It All Started with an Unexpected Surgery

For those of you new to the blog, I was formerly an obese and chronically malnourished food addict who has been completely set free from all food addictions and eating disorders; including anorexia, nutrient restrictive dieting, yo-yo dieting, and binge eating disorder as result of embracing the nutritarian lifestyle that’s described in Eat to Live and Eat for Health. Here is my transformation.

This past February, seven months after making the commitment to get my health back, I was recovering from a major surgery that removed a non-cancerous tumor. I couldn’t drive or do much of anything for a couple of weeks, so I started a thread on Dr. Fuhrman’s the members’ center.

By that time, I had lost over 60 lbs, and my only intention was to write a few posts during the time of recovery. For lack of a creative epiphany, I titled the thread, “Journey of Transformation; Diary of Change.”  Well, the rest is history, and here I am; a former food addict who had multiple eating disorders and “did it all wrong” before discovering the key to freedom and health through the books Eat to Live and Eat for Health, authored by Joel Fuhrman, MD.

Throughout my writings on here, I will be sharing random excerpts from that thread, and success tips that I learned along the way in getting my health back.

I encourage those lost in the confusing maze of food addiction that results in chronic malnutrition and disease, complete freedom is totally possible.

If you are serious about getting free, you must make the time to read and understand Eat to Live and Eat for Health, especially the sections “Changing How You Think” and “Understanding Hunger” in Eat for Health; plus listen to the overeating teleconference on the members’ center.

There are no quick fixes. There are no short cuts. You must do your homework.

Correct information, not willpower, will be the key to unlock your captivity.

Change the mind. The body will change.

You will never regret getting your health and life back!

Image credit: forestgladesiwander

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Comments (33) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Gina Manzo - August 24, 2009 12:47 PM

We get it Emily, you were fat and unhealthy. You made a change. You are healthy now but its still a struggle every day to eat right in our fast food nation. It's admirable and all, but so what? I too struggle every day to stay on track and to make good food choices. I too feel better when I eat right and regret when I don't. But my daily "journey" is no more interesting than yours is - so why is this blog all of a sudden devoted to your every thought and feeling about Eat to Live?

I'm motivated and my resolve is strengthened by reading informative, fact based posts that remind me over and over again why/how nutrient dense foods are better and why/how highly processed foods are slowly poisoning the American public.

Your thoughts on your own eating disorders though? Frankly I don't care! And I just don't find it motivating at all. It is ramble.

Maybe instead of disease this blog can just start being called

Linda - August 24, 2009 1:20 PM

Thanks Emily for your personal story that you are willing to share with the desire to help others. I enjoy your writing style and I am encouraged through your journey. I feel sorry for those who want to criticize what you have done and are trying to do in an effort to help others. Keep up the good work and may God bless you in this endeavor.

Bill Fraser - August 24, 2009 2:08 PM

Gina - go a little easy....maybe you had a bad day?

Maybe you're not interested in Emily's story and that's okay but you need to remember that you can only speak for yourself and not the other readers on this site. If you're not interested then simply don't read what Emily wants to share....freedom of speech - remember?

This world is so messed up and confused that I enjoy a person sharing success and any level.

I celebrate anyone that can get a hold of their eating habits and enjoy better health and life to the fullest.

Peter - August 24, 2009 2:27 PM

Emily, I enjoy reading your post also and look forward to reading them. If others don't enjoy them, it seems like they can easily skip the articles. I don't understand why there is such an issue. I think it is very good to have a personal perspective with someone that has been through what you have and come out successful. Please keep up the good work.

The Casual Vegan - August 24, 2009 2:30 PM

While I can honestly say I skip over some posts on Disease proof. The weekly posts about health news keep me hooked. This blog exists to make money, and in return provides something of real value to us, its readers.

It is extremely difficult to write every single day about the same topic. This is made especially difficult by how slow nutrition research is. It's not like there is a new study to report on every single day. Yet these writers still have to work very hard to create interesting and new content to draw in new readers.

By and large they succeed at what they do very well.

Sheena - August 24, 2009 2:45 PM

I'm thankful for your posts Emily. I too have a food addiction, so I can relate to what you share. Gina, I don't understand why you posted that, it was quite cruel. We should be happy for anyone that loses weight and achieves great health. I say keep on talking Emily and getting the word out.

Gina Manzo - August 24, 2009 2:50 PM

You're right Bill - there is such a thing as freedom of speech. Although, obviously the First Amendment has nothing to do with blog commentary, but rather, our right to be free from government sanction for engaging in public discourse. But of course you knew that.....

Pretending it does have to do with blog commentary though, if Emily is free to post her writing on the blog, and the blog administrators are so kind as to include a comment function, am I not equally free to comment on that writing?

