Late last April a couple of events converged to motivate me to get off my butt (literally) and do something about my morbid obesity. I had long left behind the 300 pound mark and I well was on my way to 1/3 of ton. It was getting very expensive buying new clothes at the "big & tall" store. (By the way I've never seen a tall man in those stores.) My knees were killing me and I could barely walk. I was afraid to go to sleep for fear that I would succumb to my apnea and never wake up.
The first event to awaken my sense that it was time to make a change occurred during my attendance at our parish's lenten mission. During the course of one of the evening reflections, Father Thomas McDermott, OP asked us to prayerfully reflect on what the number one thing that was keeping us from growing closer to our Lord. Something stirred within me and immediately, I thought of my weight and how it was making it difficult for me to serve in the ministries I was involved with at the church. For example, I could no longer stand to teach at RCIA or the Joe Catholic gatherings and I couldn't comfortably descend from the altar after lectoring.
Patron Saint of Weight Loss
The second event involved our church deacon. We were having a conversation after Mass and some how we got on the subject of Pope Blessed John XXIII (we have a statue of him in our sanctuary). Deacon Walt explained that Pope John XXIII was a big man, probably as "big as you, Don" and then he patted my stomach. I was a bit shocked at his joke, but I wasn't offended. Instead, for some reason, it got me thinking that I should ask Blessed John XXIII to intercede for me as I contemplated doing something about my weight. I have since learned about a movement to have John XXIII recognized as the patron saint of weight loss.
Providentially, Weight Watchers had just stared an online program geared towards men and they had also recently launched an iPhone app. I don't think I would have even considered WW if it weren't for those two things being in place. First, I viewed WW as being for women. Also, I wasn't about to mess with having to carry a booklet and chart with me every where I ate. So Stacey and I decided to join and TOGETHER we would take this journey to lose weight. That was nearly a year ago and I have lost 85 pounds in that time. I have dropped eight pant sizes and I can not only wear my wedding band again, but it is slipping off my finger. I can buy clothes in regular stores again. Most importantly, I have greater energy and my knees are feeling better. I can now stand while I speak or teach and I don't have trouble going up and down the altar.
The Road Ahead
I still have a long road ahead before I reach my ideal weight. While I attribute my success so far to the simplicity (simple not easy) of WW, I know a big part of my weight loss has been due to the loving support of Stacey. Additionally, including a spiritual component to my weight loss journey has given it a deeper meaning. I know losing weight will not come without difficulty, but those challenges will be opportunities to offer it up. I have a new patron in Blessed John XXIII to pray for me. One of the great things about being Catholic is learning that offering up something like losing weight can be included in our efforts to answer the call to holiness.