Name: James Guenther
Age: 63
Height: 5’10”
Starting weight: 190 lbs.
Ending weight: 167 lbs.
Products used: CarbKiller, FatReleaser, Protein Sticks

In mid 2004 I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF), which was pretty much of a shock at 59 years old. I decided to do some of my own research on the Internet, and learned to my dismay that if you developed CHF before you were 60 years old, generally you had 5 to 7 years to live. My ejection fraction, which as I understand it, is the amount of blood being pumped from the heart, was 19% as determined by my first heart cath. Not good. A normal ejection fraction is about 55% - 60%, so my heart was functioning at about 1/3 of normal. The cause? The doctor didn’t know, but I said I was either born with it or it might have been a virus. As a practical matter—it didn’t matter.

The biggest immediate threat to my life was cardiac arrithmia, and in December of 2004, my new best friend became my pacemaker/defibrillator. My cardiologist prescribed Lipitor and Coreg, which I was told was pretty much of a miracle drug for CHF.

To condense a few years into a few paragraphs there were lots of struggles, most of them mental, but a few physical as well. One of the side effects of Coreg was depression which I had struggled with previously, and that meant taking on an anti-depressant as well. When my Coreg was being increased over time, it was difficult to concentrate and I just couldn’t get enough sleep.  As you might expect, I put on a few pounds, but not a lot, maybe 5 or so. But, somewhere along this journey, there was a sort of awakening. I needed to start taking better care of myself physically.

Certainly, my wife and kids with their regular exercise routines and healthy eating, had a positive impact on me. I had said many times, if I could just get rid of that small tire around my 38 inch waist, I would be so happy. I was 5’ 10“ and weighed just a little under 190 pounds.

In January of 2008 my most precious, pregnant daughter, gifted me her well worn calorie-tracking armband. This was an eye opener for me. I had heard numerous times from my son that weight loss was all about “calories in and calories out”. I am absolutely convinced that our nationwide obesity problem is mostly related to having no idea how many calories we are taking in----and once they are in, how difficult it is to burn them off.  Again my very influential son said to me, “It’s a lot easier not to eat the calories in the first place than it is to burn them off!”

So I started eating more consciously.  I carefully began watching the number of calories I burn while keeping an eye on the calories each food I normally eat contains.  I made some simple portion size and meal timing adjustments to create a lasting calorie deficit and prevent hunger, and I now exercise at least 5 times a week (some cardio and some resistance training).

As of this writing, I am 63 years old, I weigh 167 pounds, I have a 32 inch waist, and this morning I FOUND AN AB!!

Thanks to the weight loss, better food choices, exercise, Coreg, and the Pacemaker/Defibrillator, my ejection fraction is at 50%, just 5 percentage points shy of “normal’!  I’m told that’s a little unusual, but I’m certain it’s a result of all of the steps I’ve taken over the past couple of years.

(Oh, and I also experienced one more side benefit. In the past, I grew colon polyps like a wheat field--- 17 of them in 3 years. This past year—none. The Doctor tells me it’s the change of diet and the weight loss.  The good news just keeps on coming!)

LISTEN UP CHF PATIENTS. I am the classic example of, “If I can do this---so can you.” The best recommendation I can give is to be very aware of your “calories in and calories out”, keep a positive attitude, and believe you can get better.

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