Weight Loss

This is not a story of dramatic weight loss or how I got to a healthy weight but about a journey. My weight has bothered me for years, since bible college over 12 years ago. I have always wanted to loose weight, but lacked the will power and motivation. I tried weight watchers, and dieting, various exercise regimes but didn’t stick at it.

Then one day a year or so ago I watched a guy on YouTube shay Carl, loose 200lb or 14.2 stone! He kept saying a mantra which was “persistence over time and you will hit your goal.” This kinda got in my head, and I started to believe it was possible. I no way needed to loose 200lb but a modest 50lb and I began to believe it might be possible.

So taking his mantra, this year I began to run three times a week (see running man post) and I saw immediate weight loss. But realised quickly, that if this was going to be part of a lasting life style change, that this weight loss was superficial, for authentic weight loss I need to regulate my eating as well, not just increase my exercise so I can eat what I want and loose weight!

It’s a battle and a real challenge to say no to the extra portion or chocolate, especially when I am tired at the end of the day. I don’t always manage to say no and have some weeks dropped back to old eating habits, but I get back up and mentally force myself to eat healthier next time. Part of that motivation is that I am 39 this year.

It helps that my wife and kids trying to eat healthy along with me and so I am not doing this alone, but I don’t get as excited by the sticker chart as the kids do! The app “my fitness pal” is good at keeping a running total on calorie intake, but the battle is won and lost in the choice the moment between myself and the food looking up or across at me willing you to dive in! It’s in that nano moment where I have to ask myself:
Do I want to change?
Do I believe it is possible, no matter how long it will take to be healthy?

I have said yes most of the time and I am currently a good stone healthier, each pound I loose I visualise it and and determined to not put it back on.

Loosing my one stone has meant for me, my clothes fit better, my asthma is minimal, I look in the mirror and like what I see more than I did. There is work still to do and a daily decision to make, to keep changing to keep striving for the goal I believe now I can make.

I am realistic about how hard this is and that its not a quick fix, I hope to be healthy by the time i am 40. We can be duped into thinking there are easy routes to weight loss, but that’s just not true for life long weight loss and fitness, I believe it is about a life decision to change. So exercise and eating the right amount of food will mean, I hope, for a better standard of living for myself, and being around longer with my kids and (eventually) grand kids.

I am no great guru in this, there is no DVD or book, I don’t have amazing willpower or self control, I am not qualified, but I am determined before God and those nearest and dearest, to not loose the conflict being waged between me and my waist line. To actually change for the better, to be healthy and happier.

Running Man

Back in late June I started running again. I haven’t run for 11 years where I picked up an injury in my foot, but even then I didn’t run regularly, but a few months ago after reading about how proper running shoes can make a difference, I decided to give it a go. I didn’t post before because I wanted to make sure it was something I would stick to.

Point one,

Why was I going to start again? Well to loose weight and get fit again, I have been carrying around extra luggage for too long and as I reach my 39th year in December, it was time to get serious and do something rather than just talk about weight loss.

IMG_0740

Point 2 get some decent running shoes
Because of my injury I had always believed I couldn’t run, until I got an expensive pair of New Balance running shoes with special inner soles designed for my feet, I mention that they weren’t cheap, not to boast, but to say it was worth the expense.

My runtastic app tells me that I have have completed 26 activities since beginning in late june and have run 62 miles! That old injury hasn’t once given be any grief. I went to The Sweatshop an unfortunate name but awesome and really know their stuff and I haven’t looked back.

Point 3 starting running. In my head I can run miles and miles at a good pace, the reality is very different, so be honest, recognise your excuses at not starting as excuses and buy some gear and get going. One of my excuses was I was worried I would look silly! And maybe I do, but I have now lost a stone in weight and am achieving my goals, and this makes me happy.

How do I do this? Baby steps, low expectations, starting slow and realising their will be ups and downs. Gradually increase your distance, speed and time, transitioning from walking to jogging. There is a section on the app I use which is for interval which tells me the mph of slow steady and fast, I ignore this as I am still considered slow! Instead I do custom intervals which have made me quicker, again not over doing it. There is nothing more demoralising of constantly having to stop because you think your lungs are going to burst.

