John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Rob Ford ends his quest to lose 50 pounds in a painful-looking way.
Dieters know their path is fraught with hardship and lurking relapses. Maybe it's better, then, that they not set public deadlines to slim down in front of millions of people.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford learned that lesson the hard way this week, when he stepped on the City Hall scales for the final time in his "Cut the Waist" charity challenge. At 313 pounds, Ford is ending his quest to lose 50 pounds by the end of June. The mayor had begun in January at 330 pounds, quickly dropped 20 pounds in February, then seemed to lose motivation, skipping a couple of his weekly weigh-ins. In April, he was caught on video getting an apparent resupply from KFC, although it's really quite rude how much the filmmaker was laughing:
Ford's dieting ignominy was complete when, while trying to dismount the scales on Monday, he nearly fell over; his ankle seemed incapable of supporting the load:
However, before Toronto citizens point and hoot at the mayor, perhaps they should check in with their own progress. Of the people participating in the mayor's public-health contest, the collective body has shed just 605 pounds of flab, according to self-reported statistics. And this is in a city of 2.5 million people.
The Edmonton Journal – which, wow, just picked the sweatiest photo of Ford they could find – reports that the mayor plans to continue dieting out of the public eye. “I could’ve done better,” he said. His brother, City Councillor Doug Ford, believes he can eventually reach his target, promising that "He’ll make it. If I’ve got to get a piece of duct tape and stick it across his mouth, and put a little hole in there for a straw…” (Doug himself has lost 35 pounds in the challenge, about twice what the mayor has.)
Ford's decision to quit "Cut the Waist" will disappoint at least one Toronto resident, "Peter O," who pledged on the charity's website:
Hi I am a 60 year old fat guy. Started tracking what I eat (with wife's help). Last week I started to exercise at the gym. Have been a member since July but never went. I am now 241 and plan to be at 230 in 4 weeks. Ultimate goal is 200 lbs.
You guys are my inspiration for starting this. Don't mess it up.
Top image of Rob Ford with a puppet, for some reason, by Shaun Merritt.