james DuiganBy  “I lost my dad to cancer two years ago,” James Duigan, the Australian famous for training A-listers like Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, tells me over a green juice in Sydney’s Bondi.
He is telling me about the effect of emotions on our weight and overall wellness.
During his battle, his father ate to keep his weight up and because he “felt lonely”, Duigan ate with him, putting on 10 kilograms in the process.
“Dad passed away and I felt like I’d let him down – I wanted to save him and I couldn’t and I was just racked with shame and guilt,” Duigan explains.

Previously, with his support and making lifestyle changes, his father had beaten cancer, Duigan says. He had faith they could do it again, telling his son, “Now I know you’re here we can beat it”.

“He had so much trust in me and I just felt like I’d let him down,” Duigan recalls.
Elle Macpherson.
Elle Macpherson. Photo: Mike Coppola
“I was just holding onto it all and there was nothing I could do and I’d just go ‘OK, I’m going to clean up my diet because I’ve written five Clean and Lean books and I’d just find myself not.”
Unable to pull himself out of his rut and return to shape mentally or physically, he says his wife, Chrissy, eventually told him he had to let go of his guilt.
“I really worked at it,” he says. “It wasn’t like ‘that’s right, I’ll let go of the guilt’. I worked at it every day. It was affirmations and being disciplined with my thoughts – it’s really easy to get into a spiral with your thoughts and I just thought ‘enough’.
“You can control your thoughts and then thinking these good things and being vigilant with them you just start to feel better generally and I looked around and I’d lost 10 kilos in three months.”
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