Gene lost 52 Pounds; “…not a big deal”; the full interview: OSA, IR, etc

Gene lost 52 Pounds; “…not a big deal”; the full interview: OSA, IR, etc

August 18, 2019 9 By Bertrand Dibbert


Gene lost 52lbs from 184lbs down to the mid one twenties. He did that using a pattern
similar to what many of us have used. Starting off a couple of years ago with
more of a plant-based diet and then morphing more into a low carb diet with
some intermittent fasting. I’ll let Gene tell you about that, but
before I do, I’ll also mention he’s had some other challenges that he’s dealing
with successfully. One is obstructive sleep apnea. The weight loss has had a
huge impact on insulin resistance for Gene. He’s had some thyroid issues as
well but again without me getting too detailed, let’s let Gene tell this story.
This is the full interview by the way. [Interview] (Dr. Brewer:) The real purpose here is to tell a couple of critical stories. You lost 50 to 54 lbs depending on what day you
you take your weight and that’s a journey – that’s a process; that’s a story
that a lot of viewers on this channel would be very interested in hearing so
you want to take it from there? (Gene:) Sure. First of all, it’s good to have an opportunity to talk to you and we’ve been friends for several years. Now, I am
a patient of PrevMed, and it was March the 2nd of 2017, I had triple bypass
surgery prior to that. I guess I don’t – I don’t know what my weight was on the day
of the surgery but leading up to that, I probably weighed around 182 – 183 and
that was for me – for a person my size, with my – you know – frame was way too heavy; and so yeah, I have lost a little over 50 pounds.
52 – 53; and I weigh 128 pounds now but that did not happen overnight.
I’m coming up on I guess in a three weeks or so two – yeah three weeks, it’ll
be two year anniversary of that heart surgery. So right after that you and I
connected. I connected with you as a patient and – you know – I just decided I’m
getting to get serious about this. I’m going to do what I need to do to – you
know – not only make the changes because I think that was the key that the medicine
helps but it’s really a lifestyle thing for me. So making those changes, it was
really fundamental not only to losing the weight but to getting those values
on the blood work and everything else, you know – in line. I think I didn’t
understand – forward – I think the thing that I would – you know – the “aha” moment, it may have been when I was coming to your office for a consultation or we were
going to talk and you mentioned that before we got out. When we started
you mentioned that I was insulin resistant and I’d heard that before but
it sounded so benign. It sounded like – you know – so okay, big deal – you know – you know, it doesn’t sound like you have cancer or you have diabetes or you have – you know –
some awful malady. it’s insulin resistant, right? and – and I thought well,
that’s just – maybe that’s – that little bit of time you have out there before you
become a type 2 diabetic; and I don’t know that it’s – you know – it’s all that
bad until I decided then to learn more about out what – indeed – what – what that meant and and then I realized that this long-term
period of being insulin resistant – of – you know – not being judicious about what I
was eating primarily and how much I was moving and how I was, maybe resulted in a
lot of years of this – these cumulative insults to the inside of my
arteries; and you know that long period of time – those little micro damages, as
micro insults add up and the – what happened was – I pretty much created a lot
of arterial disease, particularly in the arteries in my heart, and they had to be
repaired. So, yeah, it was a wake-up call; and then I learned more about what this
resistance is and – and what we can do about it and so I made a lot of
changes. (Dr. Brewer:) So Gene, I appreciate you focusing on that – that snake that – that –
that’s right next to your foot that’s called insulin resistance, and people
just don’t recognize it. If there’s one thing from a legacy perspective, or one
purpose for this channel – is to get people to realize that it’s not even
diabetes, it’s really insulin resistance that does the vast majority of damage on
a population basis because most of us never really get to the extent of
full-blown diabetes. Meanwhile, it’s those 2, 3, 4 decades worth of insulin
resistance. In other words, times when our blood sugar is getting over 140, 160,
180 and we’re just 2, 3, 4, 10, 12 hours a day. Meanwhile, our insulin is climbing and
both of those are causing inflammation in our arteries and – you know – it really only damages parts of your body where you have arteries. That means everything. Its the number one cause of eye damage, brain damage whether you’re talking about stroke or dementia,
obviously, heart attack, kidney damage, all of these things; and again, it’s
interesting, Docs from a – from a standard perspective, Docs just tend to expect
and see that – and they tend to not really pull the end on – read, read the fire – pull
the fire alarm and let the patient know this is where you’re getting damaged.
(Gene:) Yeah (Dr. Brewer:) And you experienced that. (Gene:) Well, I did in fact, just recently I went in for an
annual physical. This was really an eye-opener in the sense that I requested
that one of the tests that we run – you know – for this physical would be an OGGT,
that oral glucose-tolerance test that to our upcake measure because that was the, I believe Ford, you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that was
maybe the diagnostic test (Dr. Brewer:) Yeah (Gene:) That precipitated your comments to me about the problem I have in it and my physician, who’s a fine fella but you
know – I don’t think really plugged into you know – what you’re talking about this
– you know – I mean, I think there’s a normalcy bias, right? and a normalcy is –
well, it’s you’re getting older and so what? all right, and – and yeah, that happens when you age and – and your approach to it was a lot different. His calculus
involved looking at my a1c levels and if they were fine.
I’m fine and there would be no need for metformin or some of the other things
that you know are part of managing an insulin resistant – you know – what happens
when you flip into that, right? and how you dial it back and so for the life of
me, I could not get him to order the test you know – and I’d tried to, even, I said
like – I’m the customer, right? and – you know – not so much; anyhow, so for me that was a real wake-up call and that was the information that
precipitated my desire to really make some changes, not some temporary ones but some long-term ones and so I – you know I’ve been at this weight I am now which
is about 128lbs, between 128-130. I’ve been here for – you know, what? a year and a half; a year – a little over a year and so I lost that weight – you know – kind of
slowly over time and – you know – there’s not a lot of magic here. There’s just not,
I mean I think that besides the diet changes and really, really seeing sugar
as the enemy, I mean just really – you know – sugar, in any form, I mean. yeah you
know maybe unless you get it from some fruit or something – is working against
you in a lot of ways, particularly the way I used to consume it which was with
Dr. Peppers, and – you know – whatever I felt like eating, and so that – and I think
wouldn’t really move the needle too was just the exercise and I don’t – I’m not
out there running half marathons, I’m not you know – I walk a lot; I run a little; and
I do some resistance work, at least some work with weights. I have a Stairmaster, I
get on it very regularly so you know – there’s just some changes I
made – you know – I, and you have – you prescribed a medication called Metformin.
I take it twice a day. I think if you’re – I’d – you know – again. I’m not a medical
person but I’m surprised they don’t put it in the drinking water, actually. (Dr. Brewer:) You know there’s a proposal to do something very similar. It’s called the TAME study,
targeting aging with metformin. (Gene:) Really? (Dr. Brewer:) Yeah, it’s a well known, very good researcher called Nir Barzilai. He’s up at Columbia in New York and basically,
what he’s saying is – he’d like to take everybody 65 and older and just
everybody – put them on Metformin and it has – it has to do with a lot of what
you’re talking about. It also has to do with some other biomarkers associated
with aging. (Gene:) Yeah, well, you know one of the things I kind of learned from this is
there may be a way to look at insulin resistance as like a rubber band that’s
been stretched out and stretched out and stretched out, instead of being tight and
you know – firm and come back to its original place; It just gets sloppy and
it just loses its elasticity. I think our arteries, instead of being
less elastic, they just get thicker and they get a lot more calcium and other –
you know – deposits that are problematic and then create those blockages. So, yeah –
there’s a – if you did – you know – like I said 2 years ago, a diagnosis of heavy
and insulin resistant would have been – I would not have had the ability to
understand how serious that is. Today, it’s a lot different and I really
understand it. Not – you know – I’m doing something about it so we’ll see, you know?
