Habits & Health episode 17 with Tommy Berrabe who helps business owners suffering from chronic fatigue to achieve peak performance.
Tommy came through many health challenges and reaches out to people who are where he was a few years ago.
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Tony Winyard 0:00
Habits and health Episode 17.
Welcome to the habits and health Podcast, where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life. here's your host, Tony Winyard.
Tony Winyard 0:20
Welcome back to the podcast where we give you ideas on how you can improve your health by the use of the habits that you create. My guest today is Tommy Berrabe. He's a personal trainer. And he's gone through quite a journey with his own around nutrition and various areas. So we're going to hear from Tommy, in just a few seconds. Hope you enjoy this episode. If you know anyone who's feel would get some real value from it, please do share it with them. And right now, time to hear from Tommy. habits and health. My guest today Tommy Berrabe, how you doing?
Tommy Berrabe 0:58
I'm good. Tony, how are you doing?
Tony Winyard 1:00
I'm very well. Thank you. And we find you in sunny Essex today.
Tommy Berrabe 1:04
That's right, and he is the sun is shining that a nice bit of weather for last week or two. And when I checked the weather app the other day, we've got plenty more to come. So
Tony Winyard 1:15
are you are you a person that likes to get out in the sun?
Tommy Berrabe 1:18
I am I am especially, you know now realising the benefits of it, you know, being out in nature, and obviously, the vitamin D from the sun as well, you know, so yes, more so now than ever. I like being out in the sun.
Tony Winyard 1:32
And you just said now that you realise so what did that mean? What? So there was a time when you didn't have the awareness that you have now?
Tommy Berrabe 1:39
Definitely, definitely. Yeah, I mean, you know, we'll, we'll cover up don't we're, especially in the winter, and, you know, we tend to stay in more, but when you start to realise, you know, the the knock on effect from doing these extra little things, you know, like what we spoke about before we got started, you know, looking after some key aspects of our health, we realised there's all these little things that can give us that extra edge. And you know, the sun, the vitamin D, powerful, antiviral, powerful antibacterial is so, so good in so many ways.
Tony Winyard 2:16
And so how did you come to this awareness? Was it from reading or for something you attended somewhere? What happened?
Tommy Berrabe 2:22
Yeah, it was reading it was research. It was just general learning over the years, you know, I always knew there was there was something something about it. But yeah, just reading and research. And even through the winter now our do supplement with vitamin D. And, yeah, I believe it's been a helper in me, you know, preventing illness, helping him prevention of some of the illnesses I used to get, especially chest infections as well.
Tony Winyard 2:51
So when what, what kind of age did those sort of illnesses
Tommy Berrabe 2:56
are to be honest, Tony, I was in and out of hospitals from the ages of six and seven years old with breathing problems. And these things all got treated with your typical antibiotics. And I believe that they were possibly what led me to more problems going forward in life as well. Yeah, I was I was in hospitals a lot when I was younger, with with a lot of different problems.
Tony Winyard 3:25
And when you say breathing, was that sort of asthma related or something different?
Tommy Berrabe 3:28
Yeah, it was asthma sinuses. You know, I remember I remember as a child, right, I would, I would have like me sneezing fits. And honestly, this is no exaggeration, I would do it so much, I will actually count them it was like, over 50 times in one go, you know, loads of tissues are so many tissues that I was getting through. And this was just as a child, you know, and obviously back then I wasn't, you know, switched on about anything of what the cause could be. It just seemed normal to me, Tony Yeah. And growing up this this exasperated more, he got worse and worse, you know, and a lot of sinus problems and a lot of chest infections as well.
Tony Winyard 4:07
So I'm guessing it sounds like you had some kind of like allergies and irritants and so on.
