Thriving 183 Pounds Lighter

Dr. Norris at 18 years old 420 pounds

Thriving 183 Pounds Lighter

Dr. Norris J. Chumley 183 Pounds Lighter (maintained 27+ years)

I am thriving. I have lost 183 pounds and maintained it 27 years. I thank God I no longer weigh 420 pounds, like I did when I was 17. That kind of recovery from morbid obesity I discovered is a rare accomplishment — that alone is reason for me to be happy and thrive. I used to believe that I was fat and stupid. Now, just turning 60, I am now the very best I can be and the best I’ve ever been. I am in the middle of a great career, have a wonderful wife and sons, and most of all I have the peace of God in my deepest core. I thrive!

Everyone asks me how I did it. I tell them that I didn’t do it; I couldn’t do it, I asked God for help and we became partners. I had tried and failed dozens of times. I went on starvation diets, signed up in classes and support groups, got doctor supervised speedy diet pills — once losing 130 pounds in 3 months, but diving into a tailspin of depression and gaining the pounds back and then some. None of that worked, ultimately. I could never fill my emptiness, or salve my pain with food. There simply wasn’t enough food to quench my unfulfilled appetite. I grew to realize I was hungry for spiritual food: honestly, some relief from PTSD after having been abused and molested by both my parents.

I finally gave up and surrendered my problems, and my life, to the care of God at age 23. Really as a last resort. Of course I ate less and moved my body more. But I made it joyous. I focused on what “diet” I could have. No deprivation. Limits. Almost anything in small quantities was OK, b ut avoiding grains and sugars. Logging everything I ate and did. Prayer and meditation for hours every day brought me connection with God and greatly needed peace. Continuous logging and limiting my carbs, maximizing my vegetables, including enough protein, avoiding but not ignoring a few sweets once in awhile all added up. And physical “Re-Creation.” I found dancing to be very joyful, so you might say I danced my ass off. I got up and got down.

So, if you’re reading this and want to solve your weight and/or health problem once-and-for-all, my most sincere recommendation is to go to your Higher Power, whomever it is, and ask for help. Put any fears or painful thoughts aside and just do it. I ask God directly, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Then you might ask for the power and abilities to do what you know you need to do. For me, it’s always about Body, Mind and Spirit — in the Platonic sense — all parts of me need to be in play in order to tame the unruly side while fostering my easy, peaceful side — while at total peace in my core. It’s my desires to thrive and be a full, happy person that drives me, Body, Mind and Spirit. Each day and every day.

For my body, I need the minimum three on a daily basis: healthy food in small quantities on a plan, peaceful rest, and joyful re-creation. For a minimum of 30 minutes, sometimes 45 or 60, I walk or hike, dance, do yoga, and most important cuddle and make love with my wife. I’m pretty much sugar free, but it’s almost impossible to manage because I CRAVE sugar! It’s physical and psychological. So I try to realize and remember that at those intense craving times what my body needs is energy, not sugar or carbs. I want an immediate hit of power. So instead of sugar and its poisonous side effects I do something else that gives me energy — I REST. Or even take a short nap. Before I do I meditate and thank God. That also gives me tons of energy. Resting recharges my body and mind. Sleeping is a power recharge.

For my mind, I always tap into my desires for change and improvement, and take action. I enrolled in psychotherapy to discover why I was overeating and hating myself — to learn what “was eating me.” In addition to asking God for help, I also learned to meditate, and clear my mind and let my soul shine forth. I also endeavored to educate myself and stimulate my mind — reading books on nutrition, recovery, and survival skills. I took classes, and in the last decade returned to graduate school, earning 2 Masters and a Ph.D. I also read for fun and often listen to music.

For my Spirit, I pray with God as often as possible all day and night, at the beginning of my day and at the end of every night. I thank God for my life and recovery a thousand times a day, but that is hardly enough praise! Always a Christian, I have also been an experimenter in yoga and meditation for many years, back at school I studied religion and theology, converting to Greek Orthodox Christianity in the process after studying ancient Christian mysticism. These days I worship and praise God through Jesus Christ, God in human form. But I am also a lover of most all religions, always doing my best to respect and learn from other’s beliefs and practices, as Christ did and taught.

Enough about me — I want to be of help to you! So each week I’ll post a new piece on thriving: body, mind and spirit. Although a big part of my life is about maintaining a big weight loss, to do that I must take great care of all parts of myself — just like I’d bet you want to do too. I’d love to hear your thoughts and needs, please comment. Join me here at Thrive Global each week, and please consider subscribing to my personal newsletter by clicking here. Thanks for reading. See you next week.

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