Whether you’re trying to eat healthier or start a new workout plan, making a change is never easy—and that was certainly true for Charles Bourdeau. The 28-year-old from Quebec started small, working out two minutes at a time. On the strength of a relative’s advice, he also decided to try the Keto diet. Over the course of a year, the combination worked wonders: Bourdeau lost more than 100 pounds and now says he’s feeling better than ever. Here, he shares the story of how he took the initial steps that transformed his life.
At my heaviest, I weighed 250 pounds. I was 27 years old, and I suffered constant back pain and shortness of breath. I remember I couldn’t tie my shoelaces without feeling dizzy and out of breath—it made me feel really depressed and out of control.
At the time, I had an office job (now I do road-surface marking and cedar edge trimming). I’d eat fast food for every lunch break; my biggest hobby outside of work was sleeping. I was in what I’d call a “comfortable” relationship, and in three years I watched my weight increase from 170 pounds to 250.
The beginning was hard—very hard. I started working out with elliptical training, 30 minutes a day with a two-minute pause every ten minutes. After a month or two, I could do a full 60 minutes without a break. Then the gyms closed because of Covid, so I switched to jogging every day, which I still do even today.
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I knew I needed to change my diet, and a close relative had success with Keto, so I tried it. I kept it simple with lots of meat and veggies. Tuna with mayonnaise has become one of my favorite meals. I don’t really like to cook huge meals so it was a win-win situation for me. Cutting out desserts was the biggest challenge—I love pastries too much.
Some friends and family worried that I was overdoing it, but I’ve completely changed my life. Physical exercise felt like a chore when I was overweight; these days I love to hike and play sports. I’ve got greater confidence; my clothes fit better. I feel like a new me.
In about nine months—from April 2020 to January 2021—I lost 110 pounds. I’ve reached my goal, but I’m not done with Keto and running. I’ve seen so many benefits that I don’t want to give up; I’m currently training for a half-marathon this summer.
For me, keeping things simple was the key to success. “Keep it simple, keep it cool.” Stay consistent with workouts, no matter how much you’re doing. If you cheat one day, forget about it and keep dieting tomorrow—don’t be too hard on yourself. —As told to Mike Darling
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