I Hope I Can Make This the Best Decade Yet

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!

A lot of us work hard most of our life so that we can enjoy our retirement and do all the things we never had time to do when we were younger and worked long hours for little pay. The problem with that, however, is being old can pretty much suck especially with all the chronic disease that is so prevalent in Western society. Being overweight, poor digestion, fatigue and joint pain are symptoms that I am very familiar with and are just part of the aging process……or at least that’s what I used to think. They certainly create major impediments to living an active lifestyle and enjoying life.

I always loved competitive sports growing up especially baseball and football. Although good enough to make the high school teams, I was mediocre at best, but it was still a great experience which I will always treasure. It taught me many valuable lessons which proved critical to me later in life. I also spent 2-3 years of 5 days a week of “home” weight lifting in my basement and then best friend’s root cellar. We had no idea what we were doing but worked hard an hour or two most days and were very competitive. I became quite strong for a wimp weighing 142 pounds (benched 295) but never could put on any bulk. My friend on the other hand bulked up to about 180, left me in the dust, and continues to lift to this day.

Before_BeachSo as an adult I took up tennis to get my competitive fix; thinking I could play the rest of my life. When I retired at 60 I was looking forward to playing tennis five days a week and working out at the gym; which I did for a couple years. Then I developed joint issues requiring surgery for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis and again for carpal tunnel syndrome. While preparing for surgery I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. After the surgeries I quit playing singles and focused on doubles as I was having too many cramping issues probably tied to the statin drugs I was taking for high cholesterol; as heart disease runs in my family. The thyroid medications probably didn’t help either.

In Nov 2013 my wife and I took a 30 day trip to Germany to visit our two daughters and grandkids for the holidays. Both of their husbands were in the Air Force, assigned to Ramstein AFB. I also had spent 5 years at Ramstein as a federal civilian; so we were also looking forward to the German brotchen and beer which we both loved. While in transit to Germany I was doing research on wild caught salmon as I decided I wanted to focus more on getting healthy and fit. The article I read came from MarksDailyApple and I became hooked. By the time I returned to the states in mid December I had spent hundreds of hours reading the blog.

I couldn’t wait to start my Primal journey on 1 Jan 2014; thinking it would be too difficult to begin right before Christmas. On 1 Jan 2014 I jumped into the Primal lifestyle and focused on high healthy fats like coconut oil, grass fed butter and avocados. Also lots of meat, fish, fresh vegetables and salads. Although the 80-20 strategy was pivotal to me believing this lifestyle was sustainable; I ended up with about 95-5 compliance. I still drink wine and/or beer almost every day in moderation of course.

First_PhaseA little more background on my body type, weight and the goals I hoped to achieve. I was never considered fat by my contemporaries. Although I wanted to lose some weight (15 pounds) my primary objective was to improve my fitness and quality of life. When I retired in 2006 my weight was 178 and my waist was around 37 inches.

Once I started playing lots of tennis I dropped 10 pounds and could wear 36 inch waist comfortably. I felt pretty good about myself but knew I still had a spare tire around my middle and had lots of muscle cramps and joint pain. On 1 Jan 2014 I started my journey and went from 168 pounds to 150 in 45 days. I was shocked at how fast the weight came off and how much better I felt. I quit all medications as well as over the counter pills like aspirin, tylenol, aleve, etc. Since I previously lost 10 pounds after retiring I thought I was done (28 pound loss) and wanted to see if I could maintain this weight over time.

I became even more focused (my wife would say fanatic) and started reading and listening to podcasts 3-4 hours every day on paleo/primal and functional medicine. I started playing singles again as well as going to the fitness center for 30 minutes 3 times a week for resistance training. I experimented on myself often, figuring I have little to lose and much to gain considering my age. A few of the more important hacks I utilize are Bulletproof coffee (3 cups per day/3-4 Tbsp of coconut oil and grassfed butter), taking potato starch, ACV daily, diatomaceous earth, bentonite clay, etc.


