Morris went from 400 to fabulous by changing how he looked at food
With obesity rates in the United States and around the world getting worse and worse as the days go on, people just want to see a glimmer of hope from somewhere that something can be done to help them lose weight and keep it off forever.
Allow me to introduce you to a man named Richard Morris who not that long ago was thinking that exact same thing. But as you will see from my interview with him, the life he once lived is now just a fading memory that he will never go back to again because he is now happy, healthy, and on a mission to share the good news he has found with everyone he can come in contact with.
One of my readers told me about Richard and his outstanding web site BreadAndMoney.com recently and I was immediately captivated by his story and writing style. He reminded me a lot of somebody else I know -- ME!
Richard, like me, once weighed over 400 pounds when he decided it was time to FINALLY lose weight by ignoring what the health "experts" were telling him about what healthy living was all about. Eventually, Richard lost well over 100 pounds in one year just like I did. It's funny how easy it was for us to lose weight and keep it off once we stopped listening to these people who care more about our money than they do our health!
When it comes to Richard's writing, if you like my style then you are absolutely gonna LOVE how Richard writes as well. For example, check out what he thinks about this whole cholesterol debate that's happening right now in a recent column entitled "Cholesterophobia, Prostate Cancer, and Faith Based Science." See what I mean?
I REALLY like the way Richard takes on these tough issues and refuses to back down from challenging the status quo. He can't do it because his life has become recharged with a sense of purpose to share this amazing gift of weight loss he has been given.
I was honored and privileged to have the opportunity to interview Richard for a brief look at his amazing weight loss journey. Through the struggles of being morbidly obese to the shining example of what healthy living is really all about, Richard shares candidly about what his life was like then with declining health and how he managed to overcome the inevitable through permanent weight loss and improved health.
Be inspired and motivated to lose weight and to CHANGE YOUR LIFE, too!
1. From one fellow former 400+ pound man to another, let me first say CONGRATULATIONS to you for successfully beating the odds and losing the weight. I understand the hard work it takes to acheive something this dramatic and lifechanging and that inevitabily obstacles will present themselves during the process that could have tripped you up. Will you share a story about how you encountered an obstacle during your weight loss and what you did to overcome it?
There was the potato chip incident on Interstate 270. I was on my way home from work one day when I stopped at a gas station. I was hungry, but couldn't find anything decent in the station store, so wouldn't you know it, for old time's sake, I bought a big bag of potato chips instead. Chips were my number one addiction. I tore into the bag while driving. I was like an addict.
In the old days when I used to diet, that dietary relapse would have been enough to drive me back to my old habits, but this time, things were different. I was surprised to find that after eating good food for a couple of months, my sense of taste had changed. The chips that I once adored, tasted greasy, flavorless and just plain awful. That experience proved to me that it really was possible to change.
Instead of making me weaker, the incident confirmed my belief that I was on the right path. That bit of truth was like a vaccination for me. From that day forward, I was immune to junk food for good.
2. What was a typical menu like for you when you were morbidly obese? How about today? Did you find the transition to your new eating lifestyle particularly difficult?
In the last six months before I changed, I worked in New York. A typical day's fare for me often started with nothing for breakfast. I thought this was a good way to lose weight, but I usually made up for it later in the day. I'd probably help myself to a mid-morning snack of bagels, donuts, or whatever other free goodies were provided by my employer.
Soda was available in the office for .25 a can, so I swilled sugar water all day long. For lunch, I'd get a sandwich, a small bag of potato chips or fries and a Snapple or cola to wash it all down. My employer regularly hosted prospective clients in the office, so there was always left over hors d'oeuvres or pizza for the employees to scavenge.
Amazingly, by dinnertime, I was still hungry and would pick up something at a deli, or order room service in my hotel room. I'd usually get a hamburger or steak, rolls, some sort of vegetable and of course, a cola. Funny thing was, I never really enjoyed eating. My food never tasted that good, but I was always hungry and just couldn't seem to stop eating.
Today, I never miss breakfast. I'll usually have two strips of bacon and three small eggs. Sometimes I'll have a glass of whole milk. Lunch consists of leftovers from the previous day, like chicken or salad or even a can of sardines. When tomatoes are in season, a simple beefsteak tomato with a little salt is delicious.
