Sunday, February 10, 2008

The REAL Jo Heeley Low-Carb Weight Loss Success Story

The media missed the story, but Jo's here to set 'em straight!

If there's one thing we can always count on almost automatically from most media coverage of people who have lost weight on the low-carb lifestyle is they're just gonna get it wrong. The great Dr. Mike Eades blogged about this very subject just last week with a low-carb success story named Phill Novak appearing on CNN recently (they only gave a cursory mention to his diet and focused almost exclusively on his exercise--I interviewed Phill about his DIET for my podcast show on Monday). It's just a sad reality in mainstream media coverage these days that we have to come to terms with.

As a writer myself, I try to make sure the information I provide is as accurate as possible according to the research and knowledge I have about that subject. With that said, sometimes there is pertinent data missing from articles I have written and I respond accordingly. Such is the case with this December 2006 blog post about a low-carb weight loss success story named Jo Heeley. She lost a total of 84 pounds following a low-carb eating regimen and her story was featured in a popular British newspaper called The Sun.

Unfortunately, the author of that article (apparently no longer available online) took judicious liberty to make up and embellish the story to appear as if UK nutritionist Amanda Ursell had something to do with Jo's success. Well, in a word--WRONG! I recently heard from Jo Heeley herself and she said the column was fraught with so many "errors" it wasn't even funny.

Jo wasn't impressed by what The Sun editors did to her low-carb story.

"I find it quite frightening how these articles are literally changed to suit the point of view of whoever pays the money," Jo shared with me in an e-mail. "My issue is only a trivial one, but what inaccuracies are in 'big' news!!???"

That's true! But we'll leave that discussion for other blogs about media to discuss. For now, I wanted to hear THE TRUTH about the REAL Jo Heeley low-carb weight loss success story and she's been gracious enough to provide it for us here today. She actually began following the Atkins diet (BY THE BOOK!) in June 2003 about "half-heartedly" since she "didn't think it would work" and went on to hit her goal weight in February 2004. Now, she's been continuing to eat this way ever since because "I love it and it's so easy."

AMEN TO THAT, Jo! CONGRATULATIONS on your success and I'm very pleased and honored to provide your story in your own words with my readers today. Keep on shining bright as an ambassador for livin' la vida low-carb and inspiring people in the UK and around the world to follow in your footsteps to better health!

Here is Jo's story from Jo herself:

Several years ago I was bumbling along, weighing in at 210 pounds and growing. I loved my food and had a very sweet tooth. I would spend my days eating chocolate, cakes, biscuits, crisps and then have three big meals a day. At night I'd feel quite sick, laying in bed with heartburn, indigestion, wishing I hadn't been such a pig and vowing to start my diet tomorrow!!! But the next morning I'd be up eating all over again.

At the end of May 2003 my cousin came to stay with us for the weekend, he was raving on and on about the Atkins diet and had lost 28 pounds. I thought it sounded like total rubbish and had heard through the media that it was dangerous. But my cousin kept on and on and I have to say I couldn't believe what he was eating and still claimed he was losing weight! Anyway, before he left he brought me a copy of "Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution" and told me to try it--just for two weeks...I didn't read the book but just glanced at the "allowed" foods on the Induction page.

The first few days, I exchanged my usual high-carb foods with low-carb snacks. Every time I wanted chocolate or crisps I'd have a piece of cheese or meat. Meals would be roughly the same as I'd always had but without the fries, pasta, potatoes, etc.

On day 3 of Induction, I remember thinking I was coming down with flu or something because I felt "headachey" and miserable. I didn't give up on my low-carbing because by the end of the first week I felt absolutely great with more energy, my IBS had vanished, my aching joints had gone and I even FELT THINNER!!

Two weeks in and (I remember this vividly now) I was sitting in the garden enjoying the sun and I looked at my watch at 2:15pm when I suddenly I realized I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast! This was a MAJOR breakthrough for me because never before in my life had I ever forgotten to eat!

It was at that point I went and got the Atkins book out again and actually read it. I finally realized that everything about low-carb living I was experiencing was true just as Dr. Atkins wrote! I was indeed a major carboholic--totally addicted to them and without even realizing it. At this point, I knew I'd broken free from my addiction.

