Have you ever heard of someone dropping 300 pounds, gaining it all back, and then dropping 300 pounds again, for good?
Our guest today, our friend Mike Gorman, also known as Gormy, struggled with his weight his entire life. From his peak weight of 540 pounds, he is now more than 300 pounds lighter and is mastering maintenance.
Gormy started the popular podcast, The Fat Guy Forum, and became a Nutrition Coach inspiring other folks to overcome the challenges of obesity and especially food addiction, which is more rampant than ever these days.
In today’s show, we’re chatting about…
- Lessons learned from shedding 300 pounds… twice!
- Mastering weight loss maintenance with mindfulness
- How to eat low carb at a hospital
- Prevent serious illness by prioritizing health
- Why it’s important to go at your own pace
- And tons more…
Let’s go hang out with Gormy.
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Mike “Gormy” Gorman: Dropping 300+ Pounds
Abel: Welcome back, folks.
Today, we’re here with our friend, Mike Gorman, aka Gormy, host of the Fat Guy Forum podcast, which is terrific by the way.
And he’s the man who’s dropped an astonishing 300 pounds twice from his peak weight of 540 pounds.
Gormy is more than 300 pounds lighter and now works as a nutrition coach, inspiring other folks to overcome the challenges of obesity and food addiction.
Welcome the show, Gormy.
Thanks, Abel. I’m glad to be here. I’m excited to talk to you.
Abel: Yeah, it’s been so fun to connect with you and just catch up on your work.
Your story is really unique.
There aren’t a lot of people out there, on your podcast anyway, who are just so transparent, openly sharing the ugly side of a lot of these different dietary trends and fads that come through. And experiencing the dramatic results of going up and down, especially multiple times.
So, for the people who aren’t familiar with your channels, let’s catch them up a little bit.
Sure, so like you said, I grew up my entire life, I was overweight, struggled with weight issues, up and down, and up and down, and all over the place.
And if you can name a diet I probably tried it.
I like to highlight, to give a hint to my age, at one point I was big into Richard Simmons’ Deal-A-Meal, which not a lot of younger people will know or remember. There were decks of colored cards that you would deal out for yourself depending on how much food you were getting for the day.
I did Weight Watchers and three or four different incarnations of it.
And my heaviest weight ever, you mentioned was I got up to 540 pounds.
I got up to 540 pounds. @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
I was in the 500s for several years. Lived that life for quite a while, and when I decided it was time to make a change, it was really kind of motivated by realizing: Not a lot of people were going to want to hire someone who was in the condition that I was in and I needed to work.
And I was in that place and didn’t really have a great mindset, diving into it, but knew I needed to do something.
And that was when I discovered paleo.
And paleo was that first program for me, going initially. Just kind of basic paleo, and that was when Whole 30 was starting to come up.
This was like 2010. We’re looking 10 years ago.
You were there, you were starting to explode onto the scene yourself back then.
So I dropped weight. I went from 540 pound and got down to 210 pounds—did that in about 2 years.
I went from 540 pounds I got down to 210 pounds—did that in about 2 years. @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
And that was 2013, that I got down there.
And then I very rapidly put the weight back on. Very rapidly, in the span of about 6 months I put most of the weight back on.
Abel: And just share what that number is for the people who are listening.
Yeah. So it was May 1st to the beginning of October of 2013.
I went from 210 pounds to 480 pounds, so it’s about 270 pounds in a little over five months.
And really, I attribute that to the fact that it wasn’t necessarily that the way of eating wasn’t working for me.
I think honestly, at the end of the day, almost any diet that you follow is going to work, as long as you can follow it and live it.
It’s going to work.
But I did no work on the mindset side of things, I did no work on why was I doing this, what was actually changing, what was changing about my life.
And also I think one of those things like, when you make a massive weight loss transformation, you don’t become a different person, but the way you interact with the world changes.
If you don’t get ready for that, it could be a scary thing, and it’s not comfortable, and it’s one of those things where it’s easy to retreat into old behaviors.
And I think that’s what really happened. Food addiction, all of those pieces that I did not really have a handle on.
I like to say that when I went through that weight loss transformation, that I white knuckled my way through it.
I was eating healthy food. I was eating plenty of healthy food, but I hadn’t really unlocked the thing that was going to help me actually get control of appetite and satiation and understand what physical hunger and mind hunger felt like, and all of those things.
And gave no thought to that because in my mind, weight loss was always, you do the work and you receive the result. You change the plate, and you get the information that you need.
So I regained the weight and basically at that point, just decided, “Well, this must be how I’m meant to be.”
I fell into a place of, “This is my life, this is what it’s going to be like. Just live your life for as long as you can, and you know, it’s not going to be that long and that’s fine.”
And almost in some ways, I’d just come to that place of being at peace with that idea that, “Okay, I tried to make change, it didn’t work. I’m not going to be able to fix this, so why even try? Why stress myself out? Just live life, enjoy life.”
And I was so lost in the food addiction side of things that to me, that was okay as long as food was there.
So I kind of lived that life for a few years and then ran into some situations with my family that just kind of gave me some thoughts. Where I realized that I was just letting my life happen.
I wasn’t really being an active participant.
I was letting these other behaviors rule everything, and I decided I needed to do something again.
What I like to say is, I finally realized that I wanted to live and that I was going to fight to live, and I had to find the right things to do that.
I finally realized that I wanted to live. @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
And in that sphere, to talk about how I figured out what to do. Paleo taught me a lot of things. It taught me about nutrient quality and ingredients, and sourcing and animal care, and all of those great things that were really fantastic.
And at one point—not to butter you up—at one point in 2015, I remember getting The Wild Diet book and getting really excited to give that a go, and fell off miserably, of course.
I think I still have it, though. I do have it. There’s still a lot that I looked at for it.
But I realized for me, yes, ingredient quality and the idea of eating great whole food was really going to be important, but there were still missing pieces there.
There were some things that were not coming together and that was really around the time that the “K” word started to become big in these years. Keto.
People were talking about it. This was back in 2016, 2017. There wasn’t a lot, as much as there is right now.
You couldn’t walk into a convenience store and find SlimFast Keto Peanut Butter Cups sitting at a checkout like you can today.
So I found a couple of books. One of the things that stood out to me was this idea that people talked about being satiated, and the idea that eating increased that was going to give you some of that, and just reading anecdotal stories of people feeling freedom.
And I decided I was going to give it a try.
It was really kind of like, “Okay, this is so in line with what I was doing before.”
So I like to say that I kind of started with more like a paleo-keto. I feel like the two things are separate in some ways, because if you do keto, you can do dirty keto.
You can eat crappy box food 100% of the time and still be “keto.”
Or you can look at eating whole food ingredients.
And so that was the path that I took, and that was February of 2017, I was 470 pounds.
And honestly, I think the reason I didn’t get back up to where my weight was before the highest was because I had undiagnosed blood sugar in pre-diabetes or full-blown diabetes.
Doctors that I’ve worked with now based on the lasting effects on my body, because I avoided doctors for decades, the lasting effects on my body, now the doctors say, you most likely were undiagnosed diabetic and untreated.
And that’s why when you hit a certain point of kind of unregulated out of control blood sugar, your body’s not even holding on to weight anymore.
It’s like where they talk about, sometimes they can identify a diabetic because they had a massive weight loss very rapidly.
So I made some changes, I went keto, @gormy_goes_keto is my Instagram, that’s kind of where that came from.
And over the next two and a half years, basically went from 470 pounds down to around 210 pounds again, into that range.
And I’ve settled in that kind of like 210, 230 range, kind of where my body is comfortable.
I’m probably up about 10 pounds now more than I would like to be thanks to our good friend going on in the world.
Quarantine effects and those sort of things, but I had to… I made some changes this time, and I know I’m kind of rambling a little bit, so I apologize for that, but…
Abel: No, no, no.
The thing I did this time that was different was I didn’t just pick a way of eating.
