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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...

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January 26 2018

Feeling My Limitations Melt Away

By Guest
9 Comments

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!

I called my sister after a backpacking trip last September to tell her I had felt amazing tromping around the picturesque Colorado wilderness with a heavy pack on for several days. I was overjoyed because I had not felt amazing backpacking or otherwise throughout most of my life. She responded by saying, “Isn’t it amazing to feel your limitations melt away?”

I have been an outdoor enthusiast my entire life. Throughout my teens I enthusiastically planned multi day backpacking trips, and as I moved into my 20s I started “bagging” the 14,000+ peaks in my home state of Colorado. However, despite my love of nature and outdoor adventures, these feats were always more challenging for me than my peers. This fact frustrated me and for a long time I thought I just needed to push myself more athletically. However, as I’ve learned over the past few years, I actually needed to change my diet.

Health issues related to inflammation and food sensitives have plagued me my entire life. As a young adult I suffered from severe back pain, headaches, and stomach issues. My health issues became worse as I entered my mid-twenties. My headaches turned into crippling migraines, and everything seems to bother my stomach. I lost a lot of weight because I could barely stomach food at the age of 24.

My sister’s life had been transformed by the paleo diet. She suggested that we likely shared many food intolerances. She helped guide me through a lot of these initial changes through her own experiences with food sensitives. However, it took me years to make the full switch to paleo. I told myself I didn’t like the label, but more likely I didn’t want to face what I thought was a strict and limiting diet at such a young age.

snowMy dietary changes certainly made me feel better. No more migraines, back pain, severe indigestion and so forth. However, my athletic abilities did not improve significantly. I often found myself struggling to keep up with my friends on big hikes. The wall that seemed to keep me from improving athletically was still there.

I started to become more and more frustrated that my athletic abilities did not match the person I knew I was. In 2017 I finally started making bigger changes. My sister was again an excellent resource as I made the full transition to paleo. She turned me onto Mark’s Daily Apple and other paleo resources. I completed my first Whole30 that January, which was great because it gave me the confidence to cut out sugar and feel great without it. It also helped me make the switch to full paleo. However, I still felt my limitations were surrounding me, and I was not sure how to overcome them.

A good friend of mine had been trying the ketogenic diet, and she felt amazing. She suggested I try it as she thought my problem likely was that I had not fully embraced fat while eating really low carb and making myself miserable with that arrangement. I hesitated at first especially because of the lack of research about keto and women. However, feeling like I had nothing to lose, I went for it the first week of June. I did not notice much change the first two weeks likely because I had not overcome my fat aversion. However, I began to embrace it more and more, and I finally noticed changes.

Throughout the summer of 2017 I hiked more mountains than I ever had, and I felt amazing doing it. Waking up to hike a big mountain started to feel like Christmas morning. Finally, the barriers that had always surrounded me began to melt.

Full_DogMy diet has primarily been keto based for the last eight months. I eat healthy fats, grass fed meats, lots of green veggies, nuts, and berries. I’ve had a great time experimenting with many keto recipes and enjoy making fat bombs and other great on the go snacks. I also practice intermittent fasting and often only eat in an eight to ten hour time window each day. I often will eat more carbs around bigger athletic endeavors such as summiting a big mountain, but I typically keep my carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day.

The entire experience has been very liberating. I finally feel free to follow my passions without feeling like there is some impenetrable barrier blocking me. Liberation from food has been amazing as well. I now can go for extended periods of time without having to think of my next meal. I often find myself forgetting when I last ate!

I have more physical energy than I ever recall having in my life. I finally feel liberated to be the person I always knew was inside but somehow struggled to get into the world. Finally, finding a relationship with food that works for me is the most liberating feeling of all.

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9 thoughts on “Feeling My Limitations Melt Away”

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  1. What a fantastic inspiration you are! To celebrate my 60th birthday (3 years ago) my husband and two sons and I hiked up Yosemite Falls trail. It was mostly great, but the way back down from the top was really hard, because I did not fuel properly and did not know about the benefits of a ketogenic diet. Ever since I have wanted to do it again, better prepared. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. “I started to become more and more frustrated that my athletic abilities did not match the person I knew I was”

    Great quote!

    “I eat healthy fats, grass fed meats, lots of green veggies, nuts, and berries.”

    Awesome summary, I need to remember that next time someone presses me about my diet because that is pretty much my diet along with salmon and sardines (I’m probably not “keto compliant” though because I do eat some sweet potatoes, summer squash and rainbow carrots).

    Thanks for sharing, love your smile and love your dog. 🙂

  3. Love everything about this…you look so happy, and how amazing is it to have so much energy? That’s totally how I feel on keto. So happy for you!

  4. Inspiring!
    It feels a little odd addressing someone whose name I don’t know(am I just blind or…) but this story along with other things have made me want to go hiking, first in my own country but someday-I hope-in Japan.
    What do you typically bring to eat on these hikes? Any suggestions welcome.

  5. Nice very very nice

    “Waking up to hike a big mountain started to feel like Christmas morning”

  6. Kee, of course every success story makes me cry because taking power back and being in control of our health is an opportunity that can change your entire life and its trajectory. Your’s makes me cry the most because, as we have learned, healing is not individual. It’s communal and requires ongoing support, advice and feedback from others. We’ve suffered alot together and also triumphed tremendously. As your grow healthier and stronger you have become an inspiration and rock for me. I can’t wait to see where the next year of adventures and mountain summits take you.

    Your sister in healing, Caroline.