Dr. Sandra Cabot
Testimonial from Pat Ann Church:
Much to my dismay, I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C on June 6, 2004 and the test results indicated my liver enzymes were extremely high. Hep C is a deceiving virus, as I still felt great and had lots of energy while exercising daily.
My older sister had been diagnosed with the same ailment several years back and was told by her American doctor that there was nothing she could do about it. She has an enlarged liver, a small cyst, and her viral count is in the millions. I was told there had been several medical advances since my sister's prognosis and remained hopeful.
My local GP recommended that I see a specialist and I made an appointment with a well-known gastroenterologist. He reviewed my test results and did an ultrasound scan that revealed no major tissue damage. He recommended a liver biopsy and took tests to determine the genotype. I declined the biopsy but found out I had genotype 2. The doctor suggested that the type 2 genotype was easier to treat with the new pegylated Interferon and that they had a 60% success rate at ridding the body of the Hep C virus.
Before making a decision about traditional drug therapy I started to research my condition via the Internet. Many sites posted testimonials from patients using pegged Interferon and described how sick it had made them. Some websites suggested the number of successful treatments was much less than that described by the drug companies; the cost for the treatment was very high being in the tens of thousands of dollars per year. In New Zealand treatment for my genotype is not subsidized by the government system so we would have had to sustain the cost ourselves. I got the impression that Interferon left one feeling similar to patients undergoing chemotherapy. I knew I didn't want to feel that way and didn't want that course of treatment if I could find any other alternative.
I continued to research nutritional and herbal solutions. I found stories about herbs and diets that seemed to lower the liver enzymes; this felt like the way to go for me. I started on some milk thistle and cut out all alcohol consumption in late June. Then a miracle happened! My husband happened to run across "The Liver Cleansing Diet" by Dr. Sandra Cabot at the airport bookstore. He was excited and called me from the airport to tell me about the book. I had to wait 3 long days until he returned. I read the book from cover to cover and it felt so right for me. This was the answer to my prayers. I learned about the power of the liver and its healing capabilities. I began my liver cleanse on the 2nd of July 2004.
The book was always by my side, I followed the diet exactly, I never cheated, and I felt my life depended on staying the course. Luckily I am self-employed and I could devote the time to buy the right food and prepare the wonderful recipes from the book. I pulled out our old juicer (hidden in the pantry for many years) and started making fresh juices from beetroot, ginger, carrot, parsley etc., all faithfully mixed with Livatone Plus powder. I followed the 12 steps in the Liver cleansing Diet book, felt great, and as a bonus, I lost 9 kilograms (20 pounds) in weight. I even managed to get into the Levis I wore during high school! On 27 August 2004 I completed another liver enzyme test and my levels had dropped as much as 60%.
|.||June 30,2004 - Before||Aug. 27,2004 - After||Nov. 04,2004 - Later||Reference Range|
I was really surprised and very, very happy with the results. I shared it with all my family and friends. I then went out and celebrated my achievement with some wine and a fatty dinner.
I wanted to continue on for another two months and get my levels down to normal. However, I did not fully commit to maintaining the program for the next two months. I felt I had done so well, that I was on a roll and thought I could bend the rules. That was my big mistake. I ate things with aspartame and nutrasweet when I had sweet cravings. I would pour a glass of wine with friends instead of soda water with lime. I started drinking 3 coffees a day. The little voice in my head said, "Your results were so great, it is ok". I still managed to stay off red meat, dairy products and all the bad fats. These were my results as 4 November 2004.
When I saw these results I was devastated and I wanted to cry. I called Dr Cabot's Health Advisory Service for support and I was assured I just needed to get back on track and follow the guidelines that I had followed the first 2 months.
I am happy to say I have recommitted, I am excited and back on track. I have a target to get my liver enzymes normalized over the next eight weeks. I will keep you posted.
To Dr. Sandra Cabot and staff,
Thanks so much for providing me with loving support, quality products, and the liver cleansing diet book. I feel like your input has saved my life and will allow me to see my future grandchildren.
