Today’s Thanksgiving Run

So I stepped out my door this morning with the intentions of heading to the gym to get a treadmill run in, but I discovered the temperature outside was a little warmer than I expected at about 40 degrees. So instead of the gym, I hit my usual running path. I’ve been running inside too much lately, so I was thankful that the weather here in Ohio cooperated and gave me the opportunity to do something different.

I started off with a warm-up walk to shake the dust off and ease into my activity. My goal was a shorter run at a little faster temp than my longer ones … I ended up with a two mile run that dipped down to a 14:00-15:30 pace for it’s duration; which, though slow for most runners, is up tempo for me. So I had a good time. But, it was fitting that on this day of Thanksgiving I found myself praising and thanking God that I was able to run and get outside. There are times I get so focused on the task of losing weight and discouraged by minor setbacks that I forget to just be thankful for all God has done for me. Last year, a run on Thanksgiving Day would have been the furthest thing from my mind. When I was a hundred pounds heavier and beset with high blood pressure and diabetes, I couldn’t run. So I’m thankful God has given me the opportunity to change that. He truly has blessed me.

morningrun
Thanksgiving, 2015

I was also thankful this morning for the beautiful sky God painted. I was the only one on the path this morning so I felt like I was sharing the sky with Him alone. It’s a sky that I wouldn’t have noticed had I stayed in bed … so I’m glad God gave me the nudge out the door this morning.

My beagle Sadie

I’m thankful for other things as well. My wife, children, and church family are more than I could ever ask for. My little grand daughter Molly is simply the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I even find myself thanking God for my beagle who, believe it or not, was an answer to my wife’s prayers. I am thankful for a God who has extended me grace, mercy, and forgiveness when I didn’t deserve anything but judgement. It is a testament to His character that I have been given a chance to live in the shadow of Jesus Christ. And I am thankful for everything He has blessed me with in the process.

Is my life perfect? Nope. I still screw things up from time to time and it seems like I fall short in some way every single day. But God is helping me focus on the blessings in my life and to forgive myself for my shortcomings. Sometimes, I tend to make the obstacles in my life bigger than my God … and that needs to change. I want God to be the biggest thing in my life so that all my troubles seem smaller.

My goal is to take the Apostle Paul’s advice:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (Philippians 4:8, NIV).

My prayer is that this spirit of Thanksgiving becomes my daily attitude from this point forward. It is also my prayer for you.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

New to Running? Here's What I've Learned

y-3ryjiqlgu-jacob-millerI’ve been running for about three months now. Since I started I’ve been reading books, magazine articles, and blog posts targeted for beginning runners voraciously. Through that reading, and through experience, I have learned a few things …. here’s my list of takeaways so far … offered humbly to others who may be toying with the idea of taking up running.

  • Before you run, you should walk. I walked regularly for a couple of months before I ran my first step. I walked because running scared me and I hadn’t lost enough weight yet to feel comfortable going faster. Turns out, walking was one of the best things I could do. I built up a base of mileage, strengthened my legs and heart, and developed a routine of hitting the walking/running path. If you have never run before, you should start off walking.
  •  Add to your miles slowly. Increase your miles no more than 10% per week. This may seem like slow progress to you, but it is the safest way to progress. Your heart will adjust to running long before you ligaments, tendons, and muscles will. If you increase too much too soon, you are at a greater risk for injury.
  • It’s okay to go slow. In fact, it’s probably preferred if you’re in this for the long haul. Go slow, take plenty of walking breaks, and don’t worry about speed if you’re new to running. Again, ignoring this advice puts you at risk of an injury that will end your running hobby before it gets off the ground.
  • Be consistent. Running will help you lose weight. Running will improve your health. But not if you only do it once every other month. For the last three months I’ve aimed for three runs a week. I’m just about to move to four.
  • Rest intentionally. You’re not a slacker if you take a rest day between runs. You’re smart. Running can be hard on your body so take the time to recover.
  • Don’t worry about how silly you look. None of the other runners care. Nine times out of ten you will get a friendly wave and a smile when they pass you. Those who ignore are probably afraid you think they look stupid.
  • Drink pretty of fluids. Dehydration sucks.
  • Buy good shoes, running shorts, and a shirt. A good set of running clothes is far superior to a cotton tee shirt, sweatpants, and your lawn-mowing shoes.

And most importantly …

  • Have fun, relax, and praise God you are able to get outside and exercise. Plenty of people out there wish they could walk, run, and exercise. No matter how slow you are or how stupid you think you look – you are blessed.

Bringing Gluttony into the Light

gluttony
Pic Found on Pinterest

Over the past couple of years I have slowly lost some weight. The weight has finally started to add up to the point that people are noticing and I keep getting asked how much weight I’ve lost. Well, I really didn’t know because I hadn’t kept track. I was trying to make changes in my diet for health purposes. I had to have my gallbladder taken out a couple of years ago and last year I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. All of this, including high blood pressure, finally prompted me to make some changes. Well … I went through some old medical records to find out what I actually weighed at different points over the last year or so, plus I’ve been doing Weight Watchers with my wife for the past month. So I finally have an answer when someone asks me how much weight I’ve lost.

55 pounds.

I’ve got quite a ways to go before I get down to my goal weight, but I don’t really think just in terms of weight loss. I try to focus more on my overall health and fitness. Plus, I see it all as a way to honor God. I have a problem with eating too much food and that leads to Gluttony. Gluttony is a sin we Christians like to ignore. It is much easier to focus on those sins we don’t entertain in our own lives. If we admit that Gluttony is a sin then we might have to make some changes in our lives … and that’s brings our faith just a little too close for comfort!

The Bible clearly teaches Gluttony is a sin. Proverbs 23:20-21 warns us, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. Proverbs 28:7 adds, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.” Proverbs 23:2 figuratively declares, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”

Scripture advocates moderation and temperance. Unfortunately, gluttony reveals a problem with over-indulgence and control. And this presents me with a quandary. I love to eat! Pizza is one of my favorite things in this world. But I am on staff in my local church. I teach Bible Study and am sometimes afforded the opportunity to preach. I have often said that when our lifestyle doesn’t line up with Scripture we are presented with a choice. The onus to change is on us because God’s Word remains constant. Unfortunately, my weight and my gluttony didn’t line up with God’s Word … and I had to make a choice. I could practice what I preach or I could continue to wallow in hypocrisy.

I’ve decided to change.

It isn’t easy … and I don’t consider what I’m doing as a diet. If I want to eat pizza, I’ll eat it and thank God for it … however, I’ll have to eat it in a way that fits into the lifestyle I’m pursuing. I want to honor God with my life. I’m less concerning with my goal weight than I am with living in the manner prescribed by God. My weight will figure itself out as I make these changes.

I know from experience, however, how easy it is to fall off the fitness wagon and into my old ways. So, to hold myself accountable I have created a Weight Loss Blog/Journal. You can follow my pursuit of fitness at the below web address:

Finding Clark

I won’t be posting long essays there. It’s a Tumblr blog, which is new to me, but it works perfectly for pictures and brief posts about my weight loss exploits. Plus, I don’t have to bore my readers here with stories about what I had for dinner! Feel free to follow along as I try to change my lifestyle. And if you are tempted to over indulge and need to lose a few pounds yourself, feel free to join me!

 

Weekly Weigh In: 4/12/15

scaleIf you read any of my twitter posts, you’ll know that I’ve been doing weight watchers for the last few weeks. In an attempt to make myself more accountable, I’m going to start tracking my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-ins here … both good and bad. I’m also going to start writing every once in awhile about weight-loss in general. Not because I’m some kind of expert mind you, but weight-loss, and gain, has occupied a great deal of my time, energy, and thoughts lately. So, I need an outlet.

Normally, I weigh in on Tuesdays, but other commitments necessitated my wife and I go on Saturday this week. As a result, we were actually weighing in for a little more than week, so I had high expectations for a big drop and was expecting somewhere in the range of three pounds.

I didn’t quite get it.

However, I did lose 1.6 pounds. This puts me at a 20 pound loss for the month and one day I’ve been doing weight watchers (and about 66 pounds over the last couple of years). That was the good part of the weigh-in and meeting Saturday. The bad? It seems I broke one the toes on my right foot. Like many people, I weigh-in in my sock feet. I don’t have a clue how much my shoes weigh, but I’m not taking credit for it. Well, clumsy me accidentally kicked a chair with my shoes off. Result, broken toe! It hurts like the dickens, but it could be worse I suppose.

Now I have to decide if I want to go back to Tuesdays for my weigh-in day or stick with Saturday. I’m not sure which direction I’ll go, but I’ll post the results here when I do!

 

 

Review of Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir by Jennette Fulda

half-assedAfter being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes last year I’ve been on my own weight-loss journey of sorts. I’m down a little over fifty pounds since last year and recently joined Weight Watchers to help keep myself headed in the right direction. I found this book on Scribd and thought it might be inspirational. In reality, however, it really didn’t provide that much inspiration. The author was, however, likable and just funny enough to keep me from quitting part way through the book. It reads kind of like a blog and, if nothing else, does demonstrate it is possible to lose massive amounts of weight and maintain a positive and healthy attitude during the process. If you’re looking for a “how to” book, take note that this isn’t it. The author offers no recipes, exercise, or weight loss tips. She does bring honesty and a good sense of humor to the table. Readers should be warned that while the author is not profane, she does have a tendency to use some foul language at times.