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.
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. 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, and taking probiotics and digestive enzymes in order to normalize my digestion.
2. I started using mind-body practices to reduce stress.
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.
3. 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.
4. I detoxified my body.
After I had lost about 180 pounds I started doing a lot of research about toxins and how the body processes and deals with toxic chemicals. 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. I’ve now worked with tens of thousands of people in 60 countries teaching this approach and we’re getting amazing results.
Here’s a detailed interview with Jon Gabriel that outlines his remarkable method of weight loss without dieting.
This article excerpt is reproduced with full permission from MindBodyGreen. Do not republish without seeking and obtaining your own permission first. For more inspiration and detailed guidelines, I encourage you to visit Jon Gabriel’s website: www.TheGabrielMethod.com
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