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...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
January 24 2014

My Entire Attitude and Outlook on Life Has Been Altered by This Lifestyle

By Guest
139 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!

I should have been happy, I was sitting around a dinner table at a restaurant enjoying a martini with my step-father and talking with the rest of my family. I reached for another roll (I skipped the butter of course) but before I could even take a bite I was lightheaded, dizzy to the point that I had to leave the table. In the bathroom of the restaurant I almost passed out – I had no idea what was wrong with me. What I didn’t know is that I was bleeding inside, and the amount of bleeding was significant. The next day after my morning throne time I noticed that the entire bowel movement was blood – this repeated three times that morning. After a long night in the hospital and a halfhearted diagnosis of “bleeding ulcer” I was discharged and told to see a specialist. The pain and sickness wasn’t new, neither were the intense headaches, but everything was getting worse.

I was at the end of a six year military enlistment and had been unable to pass the physical requirements that year; nobody, including myself could figure out why. About six months before, I was running 15+ miles a week and living in the gym.  Now I couldn’t run the required two miles in the allotted time, it wasn’t even close, I had to stop multiple times during the run just to catch my breath before soldiering on for another few hundred yards. I felt such immense shame but it was just the beginning. At the age of 28 my health was collapsing – only a year prior I was in great shape and very active. Below is a photo of my girlfriend (now my wife) and I about a year before I started getting symptoms.

David and Girlfriend

My energy levels, strength and endurance had been collapsing steadily for months – the only other change in my health at the time was intense abdominal pain. After further misdiagnosis my frustration was growing; I couldn’t live the active lifestyle I was enjoying prior to this sickness and the feeling that this was the way I was going to have to live my life was leading me into a deep depression. Weight started to pile on and my physical, emotional and mental health was collapsing. Something had to give.

David and Wife

Finally something did give, my appendix. I woke up in the middle of the night with a sharp pain in a new spot. I knew almost instantly what this was and woke my fiancée (now my lovely wife) and through clenched teeth, told her I needed to go to the ER. At the ER check in I told the nurse what I believed was the problem and then sat to wait for close to an hour. When I was taken in the doctor ran some confirmatory tests and told me what I already knew – appendicitis. Prior to surgery they needed to run blood tests – and this is where it hit the fan. The doctor returned to my room and asked me if I had been “wounded” lately. When I asked for clarification he suggested stab wounds, gun shots or severe lacerations as possible causes for the 7% hematocrit reading he got from my blood samples (normal levels for men are in the 40-50% range).

Amid growing concern I received multiple transfusions over the course of the next several hours before the surgeon went in to remove the pieces of my now ruptured appendix. This entire situation led to several meetings with a new GI specialist. During these meetings over the course of the next few months I asked repeatedly about potential dietary causes to which the only response was – you tested negative for Celiac-Sprue. Eventually we arrived at a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. This diagnosis led to a feeling of bitter relief. I was relieved to “know” what the cause was even if it meant that I was stuck with this horrible condition for the rest of my days. At the very least I knew what had been causing my health to steadily deteriorate for the past 4-5 years.

The next few years were spent trying different ineffective medications and closely monitoring my bleeding induced anemia – on a good day I could get a reading in the 20-25% range, still a long way from normal. My activity levels continued to decline, and the resulting depression, inflammation and sedentary lifestyle were causing my weight to balloon and my attitude continued to deteriorate. The extra work my heart was having to do to pump my anemic blood faster and harder was leading to blood pressure problems which caused the doctors to prescribe additional medications to alleviate this symptom.

It was a discussion with a gluten sensitive coworker that caused me to revisit the idea that this could be dietary. She described her symptoms prior to eliminating gluten and they mirrored my own – I began to do some research into gluten free living and at roughly the same time my wife suggested I look into this “paleo” diet. There seemed to be a wealth of information available about this particular gluten free lifestyle so I set out to build an exceptionally rigid paleo nutrition plan – I would find out for sure one way or another if this was something I could control myself. It was during this time that I discovered MDA and The Primal Blueprint.

The principles set forth in The Primal Blueprint simply made sense to me. I am a biologist by education with a hobbyist’s interest in evolutionary biology. It would seem this lifestyle was tailor made for me – if by name alone! By this point I had been paleo for a couple of weeks and was already seeing promising signs. Sure, weight was coming off but what was more important to me was the way I was feeling.

