From Soccer to Bed to No Hair On My Head (My Unusual Journey)
Hey, I’m Yuri and welcome to my home – one of the fastest-growing fitness, nutrition, and natural health sites on the web…
My “superpower” is being able to simplify the complex world of health and reduce your confusion with clear, actionable, and science-backed advice that cuts through the nonsense.
In case we haven’t met before, I’d like to share my roller-coaster personal journey with you. It will give you a better understanding of why I’m so passionate about helping 100 million by 2040 and how I can help you.
If you don’t care about reading my story, that’s ok, I won’t take it personally – you can get started here.
Even though I’m now a New York Times bestselling author and one of the most trusted health experts in the world, things certainly weren’t always this way. In fact, they couldn’t have been more different, especially if you knew me from a young age.
Ignoring Your Health Problems Doesn’t Make Them Go Away…They Only Come Back Stronger
For nearly two decades of my early life, there was always something wrong with me. I was dead tired and suffered from an avalanche of health problems. I endured all of this even though I was an athletic and supposedly fit young man.
I tried to ignore it, tucking it all under a rug, but eventually, there came a day when I decided enough was enough. And it was all because of this one fateful event…
It was late one Wednesday night in the middle of March, a few days before my 17th birthday. I had just returned home from soccer practice, but I was even more of a mess than usual…
It was quite warm for that time of year, and I remember how sticky I felt as I peeled off my sweaty training attire. I was a goalie, so my padded shorts and knee-high socks were caked with dirt…
I was pretty beaten and dragged my body up the never-ending staircase of my family’s three-story home and made my way into the bathroom to get cleaned up. I always felt tired and gross after practice, but this was something different: my breathing was labored, and my hands were throbbing, as they never had before.
You see, having to wear sweaty goalie gloves a few times a week used to make my lifelong eczema flare up like molten lava oozing out of a volcano. It was so horrible that even on the warmest spring days, I would wear winter gloves on the school bus to hide my reptilian bare hands from my classmates.
Alone in the bathroom, I stared at my red, scaly hands under the vanity lights and felt more disgusted with myself than I had ever been before.
As if my inflamed hands weren’t bothersome enough, I could barely breathe, so I decided to take a hit from my steroid puffer to settle my asthma. It always acted up during spring training, but tonight was particularly rough.
In fact, it reminded me of my epic asthma bouts as a young child, the ones that would find me strapped up to a vaporizer mask injected with steroids just to keep my airways open. Back then, playing sports with my friends was close to impossible, and I wondered now if things were getting that bad again.
It was even making me question my future in soccer, the true love of my life. I so desperately wanted to last an entire training session or 90-minute game without keeping my puffer right beside the goalpost “just in case.” It was beginning to seem impossible.
As I stared at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, I felt like I belonged in a horror movie. My life was slowly coming apart because of my health issues. On top of my skin and breathing problems, I barely had enough energy to make it through the day, even when I wasn’t playing soccer.
I’d wake up each morning feeling as if I’d just downed an entire bottle of tequila the night before. I was sick and tired of feeling like I was 30 years older than I really was. I was 17, damn it!
Once I caught my breath a little bit, I stepped into the shower to wash off the sweat, grime, and self-loathing. I yanked the shampoo from the basket hanging from the showerhead, squirted the gel into my hands, and began lathering up my hair. As the warm water coursed through my hair, a feeling of rejuvenation and hope washed over me. I closed my eyes and let out a deep sigh.
But, my relief didn’t last very long.
When I opened my eyes, I looked at my hands and saw them covered in thick clumps of my brown hair. It was everywhere! What was going on?
Shocked and confused, I immediately jumped out of the shower and toweled off. I noticed even more hair sticking to the fibers of my wet towel. In a panicked frenzy, I rushed over to the mirror to investigate more closely.
I just couldn’t understand what I was seeing. I had a bald patch over my left ear the size of a quarter. I hadn’t noticed it until now since my longer hair normally covered that spot on my head. I guess it must have just started to fall out. It didn’t make sense, and I was scared. No one in my family had had any hair-loss problems, and certainly not at 17 years old.
