Friday, October 28, 2016

How I Lost over 100 Pounds—and Gained Strength, Stamina and Control

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. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in line

I was always fat. No, seriously. My whole life, I was fat. In middle school I was around 160-180 pounds. In high school I hit 250 pounds. At my heaviest, a few years after college, I was 330 pounds. I never liked how I looked or how I felt. I didn’t like that I would get exhausted easily. I didn’t like that I would get injured easily and be sore. I didn’t like that I could be basically danced around in sporting events because I was so big and clumsy that I couldn’t move. I didn’t like the constant bloated feeling. I didn’t like being dateless.

I occasionally tried to get away from my soda and fast food diet, eating the standard American “healthy” diet of low fat, low calorie, whole grain diet with heavy exercise, and would sometimes have short term positive results, but I would be constantly hungry, unsatisfied, and get injuries which would derail my progress. A few months later, the weight and poor eating habits were back.

To be fair, the start of my turn around was because my wife was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. She did a lot of research, read a lot of books and blogs, and we tried a variety of different foods before we found that eating essentially Primal/paleo was easiest for her stomach. We read your blog, the Primal Blueprint, (and other sources) and have been eating this way for about 3+ years now.


After that first few weeks of adjustment, it’s been amazing. I feel constantly great, and I never worry about portion control or calories. I just let my body tell me how much food I need. When coworkers bring in cakes or donuts, I can smell the sugar a room away, but don’t crave it. It usually smells like chemicals as much as sugar if that makes sense. Coworkers marvel at my change, and people whom I haven’t seen for years literally don’t recognize me.

The most difficult part of the change was the fact that cooking is an integral part of our life, and is, I guess, our biggest hobby at this point. We buy beef a quarter cow at a time (grass fed and finished of course) and pork a half-pig at a time (pastured). We cook most of our meals for the month over one incredibly long weekend, and freeze them to make weeknights easier. There are days when work stress makes the convenience of easily picked up drive-thru meals tempting, but the extra effort is worth it.

After_2_Success_Story_10.28.16The Primal lifestyle has also affected the way I work out and train. I’m a 2nd degree blackbelt in taekwondo, and am known around the dojang as the guy with crazy stamina, strength and speed. I used to be known as the big guy who could kick hard with no balance, control, or stamina. For a while, to get in shape, I was going into the dojang on my own, jumping rope and doing all sorts of crazy extra work for 2-2.5 hours at a time. While my stamina did increase, I was often too physically drained for days, and sometimes my knees barked. Now when I train, though we focus a ton on fundamentals, (footwork, balance, basics) I see the training as fun or play. Cardio, footwork, and complex kicking drills are like dancing, and I often find myself smiling after a particularly challenging drill while others are panting. Trying something new is an exploration of balance and joint strength that I enjoy! I have even better stamina, even though I’ve cut out the crazy extra workouts.

After_1_Success_Story_10.28.16I also wanted to start some strength training recently as I had never done a pull up. I could barely lift myself at all when hanging from a bar. I also struggled with pushups and core strength. After a lot of books and blogs, and influenced by the Primal lifestyle, I decided on basic bodyweight training because it emphasized natural human movements more closely connected with how the body evolved to function. My work consists of variations on pushups, pull ups, leg raises and squats, starting with simple, assisted versions, and increasing in difficulty as I build strength. The training doesn’t take long, and if my body is tired, I’ll work just once a week. If I’m feeling great, I’ll go twice. While others I know have constant injuries and inflamation problems from their weight lifting (and their grain intense diet I’m sure), I’m still injury free, and am happy to report that just this week, after about 10 months of consistent work, I completed my first three pull ups ever! I’m also moving towards one-legged squats, and am getting closer to good, perfect form pushups. As for core work, I started barely able to hold a plank for 20 seconds. As for now, well, I was playing basketball with some coworkers a couple of months ago, and a coworker injured his hand against my stomach when we both went for a rebound. I didn’t even feel it.

As for that weight, I’m now 200 pounds, which for my height, 6’3″, is great. The weight just kept sliding off with seemingly no effort. I’m in fantastic shape. I’m in my mid 30s, and I have no trouble competing against (and defeating) kids in their early 20s. I also have a sense of self control over my body that feels amazing. I’m no longer clumsy, but am graceful! I feel like I can do anything I put my mind towards, and the physical change has made me more confident, happy, and mentally resilient.

Grok on!!!



