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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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September 20, 2013

My Transformation Was Bigger Than Me

By Guest
77 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!

Dear Mark,

Thank you for helping me discover my passion! My story started out simply about vanity, but has turned into so much more. In mid-February of 2012, I was 47 years old and 205 pounds (6 feet tall). I’d say I was in okay (good, but not great) shape. I used to work out doing cardio (usually Spin class) in the mornings and weight training in the evenings – usually five days a week! Yep, pretty chronic. I ate my grain-based diet with good discipline, but had a small gut that I just couldn’t seem to lose. My knees bothered me often, likely due to the excessive exercise and worsened by pro-inflammatory grain meals I swore by.

Mike DiLandro - BeforeOne day my gym’s manager, Chris Nugent, and I were talking about getting ready for beach season, and he informed me that he was going to try the paleo diet. I had never heard of paleo, so I researched it on the web that night. Intrigued, I decided to engage Chris in a bet over who could lose the most weight over the next 30 days. While we were trash talking, the gym’s director, Chris Jones heard us, and recommended we read The Primal Blueprint. I went home, bought the book on my iPad and read most of it over the next two days. I was hooked. In addition to wanting to lose weight, I also wanted to stop taking my statin medication that I had been on for six years. The Primal Blueprint opened my eyes to the many negative side effects of statins and I decided to stop taking my meds when I began going Primal (I wouldn’t say it was against doctor’s orders since he didn’t know about my experiment!) However, I knew that I had an annual physical scheduled two months in the future, so I wanted to give Primal a fair chance to improve my numbers before my next blood test.

With gym bragging rights and big bucks on the line (I think we bet a one pound bag of almonds…ah the stakes of lifestyle transformation), I was pretty psyched to do whatever it took to win this 30-day contest. However, going Primal turned out to be much easier than I expected. As soon as I ditched my large all-American high-carb breakfasts and eliminated grains from my meals, I had plenty of energy and wasn’t hungry between meals. I discovered a lot of new foods (kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, sardines, herring) and really got into the process of shopping and preparing meals. The results came quick too. I lost eight pounds in two weeks and closed out the month of March down 16 pounds, winning the bet easily. I dropped another nine pounds in April, 2012, to reach my goal weight of 180 pounds in just two months!

One interesting thing to note is that I now exercise much less stressfully than I did pre-Primal. Instead of five Spin classes per week, I walk (sometimes chasing after a golf ball in an extreme zig-zag pattern, if you know what I mean), cycle or do slow cardio on an elliptical. The pain I had developed in my knees is totally gone. I still enjoy lifting weights, but now do a maximum of three strength training sessions per week. I love all the extra time I now have after backing away from a chronic program.

Mike DiLandro - May 2012

My physical came in May, 2012. I was ready to defend my eliminating of statins with my doctor, but never got the chance. My blood work improved so much that he said I could come off my medication! As Primal folks like to track triglycerides-to-HDL ratio as the best heart disease risk marker, I was ecstatic to see my triglycerides drop by over 100 points and my HDL elevate 15 points! The success has been long lasting too. As of this writing (September 2013), I’m still at my goal weight and passed another physical this year with flying colors.

I think something amazing happens to your mentality when you reclaim your health and start to control your own destiny. While I was definitely buzzed to uncover a long-lost six-pack (almost) and be free of medication dispensed to me solely because of my adverse lifestyle practices, I started to develop a perspective that my transformation was bigger than me. I first turned my attention to my parents. They have been receptive enough to lose a combined 80 pounds over the last year or so, and both have come off statin medication. At 69, they achieved this success just by eating Primally and walking. Now at 70 years old, they are getting into strength training for the first time. It is fantastic to see them so healthy and energetic.

I next turned my attention to my wonderfully progressive workplace, SES, the world’s leading satellite operator. We have offices around the globe, and at the time I was working in our Princeton, NJ office. I arranged for Brad Kearns to deliver the Primal Transformation Seminar and have a special Primal luncheon served at the campus. Being the enthusiastic guy that I am, I guess my “intro” before Brad’s talk ran a bit detailed, personal, and passionate, because after Brad’s talk he told me I should speak publicly on behalf of the Primal Blueprint! I thought he was just being polite, but he asserted that I had the Primal knowledge down cold, and more importantly had the passion and life experience to really make an impact on others. Since I had only being following Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint for a couple of months, I didn’t feel I was ready. I did succeed in keeping some good momentum going at SES. Over two dozen colleagues have gone certifiably Primal, and I publish a popular monthly newsletter on assorted Primal topics, including recipes, workout tips, and employee success stories.

