A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let's Make a Deal with Dar

Meet Dar Giess (pronounced geese). I met Dar at the Youth Beef Industry Congress in Minneapolis a month or so ago. We immediately connected. Dar is from Kansas. I am from Kansas. The Kansas connection is strong. Dar is definitely "good people."

[Above: Dar does his best Royal Canadian Mounted Police impression at the World South Devon Congress 2008 Tour of Western Canada]

Dar and I had another connection. We’ve both had to battle the bulge. In my 20s I gained an average of seven pounds per year, growing from 200 to 270 pounds. Dar has a similar story.

I ran track in high school. So did Dar. I ran the two-mile. So did Dar. I ran the two-mile in around 15 minutes. Dar ran it in 10 minutes and 33 seconds. That's where the similarity ends. In case you don’t know, that’s really fast (5:16.05/mile).

[Above: Dar holds up his prize catch. “South Devon World Association – good cattle, good people having a good time” - Dar Giess, South Devon World President, Kananaskis, July 2008]

“Now it takes me about 10 hours and 33 minutes,” Dar said, in his self-deprecating way. “I actually haven’t timed myself. But I have started running again.”

After I shared my personal weight struggle with Dar he asked me to make a deal – if he would lose 50 pounds before the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in January, could I get him on NCBA's Cattlemen-to-Cattlemen to talk about the importance of youth programs in the beef industry? I made the deal (and thankfully Melissa, the producer of Cattlemen-to-Cattlemen agreed!).

Dar asked me to hold him accountable so I called this week to see how it was going.

“I’ve lost seven pounds so far. But it’s hard. This is not an easy project,” he said. “I just like to eat.”

I understand, Dar. I always said I’d never diet. I like to eat, too much. I always knew the only way I’d lose weight, and keep it off, was with exercise. But when I hit 270 I knew I had to do something. My brother had started selling a popular herbal weight loss program so I signed up. And I lost 40 pounds really fast. But then I gained half of it back.

Dar has a similar story. “Three times I’ve lost 50 pounds and every time I gain it back,” he said. “This time I’m not going to do it.”

I’ve kept my weight off now for over 10 years, so I shared the secret of my success with Dar. And now I’ll share it with you. Eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean protein like BEEF! And, for those of us who like to eat, get some exercise – at least 30 minutes per day, three to five times a week.

[Above: That's me, at 270 lbs. in 1985, and at 210 lbs. in 2009 after riding up the highest paved road in North America to the summit of Mt. Evans (14,240 ft.)]

Maybe I should write a book. I’ll call it, “Eat Right and Exercise – the Secret to Maintaining Healthy Weight.” My next book will be “How to Make a Million Dollars Writing a Book about How to Make a Million Dollars.”

There is no secret formula. No book wil  give you willpower or make you get out of bed in the morning.

“I was at a sale barn today,” said Dar “There was a box of apple fritter donuts. I walked away.”

Keep walking, Dar. And keep running. I promised to hold you accountable. Now we all are! We’ll keep checking back on your progress. And we’ll be watching you on NCBA's Cattlemen-to-Cattlemen next January.

Ride On!


P.S. Dar and his wife, Lynn, helped start the American Salers Junior Association and the North American South Devon Junior Association. They are passionate about cattle and the future of young people in the cattle business. Dar said he was asking people to pledge $2 for every pound he loses before January that he will donate to youth programs. I’m in. Are you?

P.P.S. Please post a comment with your pledge or words of encouragement for Dar.


  1. Go, Dar! You are an inspiration to us eaters!

  2. Daren's mom says: Great story! Go, Dar, go.

  3. Great work Dar! You are a wonderful supporter of the youth in the beef industry as I have seen you in action at the Minnesota Beef Expo for several years! Keep up the fantastic work, we all appreciate it!

  4. Go Dar, you're on the right path and you're an inspiration! We'll be following your progress. Nice post Daren, a pleasure to read. I agree - lifestyle change is the key to losing and keeping the weight off (never say diet).


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