How I Lost 130 Pounds and Fell in Love with Bacon

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!

My story of how I gained and lost 130 pounds is intertwined between psychological drugs and diet. First, I’d like to give a bit of history. I’ve been on different medications for “ADHD”, “Insomnia”, and “Bipolar” disorder since I was 8 years old. I’m now 24, so two-thirds of my life has been neurologically influenced by drugs.

It started when I was 8. I was having issues concentrating at school, and rather than looking at my diet or questioning the educational merits and practices at my public school, a neurological disorder was determined to be the culprit. I was sent to a psychiatrist who – after some “tests” – diagnosed me with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder; in order to cure this “diseases”, I was put on Ritalin which is an amphetamine that is similar to another well known drug – cocaine.

When I was on Ritalin, I began to respect and never question authority. Much like a zombie, I just existed without actually living. About 5 years later, at the age of 13, I was put on Adderall – another type of amphetamine. This can cause issues with temper, heart problems, and insomnia.

My emotions began fluctuating more often and going through puberty didn’t help. I got into a few fights and got into more than a few arguments. As a result, I was then sent to another psychiatrist who diagnosed me with Bipolar disorder, at the age of 13. I was then placed on a bipolar drug, known as Depakote, that would begin to truly destroy my individuality.

Depakote, normally prescribed to patients to prevent seizures, causes massive weight gain as well as, in my case, a drop in IQ and ambition. I had always been quite energetic, but this completely wiped me out. In order to compensate for the drop in IQ, my dosage of Adderall was raised. And then, in order to compensate for insomnia due to Adderall, I was put on an anti-schizophrenia drug called Zyprexa that also causes weight gain and severe drowsiness. All this happened within a year.

Then the inevitable happened, and my body crashed. One night, at the age of 14, I collapsed to the ground. I was suffering from atrial fibrillation – i.e. severe irregular heart beat – brought on by the mixture of drugs, the largest culprit being the Adderall. I was sent to the hospital, where an electrical cardioversion – the restoration of the heart rhythm through the use of electrical shock – was used to get my body into working order.

As a result, I was taken off of Adderall and put on a heart medication. Adderall, being a stimulant, was the drug that prevented the weight gain side-effect of the other drugs that I was put on – which I was on due to the side effects of Adderall. On top of this, the heart medication I was given slowed me down even more. By preventing my pulse to get high, the drug didn’t allow me to exert enough energy while exercising, and a lowered my ambition to do anything. So the inevitable happened again, and I began putting on a massive amount of weight. From the ages of 15-18, I went from being 180lbs to 330lbs.

(320LBS at the age of 18)

When I got up to 320LBS, I was incredibly unhealthy. I had such severe acid reflux, that I was vomiting twice a day and had chest pains all the time. I couldn’t do a single pushup; I had terrible skin and severe sleep apnea as well. As a result, I switched psychiatrists again. The psychiatrist I saw didn’t deal with insurance companies, normally dealt with the elderly, and wasn’t as keen to giving children drugs. He looked at my drug history and was shocked. He began weeding me off of all my drugs, and gave me a very light mood stabilizer so that my body wouldn’t go into shock. I immediately began losing weight.

At first I simply switched my diet to predominantly whole foods (still consuming grains, though) and started losing 2-3LBS a week. Within a year I lost 80LBS.

(At 260LBS)

My weight loss stopped, so I took an unhealthy approach of almost starve dieting. I was going all out on the elliptical machine for 2 hours a day, while consuming a high carbohydrate low-fat diet. I felt like hell, but I continued to lose weight.

Once I was at 230LBS, my body refused to lose any more weight. Then a friend told me about the Low-Carb Diet and Mark’s Daily Apple, and everything got better after that. I knocked out all grains, table sugar, processed food, and the majority of post-agricultural food. I began eating a lot of fatty meat, which I had always been told to not eat, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Though I do not have the budget to only eat grass-fed beef, pastured raised chickens, and organic veggies – college students do not make much money – I still do the best I can to live the Primal life. After I implemented these changes the weight began shedding quickly, I was able to get off my heart medication, my skin cleared up, my joints stopped hurting, and my acid reflux issue diminished significantly. I recently cut out dairy (except for whey protein) and lost even more weight and my psoriasis and acne – which I have had issues with my whole life – went away.

(Left: Costume Party 🙂 (Right: Doing a little gardening)

I’m now at 200LBS and feel amazing – I can do one armed pushups and pull-ups and run a half-marathon without the need or want for neolithic junk. The majority of my health issues are gone and the Primal Blueprint diet, along with other positive life changes, has helped my concentration and depression tremendously.


– Carlos

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164 thoughts on “How I Lost 130 Pounds and Fell in Love with Bacon”

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  1. FIRST! Another terrific story, congratulations Carlos.

    I love Fridays.

  2. You look awesome!! You completely turned your life around 🙂 It’s so amazing what the right nutrition can do for a body. Congrats!

  3. So inspiring! I’m sorry you had to go through all of that, but it’s wonderful to hear you’ve been able to achieve such an amazing recovery and sense of vitality through your own means and on your own terms! Congratulations to you and be well!!!

  4. Happy for you that you found this lifestyle. The mental health issues you had as a child probably point to a gut imbalance that you’ve probably had since birth. It is really unfortunate that the medical establishment just turns to drugs.

  5. Your story is awesome and is a must read for my bro. I was arguing with him the other day that 99.9% of all diseases and cancers can be prevented through a healithy lifestyle. He though it was crap and I told him HELL NO! First off, why NOT believe that you can prevent almost all diseases? If you don’t then you probably won’t try. If you do believe then chances are you will live a happy, healthy, vibrant lifestyle for up to 100 years. I think thats pretty cool.

    Anyways, he said bipolar disorder was “Genetic.” I said no way. He went online and read that it was. Ok, maybe it is a little bit. I am still not sure. But, as this shows… if you live a healthy lifestyle then you will NOT suffer from bipolar disorder which is my main point!!

    And, yes BACON = HAPPINESS!

    1. Toad,

      Bipolar gets the genetic label because it often occurs down family generations, just like depression. But what that really means is that family members have a susceptibility that produces bipolar symptoms in combination with chemicals in our foods and other foods that are purported to be good for us. It’s easier to say it’s genetic (i.e. we can’t do anything about it) and of course ignoring the diet component to the problem just makes so much sense. (I’m being sarcastic.)

      When my son was the age Carlos was when he started being prescribed drugs, I learned could turn my him ‘bipolar’ with one meal if I chose…

      It’s scary what we do to little kids…

      1. A genetic propensity can be activated by epigenetic factors. For example, onset of schizophrenia in genetically susceptible individuals is associated with the use of the cannabis sativa plant.

      2. I just finished a book by a guy name Whitaker called “Anatomy of an Epidemic” where he describes the advent and rise of bi-polar disorder on a combination of marketing and use of anti-depressants. There is good evidence that many people diagnosed with depression and started on them later have a manic episode that labels them as bi-polar…good read at any rate. Amazing story Carlos! You are an inspiration.

      3. It is frightening what the medical establishment is doing to our precious children. Children are the future, and Satanic charlatans are harvesting our future so they can party down with the money they have sucked out of us. If people understood what the medical-pharmaceutical complex was both doing and allowing to be done to us, there would be a revolution before the morning. A revolution more closely resembling the French, ass opposed to the American one.

    2. Toad, it’s kind of like this. You have a gun pointed at your head from birth. This gun has a big label on the barrel called “diseases of civilization”. The trigger is rigged to a scale, which when tipped causes the gun to go off and give you diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, dementia, IBS, etc.

      On one side of the scale, weighing it down so that the gun doesn’t fire, is a pile of weights labeled “genetic resistance”. Some people are born with bigger, heavier weights on this side of the scale, and some people only have little bitty ones. The other side of the scale is labeled “neolithic lifestyle”.

      Obviously, if you never eat neolithic foods, never miss sleep, and never get chronically stressed out, nothing ever piles up on your neolithic scale, and the gun never fires, no matter how little genetic resistance you have to neolithic agents of disease. Your genetic ability to handle neolithic foods could amount to one single grain of sand compared to someone else’s 40-lb bag, and you would still be healthy. But nobody lives a perfect lifestyle, so we all have some load on our scale. And some people’s triggers get pulled way more easily than others.

      So sure, bipolar and lots of other pathologies are “genetic”. But everything is genes + environment. And if your environment doesn’t include the foods and behaviors that cause disease, then you won’t get sick, even if you are genetically predisposed to get sick in the presence of said foods.

      1. Hey excellent way of explaining that Uncephalized, thanks! And CARLOS, muy guapo!!! You look amazing, I’m so happy for you bro 🙂 Keep on livin the good life!

      2. Brilliant analogy! It’s difficult to understand, let alone explain the interaction of genes and environments (even genes themselves form an environment to each other). This is a job well done!

      3. There IS no such thing as ADD… How can a human NOT not pay attention? There may be INTENTION Deficit Disorder, Get the kids off of the video game/TV trance…. incorporate Primal Blueprint, get ’em out side and moving… These are great alternatives to this stupid label… Keeps kids/people victims…”oh, I “am” ADD…. please…. boring!

    3. I’ve been doing a lot of research on this Primal Toad, as me and all of my siblings suffer from some sort of mental illness, either depression or anxiety or both. It is very much a genetic disease but that does not mean it is incurable!!
      Watch this video:
      Robert Sapolsky does an excellent job of explaining the interaction of genetics, biochemistry, and life experience. He explains how life experiences and hormonal responses can effect the way our genes express themselves.

      This is the new direction genetic research is taking. Before we thought of our genetic code as “set in stone” but now we are learning that our choices can have an effect on how our genes express themselves, even though we can’t change the genes themselves.

      I think the next step would be to study the effects of diet and lifestyle on our genetic expressions. We already know nutrition effects hormonal balances and we are beginning to see that hormones effect our genes so the obvious next step is to learn how to manipulate genetic expression through nutrition, and possibly herbal, and other natural, remedies.

      This is what I am experimenting with on myself right now. I think genetic code is so complex that the solution to one disease could be different for each individual.
      I hope this explains things a bit for you.

      1. Sapolsky has written some great books about baboons, stress, and social hierarchy as well.

    4. I ate around a pound of bacon from my parents’ fridge right before they kicked me out because I knew I had to stuff myself with food when they started talking about getting rid of me. I was fattening up a bit and trying to max out my nutrient reserve. I hadn’t eaten bacon except for a couple pieces here and there in almost a year because of the huge mix of preservatives (there’s none around here available without it) but it was so tasty.. I didn’t overcook it so it was just the right juiciness and chewiness. I don’t know why so many people cook bacon to a black crisp. That ruins it, in my opinion. I probably could have eaten another pound and still not felt sated. Can’t wait to find bacon without preservatives.. I’ll pig out!

    5. ADD, ADHD, bipolar, depression and even schizophrenia are neurological brain disregulations caused by a deficiency of essential fatty acids, primarily a deficiency of eicosapentanoic and docosanoic acids (EPA & DHA) from the omega-3 side of the eicosanoid production pathway, but depression can also be caused by an over intake of omega-3. Schizophrenia has been reduced and resolved in as little as 2 or 3 weeks with proper supplementation of EFA’s.

      For more info and studies just google ‘fatty acid deficiency and bipolar ADHD ADH’ or similar search terms.

  6. I saw ADHD and Depakote and I had to jump to the positive end of your story, Carlos, because those words (and several more) have been used in reference to my family, too. And it’s just too painful. I read backwards.

