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 172: Jody's Journey Through Weight Loss and Gain

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172: Jody's Journey Through Weight Loss and Gain

Apr 29, 2024

In the latest installment of the Guys Talking to Guys series, the Who Cares Guys speak with listener Jody, who has navigated the ups and downs of significant weight fluctuations. His story of resilience highlights some of the realities of obesity, the psychological battles involved with weight, and his ultimate decision to undergo life-changing surgery to regain control.

    This content was originally produced for audio. Certain elements such as tone, sound effects, and music, may not fully capture the intended experience in textual representation. Therefore, the following transcription has been modified for clarity. We recognize not everyone can access the audio podcast. However, for those who can, we encourage subscribing and listening to the original content for a more engaging and immersive experience.

    All thoughts and opinions expressed by hosts and guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views held by the institutions with which they are affiliated.


    Scot: All right, guys. Today we're talking to a guy that I really admire. So he's been very open about his struggles with his weight and mental health, which I think requires an amount of bravery that most guys don't have. That's one of the reasons I admire him.

    And second, he's talking about these issues, which really gets right to the core of what "Who Cares About Men's Health" is about, men talking about their health issues so we as other men can be supportive, and we also have a better understanding of our own health and the issues we face. The more we talk about them, the better everybody's health can get.

    Jody's story also highlights that health isn't something that is assumed. Oftentimes we have to actively engage with our health issues and actively pursue health, which I think is a new paradigm for a lot of guys. And we're going to talk about all of that today.

    This is "Who Cares About Men's Health," with information, inspiration, and a different interpretation of men's health. Today is another episode in our men talking to men about their health issues. My name is Scot. I bring the BS. The MD to my BS is Dr. Troy Madsen.

    Troy: Hey, Scot. I'm happy to be here and excited to talk to Jody.

    Scot: Producer Mitch is a "Who Cares About Men's Health" convert and also producer of the show.

    Mitch: Hey, there.

    Scot: And our guest today is Jody. Say hi to the guys, Jody.

    Jody: Hey, guys. Thanks for having me on.

    Scot: Jody, guys, is one of my favorite people. I met him about 15 years ago.

    Mitch: Wow. Okay.

    Scot: He was a journalist and he was filling in and teaching a journalism class I took at the community college. And after that, we became Facebook friends, or I should say friends on Facebook because we really don't interact in the real world.

    We really don't interact that much on social, but I feel like I know a lot about Jody because I've read his posts for many years and I'm looking forward to today to actually have a conversation about some of the health issues.

    Give us a little bit of background about your health issues. And I think if I've seen right on Facebook, the main thing that you've struggled with most of your life is your weight.

    Jody: So I have had weight issues my entire life, dating back to, gosh, when I was about 7, 8 years old is when I started packing on the pounds and got to be . . . I think I was 4-foot-9 both ways when I was in junior high. Hit a little growth spurt and decided that I wanted to have a little bit more success with the girls in high school. So I lost some weight, got down to a normal size, played tennis and football and tried some sports, and that was fun.

    But then in my senior year, I started gaining the weight back, and by the time I went on an LDS mission, I was well over 250 pounds. And then when I got back from that . . . I went to France and I actually lost weight in France. I should maybe go back on a mission. Riding a bike and eating bread and cheese, those were the good times.


    But the first year back from my mission, I was kind of lonely. All my friends were gone and doing things with their lives. I worked at McDonald's, which was not a good combination. And over that course of the first year back, I gained about 100 pounds. So I'm an elite weight gainer that you're chatting with here.

    Scot: That's your superpower.

    Jody: Yeah, that is my superpower.

    Scot: Of all the superpowers, huh?

    Jody: Yeah. I put a Big Mac on my belly and my butt pretty quickly there that year. And then since then, in the last like 25 years, I have lost between 125 and 175 pounds four different times and gained it all and more back.

    And so I could be the poster child for the yo-yo diet. I mean, it's just been insane. And it's been something that's really been tough to deal with physically and mentally and socially and emotionally, all that stuff.

    So here I am, 52 years old, still fighting the battle. But I'm not going to give up, that's for sure.

    Scot: Yeah. That's one of the things I admire, man. You keep trying. I would've given up. I would just be like, "Well, I guess this is it."

    So tell us how has your weight impacted your health? And let's start from a physical standpoint. What does that look like from a health standpoint in your life?

    Jody: Well, for a long time, I would kind of joke that I was the fittest Batman around. One time, to lose weight and to try to get into shape, I started doing triathlons.

    Scot: Yeah, I remember. I forgot about that, but yeah.

    Jody: Yeah. I even accomplished an Ironman Triathlon.

    Mitch: Wow.

