It’s been quite a week at the “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” blog and, as always, I’m so thrilled you have decided to make this a regular part of your daily life. I always appreciate hearing from my readers and sharing in this journey together called life. For today’s “Fun-Filled Friday” segment, I’ve got a few amazing, exciting, and downright incredible things to share with you. So, sit back, relax, and ENJOY!
Last July, Christine and I got us a 2002 Buick LeSabre after our 1998 Ford Escort literally went kaput on us after a wild trip to Florida to see my brother Kevin who was given a few months to live and an emergency trip to Tennessee to see my dad before he had quintuple heart bypass surgery. We were so pleased with our “new” (to us) car and got a really good deal on it, too. Unfortunately, a series of problems, including having the transmission go out with only 50,000 miles on the car in November while in Hilton Head, SC to the tune of $1400 plus!
In December I called the owner of the local dealership where we bought the car to express our disgust with it. He seemed like a nice enough guy on the television commercials and was the same in person. After talking about the over half dozen problems we have had with the car, he agreed to let us trade it back in for another one we would be happy with. And today, we finally sealed the deal on our new vehicle: a 2007 Hyundai Sonata.
Although it wasn’t as good a deal as the Buick LeSabre was, it is a VERY NICE car for the price we paid. In fact, I didn’t notice it until we got the car home, but it’s a sports model of the car complete with double mufflers. COOL! It’s got a sun roof and all the bells and whistles we liked about our old car. It took about five hours to do all the paperwork and such most of the day today, but we got this bad boy now and it’s all ours. Wish us luck that it doesn’t run into the same problems we had before! At least this time it is covered under factory warranty until 60,000 miles and it only at 42,000 miles.
This Sunday morning will be a pretty exciting time for me. No, it’s not because I get to go to church which is indeed an AWESOME experience, but I’m gonna be on the local NBC-TV affiliate in the Greenville/Spartanburg, SC area. The weekend morning host Kelly Coakley for WYFF-TV e-mailed me a couple of weeks ago and said she was very impressed with my blog and wanted to feature it and me on an upcoming interview segment of her Sunday morning show. Sweet!
She said my blog was added to their Sound Off South! web site featuring the best blogs in the Upstate of South Carolina months ago and that they regularly feature the bloggers behind those blogs for a pair of three-minute interview segments on the show. She sent me a list of questions about my blog and weight loss success and here’s how I answered her:
How long have you been blogging?
I started the “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” blog in April 2005 after I got tired of telling my story over and over and over again to everybody and their momma. Starting at 410 pounds on January 1, 2004 and going on to lose 180 pounds that year gave me plenty to talk about and I was already writing about government and politics on the Internet. So I started a blog on Blogger and built my audience from there. Today I host the blog on my own server along with a series of other web sites and online productions (http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com).
Why did you choose to blog on the subject matter you write about?
When you lose such a significant amount of weight, it’s impossible not to be passionate about spreading that message to everyone you can. Although I never pretend to be any kind of “expert” on the subject of losing weight and getting healthy, I do think my own experience has given me a unique perspective to reach people who would otherwise not listen to the message that they CAN do it themselves, too. My three-pronged mission with my blog and everything I do today is this: educate, encourage, and inspire people to lose weight, get fit, and take back control of their lives again.
Tell me about your weight loss journey?
At the age of 32, my weight and health were on the verge of collapse. I weighed 410 pounds, wore a size 62-inch pants, 5XL shirts, and was on prescription medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and breathing problems. In 1999, my brother Kevin (who died in October 2008 due to heart health complications from his weight) had gone through three heart attacks at this same age in his life due to morbid obesity and I didn’t want the same fate to happen to me. I’d tried and even been successful at losing weight on low-fat diets in the past, but I could never sustain them very long because they’d leave me constantly hungry and irritable. After I read the DR. ATKINS’ NEW DIET REVOLUTION book in December 2003 (a gift from my in-laws, by the way), I decided to give it a go.
