A Backpacker’s Journey From Weight Loss To a New Life Mission

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!

One of my very favorite hobbies is ultra-light backpacking. I love being able to strap on a pack with the bare essentials and get lost in the woods for days at a time. For the longest time, I’ve been on a perpetual quest to discover and collect the lightest gear to make my outdoor quests as efficient as possible. I’ll obsessively get out a kitchen scale to weigh my equipment piece by piece, creatively looking for ways to cut 5 oz. here and 2 oz. there. However, for years I nonsensically overlooked the heaviest and bulkiest piece of gear that I was lugging up and down the trail…my 40 lbs of extra body fat. Duh!

Through most of my adulthood, I could eat whatever I wanted (and in whatever quantity I wanted!) and not gain a single pound. I just chalked it up to lucky genes. When I hit my late 30s, however, things took a predictable turn for the worse. Year after year, the bathroom scale needle began trending upwards and it was becoming increasingly difficult to squeeze into my favorite pair of 501’s. Before I knew it, I was forty pounds overweight, constantly lethargic, frequently sick, and lacking the overall motivation to get out of bed each morning.

So I made a commitment to eat less and exercise more. That didn’t work for me at all! I lacked the simple willpower and self-control to stop eating delicious junk foods. And after two years of six days a week trips to the gym making myself miserable on cardio machines, I hadn’t lost a single pound of body fat. I felt frustrated, perplexed, and embarrassed. I felt like a complete failure.

In my unsuccessful attempts to look and feel better, I reluctantly solicited the help of a fitness trainer. I was hesitant for two reasons. One, I feared my body would be instantly transformed into Lou Ferrigno’s if I even glanced at a free weight. Two, I’m a prideful kind of guy that likes to research things on my own. But Googling “weight loss” left me so bewildered that ultimately, I put all my trust into my trainer’s hands.

My fitness coach suggested I try a trendy diet called keto. Since I told my trainer I’d do whatever he told me to do, no questions asked, I gave it a try. The first week I lost 7 lbs. It was during this week that I heard Mark Sisson interviewed on the Joe Rogan podcast. They talked a lot about keto, and my ears perked up. Mark also outlined the characteristics of the Primal Blueprint way of life and I was entirely hooked. Everything he said made so much logical sense to me. I probably listened to that two-hour podcast another ten times to let the concepts slowly begin to reprogram my thinking patterns that had long been brainwashed by conventional diet and exercise “wisdom.” I immediately got a copy of The Primal Blueprint and devoured it. I subscribed to as many primal and paleo podcasts as I could fit in my queue. I couldn’t seem to get enough of this new life-changing information!

After just a few short months, Mark helped me to completely optimize my diet and workouts. I was finally able to see and feel the results of the scale moving downward. I was now experiencing the benefits of being fat adapted…having bounds of energy, improved mental clarity, and not routinely getting sick every three months.

I wanted to share this newfound experience with as many people as possible. I now had a brand new life mission to help others discover how to become healthier, stronger, thinner, and full of energy. So when I came across an ad for enrolling in the Primal Health Coach Institute, I didn’t hesitate a second. Take my money! Going through the 17-week program was chock-full of revolutionary health insights and practical coaching strategies. I enjoyed the surprise of a new module opening up each week, and couldn’t wait to devour the life-changing concepts within. After graduating from the course, I felt supremely confident in my ability to coach clients towards their health goals.

However, towards the end of the training, a slight panic began to set in. I’d never started a business before. I didn’t possess the entrepreneurial gene that everyone on Shark Tank seems to have. I lacked the business experience and acumen. Right when all those doubts began to creep into my mind, PHCI—the Primal Health Coach Institute, came to the rescue. Not only did they provide an amazing business resource center at the end of the program, but they added 12 new business building task modules within the curriculum. I was able to go through each one step by step in a logical, simple, and straightforward progression. The staff also hosts ongoing monthly webinars with practical training and tips. After each webinar, I’m so inspired by the relevant content. There’s always a wealth of useful action steps that I can apply to health coaching and business building. PHCI has taken all the guesswork out of starting a health coaching vocation for me. The business building tasks alone were well worth the cost of the program!

By the time I graduated, I was able to launch The Optimized Life, LLC with a snazzy website (theoptimizedlife.net), set up 4 business social media outlets, construct a growing email marketing strategy, and tackle tons of other smaller but vital tasks for beginning a thriving health coaching practice. Within my first week, I signed up four clients for a 3-month group coaching package. I’m now well on my way to providing nutritional and fitness support for busy people whose waistlines are expanding and energy levels are declining.

