90 Day Fiancé's Big Ed Opens Up About Being an Inspiration to People with Klippel Feil Syndrome
“I'm really amazed at the impact that I, because of the show, can have on people's lives,” he tells PEOPLE
The interior designer, 55, opened up about his insecurities stemming from having Klippel Feil syndrome, how he's been combating them and his fitness journey that resulted in a 21-pound weight loss.
"I think loving yourself every day is getting up in the morning and accepting you for who you are," Big Ed tells PEOPLE of his self-love journey.
As far as his insecurities go, he admits, "I mean, I still dye my hair, I still get my eyebrows done. I'm very conscious of my physical fitness and I don't like getting old, I don't like looking old or being old. And I didn't like my dad bod. So I'm getting rid of that. I'm trying to, you know, recaptured my youth."
Big Ed reveals he's been working with a professional MMA boxer and hiking to achieve his weight loss goals.
"He puts me through these hour and a half rigorous boxing lessons as well as weight training. I mean you sweat a gallon of water, it's insane," he says of his workouts. "So between hiking and boxing, and managing my intake since the start of episode one, I've lost 21 pounds."
Diet was also a crucial change that aided his transformation.
"The biggest difference has been managing my intake. I've given up bread, sugar and sweets," Big Ed says, jokingly adding, "I'll never give up my Malbec."
Big Ed reveals being confident isn't always easy, but his fans have helped him along the way.
"I'm really amazed at the impact that I, because of the show, can have on people's lives," he says. "I went viral on TikTok, and I'll have 8-year-old kids walk up to me and go, 'You're a legend.' And it just blows my mind... but they look at me as some kind of hero."
He adds, "And if I can in some way, empower them through accepting who they are and loving themselves then that's my win. And that's something that was completely unexpected."
The reality star – who is searching for love once more on 90 Day: The Single Life – adds that fans with Klippel Feil syndrome have written him letters embracing him for his personality.
"I have a condition called Klippel Feil syndrome. I have a shorter than normal neck. ... And people all my life, they've always just stared at me, like, 'What's wrong with you?' And physically there's nothing wrong with me," he says.
RELATED VIDEO: 90 Day: The Single Life's Big Ed Talks to His Mom About His Date
Big Ed adds, "I've learned over time, again, to accept who you are. And if you don't, you're in trouble. I've learned to do that and learn that I'm valuable."
"The biggest takeaway for me was, these people would write me letters and say, 'Where do you get your confidence?' and 'I have your same syndrome, but I can't get out of bed.' " the interior designer recalls.
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His advice to those fans is, "You have to accept that this is how God made you. And this is who you are, and the sooner you can do that, the easier life will become."
"And for me, that's it. That's worked really, really well. It's been kind of my winning formula," Big Ed says.
New episodes of 90 Day: The Single Life drop Sundays on Discovery+.
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