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

What a Difference a Few Months Can Make

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!

Dear Mark,

I have had fast, great success with the Primal lifestyle and I would like to add my story to your growing library in order to encourage others who have lost hope of ever getting that middle-age weight back off.

For most of my life, I kept myself in fairly good condition. I was a 1979 graduate of The Citadel, with military experience at Fort Bragg, so staying fit enough to achieve a top score of 300 on physical readiness evaluations came easily and naturally. I kept to the correct weight of 158 to 160 for a long time. But as the decades wore on, I lost sight of the importance of staying fit and it showed. As a writer, I had spent a lot of time in front of the computer, and it was getting difficult to sit down without unfastening the 38-inch belt on my jeans. On September 23, 2011, my family visited out-of-town relatives while I stayed home to work. At one point I got up to stretch and I saw my reflection in a mirror: fat, pear-shaped, and pasty-faced. I had known that my five-foot, nine-inch frame was getting too heavy, but I had no idea until I saw it that day. I weighed 207 pounds.

I had recently heard an interview about folks who followed a particular eating lifestyle. It wasn’t a diet. It was another way of thinking that supposedly worked without much hunger. Even better though, it was iconoclastic. Was it that macrobiotic thing, or the caveman paleo thing? I couldn’t quite remember so I did some research and landed on What I found impressed me in two ways. First, people were having rapid, healthy success even though they were not starving themselves. Second, the no-fat rigamarole that we’ve heard for so long appeared to be wrong in many ways.

After reading many of the success stories and viewing the before-and-after pictures, I decided that it was time to make a change. The hardest part was the first 3-5 days, as I went completely off of sugar and white flour products. The next few days after that, I began adding many of the recipes from the website. I enjoyed T-bone steaks, butter-sauteed rosemary chicken breasts and all different kinds of omelets, along with lots of creative leafy salads containing leeks and other heretofore unexplored culinary delights (not very expensive, either). Within a week I had lost almost five pounds, and I was not hungry. I think that staying busy with my writing had a lot to do with it as well, as boredom appears to lead to overeating.

Within eight weeks, I had lost twenty pounds, and my clothes started getting baggy. I had stored smaller clothes in boxes for years without much thought that I’d ever be able to wear them again. Imagine my surprise when I could get into fifty percent of them without pulling in my gut. The only problem was that they were fifteen or twenty years old, so I looked like a refugee from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I added thirty-minute walks, five days a week. Before the weight loss I had to be careful, as the brisk walks caused my knees to swell when I was so heavy. Not only was my weight dropping, but my endurance was increasing. North Georgia is quite hilly, but I wasn’t huffing and puffing any more. I felt like the old Saturday morning roadrunner cartoons where the coyote took some muscle enhancer and grew his legs into Popeye muscles. I was booking. By the third month, which was right before Christmas, I added a bit of Airborne shuffle to the walks. For the non-military, this is a cross between a fast walk and a jog: just enough to get the heart rate up a bit without the punishing effects that full daily jogging can cause the knees. By Christmas, I had lost approximately 33 pounds and was down to 174 pounds. People were asking, “what happened to you?” All I could do was smile and say thank you, although I did tell many of them about your website. I have no idea whether any of them went there or not, but I hope so.

So here I am, only 3 1/2 months after beginning a new healthy lifestyle: slimmer, more energetic, and getting into clothes that I never knew I could wear again. The first picture is from last Christmas. The second picture is this Christmas. Another added benefit is that I have a lower food bill, since I no longer eat the chips, ice creams, cookies, and so-forth. I honestly don’t even think of food that much. It has been a challenge to change the mindset, though. I still feel an old tug sometimes when I pass a fast food place, but all I have to do is remember how fine this all feels, and the quality of life that has been added. With that in mind, it’s really not so tough to stay on the no sugar and grains wagon. An old friend of mine, who is a rock-solid 67-year-old retired Navy SEAL, says, “You can either live to eat, or you can eat to live.” The latter sounds good to me. Thanks Mark Sisson for helping this to happen. God bless you as you continue to help people live happier and more productive lives.

