A Primal Comeback

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!

For most of my adult life I?ve been called many things, but ?skinny? has taken some getting use to.

For years I repeatedly followed the conventional ritual of low-fat, low-calorie dieting paired with exercise to lose weight. With each attempt I would lose weight, sometimes as much as a few dozen pounds at a time. However, constant hunger eventually won out over my best efforts to eat less while exercising more (as prescribed by the ?calories in, calories out? mindset). I would regain the lost weight and then some. When New Year?s came along, I would resolve myself to try harder than the previous attempt. The sad part is that each time I expected different results doing roughly the same thing. Unfortunately, after losing and regaining the weight three times, I quit caring about my own health, even despite my wife?s concerns.

I had lost hope that I had any real power to change or control my fate from being anything other than desperate, obese, and fatigued. I was becoming a model customer for the highly profitable drug, dieting, and medical industries. Inwardly, I blamed myself for lacking the self-discipline needed to lose and keep weight off. As I grew more obese, I eventually had to shop for larger clothes in big and tall men?s clothing stores and catalogs. Being only 5? 8? on a good day and tipping the scales north of 350 pounds at this point, I wasn?t shopping for clothes in these venues because I was tall!

At the age of 26, in what is supposed to be the prime of my life, I was literally winded and sweating just walking into work each morning. I began to see myself the way society probably thought of me at first glance: a lazy glutton who either does not know how to count calories or ultimately chooses to remain obese. I eventually entered into a state of apathy about my health for the next year.

Fortunately, after watching my weight and health slowly deteriorate from the sidelines, a good friend of mine persuaded me to join a gym again. However, this time, instead of doing roughly the same weight loss ritual a fourth time, I wanted to try something not just mildly different with eating but completely different and unconventional.

While researching, I found what I was looking for when I stumbled onto this website and later The Primal Blueprint. Not wanting to wait for a hard copy, I downloaded The Primal Blueprint onto my e-reader and poured over it intently as I struggled to use the elliptical machine. With the exception of maybe vegetables and water being good for people, what I learned about Primal nutrition and lifestyle went against almost everything I had been taught as ?healthy? since elementary school. Deep down, most of us want to think of ourselves as ?health conscious? to some degree, but much of what it means to be ?health conscious? is monopolized by today?s conventional weight loss advice. In retrospect, holding onto such ideas of what ?health conscious? people are supposed to believe and eat was dragging me into the depths of poor health.

Mark?s clear and engaging writing style forced me to contemplate the possibility that what was lacking in my previous weight loss attempts was not self-discipline or motivation but the conventional advice itself. Like pulling harder and harder against a door that says ?Push,? perhaps what I had done in the past was working against my body rather than with it. Instead of blaming myself, I thought, ?maybe I didn?t fail to follow conventional advice but conventional advice failed me.? This possibility rekindled the hope and optimism that was all but extinguished as collateral damage during my previous weight loss attempts.

Up to this point, gastric bypass was becoming a looming option if I couldn?t reverse course and keep weight off. Frightened by this prospect and a painful family history of Type 2 diabetes (my mom is in end stage renal failure), I urgently experimented with Primal low-carb eating right away, even before I had completely finished reading The Primal Blueprint. I wasn?t going to wait for 40 years of conventional weight loss advice to improve its dismal track record. I needed to change now.

Lacking any culinary skills or imagination, I started simple. Eggs, bacon, butter, fish, sausage, steak, broccoli, lettuce, low-sugar yogurts, some cheeses, nuts, and the occasional whey protein shake all quickly became staples of mine for two weeks. I was a little hesitant to eat bacon, eggs, butter, and steak because I was raised to believe these were ?bad? foods. But I took a primal hop of faith that such foods that have been part of human history for much of our existence wouldn?t suddenly do harm to my health now. It also helped that they happen to taste great!

After my full two week low-carb Primal trial, limiting myself to just 25 net carbs per day (the amount where I discovered that would keep me in nutritional ketosis), I dropped 15 pounds. This wasn?t the only positive change I experienced. Unlike previous attempts, the blood sugar roller coaster that I rode every day eating low-fat/high-carb, which I had come to accept as ?normal,? completely stopped. I consistently had more energy, which made it easier to move more. I rarely craved sweets as my taste buds were beginning to rehabilitate themselves from years of abuse. I felt years younger, and portion sizing seemed to take care of itself as my appetite was sated.

The rekindled hope that I could control my health and fate soon transformed into an implacable appetite to learn more. As I continued to lose more weight and feel great, I devoured as much paleo and low-carb literature as I could find. I read blogs and books by Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, Dr. Cate Shanahan, Gary Taubes, and many others; I listened to many podcasts from Jimmy Moore. Although not Primal or low-carb per se, I also read a lot of Michael Pollan who piqued my curiosity about how and where my food is made. For almost a year, I would actually look forward to using the elliptical machine just so I could unlearn and re-educate myself about food and nutrition science in peace. Learning to conquer my fears of so-called ?artery clogging saturated fats? (talk about a loaded phrase!) and cholesterol in my foods were two of many epiphanies I experienced as I was embracing more of the low-carb Primal lifestyle.

