Seven years ago, I weighed 340 pounds with a 52-inch waist and had been morbidly obese for over two decades. My cholesterol was 400, my blood pressure was out of control, and I was taking daily insulin injections for type 2 diabetes, plus 15 other medications. At the time, I had tried and failed just about every diet and weight loss program ever marketed in the United States, and was even scheduled for bariatric surgery. Then, as described in my new book, Walking With Peety: The Dog Who Saved My Life, I decided to consult with a new doctor.
Instead of more drugs, I was surprised when my new doctor "prescribed" a plant-based diet and a dog from my local shelter. My new doctor explained that my obesity and health problems were symptoms of my poor diet and because I had become reclusive and sedentary. Rather than treat the individual symptoms of my poor habits, she told me my health problems could be reversed by treating their root causes. I had never owned a pet before, but because I felt that I was at the end of my rope, I acquiesced to this novel advice, committed to weekly meetings with her, and adopted a dog from my local shelter. I walked my new dog for half an hour, twice each day. I learned how to cook and eat only whole plants without using processed oils. And by doing these simple things, in 10 months I dropped from 340 pounds to 185 pounds, got off all medications, eliminated my type 2 diabetes and hypertension, lowered my total cholesterol from nearly 400 to 118, and reduced my waistline from 52 to 33 inches. By maintaining this lifestyle, I’ve effortlessly maintained my ideal weight for seven years now and am still medication free.
Here are the most important things I've learned during my weight loss journey: