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

There Are No Limits, There Are Only Plateaus

Steven is almost forty, and his story can be traced all the way back to high school. It is my pleasure to share with you Steven’s long road to Primal living and the incredible result that followed.

If you have your own Primal Blueprint success story and you’d like to share it with me and the community please contact me here. Have a wonderful Friday, everyone, and thanks for reading!

Hi Mark,

I used to be a relatively fit guy back in high school and college… constantly staying active and spending a lot of time training in Martial Arts (which I’ve done for most of my life).

Even though I was broke and ate terrible, having the metabolism of a young active guy really helped in keeping the fat off my frame.

When I got my first “real” full-time job after college I had started to put on a few pounds from eating a lot of pizza and ice cream (I admit it, I was totally lacking any and all will power). Plus, the change from not eating hardly at all to eating a high calorie “standard American diet” was not terribly flattering to my physique.

Fast forward ten years and I had ballooned up to 237lbs (yikes)… way above the “ideal weight” for my frame (I’m 6′).

And honestly, I was ashamed of myself. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. I never went anywhere where I had to potentially take my shirt off (like the beach or the pool, and mind you, I live in Southern California).

This was the breaking point! And I decided to do something about it.

Fast forward another five years…

Over those five years, my weight had fluctuated wildly. Going 237lbs to 200lbs and back up again and… you get the idea. I admit it, I was non-committal and had a hard time staying on a “healthy” diet (by normal American standards).

Three years ago I picked up a copy of P90X (yep I joined that bandwagon), and had pretty good results going from about 220lbs to 195lbs… gained more muscles and lost some body fat.

It was great, but I got burned out and got injured by over-training. I got discouraged, my weight ballooned back up to 225lbs.

Then came 2010.

I had been relatively active over the years (teaching and training in martial arts), but honestly, I’d given up on getting that “really fit” look. Plus, I wasn’t getting any younger (I’m pushing 40).

The thing is, while nobody ever said I was “out of shape,” “fat” or “chubby,” my self-image said I was. And I still avoided going to the pool or the beach like the plague.

I honestly didn’t think I could ever shed that layer of fat around my body.

And it was seriously messing with my mind.

I was eating “healthy” but unable to shed the weight or the pounds.

Seriously, I’ve read tons of books on the subject of weight loss and exercise, but I just couldn’t put two and two together.

Then I stumbled upon and the Primal Blueprint.

It was interesting, and different and I devoured all the material I could find on Primal living, Paleo and Evolutionary Fitness.

The ideas behind Primal completely resonated with me, and in May of 2010 (May 3rd to be exact) I decided to finally take the plunge.

I jumped in with both feet and cut out all the crud in my diet! I was proud of myself for being able to do that (considering my diet was pretty heavy on carbs).

And I felt…


I got hit by the “carb flu,” BIG TIME.

And it lasted for about two weeks. I was tired, cranky and just not an all around fun guy to be around for two weeks. But, I (and my family) endured it and all of a sudden it all cleared.

And I felt AWESOME!

By the way, when I started I was about 225lbs…

And by the end of September I was down to what many have called a “ripped” 175lbs.

And the best thing about all of it was that I didn’t exercise myself to death, nor did I worry too much about exactly what I ate from day to day.

Some days I do an intermittent fast, other days I snack all day long.

Because I had a relatively carb-centric diet I thought it would be difficult to rid the habit of eating brown rice and bread, but that proved not to be the case.

In any event, here’s a “Before and After” photo of myself:

Thanks to Mark (his website and his book) and to all the other people embracing this lifestyle! I appreciate you all very much.

And if I can have success with this, anyone can…

All the best,


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. Nice story! Congrats!

    Minxxa wrote on January 14th, 2011
  2. Well done Steven! Your martial arts training resonates well with me as I too have trained in martial arts for the majority of my life. I know what it is like to fall out of shape and become frustrated by not being able to do the things you were once able to. I also did p90x and got good results but grew tired of the program after two rounds. Then I found this site and I have not looked back. I find that I am easily getting back to my college days of martial arts prowess. Keep it up and Grok on!

    Gorm wrote on January 14th, 2011
  3. What an amazing difference!

    Theresa wrote on January 14th, 2011
  4. I just love Friday’s and the ‘true story’! Congrats, that torso … :-)

    Spent lunch with a friend and explained the whole Primal thing and I think she might give it a go, I shall forward this page to her! Also chatted to another person at the gym this morning, she was asking me about my weights routine, so I didn’t miss the chance to talk Primal … I saw her light bulb go on!

    Grok on and have a great weekend.

