Several people at Highlands have mentioned that I seem like I've lost weight. I have, and it's intentional. I've lost over 30 pounds so far and hope to lost about 20 more. Someone told me today that I looked too thin. I'm actually still overweight by anyone's measure - I just have a large frame, wear baggy shirts, and have been big long enough that people are used to seeing me that way. I've been on the Atkin's Diet, eating lots of meat and vegetables, moderate amounts of fruit, and very little simple carbs (bread, rice, sugar, etc.).
I've been convicted of my gluttony for a long time. I love to eat. I eat as a sensual pleasure and I eat to deal with stress, fear and anger. It is just sin, plain and simple. Food is an idol of mine. My wife has gently encouraged me to eat less for years, but I haven't succeeded. With the Atkin's Diet food is just less interesting because I'm eating the same thing over and over again. I may have to eat like this for the rest of my life. If so, it is better than the alternative. And since my chloresterol, blood pressure and blood sugar seem to be doing well with this diet, I probably will be healthier eating like this than something else that doesn't keep my weight down.
Another issue for me is that I'm an older father. I want to be around for my kids and want to be able to be active enough to enjoy them. In my family, the obese men get rewarded with heart disease and diabetes. While I acknowledge God's sovereignty in my length of life, it is pretty stupid to habitually take actions to reduce my life expectancy. Which brings me to the next point...
Back when my youngest son was born three years ago I had a medical test which indicated slightly high liver scores. My doctor told me the probable reason was that I was overweight. I didn't get my scores re-checked until recently, right after I started my diet. This time they were substantially higher and he decided to give it a month and see if the scores kept rising and give me a hepatitis test (given my travel history to developing countries and one war zone). He still thought that my scores were probably high because of weight, but we wanted to rule out Hep A-C.
Reading up on hepatitis gave new life to my motivation to lose weight and eat better, so I continued on my diet, waited a month, and went in for another test. This time I had a different nurse and we started chatting about the testing. It turned out that she was a Charismatic Christian and she said confidently, "I'm going to pray, we're going to believe God for healing, and you are not going to have hepatitis." My first thought was that she was a little bit wacky. My second thought was "I'll take that prayer."
A couple of weeks later I get a letter from my doc. No hepatitis, and my liver scores were perfectly normal. His note said, "You might have had some mild virus that raised your scores." That's true. And maybe I had something else and God heard the confident prayer of the nurse. Either way, to allow my health to slide as a result of my gluttony would be to trash his gift.