I received some nice emails lately that I thought I’d share.

No more ‘freshman 15′ for this student

Tom,

First of all I want to thank you for all your work and research that went in to the movie Fat Head.  I found the movie easy to watch thanks to your humor, but also because it was full of facts and most of all transparency, something that I really appreciated.

After watching your movie the first time (around September) I decided that I would try your low carb-high/fat-diet to see if it would do any good for me.  (I’ve always been a little bit overweight even when I was in great shape.)  Almost immediately I dropped around five pounds, but unfortunately after a few days I quit the diet due to harvest and spending such long hours in the fields.

After New Year’s I went back to school to finish up my degree, and after a disagreement with my roommates about the effect of fat on a healthy diet, I made them watch your movie to settle the argument –  after which they realized that they had been misinformed.  After this incident I decided to again go on your diet and have been religious about keeping my carb intake day to around 100g per dat, while my caloric intake remains around 2000 per day (sometimes a little lower).

I can say that it was everything you have said it would be.  The first week I sorely missed carbs and spent long hours dreaming about bowls of pasta and freshly baked bread, but after a few days these cravings died down and I no longer felt hungry in between meals.  After a week I had already lost six pounds.  Now after only two weeks of changing my diet by simply cutting out carbs, I have lost an astonishing 16 pounds, and besides looking better, I feel great.

Again I just want to thank you for dispelling the health myths that have been perpetrated by our government and their scientists.  You now have another disciple spreading the word.

Sincerely,
Phillip

Excellent, Phillip!  (I’m not a disciple-seeker, but keep spreading the word.)

A former vegetarian goes low-carb

Dear Tom –

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet.  I’m sure you get these by the thousands but I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am that I saw your documentary. When I was a young kid I had all the energy in the world, I was last to come in from recess every day, but when I turned 8,  I would come home from school and eat a pb&J with my dad and a lot of potato chips, and then two or three hours later have a big plate of enchiladas or spaghetti when my mom got home. I put on weight FAST, and then ceased being active because it’s no fun being the fat kid on the team and I didn’t have the energy anyway.

My aunt was a doctor, and around this time started advising my mom that all the fat in our diet was bad. So we switched from whole milk to fat free, from eggs and bacon for breakfast to cheerios and fruit, and my dad decided it was best for him to become a vegetarian. Well two years later, my dad passed away from a heart attack. My father was an incredibly healthy man (aside from the diet).  He was an iron worker, and when he came home from work he rode his bike for miles. He was actually in the mountains riding his bike with a friend when he died. We were devastated and couldn’t understand why such a thing could even happen to a man like him.

After my mom and I moved to a new state, we got a house with a swimming pool and she bought a big trampoline, and I lost all kinds of weight without even noticing until none of my old clothes fit. Looking back now I realized that my mom, who’s always been naturally thin, never had any starchy or sugary foods in the house at this time.

When I turned 14, urged by what can I only imagine now was pure insanity, I became a vegetarian for about two years. I felt horrible all the time, my eyes were sunken in and my hair started falling out. I gained back a lot of the weight and it felt like I was always sick. So under the advice of my aunt, I went on a super healthy low-fat diet and worked out at least an hour a day until I was glowing red and drenched in sweat — and didn’t lose a pound.

I gave up for a couple years and got all the way up to 180 pounds, until last December. Your documentary has changed my life. I’m 19 years old, and the best part is I feel like a 19-year-old-now. I get up early for school or work every morning, I never feel tired throughout the day, and I can fit into all the cute clothes I’ve always wanted to wear but was too embarrassed. I’ve already lost 14 pounds since New Year’s with little effort on my part. I don’t count calories like I used to; in fact I don’t even think about them any more.

I’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen about the benefits of low-carb, including my husband, mother and grandmother. I’ve been reading your blog like a maniac and email bits and pieces to people, like your post about cholesterol and Alzheimer’s to my grandmother. I showed your post about nutritionists and mechanics switching jobs to my husband and he thought it was hysterical. I’ve even talked him into to eating this way; he’s loving it and feeling all the benefits despite formerly having a bread addiction. I can’t say thank you enough! Thank you thank you!

(Just a funny little side note about my aunt:  she probably only gets about 10% of her calories from fat, and she is probably one of the most irritable, grouchy, unhappy women I know.)

Thanks again,
Sarah

Now there’s an interesting correlation:  do low-fat diets make people grumpy, or do grumpy people prefer low-fat diets?  In my case, it was certainly the diet causing the grumpiness.

Either way, Sara, I’m glad to hear you’ve rejected the low-fat nonsense and feel great — as a young person should.  (The good news is that you can also feel great when you’re 53 … trust me on that one.)

