Meet Mark

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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June 20 2013

8 Primal Mantras for Beginners

By Mark Sisson
105 Comments

It's a Journey, Not a RaceBecoming healthy is as much a mental process as it is a physical experience. Most of us would admit we find ourselves overhauling much more than simply our dinner plates or daily exercise. Oftentimes, we’re upending years – or decades – of unhealthy inertia as well as eating, destructive self-talk as well as inactivity. I hear from a lot of beginners who say they look to certain posts or even paragraphs when the going gets tough. Something they read here sticks with them, and it touches off something in their motivation. On a good day, it helps them go the extra mile. On a crappy day, it offers them a kind of reset button. All of us, I think, have those phrases, sayings – mantras – that bolster us in some personal way. Whether we’re standing at the beginning of a new healthy lifestyle change or rounding mile twenty in a marathon, tapping into the power of our mantra mentality can transform the energy we bring to a given moment and our journey as a whole.

Take it one Primal choice at a time.

It might feel foreign at first. You might worry about venturing too far from the realm of conventional wisdom. You might just feel overwhelmed by the change – any change. The anticipation of all or nothing dissuades too many people who want to make a positive shift in their lives. Don’t worry about whether you will show up for it tomorrow. Just show up for it today. Do whatever mental gymnastics you need to do to make a good choice right now. Then, do the same later when it’s time to move onto the next decision. Eventually, you won’t need to play the game.

I deserve this.

Mental gymnastics aside, know in your core that you were meant for this. You were meant to have all the vitality you will have. You were meant to be strong, agile, lean, energetic, balanced, happy. And let’s just cover the obvious. Do you deserve a cupcake because you had a stressful day? No. You deserve a full and healthy life to help you put that stressful day in physical and emotional perspective.

Pay myself first.

Pay yourself first and the rest will follow. This is akin to the Primal Connection Habit of Highly Effective Cavemen/women, “Be Selfish.” As I suggested there, this isn’t an argument for shallow self-absorption. It’s not a justification for wild egotism. I’m talking here about the necessary commitment to self-care that you deserve but too many of us lose sight of. Wanting time for essential exercise – not selfish. Wanting to shift budgetary allocations to allow for a step up in food quality wherever possible – not selfish. Wanting reasonable quiet in the house to allow for a sane bedtime – not selfish. Wanting a chance to maintain and enjoy the support of a social circle – not selfish. Giving ourselves the things we need to build a healthy life serves our well-being and – by extension – others’ we love or work with in some way. Depriving ourselves out of a sense of obligation sets us up for failure and resentment. Meeting our essential Primal needs will let us operate from our full potential. Win-win for everybody, but it has to start with a commitment to yourself. When we finally “get it” and decide to live life on full rather than empty, we become amazed at what is possible.

It’s a journey not a race.

Beginning a Primal journey will undoubtedly show you big results early on. That said, it’s important to bring reasonable expectations to the rhythm of progress. Don’t shortchange your vision in terms of ultimate result, but be patient with the process itself. If you’re trying to lose 100 pounds or put on 20 pounds of muscle, it’s not going to happen overnight. Dialing back diabetes takes more than a few weeks. Overcoming hormonal issues or recovering from gastrointestinal disorders are long term propositions. With commitment, there’s almost no limit to what you can do, but do yourself a favor by settling into the journey. I suggest that people at any point in Primal living but especially during the early months develop a wider awareness. Hone the subtlety and patience to discern deeper changes in how you feel and what progress looks like each day.

Celebrate something every day.

On that note… As I mentioned a few months ago, giving small wins their due can have a major impact on one’s whole enterprise. Don’t get so caught up in the end goal that you forget that progress is made one step, one day at a time. Celebrations don’t have to be nightly news material. Most days it will be the little stuff, which is coincidentally the stuff that makes the big deals possible. Maybe you got a good night’s sleep or resisted the junk food in the break room at work. Maybe you tried a new Primal dish or didn’t experience the midafternoon crash and burn after that amazing new Primal lunch. Perhaps you ran longer or lifted more than you ever have. Maybe you made your first attempt at interval training. Maybe you got outside for lunch or away for a weekend on a much needed personal retreat. Perhaps you talked with your spouse or took the dog for a walk instead of watching T.V. Maybe you stayed up too late and finally, really realized you don’t want to do that anymore. Celebrate the successes, the choices, the lessons of each day. There is no such thing as a day with nothing to celebrate.

