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Listen to Jon Gabriel Teach About:
- How he lost 103kg without dieting
- Why his approach is different to all other programs
- How you can also get your body to want to be thin
Read The Lecture Transcripts Here
Hello. This is Jon Gabriel and welcome to the show. Since we have been a featured program on BlogTalk Radio, we have been getting a lot of listeners that are not familiar with The Gabriel Method and not familiar with my approach and who I am, and so I just wanted to talk a little bit about my own experience of having lost over 200 pounds without dieting, or over 100 kilos without dieting. The book that I have written, called The Gabriel Method, and why it's different than other approach out there and how you can get your body to actually lose weight without dieting by getting your body to actually want to be thin. I'll just mention, we do get a lot of callers. We have a toll-free number in Australia and a toll-free number in the U. S. if you want to call in. The toll-free number in Australia is 1-800-646-289 and the toll-free number in the U. S. if you want to call in and ask a question is 1-888-663-2070. You can also send us Twitter questions, and we can answer those questions for you on Twitter, or if you ask the questions on Twitter, I can answer them from you, and that's @Gabrielmethod is our Twitter address.
So I just want to tell you a little bit about my story and how I developed my approach which is a very different approach to anything that I've ever seen out there. All approaches that I've ever seen to weight loss all operate on a central premise that you can somehow force yourself to lose weight and keep it off on a sustainable basis through dieting, through sheer willpower, through exercise, fitness trainers, behavior modification. Whatever it is, the idea is that you can beat your body. That if your body wants to be a certain weight and you through sheer efforts and behavior modification and willpower, can somehow beat your body and get it to be thinner than it wants to be. That was not my experience, and it's not the experience of a lot of people. What I've done is put together an approach that actually gets your body to want to be thinner.
Just to give you my own experience from that. What happened was, back in 1990, I moved to New York. I was living in Philadelphia at the time, and I moved to New York and I started working on Wall Street, and back then I didn't have a weight problem at all. I was about the same weight as I am now which is 180-some-odd pounds, or 83-85 kilos. Weight was not an issue for me at all. I never had to think about it. I never had to worry about it. I was thin. I was one of those — at that point, I was one of those naturally thin people. You know those people we all hate? They can eat whatever they want, whenever they want? So I was one of those.
I moved to New York, I started working on Wall Street. It was a very stressful job. I remember back then I was working in trading assistance for a bond trading firm, and I was making about $300 a week and my rent was $400 a week, so it was a very stressful position. I worked very hard. I had to work other jobs to make ends meet. It seemed like as soon as I moved to New York, I started gaining weight. I gained maybe five or ten pounds, or say five kilos, the first year and another five or ten pounds the second year, or another five kilos the second year, and I didn't think too much about it because it's fairly common that people start working hard, and they're stressed out, and they don't have time to exercise, they don't have time to make good food choices and they're in a sedentary job and they gain weight. It's fairly natural and it happens to a lot of people.
But what happened was, I didn't stop gaining weight. So after the first year, second year, third year I gained maybe 30 or 40 pounds, or 20 or 30 kilos. By the fourth year, back in '94, I was probably 220 pounds, or 100 kilos, and I decided it wasn't a joke any more. Part of that was my friends would sort of tease me. They would poke my stomach and say, “Oh, you're pregnant,” and have a big laugh about it, and I didn't think anything. But then I realized that it wasn't a joke anymore. I was gaining weight, and I decided I had to do something about it.
So I did what everybody does. I went on a diet. Actually, I went on a lot of diets, and every diet or program I went on always followed the same approach. They would give me a whole list of things I couldn’t have. No wheat, no sugar, no salt, no fat. Whatever it was I followed the diet to the letter, as I'm sure many of you out there have done, and I'd lose weight, as you can always do when you follow a diet. But what would always happen is that I would lose weight in the beginning — I'd follow the diet to the letter, I'd lose weight, and then maybe I'd lose five or ten pounds in a couple of weeks and then something would happen where I wasn't losing weight anymore, and here I was dieting all the time but now I'm not losing weight. So now I'm dieting just to keep that weight off that I just lost. And it's a little bit like — what it felt like is sort of like I painted myself into a corner in a sense. Where before I could eat whatever I wanted and maybe I'd gain a little bit of weight and stabilize, now I'm dieting all the time, and I'm not losing any more weight, and I'm fighting cravings left and right. Those of you who have been to New York, the smell of food on every corner — pizza. Nobody in the world makes pizza like New Yorkers, I have to say, and the smell of pizza was just every single corner.
What would happen was I would be fighting cravings all the time, and then I couldn't take it anymore and I'd have this big binge. Then that weight that took me two or three weeks to come off — the 10 pounds that I worked so hard to keep off — to get off and keep off, would come back in like days. It was like “Poof!” That weight would come back instantly, and then a couple days later I'd be maybe five pounds heavier, or a few kilos heavier, then when I even started the diet. I would think to myself, “I would be happy to be where I was before I even started dieting.”
This went on and on. This went on for a number of years. When I said I tried everything, I met with Dr. Atkins — you know, Dr. Atkins from the Atkins book, the famous Atkins diet, the no-carb diet. The Atkins diet is where you just eat zero carbs. He was living in New York at the time, so I decided to go to him and I met with him once a week for over a month and spent thousands of dollars with him, and I'd that whole thing, that no-carb thing, and it was just grueling. And I wasn't really losing weight.
I remember at one point after about four weeks, I'm sitting in his office, and he's looking at my test scores, and I'm borderline Type 2 diabetic, and my triglycerides are through the roof, and I'm insulin resistant, all these things, and overweight, and he just looked up at me and goes, “What are you doing? You're killing yourself.” I remember thinking to myself, “Is that the best you can do? You're Dr. Atkins, you've sold 200 million copies of your book worldwide, and I'm spending thousands of dollars with you, and I don't have enough motivation to try to lose weight, but I'm going to lose weight because you yell at me? Like you're mad at me so I'm going to lose weight?” I remember feeling so discouraged by that.
I remember I spent a couple weeks at the Pritikin Institute. At the time, it was in Santa Monica, California. Pritikin is pretty much the exact opposite of the Atkins diet for those of you — the Atkins Diet is like zero carbs — we've all done that. And the Pritikin diet is zero fat. I remember I'd be on the Atkins Diet, for example, and I'd go to McDonalds, and I'd order a Quarter Pounder, and I'd eat just the burger. I wouldn't eat the bread. I would just eat the burger. And then a week later, I'd be on the Pritikin Diet, and I would go to the same McDonalds and I'd order the same burger, and now I would just eat the bread instead of the burger because now I'm not eating any fat. I couldn't just eat a hamburger. There was always this thing with it.
My wife at the time used to joke with me that I was on the Atkins Diet during the day and the Pritikin Diet at night because I'd go all day without having any carbs and, you know, you can't really do that just going a whole day without carbs, and then at the end of the day, I just had to have carbs, and I couldn't take it anymore so I'd switch to the Atkins [meant to say Pritikin] Diet which was an all carbs diet. So it just seemed like whatever I did my body fought me tooth and nail.
I went to all kinds of different doctors and naturopaths and acupuncturists. I don't know if you've ever gone to acupuncture for weight loss, but I went to that. Acupuncturists who put seeds in my ear — taped seeds to the outside of my ear. There's little — apparently there's little acupressure points on the outside of your ear that is supposed to kill your hunger if you press it, so he would tape seeds to my ear and whenever you're hungry you're supposed to press these seeds. So I'm walking around New York with seeds in my ear and every time I'd see a pizza place, I'd start squeezing my ear to try to not be hungry. So I did all these things, and I fought it and fought it and fought it. And then I just kept gaining weight.
It was always the same pattern. I'd lose five or ten pounds and then I'd stop losing, and then I'd gain it back and then I'd be five pounds heavier then when I'd even started the diet. Lose another five pounds, gain ten pounds. Lose five pounds, gain ten pounds. This went on and on for 11 years.
What was amazing was there was a time when I didn't have to make any effort at all to lose weight. You know, all those naturally thin people that they just eat whatever they want, there was a time when it was like that for me. It wasn't always like this. But all of sudden I'm making a real effort and I've got fitness trainers, I'm waking up at seven in the morning, I'm making a real effort to lose weight, and I keep gaining. I remember this went on for 11 years, until about 2001. I had gained over 200 pounds. I was over 400 pounds, which is about 180 and-some-odd kilos.
I remember when that happened I sort of had a turning point. I remember I was driving home from New Jersey from a movie, and I was thinking about how much I had tried to lose weight and how I kept gaining and how there was nothing I could do. It just kept coming back and coming back, and how I would fight it and fight it and fight it. There was just this voice inside my head that said, “For whatever reason right now, your body just wants to be fat, and as long as it wants to be fat, there's nothing you can do to stop it.” That was a really powerful moment for me because I knew it was true for me because I had tried so hard to lose weight and so many different ways and no matter what I did I kept gaining. I had to surrender to the fact — I had to concede to the fact that for some reason my body wanted to be fat.
I remember I just pulled over by the side of the road and just sat there. Not another thought came into my head for about 20 minutes. Then I thought to myself, “You know what? I'm never going to diet again, because what's the point of dieting if your body is only going to fight you? What's the point of fighting and struggling, if it's only just going to keep coming back?” And that was my experience, and also the experience of millions and millions of people out there, is it just keeps coming back.
