Plane Away the Pounds | Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

And the Weight Whisked Away Like Wood Shavings.

Plane Away the Pounds

Plane Away the Pounds

By Stewart MacDonald

I was a fairly typical office worker until January of this year when I decided to take a sabbatical and pursue some personal interests. The first was 10 weeks at Tom Fidgen's Unplugged Woodshop in Toronto, learning how to use traditional hand tools and build cabinets, and by the end of the course I was pleasantly surprised – even shocked – at the overall health benefits of working with my hands every day. I expected to get a lot from my ten weeks in the Unplugged Woodshop's Artisan program.  What I did not expect was that I would get fit.
I knew that there would be the satisfaction of crafting something with my own bare hands. I figured there would be less stress in my life as the result of taking a hiatus from the frenzied pace of the office. I hoped to find a tribe of like-minded people to spend time with as I learned a new skill.
I ended up losing 19 pounds. Just a whisker – or wood shaving – shy of two pounds per week.

December 27th:          208 pounds
March 16th:                 189 pounds

How sure am I that it was the wood working?
Because I weighed myself every morning. At the same time, every day before breakfast.

I also put a pedometer app on my phone. It turns out that a solid day of sawing, planing and chiseling is the equivalent of walking about six kilometers.


Does it all come down to simple exercise?
I would say that the shift in habit and mindset to a more wholesome lifestyle played just as big a part.
  • Knowing that it was going to be a full day, I ate a good breakfast every morning.
  • I broke the food court habit at lunch. It was a simple matter to double my breakfast portion from the morning and throw in a little protein.
  • I fell asleep tired (in a good way) at the end of every day.

For anyone who suggests that eating the same combination breakfast/lunch every day for 10 weeks is bland and boring, I would counter and say that you probably drink the same beer time-after-time at the pub. Or similar, unhealthy lunches in the food court.
After a two-week break I am headed back to the Unplugged Workshop for term two. Let's see if I can get my six-pack back.
So step away from the keyboard, get out of the office, pick up a tool and build something!

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