Skip to content

The Catalyst For Change That Ended Andrew Morello's Battle With Obesity


The Catalyst For Change That Ended Andrew Morello's Battle With Obesity

Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors Podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.

My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia in both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it.

Andrew Morello: Hi, I’m Andrew Morello, winner of the first Australian Apprentice and the Head of Business Development at the Entourage Business Education.

We’re now two years after surgery and a lot has changed obviously over the last two years. The last time I updated, you know, the community on the surgery and the effects of the surgery, I’d really just begun. Since then I’ve now completed the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. I did that for Indigenous Education and raised $286,000.

I’ve got a personal trainer in Melbourne and Sydney, and booked in to do Everest base camp April 2nd next year. It’s been a massive shift mentally and emotionally and looking forward to doing more and bigger, bigger, and better things.

So pre-surgery. I would never have dreamt that I would ever have accomplished something of the calibre of Kokoda.

For those who don’t the Kokoda trail, it’s a 142 kilometers through Papua New Guinean jungle. It’s where Australia fought with Japan in World War Two. To defend Australia sovereignty. A lot of people don’t realize the magnitude of it and there are certain ways you can do it.

There’s a very slow and relaxed and touristy sort of way. We booked to do it in nine days. But we actually ended up completing it in seven. With my training and the way I live my life and especially after the surgery, I’ve always tried to push myself further and further now. So what I obviously did was, I did it with people a lot fitter than me, and that’s why we ended up doing it in a faster period.

But certainly I’m always looking for life challenges now. And two years on from the surgery, it’s become a life purpose and want to continue to find bigger and better challenges.

When I did the Kokoda Trail, it was the whole thing’s challenging. So people go,”On, what was a like?”

It was very, very hard work and it was, it was very emotional.

It was a great metaphor for life, because they were, you know, there was beauty and there was moments of joy and beautiful rivers and beautiful, you know, waterholes. The swimming. And you’re sleeping in tents and huts. And then the final, the reality is like you get to a thing called Day Four, which is called The Wall.

And you’re basically walking like that, that’s the vertical incline of the mountain, that goes for over a kilometer and yeah, halfway up there, you can’t do it anymore. But the mental stamina that it takes to get through it, is phenomenal. And the relationships you forge and the emotions that you go through, it’s a great metaphor for life.

Oh, when I did the Kokoda Trail, I thought of giving up so many times. But the good news is it’s very difficult to give up. You’re in the middle of the nowhere. Even to the point that if you injure yourself, you actually get to a point where they can helicopter you out and is quite far, and there’s only probably two points in the whole trail where they can helicopter you out.

So if you did have an accident, which a lot of people haven’t. The deaths and injuries they’ve had over the years doing the Kokoda trail is basically been because of that. People have injured themselves two days here in they can’t get airlifted out for another day and a half. And the injuries been so severe that had internal bleeding or something of that nature.

There’s always a risk element involved. Obviously Everest is a big thing now where people are like, “you sure you want to go do that?”

And I’m like, I’d rather, you know, I know it sounds a little bit morbid, but I’d rather now, this new lease on life that I have, I’d rather die doing something amazing and doing a challenge than dying on a hospital bed sort of thing.

So not that I’m planning on going there and something happened to me, but when I did Kokoda, I went into it full hearted. I went into it emotionally and mentally and spiritually prepped, and I was ready to take on the challenge and I’ll do the same with Everest.

The irony is probably pre-surgery, I’ve always been interested in Kokoda, but I never probably would have attempted it. Once I had the surgery, well actually one of the catalysts for getting the surgery was actually because I wanted to do Kokoda then. So, a friend of mine had suggested it. And then I thought this would be a great opportunity to really leverage, you know, what I was trying to accomplish with my life from a health point of view.

And it gave me a goal. I’m a very goal orientated, goal driven person.

Hence why I’m always booking. What’s my next thing? What’s my next challenge? In my philanthropic life? What’s my next challenge in my business law? What’s my next challenge in my health life?

So the next adventure with Everest, similar training.

So we’ll be doing some treks through the Blue Mountains. We’ll be doing some treks through the Dandenong Ranges down in Melbourne. Started training, obviously on a more regular basis, obviously the balance of doing it, you know, while still trying to work sort of six to seven days a week right now, it’s pretty crazy.

I’ve got a lot of speaking events coming up and a lot of corporate opportunities.

But you know, always just trying to find time to do exercise in between that. And get the most out of it.

Post surgery, obviously the trainings been something that I’ve embraced. So pre-surgery I was often, you know, I still tried to train, and I was training every now and then with friends or playing sports on weekends friends. But I would probably dread it and try and sometimes make excuses for it.

Now I embraced the training and the opportunity to train. Physically with regards to my knees and my body, probably the biggest change I’ve seen is recovery.