    I’m so, so happy you found this path. You look great and healthy, with a gorgeous girlfriend. I hope my sons turn out the same!n 🙂

  7. Wow! What a transformation! Every time Mark shares these stories it’s truly an inspiration! Keep it up!

  8. Carlos, that’s amazing! A healthy life, plus bacon? Almost too good to be true!

    Timely coomentary on Adderall, too–which is being prescribed and abused with greatly increasing frequency.

  9. Good for you Carlos…I hope that your story inspires more young men and women to take charge of their lives. Obviously Big Pharma(Docs too)/Argra can’t(or more to the point, won’t). Rock out with your Grok out!

  10. My older diabetic brother has decided that he is just a “big boy”. He can’t drop below 290 and “the cardio isn’t helping no matter how much I do”. I watch his eyes glaze over when I try and talk to him about my success with PB – we share the same blood type as my dad who is on dialysis. I think the same thing that happened to me will happen to him (probably has nothing to do with blood type but it is interesting – my younger brother has my mom’s type and doesn’t have the weight or blood sugar issues). I will be sending this to big bro along with tons of other links from MDA to hopefully open up that hard stubborn head of his. Congrats on your huge success (my brother a lot of those same issues in his school days but back then they were just labeled “trouble-makers”.

  11. I honestly think your original psychiatrist should be in jail for drugging you at 8 years old.

    You are the man for overcoming everything society threw at you! Congrats on breaking free.

    1. WOW! I know, that was like reading a horror story. I guess I had no idea what they are doing to kids (and adults) these days. Horrific, to say the least.

      Carlos: way to take charge of your life & your health!! we are all so proud of you for overcoming all those obstacles – especially the ones forced upon you at such a young age.

  12. Your story exemplifies our bodies’ capacity to heal, even from the worst abuse. It also shows how intelligent you are to have found your way! Bravo!

  13. Awesome story. But doesn’t the shirtless gardening picture remind you of Adam in the Garden of Eden with the fig leaf 🙂

  14. Awesome. I’m interested in what you eat to train for half marathons while staying primal?

  15. This story really PISSES ME OFF because it embodies so many things that are wrong with the fields of medicine, psychiatry and education in this country. To take a perfectly normal, healthy child and drug him into submission so that he can tolerate the mind-numbing blandness of public schooling…ARGGGH! Words cannot describe my outrage.

    I’m so happy that you finally got your life back. I hope you make up for lost time by living life to the fullest.

    1. Yes, of course, let’s blame the schools. You know, as a public school teacher, I’m really tired of all the education bashing that goes on. If you had any idea how much we do each and every day to help kids, you wouldn’t be so quick to judge. The problem is societal which includes bad parenting, and I spend my days trying to fix what I can.

      Sorry, first week at school and already dealing with a kid labeled as ODD and the mother isn’t a whole lot of help. Would that I could at least control what he eats…

      1. Teachers are really bad at defending the public school system. I’m sure that most teachers have the children’s best interest at heart and truly connect with them to help them learn.

        The problem is the system itself. The one that teachers are trained to participate in and accept unquestioningly. Sitting perfectly still, passively consuming, being trained to be a good worker some day. Some kids just don’t belong in an environment like that but we have a 1 size fits all system. Anyone who doesn’t fit is a problem child. And now we drug those kids.

        Do your best as a teacher, sure, but you’re working inside a flawed system and there’s only so much you can do.

        1. Right. That’s why I quit teaching…in schools. There are other ways to be a teacher.

        2. I agree completely. High school was always boring and very easy for me (high IQ or so I’m told). I discussed dropping out with the principle at one point because I couldn’t stand it anymore. He offered me an alternative program which let me work at my own pace, walk around during my work periods, and sit on the floor if I wanted to. I passed a year early with a full diploma and thank unconventional teaching methods highly.

      2. Yes the system is flawed. I spent some time in public school and homeschooling and I definitely rediscovered my love of learning when I home schooled. But it wasn’t my teachers fault. I actually had some very good teachers, one in particular, who had a huge impact on my life, and who I loved very much.

        So please keep on being a good teacher, because yes the system is flawed, and that means those kids need you even more.

        And please try not to take it personally when people bash the education system. They are as frustrated by societies many failings as you.

      3. I DON’T blame the teachers; many of them are just as pissed and disillusioned with the educational system as I am. (Yes, I HAVE worked in the system; two years of it is all that I could handle.)

      4. I haven’t been teaching long, only 5 years, I have found that the biggest problem with the education system is that those who actually spend their lives learning about human growth, education, and development (the teachers) have very little power over policy. While those whose with the power (politicians)will develop logical arguments based on faulty premises that the public will buy and vote for. This is largely due to their inexperience in education (i.e. the only time they spent in classrooms was as students).

        I agree that there is a need to get kids out of their seats sometimes, and teach them the difference between productive and non-productive noise, but we also have to prepare them for success within the system. I am a high school social studies teacher. If I ask my students how many of them plan to go to college, they all will raise their hand. That means if all I do is the fun, arts and crafts, gallery walk, act it out type of activities, I am setting them up for failure in college if I don’t also teach them how to take notes, study, analyze sources, write a persuasive argument, and learn from a discussion or lecture.

        I share in the frustration expressed by this anonymous author. Most everyone thinks they are an “expert” in education these days, and I often feel like my profession plays the scapegoat. The only thing I can say to console this “me” is this: Politicians, Administrators, the media, random folks, and even some parents may be quick to insult what we do, but we don’t do it for them. It’s about doing what is best for the kids. When students talk to me about becoming a teacher the advice I always give them is “Don’t do it, unless it’s the only way you’re ever going to be happy.”

