Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Havey: Coke, McDonald's Need To Continue Being Sued For Making Americans Fat

Julia Havey offers plenty of weight loss motivation in my interview

One of my favorite people in the whole wide world joins us today at the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog for an interview. It's Julia Havey and she's a very special woman who has taken her amazing weight loss story and turned it into a career built around motivating people to make changes in their life to lose weight and overcome the problems that plague them. You WILL be motivated and inspired by Julia as she shares her thoughts on what's making us fat and unhealthy in America today.

1. Joining us today is Julia Havey, life coach and author of the book "The Vice-Busting Diet." Julia is a friend I met when I first started this blog and I was attracted by her amazing weight loss success story and what she is doing to help people now. Tell my readers a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in helping others lose weight and get healthy.

Jimmy, I lost 130 pounds and it changed my life for the better, forever. That could have been the end of it but I shared my story with Women's World magazine in 1997 and they were flooded with letters and calls asking HOW did I lose so much weight and get the fairy tale happy ending to my story (married a younger handsome doctor, won the title of Mrs. Missouri...happily ever after stuff). I tried to answer those women, and those who kept writing and calling. TV shows, the National Enquirer all seized upon my story and gave me my "15 minutes of fame," I decided that rather than talk about "me" that it would be much more rewarding to talk about the woman out there who was struggling with her weight, her unhappiness and to try to help her get motivated to change and improve her circumstances.

I never in a million years dreamed that I would have 2 acclaimed books (Awaken The Diet Within, Warner Books #2 health ranking and The Vice-Busting Diet, St. Martin's Press--Oprah's Dr. David L. Katz and Dr. Mehmet Oz endorsed!) but it is the most rewarding life that I can imagine leading, yet I spend my days getting to speak to groups of people who are looking to improve their health, personally coach women to their dreams and goals, writing for a major weight loss web site as their "Master Motivator" and I sincerely feel like I have grown into who I was meant to be.

2. You describe yourself as a "master motivator" and the articles you write (which appear at and at Julia's blog) bear that out. Were you always as confident as you are now or did you blossom into the fireball of energy and excitement that you are today following your amazing weight loss experience.

I am so proud of that title, but it was bestowed upon me by my editor. He will tell you, he didn't hire me for my amazingly poor grammer skills but rather my knack for motivating the reader and my personality! He saw in me what I hadn't yet seen in myself and helped me to grow into the role of Motivator that I now have. My husband also saw in me what I did not and encouraged me to use my experience with Obesity to help others to empower their lives.

So, NO, I was NOT always the confident "ball of energy and excitement" that you see me as, that confidence grows each day from the knowledge that I am right and that my message must be told as loudly, passionately and repeatedly as necessary because lives literally are at stake. Obesity killed 2.6 million people prematurely last year and it is only getting worse. My message isn't sexy, it isn't a fad but it is the truth--you can't consume soft drinks, eat fast foods and lay around watching TV and expect to be healthy. We have got to bust the 3 biggest/worst vices in our society that are the biggest contributors to the Obesity Pandemic--Coca-Cola (and Pepsi a close 2nd!), McDonald's and TV viewing for hours on end without having gotten any exercise that day.

3. There's a lot of debate over the various diets that are out there today. People are desperate to lose weight and keep it off, but very few of them are able to do it. How did you finally overcome your obesity once and for all? Describe what kinds of foods you ate and the methodology you used to shed the pounds. Do you still eat this way today?

I lost 130 pounds over a 15-month period. When people hear this, they usually say, “That’s so fast!” However, the reality is that I lost my weight at the recommended 2 pounds a week rate. Basically, I was consistent over the entire 15 months. This enabled me to lose 8 pounds a month, each and every month.

Here are the small changes I implemented:
- The first small change I made was to give up eating my #1 vice: ice cream.
- Then, I started drinking 64 ounces or more a day of water.
- After that, I stopped eating fast food.
- The next hurdle was giving up Coke.
- Eventually, I added exercise.

I tackled each small change gradually until it was second nature to me. That’s when I’d add another change to my regime. If a person is consistent with their health resolutions, it is just a matter of time until all their excess weight comes off! I do continue to abstain from my biggest/worst vices and I will never consume them, not even a nibble! There will never be a picture of me in the "National Enquirer" licking on an ice cream cone!

4. Let's talk about sugar and its evil twin high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) for a moment. You have been very outspoken against companies like Coca-Cola for promoting a product that is decidedly unhealthy. With people like Dr. John Foreyt from Baylor University defending Coke consumption as part of a healthy diet, what message are we sending the next generation about the impact of sugar on the body? What can we do to emphasize how harmful sugar is to people?

Dr. John Foreyt is a hired gun and most likely has trouble sleeping at night because his PAID supportive comments about HFCS make it sounds like drinking the CRAP is healthy for the human body, and thus helped Coca-Cola assist in the "beverage consumption assisted suicide" of 2.6 MILLION people! He won't return my calls or emails asking him about how he can possibly tell an Obese society that HFCS is a good thing to consume. I can't image why!

