Making the change

by Donna Sealy

Sometimes you meet people as you make your way along life’s journey.

You see them, you talk to them and in some small way their story motivates you to make that change and in turn inspire others.

That happened to Daveny Ellis, who is a poet and a graphic artist.

The push he needed came from someone he’s probably never met but hearing that person speak was the impetus he needed.

He’s one of those people who says what he means and means what he says, and fed up with the way he looked and how he felt, he changed his lifestyle.

“For a while I didn’t love myself. I have a lot of self-confidence, I pride myself on that self-confidence,” he said candidly. “I was still enjoying my life and living it however but I still felt like if I didn’t like how I looked, plus I always felt funny about how people treated me because of my weight because I was bigger than I was before. I don’t know how much I weighed before and how much I weigh now because I never stepped on a scale.

“I fluctuated in weight over the years and I’ve always been treated differently when I was bigger; I’ve never been treated positively when I was bigger. You’re treated very badly in this society when you’re a big guy. When you’re skinny you get treated badly too. Society has no patience for you when you’re big. They tell you terrible things, they constantly tell you terrible things because you’re supposed to look a particular way.

“It really wasn’t originally about my aesthetics, it was about me just feeling better and I started doing it because I wanted to be healthy. I got tired of eating unhealthy food and not caring about what I put inside my body so I made the decision to give certain things up.

“Funny enough I was inspired by a pro-wrestler who is a full vegan and his ideals are things I’ve heard before, meat and dairy and how your body digests them, it takes a little bit of extra work to do that,” said Daveny.

So the former Christ Church Foundation School student said after that he decided to look at food in terms of fuel, proteins and carbohydrates, what was good for his body, what he needed as opposed to looking at it from a “pleasurable standpoint”.

“We take in too much sugar, which is in everything. Looking at TV, they feed us only flour, dairy and meat. The quickest thing that someone can give you is flour, dairy and meat. On TV they give you a burger or a sandwich or something that involves flour, cheese or meat. I’m not saying these things are bad but I’m just saying that we eat so much of it and when it comes to flour we eat so much of it,” Daveny said.

He added that he realised that “we don’t live how we eat” and he didn’t want to be among those people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. So he changed his diet and got rid of things that didn’t give energy.

“I modified the way I was eating. My mother did the same thing and my stepfather and it was a case where the entire household got the benefit of it. It changed the way we spent money on food, they still eat bread, we buy it and it just sits here because no one is really eating it.

“I eat vegetables, fruit, fish and eggs. In different forms. On a day like today for breakfast I’m going to have two egg whites, and some oats which I will season, that comes out like a flat bread and I’m going to put lettuce inside of it and eat that. For lunch, I’ll eat sweet potatoes, pumpkin, fish or maybe just some gravy and some salad. Dinner might be just fish or stew peas, some more sweet potatoes or some brown rice and salad. I eat fruit in between and that way I get to eat five, six times a day. I also eat nuts and fruit.

“I’m eating for how I look. I do a small workout in the morning. In my peak I’m working out three times a day. It’s kind of ridiculous because I don’t expect anybody to do this. When I started to get into it and wanted to lose weight, I took the step from not just eating healthy and wanting to lose weight, I started to do two small work outs and a big work-out. It is pretty extreme,” Daveny shared.

“After one month of not eating dairy products and flour, I felt fantastic, I had never felt better than that. It was amazing, I had a ridiculous amount of energy and still do, as long as I get a good night’s sleep; it’s ridiculous,” he said.

He runs around his neighbourhood in Mangrove, St. Philip because “it’s safe, accessible” and he doesn’t do it every day but enough times to get the workout he needs. He also uses the equipment where he works and is not a member of a gym which he said he could not afford.

On a spiritual level, he said it is important for him to love himself and to empower himself and then empower others.

“For me I want to find balance and find someone that I’m having a good relationship with. Someone I can give that energy to who will receive it. I’m single right now … I also believe in the idea of trust which is personal … You have to be unafraid of the fact that someone can take that trust and misuse it. You have to realise that people will do what they want regardless so why are you afraid to tell people how you really feel?

“So at this particular point in time I’m not afraid to tell people how I really feel so it’s okay to tell people this is who I am, this is what I’m doing, this is where I’m at,” he said.

Maybe one day, Daveny will write about his lifestyle change in one of his poems.

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