I’ve decided to start a blog. I’m not sure why, but I think I’m doing it to give myself some accountability. Over the last year, I’ve worked hard and I’ve prayed hard. I’m really trying to make a change, a permanent change.
My entire life I’ve been overweight. I was well over 200 pounds in high school. I could pretend I don’t know why, but I do. I ate bad foods, I snacked whenever I could and I avoided exercise/movement like it was the plague. I was never athletic. I was always afraid to try and thought it would be better to just avoid the embarrassment that would come along with working out.
That’s how I spent most of my life. There was a time 10 years ago when I came close to turning it around, but as soon as life got hard I gave up and went back to my old ways. I regret it, but I also own it. This time, I’m not going to let that happen.
Over a year ago I stopped looking at mirrors as much as possible. I avoided them until after I was fully dressed. I hated what I saw and every time I looked at myself I felt horrible. Eventually, you just can’t avoid the mirrors any longer. I finally decided I had to do something. I felt I had to change the image looking back at me.
There was a group of friends at work that ran at lunch every day. They always encouraged me to come along. They were great motivators. I really appreciate them trying so hard to get me out and moving.
I couldn’t run 20 feet, so I started walking. It was July in Georgia. The temperature was in the mid 90’s and the humidity was near 100%. I was miserable. I hated every step. My legs hurt. My body ached. Worst of all, I felt horrible about myself. I would leave my office at the same time as 15 other people. I would return alone. They would finish their runs 50 minutes before I did. The only thing I could do was keep going. Every time I saw that reflection looking back I knew I had to keep going.
Eventually, I tried to start running. It was tough, but here’s where I found the thing that made the difference. I started praying while I ran. I used my time on the track as time to get back to God. I thanked him for everything I had. I thanked him for my supportive wife who put up with all my craziness. I asked him to be with my family to keep them safe. I asked him to forgive me and help me forgive myself for any mistakes I made. I asked him to make me a better husband and a better father. Lastly, I asked him to help me run those last few feet.
I was running intervals. I had my phone all setup and the little voice would tell me when to run and when to walk. As I tried to push further and further, I couldn’t keep up. When I felt like I just couldn’t make it, I’d pick some object in the distance and pray for strength to make it to that point. I would beg God to push me forward. I told him I’d stop as soon as I made it there. The amazing part? I always made it to that random point, and just as I made it that little voice on my phone would chime in “time to walk”.
I’m not talking once or twice. This happened hundreds of times across multiple tracks and trails. It was more than just coincidence. I learned that prayer is powerful. I now pray every time I exercise. I pray when I’m hungry and weak. I pray when I’m setting PR’s and surpassing my goals. When the opportunity arises I pray.
When people ask me how I lost weight or how I got in shape, I used to say diet and exercise. Now I go one step further. I still say diet and exercise, but I never forget to tell them what made the difference for me. Prayer. It’s what’s kept me going and it’s what I will continue to lean on as I move forward.