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					I DID IT!
        SO CAN YOU!




          BY DAN MCNEIL
I Did it, So Can You!
By Dan McNeil


November 2008, one week before Thanksgiving I
embarked on an adventure that would as of today
lead me to 70 pounds of weight loss. Each week I
hear from numerous people that I look great and
many of them want to know what I am doing or what
diet   plan     I   used.   After   some   prayer   and
consideration, I am going to share with the world all
of my weight loss secrets. The truth is these secrets
are not really secrets at all.


Before I get into how I lost weight and how I plan on
maintaining my weight loss, I am going to share why I
lost weight.


My health has always been good. Even though I have
suffered some joint pain, mostly in my knees and
foot, I haven’t suffered any other real health
problems. Even while living at an obese weight I have
been blessed with what most consider good health.


In the past I have tried many diets and exercise
programs to take off the pounds.      My goal was to
simply look better and possibly have more energy. All
of these diet plans worked while I was on them. As
soon as I would make some real progress, I would find
myself at a party or picnic and then back to eating
and eating and again eating. I could not get myself
interested or fired up about going back on the diet
plans, so I would continue on with my lifestyle of
unhealthy eating.


I can’t even count the number of times I have asked
God to help me lose weight. Each time I would ask
Him for help, I would start the day with a sensible
meal and continue from there down the slippery slope
of unhealthy eating. By the end of the day I end up
repenting and trying again the next day, only to
repeat this pattern each and every day tried.
So what is different this time?


There are several things that started this train in
motion. First was the announcement in August 2008
that I was going to become a grandfather. The news
was somewhat shocking but at the same time so
wonderful and joyous that I couldn’t contain myself. I
shared with everyone I knew, and didn’t know.


After about a month, some reality sunk in. Once my
grandson is born, he is going to have a young
grandfather in his 40’s whom he will run into the
ground while playing. Of course there is no way any
adult even in perfect condition is ever going to keep
up with a child, I had no fighting chance.


Next was the fact I was also going to have a new son-
in-law who enjoys the outdoors and hunting. I really
wanted to participate in these activities with him for
many years to come. Even though my health is good,
I have to ask myself, how long can I live weighing this
much and continue in good health?


I started to seek God concerning this. I again started
to pray and ask God to help me lose weight.       This
again just brought me to that endless loop of starting
off good in the morning and ending up eating
everything in sight by the end of the day.      It just
didn’t seem like God was helping me or taking any
interest in my losing weight.


Then a week before Thanksgiving the revelation
came.     While praying to God, not even thinking of
losing weight, I was thanking Him for how great things
are. Thinks like the call on my life is starting to be
realized. I was going to have a beautiful grandson and
new son-in-law. It just seemed everything was going
perfect and I was on top of the world.


God stopped me and said, “it’s time to make changes
again”.
I knew exactly what He wanted me to do. I have to
change the way I eat.


Our Heavenly Father is so loving that He didn’t
condemn me, but showed me in a loving way that I
have an eating disorder. He showed me that I have a
food addiction.      Just as any other substance
addiction, once you start with just a little, you tend
to increase and increase until it over takes you. Food
was doing this to me. Only difference between this
and most addictions is that I need to eat to survive.
You cannot quit food.


I asked God to remove this addiction and He said no,
“My grace is sufficient for you”.


I have heard those words before. Paul when asking
the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh said those
very words to him. 2nd Corinthians 12:9
It was then I knew I would have to live with this
addiction all of my life. I also knew that I would have
to overcome this addition and show God’s strength, or
greatness in my weakness.


The decision was now mine. I had a choice to make.
Continue to live eating the way I do, destroying my
body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, or change my
eating habits, taking better care of my body,
worshipping Him and living as a testimony to God’s
grace toward us.


I bowed before Him and with resolve, chose to live for
the God of my salvation.


It is important to understand why we do things often
before we go and do them. If we are serving someone
or something greater than ourselves, we find that
doing the very difficult can become much easier. God
is the greatest of all of the greatest. In making this
sacrifice for Him, I find that even with this being as
difficult as it is, all things are possible to him who
trust in the Lord.


Now that I have established that I am going to have to
sacrifice and fight my flesh in order to worship God, I
need to understand what it is I can do to make the
changes I need to make.


Since I realize God’s grace is a huge part of my weight
loss, I decided to take it in steps and create realistic
goals.   Knowing the holidays were coming up, my
initial goal was to lose 1 pound a week, with the
hopes of just maintaining my weight throughout
Thanksgiving and Christmas. This seemed like a tough
enough battle.


To understand how this is possible I first had to
understand myself. Since this was a change I needed
to make for the rest of my life, I need to be able to
live with this change. One thing I knew right away is
that I hate exercising.
All of my life, mostly in my younger years, I have been
involved in some sort of sports. I have played soccer,
lifted weights, swam, studied martial arts, biked,
coached soccer, and played various other sports here
and there.


