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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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October 30, 2015

I Have Never Felt So Free and in Control of My Health

By Guest
70 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!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2My story? A journey to say the least. I have come to learn there are literally millions of people caught up in the same vicious cycle I was stuck in. My entire life from the age of eight years old—yes, I was on a “diet” at the age of eight—my weight was up and down continuously, sometimes dramatically up and down. I tried just about every diet on the market, weight loss aids, appetite suppressants, supplements, cleanses, you name it and I probably had tried it. I had gone as far as starvation diets, and countless hours in the gym. Yes, I had times where I was lean, weight was down, I even did some modeling in my 20s but I did not “feel good.” I constantly had health problems from chronic physical illness to an anxiety disorder early in life. I tortured my body in pursuit of looking good, “being lean.” It was a full time job, trying to reach this image/goal/desire.

Before_black dressBy age 40, I found myself fat, unfit, depressed and miserable. I had sky-high blood pressure requiring various heart and blood pressure medications. The doctor’s answer was to slap on medication and follow-up. What the? Alrighty then. I was under tremendous work stress, having family issues, financial struggles, balancing life with a new “blended” family. You name it, I was struggling in all areas like most of us today do. When I thought it was bad enough, I suffered a tragic loss. My younger brother, whom I was very close with died in a tragic accident. I found myself in the bottom of a bottle of alcohol and I stayed there, diluted for quite some time. I could not handle my reality. I continued to spiral down in a deep depression until I finally saw myself for what I was becoming. I was not the mom, wife, friend or family member I once prided myself as being.

It was time to take charge of my existence, take charge of my health, take charge of my future. At this point, I was desperate for better health. It was no longer about wanting to “get skinny” or look good. It was about creating a “NEW” reality. I began studying conventional nutrition to see what I could do to help myself. I was employing Holistic – Vegan practices and working out. Within one month I no longer needed medication and was down 20 pounds. I was fired up!!! BUT – soon the weight loss plateaued and I always felt a bit weak and tired and HUNGRY! After I became a certified Holistic consultant, I decided to continue my education and took on Sports Nutrition. I changed my diet again and followed a Sports nutrition regimen and took on a challenging physique sculpting program. I got some very slow results, but wow was it difficult. I lived by meal timing, portion control, agonizing constant macro-nutrient counting and many days of frustration with still not getting results I was looking for. I received my Sports Nutrition consulting certificate but still felt lost, I was doing everything text book but it still was not working!

I was on to more healthful lifestyle practices and making slow changes to my body, but I still did not feel right and I did not feel I was on to the right path. I remembered that I had tried The Primal Blueprint a few years prior. I treated it like a fad diet just like everything else in my past. I felt good and lost weight but I fell back into old habits fairly quickly. I did not understand the high fat concept as fat is vilified in our “heart-healthy” low-fat, grain laden conventional wisdom of today. So, the controversy was my excuse to eat grains again, because quite frankly, I liked them. Man, did my health later reflect I had gone back to old ways! With all my recent education, I thought I should look at The Primal Blueprint again since I was on this mission to take charge of my health.

The decision to look at The Primal Blueprint again was life changing! I nearly effortlessly began to lose that stubborn body fat, toned up and was feeling good, strong, happy, energized and sleeping well for the first time in my life. I wanted more, more… I knew the Primal lifestyle was the path I was looking for. I decided to enroll as a Primal Health Coach so that I could get an in-depth education on the “why”. I loved that the Primal Blueprint philosophy was all backed by science. Trust me, I employed countless hours of independent research and personal experimentation during this journey of finding better health.