What was happening to me?
The next morning, I woke up to a pillow covered in hair. Just a few weeks later, all of the hair on my head had fallen out. My eyebrows and eyelashes had vanished as well.
From Hot Athlete to “Alien”?
Needless to say, I felt like a freak. At school, I endured the bewildered and disgusted stares of my classmates and even my soccer teammates. Maybe they thought what I had was contagious; I don’t know. I wanted to shut myself in my locker and never come out.
For years, I was considered as a “hot athlete” and now I looked and felt like an “alien”. It was a sobering reality check, for sure.
I honestly don’t know how I would have made it through that difficult time without my family and close friends. I will always be indebted to them. As difficult as my health problems had been before, this was my absolute rock bottom. It was pretty freaking low.
But you know what?
As bad as all that was, I’m truly grateful that I went through it. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be in a position to share my life-changing wisdom with you. That horrifying night after soccer practice and the ensuing events gave me a much-needed wake-up call. It was that ordeal that inspired me to make some serious changes in my life…
I made a promise to myself that I would get to the root, so to speak, of my unexplained hair loss, as well as my lifelong asthma and embarrassing eczema, and finally put an end to feeling tired all the time. I was going to figure it all out or die trying…
I decided to consult with every kind of doctor I could find to figure out how I could heal myself…
First up was my immunologist, who told me that I had an autoimmune condition called alopecia. It should have been illuminating, yet he had no answers beyond that diagnosis. How could that be?
Over the next 7 painstaking years, I discovered a pattern as I worked my way through every corner of the medical community—not a single doctor had any idea of what to do other than to inject cortisone directly into my scalp…
Not one doctor or “specialist” ever speculated as to what might have caused my health problems to begin with or what could be done to solve them…
They were more interested in getting me on experimental pills and steroid creams or injecting my scalp with who knows what. There were no real answers. My frustration knew no limit.
And so, by the time I was in my early twenties, I made my second life-changing decision…
Realizing that neither the medical system nor any doctor within it was going to help me back to better health, I vowed to read every book and crawl under every rock, if necessary, to learn about health so I could finally heal myself. If the broken medical system couldn’t do it, then I would figure it out on my own.
My first step was to enroll at the University of Toronto and get my degree in physical education and health/kinesiology. This was a good start, but I still hadn’t fully grasped how to be healthy…
That would begin to change shortly afterward.
The Journey to Pro Soccer And a Big Wake-Up Call
Before my health changed for the better, I somehow found the energy to play soccer for the varsity team for four years, while working as a personal trainer and taking on a full course load. Yes, I guess I’m a little type A.
As much as I loved school and training clients, my childhood dream was to play pro soccer in Europe. Thankfully, I was able to play professionally in Toronto while attending university and then for a short while after graduating over in France.
It was exciting, but I soon found myself faced with my asthma again. As if that wasn’t enough, I quickly became disillusioned by pro soccer, mainly because of how little control I had over my career path and because I was overly critical of my own performance, which meant I spent a lot of time feeling unhappy. I nursed my sorrows with French bread, croissants, and coffee, and my sluggishness soon returned.
Deep down inside, I had a feeling that my health issues might have been related to my diet, which was very unbalanced, to say the least. For much of my life, I’d been strung out on grains, lots of sugar, endless dairy, and every type of processed food you can think of. Rarely would you catch me eating something as light, nourishing, and refreshing as a piece of fruit. As for veggies— what were veggies?
After spending just one season in France, I had an epiphany that this wasn’t the life I wanted to live. I felt compelled to do something greater (like what I’m doing now) and actually make the world a better and healthier place. And so, I decided to hang up my boots and retire from pursuing a career in pro soccer. Greener pastures, here I come, I thought.
Sadly, my poor eating habits stuck with me when I left France and returned to Canada. Soccer was now a personal hobby, not a vocation, and I still found myself haunted by the health problems that had plagued me for so long. Was it really my diet? I couldn’t escape this nagging question.
The Single Most Important Discovery That Transformed My Life
Upon my return to Toronto, I saw an advertisement for an open house at a holistic nutrition school in the city. I knew I had to attend.
