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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...

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July 01, 2011

When Eating Healthy is Making You Fat!

By Guest
381 Comments

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!

Hey Mark,

It occurred to me after reading a number of other success stories that I myself had a success story to share, and while I believe that there are many to thank for helping me get where I am now, you have played a large part in my transformation.

So let me give you my back story.

Excuses I wish I had…

At this point it’s important I clarify a few things. I’m 45 and have been battling my weight for about 25 years. I can’t pin my body fat woes on any specific tragedy.

I would love to be able to blame my troubles on some sort of genetic mutation that makes me eat like a hyena. Sadly, I cannot (which is really too bad because I think I would have made an excellent X-Men character.)

I would love to be able to say I suffer from a rare genetic disorder known as no metabolism. Unfortunately, my metabolism is alive and well and doing the speed limit on most occasions.

I would love to say I am a victim of gravity. Where others experience a gravitational pull, I experience a gravitational grounding, which basically nails my butt to the earth. It might certainly explain those times I could not get out of bed or off the couch, but sadly gravity has no issue with me and subjects me to the same forces as the rest of its flock.

Regular guy doing all the right things…

No Mark, for the past 25 years in fact, I have been someone who I think a fair number of your readers might relate to.

  • I have always been very active
  • I have worked out 4 or 5 days/week for most of those 25 years
  • I was a vegetarian for the last 19 years
  • When I worked out, it was with a high degree of intensity
  • I ate 5 or 6 healthy meals each day
  • I prepared almost all my own foods
  • About 95% of my meals were organic whole foods
  • About 50% of those meals were raw
  • I seldom ate junk food
  • I ate out even less

And what did all that get me?

[That mug shot was taken in November, 2010.]

That’s what all of the above got me.

I can’t tell you what I weigh in that photo because I had long ago given up on the scale as a unit of measurement. I won’t get into the details of the nasty breakup, other than to say one of us was not being honest about how much I weighed.

But I can tell you that waist required a 36-inch pant. And I can tell you that I am not sticking my stomach out to look fatter than I really am. If anything, I was holding it in slightly because I was embarrassed how I looked, even though it never occurred to me that I would be sharing this photo with anyone other than Microsoft Word.

When doing something looks like nothing…

There is an old saying that you can’t get something for nothing. That may be true, but that body above is proof you can get nothing for something. It seemed that no matter what I did, it always looked like I did nothing. I decided that I didn’t want that legacy on my tombstone…

RIP Dean Dwyer
1965 to 2065
He proved you can get nothing for something.

Clearly, what I was doing wasn’t working and on November 23rd I finally had my, “Dude where is my body?” moment.

I needed to do something completely different if I was going to unleash the body that was trapped in my imagination for the past 25 years.

And so I fired all the health experts I had relied on in the past. I tossed out every notion I had about what I thought constituted good health and that included questioning whether a vegetarian diet was right for my body-type.

I really wasn’t sure where to begin. I just knew I had to do something seismic. I needed to take some steps that would drastically alter my course. Simply eating healthy (too vague to even measure) and working out (my default weight loss option) weren’t working.

It became obvious to me that there was more to this journey then I realized and I had to be open to explore it if I wanted a different result. I already knew what to do to be fat.

Stealing from Google…

So I sat down and wrote out a philosophy for my health. Google has one titled, 10 Things We Know To Be True, that governs the very essence of their business, and since they seem to be scrapping by, I figured I better have one too. I knew if I was going to have any success this time around I needed to have a framework from which to evaluate my successes and failures.

While my current philosophy contains 26 items, at the time I started with the simple notion of recording every thing I ate. My rationale was simple. I couldn’t possibly know what worked for my body-type unless I had data I could refer to.

This was a science experiment of the utmost importance and I needed the raw data. This journey would be no different from Thomas Edison’s journey to create the light bulb. He made countless notes and observations on each and every failed experiment, each moving him incrementally closer to finding a solution that worked. I needed to take the exact same approach.

And so I started logging all my foods all the time (I still do this…don’t want to mess with my success). I was still vegetarian at the time and after a few months I could definitely see changes. Not massive changes, but enough change to keep me going.

My theory was and still is, that the very act of recording makes me a mindful eater, as opposed to a mindless eater (which is what I was for 25 years), and as such, I would make better choices even if little else in my diet was different.

But then, as always seems to be the case, I noticed that in mid-January of this year, I was putting weight back on. I knew this because I was taking a photo of myself every morning.

Needless to say I was horrified. It was that, “Crap, here we go again” moment.

But I must say, recording my eating was an accidental stroke of genius because it allowed me to take a step back and analyze what I was putting in my body and suddenly I had this thought…

What if eating healthy is making me fat?

I really couldn’t explain this any other way. On paper my stats looked great. Unfortunately, stats are 2-dimensional and I was living in a 3-dimensional world. The stats and my reality weren’t aligning.

Good calories, bad calories…

And so I jumped online and started doing research. I had no idea what I was looking for, but somehow I stumbled upon Gary Taubes, and this lead me to read his book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories.”

I found the book fascinating. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no Harry Potter, but I found the studies he cited and the narrative he provided to be just as engaging.

And as I poured over the studies he had presented, “it” happened.

I stumbled upon one line in one study voiced by one researcher (whose name I cannot remember) who suggested the following…

What if weight gain is a symptom and not a character flaw.

WOW! That line floored me.

I knew that people on the outside would look at my November pic and provide a quick and utterly useless diagnosis. Without knowing anything about me, they would simply say I needed to be more disciplined. I would need to cut back on my calories (take on some starvation diet – no thanks!) and expend more calories than I was taking in.

