Bristol student behind WellEasy exercises 20 times a week in an obsessive ‘vortex’

A Bristol graduate who struggled with an obsession with calories and exercise is now redefining healthy living.

Two years ago, Sonny Drinkwater was exercising 20 times a week and counting each of the 1,000 calories he consumed each day.

The former University of Bristol student has now launched an online store that aims to sell affordable nutritious foods, and it’s like a ‘mix of Costco and Whole Foods’.

Read more: A Bristol woman shares how losing six stones changed her life

WellEasy is described as an organic grocery store that provides home delivery of healthy, organic foods at wholesale prices.

The project was inspired by Sonny’s health journey, which took a turn when an injury left him unable to paddle.

He developed a passion for the gym instead, which escalated into a harmful fixation.

Reflecting on his time at university, the 24-year-old said: “I was so sick. I got into a whirlwind of counting calories and going to the gym anxiously.

“I’d get up at 6 a.m. to do cardio, do weights at lunch and then more cardio in the evening, all while eating exactly 1,000 calories a day. It took a huge toll on my mental health.”

“At the same time, I’d go to a store and find something with a good four ingredients that cost £4, yet something highly processed with 20 ingredients would cost 70p.

“I realized there had to be a better way.”

Sony recently graduated from Bristol with an integrated MA in History with Innovation, after five years of study.

WellEasy started out of his parents’ garage at home in Kent, with school friend Joshua Barley.

The couple just secured nearly £400,000 in funding to boost their startup.

They are backed by co-founder of online furniture giant, Julian Clyde, who has led them since May of this year after joining as a non-executive director.

WellEasy members can shop their lifestyle choices and values ​​according to categories like vegan, keto, and gluten-free, and choose from over 1,500 products across the site.

Sonny Drinkwater with a WellEasy Grocery Box

Hundreds of people have already joined, and each new member sponsors free membership for a low-income family, NHS worker, teacher, student or Armed Forces veteran as part of the WellEasy Cares scheme, which 50 people sign up to benefit from from afar.

WellEasy was a finalist in the University of Bristol’s New Enterprises competition last year and was part of the university’s foundation scheme in 2018, designed to provide students with entrepreneurial skills through workshops and networking opportunities.

“We wouldn’t have started this without Bristol Uni and the help that the Employment Service provided us with startup workshops, internships and funding,” said Sonny.

Stuart Johnson, Director of the University of Bristol Employment Service, said: “Sony’s success as an entrepreneur is most inspiring when you consider how radically different his lifestyle was just a few years ago.

“WellEasy makes healthy eating a viable option for people who can’t afford it. We’re proud that Sonny started his journey in Bristol.”

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