It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts, so here some letters from viewers.  Actually these are follow-up letters from people who’ve written to me before.  Their letters are most of the post, so I’m not going to use quotes.  The letters appear in regular text.  My comments are in italics.

Down 40 pounds in mere months

Hello, Tom —

I wanted to follow up with you. I originally emailed in February, then again in April. June is here and I am now down 40 pounds! I started out at 245 lbs and I’m at 205. I feel great. My wife has lost about 20 lbs. Again for her to have lost this much weight is truly amazing — she’s never been able to lose it and keep it off because of PCOS and other factors. She’s seeing consistent loss, but in her case the measurements are really amazing. She’s lost 4 inches from her waist and several inches in other areas!

We don’t really count carbs, but generally get anywhere from 25-100 carbs a day. The carbs come from homemade sourdough bread (using natural yeast rather than quick rise stuff — no more than 1 slice a day), berries, and some veggies (above ground varieties). Once a month we might go each a small pizza or something not strict low carb, but for the most part we are avoiding a lot of the processed stuff we used to survive on.

Our typical breakfast is eggs with either bacon, sausage or made into an omelet with veggies. I add 2-3 tablespoons of cream to the eggs and whisk them up in a bowl. I also add 1-2 tablespoons of butter to the pan to help the eggs fry. Lunch is usually a big salad (homemade ranch dressing using ranch dressing mix, full fat greek yogurt and heavy cream) and some type of fatty meat – burger patties, 1/2 of a rib eye, or leftover beef stew (with real bone broth).

Dinner is usually veggies with cheese and/or butter on them and a meat – rib eye, ground beef, bone in skin on fried chicken, etc. For dessert we’ve stuck with berries and cream (thank you for introducing me to that!) and we have 1 piece of dark chocolate with each meal (>75% dark, each piece has 1g sugar). Let me tell ya, starting the day off with a piece of dark chocolate and having no guilt over doing it- – totally awesome.

Doing everything the modern American medical system tells me should make me fat, yet I’ve lost 40 lbs in 6 months and 0 exercise. My wife and I do go on maybe 1-2 walks a week and we’re active around the house, but I dont count that stuff as exercise. I do understand the importance of exercise, especially being behind a computer all day, but not solely for weight loss!

It is amazing to go through this journey. Friends and co-workers have noticed the weight loss and I have shared your movie, facebook groups and website with them, since it all started with Fat Head. Some friends of ours switched to a lower carb lifestyle a few days ago and have already seen results.

A good friend of mine and I were having a discussion and he asked me what I was doing. This guy is a skinny guy who runs 6 miles 2 or 3 times a week and has competed in Tough Mudder several times. He’s recently put on some weight and wanted to know what I was doing. I shared my story and what I’d learned about cholesterol. His cholesterol is at 250 and his doctor wants to put him on statins. I told him to never go to that doctor again and sent him several links, including some videos on YouTube from Fat Head the Movie. I couldn’t believe a doctor actually wanted to put this guy on statins!

Look forward to your book — thanks for everything you do.

Matt

Thank you, Matt.  I’m looking forward to seeing the book too.  Chareva is still drawing some of the characters, and I’m lovin’ what she’s doing with them.

Folks, notice Matt and his wife have kept losing weight, but haven’t been at 20 carbs for months on end.  Some days it’s 25, other days they go up to 100.  Exactly the point I was making in my previous couple of posts. It’s not necessary to aim for never-ending ketosis to lose weight and become healthy.

A five-year follow up on the whole family

Hi Tom,

My name is Lorraine and I wrote to you once in September 2011. It has been almost 5 years and I feel obligated to thank you again for the changes you have instilled in my life and also the people I love.

A few months after writing you, I did achieve my goal weight.  I have been able to maintain my weight (between 125-130 pounds) effortlessly.  Re-reading that post has reminded me of how dire my life was at 25.  I was so very depressed and unhealthy, and I’ve nearly forgotten that dark time.  I am now 30 years old and things have changed.

After my depression, I started to enjoy all the old things I used to love, like reading, video games, and social events.  I also found new hobbies including biking, sprinting, weight training, and hiking. I started living again.  I have completed graduate school.  I am a physician assistant practicing for almost two years in an emergency department in a busy city hospital.  I am also engaged to be married this coming fall.  However, this e-mail isn’t really about me.  It is more about those around me you have changed after I wrote that e-mail.

My father at the time was over 50 pounds overweight.  He was pre-diabetic and had an awful lipid profile.  Deep down, I knew he was teetering on the edge of full-blown heart disease.  The odds were against him.  After my success, he wanted to know what he was doing wrong.  He was constantly dieting and failing.  I had him watch your documentary.  He found you amusing, but he was very doubtful.

