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How I Won My Personal Battle with Obesity

How I Won My Personal Battle with Obesity

These day, people marvel at my success.  The before and after photo tells it all – I’m a shadow of the man I used to be.  What they don’t see is the  anguish, failure and shame over the last 40 years as I battled with obesity and failed every time.

Today, there is 25 kilograms less of me. It was easy. It is permanent. So I want to share with you the one thing that changed everything for me. And at the end of the article, there’s a link to download my free eBooklet – 

My Top 3 Secrets for Losing 25 kg.

 

The Problem

Before-AfterMy late Auntie – God rest her soul – whenever she would see me and I was in one of my heavier phases (i.e. between crash diets) would say to me, in her high-pitched, German-Romanian accent:  My Berni!! You are looking sooooo prosperous!

That used to cut through me like a knife.  I hated being obese – and that’s what I was. 

After leaving the Army at age 27, I’d gained a massive amount of weight, although really, I’d been struggling since I was about 7 years old.

I don’t know if you’ve tried to lift a 25 kg suitcase lately, but it’s very, very heavy.  And that’s what I used to carry around on my body 24/7 in excess fat.  Unbelievable.

Now, those who know me will tell you that I am your classic highly focussed, outcome-oriented, disciplined, Type-A kind of guy. So, by crash dieting, starving myself, going on unsustainable exercise regimes (walking/running 20 kms a day!) I had, seven or eight times in my life, managed to lose over 20 kgs.  And since every kilo of human body fat contains 7,700 kilocalories of energy, you’ll realise that each one of those efforts was truly herculean.  

And yet, as disciplined as I am, each time when the diet was over, I stacked all the weight back on again. 

Why? That was my question!! WHY??!!!
*

Einstein Was Right!

Einstein’s definition of insanity is this: Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

I’d tried everything. All the diets. All the fads. All the exercise. And I was always coming up with the same result. And the reason that by now this was such an issue was that I was on the wrong side of 50. 

My father had died at age 74 of diabetes.  I was pre-diabetic and on my way to an early grave.  Obesity, heart disease or stroke (the no. 1 killer), diabetes – take your pick. One of them was going to get me and sooner rather than later. I had to do something. But what?

I wasn’t yet sure, but it had to be fundamentally different to the low-fat, high exercise thing that hadn’t worked all those times, and was the basis of my own, private version of obesity-insanity.

And then, through a man called David Gillespie (author of Sweet Poison, Sweet Poison Quit Plan and a range of other books) I discovered the very small handful of facts that changed everything.

Everything!
*

The 4 Facts That Changed Everything

Here they are:

  1. Our level of sugar consumption (as normal as we think it is) is at historically abnormal levels. And not slightly abnormal. Grossly abnormal. Back in the 1880’s, the Brits were consuming about 7 kgs of sugar each year. Today, in most western societies, we’re eating an average of 70 kgs.  That’s ten times the amount. So let’s stop kidding ourselves, THIS IS BAD. And almost everything you buy in a tin, in a packet or in a bottle, is laced with the stuff. Why? Because it gets people to buy more. 
    *
  2. Sugar (sucrose) is 50% glucose (that’s the good stuff on which every cell in our body relies for energy) and 50% fructose (that’s the bad stuff, because it’s one of the few substance our bodies can’t turn into glucose, so … we turn it into … triglycerides. What are they? Short name … fat. And, as if that’s not bad enough, since our finely tuned appetite control system relies on blood sugar to decide when we’re full (glucose) and fructose turns into fat instead, we think we’re still hungry and so we eat more.
    *
  3. A diet high in refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, white rice, potatoes) causes blood sugar to spike, which results in a strong insulin response, which causes blood sugar to plummet, which causes us to feel hungry and so … we eat even more. 
    *
  4. And that constant spiking and plummeting of blood sugar causes insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes.

There’s more, but that’s the guts of it.
* 

The Life-Saving Answer

So, I removed refined carbohydrates (everything that contained sugar, white flour, white rice, potatoes and white pasta) as completely as possible from my diet. 

The pantry was, I have to tell you, almost empty. People thought I was nuts. How can you possibly live without BBQ sauce (43% sugar), tomato sauce (35% sugar), muesli for breakfast (even the healthiest one I could find 35% sugar), bread, spuds, spaghetti … are you crazy?

