How this Air Force recruiter lost almost 100 pounds!

Phil Briggs
August 14, 2018 - 3:35 pm


For years he earned the nickname "Fat Dag".

"When it came to Christmas time, playing Santa was my schtick, because the suit fit," laughed Senior Master Sergeant, Mike Daggett. "But the reality is that the Air Force uniform and the Santa suit are not cut from the same cloth."

Now half the size of his former self, Daggett uses the nickname to start a conversation that many people find hard to have. "People look at me now and say, 'wait you're not fat?' ... and I just say let me tell you a story."

Sergeant Mike "FatDag" Daggett, began his military career in 1992 with the Maine Air National Guard as an Air Traffic Control Radar Maintenance technician.  He has deployed numerous times in support of Operation Joint Guard, and Operation Joint Endeavor to Turkey, and Hungary.   

He would eventually move into his current role as Superintendent of Recruiting and Retention for the State of Indiana, but not before he received his first wake up call about his weight.

After returning from deployment in the late nineties, his unit was transferred and every team member got to go, except for Daggett. "They were like hold on Mike, you can't go, because you're overweight ... and that's the earliest memory I have of being in the military and being overweight."

He explained he would hit the gym, binge diet and basically do whatever he could to lose the 10-15 pounds required to pass his annual fitness test.  But it was not enough.

"I would dread the annual PT test. I would run and do crazy diets, but the next day after passing my test I would celebrate at Buffalo Wild Wings," recalled Daggett. "I would continue in that up and down cycle for much of my career.  I was at the highest weight I'd ever been.  I was 263 pounds, and I would have to look at a kid who was 190 and tell him he couldn't join the military because he was overweight.  He would look at me and say 'what, I'm overweight?' ... I knew something had to change."

While taking blood pressure medication, with knees about to give and needing to buy a larger uniform Daggett explained, "I just knew something had to change if I was going to live ... and at that point, something just clicked."

After dedicating himself to a new workout regimen, the pounds barley came off.  After weeks of working out, he finally cut out the last bad habit - stopping at McDonald's after the gym.  "I finally started looking at things differently, and started to look at the fuel I was putting in my body ... that's when the weight really started to come off."

He lost almost 100 pounds. "You can't outrun a bad diet," Dagget says with a smile.

Now he works on coaching others through his website and his weekly podcast, Whysadvice.  "You can't look at the six-pack abs and those guys covered in muscle and say that's your goal.  Because you'll never make it," explained Dagget.  "I say now, just set attendance goals, not performance goals.  You're better off just walking into a gym and walking right out every single day than you are trying this Navy SEAL cardio kickboxing routine, where you can't move for a month after ... because you build no sort of habit of building your life and changing it. If you just gradually increase from walking to running to using a machine, you will realize your goal."

But does working out regularly and eating right mean the fun is over?

"I still enjoy pizza or a beer in moderation," explained Daggett.  "But the question you have to ask yourself is does this food align with my goal? If it does, do it, and if it doesn't then ask yourself, 'am I okay with this today?' ... because you only have to be right about 85 percent of the time.  Get it right most of the time, enjoy your life some of the time, and you'll find that's an achievable balance."  

Read more about Mike Daggett's weight loss journey here.

And you can hear the Whysadvice podcast here.


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