This was how much I weighed when I began trying to lose weight on May 23, 2011.
I had been doing pretty well with not gaining weight, even though I wasn’t losing. I was working out almost daily and maintaining my then current weight. Then I got hurt. I dislocated my left knee during a basketball game which led to a series of unfortunate events.
First, I quit exercising because I could barely walk! A knee dislocation is a pretty painful thing to endure. If it has ever happened to you, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I had my right knee fixed for this problem back in college, coming up on 15 years ago.
Second, because I couldn’t bend my knee to lift things, I also ended up hurting my back in June 2010. Instead of squatting and lifting with my legs, I just bent over and picked up a 120 pound bass cabinet. This was perhaps the worst pain I have ever felt. From back injury to surgery was just about two weeks if that gives you any indication of how bad the pain was. I had a herniated disc repaired, stabilizing hardware installed, and bone spurs and arthritis removed. This was my SECOND back surgery. The first repaired three herniated discs. While the first back injury was bad, I actually lived with that pain for over a year before I had the corrective surgery. The pain with this second injury was almost unbearable. If you have ever had back pain, you know that every move you make irritates it. Every twist, step, cough and sneeze will make you grimace with pain.
After this surgery and the subsequent healing time required (it took me all of the fall semester to get somewhat back to normal, if there is such a thing after you’ve had back surgery), I started working on my left knee with the same orthopedic doctor that operated on the right one. A few months into the process, we decided it was time to have the surgery and repair my left knee just as we had the right one. After all, if the dislocation is a recurring problem, it needs to be fixed. I had surgery on spring break and was back to school in a week.
For now, let’s go back to the second back surgery. I saw the surgical report from my back doctor and read through it. There was one word on that surgical report that really caught my attention.
Really? Obese? More than anything else on that report, that word stood out.
About two months after the knee surgery, physical therapy and follow-up visits that occur, I was ready to get to work. On May 23, 2011, I made the conscious decision that something had to change with my health. Here I was, in my early 30s, having had two back surgeries and two knee surgeries thinking that I couldn’t continue on living like I was.
There are multiple driving factors in my decision to lose weight. The first are my back and my knees. Weight loss would remove pressure on these joints and hopefully eliminate future occurrences of pain and surgery. Then there is the diabetes that runs in my family. I don’t want to have to deal with that when I’m older. It is expensive and largely preventable if you can catch it before it starts. There is the stress that carrying around extra weight causes on your heart and other vital organs. And far from the least of my worries was my wife and now, two children. I don’t want them to grow up husbandless and fatherless because I couldn’t control my eating and I ended up dying of a heart attack.
Then there was the theological side of things. How can I, a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, stand before anyone and call them to repentance for their sin when I’m standing here labeled clinically obese? Both Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4 in recounting the temptation to a hungry Christ say bread alone is not the answer. Proverbs 23:2 says to put a knife to your throat if you are a glutton. Proverbs 23:20-21 says the glutton will come to poverty. Do not lust for the wealth and power the ruler has. The food, power-hungriness, and greed will consume you. Use what is given to you to sustain you and do not “over eat” and be wasteful with this gift. Use it wisely! We are called to be good stewards and managers of the things God has entrusted to us, as demonstrated in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30.
All this said, the evidence was strongly against me. I had been convicted of not being a good steward of God’s gifts and of being a glutton. This is where I began on that May day. I woke up, stepped on the scales, and began the journey that has led me here today. In my next post, I will give more practical advice on how I have tackled my weight problem.
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