Transformation : : an art exhibit by Emily Boller
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it
And it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
(The following video images were taken over a one year period of time; July ’08 – July ’09).
Prologue :: July 3, 2008
A week from today, July 10, 2008, I will embark on a journey of transformation. On that day I am scheduled for a physical exam by my family doctor here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It will be the starting point that I have chosen to begin to live again. Through this art exhibit, I want to address the issue of gluttony head on; the violation, abuse, and desecration of a sacred masterpiece, the human body.
I would never think of smearing mud on a masterpiece painting, yet I have desecrated my body each time I pollute it with foods that are detrimental to health. It is no longer my desire to merely make significant works of art, I also want to be a significant work of art. My own obesity will be the point of departure from which this exhibit will evolve. What will happen to my body as I make wise food choices that support health? Will my art change as my body, health, and well being transform? Will my own transformation inspire the viewer a desire to change his or her life in some way also?
Just like a painter uses paint, or a sculptor uses clay as mediums to form works of art, I will be following the nutritional wisdom in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live, and use food to transform my body into the work of art that it was originally designed to be. I have chosen to adhere to Dr. Fuhrman’s guidelines because most doctors want to merely control cardiovascular and obesity related diseases with toxic drugs and surgery; and manage diabetes with medications and insulin, but he wants to completely eradicate these diseases altogether through excellent nutrition.
He’s radical, but so is the current health crisis in America as we continue to commit mass suicide. His scientifically tested and proven knowledge will save us from the sinking ship of precarious health that is taking our nation under. He’s on the forefront of Homeland Security, and a pioneering hero in this hour. Let us all wake-up to his voice.
Here I am
Snuggled in my father’s arms
A newly born bundle of joy
Wholesome and fresh
A masterpiece work of art
A Perfect Prototype :: July 10, 2008
Today I am a perfect prototype of the American gluttony / obesity epidemic, and what it has done, and continues to do to our overburdened health care system. Unfortunately, I am the perfect, desecrated work of art to begin this creative journey.
“It [obesity] is an expensive problem: According to researchers, chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease account for some $100 to $150 billion in health care spending in the United States each year.”
Steven Reinberg; HealthDay News
For several years, I fluctuated between 225 and 235 lbs, [height 5'8"] with my highest weight tipping the scale at 238 lbs., and at that same time, my highest waist circumference was 51″.
Obesity not only robs one of good health, but general, overall quality of life. Unfortunately, it only takes a daily repetition of a few, unwise choices to end up in the deep abyss of obesity; but thankfully, there is a way out of the deadly disease!
I made a duct tape sculpture of my body mass.
Starved to Obesity :: August 10, 2008
One month of eating high-nutrient foods and 20 lbs lighter!
For the first time in my adult life I get to enjoy eating.
Excited :: August 25, 2008
I’ve been eating high-nutrient foods for only six weeks now, and I’m feeling like a new person. Seriously. Again, numbers don’t lie. I’ll post my weight and other stats on September 10th.
Family Emergency :: September 5, 2008
On September 5th, in the wee hours of the morning, I was fighting for the life of one of my children that required immediate medical attention at a children’s hospital in another state.
During that critical moment, I had a pivotal decision to make; either stick with eating for health or forgot the whole thing and go back to my old way of eating high fat, low-nutrient, processed foods.
The rest is history. I put a cooler in the trunk of the car, and literally dumped the fruit and vegetable drawer from the refrigerator into the cooler. During the three weeks of living temporarily in another city, I was able to keep the cooler stocked with nutritious foods on fresh ice from a grocery store near the hospital. From that experience, I learned that eating for health can be successfully achieved, in any situation, under any circumstance.
Incremental Changes :: October 10, 2008
Three months and 40 lbs lighter!
“The more you eat green the more you get lean.”
Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Amazed :: November 10, 2008
Typical Holiday :: December 10, 2008
This past month I ate what would be classified as a typical holiday indulgence for me: turkey, dinner rolls, butter, cheese, salad slathered in creamy dressing, pumpkin pie, Christmas cookies, and fudge. Several hours later, I got violently sick, (and that’s putting it mildly). The pain inside my gut felt like a continual stabbing from sharp knives. After my body naturally expelled its contents for about three hours, and broke into a feverish sweat, I immediately felt fine.
In response to my question about the episode, Dr. Fuhrman congratulated me on getting so healthy that my body now reacts violently to protect itself, when abused.
For years, I had abused my body with unwise food choices on a daily basis, and didn’t even realize it! I had gotten so accustomed to feeling blahhh, that I didn’t feel well unless I was eating the toxic foods of the standard American diet: high fat, high salt, low-nutrient, processed foods. He calls this kind of addictive response, “toxic hunger”. My body is now free from the addiction to toxic hunger! Yeah!
