Aarn Farmer – How to Lose 200 Pounds and Keep It Off – Podcast #148

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Aarn Farmer talk about how to super charge your body to be a fat burning machine. Aarn reviews the bad habits that caused him to gain over 200 pounds of fat as well as the struggle he went through to start creating healthy sustainable habits that allowed his body to start burning his excess fat reserves. 

Creating simple new habits allowed a massive hormonal shift to occur which favored the activation of fat burning hormones and enzymes like hormone sensitive lipase and glucagon while helping to lower his high levels of insulin. 
Listen to this inspiring story and learn how these amazing changes occurred. 

Aarn Farmer

In this episode, we will cover: 

02:12   Bad Habits Leading to Obesity

08:57   Sugar and Weight Loss

13:30   Obesity is Malnourishment

20:12   Small Amounts of Insulin Stops Weight Loss

31:17   Estrogen is a Fat Storage Hormone







Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey, everyone. It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani here. We got a live podcast today with Aaron Farmer from mysugarfreejourney.com. Aarn has lost over 200 pounds in the last few years and we’re excited to kind of pick his brain a little bit and get some of the brain candy that’s really helped him lose all his weight. So, I’m excited to have that conversation. We’re gonna dig in to the nitty-gritty, and really excited to welcome Aarn to the podcast. Aarn, [inaudible]…

Aarn Farmer: Thank you so much for having me. Thanks. Thank you, Justin. I’m excited about getting to share my story and so, I appreciate you inviting me on.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, thank you. I was on your podcast a few weeks back, and great podcast; lots of great info and knowledge bombs that were dropped. And, we’re gonna…

Aarn Farmer: Absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …drop some today, so very excited.

Aarn Farmer: Yep, absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, first off, I like to kind of just figure out what the habits are that got you to where you were in the first place? So, you were what? Up to 400 and something pounds? Is that correct?

Aarn Farmer: Yeah. I was– I was 400 pounds, and the big issue that I had was my blood pressure. So, my blood pressure was 200/160. I was 400 pounds, and when– when I saw that blood pressure, uhm– and that wasn’t even– that was just kind of my normal blood pressure. It actually spiked even higher than that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Aarn Farmer: On one occasion, it was 237/180, and the [stutter] the paramedics wouldn’t treat me. They wouldn’t do anything with me. They were – they were pretty sure that I wasn’t long for this world. So, when I saw that and I realized that blood pressure had killed both of my maternal grandparents. And then since then, uhm – since all these has happened, my father passed away from a stroke…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh.

Aarn Farmer: …due to, you know, high blood pressure, so I’ve got a really strong family history of blood pressure and obesity and all these things going on. So, I really had to kind of come to grips with the fact that if I didn’t make change that – you know, that I just, I just wasn’t gonna be long for this world. So, I really had to figure out what to do and how to do it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. So, you were very motivated to make these changes. Now let me…

Aarn Farmer: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …kind of back up. So, walk me through the habits that you had in your life that caused you to put on all this weight. What was your diet like back then and your habits? Can you give me just a– I know on this show we tend to like, “Hey, what’d you eat today?” It’s kind of like a healthy thing…

Aarn Farmer: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …to model people. Now, we’re kind of going in back– back in time and saying, “What were you eating to get that big? What was your daily routine like?”

Aarn Farmer: The biggest thing – the biggest thing that really, relly got me was I love just my soft drinks. [clears throat] And uhm – I had made the switch at some point over to diet soft drinks, but as we now know that diet soft drinks don’t really do a whole lot for you in terms of keeping you from gaining weight, as opposed to regular soft drinks. Yeah, they have less sugar in it but for whatever reason, every time somebody does some science on it, you see the same weight gain, or lack of weight loss when you switch to diet. So, I had switched over diet but, man, I was drinking– you know. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a Double Big Gulp but it’s like 60 – it’s pretty much a gallon or two liter of coke. And I had to at least one of those a day, if not two. And, you know, then have– you know, snacks, and I was a typical sugar-burner. I was eating food every three or four hours and not– could not really go very long without a snack, and eating, you know, crappy foods. My wife and I, we’re raising four kids, so we were just trying to eat the cheapest food we could possibly eat, which was on, as always, carbohydrates, you know, a lot of potatoes, a lot of rice, a lot of bread. Uhm– and uhm– the uh – but I didn’t– I thought I was eating pretty healthy. I just didn’t know what healthy food was. So, uhm– that was pretty much it. It was just the cheapest food possible and soft drinks.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. I’m actually going live here on Facebook as we’re chatting, so we got Facebook here, live as well. We’re here with Aarn [crosstalk] Farmer and he has lost 200 pounds. Again, we just talked about Aarn’s habits that caused him to gain that weight in the first place. The couple of big habits were thee soft drinks, the sodas, the excessive carbohydrate, and then also the excessively cheap food. Again, we have cheap food, right? The government subsidizes 20 billion dollars per year for corn, for soy, for grains, so it tends to be a lot of grain-heavy trans-fat kind of junkie nutrient-poor foods. So that’s kind of what your daily routine was, soda, soft drinks. You were a sugar-burner constantly having to eat sugar…

Aarn Farmer: Constantly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …to you just pumping Insulin all day long.

Aarn Farmer: Hmmn. And that’s– you have to do that if you want to get to 400 pounds. I didn’t know that at the time, but you’ve got to keep your Insulin levels just as high as they can possibly go to get to [crosstalk] 400 pounds.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Do you know your levels were at? You know what your Insulin or blood sugar A1C [inaudible]…

Aarn Farmer: You know, here’s the– here’s the crazy thing is that we got tested every, you know, every year so that we would in and get tested, and my A1C’s– I don’t what they were but every time I get them tested, they were never at a diabetic level because my wife had Type II diabetes. So, hers were getting tested same time and she was creeping up to a diabetic range but my A1Cs were staying – I mean, they were going up but they weren’t to the point where a doctor ever told me, “Hey, you’ve got Type II diabetes.” I did have a doctor tell me that I had metabolic syndrome, which is a little bit different but my A1Cs were not terrible.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, A1Cs weren’t bad. Do you have any fasting Insulin numbers? Any idea what those were like?

Aarn Farmer: No.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No. Did you ever do a fasting glucose at all?

Aarn Farmer: Nope. No, I wouldn’t fast to– I wouldn’t have done that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it, totally. So, then you gained these 400 pounds over what, a decade? Two decades? What did that look like?

Aarn Farmer: Let’s say, probably two decades, because I really know I was having a problem when I was about 40, but I’ve been – I’m one of those people that have been overweight my entire life.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: So, you know, I was overweight in elementary school, in junior high, in high school, in college, and I wasn’t 400 pounds but I was always, you know, one of the bigger kids in the class. So, there’s never been a time that I’ve been, you know, thin.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. And you went from your heaviest to what? What was your heaviest? 400 and what?

Aarn Farmer: Well, [clears throat] I thought it was about 400 pounds but the truth of the matter is – is that my scale only went up to 400 pounds.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Aarn Farmer: So, often it was just e– I was just a big old dude. In fact, uhm – let me show you something here. I keep this around as motivation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And on your website too, at mysugarfreejourney.com, you have a pretty good before and after up there too. I saw.

Aarn Farmer: Oh, yeah. Yeah. That– I’m sorry, but that’s it. Yeah. So, I put mysugarfreejourney.com. I’ve got a picture of me of what I look like, and I was probably right around 400 pounds at that time. And, just– like I said, just a big old guy. I mean, I was just a– you know, I put a lot of weight, and we put on that much weight, you kind of– oh, I don’t know. You kind of fool yourself into thinking that it’s not that bad, and uh–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Aarn Farmer: …so, you kind of, just kind of justify it, but I’m showing your– your– Oop! [clears throat]. What happened there? Tsk, urrgh! Sometimes, technology just escapes me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, [crosstalk] no problem.

Aarn Farmer: It’s big, this guy, isn’t it?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Aarn Farmer: That’s me, and that’s my wife. That’s me about 400 pounds. That’s my wife about a hundred pounds heavier than she is now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You guys lost it together. You guys lost over three hundred pounds together.

Aarn Farmer: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Amazing. That’s good. So, you’re over 400 pounds, and now you’re at 198 today. What was – like, what was that “Aha! Moment” for you? Was it a book that you saw? Was it a gym or podcast?

Aarn Farmer: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Was it a doctor Atkins type of thing? What was that info? What was that flash that uhm– [inaudible]

Aarn Farmer: In the space, two or three weeks, there are three to four things that happened. Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Enough to make me think, “Oh! Well, maybe I should look at this.” So, the first thing that I ever read was a Yohoo – Yahoo, sorry. Yahoo health article, written by woman named Eve Schaub. He wrote a book, “A Year of No Sugar,” and she was telling me about how she went without sugar and all the things that happened because she didn’t have sugar. And the thing, she wasn’t overweight. She just did it to see what would happen. But, in it she– in the article, she mentioned that she– you might lose weight if you go without sugar. And, her book was on sell for, like, three dollars, so I happened to have three to four dollars on an Amazon gift card. I bought her book, and started to read it. And in the book, she mentioned Dr. Lustig’s videos, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Ah. The Bitter Truth, yes.

Aarn Farmer: And I was like– and, boy! That video, he just – Dr. Lustig pretty much just read my mail and he went through everything that I have dealt with. You know, all the stuff that I was messing with in my health, and just said that sugar, sugar, sugar, you know, at the root of all this. So, I decide, “Okay. I’m done with sugar. I’m not gonna eat sugar anymore.” And uh– and uh – So, that’s actually when I started my sugar-free journey. That’s where that name came from, because I just wasn’t gonna eat sugar because I listed that as out. And, the only reason that website existed in the beginning was just so I could start [inaudible] information. You know, I was learning, and I wanted to – I wanted to have one place I could put my thought. Because it really – I mean it was a public blog but I wouldn’t tell anybody about it at the beginning. I just– it was– it was for me. And then, within probably two weeks of me watching that video, I – one of the podcast I listened to was uh– is uh– uhm– smart– Uh, gosh! Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, yeah. Pat Flynn, yeah.

Aarn Farmer: And so, he had a guy on named Vennie Torturidge.  Vennie Torturidge was talking about how he was having a lot of success having people [inaudible] grains. So, I – I said, “What? You know what? I’m already not eating sugars. Not that big a deal then to cut that grains too, if it will help, it will help. And so, not eating sugars and grains was really the big [inaudible] that started me down the path. [crosstalk] And I probably lost the first hundred pounds or so. Just not eating sugars and grains.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love that. People…

Aarn Farmer: That’s how it all started.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. People forget like grains convert to sugar. I know a lot of people and like the weight loss community are just conventional health community. They think of like sugar as like, “Oh. It’s refined sugar. It’s got a sate on the back. It’s got a sate sugar. People forget that higher carbohydrate foods like higher fructose fruits or higher starches, especially grains can convert to sugar. Also, the inflammatory effects of grains, right?

Aarn Farmer: Yep.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Grains can also drive a lot of inflammation with the gluten sensitivity which can jack up your Cortisol, too, right?

