Changing my body helped change my life for the better

Marc Lalonde
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Eating habits, attitude toward vegetables and exercise habits have done a 180 in my life

I was obese for a long time. It started when I was young – and sort of came and went through my high school, college and university years, where I played offensive line, so being big was an asset, athletically speaking.  That was something I hang my hat on, because as long as I was playing offensive line, I had a built-in excuse to be dangerously overweight under the guise of athletic potential. It was then, as it remains today, poppycock.

Since puberty, I have also been an emotional eater. I ate when I was bored, when I was happy and when I was sad. I ate because I loved the feeling of fullness – because it sure beat the crap out of emptiness. I often felt that everything else was sort of filling around mealtimes – and that continued into adulthood, where I justified my poor eating habits by saying to myself that 'I deserved (insert junk food name here)' because I had had a bad day/gone through some trauma/had to deal with a tough boss/fight with my significant other.

That went on until one day, it couldn't go on anymore. Sure, I had gone on diets over the years, all of which worked, albeit temporarily (2001, 2003, 2006), but the weight would always quietly sneak back on because I couldn't maintain the diet or started to get back into sedentary habits. By 2009 – when our second child was born – I weighed close to 400 pounds and couldn't even look at myself in photos. Part of that had to do with pregnancy sympathy weight I put on while eating whatever I liked during my wife's pregnancy cravings. By 2012, I no longer felt good about my physical well-being; stress was starting to take over my life and my eating habits remained catastrophic, to put it mildly. I was way too fat, and I was putting my own life at risk as a result. Type II diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure and cardiac issues were certainly not far off for me, even though I was in my mid-thirties. It was that serious. I weighed 385 pounds. I wore a 4X shirt and size 46 pants. It was time to get my butt in shape.

So I made a change at the time that I didn't see as life-changing, but which has done exactly that for me: I started going to the gym every day. I started working out at S.P.OR.T. Specialists in Dorval in an effort to improve my golf game through their golf fitness program. What I got was a life-changing habit back in return. After three months learning as much as I could from co-owners Peter Levidis and Melanie Scrase and their amazing staff, I told myself that I would start going to the gym every day, and see after a year what the results could be.

People ask me 'How do keep going back day in, day out?' and the answer is so simple, it borders on the ridiculous. I feel like a million dollars after I work out, so why wouldn't I want to have that feeling every day of my life?

I started doing high-intensity circuits with some resistance training, and after a few weeks, I realized I loved how it felt, and with my promise to myself to go every day, I had no reason not to get in there and sweat daily. I sweated and learned, and every day brought a new challenge. After a few weeks, I decided to start paying attention to my nutrition levels, hoping to accentuate the gains I was making in the gym. I started to love salad and vegetables, and was eager to make them the primary ingredient in most of my meals. After a while, I noticed an increase in my energy levels, an increase in my good feelings and a decrease in stress. I also noticed a profound change in my body – and now, after nearly two years, I am confident that I will stay at this weight for the long term. From a high of 385 pounds in 2009 to a weight of 229 pounds today, it has been an amazing journey every step of the way. I was so eager to share my journey with the world that I went and got certified as a personal trainer affiliated with the West Island YMCA in order to help others enjoy getting in shape as much as I have. Interested in making the same journey? Drop me a line at, or simply call the West Island YMCA at 514-630-9622. Not a member at the Y? I can come to you -- and bring my equipment with me so you can work out in the comfort of your own home.

When it comes to your health, and your physical well-being, you can either throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe your face.

Organizations: West Island YMCA

Geographic location: Dorval

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Recent comments

  • Chris Eustace
    July 17, 2014 - 15:52

    July 17, 2014.......Boy, what a difference from your wrestling days.......Good for you, Marc!.....Chris Eustace

  • Lindsey Vaughan
    July 12, 2014 - 04:04

    What an incredible story! You should be so proud. You are setting an amazing example to others in the same situation and to your kids. Incredible Marc!

  • Walter Malin
    July 11, 2014 - 19:41

    Where to go Marc! I couldn't believe my eyes when I ran into you at The Falcon last summer. Thank you for sharing your story, hopefully it will be an inspiration to others.

  • Stephane Desjardins
    July 11, 2014 - 17:17

    Really nice work Marc! You are determinate !!! Don't stop and continue your work.