I decided I would never diet again. I decided if I have to live the rest of my life at over 400 pounds, or over 180 kilos, I accept that, but I'm never going to diet again. Prior to that, I couldn't accept my weight. When I was 100 kilos, that's 220 pounds, I thought to myself, “Oh my God, you're 100 kilos, or 220 pounds. You're so fat.” I'd be disgusted with myself, and then I'd go on a diet and the next thing I know after the whole cycle is over I'm 230 pounds, or 105 kilos, and I just want to get back to that same 100 kilos, that same 220 pounds. I just want to get back to where I was. And then it would happen again where I'd go, “I can't believe you're 230 pounds,” and then I'd go on a diet and I'd be 240 pounds. So I said, “I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm not going to play this game anymore. I'm not going to worry about it anymore. I'm not going to be disgusted with myself. I’m just going to accept it. If I have to live the rest of my life at over 400 pounds, I accept that. I'm not going to diet anymore. I'm not going to kill myself. I'm going to eat what I want.”
I decided rather than diet, what I was going to try to do is figure out why my body wanted to be fat and what I could do to get it to want to be thin because I knew it wasn't always like this. Something had changed. Something was different. It wasn't always like this. So I decided I was going to try to figure out why my body wanted to be fat.
I had a very solid biochemistry background from the University of Pennsylvania. I had actually gone to the Wharton School of Business because that was something my father had really pushed me to do, but I was much more interested in biochemistry. So I studied a full curriculum in biochemistry and organic chemistry. It really fascinated me how the body worked. That was really just something I did for fun really. It gave me a really solid background. I remember I did a year of biochemistry study independently with a famous biochemist at the VA hospital in Pennsylvania, and we studied cholesterol and cholesterol synthesis. It was something I just always had a knack for was biochemistry.
That biochemical foundation gave me enough of a background so that I could go on the internet and do the research. The internet is such an incredibly fabulous tool for research these days because if you read a research report and it mentions a reference to something you are interested in, you just click on the reference and the next thing you know you're reading that research report. So doing that, I read hundreds of research reports. Sometimes in a day I could read 50-100 research reports. I spent hours and hours a day doing this, for months.
I rapidly became an expert in the understanding of the hormones involved in obesity and in weight loss. I also studied stress and the mind-body connection because I knew from my own experience that stress must have something to do with it. So I studied as much as I could about stress and the mind-body connection. I really left no stone unturned. I put together an approach that is very much mind-body. What I learned later is that it has to be mind-body because the stress in your life cause chemistry and this chemistry can activate your body's FAT programs. Make your body want to be fat.
So I did all this research and I also asked myself the question, “What is the whole purpose of fat?” Based on that, I thought to myself, we don't need fat anymore. But there was a time when we did need fat, and that was thousands of years ago when we were living outdoors. Today, we don’t need fat because there's all the food that we need. But there was a time when fat was crucial to our survival, and when you were living outdoors, thousands of years ago, if there wasn't enough to eat — maybe it's a long winter. How do you survive a long winter when it's thousands of years ago? You survived it by having a little bit of extra fat. Fat keeps you warm. Fat protects you from the cold, and it gives you nourishment that you can live off of. So fat protects you. But it doesn't do it anymore. It did thousands of years ago. Fat protected us. Fat helped keep us alive.
When I made that realization, I started studying famines. I discovered that when you are starving, like if you were in a famine or something like that, if it was thousands of years ago and you didn't have enough to eat and there was a famine, that causes a particular type of chemistry in your body, and that chemistry is a signal to your body that you are in a famine and what that does is causes your body to activate its FAT programs. It actually causes your body to want to be fatter. When your body wants to be fatter, all this chemistry takes place where your body stops listening to your stomach. Your brain stops listening to your stomach when you're full. Your metabolism slows down, you body goes into fat storage mode. All these things happen all the time. They basically force you to lose weight. And I discovered that the stresses in our lives today are sometimes causing the exact same chemistries as a famine even though they're not a famine. And that activates your body's FAT programs.
So based on this I really started understanding these FAT programs and this fat switch, and I studied it and studied it and I understood what was activating my FAT programs: The stresses in my life, the nutritional famine, there's a whole list of things now that I've discovered that activate your body's FAT programs, and I put it in The Gabriel Method. I've listed all the different things.
So for me, I put together an approach where I started losing weight, and what was interesting was I started losing weight and I lost weight kind of slowly in the beginning. It was the exact opposite of a diet. You know in a diet you lose weight really quick. Maybe you lose 20 pounds in 20 days or whatever it is, and then all of a sudden your metabolism slows down and all these things happen and you don't lose weight any more, and then you have this big rebound effect and your fighting cravings. It wasn't like that for me. I lost maybe 25 — I lost about 50 pounds in the first six months which when you have 200 pounds to lose, that's about 25 kilos in the first six months, that's not setting any records. That's not going to get you on Biggest Loser, not that I would want to be on Biggest Loser. That's not setting any records.
I lost, like I said, slowly in the beginning, but I wasn't dieting. I was eating whatever I wanted and at the time, I used to crave chocolate and junk food still, I don't any more, but at the time I craved chocolate and whenever I craved it, I would just eat some. So I always had, for example, chocolate almonds in the refrigerator, and whenever I had the slightest urge for them, I would just have one, and I would just keep going. There wasn't any resistance, like there was before. In the old days, when I was on a diet, I'd always be fighting those cravings and there would always be this big battle and every day would be a battle, and you don't know if it's a good day or a bad day. And I'm sure those of you who are listening out there know exactly what I'm talking about. Where every day you don't know if its going to be a good day — starts out as a good day and then you're fighting all day to keep it a good day, and you never know when you're going to eat something and you try not to and you try not to and finally your too exhausted and too hungry and you finally have it and something happens at work or whatever it is or your with your family and you have this big binge and then all of a sudden it’s a bad day.
And this used to happen to me, where I'd have these good days and these bad days, and on the bad days — I just remember, it's like, I'd say, “Okay, today's a bad day because we had something so lets just go for it and have everything we want and have all the chocolate, and pizza, and ice cream and whatever I want.” I would have this big binge. I remember actually when I lived in New York — in New York you can have anything delivered to you anytime and I remember on one of those days, one of those bad days, one of those binge days, I once had three delivery people show up at my house at the same time all waiting for me to pay. So I've got three delivery people at my door, here I am this big guy. I open the door. There are three delivery people with food orders — Chinese food, pizza, and McDonalds. McDonalds delivers in New York, too, so I had a McDonald's delivered. So I had these three delivery people at my door at the same time all waiting for me to pay. I remember I tried to pretend there was a party going on, so I turned around and said, “Hold on guys, I'll be right there.” Then just pay them. I'd have that type of thing where I'd have three different dinners and desserts all night, and this would go on. This would be my bad day.
So I wasn't having that any more. I wasn't having good days and I wasn't having bad days. Every day when I wanted that piece of chocolate, I would just eat it. I just saw it as chemicals going in and chemicals going out. I didn't think twice about it. But I always made sure I added the foods that my body needed on a nutritional level, because one of the things I discovered that turns on these FAT programs is what I call a nutritional famine. And so I talk about that in the book, about how to add nutrients. So I added nutrients, and I dealt with the stresses in my life that were causing the chemistry to activate these FAT programs. And by doing these things, I started to lose weight.
And as I said, I lost weight slowly in the beginning but what happened, which is the exact opposite of diet, is that rather than slow down the rate at which I lost weight, I actually started to lose weight quicker. It's the exact opposite of a diet. So I lost maybe 100 pounds in the next six months, or 50 kilos in the next six months, so I lost weight twice as fast the next six months. In the end, I was losing weight quicker than I had lost it at any other time. You know those last 10 kilos, or the last 20 pounds, the weight that people say can never come off, that weight flew off of me. That's because I had addressed the issues and my body no longer wanted to be fat. It couldn't stand the weight any more. And when your body wants to be thin, let me tell you something, you know how to lose weight. And you will lose weight when your body wants to thin.
So I put together an approach that basically deals with or understands these FAT programs and works to eliminate those FAT programs, to turn them off. Not to eliminate the program per se but to eliminate the stress that's activating the FAT program. Because when your body wants to be thinner, it happens automatically, and that's my message to the world because I've lived it. It's not about stress. It's not about willpower. It's about understanding these FAT programs and learning to work with them to get your body to want to be thinner. How many times have we gone — people look at — when you're over weight people look at you, and they just think you're lazy, or you're weak, or you're overindulgent. But let me tell you something, there are a lot of thin people out there that never have to think about what they eat. Not once in their entire life do they say, “I'm not going to have something.” Not once. They're not any stronger than you. They're not any more disciplined. They eat whatever they want, but their body wants to be thin.
What I discovered in my research is the part of your brain that controls how hungry you are is the exact same part of your brain that controls other unconscious processes like how much oxygen you need, or how much sleep you need. So imagine you went to your doctor and your doctor tells you you're problem is you sleep too much. Just sleep two hours a day. You could sleep two hours a day for a while, but pretty soon you're going to need a big binge sleep. You are going to need a big sleep because your body is telling you need more sleep so your body is forcing you to sleep. And it's the exact same with food. If these FAT programs are on and your body decides you need to have extra weight on you, and you try to fight it, your body is going to fight back. It's going to force you to eat. You can fight your body, but your body can fight you back 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No one can understand what it's like to be in a body that's forcing you to gain weight unless you've lived it. And that's my message to the world because I've lived it.
As a matter of fact, probably the number one expert, leading authority in obesity research right now is named Dr. Jeffrey Friedman. He discovered the hormone leptin. He said we've got to –that obesity is not about willpower; that weight loss is not about willpower. We've got to stop blaming people. And that's because he discovered a hormone in our body called leptin that when your body stops listening to this hormone, that is when it becomes leptin-resistant, your body conspires to force you to gain weight.
