I’ve Never Felt Better in My Life!

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. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in line
Dear Mark, This letter has been a long time coming. Like many of your readers, I had followed the standard American diet rather thoughtlessly, though I did experiment some with vegetarianism. I loved baking my own bread and even bought and ground my own flour. But though I was rather a skinny teen, I gradually ballooned up. And I do mean balloon.

I was so uncomfortable, nothing fit, and all my weight was around my stomach and my face. I knew I couldn’t go on like that. When I turned 40, we decided to get serious about our health and eating. My wife had also gained a lot of weight. We discovered Atkins, lost some and then fell off the wagon and added more back on. We tried again. This time my wife lost a ton, and so did I. I dropped back to about 155 or so.

Again, like so many, the weight began to creep back, even when I got stricter with my carbs. It was so frustrating! I never went back to the SAD diet that had gotten me in such sorry shape, but we were eating a ton of substitutionary foods packed with things like Splenda. Well, you get the idea.


Enough is enough, I thought. I can do this. I know I can. So I set my mind to be strict with my Atkins and up the exercise. My goal: to be fabulously fit by fifty. And I did a not bad job! I had the flexibility with my work to get in long gym hours and by dent of effort (in other words, chronic cardio), I gradually shaped up quite a bit. My cardio workouts were so insane on the step machine that I found out they called me the crazy man at the desk. One year in, I was very pleased with the efforts:

But, of course, there was no way I could keep up that insane workout schedule, and I had grown to hate the stepper and even resented the gym visits all the time. I certainly achieved my personal goal of fabulously fit by fifty, but my knees were killing me. I had taken up running, but found that I couldn’t keep on doing it. I felt like I had a pebble in my knee.

My wife and I were always learning, studying, trying to master this. We’d seen such progress, but… Then we read Wheatbelly and were blown away, and somehow that also led us to your website. It was November 2011. Before long things really did begin to change for us.


I gave the Vibrams and toe-strike running a try. Knee pain? Gone! I even ran the length of half marathon one year on a cruise ship in the Pacific as Baja floated past. It was insanely fun. Just did it because I could. I tried different workouts, but had difficulty sticking to anything for long. I was glad, though, that I had everything we needed at home. No more gyms sucking up my cash!

My wife and I began regular walks and have continued it to this day. We kept learning about eating. Tried some Whole 30’s and some other variations, but we’ve always returned to Primal. It’s just doable for us. We love it. I enjoy my square of chocolate and the occasional glass of red wine (Botabox cab is my favorite).

Exercise has become steady: I’ve settled into a routine these days of walking outside at least 10k steps Monday through Saturday, and taking it a bit easier on Sunday, but trying to get 5k. As I walk, I do 200 push-ups on Monday through Saturday (eight sets of 25 each). Additionally, at least two days a week I sprint. I tried sprinting on the bike and just dreaded it. Lately I’ve been sprinting outside and it has been great. I found that the key for me taking off is lifting high those knees. It picks up a little bit of speed at first and then it just takes off. I love it! Thanks to Mr. Money Mustache, my wife and I now ride our bikes up to church and for errands around town. Lots of fun.


Anywho, it’s been a trip and a half, and we are grateful to you and your generous spirit and the wonderful information you have provided us through all these years. When I noticed the Friday without a story, I thought: I need to write. I’ve scrounged info from your site for years and have not given back. So here’s my meagre attempt.

Tomorrow I will turn 56. I am 5 foot, 10 inches tall, and I weigh about 146 at present. Body fat hangs at about 12% and I’ve never felt better in my life. For the last two days, in fact, my wife and I tackled a tree that needed to come down in our yard. Pay someone to cut it? No way. We cut the sucker down with a handsaw and a pruning hook. Talk about feeling great. Anyway, my last pic is basically where I am now. This was a couple months ago on Father’s Day. Thank you, Mark. My wife and I are among the many thousands who are so thankful for what you do.

– William

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32 thoughts on “I’ve Never Felt Better in My Life!”

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  1. Haha I had to laugh when I read about people referring to you at the crazy man at the gym! 🙂 I can just imagine it! Great story, and great job! 🙂

  2. Great story William. You look and feel great and damn, you are an animal. Possibly a panther!

  3. Awesome. How old were you as blobby in the red t-shirt? From your physique in your recent photos I couldn’t put you a day over 30 mate!

  4. “What a long, strange trip it’s been!”

    Great story, very inspirational, you look really happy and fit.

  5. Inspiring William! Congratulations on your journey, I got a lot out of reading it. Best of luck for the future!

  6. Great story William! I love how you said Primal is just doable for you and your wife. Completely agree. It’s so great to be able to eat food that you enjoy and feel so great. I’m with you on the dark chocolate and red wine…they are my treats of choice. And I always love hearing how people in their 50’s are feeling better than ever. I can honestly say I feel better at 50 than I did at 30. Congrats to you and your wife!