    Jody: And I was the biggest dude. I mean, most of those guys weigh like 130 pounds soaking wet. And I was there, I was packing around 230 pounds, and I'm only 5-foot-7. And so I was a pretty chunky dude out there on the course. But for me, that was a thinner version of me, and I was in excellent shape.

    But for the most part, even my blood levels and my cholesterol and blood pressure and blood sugars, all that stuff was really good. And I was kind of a ticking time bomb, though. You knew you were playing Russian roulette, and eventually it would catch up with you.

    Well, my dad had type 2 diabetes and he passed away from complications of type 2 diabetes and obesity when he was 57 years old. And that was really rough to deal with. And I remember a couple of weeks before he passed away, he told me, "Hey, don't let this happen to you." I had always vowed that I wouldn't let that happen to me.

    And then just one thing led to another and usually ended up at Chuck-A-Rama or McDonald's or something and I would just eat, eat, eat. If I was happy, I would eat. If I was sad, I would eat. If I was bored, I would eat. If I was eating, I would eat some more. And so I didn't do a very good job of listening to my dad's advice.

    But I've tried a bunch of different things to lose the weight because I knew that it was going to catch up with me eventually health-wise. And sure enough, just after the pandemic, I found out that I finally had incurred type 2 diabetes.

    I went to a health fair at a new job that I had, and the previous November, I had really good glucose levels, just right around 100, kind of normal. And I did the blood sugar test. They prick your finger. And the guy looked at me, the nurse, and he said, "Hey, are you diabetic?" I'm like, "No." He's like, "Well, your blood sugar is like 455 right now."

    Troy:Oh, wow.

    Jody:Which is really alarmingly high. And so I went straight to the doctor and found out, yeah, I'm obviously a type 2 diabetic now.

    So then it became real because now suddenly, I'm in my 50s and I'm probably weighing more than my dad did when he passed away, and I'm like, "Well, that's your future right there if you don't do something about it."

    Troy: Yeah. I was going to say that's, I'm sure, an incredibly difficult thing to deal with, to get that blood sugar back and have it so high and then realize that you do have type 2 diabetes.

    Mitch: And at a health fair too. There's that extra level. You're not going to the doctor to check it. You're just like, "Eh, let's check it there."

    Troy: Yeah, I know. I'm sure there they'll get one that's like 180, and they're like, "Oh, wow, that's concerning." And yours was like 450 and it's just . . . Yeah, that's got to be a tough thing to have to deal with.

    Scot: As a doctor, Troy, if you saw that, what does that 450 do when you heard that?

    Troy: I've rarely seen someone that high who doesn't have diabetes. And the rare occasion when I've seen it, it's like, "Oh, wow, that's really high." And it's just been maybe someone who came in with symptoms. It sounds like you didn't really even have any symptoms.

    Jody: I think the problem . . . I probably did have symptoms. I just was so overweight at the time that I was just used to not feeling good usually, and lackadaisical and not a lot of energy and not a lot of gusto to life. But yeah, I didn't recognize.

    Honestly, looking back, yeah, I was thirsty a lot, I was going pee a lot, and those are some typical signs. But I drink a lot of Diet Coke, so I didn't know if that was the reason why, because caffeine is a diuretic.

    Anyway, yeah, that was alarming and kind of got my . . . I went to my doctor and we kind of set up a plan. Shockingly, he didn't put me on insulin. I thought that's what was going to happen. He put me on metformin and wanted me to start eating a lot less sugar and just a healthier diet.

    Since then, I've kind of had my ups and downs, but we're definitely on the right track to . . . I know you can never beat diabetes, but I'm doing a lot better at it now.

    Troy: That's good to hear. So things are under control now with your blood sugars and it sounds like checkups, everything has gone well there. No concerns where you need to be on insulin at this point?

    Jody: Right. Yeah. And it's kind of been an up and down. My A1c was really high. I was in the 11 range. And then I got it down into the 7s and 8s, and then it popped back up to over 10. I kind of did the yo-yo thing again. I'd be really good on a diet for about three months.

    I even tried Trulicity, which is one of those popular . . . like Ozempic and GLP-1 meds. You get the shots. I tried that for a few months, and it did really well with a healthy diet. But then like everything else, I do awesome when I'm on the diet, but when I stop doing awesome on the diet, then the pendulum just swings back to the other side.

    Scot: Yeah. I mean, physically, though, your numbers and all that stuff stayed pretty good for a long time, even though you had excess body mass. And then just when it went wrong, it went wrong, didn't it? That was a striking part of the story. Is that pretty typical, Troy?

    Troy: I don't think it's unusual. I think the challenge, though . . . and Jody, you could speak to this a lot more than I could. I think the maintenance is so hard because I think probably as you're losing the weight, people notice. They're like, "Oh, wow, you're losing weight." And it's like, "Yeah, I'm preparing for a triathlon."

