Busy weekend.  With the last of the electrical work done (I hope) on the house, we were finally able to put the rugs on the floors, move our furniture back against the walls, and unpack (mostly, anyway) the rest of the boxes.

It’s a treat to have some real space again.  In the apartment, my office was a table in our bedroom.  No filing cabinet, no shelves … I didn’t even have room to hook up speakers to my computers.  My other two computers were in storage.

To fill orders, we took supplies out of a closet, printed labels, then put together the packages on our bed or on the floor.  Sometimes the packing tape picked up a strand of hair from the floor, and I wondered how the Fat Head fans would feel about receiving a DNA sample with their orders.  I had to constantly remind myself not to commit any crimes.

As of yesterday -– after a trip to Costco for some industrial-strength shelves –- my office in the new house was at full working capacity.  I’d write in a closet if need be, but I feel more creative when I have some space around me … and when Chareva isn’t sleeping five feet away.

Other than unpacking and arranging, I didn’t do much over the weekend.  I finally caught up on emails tonight, which gives me an opportunity to share more letters from readers.

A Reader Update

Back in March I heard from a woman named Gretchen:

I am a 42 yr old mother of 2, and when I was 35 I was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer, I beat it! Then 24 months later I was diagnosed with Uterine cancer. I beat that too, but in the meantime I kept gaining weight. My oncologist had told me to eat fruits ! Tons of fruits, a lot of blended fruit drinks. I was also then put on a low fat diet, which I followed faithfully for 2 years.  I gained almost 200 lbs!  In a 4 year period, I was always tired, I was always starving! I didn’t know if it was really worth living anymore. Even though I beat 2 cancers, all the excess weight and starvation was killing me slowly, I could barely walk, my hips just killed me. My gums receded, my hair was a mess. I kept getting odd sores all over.

Then one day I woke up and said enough is enough, and I went online and guess what I found? I found you! I ordered your movie, and from that day forward, I finally feel like I am getting  ME BACK! I now know why I am FAT, why I will always be FAT if i keep eating carbs. I gave up carbs that day, I am following Atkins, and on there Forums I am always telling people to watch your movie. I tell everyone about your movie.

I can happily say that not even a full 3 months later, I am down 51.8 lbs, I have dropped 4 sizes. I can walk again with no pain, I can work out and I have gone back to work. I still have a long way to go. But now that I know what I learned from your movie, I know there is no stopping me now.

Thank You , Thank You, Thank You! You always have a place in my heart. Which will be beating for  a long, long time now because of you.

Sincerely,
Gretchen

Yesterday, I received a progress report from Gretchen:

I thought I would give you a follow up! I have now lost a total of 164 lbs in less than a year. Omg can you believe it?  I can’t, and I see myself every day… lol.

Once I got it into my head that this is a lifestyle,  it all fell into place so wonderfully. I have not cheated once, not at all, and have no desire to.  In fact, on the few days I felt weak I actually re-watched your DVD and the weakness went right away.

I wanted to share with you my Journey on Atkins. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

I happily accept your thanks, Gretchen, but you’re the one who lost 164 pounds in less than a year.  Outstanding!

Lose the Wheat, Lose the Rash

Mr. Naughton,

I wanted to write and thank you for all of your many efforts to spread the word about eating a low carb, high fat diet.  Growing up I didn’t struggle with weight, but once I hit 25 I started packing on the pounds.  I also had this pesky eczema on my scalp.  It got so bad several times that I needed a prescription for antibiotics because it got infected.  I spent a lot of time feeling self conscious because I had such horrible dandruff, and the puss from the infection on my scalp made my hair look like I’d never washed it in my life.  (Sorry, that’s really gross I know)

When we watched Fat Head about a year ago it was like a gong going off in my head.  I knew that sugars were bad, I’d cut them out several times, but keeping them out of my diet constantly was always problematic.  When I realized that the grains I was eating were just as bad if not worse I made a huge shift in my eating habits.  Going low carb was easy, doing the high fat was a little bit more of a struggle until I realized that my skin was feeling better than it ever had in my life.  Over the past ten years alone I’ve tried countless remedies, medical and holistic to attempt a cure for the rashes on my scalp (and occasionally my face and neck) nothing worked.  Suddenly the itchiness, flakes, oozing and pain were gone, almost overnight.

I initially attributed this mostly to the added fat content in my diet.  As I started reading some of the books on your recommended reading list I realized it was just as much that I had taken out the harmful grains, especially the wheat.  Some of the other health benefits that I wasn’t expecting when I started this diet: insomnia gone, tooth pain gone, energy out the wazoo, depression a distant memory.

I don’t think I would have ever stumbled onto this diet on my own.  Thank you for presenting the information in such a straightforward, entertaining format.  Having this diet has changed so many things about my health and outlook on life.  I initially started because I was over 200 lbs and couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror anymore.  I haven’t actually lost that much weight, about 15lbs.  But my jeans are huge on me now, my body has changed soooo much.

Thanks again,
Moselle

Moselle’s story is a reminder of why I don’t even own a scale anymore:  this diet isn’t about losing weight.  It’s about health.  Losing weight is a nice side benefit.  But if Moselle’s jeans are huge on him after losing 15 pounds, I’m guessing he’s seeing a shift in body composition, with less fat and more lean body mass.

Fifty-something and feeling good

Dear Tom:

Being 50+ (1961 model) I’ve started to come to terms with the annoying little concept that I might not be immortal after all. I think that you might guess what brought this to my mind: being tired all the time, feeling woozy after a meal, excessive sweating, thirst, weight gain and loss of anything slightly resembling physical endurance.

And then came your movie, which I watched in Israel on the YES SatTV network. To be honest, I thought I was going to watch a parody on “Supersize Me” – because that’s how it was advertised in the TV guide. I was completely floored and then I smacked myself on the head because I’ve been working for close to 30 years in the field of medical diagnosis and while knowledgeable enough to recognize the symptoms of the Type II Diabetes creeping on me I never gave any thought to what might be causing it.

Your movie led me to reading Gary Taubes “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and Kendrick’s “The Great Cholesterol Con”. Getting these books through Amazon was the best on-line purchase I ever made since the invention of the Internet.

Fast forward the last two months and I’m now 7Kg lighter and boy…you wouldn’t believe what other changes cutting the carbs and going high fat did for me. The wooziness after meals? Gone. The tiredness that led me to become a couch potato? Gone. The general doom and gloom attitude? Also gone. The only thing that is thing that is marring the general happiness is the anger I’m feeling toward myself for buying the official party line lock stock and barrel and accepting all the BS I’ve been force fed by the medical establishment during the last 15 years.

So thank you again for the work and effort you put into getting Fat Head done and published worldwide. You got yourself another admirer.

Claude

Don’t be angry with yourself for buying into the official party line, Claude.  Most of us bought into it.  Heck, when I worked for a little health magazine, I not only bought the party line, I repeated it in print.  The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to find those all-important opposing views.  Thank heaven for the Internet.

Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt

We had a little PayPal mixup on an order for a Wheat Is Murder t-shirt, so I wrote to the buyer to straighten it out.  Garth, who ordered the shirt, confirmed the order and mentioned that he and his wife had watched Fat Head and it changed their lives.  His wife Rhonda emailed shortly after to expand on that statement:

This is the wife back at home base.  I can’t contain myself any longer, I have to elaborate on “Changed our lives.”

We don’t feel hungry anymore.

We don’t have to weigh portions or feel guilty about eating.

We don’t feel this sense of panic that we might miss a meal if we’re not close to food ALL the time.

We actually understand now what it means to feel full and put down the fork when we’re satisfied.

We’ve lost weight, but know that even when we plateau that we’re healthier on the inside and that is what is important.

We have a physical and mental sense of better health.

We’ve never felt so right, so righteous about an eating style before.

Our oldest daughter has always been ‘busy’ and as soon as she was in preschool it became apparent that something wasn’t quite right. By the end of the year she was referred to a developmental clinic and we were just waiting for the appointment, waiting for the diagnosis of ADHD or something like that. Nothing severe, but symptoms were there.  But then we saw your film. And then we read Taubes and Wheat Belly and took our family off of wheat/grains. Within a couple days she became ‘present,’ started conversations with us, and became more focused on tasks. One month later she had her appointment and the doctor does NOT have concerns of her having ADHD.