Tommy Berrabe 4:13
Yeah, yeah, quite possibly. You know, when I was I was living on the typical diet, you know, that I was brought up on, you know, cereal or toast for breakfast sandwiches for lunch. Nothing but processed foods really the only vegetables so really with a Sunday roast dinner, you know, which is a thing was like for so many people right now, that that was the typical diet and you know, sometimes I walk along now and I think back to when I was a child and then I think to myself, car remember when mom used to take you to for a walk to the shop and you just felt so lethargic and fatigued and I'd end up sitting down on the pavement and my mum would be going to me, come on, come on, and then you know, then it was normal to me, but now I look back here and think, you know, oh, I'm eating cereal for breakfast and then I'm feeling so low. fargy can fatigue, you know, diet is a huge, huge role to play. And I think there was another big factor in some of the allergies and problems either as a child. Now, I do believe that we are health, we, our health comes from the Mother, you know that when we are born we are, we take on a lot of the mother's bacteria. And I feel as though that is going to set us up and Eva, give us good health for possibly starts off with poor health will be a contributing factor and what starts us off with poor health.
Tony Winyard 5:36
And so what was it that led you to, to realise that you had a say, in your health that you could make a change? What was it that happened?
Tommy Berrabe 5:47
I spent so many years going back and forward to doctors. And, you know, it was one medication after another, and I was carrying around them around in circles getting nowhere fast, you know, some medications might cover up the symptoms for a short amount of time, but it was never actually, you know, the beyond endo, it was never sought in the problem. And I've got to the end of my table, you know, I was sick to death of it. And I started looking into because I'd already become a personal trainer. And I was walking around feeling a complete mess. And I was thinking to myself, how can you coach other people to, you know, better health and better fitness, etc. When you are not a picture of health yourself. And things got worse and worse and worse up into my 20s. And one day I walked into a doctor's office with a question in mind. Now I didn't really want to ask asked this question, because I wasn't sure if I'd like the answer, but I thought I'd go for it anyway. Doctor, could any of my problems have anything to do with what I may be eating? It's fair to say that I've walked out of that doctor's with some short term relief, because the answer was a straight No, no, it couldn't have anything to do with what you're eating. You know, and I went back home, straight back into my comfort zone, continued the way of life that I was living. And it took me years of research and looking into other things, trial and error, cutting things out of my diet to actually start to get somewhere.
Tony Winyard 7:24
But what was it that made you asked that question in the first place?
Tommy Berrabe 7:31
What was it that made me ask that question? I mean, look, I was at the end of my tether, you know, I was I was having all these I was on the all these different steroids, these different antibiotics. And I don't know, maybe I'd heard something somewhere, you know, that maybe diet could play a role. But even then, it seemed a bit far fetched to me. And if it seemed far fetched to me, then what must it seem like to you know, everyone else?
Tony Winyard 7:57
So how did you feel? or What was your reaction when a doctor said no, no, it's nothing to do with food? Did you just think, I was just wrong?
Tommy Berrabe 8:05
you know, it was like a relief, because then I could go out, you know, I didn't have to cut my sugar out, you know, I didn't have to stop in the way I was eating, I could go home and carry on eating chocolate and cakes and biscuits and all the things that I loved. And I craved so much, you know, I couldn't live without without these things. And then one day, I decided to, you know, cut back on the sugar a bit. And I've got some pretty instant relief from doing so. And it made me realise that with more of the same, I could probably improve even more, you know.
Tony Winyard 8:42
And so then you say you made a conscious effort to start changing what you were eating, and you were getting some good results. And it just just continued from there.
Tommy Berrabe 8:50
Yeah, so I was, I was working as a PT Monday to Saturday. And you know, I was already in pretty poor health as it was. But at the time, I was quite enjoying going out clubbing on Saturday nights. And Sunday, I might be a little bit hung over and I'd go to the supermarket and I'd buy everything that I wanted whatever I was craving while I had a hangover I'd buy and I felt pretty good the next day. But it was the following days after that when a bit like a little volume switch, Tony, you know, that volume switch turned up everything that I was suffering with got worse and worse and worse. And I started to equate it to how I was living and what was going in. And at first it was it wasn't easy to actually come to terms with the fact that Oh, my gosh, I might have to cut out some of this alcohol I might have to stop drinking I might have to cut back on some of this sugar. But if it was going to provide me with some relief, I was willing to do it because I was suffering so bad and it wasn't just one thing. It was a whole list of things that I was suffering with and something I To change.
Tony Winyard 10:01
So, what changes did you make then?
Tommy Berrabe 10:07
Well, I started introducing more vegetables, because between the ages, I mean, let me go back. So I lived with my mom until I was about 10. I won't completely go into the reason why I moved out. But I moved in with my dad when I was when I was 10 years old, moved out of my mom's name with my dad's when I was 10 years old. And things changed. He would ask me what I wanted every week to drink, and he would ask me what I wanted to eat. And my reply would be that, can you just get me a case of 24 cans of coke, right? That is all I drank from the age, honestly, from the age of 10, to about 18. It's like I was addicted to the stuff, I would get up in the morning for school, I put free cans of coke in my bag, I'd go to school or drink while on the way and I'd drink a cup of water throughout the day, and then get home and have more and I'll tell you something, then 24 cans lasted from Monday to Thursday. And then I'd need i'd need I began to the shop to buy bottles of coke, then that is all I lived off of. And so living with my dad was different. I could eat what I want, I could drink what I want. I could go to bed when I want. It was great as a kid, you know, but this other list that they say this had a huge effect on me. Growing up, and obviously I wasn't in the greatest health as it was as a child. So I've just I've just added to that. So yeah, I think I think change change started to I started to realise and cutting out some of these things and adding more vegetables in was the first step because, you know, if someone said to me, right, you've got to change this, this, this, this, this, this and this, you know, it might have been too much too soon, it might have been my downfall but one thing at a time. And I remember when I was about 2026 I decided right, you know, I'm a I'm having two takeaways a day at the moment. I'm just going to chuck a portion of vegetables on the side of that plate. Now it might have been a kebab and a portion of vegetables and you know, far from perfect, but it was a star and you know, I've never really ate many vegetables. And yeah, it was it was the start of something good.
Tony Winyard 12:12
How long did it take before you notice the difference?
Tommy Berrabe 12:17
You know, outside, outside pretty pretty soon after I noticed I noticed things of my energy and things like that. But these were just small changes there was there was a there was one day when I decided to completely cut out all sugars and all processed foods. And I can tell you now that I actually got worse for the first week. And I sort of knew this would happen. There's a guy named Doug Kaufman, and he's been huge in in getting me to better health. He's got a book called The fungus link, where he talks about fungus. In our gut we have a lot of different microbes live in we have trillions of different microorganisms living in our gut. Some are bacteria, some are good, some are not so good and some are fungus. Now, antibiotics kill bacteria, right now, if you think of some of the good bacteria in our guts, those good bacteria are responsible for making more of the things that we need think b 12, for energy, things serotonin for the happy chemical, right. And our must have been, I was always fatigued, I was always unhappy I was I was depressed a lot. And I think by introducing more of these vegetables, I started to feed these organisms down there in the gut, for them to make more of these things. But I think also I've killed off a lot of the good bacteria with antibiotics, and allowed the fungus to overrun and multiply. And the thing with fungus is while it's supposed to be down there, when it gets a bit out of control of believe, you know, it can multiply quicker than what bacteria can. And fungus has been shown to cause any number of misery in any tissue in the body, especially if it can get through the gut and into the bloodstream. So yeah, I believe this was a key factor in some of the things that I had going on. So following an antifungal diet, as it were, was the proof in the pudding for me, because the depression went that the sinus problems when everything started to clear up and it was a it was a miracle, Tony, I'll just want you to shout it from the rooftops. And that then everyone that I see around me family and friends that were suffering, you know, I just wanted to help them with with this and suggest you know that could this be the problem? You know, for me, I was at the end of my tether, so I was willing to do whatever it took. And now I know not everyone's like that, you know, not everyone and I was trying to run a business as well. So without my health, I couldn't put everything I needed to enter my business I couldn't show up every day I couldn't be as productive as I wanted to. And this is why I help business owners now, not just because that is where I was some time ago suffering as a business owner, but their motivation is higher, you know, they need to be looking thinking Finland functioning, at least as close to peak performance as possible for them for their business to thrive.
