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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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November 04 2011

Three Generations Living Primal

By Guest
74 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 have been on some kind of diet since 1988 – over ½ of my life. NutriSystems, Optifast, Weight Watchers and all kinds of fad quick weight loss diets in between. Obvious now but not then – none of them worked permanently. The sad thing is when you actually look at the numbers – the weight I was at in 1988 is very close to my goal weight now. If I only knew then what I know now, but to quote Lion King (and hopefully as I continue to lose weight both versions will apply):

Pumbaa: It’s like my buddy Timon always says: you got to put your behind in your past.

Timon: No, no, no. Amateur. Sit down before you hurt yourself. It’s “You got to put your past behind you.”

The past… my daughter, my mom and me in December 2010.

So January, 2011 is recording every calorie in and calorie out and struggling to lose all the weight I had gained – once again. Browsing I came across Mark’s Daily Apple for the second time. The first time I read the information a few years ago I just couldn’t imagine living with no grains, legumes, sugar – how could a person do that in this day and age. But this time for some reason it really clicked. I started with what I could gather from the website and bought the book that week.  It was like someone turned a light on for me. I couldn’t believe all the misinformation I had been given for so many years. Yet at the same time was so excited that there was some hope to be able to lose weight and not struggle and not be hungry, tired, grouchy and frustrated! So I began and lost weight quickly at first and then slowly, but am still losing (35 pounds so far) and my life has truly changed. I know most people come looking for a solution to weight loss – me included. But amazingly I think the health benefits that I have seen will be the real factor that makes this a way of life forever! I didn’t begin with any huge issues. I have never been on any kind of chronic medication. I have had some very obvious things happen that affect my daily life: sleep improvement, improved afternoon energy, constipation gone, chicken skin disappearing, cracking elbows and heels gone. Ladies listen up – these last two things just amazed me because I really thought that it was just me getting older – my regular plucking of those pesky old lady whiskers is now basically non-existent and the cough, sneeze, jump-induced leaky bladder is gone.

As I am inclined to do – I researched, read, researched and read. I kept seeing things that I knew other members of my family would be interested in. My daughter – 18 at the time – had her first semester in college under her belt. A belt she had mentioned a few times she would like to lose a few notches off of. I had tried multiple times over the years to get her to join in my “healthy eating” but to no avail (thank goodness). She was just never interested in diets or the information I was trying to share and I knew better than to push a teenage girl! So as I was reading I came across a testimonial about animal allergies and felt this was something she would respond to. She had recently rediscovered her love for horses but it was making her so sick to be around them. When I say sick, I have to give you a little of her background. She was never a healthy child. She has suffered from allergies, asthma and eczema all her life. After several hospitalizations during her adolescence we thought we had the asthma “under control”. She was taking Advair daily and a breathing treatment at least once a day if not more depending on the season. In addition to the asthma, the eczema affected her daily as well. This was not your typical small patches on her hands and feet. She basically had all over eczema – we had seen several specialists and she even resorted to sleeping in damp pajamas during really bad flare ups. So when I read about a reduction in allergies, I shared the information with her. She said she would try anything to be able to be around horses without Benadryl and inhaler in hand. I gave her the guidelines and she started immediately. Within 1 week she was able to go to the horse barn without Benadryl! Thankfully it worked so quickly, because she was sold. Since that day in February she has lost over 50 lbs. But again – the forever factors are so much more than that. She has reduced her Advair dosage and usage, both in half. She has packed her nebulizer away – no more daily breathing treatments! Her eczema is now only on her hands and feet and as long as she doesn’t eat any neolithic agents of disease (we haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly which one causes her flares) they continue to improve. She has bought her own horse, which she rides, grooms, feeds and loves on as often as she likes!

