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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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January 11, 2012

Success Stories in the Making: The Big Unveil

By Mark Sisson
86 Comments

Okay, is everyone as pumped as I am for this? Ever since reader Adam proposed the idea some weeks ago, I’ve looked forward to making it happen – as the MDA 2012 New Year Challenge no less! Now the moment has come, and it’s a big one. As Challenge participant Brandi put it, “It seems like a lot of folks were looking for something just like this.” A lot is right. Readers, I’ve been bowled over by the amazing response to Success Stories in the Making. More than 400 (do the doubletake!) new and continuing Grokkers responded to the call last week and submitted their goals and photos! It doesn’t get more awesome than this, folks. The bees and I have been hard at work this past week reading and creating entries for each one in what is a whole new section for the MDA site. Today I’m excited as ever to bring it live to our Primal community.

In fact, it’s been such an endeavor that we’ll be completing the entry posts over the next couple weeks. (Be sure to check back frequently as more stories are added!) We’re working hard to make sure all 400+ get posted asap. Reading the hundreds of goals and stories folks sent in, I see that the Challenge call truly touched off something for people. It’s their time, they say, but they need to make it so. The tangible reality of having their stories and photos out there is pivotal, they said, to making it truly happen.

Most of all, I was struck by how much the community backdrop of this Challenge meant to participants. It’s not only that their goals are “public” now. It’s that they’ve chosen to share them with this particular community because they believe in Primal living and because they appreciate the unmatched support of MDA readers. As participant Lex explained, “I need all the support I can get because, until my body is proof this lifestyle works, all my friends and family are going to keep rolling their eyes at me.” Lex, we understand. We’ve got your back and that of every Challenge participant. You’re among Primal friends.

As you read through the participants’ introductions and personal goals today, you’ll meet an amazing group of people who span literally several decades. Some are students looking to get their health on track while they’re young. Others are grandparents looking to gain back energy to live well and play hard with their grandkids. You’ll even find several couples who have committed to the Challenge together! Some have been MDA readers for a while and even dabbled in the Primal principles but are looking to make a deeper commitment. Others have been going full tilt for several weeks on the PB but have continuing goals they’re bringing to the Challenge.

Some sample goals? Many participants, of course, have set goal weights or body fat percentages. Many write that they want to “look good naked.” (Who doesn’t?) Some want to have more energy for their kids. A few want to meet big milestones (e.g. getting married, rounding “decade” birthdays) in better health. Some want to beat nagging health issues or head off looming health threats. Others want to reclaim a vitality they feel they left behind years ago. Check these out….

“heal with diet not drugs”
“feel my stomach muscles”
“wake up with energy not coffee”
“appreciate my own personal power”
“to suck the marrow out of life”

How about feeling “warrior goddess strength” and getting back the “radiant, healthy, cocky smirk I used to have”?

How about this one? “I want my kids to remember their mom when they were little as someone who chased and laughed and played with them all the time. As someone who just oozed vitality so they can grow up with that same zest for life….”

Or this. “I shall NOT so willingly sacrifice sleep for homework, I shall NOT eat whatever because I don’t have time to cook (I’ll MAKE time), and I shall NOT skimp on opportunities to play because I feel there is something more important to do.”

Do these goals sound familiar? Are you thinking of your own resolutions? Does looking through the entries make you wish you’d sent in your own? Let me share the news then. I’m making Success Stories in the Making a permanent feature for MDA. That’s right. We’re kicking it off with the 2012 New Year Challenge, but it’s here to stay as long as folks are making Primal commitments and want to share them with the MDA community. That means you can submit your photo and goals at any time. Just see the instructions on the Success Stories in the Making page.

And remember that there’s more to see than just the entries. Don’t forget about Challenge participants’ personal journals! At the end of each entry, you’ll find a link to their personal journal if they’ve chosen to include one. Look for “Read John’s/Suzy’s Journal” with each entry.

On that note… Challenge participants – it’s never too late to begin one. The Primal Blueprint Journal forum is a great place to send updates, track progress, ask questions, gather support. This Challenge is about so much more than before and after photos. Use the journal to share your journey. Just be sure to send me the link, and I’ll make sure it’s included. If you have updated photos you’d like to post, send those whenever you like. (I’ll also send out quarterly reminders for photo updates as well.)