Being involved in these sports allowed me to eat large
quantities of food and either maintain or even lose
weight. The problem is, once you hit your mid 40’s,
not many sport teams are knocking down your door
asking you to play with them.


In addition, I have a very busy lifestyle. This allows
me very little time to exercise or participate in
individual sports such as martial arts or biking.
Knowing I wasn’t going to be getting much exercise, I
needed to put together a plan that would enable me
to live a busy life and still lose weight.
Another thing I had to learn is that it will be totally
impossible for me to live on salads and eat lots of
fruits and veggies the rest of my life. I simply do not
like those kinds of foods much.     I rather eat junk
foods. Burgers, fries, pasta, ice cream and stuff like
that.


This presents a huge problem. I needed to find a way
to improve my intake of healthy foods and reduce my
intake of unhealthy foods. Keeping in mind I am not
only losing weight as an act of worship to my Lord,
but also improving the healthiness of what I eat.


I started to think of what foods I like. I needed foods
that were lower in fat, carbohydrates and calories. I
found there were quite a few foods I liked and even
ate regularly that fit these requirements.          Green
beans, fish, chicken, turkey and several others.        I
also had to ask myself being completely honest, can I
give up eating cheeseburgers, pasta and ice cream the
rest of my life? The answer is no. I needed a way to
fit these kinds of foods into my diet.


Last thing I needed to understand about myself is how
much I eat. My portions were simply out of control.
Especially when it came to eating things like breads,
pastas and ice cream.        Unhealthy foods at very
unhealthy quantities. This might be the hardest of my
battles.


Now that I understand what foods I can eat, or want
to eat. And the goal of wanting to lose 1 maybe 2
pounds tops a week, I need to have a plan in order to
do this. I needed a plan that again fits who I am. I
am not a very organized person who keeps records. I
needed a way of knowing what I am eating, what I
should be eating and how I can eat to benefit my body
and please the Lord.


Since I am not good at organization or following diet
plans that require list or meal plans, I decided to
simply do a basic calorie count.     I went online and
found a BMI calculator. I needed to know where I was
starting.


My first BMI calculation was ugly.    As I thought, it
came back saying I was obese. Actually, I was very
obese. This was enough to almost cause depression
and say I quit even before I get started.      Since I
resolved to go with God and worship Him, I fought
through that first battle.


Next I calculated how many calories I burn each day
at that weight.     I estimated my exercise level as
pretty lethargic in order to give myself a bit of a
cushion because I spend many days sitting at a desk
during work.


From there, knowing that in order to lose 1 pound of
weight you need to burn 3500 calories more than you
take in, I simply did the math. My daily calorie burn x
7= my weekly calorie burn. My weekly calorie burn –
3500= 1 pound loss/ week. 1 pound loss/week / 7 =
my daily calorie intake requirements to lose 1 pound
per week.


Armed with that number, I needed to fit into my day
what I will eat. To track how much I eat, I would just
keep a rough mental record of the number of calories
each meal.


Each day I decided to seek God not to ask Him what
to do, but to thank Him for His grace and mercy.
Turning my asking for something around to giving Him
praise and worship instead.


The first few days weren’t all that hard. I did find
quickly I would get very hungry between breakfast
and lunch.   I again did some math and this wasn’t
hard to understand. I eat breakfast around 4:30 am,
and have lunch around 11:30 am if everything stays on
schedule. That is 6 hours between meals. I needed
to divide that 6 hours in half in order to prevent me
from feeling like I am starving. I still eat the same
amount of food and     I still get hungry, but it is a
manageable hunger.


How I did this was slightly reduce my breakfast
calories and add a low fat, low calorie snack. I found
a fat free yogurt or a pack of instant oatmeal works
best for me. My goal was to have a low carbohydrate,
low fat, low sugar breakfast, and still manage to
achieve about 300-400 calories before lunch.


It didn’t take me long to understand that while
working in order to be able to focus on work I would
need to eat more often, reducing hunger. This really
isn’t hard to do. All I needed was to know how many
calories I planned on eating, and divide it by the
number of meals I felt I needed to eat.


It wasn’t long and I started to see results. One pound
lost here, one pound lost there. After a few weeks I
was down a few pounds. When looking at the massive
amount I needed to lose, it feels like this will take
forever.   Taking a moment and thinking over the
amount of time it was going to take, versus the
amount of time I will spend living for Christ, the time
it would take to lose weight didn’t matter.         I was
going to spend the rest of my life eating healthier so
it won’t matter how long it takes to lose weight.


I did set some goals. Usually 5 to 10 pound goals in
order to gauge progress and to re-evaluate my daily
caloric intake requirements. As you lose weight, you
require less food.     Unless you increase exercise, in
which I will at some point. With my time limitations,
and the fact I didn’t want to go to the gym looking
like the fattest guy there, I have put this off just a
bit.