In essence, they would be implying that my situation was a result of a series of character flaws. Since I had already beaten myself up for 25 years thinking I was to blame, this new insight lead me to think…

What if I am not to blame?
What if this isn’t my fault?
What if the foods I am eating don’t allow my body (when I say body I’m referring to it on a cellular level) to do its job, which is to rid itself of the excess fat that has accumulated?

I can’t tell you how liberating this thoughts were. It literally changed the cultural landscape of my mind, which, in my experience, is the most challenging aspect of this whole journey.

A Primal discovery…

But I didn’t know what to do with this info.

I didn’t know what I was supposed to change in my diet to put this theory to work. And so I once again jumped on the internet and began researching diets.

And again, I have no idea how it happened Mark, but I ended up on your site and on this post: How to Succeed with the Primal Blueprint.

I had heard of the Paleo Diet before, but I had dismissed it simply because I knew the vegetarian lifestyle was the right way to go. Clearly, I was blinded by my arrogance and my ignorance.

I was captivated by the concept. The thought of a diet based on an evolutionary premise made sense to me. Hell, I scream like a two-year when someone scares the crap out of me and know that is an evolutionary mechanism at play, why couldn’t the same reasoning apply for diet.

It made perfect sense in theory.

Of course, there are lots of experts who are quick to point out all the negatives. But if this journey has taught me anything it is that I am the expert on me. No one, and I mean no one, can tell me what works for my body-type. That is my domain and my domain alone.

In the past, I was too willing to hand my domain to other people who clearly knew nothing about me and what made me tick.

And while I don’t believe there is one magic diet that works for everyone, I do believe there is one that works for me, and so I was determined to test what you were professing Senor Sisson.

Here is what I did…

  • I dropped the vegetarian diet immediately
  • I banned pasta, grains, legumes, rice, twigs, leaves, branches; you name it, I banned it
  • I adopted mass quantities of veggies, good meats, raw nuts and seeds and fruit (albeit on a very controlled basis)
  • I stopped thinking about my workouts as a tool for fat loss and began to look at them as a way to increase my body’s functionality (geared towards survival and being able to save a life)

  • And I followed the chart below to a tee. That bad boy has been my bible.

And the results?

[Not sure why I am not smiling in the second photo. I am tempted to say I wasn’t ready for the photo, but I am the one who snapped the pic.]

Well, I have achieved results I have NEVER attained before and I have done so eating more now than I did in the past and doing less exercise than I did before (I now do 5 workouts that MUST be 30 minutes or less).

I went from a 36 inch pant size to a 29 inch pant size.

While some of the pictures speak for themselves (sorry for the shameless self-promotion), I want to make it clear that my journey is far from over. I will always be a work in progress.

The great thing now is I am 100% certain what I am doing works. My job is to simply stay out of my own way.

Other benefits?

Surprisingly, I have had many friends who have been captivated by the changes I have made and have asked me to help them create change in their own lives as well. While I never really expected this to be an outcome of my efforts (simply because I had failed spectacularly so many times over the past 25 years) I definitely want to do all I can to add to the primal tribe.

[If you haven’t read Hawaiian Scottie’s story, Living the Dream, check it out. Not only did I love his story, but I was inspired by his ability to add 8 people to his tribe.]

I also recently launched www.beingprimal.com, which is going to be a video based site to help shed some light on the emotional and psychological aspect of this Primal journey. [sorry that is shameless self-promotion part 2]

My mistake in the past was thinking this was simply a diet and exercise issue. It is much more complex than that.

This is an emotional and psychological journey first and foremost. It’s a journey into understanding who we are. Until we are willing to plunge into the depths of our murky inner self and figure out why we do what we do, all the other stuff is meaningless, because it won’t last. We will find a way to blow it up long before the results can ever reveal themselves.

So Mark, I thank you for not only helping me unleash that body that I knew I had, but I thank you for unleashing a passion that was buried even deeper within me.

All the best amigo,

DD

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381 Comments on "When Eating Healthy is Making You Fat!"

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Anne
Anne
5 years 2 months ago

YOU LOOK AWESOME!!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Anne 🙂

Mike
Mike
5 years 2 months ago

Seriously, this is an incredible transformation. Great job. I might reel off a few pushups. You got me inspired.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Mike. And it only took a few push ups. I’m kidding of course, but I can say it did start with only being able to do 2 very UGLY pull ups.

taihuibabe
5 years 2 months ago

ha! I was just thinking the same thing! watching a guy do pull-ups makes me feel ambitious!

Leah
Leah
5 years 2 months ago

What a spunk! Great story, very inspiring Dean. I hope to one day have such a great transformation to share.
Good on you!

Digby
Digby
5 years 2 months ago

The power of learning, and the open mind. Talk about evolving, you’ve sure done some in your own life. Congratulations!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Well Digby, thanks and with regards to evolving, well I am a work in progress. What I find most interesting about this journey is that I can apply many of the principles I am learning to other areas of my life as well.

Sandy
Sandy
5 years 2 months ago

Inspirational!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Sandy. To be honest however I didn’t submit the story to simply be inspirational. I am hoping my story will resonate with some who will be inspired to take some seismic action to create change in their own lives. But the feedback is great none-the-less.

Uncephalized
Uncephalized
5 years 2 months ago

Isn’t that sort of the definition of inspiration? 😀

Great job, by the way. Night and day.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

I think their layers of inspiration. Some inspire and others inspire people to act. Two different art forms.

