David Rezac

David Rezac

David Rezac spent his career cooking. Then ReShape U taught him how to eat.

David has lost over 100 pounds, and gained a new sense of self.

David was the executive chef at St. Olaf College. When he developed rheumatoid arthritis, it pushed him into early retirement at age 59. “I couldn’t walk a lot, and it was hard to use my hands,” he recalls. “I’d get to work and after a few hours I couldn’t walk and my knees hurt, and I couldn’t make a fist.”

David wanted to be healthier. He has nine siblings; two passed away from cancer. “I’m the oldest, and I want to be around for the others – and for my niece Annabella, who’s 13. She’s the one who got me started.”

David joined ReShape U with his brothers Joe and Bob. The 10-week class series focuses on mindful eating, with lessons on portions, nutrients and more.

“As a chef, I knew about salt, sugar, and fat – but I didn’t follow a lot of it,” David laughs. “I do now, and I check labels, which I didn’t do before. The big thing is portion sizes, plus eating more fruits and vegetables, whole wheat pasta, and lots of lean protein like chicken. I haven’t had a burger in a year and a half.”

Thanks to his weight loss and better nutrition, David has been able to reduce his rheumatoid arthritis medication.

David has improved his physical fitness, too. He goes out more – and is more outgoing – thanks to ReShape U. “Before, I sat at home a lot of the time. Now I walk every day, and I joined the Y,” he says. “I volunteer at Sibley Elementary School three days a week, and visit my mom every morning.

“I’ve changed completely. I’m not ashamed of myself now.”

David has always been shy around people. At ReShape U, “they encourage you, and I’ve just opened up. It’s amazing support,” he says, especially weekly support group meetings. “It’s a nice group of people. They cheer you on. At first, I was skeptical because it was all ladies, but now there are a couple of guys in there too.”

David’s getting great support at home, too. “Annabella and I are really close, and she encourages me all the time.”

David eats out once a week with his family; “I never have problems continuing healthy eating,” he says. David has lost weight in the past, but this is the first approach that hasn’t felt like being on a diet.

As for Joe and Bob? They wrapped up ReShape U, while David keeps going. “I’m always bragging to them that I’m still losing weight,” he laughs.

His new recipe, it seems, is working.