Pat Ann Church
Testimonial from Sue Hemmings
Sue is a specialized nursing sister from Sydney
Since about the fourth grade, I have been overweight. There is not one member of my original family that has not at some time had a weight problem, but I eclipsed them all. By adolescence I was very fat, and my mother was desperately worried. She tried any way she could think of to change the situation. She yelled at me, she insulted me, she called me names like "the back side of a barn", and she attempted to hide food from me, but I just kept eating. Of course, nobody knew anything about carbohydrate addiction in the 1960's, but I can see now that this is what I was suffering with. If anybody wants to see a true depiction of a child addicted to carbohydrates, just watch the movie "Monster's Ball" and you will see what I mean.
I remember that at the age of 13, I weighed 11 stone. I knew that this was really bad, but in my childish way I rationalized that it would be much worse to be 13 stone at 11 years of age. Of course I did not try this argument on anyone else. It was about this time that my mother decided to take me to a very popular slimming group in my local area. I accompanied my mother to the nearest meeting and found myself in a small hall with about 30 overweight ladies. After we were weighed in, the founder of the group spoke to the group for a short while. I suppose some other discussions took place, but the thing I vividly remember was that they brought out a wooden baby's playpen and put a chair inside. Then, each person who had gained weight that week in turn had to sit on that chair wearing a baby's bib and holding a large spoon and had to sing a song to the tune of "Click go the Shears". I can still recall every word. It went like this -
"I'm in the pigpen, I'm in disgrace, and I'm so ashamed I can hardly show my face, I'm fat and ugly but next week I will try, to keep away from all the foods that make me weigh so high"
This was supposed to be funny and people were laughing hysterically, but all I could feel was fear and shame.
Being a stubborn child, my mother never succeeded in getting me to go back, which gave her further ammunition to use in blaming the problem on my greed and laziness. I certainly did not like her saying it, but deep down I actually believed her. Well, what else could it be?
It is sometimes hard for people to understand this mental blockage, and I have only just learned to understand it myself. I came to believe that the problem was within me, that it was due to a psychological flaw. My self esteem plummeted. I was ashamed of my weakness and I did not want to talk about it or even think about it. I knew it was my fault. I also knew that I was the only one who could fix it, but I believed that I was lazy and weak. So the situation was hopeless. I totally accepted this ideology reinforced by the media.
During the years ahead things went from bad to worse. I tried a range of fad diets, and during a period in my twenties I attempted to live on stimulants such as coffee and cigarettes, but I would put the weight back on, plus some. I hated the way I looked and was truly ashamed of myself. My primary defense mechanism was denial, and I avoided cameras, scales and mirrors. This was not successful. People would take photographs when I was not aware of it, like the picture below that I recently stole from a friend' s collection, amazed that she had taken it.
I recall having an operation in 1997 and agreed to be weighed on the proviso that they did not at any time tell me my weight. The morning after surgery I laid in my hospital bed feeling like a beached whale, as I was completely unable to shift in the bed having been cut right across my middle, when in came the doctor who had promised not to reveal my weight, accompanied by the surgeon who had performed the operation. The doctor said to my horror "You weigh 150 kilos! That's more than twice as much as I do!"
I remember asking myself as each decade approached, "Would I still be fat at 20, 30 and 40 years of age?" I always was, and I assumed that I always would be. I persisted with the belief that I had a psychological problem.
I was employed a psychiatric nurse. I eventually completed an Honors degree in Psychology; however, I still could not change the beliefs embedded into me as a child. My friends speculated on the cause. One friend even suggested that I may have been a victim of child sexual abuse and repressed it. No matter how I twisted my head and squinted, I could not see any truth in that theory.
By my forties I was really addicted to sweet food, and would eat bags of lollies, packets of biscuits, cakes, ice creams and sugary drinks. Bread and potatoes were also everyday foods, and I was forever hungry. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and had to sleep with a CPAP machine. I felt completely trapped inside my body, a body that could do less and less as time went on. Trousers were out of the question, I could not even tie my shoe laces. So I would only wear skirts and court shoes. "Normal" clothing was almost impossible to find. Bras had to be bought through a mail order company. I remember my size was 32F, and they were not referring to inches! If I dropped something on the floor I would be really cranky with myself, as I knew I would have trouble picking it up. So that meant my floor would often be littered with things until the cleaner arrived to gather it all up. In my work as a community mental health nurse the Department of Housing commonly places our clients on the top floor, presumably because they do not have a physical disability. I worked with a team of mostly men, who could race up the stairs two at a time. They would be at the top before I had inched my way to the first landing. I must say they never complained, at least not to me.
Finally in 2002 things started to crash. I think it started in April, but I do not recall the exact month, but one by one I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome and high cholesterol. I was placed on medication to bring my blood pressure down, which was moderately successful.
In the September I was wandering through the local shopping mall when I noticed a red, green and yellow book outside a health food shop. It was titled Can't Lose Weight? You Could Have Syndrome X. It was written by Dr Sandra Cabot. I picked it up and read the check list on the back cover, and realized I could answer "yes" to five of them. I started reading and thought that many sections of it pertained to me, especially the case study that was printed in the early part of the book. I decided to buy it. Amazingly, I took it home and read it from cover to cover, unlike 90% of the books that I buy, which end up on the shelf unread.
Two weeks later on a Sunday afternoon I started to feel unwell at work. I felt faint and every time I took a step there seemed to be a gap in my perception of it. I was worried that it had something to do with the blood pressure tablets, so I sought permission from the nurse in charge to take an hour's sick leave to catch the local medical center before it closed. The doctor listened to my story and immediately decided to check my glucose level (BGL) on his glucometer. It read 9.1 and my heart sank. He said that I would have to have a glucose tolerance test (GTT) to confirm it, but I knew what that would show. He told me that he himself was a diabetic and assured me that if the test proved positive there were things that could be done to help assist this condition.
All I could think was the worst. I asked myself, "Why the diagnosis of diabetes impacted on me so strongly when so many other diagnoses had not?" I had seen enough in my more than a quarter of a century in the health industry, to know that diabetic patients died earlier than they otherwise might have and had a poorer quality of life. Diabetes is a progressive disease; still, this was true of some of the other conditions I already had? I had this vision in my mind of a diabetic man at the nursing home where my mother lived. He was confined to a wheelchair, both legs amputated, blind, and as pale as a ghost. I remembered the day when somebody had bought in a dog, and the man' s wife had asked the owner to bring the dog right over to her husband so that he could pat it. I could not get this pathetic scene out of my head.
My only hope was that perhaps what I had read in Dr Cabot's book was going to provide the answer for me. The next morning I rang and made an appointment to see a Naturopath at the nearest Sandra Cabot Clinic. My glucose tolerance test (GTT) was already booked for the following week. In the meantime, I tried starving myself, but my BGL just got higher, which of course made me even more scared. I later learned through experience that the weird feelings that I had felt at work that day, were actually those associated with a lower BGL than what your body is used to. My "normal" level was higher than the 9.1, confirmed by my fasting level prior to my GTT and levels done every few days by my local Pharmacist.
Meanwhile my doctor had sent me to an Optometrist, a Podiatrist, and the local Diabetes Dietitian. The Dietitian advised me to have six high carbohydrate snacks a day. When I told her that I had read that this was exactly what I should be avoiding, I was told that such theories were "out there" and "unproven".
I told my local doctor what I had planned and he shook his head and clicked his tongue. I was so intimidated by the pessimism, the pressure, and my own sheer terror, that I actually rang to cancel the appointment with the Naturopath on the morning of the scheduled booking. They had worn me down to the extent that I felt I should give the mainstream method a go and then if that did not work, I would try the "unproven" program. Fortunately, when I rang to cancel, the receptionist answered with a very calm, sane tone and listened to my garbled excuses and quietly asked "Why don't you come up and see Margaret and then see what you think?" As an argument this was impossible to refute, so I agreed that I would be there at the appointed time.