Yes it was difficult in those first few days as I was going through some pretty major withdrawals from my 16-cans-of-Coke-a-day habit along with eating whole boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes at a time among other things. But I stuck with the Atkins dietary plan because I HAD to do something about my weight this time and NOTHING was gonna deter me this time around. My health DESERVED the chance to be good for a change.
By the end of the first month after beginning my New Year’s resolution to lose weight in January 2004, I had shed a total of 30 pounds. At the end of the second month, another 40 pounds were gone and by the time I had been on Atkins for 100 days, over 100 pounds were gone forever from my body. Words simply cannot describe how I felt going through this incredible journey and I will never be the same again.
Although it wasn’t an easy road by any stretch of the imagination, I am so thankful I found the healthy low-carb lifestyle because I went on to lose a total of 180 pounds that year. More importantly than my weight loss, though, is the fact that low-carb living gave me my health back. All of those prescriptions I was taking for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and breathing problems were all history within nine months of being on the Atkins diet.
I shared my low-carb weight loss success story in my 2005 book LIVIN’ LA VIDA LOW-CARB: MY JOURNEY FROM FLABBY FAT TO SENSATIONALLY SKINNY IN ONE YEAR (available on Amazon.com).
What did people say as you lost the weight?
This is the most remarkable part of my weight loss story that I love sharing now because it’s so funny. NOBODY (and I mean not one single person!) even noticed I had lost any weight until after I had shed 100 pounds. Granted, when you start out at 410 pounds (which nobody believes I was that big, but I was), you’ve got a long way to go.
But when I reached 50, 75, 90 pounds lost I kept thinking SOMEBODY would say, “hey Jimmy, you look like you’re losing weight.” But it didn’t happen until I passed the 100-pound weight loss mark. What made it even more frustrating was the fact that I lost almost 100 pounds in a little more than three months and my weight loss stalled out for ten weeks in a row. Although I was proud of the progress I had made in such a short amount of time, the stall along with the lack of attention from anyone made it quite challenging to deal with. Yet even when I wasn’t “losing” weight on the scale during that stall, I ended up losing 6 more inches off my waistline–positive changes were happening!
Eventually, the weight loss continued and that’s when people who would NEVER talk to me when I was morbidly obese starting chatting with me like we were old friends. It was kinda surreal because I was thinking to myself, “Why are YOU talking to ME?” But I liked the attention. And others would ask, “What’s different about you, Jimmy? Did you change your hair style or something?” Then they’d realize I had lost weight and say, “You’ve lost a few pounds, right?” I’d respond, “Yes, a few. I’m over 100 pounds lost now.” The looks on their faces I’ll NEVER forget. Friends and supporters at church and at work would call me “Skinny Jimmy,” “Slim Jim,” and other such reinforcing positive names that I couldn’t help but succeed at that point.
What was the hardest part of losing all the weight?
Some would say weight loss stalls are the hardest part, but I disagree. If you’ve been successful shedding the pounds prior to a stall, then just keep doing what you did prior to the stall and eventually it will continue. To me, the hardest part was getting started in those first few days. The first day of my Atkins diet, I literally wanted to kill myself. My body was suffering from MAJOR withdrawals from the sugar I was accustomed to eating. I was sprawled out on the couch that day with my body aching from head to toe with headaches galore, shivers, body aches, and such. I can imagine this is what a drug addict feels like coming off of crack cocaine. It was a harrowing experience. But after a few days of dealing with these symptoms, something AMAZING happened–they all cleared up and I felt better than I had EVER felt in my entire life. Whether I lost a single pound off my body or not, I wouldn’t want to trade that feeling for anything else in the world. And I haven’t in the five years since.
People all over the world work to lose weight, what kind of advice do you offer on your blog?
As a layperson who simply found a way of eating that worked for him, my advice to others is this: find a proven nutrition plan that will work for them, follow that plan exactly as prescribed by the author in their book, and then keep doing it for the rest of your life. If that’s a vegetarian, low-fat diet and it makes you happy and healthy, then go for it! But if a high-fat, low-carb diet controls your insulin and helps you lose weight, then you should do that. A lot of people try to pigeon-hole me as the “low-carb guy,” but I’m really for people discovering what works for them. We are all individualistic with customized needs, so there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet plan. That’s what makes the USDA-recommended Dietary Guidelines (Food Pyramid) such a farce.
