Friday, November 26, 2010

Guest Blogger David Rawls: Don't Ignore Your Health

In one night my whole life changed. I told my wife Gina that I needed to go the hospital. I could not take the pain anymore. Something was wrong. It felt like a heart attack. After spending several hours in the emergency room and taking pain killer medicine I was told I had gall bladder issues. Not life threatening, but a warning of things to come if I did not make changes.

I have spent my entire life struggling with my weight. I would like to say I had a good excuse which could somehow explain away my enormous size, but the truth was that I had earned my 355 pound frame the old fashioned way. For as long as I can remember I have struggled with my weight. In high school I weighed 285 pounds. My football coach told me if I wanted to play in college I could not be a fat slob. So I decided to go on a diet. I lost nearly 40 pounds. I wish that was the end of the story, but it was just the beginning. Over the next 20 years I experimented with a half dozen diets and lost all kinds of weight only to gain it back and add to it. At one point I tipped the scales at 380 plus pounds. My insatiable desire to eat continued to war against my fleshly body. I was doomed to be large. This all changed the night I went to the emergency room.

Fear is a great motivation. The night I went to the hospital I realized I was literally killing myself because of the choices I was making in life. I was scared. It was time to change. Today I look back at that difficult night and realize my gall bladder issue was one of the best things that happened to me. I have changed and I never plan to go back.

Today I weigh 240 pounds. On a 6’7” frame, I look skinny to all my friends. People have asked me how I lost all the weight. So this is what I tell them. I begin by saying my health is my responsibility. I cannot depend on others. I must change. Change meant changing the way I thought about health. I learned that my weight was not really the issue. The main culprit was that I was making poor choices in life. To continue making those choices would impair the quality of my life or, even worse, take my life at a very young age. In taking personal responsibility for my life I have come to several conclusions.

  1. Diets do not work. Many of the diets helped me lose weight but only for a short time. My health must become a way of life. In other words, I cannot keep going on and off diets. I need to make good nutrition and exercise an every day event.
  2. Not all foods are equal. I once believed it did not matter what you ate as long as you ate it in moderation. Hence a vegetable was equal to a candy bar. I have since learned many fight with obesity and disease because they have believed this lie. I was amazed that even after I lost 130 pounds and kept it off, I still consumed a lot of food. But the foods I consumed changed. You can eat a lot of veggies and fruits and still lose weight.
  3. God has designed food for our benefit. For years I saw food as the curse. It certainly seemed like a curse that night in the emergency room. But the more I have studied nutrition I have come to realize that God has designed food not only for our pleasure but also for our health. It is amazing what happens when we put good food into our bodies. It is better than any medicine a doctor can prescribe. God created food to bring us healing and health. I totally believe this because God has restored my health.
My aunt has a little magnet on her fridge which reads: “If you ignore your health-it will leave you.” I have decided I will ignore it no longer. I am now proactive with my health. My gallbladder, which caused me the problem to begin with, has not acted up since I changed my diet. To make sure it does not cause problems I do a cleanse once a year. This cleanse helps my liver and removes stones from the gallbladder. I have been amazed at how much better I feel after I do this. I know my body will not last forever, but I also know that when we take care of it we will live longer and healthier lives. For many years I ignored my health. Now is the time to take it back. I plan to embrace the truth and run with it. Will you join me?

David Rawls and his wife, Gina, have been married 21 years. He has two teenage girls and a son who is 12. David has been in ministry for 22 years and currently serves as the discipleship minister at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Muncie, Indiana. David has a passion for missions and takes church teams yearly to Kingston, Jamaica and Liberia, Africa. Besides ministry Dave enjoys running and learning as much as he can on physical health. Read about David's AIM product business at David can be reached personally at

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Tips

Preparations ensue for weeks. The guest list carefully studied. The food purchased. A special dish cooked for each person. The table set. Entrees timed perfectly.

The turkey’s skin crunches as it is cut. The stuffing’s steam invites. The butter melts and oozes over the lump-free mashed potatoes. The desserts tantalize.

