Thursday, December 28, 2006

A resolution... well, not really and a little early

Yep... I'm at it again. I've started running & watching my diet. But this one is different... my lifestyle change will succeed and I will get back to a healthy weight! Why will this one work when my last 4 attempts didn't? Let's take a brief stroll through Eric's recent past...

When I moved to Emmanuel College in 1997 I weighed 200 lbs. My freshman year I began playing racquetball and started losing a little weight, but I struggled to control my diet, especially when it came to drinking sodas. My junior year I moved off campus, exempted out of the cafeteria meal plan, started working at a Chinese restaurant, started running with my roommate and riding a bike because my car's transmission went out. Because I was broke I either ate canned vegetables, tuna, ramen noodles or hot dogs because they were cheap (lots of canned veggies) or hot & sour soup and plain fried rice at the restaurant because they'd let me eat it for free when I was working. Needless to say, I lost a LOT of weight... when I graduated college in 2001 I weighed 155 lbs!

When I started working and had a little more expendable income I ate better and began to put on a little weight, but I was conscious of it and continued running regularly in the neighborhood in which I lived. By the time I was married in November of 2003 I weighed 170 lbs... and I was concerned about it! The downhill slide started on our honeymoon when I "let myself go" and drank Cokes by the gallon. When I got home I found it very difficult to change that habit.

During my single post-college years I kept the habit of eating lots of canned veggies. Sadly, that menu didn't fly with my new wife and daughter. They ate lots more junk food that I was accustomed to and didn't really have weight problems (unlike myself). After we moved away from my old running grounds into what is now our home, Vanessa didn't want me to run near our house because in the 90s a man was hit by a car when running on our road. As you can probably tell, I'm not a horribly self-disciplined person; if eating right and exercising is going to be a part of my life, I have to be able to get in a groove with it VERY easily or I won't stick with it. The family wasn't jiving with a healthier diet and I wasn't running... and the weight began to climb QUICKLY.

I tried several times to get back into a routine but they didn't "stick," primarily for two reasons: 1) I was the only one in my family trying to keep up a healthy diet (if my family is drinking sodas it's almost impossible for me to resist) and 2) running was very inconvenient. I needed to be able to come home from work, change clothes and hit the road!

So... what has changed? First off, now that we have three kids, Vanessa and I are making a "healthy family" commitment. We are a soda-free family now and we are eating smaller portions of food and including more fruits and vegetables (HUGE development for my family!) Also, I now have a running route close to our house that takes me down a side dirt road and keeps me off the main road for the most part. Vanessa feels OK with me running this route as long as I'm not listening to my iPod so I can be very aware of traffic. I'm also getting my run in immediately after work before dusk settles in so I'm easily visible (the guy who was hit was running in the morning... I think pretty early, at or before sunrise).

The Foster-Whiddons are going healthy! I'm very excited about this change and feel that it will in fact stick - doing this as a team makes it much easier for us all to be committed and make it happen. This is for my health and the health of the kids!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Surprised by God!

It's awesome when God seems to show up unannounced! I just finished a meeting with about 10 of our youth ministry's 16 student leaders - we call them "apprentices." We worshiped for a while then talked about this semester in youth ministry. They were so much fun to be with; I have really been disconnected from actually working with teens and being with these kids tonight was a major "shot-in-the-arm" for me. I am more encouraged in my ministry from these short hours with them than I have been by all my own self-talk and the kind bolstering words of my friends. This has been a very tough season in youth ministry for me but I think I just had another small breakthrough!