Welcome Back Grok: 30 Days of Self-Discovery

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 was a typical American kid that enjoyed summers, playing sports, riding bikes, camping and exploring. My inner Grok ran rampant in the beginnings of my life. As I got older, I began to fall into that same trap many Americans fall into (T.V., video games, fast food and overall sedentary life). I expressed my inner Grok less and less, down to not at all. I became overweight, less confident, and started having knee and lower back issues in my early to mid 20’s! I naturally blamed this on genetics, and was on that fast track to a life of obesity, blood pressure issues, diabetes and a dependency on a plethora of medications.

I was in my mid 20’s in a high demand corporate job that I did not like, and had no time (or at least thought I had no time, but really just made excuses) or desire for any physical activity. My diet consisted of whatever I can eat on the go, eating out, or just take home. Fast food, soda and other processed foods made up the bulk of my diet. I approached 260 lbs and approximately 30% body fat. I rarely did anything physical, and did not have any endurance the few times I tried. I made excuses when hiking with my girlfriend, and often became negative around the whole subject. My self confidence was so low that I hated hiking or other physical activities, because I did not have the energy or capability to do them. I began to develop a “why bother” attitude. I blamed genetics and not my own actions, because I have overweight parents and extended family.

There were a few things that caused me to make a change. First, someone very close to me was diagnosed and then passed away of cancer. It caused me to look at things differently and notice that quality of life seemed to be changing in America. I noticed more people were obese and diagnosed with medical problems at earlier stages in life. I looked in the mirror and realized I was headed down the same dead-end road. I was tired of not having energy and not enjoying life like I did when I was younger. I was only twenty-something, but felt much older due to lack of energy and overall vigor. I began asking myself, was I suppose to be like this at this stage in my life? How did I get here? And most importantly, did I CHOOSE to be here? I discovered answers I did not like, nor was proud of. I took the easy road in the way I ate, lived, and being stationed in a lackluster, sedentary career. I became determined to change everything, starting with my health.

I did what “Conventional Wisdom” taught me to do. I ate low fat, whole grains and worked out like crazy in the gym (chronic cardio). Initially I thought I was doing the right thing. I lost 25 pounds, but then I hit a wall. I began investing in tons of supplements (protein, fat burners, and vaso dilators). I worked out harder (which did not help my knees or lower back) and ate less, and I managed to scrape another 15 pounds off. I got down to 220 and maintained that for awhile, but was still looking for something more. Then a friend told me about this “Paleo” or “Caveman” diet. I did research online and came across The Primal Blueprint. The Primal Blueprint appealed to me because it focused on all aspects of self improvement, and not just diet.

The Primal Blueprint and Welcome Back Grok!

I began the Primal Blueprint at the end of March 2011, and I have to admit that I was a little skeptical at first, because of the taboo on fat. I gave myself one month to give an honest shot at living the Primal life. If I saw no results or did not feel good, I was going to discontinue The PB. I adhered to the 10 laws and gave it my best shot. After a few days I was not feeling good. My energy level was bad and I felt hazy. I was craving carbs and sugars like mad! The PB book prepared me for this, so I stuck with it. This haziness started to subside after a few days, and had completely subsided after a week and a half. After this rough patch, I felt unbelievable. My energy level was through the roof, my appetite was diminished, and carb/sugar cravings were gone. My body was burning fat the way it was designed too. At the end of my 30 day trial, I lost another 15 pounds with ease, and became a true believer. The best part about this was that I got to eat delicious foods that I previously banned (red meat and bacon), and worked out LESS! My workouts consisted of hiking, lifting heavy things and sprinting every now and then. It also gave me the confidence to return to sports I played as a kid such as basketball, racquetball and Ultimate frisbee. I continued to lose 2-4 pounds consistently every weak with ease! I am currently at 175 pounds and 11% body fat.I never thought I could get these kind of results. I feel and look younger and have never had energy, endurance, and power like this in my life. My confidence is extremely high, and I have an overall better, more positive outlook on life. I am constantly looking for new challenges in tougher hikes and new sports. This new mindset enabled me to quit my high demand job and begin a new career in emergency medical services. It is less demanding and leaves me more fulfilled than I have ever been. My inner Grok is happy again, and enjoys what life has in store next. I recommend The PB to everyone that I know. In fact, I recently got my cousin into The Primal Blueprint. Although I constantly get people warning me of my impending heart attack or risk of diabetes, I enjoy refuting them with more accurate studies, and of course my results. My response to naysayers is, “If something as simple and natural makes you look younger, feel great and more fit, do you really think it is bad for you?!”

