The story of how I became a health nut is far from inspirational. I wasn’t a lazy or chubby kid that was bullied growing up.
I started playing tennis when I was 8 and, competing towards the age of 10. By grade 5, I was waking up every morning before 7:00 am to train before school. After school I would go to tennis practice, followed by me going to the gym to work with a trainer until 7 or 8 pm. I was young, little to no responsibilities other than eating my vegetables and finishing my math homework.
I was 15 when I got really interested in hitting the weights. I started reading bodybuilding.com, and devouring whatever articles Google would bring up on working out. I started spending more time in the gym from that point on and I was known as the “jacked kid” in my grade. The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding was my bible, Arnold Schwarzenegger was my god. Well, him and Andre Agassi. I wanted to be a pro tennis player, but still look as jacked as Arnie. By this time, I was skipping class to go to the gym to workout, and half of my locker was filled with protein powder so I would never be “catabolic”. Indeed, I religiously ended every day by chugging a protein shake, god forbid I starved my muscles while I slept.
It wasn’t until the end of university that I explored other approaches. I began delving more into nutrition and reading about different diets, turning myself into a human guinea pig of sorts. From the Anabolic Diet to keto, to The Rock’s eating plan–I tried them all. But it wasn’t until I started tracking calories and macros that I leaned out to levels I had never seen it before. And with this I became more interested in competing.
I accomplished my goal of getting on stage in my best condition. And I'm proud of what I accomplished. But I didn't expect the ups and downs that I would go through as a result of it.
For a couple of months after my show, I was messed up in the head and was in denial of having any eating disorder or body image issues. I went through several episodes of binging and extreme calorie cuts and massive amounts of cardio to try to undo the damage. I literally could not stop eating.
Many nights I would go to bed feeling like my stomach was about to burst, I would eat until I could not fill any more food in me. At times I would realize that I had spent over an hour going from cupboard to cupboard finding food.
I gained 20 pounds in two weeks and I felt horrible.
I felt depressed and at times hated my body. My work started to suffer, and so did my social life. I tried to find any excuse I could find not to acknowledge the fact that I probably have a body image or maybe even an eating disorder.
But once I did, I was determined to deal with it. I learned to follow my hunger cues and emotionally distanced myself from my weight. I learned what triggered my binges, and avoided them at all costs. Each night where I wouldn’t go to the fridge right before bed was considered a win. Slowly, my binges went from several times a week, to once a month, to once every three months.
That led me to where I am now–immersing myself in psychology and focusing on making people enjoy every aspect of the process.
But from everything I’ve learned in my journey, sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.