My lunches are usually pretty light. Dinner might be green beans with salmon or a small steak. I only drink water these days and almost never eat dessert or bread. I try to stick with whole foods: pastured meats (beef, chicken) and eggs, whole dairy from pastured cows and fresh vegetables. I don't eat a lot of fruit.
The amazing thing is that even though I'm eating less, I enjoy my food a lot more, and contrary to the Rolling Stones, I find that I really can "get some satisfaction" from the food I eat. The transition from junk food to whole food was really easy because good food tastes so much better and is so satisfying.
3. From what I have read about you before your amazing weight loss, your health was declining. Share what you went through physically dealing with these health problems and how weight loss changed everything for the better.
I suffered from hypertension, sleep apnea, which can be fatal, asthma, chronic fatigue, painful joints, bad knees, persistent headaches and dizziness. I couldn’t stand for more than five minutes without back pain. I was pretty sick. Today, all of those problems are gone. Some doctors will say that asthma doesn't just go away, but it has in my case and in the case of my daughter. I believe that what made this all possible was not just the weight loss, but the healthier diet.
4. I couldn't help but notice how matter-of-fact your writing style at your BreadAndMoney.com web site is because it reminds me a lot of my own prose. What advantage do you find in telling people like it is and do you feel even more emboldened to write that way because of the freedom you have been given through tremendous weight loss?
There's nothing like the confidence that comes with really knowing the truth through personal experience. Like a lot of people, I used to be intimidated by the professionals who said the reason I was fat was because I wanted to be and because I was lazy. I always knew that wasn't true, but now I have proof.
When I tell people they really can make a difference in their lives and that much of what they've been told about diet, nutrition and the benefits of exercise is profit-driven propaganda, it's like a weight has been lifted from their shoulders. People really do want to be healthier, they just need to know how to go about it.
5. Your book, which I will be reviewing soon, is called "A Life Unburdened." Explain what you mean by that title and how the burdens that once plagued you are no longer a problem.
Quite literally, the idea for the book's title came to me after working out one morning. I had gone for a five-mile walk with a 40 lb. weight vest and ten pound ankle weights on each leg. When I returned home and took off all that weight, I felt light as a feather. The word unburdened popped into my head. We gain weight slowly, so we don't really feel how burdensome it really is.
That morning, I realized that just a year or so ago, I had been carrying far more weight than the 60lbs. I had just taken off. Figuratively, the book's title is a reflection of the burdens that overweight people must every day. I'm talking about the emotional burden, the social burden and even the career burden. Sometimes, the physical weight isn't as much of a problem as all the other things people have to deal with.
I am happier now than I've been in years. My social life is much improved and my career opportunities are brighter than they've ever been. It was great losing the weight, but simply feeling better with a newfound zest for life, well, that's just indescribable.
6. Everybody asks me this question, so I'm gonna ask you (and I'm sure you've heard this once or twice yourself!) -- What was the one moment or event that told you that this time you were really going to lose weight and keep it off forever? What made everything "click" for you?
I'm tempted to talk about the time I was embarrassed by a flight attendant when I couldn’t buckle my seat belt or the time a waiter spilled cream all over me because I was blocking the isle. Then there was the time I stood up in a meeting and my chair came with me, but the one incident that trumps all others is when I discovered an epiphany on a plate of chicken. I had been feeling really awful while working in New York, so I decided to try fasting for a day. I lasted until about dinner time and wound up ordering some roast chicken and vegetables.
Since I was still trying to 'fast,' I didn't eat anything else. The next day I felt better than I had in weeks, so I repeated the experiment, only this time I skipped the veggies and ordered two pieces of chicken. The next morning I felt so good that I knew I was on to something. For two days, I had not eaten any junk food and very few carbohydrates.
After that, I decided that I was going to do some studying and really learn about how fats, carbohydrates and protein are metabolized in the body. For years I followed the advice of the diet experts, with zero success. That accidental experiment with a plate of chicken was the beginning of a new life for me.
7. You are a strong supporter of whole foods as are many of my readers. Share some of your favorite whole foods and recommend how people can get their hands on these healthy products.
