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!
In 2011, I sold a house, “right-sized” my life, and moved to a neighboring state. It was a nutty year that eventually involved TWO moves within 6 months, a stressful daily commute that kept me on a notoriously bad highway for at least two hours a day, and, to top it all off: menopause!
After reading all of that, would you believe me if I told you that this was a good move?? Well it was definitely difficult…but also definitely worth it for the many things that I gained…
Unfortunately, I also gained 80 extra pounds over that first year and the next. Ugh!
I had always lived what I thought was a healthy lifestyle: all things in moderation, lean meats, fruit, vegetables, whole grains (hah!) and get a little exercise each day, and though I had to be careful, my weight had always stayed in a healthy range. Suddenly, my usual maintenance strategies were no longer working for me. In an alarmingly short amount of time my body grew 4 sizes! I felt weak, sick, tired, and achy all the time and I knew that something had to change.
Over the next few years, I desperately tried strategy after strategy with only a little bit of progress here and there, until 2 years ago, when I discovered Mark’s Daily Apple. My cousin (who is a runner) posted a link on Facebook one evening. I clicked over for a casual read that turned into a “Eureka!” moment, a late night reading as much as I could cram in, and – when I saw the many success stories – a renewed feeling of hope! I am a “show me the science” kind of gal, so Mark’s approach really appealed to me.
And so, I cleared out my cabin kitchen and started a new lifestyle. It was a radical departure from everything that I had done before, and I was anxious about taking that first step. My fear of fat almost conquered me, but I decided that in my current shape, eating more fat was likely no worse for me than my being obese already was, so I would try it for a few months and see what happened…
Today, I am SO GLAD that I did! To date, I have easily and steadily lost 70 pounds, and whittled 10 inches from my waist! But that’s not even the best part of this story…
Seven months in, my annual lab work revealed that my triglycerides had dropped to almost half of my previous year’s reading! My blood pressure had come down from prehypertension to a normal range as well!
These results encouraged me to continue and to double-down, adding intermittent fasting (16/8 Noon-8pm eating window) to my daily routine, and experiment with dropping grains and dairy to see what happened.
This past year’s lab results showed that I had maintained my previous health gains and perhaps best of all: I had dropped my fasting AND A1bc blood sugar numbers from the prediabetes range back to normal!!
The increase in my energy level has been amazing! I am also experiencing better mental clarity, and motivation. I got more done this past year than I had in the THREE years preceding. The fog has lifted! This happened quickly after I eliminated the grains from my diet, and I would not be surprised to find that there is a connection there for me.
Before dropping the sugar and excess carbs, I would experience fatigue, headaches, anxiety and general irritation when hungry. Now, when my body needs fuel between meals, it does not kick and scream for carbs—it quietly switches over to ketosis—using my fat reserves as fuel. Even after losing 70 pounds I’ve still got a good supply. 🙂 This means that I am able to better roll with changes to my daily schedule, and I am just generally on a more even keel throughout the day.
Chronic back and joint pain have also improved! I have had enough relief there to enable more exercise in the form of walking and some strength training. At 54 years of age, it is nice to be on the positive side of this cycle—able to do more and more instead of less and less.
My partner has also benefitted from our lifestyle change. He has lost more than 30 pounds to date! Together, we have settled into this lifestyle fully and comfortably. We eat a healthy and enjoyable rotation of our favorite Primal (and sometimes Keto) meals, occasionally trying something new as we remember an old standby that we had enjoyed previously (most can be converted!), or if something tasty catches our eye online.
We continue to follow Mark’s Daily Apple, and to read and learn more about how we can cut through the highly politicized landscape to find our own nutritional truths. I am still learning something new on a weekly basis, and we have changed much more than just our diet at this point! I ditched that job/commute, focused on building my own freelance graphic design business, and joined a working bluegrass band, for starters. 🙂
I write all of this, not with the intention of saying “look at me,” but more with a hope that my story will be an inspiration to anyone who comes across it to have a closer look at the Primal lifestyle, and see if it might be right for them. I am not a doctor or nutritionist, but I am living proof that it has certainly worked for me!
THANK YOU Mark, for sharing your research and your insights. Without your blog, I might very well still be struggling along through the fog on aching knees. Your constant research and interpretation of the science as it evolves has made you a trusted resource for us. Friends ask me all the time what we’re doing, and I immediately send them your way!
All of my newfound energy has spawned a new blog project amongst other things. We live in a tiny cabin, on an amazing farm where we are close to nature, enjoy fresh, organic and truly free-range eggs, and grow our own vegetables in the summer months. As a humble thank you to this amazing community, I have added a Whole Foods category to my blog, where I feature our favorite Primal recipes, alongside my own photography, cabin/farm life, and DIY building projects. You can see more there at https://newdreamcabin.com. We plan to continue to discover and develop new recipes, and share our favorites in that space!
Grok On everyone! Here’s to the best of health for us all!
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.