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. You, sir, are my new inspiration…

    Rick Nelson wrote on June 14th, 2013
  2. Great job! You look fabulous!
    Jealous here. :)

    Kamila wrote on June 14th, 2013
  3. Gabe, you look fantastic and fit! What an inspiration you are. Who’d have thought a good-looking skinny guy was hiding in those “before” pictures. :) I agree with another commenter, I’d have enjoyed seeing a picture of you in your dress blues. Thank you for serving, and thank you for sharing your story.

    Sandy wrote on June 14th, 2013
  4. Outstanding job! Congratulations.

    On a personal side note my body type and results are a mirror image of you.
    This really does work!!!!

    John wrote on June 14th, 2013
  5. what an inspiration! I love these stories.

    kate wrote on June 14th, 2013
  6. Get it Gabe! Amazing transformation and an inspiring story! Keep up the good work.

    Stu wrote on June 14th, 2013
  7. holy canoli!!!

    THAT is truly impressive.

    P Diddy wrote on June 14th, 2013
  8. Nice work, Gabe. Grok on!!!

    James wrote on June 14th, 2013
  9. Nice job! Congrats!

    Mike Troy wrote on June 14th, 2013
  10. You look fantastic! Congratulations! (And thank you for your service!)

    AndoverAmazon wrote on June 14th, 2013
  11. Wow–awesome! Congratulations and thanks for sharing!

    Christie wrote on June 14th, 2013
  12. Spectacular!

    Patrick wrote on June 14th, 2013
  13. Great job ! Imagine you feel much better today.

    Liv wrote on June 14th, 2013
  14. That is amazing!

    Thanks for sharing – lets me know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

    Claudia wrote on June 14th, 2013
  15. Amazing transformation! Congratulations!! Definitely an inspiration.

    Metric wrote on June 14th, 2013
  16. Wow! Great story! You look like someone else. :-)

    Alexandra! wrote on June 14th, 2013
  17. great job, I just started and hope to be where you are at in a year

    Kevin wrote on June 14th, 2013
  18. Way to go Devil Dog!

    Jim wrote on June 14th, 2013
  19. love to see these!

    lynn wrote on June 14th, 2013
  20. Way to go! Roll Tide! Keep it up!
    Seth Williams was also integral in my husband’s and my decision to change our way of eating! On NYE, he explained a primal lifestyle and told us to check out MDA.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Christie wrote on June 14th, 2013
  21. Well, at least he finally made one correction.

    Hank wrote on June 14th, 2013
  22. What a encouraging story! You look great! Good for you to have the courage to leave your toxic job and feed your body & soul the correct way. I spent 20-years as a 911 dispatcher and regret not escaping sooner. I have a long way to go but know I’ll obtain my goal also.
    I hope you’re an Oath Keeper…

    Lucylu wrote on June 14th, 2013
  23. Fantastic story, I love the Friday stories!

    Caro wrote on June 14th, 2013
  24. This was beautiful! I don’t comment often- but this was so awesome! You look fantastic- I feel the same way- bread and pasta just turn me off! ( I have celiac disease so it really does kill me!) I hope you and your family are so happy!

    Sophia wrote on June 14th, 2013
  25. Outstanding!

    Robert wrote on June 14th, 2013
  26. Amazing.. you have just inspired me to finally get started. Thank you!

    Sandi wrote on June 14th, 2013
  27. Gabe, you rock. So fun reading your story. I’m also always so pleased when I hear of a success story in a “traditional food” area like the deep south. I am sure it’s much harder being Primal in Mississippi than it is in San Francisco – so extra big props for pushing through. My guess is that you get more stares than I do when ordering a lettuce wrap!!! But, your actions will have a huge impact on the community you interact with – former Marines, your fellow church-goers, your family, and the rest of your town/city members who are lucky enough to come across your story.

    I almost feel envious of your position of influence. You are in a spot where simply “being” the change is enough to inspire everyone else! So, so cool – and big ‘ole kudos for making it happen. Very inspirational. I am envisioning dozens more local friends and family members making the switch over the next few years, thanks to your excellent example :)

    Grok on, my friend!!

    Nick wrote on June 14th, 2013
  28. wow flying along at 35,000 feet and when I saw that 3rd photo of you I blurted out OMG .. Proud of you buddy.

    Got your life back !

    James T wrote on June 14th, 2013
  29. Great job Gabe! Help spread the word in the south. RTR!!

    Derek H. wrote on June 14th, 2013
  30. Wow!! From a native Mississippian I must say awesome job!! It isn’t easy being primal/paleo and live in the south (I now live in TN) but keep up the good work!!! I get so tired of Sippi and Tennessee coming in as the fattest unhealthiest states!!!

    Pdawg wrote on June 14th, 2013
  31. Wow!! Your transformation is amazing. I love the Friday stories because everyone starts from such different places, but the primal/paleo eating and lifestyle works for all. To me that says something profound about how humans are meant to eat and live. Shuts down all the back and forth discussion as far as I’m concerned. By the way, what are Oath Keepers?

    Island Girl wrote on June 14th, 2013
  32. Holy Muffins!

    Great work dude, thanks for sharing too, your achievement becomes a gift that keeps on giving when shared for all to see. Thanks buddy, it’s great being reminded every now and then that there are others out there making effective changes for the better. Especially on this scale, I wish you good health and vitality.

    Matt wrote on June 15th, 2013
  33. Holy cow, great job!! What a difference, that’s amazing’

    Kathleen wrote on June 15th, 2013
  34. Congratulations, amazing pics, I am sending this link to everybody!

    wildgrok wrote on June 15th, 2013
  35. I find it hard to eat well living in the South, such a different mind set towards food here. Thank you for your encouraging story and reminding us all that it can be done! Roll tide!!

    jaime wrote on June 15th, 2013
  36. Awesome job! You look great.

    Jon wrote on June 15th, 2013
  37. Semper Fi, brother! Fantastic!

    Crewin 53s wrote on June 15th, 2013

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