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

I Feel Like I Finally Have Control Over My Life

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!

real life stories stories 1 2Mark,

I want to thank you for changing my life. I reached my peak weight of 292 pounds in 2011 at 23 years old. I had everything going for me, but I still wasn’t happy because I felt so trapped in my body. I was recently married to the love of my life, I was managing my family’s Middle Eastern restaurant, and about to graduate college after six years of schooling. Even though my life was going so great, I was horribly depressed.

My life has always revolved around food. My dad is Lebanese, and owns a Lebanese restaurant which I feel like I’ve been working at since I could barely walk. I learned that celebrations always included food, and when I was feeling down or things weren’t going my way that food was always there for me. I was always a heavy kid, but I didn’t really start to blow up until high school. I hated high school as many people do because I felt like I didn’t fit in, didn’t have many friends, etc. When I turned 16 I got a car, and I had money from working at my family’s restaurant, so the daily trips to Wendy’s started. I got two spicy chicken sandwiches and french fries almost every day after school, then went home for a big dinner with my family. Before I even realized what was happening I was pushing 300 pounds for the first time in my life.

I stayed that big until the first year of college. I thought I wanted to get away from my family so I chose a college that was in the mountains, about three hours away. I ended up losing about 60 pounds that year because I didn’t have a car, and had to walk everywhere. My dorm was on the top of a very large hill, and the cafeteria at the bottom. When it’s 0 degrees outside and there are about 300 steps between you and food, many times you chose to just go hungry, or at least I did. After one year at that college I decided to come back home. I started working at the restaurant again, moved in with some friends and truly was relying completely on myself for the first time in my life. For the next year I tried doing the Atkins diet off an on. Which really looked like carb restricting for two weeks, then carb binging for two weeks. When I was carb restricting and trying to limit myself to 20 g of carbs a day, I was only living on meat and cheese and I felt so gross. Then when I was carb binging, I felt even worse. Somehow I managed to lose another 20 pounds like that though over the course of a year, leaving me at the lowest weight of 210 that I had been in years.

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Then I met my future husband. Instantly we knew that we wanted to be together, get married and go the whole nine yards. I felt like I was in La La Land for the first six months and completely forgot about the dieting. I feel like we ate out every night, he brought me chocolate all the time, basically celebrated the new found relationship with food. For him, it was nothing because he has always been naturally skinny and able to eat whatever he wanted without gaining any weight. But for me it was another story. I gained the 80 pounds I had lost and then some within a matter of months. I stayed around 300 pounds through our engagement and wedding and for the next couple months afterwards. Then I had a wake up call. I saw some pictures of me from my husband’s birthday party and knew I had to get serious. One of my friends had mentioned MyFitnessPal.com on Facebook and I decided to check it out. I liked it and with my sedentary office job I was able to be on the computer and track all my food no problem. I joined there on 8/5/11 at 292 pounds. After 4 months on MFP and strictly calorie counting without a change in diet, I had lost about 30 pounds. But my dedication was wavering and my weight loss slowing down very quickly. On the forums on MFP I saw alot of people mentioning the Primal/paleo diet and luckily for me, one of them posted a link to Mark’s Daily Apple. I was hooked. I spent hours reading through all the material on the website, looking up different recipes, downloading the free ebooks, etc. This was the first “diet” that ever made sense to me! It was like my big AH HAH! moment. I asked for your book The Primal Blueprint for Christmas, and devoured it within a couple of days. From there on I was Primal. The first couple weeks were the hardest, because my body was shifting from being a sugar burner to a fat burner, and I was trying to adjust my eating habits and figuring out new favorite foods. But after that I feel like this has been so easy and effortless. The weight has literally melted off, without killing myself in the gym, without starving myself, without feeling sick. In one year I’ve lost 94 pounds to be at my current weight of 168. I didn’t exercise, but did have a change in activity level, with my dad opening a new store and me being promoted to the general manager rather than the office manager. I work about 55-60 hours a week now with most of it being on my feet, walking around the store, lifting boxes, bus tubs, etc. I didn’t start actually working out until about a month ago when I decided I wanted to start toning and lifting weights.

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Now, I feel like I’m a completely different person, I’m so happy and I don’t feel trapped in my body anymore. I feel like nothing is holding me back anymore. I feel so powerful because I can run, jump, lift, stretch without becoming out of breath or needing to take a break. I have so much energy! I don’t have to obsess over what I’m eating, I just eat along the Primal guidelines and know that I’m feeding my body nutritious food that it craves. Food has become fuel (delicious fuel!!) but it is no longer my comfort, my shoulder to cry on, my means to celebrate, or my dirty secret. I literally do not remember ever being this weight, although logically I know I must have been at some point. When I went from kids clothes to the adult department I immediately went into a size 12, and then a few months later I had to start shopping at the plus size store. Now I’m a size 8 pants, and a medium top….and I can shop ANYWHERE! For the first time in my life, I can shop in any store. I ran a mile for the first time in my life this month too! As far as my relationship with my husband, we are better than ever. My new found confidence has improved the relationship, and I feel like he doesn’t have to worry about me anymore. He knows that I’m healthy and gonna be around for a long time with him. And that he gets to enjoy my happiness, rather than try to pull me out of depression.

