Ukraine on the horizon. 271.5 lbs. Halfway!

So it seems that things might be falling into place. It will mean not tak­ing any class­es over the sum­mer, but all things con­sid­ered, that’s prob­a­bly a good thing as I will be tran­si­tion­ing jobs (pro­vid­ed I find a new one) and fig­ur­ing out what the future going for­ward looks like, as I plan to start tak­ing class­es at 75% full-time (Two eight week ses­sions each semes­ter. Sci­ence class­es that are all 3 hours lec­ture and 2 hours lab, so 10 hours. Finan­cial Aid only applies if you are enrolled in at least half time (full is 6 hrs/session, or 12 hrs/semester)). If I find a full-time job with tuition waiv­er at Colum­bia Col­lege, then finan­cial aid will be entire­ly unnec­es­sary.

I have $1,000 in sav­ings as an emer­gency fund that I may raid if sup­port rais­ing doesn’t cov­er it. I’m very grate­ful to my cousins Jer­ry & Tra­cy Cepel in Cal­i­for­nia for a very kind gift out of the blue that has eased many strains and wor­ries.

The only things stand­ing in the way of going and rebuild­ing hous­es in Ukraine and get­ting to know her won­der­ful peo­ple and per­haps share my love for Christ with them at this point are my weight/health, the can­tan­ker­ous heart of a despi­ca­ble man that would aggress against the free­dom of his peace­ful and kind neigh­bors, and the pos­si­bil­i­ty that I won’t be able to arrange the time off of work.

But I rejoice! I’m 271.5 lbs, and since tech­ni­cal­ly I start­ed this effort at 303 lbs, that’s halfway! 270 lbs is still the mile­stone that my fin­gers are reach­ing and scrab­bling to grasp, but I need, right now, to appre­ci­ate the mile­stone I have reached and hold onto it tight­ly for a moment before stum­bling onward.

If the goal is 60 for Ukraine well, then… I’m MORE than halfway. Halfway is a won­der­ful place to be. 33 lbs lighter is a won­der­ful place to feel. With that gift from my cousin I resolved to mend a lack in my wardrobe, a lack of any for­mal or semi-for­mal wear for job inter­views, church, wed­dings, funer­als, nice meals out, nights at the sym­pho­ny, char­i­ty ban­quets for My Life Clin­ic, et. al., … What had been impos­si­ble at 300 lbs, let alone 316 lbs has become almost eas­i­ly pos­si­ble in the low 270s.

I feel bet­ter. I’m more con­fi­dent. I feel as though I’ve matured, mak­ing delib­er­ate choic­es instead of lament­ing hav­ing to make do with the best I can do when a nice occa­sion rolls around; wear­ing what’s appro­pri­ate instead of ‘the best that I have’ when going to an inter­view. I could attend my father’s vis­i­ta­tion and grave-side hon­ors feel­ing I wasn’t dis­hon­or­ing him. I’ve done some hard work and a great deal of self-denial to get here and that feels like matu­ri­ty too.

The biggest gift from the weight­loss, on an emo­tion­al lev­el is that, as I have cho­sen to put myself out there, seek­ing rela­tion­ship with some beau­ti­ful Daugh­ter of Eve or anoth­er, that I am more com­fort­able in myself. Fret­ting about not want­i­ng to sad­dle her with an obese per­son whose health might be uncer­tain. Fret­ting with not being able to respect or stand myself when I need to love what it is that I’m ask­ing some­one else to love. Fret­ting that she’s see­ing me and judg­ing me and has con­tempt for me as a man when most like­ly she is only see­ing that I under­stand her and make her feel loved, cared for, cher­ished… and that I make her laugh and that we expe­ri­ence and share joy in com­pan­ion­ship. Fret­ting that desires for par­ent­hood would be self­ish if I can­not play and inter­act with kid­dos. It has giv­en me the con­fi­dence to know that I -can- do this. Gone is that long dark teatime of the soul when I knew I sim­ply could not, or when I would try but always fail.

God bless­es. It’s like He, the omni-potent one is im-potent -not- to bless. God bless­es.

Progress, Dec 21, 2016, 275lbs.

The mis­sion trip to the Ukraine is back on (ten­ta­tive­ly) for this sum­mer, this time at more of a safe remove from Putin’s aggres­sion.

