I never had trouble keeping thin. Growing up, my metabolism was beastly. I remember in Middle School when I finally broke 100 pounds. I wanted to throw a party. It was a big day for me. The doctor used to tell me every year at my annual check up, that eventually my metabolism would slow down, and I’d gain weight. I never believed him.
But he was right.
My wife and I got married in 2012. I weighed a whopping 150 pounds.
That’s a picture of us cutting the cake. Just two young kids madly in love. Got our whole life ahead of us.
Little did I know that only two short years later I’d be breaking 200 pounds.
You ask, “What happened?”
Kids. Kids happened.
Six months after we got married we found out we were pregnant with twins.
Twelve months after they were born I weighed right at two hundred pounds. That might not sound like a lot to some people. But to me that was way too much.
At first it didn’t bother me.
But then I had dinner with my wife and a friend. And he snapped this photo, and that pretty much did it for me.
I didn’t like how I looked.
I didn’t like how I felt.
And I knew that there had to be a change.
A big change.
So I decided I was going to lose a bunch of weight. And I did it all without any exercise.*
I lost thirty-five pounds in twelve months without ever working out. I didn’t bind myself to a strict diet, drink any funny colored drinks, starve myself or anything like that.
All I did was implement four lifestyle adjustments that resulted in the drastic change.
Here’s what I did.
#1 Eat Real Food
Taco Tuesday’s. Late night stops at Whataburger. Breakfast on the go at McDonald’s. Frozen pizza. Microwave dinners.
When life is busy, it’s easy to let our nutrition get sloppy.
Eating real food was the first change I made. I’m not talking Whole30 real (although I have tried Whole30 and I did lose 10 pounds the very first time).
I’m just talking about cutting out convenience meals. That’s fast food, microwave food, etc. If I didn’t prepare it–or more likely if Angela didn’t prepare it (thanks, babe!)–then I didn’t eat it.
I did eat out, but I avoided all pre-made, processed foods.
#2 Eat Smaller Portions
This was one of the most difficult changes I made. I didn’t realize how much I would continue to eat after I was already full.
Our plate sizes in the United States are outrageous. Typically we load our plates down with enough food for at least two meals.
Learning to eat enough but not too much was hard to do. But it brought about incredible results.
I learned to do this by loading my plate with only a modest portion of food. Before, I would overload my plate with food just to avoid having to get up for seconds…(first world problems…amirite?)
But not anymore.
After I ate my meal, I practiced the ten minute rule. Often times I’d still feel hungry after eating. But I knew I had eaten enough. So, I’d wait ten minutes before getting anymore food. That way I wouldn’t jump the gun.
Usually after ten minutes I felt full and wouldn’t get any more food.
#3 Cut Out Excess Sugars
I didn’t realize how much sugar was in my diet. A soda here. A soda there. Sugary Starbucks lattes several times a week. Sweet tea. And none of this includes all the added sugar in pretty much EVERYTHING you buy at the grocery store.
I simply took in too much sugar on a daily basis.
So I cut it all out.
I manned up and started drinking my coffee black. Like my dad.
I gave up sweet tea. Even though all my friends from South Carolina made fun of me.
I learned to love the grande Americano with no room.
I limited my soda intake to one a month. That was hard to do (but man was it sweet when I had one!).
This was not easy for me.
But I made up for my lack of sugar intake by eating a lot of fruit.
That might sound counterproductive, but fruits have fibers that expand as you digest them. This makes you feel fuller faster and also slows down the rapid break down of the various sugars in fruit so that they are less likely to be stored in your body.
It was an easy way to satisfy my sweet tooth without sacrificing my nutrition.
#4 Weigh Yourself Daily
This last change made all the difference. When I started weighing myself every day, I started getting motivated.
At first I didn’t see any results. But then I lost one pound. Then two. Then five. Then ten.
The more weight I lost, the more determined I was to keep up the hard work. The more I continued to work hard, the more weight I lost. Until finally, after one year, I met my goal.
I lost thirty-five pounds.
The clothes I bought the summer before because I was too big didn’t fit me anymore (but this time they were too big).
By the end of it all, I had to buy a whole new wardrobe.
Thirty-five pounds later, I felt like a brand new person. And this was only the beginning for me. It was the start of a journey towards becoming the healthiest version of myself ever.
I’m still on that journey now. And I’m loving it every step of the way.
You may be wondering, “What does this have to do with anything?” And I get that. The purpose of my blog is to help you connect your faith with your life. So what does my story of weight loss have to do with faith?
I think it has a lot to do with it.
I learned several things through this process that have strengthened me spiritually.
I learned self discipline.
The Bible says, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7, NASB). I don’t think we always realize how much we crave instant gratification. We want what we want when we want it. If we can’t have it right then and there, we move on.
But nothing good in life comes easy. We have to work hard for those things. It’s true when it comes to your physical health. And it’s true when it comes to your spiritual health as well.
If we want to be healthy spiritually, then we have to learn self-discipline. I learned that through this process.
I learned that my “body is a temple”.
The body we have is a gift from God. We each only get one life to live. And we are responsible for caring for our gift.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20,
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
It’s not always easy to make healthy choices when it comes to the food we eat. But every time we do, we honor God in our decision.
I am better equipped to serve Christ.
Before I got my diet under control, I was constantly tired. Cranky. Mentally sluggish. I simply couldn’t accomplish the things I felt God was calling me to accomplish with my life.
Since getting my diet under control, several things have changed. I have more energy. I get better sleep. I’m generally a happier person.
And this is clear in my personal ministry.
Every day I feel more prepared to live the life God is calling me to lead.
One Final Word
Weight loss is a sensitive subject. I get that. And for some people it’s a lot harder to lose thirty-five pounds than it was for me.
But I want to leave you with a final word of encouragement.
I don’t think weight loss should necessarily be a priority.
I think our priority should be making healthy choices when it comes to our diet.
Because it’s only when we begin to care for the bodies God has given us that we begin to regain the energy and vitality that we need to live the lives God is calling us to lead.
And when we do that, everybody wins.