He felt hopeless so he gave it a shot.  In his 50s, he lost all the weight in only a few months.  He began weight training, and as a 59-year-old man continues to weight train 3-4 times a week.  He is no longer pre-diabetic and his lipid profile is as his doctor described “that of a 20 year old.”  He too has been able to maintain his weight with ease.  Because of your documentary, he was able to see the birth of his granddaughter (my niece) and he will be able to see my upcoming wedding.  I honestly can say that I don’t know if that would have been possible at the rate he was going.

I met my fiance, a nurse, a little over 2 years ago.  He is a type 1 diabetic.  He had a hard time controlling his blood sugars so his A1C was never ideal.  On his own accord, he started following a low-carb lifestyle.  Moving downstate to be closer to me, he found a new endocrinologist.  When he told his endocrinologist what he had changed, she gleamed.  She and her husband (another doctor) follow a paleo lifestyle.  A huge proponent of low-carb lifestyles, she recommends it to everyone, including all her diabetic patients.  His A1C is now in an ideal range and his sugars remain controlled throughout the day.  He no longer has bad highs, or even worse, bad lows.  Also, the amount of insulin he administers daily has dramatically decreased by nearly 25-50%.

My sister was a few pounds overweight when she became pregnant.  She was terrified of possibly gaining too much weight during pregnancy as many of her friends have done.  She was fearful of conditions like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.  She decided to start following a low-carb lifestyle as well.  I gave her recipes, meal plans, and healthy snacking ideas.  She was able to maintain a healthy weight throughout her pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy, 7-pound baby girl.

There are others you also helped including my mother, my mother-in-law, many coworkers, many friends, and even my future family.  Proponents of the low-carb lifestyle, like you, are a catalyst to creating future healthier generations.  Keep up the amazing work.

A million thanks,

Lorraine

A million thanks you to, Lorraine, for letting me know how much you and your loved ones have improved your health.  I wish you and your fiance a lovely wedding and a wonderful life together.

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24 Responses to “Letters From Viewers — The Followup Edition”
  1. Dianne says:

    Thanks, Tom, for publishing these letters, and thanks to Matt and Lorraine for writing them. I’m at a difficult point in my life right now (my husband, who has very advanced Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes, was admitted to ICU Monday for kidney problems and some other issues, and I’ve had to make some tough decisions these past few days), and as a result I have been somewhat relaxed, to say the least, in my eating. These letters have really inspired me — I’m getting back to my low-carbing right now, even though it will mean more time in the kitchen. I’ll save time and energy somewhere else.

    By the way, the first meal they brought my diabetic husband in the ICU was fish, green beans, white rice, a roll, and lemon pie. Every meal since then has included lots of starch and a sugary dessert. When I have commented, they have assured me they have him on a diabetic diet, and are monitoring his blood sugars and giving him extra insulin as needed. In general this is an excellent hospital (it’s part of Baylor Scott and White and his care has been wonderful otherwise), so I am sure that they are giving my poor husband what they truly believe is the right diet for a diabetic. I’d bang my head on the wall (no desk in his room), but somebody would probably drop a net over me and haul me off to the psychiatric ward, and then who would feed my cat?

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your husband. What they feed diabetics in medical facilities is a crime.

      • Susan says:

        Have to agree about the almost criminal menus in medical facilities. My diabetic husband was in a nursing home for several years. Each Friday, they would send him a week’s worth of menus. He had little patience to fill them out, so each Friday evening when I came in, I’d do my “homework” and fill them out for him. I always tried to limit the carbs because felt it was better for his health. One evening, I arrived to find him with a tray I knew I hadn’t ordered: spaghetti with meat sauce, potatoes, bread, fruit cocktail, and nonfat milk. They had lost his menu for the meal and a dietary person had filled out a new one for him. A dietician had apparently reviewed it and made some notes: some portion sizes were changed, and written on the bottom of the menu was the notation “All Starch” . But they sent him the starch fest anyway. When I called to question how it happened, the dietician was more intent on letting me know that they were planning to give all the patients a piece of pumpkin pie for the upcoming Thanksgiving meal and they would just make sure to cover that extra carbohydrate with insulin…?? Head, meet desk…desk…desk.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          If you weren’t a diabetic going in, that menu could certainly make sure you’re a diabetic going out.

        • Dianne says:

          Susan, thank you for the warning. For the past three years my husband has been in a small, homey assisted living facility where they watched his diet pretty carefully. However, when (if) he gets out of the hospital, he will have to go to a far larger and more impersonal nursing home where skilled nursing care is available 24/7. I will make a point of being there at mealtimes, at least until I see how things go, and will not be shy about asking for changes if needed. My husband will never be well, but I want the remainder of his life to be as good for him as it can be.

