So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. – Genesis 29:20
Anyone who knows me knows that I have been obese for the majority of my life. The politically correct way of saying it might be that I’ve battled with my weight, but that wouldn’t be true. Eating the 1 lb. cheeseburger, plate of fries, salad with blue cheese dressing, piece of cake and a couple of beers to wash it down isn’t exactly battling – unless your plan is to trick the enemy by killing yourself.
My decision to live a healthier life has only been recent. It started out of necessity. I tore the meniscus in my right knee in 2007 while playing basketball. The surgery to repair the damage led to several weeks of physical therapy. The increased activity coupled with a slightly improved diet led to a rapid drop in my weight. But once the therapy ended, so did the weight loss. I didn’t regain, but I stopped losing. I wasn’t terribly concerned about it, so life went on.
Now many people ask you about dieting when you’re losing weight. They want to know how you did it and why you’re doing it. I’m not writing about how. If you want to learn that, click on the Better Life Fitness link and call Randy or Brenda Woody. I’m going to write about the why. Here’s the list of the most common reasons people have offered for my weight loss:
- Gastric Bypass Surgery
- Trying to Impress a Woman
My answers to those four theories are, in no particular order: No, No, No and No. I began my workout and diet regimen when a friend and counselor challenged me to do something for myself. You see, she recognized that I simply did not love myself and I needed to stop doing things for others for a while and turn my focus inward. This concept was very foreign to me, but because I needed to do what she asked, I began thinking about what I should do. God led me to pick weight loss, directing me to Randy, and the results are obvious. I have lost 175 pounds and have changed my life for the better. This is a great story, an inspiring testimony, but far from the final thought. Because while many may think that the world is now opening itself up to me in new and wonderful ways, I am actually left struggling with a simple yet important question: Was it worth the weight?
Now before my grammar lovers rush to the comment box and before people start sending me “Hooked on Phonics” order forms, understand that I know the difference between weight and wait. But for me, the two are interchangeable.
Consider the story of Jacob and Rachel. From the moment he first laid eyes upon her at Laban’s well he was smitten. His love for her was deep and intense. Knowing that she was the desire of his heart, he went to Laban and asked what he must do for her hand. Laban struck an agreement with Jacob that if he would work for seven years, Rachel would be his. Filled with love, Jacob agreed and got to work. The Bible account describes that the years felt like only a few days to him because of the great love he had for her. There was no sobbing and crying, no feeling sorry for himself. He also didn’t pass his time hanging out at the well, looking for somebody else to connect with in the interim. Paddan Aram didn’t offer eHarmony to help him find his “soulmate.” He trusted that God had brought his future wife to him but that God had also established a clear path to follow before that future arrived. Jacob knew what he needed to do to get what he wanted, so he did it. He remained focused upon the goal, the ultimate prize that awaited him at the end of his journey.
For me, the process of changing my lifestyle was equally simple. People may find this hard to believe, but I don’t miss the way I used to eat, drink, and live. You can eat cake, candy, chips, cookies, and cannoli in front of me and I won’t cave or consider you rude. I don’t eat it because, like Jacob, God brought me to a place where He said to me, “I have a future for you. It is good and it will fulfill all of your needs and desires. But to get there, this is the path you must take.” Step one was meeting Randy. Like Laban, Randy told me what I needed to do to have what I wanted. And so for the last year, I have done what he has told me to do, I have followed his path. No binges. No emergency Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches. Just obedience to what Randy and ultimately to what God has called me to do.
Of course the story doesn’t end here. Having uncovered a new me, I have begun to discover the multitude of things that my obesity has taken from me physically, emotionally, psychologically, and even spiritually. As the path to my future opens up to me, I have some serious clutter to clean up before I can set off on that jourey.
And I’ll tell you more about it and a couple of days…
Excellent writing as usual. I do, however, take exception with one small point.
You write, “Eating the 1 lb. cheeseburger, plate of fries, salad with blue cheese dressing, piece of cake and a couple of beers to wash it down isn’t exactly battling.”
Actually, for many people (myself included), binge eating IS a battle – a battle with the self. We wish with all our might that we didn’t struggle with binge eating, but we’re battling a psychological compulsion to “fill the hole” in our soul, “feeding the hunger within,” so to speak.
For many Christians, the obvious answer would be to allow Christ to fill that emptiness – but even fine Christians battle with binge eating until the psychological issues are resolved.
In any event – I just wanted to point out that it really CAN be a much greater battle than someone who’s NOT struggling might imagine, lest someone think we actually enjoy stuffing ourselves to the point of uncomfortableness.
Inspiring words as you openly share your journey and the lessons along the way!
Richard, good stuff. And yes “moonswings” binge eating is a guilt ridden struggle many suffer from. My old self included. The issues you need to deal with are not the food but the emotional and or spiritual ones. It can be dealt with when one is ready to face and slay their dragons. Praying for you to reach that place.
Bravo! I, like you, have told others that my actual weight loss was actually pretty simple Once the decision was made to do it and I was guided to the proper resources, I didn’t miss eating half a large pizza by myself and washing it down with a couple Labatts. In fact, the thought of doing that actually disgusts me nowadays.
I agree with Randy, and give him kudos for being such a great coach. I too have easily lost the weight but am still dealing with the original emotional and spiritual issues that led me to being 230 lbs. (yes… that’s right… I’m 5′ and weighed over 230… I had a big hole to fill)
I love the comparrison to Jacob and Rachel. If we have enough love (even for ourselves, go figure) and it is what God wants for us, whatever the task at hand might be, the love God has granted us in our hearts will also make our burden lighter and what might appear to some impossible, easy.