When Eating Healthy is Making You Fat!

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!

Hey Mark,

It occurred to me after reading a number of other success stories that I myself had a success story to share, and while I believe that there are many to thank for helping me get where I am now, you have played a large part in my transformation.

So let me give you my back story.

Excuses I wish I had…

At this point it’s important I clarify a few things. I’m 45 and have been battling my weight for about 25 years. I can’t pin my body fat woes on any specific tragedy.

I would love to be able to blame my troubles on some sort of genetic mutation that makes me eat like a hyena. Sadly, I cannot (which is really too bad because I think I would have made an excellent X-Men character.)

I would love to be able to say I suffer from a rare genetic disorder known as no metabolism. Unfortunately, my metabolism is alive and well and doing the speed limit on most occasions.

I would love to say I am a victim of gravity. Where others experience a gravitational pull, I experience a gravitational grounding, which basically nails my butt to the earth. It might certainly explain those times I could not get out of bed or off the couch, but sadly gravity has no issue with me and subjects me to the same forces as the rest of its flock.

Regular guy doing all the right things…

No Mark, for the past 25 years in fact, I have been someone who I think a fair number of your readers might relate to.

  • I have always been very active
  • I have worked out 4 or 5 days/week for most of those 25 years
  • I was a vegetarian for the last 19 years
  • When I worked out, it was with a high degree of intensity
  • I ate 5 or 6 healthy meals each day
  • I prepared almost all my own foods
  • About 95% of my meals were organic whole foods
  • About 50% of those meals were raw
  • I seldom ate junk food
  • I ate out even less

And what did all that get me?

[That mug shot was taken in November, 2010.]

That’s what all of the above got me.

I can’t tell you what I weigh in that photo because I had long ago given up on the scale as a unit of measurement. I won’t get into the details of the nasty breakup, other than to say one of us was not being honest about how much I weighed.

But I can tell you that waist required a 36-inch pant. And I can tell you that I am not sticking my stomach out to look fatter than I really am. If anything, I was holding it in slightly because I was embarrassed how I looked, even though it never occurred to me that I would be sharing this photo with anyone other than Microsoft Word.

When doing something looks like nothing…

There is an old saying that you can’t get something for nothing. That may be true, but that body above is proof you can get nothing for something. It seemed that no matter what I did, it always looked like I did nothing. I decided that I didn’t want that legacy on my tombstone…

RIP Dean Dwyer
1965 to 2065
He proved you can get nothing for something.

Clearly, what I was doing wasn’t working and on November 23rd I finally had my, “Dude where is my body?” moment.

I needed to do something completely different if I was going to unleash the body that was trapped in my imagination for the past 25 years.

And so I fired all the health experts I had relied on in the past. I tossed out every notion I had about what I thought constituted good health and that included questioning whether a vegetarian diet was right for my body-type.

I really wasn’t sure where to begin. I just knew I had to do something seismic. I needed to take some steps that would drastically alter my course. Simply eating healthy (too vague to even measure) and working out (my default weight loss option) weren’t working.

It became obvious to me that there was more to this journey then I realized and I had to be open to explore it if I wanted a different result. I already knew what to do to be fat.

Stealing from Google…

So I sat down and wrote out a philosophy for my health. Google has one titled, 10 Things We Know To Be True, that governs the very essence of their business, and since they seem to be scrapping by, I figured I better have one too. I knew if I was going to have any success this time around I needed to have a framework from which to evaluate my successes and failures.

While my current philosophy contains 26 items, at the time I started with the simple notion of recording every thing I ate. My rationale was simple. I couldn’t possibly know what worked for my body-type unless I had data I could refer to.

This was a science experiment of the utmost importance and I needed the raw data. This journey would be no different from Thomas Edison’s journey to create the light bulb. He made countless notes and observations on each and every failed experiment, each moving him incrementally closer to finding a solution that worked. I needed to take the exact same approach.

And so I started logging all my foods all the time (I still do this…don’t want to mess with my success). I was still vegetarian at the time and after a few months I could definitely see changes. Not massive changes, but enough change to keep me going.

My theory was and still is, that the very act of recording makes me a mindful eater, as opposed to a mindless eater (which is what I was for 25 years), and as such, I would make better choices even if little else in my diet was different.

But then, as always seems to be the case, I noticed that in mid-January of this year, I was putting weight back on. I knew this because I was taking a photo of myself every morning.

Needless to say I was horrified. It was that, “Crap, here we go again” moment.

But I must say, recording my eating was an accidental stroke of genius because it allowed me to take a step back and analyze what I was putting in my body and suddenly I had this thought…

What if eating healthy is making me fat?

I really couldn’t explain this any other way. On paper my stats looked great. Unfortunately, stats are 2-dimensional and I was living in a 3-dimensional world. The stats and my reality weren’t aligning.

Good calories, bad calories…

And so I jumped online and started doing research. I had no idea what I was looking for, but somehow I stumbled upon Gary Taubes, and this lead me to read his book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories.”

I found the book fascinating. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no Harry Potter, but I found the studies he cited and the narrative he provided to be just as engaging.

And as I poured over the studies he had presented, “it” happened.

I stumbled upon one line in one study voiced by one researcher (whose name I cannot remember) who suggested the following…

What if weight gain is a symptom and not a character flaw.

WOW! That line floored me.

I knew that people on the outside would look at my November pic and provide a quick and utterly useless diagnosis. Without knowing anything about me, they would simply say I needed to be more disciplined. I would need to cut back on my calories (take on some starvation diet – no thanks!) and expend more calories than I was taking in.

In essence, they would be implying that my situation was a result of a series of character flaws. Since I had already beaten myself up for 25 years thinking I was to blame, this new insight lead me to think…

What if I am not to blame?
What if this isn’t my fault?
What if the foods I am eating don’t allow my body (when I say body I’m referring to it on a cellular level) to do its job, which is to rid itself of the excess fat that has accumulated?

I can’t tell you how liberating this thoughts were. It literally changed the cultural landscape of my mind, which, in my experience, is the most challenging aspect of this whole journey.

A Primal discovery…

But I didn’t know what to do with this info.

I didn’t know what I was supposed to change in my diet to put this theory to work. And so I once again jumped on the internet and began researching diets.

And again, I have no idea how it happened Mark, but I ended up on your site and on this post: How to Succeed with the Primal Blueprint.

I had heard of the Paleo Diet before, but I had dismissed it simply because I knew the vegetarian lifestyle was the right way to go. Clearly, I was blinded by my arrogance and my ignorance.

I was captivated by the concept. The thought of a diet based on an evolutionary premise made sense to me. Hell, I scream like a two-year when someone scares the crap out of me and know that is an evolutionary mechanism at play, why couldn’t the same reasoning apply for diet.

It made perfect sense in theory.

Of course, there are lots of experts who are quick to point out all the negatives. But if this journey has taught me anything it is that I am the expert on me. No one, and I mean no one, can tell me what works for my body-type. That is my domain and my domain alone.

In the past, I was too willing to hand my domain to other people who clearly knew nothing about me and what made me tick.

And while I don’t believe there is one magic diet that works for everyone, I do believe there is one that works for me, and so I was determined to test what you were professing Senor Sisson.

Here is what I did…

  • I dropped the vegetarian diet immediately
  • I banned pasta, grains, legumes, rice, twigs, leaves, branches; you name it, I banned it
  • I adopted mass quantities of veggies, good meats, raw nuts and seeds and fruit (albeit on a very controlled basis)
  • I stopped thinking about my workouts as a tool for fat loss and began to look at them as a way to increase my body’s functionality (geared towards survival and being able to save a life)

  • And I followed the chart below to a tee. That bad boy has been my bible.

And the results?

[Not sure why I am not smiling in the second photo. I am tempted to say I wasn’t ready for the photo, but I am the one who snapped the pic.]

Well, I have achieved results I have NEVER attained before and I have done so eating more now than I did in the past and doing less exercise than I did before (I now do 5 workouts that MUST be 30 minutes or less).

I went from a 36 inch pant size to a 29 inch pant size.

While some of the pictures speak for themselves (sorry for the shameless self-promotion), I want to make it clear that my journey is far from over. I will always be a work in progress.

The great thing now is I am 100% certain what I am doing works. My job is to simply stay out of my own way.

Other benefits?

Surprisingly, I have had many friends who have been captivated by the changes I have made and have asked me to help them create change in their own lives as well. While I never really expected this to be an outcome of my efforts (simply because I had failed spectacularly so many times over the past 25 years) I definitely want to do all I can to add to the primal tribe.

[If you haven’t read Hawaiian Scottie’s story, Living the Dream, check it out. Not only did I love his story, but I was inspired by his ability to add 8 people to his tribe.]

I also recently launched www.beingprimal.com, which is going to be a video based site to help shed some light on the emotional and psychological aspect of this Primal journey. [sorry that is shameless self-promotion part 2]

My mistake in the past was thinking this was simply a diet and exercise issue. It is much more complex than that.

This is an emotional and psychological journey first and foremost. It’s a journey into understanding who we are. Until we are willing to plunge into the depths of our murky inner self and figure out why we do what we do, all the other stuff is meaningless, because it won’t last. We will find a way to blow it up long before the results can ever reveal themselves.

So Mark, I thank you for not only helping me unleash that body that I knew I had, but I thank you for unleashing a passion that was buried even deeper within me.

All the best amigo,


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358 thoughts on “When Eating Healthy is Making You Fat!”

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      1. Seriously, this is an incredible transformation. Great job. I might reel off a few pushups. You got me inspired.

        1. Thanks Mike. And it only took a few push ups. I’m kidding of course, but I can say it did start with only being able to do 2 very UGLY pull ups.

    1. What a spunk! Great story, very inspiring Dean. I hope to one day have such a great transformation to share.
      Good on you!

  1. The power of learning, and the open mind. Talk about evolving, you’ve sure done some in your own life. Congratulations!

    1. Well Digby, thanks and with regards to evolving, well I am a work in progress. What I find most interesting about this journey is that I can apply many of the principles I am learning to other areas of my life as well.

    1. Thanks Sandy. To be honest however I didn’t submit the story to simply be inspirational. I am hoping my story will resonate with some who will be inspired to take some seismic action to create change in their own lives. But the feedback is great none-the-less.

      1. Isn’t that sort of the definition of inspiration? 😀

        Great job, by the way. Night and day.

  2. You look great!! And I think you ARE smiling in the “after” pic. You have a kind of shocked/smug hidden grin thing going on. I can definitely tell you are pleased with your results (albeit somewhat surprised).

    1. Actually Maggie I suck when it comes to having my picture taken. I either look like I should be in prison or I have some goofy grin that makes me look like the Joker from Batman. Need to find that happy medium.

      1. Funny you mentioned Batman. When I first saw your “after picture”- I thought you looked like Michael Keaton in Batman. You look great – what an inspiration!

