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!
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.
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.
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.
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!