This is a guest post by Rev. Dan Gobble, pastor of Providence UMC in Salisbury, NC. It was originally featured in Naturally Slim’s newsletter and is reprinted with permission.
All Spirited Life participants have had the opportunity to participate in Naturally Slim, and pastors still receiving services (Group 3) will have an final opportunity to enroll in 2014.
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I recently turned 50 years old. At my annual physical in 2012, my doctor told me, “Dan, it wouldn’t hurt you to go hungry once in a while.” At that time I weighed around 240 pounds. I knew he was right. There is a BMI chart on the wall beside the scales in his office. I knew that, for my height, I was way over my ideal weight, almost in the morbidly obese category. I was frustrated because I wanted to do something about my weight, but I didn’t have confidence in what I knew about weight loss.
In the meantime, my employer, the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church began a program to help clergy better manage their health. Being a pastor is a high stress job, and clergy often have problems dealing with the stress that comes with it. As a result, they often experience weight gain and develop markers for metabolic syndrome like, high blood pressure, high or out of balance cholesterol, and even diabetes, which affect their health and quality life. Since entering the ministry in 2002, I have gained about 45 to 50 pounds. Over the years, my doctor had put me on blood pressure and cholesterol medicine. I was also borderline diabetic. When he told me at my last physical that it wouldn’t hurt me to lose weight, I finally RESOLVED that I would DO something about it. When the church offered the Naturally Slim program as a possible way to help us manage some of our healthcare concerns through weight loss, I jumped at the chance.
I had always been skeptical of diets and weight loss programs because I saw how folks struggled to sustain the results over the long haul. The thing that attracted me to this program was the overall common sense wisdom and the well-organized approach. This program looked like something I could incorporate into my lifestyle by making some “doable” changes. When I tried to lose weight in the past, I had no real success because I had no real understanding of how my body deals with food. Naturally Slim explains how our bodies and food interact and then Naturally Slim gave me a straightforward, workable plan for losing weight that made sense, and which is backed up by nutritional and medical facts. For example, after following the Naturally Slim plan for just a few weeks, I realized that I didn’t need to eat in the morning. I had been a big cereal eater for years, but it was more out of habit than a true need for fuel. Now I have some H-2-Orange in the mornings, plus some coffee, and I can enjoy food when my body needs it later in the day. This cut out a lot of unnecessary food on a daily basis.
Another facet of the program which really helped me lose weight was cutting out the sweets and high sugar foods (especially the constant snacking and grazing on sugary foods). Lowering my food intake, and learning the importance of eating slowly gave me a winning strategy for weight loss. The final component of the program that I found helpful was the pedometer that Naturally Slim sent in the starter package. It made me become more intentional about walking around the neighborhood and working to get a minimum number of steps in each day. As a footnote, I have now walked over 1,000 miles since April of 2013. I’ve always wanted to do more running and jogging. I am happy to say that I can now run a 5K (something that was impossible prior to the weight loss). I also enjoy an active lifestyle, including walking with my wife and our dog, running, and riding my bicycle.
I never really thought I would come close to attaining these results at this point in my life. I thought there was no other option for me but being overweight and in declining health for the rest of my life. But Naturally Slim has helped me reverse some negative trends in my health. At my last physical in June, my doctor took me off blood pressure and cholesterol medicine. I’m at the recommended BMI for my weight & height. I’m wearing the size clothes I wore when I was in my early 20s! I look and feel so much better and I have a much better self-image (I took my shirt off and body surfed the waves at the beach this summer, without being self-conscious about my appearance). My family is really proud of my weight loss. I get asked on a regular basis to reveal my secret. I tell everyone who will listen, “If you’re really interested in losing weight, then you need to check out Naturally Slim”. I’m a believer!
Since Dan started the program in late March of 2013, he has lost 63 pounds. At that time he weighed 233. He now weighs 170 pounds. His waist has been reduced 10 inches from 44 inches in March of 2013 down to 34 inches in Oct 2013. He also reports that he is off all medication to control his cholesterol, and all cholesterol numbers have improved to the point that they are better than they were when he took the medication to keep them under control.