We hope you enjoy this episode of the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you are looking for deep support to create the health and life you want, we invite you to consider one on one coaching sessions with Tony. coaching sessions give you personalised guidance to fit your unique goals and life situation. Only a limited number of spots are available. But you can easily get started by booking a free introductory call at Tony winyard.com. Now back to the show.
Tony Winyard 15:50
In what way do you help them?
Tommy Berrabe 15:53
So like we spoke about before the show, you know, we look at the different areas in their life, their nutrition, their hydration, sleep and movement, and we start to tackle those areas, you know, and pace that is good for them. But you know, usually the ones that are that I'm taking on this clients, they are ready they are they are at the end of their tether. And then they are at the point where if they don't improve their health now, then you know they're going to their business may suffer on every level. So yeah, they are they are fully ready. So we tackle their gut health. And we tackle the for nutrition, hydration and sleep and movement.
Tony Winyard 16:32
And do you do that online by coaching or in a group format?
Tommy Berrabe 16:37
Yes, yeah, I'll do it as coaching online coaching, and one to one
Tony Winyard 16:45
What do you enjoy about doing that?
Tommy Berrabe 16:50
I love I love seeing people realise that, you know, when they have their aha moment, if you want to call it that, you know, they're, they're coming, they're coming to me, they're miserable, you know, they've got all these things going on, then some idea a bit sceptical about the holistic approach to diet, the lifestyle, the movement, but when they start to realise that they're turning that volume, switch down, you know, some of them are so so bad, they're an eight or a nine, whatever their problems may be, they could be an eight or a nine, they're, they they're having to use so many things every day, coffee and sugar just to get through the day. And their problems are worsening. But when they start, you know, the first week, you know, might be quite tough, but after a while, they start to turn that volume switch down. And I just love seeing people feel better and realise what I realised some time ago, that diet movement lifestyle is absolutely everything.
Tony Winyard 17:49
You mentioned that the some of them are quite cynical at the beginning. So in that case, how were you able to get them to work with you in the first place, if they were quite cynical
Tommy Berrabe 18:01
thing is that they've been sort of round and round in circles, you know, a bit like I was some time ago. And like I was some time ago, I was a bit sceptical about the diet side of it as well, when I remember when I completely when I started following what I said, an antifungal diet, it was sort of make or break, you know, I thought if this doesn't work, if by it doesn't work for me, I don't know where I'm going to go. And I think that's sort of the point where they are at. But, you know, like I say, after a week or so they start to notice their feeling, you know, there's no cure after a week, they start to notice and they're feeling a bit better. And they want more of the same, you know, they're they want more of the same. And they're they're noticing it in their business as well. The changes they're making is having a direct impact on everything else in their life so that they're more than happy to continue with more of the same.
Tony Winyard 18:57
Before the whole pandemic work was more face to face, and now it's online or what has changed?
Tommy Berrabe 19:03
Now I was doing this part, see I'll do face to face coaching, and also do online coaching, but that that, for me is sort of a separate thing. I do this online coaching, helping business owners with their gut health and the face to face coaching. More of the clients with my face to face coaching really are you know, they want some fat loss, they want some weight loss and obviously I'm trying to help them with the health side of it. But they're not at that point where some of my online clients are where you know, where they're willing to do whatever it takes, they're willing to change whatever needed, whatever's needed to be changed. They're just here for the exercise. A lot of you know
Tony Winyard 19:46
from some of the things you mentioned, you've been reading a lot you I get the impression you listen to a lot of podcasts. So are you always constantly looking to educate and inform yourself to further develop your knowledge in these areas
Tommy Berrabe 20:03
100% Tony, I eat live and breathe the lifestyle, the knowledge, you know, every single day I'm learning every single day learning off with doctors. You know, I'm even, you know, everything that I believe I will look at both sides of the coin, you know, I'll look at the the the sort of doctors what they sign that for it. But I'll also look at the the opinions against what I believe as well. And take take what I want to take from it. But yeah, every every single day I'm learning soaking up this knowledge. And I love it. I absolutely love it. Anything to do with gut health is? Yes, I'm absolutely passionate about it's only. So that's
Tony Winyard 20:45
an interesting take. So you like to look at both sides. So in the last couple of years, were there, Can you remember any time where you had a real firm belief in some area or something? And then new information came to light or came into your world? And you realise that that belief wasn't as firm as you previously believed?
Tommy Berrabe 21:06
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Definitely. You know, when it comes to things like, you know, foods and intolerances, you know, so many people, you know, think they've got to cut these vegetables out, I like let me give you an example. I had a food intolerance test done about 10 years ago, and they said, right, your intolerance or weight, your intolerance to dairy, your intolerance of tomatoes, to eggs to this food to that phone, food, and it was most of the foods that I was eating. So, you know, back then my advice to someone there might have been Look, if any food is causing you a problem, you want to cut that out, stay as far away from it as you can and never go back to it. But now, after learn a bit more, I'm sort of more coming from a place where if we can fix our gut and repair it a bit more, whether that be with diet with supplements, with nourishing the bacteria that live in there, then we may be able to reintroduce some of those foods in time because there are millions of different types of bacteria living in our gut, and they don't all go for they don't all want one type of food. I'm slowly learning that as much diversity of plants that we can eat is going to feed a wide variety of the bacteria that live down there and promote better health for us.
Tony Winyard 22:24
Can you think of any any other people that you've been working with where there's been a real success story where they were very doubtful, and their life has really changed since since working with you?
Tommy Berrabe 22:37
100%. So I've got one lady, she's a business owner. And when she first come to me, she was go into Slimming World every week, weigh in herself. And she started to tell me more about our health. And she was back and forward to doctors, she was going to the hospital had a camera down her throat, I was looking and looking and looking for so many things and could never find anything. And I noticed she was you know, in a typical diet, you know, sandwiches or sandwiches or bread for lunch, a lot of pasture in there as well. And we slowly work towards introducing some more vegetables in our diet while cutting back on those grains a little bit. And the relief she felt from that was tremendous, tremendous. And now to right now she is actually making a lot of our own breads and things like that, that are, you know, feeding feeding the bacteria in our gut and starving the fungus. And she has not had a gut problem for a very long time. And the gut problems was something she was suffering with. That was her. That was her album. And at the time. She's been he's been a great success story.
Tony Winyard 23:51
You talked about how, the holistic approach, and you realise it's not just about nutrition, or it's not just about sleep or so how do you when when you start working with someone, and it's obvious that they have multiple issues, but you can't address all of those issues at the same time. So how do you normally go about slowly trying to change order various things that require change?