Four things happen. One, your brain stops listening to the signals from your stomach when you're full. So normally when your body is listening to this hormone leptin, you eat some food and then your stomach sends a message that you're full, you stop. But when your brain stops listening to this hormone, you keep eating. The other thing you see — like these naturally thin people that we all hate — we don't really hate them, but you know what I mean, these naturally thin people. They eat whatever they want. You'll see them, and what they do is maybe they just take a bite or two of a pizza and then they just leave it there. And you're thinking to yourself, “Ah, I got to have that pizza.” And you're trying to fight it and you say, “If I could just have like five minutes with that pizza, I'd just finish the whole thing off.” They have a bite or two, and they just leave it, and that's because their brain is listening to the hormone leptin. Their brain is sensitive to their hormone leptin. It's paying attention. So when you're full, when you have a little bit in your stomach you're full. But otherwise what happens when your brain stops listening to this hormone, is that you eat and eat and the only way you stop is when your stomach is totally stuffed. I remember that feeling. Every meal for me used to stop when I literally couldn't put any more food in my stomach, and that's simply because — that's not a willpower thing. It's not a discipline thing. It's simply because my brain was not listening to this hormone leptin. That's the whole reason.
And then some other things happen. Your tongue loses sensitivity to sweet and fattening foods so it takes sweeter and more fattening foods to satisfy your palate. It's not a discipline thing. It's just that you lose the sensitivity.
And here are some really big ones. Your metabolism slows down because leptin sends signals to your thyroid to speed up, but when your brain stops listening to leptin it doesn't send those signals any more. So your metabolism slows down. People tell me, “I've got a slow thyroid and a slow metabolism. My doctor said so.” I said, “Of course you do, because your FAT programs are on. Your body is not listening to the hormone leptin.” And that's all it has to do. If your body wants to gain weight, all it has to do is stop listening to the hormone leptin and you will gain weight. So your metabolism slows down, and that's all part of it. Your thyroid is slower. That's all part of it.
And then your body becomes very efficient at storing fat because it develops something called insulin resistance. It stops listening to the hormone insulin, and that's something we've talked about on a few shows, insulin resistance. But it comes — originates from leptin resistance because leptin makes your body more sensitive to the hormone insulin, but when your brain is not listening to leptin you become insulin resistant. And your insulin levels go up and that puts your body in this kind of perpetual fat storage mode.
So you've got four things going on. It takes more to fill you up. It takes more sweet foods to satisfy you. Your metabolism slows down, and your body goes into fat storage mode. You practically lose the ability to burn fat. You become very inefficient at burning fat. People think its all calories in and calories out. It's not. There's this incredible chemistry going on that's conspiring to force you to gain weight, and it's there 24 hours a day. People think they can just lose weight, and they look at fat people. Why don't they just eat less? Because that's all I have to do to lose weight. Well that's not what's happening. You don't have the same chemistry.
When somebody is severely overweight they've got this chemistry going on. So what causes this chemistry? This chemistry is all part of this FAT program. This FAT program is there to protect us from famines. As bizarre as that sounds, our body is protecting us from famines. I know that sounds crazy, because you think to yourself, “Where's the famine?” I mean, there's Cinnabuns, and McDonalds, and carb shacks and everything you could eat all over the place. Where's the famine? Well, it's not the famine per se, but it's the chemistry of the famine that's so similar to the chemistry of the stresses that we have right now. You see, famine is the stress that causes a particular type of chemistry in our bodies. We don’t have famines any more, but we still have stress and sometimes for some people the stresses in our lives cause the exact same chemistry as a famine, and when that happens your body actually gets tricked into activating these FAT programs.
There's a bunch of stresses that can activate — that can trick your body into activating these FAT programs, and I talk about them in my book. The first one is dieting. Dieting is mimicking a famine. Now with a diet you can lose weight. It's true. But in the process of losing weight, you've gotten your body to want to be fatter to protect you against famines. It's an adaptation to protect you. So your body activates these FAT programs. You lose the weight, but you're hungry all the time, you're craving fatty foods, your metabolism slows down. We all know this. Everybody knows this. You go on a diet and before you know it your metabolism slowed down. You have no energy for exercise. You're in conservation mode. Your body is fighting you. Dieting to me is a little bit like holding a volley ball under water because the second you let go, the volley ball just flies back up. That's what dieting is like.
So dieting is a stress that activates your FAT programs. Yes, it makes sense if you look at it from the level of calories in calories out, that if you cut calories you will lose weight, but you have to look at weight loss from a higher level than calories in calories out. You have to look at it from how fat or thin does my body want to be, and that's based on how it's trying to protect you from the stresses in your life. So if you are artificially creating a famine to your body by dieting all the time, your body is trying to protect you from that famine by having extra weight. So it's going to fight you and fight you, and then you have this big rebound effect. So dieting is actually a stress that activates the FAT programs. It causes the same chemistries as a famine, so it's going to activate the FAT programs.
Now another thing that can activate your FAT programs which people don't understand is something I call a nutritional famine, which means that you could be eating to your heart's content, thousands of calories, or kilojoules, a day and your body may still be starving on a nutritional level, and that causes stress too. And that — the type of chemistry that stress causes is exactly the same as a famine. So you're eating and eating, but your body is still starving nutritionally.
