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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...

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January 11, 2013

I Feel Like I Finally Have Control Over My Life

By Guest
176 Comments

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!

Mark,

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.

Fairuz - 292

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.

Fairuz - Flexin' Fairuz - Flexin' 2

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.

Fairuz and Friend - After Fairuz - After

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!

Fairuz - Before and After

Fairuz - Before and After 2

Fairuz

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171 Comments on "I Feel Like I Finally Have Control Over My Life"

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Rebecca
Rebecca
3 years 10 months ago

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

Elaine
Elaine
3 years 10 months ago

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!

Mike
Mike
2 years 4 months ago

That face! you look great.

Liesel
3 years 10 months ago

Wow – great! I love all the before and after pictures in the same dress!! Happy for you!

Bayrider
Bayrider
3 years 10 months ago

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!

Kristin
Kristin
3 years 10 months ago

I think the point was to show that she’s swimming in them now… 😉

Incredible transformation!

bayrider
bayrider
3 years 10 months ago

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.

Chika
3 years 10 months ago

+1 The old dresses show how far you have come. But you are definitely killing it in that black dress!

Peggy
Peggy
3 years 10 months ago

YES!! a friday first! Love the idea 🙂 AND love the results!!

Alyssa Luck
3 years 10 months ago

Congratulations Fairuz!! What a huge transformation! You look beautiful, happy and healthy (:

Wayne Atwell
3 years 10 months ago

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.

Patrick
3 years 10 months ago

Amazing! Great job!

Alex
Alex
3 years 10 months ago

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. 🙂

Madama Butterfry
Madama Butterfry
3 years 10 months ago

+1

Dano
Dano
3 years 10 months ago

What he said. 😉

Patty P
Patty P
3 years 10 months ago

+1 here, too 🙂

Marloe
3 years 10 months ago

(I agree..and that beauty shines through fat or slim.)
How wonderful to have come this far. Your smile says it all:)

caroline
caroline
3 years 10 months ago

Ditto! Amazing!

Gabriele
3 years 10 months ago

WoW, you’re such an inspiration. Congrats.

Vanessa
Vanessa
3 years 10 months ago

Muy excelente, Fairuz! Really very impressive. I can’t wait to see your pictures in a year too!

Kristin Horine
Kristin Horine
3 years 10 months ago

Congratulations on being awesome! Thank you for the inspiration.

Matty
Matty
3 years 10 months ago

You look terrific! the first picture is how everyone feels before finding this site, I think.

Alice
Alice
3 years 10 months ago

Took me a moment to figure that first pic out when I first saw it, but I agree. 🙂

Gord S. Vancouver
3 years 10 months ago

Thanks so much for posting your story. You’ve inspired a 62 year old guy to keep the faith.

Karen DeLee
Karen DeLee
3 years 10 months ago

Great Job! You look amazing!

Anne
3 years 10 months ago

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!

Doug
Doug
3 years 10 months ago

Your story has inspired me and will inspire many
more. Thank you.

Peter
Peter
3 years 10 months ago

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.

Paul
Paul
3 years 10 months ago

Dang… awesome!!!

Dr. Mark
3 years 10 months ago

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!

Jack
Jack
3 years 10 months ago

Wow!

Diane
Diane
3 years 10 months ago

You look amazing and are such an inspiration. I wish everyone would find primal/paleo like we have. It’s awesome.

David
David
3 years 10 months ago

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.

adina
3 years 10 months ago

you are RADIANT! and damn girl, nice biceps.

Jacalore
Jacalore
3 years 10 months ago

Congrats! You’re an inspiration

Jessica
3 years 10 months ago

Congratulations! What a transformation. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with the world.

Mary
Mary
3 years 10 months ago

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!

Siobhan
Siobhan
3 years 10 months ago

You look wonderful! So healthy and happy! Thanks for sharing your story.

Cassandra
Cassandra
3 years 10 months ago

“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.

Fairuz
Fairuz
3 years 10 months ago

Thankyou so much!

Sheila C.
Sheila C.
3 years 10 months ago

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!

maddieaddie
maddieaddie
3 years 10 months ago

Wow! You look fantastic!

Bayrider
Bayrider
3 years 10 months ago

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.

Krys
Krys
3 years 10 months ago

Congrats! You look amazing!! Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring others….and me!

Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
3 years 10 months ago

An incredible story, Fairuz! Keep up the great work!

Chris
Chris
3 years 10 months ago

Holy crap! That’s awesome!

Tam
Tam
3 years 10 months ago

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!!!!!!

Michael
Michael
3 years 10 months ago

Absolutely amazing!! Very inspirational. Keep up the great work!

chocolatechip69
chocolatechip69
3 years 10 months ago

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!

Annie
Annie
3 years 10 months ago

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.

Decaf Debi
Decaf Debi
3 years 10 months ago

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?

Fairuz
Fairuz
3 years 10 months ago

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
Fairuz
3 years 10 months ago

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!

alexandra
3 years 10 months ago

Congratulations! I may sound whatever but you looked beautiful before and now you are Gorgeous healthy looking beautiful woman.GROK ON GIRLY!

Moshen
Moshen
3 years 10 months ago

I wonder how many whispers you set off at your husband’s workplace. “I’ve seen his wedding pictures. He’s married!”

Fairuz
Fairuz
3 years 10 months ago

lol! They better keep their hands off my hubby! He is ALL MINE.

Ion Freeman
3 years 10 months ago

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?

Fairuz
Fairuz
3 years 10 months ago

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.

Christa Crawford
3 years 10 months ago

Congratulations, Fairuz. You look so healthy and beautiful!

Shereen
Shereen
3 years 10 months ago

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?

Fairuz
Fairuz
3 years 10 months ago

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
Fairuz
3 years 10 months ago

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.

Anna
Anna
3 years 10 months ago

Great transformation. And your smile is contagious. I love Fridays at MDA.

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 10 months ago

The Primal family bows down to another angel in this mad world…there is no stopping us now. We are changing the world one person at a time.

melissa
3 years 10 months ago

lots of comments about how great you look…and you do! BUT to me, the best parts of your entry were about how you don’t have to count calories and how you love to feel strong!!!
best outcomes in my book, regardless of what the exterior looks like. good for you!

Stella
Stella
3 years 10 months ago

WOWWWWWW.

Amanda
Amanda
3 years 10 months ago
Masha’Allah!!! You are so beautiful before and even more so after. I was just praying to find a story like yours today! I’m also so glad you have taken control early in your marriage. My DH sounds like yours and can eat whatever. We married at 416 and I’m now pregnant with #3 and still at 419. Never been below 317. We’ve been married 10 years and I feel as I shortchanged our marriage thus far! I do have a question for you.. you mentioned Atkins before with meat and cheese… what did you change when going primal? Do you… Read more »
Fairuz
Fairuz
3 years 10 months ago

Hey Amanda, I don’t know what the soup is but it sounds delicious! Losing weight helped my marraige so much because it changed my confidence and happiness, my husband always thought I was beautiful and never complained about my weight, but now I FEEL beautiful too. When I went to primal I began eating alot more vegetables and fruit, instead of being scared of the carbs in them I embraced the their nutritious nature.

Amanda
Amanda
3 years 10 months ago

One other question if you do not mind… did you switch to grass-fed meat or what kind of meat did you usually eat… fish, beef, lamb, chicken, pork, etc??? Did you notice eating one kind helped over the other?

Fairuz
Fairuz
3 years 10 months ago

I didn’t switch to grassfed meat, because I do primal on a budget. Any protein is good in my book as long as it’s not processed!

mars
mars
3 years 10 months ago

WOW! You are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story!

Melissa
3 years 10 months ago

you look amazing! congrats on your success and a fantastic lifestyle change

Victor Dorfman
3 years 10 months ago

You look radiant, Fairuz!

Reading your story, it struck me what a big (and often negative) role food plays in various cultures. Or should I say, the role cultures play in various food.

My family is Ukrainian and the cultural conditioning around what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat is so powerful that suggesting anything “primal” would make you look like a loony case. Perhaps you can relate..

Keep it up Fairuz! 😉

Fairuz
Fairuz
3 years 10 months ago

Yes, in my pita-centric family, I was often looked at wierdly when I refused the bread, rice, beans, etc….but once they saw the results they started to all support my “crazy” diet.

einstein
einstein
3 years 10 months ago

what a change! i love the photo in the black dress. very sexy!

wpDiscuz