The Journey in Photos

If you’re coming to this blog since I’ve reached my goal weight, this gallery will provide you with the Coles/Cliff Notes version of how I got there and how I’m staying there.

A long, long time ago, on an island far, far away

From the Cape Breton Post. Coxheath Elementary School's Field Day. Documented proof of my athletic inabilities.

From the Cape Breton Post. Coxheath Elementary School’s Field Day. Documented proof of my athletic inabilities.

The competitive spark was there, but the abilities were not. Despite my parents’ best efforts, at some point the frustration of not being as athletic as my friends led to a childhood as a coach potato.

2010

June 2010 with the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

September 2010, Size 52 suit, probably 250 lbs.  Don’t I look happy I’m working on Labour Day Weekend?

Late November 2010, a few weeks before I discovered I was down a suit size.

December 2010 – Royal Assent Reception with Rt. Hon. David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. New suit is extra roomy, but I still haven’t figured it out yet.

December 10, 2010, I try on a size 52 suit, the same size I had bought two months earlier.  It’s too big!

December 15, 2010, chatting with a friend over dinner about the sudden weight loss, she suggests a personal trainer.

2011

January 6, 2011, my first appointment at Free Form Fitness, a consultation.  I clock in at 236 lbs.

Robbie Burns Day at the Highlander Pub in Ottawa, January 2011. Celebrating losing my first ten pounds.

April 2011, first 30 lbs gone. Pants are from the one pair of pants off a size 52 suit that I didn’t have taken in.

April 2011, about 2 months into my Learn to Run clinic. Running debate what movie I look like a reject from more: X-Men or Logan’s Run

End of April 2011, first new suit since my weight loss.

May 16, 2011, graduating with my PhD in Politics from the Catholic University of America. 198 lbs

May 2011, final Learn to Run Clinic before Ottawa Race Weekend 5K

Ottawa Race Weekend – Running the 5K with best friends Mike and Christian

First 5K finish – 32min, 35sec

June 2011, with the Honourable Noel A. Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate

July 16, 2011 – Chris and Brittany’s wedding. 183 lbs and a size 38 tux.

July 23, 2011 – toasting my father (2nd from right) on his 60th birthday party

August 6th, 2011 – Depositing the last of the fat clothes in a charity bin, 178 lbs.

Fresenius Alive to Strive 5K – Chip time 28:44.5, 177 lbs.

August 2011 with the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, and his wife Laureen. When the PM recognized me, he said, “Weren’t you bigger last year?”

What a difference a year makes.

And since:

Army Run 5K, Sept. 18, 173 lbs. Time: 27:25

Those pants from my old size 52 suit again. The week I reached my goal weight.

In fighting shape, literally. Skeet shooting in Arnprior, ON.

With the Honourable Noel A. Kinsella and Mrs. Ann Kinsella at the 2011 Diplomatic Community Christmas Reception on Parliament Hill

2012

January 1, 2012 – Fredericton Running Room Resolution Run. Time 27min, 30sec (unofficial)

Rideau Canal, January 26th, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day 5K, March 17, 2012. Chip time: 25:27. New personal best.

May 11, 2012 – With Lou Ferrigno, the Incredible Hulk, at Ottawa ComicCon 2012. Lou’s story about how he took up body building to combat bullying is inspiring.

May 27, 2012 – My second appearance at Ottawa Race Weekend and my first as half-marathoner. Coming into the finish line for a 1:57:39 chip time.

September 23 – My second Army Run and my second half marathon. Another personal best of 1:53:14

December 1st. Santa Shuffle 5k. Kalin and I pre-race with our 5K clinic.

December 1st. Santa Shuffle 5k. Kalin and I pre-race with our 5K clinic.

2013

January 27th. Hypothermic Half Marathon at the Marshes Golf Course. Unofficial time 2:36. Fell on the ice three times and almost called it quits after the first lap. Sucked it up and got it done. Finishing this race gave me a sense of accomplishment that rivaled my first 5K.

January 27th. Hypothermic Half Marathon at the Marshes Golf Course. Unofficial time 2:36. Fell on the ice three times and almost called it quits after the first lap. A true lesson in JFDI. Finishing this race gave me a sense of accomplishment that rivaled my first 5K.

