Success Stories


The results were immediate and impressive

Gilchrist We began our journey to a healthy lifestyle in January 2014 with Dr. Day’s group. We both felt the time was right and we wanted to make healthier eating and lifestyle choices and see where it would lead us. Although the time and the challenge seemed right for us, we had no idea what to expect. Within 3 weeks it became clear to us that, as long as we lived the program, it worked! The results were immediate and impressive and we have found the program surprisingly easy to follow.

At the time we started, Bonnie had injured her knee and had trouble walking. She had made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon (who won’t be able to see her until June). SO, she bought a knee brace, babied her knee and started to loose weight. Within a month the knee felt much better and she started walking and biking. The knee continues to feel good. She has stopped taking ibuprofen and omeprazole and isn’t having pain and the limp is gone.

Steve was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in May of 2009 and started right in with chemo therapy. He is in remission but has some health issues due to the treatment. One of the most troubling is that he has been left with neuropathy in both feet and therefore has trouble with balance and walking. This has made it all but impossible for him to get close to 10,000 steps per day. However, he purchased a red coaster bike and is able to ride 40 minutes 5-7 days a week and loves doing it.

We have enjoyed doing this program together. We plan, shop and cook together. We feel that we couldn’t achieve the results we are getting if we had to do it alone. We are accountable to each other and also feel an accountability to Dr. Day and the group.

We realize that we are “not there yet” but feel we’re well on our way. Steve has lost 30 pounds and is down a pant and 2 shirt sizes and needs some new belts. Bonnie has lost 40 pounds and is down 2 sizes and nothing in the closet is fitting – OH DARN!

We are optimistic about our future and feel we want to live as healthy as possible to bring about the best quality of life in the years ahead. We both feel that we have more energy and a much more positive outlook. Hopefully we can continue to gain strength and support from other members of the group as we feel this is an important component of making the program work.

Steve and Bonnie Gilchrist
Jun 26, 2014 - 6:17 PM

Dr. Day’s introduction to lifestyle changes cheered me up and gave me hope

Before the program, my lifestyle included a somewhat inconsistent exercise routine. Food wise, it always included a lot of fruits and vegetables but also included a lot of red meat in addition to chicken, processed meats and some fish. Ice cream at nite was a must. Portion control always took a back seat. I very seldom got “a good nite’s sleep”. This coupled with Afib, I always felt tired throughout the day. I’d get irritated easily because everything was a physical struggle for me. At my worse point, I couldn’t walk more than a block or two without having to stop to catch my breath. With treatment, I could regain heart rhythm and feel better but it was short lived. Over the 10 year period, I’ve had two ablations, a Mini-Maze ablation, 6-8 cardioversions, 15 echocardiograms and untold amounts of meds only to return to recurring Afib and a degraded heart function. Essentially, right back where I started. My long time cardiologist told me that he was running out of options for me. That’s a pretty sobering experience when your cardiologist of 10 years starts scratching his head. I became increasingly depressed, dwelling constantly on my own mortality. He consulted Dr. Day last summer and I prepared for another ablation. I got my personal effects in order, I cherished the time I had with my family and pets before the ablation because I honestly didn’t think I’d survive it. My waking up from the procedure was a turning point for me because I knew I had another chance. Dr. Day’s introduction to lifestyle changes cheered me up and gave me hope. I never want to go through that hopeless feeling of despair again.

I attended all the weekly meetings except one with my daughter as my coach and we began re-shaping our lifestyles. Giving up steak and my ice cream was the toughest tasks for me. I joined a gym and created a daily exercise routine. After several weeks my daughter and I had become very comfortable migrating toward organic foods and avoiding the “bad” foods we used to eat on a regular basis. Today, we do not miss any of the culinary sins of the past. We often talk about how things have changed for the better. So, what is it like today?

We both feel so much better. I’ve lost over four inches from my waist, my daughter has lost almost 24 lbs and three dress sizes. I remain in rhythm. Words like happier, less stressed, relaxed, more patient, and energized describes us after just three months of the lifestyle change. I told my wife I feel like I’m 20 years old. I honestly do not know in my lifetime when I felt better than I do now. I can jog for 50 yards without being exhausted, my daily treadmill routine includes 3 mph at 10% incline for 1 hour each day and I don’t get winded at all. I just bought some new jeans and slacks that are two sizes smaller. I now sleep 7-8 hours each nite. Most importantly, I have a new appreciation for life. My heart function has improved 20%, still have some issues but my attitude tells me that it may very well continue to improve over time. . Last September, I was in despair and revised my Will. This September 20th, I'm flying to California to attend my 50th High School Graduation Reunion and I'm going to have fun! I honestly feel that my future is unlimited.

