Health, Vanity & High School Reunions

How ironic that one of my older posts — “Big Fat Baptist Preacher & Baptisms!” — would be among the first that the Revive Old Post plugin would “choose” to retweet. I wish I was able to look at that post — published a little over four years ago — and laugh at the absurdity, knowing that I was now in the best shape of my life and no longer a big, fat Baptist preacher. Alas, no such luck (or providence, as the case may be).

Like too many Americans, I have tried — and failed — to lose weight and get fit. It’s not that I don’t know what to do. As our Student Pastor, Jon Dowling, reminds me, it comes down to two key principles — eat less and exercise more. And, therein lies the problem for this preacher. I like to eat and I have gotten out of the habit of exercising.

Until recently. I became more motivated about three weeks ago — although starting about three months behind schedule — to get healthy, to lose weight, and to look and feel great. I would like to say that when I embarked on this new (yet again) fitness regimen that I was motivated by a concern for my health and well-being. Sadly, that was not the case at first. So, what motivated me to eat less by religiously counting every calorie via MyFitnessPal and to exercise more by ordering a Total Gym (hey, Chuck Norris looks darn good for a man in his 70s)? My upcoming 30th High School Reunion (Lake Placid High School Class of 1984) at the end of October.

Yes, I admit that vanity (and pride) played a big part in my restarting on a healthy lifestyle. If I had it within my power to do, then why not lose some weight and look good at the same time? (Why does Billy Crystal impersonating Fernando Lamas come to mind?) After all, it’s been 30 years since I have seen most of my classmates, although many of us keep in touch through Facebook. Why not make a good impression after all these years?

While that might not be the best reason to get in shape, it is one that did at least get me started on the right path. Of course, vanity is never a good reason to do anything (ask Solomon, who has much to say in the book of Proverbs). Thankfully (I think), the vanity motivation for a “new me” was short-lived.

“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity and chasing after the wind.” Sometimes you learn that in Sunday School and sometimes you learn that in a doctor’s office. I’ve done both. Last week, I got my blood work back which my doctor ordered after a minor health issue surfaced a few weeks ago, just after I had started exercising and eating better. Isn’t that the way it always seems to work out? Just when you think you are feeling better and getting into some semblance of shape that is not rotund, reality hits you in the face.

My reality is that my overall cholesterol — which I have not had checked in years — was high. My LDL (bad cholesterol) was high and my HDL (good cholesterol) was low. The only good news was that my Triglycerides were normal, which caused my doctor to conclude that heredity played a big part in my out-of-whack numbers. That doesn’t excuse my overall lack of health. While cholesterol medicine (which I am now taking) can bring my numbers down, I still need to exercise more and eat less.

If When I lose more weight (about 30 more pounds) through diet and exercise, I have an outside chance of getting off medicine entirely. That would be good all the way around. Unfortunately, I won’t have lost all that weight by the time my 30th High School Reunion in Lake Placid, FL rolls around seven weeks from this Friday. And, that’s okay. It’s going to be great to see all my old friends and catch up in person. At that point, I will be well on my way to better health and fitness. And, that’s something that neither vanity nor high school reunions can motivate, at least for very long.

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