Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

How I lost 45 pounds: I wanted to be alive for my kids

Jeff Day decided to lose 30 pounds in time for his son’s birthday after an old acquaintance didn’t recognize him.


Jeff Day

Edmonton, 45

Pounds dropped: 45

Story continues below advertisement

My turning point: I had a chance meeting with a guy who I had done business with, and not seen for some time. He didn't recognize me, and introduced himself. He asked me if I was Jeff's older brother. As I don't have an older brother, I was concerned.

It wasn't a surprise: For years I'd been ignoring how my belly was making dramatic entrances long before the rest of me. Too much computer work and not enough body work. I felt like a 238-pound dung beetle.

My method: I wanted to lose the weight for many reasons, but primarily – I wanted to be active and alive for my kids. My goal was to come down 30 pounds in six months, with a deadline of May 8, 2013 – my son's birthday.

I started going to a local pool a few times a week and swimming laps – an activity I could manage into my schedule that burned energy in a way that I knew would be less painful than jogging or running. I cut out all the crappy fast foods: no gradual process here, I went cold turkey.

After a month, I felt much better. Part of this feeling was the result of the fact that I was swimming with senior citizens. Comparatively, I was like Patrick Duffy in The Man From Atlantis – only much fatter.

When the holidays hit, and my usual pool closed, I checked out the local YMCA. The gym was from the future and the pool was new and big and clean. I traded up and bought a month of access to the Y. I started swimming there but everything changed when I stepped on to the treadmill. That device nearly killed me but it also changed my life. It was ridiculous – running in one place for a half an hour? Insanity. But I loved the feeling it gave me. The sweating. The aching feeling. I was becoming a runner. Soon, I was running five times a week, and my weight dropped considerably. People noticed. Some were polite. Some asked me if I had cancer.

I dropped the 30 pounds well in advance of my goal date. Big changes were happening, and I felt wonderful: My pants didn't fit. My watch was loose. My wedding ring, which I had removed as it was too tight on my finger, was located and went back on. I stopped running on the treadmill when spring came, and my biggest accomplishment was going for an outside run with my son on his bike just after his birthday. I ran for an hour with him. I could run and speak. You could tell he was proud, riding next to his sweaty dad.

Story continues below advertisement

Now, I run four times a week – it's part of my life. I stayed on track because I was motivated for change, I used technology to gauge and support my progress, I had a clear goal, and I had support from my family. That was it. Simple really.

My kryptonite: Good vanilla ice cream – not the cheap rectangular cardboard box kind – but the plastic-pint kind that is specifically formulated for maximum deliciousness by Satan for people just like me. I still eat it. But not by the pint. That's the trick.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Have a weight-loss story to share? Tell us at

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to