Enjoying the Journey Every Step of the Way

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!

After a healthy high school sports career (swimming, water polo, and cross-training), I went off to college and found that, like many people, I had a much harder time exercising without a tight practice schedule and all the camaraderie that goes with being part of a team. I made occasional forays to the gym and played some pickup ball now and then, but by 21 or 22, I was caught in the perfect storm of a backwards sleep schedule, way too many available calories, and a general lack of discipline (I was a largely self-supervising researcher at the time, and it turned out I was not a very strict boss!).

The “before” photo was taken during a family trip to Big Sur in 2003, and it definitely embarrassed me into action (that, and being invited for a run by the cute girl in my creative writing class). Having found the motivation I was looking for, I started running, first 1-2 miles, then 3-4, then 5, 6, 7, and immediately took off weight. I also began to get much more serious about vegetables, and took advantage of the local fish market to get hefty servings of Omega-3s. However, I was still stuck in some of the classic fallacies of modern diet and exercise: thinking that more distance meant better health, and that caloric balance was a simple, zero-sum game – i.e., eat all the pasta you want as long as you run it off. This continued for a few years. By mid-2006, I was in decent shape, but spending too much time at my desk and increasingly susceptible to the many burrito options in San Francisco. I had given up running due to severe knee pain, but had not yet learned the value of high-intensity, high-variation exercise.

Then, in the fall of 2006, a friend told me about a new approach that drew inspiration from the caveman lifestyle, and pointed me to Art de Vany and eventually, Mark’s Daily Apple. As I got more and more serious about The Primal Blueprint, I found that not only was I losing weight, getting stronger, and feeling more physically and mentally energetic, but the chronic colds and sinus infections that I had always accepted as a fact of life stopped getting me. I did not get sick once in 2007, and in September of that year, I did something I could never have imagined doing a few years prior: swimming the Golden Gate. In true Primal fashion, no wetsuits allowed!

Now, I’m 27 and a solid 5’8?, 160 lbs. In addition to eating Primal, I’ve been incorporating intermittent fasting and find it to be another valuable tool for keeping myself in balance and focus. I still have a way to go, but I’m enjoying the journey every step of the way. Thanks Mark!

Gabe Before & After


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