No. In fact, all I was doing was winding the dietary clock back to the late 1800’s when – get this – heart disease, diabetes, stroke and most cancers were almost completely unheard of, and when obesity was as rare as four-leafed clovers.

And, by the way, since my diet is high in protein and fat (this morning’s breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled with cream, fried in butter, with some salmon, tomato and spinach – NO toast of course) I’m never hungry and I am always satisfied.

I know what you’re thinking: You lunatic. What about your cholesterol?! 

Well, my doctor couldn’t be happier.  Triglycerides down by two-thirds. HDL (the good stuff) up by half. LDL-P (LDL particle count – that’s a far more reliable measure than LDL-C when it comes to heart disease) all down! There’s sound science behind all that, but we don’t have time to go into it (that’s what the eBooklet’s for).

But suffice to say, the latest research (confirmed by my live laboratory experiment of one – me) is telling us it’s the diet high in refined carbs – sugar in particular – and not the fat that’s doing it.

What a pity most GPs (mine included) have yet to wrap their minds around the best science that’s available.  
*

The Result

Without any effort, starving, sense of deprivation, outrageous exercise program … I lost … 25 kgs.

And not only have I lost it. 

These days, I eat whenever I’m hungry until I’m full.  The point is that with the refined carbs gone from my diet, my appetite control system is now functioning the way God intended. Normally. I’m less hungry, less often. That’s why I eat less.

High fat. High protein. Low (almost no) refined carbohydrates. Remember, all the veges I eat are cram packed full of carbs, not to mention the antioxidants and vita-nutrients.

I always ask the waiter and check the packaging for nutritional information and – with the focus of a celiac avoiding wheat – I avoid sugar and refined carbs.

Do I feel at all deprived? No.

Do I wish I could have that muffin at the cafe? No.

I just don’t desire them anymore. I was seriously hooked on sugar, but after a week of detox, now, I’m not hooked anymore.

And with about the same amount of effort it takes me to avoid cocaine, heroin and ICE (i.e. zero) I maintain a normal, healthy body weight.

So – tell me – who’s the crazy one here?

To help, I’ve written a booklet – My Top 3 Secrets for Losing 25 kg. It includes references to a bunch of other resources, including David Gillespie’s material.  

And I would love to give you a free copy. Just click on the button below to download your copy right now:

eBooklet ADP


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28 Comments

  1. Hi Berni,

    Thanks for sharing this information.
    I am not a heavy eater, but I take a lot of tea and honey and go to the gym at least 3 times in a week, but I am still over weight.
    Now that you mentioned honey is also sugar, I will stop starting from today.

    Can I eat beans and wholegrain wheat?
    Please forgive my ignorance, do fruits like watermelon, pineapple, banana and apple turn to sugar in the body? (these are mostly the fruits we have in Nigeria where I live)

    God bless you,

    Rabi

    • Rabi Ekele, the issue is removing from your diet the things that cause your blood sugar to spike. This basically is all refined carbohydrates. As long as your blood sugar spikes, your insulin responds in force, stacking the excess sugar away as fat. Under those circumstances a person simply cannot lose weight. The basic rule is to remove white carbs – bread (including grains), pasta, potatoes, rice and sugar. After a few weeks, you don’t miss them. Replace them with protein, saturated and mono unsaturated fats, and lots of non starchy vegetables, and all of a sudden the weight falls off.

  2. Hi Berni
    Just wanted to touch base again to encourage others on this great journey. Today is 3 months since I started. To date I continue to eat wholemeal bread..its the only way I can control my weight-loss!!! I come from a family of 5 sisters so we know all about ‘dieting to lose weight’.. and NEVER in all my 61yrs have I ever been concerned that I may lose too much weight hahahaha..that is a miracle in itself!! I thought back in August I wanted to lose total of 5kg but the 3 I’ve lost is quite enough and HAVE to keep it under control by doing what I’m doing. I have 3 others who are making a start, so am encouraging them. Most people cannot believe its that easy so they choose not to..but some have seen in me the results and thinking taking first steps..its great. Thank you again and ‘Hey you clever people who are on the journey..if I can do it..YOU CAN. Many blessings

  3. Hi Berni,

    I believe we will be meeting at the launch of the Business Hive in Newcastle on 26 September. Looking forward to it.