Yes, I’m happy about numbers dropping, clothes fitting, joints not aching, and even feeling youthful again, but freedom from the addiction to toxic hunger, and the general malaise that goes along with it, are the results that I’m most excited about! Cartwheels and flip flops of inexpressible joy! I’ve been rescued from toxic indulging and chronic malnutrition that was leading me straight down a destructive path of unnecessary and costly suffering, and premature death.
Six Months :: January 10, 2009
I’m at peace. Tranquil. After years of striving, I’ve finally found a simple and economical way of eating for health that works; even through life’s many unpredictable circumstances and changes.
“The girl who looked back from the mirror was a total stranger,
yet she had always been there, waiting.”
Elizabeth George Speare
July 9, 2008:
“I feel sluggish most of the time with a cloud of malaise overshadowing my energy, even after a good night’s rest. The bones and joints in my feet currently hurt. My knees ache. My feet, hands, and face are puffy. I could pass for looking eight or nine months pregnant. (Seriously!) My lower back gets stiff and hurts after I sit for any length of time. I’m carrying around ninety or more extra pounds of fat on this frame; never a break from the burden unless I lie down. I carry this weight around every day; day in and day out. It is with me wherever I go.
It’s no fun figuring out what to wear to a social event on a hot, sultry day. It’s hard to cover up my layers of fat, yet still feel cool at the same time. Black is my color of choice; it hides fat, at least psychologically it does. The color also traps in heat.
I’ve fallen through a couple of canvas folding chairs while watching my kids’ soccer games. I can’t fit comfortably into the backseat of a two-door care anymore. Camping in a tent feels crowded and tight. It’s not easy living in this obese body.
My children don’t know an active mother who can hike, bike, and run races. My husband has learned to accept my many limitations. We’ve all adjusted to obesity, because we don’t know anything different anymore. And the saddest part is that I’m starting to feel comfortable, in a weird sort of way, with the pain and discomfort of this burdensome disease.
This slow spiral into the dark abyss of obesity has arrived ever so slowly. I am now bound and gagged in its prison cell. Stuck. It’s time to climb out and feel the sunshine on my face, and breathe fresh air again. It’s time to live again.”
Baby Fat :: February 1, 2009
Lots of nourishing, high-nutrient soup for the recovery ahead.
FYI, I had to get my blood drawn to check iron levels for surgery proceedings, and when the nurse called with the results, she asked what I was doing to get such good iron levels, because my number was way above most women’s normal range. Go life-giving foods!
I’m so thankful to be facing this surgery with excellent health, ideal blood pressure, and fifteen inches of belly fat gone!
PS I now fit comfortably into size 14 pants; down from size 22 last summer, and I’ve broken through the 170 pound mark. I weighed in the 160′s prior to starting a family over 21 years ago. One could accurately say, after having five children, that I’ve now lost all my “baby fat”!
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?“
Vincent Van Gogh
Recovery Update :: February 23, 2009
Oh, and by the way, my fasting blood sugar is now at 85; way in the safe range for being non-diabetic. Considering I was pre-diabetic in July, I’m doing cartwheels and flips just thinking about not needing to prick my finger, or give a shot of insulin every time I eat someday!!! (Not to the mention the heavy financial burden, rise in insurance costs, and serious medical complications and suffering from it).
A few days post surgery.
There is freedom in getting health back! Sincerest blessings of health and well-being to all! By the way, just to maintain 226 lbs, I had to eat a whopping 3700 calories a day! (As compared to only needing 1700 or so calories a day to maintain an ideal weight for my height). That’s near double the amount of calories, and wear and tear on the digestive system, kidneys, liver, pancreas, circulatory system, and heart. In fact, I was so addicted to high fat, low-nutrient, processed foods that I didn’t feel well unless I was stuffed and bloated from eating that crazy stuff. No wonder I couldn’t sleep well through the night and would wake up every morning miserably exhausted. My body is now thanking me. Ahhhhhh.
“By teaching you how to achieve superior health,
your ideal weight will follow naturally.”
Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Stats :: April 3, 2009
My oldest daughter took me shopping for a pretty dress.
And it wasn’t in a plus-size store!
I can now climb flights of stairs without getting out of breath, my knees and feet no longer ache, and I can comfortably ride a bike again. I possibly have 10 more pounds or so to lose, but I’m not focused on losing huge amounts of weight anymore. I just want to keep eating for health for the rest of my life; there’s no turning back!
