Yuyu Jay

“I was overweight for a long time, but not for the conventional reasons. I was always eating healthy. Okay, I would have a pint here and there, but I always exercised, and while I was living in the city, I was progressively becoming more and more unhealthy. During lockdown, I was living in a cabin in Wicklow at the end of someone’s land. Rent was already way out of my means, and I didn’t want to live with my parents. I thought of it as an adventure and a great way to move closer to nature. There was literally nothing around for miles. I had to cycle 30 minutes to the closest shop. Despite being born and raised in Blackrock, I always had this pull for nature, but back then, I didn’t really understand the reasons just yet. Anyway, during the lockdown, I started to make these YouTube videos about running on empty. I always participated in sports, but I added an extra layer by creating a fasted exercise routine. It was before it became so mainstream. I was just experimenting really, on how far and what kind of physical exercises I could do without eating anything at all. These experiments sometimes lasted for days, sometimes for weeks; I would run for hours a day; I would go on 100 km bike trails on severely technical terrains. What I realized was, as long as I am connected to nature and to the elements, I would be fine. All physical workouts would be fine—cycling, kayaking, trail running; I am full of energy, focused, and rarely even feel hungry. But as soon as I return to the city, something changes, and I feel it as soon as I get there—that something has changed. I’d lose that connection, and I became drained and fatigued. People forget that we are from nature. We are supposed to be connected. That’s how it worked for millions of years, and what we call normal—living in cities—is just something we’ve normalized. If you’ve had a bad day, trust me, go to the local woods, go to the beach, breathe fresh air, and you will feel better.”