How appropriate that Easter Sunday this year also happens to be the birthday of Diamond Dallas Page. Today’s holiday is all about remembering the resurrection and Diamond Dallas Page, (or DDP as he’s known to his friends) has made a cottage industry out of resurrecting people. And I mean almost literally reviving them from the dead. Arthur Boorman may not have been lying lifeless in a tomb, swaddled in a burial shroud when he sought help from DDP 15 years ago, but he was living a fraction of his life at best. Sluggish, injured, and obese, Arthur dragged himself around on canes for many a year until DDP, a few of his well-timed pep talks, and his DDPYOGA workout DVDs brought Boorman not just back to life, but to a higher and more vital level of functioning than he ever thought possible. And then there was the case of Jake The Snake Roberts, wrestling legend and DDP mentor who had fallen into addiction and poor health. When DDP busted through Roberts’ door, ready to exact his signature brand of intervention that would make Dr. Drew quiver, Roberts was living a life of isolation and obscurity and basically waiting out his days until the end. All you have to do is read about the buzz at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival to read about the down and out wrestler’s fate. But here’s a hint, the word ‘Resurrection‘ is in the title.
And then there’s my story. I wasn’t an injured veteran or a battered former pro wrestler, but my body and my psyche had endured its share of battering from a combination of dieting and revenge-eating. It’s a cycle that led me to a weight of 345 pounds in January 5, 2009. Which is also the date I learned of DDP’s existence. And since it predated traditional forms of social media, I forged a trail that led to his MySpace page and begged him to help me. I suspect he got queries like that all the time because his response was to basically start the DVD workouts and get to work. To my surprise, I did. And it was coupled with Life REALLY intervening on my behalf: I had to testify in a Manhattan courtroom trial, which had me so keyed up, I barely had an appetite. This gave my body the much-needed interruption from binge-eating that it needed and after a month, I discovered I was 20 pounds down. To say I was elated was an understatement. For the first time in decades, or perhaps EVER, I felt there was hope. The 20 evicted pounds gave me the rocket fuel I needed to modify my eating habits (not diet) and the next month saw an additional 10-pound weight decrease. When he heard through the Team DDPYOGA grapevine that I’d been really working at it, he contacted me and said he wanted to work with me. And so began an 18-month mentorship that included me keeping a food diary and sending it to him daily, brief, but weekly phone calls during which challenges were discussed and questions asked. There were also increasingly regular reports from my end on all the amazing things I was now able to do (wear a spa robe instead of toting my size 4X robe from home, grab my feet in the ‘Human Cannonball’ position, wear denim for the first time in more than 20 years, and take an airplane ride without the necessity of a seat belt extension.
They were all amazing victories for obvious reasons, and they were SO much sweeter because they were SHARED. By a friend, mentor, big-brother-I-never-had, and a ferocious drill sergeant who wanted me to be the best I can be. And guess what? It happened. Never underestimate the power of support. It can result in miracles.
Happy Birthday D-Man. Every single day, the work you did with me continues to pay off. You gave me a gift that has no price. And I’m forever Grateful.