Rejecting the Status Quo: Saying “No” to a Common Life

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story. Today, Mark’s Daily Apple reader J.P. shares an all too familiar tale: Boy is young, fit and active. Boy goes to college and parties hard. Boy gets a desk job and becomes sedentary. This is usually where the story takes a turn for the worst. But J.P., as he approached 30, took a look at himself in the mirror and realized something had to change. See how J.P. rejected becoming your typical out of shape 30 year old and grabbed control of his health in the process.

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 you send them in. Thanks for reading!

When I was in high school I was an athlete of sorts, I played football every fall in a small Texas town and did track and field in the spring. I lifted a lot of weights and did the typical high school workouts. I never really worried about food, just eating whatever came my way, but I was young and active, so I was in pretty good shape.

During college, I pretty much stopped doing intense activity. Being a typical college student, I smoked a lot of cigarettes, drank quite heavily and did not eat healthy at all. I managed to maintain a pretty decent weight though, I walked everywhere, but obviously was not in the best health due to the smoking, diet, and copious amounts of beer.

After college, I started working behind a desk in a typical office environment, I quit smoking at the request of my then girlfriend, now lovely wife. This, combined with having money to eat out, and a sedentary lifestyle, eventually led to me slowly gaining weight over the next few years.

In January of 2010, I was the heaviest I had ever been, I had about 215 pounds on my 6-foot frame – most of it in my gut. I was going to be turning 29 that August and realized that the big 3-0 was coming up next year. I decided that I DID NOT want to be the typical overweight, out of shape 30 year old.

I started running. A little at first, just a mile a day, but I kept up with it. By the summer of 2010 I was running probably 35+ miles a week. During this time I was also eating your typical CW “Healthy” diet. I ate oatmeal for breakfast, turkey subs for lunch, pasta for dinner. Everything I put it my body was low-fat, low calorie. The weight dropped off during this period. I was down to about 175 lbs, I had convinced myself that I was doing great.

In retrospect, I was miserable. I did not enjoy what I was eating, I was always hungry, and the constant cardio was wearing on me. Worst of all I had started becoming really irritable and short with people. I was essentially a skinny jerk. I’m convinced it was my diet that was affecting my mood.

I had a friend who had lost a lot of weight and was in good shape through Crossfit and a “Paleo Diet”. He got to eat stuff that looked way better than my usual fare and seemed to be doing really well. I started checking out his Crossfit’s site and was eventually led to Mark’s Daily Apple. I voraciously attacked the articles on MDA, spending free time reading all about the Primal lifestyle.

Around September – I bought a pair of Vibrams and started running in them. I began to model my workouts after things I saw on my friend’s Crossfit site and even flirted with a few Crossfit classes myself. This eventually led to running less long distances, sprinting more, doing HIIT workouts, plyometrics and lots of bodyweight exercises. I also started walking during my lunch breaks, I try to get in about 30 minutes of walking daily.

I also altered my diet… cutting out the grains, processed food, and things of that nature. No more “healthy” canned soups, frozen meals, soy milk or breads for me. I started pretty much exclusively eating meats, veggies, fruit and nuts. My wife, while she does not follow the Primal Blueprint diet, has been amazingly supportive and is great about it. I also have started cooking most of our dinners, I figured that I should cook for her rather than force her to make meals based on my dietary restrictions. She has kind of inadvertently become 80/20 Primal just by association!

But I digress. After the first few months I saw noticeable differences in my attitude and my body also began to change. Whereas before I had lost weight, I was not strong and had very little muscle definition. Now I started to see muscles appearing; I was becoming “ripped”. I actually gained weight going Primal, most of it muscle. More importantly I started to become more patient with people, most importantly my wife, and overall felt better emotionally. I literally was becoming happier!

So now it’s April. For the last few months I have pretty much cut out nuts and fruit from my diet also. I love going to the store and purchasing food and preparing it. I also recently started Muay Thai boxing which has been a blast. My weight has pretty much held solid at 185 for the last 6 months or so, and I feel great.

The best thing about this transition I made is just how simple it is. I’m no scientist, I can’t explain how omega 3/6 ratios work. I don’t really know what glycogen stores are, and I don’t worry about it either. I just know that this works, and I plan on sticking with it. I also don’t worry about being perfect. I have a sweet tooth and will grab a slice of cake sometimes; I eat it and move on. I don’t stress about things like that anymore, and they don’t seem to affect me too much. While being Primal can sometimes be a little odd (I have had to explain it to my in-laws and co-workers quite a few times), and I sometimes get weird looks wearing Vibrams and doing pull ups on tree limbs in the park, it’s worth it.

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