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. Well done :)

    Lisa wrote on January 10th, 2012
  2. wow george, you look amazing. and 3.5 months??? that’s an eye opener….i discovered mark’s daily apple through dr eades’ LOSE YOUR MIDDLE AGED MIDDLE book, and they give very similar advice to mark – ditch the sugar n carbs, increase protein n fat. i tried their diet but did not lose an inch or a pound. i have cut down severely on sugars n wheats, i can go for weeks without bread, and if i do make desserts i use dates or maple syrup or honey to sweeten rather than processed sweeteners. i also cook all my food in coconut oil. but none of this has helped me shed any weight. i am 36 yrs old, and only have a stone to lose, so maybe therein lies the problem; perhaps i am already at the plateau stage and changing the diet wont help (esp. since i have a fairly ok diet to begin with – no crisps, cookies, ice creams etc. in the first place)….maybe switching over to paleo only helps if you have actually got a contrast from lousy diet to paleo diet; but going from ok diet to paleo diet probably doesnt affect much of a change…and if u have a lot to lose i guess it comes off quicker and change happens faster…? im feeling so low about this, no matter what i try its not working….maybe i am just not a protein type…? on dr mercola’s website he says ppl are either protein types, carb types, or mixed, wh/ means a protein-heavy diet wont work for the latter two. mark any thoughts on this?

    S wrote on January 11th, 2012
  3. this is a great inspiring story and it gives me some hope as I too have become less active recently and have no energy! so I will strt a walking regime and try to train for a half-marathon to be held in my city at the end of april with the Kingston Road Runners Association. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Sharon Hougham wrote on January 11th, 2012
  4. You look ATLEAST 15 years younger! Congratulations. Totally inspiring.

    DEBRAKADABRA wrote on January 13th, 2012
  5. Your story is inspirational….thanks for sharing it and best wishes in your new life!

    Billy wrote on February 8th, 2012
  6. My husband and I have been aiming for the Paleo diet since about 2000, which was long before I’d heard the term. We got a parrot in 2000 which radically changed our eating habits because parrots, when they love you, want to share whatever you’re eating and we wanted that level of companionship with our bird. We’d never eaten much in the way of sweets, fast food or fake foods but the parrot’s health required we give up a lot of unhealthy things (like Ramen and teflon pans) so did. We had a great relationship with our good bird. He died of anesthesia-related complications in 2007 but by then our awareness of food was irrevocably changed and we never went back to our old ways.

    In about 2008 I stopped eating grains and rice because of a chance reference in a health book entry on IBS, which seemed to be what I was experiencing. The various doctors I’d seen, even the naturopaths, had been unable to help me with my symptoms but eliminating grains and rice did it in about three days.

    Since then we’ve gone more and more into Paleo and the results have been very good despite a lack of exercise. That’s the next thing to work on!

    The biggest challenge this year has been that my thyroid and adrenal glands basically up and quit on me after two years of extreme stress due to my Mom’s cancer experience and death. I’m on Armour Thyroid and a ton of supplements which help tremendously but I’m still far from well. Exercise is almost impossible right now but I can at least walk a little bit and do a few very simple things indoors. I’ve never spent so much time indoors in my life but being on the east coast in the hottest summer on record and being extremely sensitive to heat and humidity was a bad combination.

    But, I’m getting better all the time.

    I’m only posting this because of the person who wanted responses from folks who have been going Paleo for a long time. Our blood results, even without regular exercise, astound our various doctors with the near-perfect numbers. Our blood pressure is also well within normal tolerances, we rarely get sick and generally are very healthy, except for my thyroid/adrenal issues. Also, we’re on no medications at all except for my thyroid med. I’m 54 and my husband is 58.

    I’m so glad to have found this site- it’s so inspiring and makes me feel we’re really on the right track with our diet. Thanks for all the stories, hints, tips and recipes!

    Felicia wrote on September 1st, 2012
  7. Very inspiring! A few months can really make a huge difference. I used to take photos every week while I was losing weight.

    Every month I would look back at the old photos and see a big difference. It’s a great way to motivate yourself!

    Stefan wrote on January 7th, 2013

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