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
October 14 2011

Suicide: One Bite at a Time

By Guest
202 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 think most of us have experienced a significant occasion that, due to its life changing effects, becomes a milestone in our lives, be it graduation day, the first day of a new job , the day you first met your mate to be, your wedding day, the birth of your child, the death of a loved one, etc. One such recent occasion for me occurred on August 11, 2010 at about 4:45 p.m. while driving south on US Route 119 in Charleston, WV.

I happened to turn the radio on to a local talk show airing on WCHS Radio 580 AM, hosted by Rick Johnson. He was just concluding an interview with a fellow by the name of Mark Sisson about a book he had recently authored called “Primal Blueprint”. I heard just enough to cause me to stop at the nearest bookstore to buy the book but unfortunately they didn’t have it. So I went home and logged onto his website, “Marksdailyapple.com.”  And, as they say, “the rest is history.”

Let me back up just a bit to give you a little personal background so you might better understand why that moment in time was to prove to be so significant to me.

I grew up in a family with 12 other siblings. As long as I lived at home our family never owned a car and, as I was to discover in my teen years, we were pretty darned poor, however, we always had food on the table, a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and were far too proud to seek government assistance for anything. Our diets primarily consisted of cheap high carbs and low protein; the more expensive meat were primarily only for Sunday dinner or special occasions.  Mom was well renowned for her baking abilities. (Don’t ever tell her, but we kids used her baked goodies for bartering at school and they surely brought top dollar trades for us.) Our intake consisted of lots of bread, pb&j, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, oats, and, as I mentioned previously, an occasional serving of meat.

With no car, we managed to get plenty of exercise walking everywhere we went and we carried a lot of heavy things. We kids were the grocery mules back then. Try lugging a 25 pound bag of potatoes, 15 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of sugar, 10 loaves of bread, a basket of tomatoes, etc. home from the grocery when you are just a kid. Let me tell you, it’s a load. We also had several paper routes and delivered about 200 newspapers door to door every day. Even with that kind of diet we all managed to stay exceptionally slim (read “skinny”) growing up but we had developed good strength for our sizes as well. As an example, in Basic Training at Fort Benning, at the age of 20, I was 5’- 10” tall and weighed only 135 pounds yet I managed to finish in the top 10% or higher in my company with every physical or academic challenge they presented us.

Let’s fast forward now to my 50’s. I was now married for 30+ years, had seven kids, was a structural engineering department head for a branch office of a nationally recognized engineering firm, was heavily involved in church and school activities and was working long stressful hours at the office. We were always on the go for church, PTA, school pageants, wrestling, baseball, soccer, volleyball, and track, events which usually occurred at several different grade levels and oft times even at different schools. With so many teenagers and all of their accompanying friends to feed, we seemed to live on fast food, chips, pizza, pasta, pb&j, cake and ice cream (lots of special occasions), mashed potatoes (my personal favorite), etc. I topped out at 245 pounds but, unfortunately, I had failed to grow another foot in height to compensate for the added weight gain. I imagine that this sounds like an excerpt straight out of Ken Korg’s diary, doesn’t it?

I really didn’t mind the extra weight at first, at least now I didn’t have to listen to the old jokes about me turning sideways, sticking out my tongue and looking like a zipper or, while playing basketball, hearing, “don’t get too close to him or you might cut yourself on his ribs.” But, I didn’t like the aspect of showing up at our large family reunions and being the largest (read “fattest”) member of our family, a family who seemingly were all masters at dishing out negative humor. I was so embarrassed by my physique that I always wore long pants and a shirt, even when out in the blistering sun on the south Florida beaches.

During this time I began my prescription medication collection with pills first to control my high blood pressure, then added some more for high cholesterol and then added a couple of more for Type II Diabetes. Those combined with all of the supplements I was taking became a pretty big mouthful to swallow several times a day.

To try and gain a little control over my weight I read books on dieting, such as “Sugar Busters”, “The Atkins Diet” and “The South Beach Diet” but with my lifestyle and the fact that I was the only one attempting to diet in the family it was doomed to failure before I ever started and the diets typically lasted only a few weeks at most.

Now let’s fast forward to July of 2010. I sat in my doctor’s office following his exam. He told me that my A1C had been progressively elevating and was now at 7.1. The diabetes pills were no longer effective for me. It was time for me to escalate on to insulin injections. My cholesterol was a whopping 250 and something more needed to be done to reduce it. My EKG apparently showed some abnormalities and he was referring me to a cardiologist. My creatinine levels were also a cause for concern; it appeared that I might have Stage II kidney disease, so he was referring me to a nephrologist as well.

My dad (deceased) had Type I Diabetes which was diagnosed when he was but a teenager and my older brother has Type II Diabetes. Both had to take insulin shots several times daily and I saw firsthand what that entailed and have seen my father in diabetic comas on several occasions. Not pretty! I have also known acquaintances who have suffered eye hemorrhages and amputations due to diabetes. I feared that my health was taking a huge nose dive.

I ask that you try to put yourselves briefly into my shoes for a moment. At this time of my life I am 63 years old. My physical health was progressively failing. I had chronic back pain in both upper and lower back, elbow tendonitis, loss of bone density and terribly achy joints. I could no longer do a single push up or even a sit up. It seemed that my muscles had atrophied from sitting at a desk all day with little to no physical exercise.

My mental health was at low tide as well. Job wise, my upwardly mobile career got caught up in a failing economy and serious downsizing with huge layoffs. I could not afford to retire since my investments were taking a beating and, in order to work, I embarrassingly had to take about a 20 year backward step in my career and start anew. My kids with whom we had invested most of our time and energy were now out of the nest and on their own – they no longer needed me. I was extremely tired all the time; I didn’t sleep well at night. I had become impotent (EDS) somewhere along the way which stripped me of my sense of masculinity. I was getting more and more depressed and I really just didn’t care whether I lived or not. Living was no longer fun. I had no dreams, no future to look forward to, and had no sense of purpose. Then the doc comes along and drops this bombshell on me as well.

Suffering through all of this in quiet desperation, this was what was foremost on my mind that fateful day when I happened to tune in and hear Mark Sisson being interviewed by Rick Johnson on the radio.

I came to realize that basically I was committing suicide one bite at a time with all the “comfort” foods I was consuming. Within about three months after gradually ramping up with the Primal lifestyle I had lost 40 to 50 pounds and was off all medications except for my blood pressure meds. Technically I could still do without them but my BP would run at a high normal so I elected to cut them in half for awhile to see if I can gradually wean myself off of them via other means. I eventually got a clean bill of health from the cardiologist, the nephrologist and my family doc. They were all greatly impressed by the drastic improvements in my physical well-being, something evidently they seldom see in their line of work.

It has now been over a year since I began the Primal lifestyle. I currently weigh 175 pounds and have lost over 60 pounds since I started. My energy level is up and I find myself planning and dreaming of my future once again. Also, I no longer suffer from impotence. I believe that it most likely was a side effect of some of the meds I was taking.

Here is a recent photograph of me carrying 60 pounds of extra baggage that represents all the fat which I have lost.

My LDL is still a bit high (even the bad LDL cells) and my cardiologist suggested that I consider taking medication for it. My response to him was that he could write a prescription if he liked but I would not get it filled. I would rather drop dead right there in his office than to go back on the medications which I had previously been on and to feel the way I did back then. He said that he thought I was being a bit overly dramatic but I assured him that I truly meant every word of it. I will exhaust all other means to reduce that LDL before I will ever consider taking another prescription drug, if I even do so then.

In late December 2010 I decided to take a walk in a state forest about a 30 minute drive from home. It was late morning on a drizzly cold Sunday. The trail I chose was a rutted, dirt maintenance road up a fairly steep incline. The temperature was dropping, mud holes began to ice over and the snow started falling and covering the ground. My energy level was at an all time high. I spontaneously burst into occasional sprints up the mountain. I was alone in the forest and was in rapt awe with nature, the cold wind, the falling snow, the bare trees, and the quietness of the forest surrounding me. It seemed that every one of my sensory receptors were operating in high gear. I searched for a way to describe the keen sense of exhilaration I felt within my being. What popped into my mind was MDA’s logo of Grok charging through the forest with his spear in hand, leaping over fallen trees. The image described me perfectly in that moment. I ended up walking some 13 miles that day, the last 90 minutes of which were in the moonless blackness of deep woods after dark. Talk about a thrill. WOW!

Now, at the age of 64 there are a few things that I have finally come to acknowledge that I will never ever be able to do in this life, like play ball for the NFL, NBA, NHL, or compete in the PGA, become a jet pilot, or ever score a “10” on the LGN charts. Actually for the LGN chart, I think that I might have moved up from a negative number to maybe at least a “1” by now. I learned a long time ago that it’s not the package but what’s inside it that really matters.

I always found it so humiliating in days past when stepping out of the shower in the morning that my two dogs would roll on the floor laughing at me while they made snide remarks about my distorted overweight physique – they gave me no respect at all. Now, maybe I won’t ever rock the LGN charts but at least when I open the shower curtains now my dogs stare in open admiration at the new ALPHA MALE in their lives as they anxiously await me to see what I have in store for them that day. I love it! 🙂

I really don’t consider this to be a “success” story, but rather a “work-in-progress” story. Success to me is a destination at the end of a journey. I am still on my journey but traveling with a lot less baggage, in better mental and physical condition and with a lot more energy, than a year ago.

I will count myself successful when I can stand before my creator someday and hear Him say, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.” To me that will truly mean that I have been successful.

Mark, thank you for all that you and your tribe have done for folks like me. You are a blessing to us all. This story seems far too long to fit into your blog but at the same time I have left out so-o-o-o much more – the sense of joy, the compulsive desire to run and play, the alertness, all the great compliments from friends and associates, and the keen sense of being alive again. Sure there are still aches and pains of aging; sure there are still down days and occasional mood swings, but nothing like my life of a year ago. Again, much thanks and you have my deepest appreciation.

God bless you,

Gerry Endres

TAGS:  guest post

Subscribe to the Newsletter

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

202 thoughts on “Suicide: One Bite at a Time”

Leave a Reply

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

  1. Fantastic story! It’s never to late to change things for the better in our lives.

  2. Wow, Gerry, you look at least ten years younger than your age and even more compared with your before picture. I loved reading your story. You’re putting those dogs in their place. Congratulations!

  3. Wow! I got teary at the point of the trek through the state park and am typing this with full-on tears. I can’t get enough of success-story-Fridays! This was is fantastic! Love the fur-baby pics!! (I’ve got two mini schnauzers myself)

  4. It’s Friday & I’m crying at work…again!

    Congrats, Gerry! And thanks for your honesty. You are truly inspirational.

    1. Maybe someone will come over and wonder what the hell is going on (you should cry out loud). Then you will point them to this article and he or she will go primal. Maybe?

      1. triple ditto..that story really made me tear up…way to go Gerry!!!

  5. Gerry, I really appreciate you sharing your story. I am 56 and have been on this new way of eating for about 4 months now since I found out I was allergic to wheat, dairy and eggs. I suffered with indigestion and heartburn most of my life….all gone now over night when I went Paleo. Isn’t it wonderful to be heading uphill instead of downhill in your health. Way to go and congratulations for your resolve to make a change in your health. Awesome story, thanks again for sharing!

  6. Oh my goodness- his face looks AMAZING! So happy! Good for you—–

      1. PS – I’m so glad that after all of those years of pouring into the lives of your children that you are reaping good health and vibrancy. I hope I get the same trade off as I age!

  7. I am definitely forwarding this to my dad. He is 59 and is a mirror image of your ‘before’ story.
    I hope he can take some inspiration from this and join me on a primal path! Very uplifting!! Great job turning your life around!

  8. CONGRATS!! You look AMAZING!!!! I second the other poster who commented on how much younger you look in your recent pic…so much health and vitality! Wow. I am just so DARN happy for you!!

  9. Gerry, congratulations on your amazing transformation! You sound just like one of my family: the same upbringing, the same health problems, even the same idioms and sense of humor. Yet somehow you made this change and they, along with most of your generation, did not. I wonder why?

    You look incredible, by the way. Don’t write off the LGN just yet. 63 is still young, contrary to cultural propaganda. You’ve only been at this for two months. Imagine two years!

    There are many awesome quotes in your story, but I like this most of all:

    “My response to him was that he could write a prescription if he liked but I would not get it filled.”

    That is truly taking responsibility for your health. My deepest respect for all that you have done and will do.

  10. What a wonderful story! Truly inspirational. I loved the bit about running through the woods, makes me want to get my butt off the computer and go enjoy the day. I think it’s so wonderful that you are healthy and happy =D

    1. Yep, me too. Quite inpiring and spells hope for all of us that are on the verge of broken health. It’s awesome to realize how much power we have to take our own health back.

      I’m off to trim bushes and chop barnches…

  11. Isn’t it amazing how a few minutes of one’s life can alter the course of someone else’s? Gerry, now imagine how your few initial minutes listening to Mark enable you to help others change from the same place you were to the place you are. Nothing happens by accident.

  12. WOW! It’s truly never too late. I will be reading this story to my parents tonight in hopes they will try and change even though they say they are too “old”(they are only 51 and 57). This brought a bit of tears to my eyes to know that this lifestyle helps so many different people of all shapes and sizes and I am so proud to call myself primal=)

    1. Never too late. I started making changes when I was 60. My doctors had no answers other than medications for multiple health problems. I turned my life around mainly with diet changes. I am now 68 and doing great. I can share more details if you want.

      1. That’s fantastic, Anne. I think a lot of people would love to read more about your story on the forum!

  13. Gerry you look absolutely fabulous and most of all so HAPPY in your after picture. Loved reading your story. Anyone else in the family primal? Your 2 dogs are soooo CUTE! I thought there were 3 but I guess the dog in your first pic may not be yours
    Anyway great story and congrats and continued success!!!

  14. You look awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed reading you story. You look and sound alive again which is what truly matters. You have a fabulous ahead of you! Now go spread the primal word!

  15. Gary, this is an inspiration to say the least. I really love your experience of being in nature, and feeling alive again. There is something lost in sitting on a couch watching movie trailers! It’s amazing that you were able to reconnect with both yourself and nature in such a short period of time. Big congratulations to you for telling your doctor what he needed to hear – preventative medicine is the way to go, and drugs should be the very last resort!

    Kudos, Gerry. You look awesome, and sound like you’re enjoying life again – which is what it’s all about!

  16. Wow, awesome story! My parents are in their mid-50’s and just starting a Primal lifestyle. I’m sending this to my dad!

  17. More success stories for the older generation, please! Never posted before, but Gary, you have convinced me to jump into primal full force. I’m also sending this link to my older brother who is your age and more like your before pic. I hope this will inspire him to change his habits!

  18. Great story. You are an inspiration to others. Congratulations on your improved health. Yes, it is a “work in progress”. I have been doing this for 8 years and my journey continues.

  19. Gerry you rock! Your story is so awesome, and yes I cried too. You have proven that age and a long background of unhealthy lifestyle can be overcome and turned around. Thank you so much for sharing your personal achievements!

  20. I burst out laughing at the shower dogs =). Fridays are my favorites at MDA!

  21. Gerry, your story made me cry.
    I’m going to print it off for my Dad – he is in a similar place to where you were a year ago and I’m really worried about him, but I can’t seem to convince him that a simple diet and attitude change could turn things round. He won’t believe it from his baby daughter but I hope he’ll listen to you.
    You’re an inspiration – thank you.

  22. From one 63 year old to another, great job, your an inspiration for me to get off my butt and finish my primal plan.

  23. Congrats Gerry!! Your story gives me the motivation to keep truckin’. PS. Your dogs are super cute!! 😀

  24. Congrats Gerry, I loved that story. I am new to this diet but excited (for the first time)about it. I think organic, natural, whole foods in all of God’s varieties is the way to go although I am still a proponent of dairy but have alternated it with almond, coconut and soy for more variety.

  25. Right on. Lookin’ like a tried and true trekker with that 60 lb backpack. Hope its full of Primal goodies for a hike!

  26. Another one forwarding this on to a parent. I’m really hoping that your awesome transformation will help spur my father.
    Congrats!!

  27. I’m young, active, and have never struggled with weight, and yet stories like this still inspire me and really lift my spirits for the day. Thank you so much for sharing, and congrats on making so many wonderful changes to you life!

  28. Great stuff, Gerry! You’re making 63 sound like the new 36. As Timothy said above, you’ve been at this for what amounts to a drop in the bucket and you’re down 60 lb. It wrinkles the brain to think where the next few months and years will take you!

