In honor of my husband reaching his long worked-for goal of losing 100 pounds comes this post in which he writes about the tremendous journey he has been on. I couldn't be more proud of him. If you're facing obstacles and an uphill battle, Christopher is proof that you can do it.
In May of 2005, I married the love of my life. However, the previous years of loneliness and self-loathing had taken their toll. On my wedding day, I weighed 331 pounds, my heaviest to that point. My wife is a beautiful, slender woman, and I never thought I could find someone like that to love me at that size. But she did. And I wanted to change. I wanted to change for myself, but I had never done it for myself in the past. I realized that I needed someone else to change for, and I had one of those people now.
I say “one of them” because I still needed one good kick. I was on my internship in Glenville, MN when I got married, and the congregation was trying to raise funds for their youth going to the National Youth Gathering in San Antonio. I was trying to figure out a way that I could be a part of that. One day, the idea struck me: take pledges per pound lost over the summer. I wrestled with the idea for a couple of weeks, and with Rebecca’s encouragement, I decided to take a chance. At the end of that summer, I had raised $600 for the youth, and dropped my first 22 lbs.
We then moved to Rockford, IL, for her internship. Rockford sort of became a “lost year”, because of my eating habits those days. However, I did find something there that has helped me ever since: the 5K. I was walking one day along the Rock River, on a multi-use path, and I noticed that they had distances marked in the pavement. I was trying to get back on track with my weight loss, and I thought that doing a 5K, which are usually run for charity, would help me with my “do it for others” motivation. I ran my first 5K in Janesville, WI on August 5, 2006. I was sucking wind at the end, but I finished in 38:40, proving that I did run at least some of it. When we moved back to seminary, I was still around 300 lbs.
At seminary, I tried to get to the gym to run three times per week, and we had a huge hill to walk up to get to class. We bought a new scale just before the new year, and all of a sudden, it said I was 286. I wasn’t even trying! So, of course, I had to start trying. I did a number of 5Ks that year, and tried to get to the gym as much as possible. On graduation day, May 2007, I weighed 266 lbs, 65 lbs below my wedding day.
Moving to North Dakota was tough. I put about 15 lbs back on in the first few months there. Then I got my treadmill. I was able to work out without leaving the house, and it saved me a whole lot of time. I could “shoehorn” workouts into my day, and I started dropping again, reaching 247 lbs when everything changed again: Grace was born.
Caring for an infant takes a lot of time away from caring for yourself, unfortunately. I crept back upward again, reaching 264 in January 2010. It took me a while to get back into a routine where I could run consistently, because when I ran, my eating habits were better too. I tried early morning. I tried later at night. However, it just kept shifting on me. I kept going down, though. I eventually reached 236 in mid-April 2010. I wanted to hit 100 lost then, but then various stressors conspired against me. Grace needed more attention, my wife lost her father, my wife’s job was threatened, and there was no peace in our work. By the time we left North Dakota to move to Montana, I was back up to 253.
When we got here, I resolved that I was going to find a way to stick to my routine. I talked it over with Rebecca, and I decided that I would work it into my day. I would be in the office from 8-11, come home to run and have lunch (and stop sweating), and then head back to the office at 1. It has worked tremendously well. I have still had some bad days (and weeks) with the eating, but I try to keep myself at 1700 calories per day, which gives me plenty of energy while still putting me at a calorie deficit on the days I don’t run. Just before my birthday, I realized that I was again within striking distance of losing 100. This time, I committed myself to it. I’ve already run 2 5Ks this year to keep me motivated, and I publicized my goal with some of my congregation members, who have been asking me how things were going. When I got on that scale this morning, and saw the 231 I’ve been waiting for, I was immensely proud. I know how hard I’ve worked, and to see the results under my feet is very satisfying.
I’ve still got some work to do. According to the BMI tables, in 10 more pounds, I will no longer be “obese”, just “overweight”. To get into the “normal” range, I’ve got another 47 or so to go. Whether I get there or not, I don’t know. But I’m going to keep running, keep eating sensibly, and just keep living. I know I’ll still stumble at times, but if there’s anything this part of my life has taught me, it’s that you’ve got to get back on the horse. I’ve had to get up off the ground a lot of times, but it’s been worth it every step of the way.