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


Laura said...

I really enjoyed this post, and could relate to many of the things mentioned. It's so true that I had to make permanent life changes ... not just "go on diets" ... to finally lose weight and keep it off. Thanks for the insight, David!

katelynn31 said...

Great post! It is sooo hard for me to lose any weight due to a partial disability... but I try!!! lol

Living on Less Money said...

Encouraging article. I wish he had shared more about HOW he added veggies and fruits. That would be so helpful.