I decided that no matter what I did, I was going to be mindful from day one.
I was going to think about how was I feeling as I was eating, how the food was affecting me, how is it affecting my life, what were the choices I was making, why was I making those choices… and really get into that and not shy away from it anymore.
Because I think it’s easy to hide from a lot of those issues.
It’s easy to just say, I just have to follow, I have to fill these boxes in, I have to check off this list of foods I’m going to eat today and I can move on with my day.
And instead, being aware of the emotional side of things.
I used to always say I was never an emotional eater. And now what I say is that I was very much an emotional eater.
I was very much an emotional eater. @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
It’s just that I ate constantly, so I was numbing myself constantly.
So now I feel very strong emotions because I don’t use those same coping mechanisms.
But being conscious of that has really been the biggest kind of game changer for me.
So, I’ve come to this place now of working on this whole new world of weight maintenance, and what does that mean?
Because that was something I was never that great at it. My journey evolved, I started out working on my own.
I was doing… I started out in that… Really in that place of just counting carbs.
I wasn’t really been counting fat and protein because I had that kind of paleo plate template in my mind, of I knew kind of what to eat for meats and what to eat for healthy fats.
And eventually, when that slowed down and I actually started to see, realized that some of my ingrained behaviors, like my food addiction was I was starting to overeat on keto foods and see some weight come back.
I realized I needed some support.
I needed to maybe do a little tighter tracking of what I was doing, which was a little intimidating, the math can get a little intimidating.
So I started working with a coach, and I started working with a coach.
And that was kind of an incredible experience because one of the things that we did was we shifted…
So we were actually were tracking my macros very tightly, and I started eating actually a very higher fat ratio keto…
Like tracked ketogenic diet was up in the 75% range.
And for me, it was almost like that was a switch that flipped and I found complete, whereas before, I saw partial relief from cravings.
That was complete relief from cravings for me in terms of the physical side.
So, I could start to identify when I had a mental craving and when it really was something driven by emotion and what was going on that day and what were the stressors.
And working with someone, I was able to start seeing that there’s other factors that come into play on this kind of journey.
Sleep and stress and physical activity, and all of these different things that we don’t normally think about, because we think it really is just about…
At the end of the day, you’ll see it in social media, weight loss is calories in calories out.
And I think that’s a part of it. I think it’s a huge part of it.
I don’t think there’s anything magic to keto, but I do think then there’s other factors that come into play and things to think about.
And that was really the eye-opening piece for me was realizing that there’s just so much more to it.
And when you’re aware of all of that is when the journey… I don’t want to say it gets easier, but it gets simpler to figure out some of the different challenges you’re facing.
So we come around to now, the coach that I worked with now actually is my boss.
I work with him as a coach, working with individuals as well, who are looking at kind of a holistic ketogenic approach to their nutrition.
And we work on mindset and goal setting, and all the things that really helped me.
I feel like in a lot of ways I took notes along the way this time, and that’s not something I did before, so it’s gotten easier for me to be able to kind of build this sustainable life.
People love to say keto’s not sustainable. There’s no way you could do it forever.
And I’m like, “Well,” we guess it’s only been four years, three and a half years.
But I feel like I’m in that place now where I can actually start to make choices based on the goals that I have for myself and where I want my health to go.
And it’s not as robotic as it was before, it now just has become more, “This is my life and this is what my life is going to be.”
Abel: Yeah, and once you have those grooves in your habits and you kinda have that momentum…
Oh, for sure.
Abel: And it’s hard to get off course. But one of the things I heard you talk about was, you never really had…
You’re on or off, and I could definitely relate to that.
And so the idea of maintenance, when do you decide that you’re in maintenance?
What does that mean?
Are you keto if you eat a cookie that has sugar in it?
That’s another thing where we all have to be really careful around identity and kind of like what all of this means.
If you do… If you’re vegan and you have a little mayonnaise with egg in it.
If you’re keto or if you’re a carnivore and you drink coffee.
And so you need to be… Hopefully, something you could speak to and it sounds like you really go through this with a lot of the people you interview.
It’s just like, how we need to be.
We need to give ourselves a break and be conscious of the fact that we are kind of out of control and we need to manage that.
Oh, yeah, and I think you’re right.
And I think that some points in our journeys, there’s a place to identify with the way you’re eating.
I think you draw strengths from that, like, “This is what I’m doing, this is…”
It helps you with those control issues, it gives you some structure.
But I think when it starts to become dogma and it starts to become, “This is the only thing, this is your defining characteristic for your life” is when it starts to become something that’s more of a hindrance than a help.
And one of the things you talked about, like, “Are you keto if you eat a cookie?”
I get questions all the time of people saying, “When can I have a cheat meal? When can I have a cheat meal? Do you have cheat meals? What do your cheats look like?”
And they use this language of cheats and I’m like…
I look at life and food as a choice, everything is a choice, and I make the best choices for how I want my body to feel, and how I want my body to respond and move and all of those things.
I make the best choices for how I want my body to feel, and how I want my body to respond. @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
And so are there times where I make choices that are not ideal for my body?
Yes, because I think we all at some point do that.
But I’m conscious of what the consequences are and I’m conscious of how I’m going to feel after, and I know that there could be consequences going in.
Especially knowing kind of the dietary background you’re coming from.
If you haven’t eaten wheat for years, and all of a sudden you decide to eat something that has wheat in it, you might wake up the next day, and I know I’ll wake up with joint pain and inflammation and things along those lines.
And we make choices and so what I like to talk to people about is “worth it” moments.
I had a client who basically within three days of starting working with me, and her… Kind of weaved out this well-formulated keto diet together for her, ketogenic diet for her.
She says, “Well, there’s a birthday party at my mother’s house this weekend and there’s cake, and I’m just trying to figure how I’m going to handle the cake.”
And my immediate response was, “Cake is not going anywhere, cake is not going away.”
Cake is not going anywhere, cake is not going away. @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
It’s not like the world has put an end date to when there’s not going to be cake available anywhere, and I was like,
“And is this a cake that your mother is making by scratch and bringing your grandmother’s recipe that your mother’s making is passing down to you or is this a supermarket sheet cake, that they sell for $9, there’s 700 of them piled up? What is this? Tell me about this cake experience, why you’re thinking that this is worth it.”
And she’s like, “Well, no, it’s just a supermarket cake.”
And I’m like, “Cake’s not going anywhere. So do you need cake… Do you need cake, or do you want cake?”
And she was like, “Well, you know, it’s just that’s what you do at a party.”
I’m like, “Well, is that what you do?” I’m like, “You have 200 pounds you want to lose. Is someone who has 200 pounds to lose just having random cake at a party, something that they want to do, or something they need to do?”
And I said, “So there’s a difference.”
Because I remember one of the things that I talked about with my coach when we were approaching maintenance, and he can very much be along…
For himself, like, “This is the way I’m going to eat for the rest of my life. If I don’t deviate. This is how I’m going to eat.”
And I said to him, I’m like, “One of the things that I wanted to do this year was go to Europe, which didn’t happen.”
And I said, “If I’m in Paris in front of the best Parisian bakery ever, and I smell fresh croissants coming out, I may have a croissant.”
And is that keto? No it’s not.
But in front of a French bakery in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, when else am I going to be there? When else am I going to have that experience?
So, I think food can be about experiences sometimes.
I think the difference is, for most of us, especially if you’re dealing with someone who has food addiction issues or has a massive weight journey or even someone who doesn’t have a huge amount of way to lose, but has struggled with weight issues, is we see food as the entertainment.
We see food as the focal point, and it’s like getting to that place of not just seeing food as entertainment, but seeing food as this fuel that you can enjoy.
And it’s okay to take away the guilt of understanding that if you are keto and you eat a nice, a really great steak and have some roasted vegetables with it and you enjoy it, you’re not a bad person because you have enjoyed that food, you’re not…
There’s no emotional value or judgement on whether you enjoy your food or not.
