When Kyle White of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and his wife began working from home last year, they, like many Canadians, turned to Netflix and takeout to get through the uncertainty of the beginning of the pandemic, and the unusual amount of spare time that came with it.
But when the scale read 430 pounds, White decided it was time for a lifestyle change.
“We had more free time than we knew what to do with and weren’t really using it well,” White, 28, told CNN.
A year later, White weighs 272 pounds.
“By no means did I set out last year and say I’m going to lose 150 pounds in one year,” White said.
“It was only when I actually got into it, saw some results, started putting in more and more work” that he realized “a little bit can go a long way.”
Something needed to change
At 6 feet and five inches, White says he has always been a big guy.
“I always had the mentality that I’m still young. I’ve still got lots of time to work on my weight and my health,” he said.
Right before the pandemic, White’s doctor expressed concern about his weight and blood pressure, White said. He had some back pain and couldn’t do a full squat without his knees hurting. But it wasn’t until the scale read 430 that White realized, “We need to just try something.”
Not being one to exercise much, White started going on small walks. Those turned into longer walks, then runs.
He says he loves running now and can knock out 50-60 squats without pain.
White also talked with his doctor about finding a better diet. He said his doctor told him to make sure his plate looks like Canada’s food guide: 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% whole grains, and 25% protein, with that protein being as plant-based as possible.
White said he follows a strictly plant-based diet now. His wife does too. At risk for diabetes before the pandemic, she has lost about 75 pounds in the past year and is no longer prediabetic.
Losing a lot of weight fast can be detrimental to someone’s health, but White says he regularly checked in with his doctor to make sure that didn’t happen. His nutrients, cholesterol and blood pressure are all at normal levels now.
“That blew me away that I could see such tangible progress in a year and do it relatively safely,” White said.
White said he thinks 220 to 230 pounds is a realistic goal for him, but he’s not focused on the weight anymore. He said at some point throughout the past year, his goals started changing from a number on a scale to how far and fast he could run.
“I always wanted to lose weight and feel good and eat healthier,” he said. “When I started running, my goals really focused more on the performance side of that. And I wanted to go as far as I could, as fast as I could and set challenges for myself and accomplish them, and fortunately those things go hand in hand.”
Now, White is eyeing a 10K in June and a half marathon in September.
He’s also looking forward to showing his family his progress. While he’s received a lot of support online, only a couple dozen people in his life have seen his results in person. He hasn’t been to his home province of Newfoundland in about a year and a half, the longest he’s ever gone without making a visit home.
“A hug is going to feel a lot different,” White said.