It took my body about three to four weeks to “feel” adapted. Eating clean like this was causing all sorts of changes for me. I noticed my ability to taste the subtleties in food was becoming stronger. I attribute this to the absence of all the processed garbage which was creating “noise” for my taste buds. Without all the noise I could enjoy the taste of the food that these additives and their accompanying outrageous sugar and sodium levels had been masking all this time. Other physical changes manifested themselves across an entire spectrum of benefits ranging from dry skin on my elbows going away for the first time in years to the holy grail of my quest – absence of abdominal pain. The inflammation and bleeding had stopped. It is something we obviously take for granted, the ability to eat a meal and not double over in pain. After living that way for years, to not feel gutshot every time I eat is incredible, it still defies description.

Energized by these positive developments I began to exercise, slowly at first – just 20 minutes at a time on the treadmill. I began to up this amount as my strength began to return. It was at this point that I knew I had made the first correct decision about my health that anybody had made in years. From this point on, every small change I made to get myself more in-line with a Primal lifestyle was yielding benefits and they were all complimenting each other. My exercise routine changed from 20 minutes on the treadmill to 30 minutes of outside running, to running longer distances 4+ times a week (bordering on chronic cardio) to my current routine of HIIT days alternating with heavy lift days with shorter runs, swims and hikes thrown in for good measure. I was weighing myself every day, but more to develop an understanding of my body than to monitor weight loss – which was occurring at a steady pace.

My entire attitude and outlook on life has been altered by this lifestyle. The gift of being able to challenge myself physically has been returned to me, and it isn’t a gift that I intend to squander. I’ve developed an addiction to obstacle racing! Here is a picture of me crossing the finish line at the 2013 Spartan Beast world championship race in Killington Vt. For perspective – only 8 months prior I was 115 lbs heavier and so anemic I couldn’t ascend a flight of stairs – my heart would pound so hard that it shook my torso. This race was 12-14 miles long up and down the mountain all day with 40+ obstacles.

Spartan Race

It is almost a year to the day since my first steps down this path, although to be perfectly honest my weight hasn’t fluctuated in months. I just had to wait to get my physical results before I submitted this, I wanted the data for that side by side comparison.

Results

It is easy to focus on what I lost during a period of change like this (115 lbs, an array of worthless medications, and frequent headaches) but it is far more valuable to focus on what I gained – energy, confidence, health, speed, strength, vitality and youth; like a phoenix born from the ashes of my prior life.

David Before

Before

David After

After

Sitting down to write this story brought in to stark focus exactly how long and challenging this period of my life has been. Undiagnosed for years, misdiagnosed for even longer – I lost nearly a decade of my most vital years (28-37) because I wasn’t confident enough to make my own decisions about my health. No more, my vitality is mine to control. I know this lifestyle has its fair share of critics and doubters and while I have a hefty repertoire of arguments, counterarguments and even my own openly expressed data sets (see above) I don’t engage in debate. If there is anything this experience taught me it is that there is nobody with a bigger stake in your well-being than yourself, and it is up to you to not only make the change, but to commit to it. It isn’t easy – but it is simple.

It is wonderful to know, that when people do finally reach the point where they know a change is required – there is a wealth of information and a supportive community here at MDA waiting to help them through the metamorphosis. This is something I hope to provide as well with my own upcoming blog dedicated to Primal living. Thanks for reading!

TAGS:  guest post

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

139 thoughts on “My Entire Attitude and Outlook on Life Has Been Altered by This Lifestyle”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I am a daily lurker here and at other Paleo/ Primal blogs. My transfomation has been slow do to my own issues that I need to fix. What amazes me is the amount of negativity that is shown towards this lifestyle. When you read these stories and visually see the AMAZING transformations.. HOW can anyone not think this is the way to live?

    What an amazing life change!

    1. It’s not so amazing (the negativity) when you realize that there is no money to be made from it in the form of diet shakes, bars and membership fees. Conventional Wisdom says that Weight Watchers and Slim Fast at he best .
      What a joke! We know better though.

      1. The anti-capitalism mini-rant is every bit as stupid and childish as the brain-dead criticisms of Paleo eating. Mark Sisson engages in plenty of capitalism, in case you didn’t notice. He doesn’t live by begging for handouts, does he?

        There are tons of money to be made from being a Paleo business. You buy your Paleo foods and ingredients somewhere, don’t you? You buy your active lifestyle clothes somewhere, don’t you?

