By Ed Chavis – Associate Pastor of Lumpkin Road Baptist Church, Augusta, GA
With that self-incriminating, quite humiliating statement, my life was about to be turned upside down. For the third year now, our local NBC affiliate has been promoting a competition loosely based on the hit television show, “The Biggest Loser.” It features two trainers, nutrition guidance, and weekly weigh-ins; unlike the show, there are no challenges, no eliminations, and no drama. They accept applications for a couple of months, from which they choose 20 finalists; from those 20 interviews, the field is narrowed to 12 participants.
Last year, I was told that I just missed the cut, and was offered a consolation prize of a reduced-fee membership. I said, “Thanks, but I think I’ll just do it on my own.” Twelve months and 20 pounds later, I reapplied, received the long-awaited phone call, and walked through the doors at the television studio. The lobby was noticeably empty, but I lowered my voice and said to the receptionist, “I’m here to interview for The Biggest Loser.” Two weeks after that, I was in.
Most of us who struggle with our weight fight the battle privately, unless we choose to share our experience with a few close friends. Signing up for the Augusta’s Biggest Loser competition did not afford me that luxury. Since the competition is sponsored by the local gym and the local nutrition center, and paid for with advertising funds, our faces, stories, and starting weights are splashed all over the local newscasts and in commercials for their respective businesses.
I have seen three immediate benefits to participating in such a program. First, God has used this experience to place me in the middle of a large number of people who do not know Christ. I have an opportunity to have an impact not only on my five teammates and the six competitors on the other team; but also on the local TV personalities, trainers, gym managers, reporters, and many others that I would have never met otherwise.
Second, because the TV station is filming profiles of each contestant “in their element,” we had the opportunity of having a news crew in our AWANA program and around our church family on a Wednesday night. The story aired three times on our local news, and it was a tremendous opportunity to get our church name out into the community.
Third, but certainly not least, are the health benefits I have already begun to reap. When I began, my blood pressure was 140/90, my back hurt every day from the residual effects of two back surgeries, I had frequent migraine headaches, and I could hardly do anything without having to stop and catch my breath. I had put my trumpet aside, because I could not play with any quality of sound; singing was an effort, and none of my suits buttoned. Four weeks into the competition, my blood pressure is down to 120/80, backaches and headaches are completely gone, my breathing is better, my jackets button, and I am 33 pounds lighter.
People began asking me immediately for advice on losing the extra pounds — I had to tell them that one week of training and dieting does not make me an expert. But I did learn these two things early on. First, if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, your chances of being successful by yourself are slim to none. The accountability, support, and companionship of the group have been key to whatever success I have had so far.
The other thing I have learned is about the changes we try to make in our lives, whether it be in the area of weight control, relationships, or any part of life. If we make little changes, we get little results. If we make temporary changes, we get temporary results. If we make radical changes, we get radical results.
With five and a half months left in the competition, and the workload increasing all the time, I’m not sure if my theme verse should be “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”, or “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Losing the weight is simple — but it’s not easy!
Ed Chavis is blogging about his weight-loss journey at http://echavis64.blogspot.com.