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Remembering Kevin Moore

My Latest 'Light Bulb' Moment That Has Changed My Diet And Life Forever

These past two months have been quite the experience for me as some major transitions have been taking place in my thinking about food, why I eat the way I do, and whether I am maximizing my low-carb nutritional plan to the fullest. If you’ve been following my “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Menus” blog recently, then you’ve been reading all about these exciting mental and physical transformations happening to me and I sincerely hope it has inspired others in their own health journey to take a closer look at themselves.

I’ve been off of diet soda for the first time in six years for over 40 days and counting. This is immensely significant as I had transitioned from my 16-can-a-day Coca-Cola habit prior to my low-carb lifestyle to an 8-can-a-day diet soda addiction. I never bought into the idea previously that I was causing any harm to my body consuming a calorie-free beverage, but I only recently realized that my drinking was more of a habit than a desire to quench my thirst. Aided by my dedication to a very high-fat, moderate protein, very low-carb nutritional approach consisting of the best fresh, local foods I can purchase, I’ve been able to shed nearly 30 pounds. But more importantly, I’m no longer craving diet soda or anything artificially sweetened in my menus. POOF! The desire is completely gone for me.

Today I wrote a commentary in my menus blog that I wanted to make sure would be read by as many people as I could possibly reach because this is a message too important to be missed for any who desires weight loss, being healthy, and living the life they always dreamed of having. The following is a reprint of those words that hopefully will be my heart cry for many years to come:

I’m excited about the progress of my recent focus on consuming the highest quality of real, whole foods I can find. It’s still not a perfect diet, but it’s a whole heckuva lot better one that I was eating the past six years and certainly light years ahead of the Standard American Diet (SAD) I was consuming prior to 2004 as a 400-pound behemoth of a man. But I don’t regret the transition it took for me to go from that morbidly obese state into the smaller size I am now. Some people scoff at the notion that you do things like add artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, substitute favorite high-carb foods with low-carb alternatives, etc. because they say it feeds your addiction to carbohydrates. But I disagree.

My personal experience has shown me that those things are an outstanding way to NOT feel deprived while you are transitioning from eating crappy to eating healthier. When I was 410 pounds, I literally didn’t care about what I put in my mouth because it didn’t seem to matter inside my head. But when I turned to the Atkins diet to help me take the weight off (and subsequently get my health in line), all of a sudden my mind did a complete 180 and I suddenly became acutely aware of everything I was putting inside my body. It was as if a light switch was turned on and instantly I could see the fallacy of my old eating habits. It was an awakening of sorts that helped me become highly successful in my weight loss efforts and why you know who I am today.

In March 2010, the next phase of my journey took hold and a newfound awakening happened allowing the light to be turned on about the foods I added to my low-carb lifestyle over the past five years and I could see it was filled with a lot of junk. As much as I loved regularly consuming my beloved diet soda, sugar-free chocolate, low-carb pasta, low-carb ice cream, and all the other replacement foods that made low-carb enjoyable for me the past six years, those foods are not what we were intended to be consuming as the mainstay of our low-carb diet–EVER! I know, I know…I’ve been one of the leading low-carb junk food junkies for a long time and I’m here to say nobody should be eating these things ALL THE TIME. Perhaps once in a while it’s not a big deal but several times a week or every single day? Not appropriate if you are attempting to be as healthy as possible.

With the light shining brightly on this aspect of my low-carb life, I couldn’t help but change my habits. They had become somewhat sloppy again albeit with low-carb foods instead. So doing my eggfest a couple of months ago started a new transition for me away from relying on things like diet soda and all the other sugar-free, low-carb stuff that I had introduced into my life and towards fine-tuning my diet to prefer grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, grass-fed butter, quality cheeses, a few natural spices, some green leafy veggies, and water instead. Unless you’ve been through this journey yourself, you can’t imagine how incredible it feels to make this kind of switch. It’s monumental for me and I’m still in the midst of making it take hold in my life so that I can benefit both my weight and my health. The weight loss started fast and has slowed down, but that doesn’t matter to me as much as allowing the good habits to take hold and stay there for life. That’s my pursuit.

