26/6/2018 by
Aaron Johnson

“You’re not going to eat ALL of that bacon, you can only eat half of it!” Those were the words of Ron Carter (DVULI staff member) who spoke to me with authority, and not a hint of a smile on his face, during breakfast at the First National Conference in 2007. Simply stated, I had been found out. What he didn’t know was I woke up extremely early that morning to be the first one to the gourmet breakfast buffet so I could greed and hoard bacon, sausage links, scrambled eggs, potatoes, and hot syrup without anyone knowing the extent of my madness. For that moment, as a youth pastor, it was my turn to be taken care of whether it killed me or not. But Ron held me accountable to only eating half of all the food I piled on my plate. After the shock left, I said to myself, “Who is this guy?” Even though we had never formally met, he took the initiative to not only sit next to me, but help put me in check. Deep down inside I knew he was right.

For the next decade, while that moment with Ron resonated in my mind, I never truly got a dynamic handle on my weight. Sure, there were spurts here and there of dropping weight, but I would let something get in the way of my goals. All it took was a couple of basketball, kickboxing, and weight-lifting injuries, and I was bound to stay in the same situation. I desperately needed an extra push!

Ernestine Shepherd is a body builder who is in her upper 80’s in age. I caught wind of her short documentary and I was hooked. If she could get up and run at 2:30am, I had no excuse anymore. Thus, in her story I had found motivation. Then there was a Tony Robbins video called New Year, New You. He challenged viewers to change their standards, rituals, habits, in new and innovative ways.

Because I had learned this in the DeVos Initiative, I decided to create a Breakthrough Plan for my fitness goals that involved balance, accountability, and interdependence. With the incredible work-out plans and accountability of my personal trainer Corey Miller in Chicago, I have since won three competitions in a row. Two weight-loss trophies, and one cardio competition. My photo is now on the Wall of Fame at my workout gym in Nashville!

Today, I am not only physically stronger, but my mind, emotions, and spirit are healthy and strong too. I don’t have to give thought to how I am going to tie my shoes or clip my toenails because I am flexible enough to reach them without thought. I can fit into clothes that I have not worn in over a decade and I don’t have to be concerned about flab being revealed. All the things that I used be overly conscience of due to my size had me in bondage, but I accepted it and would overcompensate by my ministry and career achievements.

The biggest breakthrough for me is I have learned to care about myself. If you don’t care about you then you won’t do anything to benefit you. As I take care of myself I have the capacity to care for other people. Now I have church members asking me for personal fitness plans, which amazes me because I used to be the butt of their overweight jokes.  

Who knew what holding someone accountable to what's on their plate would do? Thanks Ron, DeVos Urban Leadership, and Corey. I feel stronger and more-free than I have ever felt in my life.

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