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!


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 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


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

    Anna wrote on January 11th, 2013
  3. 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.

    Nocona wrote on January 11th, 2013
  4. 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!

    melissa wrote on January 11th, 2013

    Stella wrote on January 11th, 2013
  6. 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 eat salads, veggies, fruits, etc now?

    And the Lebanese restaurant I used to eat at in NYC had this AMAZING soup(broth) that was served at the beginning with the bread. To be honest, the soup is amazing. I believe it is a lamb-based soup. If you perhaps know of which one I’m referring too, please share a recipe! I think it should be primal or able to tweak a little!

    Wishing you much happiness and many years to come!


    Amanda wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • 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.

      Fairuz wrote on January 11th, 2013
  7. 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?

    Amanda wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • 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!

      Fairuz wrote on January 11th, 2013
  8. WOW! You are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story!

    mars wrote on January 11th, 2013
  9. you look amazing! congrats on your success and a fantastic lifestyle change

    Melissa wrote on January 11th, 2013
  10. 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! 😉

    Victor Dorfman wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • 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.

      Fairuz wrote on January 12th, 2013
  11. what a change! i love the photo in the black dress. very sexy!

    einstein wrote on January 11th, 2013
  12. Wow great Fairuz! I can totally relate to the feeling of Paleo just making sense! You actually understand it. What other diet does that?

    Tanja Tr. wrote on January 11th, 2013
  13. All I can say is “*$%&#?!”
    Way to go!

    Anders wrote on January 11th, 2013
  14. Excellent job! Very inspirational. I recently started going primal and hope I have the success that you have had!

    Rob wrote on January 11th, 2013
  15. You obviously came to MDA and succeeded because it’s not just another diet–it’s a compelling turn to natural primal living.

    Like everyone else here- I am proud of your success– and the encouragement to all who know you!


    Pastor Dave wrote on January 11th, 2013
  16. Awesome! You really are inspiring. Congrats and keep up the good work!

    lanz wrote on January 11th, 2013
  17. simply awesome! :) congratulations how tall are you?

    Gayle wrote on January 11th, 2013
    • I’m 5’9

      Fairuz wrote on January 12th, 2013
  18. Awesome story, Fairuz. I am so very happy for you that you figured this out in your twenties. What a great boost for you and your emotional and physical health. Congratulations!

    ENoel wrote on January 11th, 2013
  19. Wonderful! Congrats! You look radiant in the before pictures and wonderful, healthy, and strong in the after. I can totally relate to food as a focus of life’s ups and downs. The hardest part of a permanent lifestyle change is making food fuel again instead of “happiness”. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Amy wrote on January 11th, 2013
  20. Wow, you are absolutely stunning. Well done on your transformation… And ditch those old clothes! Girl- you will never need those again;)

    Primalmontana wrote on January 11th, 2013
  21. You look so great! Amazing biceps you have there, too. Keep it up!

    Tasha wrote on January 11th, 2013
  22. Thanks for having some smiling “before” pics. You were beautiful before and stunning after.

    I also recommend the myfitnesspal site for anybody who eats for reasons other than simple hunger. It’s great for increasing awareness.

    Joshua wrote on January 11th, 2013
  23. I ALWAYS look forward to these Friday success stories, but I never leave comments. I just want to tell you that you are BEAUTIFUL, and you look amazing! What an inspiration you will be to so many!!! (((hugs))) ~ Kristie

    Kristie wrote on January 11th, 2013
  24. What an inspiring story! Way to go!

    Allie wrote on January 11th, 2013
  25. O. M. G.


    Madama Butterfry wrote on January 11th, 2013
  26. Gorgeous lady! It’s so amazing when we discover what actually works for our body. Eating paleo/primal is effortless once you get the hang of it: the sugar cravings and binge eating practically disappear and we renew our energy and happiness naturally. Awesome job, can’t wait to see the weight-lifting follow-up story.


    Chika wrote on January 11th, 2013
  27. Wow!!! Inspirational and I needed inspiration today! Way to go!

    Tjtriangle wrote on January 11th, 2013
  28. You look amazing, what an inspiring story

    Bec wrote on January 11th, 2013
  29. Amazing! Very inspiring.

    Amanda wrote on January 11th, 2013
  30. This is why I love Fridays!! You look amazing, congratulations!!

    Kathleen wrote on January 11th, 2013
  31. Awesome! You look great. :)

    James wrote on January 11th, 2013
  32. I’m so excited by your success, I’m going to go out and play with my dog. Congratulations!

    TruckerLady wrote on January 11th, 2013
  33. Brilliant. Congrats, my friend.

    Txomin wrote on January 11th, 2013
  34. You look awesome !! Love success stories, helps keep me on track.

    misha wrote on January 11th, 2013
  35. This is an AWESOME transformation story which I will surely send out to many of my clients. Inspiring, uplifting and motivating. Big thumbs up to you, Fairuz!

    Vardit wrote on January 11th, 2013
  36. Way to go :)..LOVE Fridays!

    Goody wrote on January 11th, 2013
  37. Fairuz

    The responses to your story are cracking me up, because I have been a follower of the Friday Success Stories for awhile now, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many primal dudes drooling over the after pictures before!

    Congratulations on your transformation – you look amazing and I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as your health goes!

    Kristin Smith wrote on January 11th, 2013
  38. Awesome testimony – congrats Fairuz!

    Brandon wrote on January 11th, 2013
  39. I love waking up Saturday mornings and reading the Real Life Story (I am west coast of Oz ;)) this one is such an inspiring story. Congratulations, you are rocking it!!!!

    RedDirtBlueSkies wrote on January 11th, 2013

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