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...Tell Me More
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’m a 24 year old overweight guy from Austria (the state in the alps, not the one where kangaroos roam around 😉 ). Sure, that prolly sounds like nothing special, but hold on!
I was the fat kid/guy for all of my life. As far as I can remember, I used to be fat. During childhood it didn’t really affect me in a negative way, though I remember my dad claiming when I was aged around 4 or 5, that I’ll look like a wooden barrel at age 14, if I keep on like that. Talk about learning to love yourself haha.
Anyway, up until junior high the weight never really affected my being that bad. I was sociable, had many friends and girls liked me as well.
As soon as I started junior high (around age 11) and hit puberty, sh*t slowly began to hit the fan. I started getting bullied, developed nerdy interests and the older I got, the more I began to shun myself from the outside world.
I even remember my parents telling me at age 12 that I will suffer from a heart attack by 20.
Since around age 11 I suffered from chronic bowel issues as well. Diarrhea, constipation and cramps were a daily occurrence for me.
By age 16 I was so depressed from all the bullying, that I fled into the world of massively multiplayer online role playing games. I was completely anti-social. That started a 3 year long addiction of doing nothing in my life but playing the same video game. Somehow though, miraculously, this kept me from gaining weight. I stayed around 120 kg (267 lbs) for this time. In British terms I was a NEET during this time.
Obviously, fleeing into this magical world of elves, ninjas and pirates didn’t change my life for the better. After this time, which was filled with just as much drama as the time before, I realized that I needed to change. No one’s gonna help me except for myself.
Unfortunately, it didn’t make the click in my brain yet that was required to start changing my health. But the realization was strong enough that I needed to start changing my life path, career and personality-wise. I started looking for jobs that I knew I would enjoy, like online community manager and any other creative job within the European media industry.
In the spring of 2009, somehow I ended up with a game tester job at one of the biggest video game companies in the world. Overly excited I packed my bags and ran off to Germany to start my work there asap. It was fun, but peak season (August-December) was stressful as hell. So what’d I do to fight the stress? I began to emotionally eat, which over the course of a year brought me to my highest weight, 150 kg (330 lbs) in 2010.
In Germany I lived in a flat-share with 3 other people, luckily one of them moved out and instead a beautiful, funny and highly intelligent nutritional scientist moved in, because she started to work at the food planning of General Motors’ German division (Opel).
By that time I had the goal to work my way up the media industry and take care of my health, as soon as I have all the money I want. Thanks to her I slowly became convinced that by this time it’d be too late, I have to start right away.
She was taught the outdated principles of low fat, low protein, high carb grain based diets, so I followed that for a few months with calorie counting.
That worked nicely until my first vacation back at my hometown. I lost about 60 lbs in 5 months. But during the holidays all my will and principles broke loose again, so I gained all the weight back within 2-3 months.
This caused until summer of 2012 what in conventional wisdom would be called yo-yo dieting.
Luckily enough though, long before that, sometime in summer 2011 I found out about Paleo, Primal and Mark’s Daily Apple. I became a frequent MDA reader, caught up on all 140+ episodes of Robb Wolf’s Podcast and continued to listen, ate grain free, started CrossFit at CrossFit Werk (shoutout to Flo and his crew, great guys!) and so on. Like most people, you could say I was 80% Paleo.
But, and here’s the big but, mentally I wasn’t ready for it. A few months after I started Paleo in 2011 I became homesick for the first time and was really depressed for another 4 months. I just wanted to go home, but didn’t want to leave Germany without having a job position back in Austria. So I stayed and became more and more depressed. I literally wanted it all to end, I wanted to eat myself to death. So I did. During the homesickness I only ate the worst kinds of junkfoods and sweets all day long. Within the period of the depression I shot back up to 136 kg (299 lbs).
Then in July of 2012 my mind slowly started to think rationally again. At weight 136 kg, almost as fat of a belly as I used to have at 150 kg, I realized that I can’t let circumstances get to me. Like Bruce Lee said, to hell with circumstances, I create opportunities!
Since then I’ve given it my all. I’m 95% Paleo (once a week I drink alcohol based on Martin Berkhan’s Leangains recommendations and once every few weeks I make grain-free pancakes and/or eat potato chips). I dropped milk products because I realized that after consuming them I become HIGHLY emotional, and because of dropping grains and milk products, these days the bowel issues are nearly gone.
One thing I should also note, in July 2012, because of the emotional eating I was back at size XXXXL. Now I’m down to size L. I have to admit, I still have quite the belly, because in the past 13 months I did too much cardio instead of strength training, but now that I’m happy with the weight on the scale, I work even harder to replace my fat with muscle mass. I also really enjoy getting stronger strength-wise.
Weight-wise I’m now from 136 kg in July 2012 down to 88 kg in August 2013 (299 lbs to 194 lbs).
My personality also got a lot stronger from July 2012 ’til today. Back then I couldn’t talk to any pretty lady and never had a girlfriend. Now I can talk to any human being, no matter if female or male, ugly or pretty, now I only need to learn how to flirt haha 😉
Either way, my next big goals are set in terms of strength. Unfortunately, though to scoliosis I cannot even do wall pushups without suffering from pain in my shoulder joints. So I’m slowly working myself towards wall pushups, followed by inclined pushups etc., so in the future I will be able to do real pushups.
Okay, now it’s prolly time to start cutting my story short. Overall, life is good now. There’s still lots of room to improve, but I’m REALLY happy with where it’s going. If you would’ve told me 3 years ago that my life would be as it is today, I would’ve laughed at you in disbelief.
Because of this, I really want to thank you, Mark, the Paleo & the Primal communities, for all that you do. Without you all who knows where I would be today. Maybe I’d be dead.
So thanks a lot and all the best from Austria,
P.S. As I’m still a success story in the making, in 12 more months I will write you another big email haha!