Fred Rutman Finding A Solution

Summary: Fred Rutman suffered from severe health problems, diabetes, and heart problems. In one summer, his heart stopped 20 times. He was given a pacemaker that failed. He eventually found a solution to increase his health through intermittent fasting. Learn more about his fantastic story. He reminds us that we can always find answers if we look outside the box.

Show notes:


IG repeatedlydeadfred

Ari: Welcome to whispers and bricks. My name is Ari Schonbrun and I’m your host. My guest today is Fred Rutman Fred currently lives in Toronto. He was a marketing consultant, then went into academia as a college professor for a number of years. After acquiring his MBA, his weight ballooned up to 340 pounds. The combination of weight issues and playing years of hockey, rugby and football, left him in perpetual pain. Every joint in his body ached, eventually got down to about 280, where he plateaued. In the summer of 2009, he came crashing down was forced into permanent medical leave, he started passing out randomly. He was hospitalized numerous times and was put on insulin and metformin. It turns out he wasn’t simply passing out his heart was stopping. He was clinically dead dozens of times. They eventually put them on a pacemaker. That pacemaker then failed in 2013. He had subsequently I think three or four more pacemakers put in, over the course of the years. In 2018, Fred learned about intermittent fasting, and his life hasn’t been the same since he’s no longer asthmatic. He is now 10 Pant sizes and about 80 pounds. In mid December 2021, he had the cleanest pacemaker check ever. Fred is currently writing the medical trauma memoir, summary die 20 times. Please help me welcome Fred Rutman

Fred Rutman: Fantastic, thanks. How are you?

Ari: I am good. It’s good to hear that you’re fantastic. You know, we have to reading all of that information. My god. Wow. Unbelievable.

Fred Rutman: It’s it’s been a journey. You know, if I ever meet a new doctor, and I try and tell them, you know, my medical history, they just, they really don’t believe it. Yeah, it’s just unbelievable to them.

Ari: I can hear that. Well, as you know, the name of the the name of this podcast is whispered some bricks, the whispers of those voices telling us what the right thing to do is and they represent the good in life. And the bricks represent the bad things that we go through in life and God knows we all get hit with bricks throughout our lives, some bigger bricks, some smaller bricks, you know, some more, some less, but life is not a straight line. It’s not a you’re not always going to be on the up there are ups and downs. And, you know, that’s what life’s all about. Now, for you, it appeared that life was pretty good for you in the early goings, got a good job, you went into teaching you got an MBA all seem to be going well, until the first break hit your weight to 340 pounds, how old were you at that time? And tell us what was going on?

I was probably 40s from my early 40s. And you know, I’ve always been overweight. I was probably you know, some version of type two diabetic most of my life and just it never got flagged. And there’s no specific reason my weight spiraled out of control. And the doctors don’t think my weight had anything to do with what subsequently happened to me. Even though you know, it’s not a good idea to be that obese. Alright,

Ari: Can I ask you how tall you are?

Fred Rutman Not very. I’d like to be a lot taller. I’m five foot seven. 

Ari: Oh, okay. 

Fred Rutman So I was pretty portly.

Ari: I hear that. I hear that. Did they did did you or the doctors ever consider maybe it was depression or something of that effect that would cause the weight gain. Very often we hear that when somebody gains a lot of weight. It’s you know, it’s it’s, there’s something else going on? And usually it’s psychological. Have you heard that? Has anybody ever said that to you?

Fred Rutman: Not as a direct it might have been part of a whole bunch of factors that were going on. But you know, I my life didn’t start off on on the smooth plane either. In my mid 30s, I found out that I had had a stroke just before after I was born. So my body was never working properly. You know, the stroke was misdiagnosed or not diagnosed and so my It just really wasn’t working. Well, I didn’t know how to explain that to other people. I didn’t know who to to question. And that’s just part of, you know, the bricks that get thrown at you.

Yeah, I guess, I guess. And then later on, you got hit with what I would call like the major brick. You made your break, you started passing out randomly. Like, yeah, how old? Were you at that point?

See, I was probably in my mid 40s 4647.

Ari: Uh huh. So Whoa, what was going on?

Fred Rutman: Well, they thought it was passing out. And, you know, I went into the medical system. I’m in Toronto. So we have some pretty high end medical here. And I just went through a series of being misdiagnosed by a whole number of doctors. And what they eventually found out is that I have something called a severe heart block, which is a medical condition where the electrical system in your heart that runs your tells your heart how to how to beat, so it sends a signal to your atria, then to your ventricle. So they, they pump in synchronized fashion. And that system died. It just eventually died. And so my heart was stopping. So I wasn’t actually passing out. I was dying. My My heart stopped beating. Wow.

Ari: That must have been must have been scary. How, like, How often was that happening?

Fred Rutman: Well, in that summer, the ones we know about, it happened about 20 times, which Oh, my God, how the title of my book came to be, which is, you know, the the summer I died 20 times. So it was, you know, on the upside, every time, my heart would stop, you know, your blood pressure goes to zero, there’s no blood or oxygen in your brain. I would fall and I would smack my head, and I would get a concussion. And the upside of getting a concussion and getting so beat up mentally, is you really didn’t have time to process how bad your situation was. Because your brain was no longer working properly. It took a number of years for me to to try and wrap my head around the fact that I was dead. Wow, just did you see the bright light by any chance? I wish? That’s a question I get asked pretty often. I can imagine, you know, if this happens to you once, and you don’t see the bright light? You know, that’s pretty okay. If this happens to you, like a dozen or 20 or 30 times, and not once Do you have that experience? You feel kind of ripped off?

Ari: You know, and I think I think it’s, it’s, I do believe there is something to the bright light. I have my own theories on that. But because of the way I’m thinking I think about it, the theories that I have, it’s very simple. Why you didn’t see the bright light? It’s because it wasn’t your time. Yes, your heart stopped. Okay. And yes, you might have been dead, but it wasn’t your time. And, you know, that’s why you didn’t see the bright light.

Fred Rutman: Yeah, I did have a couple of out of body experiences.

 Ari: Really? 

Fred Rutman: Yeah, where I was out in the middle of nowhere cycling, for example. And it was, you know, later in the evening, so it was pitch black on the bike path. And nobody was around. And my heart stopped. Of course, I tumbled to the ground. And I I remember looking down on myself tangled up with my bike. And there’s just, you know, everything is black all around. And feeling like very confused. You know? So it’s like, if you’re in the sort of mindset that you believe that people have souls and there’s Heaven and Hell, it was like my soul had come out of my body and was, you know, trying to get some guidance as to do I go up? Do I go down? Do I go back into the body?

Ari: Wow, weird. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, you’re probably the only the second person that I know that has had that experience. I met another guy a few years ago who also he was in an operating room. And he literally talked about how he was hovering above his own body and he was watching everybody in the room, and he was out under anesthesia, and he was watching everybody else in the room and he heard everything that was going on. Which he then proceeded to relate to the people when they when he came out of it. He related to the people all of those conversations, and they were like flabbergasted. Just was just absolutely amazing. Wow. So so what what, like when when would happen? You know, like, what would happen? With the people around when it happens? In other words, did your heart just start beating again? Was it the concussion? Maybe when you fell that caused that shock your heart? Do you know?

Fred Rutman: Those are great questions already. The doctors don’t really know why my heart started again. They, you know, your your body is a marvelous thing. And it’s got all these subsystems, which are, you know, protective measures, and are supposed to start your heart again. But they usually work pretty quickly. I had events where, you know, I would go from 30 seconds of of no heartbeat to I think the maximum recorded was about five minutes. And that was in a hospital. So we know, we have a pretty good idea how long it took from when the monitors noticed, my heart had stopped till I came back to life.

Fi going being down for five minutes. I mean, doesn’t, I mean, isn’t that usually? You know, isn’t that cause? Brain damage? Yeah,

yeah, I have, you know, a lot of recovery from this.

Ari: Oh, I was gonna say you don’t look like your brain damaged? 

Fred Rutman: Well, it’s kind of hard to see, you know, it’s one of those in visible afflictions that people have, you know, like lupus, you can’t see lupus, right? You know, my dad had wicked, rheumatoid arthritis, and you can’t see the pain people are in. Right. And, you know, I may have told you this in our pre talk. But, you know, I’ve been learning Hebrew since I was five. So I come from the Orthodox Jewish side of things. I had the entire language knocked out of my head, among other things, wow, my friends brought me my prayer book, and hospital. I could no longer read Hebrew. I still read at the level before. Yeah. Wow.