There’s no emotional value or judgement on whether you enjoy your food or not. @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
And there are some people that love being in a strict place of I eat ground turkey and rice, I eat ground and rice, and that’s what eat, and that’s what I eat.
I think about that, and I don’t know if I could handle… I would have to be locked in a room to be able to handle that.
But it also doesn’t mean that I know that there are certain foods that are not great for my body that probably “taste better” because they’re engineered by scientists to taste better.
For me, it comes back in this idea of “we make choices.”
And do sometimes those choices fall in line with a dietary profile, a way of eating?
Of course, and I have keto in my…
Like I said, I’m not trying to just keep plugging it, but one of the things that I’ve seen a lot of my friends in the keto community, take keto out of their Instagram handles because they’re like, “I don’t want to identify with a diet.”
I keep it in my profile because… Not because I identify keto is my identity, but because I want the people that are looking for information to be able to find me, to be able to track me down and know that this is someone who talks about this.
This is someone who will be willing to have a conversation about what it means to follow a ketogenic lifestyle.
But that doesn’t mean that every day, every moment falls in line with those things.
And I think that’s the place that people want to be at, and they don’t want to put the work in to get to that place of being able to make choices and not have those choices have bad consequences.
Because I’ve made those choices and I’ve had bad consequences.
I’ve had those choices throw me completely off the rails, and I think there’s…
It’s all about that self, excuse me, that self-awareness of getting to that growth place with yourself where you now realize that you were the person in control of the food, and if you don’t feel like you are, that’s okay.
It’s really okay to feel like you don’t have that measure of control because I think sometimes we get very much also into that dogma of,
“Well, no one else lifted that fork to your face. No one shoved that donut into your mouth, you did that to yourself.”
And to some extent that’s true, and to some extent, there’s other factors that are at play, whether it’s emotions or just carb cravings and addictions and things along those lines.
I think it’s okay to kind of acknowledge that you’re in a place where you feel powerless to some of those things, but you want to get to a different place, and knowing that working on that could be a goal is great, but it also is okay to just be where you are today and say,
“Okay, so for today, I’m strict keto. That’s where I need to be because that’s where my goals are.”
And then tomorrow will I be somewhere different? Or six months from now, or a year from now, or five years from now?
And then we can also, obviously, I’m sure we could also have a very long conversation about what we think is the ideal nutritional program for any what most human beings to follow.
But not everyone can.
Not everyone is going to be able to wrap their heads around being able to do certain things.
And I think as long as a person finds what works for them in a way that can actually be sustained, you’re not seeing it as a temporary fix.
I’ve had people reach out to me and say, “I want to do keto for 30 days.”
And I’m like, “What does that even mean?” You want to do keto for 30 days.
So you want to get into this place of identifying that certain ingredients make your body feel better and certain things make you feel better, but you only want to do it for 30 days.
So clearly, they’re looking for a shredding program, that’s what they’re about, whether it’s a wedding or something along those lines.
So I’ve even had people like that, I’ve said, I don’t think it would be great for us to work together because I’m really more about helping someone find how they want to live their life.
I have clients I am working with that they have said, “We’re a few months in,” and they’re like, “I don’t know if I’m going to be 100% ketogenic for the rest of my life.”
And I’m like, “That’s completely okay.”
I’m like, “But let’s be mindful about whatever you end up doing.”
Let’s really think about… Not just saying, I use this and I throw it away, but what are the lessons that you learn?
What are the things that came out of that for you?
Because I think that’s the thing for me, it’s really… I had to really dig in and think about what I was pulling from all these different points in my journey.
What did I learn from losing all that weight, and regaining that weight, and losing that weight again?
What did I learn from losing all that weight, and regaining that weight, and losing that weight again? @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
What are the things that came out of that for me?
Because when we don’t try to learn those lessons, it’s either we’re doomed to repeat our mistakes or we just don’t move forward.
We end up staying stuck in the same place where we were at to begin with.
And for most of us, we know that that place we were in was not a great place to be, so why would we want to allow ourselves to stay there?
Are “Net Carbs” a Real Thing?
Abel: And we tend to play tricks on ourselves, and find all the loopholes right away, and then we double down on them.
We find our way to still overeat the now, highly caloric fatty foods.
And I heard you talk about, especially looking at total carbs versus net carbs, considering all of the new products that are out that kind of say this cookie only has one gram, when in fact the numbers don’t quite work like that, especially once they go inside your body.
So maybe you could speak to that a little bit.
Yeah, and that’s… This is where I’ll probably lose some people who won’t be happy with me.
But I think there’s a couple of reasons why I sit firmly in this camp of counting total carbs versus net carbs, because one, I firmly believe and people can challenge me if they want to, but…
I believe that about 90-99% of the people out there that are choosing net carbs as their path are doing it because they want to allow foods that they know they probably shouldn’t be eating.
They want to fit in the regular use of treats and things that should…
If we look at what the word treat means, it’s like there’s something special, but when you’re having cookies every day, even if they’re keto cookies every day, is that really a treat or is it you’re building that in to be a part of your life?
And with the idea of net carb math, I honestly…
I was actually talking with someone the other day who was even saying that the person that invented this idea of net carbs, it had nothing to do with science.
It had to do with labeling of food, and not wanting the food to appear to have as many carbs as it did.
So they created this idea of net carbs and then it became this prolific thing that spread now many years later, dogmatically, throughout the health-fitness weight-loss phase and…
Because the idea of net carbs is that you subtract fiber and sugar alcohols from the total grams of carbs because people say…
Abel: If you just do the fiber, that’s one thing, but the sugar alcohols, that’s a whole different game.
Right, and that’s the thing it’s… It starts to get so confusing, it starts…
You have to get really complicated because then it’s like you start to look at,
“Okay, there are certain fibers that we actually do digest some of the caloric load, and there are some sugar alcohols that affect us in different ways, and fiber and sugar alcohols, even if they’re not affecting us calorically, maybe causing blood sugar spikes.”
So you’re dealing with a whole range of issues.
So at the end of the day, counting total carbohydrates, there’s no math involved.
There’s no wicked science, there’s none of that.
And even if that means if someone gives themselves a higher number of total carbs to eat per day than they might if they were doing net carbs, that’s completely okay too.
At the end of the day, give yourself a higher number of total carbs. You’re still going to have better control of what you’re actually putting into your body.
And I know there’s going to be someone out there who says, “Well, I do net carbs, and all I eat is green vegetables.”
Great, that’s really awesome. I think that that person is probably doing it right. You are doing it right.
If you’re subtracting your fiber so you can get yourself some more arugula, more power to you. That’s fantastic.
If you’re subtracting your fiber so you can get yourself some more arugula, more power to you. That’s fantastic. @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
Most people are doing it because they want the ketogenic ice cream, they want… And they want the ketogenic cookies, they want to use the baking mixes.
And honestly, I eat those things. I’m not saying those things are terrible.
I’m not saying that there’s things that don’t have a place and a time, but it’s this idea that we don’t think about place and time with food, we just think about regularity.
And I see way too many people kind of on that train of taking the foods that they couldn’t…
They had emotional issues with before and control issues with when they were heavier, and they just replicate them and then have those same issues again.
They see those same exact problems. Because at the end of the day, it’s not even about the ingredients, it is about your relationship with those foods, and it’s about you’re keeping those demons alive.
And I’ve had some great discussions that… I have some friends that have lost… I have a lot of… One of the things you talked about on my podcast, The Fat Guy Forum.
So I have many friends that have lost hundreds of pounds, many guys that have done it, and a lot of them have done it following the eating way that I have with a ketogenic life.
And I have a good friend who, Miles, who said, the thing for him is when he eats like a ketogenic ice cream or ketogenic cookie, it doesn’t really scratch the itch.
So when you think you want a cookie… When he thinks he wants a cookie, he has this ketogenic cookie, and it’s like having a cookie played by another role on television.
It’s like people love to make jokes about LaCroix water, like LaCroix water, lemon LaCroix tastes like… LaCroix or however it’s pronounced, it tastes like a car full of sparkling water drove by a lemon on the side of the road.
That’s what those flavors taste like.
And I sometimes think some of these keto products, they give you a hint of that sense memory of what that food is like, so everyone kind of jumps at it and it’s like, “This is amazing.”
And some of them actually replicate the taste amazingly well, and I don’t know where their science or wizardry comes from, I don’t know what kind of magic they do.
But for the most part, I think a lot of them create just this continued, almost like not quite scratching that itch in the middle of your back, so all you want to do is keep scratching that itch, and so that eventually, you’re eating more and more of these things that you think are good for you because they have keto on the label.
Whereas really, if you had taken a measured helping of actual real locally made great ice cream and had that, you probably would have been much more satiated and satisfied with that experience than you would have eating a pint of… I hate to throw product names out there, but Halo Top ice cream.
And then there’s another one that is more like dishwater.
I can get cruel sometimes, but it’s just this idea that… And then you can determine if that experience was worth it, because I think that’s the other thing that I ask people.
You can determine if that experience was worth it. @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
I’ll have a client that says, “I really want to try this.” Whether it’s a new company has a peanut butter… A keto peanut butter cup or something along those lines, they’re like,
“And it’s five grams of carbs… Total carbs, I really want to have one of these.”
I’m like, “Okay, you’re going to have that, but I want to have a conversation after you have that about what it was like, what was that experience really like.”
Because in their memory, they’re thinking about a fresh Reese’s peanut butter cup with the soft peanut butter that breaks apart and the chocolate starts to melt immediately in your hands.
And then you have the ketogenic peanut butter cup, which is a bit chalkier, and the peanut butter really isn’t that creamy and it’s kinda got a hint of peanut flavor, but there’s something else going on in there, and the chocolate has a little bit of a weird aftertaste depending on the sweetener used.
And then I’m like, so was this the magical peanut butter cup experience that you had built up in your head and they’re like,
“No, it wasn’t worth it, it was a waste of 250 calories.”
And I’m like, “What could you have had instead, that probably the same number of carbs, the same number of calories, what could you have had instead that probably would have been more satisfying?”
And then it’s a mind game, it really is.
And I think it’s okay, I think it’s okay sometimes to take those fails though, like if you’re getting so obsessed, that you think this is going to be this perfect experience for you, it’s almost better to go through that and come out of it on the other side and say, “That wasn’t worth it.”
Because then you’re learning that it wasn’t worth it instead of always holding it up as this sacred cow that you can go to and like it’s, “Some day I’m going to find…”
I know for… Honestly, probably for a solid year and a half, I was chasing perfect keto ice creams.
I was like, someone’s going to nail this. Someone is going to nail texture and taste, and it’s going to be just like…
And they’re going to do it. I have faith that someone out there is going to do it.
And I’ll come down, maybe this will lose me some votes if I’m ever in an election.
I don’t think there is a ketogenic ice cream out there that tastes like regular ice cream.
I think there are some now that use sweeteners, there’s a lot on the allulose train that are, they’re replicating texture a little bit better, but they’re not replicating flavor.
And then there are some that hit flavor, but it’s like eating a mouthful of chalk.
And you know what, at some levels, I’m taking the hit trying some of these things for people.
But then I started to think about, “Why am I chasing this? What is this part of me that is chasing this perfect ice cream?”
It’s because I want that ice cream that I ate before.
So then it’s like I have to be conscious of, I’m just replicating old experiences with these foods and I have to be, okay…
This will summarize it for you because I have so many people, many times, because I think this is the cliche question when someone says they follow a keto lifestyle, someone says,
“So you’re never going to eat cake again, you’re never going to have cake again in your life.”
Go back to cake, cake will always be there.
And I say, I will probably at some point in my life eat cake, that will probably happen.
But I have to wake up every day and know that I can survive that day without cake, so I could live my life without cake.
And if I can live my life without ice cream and without Reese’s peanut butter cups and without all of those things and know that I can lead a healthy, thriving life doing that, it’s a much better mindset.
So when I do decide that I’m going to have one of those things, it’s not such a…
It’s not a life-saving moment, it’s not something that’s this life-changing moment with food, it’s me making a decision.
I very infamously, I guess on my account at times, have posted about there’s a cookie for sale at Disneyland, which Disneyland is not open right now.
I’m sorry, I don’t mean to get too timely on you, but Disneyland is not open right now, and it’s destroying me that I’m on the West Coast and Disneyland’s not open.
But they sell this cookie called the Matterhorn Macaroon, and it looks like a mountain and it’s a coconut short-bread hybrid cookie, that looks like a mountain.
And the only place they sell it on the planet is that one bakery, the Disneyland, the Mary Poppins bakery in Disneyland.
It’s the only place they sell this cookie.
So when I go to Disneyland I tell myself, I’m going to let myself have this cookie because this is probably the only cookie on the planet that I would say I might get into a fight with someone over.
But I set up the rules for myself, I’m going to sit…
Last time I had one I sat with my sister and we watched the fireworks in front of the Disneyland Castle, and we had our macaroons, and then…
That was also the trip I had introduced the rest of my family to the Matterhorn Macaroons, and they loved them and bought a whole bag of them to take back to the hotel.
And I was like, “Well, my rules are… My rules are in the park, I can have one.”
But for me, that experience of sitting with my sister on a bench in front of a castle, watching fireworks, having that cookie was worth it.
If I could have that cookie every day, it wouldn’t be a “worth it” experience.
It wouldn’t be something that was actually this important, it wouldn’t be a memorable moment, it would just start to become something that I could grab.
That’s this idea that all these things being available at stores all the time and being readily available.
And yes, I think access is great, especially with some of the keto products.
But I think you do have to at some point ask yourself, “Am I replacing another experience for the sake of replacing the experience, or do I really need this as a food?”
And don’t get me wrong, I think there are probably a lot of people that have been helped by products like this, to help make a transition for themselves.
But I honestly, at the end of the day, also I don’t… I think they might have made a better transition if they hadn’t had those products in the way.
I think they probably dealt with some more lingering cravings that they weren’t even thinking about, like keeping some of those fires going.
So while they would sit down today and say, “It was great for me to have Halo Top around while I was transitioning to keto,” I would end up saying, “Well, if you hadn’t had that around, might the transition even have been smoother for you?”
So it’s just this idea on be mindful of the choices that you’re making, and sometimes it doesn’t always mean that those choices are going to be things that are 100% ideal.
But no person lives a 100% ideal life, and if you do, you’re probably missing out on some experiences.
And I’m not just talking about food, I’m talking about life in general because you’re in such a strict dogmatic place.
Abel: Yeah, and it’s so easy to get carried away with some of these products that totally line up with your dietary plan or whatever, and then slapped a label on it.
So it’s like, eating a whole pint of Halo Top it’s, Oh, it’s only 300 or 400 calories when it should be 1000.
And thank goodness that I can just eat as much of this as I want.
And also I think that happens because, like you said, it doesn’t provide the whole experience of the actual ice cream where you have a few bites, you have the whole experience.
After a while you’re over it, but a lot of these products that are substitutes they don’t… They don’t kick in.
And so it just kind of gives you that little tickle again, it makes it hard to actually kick these foods out for good.
And also, I think another thing worth bringing up, especially with food addiction and trying to recreate your favorite foods is one of the reasons I love pies, and I love cakes, and I love cookies, is because when we got together with all my cousins and all my aunts and uncles and the whole family, and everyone kicked back and was having a great time, we had all those things.
And so I think a lot of that craving is more emotional than we realize.
When it’s like, we want that whole experience, and so if we have a substitute of the food that represents that experience, it’s pretty empty.
Oh, yeah. And that… But we think it won’t be.
