Mark Hannigan

You are what you eat

When you live with pain for so long it becomes the norm, you have no idea what a pain-free healthy life is. This is my story.

They say you are what you eat!

One of my first memories, when I was 7 years old, of attending our family doctor was because I had an abscess that was from hip to knee and wrapped almost completely around my thigh. I suffered from these regularly although this was the worst one to date and it was excruciating to say the least.

The memory has faded over the years until recently I remembered something the doc said to my mum at the time, he said “You need to stop him eating sweets”.

As a kid I completely dismissed this, as did my mum…

At 12 years of age I had suffered a life of constant abscesses and ear infections (Otitis externa) that regularly meant I was admitted to hospital for intravenous intervention and surgeries due to sepsis and the need for pus drainage from both ears and abscesses.

I was attending a Haematologist because of my health issues and was diagnosed with a completely unknown Neutrophil disorder and had to accept that I was going to live my life with constant hospital visits because of my health issues and that my immune system would never work.

Life went on and I accepted the cards I’d been dealt because medical professionals had said I had no other choice.

At 20 years old I was rushed into hospital with a fever from sepsis caused by a cold sore on my middle finger of my right hand and it was a true sign of how weak my immune system really was. This became my next frequent symptom of my bad genetics, as I was led to believe.

A year later I suffered a major trauma to my left wrist, with a comminuted fracture to the distal end of my left radius as well as a broken Ulna and Scaphoid. This really took my health on a downward spiral as my body tried it’s best to heal the injury and I couldn’t physically work or use my left hand for 4 years.

This event was the start of my weight issues in life and I rapidly gained pound upon pound of body fat as I went through depression and ate highly processed foods, they were all I could afford whilst living on benefits, for comfort.

Fast forward 20 years and I was almost 40 years old in November 2014. I wasn’t the most pleasant human being alive and hated the world and most people in it. I’m truly surprised my wife put up with me and eternally grateful for her constant love and support.

Strangely, another accident was the turning point in my life.

Due to my health issues I had lost consciousness whilst driving my work vehicle and my driving license was revoked.

I had Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and Mrs H would tell you I had a serious case of ‘Grumpy husband syndrome’

The conditions to regain my driving license were to have a BMI under 30 and be a non-smoker.

My BMI was 43 and I smoked 40 a day.

Using a weight loss program with over 30 years of proven history and evidence based results I lost 9 stone (126lbs or 57.15kg) in 7 months and reversed all of my health issues and quit the smokes!. My wife joined me on the journey and lost an amazing 6 stone 2lbs(86lbs or 39kg).

The weight loss was the easiest thing I’d ever done in my life to improve it in every aspect, but I now had to learn to maintain that health for life.

As we were already following a low carb plan, we decided to try living a low carb lifestyle and never really introduced the carbs back into our life. Against all common beliefs and official health guidelines we were not only maintaining our weight loss, but my health was constantly improving!

We spent over 2 years living a ketogenic lifestyle and I personally noticed that after a while I was slowly gaining weight and suffering from signs of inflammation in the form of psoriasis on my head and face. The Otitis externa, a form of eczema, in my ear canals was still a regular issue although they had reduced in severity. I also lived with Tinnitus due to the ear issues. I also found I was regularly constipated. On top of that I was constantly hungry.

Late 2017 I was reading about the Zero carb/carnivore lifestyle and through reading some amazing stories of people who had cured so many ailments and illnesses by changing their diet I decided to give it a try, what did I have to lose, and set myself to try 30 days of meat and water only.

I’ve never looked back and my health has continued to improve in that time. Here’s a list of my health issues I no longer suffer from in any way due to a complete change in my diet.

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep apnea
  • Constant abscesses in groin and under arms
  • Neutrophil disorder
  • Psoriasis
  • Herpes Simplex
  • Otitis externa
  • Tinnitus
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Lowered libido

I’ve had over 40 surgeries in my lifetime for many different reasons but mostly to drain abscesses or even go so far as removal of my pilonidal sinuses at the base of my spine to prevent further abscesses recurring.

If only my mum had listened to that doctor in 1982 who seemed to realise my ill health was down to my diet and the foods I was eating…

Before: 300 lbs; After: 174 lbs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *