Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

How I lost 70 pounds: A bike (literally) saved my life

Cancer survivor Robert Collard lost 70 pounds by bike riding.

Rob Callard

50, Beaconsfield, Que.

Pounds dropped: 70

Story continues below advertisement

My turning point: On May 31, 2009, at my son's graduation dinner, I just could not cool down. I was always very warm and clammy, but I remember feeling especially uncomfortable, sweating profusely and sad that I couldn't enjoy myself on such a meaningful occasion. What should have been a wonderful evening left me wondering how I got to this point.

My method: The next day, I decided to get my bike out and go for a ride. I chose to ride later in the evening when the roads were quiet, and there was no one around to see me.

I had always loved biking as a kid, and knew that this could be one way I could shed the pounds I so desperately needed to lose. That night, I did about about 5 kilometres and felt as if I was going to pass out. But within a few months, I was up to about 25 kilometres per ride, several times a week, and by the end of the summer, I had shed 35 pounds. My friends noticed the change – a powerful motivator.

Then, the shock of my life came that autumn: I was diagnosed with an incurable but treatable form of lymphoma. The doctors had said had I not got on that bike and shed the weight, they would have never detected the tumour.

The bike had saved my life.

I knew at that point I had to make more of a full-time, life-long commitment – so I started a new nutrition regimen. I began to keep a small index card in my pocket to list the food I was eating during the day. I still do this today, and transcribe my weight and exercise into a journal which I keep for motivation.

I am a creature of habit: Mornings are bran with blueberries, yogurt and whole grain bread with all-natural peanut butter. At lunch, I will typically eat salad with a protein such as tuna or turkey breast. In the evening, the big factor in maintaining my weight has been to avoid the intake of carbs as much as possible. I will eat veggies and protein, although almost no red meat, and good carbs, such as potatoes or quinoa.

Story continues below advertisement

The great thing about the night before a big ride is that I can have pasta for dinner and not feel guilty.

Today I cycle 60 kilometres a day to work, my cancer is in remission, and I'm down 70 pounds. I feel better than ever.

My kryptonite: I cannot resist ice cream and all things chocolate! I'm in love with chocolate: If I get a craving, which happens often, I'll have a piece of dark chocolate to take the edge off.

This interview was condensed and edited

Tell us how you lost it: tgam.ca/weightloss

Report an error Licensing Options
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.