A few months ago, I stumbled down an Instagram rabbit-hole and discovered John Mack. I hit “follow” right away because his food photos were drool-worthy and his transformation was amazing. He followed me back, which I thought was so cool because he is totally an Instagram celebrity! Thanks to this crazy (and cool) social media world, we got to chatting. He inspired me to get creative in the kitchen, give bacon another try, continue to lift heavy things (and feel okay when my clothes no longer fit). I am so glad that we connected and I can’t wait for him to cook for me when I make a trip down to New England! Until then, I’m super happy that he is stopping by today to share his real food story.
Hi, it’s John Mack here of What Would John Mack Eat. I am a 31 year old Paleo blogger from Rhode Island. When I’m not cooking or eating Paleo food you can find me listening to music, crossfitting, riding my motorcycle, spending time with friends and family especially my three nephews, having a cocktail or two and just trying to enjoy life. I also work on a tugboat for 3 weeks at a time and then I fly back to RI for 3 weeks. I have both arms covered in tattoos; and I am single ;)
So, why did you decide to change your lifestyle?
My lifestyle change started in December 2011 with a very heartfelt email from my good friend Ryan about the Paleo lifestyle. In his email he went on to discuss how one of his co-workers lost a bunch of weight and felt amazing by following Paleo and reading the book “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson.
I read the email but put it on the back burner until January 1, 2012 when I was sitting on the tugboat feeling very unhealthy. I had been overweight my entire 28 years on this planet and it was finally breaking me down both mentally and physically. I had high blood pressure, the gout, knee pain, back problems, and other various issues involved with being 372 pounds at the ripe age of 28.
I downloaded “The Primal Blueprint” on my Kindle that New Years day and started to read it. Now when I read books, it takes me weeks and sometimes months, this book took two days. Front to back I was hooked. I dove right into the Paleo lifestyle that night at dinner with a NY strip steak and huge salad. Its funny to think I will always remember that meal and always remember that email from my friend. I haven’t looked back to this day.
How did you go about it at first?
My way of sticking to my lifestyle change was to download every Paleo book out there. My kindle was loaded with every Paleo book you can imagine, as well as some other books about eliminating wheat and grains from your diet. I also found that researching the internet was huge help, if you have a question, chances are there is an answer on a Paleo website. Joining Instagram as well was a huge help, I first joined to get ideas for meals then I figured it was a great way to hold myself accountable for my meals.
What was the biggest struggle?
My biggest struggle was giving up snacks like chips and crunchy things. I used to love eating any and all kinds of chips out there. I was never really a sweets guy, I was an eat all the salty foods guy. The struggle came when I was bored and wanted to eat, so I would grab an apple or some almonds and snack on them. It works trust me.
What was the best part or most successful aspect in your life about going Paleo?
The best part about going Paleo was the weight-loss. Not only did losing weight change how I looked but it changed how I felt. I would say 3 months into Paleo, my energy sky-rocketed, it has been high ever since. Losing weight also helped lower my blood pressure, get rid of the gout, and take my knee pain away. Another side-affect of losing weight was gaining confidence. I am no longer the big-guy in the room or the guy who has to order clothes online, I can walk into any store and buy clothes that fit, for the most part, Victoria Secret is difficult to find clothes that fit :)
Now what is your food and fitness philosophy?
I am still strict with my food philosophy. I have been going strong with Paleo for just under 3 years. I honestly don’t see myself ever not eating Paleo in the future, it just doesn’t make sense to me. There are times where I miss certain foods but to be honest food tastes better to me now than it has in the past. As far as fitness goes, I go to CrossFit 4-5 per week and I am happy with the results so far. I really enjoy the weight lifting aspect and building lean muscle. I just need to learn to love cardio and burpees.
Do you ever have something that is not “Paleo”?!
I haven’t strayed from Paleo yet. No cheats.
What’s your favorite dish or meal to cook?
I really love littleneck clams, by far my favorite meal to cook. Being from the Ocean State, the fresh seafood is amazing! Oh yeeeeeeaa, how could I forget BACON…I LOVE BACON!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to make changes to their diet and life – maybe someone who is new to the paleo world?
My advice for someone wanting to make changes to their diet and lifestyle would be to keep it simple. Don’t overthink things. Don’t eat “Paleofied” versions of things i.e. brownies, cookies, pizzas, etc.. JUST EAT REAL FOOD! It will come easy and be worth it in the end. Remember, what you put in your body is fuel, so put the cleanest, realest food you can into your system. Your health and body will thank you!
Thank you LITTLEHONEYBEE! …and thank you John Mack!