Jim McDonough
June 26, 2014 - 9:43 PM

I Truly Feel Like I Have My Life Back

I have always been healthy and active, a person who loves the outdoors, hunting, fishing, 4 wheeling, sports and horseback riding; I also enjoy physical work in the construction industry. At the age of 39, after losing consciousness several times and being rushed to the emergency room and subsequently kept three days for observation, I discovered that I had developed atrial fibrillation, or Afib, as it is commonly called. Over the course of the next 2 to 3 years my health deteriorated steadily, little by little until at the age 42 I felt my health was as poor as it had ever been. The Afib seemed to be brought on by the physical things I loved to do, this slowly robbed me of my confidence in my physical health and even created a “fear” that physical activity would bring on one of the 3 day, physically and mentally exhausting episodes of afib. This of course caused more unhealthy behaviors and a lack of physical activity, which lead to unhealthy mental and emotional distress, and then I found myself withdrawing from social interactions and activities, and in the end I had no energy or drive at all and was constantly tired. This was the downward health spiral I found myself in. I would like to share a portion of a letter I wrote to myself and used for motivation to make life changes says it how I felt during that time: “There is no question that a change is necessary and maybe even crucial to be able to do the things I want to in my life as well as live long enough to see my kids grow up, hopefully healthy. Aside from the Atrial Fibrillation problems and the possibility of stoke that exist I am amazed at the lack of physical conditioning and stamina that I have. Even doing simple things seems to leave me short of breath and winded not to mention when I really decide to exert myself. I have been unable to put in a full day’s work installing cabinets without being completely spent and needing the next day to recover for some time now. After a half a day installing carpet I thought I had just run a marathon. I used to be able to do that in my sleep even a year or two ago. After watching close family members with health issues, some of which are consequences of being overweight, I have realized that I need to start “NOW” to do something about it. More importantly than getting fit is staying fit. I want my health again. I need to be able to run down an elk or turkey on the mountain and be physically ready for my chance to hunt sheep or goats in their rugged mountain habitat. Right this very minute I have a desire to go play basketball but I simply don’t think I could last one trip up or down the court. Not to mention being there for my kids long enough to see them grow and having enough energy to want to get out and do something with them. I can’t believe how sluggish and almost lazy I have come to feel. I can’t find the energy to do most of the things I would like to, I can barely do the things I have to. This is not the me I am used to and certainly not the me I want to continue to be.” Gilchrist Having a strong sense of what I call my “why”, and feeling like I had hit rock bottom, made it pretty easy for me do commit to making the changes necessary; I knew I couldn’t go on doing the same unhealthy things that got me to this point. This connection with my why, I believe is the most important ingredient to achieving success. With tons of great support from my family, especially my wonderful wife, we, and I mean we, to include my wife, whose support has been crucial in this process, set out on the pathway back to health and happiness. Because of my sense of why, the path to health was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I will admit that the almost immediate successes such as weight loss, vastly improved energy & increased mental alertness, made it all the more bearable as I continued to stay committed to the process. For me the emphasis on improving my lifestyle focused on changing what, when, where and how I ate, as well as what I drank. This seemed to be one of the largest culprits for what led to my unhealthy lifestyle and possibly my Afib. Like most Americans I also ate at least twice the portions I needed, so changing portion sizes was also a crucial part of the change. The thought of Living without processed foods, especially sugar, flour and dairy products seemed almost impossible. I loved my bread and sweets of any kind, this would mean no more milk and cookies. It was almost as difficult to think of surviving by drinking only water. Even with these thoughts I was committed to give the change full and honest effort. Boy I am glad I did. Literally by week one or two I felt a very noticeable change in the way I felt and immediately began to lose weight. I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I began to feel better. The energy I used to enjoy began to come back almost immediately as well. Among the most surprising positive side effects of eating right was that I very, very seldom feel hungry. Feeling better and having more energy led to being more active, which led to losing more weight, which led to more determination which led to feeling even better and so on. Compliments I began to receive by others who began to notice my physical change also became very motivational. Now only three and a half months after starting the changes, I am enjoying the benefits and incredible changes that I have experienced; including a weight loss of 55 pounds, completely eliminating three daily medications, the side effects of which added to the terrible way I felt, and decreased my blood pressure from 135/85 on blood pressure medications to 100/60 without any medications at all. Energy now is abundant even to the point I can’t find enough things to do some days. There literally isn’t a day that goes by that someone I know doesn’t stop and asks me my secret, and for those who really want to know, I love to share the concepts that are now a part of my daily life, it is a pleasure for me to share my new found health and happiness with everyone I know. For me, as cool as these things have been, the most improved aspect of my wellness has to do with the mental and emotional clarity that I have rediscovered; I think the reason for this is, it was so unexpected, I didn’t even know that was missing until I found it. I am able to put in a full day’s work and still want to find something to do to keep going when I get home. I am able to play basketball with my kids, hike the mountains and haul hay, all without worrying about the “what ifs”. I have been able to improve my business and business relationships with the new energy and mental capacity, a renewed and increased desire to have more social and personal interaction with clients, associates, family and friends is also something I am able to enjoy at a new level. When it comes to sleep, I find I am able to get by with 7 hours a day, which compares to the 9 hours a day, and two or three naps a week that I had become accustomed to. I have also realized that I haven’t been sick or come down with all the illnesses my kids have had or dragged home from school; this has been extremely unusual for me because I used to get sick once or twice a month, if the kids had it I would get it only twice as bad; well, not anymore. When it comes down to it; I TRULY FEEL LIKE I HAVE MY LIFE BACK. I owe a GIANT “Thank you” to Dr. Day and his lovely wife Jane for all they have done for me and the many others who’s lives are improved because of the information and genuine heartfelt concern they have shared.

Lonne Rasmussen
June 26, 2014 - 5:40 PM


70 pounds and counting! After 8 months I am happy to report that I have found it surprisingly easy to maintain the lifestyle and the changes that I have adopted, and my health and happiness is as good as it has ever been. I am a living testament to the fact that it works. These are truly changes that can be maintained for a lifetime, it is not just a diet. Losing 70 pounds is only part of the story, my cholesterol is as low as it has ever been, I sleep much better, have more energy and physical stamina, and most surprising, I have more mental capacity and mental clarity, I don’t live in an unhealthy “brain fog” that I didn’t even know I was in. In short it has been AWESOME, take it from me, it can be done, its not that hard, and most of all its worth it.

August 26, 2014 - 9:14 AM

My Mind Seems Brighter and I have More Energy

Prior to entering Dr. Day’s Life Changing Classes, I usually walked very slowly to and from work. My desire was to exercise but I did not have the stamina to walk fast because I would have shortness of breath and become very light headed. Every break my friend and I would try to walk for 30 minutes. It was so frustrating because I was forced to stop several times to rest. My pace was very slow that I doubted that was any benefit from my walking. When I arrived home, I was so physically tired that I always had a nap. I grew up being very physically active by participating on several sports like tennis, swimming, basketball, racquetball, hockey and competed in several sports. Physical education was required daily at school and one afternoon a week we participated in competitive sports.

I am more aware of the foods and drinks that I use. It was interesting that while I am eating healthier that sugar does not tempt me. I had a big sweet tooth for chocolate and candy. They have candy dishes around my zone and it was tempting to indulge. I decided last Halloween that it was poison and I have not broken my commitment. I have noticed some of the trainers are also leaving healthier snacks of dried fruit or nuts.