So I like if I had gone and played soccer with mates on a Sunday or played a cricket match during, you know, we have like corporate cricket days, on Saturdays, with some of the corporate stuff that we do. What you would find is come on the Sunday or the Monday, my recovery now is just phenomenal post the surgery

I did a 23 and a half kilometer trek two weeks ago and Monday morning, I did that on this Sunday, and Monday morning, I was fine.

I find that I get hot, but it’s a different kind of hot now. I used to just sweat profusely. Now it’s sort of, I still probably sweat on my face, but my body sweats a lot less. Which means I feel like I can train a lot longer and I feel more comfortable training too. So I don’t mind doing a two, two hour training session. it’s something that I feel comfortable still doing.

I live a very different life now than I did before. I, you know, obviously exercise and, and adventure, and activities are a prime part of it. A good example is I’m speaking at the Inspired Growth Summit at the end of the year. And they always do the day before they do like an adventure day. And I’ve spoken there a number of years in a row and pre-surgery I would generally try and avoid the activity. Because it was always something quite exhausting or whatever it might be.

Last year I did it, I did the activity. There got an event coming up in a couple of months. Now I’ll do that. I’ve registered for the activity day, even though I’m one of the speakers, they always ask, do I want to attend the activity day? And do it on the Saturday. Then the conference goes Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.

And last year it was like a high ropes obstacle course. And like, you know, if you’d ask me pre-surgery, or pre-two, three years ago, if I was going to do that, I would say no chance.

I’d probably wouldn’t even have been able to. At the weigth I was carrying, probably from a safety point of view, they might not even, have let me do it. But last year, I did it. It was quite difficult, even though I had lost the weight. It was difficult anyway. A lot of people didn’t get through the whole course, I didn’t get through the whole course.

Ironically, some people that I thought wouldn’t get through all of us, not from a physical point of view, but more from a mental point of view mentally, I was happy to do it. But now I’m always looking for that challenge.

So like, even when I looked at it, I went, “Geez, that’s crazy”. And a lot of people were like, “Are you going to do that?”

I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll give it a crack”.

I didn’t succeed through the whole circuit, but I got about 70, 80% of the way. And then it got to a point where I, you know, it’s, it’s really for somebody that was really fit. Made for people that were very fit. But it was a little bit of fun. And I pushed myself.

And the guy that ran the course, he was ex-Israeli, special forces, Mossad guy. And he’s the guy who owns the course. And he’s like, I just love seeing people give it a crack. And that’s, you know, if you go back a few years ago, I would have opted out for the whole day let alone not on the course.

So I’ve always had a very, truly busy business career. Obviously. I do corporate speaking, I’ve got a executive role at the Entourage. I still do some consulting back with the Yellow Brick Road team and the Yellow Brick Road franchises.

So trying to balance all that is difficult at times. But what I’ve felt is, since the surgery, I’ve got more of a capability of dealing with anxiety and stress. Not that I suffered from necessarily anxiety, as anxiety as an anxious person, but rather, obviously the stress of the business sometimes creeps up on you and gives you some difficult periods.

Yeah, pre-surgery there were many times that I wanted to, like for a prime example, was at one stage, I wanted to sky dive, now, I want to bungee jump now.

But I at one stage, I was too heavy to skydive. There’s weight restrictions when you tandem sky dive.

I was too heavy to bungee jump at one stage. I was too heavy to go on some of the rollercoasters through Europe and so forth. And in some of the fun parks, I didn’t you know, there’s restrictions on that. So I did miss out on some of those things.

And that was pretty heartbreaking, especially when you’ve traveled a long way or everyone else is doing it. And you know, you get there and they tell you, you can’t do it, but now I don’t have that problem anymore.

You know, I took a helicopter to the Portsea Polo the other weekend in January. And they, the irony is now when you get on to a helicopter, you have to give them all your weight and now you give them the weight and you got no issues. You give them your weight, and they’re like, “Oh, that’s great”. Now it’s not even a thing that they have to think about anymore.

When, it’s ironic cause when people say no, when I carried that weight, when people would say no, it would often come out of left field. Say like, even though it happened a number of times, you sort of become so complacent with my weight issue that I probably never really thought, that there was going to be an issue anymore. Like I just was at peace with it.

And that’s probably one of the curses. You know, one of the things I’ve spoken about with Felicity before, is that, men have this amazing ability to become complacent in, with their weight management. Because, you know, we don’t have necessarily, it’s changing, the culture is changing, but if you look on Instagram, it’s like, it’s a lot of, it’s all female imagery, women on the front of magazines. Everything’s about beauty.

With a lot of men we become complacent with it and we get away with it. You know, that’s, that’s probably one of the biggest challenges that, and a lot of men realise they need to do something about it whether it’s surgery or take action on their weight management when it’s too late. When they get sick or when they’ve got something wrong with them later on in their life.

And I always tell people it’s a lot harder to recover, well not harder, but a longer recovery period. When I had the surgery and now the surgery is even going to even more efficient since I had it, but when I got it done, most people, Felicity said, most people take a week or two to recover. I was up in about within a couple of days.

And I was young you know, I was in my late twenties. I was 29 when I got it done. And, you know, like, so I recovered truly in a couple of days and I was up and about. I didn’t fly for week, but then I was back at work pretty the following week with no issues. So the older you get, the longer you probably should leave yourself for recovery.

But that’s why I tell people this, you know, “more is lost with indecision than wrong decision”. And there’s no day like today, to make that decision to make change.

And it’s becoming more and more common, like more and more people decide to go down that route of being indecisive and it’s to their detriment, you know?

So I’ve had a lot of friends now that I’ve encouraged to have conversations with, WLSA. And I said, it’s just a conversation, it doesn’t cost you anything to have a converstion. It doesn’t cost you anything to just do your research and then, you know, I’ve had a great result since but some of them do come back to me.

Some of them are asking, “What is it that I could ensure I should do it? What were your results like?”

And I said, look, “Google me”.

You know, you can see the old photos of me and what I was like. And just, you can see all the things I’ve accomplished since and you know, just make that decision and run with it. You know, make that mental decision too, and the spiritual and emotional decision.

And once you do that, then the rest you know, they will sort out the logistics of it. [00:13:24] I think for me, I was a victim of complacency. So I don’t think, obviously the cost wasn’t an issue for me. It was more the fact that I, I was very, very lucky in my world because I was very confident. You know, I had attention from, you know, from, in my life it was females. So that’s if I wanted attention from, I had attention from females. I had a sphere of people around me that always boosted my confidence. So my weight was not an issue with my confidence. And then hence, I’d become complacent.

I think as a general male understanding, is that a lot of men, the reason why they take a long time to make that decision is because they say, “I’m just gonna focus on making money right now. Cause like, if I make lots of money, I’ll be fine. Then later on, once I’ve made my money, I’ve got time then, to work on my health. I’ve got time then, to work on my family. And time then, to work on my fitness. Time then to live a better lifestyle.”.

But what they don’t realise is, if they made a decision earlier, and compliment everthing else they’re doing, they got a better chance of 2X, or 3X, or 4X-ing their business, and also their personal life.

For me personally, I was aware that I had a weight issue, but the problem was, and as I mentioned before, a lot of men don’t really do anything about it until they get sick. And I still don’t get sick, you know, there’s the flu going around with everyone right now and the number of people in my office got the flu.

And they go to me, “Oh, hey, have you’ve been feeling unwell?” When they texted and said “Hey I’m not well, I’ve got the flu”;

“How you feeling?”;

I said, “I feel great!”, right? But even more when I carried the weight, I never got sick.

And when I did work with the psychologist with WLSA, we actually worked on the fact that the reason, probably one of the big catalyst that Andrew Morello never really did anything about it because, I didn’t have cholesterol. I didn’t have high blood pressure. I didn’t have diabetes. In saying that I was young still. So you would hope I didn’t have these things, but if you were my weight and probably 40 or 50, I probably would’ve had all of those things. And that would have been like a catalyst straightaway to do it.

But I think denial is a big thing for a lot of people. And then I think it’s the component of, you know, “What do I actually need to do?”.

Like what’s involved in doing it. It’s actually not that arduous and not anymore either. Like I was probably, now they’ve got a new procedure from when I did it, and it’s even less invasive and less intrusive and faster recovery.

So, you really got no excuse right now.

So I had a lot of inconveniences being a larger guy. Like some of the, probably the two main ones were probably, especially being in the business world was getting clothes that fitted me. That was a big challenge. And not being able to just walk into a, you know, a Rhodes and Beckett and pick up a shirt off the shelf and the albums to grab that, so that was an issue.

And it was definitely a catalyst and it was definitely an issue. And there were days where you felt bad, like, especially when you’d go shopping, like with my girlfriend at the time, like you go shopping and she was 50 kilos and little skinny thing and never had a problem with her weight in her life.

When we go shopping, she picked something out for me or she’d go on her own and go shopping and pick something out and bring it home. And even though it was like an XXL, it still wouldn’t fit. Or it would fit but a bit tight fitting. You know, I wouldn’t wear it. And she’ll, “Why aren’t you wearing the shirt I got you?”

That was obviously quite an emotional journey for me. Probably the other big thing was when I used to travel, I travel a hundred flights a year. I used to always need the extension piece.

I mean, when I would sit in there, and I used to shun and worry about getting on a plane and where I was going to be seating in. If there was the chance of getting, I would always ask, ‘”If I sit at the backcould I get a spare seat next to me, so I’d have a little bit more room”. And I would always know, that I needed the extension piece. So I’d have to ask for it and you know, you’d be asking for it in front of other people and you’d feel a little bit embarrassed.