Today I’m very excit­ed to go to my third or fourth Bariatric appoint­ment since start­ing tak­ing Belviq. I’d real­ly not lost any weight for the past 6 months or so that I’ve been tak­ing it. I thought I’d noticed a dif­fer­ence in crav­ings, but not sig­nif­i­cant­ly so, and even that did not last. On my last vis­it the doc told me that it would only work if I cut out processed carbs and refined sug­ars. I thought, “That will be the day.”

Today I will go in 25 lbs lighter than the last vis­it. Only 35 lbs remain to reach the go/no-go goal of 240 lbs.

The con­ve­nience of pre­pared food pret­ty much means processed carbs and refined sug­ars. I real­ized some­thing I already knew about myself… a diet nev­er works. Bad days undo a dozen good days. The only thing that works for me is an exclu­sion diet… forc­ing me to buy ingre­di­ents and pre­pare food… essen­tial­ly mak­ing all my choic­es for myself before I’m in the sit­u­a­tion of being hun­gry, tired, and in a hur­ry and apt to go get some­thing on the run. So… out with processed carbs, all gluten, all refined sug­ars, and uncooked milk (That keeps my love of Chex cere­al in chex, sor­ry, I meant ‘check’). In with lots of pro­tein and some rice and lim­it­ed pota­to. I began this new lifestyle on Octo­ber 30.

It’s been great for the most part. It has also had a sec­ondary ben­e­fit and a sec­ondary moti­va­tion. Any­time I spend mon­ey it’s with the thought of, “I want to be mar­ried.” Which to me means, I have to get a han­dle on debt and learn to bet­ter live with­in my means. Not buy­ing fast-food once or twice a day and a big (diet, caf­feine-free) foun­tain soda every day eas­es so much load on my finances and gives me so much moti­va­tion not to fudge the rules. That thought also per­tains to my weight as well. I don’t think I have the right to bind myself to anoth­er if I’m not doing every­thing to stay healthy for ‘us’ and for any chil­dren. It’s a mantra, “I want to be mar­ried. I want to be a father. I want to be of use to God.”

This makes 41 lbs lost since Oct 6, 2015.

I had hoped to be to 270 by Jan 1 and that’s still pos­si­ble. I real­ly thought I’d nev­er see (feel) 270 lbs again. I have vague mem­o­ries of the last time, exer­cis­ing with the Berrys, work­ing hard, and how much bet­ter I felt. Going back sev­er­al years to my times fast­ing and pray­ing as a des­per­ate alter­na­tive to sui­cide after Raina left, I remem­ber hit­ting 250 lbs and being stunned at how much bet­ter I felt. I hadn’t seen 250 lbs since get­ting sick in Ire­land and com­ing back 10 lbs heav­ier (and then nev­er look­ing back from there) to the seden­tary depres­sion of the Fibromyal­gia and Chron­ic Fatigue.

I’m very encour­aged. Nuvig­il has helped a lot in all facets of life. I’m more active and more pro­duc­tive and more pos­i­tive because I’m more active/productive and can think more clear­ly.

Oth­er mile­stones

  • 250 lbs — June 2003 after return­ing from the Green Isle. I’ve nev­er since been below this weight.
  • 240 lbs — the weight I had pret­ty much main­tained for sev­er­al years before vis­it­ing Ire­land in ear­ly 2003.
  • 238 lbs — the weight I was the day of my wed­ding. I fit into my suit though I still felt huge and con­strict­ed.
  • 210 lbs — I hit this weight short­ly (and briefly) before my friend­ship with Raina began. I had done anoth­er exclusion/poverty diet and my life had been going well. I fit into a 2x shirt and I couldn’t even remem­ber when I had done that… High School per­haps? My good­ness but did it feel so very mar­velous.
  • 170 lbs — I think I could be con­tent here, in the nor­mal BMI range, just below the over­weight range. My car­di­ol­o­gist said I would have to lose more, but he was an arro­gant ass who argued with me for half an hour and trot­ted out his degrees and acco­lades insist­ing that I’d nev­er low­er my cho­les­terol with behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion and that I -must- slave myself to use of a statin drug drug for the rest of my life. I proved him wrong in a year and I think 170 lbs would be a love­ly rea­son­able weight pro­vid­ed some of it is lean mus­cle.

Ukraine on Indefinite Hold

We’ve got­ten news that after two years of cease­fire, hos­til­i­ties and shelling have resumed in the region we were going to work to rebuild and that it’s a flack-jack­et only area.

I’ve been up and down in weight with ill­ness, dai­ly full-body hives aller­gic reac­tions and try­ing to get trips in with Uber. Last weigh in was 288 which is twelve won­der­ful­ly absent bur­dens. Oh to be Bunyan’s Chris­t­ian and to lay -that- bur­den down at the cross along with my pack, my heavy-load.