Over time, I implemented more of what I was learning by eating more real, whole, low-carb foods whose ingredients I could pronounce without a PhD in chemistry. However, at various points, I dabbled with various low-carb products like Atkins bars, diet sodas, ice creams, low-carb breads, and shirataki noodles (these I still use on occasion). As a lifelong rice eater (as is common for many Filipinos) and pasta lover, shirataki noodles helped me substitute staple foods that had long been part of my upbringing without raising my blood sugar levels. As my culinary imagination started expanding, I eventually phased out the Atkins bars, diet sodas, ice-creams, low-carb breads, and protein shakes. In the process, I also started buying more local grass-fed meats and became more creative with incorporating vegetables (like using zucchini as a pasta substitute for spaghetti) into my meals. While I gave up many starches, grains, and sweets during my journey, the inner peace that results from greatly improved health has been far sweeter than any sugar substitute on the market.

Of course, being human, about once a week, I would also have one off-plan meal or item but would get right back on track the next day. As weird as this may sound, I never feel better eating my off-plan meal than I do when I?m on-plan but still do it anyway. While the once a week off-plan meal may have slowed my progress and thrown me out of ketosis several times, it?s a tradeoff I?ve consciously made for the rest of my life going forward. When I?m feeling consistently awesome for 6 days straight or longer, sometimes I take this feeling for granted until I splurge on that off-plan meal. I am immediately reminded and humbled that even though on the outside my body looks completely different, in some fundamental ways it?s still the same as before underneath, especially with blood sugar control issues.

After just five months, my journey became real. I reached my 60-pound weight loss milestone. I originally set this goal because it was more than I had lost in any of my attempts at low-fat dieting and exercise. This time, however, in becoming a keto-adapted, fat-burning beast, neither superhuman discipline nor constant hunger was necessary to reach this milestone. After 60 pounds, I?ve never looked back.

About seven months later when I had lost 120 pounds, I was fortunate enough to be able to join a racquetball league that had just started at my gym. I?ve never had any desire to run a marathon or any kind of race, and I was running out of nutrition and health books to read on my e-reader. As a result, I was growing bored with the elliptical machine. Racquetball, as I quickly discovered, was the perfect game for people, like me, who don?t like to run long distances or against a clock. It has provided a fun and social way to obtain a high intensity workout.

Throughout my journey, the vast majority of people have been both supportive and amazed at the progress I?ve made. My beautiful wife in particular, who has loved me unconditionally in both poor health and better health, has been my biggest supporter throughout my Primal transformation.

However, scattered along the way, a few well intentioned skeptics, still wedded to conventional wisdom notions of ?healthy? as I once was, expressed various ?concerns? about my long-term health as a result of me eating low-carb Primal. But as such ?concerns? have yet to materialize I?ve learned to let my results speak for themselves and continue living my life.

I?ve been fortunate enough to lose 150 pounds (from at least 350 to 200), 38% body fat (from 50% to 12%), 12 pant sizes (from 54 to 30), 6 shirt sizes (from 4XL to Small), and 7 inches around my neck (from 24 inches to 17) within 16 months. Furthermore, I?ve also effortlessly maintained my weight and body fat composition during the past two months. I?ve conquered the sleep apnea I?ve had since high school. And on top of all this, I?ve had no new cavities. In fact, even though I?ve very rarely been sick since going Primal, I actually look forward to visiting my medical doctor now for annual exams, which include blood panel tests (click to enlarge). Not too bad for an accountant who sits the majority of the day!

Blood Panel Tests

In eating Primal, I?ve reignited hope and optimism. I?ve firmly taken back control over my health and my life. I?m never letting go again.

If I have become optimistic, leaner and healthier, it is because I have been privileged enough to stand on the shoulders of paleo giants like Mark and others committed to living a lower-carb lifestyle. I feel an enormous sense of gratitude for the tremendous opportunity to transform my life for the better and share it publicly on this forum. I look forward to helping others who have been in my shoes.


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230 thoughts on “A Primal Comeback”

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  1. Way to go, Charlie. One of my favorite transformations I’ve read in awhile. Your arms are killer!

      1. You’re a very handsome fellow, Charlie. Quite admirable, what you’ve accomplished. You and your wife are very fortunate. 🙂

    1. Bazinga indeed, man! Your before PB story is a near match for my own. You’re so fortunate to have found PB at such a young age. Be proud! We’re the ones who didn’t give up. Grok on!

  2. Simply amazing transformation! Best of luck to you and congratulations on reclaiming your health, your body, and your LIFE. Primal Blueprint for life!

  3. Charlie,

    You look very healthy – and happy. Congrats! Mrs Charlie is a lucky woman. 😉

  4. Wow. Wowowowowow!

    You have made incredible progress and should be so proud.

    Loved your story!

  5. That is so awesome! I grew up in the Philippines, and know that it would be a challenge to replace all of the noodle and rice comfort foods… We also use zucchini and cabbage as mock noodles. Great work!

  6. Leave it to Mark and the Primalites to figure out a way to make Fridays even better.

    Awesome and inspiring. The smiles in all 3 of your after photos are infectious.

    Kudos to you.

