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On My Gaining Weight and Vow to Lose It

As many of you have so subtly noticed and kindly looked past, I have gained quite a bit of weight since 2006. In fact, I have gone from 200 to 270 pounds. I don’t know the exact cause. I don’t eat too differently. Maybe my bad back has caused me to slow down on my exercise routine. Well, to be honest, my routine has almost disappeared. My back has been an excuse. As well, I have had so little time. Commitments to book deals, the Credo House, writing this blog, speaking engagements, time with family, and a thousand other things have kept me from concentrating on my health. This is not healthy and is not a good example to anyone. My wife does not like it and it is not fair to her. I get tired quickly and have less energy. The extra weight hurts my back, my ankle, and my heart. And I suppose I had better admit how much this hurts: it has become frustrating for me that people don’t really recognize me when they visit the Credo House. Many people only know me from the Theology Program videos, which were all done before 2005. Now they come here and have no clue that it is me. “I promise, it is me in the video.” “Uhhh…you have really changed. But I see you in there.” I hate that. I hate that. I am sorry, but I hate that.  But things are changing now.

I have made a vow to my family that I am sharing with you. I have done this before. When I was 13 I lost 60 pounds. When you have accomplished an enormous goal like that before, it means something. On top of this I used to be in the fitness and health industry for six years. So here I go:

I am not shaving or cutting my hair until I get back below 200 pounds.

Oh, this better work. It will. God help me. It will. Bring it. It will.

How do I take a picture on this thing? I can’t figure it out. But watch this video to see me now: http://vimeo.com/24276473

Updates to come . . .

50 Responses to “On My Gaining Weight and Vow to Lose It”

  1. Michael: Go for the gold mate, we are with you! God Bless you and your family!

  2. G’day Michael. I have done it by giving up fruit juice, alcohol, cakes, pies and eating less than i used to.

    It was really easy to lose the first 16 or so kilos, but losing the last bit has been harder, but I’m still trying.

    Losing the last few kilos seems to need to involve doing some exercise, so i have been getting on the treadmill for 30 minutes or an hour most days.

    It is really helpful if your wife and family are with you. My wife has been a terrific help, but family gatherings don’t help! [Nice to have a break, I must admit, though.]

    Best wishes with it!

  3. Has this ‘no shaving’ thing been approved by your wife?????

  4. You can do it! As a pastor I’d gained weight too and kept it for many years. I’m only 5 feet 6 inches tall, but I weighed close to 210 .lbs. At my age and height I needed to lose about 40 .lbs. I felt tired all the time, unhealthy and since I struggle with depression I knew my weight was a factor too. Anyways, I didn’t do anything extreme, but I started by simply eating healthier and taking in lower calories. I started on the last weekend in February and lost about 45 .lbs by June. I feel great now. Never in my life had I been able to lose the weight until it became a matter of conviction and feeling I wasn’t a good example (self-control). I’m happy for you. I’m confident you’ll accomplish the weight loss.

  5. I will soon share with you all my progress and method. I hope that it will provide for some good dialogue and motivation for us all.

  6. HCG works and it is fast. Don’t ask me how I know. LOL.

  7. Well worth getting the book as it’s simple,straight forward and believe or not it’s turning out to be a sustainable lifestyle change that is proving to be longterm=lifelong…trust me I have done them all…I also love all of his extras:)

  8. I go to Weight Watchers and find having to be weighed in usually keeps me on my toes, except when I have a family gathering during the week.

    But I’d run a mile from their fattening food!

  9. Make sure you have your thyroid checked as well

  10. Chad, I had it checked twice as this was happening. Told the doctor that not much had changed in my life but my weight! I don’t know if some sort of anxiety or depression set in after my sister died, but really that is when it began. 2004. Then I went through that depression and wondered if it contributed. I have never taken any depression meds. The only thing I have been on is Gabupentin (Nurotin) for my back. I take hydrocodone from time to time, but other than that, no drugs.

  11. Brian Daugherty August 6, 2012 at 12:12 am

    It can be done, Michael. I’ve lost 85 lbs in just over a year, and am still losing.

  12. I have never commented on a blog before, because I usually think that no one really cares about what I think but I just have to this time. I DID notice that you have gained a lot of weight as I have watched many of the theology Program videos. ( I just assumed that you’ve had a lot of home-cooking) I also have been struggling with excess weight for some time now and I just read a book called “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, MD. It is a very eye-opening book about the causes and solutions to weight issues. I would encourage you to get this book and read it and try the doctor’s advice. I am going to try this because I had cut wheat (all bread and pastas) out of my diet sometime ago and I lost weight and felt great. I didn’t stick with it and now I am right back where I was (and then some). So now I am going to give it another try and I would encourage you to get that book.

  13. Good luck Michael. I dropped from about 270 to 200 in less than 6 months. I totally cut out sugar and carbs. I changed my food to meat and veg. I stopped eating when I was full. If you’re motivated, you can do it. The first 8lbs are the hardest, because you don’t think you are getting anywhere. Once you see progress you are motivated to keep going.

  14. Leslie Jebaraj August 6, 2012 at 1:18 am

    Hey Michael!

    I was wanting to tell you that you should do something about your weight, but then I thought how you will take it.

    BTW, please do share your diet and steps. I too need to reduce. Thanks!

  15. From someone who has never met you, recognisable on the video, but not like the photo you had previously on this site.

    Is it all those large fancy coffees you’re making?

  16. Were you on anti-depressants during your depression? Because that stuff will make you gain weight, it happened to me and everyone else I know who have taken them.

  17. Some anti-depressants make you gain. Others make you lose. Anyone on anti-depressants struggling with weight should consider switching medication. Prozac is one that tends to make you lose weight.

  18. Credo- Gym? :)

  19. I’ll be praying for you Michael. My wife was 100 pounds over weight, but has now lost half of that. Having the right motivation before her has been key through the battle (and it is a battle). Always appreciate your humble transparency bro. We shall all be lookinng forward to your updates on this and seeing you achieve your goal.

  20. You can do it. My doctor recently put me onto an app that helps with accountability on diet and exercise. Helps me. Google myfitnesspal for it. It is available as a website and an IOS app.

  21. The 4 hour body by Tim Ferriss
    All who read it can thank me with a latte when I came to visit the Credo house;)

  22. Michael, I know what your going through. I’ve been heavy, off & on, most of my life. I’ve lost a lot of weight before, through hours of exercise a day and changing my eating habits, but when I start living again, it seems to come back. I love working out, but the eating part is hard. I’m not usually a big eater, 1 to 2 meals a day, but that’s my problem. Through out my years, I’ve figure out how to lose weight, but getting motivated to do it, is the hard part. As an adult my weight has went from 205 to 250 to 173 to 240 to 220 to 290lbs. For me, I have to eat 5-6 meals a day (1500-2000 cals), and exercise no less than 4-5 times a week, 1-2hrs a day. I finally motivated myself, again; and made some changes. I’ve went to the gym for years, but for the last 5yrs, I’ve had little results. My oldest son got the P90x program last year to train for baseball over the summer, and it worked for him. So I decided to make a change from the gym to the P90x program this year, and so far, I’m pleased. I eat 5-6 meals a day, alternating carbs in every other day. This is similar to Chris Powell’s eating plan. I’ve also decided to take the weekends off. I don’t follow an exercise or meal plan on Sat. or Sunday. Those are my days for myself and my family. Since March, I’ve went from 290lbs to 250lbs. I know it’s only 40lbs., but with this eating plan, and exercise plan, you gain muscle also. So eat smart, change it up to keep you body quessing, shoot from long term and not quick weight loss, and try to find ways to stay motivated (get the kids and the wife involved, it helps).

  23. Michael…I know of what you speak. I’ve been there and done that. I topped the scales last year at 261.5. That’s when I found Robb Wolf’s book, “The Paleo Solution” and cardiologist Dr. William Davis’ book, “Wheat Belly”. (Both promote the idea of “evolutionary” eating- Wolf’s more so than Davis’-, or eating like our caveman ancestors. In no way do I believe or promote their underlying evolutionary thesis, but I can look at hunter-gatherer tribes of today and see that what they say is empirically true. They are also both heavily backed with real nutritional science.) All that is to say that by cutting out all grains, legumes, and dairy for 30 days (as Wolf suggests), it was obvious it worked and it was easy to stick by. I did add back in dairy because I have no intolerances against it. I am now a year into this style of eating, am down 42.5 pounds, and am feeling better than I ever thought possible (and I’m in the upper end of middle age!). I also like Mark Sisson’s website, http://www.marksdailyapple.com for ideas, workout ideas (free fitness e-book to download), and success stories. Again…ignore the evolutionary stuff and stick to the pragmatic things that work! I don’t spend hours in the gym and I’m not hungry, and yet I’m physically able to do far more than I have in the past 10 years. Some of my favorite quotes: “You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.” and “The best foods for you have only a single ingredient.”

