Thursday, September 22, 2016

How losing weight and eating healthfully are going

I've written here and here about my quest to lose weight and eat more healthfully after I tipped my doctor's scales at a gargantuan 189.7-pounds. That weigh-in occurred on June 13. On June 14, I began to cut my daily calorie intake.

In the first linked post, I talked about what I'd learned after about a month of more sensible eating. In the second linked post, I gave a progress report; at that point I weighed in at 176.5 pounds.

Yesterday, I went to the local Little Clinic because of a cough and cold. The examination room had scales in it and since I'd not weighed myself since September 1, I decided to bite the bullet.

I wasn't hopeful. I'd fallen off the calorie wagon several times over the past few weeks. On the other side of the ledger though, I had, a few days before, bought a new pair of jeans with a size 34 waist and felt comfortable in them. But when I put my hands on my belly, I could tell that it wasn't shrinking as dramatically as it did when I first began the process or when I'd been more consistently disciplined. (Many people have commented to me how weight comes off readily initially, but gets tougher as time goes on.)

I climbed on the scales. I couldn't believe it! I had lost more weight. I was now at 173 pounds. Not a dramatic reduction, of course, but I had half expected a gain.

In addition to all the lessons this process is teaching me, which I mentioned here, I guess I would point to another one: Maintaining a daily positive discipline isn't easy. (I know that's obvious. But I think it's worth noting.)

Whether, we're establishing disciplines to lose weight, get fit, be financially responsible, serve others, inform ourselves as voting citizens, or keep a daily quiet time with God, all positive things, there will always be some urgent or more compelling thing that keeps us from being disciplined. The hardest thing in the world to do is the right thing.

I've learned that truth more from my failures--including my failures at eating more healthfully--than I have from my successes.

But even that phrase "my successes" makes me laugh. The reason is simple: The reason that I've lost more than 16-pounds since June 14, a paltry amount if the diet technique commercials are to be believed, is not because of my will power. My will is to eat what I want, do what I want, spend as I want, look out for myself with no regard to others as I want.

But God is in the process of taming this rebel sinner. Each day, often many times a day, I turn to the God I know in Jesus Christ and ask Him, despite my self-will and stubbornness, to bring me under His control, to meet my willing but weak spirit and create and deepen faith in Christ within me, to create and deepen my dependence on Christ. And, I also pray that as Christ does this, He will cultivate in me the habits that will cause me to daily welcome Christ as Lord over my whole being.

The old Mark--sinful, selfish, willful--my default mode is always trying to steer me away from letting Christ have charge of my whole life. My only defense is the disciplines of Christian life, the means by which Christ comes to us and strengthens us to be who we know, through Christ, we can be:
  • God's Word, the Bible;
  • worship with fellow believers;
  • the sacrament of Holy Communion, the true body and blood of Jesus;
  • prayer;
  • the fellowship of other believers;
  • serving in Christ's name. 
As I indicated here, I regard this movement toward more healthy eating and a lower weight as a spiritual battle. There is nothing that the devil, the world, and our sinful selves (our old selves) like more than for us to be on "cruise control": self-satisfied, resigned to being who we are, unconcerned with others, unconcerned with taking care of the bodies that God has given to us.

When we follow these ordinary pathways of the world, we take ourselves out of the game in which God enlists us at our Baptism--and in which God wants to enlist all people: to love God, to love our neighbor, to surrender to the life-changing grace of God given only in Jesus, to make disciples.

I want to be in God's game until the moment I draw my last breath on earth. That's why I'm trying to eat healthfully and get to a good weight. Despite all the roadblocks I put in God's way, I keep turning back to Him to help me to make this new life style stick.

He can do the same thing for you.

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