It’s My Anniversary! Here’s the Realization That’s Been Seven Years in the Making.

It was seven years ago today, at Richard Simmons’ suggestion, that I started logging my food and emailing him the logs. That marked the beginning of my long, extremely rewarding journey that has resulted in a weight loss of 160 pounds – which I’ve kept off. I thought it’d be nice to mark the occasion with a new ‘before and current’ photo comparison!


The photo on the right was taken last weekend, during a family get-together in Orange County. The photo on the left is a recently unearthed gem from 2001 – my senior year in college. My friend Jonathan found it and sent it to me a couple weeks ago, and I don’t remember it at all.

That's Jonathan on the left, Jim in the middle, and yours truly on the right.

That’s Jonathan on the left, Jim in the middle, and yours truly on the right.

I have a strange reaction to photos like this: I know that’s me, but it sure doesn’t seem like me. I don’t feel much of a connection to the guy on the right anymore, and that’s a testament to the changes I’ve made and the lifestyle I’ve embraced. I love the photo, and how it memorializes my friendships with these two guys (both of which are still going strong, 16 years later), but I’m thankful I found the path I’m on. So very thankful. That path began on January 23, 2010, and at that time, I weighed 402 pounds.


This weekend saw me thinking a lot about love. I attended a memorial service, during which I heard many people express their unending love for a gentleman that recently passed but whom I never met (his wife, though, is a wonderful friend of mine). I saw a thrilling theatrical performance that explored the many definitions of love through storytelling, dance, and death-defying aerial routines. And I went to a concert that featured a love song that resonated and has stayed with me since. Here’s the song (from a live performance a few years back):

I thought about how powerful love is, and how important it is to me, and I also thought about how often my own mental illness encourages me to ignore and deny those feelings. That happens frequently, unfortunately. One of the things I battle when I fall into a depression is the notion that I’m not worthy of love, from myself or others, and the love I feel and share with the important people in my life is meaningless.

None of that is true, of course, and I have ways that I combat those ugly voices when they start rearing their ugly heads. It’s a topic I’ve written about a lot on this blog: I’ve taken you inside a mental health breakdown, shared five damaging words that lead to a downward spiral, and discussed what I learned from Robin Williams’ passing.

I’m not in a depression right now, but I spent too much of 2016 in one, thanks to two heartbreaking experiences with my dogs Maude and Rufus, foot injuries that zapped my ability to train, and my mentor Richard Simmons shutting down his fitness studio for good. Just one blow after another.

All these thoughts and feelings started circling as I drove home from the memorial service yesterday, in the biggest rainstorm Los Angeles has seen in years. I knew I was one day away from my anniversary, one day away from seven whole years spent making smart choices, working hard, working out, working through challenges and emerging stronger on the other side.

And then it dawned on me, an epiphany that brought a lot of things in focus:

Eating well and exercising is an expression of love that only I can give myself… and only I can receive. Making smart choices – and continuing to do so, no matter my mental state – has become the most consistent, reaffirming way I’ve shown self-love, to the point where I’ve probably taken it for granted.

Taking care of myself, and continuing to dedicate myself to this process, has only brought good things: improved health, of course, but also improved confidence, self-esteem, happiness. It is the best fuel to use in the fights I sometimes have to wage within my own head.

This isn’t a proclamation that my mental health issues are cured. That may never happen. But every step I take towards understanding them, and the tools I use to address and confront them, is an immense help. And, in that sense, I feel like I took a few steps this weekend, and that’s a fantastic anniversary present, don’t you think?


Happy Anniversary, and… KEEP IT UP, DAVID!


Follow me! I’m @keepitupdavid on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, and I’m on Google+ too! There’s also a “Sign Me Up” box on this page (at the top of the right-hand column) where you can subscribe to receive new posts via email!


20 Responses to It’s My Anniversary! Here’s the Realization That’s Been Seven Years in the Making.

  1. Laura says:

    You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your journey with such honest and courage. I wish you all good things.


  2. David, I really enjoyed this post; thank you for continuing to share your story. You are an inspiration. Congratulations on your progress and your anniversary. Wooo Hoooo!!!! 🙂 YeeeeeHaw! Yippeee! *grin*

  3. sandy says:

    Congrats David on your anniversary and amazing story!

  4. Dana says:

    Congrats on your anniversary David! You truly are incredible!

  5. Rob @ Nautilus says:

    Keep loving yourself David…and we will all follow your example by loving you back! Congratulations on your anniversary.


  6. sylvia mcadam says:

    Happy anniversary, David. Thank for sharing your struggles, victories and wins. You are so inspiring and encouraging. Keep up the great work and self-love. You are worth it

  7. Ida says:

    What a gentle giant you are David! Thanks for working so hard, one day at a time, and demonstrating the miracle can happen if we dress up and show up! So glad I saw your write up, a real gift today!

  8. goalinreach says:

    You really are amazing. I get so much out of your posts. Thank you for sharing your life with us all.

  9. Love this so much! Thank you for sharing.

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