A plant-based advocate has revealed how he recovered from his food addiction and lost 275 pounds in an inspiring video shared by Million Dollar Vegan (MDV).
MDV is an advocacy organization which encourages and supports people to sign its 31-day pledge and give a plant-based diet a go. In the past, MDV has offered to make $1,000,000 dollar charity donations if Pope Francis and Donald Trump signed the pledge.
Those who take part will be offered recipes, health and nutrition advice, and a free Vegan Starter Kit featuring meal plans, tips on where to eat out, and answers to tricky questions.
Chuck Carroll is the presenter of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine podcast (The Exam Room) and a Food For Life instructor. He has also worked as a reporter covering sports and news for CBS and later NBC News Radio.
In the MDV video, he discusses how he was addicted to food, and how this addiction made his weight balloon to 420lb with a 66-inch waist at 5'6" tall by the age of 26.
Carroll believed he wouldn't live to see 30, as every attempt he made to lose weight ended without success.
'A reality check'
He said: "I was 26 and I could barely walk across the street without my chest starting to tighten," he said. "I couldn't breathe and I was drenched in sweat, just as if I had run a marathon, and all I'd done was walk 20 feet.
"It was an absolute reality check to me that other people were noticing how overweight I had become. I knew that I was 420lb. I knew that I had a 66-inch waist, but every time I saw those eyes look at me, it was like a little dagger right in my heart.
"I kind of made up my mind that food for me was a drug, just as somebody might struggle with alcoholism or cocaine, and if I didn't get my fix, I would fly into a rage, and I would feel physically ill. So in the middle of the night, I would sneak out of the house, find the 24-hour drive-through, go there, pay my 20 bucks, come home, literally start crying as I'd gorge and I'd binge on all of this food."
Carroll underwent bariatric surgery, saying he knew that if something didn't change, it was 'going to be lights out'. After the surgery, he had to overcome his addiction to food. He decided to switch to a plant-based diet.
He said: "Knowing how woefully addicted I was to food, it was so important to me that I viewed it as that drug. It wasn't hard to eliminate meat from my diet. I knew that I was never going back to fast food, and at this point, I felt like that was already in the rearview, but the plant-based diet, it just felt right."
'What health truly is'
He added: "The best thing that you need to know is that just give it a couple of weeks. If you can get through that time, man, it is smooth sailing because you reprogram yourself, and you're not gonna wanna go back, given the way that you feel.
"You know how you had felt for years, your entire life leading up to that moment, and now you've gotten a taste of how you can truly feel, what health truly is, man, you're not gonna wanna go back. So give it time, and you're gonna be fine."