Going Primal Transforms a Family of Four

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!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2I am a 43-year-old man who was an intravenous meth user for 18 years, in prison three times, jail 18 times, and homeless. I was saved from my drug use and criminal life, but I had become depressed. I became reclusive and began to eat myself into obesity…topping the scales at 315 pounds. I had absolutely no energy and was completely useless to my wife and son. The example I was setting for my two-year-old son was an unhealthy lifestyle. Unless I changed my habits, and he continued to eat what I was serving him, his health would suffer.

I was eating fast food, processed food, cereals, boxed foods, canned foods, juices, sodas, etc. Out of concern for my well being, my cousin, who has been living the paleo lifestyle for years, introduced me to Mark’s Daily Apple for more information and direction on eating paleo. What I read made sense, and I took it on 100%. I was amazed at not just the weight loss, but at the enormous increase in my energy. Over time my depression lifted.


Using nutritional information from Mark’s Daily Apple in combination with my workout routine, I was able to lose 140 pounds and gain lean muscle in 15 months. My energy level is remarkable. Bed at 8:30 p.m. and up at 3:30 a.m.I am a personal trainer for others, and I care for my two sons and my wife, so my days are always jam packed, and I never fatigue.

david 1

My 33-year-old wife is following the paleo diet guided by Mark’s Daily Apple, along with her workout routine, and has lost 170 pounds.

When I first began this lifestyle, my two year old son weighed 72 pounds and was at risk for diabetes, had respiratory problems and was obese for his height and age. He is now four years old, weighs 53 pounds (right on target for his height and weight), his blood results are all within normal range and his health is perfect. The pediatrician asked how he lost 20 pounds, because they never recommend for children to go on a diet. However, they were amazed that his blood work was perfect even with his weight loss. We talked to the pediatrician about the Paleo lifestyle and recommended Mark’s Daily Apple. They were absolutely amazed and said they had never seen this before.

It is a common belief that the Paleo lifestyle is too costly. However, we are a family of four and are currently living on the salary my wife makes as a waitress. To say we are poor is an understatement. Paleo is not a diet for us, it is a lifestyle and a mindset change. Sodas, burgers, chips, candy bars, Starbucks, packaged, canned food, etc., are costly! Now, what I am not spending on unhealthy food, I designate that same money to PALEO foods. It works out financially to be the same, but so much better for your life!

Mark’s Daily Apple was my go-to source from the start and that will never change. Mark’s Daily Apple has helped transform, inside and out, the man you see before you. With Mark’s Daily Apple I began feeling a difference immediately, seeing a difference within two weeks, and hearing from others the difference they were seeing in me within a month of changing my eating and exercising habits.

I would say good luck, but if you follow Mark’s Daily Apple, luck has nothing to do with the changes you will experience.


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114 thoughts on “Going Primal Transforms a Family of Four”

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  1. David, thanks for this truly inspiring story about you and your family. No excuses no matter what. A great lesson for those that think they can’t do Primal on a budget.

    1. David is my nephew and our family can proudly claim over 10 people living the Paleo life. It’s contagious! I love you, Dave, and I’m so proud of the man you’ve become.

      1. This is such a great story! Gives me hope that when one leads by example, so often others will follow.

  2. Oooooweee this was a good one! It’s always fun to read Friday’s stories, but I just loved hearing about how your kids are benefiting too. Way to go!!! So much props for making the changes you did.

  3. You are an inspiration and a huge kick in the a$$ for anyone who thinks it’s too late to start over. Thank you.

  4. Poor and paleo is my story too. It’s actually easy. I buy the cheapest of everything, no grass-fed anything for me, and the results are still awesome and I’ve never been happier.

    That part about lifting depression is worth noting. The mental improvements of a low carb life are also awesome.

    Way to go.

    1. Ditto, when money permits, I buy higher quality foods. But when I need to make choices about foods based on money, I go with meat and vegetables, as cheap as possible. Cheap whole meat is still better than the drive-thru

      1. Same here. After reading MDA for a couple of years, it was a comment by another of us “poor folk” on the forums that inspired me to go primal, doing the best I could within a limited budget. That was 3 years ago. Yes, the results are still awesome, physically, mentally and health-wise, and I agree that even cheap whole meat is still better than the drive-thru.

