How Dolly turned her obesity and metabolic syndrome around

Dollyfeatured
Dr. Jason Fung: This week I’d like to share Dolly’s story. She has been able to take control of her health, losing over 100 pounds in the process. Interestingly, she hasn’t had problems with loose skin, which is our experience, too. In five years of the IDM program, I have not referred a single patient for skin removal surgery despite in some cases, like Dolly over 100 pounds (45 kg) of weight loss. There is very little data about why we see this phenomenon, although I suspect the body was burning the excess protein for energy. Here’s her story:

Dolly: Let me start with the most heartfelt of thank you to Dr. Fung, Megan, Nadia and all the staff and members of the IDM program and Nadia’s LCHF/Keto Facebook Group. You have given me back my life, literally, and I will be forever grateful. The process is one of serious intent and diligent effort accompanied by joyful scientific curiosity and kind support. In a little over a year, I’ve gotten rid of 105+ pounds (48+ kg) which is more than two of my friends even weigh! Isn’t it amazing that we belong to a program that doesn’t need to put the disclaimer, “Results not typical” on such success stories because these life-changing results ARE typical!

When I started the IDM Program back in 2017, I was 61 years old and, at 5’4″ (162 cm) tall, weighing 261 pounds (118 kg), morbidly obese. I had many symptoms of diabetes and poor heart health: sky-high fasting insulin, elevated blood glucose, eye issues, shortness of breath, swollen ankles/legs/feet, multiple and multiplying skin tags, numbness, mental fog (which was especially terrifying to me because my mother and all her sisters died from Alzheimer’s), pain, extreme tiredness, heart palpitations, osteoarthritis, back pain, sleep apnea, etc. I had also developed a severe case of plantar fasciitis which kept me from walking.

I was playing ostrich, avoiding physicals and blood work because I was afraid that my doctor would insist that I go to the Joslin Center. I shudder to think where I would be if I’d gone, been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and started Insulin.

The IDM Program was one of those lovely, serendipitous gifts the Universe is apt to proffer at your lowest moments. Dr. Fung’s book, “The Obesity Code“, literally sprang off a library shelf at me when I bumped it as I ducked in among the stacks at random to avoid being seen by an old friend. I felt so embarrassed and depressed by how fat I had become since I last met this person that I just couldn’t bear the thought of him seeing me that way. I read a little and then found I couldn’t put the book down, it so perfectly spoke to my own experience.

I discovered Dr. Fung’s YouTube lectures and the IDM Program. I was so downtrodden at that point, so scared and I’d tried pretty much everything else. Retired and on a fixed income, I figured I could pay for the program with the money I saved by fasting and that has proven to be true. I was also taken by the sincerity and care so evident in Dr. Fung’s words and demeanor. Here was a doctor who understood that people weren’t lying when they said they had really tried counting calories, and eating low-fat, and having six meals a day as advised, and exercising, etc. etc. etc. but that those things just didn’t work long term. He didn’t think I was lazy, or gluttonous, or lacking self-control. He got that no matter how much I ate, I was still always hungry… even paradoxically when I was physically full at the same time. And he knew what caused that hunger and it wasn’t some character flaw in me; it was too much insulin!

Starch structure

One of my big concerns was having lots of excess skin if I was actually successful in getting rid of the 100+ pounds (45+ kg)I needed to lose. We’ve all seen those horrible pictures of people holding great handfuls of loose skin at their bellies. At over 60 years old I have less elastic skin. But I am happy to report that, despite having lost all that weight in just a year, I have very little excess skin at all and that is without lifting weights or doing other strenuous spot-reducing type exercises.

I have no way to prove it, but I think it must be due to the consistency of basically fasting three days a week (autophagy?), in some fashion, most weeks during that year, combined with eating the most well-balanced, nutrient dense, lazy keto meals (2 per day on feasting days) I could devise. I really feasted when it was a feast day, eating only foods whose taste I truly enjoyed and always eating to satiety.

