 14th, 2013
  6. Wow I was literally shaking my head thinking “unbelievable” at the 3rd picture. Well done! Great story!

    Luke wrote on June 14th, 2013
  7. Wow, sent to my hubby for inspiration, hopefully. Love him, but worry about his weight. Fingers crossed!

    leida wrote on June 14th, 2013
  8. Gabe, great effort and results! Are you an Oath Keeper?

    Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on June 14th, 2013
    • At first I thought that said “Oat Keepers” and chuckled. Then I read about “Oath Keepers” – no chuckles. Scary stuff.

      Richie wrote on June 18th, 2013
  9. Incredible transformation, big time props to you.

    George wrote on June 14th, 2013
  10. Congrats Gabe! Your transformation is awe-inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story!

    Stephanie wrote on June 14th, 2013
  11. Great job Gabe! Good for you. That’s an impressive transformation in a short period of time.

    John wrote on June 14th, 2013
  12. Congratulations Gabe!!! Well done and I too love the pic of you in your big trousers!!! I just love Fridays!

    redsnapperuk wrote on June 14th, 2013
  13. Great Stuff. Happy Tears of joy!!

    Vishnu N S wrote on June 14th, 2013
    • It’s nice to see a fellow Indian on this website. :)

      Jothi wrote on June 14th, 2013
  14. That is awesome!! And I for one would love to see a pic wearing the Dress Blues :-)

    KariVery wrote on June 14th, 2013
  15. Way to go Gabe! I live in MS too and changing attitudes is tough down here. Keep up the good work!

    Mark Geoffriau wrote on June 14th, 2013
  16. You look great Gabe! I loved your story, from one push up to 40! Very inspirational :-)

    Elizabeth wrote on June 14th, 2013
  17. Very inspiring transformation! My son also works in corrections and his size is similar to what yours was. It is a stressful job.

    Marc wrote on June 14th, 2013
  18. You’re my hero!!!

    W. J. Purifoy wrote on June 14th, 2013
  19. Dude! Looking good!
    Boy, it is like you turned the clock back a decade on those before/afters.

    Anders wrote on June 14th, 2013
  20. Thank you for your story Gabe. I’m betting that your daughter thinks you are the absolute greatest person on this earth. A huge high five, well done.

    Rob wrote on June 14th, 2013
  21. Congrats on your transformation! Very inspiring… Thank you for your service!

    David wrote on June 14th, 2013
  22. Congratulations on such an epic transformation.

    My favorite thought about your situation is that you are now in the position to pass on what you have learned. Most people will never listen to someone preach unsolicited about making these sorts of dietary and lifestyle changes. But when they see your success, they will naturally be inspired to try for themselves.

    Tom wrote on June 14th, 2013
  23. awesome, just awesome…

    primalpal wrote on June 14th, 2013
  24. When you can fit two of you in your old pants, you know you’ve made a significant change!!! The best thing is that you’ve made yourself the best dad you can be. Great job!

    Jeff F. wrote on June 14th, 2013
  25. Outstanding!

    Over 100 lbs off in about 6 months? I’d say this lifestyle suits you! You look super fit now. The Marine Corps could take a lesson from you in this respect.

    Bayrider wrote on June 14th, 2013
  26. Great job. RTR!!

    Parick wrote on June 14th, 2013
  27. Now that’s a 1 year transformation at it’s finest. Grok on Gabe.

    Nocona wrote on June 14th, 2013
  28. Way to go from a Mississippi girl now living across the state line in Alabama! I love reading these posts! You look great and I am so glad you feel great!!!

    Rhonda the Red wrote on June 14th, 2013
  29. Ooh rah!

    glorth2 wrote on June 14th, 2013
  30. Sounds similar to my life in many ways. Lifted heavy and constantly in high school and was very strong, but had packed on a layer of fat from a diet of Mountain Dew, Taco Bell and Snickers bars (how I was ever able to life the insane amounts I did is a mystery now, if only I had known about good nutrition back then!). I joined the Army and left 4 days after graduating high school. Boot camp made me drop about 30lbs of fat and I was ripped as well as strong, but quickly gained back about 15lbs and stayed around 180-185 through my time in the Army.

    After the Army I went to college and worked full time, and quit working out cold turkey. I gained 100lbs in a year and was in size 48 pants and 3XL shirts too!

    I used Atkins to lose the weight quickly and maintained it for about 2 years until I got into a highly stressful and toxic environment with a career change to IT. I started making poor food choices again and ballooned back up to around 276.

    On a bet to lose weight with a friend, I lost another 60lbs about 2 years ago with the help of MDA and other Paleo/Primal sources. I’ve had a bit of backslide lately, and may be battling some minor blood sugar and hormonal issues, but I’m determined to get back on track again. I’d love to get back to my Army weight, and as an ultimate goal eventually my boot camp weight. It’ll be a long journey, but one I’m hoping to post one day.

    Marcel wrote on June 14th, 2013
  31. Yours is an outstanding Friday Success story. Well done!

    Moshen wrote on June 14th, 2013
  32. Yikes.We all must come to THE DECISION. That is to say, get educated and take the plunge. You are a shining example. As an aside, for thirty years, I’d envy those people in the grocery store who had real food in their carts. Now I only shop the perimeter and that person is me.

    Linda A. Lavid wrote on June 14th, 2013
  33. What a great success story! Kudos to you for recognizing that your job was contributing to your ill health and doing something about it! That takes courage. Your changes are amazing and you must be thrilled to be able to be such a great role model for your family. Congratulations!

    JennF wrote on June 14th, 2013
  34. Wow!! You are a inspiration Gabe!! I know Gabe from when we used to work corrections together. To see him now and how much he has changed is very encouraging. I proud of you Gabe and keep up the good work bro! Semper Fi!

    Rey Olivo wrote on June 14th, 2013
  35. What a wonderful way to start my weekend. And what a GREAT job! Way to go.

    Darleen wrote on June 14th, 2013
  36. Great Job! What a wonderful gift you’ve given your daughter…a fit healthy dad.

    Diane wrote on June 14th, 2013
  37. Wow! You do not even look like the same guy. Congratulations!

    Judith wrote on June 14th, 2013
  38. Gabe, you look terrific. Once again, it’s all about making the right food choices. Exercise helps with overall health, but when it comes to losing weight, it’s mostly about the food we eat.

    Shary wrote on June 14th, 2013
  39. Great job Gabe

    alex ham wrote on June 14th, 2013
  40. Awesome! Congratulations on your success and thank you for sharing your inspirational story! And yes, thank you Mark! Best blog on the web!!!!

    Gerri wrote on June 14th, 2013

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