Thank you, Tom. Loved the movie. Changed our lives.

Rhonda, you just gave me a fabulous Christmas present.  I’m going to pass the present on to Dr. William Davis as well.

Why I can never run for president …

I checked my Facebook messages over the weekend and saw one with this heading:

Ummm Tom – thanks for getting me pregnant!

After a moment of panic, I remembered that I haven’t been a blackout drinker in a long, long time …  and one of the benefits of being fifty-something is that if you are stupid enough to out-drink your memory, you can’t possibly get anyone pregnant in that condition without medical implements being involved.  So I read on:

Thanks to seeing your Fat Head documentary and starting to eat low carb, we have managed to get pregnant, and I am 41! We only found out a few days ago and the baby is due in about 7 weeks! I didn’t even realise I was pregnant, it has been such an amazingly easy pregnancy! So thank you from my husband and me – we owe you deep gratitude – you and your documentary are not only changing lives, but helping create them!

If the baby is a boy, I hope they’ll consider naming it after me.

We’ll be leaving town this week to visit the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the Younger Sister and the Older Brother for Christmas.  I’ll check comments when I can, but I doubt I’ll have time to write a post.

Happy Holidays to all of you.

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27 Responses to “Letters From Readers”
  1. Sigi says:

    Love seeing those success stories! And love what you’re doing, Tom – thanks for a great year’s blogging.

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas, and all the best for the New Year.

    Wishing you the best as well.

  2. Dianne says:

    Think of all the LCHF eaters out there that will have a merry Christmas because they feel good (and aren’t worrying about putting on weight)! Thanks for getting the word out….

    The real treat is waking up on New Year’s and realizing it won’t be another year of resolving and then failing to lose weight.

  3. LCNana says:

    Thanks from me too, Tom. Wonderfully reaffirming to read these stories from real people. I think I will cut and paste and pass these on – much better than unwanted advice coming from me.

    Have a good rest over the holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Merry Christmas to you too.

  4. Rocky says:

    These poor misguided souls.

    They think they’re healthier now, but just give them a mere 30 or 40 years of thinking that they’re thinner and kidding themselves that they feel better and they’ll come running back to the healthy, low-fat, whole grain way of thinking.

    That’s my secret fear … I’ll be lying on my deathbed at age 101, wondering how long the party could’ve lasted if only I’d eaten my whole grains.

  5. Diana says:

    Such wonderful emails! Keep up the good work everyone! We have some obese friends that have really started to take notice of the low-carb thing and the effects on us and they are starting to change their diet.

    Enjoy the holidays. Should be smooth travel for you as we have no real threat of snow in Central IL!

    I’m hoping that slight chance of snow in the Chicago forecast turns into a 100% chance of snow. I’d love another white Christmas like last year.

  6. Sean says:

    “In the apartment, my office was a table in our bedroom. No filing cabinet, no shelves …”

    Welcome to my world, biatch. Okay, we live in the Big City, so there are compensations, like, uhm, five flights of stairs and no elevator. Enjoy the new digs and remember us forlorn flat dwellers as you revel in your massive estate.

    Hey, I loved my big-city life (cramped apartment and all) when I was single and living in Chicago. But with a wife and kids, I wouldn’t trade the new wide-open-spaces life for anything.

  7. Katie says:

    I started a low-carb diet last October. I had been struggling with loosing 30 pounds for several years. I was doing what you were “supposed” to do. Eating 1200 calories a day, low-fat, lots of grains and I was absolutely STARVING all the time. I didn’t have the energy but I forced myself to work out constantly.

    When my mom began an HCG diet I was concerned it was dangerous and started doing research online. Somewhere along the research trail I found the book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes. This book is by the far most influential book I’ve ever read.

    I cut carbs and literally lost 35 pounds in two months. I went from 175 to 140. (I’m a 5’4″ female) This is after I’d been training for months for a half-marathon and had only lost a pound.