        1. Hey Karyn, I will definitely take the comparison. I have batman pajamas…maybe I should break them out and do a little crime fighting…they have feet on them though so I am worried criminals won’t take me seriously 🙂 Thanks for a wonderful compliment.

  3. GINOURMOUS INSPIRATION! Great way to kick off the 4th of July weekend Mark!!

    Thanks for submitting your success story Dean!

    1. Yo yo PT. Thanks. Being Canadian today is our 4th of July (happy birthday Canada). Hey btw I sent you a few things this week. We can talk later about them when you have had a chance to look them over. Have a great weekend amigo.

      1. Yes, I got the email! I am going through my email right now so expect something sometime today.

        Enjoy your holiday weekend!

        P.S. Your blog looks AWESOME! Keep up the great work – you will inspire MILLIONS. That’s a GUARANTEE!

    2. I just finished reading the post… wow! I hope people read this line over and over and over again…

      “But if this journey has taught me anything it is that I am the expert on me. No one, and I mean no one, can tell me what works for my body-type. That is my domain and my domain alone.”

      Perfectly said fellow caveman. People need to understand that the Primal Blueprint is a guideline. There is no one diet fits all. But that does not mean that anyones and everyones health can improve if he or she eliminates all grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods from his or her diet. But within that, we must all decide what is best for us.

      We must decide if dairy is right for us. How we want to use the 80/20 rule. How we want to exercise. How much sleep we need, etc. Robb is different then Mark who is different then Diane who is different then John who is different then Richard. Who is right? THEY ALL ARE.

      Read what bloggers say and do. Then form your own lifestyle guidelines. YOU know YOU best so YOU must decide what is best for YOU. Got it? Good.

      I loved it when you talked about how it is NOT YOUR FAULT that you are fat. I actually just did a recent blog post that was titled “It’s Not Your Fault You’re Fat.”

      No, I believe one must take responsibility for their own actions. But everyone must also understand that ones choices are severely influenced by ones environment.

      I made the decision to write this comment but guess what? It was obviously heavily influenced by this success story. Dean CHOSE to live a primal lifestyle but it may not have been a possible CHOICE if Mark did not take the time and effort to write his book and start this blog.

      Take responsibility for your own actions but stop blaming yourself. Don’t blame anyone else either. Blame your environment. Look at all the factors and the think about what changes you can make in yourenvironment.


      1. “I just finished reading the post… wow! I hope people read this line over and over and over again…

        “But if this journey has taught me anything it is that I am the expert on me. No one, and I mean no one, can tell me what works for my body-type. That is my domain and my domain alone.”

        Both of you just summed up why I’m going back to school at my age to get a solid foundation in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition…I want to know why some variation of this dietstyle works so well for so many people, and I want to be able to help more people make the jump!

        Dean – rock on brotha! And thank you for your amazingly approachable writing style, I look forward to good things from your blog, not to mention sending many new readers your way!

        1. Hey Jesse,

          I’m a big fan of anyone who can pull off the phrase “rock on brotha.” Sadly I cannot.

          I think your line about helping more people make the jump was why I decided to submit my story. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of posting semi-nude pics of myself on this post or my site for that matter because I didn’t want to be “THAT GUY.’

          But I thought about if and realized I didn’t want to be “That guy” who talked about stuff he wasn’t actually doing. There are enough of those “experts” in the world that we can do without.

          I figured, like you, that doing so would help emphasize that the ideas Senor Sisson talks about work if people give them a chance and are willing to experiment.

          Anyhow Jesse thanks for the props and I wish you all the best at school dude (can I pull off “dude”?)

          Keep in touch and let me know how things are going.

  4. Wow! What a great success story. I especially love how DD pinpoints his “Aha!” moments for us lucky MDA readers.

    Great story!

    1. Actually they were more like “Woo Hoo” moments with a little jig thrown in. I like your blog Darby; like that you have focused your efforts on the smarter gender on planet. Very cool.

    1. Thanks Missy. My goal however (not sure if I accomplished it however) is that I can inspire people to act. It’s not all inspirational however. I am a disaster in the kitchen. But that is a story for another day.

  5. Nice story Dean and very well written. Your style is similar to Mark’s – light, easy going and a bit tongue in cheek and I appreciate it when people take a healthy dose of humour in their everyday primal doings. I also like and know that wry smile in your after photo, it is a smile that says “I think I have found the truth about how I should look after my body and boy does it feel good to know I am walking down the right path – AT LAST!”. I’m really happy for you, you are living it, doing it and your last photo up against the door shows your well deserved happiness.

    Did you find when you switched to Mark’s primal diet, that not long after you found you auto-regulated how much you ate per day ? I normally eat only once or twice per week in the evening now – I trust my sense of hunger so much more now and if I’m not hungry, I don’t eat.

    Cheers, great story!

    1. Well the first draft was written in crayon Nick so this version that Aaron posted makes me look a little more sophisticated than I really am 🙂

      And clearly my smile is fooling people. I think on that last one I was smiling because I thought I forgot to set the timer on the camera. But I like your explanation better.

      Good question btw. I’m a bigger eater than Mark is. And I don’t regulate what I eat. At least not at this point.

      When I started this I laid out a few ground rules. One was I could NEVER be hungry.

      So I don’t have any rules for such things at this point. I eat 6 times a day and I honour that religiously. Last night I ate supper at 11pm.

      I’m not saying that is for everyone, but this whole journey has taught me to test everything.

      I can see myself experimenting however with more structured eating.

      But I really like what you are doing. The idea is to create something that works uniquely for you. I refer to it as taking ownership. That’s a huge evolution for anyone. Once they take ownership and make it their own some exciting stuff starts to happen.

    2. I agree that your post is well written. Usually I just look at the before and after pictures, but this time I read every word.

      1. Hey Chris, you and I both. But I had to read every word because I wrote this darn thing….so I appreciate you taking the time to read it. If there was a follow up quiz I am fairly confident you would have done quite well.

  6. Wow Dean – What an absolutely brilliant story – well written with a wonderful sense of humour. Your journey is amazing and your photos are amazing. Truly inspirational!!

      1. I’ll book my flight tomorrow 😉 I’ll tell them that apples don’t fall very far from the tree, that should really impress them (unless it’s just and English saying that will just confuse them lol)

        I must say I’m still smiling thinking about your story. A man with a sense of humour, good looking AND can spell!!

        1. I agree with Suzie — these were my thoughts exactly as I read through Dean’s post. Why aren’t there more like him in Chicago?

          Thanks for sharing your story, Dean! Such a quick transformation in only a few months must be thrilling. I’m sure it helps that you had years of fitness training, but the psychological and emotional benefits of this lifestyle are often glossed over. I’ve been physically active for years, so the physical changes were of course refreshing. But what surprised me the most was how a girl who battled anxiety and depression for most of my life could suddenly be so happy and calm!

        2. sorry suzie your comment is below Autumns and Autumn this is your comment. Thanks. I think the city of Toronto is sick of me so if they decide to ban me…Chicago here I come.

          And the emotional psychological aspect of this journey can’t be overlooked. Sounds weird coming from a guy because we tend to equate this with woman (simply because they are honest enough to indicate it is a factor.)

          But it is a big part of why we are where we are in our lives right now. There are reasons why we do what we do and diet and exercise do not address these issues. But they certainly lessen the pain in many instances as you have pointed out Autumn.

          I’m so glad to hear you are in a great place. That has to have been such a monumental shift for you.

      2. Toilet seat as well!! Is there no end to your talents??!! 😉

        Forget Canada and America – the UK NEEDS you!!

  7. *applauds*
    Great story.

    How easy did you find going back to meat after nearly 20 years?

    1. Hey Steve,

      It was really easy. But I also have a bit of dog in me (meaning I eat like a dog) so I can eat anything (I draw the line at kitty litter however.)

  8. WOW, that’s does sound alot like my story also, mostly doing the right things, vegetarian, running hard, lifting and never getting in shape, I been doing primal since JAN 1 2011, at about the 80% level, never hungry and dropped 35lbs almost without pain. I also thank Mark

    1. Are you me? That’s great to hear regular guy. I would suggest you submit your story as well and help build the tribe.

      Regular Dean

      1. I didn’t mean to usurp your handle regular guy, I would like to put up a story some day. I don’t have a problem with giving up pasta, but my primal side says keep head low and out of sight. Publishing to the world will not be my strong suit. But you have posted well, and I have already bookmarked your Website. Looks excellent!

        1. Thanks amigo. My brother actually convinced me to send my story hear. It never occurred to me to tell my story publicly…did take some getting used to though.

  9. Well, Dean, you made me smile which, at 6:30am in the morning, is no mean feat. Congratulations on your weight loss, you look great! I’m sure you feel great too.

    ‘I am the expert on me.’Amen to that.

    1. First, you have best most expensive last name ever! Second, smiles are free up until noon, then unfortunately I have to charge for them. Third, I really like your site. The last name lends itself to warrior status. Mine (dwyer) not so much. Any suggestions on a new last name for me? What do you think of Dean Silver?

      1. ‘Most expensive last name ever!’ That’s what my husband says about me. 😉

        As for the name, I think you could go a long way with the one you have – the alliteration is great – Dean Dwyer Defeats Dodgy Diet for starters…

        Thank you for the comment about my site.

  10. “I am hoping my story will resonate with some who will be inspired to take some seismic action to create change in their own lives. But the feedback is great none-the-less” –Well, mission accomplished, and well done. My copy of the PB book has been staring at me from the shelf for too many days. So, first step is today.

    1. Jack that is great to hear. The goal was to inspire action.

      Mark, do I get any royalties off Jack’s book? Just askin’ 🙂

  11. Wow, your transformation is amazing. Congratulations–you radiate good health, now. If you were 10 years older, I’d probably be stalking you right now.

    AND I love your sense of humor and that you write “different from” rather than the cringe-worthy “different than.”

    1. Hey Demeris, you will find I am very-stalk friendly. As for my linguistic abilities, that was probably a total fluke that I didn’t right “different than.” And the sense of humour is a free 4th of July weekend bonus! Enjoy!

  12. Dean- Your testimony could not have come at a better time for me. About three months ago I decided what I was doing wasn’t working so I started tracking everything I was eating. While I was seeing some results it took way too much time. I have a wife and two young kids that are my greatest joy and the time it took to workout/track food was not worth the little benefit I was seeing. The cost was way too high. So I have been searching for something that would allow me to be healthy (not just look healthy) but that would not take time away from the family. Currently I would say that I’m right at “What if eating healthy is making me fat?” and “What if weight gain is a symptom and not a character flaw?” I came across Mark’s site about a month ago and the philosophy behind this lifestyle really resonated with me. I have been reading Mark’s book and trying to figure out if this is for me. Your story gives me encouragement to continue looking at the Primal lifestyle as a way to achieve my goal. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Jedidah, thanks for the detail. I think I mentioned somewhere in my post that I don’t believe there is one diet for everyone; but that said, I believe there are tenets within this diet that can work for most everyone if they stop thinking about this as PLUG AND PLAY.

