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215-Pound Weight Loss Changes Athletic Director’s Life


David Sharp, athletic director at OBU, shows off a pair of pants he wore before dropping 215 pounds in just eight months with the help of UAMS.
David Sharp, athletic director at OBU, shows off a pair of pants he wore before dropping 215 pounds in just eight months with the help of UAMS.

Aug. 23, 2012 | Standing behind a chain-link fence with a casual acquaintance watching the Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) Tigers practice football late last summer, OBU Athletic Director David Sharp’s life took a drastic turn.

With his weight at the heaviest it had been, nearing a hefty 440 pounds, the acquaintance turned to leave and muttered, “You really oughta’ think about doing something about that,” making a motion that clearly referenced Sharp’s weight.

Sharp, caught off guard, says that was one of the final tipping points to a healthier future.

“When you weigh that much and it’s that obvious to people how unhealthy of a lifestyle you’re living, people don’t ever say anything about it but you know they’re thinking about it,” said Sharp, 55, director of athletics and men’s golf coach at OBU. “I appreciated his honesty and really took it to heart.”

Another sign came shortly after when Sharp was in the office of his close friend, Wesley Kluck, M.D., who bluntly told him, “You’re going to die and you’re going to die suddenly if you don’t do something about your weight.”

A note around the same time from Betsy Day, clinic coordinator for the UAMS Program for Weight Loss and Metabolic Control, telling Sharp she hadn’t given up on him and that she wanted him to come back completed the trifecta of motivators to get him on track.

Shortly after that exchange, Sharp contacted the UAMS Program for Weight Loss and Metabolic Control. He had been through the program once before nearly eight years ago, and had successfully lost 150 pounds. But over the years his weight had slowly crept back up, this time forcing him to make the decision that he says will last a lifetime.

“They never gave up on me,” Sharp said. “The folks at UAMS were always very adamant about me staying with the program and keeping on the right track, but ultimately it comes down to taking control of it yourself. This time I’ve made that decision, and with the continued support from UAMS, I’m sticking with it for good.”

Sharp was so committed to the program that he dropped 215 pounds in eight months.


Breaking Bad
Though it’s different for every participant, says Day, the main guiding factor is giving patients the knowledge and tools to lose weight, then maintain a healthy lifestyle.

While many trendy “fad” diets and weight-loss programs might offer a quick fix, the UAMS program aims to permanently change unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits. This ensures a higher success rate and leads to overall better health and quality of life. Getting participants to reach their ideal weight is accomplished through a documented, medically proven strategy.

“Fad diets and drugs often are more risky than being overweight or obese,” Day said. “The key part of any rational diet includes behavior modification to avoid regaining the lost weight as soon as previous eating habits resume.”

There’s Hope
Sharp said a key factor in helping him keep the weight off this time around is his weekly visits to UAMS to weigh in and visit with the experts at the clinic.

“They are always warm and welcoming, and their professionalism is always what I need to keep my mind focused and on track so I can live a healthier, happier life for myself and my family,” Sharp said.

Having fallen back into bad habits after his first successful weight loss, Sharp said it’s easy for your mind to get tricked into thinking it’s impossible to get healthy again.

“My message to anyone wearing the shoes I used to wear is that even though they might think it’d be a hopeless battle to fight, it’s not,” Sharp said. “I am proof that the weight loss experts at the UAMS Program for Weight Loss and Metabolic Control have a system that has changed my life. And for that I am thankful.”





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