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Weight loss is a highly personal endeavor. What works for one person may not work for another. So how do GuideStone participants and staff approach their journey to lose weight? Read these healthy weight loss stories to motivate you on your wellness journey. Celebrate their success and achieve your own. Then share your weight loss story with us like these people below.


Dr. Barry McCarty

Professor of preaching and rhetoric, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Understand fitness as your spiritual offering to God. Dr. Barry McCarty, chief parliamentarian for the Southern Baptist Convention for more than 20 years, believes physical health is as important as spiritual health for every believer. McCarty, who was an amateur national black belt karate champion in college, has regained fitness in recent years through long-distance cycling. He competes in 100-mile bicycle marathons and says he is in better shape now than he was in his late 20s and 30s.

His tip? Find a partner. He says that one of the best ways to stay motivated in any fitness program is to have one or more training partners. "When one of us 'hits the wall,' the other is right there to keep him going."

McCarty's thoughts on the subject can serve as inspiration for us all: "If life and health are gifts from God, if our flesh and bone is the very temple of the Holy Spirit, if our service to Christ should include offering our bodies as living sacrifices, then shouldn't we take good care of our bodies as well as our souls?"

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Charles Boyd

President, Student Ministry Essentials

Charles Boyd stopped by GuideStone's free Wellness Center at the 2010 SBC annual meeting for a quick wellness assessment. Good thing he did. He didn't know at the time, but he had type 2 diabetes.

Millions of Americans are unaware that they have type 2 diabetes. Boyd was one of them. Now that he knows, Boyd chooses to live a healthier life.

Read the full story.

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Adam Powers

Pastor, Forsyth, Illinois

Convicted to change. Adam Powers has lost more than 160 pounds and his title of "grossly obese." Powers was convicted by Proverbs 23:19-21 which states, “Hear, my son, and be wise; and guide your heart in the way. Do not mix with winebibbers or with gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”

As the Pastor of Forsyth Baptist Church, Adam wondered "how can a pastor preach and ignore these verses?" He and his wife, Crystal, now spend one hour in the morning exercising together.

"I've been able to share my faith as well as my health story with numerous people as a result of losing all this weight."

Adam has inspired Forsyth Baptist as a leader for wellness and continually encourages the congregation. "[The church gives] away 6-8 gym memberships every year right after our series on becoming more spiritually and physically fit." And this year, the church celebrated with a couple who lost more than 70 pounds.

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Jim Kneale

Jim Kneale

Sunday school teacher, Waldorf, Maryland

The GuideStone wellness booth works! Jim Kneale has lost more than 75 pounds and dropped pant sizes.

"I went from a size 46 to a size 34 and I don't really want to go back," he said. "I realized, 'man, I eat a lot of food!' and learned I can live on so much less."

It all started when Jim visited the wellness booth set-up by GuideStone at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. Skeptical at first, Jim gave it a try. His test results came back showing that he was considered obese. And his blood sugar and cholesterol levels were higher than they should have been. He decided to make a change.

Jim is not alone in the battle of the bulge. He credits GuideStone for pushing him to bigger (and thinner) milestones. "I don't want to go back to that booth out of shape."

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Georgetta James

Pastor's wife, Paducah, Kentucky

Become a healthy eating role model for your family. Georgetta James has lost more than 45 pounds and shed 10 dress sizes by simply eating healthy.

"Once you get past the first three days, you're good to go!"

She set a meal plan and began her goal of healthy eating just before Thanksgiving – a difficult task for most Americans. Georgetta's meal plan consists mostly of fruits and vegetables during the day, then a larger meal at dinner time. Instead of sugary sodas, she drinks green tea and orange juice. A key ingredient to her success has been eating her food slowly. She is an inspiration to her family, which has a history of heart disease, requiring heart surgery, and diabetes.

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Kim Coleman

Employee, GuideStone Financial Resources

"I wanted to move beyond my own excuses and learn some self discipline."

Kim Coleman, a GuideStone employee, quit making excuses not to exercise. She put down her complaints and picked up a pair of running shoes. Laziness wasn't going to stop her from starting her wellness journey. "I've changed my frame of mind and adapted to a new way of thinking."

Read her full story.

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Keith Brister

Senior pastor, Duncanville, Texas

Become a "whole health" role model. Keith Brister, senior pastor at Duncanville's First Baptist Church, began jogging 18 years ago with his first pastorate. His goal was to model whole health to his churches by managing his weight and stress levels.

Over the years, he has run 10-15 miles a week, participated in one marathon and logged 6,000 miles. Brister keeps a journal of every mile he runs and marks them on a Texas state highway map with a yellow highlighter. He says tracking his progress keeps him motivated.

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Aaron Franklin

Worship pastor, Austin, Texas

Make regular activity a normal part of the day. Aaron Franklin, worship pastor of Anderson Mill Baptist church, lost 15 pounds in only two months with his new regimen:

  • Walk to locations within one or two miles.
  • Racquetball for one hour at least three times a week.
  • Reduce — and try to eliminate — caffeinated beverages.
  • Eat smaller portions, even when eating out.
  • Eliminate after-dinner snacks.

Franklin's goal is to reach his college weight of 185. He began at 216 and is already well on his way toward attaining and maintaining that goal.

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Mike Waddey

Pastor, Cottage Grove Baptist Church

In 2009, a group of Baptist pastors, church staff and Western District Baptist Association members in Tennessee started a relay marathon called "Run, Preacher! Run." to help support Tomorrow's Hope Pregnancy Center, a local ministry in Paris, TN. On September 10, 2010, the group got together again for the 2nd annual run.

Read the full story.

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Ira Pinkston

Worship pastor, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Replace body fat with muscle. Ira Pinkston, worship pastor at Del Norte Baptist Church, began weight training in 2008. He says he has reduced his body fat from 29% to 19% and has replaced it with lean muscle mass. His secret is a combination of weight training and aerobic exercise.

"I feel great. My body image has improved, and I didn’t die when I hiked dozens of miles through the Nicaraguan mountains this past week. A year ago, I would not have made it through the first day."

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Ka Riley

Dallas Baptist University

Don't give up. Ka Riley, who works at Dallas Baptist University, says she focuses on portion control and exercise to reach her weight-loss goals. The challenge is to stay motivated. For her, it helps to be in an environment where health and wellness are encouraged.

To help herself stay on track, Riley wrote this prayer:

Dinner Grace

Giving thanks to Him above,
In this place I see His love.
My heart beats in adoration;
I pray to practice moderation.
So, I sit me down to dinner,
Praying the Lord to help me grow thinner,
And guide the hand that serves my food.
Monitor my portion and my mood,
Remind me that my body is Your temple,
Let my adornments be simple,
Give me strength for increased fitness,
Open my mouth to be Your witness.
Let Your love shine in my face,
As You show Your mercy and grace.
Show me the way to make a fresh start,
Father above, stay close, in my heart.

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