I would like to thank you Mark for your time and devotion, which enables all of us a pathway to a healthier and more fulfilling way of life!


Brandon Fields

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96 thoughts on “Welcome Back Grok: 30 Days of Self-Discovery”

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  1. Congrats Brandon! Yet another inspiring story to kick-off the weekend. With holiday parties and temptations everywhere, the timing couldn’t be better.

  2. Well done Brandon, I agree if you look, feel and perform better without tremendous effort then your on the right track.

  3. Congratulations Brandon, especially on the shift to a more satisfying career. That inspires me!

    Looking at your before and after, it’s hilarious that some people are now warning you that you risk diabetes. Some people are confused!

  4. I love reading these, they are so inspiring! CW is obviously wrong because America is spiraling downward at an alarming rate!

  5. Congratulations. I still can’t relate the two sets of pictures to each other. It’s so amazing that there’s a Brandon II inside of each and every Brandon I out there.

    1. I am pretty sure from reading the story that he was in the ballpark of 260# at his peak (in the pictures), and that he got to 220# the hard way before switching to PB in March, and dropping the rest of the way to 175#.

      1. I mean to add that this is really an inspiration to me because I am around 250#, and I would be thrilled to drop just 50#, if I could keep it off. I am in my early 40’s, so I don’t expect it to be as easy as if I had corrected course earlier in life.

        I want to be able to “play” by going back to Philmont Scout Ranch (pictured in my avatar) with my son in about 2015. Dropping 30# would be enough to get me there, but I am realizing how far away from fit I really am.

        1. I swear by this lifestyle, and that’s how you have to look at it. Follow the 10 rules, be consistent, and take it day by day. Don’t look at the weight loss as a whole, but rather tackle each day. You will find that the weight melts off. Good luck!

        2. Forget the conventional wisdom that weight loss is a drawn-out battle or that our metabolisms slow with age and there’s nothing we can do about it. It is not and they do not, and we can. If the stories here are any indication.

          In these stories, people routinely drop a hundred in 12-18 months, and age doesn’t seem to make much difference at all.

          Look up Mark’s post on The Carbohydrate Curve.

        3. I thought that looked like the “Tooth of Time!” Went to Philmont twice in the mid 70’s. Drove by the “Tooth” to show my new bride 16 years ago on our way home from our honeymoon in Red River. You will love Philmont. By all means do what you need to do so you and your son can enjoy the place. Grok on!

  6. I laughed outloud at the idea that emergency medical services would be less demanding than the corporate world. Man, your previous job must have been terrible 😉 I can easily see how much more rewarding it is, though. Congrats on a new life!

    1. Haha! I did not think about it like that until you mentioned that. It is less stressful and demanding in a sense that I have more freedom on shift to be active rather than be tied to a phone or desk. Also, I get to enjoy my days off rather than be on a laptop, phone etc etc. I live simpler and enjoy my time better. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Wow, all that weight off in such a short amount of time, way to go!

    Congrats on discovering LIFE 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing your story Brandon. It’s very inspirational!

  9. Thanks so much everyone!! I am still doing well, and looking forward to sharing further progresses with eachother!!

    Grok On!!

  10. Now that you have put this great story out there, the pressure is on to make to through the holidays.

    Your story will help us all keep on track. Thanks.

  11. Still have the girlfriend? Is she thrilled? I think she must be. Such a big accomplishment in such short time. Great job!