The post How I Lost over 100 Pounds—and Gained Strength, Stamina and Control appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Nutrition News: Next-level healthy eating, diet and gut health, embrace moderation

Next-level healthy eating
You’d think eating foods that are good for you would be enough, but it turns out you can actually do more. Writing in The Washington Post, dietitian Cara Rosenbloom reveals eight ways you can take healthy foods up to the next level. For instance, if you add black pepper (even just a sprinkle) to curry, you boost the anti-cancer benefits of the antioxidant curcumin. If you drink wine with fish, you may elevate the levels of Omega-3 fats in your blood, which may help protect against heart disease. And when you eat an apple, cucumber, potato, peach or kiwi, leave on the peel, where most of the antioxidants, vitamins and fiber are stored. “In the case of apples, a major component of the peel is quercetin, which is an antioxidant associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes,” Rosenbloom explains. There are five more tips where those came from.

Is your diet messing up your gut?
If you are restricting calories too much or steering clear of a food group, registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield warns in U.S. News & World Report, you may be wreaking havoc on your microbiome, which is key in maintaining a strong immune system and regulating hunger and mood. The best thing you can do to boost your gut health is to feed the bacteria a variety of foods, like plants, that “they love to eat,” Scritchfield advises. She notes that, by contrast, dieting is among the worst things you can do for your gut health: When we starve ourselves, we starve the bacteria in our gut. What’s more, Scritchfield counsels, you definitely don’t want to get into a food “rut,” because eventually this will lower the “microbial diversity in the gut.” The best part? Scritchfield says coffee, wine, tea and chocolate are actually good for your gut. She doesn’t have to tell us twice!

Everything in moderation
No such thing as too much of a good thing? Actually, dietitian and Healthy Eats blogger Toby Amidor observes in U.S. News & World Report, when you consume large amounts of some healthy-in-moderation foods, you may impede your ability to absorb their nutrients, restrict diet variety by crowding out other foods or overdo it on the calories. She shares eight foods it’s best to measure out in order to maintain control over your portion size. They are: almonds (suggested portion: 23 per snack), salad dressing (two tablespoons), avocado (1/4 per serving), peanut butter (two tablespoons per meal, one per snack), granola (two to four tablespoons as a topper), oil (two teaspoons to saute a few vegetables; one or two tablespoons for a pound or so of meat), pasta (one or two cups cooked), and juice (six fluid ounces). Keep your measuring cups and spoons at the ready.

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...

26+8 Birthday Recap


Hey guys!! I had such a wonderful 34th birthday. The day went by so fast! Mazen told me the night before that when he woke up in the morning he was going to run up to my bed and sing to me. Well, the next morning I noticed him squirming around on the monitor and finally said through the monitor speaker “Mazennnnn it’s moooorrrnnning.” He immediately jumped out of bed and raced upstairs to snuggle. The sweetest way to wake up!

After dropping M off at school, I went to the gym for a strength class. Gotta make myself feel youthful ; )

After a quick shower turnaround, I met my friend Emily at Lampo for a birthday lunch!!


We had wine (!!), kale salad, and this special mushroom, garlic, arugula, lemony pizza. Thank you Emily!




I raced back to the preschool to pick up Mazen, and we went straight to Sweet Haus for cupcakes!!

Funfetti for me. Salted Caramel for him. Cookie Dough to share. Sprinkles for all!


He sang happy birthday to me on the spot. It was so sweet.


Mazen spent the evening with Matt, so I had a little free time to paint my nails and watch Survivor before heading out to dinner. My friends made me feel so loved <3


A while back Pippin Hill Farm asked if I’d like to write about one of their cooking classes. There just happened to be one on 10.26, so it seemed like the perfect way to spend my birthday! (Like my new jacket!? It was a bday gift!)


Gorgeous fall sunset!



The class focused on Chesapeake Bay seafood, specifically crabs and oysters.


Chef Bill Scatena demo-ed a Virginia Oyster Stew and Reah’s Crab Cakes recipes plus a Celery Root Remoulade.


It was fun to be in the kitchen with the chefs and watch the pros in action.


And of course to be relaxing with some Pippin Hill Chardonnay!


I learned lots of little tips, like making crab cakes well in advance so the breadcrumbs have time to absorb the liquid before forming into patties.


After the demo we sat down to enjoy the meal. First the oyster stew, which was garnished with a buttery piece of Rockfish.


And then a buffet featuring the crab cakes alongside the celery root remoulade, fried green tomatoes, seasoned fries, salad, and crab legs!

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Everything was so delicious!!


The next class is on Wednesday, Nov 16 and will be showcasing Culinary Gifts for the Holidays. Thanks so much to Pippin Hill for making my birthday super fun!


from Kath Eats Real Food

Cooling Hot Foods Safely

Cooling Hot Foods Safely

I wasn’t sure that blog posts on safety and sanitation would be very well received. But after talking to some of my readers on FB, I realized that many of you are in fact interested! Particularly in… Read more →

from The Gracious Pantry