Many of you have been keeping up with my weight loss efforts, and all I can say is you are far too easily entertained. I do appreciate the encouragement coming from so many of you. Thank you, and I’m going to need it continually. There is nothing easy about this. It took many years of deskwork, and little sweat to make my body the way it is today. Jealous? You can have it too by finding a job in a cushy office chair for 13 years, and then go home to another cushy chair where you nap off the mental exhaustion of dealing with customers and technical problems all day long. It really is that easy.

What is different this time? I’ve said before that I wanted to lose weight; in fact I’ve said it very publically on a few occasions in front of a few hundred people. Clearly I’m not afraid to fail in front of everyone who knows me. So why is the round with the waistline going to be a victory? Mainly because I’ve experienced a confluence of motivations, that by themselves were not enough to lift my hind parts off the couch; a perfect storm of motivation, if you will. Here they are in no particular order.

Motivation number one: prehypertension. Last May I woke up with a large welt on my forearm. It appeared to be some sort of spider bite, so I went to the doctor (first trip in almost 10 years). Since this was my first doctor visit here in Salem, I had to get a full checkup. Through doing that, they discovered that my blood pressure high enough to put me in the prehypertension category. The doc said that I could either go on medication or exercise to lose weight. I hate pills, and as forgetful as I am about them, I would have probably wasted my money. I chose exercise and weight loss. I changed a few things in my eating habits – less salt, no coffee – but, alas, I never got serious about exercise. My philosophy was you should only run when being chased, and then only if they had a deadly weapon. Running after the ice cream truck was also permissible.

Motivation number two: my daughters. Over the past year or so I’ve noticed that my daughters are learning to eat the same crap that I have been eating. They’re both at ages, especially Phoebe, where they can kind of make their own snacks and meals if need be. When left to themselves, they choose to eat the same poor choices that I tend to make. They would frequently want to eat the same candies that they saw me eating, and ask me for them every time we would go to Wal-Mart together (the checkout line was the worst place to be).

Motivation number three: simple things were winding me. My mind had started to shift toward trying to buy only shoes that I could slip on and off without bending over. Going up stairs was causing a few heavy breaths. My heart rate would increase with simple tasks like carrying things, unloading things; even singing was leaving me worn out. Every Sunday I would get home and want to do nothing but crash in my chair. I’ve never been a skinny guy, but there was a time in my life when I was healthy and in shape. Memories of those days would flash across my mind and simply make me angry because I had let myself get into such poor shape.

Motivation number four: the outside is a picture of what is inside. This one is the most important one, but not the one that pushed me all the way (sadly). For a long time, several years even, I have been convicted that my overweight condition is a spiritual matter. It’s a sign of passions that are out of order. See, my overeating is not just a love affair with sugary foods; it’s also a source of comfort and stress relief when things are rough. My behavior was revealing an inward spiritual syndrome. Instead of turning to Jesus as my comfort and source of peace, I more easily turn to my favorite foods. I want my life to demonstrate how Jesus redeems the whole person, and I believe that should happen starting here on this earth. My spiritual malady affects my physical malady, and only by turning to Jesus will I find redemption for both.

Motivation number five: influential people. Recently some incredible men have been speaking into my life. Two of them specifically have motivated me to raise my game. My friends Matt Hartsky, a personal/life trainer in Wyoming, and Jimmy Brakefield, a good friend here in Salem, have both been encouraging me in this. I’m not sure that I would be doing this if they had not spoken into my life. Matt has helped me make nutritional changes with ViSalus meal replacement shakes, and Jimmy has been helping me learn to love running. I owe both of them a lot of gratitude.

Motivation number six: hope. This is the last one in my list, and I think it’s one that makes my perfect storm actually perfect. I have hope, and I want to symbolize hope. I have hope because I believe that Christ is constantly working to make me into a new creation. While I don’t believe it is Christ’s mission to make me thin, I do believe he wants to redeem my passions and desires. I do believe that He wants to redeem me from slavery to the cravings of my body. As he does that, I know that things will change. So I’m motivated by the hope found in allowing Jesus to do his redeeming work in my mind. I also want to symbolize hope. I want people to see my life and find inspiration. If people can see how hope in Christ changes me, then my life has purpose that is beyond simply meeting my own needs.

So there you have it. This is my perfect storm of motivation. It took a while to form, but it is here now and it’s moving me forward. It is a very spiritual journey for me, filled with every kind of temptation to derail. Also, everyone is different and everyone needs different pressures to make them move. I’m thankful that it hasn’t taken something tragic. Sadly, for many it does. I hope that if you’re reading this you too will find your perfect storm of motivation.