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!
I have been contemplating for about a month now whether I should write my “success” story or wait until I reached my ultimate goal. After thinking this through, I realized I will never reach my ultimate goal since I am now living a new lifestyle, and this lifestyle has no end (other than my eventual death, which hopefully isn’t until I am a very old man). With that realization, I am here now, typing my story…
Growing up, I was the typical chubby kid in middle school and early on in high school. I then fell victim to the “you must be skinny” mentality. I stopped eating regularly, but also became quite active with biking and walking long distances to work (especially to Harvey’s—a fast food joint in Canada). I ate very little, but when I did, it was a bag of chips, cookies, hamburgers, poutine, fried chicken, and pizza (you know, those types of foods). I thought I was doing great. I basically stayed at 160 lbs from grade nine (when I was 5’1”) to grade 13 (when I was 5”11”). I was finally the skinny guy at graduation; albeit my blood pressure was 150/90 at that young age. Everything was fine according to multiple medical tests. I was skinny, so I figured everything must be okay. My gut was also a problem at this young age. I was told that it “ran in my family.” I constantly had to run to the bathroom after each meal with cramps, diarrhea, etc.
I then started University. I went into nursing, so I started adhering to what was considered a “healthy lifestyle” in terms of eating. I really tried to follow Canada’s Food Guide, which recommended of a ton of grains and very little meat. I began lifting weights and doing cardio, but I got into liquor a little too much (the weekend parties, the mid-week cheap beer pitchers, and the slow times between classes at the pub having liquid lunches). Slowly and surely, I gained 15 pounds that first year of school. The thing is, I started looking better in the mirror. I was gaining muscle, and ultimately felt like I was doing fine. The problem is, the weight slowly kept coming on at a rate of about 5 pounds per year. Also, my gut issues, blood pressure, and everything else just got worse.
I also met my wife to be at the end of my first year of university. It was love at first sight for sure. We loved going to bars and clubs together. Drinking got heavier, and when I started working as a nurse, my drinking got even worse. The stress and pain that I saw at my job made me turn to liquor. It would numb the horrible things I saw that humans could do to each other.
I got engaged, then married, and finally had two wonderful kids. I loved them to death! But through all of these wonderful things, my weight and health kept getting worse, to the point where I was during last August, 2013. I was not feeling good for a while, but kept dismissing it as a “stomach bug.” I had been sick at least 10 days in the last few months, and I was starting to get concerned about missing so much work. But then the fever hit, and I was laid out for a few days before finally getting in to see my doctor. I was given the full assessment and diagnosed with a diverticulitis flare-up. This was the first time ever in my life that something scared me about my health. I was put on a course of antibiotics, and the diverticulitis flare-up went away. I immediately changed my diet to include as little meat as possible, no nuts, plus lots of beans and legumes…because it was healthy, right?
Well, my gut just got worse over the next few months. I had been at my heaviest for a few months at 242 lbs. I was having trouble keeping my breath with very simple activities. Romance was starting to lag and performance was too. I was not keeping up with my kids as I should have. All in all, I was just really at the lowest in terms of health at this point.
I had been reading for a while on Mark’s Daily Apple, but was not able to get my wife to switch over—that is, until one of her friends started talking to her about it. This friend is also featured in the “success” section of Mark’s Daily Apple. After a few months of contemplating and seeing me suffer, she was on board, and we both jumped into this full force. We started in March 2014, and within one week I had lost 10 lbs. The weight was great to lose, but the bloating, gas, running to the bathroom, and energy levels improved immediately as well. I was in disbelief. There was no way in the world it could be that easy…
The weeks blended together, but even without exercise, the weight was melting away. Within one month, I was down to 215 lbs. I felt like a new person. People at work were amazed, and I began actually walking my talk of health. I began working out at the small local gym. I focused only on four bodyweight movements, but it was enough. I stuck to the Primal Fitness book, and slowly began changing things up, just to have fun. I was getting stronger, faster, and yes, lighter. I was getting people interested, and, slowly but surely, a few more people at my work decided to try the lifestyle. They have seen amazing results so far.
Now, six months into my new journey, I am at a happy 182 lbs (my ideal weight). I am in the maintenance swing of things in terms of my diet, but my physical abilities are my new goal now. I am slowly seeing progress in the gym, and in the mirror. I want to continue to lose the fat, but put on the muscle to look nice, slim, and toned. I am getting there—down to 17% body fat from my initial 42%. But my ultimate goal is to begin competing in the Tough Mudder series. I want to tell everyone my diverticulitis is completely gone. My blood pressure is perfect at a routine 120/80, and my resting heart rate is routinely at 55 beats per minute. I never thought that I would see success with health. I had always tried, but the North American Diet did nothing but horrible things for me. Now, with this new lifestyle, I am able to effortlessly attain and maintain my goals.
I try 100% compliance, but, I must admit, there are the odd cheats here and there (like a wrap or a few too many beers). But ultimately, the way the cheats makes me feel (with stomach cramps, bloating, and pain) reminds me that I do not have to cheat. I am perfectly happy with the way things have turned out and the path in which my life is going.
Just recently I saw my wife looking at me the way she looked at me when we first met. I had not seen that from her for a while. I know she is not hung up on physical features, but she is hung up on me being healthy. I think that is what she saw in me: that I am really trying and I am succeeding in this. We both are.
I have just signed up for the online Primal Blueprint Expert Certification program. I will start a local education series once I am done. I want to share this knowledge with as many people as possible. But more importantly, I want to help as many people with health issues as possible.
Thank you all for such an amazing transformation. I am just at the beginning, but the steps I have taken so far are just amazing. I could not have done it without Mark’s Daily Apple!