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Physical and mental health: two assets of a gentleman


If you’re like me, the generous holiday meals didn’t help your waistline. To be honest, I’ve put on nearly 6 pounds that I’ve been trying to erase from my Withings scale since the start of 2024, even though I already had a few pounds to lose. So here are a few tips for good physical and mental health if you’re in the same situation as me and, of course, want to reduce your waistline. You may want to stay the weight and still be in good physical health, and that’s fine too.

The two assets : physical and mental health 

Let’s start with the physical health and continue with the mental health, but remind yourself, they go together, always.

The physical health : More than the weight

At the Nordic Spa at Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge - Physical and mental health

At the Nordic Spa at Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge
Photo : Normand Boulanger | Gentologie

Whatever I say, being overweight is never going to help me when I’m doing everyday activities, and maybe that’s the case for you too, but it’s above all a personal point of view, we’re all different.

I’m starting to develop a belly—a small one, but one I’m not at all proud of. I’ve been carrying it around since I stopped personal training a few months after the pandemic. I’m getting a bit too comfortable in this anxiety-provoking relationship and I need to get rid of it. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but for me, who’s 46, 1m73 tall and single at the time of writing, being overweight slows me down and makes me feel bad inside and prevents me from feeling good about myself. There’s certainly pressure from social networks, but in my case it’s physiological, I can feel it straight away, I’m more out of breath, I take the escalator more often than the steps in the metro, it takes me longer to recover when I’m shopping, my walking pace is slower, in short, a lot of little details that add up.

There aren’t many solutions. It’s all about discipline. Discipline in exercise, discipline in weighing, discipline in sleeping and discipline in eating. I have to admit that discipline and I are two different things, but that’s what should be paramount as an entrepreneur and as a human being (now I’ve woken up at 46, it’s never too late as they say).

Having a lifestyle that fits with your physical and mental health

An Old Fashioned at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge

An Old Fashioned at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge
Photo: Normand Boulanger | Gentlogie

Through Gentologie, I’m often invited to tastings and events where we’re often only served nibbles. It’s delicious, pleasant and comforting, but it certainly doesn’t help your figure, as you often eat standing up and quickly, you stuff yourself, and sometimes you’re served more alcohol than food—in short, the balance isn’t always there. What’s more, in wine and spirits events, we’re all about sugar and calories. It’s easy when it’s free and your glass of wine or spirit is refilled as soon as you’ve had a sip. Water is also important throughout your day, so don’t forget it, especially when you get up because you’ve gone 8 hours without drinking.

At home, living on my own, I’ve gotten into the bad habit of eating all my meals in the living room, as you might do too, in front of the television. This habit comes from my family home, where the television faces the dining table. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to eat in my kitchen, although it’s less inviting because of the light and the fact that eating alone at the table is a bit depressing. But I force myself to do it. And I put on music (Radio-Classique [a Québec radio station] or a record is excellent at suppertime) instead of TV.

And how do you keep it all together? I cook. I rarely buy ready meals and processed foods, I cook from scratch quite often (I’m not skinning chickens and beef just yet, don’t worry). Whether it’s my bread (I even managed to make my own brioche loaf this weekend, I love french toasts like this recipe), my pasta (when I’m short of time, I buy products from Europe, because they’re stricter about what food can contain), in short, cooking frees my mind too, even if it sometimes takes longer. And it saves me money too, which is a good thing as a start-up entrepreneur.

I also try (it’s not easy) not to eat anything after dinner, which is often harmful when you’re trying to lose weight. A little chocolate, a glass of whisky, a bit of popcorn, chips or nuts, etc. Instead, make yourself an herbal tea (ideally caffeine-free) or a decaffeinated coffee, that will help. Otherwise, those little late-night snacks will build up in your system because you don’t have time to spend them and you’ll go to sleep. Speaking of sleep, try to get at least 8 hours’ sleep every night, as this will greatly help your system. And don’t forget to make your doctor’s appointment—it could save your life!

The Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge at night

The Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge at night
Photo : Normand Boulanger | Gentologie

Anyway, getting back to food, I’ve started tracking what I eat using (you have to be disciplined), since the beginning of January 2024, the MyFitnessPal app. I must say that I was lucky to be invited to an event with them recently in Alberta, at the magnificent Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, an Autograph Collection by Marriott hotel, like the Humaniti in Montréal.

A short discovery trip where I learnt a lot about the application and nutrition. The app allows you to keep track of your exercise and add your meals, so you can see your daily calories and keep an eye on what you’re eating and spending. Think about getting a smart scale like this one from Withings (I own one myself), it’s really accurate and allows you to track your progress (weight, body fat, heart rate, etc.), but don’t just focus on that, it’s a tool to help you track your progress, not an end in itself.