Aarn Farmer: I didn’t know anything about the inflammation part of it, but I realize very quickly how inflamed I was, but I didn’t put the two together. So, almost three to four months of just not eating grains, I was – I got in the car, and I went to pull on the seatbelt. And my wedding ring flew off of my finger, and lost it. I mean, I still [inaudible]…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Aarn Farmer: …for hours.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …that much weight around your extremities.

Aarn Farmer: But it wasn’t – it wasn’t the weight.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh.

Aarn Farmer: It was the inflammation…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Inflammation of course.

Aarn Farmer: …because I hadn’t lost a lot of weight.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hmm. Yep.

Aarn Farmer: It wasn’t the swelling in my hands that [crosstalk] gone down to point right. The ring got shot off my finger. So, I didn’t realize the reason for that until later. Until I started learning about the inflammatory agents in that grain is. And I realized that I was so inflamed that [inaudible] swell [inaudible]. And now, you know, I look at my hands like [inaudible], like the veins in my hand and my forearm and stuff, I can never see veins or anything. My hands were just too puffy. I can’t see anything like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. People forget, like think about, you know, you are back to the day maybe you got a blackeye or something. What happens, right, when that inflammatory compounds…

Aarn Farmer: Supposed of.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …you got a less swelling, a histamine comes in that kind vasodilates, so the immune system kind of come in to fight it. Now, imagine like, little microscopic blackeyes throughout your whole body. Histamine’s higher, inflammation’s higher. You got all these Nuclear Factor KappaBbeta into Leukine cytokines. All of these things are driving inflammation. And then inflammation, right, tends to cause Cortisol to come about because Cortisol’s the natural firehose for the fire of inflammation. And Cortisol jacks up your blood sugar even more. So, you get this vicious cycle of having extra sugar in your diet to begin with, and then you were driving it higher with all of the stress hormones from all of the inflammation, right?

Aarn Farmer: Yep, and it was – it was like, you know – it’s a vicious cycle that you don’t realize that you’re in because, you know, just like the frog that’s in the pot of boiling water that heated that degree and the pot just– you know, the fog just stays in there until it boils to death. That’s what happens when you put on late, you know, pound and time, pound and time until– you know. The average American puts on one to three pounds of weight a year. You just don’t notice it when it’s that– when it’s that uhm– what would you call it? When it’s that gradual. Until one day you wake up and you’re, you know a hundred pounds overweight or two hundred pounds overweight, and you’ve realized that – that you’ve really done damage to your body.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, totally. And people forget too that when you – people think well, you know, we have this issue with excess calories and excess nourishment when you’re overweight, or when you’re obese. People don’t understand that you’re actually malnourished. You have so much sugar and so much carbohydrate coming in, your body is in a storage mode, and it can’t– it’s not actually able to tap in to that fuel because Insulin, it’s kind of like, you know– When you’re the conductor on the train tracks, you push it and the train goes one way or the other. When Insulin’s high like that. It’s taking all of that sugar and it’s putting into the fat cell and storing it. And all of that fat that’s in storage– all of those millions of calories of fat can’t be used. Because once the storage track is on, a burning track can’t be on. So, then you got all of this fuel, all of this energy that can’t be used at all. It’s like being– another analogy would be it’s like being a captive at sea, and all those waters around you can’t drink it because there’s too much salt in it, and it will throw off your electrolytes.

Aarn Farmer: I didn’t realize how crazy it was to be as overweight as I was and always hungry. I didn’t put that together, that I had all this extra weight. All this extra energy– and by all rights, I should have never been hungry, but yet I couldn’t put enough food in my mouth. And then as soon as I lowered my Insulin, I don’t get hungry very much at all anymore. [clears throat]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. It’s amazing, so part of what you done was you modulated your hormones like it wasn’t a calorie thing with you. You modulated your hormones. You dropped Insulin, Insulin that affected Leptins, so then you actually felt satiated, right? So, you could actually take a breath and get a Kale. I feel good. Ghrelin got under checked. So, ghrelin is the stomach growling hormone. So then, your growling’s under checked. Your inflammation’s better, and then your body actually started burning fat for fuels. Is that correct?

Aarn Farmer: Yeah. So, I want to talk about this whole– the calorie idea because if there’s any one thing that I get on Twitter, I get flagged about it and when I talk to, you know, [inaudible] in our field, it really turns into an argument. And, uhm– the idea is that, “Oh. You lost weight. You lost 200 pounds because you cut back calories.” And uh – what most people have to understand is that’s just not true. What I did was, I lowered Insulin, and in the process of lowering Insulin, I eventually got around to cutting out calories because I wasn’t as hungry as much. But cutting out calories was not the cause of my weight loss. It was the effect. It was the thing that came stuck [inaudible].

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bingo! Bingo!

Aarn Farmer: [clears throat] And so, I want to make sure that I’m very, very clear about the cause and effect of my weight loss. I didn’t pursue cutting calories. I pursued lowering my Insulin levels and repairing my Insulin resistance. And then, as soon as I did that, the calories took care of themselves. I never counted a single calorie. I couldn’t care less how many calories I eat during the day. All I want to do is make sure that do not eat foods that cause an Insulin spike or any kind of glucose load on my system. And if I’ll do that, the calories will take care of themselves.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent. People forget this component, and some of the studies – one of the studies by Christopher Gardner back in 2006 was called the A to Z Study, where they looked at the Atkins versus the Standard American Diet versus the Ornish. One of things that was interesting was – It was ad libitum, so, the “at will”. You can eat as much as you want. And they did find that the people on the Atkins or the lower carbohydrate group did drop their calories. The difference is willpower was not a part of it. We basically upregulated these feedback loop. By dropping the Insulin resistance, we improve Leptin. Leptin’s a signal for satiation, and that part of the transfer’s lateral nucleus in the hypothalamus that tells your body you’re satiated. That then drops down ghrelin. Ghrelin is the stomach growling hormone. So, when your stomach’s not growling and you’re not having cravings, it’s amazing. You start eating the right stuff. And then you have CCK, which gets increased with protein and fat. You have Peptide YY. You’ve add a Panoctine. All of these foods, all of these neurochemicals are stimulated by you choosing the right foods, the healthy proteins and fats, and decreasing the inflammation. So, now you got this feedback loop that gives you the power– gives you the willpower back.

