Dolly – IDM Success Story

Dr. Jason Fung: This week I’d like to share Dolly’s story. She has been able to take control of her health, losing over 100 pounds in the process. Interestingly, she hasn’t had problems with loose skin, which is our experience, too. In 5 years of the IDM program, I have not referred a single patient for skin removal surgery despite in some cases, like Dolly over 100 pounds of weight loss. There is very little data about why we see this phenomenon, although I suspect the body was burned the excess protein for energy. Here’s her story.

Dolly: Let me start with the most heartfelt of thank you to Dr. Fung, Megan, Nadia and all the staff and members of the IDM program and Nadia’s LCHF/Keto Facebook Group.  You have given me back my life, literally, and I will be forever grateful.  The process is one of serious intent and diligent effort accompanied by joyful scientific curiosity and kind support.  In a little over a year I’ve gotten rid of 105+ pounds which is more than two of my friends even weigh!  Isn’t it amazing that we belong to a program that doesn’t need to put the disclaimer, “Results not typical” on such success stories because these life-changing results ARE typical!

When I started the IDM Program back in 2017, I was 61 years old and, at 5′ 4″ tall weighing 260.9 pounds, morbidly obese. I had many symptoms of diabetes and poor heart health: sky high fasting insulin, elevated blood glucose, eye issues, shortness of breath, swollen ankles/legs/feet, multiple and multiplying skin tags, numbness, mental fog (which was especially terrifying to me because my mother and all her sisters died from Alzheimer’s), pain, extreme tiredness, heart palpitations, osteoarthritis, back pain, sleep apnea, etc. I had also developed a severe case of Plantar Fasciitis which kept me from walking.

I was playing ostrich, avoiding physicals and blood work because I was afraid that my doctor would insist that I go to the Joslin Center. I shudder to think where I would be if I’d gone, been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and started Insulin.

The IDM Program was one of those lovely, serendipitous gifts the Universe is apt to proffer at your lowest moments.  Dr. Fung’s book, “The Obesity Code“, literally sprang off a library shelf at me when I bumped it as I ducked in among the stacks at random to avoid being seen by an old friend.  I felt so embarrassed and depressed by how fat I had become since I last met this person that I just couldn’t bear the thought of him seeing me that way.  I read a little  and then found I couldn’t put the book down, it so perfectly spoke to my own experience.

Dr. Nadia

I discovered Dr. Fung’s YouTube lectures and the IDM Program.  I was so downtrodden at that point,  so scared and I’d tried pretty much everything else.  Retired and on a fixed income, I figured I could pay for the program with the money I saved by fasting and that has proven to be true. I was also taken by the sincerity and care so evident in Dr. Fung’s words and demeanor.  Here was a doctor that understood that people weren’t lying when they said they had really tried counting calories, and eating low fat, and having six meals a day as advised, and exercising, etc. etc. etc. but that those things just didn’t work long term.  He didn’t think I was lazy, or gluttonous, or lacking self-control.  He got that no matter how much I ate, I was still always hungry…even paradoxically when I was physically full at the same time. And he knew what caused that hunger and it wasn’t some character flaw in me; it was too much insulin!

One of my big concerns was having lots of excess skin if I was actually successful in getting rid of the 100+ pounds I needed to lose.  We’ve all seen those horrible pictures of people holding great handfuls of loose skin at their bellies.  At over 60 years old I have less elastic skin.  But I am happy to report that, despite having lost all that weight in just a year, I have very little excess skin at all and that is without lifting weights or doing other strenuous spot-reducing type exercises.

I have no way to prove it, but I think it must be due to the consistency of basically fasting 3 days a week (autophagy?), in some fashion, most weeks during that year, combined with eating the most well-balanced, nutrient dense, lazy keto meals (2 per day on feasting days) I could devise. I really feasted when it was a feast day, eating only foods whose taste I truly enjoyed and always eating to satiety.

