Since the time Adam was a child, he has struggled with food addiction. At the age of 12, he would hide in his room and eat extra cinnamon rolls, too ashamed to admit he was terrified that people would think that something was wrong if they saw him covertly eating “junk food.”
At the same period in his life, Adam was diagnosed with ADHD. To cope with this diagnosis, his doctor prescribed Ritalin.
Too young to understand the details of ADHD, Adam began taking Ritalin, unaware that simply by changing his behavior, he could greatly improve his cognitive health.
“He wasn’t explaining to me that this [ADHD] was about behavior, not who I was as a person.”
Thinking that something was wrong with him and Ritalin could fix his problems, Adam began abusing any substance that had the ability to “fix” parts of his personality that others didn’t agree with.
In high school, Adam switched from Ritalin to Adderall, and soon he found himself addicted to it’s effects. At the age of 20, Adam became a criminal drug addict – he bought and sold Adderall on the street and secretly worked with multiple doctors, each of whom prescribed him more medication without knowledge of the others.
When Adam temporarily ran out of Adderall, he began eating large amounts of fast food to soothe the feelings of low self-worth.
Adam took an average of 450mg of Adderall per day, 15 times the typical daily dose of 30mg.
Adam’s dad Jim suggested that he participate in the Engine 2 Immersion Program to learn how to lose weight and reverse chronic Western diseases using a plant-based, whole-food diet.
Adam agreed to participate, but only because his dad agreed to financially support him throughout this process. He attended every lecture and learned how a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet could dramatically change his life.
Armed with powerful information, Adam continued being a food and drug addict. The problem is that he wasn’t desperate enough to begin changing his lifestyle.
A year later, Adam’s lifestyle became even worse. He stopped showering, and his body became covered in rashes and bedsores. At times, Adam didn’t recognize himself in the mirror, and he developed erectile dysfunction.
He felt terrible, his self-esteem was nonexistent, and at the age of 30 he weighed 320 pounds.
Frustrated with the way he looked, with the way he felt, and plagued with a diminishing hope to live, he tried to commit suicide by intentionally overdosing on painkillers.
One night, after passing out on the floor of his apartment, he woke up a few hours later to the smell of his own vomit surrounded by empty fast food containers and pill bottles.
He picked up the phone, called his parents, and said the words, “I need help.”
Immediately, his parents jumped into action, rescued him from his apartment and checked him into rehab. There, a doctor diagnosed him with hypertension and type 2 diabetes–his fasting blood glucose had climbed to more than 300 mg/dL and his A1c was greater than 9.0%.
After his new diagnosis, Adam called his dad, overwhelmed with the news he had just received. His dad reminded him what he had learned in the Engine 2 Immersion Program about reversing chronic disease using food as medicine.
Motivated to take action, Adam decided to make lifestyle changes to regain his health. He woke up every single day, committed to this goal, until he fully adopted a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle.
Within 6 months Adam’s fasting blood glucose dropped from over 300 mg/dL to between 60–70 mg/dL.
Within one year, he discontinued the use of medications that he was prescribed to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, ADHD, depression and an unstable mood, and he did so by choosing to eat a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet.
What enabled Adam to transition to a plant-based diet with great success was by eating simple meals using only a few ingredients. He taught himself how to “be comfortable being uncomfortable” until the day came when the thought of eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) was extremely uncomfortable.
He left nothing up to chance and planned his simple meals well in advance. He remembers telling himself that “preparation beats motivation any day of the week,” and used that mantra to resist impulsive behavior.
Today, Adam has devoted his life to helping others transform their life, and is an incredibly influential health coach for the Total Health Immersion Program of Whole Foods Market and for the Mastering Diabetes Coaching Program.
He has helped thousands of people reverse various chronic diseases by providing them with the knowledge, passion, and confidence required to succeed with flying colors.
This video was produced by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM). ACLM is the world’s flagship professional medical association for physicians, clinicians and allied health professionals, as well as those in professions devoted to advancing the mission of lifestyle medicine.
If you are interested in practicing lifestyle medicine, click here to learn how ACLM can help further your career.
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Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro are the co-founders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching program that reverses insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002 and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000 and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for six years, is studying towards a master’s degree in public health, and enjoys sharing his lifestyle on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.
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