So I have two very counterintuitive messages about weight loss and obesity. One is obesity is actually caused by starvation, and what I mean by that is that it is caused by activating the starvation response. Some stress in your life is activating your body's starvation response. The solution — if it's caused by starvation is not to diet but to add — add the foods your body is starving for. That's what I did. That's one of the things I did.
When you add the foods your body is starving for — so what I did was decided I could eat whatever I want, but I would make sure that everyday I would add certain foods to my diet. I talk about them in the book, what those are and you can go to the forum and see what those are. We can talk about it if you call in, I can help you with that. But I would add certain foods. I would make sure every day I was nourishing my body with foods my body could digest and assimilate and that would start to nourish my body on a nutritional level.
What happens when you do that is you're not going to lose weight all of a sudden by adding food. I'm sorry, that's true. But you will get your body to want to be thinner. So over time you will be less hungry and you will start to crave less food. So over time, eventually, you will start to lose weight. What I find people saying to me, “Oh, you know, I went by a bakery and I just wasn't — I didn't notice it any more. I used to always go in.” People write in the forum and they say, “I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm just not hungry any more.” I write back and say, “What's wrong with you? There's nothing wrong with you. It's just your body now wants to lose weight.” When your body wants to lose weight, you're not as hungry anymore. It's not an instant thing. But when you nourish your body you're not as hungry anymore.
Now there are lots of other stresses besides dieting and nutritional famine that activate these same FAT programs, and they're really more important. Food is maybe 10% of the issue when it comes to these FAT programs in our daily life now. The bigger ones are toxins and mental and emotional stress. See, mental and emotional stress — every time you have any type of mental or emotional stress it always causes chemistry in your body. Sometimes for some people, not for everybody, but sometimes for some people the stresses in your life cause the exact same chemistry as a famine. When that happens, your body gets tricked to activate the FAT program. So what happens — you're driving to work and it's rush hour traffic — you're driving to work and it's rush hour traffic, and you know you have to meet your boss and all of a sudden it's causing stress in your body and you're stressed out. That's causing chemistry to you. Now for some people that's actually activating your FAT programs. It's activating its ancient survival program that's saying, “We need to gain weight in order to protect us from the stress.” It's ludicrous. It's crazy. It doesn't work. But that's what's happening. And that's happening all day. You know, you get to work and your boss is abusive, and your clients are abusive, and they're screaming at you, and that's making your feeling uncomfortable, and you might lose your job, and this guy hates me, and all this kind of stuff is happening to you, and it's causing stress, and it's causing chemistry in your body. That chemistry for some people is activating your FAT programs.
What's interesting about stress, though, is that not everybody reacts to stress the same way. Some people actually get thinner from stress. And you know what I'm talking about. You know those people. They go, “Oh, I'm so stressed out.” And they start losing weight. You think to yourself, “Why aren't I losing weight? Why does this guy get to be so lucky?” What's happening is that stress is causing a different type of chemistry in your body, and it's activating different programs. It's activating what I call the get thin or get eaten adaptation. This is also a survival program that we have that we carry around with us from when we used to live outdoors. Because imagine your living outdoors thousands of years ago, and it's not a famine anymore. It's not a long winter. Now it's spring. And you're living in a tropical island. And it's warm all the time. So you don't need the fat for the warmth — to keep you warm. It's always warm. And there's food everywhere. You can eat whenever you want, and you do eat whenever you want. There's mangoes, there are other fruit, there's birds, there's fish, there's game, there's nuts, there's seeds. You can eat whenever you want. So you're not causing that stress of a famine anymore or that stress of being chronically cold. You're not activating your FAT programs. You don't have that stress anymore. So your body says, “We don't need the weight anymore. We don't need weight to protect us anymore.” So your body turns off the FAT programs. It starts listening to that hormone leptin again. It becomes more sensitive to that hormone leptin and you're not as hungry. You don’t need sweet foods anymore. Your metabolism speeds up, and you become more efficient at burning fat.
See, your body wants to lose weight. It knows how to do it. You just have to get your body to want to. So you take away those stresses and your body doesn't want the fat anymore. So you're living on this tropical island. But let's take it a step further. Let's imagine your living in this tropical island thousands of years ago. There's no famine so you don't need the weight for famine. There's no cold so you don't need the weight for cold. Your body now wants to be thin. But let's imagine that in this tropical island there's also wild tigers living there, and at any moment a tiger might jump out and chase you. If you're not lightening fast, you're dead. By the way, I thought about this. I thought, “How do you run away from a tiger?” because we used to have to do that thousands of years ago. I thought, “Well, I guess you don't really have to be faster than a tiger to escape being attacked. You just have to be faster than the guy running next to you.” Right? But you have to be fast.