Readers, be sure to check back as more participants add their journals and updates to the site! You’ll have the chance to offer your own words of encouragement, tips for starting or continuing the Primal lifestyle, strategies that keep you going, etc.

Finally, I know many readers will offer their own accolades to our Challenge participants today, but let me offer my major kudos to each of you for being bold and brave in your journey toward greater health and well-being! In your submissions (and comments for last week’s Challenge introduction), you’ve shared your excitement, your humor, and your resolve. I was inspired as I read how each of you clearly feel the power of your decision and are excited to take your vitality to a whole new level. I’m excited and honored to share in the journey with you. Grok on, everyone!

Now I’ll turn it over to our incredible MDA community. Enjoy visiting the Challenge section, reading the stories and journals, and offering your own support for their journeys ahead! Thanks for being here today, everybody.

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83 Comments on "Success Stories in the Making: The Big Unveil"

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Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
4 years 10 months ago

I sent in my picture. Being publicly accountable is the tipping point for me. (I just turned down some homemade treats someone gave me because I know I have made this commitment.)

Glad to be doing this with over 400 like-minded people. 🙂

rabbit_trail
rabbit_trail
4 years 10 months ago

You won’t regret it. Once you start feeling better, you won’t be able to go back.

Félix
Félix
4 years 10 months ago
He’s right. I’m now officially a slave to real healthy foods. Yesterday on my way back from university I indulged in a McDonald meal for the first time since 3 or 4 months. Even thought I only ordered the sandwich (I would have bought an entire trio, but I just didn’t crave the high-glucose-fructose coke and french fries) I started feeling weird once home and this morning when I woke up I felt a little sugar crash, which is the very same thing that happened to me last time I indulged in fast food or grain products. And believe me,… Read more »
puddleduck
4 years 10 months ago
Crashes don’t happen to me even when I eat badly. I think if your diet is actually making you stronger, eating something normal and not really that bad for you like a sandwich, is not going to affect you in that way. Your body will digest it, and gain strength from it. It’s not going to throw you out of wack suddenly. When I lowered my carbohydrate intake drastically, I found nutritious foods like bread and apples affected me badly, whereas before, they did not. It took me a while to regain my normal response to them by eating lots… Read more »
primalpal
primalpal
4 years 10 months ago

This is perfect timing! I am giving a lunch at learn at work about the primal blueprint to encourage others at work to consider the lifestyle. Thanks Mark and the worker bees for making this happen! And good luck to everyone posting their goals!!

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 10 months ago

This is so exciting!!!

Anne
4 years 10 months ago

LOVE it! How exciting!!

EZ
4 years 10 months ago

I am excited to see how this goes! I submitted mine but with so many it looks like its still in the process. I also decided to make myself more accountable by making a blog site with recipes and a page with my January 30 day challenge! That alone has helped me tremendously-the first time I have felt the pressure of accountability.

Joe
Joe
4 years 10 months ago

This is brilliant. I wish everybody the best of luck. If this isn’t going to be tangible proof that this lifestyle works, then nothing will be.

Irissa
Irissa
4 years 10 months ago

My own success story would be more one of health than weight loss…I thought about sending in a pic but I think people would think it’s a joke losing 10 lbs and going from medium slender to real slender.

Lauren
4 years 10 months ago

Oh I think there are enough serious fitness freaks on here that goals relating to strength, definition or leanness will not be unique.

Anna
Anna
4 years 10 months ago

I think that health is everyone’s primary objective on here. For some that entails weight loss, for others it entails getting their blood sugar down, and yet for others it means having more body strength or eating less processed foods. Sign up already 🙂

Arty
Arty
4 years 10 months ago

Man I can’t wait!

Andrea
Andrea
4 years 10 months ago

So excited to begin reading and being inspired!

rose
rose
4 years 10 months ago

About a million high fives to all of you whose stories I just finished reading! So inspiring! Looking so forward to the updates!
Grok on!

samui_sakana
4 years 10 months ago

Woo Hoo. I was having an office WL competition and the primal diet got me the win! Although my competition was eating brown rice and chicken breasts like they were going out of style 😛 Not a fair race I know. Glad to be able to post my progress to my journal on MDA.

