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Monday, May 10, 2010

Reader Profile: Anthony D'Amato

I'm going to take a little break from talking about myself today and tell you the story of a truly inspiring person I met recently. The word "met" is relative, but in this day and age I think a few tweets on twitter qualify (although my Husband my have an issue with that). Twitter is an amazing Social Media tool, but it can be difficult to find your circle of friends there. You need something in common, and you need to like to talk about it.

Recently I "met" Anthony D'Amato there. His twitpic makes it look like he's a goodlooking guy who's into music. But look a little closer at his BIO and it says: "music. soul. music with soul. soul musician. live. love. laugh. stevia enthusiast".... And you start to realize he's not just your average guy... 

Sure enough Anthony is a Belly Fat Cure dieter, just like us! (The Stevia was a dead giveaway!) But unlike us, he has taken it to a whole new level. You see, Anthony has lost 200 lbs following the low sugar/low carb/no artificial sweetener rules. That is his Before/After shot there on the top left. I was excited when I lost the weight equivalent of my 5 yr old son, but Anthony lost the weight equivalent of ME at my highest weight. I get a lot of emails from dieters who have more than 100 lbs to lose and I feel their despair and hopelessness. My sister is struggling with this too, and I thought you all would be inspired by him as much as I was! 

What struck me most is what a talented musician Anthony is, no matter his weight. But imagine if your career required you to be really good at it, plus look like Mick Jagger. Okay, nobody wants to look like Mick Jagger, but you get my point. I watched a few videos of Anthony fronting a band or orchestra when he was at his highest weight, and I thought how much more difficult it was for him to get there with the prejudice that comes with being overweight. Then he opens his mouth, and it all falls away... (Ironically singing A Change is Gonna Come here, just before big change in his own life...) 

I love that Anthony looks SO different, he actually put a disclaimer on his website that basically says "Yep, that's me!" I was able to ask him a few questions and here is what I learned:

(me) Was there an event that triggered the turn around in your weight loss?
(Anthony) I was 24 years old. 375lbs. Size 50 waist, and my 3XL shirts were getting tight. I knew I needed a change. It was actually the moment I saw "375.0" on a scale that frightened me. I never weighed myself... I always said "I'm fat! What does a number matter?"... but it changed my life seeing that number!

(me) Has the BFC been your primary diet?
(Anthony) Not necessarily. As a matter of fact, I stumbled upon Jorge Cruise and the BFC a few months into my diet. I scoured the internets for what would work best for me... and I LOVED the sugar-free/low-carb route. I knew, however, that artificial sweeteners were something I didn't want in me (if I can't pronounce it, no thanks!), and they had been making my stomach feel awful for years. When I read up on Jorge, I realized his ideas were something I was basically doing myself, and quickly adopted a lot of the ideas, food suggestions, and more.

(me) What kind of exercise do you do?
(Anthony) For the first 9 months of my journey, I walked. That's it. I started walking 1.5 miles a day around a reservoir near my house, and just added onto to that... to the point where I was going about 5 miles day. I put great tunes on my iPod, enjoyed the weather, met people on the walks, etc. Time usually flew!

(me) How do you overcome plateaus or periods where you want to give up?
(Anthony) I've been pretty thankful not to see many plateaus. I didn't find myself "cheating" too often, but when I did... it was a reminder that my body DOESN'T need those things. As much as I love sweets and treats, the results have always motivated me to keep going! When I want to give up, I just think about how many years I can add to my life, how many more experiences I can have, how many more rides I can ride at Six Flags, how I can have more of a choice of clothes, etc!

(me) Do you stick with a certain S/C Value per meal or per day?
(Anthony) I don't stick with a certain S/C value, but I always keep it in mind and love that. I stay low in sugar ALL the time, never use artificial sweeteners, and keep my carb intake low with mostly just vegetables and the occasional whole grains. I like looking at my calorie intake (which goes against something like South Beach, too), but the S/C value is GREAT.

(me) Anthony is currently starring the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which requires more than a bit of cross-dressing. How did you get the role of Hedwig and what's it like to wear a dress?!
(Anthony) As for HEDWIG! I've had a long-time association with it, and it's part of a tremendous story. I produced and directed the New Jersey premiere of the show professionally in Asbury Park, NJ in 2007. At the time, around 375lbs, there was no way I was playing the role. Many friends thought it didn't matter and that I had the right vibe, voice, and personality for it no matter WHAT I looked like, but I didn't think it would feel or look right. The show as a huge hit, ran for months... and this year, the 3rd anniversary of it, I was completely prepared and ready to take it on. I've been in love with the music and story since 1999... never thinking I'd be able to play it. To finally do it has been SURREAL!! And, I'm surprised to say, the dress wasn't so bad!... the underwear, though... ehhhh! haha!

(me) Favorite meal or snack?
(Anthony) Oh boy, people are going to be shocked, but I LOVE the Scandinavian Bran Crispbread. I put some stevia on it with a bit of cinnamon and it's DELICIOUS. Or break it up over tuna or a salad. I also just discovered, and am LOVING, the Kitchen Table Bakers Parmesan Crisps. Brilliant! I've been cooking with Tofu Shirataki noodles a lot, too!

