By Randy Limbird
For most of my life, I was overweight and not particularly fit. I would go on diets and start exercising for a while, but eventually I would relapse, get lazy, regain the weight. It’s a familiar cycle for a lot of us, isn’t it?
As I got older, this became a more serious concern. My dad had a major heart attack when he was 51. By the time I reached age 54, my weight had hit a new high, my blood pressure was creeping up and I figured I was inviting the same fate as my father.
The way I broke that cycle was with cycling. I made a simple decision: I would bicycle 20 miles every day. I had done enough cycling in the past that I knew this was doable; it was more about sticking with the plan. That was the end of March 2007. After a month I upped the daily goal to 25 miles. In 2008, I biked 10,000 miles. Along the way I also achieved my goal of losing 30 pounds.
Since then I still average over 100 miles a week, supplemented by running 20-24 miles and going to the gym once or twice a week for weight-resistance training. The weight has stayed off and I’ve stayed free of injury and illness.
That’s a lot of boasting, which certainly seems out of place in a column like this. But I wanted to give you the background so I can explain what was really the key turning point.
For months before I started my daily cycling regimen, I had tried one thing or another but nothing made a difference. So finally I brought that up during a prayer time at the end of a church home group we hosted. I hated to admit that I was failing at anything, but it was bothering me a lot.
A young Army wife in our group prayed for me. She was a model of fitness herself, so it seemed to me like she was praying straight from her heart — she knew the importance of taking care of one’s body.
I felt convicted. How could I go to the next home group meeting without having made an effort to get back on track? I gave it some thought, more prayer and decided that cycling was my best bet. That’s how I got started.
That was exactly ten years ago. I was thinking about that anniversary when a college friend called me a day ago. He’s was a basketball player back then, who happened to be in the dorm room next to mine freshman year. He also was a strong Christian who showed me what it meant to follow Jesus.
He became a physician, married somewhat late in life and has two kids in college. He also has had to manage Type 1 diabetes for over 40 years. At age 65 that’s a significant health factor; the fact that he’s 6-foot-10 also puts him at higher risk.
Turns out he struggles to keep fit these days. So he asked me to help encourage him, to hold him accountable.
“Of course,” I said, “but can I pray for you right now?” Because I knew that prayer can make all the difference.
Randy Limbird is editor of
El Paso Scene. Comments?
Send to email@example.com
P.S. I recently listened to a sermon called “The Parable of the Good Deplorable” by Jason Micheli. Look it up online; you can find both a text and audio version.
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