Janet NZ
4 years 10 months ago

I wasn’t going to send in a photo (too chicken), but I did.
The ‘accountability’ part is already proving a huge motivator… and like Lex, I need to show results so that my family and friends stop rolling their eyes… and trying to sabotage my efforts.
Let the games begin!

Suzanne
Suzanne
4 years 10 months ago

I am chicken too! But after reading others stories and goals I am going to go ahead and submit a photo and goal also. I was so impressed with all the stories so far. Keep up the good work

Scott
Scott
4 years 10 months ago
Fantastic! Mark — is there any way that you can use the database that you’re going to generate as the basis of some kind of study? An N of 400 is not too bad. You’ve already got age, sex and weight. Perhaps encourage them to get their bloodwork, and get them to keep track of what they eat, and their exercise schedule (fit day), whether they have support… ? And / or use this year a pilot run for a more controlled study next year? (You could get some longitudinal data going here!) Perhaps team up with a low-fat diet… Read more »
Maria
Maria
4 years 10 months ago

I LOVE that idea! I would totally volunteer my services as a statistician for data collection and analysis!

Raqui
Raqui
4 years 10 months ago

That is a great idea! I’d volunteer some input as I do research projects every day at lab/work! 🙂

Mike
Mike
4 years 10 months ago

Talk about big-brother??
While you’re at it, how about where you live, how much you earn, if your kids are vaccinated and while you’re at it, just hand it over to the FBI/CIA?
Whatever happened to personal resposibility?

Milemom
Milemom
4 years 10 months ago

could not figure out how to comment on any of the Success Stories in the Making… is this not an option Mark?

So,@PJ
Good luck. The first thing I thought of when I saw your photo was that underneath all those layers was a very pretty woman… and then I saw in your description that one of the things you said was that you wanted to “be pretty again.” You so will be!

Scott
Scott
4 years 10 months ago

… our tribe could go head to head with the vegans, or the Ornishians, or whoever. Bring it on!

clarevh
clarevh
4 years 10 months ago

Friday is my favorite day at MDA because I just can’t get enough of success stories! For me, after reading all the success stories in the making, today was like MEGA-Friday :).
I wish everyone Primal success and awesome “after” photos.

MissJelic
MissJelic
4 years 10 months ago

Hi, so excited about this but just wanted to let you know that the formatting on the new page is a bit messed up (on my screen, anyway) — the text is running down the left side of the page in one long vertical strip

rob
rob
4 years 10 months ago

is it too late to submit your goals

Tracy
Tracy
4 years 10 months ago

Are all of the stories posted? It seems that we’re a couple hundred short? LOL….so GLAD to be part of something that is supportive and communal!

Ed
4 years 10 months ago

Awesome post and amazing concept! I am excited to read the stories of real people accomplishing real goals! It is refreshing to see….

Jason
Jason
4 years 10 months ago

I wish all the participants the absolute best of luck and strength, both mentally and physically to push through the hard times and reach your goals. Just take it one day at a time!

Dave PAPA GROK Parsons
Dave PAPA GROK Parsons
4 years 10 months ago

In this tribe..
BRAVERY IS ALWAYS REWARDED…personally and publicly…GROK ON TRIBE!!!!!!>>>>
BE THE CHANGE you wish to see…
Strength/Courage/Ability…I send it to you all>>>

Tara45
Tara45
4 years 10 months ago

What a gift this website is, Mark Sisson! I have been reading posts and comments for what feels like two days straight and now this! Even if it is just “virtual” at this point, I’m sticking close to my tribe and I’ve never felt more encouraged about a second chance at life!

Sally Degen
Sally Degen
4 years 10 months ago

Right on!

