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THE HOT DIETTHE REAL REASON YOU'RE GAINING WEIGHT ... AND HOW TO LOSE IT FAST AND FOREVER
By AJ Djo Bill Quinn
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 AJ Djo
All right reserved.
Chapter One1: THE POISON
Something is killing millions of Americans, and as I write this, I am less than two days from finding out what it is.
It's not any of the reasons touted by the popular diet books-not about carbohydrates versus proteins, food zones, or the right carbs versus wrong carbs, nor is it about about weighing every morsel or counting every calorie. What's making you and me overweight cannot be fixed by a magic new drug or supplement.
Instead, it's a deadly poison guaranteed to be on your breakfast, lunch, or dinner table this very day. Eliminate this poison, and you can kiss your weight problems goodbye. Can you imagine more important news than the key to ending decades of diet wars?
As a reader of this book, you are about to discover for the first time in your life why you keep adding pounds year after year. Of course, I'm assuming you're overweight and want your trim body back. You want to recapture the energy you used to have, and you'll do almost anything to recover it. But even if you're not overweight, the secrets you're about to learn could ensure that you neverwill be.
* * *
It's been almost a week now since my first meeting with the man whose card read "AJ Djo."
"Nobody can pronounce my last name," he had warned me in advance. "Call me AJ."
I arrived at the restaurant early for our lunch meeting, looking expectantly at each stranger walking through the door of the waiting area to see if it was AJ. Then I saw a man walk in with a bright smile and sparkling eyes. He was trim, appeared to be in excellent shape, and his demeanor was warm and welcoming. There was an unusual energy about this man that immediately captured my attention.
"Bill, I have so much to tell you."
"I'm all ears, AJ. But let's order first."
AJ had set our meeting to discuss what he called an incredible new breakthrough in dieting. As we ordered, I watched him for clues. I had my usual hamburger and diet cola. Surprisingly, he ordered a hamburger as well, replacing the cola with water.
Was cola the culprit?
"No, no," he laughed. "I just feel like a burger and water
After some small talk, AJ told me his story:
- I graduated from the University of Oklahoma Twenty-some years ago, first studying premed for three years before switching over to chemical engineering. I worked my way through school selling books door-to-door for Thomas Nelson Publishing.
It was then, less than five minutes into our conversation, that I discovered AJ's love for storytelling.
- You want to learn about people? Try selling books door-to-door. Once you get past the natural barriers that people put up against door-to-door salesmen, you discover how good people really are. Most of the time, once I got people talking, I just sat back and observed. You'd be surprised what you learn.
For example, I knocked on the door of a home in a small town in North Carolina, and a little old blue-haired lady came to the door carrying a shotgun. Startled, I started to retreat down the sidewalk.
"C'mon back here, young fellow. What you selling there?"
Summoning my courage and with a wary eye on the shotgun, I nervously started my pitch. It turned out the lady was unusually friendly and full of Southern charm, which didn't explain the gun now leaning up against the rocker beside her. A few minutes later, the lady was writing a check. I asked her why, as an apparently peace-loving person, she carried the gun.
"I always give folks a chance to prove themselves," she replied. "If they talk like they belong to Jesus, I give Jesus back to them. If they don't, I give them the buckshot!"
Treat others as they treat you, the lady was suggesting. It was a lesson I have never forgotten.
Leaning forward earnestly, AJ finally got down to business.
"Bill, I want to tell you why I called this meeting and how I made an incredible discovery about health and dieting."
Finally, the good stuff, I thought. I signaled the waitress for another cola.
AJ told me that after graduation he had found an entry-level position in chemical engineering. He soon rose through the ranks to become a successful consultant in the quickly growing field of semiconductors. His ability to solve problems through the powers of observation brought him great financial success. As his reputation grew, companies around the world began demanding his attention. His travels took him all over the U.S., Europe, and Asia, allowing him to rub shoulders with the Pope, dine with presidents of companies and countries, and work intimately with some of the largest companies in the world.
"One day I even had dinner with Ronald Reagan," he said proudly.
"You did? And Reagan taught you about dieting?"
"No, no." He laughed. "But if you listen closely, you might spot some clues."
- It was 1977, at a function in the future president's honor, and I found myself sitting across from Reagan. I was immediately captivated by his intelligence and wit, mostly listening, when Reagan suddenly leaned across the table and asked me about my plans for the future. I told him I'd always dreamed of living in California one day.
Reagan smiled brightly. "I hope you do go to California one day, AJ. It's a beautiful state, part of a beautiful country, part of this beautiful planet we live on. We all should strive to leave it a better place than we found it. A simple test is to ask yourself: Do you want people to say it's a better place because he lived here or because he left it?"
Reagan then launched into a story about an immigrant who traveled to California carrying nothing but a single suitcase. Ten years later, he owned several buildings and businesses. When an admirer asked the immigrant what was in the suitcase, he said, "Two million in cash and one million in notes!" Reagan led the laughter that erupted up and down the table.
Then when the food arrived, I noticed something interesting, especially for a politician-or my idea of what politicians are like.
Reagan paused a moment as though in private prayer, much like a singer pauses before starting a song. It was as if he was being respectful to the food, which he then began to eat slowly and quietly. I was struck by his peacefulness, almost as if he was in a spiritual state.
After the meal, Reagan drank a warm beverage. Noticing that he was about to go to the podium for his speech, I reached over to shake his hand. I was struck by how strong and rough it was. I asked him if by chance he enjoyed gardening as George Washington had.
Reagan looked a bit startled but smiled at the comparison. Then I blurted out that I hoped he'd run for president in 1980 and that I thought he would definitely win and become a great president like Washington because they were both wise and accomplished listeners.
