Thursday, October 05, 2006

Kevin's Obesity Saga Hits Too Close To Home

My brother Kevin has continuing health problems because of his obesity

Some people ask me why I am so adamant about what I write about here at my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog. Others wonder if I should be using my time in other ways to do other things that I like to do. It's certainly a valid question and I appreciate the concern that people have shown for me and acknowledging the sacrifices I have made to do what I do.

But what I am going to blog about today is exactly why I spend so many hours relentlessly typing away the message of livin' la vida low-carb and making your body as healthy as it can be. Well, it's not so much a what, but a WHO: a man by the name of Kevin Lee Moore.

I've told you about Kevin before and he took a sudden turn for the worse this week. Back in November 2005, doctors gave him one year to live if he didn't lose weight as soon as possible. At the time Kevin weighed close to 600 pounds.

Just as he has done on every previous time he attempted weight loss or anything in his life, Kevin was gung ho about it...for a while. As in a couple of months. But then it happened to him--he starts feeling a little bit better, thinks he's gonna be okay now, stops doing those things that are essential for improving himself, and goes into complete denial about his morbid obesity.

Keep in mind, this is the same man who in 1999 at the age of 32 experienced three heart attacks in the span of a week that nearly killed him. And it's ONLY because of the complications brought on by his massive weight problem.

Sure, he's had some difficult life experiences, including a horrific marriage to a woman who basically made his life a living Hell when he had his heart attacks and was no longer able to work. She mentally and even physically abused him in ways that probably reminded him of what our dad had done to us when we were children. Thankfully he got out of that relationship with a divorce a couple of years ago, but the lingering damage has been done.

Like many people who are hurting and life seems in such turmoil, Kevin turns to food to comfort himself. And not just a little food. I mean an out-of-proportion gargantuan amount of grub that would make most people's eyes bug out. For example, he's go to McDonald's and get 5 Big Macs with 3 Large orders of French fries and 10 cookies. EEEEEK! Unreasonable to most, but reality for my brother.

This is my own flesh and blood, mind you. A man that I grew up with calling my older brother. Yeah, he was my stupid, ugly butt hole older brother and enjoyed taunting me as every older brother does, but it was only because he was my brother. We shared a lot of happy memories wrestling on the ground or playing pool at the local game room (I always beat him at it and he hated that!). While we endured the divorces that both of our parents went through and lived as normal a life as we possibly could considering the hand life dealt us as kids.

Fast forward a few years to 2004, I decided to take control of my weight and health for real and stop wallowing in the past with all the genuine hurt and pain that I had endured for my entire life. It was at that point there were no more excuses for the way I was living my life NOW and I did something about it. My old eating habits would have to be radically changed and exercise would need to become my friend rather than my foe.

As you know, I did it--I lost 180 pounds in one year and avoided the obesity-related health decline that hit my brother like a 2X4 upside the back of the head. My brother was a contributing motivating factor for me to do it for real this time for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted desperately to NEVER have to go through what he has since his heart attacks. Second, and even more importantly, I thought my example to my only full-blooded brother would get him going.

Unfortunately, I learned the hard lesson that you can't make ANYONE lose weight who is unwilling to do it for themselves. You just can't and Kevin is the prime example. He's read my book, he's seen me in person, I've given him advice about the changes he could make in his life if he truly wants to lose weight and restore his health. But he has ignored it all.

Now it's October 2006 and that man in the picture at the top of this post is hanging on by a thread. He was hospitalized as he has been hundreds of times the past seven years, but this time is quite different. The stent they put in his heart valve before is completely blocked now. He has two other arteries that are 90 percent blocked as well. He was very weak and fatigued when I spoke with him on the telephone, but he was hopeful the doctors could do something for him as they have in the past.

On Monday, the doctors he saw said they were too afraid to do open heart surgery on him because they feared he may not be strong enough to come back if they put him under. Then on Wednesday, they tried to run a test on him, but Kevin was way too big for the table which could not hold him. Yes, he's still around 600 pounds.

My mom told me that Kevin is supposed to have a PT scan today on his heart to determine what they will do next. It is very likely he will be sent to a specialist hospital a few hours away and Christine and I will very likely be going to visit him there if that happens. I'll try to let you know when that happens so you can pray for him specifically about his surgery and for us as we travel.

