With one foot in the grave, Robert turned things around and lost 200 lbs

Robert before and after

Dr. Jason Fung: I wanted to share Robert’s success story this week to illustrate the power of diet in our modern world. We are trained to believe that any powerful medicine must cost several thousands of dollars, but the best of medicines may, in fact, be free as we see all the time in the Intensive Dietary Management program. Here’s Robert’s story.

Robert: I was asked to post my story again so it could be shared. I’m a comic. I say that early so you know going forward that if you have no sense of humor about death and weight loss you may want to keep scrolling. I have tried very hard to find the picture of me after I died of a heart attack in March 2011. It has vanished, almost like I did. I was very lucky to have a second chance due to some quick thinking (a bottle of nitro I had saved from a chemical stress test eight months earlier) and a bit of a miracle.

The first photo was two years later as my health continued to decline. I almost had my ticket punched again with a lovely bout of blood clots. Pulmonary embolisms were a constant threat and after another close call a couple years later I was told to “get my affairs in order” there was nothing they could do. At this point I had tried EVERY diet they gave me, every pill they could think of and nothing helped, worked or was sustainable. I gave up. I went on a farewell tour to Europe to meet my best friend and her family and to say goodbye. Before I left The Netherlands, she made me promise to try and come back and sing at her wedding (I didn’t tell anyone about my prognosis) I promised her I would do everything I could to make it. Those are my “before pictures” (how about that classy “behind shot” from the London Eye… you’re welcome).

Robert back shot

I had heard about #NSNG (No Sugar, No Grain) on the Adam Carolla show from Vinnie Tortorich and the concept of LCHF in my condition sounded like an insane idea but, I literally had nothing to lose so I jumped in September 2016. I dropped the first 60 pounds (27 kg) sitting in a bed or a chair. I started limping up and down the driveway, then counting houses, then miles. That first year I dropped about 100 pounds (45 kg). The next year I went back to The Netherlands and sang at my best friends wedding. I felt better than I had since I was very young and wanted to do more but I had hit the dreaded plateau and had a lot of “flaps”. I had hangers 7 inches (18 cm) long in some places. It was very gross and surgery was not an option.

Vinnie Tortorich had Dr. Jason Fung on his show and I thought “here we go again” Time to try more crazy stuff. I began with intermittent fasting by accident. I was fat adapted and started getting busy forgot to eat for 2 days and didn’t feel hungry at all. My first intentional fast was 3 days. It was hard. I still kept going thanks to the support of the Facebook group. I then moved on to EF’s 4, 5, 6, 7 day fasts. I watched with glee as those disgusting flaps started to disappear. I finally got clearance from my doctor’s to start working out (all I had been able to do was walk… a lot). Once I got into the gym I slowly got more “fit” and the “skin flaps” completely disappeared. I wrote this long-winded dissertation for three reasons.

  1. THIS WORKS! For some, it’s easy (wish I was one of them and if that’s you just keep it to yourself) for the rest of us fasting is a muscle that needs work. Sometimes that work can seem hard. Did I mention, THIS WORKS!!! Don’t give up.
  2. Everyone is different. Not all fasting protocols work the same for everyone. I caution against expecting the exact same results as others show in their posts. The key for me was to try new ones without putting more pressure on myself.
  3. Robert WINNING

  4. SUPPORT was crucial. I never would have pulled this off without the posts, advice, comments and downright love shown by the people in this community. From the bottom of my now perfectly working heart, Thank You for being there and making my new life possible. I started this journey at around 400 pounds (181 kg). Now 200 pounds (91 kg) lighter, every day I draw breath is another victory. If you’re still reading this I’m impressed. I workout 5-6 days a week (always fasted) and have a new fitness photo shoot next month. My hope is to pay it forward. Best of luck to you all. The future looks awesome!
Dr. Jason Fung: I’m still amazed at how great Robert looks. It’s an incredible transformation. I love this story for several reasons. First, you are never too old or too sick to start getting healthy. If weight is one of your big issues, then low carbohydrate diets and fasting may be a significant help to you. In the IDM program we’ve treated people up to 80 years old and many are sick with type 2 diabetes along with a host of its complications. It requires some medical supervision to implement an intensive dietary regimen, but it can still be done successfully.

Second, the point about support is very important. Everything is easier when you do it with a supportive group. On Facebook, we have a free support group for fasting – The Obesity Code Network. There’s also lots of free information and videos under the Resources section of the IDM website.

Third, the point about excess skin is very interesting. I have no proof other than anecdotes, but many people have found that fasting helps their loose skin. Remember that skin is not fat, it is protein. During fasting, there is a period of time where protein is being catabolized (broken down) to burn for energy. This is not a bad thing. In this case, it is very good. Obese individuals have an estimated 20-50% more protein than lean people. This is all extra tissue that needs to be removed. In the IDM program, we’ve had people lose hundreds of pounds, just like Robert, and we’ve never referred anybody for skin removal surgery.

