How a Chance Encounter with Primal Advice Changed My Life

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’ll start this story at around where I started remembering things in my life as clear as day. I was four years old playing in my first basketball game at the local gym in suburban Dallas, Texas. My mom was a soccer player in high school and my dad was a cyclist, so they always encouraged and pushed me to challenge myself in physical endeavors. I enjoyed the sport and would go on to play soccer in elementary school and track and field in high school.

Being young and full of energy kept me physically occupied throughout grade school. I graduated in June of 2011 and went up north to college for one semester before returning back to Texas in December of 2011. I went back to my local YMCA and continued to do the same repetitive isolation workouts I was doing in the campus gym. During my workout one day, a friendly young man asked if I needed a spot and we chatted for a couple of minutes. I didn’t recognize the guy until it finally hit me. He used to be on my basketball team many years ago! Back then he was the heaviest guy on the team and was always the last one off of the bench. At the time of the conversation, he was in the best physical shape of all 30+ people in the gym.

It was at that point when I demanded to know his “secret” to weight loss and muscle gain. While I was expecting an hour long lecture, his answer could not have been simpler.

“I read a book. It’s called The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson.”

“That’s it?” I remember asking, dumbfounded.

“Oh, and check out his blog, too. It’s called Mark’s Daily Apple.”

The saddest part of this story isn’t how I let myself go after high school or how I followed the conventional wisdom my doctors and family would tell me, which recommended eating lots of carbohydrates (believe me, it’s unbelievably easy being of Middle-Eastern decent) and little to no fat. The saddest part is how long it took me to take action. This information was passed on to me in December of 2011. For about the next six months I did more of the same. He imparted upon me the basic rules of primal living, but I was living more conventional than ever. As an 18-year-old, my diet consisted of alcohols of all kinds (heavy beer and whiskey to be exact), fast food, and delicious pastries.

The turning point came the following summer when I went to Frankfurt, Germany to visit my uncle who I hadn’t seen in nearly five years. After picking me up from the airport, we went to the bakery right by his house. I was in heaven.

Picture 1

Never before had I seen such a delicious array of “heart-healthy grains” in my life! We would spend our time throwing back countless pastries while enjoying the view of the German countryside.

Picture 2This was taken on July 9, 2012. This is the last picture I took before I left to the airport and today stands as the most important picture I took in my life. This was the heaviest, sickest, and most inflated I had ever been. I weighed around 210 pounds in this picture and my eyes could barely stay open.

Upon returning stateside I made the best decision of my life. I read The Primal Blueprint and dove head first into the Primal lifestyle. I then started reading Mark’s Daily Apple and other great books such as Fast Food Nation and Pandora’s Lunchbox. I learned how easy it is to be like everyone else. I learned the difference between a macronutrient and a micronutrient. I learned about this mysterious thing called “gluten” and how it affects the human body. Most importantly, I learned what real food is and what it tastes like. I learned that the natural state of man is to be content, and constantly in motion. In that motion and never-ending quest is where we find our purpose.

Picture 3This is on February 25, 2013. I am around 160 pounds now. The weight just dropped right off! And the crazy thing is, I was discovering a whole new world that had been right in front of me but I had never dared to venture into. There are train tracks that go for miles right behind my house on which I would journey for a long time at a slow pace. There was a soccer field on which I would sprint once per week. I changed the monotonous bicep curls into dynamic presses and lifts. The most enjoyable exercise I discovered, and the one I practice to this day, is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I also read now more than ever. I do not just read about health or anthropology, but about everything from science to technology, since Mark’s book reminded me about just how much knowledge there is out there to grasp—we just have to reach for it.

This is me today. All I want to say is how much I appreciate Mark telling his story because it has inspired me and thousands of others to change their lives for the better. I am forever indebted to Mark’s guidance, and all I ask in return is for him to keep groking on and spreading the message.

Picture 4

Thanks Mark!


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51 thoughts on “How a Chance Encounter with Primal Advice Changed My Life”

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  1. Way to go! You look great!
    Be very glad to have learned this info early in life. So many health issues we tend to accept as normal are NOT,…and you’ve found one of the best secrets to preventing them and enjoying excellent health!