Embrace the pleasure principle.

A lot of people come to the Primal Blueprint having felt lousy for many years. It might be because of excess weight, medical issues, or general lack of energy. The point is, many of these folks have forgotten how to feel – let alone hone – basic physical pleasure in their lives. When you live with constant pain or fatigue, it can be hard to see clear across to the other side of the spectrum. Take the time and effort to feel good again. Living Primally will do its work in easing the physiological issues, but inject pleasure into your lifestyle (e.g. get a massage, take a good bath, make really good food, enjoy the sensory elements of everyday life). The idea here is to reorient your experience of your body. Find ways to feel good, and you’ll be motivated to live a life that supports pleasure as a dimension of full well-being.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I say this all the time, and people tell me it’s one of the concepts that gives them perspective along the way. It’s why I believe in the 80/20 Principle. Living Primally is a life – not a formula. Reject the all-or-nothing mentality. Check your perfectionism at the door and relax. Follow the basics to the best of your ability. Bring your good intentions, a little forethought, and some Grok-style resourcefulness to each day. The journey will evolve over time – as will your Primal cooking repertoire, fitness enthusiasm, and Primal vision for life as a whole.

It’s a lifestyle, not a diet.

In keeping with the above, the Primal Blueprint isn’t simply about what to eat or even how to exercise. It can certainly be applied in these circumscribed bounds, but it’s much more than a short-term fix or a long-term meal plan. The real power of it unfolds more expansively, more personally than that. At its best, the PB becomes a way of viewing the potential and scope of health itself.

Thanks for reading, everyone. What are/have been your go-to mantras? Do you identify with any of the above? How and when do you use them in your Primal life? Have a great end to the week.

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105 thoughts on “8 Primal Mantras for Beginners”

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  1. I’ve used many of those listed. My current fave is:
    I bust mine so I can kick yours… Ha! Makes me smile every time.

    1. “That’s not food …. for me.”

      Directed at myself, when considering all sorts of non-food edibles like soda, cookies, pasta and breads….

      After it was working, I dropped the last 2 words as unnecessary, and it became just:
      “That’s not food.”

  2. “Where was I this time last year, where will I be this time next year?”

    “Life will never be the same”

    “I have the rest of my life to feel this awesome!”

  3. Hi Mark – Thank you for an excellent post! I’ve only been eating this way for a few months now. I’m 56 years old, six feet tall and weighed 211 this morning. I want to get down to 181 pounds. However, this is the leanest I have ever felt at this body weight. I don’t think it’s my imagination. I believe that eating mostly vegetables, with real unprocessed meats and ocean fish, along with some fruits, avocados and nuts…is literally burning more fat per pound than the traditional calorie counting diet or Dr. Atkins method. Also…my energy levels seem like they were back when I was in my mid 20’s. It is amazing to me what eliminating sugar, grains and dairy has done for me, mentally and physically.

    1. “I believe that eating mostly vegetables, with real unprocessed meats and ocean fish, along with some fruits, avocados and nuts…is literally burning more fat per pound than the traditional calorie counting diet or Dr. Atkins method.”

      I think you are eating the way Dr Atkins suggested.

    2. I think you meant “carbohydrate counting” instead of “calorie counting”. The good Dr. Atkins was no fan of calorie counting.

      1. If you commit to Atkins minus the dairy and the shakes/bars/franken food, you’ve got Paleo weight loss. Atkins minus the franken food is Primal. So in that sense the poster eating pretty well in the Atkins guidelines for weight loss.

        IMO, low carb and Paleo are very close dietary cousins. I think of them as tweaks on each other. If someone stalling on Atkins, it might behoove them to cut out the dairy and/or look at their “faux” food intake.

        Inversely, the carb counting in Atkins is a great place to start if Paleo alone is not creating weight loss. Atkins makes people accountable for the macro nutrient most likely to create fat gain or inhibit fat loss.

        1. I lost a bunch of weight (almost 100 lbs) following Atkins in 2003 before I had even heard of the Paleo diet.

      2. No, I think he meant “calorie counting” as the word “or” was between “calorie counting diet” and “Dr. Atkins method,” thereby indicating two separate methods used to attempt weight loss.