  5. David,

    What an amazing story. I’m so glad you were able to break the drug habit and found a healthy lifestyle. Very inspiring.

    I discovered MDA about four years ago and eating primal helped me in almost every aspect of my life as well.

    Congratulations again and thank you for sharing.

  6. That is the most inspiring story, on every level, that I have ever read. What a truly amazing person you are.

  7. David, you are a wonder. You’ve taken a tough situation and turned it into a positive one. And you’ve done it while teaching the world about taking on a problem head-on, ignoring (or even using) the past to create motivation for yourself.

    I am very impressed with you and your family. Nice work!

  8. Te super felicito, es muy inspirador en todos sentidos, convivo cerca de gente con esas adicciones tan destructivas, comida y drogas y lo que tú lograste es de titanes. ¡¡¡Congratulation !!!

  9. Congratulations on 1. Kicking your addiction and 2. Finding your Health! Your story is very inspiring, and I’m sure you will continue to improve your own life, your family’s life, as well as the lives of others. Great work!

  10. Great story. One of my favorites. Sounds like your wife should have a success story too!! Maybe next week.

  11. This is an awesome story! You said your family eats paleo on a small budget just fine, is this because you buy regular supermarket meat?
    I can understand how eating paleo is affordable shopping at regular grocery stores, but I just can’t make myself buy meat from those places. I get the cheapest meat at Whole Foods, still grain fed, but I know the animal’s are treated well. And even buying the cheapest meat there is still pricey for my budget… If other grocery stores had more information about how their animals were treated I might be able to buy the cheaper stuff, but as long as there is no transparency I have to assume the worst.

    1. Don’t buy into the hype. Most of your beef is raised by conscientious, hard working, animal loving farmers who understand that the land, the animals and the environment are their livelyhood. This garbage about the use of antibiotics is just that, garbage. It costs money to give unnecessary medication, why would they do it. I can’t speak for the pork or poultry. Most of them are raised my massive corporations in confinement barns, with little regard for anything but the bottom line.

    2. Hey, TF! Try Sprouts for grain fed beef. It’s so much cheaper than Whole Foods.

      1. I had to Google that. Doesn’t look like they have any stores in NC. Thanks anyway, though!

        1. Recently spent a couple years in rural NC. I found local farmers to buy beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, duck, eggs, milk and cream from. I could hand my money directly to them and see for myself how much they care about what they do.

    3. FYI as far as supposed grain fed chicken , no steroids , treated well etc etc please understand that companies only have to meet limited requirements to be able to say GRAIN FED , healthy , not abused etc etc . All be it is better than say hickmans but if you want total purity and non abuse of animals there’s only one way to do so and that’s buy some land and raise ALL your own meats , veggies , fruit etc etc . But yes , there are the lesser of all evil stores such as sprouts , certain farmers markets etc etc cause there not feeding the multitudes like regular super markets

  12. WOW. Great work. I am impressed. it is amazing how the body can heal it’s self, if given the chance to, to get back the feel good hormones after addiction is really cool.
    Keep it up Man.

  13. Wow. Straightforward, simple, powerful. Great story – thank you !!
    You look great and I bet your wife and child do too!! 🙂

  14. David, you are right. Luck had nothing to do with it. Very inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  15. Inspirational stories are the norm on Fridays, but yours truly goes far deeper than that. Anyone who has the fortitude to conquer a drug addiction and make the choices to change their life (and I mean ALL of it, not just your nutrition) the way you have deserves to celebrate themselves! Keep sharing your story so others know they can overcome! I am thrilled for your children, and for those whose lives you are bound to change with your story. God bless you all!