Aarn Farmer: yeah, and this is– a lot of times, if somebody’s doing a study where they’re comparing, you know, a low carb versus a low-fat diet uhm– like, uhm– what’s his name? Gary Taubes. He had a scientific…

 Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Aarn Farmer: …you know, thing that he did. [crosstalk] Yeah. So, they did– [crosstalk] They did a study there where they were comparing low-carb and low-fat. And– but they held calories constants. So, both groups had to eat the same number of calories.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Aarn Farmer: And then at the end there like well, you know, there’s no discernable difference. And I was like, “You know, you took out the one thing that makes a high-fat low-carb diet work, which is when you eat– you know, when you eat LCHF, you don’t have to eat it. you don’t have to eat as many carbohydrates. And so, you removed the one thing, you know that [stutter] appetite regulation that makes a low carb diet work. And once you let them go ad libitum, then you start seeing marked differences, not just in– We see simple marked differences in weight, but you see marked differences in calorie consumption. But not if you– not if you chase calorie consumption first. That’s got to be a variable that can rise and fall at will. That’s when you start seeing the difference.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bingo! And then also, you’re body’s spitting out those ketones, right? So…

Aarn Farmer: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …now, you’re a fat burner. So, it’s like you’re on that train track. The conductor’s kind of have a fork in the road. It can neither be a sugar-burner, which that needs. When you’re burning sugar, that means you’re not burning fat. And if you got like millions of calories of fat, and you only can basically have access to a couple hundred grams of carbohydrate at one time, so then basically, you’re relying on a very macro – small – I mean, micro percentage of your fuel and sugar, right? Because, you only can have about a teaspoon of sugar in your blood at one time. So, when you have a hundred [crosstalk] mg for [incomprehensible] health, that’s one teaspoon. Your liver can store about 65-75 grams of carbohydrate. Your muscle store about 300. The rest goes as fat. So, once you tap in to that sugar, all that fat. All of that, in your case, 200 and something pounds of fat couldn’t even be touched. So, you’re basically flipping the switch on the track. So then, you’re going down that fat-burning track versus the sugar-burning track.

Aarn Farmer: Yep. Yeah, and that’s, yeah. And that’s– that’s so– that’s so keen. It’s so crucial is that– you know, it’s the Insulin. And it just takes a– takes a– an incredibly small amount of sugar to stop weight loss. And, especially if you are morbidly obese, because you have Insulin resistance. So, at the beginning, when I was 400 pounds, 350, 300, I could eat [inaudible] food shop. And I was – I was done losing weight for the week. You know, it just made me dump so much Insulin into my system. It took me a long time. It took me a lot of discipline in my diet. But also, a lot of weight train. A lot of weight-bearing exercises to really conquer my Insulin resistance.  So, you know, when I talk to somebody’s morbidly obese, you know, I have to– I have to tell them their body does not react to carbs the way someone else’s, you know, diet. Or someone else’s body does, you know you’d see people that are doing, like a sweet potato cycling, you know, diet. That’s great if you have 20 pounds to lose. But you got 200 pounds to lose and you eat the sweet potato. You’re not gonna lose weight that way. You know, it’s just– it’s just not going to happen for you. You’ve got to conquer your Insulin resistance first, and then if you want to cycle in a sweet potato once in a while that can’t hurt anything. But you’ve to get that Insulin resistance dealt with…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Aarn Farmer: …in the beginning.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I think it’s hard because you got a lot of people online, like this higher carb people out there. I mean, let’s just say maybe Chris Kresser or other people like Paul Jaminet. They’re just like– the more leaner they kind of act the more state. They do well with, you know, let’s say a moderate. Kresser’s probably a moderate carb guy, but there are guys like Dean Ornish, or uhm– Nad Yadkin, a guy up in Northern California there. It’ll come to me. But these guys are starch guys. They’ve a lot more Predikins. One of those is well – one more guy. [crosstalk] One more…

Aarn Farmer: Hey, I just watched him on that. What the Health podcast…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes! He was on What the Health. Exactly. I know that he’s clinic’s up at Northern California there. It’ll come to me one second. But these guys are big on starch, like starch is like an essential nutrient for these guys. But when you were Insulin resistant, that means your cells are numb to Insulin, so the amount of Insulin that has to be produced to basically get that sugar into the cell is so much more. Now, I’ll go back to that A to Z study. One thing that Christopher Gardner found in that study, I think, that was profound. He found that the groups that had less than seven units of Insulin lost weight. Whether they were low-carb or low-fat. Now that was profound to me, because the more Insulin sensitive you were, it didn’t necessarily matter what diet you did, right? As long as the calories dropped. Now, the crazy thing was, the group that had the higher levels of Insulin, they only lost the weight when they cut the carbohydrate. So, that’s the profound thing is that when you get a lot of people that are giving advice about diet. And they’re more ectomorphic or more Insulin-sensitive. They may not have the empathy to understand what the Insulin-resistant folks are going through, so I totally get it and I’m kind of on that fence. I do much better with the LCHF or low-carb high-fat kind of moderate protein steak as well. I get that.