After seeing Margaret, I knew that I had made the right decision. She explained that my liver was not working properly and that the raised liver enzymes that had shown up on a recent blood test were the tip of the iceberg. My other blood results showed that my insulin levels were very high, but Margaret informed me that the insulin was not working to reduce my BGLs. In fact, I needed to follow a very specific way of eating that would actually reduce the levels of insulin. I also needed a good liver tonic and was advised to take another supplement called Glucemic Balance. This was October 16th, 2002 and I went home to follow this eating plan.
Of course I made a few mistakes in the beginning until I learned the carbohydrate value of various foods. I mistakenly assumed that anything green was OK, and I had to learn that this was not quite true. For the first few days I could not stop going to the toilet, as my body rid itself of the enormous amount of extra fluid that I had been carrying around. Within a couple of weeks, my BGL was around 8 or 9, and I started to feel a little better.
My GP decided to weigh me on November 10th, after 3 weeks on Dr Cabot's Syndrome X eating plan. As usual I made him promise not to tell me what I weighed, but I could tell by the way he was making me get on and off the scales slowly several times, that I weighed more than the 150 kilos that the scales weighed up to and he was trying to estimate how much over I was. I later found that he had written in my file "more than 150 kilos". After this experience, I did not allow myself to be weighed again for another 3 months!
By January 2003, I had weaned myself off the blood pressure medication and my blood pressure was normal. My BGL was around 6 or 7 most of the time. When I was weighed again on February 24th, I weighed in at 137 kilos. A remarkable thing about all of this was that people still had not noticed. I was so hugely overweight and tried to hide it as much as possible under the most concealing clothes that I could find, but it did amaze me. In fact, it was not really until late May, when I had dropped another 10 kilos that people truly started to notice. From that point on, it seemed that I could not shut them up. Everyone was encouraging, but I would have to say that my work colleagues stood out, along with several of my patients, in that they marveled at the transformation and my wallet was bulging with free gym passes.
By early September 2003, I had lost another 12 kilos, so I now weighed in at 115 kilos. I flew down to Tasmania for a holiday, where I had lived for a few years until 1995. My friends down there were stunned by the change in me, and not just in my appearance or level of activity. By this time my BGL was generally within the normal range. My cholesterol levels were improving and my "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome" had completely disappeared. I began to realize that the latter had really been the peripheral effects of the diabetes. The best thing of all, however, was that I did not have to take my CPAP machine on my holiday, as I had been able to sleep normally without it for some weeks. I have not used it since.
By February of 2004 I weighed in at 101 kilos. I was now easily able to buy clothing from regular shops, even my bras. My hair seemed to grow faster than I could ever remember, and was long and healthy. My skin dramatically improved, I had stopped feeling the heat. I use to be immobilized by anything over about 23 degrees, and had to sit outside whenever I visited friends in the warmer weather. At home I would have fans going non-stop. Now it could be 39 degrees and my energy levels were quite unaffected. My podiatrist was so impressed by how much my feet had improved, and I had started wearing sandals for the first time in ages. I could even buy normal-sized jewelry and bought my first ladies' watch for over 20 years. Now, when I caught my reflection in a shop window I was not the scary person but a relatively ordinary looking woman.
There were so many high points throughout this journey; however it is a journey that is by no means over. One relates to my bathtub. When I purchased my house six years ago, one of my biggest misgivings was the size of the bathtub, which seemed a bit skimpy to me. At the point where I had lost 45 kilos, I suddenly realized that my bathtub had seemed quite spacious lately. Another high point occurred recently when I was running upstairs after a meeting at work. I heard one of my male colleagues behind me exclaim "Gees, you wouldn't have seen that a year ago!" But probably the most satisfying moment came via a visit to that head-shaking, tongue-clicking GP. He was so impressed by the enormous changes undergone by myself that he asked me to bring in my copy of the Syndrome X Book and the details of the supplements I was taking. I returned a couple of days later with empty containers of Livatone Plus and Glucemic Balance, as well as the book. He explained that this might be helpful for other patients and that he might even try it himself. As he photocopied the cover of the book and I told him where it was available, I struggled to maintain a demeanor that could not be interpreted as smug. I knew I really had a great deal to thank him for.
