(TWO MINUTE READ)
In 1997, I was a healthy 197-pound chiropractor practicing in Manhattan.
In 2000, from working out in the gym and playing football with my friends, I herniated a disc in my lower back. This started my weight gaining odyssey. I went to multiple doctors to help with the pain. That was my first mistake. The doctors meant well, however, their solution was pain medications and cortisone shots into my spine.
Due to lack of exercise, the corticosteroids, and the depression that ensued, I ended up gaining over 125 pounds, bringing me to a whopping 356 pounds by 2003. This caused High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and cholesterol elevation.
Desperate and only in my early 30's, I tried everything - liquid diets, the Atkin's Diet, nationwide pre-packaged food programs, I tried counting points (which was kind of fun because Twinkies and Donuts have a certain amount of points, so that had to be good for me, right? Not really!) And I even had those meals that they make and deliver to your home. I tried a medically supervised weight loss program which involved getting daily injections, and painful B12 shots two times a week from a doctor. The worst part was the 500 calorie meal plan, which in my personal experience made me feel weak and irritable. Also, the medically supervised diet program involved prescription appetite suppression drugs that caused terrible stimulant side effects that would make my heart race, and would often make me feel jittery and light headed. By the way, this medication is still the number one prescribed medication at all of the top medical weight loss centers around the country today.
To top it off, after I did the medical weight loss program, I did lose weight. However, once I stopped taking the prescription medications and the shots I regained all of that weight plus more.
As a last resort I had a Gastric Bypass, which at the time was the "in" thing to do; I mean, it was the newest craze. Celebrities like Al Roker and Carnie Wilson told the world about how great it was. It was all over TV and it sounded great. Here was the pitch: they make your stomach smaller, you eat less and you lose weight. That surgery would turn out to be one of the worst decisions that I ever made. Firstly, after I did the Gastric Bypass, I developed an infection deep inside my abdomen at the incision sites, that went undetected for two weeks and I almost died. I was constantly in and out of the hospital. Secondly, the way the surgery works is it makes your stomach much smaller so you cannot eat more than a couple of bites at a time. When I ate more than half of a piece of toast (which took me a month, because the first month was liquids and applesauce), I was constantly vomiting. The end result was that I often didn't want to eat because it was often too painful. It was conditioning me to equate food with pain, so my brain defaulted to not eating very much. It also caused me to become deficient in B12 because B12 is a necessary part of a normal stomach's function.
After 8 months I lost 124 pounds. I was wearing my old smaller clothes and for about three years I thought that I had done the right thing. The reality was, I developed something that no doctor warned me about. It's called "Addiction Transfer" or "Cross Transfer" (Google It). It is a very real and all too common side effect of Gastric Reduction surgeries, like the Gastric Bypass, The Lap-Band, and the Gastric Sleeve. Addiction Transfer is when you replace one addiction with another.
Let me explain how this works. When a person who used to eat a lot of food all of a sudden cannot do that, the pleasure centers of the brain find another way to create pleasure. In some people, they replace their food addiction with an addiction to gambling, taking risks, excessive shopping, sexual promiscuity, or taking alcohol and other drugs to excess (by the way, a lot of my patients that I work with, had the same problem from the Lap-Band, and the gastric sleeve.)
For me, my addiction became sugar or any food that could be melted into a liquid form like chocolate and sugary drinks like sodas and ice cream shakes as well as fruit smoothies and Wine, yes by the way a lot of wine, the problem before my gastric bypass was I never enjoyed drinking at all however after the surgery it was a lot of wine first on weekends then almost daily because of this. I was able to get in a lot of calories and eventually my stapled stomach started to stretch back into a bigger size pouch. Long story short, by 2007, only 4 years after my surgery I had gained back all of the weight plus more that is how I regained even more weight than when I had the gastric bypass. I was out of control and obese again. (I have all of the pictures in my office, so when you come in you will see them for yourself) and all of my health problems returned. I was absolutely miserable again. I felt hopeless; I had gone through so much and for nothing.
It was then that I had to really figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I became obsessed with finding the solution to my weight struggle. I spent thousands of dollars seeking out Physicians, Naturopaths, Nutritionists, and every type of non-drug, non-surgical solutions. It was then I had my personal realization, or as I call it my "AH-Ha moment."
Here it is, I had to learn how to eat the right way again. I also learned that there is a huge emotional component to gaining weight and unless you address that alongside proper nutrition, you will never lose weight and keep it off. I also recognized that in all of my prior attempts, including surgery, no one ever tried to educate me properly on how to eat in a balanced and correct way. They would offer a short term solution, but never gave me any guidance for the long term.
This is how my program was born. You see, throughout this entire time I was working with patients on Park Avenue and in other offices in Manhattan coordinating Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, and Acupuncture, and other non-drug, non-surgical approaches to help people in pain.
So when I finally woke up and started to implement the protocols that I use today, I rapidly started to lose weight. While this was happening, my patients would see me and ask "Hey Doc, how did you lose the weight? Did you have another surgery?" When I told them what I was doing, a lot of them asked for my help with their weight issues. So one by one I started to customize programs for each patient. This is how I ended up following my true passion of helping people lose weight rapidly, safely, and most importantly, keep it off.
I learned a lot of things from this process, such as every person who wants to lose weight needs a unique and completely customized program. I also learned that if someone wants to lose weight, they have to see results very quickly because if they do not, they will stop trying, give up, or simply quit out of frustration.
I also learned the importance of using state of the art body composition technology in order to make sure that a patient is losing fat and not water and muscle like most other diets.When most people go to a nationwide weight loss system with prepackaged foods, they measure your weight, height, and inches, but rarely do they implement this technology.
If they did you would probably see that you might be losing water and muscle weight, and not the excess fat. This is extremely important.Lastly, a lot of people who were offering me weight loss solutions were never overweight themselves, so I often felt that they might not truly know what I was going through. So When I tell patients that I have been there, in the trenches, I really, really have.For many years I lived and worked right around the corner from my office in Midtown Manhattan.
In 2015 I added a new location out near my family and new home on Long Island. I still see patients in Manhattan, however, I spend a lot of time now serving the people of my local community on Long Island.My protocols are based on science and common sense. It is also a program that I have collaborated with and improved by sharing ideas with other doctors from around the country.
There are new developments and technologies every day, so working with other doctors allows me to stay on top of the latest weight-loss strategies. My program will seem new to you, and you'll probably be one of the few people that know about it because it's a very different approach to losing weight in a healthy and rapid way.