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!
It’s been exactly three years since I contributed my success story and I’m pleased to report that my health transformation has continued—I feel even better than I did three years ago. The Paleo lifestyle continues to be the foundation for my transformation, but I’ve added in a couple of other health practices that have accelerated my transformation.
I am now 56 years old and started my transformation over four years ago. During the transformation, I have lost 70 pounds, feel 20 years younger and look 10 years younger. More impressively, I have adopted Paleo as a “lifestyle” (not a diet) and this has allowed me to continue the transformation for over four years without a backslide. This is the beauty of approaching this as a lifestyle change. The great feeling of being fit, looking good and enjoying life more provides the motivation to never go back to where I was. At this point, after four years, the weak moments are rare and I’m more often looking for additional ways to continue this life changing transformation. I have developed a few excellent new habits that I would like to share with your readers.
About a year ago, I purchased an infrared sauna to use in my home, mainly for detox purposes, but I’ve found it helpful in several other areas. I use the sauna for 30-40 mins a day and have sweat pouring out after ten minutes. I typically drink 60 ounces of water during the sauna, so my weight stays the same during the 40 minutes. But I’m sweating a ton of toxins out. I also use a salt lamp, turn the lights down, and play relaxing music. It’s a great opportunity to meditate and stay present. Excellent mind/body exercise. The sauna has many other benefits, whether burning calories, improving circulation, and improving your skin.
About six months ago, I incorporated Intermittent Fasting (IF) in my daily routine. My main motivation for IF, again, was detox and immune system strengthening. After doing some research on the various fasting approaches, I have settled on doing a daily fast beginning at 7 PM to 8 PM and ending the fast around 1 PM the next day. During the fasting period, I just drink water (lots of it) and organic black coffee in the morning. I was a huge breakfast guy and never thought I would be able to give it up. After about a week, I can honestly say that I felt very little hunger. I’m even able to do pretty intense workouts in the mornings and feel just as strong. I really encourage other readers to look into IF as there are so many benefits not even related to weight control. Some of them include: lowering your insulin and increasing growth hormones, driving cell repair each day, reducing high blood sugar (which is key to minimizing disease risk), and reducing overall inflammation.
Another key change that I’ve made is related to my diet. The Paleo diet has worked really for me, but I’ve now increased focus on my carb intake. The main reason I focus on carb reduction is for weight control, decreasing inflammation, and improving cardiovascular health and HDL/LDL levels. I found the Ketogenic diet carb limits (under 25 grams) to be a bit extreme, but I think getting down to 100 grams is doable if you limit fruits and starchy veggies. Reducing high blood sugar levels is one of the keys to good health, and after you stop eating sugary foods, the next thing to go after is reducing carbs (since excess carbs are converted to blood sugar). Again, this has created a great change in my overall well-being.
The last component of my accelerated transformation has been related to exercise. I am almost fully converted from a hardcore cardio (mostly long distance running) addict to having a greater focus on High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I have joined a club near my house that holds group classes focusing on HIIT/core and try to attend four times a week. They are absolute killer workouts and I feel completely drained after. I have not completely given up on cardio/running and mix it in with a goal of two hours of exercise a day.
Pictures don’t lie. I continue to feel better each day and, honestly, don’t feel the effects of aging that I would have expected. Incorporating the changes I described above has resulted in an accelerated transformation. It also has given me the incentive to look for additional practices that I can incorporate to further accelerate my transformation. One of the areas that I know needs work is my overall flexibility. I have tried yoga but have not been able to establish a good cadence with it. I plan on checking back in with you in a few years to report on my transformation and share additional insights with your readers.
Keep up the great work, Mark!