By the way, the MyFitnessPal app team has enlisted the help of actress Kate Hudson (yes, I know she’s a lady, but it will certainly motivate you gentlemen) to help you achieve your health goals for the coming year. So, to achieve big goals and create lasting change in your eating and exercise habits, you need a plan—a plan made up of small, measurable steps that build momentum and get you (slowly but surely) where you want to be.

A plan is like a chess game, one step at a time - Physical and mental health

A plan is like a chess game, one step at a time
Photo : Normand Boulanger | Gentologie

A plan? Let me give you an example. My main sport is running, let’s say you decide to run, like me, and you want to do your first marathon, that’s great, the longest distance I’ve run in my life is 12 kilometres, I love going fast. Anyway, to get there, you can’t just lace up your shoes and hit the (snowy?) asphalt to run 42 kilometres straight away (you won’t feel your legs for a week). You have to start small—maybe run a single kilometre, maybe less, without stopping for a week or two—and progress from there. We all start somewhere.

That’s exactly what MyFitnessPal’s Small Steps Plan is designed to do. This new in-app 7-day plan is designed to help you reach your 2024 health goals the right way. Because no goal is too big when it’s broken down into . . . you guessed it: small steps.

How does the Small Steps Plan from MyFitnessPal works?

Each day of the programme, you’ll receive knowledge and motivation from Kate Hudson and the MyFitnessPal team of nutrition experts, as well as a “small step”—or habit-reinforcing task—to complete by the end of the day, nothing too challenging so far, right? You’ll be able to track your progress in the app and, in the end, celebrate seven days of progress towards your 2024 resolution. Of course, your adventure doesn’t have to end there. The tips you’ll learn during the programme will help you keep the momentum going long after it’s over. A gentleman needs to have a great physical health (don’t confuse physical health with being lean).

But that’s just a starting point. The most important thing is that you choose where to start and that you draw up a plan for continuing to progress over time (did I mention discipline above?) Sounds easy? Maybe in theory. But the truth is that it’s HARD to make realistic plans—plans that you can actually stick to, because often you set your goals too high (and I’m including myself in that) and you don’t have the time to achieve them because the tasks are too heavy. Start by being regular with your weekly goals, then you’ll work your way up.

A hike in the Kananaskis Mountains with MyFitnessPal team - Physical and mental health

A hike in the Kananaskis Mountains with MyFitnessPal team
Photo : Normand Boulanger | Gentologie

In fact, research from the MyFitnessPal team shows that the majority of people skip the step of making a plan for their fitness and end up abandoning their New Year’s resolutions on 15 January, just two weeks into the new year (that was yesterday, if you’re reading this article on the day it was published), so you’re on the right track!

Ready to start?

Sunset in Kananaskis

Sunset in Kananaskis
Photo : Normand Boulanger | Gentologie

Simply open the MyFitnessPal app (if you don’t already have it, download it here) and tap on Plans in the bottom navigation bar. Select the Small Steps Plan at the top of the list and press the “START PLAN” button.

That’s it! You’re on your way to seven days of small, meaningful steps towards achieving your goal. You can do it. It’s normal for it to be difficult at first, but the important thing is to persevere if you want to be in good physical health! 

Want to push the bar higher? Dino Masson from YUL Fitness has a programme to make you look like James Bond in this article. It’s not easy, but you’ll be in great shape with a great physique, if that’s what you’re after.

Mental health, a priority for progress

Mental health is also very important

Mental health is also very important
Photo : Pexels par Cottonbro

Maybe you want to prioritize your mental health, one can’t go without the other, you know. The most depressing day of the year (Blue Monday) has now passed, that was yesterday, 15 January. You can now move forward. And to be able to perform in good physical health, you need to be in good mental health.

But you may be wondering where to start. How do you get there? Start with nutrition, eat things you enjoy, rediscover the pleasure of food, make recipes, be proud of yourself. Because when you eat better, you sleep better. And when you sleep better, you feel better. Try to avoid caffeine in the evening as I said earlier, read a book, go for a healthy walk outside, turn down the heating in your bedroom to sleep, turn off your screens at least an hour before bedtime. You can train more, continue to make healthy decisions, and all of this contributes to a better mental health!

If you can’t take these steps on your own, don’t hesitate to seek help (there are several resources here for Canada and Quebec), talk to your friends and family, in short, don’t stay cooped up. Perhaps going out to a bar or restaurant might help, or seeing a film or a show.  

I know it’s not easy, I myself have a small circle of friends, most of whom are far away and we don’t see each other very often.

In short, I know that you can be healthy gentlemen (physical and mental health), so don’t hesitate to share our tips with people who need them.


Founder & Editor In Chief of Gentologie

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