I hadn’t intended to post anything until I get up Part I of my series on the Paleo life way for beginners, likely Sunday night or Monday morning. But this fits right in, given that I’m doing this for whomever are interested of the 80,000 Boing Boing and GIZMODO readers who visited this blog last week.
So let me get right into Marc’s story, a reader who came over from the FARK link on New Year’s Day, 2010 to have a laugh at a guy who’d given up soap and shampoo for water only.
This is a little late, I promised you in comments that I would send you my story by the end of the year but life got busy. Maybe it could still be inspirational to some in sticking to their new years resolutions. I know you recently had a post that New Years resolutions are bullshit, and I too made and broke the "lose weight" resolution many times before. I think it is relevant though that my success began with a new years resolution. It often amazes me how life can present you with the exact information you need at the moment you are ready to receive it.
Last January 1st I was pretty hung over and just lounging around and surfing the internet. I made the usual resolution to "lose weight" but this time, I actually quantified it. I resolved to lose 40lbs. I had no particular strategy to do this other than eat better/less and move more. Since my birthday is the 3rd I usually try to never start a resolution until the 4th so it really wasn’t on my mind. I was just mindlessly surfing Fark.com reading funny stories when I saw a link about a guy who quit using soap. The fark tag was funny so I followed the link to have a laugh at your expense. The thing is, when I got here and read what you had to say I found rather than laughing at your ideas I found them intriguing. I moved from your soap article to your dietary articles and was immediately struck by how these ideas passed my logical mind’s bullshit detector, i.e. common sense when looked at from this new perspective. I spent from about 8:00pm to 4:00am reading your site, and the sites you linked to. I knew right then that this was something I was going to do.
As I said in the comment you blogged about, you changed my life. Let me tell you how. When I found your site I was about to turn 34 and weighed about 270 pounds. I had been probably 40 pounds over weight for many years but had rapidly put on another 40 pounds in the last few years due to a perfect storm of quitting smoking, having a son, and many long hours of sedentary work and then studying for professional certifications in the evenings. I could no longer look in the mirror and pretend like maybe I at least carried it well.
I also had many health issues, not all of which I attributed to diet but now so obviously are. I had acid reflux so bad I would wake up in the night vomiting acid. I tried both over the counter and prescription prilosec/zegerid. These were somewhat effective but woe was me if I missed a pill or two. I live in a high allergy area and suffered accordingly. I daily took Allegra D or Claratin D twice daily. I was having some sort of arthritis/carpal tunnel symptoms in my hands that gave me poor grip strength and pain. For years I had these occasional spells which now I can only presume was some sort of pre-diabetes. They started out rare but had become more frequent. If I skipped a meal and exerted myself I would sometimes have what I would describe as some sort of hypoglycemic episode. I would get tunnel vision and become very lethargic as well as feeling like I was about to faint. Usually I would rapidly sit down and then try to find some type of bread or juice to drink. When I brought this up to my doctor his advice was "try not to let yourself get hungry". This guy had pushed the conventional low-fat chicken breast and salad routine to me for years and was threatening to put me on statin drugs. I no longer see him.
After discovering your site I have rapidly been healing my body and all of these conditions. You can see from the attached before and progress pictures that I have lost about 65 pounds. Going from ~270 to ~205. I am no longer on any medications and I am free of symptoms of all the above conditions. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to breathe clear when all my co-workers are calling in sick due to allergies.
I attribute all of this healing to intermittent fasting and my diet. I would describe my diet as lacto-paleo. Probably closest to Dr. Harris’s Panu of the "paleo" sub cultures. I also practice Mark Sisson’s 80/20 rule and don’t penalize myself for imperfection. I try to eat grass-fed but probably only succeed about half the time or less. My big cheats are likely to be tacos or chips and salsa rather than cake or candy. This still amazes my wife since I had a huge sweet tooth. I also switched from beer to wine.The weight loss didn’t come all at once. When I first started I rapidly lost 8 or 10 pounds. Then I lost 3-4 pounds a week for several weeks, then 1-2lb/week, etc. I had a few stalls, A couple went on for weeks and then, just about the time I was questioning everything I rapidly lost several pounds.
During all of this weight loss I never once set foot in a gym. I never jogged, biked, or any other kind of cardio. My job is sedentary, but I do get some activity through yard work, light construction projects around the house, and chasing my two year old around. I have definitely gotten more active, even unintentionally. I think Gary Taubes is right, we confuse correlation with causation. I believe I got sedentary because I got fat, rather than the conventional notion that I got fat because I was sedentary/lazy.
Last but definitely not least, and hopefully this doesn’t embarrass my wife too bad, but the diet is way better than viagra. That’s probably enough said about that.
So this is my story. It doesn’t seem like enough to just say thank you to the guy that saved your life, but a heart felt thanks to you Richard. Your influence spirals outward as people see my progress and I point them here and to paleonu (so glad he is posting again). As for me? In the new year I am headed into the gym for the first time in a long time. I am determined to get serious about weight training to further my progress. I am keenly following your Lean Gains articles.
A hearty congratulations to Marc. His reward for listening to what is essentially some common sense is to regain a life he can be most proud of an enjoy. It’s the ultimate reward.
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