The Skinny

Former Skeptic Turned Believer After Losing 42 Pounds

Former Skeptic Turned Believer After Losing 42 Pounds

Jan 02, 2020 « Back to The Skinny

Former skeptic, Jim, joined Naturally Slim when his health started negatively impacting his life. Now, just halfway through the program, he's lost 42 pounds (and counting!).

Jim Scriven Progress Photo

Why did you decide to try Naturally Slim?

I’ve fought a slowly losing battle with my weight since my mid-20’s. I went through childhood and young adulthood as a “stick”, eating whatever I wanted and never seeing it show anywhere. Around age 25 the weight started sticking around, and bit by bit, year after year, I moved up the scale. It’s not like I hadn’t tried to manage this, but all the success I’d had in the past was due to unsustainable diets and excessive exercise regimens, and weight loss would return, and then some. I finally reached a point where I was noticeably seeing a decline in wellness, including maintenance prescription medication for high blood pressure, acid reflux, and high cholesterol, while the kinds of things I enjoy, such as taking a walk, were becoming more difficult. The newest symptom of decline was that I wasn’t sleeping as well as I used to, something that had never been a problem for me. Naturally Slim came along at a time when I felt I basically had one last chance to fix this, or I was soon going to be in real trouble, being warned by my doctor I had become pre-diabetic. I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain, and with Naturally Slim being offered by Concordia Plan Services at no cost, in a format I believed I could fit into my life, I just felt “Why not?"

Had you tried other “diets” before - and what kind of past success did you have?  

What hadn’t I tried?  Atkins, low-carb, Paleo.  Gym memberships, new bicycles, Taekwondo training (I’m now a black belt and a certified trainer!).  I counted calories, using an App to monitor and restrict my eating. Everything I tried had benefits, but the food restrictions and extra activities were not sustainable.  In each case, I eventually plateaued, tired out, and gave up, with all the weight returning, and then the gradual new weight increase would begin again.

Why do you think Naturally Slim worked differently for you?  

That’s easy to answer.  It’s about some simple and common-sense practices that lead to eating less while still eating what you really like.  Not only that, Naturally Slim encourages you to truly enjoy everything you eat, and not waste time eating things you don’t truly love.  It’s taught me to slow down and savor every last bite, so I enjoy my food more than ever while giving my brain time to register that I’m full before I’m stuffed.  I’ve learned to listen to my body, eat only when hungry, and stop when comfortably full.  It’s that simple.  While I’ve also increased my exercise and activity, that’s been primarily just daily walks - nothing crazy.  I still eat what I want - pancakes, pasta, steak - whatever.  I tend to eat mostly fresh foods because that’s what I enjoy, but I still go ahead and have ice cream or a bagel if I want.  I enjoy red wine in moderation (as appropriate), but if I feel like a cocktail or a good craft beer, that’s fine too.  But again, I’ve learned not to overdo it, I never feel bloated or stuffed, and if I’m “munchie” I’ve learned tasty things I can eat just to take the edge off rather than blowing the day with wasted junk.

How has dropping this weight helped you in your daily life? Work-life? Personal activities?

In daily life, I just feel better.  I fit into my clothes better.  In fact, I’m wearing clothes again that I left behind years ago, and I have some clothing that I bought because nothing else fit that now is falling off me (soon to be given away, unwearable). I’ve recently bought a new belt, as I couldn’t pull my previous ones tight enough anymore.  I look better, and that alone feels good.  I’m also sleeping MUCH better, with the problems I’d been experiencing (waking up multiple times every night) a thing of the past.  I’d been experiencing pretty regular back and neck pain the past few years; my chiropractor now probably is wondering if I moved away!  As to work life, I’ve got extra energy now, which empowers me to be more productive and to serve without being slowed down by aches, pains, or excessive tiredness.  My health is not hindering my ability to serve, and I feel like I’m extending my career.  Regarding personal activities, I love to walk and hike, I enjoy bike riding, and I can do pretty much all the things I enjoy.  I’ve gotten light enough again to fit under the weight limits of some activities that I would have missed out on.  Example: My wife and I will be on a cruise coming up in February, and we’ve booked a rafting adventure (more “lazy river” than rapids, but still, adventurous for us).  The maximum weight was 245 pounds.  Now, it’s no problem!

Since your Concordia Lutheran Plan Services provided you access to Naturally Slim, do you believe that taking the program has impacted how you do your job? If so, how? 

Yes, absolutely.  One, I’m being a better steward of the body I’ve been given.  My physical form is a gift, and by better caring for it, I’m honoring the life God blessed me with.  Two, my former problems with weight I now understand, were primarily due to eating too fast and thus regularly overeating.  In essence, I was guilty of the sin of eating to excess.  Just as with many sins, we get caught up in unhealthy practices, and the good we want to do, we don’t do; the bad we would avoid, we do anyway.  For many different reasons, I was hungry, and I ate more often and too much for what my body actually needed.  Poor eating practices led to regularly overindulging, in part tied to mismanaged blood sugar, which commonly results in feeling hungry.  Naturally Slim has given me the knowledge and common-sense practices that manage this differently, and so much more positively.  I know that as I’ve learned to eat and live better, I am caring better for my body, getting and staying healthier.  That will allow me to serve as God’s instrument for much longer than the path I was on.  I also know I’m modeling (and encouraging) for others a new way that they also might choose to eat and manage their weight, so I’m helping others to get healthier too.

What would you say to someone else who is considering doing Naturally Slim? 

Give it a try!  If you truly apply the practices taught over the first 10 weeks, you will experience real results, and you will be pinching yourself at how easy this is.  It feels too good to be true, even as you experience it.  I’m now 26 weeks into the program and have lost 38 pounds.  Over these weeks, I’ve lost a few pounds, stalled out, then lost some more, again and again.  Plateaus are normal.  At times, I’ve put two or three pounds back on, and I can usually tell you exactly why - I ate or drank more than usual at some social gathering or special event.  But I’ve also learned (through Naturally Slim) that such pounds are just “fluff”, and by simply returning to the Naturally Slim skills I’ve learned, they fall right back off.  And then I start working to chip another new pound or two away.  Over years, bit by bit, I added nearly 80 pounds of excess weight.  Now, by learning and applying Naturally Slim, I’m actually losing those pounds over a matter of months, without doing anything bizarre or difficult. Consider:  1995, at the age of 25, I crossed over the 200-pound threshold for the first time.  2019, 24 years later, I hit the high-water mark of 277 pounds.  Now, after just 26 weeks, I’m back down to 239 already, and I’m not dieting, I’m simply eating smarter.  And I’m still eating what I love to eat, without killing myself with exercise.  I just take daily walks.  If I miss a day walking, it doesn’t ruin this, but I actually miss the walk, so I do it first thing every morning to make sure I can almost always fit that walk in.  When I first started Naturally Slim, I was a skeptic.  However, I tried.  I really tried.  And the weight started coming off immediately, and it hasn't come back.  I only wish I’d known these simply practices so many years ago - I never would have gotten to where I was.