  24. One more thing: Wheat and low-glycemic carbs, which are so prevalent in our Standard American Diet (SAD) spike your blood sugar, which then spikes your insulin, which then drives the excess sugars into fat cells. Two hours later, you are STARVING with a ravenous hunger and you grab the nearest sugary, bready food, and the cycle starts again. Avoid those things (wheat, fruit juices, high-glycemic fruits, starches) and stick to meat, eggs (if not allergic), colorful veggies, and low-glycemic fruit (anything with the word “berry” in it) and you will find any hunger that appears will be a “polite” hunger…much easier to manage. Don’t worry about fat content as long as it’s natural fat and not a created fat (vegetable oil). You won’t believe how fast your weight falls off and how good you feel! Just try it for thirty days…no grains, legumes, or dairy. If it doesn’t work, no harm done. If you like the results…keep going!

  25. Michael Reiser August 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

    About 10 years ago, my girlfriend (now my wife) lovingly suggested that she was beginning to find me repulsive :D I started following Body for Life, by Bill Phillips. Simple workout plan, and sensible eating. I highly recommend it. Best of luck!

  26. This just popped in my email as I wrote the previous posts. Don’t worry about posting it in the comments if you don’t want to, but please read the story. It’s inspiring about how eating like this can be healthy. http://robbwolf.com/2012/08/06/paleo-gave-father-life/

  27. It must have something to do with studying theology. I’ve put on 30 pounds since I started seminary 4 years ago :/

    Rooting for you

  28. Nathan Knighten August 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

    The old Nazarite vow, its on now! I think a three month beard in the Oklahoma heat will be motivation enough to keep going.

  29. Lisa, (:

    Your comment brought to mind mental images of Aquinas and Luther….large men, weren’t they?…..any others?

    Michael,

    Why not add another spiritual facet (besides whatever you may already have in mind) and fast? I’ve found myself more motivated when I have something more important in mind than just my waistline…..right now I’m fasting from sweets as a prayer for a prolife president. When I’m tempted, I think, no, this is my little way of praying for a Christian culture and for the babies. It’s not much in the overall scheme of things, but it’s an ordering of the appetites. Praying with my whole body.

    You are certainly not alone in your struggle!

  30. I too, have a weight problem.

    But I git a bit of encouraging news from my doctor, yesterday.

    He told me that about a week after my death, I should be down to my perfect weight. :D

  31. The fancy coffee does have an impact. We don’t realize how much sugar we take in consuming them. I’ve eliminated my coffee drinks altogether, along with sugar, grains, milk and gluten and have lost 20 lbs. It has not been overnight, but it has been steady. I’m on a special diet similar to paleo. From what I know of you by reading your work over the years, you’ve dealt with more stress than most people do in a lifetime for the last few years personally and with your ministries. That too has an impact, in addition to not getting proper rest. I’m glad to hear you are making your health a priority. My experience has been if you keep abusing it by burning the candle at both ends, your body will eventually make you. We were not built for a constant state of fight or flight. I’m on the rebuilding my health end of this. Don’t go there. It’s a lot more work at that point.

    You can do this.

  32. All I know is that according to standardized height/weight tables, I’m WAY too short.

  33. Hang tough Michael. I’ve lost 35 in the past 6 months. Don’t try any of that fancy stuff. Stay with the basics!
    Eat less, walk more! Don’t get in any hurry. It’s a day by day thing. Consider it like sanctification of your body! It’s a life long process!

  34. The HCG is very motivating because you have a program you stick to every day…project status as Dr. Phil says. Every day you get on the scales and see a lb. gone. Now that’s motivating. 20 lbs. in 20 days or more.

    It is an excellent way to jump start your progress, then you can procede more slowly and normally developing the good habits. But it provides a great fast way to get out of the danger zone fast. Lots of pressure on the heart and bones with the weight. And the fat around the middle is especially dangerous becoming a hormonal-producing entity unto itself. Downright scary how unhealthy it is. I researched it. HCG is not dangerous.

  35. “All I know is that according to standardized height/weight tables, I’m WAY too short.”

    LOL. I think there is some therapy where they put braces on your legs and stretch your bones. Or you could put the rings on your neck to stretch it out like that African tribe.

  36. I’m rooting for you Mike. I have the same problem and am going to use you as my inspiration

  37. CMP,

    I’ve got a ways to go too. I’m sure you’ve received a lot of diet recommendations. I don’t have one, other than saying reduce your portions of the fattening foods and cut out any desserts.

    I lost ten pounds just by doing that.

    I try to remember that it isn’t a punishing diet that counts but an overall heathy lifestyle. Makes a big difference in not only losing the weight but keeping it off.

    Good luck.

