After spending a year losing 80 pounds, I have spent the last year putting back on 10. And I’m okay with that. I was extremely proud of the transformation I experienced in 2012. From seeing the scale tip 329 to weighing in at 249, I changed more than my body. In fact, the transformation I experienced was never about my body alone. It was about how I felt and how I lived.
My joy came from more than a before and after photo. It came from knowing that my life span had probably been significantly extended. It came from the energy with which I woke every morning. It came from being able to run a 5K in under 27 minutes, and dreams of finishing a marathon that suddenly seemed within reach. It came from living a more disciplined life, one that was full of more healthy choices, and habits that were life-giving. Above all, my joy came from my daughters, one of whom told me, “I’m glad you are healthier and your belly is smaller, but don’t make it go away completely, I like a little softness to snuggle.”
My fitness journey has been well chronicled on this site. I started this blog in October 2008, when I tipped the scale at 301 pounds. I said from day one that the journey was about more than weight, but it was that moment staring at a milestone I never wanted to cross that pushed me to start – and name – this blog.
Since losing 80 pounds, I decided to keep calling myself the “Fat Pastor,” because I knew that fitness wasn’t a destination to reach. It is a life. The name of this blog reminds me every day to make fit choices. And that’s why I’m okay with having gained back 10-15 pounds over the last year. In my mind fitness is not linked directly to my weight.
Some might think I’m just making excuses, but at some point over the last year, I made a conscious decision – not to gain weight back – but to spend less time at the gym, and more time with my youngest daughter.
Without going into too many details, my wife went back to work part-time this September, and I was left with a choice. I could work out while my daughter was at preschool two times a week, or I could bring her to the gym with me two days a week, and allow the nursery care there to take her.
Another way of putting it, I could have:
- Two days a week at the gym, two mornings with my daughter.
- Three days a week at the gym, and zero mornings with my daughter.
It was an easy choice. For the last year, I’ve spent two mornings a week with my three-year-old. Sometimes she goes with me to visit shut-ins. Sometimes she comes with me to the office. Most of the time, she sits in my lap, on my chair. She watches cartoons. I read. She rubs my cheek. I smell her hair. At random times we are interrupted by spontaneous tickle fights, or overwhelmed by a sudden need for a bear hug. We play Uno, or Memory. We put together puzzles or read books.
So yeah, I have put on a few pounds. My 5K time has gotten a couple minutes slower. The size 36 pants I got last spring have stayed in the closet. But every Sunday night I would kiss her goodnight and ask her, “Do you know what tomorrow is?” And she would smile and shout, “Daddy-Daughter morning!”
I wouldn’t trade those 10 pounds for anything in the world. I can get back to running more often. I intend to get refocused this summer, and I hope to run a marathon in September.
Pretty soon she is going to go to school all day, and we won’t have Daddy-Daughter mornings any more. We’ll have Saturdays, but Saturdays are family days. For Daddy-Daughter mornings, this was it. This was the only year I could spend this kind of time with her – probably forever.
For me, fitness is about choices. It is about making healthy, life-giving choices. My body has a little more fat on it this April than it did last year, but I’m pretty certain that I’m as fit as I’ve ever been.