Polite encouragement or not, I kept thinking about Brad’s suggestion. Over the ensuing months, I read countless books and articles about nutrition and exercise. I even got certified to teach fitness classes. With encouragement from the folks at Primal headquarters in California, I decided to pull the trigger on my speaking career and deliver the Primal Transformation Seminar on the east coast. It’s so easy to spread the word among family and friends, but despite intense preparation, I can assure you I was pretty nervous before that first official gig of paying customers! I remember talking with Brad before the event, and agreeing that even if just a few folks came it would be a worthwhile venture and a great low pressure way to get my feet wet on the speaking circuit.

Primal Seminar

When the standing room only crowd of some 30 folks showed up that night, I overcame my nerves by realizing what an important mission that I, Mark Sisson, and all the rest of us Primal enthusiasts are obligated to pursue today. Today we are in an age of confusion, misinformation and declining health and vitality despite phenomenal technological advances in health and medicine, and abundant sources of affordable and healthy food for most citizens. The ridiculous dichotomy I face every day at work is what drives me to spread the word. Here we are, shooting satellites into space with amazing precision, while people die by the hundreds of thousands each year in America due to heavily diet-influenced, largely preventable diseases.

As I took a quiet moment to myself before taking the floor for my first seminar, I realized that there was no doubt I was going forth and telling the story with confidence that evening. As you may know, I have now delivered numerous Primal seminars on the east coast, and thankfully the feedback has been great so far.  For me, there is nothing better than when someone who has taken my seminar writes me afterward to talk about their personal success.

Mark, I am grateful to you for so many reasons. Thank you for helping me truly get healthy. Thank you on behalf of my parents, who have found a new lease on life in their eighth decade. Most importantly, thank you for believing in me and allowing me to help others on your behalf.

Live long, drop dead & Grok on!

Mike - August 2013

Mike DiLandro

September, 2013

Catch Mike DiLandro and the Primal Blueprint Transformation Seminar in Maryland on September 25th and 28th!

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77 Comments on "My Transformation Was Bigger Than Me"

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Alison Golden
3 years 4 days ago

What a cool story, Mike! Not just your own success but then paying it forward and spreading the word. Great job!

I, too, am constantly befuddled by the juxtaposition of our technology-driven world and our inability to fix some of our most basic problems. I ask myself are they a reaction to one another and most importantly, what can we do about it?

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago

Thank you Alison. Well said. I know I can’t change the world, but maybe by helping a few folks at a time, we can make a difference.

JJ Salazar
JJ Salazar
3 years 4 days ago

What other books did you follow up with in your education? I have been reading every article I can get my hands on and a couple books, but I really want to get a strong education under myself. I’ve looked at Nutrition textbooks but they look like they peddle the CW mindset more than anything else.

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago

In the last year I’ve read:
Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman
Wheat Belly by William Davis
Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain
Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Great Cholesterol Myth by Stephen Sinatra & Jonny Bowden
Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson

Still so much more to read. Wish i had more time.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 4 days ago

Get ready to add another when it is released:

“Grain Brain” by neurologist David Perlmutter, MD

Montagu
Montagu
3 years 3 days ago

Grain Brain is now available on Amazon.

einstein
einstein
3 years 3 days ago

“The Perfect Health Diet” by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet is the most comprehensive and informative I read so far.

Jenna Felicity
2 years 11 months ago

I started studying a Certificate of Nutrition online (6-month, self-paced Australian qualification) and it was riddles with CW. Most confusingly, it had only two dotpoints on why we “need” carbohydrtaes (fibre and energy) but two whole PAGES on why need fat, yet it pushes a low-fat, high-carb message!!! So frustrating.

Personally I learnt more from “Good Calories, Bad Calories”/”Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes and the lectures by Dr Robert Lustig (on sugar/fructose) than from the course.

Kyndal Meister
Kyndal Meister
3 years 3 days ago

I think you already have changed the world, even if just a corner of it. All of us primal folks can spread the good word one tiny success at a time!

Joe
Joe
3 years 4 days ago

Sad to say this but it comes down to folks being educated about what they eat and what happens inside their bodies. Educate the masses and one day CW will finally be a myth.

Stoney
Stoney
3 years 4 days ago

Nice progress Mike! It’s amazing how easy things get the you eat real food.

