My Journey So Far
First off, thanks to everyone for the support, kind words, and interest in knowing more about my journey to get healthy and reboot my life. This post focuses on my weight loss to date and tries to provide answers to some common questions I have been asked.
This post is going to be a bit long, but I think if people have more information and context it can only help them more. If reading all this is not for you, or you just want some tips and information, check out my “Thoughts On Getting Healthy” post for a more focused list on my weight loss journey so far.
Please understand that the following is just what is working for ME. Your mileage may vary and of course you should to seek professional advice and fully educate yourself in order to make choices that are best for YOU.
My name is Scott Blinn. I am a professional video game designer and was born in 1973 (currently 39). I am 6’-3” tall (1.9m) and have lost just about 140 pounds (63.5kg) as of this blog posting. My largest official weight was 405 pounds (183.7kg).
I plan to lose about another 45-50 pounds (~22.kg) more over the next few months to reach my first target weight of 220 pounds (99.8kg) through a combination of juice fasting, a plant-strong diet, and exercise.
I used to be a pretty skinny kid for the first part of my life. I was full of energy and was so skinny that people worried I wasn’t being fed enough. I was like this for about the first 7 or 8 years of my life.
I first started to put on weight shortly after my parents divorced. This was when food first became a comfort and a more important part of my life through my parents—I enjoyed the time visiting with my mom for example where she would make amazing meals for us (she’s a great cook!) and we would play video games together. Food became part of the “happy moments” of my life and the subconscious connection grew from there. It wasn’t even a matter of overeating as much as just eating the wrong foods and building up a sugar and carb addiction. This was also combined with my passion for computers, leading me to spending less and less time doing physical activities.
The weight problem was later compounded by a bad dirt bike racing accident I had as an early teen that led to spinal injury. I never told my parents about this at the time because I didn’t want them to take away my dirt bike— this may very well have compounded the damage done because I was not treated for the injury and it eventually led to two spinal surgeries later in life.
This is what led me to eventually weigh in at 405 pounds (183.7kg). I may have weighed more actually, but that is the largest “official” weight I have on record from a hospital visit. For more on that, read on…
Medical Issues & My Death
Of course I picked up some weight-related issues along the way. I developed type-2 diabetes at the age of 30. That soon also led to high blood pressure. I ended up taking 4 medications twice a day for these conditions.
I also had a close call with death because of my conditions when I went in for a routine heart stress test. The treadmill they used at the hospital would not support my weight (this is when I found out I was at my high of 405 lbs). Because of this they had to instead inject me with a drug called persantine to induce stress. I had a very rare reaction to the drug which stopped my heart. Luckily, just after one minute (64 seconds), it started beating again and I came to just as a worried team of medical staff stood around me with a doctor about to inject a very large epinephrine needle into my heart.
By this time I had already had one of my two spinal surgeries as well. My earlier injury, combined with my weight, eventually created degenerative disc disease in my spine which eventually put me into a wheel chair and in the most intense pain I ever felt in my life. I ended up needing an emergency discectomy surgery for this (and later on another one). I actually suffered some permanent nerve damage to a leg and foot from this (or so I thought for years– the nerve damage seems to be healing as I get healthier and started juicing regularly).
Accidental Weight Loss
I think it is important for people to realize that my journey from my highest weight took time for me and that for the first part of my weight loss I wasn’t really trying at all—but circumstances ended up contributing to me losing weight.
The first was my moving from the east coast of the USA to the west coast. I had formed a great love for many very unhealthy east coast foods including pizza, cheesesteaks, large meatball subs, fried dough, fried Chinese food and others. Many of these foods were not common or available on the west coast. I ended up eating a bit healthier by default just because the food was different. It also forced me to expand my food intake to new foods I would never have tried while living on the east coast.
The second factor to loosing some weight was one of my diabetes drugs. I started taking a drug known as Byetta because I heard one of the side effects were weight loss in some people. This turned out to work for me because the side effects made me feel full most of the time. It also made me not enjoy some foods at all. For example, I was a HUGE milk drinker, but once I went on this drug I couldn’t stand it.
Lastly was my second spinal surgery. When my second disc ruptured it left me in the hospital for a full week and then bed ridden for about 2 months (I could not even sit up). It took about that long before I could find a doctor who understood the issue and could fix it. I then had the surgery and was back in the hospital and then again bed ridden at home for about 6 more weeks. All of this led to more nutritional hospital meals (I say this loosely!) and not having easy/direct access to junk food or going out to eat for almost half a year.
The total of these three factors above ended up helping me loose about 50 pounds (22.6kg) over a 2 year period. So while I was not actively trying to lose weight, you can see how these three factors helped push me to diet changes that helped me to lose.
I only got down to about 350 pounds (158.7kg) this way and then stalled out at around this weight. While it was still better than before, I was still very unhealthy and now also full of drugs and disease (diabetes and high blood pressure) that were eventually going to kill me.
My Active Weight Loss
One day I saw a film that changed my life. It was Joe Cross’ film Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. At its heart it is a film about nutritional education and weight loss through juice fasting. There are a couple of great success stories in this film, but I have to say that is not what sparked me into action. What got me was a very short 1 minute section where Joe talks about his life priorities. Our lists were almost identical—and we both had “health” at the bottom of that list and “work” at the top. Just like Joe I am a very passionate and motivated guy with an entrepreneurial spirit. I also was putting my career and professional goals above everything else—and it was killing me.
I sat there thinking— “every time I need to learn something new or excel in my career I do it. What happened if I applied that same focus and priority to my health?”
That was all it took. I started to become well educated in nutrition and health. I started by watching a couple more documentaries (Forks Over Knives and Food Matters) and then just became an animal from there looking over studies, watching every documentary I could find on health, looking up TED talks, reading books like The Gabriel Method, medical journals, etc. A very clear picture and patterns in nutrition and health started to emerge for me.
While I did all this research I also started to juice fast and also changed my diet in general. Here is what I did to break that 350 pound barrier and loose another 85 pounds (38.5kg) to reach where I am at now:
I started eating a mostly raw plant-based diet for a couple of weeks before I did my first juice fast (many large salads) and when I did go out to eat I looked for vegan/vegetarian options at every turn. I started to look for healthy eating choices so that when I did go out for lunch or dinner I would go somewhere where I could get something natural and healthy. I discovered the world of Farmer’s Markets and co-ops for the first time, as well as many other such local resources.
I also came to the conclusion that even if a juice fast worked for me— then what? I needed to make sure I could maintain that loss and not gain it back. This is what led me to Jon Gabriel’s book – The Gabriel Method. Jon had an amazing success story of his own and I figured that anyone who had been through such a transformation personally would have some insights. His book covers a bunch of topics, but there were two parts that really helped me. The first was helping to determine exactly when I started to gain weight and what the factors were (see my history section above). Once I could identify that stuff I could consciously address the issue and remove those hurdles. The second was visualization as a tool to “talk” to your subconscious and help turn my wish into a reality without trying to fight my own body.
After those first two weeks I started doing juice fasts just like Joe Cross and Phil Staples did in the Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead film. I did a variant of the Mean Green recipe only (I still use that to this day and love it). My first fast was 30 days. By the end of the first week I no longer needed my diabetes or high blood pressure medications—in fact, because I kept taking them for a while I kept running into low blood sugar issues. That stopped as soon as I went off the drugs. However there was quite the psychological battle for me to stop the Byetta drug because it was one of the reasons I had lost the initial weight I did. I was afraid of what would happen once I was off it—would I start over eating again? I had no choice though and it was of course the correct one. It was a drug, not natural for my body, and who knows what issues the long-term use was going to cause. Because I was now also mentally prepared for this journey, I cut out all the drugs, let food be my medicine, and have never looked back since!
I also weighed myself as well as tested my blood sugar and blood pressure at the same times every day to monitor my progress and look for any signs of a problem (I had none). I lost about 45 pounds (20.4kg) on that 30 day fast. I was NOT a fan of the taste at first though I decided it was just a different type of medicine. After the first week I started to love the taste and now crave it.
This first juice fast totally reset my tastes and all the healthy stuff started to taste amazing! I really think this first juice fast was a literal reboot for me and helped my body make the adjustments it needed to get healthy.
After that I continued to eat a healthy, mostly plant-based diet (I am not currently a vegan or vegetarian as I still eat fish (sushi mostly) and other meats rarely) and did more juice fasting (at various lengths). I also made fresh green juice a daily part of my diet whether I was juicing or not and tried to drink two a day. I also cut out most red meat consumption and all dairy (switched to unsweetened Almond milk and cut out all cheese). I’m not trying to be perfect here. I am mostly targeting an 80/20 split between plant-based diet being the 80% and the 20% being a mix of other stuff (but still shooting for healthy).
I now continue to juice fast, though usually for 10-15 day sprints. I am just now starting my second 30 day fast, and plan to do one last one later this Spring to bring me to my target weight. I will continue to do smaller juice fast reboots for the rest of my life however as they are amazing.
Please also see my post “Thoughts On Getting Healthy” for targeted information on things I have done and have learned through this Journey.
Thanks for reading!