331: Steve Siebold Says ‘Die Fat or Get Tough!’


Hello and welcome back to The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore! In today’s podcast, Jimmy has three great segments to share.

Carnie Wilson

First, Carnie Wilson of the music group Wilson Phillips recently had a baby and has put on a part of the weight she famously lost by gastric bypass surgery. She’s working with TV’s Dr. Oz to get back to her fighting weight. Carnie and Dr. Oz Show producers invited Jimmy to participate in a round-table interview of her this week and we’re pleased to present the question he asked her.

Rich Vos

Next up, our newest sponsor is Rich Vos of Results Typical, a trainer who wants to help you get fit, healthy and toned. Listen in for a short talk with Jimmy and Rich.

Finally, our main interview for today’s episode is with motivational speaker Steve Siebold, author of Die Fat or Get Tough. Steve is an outspoken teacher on the theme that weight loss (like so much else in life) is a matter of personal responsibility. If you are fat, his thinking goes, you made yourself that way. Don’t BLAME yourself or beat yourself up, but DO realize that you’ll never lose the weight until you accept that the weight is yours to lose, and you need to develop mental toughness to achieve your weight goal.

Carnie Wilson on The Dr. Oz Show on February 4, 2010
– Visit our sponsor: LO-CARB U
– Visit our newest sponsor: Results Typical by Rich Vos
Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People book
Steve Seibold’s Mental Toughness blog

20 Responses to 331: Steve Siebold Says ‘Die Fat or Get Tough!’
  1. Jeffry Reading
    February 4, 2010 | 4:22 pm

    I think this guy wasn’t that great. I believe in personal responsibility but what about corporate responsibility? Where is the rage against the companies that sell the foods that make us fat? Where is the rage against a disastrous food pyramid? I just can’t accept all of the self-blame that this guy wants me to. To hear a jock or ex jock or whatever businessman schmuck denouncing fatties as having inferior thought processes etc…just brings me right back to highschool, the playground, etc.

    I agree corporations and even the government bear some responsibility, too, Jeffry!


  2. donny
    February 4, 2010 | 7:20 pm



    “Follow-Up of Patients Starved for Obesity”

    Compare this paper to the experience of the subjects in Ancel Keys’ starvation study. Eating for pleasure? After starvation, eating is always more pleasurable. Lean athletes having a neat little plan, which they can easily stick to could be a strength of mind thing.

    Four subjects (16%) have achieved some
    success. One (No. 12) after 5 months of
    follow-up has maintained nearly a 100-lb
    weight loss, but with difficulty. He utilizes
    intermittent starvation, self-prescribed amphetamines
    and diuretics, and individual
    psychotherapy, but still experiences psychological
    turmoil. Another (No. 20) gained
    100 1b within 6 months of discharge, succeeded
    in losing 50 1b of this in the next
    year, but has now regained 25 lb. During
    this period he had 1 year of individual
    or group psychotherapy, yet continued to
    show personal and occupational problems.
    Subject No. 15 has by family report maintained
    a 70-lb loss for 1 year. He developed
    a paranoid psychosis during starvation, left
    the hospital against advice and since discharge
    his only communication has been an
    indignant, accusatory letter to the chief
    metabolic investigator. Subject No. 24 had
    maintained half of a 100-lb loss when he
    was rehospitalized after 1 year for hypertension.
    He too manifested personal and
    occupational adjustment problems.
    Pile these experiences against your own, Jimmy. Metabolic leverage, coming at the problem at a different angle, beats the crap out of just being “tough.”

  3. donny
    February 4, 2010 | 7:22 pm

    Meant to add, or the lean athletes just have different metabolisms that make planned eating easier.

  4. Frank
    February 5, 2010 | 6:32 am

    Thanks for this Jimmy.

    I tried to listen calmly and with an open mind but this guys was pressing all my buttons… no delusions here… I like to call it as it is but I am not “fat” I have “excess stored fat”… I don’t work to lose “weight” I work to lose “excess fat”. Gary Taubes and GCBC opened my eyes to both the carbs->insulin->fat storage metabolic condition AND the poor state of the current science that we rely on to inform us.

    I am not looking for excuses nor do I dispute that there is a need for personal responsibility BUT in order to make a responsible choice I need to have all the facts — it is called “informed consent”… what kind of responsible choices do people make based on the low-fat paradigm which is still prevalent in Health Establishment and mass-media?