Do I even need to tell you how upsetting this is to me? It's something no parent or sibling should EVER have to go through because it is all preventable. But we all have choices to make in our life and Kevin has made his. He has simply accepted that he's fat and will always be fat for the rest of his life. That's what I used to think, too, but I instinctively knew better. Why do people fall into this self-imposed trap about their weight?

Now you realize why I remain so vigilant and passionate about sharing what has happened to me through my weight loss experience because this subject hits too close to home. My mom's dealt with her obesity with gastric bypass surgery and my half-brother Nathan was able to take off the pounds with a low-carb-styled program and exercise. But this is something that has completely alluded Kevin and the price for that decision, conscious or otherwise, is having to be paid now.

I'm sorry if this post is not the encouraging, put on a happy face, go get 'em article you have read from me over these past couple of years. But my mind has been uneasy since Monday when I got the news about Kevin. He's a special man that right now needs the earnest prayers of anyone who has felt the pain and agony of living with or being an obese person. I cherish those at this time for Kevin and my family and hope for the best to happen for my brother even if that means the good Lord will be taking him home soon.

I will certainly keep you informed about Kevin's progress in the next few days and post updates here when I get them. If I have to go away for a few days, then I know you will understand if the blog comes to a standstill. The work I am doing here is important, but Kevin's situation is life and death. If he's in his very last days, then I need to be with him. God bless you all for your continuing faithful support for me and what I am doing. Now you know a little more about why I will NEVER give up telling people about the healthy benefits of livin' la vida low-carb.

10-5-06 UPDATE: My friend Richard Morris who knows a thing or two about what it feels like to be morbidly obese shared his thoughts with me about Kevin in an e-mail today.

Hi Jimmy,

I just read your article about your brother. Wow. First of all, I didn't know you had a brother and I just assumed that everyone within range of your infectious enthusiasm would be just as gung-ho on healthy living as you are.

After a short bit of reflection though, I realized that the situation with your brother makes perfect sense. You see, I have an older sister who is morbidly obese as well. Like you, I've done everything to try to help her. She spent two months with my family a while back and had really started to change physically and mentally, but then she returned home out West and went back to her old lifestyle.

Like you, I've received numerous emails from people who have attended my workshops, read my book or visited the web site and have had their lives transformed, and yet when it comes to family, it seems that those closest to us are the hardest to reach. I've heard variations of this same story from other people who can't seem to get a brother, sister or parent to see the nutritional light and walk therein.

I just thought I'd share this perspective. I think sometimes people think there's something about them or the relationship they have with a loved one that prevents that person from taking charge and making change, but the fact is that your situation with your brother is fairly common.

I'm so sorry to hear that his condition has worsened. I'll keep him in my thoughts and prayers.


THANKS, Richard, and to everyone else who has offered thoughts and prayers at this time. From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful to know that so many of you have shown me and my family genuine and loving concern at this time. God bless you!

10-5-06 UPDATE: I just got an update from my Mom about Kevin via e-mail.

Just a note to let you know what I know about Kevin. Today they made him fast all day in anticipation of a test they wanted to run, but there was a problem because they wanted the hospital to discharge him, let them run the test and then readmit him. They fought about it all day and never ran the test. They finally let him have dinner tonight.

The doctor is trying to get him sent to a specialist and let them run the tests on him. I am taking off tomorrow to go up and hopefully talk to the doctor about this. When I know something more, I will let you know. Keep praying!!!!


10-6-06 UPDATE: My mom talked to the doctors today and is very frustrated. The doctors are still indecisive about what they want to do. They will keep Kevin over the weekend, discharge him on Monday, readmit him to adminster an MRI and then determine when and whether to send him to the specialist three hours away. Sigh. My mom was spitting bullets about the adminstrative red tape she is going through with this. She is hoping they agree to send him to the specialist by this time next week. I'll let you know when I hear something definite. THANK YOU so much for your continued prayers, e-mails and support. God bless you all!

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Blogger PJ at TDLC said...

I'm so sorry that you are suffering watching it, and that Kevin is suffering living it. You're right, you can't make anybody do anything they don't want to do. Who knows why the psychology of one person believes in themselves more than another, or sabotages themselves less than another. The most one can do is be encouragement and be an example, and you are certainly a lot of both. Good thoughts and prayers for both of you. Times like these sure bring 'home' why daily choices can have giant, lasting impacts.
PJ, the divine low carb

10/05/2006 7:55 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANK YOU, PJ! I appreciate your kind words.

