Many Canadians see January as a fresh start for healthier living. A time to get off the couch and get moving! But, resolutions can be hard to stick to; in fact, a survey by the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that only 64 per cent of people continue their New Year’s workouts into February. For the 36 per cent of us who need extra motivation to keep active, we’ve got just that! Meet Ben Pobjoy. Last year, Ben decided it was time to make a change and focus on his health. With the help of technology and his own two feet, he took the leap and his efforts paid off – he walked more than 5,800 kilometres, lost a whopping 100 pounds and gave out 1,000 sandwiches along the way while gaining a healthier life!
Learn about Ben’s journey in this video and read the Q&A below – we dare you not to be inspired! For every share of Ben’s video on Facebook, TELUS will donate $5 to 60 Minute Kids’ Club, a free in-school program providing children in kindergarten through grade 8 with concrete tools to be physically active for 60 minutes every day, for life.
TELUS: What motivated you to take the leap and start this journey?
Ben: I was overweight for well over a decade and knew I had to make a change. I moved to Toronto in 2014 to start a new job and within seconds, it was glaringly obvious that I was the ‘unhealthy guy’ in the office; chugging tons of soda and eating take-out every day. Most of my new colleagues were health-minded. They provided a sobering contrast and the kick in the rump I needed to take action.
TELUS: So what was the result of this change in your lifestyle?
Ben: I lost 100 pounds in nine months, mostly by walking, some swimming and eating better. It sounds extreme, but the irony is that I was super fit in high school. In my teens, I was a long distance runner so I knew how to train and be tenacious. Knowing that I once possessed grit helped me reclaim it when I decided to get fit.
TELUS: How did health and fitness tech gear factor into your efforts?
Ben: I can’t tell you how many times I tried to get fit in the past! I’d go hard for a few weeks then give up when I didn’t see results. The huge difference this time around – and why I finally succeeded – was because I used technology. Tracking steps, calories and pounds lost helped me see progress before it was reflected in the mirror. Even though they were abstract digital numbers on my device, I saw my vitals improve and that was proof that my inputs were affecting my output.
TELUS: What health and fitness gear did you use?
Ben: Walking was my pursuit, so my smartphone became a powerful tool. I used it along with my Beats by Dre headphones to listen to music and podcasts, and of course to track steps and what I ate. At the end of 2015, I got a new iPhone 6s and paired it with an iPhone Smart Battery Case. It was a game changer for me; letting me store what feels like limitless content while holding a charge forever, crucial on long walks.
TELUS: Do you have any tips for those looking to take a healthy leap this year?
Ben: Health apps – for me – were essential. They help game-ify fitness in a really fun way. If you’re self-competitive like I am, you’ll be eager to outscore your previous efforts; like take more steps than you did the day before or walk more this week than you did last week. It really becomes like a game, and the best part is that you win back something very significant at every level: your health!
TELUS: What are your favourite health apps?
Ben: I use MyFitnessPal to track my weight stats and goals, and what I eat and RunKeeper to track my walks. MyFitnessPal helped me learn about the nutritional value of foods and I still use it to make sure I eat 100 per cent of the vitamins and minerals I need daily. RunKeeper was something I found after trying a few other ‘activity tracker’ apps. It’s free and I found it to be the most intuitive to use.
TELUS: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself on this journey?
Ben: It’s less about what I learned about myself and more about the contemplativeness that walking enabled and the gratitude it inspired. Throughout the process, I had friends, family and colleagues cheer me on. I constantly reflected on how lucky I was to have such amazing people in my life as well as being fortunate to have the time and means to get healthy. This inspired me to give my walks a greater purpose. So, I started feeding people in my community by handing out sandwiches on my walks.
This year, TELUS wants to help you “take the leap” to a happy and healthier you – and help you stay motivated all year long. In addition to our awesome selection of fitness and health-oriented gear, we also have trained experts to help you understand how to get the most out of your fitness and health trackers and keep you motivated. So what are you waiting for? Get geared up, set up a session with one of our Learning Centre Experts and take the leap!