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!
My family is from Scotland and, when I was just shy of four, we moved to St. Louis, which is still my home. I was an active kid who loved playing in the woods more than traditional sports, although I did play soccer for a few years. When I was 17, my father died of cancer of the esophagus at the age of 48. This triggered a depression that would follow me for years. I worked long hours—a night shift job I absolutely hated. I started packing on pounds and, before long, I was 215 lbs of fat. I’m just under 5’9”. At the time, I was in my early 20’s and single, so I tried a popular diet program back then—one where you join the program, meet with a counselor, and buy all of your meals. They asked what you wanted to weigh and would give you your money back if you kept the weight off for one year. I went from 215 lbs to 169 lbs in less than three months, eating only their food and bike riding. Some people thought I was ill. All I cared about were the numbers on the scale. I quit the program the day I reached my goal of 169 lbs and quickly started to gain my weight back with a vengeance. I got married a year later and by then was 205 lbs. Everyone said I looked fit and was very happy over all, but I wasn’t eating the program’s food anymore. I hadn’t learned any nutritional lessons, and I was back to my old ways.
I settled into married life with kids and was now working long hours at a desk job. Each year, another five or so pounds of fat appeared on my body and I would get more depressed. I also started to cough a lot and have acid reflux, or GURD, to the point where I could not leave the house without a pack of Tums or Rolaids. My blood pressure was always good at my doctor visits and I was not concerned, even though I now weighed 270 lbs. My wife loved me, my doctor said my blood pressure and cholesterol were fine, and life was good overall. So, I just ignored my weight.
My wakeup call came when I was approaching my 48th birthday (the age of my dad’s death). I was now over 315 lbs and had quit looking at a scale after that. I was on prescription meds for my GURD and, now, my doctor wanted me to take pills because my blood levels were borderline diabetic. I was tired all the time, I overate, and I knew, after years of denial, I was the fattest man in my office, in my family, and in any group of my friends. I hated to see pictures of myself because, even knowing I was so out of shape, I just did not want to accept that it was that bad.
So, I started researching, which is something I really enjoy. I read every health magazine I could get my hands on. I watched TV shows and documentaries. I built of a stack of knowledge on weight loss and health and I would eat pizza and drink beer as I “learned.”
At long last, I found The Primal Blueprint and every word spoke to me. “Challenge conventional thinking” was perhaps the most important line in the book for me. Mark’s program was something I felt I could actually do, as opposed to just something else I could learn, but not accomplish. I decided I could at least walk and I knew I could bike ride, from my days before I was married. So, I forced myself to take daily walks, increasing my distances over time. I fixed up my old bike and added that to my routine. As I felt better, I added hiking. To change my diet, I learned all sorts of ways to cook eggs and make salads. I added foods like avocados, healthy snack alternatives, and I started to shop at our local farmers market. It took three months to lose the sugar cravings but they did finally disappear. I was becoming more primal each day in my manner of living. I was still stuck in the mode of checking the scale all the time, but it was OK, as I learned to not give up if the number wasn’t what I wanted or expected. I started on November 1st, my wife’s birthday, and by my birthday the following August, I was down to 210 lbs!
The amount of attention I got through Facebook and from friends and family because of my weight loss was wonderful for my ego. But nothing was better than the day my doctor took me off all of my medicine and asked me how I did it! ME! I started writing a blog called Haver Wisdom, where I share my story with a lot of pictures of my fat self. I always give full credit to you, Mark, and your wonderful site, Mark’s Daily Apple, which I still visit daily for tips, inspiration, and support.
I continue to work on my health. I’m now 51 and I went from wearing a size 42 in jeans to a size 34, which are getting a little too baggy as I write this. My wife bought me a fancy blender and now I start my days off with a smoothie made of almond milk, blueberries, and banana. Lunch is a protein shake and a mile walk, and dinner is a salad with meat most days.
All of my depression is gone. All my medications are gone. I feel stronger every day. I work out several times a week, each session for less than twenty minutes, with a kettlebell and dumbbells. I also enjoy my daily long, slow walks and bike rides, when weather and time permit. But, I also bought a wearable fitness monitor, so, even on days when I can’t get one long exercise goal, like a walk or bike ride, I can still make sure I at least get in 10k steps every day, no matter what.
My goal for 2015 is to have fun as I add muscle and firm up, since I still have some loose skin from losing over 100 lbs. Life is great, I feel like I’ll be here long-term for my wife and my family, I have a lot of fun, and I feel I owe a huge thank you to you, Mark, for The Primal Blueprint.