Sunday Thoughts: Giving thanks in all things led to my losing 60 pounds

Staff photo.

By Jeff Self
Pastor, Caddo First Baptist Church

Scripture deals with all areas of life. It not only deals with sin, sorrow, grief and joy, or things we deem as significant, but perhaps it is found most of all in the day-to-day living.

Nearly everyone has at some point in life struggled with weight loss. Most of us rarely deal with this as a spiritual battle that requires as much power and self-control that one can muster. So as you read the following physical tips of how I lost the weight, please know that I truly understand that without the grace of God and His strength, this journey would have ended before it began.

I had a new low yesterday of 217 pounds. That may not be a big deal to most people, but for me, a 5-foot-11, 50-year-old pastor that weighed just under 280 pounds about a year and a half ago, it is a very big deal. The process has been slow, having more “ups” than “downs.”

At one point, I was down in the 240’s and shot back up to the 260’s strength. Determined to reach my goal of 200 pounds, I refocused. I began everyday by finding praiseworthy things in my life and giving God praise and glory. Things like my salvation, my family, our home, and yes, even the weight I had lost and regained.

Today, at age 50, I sit only 17 pounds away from my goal. I say this not to brag on me, but to tell you to trust God in everything and rely on His power. Don’t just go to Him for “spiritual” matters but in every aspect of life.

As for a diet, I did not “do a diet” this time. I chose to give God the glory and get to work. I went to my local weight control center, Walmart, and purchased a fit bit. Using my new gadget and the “my fitness pal” app to track calories in and calories out I was all set. My first discovery? I was eating a literal hind-end load of calories every day. I was eating far more calories than I could possibly burn. So I realized quickly that the enemy was not Satan, or cheesecake. It was the amount of food, not so much what kinds of food.

I still eat the same foods I’ve eaten my entire life, except I try to keep sugar out, except for an occasional cookie or slice of cake. I do, however, count those calories. I’ve eaten chili dogs, hamburgers, pizza, everything I have eaten my entire life. I just eat less and try to move a little more.

What I’ve discovered is that no matter what foods I eat, I will lose weight as long as I burn about 1,000 calories more per day than I take in. For me this means eating between 1,100 and 1,200 calories per day and burning about 2,200, most of which the body does on its own just keeping us alive.

Spacing out meals that include four to six small portions per day also helps keep blood sugar levels consistent rather than creating unhelpful spikes that lead to weight gain. So here’s the tip — eat four-six small meals per day that max out around 1,200 calories per day and leaves you at no less than 1000 calories per day. Then I try to get it at least 15 minutes walking every day.

I lose only about a pound or so per week, but for me it’s been consistent over the long haul… there days I go up a pound or two, days I’m down a pound or two and times where I may plateau for a week or two… but the overall direction of the scale for over one a year and a half now is down.

Remember, this is something to trust God in and give Him thanks for. In our weakness, HE is made strong. That is the ultimate message here… To God be the glory!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. [ESV]


  1. Cheryl Kerr says:

    Amen Brother. So glad for you and your lovely wife.