Point 4- Schedule
Whatever you decide enjoy it. I run three times a week for about 25-30mins as my schedule allows, and sometimes I listen to music but more recently, I just enjoy the silence, and rhythmic sound of my trainers make against the tarmac, only interrupted by my app telling me occasionally what my pace is, and how long I have been running.

My Routine

Monday is normally, a longer run of 30 mins at a slow pace currently 12min mile I started at 14 min mile! I sometimes have to stop once but that is something I am working on at the moment, my wall is at 17 mins and so as I near that time, I mentally prepare myself to overcome it. Mostly that works! Except when I am running with the dog!

Wednesday is intervals I started 2 mins walk/jog 30sec run and am now at 1min jog 2 min run, I love intervals especially as it is making me faster.

Friday is race day, there is an option on my app (runtastic) which is called a ghost run, where I run against myself! So I pick the best run of the week and run against it, it’s good to know I always come first and second! Today I came second, I blame the dog for holding me up to sniff, interesting (to him) blades of grass!

Before and after each workout i stretch for around 5 mins and also include some weight training, there is tons of advice out there on what you can do in terms of warm up and cool down, but basically stretch out your legs and body  helps to ward off injury and pulled muscles, so don’t skimp on it.

I am not sure if I will ever run a proper race, partly because there is enough pressure in my life and also I am worried I will come last. I run yes because of my weight loss goals, but I have grown to love it, each week I know I will have 3 opportunities to run in all weathers, enjoying the silence and the melodic thump thump of my trainers hitting the Tarmac. Knowing I am achieving something, getting healthier and fitter.

My favourite run recently was on holiday, we went to see family in Sheringham and I got to run down by the beach in the morning, several times it was really inspiring, so if you live near a beach or beautiful countryside use what as inspiration.

IMG_0738IMG_0736

 

When researching running, I found this website very helpful http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/ and also YouTube when thinking about technique. Sports Direct which always has sales was where I bought a good pair of shorts and running top with a zip pocket for house keys, as well as a rain jacket, and finally amazon for an iPhone armband holder.

I wish you well. Hope you love running as much as I do.

An Alien In My Head!!

I watched the film “Host” yesterday, which is a film about an alien invasion, where humanity is pretty much wiped out. The aliens take over by inhabiting our bodies. They control our bodies, but our consciousness remains mostly subdued, enter our heroine who fights back, against the alien entity! However the inhabitation results in world peace, an end to poverty and global warming! Bear with with me, my non sci-fi friends.

The movie, got me thinking about the nature of freedom, which is often perceived as a fight against all kinds oppression be that political, military and perhaps when we are younger our parents will, and lastly maybe in the future aliens. (Sorry last mention of aliens, promise lol)

I wondered if I would share my body with an entity, that would ultimately make me safe when walking down a dark alley, which would allow me to fully trust my fellow human being, rather than being sceptical, and wondering if I was being tricked in some way.

Perhaps you are shouting at the screen right now, there is no reason I would share my head space with another being, even if that resulted in some kind of utopia, my freedom doesn’t have a price. I felt that too. And then realised whether it is that reaction that underpins, how many react to God.

A God who Christian’s believe fills us with his presence, and his word, and guides us. After all scripture reminds us we are temples of the Holy Spirit. You will have noticed however, that having Gods presence inside us, hasn’t lead to world peace, a uniformity of faith, theology or Christian living; issues around sex and gender are just examples of this.

Why might we fight for freedom or so called, because we want to be free to choose our way, subsequently many have thrown off this God based perceived shackle God can offer us a different kind of freedom, a freedom in relationship with God, a big picture freedom, of blue sky’s and neighbourly love, and eternity. Is that not worth giving up a bit of our choice, our freedom for? Instead of fighting, listening to what God is saying to us as he speaks to us through the natural and manmade things in our lives, calling to us in a cacophony of ways.

Lord God may for today I choose not my desires but yours, even if they seem strange to me, for you are a God who calls me to love self as you see me, and others as much as you love me.

Amen


ps thank you for all your likes on my recent
Posts on Easter weekend, the character introduced you too their will return!

Easter Monday: Gotcha April Fools!

