Featured FMTV Member: Blake's Story
At Food Matters our main mission is: "How can we share this lifesaving message with as many people as possible?” We ask ourselves this everyday! That's why we are so excited to share Blake's story that he posted on the members only page inside Food Matters TV in which he shares how he has been deeply touched by the Food Matters message and how he has applied it to his own health journey.
Blake’s words really resonated with us, and we hope they will with you, as well.
Hey guys, first time poster and just signed up today to a 1 year membership to FMTV after a few intermittent monthly subscriptions here and there! Thought I would give a little bit of an introduction, where I come from, who I have been and what I have become.
So my name is Blake (obviously).
Hi! I am 31 and right now I am living back with my parents in Kardinya (Perth), Western Australia. I work as a Business Sales Executive (glorified salesman) and have a house under construction in a nice area nearby. My life is pretty good! I am surrounded by beautiful friends and family, I have a great job that I love doing and a fantastic team of colleagues. I have money, food and water and I am just surrounded by an abundance of positive vibes and energy.
You might be wondering why I need FMTV. Well, to be honest, it was actually Food Matters (and a few others docs like "Food Inc") that opened my eyes to so many parts of my life that weren't healthy. But my journey really starts a pretty long time ago and certain moments in my life, that when I recounted them all, I’ve had an epiphany.
This Is How My Story Begins…
1992: I had just turned 6 and headed into my first year of junior school. My parents struggled and there were 5 of us in a two bedroom house, but it was full of love and that's all we needed. Dad worked two jobs: 9-5 as a swimming pool cleaner and 6-12 at a bar, and he did that 7 days a week. Mum stayed at home and looked after us kids. I became violently ill one night. A doctor came to the house and told me I had 'Gastro'. A couple of days later I was no better, so another doctor came out and again I was told I had 'Gastro'. It was the next day I made a turn for the worse and began to vomit up blood. I can still remember my parents crying as they raced me to the hospital. They thought I was going to die, and with almost 2 litres of blood in a container, I guess they had every right to think it. Almost a month in hospital, a 12" scar down my stomach and losing almost 10 kg I was released with no diagnosis, no idea, and no information.
1998: By the time I had graduated junior school I had become classed as severely overweight.
2000: I had one of my nipples half pulled off in science by a bully with a pair of pliers for being so overweight.
2004: I attempted to get fit by playing football. I immediately tore my anterior cruciate ligament and required a full knee reconstruction.
2006: I was now classed as obese. I was too scared to play sports in fear of re-injuring my knee. I gave it a crack anyway. In my first game I hyperextended my knee and damaged the cartilage in my knee. It needed a cartilage graft - I opted to take the 5% chance of it healing and not becoming problematic.
2007: My brother’s wedding. I was 20 and I needed a shirt size XXXXL to be able to do the top button up around my neck. My pants size was 42. I never weighed myself but estimated around 105 kg
2008: My first love dumped me. She and her new partner bullied me online about my weight. I lay in bed one night and could physically see my 'breast' falling on the bed.
Insert Mini Epiphany…
I wanted change. I couldn't have let all those bad things and negative experiences get to me but I chalked them up to that's life. I felt my life was unbalanced and maybe if I changed so would my circumstances. I wanted change. I didn't want to be fat anymore.
I started running. At first 400 m, then the next week 800 m, right up until I was running 10 km a night. I cleaned up my eating habits (no fast food or alcohol or processed sugars for a month and implemented supplements). I added in some push-ups, chin ups and dumb bells.
2009: I now was 72 kg. My shirt size was small and my pant size was 32.
All of a sudden I was receiving soooooo much attention. From women. From friends. From people wanting to know my secret. My world had changed. My networks grew. I was 23 and life only just beginning, but oh how unprepared I was. With popularity came partying, drinking, late nights and my diet went out the window (I still trained very hard). I started dating a very pretty girl and my self destruction started to begin.
2011: I had started to build a house with my partner but decided to pull the pin. My ego had become too big by this point. I thought I could do better, be better and deserved better. I moved on from her, got the deposit back from my house and started a clothing label.
2013: My girlfriend left me for another guy. I moved out of home for the first time. That night I tore my other ACL playing basketball. That week I lost my job because they couldn't afford to pay me if I wasn't making sales (time off due to surgery).
I became addicted to Oxy and Endone for about 6 months. I would even count them out and save them for weekends and I would just sit on the couch and melt into it. I somewhat managed to get my shit together enough to get a job and impress one particular company into giving me a great job.