I agree 100% with the Primal Blueprint lifestyle. I have never felt so fantastic, been as physically fit, energized, focused, relaxed and calm. The fact that my cholesterol, blood pressure and resting heart rate are fantastic is just tangible proof I am on the correct path. In fact, my HDL was SO impressive at my last vitality check, the doctor was extremely interested, and wanted extensive detail of what I do… The best thing of all is that I am full of energy to be the best mom and wife I can be. I play with the kids, I’m happy and engaged with life again. I am setting a good example for my children and creating a healthy existence for them. I don’t think there is any greater satisfaction in this world than that! My husband is completely committed to the Primal lifestyle as well, feels fantastic and has made quite a transformation himself!

before after

I have never felt so free and in control of my health, and for that I am eternally grateful. I cannot express my gratitude enough for the work of Mark Sisson and the wonderful Primal staff. Not only did I get the tools I needed to reshape my life, all those around me benefit because I can offer value to their lives now. As my journey continues, it is time for me to pay it forward. I am bounding with enthusiasm to help guide others in finding their way to better health. Now, my mission is to share what I have learned, my journey, my passion! I am forever a Primal Blueprint enthusiast!

Denise

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70 Comments on "I Have Never Felt So Free and in Control of My Health"

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Chris
Chris
1 year 9 months ago

Brava! In addition to weight loss, you shed years. You look like a woman in her 20s, not someone in her 40s. Keep on doing what you’re doing and thank you for the inspiration.

JoeBrewer
JoeBrewer
1 year 9 months ago

I agree, you look way younger than 40s. Awesome job!

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Thank you! It is amazing how you can reverse aging with lifestyle, and it was a short time, I must say.

Julian
Julian
1 year 9 months ago

+1

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you 🙂

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you so much Chris! I appreciate your kind words!

Alpha Foxtrot
Alpha Foxtrot
1 year 9 months ago

I agree.

Shary
Shary
1 year 9 months ago

Denise, the new you is fabulous! So glad you found PB. It’s definitely not a fad diet; it’s an easy, hunger-free, energy-filled lifestyle that really works. It’s also good that your doctor is interested. It would benefit many people if we can just educate all the doctors out there.

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Shary,
In fact, I have some docs that are interested in my work and are sending their patients my way!

Laurie
Laurie
1 year 9 months ago

WOW! You look half your age! Very inspiring.

Larry
1 year 9 months ago

yeah, yeah, yeah! It really is all about the health. Then you also end up looking great also. Funny that.

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Thank you! The anti-aging was a bonus Larry! LOL

Time Traveler
Time Traveler
1 year 9 months ago

Oh wow what a beautiful transformation. Sometimes, we need (must) to hit bottom in order to reach new heights.

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

I agree! I am quite fortunate I found my way back up 🙂

Vanessa
Vanessa
1 year 9 months ago

Well done Denise! I am grateful to Mark and team as well. He is the best example of someone who shares that I know.

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Vanessa 🙂

grisly atoms
grisly atoms
1 year 9 months ago

Congratulations!

My favorite part of the “after” photos is that the cup of cola is gone!

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Absolutely! Have not had one in a very long while, could not even think of one now 🙂

Whitney
Whitney
1 year 9 months ago

Awesome Denise! You look great!

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Whitney!!!

Colleen
Colleen
1 year 9 months ago

Another WOW. Great story. Glad to count one more primal family in the bunch.

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Definitely!

Dee
Dee
1 year 9 months ago
I don’t really comment here. Your story really got to me. It’s a shame that you were subjected to dieting at such a young age. And many of us can relate to chronic health struggles and stress. But all of that pales in comparison to the sudden loss of your brother. I’m so sorry. Getting control of the alcohol is even more important than your diet and health transformation. You’ve done a wonderful job turning your life around. I’m sure your whole family is happier and it’s wonderful that you are going to help others now.
Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you so much Dee. I appreciate you taking time to comment. I had to just be real and vulnerable, put it out there, with hopes that maybe my story can inspire someone who is lost.

Dee
Dee
1 year 9 months ago

It was brave of you to share such a very personal story. It is very encouraging, and I do think just sharing it here could help a lot of people.

I believe our struggles in this life do happen for a reason. Sometimes it can take us years to see what the reason was. If nothing else, they can teach us compassion and patience for others.

I pray you continue being a great example for your family and others around you!

maidel
1 year 9 months ago

Awesome!!! You are a real, genuine beauty now!!! And you got there the healthy way!! Wow!