  7. what a fantastic story! “Like continually pulling on a door that says ‘push’,” indeed. CW had me in that loop too! Congrats on your climb to better health and thanks for sharing, Grok Star 🙂

    1. I thought that was a fantastic illustration of what so many people have gone through in trying to lose weight the “right” way…so inspiring!

      1. Agreed!! I love a good analogy (: Charlie, you don’t even look like the same person!! You look so joyful and healthy and radiant. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  8. WOW. Amazing. You look like a completely differnt person. Awesome story, and great smile in your after pictures!! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Would not have even believed those pictures were the same person. Amazing.

  10. Now that is an awesome transformation! You look amazing, healthy, and most of all happy! Congrats on your success and thanks for sharing!

  11. This could be my story. Only it’s my dad in end stage renal failure (I pray everyday that he will make it another three years so my parents can celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. But I don’t know. You look amazing!! And the smile shows how amazing you must feel! And I also do the occasional off-plan day. One day lets me enjoy something “junky” without guilt…and the physical effects (which aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be) keep me in line.

    1. I feel you as far as kidney failure goes. It’s such a horrible affliction. Even though our parents’ time is limited (my mom, your dad), the best we can do is strive to fill those fleeting moments with meaning and smiles.

  12. Amazing! Inspiring — AND you are a really gifted writer. I sense a new career for you!

    1. I don’t know about being a “gifted” writer, but I’ve had many mentors along the way and an awesome editor in my wife. =)

  13. The expressions on your face in the “before” and “after” photos tell the story! Thank you for sharing with us!

  14. Totally amazing transformation! Keep up the amazing work and influencing others.

  15. What a truly amazing transformation!!! This is such an inspiration for me on my own Primal journey. Thank you so much for sharing your story Charlie!

  16. Whoa! Your forearms and calves are seriously beastly.

    And I use zucchini as a pasta substitute too! Congrats on all your successes.

    1. Thanks! I was born with those calves, but I have body builders at the gym approach me on occasion to ask what I do to develop them.

  17. Even though losing weight is not the only reason for going Primal, it is still stories like yours that are the most inspiring because you really saved your own life. The smile on your face says it all!

    1. Your success has given me the push to really want to go 90-100%!! I can’t believe you lost that much weight! You look amazing!!

  18. Oh, how I look forward to Fridays. This was a beautifully written transformation post. Loved it. Thanks for your words and sharing your experience!

  19. Wow, what a great depiction of the struggle. Congratulations on your astounding success.

    I don’t know if it was you or your writing partner (the guy in the first two pictures), but the phrase “Like pulling harder and harder against a door that says ‘Push’” deserves wide usage!

    1. I am stealing that phrase for use in any future opportunities to convince doubters.

    2. Thanks! I love using analogies and metaphors, as you can tell. 🙂

  20. Bada Bing !!!! Wow,Charlie — You can WRITE !!!!!!! Fantastic story, you had me at “skinny has taken some getting used to”. Thank YOU for an inspiring morning. Yes, your smile says it all.

    1. My French-speaking husband has lovingly begun using “Skinny” as a nickname for me, but I am far from earning it just yet.

      Charlie: you, on the other hand, have definitely earned the title! With a good 30 or 40 pounds packed into those new muscles, your waist size (and lipid profile) says it all!

  21. From the first picture to the last, you don’t even look like the same person.
    Super great story. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Congratulation, Charlie! You did great job and save your life!!! Moreover you look pretty sexy. ;-))

  23. I really enjoyed how comprehensive this success story was. The books you read, your struggles, and the actual results, including the blood numbers. I can send this around to my friends at work for some real inspiration. Thanks for sharing Charlie!

  24. I think this is the most inspirational transformation I’ve seen!!

    It really motivates me as I embark on my own Primal journey in a couple of days. Keep up the great work!!!

  25. My jaw dropped at those ‘after’ pictures!! This is such an incredible story and transformation– thanks for sharing and being such an inspiration!

  26. Ok… So aside from the general WOW factor of this story, the drop in triglycerides in that first 4 months was astounding. Well done!

  27. Charlie, what a GREAT story wonderfully-written. I love this: “maybe I didn’t fail to follow conventional advice but conventional advice failed me.”

    And you are a MUSCLE MAN!

    I’m sorry that your mum is suffering, but I’m sure that she is/would be experiencing joy at her own son’s vibrant health.

  28. “maybe I didn’t fail to follow conventional advice but conventional advice failed me.”

    Very well said! Way to go Charlie! Keep it up.. your happiness is inspiring!

  29. That is amazing! You look great!!! You lost so much weight and not alot of lose shin. I’ve been noticing this about primal transformations. There usually isn’t a lot of lose skin like with conventional weight loss methods. I also notice that primals tend to have more energy,and overall better body tone.

  30. Holy crap you look so much better! Nice to see how much happier you look and obviously feel. Fantastic job!

  31. Charlie, your story is so inspiring! The labs have a story too. Best wishes, and keep it up!

  32. A very inspirational story. Way to go and change your life for the better!
    – Alook Training

  33. Great job, Charlie!!! What an inspirational story! It sounds like you feel as good as you look!

  34. Wow! This is THE transformation! Congratulations, Charlie, you look fantastic! Thanks for the inspiration!

  35. Great story and well done. Going Primal is like unlocking the secret of the universe! These posts are yet another reason why I like forward to Fridays!

  36. WOW! Your story brought me to tears. I want to thank you for sharing, and I am going to share with my friends, some of whom REALLY need to read it.

  37. I always find these stories inspirational, but I think yours might be the best one ever! You glow!!

  38. I always look forward to Fridays but your story tops them all. Just looking at your face says you went from death’s door to very much alive.

  39. Wow, what a great. Well written, compelling, and holy cow the before and after photos! You have the muscle definition of a comic-book superhero, Charlie. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your journey. Very inspiring.

  40. “Wow?” No. “Whoa?” Nope. “Awesome!?” No, that doesn’t work either.

    How about “HOLY CRAP!”

    Love this one. Goes into my top 3 Friday transformations, for sure.

    Well done, my friend!

  41. Wow, what a transformation!! I am sorry about your Mom, I think your story will help many others to avoid the diseases caused by a SAD.

  42. The ultimate Bazinga! – We’re bazonkers looking at your amazing transformation. Gotta love calories-in calories-out: Eat 2,000 extra calories or 1/2 pound, yet gain 5-6 pounds, then restrict for 3-5 days – ugh, what I used to call “the idiot’s math equation from hell!” Only I was the idiot doing the same, over & over, but expecting different results… Another Primal Bazinga – thanks for sharing, Charlie! (I’m getting into Big Bang Theory now that it’s in syndication… Sheldon and his Bazinga’s, good stuff.)

  43. Incredible. I love reading these stories. When I open up a Real Life Story blog I fight myself to not scroll all the way down to see the after pics. Every time I get to it I always smile and say something. Today I smiled and said “holy #&@T!”. Great job Charlie!

  44. Wow…. just wow… Absolute great stuff. Congratulations guy. Control over your life again is a wonderful thing isn’t it?

  45. Amazing and inspirational story! Hard work sure pays off. I’m vegan so I obviously don’t follow the primal diet, but it’s fantastic to see such a drastic transformation nonetheless.

    1. Thanks! Whether you are vegan, Primal, or something in between, what ultimately matters at the end of the day is whether it works well for you. It’s so easy to veer off into fundamentalism when we lose sight of this pragmatic consideration.

  46. I’m curious what a typical day of eating was before you went primal, or for anyone who’s lost a significant amount of weight? Because I was just having a conversation with a friend who, when I told her that following conventional wisdom has made people obese, responded with, ‘really?! Do you think those people even pay attention to that?’ Charlie’s story is exactly what I was talking about: people who try to follow conventional wisdom but eventually become apathetic and obese when it doesn’t work.

    1. Before going Primal low-carb, I ate my fair share of fast-food and a lot of whole wheat pasta and bread, and brown rice.

  47. Dude! That’s awesome. You actually scare me a little because you’re so muscular. But, man I’m impressed and. Very happy for you. Thanks for mentioning Shirataki noodles, seems perfect for those occasions where my curry of Japanese stir fry needs something comforting, you understand!

  48. This is one of the best primal success stories I’ve read here ever! Congrats on the awesome progress. It just proves the 80/20 rule, that you don’t have to even do primal perfectly to get great results.

  49. Charlie, WOW! You are amazing! Congratulations on making the changes you needed and sticking to them! You must feel amazing! Your pics show the excitement and enthusiasm. I’m thrilled for you!

  50. WOW!!! I couldn’t stop smiling as I read this. Way to go!! I am so very proud!

  51. Holy shiznit, you look awesome dude!!!
    Congrats on your huge success!

  52. Wow, great story, I shared with a lot of people! Keep up the good work. I’m still trying to keep my carbs low. This was the push I needed to get into a fat burning machine mode. Hope you all have a great weekend (as it’s Friday) and may the 4th be with you!!! 😉

  53. Great stuff!! What a story!

    Can someone define the ‘numbers profile’ and what signifies good/bad??

  54. That’s so amazing! You’re so amazing! This made me smile so much, and I’m really happy for you. Thanks for sharing!

  55. Hard work pays off! What an accomplishment. Thanks for sharing your lipid profiles. The labs speak volumes on top of your personal story.

  56. Fantastic! You have a long, happy and FIT life ahead of you. You are inspiring!

  57. What a great and well written story. I love some of the phrases and language you used to paint us a picture of your journey, such as “primal hop of faith.” (I was a bit surprised when I read that you were an accountant.) Congratulations on your successes and thank you for sharing.

  58. That is AWESOME!!! Congrats!!! What an inspiration! Keep up the good work! 🙂

  59. Add me to all the WOW’S everyone has expressed and may I suggest that you send your story to the JOY Fit Club on the NBC morning Today Show.

    It would be great to have a primal person featured in Joy’s segment. Most of the people she features have lost weight with low fat eating and upping their exercise. While their weight loss is impressive, most don’t really look fit. You would be a great representative for our tribe. Think about it.

    1. A co-worker of mine recently told me about this show. I’d love to do some research on it.

  60. Awesome story and transformation! I am curious to know what your exercise routine was like. Did you follow Primal Blueprint Fitness or something else?

