In the Wiggles’ early days, Anthony’s battle with chronic pain and depression would see him experiencing extreme highs during performances and massive lows off stage. After embarking on the long road to recovery, Anthony came out with an inspiring story, shared in his book ‘How I Got My Wiggle Back.’
Medibank has teamed up with The Wiggles to develop ‘Wiggle into Health’, an online health hub that brings nutrition, hygiene, safety and exercise information to children from their favourite Wiggles characters. With a new line-up for the band on the horizon, Anthony will be the only original castmate in The Wiggles and shares his health journey with Medibank members and why he’s not ready to hang up his skivvy just yet.
You’ve spoken before about The Wiggles early days and how you were in bad shape physically… what happened?
In the early ‘90s when The Wiggles started, I was besieged with chronic pain in my back and hernia issues. I was pretty much eating anything I liked, which started showing around my waist. My life was the mini van we toured in, country hotels, fried food and dark recording studios. When I was “up” at show time, I was flying high but when the toll of the road, my diet and tendency towards depression took over, I tumbled down.
What was the catalyst for change?
During a tour of the US in 2004, I was introduced to Dr James Stoxen, who we had hired to be our backstage chiropractor. He tried to be delicate but he let me know he could detect I was on the verge of some sort of physical collapse. It was both exhilarating and a little frightening. I hate to admit it but sometimes when you’re ill or injured it almost feels easier to accommodate the handicap rather than face the challenge of eliminating it. As real as it is, pain becomes a habit that’s hard to break.
How did you turn this around?
In the early days I needed constant treatment and Dr Stoxen would work on me for three to five hours at a time. It was gruelling and painful at times but it worked. I immediately threw out every painkiller I had. Comfortable with the fact that I was on the road to recovery, I opened up to friends and family, members of The Wiggles cast, our dedicated crew and some of our fans about my personal health battles. By the end of the US trip, I was able to walk, run, dance, jump and even smile again!
How do you manage your hectic tour schedule with a young family and staying healthy?
I have always had the support of my family when it comes to touring. When Murray, Jeff and Greg made the decision to hang up their skivvies at the end of 2013, it wasn’t something I considered. I love performing for children and hopefully I can contribute my experience to the new Wiggles – Simon, Lachie and Emma. I manage my time on the road by staying in constant contact with my wife Miki and my children Lucia, Maria and Antonio. Luckily with computers, these days I can speak to them on Skype each night when I’m away. When I’m home in Sydney, I spend all my time with them doing the normal things that dads do.
In order to perform 2-3 shows a day with The Wiggles, I need to make sure I eat well and for me, this is a vegan diet. I try to stick to the philosophy of only eating raw foods and nothing processed. I drink plenty of water and always take my bike on tour and cycle as much as I can. Exercise helps to keep me mentally healthy as well, which is important when you’re away from your family for long periods.
Medibank has teamed up with The Wiggles to develop ‘Wiggle into Health’, an online health hub that brings nutrition, hygiene, safety and physical activity information together with our favourite Wiggles characters. For more information go to: wiggleintohealth.com
For more information about Anthony’s book ‘How I Got My Wiggle Back’ go to: anthonyfield.com.au