When I was younger I was taught to clear my plate before I left the dinner table, so I learned how to eat a lot of food. I was a skinny kid through junior high. Then in my 20s I started drinking with my friends on the weekends, driving around instead of walking, so I gained a lot of weight. My friends started giving me hard time about it. So, I'd try and find the latest fad diet, but I could never control the weight. Eventually I started gaining a whole bunch of weight to the point where it was getting serious - I was about 270 lbs. I tried every kind of diet there was but I just couldn't get the weight off. And so I just gave up.

As I got into my 30s, I got up over 300 pounds. I noticed that people would stare at me as I would walk by, then whisper behind my back. It got to the point where I didn't want to leave my house. By the time I was 37, I was well over 400 pounds at the time of my wedding in 2005. I remember when I got measured for a tuxedo, they couldn't find a size to fit me. So I went to weigh myself and I was 447 pounds.

My family was pretty worried about me. I never really listened to them, but I didn't feel like I was going down. I had a lot of stress going on. I lost both of my in-laws, I went into depression over that. I ended up getting symptoms of diabetes: chronic dry mouth, frequent urination, high blood pressure, sleep apnea. I was really fatigued all the time, I had trouble sleeping. At that time, my wife and I wanted to move away from the expense of the San Francisco bay are, so we decided to buy a house in Medford, Oregon. I had been working at Costco for 19 years at this point, and got a transfer to Medford.

That was in May 2006. About three weeks later, I ended up in the hospital with extreme pain in my chest. They told me I had acute pancreatitis. They told my wife that I wasn't going to make it, and to gather my family together because I was going to die. My pancreas was completely shut down. My triglycerides were over 6,0, and the doctors couldn't even register my sugars because they were over the 600 mark. They said that my A1-C (a test that measures a person's average blood glucose level over the past 2 to 3 months) was 13.5. Normal range is between 4 and 7. Luckily for me, the infection in the pancreas went away with antibiotics in my intravenous drip. I was in the hospital for 10 days. The doctors were surprised that I didn't' have a heart attack because, when blood sugar is that high, the blood is like thick syrup that is hard for the heart to circulate. They told me that my triglycerides were so high that, if they were to hold up a vial of my blood, it would look white instead of red. After I was released from the hospital I was told I had type-2 diabetes and that I would be on insulin for the rest of my life. They wanted me to lose weight and eat better. If I didn't eat better, the doctors were convinced I would be dead in less than four years.

I went into a panic to find a way to lose weight. Tried to follow an FDA exercise program, but I was so depressed about my condition that I continued to gain weight. When last I talked to my endocrinologist, he asked me what my goal weight would be. I told him 170 pounds. He told me don't get your hopes up. He told me that, as we get older, it gets much more difficult to lose weight, and that the best I would probably do was 220 pounds. As I was trying to exercise on a regular basis, I ended up falling off my treadmill at home, pinching my sciatic nerve.

This is how I was referred to a physical therapist named Miven Donato (a Hallelujah Diet Health Minister in Medford, Oregon). Miven told me about his Get Healthy Boot Camp based on something called The Hallelujah Diet that he really felt would help my diabetes and help me lose a significant amount of weight and best of all, he was convinced I could keep the weight off. I was really excited about that. All the other doctors had just told me lose weight or die without any kind of plan. I felt they were more interested in giving me drugs to counteract my lifestyle. Miven, on the other hand, wanted to work with me, and with the advice my doctor had given me, to work myself off medication instead.

So, in January 2007 I enlisted in his 10-week boot camp. During that course I lost 49 pounds in 7 weeks. By graduation I had lost 52 pounds. At the third week of the course, I was feeling so good that I wanted to experiment with taking myself off medication. I asked my doctor if I could and he said no. But I had my own glucose meter and I could see that my sugars were getting better. So I decided to take myself off the meds, and to my surprise, my blood sugars and everything went back down and so did my blood pressure. I was afraid to tell my doctor about it, so I didn't tell him for a long time. My blood work started looking better and better. They asked me what I was doing to get these results. I told them I was eating a diet of 85% raw and 15% cooked food, and they said wow, keep doing what you're doing.

Eventually I told him that I was off my medication, and had been for more than a year. They were completely shocked! I thought they were going to be mad at me, but they were happy for me and were amazed that my body could get these results without medication. My doctor immediately told me to stop going to my endocrinologist because I simply didn't have any diabetic symptoms. My A1C was around 4-5. My fatty liver had decreased to half its size. I was still around 300 pounds at this point.

After I had this success in 2007, my wife and I decided to take an overdue honeymoon on a cruise ship in Hawaii. I didn't follow what I was taught in boot camp about how to handle yourself when you're on vacation. Well, I fell off track and got right back into my old habits. By the end of the two-week vacation, I had gained 10 pounds and caught a really bad cold. I remained off track for a couple of months and began to get really embarrassed about gaining the weight that I had lost. I was embarrassed to go back to Miven. I felt like I had let him and everyone else down. But I knew that if I didn't get the weight back off and keep it off, that I was going to die. So, I went back to Miven. He completely understood the situation, reminded me that it's OK to make mistakes, and encouraged me to get back on track with The Hallelujah Diet. Shortly after I got back on the diet, Miven sent me an email about a 525-pound woman who had a lot of weight loss success with green smoothies: 60% fruit, 40% greens. She lost 127 pounds in about six months. I thought, if she can do it, I can do it! Sure enough, in 14 weeks, I lost 100 pounds. At this point I started hitting the gym to lift weights and build up muscle mass in preparation for the final phase of Miven's program: to climb Mt. Whitney as a testament to eating a primarily raw food diet. I went on September 2, 2008. I made it the first time, all the way to the top (summit: 14,505 ft.) in 9 hours and 3 minutes. At the 10,000 ft. mark I started to get some elevation sickness. But after drinking some BarleyMax in water, my illness went away and my energy came back so I could go the rest of the distance. I've been using BarleyMax all along because Miven taught me that greens help skin shrink because raw food brings your organs back to life. Most people forget that the skin is indeed an organ. As I've been losing weight, my skin has been shrinking along with it. I may not have any hanging skin at all, even after losing 200 pounds. That's the most amazing thing about eating a primarily raw diet. And there's plenty of documentation to prove it.

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