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

When Eating Healthy is Making You Fat!

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, 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,


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. 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!

    Primal Palate wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • 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!

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • Well there you go, you had your hunting face on! That explains it.

        Uncephalized wrote on July 1st, 2011
        • ha ha! Had to think about that for a second.

          Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  2. 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 we all create by eating and living unhealthy.

    Congrats to you for your determination, for doing what all of us can do, but most won’t.

    Keep that frown on, it’s what I call the smile of victory.

    A.B. Dada wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • 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 :-)

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  3. 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 wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Oh, and sorry for the double post, but bravo Dean!

      Jeff wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • and bravo has been received and deposited in my feel good account.

        Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • 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.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • 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.

        Jeff wrote on July 1st, 2011
  4. 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 feel.

    I’m in my first few weeks of exploring primal/paleo eating, and I think I’m onto something here. It’s a fascinating experiment. Brain and muscle cells are shifting as I type…!

    Keep up the tremendous work. You look great!

    Susan wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • 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 want to run 100 meters in under 15 seconds. I want to be able to carry 100lbs for 50 meters (haven’t tried this yet)…but stuff like that.

      And what are these things you speak of…brain cells…where can I get me some of these?

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • 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.

        Susan wrote on July 1st, 2011
  5. 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.

    primal tree top wrote on July 1st, 2011
  6. 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 already! And mostly, I want to avoid my grandmother’s diabetes-related death and my aunt’s TWO open-heart surgeries.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

    The Jaded NYer wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • 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.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  7. 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…”

    Congrats, man!! What an amazing transformation!

    Christie Lawson wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • 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!

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • But Quentin ended up killing himself. I guess he didn’t really figure out why he did what he did.

      shannon wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • WHOA! I didn’t see that ending coming. Note to self. Rewrite act 3. It is a dreadful downer.

        Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • There’s two sides to every coin!

        Christie Lawson wrote on July 1st, 2011
  8. 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 shorter after the Neolithic revolution! Some kind of light bulb went on in my head. Like you, I researched it on the internet, read the things you read, and changed my diet.

    I don’t look as different as you do–I still have some tummy fat, maybe because I’m a postmenopausal woman. But it’s ok: I lost some weight, I got stronger, I have more stamina, I’m more assertive about my feelings and needs, and my life is better, by a long shot. Also, I just love the food! All that butter, meat, and cream especially: the stuff I’d been depriving myself of since I was about 14.

    shannon wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • 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 so desire).

      But as I write this it is also important to REVEL in the success. It is always easy to find fault (I have to watch this in me as well).

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • Eliminating nuts for a while enabled me to lose a few more pounds when I hit a plateau.

        shannon wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • 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 a hell of a time in my gut. That’s with lifting heavy weights at the gym or at home.

      If I cut nutrition and eat more calories, I gain weight and water and just feel ‘fat’.
      I do a IF and I might drop a pound or 2 within 24 hours but it’s not a good tactic for me, I don’t like to starve since I’m the type that constantly has a growling stomach.

      So for my extremely HIGH metabolism, thanks to eating primal, I HAD to add Raw goats milk to my regime.
      Without it I have to consume too many vegetables for calcium and other minerals and that roughage is no good on my colon.
      I eat 3-4 meals a day, add primal snacks (cup of bone broth for example) and drink 2-3 gallons of raw milk (sometimes even still warm) on top of it. I average about 3000 calories a day and my weight is stable.

      Then one day I had another one of those light bulb moments reading Weston A Price. It takes calories to digest and work over nutrition. The more nutritious a food is the more calories needed to deal with it. AHA!
      And there lies the secret of my assumed high metabolism, when in fact I take in so much nutrition I burn all the calories off doing absolutely nothing.

      Been primal now for 15 months and it took me about 10 months to find that sweet spot. Now I know what foods to eat and who to buy it from…(where I know I get the most nutritious and clean food).

      Primal Palate wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • Oh I like that phrase…”Sweet spot” Going to have to “steal” that an use it someday…thanks for sharing PP

        Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  9. 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 :)

    cTo wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Thanks on many levels cTo…if it means anything…I act MUCH younger than my age…somewhere between 7, 10 on a good day. :-)

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • 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. :)

        cTo wrote on July 1st, 2011
  10. 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.