(I totally swear that I didn't have anything do with his answer here! Its a complete coincidence he loves the 
GG Crispbreads too! I love that! I have an upcoming review of the Shirataki noodles and I posted one for the Parmesan Crisps he mentions here. Great minds determined to lose weight apparently eat alike ;-) )

Losing weight can seem like such a monumental task, but I found a lot of inspiration in Anthony and his determination. Whether you have 20 or 200 lbs to lose, I think you will too. He has transformed himself and opened up possibilities in career and health that he didn't have. So the next time you think "I can't do this" or "dieting isn't worth it". You think you've taken this diet as far as you can. You want to give up and give in to cravings and binge eating. I suggest you watch one of Anthony's videos. Or better yet, if you're in New Jersey (and not easily offended) catch him as the lead in Hedwig and the Angry Inch this summer.

Thank you Anthony, for inspiring me on my weight loss journey!


  1. Way to go, Anthony!!! If you have any good Shirataki Noodle brands or recipes you'd like to share, please do! I've tried them twice, but to no avail :-( I'm keeping an opened mind about them and would love some advice on how to fix them. Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. Definitely agree with the GG Brancrisps. They are a great quick snack - ironically our favorite way is with Cinnamon and Truvia too although you are right can really put anything on top of them (low cal / no cal jelly like walden farms, veggies, can make little pizzas out of them...etc)! :-)

    Also not sure if you like tortillas to make wraps, burritos, pizzas..etc if so another one of our favorite foods is the La Tortilla Factory Low Carb Tortillas. Only 80 calories per wrap and they taste great.

    If you are interested, we list one of our favorite recipes (Italian Pizza).

    Thanks and look forward to reading more! :-)

  3. I have known Anthony before and after. I have to say that in one year, he lost a "me". He is the proof that a little willpower and a plan is all a person needs to get where they want to go.

  4. All I can say Anthony has changed my life on so many levels. Because of him I have lost 45 lbs and counting. Everytime I feel like giving in to my bad habits I think of my friend Anthony. His story and friendship is my driving force not to stop my journey to my ultimate goal of weight loss. For this I say WELL DONE darlin' and THANK YOU! Oh and as always "WHO LOVES YA BABEE? MEEEEEEEEEEE !!! "

  5. So cool to see Anthony's friends here! I am in awe of his accomplishment! I think we will hear a lot more from him in the future.

  6. I rinse the shiratake noodles very well, cook in the microwave and then dry them very thoroughly with plenty of paper towels. I top with 1/2 cup of my favorite low sugar marinara (I've been using the 3 cheese from Trader Joes) or 1/4 cup of alfredo, and about 10g of parmesan cheese. I think it is great; you just have to get over the texture -- a strange combination of not quite chewy or not quite crunchy, but certainly not mushy....

  7. Everyone so far, thank you. I have some pretty amazing friends, it's awesome to see their comments here, too.

    ALSO, it's a bit surreal coming to this blog and seeing ME on it!! Very, very cool. Amber - incredible job, and I'm honored to inspire you as your help, reviews, and just general excitement about bettering yourself has inspired me. I'm looking forward to doing the same for other people.

    I've done a lot with the shirataki noodles... I'll try to post some "recipes" over time. :)

  8. I have a few questions about BFC. I read the book few days ago and have been successful in implementing the 15/6 requirements. (I think.) I am confused about something. In the carb swap food list some food values do not seem to line up with carb counts. For example, cucumbers have a 4/1 value. BUT, when I looked up the nutritional value for an 8" cucumber, I found it has 6-8 grams of carbs. Is the S/C value in the book specifically for swapping in the menus? Is it one serving because it is more than 5 grams of carbs? If I have one cucumber and one cup of green beans, is that 2 servings of carbs or is it one because the total carb count is under 20?

    Thanks so much for you time. Thanks for your blog information as well.

  9. I really needed to see this post, thank you. I am needing to lose 100 pounds and I am needing a little inspiration right now. Thanks for this so much. Sometimes I feel like I can't do it because there is something wrong with me but I realize that it is in each of us if we just do it... :)

  10. Needed the inspiration--I'm losing momentum. Thanks Amber.

  11. My Husband and I both cried like babies when we heard him singing !!

  12. Im so glad you all felt it too! We all need inspiration and a boost along the way.

  13. I like your blog....I started one as well... battling-bulge.blogspot.com I'm down 37 pounds on Jorge's plan (though I don't agree with some of the things he promotes---like coconut oil).

  14. I'm just getting started with the BFC program and I, too, have more than 100 pounds to lose along with a long list of unresolved health problems. My desire is to be healthy and off all medications. I've tried everything short of the pregnant women's pee (hcg diet) or gastric bypass surgery although I considered both. Something deep inside me wouldn't let me do it...so Anthony's success speaks volumes to me that it can be done sensibly and without surgery. Thank you for sharing his story on your blog.

  15. I have been reading your blog nonstop for the past two days. I love that you lost all this weight and I was so excited about starting the Belly Fat Cure. My sister is actually the one who introduced me to the book and your blog. Anyways, even though I saw it working for you I was still a little worried that I couldn't do it. I probably have 200 pounds to lose. I haven't been on a scale since the 7th grade and I am 20 now. So what, like 8 years. Seeing this post and reading about his success on something similar to the BFC just sort of put the final confirmation on my decision. I really really appreciate it and I am so happy I found it. Thank you so much!