An early disciple continues to write in his diary…

Dear Diary, so its April Fools day, and I don’t so much feel a fool but blown away by a new reality, a fool for Jesus perhaps! We live in this new reality like the invention of the wheel, where Jesus is alive, so many have seen him now it can’t be a hoax. This is for real, those in authority are silent and refuse to comment on the situation, which must mean it’s for real. Blimey!! There will be of course a reaction from the Romans, probably an over reaction, but for now there is a calmness over the city, as people take in this new information and process it.

So some are wondering if Jesus will now rid us of military oppression, and some of our number, are being unkind to those who persecuted Jesus. I am not sure that’s what Jesus wants, but I guess its human nature.

What does he want? Right now when he turns up, we are aghast, no words, just in shock and awe. I wish I was strong enough to ask the questions on my mind, but I find my knees go weak and I am lost in wonder, at who God is. I suspect this is how faith was before we made it all religious. And that’s kind of in part what Jesus is showing us, of how relationship with God can be, beyond the temple walls, beyond the ritual. A deep relationship, An awareness and knowledge of the living God.

It’s all a bit exciting and Scary.

The Romans did respond and many Christians were thrown to the lions and were martyred. But one chief priest declared that,  if this movement is of God no amount of persecution will crush it will continue.

Easter Day: Told You So…

entry two in a disciples diary might read:

Dear Diary,

Not really sure where to start, apparently i have been a bit short sighted, my self loathing of yesterday has been overturned, to mind bending joy. I cannot really totally believe it.

Apparently God you can walk away from crucifixion, who knew! And me and the guys are acting like we knew it was all part of the master plan. But diary, i didn’t know. Am wondering if  I should scrub out yesterdays entry, I should have listened more, maybe I would have released.

I suspect i am not the only one who didn’t know, I wonder if the 12 knew? The chosen Jesus team, I saw one of them yesterday, if they knew he was coming back, they weren’t showing it. Anyway not one of them has said i told you so yet!

So what now, everything was true about Jesus, what does it mean? I am not sure which is easier, believing he was dead and it was all over. Or dealing with the ramifications of Jesus rising from the dead…

Since then 2000 years ago  believers has been figuring out what Jesus resurrection might mean, for how we worship, and live for God. There have been colossal mistakes along the way, illustrated by damaged people who have left, and those who think Jesus is still dead. There has also been an awesome, global outpouring of charity motivated by the love Jesus showed, which has begun schools and hospitals, feed and clothed the hungry and poor, and has and continues to fight for the rights of the oppressed and not listened too.

Lets Pray

Lord forgive our imperfect attempts at building your kingdom. May the power of the cross that broke you, also break our pride, busyness, personal agendas and give way to renewal of self and your calling to the church. Show us lord what you see.Amen

Easter Saturday

On Easter Saturday, i wonder what one of the disciples might have put into their diary, (if they had one) perhaps something a little like this.

Dear Diary,

 I have been taken for a fool, I feel embarrassed, how could i have fallen for, Jesus lines, about newness of life. Was everything he said a lie? His miracles, were they just tricks? Does God even exist beyond the temple courts and religious trapping?

A God I believed and which Jesus spoke of, that knew my name, the numbers of hairs on my head, a God who says i am more important than the birds of the field. How could i have been so stupid, Jesus took our hope to the cross and with him it died.

I cant face tomorrow, its so hard, I hide from the jeers of others and the laughter. It seams everyone else saw through Jesus, and stupid dumb, overoptimistic me, believed, and ridiculously still hopes something will happen. But who ever heard someone walking away from crucifixion!

I’m so pathetic.

 

“They say I am going to Hell”

It’s day one of a few days off, and as I was walking down the mall at my favourite shopping centre, I over heard from inside a shop (lush,) (that sells soaps and bath things) two colleagues speaking.

What caught my attention in the seconds it took to pass their shop was the comment, “they say I am going to Hell.” I carried on walking maybe got a 100 yards when something in my gut compelled me to turn around and head back to that shop, I had to let them know, that not all Christians think their going to hell that god loves all people no matter who you are or where you have been.

