Saturday, September 21, 2013

Confessions of a (Fat) Godly Daddy

My latest contribution to ...

For two decades I have prayed to God to help me lose weight. When He didn't miraculously make the pounds disappear, I, being a bear of little faith, began to rely on my own self-control to resist temptation.

Let me tell you how that ended up. Instead of taking control of my weight, I worshiped at the altar of the false food god Hostess, that which promises glorious creamy filling goodness but instead delivers shame, despair and a closet full of 4XLT shirts that are stained by buffalo wings sauce that never comes out in the wash.

The fatter I got, the more I assumed it was OK since I was enjoying it and feeling blessed by this cornucopia of delicious food based on what Paul said, that "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31)

As the old joke goes, I was very religious in my eating: I would eat what I wanted, and then pray not to gain weight.

Obviously it's easy to take the scripture out of context when you're trying to hold onto your king-sized Mr. Goodbars.

I am well-versed in what's called "Yo-Yo Dieting," or the ups and downs of constantly trying to lose weight.

In fact, I'm so well-versed in it I'm practically MC Yo-Yo Diet, as in: "Yo, look at me bro, I'm eatin' a salad!" and then the next day, "Yo, dawg, I couldn't help it, that Sonic foot long chili cheese Coney looked soooooo good!"

I know I'm not alone out there. Why else do you see a disclaimer underneath the “success stories” of every weight loss program that says results not typical? The vast majority of folks give up after three weeks when they haven’t lost 20 pounds yet.

Besides having to shop in the "husky" section at Sears, I first realized that I was noticeably overweight in, of all things, a profile of me in a local golf newspaper when I was a young teenager.

The writer had worked with my dad for most of the material, focusing on my game and successes on the junior tour. But the writer also added his own notes, including in one throwaway graph in which he noted that I had to adjust to my new size since I had grown up some ten inches in the last year. He added that I had also filled out, which seemed to me a little rude about a 13-year-old.

My first attempt to lose weight came shortly after that article, using the Atkins method of treating carbohydrates like a Pharisee avoiding a stinky disabled guy at the entrance to the Temple.

I tried again in college, and had to stop when I began to make my roommates sick by the constant smells of sausage and onions cooking in the kitchen.

In the end it failed from a lack of willpower and the need for variety. There's only so much meat and green beans a guy can eat.

Now, however, is the time to follow through and lose weight for my wife and kids. I want to be around past the age of 40. It's kind of a big deal to me.

My children are in what I call pre-memory, by which I mean they will have only vague recollections from this period when they are teens and adults. If I lose the weight now I want them to know me as fit and a good example of taking care of your body.

I would also like to be able to sit on my son's bed that is low to the floor and get up without having to roll over on my knees like a roly poly bug.

My Darling Valerie and I have been terrible enablers of bad eating habits. If we're watching TV on a Saturday night and see an ad for Pizza Hut's cheesy bites crust pizza, I would say, "Ooh, that sounds good, I kind of want that." Val then replied, "Yeah, that looks really good." Me: "Now I'm not kidding." Val: "Neither am I." So we ordered an extra-large pizza.

Together we're going to end this pattern and finally doing something to last a lifetime. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our bodies are temples and to take of them as such to honor God. It's time to stop making excuses that some temples are larger than others, am I right?

Way back in February we joined a 24-hour fitness center nearby. I get up dark and early every morning, get my work clothes and food together, then head to the gym for a workout. I can usually get a half-hour of exercise before I have to get ready for work.

In August I began to get a grip on my eating habits, too. I downloaded an app that helps me succeed in my lifelong goal of avoiding having to do any kind of math.

The app calculates Weight Watchers points, has a database to find points for groceries and restaurants and makes it easy to track weight loss.

Paul also writes later in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God "will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

So yes, bring on that supreme pizza! Put the fried rice in front of me, and I can't eat it if I have my eyes closed and I'm on my knees in prayer to resist such yumminess.

This can work. This must work.

What is reassuring is the belief that God wants me to do this and He wants to help.

In fact, I think He's going to be just as happy for me as I will to be to stop shopping in stores that sell t-shirts referring to every fat guy as a "big dog."

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