It was the morning of December 31, 2013. I knew I had to lose some weight for the new year. I had made resolutions before, only to fail in a couple of weeks. That morning, I suspected I was the heaviest and most out of shape I had ever been. As a 28 year old, I had spent most of my 20s obsese. I knew my 30s were coming soon and I was tired of being fat. I was an active high school athlete that hadn’t learned how to manage my weight post football. I knew I had gained 100+ pounds since graduating 11 years before. I knew I needed a life change, so I stepped on the scale…362 lbs. I couldn’t believe what it said honestly. How did I get here? It was a wake up call. I was already dealing with high blood pressure and now my weight was out of control.
New Year’s Eve night of 2013, we had friends over (like we normally do) and I remember telling some of them that I HAD to lose weight this year…like triple digits. It sounded hard (it has been). It sounded unattainable, (thankfully it wasn’t) but that day I committed to a new LIFESTYLE.
I didn’t have radical weight loss surgery. I didn’t join Weight Watchers. I didn’t drink any shakes. Instead I went back to common sense. I had lost weight in the past…50 pounds after graduating college…by depriving myself…only to gain it all back, plus some. So how did I lose 113 pounds and am still losing today? What advice would I give you?
- Track your calories. I use the app MyFitnessPal to track everything I eat. Before I tracked calories, I just assumed I wasn’t eating that much. After a couple of days of tracking calories, I soon realized just how much I was eating! (usually in second helpings and ice-cream).
- Get moving. I was so overweight that I knew my body could not endure a physically exhausting program starting out. So I started by walking for 30 minutes a day, every day. Now that I’ve been losing weight for 2 and a half years, I alternate between cardio and weight training. You have to start somewhere. You aren’t going to be able to run 5K or bench press 300 lbs in week 2 of exercising if you are out of shape. One of my friends told me you didn’t get overweight overnight. You won’t be able to lose all your weight and get healthy overnight either. There is no quick fix to a lifestyle change. Be patient it takes time.
- Don’t let your circumstances dictate your eating. I ate when I was happy and wanted to celebrate. I ate when I was unhappy or down on myself (Interestingly, this doesn’t actually make you feel better about yourself.) As a Christian, my health had become a stewardship issue. I wasn’t taking care of my body–the temple that God’s Holy Spirit resides in. Over time, I learned to not let food be ultimate in my life. I had to find my joy in the Lord in good times. Instead of turning to food, I had to surrender the heartbreak to Him in the difficult times. For those that have never struggled with food addiction, this may seem silly. But I assure you–the struggle is very real. I am a recovering food addict. (On a side note, a keto lifestyle, which I will be blogging about next week, has helped bring my food cravings under control.)
- Take One Day at a time. This is the best advice I can give you regarding your health. You will mess up. You will have days you don’t eat the right things or days you eat way too much. This is OK. The best thing you can do is do better the next day! I am thankful each day is a new day…each day is a fresh start. You aren’t changing your week or month…you are changing your LIFE…it is a lifestyle change.
Today is Monday. I can’t tell you how many times I have said I’m going to start a diet ‘Monday’ only to fail by dinner time. I wish I had known that a real lifestyle change is about making small changes at first, then gradually adapting more habits.
Church leaders, let me encourage you: For the sake of your family and ministry, you have to prioritize your health. I didn’t, but thankfully I dealt with it early enough in my life that it won’t have lasting implications.
Have you struggled with your weight? Do you know someone that might need some encouragement getting healthy? I encourage you to share this blog for those wanting to commit to a healthy life!