I got used to it but I was definitely feeling embarrassed about it. I think I chose the right time to do it. Like, of course, the earlier you do it the better, but, you know, I probably didn’t have enough catalyst at that time from a pushback of things that I wasn’t able to do. But the big catalyst for me was was when I sat down with a friend and she’s like, “You’re going to make all these money, but you’re not going to live long enough to spend it.”.

And that was a big thing for me. I think that was a big mindset shift for me because, you know, as people say you’ve got this great confidence. You always had it with your weight, without your weight. So you’re not probably a prime candidate of someone who’s got that self consciousness. And who’s worried about the way that they looked, or got the health, I didn’t have the health issues.

But when I had that conversation with that friend and she goes, “You got to make all this money. I think you’re got to die at 50 years old. If you don’t make a change or do something about it.”. And that really hit home and it was really add a lot of gravitas for me.

As I’ve talked about in the past was the fact that, you know, coming from a European family, and it’s not exclusive to European family, you know, my mom was, it’s a job in itself, but a housewife. Her version of love was just cooking, you know. Us boys would come home from going out or come home after school. A lot of, you know, my place was sort of the hanging out placement all of my mates after school. My mom would literally sometimes cook for 10, 15, 20 people.

And it was just big pots of pasta and lots of bread and traditional stuff that probably, you know, there wasn’t a great balance of all the food groups effectively.

The second, probably big issue I had was the fact that I had, I was working a lot. And when you get off a plane at sort of 10:30PM at night, I was getting into a hotel and ordering food in a hotel.

So I was eating quite late, which everyone knows is a terrible thing for you to do. Basically you eat a big meal, and back then, pre-surgery I would probably sometimes order two meals. I’d order like a pasta and or an entree and a main and, and bread. So like, you know, you eat this big meal and, you know, it’s already 11 o’clock at night, then go to sleep and then get up at five in the morning.

And because you’re always on the go, you’re always eating probably unhealthy food. Very quick things that you can just grab, a packet of food, or you’d be like filling up the rental car at the petrol station, next to the airport, when you’re dropping a rental car off and you’d grab snacks because you thought, the next time I’m going to get a chance to sit down and have a meal, isn’t until 11 o’clock tonight. And then obviously it became a bad relationship with bad food.

And then you know, post surgery once you start getting some results, you want to continue those results.

You know, it really is a tool. I tell people that because if you go back to your old ways of life, yes, the surgery stops you from overeating. But if you go back to drinking Coca Cola or sugary drinks, or eating chocolate all the time, or eating packaged food, and well that’s kind of pointless. You still getting the wrong foods in to you. So now you make, I make a conscious decision on what I’m going to eat and I make the most of it.

So a prime example was this morning, I had scrambled eggs. Like I took the bread off the bottom and just ate the scrambled eggs. And that was enough to make me feel fulfilled and you can still eat great food like that. That was a tasty meal this morning.

But now, you know, I can, I’ll make a conscious decision to eat healthier snacks, you know. Sultanas, I pre-pack stuff, I’ll do a bit of food prep. I’m lucky and advantageous about the fact that I’ve got somebody who, you know, I’ve got assistance and executive assistance and a team around me and people that help in the household too.

So, you know, I don’t have an excuse, really, but it’s all about making better decisions and changing your mindset and go, “Okay I’m going to make a more conscious decision to eat better because I don’t want to miss out on the results that I can possibly get from the surgery.’.

I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. Obviously I grew up in a very corporate culture, where we’d go for the Friday afternoon steak and you’d have like a big, massive steak and a couple of bottles of wine and things of that nature. But I can still have a little bit of steak, you know. There isn’t, there hasn’t been anything that I can’t eat anymore. And like you’re allowed to have a little , like it’s not like you can’t eat chocolate anymore. But it’s, instead of eating a whole chocolate bar, you might have one little piece of of a chocolate bar.

Instead of, you know, the fun thing I do now, I’ve talked about this before is I generally get other people to order the food. And then I try a little bit of everyone’s food. Just like a fork of everyone’s, or a slice of everyone’s food. And it’s fun for me. I’ve gamified it and enjoyed it.

So rather than, being a, “Okay, I’m ordering a you know, a Wagyu beef steak, and that’s the meal I get. You ordered a steak or someone ordered seafood and someone orders pasta, and I have a fork full of pasta or a cut off their steak and it’s probably a bit of a fun thing.

I’m not embarrassed to tell people that I had the surgery. I’m quite proud of it. It’s obviously was something that got results, and it’s allowed me to live a more fulfilled and more successful life.

So I’ve been able to have a bit of fun with it. And that’s the big question. A lot of people ask me, they go, “What did you have to give up completely?”

