The decision to embark on the Journey had several inspirations.
Among them was every mirror I caught my rather rotund reflection in. And the pants that wouldn't button up. And the wheezing that accompanied every trip up a flight of stairs.
Now this is going to sound a little cheesy.... But, another big inspiration was the TV show "The Biggest Loser." I'll probably lose some man points for admitting that. But seeing the results the contestants got planted a glimmer of hope that it's possible to undo years of bad choices.
The final kick in the pants came about a year ago. I was listening to a message from Perry Noble of Newspring Community Church. One of his pet peeves is preachers who will condemn others for indulging in alcohol when they themselves haven't been able to touch their toes since the Carter administration.
He tells a story about an experience he had while in college. At the time, he was extremely overweight. One day in class they had a discussion about overweight preachers and how it seemed hypocritical that they would preach about self-control when it was obvious they had never said no to an extra piece of pie.
Later, as he and some classmates were driving around, they were discussing this, they all agreed they needed to do something about their own weight. They pulled in to get some gas, and Perry went into the convenience store and got a diet soda. Another friend went into the McDonald's next door and came out with the biggest milkshake they had. Perry was amazed that moments after every one of them had made a commitment to watching their health, one of them was showing that commitment with a jumbo size sugar bomb.
I was listening to the message and I asked myself: "Could I quit drinking soda?" Could I give up drinking that sweet nectar of life? The source of all happiness? How could I resist it's sugary Siren call? Would it be possible? There was only one way to find out...