We think that by recreating just the food, we recreate the experience, and that’s where people get tripped up, and that’s where the…
I think also that idea of food addiction is more than just the physical side of it.
It’s this emotional thing, a lot of times you’re eating because of some driving emotional issue, and this is…
I honestly think that anyone who gets as heavy as I was probably has some trauma they need to process, that drives some of those food issues, and…
I’m not saying that everyone does.
I’ve had… My podcast is always about guys of all varying sizes that are facing weight loss journeys, and some of them are at the beginning, some of them are at the end.
And I’ve talked to people that were 500, 600 pounds and never once felt that they were addicted to food.
It was just that they had poor eating habits and it just became easy, and that was what was easy for them, and it was easy.
And did they eat a lot of food?
Of course, of course, the human body is not meant to be over 500 pounds.
It will not stay there unless you’re putting enough food into it to keep it there, but they weren’t the person that was,
“I turned to this food because I felt sad, I turned to this because I was happy, I celebrated with this.”
To them it was, “This is what my family put in front of me, this is what we ate. So I just… When I was an adult and I could buy more of it, I bought more of it. Why wouldn’t I buy it?”
So it’s amazing. I talk a lot on the podcast about how we all can end up in the same…
A lot of people can end up in the same place with their weight, but the path we take to get there, that takes us, brings us to those “heights” can be very different.
And so that’s why your reactions and your solutions, I know people that thrive, making ketogenic desserts every day.
They do it every day, and they thrive and they’re doing great and for them it’s never a challenge because they never once felt that fire inside of you that ignites when you eat something sweet.
They didn’t… Never had that real issue. They never had that emotional issue where you were someone…
I’ve talked before in interviews I’ve done and on my page and other people I’ve interviewed.
For me, I just remember laughing because there was someone on another podcast that I listen to, he said,
“Yeah, I was completely out of control. I remember one day I spent $15 at Taco Bell,” and the host laughed, and I laughed listening to it, because I was like,
“If you didn’t spend more than $30 or $40 at a fast food place, were you even really there?”
It’s levels. There’s levels to challenges. And I’ve even…
I remember I was interviewing a friend who was 600 pounds and now has lost over 200 pounds, and when we were talking, one of the things he brought up was just…
He’s got a brother that’s losing 40 pounds and just the issues they deal with being different, and I talked about having to lose 2 to 300 pounds is different than having to lose 20 to 30 pounds.
And I got some very… I got some very angry messages from people saying,
“You’re invalidating my weight loss journey because you’re telling me that my journey isn’t the same as yours.”
And I’m like, “That’s not what I’m saying.”
I’m not saying that your challenges are invalid.
I’m not saying that the mountains you had to climb for yourself didn’t seem the same exact as the ones that I had to do for me.
But at the end of the day, the amount of time it takes to lose 20 pounds is going to be very different than the time it takes to lose 200 pounds.
And most likely, there’s a lot of other challenges, a lot of other health issues at play, a lot of really…
When someone can’t physically walk around the block, how do they get into a gym when they’re first starting their weight loss journey?
When I first started, even this round “of weight loss” in 2017…
I love saying quote-unquote, I know I do that. One of my little ticks.
But my physical activity was I would walk from my apartment on the second floor of my building to the front steps and I would sit.
And there was a telephone pole, basically one short block away, and it would probably be about two to three minutes of walking to get to the telephone pole, two to three minutes to get back.
And that’s what I did. Every day I walked for five minutes because that was all I could do.
Doing that, I would be exhausted and sit on my steps for another 10, 15 minutes after and then walk up to my apartment and sit down again.
That’s different than someone who can immediately, the first day of their journey, walk into a gym and do an exercise class or jump onto a treadmill for an hour.
There’s just different levels and different challenges.
And that was really one of the reasons that I started the podcast, The Fat Guy Forum.
Because one, I felt like there were a lot of people in the health and fitness sphere doing podcasts that, yes, they may have done that 20 to 30 pound weight loss, or they may have been an off-season bodybuilder who came back or a fitness trainer who fell off for a month.
But there weren’t a lot of people talking to men that actually were living lives dealing with their weight for decades, and then were making changes and some of them dealing with hundreds of pounds to lose.
And also, I saw that there were a lot of podcasts that were focused specifically on women and the specific issues they face.
And I think while there’s a lot of commonality between the issues that men and women face on a weight loss journey, and I work…
In my coaching, I work with men and women. Most of my clients are women.
I think sometimes there’s a difference in the stories and the experiences of what it means to be…
Especially even just to sit down and talk about what it means to be significantly overweight in high school.
You’re going to hear from… You’re going to hear… Talk… Sit down and talk to a woman.
You’re going to hear a lot about the oppression they’re facing and those challenges and probably more intense bullying.
Where a lot of the men I’ve talked to… I was very much bullied in school, I was bullied for most of my life when I was in schools.
And a lot of the guys I talked to, I immediately was expecting to have them have that same exact experience and they were going to have this commonality.
And I think the first five or six guys I talked to that were my size when they were at their biggest, they were like,
“No, I was really popular in school, I played football, I did this, I did that. I never had an issue with my weight, with my friends. Or with people.”
And it’s just this idea that these experiences can be very different, but then they talk about getting into the workplace and that being a very different place for them.
And so I just wanted to give voice to that.
And one of the things that just comes out of that is that there is this variety of experience, and it’s great for me.
My podcast is not exclusively keto, some people think that it is, but it’s not.
I’ve talked to guys that have lost their weight on Weight Watchers, or have had surgery.
And I’ve talked to guys that have had surgery and thrived, and I’ve talked to guys that have had surgery and failed and then ended up turning to something else and having to…
And it’s great to dive deep, have those guys that are willing to open up and tell me, I failed at my weight loss surgery, and I saw my waist start to go back up again, and I had no idea how to handle my life, and this is what I went through, and this is what I’m doing now.
And it’s powerful to hear them opening up and sharing those experiences and it just… For me, it kind of just reinforces everything.
In some ways, I started it to help me, to keep me kind of focused on the goals that are important for me.
But it also, I learn something from every person I talk to, and I take something away.
It’s something I haven’t thought about, and whether that’s an actual food idea or a fitness idea, or even just kind of a mindset challenge piece, there’s just so much…
There’s such a wealth of experience that everyone is going through with these issues that I just appreciate being able to kind of bring some of that forward.
Abel: Yeah, and especially stories that are told less, because oftentimes what you find in the fitness community is a bunch of fitness bunnies preaching to the choir, and that can be very…
And I’m kind of a little bit of a hybrid, but probably, especially now, more on that side, and I absolutely 110% agree with you that there’s such a wealth of experience and so much perspective that’s offered from…
Like me, I identify when you said… And I never quite thought about it this way, but some people, it seems like they’ve been kind of lifelong athletes and they just had a bad off season, gained 30 pounds, lost some muscle, .
That’s actually a quite accurate way of me seeing my experience, maybe multiple times, maybe not just a long off season or whatever.
But I think a lot of people can identify with that.
And that… It has its own struggles, but it’s kind of its own thing.
So fundamentally different though, from not being able to use movement, especially at the beginning, when you want to get momentum, when you want to start building muscle.
Like what a massive advantage it is to be an ex-athlete who already knows their way around the gym, so different from someone who is hundreds of pounds overweight and doesn’t have that experience and doesn’t kind of have that muscle memory too.
And it’s really important to recognize that when the fitness bunnies talk to each other about the weight just coming right off, that’s not everyone’s experience, that’s not how it works for everybody.
Right. And it’s… When you look at these people and I look at my own story, I look at my own journey, what life was like for me when I was heavier, the idea that I used to spend a lot of time worrying about if seats could hold me and would I be able to fit into a bathroom.
I remember going to a friend’s wedding, and I checked into the hotel and I went to the room, and the bathroom, the toilet stall was in this small alcove, far at the back of it.
