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.
Marc Before After
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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Amazing! You’ve had a great influence on folks.
I know people must tell you this all the time, but it really seems to me that you have the makings of a very good book here. Instead of writing it as a technical how to diet book, I’d suggest a memoir. Something akin to Kim Sunee’s first book ‘Trail of Crumbs.” Tell the whole story, complete with the recipes.
You are a good writer, and as I’ve said before, I usually disagree with your conclusions regarding evolution, but I throughly enjoy reading this blog.
Ok, resident Christian fundamentalist signing off for now. 🙂
Exactly what I’ve come to conclude about any book. I want to tell the story of myself and my readers. I’ll give other resources for the science for those who wish to get into it, but the principal science I’ll be interested in the n=1 self-experimentation.
Am I the only who is skeptical about anecdotes in health books (i.e. “Here’s the story of Susan who followed my advice and lost 200 pounds”)? I often get the feeling they’re made up. It just seems to easy to do.
I don’t doubt the stories here; rather, I’m saying if this were to be compiled into a book, some people who are not readers of this blog might want more references and stuff.
But then, I don’t know how the average reader feels, maybe it’s just me.
That’s fair, JLL. Anecdotes are important but they need to be presented in the right context to be believable.
I agree it is so important to consider the source of the information and decide what is believable. If it is attached to a book or product, I always think twice. The science of results is what I have come to believe. I am on a mission to improve health through prevention & nutrition.
Maybe someday soon the “health authorities” will see some of these transformations and say that maybe this stuff works. It will probably take a long time but the evidence, albeit not in controlled studies or funded research, is out there for others to find and benefit from.
I wouldn’t hold my breath, David. No matter how big the FLOTUS butt gets, you can be sure the egghead elites will not concede their malignant views.
His first day on FTA sounds almost exactly like mine, except mine was NYE and into the morning. I loooove seeing these success stories!! Congrats, Marc. Lookin’ pretty darn handsome. 😉
Psst…Richard…typo in the post title (losses). 🙂
[…] ← Grassfed Beef Medley and Red Wine Reduction Man Comes Here to Have a Laugh; Loses 65 Pounds […]
Way to go, Marc.
He looks pretty damn good …. especially for zero exercise.
Thank you! Although I don’t think “zero exercise” is accurate. I did a few push ups and for the first time in my life I can do a few pull ups. But definitely nothing structured or particularly regular. I did sometimes seem to get spontaneously stronger, more than I could really attribute to the exercise I had done.
For example I went from being able to do 15 push ups to about 23 the next time I did push ups a couple weeks later or so. I wonder if diet alone can improve muscle mass or if I unwittingly did other things that improved my abilities.
The friar of occham would suggest that you got lighter. 🙂
Yeah I took that into account, and in the case of the pull ups is absolutely the difference. There were occurrences though were it felt as if I was spontaneously getting stronger. Maybe this was my imagination, or maybe there was some kind of creatine effect or something.
Marc, it also could be your central nervous system adapting and using your existing muscles more efficiently. Congrats on your great change.
My pet theory is that eating this way corrects an estrogen/testosterone imbalance which is very common today, men are getting breast reduction surgery left and right.
So your testosterone gets back to where it should be and you are naturally stronger, even without working at it.
Russell Brand, Brit comedian and vegetarian, looks totally like he’s pumping out too much estrogen. I saw him in some movie where he was shirtless, and he was skinny-fat with these really weird fatty hips and budding manboobs.
Please research this and get back with me on it, Rob.
I have not checked out Russell’s bod but I can tell you that us vegetarians don’t look frail & pale. I am for whatever works! Check out my site and see how people are making choices that make big improvements in the quality of their lives. Make A Viable Choice!
Looks like there is a name for it, “Andropause.” Brand is kind of young for it but given he had a lot of wild years who knows.
Andropause is usually caused by a very gradual testosterone deficiency and an increase in sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) that occurs from age 35 onwards. By contrast, women have a sudden onset of menopause around age 51. Testosterone declines 10% every decade after age 30 (1% per year).
Premature andropause can occur in males who experience excessive female hormone stimulation through workplace exposure to estrogen. Men who work in the pharmaceutical industry, plastics factories, near incinerators, and on farms that use pesticides are high-risk for early andropause.
By their mid-50s, about 30 percent of men experience andropause. About 5 million American men do not produce adequate testosterone, which leads to early andropause.
It appears it has a name, “Andropause”
Fitness Blackbook had a post on excess estrogen
When I started eating this way my goal was to be as strong as I’ve ever been by the time I turned 50 (started when I was 46), two years and a few months later (48 now) I’m quite a bit stronger than I’ve ever been … hard to see how that can happen without the endocrine system being involved.
That sounds very plausible and would fit with some other things I’ve noticed.
Damn! I was only being goofy with request for research, but I’ll be damned if you didn’t come through! Thanks for the info.
Rob, andropause is a natural occurence of aging. It’s great that you can lift quotes from wikipedia, but that’s not what people are talking about.
To equate andropause with estrogen-producing abdominal fat, environmental endocrine disruptors/estrogen-like chemicals (including the soy they use in cheap meats), as if “early” andropause is the culprit, makes no sense.
Great job Marc! Always inspiring to read stories like yours.
Anyone else notice that the Santa door-hanger also seemed to improve in the before and after pictures?
