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!
Until November of 2008 I had always been very fit and in shape. At the time I was 43 and kept my 5′ 8″ body at 160 lbs give or take a few pounds. I played competitive (amateur) tennis so I played 4 times a week (3 hours each day) plus some weekdays physical training early in the morning.
I never really “dieted”. My wife is Italian born and naturally very thin also. We’ve always had a very Mediterranean diet. We’d eat pasta the way Italians do. That is, using it as a small warm appetizer and not a bathtub size dish so typical in the US way of “eating”, followed by plenty of fish, meats and lots a vegetables and fruit. Our 3 children have always been the school “weirdos” that would pull broccoli or spinach out of their lunch boxes instead of Twinkies or other similar crap. We’ve been blessed that none of us have ever had real cravings for sweets.
On November 29th 2008 (Thanksgiving Friday) my beloved wife Ana woke up feeling horrible. Vomiting, headaches, etc… She went through 3 pregnancies like clockwork, not even morning sickness.
Completely out of the blue we discovered that Ana had cancer all over her body. She had a primary tumor in her right breast, 2 ping-pong ball sized brain tumors, cancerous meningitis, cancer in her left lung, left kidney, her liver and the base of her spine. This was without ANY warning. Two days before she was playing tennis with her friends.
We were told she had 40 days to live and no hope. More than 40 months have passed and she is alive and well.
We went through hell and high-water, our children were 3, 7 and 9 when she got sick. She was totally bedridden for 8 months; her bodyweight was down to 75 lbs (she’s 5′ 7″). I didn’t work until August of 2011 (almost 3 years) nursing her back to health.
She has certain problems; she’s blind in her left eye and has difficulties with her fine motor skills. She’s 100% ok mentally. The most important things are that our 3 kids can say “good morning, mommy” and I can say “goodnight, my love” every single day. To be able to hear and pronounce those words is like a daily Christmas gift.
She’s in COMPLETE remission. At Baptist Hospital in Miami they call Ana “Miracle Girl”.
What does all of this have to do with Primal? A lot.
To take care of Ana, I completely gave up sports and since I had to manage everything, I just couldn’t handle the stress and all the healthy eating went down the drain. I ballooned at 206 lbs and my waist measured 47 inches.
I struggled for more than a year finding ways to get back in shape and nothing seemed to work.
Way before ever hearing anything related to “Primal or paleo” I always would argue with vegetarians telling them to knock off the BS because our teeth were set up as omnivores, thus we were designed to eat more than vegetables. However after feeling bad for so long I was about to try the vegetarian route.
In December I discovered The Primal Blueprint, I heard Mark speak on an FM talk show (Peter Schiff show to be exact). What he said made sense to me, so I bought the audiobook. I started researching more and by February I decided to follow the Primal/paleo guidelines. In that research I found other magnificent resources with tons of information and suggestions. Mr. Sisson and a few others have CHANGED my life. You have opened the path for me to get back to “me”. However I will never forget that Mark was the one who initially opened the door.
I’m writing today because this morning I weighed in at 180 lbs, and my waist is down to 39.5. Since mid February I’ve lost 26 lbs, reduced my waist by 7.5 inches and I’m feeling better and better with each day.
I want to be at 170 before I start playing tennis again, since I don’t want to hurt my knees due to excess weight – I should be there by June. I’m thrilled to the verge of tears that I’m so close to getting out on the courts again!!!!!
Primal/paleo has been a true wake up call. Simply by eliminating the grains, legumes, sugars and processed foods the weight has melted away. And my real persona has flourished again!!!!!
I have even recovered my sense of smell. That’s another story, but basically to have that sense I was told I needed mass amounts of steroids. I refused. I said I’d rather be “odor blind” than take all the side effects of steroids. About 10 days after dropping grains, etc… my sense of smell started to comeback. Today I feel like a bloodhound!!!!!
To wrap it up. Ana and the children are thrilled to see me getting healthy again. We all feel better and have discovered a lifestyle, which is not that different from what we used to do, but at the same time it’s made a huge difference. Before changing to Primal I just didn’t feel good and couldn’t muster the energy to start training again.
Now I feel healthy, vital and energetic once again. When I get to 170 I will also start SCUBA diving again (my other passion) and have promised that I will take our two oldest children to learn as soon as school is out (the youngest is only 6 and the minimum age is 10).
PS.. Ana’s survival is so unique we’ve done many TV interviews etc… If you have time, please check out these two videos: