I Am a New Man

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!

Several days after Thanksgiving 2012, I began my Primal journey. I had to finish all the cornbread dressing before I started this life changing adventure!

Growing up, I was your typical kid. Always outside playing, involved in every seasonal sport, and always finishing off my plate. I was never really fat growing up, but as my mom always told me, I was “husky.”

During the football offseason of my freshman year in high school, the hormones began to kick into overdrive and I started to lean up, get stronger, and faster. Several of my friends had questioned me if I was on steroids since I was making huge gains, which I wasn’t. I focused on football during high school and worked out all the time. My diet was the Standard American Diet but I was so active that I never really noticed anything. In my senior year, I was selected to the Texas 2nd Team All State as a center. I was recruited by several colleges to play football and finally accepted the offer from the United States Air Force Academy.

Prior to leaving for the academy, I didn’t train as much and continued to eat. Prior to reporting to basic training, I went from a playing weight of 195 lbs to 230 lbs. However, after starting basic training, I quickly lost weight and got back down to about 195 lbs. During my first year, I put on about 25 lbs of muscle thanks to the intense training regimen we were put under. I was in the best shape of my life at the time.

I did not finish the academy and left to attend a civilian school, ultimately ending up and graduating from Texas A&M University. My then fiancée (now wife), moved in together and started school. Neither of us were working and were living off of credit cards and student loans. Needless to say, we were going broke and things were pretty dismal. Our health and mental well-being were in danger.

Growing up, I had always wanted to be a police officer. I had met with one of the local departments and inquired on being a reserve officer while I completed school. I met with the chief and after a quick interview, he told me that if I applied I would probably get hired. My wife told me that she had heard an advertisement on the radio that one of the other local agencies was hiring. I decided to test, but I was 20 years old and out of the several hundred people testing for just a handful of jobs, I didn’t think that I had a chance. However, after placing at the top of the written test, I was allowed to move on to the physical fitness assessment. Needless to say, the PT test was difficult for me, I did not understand what had happened. But, I did pass and eventually made it through the background process and was offered a job.

While in the police academy, the PT wasn’t that hard and my weight held steady at about 225 lbs. After graduating the academy and finishing field training, I was assigned to night shift patrol. While on night shift, I always stayed active. I worked out and moved a lot! The area I worked had a lot of crime, so a lot of nights were spent chasing bad guys and walking several miles in the neighborhoods doing foot patrol. While on night shift, I didn’t eat much, typically ate when I woke up and had a small snack during the shift. I had lost about 10 lbs and felt fairly good. After a few years on patrol, I transferred to a narcotics unit. There was a joke about the unit which was similar to the term of “freshman 15,” it was called the “Task Force 20.” The typical day of a narcotics officer is spent typing reports, warrants, talking on the phone, long hours in your car doing surveillance, and driving around town. Since I worked during the daylight hours, I typically ate breakfast, had lunch at a restaurant, and ate a lot of fast food since we stayed on the go. My weight began to creep up, and in no time I had gained about 20 lbs. I was now in the worst shape in my life.


After several years, I began to workout again. I wanted to try out for our SWAT team so I spent nearly every morning in the gym. It was the typical workout, pound on the treadmill for about 30 minutes and go lift some weights. Pretty conventional workout. I had dropped some weight and felt better, but the obstacle course I was required to run for the SWAT tryout beat me down for sure! The course is modeled after Marine Corps and Army obstacle courses. We are required to finish it in 15 minutes. I did it in about 30 minutes and failed to negotiate several obstacles. I was miserable when I finished.

As several years went by, my weight continued to go up. I had accepted the fact that I will always weigh 250 lbs. I was overweight, weak, and slow. After leaving narcotics, I transferred back to patrol and eventually the K9 unit. The K9 position can be physically demanding, but I kept getting heavier. For the longest time, I refused to get on the scale. I hated looking in the mirror and every time I bought a new pair of pants, the waist line only got bigger.

On one August day, my wife and I were helping her father do some work around the house. After 8 plus hours of sweating and working in the Texas sun, I got on the scale prior to taking a shower. I was shocked, 271 is what I read. Finally, enough was enough. But, with all my conventional wisdom, I had a plan! Count calories and do a lot of cardio. Well, I probably lost about 10 lbs but stalled out as usual. I began to think I had something wrong with me. I had my testosterone tested, had my doctor do other tests, and finally got prescribed an inhaler for exercise induced asthma. Being the father of a young child, I could not keep up and I felt horrible! How could I go from respected athlete to fat, out of shape, and wheezing dad?


During October of 2012, my life changed forever! I attended a school for a month out of state and stayed with a friend of mine. That is when I was introduced to Mark’s Daily Apple. As with most people, it made no sense to me. What do you mean you can eat bacon? I was so engrossed in conventional wisdom it was sickening. I argued with him at first about how whole grains were good for you. But, since I was living under his roof for a while, I ate what he ate for several weeks. Not many bad carbs, snacked on beef jerky and almonds, and began to move more. I started to feel better within a few days.

After several weeks of living like this, I went back home for a week break. I started eating our traditional fare and of course, my body revolted and I felt horrible. When I went back to his house, I ate like he did and felt great. Once I got done with training, I came home, signed up for the MDA newsletter, and began reading as much as I could. Things started to make sense. So after one last hoorah of Thanksgiving, I decided to go all in.

In the beginning, I was losing several pounds a week and I was feeling better. But, the real breakthrough for me is the day I could feel the upper ribs – the fat was starting to melt away! In the beginning, I wasn’t working out much. We own a seasonal business and we stay extremely busy. But, the weight continued to come off with diet alone. I then started to take it slow with the exercise and started with Mark’s recommendations. I bought the 21-Day Transformation as a guide and things continued to get better. My wife and I had been trying for our second child for about 18 months, and within a few months of going Primal, she got pregnant. Pretty sure I read some stuff that this lifestyle makes you fertile!

AfterThis past summer I began to workout harder and then started doing CrossFit. My body had never felt better! I felt like I could suit up again and play! I had always told myself that if I could pass the obstacle course in the required time, then I knew I was in good shape. I ran the course with the team one day with some apprehensions. Had I come as far as I thought? I ran the first half of the course and got to the rope climb. I think the rope is about 25-30 feet high, which is the one obstacle I couldn’t even do several years back. However, on this morning, I went right on up. I ran the remainder of the course with the team and learned techniques. I felt great! I was asked to try out for the team and after several months, I ran the course again and passed! We are also required to do a challenge course which was a culmination of different PT exercises for over an hour. It was very difficult, but I made it through. Since then, I have run my first half and full marathon (bucket lists) and recently completed the GoRuck Challenge in Austin. That was the hardest endurance event I have ever done! In 13 hours we covered 17.4 miles doing all kinds of crazy things.

Thanks to MDA I am a new person! I now play with my kids without getting tired, have been recently assigned to the SWAT team, and I feel like there is no challenge that I cannot overcome! The nightly heartburn and miserable feelings have gone away! The Primal journey has changed my life forever and I love giving people advice on the lifestyle when they ask me for it. My wife questioned me in the beginning but she is now a true convert! After our second child was born, within weeks she was back at her starting weight and she loves the new life. My only regret about this journey is that I didn’t do it years ago!

I have attached several pictures of me and our family several years ago. The after pictures are with our new baby boy and me after the GoRuck Challenge. Grok on!

Happy family!

Chad H.

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61 thoughts on “I Am a New Man”

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  1. Chad, what an amazing story! I’m thanking my lucky stars for you that you spent that month at your buddy’s place for primal immersion camp.

    congrats on the transformation–and on the beautiful family. Thanks for sharing your story here.

  2. What a beautiful family. I love your “workout” after-pic. You are just oozing happiness! Congratulations on finding your health and sharing it with your family. I had a big smile the whole time I read this. I love Fridays!!!

  3. Love the story! You said that it was feeling your ribs when you knew you were on the right track. I remember standing in the ladies restroom and noticing a lump on my chest. The lady next to me could see my distress and quickly said “Honey, that’s just your chest bone! I think you’re going to live”. LOL! She didn’t even realize how right she was. 🙂

  4. Chad’s is the first story that literally made the tiny fuzz on my neck stand up.
    On top of that it is so well written, short and sweet, and it has so many elements of our story so it’s quite relatable.

    If this story doesn’t speak to someone to change their life around, I doubt anything else would.

  5. What a fantastic story! So happy for you Chad! Your families health is obvious in your beautiful skin…your wife is stunning and the new baby looks like a porcelain doll!

    1. That was the one thing that struck me as well in the after picture. Your whole family just glows!

  6. Thanks for the positive comments! I always loved the Friday stories as it kept me motivated and I could always relate to one aspect of each person’s journey.