The greatest revelation to come from all of this pertains to the psychological problem I had believed in most of my life. I have learned that the only psychological problem that I had, was believing that I had a psychological problem. What I had was a carbohydrate addiction, and when I took recommended steps to reverse it, my appetite dramatically diminished. In fact, I rarely craved high carb foods, especially the sort that I used to hoe into.
In the last year or so I have had three friends die, way too young. These were people who had significant things to do with their lives - children to raise, important jobs, people to care for and so much more. Two of these people spent long periods in hospital, but no amount of treatment by top specialists saved their lives.
I cannot help but wonder why my eyes were drawn to a book in a shopping mall that provided the answers to a lifetime of problems, while they could not find any answers despite supreme efforts by themselves and those around them.
I can only be grateful to Dr. Sandra Cabot and her team, for their dedicated and invaluable work that has helped so many people to turn their lives around. I especially want to thank naturopath Margaret Jasinska who must have been born with the gift of patience. She has given me so much of her time and answered all of my questions, even if she has had to get back to me with material she has especially researched. Hopefully one day other health professionals will learn that there is nothing "out there" about this program, and will stop condemning people to the poor quality of life, which could have been mine for the rest of my days.
A note of thanks to Dr Sandra Cabot by Thomas R. Eanelli, M.D.
First and foremost, let me start this letter with a powerful and accurate statement: Dr. Cabot has literally saved my life!
Words cannot fully express the thanks and gratitude I feel, not only for her groundbreaking and innovative work on liver cleansing for a healthful life, but more importantly for the incredible personal interest, empathy and involvement she shows in her patients' progress and happiness.
Please allow me to share my incredible story and journey.
I am a 42 year old product of a typically neurotic third generation Italian-American household where food (we owned a bakery) and love were in abundance. Unfortunately, so was compulsive behavior and depression. As a matter of fact, there is not one member of my family who isn't obese, alcohol/drug dependent, or a pathological gambler.
In any event, my father was an abusive alcoholic who died of cirrhosis at the age of 48 (I was 12). Not coincidentally, I can still trace my emotional, nervous binge eating to this very unstable and horrific period in my life.
After High School my compulsive overeating became uncontrollable, and I surpassed the 250-pound mark for the first time during my freshman year of college. My weight gain was so logarithmic, that I quickly learned the embarrassment and sorrow of stretch marks and specialty clothing stores. There were brief periods of successful dieting (you name it I tried it) interspersed with rebound weight gain.
From 1979 until 1985, I basically weighed between 270 and 350 pounds. My "flaw fatale" was not sweets, but rather salty meats, fried foods, pizza and fast food. My cousin John was my partner in crime, and some of our "finest moments" make some of the scenes from the movie Fatso eerily realistic. It would not be unusual to eat 12 to 14 equivalents (a term we invented to quantify an amount of food; i.e. a Big Mac would be 1.25 equivalents, a hot dog 1, etc. etc.) during a binge before reaching the point of physical illness.
Incredibly, my obesity did not detract from a stellar scholastic career that included a medical degree from a prestigious school, growing a successful practice, a traditional marriage with 3 lovely children, strong friendships and interpersonal relationships, and an honored and respected position in my community.
Little did I know, however, that a physiological time bomb in my liver was about to explode!
My medical epiphany took place in 1997 during a business trip to Kansas City. After a 5-hour plane flight, several pieces of pepperoni pizza, ribs and beer, I went back to my hotel room, undressed, and was horrified to see what stared back at me from the mirror. Instead of a 37 year-old successful man, I saw a 60 year old, obese, bloated, edematous father of 3 young children who would be lucky to see their High School graduation, never mind weddings.
I summoned up the courage to see my internist for the million-dollar work up; blood tests, nuclear scans, stress tests, echocardiogram, cat scans. I'll never forget the conversation we had during our meeting to recapitulate the test results.
"No problem, all you have is a fatty liver."
At first I was ecstatic. I was OK, healthy, never mind that I weighed 350 pounds and my liver enzymes were off the charts. My doctor said I was fine. I could resume my old lifestyle, try to employ moderation, and live to be 100.
But deep in the recesses of my mind, a mind that had been vigorously schooled in the intricacies and secrets of the microscopic and macroscopic world of the human body, something did not sit right.
As a matter of fact, in retrospect, my history of abnormal liver functions were actually first discovered during a routine blood test when I was 20. After the hepatitis screen returned back negative, the matter was quickly dropped. But why?
And then it suddenly struck me, harder than a ton of bricks or a Mac truck. I was being railroaded by the traditional medical community who tell the upper middle class suburbanites exactly what they want to hear, then sign their untimely death certificates without much afterthought.
To be fair, I am being too hard on one individual, rather than on a medical educational system where nutritional knowledge is handed out in parsimonious bits and pieces like expensive brandy or caviar at a company Christmas party.
It was then I realized that if I were to survive to see any gray hairs develop, I would have to take matters into my own hands.
But I needed help.
Amazingly, my exhaustive expedition into the scholarly and reputable annals of traditional medical literature failed to turn up anything more than a few incidental, vague references about steatosis and fatty liver.
Sure there was a wealth of information about alcoholic cirrhosis, idiopathic biliary blah blah blah, but a glaring absence of information in regard to the nefarious precursor of a scarred liver that is steatosis.
But how does the body know the difference between 2 scotches a night versus 2 Big Macs if the end result is the same (fatty accumulation that eventually turns into scar tissue).
The answer is it doesn't, and that realization felt as if someone had struck me between the eyes with a 4 X 4.
It turned out that with all the wonderful gifts God had given me; brains, Romanesque good looks, charm, charisma, he likewise gave me an Achilles liver. There are millions of obese individuals walking this earth with normal hepatic enzymes that are slowly suffocating their livers with fat, but for some reason, I was the one destined to be vulnerable to this poorly defined enigma of a disease.
I was in big trouble.
As I had egregiously failed every known diet to man, along with hypnosis and acupuncture to boot, it was painfully apparent that a self-directed program would be futile.
My next excursion to good health occurred in a fat clinic, where the soup de jour included lackluster liquid, chalky meals, novelle garbage, heart damaging amphetamines, and a lot of questions about why I hated my mother. Getting desperate, I even flew out to San Diego for the annual International Bariatric Surgical meeting to pick up some information about gastric bypass and stapling.
I must say that I met some wonderful, non-judgmental, sincere, sharing people. This is probably because most of the ancillary staff were former patients whose lives had been drastically changed by this operation, and as callous and detached as surgeons are known to be, I found this subset of specialists to be truly concerned and dedicated to using their gifts and skills to try to reconfigure the gastrointestinal tract to mechanically force weight loss. On the down side there is the inability to consume more than sips and bites, vitamin deficiency issues, malnutrition, dumping syndrome, worsening of fat accumulation in the liver, and operative failure. Despite these minor points, I was convinced that this was the way to go, and tentatively booked my case with the world's most experienced laparoscopic expert who reportedly could rebuild an engine through a carburetor. The only caveat I voiced to my surgeon was a refusal to get on the operating room table weighing 350 pounds and being in such bad shape. I had seen too many postoperative thrombosis, infections and pneumonias, and didn't want to be another statistic at their morbidity and mortality rounds. I therefore decided to lose a few pounds and exercise a bit to prepare for my new life
Now many people don't believe in karma, kismet, cosmic directives, deital intervention, or even putting pineapple on their pizza, but I do.
It is thus very clear to me, that on that fateful day while browsing books at the Barnes and Noble superstore in Paramus, New Jersey, God purposely led me to some off the beaten track shelf which contained this bright green paperback book entitled "The Liver Cleansing Diet" by some Aussie doctor named Sandra Cabot. When I first spotted the title, I literally had to do a double take and force myself out of shock. After all, I just spent 3 months in Ivy League medical libraries, millions of cyber hours on the Internet, joined and contributed to the American Liver Foundation, and flew across my great country to hear internationally recognized physicians speak about morbid obesity and it's inherent health hazards, and all I got about fatty liver disease were a few abstracts, blank stares, topic changing segues, and off color jokes.
