Weight Watchers Saved My Life!

Lately I’ve had a whole lot of people comment on my weight.  Either they say something like, “Oh you’ve put on some weight, you look much better,” or something like, “oh, you look too thin (or sick).”  Now, I know that it is all amplified because folks know I had a brain tumor: so I don’t take it personally…but it has me worried!

I think it reveals a larger problem in society, especially the rural, midwestern culture here in Livingston County (Illinois). Our American Society is, quite simply, obese.  I was overweight until not long ago and now that I’m at the top end of my healthy weight range, everyone thinks I am sickly.  I still have flab, I’m still not fit and toned…yet everyone thinks I am now unhealthy!  Let me say it one more time:  I’m not even at the low side of my healthy weight range and everyone around me seems to be freaking out, why?  Because so many who are around us in rural midwestern America are overweight.  Overweight has become the standard, quite simply.

I’m not coming down on obesity because of how people act, by the way (I’m not calling people lazy), nor am I even upset because of how people look (It’s really not about vanity).  I’m honestly concerned for my health, my family’s health and for the people around us.  Being overweight is a serious problem which leads to all kinds of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, for example.  And weight gain, beyond one’s healthy weight range, is an indicator that one’s diet and exercise are out of whack and that things are not well with your body!  (When you are gaining weight your body is trying to communicate with you)

Well, back to me.  Last week someone cornered me and shared their concern about my weight and I responded that Weight Watchers (my weight loss) saved my life.  It did, by the way!  I told them the story of how my spinal fluid leaked into my bed after my second surgery.  I told them about how the surgeon shared with Carrie that I would have died that night had I been any heavier or older.  I told them that losing 35 pounds and getting into my healthy weight range was not just to look better (vanity), it actually saved my life.  Now, I’ve responded this way with several people, but the reason this one interaction stands out in my mind is because the person responded to my story: first, by saying, “Oh my.” and then saying, “what do you mean about a healthy weight range?”

They were serious.  They had no idea that based on sex and weight there are guidelines to help people find a healthy weight!  Today I want to begin correcting this view.  More importantly, I want to become more vocal about our need, especially in rural communities, to work against obesity and grow in health.  I want to do this work not to be critical of people or to be hurtful, but because I want to help.  There are many people suffering from the plight of obesity (or at least being overweight) and I would be remiss if I didn’t share my own experiences and work to help them.  At my heaviest several years ago I was 225 and I hit my goal weight of 165 pounds a few weeks ago (when I arrived in Pontiac two years ago I was about 200).  I’m a 6′ male and my healthy weight range is 147-184 according to Weight Watchers.  I got to where I am by eating more vegetables and fruits and cutting down my oil and carbohydrates, I got to where I am by eating well (not being hungry), and I got to where I am by adding some basic exercise to my routine which not only helped me feel better and lose weight, but also helped me to have more complete and enjoyable days.

I hope you will join me as I continue working to be more healthy.  Don’t do it for me, do it for you!

Also, if you’d like to find you’re body mass index (figure out how you are doing), click here!

Get started with a new and accurate bathroom scale:
Went And Got Myself Sick!

We far too often think that we are master’s of our own destinies.  We think that we set the direction of ‘things to come’ and that we can navigate the future.  We say to people, “Stay well” as though we can will a bacteria or virus out of our system or we say, “safe travels” as though we can magically make the roads safe.

The truth is that we have little control over ‘the things to come.’  I’m not trying to be a pessimist, but we need to keep in mind our place in this universe.  We aren’t gods, you see, we are human beings.  We can’t see around corners, we can’t peer into the future, and, no matter what greatness we attribute to ourselves, we cannot help that bad things will sometimes happen.

As a person of faith I have to know that I cannot control the world I live in, my own future, or other people (that last one is an important lesson, btw).  What I can control is how I react to others and how I react to what happens to me.

Okay, so my title reminds us that I can do things to keep myself healthy and I probably engaged in some risky behaviors that exposed me to sickness during these past couple of weeks since my surgery, but I didn’t ‘get myself sick.’  Sickness happened and now my body is reacting.

Christians need to keep this in mind as they go through life.  There are Christians who act with hate and malice as they go through life trying to control the actions of others and trying to make everyone act the way they think ought to be.  What do I mean?  You need look no further than a Christian woman holding a picture of a fetus, or as members of Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps and his gang) picket a funeral.


Christians far too often think that they can will the world into being what they want it to be.  They believe that they can force others to act the way they want them to act, but ladies and gentlemen:  We are not gods.  We do not control fate.  We are not masters of our own destinies.  We are flawed and fragile human beings but we do have control over how we react to this world and the people in it.

Christ always acted out of love, when we look at scripture.  He didn’t buy into the legalism of his day, but he witnessed to people by showing them that he cared.  There would sure be a lot less abortions in our country if these holier-than-thou folks holding picket signs would take the hand of a young girl and walk along with her.  There would sure be a lot less murder and crime if church people didn’t just pass the rough parts of town, but got involved with troubled teens.  We can’t improve education by passing a new piece of legislation, but we can get our hands ‘dirty’ and go out into our communities and start working with children.

We live in an imperfect, messed up, out-of-balance world.  We live in a world we cannot control, yet when we are reminded of our place in the world, we acknowledge that there is hope through our God and our relationship with God.  We can take our faith and make a difference in the lives around us.  My body is reacting to the flu -or whatever got into my system.  Let us act like my immune system.  Let’s take a look at the world around us and let’s begin the process of healing and restoration.  It won’t happen without us getting our hands dirty.  It can’t happen from a distance or by writing a check or authoring a congressional bill…but it can happen.