        The problem of cynicism about Paleo is not one of money or markets. It’s one of government-backed (and endorsed) idiocy. It is a deeply-embedded cultural problem and doctors, as a group, are as guilty of endorsing it as anyone else.

        There is also the psychological problem that the vast majority of people have with admitting that they were wrong or duped about something important or seemingly “common sense” — you know, like their own health and diet. Weight Watchers and Slim Fast aren’t attempting to do any harm to anyone — they are simply well-intentioned idiots like most of their clients. If more and more people demand more and more Paleo, the market will respond and its overall face will change.

  2. WOW! Great story, and another sad testament on modern medicine.

  3. Goosebumps, my man. Goosebumps. Truly excellent story – thank you so much for sharing!!!

  4. I wish this success story could be printed onto the side of every box of processed food at the grocery store. Absolutely amazing. What comes to mind is a phoenix rising from the ashes. I hope you can look at it not as 9 wasted years but as a well-documented extreme transformation that will convince many other people that they can be transformed, too.

    I still can’t get over the fact that so many “GI specialists” don’t know anything about food.

    1. Yeah, it’s not just GI specialist, it’s 95% of so called healthcare professionals. They just can’t seem to put their heads around that our biggest environment input, food, has the biggest effect on our health. It is as if they all came to an agreement to ignore the tragic effect the SAD is having on us to support wheat farmers in Kansas.

  5. Amazing results and story! Fantastic transformation! Grok on, man!

  6. Regarding those before and after pics, afraid I’m going to need an affidavit attesting that it’s the same guy… just kidding! Your story is truely an inspiration. Congrats.

  7. Amazing! I just had to pick my chin up off my desk. Good for you. Enjoy your newfound health and wellness.

  8. “If there is anything this experience taught me it is that there is nobody with a bigger stake in your well-being than yourself, and it is up to you to not only make the change, but to commit to it. It isn’t easy – but it is simple”.

    Great attitude and you look fantastic – the picture of health

  9. Fantastic! I am totally envious of your transformation. I need to get serious about my own transformation. Totally motivating.

  10. One of the best success stories I’ve read! Very inspiring!

    Awesome job man!

  11. This is an amazing story. You look great, but it’s probably nothing compared to the way you feel. I have crohn’s too. Isn’t it truely amazing how you can get used to that kind of pain every day and that you lived with the “fact” that you would never feel any better than that? It’s like you get a second chance at life and now you can truely appreciate your good health.

    1. You are so right. That you can just accept pain like that as part of life is pretty amazing. I didn’t want to let myself believe I wasn’t having stomach pains for the first few days, as if acknowledging the improvement would summon the pain back!

      To second chances!

  12. So glad you got it figured out early! Wishing you a lifetime of good health. 🙂

  13. Thank you for a wonderful success story and congratulations! Loved the before and after pics.

  14. What is there to say but WOW! What a great story, the most inspiring yet! I am so happy for you and your lovely wife also!

  15. From one soldier to another…GOOD JOB! Your high speed again!

  16. I love MDA and the success people have! Awesome recovery and thriving on top of it! I am glad you feel so good now. Kinda gives me envy. I have learned a lot thanks to Mark. I have also learned it is not for me to go all in with it. I better understand what is good for me, though.

  17. Congratulations and good for you! What I love best about your story is your emphasis on taking responsibility for your own health and making the commitment to educating yourself and putting into practice what you’ve learned. It’s truly sad that so many people don’t make this connection. Yours is a truly inspiring story.

    Here’s a thought – could you imagine how the health insurance, pharma and healthcare industries would be transformed if we all made this same commitment? No more astronomical health care bills, no more pricey prescriptions to pay for, no more health insurance companies holding the upper hand – I wish more people would educate themselves.

    One last thing – your former fiance, now wife – is a very lucky woman!

    1. Hah – the pharmas and health care companies would HATE IT. They make their money off of sick people, after all. Not to mention the beverage industry (which just last week sent out a “scientific” press release saying diet soft drinks are part of a “healthy” dieting strategy – contradicting a rigorous study done by Johns Hopkins Medicine saying they contribute to weight gain…)

      ** steps off soapbox and back onto yoga mat **

  18. You, sir, are a beast!!! I imagine with all you had to go through to finally find your health, you are now unstoppable. Congratulations!

