Being Keto-Adapted Is One Helluva Ride!

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!

My name is Aaron. I’m 35-years-old. I live in the Lehigh Valley of PA where I am the only custom tailor. This is my story of how an innocent foray in LCHF (low carb, high fat) turned into a full blown keto lifestyle shift. What a journey it’s been and I’m only just getting started!

Ok, so let’s get the junk out of the way first. Last summer, I was freshly divorced. I had to move into a shoebox sized apartment where I fed myself a steady diet of ramen noodles, Captain Crunch, heavy imperial stouts, and copious amounts of sour candy….usually fueled by alcohol driven hunger and a new little appetite tweaker I discovered…cannabis and the munchies. It only took a few months of this type of living for me to feel incredibly sick.

When I wasn’t smoking, I was incredibly nauseous and couldn’t eat. So, I used cannabis to give myself the munchies so I didn’t feel like I was going to die. I found myself in a cycle that I didn’t like. I liked the weed, but I didn’t like the munchies. Was it the munchies or the bad food that was the problem? One night it just hit me….I hit the blunt and then thought to myself, “whoa, like maybe I should fix my diet.”

Brilliant revelation, right??

Rewind a few years back to when I was 25. I was in fairly decent shape and pretty lean. I worked out heavily and had the results to show for it. I won’t blame marriage for getting me fat, but I did indeed get fat once I got married. Steady typical SAD diet for the entire duration.

So, near the end of 2016 everyone is thinking about New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. I’m busy drinking, chasing women, and getting stoned—eating a ton of sugar and was nowhere near making that kind of resolution. I just didn’t believe I’d ever be that in-shape again. I tried working out again but it was unbearable. Geez, to even walk a few blocks on a 40 degree day made me sweat profusely so how the hell was I gonna be able to work out in a gym?! Do I just give up the booze for awhile? How about the weed? What about sugar? Admittedly, I was lost and a little hopeless but man did I love the taste of whipped cream in cappuccinos.

That got me thinking….

I had heard somewhere about adding fat to your diet and removing carbs, but from my earlier gym days, I just couldn’t make the connection. I was stuck rooted in the old, using exercise to lose weight and create a calories burned vs calories consumed thinking. Even though I never could piece together how that exactly worked, I was willing to give adding fats and cutting carbs a shot…

Enter my first foray into making bulletproof cappuccinos around mid February this year…

Delicious as ever. Never would’ve thought butter, coconut oil and stevia would taste so good in coffee. I was enjoying waking up every morning to one of these, but what surprised me was the longer period of time I could go before having to eat. I also noticed a few pounds gently slipping away and got curious…what if I add more butter to everything else? Started doing exactly that.

So, late February 2016 I was doing BP coffee every morning and butter loaded tomato soup (and crappy Campbells too!). My appetite went away, and I just let it. Little did I know that I was basically doing an intermittent fat fast. I was getting to a point where I was adding up to 6 tbsp of butter and oil plus frothed heavy cream AND egg yolks in the cappuccino but really had no idea if it was actually healthy or not, so I Googled “effects of eating too much butter” and landed on a forum post at, you guessed it, MDA.

I saw a 60-something ripped dude named Mark on the front page, plus a success story of an even older guy who was also ripped. The competitor in me thought, “Hey if these old dudes are ripped off whatever this diet is, then wtf is my excuse?!” So I read and read and read until I had the start of the puzzle completed in my mind. I knew I had to act.

Upon realizing that this was a whole foods diet, I knew I’d need to learn how to cook. What a mountain of learning that was. I went crazy. Purged my cupboards of all sugar, grains, and bad oils. Stopped eating out almost immediately and started cooking. Wow, to eat whole foods even fruits and not get violently sick to my stomach? Oh what a feeling.

By the end of March 2016, I had dropped nearly 45 lbs. My girlfriend left for a 2 week trip to Mexico in early March. She had noticed the weight loss but we had no idea what was actually happening. When she left early March, I was wearing 38s. When she got back I was in 34s.

I thought I was done there and, quite frankly, if that’s where my weight loss journey had stopped, I would’ve been quite content and proud of myself. Everyone around me was complimenting me and some even expressing concern that I was getting too thin too fast. I thought there was no such thing and I could still see good amounts of fat deposits that I would be happy to be without so I kept it up. More primal cooking and eating. I was on my way to becoming fat adapted and I wouldn’t be stopped!

