When I was a teenager I used to regularly go on adventures on my bike. I’d ride from my home in Pontypool out to Usk Island and then back home via Chainbridge. It was a 15 mile jaunt and it was smooth roads all the way. However, it was the furthest I ever cycled on my bike…until yesterday!
Yesterday, I made the most of the bank holiday and successfully completed a bike ride that I’ve wanted to do for years, but knew that it probably would have killed me. It was great to have my friend and co-nutter, James Richards, joining me with his running daps on (cos he’s insane!) Our missiont involved climbing from my house (900ft) to the White Stone at Garn Wen (1350ft), riding along the ridge to Blaenavon and up to Keeper’s Pond (1550ft) before climbing up to the summit of the Blorenge (1841ft). I then dropped back down to Keeper’s for a picnic with our families before descending to the floor of the valley and heading south to Pontypool (450ft) before climbing the steep hill back up to Trevethin. In total it was a 20 mile ride (the majority of which was mountainous terrain) and involved a total ascension of over 2000ft. I managed to do it in just under 3 hours riding time…and I was absolutely shattered…but totally elated!
However, I’m not sharing this to show off. I’m sharing this to say thank you to a good friend.
On October 19th last year (2011) I was having a coaching session via Skype with my friend Steve Timmis. Our coaching sessions were geared around the area of church planting, so I wasn’t really ready for Steve’s opening item on the agenda: “Dai, I was wondering if you’d like to join some of the other Acts 29 guys in trying to lose 7% of your body weight. We’re calling it Acts 29’s Biggest Loser!” Initially I was a bit taken aback “Is he saying I’m fat? Cheeky git!!” But the truth is that Steve had hit a raw nerve! That week I had jumped on my dad’s weighing scales and was shocked to realise that I weighed almost 16stone. That, coupled with the fact that many of my (large) clothes were starting to feel small and tight, meant that my weight and health were increasingly concerning issues. Which is why I’m grateful that Mr T was willing to speak up and speak into my situation, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” Proverbs 27:6)
So I accepted the challenge and then went away to try to work out how to lose almost 2 stone in weight. I knew from past experience that a blitz or binge mentality was not going to work, this endeavour needed to be sustainable. So I decided on 3 very simple action points:
1. Stop eating ALL snacks between meals.
2. Stop eating cereal before going to bed.
3. Start doing weekly exercise.
So that’s what I did. My exercise regime consisted of Fight Club each Wednesday night and one short bike ride each week on Monday afternoons. And it worked. I’m now weighing in below 14 stone (and still reducing) and clothes that used to be a squeeze are now hanging off me. I reached the 7% target several months ago – praise God! I’ve discovered that it’s great to have a personal target to aim for and a real achievement to reach that target. Goal setting is good! I haven’t felt this fit, healthy and up for anything in years. Similarly, I have found that the discipline required to train each week, as well as saying ‘no’ to chocolate and junk food has started to affect other areas of my life, not least my walk with God and my relationship with my kids. More energy, greater discipline and a happier home! I guess that bit of coaching advice was all about making me a better church planter after all!
And it’s all thanks to a friend who was willing to speak the truth in love.
Thanks Steve – I owe you one!