Weight Loss Success Story: My Dad

Happy Father’s Day from Destin, Florida!  We made it safely to the beach yesterday after spending some time with the hubby’s dad and stepmom on our way for Father’s Day.

Speaking of Father’s Day, do you remember back in Elementary school where you would have disagreements with your friends and you would go back and forth about who had the better father?  Well…I can bet that my brother, sister and I probably said at least once, “My dad is better than your dad!” to other people.  You know why?  Because He was better than their dad.  Plain and simple.

My dad and I started our final weight loss journeys together in 2009 and still to this day continue on our journeys together.  We have a special bond that not many other dad and daughters have.

Dad and Jen

Until you have gained and lost weight and struggled together, you don’t know that bond that weight can bring (both good and bad).

He has an incredible weight loss story and I asked him to share it with you today.  I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Without further ado, my dad:

My name is Dave Ely.  I am the proud father of three grown children, and have been happily married to my wife, Brenda for 43 years.  We recently sold our family business which we owned for 30 years to our son, Brian.

Weight Loss Success Story Dad and Brian 2013

My youngest child is Jennifer, creator of ItSuxToBeFat and my middle daughter, Katherine is the newest addition to the ItSuxToBeFat family.  I have three grandchildren, Haleigh, Hannah and Hampton.

Weight Loss Success Story Dad with his grandchildren

I am 68 years young and my weight loss journey began in January of 1945 when I was born.

Weight Loss Success Story Dad as a baby

I weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds 14 ounces and my dear mother in heaven has yet to forgive me.  She was a very traditional mother at the time who believed a “fat baby is a healthy baby!”  I had a very normal childhood growing up “chubby!”  I will always remember my grandmother taking me to buy clothes and asking where the “Huskies” were.  Through high school and college I was very athletic which helped keep my weight under control.  I actually put wheat germ on all of my food during football season to gain weight!  Little did I know what was to come!

I joined the Army which forced me to stay in shape and eat right – including my year in Vietnam.

After the service, I married the love of my life.

Weight Loss Success Story Dad on his wedding day

After we were married, an interesting phenomena occurred.  Each time my wife would get pregnant, I would gain more weight than she would!

Weight Loss Success Story Dad when youngest was born

At my highest point, I weighed in at 252 pounds with a 44″ waist.

Weight Loss Success Story Dad Before Picture

This led me into my first Weight Watchers center in Pittsburgh, PA in 1975.

I found Weight Watchers very easy to legalistically eat their plan and lost 60 pounds in a few months.

Weight Loss Success Story Dad after losing 60 pounds

I stopped going and gained it all back slowly over the next few years.

My next trip to Weight Watchers was after a move to Georgia.

Weight Loss Success Story Dad after losing weight

Again, I found the program “easy”, made Lifetime again, stopped going to the meetings and again, gained it all back over the next couple of years.  Finally, I went to a counselor who diagnosed me as having “a self image problem” which I would deal with by eating.  I realized I was a “glutton” who was obese.  What a horrible taste of reality.  At this point, I realized I needed to get serious so I tried The Zone and South Beach diets, both of which worked well for me because I am always very legalistic (Type A personality) and do not require a great deal of variety in my diet.

Then, IT hit me…

I was diagnosed with Diabetes which completely changed my motivation.  I could either get healthy or die too early.

Weight Loss Success Story Dad with his sisters

I began a regular regime of regular exercise and being careful of what I ate.  I also take prescription pills to help control it.

Four years ago, I decided to give it one last push to lose 30 pounds once and for all.

Weight Loss Success Story Dad in 2009 before Weight Watchers

I agreed to go to Weight Watchers again with my daughter, Jennifer to help her lose weight and lose my last 30 pounds I had been holding onto.  I, very quickly, in five to six months reached my lifetime goal and have kept it off ever since.

Weight Loss Success Story Dad with Mom 2013

There are several factors that help me stay on goal:  My health, Jen’s encouragement for me to go every month and weigh in at Weight Watchers, and most importantly, PRAYER!  It works!  At 68, I look and feel much younger than I really am.

Last October, I read a book called Wheat Belly.  I am now eating Gluten Free!  It has revolutionized my diet and eating habits although I find it extremely difficult to keep because wheat and gluten are in almost everything we eat.  I also miss having a good sandwich occasionally!

As a result of going gluten free, I have lost eight more pounds, settled into my ideal weight at 182 pounds, have a 36″ waist and all of my vital signs are normal, my complexion has improved greatly.  Physically I feel and look great which translates to feeling great in my head where it all begins!  Interestingly, I have learned that it’s belly fat which plays a key role in many diseases which can result in premature death.

The main ways I keep the weight off are eating gluten free, exercising regularly, gardening a lot, I do not use any artificial sweeteners except pure Stevia, no diet drinks and LOTS of prayer.  Prayer helped me realize I cannot do it without God’s help!

One quote which helps me daily comes from the bible – 3John2 where he says, ” I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

If I could give to any of you some “Fatherly Wisdom” it would be that your weight loss journey is a marathon, not a sprint.  It is a lifetime war fighting the “fat demons!”  NEVER GIVE UP!

Thank you Jen for the privilege of being your dad – It is an honor!

THANK YOU DAD for not only sharing your story with us but for being my inspiration, my role model, my earthly father, the example of a godly husband but most of all, for being my dad.

Even through all of your ups and downs of weight loss, you have been the caretaker for our whole family.  What would we do without you?

I can’t wait to spend many more years together full of health and wellness!

Weight Loss Success Story Dad in May 2013



Like this post? Share it!

About Jennifer Swafford

Jennifer is an elementary school teacher who is trying to lose 100+ pounds. She has certainly learned how much It Sux To Be Fat and is here to motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle.