An Amazing Weight Loss Story (The 7 Things I Learned This Week) : The Renegade Health Newsletter

Saturday Jan 15 | BY |
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telluride mountains colorado
I wouldn’t mind looking out my window at this in the winter, you?

Seven things…

It’s amazing that week in and week out there are always new stories and lessons that I hear and learn from.

This week was no exception.

Here we go…

1. An amazing story.

We met with a past client / now friend this week at one of our favorite restaurants. (Bloodroot in Black Rock, CT)

It has been almost 5 years since we first met and at that time she was 311 pounds.

Some of the things she couldn’t do:

– Walk up stairs.
– Walk from her car to her office desk without taking a break.
– Could barely stay on her feet for more than 10 minutes.
– Was completely unable to ride a bike.
– Would hardly leave the house because of her situation.

Now, 5 years later, she’s a completely different woman.

She looks great. She joined a biking club over the summer. She’s taken yoga, kickboxing and Zumba classes. She still meets with a trainer 2-3 times a week. She understands emotional eating and what to do to help her minimize the damage that an outburst causes.

And best of all, she’s lost over 90 pounds in the process. It’s a wonderful and heart warming transformation. I get the chills thinking about it.

Now on the other side some people may say, that’s fine that she lost 90 pounds, but isn’t 5 years a long time?

It is.

In fact, it’s a long time for her NOT to gain the weight BACK.

This is 99.9% evidence that she will never again weigh 311 pounds.

She’s changed her life, not her weight.

That’s the stuff success is made of.

2. Weight is never the barometer for success.

I wanted to continue my story here with this statement:

Weight is never the barometer for success in your health and fitness goals.

Your weight at any given time should never be the way you measure success. If our friend from above would have focused on weight, she would have thought she failed 20-30 times over the last 5 years – and probably quit.


Because sometimes – whether it was over a week or a month – she gained weight, other times she didn’t.

All our clients that had ever been focused on weight as a number tended to struggle. The ones that didn’t focus on weight, but made real changes in what they do and what they think succeeded.

The best advice I can give you here is to toss your scale and start asking yourself this question daily: “What can I do today will make me healthier than I was yesterday?”

The weight will come of as you transform the way you live your life.

3. Wegmans ain’t so bad.

On our way to Pittsburgh this weekend we stopped in Wilkes-Barre, PA at the Wegmans to get some organic vegetable and coconut water.

Wegmans, if you’re not from the east, is a grocery chain that is kind of like a hybrid of a Safeway and a Whole Foods.

They have a decent sized organic section as well as a decent selection of organic vegetables – and this is not just at the one in Wilkes-Barre, the Wegmans in Freehold, NJ had a similar layout and spread.

Not bad for options, if you ask me.

4. I feel cagey in the snow.

The snow outside is up to and over the patio table at my mother’s condo, which means there’s about 3 feet of snow on the ground in Connecticut and I feel like a caged animal.

Of course, we go to Keith’s training facility and of course we do our best to get out in this weather, but it’s still not as easy as when the weather is Key West-like nice. Anyone who tells you different is not telling the truth.

The only time I could imagine this amount of snow being a positive benefit to my health is if we lived in Telluride where we can walk to the gondola and ski up in the mountains all day.

I remember when I was younger around college and would talk to my roommate Jack about the “winter blues.” I can’t say I have them now, likely because my diet is clean, but I can certainly see where the come from… lack of sun, lack of clean air, dry skin and throat from forced air heat, etc.

Annmarie and I have decided finally that if we ever live in a place where there is snow like this during the winter, there has to be skiing nearby (like out the doorstep, LOL!)

5. I can almost bench press my own weight again.

I know some of you will think I’m massively weak, but I don’t mind.

This week, after a full month working out with Keith, I’m almost able to bench press my own weight for 3 sets of 6 again.

During high school, I was about 180-185 pounds and could do this easily. In fact, I could rep with 225 lbs.

Now, I’m at about 190 and can rep with 175 lbs easily… so I either need to lose about 15 pound that I shouldn’t lose, or give me another 2-3 weeks with Keith and I’ll be up to 190.

Again, this is a small feat, but just as I’m amazed at how diet can heal, I’m amazed at how fitness goals can be reached when at times it seems like they are so much of a challenge.

6. In February our living grandparents will be over 90.

Ann and I consider ourselves lucky to have 3 grandparents left at our age.

We just celebrated the birthday of Annmarie’s grandma last weekend and are in Pittsburgh to see my grandfather this weekend – he’s almost 92.

I asked him yesterday if he ever thought he’d be 92 and he said, “no, never thought about it at all.”