Fantastic work, Robert. You are an inspiration to all of us.


Dr. Jason Fung

Dr. Fung’s top posts

  1. Intermittent fasting for beginners
  2. My single best weight-loss tip
  3. How to renew your body: Fasting and autophagy

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

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

22 comments

  1. Laurie
    Great job Robert! You look amazing!
  2. Robert
    Amazing story and so encouraging to people who may have little hope. Thanks for sharing Robert!
  3. Jana gainok
    Great job, you look amazing.
  4. Ricardo
    Amazing! Great job, Robert!
  5. Eileen
    Robert inspires me! I have "bat wings" that need to go. Laymen tell me that only surgery will get rid of them. (My doctor just says to not worry about that now.) I have a laundry list of medical conditions, and pressure from my friends concerning treatment. Again, my D.O. wants to work on proper nutrition first. He told me not to engage in an extended fast, but has approved 16:8 intermittent fasting.

    Dr. Fung, have you looked into what extended fasting does for things like abdominal hernias? Cancer? Allergies? SIBO? I would love to read about those things.

  6. Alain
    "Third, the point about excess skin is very interesting. I have no proof other than anecdotes, but many people have found that fasting helps their loose skin. Remember that skin is not fat, it is protein."

    Autophagy

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWh4qeVEaqw

  7. Veronica
    Robert, your story is so inspiring, and gives me hope that I may finally end up with a 'normal' body again. Well done!
  8. Joseph
    I was 5 lb shy of 300 lb because i was eating very bad food all my dr said if this continued i would evenly die i have spine problems so im am unable to work out at gym i can only walk so first 2 year i learned to slowly
    Chang my favorite food in to healthy food my favor food is pizza sowe i started to cook it at home but i slowly made changes to the food i love like. Now i use new ingredients like cauliflower instead of pizza dow
    The next two years i work on eating less and on the fifth year i was able to 65 lb still working on it. If what you said is true Rober I'm amazed and you have become an inspiration
    Yo me for i was onle 5 lb shy 300 lb and unable to do any exercise that use my back do my spine but i continue to walk and slowly chang my eating habits to heather food i am around 233 lb now by the grace of the lord jesus i have continued to slowly lose lb i don't uselessly put my name on the internet
  9. Joseph
    Sorry i gave the roung lb i was 5lb shrot of 400 lb and now am 333lb keep in mind the i read and reply at about 1 15am sowe i am tired sorry for any mistakes in spilling
  10. susan teale
    What a cutie! Your are certainly an inspiration. I'm just beginning but I want my before and afters to look as good as yours!
  11. Phyllis
    Congratulations! I am just starting to think about LCHF and your are such an inspiration.
  12. Tricia
    Mind blowing results! Intermittent fasting yes but i have not done EF so far. Freaks me out for some reason.
  13. Janice Ingram
    Incredible!! It's a testament to the effectiveness of a ketogenic diet! May you have many years enjoying life! By that smile on your face is say you already are!!!👏👏👏
  14. Janice Sims
    I have bn on gluten free no sugar of any kind 4 35 months but had surgery 3 wks ago last 10 days I've eaten everything. Got get head back on straight back on track....
  15. David
    Good on you Robert. I’ve been on Keto for 12 weeks now and feeling great. I just wish I could convince my friends who are battling obesity, blood clots, arthritis and many other curable diseases that this works. It’s not easy but it does work.
    Wishing you a long and active life. That’s what I’m planning.
    Dave
  16. Monica
    Absolutely amazing results and congratulations to you. I have been doing keto for some months now after a diagnose of diabetes. I have lost all the weight. and am now what I was. when I was 30, now 64. I will admit I find the fasting quite hard though but am determined to do it at least once a week. I do the 16/8 I think it is daily, and only have done the 24 hour fast 3 times. Once again congratulations Robert.
  17. Alex
    Great job Robert! I am happy for you. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story.
    See how important it is to visit Holland ;)
  18. Tamarah
    Robert I cannot wait to share your amazing story and amazing photos .
    Rock on .
    Tamarah
  19. Kathryn
    Thank-you for sharing your inspirational story. I’ve been “stuck” & just broke through this plateau by using intermittent fasting. I have 20 pounds to go!
  20. Julia
    Robert thank u for your inspirational story its been years now since struggling with my weight and I try some days are very hard thanx for sharing your story
  21. Scott
    Very inspirational, congrats!
  22. Tera
    Simply amazing, I'm so happy that you didn't give up on yourself. I can only imagine the great life you are now living.

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