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Andrew Morello on Health & Wealth – A Celebrity’s Journey through Entrepreneurship, Weight Loss & More


Andrew Morello on Health & Wealth – A Celebrity’s Journey through Entrepreneurship, Weight Loss & More

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.

Good morning, Andrew.

Andrew Morello:  Great to be here, Felicity.

Thank you.

Felicity Cohen: So, one of the subjects that we’ve been really interested in talking about recently and having these conversations is around, how financial health relates to health and wellbeing and, you know, post weight loss.

What’s the impact of having a surgical procedure and how does that look like when we are talking about improving your financial health and wellbeing?

Andrew Morello:  Yeah, definitely. So obviously I’ve got a big passion when it comes to helping everyday Australians achieve the two great Australian dreams of owning their own home and retiring comfortably.

And obviously there’s been a big shift even from, you know, from a regulatory point of view and a government, government point of view. And certainly something that you’ve been passionate about is, trying to get people to see the correlation between health and wealth and, and obviously, and weight loss is a big component of that.

And probably you know, I think this conversation that we’re going to have today covers off on a number of aspects. So, you know from, you know, mindset, to the actual physicality and the practicality of
starting a business and, and also the confidence, but also, you know, things
like insurances and things of that nature.

Felicity Cohen:  So some of the things that I’ve actually become aware of over the last 10 years, and it took me the first 10 years to get to this point was a patient who came in to see me. She was really severely morbidly obese and her job at that stage before surgery was she sat behind a sewing machine and she moved from the sewing machine to the ironing board behind her.

That was it. She didn’t move. And then post-surgery and post all this weight loss she was able to not just do things like bungee jumping in New Zealand, but all of a sudden she went for the job promotion, then there were career changes. And then from that, it became, well, actually, “I’m now capable of creating my own financial health and wellbeing that I’ve never seen as a possibility for myself”.

So she started to invest in property. Okay.  And that has been the journey that came from this severely morbidly obese person, having this massive transformation and shift in life to all of a sudden thinking about, “how does my weight loss equate to my financial health and wellbeing and how has that changed my life?”.

And it really struck me as something that we don’t look at, that we don’t talk about. We don’t actually understand that there’s a significant link between the two.

What are some of the things that you think have changed for you in terms of your own professional career. You know, yes, you were hugely successful before surgery, but do you think that you’re able to take that success to a whole new level?

And has your mindset set changed around financial health and wellbeing?

Andrew Morello: Yeah, definitely. Like I you know, as I’ve mentioned in previous interviews and and time I’ve spent with you, one of the, probably when we had the conversation around the surgery that we, one of the big things you said that had gravitas in what you said, you said, “you’re making all this money, but are you going to live long enough to spend it?”.

And, so that was trigger number one. And it’s, it’s a very, 2D perspective of looking at it, but it’s a reality. So I think anyone who’s looking at this, like, yeah, you know, if you are either an entrepreneur or a business owner, or you’re in the corporate sector or you’re PAYG, whatever it might be, and you are working towards the goal of retirement and enjoying that retirement.

But then the flip side of that, which I probably didn’t struggle with as much, but as you know, I’m a big advocate of what you do, and I’ve sent a lot of people your way, and I continue to do that and advocate for it because I believe in it. I’ve seen the shift in them. They’ve gone from being a corporate machine to, “Oh, I’m going to go start my own business.”.

And you can see that subconscious and conscious mindset shift when it comes to their business. And then, you know, I didn’t even think about it, but when you mentioned before, this lady had bought property, it’s so true because see, once you start to make that lifestyle shift and that lifestyle change, you start to go, “Okay, it’s important for me to start thinking about my future, because I’m going to live longer.”.

It’s the irony of it, but it’s the truth.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah. What about if we think about just the real estate sector, something that you’re very passionate about that obviously, you know, better than anybody.

When we’re talking about your colleagues and people who are employed throughout the real estate sector, where do you think their problems are, that they may not even be aware of, that they’re overweight, they’re struggling, family life’s compromised, but they’re also compromised in their careers right now.

What kind of message would you give to them?

