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 21 year old Midwesterner with prehistoric eating habits, but a modern day tale to tell.
I don’t have a story of amazing weight loss, curbed eating habits, or winning a grand competition. What I have is a life changing experience I hope will inspire those older and younger alike to view life in a fresh light.
As a younger kid, my family moved constantly. My father, a mining engineer, was often finding himself being transferred, moved around, or having to find a new job. This all meant that I never had the chance to really set my roots and become fully involved with the community or school I was a part of. But there was a community that was always there for me: The Internet.
Being that I never really took the time to make any “real” friends, I put almost all of my social effort into cyberspace. Throughout all of middle school and high school I was glued to my computer screen. 80+ hours a week was the norm (no exaggeration here).
In those times, plenty of sleep, good nutrition, and an active lifestyle didn’t even exist. Why would I want to be like one of those “healthy” jocks at school anyway? They were mean, and I didn’t want to be mean. When you’re always the new kid you learn what bullying is the hard way.
On the internet you’re socially invincible, or so you think. You can add/delete friends within a moment’s notice. For my young, fragile, and over-analytical mind this was my domain. My social life consisted of people around the globe who I had never met (and still haven’t) in real life. I still consider these people my friends, but now I know there is something genuine about being able to shake hands, hug, and see the face of someone you care about.
Being your fairly standard American family of four, you won’t be surprised to know my mother, father, and older brother were all overweight. You may be surprised to know I was always at about the right weight or a little under. I didn’t gain weight, and only lost weight during bad illness (at least twice a year like clockwork).
Our diet was definition SAD. My father’s specialty, and my favorite meal, was biscuits and gravy. Luckily, my father loves his meat, so at least there was plenty of MSG laden sausage in the gravy. Spaghetti was my brother’s favorite food and a constant staple in our diets. Looking back on what we ate it’s really no wonder why my acne was always terrible.
The saving grace of our diets was that we’re a family of hunters, so deer, turkey, etc. was a fairly often occurrence. My father is also a big fan of veggies, so every meal usually consisted of a meat, a veggie, and a side (rolls, bread, pasta, you get the idea…).
Those couple of strong points and my habit of being the slowest eater at the table may be what saved me from being overweight. The 80+ hours sitting in a computer chair definitely wasn’t helping.
Skip ahead a few years to the end of my sophomore year in college… I wasn’t very motivated, had mediocre grades, and spent most of my time sleeping, or on my computer and oh boy did it show.
I hadn’t taken the time to seek out an internship or job for that summer and that wasn’t okay with my parents. They swiftly signed me up, via my uncle, to work summer labor at a sand mine. The job consisted of shoveling sand for 40 hours a week during one of the hottest Illinois summers ever.
Talk about not being prepared. Eight plus years of sitting at a computer will all but atrophy the little muscle you had as a 5’10” skinny-fat college kid. I was thrown into what could be described as a loud, machine filled, mid-westernized Sahara where you are asked to move dunes, taller than yourself, with nothing but a wheelbarrow and a shovel.
Knowing I wasn’t at all prepared for it, I began eating “healthy” and “working out”. I began doing online research of “health” and found myself eating mostly spinach salads with tuna, cottage cheese, and Sriracha sauce. For breakfast I usually ate plain Greek yogurt with vanilla protein powder and this super healthy high fiber whole grain cereal mixed in.
Needless to say, a couple months of this and I did lose weight. My troubling pudgy belly was gone, and I felt confident in my body. Though my acne still persisted, I had some nice back pain to go along with being a 20 year old college student, and my energy levels were dismal.
I spent my free time constantly researching health. My newly acquired smart phone was (and still is) an amazing source of information. I learned so many things about the body’s processes, how nutrients work, etc. I read Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Body because I loved the term “bio-hacker”. I read countless blogs and articles, all of which displayed varying opinions on what was actually healthy. I pieced together what I believed was correct. (Come to find out a while later, what I had thought was right was nearly Primal.)
This path of health came to an end when my grandmother, thinking I was “too skinny” (and she was right), constantly fed me brownies… Then two things happened: College began and my then year-long relationship came to a rough and abrupt end.
Needless to say, that fall semester was spent doing anything and everything as long as it wasn’t considered healthy. I quickly found myself back at my computer, baking cookies for my fraternity brothers, drinking, and feeling terrible. Worst of all, the pudgy tummy was back!
During winter break I decided things needed to change. I pulled out my phone and began my quest for health again.
Starting with spinach, tuna, and Greek yogurt I tacked on a workout program (P90X2). I more or less locked myself in my room for two months. My health was priority, no more social life, no more distractions. I wasn’t going to let peer pressure hold me back.
During the first month, I found Paleo. Since I was tired of reading countless opinions on the internet, I bought a book: Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution. I immersed myself in the Paleo lifestyle, I even had a pair of Vibram FiveFingers from my “3 miles a day” cardio stint the previous summer!
Mark’s Daily Apple was also a huge source of information for me, so I bought The Primal Blueprint and engulfed myself within it as well. I was a big fan of the way the PB dug into the details of living LIFE Primal, not just eating Primal.
The Primal Connection was next on my list, and it too was an amazing read. I have to personally thank you, Mark. You have taught me so much and allowed me to not only improve myself, but help my parents and brother all lose 30-40 lbs each, while changing their lifestyles.
What started as me being a shut-in and ridiculed, turned into me being a teacher to most everyone I know. People saw the change in me, and in helping myself I learned of my love for helping others.
Since starting Paleo/Primal I have lost 20 lbs of fat, gained ~20 lbs of muscle, helped many friends and family members change their habits, got rid of my acne, and became more energetic and motivated. My motivation lead to improved grades, an internship, and now multiple full-time job offers.
On top of all of this, one of my many friends whom I introduced to Paleo/Primal came to me with an idea. With that idea we are now starting a nutritional and sports supplement company that aims to use only natural ingredients and no harmful chemicals, “Mobius Nutrition”.
Months of planning, research, and work have all come together for the launch of our crowdfunding campaign (now expired) for our first product “Primer”, an energy drink mix to break the status quo of unhealthy energy drinks/shots.
I want to thank you Mark for your priceless knowledge and inspirational dedication to the health of others. I hope one day to be as inspirational as you.
While I stand here at my desk, wearing my toe shoes, and typing out this story to you, I only have one more thing to say:
– Michael E.