James Doerge’s first word was “Donalds,” as in McDonalds. He said he “never knew a day where he wasn’t overweight.” He remembered being the “fat, socially and physically awkward kid” who was bullied by the other kids in school.
He used food for comfort and, for James, transitioning into adulthood as someone who was overweight proved to be a challenge as well.
“It's tougher to make people take you seriously, so you may resort to being introverted or the bully or the ‘funny guy,’” he said. “It's tougher to get a job due to your physical appearance and ability because your potential employer is concerned that you'd need special accommodations or you'd be unable to function in a fast-paced environment. [It] is definitely harder to date [too] because your outward appearance is noticed first.”
“Then, after my mom passed away, I gave up,” he said. “A year and a half later, my dad passed away. He was a type 1 diabetic who needed dialysis three days a week and showed signs of dementia. I went into a deep funk. I gave up trying and reverted back to my old ways.”
In 2017, James was officially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. His wife, who also struggled with her own health, was the one who found Dr. Berg’s videos.
“She began following Dr. Berg’s advice and began her journey to getting healthier,” he said. “I began watching Dr. Berg’s videos with skepticism. She got me onto drinking apple cider vinegar. I did it for her.”
James began his keto journey in late June 2018. He said that Dr. Berg’s videos were simple and repetitive enough that it was easy for him to retain the information he needed. From Dr. Berg, James learned that type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be a death sentence and that he had to treat his fatty liver and reduce his insulin deficiency, among many other lessons.
On top of poor eating habits, James had also spent 20 years in a stressful job as a deputy sheriff and correctional officer. For about half that time, he was in charge of about 3,500 officers.
“Let's just say that I realized that my career and negative people made it so that I saw everything in my life was beginning to fall apart at the seams,” he said. “But unlike most people who instinctively try to save what was negative, I instead decided to let it go. In all, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
James’s main support system was his wife, who has been on the same keto journey with him since day one. His family and friends were also supportive and were “amazed” at his results.
Getting started was the hardest part for James because it takes a lot of time and energy to sift through all the information that’s out there. But, overall, he wouldn’t change anything about the process.
“Life's a journey and we're all on our way to the end. You can't say, ‘If I had only done it this way, before...’” he said. “I can't work on that logic, because to me it's a crutch to rely on the ‘what if’ factor.”
James was committed to not repeating the past and was actually encouraged by negative people, using their energy to his advantage.
“It's my motivation to go to the gym. When I think about falling off keto, I think of them,” he said. “Be happy! It ticks off the jerks because they don't have power when you're happy.”
When James started keto, he weighed 421 pounds (191 kg). After about a year and a half on keto, he dropped down to 229 pounds (104 kg), in total losing nearly 202 pounds (92 kg). And still counting.
“You're going to fall from time to time and when you do, just don't lay there and let people trample over you,” he said. “Get up, dust the dirt off, and keep going forward.”
Favorite Way to Exercise: “I've always liked weight lifting,” said James. “I like the power of it and getting stronger. I hired a personal trainer and she helps me work on techniques that help me on my form and injury avoidance.”
Favorite Keto Recipe: Cauliflower mac and cheese, cauliflower pizza, and keto cheesecake