Aarn Farmer: And when you– ‘cause I– the [stutter] the big kind of thing to say in the health world is that diet is a– is personally like– You know, everything can be, you know, personalized in what works for this person might not work for that person. And I get what they’re saying in there, but what– the part of the equation that they usually leave out is that the – the one variable [inaudible] Without fail, the one variable that you need to look at first and foremost is Insulin resistance. And once you– once you can determine the level of Insulin resistance, you can– you can figure out what diet will be working– you know, good for them. If someone is Insulin-sensitive, they can go like, you say, they didn’t do almost anything to lose weight. When someone is really, really Insulin-resistant, you’ve got to cut carbs because there’s no other way. That’s what uh– Doctor [inaudible]. He did the– Oh. He just passed away. I can’t think of his name. But he did the uhm– The Insulin Resistance Studies, where he did like a five-hour glucose monitor test, and he put them in four-five different categories, depending on uhm– depending on how Insulin resistant they were.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: So, there is a– I forget his name. It’ll come to me, just– but there is a mechanism to determine how Insulin-resistant someone is. And if you can do that test and determine that you– that is the [inaudible] that you can look at to determine which diet is good for you. Or, you can skip all that and just go– just go, you know, low-carb high-fat, and that’ll work for almost– almost everyone. i haven’t really found anyone that it doesn’t work for.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. My wife is pregnant right now. We’re having our first child then next month but we would do functional glucose tolerance testing with her and we’d see how she respond after our meal. But you know, she would be – the goal would be to both be below 120 within two hours. And ideally – ideally, a hundred within two hours but below 120 within two hours in the blood sugar meter. And we should add a little bit of starch in there. It would definitely linger up. Or if she add a little bit of starch but she went for a 30-minute walk after dinner, the blood sugar dropped better then as well. So, we noticed that if she added a little bit of starch, she needed a little bit of walk. And if she wasn’t walking, she’d be really careful with the carbohydrates. So, we could see that with the blood sugar monitoring, which is great.

Aarn Farmer: And, you know, just blood sugar’s a fuel. You know, if it’s in your blood, you’ve got to use it to store it. So, if you give that – that fuel something to do, go for a walk, lift something heavy. You know, do some kind of physical activity. You’re gonna burn off that blood sugar and then get to the point where you are burning fat again.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Hundred percent. And the starch guy I was thinking, that was Dr. McDougall. McDougall was…

Aarn Farmer: McDougall, that’s exactly right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep, McDougall. Now, the big thing too is – alright, great. So, you lose all this fat. Now, you also got to put muscle on, right? Because, when you’re Insulin-resistant, it’s also hard to put muscle on because your body is in such a stressed-out state, it’s putting on all this fat. It’s gonna also have a hard time putting on muscles. So, a lot of people wo gained fat can also be kind of Sarcopenic, unless they’re doing a lot of lifting and such too. So, getting the lifting going’s important because lifting increases Insulin sensitivity. It increases the amount of GLUT4 receptors, on– in your the body. And GLUT4 helps grab sugar or glucose and pull it in the muscle to be burned. [crosstalk] So, imagine your kid puts a, you know, makes a huge mess on the table. Imagine you have a small little sponge this big or this huge big sponge that you wash your car with, right? The huge [crosstalk] big sponge got to sop up that mess like that. Think of that’s what muscle is for your blood sugar. So, I’m just curious. What’s your take on that and what did you do afterwards to help increase muscle mass. And– and would you notice because of it?

Aarn Farmer: Well, definitely, the muscle mass went up. In fact, the– I was pretty happy, so I do [inaudible] the exercise. I used to do like really heavy lifting, like do strong lifts and everything.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: And I just – I got to the point where I was hurting myself a little bit. I thought, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” And, uhm– so, I do – I’ll ride my bike, at least half an hour a day. I walk my dog, and she’s a [inaudible] though. I walk her, you know, for about a half an hour a day. It’s about a mile walk. And then, the weightlifting exercise I do is kettlebell because I can just go grab my kettlebell and stand in my living room and pop that out in 20 or 30 minutes. And it works out my legs. It works out my back. It works out my butt. It works out my arms, my shoulders. And it’s just one motion that does a bunch of different things, [crosstalk] which actually…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love kettlebell. It’s so great.

Aarn Farmer: …because I don’t…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: One thing, It’s awesome.

Aarn Farmer: I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing it, but it does. So, what I’ve noticed was that it was the weight-bearing exercise, more than anything else. It was the weight-bearing exercise that allowed me to really break my Insulin resistance. Not that it’s perfect but, boy, it’s a heck of a lot better now than it was at 400 pounds. In fact, I remember the day I was probably about 230? 230 or 240 pounds or so. We went out to eat and I had some chips and sauce at a little Mexican restaurant. Cheese, a little bit. And so, I expected to not be able to lose weight for, you know, five or six days, usually what it was. And, two days after I had those chips, I was back down to losing weight. And I really, really celebrated that day because that’s when I realize that my Insulin resistance had to reduce, you know, a lot. And the muscle training I was doing was getting me to the point where I was able to eat– not that I really want to eat carbs, but if I did eat carbs, they had some place to go and something to do in my body.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I’m a big fan. If you’re gonna cheat a little bit, try doing a little bit of resistance training or burst training before. It’s like, ring me off that sponge, and now you can have – you can soak it up a little better. So, I like that. Now, when you were kind of on that journey, did you see any other issues with your thyroid, with any other metabolic issues that you noticed that you had to address as well?

