At City Fitness, we’re constantly learning about what motivates people to strive for healthier lifestyles. This Q&A is part of a larger interview series with a number of Philadelphians representing a wide range of industries and communities — from entertainment to fashion to fitness. These interviews and photos were completed to celebrate the launch of City Fitness’ Signature Club which is coming to the Sterling Building on 18th and JFK. Click here for more information and 30 Days of early access for just $10!
You’ve seen HughE Dillon around town. Or he’s seen you. He’s the Gentleman Paparazzo of Philadelphia, taking photos at almost every event in town — from black tie galas to street festivals. He’s the founder of the Philly Chit Chat blog and his images are regularly featured in just about every media outlet in town. But being so busy took its toll on HughE’s health. So he said enough is enough, embraced a healthier lifestyle and has recently dropped 40 pounds. He’s now at his lowest weight in the past 10 years and feeling a renewed sense of energy. In the following interview, HughE talks about his re-commitment to fitness and how Philly is becoming a much healthier place to live.
You work tirelessly to chronicle the social scene in Philly. I literally see you at every event. How did diving so deep into your work hurt your health?
Before I started Philly Chit Chat, I was an everyday biker and everyday rollerblader. In the 10 years since I’ve run my blog, those events I cover fell during the same times that I used to go biking or blading. So I stopped doing something fun that was very healthy for me and got all consumed with my work.
Now you’re losing weight and making health and fitness a bigger part of your life. Why?
I’m getting older. It was for my health. I was getting shortness of breath. I didn’t want to walk staircases anymore. In fact, I was changing where I would go and what I would do based on whether there were staircases or not — and I thought “wow, this has got to stop.”
How did you lose the weight?
A lot of it was eating. I just started to eat better and cut back on diet soda. Even though it’s diet soda it starts creating cravings for you. I signed up for Performance Meal Prep and they send me five meals per week. I know I’m still going to go out and eat. It’s just part of my business to try out Philly’s fabulous restaurants. But I’m being conscious of what I’m eating when I’m out. Those two things combined helped me lose the weight.
You’re also focusing on sleeping better?
Up until this year, I wasn’t sleeping well. I was only getting four hours a night. It’s constant work to feed six news outlets with photos from different events around town. But I started eating well, drinking water and sleeping more. I used to say the old adage “I’ll sleep when I die.” Well I was gonna die soon because I wasn’t taking care of my health.
You know Philly better than anybody. Do you think the city is a healthier place than it was 10 years ago, before City Fitness opened its doors?
Definitely. You can tell Philly is more healthy. We have more running trails and more outdoor areas where people are exercising. They’re even exercising on the Art Museum steps! The tourists have to walk around the people doing yoga and bootcamp. That’s amazing. Usually we use the steps to take in the great view of Philadelphia. Now we’re using it to work out! Everyone is very connected and encouraging to each other to get healthy. I don’t see people shaming each other in Philadelphia for how they look. I see them encouraging each other — and that’s just terrific.
Q&A by Jared Shelly