As AJ finished his story, I tried to dig out the clue he had said might be there.
"So the secret to successful dieting is to-what?-be calm during meals and be a good listener? That's it?"
"That's part of it, Bill. But the core secret is something else."
I urged AJ to continue.
- My success as a chemical engineer grew year after year. But in early 2000, a dark cloud entered my tidy little world.
One day I noticed that my son, John, was getting a bit pudgy around the waist. Not only that, but the boy was spending more and more time slumped in a chair playing video games. While other kids were out running and playing, John was in his room staring at the screen.
"John, you need to get out and get some exercise. Turn off that worthless game!"
"Aw, Dad, there's nothing wrong with video games. All the kids play video games."
But I was undeterred. My son's expanding waist and lethargy could not be healthy. In fact, looking down at my own generous waistline, I wondered if my son was not the only one with a problem.
What was causing John to gain excess pounds? Knowing it was my responsibility, I took the initiative and had John cut back on the games and started him on a fitness program. But his weight gain continued.
My concern for John eventually led me on a five-year investigation into America's problem with obesity. Using the same scientific methods and observational skills that had brought me success in the business world, I began to observe people in every conceivable dining situation. I watched people in fine restaurants, in fast-food establishments, at the mall, and in their homes.
"See that young lady at the table over there, Bill? Notice anything about her?"
I followed his eyes and looked at the woman, perhaps twenty years old, sipping a drink and picking at her salad. She looked normal to me, maybe a few pounds overweight.
AJ then described how he had observed more than 104,000 people eating much the same as the young woman at the next table.
- I had filled dozens of bulging notebooks with recordings of what people ate and drank, in what proportions, and in what combinations. I had recorded who was overweight and who was not. Then I tried boiling down all that data, looking for a connection. But the answer eluded me.
Surprisingly, I observed that people eating the same foods in similar quantities could be a perfectly normal weight or obese.
"Look at the couple over there," he suggested, motioning to the middle-aged couple to our left. "They're both having salads and steak. Yet the husband looks as if he's about forty pounds overweight, and the wife looks just about right. Why is that?"
I shrugged my shoulders. I'd seen a million couples like that.
"The clue is right there in front of your eyes, Bill. Do you see it?"
I looked again very intently. But for the life of me, I saw nothing.
"There's a clue there?"
"Yes," AJ smiled, "right before your eyes."
He then asked if I remembered the FedEx logo.
"The red and white one? Sure. FedEx comes by my office all the time. In fact, I have a sign I hang in the window when I need a pickup."
"Have you ever noticed the arrow in that logo?"
"FedEx has an arrow in its logo? You're sure?"
"Check it out. Next time you see a FedEx truck, look for the arrow in the logo. You'd be surprised," he said, glancing over at the couple, "at the things we look at and never actually see. Once you notice the arrow, you'll never miss it again."
Continuing the story of his research, he told me about the many studies showing that Americans today are much heavier than just thirty years ago. What had changed? What had been added to the American diet that was not present several decades ago?
As his business took him to other countries, he noticed that obesity was nowhere as prevalent as it was in the United States.
- I personally observed the French, Italians, Japanese, and many others in my travels. Most of them were at recommended weight levels. Yet these same people move to the United States, and it's not long before they're as overweight as the rest of us. Then I began to hear reports that even in foreign countries the incidence of obesity was beginning to increase. It's like they're a decade behind us with this problem. Whatever is affecting Americans was starting to affect them too.
Was the whole world suffering an obesity epidemic with the U.S. among the first to be affected? What was causing this epidemic? Was it something in our food? Was it a chemical reaction? Were so-called diet gurus correct in saying we were simply eating too much protein or too many carbohydrates?
Or was it something far more sinister?
At one point I found myself wondering if hostile governments were deliberately putting something into our food. What better way to bring down America than by making its people lazy and obese, overloading its economic system with billions of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and lost man-hours? Perhaps I'd been watching too many bad movies.
Then one day, when I least expected it, my search came to an end. I was relaxing on the patio, enjoying the sunny weather. Soon the temperatures started to climb, so I was thankful when my wife brought out a tall glass of iced tea. As always, as I leaned back in the lounge, my mind wandered to my quest. Slowly stirring the tea, listening to the gentle chimes of the ice cubes clinking against the frosty glass, I again asked the questions that had plagued me for more than five years now: Why are Americans getting so heavy? What are we doing now that we were not doing thirty or forty years ago? Why have people from other nations been so much thinner until just recently? Is there a poison in our diets?
And suddenly, there it was.
After years of searching, the answer was right in front of me. In a moment of earth-shaking illumination, I knew why Americans were so overweight. I knew why two people could eat almost identical foods and one would gain weight while the other would not, why the problem was only recently beginning to show up in other countries, and how obesity-if not checked-would soon hold the entire world in its grasp. The culprit was so innocent in appearance, so accepted, so omnipresent, that it almost made me question my own findings. But thinking back to bits of suddenly linked data in my massive research materials, I realized it was dead-on.
America was eating herself to death, and I knew why.
Running for my notebooks, I dug into pages crammed with thousands of observations, revisiting instance after instance where I had noted exactly who was eating and drinking what, and whether they were heavy or not.
In case after case, "it" was as clear as the arrow in the FedEx logo.
Immediately I knew I had to tell someone. I had to tell the whole world. Remembering that my neighbor was a magazine publisher, I called to see if he could recommend a writer for this scientist with a story to tell. That's how Bill and I came to have our first lunch together.
Excerpted from THE HOT DIET by AJ Djo Bill Quinn Copyright © 2007 by AJ Djo. Excerpted by permission.
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