Health At Every Size (HAES)


The picture above is from September at our mostly annual Royston Invitational Putting Tournament. We set up golf holes on regular lawn and then have friends and family play for a trophy.  I am not happy with my size in this picture nor how I was feeling.  I had already taken 4 muscle relaxants by this time of the day so I could move well.

I signed a pledge today for the Health at Every Size movement.  I like their mission and philosophy, because it aligns with how I am approaching The FAT Project. One of the key pieces is to celebrate your life no matter how much you weigh. Health remains the most important part, always.  I found it after reading a post by Lauren Fowler on letting go of your weightloss goal.



Break Up with Diets Today

I deliberately don’t have a number of pounds I am shooting for. Firstly, my lowest adult weight has been 325 lbs and I don’t know what the ‘right’ size for my body is.  Secondly, I am doing the FAT Project to feel better, to live a healthy life and most important to live a full life. I have never been that focused on a number at any point throughout my life. If I felt good and healthy that was my metric.

I have hit a wall where my obesity is concerned.  I feel that my size is a barrier in my daily life and is detrimental to my health.  I was waking up in pain every morning to the point where I would have to go sit in a recliner for 15 min to reset my back so I could walk properly. My knees ache when I walk, especially upstairs and my shoulders freeze up with incredible pain every few months.  I have a varicose vein on my right knee and my ankles have lots of broken blood vessels.  I feel very fortunate that I do not have any chronic conditions or issues that prevent me from improving my health through physical activity.

It’s interesting because these aches and pains are a relatively new thing.  Since having children, I have not made exercise a priority, but throughout my life I feel that I was a reasonably active, morbidly obese man.

A quick list of things I have done while weighing 325 – 400 lbs:

  • Had three children (well, my wife actually was the one who birthed them 🙂 )
  • Had a great career and am now CEO of a non-profit
  • Completed several long multi-day bike trips (the longest at more than 600 km)
  • Climbed down a mountain in Jasper, Alberta
  • Completed a Try-A-Tri (400m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run)

I have spent a long time not listening to or respecting my body.  Thinking about Health At Any Size and the mindset that goes with it is a big step to getting there.







The Magic of Meal Planning A look into the FATKitchen


The FAT Project isn’t our first rodeo…Paul and I have cycled through good times and challenges with our diet over the years.  What we know from experience is how we work best…and that a little planning and preparation goes a LONG way.  We are very good at rationalizing more than regular restaurant trips and poor choices at home:

  • I had a (insert emotion here) day.
  • I’m hungry now.
  • What’s for dinner?  Don’t know?
  • I’m craving.  Let’s go out for dinner.

When we take a few minutes to plan what we want to eat and create a grocery list something amazing happens.  WE EAT THE FOOD IN OUR FRIDGE!  I don’t have to spend time thinking each day about what we are having for dinner, that decision has already been made!  What’s more, I have all the ingredients I need sitting in my fridge and pantry waiting for me (well…most of the time).  Aside from eating more nutritious meals at home, when we plan our meals, our fridge stays clean.  No mystery food in containers hanging around our kitchen.  Knowing what we are having for supper helps us make better decisions about our food intake throughout the day and simply having a plan pushes us toward following through with it because, well, the work is mostly complete.  The sum of these factors is our household staying on track.

In the spirit of sharing and accountability, #FATKitchen will post our weekly supper plan.  Most of our breakfasts and lunches are routine, so at this point in the journey we will focus on the evening meal.  Here is this week’s plan and grocery list:

Menu Plan for the Week of October 17-23

Saturday: Fish, zucchini noodles with pesto, broccoli

Sunday: Roast Chicken salad, biscuits, chopped veggies

Monday: Dragon Bowl with tofu and peanut sauce

Tuesday: Chicken fingers in panko, roasted potato, stir fry veggies

Wednesday: Baked Mac and Cheese with beans/ziti, frozen veggies

Thursday: Beef roast, quinoa, green beans

Friday: Homemade pizza, roasted cauliflower


Grocery List

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Coffee
  • Little Big Bread/whole grain bread
  • Quinoa
  • Zucchini
  • Tofu
  • Peppers
  • Fresh fish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Romaine Hearts
  • Pickles x 2
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapes
  • Frozen broccoli and cauliflower
  • Lactose free old cheddar
  • Pepperoni
  • Lunch meat
  • Broccoli
  • Small potatoes
  • Kale
  • Snow peas
  • Bananas
  • Other fruit (apples, pears, berries)
  • Garlic
  • Pine nuts
  • Basil
  • Old cheddar
  • Cucumbers

