The messy middle


I have been a hot mess as far as consistency goes with the FAT Project since I found out we were pregnant with twins almost two years ago.  I’ve had great streaks in both great choices and terrible choices.

This continues almost daily as I struggle with binge eating coupled with measuredd portions and focused exercise.  They don’t go well together.  I really need a more level approach.

If you know me well you know that I set things high and then meander and stretch my way towards this bold goal and bring others along with me.  The problem is while that has worked in my career, it is NOT working now.   I cannot continue the FAT Project with just the Olympic distance triathlon as the target.

I must take the small steps each day to move toward what I want.

  1. Daily Walk – I don’t care how long
  2. Biking Goal – my wife and I are coming to an agreement about me earning a road bike this year. How much I have to ride etc..?
  3. Get a coach – I have avoided this out of fear and ego.  I have one for leadership, I NEED one for the FAT Project.  Ideas? Interested?  This isn’t a sport coach yet. (That comes when I can actually properly do a triathlon)
  4. 5 Seconds – Before I eat anything at all….I must take stock for 5 seconds about what I am doing.
  5. Name my obesity.  I follow the Canadian Medical Association approved definition of Obesity which frames it as a disease.  It isn’t my fault but it is my responsiblility.  I have read that cancer patients often name their tumor.  So I will too…….and I want your help to pick!
    • Zorkon the Destroyer
    • Kepler
    • Jimmy
    • Slartibartfast
    • Other ideas ( no Boaty McBoatface!)

Completion, not competition If you can move you can do an OCR.


I am slow.  I have always been not physically fast, so I fully expect to be last in whatever I try.  I said yes to my first Obstacle Course Race(OCR) in 2016 because I believe in completion not competition and because I committed in the FAT Project to say yes when things are offered.

Darcy Chalifoux from X Warrior Challenge reached out to me because he had heard about the FAT Project and was looking for a “non-fit” participant (my words 🙂 to run and share their story.  I was scared: 23 obstacles, lots of climbing and rolling and groaning.

Now after 2 OCR’s complete and contemplating flying in for a 3rd in May, (msg me if you would join my team) I find I love the camaraderie, the energy and even the sweating.

We often just do the same things every day.

We often don’t want to try new things because we probably won’t be good at them at first.

This fits both.  So get off your butt and try it.  I did.




It’s the 12th of December


And ten days until my 39th birthday.  I have been having such a hard time not using food to cope with life.  I have binged almost every day for the last two weeks. From late night popcorn and peanut butter sandwiches to two bagels in the morning – it has been a rollercoaster and I feel out of control. This all makes me gain weight at about a 1 pound every three days.  I don’t have a working scale so I can’t check yet.

Let’s start again today.  I have always liked numbers and 12/12 is a nice one. Let’s raise my consciousness to be focused on what I consume instead of letting habits and nerves guide me. Let’s take each day one day at a time, instead of ignoring my feelings, confront why I want to stuff my face.  What is it giving me, what am I getting from it?  I am more self aware of these things than I have ever been and I even thought I was over these binge times……but I am not.  The only thing that I can feel good about here is that at least I am dealing with it and not waiting until I weigh 400+ lbs again.

All in all it just sucks that I have gained weight and am in these depths related to food.  My overall mood is great.  Work is going swimmingly, and we have a good routine wrt to the commute and the family.  We feel settled in Oakville and are enjoying the activities with family and the kid’s school.

Life is hard sometimes, you just can’t eat a donut everyday though. Onward and upward.

Today’s menu:

Homemade banana strawberry smoothie

1 Tbsp Flax
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1.5 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 Tbsp Cocoa
1 Tbsp Espresso
1 cup water
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen strawberries

XL Coffee with 1 cream from McDonalds



Off the rails Or Fuck, this is hard.


I feel it must be clear to the outside world how much I am struggling with the FAT Project right now.  I have had about 20 restarts in the last 6 months alone.  I have gained weight as evidenced by my clothes and how my back is feeling.  I am not exercising much at all. I post on social with the consistency of bad weather in summer. This sucks.

I have again returned to old habits where I use food to handle the complexities and challenges in life.  And this year was full of those:

The Intensity of 2017

  • Birth of Twins
  • Moving Provinces (saying goodbye to so many good people and everything else this entails)
  • Starting as a CEO at a new organization

There is one clear difference this time however: I am acutely aware of it.  I know what I am doing when I am doing it and I am convinced this can allow me to challenge these behaviours more aggressively. Merely by writing about it here I acknowledge them and I can restart the processes I began with the FAT Project 2 years ago. Why I am doing this publicly and why I am doing it at all.

It also important to acknowledge how much life doesn’t suck:

  • Christine and I have 5 healthy daughters who love to make their own way
  • The kids are loving their new school and community
  • Christine’s re-connection to her parents and sister has been delightful to see
  • We have reunited with many old friends and family and are making new ones in Oakville
  • My new role is incredible, especially the people at the Canadian Olympic Foundation, I am very lucky
  • I keep being told that being me is what will enable my success at work and consequently I am bringing it as much as I can everyday – it appears to be working
  • I am travelling for work and seeing old friends around the country
  • I have the privilege to go to South Korea for the Olympic Winter Games in February

I wonder sometimes how my obesity fits into my life. Is it caused by my success, is it a byproduct?  Is it a hindrance or a liability?  We had a good discussion at work about bringing your whole self to bear.  I believe in this idea and I always try to do this -I am Paul in whatever situation I am in.  That means that I cannot separate my obesity from me. It is me; I identify as someone who has the disease of obesity and I always will. So what I am wondering is if I can keep that part, as it seems to work for me and still lose the weight.  It makes me so mad that I can’t fit into some of my clothes, that I have back aches and side aches.  That I can binge on food so quickly just to provide quick relief from challenging situations and feelings. I understand things through this lens, can I even think about removing it until I am no longer physically obese?  Can I have obesity and not be obese?  I would like to believe that.

The way I manage my food intake and exercise output needs to reflect how much I use food to cope.

I have a short term goal and that is to fit into the Olympic Clothing in February in PyeongChang, South Korea.  I have 2XL ordered (that is the biggest they make) and I do NOT fit into it right now.

Today I started with a homemade smoothie and an Americano black.  Each choice fits into the greater objective and I want to align my choices back to those objectives. Thank you for all the amazing support the FAT Project connections have provided these last two years.