Is Rob Ford's weight loss goal realistic or a pipe dream?
Yesterday Toronto Mayor Rob Ford publicly declared his goal to shed 50 pounds by June 18th. That means he's got about 22 weeks – or five months – to accomplish this ambitious task. Is this doable? I mean realistic doable, not starve-yourself doable.
Yes, it is. It averages a loss of 2.2. pounds per week, about 10 pounds per month. That's not crazy. Slow and steady weight loss is more likely to stay off than pounds lost rapidly from a drastic approach. And he'll likely get a head start during the first few weeks when weight tends to come off a little faster.
Rob Ford has a few things going for him that can help him succeed. His Cut the Waist Challenge has a strong accountability factor. He and his brother, Doug Ford, will weigh-in each week and announce their results to each other and to the public. Let's face it, being accountable motivates most of us to perform well.
There's also a competitive nature to the mayor's plan that can encourage positive results.
He's also got support. Doug Ford, who's on the same mission to slim down, his family, and many Torontonians will be cheering the mayor on as he strives to accomplish his goal.
He seems internally motivated too, which is key to turning good intentions into reality. Rob Ford has said he wants to be healthier – for himself, for his family and for his demanding job.
These are all important components of a successful weight loss program. Good so far. But what about the key factor: his diet? Diet is, after all, is 80 per cent of the equation.
Without knowing his current eating habits and daily calorie count, I can't say how much he needs to reduce his intake to achieve his 50 pound goal. But based on my experience working with scores of weight-loss clients over the years, it usually takes only a handful of diet adjustments – changes that are easy to sustain – to do the trick.
The mayor says he plans to cut calories by exercising every day and ditching the late night ice cream. I don't know how much ice cream he eats, but two small scoops of chocolate ice cream delivers 300 calories – that's 2,100 calories per week. (If it's Haagen-Dazs we're talking 520 calories a sitting and 3,640 calories per week.)
Providing Mayor Ford incorporates weight loss into an overall plan of healthy eating, and portion control, given the long days and stress, I think he'll hit his target of 280 pounds on schedule.
Whether Rob Ford ends up weighing 280 or 225 pounds (his ultimate goal), or somewhere in between, the real challenge lies in maintaining that weight loss over the long haul. With the right approach, that's doable too.
In the meantime, I'll be checking in on June 18th, which is also my birthday, to find out if I've correctly predicted Mayor Ford's success.
Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based dietitian at the Medcan Clinic, is on CTV's Canada AM every Wednesday. Her website is lesliebeck.com .