    3. Marc – Exactly …I have been doing that same exact thing – its honestly been only 15 days since I started eating this way – and my skin has cleared up (it was never bad – but it looks healthier now) and I feel like I am burning through fat (although I dont believe I have lost any weight)…Feel awesome

    4. Hi Marc

      I’m 57 and I’ve been quite strictly Paleo for just over a year now. I feel the same about my energy levels being what they were in my 20’s. I lost 40 pounds, 6″ off my waist, and dropped two shirt sizes. I’ve never felt better. I’m lifting almost twice the iron I used to feel was high for 10-12 reps, running, etc. I’ve never looked back, and will live this way the rest of my life. Which will likely be longer than what it was before this change.

      Kirk

    5. I’m glad you’re doing well but Dr Atkins wasn’t about calorie counting!

      Mark, my favorite is the last one: It’s a lifestyle, not a diet. Been eating this way for over a dozen years and it is indeed a LIFEstyle! I watched my BFF die last year because she refused to change the way she ate. Unfortunately the Drs & the hospital she was in & out of for months did nothing to change her mind. The hospital fed her nothing but sugars, starches and lowfat crap. Heartbreaking to watch and sheer frustration to talk to the hospital dieticians!

  4. ARGH! **Hate** the new look — and where is the SEARCH box!??! (Why does it take two clicks to drop down and then roll back up the index? How inconvenient!)

    Sorry to snap at y’all, but I’m in a rush trying to find an entry to send my mom — and there’s no search box!

    1. If you’re on the mobile site, the search box is ALLLLLLL the way at the bottom. I think this is the “new look” you’re talking about, and I agree, I’m not a fan of the mobile look of the site. I use my phone to look up things on the fly, especially recipes, and it’s really frustrating doing a search on the mobile version of MDA. I feel your pain =(

    2. I’m not a huge fan of the new mobile layout either, mostly because, like Stace said the search box is “ALLLLLLL the way at the bottom.”

    1. “Like?” That’s the most depressing line I’ve read all week.
      Oh shoot, 8 seconds went by. Now I’m even LESS young. 🙁

      1. Maybe this will help:

        “You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”

        1. Or “I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up.”

          A few years ago, I heard about an interview with this lady who was 112 or 114. She was asked when she began to feel old, and she replied “Oh, about the time my oldest child turned 70, I figured I was getting old.” That is my new take on aging, I will be “getting old” when my oldest child turns 70; she’s 19, I’ve got a while.

      2. Haha! Reminds me of that great They Might Be Giants song: “You’re older than you’ve ever been & now you’re even older, & now you’re even older, & now you’re even older…” I like to sing that at birthday parties… 🙂

  5. Thank you, Mark. I really needed this today. Reading it was like a hug and a pep talk from a good friend or relative, making me cry and smile at the same time and offering me that “reset button” you talked about. Also making me proud of what I’ve achieved so far, while at the same time giving me an awareness that I’ve been forgetting or neglecting some important aspects of this amazing life plan. Thank you again.

  6. Great tips… ever since reading “The Kaizen Way,” I’ve been a big believer in changing one small thing in your life at a time. It’s the only way habits seem to stick for me. Trying to go “all out” Primal may work for some, but a lot of people tend to crash and burn once the novelty wears off.

    1. Agreed. It’s taken me a year to get to what I feel is a 90/10 primal, and that waxes and wanes from time to time. But it’s the little things I’ve changed slowly over the last year that have made the biggest impact. Some people can make 180 degree changes in a day…I am not one of those people!

      1. I agree!! Every small good habit I have is hard won. I do best when I “back into” good changes rather than attempt an all out cold turkey event. (I can just hear myself now: “Kids, we go Paleo from right now until forever!!!” Yeah, that would work well. 😉 )

  7. I am Zen Buddhist and I love this little mantra: Every step is a full arrival. Nothing to add, nothing to take away.

    Acceptance is the key to live by the day and make progress in the Primal lifestyle.

  8. What a great post! I absolutely love reading MDA’s each day at work…they really help me stay focused and determined. I discovered PB about a month ago and it has been life-changing, I have much more energy, I am more alert at work, sleep like a baby at night! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us Mark!

