Host: Mark, talk about your story a little bit, how you got to this point. I know there were some struggles in your life, and a shifting of priorities a little bit. Can you talk about how you got to what you're doing now?
Mark: I think I'm like most people that when we look at I use as an athlete, I grew up, ate whatever I wanted, and because I exercised five hours a day, I would burn everything. I grew up and I watched my mom. She was a dieter. And I watched her measure her food, and eat her dieting foods, and her and my sister, Laurie, always struggled with their weight. I just said, "Well, she just doesn't know, she's just not active enough. She's not exercising enough." I was growing up and I thought that's what you did.
The moment I stopped playing soccer in college, kept eating poorly. Went on the pizza diet where I'd eat pizza every single day with my ice cream. And I put on 60 pounds in six months. And it connected with me where my mom, she was doing all this work, and it was just she never really understood what to do. And I freaked out like she did, and I went on a crash course diet, cut my calories, cut my carbs, got down to four percent body fat in four months, and I lived as a fitness model in LA for four years, looking amazing and feeling horrible.
So I'm sitting here as a nutritionist and kinesiologist. I have all the education, but I don't understand food. As an athlete I used exercise to stay lean. As a fitness model I used dieting to stay lean. And I said, "There should just be a better way. Why can't you eat the foods you love and still get the results that you want?"
And that's when I really went back to the science and looked at blood sugar, about really simply rather than using food to lose weight; you use it to create hormonal balance by eating in threes. Every three hours, a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates. That stabilizes your blood sugar, balances your hormones, and releases your stored fat.
Unknown: Big picture. How did the country get to where we are now with an obesity epidemic? You've talked about your situation, and everybody at that age in college goes on the pizza diet. We've all done that. Big picture, why are we in so much trouble?
Mark: Lack of understanding. I just think right now there's a gap, and people are looking. They want to do it. We look at by 2020, 75 percent of the adult American population will be overweight, obese. At the same time, we are investing more into weight loss programs and pharmaceuticals than ever before. So you think about, wait a second, we're unhealthier than ever before, yet we're investing more than ever.
People are looking and most people they say, "I know what I need to do. I'm just not doing it." The reality is they don't know what to do, because they think they need to cut and restrict. Because the average dieter buys a new diet book every 90 days. So you know, they hit the tipping point where their pants are too heavy. The scale is too high. They suck it up. They restrict. They lose the weight, and then life pushes back. They never really learn how to make food work for them.
And when you understand food, and you understand how to balance your blood sugar, you can eat anywhere, anyplace, anytime. You take back control. I just think that's what we have to do. We have to shift our mindset and understand that food and your nutrition need to become a part of your life just like being married, just like raising children. It takes work and it's worth it.