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Maidel! I think the happiness inside shows on the outside too:)

Lucy
1 year 9 months ago

Impresionante transformación, te ves muchísimo más joven de los cuarentas, pareciera que tú nuevo “yo” es la hija de la imagen del antes, me has motivado grandemente. ¡Felicitaciones !

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Gracias Lucy!

BFF Carrie
BFF Carrie
1 year 9 months ago

I have witnessed this transformation first hand and I have seen how hard you have work on yourself and learning as much as you can about the Primal lifestyle. So very proud of you Denise and so happy for you. You are an inspiration. xoxo

Troy Cooke
Troy Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

I have never been so proud of anyone in my life as I am on hour proud I am with my wife, Denise. Thank you all for incredible words. I may be bias, but to me this is an amazing woman. She has taught me so much and has lead me in the direction of incredible health. Also, thank you Mark Sisson and team for changing my wife’s life.

Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons
1 year 9 months ago

Beautiful story, Denise! Congrats for creating your new reality!

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Dana! I follow your blog, always enjoy what you share 🙂

RJ
RJ
1 year 9 months ago

Can you share more about how you were able to ditch the alcohol?

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

RJ, I had gotten to such a dark place, I knew something had to change, dramatically. I used alcohol as a coping mechanism. I got some counseling to help me, give me the tools to cope with my anxiety and the trauma I experienced. Body,mind and spirit changes 🙂

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

RJ- you can private message me if you would like to chat about your questions for me. denise.cooke@malibubu.com

Todd
Todd
1 year 9 months ago

Way to go Denise! Glad you go things turned around physically, spiritually and emotionally. I am slowly trudging along in the PB Expert Certification course, and look forward to joining you as a colleague in coaching people to wholistic healthy living.

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

I do as well Todd ! Be sure to look me up. I would be happy to share resources I have come across 🙂

Pam
Pam
1 year 9 months ago

You look and sound fabulous. Congrats on a job well done. Brought tears to my eyes to read about your loss. I too suffered a loss and turned to food rather than alcohol. It has been a long road to get past the damage it has done to my body. Being older the weight has not fallen off as it used to do when I was younger. But the primal lifestyle has transformed my world (even if slowly). Keep sharing the word with others.

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Pam. I am sorry to hear of your loss as well. We all grieve and cope in different ways. I wish you the best in your Primal journey. Feel free to reach out to me if you need any help 🙂

primal_chiro
1 year 9 months ago

Loved how you called it your ‘vitality’ check rather than a physical. Being vital is so much more than passing sick tests, something that your story showed perfectly 🙂

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank You Primal_Chiro 🙂 It is indeed ! I go every six months and get a check. It still amazes me to see the difference from a very short time ago 🙂

Wayne
Wayne
1 year 9 months ago

Fabulous Denise! You look awesome, but your message is even brighter!

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Wayne. My hopes are someone who is in a bad place sees there is a better place to be, and that they can do it too 🙂

trillie
1 year 9 months ago

Wow. That really struck a chord with me. I, too have been on diets since I was 8. Such a sad thing to think about! I’m glad you finally managed to escape that existence. Not there yet myself, but your story is very inspiring! 🙂

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Trillie. It is not easy; changing mind sets, emotions, motivations. I found meditation, and that REALLY helped me, all the way around. Once I learned how to, I developed an inner peace and a way of reflecting that truly helped me more than one would think it could. I have no affiliation, and I think I can say it on here- I started with Oprah&Deepak’s meditations, still do them everyday. They have a free one starting here in a few days I think…….. My best to you 🙂 Thanks for taking time to comment.

trillie
1 year 9 months ago

Ha, that’s doubly excellent because I just took a mindfulness course last spring and am now fully on the meditation train. This just tells me I’m on the right track for following in your footsteps! 😉

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Awesome!! I need more study on mindfulness 🙂

Chance B
Chance B
1 year 9 months ago

40+ ? The hell you say! Good job!

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank You!!! I don’t feel 40+ anymore 🙂

mark N
mark N
1 year 9 months ago

WOW. Grok on.

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thanks Mark!

