“Drink Your Carbs is so much more enjoyable than true dieting.”
-Dirk in Denver, Colorado
When Steven first told Dirk about Drink Your Carbs, they were having lunch at a Denver sushi restaurant. The sun was shining. The sky was a deep, cloudless blue. The day was as perfect and bright as Dirk was haggard and worn-out. Dirk’s wife had just given birth to their first child. Dirk hadn’t slept through the night for nearly two months. He was clearly happy, but his excitement at being a new father was wrapped in cloak of exhaustion.
Every father we know put on weight in the days following the birth of his child. This is completely normal and to be expected. After the birth of a child, family and friends come to visit bearing cookies, cakes and other delicious, high calories foods of celebration. Going out for a run or doing any other exercise becomes the lowest priority. Gaining weight in the wake of a birth is typical, but even by those standards Dirk was extreme. Over the course of lunch, Dirk revealed that since the baby was born he had gained between 20 and 30 pounds.
Dirk had a quintessential 70s childhood of Cookie Crisp cereal eaten in front of Saturday morning cartoons. In many ways, it was similar to Steven’s upbringing. They both picked cereal based on the prize inside the box. They both had a weakness for Strawberry-flavored Quik milk. They both worshiped anything and everything produced by the Hostess Corporation, from mini powdered donuts to spongy white bread. In both their households—as Dirk pointed out—“dessert was a birthright.” The biggest difference was that Dirk’s mother worked at Safeway, a local Colorado grocer. As a result, every can of soda he drank and every box of Little Debbie Snack Cakes he opened came home already dented or crushed.
The reason Dirk was not overweight as a child—and this holds true for Steven as well—is that both of them spent huge amounts of time running around outside. Perhaps the current childhood obesity epidemic can be at least partially blamed on videogames. Where as Dirk and Steven ran around the neighborhood with friends, today’s kids bond while sitting still in front of a television.
Through college and beyond, Dirk continued to use exercise to keep his healthy weight. He didn’t want to change his eating habits, so instead he took up running. He played on his school’s football and baseball teams and, in the off-season, he ran on his own. Whenever his weight began to rise, he increased his mileage and reversed the trend. Until his son was born, that strategy had never failed him.
With all of his energy going into caring for his wife and newborn son, Dirk’s running stopped. His food also changed dramatically. Every time he woke up during the night and headed down to the kitchen to get his wife a glass of water and a snack, he would grab himself a bite of cake or a couple of cookies. As Dirk himself pointed out, “In addition to my son doing nightly feedings, so did I.”