Maggie
5 years 2 months ago

You look great!! And I think you ARE smiling in the “after” pic. You have a kind of shocked/smug hidden grin thing going on. I can definitely tell you are pleased with your results (albeit somewhat surprised).

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Actually Maggie I suck when it comes to having my picture taken. I either look like I should be in prison or I have some goofy grin that makes me look like the Joker from Batman. Need to find that happy medium.

karyn
karyn
5 years 2 months ago

Funny you mentioned Batman. When I first saw your “after picture”- I thought you looked like Michael Keaton in Batman. You look great – what an inspiration!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Karyn, I will definitely take the comparison. I have batman pajamas…maybe I should break them out and do a little crime fighting…they have feet on them though so I am worried criminals won’t take me seriously 🙂 Thanks for a wonderful compliment.

Primal Toad
5 years 2 months ago

GINOURMOUS INSPIRATION! Great way to kick off the 4th of July weekend Mark!!

Thanks for submitting your success story Dean!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Yo yo PT. Thanks. Being Canadian today is our 4th of July (happy birthday Canada). Hey btw I sent you a few things this week. We can talk later about them when you have had a chance to look them over. Have a great weekend amigo.

Primal Toad
5 years 2 months ago

Yes, I got the email! I am going through my email right now so expect something sometime today.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

P.S. Your blog looks AWESOME! Keep up the great work – you will inspire MILLIONS. That’s a GUARANTEE!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

I was shooting to inspire the entire planet, but perhaps your plan is more manageable.

Primal Toad
5 years 2 months ago
I just finished reading the post… wow! I hope people read this line over and over and over again… “But if this journey has taught me anything it is that I am the expert on me. No one, and I mean no one, can tell me what works for my body-type. That is my domain and my domain alone.” Perfectly said fellow caveman. People need to understand that the Primal Blueprint is a guideline. There is no one diet fits all. But that does not mean that anyones and everyones health can improve if he or she eliminates all grains,… Read more »
Jesse
5 years 2 months ago
“I just finished reading the post… wow! I hope people read this line over and over and over again… “But if this journey has taught me anything it is that I am the expert on me. No one, and I mean no one, can tell me what works for my body-type. That is my domain and my domain alone.” Both of you just summed up why I’m going back to school at my age to get a solid foundation in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition…I want to know why some variation of this dietstyle works so well for so many people,… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago
Hey Jesse, I’m a big fan of anyone who can pull off the phrase “rock on brotha.” Sadly I cannot. I think your line about helping more people make the jump was why I decided to submit my story. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of posting semi-nude pics of myself on this post or my site for that matter because I didn’t want to be “THAT GUY.’ But I thought about if and realized I didn’t want to be “That guy” who talked about stuff he wasn’t actually doing. There are enough of those “experts” in the world that… Read more »
Anne
5 years 2 months ago

Wow! What a great success story. I especially love how DD pinpoints his “Aha!” moments for us lucky MDA readers.

Great story!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Actually they were more like “Woo Hoo” moments with a little jig thrown in. I like your blog Darby; like that you have focused your efforts on the smarter gender on planet. Very cool.

Autumnrose
Autumnrose
5 years 2 months ago

You are proof that a paleo lifestyle works!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey autumn thanks. You can use me as a bumper sticker for that slogan if you would like. 🙂

Missy
Missy
5 years 2 months ago

What an amazing and inspirational journey. Thanks.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Missy. My goal however (not sure if I accomplished it however) is that I can inspire people to act. It’s not all inspirational however. I am a disaster in the kitchen. But that is a story for another day.

Cathy
Cathy
5 years 2 months ago

Wow! Quite a story!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Cathy. What’s your story btw?

Nick K
Nick K
5 years 2 months ago
Nice story Dean and very well written. Your style is similar to Mark’s – light, easy going and a bit tongue in cheek and I appreciate it when people take a healthy dose of humour in their everyday primal doings. I also like and know that wry smile in your after photo, it is a smile that says “I think I have found the truth about how I should look after my body and boy does it feel good to know I am walking down the right path – AT LAST!”. I’m really happy for you, you are living it,… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago
Well the first draft was written in crayon Nick so this version that Aaron posted makes me look a little more sophisticated than I really am 🙂 And clearly my smile is fooling people. I think on that last one I was smiling because I thought I forgot to set the timer on the camera. But I like your explanation better. Good question btw. I’m a bigger eater than Mark is. And I don’t regulate what I eat. At least not at this point. When I started this I laid out a few ground rules. One was I could NEVER… Read more »
Chris Sears
Chris Sears
5 years 2 months ago

I agree that your post is well written. Usually I just look at the before and after pictures, but this time I read every word.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Chris, you and I both. But I had to read every word because I wrote this darn thing….so I appreciate you taking the time to read it. If there was a follow up quiz I am fairly confident you would have done quite well.

SuzieP
SuzieP
5 years 2 months ago

Wow Dean – What an absolutely brilliant story – well written with a wonderful sense of humour. Your journey is amazing and your photos are amazing. Truly inspirational!!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Suzie. Can I take you home to meet my parents? And please repeat what you said above.

SuzieP
SuzieP
5 years 2 months ago

I’ll book my flight tomorrow 😉 I’ll tell them that apples don’t fall very far from the tree, that should really impress them (unless it’s just and English saying that will just confuse them lol)

I must say I’m still smiling thinking about your story. A man with a sense of humour, good looking AND can spell!!

