Fat Positive Friday #4 Things I will miss....


My physical presence.

I am a big man. 6’2″ ~400 lbs (less than) with an extremely wide physical frame.  For a long time, (and even right now) I believed that I needed to be physically large to have an impact in the world.  I truly enjoy being the largest person in a room (I almost always am) and this has always given me confidence and a strong sense of my unique identity. This will be a difficult transition for me as it has been integral to my core identity for over 30 years.

I remember the first time I dieted (Grade 10) and a good friend said that I couldn’t lose weight, that if I did I wouldn’t be Paul anymore. That moment definitely crystallized in my head and I have remembered it ever since. It is fascinating how seemingly innocuous comments remain with you for decades and impact decisions and feelings in a completely oversize way.

My Junior High School (Grade 8-10):


( The lead picture is me with all my Foundation colleagues this summer)

The Hike (With before and after videos)


“Let’s go on a Remembrance Day Hike to a bunker in the mountains” my wife said to me a few weeks ago.  I reluctantly agreed, but as the day drew near I was looking for something else to do, anything else really.  Yesterday morning came and I was feeling anxious, angry and scared about the hike and was looking for a way out.  We were meeting friends, and after my wife answered all of my questions and packed us up, I begrudgingly got in the van and drove us out to the Heart Creek trailhead near Canmore.

I think this was the first time that I was truly able to recognize the full spectrum of emotions that I have toward exercise.  I believe this is a positive step as I was able to look at my feelings through a different, more objective lens.  A more objective understanding doesn’t mean that I didn’t sulk through the first hour of the hike as we climbed to the mouth of the bunker however.  I found the climb difficult – pushing 400 pounds up a mountain is taxing as you might imagine.   The climb hurt, my hips and knees ached and there were fleeting thoughts of needing to go back to the van.  Maybe the kids would get cold and I could take them back and let the others continue the hike…its a mind game sometimes and yesterday my game was strong.

When we reached the bunker I felt relief.  The majority of the climbing was done, although we were only half way through our hike.  The way back was much easier for me.  I had to watch my footing but I was able to move faster and more confidently.  Knowing that we were on our way back made the second half of the hike much easier and my negative emotions subsided for the most part by the time we returned to the van; and I even felt a sense of accomplishment for working through the mind game and finishing a nice hike with my family and friends.

Click on the image for a  description of the hike. (I was totally off on the elevation change but it sure felt like more!)




And here is the video after the hike (I recorded these on seperate devices and my BlackBerry won’t let me upload directly to YouTube):

After Video on Facebook



Menu Plan November 7 – 13 Clearing the cupboards and a brief word about safe food handling...


This week’s menu is largely based on food we already had on hand.  For example, the leftover peanut sauce in our fridge happens to go smashingly with Salad Rolls (which I conveniently had most of the ingredients for) or the phyllo for the mini-quiches awaits its next use, or the rice from Dragon Bowl (the recipe is coming) transforms into excellent fried rice.

Aside from clearing out our cupboards, we have been scrutinizing our budget.  Planning our meals has helped me to use the food in our fridge and freezer wisely.  There was a time when the homemade peanut sauce would have languished in our fridge until it was thrown out or the phyllo would have gotten freezer burn because it ended up under the things we use most often.

To add to our budget considerations, we have sourced a few staples like excellent quality whole chickens at a bulk discount (hence the weekly roast chicken).  The plan, however, sometime goes off the track.  Last week I tried to thaw a frozen chicken quickly and forgot about it on my counter for the better part of the day (no more thawing on the counter…)  When I returned home and realized what I had done, I honestly gave serious thought as to whether or not I should cook the chicken for my family.  Cooler heads prevailed and the chicken saw my garbage can instead of my roaster.  In my travels about appropriate temperature of meat and best practices when thawing meat, I came across this handy website which will help when preparing this week’s chicken:



Menu Plan November 7 – 13

Saturday – Tacos

Sunday – Family dinner out

Monday – Salad Rolls

Tuesday – Pizza

Wednesday – Burgers, Roasted Mini Potatoes, Carrot and Zucchini Saute

Thursday – Mini Quiche, Salad and Raw Veggies

Friday – Roasted Chicken, Rice, Broccoli and Carrots


Grocery List

Pizza Sauce







Extra Lean Ground Beef



Cheese (pizza)

Veggie boullion





Cottage Cheese


Chocolate Milk

Greek Yogurt




Fat Positive Friday #3 All the good things....


Looking good. I have had many days while fat, that I look and feel really good.  I believe this is a very important thing to state as I think I can look at good at any size(and so can everyone else).  In the picture on top (photo credit James Costello) you’ll see me at the Library Foundation’s annual Bob Edwards Award Gala looking fine with some of our guests. I love this picture of me in the tux with a great smile.

While I understand that some people diet and seek to be skinnier for a look, I highly recommend learning to love yourself no matter what.  This isn’t easy for a lot of people and I really think women have much harder time of it in our often visually obsessed world. We all have body flaws that we don’t like and we are stuck with what our genes and life experience have caused and expressed.

And I love this picture below too from December 2009. (Christine looks great!)