Commit to Fit | Week 52

Author | Commit to Fit 2011 Winner, Dave Mckew

My final weigh-in at MV Nutrition was March 2, 2012. Exactly one year to the day of my first weigh-in. I am clocking out my CTF year at 112.5 pounds down. And while the perfectionist in me is pretty sure I could have done a little better, my friends have been really good at making sure I keep my perspective. After all, 112.5 is...quite a bit of weight, isn't it?  I guess I did alright.  ;-)

It feels strange to have become an expert in something that I never thought I could accomplish. Well I'm not an expert in the sense that I am a registered dietician like Sarah, or that I have created an international weight management program and written a book like Manuel, or that I have been called one of the "Top 100 Trainers in the US" like Billy...but I have lost over a hundred pounds and I've met very few people in my lifetime who have done that without surgery or living on a "fat farm" or being on a reality show or doing one of those crash diets where you eat only 800 calories a day of "just add water" powdered "food."  I did it completely with lifestyle improvements in nutrition and fitness, eating real food and doing real exercise, basically changing my behaviors in a truly sustainable way. My greatest success is that during the year that I made all the changes, I still maintained my insanely busy life; this year I co-wrote, co-directed, co-produced, and co-starred in a play while simultaneously losing weight, maintaining the job I've had for over 11 years and fitting-in my active social life...thereby proving that "I don't have time to eat better/exercise" is really, just an excuse.

I feel like I am proof that anyone (who wants to) can do this.Yes, I had help but Billy didn't drag me to the gym 3 to 4 times a week, and Sarah didn't spoon feed me at every meal (or any meal). In that sense, I do feel like my success is my own. The sum of my own good decisions.

Today I feel better physically better than I have in over 15 years.  And I can't even begin to explain what it feels like to have accomplished all that I have accomplished in the last year.  When I set out to do this a year ago, I admit I was not convinced that I would succeed.  I was convinced that I would crack under pressure or frankly, injure myself.  And there were moments where I did crack under pressure, and there were moments where I did injure myself, and there were plenty of emotional and mental obstacles...but with Billy and Sarah there to help me navigate the treacherous waters of weight loss, I got through it, each and every time, with an A+.  (OK, sometimes maybe only with an A.)

Healthwise, my blood pressure and cholesterol are way down. I feel stronger and I have more energy than before. I have joked many times that I am "38 going on 25" and really...it's not much of a joke, actually. I have lost at least 16 inches of waistline (size 54 last March, today 38"), I'm wearing XL shirts instead of 5XL shirts. And as much I have resisted admitting this along the way: I have more confidence. Which is really saying something because I've always been a reasonably confident person. I guess that means I'm arrogant now. (I'm sure my friends reading this are thinking, "No, Dave, you were arrogant before.")

There are a ton of people I need to thank before I go:

- Billy Polson. Trainer, mentor, friend.  Meeting you three times a week for the last year has genuinely been an honor, and dare I say fun -- always the highlight of my week! I am in awe of your attention to detail and your sense of commitment. Thank you for sharing your endless wealth of knowledge and doing it with that infectious smile, proving that personal trainers don't have to be jerks like the ones you see on reality shows. I can't believe you managed to make me so comfortable in the gym; a year ago I could hardly walk by one (on the outside) without collapsing into a fearful panic. I have learned so much about myself because of my time with you, most importantly what I am capable of. Thankful for helping me reach my full potential.  Thank you for being there for me, even outside of my appointments. Thank you for your endless enthusiasm, tireless determination and patience, honesty, and unrelenting vision. Working out by myself won't be as fun...but at least I know what the hell I'm doing now, because of you.

- Sarah Koszyk. We had a lot of laughs, didn't we? I don't know how the hell you got through a year of my neurotic blitherings, but I am so grateful for it. There were times where this was really hard on me mentally and emotionally, but you helped get me through it. I can't believe how comparatively relaxed and confident I am about eating, and weight loss, these days. For years my doctor begged me to see a nutritionist and I always said, "Yeah, yeah, I know how to eat healthy" but it turns out I really had no idea. Thank you for setting me straight and introducing me to so much...and teaching it to me in a sustainable way. Thank you for realizing that I'm not going to be a chef (in my current stage of life) and teaching me how to navigate eating out-of-the-house. You should see the jaw-droppage when people learn that I've lost over 100 pounds while eating about 75% of my meals out. It's a joy, every time. I wish I understood why more people don't see what a serious benefit a nutrition coach can be. I will be pointing friends into your direction for years to come, I am sure.

- Manuel Villacorta, for creating "Eating Free" and setting the events into motion that led to the start of the "Commit to Fit" program.

- Kelly Powers, office assistant at MV Nutrition, for meeting me every other week for a weigh-in. You were always a great way to start the weekend, even when the numbers weren't so great.

- The entire amazing staff at DIAKADI including Ed, Holly, and former staffers Jordan and Erin. Cristian you have been an amazing burst of positive energy and we are all lucky to have you in our lives. Gina Gutierrez and Mike Clausen, thank you for making me feel like I'm truly part of the family. You guys have all been so supportive and made "going to the gym" so comfortable and palatable for me.

- All the trainers at DIAKADI (especially Shelby, my "number one fan") for their continuous interest and encouragement. And Good Lord, some of you, and your clients, have supplied some very inspiring eye candy. Thanks for that!

- My co-workers: Philip and Jennine for accommodating my request for a schedule adjustment at work for the last year. Thank you for recognizing the importance of this. Lilei for being my 100 pound "fitness" model. Stephen for graphic design work (such as photo editing and updating the famous "Lilei" diagram). Angie for all the walks! And everyone for making this an "office project" that we could all take part in together!

- Tim Irvin, the friend (and DIAKADI client) who referred me to the CTF program. Thanks for thinking of me at just the right moment!

- Kevin Johnson and Kelly Clements, the previous CTF winners, for taking the time to meet with me last year.

- Michael Pell of The Pilsner Inn for keeping me hydrated (and being so supportive).

- All my friends and family, too numerous to list, for their love and support and encouragement. Thank you for sitting across the dinner table and keeping me calm when I was panicking about food "ruling my life," early on. Thank you for your back-pats, emails, facebook comments and likes.  Thank you for sharing your stories and listening to mine. Thank you for sharing your tips and letting me inspire you with mine...every time I was asked, I was flattered to share. I am still shocked at how much interest you have all taken in my progress. I'm glad my journey has been infectious and effected others. At times, I feel like that has been the greatest reward to come out of this. Though I suspect the greatest rewards have yet to come.

Wow. What a year. I have been very careful not to use cliche language like "I'm a different person now" and "I don't know that guy I used to be" because I don't have a lot of problems with the previous version of myself. That being said, the current version of myself looks and feels pretty freakin' fabulous so I am eager to complete this mission and drop the rest of the weight I need to lose. While I won't be blogging weekly, I do plan to submit blogs on my continued success to Eating Free and DIAKADI from time to time, so perhaps the title of this blog is not quite right. It should be "Thank You" without a "Goodbye."

Keep eating.  Keep moving. See you soon