There is something that I have been struggling with for the past 2 1/2 years. It's totally an acceptable sin/struggle, even in the most conservative circles, and it is not a new struggle for me. However, I have finally had enough. "I have what the doctors call a little bit of a weight problem." - Tommy Boy.
In the fall of 2002, my good friend Joel Engle gave me a talking to about my weight. He was very kind and willing to walk with me through repentance (and getting off my lazy rump) and got me started on a 'new way of life' (see Galatians 6:1-2). I lost over 30 lbs and was in the best shape of my life. Although my travel schedule continued to increase, I was able to stick to the diet/workout schedule pretty well and maintained a healthy body.
Then in June 2006, our sweet daughter Braelyn arrived. I had done pretty good during the pregnancy (as did Steph), but after B arrived, there were many late nights. Around this time we had discovered TV shows on DVD and I had (re)discovered Goldfish crackers. Many late nights up with the baby we would watch TV shows and I would chomp down on Goldfish crackers. I wish I could blame the entirety of my current predicament on Goldfish crackers, because that would be pretty cool, but that's just where it began.
So, here I am, 2 1/2 years later, 30 years old, 238 lbs, high-cholesterol, pre-diabetic, and borderline blood pressure. Not good. Something has got to change, so with the help of my dear wife, and the encouragement of some close friends, I am going to aggressively (Lord willing and Lord helping) attack this sin problem. Now, I am only a mild glutton (and for that I repent), but the deeper sin is entitlement.
Entitlement (a caveat of pride) is a wicked vice. It can manifest in many ways including times that I feel like I have been working hard, so why not comfort myself with some tasty treats? Or, I am feeling sorry for myself. Or, I am happy and wanting to celebrate (apparently I have a LOT to be happy about!). I have this Oprah-esque hidden belief that I 'deserve' all these good things in abundance. However, if these things are so good, then why am I finding myself at a fork in the road with 2 options. Option 1 - eat, drink, and be merry, but understanding that my close friends and family will have to explain to my dear daughter that, "Daddy just loved food and himself more than you and Mommy." Or, I can commit to being different, truly humbling myself, pulling an old word out of storage, "No", and humbling myself to specific forms of accountability.
Now, some of you, I'm sure are wondering why in the world I would post this? Is this a gross illustration of pride (I guess it can work in the direction of starving for humiliation, but that's not my pride-of-choice)? Or perhaps I just am starving for attention? No. As I get older I'm more of an introvert, especially as I have been learning to, "sit down on the inside" (Thanks, Neil). Then what gives?
It's really quite simple. I recall talking to an old friend of mine who has trouble with his weight/health and he told me the reason he went to Weight Watchers™ was because he was forced to humiliate himself once a weak by stepping on a scale in front of a group of other people. That was his last ditch effort, because everything else (done in the dark), didn't seem to help. Also, I need your help, but let me start with what I don't need from everyone on the face of the planet. I know there is a huge risk in doing this, but it's worth a shot.
What I don't need from you:
1. Uninvited accountability partners. There are several people I have talked to or intend on talking to later this week about this struggle. They will have the right to speak into my life. So, if I have not asked for this delicate help, then I don't expect you to run up and slap a cheeseburger out of my hand or ask me how many calories are in such-and-such. There will be days that I will have a treat or two, which will be determined by me and my dear wife.
2. Fat jokes are not funny. I'm pretty laid back with most things, but it has gotten old having people pat my belly and make jokes about Blue Bell, etc. Thank you, I know you mean well, but seriously, I am very much aware that I have gained weight. It's just hurtful. I'm a tough man, and if you've said something stupid (which I honestly don't recall the who's and what's) no need to apologize, just be aware.
3. Denial of my weight struggle. Now, if I were 165 pounds and 6 feet tall and was talking about aggressively losing weight, then I definitely would need a talking to. However, if a person has 2 eyes and believes in science, then it is apparent that some radical changes need to take place. So, please don't try to say, "You don't look that fat..." I mean, I can handle it, but seriously, not very helpful.
4. Tons of diet plans. If I ask for tips on here, please feel free to share. But, I have become diet-schizo trying to incorporate everyone elses diets into my life. I can't handle all of that. I've lost weight before, I know what my body responds to, so thanks, but not necessary. I like tips like, "Green Tea is a great substitute for coffee!" That's helpful, but, "Do this diet and you'll lose 85 pounds in 2 weeks!" - Not helpful.
5. Brussels Sprouts. I do not care how good they are for me. No.
How you can help:
1. Pray. Please pray. I know how cliche it may seem, but I cannot do this on my own, nor do I want to strain my marriage by having Steph have to 'force' me towards anything. I need the Lord's help.
2. Gift cards to HEB, Wal-Mart, GNC. Not really, but my family and I are committing to eat much 'cleaner' and I know the supplements that help my body function appropriately, so any love in that regards would be great. :-)
3. Join me. This is a bummer to do alone. I'd love for some of my friends out in the blogosphere to join me in committing to living healthier.
4. Healthy Food Options. I never want a guest to plan a meal around me, by any means. That is why I have not made specific food requests in my ministry agreements (even though my Doc was trying to make me do so). However, if you are going to have pizza, please have salad. There are days that I will still eat pizza, but I love pizza, and need to watch my intake. Or, if all else fails, just let me know ahead of time that you are going to have unhealthy food and I'll get something to eat on my own. Totally cool.
5. Encouragement. When I said previously that I did not want uninvited accountability partners, this does not mean at all that you cannot ask me how it is going or encourage me. I just need to have some healthy boundaries.
Now for the Days 1 & 2 Summaries:
DAY 1: I had committed last week that this Monday (March 16) I would begin eating better and working out. To be honest, I like to work out, it just takes so much time, of which I am often limited. However, as I was driving home yesterday afternoon, I realized that I had sprouted, bloomed, or whatever you want to call it. I actually had MAN-BOOBS! Frustrated, yet determined, I walked in the house, barely said 'Hello' to my wife and declared that I would be going to the gym. She could tell that I was feeling upset and asked what was wrong and I declared, "I HAVE MAN-BOOBS!" Apparently, she thought that was funny, and in hindsight, I suppose that astute observation (and truthful statement) could be a bit humorous. However, I didn't think it funny at the time, but appreciated her light-hearted response.
So, I went to the gym, worked my upper-body and then did 20 minutes of cardio (just walking, after lifting I lacked the energy to run with all this extra weight). I ate well yesterday, and Steph has been a big help. Also, I have been drinking a lot of Green Tea, I hear it's good for you and a healthy alternative to coffee.
Day 2: Today has been a good day so far. I drank a lot of water yesterday, so I have been a freqeuent guest to our 1-bathroom and at times to our backyard (hey, we live in the country!). I had some Fiber-One™ Cereal this morning and Green Tea. Went to the gym and did 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. Am blogging now, drinking green tea, and about to go have lunch. Weighed in at the gym today and I'm still 238 lbs. As much as I was going tinkle, I had thought that I could have dropped a pound of water weight or something. No dice... Steph reminded me today, "It didn't take one day to put the weight on, so it's not going to come off in a day either." True. Encouraging and discouraging.
Well, I'm off for now. I started another blog to follow this journey and to offer public humiliation/encouragement. 40poundsofpurpose.blogspot.com .