My mom, unlike my daughter, has always wanted to know what I was doing “this time” in the weight loss world. She was always willing to listen and give it a try. The thought of having no grains or sugar was a little harder for her to jump into but after a couple of months of watching my family’s success she decided she and my dad could give it a try. I suggested she just give it 30 days and see – what could it hurt. Well here we are 6 months later and she tells everyone she meets how much better they feel! She is 65 and has lost over 30 pounds – and is under 150 pounds for the first time in many, many years. Not to harp but she has had those forever factors too! She has gone off her blood pressure medication, diuretic and statins. But her big wow is truly the improvement in her knee. She had knee replacement surgery 4 years ago. Since then, it never felt completely healed and was always swollen. Well – she can jog! Jog – I just shake my head in amazement every time she says it.

Although I don’t want this to turn into a mini-novel I have to give hats off to the wonderful men in my life as well. My husband, son and dad also jumped on board. Combined they have lost over 40 pounds. They have a list of health improvements as well. Some of which include: eased chronic indigestion, no more snoring or mouth breathing, major reduction of gas (and let me tell you with a 14 yr old boy this is huge), and ease of arthritis pain.

I can’t believe 8 months have passed with my family eating this way. I can’t believe 3 generations combined have lost almost 120 pounds. But more so I can’t believe I can sit at a restaurant and not have to argue myself through a whole meal not to eat the bread, chips, pizza or pasta! Our family is definitely still a work in progress and we have some weak moments but overall we are living the Primal life and loving it! Thank you Mark for changing all of our lives and hopefully giving us many more years together!

Success in progress… my daughter, my mom and me!

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74 thoughts on “Three Generations Living Primal”

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  1. What a great story! You look fantastic!

    So good to hear the nebulizer is packed up. My asthma completely disappeared about a year ago thanks to eating Primally – and what a difference it makes!

  2. Wow, you all look fantastic! And what a great family – all willing to try it, gung-ho and open-minded. Definitely a family trait there methinks!

    As you indicate, we confuse dis-ease with aging. Isn’t it wonderful how we can turn those years back? Congratulations!

  3. Ouch! My jaw just dropped and hit my desk! Wow! What a transformation!

  4. This is inspiring. I want my parents to try this lifestyle, but I haven’t brought it up yet because they are so ingrained in the SAD that I don’t think they will respond to it. Maybe I’ll show this post to my mother. She’s been trying to lose weight for as long as I can remember, is on blood pressure medication, and broke her leg last winter and still has pain. This may just convince her!

  5. Amazing! It’s so nice to hear an entire family can embrace making smart choices…you guys should get an award for that one!

  6. I hear their thoughts on how it took them a few times to start paleo/primal.

    The whole lifestyle took me at least 3 times reading MDA to hop on board.

    It’s the CW HWG mantra. It’s got us all like zombies following the masses.

  7. Remarkable. Keep us up-to-date in the Success Stories portion of the forums.

  8. This is too awesome. I know this will help some of my family who suffer the same horse related problem! Maybe this will help push them over that sugar laced edge!
    thank you so much for sharing.

  9. Awesome x 3! You each get one:) Success story Fridays are like bacon… it’s super satisfying and never gets old.

  10. “She basically had all over eczema – we had seen several specialists and she even resorted to sleeping in damp pajamas during really bad flare ups.”

    That is so sad, and I am happy to hear it’s far, far less of an issue. This is one of the best Friday stories I’ve read. Thanks for sharing and continued luck to your family.

  11. Congratulations ladies! I love how these changes in diet and lifestyle can result in the halting of otherwise lifelong symptoms. Keep inspiring each other and us with your success!

  12. I love reading the stories about people going OFF of medications. I think that’s a better proof of Primal than weight loss.

    A couple years ago I convinced 60+ mom to cut down the carbs. It took her a few tries to really do it, but she finally did, and lost 20 pounds. Mom asked to go off statins and the doctor okayed it as long as the weight stays off. She still eats bread and pasta, but I can see her taking very small portions and thinking about every bite. Small steps, I guess.

    Nowadays, when I see someone eating candy and pasta, I have the exact same reaction as I do when I see someone smoking or dinking. I think: I feel sorry; you’re slowly killing yourself with that pasta, but I don’t want to argue with you because you’ll get “defensive” just like the smokers do.