Makes me wonder about what allowed them all to live as long as they have.

7. Is it genes or something else?

You know the statement… “Well, my grandfather / grandmother lived to be 167 and he / she ate twinkies and ho-hos and smoked 5 packs of cigarettes a day.”

This is the classic why-should-I-worry-about-what-I-eat cop out.

My grandfather IS this story though.

He smoked from age 11 until 1968. He worked in a coal mine. He owned a few service stations and inhaled fumes of just about every engine fluid imaginable. He was a welder who handled metals including lead.

But regardless of all this, he’s into his 90’s and he takes no medication at all. The only issues he has are occasional high blood pressure and a very pronounced hunch in his back.

He doesn’t know the secret to being active at this age, but he thinks it’s because he never retired, and always kept busy. Right now, in 2011 (at age 91) he’s itching to get out and mow his lawn once spring hits.

Does that mean that the food isn’t as important as mindset?

I think we can take a clue. 🙂

Alright, that’s it for me today, my brother and I are off to the Steelers game this afternoon… it’s going to be cold!

Send some energy over to Pittsburgh today so that my little bro gets to see a Steeler victory at his first football game. LOL!

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Catherine says:

    Go Steelers! Eat before you get there!

  2. oreganol says:

    I think one of the secrets to keeping healthy into your 90s and beyond is to keep active and have a positive attitude. If you just sit around all day, don’t have anything to do and don’t have anything to look forward to, of course you will die. You need a reason to live.

  3. Annette says:

    Hi Kevin, I thought this is a great place to share my theory on our grandparents/parents longevity…in spite of their habits.
    My dad is 85, and still smokes and drinks alcohol. He just went for a Dr.’s check-up and came out with a clean bill of health, and he is not on any medications either.

    I can also confirm that I cannot get away with that lifestyle, my body (like yours) put a stop to it.
    My theory is based on Dr. Bernard Jensen the Iridologist/Nutritionist who said:
    “Take care of your body the first 50 years, and it will take care of you the next 50 years”.
    On this principle I did a bit of research as well as my own intuition:
    My theory:
    a.) Those who were born in 1925 and prior had
    these advantages:
    – they were not vaccinated with multiple vaccines, I believe the first vaccine came out around the 1920’s, and there was only one,
    not multiples like now.
    b.) The earth’s soil was still ALIVE. Chemical sprays and fertilizers, and mono – agriculture didn’t take hold until th 1950’s, and of course has excalated in the 60’s and 70’s.
    c.) The water quality was still pure and natural, and the air quality was also pure and natural.
    d.) Most people born in the 1920’s lived on farms, and worked on the land, which means they were “grounded to earth energy”, and we now know how beneficial that is!
    e.) They raised all their animals on grass and fresh air and sunlight, grew their own food, and were limited to sugar during the depression.

    I would say the first 20 -30 years of their lives they were quite well nourished,
    and at that time, cigarettes were “just real tobacco”, not the chemical laden tobacco of to-day.

    Thank-you for bringing this up, and allowing
    me to share my understanding of why our grandparents and parents live so long, even with their “bad habits”.
    Everything was more clean back then, and there was more balance of physical work on the farm, fresh air, and real food.

    Thanks for educating the younger crowd, as we reclaim and re-build a healthy planet and then, a healthy human.

    Inspiring vibrant health, naturally.

    Your Canadian friend,


  4. Tara Burner says:

    excellent to all those things you learned!
    so true to the friend NOT gaining back the weight, and the mindset & activity of those who are older.
    and cagey is understatement for me in snow…thus the reason I left PA at 17 and headed for FL!
    and of course GO STEELERS (born there myself)

  5. Tera says:

    Such a great blog!Thanks for all your useful information. It’s really changer how I feel about my weight..!!

  6. nancy sirianni says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Your mention of Wegmans brought fond memories of where I grew up in Roch, NY, the birthplace of Wegmans. I go home every summer to visit family and one of the first things I do is go to Wegmans. I especially get a kick out of the local summer produce with a sign overhead boasting of the local farm it was grown on….and on the corn sign they even have a place for the time that the corn came in….talk about fresh!

  7. kt mm says:

    C’mon now. Snow is cleansing and beautiful! Even at three feet deep (be glad you don’t live in Syracuse or Oswego, NY). The frigid cold air feels so clean and fresh! Being an upstate New Yorker, I am enjoying the days in between the storms when the air is fresh and the sun is bright. I know that we are past the solistice and there is more and more light everyday. If I lived in FL, I would greatly miss the cycle of seasonal changes….or maybe not, FL got snow this year, too. As for nothing to do, there are TONS of things to do, snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, make ice/snow sculptures, sledding, tubing, snow ball fights and forts. I like six of the seven learned things, but I feel like #4 was a downer and you are usually a positive person. Hope I could cheer you up about the snow! 🙂

  8. Gail says:

    Love your thoughts, Kev, and always ‘relate’ to your thinking.
    1) I can’t Zumba or Kickbox, but someday I might try Zumba.
    2) Yes, weight is not the barometer to success, and you’re right that the most successful ones are those who ‘get it’ and make ‘changes’ versus only achieving goal weight. That right there is what I have learned the most about myself this (past) year.
    4)Today makes 5 yrs living here; and the first time in my life experiencing icy roads. I spent almost 50 years living in America’s most perfect weather and am shocked at how terried I am of ‘inclement’ weather. Not the snow – ice. I have all the greatest respect for those who have dealt with it forever. This past week, I chose to WALK to work because I would have no clue or DESIRE to attempt to drive in it. I miss the SUN, the ocean breeze, and the life without heated air..I agree.
    6/7)My grandparents and parents are gone. My grandparents lived to their 90’s and beyond and healthy as can be. Don’t take this as morbidly as it sounds because I don’t mean it that way, but I don’t care to live long at all. Every day I have is good; but if I go to morrow, I’m ok with that too. “I don’t care IF I live or die, but I do care HOW I live or die”. I don’t read, study and try to live a healthy life FOR longevity; could care less about longevity – only quality.

  9. Gail says:

    Oh, just remembered something else..

    The information that I need to see regarding a powdered item is this:

    Serving Size
    How many servings per container

    That way, I can see, for example, that if something is 1 TBSP, and that there are 30 servings, I can see that it will last me 30 days. I can also see that if it cost $30 for the jug, then it is apprx $1 per serving!

    Things that are of NO USE to me at all is how many grams the jar has. Especially if that’s all the info listed! 300 grams..tells me nothing.

    So, please, please, can it be listed to show the serving size and number of servings??


  10. jackie says:

    Thanks for the newsletter. I tend to agree with you on #7. I think I’ve been too obsessive with consuming a raw diet, and am becoming more flexible. I even had some pizza this week (yikes!), but I have to admit, it was delicious. I’m not gonna go back to SAD by any means, but I’m letting up the reigns somewhat.

  11. elf says:

    RE: The picture. The only way you will see that out the window in the winter is if you paste the picture on the window! Although the view will be just as beautiful, in the winter there will be bare trees and SNOW! I know cuz I live in rural Colorado and get to see the magnificent Sangre de Cristo Range everyday. Actually, the view out my window is quite like the pic above. In the summer time! LOL!

  12. Darlena says:

    My aunt (my mom’s sister) will turn 94 on January 27… she is pretty healthy and active. She just moved into an independent living situation as her husband passed away at 95 and she needed a social life. Her secret to a long life…. no stress. Even if she is in a stressful situation, she doesn’t stress, she eats whatever she wishes, which includes Twinkies, potato chips and whatever. Drinks coffee with lots of whipped cream and sugar. Denies any problems with her kids, even though there were some. She still makes her own clothes and jewelry and wears her beautiful fashions to dinner where she lives and most everything is has jewels and pearls she has sewn on herself. She loves watching cop shows. She has all of her own teeth and they are nice, her skin is absolutely beautiful and wrinkle free and she is happy. Oh..and did I mention she is still beautiful?
    If you don’t have her take on life, then you need to eat pretty healthy stuff…

  13. Your grand dad sounds wonderful.

  14. Tara says:

    Great article. I live in Pittsburgh and hate the cold but love the STEELERS! What a victory. You got your wish:) Keep renegading!!

  15. Abbie says:

    Great post- I am in Scotland so the Winter weather makes outdoor activity pretty miserable. It isn’t snow (except this year) but rainy, dreary days. On a different topic- got a quick question, why is there never too much said about blackstrap molasses? It seems to me to be a sustainable, healthy source of sweetness (when you need it), and cheap, comparative to raw honey, yacon, coconut nectars and so on. I have heard about it having a higher sucrose content than some, but it still seems pretty good to me. Is it just the ‘not raw’ thing? Would be cool to know what you think!

  16. sans says:

    I love Selma & Noel at Bloodroot, such an amazing place to eat. I love these ladies!

  17. Stephanie says:

    I always love to hear what you have learned- because to me you have so much knowledge. It’s helps me remember that life is truly about the little stuff and baby steps are okay too. Thank you always for sharing with me. I have a question about black salves…bloodroot is one I believe? What are your thoughts on what it is safe to be used for and IS it SAFE at all?

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