That is a different kind of stress. If you're being chased by a tiger it's a different type of stress than a famine and it causes different chemistry. That stress and that chemistry is a signal to your body that you need to be lightening fast or you're dead. And when your body gets the message that we need to be lightening fast or we're dead, it activates a whole other set of programs. It makes your body very, very sensitive to that hormone leptin. It starts listening really carefully to the hormone leptin and you lose weight because you eat a little bit of food and you say, “I'm full” because your brain is listening to the hormone leptin. You taste sweet foods and they're too sweet. Your metabolism speeds up. You get the metabolism of a greyhound. All of sudden you don't have an underactive thyroid anymore. If your body thinks you need to be thin or you're dead, because of the chemistry in your body is activating your get thin or get eaten adaptation, your get thin programs, if your body is activating get thin programs, you get the metabolism of a greyhound and your body becomes very efficient to burning fat. It becomes sensitive to leptin and to insulin. And your insulin levels become lower and you become very efficient at burning fat.
That's what happened to me and that's what's happening now to thousands of people once you activate your get thin programs and you turn off your FAT programs. It's simply — you know what it's like? It's a little bit like learning to operate a car. Like our body's a car and we didn't come with instructions really. You don't even know there's a steering wheel, and you keep crashing into a tree, and then you go to the mechanic, or in this case a doctor, and he fixes you up, and you drive out, and you crash into a tree again because you don't even have your hands on the steering wheel. So it's a little bit like saying, “Look, there's a steering wheel. And if you turn it left you go left and if you turn it right you go right.” You go, “Oh.” So I'm sitting here telling you, “Look, we've got these programs. We've got get FAT programs, and we've got get thin programs. Here's a whole list of things that activate the get FAT programs, and if you activate the get FAT programs you're going to get fat. Maybe not immediately, but over time you will, and if you activate the get thin programs believe me you will get thin.”
And for me personally, I lost the weight five and a half years ago, and I could tell you that there was never a time when I think to myself, “Oh I wish I could have something.” There was never a time when I worry about food. Ever. For five and a half years, my body wants to be thin. I have lived through both sides of it. A body that wanted to be fat and a body that wants to be thin and this body now wants to be thin. It's not an effort. I never think about it. Ever. There is never a time when I say, “Oh I wish I could have that,” and I don't have it. There are no good days, there are no bad days. Nothing.
So what's interesting — going back to the stress thing, is that for some people they are in that same stress of work, or driving to work or whatever it is and they're late and all that stuff, that's causing chemistry in their body but it's causing a different chemistry in their body. It's causing the same chemistry as being chased by a tiger, and that's getting their body to activate the get thin programs, getting their body saying, “You know what? We need to be thin and as fast as possible because there are tigers out there.” Now there are no tigers out there. There's just you in your car being late for work or watching the computer and having the stock market go down. There are no tigers out there, but the chemistry that the stress is causing is the same. That's all that has to happen, is the chemistry has to happen. So for those people they get thinner and thinner.
I remember when I worked on Wall Street, the whole 11 years I had a business partner, and the whole time we were working together, we had the exact same stress and the whole time we were working together, I was getting fatter and fatter, and he was getting thinner and thinner, and we had the same stress. But the difference was it was causing different chemistry in his body. Part of it was the way we reacted to stress. When something went wrong at the office, for me, I wouldn't react to it. I would just sort of sit there and take it. You know what that's like when things are not right and you just sort of take it. That's a little bit like the way you would react if you were in a famine. If you were in a famine you couldn't run away from it, you couldn't hide from it, so you just have to slow down and take it. That's what I did. I just sort of slowed down and took it. So my body was reacting as if there was a famine.
But with him, the slightest thing that would go wrong and he would scream and yell. The fax wouldn't work and he would throw the fax machine on the ground and he would scream, “Bernard, we need another fax machine.” And I would say, “You know, we're not getting another fax machine, Bill, but the next time that happens, if you just press this little green button, that's the start button, the fax machine will work. There will be no problems.” But everything, everything in his life, every time there was a stress he reacted violently, like he was under attack, like he was being chased by tigers, so his body was trying to understand the stress in his life and adapt to it based on the programming that we have.
His body was interpreting the stresses in his life as some sort of attack whereas mine was interpreting it as a famine. So we were in the exact same office, having the exact same stress, and to his body he thought he was in the African savannah being chased by tigers and my body thought I was in some Arctic wasteland starving to death, so I got fatter and fatter and he got thinner and thinner. Trust me. This guy did not diet. He used to order chocolate milkshakes for lunch. I'd be ordering my hamburger without the bun one day, and my bun without the hamburger the next day depending on what diet I was on. And he'd have this chocolate milkshake just sitting there, and I couldn't even concentrate. He'd have a couple of sips of his chocolate milkshake, and it would just be sitting there, and I couldn't even work. I'd be thinking, “If I could only have 30 seconds with that chocolate milkshake I'd down it. Just give me 30 seconds.” That's because my body was activating the FAT programs forcing me to want more and more food, and his body thought it was under attack. That's the way it is in the world. Stress makes some people thinner and some people fatter, and it's based on the program that we have in our body.
