Sometimes extreme changes aren’t as weird as they seem. When Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic took the advice of his doctor to make some major dietary changes in 2010, people called him eccentric. Turns out, the tennis pro – then ranked in the top-10 in the world – had some major surprises up his sleeve, as soon after his dietary restrictions, he became the number one tennis player in the world.
So what were dietary changes did he make? Djokovic decided to go completely gluten-free. He also avoids dairy and caffeine, including two favorites in most people’s diets: coffee and chocolate. For some unknown reason, he has also reduced his intake of tomatoes. Djokovic swears by this diet, saying it gives him more energy and he lost 11 pounds right away. Still, in an August 2013 Wall Street Journal interview, he admitted it was difficult at first.
“First few months, you know, I felt that need for sugar instantly after the meal, if you know what I mean. I would just take teas now and kind of try to satisfy my needs. But it wasn’t as easy, you know,” Djokovic said.
While gluten-free and various other dietary restrictions aren’t for everyone, Djokovic surely benefited. He was up against Rafael Nadal in the championship game of the U.S. Open this year. Though Nadal bested him, Djokovic certainly has come a long way and will most likely remain a major force in the tennis world.
If you’re interested in going gluten-free or making other dietary restrictions, either for health or weight-loss reasons, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or a nutritionist first to find out if you should supplement your new diet with a multivitamin.