    I’m frustrated that I was misled with pervasively bad diet advice my whole life. I’m frustrated that I’ve struggled with weight since middle-school and the only time I was thin was when I starved myself. I’m frustrated that if I had known all I needed to do was cut carbs I would have been at my ideal weight my entire life. I’m frustrated when I can’t convince my friends who are struggling with their weight that all they need to do is cut carbs because they’re afraid a high-fat diet will kill them.

    I’m frustrated that I work in advertising and that I have to design collateral for certain large, well known health advocacy groups. Nothing makes me feel more like a hypocrite than creating designs that I know is chock full of wrong and actually harmful information.

    It’s been a little more than a year and the weight is still off. I’ve gained a few pounds from eating too many cookies (I started a job at an office where there are always desserts around every day almost) But I know that I can always drop the pounds again by being stricter about eating fewer carbs.

    I have more energy, I’m full all the time and I don’t miss the bread or pasta at all. (Cookies are another story unfortunately)

    I feel you on the frustration. I didn’t figure it out until I was pushing 50, and I know my teen and younger adult years could have been different. That’s why I’ve made it a personal mission to try to inform others.

  8. Ryan says:

    Thank you Tom for what you do.

  9. Susan says:

    Hope you and your lovely family have a wonderful Christmas!

    A fan of yours,

    Susan

    Merry Christmas, Susan.

  10. Ryan says:

    Just had to add. Isn’t it incredible to see the parallels between politcal/philosopical points of view and nutrition. If someone is reason based and honestly seeking in all areas of their life they will find the truth. If someone believes what they absorb from culture then they will just believe what everyone else does and often they will miss the mark.

    Its like natural selection on a huge scale.

    Its kinda sucks though because I have found so few people that really live their life aware, open, and thinking; Thats it’s easy to feel lonely or discouraged. Then its funny that when I find someone that is a big thinker its so exciting and I really want to connect with them! Its hard to put into words but when you sit back and look at all of the “ills” of our society it totally makes sense. You can compare seemingly unrelated areas of life and see a current throughout that is messing it up. People largely are approaching life in an irrational way, emotionally irrational as well and its manifests in all of the things we do and have. People often get things wrong for the wrong reasons and then have no basis to correct our course.

    I find it hard to not try to help my friends health issues. I can see it plain as day all the things they are struggleing with and how they are going about to solve them, and how thats not helping. MY heart goes out to them. Its largely unhelpful to try and help though… I saw a woman 5 minutes ago with a lean cuisine and a bag of fat free popcorn walking toward the microwave. I don’t know her but…damn I wished I could explain to her the things I know. I get the difference between making informed decisions and just doing what you want anyway.

    In line with that… I suggest your movie to people as a fun and easy (because its not reading a book many people can’t be bothered to read) to see a perspective they have not seen, knowing it will click when they see it.

    So thank you for being someone that I would be happy to be friends with. Thank you for contributing to the good fight. Thank you for all the free and entertaining material.

    -Ryan

    Thank you, Ryan.

  11. Jeremy Hinkle says:

    Merry Christmas Tom!

    And to you.

  12. Ray says:

    I have found your movie very effective at converting people to the LCHF way of thinking; however, on several occasions people have commented that they didn’t care for the part where you critique “Supersize Me”. Perhaps you could repackage some of the material so as to be one theme (and maybe add some).

    Rather than re-package Fat Head, the next project is a book with a DVD companion.

  13. Linda says:

    @Ryan
    “I saw a woman 5 minutes ago with a lean cuisine and a bag of fat free popcorn walking toward the microwave. I don’t know her but…damn I wished I could explain to her the things I know.”

    Due to financial considerations, I often shop at Wallyworld. I almost hate to make the trip over there, knowing I will see more overweight and/or obese shoppers, many moving through the store riding the motorized carts, their baskets full to overflowing with 2-3 loaves of bread, boxes of sugar laden cereal, soda, crackers and candy, and, after all, it is the holidays, tons of sugared desserts. Rarely do I see fresh meat or veggies, but rather boxed and processed crap ready to pop into the oven or microwave.