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Now my plans are to eat Primal for the rest of my life, lose eight more pounds to get to my goal of 160 and to continue toning and lifting weights to maximize my body’s potential. I am so excited about the future and I feel like I finally have control over my life. I can’t wait to update you in a year after weight training to show you where my body is at then!

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Fairuz

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. So inspiring! You look amazing. Keep up the good work!

    Rebecca wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • Atta girl! I’m so proud of you. You look amazing in your pics and I’m sure you feel amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s super cool that you got to share it here! Woo-hoo!

      Elaine wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • That face! you look great.

      Mike wrote on July 20th, 2014
  2. Wow – great! I love all the before and after pictures in the same dress!! Happy for you!

    Liesel wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • The print dresses looked good in the before pictures but they really aren’t working in the after pictures.

      However, that black dress is definitely working now! Amazing!

      Bayrider wrote on January 11th, 2013
      • I think the point was to show that she’s swimming in them now… ;)

        Incredible transformation!

        Kristin wrote on January 11th, 2013
        • Yeah, I got that. It’s just funny to me because the pinkish dress looked pretty great on the old Fairuz but it’s just a sack on the new Fairuz. But that black dress is the perfect picture of a wholesome, vibrant, happy, sexy woman, it’s stunning, I love it!

          Fairuz, you did a great job with all the pictures, it really illustrated your story in total.

          bayrider wrote on January 11th, 2013
      • +1 The old dresses show how far you have come. But you are definitely killing it in that black dress!

        Chika wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • YES!! a friday first! Love the idea :) AND love the results!!

      Peggy wrote on January 11th, 2013
  3. Congratulations Fairuz!! What a huge transformation! You look beautiful, happy and healthy (:

    Alyssa Luck wrote on January 11th, 2013
  4. Wow, congrats on the weight loss and discovering primal. In that last picture you don’t look like you are even the same person. Keep up the good work.

    Wayne Atwell wrote on January 11th, 2013
  5. Amazing! Great job!

    Patrick wrote on January 11th, 2013
  6. You were beautiful when you were heavy, but you are gorgeous now! Congratulations, especially on how great you FEEL and on being able to LIVE freely. :-)

    Alex wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • +1

      Madama Butterfry wrote on January 11th, 2013
      • What he said. ;-)

        Dano wrote on January 11th, 2013
        • +1 here, too :)

          Patty P wrote on January 13th, 2013
    • (I agree..and that beauty shines through fat or slim.)
      How wonderful to have come this far. Your smile says it all:)

      Marloe wrote on January 30th, 2013
    • Ditto! Amazing!

      caroline wrote on January 31st, 2013
  7. WoW, you’re such an inspiration. Congrats.

    Gabriele wrote on January 11th, 2013
  8. Muy excelente, Fairuz! Really very impressive. I can’t wait to see your pictures in a year too!

    Vanessa wrote on January 11th, 2013
  9. Congratulations on being awesome! Thank you for the inspiration.

    Kristin Horine wrote on January 11th, 2013
  10. You look terrific! the first picture is how everyone feels before finding this site, I think.

    Matty wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • Took me a moment to figure that first pic out when I first saw it, but I agree. :-)

      Alice wrote on January 11th, 2013
  11. Thanks so much for posting your story. You’ve inspired a 62 year old guy to keep the faith.

    Gord S. Vancouver wrote on January 11th, 2013
  12. Great Job! You look amazing!

    Karen DeLee wrote on January 11th, 2013
  13. Fairuz, is that even you?? You look terrific. I’m so glad that you still have everything going for you…but feel great, to boot!

    Anne wrote on January 11th, 2013
  14. Your story has inspired me and will inspire many
    more. Thank you.

    Doug wrote on January 11th, 2013
  15. I can definitely relate to your story as far as where you are coming from. My journey is just over 13 months old and I’ve got a ways to go. You’re looking great! I’m hoping I can do the same in good time as well.

    Peter wrote on January 11th, 2013
  16. Dang… awesome!!!

    Paul wrote on January 11th, 2013
  17. Amazing! Awesome! and Wonderful! The greatest thing about this story is the millions who will hear about it now and the lives that will be changed because of it. Congratulations!

    Dr. Mark wrote on January 11th, 2013
  18. Wow!

    Jack wrote on January 11th, 2013
  19. You look amazing and are such an inspiration. I wish everyone would find primal/paleo like we have. It’s awesome.

    Diane wrote on January 11th, 2013
  20. Wow Fairuz! You look amazing, you look radiant and you look confident. The Primal family is proud of you, and inspired by you. I will be looking for your pics in another year because I know they will be even more amazing,
    See you then.

    David wrote on January 11th, 2013
  21. you are RADIANT! and damn girl, nice biceps.

    adina wrote on January 11th, 2013
  22. Congrats! You’re an inspiration

    Jacalore wrote on January 11th, 2013
  23. Congratulations! What a transformation. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with the world.

    Jessica wrote on January 11th, 2013
  24. What an inspiration you are and congratulations on not only the loss of weight but the gain of self esteem and health. You are just lovely and should be so proud of yourself!

    Mary wrote on January 11th, 2013
  25. You look wonderful! So healthy and happy! Thanks for sharing your story.

    Siobhan wrote on January 11th, 2013
  26. “Food has become fuel (delicious fuel!!) but it is no longer my comfort, my shoulder to cry on, my means to celebrate, or my dirty secret.”

    I think you found the secret, girlfriend. Awesome. You are one of my favorite Friday inspirations.

    Cassandra wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • Thankyou so much!

      Fairuz wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • Mine too. I love that quote above because I can so relate to it coming from a Southern family who comforts, celebrates and creates all through food. So thankful to MDA for helping me see what you saw…food is fuel…period.
      Congratulations on the transformation and truly LIVING!

      Sheila C. wrote on January 11th, 2013
  27. Wow! You look fantastic!

    maddieaddie wrote on January 11th, 2013
  28. You are fabulous! I am so happy for you. What an incredible accomplishment, you showed enormous discipline and focus to get where you are today. You showed you have the inner resources to accomplish anything you set your mind to. You’re a winner!

    That’s some impressive muscle already, work on that for a year and I’m sure you will be a rockstar fitness goddess.

    Bayrider wrote on January 11th, 2013
  29. Congrats! You look amazing!! Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring others….and me!

    Krys wrote on January 11th, 2013
  30. An incredible story, Fairuz! Keep up the great work!

    Finnegans Wake wrote on January 11th, 2013
  31. Holy crap! That’s awesome!

    Chris wrote on January 11th, 2013
  32. What a beautiful girl. You were beautiful before, but even more so now, not least because your inner confidence shines through. Which isn’t surprising with such a fantastic story, so inspiring. Well done, you should be so proud of yourself!!!!!!

    Tam wrote on January 11th, 2013
  33. Absolutely amazing!! Very inspirational. Keep up the great work!

    Michael wrote on January 11th, 2013
  34. This is a pretty mind-blowing transformation. Pictures tell a thousand words.
    I’m so happy you found your way to a healthy you. You look fenomenal!

    chocolatechip69 wrote on January 11th, 2013
  35. I think this is the best success story I’ve read. I’m wondering Fairuz, are you able to eat anything in your father’s restaurant? I love Lebanese food, but it seems that the main ingredients are garbanzo beans (hummus) and wheat (pita and my favorite, fatouch). I guess you’ve had enough Lebanese food for a lifetime.

    Annie wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • I was just about to ask the same thing. The restaurants we have around me have everything served with bread or on a bed of rice. And of course, I miss out of the amazing hummus they serve.

      Were you tempted a lot in that first year being around so much food you can’t eat? Or do you have recommendations of what to order in a Lebanese restaurant to stay paleo/primal?

      Decaf Debi wrote on January 11th, 2013
      • Yes I was able to eat alot of stuff actually! Luckily my families restaurant carries a very wide variety of dishes, but I usually stuck to Kebobs and salad….fatoush and greek salad are always a winner. And tahini dressing is completely primal as well. If you want a primal version of hummus, you can always try baba ghanouj which is made the same way but with eggplant. Alot of middle eastern places will also have roasted vegetables of something like that.

        Fairuz wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • I’m able to find something at almost any restaurant, kebobs and salads is my staple though at a lebanese place, and I can never get sick of it, it’s in my blood!

      Fairuz wrote on January 11th, 2013
  36. Congratulations! I may sound whatever but you looked beautiful before and now you are Gorgeous healthy looking beautiful woman.GROK ON GIRLY!

    alexandra wrote on January 11th, 2013
  37. I wonder how many whispers you set off at your husband’s workplace. “I’ve seen his wedding pictures. He’s married!”

    Moshen wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • lol! They better keep their hands off my hubby! He is ALL MINE.

      Fairuz wrote on January 12th, 2013
  38. That’s a mind-blowing transformation, Fairuz. So… you’re the GM of a restaurant, and I’ve no doubt your family has started to approve of the way you eat. Has it changed the menu?

    Ion Freeman wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • It hasn’t changed the menu but it has inspired the employees to be better trained on special diets and allergens in food, like gluten, dairy, soy, etc.

      Fairuz wrote on January 11th, 2013
  39. Congratulations, Fairuz. You look so healthy and beautiful!

    Christa Crawford wrote on January 11th, 2013
  40. Amazing story! Can you describe how your diet fits in with your family’s diet? I am also of Middle Eastern descent, and when I visit my parents (which is months between) the food is always laid out as it always had been. I try not to be picky and keep to a primal palate because it can offend my mom. How does your family cope with your lifestyle?

    Shereen wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • Well, my family usually always has a main meat item and a big salad at any gathering, I can definitely always eat that. Once I went on the primal diet, they started to make more sides I could eat, like roasted vegetables, etc. My sister even made some primal cookies for xmas!

      Fairuz wrote on January 11th, 2013
      • Fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, healthy fats, and seeds, nuts, cheese, dates, olive oil, are all HUGE parts of a middle eastern diet and a primal one.

        Fairuz wrote on January 11th, 2013

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