In an interview with North Carolina Health News’ Rose Hoban, Rev. Lee Pittard shared his journey toward wellness as a participant in Spirited Life.
Initially a skeptic, Lee signed up for Spirited Life because he thought it was expected of him. But “when I actually saw that I was making progress and having a different attitude, I thought, ‘changing things is possible,’” he said.
One of Lee’s initial goals was to acknowledge his stress-eating patterns and form some new habits to help with weight loss.
Realizing the importance of community support, Lee made a request to his congregation that they stop feeding him so much. “A lot of people would make a cake for me for my birthday in December,” he explained. “I told them this past year, ‘Don’t love me so much. Just tell me happy birthday, but no more cakes!’”
He also enlisted the help of a wellness advocate. “Having a Spirited Life coach email me and check up on my progress has been really useful. One thing I need is someone to hold me accountable for exercising,” he said.
Lee began with walking as his main form of exercise; he now jogs 3-4 times each week. He chose running in part because it was an activity he could do with his son, who runs cross country for his high school. In April, Lee achieved one of his health goals when he completed a 5K race, beating the time he had set for himself.
By late April, Lee had lost almost a hundred pounds, and his blood pressure is down. “I’ve lost over 11 inches in my waist, and gone from an 18.5 neck shirt to a 16-16.5,” he said. “I can’t even wear my robe anymore; I trip over the extra material.”
Lee will graduate from Spirited Life at the end of 2012 and plans to continue working hard toward achieving his health goals. “Multiple times we get reports of pastors who have had heart attacks or strokes, and weight on top of stress plays a factor,” he said. “I don’t want that to happen to me.”
-Compiled by Kelli Christianson
Read the full North Carolina Health News article here.