Family streams through the open door. Coats are hung. Greetings distributed.

Thus begins Thanksgiving Day – a day traditionally filled with family, relaxation, lots of food, and dare I say, football (I’ve already been told which teams play this year).

For the hostess, it is a day of work. One she (or he?) usually enjoys. Some love serving. For these, enjoyment comes from watching their loved ones eat heartily. ”Pass the turkey,” is music to the ears. “May I have more green bean salad?” brings a secret grin. “Are these rolls homemade?” is a pat on the back. The sense of fulfillment derives from watching others take delight in the masterpieces set before them.

But sometimes . . . the following conversation takes place:

“Would you like some apple pie?”
“No, thank you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“But I know how much you love apple pie. I made it especially for you.”

The guest feels trapped. At this point in the conversation one of two things may happen:

One, the guest has a slice of pie. He/she feels obligated to eat to avoid an argument or to avoid rejecting the hostess. And let’s face it – because she/he really wanted the apple pie anyway.

Two, the guest continues to refuse the pie, adding reasons, but begins to feel uncomfortable and possibly a bit miffed. It is difficult enough to refuse something so enticing once. But stating your case while saying no is just plain awkward.

The above hostess receives love by serving. Therefore, she may feel rejected or insulted if a loved one does not eat. Because she has spent numerous hours preparing for this moment, she may feel let down if others aren’t as enthusiastic about the food. She may feel like a failure.

Some truths for a guest to remember:

  • Pray before attending the gathering. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in deciding what to eat, how much to eat, and what not to eat.
  • Be sensitive without being defensive. Your hostess has spent a lot of time and money preparing for the gathering. So respond in love. On the other hand, you do not need to defend your position. “No, thank you,” with a smile should be sufficient. If your hostess persists, stand your ground with a loving attitude.
  • Your love and acceptance comes from God, not those around you.
Some truths for a hostess to remember:

  • You are loved and accepted by God (no matter who eats or doesn’t eat your meal).
  • Your guest is not rejecting you. He/she is saying no to food.
  • It can be difficult for a guest to say no (because he/she really wants to say yes), so do not continue to tempt him/her by asking again.
  • Focus on the original purpose for the gathering – to give thanks to God for His bountiful provisions.
What are your suggestions for a smooth Thanksgiving gathering?

I pray God will be blessed and glorified in and through us as we gather to remember His provisions and the beginning of our nation next Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Holiday Plans

Around our house, the holidays commence on my birthday, November 8th, and continue until my anniversary, January 2nd. Barring a few down times, I have one excuse after another to treat myself, celebrate, take a break from the normal routine, etc.
For our family, the calendar lines up like this: two birthday meals (I am blessed to share a birthday with my son – who turns 16 this year), three Thanksgiving meals, numerous Christmas celebrations, a New Year’s hoopla, and a go-all-out anniversary dinner. Add in a four-day trip to Chicago between Christmas and New Year’s, which may or may not include packing nutritious snacks, and it is one party after another.

Your next few months won’t look exactly like this, but I presume you have a similar schedule.

I begin this season with fear and trembling. Will it conquer me again? Or will I be the conqueror this time? I have, in the past, successfully entered and exited this time period walking after the Spirit and come out the other end none the worse. Possibly even more mature for holding my head high and staying the course. This knowledge gives me hope and a reason to persevere as I see the temptations fast approaching.

Recognizing that this season historically has been difficult is the first step to tackling the problem. The second is to stay connected to God.

As I approach each event, it helps to have a plan. Examples of plans are:
  • eat dessert out instead of making a cake (which will tempt me for days on end),
  • one reasonably-sized plate of food at Thanksgiving (thankfully I don’t like pumpkin pie),
  • two cookies at the church gathering,
  • eat half my meal at the restaurant and bring the rest home in a doggie bag.

These goals need to be God-led. When He gives us direction, He will provide the strength to follow. “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.” 1 John 5:3

Have you entered tempting situations with a plan? What was it?
Do you have a plan for the upcoming holidays?