David Wolfe sheds over 100 pounds in one year and completes a 300-mile biking trip

"A year ago, I realized that I had let my physical state deteriorate not just uncomfortably, but dangerously. With the love and encouragement of my family and friends, I embarked on a remarkable journey."
David Wolfe was determined to lose weight. At the age of 42, he weighed 288 pounds and had a variety of health problems associated with his obesity, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux disease and migraine headaches. The numerous medications David took to control these conditions made it difficult to sleep — which meant yet another addition to his prescription cocktail: sleeping pills.

A sudden escalation in weight-related health issues prompted David to research various diet programs in the Raleigh/Durham area. He chose to attend Structure House because it was residential and offered so many beneficial behavior modification, nutrition and fitness classes, which went beyond merely adhering to a strict diet or counting calories.

"I just decided, now is the time," said David, an entrepreneur and private equity investor.

Prior to his Structure House visit in April 2005, he shared his goal of losing 100 pounds in one year with everyone he knew. David called and emailed more than 50 family members, friends and business partners to inform them of his intentions.

"By making my weight loss goals public, people could encourage me," said David, a United Kingdom (UK) native who now resides in Virginia. "When you make a public appeal, you're much less likely to fail."

Friends pledged money per pound that he lost — and the results have been amazing. To date, he has amassed over $10,000 in pledges. The proceeds will go toward starting a foundation to support families facing childhood obesity problems.

David lost 12 pounds during his one-week stay at Structure House. As the year progressed, he continued to implement the lessons he learned, achieving and maintaining a "structured" lifestyle. Now, over a year later, David is 100 pounds lighter and in great health.

"I'm in the best shape of my life, my heart rate has gone down, and my blood pressure is lower than ever," David said. "And best of all, I am off all the medications".

David's lifestyle has changed drastically from a year ago. He now goes to the gym regularly, runs three miles a day, and lifts weights at least three times a week. David, his wife, and their two daughters enjoy exercising together, too.

"The kids love it because we can work out together. We even go to the gym as a family," he said.

David is also an avid cyclist. He rides 30 miles every weekend, and does a spinning class two to three times a week. Most recently, David and his 13-year-old daughter, Sophie, ventured to Israel for the Arava Institute & Hazon Israel Bike Ride, a five-day biking excursion. From May 9 through May 16, they rode a total of 300 miles from Jerusalem to Eilat, the southernmost city of Israel on the coast of the Red Sea.

"I heard about this ride four years ago and knew I'd get to it if I could get my weight under control," David said.

The money they raised for the bike ride supports two organizations: The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Hazon. These organizations support environmental studies and environmental protection in Israel; peaceful coexistence in the Middle East, as well as solidarity and partnership between America and Israel, issues David and his family are passionate about.

"The ride was the most intense physical challenge I have ever experienced," David said. "I can't even begin to explain how it feels to take on a six mile climb in 110 degree heat in the desert after you"ve already completed 45 miles of riding, but the scenery was spectacular and experiencing it with my 13-year-old daughter was priceless."

David chronicled his exciting trip on MSN Spaces with daily blog entries, featuring breathtaking pictures and insightful observations. You can check out some of his adventures at http://davidsophieisrael2006.spaces.live.com/

David's completion of the 300-mile bike ride is a testament of his extraordinary progress toward achieving a healthier lifestyle. Yet unlike the ride across Israel, David's quest toward optimal health and physical fitness will not cease after he reaches the "finish line" of his ideal weight.

"Weight loss is truly a journey " not a destination," David said. "And it has been an amazing journey so far."

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