I wondered round the shop, wondering how to begin, and smiled inwardly when the aforementioned shops colleague asked, are you on a mission for something! And I began, and what emerged was a good conversation, we talked about the media, philosophy, religion, sexuality, and the policy’s of the shop he proudly worked with.

This openly gay man said he felt sorry for people who opposed the bill in parliament, that more than anything it was a step in the right direction for equality, he realised that the media had hyped it up, that whilst not being religious, he did believe in God, who I reminded him loved him. A little while later I left. Feeling that today I had served The Lord, perhaps helped someone realise that sometimes our prejudices define our religion rather than the other way around.

Its interesting also, that when I am on my holiday, and my mind is not full of meeting, and to do lists, I hear Gods call, and have the time to actually do what he wants me to do. Tell a people who in the words of the man I spoke with, feel marginalised, and feel that yesterday was a step in the right direction for equality above any other politics or religious rhetoric. Sentiment I think Jesus would whole heartedly punched the air and said yes with.

I do wrestle with how this will be worked out in practice, but feel I need to draw close to the one who declares that there is no one who can escape the love of God slave or free. A love that we see so clearly in the actions of Jesus, who touched the leppors, welcomed the women, and when to tea with outcasts calling each to follow him.

To conclude, I live in a country that is religiously marginalised, I work for a church that is shrinking, and so societal changes have a more direct influence on us, and give us something to wrestle with, perhaps differently than if I lived in a nation where what I believe is not a marginalised view point.

Lord let me seek you
Lord let me hear you
Lord renew my mind and heart, instep with yours.

Amen

Facebook offers eternal life!

Recently in my preaching I have been reminding people of their place in heaven (eg that they have one). In funerals I talk of the room Jesus prepares, a room of peace, healing and eternally in Gods presence.

Whilst on Facebook, I read a status update on a page of a colleague of mine, who used to work for Samaritans with me. I hadn’t heard from my Facebook friend for sometime, and began to read her sisters post, and as I read, I discovered something, that actually my friend died over a year ago. I knew she had been ill but hadn’t realised how ill. The post itself finished simply “stating another Christmas without you! Missing you.”

I saw Facebook in a new way, it offers those of faith and of none, a place to hold onto a loved one, speaking to them, in some kind of digital eternity. If I didn’t believe in heaven, this would be a source of comfort, to help me hold onto them.

But the heaven of the bible is not a kind of digital status chamber. It’s living, in a new way, its I believe, vibrant and colourful, we become fully as god intended, we are made whole. We won’t be stuck with ageing bodies but ones that are new and eternally ageless. I am reassured that scripture doesn’t say anything about eternal church services, heavenly worship will be so much more, much much more.

Turning off your beloveds Facebook or Twitter account, or the digital footprint they leave behind, has become one of those big decisions, like when to get rid of their clothes. Or delete their emails.

Holding onto the digital footprint of your loved one has the potential to be helpful and destructive, holding onto God as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and trusting eternal designs to him. Is where I find peace, for my friend who died, and for those whom I miss.

A Little Bit Of Patience

As we pray how often do we expect and indeed want instant answers to our prayer requests? It is hard when we have to wait, when this doesn’t happen, doubt can creep in and uncertainty about whether God cares. But perhaps sometimes, we need to take a longer view. Have you ever considered whether or not you are ready for what you prayed for?

Are we ready for the responsibility, of wealth, marriage, children, that awesome job or something else. Is there perhaps some thing in, God not answering immediately, that God is trying to actually say something. Could he be saying we aren’t ready? Or there is something else I need you to do before you will get your hearts desire, if your hearts desire is his of course!

Some numbers, 5 years ago I prayed to become a father, and am radically different to what I was all those years ago, the journey has made me better prepared as a parent. 10 years ago I prayed and felt called to be an ordained minister and that took a very long time indeed, but no doubt a better minister for it. (At least I hope so!!)

Just because God doesn’t answer something straight away, doesn’t mean he won’t answer it in his own time. and as you wait, after you have given that hoped for prize to God and said that prayer, try to get on with your life, because living your life might be just what God wants you to do, so through this living, you might find he answers your prayer after all.

Lord give me the courage to be patient, the wisdom to see the big picture, and openness to allow you to search me and mould me as we journey onwards. Amen

%d bloggers like this: