A Journey to a Better Me #NewBDK

A Journey to a Better Me #NewBDK
29 Nov 2013

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I have always believed that once you grow up, and are ready for the world, there are 3 elements in life:

1. Family
2. Career
3. Health

These are in no particular order.


I have a beautiful wife, and 2 adorable daughters. Our family is filled with lots of love.

My parents are very supportive, and have always been there for me. Now in their 70s, they still ballroom dance every week, as they have been doing for over 20 years.

My older brother Shane lives 500kms away in Ottawa with his wife and 2 girls, and I know he would be there for me at the drop of a dime. That’s how close we are.

This is my family, and I love them with all my heart.


I have had a long and successful career in marketing and communications. From getting a job as a graphic artist at a local newspaper while attending college; to managing a team of graphic designers at Canada’s largest community newspaper; to running my own marketing and design agency; to now leading a solid team of online community managers for Ford of Canada.


This is where I have fallen short.

You know when you have one of those ah-ha moments when you say to yourself, “I’m in bad shape, and need to start exercising and eating healthy.”

Well that is not what happened here. I always knew I was in bad shape, and that I wasn’t choosing wisely when it came to my food and drink choices. The problem is, I never did anything about it.

My 3 Vices

Soda Pop

I love the taste of a cold Coca-Cola. In my late teens, I worked as a security guard on the night shift. I found it challenging to stay up all night, so I started drinking coffee. Lots of it. When the coffee didn’t do it, I switched to pop. It worked. It kept me awake, and I was able to function all night. Was it a poor choice? Of course. But I was only 18… what did I know about making good choices?

Pop Aisle


I was never a sweet tooth, so candy wasn’t the issue. It was salt. Stick a bag of chips in front of me, and I would eat it. When cooking, I rarely added salt to any dish I was preparing, but some of the spice combinations I used had it in them.

Chip Aisle

White Bread

I am not someone who makes sandwiches every day. When I do eat bread, I only eat white bread. My main issue is freshly baked bread.

I would buy a freshly baked baguette on a Saturday, cut it in half (saving the other half for Sunday), and make a sub sandwich out of it. I would add smoked meat, salami, turkey, mayo and mustard, and then sit and watch TV.

I would do the same thing on the Sunday.

This wasn’t a weekly occurrence, but it did happen once or twice a month.

Bread Aisle

Sick and Tired

I was getting sick all the time. Every time the girls came home sick, I would get sick too. If someone was sniffling next to me in a meeting, I would be sniffling on the way home. During flu season, you can guarantee I was going to be down with that too.

To say I am tired all the time is an understatement. Just climbing a flight of stairs at home would wind me.

I found myself driving short distances, just so I wouldn’t have to walk there.

Was this lazy? Yes. There is no half-stepping this.

I was also tired of looking at a chair in a restaurant and thinking to myself, “will I fit in that chair? Will I break it?” I found myself too often looking for other seating options (chairs without arms, bench seats, or a couch) just to avoid this dilemma.

It was time for change.

Exercise and Food

These are the 2 things I needed to work on. I needed to start exercising, and eating properly.

Step One: Exercise

I joined the local Snap Fitness. It came highly recommended by a friend of mine, who is a member. Wendy joined as well. It is 2kms from our house, so there are no excuses for not going. The owner of Snap Fitness Burlington, Scott Hislop, is awesome, and very personable.

Shoes and Waterbottle

What I needed was accountability and guidance. Snap has 3 contracted personal trainers availble. After looking at what they had to offer, I chose Mike Rivait. He is a fitness professional with over 20 years of experience. Mike specializes in individual, group and sport specific training, along with nutrition counseling.

Mike Rivait

Boom… exactly what I need. Someone to keep me in line, and hold me accountable. However, I knew that working out in the gym only accounted for 15% of what was needed.

Step Two: Food

Eating healthy is important. This accounts for the other 85%.

Mike has helped me to re-evaluate what I was eating. He pointed out everything I was doing wrong, and has guided me on the path to eating healthier. He has given me a grocery list and a nutrition plan.

Wendy and the girls are being very supportive, and have joined this journey with me. We are now eating healthier meals. Making choices like brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice; fish, chicken or turkey instead of pork and beef. Snacking on vegetables or Mary’s Crackers and hummus instead of chips.

We also made the switch from cow’s milk to almond milk. Vegetables are now part of every meal we have.

As well as eating healthier, I needed to start eating breakfast. For the longest time, I would get up in the morning, and start my day. I wouldn’t eat until I was hungry. 90% of the time, this was lunch.

Big Daddy Smoothie

I have started making fresh smoothies at home. Ingredients include: Warrior Blend raw protein powder, ground chia seeds, hulled hemp hearts, banana (peeled then frozen), frozen blueberries, almond milk, spinach, wheatgrass, kale and celery.

Not all of these are in every smoothie I make. I like to switch them up a bit. I’m going to add carrot, ginger and beets to future smoothies. There are no shortage of recipes online.

My Goal

Better health, and to lose weight. I am not looking to become a fitness or health pro, just looking to better myself and my lifestyle.