      This is an ART not a paint by numbers diet.

      I often describe it like a chess game. You can teach people what each of the 6 pieces does, but how each individual uses those pieces to “win” is varied with thousands of subtle options to be explored.

      Of course, the great thing about chess (as it is in body transformation) is you can “attack” and if it doesn’t work, you can “retreat” and try another strategy.

      In the past I was playing this game like checkers where you can only go forward with limited options and once those options are blocked it’s game over.

      You sound like you are on the right track my friend. Think chess rather than checkers and introduce subtle changes and test the sh*t out of them to see what effect, if any they have.

      Feel free to email me if you have more questions. [email protected]

    2. Do it!! I went primal in September of 2010 and my results have been fantastic, just like Dean’s results. I never thought feeling good would feel this good!

  13. Wow! I lurk all the time, but I had to post on this one. That was just a super well written story and (as others have said) extremely inspirational. Great work, Dean! I’m sure you’ll continue making progress by leaps and bounds with your head in the right place.

    1. Hey Kyle, I am also lurker friendly as well so glad you de-lurked (I just made up a word) to share. I hope you are right about my head being in the right place. Anywhere other than sitting on my shoulders will just be awkward at parties.

  14. When I hit your before/after pix, I was startled into a spontaneous whistle of astonishment and applause! OMG! WAY to go! You’re quite the example, even for a fat old lady who is just entering her second month of “Body By Science” lifting (LOVE it!!!!) and trying to figure out how to go Paleo when I don’t eat veg… Yesterday, I finished the last cheese in the house (a food I’ve lived on for years; gonna substitute hard-boiled eggs (and leftover meat) as my go-to quick-food). I will be doing without cheese (and, shortly, nuts as well) for Mark’s 30 days. Dean, you’re quite the motivation! Thanks!

    1. I laughed when I read “fat old lady” because I thought you were referring to me. I’m sure you are neither, but exploring Paleo is definitely a step in the right direction.

      I can tell you this Elenor, it starts by makings some difficult decisions. I have a handful of foods that I love but send me over the edge if I eat them. Cheese is one. Cereal was another. Ice cream is killer.

      Cheese sticks to me like glue. One winter I gained 15 pounds in two weeks volunteering at a world cup ski event eating nothing but pizza.

      What I have found (and it is different for everyone) is that small changes can generate massive change.

      Cheese might be the one thing for you that gets the whole ball rolling.

      I would love to hear more about how your 30 Days goes with mark’s program as well.

  15. This story is awesome. I’ve only been converted over to paleo for 2-3 weeks, but my story is so similar as far as experiencing that sort of “awakening”.

    I had long accepted that my body was genetically just going to be shaped a certain way, but low and behold after just a couple of weeks I have been seeing remarkable changes, and am starting to lose those “last 10 pounds” that no one can ever seem to get rid of.

    Congratulations on your success!

    1. Thanks Christine. It’s funny isn’t it how many of us think that very same thing…that this is just the body we are supposed to have.

      You should share your story when you are ready. It’s a great motivation to stay the course and build your own tribe.

  16. Hi Dean! Not only is your story inspiring and heartfelt, but you are also an amazing writer! I’m glad you started the website for all to see, but I hope you write some more publicly as well!

    1. Thanks for that encouragement. I am actually going to move to a video based model simply because I am more effective in communicating that way and my somewhat goofy side can SHINE through as well. But that is wonderful feedback none-the-less Lissa. Thanks!!!

  17. So incredibly inspiring! Wow…I love reading these stories every Friday and hope to send in my own at some point. You look fantastic!

    1. Thanks Jana. Definitely send your story in…it helps in the accountability department as well. And cool blog. Love the simplicity of it and the fact you give your husband BIG props!!!

  18. Wow, great story! I too had an epiphany when I read “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, it made me emotional and angry that we’ve been blaming the fat guy for being lazy. I learned that I was seriously miseducated and not lazy and weak-willed (well, maybe there was a little of that too). Taubes led me to educate myself on how to really eat, and I stumbled upon Mark’s Daily Apple, and am re-learning how to eat and exercise. I loved your story and think you look great- I can’t wait to unleash my waiting 6-pack!

    1. Hey spincycle (can I call you spinner?),

      yeah that book was an eye opener for me. Funny how one line can change a destiny and literally reshape my entire outlook. Clearly it has done the same for you.

      And a word of advice. The goal isn’t a 6-pack. The goal is to do the right things to be healthy. The 6-pack is simply a by-product of that. I say that because I started with this goal as well and then realized I was neglecting the emotional, psychological, and the intellectual part of this journey which is what has been the difference this time around.

      It’s not just diet and exercise.

      Good luck my friend.


  19. Congrats on your journy!
    I’m still on mine… but I wanted to point out that the Gary Taubes book is Good Calories Bad Calories not Good Carbs Bad Carbs.

    1. Thanks Mike…I did that one purpose to see if people were actually reading my post (OK I didn’t, but I appreciate you pointing that out…it might explain why Taubes karate chops me in the spinal cord if he should ever meet me.)

  20. I loved reading your story. You before and after pics are worth a million. I feel like our paths have been somewhat similar. Always felt like the hamster running in circles on that stupid wheel. Now as an active cross-fitter and a lover of all things paleo my life has changed dramatically. I read a passage a couple of months ago that inspires me every day. “Exercise is critical but nutrition is vital!” For all I know it may have been Mark that threw those words out there. Whoever it was I thank them and I thank you for sharing your story. BRAVO!

    1. Hey Sarah, thanks so much. So can I collect these millions from you? Do you use PayPal? Perhaps you can just transfer the funds directly to me. You are not related to a Nigerian Prince whose kingdom is in complete anarchy are you?

      That line does sound like something Mark would say, so lets give him the props until someone says otherwise.

      And I love Bravo! Can I assume you were standing and clapping as you wrote that? (actually that doesn’t make any sense, because you can’t type and clap at the same time.)

      And great to hear your success story. You need to submit it here gurl!

  21. I love these stories. It’s so cool seeing other 40-year-old plus guys going this route. It’s fun to be in better shape, and probably stronger, than guys half our age.

    Great job Dean. You look fantastic!


  22. What a great journey! I spent the past five years as a vegetarian and have recently introduced fish and gone paleo/primal. It’s very motivating to see someone who has achieved as much success as you have with a similar switch. I was having a ton of health issues and weight gain despite doing everything “right” – I ate tons of fruits and veggies, protein in the form of tofu, tempeh, eggs and beans and had almost no fat in my diet, and yet I was getting diagnosed with a bunch of new illnesses and feeling crappy all the time. I only changed my diet a month ago, but I already feel the amazing benefits of eating based on evolution.

    1. That’s AWESOME! I didn’t mention this in the post, but one of my reasons for my success was that I committed to being Paleo full-time. I have met a number of people who are part-time Paleoers (oh boy I made up another word) and they just don’t get the results because they aren’t willing to commit completely.

      I don’t believe you can dabble in this (or anything for that matter.) You don’t have a great marriage by doing it part-time…same is true of this.

      I wish you all the best Elizabeth. Email me sometime and let me know how it is going 🙂

      1. Thanks Dean! I’m definitely a full-timer in the sense that I only ever eat paleo foods, but I haven’t yet gone the route of eating meat in addition to fish. I actually ate beef (grass-fed jerky, but it’s a start) for the first time in five years yesterday, so I’m getting myself used to the idea of introducing land animals. Honestly, my biggest deterrent has been the unavailability of sustainably and ethically raised meat in my area (and the fact that my boyfriend is still a vegetarian and is freaked out by all the recent changes in my life), but I do think I need to try harder to find meat and bite the bullet. If it means health, performance and appearance improvements, it will be worth it for me! I’ll definitely e-mail you sometime – I’d love to hear more about the transition back to eating meat.

        1. I think you could probably do pretty well eating no animal products except eggs and fish, which you’re already doing. Those give you lots of good fats, including saturated fat in the eggs, along with a great spectrum of vitamins and minerals and a healthy dose of omega-3s. You could definitely do a lot worse, so there’s no reason to rush sourcing quality meat.

          Except that beef is delicious and I personally count any week without a steak as a week not lived, but that’s me. 😀

  23. A great success story! What I like about this one is it represents a section of people that isn’t normally represented when it comes to weight loss…people who have lived a “healthy” lifestyle before and still struggled with weight. Not the ones like on The Biggest Loser who talk about how hard it is to give up fast food and 5000 calories a day and who haven’t exercised in years.
    I spent the last two years exercising 1.5 hours a day, at least 5 days a week and staying around 1200 calories and the scale never budged. I was a vegetarian and I’ve always had a healthy lifestyle, well at least since I was mid 20’s. I went Primal in February and I’ve lost 33 pounds as of today.

    1. Wowzers! 33 pounds!! that’s awesome. You and I have similar stories. Congrats. I think the lesson for that or for anyone else (I learned this the hard way sadly) is that if you are trying something and after a month, no results are present, the IT ISN’T WORKING and you need to change course. Not big changes, but changes are needed. Keep up your nomadic ways nomad (get it?? I know that isn’t funny at all)

    2. Exactly.
      I ate all ORGANIC for 10 years and gained 20 lbs. Had to use starvation tactics together with laxatives (not proud of it) to keep ‘thin’. And all those organic whole grain breads gave me a hell of a time in the bathroom as well =P

      1. Oh bread was killer for me. I would buy a whole loaf at whole foods in the good ole pre-primal days and eat half of it on the 7 minute car ride home. Not pretty I tell ya.

  24. Congratulations Dean, you look phenomenal. A truly awesome and most inspirational success story and one of my favourites, for sure! At 47 I just started on my journey and if I posted my head on your November pic that would be pretty representative where I am now. Much of your journey over the past 25 years seems to parallel what I’ve been doing and experiencing. Your story really resonated with me. If I get anywhere close to your success I’ll be one happy fellow Canuck! To quote Sarah “bravo”!

    1. Hey grog, as a fellow Canuck happy Canada day 🙂 And posting your head on top of mine is OK. Posting it under my arm however will make me look like some kind of serial killing cannibal so I wouldn’t recommend that approach 🙂

      If anything, then at least you know what’s possible. My only advice…commit to the lifestyle 100% and test the sh*t out of ideas to see what works and what doesn’t.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      1. “Serial killing cannibal”…LOL. At least it would be keeping in the spirit of eating Primal!! Happy Canada Dean and thanks for the advice. I’m going to journal everything starting today as it seems to just make sense that without data it’s hard to know what’s working or not. I’ve heard it a million times before but when you noted “I couldn’t possibly know what worked for my body-type unless I had data I could refer to” it just seemed to click this time. I’m sure I’ll have some questions as I progress, so thanks. Btw, your website is pretty cool!!