And I’m like, not really anything. Like there’s certain things that probably I don’t enjoy eating as much anymore. So some of the things now like, I can’t eat a lot of meat. If I do eat a lot of meat, I feel a little bit over full, but I can still eat meat.

So like, if anyone’s watching this and goes, “Oh, I’m not going to get it done cause I love eating steak”, you can still have your steak.

But I’m vigilant now that if I have some steak that it’s gotta be a little bit of steak, you know, and the other thing I’ve had a bit of fun doing is like I graze now too. What happens is I think even from the metabolism point of view, it’s better for me.

And it seems to work well for me, the way I’ll have a little bit of food, and then I have another little bit, maybe three or four hours later and a little bit three or four hours later. And that grazing actually gives my body a better chance for metabolizing the food anyway.

So what I did when before I had the surgery, I actually consciously chose to start eating less food and eating better foods. So I wanted to train myself. So that way, when I had had the surgery, it was only going to be a tool to you know, encourage results and to accelerate results. And as a lot of people who’ve seen my story, I’ve probably had some phenomenal results in very short period, more than a lot of people because I feel like I’d made the mindset shift earlier. Before I even had the surgery.

And I got myself into that rhythm and that momentum. So that once I’d had the surgery, I was already making better decisions.

I was always a large child and then a large teenager and then a large young adult I did have a period at sort of 18 where I made a big shift and I was training morning at 5:00AM, every morning at 5:00 AM with my girlfriend at the time. And then we would train every night, six, seven o’clock. So we do a proper training session every morning. We’d go and do a river walk pretty much every night, the second night, and I was making very conscious decisions with my food. And I did get results, I did.

So I’ve definitely yo-yo-ed with my weight over the years, I’ve always been a large person and overweight and a obese person. But what it was, was there was a period, and if you go through my Facebook and from back in the day, my first sort of post many, many years ago when Facebook first came out, there was a period where I definitely, look I was probably the weight I am now, even slightly lighter even.

But it was a lot of work and it was unsustainable. And then obviously, what would happen is I would get stressed out with work and work would get busy again, and then I wouldn’t train for a month or two. Then I started eating the wrong foods and then I’d put weight back on.

And then my girlfriend at the time let’s get back on track. So we got back on track and then I lose weight again. And there was this whole process and this cycle that was never long lasting. It was like little spurts of opportunity and times. And then, you know you say, I wanted something that was going to last forever.

I’m probably not the best example because I was, in high school, quite popular because I used to run youth events and we were the only all boys school, amongst seven, all girls school. It was all girls schools where I went to school. It was being the St Bernard’s boy, you know we call it being a Bernard’s Boy, that’s what it was.

It was a great school to go to, 1800 boys. I was vice captain of the school. I was involved in everything, but there was certainly an element of bullying.

And obviously I just thought that was just normal. You know, now in hindsight, it’s not normal. And now that there’s a lot of education around men’s mental health and young boys, mental health and high school bullying and things of that nature.

So now if I, you know, if you look back upon it and say that bullying would have been unacceptable and probably if I didn’t have such a great support group and a great network and a great loving family. I may not have been somebody who would have dealt with them as well as a did. But there was definitely kids that were large kids, at school that got bullied and didn’t have the thick skin and didn’t have the friendship groups or the attention of girls, all the attention of boys, whatever it is that you might might have.

And that’s what got me through, you know, like that’s what was my little to get through. So like, but you could see that mentally it did take its’ toll on some people. And I being a bigger guy too, would just tell them I’ll, you know, brush it off and don’t worry about it. They just boys being boys. And there was a culture of that too.

Like even though it was only, you know, I was in high school only the 15, 20 years’ ago, we’re not talking 1950s here. There was a culture where, at an all boys school, where like now it’s unacceptable, they wouldn’t allow that. But at an all school, if teachers heard boys beating one of the boys or even I’m sure there’s girls picking on the girls, especially in a boys school it was like, “Just get over it. You’re you know, you’re a boy, you know, get over it. “

That was sort of the advice that sometimes either a teacher or an adult, or even, I’ve heard parents say that to the kids before. “Just get over it, you know, build a thick skin or build a bridging that over”, and you’re like well, maybe they don’t have the capability of doing that, you know, maybe they don’t have the luxury of being able to do that.

And who knows the trauma that they’re going to carry around with them. And I think a lot of weight gain is based on the trauma that they go through because of their weight. So like they are larger in themselves and then they get picked on and then they, they emotionally eat, or they become hermits, or they don’t get active, or they don’t go and join an in-school sports, or join a gym or anything because they don’t want people to look.

So then, it just makes the bad situation, even worse. Which I think that’s a big catalyst as well.

So I think one of the issues that I was faced with was the fact that I got a lot of attention in high school. So, you know, I was popular amongst the boys. I was popular on, you know, amongst girls.

