* Jimmy lost 180 pounds (!) in 2004 on the Atkins diet -- and he continues to maintain his healthy new weight 6 years later.
* He is a self-taught student of controlled-carbohydrate nutrition. Although he doesn’t have an M.D. after his name, dollars to donuts he knows more about diet science than most doctors out there.
* Jimmy runs a veritable low carb empire online, providing free resources ranging from menu plans to a list of doctors who support low carbohydrate diets. He also runs the award winning Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast, on which I was fortunate enough to be a recent guest.
So get your twitter-fingers ready, folks, because this is one interview that you will REALLY want to share with your friends and family.
Welcome, Jimmy, and thank you for doing this Q&A.
1. You've been low carb blogging for 6+ years now. What has been the most fun aspect of what you do? Have you had any surprising "ah-ha" moments since you started that can compare to how you felt when you realized low carb diets work?
By far, the most fun aspect of what I do is what I do. For years before I started blogging/podcasting for a living, I had always dreamed about being able to work from home to be with my wife Christine when she needs me since she has an eye disability and to be my own boss setting my own hours. I'm living that dream now and consider this "job" the biggest blessing I have been given aside from my beautiful bride and my 180-pound weight loss. Don't get me wrong, I work my tail off for longer hours than anything else I've ever done in my career. But it doesn't feel like work which is the difference.
As for my "ah-ha" moments, as a matter of fact I just had one that happened to me this year on par with my low-carb lifestyle change in 2004. When I transitioned from my high-carb diet to a low-carb one over six years ago, I changed over from regular sugary soda to diet soda, sugar-filled chocolate to sugar-free chocolate and sugar to Splenda/stevia. While I am grateful that those foods helped me beat my obesity and improve my metabolic condition, I then became addicted to those things. I didn't just want a diet soda, I NEEDED it. Over and over again I attempted to come off of them on my own, but nothing worked.
After returning from The 3rd Annual Low-Carb Cruise in March 2010, I was disappointed with how I looked and the weight gain I had experienced in the previous two years. Although I was doing most everything well with my low-carb diet by the numbers, I noticed I had gotten sloppy with my low-carb diet. Realizing my hyperinsulinemia was probably more severe than most, I embarked on what I referred to as my "eggfest" where all I ate was eggs, butter, and cheese for an entire month eating regular meals every few hours to keep insulin and blood sugar levels constant.
The result was a 27-pound weight loss (see this YouTube video) but more importantly than that was what happened to my cravings for diet soda. On day 7 of my eggfest, I simply "forgot" to have a diet soda and had one at the end of the day noticing it really wasn't that good. On day 8 I went the entire day with absolutely zero cravings for it and I've been off of diet soda for nearly two months since. I never would have thought something as simple as a very high-fat, moderate protein, very low-carb diet (which is what the eggfest and my mostly meat, eggs, cheese, and butter diet since that ended) without low-carb products would do the trick, but it did. Here's a post I wrote about my change in philosophy that has revolutionized my life all over again.2. Your new book, 21 Life Lessons From Livin' La Vida Low-Carb: How The Healthy Low-Carb Lifestyle Changed Everything I Thought I Knew, has garnered rave reviews online. Have you learned any additional 'Life Lessons' as a result of publishing/marketing this book?
Oh my gosh, I could easily write a book about writing a book. HA! It really is a lot harder than it looks. But the payoff of seeing people armed with solid information is worth it all to me. I've been studying this subject, writing about it for over six years, and helping real people deal with real problems regarding their weight and health. It's one of the most rewarding things to be able to educate, encourage, and inspire people who have long been told they must eat a low-fat, low-calorie diet with hours of cardio exercise a week in order to lose weight. The freedom that people feel when they discover that's not the ONLY way is why I remain so enthusiastic about what I do. Life lessons come along each and every day and I keep my eyes peeled for them every moment of this low-carb journey.
3. Given Brown's recent victory in Massachusetts, it looks like the Democratic health care plan will be stalled**. Without wading too far into political waters... assuming we don't wise up to the dangers of the low fat high carb diet, do you think we will ever be able to repair our health care system?
We don't have a health care problem in America--we have a preventative disease epidemic that low-carb can cure. The most common and costly diseases of modern society are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. From what we know about these conditions, most are solved or prevented through healthy low-carb nutrition. It's amazing how we keep treating diabetes, for example, with the same old whole-grain-based, low-fat diet when it has been a dismal failure. How much money could be saved if diabetics were told to eat a high-fat, low-carb lifestyle to control their disease with little or no drugs or insulin? We're talking billions, maybe trillions of dollars just with diabetic patients. This is why the low-carb message needs to get out there even more which is why I'll never stop doing what I do. Here's a blog post I wrote on this issue.