    2. I share your outrage. My daughter would have ended up in the same situation if I wasn’t so anti medication and not afraid to go toe to toe with the teachers that were trying to shove an adhd diagnosis and medication down her throat. Her half brother wasn’t so lucky. His Mom just said well the “professionals know best” and he’s been on various adhd meds since the age of 6 and at 9 was institutionalized to “adjust” his meds because he had a major meltdown at school ARGGGH (good word)

      1. I share the outrage too! A few months ago, a good friend of mine commited suicide. Three months after giving birth to her first child and fourteen months after getting married. She had never been a depressed girl.Always the outgoing, party-starting girl, with a big smile on her face.

        After the baby was born, she developed an ulcer in her colon (something she’d also suffered from as a teen) and was put on a heavy dose of prednisone for it.

        Either it was the prednisone, or the hormones from the pregnancy, or a combination…but she got severely depressed. They put her on even more medication and she got even more depressed. So depressed, that she finally convinced herself that she was a bad mother and wife and the world was better off without her.

        I can’t help but think that this beautiful young woman was robbed of her life by all the medication. And it really pisses me off that people with whatever sort of pain are put on medication right away, instead of trying something as simple as a diet change…

        Carlos, I am thrilled that you’re doing so well and that you didn’t become another victim of modern medicine. Keep up the good work, you look totally awesome!

        1. You know what? This pisses me off as well. I can’t even fathom the loss, or how the family feels! I can understand how she feels, because I have been there (in the depression) as well, with the doctors pushing their pills on me.
          As luck would have it, I accidentally came upon Claire Weekes, a small little book called, “Hope and Help for Your Nerves.”
          While Claire didn’t get into diet as much, she did get into and explain all the symptoms of depression and panic. Best yet, she had you face the feelings and “float” through them first. BEFORE medication.
          Today, her books are notoriously hard to get a hold of. (Ever wonder why?) They are worth a read though, as they really helped me in my darkest time.
          I just wish that poor young lady would have gotten a hold of them.

        2. I’m sorry for your loss. I had postpartum depression with my first child and was given all sorts of drugs that just made me numb. I just had my second baby seven months ago, and I am seeing a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Leu if any one reading this could use some help he’s great just google him, and taking amino acids. Between that and finding PB shortly after number two’s birth, my life is completely different this time. It’s unbelievable how connected our bodies are to our minds (really one in the same).

  16. Wow. Just wow. What a great story. I can’t believe you were put on so many drugs at such a young age. I am so impressed that you were able to overcome all of that.

  17. Wow, wow, wow. You look SO happy and SO healthy in the last pictures. Congratulations to you, you did it. You found your life! You are such an inspiration.

  18. Fridays are my favorite, Carlos! Your story gave me goosebumps. It’s so sad to hear examples of how our culture pumps our kids full of drugs, instead of analyzing underlying issues. Congrats for taking your health into your own hands. Truly inspiring. I can see the difference in your expression in the photos – you just look happier! Way to go, man! Super inspiring, and it’s so nice to see someone get off the meds!!

  19. I got emotional reading how you were put on combinations of insidiously dangerous drugs as a child. I feel so angry at how screwed up things are so that children are subjected to such horrible things.

    Very happy for you Carlos! You turned everything around and are on the healthy road now. Congratulations!

  20. Wow!Great story..congratulations on all of your success and here’s hoping the next 20 are AMAZING!You deserve it!!!!!!!!!

  21. Carlos,

    The look of genuine happiness on your face is truly priceless. I am sooo happy for you! Cheers to health and happiness!

  22. Wow, straight up, this is an inspiration. TO go from 300+lbs to just under 200, that is impressive. Did you encounter any resistance along the way from your practitioners?

  23. Fantastic Carlos! I am sending a link to my son (hee hee, from my kitchen to his bedroom) because he is trying hard to lose weight right now, he has ADD, and you both looks so much alike. I think he will be very inspired by the after pictures.
    Yes, how do you primally fuel your 1/2 marathons?

  24. Great survival story Carlos. Lucky you for finally finding a shrink who did not believe in drugs and helped you wean off them. The ADHD industry has much to answer for. At least you have escaped the clutches of Big Pharma and Friends.

    Congratulations and have fun in college (especially now that you have your IQ back!)

  25. Carlos, your body looks amazing in those recent photos. What’s really an astonishing transformation though is the emotional expression on your face in the before/after photos. I’m so happy for you that you have reached a better place after such a rough journey through childhood. Thankfully you still have so much youth ahead of you!

  26. Amazing story Carlos and great comments by everyone. What about disorders such as PTSD and borderline personality disorder that stem more from interactions with life and/or human beings? Does anyone have experience with how much a diet can help sexual abuse victims/war veterans?

    1. The only thing I know of that effectively treats PTSD is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) it sounds scary but it’s not at all. It has something to do with mimicking REM sleep which is when our brains process events from the day.
      It was the only thing that stopped the terrible flashbacks for me, where I relived traumatic events, which is something many war vets experience; so I believe it could be helpful for them as well.

    2. I’m not sure if diet alone can help, but traumatic experiences such as in your examples leave “anchors” in the subconscious which create a loop in the system. This can lead to strong reactions that can be triggered by a sound, smell, or even something as simple as a movement or your eyes moving to a certain position in your head (perhaps related to the therapy described by Robin). In order to get over the psychological issues it is necessary to break these anchors. A good therapist and/or NLP practitioner (preferable somebody able to do both) will be able to remove these anchors and deal with the subsequent traumatic release (ideally without the need for drugs).

  27. Holy Smokes! What a great story. I am thrilled that you were able to turn your health around at a relatively young age instead of waiting another 10+ years. You have your whole life ahead of you now! Awesome job.