So like I always had attention from girls wanting to be with me. I always, you know, vice captain of the school. So what happened was that it fostered an environment where nobody ever really held me accoutable to my weight problem. And I didn’t really see it as a problem. It’s shifted a lot in Australia now.

Like, don’t forget I was at school, you know, 15, 16, 17, 18 years ago, right? So like now, there’s a lot more education going on. And I even see, I sit on the board at my old primary school and the the board of my old high school, and now like in the canteen, there’s all like all healthy choices, all the lunches now.

When I went to school, the things that were on the menu were hot dogs, sausage rolls, meat pies. They basically, they were your your only options. You know, now there’re a lot of more healthier options. There’s a lot more education going into it.

So there was definitely a lack of education around, you know, good eating, go back 15, 20 years ago in schools. And you know, the last part was is that there was you know, a culture where it was it was okay because if you weren’t getting bullied, probably the kids that realized they needed to make some changes were the ones that were getting bullied.

And I wasn’t getting bullied, you know, or I was getting bullied in a more jovial sense, which I brushed it off as just boys being boys, you know, but, I think that’s the reality and the challenge, especially with men.

I think if a girl goes through high school and she’s overweight, she gets out of high school and she wants to do something about it. I did want to do something about it, I got to 18, I’d put on weight all the way through and nobody brought it up with me. Then I did have a girlfriend at 18 and she was quite, she was into her fitness. So she got me into fitness and then once I got started, and like, now that I’ve made the lifestyle change, I enjoy it, you know. And I was enjoying it and I was doing it with somebody.

And that’s where if people do look at, you know, weight management solutions, they should, you know, it’s great to do, to make sure you’ve got your husband or your wife and, or the life partner, or a friend, or someone to support you and get you on the journey, because that encourages you, you know.

Someone to take you for walks and stay on the path and stay on the journey and eat the right foods and you know, and things of that nature. So you don’t want to be in a relationship where you’ve gone and made this change in your life, but you’re you know, your wife or your husband or your life partner is eating junk food every day.

Or the fridge is stocked with bad food. So it needs to be a family decision to some respects. But you know, it’s a positive family decision. It’s not like you’re asking people to really give up on anything to major. And honestly, they can’t enjoy themselves. They can still enjoy themselves and have an ice cream or have dessert or whatever it is. But just obviously being conscious of the fact that if you’re going to go make this decision, to make this change in your life, and you might as well make it and make it properly.

So there’s probably a few different ways that the conversations come up with friends and strangers too.

I’m pretty open about it. So some people like to to keep it discreet and they don’t like to talk about it. Or they might be a little bit embarrassed about, that’s fine if they don’t want to talk about it. No one has to know that you’ve had the surgery. You just eat less, less food right?

But I’m pretty open about it. I’m a big advocate for it. Obviously I try and have the conversation, I’m open with having the conversation people. People are intrigued by it, and I think it’s becoming a lot more socially acceptable and there’s a lot more education around it now.

Things like E Sweat, you’re looking to log online and they can watch and use, and understand what it is that someone’s gone through.

It’s always difficult to have them bring up the conversation, if you think somebody else should get it done. I can probably bring it up a lot better because I’ve gotten the results. I think it would be hard for someone to bring it up with somebody if they’ve never been overweight themselves. But because I was so overweight and then I lost the weight.

Some people have gone, “Oh, how did you do it?”

And now that there’s a lot of education and understanding of what some of these procedures are and what options are out there. And people do ask questions, and I’m just very honest with them. I tell them the truth and, and you know, I tell them I’ve got great results from it.

It’s not for everybody, but there’s no harm in making an enquiry. You know, it’s like, so the a little bit like people’s financial position, you know, a lot of people approach me like, “Oh, you know, I’m thinking about buying these house”, and I go, well, it’s not harm in you going to have a look at it, or, you know, I’m not ready to buy a house, but I want to buy a house.

So I go but why don’t you start going into some open home inspections?

Or but I’ve only saved half a deposit. It doesn’t mean you can’t go to for an inspection. You go to one auction, you can go to those things and see those things. That’s the best way to educate yourself. So you can make a better decision and an educated decision on whether this is the right thing for you.

I feel like the best approach when having a conversation with somebody, is, it needs to come from heart, obviously do it discreetly

So the people I’ve had the conversation with, I’ve had a great success rate, begin making the enquiry at a minimum. So I’ve talked to them about what I did and the results I got. I show them me doing Kokoda. And I show them the before photos and they’re like, “Oh wow, you got some big results!”.

And I’m like, yeah, like you should look into it. Like it’s not for everybody, but you should look into it.

Reality is, it probably is for everybody. That’s the truth. Right? So the scenario is that it’s going to change their life. And I’m like, it’s a bit of short term, it’s not even pain, but short term, it’s one step back to take three steps forward.