(Dr. Brewer:) There’s 2 conversations that I want to have with
you here. One of them has to do with that progression of diet – you know, you started,
at one point, on a – on a plant base and then you got a lot more focused on
getting the carbs out. I wanted to hear a little bit more about that. Before we do
though, I’d just like to make a comment about body habitus. You know – you remember what we were talking about just earlier before this interview, you never were –
you were not heavy, certainly not obese and you don’t look incredibly skinny to
me now. So it’s that Americans have a very different view of – of body habitus;
and I just wanted to make this – share this one experience. I’ve done
several videos talking about my experiences, helping run Medicare
Advantage programs, and it’s – it’s a typical finding where you’ll see the
Docs of the Vietnamese patients end up doing
the greatest and it’s like – even if they do any of the work they’re supposed to
do or not – and it’s like… how does that happen? and it’s crystal clear. The
Vietnamese just – their populations are not getting diabetes so
they’re not getting eye damage, they’re not getting kidney damage, they’re not
getting strokes and heart attacks, and they’re not getting dementia. It’s – we, in
America have gotten used to – we think if somebody’s below a BMI of 25, they’re
cachectic, they’re skinny, they’re looking sick.
Whereas, you really need to be 20 – 22; is much healthier and that’s probably about
where you are now. (Gene:) Yeah, I am probably less than that now, but I think prior to March of ’17m I was – you know – a little portly but not
– not – I was not obese. I was not, certainly not morbidly obese. I was – I was just – uh, I
had a – you know – just a gut. You know – I mean just what guys get when they get
north of 50, right? and – uh, but it was not you know – I was so – still a – not that
big a guy, I mean statute-wise. So, you know – did not
look like I was carrying a lot of weight but – you know – I mean the truth is my pant
size has gone from – you know – a really snug 36 to about a 31, now – 30 in some
pants. So, you know – where was all that? Where was all that? You know, I think
there’s just this marbling that happens. You know that – you know you just have fat
you don’t know that you have and it’s pretty well distributed and then, when
you make these changes to, not only your diet but how you move and how often you
move and when you move, you know that – uh starts to melt away and then there’s
this more muscle there than there was fat, and then you weigh a lot less. At
least that’s been my experience. Also, you know, Ford, I stay really well
hydrated. I drink a lot of water and I start off in the morning about drinking
you know at least 16 ounces of water. I try to exercise every morning before I
do anything else. I mean to get the motor kind of turned up – you know – just to get
that – I think that may create a phenomenon where the – you know – the burn is a little higher during the day at least. That’s what I believe to be my
experience and then talk to your question was I think – you know – kind of
moving from plant-based to being less focused on or
not running away from certain fats. I did read – I believe it’s Dr. Joe Mercola –
Mercola. (Dr. Brewer:) Fat for Fuel (Gene:) Fat for Fuel It’s a – it’s a friendly lay read, although, it’s it’s fairly technical but I became less
concerned about the fats that I was consuming, particularly, most of the
animal fat that I eat now really does come from salmon or chicken. I have an
occasional fillet – you know – and I will, a few times – your crush of cheeseburger but
it’s just kind of rare; more often than not though, I really have – I think one thing I’ve avoided is a lot of processed food and you know – places where you get refined sugars. I’m just really aware of if I’m opening a package and
I’m opening a – you know – whatever I’m having to unscrew or I can read the
label on, it’s probably processed. I just need to, at least, be mindful of what I’m
doing and what it is – you know – and less is more with that. The less ingredients,
the better – at least that’s my belief and something I try to stick to. So, yeah, I did –
I started out this journey – you think – and I just needed to be a full-blown
vegetarian. That’s what I would do. I did lose a lot of weight those first four
months but I wasn’t feeling good then. I’ll be honest with you. I needed – I guess
I’d spent 65 years getting protein from animal sources and all of a
sudden, think I was going to get that out of plants. It didn’t – it didn’t work as
well for me and so when I added back some lean or protein in the form of fish