Janet
Janet
4 years 10 months ago
I say, let’s one by one and as a community OCCUPY Good Health, OCCUPY Big Food, OCCUPY AMA, OCCUPY Conventional Wisdom, OCCUPY all the places where tragically wrong and harmful “healthy eating” is being pounded onto many unsuspecting people (including the political powers that keep this horrible charade going–OCCUPY them too. This is my first comment, but been working on eating/living Primal since first part of December (found MDA from Wheat Belly Blog). Can’t even describe the changes! I have already lost weight, but may get busy and set some goals and get my own success story going up here.… Read more »
Sally Degen
Sally Degen
4 years 10 months ago
For people rolling their eyes at you for the choices you make screw em! This is your life you are talking about! I have so many family members and friends who do not understand. I ask them what medications they are on and when they tell me mostly it’s high blood pressure and diabetes dope. I tell them when you can get yourself off all meds like I have you can give me your opinion. I am excited to take this to the next level. I have been faithful to this for a week and feel so much better already!… Read more »
SmokeFan14
4 years 10 months ago

I need to update my (not yet posted) entry with my primal journal that I just started today.

Primal Toad
4 years 10 months ago

This is awesome. I love Primal. Good luck to you all!

Brandon
Brandon
4 years 10 months ago

Yay.

FoCo Girl
FoCo Girl
4 years 10 months ago

This is awesome!! I am in awe of all that Mark does to educate and motivate!

mick
mick
4 years 10 months ago

“I need all the support I can get because, until my body is proof this lifestyle works, all my friends and family are going to keep rolling their eyes at me..

A common problem in my household..
They all think that this is just another fad thats not working.. even though I have dropped 8kg in 2 months without cronic cardio/weights

Sarah
4 years 10 months ago

Wow this sounds incredible!!! I love hearing about all the different goals people have. Inspiration can come from so many directions. This year I hope to put on more muscle and add more healthy fats to my diet for increased vitality 🙂

Eric
Eric
4 years 10 months ago

I was a bit leery at first to send in my pic but I’m glad I did. This is going to be an awesome addition for inspiration and motivation.

E
4 years 10 months ago

Woo! Sent my story in last week. Hope to see it posted soon. Day 10 of Primal. Feeling good. Good luck to everyone.

Marcia
Marcia
4 years 10 months ago

I can’t wait to read the stories!

I submitted a success story back during the 21-day challenge, but didn’t follow through with photos. My after photos…well…those will have to wait awhile.

Apparently going primal didn’t make me skinny but it did make me fertile.

Jen
Jen
4 years 10 months ago

Congratulations, Marcia. I know what you mean. Within two months of going Primal, surprise!

Marcia
4 years 10 months ago

Congrats to you too! For me, it was a couple of weeks. Or less.

mvpoffenberger
mvpoffenberger
4 years 10 months ago

I discovered The Primal Blueprint in August… and as of today, I have lost 23 lbs. (From 146 to 123) Most people say I didn’t need to lose that much weight… and yes, many people roll their eyes… but I feel better than I have in years, and am off all prescriptions including antidepressants. That is worth all the weight I’ve lost- in gold!!!! Many many thanks to my friend (and trainer) Wendy Savino for getting me started in the right direction. Now my husband, and two teenage daughters are on board! We have a primal household!

DebraLee
DebraLee
4 years 10 months ago

I am 10 days in! I am proud of myself for healthy cooking and refraining from temptation.
We can do this!
I lost 5 pounds the first week but nothing since. I know my body will catch up. Only 10 pounds to go. NO PROBLEM!
I am detoxing. Tired, low energy etc. but FREE!!!
I live paleo

dan
dan
4 years 10 months ago

mark,
is there any way to search to see your post. scrolling through 400 pictures takes a lot of time…

janet
janet
4 years 10 months ago
Soooo glad I made my goals (and picture) public! Being primal for a little over a week and having all of my stomach pains GONE now, plus that awful “before” pic up for Grok and eveyone to see- these helped me turn down free pizza at lunch AND dinner today! Yay me:) I had packed an awesome primal lunch, but got stuck staying late at work and was “rewarded” with pizza for a job well done. Having been a long time reader, I had several strategies up my sleeve to politely thank the gesture, but decline the food. No hard… Read more »
Julie
4 years 10 months ago

I hate my picture, but I am so glad I sent it in. It really does make me think twice about eating something I shouldn’t! It will be nice to put up a progress pic with some actual progress!