All the best,

George Steffner

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. Wonderful George, my dad who is close to 60 and carrying a few extra kgs should see this. He’s thinking about Primal but hasnt really grasped it. He eats his bacon and eggs now with gusto but fails to see the toast and jam afterwards as being a problem. Funny how people hear the bit they want to hear (ie bacon is your friend) but not the other half (skip the toast dad). I will send him your story for sure! A picture speaks a thousand words!

    Jane wrote on January 6th, 2012
  2. This stuff really works. You look awesome. It is like a whole new person.

    Cathy wrote on January 6th, 2012
  3. Congratulations, George! I’m approaching 46 and am just getting serious about being Primal (instead of just reading about it on MDA ;-)). I must say, George, you’re looking pretty hot in that After shot! Really happy for you and yours!

    Tara45 wrote on January 6th, 2012
  4. Way to go. It’s an awesome feeling to accomplish something this good about ourselves. The happiness factor it provides is the ultimate. Keep up the good work! Love the inspiration.

    Brenda wrote on January 6th, 2012
  5. you BOTH look many years younger = great!

    Cecilia wrote on January 6th, 2012
  6. Congratulations, George! I LOVE hearing these wonderful success stories! I just wish my husband would listen to me and read all of them!! I’ve just started my journey at 45 and have my 10 year old son trying for 30 days! Today is day 2! All the best to you! Happy New Year!!

    Rashelle wrote on January 6th, 2012
    • It can be done. It really can.

      George wrote on January 6th, 2012
  7. Wow! What a great story. Thanks so much for such an inspiring one!! You look FANTASTIC!!

    Gina wrote on January 6th, 2012
  8. Wow! You look great. I trying to get my father to take the jump next.

    Adam wrote on January 6th, 2012
  9. Wow! You look great. I’m trying to get my father to take the jump next.

    Adam wrote on January 6th, 2012
  10. Awesome !

    Aunt Pol wrote on January 6th, 2012
  11. Thank you so much George! I love brilliant inspiration! I’m experiencing the middle-aged-middle and don’t like it one bit. I’ve decided that embracing the paleo way is the smartest answer to healthy living. It starts now. Finding time to live to eat is way better than finding time to deal with a preventable illness in the future. I’m a sugar-holic, so this will be bumpy at first. But I’m confident that the herculean warrior is in me somewhere. Thanks again for your story!

    Terri the Archer wrote on January 6th, 2012
    • Sugarholic describes what I was. I feel that times are coming in which health insurance will be either too expensive or the treatments of bad eating will not undo the problems. We must eat well now so as to avoid future problems.

      George wrote on January 6th, 2012
  12. WOW- fantastic job! I’m proud of you, and I don’t even know you. :-)

    Pam wrote on January 6th, 2012
  13. 3 1/2 Months? I’m sharing your story with my family. Most of them think we’re crazy for giving up grains. Very impressive sir. Congrats.

    primalzen wrote on January 6th, 2012
  14. You look great! I bet you feel great too.

    Linda wrote on January 6th, 2012
  15. George I am looking forward to the one year after pics – you rock big time :-)

    WildGrok wrote on January 6th, 2012
  16. Wow George! You look great and sounds like you are reaping great rewards in terms of energy! You have just reconfirmed to me that I can and will succeed doing this! Thank you for sharing :)

    Rachel wrote on January 6th, 2012
  17. Amazing story and pictures….Thank you for sharing and best wishes for the future!

    Julie wrote on January 6th, 2012
  18. Good work George! You scare me a little when you talk about how you were 209 on a 5’9″ frame. I am two inches shorter, but I am hefting 215 lbs on the beginning of my Primal journey. Like you , I am focusing on my writing as well. Funny how many things are parallel! You are a good source of inspiration, keep up the good work!

    Jason Sandeman wrote on January 6th, 2012
  19. Inspiring :)

    Алиса wrote on January 6th, 2012
  20. Wonderful, George, I’m so happy for your success. Thank you for posting. I really needed some encouragement as I have just begun this primal journey. At 57 and about 80 lbs. overweight with hypertension, I knew I had to get serious. You have inspired me greatly. It helps to know, too, that you struggled with no sugar or grains in the beginning. Honestly, the other night I dreamed about toasted sourdough bread! God bless you richly and thanks again for sharing your story :)

    Deborah wrote on January 6th, 2012
  21. Wow George, You look amazing, I have just started my 21 day challenge 4 days ago.I hope to have the same success you have had. Keep up the great work!!

