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Saanich film buff drops the weight with five-hour walks during pandemic

Silver City staffer loads up on podcasts then hits the trails around Greater Victoria
Saanich resident Jason Whyte figures he lost 50 to 60 pounds by walking and eating healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jason Whyte photo)

Films, junk food and soda consumed Jason Whyte since youth. He consumed them all, avidly and in copious amounts.

He’s pretty frank about it.

“I grew up a fat kid.”

Saanich resident Jason Whyte figures he lost 50 to 60 pounds by walking and eating healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jason Whyte photo)

It isn’t that Whyte wasn’t an active person, but the bad food habits, well, they were bad.

On his late dad’s birthday, Dec. 30, 2016, the Saanich resident made a conscious decision to quit pop.

“Eventually I did kick that habit and I did start to lose weight,” he says.

He suffered massive sugar withdrawal but got through it, and dropping pop set him up for significant lifestyle changes as the world closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: B.C. teacher walks off 125 pounds in weight-loss journey to inspire students

In the interim he’d found a role that encompassed his love of movies (Whyte’s a longtime reviewer and avid film fest attendee) and a bit of a workout on the job – working the floor at Silver City. He started in 2017 and did drop some weight, people noticed, but continued to eat some of the awful yet fantastic theatre treats like poutine and buttered popcorn.

Then the pandemic hit and the theatre closed.

By May 2020, mask in pocket for potential human encounters, he started hitting the Colquitz, Galloping Goose and E&N trails. And he started eating better.

When the theatre opened again in July 2020 the health plan took a hit, but November’s closure opened the opportunity again. All-in he figures he’s dropped 50 to 60 pounds. Because he doesn’t own a scale, that’s a guess based on clothing size changes.

By December he’d cut sugars and fats significantly and walked every day, setting a 25,000-step requirement. He frequently walked beyond 30,000 steps. “I even walked to Oak Bay once. I wore out a lot of pairs of shoes,” he says.

“It was finding a workout routine I liked and I could push myself on … that’s going to be different for everyone.”

READ ALSO: Why so many people fail at losing weight

That’s the key message. He hopes to inspire others to find what works for them, in physical and mental health.

“How I felt mentally was wonderful. I had much more focus,” Whyte says. “The pandemic and being out of work for a long time, that hit a lot of people. It hit me, I have my down times just like everyone.”

That’s when he lines up podcasts, puts on his headphones and heads out for up to five hours walking across Greater Victoria.

Whyte continues his copious consumption of movies, and the occasional snack of Cheezies, and looks forward to the return of film festivals with a goal to hit Cannes and other international festivals.

The pandemic impact for him, summed up: What do you love doing and why aren’t you doing it?

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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