DIM­ITRI MANTHOPOUL­OS

Age 39, Syd­ney

DNA Magazine - - FEATURE -

Ú FITNHEALTH­YCHEF A nat­u­ral dis­as­ter prompted his life-chang­ing de­ci­sion. I was al­ways the fat, happy kid. How­ever, be­hind my smile, I was a de­pressed.

Teased and bul­lied, I never changed my clothes for sports day in front of any­one. I changed in the bath­room cu­bi­cal, but bul­lies would break the door open to ex­pose my body and fat shame me. I hated sport and school.

I was called use­less by my soc­cer coach. To make me feel bet­ter,

I ate ex­ces­sively.

This con­tin­ued into my twen­ties un­til a trip to visit fam­ily in Greece changed my life. Se­vere bush fires sur­rounded our vil­lage. There was no es­cape. For two days we bat­tled fires that killed 78 peo­ple and de­stroyed many houses and farms. With no run­ning wa­ter, I had to run to get wa­ter from the well, one bucket at a time. For the first time in my life I felt wanted and needed. I wished I was able to do more but my weight stopped me. This was the wake-up call I needed.

In the past I’d tried ev­ery fad diet apart from the sim­ple for­mula of eat­ing less and moving more. I’ve al­ways had a mas­sive ap­petite, so I de­signed my own eat­ing plan: low calo­rie foods high in pro­tein and low in fat. I man­aged to lose 50kgs with­out the gym, but I was skinny fat.

Then I hit the gym and re­ally trans­formed my body. I had lots of pos­tural prob­lems to cor­rect. I’d de­vel­oped a hunched back caused by al­ways rolling my shoul­ders for­ward to hide my man boobs.

To cel­e­brate my 10th year not be­ing obese, I had a photo shoot with Chris­tian Scott. Half way through, I looked at my­self in the mir­ror and was shocked by what I saw. I was so proud of my achieve­ment. I felt con­fi­dent and com­fort­able in my own skin. I de­cided I wanted to help and in­spire oth­ers to achieve the same.

Once I used food as com­fort. Now I use food as fuel to feed my body.

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