The argument could be made to just go all the way with your diet changes and more power to ya if you can pull that off. But I know for Jimmy Moore and others out there that this is a process that we all need to determine the perfect timing for us. Rushing into it too soon will only lead to discouragement and ultimate failure with discontentment about the process leading right back to poor dietary habits again. Although it is possible to make these changes later than need be, it’s a whole lot better to be late than never. Yes, I’m probably late transitioning to the next phase in my lifestyle change, but I think the time has taught me what is right and what is wrong. I’ll never claim that I have arrived and anyone who does has a rude awakening coming someday. But what I am is aware. Aware of my surroundings, aware of what’s best for me at this moment in my life, aware that I hold the power to change and am making that change happen. The time is now for me. How about you?

Follow my continuing real, whole foods progress each day at my low-carb menus blog to see if these newfound changes take permanent root in my life. I believe they will and I’ll be reaping the benefits of it for many years to come! Only YOU know when your “light bulb” moment will happen and I encourage you to be ready for it when it happens.

  • Fantastic stuff Jimmy! It will be very interesting to follow your journey onwards.

    • THANK YOU Andreas! It’s gonna be quite the journey indeed and I’m looking forward to it.

  • Karen

    JImmy do you not drink coffee or do you drink it black, if you ever drank it?
    Thanks it sure made sense to me so as soon as my diet coke is gone that will be it!

    • I’m not a coffee or tea guy which is why diet soda has always been my vice. I’m all water all the time now.

  • Jimmy!

    Great post. As you and I go down this path together it is amazing how our experiences parallel. As I am now Five Years Fat Free I knew that I would have to transition slowly to a healthy lifestyle of eating. This is the year, Five Years after dropping the weight, that I have had scheduled to reduce the artificial sweeteners etc that I eat. Like you, I also believe that transitioning too much too soon would have lead to ultimate failure.

    When it comes to eating cleaner slow and steady changes do make the difference.

    Again great post,

    Pete Thomas
    WinningMan.com

    • THANKS my “Biggest Loser” friend. You are a constant inspiration to me with the way you live and I’m grateful for your example. Best wishes in your endeavor.

  • warren

    Just wanted to say good for you Jimmy! I have myself recently recomitted to quality food choices and a “leaning-out”. I hope to someday become a Nutrional Counselor and use my own story as an example of the changes that can occur. Keep it up!

  • You’ve made the final step, crossing from weight loss as a priority, to health and longevity as a priority. Congrats! You will not look back.

  • Good going, Jimmy. Luckily for me, I started my “quest for honesty” before I started low carb living. I figured that the chemicals in these sweeteners can’t be good for me, so I switched back to small quantities of raw sugar in coffee before cutting it out entirely. I did a similar thing with the fake creamers, switching back to half & half. Of course, that was long before I knew the health benefits of fat and figured the damage I was supposedly doing was better than the chemical cocktail in the fancy flavors. Now I’ve kicked it up to heavy cream in my coffee whenever possible. As far as soda goes, I used to have a pretty large diet soda habit. Flavored sparkling water helped me kick that one, but I mostly just drain the office water cooler these days.

  • David

    Good for you, Jimmy! I have not completely stopped the diet drinks, yet – my next goal. But I have given up on all processed “low-carb” products. They often use many of the same ingredients I avoid in regular processed foods (soy, artificial sweeteners, etc.). These ingredients, in many cases, didn’t exist in my parents youth, but have been created in labs to make things last longer on the shelf or to save money by substituting for real food. If one is in the position of transitioning to real food, and a low carb replacement food is desired, make it yourself. I have given up artificial sweeteners in everything except the sodas. I added more cream to my coffee until I got used to drinking it unsweetened, then gradually reduced the cream to a normal amount. You’ve inspired me to renew my efforts at cutting out the diet sodas.

    • Try my “eggfest” David. Within 8 days I lost all desire for diet soda and haven’t wanted one since.

  • Congratulations! It was nerve shattering watching you eat and drink all that poison for all of those years. — All it is is eating and drinking natures true foods just like all of the other species instead of eating what man and his science has turned these foods into for his eating and drinking pleasure and profit.

    Real food tastes outlandishly good!

    Lots of it too!

  • Kim

    Just wondering why last year when everyone was telling you to stop with the sweet 3 times a day and the diet sodas you vehemently denied these were a problem. How come when people give good advice it is ignored until the person makes the decision for themselves? It is just aggravating.

    • Kim, I’ve been on this continuing journey for over 6 years with all the ups and downs of my personal path. I’m a strong believer in finding the right time to accept what’s right for you. There’s no reason to be aggravated. Just be happy for me that I’ve made this next monumental next step in my health pursuit. Thanks for reading!

  • pjnoir

    Personally I can’t believe you drank that much diet soda at all, Jimmy. Following Atkins and a Low Carb diet has proven to be a successful regiment for weight loss and BG control for my diabetes but in spite of all the experts you have been in contact with and have interviewed- you still didn’t ‘get it’ When I added Paleo and IF to my program and a decent strength building program there was no holding me back- weight loss with major redistribution of body mass. Three months ago I started to drink Raw Milk ( yes not Paleo, but…) and never felt healthier inside and out. As Tom Bunnell wrote above me “REAL FOOD tastes outlandishly good.” And if I can add Real food is what the body needs. Jimmy in my eyes you lost your glitter- I hope you earn it back. Go for the ring Jimmy. There is no magic fix- just the basics done every day.

    • Well, the fact is I did and it was very hard for me. It wasn’t a matter of “getting it” as much as finding MY time for doing this. That’s what I wrote in my menus blog post because it’s not as simple for everyone just to suddenly change their behavior. Time plays a huge role in helping people figure out what is best for them. I’m proud of you for finding what works for you and following my journey on this same path to better health. I’m not sure what my “glitter” is supposed to be, but I’ll just keep being honest with myself and my faithful readers and let the chips fall where they may.

  • Hi Jimmy!

    I’ve been having to ease into low carb, but I am getting there slowly but surely. Soda pop was my downfall as well, and is an area I’m still struggling with since I don;t like any artificial sweeteners. I’m going to read about your egg-fest now. I wonder if that would help with breaking the sugar addiction too.

    Keep up the good work!

    Lemme know how it goes for you! Go for it!!!

    –Jimmy

  • Like others, I gave up the chemicals and sugars before ever considering low carb. Your site and podcasts were my launching pad for what I think is the final piece for me. So congratulations to you and thank you. I know you take a lot of grief but from where I sit, you seem like ‘really good people” as we say here is the South! :-)

    • Awwww, thanks Patty! As a lifelong Southern boy, I know exactly what you mean. Thank you!

  • Amy

    Way to go, Jimmy! What a fantastic post. Life is supposed to be a journey. It’s not like we are born one day hoping to be 90 years old the next day. We should enjoy all the steps along the way, even if we don’t know where they will lead. I enjoy reading about your journey so thank you for sharing.

  • ana

    I just wanted to say how impressed I am that you are so honest with your blogs, and how you manage to have a positive response even to people that are quite critical of you – I know I’d be really defensive!
    Really glad you’ve found something that works for you, keep up the good work!

  • Susan

    Jimmy, I so appreciate your honesty and your “realness.” It helps a lot of people to know and see that this is a journey for all of us – for some it is much harder than for others. And it is an evolving journey – we don’t just get up one morning and we “are there!” There are so many influences/factors in a person’s life (physically, emotionally, spiritually) so one person should not compare themselves to another. I think people that do that are simply trying to put themselves on a pedestal while putting others down. It speaks to their character (or lack thereof) more than anything. I think you possess a wonderful, caring character and I have so appreciate having been encouraged by your journey over the years to continue on mine. I keep falling off the wagon but I get back on each time because I know if Jimmy can do it, so can I. And I always remember your words, “Never Give Up”! God bless you and Christine, Jimmy. Keep up the excellent journey!

  • SeminarianJohn

    Jimmy,

    For myself, I know that I have to be vigilant in order to keep my hundred pounds off. I’ve been jealous of people like you who could on a regular basis. I seldom eat more than 25 g of carbs/day and I often go days without eating any kind of low-carb sweetener, but it works. It grumble occasionally because of the lack of options at the seminary cafeteria. The thing is that I know I can keep healthy with my eating lifestyle. The junk foods are interesting once in a long time, but my food addictions and metabolism can’t afford treats like low-carb pasta or diet soda often.

    I’m interested in how much the natural foods help. I understand omega-3 amounts are a little higher in many natural foods (e.g., grass-fed beef). But I haven’t found natural foods necessary for me. I don’t really have access to them for the main part of my diet anyway.

    Keep up the good work, Jimmy!

  • What a dynamic post, Jimmy. I think we all have our moments when we realize we’re ready for a big change. For me it always happens suddenly and unexpectedly. Who knows why we’re not ready to make changes until the “right” time? It doesn’t make any sense, but I guess that’s because we’re all human. Some people seem to be able to get it right all the time, but for the rest of us these light bulb moments are something to treasure, knowing it’s a journey, not a race, right? :)

  • I woke up this morning thinking about you Jimmy, — “Jimmy Moore and the Thyroid Gland” to be exact. I have been wanting to bring this up to you for some time. I’ve seen somewhere in your past writings of your referencing to the possibility of your thyroid glad being low, while you were dealing with the perplexities of your weight fluctuations and weight gain that you have been fighting.

