Græme Gordon's latest blog post

Fooled by fitness

Græme Gordon, Executive Director, Praxity

Read time | 3.5 minutes

When losing weight can have surprising consequences in the workplace

May 1st or Labour Day is an important day in Europe where it tends to be celebrated with a public holiday. This year was different for me. It changed my life.

It was the day I started a new diet and exercise regime by enlisting a premier personal fitness trainer – my son’s former school friend. Six months on, I’m a different man. So different in fact that colleagues have been avoiding me!

The reason is not only down to the way I look, but the way people interpret physical changes. Let me explain…

When I started working with my trainer, he set about transforming every aspect of my diet and daily routine. It started with a 30-minute phone call. Then came a 90-minute, face-to-face meeting in which he measured me, or more accurately prodded and poked me, with callipers to check muscle mass and body fat. He also interviewed me about my lifestyle and habits.

Exercise and diet

He then developed an exercise regime, including once a week in his gym and a separate programme for when I am on the road, along with a diet plan. This plan was initially “just for four weeks” but actually lasted at least six. It meant:

No Gluten

No Alcohol

No Fruit

No processed Sugar

No Caffeine

In other words, no fun! However, I stuck this out and lost some 11 pounds, or 4.9 kilograms.

I am delighted to say that all five of the forbidden items were allowed back into my diet over the following few weeks although I still have very little, if any, processed sugar. Instead, I had to significantly increase my protein levels.

Thank goodness for an app that the trainer introduced me to which enables me to keep a good look at all key levels of intake – protein, carbs and fats. All are allowed, but I need to almost go overboard with protein.

Since May 1st, I have been sticking to the dietary requirements, and by the time of the Praxity Global Conference in Athens at the end of October, I had lost a total of 19 kilos or 42 pounds (three stones in UK terms).

Unwelcome consequences

This is great news, but as often happens, good work or good intentions have unforeseen, and as in this case, unwelcome consequences.

I noticed at the Athens conference that a lot of my friends and colleagues, who would normally come to greet me and catch up on news, were avoiding me.

Now I do shower regularly and change my clothes at least once a day. Added to which I don’t think I have halitosis or anything like that. So, I was a little concerned as to why they were looking at me with sad eyes and avoiding me.

I’m glad to say the answer came quite soon after the welcome dinner, when a few of my team came up to me and told me they had been approached by a number of delegates asking, “Is Graeme well? Is he OK? He looks like he may be very sick!”.

In truth, I feel very well, and my latest health check was very positive so no worries there.

Professional scepticism

However, it showed me two things:

  • The old adage of ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is still very true;
  • Significant weight loss can easily be misinterpreted as a sign of serious illness when in fact it is the result of new found fitness.

The final chapter in my health and weight regime is to keep the weight off and to stabilise the muscle mass vs body fat regime.

But the on-going story for all of us is not only that dedication to a task has its rewards, but also that we should always exercise our professional scepticism, because not everything is what it seems immediately to be.

Visit the Praxity website where you can find topical blog posts from Praxity’s Executive Director, Græme Gordon, as well as contributions from other Alliance participants and industry commentators.