Sunday Video Sharing – Normalizing the Abnormal

I watched this video this weekend from one of my favourite blogs – Weighty Matters by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. This is a speech he presented on normalizing the abnormal i.e. processed food and junk food. It’s a great little video about how ubiquitous fast food and convenience food has become. Check it out (about 17 mins long):

It goes hand in hand with my current reading – Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. I’ll post a full review of it when I’m done, but in the meanwhile check out some articles about it I found useful from Maclean’s, The Toronto Star, and the New York Times.

Salt Sugar fat

Opinion · Weight Loss

Weekend Watching: Man Who Lost 400lbs & Regained

I’ve just heard about this story, I’m not American so it hadn’t shown up in my news over the years, about a man named David Smith who, at his heaviest, weighed 650lbs. He had gone public with his weight struggle and asked for help. He managed to lose 400lbs and has since re-gained over 250 of those pounds and is now close to 500lbs.

You can watch the 5 min video from NBC Today here on the Huffington Post.

I have to say, my heart goes out to him. The struggle to maintain is so much harder. In the video he says some very poignant/important things: that when he became thin and a good looking guy that it blew his mind away and he didn’t know how to deal with it. He didn’t know how to cope. He also said: As much as you work on the outside, you have to work on the inside, because if your foundation isn’t built up you’ll just crumble down.

I do think food addiction and the resulting obesity is like any other addiction (alcohol, smoking, drugs etc.), but I would say the struggle to maintain is even harder because unlike drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol, you can’t live without eating. Going cold turkey doesn’t work here.

If you don’t change/address the inside, what leads you to eat and why then it will come back. Also, if you do not give yourself time to get used to your new body, who you now are, then I think the likelihood of regaining is exponentially increased.  I truly believe that people underestimate just how vastly different life is when you are obese versus a weight in the healthy range. When you lose a significant amount of weight EVERY SINGLE FACET of life changes and it takes a lot of time to get used to it, to accept it, to not judge or berate yourself for past choices, and to move forward without falling back on past habits. If you don’t give yourself the time to get used to the new you, it’s easier to let the weight & habits come back because you won’t see the change.

Whenever I get frustrated at the speed (or lack thereof) of my weight loss, or my 6-months in the 160s. I have to think about this. What’s the alternative? For me it is better to maintain, to go at it slowly now then to rush things. I still have my struggles, I am still getting used to the new person in the mirror, but each day, week, month it gets easier.

A recent NSV (non-scale victory) for me is that I’m starting to be able to go into a clothing store and pick out clothes that will fit me. My spatial sense of my body is starting to catch up with my actual body. I bought a couple dresses at a garage sale last month without trying them on first (they were $2, can you blame me?!) and they both fit when I brought them home. For me, this is a HUGE step forward.

I truly hope he can get his life on track as he says. The 250lb+ gain in 2 years will have done more damage to his internal organs. I wish him strength.

Opinion · Weight Loss

Weekend Watching: Weight of the Nation

Recently I found out about the HBO Documentary Weight of the Nation, a four-part documentary series looking at obesity in the United States. Quite frankly, I think most information is not that far off for most Western Industrialized nations. In Canada we may not have the same level of fast food, candy, ridiculous portions, but we’re getting there and we’re getting there fast. I, pardon the pun, devour information on obesity. I like reading articles – I prefer scientific ones, rather than magazines – on the causes, effects, and consequences of obesity, weight loss, and weight loss maintenance and thus I found this to be a fascinating series. I watched it over the course of the long weekend a couple weeks back and in case you haven’t yet heard of it, I’d like to share it with you.

As I get closer to my goal weight and the inevitable challenge of maintaining my weight loss I am also reading about why it is often hard to maintain. One of the key reasons that seems to be addressed quite a bit in medical blogs and articles is that with obesity and the resulting weight loss our body is forever changed metabolically and that that never goes away. Here is a short video (1:41) that explains it briefly. The basic premise is: take two people at a healthy weight. Person 1 got to this weight through weight loss and Person 2 has been at this weight for their life. Person 1 CANNOT eat the same amount of calories as Person2 to maintain their weight. They must eat approximately 20% less. Here, he explains it with pictures! :

Is this fair? Oh certainly not. Is life fair? Well I think we all learned the answer to that one when were children. For me, it’s about information, if I know this then I can prepare myself. Complaining or wishing it not true isn’t going to do me a lick of good. Is it fair that an alcoholic cannot have that one summer drink on the patio with friends? No, but that’s one’s lot in life. Everyone has their own challenges and struggles and there is no use in comparing ourselves to someone else because in the end we’ll just end up miserable. We need to face our challenges not wish them away.

Here’s the trailer for the doc and then I’ve added links to all four parts, each is just over an hour long. If you go on their website you’ll see bonus shorts and articles as well.

Part 1: Consequences

Part 2: Choices

Part 3: Children in Crisis

Part 4: Challenges

Happy Weekend All!

Exercise · Rewards · Weight Loss


I don’t believe in resolutions. If you want to change your life or an aspect of it, then figure out how to do it, and then do it. The time of year is irrelevant.

I started this journey back in May and truly recommitted in August. I find when we attach too much significance to a life change or a time of year we set ourselves up for failure if we cannot achieve it 100%.

So make plans, but be sure to act on them! If you don’t know how to make your dreams happen then the first step is to find out how to do it, not sit back and wait for it to happen to you.

Here are some goals I plan to accomplish in 2011. I’m sure there’s more, I just can’t think of them yet.:

1. Get to goal before the end of the year.

2. Learn to Run

3. Run/Walk a 5k

4. Finally submit the grant applications for the 2 projects I want to get off the ground

5. Direct a show I’ve been hired for that has been post-poned until late spring

6. Move into a new apartment.

7. Travel to Paris and the rest of France.


Drink responsibly tonight, and please call a cab, use public transit, walk, or stay over. One night isn’t worth your life or anyone else’s.


All the best in the New Year to everyone!