    1. I love this story too. I have particular concern about people eating non-primal foods as well. One group that seems untouchable is the church where dessert seems to be given the wink (as opposed to alcohol or smoking) when it comes to health. Its even celebrated. I want to reach out to these people and tell them that they are not doing what God intended them to do with their bodies and that is the source of a lot of misery which they attempt to drown with socialization. Anybody else?

    2. Tbh I’m more okay with smokers than grain eaters, since the smokers know it’s unhealthy.

  13. What a geat success story-you guys rock! If only I can convince my asthmatic, allergy laden friend to give it a try …

  14. Wahoo!!! I love that there is a multi-generational success 🙂 and in such a relatively short time!
    so proud of you!

  15. Wonderful! I have a friend with severe mammal allergies, including horses, whom Ive been encouraging to give primal a try. Maybe this story might help encourage her. 🙂

  16. You girls look amazing!! And may I just say, you must be very persuasive to convince everyone around you to give it a try!

  17. Truly awesome and inspiring story!

    As a lifelong asthmatic myself I’m hoping to get the improvements your daughter has.

  18. Wow! What an amazing transformation! You and your daughter look like sisters!! Congratulations!!

  19. Tremendous story! It sounds like primal living has brought your supportive family even closer together.

    As you said, so many people start this for weight loss. I did too. But weight loss is only one ingredient in the cornucopia of health that awaits. Things you thought were non-negotiable — bum knees, chicken skin — fix themselves as if by magic. Our bodies work miracles when we give them what they need.

    When you reach your goal weight, I am certain you will look and feel healthier and happier than you did in 1988.

    Congrats and respect to you all!

  20. I want to see this year’s Christmas pics of the three of you together!

    I am likely to begin proselytising soon among friends and family — not for the weight loss but for the health benefits. Stories like yours are fantastic selling points! Thanks so much and continued success to all six of you!

  21. Life changing stories like this, helps fuel my will power.
    Thank you for sharing

  22. It’s wonderful to see families having primal success.
    While my family enjoys my primal cooking, they won’t even take a look at these success stories, and see no reason to give up their grains and sugar. Meanwhile, they have serious health problems that their prescription meds have not resolved.
    Living with the health problems of loved ones who refuse to change is not easy. Thanks for a great story.

    1. +1, Mo. I wish I could publish a family success story….not going to happen soon, I’m afraid.

    2. I wish I could get my family on board to. Even though they want the primal cooking, they refuse to give up and continuously ask for chips, pop, pizza, you know the drill. I don’t buy it, so they go out and buy it instead. I feel your pain. It is hard living with them, and there whole family is like that, so when I go over to family events I bring my own food. Having the family support would go a long way, I am so glad for her getting her family on board now I can only hope mine will eventually do the same!

  23. Way to go in sharing your success with your family! It’s so cool that you’ve been able to inspire them to change as well – that’s what it’s all about! Amazing how the chronic issues just seem to melt away. Congratulations! Grok on!

  24. Wow Awesome Story!!!
    My story is so much like yours, I to got my daughter my mother and my sister to try it. We all have lost weight and feel much healthier. I have lost 20 lbs since Aug. 3rd. Thanks for sharing your encouraging story.

  25. You ladies are an absolute inspiration – what a transformation – you all look incredible. And your daughter got the horse too – what a lovely ending!

    Thank you so much for sharing your lives with us. Friday stories like yours keep the rest of us primally focused!

  26. Thank you all for the wonderful words of encouragement! It has been absolutely amazing. I do hope that our story can help those looking for some kind of healing miracle take a step in this direction. I don’t post often but I lurk constantly and have been so thankful for the information shared- couldn’t have done it without this great website!

  27. What a wonderful and inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

  28. A Three-Fer – Woot!!! You gals look great – thanks for sharing.

    This also shows us that the best way to change others is to be an example.

  29. My son also had all over eczema and staph infections. It has entirely disappeared after moving to sunnier climes. Prior to that, we kept it mostly controlled by limiting his intake of high nickel foods: oats, figs, chocolate, hydrogenated oil (NI catalyst), baking powder, nuts, legumes and anything processed and acidic. Even found cooking in cheap stainless pans (say, tomato sauce) would cause a flare. Thought I’d throw that out there.