  16. Wow. I have to say your history sounds similar in a lot of ways to some of my family members and some of them never found their way to change. My 20-year-old cousin (way back when we were 20), grew up with a dad in similar circumstances as your son (where he was starting off), ate all kinds junk food, soda and whatnot and had parents that were using drugs/over-weight/in and out of jail/etc… and he was shot and killed over a drug deal gone wrong at 20. My uncle (my cousin’s dad)–in and out of jail all his life, ate terrible food, did terrible drugs, suffered with depression, mental illness and all kinds of things–dead at 45. My mom? Junk food, soda, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs on and off throughout her life, mental illness, etc.–she died at 45 too. When my mom was dying of cancer all I wanted was to change her diet and bring her to some yoga something safe haven where she could heal. I had always felt she had the power to heal a long time before she died if she could only give up all the addictions–including those to crappy food. Thankfully, the trajectory of my life made me want to avoid their situations at all costs. Lots of my healthy decisions were not the healthiest (becoming vegetarian at 19–the pasta, PB&J, Tofutti Cutie version!) but my intent was in the right direction and it evolved and improved as I grew and learned more. I refused to do drugs, drink alcohol, smoke, or do other things that I saw were clearly wrecking the lives of my family members (in part out of fear–having the SWAT team visit our house on a drug raid when I was 4 years old heightened that fear!).

    I am so amazed and grateful that you were able to do this for your family. It takes immeasurable strength of person to have the capacity to even realize you have the power to change your circumstances. The thing is, I didn’t see my family as scary (even though we had gnarly weaponry hidden under couches and I had seen them do scary things). They still had lives outside of drug deals–they were still parents struggling to get by and make ends meet. I am really grateful that my mom loved me enough to allow me to escape that path. It makes me teary-eyed, because I so wish I had the power to find the magic book or magic method that would have changed their trajectory for them. You are giving your son an amazing gift–when he’s bigger and starts to question authority, you can serve up a plate of prison food next to some kale salad. The decision ought to be pretty straight forward. 🙂 The prison system doesn’t need you on their side of the bars–we need you leading the way on this side–lots of families need your inspiration. You have a lot to live for. Congratulations and always find the power within to keep marching forward.

  17. To put it in the Great Australian Vernacular ‘Good onya mate’. In all seriousness if you want to turn your life around for the better, then you have to start of with the basics and of these the most important is that, you are what you eat.
    We really do need more stories like this to expose and debunk the processed food industries lie that ‘Healthy eating is for the well to do’. I know well from my own experience that all you need are the simple basics that you can buy in the greengrocery and meat departments of any good ‘grocery store’ as you call it in the States, and the protein component doesn’t always have to be red meat; fish, fowl and eggs are just as good.
    It frustrates me no end that so many people are so ready to believe any disinformation that the processed food industry puts out. The worst part is that so much of it is half truths, and half truths are far more insidious than outright falsehoods by very reason of the element of truth they contain.

  18. David, you are now living “the good life” with you wife, children and your health! Keep going down that path and more good things will follow. Awesome job so far!


    A scholarship for the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification program is highly recommended for David!

    How about it Mark? What a boost to his personal training and coaching endeavors!


    1. Yes please Mark, I would love to see David receive a scholarship for the PBEC program…. what an absolutely inspiration he is to the PB lifestyle.

      Surely, if a vision of reaching people who make a difference in ‘their tribe’ is your goal Mark, then David is certainly a candidate !!!

      Well done David, your journey into the PB lifestyle is awesome!

    2. +1
      Do it, Mark! If this man isn’t worthy of it, then no-one is!

  19. My favorite success story thus far. Congrats on your happiness and renewed health David.

  20. This is a story that brought tears to my eyes. I think David would be a great interview on Mark’s podcast (if willing) to talk about his transformation. You really had two powerful transformations and I wonder how they compare. What does one think when their 2yo is 72 pounds? I’m happy for you and your family . . . what a great story!!

  21. That is an incredible story. Thank you so much for sharing your transformations with us. And thank you for bringing up the cost of Paleo versus the cost of junk food. It’s amazing how much less you need to eat when your body is getting the right nutrients.

  22. I went on Mark’s site just now to look up resources for pastured meats, something that’s a stretch for our family budget. My plan was to skip commenting today, and get down to the business of placing an order for bacon, which I might still do. But when I saw and then read your success story, not only did my eyes fill with tears, but I felt the need to thank you for your inspiration. I just received two of Mark’s books in the mail this past week, and even though I’ve been low carb and mostly no grains for a while, I just haven’t fully committed and need to lose about 10-20 pounds. If you can accomplish what you and your family achieved, then I should be able to do the same. But I also appreciate your honesty about having to buy conventional meats and veggies. Families eating paleo, even middle class families, have to make tough choices, and I admire you for doing what was necessary to look at the big picture of where your greatest health risks lay. My dream for the future is pastured, organic food for everyone, but until then, some of us have to muddle through as best we can. Thank you again for sharing. I’m worried about my 24 year old son and plan to use Mark’s program so that I can be an example to him as you were for your wife and son.