And it’s cool to see someone hiking in normal shoes. Keep the goofy toe shoes at home! 🙂

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[…] It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily …read more […]

ajb
ajb
3 years 4 days ago

“I first turned my attention to my parents.”

Were they naturally receptive? I would love to do this, but one of my parents (the one who cooks) isn’t very receptive.

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago

My mom was initially very receptive as her doctor said she was pre-diabetic. Her trigs went from 222 to 145 in 5 weeks, so she bought in quickly. As she is the cook, my dad sort of had to buy in. His weights went from 222 to 176 pounds, so he is definitely digging Primal now.

Stacy
Stacy
2 years 11 months ago

That is phenomenal, that you were able to make such a positive difference in the lives and health of your parents. Outstanding!

Sandy
3 years 4 days ago

This is a great story Mike, I especially like the part about becoming a Primal Speaker! It would be great if more companies could sponsor a seminar and Primal lunch. And you look good in that last picture … where is that river?

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago

Thanks. It’s the Potomac River. Great Falls park in Virginia.

David
David
3 years 4 days ago

Bravo Mike!

Charlotte
3 years 4 days ago

AWESOME story Mike! In my opinion, the best part is that you’re off all medication now. and the most inspiring- you decided to become certified to teach fitness classes! lately ive been thinking about doing that myself..

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago

Go for it!

Tom T.
3 years 4 days ago

Getting off the medications had to be a very rewarding part for you. It is amazing the changes that can be made with healthy eating some exercise.

Gilly
Gilly
3 years 4 days ago

Mike, awesome transformation and story! I’m totally going to start using “certifiably Primal” from now on. Good stuff.

Liza
Liza
2 years 11 months ago

I would definitely buy a t shirt that said “certifiably primal”

I love the phrase.

Jacob
Jacob
3 years 4 days ago

Look at those biceps! I’ve never had much luck making mine bigger…more chinups in my future!

Great job and congrats on pursuing your dreams! Maybe I should take a look at getting that personal training certification again…

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago

Thanks for the comment on the “guns”. Biceps training was always my favorite workout pre Primal. I now just do full body workouts & think I’m getting a better overall balance. Best of luck getting re-certfied!

Jacob
Jacob
3 years 4 days ago

Agreed. Compound exercises are by far my favorite type of exercises…pushups, pullups, squat…love’em!

I’ve never been a certified trainer but I have seriously pondered becoming one…put that idea on the backburner for about a year. Might start putting some money aside to start studying for the tests though.

Big C
Big C
3 years 4 days ago
Great story Mike and congratulations! I hope I can follow a similar path one day. So far I have persuaded my wife, dad, and step mom (although I catch her cheating every now and then) to try the 21-day challenge. I am very close to get my sister on board, and I’m also encouraging my Mom to read a bit into the Paleo/Primal movement ( she’s the least health conscious of the bunch, therefore the one I am more interested in helping ). My wife has seen great results. She found out she was lactose intolerant and is feeling much… Read more »
mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago

Keep paying it forward. Your story is awesome. Glad to see your family is on board. Not a bad thing to be married to someone with a six pack either.

Kim
Kim
3 years 4 days ago

Mike – Do you have a newsletter you can share with us? (Don’t worry Mark, I’m not deserting.)

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago
OK. here is my last newsletter on intermittent fasting (minus the monthly recipe) which was an attachment. Hello from Mclean, The kids are back to school & summer is unofficially over. Some of us won’t be wearing a bathing suit any time soon and sweater season on the east coast will quickly be upon us. I won’t start the countdown to Memorial Day 2014 just yet, as long as you promise not to let the colder months be a reason to cheat a little more. I’m happy to report that after reaching my goal weight a year and a half… Read more »
Nick
3 years 3 days ago

Nice work Mike! I discovered IF first and then found MDA. My full story is on my site. It is a work in progress as is my iPhone app for IF. Best to visit my radar page and feel free to share if you like what you see.

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 1 day ago

pretty cool site. I like your evolution from 5 guys to Mark.

ninjainshadows
ninjainshadows
3 years 4 days ago

Grok on, Mike!

r
r
3 years 4 days ago

Great story, thank you for sharing

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[…] Daily Apple / Posted on: January 01, 1970Mark’s Daily Apple – It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a […]

Pastor Dave
3 years 4 days ago

Tried to convert my wife..and she divorced me!!!

Just kidding– she is warming to primal but is way too much into grains!

BTW– GREAT JOB– can’t wait to reach my goals!

Amy
Amy
3 years 4 days ago

I’m always in awe of the stories where relatives will seriously consider an newish idea. Thankfully, my husband, the most important one, listens, asks thoughtful questions, and is willing to give new sensible ideas the old college try.

Beyond him, though, I’d have to figure out how to make it their idea! The last person they’d listen to is me.

Matt
3 years 4 days ago

For some reason I feel like it’s always easier for the wife to get the husband to listen. I have the same issue with my wife actually. What I found that helps is to take charge in the kitchen. Two things happen:

1. She appreciates me cooking for her
2. I control what goes into the food
3. She’s amazed that no grain meals can taste amazing

Owen
Owen
3 years 4 days ago

Hi Mike, this is inspiring, not only your own transformation but the fact that you are taking it to other people also. Grok on.

Debi
Debi
3 years 4 days ago

Wonder if I could do something like this for kids. I love working with children, they are so open to new things. Would that not set them up for a wonderful life.
Just thinking out load.

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 4 days ago

Fantastic job Mike. I woulda made that bet with a bag of Macadamia nuts on the line…Grok on!

Melissa
Melissa
3 years 4 days ago

WOW!! Another great tranformation story!

I wish I could get people at my gym (trainers & management) to look into this diet. So far, they are hard core “calories in/calories out” kind of people. Even at our Biggest Loser challenge, they announced that “it doesn’t matter what you eat, just the calorie count.” And, the district manager shared that organic “might be good” but that he’d ‘never eat it” himself.

Meanwhile, the other gym members ask me for food advice. I send all of them here. Especially to the testamonials.

GREAT JOB! And, way to spread the word!

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago

Ask your gym management if they’d like to host a Primal seminar. Maybe we can help you out.

George
George
3 years 4 days ago

Fantastic story, not only transforming himself but reaching out to others. Mike seems to be a gifted communicator also, very enjoyable read.

Pure Hapa
Pure Hapa
3 years 4 days ago

Fantastic – we need more people like you to spread the word. I am terrible at speaking about anything or explaining things to people. I get tongue-tied and forget all my info. So I just hand out books and web links. To date I’ve given away over a dozen Primal Quick and Easy Meals – that’s the book everyone wants to keep after seeing it.

Linda A. Lavid
3 years 4 days ago

The ripple of a raindrop. Awesome!

Krista
Krista
3 years 4 days ago

What an amazing transformation of lifestyle. You look healthy and strong too. Way to go!

Diana Taylor
Diana Taylor
3 years 4 days ago

Congrats! Love the primal lifestyle 🙂

HillyM
HillyM
3 years 4 days ago

Great story Mike. If you present your seminars the way you write, I am not surprised you would get people’s attention. You have a fabulously entertaining and engaging style in the way you tell your story.

I haven’t seen any Primal Seminars in Australia – any idea if there are people presenting them here?

We do have a few sports people now “coming out” and saying they follow the paleo lifestyle, so it is becoming more well known. Good on you for spreading the word.

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago

Sorry, but I don’t know of anyone speaking yet in Austrailia. Mark is going global with the first PrimalCon outside the US in Tulum, Mexico. Hopefully the Primal mesaage will get to Europe, Asia & “down under” soon.

Siobhan
Siobhan
3 years 4 days ago

Great story, Mike!

Nathan P
Nathan P
3 years 4 days ago

Check out those guns!
Brilliant story, Mike.
Fantastic to see so much passion, it is contagious.

Best of luck, mate.

Yasmin Bendror
Yasmin Bendror
3 years 4 days ago

Hi Mike,

What an amazing transformation. And so quick. You lost all that weight in 2 months.
We are not getting the same results at all. I have been on PB for 3 months now and have not lost a single pound. My husband has also been doing it with no weight loss. What are we doing wrong? It’s frustrating. Can you help? I would appreciate any advice. We are located in New Jersey, not far from you.
Thanks, Yasmin

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 4 days ago

I would love to try and help you. If you reply with your email address, we can take things from there. If you don’t want the public to see your address, you can friend me on Facebook Michael DiLandro) & we can trade email addresses via private messages there.

Yasmin Bendror
Yasmin Bendror
3 years 2 days ago

Thanks so much! I will reach out to you via Facebook…

James Hunter
3 years 4 days ago

Nice job, Mike. I have also been transformed by PB and would love to share my story with others on the East Coast. Grok on!