My biggest mistake in the beginning was not getting enough fat.  Dr. Nadia was SO helpful in pointing me in the right direction with that.  She has a website full of delicious keto recipes. You can have delicious meals without much cooking at all.  I never seem to tire of a big keto salad for dinner dressed with lots of EVOO and raw ACV, and love eggs with a side of avocado and fermented veggies for breakfast.  Most days I also have a little piece of cheese and raw nuts.

My formerly huge “sweet tooth” is happy with just a couple of squares of 95% dark chocolate dipped in a little coconut cream with a handful of raspberries for a special treat.   If you only knew how amazing that is!  I am so fortunate to have family and friends who have been very supportive the whole time.  At social gatherings many people they figured either I’d cave in and go back to the SAD (Standard American Diet) and then be miserable, or else I’d “be strong” and not cave in but would look so pitiful, salivating over what I couldn’t eat that they would feel guilty and we’d all be miserable!  Instead, they learned (and I learned) that if all that is available is SAD fare, I can unobtrusively have a nice glass of water with lime and fast and just enjoy the company.  Easy!  I blend because I’m content, not starving, now that I’m a fat burner.

I don’t think I could have done it without that coaching initially.  I always learned so much from both Nadia and the other IDM members on the call.  If you’re feeling like you want to bury your head in the sand because you’ve “messed up”, DON’T!  Post something on the forum or Facebook site.  You will be amazed how quickly, and how much, non-judgmental support you will be offered by others who have been there or who are there right now.  I’ve made some great friends that way.  We nerded out on keto/fasting while walking on the beach which I could do because my Plantar Fasciitis is gone!

After just six months on the IDM Program, I had lost 75 pounds and my fasting insulin had dropped to 4.3 micro IU/M and my fasting blood glucose was 75 mg/dl!  Not just “normal” but really great! I was amazed.  My doctor was though, has not been supportive.  When I first told her what I was doing (after I’d been in the program 3 months and had already lost a LOT of weight) she actually got angry and told me I was being duped and that fasting and “all that fat” were dangerous, and tried to get me to read a book on veganism and follow that instead.

I tried to give her information but she was not receptive.  When I had my yearly physical in November 2018 and she saw those amazing numbers she was still convinced that the way I’d lost it was not a good one.   But last month, down 105 pounds, very happy and healthy, she asked me if I was still following the same diet.  I said yes and that when I recommended Dr. Fung’s latest book, “The Diabetes Code” for helping other patients she wrote it down!  I’m actually looking forward to my annual physical this coming November. I lent “The Diabetes Code”, to a friend whose husband has been diabetic and on insulin for years.  He’s now off insulin!  My sister, marathon runner/triathlete who still always struggles with her weight (so much for calories in/calories out – she’s even done ultra-marathons!) has started fasting as well and loves it.

Even though I’ve gone from a stretched-out size 3X, to a real size 12, I still have a ways to go.  My new goal is to get my waist/height ratio to .5 or below.  I took six weeks off of fasting while I moved to a new town and had two cataract surgeries.  During that time, I continued to eat two hearty Low Carb, High Fat meals a day on a 16/8 schedule, no snacking, and am happy to report that my weight remained under 155.  (It’s so wonderful to be able to begin my weight with a one!)  I was a little afraid that the minute I stopped fasting three days a week my weight would shoot up; so happy that is not the case.  This really is a lifestyle that works and is maintainable. I no longer feel a sense of urgency and self-loathing around diet.  Instead I feel a desire, out of self love, to do what makes my body sing and to help others do the same.

A couple of years ago a friend and I made a list of the real reasons we wanted to lose weight.  This included

  • being able to wear shorts because our knees no longer rub together and give us rashes,
  • being able to buy clothes that express our personalities instead of black muumuus
  • being able to read the scale
  • do Pilates
  • bend over to tie our shoes without our bellies getting in the way
  • being able to take care of personal hygiene with ease
  • being able to eat anything we want in a restaurant without people getting that look and asking, “should you really be eating that?”,
  • going to an up-scale spa without worrying they might not have robes that fit me

I have met all those real goals and my new, sexy bathing suit and I will be going to that spa this fall.

Dr. Jason Fung: Congratulations, Dolly. You are totally rocking it.

 

2018-08-29T09:37:20+00:0042 Comments

About the Author:

Dr. Fung is a Toronto based kidney specialist, having graduated from the University of Toronto and finishing his medical specialty at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. He is the author of the bestsellers ‘The Obesity Code’ and ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’. He has pioneered the use of therapeutic fasting for weight loss and type 2 diabetes reversal in his IDM clinic.

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Vanessa
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Vanessa

Inspiring story Dolly. Congratulations!

BobM
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BobM

Dolly, that is a great story! Congratulations.

I always wonder about doctors and how they get/got into this mindset that the patient is always wrong. If I was a doctor and a patient walked into my office that lost 100 pounds in one year, I’d say “I’ll have what she’s having”. I wouldn’t say “You’re killing yourself!”, as that does not make sense.

delores.katovitch
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delores.katovitch

Ha Ha Ha Thanks Bob!

BobM
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BobM

By the way, to fast 3 days every week is very impressive, and quite an achievement. I’m on my 3rd day of a 4.5 day fast (eat Sunday night and then eat Friday sometime), and having a difficult time. To do this every week is a challenge. I usually only fast 36 hours twice a week and one 22 hour fast the same week, and longer fasts 3-5 days only sometimes. It challenges me to think that are others who can do this at a faster pace than I can, and drives me to complete more longer fasts. Thanks for… Read more »

BernardP
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BernardP

When I read that she is fasting 3 days a week, I implicitly understood they were alternate days, not consecutive. I agree with you that 3 consecutive days of fasting each week is a lot.

Maybe Dolly or someone working with Dr. Fung can clear up this.

In addition, she follows a strict low-carb diet, two meals a day, within an 8 hour window, on the other days.

Amy
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Amy

I, too, would like to know whether Dolly fasted 3days consecutively each week, or whether she did alternate day fasting.

Dolly
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Dolly

Thanks Bob 🙂 I’m glad it’s helpful to you, as the stories of so many others here continue to be for me. Personally I consider ANY fast a victory! It’s so funny how our perspectives change over time. Before I started the IDM program, if someone had told me my “feasting” days would consist of just two meals eaten within an 8 hour window (and that I wouldn’t be hangry all the time doing it) I would have told them they were crazy. Now that’s my new “normal”, no problem. All the best to you.

Pamela
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Pamela

Dolly- are they 3 consecutive days of fasting per week or alternate days?

delores.katovitch
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delores.katovitch

Sorry to be so long in replying – not on the site very often these days as eating 2 meals a day of LC/HF/MP with occasional longer fasts has become my new normal. I never thought I’d be able to say that! Non scale victory for sure. Re: fasting – I followed Nadia’s/Meagan’s advice and changed things up week to week i.e. some weeks I did 3 days in a row, some I did every other day, some I did a 2 day fast plus a 1 day fast, etc. Occasionally I tried doing 3 days in a row 3… Read more »

Stephen T
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Stephen T

Bob, that regime sounds impressive to me. Do you need to do more or are you just curious and like a challenge?

BobM
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BobM

Stephen, I’m stuck at about 200 pounds, which is still obese by the crappy BMI method. I took DEXA scans and in a year I gained about 4 pounds of muscle and lost 6 pounds of fat. A lot of that was with less fasting, as I was getting extremely cold after not long (maybe 14 hours) of fasting. That seems to have resolved itself, and taking in more salt at least partly helps with that. I would like to lose another 20 pounds or so, and the only way it seems I can do it is by a lot… Read more »

Judi Campion
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Judi Campion

Congratulations Dolly. You have been an inspiration and a great cheerleader for me. ❤️

Dolly
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Dolly

The feeling is mutual Judi!

Cathy L
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Cathy L

I love stories where you get to go back to the original naysayer and say “See it worked!” I call them Nyah Nyah stories. 🎶🎶 Nyah Nyah Nyah Nyah Nyah 🎶🎶

delores.katovitch
Member
delores.katovitch

Ha Ha Ha Love that!

GirlfromMichigan
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GirlfromMichigan

Dolly! Congratulations! You are inspirational. Thank you!

delores.katovitch
Member
delores.katovitch

Thank you so much 🙂

Kathy Lindahl
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Kathy Lindahl

Just the fact that I don’t have those uncontrollable cravings, and the cravings I do get I am finally able to control and am strong enough to fight them. I used to feel guilty for letting them control my life, but now I know it’s not my fault. Can you imagine if every patient with metabolic syndrome knew they could finally live without those cravings taking over their lives, how their entire future could be changed? It’s so exciting!

delores.katovitch
Member
delores.katovitch

That would be amazing!!!

Stephen T
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Stephen T

Well done, Dolly. On what possible evidence would the doctor be advocating veganism? Even its honest adherents admit it’s a moral position and not one that provides the best health.

Stephen T
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Stephen T

Does anyone have stomach or bowel problems with low-carb and 16×8 time restricted eating? On the plus side, I’m rarely hungry and control my weight easily. When I first adopted time restricted eating I was constipated but that seemed to resolve itself.

Eating this way has had many benefits but my system seems to be rebelling and I’m trying to work out why. Not enough fibre, perhaps? I’m really struggling to see what I’m doing wrong. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

BobM
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BobM

One possibility is it takes time to get the “ability” (enzymes? biome?) to digest fat. Try a week or so with some lower fat meats. For instance, I usually eat lower fat meats. I went on a trip where they served high carb everything. All I could eat for breakfast one day was sausages, so I ate 15+ of them. That had a bad effect on my system. Way too much fat too quickly. Fiber is an open question for me. I tend to have more success eating less fiber. If you think it’s fiber, though, add more cabbage, spinach,… Read more »

Stephen T
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Stephen T

Bob, thank you for the helpful comment. It’s early days, but I think I may have finally identified the problem. I was drinking coconut oil twice a day after meals. As I’d been doing this for three years without difficulty, I didn’t think it was likley to be the problem, but by process of elimination it seems like it’s the source of my upset stomach. I stopped taking it and things have almost completely resolved. So, fat digestion does seems to be the issue. I was under the impression that coconut oil was processed differently by the liver, but maybe… Read more »

Pam Forrester
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Pam Forrester

Hi Dolly Congratulations you look fantastic and adorable. Question: I do alternate day fasting which works out to 3 days of fasting a week. Is that what you did or did you fast for 3 days in a row each week?

Arlene
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Arlene

I was quite interested in the comments about loose skin since I also avoided it (to my surprise). When I was diagnosed with diabetes 11 months ago, I read The Obesity Code (and other books) and followed its recommendations about an LCHF diet and IF. I reversed the diabetes in 3-4 months, moving from an A1c of 7.1 to 5.6 (taking no diabetes medication). In the 11 months, I have also lost about 60 pounds (with about 20 more to go), and at 68 years old, I expected loose skin. But it didn’t happen, and I’ve wondered why. Was it… Read more »

Amy
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Amy

Arlene, how long were your longest fasts? And how long were your typical fasts?

delores.katovitch
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delores.katovitch

You are so sweet Pam! Thanks! Based on Nadia’s/Meagan’s advice, I changed things up week to week i.e. I did 3 days in a row some weeks, every other day other weeks, and sometimes 2 days in a row plus a 40 hour fast later the same week. I think it’s probably a very individual thing – whatever works for you, do it! 🙂

gail williams
Guest

Congratulations Dolly. I have been feeling guilty for ‘falling off the fasting wagon’ My mindset is still one that thinks I deserve to have some sugary sweets etc. even though I know I can fast easily and I know how good I feel when I do. Thanks for your post. It has given me the inspiration I need today to forgive myself and just fast.