    1. For awhile I used 30-minute personal training sessions that came with my gym membership. However, I tell people that what you do with those other 23.5 hours in a day is far more important than the training sessions themselves.

  61. Holy crap a-wow-wow!! You did good, no, great! Congratulations on your amazing success and continued wellness!

  62. SERIOUSLY AWESOME post! Your story is so uplifting and well written. I want to send it to every person I know (even if weight loss isn’t their goal.) You can actually see the joy and hope in your face as well as your words. Just fantastic, I hope you’re as proud of yourself as you should be!

  63. Wow Charlie,
    Enjoy the glow, once again this community has demonstrated to me how affirming it is. It’ great to see youth defying the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I will show this to my eldest son, who is tinkering around the edges, because he lives at home, he is semi primal, but your story may just give him the nudge he needs.
    One thing I find with this lifestyle is the relief of finding a path through the maze of conflicting doctrines that is simple, effortless and delicious. You certainly look like you are enjoying life now, such a buzz,

    1. A lot of times when we visit our doctor, we’re told what our end result numbers must be and essentially told, “Good Luck!”

  64. HOLY CRAP! This is one of the best stories I’ve read on here. So inspiring. Congratulations on your new life. MABUHAY!

  65. That is a truly inspirational story. Thank you for sharing your journey. You can’t argue with results like that. I agree too about the blood sugar spikes. That is the biggest thing that keeps me primal. I feel so much better. You look amazing. Never look back!!!!

    1. I just can’t believe that for most of my life I just thought the blood sugar roller coaster was “normal”! Keep up your good work and party like a Grok-star! =)

  66. Congratulations on your success! I wish these Friday stories were required reading for anyone attending (or running!) a bariatric clinic There is a better way!!

  67. Awesome!!!!!! Keep on Grokkin and have a great weekend Charlie!!

  68. Wow Charlie! What an inspiring, beautifully written story! Congratulations, you look amazing!

  69. I’ll add the general feeling of awe and admiration for your accomplishments. As I scrolled to your after pics, I expected to see at least one of you throwing a spear at a bison!

    I’ll second the comments about your writing skill, and I’m a writer myself. You definitely could develop an avocation, but don’t give up your day job; accounting pays better.

    1. Thanks for the compliments! You are very kind. Given the feedback so far, I will definitely try to do more writing in the future.

  70. You are a true inspiration to others. Congratulations on your hard work and your success!

  71. I normally just lurk but WOW! You are so inspiring Charlie! Amazing work!

  72. Wow Charlie,amazing. It brought a tear to my eyes because your before story was my story too before going primal.keep up the good job.

  73. Congratulation you really look good, thanks for this inspiring story!

  74. Woooowwww..eeee…….you look awesome. Well done sir. Surely people you haven’t seen for a year don’t recognise you? Fridays rock!

  75. Wow! I am so impressed by your accomplishment! Kudos to you for recognizing the wisdom of the Primal plan and sticking with it. It works and you are proof of it!!

  76. This is an AMAZING transformation! Congrats on your new healthy body! I for one am sick of nutritionists and most of society looking at overweight/obese people as if they are simply lazy and/or not dedicated to your diet. There are many people that don’t diet/exercise and don’t become obese/overweight. (my husband is one of them).
    It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to go on a food pyramid, calorie restricted diet and “stick to it.” Eating primal is the only way to eventually stop cravings and have satiety after eating.

    1. I agree. I often wonder how many people simply give up after trying to “eat healthy” a few times, like I once did. I was fortunate enough to have a good friend of mine intervene when he did (and these are tricky conversations to have), and then from there, stumble onto this website 18 months ago.

  77. Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve been eating paleo for almost 3 weeks now and have noticed wonderful changes in my energy level and overall well-being. Your story is going to help me keep making truly healthy choices.

  78. Fantastic!! You have pulled me up out of my rainy-weather funk! You look almarmingly good–thanks for the inspiration! And you have a very readable writing style!

  79. I love this story! Your enthusiasm and your smile say it all…thanks so much for sharing your success with us. I think it is so interesting to read that other followed the baby steps along with the big ones…your steps lead you to success!

  80. Arrgggh! So inspiring my face wants to crack in half from smiling.

    Seriously man, well done. I hope a day never goes by where you don’t realise and feel like the absolute MAN for all that you have achieved.

    I’ve recently started the journey you did 16 months ago, and being 2 months into it, stories like yours just make me even happier in my choice and make me even more aware of how this is the right thing for me to be doing! I hope in 14 months I am even half as successful as you are now 🙂

    1. @Jay- Thanks man! Your words mean a lot to me. I wish you the best of luck on your Primal journey. Just never give up on yourself. When I started out, I, too, read a lot of real life success stories eating this way from time to time, and Friday was my pay of paying that inspiration forward.

  81. Great writing, super smile! So glad you shared your story. Kudos to your wife, too, for being so supportive.

  82. Oorah! So, that’s what Superman looks like under his suit!

  83. Absolutely amazing. You are an inspiration! Your health has improved tremendously! Way to go 🙂

  84. Amazing transformation. Thank you for sharing your blood work too, I find it reassuring that following a primal lifestyle is objectively good for us as well as subjectively.