And I couldn’t fit into the small alcove, so I had to go to the front desk of the hotel and say, “I don’t fit in the bathroom of this room, is there another room available?”
And they weren’t going to have another room available for another 12 hours, so basically I had that room and I could use the bathroom in the lobby until they could move me to another room.
Those are things that you think about.
I used to often think about, “Will I be able to park close enough somewhere so that I could get into the space if I’m going to join friends or family at an event? And if I can’t, what is the excuse I’m going to use this time?”
Because I’ve used that one before, and I’ve used that one before, and I got to come up with something new.
And just that mental headspace being freed up is kind of incredible, now being able to say I can say yes to anything and go anywhere and do anything.
And being someone that could always say yes to everything, trying to tell someone who has never had that experience, that you’re going to get there and it’s going to be possible, I think sometimes it’s hard for them to hear it and accept that that change is actually really possible for them.
And so I… That’s why I want to bring the stories of the guys that were in that place, the guys that were worried that they were headed towards being on TLC’s My 600 Pound Life, if they didn’t make changes.
And then they did make changes.
And I’ve had guys on who literally are five pounds into a weight loss journey, and guys that are 400 pounds into a weight loss journey, and every moment of that is valuable.
Every moment there’s different insight and because I remember one of my friends, Josh, when I had him on, he was very much like,
“I want to come on, but I don’t feel like I’ve done enough yet,” and I said, “Josh, I think the fact that you are just getting started is something that people need to hear it.”
Because there’s a lot of people out there listening that are afraid to get started or don’t know how to get started.
So hearing from someone who literally, this is their first week working out and their first week changing how they’re eating was powerful because he was able to say,
“This is what I’m struggling with right now,” instead of saying, “I remember struggling with that two years ago.”
And then I talked to guys that were 500 pounds and now are getting ready to step on body building stages.
Everyone has this amazing piece that’s unique to them.
And I bring up the body building stage thing because that’s the other thing I think is different.
Most of the… A lot… Most people out there are not trying to lose weight or improve their health to get on a fitness stage, to do…
Run a marathon, to be in a physique show.
There are people that are and that’s fantastic, and I think that having goals is amazing, but for the most part it’s people trying to actually live accessible lives.
That’s something I’ve talked with a lot of people lately.
This idea that they want to make changes so that they can access life in a better way, that they can actually take opportunities and they can not have to say no to everything.
And I think when you kind of come into that place of realizing that just the gratitude they have of being able to…
One of my clients yesterday messaged me because the jeans she was wearing fell down when she was at an appointment, and she’s like,
“I have a pair of jeans that don’t fit anymore,” she’s like, “And they’re not small.”
It’s great, it’s not like… I’m not getting into a size four jean and standing on a stage, but to her that was a fantastic experience.
There’s these different… We all have these different measures and markers along the way, and I just love being able to talk to those people that are…
I don’t want to use the word regular, but it’s just this idea that they’re not trying to get into an industry, they’re not changing their physiques to…
Which, if you are… I look at some of these people, I even have a friend who was on the show who was 450 pounds, and he is…
You look at him now, and there’s no way you would even know that without seeing his before pictures.
He is just diesel, he is getting ready to get on a body building stage next year and he will probably kick some butt.
But that’s great that that’s what he wants to do.
But then I also talk to… I have another friend who he just really wants to be able to fit into his wife’s car.
It’s just this completely… It can be about different things for all of us at the end of the day, but not losing sight of what that actually means for each of us as an individual person, I think is really what’s important…
Knowing that it’s okay for your goals to not look like someone else’s, I guess was the long story…
The short story of that, that long-winded rant…
Just know that it’s okay that if your goal is to be able to work out four times a week and not about being able to run 10 miles, that’s fine, or even it’s just to be able to run.
You’ve never been able to run before, and you want to be able to just feel what it is like to run a couple of blocks when you’re going on a walk.
It’s okay to have goals that are different than another person’s, as long as it’s something that’s driving you, and it’s something that really is giving you something to strive for.
How Prioritizing Health Can Prevent Serious Illness
Abel: Well, we only have a couple of minutes left, but I want to make sure that you tell the quick story about when you got pneumonia and you were told essentially that you would have died if you hadn’t already prioritized your health before that.
Yeah, this is a little bit wild.
So, one of the things I mentioned was that I was kind of doctorphobic for decades, because when you’re that big, you know what you’re going to hear from doctors.
I knew that I had all of the symptoms of diabetes when I was heavier, the urinating, the foot pain, everything you could think of, sweats after eating, all of that.
So I avoided doctors like the plague, and in 2017, after being about 100 or so pounds into my weight loss journey already, I got pneumonia.
I got a cold that wouldn’t go away, it went away, it came back, and I was basically lying in my apartment one night and said,
“If I don’t go to a doctor, I’m probably going to die. I can barely breathe right now, I cannot walk.”
So I called my dad and I’m like, “I need to go to a doctor.”
And so here I am in my 40s, I had no idea how to find a doctor because I literally as an adult, never found a doctor, I’d never done that.
So I was like, I don’t even know what to do.
And luckily, I knew he had a tennis buddy that was a general practitioner.
He’s like, “Let me call him, see if he can see you in the morning.”
My dad misinterpreted some of the symptoms I had said, and thought I had flu symptoms, so told the guy that I had the flu.
We went to the doctor’s office and I had to stop five times walking into the doctor’s office to catch my breath because that’s how bad my breathing was at that point.
And so there I am sitting on the examination table, probably pale as a ghost, and he walked in and got this horrific look on his face, immediately he put a pulse oximeter on my hand and said,
“You need to go to a hospital right now.” He goes, “I should call an ambulance, but I’ll let your dad drive you as long as you say you’re going without… ”
He goes, “Don’t stop at home to get anything. You need to go to a hospital right now.”
The other serendipity that happened was the person working at the ER was actually a gym buddy of my dad’s, and kind of bumped me up to the list to get me seen.
They rolled me into the back and threw me on a table and ripped my shirt off and threw electrodes onto me to make sure I wasn’t having a heart attack, all of these things.
And at that point, inside of my head that I was facing my greatest fear ever, which was medical diagnosis.
I was in this incredible panic place, but I was like, “If you don’t let them do their work, you’re going to die.”
So, just let them do what they need to do. Just let me do what they…
So they put oxygen on me, probably an hour or two later when I was sitting in the ER, a doctor came in, and I don’t know if you know what a lung X-ray should look like, but no X-ray of the lung should be black.
It should just almost be clear. And he brought it in and it looked like two giant white clouds with thin black lines at the top.
And he said, “If you had waited another hour or two, you probably would have died, your oxygen level was low enough that you could… At this point, we don’t know if you damaged anything, we really don’t know.”
They had the oxygen on me at the highest level possible, they’d already given me three or four injections and they’re like,
“We need to admit you immediately or something… You still at this point could die.”
So there I was admitted to the hospital a few weeks before Christmas in 2017.
My family had this big trip to California planned, that didn’t happen.
I was in the hospital for 17 days, bedridden in the hospital for 17 days.
And so a couple of interesting things happened.
One, I stayed keto in the hospital. That was a challenge.
I stayed keto in the hospital. That was a challenge. @gormygoesketo Click To Tweet
Abel: Uphill battle.
Yeah. The very first night, the nutrition people came to me and they were like,
“What kind of food do you want when we’re setting up your food for tomorrow?” and I said, “Well, I eat keto, I eat low carb.”
And they’re like, “Okay, we’ll give you the low-carb diabetic meal.”
I’m like, “That sounds great. This will be awesome.”
And I got the diabetic meal the next morning and it had a blueberry muffin, oatmeal with a packet of brown sugar and orange juice and a piece of fruit, and then there were some powdered eggs.
And I said to the person, “This is the low-carb meal?”
And he said, “Well, yes, it’s less carbohydrates than the regular meal that people would be getting.”
And I’m like, “What are the people who are not on this diet getting?”
