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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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September 21 2018

Reversing Half a Century of Poor Diet

By Mark Sisson
16 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!

My weight issues started in my teens, and each year added another few pounds. Seasonal allergies that started at 18 months of age did not help, as I discovered that eating sweet things made me feel better. By the time I reached my mid-forties I was having sinus infections at least twice a year, episodes of IBS, sleep apnea, rosacea, and allergies that defied every drug I could throw at them.

About that time one of my neighbors, a runner, was recovering from surgery and asked me to walk with him. After a few days of this he was back to running and convinced me to run as well. Eventually I got to the point where I could run for two miles without collapsing. The neighbor moved, but I kept running with our two family dogs. I had yet to achieve any meaningful weight loss, but I ran anyway.

By chance I happened across a book in which the author listed a lot of symptoms that mirrored my own. His theory, the basis of the book, was that people who were allergic to mold would tend to overeat foods that contained yeast, leading to many health problems. I decided to try his dietary recommendations, which were quite simple—don’t eat anything that has yeast in it. By default this eliminated most grains and sugars. I was now accidentally almost Primal, but clueless about it!

The weight that seemed intractable suddenly started falling off. In a matter of months I went from my all-time high of 235 pounds down to 174. Friends and family teased me about eating “roots and leaves”, though my food was far from ideal. I quit eating anything with yeast, but ate tons of white rice and both sugar-full and sugar-free soda. Daily running mostly kept up with my eating and I was the healthiest I’d been in years.

About this time our business had grown to the point where we started to win incentive trips to places like London, Vienna, and Paris. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience the cuisine in those places, so I ate whatever I wanted. Miraculously I had no symptoms. I was cured, or so I thought.

Year by year the pounds kept creeping back. Stress from the business was also taking away time for running and soon I was within 10 pounds of my all-time high. Retirement gave me back some time, but I found myself a lot more comfortable walking rather than running. I was also having problems with Candida, something I was diagnosed with before my yeast-free stint.

My wife and I decided to try new diets to lose the weight of the years. Trying vegetarianism didn’t lose us any weight. The Candida Diet did achieve some weight loss, but left us wanting more in every sense. Next came outright fasting, not eating anything one day each week. That didn’t help much either. All of these diets came from researching on the Internet. Finally I stumbled onto the Mark’s Daily Apple website. Being a science nerd, I really liked what Mark had to say. It explained so much of what I had experienced trying to lose weight. We jumped on the Primal bandwagon with enthusiasm.

After 18 months of eating what I thought was Primal, I managed to get back to my “You’re OK” weight of 195. That got me to where I was at 21, but I didn’t feel that it was where I should be, even though my doctor said I was one of her healthiest patients. Daily reading of Mark’s blog brought keto into focus, and I realized that my interpretation of Primal included far too much fruit. In February, 2018, I started the Keto lifestyle, with the aid of Mark and Brad’s book.

Four months later I’m now at 168 pounds, the lowest since high school. My jeans have gone from a size 38, lie-down-to-fasten, to a size 34 that can be removed without unfastening. But that’s just the beginning. After 68 years of suffering with allergy, I have stopped ALL allergy medications and have no appreciable symptoms. My health at 70 is the best it has ever been, and of all the “seniors” that I know I’m the only one who has no prescriptions. We walk a 5k every day, in all weather. My resting pulse rate is 51. I’m really looking forward to my September doctor visit for a re-check of my somewhat-high cholesterol scores, just to see what other markers have improved.

I don’t know how many years I have left, but I am certain that Mark and Brad’s teachings have ensured that they will be substantially better than the decades of eating the Standard American Diet. SAD indeed!

(Btw, for those who are wondering, Jim had this to say about the dog in both pictures, “The grand-dog is the same in both photos and he lost 2 pounds between them. That’s mainly due to increased walking, as he has pretty much always been Keto!”)

Thanks, Jim, for sharing your awesome success with us, and thanks to everyone for stopping in today. Have a great weekend, and Grok on!

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16 thoughts on “Reversing Half a Century of Poor Diet”

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  1. Great success story! Jim thanks for sharing and being such an inspiring example of the magic of changing your food!

  2. Congrats. I too have found my seasonal allergies disappeared when primal. They went away after being primal then dropping dairy, too, though yogurt might be ok, I’m not sure.

    1. me too! this was THE thing that made me stick to a primal template! I used to have debilitating seasonal allergies and now they’re gone, along with the morning stuffiness that I thought was just a part of life. I wish most people would talk about this. I still eat a little yogurt and kefir and it doesn’t seem to make a difference allergy-wise.

  3. This is by far one of my favorite stories!
    You look great!!! It’s never too late to start.

  4. Good work! There’s nothing wrong with white rice though. It’s getting a bit ridiculous how we are vilifying whole, natural foods because we have to subscribe to a certain doctrine and anything outside that protocol is “poison.”

    1. Just wondered if you are aware that rice is full of arsenic and brown is even worse than white……just sayin.

      1. And, by that same argument against rice, you really do not want to know what is in your (hopefully) organic vegetables and (fully pastured) meat. And don’t get started on what’s lurking in seafood. Definitely don’t eat seaweed or mussels (inorganic arsenic and mercury!). Yeah, you can’t escape the chemical cocktail these days, even if you grow it yourself. My neighbors sometimes hose themselves down with Roundup while attempting to mow their lawn with weed killer. I don’t eat rice for other reasons, but the chemical problem is one we are all dealing with, regardless of our rice consumption habits.

  5. Great success! Thanks for sharing Jim! I could see some of my story within yours. Kind of feels like solving the nutritional and lifestyle rubrik cube. Congratulations to you sir.

  6. Great job!

    Dogs can definitely benefit from paleo/keto style eating. Our large black lab is 11 years old with outstanding body conformation since we put him on the no grains Blue Buffalo Wilderness formulas, the beef formula seems best for him. That stuff is great, I could probably thrive on it myself!

  7. Great story, Jim. I am just about to start reading the Keto Reset book and hope I have success similar to yours.

  8. Awesome job! Thanks so much for sharing – I needed a little inspiration!

  9. I just turned 60, and many people I know that are my age are not health -conscious at all. They take multiple Rx drugs, eat crap, and don’t exercise. I gave up on dating because I’m not interested in growing old with someone — I want to grow healthier with someone! Do you have a twin brother?