    At risk of sounding like your mom- pay it forward! Teach others around you about Primal living. I work on my family and friends all the time. 😉

    1. Thanks Renegade! I took your advice of “paying it forward” to heart and I try my best to do so every time the opportunity presents itself! 🙂

    1. Tom, I am not trying to troll but why would you suggest that? Is it necessary for him to bulk up? I think he looks great the way he is.

      1. Tom merely said a statement about Sab being in a good position to gain more muscle “if he wants to.” He wasn’t saying he should or he better.

        If he likes the way he looks, more power to him. If he wants to gain muscle mass, he’s laid the foundation to do so. Nothing more, nothing less.

        1. I had one of the best conversations ever with my wife. Never thought it would ever take back. She said you are kind of looking like Superman (I don’t but just that the thought crossed her mind was awesome).

          I said no I think Spiderman. And yeah I think I am pretty close now. After spending my adult life morbidly obese, I want to lean and compact. I also want to be strong. Personally I think you can do that lean, see Bruce Lee.

          But agree the original comment was fine.

          1. Thanks Tom! Bulking is definitely the next step in my health and fitness journey!

  2. Isn’t it funny how even once we know what changes we should be making it takes a while (sometimes years or more) before we finally take action and implement them? You look so healthy and sound so happy- glad you we’re able to find primal living and make it a lifestyle 🙂

    1. It definitely is funny in hindsight! Thank you dearly for the kind words I am proud to say I am happier and healthier now than ever before! 😀

  3. Thoroughly enjoy the rest of your 20s and many decades thereafter…healthy. Agree with above pay it forward as much as you can. And an MDA success story certainly helps.

    I spent my 20s, 30s, and most of my 40s morbidly obese. That is gone, done. Rather than dwell I am so grateful for the NOW.

    I looked over my old bloodwork and I used to have a triglyceride/ HDL level of 7. Could have literally had who knows what at any day. This past year my high school page on Facebook listed two folk who sadly passed from cancer, my age.

    I am by far in the best shape of my life at 49 and raising our adopted 4 year old daughter Primal. My wife lost over 65 lbs this past year. It was thrilling to help get my mate healthy and thriving.

    So no matter the age, that is of no importance.

    I had heard this saying about planting a tree. The best time was 20 years ago, the second best time is today. I like to say that about going Primal.

    1. Larry I am so sorry to hear about your classmates. For them and for all those we’ve lost to avoidable health issues I promise I will do what I can to pay it forward as you said. I am so happy to hear about the progress you and your wife made in your health journey. Age is just a number, eh? I love the tree analogy. Keep up the amazing work! 🙂

    1. Dave,

      That is literally the farthest thing I was trying to accomplish from sharing this story. I was simply trying to follow in Mark’s mold and others who used this blog and the internet as the medium to talking about success from changing diet and exercise routines. I apologize if it came across the wrong way or in the wrong tonality. I am wishing you the best in all of your health endeavors! 🙂

  4. Great job Sab. What a nice shot of the sailboat and the tri’s glistening in the sun. Where is that?

    1. Thank you very much Nocona! That shot is in Dana Point Harbor in Southern California! My favorite harbor on the west coast and if you ever have a chance I highly recommend checking it out!

  5. Sab

    Great story. Awesome to see the change when you decided to take charge, read the book and do it.

    1. Mauricio,

      Thank you for the kind words. I owe a lot of it to Mark and a lot of other great writers for putting such life changing material out there. And I think sharing successes is integral too. Your comments mean the world to me.

  6. Awesome. I only wish I could have adopted this lifestyle in my 20’s. Your body will be thanking you for a long long time.

    1. Pam,

      That is kind. I do believe what others on this comment board have said and that while it would be great to have adopted and implemented this lifestyle in your 20’s, Mark, Robb Wolf and other authors hadn’t put out such well polished and researched books for you to have read. In short, thank you for your sentiments and I believe that you are doing everything in your power to make the best of your life right now. Never forget that 🙂

  7. Nice work, just wondering……….what does your family think about your new lifestyle? Given that they are/were sporting/”healthy” people themselves?

    1. They are fully on board and support me. I can’t thank them enough because even though all of my friends and I don’t see eye to eye on this issue, their enduring support has allowed me to flip my health around 180 degrees.

  8. Thanks for sharing. I wish I found this way of life and experienced the results when I was your age. This post was deja vu for me. I immediately recognized that bakery in Germany. My host took me there, or to one that looks just like it, on the way back to the Frankfurt Airport. Then I was paddling in Dana Harbor at that exact location in front of the yacht club Monday. It’s a small world.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! And Jack that is too funny! Frankfurt and Dana Point are two gems of cities. I am glad that you have experienced both! 🙂

  9. Great job Sab. I would not have guessed that you needed to loose 50 pounds to get to where you are now. I guess the slightly chubby look is so common 50 lbs doesn’t even register. Well done.

    1. Thank you Vanessa! It took me a long time to get to the point of making some lifestyle changes but it was definitely worth it.

  10. Wow – great job! You not only look wonderful, but probably feel really good as well. I am so happy for you that you figured all this out while you are still young – most younger people don’t seem to want to listen to their bodies the way you did or don’t think a less-than-ideal lifestyle will suit them when they are younger.

    Believe me, an ounce of prevention in your 20’s and 30’s is worth its weight in gold when you are in your 50′ and 60’s. You’re definitely an inspiration. All the best to you!

    1. Thanks Grandma! I do feel really good right now you are spot on. And you know what? I enjoy that part more than the looks which is what you first pointed out.

      You are an inspiration to me too! Your kind words and enthusiasm make me confident that this will only get adopted by more people and that these Friday success stories will one day soon be EVERYDAY success stories! 🙂

  11. Great job! Enjoy your youth, AND middle age, AND old age – awesome!

  12. How cool is that – your friend’s body was such a powerful evidence that this way of eating and living works! Now you’re the living proof for others.

    1. It was super cool! I can not thank him enough! You’re a living proof too I’m sure! 🙂

  13. Thanks for your story! Funny that one has to learn what real food tastes like but so true.

    1. Thanks for the comments! It is funny for sure! Chicken and broccoli is a taste I never want to forget again lol!

  14. Great story Sab. CW maintains a powerful hold on us. After all, they have a bucket full of studies to convince us of their “truth”. Primals have their studies, too, one n=1 at a time.

    For all those who read Sab’s story and remain sitting on the fence, come on over and try it. Your success story is just down the road a bit.

    1. Thanks a lot John! I am going to take the side of primal studies since they have served me much better thank conventional wisdom and their “studies”.

      And thanks for that awesome call to action at the end there. I couldn’t have said it any better my man 🙂

  15. Your story hits all the marks on why Primal makes all the difference in our bodies and our wellness. Congratulations to you for making the changes at such a young age: you have a lifetime of feeling and being your best ahead of you. (And I hope this isn’t creepy coming from a woman who’s probably older than your mom: you look hot!)

    1. Thank you so much for that! I just knew something wasn’t right and the changes recommended in the book helped a lot! And I don’t think it’s creepy you are very sweet! Thanks for the words of encouragement 🙂

  16. Great story. I need to get back on the primal lifestyle, slipped off a year ago and have been struggling since.

    1. Jac I believe in you man. As crazy as it sounds, there is a point where you forget that your even on it. It becomes hard wired. I believe in you man! 🙂

  17. I guess looking good and feeling good isn’t about supplements, special diets or expensive treatments.

    Its what happens when you stop putting stuff that you haven’t evolved to deal with, into your system. When you stop self-harm with bad stuff.

    1. It definitely isn’t about these three because I can tell you from the heart. I tried all three of those and they made me absolutely miserable.

      I think we all need to stop the self harm and negative self talk. Thank you very much for your words TT 🙂

    1. Hi Dr. Lyons! Thank you for sharing the story that means the world to me! Best of luck to you over on your blog as well! 🙂