That was on June 13. On June 14, I put myself on a diet, counting my calories. By July 26, I'd gotten down to 181.2, not a dramatic loss, but one that made me happy.
I don't keep scales around the house and I've decided keep it that way. I don't want to get caught up in weighing myself each day.
My focus is more on changing how I think of and use food, adopting a healthier mindset, diet, and body. So, I'm using a grocery store in Columbus that I visit occasionally, Marc's, where there's a huge, old-fashioned scale setting next to the exit, for occasional weigh-ins.
I hadn't gone to Marc's for a while. But on Thursday, I had a wonderful (and filling) meal with our daughter at my favorite Columbus-area Mexican restaurant, Cuco's Taqueria. Cuco's is close to Marc's. I'd been thinking of stopping by to pick up a few items. (They have great prices!) But as I stuffed myself, I told my daughter, "Maybe I should wait until another time to weigh in at Marc's."
In the end, I decided to bite the bullet. But I was wary, convinced that a few pounds had crept back on. A recent six-day trip to California for a church conference, when I wasn't preparing my own meals, and two other days of overindulgence, convinced me that the scales were going to deliver a bad message.
My daughter tried to console me (pre-console me?) as I prepared to step onto the scales: "Remember, dad, that you just had a big meal." I gritted my teeth, stood on the scales, and hesitantly looked up.
"Oh!" my daughter said, seeing the number before I did.
The scales showed that I now weighed 176.5 pounds. While I would have preferred making more progress than that, I definitely feel that I'm moving in the right direction and I was thankful that my eight days of less controlled eating hadn't done more damage!
In that earlier post, I talked about some of the things I'd learned after little more than a month of controlling my calories. As I continue this journey, I'll share more of what I'm learning. But for now, I'll just say that this whole business is important to me as a way of thanking God for the body that He's given to me.
I also hope that these periodic progress reports (at least, I hope and pray that they'll be progress reports) will encourage others as they deal with seemingly intractable issues in their own lives.
I will tell you this though. The single most important element in helping me to get this far has been prayer. Every time I'm tempted to eat more than I need to eat, I ask God to help me, to divert my attention to other, more productive things.
God is in this struggle with me; if He wasn't, I couldn't have made any progress.
He can be with you in your struggles, big and small, too. Just call out to God in the name of Jesus...He will hear you! Latch onto this promise from 1 John 5:14:
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.And don't think that calling on God is a "good luck charm." That wouldn't be faith, but superstition. So, even with God's constant help, it hasn't been easy implementing a new way of life. It involves daily crucifying the sinful, self-indulgent me that likes, literally as well as figuratively, to have my cake and eat it too. (Though I don't really like cake very much.) I realize that I've wanted to eat big and be small. It doesn't work that way.
I've had to reckon with the fact that there are consequences to the bad choices we make in life, some of them eternal, though God's grace, offered in Christ, can reach us in any and all circumstances.
I'm convinced that issues like overeating and materialism are, in fact, among the greatest spiritual issues we face in the modern West. Our craving for more and our acquisition and eating of more are, simply, sins in which we take far more than the daily bread we need. Behavior like that can wreck our bodies and destroy our souls.
I'm learning that as I crucify sinful desires and sinful habits, a new me is taking shape, measurable not only in fewer pounds, but also in greater peace with God, with myself, and with others.
This shouldn't surprise me. Crucifixion and resurrection constitute the daily pattern of Christian discipleship, even when it comes to what we do with the bodies God has given to us.