  29. As usual, fantastic story! Congratulations on your ongoing achievements, we all know it must have had a lot hurdles to overcome! You’re an inspiration to everyone here and outside, and a prime example of what we here at MDA stand for 😀

    Grok on.

  30. Gerry – Thank you for sharing your inspirational story. It shows you’re never to late to start over and it helps to reinforce the knowledge of what is important in Life!

  31. Way to tell the MD no to meds!!!
    Awesome Gerry! awesome awesome awesome!
    Way to show those dogs who’s boss 🙂
    (I too love the hike in the woods story)

  32. Wow, I am surprised that it took your body that long to break down and be on meds.
    Most wouldn’t even make it to 40 on the horrible diet you described during childhood.
    You must be a very tough kinda guy naturally, now imagine how tough you would’ve been being raised on a primal diet from the start!?

    Your story is great motivation for me to keep up eating primally for the rest of my life. You look really good in the after photo, outdoorsy and fit.

    Big congrats on getting off those terrible meds!

    1. The diet wasn’t great but not egregiously deficient. On the positive side it was probably a bit low on methionine (found in meats but also in grains and pulses). Methionine restriction is associated with longevity and may be responsible for the association between caloric restriction and longevity.

      Weston Price described Swiss pastoralists in the early 20th century who only had meat once a week but were very healthy.

  33. Thank you for sharing. Love your continuing success story. Congrats.

  34. You look great from head to toe, but the first thing that drew my attention was the look in your eyes! Everything you said about your state forest trek – “What popped into my mind was MDA’s logo of Grok charging through the forest with his spear in hand, leaping over fallen trees” – is reflected in them! Vibrant, ready, and maybe slightly mischevious 😉 What a cool transformation. I know you’ll impact and inspire others.

  35. Well done dude – Another story I will use to showoff the way of the Primal 😀

  36. Gerry, you are quite the hunk! (Like anyone needs to tell you that, right?)

    I’m hoping to get my non-primal husband to read about your success. He’s going down the same path as you did in your before story. He doesn’t take his health problems seriously. I think it’s because there are so many people around us who have diabetes, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, are obese, and so on that ‘normal’ becomes acceptable even if it’s not healthy.

  37. Amazing story! Love not only how far you’ve come but that you’re still in the journey! Thanks for sharing!

  38. Like Mixie, Fridays (or for me, Saturday mornings) are my most favourite time on MDA. Well done Gerry!

  39. Thank you so much for sharing your story – you truely are an inspiration.

    and go own that shower space Gerry!

  40. Gerry, your story pretty much mirrors mine only I’m a 65 year old female who is just at the beginning of her Primal Journey. I have a ways to go yet to undo the years of physical neglect but you and others in this great family of Primals inspire and motivate me on.

    I’m glad to see more stories of Grok and Grokettes in the over 60 age range. There’s a lot of us out there who can benifit greatly from the Primal lifestyle.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    1. Sitara,
      It is for folks like you that I really took the time to write my story. I love to read about those in their 20’s, 30’s and above relating how primal has benefited their lives. For those who are beginning to face the reality of their mortality, to face the mental/physical challenges of the aging process, who have begun to get glimpses of the end of their journey just down the road; for them I would wish to encourage them, that by going primal, you can more easily finish that race in an all out dash with less mental/ physical garbage to houl across that finish line. I wish you the absolute best that life has to offer you in the years ahead.

  41. Very touching story. I love Fridays on MDA!

    This story definitely has striking similarities to my parents situation at the moment. Mom is Type II Diabetic, father is on meds for high blood pressure.

    I have emailed this post asking them to give it a good solid read. I truly hope they do and it might knock some sense into them. Thank you for sharing, Gerry……and congratulations on your new life!

  42. From an older Gookette — I’m 60 — I’m guessing you already are running a 10 on the LGN chart. You are certainly a 10 on the LGD chart! Thanks for the ongoing inspiration.

    1. LGD; that’s awesome!!! I agree.
      Your story had me in tears. Well done!

  43. This is a fantastic story!! I feel like I am reading the story of my father….hopefully he will be receptive to going Primal after he sees my results and from reading stories like yours Gerry. Thanks for the inspiration…

  44. I’m 64 and all I’ve done so far is to pretty much stop eating breads, rice, potatoes, and pasta yet I lost 20 pounds in five months and got my A1C (the measurement for diabetes) down to normal. Will I be taking the next steps down the primal path? You betcha. You’re never to old to get healthy.

  45. I can’t wait for the Friday posts to read inspiring stories. This is a great story and makes me want to jump out of my chair (yep, you guessed it, “pretending” to work at this hour on a Friday afternoon) and go run on a trail with my dog!

  46. I love this story. I has really hit home and gives proof that it is never too late to start fresh and new. Gerry you don’t look 60 you look mid ti late 40’s in your lst picture. it is amazing what good and rightious living will do for you. You and Dave rock! And show that with the right tools and some will power moutains can be moved.

  47. I’m wiping away tears too- what a great story Gerry! I used to work in WV and was greatly saddened by the large number of overweight folks I saw there, especially the children. You have proven it’s never too late to change though. And I’m lol at your cardiologist telling you you are dramatic! So be it, I hope we get an update when your LDL is at a “good” level, keep up the good work. Loved your writing style too!

  48. That is a great story and you look fantastic. My Mom is 78 and my Dad is 80. I just sent them Mark’s book. Dad has diabetes and both take BP meds. Hoping they will join the train.

  49. This is a terrific story told well. I take except for the use of the suicide metaphor, however. Living in ways which contribute to risk and a poorer quality of life are sometimes as a result of self soothing or “self medicating” – activities we engage in to reduce distress, but which backfire. They are done to intentionally end one’s life.

