I was a ticking time bomb
At 32 years old, Ashton Fernando is healthy, productive and helping
others after decades of battling obesity, anxiety and alcoholism.
celebrations. In his mind, food equated happiness.
“At home, food was a way of getting people together,” Fernando
recalls. “Friends came to birthday parties to eat cake. We ate
big portions of fried foods and on Saturdays and Sundays my
dad would make huge breakfasts of eggs, bacon, sausages and
pancakes.” Obesity is common in his mother’s family.
Fernando was funny and well liked. Still, he remembers feeling
insecure growing up, not meeting his parents’ expectations, being
ashamed of his obesity and not at all like most movie heroes, who
were usually “tall, fit white guys, not at all like me.” He was 5 feet 6
inches and more than 200 pounds.
At 20, Fernando lost almost 90 pounds through determination,
healthy eating and activity. Svelte and outgoing, he was a sought-after trainer and marketing consultant for several Calgary gyms.
“I was the fat guy who got skinny; I was out to prove a point,”
Fernando says. He wore tight shirts and lived what he imagined
was the “skinny fit person’s life. On weekends, I’d go to nightclubs
and party. It was my interpretation of happiness. But, I was a ticking
He felt a gnawing anxiety. He felt like a fake and drank to feel
more confident. He started to gain weight. He lost his drive to work
“I became a shut-in, ordering in bad food,” he remembers.
At 30 years old and 267 pounds, Fernando was hospitalized with
several life-threatening conditions related to obesity. He felt he
would die if he didn’t change. He realized was eating as a way to
deal with his emotions. He quit trying to be thin and concentrated
on being healthy. He strictly controlled the portions he ate, rather
than simply going the gym. As he stabilized his emotions and
gained control of his food intake, his weight began to drop.
Today, Fernando weighs 170 pounds, hasn’t had a drink for two
years and is the founder of FeelGood Calgary, an online network.
“My dream is to have a healthy community,” Fernando says.
People often eat what
others around them eat.
It can be hard to make
healthy eating choices when
others are eating foods
high in fat, sugar and salt.
Obesitycanbecaused bygeneticsand environmentalfactors, oracombinationof thetwo.
Childrenneedpositive, caringsupportfrom theadultsintheirlives tohelpbuildastrong foundationforhealth andlife. About30percentof peoplewithgeneral
anxiety say they use
alcohol or drugs for relief.Addiction is a chronic,relapsing disease affectingthe brain’s reward,motivation and relatedsystems. People can becomeaddicted to substancesuch as alcohol, drugs andfood, and processes such asgambling, sex and shopping.Carrying extra weight can increase the riskfor type 2 diabetes, highblood pressure, arthritis,