My next goal will be to tone unused muscles and lose the final pounds over a few months’ time. I’ll get my blood retested in late June so that I can officially post my “after” health stats, including complete blood work, by July 10, 2009; the one year anniversary of Transformation.
The above image is a random collection of 4″ x 4″ squares of artworks that I produced starting on day one of my transformation journey. I intentionally made documenting my thoughts and feelings via this visual outlet a daily priority. I carried 4″ x 4″ squares of illustration board, markers, and colored pencils in my purse at all times. Whenever I was stressed, frustrated, anxious, excited, or sad, I would doodle – nothing in particular – just random, whimsical stuff. One day I even glued some dried kidney beans on a board. (see below left) As I look back, this little art project helped keep my mind focused on the goal of getting my health back, especially during times of crisis and overwhelming stress, when it would’ve been easy to get sidetracked and quit. It sure beat turning to candy bars and chips!
This journey has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever done in my life. Seriously. I knew in my head and heart that eating for health would transform me, but I had no idea “how much” I would be changed; it has literally revolutionized and saved my life! Understatement.
It will be exciting to see what my blood work will reveal at the one year anniversary of transformation as a result of changing the foods that I put into my body. Interestingly, I wrote the prologue to transformation on July 3, 2008, and today is April 3, 2009; exactly nine months later. I feel like I’ve just delivered a new baby, and her name is Health! Please stop back for a visit in July to view the official “one year anniversary” postings! I’m sure we will all be amazed at the changes; especially me!
“Be transformed by the renewing of your MIND.”
Apostle Paul; Romans 12:2
This is what happened to my body in nine months.
“As the mind changes the body will transform as a result.”
Cartwheels :: June 29, 2009
Last week I had my blood drawn, and I just returned from a physical exam by my family physician here in Fort Wayne. I am healthy! Notice that even my skin is healthier. I now have a “carotenoid tan” from flooding my body with phytochemicals and nutrients instead of addictive, processed and low-nutrient foods.
The doctor noticed that my abdominal skin, after losing so much belly fat, retracted back to normal; which he doesn’t typically observe with patients who lose a lot of weight. He also commented that I’ve taken at least fifteen years off my age. Thank you greens, beans, fruits, nuts, and seeds! Thank you Dr. Fuhrman for blazing the trail to get America’s health back! Food really is an artistic medium to restore the body to its original design and function.
A well-nourished body truly is a work of art, hands down. May we all fully embrace the incredible journey to getting our health and lives back.
My highest weight in June 2008 was 238 lbs.
My lowest weight a year later is 136 lbs.
- The following nutritional diseases are gone: coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertension, pre diabetes (soon-to-be diabetes), angina, shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, and painful boils.
- These nuisances are also gone: snoring, low back pain, bloated abdomen, puffy fingers and face, buffalo hump of fat at the back base of my neck, stiff & achy joints, heel cracks, libido, immobility, brain fog, hangovers, ongoing depression, anxiety, and nothing pretty to wear.
- The following assessments were documented in my medical records by the family physician: obesity, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia with history of gestational diabetes, glucose intolerant, and hypothyroidism.
“Patient is obese and unable to lose weight. She is very scared about having high cholesterol and diabetes, and she feels wiped out and has no energy. Her blood sugars have been running high and feels like she has to snack throughout the day because she gets shaky.” [medical records]
As a side note, I also feel like I got my femininity back. For over 20 years, when I was obese, I felt like a masculine football player wearing bulky shoulder pads. Seriously. Now I feel like a woman again.
Food truly is an artistic medium!
Obesity not only cloaks the body with layers of burdensome fat; robbing one’s quality of life and health, but shrouds the mind with much shame and embarrassment. I always hid from cameras when I was obese.
All images below were taken by fine art photographer, Jeff Crane, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to document the one year anniversary of Transformation. The photo shoot was fun and lively! I’ve even included a picture of me in the photography studio to document the freedom that’s been unleashed to get in front of cameras and lights. May these pictures inspire you in your journey to become the significant work of art that you were originally designed and created to be!
Lights. Camera. Action!
“Seeds of compromise
Sown into the soil of our lives
Will reap a harvest of addiction.
Seeds of abstinence
Sown into the soil of our lives
Will reap a harvest of freedom.”
Well, I ended up in another photo shoot, only this time in a hospital radiation lab, lying flat on my back under an x-ray machine. Although I was in excruciating pain and feeling terrible, I leapt with joy on the inside when I overheard the technician instruct his assistant to re-position my body because I was thin! (By the way, totally by the grace of God, I had no broken bones or head injuries!)
Spelled, “T. H. I. N.”
That four letter word was music to this woman’s ears; the perfect ending to an adventuresome (understatement!) year of transformation.
And she lived happily ever after.
