In January of 2014 my family and I went on vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. While there, I had a life-altering realization: I was not just out of shape; I was morbidly obese and in danger of a serious health crisis.
I could not walk from one bench to another on the "strip" in Gatlinburg without having to sit down. I had to stay in the hotel room while the rest of my family went out and enjoyed time in the area.
I was 39, on a BiPAP machine, could not walk the length of my house without having to sit down and catch my breath, and I weighed 539 pounds.
I hadn't been sleeping well, and on the second morning of our vacation, I woke up tired. I was the only one awake, and in the quietness of the moment I felt a prompting from God. I realized then that my health was no longer just a physical issue, but it had also become a spiritual issue. I knew that I was at a crossroads in my life and had to do something about it.
I was also blessed with the prompting and realization that one day I would be able to use this journey to encourage others.
I made a commitment to Christ and my wife to see a physician when we got home. I even called and made an appointment with a bariatric surgeon from our hotel room in Gatlinburg. I suppose a part of me knew that if I didn't start right away on this life-changing journey, I might postpone it again.
I saw the surgeon that next week and began a six-month preparation process for surgery. Through much prayer and research I chose to have the gastric sleeve procedure, which seemed to have the least amount of complications. The surgeon informed me that the most I could hope for as far as weight loss after the surgery was 100 pounds, and possibly 125, if I followed all the guidelines exactly.
To date, I have lost 320 pounds, and now weigh 220 pounds.
Isn't God good?
At my 18-month checkup, the doctor told me that any weight lost over 125 pounds was a result of my own efforts. I quickly informed her that it was the power of the Holy Spirit working through me that has made it possible.
I feel a genuine desire and a calling to turn my story and journey into a ministry of encouragement for others who also see the need for improved health and/or weight loss.