    I want so badly to suggest just a 30 day moratorium on the carbs/sugar/wheat crap in their baskets! I can just imagine the response I would receive!

    Always best to wait until the person who needs the advice is out looking for it.

  14. Bridget says:

    Those are some pretty amazing stories. And I found the pregnancy story hilarious! That was a very eye-catching opener.

    I like how you did your office. I should do that for my husband when we get a real house someday. He’d have room for all of his video game systems that way!

    To play video games, I have to sneak downstairs the girls’ playroom. I confess to being a highly skilled Frisbee Golf player on their Wii, with a record of -25. This means, of course, I spent a lot of time playing the game when I could have been doing something crazy like reading a book.

  15. Laura says:

    Tom, congrats on the house and I wish you and your whole family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    For the 2nd year, I am free from fretting about gaining excess weight at this time of the year (I used to gain a good 15 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s even when I was trying to maintain control). Now, I don’t sweat it. Going low carb has removed all cravings for sugar or high carb-y food. I eat well and I am satisfied. Also, since I went low carb, I stopped being fearful of not eating a meal on time – since I would get really hypoglycemic. Now, no problem, if I eat an hour later, I am fine and no hypoglycemia. Low carb really has changed my life and I am grateful for it.

    Wishing the best for everyone in the new year!

    Happy New Year to you, too.

  16. Sean says:

    Tom wrote: “Hey, I loved my big-city life (cramped apartment and all) when I was single and living in Chicago. But with a wife and kids, I wouldn’t trade the new wide-open-spaces life for anything.”

    I hear you. Not having even a backyard for the 5-year-old is definitely a drag. Of course there are plenty of playgrounds around but it would be nice to be just be able to say, “go out back and play with the dog, or something,” once in a while.

    Sara was five when we left California, Alana was three. Chareva spent a LOT of time driving to local parks and playgrounds. The house we rented when we first arrived in Tennessee had a yard, which felt like a bit of heaven.

  17. Octavian says:

    There are so many n=1 observational studies out there, and for some reason they are not considered relevant. If you do something and it makes you feel better/worse, that is freaking relevant. I’m happy for all these people that made a change in their lives and they now feel better. I’m in the same boat with them :)

    Thanks for opening so many eyes through Fat Head, and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  18. Kathy says:

    “… on several occasions people have commented that they didn’t care for the part where you critique ‘Supersize Me’.”

    What an odd complaint! “Supersize Me” was a fraud perpetrated on the public. People don’t like to be informed of this fact?

  19. Dave says:

    Just to add to pile of thank yous…

    Back in March I sat down to watch some random movie that Netflix suggested for me (Fat Head, of course), and everything just kinda clicked all at once. When I was in seventh grade, my family had actually started the diet laid out in Protein Power by Drs. Eades, and we all lost a lot of weight and felt awesome (without even trying, and not training whatsoever, I was all of a sudden running a 6:30 mile rather than the 8:30-9:00 mile I had previously achieved). For some reason, I stopped following the diet after a couple years, and over my high school and college years I gained weight consistently. There were some points in college where I actually worked out and lost weight, but I was constantly starved and as soon as I stopped doing 2 hours of day of weight lifting I gained all the weight back. So now (back in March), a year removed from my grad school graduation, I’m at 256 lbs and pretty much miserable health wise.

    So like I said, when I watched the movie, it all kinda clicked. The two year period in middle school when I felt great and was incredibly health made perfect sense. Since I was already familiar with a low carb diet, I hit it hard right away and dropped 10 pounds in 10 days (nothing like a little quick positive reinforcement). Since then, I haven’t always been able to be as strict as I would like (I got married in June, and the tailored suit that I was sized for in December was ridiculously huge on me 3 weeks prior to the wedding, so with the money spent on the second round of sizing, I had to try and maintain my weight), but I’m now down to 226 lbs. I have plenty more room to go for weight loss, but I lost 30 lbs without even trying! I have yet to start working out again, but that’s strictly due to my schedule. I think the best part is the complete lack of heartburn I’ve experienced since I cut out wheat and sugar. From the beginning of college until March, I had really bad heartburn that would keep me up at night, and it’s completely gone.