    1. I am still with the girlfriend. My results has her on the primal lifestyle as well. We enjoy hikes and working out together!

  12. Brandon wow what an amazing story. Looks like you really changed some daily habits in your life! Congrats buddy!

  13. Excellent! Very inspirational 🙂 It just goes to show that giving something a chance and taking that small step in a different direction can be soooo rewarding.

  14. way to go Brando!! Thanks for intruducing me to the diet. I am 10 lbs lighter in just 5 weeks, and I haven’t been perfect either! I love it.

  15. Most “silver-bullet” diets and work-out equipment comes with a disclaimer: “results are not typical”. I think Friday success stories need a similar “RESULT ARE TYPICAL!!” statement of fact. This stuff works…big time!

  16. this:
    “My response to naysayers is, ‘If something as simple and natural makes you look younger, feel great and more fit, do you really think it is bad for you?!’”

    yup. Way to go Brandon!!!!

  17. So amazing. Well done. Your story confirms the power of the PB and what can happen when we just forget ourselves and all we think we know and TRY SOMETHING NEW. I’m a big believer in 30 day challenges – for just about anything we’re curious about – not just nutrition and fitness – but anything.

    I admire your efforts – trying in the first place, roughing it through the difficult initial period, continuing on after that, and staying in tune with the obvious (i.e. that life is just better in the PB).

    All good! Grok on!!


  18. if he has an overweight family, i am sure he constantly hears he is too skinny. no one knows what healthy looks like anymore.

    1. Some of my family say that. However, I have got some others jumping on as well. Hopefully they stick to it.

  19. Kick ass!!! Great story and great job man!!! Inspiring!!!

  20. GREAT story! Very inspiring! I love your emphasis on the wholeness that you feel in all areas of your life, not just the physical. But your before and after pics are LEGIT! Congrats!! 🙂

  21. damn it! Why do these photos never work for me?

    It seems to just be the Success Story ones too.

    Am I the only one? It seems to be all the ones linked from Photobucket.

  22. ““If something as simple and natural makes you look younger, feel great and more fit, do you really think it is bad for you?!”

    Well said and congratulations! Continue to inspire so more can get primal and live a healthy life!

  23. Absolutely amazing. This site has given me a whole new reason to look forward to Friday!

  24. Awesome job Brandon! A true inspiration. This one hit home in the career department. I constantly battle my inner Grok in order to stay in my career (software development/corporate training). I have a strong desire to have a more primal/physical job. For now I incorporate as much movement and walking into my day as I can, but wonder if a more fulfilling job is the real answer. It certainly goes against the norm these days. People (myself included) go for sedentary jobs with long commutes for high pay to the detriment of their wellbeing. Way to take the leap to a fulfilling career!

  25. I love success story Fridays!! And this one did not disappoint…way to go!!

  26. Very inspiring! I also find it odd that after losing all that weight and looking the way you do, and especially with the health benefits of eating primal, that anyone would be warning you of heart issues or diabetes.

    1. Some people (some doctors included) are heavily invested in the status quo, to the point that they *panic* if people they know make significant changes. Especially if those changes go against their core beliefs.

      This is why you hear about family members who try and sabotage someone’s diet, or doctors who have fits over “too much weight loss” even if you still have a few pounds to go! They aren’t thinking sensibly, they are spouting anything they can think of to get you to go back to the way you were.

  27. Such a badass man. Thanks for being an inspiration to everyone on here. You can’t dispute the sheer number of lives that have been changed by the PB.

  28. wtg Brandon. What a change! You must be bombarded with compliments and questions now.

  29. GREAT job, man! Congratulations on your new life and good health!

  30. You look amazing! What a total transformation, in look and in how you feel. Congratulations on your outstanding success! You are an inspiration. Warm wishes for continued enjoyment of the primal lifestyle for many years to come, and for a happy holiday season! Cheers. 🙂

  31. Congratulations Brandon!! Amazing transformation! I, too, went from feeling very low energy, pre-Primal, to feeling just fabulous! The results speak for themselves! I’m sure you have the same sentiment as myself: I will never go back to those pre-Primal days! Thanks for sharing your success with us!