        1. That was huge for me. We need data…just as a business needs data to know whether it is running at a profit or a loss. Good luck my friend.

  25. Great story (and photos) Dean! My husband and I have a similar story: we were vegetarian-ish (occasionally ate fish), cooked pretty much everything we ate from scratch, exercised a lot (weights + long-distance running), no junk food, etc. Oddly enough, we kept putting on weight. We thought we were just getting old (in our mid-40s!) and there was nothing we could do because we were doing everything “right”. Congratulations on your success!

    1. Hey Teri, funny isn’t when we think we are doing everything right only to see that the results say otherwise. I think your story has a very valuable lesson as well. We all have a tendency to jump to false conclusions about why think certain things are happening. So happy for you that you were able to smash through that paradigm. Good luck to you and your husband and thanks for sharing.

  26. Hi Dean

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

    You have a great writing style I really found you story engaging.

    Good luck with your future Primal life.



    1. Thanks Kim. If you thought the movie was engaging, wait until the movie comes out. Ok there is no movie, but I have always wanted to drop that line on someone. One more thing I can scratch off my list. 🙂

  27. Wow, Dean. I feel like i am in the exact same situation prior to your transformation…i train hard and try to eat the right things but i seem to fall flat on my face.

    I really like the “10 Things We Know To Be True” idea and i going to start my own.

    Thanks again for your post, i think its the best one i’ve read on here so far.

    1. Hey Ross,

      Thanks man. That’s a great compliment, one of the best I have gotten in fact so thank you for sharing. The Google thing is pretty cool. But having a philosophy has done wonders for me because I now have guidelines upon which to gauge my behavior.

      I never had that in the past and thus would stray off course and not even know it. Good luck on your journey my friend and let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help.

  28. Dean, I love this story and your transformation is really amazing. I also tried the super healthy vegetarian route for way too long and just got sicker and sicker. I hope someday to be able to post a success story here, but right now I’m still a work in progress and these stories are essential for me to keep my motivation up. I look forward to Fridays for that reason. So thank you.

    1. Hey Melissa that transformation is not nearly as amazing as the one that transforms me from “just woke up zombie” to “hey look there is a real person”.

      And your welcome and I encourage to make it a MUST to publish your story here. And might I also suggest working on building your own tribe…you know a handful of people who get this lifestyle and will help hold accountable. Best of luck with your transformation and I look forward to reading your story someday.

  29. EXCELLENT !!! 10 out of 10 !!! 🙂

    Great story, great story-telling !! 🙂

    Thanks so much for a terrific Friday morning start with fantastic photos – I will be looking at your blog later.

    1. Jill this is the first time I ever got perfect on something. I’m adding this to my high school transcript 🙂

      And you are very welcome.

  30. I love Fridays at MDA. Awesome story and I love your writing style. I’m adding you to my blogroll on my blog so I can keep up with your story. Nicely done!

  31. Great story Dean! I know others have mentioned it in these comments but I feel the need to reiterate what an excellent and entertaining writer you are! I can’t wait to read your blog.

  32. You look fantastic and your story is so inspiring!! More proof that we can’t listen to CW to achieve our best bodies/health. Way to go!!

    1. ha ha I was like CW? What do you mean we can’t listen to Cactus Willy?

      but then I put my grade 7 deductive skills to work and realized Conventional Wisdom (actually I have seen Mark use this in other posts).

      Thanks so much lisa for the feedback.

  33. This is definitely one of the best stories to me.
    The ‘light bulb’ moments you mention are important! How many people go primal just for a little while to just shed some pounds, and use this as a Diet.

    A light bulb moment is exactly what I had when I stumbled upon Marks Daily Apple.

    Thank you for sharing your success, you look fit and healthy in the after photos, very awesome story!

    1. Hey PP, you make a good point in the first paragraph. I thought about this when I started as well. I realized that what I was doing “Now” had to be sustainable and something I could do effortlessly 5 years from now. If it didn’t fit that criteria I chucked it.

      I should also add that I am also very hungry in those after photos. Those were just before dinner. 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to share. Awesome!

      1. Well there you go, you had your hunting face on! That explains it.

  34. Dean, I can see in your early photo the same face I used to make when I had the same body (at 27 years of age). As for the frown in the new you photo, I pretty much have that same face. It’s the face you’ll have to show over and over when your friends and family “worry” that “you’re too thin” or that “you’re going to have a heart attack.” It’s the face of a man who now knows that no one can attack you and win — you’re faster, stronger and more determined to beat the odds that we all create by eating and living unhealthy.

    Congrats to you for your determination, for doing what all of us can do, but most won’t.

    Keep that frown on, it’s what I call the smile of victory.

    1. Hey AB, thanks for those kind words. I quite like your second last line my friend, but I am not any different from anyone else. At some point we all have that moment where enough is enough. Hopefully if nothing else I can spur a people to fast forward to that moment now. Whoa that was really serious. Sorry about that 🙂

  35. Nice job for sure. Stories like this make me wonder why vegetarianism (I think I just made up a word…) is so prevalent. Thinking about it further, I know quite a few devote vegatarians/vegans who have worked hard for years with little to show for it and and yo yo weight cycle depending on their diligence at the time. It certainly must feel nice for something to work as advertise. Now we just need to get this posted on a vegetarian site somehow :D.

    1. Hey Jeff, honestly I don’t want to slag the vegetarian lifestyle as a whole because I can only speak about it from my perspective. I didn’t work for me. Of course we could say that for any diet. I think more people need to step back and ask, “Is this working?” rather than assuming that it is healthy and just going through the motions (like i did for 19 years) while having little to show for their efforts.

      1. Agreed, I’m not a combat paleo person…or whatever :P. However, knowledge does need to be spread. I’m sure you would have been thankful if someone found a way to get you to try something different a decade ago.

  36. I love your story and your outlook. I especially love this line: “I stopped thinking about my workouts as a tool for fat loss and began to look at them as a way to increase my body’s functionality”.

    When I ask myself – or others ask me -what is driving my journey of fitness and health, deep down the best I can come up with is this: I want to know that if I needed to run through the desert all night – or lift heavy boulders – to save my family…I could. This is the way I want to feel.

    I’m in my first few weeks of exploring primal/paleo eating, and I think I’m onto something here. It’s a fascinating experiment. Brain and muscle cells are shifting as I type…!

    Keep up the tremendous work. You look great!

    1. Thanks Susan.

      While I don’t have kids I have often thought about what would be required to prevent a child from running out into oncoming traffic or having to evacuate someone from a burning house or running to safety if a viscous dog were on the loose…all that stuff made me realize that riding a stationary bike for 45 minutes a pop doesn’t do crap to help with those situations.

      It was pretty pivotal to my change. Mark did a post somewhere on this. Not sure which one but I use some of that as a guide. For instance I want to run 100 meters in under 15 seconds. I want to be able to carry 100lbs for 50 meters (haven’t tried this yet)…but stuff like that.

      And what are these things you speak of…brain cells…where can I get me some of these?

      1. Brain cells…oh, you’ve got them, I can tell! I am finding mine are a whole lot clearer, and less ravaged by cravings, without all the sugar coursing through my veins.

  37. wow you are just what I need. I have started my primal journey and am not even a year in but, have already lost more weight and kept it off than any other time in my life. Thanks for the inspiration and ideas.

  38. I only decided to take charge of my health and fitness at the end of April of this year, and the frustration I’ve experienced is almost discouraging. Your post (and others like you who’ve submitted their story to Mark) inspired me to subscribe to the newsletter and take a week or so to familiarize myself with the Primal Blueprint.

    Three months of “boot camp” fitness classes with almost no results can drive a person (read: ME!) insane. It all seems very daunting and intimidating, but something’s gotta give and something’s gotta change.

    I want an “after” pic in my life already! And mostly, I want to avoid my grandmother’s diabetes-related death and my aunt’s TWO open-heart surgeries.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

    1. Hey Jaded NYer,

      I had that frustration for 25 years so I get it…I GET IT! If you are going to give this a shot however understand that you are best to embrace this full-time meaning don’t dabble with it.

      And understand that it’s really a series of small changes that can (in a number of cases) yield big results.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

  39. TOTALLY off topic, but this could have come from William Faulkner himself. (thinking of Sound and the Fury, namely Mr. Quentin Compson).

    “Until we are willing to plunge into the depths of our murky inner self and figure out why we do what we do, all the other stuff is meaningless…”

    Congrats, man!! What an amazing transformation!

    1. Hey Christine,

      You give me way too much credit, but I will take that as a compliment (it was one of my better lines in fact so I was quite giggly about coming up with that one)

      But wasn’t William Faulkner the commander of the Star Ship Enterprise? Oh wait, that was Shatner.

      And thanks!

    2. But Quentin ended up killing himself. I guess he didn’t really figure out why he did what he did.

  40. I have a very similar story. I am 57, female, and have always had “healthy” eating and exercise habits from the time I was a teenager. I ran for exercise before it was fashionable; I made my own bread and yogurt; I grew my own vegetables, etc. I did yoga every other day. But as I got older I got fatter and fatter. I was never obese but I was borderline overweight.

    In Jan 2010 I went to an exhibit at the Smithsonian museum of Natural History that changed my life. It showed the way in which humans had gotten shorter after the Neolithic revolution! Some kind of light bulb went on in my head. Like you, I researched it on the internet, read the things you read, and changed my diet.

    I don’t look as different as you do–I still have some tummy fat, maybe because I’m a postmenopausal woman. But it’s ok: I lost some weight, I got stronger, I have more stamina, I’m more assertive about my feelings and needs, and my life is better, by a long shot. Also, I just love the food! All that butter, meat, and cream especially: the stuff I’d been depriving myself of since I was about 14.

    1. Great to hear shannon.

      Interesting comment about tummy fat. I have leveled off in my loses it seems, but I would like to experiment further and see if I can take this to another level…healthier of course.

      But I realize that is going to take some careful planning and control to test out small ideas and see what kind of impact they can have on me.

      I might suggest the same with you. A plateau simply indicates we have gone as far as we can as we currently are. Making a few simple changes could take us further (if we so desire).

      But as I write this it is also important to REVEL in the success. It is always easy to find fault (I have to watch this in me as well).

      1. Eliminating nuts for a while enabled me to lose a few more pounds when I hit a plateau.

    2. I have found complete homeostasis (or whatever the fancy word is for balance 🙂 )

      I’m a 40 year old female, 5’10.5″ and always between 139-145 lbs. I’m not ripped around the mid section but I could care less, because I’d rather be absolutely healthy than trying to achieve something mother nature didn’t sign me up for.
      If I cut calories I get dizzy, weak and lose muscle weight (on top of a tiny bit of fat) but I pay a huge price, my period gets out of wack and it either shifts away in days or it gives me a hell of a time in my gut. That’s with lifting heavy weights at the gym or at home.