    In the meantime, I’ve been reading about your experiences with sugar and carbs. I notice you speak a lot about “white flour”. This would seem to cover a fairly broad range. I was wondering which of the flour types fits into the category? For instance I notice that it is possible to buy 100% Wholewheat Stone Ground flour in Australia (which is basically the entire wheat grain ground using stones rather than crushed with commercial rollers), but also another called Lupin Flour which is high fibre, low carb so low GI flour (some good info found here http://www.sourdoughbaker.com.au )

    I’m guessing that the darker, or non refined flours are OK to eat?

    Keen to hear your thoughts/experiences, looking forward to catching up on the 26th.

    Peter

    • Hi Pter,

      Yep, looking forward to meeting you in Newcastle.

      The only problem as I understand things are refined carbs – ie wheat with the husk removed (aka white flour). As long as it is whole wheat your body digests it much more slowly, avoiding blood sugar spikes and insulin rushes that lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

      I avoid flour altogether, but that’s a personal choice.

      🙂

  4. From one blog subscriber – great VIDEO link:

    Can I just draw your attention to this Catalyst segment titles, ‘sugar’ that I watched last night, now available on the following link:

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3821440.htm

    I think you will find it confirms your teaching and your wisdom to share these insights… enjoy.

  5. Hi again those who have taken a ‘get smart’ pill..truth really does set you free doesn’t it!! I have thoroughly enjoyed this new eating habit we’re cultivating. This is my 15th day..just over 2weeks. I don’t want to eat during the day, and forget about it till my tummy makes the hungry sounds then I remember I haven’t eaten most of the day, sometimes all day!! I drink lots of water though and am now learning what to eat when out for lunch and dinner. Its a journey really..I have to remember to tell chef please don’t put any sauces or spices into my food while cooking it, nor dressing on my salad. Because of my huge addiction to sugar I have as much as possible cut out sugar maybe 95%, but wholemeal breads was another addiction I had and currently resumed eating that after 8days with 1% sugar and have to contend with high carbs till my sugar-free habit is firmly established. I only had sugar cravings for 2 days..but my body continued to withdraw and found myself falling to sleep on arriving home from work, thought perhaps I should eat something during the day..but I dont seem to want it?? Anyway I have lost 2.5kg which suits me as I dont want to lose too much, but want to lose 5kg in total. I will focus on dropping wholemeal bread starting next week. Will keep in touch as that will keep me accountable when reporting to the rest of you haha…thank you Berni blessings

  6. Hi Berni. Just finished reading your “Top 3 Secrets…” – really interesting. Do you eat wholemeal breads & pasta or have you taken all bread, pasta, rice etc out of your diet

    • Karen, I’ve taken those things out of my diet. I just don’t desire them anymore so I don’t eat them. 🙂

  7. Mary,

    Initially I would drop the yoghurt. It is high in sugar (even natural yoghurt has lactose in it. Anything that ends in “ose” is sugar). Go for cream and cheeses and butter instead. They have little or no lactose. Don’t restrict fats at all (although keep clear of seed oils and margarine, they are really bad). Plenty of butter, olive oil, cream and cheeses. Bacon’s good. Sounds weird but when you consume most of your calories from protein and fat, you lose weight. Add some vegetables to that, but no potatoes, corn or beets as they are all high in fined carbs. Then eat only when you’re hungry and only just enough to feel satisfied. i.e. nomeating for the sake of eating. The weight will come off.

  8. Bernie, help.
    I have been steadfast in ridding my diet of sugar and all other white stuff mentioned.
    Alas, not an ounce of fat gone after two weeks.
    I don’t crave sugar at all.
    I must be missing something as I am a serious 25 kg overweight.
    I eat the most natural yogurt I can find.
    Should that be dropped completely
    Yours
    Marya

  9. Hi Berni and all of you who have shared their stories and excitement about this “ah ha!” moment of an insight.

    I to have struggled like many with my weight since being very young. As I was sitting in my car at the lights a month or so ago, I saw people coming & going into a gym. For a moment I felt a sense of guilt that I too should be spending more hours of my week in this routine…then I might lose some weight. After that initial thought I was challenged!