I gradually began walking rapidly to my assignment every day. Also in the evenings I try to exercise with a friend because it creates an accountabililty. I try to walk to and from the events, climb up and down stairs instead of using the elevator. Religiously during my breaks I walk. The change in routine seems to give us more mental energy and stamina. It is neat to get outside for a break to feel the sunlight away from working for seven hours plus in front of a day. We also have breaks every 45 minutes to stand and stretch and drink some water. I love living near Memory Grove which gives me a break from the inner city life to enjoy the beauties of nature. When I walk up there and then procceed up Gravity Hill. It is fun walking upwards and it feels like I am going downhill. Biker going up are gliding or the bikers are peddling going down. Enjoying the beauties of nature is the highlight of the walks. I often walk 17,000 plus steps and I do not feel tired. Depending on my schedule, I consistently walk 10,000 step plus.

Every day I record my blood pressure, a distance walked, miles, and calories that I have eaten. My Fitbit also records how much sleep that I have very night. With help of my Fitbit, it seems to encourage me to keep moving and improve my scores. It is hard as a 71 year old to find people to play racquetball and tennis with me. I have more energy and my mind seems brighter. Teaching family history computer programs, forces me to be continually learning new skills.

Gayle Tippets
June 30, 2014 - 4:47 PM

I am forty pounds lighter than the day that Dr. Day invited me to take part

I am 57 years old and for much of my adult life, I have had issues with high blood pressure and pre-diabetes. I have a high-stress, sedentary desk job and come from a family with a history of heart disease (both of my parents died at the age of 78 due to strokes). I have also struggled to maintain a healthy weight, losing weight at times only to see it increase again when I stopped " dieting". Two and a half years ago, my health took a turn for the worse when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and also atrial fibrillation. During that time I also had issues with swelling, pain and infections. It was during this time that I met Dr. Day. Because of my medical condition and high risk of stroke, I began taking metformin for the diabetes and blood-pressure medication and blood-thinners. As part of a clinical study, I also qualified for and received an ablation procedure from Dr. Day which was successful in correcting the a-fib.

In January of this year, my weight had increased to 209 lbs., my fasting blood sugar levels were creeping back up to the 140-160 levels despite the metformin, blood pressure issues were returning and I had no energy. A typical day consisted of dragging myself out of bed in the morning, working 10 hours and then sleeping through TV shows at night until waking up to go to bed. It was at this time, while in a follow-up office visit, that Dr. Day invited me to take part in a group devoted to positive lifestyle changes. The classes started the following evening.

I made a decision that I was going to try to follow the instructions fully to see what kind of results it would have. After some initial frustration concerning the lack of "acceptable" things to eat, I began to enjoy trying new healthy alternatives. Almost immediately, my body began to respond to the healthy diet and exercise with more energy. When I was able to get to bed on time I experienced increased productivity at work and had energy for evening activities. I began to see steady weight loss, felt lighter and was able to handle more strenuous activities. With the physical changes, my emotional outlook improved. I feel happier and enjoy getting outside and interacting with others.

As I write this, it has been nearly four months since starting this journey. I am forty pounds lighter (169 this morning) than the day that Dr. Day invited me to take part. I have seen dramatic improvement in my health statistics: fasting glucose is consistently under 100 with half the metformin, cholesterol dropped from 188 to 126 with increased HDL (45-53) decreased LDL (100-62), triglycerides dropped (213-56) and blood-pressure is under control with no meds. Most of all, I feel better and am enjoying life with my family. Thanks to Dr. Day and Jane.

Ron Sanders
July 7, 2014 - 10:23 PM

I feel great with more energy!

I think my story has two beginnings. One is based on observing my father the last few years of his life. The other hangs in a bout with AFIB I had which led me to Dr. Day in the first place.

Let me begin by talking about my father. He passed away in October of 2012. For sixteen years he would drive himself down to the dialysis center, sit in the chair for 4-6 hours and then be totally zapped of energy the rest of the day. His diet was very restrictive avoiding potassium at all costs. His lifestyle changed dramatically. A brilliant mind now withering in a subjective body.

How did he get there? We really don’t know. However, he was a veteran of World War II. At 18 he found himself enlisted and eventually shipped to the Pacific Theater. Most of his time in the service was spent in the Philippines. He was trained as a weather observer in the Army Aircorps (pre-dating the U.S. Air Force). Sometime while serving he had a major strep infection. Today doctors believe it was during that infection that one of his kidneys stopped functioning. This went unknown until he was 70 when his other kidney started groaning under the load of so many years flying solo. Ultrasound found the defective kidney to be non-existent. Thus began his sixteen years on hemodialysis. His life was still pretty good. He had enough energy to golf with me every Wednesday morning though it was tougher the hotter the weather. An accident in a Kidney Foundation Golf Tournament (he was the poster child) ended his golfing career as he lost his balance, fracture his femur and ended up with several months of therapy. He never swung a club again.

The last few years of his life were not kind in the quality of life category. He could barely drive himself, though he was fiercely independent and wouldn’t stand to inconvenience someone else to drive him. Eventually his fistula in his arm weakened requiring a new site be surgically created. This was discovered when, alone during the night, his port sites opened, nearly causing him to bleed out in his sleep. Miraculously a phone call summoned me to help get him to the hospital for a transfusion of 3 units of blood. A new site was surgically created but a MERSA infection found its way into his system. Not long after, his heart gave way taking his life. His passing at 87 was quick and easy but the life events to get him there were grueling.

The last two years that I watched him caused me to think deeply about my own mortality. I do not want my children to witness what I witnessed. I would prefer to go out in a blazing trail of flames at Mach 4 speed at 100+ years old with my hair on fire! Definitely less suffering and less dependence on others for senior care. So I hope for a good long life as a centenarian and then to check out of this life without causing undo stress for others.

The second story revolves around my own health. I have lived for years in a very stressful career. Marketing, advertising and design do not see a lot, if any, centenarians. In fact, when I was in school I heard the life expectancy of someone in this career was somewhere in the 40’s. I strive to live a good clean life, eat properly always improving my diet and see my doctor at least once a year for a thorough physical. I plan on beating the odds.

