You Are What You Eat!  My Journey Back to a Comfortable Weight

Several people have asked me to share the diet I’ve used to lose weight after my thyroid cancer surgery and treatment.  I have struggled with my weight off and on since my first pregnancy over forty years ago.  Obesity runs in my family and my mother actually died from a blood clot after attempting stomach stapling surgery.  I understand how difficult weight loss can be, especially if you suffer with depression and nagging emotional issues.  I will try to address those as well in a future blog.

Before I address my weight loss I want to thank Dr. Josh Umbehr at Atlas MD.  His encouragement helped me face my weight gain head on. I highly recommend checking his services out as a physician.  He has a unique “practice direct care” that offers cutting edge medical care without the insurance hassles. Find him at

Here’s what worked for me:

1.   I recommend downloading a calorie counter.  I personally use the free version of “My Plate” by

2.  Find out how many calories you burn in a day.  Be honest, I used one that is based on a sedentary lifestyle.  It is in kilograms and centimeters but it’s extremely accurate and it works!  So I’m not going to question the math.

Your weight in kg x 10 + your height in centimeters x 6.25 – your age x 5 – 161 = ?

Example:  90kg x 10 (900) + 158cm X 6.25 (987.5) – 59years x 5 (295) – 161 = 1431.5 calories per day

3.  I used the formula on “My Plate” to tell me how many calories I could consume and still lose weight. Remember you need fewer calories than you expend to lose weight.  Try different goals to come up with one that appeals to you.  In my case it said I needed to cut back to 1200 calories per day to lose approximately a pound per week.  I tried to stay closer to 1000 per day and I seemed to be successful.

4. Everyone is into exercise, exercise, exercise!  Well,  who wants to exercise when you have a good amount of weight to lose.  Starting an exercise regimen when you are closer to your goal will encourage you to stick with it.  I recommend that get within 10-15 lbs of your goal and then start walking.  You will feel better and have more energy if you drop some weight first.  The gym can be intimidating but walking can be done anywhere.

Now down to the tough stuff.

You are what you eat!  I could eat a 1000 calories a day in Twinkies or cookies and lose weight but I wouldn’t feel very good.  So you need to find some healthy choices.  I personally decided to cut out flour in any form.   Not gluten necessarily but flour.  I used this method years ago after my third baby and it really works.  For me bread, cookies, pasta and other foods with flour are like crack cocaine.   I can’t stop, if one cookie is good ten are better. It’s tough at first but I committed to it and now I’m into the diet six months and it gets easier every day.  The other day I was thinking what would be worth breaking my diet? A Krispy Kreme? My favorite pasta? Nope! Not worth it!

I also decided to stay away from deep-fried foods.  I have cheated on this and had some fries from Freddie’s.  I checked “My Plate” and they were listed so I plugged them in and had to adjust everything else that day.

I never drink soda.  It’s not good for you and it’s wasted calories.  I don’t like diet anything because the sweeteners are nasty and chemical based.  However you could drink soda if it fits in the calorie count for that day.  But I strongly suggest dropping the soda, carbonation isn’t good for your body either.

You will find that portion control is key.  You can eat most anything but you need to stay under your calorie intake number.  I use popcorn as a filler it’s a low-calorie treat.  Not the microwave kind because once again it’s full of chemicals and preservatives.  Make some on the stove the good old fashion way.  I use real butter and salt to taste.  Remember to use your tracker to decide how much you can eat.  Another low-calorie treat is Hot Chocolate.  Popcorn helps you feel full and hot chocolate is sweet like dessert.  If your eating something that you can’t find on your tracker break up the ingredients.

That’s it in a nutshell.  You don’t need fancy pills, wraps, hours in the gym, or prepared meals, or some point system (that’s based on calories at its core) you can do it!  Get someone who cares to support you. I want to thank my wonderful husband Doug for all his encouragement.

It’s embarrassing to even talk in pounds or sizes because it’s hard to believe how out of control my weight had become…but here are the facts in April 2015 I weighed 198lbs and wore size 2x or 18-20 size pants.  Today I weigh 158lbs and wear a medium/large and size 10-12 american eagle jeans! And I’m still losing!  See my next blog to hear how I deal with depression and other emotional issues that can cause us to over eat.  All the best to you!  You can do it!


I Have Drill Today

Scripture:  I will exalt you, lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.  Psalm 30:1 NIV

Observation:  I have to go to drill today. That’s periodically reoccurring school for firemen to hone our skills. I’m old fashioned and my glory days as a strapping young fireman with all of the answers have long-since passed. To put it bluntly, all of us firemen nearing retirement need to hurry up and get there and get out of all of the young guy’s way. As I left for work today, Laurie prayed for me that the Lord would protect my crew and me as we are put through our paces. Psalm 30:1 confirmed for me that God heard her plea and I am protected, “…and did not let my enemies gloat over me.” Psalm 30:1b NIV  Thank you Lord!

Application:  I must accept the truth and carry on. I’ve done my job for many years. I know my job and I must trust in the knowledge and training that I’ve accumulated over the years to complete today’s exercises. Thank you Lord!