Autumn
Autumn
5 years 2 months ago
I agree with Suzie — these were my thoughts exactly as I read through Dean’s post. Why aren’t there more like him in Chicago? Thanks for sharing your story, Dean! Such a quick transformation in only a few months must be thrilling. I’m sure it helps that you had years of fitness training, but the psychological and emotional benefits of this lifestyle are often glossed over. I’ve been physically active for years, so the physical changes were of course refreshing. But what surprised me the most was how a girl who battled anxiety and depression for most of my life… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

And lets not forget I put the toilet seat back down after I pee (is that too much info?).

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago
sorry suzie your comment is below Autumns and Autumn this is your comment. Thanks. I think the city of Toronto is sick of me so if they decide to ban me…Chicago here I come. And the emotional psychological aspect of this journey can’t be overlooked. Sounds weird coming from a guy because we tend to equate this with woman (simply because they are honest enough to indicate it is a factor.) But it is a big part of why we are where we are in our lives right now. There are reasons why we do what we do and diet… Read more »
SuzieP
SuzieP
5 years 2 months ago

Toilet seat as well!! Is there no end to your talents??!! 😉

Forget Canada and America – the UK NEEDS you!!

Stevemidd
Stevemidd
5 years 2 months ago

*applauds*
Great story.

How easy did you find going back to meat after nearly 20 years?

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Steve,

It was really easy. But I also have a bit of dog in me (meaning I eat like a dog) so I can eat anything (I draw the line at kitty litter however.)

liberty_1776
5 years 2 months ago

I hope you do not eat your own primal poop, haha. My sister’s dog does that and I want to yak.

Nancy
Nancy
5 years 2 months ago

Good choice!

regular guy
regular guy
5 years 2 months ago

WOW, that’s does sound alot like my story also, mostly doing the right things, vegetarian, running hard, lifting and never getting in shape, I been doing primal since JAN 1 2011, at about the 80% level, never hungry and dropped 35lbs almost without pain. I also thank Mark

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Are you me? That’s great to hear regular guy. I would suggest you submit your story as well and help build the tribe.

Regular Dean

regular guy
regular guy
5 years 2 months ago

I didn’t mean to usurp your handle regular guy, I would like to put up a story some day. I don’t have a problem with giving up pasta, but my primal side says keep head low and out of sight. Publishing to the world will not be my strong suit. But you have posted well, and I have already bookmarked your Website. Looks excellent!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks amigo. My brother actually convinced me to send my story hear. It never occurred to me to tell my story publicly…did take some getting used to though.

Alison Golden
5 years 2 months ago

Well, Dean, you made me smile which, at 6:30am in the morning, is no mean feat. Congratulations on your weight loss, you look great! I’m sure you feel great too.

‘I am the expert on me.’Amen to that.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

First, you have best most expensive last name ever! Second, smiles are free up until noon, then unfortunately I have to charge for them. Third, I really like your site. The last name lends itself to warrior status. Mine (dwyer) not so much. Any suggestions on a new last name for me? What do you think of Dean Silver?

Alison Golden
5 years 2 months ago

‘Most expensive last name ever!’ That’s what my husband says about me. 😉

As for the name, I think you could go a long way with the one you have – the alliteration is great – Dean Dwyer Defeats Dodgy Diet for starters…

Thank you for the comment about my site.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

No problemo Warrior Golden…D5 signing off

bradley
bradley
5 years 2 months ago

Very inspirational! Wow, great work!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Bradley. That’s so much better than hearing “You suck!” 🙂

Paul Alexander
5 years 2 months ago

Cool transformation! Congrats on re-finding your path to fitness and health!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Paul. Anyone can transform. But can they do it coolly?

Jack
Jack
5 years 2 months ago

“I am hoping my story will resonate with some who will be inspired to take some seismic action to create change in their own lives. But the feedback is great none-the-less” –Well, mission accomplished, and well done. My copy of the PB book has been staring at me from the shelf for too many days. So, first step is today.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Jack that is great to hear. The goal was to inspire action.

Mark, do I get any royalties off Jack’s book? Just askin’ 🙂

Demeris
Demeris
5 years 2 months ago

Wow, your transformation is amazing. Congratulations–you radiate good health, now. If you were 10 years older, I’d probably be stalking you right now.

AND I love your sense of humor and that you write “different from” rather than the cringe-worthy “different than.”

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Demeris, you will find I am very-stalk friendly. As for my linguistic abilities, that was probably a total fluke that I didn’t right “different than.” And the sense of humour is a free 4th of July weekend bonus! Enjoy!

Jedidiah
Jedidiah
5 years 2 months ago
Dean- Your testimony could not have come at a better time for me. About three months ago I decided what I was doing wasn’t working so I started tracking everything I was eating. While I was seeing some results it took way too much time. I have a wife and two young kids that are my greatest joy and the time it took to workout/track food was not worth the little benefit I was seeing. The cost was way too high. So I have been searching for something that would allow me to be healthy (not just look healthy) but… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago
Jedidah, thanks for the detail. I think I mentioned somewhere in my post that I don’t believe there is one diet for everyone; but that said, I believe there are tenets within this diet that can work for most everyone if they stop thinking about this as PLUG AND PLAY. This is an ART not a paint by numbers diet. I often describe it like a chess game. You can teach people what each of the 6 pieces does, but how each individual uses those pieces to “win” is varied with thousands of subtle options to be explored. Of course,… Read more »
Desert Caveman
Desert Caveman
5 years 2 months ago

Do it!! I went primal in September of 2010 and my results have been fantastic, just like Dean’s results. I never thought feeling good would feel this good!

