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.
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.