Over the course of the past year, Stephanie and I have both lost over 85 pounds It's been an incredible year of discovering more about who we are and experiencing new freedoms that we never thought possible. Of course, people ask lots of questions about it:
How did you do it?
What are you doing?
What are you eating?
What are you not eating?
What exercise regimen are you following?
Getting fit takes good nutrition and a solid exercise regimen. But, perhaps, more importantly, it also takes the right mindset. This has been quite a journey...but like every journey, there was a critical first step - one action that started us down this road.
Our journey all started with a single decision. We got fed up with disease and DECIDED to make a change. It has been said in many ways, Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.
That was true for us. We were both sick and tired of being sick and tired. We battled with a litany of chronic health-related problems: High blood pressure, high blood sugar, sleep apnea, achy joints, easily winded and very low energy. Sometimes you don't even know how far down you've actually allowed yourself to go.
We both came to a place where we said, "ENOUGH"! We knew that our health was jeopardizing our ability to effectively parent, our long-term prospect of being actively involved in the lives of our kids (and hopefully one day grandkids), and would ultimately place an undue burden on others. I also knew that my health was impacting my ministry. I certainly don't want to "over-spiritualize" the problem, but we knew that this was going to require drastic action.
Jesus called for radical action against sin in this way:
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell! Matthew 5:30
So we took those words to heart... Drastic times call for drastic measures. We knew that food had become an idol and that it was becoming a stumbling block for obedience to Christ.
We had tried a myriad of diets and exercise plans only to regain weight and often gain even more than was lost. After a great deal of prayer, we decided that gastric sleeve surgery was the best option for our health. Dr. Donald Balder was our surgeon.
In September, we had the surgery back to back on the same morning. This was one of the greatest decisions we have ever made. It fundamentally changed our relationship with food from a source of entertainment / comfort / pleasure / medicine / stress relief, etc...to food as fuel! We no longer live to eat...but now eat to live.
The Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) is a procedure to remove part of the stomach and join the remaining portions together to make a new banana-sized stomach or "sleeve." With just a small sack (about 1/10th the size of the original stomach), you feel full a lot quicker than before, and you can't eat as much.
It is a tool...and only a tool, certainly not a magic bullet. We have incorporated healthy eating habits, an exercise regimen and a new outlook on health and wellness. The decision to change was key!
There is no secret solution to weight loss and fitness, but there are some non-negotiables:
You MUST take in fewer calories that you expend. (simple math... calories are king)
You MUST focus on quality of calories!
You MUST hydrate your body.
You MUST get adequate rest.
You MUST NOT rely on any one type of food (your body needs protein, carbs, and fats...but the right ones)
You MUST recognize that your happiness can't be derived from food. Find your joy in Christ and enjoy food as a gift from God. Don't rely on food to bring comfort or stress relief...that leads down a dangerous path.
In terms of actual nutrition, here is the basic plan we follow:
Christ-follower, husband, dad, friend & the Senior Pastor of Hardy Street Baptist Church.