Interview with a Nutritarian: Terry
For years, Terry, a former high school and college athlete, could “eat anything” and work it off with lots of exercise through sports. However, in his late twenties, the weight began to pile on as his social eating and drinking increased, and his exercise decreased. The once fit athlete ballooned into an obese and unhealthy, middle-aged guy who felt miserable. Thankfully, a mutual friend and vegan proponent, Heather Mills, posed a challenge to Terry to get his health back and introduced him to Dr. Fuhrman. The rest is history. He’s now more than half way through the challenge, and it has changed more than just his medical stats. Welcome to Disease Proof, Terry.
Tell us about yourself and how you decided to take the plunge to get your health back?
For more than a decade I’ve been overweight and unhappy with how I’ve looked and felt. I’ve wanted to lose 75 lbs to get down to what I weighed when I played collegiate rugby. I grew up playing sports and ate lots of high fat food, but never had a potbelly until I was twenty-five; and even then, when rugby season would start, I could always run it off. However, by the time I was thirty I was a heavy drinker and hardly exercised anymore. My career as an advertising executive in Manhattan requires dining out with clients late into the night as a significant part of my job. There seemed to be no end to my disease promoting lifestyle. Two years ago, when I turned forty, I thought I was a hopeless case. I didn’t think I’d ever be fit, active or happy again like I was in my early twenties.
Heather posed a challenge for me to go vegan for six months to see what effect it would have on my weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. She wanted me to do it “right” so she introduced me to Dr. Fuhrman, who took the challenge a step further. He wanted me to focus on eating high nutrient vegetation for optimal health, and become a nutritarian for life.
At first I thought Heather’s idea was crazy, because I loved meat and cheese; and it was even suggested that I give up alcohol! She offered to provide the food for six months and arrange monthly check-ups with Dr. Fuhrman if I would write a blog about the experience. After thinking about the challenge for many weeks, I decided to go for it. By this time, I had tipped the scales at 302 lbs [6’4”].
I started the six month quest with 100% gusto on November 1, 2009; just as I was entering my favorite eating and drinking season of the year. A couple of days prior I had my first consultation with Dr. Fuhrman and he laid it on the line just like a coach would, and Eat to Live became the playbook.
How did you feel before committing to Eat to Live?
I was tired all the time, and it was a struggle to perform even the simplest of tasks such as bending over to tie my shoes or climb a flight of stairs. However, even though I was obese, I didn’t look more than 50 lbs overweight and I lived a “normal” life. I could still fit in airplane seats and was never in want of a date; therefore, I ignored my extremely unhealthy body. I thought I ate relatively healthy and didn’t consider myself to be a junk food addict. For those rare times that I did look in the mirror and become shocked at my size, I would order a giant steak, creamed spinach, bottle of wine, and a few Scotches to make me happy again.
I naively assumed that if I just cut back on food intake and exercised more that I could achieve my weight loss goal; however, Dr. Fuhrman quickly set me straight. I was surprised to learn that my steaks with creamed spinach and 12” subs were junk food; causing my cholesterol to be dangerously over 300! When Dr. Fuhrman stated, "We got you just in time," I knew it was not a hyperbole. My life was truly at risk.
What's happened to your body so far?
By the eighth day of following Eat to Live, I had lost 12 lbs and within six weeks my cholesterol dropped an incredible 100 points! I’ve lost 41 lbs in the last 3½ months, and feel great and closer to “normal” again. My body is now conditioned to enjoy healthy food. I love this new way of eating!
Are others noticing changes about you?
Yes, someone recently commented, “I didn’t know you had a chin!” My girlfriend said that my skin looks healthier and more alive, and friends from years ago now see the same person they first met. However, the biggest change that others notice is my attitude. I was never without a drink and luscious spread of food, and now I’m surprising everyone. Many are encouraged and motivated because I’m the last person in the world they’d ever expect to see change eating and drinking habits. Now, the common response is, “If Terry can do it, I certainly can!”
Do you have any success tip(s) that you’d like to share with others in their journey to health?
- Yes, be selfish. In my case, I love to write, and the prospect of documenting this journey through a blog seemed irresistible. I told everyone I met that I was going on this radical quest to lose 75 lbs., and that I would be writing about it daily. [It’s easy to set up a blog. If you tell everyone about it, and commit to writing about your journey, you are under pressure to stick with it!]
- Also I looked at the weight loss challenge as a sporting event. I’m competitive. I love to win. My ego was at stake because if I lost, I would not only be losing to myself, I would be losing to my doubters, and that got my competitive juices flowing!
Any final thoughts to share?
- Just because you feel "fine" doesn’t mean your cholesterol is not life threatening.
- Just because you can still buy clothes “off the rack", or fit in an airplane seat, doesn’t mean you’re not dangerously obese.
- Just because people love you, doesn’t mean you should ignore poor health and not do something about it.
Almost daily I hear the words of Dr. Fuhrman echo in my head, "We got you just in time."
Terry has 2 ½ months left of his six month quest to get his health back. I’ll check in with him on the victor’s platform in a few months! In the meantime, check out his blog. [By the way, since eating out with clients is a big part of his career, he uses his blog to encourage others, like himself, who are committed to eating for health while living in a big city full of challenging temptations.]
Congratulations Terry ~ we are cheering for you!