    In the same way that I would suspect dietary advice from an overweight Dietitian, I am loathe to accept that same kind of advice from a “jock”. On the other hand Jimmy… folks like you who have “been there, seen that and done it!” those are the ones I respect. Thanks

  5. Jimmy Moore
    February 5, 2010 | 7:10 am

    Frank, you are so right! It’s amazing the blame game that happens to people who are busting their butts to do the right thing and still can’t shed the pounds. It really is not their fault that dietary ignorance pervades our society so deeply that they don’t know what to do. Listening to Steve communicate that people just need to take personal responsibility for their obesity, I realized he had half of it right. The other half is we need to share the truth with people so they make informed choices for themselves. THANK YOU for your comments!

  6. Karen
    February 5, 2010 | 8:17 am

    I found some of his comments abusive in a way. When someone is fat they feel horrible about themselves and their condition, and I know for a fact if they’re walking down the street and get stares, comments, and jokes towards them it makes them feel worse so they eat more. We need to learn to be courteous and respectful of all people, which I believe is what that fat acceptance society that he was talking about is all about – respecting these people so they’re not beat down even more than they already are.

    In addition, while I think personal responsibility is a major part of losing weight, there are other factors involved that must be considered – person’s thyroid function, their levels of the “full” hormone and “hungry” hormone, among other physical factors. In addition, to be successful at losing weight, the emotional and psychological issues that made them turn to food in the first place must be dealt with and new habits formed in how to deal with emotional turmoil that comes up in everyday life.

    People need to be told that their beliefs are delusion in some cases, like the one who said he was 100 lbs overweight yet was in perfect health. However, in most cases, people need to be forced to deal with their emotional issues, like I was talking about above, before they can “see the light” with respect to their weight and health. Without those emotional issues being addressed, people’s denial of their weight and health issues will continue. That is the bottom line.

    Lastly – I believe I have a healthy metabolism and the only thing that will keep me at my proper weight is not having the extra bite of food when I am full. Recognition of being full and listening to it is extremely important to weight maintenance for normal people. Many times people say, just one more bite and enlarging their stomach, causing excessive eating before the full signal will work. Leftovers are ok people. It’s acceptable to eat the same meal twice (when it was made, and later as leftovers).

  7. mike
    February 5, 2010 | 9:20 am

    Steve is the quintessentially modern media cipher. Perfectly willing to speak or write about anything for $ but lacking any substance or professional education (I couldn’t find any degrees listed on the ‘net). Boil him down and you end up with a vacuously trivial irrelevancy.

  8. Amy Dungan
    February 5, 2010 | 10:06 am

    Wow. I completely understand this guys point. We are the only one who can make the changes that will impact our lives. I’m all for personal accountability. I’m also not a fan of all the politically correct crap our society is so wrapped up in. And death threats? Over his opinion? People are nuts.

    That being said – how dare he pretend to know the mental plight of an overweight person. He’s admittedly not dealt with this struggle, short of his 40 lb weight gain stint, and he took it off in 12 weeks. He’s not struggled for years and years, following the recommended advice TO THE LETTER, only to actually gain weight instead of lose it. Has he ever been snickered at while at the gym? Heard people talking about how lazy he is while all the time he’s been working very hard to lose excess weight, only to fail? Has he had his doctor look him in the face and accuse him of LYING about sticking to the program because he’s still fat? Or the person at Weight Watchers accuse him of cheating because he’d gained instead of lost, when he hadn’t cheated at all?
    Yes, I’m peeved. Not because of what he said, but because like everyone else who’s never been down this road, he’s sure he has the answer when it’s just not that simple. I’m guessing he’s sure it’s all about the “calories in and calories out” baloney. While I am certainly the only one who puts food in my mouth, I chose foods that I was told would change my health and help me obtain a healthy weight. For years and years I followed the recommendations of nutritionists and doctors – and it only made things worse. I had to take control of my own health, by ignoring the experts and finding what really worked for me. I didn’t lose weight and regain my health because I just decided I was going to do it. I did it because I finally found the tools that made it possible.
    If he want’s to preach personal responsibility, it might behoove him to lean more towards telling people to do some research and find the facts about health and weight loss. This is what people need – self education so they can make informed choices that will actually get results. Fat people know they are fat and most berate themselves on a daily basis while desperately searching for the answers. Why do they want a magic bullet? Because so far the other strategies they’ve tired hasn’t worked, despite their sincere efforts. They feel hopeless! Should I go on to talk about insulin responses and how they trigger cravings and overeating?
    I think Mr. Seibold has good intentions but he clearly doesn’t understand the chemical responses that can cause physical reactions to food. You can’t overcome a food allergy by just toughing up. Same goes for weight loss.

