On the surface, Osher Günsberg looked to be at the top of his game as one of Australia’s most successful TV presenters. Yet away from the camera the 44-year- old host of The Bachelor was struggling. Alcoholism, depression, OCD, anxiety, body dysmorphia . . . his whole life Günsberg has faced a series of battles that threatened to torpedo his mental health.
Before this MH challenge began, Günsberg was still trying to keep himself on an even keel. What he learned on this 10-week transformation didn’t just change his body; it’s given him the blueprint to change his life.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
"I was a pretty nervous, pretty jumpy kid. I figured out early that a really great way to deal with the funny feeling in my stomach, which was anxiety, was to put food in it.
I'm the son of a Lithuanian mum and a Czech dad. We ate a lot of lard, a lot of black bread, a lot of stinky cheese and a lot of meat, nothing but meat in our house. I ended up in Weight Watchers by the time I was in grade 3.
At the all-boys rugby school I attended in Brisbane, I was the only fat kid in my class. I'm probably lighter now than I was then. I remember being in the 110s when I was a teenager. I was bullied pretty hard. I ate terribly, drank way too much soft drink, ate pizza and burgers. I stayed that way for a long time.
At that point in my life I hated myself. It was just nothing but shame. Of course, a really great thing for dealing with shame and disgust is to eat. The more disgusting you feel about yourself, the more you eat. And then you look at yourself in the mirror and go, 'You're disgusting. I know what, I'll eat'. And it just goes around and around.
I started seeing a psychiatrist quite early. Someone figured out that something wasn't right. I've come to accept that this is the brain I got born with. I probably come from a long line of people who were very vigilant and constantly on the lookout for danger. No wonder they survived because they were really, really aware of anything that could turn into a dangerous situation and they kept themselves safe. The thing is, when you don't have that danger and you go looking for it, your brain will find it. Much later in life that became a problem for me.
TRAIN AND GAIN
MH fitness director and Transformationcoach.com co-founder ChiefBrabon oversaw Günsberg’s metamorphosis following his decision to commit. “When we started Osher’s body fat was 22 per cent. Most people didn’t realise he was carrying that weight because he had such a slim face. He had a broad, boxy physique.
He also had psychological issues that were stopping him making the most of his life. Before he started with us he decided to come off all his medication. It was always a great unknown as to how he was going to deal with it all.
Results came quickly. By the second week he noticed changes in his body that made a big difference to his mindset.
I believe in a structured methodology so you can see the path that you’re travelling. That was important to Osher, that he could see that every Monday we did a particular type of session, every Tuesday we did this session. That fed his need to understand and control the situation.
Overall, he lost 9kg of body fat and added 2.5kg of lean muscle mass. On a guy his size 2.5kg is a lot. We’ve only just found out he’s a coeliac and doesn’t absorb vitamin B. His testosterone levels are through the floor so he’s actually been fighting an uphill battle trying to put on muscle mass with very low T levels.
To see his battles with alcohol and fame over the years was sad but the way he’s managed to overcome these things and build this strength in himself is incredible. He carries himself differently now. He said going in he wanted an athletic physique that works. He’s got it.”
For more on Günsberg's transformation, his battles with alcoholism, and terrifying brush with psychosis, grab the September issue of Men's Health magazine.