Guest Pep Talk (Eric Joppa): Time for Change


I have had a mental block about something for quite a while.

It seems that, whether because of my good self esteem or my total narcissism, or my inability to be honest with myself, or whatever Freud may have said, I have been unable to really see myself as fat.

Now I have looked in the mirror. I have watched my pant size increase. I have even seen what the scale says when I dare to step on it and gaze at its struggle for survival underneath my weight. I have long joked, as just about any student who has heard me preach at a youth group, school or camp can attest to, about how fat I am. I have long thought it was funny to put pressure on someone who says something about me or someone else being “large” or “a big guy”.

I quickly spout, “Are you calling me fat!?” Or “Is that a fat joke?”

I truly love watching them squirm.

The problem is, I have never worried about how I look. I guess I just really don’t care what people think of me. I actually think that is a healthy thing. But something happened recently that I had to notice.

I recently went through the process of trying to get a new life insurance policy. My family has one for me already, but it will expire in a few years and is not representative of what they will need if I choke on a chicken wing.

Let’s just say, sticker shock.

Then, about a month ago, a friend of mine died suddenly. He had a heart attack and died on the spot. Someone told me he was in mid conversation. Just gone. Its still hard to believe.

He was a”big guy.” 6′ 5,” and well… heavy.

Since then I have wondered, what would happen to my kids if I was gone? I may die in a plane crash or spontaneously combust. I might die from poor poisoning or some other stupid 1/1,000,000 improbability. But I don’t want to leave them alone because I was lazy. Because, “I’d rather my food taste good.” Then the other day, I did the unthinkable. I stepped on the scale.

330 lbs.

I have never in my life felt so unhealthy. For years I have known I was unhealthy, fat, but I was funny fat. You know, big belly fat. I have also made excuses for why I can’t stick to a diet or work out regularly.

Not anymore.

No more excuses. No more sitting and doing nothing about it. No more watching other friends lose weight, look and feel great, asking their secret, and doing nothing. So, I set some goals:

1. I will go to the gym 3 times a week.

2. I will run 2 miles twice a week (by the end of November).

3. No eating anyplace that has a drive thru (Starbucks does not count).

4. I will lose 30 lbs.

I have a plan, and I will not deviate. I will get healthy. I will not stay this way. And you know what I learned? I’m funny. Without being fat. So who’s going to join me in not having anymore excuses?


This originally appeared in Eric’s blog.

Eric is a man. He is happily married to the love of his life, Kelly (she the pretty one that he’s always with) He is also the proud father of Nathan, 6 and Leah 3. He’s a 17 year youth ministry veteran, avid reader, golfer and student at Hope International University finishing his Masters degree in ministry and leadership. He currently serves as Interim Pastor to Students at River Life Church in Sacramento, CA.

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