It’s Monday, 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 Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

My primal story all started while hiking one day back in 2009. Hiking has always been more than exercise for me. It has always been a place to clear my thoughts and think of new ideas. On a late summer day when hiking one of my favorite trails, I asked myself the question. “What would I eat if I lived out here?” I took a mental inventory: pine nuts, rabbits, chipmunks, some berries, and a deer if I was lucky. I started thinking that nothing out in the wild really represented anything I would find at my local store. I would have a hard time finding rabbit and chipmunks at the Mega-Mart, if you know what I mean.

This idea sparked my interest so much I went home and started searching everything online I could find on wild human diets etc. and eventually landed on Mark’s Daily Apple. I was hooked from the first words I read. (I eventually read all of Mark’s books too). I was all in from that day forward. I told my wife I finally figured it out, she said “what” I said “everything” and I told everyone. It all became so clear to me. Not just the diet but the lifestyle in general. It seemed the Primal Blueprint answered all of the problems of modern living.

I started cleaning out the pantry, went grocery shopping, and the next day and started my new life. It was really that easy to be honest. I had a bit of a headache and a few cravings here and there, but after that it was smooth sailing.

At the time I weighed 210 lbs on a large 6’1” frame and thought I was in good health. I hit 185 lbs after the first six months of my life altering experience, and maintained 175 to 185 it for 3 years. I was down 25 lbs, and never felt better. I was hiking about 40 miles a week things were great. All my blood markers were good, my blood pressure was low, and resting heart rate was under 50 bpm. I felt on top of the world, I was invincible.

I maintained the Grok lifestyle until 2012, and then things took a turn. I changed jobs, and moved to Hawaii. Don’t get me wrong—Hawaii was great, but the stress of being so far from family, and the hustle and bustle of a million people on one little island started taking its toll. All the great new foods didn’t help either. Who can’t resist a piece of Haupia Pie now and then? I still followed the primal eating principles for the most part probably 75/25. However things were changing for sure. I started drinking more beer and eating less than ideal (this is not the best way to handle stress). I gained most of the weight back and then some over the next three years.

While living in Hawaii we had a few deaths in the family (this was the breaking point really). So my wife and I decided to move back to the Mainland. The job search was on and I ended up taking a position for a company in the same town we lived before. Sounded great, ended up the worst decision I ever made. The job was a terrible fit, high stress, and I never took so many trips to the HR office in my entire life. To compensate for the stress, I started drinking more (if that was even possible), and eating polar opposite of the Primal Diet—SAD. I also quit hiking. Life was going downhill fast.

I finally hit rock bottom (so I thought). It was late 2015. I had fell off the Primal Wagon and bounced three times. I started having issue with heart palpitations to the point where I would almost pass out. I went to the doctor to get things checked out. The diagnosis was not good. I was up to 233 lbs, had too much bad cholesterol, triglycerides sitting at 180, borderline hypertensive, and well on my way to being a type II diabetic. The good thing through all of this, I was never prescribed any medications, and my echocardiogram looked good.

In the spring of 2016 after a year and a half of pure hell, I quit that horrifying job without notice. The good news, the heart palpitations went away almost the next day, and I slept better than I have for a few years. I started hiking again off and on but I would get a lot of pain in my legs and hips. The bad news, I was drinking even more beer.

Unemployment was not treating me well and I was in a really dark place. Death was not out of the question and an option for me. After 6 months of beer drinking and unemployment I blimped out to 245 POUNDS. I was fat, had leg and joint pain and just wasn’t there mentally. I was afraid to go to the doctor and get things checked out. I really thought the end was near. Then the end of 2016 I interviewed for a great job at a good company and got it. The position started in January 2017. I’m just grateful a good company took a chance on a fat unemployed alcoholic.

I have to admit from 2015 through 2016 had a tremendous negative effect on my family. I don’t wish it on anyone. My wife and kids stood by my side however and supported me, I love them. If not for their support, understanding, and love the difficult times would have been unsurmountable.

2017 was a big year of change, I turned 50, and started getting my head back on straight. I fell off the top of the mountain and needed to start climbing back up. I knew that I needed to make some big lifestyle changes to make the summit. I wanted to be there for my wife, kids, myself, and future grandkids well into my 80s. The first thing I did was quit drinking, cold turkey August 1st 2017. After 25 years of drinking this was one of the most difficult things I have ever undertaken. After I went through that, I figure I can make it through anything!!

After I beating the drinking problem, wanted to start back down the Primal Path. It was difficult at first. I attempted and failed a few times through 2018. Slowly but surely I got back on track. January 7th 2019 I was full on following the Primal Blueprint again. I started with The Keto Reset for the first month and it worked great. I now practice intermittent fasting a few times per week as well. I keep my carb intake around 50 grams per day now. I started at 244 lbs and now I’m down to 220 as of February 18th 2019. My target weight is probably 175 to 180 (this is where I feel best). I’m back on track to hardcore hiking too.

My first grandchild will be born this year and I can’t wait to teach him or her how to live like a Grok Child (payback for my daughter’s teen years). I have also enrolled in the Primal Health Coach Institute, I’m just over 30% complete. I plan on coaching, and helping people for the next 25 years or more. I first need to pass the comprehensive and challenging course however. The Primal Blueprint was great for me the first time. The second time is personal, and I never plan on looking back. I am looking forward to living a happy healthy life well into the future.