    Jeff Witt wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Hey Jeff,

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

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  11. Wow wow WOW! Dean, you look awesome!!

    “That is my domain and my domain alone.” This is my new mantra. I love it.

    You’re a fantastic writer — this had me giggling out loud. Your approach and determination are genuinely inspiring. Off to peruse your website!

    (and hey.. are you single?!) 😉


    Olivia wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Hey Olivia,

      The mantra is UNcopyrighted so use it at will gurl. And thanks for the writing props…and yes I am single…:-)

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • Well, uncopyrighted or not, I’ll be sure to credit you every time I use it! Ha! Thanks again for the inspiration & have a great weekend :-)


        Olivia wrote on July 1st, 2011
  12. This is great. I can’t wait to summit my story once I have reached my goal. Been primal for almost 30 days and it feels great.

    Speedy wrote on July 1st, 2011
  13. A great one.

    The main point I like from this story is that although it is clearly an emotional journey, your breakthroughs were not emotionally *driven*. You cut through with sober analysis, rational thought, and thought to action. Grueling mental work coupled with decisive action.

    I think it’s a truism in all important decision-making, act on sober wisdom first the feelings will naturally follow. This approach would keep a lot more people out of trouble in a lot more areas in life (not just diet and health).


    Joe Brancaleone wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Hey Joe, I agree. I have to remember that my journey is principle based and as such these principles are transferable.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  14. Oh, how I love the success stories. They are so inspiring. I have yet to post my own story.

    Congrats, DD, this has been a particularly well written story. Heading on over to your site now.

    Ute wrote on July 1st, 2011
  15. Great story to wake up and read today! I’m sure you will be a great inspiration to many. I look forward to enjoying your website as well. I can’t wait until I can get to my success story place in life. It’s not only about evolution, it’s about revolution! (and I am standing and clapping right now!)

    Lori wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Thanks Lori…and my first standing ovation online…I LOVE IT!

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  16. This is my favorite Real Life Story yet, so inspiring! Good work man!

    Kyle wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Thanks Kyle….and it’s free baby!

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  17. You’ve done absolutely fantastic, Dean! Your transformation is incredible, and yours has been the most well-written success story to date. Period. It was humorous; elaborated upon where needed; to-the-point; and it was simply a joy to read, start to finish.

    >>> 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. <<>> I want to make it clear that my journey is far from over. I will always be a work in progress. <<<

    Absolutely true. Perfection is an ideal to strive for — a path to walk but not a destination.

    Again, really well done. Yours is my favourite success story to date and that's saying something.

    Patrick wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Dammit. Those brackets screwed me, and I lost a chunk of text after “body-type.” Here is what I’d written after that:

      Sadly, few people realize this. Others can offer suggestions and encouragement (both are great to have), but no one will get you right except you. I wish more people around here understood that and partook of more self-experimentation. I think there’d be fewer “what the hell is wrong with me?!” forum posts and a lot more happier Primals.

      Patrick wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Dude I need you as my publicist…not that I need one….YET???

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  18. I am also a “lurker” here who just has to chime in on this post. Very well-written and inspirational! It was just what I needed to read today because I was lacking motivation. After reading your story I got off my butt and went outside for some sprints and pull-ups. Nothing like a good success story to get me movin! 😀

    Lizzy wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • All lurkers welcome. Just out curiosity do you have a philosophy on paper that or anyone else could take a look at as to how you are approaching all this?

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  19. Incredible, astonishing, stunning. I am awe struck. I loved the story. Your writing is quick and clever. I am quite curious about your blog. You have inspired me, and it will carry through for many moons. Period. You have proven to me that working out the way you were and eating the way you were (the way we are told to), just doesn’t work. I have no doubts now. Thank you. Namaste.

    Hilary wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • I am namasting your right back. Your welcome and thanks for the feedback.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  20. I am a lurker here who just has to post after reading your story. Very well-written and encouraging! I’ve been living PB for about 2 months, but this morning I was really lacking motivation. Then I read your story and got off my butt, went outside and did a few sprints, walking, and pull-ups. Thank you for sharing your story!

