WHO: Robert Gale, owner of the Chateau Du Lac bar
CITY: Hudson, Que.
By The Numbers: 300 at my heaviest, and currently 215, total weight loss of 85 pounds
The Weight Gain: I always gained weight very easily as a child. My weight was OK during my late teens and 20s, because I was very active and was living in Miami at the time.
I started to gain weight when I came back to Hudson to help my dad run the Chateau Du Lac bar. I was working seven days a week and was always surrounded by liquor and parties being in the hospitality industry.
In 2010 I was asked to appear on the "Canadian Pickers" television show and the week before my episode was scheduled to air, they released a two-minute teaser of the episode on YouTube. When I watched it I was horrified by how big I looked. I even refused to watch the entire show for a full year. But it still didn't make me do anything about it. I justified it by telling myself that I was just meant to be big and that I would just have to deal with it. I ended up appearing in the next three seasons of the show and just continued to get bigger and sicker.
The Final Straw: The final straw came on Jan. 1, 2013. I was having lunch with a nurse and I told her I was worried about having diabetes. She was a childhood diabetic herself and always had her glucose meter on her. She suggested we take my levels later on and I reluctantly agreed.
Around three or four hours after lunch she checked my blood and her face went white. She showed me the result and it said 26.8. I asked her what that meant and she explained that between four and six is normal and that they are instructed to call for an ambulance when someone hits 27.
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The Plan Of Attack: The first thing I did was a sugar audit on my daily consumption, and discovered that I was taking in about 200 grams a day (36 grams is considered to be the maximum daily amount for an adult male).
The next thing I did was my own personal medical experiment in order to reduce the emotional issues associated with this sort of undertaking. I knew that if I focused on the health aspect, the weight loss would take care of itself. I did a lot of reading and research on obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and the biochemistry make-up of our bodies.
The Food Element: I was eating a lot of starches like pasta, baguettes, potatoes, rice, and refined flours — all the foods that convert to sugar once they hit your intestines.
At first I was focused on calories but after reading Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, I started experimenting by eating healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and nuts.
The Exercise Factor: I didn't really have any fitness or weight loss goals when I started, I was more concerned about my metabolic health and how I was going to get off medications.
It wasn't until the six-month mark that I started on my body weight exercises and I was very weak from the rapid weight loss. After nine months it was getting a little cold to exercise outside so I hired a personal trainer for three high intensity 30-minute sessions a week, and I continued to walk 30 minutes every day.
The Current Day-To-Day: Looking back, I am the most proud that I had the mental toughness to get through the difficult first few months. The only regret I have is that I waited so long to do this, and I would like to say to anybody who finds themselves in a similar situation: never give up the fight. Eat whole foods, do a minimum of exercise, and stay away from refined sugar and all caloric sweeteners.
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