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...Tell Me More
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!
Last January I made a resolution to get in shape. At 5’11? and about 200 pounds, I was relatively healthy, but overall needed to lose some fat and tone up a bit.
I had been educating myself on nutrition and reading all the great books by Eades, Taubes, and the others who are revolutionizing (or de-evolutionizing) how we look at food when I found your website. All the information I had found previously was incredible, but the Primal Blueprint really put everything together in a way that was not only effective, but realistic and livable. I began a fully dedicated Primal Blueprint eating and workout plan and started my journey.
I started finding new food and recipes (many thanks to your site) daily. I found grass-fed beef at a local market and a vegetable co-op nearby. I learned how to cook with coconut oil and coconut milk and to limit my dairy. I supplemented my diet with daily doses of fish oil. I learned to cook most of my meals at home but also found a few restaurants that made Primal eating easy, like Outback. I still had an occasional glass of wine or cheat meal but I didn’t mind. After all, that’s all part of life the PB way.
Between January and August I had lost about 25 lbs. I felt and looked fantastic. I had built tremendous strength, endurance, and stamina in my workouts and was continually hitting new personal records. I was excelling at work and relationships, sleeping well, and loving every second of every day and I looked pretty good to boot. The Primal Blueprint was effective and amazing and I was the healthiest I had ever been.
Once September started, I began “rewarding” myself for my hard work and treating myself occasionally to things like ice cream for dessert instead of fruit, or pancakes for breakfast instead of omelets and berries. I started eating out more than cooking in. I started ordering blooming onions, burgers, and fries a little more than steak and vegetables and my sensible glass of wine gave way to 2 or 3 beers or margaritas. Even so, my diet was still mostly good. I knew I was a little off track but I was still consistent with my workouts and I knew I just needed to clean up the diet a bit to get back on it.
At the same time, I was working out up to six days a week with a nice range of varied exercises, most of them short and intense. I would mix things up spending some days lifting heavy in the gym and others sprinting in the park. Some days I’d take a leisurely jog and find myself stopping and doing pull-ups on scaffolds and jumping up and down on park benches. I was really pushing myself and hitting new goals continually but I was slacking with my diet more and more. Pretty quickly, without the proper nutrition to support my physical activity, I started to burn out. I took a few days off from my workouts thinking I deserved a rest and would get back to the regular routine shortly.
By the middle of October, I had gained back 5-10 pounds of the 25 I had lost. I wasn’t happy about it and I knew that I needed to deal with it but I just couldn’t prioritize it. I was starting to feel pretty crappy altogether and going to the gym or cooking more were the last things I wanted to do. I didn’t realize it then, but I was getting severely depressed. I found myself spending nights in front of the TV drinking a bottle of wine rather than in the kitchen cooking for the next day. I had problems falling asleep, and when I did, my sleep was no longer restful. I had been working out in the mornings but I started having problems waking up. Most days I could barely get out of bed, let alone go to the gym and workout. Before I knew it, my weekly average of 5-6 workouts had dropped to about 2.
By the end of October I got my first sinus infection of the year. I continued getting them at a rate of 1 every 2 weeks, for a month and a half, for a total of 3. By the time December rolled around, I had gained back a solid 15 pounds and the worst finally hit me – I got the flu. I spent 5 days in bed over thanksgiving. It took 10 days to fully recover and get my energy back, and I had a cough that lingered for 2 weeks. I had basically given up on picking healthy foods and working out. I was at rock bottom and I was miserable.
Wanting desperately to get back to where I was in August, I picked up your book again and made a plan to start adding PB principles back to my life. Flipping through the pages, I started remembering that The Primal Blueprint had been about more than just being fit and looking good, it was about enjoying life – something I wasn’t doing and quite honestly, couldn’t.
Two weeks ago I found myself so depressed that I was considering seeking professional help. The depression felt like it came out of nowhere. I was scared by how quickly I’d gone from completely happy to completely miserable and I just couldn’t make sense of it. I started back on The Primal Blueprint and something amazing happened – my depression completely lifted.
This is my testimony to the fact that the choices you make in what foods you eat, directly impact the quality of your life and your emotional health. I am astounded by the difference I felt after just days back on The Primal Blueprint and how everything from my mood to my digestion has continued to improve each day I follow it. It is clear that there is actual chemistry involved in how food and fitness impact not only your body, but your brain. I’m now sleeping perfectly, waking fully energized, and am back to the gym. It will take me a few weeks to get back to my level of health I had attained in the summer, but I’m on my way and feeling great doing it.
I already knew through my experience this past summer that The Primal Blueprint principles were good for my physical fitness and appearance but these recent shifts in mood, and their direct correlation to my diet, have really highlighted the fact that processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and all the other poisonous things that we eat, don’t just make us fat, they make us sick. It just took three months of depression and some healthy food to make me realize it.
Thank you so much for your help along the way. Here’s to a healthy happy New Year!