  19. Just. Wow. I have been reading Friday stories for 2 years, and yours, my friend, is what this is all about.

  20. I get monthly solicitations from the AMA to join, as I’m sure do 85% of physicians who are not AMA members.

    Until they embrace grain-less diet as the gold standard not just for diabetic patients but for general population, they can count me out.

    1. “Until they embrace grain-less diet as the gold standard not just for diabetic patients but for general population, they can count me out.”

      That’s a bit optimistic. But if they got to the point where they were recommending that overweight and obese patients should severely limit grains that would be something. Half a loaf, is better than none.

      1. No loaf is better than half a loaf, unless it’s meat loaf.

  21. Crazy story. That’s one the lowest crits I’ve seen. I’m doing the Spartan race tomorrow in Temecula for the first time. I signed up to do it last year but I got appendicitis a week out. This year everything looks good to go. Can’t wait!

  22. Isn’t cholesterol of 177 a little low, isn’t the minimum death rate about 200-200?

    1. Actually, the docs get more upset if your over 200 – 220 (and that difference can be seen running the same blood sample twice on the same instrument). Lower isn’t bad. They focus more on the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ pieces. Don’t forget the triglycerides matter a great deal and that change rocked!!!

      1. Exactly! Those tryglycerides went from really bad to extremely superior! That’s the thing that caught my eye hugely.

        I love the second to last paragraph. AMEN: “No more, my vitality is mine to control.” We are grownups here and we know what is working.

  23. I haven’t ever posted here, but I have a wonderful excuse to now. Having just given a talk at the company I work for on this subject (Primal), it is an absolute joy to hear feedback of what life-changing information this is to people. Your story brought tears to my eyes. So happy you chose to fight and rise from the ashes. All the best to you!

  24. You absolutely rock man! Those years you lost are going to be followed by what you rightfully deserve, the best ones of your life. Dig in!

  25. WELL DONE! I also have been reading these Friday stories for a while but must say this is a story that resonates with me quite a bit!

    I’ve recently been going to one doctor to the next trying to fix all the different ailments I was experiencing with my stomach, fatigue, and variety of other frustrating symptoms. After a year and a half of expensive tests, medications and no real change in how I’m feeling, I come to the realization that none of those conventional doctors are trying to actually CURE me and are just trying to treat the symptoms. At that point (a few months ago) I took charge as well and have been adamant about putting my health first with the right information and the right professionals. At 27, I’m happy I have the tools to be healthy otherwise you and I could’ve had a similar possibly “lost decade” of life! I’m just now starting to feel better and I’m really looking forward to getting my energy back and working out again!

    Well done on your success and thank you for sharing with us! Great inspiration!

  26. “there is nobody with a bigger stake in your well-being than yourself, and it is up to you to not only make the change, but to commit to it. It isn’t easy – but it is simple” – well said man!

    Awesome transformation, both from a physical standpoint to a health standpoint!

  27. Based on the change in your face alone, I can see you are now a healthy person. Congratulations on discovering your key to optimum health!

  28. Another WOW for our Friday post. Thanks for sharing this for all the people who have been led astray by the “no, it’s not your diet” lie that health officials like to give us.
    I have so many friends and co-workers that could benefit from this way of living but are not interested in taking over their own health care. Sigh, I will still encourage them to benefit themselves in any way I can.
    Thanks again for sharing your story!

  29. You’re an animal dude! I mean this in the best way possible, of course. Congrats on your transformation and successes!

  30. Excellent recovery – well done! Thanks for sharing such a great story.

  31. Wow, what an amazing transformation story! Congratulations on finding the answers and regaining your health. May you have many, many more years of health and happiness.

  32. I would love to know- What did your doctor have to say about your health changes?

    1. That is a story unto itself. He was pleased to see less of me but I was surprised by how little he inquired. I got my oil changed the same day and remember recalling to my wife that night that I got asked more questions by my mechanic than I did by my doctor.

      1. Same with me! I’ve been maintaining an 80 pound weight loss for 25 years, and doctors are never interested in how I did and do it!

  33. Boy, oh boy…is this story familiar! Taking charge of one’s own health…a simple concept, yet one we rarely engage with until something forces us to. I have my own story to tell…maybe later…but this story is absolutely spot-on. There are times I feel our country’s way of life is insane, with medical “intervention” taking priority over common sense, and like the subject of this story, I believe it’s up to us to take control. No one will make your life a priority except you.