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for having my back. I pray that I honor you today. Amen


Love God, Not Money

Scripture:  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  1 Timothy 6:10 NIV

Observation:  The conventional usage of this bit of scripture states, “money is the root if all evil.”  This is a misstatement of the real scripture. It is the “love” of money that is the root of all evil.  I believe that the scripture is actually stating that elevating money to god status is the evil. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 NIV  God is love!  If a person loves money, their god is money and that is evil.

Application:  We must realize that money is a tool and it can be used for good or for evil. Money must be kept in its proper place and viewed in the proper perspective. Love God by using your money to further his kingdom.

Prayer:  Father, it’s been a while since I  wrote of you or of your word. I’m sorry. Help me to focus on you in my daily reading and help me to remember today’s truth. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen


Thank You Lord

Scripture: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the lord.  Proverbs 18:22 NIV

Observation: This proverb says it clearly. I can’t add to or take away from it.

Application: I must understand and appreciate the wife that God has given me. I sure don’t deserve her. One more evidence to me that God loves me unconditionally.

Prayer: Father,  thank you for giving me Laurie. Help me to be worthy of her. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen


Help Me to Know

Scripture: If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:23 NIV

Observation: I remember having this piece of scripture given to me before. It must mean that God really wants me to understand this truth. It’s pretty powerful and comes with a lot of responsibility. Through the power of the Spirit, we can or cannot forgive sin.

Application: I’m not sure how to apply this truth. I know that it’s not to be taken lightly. If anyone can help me with this I’d appreciate it.

Prayer: Father, help me to know. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen


Be Humble

Scripture: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 NIV

Observation: This proverb instructs that the arrogant fail and fall.

Application: Take it from me, arrogant people get humbled. It’s not a source of pride for me to admit but I’ve dealt with this myself. I pray for humility from God so that he never has to humble me again.

Prayer: Father, help me to be humble and consider others before myself. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen


Consider Others First

Scripture: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” Philippians 2:3 NIV

Observation: Consider the welfare of others more important than your own welfare.

Application: The observation is the application. We must consider others before ourselves.

Prayer: Father, help me to consider others first. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen


“I Didn’t Do It…”

Scripture: So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” Exodus 32:24 NIV

Observation: Aaron took all of the blame for the act that he had committed and laid it off on the fire of all things. “I just threw it in and ‘poof’ out popped this calf, it wasn’t my fault!” This lame excuse reminds me of Adam in the garden answering God, “The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’” Genesis 3:12 NIV It’s like what I heard a prosecutor say once of an accused’s defense strategy in an up-coming trial, “he’s going to use the S.O.D.D.I. defense…some other dude did it.” I can almost understand Aaron using that excuse with Moses, but Adam trying it with God? Really? When you stop and think about it, Adam really laid it all off on God, “it is your fault God! You gave me that woman.” As my Jewish brothers say, “now that’s chutzpah!”

Application: As Christians we need to man-up and accept responsibility for our actions. “It wasn’t my fault” is a really poor epitaph. When we fail we need to accept it and ask for forgiveness. We need to not make excuses for our behavior.

Prayer: Father, help me to know when I fail and accept that the failure is mine alone. I know that acknowledging sin to you when it is committed and asking forgiveness is what you expect of me. I ask for the strength to accept my failures and humble myself before you. In Jesus’ name. Amen


Rituals of Religion

Scripture: Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”  But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. John 9:16 NIV

Observation: This passage made it clear to me that some people love the created more than the Creator. In this case the created being the rituals of religion. What does God want, clean hands from proper washing procedures or pure hearts from truly changed lives? I know the answer. The writer aineo from my notes section wrote “Which Are You?”, it makes the point perfectly.
“This made me think of how religious we are sometimes. Ask yourself, if some out of town strangers in an old beat up car were in a bad accident in front of your church right before the service, would your church members dirty up their clothes to help? Would the service be postponed or canceled in order to help those in need? There are all kinds of scenarios that could be painted, but the ultimate question is the same – are you someone that loves people, or are you religious like the Pharisees?”

Application: We need to examine our hearts and know that we are where God wants us to be.

Prayer: Father, help me to know that I am where I should be according to your will. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen


Bring Honor, Not Shame

Scripture: May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord, the Lord Almighty; may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me, O Lord.  Psalm 69:6 NIV

Observation: The Psalmist is crying to the Lord to not be the cause of disgrace for him or other believers.

Application: That is my prayer, to not be the cause of disgrace for God or his church.  I owe it to my God, my wife, my children, my church and my coworkers to be consistent in my words and my actions.  If I fail that I bring shame upon myself for hypocrisy.  That hypocrisy is transferred to all believers; the church is harmed and God’s commission is stymied.  We have seen in the recent past how the sins of Christians, specifically famous church leaders, has translated into a “Christ-bashing fest.”  I can think of no greater insult to the Lord than to bring shame upon him and his church because of my sin. I pray that I never bring shame to either the Lord or fellow believers.

Prayer: Father, help me to live out the truth that I proclaim. Don’t let me ever be the cause of shame for you or the church. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen