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In the Best Shape of My Life at 40 Years Old

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story [1] 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 [2]. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

First 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 [1] 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 [3] 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!

Jason