By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
Dave Bonde, Davenport, was at the playground with his kids last spring when his wife snapped a picture of their happy play. When Dave saw the picture, his reaction was, “That dude is fat!” And a second later, another thought. “Is that me?”
In the 24 years since graduating from St. Ambrose, Dave’s weight had ballooned to 242 lbs. on his 5’ 11” frame. Yet that picture didn’t spur Dave to take any action. It was a conversation a couple of months later that finally got him started on a lifestyle change.
His doctor told him he needed a blood pressure medication. That startled Dave. “The threat of blood pressure medication got me going,” Dave said. “I was too young to go on medication to keep me alive. I asked her if there was alternative. She said I could lose 10 pounds.”
So Dave began counting his calories. He says an app on his phone – MyFitnessPal – helped keep him honest about what food he consumed.
Dave, who is a Youth Counselor at the Scott County Detention Center, admits it was hard to begin. He’s the kind of guy who gets a bit testy when he’s hungry and he was dropping his calorie count from 3600 to 1200. And even though his weight had crept up over the years, he’s always been an exerciser. But as hungry as he was, exercise got hard.
By the end of the first month, everything started to get easier. “I had lost 20 lbs.,” Dave said, “and I was feeling a lot better. The next month, I lost 10 more pounds. And the next month, another 10.”
Dave got in the habit of eating fruit and discovered a newfound love of avocados. He eats small meals during the day and he learned to stop eating when he’s full.
Dave was so successful with his new lifestyle, he had to keep readjusting his goals. Originally, he wanted to get down to 220. Then it was 215. Finally, he aimed at 200. Today, he weighs 191, a few pounds less than he weighed in college. He’s a bit miffed that the BMI says he’s still obese … but he feels good.
Dave says he changed his relationship with food. He didn’t break up with it, just reset the terms.
“Chocolate cookies used to be my Kryptonite,” he said. “Now, I don’t go crazy. I can have one and I’m done. I don’t want to go back to where I was.”
He doesn’t want to be “old” before his time. As he says to friends who complain about getting old: “The best way to grow old is to start (with bad habits) when you’re young.”