    When we are able to recognize the harm that’s being done and can take action to stop the activities that are causing it, that’s a huge and significant achievement! Kudos to all who have and are doing that!

  50. Been reading this site for a long time, on my own journey but never felt the need to comment before. Absolutely inspiring. Good luck from the other side of the pond….

  51. Gerry, Wow! You look great clothed, so my guess is that you also LGN. And now you’ve got the juice to back that up!

    Congrats on your achievements!!

    J.

  52. You look terrific, congratulations!!

    I love your description of your hike, you are an inspiration! Some day I’ll get there!

  53. Congratulations Gerry on such an inspirational story! Not only have you transformed your physical self, but your emotional and spiritual self as well. You are a true inspiration to us all.

  54. Goose bumps man… goose bumps. I really liked the night hike story. I’ve always enjoyed being outside at night, especially when its cool out!

  55. Congrats Gerry, great story.

    Here’s some advice: Primal eating will boost your total cholesterol production…that’s what its supposed to do.

    Remember that most Doctors and laboratories don’t actually measure your LDL, they calculate it using a formula using the actual measurements of your triglycerides, HDL and total cholesterol levels.

    Check out Dr. Eades “protein power” blog for the details..

    Second of all, no matter how high your LDL number may be, the more important factor is the composition and density of the LDL particles…small and dense, which comes from eating the SAD full of processed and hydrogenated oils, excessive grain products and sugars.

    Eating Primal should give you fluffy, less dense LDL particles that are not only good, but essential for your health.

    In other words, just consider your Doctor’s dire warning of your high LDL levels as the last ditch sales pitch of the Industrial-Pharmaceutical-Healthcare-Insurance Complex to keep another paying customer on the profitable meds program instead of achieving a healthy state that does not require their services.

    1. I disagree. Persistant high LDL could be a sign of a serious problem. I’m sure Gerry’s doctor knows this, but men his age often have problems with their ration of Fe to Cu. This could lead to elevated cholesterol. Low Mg is another possibility.

      1. Persistent high LDL could be a sign of a serious problem.

        I didn’t say it wasn’t.

        The problem here is that the majority of Doctors and laboratories don’t actually measure the LDL, they calculate it. People who go on low-carb diets for a lengthy period of time will have lower triglyceride levels that cause the Friedewald equation that they use to calculate LDL, to return a higher ldl level than it actually is.

        http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/weight-loss/low-carbohydrate-diets-increase-ldl-debunking-the-myth/

  56. This story reveals why Mark has become a true hero to me. Two amazing highlights that I never get over, with my own experience (only a few months into primal lifestyle) and the experiences of people like Gerry, are how quickly the benefits of this lifestyle set in – in terms of health, energy levels, and emotional well-being. Amazing story, Gerry – thank you for sharing!

  57. WOW! I am amazed at your story-especially love the part where you tell the Dr.no meds! Keep on keeping on:)

  58. That made me smile. Good on you for waking up and taking control.

  59. Your happiness in the second picture shines through and says it all.

    Awesome.

  60. Congratulating my friend is such a joy seeing weekly the transformation and now the courage to stay healthy. You are my inspiration.
    God is so good

    1. Hmmm, if god is so good, why did he let Gerry down for 30 years first?

      Time to put on some big boy pants, Bill, and acknowledge the real world.

      1. to read a story and think you know every thing that God has done for my dad for the past 30 years is ridiculous. good news is if you ask him personally he would love to share with you all of the ups and downs of his life and I’m 100% that he would let you know that without Jesus Christ he would not have made it through.

        1. Never ceases to amaze me how people (your dad included, apparently) will give god or jesus credit for their successes, but assign no responsibility for their failures.

          If your dad is responsible for his failures, he should stand up and take credit for his successes.

          If god/jesus is responsible for his successes, then god/jesus is also responsible for his failures in the first place.

          Of course, accepting that makes clear either that god/jesus is the most sadistic ‘thing’ out there, or better, puts the concept of god and jesus where they belong: right alongside Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, Zeus and Minerva, etc.

          Grow up people…

      2. Hey Jim, why don’t you leave this man and his faith alone and go spread your negativity somewhere else! If you do not want to realize God’s presence in your life…fine, but how dare you mock Gerry and his joy!

      3. Jim,
        I do not consider myself to be a “religious” person but I do believe in a God. I believe that he gave each of us a great gift – free will – to do with it as we so choose. We can choose to do good or to do bad; we can choose to take action or no action. However, there are consequences to those choices we make whether they are made in wisdom or ignorance, in obedience or in rebellion. In ignorance I made choices to eat certain foods which had very negative side effects to my health. Upon hearing Mark’s interview I began to make more inteligent choices regarding the foods I ate with positive side effects to my health. I take full responsibility for both actions and for their results. There are many folks who know better but choose to follow their stomachs/passions rather than their brains.

        I have stood at the graveside of family members, I have stood at hospital bedsides of others, I have been on the mountain tops and have journed long in the dark dry valleys and I can truly say that my God has been good to me. I am extremely sorry about your god.

        Just as a simple example, on two different occasions I have held my temperature ridden screaming infants in my hands and, upon lifting my voice in prayer to my God, I have literally felt those temperatures instantly leave their bodies and watched as they calmed and then drifted off to a restful sleep. I have experienced many other miracles, some being medical marvels, too many to list here. I have been in seemingly impossible situations when doors have “magically” been opened and a way made for us. One desperate year our family somehow (7 of us at the time) managed to live a whole year on a $5,000 income without missing a meal or having to turn to the govt for assistance. I have no idea how that was possible but day by day things just seemed to work out for us.

