Almost a year ago, I was at a convention and had to have my picture taken for a directory, which I resisted for 6 years. It could be put off no longer. A few of my buddies and I got in line and had a ton of fun trying to look professional. A week or so later, the picture came back and I was confronted with something that I had already known: I had let myself get way too big. Jabba big. Pergill big. I should be Han average, but it seemed that I had taken Malakili as my patron saint. Something had to be done about it.
That day, I jumped off the couch and went for a walk. I was incredibly pleased to be able to go an entire mile. That was the first step in a long journey of trying to live a little better each day. Over the past few months, I have been thinking of this as my D’Qar D’iet. Clever, right?
We first saw D’Qar in The Force Awakens as the base of the Resistance. This is the place that shelters our heroes and where they planned the devastating hit on the First Order. Finn had to survive long enough to get to D’Qar so that he could redeem himself from his former life. Rey found what she was truly looking for in the Resistance – camaraderie and community. So, in a manner of speaking, D’Qar is the goal that I have set for myself. There are nefarious forces attacking me – sugar, laziness, soda, snacking, overindulgence.
What a bunch of lies I had fallen for.
So how did Finn and Rey reach the safe haven of the Resistance base? On Jakku, Finn refused to engage in the destruction of Lor San Tekka’s village. He saw the error in his ways. He boldly kept his blaster silent. Rey, several miles away, was lonely in her struggles, keeping her turmoil and longing tucked away in her heart. She ate alone, not sharing a meal with family or friends. Finn and Rey’s lives change when they connect. Now Rey can have a companion for dinner, and Finn has something to live for. Holding her hand might be detrimental to his health, so he has to find other ways to connect.
They end up on Takodana. “I didn’t know this was this much green in the whole galaxy,” Rey marveled. As for me, my lifestyle and diet had to change. Or else my time above dirt would have been short. Greens were one of the first steps in this process. I began to eat better. For me, that meant tracking my food intake with an app on my phone. It turns out I was treating myself a lot, so over a month or so I took my caloric intake down to a responsible amount for gradual weight loss. I added more fruits and vegetables into my diet, and found the gumption to avoid the tempting bits – chocolate, soda and fried things.
I was willing to try anything and take a chance. Finn took a chance on honesty, and was willing to be exiled as a deckhand for Captain Ithano and Quiggold. Could I eat less? Could I cut it down to only three meals a day, ignoring even Elevensies? It was a mighty test of the will, and I fell down a few times as well. The most important thing about falling down is the forgiveness and the rising afterwards.
For fear of the dark side, I began to run. As Rey ran through the forest to escape Kylo Ren, I ran to escape my multitude of tasty transgressions. At first I walked a mile. Then it was two. After a month I could do 2 miles on the treadmill (Did I mention I was letting a gym extort me for a few bucks each month for 2 years before my decision to get fit?). After 3 months I took up the Couch to 5K challenge. The first workout was to run for 90 seconds. After that, my lungs and legs went on strike and weren’t seen for a few days. But eventually they came back and I finished the program in 8 weeks. By the end of it, I could indeed finish a 5K. However, this was supported by eating right and being consistent. Last week I ran in a local road race for the first time in 21 years. I didn’t not break any records, but I finished the race.
While on Takodana, Chewbacca was fine tuning the Millennium Falcon. He was fixing the technology so that he would be able to get out of tight spots in the future. Technology has also been a great assistant in my journey. I use an app to measure my calories, another to track my exercise, and another to remind me to keep active throughout the day. If you want, I would be glad to share the multitude of apps I have tried. I have probably been through 100 to find what works for me.
When the heroes gather back on D’Qar and become a mighty force. Finn and Rey, Han and Poe. Everyone is now ready to take on the First Order. My whole family has changed their lives as well. We are doing this together. It is incredibly reassuring to know that we are all supporting each other. Instead of hitting the ice cream store, we go for a bike ride or a hike. These people I live with are pretty amazing, and we can spend a lot more time talking about it when we are active together.
As a parish priest, I have coffee or meals with parishioners and friends multiple times a week. This is an opportunity to stuff my face or teach myself a little bit of restraint. I approach each situation thinking about my goals. As Han approached Maz Kanata’s Castle, he was entering a feasting hall that offered a good time and the opportunity to gorge on sumptuous foods. Han knew what he was sitting down for and stuck to his plan. He didn’t hit the buffet line three times, but gave his attention to his diminutive host. Community gatherings ought to be about the human interactions. I give all of my attention to my companion, and not to the menu. In any situation, there are temptations; each one can be handled, one small step and moment at a time.
So there you go. I am down 70 pounds and feeling terrific. There is still a long way to go. According to the government’s charts, I am only 7 pounds from being only overweight. Several chronic conditions have disappeared from my life, and my blood pressure was 120/80 recently. Crazy, right? At least three of my friends have come on board and are working hard, as well as my family at home. Together we are all hoping to be big losers, but living to fight another day.
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Please leave comments on this and all my posts – I really look forward to it. You can find me on Twitter at @adelphotheos and email at jamesw@CoffeeWithKenobi.com, occasionally at TheForceandFaith.blogspot.com as long as I am not listening to the latest edition of the Coffee With Kenobi podcast!