I simply do not understand what these posts add to this blog. I just. Don't. Get. It. Some of you do, apparently, and that's great for all of you! But I'm certainly not alone in my thoughts. I've read the varying view points on Emily's posts over the past several weeks and many, many readers feel as I do. That these posts are strange, too long, oddly unfocused, narcissitic, basically go on and on about nothing in particular, absolutely need some editing and add overall nothing of value to the blog.

And it's not that I don't think some real life perspective from a nutritarian can be insipring or motivational. I really enjoy the posts on this blog about finding manager's special produce, restaurant reviews, growing produce, etc.

Those are a far cry from, "I'm on a journeeeeeeeeeeeey and it's amazing and me me me me me me!!" over and over again.

Nancy - August 24, 2009 3:00 PM

Emily, as your friend, I have seen your transformation in person, and it truly inspires those around you. You are such a caring and passionate person; it is no surprise that others receive help and strength from your example. Knowing you as a "regular mom" in our own little corner of the world, I am very thankful and excited that now you can help many others with your story and your encouragement. God bless you for your unselfish gift of time, help, enthusiasm and compassion.

peter bircsak - August 24, 2009 3:00 PM

Emily, From my direct experience the nutritarian principles are incredibly effective and potentially so life changing. It makes your sharing all the more important. The tough part is not in learning the data , what to eat or learning to cook but in developing the passion to do it. Rock on.

Cindy - August 24, 2009 3:57 PM

Hi Emily, I agree with those who comment saying that readers can skip any posts they don't particularly care for. You encourage me and, it appears, many others.

Gina, I respect your opinion and your right to express it, which you do in an articulate fashion. But really, lighten up! Different styles encourage different people, so let's respect that. Thanks.

Joel Fuhrman, MD - August 24, 2009 4:14 PM

If Emily’s writings upset you so much you can just skip over them, there is plenty of other stuff for you to read here. She is here at my request because she has demonstrated the ability to help motivate others and I think she has lots to offer. You do not have to agree with all my decisions. I am aiming to include a variety of informative, motivational, personal and creative posts to make this blog better. Every post may not please everybody, however, it will offer a better assortment of styles and interests. Ultimately, I must decide what I think is appropriate for my blog.

aunt cia - August 24, 2009 5:40 PM

Dear fellow readers,
"All men are created equal under God..." if we're talking politics here, let's get technical, why don't we?!!! If one person's blog is acceptable, why not accept another style of writing as well? I find Gerry's blogs interesting in the realm of nutritional research, restaurant reviews, farmers market finds, etc. Information I may use sometime. Then there are Emily's posts...a woman who has climbed that mountain from SAD addictive eating to good health thru nutrient-packed foods! Information I can use again! Awesome. And while we're reading the posts, why not read with an open mind, retaining that which pertains to our present situation and if we don't need something at the time of reading, can we just file it away or let it go?
For pete's sake, we act like a bunch of goats playing king on the mountain!
A note to Dr. Fuhrman: Thanks for allowing different writers on your blog. It makes for balanced, well rounded reading. Keep up the good work!
To Emily, Write on! Your message needs to be heard! And your message has inspired me to hold my own ETL meetings in my home, the first one coming up directly!

Jackie - August 24, 2009 8:00 PM

I am inspired by Emily's writings! Thanks Emily for all your input. Dr. Furhman's books are wonderful and it just shows how an average person can put the principles into practice. Keep writing Emily!

Peggy - August 24, 2009 8:08 PM

What you are doing and have done is something only one in (who knows how many) thousands have done. It is what most people dream they can do and you did it, no wonder you are so full of passion for your accomplishment! The joy and satisfaction you feel is a force driving you to help others accomplish this wonderful gift in their own lives. You have helped and encouraged many on the path to good health, you are a catalyst for such a time as this.
Thank you for your interest in restoration of american health!

Jeanne - August 24, 2009 8:09 PM

I am new to Eat for Health and to this blog. Therefore, being unfamiliar with any of the authors, I cannot find good reason for what I interpret as a fight taking place here. Aren't we all after the same thing; health and wellness? I find the negative and downright mean spirited comments unhealthy to read. I have decided to skip the negative commentary. Health has a lot more to do with what you put in your mouth. It also has to do with what you choose to put in your head. And what you choose to put out in the world. Best wishes to each of you in meeting your goal of a healthy body AND mind. Keeping clear of negative energy is some of the best medicine you can self-prescribe!

schwabby - August 24, 2009 9:08 PM

I for one appreciate Emily and her story of encouragement, when I see where Emily has come from and the struggle she went through it gives me the strength to know that I to can become healthy and thin. When you have others you can watch and see that they are successful, it gives those of us who need it, hope that we too can get there.
We need more people to tell their story and give hope to others, by bringing hope we are giving a good thing to this world, but to spew negativity like Gina....what purpose does that serve this world? When you spew anger like that and belittle someone who has obviously worked very hard to get away from a position where you obviously have never been, what good thing have you brought to this world. Obviously Emily is a great inspiration to many, many people and she is helping change those lives for the better, she is bringing a great deal of good things to this world. So Gina, what did you bring to the world today in this little space? Hate, Anger, Negativity? Really? Why?
I lurk in here and so what? Your journey is not the same as Emily's I have never, every heard her tell you that your story is boring because you are thin and healthy, I have never heard her put you down.
This pettiness of my story is better than yours or my story isn't any different than yours is a waste of good reading time, why not contribute something positive for all of us who are lurking in here trying to learn, grow and become a better person. I for one am tired of the bickering....

Manda - August 24, 2009 10:19 PM

Dr. Furhman, I love ya and your obvious loyalty and support to those you employ - so rare and very important.
And yet, I must agree with Gina. In each of our jobs, we may face criticism. While unpleasant, we can take these moments and (at times harsh) words to better ourselves. I have to say that personally, I have learned more from people who were not afraid to be honest with me than those who simply patted me on the back or just ignored me. Personal and professional growth, to many, are important to a well-rounded life.

Emily, I think you have great potential and I appreciate your point of view. I am really trying to like you! However, this post comes off as a bit elitist and pointless. If I were to paraphrase it, "I used to be overweight and unhealthy, then I followed Eat to Live and lost weight. I wrote on the members site and became popular and now here I am, even more popular .... insert corny motivational phrases here."
A suggestion would be to lessen the generalized posts that pretty much follow that formula, and intersperse some more focused posts. Give examples of meals your family used to eat, and compare with the made-over nutrient dense meals. Talk about specific moments of revelation, what it's like to be the mom who brings healthy food to the soccer games, etc. More specific and motivating, less generalized and self-congratulatory.
There are many posts that Gerry writes that I think are silly, and I just skip over them without issue. However, the reason I stop to comment on yours is two-fold: 1.they get to me on a personal level, unfortunately not in a positive way - they feel elitist and exclusive. 2. Because there is most definitely potential there for improvement, especially in capturing a larger audience.
I do not expect this comment to be posted, however I am hopeful that Emily will read it with an open heart and consider the advice meant only in a friendly and supportive way.

Lorelei - August 25, 2009 12:14 AM

Healthful food looks good, tastes good and is fun to talk about! I am encouraged when I hear someone like Emily share her story of finding the beauty in it all! Go girl! You're doing great! You keep us motivated!

Rosie - August 25, 2009 12:44 AM

Wow, Gina, kinda harsh, don't you think? If you can't say something nice, you shouldn't say anything at all!

Emily, your story has been such an encouragement to me, and countless others. I appreciate how you've shared your personal journey and transformation. Your blogs are quite informative and I admire your passion to help others as they go through their own struggles with food addiction. You are literally helping to save lives, including mine.

It's been a process, I have a long way to go, but I am learning to make healthy choices for my family and me, and that's what's important. My blood sugar levels are in a healthy range, and I have lower cholesterol. For the first time in my life I am trying new fruits and vegetables that I NEVER would have tried if it weren't for Eat To Live. I can't believe how much I love them! So, it's exciting to be trying new foods while knowing that I'm putting healthy stuff into my body.

So please keep doing what you're doing. I hope you're not discouraged in any way from people who spew negativity. Sorry you get dumped on when someone feels like lashing out. You've heard the saying, 'Hurting people hurt people.' It's obvious someone like Gina is frustrated and having difficulty in her own life.

Thank you, Dr. Fuhrman, and Emily, for caring about people and health. We need you, I need you, to keep sharing and encouraging me.

Princess Carol - August 25, 2009 4:15 AM

I am constantly encouraged by Emily's writings...I am now on my on road to restored health/wellness...In just a month I have been relieved of over 50 lbs...30 of which, according to Dr Fuhrman, were excess fluids/toxins. My stamina is greatly improved...I can be on my feet for more than 1 hour w/o being "done in" by awful pain/discomfort the rest of the day...looking at over 100 more lbs to thankful to you, Emily, for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The important thing to take away from these writings, I believe, is that all of our journeys are different, yet the same...encouraging one another is so much better than attacking one another.

Joel Fuhrman, MD - August 25, 2009 8:55 AM

Thank you for all the positive comments and support. The other issue here is this debate over Emily’s writing, obscured the point of the post and the important message that she aimed to display. She is reporting what I have been observing for years and am quite proud of. That is that members of become so highly knowledgeable and gain so much support and camaraderie, that their rate of accomplishments and successes is dramatic. Whether it is the undergoing a complete health makeover and losing a 50 to 100 pounds or recovering from fatigue, allergies, headaches, heart disease, getting off blood pressure or cholesterol-lowering drugs or even having their hair color change from grey back to brown again, it is exciting to witness the transformations in there. Even though it sounds like bragging or an advertisement for myself, the reality is that a little bit of knowledge can help, but it usually doesn’t, but a lot of knowledge is empowering. Seeing this, and Emily getting a taste of the satisfaction one gets from helping others (which she has done) is what motivates her comments, not the look at me, mentality. That is the point Emily was making. There are people out there, maybe those who have learned some things already, who still need to learn more to glean the results they are looking for. So hopefully some people out there, will benefit from the important message of this post and not get lost in the ancillary debate here.

