My Story: Doctor Loses Over 100 LBS To Save His Own Life

Dr. John Ellis how i lost 100 lbs

Seven years ago, John E. Ellis, MD, a 57-year-old physician, became his own patient. Between 2008-2010, Dr. Ellis lost 125 lbs within 18 months by changing his lifestyle and, as he says, retraining his brain (and pancreas). “I changed my diet, went from ‘living to eat’ to ‘eating to live’ and added regular exercise to my regimen,” Dr. Ellis tells

He’s successfully kept the weight off since then and readily shares his success strategies with others. Here, Dr. Ellis describes in his own words how he went from 330 lbs to now being in the best shape of his life.

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How did I get to 330 lbs?

While I cared for patients with heart disease for many years as a cardiovascular anesthesiologist, I neglected my own health. As a medical school professor, I conducted and published research about heart disease and obesity, but I didn’t apply the lessons learned to my life and health. I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. I did a lot of stressful eating at work as a physician. My diet consisted of a lot of junk, prepared, and processed foods. I used to love cheese and grapefruit juice so my diet was high in fat, salt and sugar. I exercised less and less – I loved to bicycle. All in all, I was leading a very unhealthy lifestyle.

What pushed me to change?

In December of 2007, I sat in a chair at a restaurant watching the ice skaters at Christmas. The chair broke, I fell to the floor, VERY embarrassed, but otherwise uninjured. It was a seminal moment to change. I also had a series of potentially life-threatening health problems – high blood pressure, sleep apnea, 2 neck operations – that motivated me to change.