    Kelda wrote on January 14th, 2011
  5. Keep these stories coming, they’re really great for inspiration!

    Well done Steve-

    J wrote on January 14th, 2011
  6. Great results, Congratulations.. What exercise plan did you follow.. Did you continue with the P90x…

    Brian wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • i am curious on this as well.. what type of exercise plan did you follow Steven? i did p90x twice and i did insanity but now i am trying to find my way between yoga, hiking, running, some p90x beyond workouts, some insanity workout, primal Blue print workouts.. i would love to know what mix you used!

      beth wrote on January 15th, 2011
    • No I didn’t continue with P90X… I tried late last fall, but I just couldn’t get into it. :/

      I use mostly bodyweight exercises along with a few Kettlebell exercises.


      StevenR wrote on January 16th, 2011
  7. I just want to say I am really glad that someone in the success story admitted that for a couple of weeks they felt terrible. My husband and I first started Primal in September of 2010. My husband had finally decided he would join me and he said he would do anything i told him to. He didn’t say he would enjoy it. His favorite foods were corn, bread, pasta, etc. For the first three weeks he was really unpleasant to be around. He was tired, grumpy, and he just seemed to hate life. The fourth week, he was a bit more normal, and then all of the sudden he kept mentioning how fantastic he was feeling. So it is different for everybody. I felt great since the first day, but my husband had to go through a three week withdrawal. Its important for people to know it feels different for everyone.

    Tori Kean wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • I just got done reading Dr. Rosedale’s book. Lots of good info on leptin. He also talks about a 3 week transition period to convert from burning sugar to burning fat as fuel.

      js290 wrote on January 14th, 2011
      • I wonder if supplementing with L-carnitine (supposed to help mobilize bodyfat) would help with that transition??

        fixed gear wrote on January 14th, 2011
        • Dr. Rosedale seems to be a big fan of supplements, l-carnitine being one of them. His diet (low carb from fibrous sources, high fat, and just enough protein) was designed to promote fat metabolism. The supplementation is suppose to help people with metabolic problems make that transition into fat burning.

          js290 wrote on January 14th, 2011
  8. Whoooooooaaaaa!
    I love that the camera upgraded, too.
    Really remarkable! Congratulations!

    Adina wrote on January 14th, 2011
  9. I remember seeing your before and afters on the forum. Very nice!

    The body is usually the primary focus, but I’m always fascinated by facial changes. Your “before” face looks like a chubby Wayne Newton. Now you’ve got a real jaw-line!

    dragonmamma wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • LOL – I was thinking the same thing!

      Great job, Steven! Grok on!

      heavv wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • a chubby Wayne Newton…thats just cruel lol…the after shot certainly looks ripped…………..!

      Milliann Johnson wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • That’s it… Wayne Newton! I couldn’t think who he reminded me of. Facial changes do tell the story. People look completely different.


      TrailGrrl wrote on January 15th, 2011
  10. Steven, you look amazing. I really hope you don’t avoid pools/beaches anymore 😛

    Brett K wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • I’m thinkin’ I’ll have to go to the beach more often this summer. :)

      StevenR wrote on January 16th, 2011
  11. Congrats! I cut out grains, legumes and most dairy Jan 3 for a 30 day challenge. I love the info here on Mark’s Daily Apple and the inpsiration.

    Missy wrote on January 14th, 2011
  12. Meh. Your before and after look about the same to me.

    Just kidding. That’s a huge difference and let me offer you a huge congrats! Way to go!

    Bobby C. wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • LOL @ Bobby C

      bokbadok wrote on January 14th, 2011
  13. Great inspiration going into a long and tempting birthday weekend! Thanks for sharing!

    Melissa wrote on January 14th, 2011
  14. Wowee. What a difference.

    Congratulations, you do look completely different. Amazing what can be achieved in just a few months.

    Alison Golden wrote on January 14th, 2011
  15. Thanks for sharing Stephen. Great job. I love the subject of plateaus and am working on notes for a post right now. Plateaus are completely different when you have the mindset of who cares I made lifestyle changes that will be with me for the rest of my life, vs the mindset of dang my diet must not be working because i didnt lose any weight this week. The mindset is everything.

    Dean Ouellette wrote on January 14th, 2011
  16. holy schnikes! amazing!

    Junie B wrote on January 14th, 2011
  17. Wow — that is ripped. Looks like there’s some muscle stacked on there too. I’d be interested in what he ate each day and what he did for exercise.

    Awesome change!

    Nicky Spur wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • Nothing terribly out of the ordinary for food… pretty much what’s recommended in the book.