    Cheers, and thanks for everything you do!

    I predict you’ll stay on the diet for life this time.

  20. DJ says:

    Thanks for everything, Tom… even if I do have to start shopping for smaller clothes. Damn it all. Happy Holidays to you and yours and I look forward to a better year of healthier eating.

  21. hausfrau says:

    The surprise pregnancy story is hilarious. I wonder if the low carb diet helped with morning sickness, partly because I was hit so hard by it with my two kids. Slightly off topic but does anyone have any finger food snack ideas for a two year old who is “too big” for mommy to be spoon feeding him? sometime all he’ll eat is milk (raw milk though). I confess i eventually break down and let him have crap like cherios. i’ve tried fish sticks and such but no luck. Tom I’ve always thought your site was missing a recipee/snack section.

    Dr. Michael Fox has said in interviews and speeches that his patients have far less morning sickness on a low-carb diet.

    Our girls like peanut butter on celery with a few raisins stuck on the peanut butter. My wife called them “ants on a log.”

  22. Galina L. says:

    I am from Moscow, Russia. Right now our family lives in Florida, USA, in a private house with a yard and a small forest (conservation area). My mother still lives in the same apartment I was growing up. We have a wonderful yard there. It is situated between two 5-storys houses without elevators, apartments are small in size (there are no designated bedrooms, every sofa gets turned into unfolded bed at night), so children of all ages play outside all the time. Small ones play in a sand-box, on climbing set, teenagers use ping-pong table, play badminton, or just hang around, swing-set is constantly in use, there are a lot of trees there, now 50 years old. When I visit my mom with my son, it is very convenient to sent him to play outside. During last visit he was 18, didn’t spent all the time in the yard, but used metro(station is close) to go anywhere, for example, to the place where other teens did their skate boarding , or went to movies with friends. Here, in Florida, we have to drive everywhere. So big city sometimes has advantages.

  23. Lauren says:

    I just thought I’d let you know something I’ve noticed since going Paleo(ish)

    I love Jimmy Johns. We get food there at least once a week. Before cutting the carbs, I always felt a little hungry after eating one of their subs. I switched to the unwhich, and was shocked to find that I didn’t feel the least bit hungry after eating one. I cut out the carbs, cut out 500 calories, and felt MORE full than before.

    That just proves to me that this is the way that we are supposed to eat!

    That’s what I learned. Carbs make me hungrier.

  24. Tom : “I feel you on the frustration. I didn’t figure it out until I was pushing 50, and I know my teen and younger adult years could have been different. That’s why I’ve made it a personal mission to try to inform others.”

    Thanks for that Tom and happy holiday!

  25. Jess says:

    @hausfrau:

    Some of my two year-old’s favorite snacks are cheese (Kerrygold’s Dubliner is absolutely divine), olives, blackberries, steamed veggies (usually carrots, broccoli, or cubed winter squash), and summer sausage or pepperoni.

    We also make ‘chips’ by seasoning grated monterey jack cheese with a little garlic, chili powder and cumin and baking them on parchment until they turn crispy.

    As a general rule, I’ve found that she’s more likely to eat food she’s helped prepare. She grabs the eggs every morning, pushes a chair up to the stove, and helps me cook breakfast…and the first rule I taught her? EVERYTHING starts by melting a pat of butter in the skillet ;)

  26. Tony Dickson says:

    Merry Christmas and thanks for everything you’ve done!

    I have to echo Dave’s comment, I read Atkins and Protein Power back in the ’90s and had success, but over the last eight years or so I backslid quite a bit.

    I watched “Fat Head” and the part about the fat cells not releasing fat, and the rest of the body feeling starved even with all that body fat available, really made the whole concept “click” for me. I am now almost back down to my 1999 weight and wearing some 10 year old shirts I still had in the closet.

    I feel better equipped to stick with the high fat/low carb way of eating now. When you combine facts with humor, you make the points stick so much better.

    If anybody were to ask me for advice, I would say “Lose your fear of fat, especially saturated fat.” That was the breakthrough for me.

  27. Mike says:

    “I had to constantly remind myself not to commit any crimes.”

    It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that has this problem!

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