I didn’t exercise once during the first 2 months. I was basically sedentary. I really didn’t have the energy to do anything but that changed pretty fast. I tried mountain biking again and felt like I was some kind of super human. However, the next few times I rode, I experienced really bad bonking and wondered what was going on. How did I have energy before but now I’m bonking periodically? I now know I was pushing too hard during the fat adaptation phase creating a demand for glucose….I used a bit of fruit to push through this.

By late April 2016, I was looking and feeling good but I was also plateaued. I could see more fat needed to come off but wondered why the BP coffee and whole foods diet wasn’t working as well. I researched more and discovered the power of real intermittent fasting.

I kicked out the BP coffee in place of lightly sweetened black coffee in the mornings then did a typical fast-breaking in the afternoon with a salad or eggs etc then a more legit meal later on in the evening. I also started sprinting.

By early summer I was wearing my jeans on an 80 degree day and realized that I wasn’t sweating hardly at all. The man that used to sweat on a 40 degree day was now borderline cold in the middle of the summer. Oh well, I saved on my AC bills and got over it. I also noticed that those jeans felt a little loose. I thought, “no way I’m actually in 32s now.” Sure enough, I was able to fit nicely into 32s. Lesson learned…when you’re on the keto weight loss slide, wait to buy a lot of new clothing.

By midsummer, I returned to my lifting habits. Thankfully, I had a base of knowledge on how to lift so I experienced results very quickly. My thinking during all of this was, “let’s see how low carb I can actually be without experiencing real fatigue.” In essence, I only wanted enough carbs as I possibly needed and not one gram more. I found myself able to ride my bike and lift with a fair amount of intensity…even in a fasted state!


By late summer (August 2017), I wondered again if it was just my new stretchy skinny fit 32s needed to be washed and dried to give them that tight-ish post dryer fit again or if, God forbid, my entire new stash of 32s was too big. Sure enough, I went and tried on a pair of 30s and whoa they fit! I figured since I can see feel my pelvic bones poking off the sides of my hips along with a full blown 6 pack looming to 8 pack abs (and also the total extinction of my ass) that I must be at that often desperately sought after “ideal body composition.” The ripped guy you see in the after pics was taken on that day.

BOOM! I knew I had arrived. I knew I was fat adapted. I had developed a system of food shopping and meal prep to fully support it. I knew my life from there on out would never be the same. Going Primal is one of the best decisions, if not the best decision, I have ever made for my personal health.

But….what about the ketogenic diet? I was very curious about it, but it seemed like a fringe version of primal to me and a lot of the recipes I looked up were loaded with strange ingredients that didn’t seem to be in line with a Primal way of eating. However, right around this exact time (about a month or so ago), I started seeing Mark posting a lot about keto and his own experiment with it. When the announcement came for the The Keto Reset Diet book, I knew I was on the right track.

The Keto Reset Diet was released on my birthday. I don’t like to read but I got it for free by starting up with Audible. Listening to the book gave me a much better understanding of how each of the various macros affect the brain and the body. I realized that my eating habits were pretty close to what was in the book so I decided then and there that I will likely stay in the “keto zone” for the rest of my life. I will be going in and out of keto for the purpose of maximizing metabolic efficiency. Wow…it seemed so crazy that it was even possible that I went from being a completely sick and depressed fat guy knowing nothing about food to a ripped fat- burning beast who’s not so bad in the kitchen in the span of half a year!

On my birthday, I posted the before and afters to my Instagram and announced that I would be adding keto-based weightloss consulting to my services as a tailor. I have a lot of fat clients who have no time but lots of money, so why not monetize my experience, make money off of helping them lose the weight and make even more money selling them new clothing?! As if I wasn’t niched out enough…

So there ya have it. Now I’m off to the keto races, and I think I’ll change a few lives and get a little richer while I’m on the way there. Yes, that means I signed up to become a Primal Health Coach.


Here are a few bullet points of the positives and negatives I have experienced along the way plus a few tips:

– Way more energy
– Much better sleep
– Obvious improvements to physique and exercise performance
– Super speedy recovery times and no jet lag!
– Effortless appetite management
– Ability to fast for 24, 48, or even 72 hours…at will
– Radically improved cognition
– No more depression
– The tug of other “addictive behaviors” significantly reduced. In fact, I quit drinking permanently on August 1st of this year.
– I still partake in cannabis consumption regularly and indulge in the munchies right along with it….guilt free! It plays well with this diet!

– Getting fat and losing weight is expensive. The food replacements, cooking equipment, and time spent figuring it all out and dialing in how much to buy and eat was a costly endeavor top to bottom.
– I completely rendered a large custom wardrobe useless and had to replace all of it. So will you.
– I’m definitely one of those annoying health nuts now and have had to figure out all kinds of social behaviors to manage the awkwardness.
– There really aren’t many other negatives.