  85. So awesome! Love the pics, you look great and so happy now! Thank you for sharing your story.

  86. You are THE story that has pushed me to stand up and Grok On into my fat-burning mode 🙂

    BTW, I’m also Filipino and I, too (as well as my siblings) have those calves, LOL!



  87. I litteraly got goose bumps looking at the before and afters. Great job. Your story is very inspiring.

  88. Just what I needed to see! Thank you for sharing, I too do the once a week cheat meal and it reminds me how awful I feel. I still do it and savor it in the moment but when I’m done realize how I sooo can’t do this everyday now that I’m primal! Love this story!

  89. Super job. You are an inspiration. I am 4 months into my jouney and down 46 lbs with 70 to go.

  90. The numbers are key. Thanks so much for sharing. It’s amazing how much stronger I am now, even from high school, and weigh 20 lbs less.

  91. What an inspiration. My husband and I have only started on the Primal Blueprint diet two weeks ago, but we are LOVING it and totaly dedicated and excited by all that we read on Mark’s site especially and have loved reading the success stories and this one is great. This is truly a diet for life because it makes sense. The weight loss will simply be a huge bonus that I look forward to enjoying (and it’s already started). Well done Charlie and thanks to Mark 🙂

    1. Keep up the good work! Hopefully your story will be on here as well. I, too, am consistently inspired by all that I read here every Friday afternoon.

  92. Absolutely incredible, Charlie. I pinned your picture and story to my “Inspirational People” board on Pinterest for your amazing accomplishment. I bet your wife is so, so proud of you!

    1. Thank you, Kesha! My wife is very proud of me; she’s been my biggest supporter throughout actually. And I’m also a proud husband to say that this weekend, after 4 long years of going to law school part-time while working full-time, she’s graduating from law school.

  93. You look amazing … what a wonderful gift to your wife, too … a long healthy life together. Way to live!

  94. Awesome, but the total cholesterol is higher than when you started. You may want to consider cutting out the meat and dairy. You can be super fit/lean and clog your arteries; cutting out animal products may lower than number below 150 to prevent heart attacks. Thx.

    1. Adam, please do us and yourself a favour and refrain from commenting nonsense before you can be sure to – at least – having understood the terms “LDL particle size” and “oxidized cholesterol”. Thank you very much!

      Charlie, grok on!!! Awesome!!!

      Cheers, guzolany

  95. I love the before and after pictures on primal. On other “diet” sites, the people just look like deflated versions of their former selves. On primal, I barely recognize people. They look SO dramatically different and younger.

  96. Congrats, Charlie! Your story is incredibly inspiring to me. I just started my primal eating on Tuesday myself! Here I am fussing over losing 40 lbs; you lost nearly a whole me!

  97. you made me tear up reading this.. I am so inspired and you are such a great writer!!
    I am so happy you stuck with this lifestyle and made such a difference and I know you will spread the love- it sounds like thats the kind of person you are!!

    GREAT story and thanks for taking the time to post it on here!! j

    1. You’re welcome. I try to help and encourage others as much as possible. I’ve had some success in that regard.

      The odd thing is that people will randomly confess to me all the bad stuff they’ve eaten, like I’m some sort of priest. I try to focus on the positive instead.

  98. Congrats!

    Let me add 4 words about me –
    Paleo means fibro-free.

    Yep. After suffering 19 years with fibromyalgia (and all the associated problems) I am now 100% free of fibromyalgia. No more pain, no more associated problems.

    But, you may ask, how do I know it’s really gone? Good question, and there is an answer:

    Because a few days ago I did a nine mile “run” that was supposed to be March of Dimes 10k, but I went longer because I could! Almost 3 miles over the organized race. And I did it without training at all. And I did it power-walking and sprinting, and averaged 4.5 mph. Amazing for me, at age 59. I’ve never been able to do that, ever.

    But the kicker, the proof – NO AFTER EFFECTS. That’s right fellow fibro sufferers, I did all this after 10 months on Primal/Paleo eating, and all I felt the next day was mildly sore shins. No “I’ve been hit by a truck” exhaustion and pain everywhere. I was euphoric! I called everyone I knew the next day, sobbing tears of joy. I beat it!!

    Nineteen years.
    Please, please, try this. Please.

    1. Wow Amy, that is such a fantastic story!

      My Mother (64) has suffered from Fibro for nearly 15 years and I have just copied and pasted your post in an email I am about to send to her! She is starting slowly the Primal Lifestyle and I feel that your inspiring testimony can only give her EVEN MORE reason to go PRIMAL!!

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  99. Wow! I work with a Pinay who said that Fillies have rice every day. I told her to cut it out and she has dropped 5kgs! Your story will inspire her to continue. Congratulations!

  100. Man! What a metamorphosis. Given your after photos, I kept waiting for the part where you “discovered” Lift Heavy Things, but I ever saw it. Your elliptical machine must be made of solid concrete or something.

  101. I frequently feel like askimg Mark’s sucess stories “did you use steroids and HGH?”. Which I guess is a good sign… 😀

    1. Haha! No steroids or HGH. But I’m fond of telling some of the older people I see working out in the gym, “Hey, you gotta lay off the ‘roids ’cause you’re making us young folks look bad!” as a way to provide some fun encouragement. =)

  102. Charlie, you are living proof that a little dedication, coupled with solid information, can result in some pretty awesome achievements! Man, you have changed your whole outward appearance; you went from soft to absolute powerhouse!! Congrats man! Truly inspirational!