About 2005 I received a concerned call from my doctor after my physical. He suggested I see a hepatologist at my earliest convenience. Evidently the blood tests revealed lower than normal liver function. This was unusual as I felt fine. My heart was in great shape. It was always refreshing to hear the doctor say during my annual physical and while looking at the EKG printout…“Your heart is as healthy as an Olympian!” On one occasion he said he expected me to live to be 124 years old. Now my own mortality hung in the balance with a diagnosis of auto-immune hepatitis. Nonetheless I continued my lifestyle by strictly following the advice of the doctors. I started with treatment of high dose steroids (Prednizone) which eventually led to a seemingly lifelong dependence on Azathioprine, a drug mostly used to thwart organ rejection by transplant recipients.

While undergoing this form of treatment, my wife and I were assigned by our church to move to Atlanta, Georgia and preside over a mission of 150 Mormon missionaries. This is a job, not for the faint of heart or the weak of the knees. This is a full-time assignment for 3 years with no breaks. Literally, you are on call 24/7 for the full three years. They say a president of the United States will age two years for every year of service. A mission president ages at the rate of dog years. During those three years I did stay on the regime of meds that were prescribed. Each month I would visit the lab to have blood drawn which results were sent to my hepatologist in Utah. I had no ill effects from anything. I also visited with a doctor at least annually and had intermittent check-ups by the Area Medical Advisor, a doctor who is assigned to a larger area by the Church.

In 2011 we returned to our home and started again with the same doctors as before. Within a year of returning home and resuming a consistent lifestyle, the diagnosis was resolved…the auto immune disease had resolved itself. However I was left with a few extra pounds, partly due to the meds and mostly due to the Southern lifestyle and stress of the mission.

Another annual physical evidenced symptoms of sleep apnea. I was sent to a sleep center for tests. The diagnosis showed slight signs of apnea with a prescription by the doctor to lose a few pounds. He suggested a dietician. After several visits to her without much change in weight, my wife suggested we both attend WeightWatchers classes which we did for several months. I was quite frustrated with both. I had only lost a few pounds. The cost/weight loss ratio was staggering. It seemed to me that I would lose only pounds but fluctuate between feeling OK and feelings of despair because the weight was not coming off.

Things changed when one night upon retiring my heart started to flutter. I had felt the symptoms of AFIB before but it always seemed to resolve, sometimes after minutes but once after about 4 hours. I thought I should either go to sleep and wake up feeling better or get the problem diagnosed once and for all. A few minutes later I was lying in the ER undergoing stabilizing treatment to regulate the flutter. The drug therapy didn’t work so they moved to shock therapy. That worked in two ways. It got my heart regulated and it also convinced me that I didn’t want to do that again! So an appointment was made to visit with Dr. Day at his practice. After a stress test it was determined that I did have a healthy heart and the arrhythmia was probably caused by another drug used to regulate a genetically caused hypothyroidism.

I am a regular exerciser. I ride a bike for pleasure and fitness. It is something I really enjoy and can’t wait to leave work so I can ride. I am invested and have spent a few dollars on equipment. It’s funny that we spend so much to lighten our equipment and so little attention is spent on losing weight on our bodies. I am frustrated by my lack of ability to shed the extra pounds of body weight. But the suggestions made by Dr. Day to alter the lifestyle have helped a great deal. Not only have I lost about 24 pounds in the processes described above, I have more stamina and energy while riding my bike. I live in the foothills so a typical climb back to my house if over 1,000 feet after working out at the lake level. The extra weight is a burden in more ways than one. I have noticed a marked improvement in losing that weight. I hope to continue to lose even more to the prescribed weight suggested by Dr. Day. We are about the same height and build. He’s just 50 pounds lighter! He would make a great cyclist except for his height…same for me, I wish.

So from watching my dad and his lifestyle changes and deterioration to my own desire to live a good, long, healthy life, the suggestions made are truly making a difference. My goal is still to leave this world at a good age over 100 with my hair on fire at Mach 4 speed, making a contribution until I die, never looking back with regrets and not being a burden on my family who are running (or cycling) fast to catch me!

BTW: I just completed the Huntsman 140, a bicycle event where I rode 140 miles in one day. When I finished I felt I had enough energy to ride another 60 which could have been a double century. I feel great with more energy!

July 15, 2014 - 8:08 PM

One Sunday, someone asked me why I looked so good

I was very excited when I first heard about the program, because I knew I needed to lose weight myself. I thought, if my husband does this, it will help us both.

When the program started in February, I had already begun my weight loss journey and had started walking every day. I had lost about twenty pounds. I was “roughly” doing the weightwatchers program. Things were going good and I felt good.

I have done weightwatchers many times before and was successful once about ten years ago. Unfortunately, later I reverted to old ways and gained fifty pounds over the course of eight years.

When we started the program, it was a little challenging. We started incorporating a lot of good things in the program. We were eating much healthier and eliminating processed foods. If you were to ask us about our eating habits before the program, I’m sure we “thought” we were eating very healthy. However, I don’t believe you can be eating healthy and be fifty pounds overweight!

One of the biggest changes and one of the things that helped me most was cleaning our house of “junk” food. By junk food, I mean any processed foods. It’s surprising how many things creep into your cupboard that you do not realize are not good for you.

In the beginning, we did not purchase enough fruits and veggies and founds ourselves going to the store more frequently. Now we really stock up. The best part is when we are hungry; we only have good, healthy choices, so even stacking isn’t a problem! We can snack all we want because we get filled up.

A big benefit of the program was that only a week or two into the program I found that I had so much more energy. I would wake up energized each morning. In February I had the ultimate test for me. I was extremely busy with work, had a funeral out of town, and had a lot of holiday orders at my bakery. A couple of days I didn’t get my usual eight hours of sleep. In the past, I would have started getting a cold and feeling miserable. After this very crazy week, I woke up on Monday morning, totally energized with no signs of a cold! I was so happy I could not believe it.

I feel like the program is so easy. I was at the store the other day and just thought how much easier it is to shop now. There are so many things I don’t even consider buying. I spend most of my time in the produce section looking for yummy fruits and veggies. If I’m in a hurry for dinner, I might just make a trip to our fabulous salad bar.