– Read The Keto Reset Diet
– Let the diet do the work. Stay low and slow and don’t try to exercise too hard until you’re ready especially in the beginning. You will feel the energy surging through you but ignore it for a while and take it easy.
– Get your macros right and don’t slouch on green veggies, salt and other minerals.
– Watch your protein intake. No need to raise it to the roof.
– “Fake Keto” recipes out there for replacing common comfort foods usually using high amounts of dairy and almond/coconut flour and fruit are only for the truly fat-burning, keto-adapted, carb-tolerant beasts among us. Do yourself a favor and go therapeutic keto from the start with proper macros and fats from mainly animal sources. Eat those greens!
– Ditch the artificial sweeteners and train out sweet tastes from your palate at least for awhile.
– Fasting protocols maybe work better for men. Women might want to start eating proper macros and let the brain/body do the work before getting into IF protocols (just my opinion).
– Sprint while fasted to bust plateaus.
– Got the keto flu? Eat some avocados or supplement with apple cider vinegar, pink sea salt, and cream of tartar (high potassium) mixed in water. Then get over it and go sprint.
– Stop waiting and get on board the keto train! Being keto-adapted is one helluva ride!

Aaron H.


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33 thoughts on “Being Keto-Adapted Is One Helluva Ride!”

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  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Aaron. You look great. You are so right about Fake Keto. Paleo junk food is best avoided by everyone.

  2. We rally need longer-run success stories(>2 years) than that !

  3. Wow- congratulations! I can FEEL the energy in your post. This was so much fun to read. I love that I am a 43 year old female and that I can totally relate to your transformation- this is the beauty of primal and Mark’s Daily Apple; I seriously think the advice here can help anyone, regardless of age/sex/starting point. How exciting that you will be using your experience to help your clients! You are going to love the Primal Health Coach program. 😉

  4. Aaron, first, the suits in the last pictures look great. You obviously know your stuff!! Also, thanks for saying that fake keto comfort food is harmful. That is one of the things about the paleo movement that I find disappointing. Also, more valuable to me, stating that women and men handle the transition differently. Sometimes it is discouraging to do everything “right” only to have no or negative results.

    1. Cathy, yes this exactly. For me and I assume many other men who go keto, results came quickly. I assume there’s a whole plethora of hormonal and biological responses that men and women deal with at different times esp in response to a possible no food environment i.e. fasting.
      My GF and her mother are on their own health journey and actually gained a little weight when they first tried what I was doing (fat fasting in particular). I’ve since suggested that they simply find their keto macros and eat at normal meal times and let the macros do the heavy lifting so to speak. My hunch was that their hormones weren’t responding well to a no food environment and perhaps, since they’re natural nurturers by nature, might of even responded to a no food environment by doing the opposite…finding food (wrong food) and hording it. In the keto reset book, they would call this a fight or flight response to an extreme caloric deficit and the ensuing hunger which triggers an inevitable carb craving. So a crazy fasting window seems to work well for men but women maybe not, at least in the beginning adaptation phase.

      1. Mark have written about this before, and so have others that have tested how the same intermittent fasting affects men and women differently.
        In short men cope better than women on a zero calorie fasting or longer period fasting, while women need to do reduced calories fasting and many shorter periods of fasting, in order to lose weight and get the other benefits.

  5. Aaron, you are a great coach! Just reading this has made me feel better. U was concerned that me and my husband weren’t able to exercise being too tired (but able to get chores and work done)

    Your tips are great too, but most of all your writing style does such a great job of being supportive yet also not judgemental! I think you will do great as a keto coach and I wish you luck. Do you have any books or websites that you suggest? Maybe you should write a book! ?

    1. Julie,

      Many thanks for the kind words. TBH not to sound like a parrot for marks book, but the keto reset cemented a few key pieces of necessary info that I needed to not only verify that my own progress was “right” but also that really not much other info was needed. It’s all there and I believe I inadvertently followed the reset (and still am). For me it confirmed that I was on the right track and it’s now much easier to be a bit more certain what I might recommend to ppl whether they be friends or clients who are curious about going keto. Our metabolic functions as human being is all the same, but obviously everyone’s place in their journey/process requires specific tweaks here and there. I highly doubt that anyone out there wouldn’t respond well to a properly designed and well-implemented keto meal/lifestyle plan. The Keto Reset has all that, for sure. Other websites or books? I dont know other books tho I’m sure many are out there. I also visit regularly and take part in active discussions in various keto reddits. All the info is out there. Stay connected and
      Good luck!

