My cardiologist’s first remark when I saw him the end of June for my regular visit was, “Who is this man, I do not recognize him?” The doctor was responding to the fact that I had lost quite a bit of weight since my last visit. I had not only reached the level he had been suggesting for years, but had exceeded it.

In addition to taking the cardiologist’s advice to lose weight, I also followed his suggestion how to do it. He suggested cutting out sugars and carbohydrates. I almost eliminated from the diet potatoes, pasta, and breads. I limited my carbohydrate intake to portions that had five grams or less. The carbs I do eat, I like to consume early in the day so that I will burn them off before I go to bed. Over time I discovered it was helpful not to eat anything at night after dinner. Finally, now I have my main meal at noon rather than evening.

There is an old Chinese proverb that says “There are many paths up the mountain, but the view is always the same.” The Hindu faith puts it this way: “There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading in the same direction, so it doesn’t matter which path you take.” I am convinced that there are many ways to lose weight. I talked with one man who only ate two meals a day, all before four in the afternoon and drank lots of water. Other people I know follow specific diet plans. How one chooses to lose weight can depend on one’s personal health issues, personal preferences, and disputation.

The September 2017 issue of “National Geographic” had a short piece on diets. The article concluded that “the key, says registered dietitian nutritionist Jennifer Bruning, is to ‘find what works best for your body, and — more important — what you can stick to.’” (National Geographic, Sept. 2017, p. 24) I have talked with several people who successfully began a diet, only to discontinue it after three or four months. Hebrews invites all of us to “run with perseverance the race that has been set before us.” (Heb. 12:2) To be successful in losing weight it is important to have the perseverance to pursue the path that one has chosen to reach the goal.

Last week I wrote about the importance of friends. Friends are especially important when trying to lose weight. Some programs to lose weight have built into them support groups. One of things that helped me lose weight was that my wife, Diane, and I engaged in the endeavor together. She made significant changes in what we eat. She replaced what had been our normal fare with new and exciting dishes. As the Book of Ecclesiastes says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fail, one will lift up the other but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.” (Ec. 4:9, 10)

As my cardiologist keeps telling me, the key to a healthy life is dependent on two things: diet and exercise. We in this country have many different paths to accomplish both of these goals. There are all kinds of options to get exercise. The article in National Geographic listed the following possible diets: lacto-ovo-vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, macrobiotic, fruitarian, juciearian, sproutarian, api-vegan, ovo-vegetarian, pescatarian, Mediterranean, pollo-pescatarian, omnivore and freegan. I am not sure where my low carb/sugar diet fits into the list. However, what is of prime importance is that one chooses a plan and sticks with it. Then as we all follow the path we have chosen, we might reach the summit of a healthy lifestyle.

The Rev. Dave Hogsett is a retired United Methodist pastor. He can be e-mailed at davidh15503@embarqmail.com.

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