  28. Amazing! Congratulations. You look amazing and I cannot even begin to imagine how much better you must feel. What a horrible history to give a child – a childhood of drugs, disorders, and weight issues (not that you may not have some lovely childhood memories, but – WOW). I am thrilled and inspired to hear your story and know that you have conquered them all. Way to go! You deserve to eat bacon. 😉

  29. My jaw dropped as I read through this and saw more and more drugs dumped upon you. I am so, so sorry that you had to go through that; to me, that would have been a nightmare. But it makes your return to good health all the more amazing and inspiring 😀

  30. Carlos, great job and congrats!

    This story just brings home the fact that I am SO glad I discovered Primal before I had children. Fiance and I are diving into Primal full-force with the upcoming 30-Day Challenge and will go into the future from there. Children aren’t on the calendar for at least a year or three, so from the beginning we’ll have plenty of practice with Primal and be able to introduce the best way of eating and living from the start.

  31. Unbelievable story, I cannot believe what was done to you as a child! You are one strong guy Carlos to have continued seeking solutions after all the drugs you were given. Your story is amazing, and I know you’ve inspired lots of people- and you look fantastic!

  32. Carlos congratulations on getting off the meds and taking your life back! I’m so happy for you! This has been the most inspirational success story for me yet!

    I’d love to hear more details about your recovery from mental illness, what benefits in your mental health you’ve seen since going Primal, and what other changes you have made that you feel helped in that recovery.

  33. I am outraged on your behalf. Congrats to you for overcoming all that you have.

  34. You look great Carlos. Keep that smile on your face as you continue to live primal and healthy.

  35. You brought a tear to my eye, Carlos. I have a very similar story, being on tons of psychiatric drugs (including Depakote) for my “manic depression.” Can you say, blood sugar issues? Doctors are so stupid sometimes. To think of what you went through as a child is unfathomable. God bless you, and keep up the good work.

    OH – and can we get a T-shirt? Bacon=Happiness will make you a lot of $$ in this community. 🙂 Money for your grass fed beef!

  36. Wow, way to go, Carlos. So pleased for you.

    I wish I could say that what you went through could never have happened in the UK, but I’m afraid it’s just as bad, if not worse here. We just about accept that diet influences our weight but, generally, if people aren’t obviously obese but get ill, we blame genetics rather than question the diet our government advises us to eat. And here too, drugs are always a first resort with most physicians.

  37. wow…fantastic…it’s so sad what they do to kids. Glad you are enjoying your life now and I’m sure your story will inpsire a lot of people.

  38. Congrats Carlos! What a great story!

    Your story highlights the fact that too many medical professionals treat symptoms instead of causes and whom many are willing to do so to children. I am an engineer and we call this the ‘build-test-fix’ cycle where it’s just trial and error and a shoot from the hip approach. This approach by a medical professional practicing with real people, should be criminal!

    Congrats again!!!

  39. I swear, generations from now, ADHD, Aderall and Ritalin will be revealed to be one of the biggest medical blunders in history.

    Congrats on getting off the drugs and fixing your life.

    1. There is a long, failed history of treating hyperactivity disorders with special or restricted diets. The final chapter on ADHD has yet to be written.

  40. I think this is one of the best stories to date. Congrats, Carlos. How amazing!

    It’s always astonishing to me the way prescribing one medication turns into a cascade. Side effects treated by drugs, more side effects treated by more drugs, etc. etc.

    I almost fell victim to this when I started taking Zoloft for PPD. I’m really lucky to have found PB in time.

  41. Wow, awesome story. You’ve provided some great motivation.

    I peaked at 310 lbs when I graduated college. I’m now 25, loving primal, and down to 235, but still have more of a gut than I would like.

    Those after pictures of you, after being around the same weight as I was, are incredibly inspiring. I feel like I will always have extra skin around the stomach, did you do anything special to fix that?

    1. Well, 235 is still pretty heavy unless you are REALLY tall or bodybuilder/professional powerlifter-level muscular. So I’m sure your gut will continue to shrink along with the rest of you as you keep improving your health!

      Congrats on your progress so far, man.

      1. Well…there always has to be at least comment that is complimentary but just has to include a backhand.

  42. Your story is amazing and I am sure other people struggling with the same issues will learn from you. The way doctors are medicating kids is criminal. I am so glad you found MDA and are enjoying better health and strength. AWESOME!

  43. Congrats Carlos! I have a niece, as well as a 20 year old friend, who I am sending your story to. They’ve both been “diagnosed” and are now being “treated” for many of the same things. It’s heartbreaking. Best of luck to you! And I’m so very, very happy that you found PB!

  44. Want to echo the sentiments of all those who responded with outrage and sadness on what was/is done to children with (insert miscellaneous disorder here>. It is unbelievable, it really is. May the rest of your life be blessed and long, Carlos! Pay it forward!!

  45. Jesus! Your story plays like that movie “Hospital” or something from decades ago when a guy goes in for something minor and tries to escape with his life.

    I cannot BELIEVE the lengths people go to with medications/pills etc. when a CHILD has attention problems in our crappy school system – big surprise.

    What a rat wheel you were finally able to get off! Congratulations! You look fantastic, healthy and happy like a young man should!

    The over-medication of kids is a tragedy (and I’m a surgeon).

    Stay well! 🙂

  46. Wow, your story knocks my socks off. I’m so happy you found your way to happiness and strength. My son had so many behavior problems in class all the way through school, thank god for his dad who always refused to allow any psych meds. He’s doing great now that he’s in college, and it sounds like you are too!

    You have a very handsome smile.

  47. Congratulations, that is an amazing story!! Great job, you look incredible!

  48. wow, what a story. I know that docs in America are more than happy to pump people full of drugs,, but crap,, where were your parents when all of this was going on. Did they just have blind faith in all the docs? Anyways,, glad you were able to turn things around.

  49. This really started out like reading a horror story. On drugs at age 8 for ‘mental’ disorders…WTF!
    Someone should go to prison for that.
    What could your youth have been, had you not been growing up drugged!

    And your parents allowed this to go on for years?

    You really impress me, breaking free from this horror cicle on your own, just awesome. Congrats on your success!