  23. Wow.. Tears all the way over here in Scotland. What a fantastic, inspirational story.. This is by far my favourite! Well done to you for all your achievements.

  24. Love your work David. You are living proof that people can change their lives for the better, even when the odds look to be stacked against them. You can be very proud of your achievements.

    As for the cost of paleo food, my thought is that with the money I save on all the highly processed, over packaged foods I used to buy, it really doesn’t cost me an awful lot more to eat this way. I have to admit we don’t have kids to feed any more, and that makes it cheaper. But I find that I need less good quality food to feel satisfied. Crappy, salty, chemically enhanced food in big quantities never used to make me feel good, but smaller quantities of good quality food makes me feel like I don’t need to look for something else to “top up” with. Just my point of view.

  25. David,

    Congratulations to you and your family! Thanks for making the world a better place by creating more health, happiness, and extending your knowledge to others! 🙂

    GROCK on! 🙂

  26. Wow, what an inspiration! And so great for others to hear that you are doing it on a budget, since that is something people use as an excuse all the time. It takes work and planning to buy and prepare real food but so worth it for the results you can achieve. Thanks for sharing your success! I look forward to Fridays.

  27. What you did is amazing and inspiring, David! It gives me hope and motivation that I can do the same. Being financially insolvent has always been an excuse for me to not to change my way of living and eating.

    I’m well on my way now, at about two weeks into going Paleo/Primal and reading stories like yours always inspire me. Great job, and thanks for sharing your wonderful accomplishments!

  28. Wow. I think this is the most dramatic story I’ve read on MDA. Congratulations, David, on the awesome changes you have made in yourself and your life.

  29. I’ve been Primal and following MDA for several years. Like others here, the Friday Success Stories are always a favorite, but your story has to be the best one I think I’ve ever read anywhere – not just on MDA! Your story needs to go world-wide.

    Rather than thank you for posting I think I’d rather thank you for having the guts to be yourself and come out of a not-too-pleasant-scenario.From what you’ve said, your wife/children deserve their own success stories as well! Please continue to encourage others through your example.

    I feel honored to have been able to read your story, and I wish you and your family all the best for the future. Bless you and bless your wonderful family.

    1. Isn’t it amazing what GOD can do when we let Him ? ! Bless you too

  30. “I had absolutely no energy and was completely useless to my wife and son. The example I was setting for my two-year-old son was an unhealthy lifestyle. Unless I changed my habits, and he continued to eat what I was serving him, his health would suffer.”

    He did it for his family. What a man.

  31. Wow! Just wow!
    I wish you and your family continued success.
    What a story!

  32. What you have accomplished is something very few people could do. Your resolve to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, then lift up your family, is a remarkable story. I’m freakin’ blown away dude … this needs to go viral. David keep knocking on doors, someone is going to give you a chance to use that inner strength and discipline that stoked your amazing transformation to help their business to succeed.

  33. Well done David and thank you for writing a story that so many people need to read.

  34. +1 for a scolarship!
    Fantastic “rethinking” of things, and for getting everyone else in the family on board as well.

  35. Awesome story, David, you really touched me with it. You can really be proud! Thanx for your cousin too!! That was a live safer!

  36. Beautiful. I am so impressed that you changed not just for beauty standards, but for your family. You quite literally saved your son’s life. I see so many families in states like yours was & it makes me so sad. I want more people to know there is hope. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Thank you and not only has my family gotten involved my wife has lost 175 pounds and my 4 year old son has lost 18 pounds . Awesome life

  37. David,

    What a truly inspiring and heart warming story! You should be very proud of yourself and your family. I wish you continued success. Fantanstic!