Aarn Farmer: No. My wife had some thyroid issues, and uhm – so we’ve had to – we’ve had to keep that looked at and really kind of monitor closely. Elrest– I don’t know if you’re familiar with her, but she wrote a book, The [inaudible] Solution, I believe is the name of it. And I actually got her on my podcast and kind of grilled her [laughs]. That’s what stuff do to her. She was very, very helpful about some things that we need to do for Diane. And I tell you one thing that might be– your listeners might not– might not know. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: Is one of the– one of the things that you can do for thyroid health is, believe it or not, it’s to throw away Morton salt, and switch on to a really high-quality seabed salt, something that has Iodine in it and something that has Potassium chloride and not– where it’s not just Sodium. You’ve actually got these other trace minerals…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Other minerals in there.

Aarn Farmer: It was when we switched from Morton’s over to this real salt, and Himalayan uh – Pink Himalayan salt that we started seeing a little bit of movement in her thyroid. And then we did a couple test to up her – or change her thyroid medicine. I forget what the changes were but that was the only thing that I saw that had to change. But in my own health, no man. I was textbook, man. My triglycerides dropped like a rock. My HTL went up. My LDL went down. My blood pressure went down, you know, 50 points. You know, it was pretty much every good thing that you can think of, you know, to happen to me happened to me. I was predictable. Now, I’m a guy, so you know, it was– guys are a little bit, I think– I have more experience with this, but I think guys are– usually have an easier time losing weight.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: Because we don’t have, you know, we don’t have this many hormonal things going on.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Estrogen kind of teams up with Insulin, right? It’s kind of a fat storage hormone as well, where guys have ten times more testosterone. So, that kind of drives more of the muscle growth, which then drives the fats out. Women had this extra kind of variable with estrogen that definitely compacts and makes the Insulin worse for sure.

Aarn Farmer: Yeah, and so, there’s a lot more going on with women than men, so– you know, I’m very sensitive to that too, because, you know, I’d say, hormonally, women are, you know, swiss watches and mini bricks. There’s just not as many moving parts in men that you have to deal with, you know, as compared to women.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. That makes sense. I see that all the time. I’ve primarily treat women, so I get that. Now, walk me through like the biggest, like the three biggest changes. So, you made this, you know, this change. You saw Dr. Ludwig’s – or Dr. Lustig’s video…

Aarn Farmer: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …Sugar: The Bitter, yeah. Dr. Lutwig is another doctor over at Harvard there, so their kind of two of the same. But you mentioned that you saw this video, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.” Great video to watch. We’ll put it in the show notes. What were the changes outside of cutting some of the carbohydrate and glucose and grains out? What other three changes that you made that really made a difference. You mentioned the sea salt also helped too. What else?

Aarn Farmer: So, I started paying attention to what I was eating because I – what I mean is – is that because I wasn’t eating as much, I need to make sure that what I was eating was the highest quality food that I could afford. So, you know, like when I would eat bacon, I would try to get a Nitrate-free and [crosstalk] sugar-free bacon.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: Yeah, Pasteur-fed bacon.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: …when I was eating a beef, I was doing my bet to get either grass-fed, or if could afford it, grass-fed and grass-finished. If I, you know– if I could – if I could do that. Uhm– my– I’m really lucky that my next door neighbor, like literally, my next door neighbor sells uh– sells uh– pasteuri– [crosstalk] bad eggs as one tries to say.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: So, he sells those for five bucks a dozen.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it.

Aarn Farmer: So, I can get high-quality eggs pretty much everytime that I want.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great deal.

Aarn Farmer: Uhm– so, told you about salt. So, I really paid attention to the uhm– to my uh – I really paid attention to the quality of food I was putting into not just my body but my wife's body too. I want to make sure that we were getting the most bang for our buck. I started taking Magnesium. I realized that I was Magnesium-deficient. Uhm – and I started taking a very high-quality Magnesium, which…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Makes sense.

Aarn Farmer: I – you know, I was really surprised at uhm – at the effect the Magnesium had on me, because it was – It was when I started taking Magnesium that I started to see the biggest drops in my blood pressure, because, you know, Magnesium just relaxes you, relaxes your muscles, relaxes your blood vessels. It just – it just relaxes you. And uh – so when I started taking that Magnesium, that was a big factor in my blood pressure dropping. In fact, I think that was a big factor. And why it was so high for so long is…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Aarn Farmer: …because I was eating such crappy food that I was – I was probably, totally deficient in Magnesium. And uh – so that I was glad that – I was glad that I found it. I just got to stumble, you know, on that. And uhm – and then the other thing was just keeping my fats up, you know, I– [stutter] I have focused on fats as the most important part of my diet. I’ve made sure that fat was, you know, I looked at the fat first before I started looking at the other parts of – of you know, of any particular meal that I was eating, and made sure that I was getting enough fat and made sure that at least 60 percent of my diet was fat. So, no carbs, 60 percent of it are [inaudible]…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Then a lot of good healthy [incomprehensible], right?

Aarn Farmer: …carbs. And all of my carbs are complex. But yeah. Monounsaturated fat with olive oil, butter, lots of animal fat, and then, you know, green leafy vegetables and uh–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: [inaudible]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right on. And, any opinion on this coconut kind of stuff, let’s just say, hysteria that’s coming out of the American Heart Association? What do you think about that?