  50. Thanks for sharing your story. I appreciate your comment about not being able to afford grass-fed beef and organic foods. I’m in the same boat. It’s encouraging to see that even though we can’t afford the best foods right now, we can still see great health benefits by eating the primal foods that we can afford.

  51. Awesome, inspirational story, maybe my favorite Friday success story yet. Indeed, what was done to you and 1000’s of other children being pumped full of drugs is indeed a sin and a crime. Someday soon hopefully people will wake up and realize almost all these so called ailments can be cured by diet alone. Continued success Carlos. (Though I must say when you were heavier in the photo with the guitars you remind me of the late, great Lowell George!)

  52. Carlos, thank you so much for sharing a very difficult story. I have an active, energic little boy who people have been quick to label, and stories like yours help me do what I need to protect him from those kinds of drugs. My younger son is on Depakene for serious nighttime seizures, but we’re hoping to wean him off soon now that he’s close to primal and seizure free. The above poster was right–shame on the doc who put you on that for behavioral issues. I’m so glad you found happiness. Keep up the good work, and know your story is helping this mom stay on track!

  53. Wonderful accomplishment Carlos and all the best for a continued happy and healthy long life.

    I’m still on my double digit weight loss pursuit.

    For those wondering “how could that have happened” I suggest the book

    Mistakes were made – but not by me.

    I’m about 1/2 way through it now and its sad but I totally understand how that degree of wrong was done in the name of trying to help.

  54. WOW! I just wanted to cry at the beginning of this story. It just broke my heart! i am so GLAD that you found MDA and it changed your life. WHat a wonderful life you have now!!

  55. Truly inspirational, I cried reading this story because it pained me to hear of all the meds you’ve been on since the age of 8! I just watched Generation Rx on Netflix…amazing how the drug companies targeted children for their meds! I am so glad to hear you turned everything around..I can’t wait to get rid of my high blood pressure pill…it’s only 2 mg, but I worked it down from 8 in the last 2 years…and can’t seem to shake the last 2…maybe…

  56. Oh my gosh – this is one of the most powerful stories I’ve read so far. Looks like you must be pretty tall? For 320 you didn’t “look that bad”

  57. So glad to hear this.

    To a point I agree with that in certain situations, particular medicines are needed.

    However I worked in medical research for years and I have seen that many times data was manipulated to convince doctors and patients that our medicine were the best.

    Most of it was all about making money. Thankfully part of it was actually about helping people.

    My message is that you need to live and eat well. If you do need extra medication, do your research and questions your doctors.

  58. It’s time for parents to wake up and refuse to drug our children. This story sounds criminal to me–the relentless drugging of a child for BEING A CHILD!!!! This is our future. We are being conned into turning our children into zombies!!!!!

    Pure insanity. Congrats for taking control of your life and for finding a doctor who didn’t sell his soul to the devil.

  59. Inspiring tale indeed. When faced with a chronic problem, look to your diet, not your doctor.

    The above does not apply for infectious diseases and emergency care.

  60. Hooray for you Carlos, job well done. What a tremendous will to live and ability for stay focused. You are very lucky to have crossed paths with a doctor who also believes in life and not profit. (Excuse me; don’t even want to go off in that tangent) Welcome to the primal camp. Kudos to Mark, thanks daddy GROK! Thanks Carlos for a most inspiring story. It is indeed a lifestyle worth living.

    1. Dasbutch, for some reason this story was recently reposted so I’m a couple of years late in responding… But your is my favorite response so far! You’re so right – doctors are supposed to be in the WELLness profession, not the ILLness profession, and that includes mental health practioners (of which I’m currently training to be). Diet and nutrition should be discussed thoroughly in the first session. Love your comments and your joyful energy!

  61. What a fantastic transformation!!! This is proof that changing your mental state goes hand in hand with your physical changes. Good job, Carlos!!

  62. Inspiring story, Carlos, you have achieved so much, amazing ! Long may it continue !

  63. My favorite part about Friday is reading these success stories. Makes me want to get better at this primal thing, especially when the weekend is here and I want to eat junk. But I always keep in mind that I would rather not feel like crap after a slice a pizza and a bike ride is so much better for me. So happy for you Carlos and you may not know it but you have inspired many,many people today! Congrats!=)

  64. Fanatastic success story!! Thanks for sharing with all of us. Congrats on getting off the meds.

  65. Carlos you are bloody amazing to survived and come out of it so much better. You look fabulous (and feel fabulous).
    This is another story I am bringing to the attention of my sister-in-law whose son has just been diagnosed with ADD at 9 yrs old.

  66. What an inspiring story! Congratulations to you for gaining your life back after all the drugs that “professionals” and “experts” threw at you.

  67. Carlos, I am so glad you kept searching for answers! The vibrancy in your “after” shots says it all! Great job being responsible for your own well-being!

  68. Wow! What a transformation! They put me on lots of pills, too. I got sick of being a zombie and just quit. They wouldn’t met me go to school unless I was high on adderall, so I quit school. Got to do right for yourself even if it looks bad to the world.

  69. Carlos, what an inspiring story. I’m so happy for you that you finally got off all those drugs and regained your life. It really is criminal to drug a child for being childish. Congratulations on your new found health and of course how great you look now and how much of your youth is still available for you to be healthy, strong and joyous.

  70. Ok, haven’t read all the comments, but have been reading MDA for some time.

    This is abuse by the ‘state’- as it were i.e. professionals who are in positions of trust and responsibility.

    99% of these personality ‘disorders’ are b*ll*cks, simply made up to keep you in line doing as told by massa. Obviously diet and enviromental conditions decide the state of your mind- not some man made adhd pidgeonhole…

    The parents in these cases often take the doctors word as gospel- most people behave like sheep when a doctor or professional power

    Remember the saying ‘doctor knows best’- I’ll bet it was a politician who made that saying well known..

