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Interview with Jimmy Moore - The Author of "21 Life Lessons From Livin' La Vida Low-Carb"
Posted on 09th , Feburary 2012
Q1. Tell us about your “Livin La Vida Low-Carb” blog. When did you start your blog and what prompted you to start it?
On January 1, 2004, I was not the same man that I am today. Weighing in at over 400 pounds, on three prescription medications and never really caring about what food I was stuffing into my mouth, I embarked on a journey that would revolutionize my health, my career and give me a newfound appreciation for this body and life that had been given to me. In that one year alone, I lost a total of 180 pounds--but I gained so much more. A fire was lit within me to go share with the world what a miracle had happened to me thanks to nourishing myself with quality foods for the first time in my entire life. That passion burned so hot from within that I couldn't help but share it with anyone who would listen. That's what led me in April 2005 to start the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog and all these years later I'm still just as on fire for helping people find answers to their weight and health issues.
Q2. Obese people often face a whole plethora of problems in their daily lives, from clothing (unable to find the right size), work (being ridiculed, professional quagmires) to dating. Did you face such problems in your life? Do you have any tips for obese people, especially extremely obese people who have to face such problems on daily basis?Nah, live was just a big bed of roses for me as a morbidly obese man. HA! Uh, yeah, I had a few issues to deal with. Clothing at the "big and tall" stores was about double the cost of what you would spend on "normal-sized" clothes. OUCH! In my career, I always felt my weight kept me from advancing further in the companies I worked for. There may not be organized discrimination against fat people, but it's an unspoken truth nobody wants to admit. On the dating front, thankfully my beautiful wife Christine never judged me on my weight--she could see the man inside of me that had amazing potential to do great things someday. She was probably the only one who believed in me enough to know I would someday make a difference in people's lives. There are other quality of life issues like ripping my pants getting in and out of the car, having to sleep on my side because my belly was protruding out so much I couldn't sleep on my stomach, feeling uncomfortable sitting on a toilet…the list goes on and on. It's the reality of daily life in the body of an obese person and I still have a heart for people dealing with this. My encouragement to anyone who is living this way is to believe there is hope for you, to find it within yourself to somehow, someway break out of the mold of normalcy to change your life forever like I did, and then to execute an effective plan using the knowledge you have learned about yourself to make it happen. And oh by the way, it probably isn't another failed low-fat, low-calorie, exercise-til-you-drop program either!
Q3. What is the most difficult thing about living with extreme obesity?
The stigma. From the ghastly stares to the self-inflicted shame at what life has become for you. People look at you as if you are an out-of-control food addict who just isn't disciplined enough to stop eating yourself to death. They think you lack the willpower and that you're lazy, slothful and a big fat slob. But the reality is that most people who are morbidly obese would be delighted to be normal weight and go through life without the stigma of their weight defining who they are as people. There are some talented individuals with amazing characteristics that sadly go unnoticed because of the extra pounds they carry on their body. People often ask me if losing weight changed my personality to make me the person I am today. No, the man I am now was already in that formerly 410-pound body just screaming for somebody, anybody to notice. Extreme obesity doesn't make you any less of a person even if sometimes you feel that way.
Q4. What draws you towards the Atkins Diet? What is so special about it?
The only "special" about the Atkins high-fat, low-carb diet is the fact that it worked for me. People often think I'm some evangelist for the Atkins diet and I suppose I am in some ways because of the tremendous success in my weight and health that I experienced. But I'm a big believer in people finding a plan that will work for them, following that plan exactly as prescribed and then to keep doing that plan for their rest of their lives. If you do that then you can't help but be successful in your pursuit. The great thing about the Atkins diet, though, unlike anything else I had ever tried is the fact that you don't have to suffer through withholding essential nutrients that your body can use to help you burn fat and attain the health you've always dreamt of having! You are not only allowed but encouraged to eat healthy saturated fats like butter, cream, full-fat meats and cheeses, coconut oil, lard and other delicious and satisfying fat sources as a means to fueling your body properly while positively impacting your HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL particle size. This happens when you do it in conjunction with a controlled-carbohydrate nutritional plan that focuses primarily on green leafy and non-starchy vegetables and for those who can tolerate it small amounts of fruit like berries. The Atkins diet is oftentimes ridiculed in the media for being a "fad" diet that cuts out an entire food group. And yet this way of eating is just real food that nourishes your body in ways that the fat-cutting, starve yourself diets could never do.
Q5. Millions of people consume diet pills daily in a hope to loose weight. What do you wish people to know about diet pills?
Don't take them. It's a gimmick. The best diet "pill" you can take is to add more fat to your diet. If you ate a tablespoon of coconut oil or butter before or with your meals, then you'd never have an issue with overeating which is ostensibly what a diet pill is attempting to prevent. The satiating properties of a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb nutritional approach cannot be ignored for people who desperately desire weight loss. And the worries that people may have about their heart health eating this way are simply unfounded. There is simply no evidence that saturated fat and cholesterol lead to heart disease.