Kyle
Kyle
5 years 2 months ago

Wow! I lurk all the time, but I had to post on this one. That was just a super well written story and (as others have said) extremely inspirational. Great work, Dean! I’m sure you’ll continue making progress by leaps and bounds with your head in the right place.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Kyle, I am also lurker friendly as well so glad you de-lurked (I just made up a word) to share. I hope you are right about my head being in the right place. Anywhere other than sitting on my shoulders will just be awkward at parties.

Elenor
Elenor
5 years 2 months ago
When I hit your before/after pix, I was startled into a spontaneous whistle of astonishment and applause! OMG! WAY to go! You’re quite the example, even for a fat old lady who is just entering her second month of “Body By Science” lifting (LOVE it!!!!) and trying to figure out how to go Paleo when I don’t eat veg… Yesterday, I finished the last cheese in the house (a food I’ve lived on for years; gonna substitute hard-boiled eggs (and leftover meat) as my go-to quick-food). I will be doing without cheese (and, shortly, nuts as well) for Mark’s 30… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago
I laughed when I read “fat old lady” because I thought you were referring to me. I’m sure you are neither, but exploring Paleo is definitely a step in the right direction. I can tell you this Elenor, it starts by makings some difficult decisions. I have a handful of foods that I love but send me over the edge if I eat them. Cheese is one. Cereal was another. Ice cream is killer. Cheese sticks to me like glue. One winter I gained 15 pounds in two weeks volunteering at a world cup ski event eating nothing but pizza.… Read more »
Christine
Christine
5 years 2 months ago

This story is awesome. I’ve only been converted over to paleo for 2-3 weeks, but my story is so similar as far as experiencing that sort of “awakening”.

I had long accepted that my body was genetically just going to be shaped a certain way, but low and behold after just a couple of weeks I have been seeing remarkable changes, and am starting to lose those “last 10 pounds” that no one can ever seem to get rid of.

Congratulations on your success!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Christine. It’s funny isn’t it how many of us think that very same thing…that this is just the body we are supposed to have.

You should share your story when you are ready. It’s a great motivation to stay the course and build your own tribe.

Lissa
5 years 2 months ago

Hi Dean! Not only is your story inspiring and heartfelt, but you are also an amazing writer! I’m glad you started the website for all to see, but I hope you write some more publicly as well!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks for that encouragement. I am actually going to move to a video based model simply because I am more effective in communicating that way and my somewhat goofy side can SHINE through as well. But that is wonderful feedback none-the-less Lissa. Thanks!!!

Jana
5 years 2 months ago

So incredibly inspiring! Wow…I love reading these stories every Friday and hope to send in my own at some point. You look fantastic!
Jana

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Jana. Definitely send your story in…it helps in the accountability department as well. And cool blog. Love the simplicity of it and the fact you give your husband BIG props!!!

spincycle
spincycle
5 years 2 months ago

Wow, great story! I too had an epiphany when I read “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, it made me emotional and angry that we’ve been blaming the fat guy for being lazy. I learned that I was seriously miseducated and not lazy and weak-willed (well, maybe there was a little of that too). Taubes led me to educate myself on how to really eat, and I stumbled upon Mark’s Daily Apple, and am re-learning how to eat and exercise. I loved your story and think you look great- I can’t wait to unleash my waiting 6-pack!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago
Hey spincycle (can I call you spinner?), yeah that book was an eye opener for me. Funny how one line can change a destiny and literally reshape my entire outlook. Clearly it has done the same for you. And a word of advice. The goal isn’t a 6-pack. The goal is to do the right things to be healthy. The 6-pack is simply a by-product of that. I say that because I started with this goal as well and then realized I was neglecting the emotional, psychological, and the intellectual part of this journey which is what has been the… Read more »
Marnee
Marnee
5 years 2 months ago

The title of Taube’s book is wrong in the article.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

I did that in a blog entry I wrote as well. Maybe Gary has his title wrong?

Mike F
Mike F
5 years 2 months ago

Congrats on your journy!
I’m still on mine… but I wanted to point out that the Gary Taubes book is Good Calories Bad Calories not Good Carbs Bad Carbs.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Mike…I did that one purpose to see if people were actually reading my post (OK I didn’t, but I appreciate you pointing that out…it might explain why Taubes karate chops me in the spinal cord if he should ever meet me.)

sarah
5 years 2 months ago
I loved reading your story. You before and after pics are worth a million. I feel like our paths have been somewhat similar. Always felt like the hamster running in circles on that stupid wheel. Now as an active cross-fitter and a lover of all things paleo my life has changed dramatically. I read a passage a couple of months ago that inspires me every day. “Exercise is critical but nutrition is vital!” For all I know it may have been Mark that threw those words out there. Whoever it was I thank them and I thank you for sharing… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago
Hey Sarah, thanks so much. So can I collect these millions from you? Do you use PayPal? Perhaps you can just transfer the funds directly to me. You are not related to a Nigerian Prince whose kingdom is in complete anarchy are you? That line does sound like something Mark would say, so lets give him the props until someone says otherwise. And I love Bravo! Can I assume you were standing and clapping as you wrote that? (actually that doesn’t make any sense, because you can’t type and clap at the same time.) And great to hear your success… Read more »
Johnny
Johnny
5 years 2 months ago

I love these stories. It’s so cool seeing other 40-year-old plus guys going this route. It’s fun to be in better shape, and probably stronger, than guys half our age.

Great job Dean. You look fantastic!

jt

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks JT. You have got me thinking, I wonder if I should go back and enroll in high school again?