    1. my people are destoryed due to lack of knowledge…wisdom never returns void.

  71. Ok, haven’t read all the comments, but have been reading MDA for some time.

    This is abuse by the ‘state’- as it were i.e. professionals who are in positions of trust and responsibility.

    99% of these personality ‘disorders’ are b*ll*cks, simply made up to keep you in line doing as told by massa. Obviously diet and enviromental conditions decide the state of your mind- not some man made adhd pidgeonhole…

    The parents in these cases often take the doctors word as gospel- most people behave like sheep when a doctor or professional assumes power

    Remember the saying ‘doctor knows best’- I’ll bet it was a politician who made that saying well known..

  72. Reading the first half of your story makes me SO angry at whoever is responsible for the ridiculous medication of young people! But the second half of your story is amazing, inspiring, and it gives me hope (: Thank you for sharing, and a huge CONGRATULATIONS at getting your life back! Stories like yours make me even more committed to fighting for the Primal way of life.

  73. Carlos, I’ve read every post so far on here and there’s nothing more I can add to the volumes of good wishes written here so far, but I really feel the need to tell you how happy and proud I am for you for overcoming what probably would have been a monumental effort for most of us. Having the balls to tell all the experts to basically “stick it” and doing what you felt was right for you is phenomenal. And a great big hug to the counselor who decided you had too many drugs and guided you in weaning yourself off all the meds.

    All the very best to you — I’m sure with your tenacious spirit you’ll continue to do what you’ve done best so far and that is be yourself! Thank you so much for sharing your story – I’ve sent a link to this post to everyone I know.

  74. Carlos, I am so happy that you figured out a solution at the young age of 24 and sorry that you had to suffer so long.

    ADD, ADHD and bipolar were unheard of when I was a kid. You hardly ever saw fat people either, well, at least not obese people. And I never had any friends with asthma. Now the grocery store shelves are loaded with processed foods and our children are the ones suffering the most. It’s a damn disgrace!!!

  75. Carlos – so happy for you! the smile on your face says it all!


  76. Carlos, you look fantastic and your story is mobilizing. So many here are ready to hang someone for what they did to you. I notice you don’t point fingers; you just list the chronology of events. You are an unusually wise and responsible person. I would like to see you put those shoulders back and shove that chest out and take pride in who you are. You have done an incredible job of finding and developing your real self, but your posture says that you are either denying or hiding it. Maybe this article is one way you are taking some deserved credit for your amazing remake. You deserve the accolades and more; you deserve to hold yourself with pride and look yourself in the eye and say, “I HAVE overcome the world!” Your posture doesn’t yet say that in these two photos.

  77. Carlos, this is awesome! So proud of you.

    My little sister has been on VERY MUCH the same road as you… I think she’s been on all the meds you’ve been on, and she also weighed upwards of 250-275 lbs and has had horrible skin issues… BUT now she’s following the primal blueprint and this gives me so much hope for her! She’s off all the meds and has lost some weight too.

    So encouraging. Thank you for sharing!

  78. I want to say thank you for this inspiring story! I have a four year old that is possibly bipolar and you have given me hope that the diet restrictions I have placed on him are helping, even though he has an extreme drug regimen. And before anyone goes negative on that… it was either medication or hospitalization forced by the state. My son was a danger to himself and others and now he is a happy, crazy, wild, boy who finally seems happy and has friends.

  79. Fabulous story! Your early life is one I know too well; I see it daily. It’s a testament that as an adult you were able to make better decisions for yourself than the “experts” did when you were a minor. Congratulations!

  80. Great story Carlos! I’ve seen Pharmecutical drugs just destroy people – From work to family memebers. The lesson learned from this story is that diet and exercise is the best medication you can ever get Period!

  81. I’m with Sylvie. The physical change is obviously fantastic – but the look on his face in those last photos is really the treat! So glad you found health early in your life so you can hopefully enjoy many long years!

  82. Mate, you look phenomonal! Well done shifting all that weight but shifting your mental health as well.

  83. Carlos,
    It is amazing what you have done. As a mom with one son who was treated for generalized seizure disorder and another who is currently being treated for ADD, I fully understand everyone’s outrage at how you were overmedicated. Even when we were dealing with the top pediatric neurologist in our very large city, I had to make sure I read all of the info on the drugs that were being prescribed for my son (for epilepsy) – he was proscribed a drug (Topomax) that can cause heat stroke and my son is a sweater -so I asked for him to be on another medication.

    This being said, I have to say something that may upset many people on this board. And I am saying this as a person who has not had any grains or sugar (except for family birthday parties) since January of this year. I also was a vegetarian for 9 years (relying on pasta and lentils mostly) until I kept gaining weight as I grew older. I finally turned to Atkins and am within 10 lbs. of my goal weight. I have always fed my children as much organic food as possible, no artificial colors/flavors or corn syrup.

    So. I don’t feel bad that my ADD child takes medication. I look at it from the perspective that we eat an extremely clean diet and my children get plenty of omega 3s, eat limited grains (ask them they will tell you/complain about it!), etc. and my son STILL needs the meds. Sometimes it is more than diet. He is happier and more settled when he takes them. The reason I am writing this is because there is still a sigma about meds for behavior/mental/neuro needs. When my middle son was on anti-seizure meds and I got flak from my family, I finally let go of the guilt and realized that if my child had a heart murmur and needed meds, would I ever hesitate to provide them? Why would I even hesitate if he needed meds to not have a seizure? Is it any different for ADD? I honestly believe it is not.

    This is coming from a mom who limits screen time to 30 mins/day, only serves water and milk (pls. don’t harrass me about dairy), has no artificial foods in the home, serves organic as much as possible and homeschooled said add child.

  84. Carlos,
    So happy for you. I’m encouraged to hear about your results, even without going totally organic and grass-fed (not an option for me right now, either- though I try.) Thanks for sharing.