Weigh In and Medical Check-up


I had my first follow-up appointment today at the weight management clinic, and Joel from RoadWest Pictures filmed the entire thing.  The clinic was very open to the cameras and I look forward to sharing our discussion with you soon, but first, the results of the first 10 days of the FAT Project:

Drum roll please…

  • 9 lbs lost for a current weight of 408 lbs
  • 122/88 blood pressure, down from high 140’s over 90 (I may have had a little white-coat syndrome going on during my initial reading, today’s is much better)

Note that I do not weigh myself between these sessions, and the next one is scheduled for November 30, 2015.

Targets from the Nutritionist considering the results of my Metabolic Test that shows I burn 2750 calories at rest, daily:

  • Proteins 5 Servings
  • Grains 6 Servings
  • Dairy 3 Servings
  • Fruit 3 Servings
  • Vegetable 5+ Servings
  • Extra Fat 4 Servings

I really appreciate all the comments and interaction in the #FATProject Social Media feeds, please keep it up!  Some family and friends have raised concerns about the Diet Pepsi that has had a supporting role in a few of my food photos, concerns that it doesn’t belong in the diet of someone undertaking this kind of project.  I appreciate hearing all thoughts and concerns, and I look forward to learning more and fine-tuning my diet over the next few years.

My current philosophy when it comes to the food going into my body is that it should be reasonable – reasonable portions and reasonable choices.  I will continue to be open and honest about what I consume and sometimes I will make less than optimal choices.  Instead of feeling guilty about a choice that could have been better, I will feel good about it.  The FAT Project will never work if I place too high of value on deprivation or ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ food.  If for now a can of Diet Pepsi fits, I am pleased to make its acquaintance.  Tomorrow I may choose differently, but I will always aim to be in control of the choice.

There are two promises I make to make to myself for the next few years:

  1. I will eat delicious and beautiful cake on my birthdays
  2. There will be no restricted foods on this eating plan, I will eat reasonably



So is this like ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’?


Over the last few weeks, I have had a number of people say to me, “Hey, is this like Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead?”  For those of you who don’t know, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (and its sequel) document the journey of Joe Cross as he uses juicing as a catalyst to create a healthier life, inspiring others to follow his lead.  I admire Joe Cross’ journey with juicing to make his life better; I found it to be a powerful example of commitment and weight loss.  Many people found Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead inspiring and I think it is worth a watch:

The short answer to the question is no, not really.  I have set a goal to achieve, healthy and fit enough to complete an Olympic distance triathlon in 3 years time.  While the FAT Project will document my journey to health and fitness,  I have not landed on one path to achieve my goals.  I am beginning my journey in a medically supervised program using a slow and steady approach to make lasting changes.  I will take 3 years to cement lifestyle changes that I can maintain – not bad considering it took me over 30 years to build the habits that led me to put on the weight that I carry.  I am open to trying different things, maybe juicing or meal replacements, and I look forward to figuring out what works best for me.  We are all individuals so it makes sense to me that we each need to find our own way.

At my first clinic visit with the Dr. we talked about how the process of losing weight will be about 80% diet and 20% exercise, and that there are many unique factors that make up my personal situation.  I will be working with the clinic to identify what those are for me – perhaps hormonal challenges, my thyroid, sleeping issues or depression.

Another factor that I will address so that I am never obese again is to delve into the emotional issues that I carry around.  How did I get to 420 pounds?  What keeps me obese?  My father was here for Canadian Thanksgiving last week and he graciously consented to letting us film him answering the question, “Dad, why am I fat?  My dad and I had an amazing conversation for nearly 40 minutes.  I am grateful for the conversation and I think it will contribute to my long-term healing.  My partners at RoadWest Pictures and I look forward to sharing the footage with you soon.