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420 lbs., scared, stressed, humiliated. Help!

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Oct 13, 2011

Just received this letter from Mark. Mark, lots of people will be praying for you to make lifestyle changes like K’Lynne’s, with spectacular results! Such a great idea to just start eating whole foods instead—I have known so many people who can no longer absorb nutrition after those surgeries that hack and rearrange your digestive system, as you put it. Put lots of green stuff in your blender–the stuff that isn’t green has lots of sugar in it. The green foods slow down sugars to your blood stream. Maximize them, challenge yourself, and starting eating giant salads too! You can do it! I bet some of my readers will have some wise words for you. Much love, and stay in touch!

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

I just ordered your 12 step program!

My wife and I are slowly adding green to our now multiple daily smoothies.

We want to learn more, so we are taking the first step by buying the program.

The main reason I am writing is to say thanks! Thank you for your dedication to this cause. Thank you for opening my eyes.

I work in an extremely stressful environment. I am a network escalations manager, which means I help customers when their network is down, costing them sometime thousands of dollars an hour, and we have hit roadblocks in the process of getting the data flowing again.

About a month ago, I was on my way to work and thought I was having a heart attack. I was scared, and felt awful. I stopped at a urgent care center and my BP was 140/100. I got a trip in an ambulance to the hospital.

My left arm had gone numb and my left hand was cold and blue. I spent the weekend in the hospital undergoing many tests. I weighed 420 lbs. and was too heavy to have the normal test.  The nurse looked at me with disgust and said, “I’m not going to risk breaking my equipment. He’s too heavy to do this.” My wife was really upset and we both just wanted to cry.

The great news is I didn’t have a heart attack! I checked out of the hospital, and spent the next few days thinking and visited my family doctor. She had previously recommended stomach surgery. It seemed the only way to save my life.

I had tried diets and hate the taste of most vegetables. I am a southern redneck kind of guy. I love my fried foods, especially fried chicken, lots of meat, lots of fried food. “If it ain’t fried, I ain’t eatin it” was my mindset. But I felt I had no choice. I signed up for the initial consultation to learn about the various forms of the surgery. The Lap band, the Y thing, the sleeve…. so many choices, so many risks…what do I do?

I learned about Gerson online, but it was too radical for me. But the principles made sense. I was browsing the web and somehow stumbled into your site. I watched a couple videos, loved the way you tell things like they are. You’re a real person! You mention Costco, and how to save a few dollars here and there. You think like a real person, because you are one. Thanks!

So I have been drinking smoothies, not always green smoothies, but we are working our way well into them. I’ve learned so much from your videos. I’ve learned a lot in the past month. I’m still over 400 pounds, but just barely. I can almost weigh myself on the scales at the center we just joined. We are taking yoga classes. We are trying to get over and swim or exercise a few times a week. I have at this point gone vegetarian. Heading more and more towards whole food vegan.

So far in the past couple weeks my energy has gotten a major boost! I am feeling better every day.

Thanks to you, and a few other people who believe in a whole food lifestyle I have decided to not get the weight surgery and tough it out. Do it the healthier way. Besides, had I decided to get the surgery, I would have to go on a liquid diet for a few weeks anyway, and I would have had my stomach stapled and part of it removed with the sleeve, or my digestive tract hacked up and rearranged. I had no interest in the lap band. I just don’t like the idea of some foreign object strapped around my stomach.

So again, thank you so very much. I will keep you posted of my progress if you would like. I hope, that as people are able to see the progress I am making that more people will ask how I did it. The first place I will send them is greensmoothiegirl.com. My wife and I have already sent a few people your way already. Watch for folks from Charlotte, NC!

–Mark and Rosa Allen

Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food, Green Smoothies, Reader Letters, Standard American Diet

14 thoughts on “420 lbs., scared, stressed, humiliated. Help!”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Good for you, Mark! You should start a blog to keep us updated on your progress! You need to watch the movie “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” (it’s on Netflix now). You will be even more motivated to switch to a vegan diet for successful, safe weight loss. Many blessings on your journey!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Way to go. You are an inspiration to take the natural route verses the surgeries. I would love to see your progress as well. 12 steps has changes my family’s life and I know it will for you too. Keep it up!

  3. Mark I’m so excited for you, get ready for your life to change for the better. Knowledge is power so keep reading , learning and doing and good things will follow. Keep positive and look to the future with joy. That is what I did (am doing)and I know you can do it too. Yes you need to create a blog I want to hear about your progress as well. Sending prayers your way.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mark – Trust God. Trust yourself. Trust Robyn. Often, and in that order. The rest will be history : )

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mark, So glad you found us on Green Smoothie Girl. Yes, please keep us all updated on your progress and if you stay plugged in to this website you will definitely have all of us to cheer you and your family on. You will be amazed if you take baby steps. GSG has changed my life!! 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    Awesome job, Mark! Keep it up!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mark, you just took the hardest biggest step to your recovery! Robyn was the one who got me to change my eating too. I was able to reverse my diabetes! Now I read everything, i’m like a sponge, but you do have to sift for the right things. There is a lot of stuff out there that you have to decide if that is really right for you. I’m so proud of both you and your wife. Keep up the great work and keep us all posted, so I guess you need to start that blog. Good luck and here is to a healthier you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mark……you don’t need the surgery………………you can do this!!! You have already taken the biggest step ever by making the commitment to get yourself healthy. Please know that there are so many of us doing the same thing and we are all here to support one another. I tell everyone that it is not an event……….it is a process and every good thing you do in a day does count. Green smoothies are the reason that my family has seen some amazing changes in our weight, health and over all attitude and energy level. The more you drink them…..the better they will start to taste. There is so much power in those beautiful greens and they will do wonders!!! Good luck best wishes!!! Kala

  9. Anonymous says:

    Mark and Rosa, You can do this! You are lucky to have each other to support each other as you discover this new way of looking at the world! Keep trying, keep learning, keep looking for new ways to enjoy all the wonderful options that are out there. One day you’ll look back and be amazed at how much your cravings have changed. The health benefits will continue to encourage you Even your job will be less stressful I need to follow your example and start exercising. You are awesome! We are all cheering for you!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robyn,

    I just watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. Amazing. Do you know if you get the same effects with a green smoothie fast?

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Grace, YES, and you’d get far more fiber. The only thing that would be better about the juice fast is that it would be easier to get more vegetables and fewer fruits. People have a tendency to overdo the fruits to make a smoothie taste good (according to S.A.D.) tastes.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Stick to it, Mark! I do not have weight or health issues (that I know of haha) but I can relate to really NOT liking vegetables! My husband and I are currently transitioning to vegetarian as well and green smoothies have made a big difference! It’s gotten easier to accept the different tastes, believe me! So keep it up and thanks for sharing!

  12. I think it’s a consensus…we’d very much like to follow your progress, Mark, and support you as you work towards your goal. 🙂 If you’re interested in starting a blog, it’s easy to do these days. I’d be happy to help you get started.

  13. Mark! What your doing is amazing! I’m so proud of you eating for your health! I definitely agree with other commenters here, start your own blog so we can cheer you on!!! **raises a green smoothie** to your health!

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