I feel a little funny writing this post since it’s a bit self-serving and strictly personal (not personal in a “none-of-your-business” way, but personal in a “TMI” way), but since many of you have asked or at least wondered, I figure I might as well:

I’ve lost weight.

I’ll go ahead and answer some questions that I’ve been asked:

  1. No, I’m not sick (my left nostril is stopped up at the moment, but I think it’s unrelated to the weight loss).
  2. No, I’m not under stress (any more than normal for Summit pastors, anyway).
  3. Yes, I know how skinny I am (we bought mirrors just for this occasion).
  4. No, I’m not going to whither up and blow away (what does that even mean?).
  5. No, I won’t let you see if you can lift me (not that anyone’s offered, but we live in a strange world and it could happen).

The fact is, I hit a point back in the spring where I realized that I’m not getting any younger, and I had the healthy-eating habits of a four year old in a Reese’s Cup factory.  I’ve always been a snacker, and those years of chips and chocolate (mmmm…chocolate chips) finally were taking their toll.  I was beginning to look like the typical Southern Baptist pastor, which upset me because I specifically got rid of the sculpted plastic hairstyle with matching leisure suit years ago.  And most surprisingly, every time I took off my shirt I noticed I had a six-pack.  Not the kind where you have three distinct abs lined up beside three other distinct abs, but the kind where six little rolls of flab were stacked up on top of each other like a Sharpei puppy.

So, I got on a plan: 1500 calories a day, no excuses, no turning back.  There are no idiotic diets, no meals I have to order through the mail, no colon cleansing (gross!) and I can eat bread.  (I LIKE bread.)  I’m doing a lot more fruits and veggies and a lot less fast food.  Exercise is still an elusive animal due to my husband/dad/pastor/couch potato schedule, but I’m working it in as I can.

My goal was to lose 25 pounds, and I’ve lost 25 pounds.  From this point on, it’s all about maintenance and trying not to go all Oprah on you.  Feel free to keep me accountable on that, but so help me if any of you slap a donut out of my hand I will wrestle you to the ground and kick you in the head, because that’s just rude.  (Your initial actions, not my obviously justifiable and Nehemiah-style response.)

I went to my doctor for my already-scheduled annual physical about two weeks into the new plan, and he endorsed it whole-heartedly.  So yep, I guess you could say I’m doing this under medical supervision.  My calorie intake, my goal weight, my food choices…they all checked out okay with him.  (Now that I’ve hit the goal, I think I get to increase the calories a little.  Party on, Garth.)

What I’ve learned through this process is that eating – like much of life – is all about wise choices.  I can still eat the occasional bacon cheeseburger for lunch, but that means no bowl of ice cream before bed tonight.  And a handful of baby carrots now means that I can sneak a brownie later.  But by no means can I have the bacon cheeseburger, carrots, brownie, and ice cream all in one day or even all in one meal…which was nothing unusual for me a few months ago…especially if you replaced the carrots with super sized fries.

It’s odd to me how my tastes have changed.  I’ve never been much of a fruits and veggies guy, but now I’m saying things like, “Let’s go check out the Farmer’s Market” rather than, “I have a 2-for-1 coupon at Marble Slab!”  I still love Marble Slab, but in far more moderation than I used to.  And while I have the every-once-in-a-few-weeks cheat days, that’s a far stretch better than the “cheat years” that I used to observe.

The way I look at it now (and it was really hard to see it this way with a jumbo-sized Snickers bar in one hand and a Frappuccino in the other) is that I really am responsible to be a good steward of the body God gave me.  That might sound a little hokey, but on this side of the scales I realize it to be true.  I want to be around for a long time to love my wife, disciple my kids, and serve my church, and while only God knows the number of my days, I figure I shouldn’t give him a reason to block an artery any earlier than necessary. 

If you’d like some very practical help in this area, I can’t think of three better resources than the two Eat This, Not That! books (find ‘em here and here) and The Calorie King’s Calorie, Fat, and Carbohydrate Counter.  They’ve been a constant help as I’ve worked through the last several months.  Both of these will help you make wise choices like I talked about above, while still eating at least some of your favorite foods at your favorite places.

Thanks for reading…now pass me the carrot sticks.

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