In the Best Shape of My Life at 40 Years Old

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!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2First off, thank you for starting Mark’s Daily Apple, my starting point after wanting to give up on my quest for a healthy life. It was April, 2014, when I spent hours reading posts and success stories on your site. The Friday success stories gave me the solid belief I needed. Thanks so much to all that share their journeys. It’s been over a year now since I switched to the primal lifestyle, 50+ lbs. lighter and in the best shape of my life at 40. Grok On!

Here’s my story.

Even from a young age I can remember having to deal with being overweight. It started around 4th grade when I became a fatty and it lasted until the end of 11th grade. I joined the Oklahoma National Guard my junior year of high school. That summer I went to Army basic training and my fat ran off crying. I thought to myself at that moment in time, finally I’m not a fatty anymore. Regretfully it didn’t last that long and the fat came back laughing in my college years.

At my heaviest in my early 20s, I can remember being around 235-240 lbs. Let’s see pizza, beer, and repeat. Beer, pizza, and repeat… the college diet of champions. Then my clothes started shrinking so I did what “Conventional Wisdom” taught me to. I turned to magic pills, drank shakes like water, ate low-fat, whole grains and worked out like crazy in the gym including chronic cardio and I managed to knock 25 pounds off. I kept up the pursuit of ideal weight and image for a while but I never managed to achieve my goals.

After graduating from college, I joined the Army and moved to Europe. I was stationed in Belgium and was lucky enough to serve my full enlistment obligation of 6 years in-place. The downside to this was that Belgium is known for great beer and chocolate, but I had to maintain my composure since I was a soldier. During my tour I married an English girl from London and we started a family (son & daughter). I was always able to meet Army weight standards but it wasn’t without a constant struggle of yo-yo dieting and chronic exercising, which resulted in various back pains, Chondromalacia Patella, Metatarsal Phalangeal, Achilles Tendonitis, Osteoarthritis and Plantar Calcaneal Spur (bad knees & foot problems).

At the end of my enlistment I took a federal position in Belgium and started to enjoy myself with the Army standards off my back. Let’s see beer, chocolate and repeat. Chocolate, beer and repeat… the diet of Belgian champions. Many years went by, we left Belgium in 2011 and moved to San Antonio. Over 10 years had passed since I lived in the States and I was ready to go on my restaurant crusade! I restored my former glory of 235-240 lbs and my medical issues had reached the point of me struggling with the life basics. I needed help, so I went to experts for treatment. Here are a few: chiropractor/podiatrist therapies, an assortment of pills, X-rays, MRIs, acupuncture, cortisone injections, draining fluid, walking boots, crutches, custom shoe inserts and even surgery recommendations.

Then one day – I remember it perfectly in June, 2013 when I was given a printed photo at the end of the school year of my kids and me on their first day. At 38, I was truly un-happy, looking at the middle aged, broken, overweight man in this picture. I realized at that moment that I’d finally had enough and wanted to do something about my unhealthy lifestyle. I told my wife that day that I wanted to change and that I was going to do it this time, but my credibility wasn’t great. I’d told her the same thing more than a thousand times before, and I’m certain she didn’t believe me this time either. Her response; “I love you the way you are and accept the fact that you are getting older.” Maybe you’ve heard this before?

My profound desire for change, and I did nothing. Yep, that’s right, nothing for four months! While looking for help with life direction in November, 2013, I stumbled onto Brian Tracy and purchased one of his books called Maximum Achievement. When I finished the book later that day, I remember filling my car with premium fuel and I thought to myself – I care more about what I put in my car than what I consume.

I started immediately the next day, December 2, 2013, with a very similar “Conventional Wisdom” routine that I followed in my college years, but this time it didn’t seem to be working as well. After five months of dedicated effort at five days per week, with one hour minimum routines, it was already April 2014 and I had only lost 4-7 lbs (variable day to day), and I was in a lot of pain. That month I was introduced to Mark’s Daily Apple after complaining to a co-worker about my progression of getting in shape and various health issues. I read so many MDA success stories that I lost count! I was convinced and wanted to learn more so I purchased The Primal Blueprint, The Paleo Solution and The Paleo Kitchen.