I don’t have a specific goal in mind when it comes to my weight. I am 6’3″ tall. I started this journey at the heaviest I have ever been… 409 lbs. Since starting, I am down 7 lbs. I would like to get down to 275 lbs, which is where I felt the most comfortable at. If I lose more, great. I want to do this slowly, so the weight stays off.


A New Me.

I am just over a month into my journey. This is the beginning of a series of blog posts I will be doing about my journey to a better me. I will be using the hashtag #NewBDK on Twitter and Facebook, and I invite you to follow along.

Big Daddy

Craig Silva

Craig is a husband, father, team leader, travel and food writer, senior youth group coordinator, designer, brander, community builder, volunteer, and social media strategist. He likes to travel, go camping, go on road trips, watch movies, build stuff, operate the grill, and sing with his band. Craig is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada. If you are a PR agency or brand and would like Craig to review a travel destination, vehicle, restaurant, product or service, please send him an email.


  1. Dude, I’m so happy you’ve started taking steps to better health! I can’t explain how much better my life is since I committed to a healthy me. Excited to watch your journey, if you’re ever in KW and need to hit the gym I’ll take you to the Y!


  2. Good luck! I’ve seen what just a few simple changes have done for some of my friends. And good for you for setting a goal that you feel good with, not what someone else tells you you’re supposed to be at. Enjoy your ride!

  3. All the best Craig. It’s a journey – but such a great one. Look forward to reading your updates.

  4. Fantastic mister! I need to follow suit big time and get my butt in gear! You will do awesome

  5. I’ve said this many times, and I will say it again! I’m so proud of you! This post is awesome and I love how open and honest you are. The girls and I love you very much!!

    From your #1 Superfan, Me!

  6. Craig, congratulations on taking the first step! A loss of 7 lbs is amazing!

    I made a New Year’s resolution to myself and family last year and 11 months later I have lost 70 lbs and I’m pretty much where I’d like to be. Like you, I was at my heaviest ever, tired all the time, experiencing pain in my joints for the first time ever, and was easily winded. It was the year I turned 40, and it just woke me up that I wasn’t the way I wanted myself to be.
    I started by getting 1 hour of daily exercise–in any weather. The exercise could be walking, tobogganing, etc. I stopped eating any junk food, as I just could not control myself or portion myself out. I began eating healthy, as sell as proper portions.
    A few months later, I joined a gym to get ahead in my progress. That lasted for 6 months until we moved, and I have yet to find a new one. However, I still get at least 1 hour of exercise daily and I now can regulate myself just by my routine.

    Craig, if I can do it, then you can do it with flying colours! Keep up the great work!

  7. awesome!!! Love this. You Rock. I’d love to see a Vlog on how you make these smoothies! Smoothies confound me (yes.. I basically use my kitchen for storage.. ) but I juice!! just the powders & potions & amounts… frankly, the health food store intimidates me. YOU GO GUY!

  8. I am very proud if you too! I can appreciate how challenging this is, but you have grabbed the bull by its horns and you are doing this. I look forward to your future posts, Craig! Keep it up!

  9. Hey Craig!

    I am proud of you! Just making the choice to be healthy is an important one. It’s one of those things that I need to do better at. Because I am not overweight people think I am healthy. So not true. I know what you mean about being lazy, tired, and winded easily. Healthy eating choices are coming a little easier around here but still not great.

    I’ve seen my family struggle with weight my whole life, and yes when I go out with my parents and younger sister we look for the booths usually. I found it stressful as a teen and young adult worrying about that.

    Being on this journey is so important for you, and for your family. Keep up the awesome work!!

  10. Craig, congratulations in taking positive steps to a healthier new life. I feel for you. Wishing you all the success possible in this journey. I lost 100 lbs many times through my life by making different food choices and exercising like crazy ……..but it always came back on. I finally came to the realization that the problem was not my intake or lack of exercise but my metabolism. I was 365 lbs when I underwent Bariatric Surgery (Duodenal Switch). This corrected my metabolic problem, cured my insulin dependant type 2 diabetes and I am now off all medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol, arthritis and gout. I wish I had stopped blaming myself for making bad food choices and being lazy 30 years ago and had this surgery sooner. After a lifetime of obesity I have lost 165 lbs and it is finally staying off.

  11. Jennifer Van Huss : December 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Awesome post! Congrats on lifestyle change! I wish you luck for meeting your goal!

  12. OlderMommyStill : December 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Great post Craig. I don’t have your particular vices but I have my own…sweets! I feel inspired to battle mine after reading your awesome post. You can do it!!!

  13. Congrats on your first month and your new lifestyle. I wish you all the best!

  14. Ourfamilyworld : December 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Wow, congrats on your goals and losing already 7 pounds! White bread is my weakness too!

  15. Wow, wtg Craig! 7lbs is a big step for one month, keep it up! :) Will keep an eye out for #NewBDK updates! :D

  16. my vice is DIET coke….and apparently that’s worse than the sugary stuff! OK, you’ve inspired me to watch my intake. Look forward to following your journey! xo

  17. good for you Craig! best of luck on your journey

  18. I’m just like you – I *LOVE* ice cold Coke (has to be Coke) and salty foods. It’s a real addiction :(

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