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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It’s Monday, 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 Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

On November of 2017 I sent a story to Mark’s Daily Apple. A brief story of my life at the time and how I got there. I’ve re-read that letter a couple of times and I’ve thought maybe I should have waited or I should have said more, so I thought maybe an update from then to now would be helpful.

My primal story started as a diet and exercise program, I needed to get back into shape so I hit the gym, or in my case hit the treadmill in my garage, and went on a diet. I did what everyone else does when they want to lose weight and “get healthy.” If you read my original story and look at the pictures, I figured it out. I lost 60 pounds total and improved my numbers to a point my doctor was amazed at my results. I completed the Primal Health Coach course, and Mom loved to hear about what I was learning.

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Everything was great, well almost everything. My mom’s health was declining fast, she was slowly losing her battle with cancer. My sisters and I started staying weekends with her to spend as much time as possible with her, we would drink wine, and talk about the past and laugh about all the crazy things we did. My brother-in-law would come down about once a month and bring steaks, and we would grill over a grate in the fireplace and drink beer and wine and laugh. Mom couldn’t really eat that much anymore, but we had a lot of fun.

I started going to visit every day after work, and I’d grab a bag of chips and a case of beer to have when I got there, a candy bar or two for the way there. Eventually mom needed 24-hour care so she moved in with my sister in Michigan, but I still went every day to take care of the house. In April my mom lost her battle with cancer. My sisters and I would get together as much as we could to get the house ready to sell, and finalize the estate. I was there everyday—as the executor I felt I had to keep things moving and get everything done. I would buy beer and snacks and a bottle of whisky for when I was there….

I thought it was important to share that story because it’s real. During that time I gained 10 pounds, my cholesterol was high again and my sugar was elevated. Luckily for me I know how to correct all those issues and have. I failed where everyone on a diet fails—when the diet stops. The part I missed was the rest of life. Diet is important but even a perfect diet will fail without stress management. My stress management was alcohol, my comfort zone, and we all know your body burns alcohol first. I got off track and used my life problems as an excuse. Sometimes even a coach needs some coaching. This has kind of been a failure story instead of a success story, but I’m still writing.

I’ve taken what I learned from the Primal Health Coach Institute, and have started to develop my own brand, “Primal Hippie.” I started a very easy to read blog “primalhippie.net.” I blog a lot about stress from daily life and ideas how to manage that stress. I’ve taken the laid back, have fun attitude and mixed it with some nutrition advice and tried to aim it towards the younger generation because it’s easier to prevent disease than to cure it.

It’s very obvious to me that the trend towards living a holistic healthy life is happening, the amount of available, affordable, organic foods is on the rise. The merging of major food giants with small health-minded companies is another great step—great work Mark. There is even some common ground being found with the paleo/vegan world. This trend is still very personal to me. Since my first post, four more friends of mine have been diagnosed with cancer, one is currently non-responsive. I hear a lot about all the advances in medicine, and yet here we are. It’s time to educate the young people, and make healthy foods the norm not the exception.

Thanks Mark for all your passion and effort and giving me the chance to share my story, Grok on!

Bradley Nickell

PrimalHippie.net

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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It’s Monday, 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 Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Here’s an update to my December 2013 success story.

I have been Primal—Low-carb—Keto for over seven years. I am 49-years-old and my health continues to improve. I am confident I am enhancing my prospects for longevity.
I eat delicious food, rarely feel hungry, enjoy fasting and truly enjoy the many interesting and challenging facets of powerlifting training.

I have been carnivore keto the past 6 months and I completely love the simplicity and feel slightly better from an intestinal standpoint compared to Keto. I lost most of my weight while enjoying Mark’s Big Ass Salads. I keep the Primal philosophy in the front of my mind when I comes to avoiding unhealthy fat, cheat meals, overtraining, rest, sunlight, outdoors and recommendations to someone new to a low-carb lifestyle.

I may not always be in ketosis, but I’m always Primal.

2017 was a fantastic year for my health.

2018 was better:

I have been 95% carnivore keto the past 6 months:

— Lost 17 pounds / decreased body fat

— increased powerlifting personal best lifts

— zero vegetables eaten

— less than 5% calories from occasional nuts, berries, dark chocolate and wine

— Intermittent fast ~18h five days a week and I train fasted

— supplement heavily with Himalayan sea salt (~10 grams sodium per day)

— eat mostly beef, bacon and eggs

— add butter and cheese to lean cuts of meat

— eat fish 2-3 times per week; fish/krill oil daily — eat liver once a week; supplement with desiccated liver daily

The past 2 years of Low-carb Primal Keto diet and powerlifting training:

— including the 6 months of carnivore above — lost 27 pounds

— increased squat and deadlift PR in 4 consecutive competitions (bench in training)

I have been Low-carb Primal Keto for over 7 years.

— lost over 100 pounds in 2012 with minimal exercise — ‘cured’ insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome: prediabetes, hyperlipidemia, fatty liver. Joint pain, GERD, irritable bowel, migraines, insomnia, acne/skin problems.

— continue to decrease body fat with powerlifting training

— my taste preferences have changed: I love what I eat

— fat adaptation enhances long term fasting, which facilitates continued diet adherence — I have learned a great amount of valuable information about serving sizes and counting macros during weeks of micromanaging / weighing foods, but now I easily hit protein and carb targets without detailed macro tracking; I eat fat to hunger/satiety.