Todd - August 25, 2009 8:57 AM

Emily, Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is very inspirational to know what you have been through and how you have used Eat to Live and Eat for Health to change your life! You inspired me to follow ETL/EFL and it has also changed my life - lowering my cholesterol by 100 points and allowing me to run forty miles a week. It is so nice to know eating right allows a better life style for me.

Steve - August 25, 2009 9:18 AM

Emily, I read your success story before you became a regular writer on the blog. I am not an overweight person myself but I sure felt great about your success and was very pleased to see you got a spot on Dr. Fuhrman's blog. You can write whatever you want and I will read it daily. You are very inspirational to a lot of people. Even if all you ever inspire is one person to turn their health and self esteem around through healthy eating then that is a job well done. Gina needs to relax a bit. Keep up the good work Emily.

Michael - August 25, 2009 9:36 AM

Wonderful post Manda! I think it is an excellent example of constructive criticism that makes helpful suggestions to make the articles more interesting and helpful to more readers.

The Casual Vegan - August 25, 2009 9:51 AM

Dr. Fuhrman is completely right.

When you tell someone the foods their mother fed them for their entire childhood are bad for them, the reaction is anything but pleasant. Most people react with disbelief, anger, and laughter. Even when you stick to the most obvious poor foods like McDonald's, people are generally not willing to accept that their choices impact health outcomes.

It takes more than just information to motivation change.

KMB1 - August 25, 2009 1:53 PM

I was always taught to speak in a respectful way, which makes what is said much more easily and readily received. Nastiness never benefited anyone or changed anyone's mind. Common courtesy never restricts the freedom of speech, only the way in which ideas are expressed.
About 4 times a year, I used to get a cold that would turn into a sinus infection. If left without antibiotics,that would turn into bronchitis, and it lasted for a couple of weeks. I was miserable. When I changed my eating habits and limited the chemicals and processed food that my family and I were eating, all that changed. I can't remember my last sinus infection. Even colds don't get as bad or last as long. I am so thankful that those days are over and that I feel so much better than I ever did while I was eating the way I used to.

carfree - August 25, 2009 4:03 PM

Thanks, Emily for another fine post. The open hostility towards you is completely uncalled for and perplexing. It seems like a jealous reaction, to me. Congratulatins on your successes. You deserve to feel pride in your accomplishments.

Emily Boller - August 25, 2009 4:08 PM

To Gina, Manda, and Michael,

A few weeks ago my writings were strongly criticized, so I have tried my best to include some of those suggestions.

Please be patient as I develop as an author on this blog.


To everyone else,

Thank you for taking the time to post a note of encouragement. Your kind words have been much appreciated.

aunt cia - August 26, 2009 6:47 AM

I know what it's like to face open hostility due to the changes I've been making over the past 13 years in the way I look at health and weeding out the causes of poor health. My family especially (parents and siblings) think I'm a nut and 'way out of line and i had to learn not to be confrontational in my speech to them. Instead, I simply live the beliefs I have for good health despite the withering looks at family gatherings (around the buffet of SAD foods) and hope that they will make the connection between good health thru nutrition as they suffer from hi blood pressure, obesity, cancer and other physical ailments due to poor nutrition.

Jackie Carsten - August 26, 2009 7:10 PM


You are an incredible source of inspiration and knowledge.
I cannot thank you enough for guiding and inspiring me and
my husband on our path back to good health and wellness.
You writing has added a new and quite valuable dimension
to this blog. Keep up the great work, Emily. Jackie C.

chris - August 27, 2009 1:31 AM


Your comment "change the mind, the body will change" is a powerful statement. Not complicated, but right on. That's because the mind is the root of the problem, not the body. The body simply reveals the deeper problem.

Keep sharing your journey and thoughts even though some folks may not grasp your heart and intentions. Don't be distracted by the barking from behind the curtain of the computer screen. Stay the course. Keep the passion flowing.

CJ - August 30, 2009 7:08 PM

I began reading Emily's posts on and found them motivational and informational.

Emily has introduced new ways of thinking for me that have helped in my own journey of transformation and I am a huge fan of her writings.

Thank you over and over again Emily.

Steve - September 9, 2009 9:42 AM

Other than politics, is there anything which creates so much division? Why do we cheer so loudly for the winner of a race, rather than for the guy who runs his best time, but finishes last? Personally, I am just trying to do my best.

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