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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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January 09 2015

Keep Moving: Change Is a Process

By Guest
49 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!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2In December 2010, after 18 years of being employed at the same company, I lost my job. During my tenure with the company I never gave much thought to the negative impacts of stress and my eating habits. But suddenly I was unemployed, overweight at 322 pounds, and faced with the prospect of starting over at 39 years old. For mine and my family’s sake I needed to make some changes—not just in jobs or careers, but changes in every facet of my life. In February of the following year, after an unusually hard night of partying, a metaphorical switch flipped in my head after looking at the previous night’s pictures. It was time to act and the first step in my transformation was to take control of my health. I had been an active person prior to my management career but never really considered how diet and fitness go hand in hand. I went online, using a BMR calculator and determining how many calories I burned in a day. I researched how macronutrients created different metabolic responses in the body.

420Based on this research, I discovered that keeping carbs low was the best way to burn body fat. I also understood that in order to keep carbs low I would have to eliminate grains from my diet. I then constructed an eating plan around creating a caloric deficit and started to work out again. I was inspired and determined, working out six days a week and sticking to my eating plan. I tracked my calories using an online app. Over the next 12 months I lost 86 pounds, and while I was proud of this achievement, I wanted more.

Over the next year I concentrated on body composition, building lean mass and dropping body fat. I did my first “bulking” period from October 2012 to January 2013 by increasing calories to reflect a surplus, but my mistake was that I increased carb intake (mostly from grains) over that period. The result was a 37 pound gain with substantial body fat gain. My second “bulking” period ran from October 2013 to February 2014, this time using Primal eating methodology and keeping carbs low. This resulted in a 14 pound gain with little body fat gain.

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GetAttachment[2]I first read The Primal Blueprint in early 2013 but had been a follower of MDA since the fall of 2012. The fundamentals of the Blueprint appealed to me. Less time in the gym, playing more, sprinting once in a while, eating real wholesome health-protective foods and getting lots of rest: this was something I could embrace that was easily sustainable. I allow myself an indulgence now and then. Just yesterday, I ate an entire pizza. But today I’m right back to it. I have also incorporated some intermittent fasting and compressed eating windows into my regimen as well. The results speak for themselves and in late July of this year I achieved the 100 pounds lost mark…102 pounds to be exact. I’m leaner and stronger now, working out less, and eating more in terms of calories. At every opportunity I sing the praises of the Primal lifestyle and do convert some people to our Primal ways. But I still encounter many people who are hopelessly mired in the dogma of conventional wisdom. Somehow people just can’t wrap their heads around eliminating grains, eating healthy fats and working out half as much as they’re used to.

1202In this same time period I also changed careers, went back to school, and became a certified social studies teacher. I always had an affinity for history so it was a perfect fit. I wanted this transformation to be complete and permanent. No going back to unhealthy behavior and no going back to a job I loathed. I’m not unique—many people face the challenges of a job loss or a health scare. The emotional, physical and financial stress places great strain on a family and I have to say that without the support of my family that this transformation never would have happened. In any challenge there are always two approaches. Either you accept your circumstances as unchangeable and limp as the victim through the rest of your life, or you accept responsibility for your shortcomings, turn them into strengths and create your own opportunities. Sometimes we are forced by circumstances to make changes and it is the decisions we make from there that determine what kind of person we are. Change is a process; moving toward your goals is a process. Don’t be afraid to make a wrong decision. Make the decision then take the first step. Make changes if it’s not working, but keep moving. Movement is the essence of life. If you’re unhappy where you are…move!

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned over the past 3 years:

1. Calories still matter, to an extent.
2. Work out less but with greater intensity and rest more.
3. Play with your kids and keep moving.
4. Be flexible enough to change what isn’t working but remember that it is a process.
5. Follow the PB lifestyle—it works!

Robert

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49 thoughts on “Keep Moving: Change Is a Process”

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  1. Great story Robert. Looking great and I love your tips at the end.

    1. Robert, I agree you look great, but better than the 6 pack abs is the awesome smile. Thanks for the inspiration.

    2. Robert, Great job the new you does not seem to have ant excess skin,from your weight loss,any thoughts?

    1. I usually agree with your comments so I ran to Google to look up Tom Woods audio courses. Holy smokes – that’s not history, it’s extreme right-wing propaganda. He was a founding member of The League of the South – A white supremacist group. Were you aware of that? Scary stuff.

      1. That is news to me! Perhaps the wrong Tom Woods? I am referring to Tom Woods Jr, the Harvard/Columbia Grad who is associated with the Mises Institute.

      2. I read the Wikipedia entry and had to read about Max Boot (also on Wikipedia), the man who made the statements you referenced.

        Woods has been a promoter of the Jefferson/Hamiltonian exchange of ideas that include state rights, secession, and nullification. I am not familiar with the historian Max Boot, but I did read he works for the Council on Foreign Relations and worked for John McCain, two things that I do find scary.

        I’ve met Woods briefly in NYC, and have listened to him speak on youTube and nothing has ever made me think “racist”. Truthfully he has come off as very humane. I have not read his books “Nullification” or “Real Dissent” yet but these ideas are far from right wing and were main discussions in the original formation of the Federal Government.

        The south, especially South Carolina, historically, has favored the states right to secession, nullification, etc. so I am not surprised Woods would find an audience there to talk about the ideas. No different than a gun right enthusiast would more likely find a receptive audience to gun rights in Texas as opposed to say Massachusetts- regardless of other ideologies.

        I have listened to Liberty Classroom’s “Western Civilization” series and I learned a lot. The professor teaching the class is not Tom Woods but the content was very enjoyable.

        I am not friends with Tom Woods but I learned some things about him when he guest hosted The Peter Schiff Show and I never heard Tom Woods say anything even remotely racist.

        Thank you for bringing this to my attention though, I was not aware. I’ll have to explore more because whether I agree on most of his topics and ideas I have always found Tom Woods to be logical and elegant.

        1. Two Thumbs Up for Mises Institute, and Schiff too. So nice to have a place where many opinions are allowed, not just one. When someone jumps on you for expressing an opinion that is not “in-line” with their’s, it’s just more political correctness. I’ve seen it referred to as “the hall monitor” is here.

      3. This is not true. There is nothing white supremacist about Tom Woods. The man often quotes such intellectuals as Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. If you took the time to understand the philosophy he actually espouses you would see it is liberty – the idea that people are sovereign unto themselves alone. Besides, what’s wrong with the idea that that an individual can secede from government chains?

        1. Tom Woods has also been featured on this site as well as Robb Wolf’s.

    2. I enjoy hearing (not while I work out though) Dan Carlin’s hardcore history…

      1. I am also a history buff and thoroughly recommend checking out Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast.

  2. Great job Robert. I loved that you stated you are not a victim. You look fantastic and must feel like a million bucks!

  3. Great job Robert. At his moment, your second picture is exactly how I look today. I am ready for a life change. I would love to look like you in the last picture. Could you give me more details on what you were eating? How you fasted and did the eating window? What was your workout routine like? I would really appreciate your help.

    P.S. I am a teacher too. Welcome to the club. I LOVE IT!

  4. Hi Robert—amazing transformation! How did you end up with a flat stomach? I didn’t have a huge gut by every time I’ve gone down to about your level of leanness (my weight has shifted around the past year :-() there’s loose skin and residual fat. Any insights/tips will be greatly appreciated! Morgan

  5. Your body transplant looks great, didn’t realize how far the technology has come! Seriously, wonderful to see your success in transitioning to a new life.

  6. Wow Robert – not only did you lose pounds, but years too! You look so much younger. I’m hoping for some serious life changes this year – you’ve an inspiration!

  7. Congrats — as much for the career change as the body change! Completely agree that this is a process.

  8. Thanks for sharing your story Robert. You look great and I’m sure you feel great too.

  9. Wow, you look amazing, Robert, and so much younger too! You will be an inspiration to your students in more ways than one!

  10. Great stuff and what a transformation. Fridays are my favorite on the Apple. That entire pizza thing is me, and i appreciate the honesty. Also good to know that it is not impossible to get right back on track. I think not beating oneself is key for getting back on track and staying on track.

  11. “Just yesterday, I ate an entire pizza.”

    That’s awesome!

    I’m a teacher as well. It’s a pretty good lifestyle for raising a family (I’ve 5 kids) and for making health a priority. It can also be stressful and full of food temptations (think cafeteria food). As you said, it’s just a matter of not being a victim and choosing which path you’re going to take.

    Congratulations on the life transformation.

    1. Best thing about teaching is that there’s no time to eat!

  12. Robert you look fantastic! I’ve just jumped on the PB bandwagon and I am loving stories like yours. Thank you for taking pictures and documenting, it really gives us newbies motivation to keep moving forward. Thanks for inspiring!

  13. I am almost never inclined to comment on these Friday stories, as inspiring as they all are. Yours really spoke to me. It’s your incredibly positive mindset, most of all. Well done, son!

  14. What a wonderful story. Many congrats on your hard work. It really paid off. You look fantastic!!!

  15. Wow Robert, I echo the thoughts of previous comments – you look so much younger in your current photo. Can I ask, did your family change their eating habits too?

    And my favourite line from your story is “Don’t be afraid to make a wrong decision. Make the decision then take the first step.” So often we are bogged down in “should we or shouldn’t we” that time and opportunities pass us by, good on your for keeping moving and finding what works so well for you.

  16. Congrats! amazing transformation! Yours is such an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it. I’m wondering if you have tips to help avoid “friends and family” sabotage. I’m just getting started with my paleo grain and sugar free diet and I’m trying to keep my carb intake in the “losing fat zone”. I love sugar too much! My dear husband does our shopping usually and will bring home all the foods i write on the list for me.. so I’m grateful. He also brings home cookies. should I get him to hide them from me? I’m sure that soon I will have kicked the sugar habit and my cravings will subside. But…our neighbors have girl scouts and they are selling cookies!! I want this year to roll out -unlike- every other year. i want to stop going from halloween-candy to “holiday” eating to girl scout cookies to valentines chocolates to easter candies…one year-long sugar binge. thanks for the tips!

  17. Well you are a teacher on a couple of levels! Thanks for sharing that huge transformation with us.

  18. Hi Robert – great story. Now to quote King Julian of Madagascar: ” You gotta move it, move it! ” You are quite right, you gotta move not only in you body, you got to dare to take that first step. Grok on!

  19. Today is my birthday. When I woke up I took a phone in my head to check messages and clicked on Marksdailyapple. Robert, this is the most inspiring story I’ve personally ever read on this site.
    I admire that you decided to be true to yourself and instead of dragging on, bravely changed your career and your way of life. I am too in the process of change and realising that I need to accept myself and do what I believe in. Thank you for giving me wings!

  20. One of my favourite parts about the Friday real life stories is the feeling of anticipation I get when seeing someone’s “before” photo at the top of a story because I know their “after” photos at the bottom are going to be so revolutionary.

    Yours didn’t disappoint Robert – congrats on the amazing transformation!

  21. This is fantastic, Robert! Great job, and your words of wisdom are inspiring. I am contemplating a major life change, and the phrase, “Keep moving” speaks volumes to me. Thank you!

  22. Good Job. Hard work, dedication, and habit are all great for all things in life.

  23. Awesome everything: health, fitness, attitude, priorities! Congratulations and good on you!