    1. Thanks! A little knowledge applied can definitely go a long way.

  103. Never fall for the “diet soda trap,” all you’re doing is poisoning yourself and MAKING yourself fatter. Besides that aspartame has 92 known side effects, including death. Splenda has 29. research it for yourself and stay Primal.

  104. Great pictures but as a cosmetic surgeon I usually see “asymmetric nipple location” as a result of surgery. Don’t flame me just pointing it out.

    1. Lou,
      So what if his nipples look asymmetric and a couple of inches lower than where they should be. Obviously a 350lb man that loses all that weight is going to be left with a lot of excess skin.He obviously had huge man breasts before going primal. Primal living gave him back his health. It wasn’t going to eliminate all that loose skin.

      1. I don’t expect it to eliminate that gross shar pei dog skin folding. However if he is going to present himself as a primal success story with lab results don’t you think he should also disclose that he had poorly done cosmetic surgery ? People should know that is a risk when you lose a lot of weight quickly !

        1. It’s a slightly elevated sternum made much more visible through my weight loss over time. No surgeries on my part.

        2. Yo Charlie
          I got nothing but respect for your transformation but who you kidding bro. If I was a dude who looked like that no way I am taking off my shirt. Lets get real and level with the peeps on the board.

  105. Amazing transformation man, keep it going!

    From my personal perspective, the drop in triglycerides is probably the most impressive part. People continue to deny the link between carbs and high triglyceride levels and the resultant ties to heart disease.

    Seeing those numbers drop is never a bad thing in my mind. Good on you!

    1. Thanks! I think a drop in triglycerides is a wonderful thing, as serves as one indication of the body using fat for fuel as eating low-carb Primal would predict.

  106. Charlie,
    I’m on your side. I think your transformation is amazing and you deserve all the credit in the world. You are a real inspiration for all of us trying to do what you have done.
    But seriously, “elevated sternum!”
    Come on! Nothing wrong with having a procedure done to get rid of leftover skin. I’d do it if I lost as much as you did.

    1. I don’t see anything wrong with people having cosmetic surgeries if that’s what will truly make them happy, but for me, I’m perfectly happy with how I’ve turned out so far. And on top of that realization, I’m a lucky man to know that even at my most flawed and unhealthiest, my wife loves me no matter what. =)

  107. This is heading in the wrong direction. I just wanted to make a comment on something I noticed as a result of years of training. Now it is getting out of control. So the nipples are a little off. Big friggin deal. He looks great. The fact of the matter is most people don’t have perfectly symmetrical nipples it is just not as obvious as it is in this situation. It is definitely correctable and that’s all I have to say !

  108. Wow, people have no idea the effect their words can have on a person! Pointing out asymmetrical nipples or an elevated sternum on a guy who has had such an amazing transformation makes my blood boil! We are all made differently folks and pointing out tiny little flaws that people might have is something an immature child would do. It’s so shallow! It hurts the other person’s self confidence more than they would like to admit. Charlie, way to go! I think you look HOT with or without a shirt! But most importantly you have improved your health by leaps and bounds! I am SO impressed!

    1. Leah you are right. I am sorry I brought this up and I apologize to Charlie. He looks great and the transformation is phenomenal.He richly deserves all the praise he is getting Keep up the good work.

    2. Yo Leah
      You called me out and I just want to say I did not mean to dis Charlie. He is way cool and its all good.

    3. @Leah- Thank you! Your kind and supportive words mean a lot to me. On some level, I’m flattered that some people think I must’ve had some kind of surgery based on my pictures. But you’re right; it’s taken me some time to get used to being comfortable in my own skin again (at least enough to show it to the world), imperfect and flawed as it will always be.

  109. Inspiring. Just what you needed is just what I need!!! Way to go. Now I need to…… GO!! And follow the Blueprint!

  110. Charlie, your story IS mine! You are inspirational. I haven’t yet fully committed to being truly primal (in that I have no idea what my beef ate) but I have forsaken grain and processed carbs and have been trying to live a paleo lifestyle for just under 3 months now. I’m stronger and have more stamina, even though I am not really doing massive amounts of exercise, my life-long teeth troubles appear to be over (I have rarely gone more than 5 weeks without a dentist visit) and I have lost 39.6 pounds (down to 169.4 from 209 – I’m only 5’1). It’s tough trying to share and encourage people who are still sold on CW to try this though. They look at me like I’m in some kind of cult. I just wish I’d found this sooner. Dude, you look amazing! And more to the point, you look like you FEEL amazing.

  111. Great work Charlie…I couldn’t believe the before and after pics. I wish more heavy people I see on the streets could hear your story…they look so unhappy most of the time. Truly inspiring man!!!

  112. Wow, what an inspiration! I’ve just started my Paleo/Primal journey and I still really struggle with “falling off the wagon.” I get frustrated or have a bad day and instinctively reach for my “comfort foods.”
    I’m bookmarking this story so I can re-read it when I’m getting down.