    Thanks for the inspiration, and confirmation of my own belief…awesome.

  34. Outstanding job, going from life threatening illness to Superman in a single year! I thought I’d seen it all on here but your story pretty much tops them all. Imagine a nation of super fit individuals like yourself, we could do it if we were properly educated instead of medically misled. It’s criminal.

    Oddly enough I am recently familiar with hematocrit counts because my very athletic 6 yr old dog was diagnosed with immune induced hemolytic anemia about 6 weeks ago after I observed blood in his urine. He is currently taking massive doses of prednisone and immune suppressants to stop the destruction of red blood cells by his own immune system. It’s truly an awful thing, his red cell count has come back up to 35 now but he is debilitated by the drugs which we will begin to reduce now. He was 95 lbs of super dog in his prime when he got ill, always thrived on high quality grain free dog kibble. They say this was most likely caused by his recent 4 way booster vaccination. He only got down to 24%, normal for dogs is 37 to 54.

    At 7% you must have been very close to anemic organ failure and hemolytic collapse. Maybe the appendicitis was a blessing to get you into the ER, I think at 7% the transfusions saved your life. It blows my mind that you were able to go on for years at those anemic levels and that diet and exercise were enough to turn this serious condition around. Did you ever find a particular serious food allergy that was causing the anemia? Were you able to confirm it was gluten related?

    I salute you and wish you all the best!

    1. My dog had lupus and would always get very serious flare ups after being vaccinated. It took me years to put the two together. I stopped vaccinating her and she stopped having flare ups. Not looking to have a discussion about vaccine safety – just saying this was our experience.

    2. I’ve thought about how the appendicitis incident may have saved me. Life is crazy like that sometimes! As for specific allergens, definitely gluten. There have been a couple of dining out incidents that caused almost immediate problems.

      All the best to you!

  35. Duude. Well done. Great story.

    Did you ever go back to that GI specialist and help him see the light?

  36. Oh my flippin’ heck! After reading success stories for three years I can still be amazed. Congratulations on figuring it out and taking control of the rest of your life. You look fantastic and I’m so happy that your health is back. Now spread the word and Grok on!

  37. Damn, all those doctors are pretty much worthless. Great job figuring it out on your own. Loved the story.

    1. Yup, that’s a common thread in these success stories – doctors don’t help.

      “Doc, I’m bleeding toilet-fulls of blood!”

      “Uh, okay. Take this anti-inflammatory and go home.”

      What a nightmare. And we’ve read these stories over and over. People out there are very sick and the establishment doesn’t know what to do, or they make it worse. An acquaintance of mine had her appendix and gall bladder out and now she’s on chemo for auto-immune disease. She still eats grains. Another friend had his gall bladder out a few years back. He still eats grains.

      Auuuugggghhh!

  38. Well done brother! Thanks for articulating the “I don’t engage in debate” part. That truly resonated with me.

  39. It’s not easy but it’s simple.

    BRILLIANT!!!

    Congrats man. You look amazing and obviously feel even better

    1. I love this too… putting a copy of the primal pyramid on my fridge with this quote under it!

  40. Wow! What an incredible story. Thank you for helping to inspire others. God bless you and your lovely wife!

  41. Holy!!! Wicked story and stellar results. You, like many others have such an inspiring tale to tell, it makes me wonder how so many aren’t following suit. I’ve jumped off the primal wagon once in a while only to struggle to climb back on. What can I say, I like some of the pastries out there.
    Your story, and the others that are shared on Fridays, is what helps me get back on the right path.
    Thanks.

  42. Great Story! Thank you for sharing it with us and gaining your life back.

  43. Awesome story!!! You inspire people like myself trying to overcome sickness. Chronic disease can and will be defeated by healthy lifestyle changes. Take that modern medicine!!!

  44. What an amazing transformation! Could not get over the before and after photos!

  45. David,
    From one soldier to another I salute you! Hua! I too finally figured it out, but not until after I retired, though it’s never too late. Congratulations on a stunning recovery and I wish you and your wife many more years of great health and happiness. 😀

  46. I’m stunned man! Thanks for sharing your success. This is another testament to ditching the grains & medications! Congrats and best wishes to you and your family.

  47. Congratulations! The main message is the best and truest – we are responsible for ourselves and our decisions and actions. Thank you!!

