David Mendosa's Journey from Sick and Obese to Total Wellness, Part 4: Leading a Life Well-Lived

Patient Expert

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

the same.


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"

Intervie: Please tell us how your life is changed today, as a result of youaving 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 gaiontrol 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

without it.

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

morbidly obese.

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

obese tea-totaller.

Q: Lastly, I'll ask you to share what else you have done to give back 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

the same.

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,