Aarn Farmer: Johnny Sears had a uh – I think that’s his name he had a great video. I don’t know if you saw it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: But it is so good, where he had said, “You know, the American [crosstalk] Dietary Association is American, and guess what America doesn’t grow. America doesn’t really grow coconuts. So, there’s no financial incentive to incentivize people to eat coconuts. If you’re an American dietetics so she is because coconuts are an important food. But, guess what America grows a ton of? [crosstalk] It grows a ton of soy bean, weed, corn and there’s a ton of incentive to incentivize people to eat canola oil and, you know, to eat these polyunsaturated fats and corn oil, and cottonseed oil. And that’s, you know, that’s something that we, as Americans, we grow on abundant – in abundance. And, I think it’s really disingenuous, and that really used to be a ricketing with the screw, because the – they’re giving out – I mean, you could – you could forgive them in the beginning because, you know, some of this – there’s a lot of bad information out there. But, you know, were 50 years down the road. I mean, we’ve – Tina – new titles books has been out for a decade now, almost.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: There’s really no excuse to not have the science. And if that’s your field, if that’s what you’re all about – is fat and dangers of fat, you need to have kept up with the science. You need to kept up with studies and realize that, you know, the science has moved on. It has left your really terrible advice behind. So, I’m…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: …pro coconut oil.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I am too. I mean, saturated fats tend to be very stable. I’m more concerned about a lot of the refined either, you know, unste – refined polyunsaturated fats, especially the refined omega-6 ones that come from the vegetable oils that tend to be extracted in ways that have lots of heat and come in a very unnatural way that, basically, destroys the fat. And number two, if you look at coconut oil, right? If you look at saturated fat, when you take, it– it may increase your cholesterol a tiny bit if it does. But it will also increase your HTL and decrease your triglycerides. So, you see the improvement in your ratio many times. Your HTL to triglyceride ratio tends to get better less than to or closer to one-to-one. And a lot of the older studies that look at the coconut oil and saturated fat. They don’t really factor out the trans-fats, [crosstalk] so they kind of lump in trans-fat with saturated fat. And once you control for those variables, you take out those confounding variables, you see a massive improvement. And actually, there goes 2010 or 2011, I met Dr. Robert Lustig at [crosstalk] American Heart Association event. It was a fundraiser. I went to it. But again, there’s a lot of funding in and around in the American Heart Association that, you know, may create some conflicts of interest with a lot of processed food companies in United States. So, we got to be careful. We got to look at the confounding variables. I understand people that are in the documentary What the Health, and they talk so poorly about animal products. They don’t really differentiate between CAFO feedlot types of, let’s say, animals and the good grass-fed beef or the Pasteur-fed chickens. They kind of lump it in into all and one big bucket. And we know we kind of have to differentiate that, right?

Aarn Farmer: have you – have you ever had The Vegetarian Myth?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Is that by Lierre Keith?

Aarn Farmer: Lierre Keith, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes…

Aarn Farmer: Fascinatedly, but I’m actually reading it right now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …a lot of interviews where she’s broken down a lot of the key concepts and points. But yeah, I’m familiar with Lierre’s work.

Aarn Farmer: So, in the books she – it’s [stutters] even more militant, I guess, is probably…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: …the best word of her opinions. And you know, she makes a very, very compelling point that Veganism is killing the planet. That once you start, you know, basically destroying huge slots of the American heartland to plant corn, and you know, these big monocrops. That you are condemning that area to die, and that’s, you know, she makes the point…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Aarn Farmer: …that, you know, the Middle East used to be a garden. You know, there were seeders in Lebanon. There were, you know, it was the garden of – it was the cradle of civilization, and look at it now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Aarn Farmer: It’s because they– they over-farmed, they over– they, you know. They overconsumed the resources of land and now it’s just a, you know, it’s just a desert. You know, there’s nothing anywhere. And that’s what we’re endangered doing to our self. And so, you know that– what the – that What the Health documentary. The guy that uh – I forget which one. Which, well, Vegan person said it but the – it said that, you know, sugar has no bearing on diabetes, that diabetes is caused by dietary fat. I’m like, “What?” You know, where are you getting this? There’s no, there’s no scientific basis for this…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What’s the mechanism–

Aarn Farmer: …at all

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What’s the mechanism? We know the diagnosis of diabetes has to do with your blood sugar being – blood sugar being over a 126 milligrams/deciliter above, and one-tenth for pre-diabetes. So, walk me through the mechanism. Walk me through your thinking at how fat, which has zero sugar in it, the zero – very gluconeogenesis that happens. How does that increase your blood sugar? It doesn’t.

Aarn Farmer: It doesn’t. And so, these doctors are getting on – and you know that –

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Insane.

Aarn Farmer: …they all [incomprehensible] about science. Science progressing one funeral at a time. You know, a lot of these Vegan doctors, unfortunately, are gonna have to, you know, that are gonna have to go away before the next generation of nutritionist are able to stand out and say, “Oh my gosh. We’ve had it wrong for 50 years. We’ve got to – we’ve got to make some serious changes to the what we’re telling the American public.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. And to get adequate proteins at least you have to get to do a lot of food combining, which tends to, you know, to get an adequate amount of protein and being a vegetarian, and not doing protein powders, you typically have to get at least 250 to 300 grams of carbohydrate a day. And if your Insulin resistant, that’s probably gonna be too much. Now, if you’re really [crosstalk] sensitive…

Aarn Farmer: Way too much.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …side and doing a lot of exercise, you may be able to get away with it. again, the benefit that you get from animal proteins is you get really good healthy saturated fats, especially if it’s grass-fed or fish, and such. But then you also get some really good protein with all those sugar and carbohydrate.

Aarn Farmer: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Do you agree?

Aarn Farmer: Absolutely. And that’s, you know, your body is made of fats and proteins. There’s no, you know– there’s no essential carbohydrate.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know.