My paleo lifestyle started the end of April 2014 at 228-230 lbs with health issues. I cut out SAD foods, bread, pastas, processed foods, etc., and noticed a change in my body within a few weeks, along with higher energy levels. The first 90 days I was down 13 lbs. Since I was in pain I didn’t add any exercise and to be honest, I was burned out on the gym anyway. I couldn’t believe it I lost double the weight from Dec-Apr and without exercise. During this time frame I was 100% paleo, and afterwards I went 85/15 on the account I still love red wine and pizza occasionally (gluten free dough when available).

I added the recommended exercises from The Primal Blueprint two times per week, of 20 minute routines at the end of July. August (down 13 lbs.) September (down 11 lbs) October (down 9 lbs) November (down 7 lbs) and my weight now, for the first time in my life, is stable at 175-178 and my health issues are fading away. I feel great; I’m stronger (started at 2 pull-ups now 20), my blood results have come back shining, energy levels off the charts and sex drive has increased to rocket levels. I had my share of critics but results speak for themselves and the smart ones followed my lead.


The most unexpected result was I stopped snoring! I’m still in shock over this one. To give some insight on my snoring, it was so bad that the first time I visited my wife’s family before we married, her mother heard me and said to her, “You will have to live with that noise. Are you sure you can do it?” I know it was that loud. Embarrassing right?

I’d like to thank my wife for changing her lifestyle and supporting me completely, love you.

What an amazing journey so far and fresh start for living a better life. Thanks so much MDA community!


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46 thoughts on “In the Best Shape of My Life at 40 Years Old”

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  1. Great success, Jason! Thanks for your story. I think there is a problem with the dates, unless you are writing from the future. You said you started the end of April 2015 and continued to at least November. Should all the 2014 and 2015 references be changed?

    1. That was my assumption as well. Unless he is speaking from the future, in which case he’s going to be the world’s first trillionaire.

    2. Yes, your correct should say end of April 2014 started paleo and December 2, 2013. I checked it several times before I sent it can’t believe I mixed the years up.

      Maybe Mark will correct it. Oh well I still had success even if some of it’s in the future – lol.

  2. Thanks for sharing! What a great, motivational story. Keeps me going in the right direction.

  3. Great job, Oklahomie! OKC in the house. I struggle to find people into the primal lifestyle here, so if you are still in OKC, shoot me an email and we can all work out together.

    1. Hi Julie!
      I’m in Norman. Struggling with the Paleo lifestyle. Not a lot of healthy people in OK!

      1. I just passed on renewing my primal lifestyle meetup group I was organizing for lack of participation. I planned all sorts of cool stuff to work out. Crickets. It seems people here aren’t ready for it.

        1. Maybe they thought primal meant pagan or wife swapping. Who knows?

  4. Congratulations Jason on losing weight and keeping it off. I love reading these success stories every week here on MDA!

  5. Thanks for sharing!

    I stopped snoring within 2 weeks of going full paleo. Upon reintroducing cheese I thought the snoring might come back but it hasn’t. I’m certain it was either the grains and/or beer causing it.

    It wasn’t alcohol in general, though, as I drink ~2 glasses of red wine every day but my wife can sleep now. 😀

  6. I love your success story! Congratulations, Jason. Your analogy of fuel in a car versus what we use as fuel in our bodies really resonated with me. Keep up the good work and Grok on!

  7. Good for you!
    My husband stopped snoring after losing 30 lbs. too! It IS crazy! But I’ll take it!
    And if you can impart this wisdom on your two children now, maybe you can spare them the grief you endured. That’s my hope for my kids!
    All the best to you & your family. ????

    1. Very true. We are taking it slow with our kids but we have successfully made water the number one drink in the fridge. Thanks 🙂

  8. Wonderful story. I could tell that you wanted to make a change. That can be so diffucult when you only have CW to fall back on in your efforts. CW causes a life of “white knuckling” it through every day. Your primal shift gave you a life that brought you success in health and the ability to enjoy each day!

  9. Great Job Jason….I hope you meant San Antonio, TX, that’s were I’m from!!
    I love Mark’s Daily Apple, I’m down 40+ lbs myself since Jan., not 100% paleo,
    but I’m still proud of those 40 lbs gone….still working on 10-20 more…..Keep up the
    great work!!

