Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 26 2018

I’ve Transformed My Body and Mind

By Mark Sisson
24 Comments

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!

Hello Mark and the Primal Blueprint community! I usually don’t do stuff like this, but like many others who have discovered the Primal Blueprint path, it’s changed my life in such a positive way that it’s hard not to share. Growing up I was always athletic – trim, quick, and agile. I excelled in every physical activity I was into, without much effort. Karate, soccer, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, even golf came easy for me. Within my group of friends, I was the guy that was better at everything than everyone else (at least in my mind LOL). It seemed like I could maintain this level of health and physical ability forever.

Then of course life happens. In my late 20s I meet the love of my life. We get married and in short order, our first son is born.  As a parent, you know how life-changing that event is, and being still in our 20’s, my wife and I went into daily survival mode and did our best. I never thought much about eating right or exercising, being one of those people who could (and did) eat anything under the sun and come out (seemingly) unscathed. Fast food, chips, pizza, ice-cream, candy, processed food from boxes, you name it. And it wasn’t just what I ate, it was the time in which I ate it. I never gave much thought to pounding huge meals late at night, or right before bed-time. In fact, it was like I had a “second” dinner every night. And of course, this was all the usual SAD stuff; tons of bread and grains, corn, fried foods, processed sugars, the usual suspects. I ate like this through my 30s.

As I reached my 40s, however, I noticed that I was getting fatter and slower, and had developed a severe case of IBS. I was always fatigued, irritable, and always had a constant feeling of dis-ease and malaise. Though I was still physically active playing soccer and bike commuting religiously, it seemed like I was always pulling a muscle, or getting injured. My reflexes seemed slower. I didn’t sleep well and my head was always in a cloud. I experienced my first panic attack and developed severe anxiety. I was always getting sick, and never had any energy to really play with or interact with my son.

When our second son came along, these symptoms became compounded. I was miserable, and felt ground-down by the pressures of life as a husband, father and sole-breadwinner of our family. I thought what I was feeling was just life happening, and that it was just a part of getting older.

Being now in my early 40s, I was feeling like crap, looking like crap, and had no idea what to do about it. One day I looked at myself in the full-length bathroom mirror (with my IBS, the bathroom was my second home), and I realized I was at a crossroads. Like Tracy Chapman sang, “leave tonight or live and die this way,” I decided it was time to leave my current unhealthy state and go on a new journey; one towards teaching myself how to be a Fat Burning Beast. Through Mark and the ever expanding Primal/Paleo community, I’ve reclaimed my health and fitness. I’ve discovered and use Intermittent Fasting as another tool, and read Mark’s Daily Apple daily for knowledge and inspiration (and dark chocolate recipes).

I’m also being mindful of things like chronic cardio, stress management and finding time to “get wild.” I’m constantly trying to figure out how to implement the Primal philosophy into the choices I make, not only with nutrition, but with life in general. My six-year-old son is now one of my Primal coaches (even though he doesn’t know it). He loves his “Primal” wrestling sessions with daddy, and being used as daddy’s weight lifting equipment. He also likes joining daddy and mommy in our family burpee sessions before dinner.

So, in about a year’s time of living the Primal/Keto life, I’ve transformed my body (and my mind). I’ve cured myself of IBS, and feel great overall. My head is clearer, I sleep better, my energy level has increased. Somehow, I feel more optimistic. My anxiety has lessened enough that I can enjoy coffee again (yay!)

What’s also cool is that through my enthusiasm for this path, my wife is also now onboard the Primal/Keto train (it was hard doing it alone, especially since she does all the cooking for the family). After only a few months, she is looking and feeling great herself, and enjoying more energy than she’s ever had. It hasn’t always been easy of course, but overall, being on the Primal path has been an incredible epiphany in my life. I have co-workers, friends, and family wondering what the heck happened and how I did it.

Thanks Mark for all you’ve done and continue to do. How great it must feel to be helping so many people improve their health and well-being. Congrats on being a game-changer and positive force in the world.

 Sukho V

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24 thoughts on “I’ve Transformed My Body and Mind”

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  1. Wow! A great, well-written story. And, my dear, you look FABULOUS!

  2. Very cool, good job! Congrats on improving family life through primal living!

  3. What a great example, congratulations
    Family burpee sessions: please next time post a pic of them 🙂

  4. Fantastic work! I’m there with you as a sole-bread-winning father of two – it’s not easy staying on top of everything, least of all your health – but you’re an excellent example of how the Primal approach takes some of the difficulty out of it, and leaves you looking like that in the process! Keep it up.

  5. Great personal and family story Sukho, thanks for sharing!
    Sure helps when your partner (and chef) also on the program. My wife does all the cooking and we went Primal 3 years ago. Thank god she buys the food, cooks our meals and keeps the junk food out of the house.

