He also ate too much. When he weighted himself in January 1, 2006, he was shocked to see that the scales told him that he weighed 375 pounds. Even though he's 6' 1" tall he knew this was far too much.
He lost 25 pounds that year. But it wasn't nearly enough.
By December 6, 2007, his weight had come down to 318. But that was the day his doctor diagnosed that he had type 2 diabetes.
"That was the day that changed my life," Dirk says. Since then, he has redoubled his efforts to exercise and lose weight. His goal: 185.
But the best part of Dirk's story is how public he has gone with it. Ever since January 12 he has written blog entries at http://healthychangesforlife.blogspot.com/ about what he eats, his blood glucose levels, and his weight. And he's already down to 305.8.
His associates think that he's being too public. But I couldn't agree more with Dirk.
When you are ashamed of something or feel guilty or are in denial, you want to keep it to yourself. But when you are proud of what you do, you want the world to know. Then, all the people who care about you are more likely to reinforce your goals.
Only when you accept yourself as you are can you make fundamental changes. This is basic to the Alcoholics Anonymous philosophy. "My name is David, and I am an alcoholic" is what I know that I would say if I ever needed AA support. It's a sign of commitment.
I subscribe to the same philosophy. When I started taking Byetta on February 7, 2006, I weighed almost as much as Dirk. I am 6' 3" tall but weighed 312 at that time. I told my doctor and everyone else who would listen that my goal was to get down to a normal Body Mass Index of 195 by October 26, 2007, which happens to be exactly my weight when the U.S. Army gave me an honorable discharge half a century earlier.
My doctor smiled and made it clear that I was fooling myself. In fact, my weight had come down to 169 by that date.
In my new book, Losing Weight with Your Diabetes Medication, I wrote all of that and more about my weight and my goals. Like Dirk, I'm not proud that my weight climbed so high, but by making my process so open I reinforced my determination to succeed.
Even now that I am down to the weight that I want to carry, I get help in maintaining this level. Every Thursday morning I participate in my friend Jude's virtual weigh-in.
You probably can't believe how much I focus on my Thursday weight. If it creeps up over the weekend, I make darn sure to eat less so that I will be down to 160 every Thursday morning.