  9. I’m in the same boat as Jo. I really needed this today. I’ve been mostly Primal for almost a year. This past week I started a Primal Reboot because earlier this month I was eating too much in the way of sweets and over taxing my system with over training.
    I’ve been a strong believer in doing things TODAY, especially when it comes to health. Thank you so Much for the encouragement you give and reminding me that taking care of oneself– exercise and good night’s sleep –is essential and not selfish. Thank you, so much.

  10. Enjoy the process — the outcome will take care of itself.

    Celebrate the small stuff.

    1. Yes I really like this one!

      And great post Mark I love how supportive this site is!

  11. “Today you are closer to the person you were meant to become.”

    Self-reflection is a huge success tool for me. When things go well, I think about why they went well. What did I do that helped me? How did I prepare both mentally and physically? Same goes for bad days. I don’t shrug it off as an “oh well, better luck next time thing.” Instead I seriously think about what went through my mind or what my desires were when I had that piece of cake at work, or when I decided to have beer at softball. If I can identify these things, then I can consciously work to not have that happen again in the future. I also think about how those decisions made me feel. I learn from it, and then I move on. Lack of reflection is what really makes a mistake a mistake.

  12. Mine is an old NLP I gave myself years ago. I retreat into my head, and focus on “freedom”… ahh refreshing.

    I tied it to the feeling I (used to… still do) have when riding a bike down a big hill at full speed with arms outstretched and the wind blowing in my face.

    Holy geez!! writing it out like that REALLY fires it up, thanks for that 🙂

  13. Couple of Mantra’s that I find help me:

    1. No matter how terrible my day, no matter how much is on my mind, I always always work out (if it’s a work-out day) – in other words “even if Rome burns, my health regime remains constant”

    What’s great about this is I’ve found as I work out, before I know it, my mind has emptied of all those nagging worries – this works every time, even when I think it won’t!

    2. Health is my #1 priority. Can’t be a good Dad, Husband, Bread Winner, Person without it. Everything flows from it. Realizing this essentially “relegates” any problem to one level down from where it was before health was #1. So Perspective is a happy by product.

  14. My favorite, that totally keeps me on track: Primal doesn’t mean perfection. If you slip..don’t beat yourself up and hit the carb party for the next week. Just relax and remember 80/20..This is a lifestyle not a diet.

    1. Yeah, and that 80/20 doesn’t even have to be day to day, it can be week to week, or whatever, just so long as the average is 80/20, you’re good.

  15. You feel so great on the Primal Blueprint, it is very difficult to backslide. I’ll never go back to feeling like chit again…

  16. I love it! So many people just focus on the food at first, this is a good reminder that living primally is much more than just a diet

  17. Call me crazy, but I find purposely falling off the Primal wagon from time to time helps me tremendously. It reminds me of how truly crappy I feel on the SAD. I am a sever ISFP (meyers-briggs personality) so I need a mental break from all the planning and preparing or I start to go a little crazy;) It’s takin me two years to get where being Primal is more habit than not. At first I could only go maybe a week, and now I am at about every three to four months, that’s how I measure my progress! Plus being 57 pounds lighter with boundless energy helps too.

    1. It’s not crazy — it’s how I learned what REALLY doesn’t work for me.

  18. When I feel myself starting to react to my feelings & emotions concerning food rather than listening to my mind & using knowledge & common sense, my mantra is “Suck it up, Buttercup”. Works every time. Sometimes I think, ‘Would Spock eat this?…no. Not logical”. 🙂 Eating for nutrients sake can feel a whole hell of a lot better than using food as a “reward”. It is a powerful thing to walk away from the table having made that choice. I feel strong & in control instead of irrational & emotional.

    1. I like the Spock analogy. I sometimes feel like I want/need a handful of chocolate chips or a cookie because I’m stressed, tired or bored. If I indulge, I find that I don’t really enjoy it like I used to and it really doesn’t taste that great. The reward is no longer there. If I reflect on my experience I can be like Spock and remember that a piece of fruit or a walk outside is much more logical, enjoyable and rewarding.