Maria
Maria
4 years 10 months ago

I hope everyone is successful in their ventures. I love seeing the before/after pictures.

Wayne
Wayne
4 years 10 months ago

This is a GREAT idea. I started a Week Ago tomorrow and have pretty dramatic results for Week 1 which I know will slow down over time. I really am inspired by seeing other’s success as well as being part of the greater GROK community.

Danny
Danny
4 years 10 months ago

Is it too late to enter the challenge? Where do I sign up?

PrimalPatti
PrimalPatti
4 years 10 months ago
I, too, submitted my photo, a side shot that was way too revealing of all the work I have to do to get down to my goals. My doctor is on board with me and agreed to let me get off Nexium slowly. YAY!!! Thanks to this blog, I had the desire (and was armed with the evidence) I needed to push to get off those bad, bad pills. I’ve lost about 4 lbs so far, but my scale is just a tool. I am going in now with a tape measure to measure myself. That’s what I’ll REALLY watch….
Deannacat
Deannacat
4 years 10 months ago

Seriously. The life needs a Roku channel in the worst way. Mark, really, with all the cooking videos and stuff people have submitted over the years it’s not like there’s no content for it. Consider that, please.

Rob
Rob
4 years 10 months ago

Wow, this is so awesomely perfect! Today was Day 1 of primal for me. I decided today was the day I commit without knowing about this! Ill have to get my stuff together! 🙂

Roar.

Melisa
Melisa
4 years 10 months ago

I LOVE how positive and encouraging everyone on this site is. This is an amazing group of people just wanting to feel better, live better, function better and everyone is given the tools to do just that. Amazing!

LisaL
LisaL
4 years 10 months ago

Oh this is so awesome!! I would totally participate but can’t exactly focus on losing weight.. at least not until August 😉
Good luck to everyone!

Laura
Laura
4 years 10 months ago

I seem to have had the opposite of “success” I’ve gained 15 pounds since going Primal about 9 months ago. Tired all the time too. I fully embraced the Primal lifestyle, defended it, and it has hugely let me down.

Why does this seem to work for EVERYONE except me???

DThalman
DThalman
4 years 10 months ago

How many grams of carbs per day are you eating? (If you haven’t carefully measured that, you might consider that…many people are derailed thinking they are eating primal when in fact they are still eating high carb diets. Carbs are so rampant that it’s hard to source ’em all sometimes.)

Frank
4 years 10 months ago

Hi Laura,

Is your primal diet high in fat? I know when alot of people go primal they do up the fat which is good but they also don’t realize how much fat they are consuming and go a bit overboard. Especially when it comes to seeds and nuts. Those things are pretty fat dense. I know when I am trying to lose some weight I usually cut fat and cycle carbs.

Sherri
Sherri
4 years 10 months ago

Hi Frank-
What exactly is/or how do you “cycle carbs”?

Ava
4 years 10 months ago

Wow, I didn’t think I could love this website any more, but now I do!

Dave PAPA GROK Parsons
Dave PAPA GROK Parsons
4 years 10 months ago
I am almost totally meat and fat…with VERY little veges /nuts/and other carb related items…and I have a steady weight that does not move that much at all…BUT I HAVE LEARNED a major thing in this way of life…FEMALES…DO NOT respond the same as Males do…I am active in the community at large and I PAY ATTENTION. So If you have the thoughts of being let down and not getting the results you are looking for…Your not alone!! This way is a series of steps to clean up and get stronger and above all LEARN what works for you and… Read more »
tracyinbarcelona
tracyinbarcelona
4 years 10 months ago

Papa Grok–you’re the best!!!

Lex26
Lex26
4 years 10 months ago
Despite your intimidating all-caps, I agree! The guidelines Mark sets up on this website are a good starting point and a minimum for good health. But it’s everyone’s responsibility to turn themselves into their own experiment. A female like me with PCOS – and maybe some adrenal/thyroid issues I’m not quite sure of yet – has different problems with nutrition, insulin sensitivity and energy as the average person. In my own experimentation – as much as I didn’t want it to be true – my blood sugar and energy was much better off without fruit or dairy. I might even… Read more »
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