And they’re like, “You know, what’s the process?

I said, there’s no harm in going to go check out the process and understand more about the process. If you wanted to approach someone obviously, probably the tips for doing that would be obviously to do it one-on-one in, in a private surroundings.

And number two, just make it from the heart. Don’t go overboard. But if it’s your wife or your husband, you know, it’s a pretty easy conversation to have.

Because you could say it’s a lot of men would say it wouldn’t be an easy conversation with my wife, but I would say it is, by saying that you’re my wife and I’m your husband, or you’re my husband, I’m your wife. And I want you to be with me for the rest of your life, you know? And if we don’t make change, now, we’re going to get to 50, 55. You’re gonna have things like diabetes type two diabetes. You’re going to have things like cancers. My mom’s got Alzheimer’s now, like it’s, you know, Alzheimer’s and dementia. They know that obesity and being overweight can accelerate that process too.

So like the reality is that, you know, if it’s from heart and I think if it’s discreet, then you shouldn’t feel bad about having the conversation. And obviously going to it you know, with the delicate manner and understanding that the other person might be in denial or defensive about it.

So don’t push the envelope, but certainly be open to having that conversation.

I’d recommend if you’re somebody who’s overweight and you’re living a more, reclusive life that, you know, probably three quick things you can do is first of all, you know, get out there and just start getting involved with social and social aspects and social environments.

Number two, is a great thing to do now is get involve in social sports, you know. A lot of guys that are overweight, there’s mixed sports like men’s and women’s netball, mixed sports in Sydney CBD, now they have big soccer teams that they play at lunchtimes. There’s touch footie that are mix. That’s a great way of maybe starting to try and get healthy, but at the same time also meeting women or meeting guys, or whatever it is that you might be interested in.

And last but not least be prepared to just go and have the conversation. Like there is no harm in going up and having a chat with somebody. And if that chat then turns into a day and then that day turns into a relationship and that relationship turns into a marriage, then great. But there’s no harm in having the conversation.

I have a little formula, which is, I was taught by one of my first coaches when I was 16, 17 for having a conversation with people.

And it works with everything, you know business, it works. I’m not going to lie. I make a joke when I talk from stage about it, that it’s made me a lot of money and it’s introduced me to a lot of girls. I’ll make it a little bit of a joke and everyone laughs, and they think it’s funny like that.

And I say to them, you know, it can be used for anything, building rapport. And it’s called the Ford formula. So F.O.R.D.

Everyone loves to talk about their family, their occupation, their recreation, and their dreams. And it’s a very simple formula that I’ve always used and people are like, “What am I going to go talk to that person about?”.

The first thing you can talk to them about it’s like, you know, where did you grow up? What school did you go to? And it’s a great way.of asking people, you know, “Are you married? You’ve got kids?”, and I go, “No, No.”

“Do you have a partner?”, then all of a sudden, you know, okay. If you’re interested in this person that you can pursue potentially that route. I’m not saying if they do have a partner or a husband or kids, you should not continue the conversation.

But then obviously then you talk about, you know, “Where do you work?, “Oh, I work at PWC.”.

And often I would say to people, you know my mate when I was trying to give him advice and it was like, he met this girl and I said, ask her where she works. She said, where she works, she works at the MLC building.

I said, just find out what the cafe’s called downstairs. And then why don’t you ask her, to take her to lunch tomorrow when you see her? To take her to lunch at the bottom of the MLC building? Pretty simple stuff.

Recreation, obviously what do you like doing on weekends? People go, “Oh, I love going to Bondi or like going to play a sport.”.

You know, actually I enjoy that as well.

If you live near Bondi, why don’t we go for a walk along the beach?

Like it’s pretty easy. Like it’s a great little formula.

And the last one is a little bit deeper. And obviously if you feel like you’re creating a bond and that connection with somebody, as you ask them about the dreams and use those words, the irony is, is that we on average dream 72 times a night, but we only remember one or two of them. Yeah, everyone’s dreaming about something. So you can ask them about that.

I always had a lot of energy, but certainly one of the big side effects of after the surgery, is you’ve got more energy. Your libido goes up. Obviously you do get attention from whoever it is you’re looking for attention from.

That’s something you probably should be vigilant of. Because if you’ve never had attention of, you know, girls or guys or whatever it is, prior, and then you do. That’s something mentally, you need to prepare yourself for like, all of a sudden, your confidence goes up, your charisma goes up, you’re able to have more conversations with people. So that attention is something you need to prepare yourself for.

But one of the, great side effects of all of these, obviously yourenergy level goes up, your libido goes up, and your sex drive goes up. So, there’s a triple buggy win there for you.

So it’s, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t take advantage of that. Especially if you’re in a loving relationship with your partner.