    I am someone who wants to spend my time wisely and for God’s purpose…especially in the nurturing & “building up” of relationships as a witness for Him.

    My challenge was…would God prefer me to spend so much time constantly having to exercise to lose weight or spend time with Him & build relationships for his Glory?

    In our country’s affluence I can be distracted by so much that it keeps me from spending my time on what is important. Please don’t think I’m having a go at the need for getting our health in check! Not at all! It’s more about the amount of time and products we have been fooled into believing we need to have or spend on doing it & how it keeps us from perhaps doing more important things.

    I am SO….looking forward to giving this “back to basics”, “no brainer” approach to health a go!

    P.S Sorry this was a bit lengthy…but I feel like a burden has been lifted with a real HOPE for my long-term health. Thank you again!

  10. Hi Berni,
    My husband has lost 3 knotches in his belt and I’ve lost 2. I walk each lunch time and I never realized how pretty these walks I take are.I found these little bush tracks so close to where I work in my office….crazy how I didn’t see the opportunity before. My husband plays golf each weekend and we, my husband, my 15 year old son and I are taking up riding our bikes. . . We have (trying very hard) to stop those white foods (carbs) and gradually we are seeing the benefits. We are good eaters with veg and fruit etc but you have the answer to getting good results with cutting out the sugar and carbs. We still have a way to go but thanks it is good practical advice for us.

  11. Hi Berni, I can appreciate the physical/diet tips…and I know I haven’t cut sugar completely, but when I reduce sugar to instead fill myself with veg& fruit, I am much healthier in terms of weight, craving management, and susceptibility to illness.

    The other thing I think is very important is: looking at the psychological things that might cause us to carry extra weight – or even the psychological things that falsely tie our sense of worth to the shape our body is in, no matter what size or weight. Here are some links to 2 good articles on this subject.

    http://www.medicalobserver.com.au/news/weight-management

    http://www.australianwomenonline.com/midlife-eating-disorders-when-maturity-doesnt-necessarily-mean-self-love

    As someone who has struggled at times with disordered eating/exercising/thinking, I think it’s important to focus on ‘being as healthy as I can’ rather than ‘losing weight’. It’s also an important distinction for anyone with a condition that truly prevents them from losing weight the normal ways/pace (eg a friend with busted knees who can’t exercise, another friend with thyroid damage that means her metabolism barely works, no matter how careful she is with what she eats and how she exercises).

  12. Hi Berni, I’m just wondering what you think of honey – is that counted as sugar? & what about wholemeal breads/ pasta/rice?
    Very inspiring story, thanks for sharing!
    Bek

    • Bek,

      honey. Sounds great doesn’t it? Natural. Just as nature intended. Honey is 80% sugar, of which half (40%) is fructose.

      Sugar is sugar. It’s bad for you. That’s my reading.

      Think about it – 150 years ago (before honey went into commercial production) you had to fight the bees for it. And so as a result, it was hard to get and people didn’t eat much of it.

      These days, you can buy jars of the stuff at the supermarket and gorge yourself on it. That’s the problem. By making sweet foods so readily available, when for most of human history they’ve been an absolute scarcity we’re just putting too much sugar in our bodies.

      I love honey. Don’t touch it with a 40 foot barge pole.

      🙂

      Berni

      • I’ve been trying this new eating program for a week now and have lost 1/2 kilo. I’m wondering if the sugar in milk is holding me back. I have soy milk in my coffee each day. Not being a “sweet tooth” I haven’t had the withdrawal symptoms from sugar. Will continue with this as at least I’ve lost a small amount which I couldn’t do before.
        Thanks for all the advice.
        God bless
        Margaret

  13. Berni Dymet rocks!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story as it relates to most of us in around the globe. I’ve heard a lot of what you said relating to the ‘bad’ for us foods but not in the way you put it and your ebook really helped me to MAKE A DECISION..This is my second day. Woke up this morning with a headache that refused to go when I told it to, and I dont usually get headaches but haha..I realised it will be the ‘withdrawals’ from sugar..yipee I was excited and more determined. I WAS addicted to sugar big time and struggled not to feed the flesh and succeeded from time to time then fell back into the Failure mode and would try again when all the cakes and sweets are gone so I better eat them all today so I can start afresh tomorrow…yep I kept lying to myself toooooo often. I’ve not alerted anyone in my church re my new good eating habits until I’ve at least established the NEW HABIT with prayer and declarationg into the spritual realm. Thank you thank you. Will keep in touch as I journey. Many blessings Anita

    • Anita – awesome!!