Emily S. Boller
July 9, 2009
female artist, wife, mother, friend, gardener, biker chick, outdoor enthusiast, ex-food addict,
5’8″ and thin!
I had the privilege of running my first
4-mile race since high school this summer.
And I got to climb challenging bluffs with my oldest son.
I’m no longer a “spectator Mom” sitting on the sidelines watching;
I’m an active participant of life now!
There’s nothing more satisfying
than reaching the summit of a goal accomplished!
PS I got the wild and crazy brainstorm for producing this exhibit while visiting a dear friend’s art studio. I had absolutely no idea at the time how much my body would radically change as a result of putting nutrient rich foods in it. I’m now 100% convinced that if the right foods are eaten, the human body can become the significant work of art that it was originally meant to be.
“Only in excellent physical and emotional health can a person’s full human potential be realized. Emily Boller is a true artist whose inner beauty of spirit was trapped inside her by the shackles of her food addictions, now set free. I am so proud of her.”
Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
“The goal of the artist is to discover the hidden treausre
And then share the hidden treasure with others.”
Update :: Summer, 2010
I wore these pants on July 10, 2008.
I was working out at the Y and a lady came up to me and made a comment that she was surprised that I was *still* thin. (She had observed my weight loss journey two years ago). That’s what sets eating for health apart from dieting just to some lose weight.
And the changes are for life!
Perspective really does determine outcome!
“The purpose of art is to make clear the beautiful.”
Vincent Van Gogh
Joel and Lisa Fuhrman; Summer 2010
I am grateful for Joel and Lisa Fuhrman’s dedication, sacrifices, and tireless hard work to get the high-nutrient eating message out to the public. In 2002, soon after my then 11-year-old son was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, I was searching the internet for anything I could find on reversing diabetes and came across an article written by Dr. Fuhrman. Soon afterwards, Eat to Live was published, but I didn’t think it would be possible to change my eating habits . . . so I didn’t. Unfortunately, it took another six years of suffering before I was ready.
Update :: Summer, 2011
My oldest daughter got married in May.
I was able to be there for her.
I celebrated my milestone 50th birthday in May.
My husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in August.
What a joy to have health restored to our relationship, because food addiction and resulting poor health had slowly eroded away the foundation of our marriage too. Food addiction is never solitary; it affects everyone close to the person trapped in it. [If you would like to read how my husband dealt with the frustrations of my addiction, click here.]
“No food or activity
No matter how pleasurable
Is worth the pain and sorrow
Of toxic food addiction.”
Late Summer 2011
Update :: Summer 2012
In mid-May I was flown to NY to be on The Dr. Oz Show. It was an experience of a lifetime! As I was waiting in the wings, my heart skipped several beats when I heard Dr. Oz announce, “Next up is Emily. Here is a photo of Emily before she learned to curb her sweet tooth (see image below). And here is Emily now . . . . 102 lbs lighter. Emily, come on out!” As lively music played and the audience cheered, clapped, and whistled, I made my debut. What an exhilarating moment that I’ll always remember!
Unfortunately, soon afterwards on Memorial Day, my 21-year-old son that was diagnosed with Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes ten years earlier, passed away unexpectedly; and that segment of The Dr. Oz Show aired two days before his funeral.
After the initial shock of his death wore off, I experienced a dark season of paralyzing grief and confusion for several months. My counselor called it post traumatic stress.
I’m doing much better now with each passing month, but during the worst of it I didn’t think the sun would ever shine again. A mother’s love goes deep, and every cell in my body mourned the overwhelming loss. Thankfully, I had four years of high-nutrient eating habits established (that developed nutritarian muscles) to help carry my body through the acute phase of the bereavement and healing process.
I can’t imagine going through the anguish of a traumatic event being addicted to toxic foods, obese, and suffering from life-threatening diseases. I’m so thankful for the privilege of having my health restored.
In the midst of the overwhelming sadness there were happy times too. The above picture was taken at Dr. Fuhrman’s 2012 Health Getaway on Amelia Island. Dancing has a way of uncorking the hidden joy within! What a summer.
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
King Solomon; Proverbs 30:5
And the journey continues on . . . . .
Stay tuned as I post periodic updates along the way and feel free to leave a comment. [contact]
And if you’d like to read some inspirational posts that I’ve written for Dr. Fuhrman’s blog, DiseaseProof, click here.
Blessings of great health to all!
“It will take strength. It will take effort. But the pleasure and rewards
that you will get from a healthy life will be priceless.”
Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Special thanks to
Dr. and Mrs. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
In loving memory of Daniel Maurice Boller
All Images Copyright of Emily Boller
Soli Deo Gloria