Now here I was in a generic chain store where bibliophiles go to die, lost among racks of the Old New Testament, the New Old Testament, Erma Bombeck meets Tom Clancy, and Kama Sutra for the Double Jointed, when out of left field I spot a book completely devoted to liver health and information.
My luck was changing.
When I got home, I devoured the book immediately and must have re-read it 5 times. It was well written, comprehensive, light heartedly illustrated, and easy to follow. It could just as easily appeal to a hepatologist as to a cosmetologist.
The most ingenious, original, and germane concept of the book, centers around the organ which is the body's largest, most vascular, and most metabolically active. Paradoxically, it is also the organ which is least understood, highly ignored, and most grossly underrated.
Forget the heart, the brain, the reproductive tract. Fix the liver and good health will follow.
Once I began Dr. Cabot's program, the weight literally began melting in an eerie "wicked witch of the west gets caught in a summer rain" sort of way.
The change was so drastic and instantaneous that people began worrying that I had a chronic disease, but their concerns would quickly vanish when they were not able to reconcile the radiant glow and aura of good health that emanated from my core.
I couldn't believe how good I felt. My liver enzymes, lipids and cholesterol dropped to ridiculous and unimaginable low levels. I also restarted the modest exercise program I had struggled with my whole adult life:
30 minutes on the stairmaster level 4, 2 times per week
Circuit around the nautilus track
3 mile run thrown in for good luck every full moon
After only one month I felt as if I were sleepwalking through the once challenging and difficult routine.
My previous aerobic and athletic barriers started falling quicker than Internet stock bubble. Easy hiking soon led to full gear weekend backpacking trips which led to section hiking the Appalachian trail. Peakbagging mountain excursions began with summiting small hills in my native New Jersey, to the more challenging Catskill and Adirondack Mountains of New York, Green and White Mountains of New England, to the dizzying heights of Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and the other Cascade sisters. Rock scrambling up small boulders evolved into solving challenging technical routes in the Shawangunk Ridge and Grand Tetons.
Three-mile runs turned into 5 and 10K races which soon led to one half and full marathons and triathlons. Never mind that I usually came in close to last, I was competing in events I used to dream about. I was grasping life for all it was worth.
I was a participant not a spectator.
Last summer, standing on top of Mt. Rainier, I began to cry. My group thought that I was demoralized, hypoxic, physically exhausted. On the contrary, I was rejuvenated. Each step I took, each muscular contraction, was a celebration of myself. I might as well have been standing on the moon, that's how far I felt I had come.
This is the gift given to me by Dr. Cabot; a gift as miraculous as a child's birth, an ocean sunset, a field of wildflowers. She gave me, a compulsive, long-suffering overeater and steatotic, a life program which is a literal and tangible fountain of youth!
More importantly, this miraculous transformation not only drastically improved my health, energy, and motivation, but also bolstered my self-confidence, and helped me grow in many other positive directions.
I became more involved as a father now that I could get down on my knees and play with my children at eye level. Weekends are now crammed with long walks, bike trips, runs, swims, hikes, rollerblading and skiing.
I became a more energetic doctor, starting a local cancer survivor group which has touched thousands of lives and has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for research and philanthropy (www.crocalumni.org). I began taking acting classes and participating in community theater. Last but not least, I have been inspired to begin creative writing which is a dream I have always wanted to follow but never had the energy or confidence to pursue.
But my story does not end at this point. It will never end for any compulsive overeater. Like Charlie in the book "Flowers for Algernon", I wake up every morning in a cold sweat with the fear of losing control. For me, food is my kryptonite, my enemy. As I painfully observe others being able to enjoy good food in moderation, and utilize meals as a social and enjoyable event, it takes every ounce of strength for me to show restraint.
I would be lying if I said that since I've been on the program I have been completely faithful. There have been many days where I have strayed, or fallen into a lull of complacency. I would stop weighing myself for fear of recognizing the obvious. My clothes would tighten and that paralyzing fear would return. It is at this point I relax and try not to get angry with myself. Then I pick up that weathered, overused, bright green book, start from the beginning, and thank God for that Aussie doctor named Sandra Cabot.