and chicken, it worked out pretty well. (Dr. Brewer:) I had a similar experience both with pant size and age and and diet. When – I tended to stay – I was a
plant based for 30-something years until 3 or 4 years ago. I went more of a
low-carb route and still didn’t eat a lot of meat but didn’t avoid it as much
as I had in the past. I had had a size 33 waist my whole life never could get
below that. Dropped down to 32, then about 31 in my early 60s, again, and ended up not
having all of this in a bad hunger hanger kind of stuff and feeling bad – that kind
of things that you get when – when you got carbs in your diet. So it made a big
difference for me, as well. You – you know you made a similar progression to a lot
of us. You started off plant-based then as the science became a little bit
clearer about carbs versus oils and fats, you took a little bit of a – of a turn;
started dropping those carbs and then you went into some intermittent fasting;
describe that a little bit. (Gene:) Yeah, yeah. well I didn’t – it’s – it’s – I’d do this every day
regarding the fat side – olive oil and avocados; I eat probably at least a half
– a whole avocado every day, and olive oil is pretty much a staple; but I think
the thing that’s really moved the needle for me – oh, there been a lot of things I’ve already mentioned but I’d eat two to
two-and-a-half meals a day but I fasted for at least a minimum like 14 hours
every day. Usually, sometimes 18 – I’ll eat in about a six-hour window or a
seven-hour window. I don’t eat late at night; I don’t – I
don’t snack late, late, late at night but – and I do it every day. I just have my first meal around noon or 1 o’clock and I have my last
meal – you know – around 7:00 you see – never later than 8:00; and so in
that window, I just don’t eat and I drink a lot of water and I feel fine. I mean I
feel really good. I don’t – you know – being the size I am now, I’m pretty – I’m a lot
more nimble and faster. I feel better but the moving to that intermittent fast
regimen, at first it sounded pretty draconian – um, pretty “You can’t do that”,
“That’s impossible” – you know you’re supposed to get up and eat a lot when
you wake up, right? and that’s just not true; and your body adapts to it and and I’m not so hyper focused on the calories I
take in when I do eat because I’m eating two meals a day but I have that –
I’m exercising but I’m also consistently – and then consistent for me means
everyday. I mean – you know – once a month not get that 14 or 18 hours in; but it’s
rare – but consistently doing that, I’ve consistently been able to manage my
weight without a lot of effort. That’s just the truth. (Dr. Brewer:) That is fantastic. Say that again. (Gene:) What’s that? (Dr. Brewer:) You’ve been able to manage – keep your weight where you want to be without a lot of effort. (Gene:) Yeah, it has not been and once you get – and you know what? it’s kind of – it’s like anything you do it’s – it – once it becomes a habit, it’s
– it’s a habit; it’s not a headache; and so that first few weeks of just – you know – moving into this new regimen takes a little practice
or a little – little determination but after that, it just – it’s just a lifestyle.
It’s not a big deal and it – and I – you know – and here’s another thing I do that
– that (and then there are people that argue for and against this, but I tell you..)
every single morning, I weigh myself. I get on the scales and – you know – in business, we used to say – you know “what gets measured, gets done” and you know, we have another one too, that – you know – “employees – you know – respect what you inspect, not
what you expect” and but – but the truth is – you know – what gets measured gets done;
and the fact that I – you know – every morning, I think I sent you a – a photograph of it – you know, my scales. And
yeah. So, yeah, I do that and every day I know where I am. I know where I’m
starting today. And there you go. That was a few weeks back but yeah, so
that’s as low as I’ve ever, ever been and as high as I go now is 130 and the
median is a pretty comfortable 128 – 129 every day.
(Dr. Brewer:) That’s great, Gene. So what you’re doing now is like a – a low carb – what a lot of
people would call intermittent fast on a 16-8, 24-hour pattern. (Gene:) That is correct, yeah. (Dr. Brewer:) Have you done any intermittent – I mean any fasting mimicking like Prolon, Valter
Longo, or any prolonged water fasting 2 or 3 days, anything like either one of
those? (Gene:) I have not. (Dr. Brewer:) Okay, just wanted to get – I know you haven’t, just wanted to get
that out there for the – for the interview. This has been a – a wonderful story Gene.