  9. Mike
    February 5, 2010 | 1:28 pm

    I enjoyed this interview. What Steve Seibold had to say struck me pretty hard. I respectfully disagree with some of the other comments; I believe I am the only one to blame for my weight. Every overweight person I know, including me, is not fat because they follow the food pyramid or “societies” advice. In fact, they are fat because they don’t! No matter how many times I tried to convince myself otherwise, giant servings, ice cream, and chips are not part of a conventional diet or on the food pyramid. Of course I buy-in to low-carb, but if most people followed the food pyramid (even the original one), while they may not be as healthy as with low-carb, they would not be as fat. In the same way, every person I know that has lost weight followed conventional advice, weight watchers, etc. While again, I disagree with the method, it works, they lost weight. Many people do regain because they cannot maintain the diet. In my experience, that’s the mental part. In many ways, I have discovered that most hunger is more mental than physical.

  10. Katy
    February 5, 2010 | 6:17 pm

    I was really very sad after hearing Carly Wilson’s response to Jimmy’s question. Yeah, she tried a very strict version of low carb and now can’t seem to face it again. I’ll wager that good, saturated fat wasn’t part of that plan, though, and hearing her carefully outline the types of cheeses she believes she can have was a clue. She’s still afraid of eating fat and Drs. Oz and Roizen will do nothing to change that. She admits her body doesn’t like wheat, but she’s going to have it anyway, in small amounts, because it’s whole wheat? Why?? I would not even presume to tell her that she needs to cut the carbs, but I think she needs to find out which ones she can eat and in amounts that make her feel well, along with saturated fat! She’ll follow what the Wizard of Oz recommends and will lose some weight, for now, and then she’ll be in the same situation in a few years. Kat James’s book would serve her better.

    February 6, 2010 | 2:48 pm

    I haven’t listened to this podcast yet and after reading the comments I’m not sure I want to, my buttons are very easily pushed. From the gist of the comments I can only presume that he is suggesting obesity is a choice.

    After reading “Good Calories, Bad Calories” my view of obesity took a 180 degree turn, as did Andrew Weil’s. Here is a quote I want to share that he made in his overview of Gary Taubes, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” (from an interview on the Larry King show link >> http://www.myimsonline.com/blog/-Good-Calories-Bad-Calories-Overview-by-Dr-Weil)

    “Obesity is mostly a hormonal disorder genetically influenced in which insulin is a central player. That over eating and under activity is not causes of obesity but symptoms of an underlying disorder. It’s not that people eat too much and don’t exercise because of some defect of will or some behavioral problem. It’s that this is behavior that is controlled by a hormonal disturbance.” I find this statement profound.
    I am constantly trying to explain to people “they” (the person they are) are not in charge. They do not overeat because “they” want to over eat. Our bodies want what our bodies want, our bodies are big chemical vats of hormones and whatever we consume affects the balance of those hormones.

    The hormonal disorder must be corrected first if one to achieve the goals they desire. This does mean dietary changes need to be made but that is the beauty of Atkins, you don’t have to limit the amount you eat, just what you eat. If you’re filling up on good fats you just don’t miss those bad carbs (as much) and if you add to that the supplements that stop carb cravings it’s even easier, especially over time.

    Thanks for the warnings, I will steel myself and be prepared to be offended when/(if) I do decide to listen.

    February 7, 2010 | 4:54 pm

    Okay, I bit the bullet and listened to the podcast.

    I have to say that I agree with one of his first statements in the interview “I know nothing about weight loss.”

    I do find his use of the term “FAT” derogatory. Isn’t saying that someone is “over-weight” just as descriptive and not as offensive? And also not so “5th grade”?

    And as far as sex appeal goes, isn’t the saying true “different strokes for different folks”? (I’ve been told) There are leg men and rear-end men and breast men. Isn’t it possible that some would actually prefer fat over skinny? Aren’t our differences what make life interesting?

    I don’t hate him and I don’t love him….I just think he is ”clueless”.