Lucy
1 year 9 months ago
Denisse mis hijas no pueden creer tanta transformación en tí, ellas me alega que es tú hija, que pareces otra persona ¿ donde te podemos contactar, tienes algún blog ? Mi hija mayor está en el camino de encontrar la forma más saludable para bajar de peso, ella tanto como yo tenemos problemas con nuestro peso y exactamente como dices tú, desde los 8 años, yo he bajo y subido de peso, pero desde mi tercer hija ya he tenido muchos problemas para bajarlo y por salud principalmente lo necesito, mi hija todavía está joven 21 años y ansía mantenerse… Read more »
Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Lucy,
It definitely can be done! I am just starting a blog http://www.metachangenutrition.com Soon, there will be a lot posted, you can find me there. I will be sharing how I have done everything!!! There will be a lot of help for you and your daughter there!
Denise

Caroline
Caroline
1 year 9 months ago

Sorry to hear of your loss, Denise. Thank you for sharing your story – you’re amazing!

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Caroline!

Similar Story
Similar Story
1 year 9 months ago

Congrats on turning yourself around. I too slid into a deep depression (and a bottle) a few years ago and MDA/PB have certainly helped with pulling myself out of it all. I’m not where I want to be yet but with the tools provided through this site and stories like yours I continue to feel more confident in my own journey.

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Similar Story. Keep looking for those tools! I found that when I opened myself for change with an open heart and mind, those tools kept coming my way. You are doing the right things 🙂 My best to you!

James
1 year 9 months ago

Congratulations, Denise. To quote Billy Crystal, “you look marvelous”. Grok on!

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you James!

Lucy
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you very much. Denisse. God bless you !

Steve Clarke
1 year 9 months ago

This is a very inspiration story to say the least! You’ve certainly come a long way in your journey and make exceptional changes to your health and physique.

While you tried many different programs, most I’m sure were fads, did you find you learnt anything about fat loss because of them?

I’ve found that in some programs that seem a little far fetched (and probably are) there is some underlying truth and solution related to the program. The issue is, you have to keep digging.

As for being 40… no way?

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago
I agree, Steve, you have to keep digging! You have to find the sweet spot on an individual basis. And yes, I have learned a ton about fat loss through out my conventional training and personal experiment. I believe there is truth and science that all will get us to that lean physique, but at what cost…..I found personally, that becoming a fat burner and feeding my body lots of whole foods, exercising enough but not too much and adequate rest, outside time, literally took years off of my face, body, and general health. It is truly amazing what our… Read more »
Steve Clarke
1 year 9 months ago

The problem there lies. We are brought up in a world of manipulative advertising that results in us making poor decisions for our health and physiques.

Yet, it’s ever so simple. Fat loss is simple… once you waive through all the rubbish information so many people blurt out.

But you got there and that’s amazing. You should be so proud of yourself!

Tracy D
Tracy D
1 year 9 months ago

Great job, Denise! Are your children on board with this lifestyle and if so, how did you do it? I have a 10 yo and had to move my 80 yo mom in recently. She loves her bread and also fills the house with junk, despite my objections…Help!

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago
HI Tracy! I sympathize with your obstacles! I have mine as well. I have a huge struggle as it relates to my children. We have split households, so when they go to their Dad’s house it is way, way opposite end of the spectrum. Starchy carbs are the main stay at the other household, so it truly creates havoc on blood sugar stability for my girls. I have to do the best I can. As far as getting your child on board, I would suggest making Primal substitutions for things to show them, “Hey, you can still have pancakes, but… Read more »
Kay
Kay
1 year 9 months ago

Oh Wow! What an amazing transformation towards great health! And the bonus is you look amazing as well.

Thanks for sharing your story, Denise. Very inspiring. You do look half your age.

Denise Cooke
Denise Cooke
1 year 9 months ago

Thank you Kay!

Elizabeth
1 year 9 months ago

Wow, Denise, I just read this! Love your story and your perseverance. Ditching grains, sugar and diary was the best thing I ever did. It’s easy to maintain when you love the way you look and feel every day. You look amazing, and it sounds like you feel even better.

Florence
1 year 8 months ago

Fabulous transformation, physical, mental and emotional – congratulations! Looking great too 🙂

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