  38. Hoping for success in your effort to drop the 70+ pounds. Can’t help but believe that you will feel much better, both physically and emotionally. Glad that you are taking this on in such a public way. That alone may be at least one element to your success.

    Have to say that I don’t see the upside to forsaking grooming for however long it takes to lose the weight. While it may well be a reasonable personal incentive and daily reminder of the task at hand, I hope that you have obtained the consent of your wife and children, as they will doubtlessly have both an over weight AND disheveled husband and dad for a period of time.

  39. Well, just watch. In three months I will be the se weight and look like a fat hippie Eastern Orthodox.

  40. Dean Ornish, M.D., Spectrum Diet Groups 1 & 2 foods (look up online), plus this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/16529878/

  41. My wife and I are using sparkpeople.com since it is free and we are trying to trim financial fat as well. Works well if you follow it. :-)

  42. Hi CMP, I agree with several folks who have left comments and recommended that you make this a spiritual journey, rather than simply a diet. And also to make it a permanent life change, rather than a one-time goal.

    Fasting is medicine for the body and soul.

    Here is a good resourse that I have used:

    http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/foodfaithfasting

  43. I agree with Pete, the whole of life for the Christian is a journey of faith, and even glory! WE all need spiritual & bodily discipline! (1 Cor. 9: 27)…Luther missed it some here, but it appears Calvin did not. Though Calvin had terrible bodily suffering, even so. And note later even the bodily discipline of John Wesley! (Died in his late 80’s, quite amazing for that time! ;)

    But certainly we all have a personal gene pool, some simply live longer and fitter lives than others. God is Sovereign!

  44. Michael
    Im so excited for you. I hope this becomes a very successful journey for you. Its such encouragement to hear other christains with this struggle. Many dont realize how hard to is to lose weight. It can be just as hard as trying to give up cigarettes or alcohol. My Prayers are with you. You have given me additional motivation. I look forward to read about your methods and success stories.

  45. Michael, if you’re serious about letting your hair grow, I have one word for you – dreads!

  46. Hi Michael,
    Thank you for sharing this struggle. Three years ago, I weighed about 225, which at 6’4″ isn’t terrible. Then my wife went and got cancer. And we adopted. And then we decided to adopt again. My weight went up 75 pounds. At Christmas last year I hit 302. Then I was down to 255. Now I am back up to 300.

    Like you, I suspect, I know what to do. All of the suggestions of “eat this, not that” are not ultimately helpful to me. There is no magic bullet, despite what the media and our friends tell us. Someone above said eat less, move more. I couldn’t agree more strongly.

    I am seeing a counselor about my eating today. I think for me it is a discipline, spiritual, and emotional issue. Good luck and I will be thinking about you as I proceed on my journey.

    PS I asked my wife about the beard idea and I got a big “NO”

  47. Hi Fr Robert, good to hear from you!

    Keeping with your Olympic theme, Jesus Christ, St Paul, and John the Baptist all took gold medals in fasting. Fasting was a standard practice among the early Christians, and yet modern Christians have largly abomdoned this spiritual tool.

    We need it now more than ever. Today’s society glorifies the abuse of food, the abuse of alcohol, and porn. We are constantly under attack with these temptations, and yet we ignore a solid, effective, biblical tool which has been used successfully for 2000 years to defeat sin: fasting.

    Glory to God for all things

  48. @Pete: Indeed, Christian discipline is always part of discipleship! (Rom. 12: 1-2) :)

  49. There’s tons of good advice in this thread. I’ll add some more. Fill your house with stuff that you can eat, so that when you cave in, you’ll cave in for something good. When you do feel hungry, first try and fill yourself up with diet drinks or something. I practically lived on diet coke when I was losing weight. Probably not they best thing for you either, but it gets the job done. Then be mentally and physically prepared to go cook something healthy when you are hungry. Don’t eat what everyone else is, or eat those biscuits because you are ready to cave. Go cook an omelette and some green beans. If you’re not used to doing your own cooking, change that habit now. If you are reliant on so done else’s cooking, you are not empowered to decide what goes into your body. Cooking an omelette and some green beans is pretty easy, as is some lean meat and veg.

  50. Mike, hehe. We love u for your soul, and mind, not your body. But, if you do go for it, the wife must help, Establish a 2000 daily calorie max per day limit and be busy, stand up at desk, walk, jog, lift, bend…MOVE etc. read fit2fat2fit. A 6ft 2 193 ib guy gains 75 lbs in 6 months then loses it in 6 months. Mike, talk it over with wife, if she will learn how to prepare your balanced meals for the day capped at 2000 calories, & encourage u, u will succeed. GBU and the Vow. steve

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