When it comes to making major lifestyle changes (like ones that can help you lose 100 pounds) surrounding yourself with the right group of people isn’t just an option; it’s a must.
That was especially important for wellness chef Charles Chen, who had to change his ways at the age of 15 when he was diagnosed as prediabetic. “I found some other kids at school who were going through the same thing,” says Chen, “and it was like the safe place where we can share our feelings, almost like a therapy.”
Chen is a chef, entrepreneur, and vivacious host of the online cooking show Kitchen Hustle, where “hustlers learn how to fuel their passions.” Throughout his childhood, Chen struggled with his health. As a teenager, he was prediabetic and a self-proclaimed couch potato who had no energy or motivation to make healthier choices. After hitting what he calls his “rock bottom moment,” he reclaimed his health, lost more than 100 pounds, and now helps others fuel their “bodies, mind, and spirit starting in the kitchen.”
The most important quality to look for in a support system is the absence of judgment, says Chen. Cleaning up your diet or attempting to lose weight can sometimes bring out judgment from others who—for one reason or another—are resistant to seeing you change.
“I know that I had to give up friends that just wanted to party,” Chen recalls, “so I really found a group of like-minded individuals.” And don’t think of it as selfish, either. Says Chen, “We want to better ourselves so we can better share our values and gifts to the world.”