  7. Hi, all. Thanks for the kind omments and happy to share why we love this way of eating (and living!) so much. Daniel, the blobby pic was I think just before I turned 40. I wasn’t stepping on the scales back then, but suspect it pushed beyond 200 lbs.

  8. Hanging out in Woodland Hills reading The Primal Blueprint while visiting my 3 children. My wife and I live in New York. Thanks for a gtreat story and I am,looking forward to submerging myself in the program when I return home tomorrow.

    I am 62 years young and in pretty good shape already but feel I never hit my true potential. I feel that this lifestyle will finally allow me to do that.

    Thanks William for the essay and have a great trip around the Sun this year.
    Happy birthday.

  9. Great work, William! I love the success stories in general, but I really enjoy the ones that are from those who are close to my age (56). It is inspiring to read about youngsters that turn their health around while they still have many years ahead, but it is even more motivating to see that this way of living is beneficial, and doable, for all of us, no matter our age. It’s unbelievable that you are 60 in that last picture!
    I’m going to have to try your trick for sprinting. I feel like a clod when I try to sprint…

    1. Thanks, my friend, but I’m not 60 yet! I’m exactly your age. 56.

  10. Oh wow you look fabulous now. I too love the stories from people around my age (I’m 58) and i have also never felt better in my life. Good on you for hanging in there, and finally finding the right fit (pardon the pun) for your body. Love your grin in the most recent pic!

  11. Congratulations, William. You look amazing and amazingly better. It’s great that you and your wife kept trying and searching and learning until you found what really works.

  12. Wow, you look great and look as if you feel great too. We’ll done.

  13. Great story. You look amazing. Could you tell us what you eat in a day? Would love to read your wife’s story as well.

    1. Well, we fast on Wed and Fri, so we don’t eat from dinner on the day before till late afternoon on those days. But we start the day with bulletproof coffee and on non-fasting days, we usually have breakfast (sausage or bacon once or twice a week, but mostly eggs (farm fresh!) and avocado with salsa (major yum) and some other veggie (maybe spinach and mushrooms, etc.). I don’t eat lunch. That’s my workout time (i.e. walk and pushups, and then sprints 2-3 times a week). When I get home I always eat a snack of brazil nuts (who need viagara) and my piece of chocolate. Then we feast in the evening. Last night, for example, we had a creamy cauliflower bake, some brussel sprouts with capers and olive oil, red sock-eye salmon patties, baked sweet taters, and then some delicious brownies (coconut flour is amazing) for dessert. Finished off with some herbal tea.

      1. Thank you.It is always interesting to see what others eat for there meals

  14. I just love seeing transformations stories like this. I just got to laugh when I saw you in the red shirt haha. This really shows that if you understand your body and put in the work on a daily you can get real results.

  15. Wow- congratulations to you and your wife. I loved hearing about your ups and downs. Thanks for sharing your story!

  16. Thanks for a great story, William! So, I could really use some help. I hope it’s OK to reach out here. I don’t want to take away from your story. Actually, it’s these stories that keep me from giving up. I’m 56 and have a lot of digestive challenges, which makes staying on a Paleo diet difficult. Which online support groups do you or others recommend? It needs to be free. I’ve read Mark’s book. I’ve been commenting here and reading Chris Kresser’s posts for years, but I need someone or a group to check in with – nothing too time consuming. I want my story here one day. Thanks!

    1. Laura, best support group in the world is to get some local folks onboard with you and do this together. Family, if you have some local, or neighbors. Friends doing this together makes it just great. Enjoy your feasts together; plan on fasting some together; take walks together. I think the internet support is great but only gets you so far. God gave us neighbors for a reason! My $.02

    1. Justin, 200 a day, Mon. through Sat. Walk a bit, then a set of 25, walk a bit then a set of 25. 8 sets and you’re there.

        1. No, not really. I just started upping them. I did overdo it and was hitting 600 and a couple days 1000 and THAT was way too much. My daughter-in-law is a PT dr. and she urged me to cut it back from 300 (which I’d settled on) and 200 seems to be my sweet spot. No pain at all. I don’t measure food, so I’m not sure. Yesterday I found at Starbucks (trying to use up a gift card) their new beef jerky from pastured beef and I ate two bags of that; and then some home made meat loaf (stuffed with cheese and spinach!) for dinner. That was about it on protein for the day. Just a serving and a half of the meatloaf (ground up stew meat from a local cow – we buy half a cow at a time).

          1. Do you think you eat below your bodyweight? I’m on a budget and i’m eating mostly eggs, chicken and ground beef. I weigh 140, but i’m eating around 100 grams. I do pushups and pullups

          2. Justin, not exaclty sure. I just eat when I’m hungry and don’t think much about it. I know I can go a long time each day before I even get hungry because I do drink the bulletproof coffee each morning. Today, protein wise I’ve eaten a chiden breast, a raw egg in a smoothie, a piece of cheese and handful of nuts. But lots of veggies (big ass salad, carrots, taters, garlic, spinach.