Still another former vegetarian goes low-carb

Some months ago, I heard from a woman named Rae.  Here’s that letter first:

Hi Tom,

I know you must hear this all the time, but “Fat Head” made such a huge impact on me. I watched it around the time I was considering bringing 18 years of vegetarianism to an end. What I learned inspired me to learn more, and I realized how I became very overweight while eating a low-fat grain-based diet, why I struggled with depression much of my life (which only began when I became a vegetarian, but I never saw the connection), and why I had to constantly fight the urge to eat whole sticks of butter chased by a bottle of olive oil – obviously my body was telling me something, but I just thought I was a weirdo for craving fat the way I did! And I thought fat was the reason I became fat in the first place!

I’ve been so busy getting reacquainted with fat and meat that I forgot to eat my ‘heart healthy whole grains’ and lost about 35 lbs (and still going!) without really trying. I feel incredible!

THANK YOU!

Rae

That was back in July.  Now here’s a hot-off-presses update from Rae, which included the pictures below:

Hi Tom!

I emailed you several months ago when I had lost about 35 lbs after seeing Fat Head. I wanted you to know now I’ve lost nearly 80 lbs since Fat Head made me re-think everything I had ever learned about food and nutrition. I wish it had been around 10 years ago so I wouldn’t have wasted my 20s being an obese depressed vegetarian. I don’t know how to express my gratitude to you. I do tell people to watch Fat Head when they ask me how I lost weight. But some people are so resistant to anything outside of conventional wisdom! Even though I’ve gotten serious results, because Oprah doesn’t endorse what I am doing, it must not be real. Oh well!

Understandably you might not want to open a file from a stranger, but I just wanted you to see the difference you made. Fat Head totally changed my life. You must get these emails all the time – you’re wracking up some impressive karma! Please don’t stop doing what you’re doing!

Rae

One of the advantages of being married to a secure woman who knows I adore her is that I can say things like this without getting in trouble:  Rae, you don’t just look far leaner and healthier – you’re officially a hottie now.  (I know this because I showed Chareva your before-and-after photos, and she said as much.)

Congratulations, and way to go!

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28 Responses to “Letters From Viewers”
  1. Harpo Mike says:

    She is really pretty.. I am back on the wagon( or is it off)..:).. I love the way i feel with eating high fat.. I love that i can now tell the difference between high carb tired, and just not getting enough sleep tired. I love that i do not have to kill myself at a gym. I love that i feel like the me that i was suppose to be. I may fail from time to time( especially at Christmas this year), but i love that it takes one day to eat low carbs and fat, and i feel like a million dollars.. :)

    Dr. Barry Sears wrote in his Zone diet book that every time we eat, we’re essentially taking drugs, since food always produces hormonal reactions. I take good good drugs now, and I can feel the difference.

  2. It’s so nice to see so many people getting such good results – especially when they come with photos! Can’t believe the difference in Rae, she looks amazing!

  3. Rae looks incredible! Wowsa. Hottie indeed! This made my day. I love seeing people changing their lives for the better. Keep eating your fat, Rae! It’s good for you! :)

  4. Jean says:

    “(The good news is that you can also feel great when you’re 53 … trust me on that one.)”
    63 is feeling pretty good, too, and I didn’t discover any of this until I was 61! It’s amazing what a difference it makes.

    I had a great-grandfather (who loved his bacon and eggs) who would insist all the kids join him for a walk after holiday meals. We could barely keep up, even though he was in his 90s. My goal is to be like him.

  5. Dianne says:

    “Now there’s an interesting correlation: do low-fat diets make people grumpy, or do grumpy people prefer low-fat diets? In my case, it was certainly the diet causing the grumpiness.”

    With me, it’s the diet. since I’m really insulin sensitive, even a yam can make me depressed and cranky. Limits my diet, but I’d MUCH rather feel positive about my life than eat carbs:-).

    Even eating an excellent (according to “conventional wisdom”) diet before, my skin was always dull looking. Bring on the fat! No more dry skin and my skin has some life to it.

    Better feeling and better looking? Thanks for all you do, Tom!!!

    I’m pretty sure it’s the diet causing the moods. My sweet, wonderful wife is under orders (from the other three of us) not to eat real pancakes because they turn her into Charevazilla.

  6. LCNana says:

    Thanks, Tom. My husband will actually get up, cross the room, and look at photos that you post now. I read out some of your stuff, and when I say “WOW, come look at this!!” he does!! So there is progress on lots of different fronts. And how nice to read real people telling us about real experiences instead of boring studies all the time. Especially when we now know most of those studies are either poorly designed, or have faulty conclusions.

