My 2021 Commitments Review: The One Where I Committed to Walking 500 Miles (And I would walk 500 more…)

Well, actually 601, but who’s counting?

To go along with my weight loss goal, I figured that eating a certain amount of calories was only going to be one part of reaching my health goals. I’m not really sure why I settled on 500 miles. There’s nothing special about that number. Nothing magical. It’s just a number that seemed really high, and at that time, rather unachievable.

I figured out that if I wanted to reach that goal, I would have to walk 1.37 miles a day. Of course, there would be no way I could do that every single day. We live in north Alabama, where from January till April it rains quite a bit, and it can get downright chilly. In fact, out of the first 31 days of 2021, I only was able to get outside and walk 11 of those days. I missed 20 of 31 days the first month of my commitment.

Not exactly the best way to start.

Part of the problem was I didn’t have any good cold weather gear. Solution – Amazon Basics and Costco Special sweatpants.

Another part of the problem with walking was shoes. To make it brief, I have a bit of a weird gait and my right foot has some major supination issues. My left foot is fine, but my right one gives me all sorts of fits. Years ago, I had gone to Fleet Feet here in Huntsville. It’s a place that measures your gait and uses diagnostic tools to see pressure points on your foot as you walk. I decided to go back and visit them.

First of all, let me commend Fleet Feet – the stores both in Jones Valley and in Madison. They are amazing and very patient. I went in knowing I’d have to spend quite a bit of money on a good pair of shoes if I was going to achieve this goal. I started out in a pair of New Balance support shoes. Fit well in the store, but when I got them on the road, they really hurt my feet. Fleet Feet has a great return policy, 60 days, no matter what. After about 2 weeks, I returned them, and tried a pair of Brooks Glycerin shoes. These shoes were AMAZING – the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. The problem was the back of the shoe dug into the back of my ankle, to the point where I came home and the skin had been rubbed off. So…I returned those, got a different pait of New Balance.

After those also made my feet hurt after just 1 walk (in an obvious, this aint gonna work moment), I returned them as well. I ended up in a pair of ON Cloudflyer shoes. These worked rather well for me, for about 4 months, and then they just started to fall apart. I reached out to ON, since the Fleet Feet return time frame was over, and to their credit, ON warrantied the shoes and replaced them.

I really wish I had gone with the Hoka shoes. My understanding is that they are the best of the best. When the replaced ON Cloudflyers wear out, that’s probably what I’ll try next.

But back to walking – how did achieve this commitment? Let me tell you that first of all, I am not a morning person. So I did very few of my walks in the morning. I committed to walking right after dinner most nights. It was a time after dinner, after we had done the dishes and cleaned up from dinner, where the gals in my home are getting ready for the next day, so I figured it would be as good a time as any.

I also committed to doing at least 30 minutes every time I walked. I arrived at this number after buying an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch has activity rings you have to fill each day, and the default number for exercise minutes was 30. So in order to see that ring get completed every day, that was my goal, 30 minute walks. I got that Apple Watch around the first of March, and I saw a radical transformation in my commitment level at that point. It makes it so easy to keep up with distance, speed, calories burned, and more. I highly recommend them.

I averaged walking about 2.5-3.5 miles every time I went out. I could achieve this in about 40-45 minutes. I even got to where I was doing some mile jogging intervals, but jogging is not my goal. Running is not my goal. Walking and getting my heart healthier was my goal.

I spend the time listening to a couple of different things. I’ll listen to a chapter of the Bible, and then I’ll listen to a portion of an audiobook, and then I’ll listen to my favorite sports podcast, Outkick 360, based out of Nashville. On occasion, I would listen to select music, but honestly I walk better listening to the other.

I also got to where on Saturday mornings, if we weren’t too busy, I’d go for a 5 mile or more walk.

By the end of the year, I got to where if I hadn’t done my walk, I felt sluggish and tired.

Now listen – if I can do this, you can as well. Seriously. Walking was never really something I loved. In fact, I did everything in my power to not walk if I could. If I could drive, or ride, or avoid it, I would. But now I love walking and look forward to it most nights. It will change your life.

I encourage everyone to get out and move. By the way, I blew past 500 miles, and ended up at 601!!

One of the Only Guaranteed Things in Life…


Changes.  They happen.  I guarantee it.  Changes happen, regardless of whether we want them to or not.

Recently, I’ve gone through some changes.

First – my family and I made a move from Tampa, FL to Huntsville, AL.

Second – I got out of full time preaching ministry, and took a job as a Discipling and Associate minister.

Third – I went off some major medication.

Fourth – I lost something.

