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. I am 1/2 Lebanese and 1/2 Sicilian so I know how everything can revolve around food. It was ok when I was younger, but after 40 the pounds crept up! You look stunning and are inspiration for me to start and continue the paleo way of eating! Day 2 and so far so good! Thanks for sharing your achievements! You are beautiful… Judi :-)

    Judi Z wrote on January 15th, 2013
  2. I really needed to see this. Thanks for sharing, how inspiring!

    Julie wrote on January 15th, 2013
  3. WOW you look amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Helen wrote on January 15th, 2013
  4. Wow, you look healthy and happy! You always had a pretty face-but it looks even better with that big smile. Way to go!

    Autumn wrote on January 15th, 2013
  5. Fairuz, you are radiant, and inspiring!

    tina kamins wrote on January 15th, 2013
  6. Great story, inspirational.
    the before and after photos are so good.

    Mahmoud wrote on January 16th, 2013
  7. I’m fascinated to know what was so different between properly doing “Primal” and previously dabbling in “Atkins” and failing.
    Surely the two plans are not SO different at the core : are the details or the attitude the big differentiators for you?

    Ulfric wrote on January 17th, 2013
    • I think the strict carb limit is what screwed me up with Atkins, trying to stick to 20g a day was driving me crazy, I wasn’t getting enough nutrition and I couldn’t stick too it. I like that Primal doesn’t have set rules, just guidelines, its much easier to adapt it to your life and make it a lifestyle change, rather than a “diet” I think for me that was the main difference.

      Fairuz wrote on January 21st, 2013
  8. Your commitment is exceedingly inspiring!

    Cassandra V wrote on January 19th, 2013
  9. Congrats on your success, Fairuz! You are an inspiration to me. I’m down 20 lbs from 272 and still going. I love that pink dress and I bet I could rock it for a while until I lose more weight. Any chance you want to sell it? :D

    Amy M. wrote on January 19th, 2013
    • I donated it after I took the picture! Sorry. :) I got it at New York and CO.

      Fairuz wrote on January 21st, 2013
  10. Fairuz! We have so much in common (except I am no where near as successful as you are, yet)! My mother is Lebanese! I so know what you mean about food being so important to daily life. Also, my mother’s maiden name is FARIS. How is your name pronounced?

    I also fell madly in love and married a naturally skinny man. Oh the similarities! Thank you so much for being my new inspiration!

    P.S. You look BEAUtiful.

    Rose wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  11. I appreciate how your husband loves you through “thick and thin” – that is real love. Hold on to that, and keep up your great work. You look amazing!

    Deb wrote on February 8th, 2013
  12. Wonderful , inspiring post !

    Linda wrote on February 23rd, 2013
  13. Wow Fairuz, what an amazing story and transformation!
    I too, am Lebanese and my mothers’ cooking is unbelievable. I can turn down the pita, but the hummus is not as easy. i do love babaghanoush, so thats my saving grace ;) I have started the wheat free/primal way of eating this February and it is definitely a work in progress. I applaud your hard work and success! You are an inspiration indeed. If you have any other advice, tips, etc….please share!
    If you are ever in AZ, you are always welcome to our home ;)

    Heather wrote on March 19th, 2013
  14. Wow, you what an inspiration, you are! And it’s amazing how similar a lot of it is to mine, with the exception of the huge weight loss…but I’m finally getting back to it! This is a story I will definitely come back to for inspiration when I feel myself struggling (though on the Paleo diet, I find myself struggling NOT to stay on it!)

    Thank you for sharing!!

    Debbie wrote on March 20th, 2013
  15. Congratulations
    You look fantastic!!

    Louwna wrote on March 31st, 2013
  16. Your story brought happy tears to my eyes! You have absolutely amazing will power girl! And you look stunning. Congratulations!

    Kasia wrote on August 12th, 2013
  17. You have transformed yourself! You have always been beautiful but now you glow! Amazing!

    Rebekah wrote on September 14th, 2013
  18. Wow. Fairuz ~ What an amazing transformation. I mean Holy Crap! You’re very pretty in that first picture (black dot notwithstanding), and definitely looking good in the biceps pic. But that black dress number is the best. Seeing you in those dresses before & after just shows how this Primal thing really works.

    So glad you gave tips on eating at Mid-Eastern restaurants too. I love kebabs and salad so am happy I can still enjoy those from time to time.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. :)

    Darlene, San Francisco, CA wrote on December 7th, 2013
  19. Inspirational! I seriously got little tears in my eyes reading your story because I’m so proud of you. And I don’t even know you! Way to go.

    Kelly wrote on February 10th, 2014
  20. Well done, Fairuz! So happy to see another Lebanese person on here. I was living in Egypt for the past 8 years and went primal for a while but did not lose any weight (all other health complaints vanished, though). My life was extremely stressful so that might have been the problem. I’m in Lebanon for the time being and even though I have discovered it is extremely difficult to find grass-fed anything (I honestly thought it would be much easier than it was in Egypt, but I got here and found that nobody likes to make anything from scratch anymore and everything is imported – I remember teta making EVERYTHING from scratch!) my stress levels are much lower and I am going to get back to being primal and you have really motivated me! Thank you so much :))

    Yasmine wrote on March 8th, 2014

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