Weekend Fan Mail

      15 Comments on Weekend Fan Mail

Here are a couple of recent emails I’d like to share:

I just wanted to thank you for your works.  Your presentation style is disarming, and also makes the material interesting to a wider audience.

My 10-year-old son, for example, has watched Fat Head voluntarily, and he also immensely enjoyed Science for Smart People.  Not only that, he absorbed it, as evidenced by the fact that a few days later he pointed out some case in which two observations probably had a common cause, and thus likely didn’t cause each other.  To me, that is even more valuable than the dietary knowledge itself.

My 22-month old son also likes the movie, though I must confess he mostly likes the music on the DVD menu.  One day he put it in the player, left it for a long time, and cried if someone tried to take it out.  Recently he came up to my screen where I was reading your blog and said “Fat Head!  Fat Head!”  I tried to record a replay, but of course, it wasn’t the same. Here it is anyway.   I find it quite amusing that he has a mouth full of cold cuts.

Outstanding!  A 10-year-old is already becoming a critical thinker.  He’ll be an excellent college student someday … by which I mean he’ll ask questions and point out inconsistencies that will leave some of his professors sputtering.

Another email:

I can’t imagine that this is the first email of this nature you have received, but I thought it important to let you know that your documentary changed a life… mine.

On the late evening of March 23rd of this year my wife and I sat down in front of our TV and scrolled through Netflix looking for something to watch. The synopsis for Fat Head caught our attention so we decided to grab a bowl of popcorn (ironic) and give it a go.

When I sat down that evening I did so at as 6’1″, 353lb, pre-diabetic man, on twice daily medication to control his high blood pressure who would stop breathing in his sleep due to obstructive sleep apnea. I knew I needed to lose weight; I have for many years. During my most recent mission trip to Haiti (January 2011) I found it very difficult, due to my total lack of physical fitness, to do my fair share of the work. I came back more than a little embarrassed and frustrated, hoping I could find a way to lose weight and get myself healthy again. Having tried many ‘diets’ with little or no success, I wasn’t optimistic. I lost only 15lb in my most successful weight loss endeavor up to that point.

Then I sat down to watch Fat Head. Among those things that made an impression on me was (what I affectionately call) the “Third-Grade Blood Video.” For some reason I needed it explained to me like I was a third-grader. I was so impressed that I rewound and watched that section regarding the relationship between sugar, insulin, and fat. I literally stopped and went through the things I had eaten that day (and was currently eating: popcorn) and was amazed to realize how much sugar I was either directly putting in my body and how much I was causing it to create.

I spent the better part of the next three days reading from your suggested list of books. I decided (hoped) that the things I was learning my be the key to my weight issues. On March 27th I began my new weight loss journey. I am happy to report that by May 17 my blood sugar was down to normal and I was deemed no longer “pre-diabetic” and my medicated blood pressure was in the normal range. By the middle of June my obstructive sleep apnea had all but vanished. And last week I was able to stop taking my blood pressure medication entirely.

As of this writing I have lost 68lb. While I still have a long way to go, I am extremely positive and have no reason to believe or think that I will not reach my goals.

I know that this was long, but I just wanted you to know that your work has made a difference. Not just in my life, but in the lives of my wife and my children.

And I thank you.


Way to go, Erin!  I don’t mind admitting your email put a little lump in my throat.

Erin was kind enough to include before and after pictures, so here they are:

The “after” picture was taken when Erin had lost 55 pounds, so you can mentally subtract another 13 pounds.  The vegetrollians who keep showing up here would happily snip out Erin’s “after” picture, point out that he’s not skinny, and hold it up as evidence that low-carb diets don’t work.  Riiiight … the man has lost 68 pounds so far and seen some nagging health problems vanish.  That’s success, folks.

Have a good weekend.


