Not everyone’s addictions are private . . .

Some people’s addictions show up right on their faces – or their midsections . . .

I stepped on the scale 9 years ago today, at the doctors office, because the bathroom scale I had at my house would no longer register my weight. The number was astronomical. At my heaviest, i weighed around 380 lbs. That’s roughly half the backstreet boys.

I don’t blame anyone or anything except myself. My son had some issues when he was first born, and my wife thinks I was depressed because of that – so that manifested itself in eating. I love to eat. I still love to eat – and that’s the problem. Addictions – any addiction, are an attempt to satisfy a longing and hunger and thirst that only Christ can. It’s looking to other means of coping or comfort when the reality is nothing of THIS earth will satisfy.

Over the course of about 10 months, i dropped about 160 pounds. It was EASY . . . ALL i had to do was eat healthy and exercise. (i kid about the easy part – just in case someone doesn’t REALLY know me). Here’s the kicker – studies show that once obese – one has to exercise an hour a day to MAINTAIN a healthy weight. So part of my story is dealing daily with the consequences of gluttony . . . I tell people that keeping it off is as hard, if not harder, than taking it off.

Some things that I did:
1. I started walking. I had a membership to a golf course in town, and would go out and play 18 holes most afternoons, in an hour and a half. That’s right. 18 holes. 1.5 hrs. and I’d walk . . . i would approach my shot – figure out which club i wanted to hit before I got to the ball. Take that club out and at the same time, sling the bag off my shoulder and set it down. Line up, swing, grab my bag, and put the club back. It was insane to watch . . . That helped me take most of the weight off. Things I do now have included running 5 miles a day, P90x, and my routine now involves all the cardio portions of P90x – plyo, yoga, kenpo, core, ab ripper.

2. I quit drinking diet coke. I’m convinced that nothing is more unhealthy for you than soda in general – but Diet Coke has to take the cake. It has a chemical called aspartame – and I don’t care what anyone says – aspartame is bad for you . . . i read studies that show that aspartame makes you crave carbohydrates. I cut diet coke out – completely. Before that, i could drink a pitcher at dinner – really. It’s gross to think about now . . . I drank nothing but water . . .

3. I watched every bit of what I ate. Mostly some kind of salad with chicken on it – and that was it. Yeah – I know. It’s not an exciting, inspirational diet. There’s no “eat anything you want and lose 160 pounds.” It was hard work.

There were no surgeries . . . there was no magic button . . . I didn’t eat the same sandwich from a restaurant everyday for a year . . . it was focus. It was relying on strength other than my own.

Here’s the problem – like any other sin – we think that if we only try harder – or put our minds to it – then we’ll lick it . . . it wasn’t until i started relying christ to overcome this addiction that i found success – any other time it was me trying to pull up the bootstraps, dig in, eat less, exercise more . . . and those things are great – but unless they’re grounded in the larger principle of recognizing WHY I got this way, and WHO is able to deliver – then it just becomes a relentless fight, and results in disappointment.

It remains a difficult fight. I wake up everyday with the reality that the struggle starts over. I continue to want to eat – because I love food – and it will be that way for the rest of my life – but as with any other addiction/sin – my hope is found in a deliverance that is not my own. Am I mentally whacked because of it? You bet. Do I fret daily that i’ll be huge again – all the time. I’ve got a very close friend that struggles with other chronic health issues – it’s beyond frustrating for him – and he’s going to have to fight, everyday, for the rest of his life to believe that Christ is his deliverer, and not his “intent to become better.” We’re still called to fight. We’re still called to discipline. We’re still called to good and healthy habits – but that calling has to be grounded first in faith that Christ can deliver you from WHATEVER it is . . .

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6 thoughts on “Not everyone’s addictions are private . . .

  1. I can really relate to your experience. We can diet, exercise, and try every plan known to man without success. Even if we are physically successful in dropping the pounds the underlying issue is still not dealt with. The Lord Jesus is the only one who can set a man free. I know this is one major stumbling block in my life but even in the midst of it the Lord is working in my life. The fact that He would choose to work in imperfect lives is incredible.

  2. Jason,

    Thank you for your honest story of a man with addictions, but a God who is bigger. We can all relate to your feelings and cravings- no matter what our addictions are.

    I appreciate your vulnerability and pray that, through this story, it would lead others to trust Christ with their addictions, too. Not for “results” just for more of Him.

    Lauren Sheehan

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