So I guess, you know, I look, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t know much. But I know there are different parts to the brain. And I know the brain has different functions, like and I guess, you know, you just hit that one part of the brain that said, you know, you’re not going to know this anymore. Something to that effect?

On a number of other things.

Ari: Yeah, for sure. For sure. But, so let’s talk about something a little bit that let’s talk about the whispers. The Whispers then came, I think, in 2018, I think it was, was that about the time that you learned about intermittent fasting? Yes, it was. So tell us about that the effect it had on your life. And you know what happened and you know, he missed that part of the story, give us a good part of the story.

Fred Rutman: Well, it started off with me going to see my cardiologist, which I have three cardiologists because I’m that messed up, because of all this, that happened. And I’m in the exam room, and he comes in, and he literally throws a book at me. And he says, By this, read this, do this, after you talk to all your other doctors, and we get consensus that you can do this. And the book was the obesity code by Dr. Jason Fung. And it’s all about the science of intermittent fasting. Initially, the doctors who got on board this program, were looking at it as another diet, it was simply a matter to lose a tool to lose weight. As we know now, and it’s only four years later, the science or the medicine is just catching up with the research and intermittent fasting activates all these subsystems in your body and just initiates healing at so many levels, that it’s truly mind blowing for someone who’s had his mind blown. Yeah, this is mind blowing. Yeah. And I ended up becoming a moderator in a fasting group on Facebook that had about 335,000 members. Wow. You know, I I’ve seen so many people recover from so many different afflictions, that that it’s not just anecdotal evidence is you know, this is real life. And there’s a reason that a lot of the major religions have implemented various fasting protocols over the years. You know, the rabbi’s of 3000 years ago wouldn’t know exactly what was happening scientifically in our bodies, but they knew that sometimes a fast was good for you.

Right? So, so I had, like, you know, can you give us the 30,000 foot level on how this how this works? What is intermittent fasting?

Fred Rutman: So intermittent fasting is a series of cycles of not eating, which is the fast part, and then eating. So everybody has a different protocol that will work for their body. I’m currently doing what’s called an 18 Six, which is I fast for 18 hours, and I can eat whatever I want in the six hours. That doesn’t mean I eat continuously for six hours.

Ari: I could see myself doing that. Trust me. Yeah, it’s easy to do. No, I’m talking about eating straight for six hours.

Fred Rutman: Essentially, what happens is when you fast you, you give your body, your digestive tract arrest, and it lowers your insulin levels. And that seems to start a domino effect with the rest of your hormones that are out of whack. And hormones become out of whack for a variety of reasons. So eventually, all those things start to normalize. When they told me I was type two diabetic, they also said, Okay, here’s your insulin, here’s your Metformin. You know, this is gonna be a chronic condition, your life’s gonna turn to hell. You know, you’re gonna have a very painful end of yours. And good luck. Wow, we know that’s not true.

Ari: Thanks, doc.

Fred Rutman: That’s, that’s just, you know, in sync with the medical system hasn’t caught up with the research. And Dr. Fung is a nephrologist. So he sees tons of people with kidney damage, and losing limbs because of type two diabetes. And he’s reversed it in hundreds, if not 1000s of people. Wow. And I’m one of those people in six months of intermittent fasting started in May 2018. By December 2018, I was off insulin. My blood sugar’s were 100%. Normal. Wow.

That’s incredible. Let me ask you something. Just going back to you know, where you were, I mean, you must have, you must have been at some point in time at the lowest point of your life. And I just wonder when you did get to that level?

Ari: You know, what was going through your mind? Did you ever do you ever get to the point where you said, You know what, I can’t do this anymore. I, you know, I just, I’m checking out, I’m done. I’m checking out, you know, I’m going to, you know, roll up that a little ball and die. And thank you very little. And if it did happen, how did you? How did you get out of that? How did you manage to, to, you know, motivate yourself to say, no, that’s not going to be me, I’m not gonna let that happen.