Oh my goodness, this is insane.
So I was like, “I’m going to need to talk to someone, I need a supervisor.”
I had my Karen moment and said, “I need a supervisor.”
And the same person from dietary came back down and I was like, I don’t eat…
And so I had to be like, I don’t eat bread, I don’t eat rice. I don’t eat… I had to lay it out.
I’m like, I eat meat and vegetables, and I’m going to need you to give me some extra butter…
And I actually started hoarding butter packets in the bed stand by my bed. Because I was like, I didn’t know when there would be more.
Luckily I had a lot of friends.
Yeah, I had a lot of friends and family around who would bring food in for me, like local restaurant, bringing in a steak or fajitas, or things along those lines, things that were a little better.
But it was an experience that was wild and insane, and it took them a long time to handle the pneumonia because they could kill the infection, but the damage done to my lungs…
They said that my lungs had developed a condition known as being hepatic tissue, which is, your lungs should be like cotton, but my lungs actually had the texture of the liver, like that heavy dense tissue, because it was just swollen and dealing with that amount of infection.
So they had to put me on steroids. They told me the steroids might cause hallucinations, and I actually thought that aliens were coming to get me for two nights.
So every time the nurse would put the blanket over me at night when I should be sleeping, I would throw it off and say,
“The aliens are coming and I need to be ready.”
That was a good time.
And then to talk about health and impact on health, a couple of things happened when I was in the hospital that I learned.
One, I finally had my A1C and all of that checked and I was perfect.
Things were great, which was fantastic to hear, to not even be pre-diabetic, but they actually woke me up one morning at 6:00 AM and said,
“The doctor thinks you’re having a heart attack right now, we need to take you for an echocardiogram.”
And I was like, “They think I’m having a heart attack right now?”
And the nurse is like, “Yes, They think you’re having a heart attack right now.”
And I’m like, “Shouldn’t they be doing something to me?”
Okay. So they literally wheeled me down, did an echocardiogram.
I’m like, got the sweats, my heart’s racing, all of this, the technician at the end was like, “Are you okay?” And I’m like, “Well, am I okay?”
And she’s like, “What do you mean?” I go, “Well, the nurse told me that I was having a heart attack.”
And she goes, “Oh no, the doctor thinks you had a heart attack at some point in your past and just wanted to have a test done.”
I’m like, “Okay, this is a little bit different that you’re having one right now.”
That was an experience. But then…
And I’m like, “Well, how does everything look?” And she’s like…
She goes, “From my end,” she goes, “Everything looks good, you’re okay right now,” all of that.
But then I did have one of the doctors come up eventually and talk to me and tell me that at some point in my past without knowing it I had a heart attack and I didn’t know it.
And the funny thing was, he said, “So to try to pinpoint when this might have happened, did you ever have a night where you went to bed uncomfortable?”
And I said, “Doctor, I was over 500 pounds. Every night I went to bed, I was uncomfortable. Every night I felt my heart race, every night I had the sweats. This was every night.”
There was no way to pinpoint it, but that was a lesson for me, and then I had to see a cardiologist for six months after I was out of the hospital.
But like I said, I was in the hospital for 17 days and I was bedridden for a month and a half after that, staying at my parents house because I couldn’t get up the stairs to my apartment.
It was very much… And I couldn’t go back to the gym until the cardiologist cleared me.
There was all of this… When I left the hospital, we left, it was New Year’s Eve that we actually left the hospital, and I had oxygen and I was on oxygen for a month, so I had this tank that I would wheel around.
It was around the time of one of the new Star Wars movies came out, and it’d actually come out right before Christmas.
I’m a big Star Wars nerd, and my sister and I went to see it after, and she literally had to drop me off at the front of the theater, and I wheeled in the oxygen, it was my very first outing really, kind of like heading out.
So it was just incredible for me to think that here I was doing all this work on trying to save my health, change, and then this happens, something that’s completely out of my control, but the interesting…
Like you intimated and were asking the question, I had many, many doctors say that if you hadn’t done something, you wouldn’t have survived this.
If you weren’t working on your health, if you hadn’t been working on your cardiovascular health, if you weren’t working out, if you hadn’t changed what you were eating, if your blood sugar was still out of control, you would not have survived this.
And so for me, it was almost like that experience cemented what I was doing in a way that was just different than deciding that I wanted to live.
It cemented it in a way that I was like actually… Gave me a tangible answer to yes, you’re doing the right thing.
Yes, you’re doing something great.
I also had a lot of fun proselytizing about keto to people in the hospital.
Abel: Yeah, right, coaching the nurses.
Yeah, all the different nurses would come and be like,
“I heard you’re the keto guy. I heard you’re the keto guy. How do I get started? How do I do it? What do you eat? What is this like? What are you doing?”
And then even one of the things that came out of this for me was I finally had a regular physician.
Just a regular general doctor.
And the first time I went to meet with him it went great, and we talked about that I was low carb, and he was very much…
He’s like, when it was time to talk about blood work, he’s like, “We’ll have to have you come back when you’re fasted and do blood work,” and I’m like, “Well, I’m fasted already.”
I’m like, “I haven’t even anything since 5 o’clock yesterday.”
And he immediately gets this glint in his eye and he said, “Do you intermittent fast?”
And I’m like, “Well, yes, I do.” He’s like, “I love intermittent fasting, I recommend it for all of my patients,” blah, blah, blah.
And so then we talked a little bit more about that kind of thing.
And then when he eventually… I had disclosed to him that I ate a ketogenic diet.
And so at my follow up a year later, he came in and he looked like a kid who had a secret to tell his parents, he was rocking and excited.
And I was like, “Hey, what’s going on?”
And he’s like, “I just want you to know that I went keto and I’ve lost 25 pounds in a month. And this is amazing, and this is great.”
And the funny thing was, the great thing is that he’s educating himself.
So he started to talk to me about, there’s another doctor in his practice who very much basically does in-service training for the other doctors to talk about cholesterol and how cholesterol should properly be interpreted and how it’s been interpreted wrong, and lectures them on not prescribing statins and all of this kind of cutting edge medical activity, approaching things properly and having this great learned perspective.
So when it was time for my blood work, he’s like,
“No, we’re not just going to run a regular cholesterol test, we’re going to run particle density, and this is what it says, and you’ve been keto for a long time, so this number might be up, and this number might be down and this might be here, but if you’re here, you’re okay, and we’re also going to run… ”
We had run a testosterone test on me before, and he’s like,
“We’re going to do the full panel this time, we’re going to see what your free testosterone is versus this and that.”
And you could tell over the past year, he had done a lot of research.
And so it’s just great to see a doctor that’s actually kind of actively caring about what things mean and that sort of thing, and helped me change my perspective on working with doctors in general and…
But it was that whole experience that just all… So many serendipity moments of, what would have happened if it had been six months earlier, what would have happened if I had given up?
What would have… All of those things, bringing me to where I am and just knowing that I had a heart attack at some point and didn’t know it.
It’s like, “Okay, there’s a badge you wear for the rest of your life that’s there.”
And luckily for me, there was no physical damage to my heart, but there was electrochemical issues, they could still…
They could read and tell were there. But it’s just…
It was just this very intense experience that taught me about controlling what I can control and letting go of the things that I can’t control because I didn’t deal well…
I never dealt well with blood in my life.
They were taking blood from me three times a day, different arms poking me, and I looked like I was beaten up, with the amount of bruising that I had from the amount of blood they were taking in the IVs and all of that.
When they were pumping fluid into me.
I also developed a reputation in the hospital for having this enormous bladder, apparently. That’s a little bit TMI for your audience.
It actually became a thing where nurses would come in and be like,
“So you’re the guy, you’re guy with the giant ladder.”
And I’m like,” What do you mean?” They’re like, “The amount that you put out when you…”
Because they had a pumped me full of fluid to get my body hydrated again, because I was dehydrated for a few weeks, probably before I went in the hospital, and so that fluid has to come out of your body eventually.