Words can’t express how grateful I am to Mark and all the Primal staff for giving me the tools to live the rest of my life with joy and vitality. As a Primal Health Coach, I want nothing more than to pass those same tools on to others I meet as well.

Chris Prior

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20 thoughts on “A Backpacker’s Journey From Weight Loss To a New Life Mission”

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  1. Thanks for sharing your journey Chris and congrats on your certification and launch of your business. Expect you will crush it. Great to grow a business you have a passion for and can see the personal impact you have on others.

    Hiking up in Whistler, British Columbia today. PB was a game changer for my hiking. No more joint pain and the lighter weight travels better! If you get the chance Chris, head north to Squamish and hike the Chief. Continued success!

  2. Great story Chris! Looking great! Congrats on the business and good luck. Maybe I’ll see you on the trail someday.

  3. Glad to read your story Chris. I too am an ultralight backpacker. In my 20s, I carried 35-40 pounds and hiked in boots. I’m now 60, backpack in sandals and carry 15 – 20 pounds. I do however find it difficult to eat fully primal and keep pack weight down. US Wellness Meats has pemmican which will keep in cooler weather but I often need to supplement with freeze-dried meals that don’t fully pass the primal test. I guess one could call that the 80/20 rule for backpacking.

    Good luck with your new venture!

  4. Helleva story my friend! The best part is that you’ve unleashed a purpose and passion to help thy fellow Sapien… to make your dent in the world. I’ll ask my social media guy (or, antisocial media as I like to call it) to connect with you. Maybe we can hook you up with some products for a giveaway.

    P.S. Your worst fear sort of came true… ya kinda look a bit like Lou Ferrigno (muscle-wise), less the green.

    1. Liver King – that Ferrigno joke was really fun –
      🙂 and from your gravatar it looks like you are Lou-like big time

  5. Very well-written story Chris. Congratulations on your success and best of luck to you 🙂

  6. Congratulations, Chris! I like your website name, The Optimized Life, and your theme of losing fat and gaining energy. I’m sure you will help lots of people do what you have done.

  7. This is truly inspirational! I’m in the process of developing my own blog on primal cooking, and gardening. Hopefully generate some side income from two of the things I love! I’ve been considering the primal health coach class to help pass along some nutritional knowledge along with some delicious recipes! Life is pretty busy with the passing of my grandfather this year, so I don’t have nearly as much time as I’d like, but things should start calming down in a few weeks!

    Best of luck on your adventures!

  8. Chris – Really love how this part of your story was shared here – and I hope it just one more example of how we all get healthy from the inside out.

    I glad to be on this life journey with you – even though I prefer to stay off the trails – ha!
    Cheers to living awesome (to quote mark)
    your wife,

    and so grateful for MDA

  9. What a great story Chris! Congratulations for putting it all together – you are doing excellent job with your new company. Best wishes to your new career!

  10. Congratulations, Chris! It’s so awesome that you are sharing your knowledge to guide others in similar transformations. Your website is super snazzy!

  11. I am a great lover of your Friday series that is related to real-life stories. After reading your post, I really get a new energy and even motivate others about their fitness and healthy lifestyle. Thanks for sharing your success story on weight loss. I too recommend that one can follow the Keto diet and primal blueprint to meet your health goals.

  12. What a great story, Chris!!! So happy to get to know you. I can definitely learn a thing or two from you – my first and only backpacking trip included a 40-lb backpack, 23 miles of hiking in 80-degree weather and my first poison ivy. Feel free to laugh! 🙂

  13. Way to go, Chris!! Congrats on your success. I also saw a revolutionary change in my health after reading Primal Blueprint. I’ve been living the lifestyle for nearly 2 years and created a website called http://www.gogopaleo.com to share the knowledge I had learned. I hope to attend a weekend event next year. I’d love to meet more people as excited as we are!

  14. How do you stay primal while backpacking? Almost all of the available backpacking foods are loaded with carbs!

  15. Chris – you rock! Congrats on everything – very inspirational!

  16. It’s not that easy to lose weight because it requires discipline and adjustments in many areas of life. Some people find success with such goals on their own while others need someone who will support them all the way. Those who are supported by diet coaches who help them focus on their fitness goals and provide them with great insights that they could use to stay motivated could easily get back on their track when they feel lost. Someone who had been there could surely inspire others to achieve their fitness goals.