I’ve never been like most people. I react differently and I think differently. A lot about life goes over my head and I don’t see eye to eye with most people . . . but that’s because I’m short! And I suppose this has made me who I am.
Walking across the stage to receive my high school diploma at the grand height of 5’3”, I’ve had to learn not to care what people thought about me and I’ve had to accept that my body composition isn’t like most people.
As a kid, I didn’t love being physical. But between playing basketball in elementary and carrying a bass drum through football season in junior high, I stayed active naturally.
But it all went south when I got a job at Taco Bell. Working lots of hours with very few breaks “forced” my diet to consist of a lot of Chalupas (my weakness back then—fried bread filled with steak, sour cream, and cheese!) and all the Dr. Pepper I could drink!
I didn’t weigh myself back then—I wasn’t aware of my weight gain and I didn’t care. By the time I graduated high school at 18, not only was I short, but I was fat, my skin was broke out, I struggled at sleeping, I lacked confidence, and I had learned to cover it all up with humour and sarcasm.
And I took all of this to college where I lived in the dorms with guys who had obviously played football in high school, yet they ate pizza at midnight and still looked good without a shirt on. I knew I needed a change, but didn’t know how.
As luck would have it, I couldn’t find a job in college, so I finally resorted to applying at Taco Bell and got a job on that day.
I wanted to be healthier so I would occasionally drink Diet Dr. Pepper instead of the regular version and I would opt for a Taco Salad instead of chalupas, you know, because the word ‘salad’ automatically makes it healthy (sarcasm). On random days where I wasn’t working and it was beautiful outside, I would go for a 20-minute jog around the campus and hope that my “healthy” choices would result in a thin, muscular body.
My intentions were to get healthy and strong, but clearly, I didn’t know what I was doing up to this point, I did nothing to educate myself at the time, and kept hoping amazing results would just happen!
What I didn’t know then that I do now is that nothing great in life comes by accident. They are intentional choices that require hard work, patience, and consistency.
Over the next 15 years, my journey to understanding health and my journey to following God would eventually collide and I now realise that they are not separate paths.
When it comes to our body, I believe that God created it, Jesus died for it, the Holy Spirit indwells it, so we need to take care of it. Our bodies are at base level for being good stewards of God’s creation—if we can’t take care of our own bodies, why would God trust us with more responsibilities?
So I started looking into what I was putting into my body and looking for ways to be active.
I downloaded an app called MyFitnessPal to track what I was eating.
MyFitnessPal allows you to record your entire days worth of food and it gives you a chart to see your calories, grams, and macros (carbs, protein, and fat) that you are eating. As a visual person, this was very eye-opening. I rememeber the first morning I recorded it, my breakfast alone was almost 2,000 calories! I had no idea!
I stepped out of my comfort zone and into the gym.
A friend of mine who was studying Physical Science in University spent a few sessions teaching me the basics of weight lifting. I felt so far at the beginning, it was overwhelming. But for the first time, I felt like I actually had some direction.
I discovered a way I enjoy being active.
I found that I enjoy running. For me, it’s more than just running for the sake of running—I love the adventure in it. When I’m running, I often see details I never noticed. I also love to find paths and trails that take me places. Running clears my head of the jumbled up thoughts I have and reminds me of the purpose of life.
And then I begin experiementing with foods and diets.
I have tried several different diets and experiemented with entire food groups as a whole (dairy, gluten, etc.). I have strong beliefs about the importance of eating real food, as opposed to processed food. Real food comes from plants or animals. Don’t get me wrong, I love to enjoy the occasional chocolate or ice cream for something sweet or chips for something salty.
But I believe that real food is the best medicine and cheapest doctor for your body.
As these changes in my life became a lifestyle for me and my family, I wanted to share it with others.
Table Art is my life in words.
My past obesity has shaped my present passion for good health and educated nutrition. I’ve always been passionate about food, even if it wasn’t healthy. But I’m amazed at how passionate God is about food and meals as well, and I see this as I study the Scriptures.
Jesus did some of his best discipling at a Table and his best talks were about food. And as disciples of Jesus, we are meant to share God’s grace in every aspect of our lives. One area we can do this is by preparing and providing food for others.
I am an artist and I love a great presentation. For me, my Art is food creations, such as my Spanish Paella. Whether it’s in the skillet or the meal put together on the Table, I love the Art of the colours and textures and tastes that come from it.
I also love what happens at the Table. Relationships are built, memories are made, and food is enjoyed. I love creating something that makes people smile, but it’s even better when that creation brings them together as we celebrate the goodness of God.
Around the time that I started making some of these real changes, I was looking at the phrase “Make A Difference”. I noticed that the initials of this phrase spell the word MAD. It hit me that mad means two different things: it means ‘angry’, but it also means ‘crazy’. Looking back, I felt like I was unearthing the secret of making a difference in every area of life.
No matter who you are, there is a change you need to make in your life to become a better version of the person God created you to be. I hope to challenge and inspire you in this area, but you will never really make the difference you need to make until you are angry with where you are and crazy enough to do something different.
Our world values convenience so cheap, fast “food” is all around us. Our society values busyness so ‘being active’ means working hard, chauffering kids to various activities, and running to appointments. Our lives are stressful so the last thing we want to do is make ourselves feel uncomfortable about our lack of skills or our body composition.
Just because this is normal, doesn’t make it right.
Ten years ago, I became angry with my health and my life and I was just crazy enough to do something about it. And I haven’t stopped!
I want to share the stories and lessons I’ve learned with you. If I can do this in person, great! If I can’t, welcome to my online Table. Here’s a cup of coffee…this conversation is just getting started!