The death of ‘Fat Jeff’

LET me introduce you to someone I used to know.

I like calling him “Fat Jeff.”

“Fat Jeff” materialized in my life over the process of time. He didn’t jump into my skin overnight … it was a slow and wonderful process of transformation, with months of consuming the finest milk chocolates,

luscious quarter and half pound cheeseburgers smothered in sautéed onions, and endless bags of sugar-coated caramel popcorn.

Sugar sweet beverages became the drink “du jour” and the only time “Fat Jeff” partook of physical activity was when he waddled from his static computer chair over to the freezer where he had his private stash of frozen chocolate candy bars that were ravenously consumed when prying eyes were turned away.

“Fat Jeff” was an overstuffed pig who relished his life in his pen; rolling around in an endless array of fast food, white rice and processed canned meats, smothered in a thick rich gravy of high fructose corn syrup.

Ah … life was grand.

Unable to view his toes while standing, “Fat Jeff” had a belly so protruding that at first glance one might think it possible for a man to be in his third trimester of pregnancy; his right leg covered with painfully itchy diabetic ulcer sores caused by a blood sugar count in excess of 330.

At his zenith, weighing in at 260 lbs. of rolling flesh, “Fat Jeff” was a poster child for a pending heart attack.

But all this came crashing down last July 4 when his blood pressure spiked to 160/90 (120/80 is considered normal) and in a panic, “Fat Jeff” ran to a local cardiologist who immediately ordered up a resting EKG and ultrasound of his heart. The results were not encouraging for “Fat Jeff” who had been pressing his girth onto the straight and narrow pathway toward an enlarged heart and near certain death.


So—on that day—“Fat Jeff” died an immediate and swift death.

There were no funeral notices; no last milk chocolate candy bars lined up to bid him a tearful adieu as he faded away into a ghostly form, hopefully never to return.

In his place is “New Jeff” whom of this writing, now inhabits the skin I live.

In order for “Fat Jeff” to truly die, I had to take stock of myself and look forward to the positive.

As an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I had a number of great things already going for me.

“The Word of Wisdom is a law of health revealed by the Lord for the physical and spiritual benefit of His children. On February 27, 1833, as recorded in  Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord revealed which foods are good for us to eat and which substances are not good for the human body. He also promised health, protection, knowledge, and wisdom to those who obey the Word of Wisdom.”

So that meant I’ve never: •smoked, chewed or inhaled tobacco;

•Tasted liquor, coffee or tea Not once!

Using the Word of  Wisdom as the base dietary foundation, I added these food no-no’s, specifically: No potato chips, ice cream, fast food, fried food, chocolate, white bread, soda, juice, white rice, cakes, donuts, cookies or candies.

No exceptions!

Instead of four pieces of French Toast smothered in butter with two pieces of thick bacon and a carafe of orange juice for breakfast, I now eat mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and spinach cooked in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with three scrambled eggs.

I subbed out white bread for sugar free whole wheat bread and made it my life’s mission to eliminate all sugar from my body while banning all canned foods from my home because if it is canned, the food contents are certainly filled with chemicals to keep it in a “preserved” state.

None of this is natural for humans to consume.

Above it all—sugar has been my ultimate offender. Be it found in spaghetti sauce or added to all processed foods, sugar is an enemy of humanity and the breeding ground for numerous diseases that kill us all—including nearly all forms of  cancers.

Immediately after changing my food intake, “New Jeff” got off his formerly fat behind and started to walk.

Walking is as healthy as running, swimming or cycling, costs no money to join a fancy gym and perfectly natural for we humans who master this ability in our infancy.

Departing my abode at 4:45 a.m. every morning, I’ll have my trusty flashlight in my right hand and with a portable speaker and smartphone in my left pocket then start walking to the pounding rock music from Queen and its “Greatest Hits” set during Live Aid 1985.

It lasts 22 minutes, ending with Freddie Mercury and the boys pounding out “We Are The Champions,” then I’ll switch the music over to one of 600 random rock songs I downloaded into the smartphone—from Jackie Wilson to Bruce Springsteen.

Each morning sunrise has been magnificent and I generally finish my kilometers-long walk within 56 minutes.

Since July 4 when “New Jeff” emerged, here are the results:

•I walk 2.5 kilometers a day—every day—and in five months have clocked 225 kilometers or 115 miles
•My blood pressure is back in the normal range, and I’ve dropped 21 pounds … shrinking from 260 to 239 lbs. with more to come!
• The protruding “baby” I was carrying—a legacy from the days of “Fat Jeff”—is long gone. I can see my toes and feet again and the diabetic ulcer sores on my right leg are completely healed.

I have not only cast out all hidden chocolate from the home but purged all sugar from my body and feel great.

But deep inside, I know “Fat Jeff” is still alive.

Locked away in his indestructible prison, he snarls, growls and whimpers to be released, banging his head on the walls of his adamantium cage whenever I pass by a fast food restaurant. As the gold-covered arches recede into the horizon, he becomes quiet again but every now and then I can hear him deep inside, munching on a carrot as he sits in the corner of his prison, humming the theme song of his favorite fast food restaurant.

Dear friends, if you too have a “Fat Jeff” who inhabits your skin, know that there is personal salvation. It’s not really about just what we eat but why we eat. Food doesn’t judge, it always makes us happy.

We must learn to change our thoughts about food. The pathway to being healthy is filled with what you think are insurmountable boulders; just learn to walk around them and press forward.

You can eliminate all sugar from your body while consuming copious amounts of vegetables.

You can get off your couch—turn off the TV—and start walking, every single day.

You can and will lose weight, gain extra years of life, look and feel great.

Freddie Mercury strutting across the Wembley Stadium stage to the rhythm of “Radio Ga Ga” during Live Aid 1985 is now my daily inspiration when I begin yet another 2.5-kilometer morning walk.

What’s yours?

Questions, comments or travel suggestions, write me at [email protected].

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