This is my take on Sustainable Weight Loss…
Back in the 90’s I went through a period of time where my weight was completely out of control. No matter what I did to lose weight, I just kept gaining. I tried every diet I could. I worked face to face with the late Dr. Atkins himself. I went to the Pritkin Institute, I met with doctors, nutritionists, acupuncturists, fitness trainers, naturopaths and homeopaths. No matter what I did, I just kept gaining.
Sure I’d lose a little weight with whatever diet I was on at the time, but then the weight loss would stop. Eventually I couldn’t take the restriction anymore and I’d have a big binge and all the weight I lost would come back with a vengeance. By 2001 I was over 400 pounds.
In 2002 I had given up. I stopped trying to lose weight and instead I started trying to heal my life, my mind and my body. Paradoxically, by not focusing on losing weight anymore and instead focusing on healing, the weight started to melt off of me.
Over a 2 year period from 2002-2004 I lost over 220 pounds and I’ve been the same weight since. I don’t diet in restrictive sense. There’s nothing I ‘can’t’ have and I don’t measure quantities or count calories. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want and as much as I want. But because I’ve focused so much on healing my mind and body, I simply never crave junk food anymore and my body now desires extremely healthy foods.
For me weight loss has now been completely sustainable for over 12 years….
There's a lot of talk these days in the news about how impossible it is to lose weight and keep it off in the long term. In particular, one New York Times article revisited some of the success stories from the Biggest Loser a few years later and virtually all of them have gained their weight back and more.
Many doctors are now saying that dieting doesn’t work and some of them are going as far as to say that you can't lose weight and keep it off in the long term.
What I've learned is that when a doctor says that you can't do something, what they really mean is that the methods that they use do not work. It doesn't mean you can't do it, it just means that their methods are not effective. So I’d like to offer an alternative version of what it takes to create lasting, sustainable weight loss.
In a nutshell, sustainable weight loss comes when you address the real issues that are causing your body to hold onto weight.
Sure, eating junk food and not exercising enough will cause you to gain weight. But what causes you to crave junk food, or be too tired to exercise? You might say it’s all just weakness, laziness, lethargy and indifference, but there’s actually a lot more to it.
Having lived through the experience of having a body that just wanted to gain and gain, to now being in a body that’s effortless thin, I can tell you that weakness and laziness have very little to do with it.
There's a certain hormonal condition that can happen in our bodies that can put us into fat storage mode. I call this set of hormonal changes “The FAT Programs” because they are part of a genetic program we inherited from our ancestors, designed to help us gain weight for survival reasons. When these FAT Programs are activated, our cells stop responding to two very key fat regulating hormones, leptin and insulin.
You may be familiar with the terms ‘leptin resistance’ and ‘insulin resistance’. Both are extremely common in people who suffer from weight issues. When we have leptin and insulin resistance, our bodies get transformed into human fat storage machines. We can become insatiably hungry and crave junk food constantly. Also, our metabolism slows down, so we’re chronically exhausted. We become very efficient at making fat and we lose the ability to burn fat.
When you combine these hormonal changes together in a world of all you can eat empty calorie junk food you have a recipe for disaster. This is what causes morbid obesity. I lived through this and unfortunately millions are living through it as we speak.
While it’s true that cutting out all junk food will help, since both leptin and insulin resistance causes junk food cravings in the first place, it becomes very difficult to be sustainable. It’s a vicious cycle. So what do you do?
Stress can be caused by mental, emotional and physical issues, so you have to take a mind-body approach to healing.
The way I lost weight and the way I continued to stay thin is by addressing the stresses in my life that can cause leptin and insulin resistance, and you can do that in the following ways:
1. Nourish your body
Many of us are chronically malnourished and that causes our cells to not function properly. So add lots of superfoods and real foods, like live salad greens, green juices, super greens, spirulina, chlorella, sprouts. The key is to add these foods for medicinal purposes. Don’t think of them as food, think of them as medicine. You’re eating them to heal.
2. Heal your digestion
There's a lot of studies out now that show having unfriendly bacteria in your intestines or having leaky gut can cause chronic low-grade inflammation. So add lots of fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, nutritional yeast, probiotics, coconut kefir, coconut yoghurts and nut cheeses. Also add bone broths as they have collagen that helps heal the intestines. Again, the focus is always on adding for medicinal purposes. I usually have a couple of tablespoons of fermented veggies before each meal for example.
3. Get lots of sleep
Not having enough sleep elevates cortisol levels, which causes leptin and insulin resistance. So get lots of sleep. Also take a nap in the afternoon if you can. Again, for medicinal reasons 😉
4. Reduce mental stress
Mental stress, just like any other type of stress causes hormonal changes in your body. For some of us, it causes the hormonal changes that activate The FAT Programs. So develop daily mind-body practices to heal mental stress, such as meditation, visualization, yoga and chi kung.
5. Work through emotional issues
Emotional issues can cause an elevation of stress hormones and emotional trauma can cause weight gain. So address any emotional trauma’s you’ve had in your life.
6. Develop a detoxification lifestyle
Toxicity is a chronic stress that can causes weight gain. So for starters, drink lots of water to help flush out toxins. When possible add organic produce. If you eat meat, try to make sure it’s organic and grass fed/free range or wild caught. By having more organic produce and following the other suggestions above, which will also help detoxify your body, you can develop a ‘detoxification lifestyle’. A detoxification lifestyle is when you’re passively eliminating toxins in a gentle way, day by day, so that each day you are cleaner and healthier.
7. Address life issues
Sometimes your life is the problem. When you ignore the issue in your life that are not ideal, such as being in the wrong career, relationship or location, it causes chronic stress, which can cause your body to gain weight. Be willing to make some changes if need be. Use visualization and affirmations to help you make the life changes that are necessary. When meditating ask for help from your intuition, higher self, invisible guides, guardian angels or God. However you conceive the invisible support in your life, connect with it and ask it for help. Then when the time comes and the opportunity presents itself, allow yourself to take a chance if it feels right, even if it’s a bit scary.
Those are the real keys to sustainable weight loss.
They've worked for me and they've worked for thousands of people that have followed The Gabriel Method over the years.
You may not lose weight instantly by focusing on the real issues, but you will be steadily transforming your body from the inside out.
By eliminating the root causes in this way, you will disempower the hormonal dynamic that has you addicted to junk and spiraling out of control. The most common ‘complaint’ I get when working with clients this way is that after a while they say they are just ‘not that hungry’.
My response is that that’s exactly what’s supposed to happen when your body wants to let go of weight. When you work with your body this way as opposed to fighting cravings night and day, weight loss is so much easier because you’re not at war with your body anymore.
Your body wants to be thin when you address the real issues. Losing weight and keeping it off then becomes totally natural, normal and sustainable.
Let me know your thoughts below. Also if you’d like to know which issues affect your weight most, you can take our FREE Fat Trigger Quiz here and we’ll send you a full report about your Fat Program Stresses and how to address them.