  38. I am involved in The Suppers Programs (https://www.thesuppersprograms.org/), a not-for-profit, virtually free-to-users program originally created by addiction counselor Dor Mullen to address the health issues encountered by those in recovery, particularly related to food and weight. While originally based on an addiction model, the programs now serve a wide range of people who need support making diet and lifestyle changes to be healthier. Your story is remarkable and inspiring (not unlike some of our members) but we have so many people for whom the financial commitment seems an insurmountable barrier. How did you do this for a family of four on a waitress’s salary? What other supports were helpful for staying on track? Would love to hear more detail about exactly how you made this work for you… maybe even schedule a discussion with our “Suppers for Sobriety” group…

    1. I would love to have a discussion with your group . As far as the financial aspect it’s really a mindset and lifestyle change which MDA was and is a huge part of my success . If you ever sit down and actually crunch numbers on every soda , bag of chips , candy , fast food that you spend $ on every month you’ll be amazed at how much you spend . My point is it’s all relative . If you want to spend $400 a month on foods that are literally killing you ( fast food kills more people annually than street drugs ) then your free to do so . Or you can spend $400 a month on healthy foods that are strengthening your body . Diets are funny cause they give you little pieces of chocolate cake with there tiny little meal for example . Ok , then by that theory give your drug addict little pieces of dope everyday . I eat and eat good . Not one day did I starve myself . MDA has great recipes and again it’s a lifestyle change

  39. Wow, I am really amazed.
    This is an incredible success story!
    Congrats on your achievement/s.

  40. Wow this made me cry… Transformational story on so many levels. Here’s my poor Primal tip (been there) – ask the butcher for the beef fat scraps from the cleaner (no antibiotics/hormones beef) A lot of times they will just give it to you or sell at super low cost. Render that down to tallow (and you have your free healthy fat for cooking) and use the beef “cracklings” from the rendering process as food, add to chopped veggies and cubed potatoes or a little rice and you have an economy paleo meal for cheap

  41. This may be one of my favorite success stories. What a wonderful testimony and transformation. Inspiring…I had to share it!

  42. After reading your story and the comments that followed the only thing left for me to say is thank you, thank you, thank you! You are an inspiration to us all.

  43. Wow. I’m in awe of your honesty, your strength of character, your love for your family, and your hard work. Your story brought tears to my eyes; I have known too many who couldn’t find their way out of the bad life choices they made. You have done a lot to beat the odds, and you ROCK!

    I agree with others; your story needs to go viral. Keep learning and teaching, setting good examples for your family and friends. With or without a scholarship from Mark, I don’t see you stopping where you are…you’re gonna go far in this life.

    1. I love you guys and all your kind words . My story is awesome however my wife who has followed MDA with me has lost 175-180 pounds . She weighed 320+ . She weighs 135 today . In 1 1-2 years she has lost 185+ pounds and she has rheumatoid arthritis that has went into remission. CRAAAAAZY !! Thank you Mark Sisson

  44. David,

    Like many others have mentioned here, I look forward to the Friday “success stories” on MDA, but this one was an awesome and riveting transformation story from the first word!!

    You battled a rough beginning and family life, through long term drug addiction, and into poor health (yours and your family), yet like the iconic “Rocky Balboa”, you prevailed against all odds and came out on top!

    Your TOTAL transformation was unreal, and I couldn’t have stopped reading it if I had wanted to.

    I agree that your story needs to be available to every kid and adult that struggles with addictions, family issues and weight/health issues.

    You are an inspiration to others!
    And the fact that you are now paying it forward by helping others is an extremely honorable position and as a fellow Paleo lifestyler, retired LEO and fellow human being, I deeply respect you for that and everything else you’ve overcome and accomplished.

    Mark, as for the scholarship, I wholeheartedly agree with the others, that a it should DEFINITELY BE IN THE WORKS!!!! If anyone is deserving, he is!!

    I’d go as far as saying that he would make an excellent spokesperson for the lifestyle.


    I too would like to see and read about your wife’s transformation.
    It’s great that the two of you are working together to improve your lives and your health, as well as that of your child.

    Keep up the good work brother!!!!


    1. She will be doing he story . She followed MDA with me and has lost 185 pounds . Thank you for your service as well . Your work is what truly needs to be recognized as you battled daily in your career

  45. Way to go! Your story is amazing and it’s great to see “REAL” people with real struggles making the changes to be healthy.

