I first met Susan in the lobby of The Dr. Oz Show studio. I had absolutely no idea that in less than two years she’d dropped 220 lbs. simply by following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional approach to get rid of unhealthy food cravings and restore optimal health. I felt honored to have met her, because I’d never met anyone in person who’d ever lost that much weight. Her radical, life changing story is so inspirational whether one has 10 or 200 pounds to lose! Welcome to Disease Proof, Susan.
What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian approach?
Weighing 380 lbs was miserable; there are no words to adequately describe it. I recently found a notebook journal in the trunk of my car from my morbidly obese days. Written in it were a series of good days followed by a series of bad days, depending upon if I was following dieting rules or not. I had started many journals, and then I’d stop writing in them when I stopped the diet so I had many unfinished journals. My life was never about my children or being involved in my community. My life’s focus was always starting a new diet, following the rules, and journaling about it. Dieting and journaling consistently consumed my mental focus.
I was constantly fatigued; looking back I don’t even know how I went to work every day and raised four children. It was hard for my three older kids to have a morbidly obese mother, and because I hated myself so much I also hated my husband. One cannot love someone else if he/she doesn’t love himself/herself. I work in the medical field, and I was embarrassed to be so unhealthy. I couldn’t even climb a flight of stairs without being exasperated. I lived in daily fear of going to work and someone finding my dead body in the parking garage.
Needless to say I had to wear an extension seat belt when flying, and I couldn’t put the tray down when eating a snack on the plane. I’d developed high blood pressure and was taking medication for it. I also had abnormal EKGs and heart arrhythmias, and I was too large for many of the medical diagnostic machines. In the summer of 2010 I was diagnosed with diabetes, (I was in my late 40s) and I knew it was time to get serious about my health and make the necessary changes. My father died at age 58. He was obese, angry, and diabetic, and I refused to follow in his footsteps.
[Susan was always heavy as a child. Her life was filled with dieting attempts that led to perpetual yo-yo weight gains and losses. She’d tried every fad diet imaginable. She even went to a filthy and unsanitary doctor’s office to get a seed placed in her ear; a form of acupressure that was supposed to reduce food cravings. Susan also tried hypnosis, and even succumbed to lap band surgery which she says was the biggest mistake she’s ever made in her life, because there are no happy endings with lap band surgery. She had the procedure reversed four years later and thirty pounds heavier. It was a nightmare. Having a lap band was continually painful, and she couldn’t even eat a salad with it in place.]
How did you find out about Dr. Fuhrman?
About 20 years ago I needed a life insurance exam, and Dr. Fuhrman was one of the physicians that I could choose from. (I live in New Jersey). I was in my 30s and mother to three babies. During the exam he said to me, “You are going to suffer from a heart attack and die.” And I knew he was right.
Then in 2004 I went to his medical office again for another exam. He was so sincere and helpful, and I knew he really cared for my health and well-being. He gave me a copy of his book, Eat to Live, and I went home and put it on the bookshelf. I didn’t look at it again until 2010 when I was officially diagnosed with diabetes.
How do you feel now?
I feel so grateful, in spite of myself that my life has been spared and I got my health back. I’m also in love with my husband again, because I love and take care of myself now. I have energy, and I feel strong with 220 lbs off my body. Eating to live has literally saved my life and marriage! And my days and thoughts are no longer consumed with dieting and journal writing; whether I’m having a good day or bad day depending on the food choices for that day. I have so much more mental time now that I’m able to focus on new parts of my life. It feels like I’ve woken up from a life-long coma.
[Susan’s blood pressure dropped from an average of 150/100 (with medication) to 115/70 (without medication). And she no longer has diabetes! By the way, she lost the first 120 lbs in six months, and had all 220 lbs off in less than two years!]
Do you have any success tip(s) to share?
Be prepared. Don’t ever wait until you are hungry to think about what you are going to eat for the next meal. Be proactive. Plan ahead for the next meal and even the next day. Meals should always be a calm experience, because they’ve been well planned. One should never be in a panic at meal time because the food has not been bought and prepared ahead of time.
In the beginning when you are first starting out give nutritarian eating a chance to work. Trust those that have done it and been successful – it really does work, and taste buds will eventually change! Everything will taste better! And realize how much common sense this way of eating makes. It’s not a fad. It’s eating the way our bodies were designed to eat.
Congratulations Susan for losing 220 lbs and getting your health and life back ~ you are truly an inspiration to many!