2014: I tore my bicep out of my arm. The gym had been my saving grace and I literally pushed myself this particular time to breaking point. One arm chin up and pulled the distal head of my bicep out of my forearm. It retracted up into my shoulder and had to be surgically reattached with screws. My clothing label was at its peak right now and we were doing tours with Gaz from Geordie Shore and other celebs. I had so many material items and I was looking the best I ever had of my life.
Fast Forward To…
2015/2016: It's New Year's Eve 2015. I am with my partner who I love dearly, my clothing brand was pushing towards $100k this financial year. I had just gotten a pay raise from my day job up to $60,000. I was feeling comfortable in my financial status. I counted my items, my things, my likes on Facebook. I read the comments, I cared what people thought... if I wasn't the best I would be depressed.
Feb 2016: I turned 30, my girlfriend broke up with me that night. She was only 24 and she said I was already sounding bitter and old and she deserved better. I thought she was full of sh*t cause I am the best. I had it all. I had everything.
June 2016: My House mate / Business Partner / Best friend joined the police force and started shift work. For the first time in my life I was alone. I now hated my job. I hated my clothing label. Sales had dropped significantly due the economic crash in Perth. I thought I had no friends. I was drinking every night: whiskey and wine to the point where my nights were a blur. I hated everything about me and my life, but I blamed everything and everyone else. I thought I deserved better.
July 2016: I was too scared to reach out for help and I couldn't really afford to pay for help. I started emailing a psychiatrist who was local to me. He responded and proceeded to reach out via phone. I remember when this one time I was walking through the shops for about 3 hours pushing an empty trolley while he spoke to me. He asked me questions and he listened. It felt so good to be able to talk about all this stuff and for someone to tell me it was all normal.
He diagnosed me with depression and a severe case of anxiety based on self expectations, setting unachievable and unattainable goals for myself and when I wasn't reaching these goals I would sink into severe depression about my failures. He recommended I come in but I couldn't afford it.
By the end of July I had researched natural remedies for anxiety and depression. Amongst this I also found some significant triggers which led me to my first documentary Food Inc. which to me just made me feel sick at the thought of what I was putting in my body. Next came Food Matters. The claims of health benefits and results of especially a juice-based fast seemed ridiculous to me, but I was in such a bad mental and physical state it was make or break, and so...
August 2016: I invented 30 days Gym & Juice. Every single day I woke up at 5:00 am, went to the gym and did anything from walking and stretching to weights. It was whatever I wanted to do. I juiced and I drank water and coconut water. During this month, all I focused on was me. How did I feel? What do I want to eat? What else can I fit into my spare time? I started beach walks collecting shells, listening to my favorite music. I watched more documentaries. I discovered turmeric. And I didn't speak or see anyone other than at work. I was in some kind of mental solitude.
I lost 10 kg but I didn't notice it; I wasn't interested in the way I looked. I put my clothing label up for sale and it was sold shortly after. I sold my PlayStation and took the tv out of my room. I made a new rule: If I want to play games, I have time for more exercise or beach walks. During this month I quit the job I hated and now work at the job I love. As time went on I started discovering more and more things about myself: what I enjoy, who I am. I decluttered my life. I started meditation.
Fast Forward To Today…
Life is grand. In every way that it is beautiful and perfect, it is also beautifully imperfect.
For every memorable and amazing moment I also have things happen which I choose to leave in the past because that is life. One thing I have realized, though, is that only I can open my eyes each day. Only I can fill my lungs with air. And only I can beat my heart. It's up to me to nourish my mind, soothe my soul and feed my body for it to run in optimal performance physically, spiritually and mentally.
The greatest thing I ever did was watch Food Matters and keep in touch with the FMTV website and its happenings. It has been a place for me to come for inspiration, clarity, knowledge and sometimes escape to. All of my reconstructed limbs are stronger than ever before.
- I have less money but I am still richer than ever.
- I work harder but I am happier and have more energy.
- I train smarter.
- I am a better person in every way and continue to get better every day.
- I choose to be a part of the universe now, not better than it.
I think getting this off my chest was probably more important for me than it will be for anyone else here, but just know that if anyone ever needs help or my personal opinion or advice, I'm always here to lend an ear. Thanks for reading and happy to answer any questions.
From James, Laurentine and the entire Food Matters team, thank you Blake. Thank you for your transparent, honest and profound words.