“Am I crazy?”
Sometimes I think I might have started this blog too soon. As I think of how many days there are before the FAST begins, I wonder if I will have anything interesting to share. And then I think of all the information I am getting as I prepare for this life event and ways to engage people in the journey and it seems so very short.
As I said earlier, part of this journey is motivated by changes I am seeking to make in my own life. After all, can’t compassionate acts also bring blessings to the one who extends the compassion?
Since our family relocated to Senoia, GA we have had to re-start many of our life activities — new grocery store, new places to eat, new places to shop, and new doctors. In very late December, I made an appointment for my annual physical (don’t we all love those!). I met Dr. Gregory Hopkins through a referral by a friend (I asked his permission to mention him here and he was ok with that). He took my history, got permission to secure my record from my previous doctor. He and his staff then did what they do — blood pressure, weight (ouch!), blood draw, etc. It was a good visit.
After all the activity ended, he sat down to discuss my goals and where he saw my health based just on this initial exam. It is obvious that I am over-weight. It is
so much easier to put on weight than take it off. Let me just say that if your marriage ends and you find yourself home alone — don’t self medicate with Little Debbie Swiss Cakes, Nutty Bars, or Lays Potato chips with french onion dip. At least not EVERY night for weeks on end. If you do, you will look like me — 6 feet tall and 300 pounds. That not only makes me over-weight — but I fall into the morbidly obese category. I put it on like 17 years ago and have not been successful getting it off.
I had half-heartedly dieted, worked out and such. But if you aren’t serious — it doesn’t work. I have over the last 4 years worked with my doctor to try various plans: changes in eating habits, mild exercise, appetite suppressant, and other means to no avail. We have struggled to get my metabolism to engage at a lever that I can burn the calories I need to burn.
As Dr. Hopkins and I talked I told him that I was, and I really am, at a point of being willing to try something catastrophic to get this moving — basically anything short of surgery. He agreed to work with me.
We started with mild exercise (but have you seen the weather in January and February?). He is giving me B12 injections to help kick-start my metabolism and we tried an appetite suppressant. Week 1 & 2- no weight loss, no weight gain. Week 3 & 4- 3 pounds lost. Week 5 & 6 — who knows? At least it looks like we are starting to get things going. We changed the medications to see if a different combination will help. The urge to snack is TREMENDOUS. And that is what started this whole thing.
So what does all this have to do with the price of rice in China? Well, it is the mental part of weight loss. If you are to lose the weight, and keep it off; you have to discern how you got that way and what changes need to be made to keep you from going back after you lose the weight. For me the biggest part of this is the weight I gained due to the depression I felt when my marriage ended. Food triggers responses in the brain that make you feel good. If it makes you feel good you usually want to repeat that experience. And repeat it. And repeat it.
Over the years I have discovered that when I am stressed (which is most of the time) or feel a little down (don’t we all on occasion?) or angry, or basically any strong emotion I reach for food. Not always junk food, but always food. Others may have a drink, or a smoke, of something else. For me it is always food.
And that brings us to where my health and wellness and Stop Hunger Now intersect. As I pondered how I could reduce my caloric intake and not feel like I was starving — I was revisited by the ministry that is Stop Hunger Now. (I need to add that a diet is difficult because I cannot stand vegetables. If it’s green, health and good for you I probably won’t eat it.) I asked to try a taste of the meals SHN provides to see just exactly what we were providing these hungry children across the globe. After all — if you are raising money for something don’t you want it be a quality product?
Lent is approaching, I usually try to fast from something and donate the money to the church’s ministry, and I need to make major changes in my diet for the sake of my health. Seems like a “perfect storm” of opportunity. And so here we are. Planning to live on barely 1,200 calories per day with proper nutritional supplements, supervised by my doctor, drawing attention to the world’s starving population — and hoping to raise funds to do something about it. I think that will provide for a growing experience for not only myself, but for those that are willing to travel this road with me.
After all, as St. Francis of Assisi prayed in the prayer known by his name that dates back to 1912:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
As I consider my own life of excess and the damage I do to my own life I think of those that have nothing. As I think of the excess I consume I think of those that have nothing to consume. After all, if you live in constant hunger is your life experience hate, injury, doubt, despair, darkness, and sadness? It is my desire to be part of changing these conditions. Not everyone that is starving hates, but if your government stood in the way of food getting to you would not hate be possible? If you were always hungry would you not be excused if you questioned God’s attitude towards you? Not everyone, but there are surely some that do.
I embark on this journey to change my life, and to change the world — if only one-quarter at a time. Will you join me? Will you share my blog with others? Will you honor me by sharing my thoughts and journey? Will you choose to join with me and chose to live on less in order to share with others? Will you make the effort? I hope the answer to these questions is a resounding YES!
If you will help me change the world I would ask you to consider contributing to the cause. My friend John who is taking this journey with had a great Idea that I “borrowed” from his Facebook page. The food of my fast each day costs only $1.50. I will live on this for 40 days. If you will sponsor me on this journey won’t you contribute at least the cost of the food? That works out to only $60 for the whole deal. Of course larger gifts will make a larger impact. That $60 will provide 240 meals. If that is eaten by only one child you have provided him/her a meal each day for 240 days! Nearly a year’s work of food for only $60.
Donations can be made at www.stophungernow.org or if you will contribute to our particular effort mail your gift to Senoia UMC, Post Office Box 98, Senoia, GA 30276 and we will add it to our locally raised funds. If you read my previous blog you know how ambitious our dream is: 280,000 meals. That’s a lot of quarters — but if you help we can do it. Thank you for taking time to read all the way through this. And thank you for choosing to care.
Until next time……The Hog Father