My name is David, and 6 years ago, I weighed just over 400 pounds. I had been heavy my whole life, and had, over the years, tried a number of diets. There were a couple times that I lost 50 or more pounds, but I could never keep it off. I found myself, at age 31, as the heaviest I’d ever been, and I was certain that I would never lose the weight, and that I would have to just deal with the health issues and unhappiness that came with my morbid obesity.
I live in Los Angeles and work in television, and at the time, I worked for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” In January 2010, fitness icon Richard Simmons was booked to appear as a guest on the show, and I was assigned to be the producer of his segment. The day I met Richard was the day my life changed. He offered to help me lose weight, and I took him up on his offer (after hemming and hawing for a few weeks).
I was petrified at first, because I had no idea what was in store, and I didn’t think I’d be able to lose any weight. What Richard did was hold me accountable. He made me log everything I ate and drank and email it to him weekly. He’d write back with suggestions and advice. I started taking his aerobics classes in Beverly Hills, and amped up my exercise.
Sure enough, it worked. I was so uncertain that I’d lose anything that I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing, nor did I initially set a goal. But in 6 months, I had lost almost 100 pounds, and by the end of one year, it was around 150. I started my blog, www.keepitupdavid.com, to chronicle what I was doing.
In total, I lost around 160 pounds – a fact that is an enormous source of pride. What I’m even more proud of is that I’ve kept it off for 5 years – and counting! Weight loss maintenance isn’t any easier than the initial weight loss, but I’m still working hard to take care of myself, and sharing my progress on my website and social media (I’m @keepitupdavid on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook).
I still take classes at Richard Simmons’ fitness studio, but I’ve also, on my own, fallen into a new sport that I absolutely love: stair racing. I race up the stairs in skyscrapers, and it is the most grueling thing I’ve ever done. I’ve raced in nearly a dozen cities, up some of the most famous buildings in the country, and I’m hooked. These races help me stay focused, and on track, and I can’t wait for the next one.
The weight loss advice that I give people time and time again is to start small. Find food swaps and small changes that you can easily incorporate into your life, and build from there. Accept that this will likely be a lifelong journey – especially if you’re starting at a high weight like I did – and understand that you will always need to keep learning and trying new things. Also, find something that you love that will keep you active: it doesn’t need to be as intense as stair racing, but if you love taking your dog for longer walks, or playing with your grandkids at the park, than you’re more likely to keep doing it.