Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
8 Feb

I Knew a Change Had to Be Made

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!

On January 1st of this year my sister challenged the family to a “biggest loser” challenge. I was a little irritated since I felt this was pointed at me. I’m also competitive by nature, and so I decided to accept her challenge.

I weighed 299 lbs when I did the first “weigh in”. I was 35, in size 42 jeans, and had approximately 40% body fat. I hadn’t expressed my frustrations with my weight to anyone, but I knew my family was getting concerned with my health. As a father of two wonderful girls, and husband to a beautiful wife, I knew a change had to be made.

Heath - Before

I am also a law enforcement officer, and not being in better shape was a safety concern for me on the job. As an instructor in arrest control techniques and firearms I felt that I was not setting a good example for the other officers. I hated the fact I was becoming the fat doughnut eating cop.

Heath - January, 2012

I was eating what I believed was a healthy diet, and I felt I was active. I did not eat out much, and ate home made meals everyday. I grew up with a mother who baked bread everyday, and pastas and even our cereal was homemade. My wife remained in good shape while my weight ballooned over 11 years of marriage.

Heath - Before

Last summer I paid a personal trainer, who was a world champion grappler, to help me get in shape. The workouts were very intense, to the point of vomiting after the workout. After months of this I had lost a grand total of 5 lbs, and I eventually gave up the workouts.

One of my co-workers, Greg, a 64 year old man who looks 50 and is ripped, explained the paleo lifestyle to me when I told him about my family’s “Biggest Loser” challenge. I was skeptical since nothing had been working, but obviously it was working for him, so I thought I would give it a try. Greg gave me the Mark’s Daily Apple website and told me about getting cookbooks and other resources.

I explained to my wife the diet and I could not have asked for a more supportive spouse. She changed the way she cooked and shopped for food. We commented on the fact that our cupboards were becoming bare from the lack of processed food, but our fridge was overflowing with meats, vegetables, and other raw foods.

At the end of 6 months the family weighed in to see who had won the challenge. I had dropped from 299 lbs down to 206 lbs, and from 40% body fat to 17%. I not only had won our little family competition, but I was also one of the few that was able to stick to my “diet”. I almost felt guilty with the victory, the weight had come off quickly and easily, I ate when I was hungry, and I ate delicious food.

Heath - After

Besides the weight loss, I also experienced other benefits that I had not expected. I had experienced migraines for years, and have yet to suffer from one since going Primal. My minor hay fever allergies also disappeared. My overall health and energy levels are much improved. I had my my gall bladder taken out two years ago, and had the typical side effects which sent me running for the bathroom. This also went away. I wish I had known about the Primal Blueprint diet before I lost my gall bladder.

I have dropped ten pant sizes, and am now on my fourth gun belt. I look more professional in uniform, and I have other officers asking me how I achieved the weight loss. Two other friends/officers have lost a combined 70 lbs in two months after I convinced them to try going Primal.

Heath - After

It is cliche, but honestly I now feel that I have a new lease on life. With all the health benefits I have experienced since going Primal, I will not go back to eating the typical American diet. I look forward to continuing my transformation, eating well, and feeling young again. Thanks!


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. Wow, what a fantastic transformation! Your smile says it all. Congrats!

    sapphiric wrote on February 8th, 2013
  2. “I have dropped ten pant sizes, and am now on my fourth gun belt.

    Love Love LOVE it!! Way to go!

    Elenor wrote on February 8th, 2013
  3. I love the primal lifestyle. Get that out of the way. And in total astonishment at what Our Man accomplished. But is anyone else wondering why the wife was not as blimpy as Our Man here since they were cooking most meals at home? No mention of workouts or physical activity. I wonder if what we are seeing here is the small percentage of the population that is truly allergic to gluten, wheat, you name it, etc…. and it made a huge,crazy difference. Does not discount the lifestyle and the effort but I am worried that most will not see this change if you are not in a small sliver of humanity.
    90 pounds in 6 months with no increase in physical activity is not most folks reality, even in the primal world.
    Love the poster, not a fan of the post as I’m dubious as to the application to us all. Gives fuel to the detractors.