Elizabeth
5 years 2 months ago
What a great journey! I spent the past five years as a vegetarian and have recently introduced fish and gone paleo/primal. It’s very motivating to see someone who has achieved as much success as you have with a similar switch. I was having a ton of health issues and weight gain despite doing everything “right” – I ate tons of fruits and veggies, protein in the form of tofu, tempeh, eggs and beans and had almost no fat in my diet, and yet I was getting diagnosed with a bunch of new illnesses and feeling crappy all the time. I… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago
That’s AWESOME! I didn’t mention this in the post, but one of my reasons for my success was that I committed to being Paleo full-time. I have met a number of people who are part-time Paleoers (oh boy I made up another word) and they just don’t get the results because they aren’t willing to commit completely. I don’t believe you can dabble in this (or anything for that matter.) You don’t have a great marriage by doing it part-time…same is true of this. I wish you all the best Elizabeth. Email me sometime and let me know how it… Read more »
Elizabeth
5 years 2 months ago
Thanks Dean! I’m definitely a full-timer in the sense that I only ever eat paleo foods, but I haven’t yet gone the route of eating meat in addition to fish. I actually ate beef (grass-fed jerky, but it’s a start) for the first time in five years yesterday, so I’m getting myself used to the idea of introducing land animals. Honestly, my biggest deterrent has been the unavailability of sustainably and ethically raised meat in my area (and the fact that my boyfriend is still a vegetarian and is freaked out by all the recent changes in my life), but… Read more »
Uncephalized
Uncephalized
5 years 2 months ago

I think you could probably do pretty well eating no animal products except eggs and fish, which you’re already doing. Those give you lots of good fats, including saturated fat in the eggs, along with a great spectrum of vitamins and minerals and a healthy dose of omega-3s. You could definitely do a lot worse, so there’s no reason to rush sourcing quality meat.

Except that beef is delicious and I personally count any week without a steak as a week not lived, but that’s me. 😀

Nomad1
Nomad1
5 years 2 months ago
A great success story! What I like about this one is it represents a section of people that isn’t normally represented when it comes to weight loss…people who have lived a “healthy” lifestyle before and still struggled with weight. Not the ones like on The Biggest Loser who talk about how hard it is to give up fast food and 5000 calories a day and who haven’t exercised in years. I spent the last two years exercising 1.5 hours a day, at least 5 days a week and staying around 1200 calories and the scale never budged. I was a… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Wowzers! 33 pounds!! that’s awesome. You and I have similar stories. Congrats. I think the lesson for that or for anyone else (I learned this the hard way sadly) is that if you are trying something and after a month, no results are present, the IT ISN’T WORKING and you need to change course. Not big changes, but changes are needed. Keep up your nomadic ways nomad (get it?? I know that isn’t funny at all)

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 2 months ago

Exactly.
I ate all ORGANIC for 10 years and gained 20 lbs. Had to use starvation tactics together with laxatives (not proud of it) to keep ‘thin’. And all those organic whole grain breads gave me a hell of a time in the bathroom as well =P

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Oh bread was killer for me. I would buy a whole loaf at whole foods in the good ole pre-primal days and eat half of it on the 7 minute car ride home. Not pretty I tell ya.

Grog47
Grog47
5 years 2 months ago

Congratulations Dean, you look phenomenal. A truly awesome and most inspirational success story and one of my favourites, for sure! At 47 I just started on my journey and if I posted my head on your November pic that would be pretty representative where I am now. Much of your journey over the past 25 years seems to parallel what I’ve been doing and experiencing. Your story really resonated with me. If I get anywhere close to your success I’ll be one happy fellow Canuck! To quote Sarah “bravo”!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey grog, as a fellow Canuck happy Canada day 🙂 And posting your head on top of mine is OK. Posting it under my arm however will make me look like some kind of serial killing cannibal so I wouldn’t recommend that approach 🙂

If anything, then at least you know what’s possible. My only advice…commit to the lifestyle 100% and test the sh*t out of ideas to see what works and what doesn’t.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Grog47
Grog47
5 years 2 months ago
“Serial killing cannibal”…LOL. At least it would be keeping in the spirit of eating Primal!! Happy Canada Dean and thanks for the advice. I’m going to journal everything starting today as it seems to just make sense that without data it’s hard to know what’s working or not. I’ve heard it a million times before but when you noted “I couldn’t possibly know what worked for my body-type unless I had data I could refer to” it just seemed to click this time. I’m sure I’ll have some questions as I progress, so thanks. Btw, your website is pretty cool!!
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

That was huge for me. We need data…just as a business needs data to know whether it is running at a profit or a loss. Good luck my friend.

Teri
5 years 2 months ago

Great story (and photos) Dean! My husband and I have a similar story: we were vegetarian-ish (occasionally ate fish), cooked pretty much everything we ate from scratch, exercised a lot (weights + long-distance running), no junk food, etc. Oddly enough, we kept putting on weight. We thought we were just getting old (in our mid-40s!) and there was nothing we could do because we were doing everything “right”. Congratulations on your success!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Teri, funny isn’t when we think we are doing everything right only to see that the results say otherwise. I think your story has a very valuable lesson as well. We all have a tendency to jump to false conclusions about why think certain things are happening. So happy for you that you were able to smash through that paradigm. Good luck to you and your husband and thanks for sharing.

kim
5 years 2 months ago

Hi Dean

Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

You have a great writing style I really found you story engaging.

Good luck with your future Primal life.