    But then once you get to that point where it's like I've done the triathlon, I'm down to 230 pounds, or whatever it is, maintenance is really hard. I think you get so much feedback on just that process of getting to that point, but then once you're there, it's like you just don't get that. Has that been your experience at all, or am I . . .

    Jody: Yeah, you hit the nail on the head right there. To get to 230, I had bounced up to about 370, and so I'd lost about 140 pounds to get to the starting line of that Ironman Triathlon.

    And leading up to that, I'd said, "Well, this is going to swing the pendulum the other direction. I'm going to be pushing myself into a fitness life and I'm going to be good for the rest of my life if I can just train for a huge triathlon, the Ironman."

    And I didn't lose as much weight as I thought I would, because when you're training for an enormous event like that . . . which basically took me almost 17 hours to accomplish. I still don't know how I accomplished it. But yeah, I got done with the Ironman and they gave me a pizza at the finish line, and I didn't stop eating for the next year. So I gained back all my weight.

    Troy: I get it, though. You're so hungry after those things. Yeah, I am amazed at how much I can eat after. I've never done a triathlon, but yeah.

    Jody: Well, they feed you every mile too on the marathon, so I'm like, "Hey, if they're going to keep feeding me, I'm going to keep going."

    Troy: Exactly.

    Scot: I mean, this yo-yoing, is it physical, just how your body works, you think? Or what made it challenging to maintain your weight? Was it genetics, or was it just the environment that we live in where all this kind of food is just real easy and it tastes good? Were there some emotional health components to it? What's made it challenging to maintain that weight for you?

    Jody: I think I'm the perfect storm of all those things combining to make my life difficult in that arena. I do have some mental health struggles and have dealt with depression and anxiety over the years, and sometimes it's better than others, but just have struggled on and off with that.

    But for some reason, I just have this off-or-on switch. If I'm on, I'm in the mode and nothing is going to stop me. But as soon as I take just a slight break, then I just get over. It's like you get towards the top of the mountain, then you start sliding down and you just can't put your paws in and stop that slide. You just keep on going.

    They talk about the slippery slope. Well, once you're sliding down the slippery slope, it's like . . . And that's been my struggles. It's not like, "Can I stop myself?" It's like, "How much weight am I going to gain before I stop myself?" And it's usually tremendous amounts of weight.

    To lose and then regain between 125 and 175 pounds . . . The last time honestly was almost 250 pounds after I went through a divorce. I just turned to food, and that was my only comfort, honestly. My kids and food were the only things that kept me going.

    I was on a weight loss plan called Optavia, and I was doing really well at that. I even won their transformation award. Got down to 197 for the first time as an . . . well, the second time as an adult. But I only stayed there for about two weeks, and then I started gaining the weight back.

    And then once the divorce started going through, man, that really played hard with my mental health. And I think that's partially what led to me finally getting the diabetes as well. The stress and the depression, and combined with the poor eating habits, I think it all just caught up with me.

    But I didn't stop. From 197, my highest weight was 455. And that was in the matter of under two years. It was pretty shocking how quickly I packed on the pounds.

    Troy: Yeah, that's pretty remarkable. I mean, you more than doubled your weight in a period of about two years. And it sounds like, like you said, multiple factors just kind of hit you at once in terms of going through a divorce, and I'm sure multiple other stressors as well. And maybe, again, kind of lost some of the feedback you'd gotten when you were losing all that weight.

    But it's a great analogy, that slippery slope, where it sounds like when it hits, it just hits, and then it's just hard to really stop, and no one is going to stop.

    Jody: Yeah. And some people will gain like 20 pounds or maybe even 50 pounds, and they're like, "Oh my gosh, I'm so fat right now." For me, I don't know what it is. I don't know where that comes from.

    Scot: Yeah, it must be super frustrating. Like you said, I could imagine if I was 10 or 15 or 20 pounds heavier, I'd be like, "All right. I've got to do something about it." And I'm sure you did too, right?

    Jody: Oh, yeah. The whole time. I mentioned the weight loss program that I lost the weight under at that time. At our annual convention, I won that award, the transformation contest, and I spoke on stage to thousands of people. I was living high on the hog there, so to speak, and got a lot of people congratulating me. A lot of people were looking up to me, and it felt really good. And then that just weighed on me the whole time as I was gaining weight back. I'm like, "Man, I'm just such a loser," which would lead you to eating more.

    I don't do alcohol and drugs and stuff, but food is my drug of choice. And so that's what I would turn to. And it's just cyclical because it literally feeds on itself because you're like, "Ah, I'm gaining so much weight," and it makes you feel worse, and then you eat to try to feel better. But then the repercussions of that is awful because you gain weight, and then you lose self-esteem, and it's just . . . Yeah, it was a rough cycle to be in.

    And then a year after my divorce was finalized, I got laid off from my job at the Deseret News that I'd had for almost 27 years. And then the pandemic happened. Well, that was during the pandemic, but it was just a rough, rough stretch for me.

    Scot: Yeah. And it must just feel like . . . I mean, I think we've all been in situations where something just feels so completely out of our control and we're just like, "I don't know why I can't do something about this." And it sounds like maybe the weight gain was . . . I mean, you obviously knew it was happening and you were successful in the past at losing that weight, but it just must've . . . Did it feel like you had no control?

    Jody: Yeah, it did. Totally. That's exactly what it felt like. It felt like I couldn't stop myself. I was just completely out of control. It was like my body and my brain and heart were all separated. It's hard to describe.

    And probably the most frustrating thing is I had done it before, I knew how to lose weight, I knew what I should be doing, I knew how to eat healthy, I knew how to exercise, and all that. I knew everything to do in the proper way. It was just I couldn't step over that bridge and start doing it again. I couldn't flip the light switch on again.

    Scot: This is going to be a weird question, but do you think it had something to do with you know how to gain weight, you know how to lose weight, but never really learned how to maintain that weight?

    Jody: Oh, absolutely.

    Scot: I mean, it seemed to me . . . And Dr. Madsen, you can tell me if this is right. Those seem like three very different skills.

    Troy: Yeah. I think they are. I think they are three very different skills. And it's fascinating that, again, like you've described, you're a master at putting weight on and a master at losing the weight, but maintenance. I agree, I think that's another skill, and it's so hard.

    And it's more mental, I think. Maybe that's what you found too, because there is such a huge mental component to that maintenance and just saying, "Hey, this is what I do. I'm not going to get feedback on it, but this is where I am and I'm going to stay here."

    Scot: Did you pursue any help during this time? Did you go to a doctor? Did you pursue mental health help to try to figure out why it kept yo-yoing, or no?

    Jody: It took me a long time. I guess I was just one of those prideful guys that thought, "Hey, I can figure this out on my own," or, "Eventually things will work out and I'll figure it out."

    I remember one time when I was married, and I had lost a significant amount of weight, probably 150 pounds. I was just over 200 pounds, and I remember one day stepping in my bedroom and I was unhappy. I thought that losing weight would make my life just . . . it'd be bliss. I still was unhappy inside and it just felt unfulfilled. I'm like, "What is going on? I've lost all this weight. I should be just living life to the highest right now."

    In years since, I've thought about that. I was working on my body, but I wasn't working on my heart and my emotional state. I think, boy, you really have to work on all aspects. It's kind of like a stool. You have the three legs or four legs to a stool. And if you're missing one or two legs, then you're going to topple over.

    And so if you just do like I was, just attack the physical and think that the mental and emotional and spiritual, those other aspects will catch up . . . Maybe they will, but there's a big chance that they won't. You have to do the work on those aspects as well.

    Scot: Who's ever gone to a doctor and said, "Doctor, I need help maintaining my weight"? I don't even know that doctors know how to help you with that, right?

    I think one of the things I'm learning is maybe that's a whole separate skill that some of us are just lucky enough that for whatever reason, we don't struggle with, but for other people, it's a little bit more of a struggle.

    Mitch: Piggybacking on that, as being someone who did finally talk to my doctor, like, "Hey, I'm putting weight on again. I'm not feeling great. I'm pre-diabetic. What can I do?" he was like, "Uh." But there are resources available. It just took him a little bit to find them and kind of point me in the right direction.

    Troy: Well, the best analogy . . . I just think about your experience, Mitch, with quitting smoking. Obviously, I think food is an addiction. Smoking is an addiction. I would imagine you've had similar feelings. Now you're in the maintenance mode of just keeping going, and you're not getting the feedback like when you were in the quitting process. I imagine it's challenging.

    Mitch: Oh, yeah. And not to say that gaining weight and stuff like that is always because of addiction. I mean, there are a lot of genetic factors, etc.

    Troy: Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah, I don't want to say that, but you're right.

    Mitch: But that being said, yeah, in the last couple years, I've gone through a really rough breakup. We're in better places now, etc. But yeah, I did slip up a time or two. And there was a time or two that I had to be like, "Now I've got to get back on the patches and the gum and everything is okay."

    But yeah, when there isn't a support network, when we kind of treat maintenance of our health kind of like a, "Well, I did it. I'm done," that's where we can start to have troubles. Just like Jody was saying, where we're not really tackling the baseline of why we got into the place where we have been.

    As men especially, we just muscle our way through it. We just head down and power through, and once we're done, we're done, right? That's not necessarily the best way, I think at least, to approach our health.

    Troy: And it's a great point. I really like what you said, Jody, about how you got to that point and you thought, "I've lost this weight. I'm going to feel different. Why don't I feel different?"

    And maybe we sometimes, with fitness, just have that idea it's going to change our lives, but then you realize there are a lot of miserable skinny people out there too.

    There's just so much else to it. Yeah, it's going to be a piece of that, but there's . . . Sometimes maybe we feel like, "I'm going to get to that point and my life will be different," and it's just not, and that's frustrating.

    Scot: There are a couple of things that Jody said that we've heard on this podcast before, like pride getting in the way or I'm a guy, I can do this myself. How many times have you heard that in stories of all aspects of our health? I mean, men are do-it-ourselfers for the most part. But sometimes it's hard to reach out and get that help that we need.

    So I have a question for you, Jody. Like I've mentioned before, you've been very open about this journey. Do you think that's helped or not helped in this process?

    Jody: Yeah, I think it has helped. Gosh, a lot of years ago, I decided I'm just going to . . . I worked at the Deseret News and this was the first time that I went on a . . . I was at Weight Watchers and I started losing a bunch of weight. And as a writer, I thought, "Hey, it would be kind of fun to share my progress and my journey." And so I started a weight loss column, and we called it "Losing It." It was really fun.

    I got a lot of followers through the Deseret News, and every once in a while, I'd be at a grocery store, and they're like, "Hey, you're that guy that's on a diet. Why is that in your grocery cart?"

    Scot: Oh, no.

    Jody: But ever since then, I've just been . . . Obviously, it hasn't helped me to not regain the weight, but it's helped me to feel that support and love. And more than anything, there's a connection there when you're vulnerable and open about the struggles that you're going through.

    I don't know. To me, that's your most authentic self, especially now with social media where everybody gets on there and you're only seeing them on vacation, or you're seeing this really cute picture of their anniversary and they're saying how happy their marriage is when you know that their marriage is crap.

    Everybody shows this bright side of their lives, which in some ways is good, but some ways it's detrimental because everybody thinks, "Oh, my life sucks and everybody else's life is so wonderful."

    And so I like to show them that, "Hey, my life sucks too, so you've got good company here."

    Troy: I was going to say, too, I think it's wonderful you share it. I think, number one, it does show the real side of, "This is life. This is what I'm dealing with." And others are dealing with it too.

    But I think it creates a lot of empathy as well maybe for people who haven't struggled with their weight, to create empathy for family members and friends and others they know who do have those challenges, to really understand what they're going through. So I think that's incredibly important for all of us.

    I mean, it's important for us on the podcast. We just talk so much like, "Hey, diet and exercise. Diet and exercise." And it's not always that simple. We try to simplify it, but it's not always that simple.

    Mitch: And to kind of piggyback on that idea, just having used this podcast as a platform to practice this kind of idea of talking about your health and reaching out to others, letting other people know what you're going through, it's a big thing for me as a man.

    To be able to say, "Hey, no, I'm not having a good day," or, "Hey, I am struggling with this thing," and have those conversations with the people in my life, with our listeners, with you guys, with specialists, etc., even if it's not that big of a reach or a platform or whatever, just talking to the other men in your life, the other people in your life about this, you can maybe find the support that you might need.

    And even if you don't want to admit that you need it, I think everyone could use it.

    Jody: Yeah, I love the concept of this podcast, and I appreciate you guys reaching out and letting me be part of it, because I think that is so important for men.

    When I was married, my ex-wife, I used to complain about how many friends she had. She had so many friends and I had buddies, but they weren't necessarily . . . We didn't do anything. We were like me and Scot. You just see each other on Facebook every once in a while, and maybe like their post or do a sarcastic quip on one of their posts or whatever, but you never hung out.

    And one day I said, "Gosh, Mom has so many friends," and my daughter was like, "Well, why don't you get some friends?" Women are much better about bonding together, and I think guys, once we get there, it feels really good to even just vent or bounce things off of each other. We just don't do it enough.

    Scot: As we kind of start wrapping this up, I wanted to add . . . So, guys, Jody, I learned, just recently got bypass surgery, which has made . . .

    Troy: Gastric bypass, yeah.

    Scot: Yeah, gastric bypass surgery, which has made quite a bit of difference, I guess. That's what I'd like to find out more about. So tell us about that decision. How did you end up there? And was that a tough decision to come to?

    Jody: Yeah, it was, actually. It was probably the hardest decision of my life, honestly. My doctor, bless his heart, for probably the last seven or eight years, he's like, "Jody, why don't you consider weight loss surgery?" And I'm like, "Oh, come on. I've got this on my own. I can do it on my own, doc."

    Scot: There's the do-it-yourselfer again, right?

    Jody: Oh, yeah. And then he'd be like, "Well, I think we should consider some depression meds." I'm like, "No, I've got this. I got this on my own."

    So he suggested it once. He suggested it the next year. Then he saw me lose a bunch of weight, and he was excited for me. Then he started seeing me gain a bunch of weight back, and he's like, "Hey, why don't you consider that weight loss surgery again?"

    It took him probably four or five times of suggesting that, and then finally, it was . . . About a year ago, I had lost some of my weight from the high that I was at of 455, I think just by . . . I didn't even try to. When I had the diabetes, I think that helped some of the weight come off for some strange reason. I got under 400 pounds, but I was still in the high 300s. I went back on my weight loss program and I got down into the 330s again a year ago.

    And then I had a celebration meal. My son was finishing up his senior year, and it was my birthday, and I think we had some barbecue or something. And suddenly, I started gaining all the weight back. It just happened and all of a sudden the light switch turned off.

    When I gained all that weight back again, I was up in the high 300s. I just felt defeated, and then I finally thought, "You know what? Maybe I need to listen to my doctor." I started doing some research and saw some friends who had had different weight loss surgeries, and I finally gave it a serious internal discussion and I thought, "You know what? Maybe I should consider this."

    And then I just kept studying about it and studying about it, and I'm like, "There's such a mystery and such a negative stigma surrounding weight loss surgery."

    I was the proponent of that for a long time where I thought, "Oh, I don't need weight loss surgery. Why would anybody mess up your internal system to do something that you just could do on your own? Just eat less, move more. That's all you have to do. It's that easy," even though I was struggling to do that.

    I just felt defeated. I felt like this was my last chance, honestly. And then one day I thought, "You know what? I'm just going to do this."

    And so mine is called the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. It's kind of a mouthful. It combines a gastric sleeve and kind of a gastric bypass, so it's the granddaddy of them all. Fewer people have the duodenal switch than any other weight loss surgery because it's really . . . I mean, it's pretty drastic.

    But it's got a malabsorptive component and a restrictive component, so your stomach is smaller, and plus you kind of bypass a lot of your intestines, so you're not getting as many nutrients and calories and fat into your system.

    I mean, so far it's been a huge blessing. I had it about three months ago, and I'm down about 70 pounds.

    Probably the most shocking statistic, and we were talking about this off air, is my blood sugar levels. They were bouncing around 300, 400 at the end of 2023. And just this week I measured them again, and they're in the 90s now.


    Jody:So they're steady in the 90s.

    Scot: That's awesome.

    Troy:That's awesome. So what's your weight now? You said you're down about 70 pounds. You're in the, it sounds like, 200s now?

    Jody: Yeah. So I'm about 323. Yeah. I look forward to getting in the 200s again. Around Christmas time I weighed about 394, and now I'm down to 323. And eating a lot of protein, drinking lots of water and Crystal Light, taking my vitamins. That's part of the deal when you do a weight loss surgery, is you have to be pretty adamant about taking your vitamins so that your body does get those nutrients and minerals that it needs to survive.

    Scot: So the surgery kind of restricts the amount of calories you can take in. Am I understanding that correctly?

    Jody: Yeah. Your stomach just can't hold as much food as it was able to before. And on top of that, not only are you getting fewer calories in food, but your body is absorbing a lot fewer of those actual calories.

    For example, with my weight loss surgery, I only absorb 20% of the fat that I eat, which is kind of nice because I can eat like regular fat stuff now and still lose weight, so I'm not complaining about that part.

    Scot: And is it in general just feeling easier to lose the weight? I think in previous cycles, you kind of had to go to these very disciplined extremes, didn't you? Just really closely watching everything and really watching your exercise. I mean, does it seem a little bit easier?

    Jody: The first time I lost a lot of weight was on my own and with Weight Watchers, so I was counting points. I don't know if you're familiar with that. And then the last few times that I've lost the big chunk of weight was with Optavia, and they have five fuelings, they call them. Five packaged foods that you eat per day, and then you have kind of a low-carb meal with lean protein and low-carb. You had to stay to that pretty strictly so you could stay in a form of ketosis.

    This time, I wouldn't say it's easier necessarily, but you just can't eat as much. It's strange. I don't know the chemistry behind this or the biology that makes this happen, but when I eat maybe five, six bites of chicken or whatever it is now, I sneeze and my nose starts running. And that's my body's signal to me that, "You've had enough. Don't eat anymore."

    Scot: Wow. Really?

    Jody: It's the weirdest thing. I don't know why.

    Troy: Wow. I've never heard that. Yeah, that's interesting.

    Jody: The hard part is some of the things that I used to like a lot . . . I love cottage cheese and eggs. I don't know. My tastes have changed a little bit, so I'm struggling with those.

    Eating a lot of protein is our main . . . That's the first thing we're supposed to do, is eat a lot of protein. And so it's kind of tricky to always . . . You want to eat those carbs. It's fun to eat pasta, and pizza, and bread, and cereal, and French fries. Those are the things that my diet was based on before, and now I can't eat those. That's a difficult thing to . . . It's more a mental thing. I kind of miss those.

    And also, this might sound weird, but I miss kind of just eating a lot. I love buffets or I love to pound the food, and now . . .

    Scot: You feel you're getting your dollars' worth.

    Jody: Exactly. Now I've got the doggy bag. So it's a lot cheaper to eat now because I can turn one meal into three.

    Troy: Nice.

    Scot: I wonder if this built-in . . . I don't know. So now Scot is being a psychoanalyst, which he is not. When you're really dedicated to something like losing weight, it's a mission, right? And us guys love missions. It can be a little easier to stick to it until we achieve that mission.

    Now it seems like because of the surgery, not only are you just not able to eat as much, but it's a mission, right? You have been given a structure that you have to follow, much like you would when you're losing weight, from your doctor that says, "These are the things you have to eat as a result of this thing." I wonder if that is helping or not. What are your thoughts on that?

    Jody: Yeah, I think it definitely helps to have some boundaries and some guidelines. That definitely is helpful.

    One of the reasons I chose this specific surgery even more so than the sleeve or the traditional gastric bypass . . . Those are the two most popular. If you veer off of that recommendation path that your doctor or your surgeon gives you, you can start . . .

    It seems crazy because you have such a small stomach or your intestines are rerouted in a way that you shouldn't be able to gain weight, but there are a lot of people who gain weight back after getting the sleeve or gastric bypass if they start eating too many carbs and pizza and pasta, and they don't follow that good regimen again, and they don't incorporate drinking lots of water or their vitamins or exercise.

    And so it definitely gives you pause to think, "Well, maybe I shouldn't have that bite of spaghetti," or whatnot because you don't want to go down that slippery slope again.

    The duodenal switch, since it's so drastic, has less occurrence of regain. A lot of people do gain back maybe 15, 20, 30 pounds, but you're not seeing people regain all of their weight. And so that was one of the reasons I went down this route.

    At first I was embarrassed, honestly, that I had chosen surgery. I felt like I kind of had given up, and people would say, "Hey, you're taking the easy way out." Nobody's actually said that to me, but people think that. They're like, "Oh, you couldn't do it on your own. You had to cheat and have surgery." And so there was a lot of shame in the process of me weighing whether I was going to do this or not.

    But now I feel like I'm on that mission that you spoke about earlier to tell people, "Hey, this is a viable option, and you can do it in a healthy way."

    Yeah, there are some risks and you can have vitamin deficiencies and whatnot, but people who are on normal diets get vitamin deficiencies and have things go wrong with their health as well. So as long as you're following your surgeon's orders and sticking close to the plan, you're most likely going to have good health and have good results.

    And I think there's such a negative stigma around it that some people just say they would never do it, but I think it's at least worth exploring, that there is another alternative.

    If you can lose the weight and keep it off and then hit the holy grail of maintenance and keep the weight off and be healthy there, that's obviously the best way to do it. Do it naturally.

    But if you can't and if you struggled, I'd much rather you go down this route. And I'm kind of proud of myself for going down this route. If I hadn't, I probably . . . I'm 52. My dad died at 57. I was heading in that direction.

    And so I would much rather swallow my pride and try something a little bit different that I never thought I would try before to give myself a fighting chance.

    Troy: Yeah, I agree. And I think, too, a lot of that stigma, hopefully, is going away. I know maybe 20 years ago that was a bigger thing, but I see lots of people who have had gastric bypass now.

    And whatever stigma was there, I think more you can really look at it now. If someone reaches that point where this is their best option and their doctor is recommending it, there are people who are really taking that step and embracing that and really taking an ownership of their future health and wanting to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke and the complications of diabetes.

    Like you said, it's not just you get the surgery and you're done. There still is quite a bit of discipline you have to maintain after that. So it's just something that's pushed you to that, but there's a lot more you have to do, so it's not like you've taken the easy way out. It's not like a one-and-done kind of thing. There's a lot you have to do, whether you're just trying to lose it yourself or you're trying to keep it off and lose it after surgery.

    Jody: Yeah. Exactly. You said it really well. And on top of that, I've also started chatting with a therapist because I've got a lot of stuff going on in that tangled-up brain of mine. And so I have a lot of untangling and figuring things out and getting over the divorce and getting over the failures of weight loss, weight gain, and all that stuff.

    So I'm going to hopefully try to tackle this in a more balanced approach than I have previously, and hopefully that will help set up a lifetime of success for me.

    Scot: Yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story. This has just been incredible. Guys, do you have any sort of takeaways? First, let's start with Mitch.

    Mitch: So one of the things that I really, really appreciate is kind of your willingness, Jody, to share the good, bad, and the ugly with what you have experienced, the decisions you've had to made, etc.