— scroll my @joeketone Twitter and Instagram for my training log, food, wine and what’s on my mind

# 1 KEY FACTOR TO ALL OF THIS: I AM RARELY HUNGRY—I am in control of my intake and I eat delicious food.

Yes, I am in a five or ten day net calorie deficit, but it does not feel like I am—I achieve a net calorie deficit without ‘trying’ and I have immense energy.

I am burning stored fat and minimizing health problems associated with hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia: enhancing LONGEVITY.

I sleep deeply and when I’m awake I feel and function as if I am half my age.

Many thanks to Mark Sisson and The Primal Blueprint.

Grok on!

Joe Lovely

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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The post I Feel and Function As If I’m Half My Age appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Monday, 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 Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

My first MDA Success Story was published in June 2016. Towards the end I said “My story isn’t over. It is just beginning.”

Those words couldn’t be more true.

That success story was about overcoming decades of chronic cystic acne, along with digestive issues and anxiety.

And the Primal lifestyle truly helped me to accomplish all of that. After decades as a vegetarian, pescetarian, and sometimes raw vegan, making a gradual transition to a Primal diet really changed my life.

The big thing for me was the acne. It’s painful enough to grow up with it, but for me it never really went away, despite every prescription drug in the book. There were even three rounds of Accutane along with some horrible side effects. Removing grains and dairy and adding animal protein and fat back into my diet reduced the inflammation very quickly, and within about a month my skin looked dramatically different.

At the same time my skin was miraculously clearing up, my sometimes debilitating digestive issues and anxiety quietly left the room.

And if my story ended there, it would have been a happy ending.

But things just keep getting better.

At the age of 51, my energy levels have increased and I have better body composition than ever. But it’s so much more than that. I’m more adventurous, confident, creative and intuitive.

Since my last success story was published, I’ve gradually transitioned to a keto lifestyle. I refer to it as “borderline keto” since I do not track or measure anything. I know that works great for some people, I just don’t care for it. But by increasing the healthy fats and moderating the protein I feel even more focused and energetic. Even though I had already made the switch, reading The Keto Reset Diet was helpful, and I’ve recommended it to so many people.

I’ve also completed my Primal Health Coach certification (even though I had another health coaching certification under my belt already.) I believe so strongly in the value of this lifestyle and want to learn everything I can, so I continue to educate myself by attending events like Paleo f(x) and reading everything I can get my hands on. I’m also taking my first digital cooking class, Paleo Cooking Bootcamp, and loving it.

When my last success story was published I had been writing a blog called “happy, healthy and hot” for about six months. It was mostly recipes and natural beauty tips presented in a playful, sassy style.

As I wanted to share my message with more people, I started posting on Instagram as well (@happyhealthyandhot_elizabeth), and eventually started sharing more of my lifestyle, including travel, fashion, personal development, and short videos showing easy workouts that I do at home (many times with a cameo appearance by my dog). I used to be a very private person, but I know that sharing these snapshots of my day to day life can show how easy it to live a healthy lifestyle.

I’ve also been featured on other health related websites and have been interviewed for podcasts, including the Primal Blueprint Podcast. Love sharing the happy, healthy and hot message with as many people as I can.

I truly believe that everyone deserves to look and feel amazing, and the Primal lifestyle is a great way to start. Living this way should be fun and easy…if it feels like a chore you’re not doing it right!

What started out as a little health blog is organically growing into a lifestyle brand with followers from all over the world.

Is my life perfect? Absolutely not. During this time I’ve dealt with some major personal challenges just like everyone else. But I’ve come out of them stronger than ever.

People are always asking me what I eat. Here’s a typical day… I start with lemon water and coffee. I always blend Collagen Peptides or Collagen Fuel (vanilla is my fave) into the coffee. There’s usually a blended green drink too…typically something like spinach or baby kale and fresh lemon.

A few hours later I get hungry for some real food, and might make eggs with leftover veggies, or just eat leftovers from the night before.

A second meal will be another form of protein…fish and beef are my favorites and a bunch of non starchy veggies. For example, today I had salmon, roasted brussels sprouts and avocado as a late lunch. Salmon or sardines make an appearance a few times a week…love what they do for my skin.

I’ve tried intermittent fasting but don’t do it on a regular basis. Instead, I just try to listen to my body and eat when I’m truly hungry. Lately I find myself eating two meals rather than three, and maybe having some small snacks.

Most days I’ll have a few squares of super dark chocolate or some type of Paleo “treat,” especially if I’m trying out a new recipe for happy, healthy and hot. Totally enjoy dry red wine from time to time too.

I’m not really into supplements, with the exception of using Collagen Peptides in some form every single day of my life. I’ve been doing this for years, and my skin is firmer now at the age of 51 than it was ten years ago. I also think the collagen keeps me from getting sore when I work out. Some nights I take a magnesium supplement before bed, and the only multi I will take is Primal Master Formula.

I don’t belong to a gym, although I have in the past. For now, I feel great doing some simple workouts at home (love my boss ball) and my dog forces me to get out and walk every single day. Working part time as a bartender is pretty physical too.

There are two things I plan to add this year to increase my fitness: sprinting and pull-ups. I learned so much about the value of sprinting in the Primal Health Coach course, but still haven’t made it part of my fitness routine. So this is the year! And right now I can’t do a pull up to save my life, but that’s going to change in 2018.

I’ve attached some pics from a recent trip to the Bahamas with my daughter, and one from a recipe I posted on my blog.

So I’ll say it again…my story is just beginning. Life is full of adventure and possibility. Can’t wait to see where the next few years take me. Thanks for reading!

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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The post Life Is Full of Adventure and Possibility appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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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!

When I first started on a low-carb diet, I lost 35 lbs (16 kg) in five months. I had 24 conditions! But not all my ailments healed.

I went down the rabbit’s hole and was able to turn my health around and cure a myriad of health issues with some additional measures. This is what I did.

My story began in 2013, where I adopted an eating protocol via Dr. Mark Hyman’s Ultrametabolism, after discovering my cholesterol was high. Following that plan, I lost 35 pounds (16 kg) in five months and had more energy for a period of time. But I started getting tired, having palpitations, wake-ups at night where I couldn’t go back to sleep, and others. I had already, over my lifetime, been diagnosed with being overweight, high blood pressure, tachycardia, chronic migraines, lumbago, bulging disks, ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, various nutrient and vitamin deficiencies, and others. I presented my issues to my doctor, whose only answer was the old, tired adage…”You are getting older, and this is what happens when you get older.”

I have autoimmune disease (discovered myself by literally forcing the conventional docs to test me for thyroid antibodies) based on my research of my symptoms from various functional medicine doctors whom I follow…so I began researching healing autoimmunity within functional medicine and Mark’s Daily Apple. I eliminated gluten, dairy and similar proteins completely from my diet. This includes all store-bought breads, pastries, pastas, and milk and milk products, and replaced them with my own, home-baked, (primarily coconut flour) products, and nut milks, primarily coconut milk. This is where my fibromyalgia, headaches and lower back pain went away for good, I hope indefinitely.

I gave up beans completely (too difficult to absorb, even when soaked), nuts (too much phytic acid in a healing gut). I gave up all processed/packaged foods, and bought and ate/eat only organic (unless ewg.org’s list says I can eat conventional). I consume pastured eggs only, grass-fed beef 1-2 times/week, wild-caught fish, and only hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken and turkey. I don’t use any conventional oils, only olive for my homemade salad dressings (your dressings are the only ones around with completely good for you ingredients, by the way!) , and coconut oil and grass-fed butter for higher-heat cooking. I eat an 80/20 raw diet. I have eliminated soy, and soy products, though I must admit, I still consume soy lecithin, as Chris Kresser, whom I admire, says it shouldn’t be problematic. I have an adoration of dark chocolate, you see… 😉 so it is unavoidable. I would make my own, but my time is limited, as I am a full-time nurse, wife and a mother as well.

I consume a lot of supplements. No drugs. I won’t elaborate on it too much, as that would be very long, but I will say that my Vitamin D, B12, all cholesterol and thyroid lab levels are now optimal by functional medicine standards. Mainstream labs are based on sick people’s labs, and I’m aiming to be and stay well, not to get sick until I exceed their ranges of “normal.” I am using additional supplements and probiotics to boost glutathione, immunity, gut repair and cellular metabolism. I use your collagen powders to keep my gut healed and sealed. I also do about 5 minutes of targeted muscle training a day 5 days a week, nominal running, walking and biking.

About six months later, after adopting the additional protocols outlined above, I felt great. I still do, another five years later. You wouldn’t guess to look at me that I’m 52. I feel better than I ever did in my life, and get around like a 20-year old. My only conditions remaining are some gas (from all the cruciferous veggies I eat every day in my salad), and thyroid antibody levels that have plateaued still outside of normal range. I surmise, accurately I am sure, that this is due to food sensitivities.  I have completed a food panel, and am working on the food sensitivities found there by eliminating them. I hope that this is successful, as I know these antibodies may continue to wear away at my thyroid over time, possibly resulting in a reversal of everything I have accomplished. Hopefully, as per Dr. Izabella Wentz (I am one of her recommended clinicians), my consumption of Thytrophin PMG will target the action of the antibodies as opposed to my thyroid, and then all will be right with the world!  Incidentally, I became so enamored with using food as medicine, that I went on to become a health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and board certification through the AADP (the Association of Drugless Practitioners.  Now I help others realize their hopes and dreams the way I have!

It should be noted, that I underwent all the above, totally alone. No family or friend support. It was very hard, but I was determined to decipher how powerful the proper consumption of food is for myself. From what I have read over the past four years, the odds are extremely low for success while going it alone. I almost ended up in divorce from my husband, and estrangement from my daughter, as I tried to help them with their problematic behaviors before they became sick as well. Now, in order to keep the peace, I must continue to go it alone, and keep my mouth shut. So far it is working, but the clinician inside of me worries for them. I’m definitely not perfect, I do let out some thoughts once in awhile!

I would not change this way of eating for anything, and continue to advocate the same for anyone who will choose to listen to my story and other successes people have had that I have advised. Following this type of plan can and will indeed change lives.

Thank you for what you, and other functional medicine practitioners sharing of your wealth of knowledge has done for me,

Carol Rivers

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The post I Feel Better Than I Ever Did In My Life appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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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!

One of my very favorite hobbies is ultra-light backpacking. I love being able to strap on a pack with the bare essentials and get lost in the woods for days at a time. For the longest time, I’ve been on a perpetual quest to discover and collect the lightest gear to make my outdoor quests as efficient as possible. I’ll obsessively get out a kitchen scale to weigh my equipment piece by piece, creatively looking for ways to cut 5 oz. here and 2 oz. there. However, for years I nonsensically overlooked the heaviest and bulkiest piece of gear that I was lugging up and down the trail…my 40 lbs of extra body fat. Duh!

