Doug Kelly getting serious about healing journey

He had to exercise more. Transform the diet. Ditch the salt. Balance his sugars. He had to get serious.

Sto:lo Grand Chief Doug Kelly decided that if he was going to walk the talk as chair of the First Nations Health Council

Sto:lo Grand Chief Doug Kelly has spent 18 months getting fitter and healthier than he’s been in years.

He did it by waging a slow and determined battle to make major lifestyle changes.

The catalyst was the poor results from a health assessment that he’d taken at a conference.

“When I failed that assessment — and I failed it miserably — I knew I had to make changes,” says Kelly, 53, who is chair of the First Nations Health Council.

He couldn’t escape. He had to exercise more. Transform the diet. Ditch the salt. Balance his sugars. Bring down the blood pressure. He had to get serious.

But he also knew himself well enough to grasp that he had to reduce the weight gradually, or it would all be gained back, “with interest.”

Now he’s crediting stalwart support from his doctor, and his wife, his family, and fellow FHNC members, for helping him get this far.

Kelly’s healing journey started about two years ago, when he was challenged by the CEO of the First Nations Health Authority, Joe Gallagher, to become a health “champion” along with other members of FNHC.

“He put it as kindly and diplomatically as possible that he needed role models to step up and model healthy behaviour. That starts with everybody taking personal responsibility for their own well being.”

Kelly just ran his first 10-kilometre race in decades over the weekend in Victoria, and has committed to doing a half-marathon later this summer.

“I ran out of gas at the 8-km mark, and it was only my stubbornness that got me through it,” he says.

But he enjoyed it.

“What a beautiful day for a run, with thousands of folks from all races and many places,” Kelly posted on his Facebook page after the event.

He was please to finish it without walking, and within his goal of an hour and 10 minutes.

That’s a long way away from where he was at not too long ago, huffing and puffing at 325 pounds, trying to kickstart his fitness regime.

It’s one thing to accept the idea of a healing journey in your head, he says. But it’s another to really accept it in your heart.

Grand Chief Kelly and his wife, Sherry, cleaned up their diet dramatically last year by cutting out most simple carbs and going gluten-free. He loves red meat, but these days he opts for chicken or fish, and more vegetables now.

“We eliminated processed food, junk food, and fast food to concentrate on fresh, healthy food,” Kelly says. “When I think about going on on a diet, it feels like i’m being punished.

“If I think, ‘I’m eating healthy food,’ it helps me make that attitude adjustment. I make choices every day about eating healthier.”

The job requires him to travel across the province, meaning he’s eating out on the road lots of the time.

“I order lots of salads, with chicken, fish, or shrimp.”

He is walking the walk, as well as talking the talk.

“I’m open about what I’m doing and what I’m going through,” he says.

Kelly has about 1000 friends on Facebook, and many have messaged him to say how much his journey has inspired them to commit to their own health plans.

“I didn’t fully appreciate until then what possible impact that role models could have on people.”

Losing his parents while they were still young had a profound effect on him.

“I never believed I’d make it to 50,” he says. “Every day since then has been a bonus. Now I’m asking what kind of shape I will be in as a great-grandfather.”

He has lost a whopping 80 pounds over the 18 months.

“If you would have told me two years ago that I’d be here, having lost all that weight, I would have said ‘No way.'”

He did it with dietary changes and exercise, at first by walking, and then running. He has kept 75 lbs off his tall frame. It all began with taking a walk after dinner every night.

Kelly used to run as a young man.

“I ran six miles everyday in part because of my circumstances. I had to burn off some anger.”

But once he started working, and having children over the past few decades, the focus was always on providing for his family. The running habit fell by the wayside.

He’s getting back into it now that he’s committed to the half-marathon.

“That’s my next goal. I’ve got three months.”

He plans to drop another 15 lbs, run three times a week, and head to the gym several times a week for strength training.

A couple of other changes have made a difference. He reduced his insane work hours and increased his sleep from about four to six hours per night, up to between six and nine hours per night.

“I significantly reduced the work hours, but I’ve managed to become more efficient. I make time now for myself and my family.”

His blood pressure is down and his blood sugar levels are good.

“Life is a whole lot better when you make an effort to create a personal wellness plan, and then you carry it out.”

 

 

Just Posted

Chilliwack trustees divided on Trans Mountain pipeline route near two schools

School district will pen letter to NEB to ask for re-routing away from schools to be considered

Summer service by bus from Chilliwack to Cultus Lake starting soon

Seasonal change will see bus service from Vedder Road to Cultus elementary until Labour Day

Tractorgrease in Chilliwack looking for support after Open Mic shut down

‘Support Live Music at Tractorgrease’ fundraising campaign features free concerts June 28 and July 1

OPINION: Wading through the PR tsunami post-pipeline approval

Those who hate the pipeline, hate Trudeau’s decision – those who hate Trudeau, still hate him

After 30 years, Agassiz’s Miss Marge set to retire from Variety Play

From 1989 to today, Miss Marge has taken generations of kids through the district play program

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Men caught with illegal gun near Burnaby elementary school

They were sitting in a parked car near Cameron Elementary

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Pair of B.C. cities crack Ashley Madison’s ‘Infidelity Hotlist’

Data from the website reveals Abbotsford and Kelowna hottest spots for cheaters

Life’s work of talented B.C. sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Canada’s first dementia village close to opening

Langley project to provide home-like surroundings for between $83,400 and $93,600 a year

Unexpected snow blankets the Okanagan Connector

As of 6:50 a.m. DriveBC cameras displayed surprise snowfall on highway

Most Read