My biggest mistake in the beginning was not getting enough fat. Dr. Nadia was SO helpful in pointing me in the right direction with that. She has a website full of delicious keto recipes. You can have delicious meals without much cooking at all. I never seem to tire of a big keto salad for dinner dressed with lots of EVOO and raw ACV, and love eggs with a side of avocado and fermented veggies for breakfast. Most days I also have a little piece of cheese and raw nuts.

My formerly huge “sweet tooth” is happy with just a couple of squares of 95% dark chocolate dipped in a little coconut cream with a handful of raspberries for a special treat. If you only knew how amazing that is! I am so fortunate to have family and friends who have been very supportive the whole time. At social gatherings many people they figured either I’d cave in and go back to the SAD (Standard American Diet) and then be miserable, or else I’d “be strong” and not cave in but would look so pitiful, salivating over what I couldn’t eat that they would feel guilty and we’d all be miserable! Instead, they learned (and I learned) that if all that is available is SAD fare, I can unobtrusively have a nice glass of water with lime and fast and just enjoy the company. Easy!

raspberry-choco

I blend because I’m content, not starving, now that I’m a fat burner. I don’t think I could have done it without that coaching initially. I always learned so much from both Nadia and the other IDM members on the call. If you’re feeling like you want to bury your head in the sand because you’ve “messed up”, DON’T! Post something on the forum or Facebook site. You will be amazed at how quickly, and how much, non-judgmental support you will be offered by others who have been there or who are there right now. I’ve made some great friends that way. We nerded out on keto/fasting while walking on the beach which I could do because my plantar fasciitis is gone!

After just six months on the IDM Program, I had lost 75 pounds (34 kg) and my fasting insulin had dropped to 4.3 micro IU/M and my fasting blood glucose was 75 mg/dl! Not just “normal” but really great! I was amazed. My doctor was though, has not been supportive. When I first told her what I was doing (after I’d been in the program three months and had already lost a LOT of weight) she actually got angry and told me I was being duped and that fasting and “all that fat” were dangerous, and tried to get me to read a book on veganism and follow that instead.

I tried to give her information but she was not receptive. When I had my yearly physical in November 2018 and she saw those amazing numbers she was still convinced that the way I’d lost it was not a good one. But last month, down 105 pounds (48 kg), very happy and healthy, she asked me if I was still following the same diet. I said yes, and that when I recommended Dr. Fung’s latest book, “The Diabetes Code” for helping other patients she wrote it down! I’m actually looking forward to my annual physical this coming November. I lent “The Diabetes Code” to a friend whose husband has been diabetic and on insulin for years. He’s now off insulin! My sister, marathon runner/triathlete who still always struggles with her weight (so much for calories in/calories out – she’s even done ultra-marathons!) has started fasting as well and loves it.

Even though I’ve gone from a stretched-out size 3X, to a real size 12, I still have a way to go. My new goal is to get my waist/height ratio to 0.5 or below. I took six weeks off of fasting while I moved to a new town and had two cataract surgeries. During that time, I continued to eat two hearty low carb, high fat meals a day on a 16/8 schedule, no snacking, and am happy to report that my weight remained under 155 punds (70 kg). It’s so wonderful to be able to begin my weight with a one! I was a little afraid that the minute I stopped fasting three days a week my weight would shoot up; so happy that is not the case. This really is a lifestyle that works and is maintainable. I no longer feel a sense of urgency and self-loathing around diet. Instead I feel a desire, out of self love, to do what makes my body sing and to help others do the same.

A couple of years ago a friend and I made a list of the real reasons we wanted to lose weight. This included:

  • Being able to wear shorts because our knees no longer rub together and give us rashes
  • Being able to buy clothes that express our personalities instead of black muumuus
  • Being able to read the scale
  • Do pilates
  • Bend over to tie our shoes without our bellies getting in the way
  • Being able to take care of personal hygiene with ease
  • Being able to eat anything we want in a restaurant without people getting that look and asking, “should you really be eating that?”
  • Going to an up-scale spa without worrying they might not have robes that fit me

I have met all those real goals and my new, sexy bathing suit and I will be going to that spa this fall.

Dr. Jason Fung: Congratulations, Dolly. You are totally rocking it.