      If I cut nutrition and eat more calories, I gain weight and water and just feel ‘fat’.
      I do a IF and I might drop a pound or 2 within 24 hours but it’s not a good tactic for me, I don’t like to starve since I’m the type that constantly has a growling stomach.

      So for my extremely HIGH metabolism, thanks to eating primal, I HAD to add Raw goats milk to my regime.
      Without it I have to consume too many vegetables for calcium and other minerals and that roughage is no good on my colon.
      I eat 3-4 meals a day, add primal snacks (cup of bone broth for example) and drink 2-3 gallons of raw milk (sometimes even still warm) on top of it. I average about 3000 calories a day and my weight is stable.

      Then one day I had another one of those light bulb moments reading Weston A Price. It takes calories to digest and work over nutrition. The more nutritious a food is the more calories needed to deal with it. AHA!
      And there lies the secret of my assumed high metabolism, when in fact I take in so much nutrition I burn all the calories off doing absolutely nothing.

      Been primal now for 15 months and it took me about 10 months to find that sweet spot. Now I know what foods to eat and who to buy it from…(where I know I get the most nutritious and clean food).

      1. Oh I like that phrase…”Sweet spot” Going to have to “steal” that an use it someday…thanks for sharing PP

  41. Ho. Ly. Sh*t.

    I’m in my 20’s and I wish the guys I date looked half as good as you do ;D

    Also I totally understand what you mean about it being a personal and emotional journey as much as it is a physical one. I am glad you chose to begin it 🙂

    1. Thanks on many levels cTo…if it means anything…I act MUCH younger than my age…somewhere between 7, 10 on a good day. 🙂

      1. Excellent! 😉 Yeah, losing energy and liveliness as I get older has always been a fear of mine, and I am so relieved to see time and time again that this lifestyle helps avoid that. 🙂

  42. Inspiring Testimonial here. I picked up the Primal Blueprint and will be reading it this long weekend. Who knows. I may come back from the lake a new man. This all just makes so much sense. And above all, it seems easy and fun.

    Can’t wait to learn more about Grok.

  43. Wow wow WOW! Dean, you look awesome!!

    “That is my domain and my domain alone.” This is my new mantra. I love it.

    You’re a fantastic writer — this had me giggling out loud. Your approach and determination are genuinely inspiring. Off to peruse your website!

    (and hey.. are you single?!) 😉


    1. Hey Olivia,

      The mantra is UNcopyrighted so use it at will gurl. And thanks for the writing props…and yes I am single…:-)

      1. Well, uncopyrighted or not, I’ll be sure to credit you every time I use it! Ha! Thanks again for the inspiration & have a great weekend 🙂


  44. This is great. I can’t wait to summit my story once I have reached my goal. Been primal for almost 30 days and it feels great.

  45. A great one.

    The main point I like from this story is that although it is clearly an emotional journey, your breakthroughs were not emotionally *driven*. You cut through with sober analysis, rational thought, and thought to action. Grueling mental work coupled with decisive action.

    I think it’s a truism in all important decision-making, act on sober wisdom first the feelings will naturally follow. This approach would keep a lot more people out of trouble in a lot more areas in life (not just diet and health).


    1. Hey Joe, I agree. I have to remember that my journey is principle based and as such these principles are transferable.

  46. Oh, how I love the success stories. They are so inspiring. I have yet to post my own story.

    Congrats, DD, this has been a particularly well written story. Heading on over to your site now.

  47. Great story to wake up and read today! I’m sure you will be a great inspiration to many. I look forward to enjoying your website as well. I can’t wait until I can get to my success story place in life. It’s not only about evolution, it’s about revolution! (and I am standing and clapping right now!)

  48. This is my favorite Real Life Story yet, so inspiring! Good work man!

  49. You’ve done absolutely fantastic, Dean! Your transformation is incredible, and yours has been the most well-written success story to date. Period. It was humorous; elaborated upon where needed; to-the-point; and it was simply a joy to read, start to finish.

    >>> But if this journey has taught me anything it is that I am the expert on me. No one, and I mean no one, can tell me what works for my body-type. <<>> I want to make it clear that my journey is far from over. I will always be a work in progress. <<<

    Absolutely true. Perfection is an ideal to strive for — a path to walk but not a destination.

    Again, really well done. Yours is my favourite success story to date and that's saying something.

    1. Dammit. Those brackets screwed me, and I lost a chunk of text after “body-type.” Here is what I’d written after that:

      Sadly, few people realize this. Others can offer suggestions and encouragement (both are great to have), but no one will get you right except you. I wish more people around here understood that and partook of more self-experimentation. I think there’d be fewer “what the hell is wrong with me?!” forum posts and a lot more happier Primals.

  50. I am also a “lurker” here who just has to chime in on this post. Very well-written and inspirational! It was just what I needed to read today because I was lacking motivation. After reading your story I got off my butt and went outside for some sprints and pull-ups. Nothing like a good success story to get me movin! 😀

    1. All lurkers welcome. Just out curiosity do you have a philosophy on paper that or anyone else could take a look at as to how you are approaching all this?

  51. Incredible, astonishing, stunning. I am awe struck. I loved the story. Your writing is quick and clever. I am quite curious about your blog. You have inspired me, and it will carry through for many moons. Period. You have proven to me that working out the way you were and eating the way you were (the way we are told to), just doesn’t work. I have no doubts now. Thank you. Namaste.

  52. I am a lurker here who just has to post after reading your story. Very well-written and encouraging! I’ve been living PB for about 2 months, but this morning I was really lacking motivation. Then I read your story and got off my butt, went outside and did a few sprints, walking, and pull-ups. Thank you for sharing your story!

  53. Wow! I’m at a lost for words! Congrats on the transformation, not only physically, but psychologically as well. I would gladly join your tribe!

  54. Phenomenal story buddy, and I love how you stress the importance of getting your mind right. There’s a much greater psychological aspect to all of this than most people realize. Grok on!

    1. You are right on burn…the psychological aspect of this is what keeps us from either starting or staying the course when things go off the rails. Thanks for the comment my friend.

  55. Fan-Fu#*kin”-Tabulous, Dude. What a great inspiration your story is. Grok on!

  56. Dean, good on your brother. Well said and its stories like yours that I’m happy to share with my uncle, cousin, sister, etc… Usually after you read a success story the inclination is to say “keep it up” but with yours and so many others on this site its not necessary because this isn’t a diet its a lifestyle change. And now that you know how good this lifestyle feels and how easy it is to live there simply is no alternative.

  57. Similar story to mine. I’ve been eating organic, homemade foods for the past couple of years, including grains/beans/etc., and couldn’t seem to lose weight. In fact, I’ve gained some. Now I’ve been teetering on the edge of paleo/primal for the past few months, and I’ve seen a difference in how I feel…I know if I jump in completely and give up the rice and gluten free pasta that I occasionally eat, I’ll start to lose weight too. Your story is completely inspirational. And you look fantastic!

    1. Thanks Maryanne. Interesting note on the beans. Before I came to MDA I had read Tim Ferris’ book the 4-hour body and was experimenting with his slow carb breakfast which includes bean. That was actually the food I eliminated when I realized that I was putting weight back on. Its a matter of testing out what foods work and don’t work.

      But yeah I went cold turkey and got rid of all those things you are thinking of giving up.

      I mentioned this in a few other comments but everyone is different in how they respond but I don’t think many experience much success dabbling in anything in life…or this diet.

      If you are going to do it dive in and really give it a go. There is no downside.

      All the best and thanks for commenting.

  58. Holy Cow! This was a great post today! My first time reading the success stories im in the beginning stages of this new lifestyle! Thanks for pumpin me up!

  59. You know you’ve succeeded when you have to shave your chest. Grats man.

    1. LOL! Yeah I find that pretty funny myself, but if you look at my before picture my chest hair looks like a 2-year old scribbled on me with black marker. I think I did the world a favour…even if it does seem kind of cheesy.

  60. This is one of my favorite success stories so far: really insightful, well-written and funny, too! I particularly resonated with the “fatness=character flaw” which led me into a death-spiral of overtraining and undereating. p.s. I’m much better now!

  61. Great writing style and congrats! Keep spreading the word! “Healthy Eating” is not what we thought it meant.

  62. Congratulations! Really inspiring, I will use this to get more people into the tribe as it looks like one story isn’t enough! We should do a massive primal gathering one day, I’m in the UK and feel a little lonel here! Lol

    Congratulations again, keep it up!

    1. I know there is Primal Con and I believe Mark does some informal meet ups in various cities (he did one in NYC recently) so it certainly is doable. Starting your own Meet up group is also and option. Check it out at meetup[dot]com. Thanks for taking the time to comment Albert.

    That’s great work and determination my friend..I congratulate you on this transformation…and am sure that you will be looking this good 10 years from now…when your my age…I am also in the success stories..”Unconquerable Dave”
    Welcome to the Primal/Paleo world..
    want a hunk of home made Pemmican ??
    MARK…We have the baddest tribe around>>>

    1. Hey Dave,

      Yes my friend, I saw your story. Your transformation was AMAZING!…in fact I have pointed a few people to it just to show what is possible. I don’t have the stones however to do my after shot in the dead of winter shirtless…ha ha!

      Thanks for touching base amigo.


  64. I also only use trees /logs and rocks for workouts..a second
    helping of badddass sent your way>>>

      1. Dean..I am a member of a great page on facebook IPMG…International Paleo Movement Group.
        And many there have pages devoted to this life style..Its a great place to share info..journey and tips..along with some outstanding food ideas..If you want to check it out…come to the fire…Mark and Rob and Art are all hero’s of ours and quoted and tagged often>>>PAPA GROK>>>

  65. I don’t read all of the success stories, but once in a while a headline catches my eye and I pop over to check it out. The last one that I read a few months ago really hit home with me personally, but this one made me think so much of my husband, who I adore and want to feel healthy and energetic. I know what we need to do, but why does it seem so mentally challenging! Thank you for this inspiration Dean, and to Mark of course for promoting this way of life.

    1. As I eluded to on several occasions, I personally feel this is the most challenging aspect of the transformation (any transformation really). Understanding why we do what we do. Simply embracing a new lifestyle isn’t enough when the sh*t hits the fan. There are lots of people who start such things only to have the wheels fall off.

      One thing I did was adopt an idea from Jim Collins book, Good to Great and the idea of acknowledging “your brutal facts.”

      I figured I was doomed for eventual failure if I didn’t do this and quite frankly it has been one of many keys to my success.

      So don’t feel you are alone in this. Many people suffer from this.

  66. Wow! you look great and your story is an inspiration! My Family and I started full time in May after finding Mark’s Daily Apple. We feel energetic, stronger and our transformations are happening. Thank you for sharing your life story. I love “I am the expert on me”.

