I don’t believe in “before” and “after”

My motivation t-shirt

I was recently on a local television news show called Paula Sands Live. In a world where people complain that there’s not enough good news on TV, this show is dedicated to the interesting, uplifting, and fun stories of local interest. I’ve been on a few times to tell  people about events at Two Rivers United Methodist Church, but this time they just wanted to talk about me. Below is a link to my segment.

The Fat Pastor on PSL

There’s one quote from the piece that I want to lift up. “I don’t believe in ‘before,’ and ‘after’… All we have is right now, and the decisions I make right now, and the choices I make right now. Sometimes I make good choices, and sometimes I don’t, but I want to keep trying to live well and do good.”

Over the last few years I think this may be the most important thing I’ve learned. A life of wellness is not about before and after. It is not about being fat or thin. Life is more complicated then the number on a scale or the size of my waist band. Life is a series of choices, and I try to make my choices according to God’s will in my life. I try to be guided by the love of God in all that I do. There are times, moments, days, seasons, when it all seems to be working. There are times when I’m praying more, reading more, working out more, eating well; and there are times when I’m well, I’m just not.

It has now been two months since winning The Challenge with my friend. From August to Thanksgiving I lost 50 pounds, going from 360 to 310. In that time I was able to go from walking a mile on the treadmill in 16:00 to being able to finish a 5K in under 34:00. I’ve gotten stronger. My clothes fit again, and some of the shirts that I bought this summer are now ridiculously big. I am on the tightest hole on my two belts. I generally have more energy and I’m less moody.

This is what a plateau looks like.

On Thanksgiving morning I weighed 310 pounds. Today, two months later, I weight 310. I’ve fluctuated between 308-312 for the past two months. Part of my is frustrated. I wanted to keep on that downward trend. I wanted to simply keep getting faster and leaner and stronger, but it hasn’t happened. There were some major holidays, and extra large meals. There was a hamstring strain that kept me off the treadmill for three weeks. There was the flu that kept me from the gym for about a week. I have also been dealing with more hunger lately than I have did while losing the 50.

I can be good all day, light breakfast, healthy lunch, smaller portions at dinner. Then a few hours pass and I’m cleaning up the kitchen or watching some TV and the hunger sets in. I suddenly want to EAT ALL THE FOOD. One cookie turns into a handful. And a bowl of cottage cheese. And some yogurt and granola. Suddenly all the gains I made all day are gone. I’m not alone. Losing weight is hard. According to some research, keeping it off is nearly impossible. Apparantly it is a natural reaction for your body to be more hungry after losing weight. It’s as if your body is screaming “You’re starving yourself!”

So what’s the answer? I checked out some websites, and basically the only way to maintain this lower weight is to keep doing what I’m doing. In other words, there is no before and after. There is only now and the next choice I make.

5 Comments

Filed under Fitness

5 responses to “I don’t believe in “before” and “after”

  1. Saskia de Vries

    Dear pastor,
    I just learned that due to gaining more muscles can keep your weight up to half a year the same. Muscles weigh more than fat. A solution that was offered to me was to measure your waist from now on and keep going on doing the right thing to loose weight. You have come from so far, don’t give up now. Don’t let stories of failure drag you down, live your own life!, Sorry for my bad English, I’m Dutch.

  2. Brenda Morris

    Thank you. I guess I needed to hear that today. My scale is playing games with me as well (or should I admit, I’m playing games and my scale is ratting me out for it). Live the best you can today. I’ll try that!

  3. Tom

    Trying to get back on the low carb wagon after holidays much like you describe. Doing pretty good now, but YES the end of day little snack exploding into a near binge is very familiar. What’s with that. Had got under 300 and loose in 2x shirts, now back in mostly 3x and a few generous 2x ones. Argh! I agree, Now, now , now. Keep the faith, brother, know you are not alone. Thanks for your honest reporting.

  4. Katie

    “Before” and “after” also implies that we reach whatever that goal is and that’s it. No more work, no more choices, no more decisions. It makes us think that once we reach that goal, everything is automatic and that’s how we’ll stay. Whether it’s exercise, eating right, developing better prayer and devotional life, emotional maturity, or whatever else we are working on, building and maintaining discipline is key.

  5. Prairie Rose

    Dear pastor,
    I happened upon your site when I found the 40 notes in 40 days post. I intend to use many of those ideas not only in my own Lenten practice, but I also shared it with my Sunday School students.

    I want to encourage you in your continued aim for fitness by sharing the following post in case you did not know about Mark’s Daily Apple:

    https://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-story-of-primordial-stu-180-pounds-of-weight-loss/

    My close family member lost over 100 lbs using information from this site. He never tracked calories. He ate nutrient-dense foods, foods that contained lots of vitamins and minerals (avocados, leafy greens like spinach and kale, and other brightly colored vegetables) good quality meats and fats like coconut oil, and cut out most grains (especially gluten-containing ones) and things made with flours/starches.

    Issues that can impede weight loss include cortisol imbalance (due to poor sleep habits and trouble sleeping, stress, etc.), vitamin D deficiency, gut dysbiosis, and gluten sensitivity.

    The following Gary Taubes’ article is the precursor to his book Why We Get Fat and was another useful resource for my family member:

    Blessings to you in your journey! And, thank you again for taking the time you have obviously put into this site. I have greatly enjoyed exploring it and intend to mark it as a site to keep visiting.

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