Regards

Kim

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks Kim. If you thought the movie was engaging, wait until the movie comes out. Ok there is no movie, but I have always wanted to drop that line on someone. One more thing I can scratch off my list. 🙂

ross
ross
5 years 2 months ago

Wow, Dean. I feel like i am in the exact same situation prior to your transformation…i train hard and try to eat the right things but i seem to fall flat on my face.

I really like the “10 Things We Know To Be True” idea and i going to start my own.

Thanks again for your post, i think its the best one i’ve read on here so far.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Ross,

Thanks man. That’s a great compliment, one of the best I have gotten in fact so thank you for sharing. The Google thing is pretty cool. But having a philosophy has done wonders for me because I now have guidelines upon which to gauge my behavior.

I never had that in the past and thus would stray off course and not even know it. Good luck on your journey my friend and let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help.

Melissa
Melissa
5 years 2 months ago

Dean, I love this story and your transformation is really amazing. I also tried the super healthy vegetarian route for way too long and just got sicker and sicker. I hope someday to be able to post a success story here, but right now I’m still a work in progress and these stories are essential for me to keep my motivation up. I look forward to Fridays for that reason. So thank you.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Melissa that transformation is not nearly as amazing as the one that transforms me from “just woke up zombie” to “hey look there is a real person”.

And your welcome and I encourage to make it a MUST to publish your story here. And might I also suggest working on building your own tribe…you know a handful of people who get this lifestyle and will help hold accountable. Best of luck with your transformation and I look forward to reading your story someday.

Jill
Jill
5 years 2 months ago

EXCELLENT !!! 10 out of 10 !!! 🙂

Great story, great story-telling !! 🙂

Thanks so much for a terrific Friday morning start with fantastic photos – I will be looking at your blog later.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Jill this is the first time I ever got perfect on something. I’m adding this to my high school transcript 🙂

And you are very welcome.

Laurie D.
5 years 2 months ago

I love Fridays at MDA. Awesome story and I love your writing style. I’m adding you to my blogroll on my blog so I can keep up with your story. Nicely done!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks so much for the feedback Laurie 🙂

RachieRacer
RachieRacer
5 years 2 months ago

Great story Dean! I know others have mentioned it in these comments but I feel the need to reiterate what an excellent and entertaining writer you are! I can’t wait to read your blog.

Harry
5 years 2 months ago

Yet another story that smashes conventional wisdom to pieces.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Harry you should see me with non-breakable dishware.

Lisa
Lisa
5 years 2 months ago

You look fantastic and your story is so inspiring!! More proof that we can’t listen to CW to achieve our best bodies/health. Way to go!!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

ha ha I was like CW? What do you mean we can’t listen to Cactus Willy?

but then I put my grade 7 deductive skills to work and realized Conventional Wisdom (actually I have seen Mark use this in other posts).

Thanks so much lisa for the feedback.

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 2 months ago

This is definitely one of the best stories to me.
The ‘light bulb’ moments you mention are important! How many people go primal just for a little while to just shed some pounds, and use this as a Diet.

A light bulb moment is exactly what I had when I stumbled upon Marks Daily Apple.

Thank you for sharing your success, you look fit and healthy in the after photos, very awesome story!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey PP, you make a good point in the first paragraph. I thought about this when I started as well. I realized that what I was doing “Now” had to be sustainable and something I could do effortlessly 5 years from now. If it didn’t fit that criteria I chucked it.

I should also add that I am also very hungry in those after photos. Those were just before dinner. 🙂

Thanks for taking the time to share. Awesome!

Uncephalized
Uncephalized
5 years 2 months ago

Well there you go, you had your hunting face on! That explains it.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

ha ha! Had to think about that for a second.

A.B. Dada
5 years 2 months ago
Dean, I can see in your early photo the same face I used to make when I had the same body (at 27 years of age). As for the frown in the new you photo, I pretty much have that same face. It’s the face you’ll have to show over and over when your friends and family “worry” that “you’re too thin” or that “you’re going to have a heart attack.” It’s the face of a man who now knows that no one can attack you and win — you’re faster, stronger and more determined to beat the odds that… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey AB, thanks for those kind words. I quite like your second last line my friend, but I am not any different from anyone else. At some point we all have that moment where enough is enough. Hopefully if nothing else I can spur a people to fast forward to that moment now. Whoa that was really serious. Sorry about that 🙂

Jeff
Jeff
5 years 2 months ago

Nice job for sure. Stories like this make me wonder why vegetarianism (I think I just made up a word…) is so prevalent. Thinking about it further, I know quite a few devote vegatarians/vegans who have worked hard for years with little to show for it and and yo yo weight cycle depending on their diligence at the time. It certainly must feel nice for something to work as advertise. Now we just need to get this posted on a vegetarian site somehow :D.

Jeff
Jeff
5 years 2 months ago

Oh, and sorry for the double post, but bravo Dean!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

and bravo has been received and deposited in my feel good account.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Jeff, honestly I don’t want to slag the vegetarian lifestyle as a whole because I can only speak about it from my perspective. I didn’t work for me. Of course we could say that for any diet. I think more people need to step back and ask, “Is this working?” rather than assuming that it is healthy and just going through the motions (like i did for 19 years) while having little to show for their efforts.

Jeff
Jeff
5 years 2 months ago

Agreed, I’m not a combat paleo person…or whatever :P. However, knowledge does need to be spread. I’m sure you would have been thankful if someone found a way to get you to try something different a decade ago.

