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

Welcome Back Grok: 30 Days of Self-Discovery

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 was a typical American kid that enjoyed summers, playing sports, riding bikes, camping and exploring. My inner Grok ran rampant in the beginnings of my life. As I got older, I began to fall into that same trap many Americans fall into (T.V., video games, fast food and overall sedentary life). I expressed my inner Grok less and less, down to not at all. I became overweight, less confident, and started having knee and lower back issues in my early to mid 20’s! I naturally blamed this on genetics, and was on that fast track to a life of obesity, blood pressure issues, diabetes and a dependency on a plethora of medications.

I was in my mid 20’s in a high demand corporate job that I did not like, and had no time (or at least thought I had no time, but really just made excuses) or desire for any physical activity. My diet consisted of whatever I can eat on the go, eating out, or just take home. Fast food, soda and other processed foods made up the bulk of my diet. I approached 260 lbs and approximately 30% body fat. I rarely did anything physical, and did not have any endurance the few times I tried. I made excuses when hiking with my girlfriend, and often became negative around the whole subject. My self confidence was so low that I hated hiking or other physical activities, because I did not have the energy or capability to do them. I began to develop a “why bother” attitude. I blamed genetics and not my own actions, because I have overweight parents and extended family.

There were a few things that caused me to make a change. First, someone very close to me was diagnosed and then passed away of cancer. It caused me to look at things differently and notice that quality of life seemed to be changing in America. I noticed more people were obese and diagnosed with medical problems at earlier stages in life. I looked in the mirror and realized I was headed down the same dead-end road. I was tired of not having energy and not enjoying life like I did when I was younger. I was only twenty-something, but felt much older due to lack of energy and overall vigor. I began asking myself, was I suppose to be like this at this stage in my life? How did I get here? And most importantly, did I CHOOSE to be here? I discovered answers I did not like, nor was proud of. I took the easy road in the way I ate, lived, and being stationed in a lackluster, sedentary career. I became determined to change everything, starting with my health.

I did what “Conventional Wisdom” taught me to do. I ate low fat, whole grains and worked out like crazy in the gym (chronic cardio). Initially I thought I was doing the right thing. I lost 25 pounds, but then I hit a wall. I began investing in tons of supplements (protein, fat burners, and vaso dilators). I worked out harder (which did not help my knees or lower back) and ate less, and I managed to scrape another 15 pounds off. I got down to 220 and maintained that for awhile, but was still looking for something more. Then a friend told me about this “Paleo” or “Caveman” diet. I did research online and came across The Primal Blueprint. The Primal Blueprint appealed to me because it focused on all aspects of self improvement, and not just diet.

The Primal Blueprint and Welcome Back Grok!

I began the Primal Blueprint at the end of March 2011, and I have to admit that I was a little skeptical at first, because of the taboo on fat. I gave myself one month to give an honest shot at living the Primal life. If I saw no results or did not feel good, I was going to discontinue The PB. I adhered to the 10 laws and gave it my best shot. After a few days I was not feeling good. My energy level was bad and I felt hazy. I was craving carbs and sugars like mad! The PB book prepared me for this, so I stuck with it. This haziness started to subside after a few days, and had completely subsided after a week and a half. After this rough patch, I felt unbelievable. My energy level was through the roof, my appetite was diminished, and carb/sugar cravings were gone. My body was burning fat the way it was designed too. At the end of my 30 day trial, I lost another 15 pounds with ease, and became a true believer. The best part about this was that I got to eat delicious foods that I previously banned (red meat and bacon), and worked out LESS! My workouts consisted of hiking, lifting heavy things and sprinting every now and then. It also gave me the confidence to return to sports I played as a kid such as basketball, racquetball and Ultimate frisbee. I continued to lose 2-4 pounds consistently every weak with ease! I am currently at 175 pounds and 11% body fat.I never thought I could get these kind of results. I feel and look younger and have never had energy, endurance, and power like this in my life. My confidence is extremely high, and I have an overall better, more positive outlook on life. I am constantly looking for new challenges in tougher hikes and new sports. This new mindset enabled me to quit my high demand job and begin a new career in emergency medical services. It is less demanding and leaves me more fulfilled than I have ever been. My inner Grok is happy again, and enjoys what life has in store next. I recommend The PB to everyone that I know. In fact, I recently got my cousin into The Primal Blueprint. Although I constantly get people warning me of my impending heart attack or risk of diabetes, I enjoy refuting them with more accurate studies, and of course my results. My response to naysayers is, “If something as simple and natural makes you look younger, feel great and more fit, do you really think it is bad for you?!”

