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!
In July 2010 I went to the blood pressure clinic for my six month checkup. I had been on various meds for 6 or 7 years, the dose gradually getting stronger.
They also put you on the scales to check how much you weigh. So with my eyes shut, I stood on the platform, I didn’t want to know. Usually there is a “yes you’re overweight, try to eat healthily”, sort of comment – not this time. This nurse was matter of fact, “You are five stone (70 lbs) overweight, you need to do something, and it might help lower your blood pressure.” Quick to defend myself, I said, “I come from a long line of small round women (I’m 5’3″).” “No,” said the nurse, “you come from a long line of bad eating habits.”
I didn’t think I had a bad diet growing up, very little processed food, good home cooking, Sunday roasts, Yorkshire puddings, apple pie, all good English fair. I was taught to clear my plate. And I was always fairly active playing outside climbing trees, riding miles on my bike, but into my teens I stopped doing these things, and I gradually put weight on. Being painfully shy (still am to some degree), that hampered any chance of joining in sports and other activities that involved going somewhere or other people. It was safer to stay at home and sew something.
1980 off to college. I could cook and boy did I. Away from home I needed comfort, and that meant food. Towards the end of my three years study I came to my “senses” and starved myself back to a sensible size.
1985 Got married and piled the weight back on (154 lbs). This time I starved us both and got back into a UK size ten (124 lbs). The look on hubby’s face at the two fish fingers and spoon of cabbage on his plate was priceless, but hey he could have a cereal bar later – got to count those calories!
1988 I got ill, and ended up in hospital, losing an ovary. “Ah,” they said, “you could have problems having children especially at your age (27), better get on with it…”
Fast forward to 1996. I gave birth to my fourth child, ah hem, no problems there (three girls and a boy), but my weight had yo-yoed up and down between pregnancies and would not shift after son was born. And it steadily rose over the next 13 years.
I was staring at my 50th birthday as fat as the long line of women of my family that had gone before. High blood pressure, never finding nice clothes to fit the rotund shape I was. Clothes were just a means of covering up; if it happened to be slightly pretty it was a bonus.
I thought our meals weren’t too bad, I still cooked, we didn’t have fast food regularly, only when we had a journey or on holiday. But thinking back we loaded up on bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, following the “Eat Well Plate” guidelines from the Food Standards Agency. Not much variation in vegetation, as it was a bother to prepare especially during a 3-4 year long bout of depression I had from 2001. We had a salad once in a while, but the children didn’t like them, so rather than let them go hungry I cooked what was easy.
Looking back, the depression aided the weight gain. I wanted comforting. I was in denial of the fact, but there were the comfort treats no one knew about. I found a pecan pastry container under my car seat a few weeks ago, don’t remember when it was but I remember stuffing both pastries down whilst waiting to pick the youngest up from school. Well, I deserved a treat and I was fat anyway so it wasn’t going to make any difference. Not that I told myself I was fat ever, I was ’ok’ ish….but plump and fated to be that way.
So back to July 2010, and in one of those daydream moments I thought about going on a diet during the summer holidays and returning to school (I’m an ICT support technician) thinner to everyone’s amazement (anyone got one of those magic wands?).
But the nurse’s words had spurred me on to at least start on yet another weight loss quest. So at 213 lbs and armed with my pocket size calorie counter I began, loosely sticking to the restricted diet whilst on holiday in Cornwall. I even went swimming! After all there were worse sights on the beach and (adjusting halo), at least I was doing something about it.
The first 20 lbs melted off, and my clothes were looser. And yes only six weeks after I started, my colleagues noticed and that was encouraging. The weight loss continued up to October and I stopped at 182 lbs. Nothing shifted for 4 weeks and I searched the internet for a solution to my plateau and I found Mark’s Daily Apple and The Primal Blueprint.
It was a Holy Grail moment. The more I read the more light bulbs went off in my head. This was IT!
Armed with newfound knowledge I switched my eating to Primal. I won’t say it is 100% as budgetary restrictions won’t cover grass-fed meat at the present, but perhaps in the future. That was November.
A month later I felt lightheaded at times and not well at all. So I stopped the blood pressure meds for a day or two. I felt better. So made an appointment to see my GP. I told him I wanted to stop taking the meds and I had been home monitoring my blood pressure and as far as I was concerned it was normal. He agreed to cut the meds in half over Christmas. I took them for two days; felt awful so didn’t take any more. Went back after Christmas and told him, so he booked me for 24 hour ambulatory monitoring – which came back normal. So after years of prescription charges I was off the tablets!
Christmas dinner wasn’t difficult either; I just left off the potatoes, bread sauce and stuffing. Although I did gain back 2 lbs due to 2-3 Irish coffees, cheese and fruit which I’m usually careful about – but it was Christmas. My gifts were excellent: a dehydrator, slow cooker and The Primal Blueprint Cookbook! The 2 lb was quickly lost again, and I continued to steadily loose.
Early June 2011, I went to the hypertension clinic. I knew sitting there that the reading was going to be up – I knew I shouldn’t have, but I was expecting congratulations on my transformation and the anticipation was playing havoc with my nerves, and no matter how I willed it to go down by the time I was in the room it was 142/90, (at home I get readings of 118/76 ish). I was totally deflated as I got a lackluster “you’ve done quite well,” for the weight loss (78lbs) – this coming from the obese practice nurse doing the tests (it wasn’t the same nurse as last year unfortunately) and an instruction to return to the doctor for further evaluation. Fume. I knew my BP was normal.
There was also a routine blood test that included lipids… Yup, a week later I got a letter inviting me to make an appointment to discuss further treatment. Geared up to resist an attack of statins, I saw (another) GP. I need not have worried, apparently they use a formula at my surgery that calculates your risk of heart disease and even with the elevated total I was not at risk.
“Ah, it must be the rise in fluffy LDL,” I said to him. He looked at me blankly, “I’m not familiar with those”, he said.
“You know, pattern A LDL?”
Nope he didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. So I explained that the way of eating that had resulted in my weight loss sometime gave elevated totals of LDL but not the bad type.
“Well I would have suggested a low fat diet anyway,” he said.
“I haven’t been on a low fat diet,” I replied, “I’ve been on a Good fat diet, you know, butter, dripping, bacon and eggs”.
Don’t you just love making doctors speechless… another victory for Team Primal!!
Oh and my blood pressure was normal so he took me off the hypertension register and I’ll have a check up in 3 years!
I love being Primal. I have now read many books (Taubes, Groves, Eades, Shanahan), blogs, listened to podcasts all improving my understanding of proper nutrition, (bought the Fat Head video – fascinating) as I like to know WHY this WOE works, and can answer knowledgeably if I am asked about how I have lost weight.
Hubby joined me after Christmas after seeing my success, he has lost 31 lbs. We go for walks most nights and I do sprints on my stationary bike.
To date I’m down to 133 lbs, a total of 80 lbs with 12ish lbs to go. I’m having fun buying clothes and taking care with how I look. So now 50 might be fun after all.
Was 15 st 3 lb (213 lbs) UK size 20/22
Now 9 st 7 lb (133 lbs) UK size 12
Goal UK size 10