Aarn Farmer: You know there’s no need for grains. And you’re not made of grains. You’re made of– you’re an animal. You’re made of animal stuff…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: …just to go eat animal stuff. And uh– you know, I was – that was the thing that have really was how quickly my – uh – it may took a three and a half years to lose 200 pounds but how quickly all of the othere markers of metabolic disease…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: …just disappeared as soon as I took those sugars and grains out. It just– everything…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Aarn Farmer: Everything evaporated. And I was a much healthier person two weeks after I started this diet. You know, even though you couldn’t see the change in my body, I was a far healthier person. You know, really, really, really early on, just by – just buy eating what I was supposed to eat.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. That makes a lot of sense to me. I think we hit all the key points here.

Aarn Farmer: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Is there anything else you wanted to add here, Aarn?

Aarn Farmer: No, I just – I wanted to invite people to come over to the blog. If they want to come to kind of read what I’m doing. mysugarfreejourney.com, I have a podcast. You can find it there on the front page. Uhm– I do also have a program where I mail at a Ketogenic meal plan every week. If you like to sign up for that, it’s at mysugarfreejourney.com/28day because there’s a 28-day training program that goes on with it. And that get you into a whole like an exclusive Facebook group, with a bunch of peers, about a thousand people in there that are using the Ketogenic diet to lose weight and to restore their health. And were doing some really amazing things in that room. So, you guys can come check that out: my sugarfreejourney.com/28day if you’d like to join us there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love it. That’s great. And one thing I want to add is– there’s one kind of controversial areas where you have if you go low-carbohydrate and high-fat, there’s some people I find that if they go too low-carb and then maybe more on the Insulin-sensitive side that the potential Cortisol response that they get from being lower carb for too long for them, may cause excess sugar from the Cortisol Response. That’s kind of one variable it’s not with everyone, but I do find the people that may have a negative consequence or negative experience going low-carbohydrate, they may actually find their blood sugar gets better when they gently up some of the carbohydrates. So, kind of mind-default template is: always start lower carb higher fat moderate protein. Hit the wall. Some people never hit the wall, and they just feel great and do great, and some actually, increasing the carbohydrates 10 to 15 grams per week, they may find a sweet spot, where some of the hair loss or cold hands or cold feet or the energy symptoms pick up. So, default is…

Aarn Farmer: Do you ever [incomprehensible]…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Go ahead, yeah.

Aarn Farmer: Do – I was gonna ask if somebody that does that, do you ever find that– that after say – say six months of kind of – of bringing their carbs back up, they fake and then lower the carbs again, and see that once they’ve kind of – they kind of easing into it a little bit. Do you – do you ever find that that – that response goes away over time?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. What tends to happen is: there tends to be like a cyclical thing that happens where they cycle the carbohydrates up a little bit. They tend to be able to go back down and not quite have those symptoms again. So, they may be kind of a cyclical fashion to it. And you know, evolution. Early it makes sense because, you know, there may be some famine. We don’t eat as much. Maybe the carbohydrate’s restricted. Maybe it’s just meat. Maybe it’s the winter time. And then, “Hey. Spring comes.” We got all this berries and things to harvest.

Aarn Farmer: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We eat a little bit, and then we go back to this kind of lower carbohydrate mode based on the season. So, it makes sense from that perspective.

Aarn Farmer: Even then, you were talking about complex carbohydrates. You’re not saying I need a piece of bread, or white bread, or something they used to say and eat more, like squash, zucchini, you know, carrots, onions, you know…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Aarn Farmer: Some of the more complex carbohydrates, yeah. [crosstalk] I would– I would agree.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, my recommendations are always anti-inflammatory nutrient-dense, right? Because the nutrient density is important. And the low toxin. So, of course, the carbohydrate should be, you know, maybe some lower fructose fruit, berries, lemon, lime, grape fruit, maybe an orange or apple. And then some of the safer starches: squash, sweet potato, plantains. But then do it incrementally. And even in Atkins in Atkins’ uhm– diet approach. He has, you know, induction, which is the very low carbohydrate ketosis phase. And then he has the OWL, the Ongoing Weight Loss phase, where you hit the wall, you up ten grams of carbs per week. And even Atkins has that kind of calibration thing built into.

Aarn Farmer: Yep, absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, any other comments here? Aarn, you dropped some good knowledge bombs I appreciate you walking us through your experience. Anything else?

Aarn Farmer: Yeah. I think the only other thing I would add, for those of you that’s – if you’re listen to this and you are morbidly obese, I just want to encourage you that you’re not – it’s not hopeless for you. That if I can do it, anyone can do it. And there’s no one more addicted to sugar than me. Uhm – and it just took – it just took a couple things I had to d– make sure that I understood why I was doing it. I was keeping that why in front of me. And you know what, in two or three or four years, you’re gonna be three or four years older anyway. There’s nothing you can do about the march of time. But wouldn’t it be nice if in four years, you were a hundred pounds lighter than you are now? Or two hundred pounds lighter? And you can do it, if you just start making the right choices now. And make commitments. Stick with it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Aarn, I really appreciate you coming on the show. People like you talking to people that have actually gone through that 200-pound journey, it takes a while but you did it. You got the information. You cut through all this exercise more, eat less crap. You got the real information. You did it. You’re living proof. So, I appreciate you know, the results, right here in front of us. That’s great inspiration. So, if you are at that place, where you’re overweight, you know, a hundred pounds or even fifty pounds, we at least went over some things, some action items that we can do. And Aarn, thanks so much for coming on the podcast. I appreciate it.

Aarn Farmer: Hey, it’s a pleasure. I really enjoyed this. Thank you so much for having me on.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome. Thank you. Have a great day.

Aarn Farmer: Thank you. You do the same.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Thanks.




“A Year of No Sugar” by Eve O. Schaub

“Sugar: The Bitter Truth” by Dr. Robert Lustig (videos)

“The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith

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