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 Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!
“Aren’t you tall!” they cooed, and they were right. I was tall at six foot five.
“And aren’t you skinny!” they chorused, but they were both right and wrong; only parts of me were skinny, others were not.
Skinny arms with pencil thin wrists and skinny legs with non-existent calves were all stuck onto a torso that—in direct contrast—was well rounded. Not massive, of course, though my elder brother oft compared me to Mr Potato Head, but enough for me to have a bulging gut, love handles (or should it be handfuls!) and a chest devoid of muscle yet plump with fat.
“It isn’t fair!” I frequently told myself, staring mournfully into the mirror, and it wasn’t! For ten years, as one of the million UK commuters to London, I would rise early; breakfast on toast, cycle to the train station (six miles) walk/run/stagger from the other end of the line to work and slump exhausted in my chair where cheap instant coffee would keep the twin pangs of hunger and fatigue at bay until the midday refuel. Oh, hang on, I would snack frequently…on cheap rainbow coloured heartburn tablets in futile attempts to ease the daily bouts of heartburn.
Lunch would be one of those meal replacement shakes or couscous, followed by a session at the gym, more work followed by my jaunt home. Prior to getting back to the house I would collect my children from an after-school club and scold and chide their slow walking pace home simply because I was absolutely ravenous— desperate even, for some food. On some days, I would leave the children stumbling in my wake to dash across the threshold and dive into the cupboard to cram some toast, cheese or both down my throat.
“I should be as skinny as a rake!” I would tell my glum faced reflection. He would nod in agreement, patches of wobbly fat shaking slightly as he did so.
“Calories in – calories out,” they told me, so I bought smaller plates and began restricting calories to starvation levels. My wife joined me in solidarity and together we punished ourselves for 30 long days with tiny bowls of risotto, meagre portions of pasta and more high sugar, low calorie milkshakes (skimmed milk of course!). We gave up in unison, neither of us having lost any weight.
“No Pain, No Gain” they told me, so I upped my exercise. Mind you, I had always been fairly fit; cycling and running were my main forms of fat-fighting, with annual half marathons being my motivation (“You need to have something to aim for”). But my knees were starting to hurt. In the car or cinema I would often have to contort my body in some weird way so that I could stretch out my legs, thereby staving off the dull pain that would creep in after about 20 minutes of sitting. I purchased a popular DVD workout series, the name of which rhymes with Banality, though it was anything but! I loved the smug feeling I got when I told friends and family of my nightly sweaty exploits on the kitchen floor (the workout DVD, ladies and gentleman!) and I loved the endorphin buzz and the feeling that this was it…I would finally blast away those fatty deposits in the burning furnace of my exercise regime.
I lost a single, solitary pound in that sweat drenched, grueling, exhausting 60 days. I couldn’t even purchase the “I didn’t it” tee-shirt because I wasn’t a U.S. citizen!
Even worse, my gut still hung low when performing any kind of horizontal movement. My chest still wobbled when I ran. My knees still hurt. My love handles still called out to be handled.
Then I found this site, and I found hope.
Within a month I had ditched grains, pasta and those popular shakes. I ate eggs, cheese and fatty cuts of meat with large rainbow coloured piles of vegetables. I lost weight—half a stone in a month, and felt great.
It was as if I had been made privy to the secret! Suddenly, health was something I could actually achieve rather than as a result of lucky genes. I read and read and read from Mark’s Daily Apple to Grain Belly to all of Taubes work, and as my wisdom and knowledge grew, my waistline shrank.
My knees stopped hurting (and as a bonus people stopped staring at me in the cinema!), and my heartburn vanished. I began walking more—moving to take in scenery and fresh air. The family came too and together we began to appreciate the little things.
This year I ventured into Primal 3.0 (to quote Mr. Sisson), and in one swoop I went Keto and enrolled on the Primal Health Coaching Course. As I write this, it has dawned on me there are clear parallels between the two: both are scary to contemplate, tough when you first start but incredibly rewarding once you give it your all.
The final parallel is this: I am still not at the end of my journey, but I am now, finally, in control and I want others to be in control too.
The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.