    1. I give you that line free of charge Nissa. Your pic radiates health so I can only imagine how great the rest of your family looks and feels. Best of luck and yes definitely keep reading MDA. Tons of great resources to help get you to your desired goal.

  67. I LOVE FRIDAYS SO MUCH for this very reason!! How wonderful to finish our weeks with such incredible inspiration! It really brings a smile to your face doesn’t it? Each Friday I think the stories can’t get any better … and then they do!

    Thank you so much Dean for sharing your amazing story. You truely are setting such a valuable example to others. Myself included!

    I went primal in Jan and have reached a plateau and have yet to realise my primal potential. You’ve made me realise I really need to find out why – I shall hit the food tracking websites this very weekend to start measuring those pesky fruit carbs.

    Enjoy your success – you absolutely deserve it – and carry on spreading the good primal word

    1. I shall continue to spread the word and thanks for the feedback. I like your thought process. You need data just as a business requires data to make decisions on what is working and what isn’t. Best of luck debs kicking the crap out of that plateau. 🙂

  68. What a great story. I feel newly motivated after reading this. Cheese and ice cream sounds familiar.

    1. Instead of eating cheese I should have just taped it to my stomach. I do treat myself to it every once a while now though…I’m not worried about that one creeping back in. thanks for commenting Donna.

  69. Dean, sorry if this question has already been asked/answered, but… what was your workout regimen like before you started this? I’m sorry to say, but that before picture does not look like you were doing much, if any, upper body exercises. Were you doing mostly cardio? How much and how often? I’m just curious. It helps to put a bit more understanding behind that (before) picture.

    1. I don’ mind you asking…and sadly I was…but at the time of that photo I had stopped working out regularly about 3 or 4 months before. I had come off doing a popular exercise program you see on TV and I just didn’t get the results I was hoping for so I stopped mostly out of frustration.

      My diet didn’t really allow me to have any kind of sabbatical however.

      I was doing p90x and insanity sporadically 2 or 3 times/week along wiht biking about 50 km/week.

      Hope that helps with the perspective.

      BTW that’s not a shot at those programs…I still work them in when i want a long workout…they are both amazing programs. It just didn’t work with my diet at that time.

    1. Donna if you have to say it then say it gurl. But i must confess I believe the camera adds 10lbs of hotness. Meeting me in person might be a let down 🙂

      1. Well that sexy scowl and sense of humor is what does it for me. Great story of overcoming “healthy eating.” I did the same. 🙂

  70. Congrats! You look amazing and have that healthy glow that only comes from a happy, healthy body!! I read your testimonial and , selfishly, am feeling slightly depressed. While I eat Primally because I feel better this way, I don’t think I will ever have a success story like yours. Neither cutting my carbs to 50 gr a day or allowing myself to do the reverse and get to 150 gr a day ever made a difference in my weight loss. It is frustrating and upsetting. But, at least I am eating primally and feeling healthy from it. Good luck to you and congrats!! (sorry all, having a very bad day today with the weight loss war)

    1. Hm…Gabrielle I’m trying to come with the right words without sounding cliche. First, this is a constant experiment. You may find removing one or two offending foods from your diet might make a huge difference to your journey. Second, my workouts play a big role. I now focus on my workout time as opposed to total time, but when I workout I work my ass off. I bring it pretty hard. What are your workouts like?

      1. Well, as I tell you my workout plan remember that I am a 300lbs woman with a very bad knee. So, I am currently doing the “Evil Russian pushup program” created by Povel. So, something like 10 push ups every hour (time, amount, and frequency varries daily but I am doubling the amount of pushups I can do every week). For cardio I do karate kata for about 30 minutes a day (walking can make my knee worse but kata seems to strengthen it). I used to do kettlebells 2-3 times a week, very heavy weights, for 60 minutes a shot but I actually started gaining weight doing that. Not really sure what else to do. Would love to hear any suggestions you have. Thank you!

  71. Great story Dean! I always look forward to Fridays. Now for the important question. Was there any room for a beer in your diet? Great job!

    1. Sure but I drink more wine now. I don’t drink it often but I don’t deny myself when the opportunity arises. Life has to be lived as well right 🙂

  72. What a great success story! I was a vegetarian for fifteen year and, even going through carb flu for three weeks, I still feel better eating this way than I ever did eating tofu hot dogs and mass amounts of whole wheat bread. Congratulations!

    1. You are preaching to the choir sista!! Too bad it took me 19 years to realize it didn’t work for me. Thanks for commenting.

  73. For some reason I keep thinking “New James Bond”! I mean WOW, WOW, WOW!

    It sounds like once you acquired the info you needed, you got right to it. DId you have carb cravings or withdrawal symptoms? If so, how did you cope?

    Skipping ice cream and dessert is the one big fat (no pun intended) obstacle keeping me from being full on Paleo. I’ve had no trouble staying away from rice, bread, Pasta, legumes, grains, soda, juice, etc.

    But dessert is such a weakness for me, and my life is depending on it (Type II Diabetes and early neuropathy at the ripe old age of 33). And yet I feel and act like a junkie when it comes to sugar.

    I’ll appreciate any advice!

    1. Hey Shema,

      yes once I understood the boundaries I did launch in 100%…some may think that’s pretty amazing but that was 25 years of failure that precedes my so-called overnight success.

      Well I am not an expert on this and obviously everyone is coming at this from a different view point, but I knew going cold turkey on the treats wasn’t going to work. i had tried that in the past and at some point the cravings win and then the whole freaking plan collapses.

      So this was very conscious on my part, but before I started I tried to figure out what I could do that made sense. Some do that one day eat whatever you want thing but that just isn’t how I roll…that one day bender would turn into a week.

      So I instead decided on three treats a week…I make them a separate meal (meaning I don’t ruin a great meal by adding that to it). It’s usually chocolate of some sort.

      The thing that I latched onto this time was the idea that will power is a skill not some innate gift some have and some don’t.

      I need to expand on this in another post, but that is how I started with all this. It’s a battle though. I have days where I want my fix and I can’t cause my 3 treats are done.

      There is more I could add but then I will be talking over the entire MDA site. I am actually going to make a video on this because I think it might give people ideas on how to build this skill. Hope that helps.

      1. I totally relate to the “one day bender” turning into a week.

        So how do avoid having your three treats go awry?

        And do you mind elaborating on what your treats are? Are they Paleo treats (i.e. 85% chocolate or berries or something)? Or do treats mean you allow yourself a break from eating Paleo? Curious to know. Thanks!

        1. Hey Sherma,

          I tried the 85% chocolate once…it is only time chocolate and I did not agree…yuk! My treats are not paleo…chocolate almonds are my go to treat (about 1/2 cup). This helps keep me sane.

          It’s interesting you ask about the 3 treats and not getting carried away. I will be talking about this more at a later date, but I found myself to be very curious as well as to why I have not one gone beyond three. I do know when I started this whole thing I actually wrote out a whole journal entry on it.

          The message was this: Dude if you even once decide to have more than 3 treats in a week you are done. Because then you will think 4 is ok which leads to 5 etc and 6 months from now you are going to step back and go hey, “I’m fat again!”

          I have done that in the past so I know I CAN’T give myself permission to fail in this area.

  74. What exactly constitutes mass quantities of meats/vegetables etc? Curious as I have had pathetic attempts at paleo etc, yet still find myself at an unacceptable weight (for health and sport). Also great work too, sucks it took you so long but I’m sure in hindsight the journey made you stronger. All the best

    1. Hey Percy…not to plug my blog but I did a post on a typical eating day. If you go to my site you can see it under the title

      The myth about portion control…

      That will give you some idea of what I eat and how much.

      yeah and I am not unhappy about finding this solution at 45…I appreciate the complexity of it more and quite frankly it helps me when I am teaching others about this…I GET WHERE PEOPLE ARE COMING FROM!

  75. Wow, seriously Dean, this is awesome. I have hit somewhat of a “plateau” in my primal lifestyle and am trying to figure out how to jump over the hurdle that I have been trying to jump for a long time. I would love to hear how you mentally attacked this transformation.


    1. Hey Jen,

      great question which requires a long answer. Are you on skype? We can chat about it there if you wish…there are probably about 40 little things I have done to get to wear I am…all playing an important part in the process. My skype name dean.b.dwyer.

  76. DD, you’re not smiling in the photo because you are smoldering. Hot, hot, hot! Congratulations!

  77. Great story, Dean! Can I also say I’m equally impressed that you responded to pretty much EVERY comment. That’s amazing in and of itself!

    1. Hey Ryan…thanks man. I thought about this last night in fact and figured if people were kind enough to take the time to leave a comment than I would find the time to comment back just to let them know I saw what they wrote and appreciated the fact they took the time to do so. Thanks for noticing though my friend…now that I read your comment again I am impressed with my efforts 🙂

  78. Great story, inspirational and well written. I really identify with a lot of what you were talking about, except for the vegetarian part. No one better get between me and my steak 🙂 You look great. I’ve been dabbling but decided to do a 30 day challenge starting today. A great story to start off with.

    1. Hey bbuddha, that’s great you are taking the plunge. All I can say is commit to the process as close to 100% as possible. It’s the only way to get a true sense of whether this can and will work for you. All the best my friend.


  79. Amazing. Really amazing. I’ve been eating carb restricted (Atkins) for 11 months and while I’m happy with my results, I keep thinking I could do more. I found this site several months ago, and have been toying with the idea of primal…stories like yours are so inspiring…and the results speak for themselves. I’ll bookmark your site and add you to my list. Really, just amazing!

  80. I’ll let you know if I finally take the plunge, or just dip my toes in the pool.

  81. Great Job, Dean, I’m on my 3rd primal month as a type 2 diabetic, age 50, weighed 182. 3 months later I have lost 11 pounds, my glucose readings are between 80 and 100 most of the time when they should be and I am now off my diabetes meds. Can’t wait to take a picture of my new body in a few more months!

  82. I think the Primal lifestyle makes men sexy AND crazy. What’s with throwing big rocks directly over your head? One slip and Yikes! Grok would definitely not approve. It makes a great pic though 😉

    I have been Primal 9 months and have lost 60 pounds. I am one of those people who never did anything right healthwise, but the PB works for me too.

    Great story, congratulations!

    1. HA HA! That pic is a little bit deceiving. In fact it is very safe. And the rock I am throwing is not the same rock I am dead-lifting in the pics. The rock I am throwing started between my legs and then I would build up a little momentum and then chuck it backwards about 15 feet. That pic was taken as it came right out of my hand so it looks like I am playing a game of boulder catch. When you seeing me wear a helmet you will know something went very very wrong 🙂

      And congrats on your success as well. That is awesome!!!!!

  83. Dean,

    Congrats on your success! I guess I can now officially tell people I knew you when. Now that you’re all buff, it’s time to run an Ultra 🙂

    1. Billy Traynor…how the heck are you my friend…nice to see you here…ha ha! don’t worry buddy it’s not going to my head…it’s humbling actually to see how generous people can be with their support and comments. Yeah the ultra marathon thing is just never going to happen my friend…lol!

