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!
I’ve been wanting to share my success story for a while now, and finally decided to sit down and write one!
A little bit about my background, I grew up in Thailand as a child, and was a competitive swimmer since I was five years old. I was really talented and swimming was pretty much my life. I would go to competitions almost every weekend. I was quite small for my age, therefore my swim coaches and my parents would force me to eat. The “You are not leaving the table until you finish two full plates of rice” kinda thing. My diet since I was young consists of, a lot of rice and noodles, typical Asian diet. Every summer I would attend swimming camp, where most of the days are spent training and pretty much forcing me to eat. I honestly still hold a grudge on my parents about this, but they didn’t know any better.
Fast forward a couple years, my parents divorced. My mom and younger sister moved to New York City abruptly, leaving father and I behind. I was still swimming at that point and went to competitions. The point I am trying to make is that I have always been very athletic.
A couple of years passed, I moved to New York City to be with my mom and sister and slowly adopted the American way of eating, pizza, sandwiches, cereal, you name it. Also, still eating Thai food, as there are Thai restaurants everwhere. I slowly started to gain weight starting in high school, as I was eating two bagels with extra butter for breakfast. My weight climbed up to 145lbs at 5’4”. I know I wasn’t “Fat” but felt really uncomfortable in my skin.
By the end of high school, I started waitressing at a cool little burger place called Island Burgers and Shakes in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. The constant walking kept me in okay shape but I was still not feeling like I was in the best shape I can be. I always had extra pounds on my stomach, back, and thighs.
Fast forward another couple of years, I met my then partner who introduced me to the Primal Lifestyle. He was looking to lose weight and I joined him on his journey. Not only to support him but I was also ready for a change. He discovered Mark’s Daily Apple. We started by consistently reading the article and of course reading the Primal Blueprint.
I started to realize that everything Mark was saying just made perfect sense. We didn’t evolve to eat all these processed foods and carbs. We were always supposed to eat real food. Slowly, we both changed our diets completely. It took several months, but the weight steadily came off. I went from being about 135lbs to 120lbs. I was 22 at that point. I never looked better and felt amazing.
After two years relationship ended. I was pretty depressed from the break up. I went off the wagon and went back to my old habits of eating unhealthy foods, late night eating, plus drinking to drown my sorrows. I was no longer living my primal life, as I spent most of my time feeling sorry for myself and could care less about what I was putting in my mouth. My weight climbed back up to about 138lbs.
For the next couple of years, I was able to come back up from the dark hole and took better care of myself. I finished grad school, got a teaching job at a New York City Public School in Manhattan, still worked at Island Burgers part time, and living my life. However, I never lost the weight I gained after my break-up. I consistently drank, went out to dinners with friends, and just didn’t care about what I was eating. I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror, but didn’t do anything about it. I would make a resolution every year and failed miserably.
When 2017 rolled around, I decided that it was time to change. I didn’t like how I looked, I hated what I saw in the mirror. I wasn’t happy with how my clothes fit and I knew that the Primal Lifestyle worked, because I’ve done it before. I started to go on Primal full gear. I eliminated grains, pasta, bread, rice, noodles, potatoes, and sugar. I focused on meat and vegetables.
I started off at about 137 lbs. I noticed that my weight wasn’t coming off as fast as I wanted, and realized that it was probably because I was consuming too many calories. So, I decided to skip a meal. I would only eat a small breakfast, a big lunch, and skipped dinner. I was no longer swimming and the only moving around I was doing was when I was teaching in the classroom.
My weight slowly and steadily came off. Right now, April 2018, at 31 years old, I am 118-119 lbs and feel absolutely amazing. I finally look in the mirror and feel great about myself. I do get comments that I’m now too skinny, but all that matters is that I feel great. Since going back to my primal life style a year ago, I no longer depend on food. I used to think about food and what to eat all day long. Now, I no longer live my life that way, I’m rarely hungry and have very low appetite. Food no longer ran my life.
This is how I eat almost everyday:
On Weekends (When I have time to actually make breakfast)
I usually skip dinner and just snack on a couple of almonds or cheese.
I still indulge on 1-2 glasses of wine a couple of times a week
Yes, I do cheat (Once a week on average). There are days that I would let myself eat whatever meal I want. I would come across situations where my partner and I would go to a nice restaurant (I live in New York City) I will allow myself to indulge. I have a weakness for a good vanilla ice cream and bread with butter. I no longer feel bad about “Cheating” as it’s planned, I know when, why and how I will do it. And the next day I go right back to my primal lifestyle.
The 80/20 Rule is truly a blessing. I follow that rule religiously and it makes me not feel bad when I do cheat. Life is too short not to sometimes indulge. But putting the food my body truly wants and needs 80% of the time, will make me live longer and without any illness. I see people around me constantly catching colds, having fevers, having life-long illnesses, I believe that living a primal life will prevent me from going through that.
I’ve never felt better in my life. But this time, I will never fall of the wagon. I wanted to truly thank Mark for changing my life. I still want to go down to 115 lbs and work really hard to maintain that weight.
These are a couple of random things:
1. I barely exercise. I don’t go to the gym, I don’t lift. All I try to do is walk a lot, when I can. It is so true that 80% is what you eat. I am a living example of it.
2. It is true that when your body is keto-adapted you are rarely hungry and you are completely not dependent on food. I see people around me being completely controlled by food and need to eat every couple of hours, so they don’t become hangry. I am happy I am able to not live my life that way.
3. I try my best to get at least 8 hours of sleep and spend time in the sun.
4. I have a really supportive partner, who doesn’t fully understand my primal lifestyle, but is accepting and tolerates my “unusual” eating habits.
Mark, you are inspirational and thank you for changing my life.