We can keep talking about the problem and keep spreading the word. It's a HUGE uphill fight because I don't have a few million dollars laying around to spend on advertising and Coke spends that much a week! Recently studies showed that advertising to children does impact their eating/drinking choices and is a contributor to childhood obesity.

Coca-Cola tries to say they are the good guys and are helping SOLVE Obesity, yet they won't take their soda out of schools EVER. They are taking COKE out, but putting "energy" drinks in (they have MORE calories and sugar) and drinks like Monster that are basically liquid speed (yeah, we need teens more strung out than they already are?!) AND they are keeping DIET versions that are filled with cancer causing embalming fluid like chemicals. I don't want my children influenced by this marketing machines tactics, but you can't go ANYWHERE without being slapped upside the head by it.

Today at the new Cardinals Stadium, HUGE Coca-Cola cafe area, signs EVERYWHERE for Coke, McDonalds, Hardees, and one little tiny Ice Mountain sign. Everyone around me had plates piled with nachos, hot dogs, beer, soda, for God's sake a 2 year old behind me had a 12 ounce bottle of COKE.

I just sat there with my bottle of water and wanted to cry. Perhaps I should have streaked onto the field, assaulted Fred Bird and poured a Coke on the Umpire......then, in the holding cell of the jail, I could have maybe, MAYBE gotten a reporter to quote me as saying Coke is unhealthy for us, but it is more likely that I would be called crazy and misinformed--just what Coca-Cola called me for suing them over their contest that encourages DRINKING enough Coke to KILL a person to win a used couch among other such wonderful prizes.

5. Refined carbohydrates are a big problem and it's getting bigger as the days go on in the United States. Fast food is another industry taking a lot of heat for obesity which recently led them to donate $2 million towards childhood obesity for the first time in their history. Are companies like McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell responsible for making people fatter? If so, then what needs to be done to hold them accountable?

Yes, they are the #2 reason that people are getting fatter. Their "food" is high in calories, high in salt and high in FAT!

I think continued litigation is the only way they will ever come around and make healthier foods. I take that back. More litigation might make them actually serve FOOD to us.

For anyone interested in learning just how disgusting McDonald's food is for human consumption, do this:

BUY a happy meal. Take it home and do NOTHING with it. Leave it untouched in the box and come back to it in ONE MONTH, then Open it and LOOK in side.

At the same time, take an orange, an apple, a banana, a grilled chicken breast, some whole grain bread and put them in a bag, do nothing with them and come back in ONE MONTH and see what happened to them.

Keep the Happy Meal for one year........two it up from time to time and see how it is aging. I can tell you this, the damn things are aging better than me, they don't change, there is not ONE change in 2 1/2 years in my happy meal! It looks like the day it was bought!

YOU want to eat that? you want your kids eating that?

It isn't food.

6. Your book "The Vice-Busting Diet" was quite entertaining and informative to read. You note in the book that we all have our vices and overcoming them is the secret to not only weight loss but many other aspects of our lives. Discuss some of the top diet vices that people struggle with and what they can do to defeat them for good.

The top diet vices in our nation are fast food, soft drinks, chocolate, pizza, cookies, candy, donuts and ice cream.

The only way to defeat them is to give up thinking you can "have the foods you LOVE in moderation", if we could handle the foods we LOVE in "moderation" we wouldn't be Obese and overweight. It's like.....duh! If we can't have just ONE, we are better off having NONE!

What is wrong with dieting is that it requires a person to totally transform how they live overnight, which is a very steep slope of change to scale in one day. The word “diet” means the food indicative to the species; it does not mean a reduced calorie, food group restrictive program. Yet we keep trying to change our ingrained habits by following a menu plan filled with foods we aren’t familiar with and perhaps don’t even like.

Most people eat both healthy and unhealthy foods within the course of their day. It’s the unhealthy foods that must be addressed. That’s what Vice Busting is all about. It’s much more effective to start out eliminating unhealthy foods from one’s diet than to start following a completely different menu overnight.

Without a doubt the #1 worst food habit or “Vice” of the average American (and humans around the world for that matter) is the consumption of soft drinks. There is a direct correlation with the introduction of high-fructose-laced beverages and increase in obesity rates. Recent studies also show that diet soft drinks do not positively affect weight loss. Water should be the beverage of choice.

The #2 Vice would be unhealthy, fatty and high calorie “fast food." I can tell you hundreds of stories of readers who simply vow to not eat anything from a restaurant that can hand them a bag of food through a window/drive up and have gone on to lose at least 50 pounds! Eating fast food is a fast way to obesity.

7. You and your husband Dr. J. Patrick Havey are involved in a business that involves a juice product that you believe needs to be consumed by anyone and everyone on a healthy lifestyle. What is this product including all the nutritional information (sugar and carbs especially!), why do we need it, and how can people get it if they are interested?

My friend, the leading breast cancer radiologist in St. Louis, a VERY respected doctor, tried to get me to listen to her about a fruit and vegetable whole food product for over a year. I turned a deaf ear because of my very negative preconcieved opinion of "multi-level" marketing "scams." She was relentless and kept telling me that for my health, I needed to take this.

Finally, I asked her point blank, "Look, you make a lot of money as a doctor, why are you peddling this junk?" Her answer is why I now take it, read all of the research about it and recommend it to everyone who will (and won't!) listen to me: "Each year, I see patients who are younger and younger coming to my office with breast cancer. I never knew that nutrition played a role in the risk of developing cancer. Knowing what I know now, I think every man, woman and child needs to eat 9-13 servings of raw, fresh fruits and vegetables a day and if they can't, won't or don't--they need to take this product!"

It is so simple really, it is just 17 vine rippened fresh fruits and vegetables and some oat and barley in capsules--very "Jetsons"-like, but very real, very affordable and very important for prevention of disease.

Is it a miracle, cure-all "drug" or solution? NO, there is NO such thing. BUT, I sincerely believe that coupled with a healthy diet, water consumption and exercise, it is the best available support tool for our health that we have.

It isn't just my "opinion", there is research and a lot of it, from some of the most respected institutions in the world. Anyone can, and should learn more about it by visiting I recommend taking the Garden/Orchard capsules and if you like protein shakes, the Complete is excellent. I have one every morning for my breakfast, my husband, Dr. Havey has one before he works out and our children have one most days disguised as a "milkshake."

8. As a weight loss success story yourself, you have a unique position for someone who talks about weight and health issues because you have lived it yourself. What do you think about these so-called health "experts" like Sally Squires at The Washington Post who are overweight and dishing out advice? Are they being hypocritical or what?

You know Jimmy, that's a very tough question. I think they care, I think they are trying to share what they have learned, if not what they have necessarily applied to their own lives. I bashed Dr. Phil when his first book came out and said "he is overweight, who is he to spout advice" and someone emailed me very upset and said that a great and effective counselor need not be a drunk to help a drunk get sober, or that a teacher need not be an F student to guide an F student to better understanding and learning. So, I was humbled that day and realized that ANYONE who sets out to help another person, does so with the best of intentions in their heart and in mind, so hypocritical? No, not really.

BUT, I still think that you can have a more empowering effect and successful outcome when you lead by example than if you ask for others to follow you on principle.

9. Does the government have a role to play in correcting the obesity epidemic? If so, then what should they be doing differently? If not, then how do we go about encouraging individuals to make changes in their life to improve their weight and health?

Another good question. I think that we already have too much goverment in our society and people would rebel if the government got too involved in this matter. It is more of a question of responsibility from a governmental, corporate and personal perspective.

Government should subsidize the soda earnings that schools make so they can kick Coke and Ronald McDonald out of schools. Government should put a high tax on fast food, soda, Twinkies, etc. so that those who CHOOSE to eat them will have some money set aside to care for them as their obesity related health care bills soar to unmanagable amounts. Corporations need to realize that the very shareholder to whom they have fiscal responsibility to, is also a human and that if they die due to obesity and being overweight brought on by the marketing tactics and products of such companies that it isn't right and they must change for the sake of helping better mankind and improving the lives of people rather than focusing on fattening their stock portfolios.

Advertising needs to be honest. SHOW obese people eating at McDonald's, let the TRUTH show and then people will make informed decisions rather than thinking if they "love it" they will look like Justin Timberlake or drinking Pepsi will give them Britney or Christina's abs! Personal responsibility overall, tell these products to stuff it and to stop stuffing us!!

Obvious answer......anyone wanting to lose weight needs to bust their vices, drink water and get some exercise regularly. In my opinion, there is no better way to transform from the life that they are living today that supports excess weight to one that supports health and fitness than mine, learn more about it at You have my personal guarantee that if you use my program for the full 26 weeks and don't lose at least 25 pounds, I will refund your money in full!

10. THANKS so much for joining me for an interview today, Julia! I admire what you are doing to help people and wish you continued success with all that you do. Being the great motivator that you are, would you like to share any closing thoughts or words of wisdom with my readers who are struggling with weight loss?

Thanks Jimmy! I think you are my male counterpart in the "ball of energy" weight loss and healthy living journey!

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Blogger Duchess of Dork said...

I'm not usre if I agree with Miss Havey's view of the public and fast food. It's true that it's bad for you, but people have more responsibility to themselves than the companies have. I feel like blaming McDonalds for being overweight is a little absurd. Nobody forces people to eat there. Advertisement is a big factor, but people need to have a little more dignity.

10/12/2006 4:50 PM  
Blogger Jake Silver said...

I loved this interview! I agree that you should "give up" vice foods. Really, with all the healthy options available today... there is no reason to "splurge" on unhealthy stuff. Plenty of whole grain, low calorie microwave pizzas out there (south beach being one) , Veggie Burgers instead of hamburgers, diet citrus shasta with rum instead of a margarita. You get my drift! Love the blog, Jimmy... I'll always keep coming back!

10/13/2006 8:04 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

While I believe that big business does not have our best interests at heart, I also believe that we each need to take responsibility for our own health and ill health. There has never been a time in my life that I believed soda, ice cream, fast food and sugar were good for me. I may not have known the science but I knew the general effect it would have. I'm the one who drank the cola's, bought the large value meals and ate scoop after scoop of ice cream.

10/13/2006 11:03 AM  

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