And apparently I would let it go in large amounts that they couldn’t measure at first, they had to get different…
Again, TMI, but they measure your urine output when you’re in the hospital, especially when you’re dealing with those kind of issues, when they’ll be giving you fluid.
And they use these things they call hats, that they pop into the urinal, so you can urinate into it.
And I was filling up more than one of those at a time, and they’re like,
“We’ve never seen someone do this before, this is amazing.”
So I’m like, “Okay, so now I’m known as the keto guy and the guy with the bladder of steel in the hospital, this is like… I don’t know if I can ever turn this into a career, but at some point maybe, I don’t know, I really don’t know.”
Abel: Yeah, much better than the alternative of…
Right, I know. Having one the size of a pea. But it was just this…
Again, it was this experience for me that opened my eyes to a lot of the things that I was doing was right, and that I was on the right path, and that working towards bettering my health was never going to be a bad thing.
Where to Find Mike Gorman
Abel: Yeah. Well, Gormy, so fun to talk to you and catch up with you, man. What’s the best place to find you?
Sure, so the best place to find me is probably on Instagram. They can catch me @gormy_goes_keto. I’m very active on there, respond to messages, all of that.
You can also find me on Twitter @gormygoesketo, no underscores.
You may know yourself. I think that’s how we connected, it was Twitter.
Abel: Yeah, I think it was.
Twitter can be a little bit of a sketchier place I think, than Instagram.
Yeah, you can get some… I feel like every time I post anything on Twitter, I get attacked by vegans, but that’s a whole other story.
Abel: Yeah, me too.
But you can also, on whatever podcast platform you use, including now, Amazon podcast is just popped up, that’s awesome.
You can say Alexa play the Fat Guy Forum, and Fat Guy Forum plays.
But you can find my podcast, the Fat Guy Forum on Apple, Spotify, Alexa, all of those places.
And if you’re interested in working with me as coaching, go to theketoroad.com.
That’s one of those things where I’ve always got a door open if there’s anyone.
Even if it’s not something you’re interested in, but you just want to talk more about what you’re dealing with.
I love to talk to people about this stuff.
Abel: Very cool. Gormy, thanks so much for coming on the show today.
Thanks for having me, Abel, it was… I will say it’s wild for us to be able to talk.
I have to fan boy for a moment with The Wild Diet, and having seen you on… Because I also…
I’ve very much been connected over the years with Kurt from the show that you did in ABC, and he’s such a great guy.
So just being… The chance to talk to you was just really great, I think you do some really great things for people, and just…
It’s just this idea of all of us just trying to get people to think about what they’re putting in their mouths and how that’s…
Can really be powerful, can have a powerful effect on your body in the end.
Abel: Absolutely, and I’m so inspired by people like you over the years, connecting a little bit and through Kurt and then actually…
So keep in touch, man, this is why I do this, because it’s an uphill battle, as we all know, so we have to really be a community and get each other’s backs.
And so keep on doing your work. We need it more than ever.
Thank you, man. Thank you so much.
Before You Go…
Here’s a note that just came in from Dallas. He says…
My box of goodies came in today. Really appreciate it!! Also, I wanted to show off my Abel James Designer Babies Still Get Scabies book, my favorite poems are the Zuckerburglar and Vegan Junk Food. PURE GOLD! Love your Podcasts, too, my man!
I just want to take a few minutes and tell you my story and what the “wild diet” and the knowledge contained within have done for me and my family.
Here we go. Grew up with absolutely no food knowledge or limits or rules… if it looked good, eat it… if it tasted good, eat more of it.
Struggled with weight/confidence issues my entire life especially during my formative “teen” years and this really shaped the paths I went down and ultimately didn’t go down in basically all areas of my life.
Things are so much clearer looking back aren’t they?!?!.. hindsight’s 2020 for sure!!
In my adult life, I finally got sick and tired of looking and feeling sick and tired.
In 2017 my wife, Melanie discovered Grit Fitness we both started attending the high cardio high intensity with kettlebell style of workouts and we both knew right away, THIS WAS FOR US.
Let me tell you what happened at Grit Fitness, they launched their Summer “Wild Diet” challenge and….. EVERYTHING CHANGED.
I’m extremely skeptical by nature and Melanie is extremely “NOT” skeptical by nature an “ALL IN” kinda girl….haha
So as it went, I was coerced to participate in GRIT’s seasonal Wild Diet launch and it changed my life, without a doubt.
The information and concepts contained in The Wild Diet gave me the “boundaries” to operate food-wise, so to speak.
It first of all taught my wife and I about the deception and profiteering in the American food industry; along with the metabolic importance of getting sourced food, free from crap. You obviously know what’s in your book but it was so CLARIFYING for Melanie and I.
My performance at the gym, overall well being both physically and mentally skyrocketed.
Those “gains” at the gym got pretty dramatic, and most importantly our kids are enjoying learning more and more about food as they get older, an opportunity Melanie and I didn’t have until our 30’s.
So in closing, ever since about mid 2017 we have practiced to the best of our abilities a clean, healthy lifestyle and strive to keep going.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Dallas, this is incredible. Thank you so much for sharing your story man!
I’m psyched you found Grit Fitness. They’re such good guys doing this the right way.
I’m really happy to hear that you and the family found a lot of clarity around diet and fitness in my book, The Wild Diet.
I tried to condense a lot of, what I consider, timeless knowledge into that book.
So that many years from now, it will still be relevant and hold a lot of truth to help guide you towards living and enjoying a healthy life without depriving yourself of delicious food.
And thanks for the kind words about Designer Babies, too!
Things are pretty crazy in the world right now, and I wrote Designer Babies to help us all get a little chuckle out of it all, instead of taking it too seriously.
I really appreciate you writing in, and I really get a kick out of hearing which poems are your favorites. So, thank you for your feedback and for sharing your story with us, Dallas.
Now if you’re listening to Fat-Burning Man for the first time, welcome to the party.
Quick factoid: Fat-Burning Man doesn’t mean this show is just for men.
In this case, man is meant to mean mankind. In fact, I make a point to keep this show family friendly and free to everyone. No locker room talk.
If you enjoy the show and want to support what we’re up to, I’m actually giving away my new book Designer Babies Still Get Scabies to everyone who signs up to support us over on Patreon.
You can sign up for as little as $3 bucks a month, to help keep this showing coming to you. And you’ll get instant access to the digital version as well as the audiobook of Designer Babies Still Get Scabies.
To get the deal, just head on over to our Patreon channel.
And if you’re in the U.S., another way you can help support this show is by visiting WildSuperfoods.com.
One thing a lot of people struggle with these days is getting enough nutrients from their food.
And so, to help give you a boost of nutrition, we combined 15 organic fruits and vegetables, along with more superfood stars of the plant kingdom into a delicious-tasting powder that can be mixed right into water.
We call it Future Greens, and it’s packed full of powerhouse plants like beets, broccoli sprouts, blueberry, raspberry, cranberry, camu camu berry, kale, nettle leaves, spirulina, barley grass juice, wheatgrass juice, chlorella, burdock root, and tons more.
And what you’ll notice, what I notice when I take it, is that I just have so much energy after I drink up all those concentrated nutrients.
So, if it’s late in the day and my energy is dragging, I’ll have a scoop of Future Greens in water, and it’s a wonderful pick-me-up without having to rely on caffeine.
And it’s a convenient powder, so you can mix it up in a bottle with water and take it with you. And it tastes great, too.
So, you can find that over at WildSuperfoods.com.
And right now we have big discounts going if you want to Stock Up and Save by grabbing our Future Greens 3-pack or 6-pack.
So if you’re in the U.S., just head on over to WildSuperfoods.com to get those deals.
What did you think of this interview with Gormy? Do you have a story of taking your health into your own hands? Have you tried eating low carb at a hospital? Drop a comment below to share your thoughts!