When I showed up at the school and started digging into all it had to share, something inside of me clicked. In fact, within just ten minutes of being there, I started to discover the answers I had been desperately trying to find for so long. I was floored by what I was learning!
I was hooked, so I enrolled immediately. It got even better when I asked one of my soon-to-be-professors—an incredible naturopathic doctor—whether or not my autoimmune condition, constant fatigue, eczema, and asthma could have been caused by my poor diet.
Her answer: “Absolutely! We see it every day.”
I couldn’t believe it!
Somehow, a solution to my problems existed, and I was about to embark upon an amazing (and surprisingly quick) journey to a full recovery. In four years at one of the top universities in the world, I had never been taught this information. It struck me that if I didn’t know this stuff, there must be billions of others around the world still left in the dark. I had found my calling.
I eagerly applied what I was learning (much of it you’ll discover on this site) and noticed my hair starting to grow again. I was feeling more energetic. And my skin problems and asthma had vanished. I was super excited.
Not feeling drugged upon waking, and soaring through my days with lasting energy, was a huge benefit. It allowed me to spend less time sleeping and more time getting stuff done. It’s allowed me to be more productive, help more people, spend more time with my kids, and still pursue my other passions and hobbies.
Roughly two months after starting my studies in holistic nutrition, most of my hair had returned, and figuring out how to outwit my breathing, skin, and energy problems was a huge victory for me.
With a spring in my step and a world to empower, I took the information I learned at this school and combined it with my athletic and fitness background. Armed with all of this, I created an approach to healthy eating, exercise, and life that would eventually make me one of the top health-and-fitness experts in the world and help over 500,000 men and women in the process.
Then, just when I thought I was on top of the world, my journey to good health took another unexpected turn.
The toughest part though was that by this point I had built a successful Internet business. My Youtube videos were being watched more than 19 million times, and I’d published a New York Times bestselling book. I was living the dream, but it meant nothing to me when I lost my eyebrows . . . again.
Dude…What’s The Deal With Your Eyebrows?
You can’t imagine the fear I felt. What was happening to me? Did this mean there was no truth to what I was teaching? Flooded with fears of my alopecia returning and my business falling apart, I did what any grown man would do: I started secretly using my wife’s makeup to fill in my thinning eyebrows.
I was losing my eyebrows (and other hair) at an alarming rate which drove me to develop a makeup routine, applying my fake eyebrows every morning after I brushed my teeth.
I started toning down my workouts out of fear that my sweat would make my “eyebrows” run. I refused to go swimming with my kids because the water might ruin my makeup. I continued shooting and posting YouTube videos but was in constant fear of being outed as a fraud. It was exhausting.
In fact, although my channel subscribers and followers are awesome, there’s the occasional viewer that would leave some nasty comments like “Dude, what’s the deal with your eyebrows?” or “Do you have cancer or something?”
And in all fairness, who could blame them when my eyebrows looked different from one video to the next.
However, all of that was about to change…
In late 2013, I went to a 4-day personal and business development event in the Dominican Republic. I had no idea what to expect, but I was certainly meant to be there because it profoundly affected my life—for the better. After the first 2 days, I sat down one evening to catch up with my friend Dane.
We had a long conversation about what was happening in our lives. That’s when everything came spilling out. I opened up about everything I was dealing with: my eyebrows, the makeup, and why I was afraid.
I don’t think I had ever been this vulnerable or open about my feelings. Being the amazing person that he is, Dane peered into my soul and worked some kind of magic that touched me at a fundamental level. Something shifted inside of me.
Later that evening, I was having another conversation with a good friend, Fabienne, whom I hadn’t seen for about a year. We were talking about one of the exercises from the event in which we were asked to give away something of value to us…
Most people had brought jewelry and other personal mementos. I couldn’t think of anything to bring that was meaningful to me—other than my children. I didn’t think it would be wise to give them away!
Then, it hit me.
There was only one thing I was holding on to like a baby does a blankie. Any ideas? Take a guess. It was that damn eyebrow makeup. Could I really get rid of it? Could I take off the mask and bare my true self? Deep down inside, I knew the answer.
That evening’s conversation with Fabienne reaffirmed my belief that this was the right thing to do. She reassured me that I was a beautiful person and gave me the courage I needed to take the leap.
I broke down in front of her. I couldn’t keep up my disguise any longer.
I promised Fabienne that the next morning I would be done with the makeup for good, and because my word means everything to me, that’s exactly what happened.
The next morning, I walked straight into the bathroom, picked up the makeup, and chucked it into the trash can. I stared in the mirror at the shiny patches of flesh above my eyes. There was no turning back now.
Anxiously, I left my hotel room and made my way to the beach for a morning yoga session. I felt naked and awkward and kept glancing around to see who was looking at me. Oddly enough, no one really noticed.
I felt weird, but then, it wasn’t like I was wearing a giant scarlet letter A on my chest.
What happened next was pure magic…
As I moved through each position in our yoga session, my body was soothed by the warm morning sun. About halfway through the session, it started raining, even while the sun was shining…
I remember lying on my mat with my eyes closed and relishing the feeling of the warm rain splashing my face. It was so liberating.
After the yoga session, I ran to the ocean with childlike excitement, crashing through the waves and diving headfirst into the salty water. As I swam underwater, time froze. It was like living in slow motion…
When I surfaced, I wiped the water off my face, opened my eyes, and felt more alive than ever before. I was finally free. I felt like I’d just baptized myself in a sense. My true self had finally emerged. I reflected on the fact that all life initially came from the ocean, so it was fitting that, with my first step out of the water, I felt reborn.
Removing the Mask of Shame
For nearly 2 years, I had hidden underneath a mask of shame, worrying about what people would think of me if I shared my struggle. The irony is that I felt more free, more happy, and more alive without makeup than I ever did when I was wearing it.
As painful as it is to relive these memories, I share this story for this reason: If you’ve ever felt ashamed about your weight or how you look, then believe me, I’ve been there. I can totally relate, and this is a big part of why I’m compelled to help as many people transform their health and body.
I want you to find the relief and self-love that I have found.
If you want to lose 20 pounds, that’s great. If you want to feel 10 years younger, then you totally can. Whatever your goal, you can achieve it with the right plan and a never-give-up attitude.
But start now by showing yourself a little compassion. By easing up on yourself, you’ll likely experience a pleasant surprise: People are far more accepting of you when you’re accepting of yourself.
Upon my return from the trip to the Dominican, I shot a video for my audience in which, for the first time ever, I was makeup free. This was easily the scariest moment of my life, putting myself out there for potentially millions of people to eventually see, but I wanted to come clean…
What happened next continues to touch me deeply: Within minutes of my posting it, tons of comments started pouring in from viewers and clients who thanked me for being real and honest with them and giving them permission to be and love themselves.
You can watch this video here:
And here’s the predecessor video I had shot while wearing the make-up, still not comfortable enough to take off the “mask”:
Are You “Silently” Suffering Like I Was?
So that’s my story – at least part of it.
I hope it shows you that despite my success today and the fact that people now see me as the go-to fat loss, energy, and natural health expert, I’m really no different from you.
I’m just a guy who went through hell and stumbled upon some very real solutions in the middle of it all. These solutions are what I’m offering you on this site and through my work.
Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to get to know me. I look forward to helping you reach your health and fitness goals and that someday our paths may cross in person.
Your friend and coach,
I Can’t Change the World All Alone:
MEET MY TEAM
Now that you know who I am, let me introduce you to the amazing people on my team. If it weren’t for amazing men and women there’s no way I would still be doing this today. They make my life so much easier and allow me to focus on my unique gift, which is teaching and empowering you to a healthy and fit life.
Our company is called Elkaim Group International, Inc. (probably should have thought about that one a little more) and you’ll often see us using Total Wellness Consulting (our operating name) in the emails I send to you.
Regardless of our name, we are a small team of passionate men and women who are here to serve you. We consider ourselves, first and foremost, a customer service company. And a health company second. We pride ourselves on taking care our customers and bringing a human touch back to the online experience.
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