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!
Last summer, I moved to Nashville, TN to start college. During my first semester of my freshman year, I didn’t really care much about my nutrition and ate lots of different foods. My friends and I would eat biscuits and gravy, cereal, burgers and fries, Krispy Kreme and of course, delicious Starbucks drinks. I had heard of the “freshman 15″ which was a rumor that all freshman gain 15 pounds in their first year but I didn’t think much about it. Over Christmas break, I spent time with my family in Canada and we ate even MORE food. Plenty of sweets and I didn’t even care about my portions or what I was eating. It was tasty food, right? No harm. I didn’t realize how much I had changed until the last day when I was heading back to college. My dad weighed my suitcase that was being checked at the airport and I decided to weigh myself. I was absolutely surprised by the number: 178. Chills went down my spine. How could I be 5′ 7” and weigh that much?? My dad was on an “Eat To Live” diet and I actually weighed 3 lbs. more than him. I never told him because I was so embarrassed. So, I decided, that day, on my way to the airport that I would get my act together.
I completely quit eating the cookies and cakes offered at my cafeteria and I ate many salads. My issue was finding what was the RIGHT thing to eat. I knew sugar was bad, but what about oatmeal? What about beans? I started by trying a vegetarian diet and I got a trainer on campus to help me lose weight. He had me take a photo and told me to put it somewhere until summer to see end results.
We started working out Monday through Friday from 6 am-7 am. It was brutal and painful. I had classes right after that all day plus evening music gigs I was a part of around town. Needless to say, life was getting stressful. He had me eating 5 to 6 times a day. A lot of in between snacks was fruit. I constantly found myself hungry and craving more food after every meal. I tried going vegan during this time and became very malnourished especially since our cafeteria did not have many healthy options for meals. I ate lots of oatmeal and egg white omelets in the mornings and light salads with some cucumbers and tomatoes every night. It was like I was eating air. I never felt satisfied but I truly thought I was improving and losing weight. A couple months later (March), it was time to go home for spring break. I didn’t look much different but I believed I was on the right path. I spoke to my step-brother and sister in law (who have been Primal for a couple years and are huge role models in my life) and they felt I was putting in too much effort to lose this weight. They told me I didn’t need to force myself awake to work out or get in 1 of my 6 meals everyday and I could lose my weight simply by cutting out the carbs in my diet. They were very convincing so I decided I would try the Primal Blueprint diet.
When I got back to school, I once again changed my nutrition and workouts. I quit my trainer, started eating (and I mean EATING) more eggs, rotisserie chicken, and all the veggies my stomach could handle. I even got creative with the omelet lady and had her make me pancakes out of almond meal and coconut meal that I brought to the cafeteria some mornings. I always kept a jar of coconut oil in my backpack for the cooks to make some of my food in the cafeteria. I also would make my own chocolate ice cream in my dorm room by blending a frozen banana with ice, coconut milk, and dark cocoa. This helped me keep my sanity while my friends ate their sweets! I noticed that the protein was helping hold me over and my weight seemed to shed off much easier.
I decided towards the end of the semester that I wanted to focus more on doing exercises I enjoy rather than force myself into a gym everyday (although I still like going to the gym sometimes). I would jog around the school some days, play sand volleyball with friends, do yoga, play tennis or simply go for a walk. Becoming Primal was such an easy change for me. My friends were also interested in how I was eating healthy while going to our crappy cafeteria and would sometimes ask questions in what my secret was as they saw my overall physique change. Most of my friends assumed I was killing it in the gym and was surprised to hear that wasn’t the case.
After about 2 months of being on my Primal Blueprint diet in college, I survived and it was time to go HOME! I was so excited to show my family how much I changed and boy had I ever! I weighed myself at 138 pounds (40 lbs lighter!!) and never felt better!
I haven’t felt so good about how I look in a very long time. What surprises me is how much LESS I have to work out to lose the weight! No more dreaded hours in the gym. I enjoy doing some CrossFit WODs at my home and taking long walks. My exercises and eating habits completely depend on how I feel each day which seems so much more normal to me than pre-planning meals and workouts like I used to. Since I am so new to this diet, I am getting mentored by my two lovely Primal siblings who will help me maintain my weight.
I’m very thankful for your website which helped me in so many ways this semester and thanks to the Primal Blueprint diet, I have conquered that nasty “freshman 15” rumor and proved that it is possible to be Primal even as a college student!
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.