Two Incredible Experiences, Back to Back: I Danced with Debbie Allen… and Spoke at the Getty Center!

May 16, 2017

What a fun couple days! On Sunday, I took a salsa dancing class from the legendary Debbie Allen. It was a blast!

Debbie Allen starred on the ’80s hit show Fame, and is currently on Grey’s Anatomy, playing Read the rest of this entry »


Success in Pasadena

February 4, 2012

I took a little 48-hour blogging break, but I’m back. I spent a lot of time preparing for my Whole Foods talk on Thursday night, tracing my way back through the past two years, and, to be honest, I was kinda tired of thinking and talking about myself. Now I’m ready to be my regular ol’ narcissistic self! And I know that’s why you keep visiting this blog – because I’m such a selfish, arrogant asshole. I’m glad to be back, bitches!

The Whole Foods event on Thursday night went off wonderfully. If you didn’t make it, you missed out! I had been preparing to give my speech in their regular event space – a clearing between the service deli counter and the wine section, and this turned out to be a special night. Thanks to some building renovations, Whole Foods Pasadena had a new classroom/conference room in the back, and my event was the first one that got to use it! How exciting to inaugurate a new space! It was great because I didn’t need to use a microphone, and I didn’t need to compete with the sounds of squeaky carts, register dings, and the other noises that a functioning supermarket provides.

That’s me and my poster at the front of the store. I’m looking off to the side, because I was talking to a customer who had just complimented me! I tried to persuade her to stick around for the presentation, but she couldn’t – I did, however, give her a card.

The room filled up. I think every available chair was taken. Heather had printed out a bunch of “Before” photos, so I had visual aids to refer to.  I was prepared – I had my notes, and used them as a guideline, but told my story naturally, and I felt more comfortable this time around than when I made my motivational speaking debut at Whole Foods Porter Ranch.

The speech lasted about 30 minutes, and then there was a lively question and answer period that lasted about 20 minutes or so. We raffled off a bag of Whole Foods items, and everyone went on their way. My aunt, uncle, and cousin were there, in the front row, and friends came from all over: Culver City, Calabasas, Hollywood, and Long Beach – and if you’re familiar with southern California geography, none of those places are exactly Pasadena-adjacent, so that meant a lot to me as well, especially since it involved terrible rush-hour traffic. Then, there were a couple blog readers that came out specifically to meet me in person (Hello Chauncy and Christina!), which really touched me, and a bunch of people who were new to me and my story, that I hope had a good time.

I left the evening feeling proud, and also feeling motivated. I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, and talking about all the steps that I’ve taken since Day 1 reminded me that all the difficulties I’m facing now, about staying focused and goal-oriented, are all difficulties that I’ve faced before, and successfully. It’s important that I don’t dwell in a “but-what-have-I-done-lately” fog or forget about my accomplishments from the past. Because I’ve accomplished a lot. And I’m not done yet.

I also left the evening with some produce. I was at Whole Foods, after all! I just wanted a few things to bring me through the weekend:

Carrots, broccoli, red bell pepper, bananas, nectarines.

I also brought home something I’ve never seen or heard of before. Do you know what this is?

It’s called gobo root, and at this point, I know nothing more about it. That will change, though – I’ll figure out what it is, and how to use it, and I’ll share the end results right here in this blog!

Keep it up, David!


Come See Me LIVE in Pasadena!

January 12, 2012

I promised a big, exciting announcement, and I have a big, exciting announcement. Can I get a drum roll, please?

I’M SPEAKING AT WHOLE FOODS MARKET IN PASADENA IN A FEW WEEKS!I’m very excited. I made my debut as a motivational speaker in the fall, and it went really, really well, and I’m excited to share my story in Pasadena! Here’s all the details so you can clear your calendar and gather each and every one of your friends:

  • When: Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 6:30pm
  • Where: Whole Foods Market, Pasadena. Address is 3751 E. Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107.  (At the corner of Foothill and Rosemead, just north of the 210 freeway. It’s in the shopping center with Vroman’s and Chuck E Cheese’s, right next to Sears.)
  • RSVP: Space is limited, so please RSVP! You can sign up at the customer service booth in the store, or contact a Marketing Team Member at (626)351-5994, or email sp.pas.marketing@wholefoods.com . You can also sign up through the Meetup Group by clicking here.