I have lost fifty pounds now. One Sunday, someone asked me why I looked so good. I know it’s not just the weight loss, but the lifestyle change. Many times when people lose weight, they get more wrinkles and can look aged. My friends tell me that I look so good, but I especially look healthy. I feel healthy. I feel young.

I also am addicted to getting in my 10,000 steps each night. At the end of the day if I find myself short, I walk the halls of our home. I jump on the mini trampoline and I do the hula hoop right in our living room! I no longer care if our living room looks like a gym.

I feel energetic all the time now. At night I stop eating AND drinking after 7:00pm. It really helps. I also make a conscious effort to try to sleep through the night. If I wake up, I make myself try to go back to sleep instead of automatically getting up. I find myself getting much better sleep and awakening much more rested.

LuAnn Lukenbach
July 16, 2014 - 5:11 PM

My health is very good. My blood pressure has dropped considerably.

Before I started doing the program, I didn’t feel like doing much. I watched a lot of television news and some exercise.

After the program, I feel more like going and doing things. I wasn’t very enthusiastic and now I am much more enthusiastic. Now I feel like going ballroom dancing again. When we are dancing, I have more energy and can dance more songs. Before, I would have to sit out a lot of songs, but now I’m getting back to my old self—dancing the entire time!

The things I learned are things I have always known. Now that Dr. Day has been teaching us, it makes me think more seriously about it and it makes more sense.

My health is very good. My blood pressure has dropped considerably. My heart rate is excellent and I’m getting more exercise all the time—because I finally feel like doing it! I have a lot more energy. I sleep very well. I am very happy. I am not getting winded as much. I feel like going on walks now with my wife.

Lucky Lukenbach
July 16, 2014 - 6:12 PM

I’m old and fat, no REALLY fat

Last November I went to my scheduled appointment with Dr. Day. It had been six months since my fourth ablation and over three months since I stopped taking Flecainide, a heart rhythm control medication. I had been A-fib free for the entire time. I was happy; maybe even a little cocky. I was ready to go out, get an ice cream cone, and celebrate. However, the doctor made the somber observation that if I didn’t change my lifestyle, I’d eventually start having A-fibs again. Bummer - scratch the ice cream celebration.

I knew he was right. After all I’m old and fat, no REALLY fat.. Well, Dr. Day looked at me with a big smile and told me that he was doing a study where he intended to show that living a healthy lifestyle could reduce or eliminate A-fibs. He asked, “Do you want to participate?”

I paused. In my mind I said, “Not in a million years.” After all, using a trite phase, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. For my whole life I’d rewarded myself with donuts, cookies, ice cream or the like when I did something right and I wasn’t ready to change. That said I intellectually realized that there are a lot of disadvantages to being fat. For example you can’t play tag with your grandkids, getting up and down from a soft chair is no longer easy, and you have to grunt every time you reach down to pick up something off of the floor.

So, out loud I hesitantly told the doctor, “Yes.”

Dr. Day then looked at me and in a serious tone said, “It’s not going to be easy.” Sure, he waited until after my listless yes to tell me that it might be a hard thing to do. Wonderful (if you can’t tell, this word drips of sarcasm).

The first meeting of the study group was several months later. My stomach was tied in knots as we walked into the room. I was not excited about the idea of starving myself while running on a treadmill until I collapsed from exhaustion. Ice cream and TV still seemed like the best way to go… However, as Dr. Day started his presentation, each aspect of his program made sense. I liked the diet because it didn’t require counting calories (I just can’t count calories; it’s a phobia I have) and in general I liked the foods that were recommended. On top of that, Dr. Day emphasized that if you got really hungry, you weren’t doing it right. I really liked that concept! OK, the lack of chocolate chip cookies on the food list didn’t excite me, but the rest did. I also liked his approach to exercise, and the idea that health was tied to gratitude, helping others, and having a support group appealed to me.

At that point I committed to following the plan – barring a few “oopises” – for the three month study period and afterwards if the “experiment was a success.” I’ve found that if you commit to do something, the chances of success grow astronomically.

The first few weeks of the program hooked me. I followed the diet plan and I didn’t get hungry. I exercised daily, and looked for ways to help others. The weight began to fall off. By the end of the first month I was down around 20 pounds, but more importantly, I felt better and the swelling in my ankle which REALLY bothered me was down at least 90%. I was thrilled.

Over the next two months my wife and I tried numerous new recipes that contained only “good” foods. I was amazed that you could make something with tofu that actually tasted good. Our fridge quickly filled with veggies, fruits, legumes, and was formally stamped with the organic label. Sugar was pretty much gone from the house and surprisingly I didn’t miss it much. As I followed the plan the weight continued to fall, my energy level soared, and my blood pressure dropped. By the last day of the program (April 30th), I’d lost over 45 pounds. I was wearing clothes that hadn’t seen the light of day in years, and had made several trips to Deseret Industries to drop off my “fat” clothes which I will NEVER need again!

Did everything go perfectly? No. I fell off the wagon a handful of times – surprisingly more for breads and cheese than for sugar. My blood work showed no miraculous improvements in cholesterol and everything else. In fact if you exclude about a 5% improvement in blood sugars and triglycerides, it was pretty much a mirror image of my tests from six months previous. That bothered me a bit, but the weight loss and energy gains were reason enough to go on.

Before starting the program, my lifestyle was pretty sedentary, if you exclude the 30 minutes of exercise I did 3 to 4 times a week. I ate whatever I desired which included lots of sweets and processed foods; I loved the crackers and cheese. My health was at best fair and many activities were limited by weight and lack of stamina. Three months later things are drastically different. I eat a lot better diet with few sweets and processed foods. I am physically active; frequently walking more than 10 miles a day. And my health has improved to the “good” category and I’m aiming higher still.

All-in-all, Dr. Day’s vision of a healthy lifestyle is something I can do – forever. Unlike previous diets where I lost weight then gained it back plus more (because I was always hungry and wanted something more to eat), I’m satisfied with what I eat and don’t feel the need for more. I’m seldom starving or even hungry. I enjoy the exercise, plus showing gratitude for what I have and finding ways to serve others is very gratifying. Sure, I’m going to eat some chocolate chip cookies along the way, but not as many as in the past, and far less frequently. I’ve found that I don’t need them to survive; a startling revelation in and of itself.

Now that the program is over, my wife and I continue following its guidelines. It just makes sense. Our increased levels of energy and happiness easily justify this decision.

These pictures show me before the program started and after it finished. I’m not going to call the second pictures the “after pictures”, but instead I refer to them as on-the-way-down photos since I still need to lose more weight.

Larry Myers
July 17, 2014 - 5:19 PM

How the dare program changed my life

Last fall, Dr. Day invited my husband, Larry Myers, to participate in the DARE program. Larry asked me to be his support person and to live the lifestyle, too. Here are my thoughts after completing this experience.

Before the DARE program, Larry and I lived fairly sedate lives, looking forward to retirement which for us is rapidly approaching. My health was very good. My weight was in the normal range, but my cholesterol was a little high.

When the program began, I thought we were excelling in the area of exercising. We had been going to the gym 3-4 days per week for several years. But we were not moving enough! Larry is a civil engineer and I am a computer programmer, so we would sit at our desks 8 hours during the day, then go to the gym for a half hour and then sit at home in the evenings - either watching TV, or doing more things on the computer!

Larry and I were flunking miserably at eating healthy as well. We had always eaten fish and chicken - rarely beef - and we regularly purchased tons of vegetables and fruits which I am embarrassed to say, got thrown into the garbage regularly because we didn’t have the energy (Catch 22!) to do the preparation and we were filling ourselves up with junk food instead. Between the two of us we could easily down a large bag of potato chips, dozens of chocolate chip cookies, or a one pound box of chocolates in one evening while we were watching TV. To top it off, whenever my job got stressful during the work day I consumed junk food liberally to compensate for the stress.

The DARE program improved our health immensely and increased our physical activity. Dr. Day and his program were incredibly enlightening. I experienced two epiphanies that really changed my life. First I learned that processed foods and sugar are extremely unhealthy and need to be avoided as much as possible. Second, I learned that sitting is the new smoking.

Since the DARE program started, I have worked diligently at improving my diet. Larry and I have cut out nearly all of the processed foods we used to eat on a regular basis and the sugar in our kitchen canister is gathering dust. This change in my life has helped me realize that I am a sugar addict. It’s been a struggle, and I fall off the wagon frequently. Nevertheless, I am probably eating 75% less processed sugar than I was before the program started - not bad for an addict! We are definitely eating healthier foods every day...if I could just eliminate more of the sugar, life would be perfect!

The improvements to my diet have been simple little things yet they have had a massive impact on how I feel. What works for me is I just find healthy substitutes for the unhealthy foods I used to eat! For example, for breakfast, I’ve added flax seed and chia seed to my daily oatmeal. I replaced my daily pineapple Greek yogurt with unsweetened yogurt. I replaced milk with almond milk. For my snacks, I’ve curtailed eating so much chocolate and satiate that need with nuts sparingly sprinkled with dark chocolate chips. I eat enough, I am not hungry, and I don’t miss the unhealthy foods.

One commitment I made to myself is to be proactive in what I put in my mouth instead of reactive because the Sad American Diet (and obesity) is everywhere. I check labels of everything – especially for the sugar content because that’s the area I have a problem with. For example, yesterday, late in the afternoon, I needed some energy. I craved a Mt. Dew from the office vending machine, however, due to Dr. Day’s influence, I took a walk for thirty minutes, stopping at Trader Joe’s to buy a more healthy drink. I studied the labels of 4 or 5 enticing products only to put them back on the shelf because their sugar content was through the roof. I finally found a yummy substitute – Coconut water – ever heard of it? It’s yummy and it has a lot less calories and sugar than Mt. Dew!!

Since the start of the DARE program I weigh in every morning. I move around more frequently during the day by taking breaks and short walks. When talking on my cell phone, I walk instead of sitting. I wear my step counter religiously and frequently check it throughout the day to ensure that I am being active. So far I found that I can get 10,000-15,000 steps just by paying attention – walking during my lunch and breaks and going to the gym as frequently as possible. We now work out longer each day at the gym – for about an hour. I usually do 30 minutes a day on the elliptical but have added resistance and stretching. We also bought a stationary bike and placed it in front of the TV. I’ve lost 12 pounds and my cholesterol has gone down 25 - 30 points since the DARE program started. The other day, a friend at the gym commented, "Have you and your husband slimmed down? You look great!" That comment was a great motivational tool!

Now that the DARE program is officially over, our health is very much improved. We have higher energy, are more hopeful about the future, and certainly look at life through more rose colored glasses! The other day I found myself running up the stairs from our basement! I can’t even remember the last time I did that!

The most exciting thing for me is watching Larry lose weight and walk with a lighter step and a broader smile! He is passionate about this new lifestyle and it’s contagious. He’s enjoying boxing up his BIG clothing and giving it away. He’s enjoying planting more veggies than flowers in our garden this year. We have fun taking walks together in new places and cooking new recipes. I especially am more optimistic about our retirement together!!

We’ve enjoyed trying new healthy recipes together and getting our family and friends involved. Last weekend when our family came over for dinner we had bowls of veggies on the counter and everyone made their own customized California rolls with whole grain sprouted brown rice – healthy!

I feel healthier, I am happier, and I have a lot more energy to do the things I like to do. I seldom feel sluggish. When I get home from work I want to do things like work in the garden instead of plopping down in a chair. Now when I consume junk food instead of nutritious food, I really notice that I feel lethargic and drained afterwards. I am sleeping longer and more soundly as well because of fasting a few hours before bedtime.

To quote Dr. Day, “You can’t go back!” And we won’t!!!