    Lizzy wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • I also accept cash and any and all gifts you want to send my way as a thank you…ha ha! Your welcome Lizzy!

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  21. Wow! I’m at a lost for words! Congrats on the transformation, not only physically, but psychologically as well. I would gladly join your tribe!

    Dennis wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Thanks Dennis. As you can see from all my comments, being at a loss for words isn’t a problem for me.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  22. omg!!! my jaw is still on the floor!!! great job!

    me wrote on July 1st, 2011
  23. Sorry I posted twice! Didn’t know it posted the first time. :/

    Lizzy wrote on July 1st, 2011
  24. Phenomenal story buddy, and I love how you stress the importance of getting your mind right. There’s a much greater psychological aspect to all of this than most people realize. Grok on!

    Burn wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • You are right on burn…the psychological aspect of this is what keeps us from either starting or staying the course when things go off the rails. Thanks for the comment my friend.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  25. Fan-Fu#*kin”-Tabulous, Dude. What a great inspiration your story is. Grok on!

    Dasbutch wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Thanks dude. I love it when the f-bomb is used a positive adjective!

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  26. Dean, good on your brother. Well said and its stories like yours that I’m happy to share with my uncle, cousin, sister, etc… Usually after you read a success story the inclination is to say “keep it up” but with yours and so many others on this site its not necessary because this isn’t a diet its a lifestyle change. And now that you know how good this lifestyle feels and how easy it is to live there simply is no alternative.

    alan wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • well said alan. I don’t think much about it now…meaning it is pretty much on auto pilot.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  27. Similar story to mine. I’ve been eating organic, homemade foods for the past couple of years, including grains/beans/etc., and couldn’t seem to lose weight. In fact, I’ve gained some. Now I’ve been teetering on the edge of paleo/primal for the past few months, and I’ve seen a difference in how I feel…I know if I jump in completely and give up the rice and gluten free pasta that I occasionally eat, I’ll start to lose weight too. Your story is completely inspirational. And you look fantastic!

    Maryanne wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Thanks Maryanne. Interesting note on the beans. Before I came to MDA I had read Tim Ferris’ book the 4-hour body and was experimenting with his slow carb breakfast which includes bean. That was actually the food I eliminated when I realized that I was putting weight back on. Its a matter of testing out what foods work and don’t work.

      But yeah I went cold turkey and got rid of all those things you are thinking of giving up.

      I mentioned this in a few other comments but everyone is different in how they respond but I don’t think many experience much success dabbling in anything in life…or this diet.

      If you are going to do it dive in and really give it a go. There is no downside.

      All the best and thanks for commenting.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  28. Holy Cow! This was a great post today! My first time reading the success stories im in the beginning stages of this new lifestyle! Thanks for pumpin me up!

    Lisa Wetmore wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Well sounds like my timing couldn’t be better :-) You’re very welcome Lisa.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  29. You know you’ve succeeded when you have to shave your chest. Grats man.

    Dan wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • LOL! Yeah I find that pretty funny myself, but if you look at my before picture my chest hair looks like a 2-year old scribbled on me with black marker. I think I did the world a favour…even if it does seem kind of cheesy.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  30. This is one of my favorite success stories so far: really insightful, well-written and funny, too! I particularly resonated with the “fatness=character flaw” which led me into a death-spiral of overtraining and undereating. p.s. I’m much better now!

    ottercat wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Thanks ottercat and glad to hear you are on the right path. To your continued success.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  31. Great writing style and congrats! Keep spreading the word! “Healthy Eating” is not what we thought it meant.

    Shebeeste wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Thanks shebeeste. I’m certainly willing to do my part. :-)

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  32. Congratulations! Really inspiring, I will use this to get more people into the tribe as it looks like one story isn’t enough! We should do a massive primal gathering one day, I’m in the UK and feel a little lonel here! Lol

    Congratulations again, keep it up!