    Son can now eat chocolate, but I think the extra Vit. D he gets, plus being away from the moldy east coast, and a more primal diet, has made the difference.

    Loved the story–you all look great!

  30. I love this! I started PB in April and now I too have my mom on board, as well as 2 of my sisters ( one of which is a physician..woohoo) as well as one of my brothers. We are seeing similar progress in our family and the others are starting to take notice. GREAT NEWS!

  31. Wow. You ladies totally rock!

    Your story brings to mind something I just read. According to Zen wisdom, we’re all creators. When we do things like share good information with each other and give each other guidance and encouragement, we’re creating part of each other’s success. That’s what’s happened with you three, it seems to me.

    Here’s a great story of something that happened today: I was in a tiny, independent bookstore in Manhattan (one of the remaining few). I was the only customer in the store, until a woman walked in, asking the proprietor for The Four Hour Body (which the store didn’t have). I very quietly took her aside and asked her whether it was a new approach to nutrition and fitness she was looking for. “Yes,” she said, and someone had told her that she “absolutely has to buy The Four Hour Body.”

    I asked her if she wanted something very sensible and straightforward. “Yes,” she said again. So I suggested that she look instead to Mark’s Daily Apple and to Mark’s new book. I briefly explained why. She thanked me and said she would.

    If she follows through, then I suppose I’ll be a small part of her success (and Mark will be a huge part).

    All good, you know? 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your story. Great work, all around!!

    Susan

  32. Mark:

    I’m thinking you should update your “Start Here” page to include your new book. I know it’s pictured in your header, but first-time readers might miss that, and/or want to know what the difference is between your first and second book, so they can decide which one to order first.

    Susan 🙂

  33. Great, great story! How wonderful that your whole family got onboard. What a delight it must be for all of you. I can only dream….still, you have strengthened my own commitment to sticking with primal–it obviously works! As for those pesky whisker/leakage problems for us women of, uh, A Certain Age, I thought I was just imagining that they were fading for me, but thanks for the confirmation that it DOES happen:-) Keep up the good work, ladies–and gents!

  34. Another inspirational story. Thanks so much for sharing it. AND you all look so beautiful and healthy.

  35. What an amazing story well done to all of you.
    I’m 5 weeks primal and hope to start influencing my family and friends in this new/old way of life
    Maybe I’ll even show them your story
    Well done
    Rio

  36. So awesome!!! I feel as though my family has been in a slump lately, so this is the perfect kick in the behind that we need. Thank you! I’m also going to send it to my mom who insists she’s too “old” to try something as “drastic” as going Primal. She’s 63 years young and I sure would like to stop being so dang tired all the time!

    1. Sara, you tell your Mom that I’m 67 years old and have been Primal for about a year and never felt better. NO statins, NO diabetes, NO nothing most of us old folks usually suffer with! I’m 5’2″ and weigh in right now at about about 110#. I walk/hike daily and exercise and have more energy than people half my age! Going Primal and giving up sugar and all grains was something I should have done years ago – I only wish I had known about it then— show her this post if you want, but she only has to try it for 30 days or so (or even 21 days like the new book says!) Good luck!

  37. What a great story!! This has to be one of the best ones yet. Tonight I realized just how hooked I am on Fridays, lol. Congratulations to you all!!

  38. This is wonderful; just so inspiring and perfect introductory reading for anyone who wants to learn about “this Primal thing.” I’m making my list to pass the link! Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your new life.

  39. Congrats. My wife and I are 60 somethings that started Primal 2 years ago. Then our two daughters started. And now our grandkids are Primal!! My one daughters has eliminated life long digestive issues (celiacs we think) by eliminating grains and dairy. My grandson has CF and has improved a lot by going Primal. It’s all good.

  40. What amazes me is how you got your family on board. That’s awesome. I think a key is to not push this lifestyle on anyone. Many of us do this because we feel so incredible but if we can, we must back off.

    Live this new life and at some point, your family members and close friends will begin ask questions.