Toni Myers
July 17, 2014 - 5:20 PM

By following Dr. Day’s program I was able to lose 25 pounds in just 3 months

I find it ironic that I ended up with atrial fibrillation after taking care of heart patients. For more than forty-two years I worked as a RN in a hospital. Of those years, thirty-four of them were in the thoracic ICU taking care of heart surgery patients. Six months after retiring, I had my first episode of atrial fibrillation while celebrating my husband’s birthday with my in-laws in January 2011. I told them I wasn’t feeling well and that I wanted to go home. Being a nurse and having a small finger oximeter, I checked my pulse–it was irregular and 165 beats per minute. I lay down and took a nap and felt fine after my nap. After that, I would have an atrial fibrillation episode every couple of months. In June of that year and having just had an episode, I saw my primary care doctor and he checked me out and said everything was fine. I convinced him to give me a prescription so I could have an EKG done while I was having an episode. My husband and I went on a vacation in August and I had several episodes and had to take it easy. In October we had an extended vacation in Arizona, Georgia and Alabama, pulling our tent trailer and I experienced a few more episodes, but I still didn’t have an EKG to verify my condition.

I had been cleaning my house really well for Thanksgiving, moving chairs to vacuum, when at 7 p.m. I had a big episode of atrial fibrillation. I decided to wait until morning to see if I was still in atrial fibrillation. I was, so I drove myself to the Intermountain Medical Center. I gave them the order for the EKG. A technician came in to take me back for the test. I informed her I was in atrial fibrillation. She replied, “No, you’re not.” As she was running the EKG, she suddenly blurted out: “We need to call your doctor now.” I asked what was wrong and she told me that she couldn’t tell me due to HIPA rules. I asked to see the report and my heart rate was in the 160s and irregular. They had me call my primary care doctor immediately and he ordered a twenty-four-hour wireless heart monitor to be hooked up. They would not let me leave the hospital until I called a cardiologist and had an appointment to see him that day. Because it was the day before Thanksgiving, they had only one cardiologist on call and he couldn’t see me until 2 P.m.. I went home and rode my exercise bicycle and broke out in a sweat. So I slowed down and did not exercise as long as usual. My heart rate was in the 120s to 160s and irregular.

The cardiologist examined me and recommended that I be cardioverted. He was surprised that I was tolerating the atrial fibrillation so well. I went over to the heart clinic and they prepared me for the cardioversion. I dressed into the gown and started in IV. They were ready to give me the Brevital to put me to sleep. I looked up at the monitor and instead of the irregular heartbeat in the 120s, I was in a normal sinus rhythm in the 70s–so I was saved from the shocks.

A week later, they did a stress-echo test. After eight minutes they stopped the test. The cardiologist reported that everything looked good. He started me on two medications: Flecainide and Metoprolol. Whenever I would invite all my family members over for Sunday dinner, I would go into atrial fibrillation. On Sunday, Christmas Day, I almost passed out in church. This scared my son and he started to cry, which made me cry. I continued to have atrial fibrillation episodes throughout December 2011. By March 5, I had had twenty-two atrial fibrillation episodes that I knew about. I discussed with my cardiologist what I should do. He recommended I have a heart procedure called an ablation. I wanted to wait because recently the episodes seemed to be coming a little less frequently.

Three days later, while I was rushing to catch a flight to California to tend my grandchildren, while their parents were gone for a week to New York, I had the biggest scare of my life. Whenever I have something out of the routine, I don’t sleep well, and that night I had slept only about three hours. A lack of sleep seems to trigger my atrial fibrillation episodes. By 5 a.m., I was in atrial fibrillation. On the way to the airport, I looked for my Metoprolol in my purse, but I couldn’t find it. It was a long walk to the gate in the airport. By the time I arrived, I was having difficulty breathing, I was diaphoretic, shaky, nauseated, feeling chest discomfort, dizzy, lightheaded and my temples were throbbing. My heart rate had gone from the 130s to the 180s, then up to 241 beats per minute. I thought, “This is it. I’m going to die. My heart can’t keep going this fast much longer.” I was really scared. The airline attendant could see I was having problems and he wouldn’t let me get on the airplane. He had the captain come and talk to me because I was still insisting on getting on the plane. The captain said, “There is no way you are getting on my airplane, because there is no one to take care of you if you needed help.” The plane left at 8:40 a.m. without me. In the meantime I had called my husband to bring my medication to me. Boy, was he mad when he found out that I was trying to get on an airplane and be gone for a week without my medication. They wheeled me down to the front entrance of the airport to meet my husband with my medication. I took my medication and within 2½ hours, my heart rate was down in the 100s, but still irregular. With any activity my heart rate would jump up to the 130s, but by noon I was on my way to California. At one point during the flight, I wasn’t feeling well, but it was a different feeling than before. The engine noise sounded really loud. I checked my heart rate and it was 47 bpm. During that week while tending my grandchildren, I had only two more atrial fibrillation episodes. My grandchildren prayed daily that my heart would be okay, so I could stay there with them until their parents came home.

Besides bringing me my medication, I had my husband call my cardiologist and schedule an ablation. On April 2, I had the ablation done and things went well. However, the next morning as I was getting dressed and ready to be discharged, I went back into atrial fibrillation with a heart rate in the 170s. The doctors wouldn’t let me go home while I was in atrial fibrillation. They gave me a few hours to see if I would convert back to a normal sinus rhythm after increasing my medication. At 3 P.m. they took me down to the first floor to cardiovert me, but after three successive shocks, I was still in atrial fibrillation. They called my doctor and he came over and cranked up the power, but it was also unsuccessful. I just wanted to go home, where I could get a good nights sleep. Finally, I chose to leave the hospital. However, I quickly ran into problems. My oxygen saturation went down to 84%. I borrowed oxygen from my father-in-law and soon I was sound asleep. By 4:20 a.m. I converted back to a normal sinus rhythm.

Things went well for several months and even on a long vacation. I had only a few short episodes of atrial fibrillation. On October 12, 2012, I was wearing a wireless heart monitor and out walking with my friends. I grabbed my friend’s arm and said, “I don’t know what’s wrong, but I feel like I am going to pass out.” After a moment, I felt fine and we continued walking. When I got home, my phone was ringing. It was my cardiologist saying I needed a pacemaker because I was having frequent pauses for as long as five seconds. On October 17, I had a pacemaker placed and after that, everything improved.