    Continued success in your health and fitness with your burpee loving family!

  6. Interesting and well-written account of your health journey Sukho. You look awesome! Keep up the healthy living, and don’t ever let anything get in the way of it 🙂

  7. Thanks so much everyone, really appreciate the comments. Like I said, it wasn’t easy going from the “before” pic (Dec 2016) to the “after” pic (Jan 2018) but as this community knows, if you really apply what Mark is saying, you can fully transform yourself physically (and mentally). Having said that, I will add that I am a fairly serious cyclist (seven days a week – 5 days commuting, weekends for fun) and hit the gym at work every morning (nothing too crazy, just stretching/rolling/some resistance work). Also, for me IF is the great balancer. Because as most of us know, getting to the promised land is one thing, but staying there is whole ‘nother thing. I’ve been experimenting with the 20/4 eating window for the past month, and so far, so good. It’s a 4 hour eating window in the evening (not ideal metabolically IMO, but that’s family time, so I’m sticking with it). And when I eat, I EAT.

    1. Great work on your transformation! Did you (or do you) include tubers (potatoes / sweet potatoes) or roots (squash, turnips, parsnips) in your diet while living the Primal / Keto life?

  8. Excellent story. IBS-C sufferer here, I can attest nothing can compare to having quiet guts.

    1. Sukho: Great job on your success. I have been Primal for 6 years now and am still learning and growing. Glad you are part of the ‘Tribe’. Just curious, but you did not mention how you ‘discovered’ Mark’s Primal Blueprint. It is fun to find out how people find that path.

      1. Hi Mark, it’s actually kind of interesting how I “discovered” Mark Sisson and thus this community. I’m a serious bike nerd, and there’s a special little bike company in Walnut Creek CA named Rivendell Bicycle Works founded by the Bob Dylan of bikes, Grant Petersen (-sorry Grant! Lol) Grant writes and publishes a fine newsletter called the Rivendell Reader and is also a published author. He wrote an article on Mark many years ago and interviewed him as well. That’s how I was introduced to Mark S. Oh, and one of Grant’s books is titled Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Lol

  9. Great story. Thanks for sharing. Whilst you look amazing what really comes across is how happier you are. I always love stories when the family are in it too. All the best.

  10. Haha. I look at the before and after pics on transformation and thought, oh here’s some kid in his early 20s who ate poorly for a few weeks and then turned it around and got jacked. Then I read that he’s in his 40s and has suffered from IBS and anxiety, as well as all the joys of parenting and I’m like: wrong again! Great, personal story that I think will resonate with a lot of people. Continued success.

  11. Sukho! Great to see you found the route to a better life style. It’s a pleasure to see people overcome chronic illnesses too.
    I have UC and eating this way has helped, hasn’t cured, but it has made a difference. I wonder if UC is the reason why I haven’t dropped the love handles for me. Otherwise I am fairly lean at 15%. I have tried all kinds of variations of the Primal Diet, a variety of exercises and remain pretty active and am in decent shape.
    Glad you contributed to this Success Story column. Best to you and your family.

  12. Hey @Mark! You have done a great job and you look fabulous after transforming your body. This is absolutely right that transformation of body starts with the mind. The most salient thing that I have learned so far after reading your blog is that being healthy is not a punishment.

  13. Good work, Sukho! You and your family will be so much happier and healthier for this! You look fabulous!

  14. Good job. The before /after pic makes me wonder if it’s the same person. … The tattoo moved from the left to the right shoulder…

    1. Ha. Yeah when I look at those pics myself I felt the same way. That’s why I used the word “transformed” in the title. My wife took the “before” pic facing me, I took the “after” pic facing the mirror. Tattoo still on the same arm, thankfully.

  15. I have forward this to my 36 yr. old son who lives like you used to. He hasn’t eaten much meat in his life. I know he is going to ask me what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Can you give your meal plan for a day (and your wife’s and son of course).
    Thank you.

    1. Oh I would love to hear this too I am always looking for new ideas and other peoples plans 🙂

    2. Hi Suzanne, my meal plan is probably not going to work for your son if he’s just starting out on his Primal journey. It’s taken me over two+ years of constant experimentation (I’m still experimenting) to get to where I am now, which is a fully fat adapted state where I’m eating only dinner (with no hunger pangs or snacking during the day). Dinner is usually a huge salad, some meat, some jasmine rice, nuts, berries, roasted veggies, etc. I think it’s best that he reads up on the Primal Blueprint (if he hasn’t already) to wrap his head around the basic concept of what we’re all trying to do. That’s how I started, and it’s been a gradual journey.