Back in 2001 I weighed more than 400 pounds. I tried every diet I could think of to lose weight. I even worked face to face with the late 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. I decided to find out what I could do to get it to want to be thin again. 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.