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 have been completely Primal for just over a year, and working towards that for almost three years. It has changed my life from feeling like I was living in an unlit and windowless room, to really participating in life and finding fulfillment. It’s been that dramatic.
I was an active, healthy kid with a good diet until I was twelve. My home life became very unstable. I was moved around a lot, and lived with several different relatives and attended different schools. It was hard on me. I was a very introverted kid to begin with, and I didn’t make friends. I read books and did homework and ate. I quickly became very sedentary, and very sad, and I had access to a lot of processed, sugary foods that my mother had never kept in my childhood home. I was given a lot of autonomy over my diet, and I quickly became addicted to these foods.
By the time I was 16, I weighed 240 lbs at 5’7″ and I was extremely depressed, bulimic and very unhealthy, with bad skin. That was the year I was also diagnosed with PCOS, an explanation for my painful, irregular periods and other symptoms. I tried to lose weight by restricting calories, but when I was depressed I would care less about my long-term health than my need for something comforting to eat. So I would binge, and feel guilty, and purge, and my bulimia got worse.
By the time I was 18 and living on my own, I was very sick. I was binging and purging more or less all day long, sometimes close to ten times a day. I remember feeling very scared the first time I threw up and had blood start pouring like water from my nose. I was more scared to stop throwing up, though. I wasn’t having periods at all, but occasionally I would go to the bathroom and find that there was nothing but blood in the toilet. That scared me, too.
When I was 20, living alone and in college, my depression and bulimia continued, and I also started drinking, alone, most nights. The nights I didn’t drink alcohol, I would do other drugs. I also started smoking. Once I was intoxicated, I would go out for a walk, alone, in my very bad neighborhood at three in the morning. I would occasionally get bursts of energy, and in one such burst, I got a new roommate, a new job, and I joined a community group. Then I was assaulted by someone I thought was my friend. I felt like my depression was a black hole sucking me in, that my life would just feel worse and worse until I died. I wanted so badly to die, but I was afraid to kill myself. I was hoping, I think, that the world would take care of it for me.
When I was 22, I had another one of these moments when my depression lifted. I bought a gym membership this time. I started going all the time, I would use the gym sometimes, and run on the treadmill. I wanted to know what to do at the gym, so I was looking at lots of online resources. I found nerdfitness.com, and through them, I found Mark’s Daily Apple. I remembered that a customer at my old job had, a couple of times, mentioned that he ate a caveman diet, but I hadn’t cared to look into it at the time.
When I did read about eating like a caveman, it resonated with me. I had started learning how to cook, and I was enjoying it, so the idea of a diet made of whole, unprocessed ingredients appealed to the chef in me. I love reading about science, so the more I read, the more it appealed to me, and the more Primal principles I started to apply to my own life.
I found that not counting calories and not throwing up was nerve-wracking. I gained weight at first, started purging again. I stopped weighing myself. The better my diet gets, the less I get an urge to binge. With no binging, I don’t purge. I slip up once in a while, but those incidents are getting further and further apart. I also got a physical job that I love: working in the produce department at the grocery store. I lost a lot of weight. My high weight was around 290 lbs, and now I weigh between 155 and 165 lbs.
My depression started to lift even more after I eliminated grains and sugar from my diet. Within 3 months I could feel a major shift. I no longer had long periods of apathy and hopelessness interrupted by the occasional “good month.” I now feel very calm and still inside. I feel tethered, and even when I do get sad (because it’s got to rain sometimes), it no longer feels like I’m getting sucked into a black hole of depression. It will pass, and I’ll be stronger.
I am stronger. I get stronger all the time, and calmer, and happier. That’s what keeps me doing this caveman gig. I’m so strong, in fact, that this spring I’m leaving on an adventure, I’m going to walk across the USA, from my home on Vancouver Island, to my parents’ home in Connecticut!
Thank you for giving me the tools I needed to save myself.