Ying Maneein, also known as Rice Man, is a 28 year old self-employed barber from Chicago who let a run of bad luck bring out the best in him.
If you happen to stumble across @THERICEMAN on Instagram, you’ll see a variety of images ranging from colorful socks to skyline views. Scroll a little bit and you’ll even find a picture of @THERICEMAN himself proudly posing in a pink tutu. At 5’6,” 220lbs, Ying Maneein describes himself, quite often, as #shortfatandhandsome. But confidence didn’t always come easy to Ying. For as long as he can remember, he was overweight. No stranger to being called “fat,” Ying remembers trying to work out for the first time at the age of five.
In 2003 after an unsuccessful first year of college, Ying decided to go in a different direction and pursue a career as a barber. After completing barber college, he found steady employment at a barber shop, and felt comfortable enough to go after his true passion — music. Ying started taking classes at the famed Music Industry Workshop, also known as Studio Chicago, and invested $10,000 in purchasing music equipment. He joined a small record label that failed within a year. He then decided to branch off and start a small team of artists, and failed again.
In 2007, Ying attended a Les Brown seminar, which he credits for beginning his personal development journey. It was then he became more interested in books such as Think and Grow Rich, What Makes the Great Great, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Awaken the Giant Within, The Alchemist, and many others. “I asked myself, ‘why not me?'” He decided to focus his energy on managing and producing for one artist. But Ying didn’t start to see success right away. Tired of failing over and over again, he became desperate. He decided to produce, rap, and promote himself on his own television show. Meanwhile, the musician lifestyle was catching up to him. Late night club performances, alcohol, and poor eating habits tipped the scale to 290lbs. At the same time, Ying was losing his passion for music and quickly burning out. To make matters worse, his girlfriend of seven years no longer found him attractive, and dumped him.
“I went into a great depression,” says Ying, “I felt unattractive, no confidence and had no purpose to live.”
Feeling lost and finally having the time to focus on himself, Ying decided to hone his leadership skills by joining Toastmasters. “I joined Toastmasters and I felt small. Everyone was more educated, made more money… But, after my first speech. I found a new talent. Toastmasters is my mental gym.” Ying started to become inspired by the very people who initially triggered his insecurities. “I met great people at my Toastmasters club. People who ran marathons. People who read a lot of books. People who wanted more for themselves. People who were active on life. My friends weren’t doing any of that.”
Being part of a club full of professionals really motivated Ying to push himself to achieve more. Encouraged by his new found passion for life, Ying made a serious commitment to working out. “I joined a gym, I started out slow. I kept a journal. It was like looking at a bank account. 1 pound, 2 pounds per-week. It was like math. More workouts, less days eating bad, quicker results. I had to learn how to say ‘no.’ Parties, alcohol, friends… Some people don’t want you to change. I had to stay positive, keep my mind on my goals and don’t beat myself up if I do fall off. Just get back up. Grow, plateau, grow then plateau. It’s never a straight line up.”
“I lost 100 pounds in 2 years. My lowest weight was 174 pounds in the summer of 2012.” Ying found much of his success by writing down his goals, and visualizing the outcome using collages and prayer. He also finds balance in creating a ratio, “5 good days (workout, eat clean) 2 enjoy life days.”
“For me, it starts in the mind. I had to clean my inner-world to change my outer world. It starts with attitude, beliefs, philosophy and self-love.” He has a few external measures as well, “People who haven’t seen you make a big deal of it. I use people for motivation. The haters and the lovers are both needed.”
Ying does admit, however, to getting to comfortable this past year, “The girls started to like me again. Lots of them. I was always confident, but now it’s through the roof.” Despite having run two half marathons, some of his old eating and drinking habits started to creep back in. Currently 220lbs, Ying is planning a comeback in 2014. What’s up next? “My goal is to be under 170 pounds, finish a marathon, and win District 30 International Speech Contest. Why not me? Why not be the best.”
Coming soon, Ying’s very own blog: www.shortfatandhandsome.com