delores.katovitch
Member
delores.katovitch

Stay calm and Keto on as the Keto Dudes say! One of the things I love the most about the IDM folks is their kindness and emphasis on treating ourselves with the same compassion we treat others. You’ve got this Gail! By the way, you deserve nourishing foods that taste fantastic AND make your body happy! All the best, Dolly

Alice
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Alice

Very impressive, congrats Dolly and go enjoy your Spa time 😉 I have just started IF 3 weeks ago and yesterday evening I broke my first 48 hour fast. It’s such a great feeling to gradually be able to do longer fasts. I started with 16/8 then did some 22/2 and 24 hours and now the 48. I would love to do longer but my BF I am living with was giving me weird looks when I told him I want to at least not eat for 16 hours a day. While I was doing my 48 hours he was… Read more »

delores.katovitch
Member
delores.katovitch

HI Alice, Hope your fasting is going well 🙂 You asked if I shared articles/videos with friends and family and the answer is yes but only after they asked me about PSit. Which they did after they saw not only how much weight I was losing, but how much healthier and happier I was becoming. They wanted to feel that good themselves 🙂 The only exception was this year when Dr. Fung’s “Diabetes Code” book came out. I have a family member who is type 2 Diabetic and had been progressing down the slippery slope of progressive symptoms that comes… Read more »

Liz
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Liz

That is so awesome Dolly! Truly inspiring. I am a beginner doing 16/8 fast on my 2nd week now. The reason I am encouraged to do IF because I easily get tired due to overweight and legs hurt most of the time due to high level uric acid. May I know if while doing Low Carb IF does your uric acid level shoot up because of high protein content food?

Pete Kaye
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Pete Kaye

Great story and a great contributor to the Fung Facebook community!

Samuel
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Samuel

The doctor suggested veganism?? Veganism is a cult, and if the doctor did this out of ignorance, it is one thing, but if it was a serious recommendation you need to change doctors. I suggest that you start watching the testimonials from reformed vegans; it is not pretty. If veganism gets mixed up with the ketogenic diet, it will be the end of the ketogenic diet. You won’t know what to attribute the chronic diseases to – veganism or the ketogenic diet.

Liz Altieri
Guest
Liz Altieri

Dolly — congratulations on your inspiring story. Could you please clarify whether you fasted for 72 hours or 24 hours three times a week? Thank you again

delores.katovitch
Member
delores.katovitch

Hi Liz, Per Nadia/Megan’s instructions, I changed it up week to week i.e. sometimes every other day, sometimes 3 1/2 days in a row, sometimes a 62 hour fast plus a 40 hour fast in a week, etc. When I wanted to break a plateau of sorts, I would do three weeks in a row of 3 1/2 day fasts; that seemed to really work for me. But everyone is different so listen to your own body; it will tell you what to do. Smiles, Dolly

Rachel
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Rachel

Dolly your story was written in a way that was inspiring and it made me giggle at times too. Thank you for sharing.

delores.katovitch
Member
delores.katovitch

🙂 Happy Fasting Rachel!

Brian LEAH
Guest
Brian LEAH

This is so inspiring.I tried to talk to my endo crinologiist who was very happy to tell me I will never get off insulin.Well she is wrong.That is my goal and I am determined to do it.

delores.katovitch
Member
delores.katovitch

And so you shall Brian!

Kate
Guest
Kate

I only wish your results were typical. Not so for me. Still struggling a year later with not much to show for it. I will try again but it is not easy.

delores.katovitch
Member
delores.katovitch

No it isn’t easy but it is SO worthwhile and it does get easIER 🙂 In fact now, eating just two meals a day of LC/HF/MP is second nature for me and my taste has changed so much I think if I ate some super sweet thing like a piece of pie or regular brownie it would make me ill. Hang in there!!!!! It really helped me also to “meet” a few people on this site who were in a similar place as me so we could support each other along the way. Although I haven’t met them in person… Read more »