How to Lose Weight Without Even Trying

 

Okay, so I’ll admit – that title is a “reel them in” type headline.  For years, I’ve looked for the solution.  Pills, shakes, fads, etc, and would you believe that NONE of them worked?

People put stickers on the arm, people spend thousands on specially formulated shakes, people spend even more on devices that make it all easy.  And the sad reality is that some truly believe that if they just pop a pill, put a sticker on their arm, or drink a special shake, that the weight will come off without any effort, and it will stay off forever.

I know, because I have been there, and bought the XXXL t-shirt.

When I got out of college and took my first job as a teacher and coach, I survived off eating Doritos and Totinos pizzas.  I ballooned up to some awful weight, and then discovered ephedrine.  It was in ALL the diet pills.  And you know what?  It worked, and it worked well.  At that time, I weighed around 265, and dropped down to 190, which was my high school weight.

But the more I read about ephedrine, the more I realized it was a simply awful pill.  So I stopped taking it.  And with that, all the weight slowly crept back on.  No, it wasn’t overnight, it took about the same amount of time it took for it to come off.  But it came back, and then some.

And for the past 17 years, I’ve tried to replicate that success with varying degrees – all without victory.  Arbonne, Advocare, drinking shakes, exercise only, the list goes on and on.  But nothing worked.  I even tried joining a very expensive weight loss support group, but found the support highly lacking, and they really just cared about getting my money.

Part of that was my attitude toward food.  I simply LOVE to eat.  Pizza? Yes.  Cheeseburgers? Yes.  Chicken tenders? Yes.  French Fries?  Yes please! Mexican food of all types?  OH YES!  I could down baskets of chips, then eat everything on my plate.

But you know what else I had?  Stomach and digestive issues.  I’d fill myself up, and feel awful, bloated, sick to my stomach.  Me and Mr. Toilet were best friends.  And I began to creep up and up in my weight.

It wasn’t just that either?  My confidence was completely shot.  My self esteem was at an all time low.  My mental clarity was non-existent.  And when I checked the scales and I had climbed up to 315 big ones – I wept at what I had become, and knew something had to be done.

So here’s what I did.  I started off with prayer.  WHAT?  Prayer can’t help you lose weight can it?  But here’s the catch – I didn’t pray for me to lose 100 pounds.  I prayed for my mindset to change.  I prayed for willpower to say no.  And I did this for a few weeks before I even started.

On August 7, I began my transformation.  After many weeks of prayer and prep, I decided to do the Keto based diet.  In essence, it is highly restrictive in the amount of carbs you can have, and dependent on healthy fats and protein to fill you up.  I had seen some lasting success in others who had done it, and from what I read, seemed like it was something I could do.

That Wednesday, I actually had a speaking engagement in Winterhaven, FL.  I was successful during the day, and left Tampa around 4pm to make it to the church in Winterhaven.  Typically when I speak somewhere, i’ll grab something to eat in the car on the way home.  So this was my first test.

I remember thinking – “Oh well, Lane.  You gave it your best shot, but it’s just not practical to stop eating fast food burgers and fries, because you’re just in the car too much and traveling too much.”  I drove for about 25 minutes fighting that conversation.  And then it hit me – this is what I had been praying for!  I change of heart.  Willpower.

I went home, and at 9pm or so, sat down to a Keto approved meal.  And the rest is history.

I’ve not cheated once since then.

At first, I was doing Keto and strict calorie counting.  As I have moved on, I have swapped calorie counting for full satiation.  I’m not going nuts on the calories, but I walk away feeling full.

If we do fast food – burger without a bun, no fries.  Steak places are easy, with broccoli, salad, and a big steak.  Chicken for days, so long as it’s not breaded.  Cheese and more cheese please.  I’ve eaten more salads, more cruciferous veggies, and more pieces of meat than I ever thought possible.

I also began doing intermittent fasting – a method of restrictive eating based on time.  My last meal is dinner, and I’ll not eat breakfast, with usually at least a 15 or 16 hour break of not eating until lunch.

All of these things have worked.  Since August of 2019, I am down from 315 pounds to a still not so great but much better 274 pounds.  41 pounds of weight loss.

But I don’t give the credit to keto or intermittent fasting.  I give the credit to God giving me the willpower that I prayed for and believed I would receive.