        I could write a book about my God’s favor in my life. I mentioned that when growing up with 13 children we were poor but always had food on the table, clothes on our backs, a roof over our heads. I never mentioned then that my father suffered from alcoholism and that many times his measly paycheck never made home with him, yet somehow, day by day all of us made it through and have all been priviledged to have an abundance ourselves in our adult lives where we in turn could become a blessing to others.

        My wish for you is that someday you might meet my God and simply enjoy His goodness for yourself.

  61. WTG Gerry. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have just started the PB and was secretly hoping it wasn’t too late for me. I am 51. You are an inspiration. Things like hiking in the mountains with energy, hangin’ with my dog and most of all playing in the park with my grandchildren are what makes life an adventure and full.

  62. Awesome story! I love hearing about those like you Gerry who just randomly happened to hear Mark’s message in one way or another, then changed your life as a result. You are an inspiration! BTW, you look at least 15 years younger than you did in your before pics — if I saw you on the street, I would put you at early to mid 50’s.

  63. Thank you for sharing your utter joy with us…You are an inspiration ..Re-finding hope, health and love of play indeed make you the stunning man (inside and out) you are today..Wow…

  64. What a fantastic story!! You are radiating health & happiness!!

  65. This was one of the best blogs I have read in a long time. It really hit me where I am! I am 69 and a bit overweight (when by doctors said “nearly obese” he got my attention! Ouch!).

    Mark, could you give a few more tips for those of us in the late 60’s and early 70’s. There are a lot of “boomers” who are entering this phase of life.

    Thanks!!

    1. Tee hee hee! You mean more than the regular tips he gives.

      Do y’all KNOW how old Mark is?!? Mark, maybe you need to stress your age, since you look so doggoned good — (at least you LGD, the only way *I* have ever seen you!)

  66. Way to go Gerry! You look great! Congratulations and thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story with us! Keep up the good work!

  67. Way to GO!! Gerry. You look great, happy and bouyant. I love reading the success stories of other seniors (I’m 66)and how much of a difference being primal has made. I’m only a few months along the path but am amazed at how well I feel inside. Much lighter, as though a weight has been taken off my shoulders. When out walking I feel as though I could take of and run just from the feeling of exhilaration. I second Carlos’ comment as well. More tips for older seniors would be really great please Mark.

  68. I am 55. After reading your story, I am so inspired! Primal rules!!!

  69. Gerry, you are now a force to effect change in others. You already know that, but I thought I’d say it anyway!

    The phrase “suicide, one bite at a time” is so true. The fact is that gaining weight and losing fitness is so insidious that very few people realize that it’s happening before it’s too late. You are one of the lucky ones that did something about it. And now you are helping others do the same.

    Great job! Keep us posted on your “work in progress.”

  70. One of the things that really bothers me is the fact that poor people often do end up living mostly on carbs and vegetable oils. When you are an active little kid, it may not make you fat, but it’s still not good for you. But you can’t keep it up forever.

    I wish we could solve the food quality problem for poor people. I try to keep the price of the primal diet down by growing a lot of vegetables and buying inexpensive eggs and hamburger meat, but it does cost more than rice and beans.

    1. I actually paid more before going primal, when I ate ‘organic health food’ from the store.
      I bought organic vegetable oils (lol), organic frozen burritos (microwavable), organic lasagne (frozen, processed), organic margarine (processed soybean oil), organic marmalade (pateurized and laden with sugar) and organic breads,…on top of this ‘healthy’ snacks like organic potato chips.
      I bought ultra-pasteurized goats milk which gave me year around sinus infections and ‘cold’ symptoms from the running mucous.
      This family went through 150 bucks worth of food every 3 days eating like this.
      On primal (grassfed meats, wild fish, farmers market veggies and fruits) I just spent $30 at the farmers market for 1.5 gallons of raw goats milk, large basket of veggies, 20 apples and a basket of grapes,plums and an egg plant. If you include the hog roast I bought last week it would come to $38.50 total…which will last us all about 4 days.
      $150 for 3 days then, about $40-50 for ~4 days now eating primal.

  71. What a story! I second the “sense of gratitude” to Mark for his work…books, broadcasts,website, GROK ON

  72. Amazing job, Gerry! I remember hearing that same radio broadcast with Mark on the same station. I even called in and talked briefly with him before losing my cell connection, which happens often in the hills of WV. Keep up the great work, neighbor, as I am in S. Charleston and working my way down the scale and up in strength!

  73. What an inspiring story. Fridays are my favorite on MDA. I am also in my 60’s and am now on my 4th month and have hit a plateau but seeing the great change in you has spurred me on. You look fabulous, younger, stronger and happier. Keep up the great work for yourself your family and the community.

  74. Congratulations, Gerry. You are a success because the journey can be the reward, too.

    It struck me at the ” At this time of my life I am 63 years old…” line how common this story must be. And yet for millions of people there is no turning point, there is no revelation. They just continue in sadness.

  75. Wow! I’m a UK based PT and stories like yours warm my heart. I bought Mark’s PB a couple of months ago as a holiday read. I’m a healthy guy but was partial to bread. By chapter 2 I’d made a decision to drop it for life. I’m now 9% body fat which is where you’d hope your trainer to be. Your story is so stunning that I’m forwarding it to all my clients. We’re having a real problem over here with an Obesity Crisis threatening to overspill our hospitals. What’s SO hard is getting people to realise they’re on a suicide track like you were. Well done and good luck on the rest of your journey

  76. Gerry, Great story told with lots of heart! Hope you enjoy many more QUALITY years of Primal living! GROK ON!

  77. Great story. I can relate to the spontaneous bouts of running in the woods, sprinting up hills, feeling alive for the first time really. Grok on!

