32-year-old Paul Eulette grew up surrounded by comfort food. As the son of immigrant parents from Jamaica, food was a large part of his culture and his childhood. Food was the center of holidays and family gatherings. However, when overindulging in comfort food became a part of his daily routine, his overall health began to take a drastic hit.
Eulette told Today that he went from enjoying a treat every once in awhile to over-eating every day. He was only in middle school by the time he hit 200 pounds. As middle school kids often are, his classmates were cruel — and he became the source of a lot of teasing and mean spirited jokes. The bullying only caused Eulette to turn further to food, which offered him a source of comfort. “I was the kid that wore a T-shirt to the beach and wouldn’t jump into the pool,” he explained. “The food was something that made me feel good.”
Despite the fact that his diet was holding him back from feeling confident and enjoying life the way he wanted, he couldn’t seem to turn away from his unhealthy relationship with food. His overeating habits persisted through high school, when he weighed in at 275 pounds. Still, he was very tall at 6 foot 4 — which made the weight less noticeable. However, his health was still suffering due to his overeating.
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#TBT to this picture from 2 years ago which was/is a big catalyst for me. Over the past two weeks, I've volunteered to talk openly abt my weight and overall health journey to complete strangers. Recounting some of those personal details has been a weird motivator and reminder of the BS fear, self-confidence and general skewed outlook I had on life. That said, I'm so excited to share my story and also work on some new projects that are really helping me to continuously overcome those fears. #NoSetAgenda
By his twenties, his doctor warned him that if he didn’t start making changes, he was going to be putting his life at risk. He was placed on blood pressure medicine at only 26-years-old. “You would think that would scare me into running on a treadmill. But I thought I was too young for that,” Eulette said. “I kept eating Domino’s pizza or going to Wendy’s.”
It wasn’t until he took a family vacation to Jamaica that he finally realized that his weight was keeping him from enjoying life with his loved ones. While his family and friends had fun on the beach, Eulette could only watch — because he felt uncomfortable in a bathing suit. He knew it was time to make a change.
One of his friends introduced him to running, something that he never thought he’d find himself doing. Music was the key to helping Eulette get through his difficult runs. He started slow, running for just a verse of a song and then moved into running for half a song. Soon he found himself running miles. Now he says that running has given him his life back. Along with investing in a healthier diet, Eulette made running a part of his day to day life — and quickly dropped 70 pounds.
To those who think they can’t do it, he says to focus on how much more you’ll be able to accomplish in a healthier body. “If you can go from 275 pounds to running 10 miles you can try new things,” he said.