Robert Smith tells his story of conquering obesity, as well as saying goodbye to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetes, depression, and asthma.
I was skinny as a rail in my twenties; so skinny that I consumed special drink powders to help me keep the weight on. I guess I should have read the fine print to see if there was a “delayed reaction” warning, because I became overweight in my thirties and then obese in my forties.
I developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetes, depression, and asthma. Needless to say, I took more than my share of medications. My joints were achy, and even tying my shoes felt difficult. I didn’t delude myself; I knew I was fat. But seeing a photograph of myself at my daughter’s wedding (below) hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized I had to do something. Like many people, I tried popular weight-loss plans, including the Atkins Diet, Med-Fit protein shakes, and a 30-day juice cleanse. Each helped me lose, and regain, 50 or 60 pounds.
In my search for a lasting solution, I came across a few books that would dramatically change my trajectory. T. Colin Campbell’s book, The China Study, taught me the virtues of a whole-food, plant-based diet. Douglas Lisle and Alan Goldhamer’s book, The Pleasure Trap, taught me the nature of my food addictions and gave me tools to overcome them.
Diving deeper, I learned that The Pleasure Trap authors had built a center for nutritional medicine where people like me could come to water-fast and acclimate to a healthy diet. To say I was skeptical was an understatement, but I gave it a shot, making my way to TrueNorth Health Center to tackle my illnesses and regain my health.
Let me be frank; the food I ate the day I arrived tasted terrible! It was bland and boring, and borderline inedible. Then I fasted on nothing but water for 25 consecutive days, a feat I would have previously thought impossible. But I did it, and when I finally ate again, let me tell you something: The food was delicious! I was amazed by how the junk I had been eating had desensitized my taste buds to the subtle flavors of real food. As I began to eat again, I attended cooking classes and lectures, and had some great conversations with the other guests. I can’t begin to express how much I learned during my stay.
Unlike my previous attempts at weight loss, this approach stuck with me. From the very first day I arrived at TrueNorth, two years ago, I have lost a grand total of 130 pounds and came off all of my medications. More importantly, I have kept it off. I’ve been successful at staying the course, eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet free of added salt, oil, and sugar 95% of the time.
Sure, I’m human and I occasionally fall off, but unlike the past, now I get right back on the horse. I’m still a work in progress and continue to improve my diet and exercise regimen. My battles have advanced from fighting obesity and fatigue to learning and doing everything in my power to reduce my risk for conditions that run in my family, including Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
I’ll tell you this: TrueNorth Health Center is a miracle. I usually don’t go for this sort of thing, but this is truly a place that nurtures and heals you. They educate and empower you, and they give you the tools you need to succeed in the long run. I can’t recommend a stay at TrueNorth highly enough.