4. Lots of factors beyond diet - such as the amount of sleep we get, our stress levels, whether we are ill or on certain medications - seem to be able to influence our weight. What do you think about the proposition that these X-Factors make us fat because they mess up fat tissue metabolism by causing (for instance) excess insulin secretion?
The more I learn about metabolism, the more I realize we don't know as much as we think. And that's okay. Discovering new information simply gives us another piece to the puzzle and I agree there are lots of other factors other than diet that impact insulin and other hormones. I myself have found my diet can be perfectly low-carb and yet I struggle to get the pounds to come off. This doesn't mean low-carb has somehow failed me (I get so tired of hearing people blaming low-carb for their lack of weight loss--how else are you gonna eat to be healthy?), but rather there are other factors at work that need to be addressed. I think these ancillary "X-Factor" issues are the most fascinating to my readers which is why I talk about these often at my blog. Vitamin D, thyroid issues, and iodine have all been hot topics at my blog when I've addressed them.
Treat them as you would want to be treated. My interview style is to be very respectful towards anyone who comes on my podcast show whether it's Gary Taubes, Adam Kosloff, or Dr. Dean Ornish. We all have our perspective when it comes to sharing information about health and the least my guests deserve is to be heard. It's okay to disagree with them without being disagreeable. Some want me to use the Bill O'Reilly/Sean Hannity interview approach, but that's not my style. I ask the questions, allow them to respond, and interject lovingly with my concerns. Of the nearly 400 episodes I've had on my podcast, this has worked every time except once. Listen to what happened when I interviewed Pastor Ron Williams.
How do we engage people in the low-fat community? I think listening to them and attempting to understand why they believe what they believe is important. With Dr. Ornish, I sought the "common ground" we have and tried to use that as a springboard for further conversations. Here's a post I wrote on this.
Unfortunately there has been belligerence from some low-fat leaders like Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Dr. T. Colin Campbell. Dr. Campbell even agreed to come on my podcast to talk about his famous vegetarian book "The China Study" but then backed out of it when he found out I was pro-low-carb. That's too bad because I sincerely want to know why people like him believe the way they do supporting low-fat diets and why they are so vehemently opposed to healthy high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb living.) I was able to land an interview with one of the leaders of Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM) coming up in August: Dr. Neal Barnard. We'll talk about his new book promoting a low-fat vegetarian diet for diabetes. Look forward to sharing that one in the Fall 2010.
6. Related question. Any tips for getting the message across to friends/family members who are dubious about low carbing... without coming off as a know-it-all?
I'm all about confronting the obese with their health and weight challenges, but in a loving manner (I wrote about this in a blog post.) But as my own brother Kevin proves, it doesn't mean they're gonna listen and apply it to their own life. He saw my low-carb weight loss and health improvements, but it didn't impact him in a positive enough manner to prevent him from dying at the age of 41 from morbid obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. But that's the lesson I've learned about this way of eating--you can't make anyone do it. All you can do is put the information out there and let the chips fall where they may. It's very difficult to allow others to make the decision, but that is the only way it will ever become a permanent change in their life. Barking at them like a drill sergeant with all your knowledge will only turn them away further. Live by example and when they're ready they'll come to you looking for help. BE READY FOR THAT! My sister Beverly started low-carb two years ago and lost over 50 pounds because of her big brother's (ME!) influence.7. Do you ever cheat on your low carb diet? If so, what is your weakness? And do you do penance for it afterwards?
I hate the term "cheat." I like to call them planned splurges (check out this YouTube video I did on the subject) When I first started, I allowed myself one meal every 6-8 weeks where I could have whatever I wanted in whatever amount I wanted. Pizza was my thing! We'd go out to the buffet and I'd go to town on double-digit slices of pizza during my meal and it would be glorious while I did it. Then I'd get home, feel the carb overload, get sick to my stomach, and then get right back on plan again. I recall doing this maybe 4-6 times total and then I never did it again. That's the beauty of this way of eating. You feel so satisfied with what you get to eat (steak, hamburgers, eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, etc.) that you don't have any deprivation. Livin' la vida low-carb really is living the high-life and being healthier as a result. There's no other way I'd EVER think of eating for the rest of my life!
Thanks again, Jimmy, and keep up your important work!
Dear readers: please head to Amazon to order your copy of Jimmy Moore’s book. You can also check out my personal review of it at Amazon, entitled Twenty-One Reasons to Get this Book. (Note: I will be installing A-stores on site soon, so you will soon be able to order directly from this site.)
** Yes, this interview was obviously conducted before health care reform passed in March 2010. :) Fingers crossed that some of the infusion of cash and resources into health care will be used to explore the benefits of carb/sugar reduction!