    It occurred to me that now might be a good time to bring this up while you are dealing so closely with what you are and are not putting into your system other than actual food and actual water.

    I’m sure your looking at your vitamin’s and supplement’s and anything else you that you ingest in addition to and as well as well your caffeine and artificial sweeteners and what not that you have been so courageously confronting while you solve this puzzle.

    I say that because I know how hard it is to break these addiction’s. — Next to impossible for millions and million’s of people.

    If I remember right you were considering whether your thyroid gland might be low and therefore at the bottom of your weight gain.

    I’m sure dozens if not hundreds of person’s had mentioned this thyroid glad to you as a possible culprit in this matter. — It’s the first place everybody goes to.

    Just off the cuff in an all knowing way they will mention the thyroid.

    My layman’s expertise in this area comes from my having been diagnosed and treated for an excessively high thyroid, a disease called Graves Disease by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in about 1980.

    I had lost over 100# at the time and was close to falling over dead with a heart attack because of my runaway and erratic heart beat. About 225 plus and above and stopping and starting and jumping all over the place, erratically.

    They gave me intravenous digitalis at a local hospital emergency room in Spokane, Washington while I was traveling and then stabilized me with digitalis pill’s to get me home to Minnesota where I could get money and insurance and help to look into this matter and be treated. — They thought they were going to lose me when I first came in. If I had had insurance they would have admitted me immediately and done everything right there.

    A male nurse told me that my heart beat was much worse that the electro cardiogram chart they sent with me because they took that test long after the injection and I was stabilizing well by then. They were minimizing there liability for putting me out the door in case I died.

    The Mayo said I was down to 25% strength and 33% energy and my heart would have burst before very long. It felt like 10% and 10%.

    This was 30 years ago and they treated me with a nuclear radiation treatment to destroy my thyroid gland and shrink it up like a prune and then I would take medicine for the rest of my life.

    One person in a thousand they said it would destroy the overactive part of the thyroid gland and leave the rest intact and functioning.

    I was that one person in a thousand and took nothing for several years and regained my lost health almost immediately. Later they put me on 100 mcg Levothyroxine as an elevator because I was obese and lethargic and had depression. — They didn’t know if it was the depression causing this or the Thyroid causing this, but thought the thyroid was worth a try. They consider this dose so minimal that anybody could take it. My doctor said even he could take this much and there was nothing wrong with his thyroid or his thyroid level’s.

    Nobody know’s our actual thyroid level’s unless we have been tested from birth on and our parents and grandparents before that.

    It has a very wide range of normal for different people unless it is excessively high or low.

    For over 30 years Mayo has been treating my thyroid gland. The original Mayo brothers and founders fathers, first eminent partner brought on board way back in the beginning, was an expert endocrinologist and the thyroid gland was his speciality.

    It had been understood early on the importance of the Thyroid Gland.

    All this to say. “Thyroid Medicine” is the most widely prescribed and inappropriately prescribed medicine in the United States and the world today.– It has been for some time.

    From at least the 1950’s on if you were obese or tired or lethargic you were prescribed amphetamine’s or thyroid pills or both.

    Millions upon millions of people are inappropriately prescribed this medicine.

    As you know the thyroid glad regulate’s our entire body’s chemistry and hormones and adrenal and endorphin’s as well as sweat and saliva and heart beat and everything else.

    It is the “heart” of our bodies systems.

    They hand it out like candy to about anybody, Mayo included.

    It’s made from pig’s thyroid gland’s which are very similar to man’s.

    You have the resources and expertise and connection’s to look into this matter Jimmy

    I believe it to be of vital importance.

    Thank you so much for allowing me, Tom

    • I’ll be featuring an expert on this subject on my podcast show soon. Thanks Tom!

  • Jimmy,
    I have always admired your intellect and energy.
    Your podcasts are so important to the low carb community and getting the message out.
    However I could never understand some of your dietary choices, the main one being your use of artificial sweeteners.

    I am really pleased that you’ve stopped the soda.
    I am sure that soda elimination will have a big positive effect on your body.

    I hope your wife is with you on this one too.

  • mezzo

    I am extremely glad to hear this. I am quite sure that – once your tastebuds have recovered from all that artificial slime – you will be quite unable to drink another can of What’s-its-name-soda. The stuff tastes really vile and all that phosphorous needs no many nutrients to be processed by the body. My own experience is this: if I drink more than one or two cans of diet coke a week my fingernails get brittle.

  • LietaB

    Jimmy – Congratulations on quitting Diet Coke!! That is SO GREAT! People who have never had this addiction (and tried to quit) do not understand how hard it is to overcome. I used to consume insane quantities of Diet Coke (no water, ever) for years and finally gave it up last September. It was incredibly rough (worse than quitting smoking or giving up coffee) and it took about a month for me to feel like a normal person. So, I know how hard it can be. I’m incredibly proud of myself for quitting, and I am excited that you’ve quit, too!

  • Jill

    I, too, have found after starting Atkins and realizing how much better I felt not eating the wheat/sugar and other processed crap that my tolerance for artificial-tasting things has steadily decreased. First, I couldn’t think of eating canned soup or frozen meals anymore. Then it was commercial salad dressings. Last to go has been Sf jello and diet Pepsi…I never believed it when people said AS or diet drinks would keep sugar/sweet cravings going…I thought it would help with them because I got the sweet without the addictive part but after quitting diet soda for several months the cravings for anything sweet or really even bad for me at all disappeared. When I finally had a diet soda…back they came and I was convinced. Now it’s just water, iced tea and club soda for me. I use stevia in my coffee, which seems to do okay by me, but stay away from the chemical sweeteners altogether now. I think this process is common as people get used to the way they have improved their eating and health and want to continue to do better. Continued small steps forward is the key to lasting success IMO.

    • Jill, that’s exactly right! And we’re all at different stages, so I think it’s foolish for anyone to expect people to suddenly make a change just because they think it’s best. But it is indeed a process that we all must go through to beat our own personal addictions. CONGRATS to you!

  • I’m so happy for you, Jimmy! Thanks for sharing your struggles and successes.

    I am curious about one thing. Perhaps you have discussed this in a previous post that I haven’t read — if so, feel free to just point me to it rather than have to rewrite everything.

    A year or maybe two years ago, you went on a “sweet-free” regimen that lasted close to a month, as I recall. The cravings for the sweet taste never subsided, from what you said. Weren’t you also diet-soda free during that time? Could you compare that experience with this one? What do you think was the reason the eggfest worked better than your abstention specifically from the sweet taste?

    • THANKS so much, Vesna! You are exactly right about my attempt to remove everything “sweet” from my diet in November/December 2008 and it was an interesting experiment for me. But it was not sustainable because I still craved something “sweet” even if it was calorie-free. Diet sodas have been a bear for me over the years and I’ve openly struggled with giving them up no matter how much people talked about all them being bad for you. Tell that to my head that wanted one! :)

      Enter the eggfest. You’ll notice in my rules for the eggfest that I included up to three diet sodas daily with a goal of 1 or less. After just one week of eating eggs, butter, and cheese, my desire for them just went away. There was no forcing the issue this time, no mandating I couldn’t have one, and no coming off of the diet soda before I was ready. That was the key in my opinion to this successful attempt to get off of the diet sodas. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m well on my way to making this a permanent new habit.

  • Paula B

    You have to remember, folks, that just because someone is an icon or takes a leadership role in any community, it doesn’t make them perfect. Jimmy is a human just like everyone else, struggles with weight loss just like everyone else, and has foods that are harder than others to give up just like everyone else.

    When I first started low-carbing back in 03, I was addicted to Diet Mountain Dew, and couldn’t function without it. Suddenly, about six months into it, after I’d lost 60 pounds or so, I decided I didn’t want to be addicted any more. After all, I had kicked my carb addiction, and could do this as well. So I did, and it was surprisingly easy. After having 2 a day for 15 years, I’ve had less than a handful since 03 — it just doesn’t taste good to me any more.

    My current thing I’d like to kick? Atkins bars. I don’t care about the net carb count, they make me bloat, and I can’t stop eating them once I start. But since I travel all the time, sometimes they’re the only portable thing I can find as an alternative to the snack mix (and those carb-bloated snack boxes) on the plane. All in good time…but in the meantime, I’ll keep working with my trainer (Josef Brandenburg, who I found here) and making other positive changes. It’s a lifelong journey, and only by staying on the path will we get there.

    • CONGRATULATIONS on your own personal journey, Paula! THANKS for your comments.