Today is the last day of this column on Beliefnet.com. After over 12 years of daily writings on Beliefnet, I’m moving on. I thank God for this wonderful experience. As far as I’ve been told, I’m the last original Beliefnet contributing editor and writer; everyone else is new. Now, however, I need to make some […]
BEFORE – at 400 pounds
People said I was the nicest, happiest guy they knew when I was 18 years old and 400 pounds. Inside, though, I was terribly unhappy. I felt completely unsatisfied, and no amount of food filled me up. I was miserable. I sought pleasure and satisfaction every way I could, but nothing worked. I felt very unsatisfied at my core. A pint or half-gallon of ice cream each night didn’t touch my hunger for something more, not to mention address my low self-esteem. No amount of burgers, cakes, cookies, or candy could satisfy my cravings. I had no girlfriend, because I knew no girl would ever go out on a date with someone so fat as me! I felt stupid, too, not that I was, but there’s this stereotype when someone’s fat they are also stupid (may be that’s because we’re seen as “stupid” for not having will-power? Which is a stupid stereotype).
I had so many emotional and physical blocks it wasn’t funny. Yet I pretended to be funny. I would get people laughing, frequently making a joke of myself. I loved to be the center of attention, making a fool out of myself, but inside I was crying out for friendships, which were few and far between.
When you’re obese, it’s hard to move around, so I didn’t. I conserved physical energy every way possible. I drove or got driven everywhere. I took elevators. I just would miss events and parties because I couldn’t get places, and if I did, I felt bad about myself. For most of my middle and high-school years, I arranged to get exempted from physical education and gym classes, talking our family doctor into writing letters of excuse. Imagine that, a medical doctor arranging for an obese kid to skip p.e. classes! He prescribed diet pills by the handful too, which made me lose weight fast, but got me terribly depressed. I believed that diet pills were the solution – I sure made a big mistake taking them.
I had to order special clothes, because no store in my little Indiana town had sizes to fit me. I wore 52″ waist-size pants. My neck was 25″ the size of a color TV. My jacket/chest size was a whopping 58″. I was beyond “big bones;” I was a giant! Yet inside I felt like a little cowering mouse. I couldn’t find many chairs to hold me, and I broke them often. I had frequent health problems: rashes, infections, shortness of breath, and caught colds and the flu easily and often. Feeling so bad about myself only caused me to eat more and more, and move less and less.
For years I dieted and deprived myself with every fad weight loss gimmick you can name, and more. I would lose weight, but gain it all back and then some. Deep down in my heart-of-hearts, I felt some deep unsolvable mystery. At the core of my being was a confusing riddle that I could never solve with just superficial diets of eating less and exercising. When I’d exhausted all my possibilities, I found God waiting for me…
AFTER and NOW
…At the end of the road, I was 32 years old, smoking 3 packs a day of cigarettes, having gained and lost 1,039 pounds between 18 and 32 years old. I had finally found my first girlfriend (at my skinniest point) we got married, had a son a few years later, but I was still very fat: over 300 pounds. I was at a dead-end again. No diets, no pills or formulas, no exercise clubs or gyms worked. The mystery at my core, the reason I was so fat still eluded me, despite years of efforts. So I gave up. I gave my problems over to God. That was my last resort.
I talk at length about giving my life to God and asking for help in my book, The Joy of Weight Loss, and DVD’s, but I want to share with you the main point – that God is ready and available to all of us, anytime, anywhere, at the core of one’s self. All I did was ask, and that’s what I believe is the answer to any problem you may have, too. Ask God for help. You will be shown the way. Try it now, just say a little prayer to your Higher Self inside, “God, I need help.”
God showed me how to eat really well directing me to excellent nutritional information, in balance but within structured limits. I was able to devise a custom food plan, and most importantly, was given the strength to follow it. I was able to finally get off my sugar fixation. Fruit was satisfying my sweet-tooth with far less calories and no fats to weigh me down. I was eating well, and feeling much better.
I began to walk and move regularly, actually enjoying how it made me feel. At first just 10 minute walks outside every day. Then the next week I tried 15 minutes of moving and walking. Then 20 minutes the next week, and so on. After a short time I began to lose weight slowly and surely, then the days added up to a couple of months and the pounds were significantly coming off. I joined an aerobic dance class at a hospital clinic for overweight people, and actually enjoyed going twice a week! I made friends there; we were all in the same boat. You might say that I began to enjoy walking and dancing even more than stuffing myself with too much food. I learned a very important reality: if I regularly connect with God, and I get satisfaction from life and feed myself well, in balance, throughout the day, then I don’t get terrible, unmanageable cravings.
Now that I’ve lost 160 pounds, I am able to take great care of myself. I don’t have a weight problem, or ever experience emotions or stress that I cannot handle. Taking care of myself means: getting enough rest every night, drinking water, stimulating my mind with reading and learning, expressing myself creatively, working hard and playing hard, being myself, loving and helping others, talking about and interactively dialoging about emotions and needs, putting myself and my family first.
I feel great about myself deep down, and if those old useless negative feelings ever creep in, I just hand them over to God, asking His help. I always get relief. My Spirit inside always guides me and protects me, no matter what comes my way. The mystery of my life, the unsatisfied cravings, problems of every kind – I realize again and again –
are all about my need for God. If I reach for God, take action and do a little work, my problems are always solved.
By the grace of God, I’ve lost 160 pounds and maintained it going on 17 years. That’s a lot of weight, isn’t it? You could say I’m half the man I used to be! What’s so nice, is I’m a whole man, through and through.
Now, having gone back to school for many years, and working very hard, I’ve earned the degree of doctor of theology and the arts. Theology literally means, “God-talk.” That’s what I love the best, talking and teaching about God and putting spiritual beliefs into practices so that others can fully enjoy their lives, and be
satisfied 100% with the grace that God always provides.
Now, I’m here to help you lose weight, solve problems, work on yourself and have a wonderful, satisfied life – from a few pounds to hundreds, if necessary. I am here for YOU. There’s no problem, big or small, that God can’t handle.
Please return to this blog often (memorize the address, it’s Beliefnet.com/drNorris), and read my daily email newsletter “Weight Loss with Norris” on Beliefnet, too. I am also available for private consultations, I give retreats and workshops, have written a book and videos – all for you.
Thank God we’re together in this. You can return to great health, peace and fulfillment. You can solve the mystery inside. It’s possible to have the kind of Dr. Norris Chumley Satisfied Life for yourself, just take it one step at a time, and ask God for help.
Norris Chumley, Ph.D.