I would like to thank you Mark for your time and devotion, which enables all of us a pathway to a healthier and more fulfilling way of life!


Brandon Fields

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. Congrats Brandon! Yet another inspiring story to kick-off the weekend. With holiday parties and temptations everywhere, the timing couldn’t be better.

    Linda wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • How inspiring, thank you so much for sharing.

      Gilly wrote on January 5th, 2012
  2. Wow amazing congratulations!!!

    WildGrok wrote on December 16th, 2011
  3. you look great! congrats on your success

    Becca wrote on December 16th, 2011
  4. AWESOME!! Such motivation.

    Eric wrote on December 16th, 2011
  5. Well done Brandon, I agree if you look, feel and perform better without tremendous effort then your on the right track.

    Freeagent wrote on December 16th, 2011
  6. Congratulations Brandon, especially on the shift to a more satisfying career. That inspires me!

    Looking at your before and after, it’s hilarious that some people are now warning you that you risk diabetes. Some people are confused!

    Timothy wrote on December 16th, 2011
  7. I love reading these, they are so inspiring! CW is obviously wrong because America is spiraling downward at an alarming rate!

    EZ wrote on December 16th, 2011
  8. Congratulations. I still can’t relate the two sets of pictures to each other. It’s so amazing that there’s a Brandon II inside of each and every Brandon I out there.

    Moshen wrote on December 16th, 2011
  9. Congratulations Brandon!!!

    Abel James wrote on December 16th, 2011
  10. AWESOME. You did all that since March?!? Way to go, Brandon! What an inspiration!

    Anne wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • I am pretty sure from reading the story that he was in the ballpark of 260# at his peak (in the pictures), and that he got to 220# the hard way before switching to PB in March, and dropping the rest of the way to 175#.

      Philmont Scott wrote on December 16th, 2011
      • I mean to add that this is really an inspiration to me because I am around 250#, and I would be thrilled to drop just 50#, if I could keep it off. I am in my early 40’s, so I don’t expect it to be as easy as if I had corrected course earlier in life.

        I want to be able to “play” by going back to Philmont Scout Ranch (pictured in my avatar) with my son in about 2015. Dropping 30# would be enough to get me there, but I am realizing how far away from fit I really am.

        Philmont Scott wrote on December 16th, 2011
        • I swear by this lifestyle, and that’s how you have to look at it. Follow the 10 rules, be consistent, and take it day by day. Don’t look at the weight loss as a whole, but rather tackle each day. You will find that the weight melts off. Good luck!

          Brandon Fields wrote on December 16th, 2011
        • Forget the conventional wisdom that weight loss is a drawn-out battle or that our metabolisms slow with age and there’s nothing we can do about it. It is not and they do not, and we can. If the stories here are any indication.

          In these stories, people routinely drop a hundred in 12-18 months, and age doesn’t seem to make much difference at all.

          Look up Mark’s post on The Carbohydrate Curve.

          oxide wrote on December 16th, 2011
        • I thought that looked like the “Tooth of Time!” Went to Philmont twice in the mid 70’s. Drove by the “Tooth” to show my new bride 16 years ago on our way home from our honeymoon in Red River. You will love Philmont. By all means do what you need to do so you and your son can enjoy the place. Grok on!

          Fred wrote on December 17th, 2011
  11. Wow, you look great! And congrats on the new career!

    Sara wrote on December 16th, 2011
  12. I laughed outloud at the idea that emergency medical services would be less demanding than the corporate world. Man, your previous job must have been terrible 😉 I can easily see how much more rewarding it is, though. Congrats on a new life!

    cTo wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • Haha! I did not think about it like that until you mentioned that. It is less stressful and demanding in a sense that I have more freedom on shift to be active rather than be tied to a phone or desk. Also, I get to enjoy my days off rather than be on a laptop, phone etc etc. I live simpler and enjoy my time better. Thanks for the comment!

      Brandon Fields wrote on December 16th, 2011
  13. Wow, all that weight off in such a short amount of time, way to go!

    Congrats on discovering LIFE :)

    Arty wrote on December 16th, 2011
  14. Thanks for sharing your story Brandon. It’s very inspirational!

    B. Knight wrote on December 16th, 2011
  15. Thanks so much everyone!! I am still doing well, and looking forward to sharing further progresses with eachother!!

    Grok On!!

    Brandon wrote on December 16th, 2011
  16. Now that you have put this great story out there, the pressure is on to make to through the holidays.

    Your story will help us all keep on track. Thanks.

    Sharon wrote on December 16th, 2011
  17. Fantastic job dude!