  84. I find it so funny that vegetarian/vegan diets are actually the opposite of the natural human diet. I was a vegan for 3 years by the way. But the real kicker is the smugness and moral superiority that a lot of vegetarian/vegans seem to have. I hope one day humanity can look back at these mistakes the same way we now look at geocentrism, bloodletting, astrology and all the other wacky stuff we’ve come up with.

    1. Hey Kevin, I can only speak from my perspective but I really thought I was doing the right thing. It’s not the diet’s fault. It was mine for not realizing it didn’t work for me.

  85. fan. tas. tic. I’m 21, and this inspires me more than seeing younger people loose weight/attain their desired body. I have been a Mark’s follower for about 4/5 month, but this is definitely going to be my first bookmark. It embodies my own story. Thank you so much for submitting this!

  86. Terrific job…and inspired me to keep stay on my journey, which I am 4 weeks into. I’ll check your blog, as I’m interested in what your daily routine is, i.e. workouts/nutrition, etc. Hopefully some info there. Since going primal and living on meats, tons of salad and veggies, it’s been easy to stay at 50-75 grams of carbs a day. One think I’ve noticed is that my energy level is so stable all day, even after a meal…no crashies, ever. I am curious about your six meals a day…that is something I did with Body for Life in the past, which worked great, but I found it a bit tough to sustain. What caused you to commit to six meals? I have found that I have been eating three, and sometimes only two meals a day…and not massive ones…yet am rarely hungry. So I’ve just rolled with that, as prescribed.

    Anyway, thanks for the story and congrats again on a great job. I have 5 years on you, so we are somewhat in the same bracket…and though always “healthy” and much leaner at certain times, the past few years have caught up with me, and I had my “it’s REALLY time for a change” moment in May. And I’ve been true to it every since.

    1. Hey peter…in a nut shell I’m a pig. I chose 6 because it means I am really only going 3 hours between meals. Keep in mind some of those meals are in fact snacks like almonds etc. And give time. It took me 8 weeks to see big changes…but I worked the crapped out of the diet as well…I went hardcore right off the bat. Best of luck my friend.

      1. Thanks for the reply. I read your blog and saw that you were having three real “meals” then more like snacks in between.

        BTW in 4 weeks, 12+ pounds of scale weight is gone, without the crazy workouts of the past…lots more walking/hiking, and higher intensity stuff a couple times a week. Like you, I care less about the scale and more about my clothes. I took a vacation in the second half of May, and the shorts I was going to pack (which fit me last summer) didn’t make it into my bag…they would not fit. I tried to tell myself they were just “snug,” but now way. So had to go buy a couple pairs of 38″ waist shorts, and one 40″ (those really were too loose)…which almost made me cry. Just a couple years ago, my 34″ waist clothes were loose. This was truly my wake-up moment.

        In any case, after 4 weeks…last summer’s shorts now fit again, and my goal was to get into all the 34s by the fall as well. But now, you have given me a new goal, as you’ve proved it’s possible…I want to get into 32″ pants, and I KNOW I will.

        I went hardcore as well, I know it’s different for everyone but fortunately I have the personality type that it’s easy to cut out the bad stuff, and not even crave it (easier with this nutrition plan, which includes so much of my favorite foods). I haven’t had so much as a popcorn kernel, potato chip, grain of wheat or pasta, legume, in 4 weeks. And I crave none of it. Loving the huge salads, meats, fish, olive oil, and abundant veggies. Lowering body fat while being able to eat roast chicken WITH the skin? 12-hour roasted, fatty, pulled park shoulder? A juicy steak? Are they KIDDING me? I’m loving it.

        Like you, I also tracked what went into my mouth the first week, then again a day or two every week to double check, though really my eating is a variable combination of just a couple dozen basic foods, so it’s easy to know what’s going in. I did by a $25 kitchen scale to weigh everything and log portion on Fitday, just to see, which was an interesting exercise. Now it’s pretty easy to know I’m coming in around 2,000 cal a day, with 50-60% calories from fat, 30-40 from protein, and less than 10% from carbs (Usually just over 50 grams a day for now) no matter what I eat.

        Grok on and thanks again for your input.

  87. Congratulations on your amazing transformation. Love your style of writing – your story was incredibly entertaining.

  88. Well Done Dean. Good effort!

    Another R-evolutionary Rhythm Reaction, inspired by Six Pack Sisson!

  89. Congratulations and good luck with your new website. I’m trying to get my parents to switch from vegetarian to primal, but they are appalled at the idea of eating meat.

  90. Great story, and Congrats Dean!!! Thanks for helping me re-focus on my primal lifestyle!!!

  91. I read every word of this story, and I definitely find it one of the most impressive and informative I’ve ever read.

    Plus, you’re intelligent. And witty!

    That said, dear Dean, congratulations on your… victory! Yay!

    1. I have a question, if you don’t mind… Have you had any troubles to curb carb cravings? If yes, how did you manage? 🙂

      1. Hm…good question. Well oddly enough I don’t crave much of the stuff I used to love like breads, pastas etc. But I am also at a point emotionally and intellectually that I am well aware of the trade off if I did go back and have them.

        But I am also a believer that good carbs attract good carbs…bad carbs attract bad carbs.

        So I work my butt off to be sure that I am putting good carbs into my body.

        That said I do cheat 3 times week. Usually chocolate almonds.

        Hope that helps


    2. I seldom get anyone to admit publicly that I am either intelligent or witty let alone both in the same sentence. So that comment gets a, “HELL YEAH” Thanks so much Patricia.

  92. Congrats! Yours is a great story of transformation, written with wonderful humor. Thanks for sharing!

  93. What an amazing transformation! One of these days I’m going to get a story in myself. I’m up to almost 80 pounds now that I’ve lost.

    1. Gurl you need to get on that story. It’s great motivation as well and as you can see by the comments on this peace, many benefit and learn. So get to it Ketlie.


  94. Back for more ; your comments are as entertaining as the original story. Maybe you should pursue a writing career. Is there a link to your blog? I know its probably here somewhere.

    1. Thanks Donna. Commenting is an art I try to do well with. There is a link to my blog at the bottom of the article 🙂

      1. Sorry the English in that statement would have made Shakespeare vomit. What I should have said is the art of commenting is something I try to rock at.

  95. Awesome story! Very inspiring and you should be so proud of yourself! Well done you.

    1. Thanks HP (Hewlett Packard??) I do have to stop every now and again and remember where I came from. Sometimes that is easy to forget as we forge ahead wanting that elusive “more” or I guess I should say Less (get it?)

  96. Dean-
    You are looking super hot. Well done.
    Also, the art of commenting *is* something at which you rock. I have been laughing at your wry sense of humor enough to go bookmark your site and keep tabs on you.

    1. First let me say no comment that includes “you are looking super hot” will go unanswered 🙂 And by tabs I can only assume that means you will be stalking me virtually…which I am totally cool with. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  97. I have a quick question, you mentioned that you ate fruit but in avery controlled way, what do you mean by
    that exactly?

    I’m wondering how whether I should drop my fruit intake a little, I see great results anyway and of course it comes down to how each person handles different food elements but I would be interested to know how you dealt with fruit.

    1. Hey Michael, I have no more than one serving of fruit each day…but I do have days where I might not have it at all. Usually somewhere between 5 to 7 servings/week. That seems to work well for me.

      1. Thanks! I’m thinking of cutting down too, we’ll see how that goes 🙂 P.S you should create a Facebook page for your site for those of us who use Facebook a lot 🙂

  98. Awesome. I start down the Paleo road, and alas, friday through sunday dismantles it. Your article is the kick in the backside I need. Right on. Later.

    1. Yo Dave. I am assuming those are both your comments so I will only respond once. Thanks man. A big part of this journey is motivation so if I can help I’m happy. And it’s free dude…doesn’t get any cheaper than that 🙂

  99. Very inspirational story Dean. I’ve been going on and off with the grains and potatoes, but this has inspired me to cut them out completely. Keep up the awesome work!

    1. Hey David. Thanks. That was huge for me…I realized I couldn’t do this part-time. It had to be a full-time thing. Keep me posted on how things are going.

  100. Reading your story from Sweden…great work, great pics and great philosophy! Very inspiring!

    1. Sweden…I LOVE Sweden. Thanks for dropping by Patrick and thanks for taking the time to leaving some great feedback.

  101. Dean, you look wonderful! Do you ever eat dairy or legumes now that you’re maintaining weight loss (I presume)? Your story is incredible. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hey Lauren, no I don’t. Legumes, in a word, make me fat. I learned this when trying Tim Ferris’ slow carb breakfast. Discovered bean were killing me.

      And diary and I don’t get along. Well we do…we have been known to have some wild one night stands, unfortunately diary NEVER leaves….sticks to me like glue…so that is banned as well.

      And thanks for the feedback. I love the adjective wonderful 🙂

  102. I am also a reformed vegetarian and cardio junkie–I stayed thin until I hit my late 30s but once I hit 40 nothing I did worked anymore. I’ve spent the last year grain-free and sugar-free and have become a shameless carnivore. I dropped 20 pounds and 1/3 of my body fat and I look better than I did when I was running competitive cross country and track. Even though I have no doubts about the benefits of my lifestyle changes, it really reinforces those changes for me when I see how they have worked in someone else’s life. It’s so frustrating to know that all that work and self-discipline over the years was actually working against me. Thank you for sharing your story!

    1. Hey Stephanie,

      While I am tempted to agree with your line where you said, “It’s so frustrating to know that all that work and self-discipline over the years was actually working against me” I actually believe for me it is the opposite.

      By having to struggle with this for so long, I appreciate my success so much more. It has also made me really analyze the factors that have gone into this so I could help guide others who are struggling as well.

      I have found that far too often those who achieve success (in any area of life) don’t really understand all the factors that have gone into their turnaround and thus do a poor job helping teach people how to create their own change.

      And quite frankly I see my 25 years of struggle as a huge plus, because I GET IT…the struggle. And I think others see it too…I’m not gifted or lucky or more disciplined or have some special trait that others don’t have…i’m just a regular dude who has weaved about 40 different ideas to get results.

      Just something for you to think about. People could learn a lot from your struggles as well 🙂

  103. Fabulous story.

    My favorite line: “I am the expert on me.”

    What I love about this story is your willingness to learn, then apply those practices. The theory of workouts not removing fat but just making the body more functional…brilliant.

    Excellent story, and you look fantastic.

    1. Hey Grim (you aren’t the reaper are you?),

      I must admit I quite love the line myself.

      And for me that workout epiphany was crucial. It’s not that I don’t believe that exercise contributes to fat loss, it’s just that I used to make stupid rationalizations thinking exercise would make up for BAD eating choices.

      And thanks for being specific about what you liked. I find that kind of feedback very helpful.


