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.

                      collegiate and middle aged male             

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! 

                 before and after obese male

 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! 

 

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Comments (13) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Alicia - February 23, 2010 11:29 AM

What a great inspiration! If Terry can follow E2L entertaining clients anyone can. Wonderful story, very motivating. Thanks for sharing!

Tina Brandenburg - February 23, 2010 4:39 PM

Awesome Testimony Terry!! We are rooting for you!!

pizza7@windstream.net - February 23, 2010 4:56 PM

I am so happy to see this story. It will be nice to read this to my husband. He has joined me as I follow a nutritarian diet but, he isn't as sold on this way of eating as I'd like.

Terry did say "Just because you feel "fine"......etc.

This is so very true. You can feel fine, and look good on the outside. A male Teacher I admired greatly as a young
girl, looked the picture of health at 50. Truly, he loved athletic sports, and stayed fit. I often thought he could pass for 30. One sad day at work, (I'm an RN)I was assigned
a new patient. I didn't know who, only the room number of admission and, a diagnosis. I hurried to the room, and to my sad surprise it was my beloved teacher. He still looked the picture of health. I sternly said "Get up out of that bed, you look healthy to me!"(with a big smile) He grimaced and said, "I have been having severe chest pain, they want to do a by-pass tomorrow." I was heart sick. I didn't know anything about Dr. Fuhrman. But, I was learning about nutrition, and health even then. I wanted him to leave! I wanted to tell him, get help elsewhere! I could not.
I saw him about 6 months later. He had lost most of his beautiful wavy brown hair. It was white, and very thin. He walked with a cane. He could not stand erect. He looked frail, and very old. I saw in his eyes, that he had read my heart, I saw the pain. I couldn't approach him, I tried to smile, he nodded, we passed each other by.

Horsecrazy - February 23, 2010 10:16 PM

Great story Terry! And congratulations on getting your health back! Dr. Fuhrman is THE best!!! This should be motivation for many folks reading this.

Emily Boller - February 24, 2010 6:37 AM

pizza7,

The story about your teacher is so sad - what a moving statement, "I tried to smile, he nodded, we passed each other by;" . . . .great word picture that speaks volumes!

It's amazing how food has the power to give life to our bodies, or the power to destroy them.

May we all choose life.

Cindy - February 24, 2010 6:55 AM

Three cheers for you, Terry! It's great that your personal success can be such a remarkable example for the many people you encounter, especially those who are most surprised by your lifestyle change. Perhaps there is some lingering societal stereotype about condescending, un-fun "health nut" people, but you disprove that. You look fantastic!

Trulie - February 24, 2010 4:12 PM

What a great inspiration Terry is. I forwarded his story to one of my clients who is also very competitive, grew up in with a bachground in athletics and sports and is now a part of the unhealthy, middle-aged America. Terry's story could be his story!

I love that Dr. Furhman has a diet name (nutritarian) that is not as off-putting as saying you are full/partial vegetarian/vegan. Even saying you are a flexitarian does not distinguish the care and thought behind choosing the most nutritious meal option. With nutritarian, people are curious and intrigued and their defenses are less likely to go up. That is a better formula to helping others to consider other diet options and eventually lead them to change.

Thank you Terry for sharing your story!

CJ - February 25, 2010 7:01 PM

"We got you just in time" - wow, Terry, good for you. I wish you great success and have no doubt you will achieve it.

I look forward to following your success.

Steve - February 26, 2010 7:52 AM

Hi Emily

I am just a little curious. On this site, it seems that the word nutritarian is starting to become a synonym for 'vegan'. Is that the intent, and if so, is this with Dr F's blessing? He has written about the deficiencies in a vegan diet, so I am a little confused.

Cheers, Steve

Emily Boller - February 26, 2010 12:29 PM

Hi Steve,

I want to make it clear, as in the "nutritarian" link in the above post, that Dr. Fuhrman's nutritarian diet-style is defined at DrFuhrman.com http://drfuhrman.com/library/are-you-a-nutritarian.aspx

It can be followed with a vegan diet or one that includes a limited amount of animal products. Many nutritarians are vegans, and many are not vegans.

Dr. Fuhrman makes every effort to remain non-biased, scientific and offer people nutritional and lifestyle advice without any predetermined agenda or prejudice.


Great question. I hope this helps answer it, and clears any confusion.

All the best to you ~

Emily

Steve - February 26, 2010 6:32 PM

Thanks for the clarification Emily. I do remember that post.

Dr F notes in that post that the Health Equation is (of course) a simplification, that N is not a single variable, but a composite that includes many different nutrients.

For the math savvy, perhaps we need a health "integral", nah, too nerdy I guess ;-)

Cheers, Steve

Karla Jones - February 27, 2010 1:08 PM

Is Heather a real person or an angel?

Dave - March 2, 2010 5:08 AM

I have tried several diets. The Eat to Live is the only diet that worked. I fell off of it for a while but am now planning to go back on. My concern is if I go back to eating mass quantities of leafy green vegatables, am I opening myself up to parasites found in uncooked lettuce? I was reminded of this by watching a rerun of "House" - yes I know it's a TV show and he's not a real doctor - in which the danger of brain-eating parasites in lettuce was raised. Is it really safe these days to eat uncooked lettuce. Or would it be better to stick to cooked vegetables? I love salads and as I mentioned this is the only diet that allowed me to lose weight. I wish that Dr. Fuhrman would supply a solid scientific answer to this question about safety of raw lettuce. Thank you.

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