    I know some people prefer not to send pictures of themselves, and I totally understand. But those before-and-after shots are inspirational. Rae’s transition is amazing.

  7. Angel says:

    Agreed on the hottie part! Congratulations, Rae!

  8. Heidi P says:

    Agree Rae, time lost is too bad. But here’s to the rest of our lives, healthy and wearing jeans we love.

    Better late than never. She’s still (from my 53-year-old standpoint) a young woman.

  9. Tomas Blesa says:

    Now it´s time to shoot Fat Head 2: Judgment Day
    You must really enjoy your work (is it work? hmmm). Great letters.

    I enjoy the work, which is sort of like work.

  10. Hi Tom, I agree the change is really amazing. Gongrats. B.

  11. Congratulations, Rae! I hope one day to have before-and-afters like that. Don’t worry about wasted years, because healthy eating is going to add good years to life. Sláinte!

    I find those pictures really inspirational, because I am bigger than her before picture right now. I’m smaller than I used to be, I had to buy new clothes because mine don’t fit anymore, but I still have so far to go, and I get discouraged sometimes when the weight is being stubborn. I usually have to step back and say “how much starch did I eat today?” But still, seeing something so dramatic that isn’t trying to sell anything, that’s just great!

    On the Fat Head 2 idea, if you ever decide to do another one, a follow-up through the lives of people who’ve changed for the better with their low-carbing, I would totally volunteer for that project.
    I love(d) Food Network, but I try to watch it now and all I can think about is the carbs, the sugar, the vegetable oils, and it’s really hard to enjoy. I wish there was a Paleo lifestyle show, or better yet, channel.

    Give it time and there will probably be a paleo cooking show. In the meantime, stay inspired. This is, after all, more about health than weight loss.

  12. Richard Tamesis, MD says:

    Don’t know if you saw this, but apparently the North Carolina Board of Dieticians have a problem with this Paleo blogger talking about low carb/paleo diets to manage diabetes on her site.

    http://www.diabetes-warrior.net/2012/01/28/this-site-free-speech-are-being-investigated/

    Yup, there’s been quite a debate going on about it in the Fat Head Facebook group. Nothing more than a bunch of poorly trained but credentialed “experts” trying to stifle the competition.

  13. Mike says:

    “Now there’s an interesting correlation: do low-fat diets make people grumpy, or do grumpy people prefer low-fat diets? In my case, it was certainly the diet causing the grumpiness.”

    It’s fact,that a diet low in fat can cause depression,so why not the grumps.

  14. There’s a Fat Head discussion group? How do you join? I’ve been wishing there was a forum of some kind ever since I found your blog.

    Here’s the group:
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/57440891958/

    Chareva is the administrator, so if she likes you, you’re in.

  15. mezzo says:

    The sky’s the limit folks. I have a male friend who is 74 and quite a bit overweight. Last time I saw him – about four weeks ago – he told me his doctor had told him he was pre-diabetic. His diet was not totally unhealthy but did contain too much starch and sugar. Cookies and cake even when they are homemade do not really help. So when I heard this I said “there is something you can do about it” and as he was staying with me for a week anyway he had no choice but eat low-carb-high-fat anyway. After a week he had dropped seven pounds and said he felt great. He has not taken to learning to cook his own food and keeps dropping pounds. Doctor’s appointment today: I am curious to see what the numbers say!

    Excellent. Let’s hope that pre-diabetes diagnoses magically disappears.

  16. Pierce says:

    RE: The North Carolina dietician situation (I don’t have an account to post on that blog):

    This is not legal advice (disclaimer!), but it sure would be interesting if the blogger, instead of backing down, allowed it to go to court, and called as an expert witness one of the paleo friendly MDs or PhDs out there to testify that the advice given on the blog is “non-fraudulent” and is supported by “scientific publications.” Such a witness perhaps could further testify that the blog provides “statistical, scientific information, regarding the correlation between chronic disease and the excesses or deficiencies of certain nutrients.”

    Who knows? Perhaps such a course of action (not that I would urge it as legal advice) could lead to North Carolina case law acknowledging the scientific support for the insulin hypothesis…

    Perhaps he’ll become our version of the doctor in Sweden who kicked some dieticians’ butts in government hearings, which in turn led to the low-carb revolution there.

  17. A couple of folks on the diabetes-warrior.net blog have already suggested the Institute for Justice, which was my initial reaction. The blogger said he’s contacted them — let’s hope they’re interested. The courts may work, but it takes a lot of time and money and you’re still playing in the government’s sandbox.

    It seems to me that the best thing he could do in the near term is to try to get his story on one or more of the “right wing” media outlets — Rush, Beck, Hannity, Fox News, etc. The advantage to this approach, if successful, is that although bureaucrats don’t like being reversed, what they really fear is being publicly embarrassed. So this would be a way to really go for their throats.

