Fat-Shaming and Bullying Are Not Needed
Fat-Shaming and Bullying Are Not Needed
Jonathan: Hey, everybody, Jonathan Bailor, back, with another SANE show. Today’s show is going to be one that is for the record books, I think. It is a story that has touched, not only my heart, but the hearts now of thousands of people around the world, the more that I am learning about it, and I am so honored to have today’s guest with us. He is SANE. He is an extremely SANE man, and his SANE success story is unparalleled. Kyle Wong, welcome to the show, brother.
Kyle: Thank you very much. It’s an honor, actually.
Jonathan: Kyle, let me give the audience a quick bit of context here. I was so happy last week to have the email you sent to my associate, Nicole, forwarded to me, with these kind words of gratitude, and then a link to an amazing story about you and the incredible transformation you have experienced over the past years and even more incredible, the reasons why you did that and what you are doing with it now? Can you share the story with us?
Kyle: Sure. I might embarrass you a little bit today, so just be prepared for that. Okay, let me start at the beginning. I have been pretty much overweight for almost all of my adult life. Like so many others, I tried to lose weight so many times before, with varying degrees of just failure, and I think that I had gotten to a point to where I had just lost all hope. You know, I had given up; I was resigned. And I was for a long time, Jonathan. I just was living a half of a life, of not really living, not really dead. I just thought that this was my life and I was just going to have to deal with being fat for the rest of my life.
I continued on with that until about a few years ago and a few things happened and everybody knows that bad things come in three’s, so let’s just start off with one. My insurance changed, and they required me to take a physical to insure me, so I had to go to the doctor, and I had to weigh myself for the first time in years. I remember getting up on the scale and the nurse just quietly clicked 278 pounds. And if that wasn’t a shock enough for me, when I got home I found out that my insurance wouldn’t cover me because I was too heavy. That was strike one.
Around the same time I was having some difficulty because I was falling asleep all the time. My doctor thought maybe I had sleep apnea, so he wanted to have me checked out, so he sent me to a sleep center and they hooked me full of 30 wires and electrodes and just said, okay, now that you have all these wires attached to your body, go to sleep.” I thought, “Okay, well gee, thank you.” I did that, and I went into the sleep specialist in the morning and said, so how did I do? And he was kind of in a panic. He was saying, “Okay, I’ve got to get you a CPAP machine; I put a rush order on it.” And I said, “Whoa, whoa, what is the deal?” He said, “You definitely have sleep apnea.” I said, “Okay, is there a score? Is there something that I can hold onto here?” He said, “Well, let’s say that a score from 1-15 is mild sleep apnea, and anything from 15-30 is you definitely have it, and anything over 30 is not good.” I said, “Okay, cool. So what did I score?” He said, “You scored 112.”
Kyle: So what that means is, within one hour’s time I stopped breathing 112 times. That was wake-up call two, and honestly, not long after that my father passed away and he was always concerned about my health, but he was overweight himself, had heart disease, and he had his first heart attack at the age of 55, and currently I am 47, so that is eight years away. I remember driving my dad to the hospital where he passed and the last conversations that I had with him were that I promised him that I would fix my health. And it wasn’t just for me, it was for my kids. There you go, that’s the first part of my story.
Jonathan: Kyle, that is such a powerful story and we have now set the stage for what sounds like a breaking point. Is that fair to say? It sounds like for decades you were dealing with this, you had become resigned to this as “your reality,” this was just the hand that you had been dealt. What was it in your brain that made you say, “No more?”
Kyle: Even though I had all the motivation in the world to change, that doesn’t mean that I knew how. For the next better part of a year I just got my hands on all the information that I could on health and weight loss. But as I started to go through the articles and books and what I could find on the Internet, and I know that you know this, I found that almost everything that I could find was opinion and conjecture, or just one person’s diet method. I was on a mission to find out what was true and what wasn’t true.
I am going to talk about you a little bit here. That is what led me to your book. I remember googling around and fumbling through Amazon, and I ran into your book; at the time it was The Smarter Science of Slim, not The Calorie Myth. Conveniently, on the cover of your book it says, in bold, “Scientific Proof, Fat Loss Facts.” And that is what I was looking for. I didn’t want any more opinion. I needed to find out what the facts were. So, even though the guy on the cover looked a little bit geeky, I bought the book and never looked back.