    Marcy wrote on January 6th, 2012
  22. Congrats. A friend of mine recommended this book and lifestyle and I started exactly one week ago and I feel amazing. I have been overweight my whole life and Im going on 29 years old. I want changes and I feel this is the right step

    John B wrote on January 7th, 2012
  23. AIRBORNE !! Way to be Sir !! Hope to see my story up here soon .. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Seth Dressekie wrote on January 7th, 2012
  24. You took 20 years off your appearance, too. An inspiration to folks on the other side of 50, like me. Congrats!

    Pete wrote on January 7th, 2012
  25. WOW! You are glowing in your after pic. Just what I needed to keep me on track for another week!

    Shelly wrote on January 7th, 2012
  26. Good job!
    Another quote your friend’s at the end just reminded me of that I intended to pass onto this site is by Aristotle: “You are what you habitually do.”

    Animanarchy wrote on January 7th, 2012
  27. Thanks for sharing your wonderful success story! You look fantastic — especially with your beautiful wife next to you! :)


    Thank you, too, for serving our country.

    Save Ferris wrote on January 7th, 2012
    • “Save Ferris.” Ha ha. Great name.

      George wrote on January 7th, 2012
  28. Well done, George!

    “The hardest part was the first 3-5 days, as I went completely off of sugar and white flour products.” -Yes, I recognize that. Getting rid of the body’s sugar dose is hard, but when you reach the end of the tunnel, you really feel the difference.

    No sugar, no pasta, no bread – that’s what helped me! Glad it helped you too.

    I think I will add that “Airborne shuffle” quick-walking to my walks, sounds good.

    Carpenter wrote on January 7th, 2012
  29. Ya Hoo George! Couldn’t decide which was my fave line:

    “and other heretofore unexplored culinary delights”
    “refugee from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

    Can’t wait to send your story to my mom — Good work!

    Jessica wrote on January 7th, 2012
  30. Great Job George!
    Now, carry around your “before” picture, and show to everyone you know. Tell them what you did, and that this new you is NOT simple genetics.
    It’s due to nutrition (paleo/primal), exercise, and lifestyle….yes, it’s that simple.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Dr. Joh wrote on January 7th, 2012
  31. I kicked grains about 2 months ago. Still working on the sugar :(. I am a 54 year-old female. The first thing that went was gas and bloating, and my stomach is almost flat. Then my muffin top began to go away. Then it dawned on me. My family (except me) were all farmers before they moved to the city. My grandma ate bacon, pork chops, sausage (pig farmer), lots of different veggies (garden), and berries (grew own). She put bacon grease in everything. She was organic before organic was cool. She did eat some grains, but no pasta or rice. She lived 98 healthy years.

    Katydid wrote on January 7th, 2012
  32. These stories truly are amazing. Life before going Primal is much like the description by Hobbes in Leviathan: Nasty, Brutish, and short. After going Primal is much like Altucher’s book “I was Blind, but Now I See”. Unconventional wisdom at its finest. Hopefully, 2012 is the year that more and more people see the light. It’s stories like these that continue to drive inspiration to all of us!


    Jsnyd wrote on January 7th, 2012
  33. WTG! Keep up the lifestyle changes. You’re doing GREAT!

    Sgt. Gator wrote on January 7th, 2012
  34. You look great, George! Thanks for sharing your success with us!

    Connie wrote on January 7th, 2012
  35. Congratulations George! You look really healthy!

    Félix wrote on January 8th, 2012
  36. FANTASTIC!! Great story!!

    Lori wrote on January 8th, 2012
  37. Spectacular, man! Looks like you’re on your way to your military weight! Congrats!

    Patrick wrote on January 8th, 2012
  38. So inspiring! You look terrific. 2012 is going to be a super year for you. NG

    Neandergirl wrote on January 8th, 2012
  39. You are an inspiration! You look amazing. You also make it sound easy. Thank you!! Your hard work and self-respect show through!

    Cavegirl wrote on January 9th, 2012

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