  6. Your writing style is entertaining and a breath of fresh air. “I’m busy drinking, chasing women, and getting stoned…” Got me laughing for sure. Enjoyed the honesty. Excellent results as well. Congrats.

  7. Wow, loved your story and your passion! Good job! Will read the keto book, your enthusiasm is contagious!

  8. Great story Aaron. I’m one of those old ripped dudes. Unfortunately I didn’t discover paleo until I was 70! But like you I saw this picture of a guy only a few years younger than me who looked ripped. It was Mark Sisson. I thought then, “If he can, why not me?” And, “Whatever he’s doing, I’m doing it too.” I’m 75 now, and my story is published here under: ‘I have plans now up to ninety’. As you say, it’s a helluva ride, but what a way to go…

    1. Ross lol yes I think you’re the very guy I was referring to! As Mark likes to say, may we live long and drop dead! Happy to run the race alongside of guys older and younger than me. This program works and I’m sticking with it.

  9. Thank you to everyone for the friendly comments and compliments. Next year I’m going to get into some form of kickboxing/martial arts AND I wanna learn how to dance salsa! The lovely lady in the picture with me loves salsa dancing and I just love salsa period so I’m on board. Pretty convinced I’d never be able to do these things if it weren’t for going primal/keto.
    Hopefully, some of my clients own success stories will end up in the site soon.
    Grok on, everyone!

  10. Hey Aaron, great success story…like everyone else I was entertained by your writing style. It’s awesome that you are spreading the word about this lifestyle and encouraging others. And totally appreciate the tips you gave. As a woman who has been fat adapted for years I agree with your take on IF…seems to agree better with men than women. I almost feel too high strung when I try it, and end up just being crazy hungry. And also thanks for calling attention to all of the paleo and keto “junk food” that’s out there. We’re all better off eating real food.

    1. High strung and crazy would describe my GF trying to follow my 20/4 and occasionally 24hr daily fasts. I learned the hard way lol. Let the woman eat when she wants!

      1. It’s just nonsense that women can’t (or struggle to) IF. When I tried 20/4 the first time, I just couldn’t do it. After a couple of weeks thinking about it, I tried it again, but started my eating window in the morning, because I got ravenously hungry in the mornings. Now I easily eat only between 10AM and 2PM without getting hungry. I believe you just have to experiment and find the time of day that fits your hunger patterns.

        As for longer fasts, it’s like a muscle you have to exercise. Your first long fast is going to be painful, but it gets easier after that.

  11. Same exact results for me,Aaron. I’ve been doing keto spurts for 10-12 days here and there a couple years. I finally decided to make it a lifestyle a few months ago and I had that moment you had : I’m never going back! Way to rip, dude you look good!

  12. Thanks for sharing—this is motivating me to stick with the primal lifestyle and continue losing weight!

  13. This is certainly one of the most rapid and radical PB transforms I have seen – its like you unzipped the fat suit and a greek god stepped out.

  14. Your story is very impressive! You look great! My question…have you ever considered Keto supplements?

  15. I will beg to disagree on one point “Getting fat and losing weight is expensive.” – in the very short term, yes, but long term, you will save countless dollars / suffering from future medical bills and health issues – this is actually the frugal, cheap option – its a false economy to thing eating cheap junk food is a way to save money.

  16. For about $10, I bought a book called the primal blueprint about 10 years ago,and it completely changed my life – so I feel I owe Mark something, and at the time his goal was to get as many people knowing about the PB as possible, so I did my part, and distributed the advice I had for free, telling them the simplest way is to just buy the book, and read it, be your own coach – it would be wrong to cash in on Marks idea – I also like to teach people to think for themselves, there are many sharks out there who will take for free, but never give back – I believe in “paying it forward”.

  17. Great story, great job. But you don’t smoke the weed do you? I tried to start smoking again after 30 years hiatus but smoking it was just an awful experience, burning throat and lungs, couldn’t take it. I got the Firefly 2 vaporizer and it is perfect, smooth, cool, tasty sips with no deleterious effects on the cardiopulmonary system. It is actually an entirely different and more mellow experience than smoking. That cinched it for me and now I like to do all my weightlifting sessions buzzed and for that matter mountain biking as well!

    I got Mark’s book last week and we are getting on it soon. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Such an awesome story Aaron! Plus, quite fun to know there’s other fat-lovin’ folks near me. I live about a half hour outside Lehigh Valley! If I’m in need of some new threads I’ll look you up!