    February 7, 2010 | 5:26 pm

    Mike, if I followed the Food Pyramid I’d be “FAT” in no time flat. I am extremely carb sensitive and any excess goes straight to my hips (and thighs and waist). And the percentages of carbs on the food pyramid are excessive.

    I believe hunger is hormonal. Is the response to that hormone physical or mental?

    The science tells me that persons not been able to “maintain” on a conventional diet is because they were restricting calories, portions and of course fat, that makes it basically impossible, both mentally and physically.

    Want to make the food pyramid work….flip it upside down, put fat at the bottom followed by dairy and protein, then the veggies and fruit with grains being the teeny tiny portion at the top….that works! Now that is something I could live (and thrive) on.

  14. vargas
    February 7, 2010 | 8:25 pm

    Not a big fan of this guy. Personal responsibility plays a key role in weight loss but so do other factors that have nothing to do with personal responsibility. He sounds like another calories in /calories out diet guru clone to me. But thanks for the show anyway Jimmy!

  15. Sandy
    February 8, 2010 | 10:09 am

    I loved this podcast! Steve Siebold has the nerve to tell it like it is! Any intelligent person knows that sugar isn’t good for them, but they eat it anyway, and then make an excuse for being FAT! I lost 80 lbs eating low-carb and fat people say, “but that’s not healthy”. I feel like saying, “Look at you, do you honestly say your fat is healthy?” Anyone with half a brain should know that the more you move, the more you can eat. If you eat low-carb, you can eat even more. If you want to lose weight, just stay away from the junk foods, which mainly contain carbs. I’m so tired of people making excuses!!

  16. Marcus Williams
    February 23, 2010 | 7:23 pm

    Hi – For many people, being over-weight is a side effect of them having an underactive thyroid. They aggravate their problem when they ignore the benefits of following a steady diet that includes natural foods and large amounts of fruits and veggies.

  17. M Grieve
    March 7, 2010 | 4:14 am

    I find it interesting that people blame the food pyramid for being fat, when I was fat do you think I was eating according to the food pyramid – NOPE – I was eating bad foods, mainly trans fat, and I was eating for pleasure, which is exactly as Steve described it. I am lucky to be on the otherside of being fat and have now successfully lost weight twice, once low fat and this time following the birth of my last child, low carb. But at the end of the day I was fat, there is no two ways about it, looking at it any other way, was just an excuse – I chose what went into my mouth, I cooked the meals, I drove to the takeaway shop.

    Good Luck to everyone trying to lose weight – Steve is right, when you drop a significant amount of kilos and people notice it your feel GREAT!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  18. jake3_14
    March 7, 2010 | 9:34 am

    This is the first of Jimmy’s podcasts I’ve listened to, and I was very disappointed in the selection of the guest and Jimmy’s kid-glove treatment of him. I’ll agree that it takes discipline to cook every meal from scratch, to deal with whatever underlying emotional issues (as well as hormonal) drive you to eat, and to defend the LC WOE to the uneducated.

    But, as other posters have already said, Siebold is CLUELESS when it comes to the science of low-carb eating. I presume Jimmy has read Taubes’ and other books, and has the knowledge base to challenge the “it’just a matter of willpower” mentality. So, why didn’t he? I know he wants his podcasting to continue in order to keep educating people, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of his listeners, who know more than this huckster, or at the expense of Jimmy’s integrity, which demands that he challenge bullshit when he hears it.

  19. jjsmith
    August 12, 2010 | 6:38 am

    I liked this podcast. There is definitely a mental portion to weight loss. How many of us have been trying to follow low carb but fallen off the wagon?(I sure have and unfortunately still do!) Processed foods are so prevalent and easy in our busy lifestyles and really breaking the addiction takes hormonal restration *and* discipline/mental toughness to deal with the daily temptations. I’ve read Taubes, Sisson, Atkins, Eades, DeVany, Lierre Keith and others and still struggle with trying to keep on track despite believing in low carb with all my heart. Success in life takes behavioral management and Steve’s just trying to give us information regarding that to help us get there with respect to fat loss.

  20. finallygottough
    October 10, 2010 | 6:47 am

    You all sound like the people who criticize Gary Taubes. All I can say is “READ THE BOOK!”. He’s not recommending ANY diet, as a matter a fact he lost his weight on a low carb diet. The comments above just reinforce exactly what he’s talking about. Blaming corporations for our obesity epidemic? Are you kidding? Are they FORCING the food down our throats? Give me a break.

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