This will be the last post unless the sit­u­a­tion changes. I’m still work­ing on my health and weight with the hope that the oppor­tu­ni­ty will again present. It’s one of those easy times to say with com­plete con­fi­dence, that if God wants it to hap­pen, He’ll do what needs doing.

Now to turn my atten­tion to the upcom­ing 5th Annu­al Men’s retreat. Last year’s was fan­tas­tic in every way, but the stress and wor­ry com­plete­ly did me in. I resolved to start plan­ning this year’s before even leav­ing the site. This year I have mar­ket­ing han­dled. Instead of mail­ing each of 7 church­es a PDF, we print­ed 14 pg pro­fes­sion­al fliers to send to each pas­tor. Because Sta­ples made a mis­take we end­ed up get­ting -both- sides in colour and they look absolute­ly fan­tas­tic (thank you Sta­ples. You moved moun­tains.) I still have half my mar­ket­ing bud­get remain­ing and firm con­fir­ma­tion that the region­al head will chivy the indi­vid­ual church­es into send­ing their men (He’s the guest speak­er after all *chuck­le*). I feel relaxed and opti­mistic. It’s great work­ing with Pas­tors Ed & Adam to put some­thing togeth­er that I trust will bless -hard-.

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Progress, Mar 29, 2016, 287lbs.

60ForUkraineMak­ing slow progress towards the goal with only 8lbs since my last post. I had some set­backs for two weeks with health (requir­ing steroids) that have thank­ful­ly been reme­died and I’m back on track fol­low­ing those two weeks. I don’t know if it’s actu­al­ly pos­si­ble to reach the goal in time for the trip which is now ten­ta­tive­ly sched­uled to begin in mid June.

The orig­i­nal cost esti­mate of $1,500 had risen to $2,000 and that caused con­cern because I don’t want to use the schol­ar­ships the church is pro­vid­ing. I decid­ed to trust instead of wor­ry and soon after start­ed dri­ving for Uber and am already more than ¼ of the way to that goal and I hope to be able to con­tribute -to- the schol­ar­ship fund. I can dri­ve as lit­tle or as much as I want so it’s all a mat­ter of push­ing to make it hap­pen.

This hoop has been jumped through and arrived last week:
CepelPassport2016Sm

Still pray­ing to know if this is the right thing to do.

Progress, Mar 1, 2016, 295lbs.

60ForUkraineMany steps for­ward, a few steps back, but still mak­ing progress. I was down to 292 as of last Fri­day but the week­end was dif­fi­cult. Back on track as of yes­ter­day (well, Sun­day after­noon real­ly) and 5 lbs down. It hasn’t been too dif­fi­cult. Pro­tein in the a.m., Oat­meal for lunch, leav­ing only the evening hours to bat­tle with.

Ener­gy has been sapped for exer­cise but I still man­aged to reach goals most days. The Fit­bit food track­ing is both great and frus­trat­ing, but for the first time I have a intake track­er that I can make work for me for most things and I antic­i­pate that I’ll remain dili­gent in using it for that rea­son.

It looked for a while like the chances of my being able to go to on the Ukraine mis­sion trip might be nil and a lot of my ‘goal’ moti­va­tion was depressed. What was once a 6-per­son trip with -maybe- 1 or 2 open slots has now expand­ed to accom­mo­date all who would like to go and serve. Finances seemed like anoth­er lim­it­ing fac­tor but I received an esti­mate last evening that was about a third of what I expect­ed and there will be some schol­ar­ships avail­able. I am strength­ened in my resolve to press on towards the goal!

I have been using Duo Lin­go to try to bring back a near­ly com­plete­ly lost two semes­ters (10 hours) of Col­lege Russ­ian. I had for­got­ten how much I loved, and how dif­fi­cult I found this lan­guage.

Still pray­ing for answers and a heart to hear if my desire to go mesh­es with His desire.

Begin, Feb 20, 2016, 300lbs.

60ForUkraine
So begins a jour­ney that I hope ends in the Ukraine. I can­not join my church’s mis­sion team and be an asset at 300.bs and a BMI of 43 with bouts of Chron­ic Fatigue pulling me down unex­pect­ed­ly. I’m hope­ful that with prayer and a goal and account­abil­i­ty, that I can achieve return­ing to a weight I last saw in 2000 when I joined Tiger Chris­t­ian Life on a mis­sion trip to Hon­duras.