It was a life-threatening illness that pushed Jiries Rabba to take control of his health.
He was in bad shape, having put on 65 pounds in the two years following high-school. Active in a wide variety of sports throughout his youth, he had stopped exercising completely and his diet consisted almost entirely of junk food.
“I fell into a destructive cycle of overeating and couldn’t break free,” said Rabba. “I felt trapped.”
His life took a turn for the worst in the summer of 2007, when a nasty bout of the flu, forced him to visit the emergency room.
Falling into a coma, with his organs failing, Rabba had to rely on a respirator to breathe. His family and friends were fearful he’d never wake up again.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) occurs when fluid builds up in your lungs, leading to less oxygen reaching your bloodstream. Having less oxygen in your bloodstream deprives your organs from functioning normally.
Thankfully, the doctors were able to treat his condition. Upon recovery, it was sobering reality for Rabba to learn that many people who develop ARDS don’t survive.
This was the wake-up call he needed. After getting out of the hospital, he knew it was time for a lifestyle change.
“I started thinking about how precious life is and pledged to start taking care of myself through regular diet and exercise.”
He started an at-home exercise program and cut unhealthy food out of his diet. After six months, he had lost 60 pounds.
But his worry that the weight would come back led him to another life-threatening battle: bulimia one of the many eating disorders that impact approximately 500,000 Canadians per year according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
His obsession with achieving the perfect body and the need to look his best for his upcoming wedding to his high school sweetheart, only amplified his condition. Fear that his friends and family would eventually find out about his secret forced Rabba to re-evaluate his situation and make a change for the better.
“Looking back at my wedding photos during that time, I am astonished at how skinny I had gotten. My idea of healthy at that time was completely distorted.”
After a year battle, he beat the eating disorder that had consumed him and began his journey on the road to a healthy, balanced life once more. That was seven years ago – and he hasn’t looked back since.
Rabba pursued a personal training certificate and completed a wide variety of nutritional courses. Through his studies, it allowed him to secure knowledge of how the body worked and how vital proper nutrition was in leading a healthy lifestyle. At last, he had achieved the balance he had been seeking in his life. It was his mission going forward to help educate and motivate others going through the very same struggles that he had faced.
Now a father of two young children, working up to 55 hours a week, the need to maintain a healthy balance in life was more important than ever.
“Life is hectic, especially for working parents. I wanted to create a healthy alternative to what was currently on the market for people of all ages.”
In 2016, Rabba launched PrOATein® lifestyle bars to help others struggling with achieving balance in their own lives.
“It’s a go-to snack for people of all ages that is gluten and nut free, high in protein and made with real ingredients,” he said. “We need to be aware in society that being out of balance is a problem. Many of the nutritional bars on the market today are loaded with artificial sweeteners, fillers, and unrecognizable ingredients that are not beneficial to your health. You mentally and emotionally feel better when you make healthy choices. This is what the bars exemplify."