Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
28 Jun

The Primal Lifestyle Has Been a Game Changer

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 feel compelled to give back to your organization (Primal Blueprint/Mark’s Daily Apple) as it has it has a profound impact on my life. I hope my story will motivate others to consider taking the steps to lead to a longer and more fulfilling life.

Like many others, a slow deterioration of my health led me to seek out a sustainable approach to a healthier life. My goal was not just to be alive at 85…it was to thrive and enjoy an active life.

I never would have imagined that I would be dealing with health/weight issues as I was cruising through life counterbalancing poor eating habits with an active lifestyle that included long distance running (40-50 miles/week, marathon races, etc.) for 20+ years.

When I hit my late twenties, my weight started to creep up given my increasingly sedentary lifestyle. That’s when I started to practice crash conventional diets to bring my weight down. The funny thing was that I never had a problem losing the weight as I am a focused, goal oriented person. I would psych my mind up to put my body into deprivation mode for 2 months and the pounds would come off quickly. Unfortunately, I would hit my goal and then return back to the toxic eating habits and the weight would come back stronger than it came off.

I turned 52 last year and had undergone one too many yo-yo diet experiences based upon many of the conventional dieting techniques. My weight loss/gain swings started at 20 pounds and soon got to 40 pounds. This occurred at least 7 times over a 15 year period. As a result of my weight management issues, I slowly developed “middle age health issues” such as gastric reflux, sleep apnea and other GI disorders. These disorders were treated mostly through prescription drugs. After going to a GI doctor, and hearing that I was at risk of losing my gall bladder, I was shocked into reality. I wasn’t ready to enter a phase in my life where I would slowly lose functionality of my body and increase my dependence on prescription drugs to slow down my body’s deterioration.  This would not get me to my “Thrive at 85” goal.

At the same time, my skeletal structure was showing wear and tear from the years of pounding it endured through long distance running. I thought I was in great shape being a marathon runner but I realized I was totally out of balance with very low core strength. I develop chronic issues with my back and knees that resulted in “outages” that immobilized me for periods of time. These outages made me miserable as I couldn’t do the things I enjoyed.

After the gall bladder incident, my wife had encouraged me to read materials on the Paleo Lifestyle. After reading The Primal Blueprint and subscribing to Mark’s Daily Apple, it became so clear that the approach I was taking to managing my health (yo-yo dieting and cardio obsession) didn’t make any sense. I realized that my body was not intended to eat the foods I was eating or to endure the pounding it was taking. The logic in the blueprint and the daily articles made sense and inspired not only me…but my wife as well.

The only question was whether I would be able to make the huge transformation in eating habits. The staple of my diet was based mostly on grains and I would get this maddening sweet craving after dinner that was usually satisfied with junk desserts. The change appeared intimidating at first. I was shocked how easy it was, after just 2 weeks, to get a great feeling of satisfaction from eating healthy, high fat foods. I lost 50 pounds during the first 7 months of Primal and, most importantly, my weight has been stable for almost a year!

I also have been getting into lifting weights and core strengthening for the first time in my life. I have not had an outage in over 1 1/2 years and feel a lot stronger.

But…there are so many other more impactful benefits that come from the Primal lifestyle, including having much more energy, being able to handle stress and having fewer mood swings.

The key was that my wife and I took the journey together. We never turned back. I transformed from a stressed out, carb loving, and cardio extremist into someone who truly enjoys all aspects of the Primal lifestyle (diet, exercise, sleep, etc.). It has been a game changer for us. Besides the weight management, we have loved the wonderful feeling of well-being that we experience now. In addition, taking this Primal journey together has really strengthened our marriage. The success stories and articles we have read on Mark’s Daily Apple have been an inspiration to my wife and I, and I felt compelled to give back to the Primal community and the people who may be considering it.

Dave - April, 2012 and Jun, 2013

Dave D.
Gaithersburg, Maryland

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 managed to follow the PB eating style for about 3 months, and lots about 14 lb, which made me the slimmest ever in my adult life. Then I fell off the wagon, because the bad foods are so cheap and convenient, and after a lifetime of eating them for comfort, when I got stressed, I turned to them again. My husband is over a decade older than me at 45, and I worry about his health, as he carries all his weight around his middle. This has spurred me on to try and get back into the swing of things, and bring him with me. It’s not too late! I hope he manages a transformation like your Dave! Well done!

    Lindsey wrote on July 1st, 2013
    • Its definitely not too late! I started at 52 and never felt it was too late. I found that the paying a little extra for healthy food is much cheaper than the costs associated with doctors/presciptions. I hope he (and you) finds a system that works. Good luck!

      Dave wrote on July 1st, 2013
  2. I heard a lot about Marks Daily Apple blog, here I am , reading first blog and commenting. You are a great inspiration of healthy living and diet. Keep it UP!

    Steve wrote on July 1st, 2013
  3. Wow- you look 20 years younger. The “After” picture looks like it could be in your photo album from many years before! Great job.

    Christina wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  4. First let me say….Dave no longer has the blue shorts :) Being on primal together has been so much fun! I highly encourage enlisting the support of a partner, friend or other group with whom to start a primal lifestyle. Unlike Dave, who had health issues, I was in perfect health before starting Primal. The huge difference I feel is a massive increase in my energy level. This alone has improved my quality of life tremendously. Good luck to every one who’s going to try primal…it is SO worth it!

    Amanda AKA Dave's wife wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  5. Wow Dave! The pictures do not lie! Great job! Not only are you paleo lean, you look healthy, strong and happy! You must be doing some strength training too?

    Rose wrote on July 26th, 2013
  6. Thanks Rose. Yes…strength training is big focusof mine. Core strengthening seems to get mire important as you get older. Good luck to you.

    dave wrote on July 28th, 2013
  7. Great work Dave, the positive results are obvious.

    I’m 51, my wife and I just hit the 4 week mark eating paleo. Even in this very short time span we are already feeling much better, and have dropped a few pounds. I didn’t have much extra weight (I’m 5-11, was 170 lbs, now about 165 lbs) but the difference is already remarkable in my energy levels and just “feeling clean” for lack of a better description.

    Stacy wrote on July 28th, 2013
  8. Excellent point. There is so much emphasis on weight mgmnt today. With Paleo, there are so many awesome benefuts. Congrats to you and your wife. It only gets better.

    dave wrote on July 28th, 2013
  9. Very inspirational, Dave. As a newcomer to Primal I’ve been reading one success story every night and finally reached yours. I learn something new from each one and yours is no exception.

    The before/after photos look like two different people – just the smile remains the same.

    Glad you got a new pair of shorts too! Thanks for sharing your story with us. :)

    Darlene, San Francisco, CA wrote on November 28th, 2013

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