From biscuits to ‘Buff Bezos’: Amazon CEO on shedding his poor eating habits and awful breakfast routine

(GeekWire) Jeff Bezos didn’t always look so damn buff.

The Amazon CEO took over the internet after a photographer snapped an image of Bezos struttin’ his stuff at an invite-only gathering in Sun Valley, Idaho.

The photo appeared during an on-stage interview earlier this month when Bezos was interviewed by his younger brother Mark at a Summit Series event in Los Angeles.

“As internet memes go, ‘Swoll Jeff’ is pretty cool, right?” Mark Bezos told his brother as the Amazon CEO let out his famous laugh.

Mark Bezos noted how the photo confused him, given that his older brother didn’t always look so fit. “In all honesty, this is what I grew up with,” he noted. “When you guys saw ‘Swoll Jeff,’ I was surprised, too.”

Bezos admitted that his eating habits weren’t so good back when he was first getting Amazon off the ground.

For a couple years before Amazon launched in 1994, Bezos said he would eat an entire can of Pillsbury biscuits for breakfast each morning — with added butter. His wife finally stopped him one day and asked him to read the ingredients.

“I had never read a nutritional label in my life,” said Bezos, who noted that he was “skinny as a rail” at the time. “I ate what tasted good to me.”

Bezos’ wife, MacKenzie Bezos, helped put an end to his unhealthy breakfast routine and since then, the 53-year-old has gone through a physical transformation of sorts.

It’s been a gradual change — back in 2013, Brad Stone, journalist and author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, noticed that as Amazon grew, so did Bezos. Speaking at an event in Seattle in 2013, Stone shared a theory as to why the prolific entrepreneur was hitting the gym — it has to do with his space company Blue Origin.

“I definitely think he’s going to space. I think he wants to,” Stone said. “One sort of interesting physical transformation is that as Amazon has grown, Jeff is in pretty good shape now. He looked a little pasty and rumbled after the 90s, and now he’s clearly working out every day. And the reason I bring that up is that I think he’s in astronaut training.”

Bezos is a huge space nerd and self-proclaimed Trekkie — perhaps one of the few who launched his own rocket enterprise to make his space exploration dreams come true. He talked about Blue Origin during the chat with his brother this month.

And Bezos isn’t the only Amazon exec that has gone through a health and eating change. During a meeting with Whole Foods employees after Amazon announced that it was acquiring the grocer for $13.7 billion earlier this year, Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke, who joined the company in 1999, recalled how he arrived in Seattle nearly two decades ago as a “meat-and-potatoes person from the East coast.”

“I met a bunch of people on the West coast who were eating in a different way,” Wilke told Whole Foods employees. “And they changed my health. They changed the way I thought about food. They changed the way I thought about raising kids — and what we would feed them. And you pioneered this. You drove people to think differently about what they ingest and how they go about their day, which is kind of remarkable.”


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