  7. No more donuts! (sorry about that, I had to do it)

    Very well done! The whole family looks super healthy and fit as well as very photogenic. It just occurred to me that I seldom see families looking so healthy, it’s sad to see so many with youngsters that are already a mess. You guys are a great example so I hope you continue to share your story with others. Sometimes I think we need to push this lifestyle more aggressively, the rewards are that great. Your friend certainly changed your life for a huge benefit. Pass it on…

    1. Donuts are so last century, today’s cops eat breakfast tacos!! Getting the oldest child eating right is hard, he understands the protein concept and he loves fruit. He loves working out and doing the Primal Essential Movements.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your story! 🙂 Very inspirational 🙂

  9. Great story! Always good to hear that a fellow Texan is doing so well! I would like to ask this: how many ounces of meat do you consume per on average? Just a rough estimate. Thanks and keep up the good work!

    1. Just a guess, probably between 8-16 ounces. I do IF and work night shift, so sometimes I don’t eat as much protein as I would like. I typically supplement with whey and casein protein. I do eat a lot of eggs, over a dozen per week.

  10. Amazing and very motivational. It’s stories like this that move me more towards the lifestyle but its super hard when your spouse is not interested in it at all. One day I’ll have a story of my own! Keep up the great work!

    1. My wife was very skeptical in the beginning, so I was on my own in the beginning. But when I made dinner, she ate what I made. That is when she started to understand and felt better herself. It’s hard getting away from comfort foods, but I won’t trade how I feel for any of that! I still eat ice cream occasionally and it’s a tradition on our team to eat Mexican food once a week after training. But, my body lets me know about the poor decision! Keep it up, you’ll make your husband a believer soon enough!

      1. When my brother visits, he usually wants to go out for Mexican food (about 2-3 times a year). I go along and order steak fajitas, and either sub a side salad for the rice/beans or if they won’t sub, just order a side salad with no dressing.

        The condiment dish that comes with the fajitas has sour cream, guacamole, shredded lettuce/pico de gallo and cheese, and since I occasionally do dairy, I’ll finish off the condiments.

        The good news is the plate has steak, peppers and onions – the bad news I have no idea what kind of oil it’s cooked in so I just try to eat as little of the oil as possible. I usually just dump the side salad on top of the meat. I give the tortillas to my brother.

        So it may not be the most Primal dinner around, but it’s probably better than anything else on the menu. And I don’t notice any side effects. Just a suggestion that might work for you.

        Good luck! I really enjoyed your story and you have a beautiful family!

      2. Thanks. I’ll definitely have to become the main cook in the house for this lifestyle change to work. Last night he made enchiladas…. lol

        1. Mark has a great Enchilada recipe in the Primal Blueprint cookbook. That book was pretty insturmental in my wife and I taking the plunge together… we looked at the recipes and couldn’t decide what to make first. In the first week, we made egg white crepe enchiladas and walnut brownies, and have never looked back or felt like we were giving up cooking or baking opportunities. Most meals just need a little tweak (califlower instead of rice in Jambalaya for instance) to become healthy and primal.

    2. Lead by example, don’t wait for him to join 🙂 I talked my mouth to shreads before I got my wife on board. She was veeeeery sceptical. In the end it was my results that convinced her. No amount of talking could do that.

      1. I agree with leading by example. He is very skeptical as well. I am looking forward to some results to show him this is real life changing!!

    3. Do all the cooking. If he’s still not interested, he won’t eat. Your results will speak for themselves.

      1. Yes becoming the main cook will be hard as he really enjoys cooking and baking! So, I will have to really find amazing paleo recipes and rock his world or we will have two cooks in the kitchen and two separate meals on the table each night! (until he starts seeing my results and realizes his meals aren’t cutting it anymore)

  11. Amazing. Big pharma must be real unhappy now. Imagine all the money they could have made on you during the upcoming years. Now they won’t. Statins, BP meds and the rest. Another customer lost. Ouch!

  12. Great work, Chad! It looks like you lost about 10 years, too!

  13. So proud of you Chad!

    “Argued with him at first”, is a bit of an understatement though!