    Josh wrote on December 16th, 2011
  18. Still have the girlfriend? Is she thrilled? I think she must be. Such a big accomplishment in such short time. Great job!

    Milemom wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • I am still with the girlfriend. My results has her on the primal lifestyle as well. We enjoy hikes and working out together!

      Brandon Fields wrote on December 16th, 2011
  19. Brandon wow what an amazing story. Looks like you really changed some daily habits in your life! Congrats buddy!

    Justin wrote on December 16th, 2011
  20. Excellent! Very inspirational :) It just goes to show that giving something a chance and taking that small step in a different direction can be soooo rewarding.

    Caleigh wrote on December 16th, 2011
  21. Great Story! Keep up the great work dude! I’m working on it myself!

    chris D wrote on December 16th, 2011
  22. way to go Brando!! Thanks for intruducing me to the diet. I am 10 lbs lighter in just 5 weeks, and I haven’t been perfect either! I love it.

    Josh Fields wrote on December 16th, 2011
  23. Most “silver-bullet” diets and work-out equipment comes with a disclaimer: “results are not typical”. I think Friday success stories need a similar “RESULT ARE TYPICAL!!” statement of fact. This stuff works…big time!

    Jon wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • Haha agreed!!!

      Christina wrote on December 17th, 2011
  24. this:
    “My response to naysayers is, ‘If something as simple and natural makes you look younger, feel great and more fit, do you really think it is bad for you?!’”

    yup. Way to go Brandon!!!!

    peggy wrote on December 16th, 2011
  25. So amazing. Well done. Your story confirms the power of the PB and what can happen when we just forget ourselves and all we think we know and TRY SOMETHING NEW. I’m a big believer in 30 day challenges – for just about anything we’re curious about – not just nutrition and fitness – but anything.

    I admire your efforts – trying in the first place, roughing it through the difficult initial period, continuing on after that, and staying in tune with the obvious (i.e. that life is just better in the PB).

    All good! Grok on!!


    Susan Alexander wrote on December 16th, 2011
  26. I love Fridays!

    Alicia wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • Me too. Fridays are the best…thanks for sharing Brandon :-)

      Erin wrote on December 16th, 2011
  27. if he has an overweight family, i am sure he constantly hears he is too skinny. no one knows what healthy looks like anymore.

    chuck wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • So true!

      gilliebean wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • Some of my family say that. However, I have got some others jumping on as well. Hopefully they stick to it.

      Brandon Fields wrote on December 16th, 2011
  28. Kick ass!!! Great story and great job man!!! Inspiring!!!

    Jim Sifferle wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • Thanks Jim for all your support – You are the best!!!

      Tina S. wrote on December 16th, 2011
  29. Great stuff Brandon!

    JonMarc wrote on December 16th, 2011
  30. GREAT story! Very inspiring! I love your emphasis on the wholeness that you feel in all areas of your life, not just the physical. But your before and after pics are LEGIT! Congrats!! :)

    gilliebean wrote on December 16th, 2011
  31. damn it! Why do these photos never work for me?

    It seems to just be the Success Story ones too.

    Am I the only one? It seems to be all the ones linked from Photobucket.

    bruno wrote on December 16th, 2011
  32. ““If something as simple and natural makes you look younger, feel great and more fit, do you really think it is bad for you?!”

    Well said and congratulations! Continue to inspire so more can get primal and live a healthy life!

    Primal Toad wrote on December 16th, 2011
  33. Absolutely amazing. This site has given me a whole new reason to look forward to Friday!

    SeanM wrote on December 16th, 2011
  34. You look awesome!

    Wow – a playground with a bar AND rings!! ME WANT!

    Unamused Mouse wrote on December 16th, 2011
  35. Awesome job Brandon! A true inspiration. This one hit home in the career department. I constantly battle my inner Grok in order to stay in my career (software development/corporate training). I have a strong desire to have a more primal/physical job. For now I incorporate as much movement and walking into my day as I can, but wonder if a more fulfilling job is the real answer. It certainly goes against the norm these days. People (myself included) go for sedentary jobs with long commutes for high pay to the detriment of their wellbeing. Way to take the leap to a fulfilling career!

    a.j. wrote on December 16th, 2011
  36. Congratulations Brandon!!!

    Brian McKenna wrote on December 16th, 2011
  37. I love success story Fridays!! And this one did not disappoint…way to go!!

    Kathy wrote on December 16th, 2011
  38. Awesome transformation! Well done!

    Ellen wrote on December 16th, 2011
  39. Again with an amazing transformation!

    Ken Lawler wrote on December 16th, 2011

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