Battle Of The Bulge Transformation

Joe Berardy underwent a dramatic weight loss PHOTO COURTESY SUSANA BERARDY

Joe Berardy underwent a dramatic weight loss PHOTO COURTESY SUSANA BERARDY

He’s 53 years old and is feeling better than he has ever felt.

“I decided that this may be the last time for me to make a change in my life, health and weight. Growing up and throughout my adult years, battling weight had always been a challenge, but I had maintained a decent shape by burning off the calories through workouts,” Joe Berardy says.

But that regimen never seemed to stick, and Joe’s waist and stomach would eventually start to enlarge over time to the point that, when he looked down, his stomach protruded so much that he could not see his toes. As he aged, Joe started to look just like his father, and the pursuit of getting back into shape and improving his overall health began to fade.

Poor nutritional choices and lack of physical activity took their toll. The weekly roast beef dinners that wife Susana prepared, along with her specialty fried lumpia and other scrumptious 3,000-or-so-calorie desserts, became part of Joe’s life.

“I had it with being a food addict and was not happy with myself. So I went back into the pool and gym for two and a half months,” explains Joe. “I religiously exercised five days a week, swam, lifted weights and noticed some results. I made some better choices in the foods I was eating and the time of day I was consuming them,” he adds.

But overall, after several months, he still had a bulging stomach that seemed to always get in the way,

“You know the opu that enters the room before you do? I was one of those guys with the big tummy that made everything I wore snug,” admits Joe.

“I resigned myself to the fact that the ‘overweight me’ was going to be me for the rest of my life. As I passed the gym every day, I would say to myself, ‘Someday I am going back there and start swimming and exercising again — someday!’ I would envision myself as the renewed healthy me, losing lots of pounds and fitting back into my slimmer clothes,” he says.

But nothing seemed to work. That “someday” happened for Joe Aug. 18, 2014, when he decided “enough is enough!” His health was now at risk and Joe’s doctor was about to put him on high blood pressure meds. He needed to do something quick. A friend turned him on to a 10-day transformation cleanse, and after consulting with his doctor, he started the diet. The new and improved Joe has some friends wondering if he had gotten Botox, since his cheekbones are now visible. Did he get a tummy tuck, since his stomach has flattened overnight? Legitimate questions posed, since the results of his cleanse have led to a dramatic weight loss of 32.4 pounds in just 25 days. So what exactly did he do to win his battle of the bulge?

“My doctor and I read over the ingredients of this one cleanse and saw that they were organic and all natural, with no additives or preservatives. I found out how my body reacted to pure nutritious green foods that I had never given my body before, and my system reacted positively to it,” he explains.

This summer he was at 232.4 pounds and size 40 pants. Today, Joe weighs in at 197 pounds, size 36. (He keeps losing weight.) His doctor issued him a clean bill of health and no more high blood pressure.

“I remember feeling such a sense of accomplishment as my new pants easily slid right on and with room to spare. I almost started to weep with joy,” he says.

Though Joe professes that his cleanse is not considered a crash diet and it gives him all the green nutrients his body needs, Matt Jones, a corporate and personal trainer, counsels against yo-yo dieting plans.

“With these crash diets, for every pound you lose, you will lose at least 30-40 percent muscle, so you are just losing water mass and fat. The downside is, for every one pound of muscle you lose, you will gain about five pounds of fat within the same year,” explains Matt.

He believes in taking “baby steps” and advises his clients against the dangers of dramatic weight loss.

“One of my clients damaged her thyroid due to a rapid weight-loss plan. The common symptoms I’ve seen dieters undergo when stress hormones start kicking in are headaches, crankiness and irritability, which also can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Three to four months later, their bodies get starved, and when they get back to normal eating again, the weight starts packing back on,” says Matt.

He notes that we rarely ever see nutritionists advising their clients to do a cleanse unless they are selling it. He believes the purpose of a cleanse should not be to lose weight, but rather to cleanse or detox the organs and heal everything in the body.

“Many crash diets or cleanses starve your organs and could damage them permanently, especially if you have a medical condition. It could be deadly, like it was for a local lady dieter who died this year when her kidneys failed due to diet pills,” he warns.

The top best diets in America for 2014, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, are: 1) DASH Diet, 2) TLC Diet, and tied for the No. 3 spot are Mayo Clinic Diet, Mediterranean Diet and Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers continues to hold the No. 1 spot in the Best Weight-Loss category. The Mediterranean Diet (which received attention in 2013 for boosting heart health) claimed the No. 1 spot among Plant-Based Diets. mufi@