Through most of my adulthood, I could eat whatever I wanted (and in whatever quantity I wanted!) and not gain a single pound. I just chalked it up to lucky genes. When I hit my late 30s, however, things took a predictable turn for the worse. Year after year, the bathroom scale needle began trending upwards and it was becoming increasingly difficult to squeeze into my favorite pair of 501’s. Before I knew it, I was forty pounds overweight, constantly lethargic, frequently sick, and lacking the overall motivation to get out of bed each morning.

So I made a commitment to eat less and exercise more. That didn’t work for me at all! I lacked the simple willpower and self-control to stop eating delicious junk foods. And after two years of six days a week trips to the gym making myself miserable on cardio machines, I hadn’t lost a single pound of body fat. I felt frustrated, perplexed, and embarrassed. I felt like a complete failure.

In my unsuccessful attempts to look and feel better, I reluctantly solicited the help of a fitness trainer. I was hesitant for two reasons. One, I feared my body would be instantly transformed into Lou Ferrigno’s if I even glanced at a free weight. Two, I’m a prideful kind of guy that likes to research things on my own. But Googling “weight loss” left me so bewildered that ultimately, I put all my trust into my trainer’s hands.

My fitness coach suggested I try a trendy diet called keto. Since I told my trainer I’d do whatever he told me to do, no questions asked, I gave it a try. The first week I lost 7 lbs. It was during this week that I heard Mark Sisson interviewed on the Joe Rogan podcast. They talked a lot about keto, and my ears perked up. Mark also outlined the characteristics of the Primal Blueprint way of life and I was entirely hooked. Everything he said made so much logical sense to me. I probably listened to that two-hour podcast another ten times to let the concepts slowly begin to reprogram my thinking patterns that had long been brainwashed by conventional diet and exercise “wisdom.” I immediately got a copy of The Primal Blueprint and devoured it. I subscribed to as many primal and paleo podcasts as I could fit in my queue. I couldn’t seem to get enough of this new life-changing information!

After just a few short months, Mark helped me to completely optimize my diet and workouts. I was finally able to see and feel the results of the scale moving downward. I was now experiencing the benefits of being fat adapted…having bounds of energy, improved mental clarity, and not routinely getting sick every three months.

I wanted to share this newfound experience with as many people as possible. I now had a brand new life mission to help others discover how to become healthier, stronger, thinner, and full of energy. So when I came across an ad for enrolling in the Primal Health Coach Institute, I didn’t hesitate a second. Take my money! Going through the 17-week program was chock-full of revolutionary health insights and practical coaching strategies. I enjoyed the surprise of a new module opening up each week, and couldn’t wait to devour the life-changing concepts within. After graduating from the course, I felt supremely confident in my ability to coach clients towards their health goals.

However, towards the end of the training, a slight panic began to set in. I’d never started a business before. I didn’t possess the entrepreneurial gene that everyone on Shark Tank seems to have. I lacked the business experience and acumen. Right when all those doubts began to creep into my mind, PHCI—the Primal Health Coach Institute, came to the rescue. Not only did they provide an amazing business resource center at the end of the program, but they added 12 new business building task modules within the curriculum. I was able to go through each one step by step in a logical, simple, and straightforward progression. The staff also hosts ongoing monthly webinars with practical training and tips. After each webinar, I’m so inspired by the relevant content. There’s always a wealth of useful action steps that I can apply to health coaching and business building. PHCI has taken all the guesswork out of starting a health coaching vocation for me. The business building tasks alone were well worth the cost of the program!

By the time I graduated, I was able to launch The Optimized Life, LLC with a snazzy website (theoptimizedlife.net), set up 4 business social media outlets, construct a growing email marketing strategy, and tackle tons of other smaller but vital tasks for beginning a thriving health coaching practice. Within my first week, I signed up four clients for a 3-month group coaching package. I’m now well on my way to providing nutritional and fitness support for busy people whose waistlines are expanding and energy levels are declining.

Words can’t express how grateful I am to Mark and all the Primal staff for giving me the tools to live the rest of my life with joy and vitality. As a Primal Health Coach, I want nothing more than to pass those same tools on to others I meet as well.

Chris Prior

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The post A Backpacker’s Journey From Weight Loss To a New Life Mission appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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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!

“To inspire people to be their best and love the journey so they get the most out of life and make the world a better place.” – Benj’s WHY: the reason I get out of bed in the morning. Ok, if I’m being honest, that’s my second reason. The first is my home-made quad espresso (black, of course!).

My journey hasn’t been some monumental before-and-after story, but more an EVOLUTION (Grok-style). I grew up out in the “woods” 100 kilometres (60 miles) outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I was always a super active kid, playing every sport in school, and then getting home and continuing the sports non-stop with my brother. My parents both got in on the act often, and were always super supportive. When I look back, our family was about half-Grok back then without even knowing it. We didn’t watch TV much (just some Hockey Night in Canada on the weekends), always had home-cooked meals (some food choices have since been adjusted!), and did a ton of stuff outside and in nature. Both of my parents are retired teachers, so we learned how to learn, problem solve, question authority, and investigate.

After high school, I earned a university volleyball scholarship and began my career as an “elite” athlete. I ended up playing 5 years of post-secondary volleyball, and was also fortunate to play 3 years for Team Canada and 1 year professionally in France. At the same time, I completed a Physical Education degree and a Master’s degree in Kinesiology (Coaching). I also figured out how to completely destroy my diet, going from home-cooked meals to almost exclusively processed food, fast-food, and the craziest part: averaging around 3 litres (3/4 of a gallon) of Coke/Slurpees EVERY DAY!!