    2. love your common sense approach too. If I ever “feel” like eating a certain food, I almost deliberately don’t allow myself to eat it (it’s usually crap frankenfood) and then I give myself a big fat lecture about “FEELING” like food. I don’t want to be an emotion driven eater. Because one day I might feel like organic lamb, but next week it could be a big mac. So I eat for health, not for feelings… it’s pedantic and some won’t approve but it works for me. I have NO feelings about food anymore. It’s almost meaningless. The foodies who study paleo menus and recipes would HATE my way of eating but it really worked for me. Completely emotionally detached. I love it.

    1. I think Spock was a vegetarian….but the “logical/not logical” is a good way of thinking.

  19. I love this post! So many good messages to take from it.
    My favorite mantra to tell myself during moments of weakness, and others when I get the “look” after I tell them I don’t eat certain foods, “Nothing tastes as good as eating Primal feels”.

  20. I think to my self “What will I wish I would have done 5 years from now?”
    If it’s the same as what I’m doing then keep on doing that, if not let’s make some adjustments.
    Works for pretty much everything. Got a big shiny orange bag for lunches, still gives me joy every day.

  21. It is a lifestyle, not a diet. Awesome! This is the journey of a thousand miles that only starts with the first step…but it is a new life by step number 2.

  22. “Don’t let the perfect be enemy of the good”

    That mantra really helped with adopting the Primal lifestyle as well as achieving other endeavours. The perfectionist in me had to relax and say to myself “it’s good enough”. And the 80/20 principle really helped with actualizing that thought. My thought patter was sych that if I had bagel then that didn’t mean I fell off the wagon, it just meant I’ll eat eggs for breakast tomorrow.

  23. Today my local newspaper carried the story of a woman who lost over 200 pounds on a primal/paleo diet. She didn’t call it primal or paleo. She referred to her method as eating like a pioneer woman, strictly protein, fruit and vegetables. At first she could barely walk to the mailbox. She began walking up and down her driveway, gradually lengthening the distance until she was walking five miles at a time. This was several years ago, apparently, and she has kept the weight off with no intention of ever going back to her old SAD way of eating.

    I read stuff like this, along with some of the success stories on this website, and I have to wonder how the fools that debunk a paleo lifestyle can possibly justify their stance. There may be a few exceptions, for whatever reason, but paleo/primal works for most people who are willing to stick with it.

  24. My favorite quote is: “No one ever regrets working out” – Which really is true (well that is of course, unless you hurt yourself… Shh, lol). I wake up in the morning and want to cry because I don’t want to get in a work out before taking on the day… But when it’s over – I feel on top of the world!! It’s the best “caffeine” ever!

  25. “…its just your body’s way of saying “I like what you’ve done with the place.” The first time I heard Mark was on the radio. This is what he said when the host asked about reaching a plateau or not seeing results as fast as you’d like. What a great way of looking at life! So as I drove I scribbled down Mark’s Apple and have been a fan ever since.

  26. This is my first week going Paleo. I’m doing it not only for weight loss but I found this lifestyle because I was looking for a way to deal with my psoriasis internally and smartly because medicines weren’t cutting it anymore. Mark’s post about the baths this week seemed a message from the Universe regarding the Dead Sea Salt and psoriasis. Today’s post is a good motivator/reminder. Thank you, Mark.

  27. Such A timely post for my journey- Right now i am bombarded with work, and have found my weekly meal preperation time cut out, which is making my daily eating much more challenging. It has really helped me realize that Making time for preperation makes it much easier to stay primal in day to day life. to have setbacks and look at them as learning how to make this work as a lifestyle is a great way of looking at it instead of allowing the old zombie way of eating take over.

  28. I’ve been at least 90% for 7 months now. The last major wobble I had was three months in, driving home stressed out from work, I pigged out in a McDonalds. But it didn’t throw me off course even slightly. I was able to assess how I felt the following day (really not good) and just get straight back on it. The only detour I’ve taken since then has been eating a bit too much dark chocolate occasionaly. My mantra has been ‘get back on the wagon’. It is easy to do really, when the food that you eat on PB tastes so good. Bacon, with eggs fried in butter? How can we go wrong?

    1. Nothing like that “bad fat and carb” hangover to keep you eating on the 90% road. I will shoot myself in the foot ocassionally with a bowl of ice cream, blam, and wake up with that carb hangover, ugh! Takes a lot longer to step off the wagon after that.