    embur wrote on February 8th, 2013
    • I don’t think that results like this, nor the disparity between the weights, is the result of one person out the couple being in a “small percentage of the population that is truly allergic to gluten, wheat, you name it, etc.”
      Just because a couple eats the same meals at home, does not mean that they are eating the same. Even before I went primal, I was always much slimmer than my husband, even though we cooked most of our meals at home. Since going primal, I’ve realized that I am sensitive to gluten (remember, I’m the slimmer of the two). I have no idea about my husband, but I have my suspicions. I know why there has always been a disparity in our weights, his carb consumption has always been proportionally much higher than mine. His snacks tend to be loaded with carbs. I’ve always eaten, proportionally, more fruits and vegetables than he does. (Though I do eat way more chocolate than him.) On work days, his breakfast usually came from McDonalds (before his health forced him to retire) or Pop-Tarts, and lunch was left-overs (with plenty of carbs). Both before going primal and now, on work days, my breakfast is a homemade smoothie, followed by boiled eggs around mid-morning, and my lunch is usually a salad. Back when I ate bread, I ate whole grain, and my husband eats white bread. You can see why, while on the surface, we appeared to be eating the same things, our diets were not the same and that I would be the slimmer of the two. Unfortunately, my husband’s diet has declined to the stereotypical SAD, and I’ve gone primal. My weight loss has been no where near as dramatic as this example, but I have less to lose (90 lbs is more than half my body weight), and I know where my problem areas are and am working to correct them, or at least mitigate the negative effects.

      b2curious wrote on February 13th, 2013
  4. Awsome,great job

    Liv wrote on February 8th, 2013
  5. My jaw LITERALLY dropped when I saw the first ‘after’ picture. What an amazing transformation! Congratulations to you, and to your wife for being so supportive! =)

    Siren wrote on February 8th, 2013
  6. Boomer Sooner!

    NatPatBen wrote on February 8th, 2013
  7. I’m also law enforcement and have been primal several years now. Even more than making you look good, this lifestyle makes you feel so much better. Great transformation Heath.

    Phil wrote on February 8th, 2013
  8. Can’t repeat the words that came out of my mouth when I saw the after photo, but I was shocked to say the least. Well done!

    Lucas wrote on February 8th, 2013
  9. Will this diet help improve ones reading comprehension?

    Sooner Nation wrote on February 8th, 2013
  10. Congrats Heath. You are looking good brother in blue.

    Casey wrote on February 8th, 2013
  11. How inspiring and wonderful! I have been working pretty hard on primal concepts in the past year, and I have just realized, after reading your story, that I, too, no longer am experiencing the horrible day-long headaches I used to get.

    Kyndal wrote on February 9th, 2013
  12. Wow! I can relate to your story so much. I’m also a LEO and I know the difference it makes when you lose even a little weight. The gun belt fits easier, the vest is the other so restricting, you can sit in the patrol car without feeling so cramped, you have confidence that you can hold your own in a fight or foot pursuit without gassing out. I commend you on taking charge of your health. You are leading by example and I’m sure many of your LEO family are taking notice and evaluating their own health. Much love, brother!

    JEN wrote on February 9th, 2013
  13. Congratulations! You have made one awesome transformation, isn’t it amazing what giving folks the right tools to take control of their own health can do. Your lovely wife and family now have a likely more energetic, healthy dad; your co-workers have a terrific role model for health improvement; your community now has a stronger, fitter public servant to help them and help keep them safe. And we all get to be inspired by your story! Win, win, win, win! :-)

    Carol B wrote on February 9th, 2013
  14. Well done Heath! Fantastic achievement! I found paleo last year and lost 2 dress sizes (no idea about lbs as I didn’t weigh myself) but, alas, I regained most of it after falling back into bad habits after I moved back to the UK. All my old favourites were suddenly available in bulk again. Thankfully I am back on track again now, and getting the parents involved. Are they 100%? No. Are they getting there and making a lot more healthy choices? Yes, and it’s showing on the scales already. Mum, in particular, needs to do this to get her blood pressure under control.

    Kate wrote on February 9th, 2013
  15. Congratulations! I soooo know what you mean about thinking that you were eating healthy. I made our own bread, cereal, etc. too. Your story is inspiring!

    The Crunchy Mama wrote on February 9th, 2013
  16. What an awesome story and just *cements* my commitment to this lifestyle. Congratulations!

    Shannon Stark wrote on February 9th, 2013
  17. I’m on the bus and when I read and scrolled down to weight loss picture I exclaimed ‘Jesus!’ Out loud. Wow, what a transformation. Big respect!!

    Greg wrote on February 9th, 2013
  18. So inspiring….good for you and thanks for sharing!

    Tlayne wrote on February 9th, 2013
  19. My favourite part is how your wife supoprted you completely from the word go.

    Kace wrote on February 9th, 2013
  20. Way to go, Heath! My husband and I are both officers, too, just south of you in Texas. It’s always nice to see other LE folks on this site! Our department has a guy who teaches nutrition and exercise physiology classes every couple months, and he’s right in line with Paleo/Primal. He’s pretty good at presenting the info so that people are receptive. He says when you talk to people about nutrition, you’re really challenging their belief system. So true!

