10 million people in America struggle with eating disorders, 5 million will fully recover and 2 million will die. For the longest time I was embarrassed by this story but now that I’m fully recovered I wanted to share my experience to let people know that I’ve had my own personal struggles with food. I want to tell my personal story of when I battled with an eating disorder for what felt like an eternity but was for an eight month period. For the past couple of years I had always struggled with being somewhat addicted to food. From weekend drunken late night binges to just random binges that were caused by trying to eat extremely restrictive and ended badly by back firing. It wasn’t until August 2009 that it started to take a plunge for the worse. I was on track for the previous months because I was trying to lose weight and muscle mass to enter the fashion modeling world. I had went from a muscular 225lb physique living the bodybuilding lifestyle to 205lb lean and healthy look but I quit lifting weights all together. I know that this shouldn’t be an excuse but from June to September I was dealing with living situation issues that were not necessary and I turned to binge alcohol drinking followed by binge junk food eating. This would happen a couple times a week. At this point I didn’t think I had a problem and in NYC if you are with a good club promoter it’s unlimited Vodka. I figured I could just do extra cardio and workout harder the next day to compensate for the alcohol and food issue. I couldn’t see myself in the mirror. I was slowly losing myself in more ways than one. I still managed to be “just in shape enough” at the time to sign with Major Model Management, a top 10 fashion agency in NYC, in October 2009. They told me that I needed to tighten my midsection to really have ripped abs and I of course knew this if I were to even have a slight chance of competing against the top guys in the world. There’s really no explanation of how and why this happened but I got more addicted to food. What I mean by food addiction is that I would literally get excited and a somewhat nervous feeling when I would go to the grocery to pick out my junk food. Almost like a weird head buzz and the anticipation to eat the junk is unexplainable too. I would have a rush of a good feelings while eating the junk but when I was done I would be depressed and end up falling asleep from the blood sugar level crash and being uncomfortably stuffed. I would eat to the point where I would feel sick . It was as if the one thing I wasn’t supposed to be doing, I was doing. The binges got more frequent and started to be out of control. I was trying different things to lose the weight and body fat but it was all of the wrong approaches. I was doing everything from smoking cigarettes to kill my appetite, to taking 2 different fat burners at the same time and starving myself on certain days where I would only eat one or two times which ended up causing an extreme binge. I was so unhealthy physically that every time I would stand up I was lightheaded and felt I was going to black out. I put what I joke about now a spare tire around my mid section and butt and lost my muscle in my legs and upper body (as you can tell from the pictures). Mentally I was in the darkest deepest depression I’ve ever been in and I really didn’t realize how bad it was until now that I’m myself again. I had no direction, no ambition, no drive, and felt sorry for myself. I was embarrassed to eat around people because I thought they were judging how much I was eating. I would hide junk food in my apartment room because I was embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to know I was eating this way. What this eating disorder did to me has not only made me a stronger person now but at the time it stripped away all of my confidence, no self esteem, no sex drive and I can honestly say I really didn’t care about life. It’s very strange to me now looking back at this because food had total control of my life and I was just slowly letting life pass by. It wasn’t until I left NYC in March to go stay with my girlfriend Suzanne in Nashville that I realized I needed to make a change and make one fast. She knew right off the bat when she picked me up from the airport that something was wrong. She said I looked sick with dark circles under my eyes. Overall not healthy at all because one of the last times she saw me I still had somewhat of a fitness look (the pictures I did in June 2009 by Rick Day). So I slowly started to get my self back together. When I say slowly I mean this was a month to month process. I would still have binges. At that time Suzanne was a member of the YMCA so I started going there and went back to my roots and started weight training again. The binges progressively got smaller and less frequent. From March to the end of May I stayed in Nashville and by the time I went to Roanoke to stay for a few weeks to try and figure out what my next move would be, the binges were close to being gone but not completely. Good thing muscle has memory is all I’ve got to say. My body bounced back quickly and I really started to focus on a well balanced nutrition plan that wasn’t restrictive and was enough food to keep me feeling healthy. In October 2010 is when I put my vision I had to life with my website and in November I started my youtube channel. I devoted myself to this fitness lifestyle and I told myself I will never put myself through that again. The constant emotional roller coaster that food can give you is not worth it AT ALL. There is no better feeling in the world than of always being in shape. My confidence is through the roof now! It tears me up inside to think of how depressed I was but like I’ve said before you can make change! I changed myself with no medication and no therapy. My therapy is my workouts! So I hope each and every one of you that reads this can take something from this and make positive change in your own life.