Peter’s slow and controlled weight gain continued into November of 2003. By that time he was up to 80 kilograms. Things took a turn for the worse in December, however. Both his parents became ill again and Peter was very upset about this. To escape the stress he felt, he started to eat a lot. His weight quickly went up to 90 kilograms—and most of that new weight was fat not muscle.
The knowledge and self-discipline that Peter had acquired since getting out of hospital helped him through the crisis. He was very unhappy about the weight he’d gained and he was determined to lose it, but he told himself that he just couldn’t go back to his old weight-control method of starving himself. So he went back to following a healthy diet and he continued to exercise. Before the end of January, he had his weight down to 88 kilograms. Most of his new fat had disappeared and what remained had been converted into muscle. That was the end of Peter’s anorexia, but he still had a very interesting chapter of his life ahead of him—and, although it did not involve anorexia, it did involve food.
In 2007, Peter was at university, working on an engineering degree. He was in good health, physically and mentally. Early one morning, he went out for breakfast along with several friends. They had been drinking all night and they were very hungry. They all ordered a special meal which included a double portion of every item on the breakfast menu: toast, French toast, bacon, sausages, fries, and pancakes. Remembering that event, three years later, Peter said “I managed to scarf down my plate before my buddies could eat a quarter of theirs.” His friends were impressed by this so they asked the waitress what the restaurant record for this particular meal was. She said someone had once eaten two in less than an hour. Peter decided to take up the challenge and quickly ate three more of the meals, doubling the old record.
Peter was surprised by this success, but having discovered his talent, he decided to develop it. He quickly learned the tricks of the professional competitive eaters: Chew as little as possible because it wastes time and tires you out; dunk your food in water when swallowing gets difficult. Soon he was doing “challenges” at home, filming them and posting them on YouTube. In one of these videos he broke another record by eating a two-kilogram steak in seven minutes. That attracted a lot of attention and resulted in an invitation to take part in the North American Collegiate Eating Championships in California. He won seven events there.
By 2010 Peter had been in thirty competitions, and he had performed such feats as eating 47 potato pancakes in eight minutes and seventeen bananas in 45 seconds. He was also doing eating stunts at restaurant promotions. In September 2009, for example, he ate 4.5 kilograms of ribs at a restaurant near his home. In the hope of winning a prize, the guests there paid $2.00 each to guess how long it would take him to finish. The proceeds went to a charity, The Multiple Sclerosis Society.