  32. Way to go Brandon. And thanks for the reminder of the 30 day challenge with it’s value for self discovery. I think it’s time for another 30 day challenge and reflection on my career, one that is definitely in conflict with the 10 PB laws. I tell everyone who will listed about PB and everything paleo. Thanks for the inspiration and reminder of what the PB lifestyle can get us!

  33. You look incredible! I admire your hard work and discipline. It’s great to hear how much better you feel too.

  34. Wow, Brandon. I was really lifted up by hearing that you pushed through the initial discomfort and thrived so amazingly well. I’m currently suffering in my 6th day, so I really needed that.

  35. Wonderful!! What remarkable changes!!

    I’ve noticed in your story, as well as in other stories, that your skin looks great; no sagging rolls.

    I’ve known people who got tummy tucks and lost a lot of weight, but their skin didn’t shrink to fit. It just sagged and they needed surgery to remove the excess skin.

    I’ve decided that the health improvement of eating primal allows the skin to respond in a healthy manner.

    Has anyone else noticed this?

    Way to go to everyone who’s made the switch!!!

  36. Wow! What a transformation. Your story is the perfect example, that eating “real food” and being physically active, makes a big difference. Our great-grandparents didn’t have to eat carrot sticks and join expensive health clubs to stay healthy. They ate “real food” and kept active, just like you.

    Thanks for sharing your tale.


  37. Hi Brandon

    Fantastic what an amazing transformation.

    Best wishes for the future.


  38. You look beautiful, Brandon! You are extremely inspiring. I’m going to show your story to some fellows I know.

  39. You guys never stop amazing me.
    Congratulations on life-changing experience and thank you very much for sharing your story with us!

  40. Wow! Your transformation is amazing! Congratulations on your success! Grok on!

  41. Hello,

    From what I taken in college biology, I do not beleive your ears match up genetically in the photos. The “before ears” are free floating while the “after ears” are more pinned. So is speculated the men ion the pics may either be related, or some cgi nonsense goes one.

  42. Ears look fine to me, Donna. I think you’re overreaching here (and surely one semester of college biology does not an expert make you), and accusing him of doctoring the image is pretty inflammatory, you know.

    1. It’s interesting how resistant some people are to the idea that Primal WORKS. They search for all these off the wall reasons why the before and after photos don’t “match,” postulate scams, etc. It violates Occams Razor. The simplest and best explanation for the extreme difference in the before and after pics is that following a primal lifestyle makes you healthier. Duh.

      Also have you noticed that most of the naysayers who espouse following low-fat, whole grain, etc. have a number of health problems or are overweight? I have to bite my tongue to keep from pulling a Dr. Phil and saying, “How’s that working for you?”

  43. Top Man! Excellent work, Brandon. I’m jealous of the playground with bar and rings as well.
    Two weeks into my PB and stories like yours keep me well and truly on the Grok path.
    I’m doing my bit to sell the PB change to everyone I meet here in England to get them off the SUK diet (standard United Kingdon Diet) and into primal living.

    1. Great job….. thanks for sharing your success.
      I am on a mission to duplicate your healthy results. Keep us posted please.


  44. Very inspiring story. Really there is something terribly sexy about these primal men!

  45. Brandon, this is an awesome testimonial and success story… and being that you are now my trainer at the GYM, I feel fortunate to have paired up with you as I also have a strong sense of your “GROK”… it’s much like that saying, “be around people you want to be like”…

  46. Congrats and thanks for sharing your amazing story! Inspirational! I’m planning a career change, too, and it’s nice to see someone who’s gotten out of the corporate world and lived to tell the tale :).

  47. Brandon has become my go to guy when I have questions, Ive followed Mark for a while but after working with Brandon and firing question after question at him for 2 days Ive decided to just stop questioning and start doing.