I believe that two of the main reasons that weight loss is so difficult for people is that people just don’t have the right information, and also, even if they do have the right information, they just don’t believe that they can succeed, so many end up not even trying. So for me, your book actually removed both of those stumbling blocks, and let me tell you why. I am excited about this because I sometimes get to tell the story to my friends, but I never get to talk in specifics, especially to the person who made a big difference.
So let me tell you this. I remember reading through your book and early on in the book you start to explain the concept of a clogged sink representing your broken metabolism. Jonathan, this right here, this one concept was the absolute magic for me. For years I believed that I was fat because I ate too much. I believed this, that I worked out too little, and that it was my fault. But here you were telling me that it is not quantity of food, and it is not quantity of exercise. “Kyle, your sink is clogged. Your metabolism is broken. That is the reason why you are fat.
I know that you are all about the science, and explaining the facts, but for me, this one part, this one concept is so motivational to me because what this means is that I don’t have to blame myself any more. I don’t have to hate myself any more for failing over and over again. Finally, somebody validated for me that maybe I’m not lazy, and maybe I don’t just lack willpower, or didn’t try hard enough. Jonathan, I am here to thank you, because this one concept set me free, and gave me hope. And it gave me the spark of belief that I needed to take this journey on, and I just can’t thank you enough for that.
Jonathan: The feeling is certainly mutual in terms of thanks. Being very transparent, I had a little bit of a tough morning. We’ve got some pretty technical issues we are dealing with here, and I was thinking, “Oh man, I’ve got to get on this call right now, I’ve got to talk to Kyle,” which I was looking forward to doing but I’ve just got to tell you, man, hearing this, hearing your story, hearing these results, reminds me why we are all here, why I am doing what I am doing. So, I thank you as deeply as you are thanking me.
And Kyle, I so appreciate that you brought up that one concept of the clogged sink, because I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, “It gave me hope,” which is ironic for us to be talking about, because you said you were looking for the science, and I’m Mr. Science, but it sounds like at the end of the day, the spark that lit the fire inside was this restoration of hope. And let’s be very clear. I could imagine that it can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, hearing that “your metabolism is broken,” could be perceived as, “Oh my gosh, I have a disease. Oh my goodness, what is going on?” But it sounds like you didn’t take it that way, you took it the way I hope one would take it which is, “Look, this is broken, but we can fix it, and once it is fixed, things are going to be forever different.”
Kyle: Yes, exactly. That is what I do. I sometimes explain it as you being overweight is not really the problem. It is only the symptom of the problem. And you know what? Sure, I can take cough drops, and it can help me cough less, and attack the symptom, or I can get my health right and attack the cold. I can attack the underlying reason. And then, you know what? I won’t be coughing anymore. And in my case, I won’t have the medical issues that I have had, and the problems with being overweight like I did because I approached it by not focusing on trying to lose weight, but I focused on gaining health, and it was just a huge difference for me.
Jonathan: That is they key distinction, Kyle. I find, personally, this amazing irony. When you look at the “weight loss arena,” it is sometimes considered the most vain of pursuits someone can go after, but what you are saying, and what I am saying, is that your weight, or more specifically, the amount of fat you have on your body, is really an indication of the health of the underlying system. That is, of course, not always true. Someone could be anorectic or bulimic and have very little fat on their body and the system, itself, is very unhealthy, but we understand the general point. What steps did you take, then, to heal that underlying system, which then would address the more visceral body fat and sleep apnea issues?
Kyle: For one, it starts with that spark of belief, and really, it was the attitude that I started off with. My philosophy, once I gathered the information and I read that one concept of yours of the broken metabolism, my philosophy is, if I just focus on optimal health and wellness, then any of the problems that I have will eventually resolve themselves, including weight loss. So, I don’t focus on getting smaller. I didn’t diet. I didn’t cut calories, or portion control, or anything. I just ate the foods, and did the things that would build my body up, make my body stronger, better, and healthier. As I did that, as you explain, my body did start to heal, and my body started to work again like it used to.
And this sounds too good to be true, but as I got healthier, the weight just seemed to come off without really a lot of effort on my part. And I don’t mean that to be like I am diminishing the struggle, because I have been there, I know it. But, I just don’t want to project that I am an anomaly, or I am special in any way. I really believe that good health is achievable for anybody. I really do. And I believe that it should be simple and uncomplicated. Yes, I did change things; I absolutely changed the quality of what I ate, but I never changed the quantity. You are famous for eating a ton, I hear, and I eat a ton, too. I never cut back. I eat when I am hungry, and I stop when I am full.
This is not rocket science here. As long as I am eating quality, real, whole, unprocessed foods, my body knows how to handle that. I just really believe, Jonathan, that a healthy body can manage itself. You talk about homeostasis all the time, that a body knows how to metabolize an apple, or kale, or spinach, or grass fed beef, or things that are real that we recognize as food. So, I just focus on the big rocks – those things. The minutiae and the acai berries and the supplementations, you know, I think those are good hacks on time to time, that might help you, but if we just focus on the big rocks, and focus on taking care of our bodies, sometimes it is just as simple as, take care of your body and your body will take care of you. It really comes down to being that simple sometimes, doesn’t it?
Jonathan: It absolutely does, Kyle, and you provide such compelling evidence for that. At the beginning of your story you told us where your starting point was, and now you are in a state where your body is taking care of you. So, what is life like now?
Kyle: I am embarrassed to say, it is amazingly simple and easy. I don’t even know what the word maintenance is, to be honest. My whole deal was to create a healthy lifestyle that I am excited about living, so that is what I do. I don’t struggle. Everyone tells me losing weight is hard, and keeping it off is even harder. I started at 278, I am currently at 164, that is 114 pounds less, and I think I hit that number, maybe, about two years ago. I weighed myself a couple of days ago and I think I weighed 165.
And I don’t even really even think about it. I take care of my body. I eat the foods that my body needs and understands. I make sure that I get enough sleep. I make sure that I do some eccentric exercise. And can I talk about exercise a little bit? I didn’t trust you right away, by the way. In the throes of exercise, at one point, I was doing a crazy hour-and-a-half a day of extreme videos that I won’t talk about. It took me awhile, and it took a leap of faith to dial it down and stop forcing my body into submission. Now I exercise under an hour-and-a-half a week. I do three sessions of 20 minutes of just weight training and I adjust all those to eccentric style – so, lowering weights.
And on Saturdays I run races with my kids which looks something like sprints. We do about four sprints every morning, and I give them a giant head start. We run like the wind, and we race each other, and sometimes we’ll put a little something on it. (laughs) But that’s play, really. It almost doesn’t even count. Once you get your body healthy, and you get your body right, then that is when the magic happens, and it is just really not that difficult to maintain. You know what? A healthy body wants to maintain its vigor. I really believe that.
Jonathan: Kyle, you mentioned running races with your little ones. What has the impact been on your family and those you love during this transition?
Kyle: I have three kids. Two of them are bean poles, and one of them has picked up a little bit of my genetics, in that he picks up weight very easily. I am so proud of him. His name is Nash. He went on this journey with me. I never weigh my kids, I only use the doctor’s appointments once a year. Three years ago he was at the 90th percentile for weight, and the year after that he was at the 80th percentile, and just this last year we had him weighed at the doctor’s office and he came in at the 70th percentile for weight. And I am just over the moon about it.
This kid knows more about nutrition than anyone at his school, I can guarantee it. He will read me the labels of food and the nutrition, and if he doesn’t know what it is, he will say, “Dad, what’s riboflavin?” He will ask me. So, you know what? He has come on this journey with me, and it has been a blast. If I can say one thing regarding kids and getting your kids healthy, it would be to have fun with it. Make it an adventure. I think kids can’t really grasp the whole concept of health, and this is for their own good. They just want to eat foods that they love and think are delicious. So you know what? It is your job as a parent to go and find those things. It is not just your job to be involved, it is your job to set them up for success.