Andrew Morello:Look, it’s sad, but positive at the same time, like, especially in the real
estate world, if you’re in the industry, it is very much an image basedindustry.  I’ve tried to stem away from
that slightly, like I still try to bring a voice, tried to present myself well,but I’ve tried to stem away from it in the, in a sense that I try and advocate
that you don’t need to have a flashy car and thinking about, you know, the momand dad, but it is a very image based industry.

And obviously you know, calling auctions, ifyou’re calling auctions, and you’re sweating, and you’re, you know, you can’t
sustain the energy and keep that high intensity level of energy.

Or when you’re negotiating and there’s a lot of late nights and things of that nature, so the stamina, opportunity, whether
you’re in real estate or any professional field, that stamina, opportunities, it’s a massive opportunity, but probably,
you know, that the perception of the way you are perceived by other people,  it is a big thing.

You know, like when someone’s making a decision to sell the house and, and real estate is solely an example, like it can be any
industry, but when someone’s interviewing multiple people in whatever industry to make a decision, they are looking at all aspects of that. They’re looking
at, “is this person engaged in the community, is this person, you know, married and settled down.”

Like often a lot of people miss out on business because they’re young and they’re still running, running a bit of a muck and
they’ve got the Instagram going, you can see him partying every weekend.

Vendor or potential vendors or potential clients are looking at these sorts of things. But if they go on your social media, and
they’re seeing you’re online and they’re seeing you on your profile and they see that you’re doing you know, for example, marathons or Kokoda or Kinabalu or
Everest, they’re like, “Well, I want to be, I want to be doing business with someone like that.”.

So there’s a massive shift there. And as well, the reality, whether you like it or not is we still do live in it, in a bit of
both, it’s not as bad as, say you know, the American culture where it’s very superficial, but you know, a lot of the time people are looking they’re going,
like “Ok, well this person doesn’t take the time, energy, effort to take pride in the way that they look, then are they going to be able to give

They don’t know you, then they’re going to be like, they are making that judgment based on the way you look in the way you
present yourself.

Felicity Cohen:
I’m a great believer in, you know, walking the talk and leading by example, I
think it’s so important and I love, you know, for me, yes, I’m part of that 5am
club, but I love to get up and run.

I feel better and I’m more productive in my working life and in my career. But that comes across in terms of the message
that I have for patients as well. And you know, my team at the Gold Coast Marathon this year was a hundred. The change in people and their, how they feel
about themselves, their self esteem and how that has changed their perception around what they’re actually capable of where they can go next, what they can
do. And those physical kind of success stories also equate to better opportunities in, in life, in general.

I think that’s really important. I know that, you know, when you’re working with The Entourage, I often see Jack  (Delosa) ,
you know, he’s someone who really walks the talk and talks about that.

Getting up early in the morning and exercising as being part of life. But then we see this, totally, I guess contradiction in
terms in a professional world, whether it be accountants, real estate agents, banking, whatever sector of you know, entrepreneurship that we’re looking at,
that there are so many people who are held back by their weight concerns and putting their health last.

Andrew Morello:
Yeah. I think it becomes, and you know, that was a great point you mentioned on Jack and I’s business, The Entourage, there is a massive culture. Like we, you
know, yesterday morning we had a, we had a board meeting, and the first thing that our General Manager, Tim Morris said was, he goes, “Who trained this
morning?”. You know, and we all put up our hands, we’d all trained.

And that’s, there’s a culture of that. So you look at a young, dynamic and successful company, like The Entourage or Yellow
Brick Road or things that some of the companies that I’m involved in, there is a, now if you’re not the person, and this is a big thing, so if you’re somebody
who is not taking action with regards to either your weight or your health and your future, and then leading back to your, whether being through a business
that you’re already a part of or being entrepreneurial, the reality is, is that you’re getting left behind.

And you’re, there’s going to be an element in this next generation, I think they got to, you know, and I’m certainly not an ageist, but I think there is that baby boomer generation and even you know, even people that sort of that 40 to 50, they sort of get away with it a little bit.

Now with this new generation, it’s like, if you smoke, people look at you, if you drink too much people look at you, if you’re
not training, people are like, “why don’t you train?”.