I look back now in disbelief. I can’t imagine how much better I could have performed on the court, and how much less my knees, shoulder, and everything else would’ve hurt if I wasn’t pounding so much sugar and junk. Half way through my volleyball career, I got into weight lifting and once my playing career was over, I became a college volleyball coach and kinesiology instructor, and continued working out a couple of hours 5-6 days a week. I looked like a pretty fit beast (6’4”, 240 pounds, 12-14% body fat), but I certainly didn’t feel that way.

Gradually, I started reading more about health and making better choices. I reduced my Slurpee intake to 1 per day after my workouts along side my protein shake, and upgraded my diet from complete garbage to the Zone diet (30% fat, 30% protein, 40% carbs every meal). Unfortunately, I think my years of a garbage diet while continuing to pound my body with multiple workouts and practices added up. All my joints constantly hurt, I was often bloated and uncomfortable, and I ended up getting knee surgery. I just chalked it up to things I would have to deal with as a price for being an elite athlete…and here’s where the fun really begins!

I met my wife, Jolene, at the end of 2002 having just turned 30, and we married in August of 2003 (she was 25 at the time), so the rest of this is OUR story! Jolene was keen on working out, adjusting her diet, and so we continued with the Zone and working out chronically. The picture above was taken two months before our wedding.

At about this time I started having symptoms of pretty serious hyperthyroidism and was eventually diagnosed with Grave’s disease and in the spring of 2004 had my thyroid gland destroyed (I’m guessing the doctors would disagree with my description) with 2 doses of radiated iodine leaving me on the opposite end of the spectrum, with severe hypothyroidism. I firmly believe this was an autoimmune response to my decade of crazy carb intake combined with my non-stop sports lifestyle. It has left me having to take thyroid hormones (initially synthetic, but I switched to natural 5 years ago) daily for likely the rest of my life. Luckily, I haven’t had any major issues, I can tell quickly if I need to adjust my dose, and life has basically been good. I only wish I had learned about primal wellness prior to the radiation treatment, because I’m confident I could have reversed my condition and preserved a functioning thyroid gland.

Life continued for Jolene and I, and we became more and more fascinated with holistic wellness. I began reading and researching on all aspects of leading a healthy life and implementing what I learned into the Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness class I was teaching at college. I also became really curious about how people learn, how the brain operates, and how to create optimal learning environments, which I began experimenting with in my classes and with the women’s volleyball ball team I was coaching. After over 30 years of what I call incidental learning, it finally occurred to me that I had WAY more to learn and it became my passion to find out and implement all I could about each component of wellness. Jolene was busy running her own business as a massage therapist and helping others with their wellness. It’s been amazing that Jolene has been on board the whole way. And I had and have so much to learn from her as well. She has great awareness, kindness, empathy, and authenticity.

Fast-forward to the spring of 2011, I read my first ancestral health book, The New Evolution Diet, by Arthur De Vany, and it was a total game changer. After spending the past 7-plus years reading and researching, the book just put everything together. Jolene and I went all in immediately on a primal/paleo lifestyle and the results were instant. Although we looked to be in pretty “good shape” before hand, in a matter of weeks we both leaned out significantly. The picture above was taken just a few months after ditching grains, sugar and processed food (ages 38 & 33).

But the best changes had nothing to do with how we looked. I was able to get up and down stairs without my knees aching, I no longer had any gastrointestinal discomfort, I slept way better and needed less of it, I was more alert and in a better mood. And these changes happened in a matter of days. All these things were amazing, and I knew there was still so much more to learn. I just continued researching all aspects of wellness, and we applied what I learned, tweaking and adjusting our lifestyle. And then a couple of years later I finally came across Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint…BOOM! Everything we were working on, all covered in 10 Laws that lead to a good life! What could possibly make more sense than to understand that wellness is in our DNA and we have tremendous influence over how our genes are expressed?

Perhaps the coolest thing about this all is that it’s been a family affair. The same half-Grok family at the beginning of this story is now a full Grok-family! My Mom and Dad still live out in the woods, and are enjoying a full-on primal lifestyle in their retirement. My brother, his wife and their 6-year old daughter live in the mountains and honor the Grok way both at the kitchen table and with their daily hikes, mountain bike rides, rock climbs, or whatever else they choose to do.

As time goes by, Jolene and I continue to make adjustments that simplify and enhance our wellness. We now work out less than ever before, and do it intuitively. This usually means about two 20-30 minute intense strength sessions per week, a couple of 5 kilometre jogs keeping the heart rate in the aerobic zone, the occasional sprint workout, and plenty of walks with the dogs. Our meal plans are simple too. We eat delicious food W.H.E.N. (when hunger ensues naturally). This almost always means our first meal is in the early afternoon. Jolene feels at her best when she eats few carbs (less than 50g/day) and I hover in the 50-100g/day range to be at my best. And those are educated guesses because we never stress about it. We don’t measure or track anything, just eat things we know are good for us and don’t eat crap. We have found a primal lifestyle to be fairly easy and simple, and the benefits can’t be overstated! The above pictures are from April of 2018 at ages 45 and 40.