Intermittent fasting and keto have been the two most critical components of continued weight loss. I often only eat one meal per day in the late afternoon primarily because I am not very hungry even though I am pretty active. I do believe that most of us eat too much and that feeling a little hungry is important to a longer and healthier life. I have snacks like nuts and seeds, or a cup of bone broth, boiled eggs, sardines, etc. I average less than 45 carbs per day. My wife thinks I am too thin and I agree I looked better when I was heavier but I feel much better than I have in a very long time. I still have thyroid issues and some joint pain but hope to mitigate that over time. My current weight is 138 plus or minus 2 pounds contingent on my activities.

I will always be indebted to Mark Sisson and his Primal Blog which I continue to refer people to and read on a regular basis. The Primal Blueprint by Mark is a must read for anyone considering the ancestral health lifestyle.


From my perspective the most important impact this lifestyle has had on me is psychological, my outlook on life…….getting old but still looking forward. Growing old can be depressing at times especially if you have numerous health issues and take lots of medications. Living longer might be nice but is not the objective…….being healthy, having fun and enjoying family and friends for the time you do have is. For some strange reason my high school yearbook caption from 1964 was: “The Days of our Youth are the Days of our Glory.” I hope that I can turn that on it’s head and make this decade the best yet. Grok on!

Vital Statistics:

  • 5’8” tall
  • 138 pounds
  • 31 inch waist
  • Total Cholesterol from 271 (Jan 2014) to 233 (Feb 2017) and don’t want it to get any lower
  • Triglycerides from 219 to 45
  • HDL from 34 to 66
    BMI approx 20.6
  • Body Fat – by scale Est 12%
  • Age 71


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34 thoughts on “I Hope I Can Make This the Best Decade Yet”

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  1. What an awesome story! You sound so inspired, purposeful and happy. I love reading about people like you who decide to make lifestyle changes in order to age with joy and grace. Unfortunately, I think many people are resigned to illness and suffering as they get older, because that is supposed to be a “normal” part of aging. I’m sure this story will serve as an inspiration for other retired folks who are ready to transform their health. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, Katie for the kind words. We took care of my mother for about 5 years and saw what 15-20 medications a day did to her. I knew something didn’t make sense but wasn’t into Primal or functional medicine at the time. I now believe that in most cases but not all they do more harm than good.

  2. Well done! I agree that a long life isn’t the point for me. A healthy comfortable life is preferable to length. I often see articles about weight loss that start out with the heading “Live longer . . .” and I always think that has to do with our fear of death (which I also have) rather than an intrinsic value in duration.

  3. He is roughly 6 pounds above what is considered healthy for his height. Also, the fact that he got to lifting strongly with little mass added are big signs that his body type is of the “wirey” variety (yes, my term). I know it’s the internet and all, but that was a pretty rough comment to throw. He feels good, the biomarkers shown look good, and he sounds happy to me. I am also not a clinician, but I am pretty sure orthorexia involves damaging yourself and not stopping at that point and so far it doesn’t seem to be the case.

    I hope that your comment came from a place of good.. and mine is coming from a place of good just in case that hope is misplaced.

    Cheers Bill and have a great weekend!

  4. Without the grizzled grey beard we might think that you were a lot younger.

  5. Congratulations, I especially like this mantra:

    “I still drink wine and/or beer almost every day in moderation of course”

    And looking at your pics it is clear the mantra works!

  6. Like you, I entered retirement expecting to have an active life, but the reality of aging while following the standard dietary advice of the day meant being overweight, always tired, and suffering joint pains. Also like you I experienced my epiphany when I was in despair at age 70. I started reading widely, explored the labyrinth of myths surrounding food, and ultimately found that all roads to primal health lead to Marks Daily Apple. I turn 76 in a few days time. I expect to spend this morning digging a new pathway on a steep hill side ready for tree planting next autumn. This afternoon will be spent in my studio preparing work for my next exhibition. This has been my best sales year since I “retired.” I can assure you that as a primal living artist I am finding my seventies have been my best decade yet. Kindestt regards. Ross

        1. Ah yes, very good. Congratulations on your achievements as well!

    1. Ross, it sounds like you’re doing awesome. It’s hard to explain to other “normal” folks what their potential may be if they just eat real food. I never paid attention myself until I discovered MarksDailyApple

      1. That is so true John. The really scary fact is how dangerous sugar is for older people. All carbs are problematic. My wife treats me to an icecream. My joints suffer the next day… I know I shouldn’t, but I love my wife.