Tommy Berrabe 24:18
You know, so many people are suffering with sleep problems. So many people are suffering with migraines, this problem, that problem and so many people are, you know, suffering with even going to the toilet regularly enough. And this is a huge part of the healing I believe. And the one thing I've started to tackle straight away is the gut health because I've seen so many people that if we can start to heal the gut, everything else falls into place. Now spoke about some of the things that the bacteria make in our guts serotonin being one of them otherwise known as the happy chemical. 90% of our serotonin is produced in our gut, in our in our stomach and There's another there's there's melatonin if you've if you've heard of that and serotonin is the precursor to melatonin Melatonin is like the sleep chemical No, without, without adequate serotonin, we may not be producing enough melatonin without that we might be struggling to sleep. And just you know, focusing on the gut can have a knock on effect on so many different things. And you know, when when we are not when we are not moving our bowels regular enough, you know, we are potentially full up with toxins because we're coming into contact with toxins every day in our food in the air, we are breathing, you know, in the skin products we are using, we're putting them in all the time, and our bodies are quite well equipped to deal with this. But if we are not removing them, then we are potentially holding on to them inviting more of the things that we don't want, whatever that might be, people can fill in the blank for their self, because I believe, you know, it doesn't, it doesn't matter what name you want to put on something, what what element, what disease, whatever it is, you know, you can put a name on it. But in many cases, you're going to you're going to go about fixing it the same way, by looking after those for nutrition, hydration, sleep and movement and looking after the gap, getting the bowels moving. It's not just as easy to say to someone, you need to be going to the toilet more, it's you know, getting them slowly up in their fibre intake, getting them moving a little bit more like that, you know, and I find that soon as they start moving them a bit more, the clarity comes back, they get a clearer head, the headache starts everything just starts to go in the right direction, they turn down their volume switch,
Tony Winyard 26:39
which do you have those four areas, which do you find, typically, most people are doubtful about the people you've been working with.
Tommy Berrabe 26:50
I think especially the business owners, when they when they first come, you know, for them, it's almost like there's not enough time in the day. You know, and they're already stressing about their business because of how they're that they're super stressed, you know, not only have they got the stress from their business, but they've got all the stress from how they're feeling on a day to failing on a day to day basis. So for them, taking time out of their day to get their movement, you know, the nutrition part of it, it's not just eating the food is standing there cooking the food and washing up and even going out and sourcing the food and, you know, remembering to drink water and clearing up your sleep hygiene and maybe getting a bit more sleep or a bit better quality sleep is all time consuming. And I think initially, that can be quite scary for them. Because there's already not enough hours in the day. But you know, if we don't make time for our health, sooner or later, we'll have to make time for illness, but they're already having to make time for illness. So you know, they are ready to start making time for their health. But yeah, it can be a bit daunting at first thinking I've got to take more time for cooking and shopping and things like that. But yeah, I think that's one one little obstacle to start with for some people.
Tony Winyard 28:07
You've mentioned a couple of times, since we started that you've been reading many different things. Can you think of any, any books you've read recently that have really moved you in any way?
Tommy Berrabe 28:19
Yeah, there's actually one by a doctor that I'm reading now it's called Fibre Field is actually such an amazing book. There's so much great research and great studies in it. And he goes right into the microbiome. Now for anyone who's listening who doesn't know what the microbiome it's the makeup of all the microbes living in and honest, and this doctor even speaks about, you know, even on the end of your thumb, if you look at the end of your thumb, there are more micro organisms living on the thumb than there is probably the population of the UK. 39 trillion is a number of microbes apparently that could be in an honest on our skin in our mouths, and many of them reside inside of our gut. And he goes right into this and talks about plant biodiversity. And I think it is a great book for anyone who wants to.
Tony Winyard 29:18
Unfortunately, we lost the sound, there was a problem on the platform that we're using for the recording. I didn't realise that the sound cut just before the end of the episode. So if you do want to contact Tommy, you can go to https://www.facebook.com/tommy.berrabe If you do know anyone who would really get some value from from some of the information at Tommy shared please do share the Episode with them. Next week is Episode 18. And it is with Katherine Britton. She is the co author of a book called Character Strengths Matter, which is all about the VIA character strengths. And we go into a lot of depth around character strengths and how they can help you and about positive psychology and many of the aspects around positive psychology and Martin Seligman and so on. That's next week, Episode 18 with Katherine Britton. hope you have a fantastic week. See you next week.
Thanks for tuning in to the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at Tonywinyard.com. See you next time on the habits and health podcast.
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