15 thoughts on “Weekend Fan Mail

  1. Annaleah

    I don’t think all vegans are eating-disordered but there does seem to be an overlap. As a result they have unrealistic expectations of people – if someone isn’t as skinny as possible, if they are a work in progress, if they have the tiniest bit of body fat or muscle tone – they’re hopelessly morbidly obese. Erin’s weight loss of 68 lbs is nothing to sneeze at! I wasted a couple decades of my life as a strict vegetarian. I’m a petite female and I more than DOUBLED my weight (starting at 110, ending up at 230) and even got some awesome health problems (kidney stones, joint degradation) as a vegetarian. After slashing starches and adding animal foods back to my diet (first dairy, then eggs, then fish and finally meat) I’m down 70 lbs and still going. Of course, a vegetrollian would look at me and see I’m still chubby, and point to that as proof that low carb doesn’t work and that meat makes you fat… totally absurd, but that’s how they operate. I understand though… it’s tough to admit you were wrong once you’ve invested yourself in an ideology.

    Vegetarianism for many people is based on emotions, not logic. As you’ve noticed, some get quite emotional when anyone questions the supposed benefits of their meatless lifestyle.

  2. Diana

    Way to go Erin!!! Keep up the good work!!

    Fat Head was very inspirational for us too. I had already started low-carb just cause which got many extended family members to start. When we found Fat Head back in March hubby watched and was convinced that low-carb should be his new lifestyle. He was 240# at that time and snored/sleep apnea and took antacids. No more antacids for either of us and my hubby’s weight now under 200 at 199#. We’ve gotten him some smaller clothes and he’s looking mighty sexy! He used to be convinced he needed 9+ hours of sleep, but he now realizes that is because he stopped breathing/woke up frequently. Now 6.5-8 is enough and we are enjoying more time together in the evenings. I’ve fallen off the low-carb bandwagon as of late (my main diet remains the same…but I’ve been eating baked goods and doing a little drinking!) and need to get back on course!

    Good to hear about your husband’s weight loss and improvement in health. I receive emails and comments all the time from people who’ve had similar experiences, which is why it’s amusing when trolls show up here and insist low-carb diets don’t work. Maybe not for everyone, but obviously they work for lots and lots of people.

    We all cheat a little now and then, but you obviously know it’s time to cut out those baked goods.

  3. Lori

    Bravo to Erin and the parent who wrote in! Don’t let the naysayers and vegetrollians get you down!

    What the naysayers remind me of are people who’ve had a couple of dance lessons (or none) and then give critiques of other people’s dancing and teach on the floor. But the joke’s on them: The Denver scene is full of professional dancers, national champions, and a few hundred solid amateurs, almost all of whom are too polite to tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    You’d think that they’d dance with a good partner or watch better dancers and figure out they have a lot to learn, but not always. They’re impressed by badly executed aerials (just as some people worship thinness) and bored by difficult moves made to look easy (like corrected health problems that aren’t obvious to observers).

    The ones who are persistently unaware of what they don’t know are hopeless. At the other end of the spectrum was one of my teachers (a national lindy hop champion whose leading was in a class by itself) who said he didn’t *know* lindy. In other words, even at his level, he didn’t know it all.

    Good analogy.

  4. Erica

    OK, the 22 month old is precious! Love that the 10 year old is using his brain. And Erin…oh my gosh, love this story! I also love that he’s smiling about the same in both pics. I don’t know why, but before and after pics always seem to show the person so unhappy in the before, and beaming like a Cheshire cat in the after, and it somehow seems fake. This man is basically happy, but overweight. I hope he keeps sending in progress reports.

    I’m going to get my daughter to take a pic of me now that I’ve lost 25+ pounds and compare it to a year ago.

    Yesterday I rewatched Fat Head and thoroughly enjoyed it. Loved seeing your daughters when they were so little. Keep up the great work, Tom.

    Thank you. Those girls have grown so much since I shot the film, they’re like little adults now.

  5. Jess

    First, i would like to admit that I am generally more of a comment thread reader than participator. But I had to comment on this (and on somewhat of a tangent to this).

    I want to say bravo to the 10 year old! To learn young that there is a difference between causation and correlation is wonderful. It will only be a beneficial bit of knowledge as he grows older.

