Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Weight Loss Journey (Part 1-The Beginning)

The man to my left was 304.5 pounds on the day he captured this self-portrait.  He does not look healthy.  Indeed, he was not healthy!  You can venture to guess that he rarely exercised and ate whatever he wanted.  You would be right...I happen to know since that was me, as of about 7 months ago. I captured those two pictures with the self-portrait function of my digital camera.  For some reason, I truly believed that this was going to be a momentous journey, and I wanted a postcard of the trip.
As of today's date, I have lost a total of 80.5 pounds.

Thinking back, I'm not quite sure what triggered my desire to get in shape.  However and in whatever way, the Lord grabbed my attention and convicted me about the way I was living my life.  I was selfish: eating what I desired and living as I wished.  However, my poor health choices weren't just affecting me.  Physically, I got sick often during 2010 and the early part of this year.  Simple tasks would be a burden, and my stamina would not allow me to focus on physical tasks for long.  Mentally, I was often depressed and my thoughts were frequently as sluggish as my body.  Spiritually, my walk with the Lord was impacted as I struggled to maintain focus to pray while I was so often tired.

So, here is the story of my journey, and while I have not arrived, I wanted to celebrate the 80-lb. weight loss mark with a special commemoration of the trip thus far.

How I Gained So Much to Lose

While pinpointing the trigger(s) that spurred me to lose weight difficult to determine, how I gained so much weight is not.  I can easily count 3 ways that I so easily gained weight:
  1. Stress--Last year was one of the most difficult years I've faced in my years of ministry.  I had the unenviable position of being the only full-time staff member at a church in transition.  At the end of 2009, our secretary passed away and our Senior Pastor resigned.  Life became difficult.  In fact, the harder it got, the more I turned to food.  While I should have turned to the comfort of the Holy Spirit, my Paraclete, I turned to the consolation of the sugary desserts, my pastries.
  2. Lethargy--If I ever filled out a wellness survey, I could not check any box except the blank beside the word "sedentary."  You would never find me doing any physical activity that wasn't mandatory either for my job or to fulfill one of life's necessary obligations.  Getting the mail? Sure!  Walking a mile on a beautiful day?  Forget about it!
  3. Eating--I ate (almost) everything!  This was one of my biggest regular downfalls.  I used to partake of what my family and I began to call my "variety platter."  Each night, I would loung in front of the television with a plate of sugary, salty goodness.  A typical plate?  M&M candies, Cheez-It crackers, and Little Debbie swiss cake rolls.
As you can imagine, the pounds began to pile up pretty quickly.  I'm pretty embarrassed by those pictures at the top of this blog entry.  I cannot begin to claim I had a thyroid problem, bad joints that prevented regular exercise, or any other consideration.  It was all my fault!

After acknowledging my problem, I knew I had to take steps to undo the damage.  That's exactly what I did...and that's exactly what I began doing to get to this point (pictures below are current as of October 18, 2011):

Those who know me well know that I am a modest person and will rarely walk around shirtless.  However, I recognize the intrinsic value of pictures.  If they are indeed worth a thousand words, I hope that just one of that thousand may impact you if you recognize the need to change but consider it impossible.  I'm hoping that these few series of blog posts will encourage those of you that think physical change is an impossibility.  Do what you can, and seek to glorify God with whatever you eat or drink and whatever you do (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Next Entry: Part 2-Change, Change, Change!