      I was pretty strict on not eating white carbs (rice, pasta, bread, potatoes etc.) and legumes.

      I also tried to stay with fruits that are not too sweet… a lot of apples and avocado. (I love pineapples but didn’t eat it too often).

      And no liquid carbs either… (see my long comment further down on the page).

      Exercises were pretty simple. Bodyweight and Kettlebell workouts. I also did Martial Arts a couple of times per week at first (mild to moderate intensity).

      All the best,

      StevenR wrote on January 16th, 2011
  18. WOW that is awesome, you definately look ripped, you must be stoked! Well done and keep it up :)

    Dollface wrote on January 14th, 2011
  19. congrats:D

    Betsy Chan wrote on January 14th, 2011
  20. Nice transformation!
    But why does everyone get a nice phone After going primal? Haha

    Will wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • haha I guess when your not buying that crap you can afford other things!

      Aaron (Grok Mendoza) wrote on January 15th, 2011
  21. Awesome! And you got a new phone and a haircut to boot! Thanks for sharing! 😉

    gilliebean wrote on January 14th, 2011
  22. Congrats! Very inspiring story and I appreciate you sharing it with us!

    Lizzie wrote on January 14th, 2011
  23. Awesome job! Inspiring for those of us who are just finding this site! I, too, am interested in what you did fitness wise and meals, etc.

    Michelle wrote on January 14th, 2011
  24. wow! you look hot!! and after only 8 months! tremendous!

    Gayle wrote on January 14th, 2011
  25. Somebody looks like a movie star! Well done!

    Andi wrote on January 14th, 2011
  26. Now that I’ve got the weight down and boundless energy, I need to work on the muscle definition too – what an inspiration; grok on!

    Michael Wilson wrote on January 14th, 2011
  27. Wow, looking sexy!

    momof2groks wrote on January 14th, 2011
  28. Wow, he went from Val Kilmer to Antonio Banderas! And the phone got an upgrade too!

    Stephanie O. wrote on January 14th, 2011
  29. Congratulations man, that is awesome. I’m interested to know what you ate and didn’t eat. As Mark always says, there is no single Primal diet, but a range of different possible Primal diets and each person must find the one that works best for them. Yours has clearly worked a treat and I’m just curious what it was (and also your exercise routine while going Primal)?

    Kenny Powers wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • By the way, I love these real life stories, they are maybe my favourite part of the site – so inspirational. But it would be great if people could put a bit more detail about what they ate and didn’t eat rather than just say they “went Primal”. For example, did they cut out dairy? Did they eat any potatos, sweet potatoes, etc or cut the carbs right down? Perhaps a few example meals to get a general idea. Thanks!

      Kenny Powers wrote on January 14th, 2011
      • I second this motion – more details please!

        bokbadok wrote on January 14th, 2011
        • Please check out my longer post below. :)

          StevenR wrote on January 16th, 2011
  30. That is a happy man. I love your story and pictures!

    Melissa Fritcher wrote on January 14th, 2011
  31. I never get tired of looking at these before/afters; people look so much better and YOUNGER! The pics could pass for mother/daughter or father/son! Congrats and enjoy the beach! :-)

    Jill wrote on January 14th, 2011
  32. Wow, with a cut like that, I am inspired! I wonder what the workout regime is for the MMA?

    Jason Sandeman wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • I did some basic martial arts (Karate and Jeet Kune Do) for my first few months out. Since then I’ve dropped the Karate and re-started BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) since I feel a lot lighter on my feet. :)

      I did no ab specific training for the first couple of months of training. However in BJJ we do some situps and such in every class.

      All the best,

      StevenR wrote on January 16th, 2011
  33. oh hello!

    sara wrote on January 14th, 2011
  34. Well done, Stephen! A fantastic transformation, and I am sure you have more energy than you have had in years!

    Bob C. wrote on January 14th, 2011
  35. Steven- you look AWESOME. LOVE martial arts! I was involved in sport jujitsu, seikan karate, and kickboxing for years.

    Sonia wrote on January 14th, 2011
  36. Looking hot.

    Sue wrote on January 14th, 2011
  37. Totally HAUTE !!! Congrats. You look incredible.

    Karen wrote on January 14th, 2011
  38. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my laptop. I have my first primal crush. Your transformation is amazing. Thanks for the inspiration.

    superdeluxe wrote on January 14th, 2011
  39. What exercise plan did you follow?

    Sanjeev wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • No strict plan.

      I just created my own based on how I felt.. most of the workouts consisted of bodyweight and/or Kettlebell style workouts.


      StevenR wrote on January 16th, 2011

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