    Albert wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • I know there is Primal Con and I believe Mark does some informal meet ups in various cities (he did one in NYC recently) so it certainly is doable. Starting your own Meet up group is also and option. Check it out at meetup[dot]com. Thanks for taking the time to comment Albert.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  33. Well done bud, that’s another goal for those of us over 40:-)

    Bootneck wrote on July 1st, 2011
  34. A very inspirational story! Great job and keep it up! :)

    Jos wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Thanks Jos…your pictures are so GREAT I actually want to eat your blog. Is that wrong?

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
    That’s great work and determination my friend..I congratulate you on this transformation…and am sure that you will be looking this good 10 years from now…when your my age…I am also in the success stories..”Unconquerable Dave”
    Welcome to the Primal/Paleo world..
    want a hunk of home made Pemmican ??
    MARK…We have the baddest tribe around>>>

    Daveman wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • Hey Dave,

      Yes my friend, I saw your story. Your transformation was AMAZING!…in fact I have pointed a few people to it just to show what is possible. I don’t have the stones however to do my after shot in the dead of winter shirtless…ha ha!

      Thanks for touching base amigo.


      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  36. I also only use trees /logs and rocks for workouts..a second
    helping of badddass sent your way>>>

    Daveman wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • I’m not that badass…but I am working on my badassness.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
      • Dean..I am a member of a great page on facebook IPMG…International Paleo Movement Group.
        And many there have pages devoted to this life style..Its a great place to share info..journey and tips..along with some outstanding food ideas..If you want to check it out…come to the fire…Mark and Rob and Art are all hero’s of ours and quoted and tagged often>>>PAPA GROK>>>

        Daveman wrote on July 3rd, 2011
        • Thanks GG…will definitely check it out for sure.

          Dean Dwyer wrote on July 4th, 2011
        • Oh it’s international…do I need a passport to join? :-)

          Dean Dwyer wrote on July 4th, 2011
  37. I don’t read all of the success stories, but once in a while a headline catches my eye and I pop over to check it out. The last one that I read a few months ago really hit home with me personally, but this one made me think so much of my husband, who I adore and want to feel healthy and energetic. I know what we need to do, but why does it seem so mentally challenging! Thank you for this inspiration Dean, and to Mark of course for promoting this way of life.

    Alisa Fleming wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • As I eluded to on several occasions, I personally feel this is the most challenging aspect of the transformation (any transformation really). Understanding why we do what we do. Simply embracing a new lifestyle isn’t enough when the sh*t hits the fan. There are lots of people who start such things only to have the wheels fall off.

      One thing I did was adopt an idea from Jim Collins book, Good to Great and the idea of acknowledging “your brutal facts.”

      I figured I was doomed for eventual failure if I didn’t do this and quite frankly it has been one of many keys to my success.

      So don’t feel you are alone in this. Many people suffer from this.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  38. Wow! you look great and your story is an inspiration! My Family and I started full time in May after finding Mark’s Daily Apple. We feel energetic, stronger and our transformations are happening. Thank you for sharing your life story. I love “I am the expert on me”.

    Nissa wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • I give you that line free of charge Nissa. Your pic radiates health so I can only imagine how great the rest of your family looks and feels. Best of luck and yes definitely keep reading MDA. Tons of great resources to help get you to your desired goal.

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  39. Dean,

    You look hot!

    Mamadoll wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • I thought I had a joke to use but I don’t. So I will graciously accept the compliment mamadoli. Thank you!

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011
  40. I LOVE FRIDAYS SO MUCH for this very reason!! How wonderful to finish our weeks with such incredible inspiration! It really brings a smile to your face doesn’t it? Each Friday I think the stories can’t get any better … and then they do!

    Thank you so much Dean for sharing your amazing story. You truely are setting such a valuable example to others. Myself included!

    I went primal in Jan and have reached a plateau and have yet to realise my primal potential. You’ve made me realise I really need to find out why – I shall hit the food tracking websites this very weekend to start measuring those pesky fruit carbs.

    Enjoy your success – you absolutely deserve it – and carry on spreading the good primal word

    Debs wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • I shall continue to spread the word and thanks for the feedback. I like your thought process. You need data just as a business requires data to make decisions on what is working and what isn’t. Best of luck debs kicking the crap out of that plateau. :-)

      Dean Dwyer wrote on July 1st, 2011

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