  113. Pogi Pogi Pogi! Wow pinsan, so happy for you and what you have accomplished. You have done something truly wonderful for you and your family. Ignore the thoughtless comments on here and rejoice in knowing that you have inspired and helped so many more to pursue a better life.

    Salamat Charlie – Stay Pogi!

  114. Congrats charlie, very impressive transformation! On average how many hours of exercise per week and what’s your breakdown in hours for cardio and resistance training? Thanks

  115. Thanks for mentioning those Shirataki noodles.

    I consider myself a grand master and black belt in making Filipino BBQ Pork and its just isn’t the same without rice but those noodles might just help fill that void.

  116. Rock on Charlie! You’re a ripped beast dude.

    Thanks for your amazing story, and kudos to all the posters here for their compassion and encouragement. Hope you got the same satisfaction as I did dumping all your ‘fat clothes’ in the trash or at the local thrift store. From 350+ to a 30 inch waist! Absolutely amazing. Grok on!


  117. What an AMAZING transformation!! Congratulations, Charlie! You look like a totally different person! & you seem like the nicest guy in the world with such a loving heart for your wife…makes me a little misty eyed. :’) Keep inspiring!

  118. Well done Charlie, you are a true inspiration to all those who need it.
    Go Primal and Grok on!!

  119. Way to go Charlie! What a great success story. I hope others will take inspiration from your success, I know I’ll be sharing with my skeptics and hoping it touches at least one of them. Best wishes.

  120. Wonderful job Charlie, you legend, I love this story and you look fantastic. Happy face, healthy body, and not to mention those guns.
    Your wife is a lucky girl, and it appears all your ducks are lining up nicely eh?

    Your writing style is wonderful I could easily read a book in your “voice” it was a great read….

    Hugs Grok brother xo

  121. i am proud of you charly way to go !!!

    see you in the raquetball court 🙂

  122. Good on ya, Charlie…

    My story is similar in that I have fought with my weight all of my life starting at around 8 years old. I recently discovered The Primal Blueprint and have adopted the lifestyle and become Happily Primal in a SAD world.

    I have lost 25 lbs (from 342 down to 317) in 10 weeks, arthritis symptoms have abated, energy is good and more stable, food cravings are minimal… I actually have to make myself eat some days after realizing I have been fasting for many hours.

    All it took was dropping grain, sugar and legumes from my diet. I eat like a king and NEVER walk into the middle of the grocery store. The outer aisles contain everything I need.

    I too had given up and decided to be fat and tired just to avoid the struggle of conventional dieting and the guaranteed failure at the end. I am inspired now. I lose a tiny bit of weight each day and regain a tiny bit of my health each day.

    I met with a new client yesterday. She is a doctor of Functional Medicine. I had met her for the first time about a month ago. When I walked into her office she said “You’ve lost weight!” Made my day. She asked what I was doing and I told her I was following the Primal Blueprint. She knew of it and seemed to approve of the program.

    Mark… thank you so much for putting this program into such a logical, attainable, common-sense format to help people. It must feel really good for you to hear these stories of success and happiness. I wish the same for you. Jeff

  123. Great Job! I love how the editor of this blog eliminates all dissent. Thought crime anyone.

  124. Oh Brandon you’re getting beaetn up over the ubiquitious F-word. I really don’t care if you have a fucking potty mouth or not. But, just breathe and ask yourself this: can vegans wear silk or wool? Can you collect sea-shells or use natural sponges? How about pearls? Do you live without Uggs or down comforters? What about all that fauna that swims around in your gut? And how can an organic vegetable farmer/gardner (like myself) grow organically without the use of animal products such as: bone meal, fish meal, blood meal, worm castings, chicken poop, bat guano, fish fertilizers, or manure? I guess I could use Miracle Grow, but Do you know that you would not have any greens or root crops to eat if I didn’t actively kill the following: gophers, rats, mice, cucumber beetles, aphids, squash bugs, tomato mites, cabbage worms, and a host of catapillars. AND do you know that I actively support and encourage carnivores in my garden beds like Lady Bugs, Spiders of all sorts, garter snakes, gopher snakes, lizards galore and even the brutal and cruel preying mantis.Brandon, have you studied the insect world they too are animals. Personally, I have a harder time with bees dying then with rabbits. Talk about a beautiful, complex and mysterious creature! Bees are dying in huge numbers, colonies are collapsing daily. We all NEED honey bees if we want to continue to eat. But I digress My point is this: there is no such thing as a human who does not rely on animal products of some kind. Even the Jains know this. (Google: hindu jains). They have monks walking before them sweeping away any tiny insects that may be tread upon.And just for the record, Vegans eat a lot of crap. Tofu is one of the most highly processed franken-foods out there. Have you seen the gorgeous green soya bean? Have you ever wondered how that becomes a gelatinous white blob? Eww.Carry on urban homesteaders! And Brandon, I seriously like your spirit and passion. And I can promise you that the people who write this blog or comment here are not cruel or inhumane in anyway. Many of us honor and love our animals fully when we consume or use their products, even when that includes eating them.

  125. What an inspiring transformation, your happiness is infectious. This is so impressive, congratulations! The after-pictures are just amazing!