  29. I love the “it’s a journey, not a race.” It’s taken me two YEARS so far to lose 65lbs, I have at least 40 more to go and weight loss is getting slower and slower. But I’m finding grace in the journey because it is solidifying how I eat as my way of life, not a “diet”. I’m happier and healthier, so even if I never lose another pound I’m OK with it (but it would be nice!)

    Here’s my favorite mantra:
    You’re only as far away from eating “on plan” (substitute primally) as the next bite of food you put in your mouth.

    In other words, if you blow it, don’t give up. Just keep following the correct path.

  30. I find I use the word quite quite a bit, similar to Edgar Allan Poe, who uses the word singular a lot more than once.

  31. 80/20 works for me…… No calorie counting at all. I got interested in PB from a colleague due to me mentioning my years of acid reflux issues, he pointed me to MDA.
    Read the blog and bit the bullit. Cut out wheat, rice, white potatoes made the changes as suggested. Read the books by Mark, made real sense.
    I would also include a chap, Dr Robert Lustig “Fat Chance” a real eye opener to sugar and its bad role in modern diets, also learnt how the body works concerning hormones,a must read.
    This also lead me to dig put a copy of “Pure White & Deadly” by John Yudkin, this was written in 1972, but no one wanted to listen at the time, what a mistake…..
    Since Feb 13 I’ve lost 37 pounds, slowly does it, it’s not a race… Another 21 pounds and I’ll be in the right ball park. My personal achievement has been IF, carried out this a few times, still gives me a buzz that I don’t eat for 24 hours and don’t feel hunger, also proves that I’m in fat burning mode.
    Exercise is good, monitor the H/rate and keep it around the 75% max during workouts in the Gym and jogging. Also include a sprint session every 10 days. All this = more energy and feeling great, next year I’m 50 and so should be at goal weight and will be still learning from MDA
    “GROK ON” from one Mark to another Mark, thank you.

    1. Suuuper late to this party, I know, but I am really committed to giving up sugar, and to keep me on track when I feel those cravings is to say to myself: “Sugar is s**t, and you don’t eat s**t, do you?” It makes me smile, and it’s true!!

  32. “Progress, not perfection” is what helps me when I start to beat myself up for slipping back into old habits. It helps remind me of how overall I have done better than six months ago, even if I did eat something unhelpful this week.

    When I want to steel myself to avoid a temptation I use ” You are AWESOME. So start f**ing acting like it”.

  33. My mantra: “I deserve to feel this good and my family deserves to have me feel this good.”

  34. I like…

    “If you hate starting over, stop quitting.”

    “Nothing ever tastes as good as being healthy feels.”

    “Strive to be the person your dog thinks you are!”

    1. “Strive to be the person your dog thinks you are”

      Ha! Will pass this on to my Mum tonight! Nice one.

      (in my case I will substitute ‘dog’ for ‘chickens’)

  35. My switch to primal was very simple, though perhaps that’s because I have no weight issues. The single biggest (and continuing) issue has been eating out because I always feel like an ass specifying NO vegetable oils, no grains etc. and asking about gluten content in everything. That and those busy weeks when you’ve not done enough batch cooking to tide you through and you get home from work starving and just needing something, anything at all.

  36. “Don’t let the perfect be enemy of the good” is my favourite. However, I think that some people might get too hung up on the “80/20 rule” and forget that although it does look like a formula and it *is* a rule, it’s not meant to be stiff, otherwise it would defeat the purpose of liberating people from their neurotic behaviours. I personally prefer shooting for 100% and not getting frustrated when it doesn’t happen.

  37. Thank you for this post Mark! I really needed it today. I have coped with a severe autoimmune disorder along with psoriasis for many years on toxic meds. Finding Paleo and your site had helped me adjust my lifestyle and get rid of the meds!! I have loved the Paleo lifestyle and felt like I was eating like a king. However the last few months my symptoms have been resurfacing, even though I am strict. After diligent research from your site, Robb Wolfs and Paleomom, I am now having to let go of coffee, my protein powder, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, most fruit and my treats like wine and dark chocolate. Basically a diet of just animal meat protein and vegetables, minus the nightshades. I really thought I was done with the elimination process. I mean I’m 6’2′ and weigh 145!! I am trying to put on mass by eating more not cutting out. Your post was spot on to help me with seeing the big picture. Whatever doesn’t kill me will just make me stronger right…right?