If you’re not healthy and it’s, to some extent, you know, right now I’m living in eastern suburbs in Sydney, like it’s become a, probably a little bit extreme to the point where people have  forgotten even to have a good time because
they’re all about, “I want to Instagram the fact that I’m training and all that,” it’s become an instagram thing, but the reality is, is that it is modern culture that we’re in now.

If you’re not tying some sort of health concept into what you’re doing from a business point of view, it’s going to be
detrimental. From a health point of view, it’s obviously detrimental, but I think from a market point of view, it’s detrimental, and you actually become to
a certain extent in a lot of businesses now, ostracised.

You know, like a lot of you know, working in Sydney CBD, you’ll see most lunchtimes now, people that, you know, all got
their socks pulled up and their, you know, little jerseys on this mixed, mixed sex soccer teams. You know, and they all go play soccer at Centennial Park.
Yeah, yeah, it’s a big thing now. And if you’re not a part of something like that now, or if you go on a work retreat and you’re the person who doesn’t go
on the 10k hike in the morning, or when we went on The Entourage retreat, you know, obviously it’s different, they’re entrepreneurs, they’re highly
motivated, with you know, businesses that are doing a million to ten million dollars plus sort of revenue.

But like every morning, we did meditation and we had a running club, Tim Morris ran a running club, our general manager. And
Jack and myself did meditation. We had someone, one of our other execs run a yoga class. And it’s basically, if you didn’t come, you were like, when you walked
into breakfast, people are like, “where were you?”.

Like, you know, it’s like, you’re, you’re not part of the social clique anymore. And I’m not doing that to ostracise anyone,
but it’s, it’s become a reality now, like there’s an expectation and that’s part of the culture that you, that you buy into.

Felicity Cohen:I totally, I love that and buy into that whole cultural movement around what’s
important within your organisation to drive better culture in your business and,and how that equates to better outcomes with your staff, how they feel about themselves and what they’re achieving in business.

I think you’ve touched on something else though, and one of the reasons why I think it’s so important that, yoga, meditation,
exercise have become so prevalent is that we live in a very stressful world and stress management has become so important. But with that, it’s also mental
health, you know, mental health has become something that we’re far more willing to talk about.

That it’s part of our lives. We’re dealing, we live in a pressure cooker world. And I think, you know, if you’re not doing
things like that, you’re not managing your stress.

Andrew Morello:
Yeah, definitely.

Felicity Cohen:
It’s also not just how that relates to your productivity every day, but you’ve gotta be able to manage those stress levels.

Let’s think a bit, a bit more about mental health. You know, if you’re not exercising and you’re not managing your mental
health as well, you’re not achieving. And that is going to have a flow on effect to every single aspect of life, whether it’s your financial health and
wellbeing. Or just your general day to day enjoyment and fulfillment of life in general.

So what are your thoughts around mental health and how we should best manage ourselves?

Andrew Morello:
I’ve done quite a bit of work over the years with different, mental health groups. You know, my sister runs the Jellis Craig foundation for our real
estate business in Melbourne. And one of the people we donate to is Orygen which is for mental health.

So it is always been something that’s very, very important to us. I haven’t suffered, I’ve had periods of induced anxiety
probably from the pressure that I put myself under. And certainly the weight losses certainly helped with that. And now being able to go, get on a treadmill
and do 15 kilometers and whether it’s walking or jogging or running or whatever it might be, or going into a session with a personal trainer.

It certainly straight away, I know that the, you know, from a scientific point of view, the endorphins that it’s letting off,
and the seratonin increase and things of that nature has certainly helped with stress management. But I’ve worked with a lot of friends that have suffered
from mental health issues and sending them to down that path of you know, getting on top of their weight management.

Getting on top of, of their physicality, getting actually out there like and it breaks my heart when people think that the first
option is to go get anti-depressants, and I’m like, well, no, it’s not, or Valium so I can sleep better or well Xanax or whatever, whatever it might be.

Have you tried getting active? Have you tried you know, if you’re feeling that your, that you’re lethargic or that you’re unable
to cope with the stresses of the day to day life, why don’t we look at two or three other options, whether that is weight management or yoga or personal
training and I’m not discrediting or undermining, obviously that some people, there is an absolute, genuine chemical imbalances in their brain.