    Cheers

    Good idea. Years ago, Hooter’s embarrassed the feds into dropping a lawsuit to force the restaurant into hiring male waiters. They took out full-page newspaper ads, showing some burly, hairy guy wearing the Hooter’s shorts and tank-top, with the message:

    What’s wrong with this picture?
    Your government.

  18. Laura says:

    “I’m pretty sure it’s the diet causing the moods. My sweet, wonderful wife is under orders (from the other three of us) not to eat real pancakes because they turn her into Charevazilla.”

    I used to wonder why I almost always felt depressed shortly after eating breakfast. My breakfast was usually waffles, pancakes or toast and jelly, washed down with orange juice and/or hot chocolate. Duh.

    That’s a breakfast guaranteed to lead to an afternoon nap for me.

  19. ML says:

    Tom, I would also like to tell you thanks.
    FatHead has helped me develop what I call
    a Healthy Distrust of Government Science.

    In that case, I’ve done my job.

  20. Julia says:

    I look so much like the before photo of Rae that it’s kind of eerie. Same body type, face shape, hair color, etc. Knowing that someone with the same (former) body can become a hottie…makes me realize that I’m capable of it too. I just can’t seem to lose more than 40lbs eating this way so far.

    I’m healthy and blood work is A+. Just working on the weight for vanity reasons. Hope it will come off soon. Thanks for sharing these letters with us. Very inspirational.

    Health is the main reason for changing your diet. Losing weight is a nice side-effect. Keep at it. Lots of people hit a stall, then start losing again.

  21. Jose says:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57369857-10391704/sugar-should-be-regulated-like-alcohol-tobacco-commentary-says/

    Robert Lustig has become a card carrying member of the food police. What a shame.

    Tom, you have to fight back against this paternalism.

    Even if the nutritional advice is sound, this coercion and social engineering via taxation makes my blood boil.

    What ever happened to good old fashioned persuasion?

    I have great respect for Dr. Lustig’s work, but of course I totally disagree that we need government control to solve this issue. The key to changing behavior is education.

  22. Stingray says:

    Tom,

    I thought you would be happy to hear that the word is continuing to spread. Our local GNC has a men’s and women’s magazine they give out every month and the women’s magazine (called Well Bella) this month featured Courtney Thorne-Smith in an article called “How Healthy Eating Changed Her Life”. Her healthy eating habits for her and her family? Atkins. I was shocked and pleased reading this article. She talks about how when she was pregnant she craved and ate steak every day, how they always have salami and cheese on hand, that they always have lots of cut up veggies, some fruit and nuts always about. It was quite refreshing to read.

    In a later article in the same magazine there was an article about malfunctioning insulin!! They state that the right foods to combat this are are low on the glycemic index and that these include lean proteins and complex carbs such as veggies and high fiber fruit (hey, it’s a start). It does mention that if you eat grains eat them in moderation and stick to whole grains, but like I said, it’s a start.

    Anyway, this is a decent fitness magazine and it was very refreshing to see them beginning to make the switch and follow where the science is taking us. I thought you would like to hear it.

    Excellent. The sooner the low-fat diet recommendation bites the dust, the better.

  23. Marilyn says:

    Re: Dr. Lustig on government regulation of sugar: I would expect the “Law of Unintended Consequences” to kick in with a vengeance if such a thing ever came to pass.

    I can name an unintended consequence already: once the government decides it should regulate unhealthy foods, we’ll all be at the mercy of their opinion on what’s unhealthy. Saturated fat will be at the top of their list.

  24. Rae says:

    Thank you, Tom and everyone :) I agree that losing weight isn’t THE main reason to eat this way – although it is nice! Besides losing weight, a host of problems went away when I changed my diet. From big stuff like getting rid of high blood pressure and blood sugar crashes, to small stuff like skin/hair problems disappearing.

    Your new status as a hottie is the outward reflection of your renewed health.

  25. Dan says:

    I find these stories so encouraging. At the start of my low carb diet (three weeks now) I have already lost 17 pounds and my hunger had gone.

    Excellent start!

  26. Makro says:

    “I have great respect for Dr. Lustig’s work, but of course I totally disagree that we need government control to solve this issue. The key to changing behavior is education.”

    Moreover, federal government intervention in dietary matters is hardly a big success story overall. A disaster that should be abolished, more like it.

    Indeed.

  27. Ricardo says:

    Wow i guess i was taking bad drugs when i use to eat Grains and Bananas. Ever since i gave them up i feel so much better no more irregular Heart Beats.

  28. JJ says:

    Lookin’ good Rae!

    She sure is.

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