  48. I have felt your pain, I feel your elation with improved health and I will use your words when sharing my story. Indeed, simple is not always easy.
    Thank you.

  49. Simply amazing! Here’s to many years of great health ahead of you to make up for those lost years.

    And thanks for your service in the US military!

  50. I didn’t expect the huge change that the last picture showed. It’s always great to see what this way of eating and lifestyle can do for people. I hope to see this trend continue and hopefully future doctors will educate themselves as well so that more people can benefit.

  51. Thanks for sharing. As a 330 pound 37 year old just starting out on Primal, you have definitely provided inspiration!

  52. Fantastic story, have to echo what everyone else has said about taking control of your own health. Always my favorite part of the stories. I am also stunned that people working in the GI field don’t seem to be open minded to diet being causative. Even without labelling it paleo, you would think they would suggest to eat “clean” – but no! Take this drug and go away. Grrr.

    Hope you don’t mind, but I am going to use your “it isn’t easy but it is simple” quote when I am telling others how I manged to get fit & healthy. It really resonates with me.

    And by the way, try not to think of your years 28/37 as “lost”, but rather as part of your journey. If you hadn’t been on that journey (as awful as it was) you wouldn’t have the knowledge and experience to either see the improvement, or contrast the wellness you have acquired with the illness you were suffering. It is part of what makes us who we are.

  53. Congratulations on solving your medical crisis and coming back stronger than ever! You look amazing. I am so glad you and your wife found this lifestyle. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us.

  54. Hello all, this is my story. To be honest I wasn’t sure how it would feel to put a story like this online but you have all made me happy that I did. The idea that my story could inspire some people thrills me.

    Thank you!

    1. inspire is an understatement. Its 1 am and it makes me wanna go outside for some sprints (its <40 F)

  55. A truly inspiring story! What a turn-a-round!! I’m trying too and you are so correct when you said “it’s not easy but it is simple”!

  56. First of all, thank you for your service! Second, your quads. Are. Amazing. Keep it up, and thanks for sharing your story.

  57. WOW! You look like you’re about 15 years younger! And those muscles! and that confidence! This is an amazing story.

  58. This story has absolutely inspired me on a day I needed inspiring. Amazing stuff. Thank you for sharing!

  59. Every week I am humbled and astounded at the power of primal living. You look awesome Grok on

  60. The last two paragraphs really hit home with me – so many people repeatedly tell me that I need to loosen up and live life, that I’m wasting the best years of my life worrying about what I’m eating… what they don’t realize is just how crummy these years will be if I don’t control my body’s FUEL, and just how great these years are capable of being!

    Your transformation is great and inspiring! Keep it up! =)

  61. You should play 47 in the next movie, you are perfect now!

  62. I echo what every other commenter has posted here….amazing, and wonderful inspiration

    It is depressing and debilitating whilst going through ‘hell’ when still young to see your body fall apart and the so called medical professionals not know how to truly help you….its a very isolating place. And it can bring out anger as you said you missed out on years that should have been your peak because of their incompetence……but I am glad to see you have a positive mindset and leave that in the past

    Heres to you and your wife and to long happy, truly healthy lives together <3

    *and natural hairy chests ROCK…so SO sexy ;)*

  63. This is an awesome transformation, congratulations!! Seeing blood in your stool is so scary and I remember having that happen––sometimes very severely––during my high-fiber/grain Food Pyramid days. I can’t say that I had Crohn’s or a related disorder, but it was definitely digestive distress, and I totally relate to that relief feeling of when you realize you won’t have to worry about that happening anymore and can just enjoy a meal!

    Question: what is your favorite fat?

    [Mark, I think it would be cool/interesting for each success story to answer a few fun food-related questions like that in the future!]

    1. I think that is a great idea Sam!

      I am an avocado nut. Each day starts with a half dozen eggs, an avocado and whatever pre chopped veggies I have. I also cook with coconut oil frequently and use olive/avocado oils for salad dressings.

      1. Solid! Ever considered getting a fully-grown, cold-hardy dwarf avocado tree? They do take some TLC but apparently they can pump out like 20-30 avocados a season! http://www.fast-growing-trees.com is where I got mine, could be a worthwhile investment for you given your love of avocados!