Q6. You offer coaching on low carb diets and healthy lifestyles. What are some of the common things you hear from people when they seek your help?
I offer up my opinions about healthy low-carb living as a means of paying it forward for the change that happened in me. One of the most common things people deal with are unrealistic expectation levels regarding their weight. Somebody will write to me and tell me this fantastic story of how they've lost 30 pounds eating low-carb, they feel great, they've come off of prescription medications, their diabetes numbers are better, etc. Then they'll say that they had EXPECTED to lose 50 pounds by this point and they ask me what's wrong with the diet. That's frustrating to hear because people like to assign blame when they should be celebrating what livin' la vida low-carb has done for them. I suppose we're just so conditioned as a society to expect diets to fail that we look for any excuse to point the finger of blame when things don't go exactly as we planned or expected. This is a pet peeve of mine. And the other major thing I hear from people is their worry about their cholesterol. Their LDL and total cholesterol is elevated and their doctor wants to put them on a statin drug to lower it. So people write to me wondering why their low-carb diet made them get unhealthy lipid numbers. And yet we have been sold a bald faced lie about the meaning of cholesterol as it relates to their health. Most people don't realize that LDL is calculated, that it's the size of the LDL particles that is most important (measured using a VAP or NMR Lipoprofile test), that HDL above 50 and triglycerides below 100 is quite protective against heart attacks and heart disease, and that all of these numbers come into line when you eat a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet. I'm healthier today with a total cholesterol in the 300's than most people walking around with artificially-lowered cholesterol numbers under 200 through statin medications who are more likely to have a cardiovascular event than I ever will. It's time to stop worrying obsessively over your cholesterol and to just enjoy the life you've been given. Fat-phobia and cholesterol mania are two of the most dastardly parts of our culture that people need to reexamine if we're ever going to move forward with real solutions for the weight and health issues that plague us.
Q7. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about low-carb diets e.g. diets discourage eating vegetables and fruits, or it damages the kidney, bones and heart. What do you wish people to know about such myths?
Most of them are just plain wrong. I write about them often on my blog and will be featuring an entire episode of my new "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" podcast (http://www.askthelowcarbexperts.com) on Thursday, April 26, 2012 addressing this subject with renowned low-carb researcher and practitioner Dr. Eric Westman. There's an excellent page from a registered nurse named Jackie Eberstein who worked with the late, great Dr. Robert C. Atkins in his complementary medicine clinic in New York City for nearly three decades that addresses these common myths with the facts: http://www.controlcarb.com/ccn-myths.htm The problem is most of the criticisms of low-carb diets are by people who haven't read the books, don't acknowledge the mounting body of research studies in support of this way of eating, and usually have an ulterior motive to promote a vegan, meat-free lifestyle. Unfortunately, the general public gets caught in the cross-hairs of this misinformation put out there and many have bought into it. My role is to show people the truth and to let them decide for themselves based on hearing both sides of the argument. I only wish I had heard it myself sooner.
Q8. Tell us about your book '21 Life Lessons From Livin' La Vida Low-Carb: How The Healthy Low-Carb Lifestyle Changed Everything I Thought I Knew'. What prompted you to write this book and how can it benefit people?
That was a fun book to write and originally was going to have 50 "life
lessons" in. But when I got through the first ten and the book was
already 250 pages, I knew I had to whittle it down to the best 21
lessons that range from cholesterol to the failure of low-fat diets to
diseases prevented by low-carb living and more! I poured my heart and
soul out into that book to share many of the lessons I wish I had heard
when I first started this lifestyle change in 2004. There's a lot of
information packed into this book, including some personal stories from
my life that have shaped me and my message--the ups and downs of being a
blogger writing about low-carb diets, the diet shysters waiting to prey
on you online, my opportunity to be in a major Hollywood film opposite
George Clooney, and the early death at the age of 41 of my only
full-blooded brother Kevin. I wanted this book be educational, inspiring
and encouraging to anyone who reads it and I'm very proud of how it
turned out. I'm currently in the process of writing two more books in
2012. One is going to focus on how to properly read your cholesterol
tests since doctors are blindly following LDL and total cholesterol
almost exclusively. And the other is a collaboration of recipes in a
cookbook series called "Low-Carbing Among Friends." I'm excited about
these projects and continuing the work I've been doing on my blog and
Jimmy Moore, Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Blog & Podcast
Author of "21 Life Lessons From Livin' La Vida Low-Carb: How The Healthy
Low-Carb Lifestyle Changed Everything I Thought I Knew" (BookSurge 2009)
ORDER FROM AMAZON: http://tinyurl.com/yh6smyy
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