10/05/2006 8:30 AM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...


The work you do encourages and supports millions of people around the net. Even non-low carbers read your material.

It is important, and I believe your enthusiasm helps people save their own lives!

I hope and pray that Kevin makes it through his hospital stay. It is quite clear that carbohydrates are literally killing him.

Sometimes we bask in the glory of low carb so much, that we forget the 'choices' and 'personal motivation' that is involved in our journey. We underestimate the personal motivation that comes from within.

Kevin has to choose to get better. You can't make that choice for him, only encourage him.

Whatever happens, you are doing all you can!

God Bless my friend!


10/05/2006 9:44 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I appreciate your encouragement, Dave. You KNOW, don't you? :)

10/05/2006 9:52 AM  
Blogger Duchess of Dork said...

I'm sorry about your brother. I hope that you can somehow get through to him, because nobody should have to go through losing a sibling at such a young age. Prayers and healing thoughts going out to the both of you.

10/05/2006 10:32 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS, Duchess. Kevin just turned 39 in August, so he may never see his 40th birthday. How said for my parents and one living grandparent to have the prospect of burying their son and grandson. It's heartbreaking.

10/05/2006 10:37 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Addiction and denial are tough nuts to crack (understatement). I might have thought that your example, Jimmy, would have given him huge hope and motivation to change. Sorry to hear otherwise.

10/05/2006 10:39 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

True, Gary. This is why I need to learn not to take it personally when people who try the low-carb lifestyle and then stop fail. It was their choice to cease their new good habits and fall back into their old ways again.

But that doesn't mean I won't stop trying to get through, even to people like my own brother.

10/05/2006 10:43 AM  
Blogger The Happy Low Carb Taco said...


Whatever happens to your brother, I hope you can take some comfort in the fact that you tried pretty damned hard to encourage him to change- you wrote a book, you update this blog at least 3-4 times a day...I can't imagine anyone doing as much as you do, for the low-carb community or otherwise. Your brother will be in my prayers.


10/05/2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for your comments, Lyndsey. I know that, but it just hurts so much when it's someone close to you.

10/05/2006 11:51 AM  
Blogger The Happy Low Carb Taco said...

I can certainly understand. I have people close to me that do not listen or want to listen, either.
I hope that Kevin snaps out of it, and soon.

10/05/2006 11:57 AM  
Blogger John Tiniakos said...

Hello. It's sad to hear about your brother. Don't give up on him. I'm having the same problem with one of my closest friends.

He's 480 lbs. For years i've been trying to help him with weight loss. I have been successful in losing weight myself - and keeping it off.

He would listen to me and pretend he was doing something about it. But he never did. Recently he had a stroke and got so scared that he asked me how I could help.

I put him on a similar plan that I'm on and he's dropped 85 pounds so far. Sometimes fear works.

10/05/2006 4:50 PM  
Blogger Ronald said...

Jim, my thoughts are with your brother. I've just read your history on you and Kevin. I am proud of you for never giving up on your brother.

And I thought I am massively depressed. It must have been pure darkness for Kevin.

10/05/2006 4:58 PM  
Blogger TESS said...

Prayers to you and your family Jimmy. This situation is made even more difficult because it could have been prevented.I wish you the best and will keep you in my thoughts.

10/05/2006 5:12 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

That is what is most discouraging about it, Tess. THANKS for your thoughts and prayers.

10/05/2006 5:22 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for your sentiments, Ronald. Darkness has follow Kevin for most of his life and he really has never caught a break. Perhaps this is the moment of truth when it will all begin to turn around for him somehow someway. THANKS again for sharing your comments.

10/05/2006 5:26 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for sharing your story, John. It is encouraging to know I am not alone with this problem. I thought the "fear" would have been instilled in Kevin after his three consecutive heart attacks in 1999 that left him with only 25% capacity of his heart. Apparently not. THANKS again for your comments!

10/05/2006 5:29 PM  
Blogger cjcbrown said...

Jimmy sorry for your situation.

