Mayor Rob Ford has finished his turbulent weight-loss challenge 33 pounds shy of the 50-pound target he set with great fanfare Jan. 16.
Ford tipped the scales Monday, in front of a bank of reporters and TV cameras, in his final weigh-in, at 313 pounds. He shed a total of 17 pounds from his 330 pound frame, although was at one point down to 310.
To add insult to injury, Mayor Ford stumbled while stepping off the scale and injured his ankle.
His brother, Councillor Doug Ford, fared better, finishing 35 pounds lighter than the 275 he weighed when they embarked on their “Cut the Waist” challenge, with its own logo, website and oversized scale.
In January, the mayor drew praise and support from across the political spectrum for risking his pride to embark on a public effort to get healthier. Skeptics suggested the campaign was a calculated effort to both soften his bulldozer image and reinforce his political brand as a cost-cutter.
The Fords challenged politicians and regular people across the country to join them in their weight-loss journey and pledge money to charity. Some health experts and fellow dieters, however, cautioned that losing 50 pounds in five months was unrealistic and potentially unhealthy.
Ford shed 22 pounds in a month, exercising and “eating like a rabbit,” then plateaued and began gaining.
The part-time football coach weighed 313 pounds, up four from the previous week, when he last weighed in May 8.
The weekly scale-tip drew intense media interest, in part because they were the only regular opportunity reporters had to ask Ford questions. But they were often depressing affairs as an obviously frustrated, angry mayor faced, or ignored, questions on issues unrelated to his weight.
The mayor began skipping the weigh-ins that had prompted residents to scrutinize his every public meal. In April, someone filmed and mocked him as he entered a KFC outlet; other fast-food indulgences were chronicled in real time on Twitter.
The campaign also provided a glimpse into the brothers’ close but competitive and complicated relationship. Though Doug Ford is fiercely defensive of Rob Ford, he repeatedly mocked him for cancelling weigh-ins, visiting fast-food outlets, and failing to match his own weight loss success.
The many twists and turns of the spectacle seemed to come to an abrupt end May 27 when the mayor suddenly quit Cut the Waist on radio as his brother was threatening to drag him to the next day’s weigh-in.
“I don’t care about the weigh-in. I’m not even dieting anymore. It’s gone! It’s water under the bridge. So I gotta — we gotta refocus,” the mayor said.
But he returned to the airwaves — not the scale — the following day saying he didn’t mean he was abandoning the challenge, just that he was going to start dieting privately.
On this past Sunday’s radio show, Mayor Ford suggested he will keep battling the bulge.
“I have to get this weight off.”
With files from Daniel Dale