    And the tangent (sort of)… I have just watched your “Science for Smart People” video on YouTube, and I loved it! I am also one of those “PhD scientists.” I kept nodding my head in agreement throughout the video. You understand what science research should be based on better than many scientists. Watching it made me remember something I was taught in graduate school – you can never “prove” anything, you can only support your hypothesis. If more of us remembered this, we would be more careful in how we say things and present our data to the public. And maybe then there would be less science based on observation and more science based on actual experimentation and hypothesis-driven work. Just my 2 cents.

    I’d say that’s worth more than two cents. When giving the speech, I try to remember to say controlled clinical trials provide “something like proof” instead of “proof” for exactly the reason you cited.

  6. Barb

    Loved this post. Graeme is adorable and his brother is already exhibiting signs of an inquisitive mind, which is a good thing. Erin, that you stumbled upon this way of life is amazing. Congratulation, you look like you feel wonderful.
    Tom, thanks for sharing.

  7. Mackenzie

    Omg that’s so epic. I’m 12, and what’s awesome is that none of my friends really care about nutrition but I care a lot. So they mostly accept that I know more about nutrition than they do, so if I tell them polyunsaturated fats destroy your body but saturated fats are good for you, they figure I’m the one who’s gone through the research and studied it for amusement (got nothing to do? Heck , I may as well look up some more stuff on fat and see how the research’s doing)

    Outstanding. Keep up the research.

  8. eddie watts

    I read this story on the first day it appeared but waited until now to comment. really good results, but i am surprised there are only 10 comments and no vegetrollians?!
    what is going on?

    I blocked the most determined vegetrollian. I can only endure so many inane comments.

  9. Nowhereman

    Congrats to Erin for his weight loss and regaining of health on Paleo. On a less happy note, another reminder that veganism is not good for you:


    Sadly, we have another article where the Defenders of the True Way try to make excuses for people continuing on such a ridiculously unhealthy diet.

    Good lord.

  10. Maurilius

    Was planning to send you an email eventually, Tom, but this seems like a good place to go into it:

    When the Gary Taubes article came out (I guess 10 years ago — time flies!) he shook me out of my lifetime belief in the Low Fat Religion. Unfortunately I chose not to be smart and just added meat to my existing diet, resulting in the inevitable weight gain.

    But I was cured of the Low Fat thing…so I did a self-inflicted calorie restriction diet and lost about 80 pounds, close to what I needed to lose. Which went fine for a while, until I hit massive stress in both my personal and professional life at the same time, and the pounds came right back on.

    Fast forward a few years and I noticed your video in Netflix streaming. Decided to check it out because everything about “Supersize Me” annoys the crap out of me. Then your references to Taubes, as well as the various interviews, got me thinking back to all that, and I checked out Jimmy Moore’s blog/podcast thanks to your pointer, and then got the Kindle book of New Atkins, and I made the Big Decision.

    It’s been 6 weeks. I’m 18 pounds down. The first two weeks put me into shock, defying everything I’d “known” previously about weight loss and how the whole fat thing works, and shattering “calories in, calories out” for me permanently. I’ve now listened to 200+ of Jimmy Moore’s podcasts, and I’ve made a permanent lifestyle change (well, I think so! check back at the end of my life for a confirmation…)

    You were the trigger for this major life change, and I’ll be eternally grateful.

    Now if I could just find a way to combat some of the bogus science in the low carb community…but one thing at a time!

    That’s an outstanding start. I’m glad you’re listening to Jimmy’s podcasts. His podcast shows are a public service, allowing anyone to get free education in nutrition and health science.

  11. Ray Kelley

    Erin’s story is very similar to mine. I already emailed Tom about my experience since last March. I’ve been carrying around extra tonage for years that I couldn’t seem to shed, and had already begun to suspect much of what Tom layed out in “Fat Head”. I’d already increased my protien intake, cut out alot of the empty carbs, and thrown in some moderate weight training along with my cardio. I’d already managed to burn off alot of the extra blubber, but after watching “Fat Head”, I threw out the breakfast cereals and began starting each day with bacon/sausage and eggs. The results over the Spring in Summer have been remarkable. People tell me, “yeah, but you’re working out, too”. True. But I’ve BEEN doing that. The only variable is the adjusted diet. Is that good science?

    It helps if you isolate the variables, and your exercise variable didn’t change.


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