The Fight for Better Health

The Fight for Better Health

By Ken Walker-

I recently commented on an apology by Thom Rainer for old material produced by LifeWay Christian Resources that had offended the Asian-American community.

However, another of his recent posts caught my attention for a different reason. I could have written “Confessions of an Obese Christian” for many years, all the while feeling like an utter failure.

Feeling Anguish

I can sense Rainer’s anguish when he writes: “I am a Christian. Some may say I am a Christian leader. Some people look to me as an example.

18763480“Frankly, I have been a poor example, a poor witness. I have had a lifestyle of sin of gluttony and slothfulness. I have no right to be a leader, if I am one, with the awful model that I am and have been.”

Ironically, the same day his blog appeared, I read a similar post by Teresa Shields Parker, who lost 260 pounds after tipping the scale at 430. She even wrote a book about it.

In her blog, Teresa writes about collapsing a lawn chair at her uncle’s home and finally having to admit her problem—even though she was a “good” Christian who didn’t drink, do drugs or smoke.

Acceptable Sin

“Pastors don’t talk about such things because they like their sweets and breads as much as I do,” she reflected. “Mine is the sanctified sin I don’t have to worry about.

“Until I begin to break chairs and the cardiac surgeon tells me my body is too big for my heart and I will be dead in five years if I don’t lose a minimum of 100 pounds and keep it off.”

The happy ending is that she took a major step in the right direction, recognizing that processed sugar as an addiction God wanted her to give up.

Still, weight is such a sensitive issue that the church (including me) hesitates to mention it. Since weight can often indicate major stresses in someone’s life, we don’t want to pry. Or, we don’t want to offend, so we don’t say anything. Or, we like overeating ourselves so we dare not say a word to anyone else.

A Parallel Experience

surgeryOne reason I connected with both blogs is how they parallel my experience. I thought I had conquered obesity by participating in a seven-month-long research study more than 10 years ago, only to later regain 19 of the 23 pounds I had lost.

Next came a two-year sojourn through Weight Watchers. There I found the ability to continue acting like a yo-yo, regaining three-fourths of the weight I lost by the time I needed double-bypass surgery.

Unfortunately, it took this kind of life-threatening situation to wake me up. I figured if I didn’t change my eating habits, I wouldn’t be around two or three years down the road.

Since the end of January marks six years since I got cut open, I am still grateful for the opportunity to go through a lifestyle program at the hospital where I had my surgery.

Unable to Coast

I have essentially maintained my weight loss from the program, something that is quite pleasing. Still, that doesn’t mean I can coast. I’m still shedding the last couple pounds I gained during the Christmas season. I fight nearly daily urges for “just one” candy bar or other treat, such as pizza or chicken wings.

The wisest thing Rainer said in his blog concerns how he is “making a lifestyle change, not going on yet another crazy diet.” My lifestyle changes help me continue the journey towards better health, but I realize it will ever end.


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