The door hanger also quit using shampoo. My wifes reaction to the picture was “I think it’s time to replace that rug.”
I noticed that. It’s weird that the hanging Santa looks newer in the more recent picture.
It is newer. My wife replaced the old one.
BTW, you look great! Kudos to you!
Congrats Marc. Great story. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told about this and how easy it is and so far, no takers. I guess the old saying when the student is ready the teacher will appear still holds true. Congrats again Marc. Great job.
Excellent success story. I think you have the right idea about how you should approach writing a book.
I think you mentioned the connection between muscles and the immune system a while back. Could you point me to some books or links that discuss this in depth?
Actually, it’s from Art De Vany that I got that, from his blog, his seminar I attended and most recently, his book. I believe there are some references in it.
Dr. Doug McGuff, co-author of “Body by Science,” details in a few chapters of his book how muscle mass is crucial to the immune system. His website, bodybyscience.net, is a good place to get info and videos.
A fucking huge congratulations, Brother. Great work.
wow he really took to it!! way to go!!
I checked your blog
Sorry hit submit too quick. Meant to say I checked your blog, and your own transformation is pretty remarkable Mallory!
What an amazing change…congratulations on a job very well done!
Thank you all for the congrats!
Kudos to you, sir, well done!
Great work! What a great way to make a difference! Marc looks HOT!
What is your height, Marc? Your weight of 275 looks about like I did when I weighed around 275 to 285. I’m 6’4″. By the way, great job, man!
I’m about 6’1 if I stand up real straight. I never did hit 275. Fit day says 268 was my peak.
Great work Marc. And thanks to Richard for posting his story and keeping us motiviated.
Marc looking more handsome than before..LOL at santa..get groomed 😀
I remember that Fark tag. I laughed at it on Fark, but when I got here, I was blown away!
It’s amazing how he looks after loses 65 pound ;> Hmm i cant believe its the same person ( his face has changed so that’s the reason and tatoo ! ).
Hello, i just cant believe what i see :
“During all of this weight loss I never once set foot in a gym. I never jogged, biked, or any other kind of cardio. ”
It’s really good job how u did it. You look much better after looses pounds, and as u wrote u feel better.
I lost 50lbs with no exercise, too, Marc, and just loath exercise, but lately I have been having the impulse to *move*, so that is what I have been doing. Just push-ups and lunges so far…no “routine”, no exercise plan…I’m trusting my body to tell me what to do when…beginning to listen to my animal…and I’ll see where it wants to go from here. Self-trust feels very, very good 🙂
Marc, way to go! I vote that you “unwittingly did other things that improved [your] abilities”. I say that because I experienced this myself. Back a few years, I mentioned to a friend that I wanted to start lifting weights to build bigger muscles in my upper arms. A couple weeks later she remarked that my arms looked a lot more muscular and was surprised that I was getting results so quickly. But I hadn’t lifted a single weight yet (terrible procrastinator)! I think my subconscious mind just took the cue and found ways to incorporate more lifting in my daily life, especially at work (I was a chef and managed a cafe at the time). Since then, I strongly feel that exercise, for me, is best when it happens naturally.
Because of digestive distress and allergic reactions and hypoglycemia, several doctors advised me to abstain from eating grains, legumes, dairy, sugar and potatoes. I lost ten pounds when I quit eating dairy, and I stopped getting colds/flus and huge, painful zits. I managed to stop eating most grains and legumes without too much trouble, but I had a really hard time giving up corn and potatoes. I lost fifteen pounds when I finally managed to quit them. The weight came off within 3o days both times. The hard carb cravings lasted two and a half weeks. I white-knuckled it, but once the cravings passed, all the feelings of deprivation vanished and I felt really satisfied with the foods I was eating.
I got really sick soon after I finally succeeded in completely cleaning up my diet, and I stayed sick on and off for about two months. It might have been a detox reaction to losing those fifteen pounds so quickly. The sudden loss of fat could have released a lot of toxins into my system that had been stored in those tissues. It finally cleared up after I got a massage, which I think got my sluggish lymph system moving, so it could clear the toxins out.
I didn’t know there were other people who ate like me. Even the gluten-free folks can eat some grains and legumes, and I can’t eat ANY. Then I stumbled across the term “paleolithic diet” and quickly found out that it perfectly matches how I eat (except for my potato allergy). It’s so nice to feel like I’m part of a community! I no longer feel like I have a “restrictive” or even an “unusual” diet. My diet is actually natural. It’s a total paradigm shift.
The goal was to increase my energy because I suffer from chronic, disabling fatigue. The theory was that my energy would increase if I stopped eating foods that my body regards as toxic substances rather than food. I wasn’t trying to lose weight and didn’t even want to lose weight. I started out at 140 lbs. I’m 5’5″ and weigh 115 lbs now. I don’t like being this slender, but I have to admit that I do look pretty good, and I enjoy having a flatter stomach.
My energy has not increased much since I went primal on September 4, 2010 (over four months ago), so there’s more at play here that’s yet to be discovered. I’m experimenting with cutting out nightshade vegetables and sweet potatoes. I feel like there is still an unknown allergen in my diet because over the last month-and-a-half some hard-core carb cravings have briefly cropped up. I am also adjusting my use of enzymes and supplements and have felt a small surge in energy over the last three days, which I think is a direct result of that. I have begun feeling the impulse to *move* lately and have started hiking. So perhaps my energy is slowly coming around.