Two years ago, on Jan. 1, 2011, I wrote a post, "No More Excuses." It was therapeutic for me and helpful to others. Make no mistake; all of us are a work in progress. I have come to the conclusion that folks are inspired by execution, not excuses. For the first 25 years of my life, I had some issues (we all do), but weight was not one of my problems. However, the pounds began to pile up. Deep down, I knew that I had to do something about my weight.
Yes, traveling the country doesn’t make it easy to eat healthy, but I don’t want to make excuses. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Initially, I was hesitant to share my journey because a Pharisee is around every corner, cubicle and computer, but the Bible reminds, "fear of man brings a snare." Some teaching I heard early in my Christian walk was that if I did anything for "me" it was either selfish or sin. I'm not sure if it was intentional or subliminal, but it seemed that the lie I was buying said that in order to be a good Christian we should be broke, overweight and borderline depressed. Yes, some of God's most dedicated children had no homes or money but that is not the only prerequisite to be a committed Christian. Our body is the temple of the living God and I needed to honor Him with my lips and hips.
While on an airplane a few years ago, I was shocked and borderline mad when the flight attendant told us, "In case of a decline in cabin pressure, grab the air mask above and put it on yourself first and then assist small children next to you." That was so contrary to my Christian upbringing! I was told to die to self, let others go first, etc. However, it dawned on me that we will not be much good for God and others if we consistently neglect ourselves.
Four years ago, I drove Rick Stanley, Elvis Presley's stepbrother, to the airport in Washington, D.C. Rick is also an evangelist and we had a great discussion about Elvis. Like Elvis, I am 6 feet 1 inches tall, wear a size 12 shoe and love Jesus. Those three traits are probably the only things we had in common. He was "King of Rock N Roll" and I was cut from the fourth grade choir. However, I also had something more in common that I cared to admit. The discussion turned to Elvis' weight and we all have heard the cruel jokes (The skinny Elvis or "Big" Elvis).
Before dropping him off at Reagan National Airport, I recall asking Rick how much Elvis weighed at death and it startled, scared and saddened me. I had friends who, as children, wanted to be "bigger than Elvis," but as an adult I realized I was "bigger than Elvis!" I am not talking fame or fortune, but by weight. I realized that I was running low emotionally and physically. I knew if I didn't change, it could lead to a stroke (or worse). Just because we are doing good things or God's Work, we are not immune to heartache or heart attack.
I am convinced when one part of the body suffers, it creeps into other areas as well. It is crucial that we address an issue at the start or we will fail in the end. For me, carrying the extra weight hindered me as a child of God, father, husband and friend. My three-year-old son Andrew is faster than a Ferrari and if I was going to not only keep up with him, but also be a blessing to him and our family, I had to make some changes. God couldn't love me any more, but I was starting to appreciate life less.
I am thankful for dear friends who loved me enough to tell me the truth that I was struggling and for others who held me accountable. At first, truth may hurt but it ultimately helps and heals. Last year, I was at a board meeting for Praisefest Ministries. I was sitting at the early morning session drinking a 44 oz Coke from McDonald's. My friends and former wrestling champions, Nikita Koloff "The Russian Nightmare" and Lex Luger "The Total Package" walked into the meeting and looked at my drink with disapproval. They didn't have to say anything but the twin poster boys for health and nutrition took one look at me and I could see that they were disappointed with my choice. They were not judging me, but they knew I could do better. Much better! Truth be told, I was already disappointed in myself but its worse when you disappoint others (much less heroes). I had no more excuses.
The day I graduated from high school, I was 6 feet 1 inches tall and weighed 156 pounds with 4% body fat! I could have auditioned to play Gumby in a movie! However, those days are gone. For years, I had watched P90X infomercials and thought "maybe one day." After getting sick and tired of being sick and tired, I ordered the program and began to turn the corner.
When I started, I was tempted to tell the world because I believe in accountability, but I also know that its better to say nothing and accomplish something than to say something and accomplish nothing. With God's help and some sweat and hard work we (team effort) made the change! On Sept. 24, 2012, I started my lifestyle change and knew that 90 days would be Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve)! I thought that one of the best gifts I could give my family, friends and myself was discipline and dedication to drop the weight.
In 90 days, I dropped 27 pounds and a couple inches on my waist. However, I know that our new discipline and labors must continue to a lifestyle. I am committed to continuing this new healthy stage of life. As we enter a new year, I humbly ask for your prayers to continue and if the Lord leads you to make a change in your life, we can do it together. For some, it may be omitting alcohol, others to cease cigarettes, for another it could be to exercise or read the Bible or write that book that has been burning in you. Perhaps it is going to bed before midnight. Rest is crucial in healthy living. I don't know what you need, but God does and deep inside, you do too.
Today is a new day and a New Year! With God's help, we can live at a higher level; I found that less really is more. Today, I am starting round two of P90X. Praise the Lord! I have found that these nine tips can really help you to make a change:
1. Admit that you are weak
2. Ask God for help
3. Consult with others (knowledge is power)
4. Find an accountability group
5. Dare to do it differently (Insanity is repeating same thing and expecting different results)
6. Take it a step at a time (Rome wasn't built in a day)
7. Celebrate small victories (enjoy in moderation — less is more)
8. Life is a cinch by inch, but hard by yard
9. Jesus is our success