Eric before at 340 pounds with a 52 inch waist, Peety, and Eric after at 180 pounds with a 33 inch waist.

About Eric O’Grey

In 2010 at age 51, I was 340 pounds at 5’10”, my waist was 52 inches, and I wore 4XL shirts.  I had Type 2 diabetes, my total cholesterol was almost 400, and my blood pressure was out of control.  I had tried and failed every diet plan, diet book, and weight loss gimmick ever marketed in the U.S.  I was taking 15 different medications, including insulin, statins, anti-depressants, weight loss drugs, and medications intended to mitigate the side effects of other medications.  My doctor told me to purchase a cemetery plot, because I would likely need one within the next five years.

As a last ditch effort to avoid bariatric surgery, I consulted with Dr. Preeti Kulkarni, a plant-based naturopathic doctor, who advised me to rescue a dog from a local shelter.  In addition to following my doctor’s advice and switching to a whole food, plant-based diet, I called Humane Society Silicon Valley and asked to adopt an obese, middle-aged dog so we would have something in common.  And that’s how I met Peety, the 7-year-old dog who rescued me.

Over the next year, my weight dropped to 180 pounds, my waist was reduced to 33 inches, and my shirt size changed to medium.  My type 2 diabetes and all my other health problems were reversed, and I no longer take any medications.  Today I am 59, but feel like I’m 25, and I’ve sustained my optimal weight and health for 8 years.

When people ask how I turned my life around, I point to Peety. I would not have reversed my physical problems without first correcting the underlying causes of my obesity, which were caused by my standard American diet, my sedentary lifestyle, and because I became reclusive and stopped caring about myself and others.

I was unconscious until Peety came into my life, and I am now a better person in every way because of what he taught me.  Peety’s love for me was absolute and unconditional, which taught me the meaning of true friendship and how to love myself and others.  Peety believed I was the greatest person on Earth, so I decided to become the person he believed me to be.  Because Peety was completely selfless towards me, he taught me to care about myself and to be more selfless toward others.  And because Peety helped me believe in myself and again, I was able to lose weight by sticking with my new healthy lifestyle and walking him for at least a half hour twice each day.

After Peety and I each achieved our ideal weight and overcame our health problems, every aspect of our lives improved, both personally and professionally. Peety and I made many new friends and went on many adventures together.  I developed an interest in long distance running, and Peety remained my best friend and biggest fan.

Peety got cancer and passed away in my arms on March 11, 2015, which was the saddest day of my life.  But then, in August 2015, after a race, I felt the call of another dog looking for me, and immediately drove to Seattle Humane.  Once there I met Jake, a 4-year-old Labrador retriever mix who had been abandoned and was placed for adoption just four minutes before I arrived.  Jake and I bonded immediately at first sight, and I adopted him on the spot.  Jake turned out to be the best running partner I could have hoped for, and like Peety, now travels with me almost everywhere.

I recently decided to turn my passion for animal kindness and plant-based nutrition into my profession, and now work for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine as Director of Philanthropy for the Southeast. I live in the Washington DC area, where I enjoy spending time with my wife Jaye, long distance running with Jake, gourmet plant based cooking, and helping others reverse obesity, type 2 diabetes, and achieve their optimal weight and happiness. I am available to travel for corporate and non-profit inspirational and keynote speaking opportunities. For availability and rates, please contact me at [email protected] or Hachette Speakers Bureau.

Thank you!

Eric O’Grey


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  2. Eric, I saw your story on facebook and it was very moving and inspirational. Congratulations for turning your life around and thanks to your nutritionist for suggesting you to find Peety. The stars were aligned. Keep going strong with your health with Jake. All the best to you.

  3. Pingback: Doctors Told Overweight Man To Buy Cemetery Plot But He Got A Rescue Dog Instead - Cybertimes

  4. I honestly cried so much,you’re such an amazing person Peety would be proud..Well done..Love to you and Jake <3 <3 <3

  5. I rarely ever cry anymore, all drained of tears from being an animal advocate for so long, but your and Peety’s story made me tear up. How amazing. I hope to get my brother to be inspired by you and get rid of his diabetes too…it’s a terrible disease. I’m vegan for the animals but realize it can also prevent and get rid of diseases. I’m so glad you rescued Jake after your heartbreak in losing Peety. What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing it with us all.

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  7. It’s absolutely incredible in the fact you turned your life around and are now healthy. I am so sorry about Peety. It really made me think about my dog. He is my first dog and is only 4 but your story really made me come to a realization that I’m going to have to deal with it when his time comes. It really kills me to think about it and I get really depressed sometimes. I have found that it really helps to enjoy the time that I’m having now and apricate that he is here. I have no idea what kind of sadness you felt laying with Peety but I hope I can do it with my dog one day. Not to be sad, but to remember what there was. One final goodbye to my dog would mean so much to me. Again, your story is so inspiring, and I hope you keep striving. Thank you.

  8. I’d like to know about the diet factor–if there is one particular program you follow, or books/cookbooks that you recommend.

    • Hi Chad:

      These are the resources I recommend, and the program I advocate is compatible with each:


      Forks Over Knives: The first and greatest documentary ever produced about the imperative and benefits of a whole food, plant based diet.

      PlantPure Nation: From the producer and writer of Forks Over Knives, this documentary follows the story of people on a quest to spread the message of one of the most important health breakthroughs of all time.

      Cowspiracy: This documentary exposes the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, and investigates the policies of environmental organizations on this issue.


      How Not to Die: The best and most comprehensive book about how a plant based diet will maximize your lifespan and reduce your risk of preventable disease, including cancer, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. Includes an easy to follow guide on what to eat to add years to your life. Greger, M., M.D., & Stone, G. (2015). How not to die: Discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease. New York, NY: Flatiron Books.

      The Starch Solution: A complete primer on how to practice a plant based diet. Eat the foods you love, regain your health, and lose the weight for good. McDougall, J. A., & McDougall, M. A. (2012). The starch solution: Eat the foods you love, regain your health, and lose the weight for good! New York: Rodale.

      Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook: An extraordinary collection of recipes, all of which can be prepared from common ingredients in 30 minutes or less, and proving that the whole-food-plant-based-oil-free lifestyle is not about what you can’t eat, but what you can. Sroufe, D. (2012). Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year. New York: The Experiment.

      The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet: The follow-up to the best seller Engine 2 Diet series, the Seven-Day Rescue Diet is a perfect kick starter to lower your cholesterol, drop your blood sugar and blood pressure, and help you lose weight in only 7 days!
      Esselstyn, R. (2016). Engine 2 seven-day rescue diet: Eat plants, lose weight, save your health. New York: Grand Central Publishing.

  9. Wonderful Story. A dog’s love is unconditional and really does change your life. I know my Kirby did that for me. You should read A Dog’s Purpose!

  10. I was so sad when I heard what happen to Peety but I think we need to stay strong and rise up. Best of luck to you and Jake!

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  12. Hi Eric,
    I am really enjoying your book. Very inspirational. Can you please tell me where I can find the recipe for the first bean and rice meal that you made in the crock pot? You went on and on about how delicious it was, that I am dying to make it. Thank you

  13. Thank for sharing your story. I just finished your book a moment ago and it has to be one of the best books I have ever read. Are you possibly going to be on a book tour this year?

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