  10. Congrats, there’s no shape like the best shape ever and that’s true at any age. I feel that way as well (with certain allowances of course) and I’m about to turn 61.

    I quit a 40 yr smoking habit and went primal at 57, since then I love to work at fitness most every day and exercise religiously, my retirement hobby is to be the youngest old guy I can possibly be. I did my bicycle sprints this morning, followed by P90X3 upper body eccentric workout. Been splitting firewood by hand from a huge downed oak for the last 2 weeks. Went windsurfing for 5 days in extreme winds a few weeks back, my gear dates back to my 40s but I am back on it as ever. The time I feel old is when I sit and watch TV, much better to keep moving.

    I too like to do some pizza and Sierra Nevada brews every so often, no problem with that once you’re in shape. You’re right, red wine is the best call for daily consumption.

    40s are the sweet spot of life, you’re hitting your stride at the best possible time!

    1. Thank you… great job quitting smoking and going primal! The next 12 months I plan focusing more on fitness / rec. Yeah it was hard enough cutting my beer but the pizza I had to draw the line – lol

  11. Okay, 38 is NOT middle aged! Come on! (Says the 55 year old middle-aged woman!)

    Congratulations on finding the key to health – now and in the years to come. Aging is not the cause for many of the ailments we once attributed to it. I’ve been Primal over 5 years and have never felt better – and I look pretty darn good too,

    (Don’t know how you managed with the Belgian chocolates – they are the best I’ve ever had – I dream about them!)

    1. Very true I guess I was being a little harsh on my age at the time but maybe it was because I was feeling 88 – lol. Yes the Belgian chocolates were great but it was harder giving up all my beers I fell in love with.

  12. Such a good job Jason (and wife). I like your attitude about the “critics and the smart ones” it’s really up to them. By the way, I stopped snoring after about 5 lbs of weight loss and I wasn’t even that heavy to begin with.

  13. Well done Jason, great story. My husband stopped snoring when I went primal! It comes back should I unwisely serve grains at dinner. So I don’t 🙂

  14. Excellent work Jason, primal/paleo just works for most folks and you look great. I’m sure your wife likes the new you.
    Interesting about the snoring having gone since you went primal. I know that giving up all grains fixed my post nasal drip and hay fever and I was never a snorer.
    I put a friend onto paleo about 7 months ago, he’s not a real big guy but has lost over 10kg and is so happy his blood work is now fantastic. He was a real loud snorer though, I’ll have to ask him if he has stopped since removing grains and processed junk from his diet.
    Hmmmm, chocolate! Belgian is the best … Sigh!

    1. Once body fat gets right down to say the 10%-15% level, it may help with snoring as the whole neck/throat will be a lot tighter, and won’t have excess fatty bits to put pressure that blocks the throat.

    2. Yeah my snoring was bad…really bad… I’m surprised my wife didn’t listen to her mother bad then – lol. Yeah I’m pretty sure my wife is happy with the new me 🙂

  15. Nice job! And well written too. I think there’s something about experiencing a primal life later on in life – you get to appreciate it just as everyone else seems to be falling apart. Keep up the good work!

  16. Great job Jason! You and your family have so many healthy happy years ahead of you now. MDA is such an inspiration for so many of us – I just wish I’d found it sooner!!
    Cheers to you recognizing the need to think outside the CW/SAD box, and do what works.

  17. Thanks for sharing. It’s a great story and is well told.

    I’m wondering how much 85% cocoa chocolate can fit into that 15% of the Primal’s 85/15 recommendation?

    Best to you and your wonderful wife.

  18. Great work Jason. Nice post. You’re most definitely an inspiration to a whole heap of people. Grok on! Cheers.

  19. You look great!
    But unfortunately you still wear a horrible hat.
    Do the right thing : Primal hat.

  20. Great job! I’m using you for inspiration… I also changed my diet and feel great, lost a little bit of weight, but plateaued. Honestly, I changed my diet based only on what I’ve read here: sadly, never actually purchased the Primal Blueprint. Well, I will now and will start the exercizes you mentoin. Thanks for sharing!