Ben Pobjoy claimed that he was only slightly chubby as a child. Apparently, he remained fairly lean as he entered his teenage years too, and he was a long-distance athlete in high school. However, that all changed when he was in his early 20s at university. Yes, Pobjoy became unhappy and began to comfort-eat.
After graduating, Pobjoy started a job that involved him sitting at a desk all day. This, combined with his bad eating habits, meant that the pounds kept piling on.
By his own admission, Pobjoy was overeating and had totally given up on trying to exercise. He was “in a real slump,” as he later described it. Then, in 2014, Pobjoy moved to Toronto to start a new job. Would this offer him the jolt he needed to make a change?
Indeed it would. As Pobjoy told The Huffington Post in October 2015, he had the harsh realization that he was the most unhealthy person there “within about eight seconds” of starting the job. Yes, he was drinking too many fizzy drinks and often eating takeaway food at his desk. Finally, he could see that he was out of control.
After all, his colleagues all seemed to enjoy healthy diets and exercise routines. And rather than being jealous of them, Pobjoy found inspiration in their lifestyle choices. So with January 2015 just around the corner, it was time for a New Year’s resolution. But there was to be no gym membership involved in this particular weight-loss journey…
At the start of 2015, Pobjoy weighed 250 pounds, and he was well aware that he had to act fast. “I knew I had to whip my seriously unhealthy ass into shape,” he later declared on his Facebook page. But he needed to find a method he could stick to.
So Pobjoy started walking. In fact, he walked and walked and kept on walking… and nine months later he was an amazing 100 pounds lighter, having traveled an incredible 2,400 miles. Most of his walking was done in his hometown of Toronto, Canada, but he also trekked around Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton in Canada as well as Los Angeles, Chicago and Austin when on business trips in the United States.
In a Facebook post made in September 2015, Pobjoy explained how “fortunate” he felt to be able to walk in such faraway places, regarding it the “best way to be a tourist.” His biggest motivation was tracking all his steps and calories using apps as well as getting “lost” in podcasts, often for up to five hours at a time.
In fact, Pobjoy encouraged everyone to listen to podcasts in order to “get your heart rate up and enrich your brain.” But his new hobby of burning calories and learning new things via podcasts was still not enough for Pobjoy. He had another goal as well…
He was indeed shedding the pounds by walking around various cities, but he was also taking on something heavier than he expected. After all, Pobjoy described his whole walking experience as “bittersweet” due to some of the sights he came across on his journey.
In fact, Pobjoy couldn’t believe how many homeless people – as well as those struggling with addiction and mental-health issues – he saw on his travels. As a result, he quickly developed a strong desire to do something to help.
After all, something didn’t feel right; Pobjoy felt guilty walking past these people while on his own journey of self-improvement. Indeed, on social media Pobjoy expressed feeling “selfish” and “conflicted” as he strolled past people who had real needs. Then he had an idea; he could help other people on his weight-loss journey. But how?
Sandwiches. Yes, Pobjoy started making peanut-butter sandwiches and giving them out to people who needed them as he walked the streets of North American cities. In this way, he recognized that he could give his physical challenge a social purpose.
For his part, Pobjoy has acknowledged that he won’t change the world through his sandwich idea. However, he has highlighted the merit in helping out other human beings even in this small way.
In fact, he has been actively encouraging other people to join the project, and his movement carrying its own hashtag – #MoveBeyondYou. Of course, Pobjoy commends people for walking, cycling and running around their cities, but he is encouraging them to do more with it.
“Let’s give purpose to our athletics beyond mere self-improvement,” he wrote on Facebook. He doesn’t only suggest giving out food, though. He also encourages buying gloves and socks from cheap stores to help keep homeless people warm in the winter.
Meanwhile, Pobjoy is still walking, and he has also become a big fan of boxing, which is helping him stay in shape. After all, he had wanted to try boxing for a while but was always too unfit to give it a go. Now he’s fit enough, and he’s loving it.
Plus, Pobjoy has said that his metabolism has changed in a big way because of his lifestyle change. After all, he doesn’t gorge like he used to, and he tries to maintain a plant-based diet to keep him healthy and feeling good. In fact, his eating is disciplined, and he does a lot of time-consuming meal prep too – but it’s worth it.
He explained to The Huffington Post that since he began his journey, he has never felt more connected to his body or more aware of his privileges in life. He also maintained that he is the same person on the inside but refuses to be an apathetic member of society anymore.
Two years since he made his resolution to turn his life around, Pobjoy is still walking and spreading charity far and wide. On December 4, 2016, for instance, he completed a double walking marathon in Japan to raise money for pets abandoned or left homeless by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. So, as the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And Pobjoy is testament to that.