You’ve probably heard people’s skepticism about New Year’s resolutions. Though well-meaning, resolutions rarely lead to real, lasting change.
David Rastetter, a 49-year-old from Palm Coast, Florida, would disagree.
After all, New Year’s Day 2018 was the beginning of Rastetter’s permanent transformation. He had just gotten out of the shower and was taking a long look at himself in the mirror.
“I stood there hungover and disgusted by what I saw,” he remembers. “I nearly broke into tears. I felt like I was at the bottom, and it was that day that I vowed to take control.”
At the time, Rastetter was at his highest weight of 240 pounds and he hated how he felt. He had just come off an extremely stressful period, navigating a new marriage, a big move, huge changes in his career and a frequent travel schedule in just a few years’ time.
To cope with these stressors, he turned to food and alcohol for comfort. Though he made some efforts to stay fit, his weight only went up. The effect on his emotional health was devastating.
“Being heavier and unhappy with myself, I was always moody and upset,” he says. “I would direct this at everyone around me, making everyone miserable. I always talked about my weight and how I needed to slim down.”
As he stood in front of the mirror on January 1, 2018, Rastetter was ready to take control. He made one resolution: No more alcohol. Though he had no problem sticking to his goal, he was disappointed when the number on the scale didn’t budge.
Like many others, Rastetter was no stranger to the sometimes-frustrating road of weight loss. But with a history of debilitating injuries — he was hit by a car as a young child and underwent a major spinal surgery during adulthood — Rastetter knew how much his weight impacted the overall quality of his life and was ready to tackle it once and for all.
“I knew the older I got, and the fatter I became, it would only get worse as I aged,” he says. “I had to figure out what worked.”
He decided to learn all he could about weight loss, educating himself on calories and macros from the confines of his study. The numbers seemed confusing, so he turned to MyFitnessPal to track them. He began logging all of his meals and even used the app to shop for groceries.
“If I was at the store and wanted to know if a certain food would fit into my plan, I could use the barcode scanner to scan the food,” he says. “Like magic, everything I wanted to know would populate.”
With food tracking a regular part of his life, the scale finally budged. As he began to hit his goals, Rastetter made a conscious effort to incorporate balance. Once he hit his monthly target, he would give himself a weekend off to eat whatever he wanted. Though others warned him against this strategy, he knew his new lifestyle would never work if he couldn’t eat the foods he loved.
“It didn’t hinder my weight loss at all,” he says. “But it did allow me to take a mental break, give myself a reward and to eat any cravings I had. It became motivation to work hard all month.”
Four and a half months later, Rastetter was down to 170 pounds. He felt light on his feet and no longer experienced stomach issues or dull headaches upon waking.
Once the excess weight was gone, he focused on building muscle. He bumped up his calories a bit, began to eat more protein and started going to the gym.
“I finally cracked the code,” he says. “I wasn’t just blindly following a diet, eating a list of foods but not knowing what benefit they had. This time I learned how to eat with a purpose to get a desired result.”
Rastetter has a new goal now: He wants to build visible abdominal muscles by his 50th birthday on May 21. He even created a Facebook page so others can follow along on his journey. He says one of the byproducts of his weight loss has been discovering how much he loves to help others looking to get fit. He advises them that they can’t out-train a poor diet, citing his own example that 90% of his own weight loss came down to eating well, not going to the gym.
Rastetter says it’s his mission to continue becoming the person he always knew he was in his head.
“I handle it just like any other goal,” he says. “I take it one step at a time, focusing only on that next step, then the other and then the other. If you do that, you will soon find yourself reaching your destination.”