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The events of September 11 changed
the lives of millions of people,
including that of New York
stockbroker Jon Gabriel. On that
fateful day, Jon was due to catch
an afternoon flight to San Francisco. The plane
he originally planned to take was United Airlines
Flight 93. This was the flight on which the pas-
sengers (having heard of the attacks on the World
Trade Centre while in the air) forced the hijackers
to crash the plane into a field in Pennsylvania.
There were no survivors.
By a twist of fate, Jon got booked on a later
flight. In the end, of course, he didn t fly anywhere
that day. The airports were closed.
As Jon reflects on the day, his voice is filled
with emotion: "If I d taken Flight 93, I would
not be here," he says quietly. "And I would ve
left behind a body weighing 186 kilos and a life
primarily spent under fluoro lights surrounded
by beeps, rings and buzzers. On 9/11 I was given
a second chance at life and I decided I was going
to make the most of it."
Two weeks later he went home to his (then)
wife, Sharon, with a huge surprise -- two one-way
tickets Down Under and a plan to live in Denmark,
Western Australia. Soon afterwards they bought a
house there -- sight unseen.
"Sharon had visited a friend out here in 97
and stayed at Luc Longley s property just outside
Denmark," Jon recalls.
"I d seen photos of the beaches and the contrast to
New York was mind-blowing, and I d been filled with
dreams to relocate here. The events of 9/11 gave me
the push I needed and six months later we were here."
But Jon had another dream -- albeit mostly a
nightmare -- to lose the 91 kilos he had steadily
put on over the past 12 years.
That dream started to become a reality after
9/11 when, without effort or dieting, he began
losing weight. For a man who d tried "every diet
under the sun", understanding the reason for the
sudden kilo-shedding became Jon s new mission.
"I knew something within me had fundamentally
changed," he says enthusiastically, "and I started
researching and keeping a record of everything
I learnt and felt."
In fact Jon admits that he became obsessed
with writing, and for a man who previously
"avoided writing like the plague", he was now
producing 50 pages of notes a day. His writing
became even more prolific after he relocated to
Australia, where he worked full-time for the next
three years writing and researching the connection
between stress and weight.
"The document was massive -- more than a
million words -- and I called it Weight Loss and
the Meaning of Life as it was about everything.
I knew then that weight wasn t just about diet
because I d lived it," he says.
"I d lived a life before where I d never worried
about weight and then I went into this mode
where no matter what I did, I was gaining kilos.
Then I started losing weight without any effort so
I knew there was more to it."
By 2004 Jon had lost 103kg and after sending
before-and-after photos of his astounding physical
transformation to TV current affairs show Today
Tonight, both he and his weight-loss method were
suddenly in the public domain.
"It was so funny," he laughs, "I emailed the
photos not really expecting a reply but they called
me 10 minutes later and said they d be right there.
"I said, You ll be right where?
" Denmark, they said. We have a film crew in
From an office on Wall Street to a beach in
Denmark, weight-loss star and author Jon
Gabriel has changed a lot more than just his
career and address. text serena kirby « image krysta guille
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