Two years ago, on 1/1/11 I wrote a post “NO MORE EXCUSES.” It was theraputic for me and helpful to others. Make no mistake, all of us are a WORK IN PROGRESS. I have come to the conclusion that folks are not inspired by excuses but execution. The Lord told me that it is better to be a good example than a poor excuse. The first quarter century of my life – I had some issues (we all do) but weight was not one of my problems. However, the pounds creeped in and the scale begin to tip and like “Apollo 13″ I could attest: “Houston, we have a problem!” One of the things, I knew deep down I had to change was weight. Yes, I had “waiting on the Lord” down but my extra weight was hindering my walk with God up.
Yes, traveling the country is not easy to eat healthy and I could give you other reasons for putting on the pounds but that would just be more excuses. In regards to eating healthy and excercise it has been said: “You can pay me now or pay me later.” An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Initially, I was even hesitant to share my journey because a Pharisee is around every corner, cubicle and computer but the Bible reminds “fear of man brings a snare.” However, I also knew we would help more than offend some. Some teaching I heard early in my Christian walk was that if I did anything for “me” it was either selfish or sin. I’m not sure if it was intentional or subliminal but it seemed that the lie I was buying was that in order to be a good Christian we should be broke, over-weight and borderline depressed. Yes, some of God’s most dedicated children had no homes or money but that is not the only pre-requisite to be a commited Christian. Our body is the Temple of the Living God and I needed to honor Him with my lips and hips.
While on an airplane a few years ago, I was shocked and borderline mad when the stewardess told us “In case of a decline in cabin pressure grab the air mask above and put it on YOU first and then assist small children next to you.” That was so contrary to my Christian upbringing! I was told to die to self, let others go first, etc. However, it dawned on me that we will not be much good for God and others if we consistently neglect ourselves. When the Bible finally mentions excercise one of the references is that it is of “little value.” Then I realized that I had to get a check up from the neck up and “little value” was still a BIG impact that I desperately needed in my life. Perhaps, this post on my progress will somehow serve as a springboard for you to bounce back in tip top shape. If not tip top possibly at least turn the corner.
Four years ago, I had Elvis Presley’s step-brother in my car and I was taking him to the airport in Washington, D.C. Rick Stanley is also an evangelist and we were talking about Elvis. Ironically, Elvis (like me) was also 6’1, wore a size 12 tennis shoe and loved Jesus. Those three traits are probably the only thing else I had in common. He was “King of Rock N Roll” and I was cut from the fourth grade choir. However, I also had something more in common that I cared to admit. The discussion turned to Elvis’ weight and we all have heard the cruel jokes (The skinny Elvis or “Big” Elvis). First of all, most folks don’t wear all white jumpsuits (especially as adults). Dark makes one look trim but anyone (and almost everyone) looks bigger wearing white. Secondly, when you are the most photographed human in history at that time it is easy to be an arm chair quarterback on Monday but never played in the game Sunday and throw callous comments. Third, everyone ages differently.
Before dropping him off at Reagan National Airport, I recall asking Rick how much Elvis weighed at death and it startled me, scared me and saddened me. I had friends who bragged as children that they wanted to be “bigger than Elvis” but now as an adult I just realized I was “bigger than Elvis!” I am not talking fame or fortune but carrying the extra weight. On the dawn of turning 41 next month (February 20, 2012) and Elvis was 42 when he died I realized that the internal light on my dashboard was blinking and I was running low emotionally and physically. Honestly, I could also hear Elvis song “It’s Now Or Never” dance in my mind. No joke and I knew if I didn’t change it could lead to a stroke (or worse). Just because we are doing good things or God’s Work doesn’t immune us from heartache or heart-attack.
In my spirit, I am convinced when one part of the body suffers ultimately it creeps into other areas as well. When the R.M.S. Titanic hit the iceberg four compartments of that vessel were torn open ultimately damaging other sections of the ship to its demise. It is crucial that we address an issue at the start or we will fail in the end. FULL DISCLOSURE: For me, carrying the extra weight hindered me as a child of God, father, husband and friend. My three year old son, Andrew is faster than a Ferrari and if I was going to not only keep up with him but be a blessing to him and our family I had to make some changes. God didn’t love me any less but I was starting to appreciate life less.