      The headaches go after a couple of days. For me, sugar withdrawal lasted about 5 days. They tell me women can take longer – up to 2 or 3 weeks.

      So hang in there. It’s an investment worth making. Once your body is released from sugar addiction, trust me, you will feel much, much better and the weight will just start dropping off.

      Here’s an email I had form a woman yesterday, who heard me talking about this on the radio a few weeks ago:

      I think its fascinating what you said on-air re sugar, not fat as being the culprit for obesity. No-one has ever said that before, well not that I’ve heard anyway. I’m going to share this with my friends. I haven’t had any sugary foods for 3wks & I have lost 6kg already.

  14. Hi, loved reading your story because I did the same thing. I was at University and I was studying biochemistry and we were looking at the metabolism of carbs, lipids (fat) and protein. It seemed pretty obvious to me that only one of those was causing the release of insulin which in turn stores fuel for later as body fat. I immediately gave up the white stuff (sugar, flour, bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and grains) and I lost 31kg in 20 weeks with no exercise. My two best friends went from a size 22 and 24 respectively to size 12s. None of us did massive amounts of exercise. None of us went hungry. None of us feel deprived, or hungry ever. Instead we feel alive, mentally alert, satisfied, happy, balanced and best of all, we are THIN. As over weight ladies we thought being in our 30s and 40s we would never been thin again. In fact one of my friends has been either overweight or obese her entire life. I am so proud of her. And youre right, it IS EASY.
    Jane

  15. Have done the same here, also gave up seed oils. Gout gone! Prediabetic gone! Carpel tunnel syndrome gone!! And I thought i was healthy before!

  16. Sent to me by one listener – AWESOME!

    Hi Berni,

    Just wanted to say that i have just weighed myself after 9 days of following ur tips and am delighted as i have lost 10 pounds! Whats more i am loving this healthy way of eating.

    I have suffered from M.E sometimes known as chronic fatigue syndrome for 14 years, was always exhausted etc but already i am finding my energy levels rising significantly and am sleeping better than i have for years. I was loading my system with sugar, lots of chocolate and chocolate biscuits, cakes, crisps etc so no wonder i was so tired.

    I have been going for a half hour walk half an hour after my evening meal every night for the past week. Mind you as i was born with dislocation of both hips and have to walk with a walker these days it is not what u might call a brisk walk but still at a decent pace.

    Thank you once again for your words of wisdom and may The Lord bless you,

    Therese

  17. Your story could be mine also. The only thing I would add is that I lost 35 kilos and they have stayed OFF for FOUR Years. No more yo-yo dieting for me. Just beautiful High Fat Moderate Protein and very few carbs. Too easy.

    • Thanks Diane. Well done. It is so easy isn’t it? If only the message could get out more. I guess that’s what this post is all about. 🙂

      • All we can do is keep telling our stories. The biggest problem is the addictive nature of sugar.

        It’s amazing to me that even faced with the obvious evidence of people like myself, having lost my perpetual excess weight, that so many folks immediately baulk at the idea of ‘giving up’ their beloved sugar (which sort of goes to show that it is addictive.)

        If you said: “The secret to losing weight is giving up Vegemite.” folks would say “Oh no, not Vegemite! But I guess I could live without Vegemite if it meant losing weight.” But(!) that’s because Vegemite is not addictive. Suggest to the vast majority of people that it is sugar (carbs) that is the problem, you can literally see them start to panic at the thought. “I couldn’t POSSIBLY give up sweets!” Then their eyes glaze over and they change the topic of discussion (I’ve had this exact same conversation many times over the last four years.

        I guess it’s the combination of addiction, public health policy brainwashing and the distinct feeling that ‘It can’t possibly be that easy’ that stops most people from taking up the challenge of leaving the carb merry-go-round.

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