Member of the Month David DiRito
David DiRito has been a member with Shoreline Natural Wellness (SNW) since September 2015 but his true health journey began in 2010. In high school and through his early 30s, he maintained his weight at 185lbs. He was always active, tall and thin, and his job was very physical, so he never worried about his weight. Unsure as to whether or not it was the combination of turning 30, switching over to a desk job, or quitting smoking but, before he knew it, he was pushing 300lbs. At this point in his life, a steady and busy job that required a lot of travel, marriage, and 3 children, he did not have much extra time to give to working out.
David was in his mid-40s, pushing 300lbs, and just went through losing his dad who struggled with weight his whole life, which later turned into a struggle with diabetes. David’s epiphany came shortly thereafter. He and his sons went to a bike festival and “really enjoyed themselves.” The next day, feeling terrible and trying everything they could think of to feel better, one of their friends offered to let them go out on his paddleboards. David didn’t have any shorts so the friend let him grab a pair of his promotional Jagermeister shorts. He took the biggest pair he had and discovered that they barely fit. They did not fit. He then put his regular clothes back on and watched as his sons went out without him. David went back to the dock. Now, not only was he feeling horrible from the night before but also devastated by how far he had let himself go.
It was at this moment that he knew he did not want to be “that guy” who sits on the sidelines and watches his kids go off and live their lives. The thought broke his heart. He thought back to a time in which he was taking care of his dad. He remembered his Dad’s routine of waking up, eating, taking his insulin, falling back to sleep, waking up to eat lunch, then passing back out. This is where he saw his own life heading.
David knew he had to do something or risk watching life pass him by. He started small. David decided to start with cutting out the food that he knew he shouldn’t be eating. He reduced his sugar intake, cut out processed foods, caffeine, and fried foods, in addition, he started walking. Starting out very slowly, his walking distance increased each time. Before he knew it, he lost 25lbs.
Later that year, he had a physical with his doctor who recommended the book “Eat to Live” by Joel Fuhrman, MD. During his walks, he would listen to this book on his iPod. He gleaned so much valuable information from it; he would listen to it over and over again, picking up something of value each time. Implementing what he was learning from Eat to Live, the weight began to melt off. This created a renewed sense of encouragement to continue on his health journey. At this point in his journey, he felt “locked in” and really committed to staying on this path; he was “in the zone.”
David was making great progress through simple and small lifestyle changes self-initiated. One day a friend/co-worker invited him to join a Thinner Winner Challenge at SNW Fitness. Loving a good challenge, he thought he would give it a try. Soon after he started to engage with the other members of SNW Fitness and participants in the Thinner Winner challenge, David realized that this is where he wanted and needed to stay for his health and fitness.
Before he came to SNW Fitness, he had been doing Crossfit. He found that, although he liked the intensity, his body did not. He soon realized that it was counterproductive to keep pushing himself like he had been and continue hurting himself. What he found at SNW Fitness was that we met him where he was according to his level of fitness. He was, and still is, impressed with the amount of knowledge, team building, acceptance, and the welcoming community, which are all components of why he stays.
Getting back to the Jagermeister shorts that didn’t fit, David ended up bringing them home with him. He set his first goal of fitting into those shorts. For four years, he has always worn those shorts, literally washing the seams out of them. His second goal was for his wedding ring to no longer cut off his circulation. Through determination and the will to succeed, both of these goals have been met.
David feels “pretty damn good” about the future. He is also grateful that he can keep up with his grandson. The image that he now holds of himself is confidence. He can do what he thought he could when he was 30, but really physically couldn’t. He can now paddleboard with his sons, fit into those (damn) shorts, run, and be healthy.
Throughout his journey, he has found that failure is part of the process but what is most important is getting back up and trying again. He said that shifting from the mindset of “I’ve failed so now I’m done” to “I’ve failed and now I’m going to get back on track starting right now” has been a major component with him continuing on his healthy path.
Although David is extremely humble, he is an amazing example of how this health and fitness stuff works. What he would say to anyone who has struggled like he has, and sometimes still does, is to start with small steps. Do what you can. If you cannot be physically active, start with your diet until you can be active, even if this means you are only moving for 5 minutes. He would also remind you that you did not gain weight overnight and you won’t lose it overnight either; be patient.
The hard work, dedication, and perseverance that David has demonstrated through his health and fitness journey is nothing short of admirable, encouraging, and inspiring. He simply made a decision, tried, failed, picked himself back up and tried again. He kept repeating this pattern until it finally clicked. David is a great example of the old adage, “ you only truly fail when you stop trying.”