One of my favorite whole foods is raw dairy. I'm talking about raw milk, butter and cream. Some people freak out when they hear this, but humans have been drinking raw milk for about as long as the agricultural revolution which is about 10,000 years. It's true that most milk today comes from factory farms and that milk really does need to be pasteurized because, well, it's filthy.
Some of the bigger commercial dairies keep as many as 4000 cows. There's no way you can run a clean healthy operation with that many animals. The milk I drink comes from pastured cows from small dairies with 20 to 40 cows. In the spring and fall when the grass is high, this milk tastes like melted vanilla ice cream. These cows are grass-fed which is the natural and preferred diet of a cow. Pastured cows are healthier so they don't need to be given antibiotics the way factory cows do.
Raw milk farmers care more about quality than quantity so they don't pump their cows full of growth hormones to make them more productive. I'm lactose intolerant so I can't drink pasteurized milk anyway. Raw milk retains the natural enzyme, lactase which enables me to drink it with no problems. Getting your hands on raw milk is tough because it isn't available in many states.
There's a web site, realmilk.org, which can help people track down a source. Sometimes when I feel like a DIY project, I'll make my own cheese and butter from raw milk. It's awesome when it's fresh like that.
Another favorite whole food is fresh heirloom tomatoes. They aren't as pretty as the tomatoes you find in the chain stores, but they are much more flavorful. That’s because most modern produce is engineered for color and shelf life. Your local farmers market is a good place to look for heirloom varieties. A few more of my whole food favorites include pastured eggs, fresh garden vegetables, heirloom popcorn, home-made sauerkraut, home-made ginger ale and home-made ice-cream.
Finally, I use raw honey as my sole sweetener. It's delicious and I find that, for me, it doesn't cause the kind of insulin spikes that other sweeteners do. Raw honey is opaque and has the consistency of peanut butter.
8. You come down hard on many of the same industries that I do -- pharmaceutical companies, the medical community, big sugar, and food manufacturers who care more about the almighty dollar than they do the health of the consumers purchasing their products. Is there a way to navigate through all the misinformation and dare I say LIES we have been told about healthy living to protect ourselves and our families from being harmed by these industries?
'Lies' is an accurate assessment of what we're dealing with unfortunately. I've found that you have to adopt a philosophy guided by the principle of "trust, but verify" when it comes to your food.
I remind people that businesses are in business to make money. Period. They don't care about your health. If you understand that and approach the food, pharmaceutical and medical industries with the same skepticism that you would apply to the claims of a used car salesman, you can inoculate yourself against the deceptions.
The reason I eat only whole foods is because they have been proven, over several thousand years, to be healthy. Fabricated foods, on the other hand, don't have that kind of track record.
The best advice I can give people is to get your food from a known and trusted source read, think and learn. Don't just accept what the experts say, and that includes me. Find out for yourself. Look for web sites like LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com that are helping to spread the word and make people more aware of ways to protect themselves.
9. Enormous weight loss is a great feeling, isn't it? I tell people I've never felt better in my whole life than I do right now. What about you, Richard? How has your quality of life improved from a physical, emotional, and spiritual standpoint since losing a ton of weight?
Simply put, I am happy. I couldn't always say that. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. I've never been better. Last year my wife and I hiked the Grand Canyon in a snow storm. It was amazing to go from barely being able to get off the couch to taking on one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
This spring, I'm going to spend seven weeks on a working farm. I'll be milking cows, tending the fields, slopping the hogs and feeding the chickens. I'm a city boy so this will be quite a change for me, but it's something I've always wanted to do. That's what changing my food has enabled me to do. It has taught me how to change my life.
10. THANKS so much for sharing your comments with my readers and I KNOW they have been encouraged by your story of triumph and success over your weight problem. Do you have any parting words of advice for anyone who, like me and you a few years back, feels like there is no hope for them in their endeavor to lose weight like we did?
Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear he was talking about dieting. If what you've been doing hasn't worked for you, try something different. Read, think and learn so that you may have a richer, more fulfilling life. You do have a future.
For more information and to read the writings of Richard Morris, be sure to visit his brand new blog called "The Free Radical." I have a feeling we haven't heard the last of Richard and I hope he never stops talking about the truths he has discovered about health.
Be looking for my review of his book entitled "A Life Unburdened: Getting Over Weight And Getting On With My Life" coming soon.