  46. Please keep us all posted on your and your family’s ongoing life changes. You all have an amazing story.

  47. Such a beautiful, inspiring story, David. You’ve offered such a gift to yourself and your family.

    Also so, so wonderful for others to see that this sort of transformation and lifestyle is totally possible on a limited budget. Thank you for sharing and best wishes on your continuing journey!

  48. Mark, can I suggest you set up some kind of matching fund scholarship exactly for someone like David so the rest of the community can donate to the cause?

  49. Great story! My first comment on a story and it could not have hit closer to home. So many people are suffering and struggling and you are a true inspiration David. I have had my experiences with drugs and alcohol and it’s not easy to get away from. I have a son that I am terribly worried about and I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out for him. I vote yes on a scholarship for you also. I am currently enrolled. I am 54 years old and the Primal Blueprint Certification has been challenging me. I pay monthly and sometimes money has been tight but your story has shown me again why I enrolled. Congratulations and the best of life to you and your family.

  50. Thank you so much, David–what an inspiration you are! Totally amazing! I agree with the other grokkers that you should have the scholarship to the PBEC program. This is the transformation of all transformations!

  51. Dave – Fantastic story, and I like how you have obtained this on a constricted budget, a lot of people come up with the excuse “its too expensive”, but as you have pointed out, it actually winds up being cheaper than a diet of junk food. I also like Mark’s approach to fitness as you need no gym’s or equipment (I do all my workouts at the local park – all I need is a chin up bar).

    You have removed all excuses for anyone who says they can’t make an attempt to get fit and healthy.

  52. Thank you to everyone and your kind and supportive words . My desire is to help in any way I can to motivate people to a addiction free and healthy lifestyle . Mark and MDA has been my go to tool and I thank him for everything he does and has done for me and my family

  53. Amazing achievement, David. So glad too that you shared your inspiring story with us. Best wishes and blessings for the future.

  54. WTG! What an incredible example of taking charge of your life and changing your circumstances.
    Thank you for sharing. I wish you and your family all the best for the future.

  55. For those of you struggling to buy grass-fed, organic beef, I’m right there with you. If you have a Sprouts in your area, go there. It’s so much cheaper than Whole Foods.

  56. We never submit comments.

    However, your journey, fueled by a new mindset have touched our hearts.

    We send our deepest respect to you and your family.

    Your family’s journey will continue to touch millions of hearts in this country, as it has here in Hawaii.

    Your powerfully honest example teaches us it’s never too late, or too hard to recreate a new lifestyle.

    You are helping many families and individuals to turn around join you on your journey.

    A hearty “Well-done!” also goes out to your wife, son, and cousin.

  57. I love to read MDA’s success stories for inspiration and encouragement and I have to say, David, that your strength and determination are off the charts and are truly inspiring! What you as the leader of your family have done to make a lifestyle change, to take care of the body that the Lord has given you, exemplifies your deep love and devotion to them. I love how you give your wife her well deserved props for following the plan and losing 185 lbs and regaining her health, knocking the rheumatoid arthritis into remissions! Wow and Awesome! And your son’s transformation is remarkable as well! Thanks for posting your story and for being an inspiration! You are a truly a blessing! Looking forward to reading your wife’s story in the near future. God bless! Psalm 121:2.

    1. Thank you sooo much for pointing to who’s the real hero , the true restorer, the real savior of family’s … JESUS !!

      1. You’re whole testimony says it all, David! Jesus! Change a man, change a family.

  58. I have tears in my eyes. What an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing.

  59. I’ve been following MDA’s success stories for years, and I have to say, I believe this is the most inspiring one I’ve read so far. Congratulations, David. Keep on Groking and spreading the good word to all those around you!

  60. Wow! 72 lbs at age 2? Congratulations to you and your family. Keep striving to be the best in every aspect of your lives. I hope someday you can become an addiction counselor who prescribes a healthy eating plan as a primary component of a healthy lifestyle.

  61. This story is so inspiring. I ran across it under the Family looses 335 Lbs. I really would love to hear a more in depth what they are eating.
    I complain all the time about how this style is Expensive.
    This story really gives me motivation!