Tell your family, tell your friends! Here’s the official blurb about what the event will be, taken from the Whole Foods Website:

David Garcia has lost over 165 pounds through diet, exercise, and help from his mentor, celebrity fitness guru, Richard Simmons. David’s story aired on “Ellen” and countless fans have been with him on his journey every step of the way.

Join us for a very special evening with this inspiring young man, and sample delicious Health Starts Here dishes and enter to win a special raffle.

That’s right, I’m young. And there’s a raffle! I’ll be talking about my history with obesity, how I’ve lost the weight, and the simple things anyone can do to start their own journey towards healthier living. I’ll lead a question and answer session, too! And there’s a raffle!

I love how my readers are scattered across the country and even on other continents – so if Pasadena isn’t quite your neck of the woods, could you do me a solid and tell your friends? I want a packed house! Here’s a little something you can post on Twitter:

Go see @keepitupdavid speak about weight loss on 2/2 at 6:30pm at @WFMPasadena! More info: http://tinyurl.com/7ve3382

Or you can post a link to this very page on Facebook or Google+, or email to everyone you know!

I hope you can make it. It’s going to be fun, (hopefully) educational, and definitely tasty evening (thanks to some food samples from Whole Foods). And there’s a raffle!

Before I wrap it up, I just want to thank everyone for the thoughtful, honest, and provocative comments on yesterday’s post. A lot of opinions were shared, and it’s given me quite a lot to think about. A number of them came from readers commenting for the very first time, and I love that you felt comfortable enough and compelled enough to speak up! At this point, I don’t know what I would do if I were faced with the same situation tomorrow, but I think one thing is clear: there is no right or wrong answer. Whether or not I share my story with strangers is something I’ll need to figure out in the moment, on a case-by-case basis. There are plenty of reasons to not speak up, but should I feel comfortable speaking up, you all provided plenty of suggestions on how to do it. Thank you. You guys rock! Keep it up, readers! And…

Keep it up, David!

In my next post, you’re gonna find out what’s attached to the other end of this cord. Any guesses?


I’m Now a Motivational Speaker!

September 22, 2011

Last night, I slept like a baby.  It was great, especially since I didn’t sleep nearly as well for the two nights prior.  I had been anxious.  I had been nervous.  I made my debut as a public speaker last night, and for the previous two nights, my mind kept wandering into negative places.  I was excited, certainly, but that’s not where my mind goes as I’m trying to drift off to slumberland.  My mind makes a beeline to: what if you can’t remember anything and you stutter and stammer and what if people get up and leave midway through and what if nobody shows up and what if you accidentally drop your notes in an industrial paper shredder seconds before you’re supposed to start and what if what if WHAT IF!

Not all my fears are rational, but that didn’t stop me from thinking about them!

Last night’s sleep, however, was virtually thought-free.  It was restful.  It was wonderful.  And that’s because my little speaking engagement happened last night.  It’s over.  I am now a motivational speaker!

If this happens to be your first visit to my blog, than 1) Welcome! and 2) You missed my seemingly-nonstop plugging of my first speaking gig.  It took place at the Whole Foods in Porter Ranch, and, if I may toot toot toot my own horn, it was a success!  Here I am in action:

Joyce, the Marketing Supervisor for Whole Foods Porter Ranch, and I had started talking about this event a few months ago, but I didn’t start writing my speech (which was supposed to be 15-20 minutes) until I was in Michigan a few weeks ago.  At the beginning, there was a lot of distractions.  After a couple not-very-productive evenings (thank you Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), I finally put my laptop away and pulled out paper and a pen to tackle it longhand.  I left my folks’ house with a complete bulleted outline, and, on the plane back to California, I fleshed out most of the speech on my computer.  I spent the next few days finishing it, then editing, rewriting, and tweaking, and then I started practicing it out loud.

