Hello, I’m John Ellis. I lost 125 lbs over 18 months (2008-2010) without surgery. I simply changed my lifestyle and retrained my brain (and pancreas). I changed my diet, went from “living to eat” to “eating to live”; and added regular exercise to my regimen.
How did I get to 330 lbs?
While I cared for patients with heart disease for many years as a cardiovascular anesthesiologist, I neglected my own health. As a medical school professor, I conducted and published research about heart disease and obesity, but I didn’t apply the lessons learned to my life and health. I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. I did a lot of stressful eating at work as a physician. My diet consisted of a lot of junk, prepared, and processed foods. I used to love cheese and grapefruit juice so my diet was high in fat, salt and sugar. I exercised less and less – I loved to bicycle. All in all, I was leading a very unhealthy lifestyle.
What pushed me to change?
In December of 2007, I sat in a chair at a restaurant watching the ice skaters at Christmas. The chair broke, I fell to the floor, VERY embarrassed, but otherwise uninjured. It was a seminal moment to change. I also had a series of potentially life-threatening health problems – high blood pressure, sleep apnea, 2 neck operations – that motivated me to change.
What did I do?
I decided to enroll in a program. I spent 2 weeks at Structure House, a weight loss program that focuses on behavior modification for obese people. There I learnt what lifestyle changes I needed to make. It was a difficult first week as I was learning to completely restructure my life. Exercising, eating healthy, and mentally motivating myself were the 3 biggest things that I focused on. After the 2 weeks were up, I stuck with the changes. I lost 125 lbs after 18 months.
I’m now at 205 lbs! I have successfully restructured my life around maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Everything is regular for me now: my meals are regularized, my exercise schedule is very consistent, and I get adequate sleep. Exercise has been especially important for me. It trains the brain (reduces hunger), and builds muscle that burns fat 24/7. Exercise also helps the muscles use insulin to utilize sugar better, and reduces the burden on the pancreas to produce insulin. I am in a much better space physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am more confident, happier and a lot more active.
I do the same things to maintain my weight as I did to lose it, so I hope to see myself in the same place. Always healthier by the day!