Nick Eason admits it. He has a problem. It is a problem millions of Americans battle every day.
What is Eason’s problem?
He loves food.
“I grew up in the South and we eat everything on the hog except for the sound that it makes,” Clemson’s defensive tackles coach recently said. “Everything is surrounded by food. When I go home, it is about let’s go to church and then eat. Come over to my house, let’s eat. Come Saturday at the park, and let’s eat.
“I have always loved food. As time has progressed, I put on a lot of weight.”
Eason admits part of his issue stems from being an emotional eater. It did not help when he lost his grandmother and former Clemson teammate and close friend Altroy Bodrick in 2021. Bodrick, who was just 41 years old, died from an apparent heart attack.
“I have always been an emotional eater, so I just kind of ate my depression,” he said.
However, Eason does not want to live like that anymore. Last fall, he changed his diet. He now only eats vegan food. He has not had meat or dairy since September 12, 2022.
In February, he started working out at Junkyard Fitness in Clemson, which is owned by former Clemson great Ben Boulware. Eason even did mat drills with the players prior to the start of spring practice.
Add it all up, he has lost 62 pounds and is still counting.
“I want to live a long time for my family, kids. I just want to take care of myself,” he said. “I took it upon myself and changed my diet.”
The former Clemson defensive lineman arrives at Junkyard Fitness at 5:15 am every day. As for involving himself in mat drills, it was something he did on a whim.
“I woke up one morning and I said, ‘You know what. I am going to do mat drills today.’ So, I went in, got with the head of our managers. He gave me a pair of cleats. I took the paper out of them and jumped down there and did it,” Eason said. “I took my hat and my whistle off and just wanted to kind of challenge myself and just kind of get in there not knowing what was going to happen.
“I just went. I just go. Sometimes, it is all about a mindset. Just go. That is what I do. I just try to show up every day and just go. Do my job.”
As for maintaining his vegan diet, Eason credits Clemson Football’s chefs for providing him a diet that allows him to stick with it. He also visits a couple of vegan restaurants in the Greenville area when he feels like going out for dinner.
“I have my meals prepared every day, so it has been really easy for me to stick with (the diet),” he said. “The biggest thing for me, I always encourage people to read up on what you are doing. Educate yourself about whatever diet or meal plan you plan to go on and figure out the reasons why you are doing it and why you should not eat certain things.”
Eason recognizes people are not all the same. So, for certain people they can eat things and not gain weight or it affect them in a negative way. Others, such as himself, can have a negative effect after eating certain foods.
“I became a big guy,” he said. “I came to Clemson (as a player) at 215 pounds and left at 295 pounds. I can put it on, and I can lose it as well. I just want to be a better version of myself.”
He also wants to be a better example for his players and live some good years as he gets older. Eason explained how his uncles died by the age of 53 and how other members of his family suffered before passing away due to diabetes and other elements associated with their diets.
“I have seen a lot of my family members be on dialysis and I have seen what it did to my grandparents. I have seen what it did to other relatives that I watch and eventually…it is not a good ending,” Eason said. “So, I am just trying to be a better version of myself, so that I can coach harder on the field every day.
“I demand greatness from my players, so I have to be great.”
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