What kind of response do you get from people?
Inquisitive, desperate, hopeless, and sometimes even nasty. The responses from people run the gamut and that’s one of the things I love the most about blogging. While the negative stuff upsets my wife Christine, I explain to her often that people will say things in the comments section of a blog that they would NEVER say out in public or to my face.
You have to keep that in mind when you start blogging. Don’t take things so personally and the negative responses you receive are actually a sign that you are doing something right. I’m currently working on my second book that will include many of the “lessons” I’ve learned from five years of low-carb dieting and blogging.
Two of the chapters will be “When you put yourself out there online, people will HATE you” and “When you put yourself out there online, people will LOVE you.” Blogging is certainly not for the faint of heart.
How do you inspire others?
Hopefully, it is because I attempt to live my life as an open book, sharing the good and bad, being as honest as I can, and never holding back on writing about how I feel. People connect with a real person who has done what they want to accomplish. I think it’s beneficial to blog about gaining a few pounds and the struggles of dealing with that than to try to hide behind my past successes. I think this earns me greater respect from my readers as a result. I’m approaching 3,000 blog posts and counting with no signs of slowing down.
You said people read your blog all over the world, did you ever think you’d have such an impact?
Oh my gosh, I had no idea. But when e-mails first started coming in from countries like Australia, the UK, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa, and all around the world, I was shocked at first. Then again, it reminded me that this obesity and health problem isn’t just confined to the United States. It’s global! When I first started my blog, I had about 5,000 readers in that first month which wasn’t too shabby. But today, I’m reaching about a quarter million readers with the positive message of livin’ la vida low-carb each month and it is both humbling and rewarding to play such a vital role in the lives of so many people. Hundreds upon hundreds of e-mails each week from people pouring out their hearts and souls to me…it makes this SO worth doing as my career now. I’ll continue doing this as long as people keep reading my blog and listening to my “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore” podcast.
What has been your greatest source of strength through this journey?
Two things–my Saviour and my soulmate.
I give God all the credit in the world for producing such an amazing turnaround in my life. This was indeed a genuine life-changing moment that could not have happened without His strength in me to make it happen. A lot of people say that I must have had this great willpower or something. But I don’t believe in willpower–I believe God can give you a steadfast resolve to make better choices for the sake of your health and that’s exactly what I did in 2004–and I’m STILL doing today.
Then there’s my soulmate Christine who stood by me from morbid obesity to the healthy man I am today. She cried when she thought I was going to die from my weight and gave me the gentle, loving hand I needed to make it through this low-carb experience. I’m grateful for Christine’s influence on my weight loss success and certainly would not have been able to do it without her.
I’m sure I’ll say something different from my e-mail interview answers on the live broadcast this Sunday, so I’ll try to record it for YouTube next week. Wish me luck!
Speaking of television, did you see that big brawl that broke out down in Alabama earlier this week. What has this nation come to that civilized people would resort to this kind of public discourse over a game involving a rubber ball? Utterly disgusting! God help us all if this kind of degradation of our culture continues.
A reader sent me the following cartoon that perfectly describes how most of us feel about our “healthy” nutritional advice from our doctors over the years changed once we learned about livin’ la vida low-carb. You gotta love it!
Finally, speaking of “healthy,” another reader sent me a shocking recipe that appeared in the American Heart Association’s Kids’ Cookbook and this is NOT a joke. They actually promoted this as a “healthy” way for kids to enjoy a “slumber party” together. Take a close look at those ingredients and see what you think!
I’ve got so much more to share, but I’ll save it for next Friday! If you wanna send something fun, funny, or downright interesting for inclusion on my special “Fun-Filled Friday” posts, then please e-mail those to me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a fantabulous weekend!