    Great job taking charge of your health and your life! You look fantastic! And you have a wonderful wife, too, to support you and help you in your efforts.

    Leslie wrote on February 9th, 2013
  21. Way to go from a brother in blue, Heath. I’ve been primal for 90 days and down to my size 32 jeans (from 36) for the first time in a decade, not to mention all the unexpected side benefits you described. About half of our unit looks like your “before” pics, and I probably sound like a kook I’m so evangelical about primal. I try to dial it back and let the results do the talking. Amazing the resistance that we encounter just explaining how it works. You look terrific, ma’ man!

    Phlip wrote on February 9th, 2013
  22. Awesome! Way to go, Heath! SO inspiring! :)

    Taggy G wrote on February 9th, 2013
  23. You look awesome..what an amazing transformation!!

    Kathleen wrote on February 9th, 2013
  24. This is awesome! I have heard a similar story, one of my coworkers was suffering to daily, constant migraines and after many tests and MRI, they couldn’t figure out what was going on. She changed up her diet, went with this diet which cut out processed foods and gluten, her migraines went away and she found out that she had a gluten allergy that was causing her migraines. Now she is migraine-free and in great shape since she also lost weight and started exercising as well. :)

    Jen B wrote on February 9th, 2013
  25. YOu look fantastic! And I know you feel great! I love your story and am going to share it on Facebook

    Sandra Azancot wrote on February 9th, 2013
  26. What a great story! Inspirational! I love that your wife is so supportive. Have your daughters joined in and started Primal as well?

    Katie wrote on February 9th, 2013
  27. Hey gents, any idea on how to convince my husband? He’s not overweight and the dr. says his blood numbers are good, but he has a family history of diabetes that really worries me. I’d love to get him off grains and sugar–I think he’d feel so much better.

    Beccolina wrote on February 10th, 2013
    • Like they say ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’. Hopefully with you eating healthy and not joining in with him on his bad habits he will change his attitude. Impossible, I think, to get someone to change who isn’t motivated!

      Sarah wrote on February 10th, 2013
  28. Fantastic! Thank you for sharing your story! I hope one day to be on here also sharing my success with others! You are an inspiration!

    Sarah wrote on February 10th, 2013
  29. Fabulous! Very happy for you, Heath. :)

    Jackie Kessler wrote on February 10th, 2013
  30. Yeah you! What an inspiring story- so impressive!

    Trixie wrote on February 10th, 2013
  31. Absolutely incredible transformation! Keep up the good work, Heath!

    Bryan Hufford wrote on February 10th, 2013
  32. Holy cow! Wow, I’ve seen some transformations on this site, but wow! That’s freaking amazing!

    Deanna wrote on February 10th, 2013
  33. I love the OU shirt Heath. I’m a student manager for the football team, and it is awesome seeing other primal sooner fans.

    Nick wrote on February 10th, 2013
  34. Wow, you look GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!

    Helen wrote on February 10th, 2013
  35. Wow, outstanding !

    A friend told me about this diet just last week. I am 35 and have always struggled with my weight. I’m now 195lbs and 5’8″. But I’m quite fit.

    After reading this blog post I am definitely going to do this diet for as long as it takes. Thanks for sharing your story and well done to you an your supportive wife.

    Take care

    Eddie wrote on February 11th, 2013
    • Stick with it Eddie. I was your exact age, height and weight when I took up primal for good. I had dabbled in it before, but as a semi-pro football player my efforts to ‘beef up’ turned into me simply becoming fat, and out of shape. At 5’9 190 I went primal and in about 6 months of commitment to the plan, I was down to 152, with improved BP, heart rate and cholesterol. I’ve stayed at this weight for almost 2 years now and it couldn’t be easier. You can and will do it. You may hit some plateaus. I did at about 170. But eventually you will push through if you stay true to it. Good luck and grok on.

      Dutch wrote on February 12th, 2013
  36. WOWWWW way to go Heath!! Congrats. You look great!

    Marco wrote on February 11th, 2013
  37. Where did you meet Victoria Azarenka?

    Brandon wrote on February 11th, 2013
  38. Can’t get enough off the success stories the motivation you provide others is priceless.
    Congratulations on your success an keep up the good work .
    Ya have to admit meatballs taste way better than donuts

    Jd 10000 bc wrote on February 11th, 2013
  39. Hey you look AMAZING! The hardest part is sticking to it. Man, you make me feel guilty.

    Starry wrote on February 11th, 2013
  40. What did you do for an exercise program?

    JH wrote on February 12th, 2013

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!