I’ve done a lot of, read a lot of literature on this now and people that have suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome, is there a space for medication? Yes, there is, but it should not be the first option. It should be the third or fourth or fifth option.

And then if you don’t get the result, then maybe, look at that as an option.

Felicity Cohen:  Absolutely with you. And I think a lot of psychologists now will also advocate and almost prescribe a nature pill. The nature pill, getting back out into nature. 20 minutes in nature, they say can be the best antidepressant, you know, opportunity to really resolve that treat it, manage it.

So there’s so many things that we can do with stress management. What this actually really brings me back to is, I guess the core values at WeightLoss Solutions Australia, and that we are really all about a holistic attitude that having a multidisciplinary team to treat patients suffering from morbid obesity is so critical.

This is a lot more than just about weight loss. It’s a lot more than just about having surgery. Surgeries are just your starting point. It is step one.

Andrew Morello: It’s a tool.

Felicity Cohen: It is a tool, but it’s an open door to giving you that opportunity to unlock so many other aspects of life that have been possibly ignored, suppressed, repressed, and just not explored to your full potential.

So I guess in terms of, you know, living life to your full potential when you’ve had weight loss, weight loss surgery, and getting you to that point where you can succeed from a financial health and wealth point of view,  excelling in your career, excelling at other aspects of life, living your life, living your best life, you know, having a better opportunity to be active with the family, with your parents, with your, you know, grandchildren, all of those things change.

Andrew Morello: Everyone that I, and most of the people that I’ve seek to or speak to are people that are in, out of the corporate or entrepreneurial sector. I know a large portion of your demographic is and not in a misogynistic way, but stay at home mums that have lost confidence in themselves and do great results with that.

And then, them getting their confidence back improves their relationship with their partner or their husband, or you know, their spouse. And the children more activeness with their children.

But most of the people that I send you and then the people that I advocate to, are people that are obviously in the business sector and probably the biggest thing I’ve seen in the change in them is that they, have this limitless belief in themselves now.

And I’m very clear with them that it be, it is a tool and obviously, you know, it should give you the, the excitement and the motivation to now, now you’ve lost the first portion of your weight now, why don’t you start training? Why don’t you make it change, the habitual changes and make change in your life and make those decisions.

And, you know, everyone, I’ve obviously, advocated to, and then you had the chance to work with, has had great success in that. And now we do things as, as I mentioned before, we do things like walking meetings. Yeah, which is a  great right, it’s a fun thing to do.

And it’s like, ‘What are you doing Sunday morning? Why don’t you come to my place and walk, and we’ll go for a walk along, along the ocean there.’ And it’s like this isn’t, it’s a whole cultural shift, especially in what they’re doing.

Felicity Cohen:Great way to brainstorm.

I think you’re right. You know, obviously our primary, patient profile is often, women more commonly than men.

Andrew Morello: I think that’s shifting.

Felicity Cohen:  It needs to shift because, you know, men’s health issues, they are often, I guess buried a little bit more or, you know, what I see is that men are the last to actually see themselves in the mirror and to see their own reflection and understand the need to value their health and put themselves first for their families, for their careers and for everything else.

And they’re often I think unlike you, leaving it too late, and we’ve seen that age shift, so that barometer has moved, you know, typically, even if I go back 10 years or even 20 years, patients were 40, 50 plus. Those were the, those were those kind of light bulb moments where all of a sudden they were waking up and the medical complications were already kicking in.

If we can start earlier, you know, as we, as we did with, you know, you’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you. Don’t wait until those medical issues kick in.

What do you think it is with men? Why are they the last to actually recognize that they’ve got a problem?

Andrew Morello:I think I was a victim of this, so I think, it’s a lot more socially acceptable for a man to be larger.

It is, it’s a reality.

Felicity Cohen: It’s definitely not sexy. Sorry. But you know, why is it more acceptable for men to be overweight and to be accepting of themselves in that way?

Andrew Morello: Yeah, because I think a lot of men by the time they, and as you said that the only thing that is the light bulb moment generally is their health.

