One year ago, 26-year-old hairdresser and worship leader Scott Fontenot weighed 460 pounds. And then one day he didn’t—at least not in his head. You see, Fontenot had—like countless others who struggle to lose weight—tried diet after diet, workout plan after workout plan, but nothing worked because, as Fontenot says, he “wasn’t ready."
What it would require for him to stick to a nutritious diet and consistent training program wouldn’t be the right trainer, the right supplement or the right juice cleanse. It would take the right mindset.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, Fontenot believes that his body is a temple, holy unto God. Verses such as 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 state clearly that God’s Spirit dwells within those who have accepted His Son as Lord and Savior and that maintaining tidy temples is no small matter to our Maker. The Holy Spirit elucidated this truth for Fontenot, helping him realize that losing weight and getting fit is about much more than leading a healthy life—it’s about glorifying a mighty God. Fontenot jokingly refers to his epiphany as “The Day I Lost It.”
“One day it just clicked,” says Fontenot. “In my head, I didn’t see myself as overweight anymore; I saw myself as thin and healthy.”
Fontenot once again decided to change his eating habits and start working out regularly. Except this time, it would be different. This time, he would rely on God’s strength instead of his own to help him stay the course. This time, he would strive toward the fit, healthy image he envisioned in his mind rather than be discouraged by the reflection in the mirror or the number on the scale.
In one year, Fontenot has lost 130 pounds and is aiming to lose 80 more. Below are a few things he does daily to make it to his goal, step by step.
Scott’s Top 5 Weight Loss Tips:
1. Have breakfast. Before he “lost it,” Fontenot would often skip breakfast and not eat lunch until one or two o’clock. Now he makes sure never to miss his morning meal. Eating breakfast ensures that your body doesn’t reach an over-hungry state that makes it difficult to determine when you’re truly satiated. Examples of quick go-to meals are scrambled eggs with salsa and a cup of fruit; Greek yogurt topped with almonds, berries and a bit of honey; or a smoothie made with naturally sweetened whey protein, a cup of milk, half a banana, a handful of spinach and a tablespoon of almond or peanut butter.
2. Eat balanced meals. Eating a balanced ratio of healthy carbohydrates, protein and favorable fat at every meal helps keep hormones like glucagon and insulin stable. If you consume too many carbohydrates at once, insulin levels spike, causing the body to convert carbohydrates into unneeded—and unwanted!—fat. Having protein and healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, plant-based oils and nut butters, help you feel satiated and energized after each meal rather than sluggish and unsatisfied. Including all three macronutrients at meal times also enables you to absorb the micronutrients we need for optimum health, such as beta-carotene, vitamin D, and vitamin E.
3. Work out at a high intensity. It’s very simple. If we speed our bodies up, it burns more calories. Not only that, but high-intensity exercise also burns calories after our workout has ended. The boost in metabolism after a challenging sweat session can last up to 24 hours, depending on the workout’s length and intensity. High-intensity exercise has the potential to increase muscle mass, and the more muscle one has, the more calories your body must burn to sustain that muscle, even while sitting on the sofa enjoying a day off from the gym.
4. Keep it fun. Since September, Fontenot has been doing CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program that incorporates Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, bodyweight and gymnastic movements, running and rowing into workouts that often last no longer than 10 minutes. Each minute, however, is spent giving an all-out effort to either finish the WOD (“workout of the day”) as fast as possible or to complete as many rounds of a specific set of exercises as you can within a set time, be it five minutes or 15.
CrossFit also makes it easy to gauge your progress when it comes to monitoring your strength, your stamina, your lifting skills or your weight, if fat loss is your goal. Since starting CrossFit, Fontenot has increased his deadlift by over 100 pounds and can run a mile without stopping to walk or rest.
“It’s like a game,” says Fontenot, “and that keeps it fun for me. I never get bored.”
5. See the big picture. Fontenot began his journey with a vision in his mind of what he knew he could look and feel like if he persevered and relied on the Holy Spirit to guide him every step of the way. Since “The Day He Lost It,” he has been driven and inspired by that vision and the knowledge that every moment of the pursuit pleases and honors God.
Proverbs 29:18 says that where this is no vision, people perish. Instead of dwelling on past failures or grumbling about present frustrations that make progress seem impossible, ask God for a new vision and a fresh revelation of His will for you. Let His love encourage you and His strength carry you all the way to a victorious future, designed and prepared especially for you (Jer. 29:11).
Stay fit, stay faithful.
Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of Creation House’s Fit for Faith: A Christian Woman's Guide to Total Fitness. Her popular website can be found at www.fit4faith.com, and she is the owner and a coach at CrossFit 925. Diana can be reached on Twitter.