Dr. Jason Fung

Dr. Fung’s top posts

  1. How to renew your body: Fasting and autophagy
  2. Longer fasting regimens – 24 hours or more
  3. The truth about salt

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Dr. Fung has his own blog at idmprogram.com. He is also active on Twitter.

The Obesity CodeThe Complete Guide to Fastingthe-diabetes-code (1)

Dr. Fung’s books The Obesity Code, The Complete Guide to Fasting and The Diabetes Code are available on Amazon.

10 comments

  1. Arlene
    I was also concerned about the possibility of sagging skin and yet avoided it.

    Eleven months ago I was diagnosed with diabetes. After reading The Obesity Code (and other books), I went on a LCHF diet and did some IF. I reversed the diabetes in 3-4 months, moving from an A1c of 7.1 down to 5.6 (with no diabetes meds). In the eleven months I've lost 60 pounds (with 20 more to go), with the success surprisingly easy. At 68 years old, I was worried about loose skin, but it didn't happen. I've wondered why not. The LCHF diet? The intermittent fasting? The weight training I've been doing? Just lucky genetics?

  2. Mary
    Way to go, Dolly! I can relate 100%! Dr. Fung is part of my daily routine pretty much. I enjoyed your story and congratulations!
  3. Claudia
    WOW, that's amazing -- way to go, Dolly! Thanks for sharing your story, it's a huge inspiration as I fully embrace the IF/keto lifestyle.
  4. Veronica
    What a great story, Dolly! Congratulations on your success.

    When you say you fast three days a week, are these three separate days? Are you doing 24 hour fasts, or more like 36 (for example, don't eat all of Monday, normal meals on Tuesday, don't eat all of Wednesday, normal meals on Thursday....). Three fasting days a week sounds like quite a challenge, but it's one I'm prepared to take on if there's the possibility of dramatically reduced loose skin!

  5. Dolly
    Thanks everyone :-) Veronica, I changed it up week to week per the IDM program's advice. I.e. some weeks I'd do a 90ish hour fast, other weeks I'd do a 66ish hour fast plus a 40ish hour one later in the week, sometimes I'd do three 40ish hour fast, etc. Happy fasting!
  6. Deborah
    Dolly, you are a true inspiration! And I'm thrilled to hear about the loose skin thing. I've been petrified that I'd have to cart my loose skin around in a wheelbarrow but maybe not! ;)
  7. Sherrina
    Hi Dolly
    I have lost 13 kilo since January 2018. It has been slow. I know I need to be a lot harder. I do love the food on LCHF and I have fasted but need to do it often. My problem is my tummy. I have a 48 waist and main tummy mass 53in. That hasn’t changed. Does that fall off at the end? By the way well done Congratulations. You are awesome. Thank you for sharing. You are inspirational.🙏👍
  8. Maria
    What an amazing story Dolly! I'd imagine it's difficult to stay on track when you have so much weight to lose. The light at the end of the tunnel would seem so very far away. But you've done it and that is wonderful.

    We have followed, more or less, the LCHF diet as my husband is a very skinny diabetic. People look at us and tell us we need to eat more. Believe me, we eat plenty, usually skipping breakfast and thereafter, eating two meals a day.

    One thing I have noticed is that we never catch colds, where all around are reaching for the tissues. I donate blood and plasma and I'm always told that it's amazing that at my age I use no medication. I tell them I plan to keep it that way.

    Just recently I met a young woman (37) who had just lost 48kg through surgery. Why are doctors still performing such audacious surgery practices?

    Keep up the good work Dolly, and once more, warmest congratulations to you.

  9. Virginia Regopoulos
    I’m 78 and 208 pounds. Diabetes and Hashimotes disease. Exhausted even after 7 hours of sleep. I’ve been on lchf diet almost a year. Question: is it too late for me to lose weight? I’ve tried so hard. I’m not on insulin but I do take a combined pill with glubeide / metformin. I’m too tired to exercise and I am also a caretaker for my husband who is a stroke victim.
  10. Milka
    Wonderful story. Good job, Dolly!

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