I am also thankful for dear friends who loved me enough to tell me the truth that I was struggling and for others whom held me accountable. Truth at first may hurt but it ultimately helps and heals. Last year, I was at a board meeting in Tuscaloosa, AL for Praisefest Ministries “Cruise With A Cause.” I was sitting at the early morning session and while some were drinking coffee or orange juice I had a 44oz Coke from McDonald’s. My friends and former Wrestling Champs NIKITA KOLOFF - “The Russian Nightmare” and LEX LUGER - “The Total Package” walked into the meeting and as they walked past me to get a seat if looks could kill I just got murdered. They didn’t have to say anything but the twin poster boys for health and nutrition took one look at me with the soda in my hand and they were dissapointed. They were not judging me but they knew I could do better. Much better! Truth be told, I was already dissapointed in me but its worse when you dissapoint others (much less heroes). It also dawned on me that I had to make a change. How many other people had encouragers in their life; much less world-class athletes that actually care enough to call on the phone to say: “Frank, I love you. I am concerned for you and together we can do better.” I had the encouragement from both “The King of Kings” and “Kings of the Ring” (wrestling) and I knew I had NO MORE EXCUSES.
Yes, the day I graduated from high school (and playing on three basketball teams in one season) I was 6″1 and weighed 156 lbs with FOUR PERCENT BODY FAT! I could have auditioned to play “GUMBY” in a movie and got the part! Not because I was green but super lean!! However, those days are gone. For years, I had watched P90x infomercials and thought “maybe one day.” So after getting sick and tired of being sick and tired I ordered the program and began to turn the corner personally.
Initially, I was tempted to tell the world on DAY ONE that I started and I totally believe in accountability but I also know that its better to say nothing and accomplish something than say something and accomplish nothing. With Christmas around the corner, I wanted to do something creative that money couldn’t buy and quite honestly as a itenerant speaker living completely “on faith” I’m reminded of my Dad’s words from my childhood “Frank, money doesn’t grow on trees.” With God’s help and some sweat and hard work we (team effort) made the change! Officially, on September 24, 2012 I started my lifestyle change and knew that 90 days later on the calendar would end on December 24 (CHRISTmas Eve)! It dawned on me that one of the best gifts I could give my family, friends and myself was discipline and dedication to drop the weight.
On December 5, 2012 I had the pleasure to be a guest on JC-TV in Santa Ana, California at TBN studios. It is true that television makes you look bigger already and I posted this pic of me the night of the taping for my appearance to preach on LIVE television and received countless comments about losing weight. PRAISE THE LORD! At one time I resembled GUMBY but as of late I was looking more like BARNEY! In 90 days, I had dropped 27 lbs and a couple sizes in my waist but I also know that diets are disatrous if our new discipline and labors don’t continue to a LIFESTYLE. My initial desire was to share on Facebook and with friends that I dropped weight on December 24, 2012 but being Christmas Eve I didn’t want anything to take away the focus of Christ and celebration of His birth. Now as we enter a new year, I humbly ask for your prayers to continue and if the Lord leads you to make a change in your life we can do it together. For some it may be omiting alcohol, others to cease cigarettes for another it could be to excercise or read the Bible or write that book that has been burning in you since Reagan was president. Perhaps going to bed before midnight! Rest is crucial in healthy living. I don’t know what you need but God does and deep inside you do as well.
Today, is a new day and a New Year! With God’s help we can live at a higher level and I found that less really is more. I love Michael Jackson’s song “MAN IN THE MIRROR” and I had to make a change but I’m also thankful for Elvis’ brother that reminded me that bigger is not better. As a minister of the Gospel I knew what it was like to “WAIT ON THE LORD” but despite me “WEIGHTing on the Lord” He could carry me but deep inside I knew God was actually waiting on me to turn the corner with my improved health. On Christmas Eve 2012, I completed my first round of P90X – but begin again on this New Year’s Day. Today, I am starting round two! Praise the Lord and in the words of Elvis “Thank ya, thank ya very much.”
1) Admit That You Are Weak
2) Ask God for Help
3) Consult With Others (Knowledge is Power)
5) Find an accountability group
6) Dare to Do it Different (Insanity is repeating same thing & expecting different results)
7) Take It a Step at a time (Rome wasn’t built in a day)
8) Celebrate small victories (enjoy in moderation – less is more)
9) Life is a SINCH by INCH but HARD by YARD
10) JESUS is our SUCCESS