  78. Truly awesome success story. Very reassuring to see such a transformation. Congratulations 🙂

  79. Gerry,
    As a pharmacist and someone who had a long family history of diabetes and was, at one time, diagnosed as pre-diabetic I can relate to your story.

    I have no doubt that your HBP meds may have been contributing to your impotence.

    Also, I’m proud of you for saying no to any cholesterol meds. With how you are eating and exercising you should not need them.

    Now, if we could only get millions of other folks to follow that advice …

    Anyways, congrats on the transformation and the continued “work in progress”.

    Best,
    Curtis

  80. Outstanding. I read a lot of parallels to what I’m going through in life from the professional track Gerry’s took. I know the feelings and how it affects the mind.

    This is a truly inspiring story!

  81. Wow! Funny doggie pic, and god you are HOT. Yr lucky wife. 🙂 If you want to re-marry, call me. 🙂

    1. LOL! Golden, careful you’re gonna give me the big head.

      It took me far too long to find Vicki, my wife, in the first place and, after being tried in the fires of our 42 year relationship, she is pure gold. Think I better hang on to my blessings and continue to nurture what I already have. However, thank you very much for the compliment.

      1. Your journey on the path to health is certainly inspiring! However, I am just as impressed with the replies that I see you making in the comments. You are obviously a very special man who can teach all of us a few things. 🙂

        God bless you!

  82. I have been sitting on the fence about this lifestyle for a while now. I feel it in by being that this is what I should do, but I have been holding on to old ways because they comfort me I think. They also keep me fat and inactive. Your story really is inspiring to me. You make me want to take that leap. Thank you for sharing it and good luck on the rest of your journey.

  83. Your amazing, heartfelt story left me in tears. I am also printing it out for my father. He is 50 pounds overweight, depressed and angry, which he attributes to age but I know it is “suicide one bite at a time,” as you say. I also hope he will listen to you since he probably won’t listen to me. THANK YOU for your story and keep spreading the word to other 60-somethings – they need to hear it!!!

  84. Gerry you rock big time, very inspiring. Amazing transformation!!!

  85. Wow. Amazing. Inspiring.

    And also very well-written, almost literary, Gerry.

    Congrats to you and here’s to more health and vitality!

  86. Way to go Gerry. Keep up the great work. I’ll bookmark this post for repeated bits of inspiration.

    Jim

  87. Gerry “Grok On”, you are truly an inspiration to us older Groks & Groketts. Reclaiming all your “Working Parts”… the “Alpha Male” with your dogs…we just loved hearing that story. Your after picture is amazing. It really shows your lifestyle changes have made all the difference in your life. My husband Jeff and I have been eating primal since last March and have stumbled and retaken up the lifestyle…because you know you just feel so much better when you do. Thank you for sharing your story, it means so much to us.

  88. Gerry, thanks so much for sharing your story. What an accomplishment. Those glimpses of ecstasy, such as your forest experience, from being gloriously healthy, are all the motivation one needs.

    While I am inspired by all the Friday testimonials, I too (being 53), especially love seeing those from us older (and sometimes less physically gifted) folks.

  89. Super story Gerry! You are a great inspiration. Thank you for taking the time to share. NG

  90. Definitely inspiring! I’m older than Gerry, but not in quite such bad shape…BP a bit elevated, somewhat overweight still, arthritic, but after a month doing Primal I already feel great. I like the “work in progress” concept…

  91. All to the Glory of God. Truly this life is a journey and I am liking this primal way of being. Its great. Good luck and enjoy!

  92. Gerry,

    You should be so proud of yourself! That is an amazing transformation!

    You look 20 years younger in your latest photo!

    YOU GROK!

  93. Your story made me tear up, too! Especially the part where you felt so energized on your forest trek. You are an inspiration to your family and others when they see the pure joy in your smile and the confidence in your stance. Way to go!

  94. Wow! I loved your story! Inspired me, too! And, I was going to try and not use exclaimation marks so much…

  95. Gerry I have very mixed emotions about your success. On one hand I am so proud of you for what you have accomplished and for sharing it with and inspiring so many others across the globe. On the other hand however, I am now the fattest member of our family and must take it upon myself to do something about it. I didn’t need this added stress in my life, way to go big brother.

    I knew you weren’t a happy camper for quite some time. I’m thrilled that you have found this path and made it work for you. I know it wasn’t easy, but most good things aren’t. I really am proud to call you my brother. As I’ve seen written here many times and will in time learn what it means, Grok On my man

  96. Another amazing transformation story. If I keep seeing stuff like this i might take this primal diet stuff seriously…jk!

    Awesome dogs, too. Almost as manly as my Boston Terrier and Chaweenie.

    Keep it up Gerry!

  97. Gerry, I am sitting with tears in my eyes reading your story. I am 52, on BP meds and *was* on cholesterol meds and trying desperately not to be diagnosed diabetic. It seems the road is the same – first the hypertension, then the cholesterol, then diabetes and kidney issues. All related. Jeez, Louise. I am controlled carb and grain-free and working toward Primal. I have lost nearly 30 pounds since mid-June and feel better already. Have 35-40 to go. 🙂 Your analogy of suicide one bite at a time resonates. I hope to be in as good of shape as you soon!
    Suze

  98. Yay! Great story. Thank you for your honesty. You are an inspiration for all ages.

  99. Thanks Gerry- this is a journey/ destination…. “when I stand in front of my maker and hear, well done thy good and faithful servant”… You are right THAT is when we know of our sucesss. Thanks for the “eternal” reminder, thank you!!