          • Susan says:

            You’re welcome, Dianne. I’d say, if your husband ends up in a nursing facility, you should definitely remain proactive about his diet. At one point, when my husband returned to the facility after a brief hospitalization, the dietary department stopped sending menus and started filling them out themselves. Being very tired of filling them out myself after 4 years, I let them continue. At least until I realized that they were sending my diabetic husband three servings of fruit at every meal. He loved it, but, what the heck were they thinking? In the interest of his health, I requested that they resume sending me the menus. So, keep an eye on them.

      • Tom says:

        I recently landed in the hospital where they found my blood sugar to be high (not diet related). I generally eat lower carb and was a little bit appalled by what they gave me for food and with high blood sugar. I guess carbs are cheap.

        I told the nurse that I was wondering if I was on one of those shows where they film you and then at the end tell you that you’ve been tricked.

      • Walter Bushell says:

        against humanity.

  2. Firebird says:

    I know these letters make your day. They make mine, too. It’s really enjoyable to see other people find what has worked for them and make exceptional improvements in their health.

  3. Rae says:

    I love reading letters from viewers! And oh yeah, thanks for the berries and cream idea. I started eating that after I saw Fat Head and it’s a great stand-in for ice cream! Also berries with full fat Greek yogurt if you can find it.

    • Dianne says:

      Add a couple of drops of stevia and a drop or two of vanilla extract to the full fat Greek yogurt before mixing in the berries, and there’s no finer dessert to be had anywhere. And oh bliss, oh joy, oh rapture — it’s strawberry season!

  4. Maria J says:

    My first reaction when I read this post yesterday morning was SHINE ON, DUDE! but there weren’t any other posts yet so I hung back. I love reading letters from viewers, first hand accounts. Really glad to hear the different strokes for different folks view also as some attempts have been very frustrating. Because of Paul Jaminet I have some white rice a few times a week, I think you are responsible for the potato starch hack and most recently have been doing some fasting. It is all coming together. Thanks for all you do, Tom. Love the farm posts also.
    P.S. My berry treat as follows: heavy cream whipped, a few dollops of ff yoghurt, berries and chopped almonds or walnuts. Scrummy!

    • Maria J says:

      Fasting majorly due to Jason Fung.

      • BobM says:

        “ff yoghurt” = full fat (and not fat free)? Dr. Jason Fung has helped me the most. I was LC for about 1 year, then realized I was still insulin resistant. I started fasting (and eating more fat, thanks Tommy from Eat Low Carb High Fat), and haven’t looked back.

        Next, I’m using blood glucose and ketone monitoring and going on a full-bore ketogenic diet to see what happens. I’ve likely been ketogenic, but I haven’t actually tested.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Sounds delicious.

  5. Perry says:

    What the heck happened to to the supposed realization that its not the carbs but rather a dysfunction of glucose metabolism? I swear the blogger was eating potatoes and correctly blaming industrial seed oil only a few posts ago?

    I suggest people fix the problem, which is doable, and ditch the low carb madness instead. Your metabolism will thank you.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      The blogger was making the point that low carb (<= 100 per day) doesn't mean zero carb or ketogenic. I'm doing quite well with "low-carb madness" of 100 carbs. A medium potato has about 30-35 usable carbs. So yes, I eat potatoes, and yes, I'm on a low-carb diet.

      • Firebird says:

        I reiterate what Dr. Ellis told me as he was writing “Ultimate Diet Secrets” — find out what your range is and eat what carbs please you as long as you don’t cross your threshold. If you want a plate of pasta, which is 42 gms and your carb range is <50 then you know the rest of the day you have to limit your intake. Every so often he'd get a craving for donuts so he'd go into the local Wawa, buy one, take two bites then throw the rest in the trash…while washing it down with a pint of heavy cream.

  6. Tom says:

    My experience with Fat Head was unfortunately backwards. When I couldn’t lose weight on the doctor recommended “lots of heart healthy grains and fruit juice” diet, I decided to find out why.

    After actually reading the nutrition/dietary studies and figuring out that they were mostly poor science, I decided to eat simple, whole foods with high nutritional content vs high caloric content.

    I lost 95lbs and my blood tests moved from ‘here take a pill’ to the good end of the ‘ideal’ range. My friends assured me that I’d have a heart attack and die, or that I was “just one of those people unlike the rest of us” that could eat fat, low carbs, and lose weight.

    About a year later I saw Fat Head on Hulu and enjoyed the heck out of it. It went through the same stuff I’d read and offered up the same conclusions, with experts and everything. I wish I’d seen it when it came out.

    I had the same reaction to “Super Size Me” that you did. Wow, eat 4000+ calories a day of mostly empty calories, cut your exercise in half, and you gain weight? Really?!?

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