I lost 10 pounds in that first two weeks and after a while I realized the weight loss formed a pattern. I'd lose about 5 pounds over two weeks which would then be followed by two weeks where I didn't lose weight but I lost inches.

One day, I decided on a pursuing a target weight to reach for a specific goal. I'd never gotten far enough into a diet before to even think about that one!! I went for 140 pounds (10 stones for my fellow British) which seemed like a nice sensible weight for my height of 5'7" tall. As I got closer to it by November 2003, I started to wonder how to actually stop "dieting." I talked it over with another low-carber who just said "why stop?" Well, I was enjoying my food and I wasn't feeling deprived so I didn't stop. To this day I'm still eating close to Induction-level carbs (occasionally I may add a few low-carb bits and pieces--nuts in particular).

Jo Heeley got a tummy tuck and looks great after her weight loss

My weight actually got down to 126 pounds and then just stopped going down anymore! I'm absolutely fine with that! I'm so much happier today than I ever have been, I love going out with my family and friends, I love clothes shopping and I have so much more energy and confidence now. My life has been transformed completely because of the low-carb lifestyle.

The only regret I have about this experience is that I waited until I was 40 years old to do this and I blame the media and all the scare tactics they use in their stories to prevent people like me from learning the truth about this way of eating. When you think of the kind of rubbish people eat today, it amazes me that something as natural and unprocessed as the Atkins diet can be deemed "bad" for you!

Some mornings I wake up and just have to look in the mirror to make sure its all real. It really was so easy I never knew I was on a diet.

WOW, Jo, THANK YOU for sharing your story. You are a true inspiration to all of us who have realized the power of livin' la vida low-carb in our own lives and can relate to your remarkable story on so many levels. I appreciate you contacting me about getting your story straight and I apologize if my original blog post was demeaning to the work YOU very clearly did to make this happen.

NEVER STOP TELLING YOUR STORY and I'm delighted to have had the chance to share it here for my readers today.

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Blogger swatkins said...


Thanks for sharing this story. It's very inspiring to hear the success stories, and I must say your look fabulous.


2/10/2008 9:45 PM  
Blogger Kevin M. said...

The real mystery of low-carb is why the media won't print the plain truth, as described so pointedly in this article. Why the hypocrisy? And as for medical professionals, the real story is a fight not over the facts, but over their percieved professional legitimacy.

Our friend Dr. Katz of Yale was on the radio recently promoting basically the "everything in moderation" diet, in other words, based on current research, he couldn't specifically recommend ANYTHING, so he recommended nothing and pretended that this was some kind of profound medical insight.

The problem is, if doctors can't tell us anything, then what do we need them for? What good are they? Why are we paying them so much money for them to be incapable of taking a stand on anything? Their whole reason for being becomes questionable and doubtful. Their hypocrisy becomes evident.

Medics these days have forgotten a cardinal principle of science, which is that the sole basis of their authority stems from the facts as demonstrated in a laboratory setting. This is why medics started wearing lab coats in the 19th century, to gain an air of scientific legitimacy.

Unfortunately, now medics act as if the facts stem solely from their professional authority, rather than their authority stemming solely from the facts. Their is no scientific or medical authority that is not based on laboratory or observable, demonstrable evidence. The efficacy of low-carb may not have been yet definitively demonstrated in a laboratory, but it can be definitively demonstrated and observed in the lives of thousands of people living healthier, happier lives today.

That living evidence should be enough to proclaim low carb a known truth. Unfortunately it is doing more to reveal the hypocrisy, greed, desperation and mercenary shallowness of the medical, and journalism, professions.

2/12/2008 9:25 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Great insights, Kevin. Although I would argue that the low-carb hypothesis HAS been proven in the lab with all the research that has come out the past couple of years which is why I am planning on compiling those studies into one book written in layman's terms so everyone can understand it and see it for themselves. The proof is there for anyone to see as Gary Taubes so aptly laid out in his Good Calories, Bad Calories book.

2/12/2008 9:47 PM  

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