Saturday, June 30, 2018

David’s Success Story

David and I connected quite a few years ago through this blog and we had some deep email discussions about weight loss and what it meant for each of us.  We have emailed sporadically through the years and just the other week when we were communicating, I was more than excited to hear that he had reached his goal!! David’s story is not about his weight or the numbers on the scale as you will see in his responses. His story is driven by health concerns and the restrictions of those health concerns.

Due to professional reasons, he is choosing to not share his picture, but his story is amazingly inspiring!

What sparked you to begin to lose weight??
I always wanted to be a pilot when I was young. But it wasn’t until my parents offered to pay for my flight training one summer while I was in college that I was able to act upon that dream. I jumped at their offer and went through the training and acquired my pilots license.  However, flying is a bit expensive and with finishing college, then finding a job, paying  for a place to live, a car, and all of life’s expenses; flying took a back seat.  I always thought that I would get back to it sooner or later, but time kept slipping by me.  As I got older and more settled in life I started to occasionally think about flying again.  However by that time I had a medical complication, high blood pressure.  I figured that would prevent me from easily regaining my pilots license. I was placed on medication,which managed the issue but I figured it would prevent me from clearing the medical requirements to regain my pilots license so I never pursued it. Eventually I became prediabetic and started taking more medications to control that.  Of course shortly thereafter the itch to fly really took hold of me. I really missed flying and now that I was a little older and could afford it, I was ready to get back into the cockpit.  So I did some research.  I found that all of my medications were on the FAA approved list.  The only complication was the diabetes.  My blood sugar was being controlled with medication (granted it was a little high, but it was steady). I could get the medical clearance without changing anything, but it would be more difficult and would require special certification.  In order to walk into the examination and walk out with a valid medical clearance (with no special clearance needed) my blood sugar needed to be lower.   That was my goal and my motivation, to get under that magic number so that could happen!

 What was your highest weight?   Current weight?
At my highest point I think I was at 268lb.  Now I am probably around 240.  I go to the Doctor every six months and as long as I weigh the same or less, I know  I am on the right path.  

Furthermore, I have reached the magic numbers to easily obtain my medical clearance. I am currently working on finishing up my training to obtain a valid and current pilots license.

What plan did you follow to lose your weight?
I sort of did my own thing.  I eliminated all sugar, or anything that was naturally sweet (including fruit).  I stopped eating things like rice, potatoes, pasta, and drastically limited my bread intake.  I wasn’t super strict about it.  I would occasionally have those things, and even dessert every now and then.  However, kept them to a minimum.  And I also started  trying to have a NSNG (no sugar, no grain) diet, albeit slightly modified.  I would recommend anyone listen to Vinnie Tortorich (   I think he has some podcasts of his own, but I would listen to him when he came on Adam Carolla's podcast.

Have you reached your weight loss goal?  If so, how long have you been maintaining your weight?
No, I would say I have some more weight to lose, but I dont have a magic number in mind.  If I stay where I am, so be it.  There is more to health that meeting one particular weight goal.

Do you consistently track your food intake 
No, but I do tend to kind of mentally track it during the day.  So if I splurge a tiny bit at lunch I will eat a better dinner, etc.

Do your exercise regularly?  If so, what do you do?
No I do not.  It is something I hope to fix one day. I will do some things that get me moving around, but not exercise per se.  I have  always hated exercise for the sake of exercise.  Much more willing to go for a hike or bike ride, etc, because I want to do that, not just to work out.

Do you have any words of advice for someone that is just starting out on this journey of weight loss and health?  
You have to commit to it mentally.  I tried multiple times with multiple different diets, and they all worked to some degree, but were far too restrictive to stay with long term and eventually the weight comes right back.   I would recommend just picking something, just one thing, that you like but know is bad for you.  Just cut it out.  Keep everything else the same, and go without that one thing. It could be that can of Coke, or that ice cream, whatever it is.  I am not saying it won’t be difficult.  All habits are hard to break.  But that is what it is, a habit, not a need.  And if you just cut out one thing, the impact is minimal, and after a while you wont even want it any more. After you have broken that habit, it’s time to cut out the next thing.  Do this  until you find what works for you.  Don't go on a diet, change your lifestyle.  Make permanent changes.  In my case, since I have cut out sugar; whenever I do have a sip of something like orange juice or a coke it is way to sweet for me.  I don't want it anymore.  There are still things (like chocolate) that I crave occasionally, and I do let myself have a piece every now and then (or a few m&ms, etc), but just enough to enjoy the taste, and thats it.  And if you do have a bad day, where you just eat like crap, don't worry about it, just reset the next day.  If most of your days are healthy, the occasional bad one will  hardly have an impact. 

 As far as your weight...I would say don't check it every day.  Maybe check it once a week at a consistent time (like just when you wake up but haven't showered).  And don't worry if it was higher than the last are just looking for a trend over a long period of time.  If you like, plot them on a graph and you can easily see the downward trend.  Its hard to see when you are obsessed with the numbers day to day.  

Is there anything else you would like to share?
As far as weight loss goes I believe that weight loss is 90% diet, and 10% exercise.  Focus on the diet!

Thank you David for sharing your story with us!  Your healthy changes have helped you reach your goals and accomplish your dreams.  Keep up the healthy lifestyle you have set up for yourself and you will definitely have continued succcess.  I’m sure flying is so much sweeter because of the effort you had to exert to get there!   Enjoy your airtime and fly safe my friend!

If you want to read more success stories, check out Lori’s story about how she has been losing weight through Weight Watchers or Crystal who has adopted a slow and steady approach to changing her lifestyle and weight.