Those who know me, at least those who admit knowing me, would readily confess I am not one who jumps on the latest bandwagon. In my condition, I can hardly jump on anything.
I reserve my jumping, these days, to conclusions. Therefore, bandwagons are simply out of the equation for me.
Besides, I couldn't carry a tune in a wheelbarrow, going downwind.
Although, much to the consternation of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, I have been known to toot my own horn. And why shouldn't I? Who better knows the tune than I?
The latest bandwagon, of course, is the Atkins diet. No matter where I go, I run into people doing the Atkins diet, which is better than running into people who are not doing the Atkins diet.
Recently, I was in a restaurant and ordered a hamburger without the bun.
"Oh," exclaimed the waitress, "you must be on that Atkins diet. A lot of my customers are on it."
For the next three days, it seemed, she rattled on about customers on the diet and all the weight they lost. I almost lost my appetite.
There was a time, not too long ago, when few knew what the Atkins diet was all about. I have been on the Atkins diet for several years.
In fact, I started the diet when it wasn't cool to be on it.
It was the time when everyone warned about how dangerous that diet was. "You can't eat all that fat," people warned me.
For me, it has been nothing but success. Today, I'm only half the man I used to be.
The only problem with all this loss is, I'm not sure which half of me I lost.
It is rather frightening to think I may have dieted away the real me and all that is left is a shadow. Did I lose the right side or the left side of my brain?
I never took my "obesity" serious until one day at a mall, I was walking around munching on a doughnut in one hand and a big pretzel in the other hand thinking of the milkshake I was about to get.
I heard a small boy yell, "Mom, look at that funny fat man."
Looking around to see the funny fat man, I discovered the funny fat man was wearing my shirt and trousers. I decided right then and there to do something about my weight.
My first foray into the fat-losing frenzy was the "cabbage-soup" diet. In the beginning, it was wonderful and I lost 20 pounds the first month.
The trouble came in the second month when, because of the obvious side effects, I won't say which side, the Mistress of the Parsonage made me sleep on the couch - on the back porch.
I didn't mind the couch, but at the time we didn't have a back porch.
I soon abandoned that diet. The 20 pounds I lost found me again and each brought a cousin with them.
The next scheme was diet pills. I popped so many pills and became so jittery I couldn't sleep at night.
I would lie down and all I could hear was the thump-thump-thump of my heart. I tried counting sheep but the thump-thump-thump scared them away. It scared me too.
I tossed that diet out and languished in despair. Nothing seemed to work for me.
The more I dieted the more I gained weight.
Then, the unthinkable happened. For several days, I experienced sharp pain in my chest as if a mule had kicked me.
I ended up in the hospital with all the symptoms of a heart attack. I went to the emergency room and the nurses dropped everything and rushed me into the emergency room.
After several days of not knowing what was happening to me, the doctors concluded that my heart did not, in fact, attack me.
The doctors didn't know what it was, but I did. It was a wake-up call for me.
If I did not change some things in my life, this is what I had to look forward to, and I didn't like the prospects.
It was then I discovered the Atkins diet, and ordered the videotapes and book. At the time, I did not have much to lose except a ton of weight.
It not only changed my life, I say it saved my life. I put myself on the diet and have been on it ever since.
During the last four years, I have lost almost 100 pounds.
As important as my physical health is, I've discovered something far more important - and if neglected it can cause untold difficulty. The Apostle Paul put me on to this subject.
Paul wrote, "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." (1 Timothy 4:7-8 KJV.)
One of the most neglected areas of life is the spiritual. Too many people take this for granted and consequently suffer the consequences.
For years, I have committed myself to a daily spiritual regime of Bible reading and prayer.
A physical diet only affects my life here and now. A spiritual diet affects not only this life, but also the life to come throughout all eternity.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road in Silver Springs Shores. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores and can be contacted at 687-4240. The church Web site is www.whatafellowship.com.
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