On Monday, I invited Tavi (you know Tavi) over for a dry run with an audience.  I spent most of Tuesday working further on the speech.  I went back through it, paragraph by paragraph, and shortened everything to bullet points and keywords.  I didn’t want to feel tethered to a script, and I wanted my talk to appear more conversational and personal.  I ran it a few more times, using only my bulleted note cards, and by Wednesday morning, I felt very comfortable, and very prepared.

The event was at 7pm.  I wanted to be there early, so Tavi came with me and we got to Whole Foods at 6pm.  The event was held in the cafe part of Whole Foods, at the front of the store, right inside the entrance.  Joyce was working with a couple other Whole Foods folks to set up the tech stuff: a projector and screen, some speakers, the microphone.  We tested the microphone a bunch of times to determine optimal speaker placement.  Joyce distributed some materials on every seat, so when people showed up, they got some info on Whole Foods and a box of coconut water.  I added my new business cards, so everyone got one of those, too:

Soon, people started filing in.  It was a great mix of friends that had come out to support me and new faces.  It took a good 15 or 20 minutes for people to file in and get seated.  I had a hunch that I would get most nervous during that time, but really, that time just flew by, and soon Joyce was welcoming everyone and introducing me.  Before I knew it, I was standing in front of the crowd.  All eyes were on me.

Gulp!

I had a plan for this moment: I would pick a spot on the wall just behind everyone, and focus on that.  I would rely on my index cards as much as I needed to.  I would find a way to get through it.

When I finally started to speak, though, I found myself much more comfortable than I was anticipating.  I suppose that’s not a huge surprise as I look back on it, because I was talking about my own story and life, but in the moment, it was a quite the welcome revelation.  I quickly dropped my plan to address the back wall, and found myself trying to make as much eye contact with as many people as possible.  I didn’t want to just tell my story, I wanted to engage with the crowd, and connect with them.  There were times that I needed to glance at my cards and get my bearings, but often times I found myself not needing them at all.

Here are a couple more action shots, all taken by my friend Robyn, who I roped into being official photographer about 5 minutes before showtime:

I spoke for over 20 minutes, and, quite honestly, it’s all a blur now.  I’m pretty sure I hit all the topics that I wanted to.  My talk was basically my story with weight, fit within a motivational framework.  I talked about a lot of the stuff that I’ve talked about on this blog: my life before this weight loss adventure, my life now, what I struggle with, what I’ve learned, what anyone can do to start on a new path towards health, and what anyone can do when you start to stumble on that path.

There was a great round of applause when I was done, and we opened up the floor for questions.  It had occurred to me (over and over and over again) that there might not be any questions at all, but there were about a dozen, and they were great.  I hope I had some great answers for them, too!

After the Q&A, Joyce and I raffled off a door prize: a bag full of groceries and a $25 Whole Foods gift card, and my friend Mat (you know him, too) ended up winning.  Woo-hoo groceries!

Here’s me and Joyce, in front of the poster she designed:

As soon as the evening ended, I felt a whole sense of relief.  It’s over.  I did it!  And people really seemed to have a nice time!  There were a LOT of really wonderful compliments that come my way, and I definitely got the feeling that the folks in attendance were able to take something away, and that was the whole point.

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces in the crowd, too.  A big group of my friends had come out, from all over the city, and it meant a lot to me that they braved rush hour traffic to get to the other side of town to hear me talk about something I tell them about all the freakin’ time.

Now, nearly 24 hours later, a new thought keeps popping up over and over again in my head:  I can’t wait to do it again!  So… who needs a motivational speaker?

Keep it up, David!