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Brian & Tony

Before & After Shift

 

A fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

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Brian Baumal

Registered Psychotherapist

As a Registered Psychotherapist, I work with clients who experience emotional and disordered eating, as well as Binge Eating Disorder and Food Addiction. Along with Tony, I help create the courses and programs that help people make peace with food and manage their weight. 

I lost 100 pounds twice. The first unsuccessful attempt was in 2003, but since 2012 he has been maintaining his current healthy weight. I use the difference between my first and second attempts to help people understand how to be more successful at managing their weight.

Tony Vassallo

Culinary Nutritionist

Tony's been touted as a Man on a Nutrition Mission™. His passion is helping others achieve healthy sustained weight loss. He has been on the journey himself and is a huge proponent of eating “real” food.


He is nutritionist, the founder of MODA Nutrition Inc., and author of “Weight Loss Never Tasted So Good Cookbook.” He has a formal culinary nutrition background and is a documentary producer – creating “Follow Me” a film about sustained weight loss. He lost 130 pounds in 2010-11 and has kept it off ever since.

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We Get It! We've Been There Too.

Both will tell you that the changes on the outside are nowhere near as significant as the changes on the inside that have helped them be successful.

 

The Guys Behind Shift

 
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Brian...

grew up in Toronto, is father of a young son, is a blogger, loves indoor cycling and as a young child in the 1970s, he and his brother were the sole Canadian test audience for the "The Muppet Show". They take credit for bringing the Muppet Show to Canada.


Brian’s mantra is with the right WHY any HOW is possible.

par·a·digm shift

a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

 
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Brian's SHIFT

My shift occurred the second time I lost 100 lbs. What that means is that I lost 100 lbs for a period of time and failed to keep it off. A very minor medical incident happened to me while I was traveling with my extended family. Given that I was traveling for a joyous occasion, I finally – once and for all – got sick of always worrying about my health and being distracted by it and not living with the amount of joy I could.


However, given that I failed once at weight loss, I decided to ask myself what I needed to do differently during this attempt to make it successful. The responses I came-up with surprised me. Specifically, I felt that I had to exercise LESS and give myself MORE permission to eat foods that would not support weight loss. Another shift that occurred was that I de-coupled weight loss from exercise. I may be fortunate in that anaerobic exercise (i.e. weights) gives me a strong endorphin rush and affords me a much greater sleep at night. One day while lifting weights, I realized that actually losing weight on the scale was totally independent of whether or not I engaged in activities that would provide me with this feeling. As such, I lift weights to help me sleep better, and not lose weight. Finally, given my first attempt at weight loss, I was never able to lose the last 5-10 lbs of flab that I had around my stomach and it drove me crazy. I had to realize this time, I would likely not wind-up with the body that I wanted.


At first, I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way and coming up with these conclusions, given that they were totally counter-intuitive to what you would expect in a weight-loss endeavor. We are told to work harder longer and faster and eat less to get the body we want. However, that was the mantra I had during my first weight loss attempt, and I began to realize that attempt had all the hallmarks of disordered eating (and possibly Binge Eating Disorder). Specifically, I wanted to lose weight because I was very angry inside, and I felt that weight loss would allow others to respect me so that I would not have to show my anger outwardly in various circumstances. Moreover, I began to realize I had no connection to my body during this weight loss period. I once got down to a size 29 jean and realized that the only way I could “validate” that in my body was the number on a pair of jeans – and not how I felt inside my body or how I actually looked. In fact, I was quite frustrated at my weight loss efforts because I still had that stubborn flab to lose. The disconnect between a size 29 jean and still having flab made no sense to me at all.


Also, during my first attempt, I began to notice when people would comment on my body. On the one hand, I actually tracked the number of comments I received on my appearance, and if I did not get comments from enough people, I would assume that I had gained-back all the 100 lbs I lost and that people perceived me as fat again. One common question people asked me was “Brian, are you still going to the gym”. That question always threw me – did it mean I was starting to regain weight. Finally, and perhaps most dangerously, I was working out twice a day – and I didn’t want anyone to know it. I was fortunate to have a gym close to my work and my home. So no one knew that I would duck-out at lunch to do a spin class, and then come home to my wife to go out and work-out with weights or for another hour on the elliptical. When I began to understand disordered eating, I realized that was a hallmark of “Exercise Bulimia” and that scared me.


Ultimately, the “shift” that I made between the unsuccessful and successful weight loss attempts is called “sustainability” in weight loss terms. I made changes that were sustainable, whereas my first attempt was clearly unsustainable. However, in order to make that shift, I had to connect with my body. I had to accept that I would not look the way I wanted. I had to realize that I could give myself the pleasure of exercise without caring about weight loss. And I had to drop “workaholic” attitudes and actually work less at weight loss not more. All of these “sustainability” factors were accomplished by two large psychological shifts – humility and acceptance. In a way I had to accept that I had treated my body like a “pin cushion” when I let it gain and lose so much weight before and that it may not bounce back the way I wanted. Moreover, I had to accept that people would comment on my body whether I wanted them to or not. So I have found the biggest shifts went on deep inside of me and not at all on the outside.

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Tony's SHIFT 

Tony's Shift happened early 2010 inside the change room of a Big & Tall Clothing store. He lost 130 pounds in 16 months and has successfully maintained his weight since.

He detested the reflection he saw in the mirror to the point that he removed all full-length mirrors from his home.  He cringed when he was referred to as a “big guy.” His obesity caused him to be treated as a second-class citizen.


Reality began to set in. Gaining “just a few pounds” every year, until he started to fear for his future.

He was 37 with a host of medical issues: Type II diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, gout, joint pain, constant indigestion, and acid reflux. Simple tasks like putting on socks, climbing a flight of stairs, fitting into an airplane seat or booth at a restaurant, and getting out of bed became big challenges for him. Every afternoon he would have a sugar crash, leaving him with little energy to get through the rest of the day.  He was always sweaty and tired. He began avoiding the outdoors and eventually just avoiding life.

 

We Get It

Brian and Tony have been on the journey themselves...

people who have lost over 100 lbs each and kept it off for almost two decades combined. However, both will tell you that the changes on the outside are nowhere near as significant as the changes on the inside that have helped them be successful.

Are You Ready to SHIFT? 

The first step is to contact us, tell us about your current situation. We will work with you to create a program to manage or lose weight in a healthy sustainable way

 

Changing Eating Behaviours From the Inside Out 

SHIFT

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SHIFT

Assessment

Psychological Weight and Eating Issues

Please fill-in the information below and we will schedule an assessment for you. An assessment is conducted with our Psychologist, and lasts anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.


All assessments are covered under extended healthcare insurance.

Once the assessment is complete, you will talk with the psychologist and shift to create a treatment program that is right for you. It could include individual therapy (schedule to be determined), group therapy, group support or attendance at Shift workshops.

 

Contact BRIAN
416-704-1354

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“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

― Mahatma Gandhi