I’m a determined person, but full credit goes to God that I was able to lose 165 pounds and run a marathon in a little over 2 years.
About a year after becoming a born-again Christian, I woke up one morning and realized if I didn’t lose some weight, I was going to die of a heart attack, and maybe soon. Now I had had this thought many times throughout my life, but this time felt different – this time I had God to lean upon.
I quickly devised a plan to lose weight. My goal was simply to go from 325 pounds to 305. That’s all. Just 20 pounds. If I could just lose 20 pounds that would be an achievement.
I began researching diets, read articles on losing weight and devised a three-fold plan within hours. First, I would change the way I eat, then start exercising and along the way involve as many people as possible to hold me accountable. The last one quickly became the most important. Oh yeah, and there was lots of prayer.
Nearly everyone has heard of the 21/90 rule: It takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle. So, for the first three weeks I only focused on getting my eating under control. That was the first habit I needed to create. Plus, I was afraid if I exercised too soon it would just make me hungrier. I started slowly reducing the amount of food I ate without changing what I ate to prevent system shock. I then slowly switched what I ate to include more fruits, vegetables and lean meats.
After 21 days I added exercise. I walked about half a mile a day for a while, then went to a mile. One day I decided to run a little. A little was an understatement — I made it about 1,000 feet and was winded. Right then and there I made an additional goal: To run a 5K in a year.
It took three months.
All the while I had an enormous cheering section. Family, friends and coworkers would check on me regularly. I’ll admit, without them there’s many days I would have thrown in the towel. And, of course, I talked to God about my wins and loses and asked for guidance and wisdom.
Losing 1 to 2 pounds per week it took about three months to get down to 305. I reset my goal to another 20 pounds and when I reached 285, I went for another 20 and so and so on.
After the 5K I moved on to a 10K then a half marathon, all in the span of about 9 months. With those completed, I set my sights on a marathon. I filled my iPod with Christian music to help with my tempo and trained hard for a little over a year.
I weighed 160 when I arrived in Ohio to run in the 2011 Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and I was ready to go. My goal was to complete the marathon in under 5 hours.
Four hours, 14 minutes and 56 seconds later I crossed the finish line hands in the air giving praise to God for carrying me through all that training and the marathon itself.
I still run 5Ks and every now and then I’ll throw in a half marathon (not last year because of Covid-19), but I don’t run nearly as much. My eating lifestyle has pretty much remained the same, though.