Have you ever read DesMaisons' "Potatoes not Prozac" for the biochemistry underneath food addiction? Don't be put off by the big ol' potato in the title - it's not about a starch based diet. It's about protein and good fats to heal serotonin and other brain chemicals. (the potato is small and medicinal and temporary)

Especially the chapters on serotonin (why addicts "can't say no," physically and biochemically) and beta-endorphin (how food can light up the addiction pathways), and the genetic connection, will help your own understanding if not your brother's.

At the author's web site we have people as sick as your brother getting better all the time. I'm not talking white knuckle either, but truly getting the demons off the back and gone.

10/05/2006 5:49 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey CJC,

No, I have not heard of that program, but I'd love to learn more about it. Have the publisher send me an e-mail about getting a copy for review. THANKS for your heartfelt concern.

10/05/2006 6:07 PM  
Blogger Calianna said...

You're very right that you can't force anyone to lose weight or take care of themselves. Sometimes the person has simply lost all control of what they're doing. I used to find myself sitting in front of the TV with a just-opened but nearly-empty bag of potato chips, box of crackers, package of cookies. It was only then that I'd realize what I'd done.

Therefore, I'll second the concept of food addiction being a big ol' demon on your back. Sometimes it takes something truly miraculous to break it.

I'll definitely be praying for Kevin, because if he's as addicted to food/carbs as I was, something's got to change drastically for him to escape it.

10/05/2006 7:09 PM  
Blogger diamondwife said...

Sorry for the struggle your brother is going through. I will keep him and you/your family in my prayers. I have a 13 year old niece who already wears a women's size 18 (I gave her some of my old clothes). Her 10 year old sister already wears a 12/14 (same size I currently wear). I am very concerned because they eat tons of processed foods full of sugar and other carbs. My sister loves them very much, but her eating is horrid too (she wears about a size 16). All 3 of these ladies are very dear to me and though I talk about my lifestyle and show them through example they just don't get it. If I come over for dinner my sister does very well making sure there is plenty I can eat but she still feels she has to make a noodle or potato dish for herself and her girls. Sometimes you just feel so helpless. I don't want my nieces to grow up to have the same weight challenges I had, but the 13 year old is already larger than I was at her age and the 10 year old is well on her way to that same path.

10/05/2006 7:19 PM  
Blogger Anne said...


You and your family are in my thoughts. We've been going through extended hospital stays with my grandparents recently and it's hard enough when the loved one is in their late 80s and has lived a full life. I can't imagine having to see my sister go through something like that. Like others have said at least you can have faith that you did more than most could even dream of doing for Kevin.

Safe travels if that's what is in your future.

10/05/2006 9:36 PM  
Blogger Linda said...


You and your family are in my prayers. Kevin, we are praying for you, please get well. I know your struggle all too well.

Linda in Oregon

10/06/2006 7:09 PM  
Blogger Sandylp said...

I know it just breaks your heart, Jimmy, that you haven't been able to help your brother. I believe the will to change has to come from within, though. Hopefully, your brother will one day realize that it's not too late. He's still young enough to reclaim his health and his life!

10/06/2006 10:02 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Kevin's been given so many second chances, Sandy, that I think he may be on borrowed time now. Why do people who KNOW they are in trouble with their health CONTINUE to make bad choices? It blows my mind just thinking about it.

10/07/2006 8:30 AM  
Blogger Calianna said...

I think we all know what it's like to struggle against food. In fact this morning I have gone a little nuts, eating everything... well, except nuts. All of it low carb, but oh my, I don't think my gut is going to be happy with all this.

If your blog seems to have a tremendous increase in viewers, it's because I keep checking back to see if there's any updates. (probably others do as well) Meanwhile, I just keep praying for him - that God will touch him and heal him, and that he will somehow escape from this stranglehold that food has on him, and experience good health.

10/07/2006 10:13 AM  
Blogger diamondwife said...

Food addiction is a difficult cycle to break. As someone who has broken addictive patterns with cigarettes and drugs, food is somehow more difficult. Maybe it is because we can't just quit eating, we have to change the way we do it. I still have periods of struggle with food, and I think I might have some struggles for the rest of my life. I think the key might be making good choices the majority of the time and not beating yourself up when you fall. I think a slip-up becomes failure when people use a slip-up as an excuse to keep eating the wrong things. Your brother, as well as you and the rest of you family, is still in my prayers.

10/07/2006 12:11 PM  

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