FitMenCook Founder, Cookbook Author and Entrepreneur
I see that you are doing the wine and water combo. If you drink alcohol, do you always have some hydration going at the same time?
Absolutely. You’ve got to double fist it. I tell people, if you’re going to go out, you need to have some water. That’s my biggest rule. Because I didn’t have the best relationship with alcohol, to be quite honest with you. So I’ve learned. Part of it was out of necessity to feel better the next day, but I’ve learned that it’s also just a better, healthful practice to hydrate.
Before we dip into all of your expertise on food and fitness, can you tell us about the genesis of FitMenCook?
First, thank you for having me, for real. I love doing stuff like this, where I get to connect with people one-on-one. Sometimes social media doesn’t allow that opportunity.
My story started almost a decade ago. I was at a place in my life where I was just super depressed, I was overweight and I was medicating with a lot of food, period. Number one, I was broke as a joke. It was around the 2008 timeframe. The stock market crashed, everything went to hell in a handbasket. I thought I was going to get married, that fell through and I found myself back on my parents’ couch in Dallas, Texas trying to figure out life. I began to eat and drink very heavily. I’d drink in secret by myself and I mean, I was like, eating cupcakes in the parking lot of 7-Eleven so that people wouldn’t find me. Just behind the scenes.
What changed for me was when someone posted this photo of me on Facebook, and this is before the times where they had the Facebook controls to approve it. So the photo went immediately to my page. I didn’t realize how greasy I had become. That was one of the first aha moments. The second one was that I just wanted to feel better. I was super depressed. I was having suicidal ideations and I just wanted to feel better. I reached out to a personal trainer online through social media. They gave me some crazy price to go ahead and to lose weight. I said, “I can’t afford that.” So I went over to a bookstore, Half Price Books, and I bought every single book they had about nutrition. I just began to consume the content. My idea was much more of a crowdsourcing idea, in that I was going to start up a blog and post every single thing that I was eating. That way people like you, Catt, who are very fit and healthy could give me some advice on what to do. I was taking meals that I really enjoyed eating, from soul food to Mexican food, making them more healthful and posting it, trying to get feedback.
But the reverse happened. I found that there were more people out there who were just like me, tired of the same old chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli meal. They began to follow me and ask about my journey. I began to lose weight through my own transformation with food. And that’s how the FitMenCook community was started. It was not always an altruistic community. Now it is. We try to help everybody. I want everyone to be healthy and fit, but really I was just trying to do a side hustle, because I couldn’t afford to pay for a personal trainer.