Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

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Picking up change

I believe it’s been five years since I last wrote about my weight loss progress, mainly because there wasn’t any progress to report. Things have gone better over the past two years and I have now lost 27 pounds (12 kg). That’s enough to get my pant size down to 36 from 40 and move me from the obese to the overweight category. I need to lose another 25 pounds to get to where I should be, which should bring me down to a 32 inch waist.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Some years ago I was inspired to believe weight loss was possible by reading Calvin Nowell’s book, Start Somewhere: Losing What’s Weighing You Down From the Inside Out. In the book, he describes an incident where he saw several loose coins on the sidewalk and bent down to pick them up. As he did so, the thought came to him that he was “picking up change” and that was what he needed to do to make his weight loss effort work. Long term weight loss will not happen by taking some miracle pill or going on some miracle diet plan. It is a matter of “picking up change,” continuing to make small changes to your lifestyle that will become habits and help lose and keep off excess weight.

Corny as it sounds, “picking up change” is just what I needed to do. The changes didn’t come all at once; but every once in a while I would come to a plateau where I wasn’t losing weight anymore and I would find another change to make.

Here is a list of the changes that I have made, in the order that I made them:

1. I bought a mini trampoline, or rebounder, to use when I don’t go out for a walk.

2. I downloaded a pedometer app on my phone to track the steps I made in a day, aiming for 10,000 or more at least four days a week.

3. I cut out all between meal snacks and quit eating dessert at supper time.

4. I quit eating desserts altogether, except for meals with company.

5. I started wearing custom orthotics all the time. I had tried the cheap Dr. Scholl orthitics and for a time all was well. Then my knees started bothering me and I had to curtail my walking time. I went back to the custom orthotics and it took some months for the pain in my knees to go away. Lesson learned.

6. I started using maple syrup to sweeten my coffee. It has a lower glycemic index than sugar.

7. I stopped drinking pop. The only carbonated beverages I drink now are unsweetened Perrier water with a hint of citrus flavour.

8. I started drinking two glasses of water with every meal.

There it is, nothing miraculous, just slow and steady progress. Mostly it came down to harnessing my natural stubbornness for the cause of my health. I have two suits hanging in my closet. One is now too big and baggy to wear anymore. The other I haven’t worn for twenty years because I was too big and baggy to fit into it. I may just wear it to church tomorrow.

I’ve got to Start Somewhere

A few years ago I picked up a book entitled Start Somewhere: Losing What’s Weighing You Down Fom The Inside Out*. Written by Calvin Nowell, a Christian songwriter and recording artist, it is the story of how he got to be a young guy weighing 450 pounds, with a 60 inch waist, and how he found a way to  lose 215 of those pounds. I found the book inspiring, but not inspiring enough to follow his lead.

Last Sunday I decided that time had come. I wasn’t feeling twinges in my heart like Calvin felt, but I seem to get out of breath too easily,  it is difficult to bend in the middle or to get up from a kneeling position. I am much shorter than Calvin’s six feet and four inches, but 210 pounds is way to much for my frame. I weighed 150 when I was married almost 44 years ago. Is it unreasonable to think that I might eventually get back to that size?

Calvin does not offer a marvelous nutrition plan or exercise advice. His advice is simply to move more and eat less. That basically comes down to self-denial. And self-denial is the missing ingredient in about every other weight loss book on the market. Simply because denying our appetites, which have become powerful habits, is so difficult.

Here is one little quote from the book:

“If you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to see what amazing new miracle weight-loss fad I followed, you’re going to be disappointed. I lost my weight through old-fashioned diet and exercise. I made small changes in my behaviour that became habits (my emphasis).

I believe that last sentence is the key, Many weight loss plans will help you take off weight, but the loss is temporary, because you have not formed new habits that will last longer than the time it takes to lose the weight. Old habits have to be broken, new habits formed that will become just as much a part of your character as the old ones. That is where self denial comes in.

Anyway, I have begun by cutting out snacks between meals and dessert at supper. That has been a shock to my system and I was feeling it yesterday. Summer is coming and it won’t be hard to be more physically active. The test of my desire to keep up that level of physical activity will come next winter.

My goal is to lose ten pounds in the first thirty days, another ten in the following sixty days. I know the first few pounds will come off more quickly and it will take a dedication to my goal to keep going until the new habits are deeply ingrained.

Wish me well. Pray for me.

* Start Somewhere: Losing What’s Weighing You Down Fom The Inside Out, © 2009 by Calvin Nowell, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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