Make Your Overall Wellness a Joyful Passion

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!

 As a 50-year-old attorney I had let my desk job win. I knew my diet, sleep, fitness and overall stress levels were out of control, but I didn’t quite know what to do and definitely didn’t have the motivation. Until I read Mark’s 10 Primal Laws on his blog, which changed everything. What Mark was saying just made sense. I rushed out to get the Primal Blueprint and the the Primal Connection and my life has not been the same since. A few years later, down from 260 to 175, I can say, without hesitation, that the Primal lifestyle (as supplemented now with the Keto Reset) just works! I am the fittest I have ever been, my sleep and stress levels are great, and I have more energy than ever. With my wife as a partner in healthy living, we are a dynamic duo and have, to a great extent, the Primal lifestyle to thank!

I had lost weight before, but on a higher carb diet, and without all of the other Primal lifestyle changes, I may have been lighter, but definitely not any healthier. I still had sleep trouble, stomach issues, sore joints and low energy. And, inevitably, I put the weight back on, and more. When I got up to 260 I knew I had to make a change and somehow came across Mark’s Daily Apple. The rest is history, and more than 80 lbs gone and kept off for two years! Now my energy levels are incredible, I sleep wonderfully, I have solid functional strength and mobility and have reconnected with nature and a primal lifestyle.

My single biggest piece of advice: make your overall wellness a joyful passion, an enthusiastic endeavor. If it is not something you are having fun with, it will be hard to keep it up long term. Within the wide spectrum of healthy options for food and fitness, find those that you love, that get you excited, and double down on that to get you going. Make healthy living and other life-positive inputs the center of your media consumption as well. Read books and articles, get magazines, follow fitness and health enthusiasts on your social media of choice, listen to inspiring and informative podcasts and audiobooks. Surround yourself with wellness!

Here is what worked for me:
1. cut out almost all added sugar, which I believe made the single biggest difference.
2. adopted the primal diet, low enough in carbs to occasionally get into ketosis, but not “living” there. As Mark says, staying in the Keto Zone.
3. started focusing on sleep, got some low-blue-light bulbs for reading at night, got at least 8 full hours, kept artificial light off during sleep. I wake up now naturally before 6 am full of energy!
4. getting out in the sun very early in the morning (usually at sunrise), often for a walk or morning workout, including mobility work.
5. hit the weights a few times a week and do a HIIT workout at least once a week, but just as important, take long walks almost every day, often barefoot!
6. got a stand up desk, but alternate between that and sitting and moving throughout the day. I try to walk at least 5 minutes every hour.
7. getting out for adventures in the local desert and San Diego beaches as often as possible. Stand up paddling is a new favorite, I want to make more time for that!
8. we have also gotten more adventurous with our food choices, trying new recipes, getting excited about the food we are eating!

One more thing that worked for me that is not essential, and definitely not for everyone, is self-quantification. I “game-ified” my health journey! I used an app to log my food for overall calories and macro ratios, I used a smart scale to track my weight, body fat, muscle, etc. (knowing the accuracy limitations). I tracked steps and workouts for general calorie burn. I started with all of this at first just to calibrate my awareness of these areas, but then kept going for the fun and regular motivation! Seeing the charts over time and the accumulated data has been both useful and satisfying. Again, this is not for everyone, but for me it has been a very positive approach.

Thanks to Mark and crew for pointing me in the right direction and providing tons of great content along the way! — Vance McAlister


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31 thoughts on “Make Your Overall Wellness a Joyful Passion”

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  1. what a great success story! I love the idea of game-ifying it. That’s been helpful for me too. Those charts are so satisfying! Congrats on your success!

    1. Exactly, some find the charts and numbers intimidating, distracting or downright depressing (when things are going in the right direction!), but for me it is a daily affirmation and motivator. I can definitely understand that it is not for everyone, though.

  2. Thanks, Mark! I can honestly say that I owe you a great debt of gratitude for pointing me in so many right directions!

  3. Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing what works for you. I too love the self quantification thing… my sunrise cup of coffee is testing my grip strength, HRV, RHR, serum ketones, blood sugar, mood and libido (my beautiful wife likely creates bias here). This literally is the first 5 mins of my morning… it totally works for me!

    For those of us that don’t have the low-blue-light bulbs, and don’t solely rely on firelight, the UVEX safety glasses (at least 2 hours before going to bed) are a big deal. They cost $9 and they make all the difference. For the record, we do fire and salt lamps at sunset.

    As for your #8, I’d love to hear that you’re eating some nose-to-tail items…

    1. We have added in liver and bone broth and are going to continue to try more things! You like all those measurements for self-quantification, you likely know about Ben Greenfield, a great biohacker. If not, check out his podcast, he tries everything!

      1. Oh, but Mr. Brian (Liver King) is a great biohacker himself! His mastery of the foundations and his intuition of the ancestral forces pushing our biology forward are near unparalleled. This is an era of giants.

    1. Yes, just a bit east down in the desert! We do our kayaking and SUP at Glorietta Bay on Coronado and we hope to retire up along the North County Coast!

  4. Congratulations on a successful battle with the desk! I fight that battle, too… I had not heard of low-blue-light bulbs before, and will go find some now. Thank you for that tip!

      1. Great job! There’s no link for the lights….can you repost, please? Thanks.

  5. What a great inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story.

  6. Congrats and thanks for sharing. I have been Primal for 6 years now and I too wrote to Mark Sisson at the time (Beat the Creep). As you say it is a lifestyle change and not a diet, which is why it is much easier to be successful long term.

  7. What a wonderful success story. You should feel proud. Thanks for sharing your success story and the benefits of Primal Blueprint. Your single biggest piece of advice is motivation to the other who wanted to lose their extra pounds but not started yet.