This is the most important consideration. More important than the food and the nutritional famine and whether you're getting enough flax seeds or whatever that is. Don't worry about that. What are the stresses in your life? And what are they doing to your body? How is your body adapting to the stress? Because your body does three things every time you have a stress. One, it tries to interpret the stress. You can think of IRA. One, it tries to interpret the stress. Two, it reacts to the stress. Three, it adapts to the stress. So if thousands of years ago, you were walking down the street — walking down in the woods and a tiger chased you, your body would interpret the stress. What's the stress? A tiger. Your body would react to the stress. What's the reaction? Run like hell. And your body would adapt to the stress. What's the adaptation? Get thin and strong. Get thinner and light so that next time the tiger chases me, I'll be faster and I'll be more able to survive that stress. That's how your body protects you from that stress.
If you were in a famine, the same thing. Your body would interpret the stress. What's the stress? Famine. What's the reaction? Slow down and conserve calories. What's the adaptation? Get fatter. The next time there's food available be hungry, hungry, hungry, hungry. Crave fattening foods, slow your metabolism, go into fat storage mode. Get fatter so the next time there's a famine out there we will be better able to survive. Your body is trying to protect you from famine. Your body is always trying to protect you from stress so as to make the stress less stressful. If it's a famine, it's going to protect you by getting fatter. If it's a tiger, it's going to protect you by getting thinner.
There are no famines, and there are no tigers anymore. There's just stress. We all know that there's stress. Right now I don't have to tell anybody out there in this world that there's stress out there. But I want to make you aware of the fact that every time you have stress, your body is interpreting it a certain way. It's going to activate one of these programs. Either your get fat program or your get thin program, and I don’t have to tell you which one it's activating either. But you have to understand this. You have to learn to work with it. You have to understand the stresses of your life. You have to learn how to deal with the stresses in your life.
One of the things that has been really, really effective for me in so many areas is visualization for dealing with stress. Visualization for communicating with your body that the stress in your life is not a famine. Visualization for dealing with past traumas in your life. So visualization is a big one. That's why I make a lot of visualization CDs that you can listen to. Not everyone has experience with visualization. Visualization is like a muscle that gets stronger and stronger over time. I happen to have been lucky in the fact that I had lot of experience with visualization. I remember when I was a kid, I used to get migraine headaches all the time. No aspirin, nothing I could do would get rid of them. My father who was a dentist who dealt with relaxation techniques and biofeedback for pain reduction in his practice.
He took me on a journey where he said, “I want you to imagine — relax your body — imagine that you're skiing.” We had a favorite ski slope that we used to go down as a kid in New Hampshire, River Valley, and he'd say, “Imagine you're skiing down the slope, and there's this big bucket of black sand on your shoulder. As your skiing down, the black sand is pouring down, pouring away, and that black sand is your headache. The more that pours out the more that headache is going away.” And then we'd get down to the bottom of the slope and he'd say, “Now your headache is gone. The sand is gone. Your headache's gone. “And my headache was gone.
It was the only thing that could help me, and eventually I could do it myself. I'd walk myself through this visualization and my headache would be gone. Eventually, I got so good at getting rid of my headaches through visualization I only — the second I got a headache I would just imagine touching my finger to the place — well I would touch my finger to the place where the headache was, and I'd just imagine the headache going into my finger and flicking it away, and it'd be gone.
And then I used visualization to help me quit smoking. I just imagined having an inhaling cigarette, and having it be tar that just cuts through my lungs, and I couldn't touch cigarettes anymore. I used visualization to help me when I was working in New York to have a successful career. I have since discovered there were a lot of people out there. I had a client who was a self-made billionaire. He said he just imagines his work — his business just expanding and expanding and expanding. And then people like Arnold Schwarzenegger use visualization for body building, and then he used visualization for his movie career, and then for his political career. So visualization when you're good at it is like a muscle that gets stronger and stronger. Now in the beginning — if you haven't been doing visualization you're not good at it. It's almost like you've have an arm that you never used for 15 years. It's going to atrophy. If you practice it everyday, you'll get stronger and stronger at it.
So I made these visualization tapes that help you reduce stress and turn off the FAT programs. Like the Evening Visualization CD which you can download for free on my site, and the Morning Visualization CD which I just finished. The Living Goddess CD. I'm now making CD's all the time to help people reduce stress and turn off the FAT programs and you get stronger and stronger at it and eventually you can apply it to any area of your life.
So by dealing with the real issues which I talk about in The Gabriel Method, there are about 10 things that activate your FAT programs. By systematically turning off each one of those one at a time, your body wants to be thinner and thinner. It doesn't have that stress anymore. It doesn't have the stress of the dieting causing a famine so your body wants to be a little bit thinner from that. Doesn't have the nutritional famine, your body wants to be a little thinner from that. Doesn't have the emotional stress anymore or the mental stress, your body wants to be thinner from that. There's not as many toxins, your body wants to be thinner from that. Systematically, you get your body to want to be thinner over time, and then it happens automatically, and that's been my experience.
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