Now,   what    about    those   days   where   food    is
unavoidable?
If   you   remember   I   started   this   right   before
Thanksgiving. There is no way to avoid feasting on
that holiday. Deserts are plentiful and so are breads,
potatoes and stuffing.     Knowing this holiday was
coming, I knew I would have a tough fight on my
hands.


One thing I realized is I was going to over eat that
day. What I had to do is somewhat control how much
I over eat, and fight off a food addiction in the
process.   My first plan was to ask God to cancel
Thanksgiving.   Somehow I didn’t think that would
work.


On my mind was the words, My grace is sufficient. I
knew what that meant.      God is not going to remove
the addiction, or my flesh, so I was going to have to
stand firm in and worship God even in affliction.


Much to my own surprise, I managed to not really over
eat and to continue on with good portions. I did eat
some desert, just not much. I did eat all of the other
foods, just very limited.      I fought through and
managed to only eat what was right and in amounts
pleasing to the Lord. God’s grace did prevail.


I also knew that in order to gain a pound I would have
to eat 3500 additional calories.    Since Thanksgiving
was one day, the odds of that were slim. What ended
up being the result of the holiday was I actually lost a
pound. I was able without even counting one day to
manage to stay focused enough to realize a pound of
weight loss on a holiday that nearly everyone gains
weight. This was very encouraging to me.


So far everything sounds fantastic. It sounds like I am
in control of my flesh and have over come a serous
addiction. In some ways I have come into control of
my flesh. In other ways I have a long way to go.
When you find yourself into a situation of affliction,
you quickly find out you may have many additional
weaknesses.


While cutting back on portions and roughly tracking
calories, I found I tend to pad my numbers a bit.


Rounding numbers makes it easy for me to track. Also
you don’t always know exactly how many calories a
food you ate contains. So for this, I have to estimate,
and from there I tend to round up in order to ensure I
haven’t eaten too many.


There is one huge problem with this. The problem is
this can cause you to under eat. The one thing I have
learned is that your body has a built in mechanism
that tries to prevent you from starving to death. If
you don’t eat enough calories, your metabolism shuts
down and tries to save energy.     Also, since muscle
burns more calories than fat, you body will start
reducing muscle mass in order to reserve energy and
continue allowing fat to be stored.


The result is either stagnant weight loss or even some
weight gain. I have experienced this several times.
Once you start seeing this, your mind starts telling
you, eat less. But your body wants more. You get
into a battle between your mind and body. About the
best thing you can do is eat. The problem with me is I
am fighting to control the flesh and my food
addiction. This means I somehow have to give into
the flesh, feed it, yet control it. This is not easy.


Once this takes place I find I have another weakness.
An obsessive behavior disorder. I will start to obsess
over what I have eaten and tracking the calories I
need versus the calories I have taken in. I tend to
jump on the scale, several times a day tracking my
weight. None of this has any positive affect, either in
myself or in my relationship with my wife. It drives
her nuts.    I have since learned that when going
through these times, I need to keep it to myself, and
fight that battle. I am slowly getting better at it.


A key to fighting these huge battles in our lives is
knowing who we are in Christ and who He is in us. We
must continually remember He loves us and accepts
us just as we are. He doesn’t condemn us. He is all
loving and all compassionate and all forgiving. When
we fail, He is there to forgive us and set us free to
continue on.


We cannot hold our past failures up causing them to
become a roadblock to our future successes. A failure
that took place even one moment ago is a past
failure. We must leave that in the past and know that
God is always moving forward.


Losing weight is not easy. Especially if you have an
addiction or eating disorder.     In doing so, you will
discover you may have other battles to fight as well.
Many of these are life long. Others once defeated will
never be an issue again. God has given us His grace
and through His grace we can overcome to the Glory
of our risen King.
About the Author


Dan considers himself to be the most blessed man on earth.
Along with his beautiful bride, Janice, Dan oversees Life
Abundant Ministries, in Steelton, PA as well as Congregational
Care for Life Center Ministries International in Harrisburg, PA.
Dan feels his purpose in life is to help others achieve their
purpose and live the dreams God has given them.


A huge part of Dan’s blessing is his extensive education and
experiences in ministry and helping others.    Dan has recently
earned his Professional Coaching Certification from Coaches
Institute International. Dan also holds a Masters and Doctorate
Degrees in Missionary Ministries, from Victory Bible College, as
well as a Christian Counseling Certification from the Sarasota
Academy of Christian Counseling.


Along with those degrees and certifications, Dan also has many
additional certifications in a variety of subjects including
electronics, effective communications, leadership and influence,
emergency management, and many technical and computer
related certifications. Dan is also a musician and worship leader
with more than 30 years experience.
Even with all of that education, talent and skill, Dan is the first
to tell you that without faith in God and His guidance, we will
wonder through life struggling to fulfill our destiny.


For more information on Dan and to contact him, visit
Http://www.lifeabundantministries.org
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