So we went to the store, it was a healthier kind of store, and we tried all sorts of different things. We bought grapes, carrots, different ranch dressings, this and that, and different snacks. Certain stores have a return policy where you can return anything that you don’t like just because you don’t like it. So we bought a grocery bag full of stuff, took bites out of everything, I kept the receipt, and I returned protein bars, I returned this and that and whatever, with one bite out of it, and it didn’t cost me a nickel. So, when people say, “Well, trying healthy foods is expensive,” it isn’t. Find some of these stores that have this kind of return policy, try all the different healthy foods that you can. That is how I was able to set up Nash up for success. I found healthy foods that he loves to eat, and at the end of the day, that’s all he knows: “I get to eat foods that I love to eat and that I chose.” And it has worked wonders.
Jonathan: Kyle, that is incredible advice, and just icing on an incredible SANE coconut flour-based cake that we talked about here, because your story is so inspirational, and I want to close with this. Imagine you could talk to Kyle Wong of three or four years ago before this journey, and you could say one thing to him; what would you say?
Kyle: Wow. Well, people ask me for advice all the time, and what I usually tell people is, first, forget about trying to lose weight. Instead, find a healthy way of living that works for you, one that you enjoy, and still allows you to enjoy all aspects of your life. And once you have done that, embrace it, and live it fully. That is what I would tell myself, and that is what I tell anyone who asks me for advice.
Jonathan: And Kyle, would you say that it is a fair characterization… I have had such an honor to speak with individuals such as yourself for quite some time now, I’m getting old. (laughs) I get so passionate about this topic, because when I hear your story and I hear some stories like it, it is like a born again type story. It is as if, and correct me if I am exaggerating…
Kyle: No, you’re not. You’re not at all.
Jonathan: It is as if the life you have right now, knowing what you know now, living the way you are living now, could you ever imagine going back to the way you were prior to this?
Kyle: No, I would literally have to pick myself up and put me somewhere else. A lot of times I talk about how you start with making changes, and those changes turn into habits, but eventually, it just becomes your nature. And I talk often about how I can’t recognize that other person anymore because my nature has changed. I realize the life that I have now, so I don’t know if I even believe in weight loss, per se, anymore. I believe in living your best life possible through optimal health and wellness. And Jonathan, I’m having too much fun. I just can’t give it up. You couldn’t pry it out of my hands if you wanted to.
Jonathan: Kyle, this is just brilliant. What is next for you on this journey to continuing optimal wellness?
Kyle: I am volunteering at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and I am going to continue doing that. I just had the honor to work with a lot of amazing kids, and the fact that they don’t see how amazing they are yet, and for whatever reason, whether it be obesity-related issues, or what friends tell them, or whatever else, you know what? These kids are amazing. I am really just called, and I feel compelled, to make sure that they believe that everything that they have is available to them, and they have value right now. So, I am going to continue working with that. I would love to explore opportunities to work with adults, as well, who are in similar situations. I don’t know, I am trying to define my roles. I think a lot of times you are about the science and explaining it, and you are so good at that. What I am starting to realize, for me, is that I want to make sure that people believe that this is possible.
Jonathan: Kyle, I can’t think there could be a better job of that, than what you are doing right now, so I thank you so much for that. I do know that you have a body of folks who do want to reach out to you, and they do want to stay on track with your story. Is there a place they can go?
Kyle: Sure. I don’t write a lot, but I do write a few things. It is at nashdaddyrocks.blogspot.com. Nash is my son, I’m his daddy, so it’s nashdaddyrocks.blogspot.com.
Jonathan: Kyle, I so appreciate you sharing your time, your insight, and your heart and mind with us today. It is truly inspirational, and I can tell you that you are being the change we all want to see in the world and I deeply and honestly thank you for that, and I know that the listeners today thank you as well, because I can imagine that the inspiration that they will derive from your story will help to carry them through to reaching that light at the end of the tunnel that now you are basking in, and will never leave, which is just so fabulous. I so appreciate that, Kyle. Thank you so much.
Kyle: Oh, not a problem. Thank you.
Jonathan: Well, listeners, I hope you enjoyed this incredible story as much as I did. Again, our amazing guest is the unparalleled Kyle Wong, who through just living a healthy life and treating himself the way he deserves to be treated, which is as a wonderful, brilliant human being that does not need to be starved into submission, has achieved a success which is otherwise impossible. His 114 pounds of “weight loss” was a byproduct of, really, a transformation and a metamorphosis into his best self, so, just fabulous. Again, Kyle, all my thanks. Listeners, all my thanks, and remember, stay SANE.