So what happens is, a lot of them get through their twenties, thirties and forties by, and they get their life partner or their husband, or their wife, whatever it is, you know, your preference and then they become complacent. And then the complacency kicks in and it’s, it’s not healthy from a relationship point of view because they become inactive from that.

But if, there is a social acceptance there, like, I was a victim of this, I’ll use the word victim, but I was, as you mentioned,173 kilos in previous interviews. And I still had the, the attention of ladies, so whatever partners.

Felicity Cohen: Oh, and we talked about that in our very first conversation that because I asked you a question around, was your weight, almost like a, a barrier to that attraction, to having, you know, that normal social life, normal relationships. And you’d always, you said to me straight away, you’d always been a chick magnet, no matter what. Openly he shared that with me.

Andrew Morello: The reality was is that there is that level of complacency. I think a lot of women still don’t, don’t mind if a guy’s a bigger guy, because they’ve even found the social acceptance there. And what is actually the trigger generally for a male, is the health concepts. Like, you know, when they get diabetes and then often it is too late.

And say someone who, so I certainly suffered from that, from it, from a social acceptance and a personal acceptance point of view. I think the second thing is that, and I’m making generalisations, so please no one, think this in a misogynistic way but men are like, “Oh, I’ve just got to like, focus on making money, because if I make money, once I’m married, I’ll be able to provide for my family and my children.”

And there is still, we live in a very Western, you know, conventional culture where, you know, most families are still nuclear families. And so often they’re like, okay, making money is my focus, and I’m just going to concentrate on doing that. And if I do that, everything else will work out and they put their health aside because they’re like, Oh, once I made my money, then I can focus on that.

But often it’s too late.

So they do need to make it a priority and make change.

Felicity Cohen: Hundred percent. Let’s just fast forward. If we can have a, imagine yourself sitting in this chair 10 years from now, “Where is Andrew Morello going to be? And what are we going to see?”

Andrew Morello: Yeah, so probably the shift for me has been obviously, you know, living a more active and adventurous life.

So I watched the, a documentary on an architect who travels the world now, and he does, adventure trips and gets his inspiration from his adventure trips for his architecture. So caves and colours and things of that nature. And I think more and more as you know, my philanthropic side is more and more important to me.

So I, you know, in 10 years from, we’ve hope we’ve ticked off, you know, at this point with tick off, Mt Kinabalu in Borneo, we’ve kicked, off ticked off Kokoda, but we’d like to be ticking off over the next ten years you know, Everest, you know, Machu Picchu, you know, there’s a number of different tracks I’d like to do.

The, I don’t remember the exact name, the one south, the one in South America that goes from 6’800 kilometers that you do over a period of time. There’s one, along the American border, which you can walk as well. So like, these are the sorts of things I’d like to do. One, bringing my philanthropic work into those.

And 10 years from now, look at 42, 43, I want to be, you know, really focusing on that. Like, I’ll, I would hope that, you know, now with this new zest for life, that I’ve got the financial security, you know, that I am, but the financial security, it’s a step away from my businesses. And deleverage myself out of my businesses so that I can then focus on my philanthropic work and living an adventure and active life.

I think one day having children and taking them on those journeys, you know, like I did Kokoda in seven days, but there’s a great way you can do it with your children if anyone’s watching this. If you really want something exciting, you know, get the surgery, get on top of your weight management. And then what I would recommend is you can actually do it with the children over sort of a twelve, fifteen day trip. So there it is, it is a trip something you can do with your kids. And if you’re an Australian watching this, then I think it’s a rite of passage.

I think as an Australian to go over the Kokoda and see what our Australian soldiers did in order to keep the sovereignty of this nation, if you were to do that with your children, you would give them a major perspective on life.

Felicity Cohen: What an incredible insight and I can’t wait to be sitting here 10 years from now having this conversation and seeing where we’re both at.

Andrew Morello: We’ll probably be somewhere together. I’m sure we’ll do some adventures together.

Felicity Cohen: Looking forward to the next 10 years and thank you so much for joining me today.

Andrew Morello: My pleasure, thanks very much.

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.

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