  38. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

    I want that on a wall plaque!

  39. This article came at the perfect time for me. I have been trying so hard to eat healthy (by myself, my husband still likes his starchy carbs and bread), and majorly fell off the wagon last night with a ice cream/Reese’s concrete! Had to stop eating it halfway through because it was disgusting after a while. Why did I order that in the first place??? Woke up hating myself and feeling like a failure. This article and the comments that followed really help to put things in perspective – maybe I am trying to rush things a little bit. Thanks again.

    1. Ahahahahah, Kim don’t beat yourself up. Enjoy that ice cream hangover, it is what helps me say NO the next time my little boy lovingly brings in a tiny bowl of it in to me with that Reese’s hard shell (just like I like it) ….. Not that it’s happened more than a few times to me, yeah right. Plus, you’ll hate that your mouth tastes bad for a few days after as well, blechk!!
      Remember, it’s a journey up some steps, just because you stumble on one of the stairs doesn’t mean you have to go back to the bottom of the staircase, just pick youself up and go on, maybe with a little pain killer for the carb hangover of course. I think my husband and son are a little more willing to cross over to this lifestyle. I don’t feed them grains but I don’t forbid them to bring ice cream into the house, my bad I guess. Someday the whole family will be on this journey together.
      Just wanted you to know there is a sister out here that has been in the same situation as you.

  40. Yup, it’s a journey all right! I started Primal about 3 months ago – I felt like complete crap for just about the first 4 weeks while I detoxed. Then it got easier and I felt better. I initially lost 12 pounds but now am stalled and I am OK with that. My body will decide what it wants to do even if my mind is looking for 10 more pounds to come off! I do a bunch of kettle bells and like to heavy lift so I may weight a bit more because I want that muscle on me! It is a journey and it may take my 45 year old body some time to determine what it wants – after 45 years of carb feasting this is definitely a change. I have gone from carb junkie to carnivore in such a short amount of time that I mentally need to adjust too. I need to get used to the “whole” of it not just the eating part. Thanks for all the posts Mark!!

  41. My new mantra born out of recent times is, “I hate hospitals and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to stay out of them.” Kind of like saying I’d rather make the effort to be well than eat/do whatever I want and be sick.

  42. Thanks for the great post.

    My iPhone lock screen says, “Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.” 🙂

  43. Loved this post. Reaffirming with such good supportive comments too! Paleo now much more in eveidence in the UK now whereas, four years ago when I started and discovered MDA, it was invisible. Everyone who asks now shows an interest! It certainly is a journey, not a race. I’m 62 going on 40!

  44. This advice couldn’t have been more timely Mark !
    After watching me lose 60+ lbs in the past year, my wife decided to follow the PB just days ago. She delivered our second child in mid-April so she’s finally had enough of the mental fog lift to try something new.

    She came to me this morning and said “I dunno, I weight 1lb more than I did a few days ago !” OMGZ stop the presses, one pound ! Minutes later she remembered that she’s slept pretty poorly the past few nights (heck the past 2 months really). Her discouragement wore off – seems she’s willing to try it for a good bit longer.

    The PB is indeed a lifestyle. I’m a certified massage therapist and I have at least 7 discussions a week with my clients about it. Some have heard of “paleo”; others haven’t. I’m always excited to find out how many are willing to check it out – “can you write down the name of that book/website again ?”
    I tell my clients – if you think massage alone helps you X much, then you really must try the PB as well.

    GNARLY TIMES.

  45. It’s a lifestyle not a diet and a journey not a race are the two phrases that resonate with me.

    After 3 decades of yo-yo dieting the low fat, high carb way – counting everything that went into my mouth, going primal was and is like being let out of prison!

    My work colleagues are getting used to me not eating lunch room treats – they say I am so strong not to be tempted. However, there is nothing in it, no strength of character, just the fact that eating primally is so much more tastier while their “normal” food holds no appeal anymore.

    Thank you Mark for your continual words of wisdom and inspiration!