20 Pounds (Less) Later . . . Pastor, You can too!

by Robert Earl Houston

LEFT: February 6, 2015; RIGHT: February 14, 2015

LEFT: February 6, 2015; RIGHT: February 14, 2015


At the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, Wednesday, February 10, 2015.

On Friday I reached a milestone. I completed the first full week of my medically supervised diet. I’m now (unofficially) approximately 20 pounds lighter. Praise God! I’ve received a lot of emails, texts and tweets asking me to post how I was able to do so.

First, I have to say it’s all by the grace of the Lord. Any diet is difficult and for me, impossible without the Lord on my side. This is not my first diet, but this is the most successful one I’ve been on. I’m at my lowest weight in about two years.

My endocrinologist recommended that I check out Health Management Resources. They work in conjunction with the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky (and they have locations throughout the country). My doctor told me that their average results were 50 to 75 pounds and I frankly didn’t believe it. I went to their orientation and heard their program. Of course, asked a few questions, and decided this is for me.

Here’s the program:  All outside foods – from the store, on the shelf, restaurants, church dinners, home cooked meals, no fresh fruit or vegetables, no beef, no chicken, no fried fish, no soul food – done. Finis. Over. No more fast food on the fly. No more interrupting my phone calls with: “Hold on . . . Yeah, let me have some hot wings, some wedges, and a large diet drink.”

I’m on the 3+2 plan – three milkshakes (they provide the base for it, which you can make with water or a diet soda and you can add sugar-free jello. And then there are two meal entrees, pre-packaged and pre-prepared which only take one minute to microwave (and don’t require prior refrigeration). These are minimums. Plus you take two vitamin tablets a day and yes, drink a lot of water or soda (64 ounces per day). You are required to do some exercise (I choose walking, which I do about 30 minutes each day). They want you to be full – and if your 3+2 daily minimum turns into 5+2 or 3+5 – it’s okay.

The food runs about $100 a week. That sounds like a lot, but when you consider take-out and sit-down meals, it balances out. Also, when you consider the cost of insulin, pills, etc.  I’ve been able to reduce my insulin from the max of 80 units of Lantus at night and already I’m at just 15 units. I have gone down on my with-meal insulin from 30 units to 5 units. No more Invokana.  I’m off of two other medications.

I went to the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky Pastors’ Conference last week in Louisville and actually I saved money because I wasn’t dining out and when I was hanging out with ministers in the restaurant after hours – they had food and I was content with being there, drinking water and a diet drink. No pretzels. No chips. No chicken fingers. No fries.

My health is important to me. I spent the week speaking privately to some preachers and sharing my story with them. As I’m approaching my 55th birthday this year I owe it to my wife, my family, my congregation, and most importantly, the Lord to do my best to live in good health (longevity is up to the Lord). My goal is simple: to lose about 100 pounds (yes, a whole other person) and then maintain the weight from that point on.

Here’s what was cool. To be at the General Association and wearing a suit that I packed (by accident) and hadn’t been able to wear in two years and being able to wear it with joy.

Interestingly, I’ll be celebrating my Sixth Pastoral Anniversary here at First Baptist Church. The committee has been planning and I’ll be in the closing stages of Phase One (which is a 15 week program). While those who choose to join us to dine will be on the selected meal, I’ll be there with my meal, my shake and some water.

We’ve all been to national baptist conventions and seen walking train-wrecks. Ministers who have allowed pastoral stress to send them headfirst into food. Ministers who preach and eat. Ministers who go to late night service and eat at 1 or 2 a.m. after worship and their health is jeopardized by lack of exercise, eating right, and sleep.

Pray for me on this journey. Pastors – I beg you! Please consider this.  Members – I beg you! Please consider and support your pastor in living in good health.


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6 responses

  1. Pastor! I applaud you, and I also feel the need to really continue to make the changes necessary to be the best ME that I can… for my wife, my sons, and for God…. just as you said. Our church went on a Daniel Fast for 21 days. I lost 25 pounds! It really felt good to put on the same suits without my vest and pant buttons screaming for mercy. Of course, in the Daniel Fast there is NO MEAT, which caused my wife and I to be REALLY creative. Since the fast is over, I have not gone back to eating beef at all, but I am watching what I eat and making conscious decisions on what I put in my mouth. I was offered a supervised diet, as you are on, and you have given me second thoughts to go ahead with it. I don’t have diabetes, but borderline high blood, but after during and after that fast, I jump higher and have WAY less pain in my knees and feel good over all! Thanks for sharing your journey! Again, I’m talking to my doctor about it my next visit – next month! God Bless You!

  2. Rewv. Larry Thomas | Reply

    Pastor keep up the go work on your health

  3. Hang tough, my brother.

  4. You look great! Keep it going Pastor! To GOD be the Glory!!!

  5. Congratulations! Your doing a wonderful job. God can do all things!

  6. Pastor Houston, you look FABULOUS! Your smile is so beautiful, and your ability to share the journey with everyone is another blessing. You are inspiring us to get our act together!

    We’re praying for you and know that God will give you the strength to press forward. Don’t be afraid, God will never leave your side.
    Sending love to you and Sister Houston. Always, Kim Crews

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by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

About life, preaching, church, books, and other stuff.

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