    Thanks for the inspiration! I hope these stories continue to get published every Friday for decades to come…

  41. Your daughter getting a horse really got to me…not that I’m into horses, but the way primal can allow a person to do something they really love, that’s the best! Think what a difference you have made in the lives of people you love, way to go.

  42. What a great story! Thank you so much for sharing. I am only a couple of months into primal eating, but I feel like I finally understand how my body works. I have never done a lot of diets, but have never understood why I have alwasys been overweight, even with watching what I ate and lots of exercise. Now I know! I have at least 50 more pounds to lose, but so far it feels effortless. I just cook good food, move and play and it’s happening. Now to get my family on board…you are inspiring me to keep trying 🙂

  43. I look forward to every Friday when I can read another Primal Success Story. This story is another great example. I’ve bought the Primal Blueprint book, but think that a book of nothing but Primal success stories would be great, too.

  44. Oh so happy for you and your family! And so happy to be able to print a success story from a mum so I can show it to my mum, so she can see that this is not just for the “younger” folk. Excellent work in progress!

  45. I’m inspired! All ages involved and everyone has benefited. Thanks you for sharing.

  46. Hello…Of all the reading I have done over the past 2 days, your story stuck out the most to me.
    8 years ago I lost just shy of 80 lbs (dr phil plan and major emotional issues) but over the last 2 have gained 50 of it back with HUGE stress/personal life altering setbacks. I’m turning 39 next week, and I’m SO tired of the lethargy, and peri-menopausal issues you touched on-what the heck is up with my dark facial hair??!! Because of the stress and poor diet to deal with the issues, I’ve aged 10 years in 2. What hope you’ve given me that I can recapture youth, that I am not resigned to age!! Despite sugar fasts and extreme training with a trainer, the weight isn’t coming off. My husband and I are going in grocery shopping when he gets home today and reclaiming our lives! And the kid aspect-my almost 13 year old son is already dealing with a big belly even though he isn’t “fat” all over. Luckily my kids eat a wide variety of foods and I’m a good cook, so they trust me and eat it-but its time to cut out the CRAP. No more easymac!!
    Thank you for sharing your story-I hope my family can share ours in the coming year!

    1. You are in the right place. Don’t be hard on yourself. The blueprint is here. Take one day at a time, one meal at a time. What are you meaning by extreme training. Maybe THAT could be stressing your body so that its overproducing cortisol. I am new here I think that there might be info regarding this topic somewhere in this blog. I apologize for not offering a link. I am on a kindle and not sure how to cut and paste. Stay here for support, YOU CAN DO THIS!

  47. Very inspiring! What about the diet changes fixes the cracked heels and chin hairs?? I’ve been eating primal for more than a year and I still have these. Wondering if I’m missing something! I thought the hairs were genetic, lol

  48. I’m so excited to read that someone else has experienced asthma relief!! I too use(d) Advair daily, supposed to use it twice daily. I’ve had terrible asthma since I was a child. No sugar, no grains, suddenly, no asthma. It’s like the CURE for asthma was found by me I was so excited, here I thought it was unrelated to food. I even asked my asthma/allergy Doc 10 years ago if I should be food tested for asthma (they often do other allergy tests, dust, etc.) and she assured me that it was unrelated to food. I can’t wait to go to my next appointment and tell her I no longer need to see her because I don’t have asthma anymore. Though, full disclosure, if I eat grains/sugar for more than a day or so, I get it right back again. At least when I pass on the pasta at my in-laws house, I’ll have a reason to give that they can get behind. 🙂 No Asthma is like being reborn – those who don’t suffer can’t understand what that means!! Awesome story and congratulations on the new improved life for your whole family!

  49. How inspiring. I am excited that three generations could benefit so greatly. Middle age and above no longer has to mean a long and painful life full of desease medication. I am hoping for more stories from 40 plus age group. For me that’s the proof in the pudding when older folks can shed weight, desease, and drugs for vitality and literally turn back the clock.
    it is equally important to teach the younger generation by being a living example. Kudo’s!

  50. I am so glad that my friend and her family told me about this way of life. After reading your testimonial I am even more set to following the primal blueprint. Thank you for all that you have said. :]