Now, let’s discuss these changes real quick.  Back in March of 2015, we moved to Tampa, FL from Nashville, TN to preach for the Northwest Tampa Church of Christ.  My time there was both a blessing and a hardship.  I will admit, I had a hard time there.  It was far from my family.  It was not the “Bible Belt” that I was used to.  It didn’t have the traditional southern charm we grew up with in my family.  But for 4.5 years, I worked with some great families in my church, and we miss our small group terribly.  There were some great folks in there, even though one of them did ruin my birthday cake by putting turnip greens into some cupcakes…but that’s for another time.

We were not looking to move – but an opportunity landed in my life that I felt was directly from God.  I was invited to work with the Mayfair Church of Christ and to serve on their leadership team as their discipleship minister.  I began that job in October, and it has been the greatest blessing of my life to work alongside the best ministry staff in the world.

At the same time, my wife was able to secure a teaching job at Madison Academy.

When we started to make this transition, I decided to go off some medication.  I hesitate to write about this, because it is deeply personal, but I feel like it could help someone in the future.  In August of 2017, due to some situations that had occurred in my life, my doctor thought it was best, after visiting with a counselor, to go on some anxiety medication.

I remember when I took the first pill, I didn’t know what to expect.  From my time in teaching and youth ministry, I was expecting to zone out – but what happened was exactly the opposite.  The things I worried about, struggled with, things I couldn’t let go of – I was now able to deal with them.  Things that got shut me down didn’t anymore.  Situations I didn’t want to face were no longer a problem.

Lack of encouragement was a real motivator behind going on the medication.  A person can only go so far without it, and was really struggling.  While the medication did not provide “encouragement” it did provide the ability to see beyond it, to compartmentalize things, to move forward.

On Sunday, December 15, I took my last pill.  I no longer need it.  I have been encouraged and uplifted here and that was a MAJOR factor in being able to move past the pills.

Another major change has been something I’ve lost.  Since August 7, 2019, I have been on the Keto Diet.  I used to laugh at folks who did the diet.  I couldn’t understand why people would want to restrict themselves.  How can you give up potatoes and rice and chips?

Earlier this summer before all the changes began – I ballooned up to 315 pounds.  It was officially the heaviest I’ve ever been.  I was miserable.  I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.  I was in a bad place.  When my wife and daughter moved to Huntsville ahead of me to start school, I began doing the Keto diet.  No more than 30 carbs a day, try to keep under 1600 calories a day, and lo and behold, the weight started to come off.

I wasn’t able to weigh myself over the past few months since we’ve been staying with my in-laws with all of our possessions in storage.  So this past weekend, when we finally closed on our new house and moved in, I was able to find the scales.

I’m down to 275.  40 pounds gone.  And it feels wonderful.  I still have a long way to go.  But I feel so good.  I’m not bloated, no upset stomach, food is no longer a major motivator in my life.  I can bend over and tie my shoes without struggling.  I’ve struggled with weight most of my adult life.  I know that dieting is not a fleeting moment, but rather, a lifestyle change.

I say these things to motivate you.  To encourage you.  If you think you may need medications for anxiety, depression, etc. – don’t wait.  Go see a doctor today.  If you need to lose weight, don’t put it off.  There’s no time like the present.  I know, I know, the holidays are coming up, so you’ll “start it in the new year.”  No, you probably won’t.  Sure you may go and buy what you need and plan on it, but if you wait, there’s always an event coming up that you don’t want to miss.  I did TWO THANKSGIVING MEALS and DID NOT CHEAT!  Christmas is coming, and I’ll again do the same.

Finally – I’ve moved my blog to this new site – – with hopes of having a more regular presence once again.

Dear Gym Guy Who Just Doesn’t Care,

You’ve been there – right?  You’re at the gym, and someone comes in who just doesn’t know how to use the equipment.  As they walk from machine to machine, and apparatus to apparatus, they do everything completely wrong.  People snicker, point, whisper, laugh…

And I’ve been there.  I’ve been streaky with my gym attendance.  I never worked out in high school, as I was a chorus and drama nerd, I worked out for the first time in college during the summer while at camp with Nathan Walker, a guy who had a neck thicker than Brock Lesnar.  I got into a second time when I got my first job out of college at Westbury Christian, working out alongside Coach Steve Hawley.  I fell in love with it, and for about 2 years, worked out consistently.  I got into it again after about a 5 year hiatus when my wife and I moved back to Houston.  This time, I got really into it.  Sadly, after life caught up with me and I had a few shoulder and joint injuries, I stopped.  So, I’m not perfect, I get it.

When we moved back to Nashville, for about the first 18 months here, I worked out pretty consistently, got to where I could move a decent amount of weight, and was pretty knowledgeable about how to do all the lifts and use all the equipment in any gym.  Recently, I’ve gotten back into working out after taking about 8 months off.

Today, I ran into that guy.  You know the guy I’m talking about.  The one I mentioned above.  The one who uses every single machine completely the wrong way.  The guy who works his shoulders out on the leg press machine.  He was about 50 years old, and he was wearing an old Hulk Hogan style shirt that was about 20 years old.

He walked into Anytime Fitness today, and I was about done.  I was doing a superset with dumbbell curls to finish my workout, combined with some triceps pushdowns. He walked by, stopped, turned around, walked back to me, and watched me finish the set out.  He looked right at me, clapped, and told me “Great job, Boss!” and then walked on, to do back rows on a pec deck (also known as a butterfly machine…yup…wrap your head around that one.)

In between sets, you could tell he was listening to a group like ACDC or Metallica, as he was doing full fledged air guitar, spinning around, and at one point doing a jump kick while jamming on his invisible Gibson SG.

And while I judged him, and mocked him in my head – I had a realization.  This guy was having a heckuva lot more fun than me.

He didn’t care.  He didn’t care if he was using the machine wrong.  He didn’t care if he looked silly.  He didn’t care who was watching.  He didn’t care if he was doing it right.  He didn’t care if people were staring.  He just didn’t care.

It hit me.  I want to be that guy.  I want to be the guy.  I wish I didn’t care, but I do.  I care about what people think about me all the time.  I want to look right.  I want to act right.  I want to do things right.  I want follow the rules.  But sometimes, we need to be the guy that just doesn’t care.

When I got done with my workout, I walked over to him while he was finishing a set of biceps curls using a leg extender machine, and when he finished a set, I gave him a high five, and said “Great job man!  Keep it up!”

May we all have a few days in life when we just don’t care.

The One About Addiction…to Anything

addictionAddiction is a word that is heavily associated with things such as alcohol, smoking and drug abuse.  The problem with that is for those of us who have absolutely no problem with alcohol or drug abuse, we tend to feel like addiction can’t take a hold of us.  Like to drink soft drinks multiple times a day?  Can’t start your day without a cup of coffee?  Do you have a compulsive need to finish that bag of chips you just opened?

 Want to go deeper?  Addiction is NOT just dealing with things you consume.  Pornography is one of the things that has a grasp on many.  Maybe you don’t struggle with pornography, so you feel as if you don’t have an addiction problem to anything – but you just might.

Facebook much?  Pinterest much?  Text much?  Candy Crush too much?  Have you played Temple Run so many times that your thumbs are raw?  Do you find yourself going to the internet to look at one thing, and two hours later wonder where your time went because you got sucked into a vortex of web surfing?

The real problem with addiction is that it is possible to be addicted to pretty much anything – and whether that addiction is to something hardcore like alcohol, drugs, or pornography, or whether it is to something less physically dangerous like Facebook, the internet, or games on your phone – it consumes you.

I’m fearful for people when they start to go down a path with things that consume them.  Denial is a big part of the problem with addiction.

After years of consuming diet soft drinks, specifically Diet Dr. Pepper, I realized I had a problem.  I could not go 5 minutes in the morning without cracking open a can and enjoying the bubbly fizz and taste of that sweet nectar of carbonation.  The caffeine would kick in, and I’d be good to go.  That is, I’d be good to go until I got to the office, or to a gas station, or to a fast food restaurant, or anywhere else where I could grab another diet drink.

One in the morning, one when I got to the office, one for lunch, one after lunch, one in the afternoon as a pick me up, one at dinner, one before bed.  If I had gone to a restaurant that day, I would have gotten 3 or 4 refills as well.  I was hooked.  The thought of drinking anything else but a diet soft drink repulsed me.  I knew I had a problem.

I had tried in the past to get off of drinking my diet drinks, but to no avail.  The longest I had gone was a month or so, but I would always cave in, giving in to stress or cravings.  But this time, on March 23, 2012, I woke up with a mission.  I was going to stop depending on this chemical to provide me with life.

Today, I have gone 410 days without having a soft drink.  99% of what I consume as a beverage is straight up water.  And let me tell you, its liberating.

Food tastes better, life is better, my stomach feels better, and I rarely have headaches anymore.

But do you want to know what happened?  My addiction moved from diet soft drinks to other things.  I started to eat more, specifically chips.  I started to play mind numbing games on my phone/ipad to calm me down.  Thats when it hit me – addiction is going to try to find a way to rule your life, especially when you have an addiction problem.

The problem with addiction is that it is a constant struggle.  It rears its ugly head when it can.  It reminds you that you need something to fill the void of something else that filled a void.

Its overpowering.  Its strong.  Can’t have a drink?  Can’t have a smoke?  That’s fine, fill it with food.  Fill it with pornography.  Fill it with ___________ .  Addiction can rule your life.

We tend to trivialize some addictions.   Coffee – oh, I’m not addicted to coffee, I don’t have to have it…yet you’re nonfunctional without it in the mornings.

Facebook?  Oh, I could close my account right now and never miss it…yet you get off the computer and go straight to your Facebook app on your phone.

I noticed the other night how addicted we are to just filling a void with something.  Its almost as if we are scared of the quiet, scared of just doing nothing, scared of having to interact.  My little girl was watching a show while sitting on my lap.  I had my phone in my hand scrolling through facebook.  My wife had her computer out looking through Pinterest.  Show goes off, my daughter goes to bed, we come back downstairs, I get my computer out, scroll through Facebook some more, and my wife gets out her computer and does the same.

So I’ve made a more conscious effort to quit relying on other things to fill the void in my life.  Maybe I should God fill that void.  If you were to clock your time – do you spend more time on Facebook or more time with God in prayer and scripture each day?

Do you spend more money a month on Starbucks or soft drinks than you put in the collection plate on Sunday?

Or if you do have a serious addiction to dangerous things such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, pornography – have you sought help?

If you’re looking for something to fill the void of a past or current addiction, or if you see yourself struggling with something that could very easily become an addiction – do something about it.

Turn to God.

Turn to a friend.

Turn to a spouse.

Don’t go at it alone.  Get some help.

Facebook, the internet, Candy Crush, coffee, soft drinks, drugs, alcohol, the list goes on and on – don’t let these things define who you are.  Don’t let them control you.

And when you give up your addictions, don’t replace them with other bad addictions.  Let go, and Let God in to your life.

I Can Do It!

I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it is to write this. However, sometimes, you just have to do hard things, right? I can’t even count how many times I’ve written about this topic – countless – but I’m going to bring it up yet again.

I know that I am not a “thin” man. However, I’ve never felt like I was a morbidly obese man.

Today, I found out that officially – I am. If I were to apply for health insurance coverage today based upon my current weight, I would be denied coverage. Fortunately, they won’t raise rates from where you initially qualified, but this is still a very sobering thought.

I will lay it all on the line – and fully disclose a few things. I’ve been trying. In fact, at times I’m rather upset that what I’m doing is not working. Tomorrow marks 300 days without any soft drinks, teas, juices…pretty much anything but water. I’ve also gone 160 days without eating french fries. I’ve given up two of my biggest vices so I can lose weight. But it hasn’t worked.

I lift weights 3-5 times a week. I’ve increased cardio. I’m eating better – but I’m still fat.

There’s nothing more humbling than putting on a pair of pants and having them not fit the right way. There’s nothing more troubling than bending over to tie your shoes and having to stop to catch your breath. There’s nothing worse than having a job where you stand in front of people each and every week several times and feeling like all eyes are on the flaws of your physicality.

Here’s the problem – I don’t really feel like I am “morbidly obese” person. But according to my health insurance, if I were to qualify for the preferred or basic coverage – I would have to lose 31 pounds up to 40 pounds. I honestly feel like if I were to lose that much I’d be a beanpole. But – if I want to save money and have good coverage – I have to do it.

I’ve never really cared that much about reaching a “number” for my weight. But apparently, that number is extremely important for insurance purposes.

Here’s where you come in. The book of James tells us to “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” While I don’t feel like I am confessing a sin, I am asking for prayers that I can be healed of my cravings, my lack of willpower, my lack of desire to stay focused on this endeavor, and that my health can improve.

I know there are people out there who are struggling with more issues than being overweight – but let’s face it, we all have struggles with our identity and our appearance. Will you pray for me? And if you need prayers in this same situation, can I pray for you? Let’s support each other in these endeavors. May God give us the willpower we need to stay the course for good health.

100 Days…Now What??

On Saturday, June 30, I will have gone officially 100 days with only drinking water.

Its been a challenge, to say the least.

For me, I had to give up my biggest addiction – Diet Dr. Pepper – of which I was drinking 6-8 cans a day, sometimes more.

While the taste of Diet. Dr. Pepper to me was absolutely divine, it had gotten to a point where I wasn’t even drinking it for the taste, I was drinking it because my body demanded it, and I had such a strong craving I could not deny myself.

I was invited to come and speak at a Area Wide Youth Service at the Ashland City Church of Christ on the topic of sobriety. I was also invited to go and speak at the Mayfair Church of Christ for their Wednesday evening service on the topic of temptation. As I began to study and prepare for these two topics – I realized I had no business speaking to people on how to avoid when I could not avoid things myself.

So, on Friday morning, March 23, I cracked open my usual morning can of Diet. Dr. Pepper, drank about 4 sips of it, and felt sick about it. I could no longer continue letting one thing have such control of me. I put the can back in the fridge, got a bottle of water, and didn’t turn back.

That can stayed in the fridge for a good 60 days or so, along with 12 fresh cans. I was tempted and tried every single day, but did not give in. My life was not going to be controlled by a craving.

Finally, my wife asked me what my long term goal was going to be, and at that point, I realized I didn’t really have one. On Saturday, it will have been 100 days since I last put that wonderful beverage can to my lips. 100 days is a monumental moment for someone who was pouring the beverage down his throat every chance he got. But I have to say…now what?

Most of us have a problem with this – once we think we have a hold on something, we realize we don’t. I’ve kicked that sin for so many days, I have control of it now! Next thing we know, its back in our lives, because we have slowly let it take control again.

I feel like at this point in my life, I could keep them out of my life forever. But at every meal, there is a temptation and a craving still. Not too long ago, I had stopped at a Zaxby’s to eat some dinner. I was by myself. I had my cup for my water, filled it with ice, and instinctively reached for the Diet Coke, and filled my glass half full before even realizing what I was doing. I quickly poured it out and rinsed my glass, and filled it with water instead.

That just shows me how powerful cravings and temptations are. Sometimes, they have such control over us that we don’t even realize the effect they are having on us.

So, here’s to another 100 days – its become a personal challenge. I challenge you to do the same. Give up something for 100 days. Believe me when I say that if I can give up my Diet Dr. Pepper addiction, you can give up yours for 100 days.

What is it in your life that is controlling you? Maybe you need to give up Facebook for 100 days. Maybe you need to give up french fries. Maybe you need to give up smoking, drinking, cursing, soft drinks, or something else that has you wrapped around its finger.

Give it up – for 100 days – and see how much better you feel! Take control of your life again!

New Decade, New Year, New Resolutions,

Halfway through the year 2009, I joined a gym.  I made a second half resolution for 2009 — get motivated for 2010.

Since that day, I have at least been the gym twice every week.  I even got up and went to the gym the day we left for the beach at Thanksgiving.  I hate getting up in the mornings and going to the gym, but I must say I hate being fat.

In December of 2007, I posted these physical goals for 2008:

1. Lose at least as much weight as my wife gains through her pregnancy.
2. Be consistent in my exercise and diet plans.
a. Exercise in some form 6 days a week
b. Eat consistently 3 meals a day with 2 or 3 small snacks in between.
3. Be able to shave my beard off because I won’t have a double chin anymore.
4. Eat in a most healthy way except for twice a month, when I’ll be able to eat whatever I want.

I didn’t do so well.  I look back, and realize I actually failed miserably.  I didn’t lose any weight after Kristen had Josie.  I didn’t exercise, except for about a week.  I ate constantly, not consistently, and it was more than 3 meals a day and no snacks, unless you count chips as a snack.  I still have my beard.  And I ate healthy twice a month instead of the other way around.

I realize now why I failed.  I had no motivation.  I went and tried once or twice at a gym, but I tried to do everything at once, not over time.

Now, I have a solid foundation to build on.  I am motivated.

So I have a few new goals to bring out, while banishing the old goals.

1.  I will walk/jog/run at least one mile every day in 2010.  Sounds crazy, but it is doable.  It takes me 20 minutes to walk a mile right now at a very casual pace.  I can take 20 minutes a day to that.

2.  Continue to work out at least 3 times a week.

3.  Reduce my carbonated beverage addiction to no more than 2 a day, hopefully down to one.  I see no reason in eliminating them altogether, which I have done in the past.

4.  I will fit in a size 36 waist pant by the end of the year. (currently at 40)

5.  I will be able to wear something besides Big and Tall clothes.  (However, right now, I’m learning that clothing size is totally inconsistent.  My shoulders are very broad now, and while I can fit into an XL shirt through the chest and waist,  my shoulders don’t fit into them.)

6.  I will be able to, at the end of the year, report that I am a much healthier person.  Bodyfat % will be down, fat levels in blood will be down, and cardiovascular endurance will be up.

7.  I will not focus on my weight, but rather, my health.

8.  When I look in the mirror, I will no longer be ashamed, but proud.

9.  I will not sabotage my results after working so hard to achieve them.

10.  I will be contagious with my actions.

So, don’t wait till its too late to set up your goals for 2010.  These are my physical goals.  I will post on other goals in the upcoming days.