  104. Thanks for sharing this. It’s the most inspirational story I’ve read and am definitely now going to give it a try. Thanks so much

  105. Dean

    You just inspired me big time.As someone who just turned 43 seeing someone my age doing this is great motivation

  106. I appreciate this story more than anything right now. I just joined yesterday but have been reading for months. I am 6 days in but am still vegetarian. I am not ready to go back to eating meat but I know that my eating habits that have got me to where I am are not working anymore which contain too many carbs and sugar. My journey began at 280 lbs and am currently at 164 lbs. This is not where I want to be. Thank you for sharing your amazing success. Extremely inspiring.

    1. Glad you signed up here Lisa. Mark and the worker bees provide a lot of great stuff. I am certainly not going to tell you to jump on the meat bandwagon. Continue to do your own due diligence and keep making small changes that lead to positive change. I’m glad you were inspired….but do me a favour and take it one step further and take one small action today that is different from anything you have done before.

      Good luck!

  107. Hello, your story is outstanding!!! At this point in time, I am pretty overwhelmed by all the information from the various sources available. Maybe it is my ADD kicking in but I’m not sure in which direction to go in and/or where to start. More power to you brother!!!! Chris

    1. Hey Chris, thanks my brotha from another mother. Feel free to ask me any questions you would like on how I started. I’m here to help in any way I can.

        1. I believe many feel the way you do amigo…it can be all very overwhelming. If you do think I can help let me know. You can also head over to the forums here in MDA as well…lots of great people who would gladly help you out,

  108. Dean,

    Thanks for sharing your story! It is inspirational. You have reversed many years in less than one just by being open to other ideas and committing what you came to understand to be true! My favorite line in your story was when you spoke about being a work in progress. It’s a good reminder that we are never done, but constantly evolving.

    Congrats! And thank you!

    1. Thanks Twinwolf (any relation to Teenwolf?),

      That was a last minute add that line was. But I thought it was an important one to add because sometimes it comes across to people that these success stories have reached the pinnacle when in fact we are a long way from it. Glad you picked up on that. I award thee with a gold star.

  109. Hiya Dean, thanks for sharing your amazing story, and the insight to the head game some face. I have been dabbling with eating Paleo for awhile now, however finding it so hard to give up my Chai lattes and chocolate (on a daily basis!).

    Your story is so inspirational and written so entertainingly (is that a word?), I’ll also be lurking around your blog!

    1. Lurk away K. And entertainly is now officially a word…I decree it so (note: I have no power to do so however.)

      With regards to the daily Chai lattes and chocolate…well change requires us to make tough decisions…I guess when I think about it, it is a love/hate relationship…which do you love or hate more…the daily treats or the way you look. If you love the treats more then you aren’t ready yet to make change me thinks…once the balance of power shifts however….:-)

  110. Nice job Dean! I’ve been living primal for the past 2 years, but I love seeing stories like yours that give me the desire to go “all in”. There’s always more to do and areas to improve upon.

    1. Little poker analogy there…love it…and I think I am going to steal that phrase for a future episode…no worries my friend…I will give you your props.

  111. Truest statement ever: My job is to simply stay out of my own way.
    That floored me the way ‘What if weight gain is a symptom and not a character flaw’ floored you. I´m going to write it on my mirror in permanent marker. Thanks!

    1. Nice. Just make sure you don’t make any spelling mistakes Alex. Friends don’t let friends off easy when they can’t spell. 🙂

  112. Hey Dean, I’ve been following your journey for a while now, and love where it’s taken you! So glad you discovered Taubes, he is a genius. Funny how we both ended up in the health/nutrition arena! You look and sound great, I’m so happy you have found the way to become the best expert on “you”– we all need such wisdom. Have a look at my website so you can see what I’ve been up to! I’d love to share some ideas!

    PS: Ilana is here doing our annual literacy workshop– that’s another life: http://www.wordworkskingston.com I’ll show her your site, she’ll be impressed!

    1. Had to laugh…dont’ get my name and the word wisdom linked together too often 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting here…just sent you a long email that starts all the way back in 1993 gurl…lets chat on skype soon. Thanks for reaching out.

  113. DD, you look AMAZING! What an awesome story. Thank you for sharing, and thank you Mark for posting it!

    1. Hey Pat…thanks. I don’t expect this post will get many more views or comments so I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. You may be the last 🙁 And yes THANK YOU MARK!

  114. Great story Dean! You have an easy writing style that is laced with humour which is the Paleo/Primal alternative to being laced with alcohol. 🙂 The line “What if weight gain was a symptom and not a character flaw?” really hit home for me too. I was also one of those “eat healthy, and excercise” people that couldn’t change my body composition. And I always felt that no one belived me when I explained how I ate clean and worked out intensley for 5-6 days a week. You know how you get “the look” and the polite nod of the head when you try and explain how hard you are working to lose weight yet you still look the same as you did 6 months ago. I always believed that calories in/calories out was the bottom scientific line until I realized that trying to exist on 1300 calories/day and doing intense workouts 5 days a week wasn’t actually working for ME. Since shifting my diet over to Paleo I lost 20 lbs without even hitting the gym! Now that I’ve added some kickboxing and a bit of crossfit into the mix I can’t wait to see the results that will come. Soon I’ll have a smokin bod to show off too. And you should be proud of showing off–you earned it! Great job and thanks for the inspiration to keep moving forward.

  115. I just find it hard to accept that I can NEVER eat carbs. No more potatoes, or rice, or bread, or pasta, ever? Jeez, that’s so harsh.

    1. Who ever said never? The foods you listed are things that you’re better off replacing with other foods (and I swear once you do you won’t miss them), but no ones going to stop you from eating them occasionally. Remember it’s not an “all or nothing” approach, though the stricter you are on what you eat the better off you’ll be. And trust me on this, it’s much easier to shoot for 100% paleo than to try and do 50%. Go cold turkey paleo and your body will adjust fairly quickly, at which point you’ll find yourself happy and energetic, but try and do any less and you’ll be subjecting yourself to some massive cravings while you slowly change your diet over.

      1. That worked for me…not sure everyone can do that…its a bit of a personality thing as well…but i can only speak for myself.

    2. Well one should never say never…but if the alternative is to be fat and out of shape as was my situation then there is no debate…bye bye offending carbs!

  116. Dean – I bought TPB yesterday at Barnes and Noble and here I am reading your story today. I have yet to dive into the book. I’m thinking for me – a good start will be the before picture. The gut won’t subside. Can’t wait to share my story and new photo – thanks for the inspiration! If it’s meant to be… it’s up to ME!

    1. Hey me (who me? no you)

      That is awesome. I started by taking a photo every morning. That was too much but I would study them everyday looking for evidence.

      The best thing though…you get to go back and see what kind of progress you are making. I am so glad I took the photo. Made the telling of this story possible.

      And it’s great motivation to have your story told here…we all need something to help keep us going on those days we feel like taking the day off.

  117. Love it! Adding this one to my Whole Foodies Facebook page too. You put into words everything Ive gone through!

  118. Why are you lifting that rock with your back instead of your legs? Hello back injury town.

    1. I lift rocks…the form for lifting a rock depends on the rock and you…and if you listen to your body and brain …not a coach or a book or a picture on a box or what you learn in a gym with a load on a bar. And SOME BACKS ARE STRONGER AND MORE TUNED INTO LIFTING ROCKS…
      The pic shows a mid motion move…for all we know his butt was on his heels when he actually did the lift…he could be using a form for lift and thrust rock ahead…not just a lift in itself….then it’s mechanics in motion..not just form for up and down.
      That’s my take on what I see…

  119. Gosh, I can believe it. Your list of DOING ALL THE RIGHT THINGS is exactly MY list. I am still 30 pounds overweight. I am choosing not to be discouraged any more. No more buying endless diet and exercise books for the “answers”. Every day – lots of veggies, some protein, and a few nuts and fruits here I come. I want to be a success story like you.

  120. Hi, Dean. Yours is an amazing and motivational story! Thank you for sharing it. I evicted harmful chemicals from our foods two years ago, which unexpectedly aided in my weight loss, but did nothing for the hubster. He wants to make a serious change, and looks to me for guidance (the dear man!) so I am in search mode. I found you by way of Alison (Warrior Woman) and am headed to your site to learn more. I love the way you write – very easy to read and appreciate!!

  121. Wow. I wonder if you will get this but wanted to reply. This is the best transformation story I have read. I have had great results on the Atkins diet back in 2008… I lost 88lbs of weight I had gained with 3 pregnancies. I am now 42 and have been following the traditional diets of eating perfect macros 5-6 times a day, lifting weights and cardio 5-6 days a a week. I loathe measuring food. I have been reading this site for a few months. I was actually on another site and the link to your story was there and I clicked on it. I do very well without grains but conventional wisdom tells you that you simply cannot build muscle without them. I have been doing intense research on ketosis and muscle loss. I have found a wealth of information. I am now 100% convinced I can eat the way I love to eat and accomplish what I want without spending countless hours in the gym. Primal seems PERFECT!!!!

  122. What can I say but: inspired! Wow- your willingness to buck the CW when you were a card carrying member of the High Raw All Veg club shows a paradigm shift of epic proportions. You look great and your energy is bouncing off of my iPad screen. Kudos!

  123. Check out the guns!!! Awesome story, and I love that you’re so adamant about no one diet works for everyone, but you know this works for you.

    As a younger guy, your story…as well as Mark himself, make me look forward to getting older. Being able to maintain physical health all the while being wiser…what could be better?

  124. meats and veges..the rest is additional input of variaety…and those lil extra bits are the ones that will make of break it.. of course you must have the mind set to go with it..a body in motion with a brain in motion will be a wonderful change for many…its not rocket science…its your science of you..BODY.and MIND…make the YOU…of course a few rocks and logs and a good attitude help ….ENJOY the journey…PG

  125. Great comment about GCBC and Harry Potter. Two of my absolute favorites.

  126. “I would buy a whole loaf at whole foods in the good ole pre-primal days and eat half of it on the 7 minute car ride home.”

    I have done the same thing…with ice cream…and no spoon! Talk about, “not pretty”.

    But I did get some good news from my doctor, concerning my weight. He told me that about 5 or 6 days after I am dead…I’ll be at just about the perfect weight for my height.

  127. this is great ! i am 20y.o. and ive been unable to gain more muscle than ihave … ive been lifting since i was 14… but i am not getting any more muscle or fat. after reading this … i will try and do the same with foods and that carb meter ! this is amazing ! :)))

  128. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am definitely you circa 2010. Everyone always says how healthy I eat. I cook my own foods 99 percent of the time. Mostly everything is fresh, every day. Yet, to look at me, my body is very average with a side of flab. It’s annoying! I see people who eat far more or eat out all the time maintain beautiful physiques. I’m going to try tour suggestions. You should be commended for your efforts and success and for sharing.