From March 18 to June 18, 2013, I had only twenty-two episodes of atrial fibrillation. So my doctor let me go six months before my next checkup. Between June and December 2013, I had 596 episodes so my cardiologist started talking about another ablation. Then a miracle appeared in the form of Dr. John Day.

When I heard the presentation of Dr. Days’s longevity experience in China, I knew I wanted to join his class. After I retired, I had set a goal to lose a pound every month. In the 3½ years, I had only lost 24 pounds instead of the 42 as I had hoped. By following Dr. Day’s program I was able to lose 25 pounds in just three months. It was easy for me to do. Why?

Exercise. I was already exercising an hour in the morning, walking with friends and at noon exercising an hour while watching the news while on an AirDyne, stationary bicycle, that exercises the arms as well as the legs. After purchasing the pedometer, I found that I was already close to the 10,000 steps a day. Since the pedometer does not count steps while riding the bicycle, I changed my routine to one-half hour on the bike and one-half hour on a treadmill. While on the bike, I do extra exercises with my arms, shoulders and neck. While on the treadmill, I do crisscrosses with my feet, walk pigeon-toed and then with toes flared outward, just for variety. During the week, I walk with friends, but on the weekends, I have to walk alone, which is not as much fun.

When talking on the telephone or watching sports games on television, I keep walking around. I take advantage of any opportunity to get in more steps. Since I was already at 10,000 steps per day, I quickly increased my goal to 13,000. I have reached as high as 20,293 steps in one day. During the three months of our classes, I was able to reach at least 10,000 steps every day. I’m so grateful that I am retired and have time to accomplish this goal.

Food. I was raised on a farm in Wyoming, where we had a big garden and many animals. I have always enjoyed eating fruits and vegetables. My parents also did a lot of home canning. I had to learn to eat even more vegetables and fruits on the program. After class each week, my husband and I would stop at the nearby Sprouts store, which specializes in fresh fruits and vegetables. We would buy our fruits and vegetables for the week. Since Wednesday’s are double ad day, when the previous and current week ads are accepted, there are many good deals. We only spent around $35 each week. Then I made lots of salads, soups, stirfrys with brown rice, raw veggies with a variety of homemade hummus and steamed veggies in my waterless cookware. We ate weekly salmon which we both love and chicken once or twice a month. For breakfast, I would eat steel-cut oats with either blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries. I would eat a banana a day to take my pills and also a small handful of almonds. Occasionally I would vary my routine with an omelette and vegetables. What I missed most was my homemade whole wheat bread. I bought a loaf of Ezekiel bread, but I wasn’t very fond of it. It took me seven weeks to finish that one loaf of bread. I did like it better after Jane Day suggested we toast it.

Eating nine fruits and vegetables a day is a lot of food and I had difficulty trying to eat it all. I kept doing it though because I found that I would lose more weight when I ate more. I was surprised how easy it was for me to eat only the foods that were good for me. When eating out, I would choose the salad bar without dressing. While shopping at Costco, I would avoid the samples. I had no desire to eat them. I can count on one hand the times I strayed from the program’s guidelines. On Valentine’s Day, I tried a new cream cheese, sugar cookie recipe and I had to take a small bite. On St. Patrick’s Day, I ate a whole cookie. When I made pumpkin cookies, I ate a couple. Giving up sodas was not a problem for me since I only drink skim milk and water. I don’t have cravings for cake or donuts, only my whole-wheat bread.

I loved our daily checklist (just not entering the information on my outdated iPad), especially the encouragement to do something to help others each day. I am the Compassionate Service Leader in my church and I have fifteen grandchildren, so I am frequently helping, but the program caused me to pause each day and decide what I could do for others. It ranged from taking out and in an elderly neighbor’s garbage cans, putting the daily newspaper on the bench for a man in his 90s, so he doesn’t have to bend over, picking up discarded wine, liquor and beer bottles from the street and putting them in garbage cans. I have opened doors for elderly and handicapped people and others loaded down with grocery bags. I did lots of different things for my husband and other family members.

The end of the day was the best time to reflect on the many things I was thankful for.

Changes in my life. Prior to Dr. Day’s class, I was active, healthy, except for when I had atrial fibrillation episodes, and ate good healthy food. I felt good and had lots of energy. However, I think I may have had more energy after starting the program. I started getting compliments from people around me because of my weight loss. When I lose another 30 pounds, I will buy myself a complete new wardrobe. Yes!

I now rarely have atrial fibrillation episodes, which was my goal when I started the program. I also wanted to lower my blood sugar levels, which I have done. I have also lowered my blood pressure. In October 2013 my A1c was 6.5. By April 2014, it was down to 5.8. My cholesterol is down to 141 with my cholesterol medication, cut in half. My LDL is 74. My triglycerides, are down from 127 to 96. My CRP is only 0.1 and my vitamin D is good at 39. My homocysteine is normal at 9. My blood pressure is down to 90s/50s, even with my blood pressure medication cut in half, then cut in half again. I’m sure I’ll be completely off my blood pressure medication soon. I now take only one half of the Metoprolol that I used to take. I was starting to have mild anxiety attacks, which are now completely gone. My BMI is now normal.

I have been so excited with Dr. Day’s program that I am frequently sharing what I have learned with family members, neighbors, friends, church friends and complete strangers. I’ve handed out at least thirty copies of our daily checklist when people asked about the program. It has been fun getting acquainted with other people that shared my same fears and worries and struggles. I have used quite a few of the recipes we shared in the program. Thanks to all those who are so devoted to the program and attended the meetings.

The most thanks go to Dr. John Day and his lovely wife, Jane, and their wonderful children, for all their effort and sacrifice to help us all succeed. I am sure many healthy years have been added to our lives.

July 17, 2014 - 9:15 PM

Have you been able to transform your life? Are you living healthier and happier than you have ever lived before?

I want to hear your experience! What helped you? What challenges did you face? How were you able to do it?

Please upload your story. It doesn’t matter if it is even as short as a few sentences. I want to learn from your experience! Your experience will also help to teach and inspire others!

Please also upload any photos you may have as well. I especially love seeing “Before” and “After” photos!

– Dr. Day