The Fat Project: Calgary man a year into social media weight-loss journey
'This is my responsibility. It's my health issues, my struggles,' says Paul McIntyre Royston
One year later and down 100 pounds — Paul McIntyre Royston is well on his way in what he calls The Fat Project.
The president and CEO of the Calgary Public Library Foundation been sharing his journey on a website and through social media ever since he started last year — weighing in at 417 pounds.
He's given himself three years to reach his goal of competing in a triathlon.
He checked in with the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday for an update.
Q: There's less of you here!
Haha, almost a small person's-worth.
Q: I took a look at things that weigh 100 lbs: 12 gallons of water, three cinder blocks, one semi-truck trailer tire, and a baby hippo.
Q: All of that is off you right now?
It totally is.
Q: How does it feel?
It feels amazing. I'm not done. It's a three-year process from food addict to triathlete. We're a third of the way and going strong.
Q: How have you done it?
Patiently. Slowly. Medically-supervised.
I've deliberately done it publicly because I want other people to know that it's possible.
It's been difficult but it's not been hard. I take a photo of every single thing I eat and that helps me focus but I also don't restrict anything. There's nothing that you could name that I haven't eaten in this past year.
Q: It's difficult, but hasn't been hard? Explain that to me.
Doing it every day and doing the framework I've set up around it — taking and posting the photos — that has been difficult. But it's made the journey easier because I have this framework in which to do this.
The day I started, completely coincidentally, is the day the Canadian Medical Association declared this a disease in Canada.
Thinking about obesity as a disease has actually really helped. It doesn't change how I feel about it. It doesn't change how I got there but how I treat it. I treat it with diet. I treat it with counselling. I treat it with exercise and those are actually how you treat a lot of diseases.
Q: You've had a hard time at points posting pictures of the food you are eating online. Why is that?
I think it's a bit of a level of guilt. If I do eat some chips or ice cream which you want to enjoy even when you're losing weight — but you feel guilty.
That's one of the reasons I did this publicly. Like who does this publicly? It's ridiculous.
But it helps for that external motivation.
Q: Does it feel different, Paul?
Oh my gosh, this chair I'm sitting in, in your studio this is so much more comfortable. It literally squeezed my legs. That was such an issue.
I did a 50-kilometre bike ride and I did an obstacle course this summer and it just makes it easier to do things.
I'm still 315 pounds. I'm still a really big guy. But finding clothes now is so much easier than it was before.
Q: Do you have a patient tailor?
Yes, but if we go down two sizes he says "buy another suit."
Q: How low do you want to go?
I'm at my lowest adult weight right now.
The number doesn't matter. It's how I'm feeling. And my physicality to be able to play with my family and do my jobs.
Hugely. But I realize I thought after my first daughter, 'I'm going to lose weight now.' And again after my second daughter and my third daughter, but it actually wasn't enough.
I had to do it for me.
I had to figure out that this is my responsibility it's my health issues my weight and my struggles with obesity as a disease.
Q: How are you feeling about the next phase?
Nervous. I'm not losing weight as fast as I did in the beginning. One day at a time.
It makes it a lot easier when you have a publicly stated goal.
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With files from the Calgary Eyeopener