        1. Until now I had not considered growing my own. I will definitely be looking into it now though! Thanks for the tip!

  64. Hi,

    My name is Nizam from Malaysia.Congratulations on your success.I’ve only been primal for about 3 months and I’ve down around 10 kgs or around 20 pounds.I never felt this great before..

    I never miss to come here every week as success stories fuels my strength to keep moving on with this lifestyle in a country where rice and grain are the staple food.

    Congrats to Mark and co. for all your hard work and dedication.

    You guys are the best…

  65. I needed a story like that today…you look like Grok with a haircut ! Thank you!

  66. I am one week in. Still sedentary. Waiting for my machine to be delivered. I had a wake up call and started to do some research. Discovered Paleo, then Primal. Decided on Primal. Waiting for the book. I am an overweight 58 year old woman who has a TON of life yet to live. I appreciate your story AND your ability to write well. I also appreciate knowing it took about a month to really turn it around in how you felt. My taste is more appreciative of real flavors. That is the only change I am noticing just yet. Don’t own a scale so am not going crazy about numbers, but my apple belly hasn’t changed yet bc my pants are fitting the same. I found your story very encouraging. Thank you.

  67. One of my friends has Crohns. She has had it since she was a teenager. She had a flair-up recently and can not get better. Her specialist has referred her to another specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. I have made mention to her before about ditching grains- no interest. Funny thing- she posted on Facebook about seeing this new specialist and a few other people chimed in, asking if she had tried a gluten-free diet. No response. I would love to send her this article, but she is putting so much faith in doctors and medicine, that she won’t consider this. I’m hoping one day (soon), she will realize…

    “If there is anything this experience taught me it is that there is nobody with a bigger stake in your well-being than yourself, and it is up to you to not only make the change, but to commit to it. It isn’t easy – but it is simple.”

  68. Your story brought me to tears; I can only imagine the pain you were going through and to find relief and a new outlook on life just makes me so happy for you and yours. Cheers to your new health and happiness!

  69. This is the most moving MDA success story I’ve read. It is just incredible – and I’m wondering what your doctors’ reactions have been?

    I have a history of obesity; I lost 80 pounds over 25 years ago – but never felt well or energetic. I was always dragging; I’d literally will myself to walk and walk – this for years! It’s only now with this type of diet – and I’m 58 – that I’m feeling something resembling normal energy.

    Unfortunately, I can’t get my body truly thin; I’d have to be starving, and that’s no good. But, like you I know I’ve found the right way to eat, and having decent energy is enough, is a huge gift. A little chubby is okay. Congratulations. Your story is incredibly inspiring, and I look forward to reading your blog – I hope Mark will provide a link to it when it’s up. Wonderful!

  70. I’m curious… what is your Hct running these days?

    I’m a lab rat… clinical testing in a hospital(would have FREAKED out seeing a 7 Hct on a man your age!).

    I see lab results and read diagnoses/histories and totally want to go to the patient’s bedside and just hand them a card with the MDA website. Or a copy of Primal Blueprint! It kills me that SO many patients coming through the doors will not learn of any of this.

    Amazing transformation! Congrats!

  71. Scary how often I hear of people who get a negative test for coeliac but still get their health and life back by cutting out gluten altogether …… albeit against their doctor’s advice! It can be quite a challenge but also very liberating to go against the establishment and take responsibility for your own health.

    Good on you and thank you for taking the time to share.

  72. It is a rare doctor that will look to dietary changes to help a medical problem. I have only met two, and, of course, they are into Paleo and CrossFit themselves so they practice what they preach. I wonder why it takes hitting rock bottom to make the change. Why can’t more people read up about Primal/Paleo and make the change BEFORE they get to this point? Very sad, but kudos to all of the Friday MDA game-changers! You inspire us all.

  73. It’s a sad commentary on health and health care in general when young people are given a handful of medication and treated like they are decades older than they are because being obese and sick in your twenties is considered normal. Great post and congrats!

  74. Quick note on the blood test. There is absolutely NO way you would be alive with a hematocrit of 7%. There is No Way. You would be dead. You most likely had a hemoglobin of 7 g/dl. This is still very dangerous BTW. Hematocrit is roughly about 3 x your hemoglobin so most likley it was ~21%. Which is again dangerously low. Often time medical professionals will show an “H&H” which is a hemoglobin and hematocrit. Though they are very similar they are different lab values. But love the story nonetheless!
    Source: I’m a APRN

    1. 7% was what I was told when I was hospitalized with appendicitis. It was a single measurement followed immediately by 3 transfusions and a week long hospital stay. Regular readings after this event were in the low 20s. I am positive it was not a hemoglobin reading.

      1. Apologies for any confusion, my comment info must be different on my tablet.

        Meea, I’m actually happy you brought this up. I was trying to understand the timing of that reading. Would it make sense that somebody who was at 20% already who then had their appendix burst could drop that low? That was the only time it dropped that low, the readings for the following months were in the low 20s.

      2. I had a hematocrit of 7 too (decades ago now). I wore a Holter (cardiac) monitor for 24 hrs, and had lots of tachycardia. I was still teaching tai chi three nights a week and working (a desk job) every day. {shrug} I was beyond exhausted and the thing that finally drove me to the doc was climbing a hill after class panting my lungs out and my poor heart was pounding so hard it was trying to jump out of my chest. I’m sure a part of it was hypothyroidism (which I only learned about some 20 years later) and, of course, my diet was crap! (mostly pasta with butter and grated cheese with either burger or {wince} soy hotdogs cut into it. I’m not sure a 7 hematocrit is necessarily a death sentence; but fer shure it’s VERY unhealthy. Whether someone that low is dead or merely close to incapacitated may depend on the person…

  75. Fantastic story. Your “debating” style is precisely the same as mine. When I say paleo has worked wonders for me and others argue that it’s a weird fad, my response is always the same: if a grain-intensive diet is working for you – if you are as lean, happy and healthy as you want to be – hooray for you! Keep it up! It never worked for me, so giving it up was a worthwhile experiment.

  76. Thank you for posting your story. It gives me so much hope. I have been reading this site off and on for a year dabbling in this. Your story is the tipping point for me. My doctor appt. today was an annual check-in for my hyperthyroidism which is “under control”. I feel like crap, am incredibly lethargic and have gained 30+ lbs since I have been “regulated”. I am done and want to feel better!

    My journey to wellness begins with this post. Thank you again.

  77. Awesome story man! Thanks for spending the time to share it with everyone. Even though I do not have any of those problems you were having, it was still very inspiring.

  78. I love this story!! I love your line that “it’s not easy, but it’s simple” this is so true!! I struggle every day, but know it will get easier.

  79. Wow! I have tried half heartily tried to live Primal, but I’m inspired by this story. Doc tells me I’m borderline diabetic so I’ve decided to stop playing games and venture 100% in living the Primal lifestyle. I’ll keep you all posted.

  80. Beautiful, well-written story with a happy ending and good pictures! What could be better?

  81. A very AWESOME and every more INSPIRING story to continue to embrace this lifestyle. When I first started last July I didn’t fully grasp the true benefits if you follow the way. I just recently finished the 30 day Paleo with all gusto and honesty and I’m proud to say I’m went from a size 20/22 last year to being able to wear size 16 Petite in slacks and jeans. The feeling is awesome and I owe it all to my Chiropractor, Dr. James Matthews, who first introduced me to Paleo. I’ve made strides I never thought possible. Will be able to handle a knee replacement redo healthier and lighter next month. Thank you. I have read the Primal Blueprint and will be reading up on the Primal 90 Day Journal and 21 Day Total Body Transformation while recovering at the hospital and home. Once I get the medical clearance I plan to get back to my exercising in earnest. Continued success to all.

  82. Thank you for sharing your story. I have had Crohn’s disease for almost 20 years, with a resection done 10 years ago. I feel like portions of your story are so familiar and it continues to blow my mind that modern medicine will not embrace diet changes with inflammatory bowel disease or many other diseases for that matter.

    Over the last 1 1/2 years I have enjoyed better health through paleo/primal and crossfit. I know I have a long way to go, and that most of the time I just need to buckle down. Reading your story provides that inspiration. I have Crohn’s, Crohn’s doesn’t have me!
    Thank you 🙂

  83. I love these stories. As others have said, it seems to me that well-intentioned weight-loss ‘experts’ have been neglecting overall health as the starting point to a weight loss programme. I am so impressed with this story, both for its scientific info as well as the poster’s faith in himself. That’s as inspiring as the weight loss story. I sincerely wish you a long and healthy life. 🙂

  84. It’s Summer 2017…Thanks for the Motivation and the Pictures that show the transformation!
    Best,
    Kiwi