Wait a minute. I’m not turning 40! It’s my 39th birthday. That means I’m starting my 40th year alive today. I’ve seen it coming for a few weeks now. My wife and kids seem to age me in their minds and refer to me as a 39 or 40 year old long before I hit my 39th birthday. I don’t lament encroaching on 40. God has blessed me more in my 38 years than I deserve and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d be tempted to undo a few things. But looking back, even my poor choices and mistakes led to heart change or greater wisdom. At least I’d like to think so. I’m also pretty prideful and stubborn so I’m sure I missed a few growth opportunities along the way.

As I approach my 40s, I realize that time is beginning to take a toll on my body. I was in much better condition after the weight loss competition we did 1 1/2 years ago. Since then, I have been SUPER lazy about food and my workouts have tapered off to almost nothing. As a result, I’m about 40 pounds heavier than I’d like. When it comes to how I look, I’m disappointed in myself about my weight, but that’s not a huge concern to me. What I find more worrisome is that I get tired far too easily.

I LOVE exploring the outdoors. I love going on walks with my wife. I love wrestling and playing with my kids. I love running around at events with my camera. I love serving homeless folks at Feeding God’s Children on Sunday afternoons. These things are some of the ways that I worship God. I’ve started to feel that if I’m not in good enough condition to do these well, I’m not worshiping well. This isn’t a guilt fueled assessment. It’s just a desire to be better. To have more energy to serve and worship Him well. To enjoy the life He’s given me to the fullest.

The Committment

To that end, I’ve decided to change things up some. I do well with a challenge. Small changes are harder for me than big changes. So, I’m committing to a few new things for my entire 40th year. They are:

  • Don’t eat gluten
  • Don’t eat refined sugar (or avoid it as much as is possible)
  • Drink at least 96 oz of water per day

The gluten part will likely be the hardest. I am not gluten intolerant, but there is Celiac Disease in my heritage. There is a remote possibility that I could be suffering from Celiac’s Disease and not know it yet. I find that gastrointestinal discomfort can sometimes follow bread heavy meals. I also know that avoiding the carb laden breads and cakes would help me lose some weight.

Why cut sugar? That crap is poison. Look at any study on how it impacts our system and you’ll see that it’s an addictive and destructive drug. Removing it can only help me. The body needs sugar, but gets it from fruit and other things that will build my health rather than destroy it.

In the interest of science, and my own geekiness, I’m tracking some data to see how the changes impact my health. I’ll follow this post with some baseline data. I’m not thrilled to share some of my stats, but I’ll do it in the hopes that they’ll change for the better soon. I also theorize that my mind will operate more efficiently without the sugar and gluten in my system. So I’m using a simple math application on iOS to track my problem solving time. I’ll only do the test every other week to avoid the possibility that repetition decreases my time. It will also help that the problems are more complex than basic math and are selected at random.

I also want to take a moment to thank all of you who have taken the time to wish me a happy birthday. I know it seems simple to send a quick word of love or encouragement, but it can be huge for the receiver.

My favorite though was from my kids. They left a simple note in my jacket pocket.

A birthday note from my kids
A birthday note from my kids