  7. Triglycerides from 219 to 45?! WOW! Those numbers don’t lie. I admire that you didn’t give up, and have reclaimed your passion for a fit and healthy life. You look great!

  8. Wow this is really well written and inspiring with metrics to boot! I have been depressed over the past few years about not being able to play tennis, the second best thing in life by my reckoning LOL, but after wrist, elbow, hernia and foot surgery I’ve been too chicken to try to get out there again. You’ve inspired me to try to rehab extra hard and get back to doing something I enjoyed for over 30 years.

    1. Appreciate your comments and I am rooting for you. I was depressed myself when I couldn’t golf or play tennis. I love being active and competing which is why I so embraced Primal/Paleo. If I can ever help send me an email

  9. In that picture of you in the jeans, you look unhealthily thin, especially those arms. BMI on the low end of normal. 12% body fat? I think it’s lower. At 5’8″ and 138 pounds, you weigh only 10 pounds more than a typical Miss Universe contestant.

    1. Oxide, appreciate your concern. Do you know my wife?. No one will ever confuse me with a Miss Universe contestant. On a serious note I know what you are saying but I often play singles tennis in 90 plus temperatures and run a lot. I feel good most of the time….. I also eat large steaks and vegetables at least once a week

      1. John, how you feel is where it’s at. We live in a society where obesity is the new “normal” so I can understand why others might think you’re too thin. I think you look just fine. Stick with what works for you.

        1. Shary, , appreciate your comment and I am 100% with you as it relates to how you feel/health. Obesity, especially in children is so depressing with the long term negative impacts not really addressed by Allopathic medicine

        2. I agree with your comment on obesity is the new ‘normal’. I look at old photos of my parents & family friends when they were young. Everyone looks quite thin compared to how a lot of people are today. It’s kind of scary to see how overweight a lot of people are and the so called ‘diet’ food companies must be making billions.

    2. And that says something pretty damning about the Miss Universe contest, doesn’t it?

  10. Grok and Roll John! Thanks for the story, and as a 53-y.o. Primal tennis-playing guy, you’re inspiring!

  11. Love, love, love this story. I’m 73 and totally hear what you are saying. I’m so very glad that you were able to overcome the “it’s just old age” diagnosis just like the rest of us geezers are hearing every day. Love that you posted your numbers so that the naysayers couldn’t come back and give us grief on diet/lifestyle not working.

    Also, so glad to hear that there’s several of us on this blog that are “up there” (age wise, that is!). Thank you, Mark, for including us in your dialogs. BTW, my DH is 86 years old and very much involved!!

    This will be he best decade yet for you and probably a lot of us also. Take care and thank you for sharing your story. BTW, I appreciate that your wife is having issues cuz that’s what wives do – she cares about you and wants to make sure you are feeling/being your best. That said, I think you’re doing a damn good job Thanks for the inspiration—–

    1. PrimalGrandma, Very much appreciate your kind comments. I also am thankful to Mark for including us “the older generation” in his blog post. If I hadn’t seen some of those success stories I never would have submitted mine

  12. I am 62 and did a similar journey to John with the exact same results. I also became obsessed with paleo/keto with my wife telling me I’m getting too thin. I just wish everyone could experience this amazing lifestyle and the benefits it produces.

    1. Ditto Steven, Only wish I could have discovered this15 years ago. It’s depressing when you meet people, especially family and friends, suffering from numerous chronic disease who could be helped significantly by this lifestyle but are so brainwashed by conventional medicine and government agencies.

  13. Great story and a great outlook on life and aging!!! I “lost” 54 pounds by going paleo and I can definitely relate to your story here.