  85. Congratulations. I’m so happy for you that you’re off those soul-killing drugs and have found real health. May your tribe increase.

  86. Way to go, Carlos, that’s AMAZING! And such inspiration that we can overcome the chemical ravages of Not Knowing Better … your story is going to bring hope to so many.

    (And YAY!!! for bacon!)

  87. What an AMAZING story! That scares me to death and makes me so sad that you were put on so many drugs at such a young age! I’m so happy to hear that you’ve taken control of your life and are healthier than ever! You look GREAT!! Spread the word about the Primal lifestyle, Carlos- you are walking inspiration! 🙂

  88. You look wonderful!

    but it makes me very angry reading your story about the mainstream medicine.


  89. Stories like this …keep me going! Congrats and thank you for sharing 🙂

  90. Congratulations, Carlos! What an inspirational story to share. So glad you figured it out now so that you can enjoy the many healthy years ahead of you and share your knowledge with others.

  91. I read all of the replies above, in regard to the diagnosis and medication of school children. Carlos, I’m so happy for you to that you were able to come out on top of your catastrophic experience with western medicine which you are clearly much better without.

    I’m just starting my student teaching in 2nd grade, and one of the kids is being observed for an ADHD diagnosis. It kills me, because he is a great kid with a good heart, whip smart, and good at his school work. Sometimes during a lesson he will call something out, and he gets restless, but it’s really something that is not unmanageable–I’ve talked to him several times about why it’s important not to call out when someone is speaking and he always shows understanding and readiness to improve. However, it breaks my heart that this kid, who really wants to do well in school, learn, and be a good friend will be jacked up in medication in a matter of weeks. No one seems to consider life style factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, etc. I haven’t even become a teacher yet and I am already disillusioned! I can’t imagine telling parents “read Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple,” it would just be so out of line to give such direct parenting advice. The PC thing to do is to assure them that you will keep an eye on the behavior and adhere to the decisions about the diagnosis which are made which are totally out of the kid’s control. If only parents would stop listening to the government’s advice about the important of grains in the diet! Sheesh!

  92. Thanks for the inspiration, you look fantastic!! What a wonderful journey you have had! Good on you for making these changes in your life, my friend!!!

  93. On behalf of medical professionals, I’m sorry. Most of us have honest intentions when we decide on our profession. In short, we are trained in drugs from the beginning of school, to the end and drug companies don’t stop “educating” us when we graduate. We, sadly, are completely under-educated on diet. But have hope! Some of us are open to learning and are slowly challenging the former trends!

  94. Good for you dude! That is a HUGE amount of stuff to overcome at such a young age. Very inspiring.

  95. Awesome story…I hope a paleo diet also helped you understand the folly of libertariasism!

  96. Gosh, what a great story. Congratulations on your amazing success. Sometimes I think the Big Pharma is going to kill us all with the drugs they’re prescribing.

    I just recently went primal after living a high=carb, very, very low fat (I avoided saturated fat like the plaque) for many years. Even though I was running about 30 miles per week, I did chronic-cardio, too. I NEVER lost any weight, I just kept gaining and loosing the same 10lbs & couldn’t figure out why. The last straw was when the scaled topped 152, my highest weight; I’m only 5’3, so I could barely fit in my pants anymore.

    I cut out all grains, pasta, beans, rice, soy products, most processed foods, and now just eat meat, vegs, fruit, and some dairy like cottage cheese, high-fat yogurt, organic butter, red wine, and dark chocolate, walnuts. I was able to stop adding sugar (2-4 tsp. per day) from my morning coffee by adding cream.

    My afternoon cravings for something sweet have vanished, and my 3pm desj=k nod-off stopped, too. I have been able to forego the office donuts, bagels, snacks, birthday cakes, etc — it’s like they no longer appeal to me. And I lost about 8 lbs effortlessly and without “dieting.”

    When I was eating what I thought was a “healthy” diet with a lot of complex carbs (300+ per day), low fat, lean protein, I was constantly hungry — like every three-four hours. Now, I can go several hours (12 or more hours) without feeling hungry, and the last few weeks I have even skipped a meal, because I wasn’t hungry.

    Thanks for sharing your story, and thanks Mark for liberating me from the shackles of low-fat eating.

  97. I was also given psychoactive prescription drugs as a teenager, and they also caused me to gain a bunch of weight (though not as much as you). Healthier diet and exercise cured my psychological problems – the drugs were worse than useless, and when I stopped them the weight fell right off.

  98. Wow what a difference! In the before photos you look dozey, whereas in the after photos you look awake and happy 🙂 So happy for you

  99. That took a bit of balls to write that. That truly is a new view on the diet. Fair play to you , carlos. Hopefully you’ll be happy for the rest of your life now. Good man.

  100. My son has been on ADD and bi-polar medicine since he was 12 and he’s 15 now. Nothing seems to work with his poor memory and lack of ambition for school. My nephew suggested that he might need to change his diet. Im certainly going to give it a try.

  101. Awesome story, it pains me to say that although I’m getting healthy and losing weight the paleo way, and my 4 year old son is growing strong and fast my sister-in-law thinks I’m mental…

    Her son (my fabulous nephew) has multiple food allergies – gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, beef (could it be the grains the cow’s fed!!! D’oh!), peanuts and soya. She buys him so many processed foods(?) that he finds it difficult to maintain a consistent weight, he’s underweight and struggles to get through the day.

    Oh! and my brother – her husband – is diabetic, and she’s obese.

    I have suggested to her and my brother that they try paleo, and suggested MDA as an amazing starting point, she can’t/won’t even consider it – she believes all the BS that the doctors and the pharmacuetical companies pour out.. I think that the allergies and other problems in their lives would be greatly helped by Carlos’s story, and even tho I feel it will fall on deaf ears I plan on sending it to her…