To lose weight, you shouldn’t count calories, just stabilize your hormones. The only way to solve the problem of excess weight is to understand what’s happening.
Back in 2001 I weighed more than 400 pounds. I tried every diet I could think of to lose weight. It’s a story of John Gabriel, a Wall Street broker. I worked with Dr. Atkins for two months, and after charging me thousands of dollars, the best he could do was yell at me for being so fat. Every diet I tried ended up the same way. There would be a whole list of foods I wasn’t allowed to eat. I’d follow the diet to the letter. I’d lose a little weight through sheer brute force and willpower. Then there would come an inevitable point when I couldn’t take it anymore and I’d have a huge binge. Whatever weight I had lost on the diet would come back in a matter of days, and a week later I’d be 5 pounds heavier than when I started the diet. This pattern of losing 10 pounds and gaining 15 pounds started in 1990, until by September 2001 I reached my peak of 409 pounds.
Then I had turning point. On September 11, I narrowly missed being on UAL flight 93. That experience left me feeling like I was living on borrowed time. Here I was, killing myself working in a high-stress Wall Street job that I hated, and the universe had just given me a second chance.
So I decided to get off of the dieting roller coaster once and for all, and I resolved never to diet again. Instead I was going to try to figure out why my body seemed to be forcing me to gain so much weight. Armed with a solid background in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, I spent 12 hours a day researching everything I could about the hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters and chemical massagers that cause weight gain.
I learned that losing weight sustainably isn’t about counting calories, but about creating the proper hormonal environment in your body that’s conducive to weight loss. Since stress and emotional issues can cause an unfavorable hormonal environment, the issue needs to be addressed from a mind-body perspective. We need to take a holistic approach that looks at our psychological and emotional life, as much as what and when we eat.
Over a two-and-half-year period I lost 220 pounds, without dieting. I’ve been the same weight now for over 10 years and I still don’t diet. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want.
These were the keys to my transformation:
1. Forget about diets. Learn everything about nutrients.
I learned through my research that my body was chronically starved for certain key nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, live foods and high-quality proteins. I made sure I gave myself as much really high-quality nutrients as possible. If I wanted junk foods like candy, chips or pizza, I would eat them whenever I wanted, without hesitation. Eventually I lost my taste for all junk food as my body learned to prefer high-quality, nutrient-dense foods.
2. I healed my digestion.
I discovered that one of the reasons why I was so badly starving for nutrients is that my digestive processes were compromised, so I was unable to effectively extract the nutrients from the foods I was eating. Digestion problems can also cause inflammation and the inflammatory hormones put our bodies into fat storage mode. I started eating lots of fermented and cultured foods (yogurts, kefers), and taking probiotics and digestive enzymes in order to normalize my digestion.
3. Learn to sleep well.
Bad sleep is a condition that affects many overweight people. It creates a hormonal environment in the body that encourages weight gain by causing elevated cortisol levels, which leads to junk food cravings and insulin resistance. Sleep apnea is a problem which bothers you to sleep well. If you solve it, the weight will start to melt away for good.
4. Start using mind-body practices.
Just like sleep apnea, stress causes elevated levels of cortisol and inflammatory hormones. These hormones lead to constant cravings and put your body into chronic fat storage mode. Many people don’t realize how important it is to learn how to reduce stress. I began meditating and visualizing every morning, which I found to be extremely effective for reducing stress. I got happier. And thinner.
5. Lower your expenses.
The best way to improve your life is to lower your addiction to money. I moved to a more affordable house and started growing some of my own foods. My life felt much more sustainable and I felt calmer and more supported. I loved knowing that anytime I was hungry I could go into the back yard and eat something fresh and full of vitality.
6. I worked through some important emotional issues.
Some people feel safer with extra weight on their body. It’s as if the body actually uses weight as a buffer from the world. I was in that situation and I knew I had to address the emotional issues that were making my body feel unsafe. I started doing visualization practices that helped to resolve past traumas and to get my body to feel safer in letting go of the weight.
Over the years I’ve found that 65-70% of the clients I work with are using weight as a form of protection. I call this “emotional obesity”. When you work through the issues that are causing emotional obesity and break the association that fat equals safe, the body is much more willing to let go of the weight. After I broke this association and the weight no longer served its purpose – that is, the armor of fat no longer made me feel any safer – the weight all but went away.
7. Detoxify your body.
After I had lost about 180 pounds I started doing a lot of research about toxins.It turns out the body uses fat cells to store excess toxins. I realized that the last 40 excess pounds that my body was holding onto was because it was a storehouse for accumulated toxins. I started living what I call a “detoxifying lifestyle”. Basically, I started flushing my body with lots of alkaline liquids, like water with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, green juices, super greens and lots of salads and sprouts. That did the trick, because I lost the last 40 pounds much more quickly than I lost the first 40 pounds, so the rate of my weight loss continued to accelerate to the very end.
Taking a mind body approach that nourishes the body and reduces the physical, mental and emotional stresses that cause weight gain is the most sensible and sustainable way to lose weight
All of the recommendations written above, I think are the most reasonable and reliable way to lose weight. I now work with tens of thousands of people in 60 countries teaching this approach and we’re getting amazing results. People who are engaged in this procedure lose weight without any diets. I recommend you to try my method too.