Fred Rutman: Thankfully, I didn’t get to that point. I’ve got a really good support system around me. And, you know, there’s a, I guess it’s an adage, if that’s the right word, that that people are the composite of the five people they spend the most time with, or seven people or 10 people, you know, depending on your situation. And I’m just surrounded by spectacular people. I don’t know why I’ve earned this. Where if I have earned this, to be around all these people. And I think my parents gave me a super resilience gene. And, you know, they had a tough life medically. But they never quit. And I guess I have a lot of that attribute from them. And I’ve tried to develop it further. I’ve always been a person that tries to improve himself, even though I didn’t know exactly what I was trying to improve. But I’ve always been on that path. Right. I think those combinations and of course, you know, my religious beliefs that that you know, God God has a plan for us. Yeah, you know, I hear it’d be nice if he told us that plan every so often.

You know, it’s kind of like you you know, you have kids but they don’t come with a manual you know, you wish they come with a manual. Now, so, tell us about the book you’re writing. Right? What is it coming out? What possessed you to do it? What is possessing you to write it well? Are you writing it? What do you hope to accomplish with it?

It’s funny, you mentioned that or you ask that because that’s what the publisher I’m negotiating with, just asked me for, why are you writing this book? It’s a great book. But why? And I see, I just have an obligation to people outside my circle, to share my story and tell them that there is hope. Once I’m sure you know, this off the top of your head, the Holocaust survivor, that was a psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, Viktor Frankl, one of his classic thoughts is, if you have hope, you can conquer anything. And that’s what I’m, I’m trying to spread a little of people have been so gracious and generous in supporting me that I’m just trying to do that. Tell my story, let them know that what they’ve been told might not be the final answer. And and that there’s, you know, what’s the word there, there’s treatments out there that doctors don’t even know about, that are available that can help you heal in ways you’ve never imagined.

Ari: Yeah. Any idea when the book is going to be coming out?

Fred Rutman: Depends on how fast I can make the revisions the editors asked for. So are the instructions. You’ve written a book, right? I have written a book. So you know, some of the instructions you get back from the editors and publishers are, you know, we think you should change this, but they’re not really specific, and giving you guidance. So that’s the stage I’m going through right now.

Ari: So let me ask you, before we go, words of wisdom, anything you can share with my audience, something they can take away with them?

Fred Rutman: Sure, a couple of things. You know, they say that comparison is the thief of joy. And, you know, I think, I don’t know is that the sixth commandment, don’t do not cover it. I’m not sure where that lines up on there. But, you know, if you start trying to compare your life and your recovery to other people, and get mad and frustrated about that, it’s really hard to have any joy in your life. And as Viktor Frankl said, it’s really hard to, to pull in that hope that things will get better in and that you will conquer whatever battle you’re facing. The it’s just the reality, your mindset is probably your greatest superpower. In, you know, realizing that your mindset is walking around and a cape and leotards and has a, you know, a giant s or whatever on your chest. Yeah, that’s, you know, when we talk or moderating the intermittent fasting world, that’s one of the things we talk about the most is, this isn’t going to be linear. There’s going to be times where you take a few steps back. But you keep that mindset that this is going to work. And it is going to move you forward in so many aspects of your life.

Ari: Yeah, absolutely. Truly, truly words of voice to never ever give up. I think is, you know, if you want to put into a nutshell. So, Fred, if people want to get in touch with you, what would be the best way for them to do that? Do you have a website? Do you have emails, social media?

Fred Rutman: I’ve heard about this email thing I heard it’s pretty convenient. I have an email. My email goes by my moniker repeatedly dot Again, again, repeatedly idli dot Fred sorry, repeatedly I get confused still repeatedly dot dead dot Fred because that’s what I was really and that’s also my Instagram, you can find me at that Instagram, which I’m just getting into millennial. And, you know, I’ll post things like this podcast or any other inspirational things that come my way. And they can always follow me and, you know, slide into my messaging and give me a shout.

Ari: Okay, that’s awesome. Fred, I want to thank you so much for sharing your story with my audience, giving people the motivation they need to persevere and all the struggles in life because everybody goes through struggles. Good luck going forward. Looking forward for your book to come out. Let us know when that’s going to happen. And, you know, just keep on keeping on. It’s, you know, that’s my prayer for you. You were listening to whispers and bricks and I’m your host Gary Shermer. Remember, if you feel like you’re stuck in the mud, like you’re spinning your wheels, wasting time and your career, your business your life. If you know you’re not enjoying all the success, satisfaction and significance that you desire, that it’s time for you to book a call with me at www dot call with Check out my whispers and bricks, coaching academy and until next time, listen to the whispers avoid the bricks and never ever give up on your dreams. Bye for now.