This Week’s Challenge
This week’s challenge is to remove pork products (Yes, the other white meat) from your diet.
No Bacon (Sorry Columbia)
No BBQ (No matter what side of Carolina you prefer.)
No Pork Chops
No Hot Dogs
No Pork Sausage
No Spare Ribs
No Cooking with Lard (Why would you?)
You can do this.
This Week’s Side Note
In November of 2012, I weighed 267 lbs.
I had always been an overweight child. After all, I grew up in a house that had a drawer specifically for Hostess products, and, being artistically-inclined, I preferred to stay in my room drawing rather than engaging in any sports-related or physical activity. As I hit my teens, I grew 12-inches taller over the course of the 3 months of summer (painfully so). My belly had morphed into flat abs and a skinny body & I was a completely different person when I returned to school in the fall. Problem solved, right? Well, as we all know by now, the metabolism of a teenager doesn’t last long & I did nothing to earn it. Sad-clowning & poor living took it’s toll on me by the age of 30, and I was headed on a heavy spiral downwards, losing weight on one end of a yo-yo, but, gaining more back every time.
One November afternoon, after scooping out my 2nd ice cream bowl of the day, I headed for the stairs to sit, unmoving, at the computer for several hours. It’s a hazard of my profession. As I hit the middle of the 12 little steps up to my office, I realized that I was breathing heavily, and I didn’t sound much different than my 70 year-old father-in-law’s shuffle from the kitchen to his bedroom. I struggled up the rest of the stairs and hit my office chair, out of breath, and sweaty. I could only sit there with a bowl of melting ice cream. At the tender age of 43, I had a body and a lifestyle similar to that of an obese, Type 2 diabetic, 70 year-old man. What kind of life was I living? What kind of husband was I being by living this way? What kind of example was I setting for my family, and how long would I be there to provide for them?
Imagining a short life of discomfort & chest pains, I began to pray for something, anything sustainable, that might give me a chance to pull myself back from the brink of ultimate failure.
I received an email within minutes of that prayer. It was a generic, mass email to the men of my church, advertising a “Rookie Day” for some weird workout-thing called F3. I responded back to Springfield (whom I knew by a different name then, not his REAL F3 name), and asked if there was a certain level of fitness and weight that I would need before I could participate in something like this. He said no, there were a number of guys that were overweight, and it was open to anybody. (He didn’t tell me that most of the overweight guys had already stopped being overweight some time ago.) So, I arrived, late and without a sweatshirt, on a cold November Saturday morning. I grabbed the only thing in the van available, my big black leather jacket (hence, my F3 name), and joined in.
I embraced the ridiculousness that is CSAUP challenges. If you’re reading this, you’re probably on one, or preparing for one now. If not, get started on one. What are you waiting for? On the last Fuel Challenge, I lost 25 lbs. The weight loss was great, but, not the reason for the Challenge. It was merely a side effect. I needed to relearn how to eat. I had been living my life based on desire, not discipline, and my eating habits were a prominent display of that philosophy. It’s a never-ending learning process. I’m still trying to figure out how to eat healthful foods, while still having the foods I love. It will be a lifelong balancing act, I accept that now. Nutrition is one factor of my life that I need to harness, like exercise, like studying the Word, like being a forward-facing family-man. They’re all pieces of a much bigger picture to be a better person. I need accountability for that. I need you guys. We all do, since we’re in this together.
As I write this, 8 months later, I’m currently, 203 lbs. I tell you this not to laud my own accomplishments, but to point out the transforming experience of this thing we all do. I’m thinner, but, I feel more full of heart, and more willing to embrace the challenges that life throws at us. Some of it sucks, yes. Embrace that suck, and move ahead. We’re not meant for idle leisure. We’re warriors. We’re leaders. We’re brothers-in-arms. We have work to do.
Get to it.