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17 Aug

Not Only Did I Break Past My Plateau, I Demolished It

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 wanted to share my Primal success story with you, and give you a huge thanks for changing my life forever. Here goes…

When I was in high school I was way too skinny, but man did I have some energy. I could run a few miles playing games, ride my bike around the neighborhood up steep hills, roller blade for an hour, play a basketball game, and climb a tree or two before I’d call it a day. I was a machine. I weighed a nice 120 lbs soaking wet standing at 5′ 10″. The doctors always told my mom I was underweight.

During this time my nutrition was awful. I’d routinely eat Chips Ahoy! cookies for breakfast, tons of sugary cereals and snacks, and tons of soda. Despite this disaster of a diet I was extremely active and always skinny, so no one, including myself, was concerned about my nutrition. All was not entirely well though. I had some blood sugar issues. If I didn’t eat every few hours I’d crash hard and in a couple rare occurrences even passed out from the blood sugar drops. I was not diagnosed as anemic, just too skinny, so why not eat some more cookies?

I continued this way through college, but I eventually moved out on my own, got a job as a software engineer and got sedentary. This is when all hell broke loose. No longer did I do any form of exercise unless you count the twitching my fingers did over the keyboard. No longer did I have my parents cooking meals for me, so my diet got even worse. It was bagels and donuts for breakfast, McDonald’s for lunch, and some boxed stove-top meal for dinner. Over 2 years I steadily put on weight at the rate of about 2 lbs a month. I did not have any concerns over this because of how skinny I was. In fact, it was nice to not look so skinny anymore.

How I was not completely sick from my poor diet is still beyond me, but things started to happen that I didn’t like. I started getting pretty severe GERD. I’d wake up multiple times throughout the night and have to eat a bunch of anti-acids to try to get it to stop. A couple of times it got really bad and kept me up all night. Additionally, I was out of shape like never before. The day I decided I needed to make a change was when I realized my heart rate was through the roof from just squatting down to tie my shoe one morning. I weighed myself and found out that my once 120 lb self was now a whopping 187 lbs.

No big deal I thought. I’ll just exercise it all off like the old days. I’ll run and bike a lot and still eat the foods I love and lose weight like a mad man. Easy! I tried to jog a mile the next day, made it about 1/4 mile and had to walk the rest of the way. It took me three weeks to build back up to a full mile. I stayed pretty active for a couple of months which made me more hungry, so I ate more. I made no progress.

No big deal I thought. I just have to do more. I started doing the P90x program, which made me REALLY hungry…so I ate even more. I got stronger, saw some minor results but nothing major and eventually got fed up and decided maybe I should try this whole “diet” thing. I started eating oatmeal, egg whites, boneless skinless chicken breast, and broccoli. The diet was so bland that I lasted 1 week before I couldn’t take it. I tried all kinds of different low-fat foods after that and just really didn’t like any of it, I couldn’t stick with a diet to save my life.

While at a software development conference I overheard someone talking about Tim Ferris’ Four Hour Body. I decided to check it out and give it a try. I started eating a ton of chili and mexican food, with LOTS of beans. This was the first time I started to see some progress. I lost about 15 lbs. Eventually I stopped seeing progress and started to not feel that great. The “encouraged” binge days and large quantities of legumes left me feeling deprived during the week. I still had GERD issues and some digestion problems started to develop, probably from the beans.

A colleague of mine stumbled across The Primal Blueprint a couple months later and told me that I HAD to check it out. I picked it up on Amazon and read it from cover to cover in like a day, not because I wanted to lose weight that badly, but because the science behind this stuff got me geeked up (easily happens to a computer programmer). Without a ton of thought or effort I transitioned into it by dropping the beans and starting to eat steaks, bacon and eggs, and other stuff I was afraid to eat. I started liberally using grassfed butter all over my veggies. For the first time ever I was enjoying what I was eating. Not only did I break past my plateau, I demolished it. I started losing between 2-5 lbs a week effortlessly, and I was probably only complying with the protocol about 80-85%, sneaking some ice cream and dark chocolate in there from time to time. My GERD symptoms have completely disappeared, and so have my blood sugar issues. Also, I can fast for 24 hours effortlessly without any crashes.

I’ve been sticking with this lifestyle for about a year now and have ultimately landed at about 10% body fat, 145 lbs. I have tons of energy, I enjoy my food, I lift weights a couple times a week and go for walks during lunch at work. That is it, it’s that simple.

Thank you for all you do and for helping me achieve this. You and Robb Wolf are my idols. I’ve attached a before after photo of the weight loss.


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. I love seeing the glow in your skin and how much healthier you look. A little pasty in the before and full of healthy glow in the after. Maybe you would loan your copy of Primal Blueprint to the guy standing behind you in the before pic. I’ll guess he would love to have that same after-glow!

    Melissa wrote on August 18th, 2012
  2. Wonderful Lee. You look so much more relaxed in the second pic. My key takeaways from your post are:

    “because the science behind this stuff got me geeked up (easily happens to a computer programmer).” yep, we programmers do that sometimes…

    “For the first time ever I was enjoying what I was eating.”
    I too love the fact that I am still eating ‘clean’ for weight maintenance and still there is so much space to experiment with tasty combinations.

    PS. Regards 4HB, I like that Tim Ferris has an amazing, well-researched book but bear in mind he has worked on his optimal body health for more than 10 years. I would posit he is a fat burning beast – so a short stint in carbland once a week would not be a disruptor. My personal problem is insulin resistance which is being addressed by a ketogenic diet for the moment.

    My other issue was with all the people asking on the 4BH forums: “So, Tim, how long does the binge actually last. Is it really, like, 24 hours: 12pm-12am???” Or: “I did my binge before I started the diet will I still lose the weight at the end of the week?”
    Total misread of the protocols to my mind…

    Amanda wrote on August 19th, 2012
  3. Great work!!! You look awesome!! Healthy and vibrant!

    Joanne - The Real Food Mama wrote on August 21st, 2012
  4. In a purely plutonic non-sexual kinda way, between bros…… damn you look good man.

    Levon wrote on August 26th, 2012
  5. I understand this primal thought.. but I just can’t wrap my head around eating steaks, bacon, and eggs all the time and being a truly healthy person. Animal meat and fat is just not that great for our bodies.

    Pardon me. I should prob go back to reading more on this site.

    Ginel wrote on February 26th, 2013

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