    Personally, being someone who has struggled with his weight, is currently struggling with his weight and health and everything, I just really think that there's power in sharing that side. And whether it's just with your friends or family, on social media, on a podcast, it is brave and it can really help others, and it can kind of help yourself too by knowing that it doesn't always have to be perfect 100% of the time.

    And so thank you for kind of echoing that and sharing your story today.

    Jody: Hey, thank you, Mitch. And congrats on kicking the cigarette habit.

    Mitch: Oh, thank you.

    Scot: We all have our demons, it seems. Except for Troy. Troy has no demons, but . . .

    Mitch: No demons.

    Troy: Thank you. I wish.

    Scot: Any final thoughts/takeaways?

    Troy: Well, I think, Jody, your description of the slippery slope is a great analogy, whether it's with putting weight on and sliding down that slope as you just kept putting the weight on, or whatever we're dealing with. Just that cycle of guilt and shame that we can experience and beating ourselves up, and then having that feed into itself.

    I think, number one, certainly the obvious thing there, in your case, has been with the weight gain piece. I think for a lot of us, it may just be stopping exercise and holding ourselves to a high standard, and then just being like, "Well, I didn't reach that standard. What's the point?" and giving up because of that, or whatever it may be.

    Again, I think, number one, it creates a lot of empathy, hearing your experience. But I think personally I can take a lot from it too. And when you feel like you're not up to par in whatever it is, it's not beating yourself up and just saying, "Hey, I'm good enough. I'm doing all right. It's not what I was doing before, but I'm doing okay. I'm maintaining," or whatever you're doing at that point. So that was one of my takeaways.

    Scot: I've gained so much knowledge and so many gems, Jody, from what you talked about today that I've got more than just one. So I'm sorry, guys, and I'm hogging the mic here a little bit.

    The first thing that this conversation made me realize is that maybe maintaining weight is a completely separate skill we don't talk about enough. We can lose the weight, we can gain the weight, but we never really talk about what's the best way to maintain that weight. And that's the unsexy part. That's the part that people don't notice, right?

    So there are other things we have to do, and I don't know what those are. I think actually the first thing we need, Jody, is instead of "Losing It," I think you need to write a blog called "Maintaining It," where you talk about . . .

    Troy: "Maintaining It" or "Keeping It Off." Something like that.

    Scot: Yeah, where you talk about . . .

    Jody: I will happily write that when I get there, yeah.

    Scot: Good. All right.

    Another one of my takeaways, you said the common advice is eat less and move more, but sometimes that doesn't work. And I think that we don't give this whole thing of why some people gain so much weight so much more easily and quickly versus other people a lot of thought, right? It's a lot more of a complex issue than that.

    There are so many things that go into it, and we talked about a few of them. It could be genetics. It could be mental health. It could be what you're going through in life at that particular point. It could be the environment that we live in. There are so many things. I don't think we give it credit that it can be a lot more complex, which leads into this other idea that sometimes we need a little help.

    And we've talked about this with our mental health about medication. Sometimes you need the medication to kick-start the process in order to get to a place where you can start doing the work. And I think this is kind of a physical manifestation of that, right?

    If you can get past the stigma and the thought that, "Well, I can do this myself," or, "I'm admitting failure when I decide that I'm going to get some sort of a gastric bypass surgery," and realize, "This is just maybe a way I can kick-start this process to start fixing these things," whatever they might be in my life, maybe that's all it takes.

    And as Troy pointed out, that's not easy. It's not like, "Oh, you had the surgery. Well, that was the easy way out." No, it's not. There's still a lot of work that has to be done.

    Just so much, Jody. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

    Jody: Oh, I'm really happy to have had this experience with you guys and this conversation, and I hope that we can continue talking because when you share your story and what you're going through, I think it . . .

    Weight is all relative, so you might only have 20 pounds, or maybe you have a drinking problem, or whatever your situation is. You can gain some strength from hearing that other people are at least trying to fight a battle.

    And so that's what I hope people get as a takeaway from this, is to never give up and to keep yourself in that battle. There are a lot of tools out there, and be sure to try to use as many as you possibly can to get yourself where you need to be.

    Scot: Right. And consult with people that can help you. Don't just think you have to be the do-it-yourselfer and get it done on yourself.

    Jody: Exactly. You're not alone.

    Scot: Yeah. And I hope that this conversation . . . if somebody else is suffering kind of the same thing that you've gone through, maybe this will cut their decision process in half. Maybe instead of waiting seven years to kick-start this process like you did, maybe it's only three years, right? So I think this is going to be a powerful story for some of our listeners, for sure.

    If you have any thoughts or would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you. It's so easy to get ahold of us. Email

    Thanks for listening, and thanks for caring about men's health.

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