Joey Morganelli was only 13 when his mother died of cancer. Three years later his always healthy father suffered a heart attack and died in front of him.
The only way Morganelli could push down his feelings about the loss of his parents was an intense food addiction. The time went through, and by the age of 18, he was nearly 312 pounds.
“You don’t have to be hungry to eat. That’s how I gained weight so quickly,” he told MensHealth.com.
“It tastes good, and it makes me happy,” was his motto. He continued overeating even at the high school hitting his heaviest point at 400 pounds. Unfortunately, at that time he didn’t understand this addiction was caused by his sadness.
One-day Joey decided to change his life. He learned about nutrition and started to be more active.
“I just decided that I wanted to be mentally healthier and physically healthier because I wanted to start living my life,” he said.
The turning point happened in April of his freshman year. A microbiology professor asked him to watch the Netflix documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”.
Morganelli said the film had a powerful effect on him.
“I literally made two things of juice and then left class and got McDonald’s,” Morganelli said of abandoning the highly restrictive cleanse — which is proven to not help with sustained weight loss anyway — within hours. “I couldn’t just jump from binge eating to this.”
“The first thing I did was give up fast food,” he said.
Then he took a look at the way he is eating. He started experimenting cooking “healthy” meals, counting calories.
“I absolutely loved it,” he said.
In a month after such changes, Morganelli lost 20 pounds. He had even started his first job working in the kitchen of a retirement home.
By counting calories and keeping active lifestyle, he got down to 325 pounds in a matter of four months.
From that time everything didn’t come with pleasure. For several months he struggled with gaining and losing weight again. The one thing which made it even worse was he’d often give in to binges.
However, once he had a panic attack in his car and thought he had a heart attack that he decided to drastically change his diet forever.
“I decided to go vegan,” Morganelli said, explaining that he went on a whole food, plant-based diet.
According to him, exactly after taking vegan diet his weight loss was finally over, and now he is down to 250 pounds.
“I wanted to grow up and live a life that I could be proud of, rather than saying I just sat and at ate all day and died at 42 of a heart attack because I didn’t want to face my fears,” he said.
“The hardest thing you can do is face yourself.”