Alex Oliynyk

How I Fell and Rose Back up Again

I’ve always been skinny in high school and college. However, after graduating school with a master’s degree in Marketing, and landing one abhorrently tedious number crunching never-see-the-sun-all-day office job after another, something changed. In pursuit of shutting down the sense of constant discontent, I began exploring the world of consumption.

First on my list of newly developed interests was food. I started consuming anything and everything. I would know no limit. The copious world of hot dogs, junk food, pizza, pasta swallowed me up like

a whale swallows plankton. I would set date nights with my food. At work I would fantasize how I would come home, turn on the TV and start devouring all the food I ordered online or cooked in my deep fryer. Then I would open a bag of chips, and in about another hour warm up a slice of apple pie to eat with ice cream. This was my life.

I became completely addicted to food, to the feeling of comfort it provided me, helping me relax before going back to my soul-crushing job. At work, I would also always munch on something. Be it chips, beef jerky, canopy sandwiches. It really helped me get over the stress and cope with panic inside of me, when I imagined that this would be my life for the next thirty years.

Within 6 months of this poor diet, I gained 80 pounds. Yes, you read it correctly - 80 pounds is what I gained within such a short period of time.

One day I woke up in a hospital bed in New York City. The doctors gathered around and informed me I had a heart attack. I was only 28 years old. They said I had to lose weight or I would die. The news was crushing, but that’s when I realized I had I had to either lose weight or die trying. Didn’t really have a choice.

And I’m Back Up Again

I slowly started to exercise. Initially my fitness routine consisted of simply trying to stand up and then sit back down. When I got stronger I started walking. Half a mile a day, then a mile, then five miles. I joined a local gym and started working out with a trainer. After each training session, I would spend another 30-40 minutes on a treadmill. Eventually I signed up and ran my first 5K race.

I began consuming green kale shakes and through away my deep fryer. I still loved my fried food occasionally, so had to find a healthier middle ground. I researched hot air fryers online and purchased the one that was the smallest, but provided amazing results in terms of taste and crispiness. I would consume air fried veggies, chicken breasts and bake some muffins every other weekend.

Within 8 months I lost 100 pounds. My doctors were amazed at the results, but even more so, I was amazed and happy to be alive. I changed jobs and now love what I do. I guess the lesson in this story is, when life hits you, don’t try to hide behind comforting things. Embrace the challenge and face your fears. Don’t stuff yourself with food. Go change your job or whatever it is that makes you feel miserable! Good luck!

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