  100. Amazing! Congratulations!
    I can really relate to your story, and I find it truly inspiring.
    Keep up the good work.

  101. Hi Gerry

    Great story thanks for sharing. You are an inspiration. the most amazing difference in your before and after photos was your improved posture.

    I’m on the older end of the scale (53) hoping that following a primal diet will stave off the blood pressure and cholesterol pills my contemporaries seem to be prescribed.

    Best Wishes

    Kim

  102. Gerry! What a well-written and inspirational story and I am blown away by your latest photo. “It’s never too late” is one of the best messages you could put out there…for everyone! And I just love the set on for just saying NO to a doctor who wanted to give you more meds. One thing, though, years back when I wrote up my story I said the same thing about how it’s not really a “success” story. I’ve changed my stance on that. So I think you *should* consider this a success story because we need to celebrate all our successes along the way. And your transformation thus far is nothing short of amazing. I look forward to reading your NEXT success story. 🙂

  103. Amazing job. Even more amazing is the mind set to reverse all those years of bad habits. Congratulations and keep it going, you can only keep getting younger and younger.

  104. You have to wonder what doctors are playing at. Are they just drug pushers for big pharma? When they see their treatments are failing, AND they see some patients take matters into their own hands and cure themselves; and then they continue to push the same drugs one really has to question the ethics of the medical profession.

    p.s. I see Denmark has implemented a tax on ‘evil’ saturated fat.

  105. Gerry, this is a fabulous story, but there’s one tiny piece of it that struck me – when you mentioned about taking a 20-year-backward career step. It’s small comfort, but you’re not the only one – this horrible economy has affected many people. I’m 50 years old, and joke (sort of) that I’m now making the same salary as when I was 30. It’s difficult to not internalize that and feel bad about oneself, but at least we’ve found that the primal lifestyle helps us deal better with all sorts of challenges. I’m predicting bright futures for us all… 🙂

    1. Gerry, I just want to let you know that I am really proud of you. I have always been proud of you. I don’t measure a person by their size or how they look, but by their character and how they treat others. I know first hand that you have been a great son, brother, father and friend. I am just happy that you feel better about yourself and that you are healthier so you can truly enjoy your life. I love you, Theresa

  106. This was an amazing story, Im 26, nearly 2 weeks into this Primal Journey and your story has truly inspired me, I shed a few tears.. You look WONDERFUL, proud of you, Keep doing GREAT things!!! Good Luck on the LGN chart!!! HEHEHE.. <3

  107. Great job, Gerry! You’re an inspiration and your post made me smile. I’m at a low point myself, and your post made me feel anything is possible.

  108. Wow I got tears in my eyes with your description of the run up the mountain. I love your story! Congrats man!

  109. Indeed it is true that people do not notice that “with all the comfort foods we consume everyday, we commit suicide one bite at a time”. Genes is a factor on diseases but change of lifestyle can alter it.

  110. Very inspiring story, Gerry. I think most people are experiencing something similar to what you have. Today’s world is more stressful than ever, and the comfort foods we are turning to are filled with harmful ingredients. Not to mention the pharmaceutical drugs which are hailed as the cure for all, when they contain 70 negative side effects on average. I know a good article that shows that too:

    http://naturalsociety.com/drug-labels-contain-70-negative-side-effects-on-average/

    Doing what you have done by finding a different lifestyle is the key, and it’s awesome that you discovered it.

    Take care,
    -Mike

  111. Gerry I’m so proud of you. My entire life I have looked up to you and have been inspired by you. I thank God that you stumbled onto this primal diet. Because finally, you see the man that I had always seen.
    You are awesome! Always have been 🙂

  112. awesome!

    I particularly like the success stories of older folks; much more inspiring than young folks for me.

    cheers,

  113. Thanks for your story and inspiration, Gerry. I’m starting my primal makeover at age 71. I was a 53 year smoker who quit 20 months ago, and I know I can get my health back too.

    Happy New Year eva buddy!

  114. Love this story! Gerry you are a true inspiration to all of us. Especially those of us who are feeling too “old’ to start a ‘new’ program. Thank you so much for sharing. I have printed your story out and posted it on my fridge, as a reminder of what determination and primal eating plan can do!

  115. Hey Gerry,

    Congrats and your story gives me hope at an age similar to yours. I have just read the first half of the Primal Blueprint and will be easing into it next month. I have almost exactly the same background and same issues you document so it’s nice to see your story in progress as a motivator…thanks again.

  116. Fantastic and inspiring story. You look great Gerry. Congrats on your huge success.

  117. Hey Gerry, Thank you I am on the first month and I can’t believe how great I feel. I had a heart attack and i tried to lose weight following Canada’s food guide. I gained. Then I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Hey the diet recommended resembled Atkins which I followed 15 years ago. Fell off the wagon due to artificial sweeteners and gained 50 lbs. Fast forward, I read WheatBelly, found Robb Wolf, Loren Cordain, Mark Sisson and listened to all the low-carb podcasts. I’ve purchased Paleo cookbooks and read everything I can get my hands on about Primal eating. Thank you Mark Sisson! Thank God! I am 63 and you Gerry are an inspiration. After a month, I feel great! I have no angina and my blood sugars are normal. I hope in a year I will be at my ideal weight and off half of my medications. I have so much energy now. My joint pain is gone and I am sleeping well. I have hope.

  118. Gerry
    Your story was just the one I was looking for. I am 55 274lb and 5’11. I have Type 2 diabetes and have to make a big change in my life. I am considering this plan and just got the 21 day transformation book. Your story encourages me very much. Thank you. Now I have to figure out first step.