Even a Perfect Diet Will Fail Without Stress Management

It’s Monday, 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 Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

On November of 2017 I sent a story to Mark’s Daily Apple. A brief story of my life at the time and how I got there. I’ve re-read that letter a couple of times and I’ve thought maybe I should have waited or I should have said more, so I thought maybe an update from then to now would be helpful.

My primal story started as a diet and exercise program, I needed to get back into shape so I hit the gym, or in my case hit the treadmill in my garage, and went on a diet. I did what everyone else does when they want to lose weight and “get healthy.” If you read my original story and look at the pictures, I figured it out. I lost 60 pounds total and improved my numbers to a point my doctor was amazed at my results. I completed the Primal Health Coach course, and Mom loved to hear about what I was learning.


Everything was great, well almost everything. My mom’s health was declining fast, she was slowly losing her battle with cancer. My sisters and I started staying weekends with her to spend as much time as possible with her, we would drink wine, and talk about the past and laugh about all the crazy things we did. My brother-in-law would come down about once a month and bring steaks, and we would grill over a grate in the fireplace and drink beer and wine and laugh. Mom couldn’t really eat that much anymore, but we had a lot of fun.

I started going to visit every day after work, and I’d grab a bag of chips and a case of beer to have when I got there, a candy bar or two for the way there. Eventually mom needed 24-hour care so she moved in with my sister in Michigan, but I still went every day to take care of the house. In April my mom lost her battle with cancer. My sisters and I would get together as much as we could to get the house ready to sell, and finalize the estate. I was there everyday—as the executor I felt I had to keep things moving and get everything done. I would buy beer and snacks and a bottle of whisky for when I was there….

I thought it was important to share that story because it’s real. During that time I gained 10 pounds, my cholesterol was high again and my sugar was elevated. Luckily for me I know how to correct all those issues and have. I failed where everyone on a diet fails—when the diet stops. The part I missed was the rest of life. Diet is important but even a perfect diet will fail without stress management. My stress management was alcohol, my comfort zone, and we all know your body burns alcohol first. I got off track and used my life problems as an excuse. Sometimes even a coach needs some coaching. This has kind of been a failure story instead of a success story, but I’m still writing.

I’ve taken what I learned from the Primal Health Coach Institute, and have started to develop my own brand, “Primal Hippie.” I started a very easy to read blog “primalhippie.net.” I blog a lot about stress from daily life and ideas how to manage that stress. I’ve taken the laid back, have fun attitude and mixed it with some nutrition advice and tried to aim it towards the younger generation because it’s easier to prevent disease than to cure it.

It’s very obvious to me that the trend towards living a holistic healthy life is happening, the amount of available, affordable, organic foods is on the rise. The merging of major food giants with small health-minded companies is another great step—great work Mark. There is even some common ground being found with the paleo/vegan world. This trend is still very personal to me. Since my first post, four more friends of mine have been diagnosed with cancer, one is currently non-responsive. I hear a lot about all the advances in medicine, and yet here we are. It’s time to educate the young people, and make healthy foods the norm not the exception.

Thanks Mark for all your passion and effort and giving me the chance to share my story, Grok on!

Bradley Nickell


The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

About the Author

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.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!