David Mendosa’s Journey from Sick and Obese to Total Wellness, Part 4: Leading a Life Well-Lived
In part 3 of my interview with David, he and I explored his dramatic
weight loss and how he gained control of his health. If you’ve already
read that, then skip the introduction below and go directly to the
interview that follows it. In part 4 – the final in this multi-part
article, David and I look at how his life is so much better today after
taking control of his health, and his advice for others who wish to do
My friend David Mendosa writes on the HealthCentral Diabetes site.
Although we have not yet met, David and I have become friends because we
share a common bond – we each were fat and sick with diabetes and other
obesity-related diseases. And each of us has taken similar, yet slightly
different, journeys to wellness.
The common thread is that we each lost a significant amount of our body
weight, and have made lifestyle and dietary changes to maintain that
weight loss for the long term. This has affected the remission of our
diabetes and improved our overall health and quality of life. I cannot
stress that last point enough: Improved our quality of life.
Oh yes, and our journeys have led us to health activism. David is
well-regarded as a diabetes advocate. In this interview, David and I
discuss his transformation from fat and sick to total wellness and his
health activist endeavors. In fact, David and I talked about his journey
in such detail that I had to break the interview into several parts to
make it easily to digest. Believe me; you do not want to miss a word he
says. David has a fascinating patient journey conquering not only
obesity but also several obesity-related conditions. Please read on…
Q: Please tell us how your life is changed today, as a result of your
having gained control of your health and your life?
A. My life has changed in so many ways that I hardly know where to
start. I sometimes say that I reinvented myself, and that is exactly
what it feels like. I am now 77 years old and feel better and am happier
and healthier than I have ever been in my life. I have more energy and
still climb mountains. I feel that my memory has actually gotten better
than it was even just a few years ago because of my better diet of less
omega-6 and more omega-3 fats.
I experience something else that I don’t remember anyone else ever
telling me about. My personality changed. I am much more outgoing and
more self-confident. I see that in myself especially when I address a
large group of people. That used to be a painful procedure, but has
become a pleasant one.
Q: What advice would you give to obese people who are seeking to gain
control of their health and their lives?
A. If they are lucky enough to have diabetes, too, I would ask them to
learn about the GLP-1 agonist drugs and talk seriously with their
doctors about them. These are Byetta, which was the first of this type
of drug and the one that changed my life, as well as two newer ones,
Victoza and Bydureon.
I would still recommend one of these drugs to most people rather than a
low-carb diet, even though that’s what I do myself. But this depends on
their level of motivation. Taking a GLP-1 drug is easier than the
continual self-control that you have to have when you try to lose weight
Some people have a third choice, and that is gastric bypass surgery.
Basically the people who I think should consider it are those who are
But anyone who is obese needs to deal with it in order to control almost
everything about their health. Being obese is bad for us in an
incredible number of ways, many of which we are still learning. In my
case, losing weight reversed the arthritis in my knees that had
prevented me from doing the hiking here in the Rocky Mountains that I
love. It reversed my fatty liver disease, which can lead to liver
failure, which kills more obese people than it does alcoholics. I know
this from personal experience as it killed my third wife, who was an
Q: Lastly, I’ll ask you to share what else you have done to give back to
the diabetes community?
A. Besides my two books about diabetes, What Makes my Blood Glucose Go Up...and Down? and Losing Weight with Your Diabetes Medication, and my website and my posts at HealthCentral, I have represented people with
diabetes to companies that sell products to us. In this role I am
literally their “diabetes advocate.” In addition, a surprising amount of
time and energy goes into trying to help people who somehow find out
about me and call or write. Although I ignore people who are selling
something, I always try my best to help anyone who has diabetes. I know
that this is not a typical role that most journalists will accept, but I
am not a typical journalist. I have a passion for helping people to
manage this terrible disease and think that as a role model for people
who manage their diabetes I have a responsibility to help others to do
Thank you for the opportunity to share your story on health central. I
truly admire your journey and I am privileged to call you my friend.
Living life well-fed,