Over the years, I’ve struggled keeping my weight down. In high school, I entered my freshman year at 120 lbs. By the time I left, I was around 145. College years came and went, and 150 to 160 is where I bounced around at. It wasn’t until 2003 while working at Metro Davidson County that I hit my then-record of 193.

Fueled by a desire to not look back at my wedding pictures with scorn, I started trying to lose weight in July 2006. From then until October 14th, I went from 184 lbs. to 153. It’s the best I’d felt since high school, and I love every single wedding and honeymoon photo we took.

But time has a way of making you forget, and Zaxby’s has a way of making you put off good behavior for just one more day. By the time my first daughter, Kelsen, was born on July 2nd, 2009, I was back up in the 180′s. After her birth, I told myself, “Now is the time. Your grandfather died of a heart attack. Obesity is killing America. You don’t just need to be healthy – you need to be a good father. Your eating isn’t just dangerous – it’s selfish to the people who need you in their lives for as long as God has planned.”

Every time I looked at an extra piece of pizza, a candy bar, or that double-Whopper with cheese, I tried to keep that thought in mind. I made it down to 170, back into my favorite 34/30 Levi’s 514 Slim Straight jeans, and I was feeling pretty good.  One more pound to the 160′s … but I never made it. I ended up with tennis elbow that put my racquetball playing on hiatus for nearly a year, and it was hard to stay motivated to work out when you couldn’t make it into a game. Shortly after, we found out Baby #2 was on its way! A joyous occasion, for sure, but money was already tight, and I decided not to renew my gym membership when it ran out mid-June. By the time Haley was born, I was back in the 180′s and kidding myself with the same old “I’ll start tomorrow” or “I already blew this week. I’ll start fresh on Monday” stories.

The New Year brought a new low (or rather, a new high); I stepped on the scale and it read 198. Wow. When you’re so fat that Wii Fit tells you it’s worried about you and blows up your Mii to resemble something closer to John Candy than what you think you see in the mirror, it’s time to change. I made a new resolution to lose the weight, and to stick to it.

The first time I lost weight, it was honestly a little too easy. 31 pounds in 3 months doing nothing but counting calories. I felt great about it and I’m glad I lost the weight before our wedding, but it gave me a bit of a false sense of “I’ve got this under control.” The second time I had more conviction as a new dad, but I was discouraged by the fact that 3 years after my first good run, my body wasn’t burning off the fat like it used to. Counting calories was a pain, and I started just guessing here and there as I recorded them. Then I started guessing a lot. And then I just stopped counting and guessing altogether. So this is my third go-around with the weight loss beast. But this time I’m going to get where I need to be, because even at 153 lbs. for my wedding, I was still 3 lbs. shy of what is considered a “healthy” weight for a 5’5″ male of my age. And the third time’s the charm, so I figure I’ve at least got old clichés on my side this time around.

Inspired by the new year, being a new dad for the second time, my amazing wife, my workout buddy Tyler Henson, and an app called MyFitnessPal on my EVO 4G, I decided to buckle down and do this for real. I didn’t have a real goal in mind except for “don’t be fat,” but in late January, I saw a post on Facebook from a friend linking to his blog, entitled “30 by 30.” It was a goal he had set for himself to lose 30 lbs. by his 30th birthday, and it inspired me to set my own goal. Plus I’m a sucker for a catchy mantra. I looked at my calendar … June 14th was still 4-1/2 months away, and I’d already started losing weight. This seemed like something I could do.

It only took me looking at a BMI calculator a week later to realize that 30 by 30 wasn’t going to be good enough, though. I was still considered “obese” at this point. Not even overweight … obese. And losing 30 lbs. by 30 would only mean I’d leave my 20′s behind still ringing up the scales at 168 lbs., which would still leave me well into the “overweight” category. That wasn’t going to cut it. To be considered “healthy” at my age and height, I needed to hit 150 lbs., so I set my personal goal at 148 lbs., and 50 by 30 was born.

Today is what I consider my first major milestone in that journey. Today I weighed in at 173, halfway to my goal. And I fit comfortably back into my 34/30 Levi’s 514 Slim Straight jeans, with my belt already feeling a little loose on the 2nd notch after leaving the 1st notch behind forever just a few weeks ago.  To make it even better, I am one day ahead of schedule. Today is the 81st day of the year, leaving me with 83 days until my birthday.

The first half of a weight loss goal tends to be the easiest (for me), since there are more pounds to lose and they seem to come off faster. The leaner I get, the more I definitely have to work at it. I am still inspired, though, and this recent victory has only strengthened my resolve. Next stop: 168 lbs. and a big, fat Gold Star next to “30 lbs. down” on my mental feel-good tally chart.

I’m going to be a good dad. I’m going to be a healthy dad. I’m going to be a selfless dad. And I’m going to be all of those things for my family as long as my Lord will allow me, without hindering his good works by letting food get between us.

- Dave