You know, I speak to some people that have been married 20 years and they don’t make love any more. And you’re like, “Why don’t you make love?”.

And it’s, they’ve lost that attraction in their partner. So, you know, it’s a great reason to go out there and brief on that attraction and really redevelop that love again.

So, probably the funniest moment was we were in Cambodia, I go to Cambodia every year to visit, and do orphanage work over there with Sunrise Village Cambodia.

And what we do is we take a group of entrepreneurs. And like this year, we’ve got like 40 entrepreneurs coming. Last year, I think we had like 27 and we were, we went to a place called Sihanoukville last year, which is like a beach front area.

We stayed along there and we need some work out in the villages there. And one night, we’re all sitting there, like in front of, we’re talking 20, 30 entrepreneurs. And I would never have done this when I was overweight and someone said, I’d said as a joke, like someone’s like, “We’ve all got to go skinny dipping”, and no one would do it.

And I said, as a joke, if someone gives me a, puts another thousand dollars towards the orphanage of the charity, Sunrise, I’ll do a nudie run into the water.

And I did it, yeah.

So I think someone’s got it on video I’ve seen it.

Oh, you saw that video. The good news was it was pretty dark, but the people that were there definitely saw me, so it’s something I would never have done prior to losing all that weight or definitely wouldn’t have, I would’ve felt self conscious about doing that, but it was fun.

It was, the guy that said he was gonna donate the money, donated the money. I think a couple of guys ended up donating the money cause they thought it was so funny after that. But that’s probably been the funniest one that I’ve had, you know.

And then, I think just the gym or shifting in me like when people see me in that, like that I haven’t seen for a couple of years see you know like freak out.

Like somebody came up to me the other day when I was in Adelaide for tragic circumstances, somebody came up to me and they’re like, “We weren’t sure if it was actually you.”.

Like they basically walked straight past me. There’s been some funny moments now. I’m like, “Peter!”, and they’re like, “Morello?”, and I’m like, “Yeah!”.

They’re like, “Oh my God. Like what happened?”

And then I tell them the story and I’d tell them about, you know, I had the operation I made change. I did the Kokoda Trail, I did Mt Kinabalu, I’m doing Everest.

And like, “Oh my God, you’ve changed completely. This is amazing!”.

And I’m like, it is amazing. It truly is a miracle.

So a couple of, couple of funny moments that I’ve had. One, I put all my old clothes at the front of my house at Bondi after I had the surgery cause it was all my big suits that were really big on me. And I’d put them at the front basically saying to people to take them for free. But if I’m walking past, and life them up, and put it on him when it was this big.

So it was like, definitely not going to fit them, number one. Number two, things come off now. It’s like, I’ve always gotta be careful. Cause I’ve lost weight on my hands too, my rings have started to come off and I’ve had some of these rings since I was a kid. They’ve started to come off. I went up a belt notches, but I didn’t realize that you could adjust the belt connection.

So I got a knife out and I was making holes in it. So I could make it, you know wear a tighter belt. And I took it to the guy at the shoe fixing store. And he’s like, mate, all you have to do is come here and what we do is take it off from this end and we reattach so you don’t have to ruin anything.

So I’ve ruined a couple of belts over the years from going up belt sizes as well.

And then now I have to worry about my pants actually falling down. So like, if I’m rushing to get somewhere, I’ve got to tighten my belt. So that way I can quickly run to the plane or my hands are full with suitcases and things.

And I go, “Oh, wait a minute. I’ve got to pull up pants quickly”, cause they’re actually slipping off and you’ve got to keep buying clothes. It’s probably, it’s a good problem to have. But one of the problems I’ve had is I’ve had to keep buying clothes. Every couple of months, you’ve got to buy a new set of clothes.

I say to people probably lose all your weight before you buy expensive clothes or lose as much weight as you can before you buy expensive clothes. Because once you do, you’d be stuck in that one. So I’d say the prime example is I’ve got a tailor made suit made from Oscar Hunt and they, they made the suit and it takes six weeks before you get it.

And then I got, they measured me up, I got there and he’s like the suits too big for you. We’ve got to send it back again and get more alteration because it was too big in the six week periods. So but it’s a good problem to have.

Yes, you can do the Kokoda trail.

Yes, you can summit Mount Kinabalu in Borneo.

Yes, you can do Everest base camp.

Yes, you can do anything you want to do. But most of all, yes, you can go up to a girl if you see her and you like her.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you for joining the Wellness Warriors Podcast. It’s been a pleasure to have you online with us. If you enjoyed the series, please leave your review, subscribe and follow, and we look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.

Nutritionist & Dietitian

Meet our team


Chealse Hawk

Nutrion Leader Coach

Isabelle Cole

Nutrion Coach

Joshua Chambers

Nutrion Coach

Laura Barrett

Nutrion Leader Coach