Formerly About Dan T
Like most Dietitians, I’m frustrated with my profession. The more studies I read, the more I see that current standards of practice for nutritional science are woefully inadequate & completely outdated, as well as being biased by economic drivers!!! Most importantly, they don’t work for most people!
I’ve invested numerous hours and tens of thousands of dollars to study and perfect behavioral, dietary and physical intervention skills for effective fat, fitness, and health & longevity management. Now that I am licensed and researching and practicing on my own terms, and performing regular clinical & academic research, I can honestly say that I believe I have the answer as to the best nutrition practices for body composition management, performance, and long-term health and you can bet that it is a holistic approach including behavioral change principles.
So, now you know what I’m about in my nutrition & health practice. In case you’re curious, here’s my back story!
I was always a fit, lean (pretty skinny) my entire childhood. I did tonnes of sports & loved them. It was a struggle for me to keep weight on & as I went through high school & saw my classmates getting taller & broader, I seemed to get taller but stay the same degree of skinny.
I competed in Volleyball, Rowing, Karate throughout grade school & high school and got into kick boxing in my last 2 years of high school. I did try out for football in my senior year of high school, but at only around 145 lbs, I was more heart than body weight. I think the point at which my coach suggested I try steroids soured me on the whole thing (later he was arrested for supplying steroids to people).
In University I got into Japanese Jiu Jitsu & coed cheerleading, which both became passions for me. I had some decent tumbling ability (self taught initially) and I was solid at certain partner stunts. However, some of the higher level stunts were difficult because initially I was only about 155 lbs. Then I actively pursued weight training for mass gain with some of the more senior male cheerleaders. It seemed to work, I went up to 175 lbs in one 4 month summer & maintained this for the next 10 years or so.
When I went back to school at 29 in Montreal for my Dietetics and Human Nutrition degree & Dietitian certification is when things changed for me. My first year was awesome, I did well in my classes & living in a bachelor apartment on a minimal income I was able to really focus on trimming down. I was doing body weight circuits galore & by the end of my first semester (Dec 2000) I was down to 8% body fat & weighed about 170 lbs. Over Christmas that year, my Mother has a progression of her multiple sclerosis (MS) that appeared to be a stroke. It was bad, but during her recovery, the hospital inserted an NG tube to feed her & things got much much worse. That tube was in for at least a month & she developed pneumonia as a result of aspiration (interesting that she was put on that tube but never screened for this)! Anyway, she almost died at least twice during the next 4 months. I was in Montreal and would come back to visit whenever my family thought she was ready to go. I had to press on, I knew my mother wouldn’t want me to forgo my passion (education) because of her situation. Eventually, she came home & my Dad retired early to care for her at home (with a whole new set of physical challenges for him, the caregiver). She lived until Aug 24th 2012 when she passed away after another stay in the hospital for another infection. She passed literally 10 minutes after the ambulance transfer team brought her home to my Dad. Everyone in our family thinks she just wanted to come home one last time.
Meanwhile, back in Montreal as I was learning more about nutrition, I was determined to attempt a mass gain again, this time using my (highly expensive) information acquired through my nutrition education courses. Of course, most of this involved the weight gaining effects of increasing insulin. So I proceeded over the next summer to work on this & was able to increase my weight to 190 lbs and I did get stronger. I noticed however, that I did gain more abdominal girth and body fat as well during this 4 month period. But I was lifting much more. So, when I was asked to be on the cheerleading team at McGill I was excited to get back into that. I found that I was more able to perform some of the more advanced partner stunts because my overall strength & power was greater. But I was also fatter.
After I completed my Masters, I joined the workforce as a Registered Dietitian. Soon thereafter, I met the woman of my dreams. We dated, I proposed & we got married over the next 2 years. Within 2 years we had our first child & then about 2 years later we had our second! During this time we found our dream home, unfortunately it was a 1 hour drive from my job at the hospital, so I was commuting 2 hours per day by car for about 4.5 years. All of this contributed to me getting fatter! I actually grew to 225 lbs, which was by fat the fattest I had ever been in my life! My waist circumference was 39.5 inches at my fattest point! WOW! I continued to do early morning workouts & was able to maintain functional strength. Eventually I found the Paleo diet & was able to stop the seemingly uncontrolled weight gains & even trimmed down to 205 lbs all while still commuting 2 hours per day. Towards the end of 2013, we moved closer to my job & I passed my PhD comprehensive exam that I had spent the bulk of 2013 preparing for. Our second child came early in 2014 & I was on paternity leave from my PhD. So, I continued to tweak my diet & my workouts all in the pursuit of the best lifestyle changes for me. During this time I was avidly researching epigenetics & lifestyle information for my own practice & was essentially testing it out on myself first!
Things are progressing beautifully & I’m excited to share my progress with you once I achieve my goal. How are things going? Let’s just say, using the lifestyle changes that I am testing, I just celebrated my 42nd birthday & I’m leaner, thinner & stronger than I’ve been in about 10 years. And it’s hard to believe I’ve only been doing this for the last 4 months. I’m well on my way & still pushing through towards my goal! I’m stoked to share the techniques I used and my final results with you once I’m there.
Thanks for reading & Have an awesome day!