    1. Like I told you earlier, the cereal company wouldn’t lie about grains being good for you!

  14. I absolutely LOVE reading these stories! They are so motivating and inspiring. Awesome job Chad!

  15. Even this Texas Tech grad tips his hat to you and your family.

    1. Thank you sir! Since y’all hired Coach Kingsbury, I found myself rooting for y’all more often!

  16. Way to Gig ’em! Awesome read. Keep up the good work, and much respect for investment and dedication to you and your family’s health. And as always, BTHO SAD

  17. Great transformation, Chad. Too many in our field accept a life of poor health (physical & mental) as part of the job. No wonder the average officer dies within 5years of retirement! Your story is a great example that improved health can be transformative in all areas of our life. We should always strive to be our best selves! Congratulations!

  18. Chad, what was your “after” or current weight? Congrats and I agree with everyone saying you are glowing! Nice.

  19. God your family is beautiful! Positively glowing! Just amazing

  20. Beautiful story. I love how much younger you and your wife look now. Never ceases to amaze me how nourishing our bodies allows our bodies to rejuvenate so quickly.

  21. This was one of those stories that made me tear up. I can feel this guy’s utter pain and confusion – to be a top athlete and watch it unravel while eating the food everyone is telling us to eat! I am so happy him. There is nothing like feeling in great shape; I can’t imagine what his life would have been going forward without this diet change. I found this type of diet after years of actually losing weight and keeping it off, but never feeling any kind of decent energy. Finally I realized enough protein and fat are necessary! Once I upped the both of those everything changed.

    What a wonderful, heartwarming story. All the best to you and your family.

    1. I was definitely confused for years! I knew that diets and all the other fad stuff wasn’t the way we were meant to live. I no longer stress about what to eat, it all comes natural now. Thank you for the comment!

  22. Hi Chad, very good story! You don’t have heartburn anymore, I have the same expierience, that are the goods too of this wonderful diet.
    Your wife sure looks good too and I love your two mini groks! Great fortune that brought you to stay with your friend, for you and your family.

  23. Good on you Chad, great to see another brother in blue that has bought into the benefits of the Primal way of life. Most ordinary civilian members of the public particularly do not understand the stress front line officers endure for years on end. Shift work, seeing bad(horrific) things on a regular basis, and that constant heightened awareness of hyper-vigillance that we all seem to live with can defiantly take a toll on the best of us.
    I have been a Foot patrol Beat officer for the past 4 years and aside from our bike unit, this is the most Primal job in policing. I end up walking close to 20km per shift in all kinds of weather +30 to -30 and spend a great deal of my day in personal interaction. It is great,and defiantly a career extender. Been primal since last july and will never go back to “normal eating”.

    Great comeback on the “donut” comment, unfortunately Tim Hortons is one of the only things open late at night up here in Canada and when I get the “are you here for donuts?” comment i usually reply ” no i am here for chili and a green tea” they usually don’t know what to say and always look very sheepish as they walk away with there dozen of donuts they are buying!!
    God speed brother, and think about hitting the Beat if your service has one.
    All the best Chad

    PS If you interested you can check me out on our police blog https://copsandbloggers.ca/category/from-the-ground-up/

    1. Thanks for the comment. I see guys all day at work that would benefit greatly from this lifestyle. One friend at work is now off cholesterol medicine thanks to primal! I loved foot patrol, bad guys never knew where you were at and we made a lot of arrests. Hate to give up the K9 gig, it’s too much fun. Stay safe up there!

  24. This is a good story, and you are a good writer, Chad. Glad to see someone else who was helped by Mark’s Daily Apple. I recognize that story, seeing the healthy effects from your friend’s diet and then believing it. There are so many cures for many things which all promise they are the best, and it is hard to know who to believe. But when you see success you know it. I didn’t know someone who tried this diet, but I read the stories of people who have been helped by MDA, so then I knew it must work. And the science behind it is undeniable.

    Those of us who sit by a desk or drive a car all day should not resign ourselves to weight and back problems. To sit still all day does not give us an excuse, it gives us a duty. And it is fun to be an example for others to follow, don’t you think? “Maybe you should try what he did, he lost so much weight with his diet.”

  25. Great story! I think you might have pushed me over the edge to actually get serious about this. I can relate to much of what you wrote about (and I knew I would from the beginning at “cornbread stuffing”).
    Thanks for sharing.

  26. Chad, yours is a story very much like my own. I, too, went to USAFA after high school, then left before finishing. I also finished college in TX (UH, but my wife is an Aggie), and I have a 3 year old son. We are just beginning our Primal journey, and it’s great to know that there are others like you that have gone before me and made this work. Keep up the good work man!

    Thanks for sharing.

  27. Great job. Happy for you, your family, and everyone around you inspired by your success and happiness.