For those of you who know me well, or at least knew me well before I did this – I did NOT eat well at all.  Especially on my veggies.  But here’s a plate of food that I ate the other night, and I devoured it:

If you’re struggling with your weight – please, STOP looking for the easy fix.  And also PLEASE understand that this is your life you’re dealing with.  You have one body, and that’s it.  My goal weight now is 225.  Who knows?  Maybe I can even beat that.

But even if I don’t — I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER ALREADY!  No more bloat, no more stomach issues, and no more 30 minute trips to restroom.

I hope you find what you’re looking for.  Listen – will this end in demise or success?  I know what I want, but I also know it will only be as successful as the effort I put into it.  I hope you find your motivation, and I hope I maintain mine.

Rediscovering Our Focus

Few stories in the Bible pull at the heart strings like the one found in Luke 15, the story of the Prodigal Son.  Every time I read it, hear it, listen to a sermon on it, or even think about it, I can put myself into all three of the main character’s shoes.  This story has power, meaning, and truth buried in so many pockets that it seems as though one is always able to pull a fresh idea out of it, or at least revamp an idea that one has heard.

As I was preparing for the sermon I preached yesterday, I could not help but go directly to this story.  You see, we’re going to have a theme for the year in 2010 here at the West University Church of Christ.  It is simply “Rediscovering Our Focus”.  Who did a better job of rediscovering their focus in the Bible than the Prodigal, Lost Son?

This young man went from rags to riches in no time, but immediately went back to rags as he squandered his wealth on wild living.  I wonder sometimes if the church isn’t in a similar predicament.  According to the Christian Chronicle, since 2003 there are 526 fewer churches and 78,436 fewer people in the pews.  Now, granted, this number does reflect one church with 5000+ members in Richland Hills being “dis-fellowshipped” by the Mac Lynn Churches of Christ book, but that only accounts for a few of the near 79,000.  Could it be that in the years when the Church of Christ was growing, we didn’t realize how great it was until it was too late?  Did churches get to a point where they stopped evangelizing and just expected people to come to be with them?  Did we waste away the good ripe years of planting seeds because we were enjoying the harvest?

I think the best part about the story of the prodigal son is found in verse 17, where it says “He came to his senses”.  At one point, he looked up from the pigs he was feeding, and had to realize that enough was enough.  Going from being the one everyone respected and wanted to be with because of his wealth and lifestyle to living with the pigs must have been hard, but that’s what happened.  He could have continued to wallow in self-pity, but he did not.  Verse 17 simply states that he came to his senses.  He realized there could be more to his life.

John Reuben, a contemporary Christian artist, sings a song entitled “Nuisance”.  The words go:

So here we are in this same old spot
Knowing something needs to happen but our mouths are locked
Tongue tied closed tight sealed shut
I tried hard but it just wouldn’t come up
It’s on the tip of my tongue it’s in the front of my mind
Yet the words were still so hard to find
Finally the reality of things to come pushed me to the edge
I jumped off the cliff into the abyss as I said

chorus
I’m not trying to be a nuisance
I just think we can do better than this
that was simply my two cents
you can take it or leave it

Let’s think about this path that we’re taking
Let’s think about this future we’re creating
Let’s think about this life that is fading
Think about it, come on think about it now
Let’s think about this time that we’re spending
Investing in monetary things that are ending
Let’s think about it and let’s think together
And let’s think about what we can do to make it better

What can we do to make things better?  I think we can again look to the prodigal son to find our answer.  After he came to his senses, he did the most logical thing any of us can do — he came up with a plan.  His plan was to simply go to his father and ask if he could work as a servant.  His only goal was to get out of the mess he was in, not to seek out his place as a son, but simply to be a servant.  Of course, we read on the chapter to discover that he was given so much more than just a job.  All of that happened because he had a plan.

If we don’t have a plan, what kind of hope to we have?  God blesses those who have a plan.  Our plan here at the West University Church of Christ is to simply rediscover our focus.  We’re going to look at all sorts of things that we need to rediscover a focus on – leadership, love, worship, emotion, giving, evangelism, grace, baptism, and family…just to name a few.  We’ll start next week with Rediscovering our Focus on Leadership, and we will begin the process of appointing new deacons.  We have to let go of the things that have entangled us in the past, and rediscover our focus.  We need to embrace our plan, and work together.  Forget petty differences, forget legalistic arguments, forget about selfish ambitions, and focus on the fact that there are lost souls in this community.

Let us all rediscover our focus in 2010.