If there’s anyone who’s fought and defeated a fast-food addiction more successfully than my Norfolk, Virginia friend Chuck Carroll, I have yet to meet that person.
For as long as he can recall, Chuck reported when hosting this 2018 The Exam Room podcast with vegan pioneer Dr. Neal Barnard, he craved fast food.
His earliest memory is of going through a Burger King Drive-Thru as his mom ordered him a double cheeseburger with ketchup only. As he told Dr. Barnard:
“My single mother worked and you just had to do what was quick. And my grandmother who helped her raise my brother and I… she didn’t really know much about healthy living back then.”
Growing up on a steady diet of fast food, he weighed nearly 300 pounds on the day of his high school graduation. By age 26, he hit 420 pounds. With a 66-inch waistline, his 5-foot-6-inch frame was as large around as it was tall!
He estimates his daily calorie intake was close to 10,000 and remembers sweating profusely from the effort of crossing the street.
Finally, after late-night cravings for fast food derailed every diet he attempted, Chuck decided to undergo weight-loss surgery. His father, who was also obese, did likewise — and initially lost a tremendous amount of weight.
But within a few months of the procedure, Dad was back on the fast-food track. When Chuck asked why, he simply replied, “It’s just easier for me to do this.”
Before long, Dad regained 85 percent of what the surgery had taken off. So Chuck, who’d accepted that his love of fast food was a true addiction, chose a different approach.
He added walking to his weight-loss regimen. Starting with one block, then two, then three, he was eventually covering five miles on his daily lunch hour. Eventually, he dropped 265 pounds and has kept it off.
And six or seven years after the surgery, he participated in a Public Service Announcement campaign for Dr. Barnard’s Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine.
That’s how he discovered the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Eating vegan, he now says, makes him feel “… just like I’m in overdrive!”
I contacted Chuck and asked him to recommend some The Exam Room podcasts for my readers. Here are a few of his choices:
A recent Coronavirus FAQ session with Dr. Barnard and Dr. Jim Loomis, an internist and medical director of the Barnard Medical Center.
A 2018 interview with D.J. Swearinger, then a safety for the Washington Redskins.
A 2020 interview with comedian Jeff Durham and his wife Audrey, the creator of Peanuts’ Bake Shop vegan cookies.
A 2019 interview with Rip Esselstyn, plant-based triathlete and creator of The Engine 2 Diet.
Listening through the list he sent, I’m excited to see how many people are transforming their lives with plant-based eating!