Andrew Specht JD,DC
3 years 4 days ago

Don’t use a microwave oven for anything, not even water for the lemon water,it affects the molecular structure of the water in deleterious ways. In food it’s worse, changes amino acids from L form to D form, which are toxic!

George
George
3 years 4 days ago

Oh brother.

Andrew Specht JD,DC
3 years 3 days ago

Where art thou? Check the Lancet med journal from like 30 yrs ago for microwaves and isomerization of amino acids. Pure science.

Sgt.Gator
Sgt.Gator
3 years 3 days ago

Do you have some citations about his we can read? I’m highly skeptical that heating water in a microwave is going to change the molecular structure. In what way?

Andrew Specht JD,DC
3 years 3 days ago

As far as the water goes, see the What The Bleep film. Also there are reports of studies where plants were watered with microwaved water and failed to thrive compared to plants watered with non mc water. I am pretty sure they weren’t cheating by using the HOT mc water, but I wasn’t there.

Barb
Barb
3 years 4 days ago

Such a great success story! I especially love that you are spreading the word!

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[…] 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 […]… Mark’s Daily Apple […]

BW
BW
3 years 3 days ago

Nice work Mike. Great story. Dod you tell your Dr how you improved your lipid panel so much? Did he care?

mike dilandro
mike dilandro
3 years 1 day ago

I did tell him, but we agree to disagree. He is old school thinking when it comes to cholesterol though. I told him to read “The Great Cholesterol Myth” but doubt he’ll follow through. I basically use him for blood work.

Tim
3 years 2 days ago

This is amazing story of transformation of lifestyle. You look healthy and strong too. Way to go!

Kim R
Kim R
3 years 1 day ago
Really interesting read and you’re looking good and strong. I love how you and others are spreading the word. I’ve been trying to do that with my family too. Husband (who is nearly 300 pounds) has sort of taken it on but does have the occasional potato and slice of bread when he is eating out, but we’re getting there slowly..lol I’m quite happy adopting this lifestyle (down from 203 pounds to 184 pounds since July 🙂 ) My one wish would be to get my 30 year old son to take on this way too, but he’s mega stressed… Read more »
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wildgrok
wildgrok
2 years 11 months ago

Wow very inspiring!

Donna
2 years 11 months ago

I am so impressed with the success stories here, all of them. I am newly into the low carb diet for seizures and am stressing over keto breath. Has anyone had it and if so where you able to stop it? I have read that chlorophyll will take care of it. I would appreciate any information.

2Rae
2Rae
2 years 11 months ago

Chlorophyll will help. Also, when you brush your teeth rinse first with some peroxide for a minute or two, then brush EVERYTHING in your mouth, tongue, teeth, roof of your mouth, under your tongue. Eventually it’ll just get better when the toxic waste you are getting rid of works itself out.

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[…] to a halt her hair and went blonde for her new role within the Fault in Our Stars, and shared the transformation by way of Twitter on Friday, Aug. […]

Deana
Deana
2 years 11 months ago

I really want this to be me. I’ve had so many fits and starts with the Primal/Paleo lifestyle and have, for one reason or another, dropped off the bandwagon. I’m fully off the wagon right now but reading stories like this inspire me. I’m in the MD/DC/VA area and am SO sad to see that I missed your speaking engagements. Coming back anytime soon?

2Rae
2Rae
2 years 11 months ago

Take our hand, we are all holding it out to you, get back on this waggon and stay in the middle so you don’t fall off again. Remember it feels so good to feel so good!!! You are worth that effort, just eat real food. Every good choice makes it easier to make another, come on girl!!!

Steve
Steve
2 years 7 months ago
This is a question for Mike.. Assuming that you see this I have a chance to attend one of your seminars. Having been primal for the past 4 years (minus 1-1/2 year of back surgery loathing {however remaining grain free}). I am back on track, and re losing my weight. Please tell me how I will benefit from your seminar being as I think I have a pretty good grip on it after these several years. It really sounds like its for beginners, and to push the 21 day start. The only thing that I cant do is the 80/20… Read more »
Broncho
Broncho
1 year 1 month ago

Great motivation mate…… Really like how your spreading the word.. Have you got any seminar in Boston??

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[…] a major body transformation, we may find ourselves liking our reflections more, fitting into clothes we never hoped to wear, […]

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