One of the things I liked about playing sports, especially in high school and college, was that I ate pretty much whatever I wanted. With all the running and working out, it didn’t seem to make much difference one way or another. (I know now that I could have been a much better athlete if I had paid attention to my diet. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.) What my young mind did not understand was the fact that the days of running miles a day, up and down the basketball court, would come to an end. And, as the calorie burn slowed way down, the calorie intake should have slowed way down too. That wasn’t the case. As I grew older and grew into a much less active way of life, my eating habits got worse and worse. My mindset was food equals fun, and/or food equals comfort.
Fast forward to 2011. By the age of 37, I completely wore my pancreas out and was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. This called for a lifestyle change. Some changes were made, but not for very long. My weight, my blood sugar and my energy level all resembled a roller coaster worthy of top billing at Six Flags. They were up, down, and all over the place. Earlier this year, I finally came to grips with how out of control my diabetes has been over the last two years. Admitting failure, I submitted to my doctor’s request to start taking insulin. It was embarrassing for me because I know it was my own poor decisions and lack of discipline that got me here. 4 months with insulin and we have a love/hate relationship. I love that it has brought my blood sugar back into normal ranges. I hate how much it costs and having to stick myself three times a day.
Enter OPTAVIA! Some dear friends of mine have had some incredible weight loss results over the last few months, as well as a big transformation in overall health and wellness. They knew of my situation dealing with diabetes and shared the program with me. I won’t get into the details, but I will say that it focuses on establishing healthy habits that translate into long-term success. If you’ve been following this blog, you know “Habits” is a buzz word for me lately. I’ve been working at establishing some habits in my life to increase productivity and effectiveness. So, developing habits that will lead to optimum weight and healthy living moving forward definitely appeals to me! The prospect of being free from insulin and other diabetes medications and their costs doesn’t hurt either.
As I begin this journey, I’ve been encouraged to identify my “Why?” What is the reason for moving in this direction? The answer should serve as a constant reminder for me, especially when it gets difficult and I want to quit. I want to share it here publicly so that others will help me remember as well.
LOVE THEM WELL!
Three words. That’s my “Why?” Let me explain.
Who is “Them?”
A few years ago, one of my mentors explained to me the importance of taking care of myself physically. I think the conversation was about prostate exams, but that’s irrelevant. His reasoning for eating healthy, going to the doctor, getting all the scheduled check-ups and following orders was because it showed his wife that he loved her. She needed the security of knowing that he was going to do whatever he could to be around for as long as he could. I am sure that my wife feels the same way.
The first of my “Them” is my wife, Darcy! I want to love her well! She is my best friend, my lover, my partner, my biggest cheerleader and supporter. And, I am the same for her. She needs to know that I am doing everything I can on my end to be here for as long as God will allow me to be. So, I’ll eat right, keep doctor appointments, and follow orders. By making this effort, it says, “I love you.”
The next of “Them” is my children and grandchildren. No, I do not have any grandchildren yet, but I am expecting that they will be coming along sooner than later. (Take your time. No pressure!) I don’t want to be the sick Dad that my kids have to be worried about all the time. I want to continue to be a blessing to them and a living example of health and wellness for them until God calls me home. I also want to be an energetic, active, engaging grandfather. I don’t want my grandkids to remember me as the slow, lethargic, bed-ridden old man that they never really got to enjoy the fun things in life with. I want to run them around Disneyland and tote them to Dodger Stadium. I want to leave them with great memories. I want to live a life for them that says in more than just words, “I love you.”
The last of my “Them” is my church. I honestly do not know how long God intends for me to pastor CrossPointe Church, but I have been asking him for at least 25 more years. It’s been apparent to me over the last few years, that I can’t be at my very best for the church when I am not taking care of myself physically, as well as mentally and spiritually. Four months ago, I was in a meeting with my leadership team and my blood sugar was 325. I couldn’t see straight. I couldn’t get my thoughts together, and nearly couldn’t keep my dinner down. That was not loving and leading them well. In order to pastor well, I have to be at my best physically. Additionally, there are many in my congregation who have similar struggles and I want to be a living example of discipline, self-control and transformation for them. Taking care of me says, to them, “I love you.”
So, I will embrace these healthy habits day in and day out to the best of my ability with these three words, my “Why,” at the forefront of my mind: LOVE THEM WELL!
Let me encourage you today to regularly assess where you are physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. Ask God to show you where you can be better. Ask Him to make clear for you what part you play in that and trust Him to do His part. Then answer the question, “What is your ‘Why?’”