May 26th. My first marathon. Ottawa Race Weekend. Chip time: 4:11

May 26th. My first marathon. Ottawa Race Weekend. Chip time: 4:11

 

Fall 2013 - the photo that accompanied the advertisement announcing I had joined the firm.  Pretty good final "after" photo.

Fall 2013 – the photo that accompanied the advertisement announcing I had joined the firm. Pretty good final “after” photo.

16 responses

  1. meandmyotherhalf | Reply

    Oh my god, you have done SO well! I wish I had the same determination. Amazing 🙂

  2. Thanks. A lot of things fell into place to make this success happen. I’m sure you’ll make it your finish line, too.

  3. Nice blog Michael. You have clearly come a long way, and in a fairly short period of time too!
    Fitness and health is something we here in North America tend to take for granted. Our culture encourages overeating and all too often people make resolutions they don’t stick with. It is nice to see someone set a good example by sticking to their resolution, even though it can be very hard at times.
    It looks like you are still excelling in the political world as well. Hope all is well there in Ottawa.

    1. Thanks, Mike. I know the track record with most when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, so I actually avoided calling this one. My excuse is that since I actually decided in December to try out the personal training it is actually and old year’s resolution.

      There’s no single reason why this weight loss attempt is working better than others other than to say this is the year I wanted to get my stuff together.

      Political life is treating me well. Let’s just say I’m a long way from sharing a hotel room at a policy convention with half the New Brunswick delegation.;)

  4. That’s an incredible transformation. Congratulations Michael! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Anny. Hope you enjoy the blog. It was fun writing it.

  5. I just saw your tweet to Phillip Defranco on twitter which led me to here. I just wanted to let you know how much of an inspiration you have just become to me. Once again getting in shape has follow on my to do list of the new year and your success has shown that I can do it. Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Sarah. It was a long journey with many twists and turns. Worth every effort. If you put your mind to it, surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you, and, in the end, just f—–g do it, you’ll make it to your goal.

  6. Wow, i just found this so Inspirational thank you for putting it up. You have done so well in a relatively short period of time. I hope to make 2012 the year i change and lose the weight. Im 24 and really need a kick to get me going and seeing that you have done it and that it is possible really has. Wish me luck i have a feeling i will need it!! Do you think you could have done it without the personal trainer? Im from Ireland and a pretty small town at that so no way of getting a personal trainer within an hours drive at least. Either way Congratulations to you keep up the good work. Enjoy.x

    1. I did lose weight once before without a personal trainer. In 2004-2005, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and went from 244 lbs down to about 180 lbs. I parked the car and started to walk to work. Morning in the gym. After work in the swimming pool. Five days a week. Portioned controlled the meals. Cut back on drinking.
      I didn’t keep it off, though. I went to grad school and lived the student life again. Over the next five years, it crept back up. I’ve learned mightily from this mistake. Even though I’ve finished with the personal trainer, I’ve moved on to a different exercise program to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.

  7. This is incredibly inspirational. Thanks for sharing with us. People in general should definitely take care of themselves way better than they do. If your life looks like this: eat /work / eat / work / come home /eat some more / sleep…….repeat – you are doing it wrong.

  8. Michael, thank you for sharing your personal story. As someone who struggles with obesity — there, I typed it! — it is reassuring to see success on the other side. You mentioned that you no longer work with a personal trainer. Could you share more about your current exercise practice?

    Many thanks!

    Best wishes,
    Meredith from Toronto

    1. Thanks, Meredith. Since I finished with the trainer, I take classes with the Greco Lean and Fit on Sparks St. here in Ottawa. It’s kind of like personal training, but in a group setting. They set up different circuits for us to do. I’m usually there four times a week. My half marathon training takes up at least three days a week. I’ll also swim a couple of times a week.

  9. Incredibly inspiring, Michael. I hope you don’t mind me following you – I’m now embarking on my weight loss journey and blogs such as yours really help when you have those nagging doubts.

    1. New followers are always welcome. I’ve found the journey is made all the better by surrounding yourself with the best of friends.

  10. Great to see you Mike. Amazing weight loss and transformation…thanks for sharing.

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