The latest chapter in our story is just beginning! When I first heard about the Primal Blueprint Health Coach program (now Primal Health Coach Institute), I signed up immediately and became certified at the end of 2016. It was such a great summary of everything I’ve learned over the past 15 years and now I’m hoping to inspire others with my passion for wellness and human excellence. This is what that looks like to me.

I’d love for everyone to enhance their wellness and I’m looking forward to starting my Primal Health Coaching career so I can help people with their journey. I’ve recently enrolled in a Primal Health Coaching Institute Masterclass in Miami and I’m so excited to get this off the ground! Thanks for taking the time to read my story, hopefully it inspires you to either start or keep going on a path of health and happiness!

Benj Heinrichs
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
June, 2018

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The post The Quest For a Good Life appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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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!

Hi, my name is Mike. I haven’t always been overweight or obese. In fact, when I was a child and teen I was skinny. To the point of being teased frequently because of how skinny I was. No matter what I ate or how much of it I ate, I couldn’t gain weight. Fast forward to January 2017 and I was at my largest: 350 pounds, barely able to fit into 4xl shirts and was about to have to purchase 48 waist pants because the 46 I was in I couldn’t button. I had to put them close, fasten my belt, and hope the pants didn’t slip through and unzip.

I didn’t get here overnight, although after finding and devouring Mark’s Daily Apple I realized that my overnight practices were definitely part of it. High stress lifestyle as a paramedic for 18 years, working nights, fast food almost every meal, then stress eating through Physician Assistant school. I was definitely the “Do as I say not as I do” healthcare provider. And done with it.

In February of 2017 I checked my Hemoglobin A1C and it was 6.4, just 0.1 short of official diabetes. I started to do some of what Mark said to do on MDA but wasn’t fully into it. I’ve always been the “why it works that way” person and, being the geek that I am, kept reading. Mark’s Daily Apple, Chris Kresser, and others increased my nutritional knowledge far beyond my education as a PA (a subject for a completely different article).

In May 2017 I had lost 10 pounds but my A1c was still 6.2 and my Triglycerides were 264. It was time to actually do something about my health instead of just talk about it and tell my patients what to do. Actually, several of my patients as well as my parents, who really listened to what I told them, read MDA and instituted the Primal Lifestyle and had lost lots of weight and were doing great, which inspired me to take my own advice.

Like many people who are obese and have tried to lose weight, I’ve done well for a little bit, screwed up, and beat myself up about it. “I don’t know why I even try” and, “Well I blew it again” were frequent thoughts. When patients would ask how much I’ve lost since I started trying I would say, “Thousands” because I had been trying and failing since my mid 20s. I’ve been telling patients recently that the flip in mentality came with the 80/20 concept that we read about on MDA. It’s true. Once I fully grasped that concept and instituted it in my life, things began to turn around.

In December 2017 I tested again. My A1c was 5.4, Triglycerides 146, and I was down 15 more pounds. 2018 has been even better. I’m only down another 10 pounds (40 total as of this morning) but that’s despite several trips for work and some vacations, and my body composition is definitely changing. In May my A1c was 5.0. I’m officially no longer pre-diabetic. I am down 6 belt loops (I keep making new loops and the tip of my belt is literally on my left hip). I actually fit into and button a pair of 40 waist jeans. 3xl shirts fit me somewhat loose. All of this without any workout program. My BMI has gone from 47.5 to 42.0, so still morbidly obese but getting close to, “just obese.” I increased my activity by moving more and working on projects around my property such as building a raised garden (pulling weeds, raking rocks, etc), but didn’t do any actual workout program until the first week of May when I started a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) program three days a week.

I still have a long way to go to get to my goal of 205. The 21-Day Reset that we are currently doing has helped me get back on track paying attention to what I am doing. I’m sleeping better. Energy is better. Clothes fit better. The area I work (mountains in Arizona) has a large population that lives where it’s warm in the winter and comes up to the mountains for the summer. My summer patients who haven’t seen me since the fall are making comments about how I look. My confidence is returning and I’m re-engaging in life.

I will be 50 next year and I’m confident that I will be healthier at 50 than I was at 25. I also would like to do the Primal Health Coach Institute as well as the Functional Medicine Program at the Kresser Institute (student loans currently keep those from being financially feasible), and I have started to figure out how to institute a primal based health program at my current practice. Grok on!

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The post My Confidence Is Returning, and I’m Re-engaging in Life appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I was 40-years-old, 205 pounds and only 5 foot 6 inches. I ate whatever I wanted. Which usually meant a sleeve of cookies, a quart of soda, a bag of gummy bears….pretty much whatever. Twelve years before I had been a slim fit Marine and had since put on 60 pounds without notice. My vision was getting bad, my sleep was never sufficient, my motivation non-existent. And obviously, my marriage suffering from my lack of interest, poor disposition and dwindling testosterone.

A few years earlier I had gone on the Atkins diet and did lose weight. But I couldn’t sustain it because my cheat days kept increasing till I was back eating junk and was even fatter than when I started.

I literally stumbled on The Primal Blueprint and took the chance, bought the book and read it. Read it like a book. Not like stereo instructions, where you skip ahead past things you “know.” The light came on. Mark’s way of explaining things clearly and directly opened my eyes. I began by eating, not starving. Eggs and sausage, real meat, fresh veggies and just walking.

Seemingly overnight my tight 34″ pants were falling off. I had no belts that worked and my XL shirts looked like ponchos. I didn’t even own a scale, so I bought one and when I stepped on it I was dumbfounded—165 pounds in less that 4 months. I needed all new clothes. Nothing fit. I lost 4″ in my waist and now wore a medium shirt. As I felt great, I wanted to work out because I could. So I left behind the body weight exercises and hit the gym weightlifting and still walking and doing sprints. I also began intermittent fasting.

Family members began asking if I was sick. I told them I felt great and was changing my eating habits and working out. When I explained it further I was told how my cholesterol was surely high and I was advised to see a doctor for blood work. Well, guess what? My blood work came back perfect.

As a side note, it was time to renew my state drivers license and the lady at the DMV made me get a new picture because I looked so different.

Skip ahead to today. I am going to be 50 next year. I am 145 pounds, 28″ waist and 38″ chest. I squat and deadlift 300+pounds and jump rope, and love going to the gym. I have to force myself to take rest days. My last blood work was a waste of time since I knew what it was going to be. Perfect! I have refined my consumption to be more seasonal. I eat loads of venison and wild boar that I hunt. Lots of caught trout, eggs and avocados, coconut oil and spinach with citrus are staples. I get about 75% of my calories from fat, 15% or so from protein and the rest from veggie based carbs. Fruit isn’t that important to me. The commercial stuff is way to sweet.

And I’m spreading the word! In fact when people get to know me and see that I’m not some crazy marathon runner or grass eater they start the conversation. They want what I have. My closest friend went from 235 pounds to 175 pounds. Five co-workers in just the last month have bought the book and are all on the way to a great life. As I type this I just got a text from one telling me his wife is down 10 pounds, and he’s down more than 15.

I’m a success story for one simple reason. Mark. I owe every bit of it to you. You literally gave me a life back. You showed me the path through the jungle of fad diets and misinformation. I will, forever, be indebted to you. There’s no doubt in my mind that had I not read The Primal Blueprint, I would be on insulin, 250 pounds, probably divorced and headed to an early grave. Instead I feel like a 20-year-old, look like a stud and and chase my wife around like a teenager!

Thanks again, Mark. Grok on , brothers and sisters!

Kellet Stephens

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The post I Began By Eating, Not Starving appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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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!

 As a 50-year-old attorney I had let my desk job win. I knew my diet, sleep, fitness and overall stress levels were out of control, but I didn’t quite know what to do and definitely didn’t have the motivation. Until I read Mark’s 10 Primal Laws on his blog, which changed everything. What Mark was saying just made sense. I rushed out to get the Primal Blueprint and the the Primal Connection and my life has not been the same since. A few years later, down from 260 to 175, I can say, without hesitation, that the Primal lifestyle (as supplemented now with the Keto Reset) just works! I am the fittest I have ever been, my sleep and stress levels are great, and I have more energy than ever. With my wife as a partner in healthy living, we are a dynamic duo and have, to a great extent, the Primal lifestyle to thank!

I had lost weight before, but on a higher carb diet, and without all of the other Primal lifestyle changes, I may have been lighter, but definitely not any healthier. I still had sleep trouble, stomach issues, sore joints and low energy. And, inevitably, I put the weight back on, and more. When I got up to 260 I knew I had to make a change and somehow came across Mark’s Daily Apple. The rest is history, and more than 80 lbs gone and kept off for two years! Now my energy levels are incredible, I sleep wonderfully, I have solid functional strength and mobility and have reconnected with nature and a primal lifestyle.

My single biggest piece of advice: make your overall wellness a joyful passion, an enthusiastic endeavor. If it is not something you are having fun with, it will be hard to keep it up long term. Within the wide spectrum of healthy options for food and fitness, find those that you love, that get you excited, and double down on that to get you going. Make healthy living and other life-positive inputs the center of your media consumption as well. Read books and articles, get magazines, follow fitness and health enthusiasts on your social media of choice, listen to inspiring and informative podcasts and audiobooks. Surround yourself with wellness!

Here is what worked for me:
1. cut out almost all added sugar, which I believe made the single biggest difference.
2. adopted the primal diet, low enough in carbs to occasionally get into ketosis, but not “living” there. As Mark says, staying in the Keto Zone.
3. started focusing on sleep, got some low-blue-light bulbs for reading at night, got at least 8 full hours, kept artificial light off during sleep. I wake up now naturally before 6 am full of energy!
4. getting out in the sun very early in the morning (usually at sunrise), often for a walk or morning workout, including mobility work.
5. hit the weights a few times a week and do a HIIT workout at least once a week, but just as important, take long walks almost every day, often barefoot!
6. got a stand up desk, but alternate between that and sitting and moving throughout the day. I try to walk at least 5 minutes every hour.
7. getting out for adventures in the local desert and San Diego beaches as often as possible. Stand up paddling is a new favorite, I want to make more time for that!
8. we have also gotten more adventurous with our food choices, trying new recipes, getting excited about the food we are eating!

One more thing that worked for me that is not essential, and definitely not for everyone, is self-quantification. I “game-ified” my health journey! I used an app to log my food for overall calories and macro ratios, I used a smart scale to track my weight, body fat, muscle, etc. (knowing the accuracy limitations). I tracked steps and workouts for general calorie burn. I started with all of this at first just to calibrate my awareness of these areas, but then kept going for the fun and regular motivation! Seeing the charts over time and the accumulated data has been both useful and satisfying. Again, this is not for everyone, but for me it has been a very positive approach.

Thanks to Mark and crew for pointing me in the right direction and providing tons of great content along the way! — Vance McAlister

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