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!
In my teens I had my palm read. One of the things the woman told me was that when I was 30, I would have a major health scare and then I would have the choice to become healthy or continue on the path to death. I scoffed and pointed out the absurdity of being able to choose.
When I was 31, I had a major health scare.
At my wife’s Christmas party in 2011, I ended up in the bathroom throwing up blood. The previous year my physical and mental health had gone through a steep decline, but what happened in the bathroom was an undeniable symptom that couldn’t be excused away as “normal” anymore. I had gone from being the guy that never stopped; no physical task was too difficult, to not being able to bend over and tie my shoes due to pain. I went from the guy that had a photographic memory to the guy that couldn’t remember…well…anything.
I experienced all of the following:
Chronic heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, crippling hunger yet loss of appetite when I sat down to eat, random nausea, debilitating joint pain and chronic muscle pain, body stiffness, chronic fatigue and a huge 3 o’clock wall, low energy levels, random chest pain (knife pick stabbing my heart type pain), mental fogginess, memory loss, mood swings and anger, low vitamin D, liver problems, low testosterone, sinuses plugged every night, foul gas, puffy face and hands, body odor, face and back acne, cracking joints, intense cold shivers, low sex drive, insomnia (tired but wired), rash on elbows, extreme anxiety, teeth grinding, headaches, loss of taste, constant fidgeting, no desire to get up in the morning because it felt like I had been trampled by a horse every night and balance problems when I did get up.
It’s like my body had just hit its’ limit. If this was what life was going to be like from then on, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to live it. And I was only 31 years old.
I went to my family doctor with a list of ailments my wife had written about me. She had to write the list because I was still in the mindset that I was unique, and these problems were just the way I was and it was normal. I came home with a referral for blood work, a specialist appointment for a stomach scope and a prescription.
I hadn’t lost my suspicion of prescriptions (from previous encounters with doctors and the “treat but not fix” mentality). I was not taking pills but I had to do something. So we went looking for alternative answers. My wife spent days on the internet reading. Searching about weight lifting for her and searching for an answer to my health problems ended up leading to the same website: Mark’s Daily Apple. And the same answer, the Primal Blueprint diet.
I wasn’t convinced of any of it, but had nothing left to lose. We went grain free and I stopped forcing myself to eat breakfast (we had also come across IF information). Three days in, when I stopped having to run to the bathroom after eating, I wasn’t convinced. Two weeks in, when I stopped waking up with sinus problems and had dropped 20 pounds, I wasn’t convinced.
After six weeks and no more heartburn and no body or joint pain and 35 pounds lost, I still was not convinced. It’s not that it didn’t make sense. It was that it was too easy. Every single person who “knows” more than me (doctors/parents/trainers), had always told me my whole life the exact opposite to what I was doing now: “Grains are a necessary food group; eat breakfast even if it’s just a granola bar; don’t eat too much fat; limit your meat consumption.”
I was angry that the information was out there, and people knew, and I had been suffering from problems so easily fixed my whole life. (There were other problems before that year of hell, just far less severe.) It was absurd that I actually did have a choice to be healthy, but was unaware of the choice.
A follow-up doctor appointment showed most of my previous problems were gone or had improved (documented with blood tests) and my doctor was shocked. He started asking questions and taking notes. And I never did fill that prescription.
It’s been 15 months since my wife and I changed our diet. I feel reinvented. I can physically and mentally take on the world now. I’ll happily tell anyone who asks what I did and help them on their journey. There will always be naysayers; and someone asked me what if turned out I was wrong, and eating like this was unhealthy. I told them it didn’t matter, I’d rather live five years feeling this amazing than a whole life the way I was before, as a pain riddled zombie.
My mother-in-law commented on how great I looked after I had lost 50 pounds; I responded that what she sees on the outside pales in comparison to the changes on the inside. Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word about Primal living. It’s given me a life worth living.