Warning: A bit of self-disclosure in this article.
After my high school sophomore season in football, I chose to dedicate my time to becoming a better baseball player. This means I did not play basketball. This also means that I was not as active as I would have been. I slowly began to gain weight, but I never thought differently of myself since I still lifted weights and engaged in plenty of exercise in my specialized physical education class. It wasn’t until people began pointing out how big I was compared to the previous year. I had acquaintances, friends and even coaches tell me that I was getting fat or that I looked a little more pudgy (my football coach said I needed to be bigger).
I continued to hear all of these joking remarks for the rest of my high school career, but I still never looked at myself any differently… until I went to college.
The number I saw on the scale quickly became the deciding factor of how I felt for the entire day. I fed from the approval or “disapproval” I felt from friends. I constantly compared myself to others, their intellect, their athleticism, their gifts. Food quickly became my best friend and I was completely fine with it until I looked at the scale during my sophomore year and it soared above 250 pounds.
I believe so many people can read this story and connect in some way. Maybe you had people just telling you that you looked different. Maybe it was your weight, maybe it was your clothes, maybe it was your hair. Food became the only thing that made things just a little better for that short moment. Maybe you can relate in a different way, but hundreds of thousands of people struggle; with food, with weight, with body image, etc.
Just before the end of my sophomore year, I began to run and swim (very slowly). I quickly lost weight and entered the summer around 225 pounds. That summer was the perfect stage for exercise and weight loss. During the 10 week summer, I ran almost every single day. I ran, I walked and at times, I quit. I began the summer not being able to run 1 mile without walking – I finished the summer 180 pounds and completed a sprint triathlon (500m swim, 13 mile bike, 3.1 mile run).
I could go on and on about the last 6 years. The ups, downs, back up, back down, and repeat. Many of you would look at me now and think I now do not worry about my own weight, but that could not be further from the truth. I continue to be mindful of my health and my level of activity. I have good days and I have bad days. I continue to remind myself that it is not the number on the scale, but the weight behind the incredible love I receive from my wife, from my family, from my friends and most of all – from my God. I do not hate my weight, but I know it has to be a mindful and intentional decision to remain focused on what God’s will is for my life and allow Him to fill my heart and sustain me.
I do not claim to be an expert in exercise or nutrition, but I believe these two things to be important in overall, optimal health. You may read this and wonder if it is even possible for you to lose weight, get in shape, or simply begin implementing a healthy diet. Just like mental, emotional and relational health, every body is slightly different and deserves individual care and focused attention. I would love to hear from you – if you have a question or even want to begin a life changing journey, you may email me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 317-474-6448 x 112.
First half-marathon with my wife.