Susan
5 years 2 months ago
I love your story and your outlook. I especially love this line: “I stopped thinking about my workouts as a tool for fat loss and began to look at them as a way to increase my body’s functionality”. When I ask myself – or others ask me -what is driving my journey of fitness and health, deep down the best I can come up with is this: I want to know that if I needed to run through the desert all night – or lift heavy boulders – to save my family…I could. This is the way I want to… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago
Thanks Susan. While I don’t have kids I have often thought about what would be required to prevent a child from running out into oncoming traffic or having to evacuate someone from a burning house or running to safety if a viscous dog were on the loose…all that stuff made me realize that riding a stationary bike for 45 minutes a pop doesn’t do crap to help with those situations. It was pretty pivotal to my change. Mark did a post somewhere on this. Not sure which one but I use some of that as a guide. For instance I… Read more »
Susan
5 years 2 months ago

Brain cells…oh, you’ve got them, I can tell! I am finding mine are a whole lot clearer, and less ravaged by cravings, without all the sugar coursing through my veins.

primal tree top
primal tree top
5 years 2 months ago

wow you are just what I need. I have started my primal journey and am not even a year in but, have already lost more weight and kept it off than any other time in my life. Thanks for the inspiration and ideas.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Glad I could help PT.

The Jaded NYer
5 years 2 months ago
I only decided to take charge of my health and fitness at the end of April of this year, and the frustration I’ve experienced is almost discouraging. Your post (and others like you who’ve submitted their story to Mark) inspired me to subscribe to the newsletter and take a week or so to familiarize myself with the Primal Blueprint. Three months of “boot camp” fitness classes with almost no results can drive a person (read: ME!) insane. It all seems very daunting and intimidating, but something’s gotta give and something’s gotta change. I want an “after” pic in my life… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Jaded NYer,

I had that frustration for 25 years so I get it…I GET IT! If you are going to give this a shot however understand that you are best to embrace this full-time meaning don’t dabble with it.

And understand that it’s really a series of small changes that can (in a number of cases) yield big results.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Christie Lawson
Christie Lawson
5 years 2 months ago

TOTALLY off topic, but this could have come from William Faulkner himself. (thinking of Sound and the Fury, namely Mr. Quentin Compson).

“Until we are willing to plunge into the depths of our murky inner self and figure out why we do what we do, all the other stuff is meaningless…”

BUT ANYWAY
Congrats, man!! What an amazing transformation!

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Christine,

You give me way too much credit, but I will take that as a compliment (it was one of my better lines in fact so I was quite giggly about coming up with that one)

But wasn’t William Faulkner the commander of the Star Ship Enterprise? Oh wait, that was Shatner.

And thanks!

shannon
shannon
5 years 2 months ago

But Quentin ended up killing himself. I guess he didn’t really figure out why he did what he did.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

WHOA! I didn’t see that ending coming. Note to self. Rewrite act 3. It is a dreadful downer.

Christie Lawson
Christie Lawson
5 years 2 months ago

There’s two sides to every coin!

shannon
shannon
5 years 2 months ago
I have a very similar story. I am 57, female, and have always had “healthy” eating and exercise habits from the time I was a teenager. I ran for exercise before it was fashionable; I made my own bread and yogurt; I grew my own vegetables, etc. I did yoga every other day. But as I got older I got fatter and fatter. I was never obese but I was borderline overweight. In Jan 2010 I went to an exhibit at the Smithsonian museum of Natural History that changed my life. It showed the way in which humans had gotten… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago
Great to hear shannon. Interesting comment about tummy fat. I have leveled off in my loses it seems, but I would like to experiment further and see if I can take this to another level…healthier of course. But I realize that is going to take some careful planning and control to test out small ideas and see what kind of impact they can have on me. I might suggest the same with you. A plateau simply indicates we have gone as far as we can as we currently are. Making a few simple changes could take us further (if we… Read more »
shannon
shannon
5 years 2 months ago

Eliminating nuts for a while enabled me to lose a few more pounds when I hit a plateau.

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 2 months ago
I have found complete homeostasis (or whatever the fancy word is for balance 🙂 ) I’m a 40 year old female, 5’10.5″ and always between 139-145 lbs. I’m not ripped around the mid section but I could care less, because I’d rather be absolutely healthy than trying to achieve something mother nature didn’t sign me up for. If I cut calories I get dizzy, weak and lose muscle weight (on top of a tiny bit of fat) but I pay a huge price, my period gets out of wack and it either shifts away in days or it gives me… Read more »
Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Oh I like that phrase…”Sweet spot” Going to have to “steal” that an use it someday…thanks for sharing PP

cTo
cTo
5 years 2 months ago

Ho. Ly. Sh*t.

I’m in my 20’s and I wish the guys I date looked half as good as you do ;D

Also I totally understand what you mean about it being a personal and emotional journey as much as it is a physical one. I am glad you chose to begin it 🙂

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks on many levels cTo…if it means anything…I act MUCH younger than my age…somewhere between 7, 10 on a good day. 🙂

cTo
cTo
5 years 2 months ago

Excellent! 😉 Yeah, losing energy and liveliness as I get older has always been a fear of mine, and I am so relieved to see time and time again that this lifestyle helps avoid that. 🙂

Jeff Witt
5 years 2 months ago

Inspiring Testimonial here. I picked up the Primal Blueprint and will be reading it this long weekend. Who knows. I may come back from the lake a new man. This all just makes so much sense. And above all, it seems easy and fun.

Can’t wait to learn more about Grok.

Dean Dwyer
5 years 2 months ago

Hey Jeff,

Good luck with that my friend. I just heard Mark’s wallet go Cha Ching! ha ha!

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