There are other things that – that you can think of that
we need to cover? (Gene:) You know, I – May come to me later but I do think that because our
culture or our medical establishment or whatever has really never highlighted
the dilemma or the problem with being insulin resistant, with all of these
chronic maladies that are – that – that happened particularly, as we age from – you
know – cognitive impairment to heart, health issues to – you know – as you
mentioned, obviously, diabetes, your eyesight, everything else. You know – it’s
my belief that the genesis of that is that whatever it is that starts
happening in your 30s or 40s and just having that slow burn and inside your
arteries that – like you said, you don’t know your own fire until it’s a
five-alarm fire and then it’s a real problem. (Dr. Brewer:) Yeah, so I – to wrap it up here’s for – several different stories and points that I get out of this to help
others summarize it. [1] is that insulin resistance is a big, big problem and we
just – it’s like we’re being – we’re boiling ourselves like a frog and we don’t know
it and it’s it’s wiping out our body; whereas, the current standards of
medicine is to expect that and consider “Well, that’s just aging.” That may have
something to do with the same expectation that we’re going to have a
heart attack or stroke or die – and die or dementia in our 60s and 70s – doesn’t need
to happen (Gene:) Correct (Dr. Brewer:) [2] The second one is the progression of your diet. Started out
plant-based then got a lot more focused on low carbs and then added this
18-6 intermittent fasting program. (Gene:) That’s
correct. (Dr. Brewer:) [3] The third thing I got out of this was – you can’t supplement your way
and you can’t medicate your way out of a healthy lifestyle. (Gene:) Correct (Dr. Brewer:) No, there’s not a magic bullet. Given your – your history, I think the – the
– the surgery that you had did help; not in terms of the weight loss but it helped
with some stuff that was going on with your arteries. I do think that the
metformin helped a little bit in terms of your overall weight loss and some of
the – your bio markers, speaking of biomarkers, we’re going to get your
inflammation panel and a few other things too and maybe do a quick video on
those but it’d been – it wasn’t the surgery. The surgery and the metformin
both, together have no impact like a fifty-two pound weight loss – whole
different ballgame. (Gene:) No, you can really move the needle without that size that
you’re carrying around and if you want to see how dramatic that is go, pick up
2 25lb dumbbells. That is pretty, pretty stunning actually. It
really – (Dr. Brewer:) Yeah, and that was the 28 – I just did some math while you were talking a
minute ago, and that was a 28% loss of body mass. (Gene:) That’s wild. I hadn’t done that. (Dr. Brewer:) You lost almost a third of your body. You were carrying around an extra half of Gene. (Gene:) It’s what you watch where – (Dr. Brewer:) No wonder you were tired and having some problems (Gene:) Well, I feel a lot better now. I will tell you one thing too, and
you know, we can get into this on another time but – you know – understanding
that – how your thyroid comes into some of this and I’ve had some issues with that
– that – you know – once I got remedy, really helped the fatigue level and all that as
well. But that’s probably for another day – but
that and – and really understanding sleep. (Dr. Brewer:) Oh, yeah. (Gene:) How critical sleep has been for me to get really good restorative healthy sleep every night and make it
that a family value – I mean that sounds weird but I’m just saying, it’s just –
you’ve got to really – when you start making these changes and you do some
things in your diet and you start having some success, then you realize there’s
more and for me, it’s a 3 words: Eat, Move, Sleep, right?
(Dr. Brewer:) Yeah. (Gene:) I’m really careful about how I eat. I make sure I move – that I move a lot and
I said earlier, I don’t necessarily run but I’m active. I walk a lot and you know
Stairmaster or the treadmill and sleep; I mean, you know – I have – I was diagnosed
with obstructive sleep apnea, and I just didn’t know how much of that fatigue and,
really, how much of the heart disease this actually probably had to do with –
you know – core sleep, poor quality sleep. I just didn’t know. You don’t know what you
don’t know. (Dr. Brewer:) Okay, Gene; we do have to talk again and and do another video or two because I’m getting ready to start a sleep apnea
series. In addition, I’ve done several series on sleep itself, so yeah; and – and
thyroid stuff. We just started some stuff on thyroid, as well, so you got a rich
story. I appreciate you sharing it and (Gene:) Thank you. I’ve enjoyed it. (Dr. Brewer:) Thank you Gene. (Gene:) I appreciate all you’ve done to help me find this pathway, to help me understand
– you know – the how serious this all is, and and – and I also – help me understand – you
know – here’s the pathway, here’s the way out, you know. Here’s what you can do and
then – and be getting it enough – serious about – you know – some of those
conversations we’ve had and making some – some lifestyle changes (Dr. Brewer:) You could not have thanked me any better than you have with that – with the changes you’ve made.
(Gene:) Thank you. (Dr. Brewer:) Thank You Gene, bye-bye.