A week or so ago after posting on Facebook that I had lost more than 90 pounds and am now eligible to serve a full-time mission, I was asked several times how I did it. This is my response:

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? I’m Allen (you know that) and I was born of goodly parents. I’m overweight; I’m working on that though. My goodly parents however goodly they may be were not the best examples I could have had growing up in the food department. Let’s review:

My father would drink at least three cans of soda a day plus a bottle or two of it per day several times a week. At home his man cave was in the basement and he’d keep bags and bags of candy, chips, and whatever junk food he could squeeze into the shopping car and bring them home to eat while he sat around watching TV.

My mother, while not as bad as what my father would do, kept stashes of food as well. There were many instances, not as often thankfully, where she would bring home Oreos, Cheetos, and graham crackers.

We’ve all heard of the phrase “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Boy could this statement not be truer for me. It’s like sugar was in the air when they would bring home this food. Seeing my parents eating this made me want my share. For about a year, when I joined the workforce, I would pack several cans of soda for lunch. I ate more than my fair share of donuts, cookies, brownies or anything else that I could get my hands on. I was happy, or so I thought.

The Journey

529612_3678258558518_443016112_nLooking back through photos from my earlier years,563933_3678257798499_781210460_n (1) I can see when my obesity started to set in. Of chorus, we have the baby fat, but that’s cute and adorable. Then flash forward to after I started cub scouts. You can tell in my neck and cheeks that I was starting to gain weight. I was quite obese all through middle school and high school, but it wasn’t until after high school that things spiraled out of control.

Within a few months of graduating high school, I had this thing called a paycheck. It was my own money and I could spend it on what ever I felt like spending it on. I remember vividly times where I bought and consumed at least half a package of Oreos in one day to a large Dairy Queen Blizzard the next; you name it, I ate it.

I had known for several year (5  or more) that I desperately needed to lose weight, but it didn’t hit home until a little over a year ago.

My Mission Plans

I had known since I was 16 that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am a member of, had weight requirements for serving missions. Before you start criticizing the church for “discrimination” against people that are overweight, realize that missions are hard work; they require you to be physically active and mentally prepared.

For years I had looked for ways to help me lose weight, but I did quite the opposite, I gained and kept on gaining. In early 2014, I was officially disqualified from serving a mission, but was allowed to serve as a service missionary.

A Spiritual Perspective

A few weeks ago, while serving in one of my missionary capacities, I had an experience that helped me to gain an understanding of what must be done in order to lose weight.

Mack Wilberg, the music director of Mormon Tabernacle Choir, shared his testimony before a concert that the Choir was going to be singing for the American Choral Directors Association conference. Mack shared something that a fellow conductor and composer, Robert Shaw, shared with him. To paraphrase Shaw. if I put in 90% of my hard work, toiling, laboring, then I can expect 10% inspiration. Mack then said that as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are blessed to know what that inspiration truly is, it is they Holy Ghost, whose purpose is to testify of God’s will to us through promptings.

That is the essence of my weight loss. I put in my 90% through exercise, dieting, and placing my trust in the lord. The lord made up the rest by helping me to lose the weight and shrink physically.


My act of weight loss, at least for me, was one of conversion. The bible dictionary states that conversion is “changing one’s views, in a conscious acceptance of the will of God.” Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states, “conversion is an ongoing process and not a onetime event that results from a powerful or dramatic experience.” We learn here that conversion does not happen over night, but takes sometimes an entire lifetime.

When you start and try to lose weight, do not be discouraged at the slow progress, but remember that this process takes time and will be rewarding in the long run.

The Nitty Gritty Details of Weight Loss

Now that you are mentally and spiritually prepared for weight loss, let me reflect on what I had to do in order to lose 100 pounds.

When you begin remember one key principle:
Set a plan, try it for a few weeks.

Realistically, you can’t try it for a day and proclaim that it didn’t work. One day is simply not enough to get a good enough judgement of success.

My initial plan was to cut calories and walk a lot. The first few months it went swimmingly, but then I hit a speed bump. The app I was using to track my progress kept decreasing and decreasing the amount of calories I could eat the more I lost weight, and it was also at this time that my weight was not really going anywhere–just staying the same.

It was at this time that I realized that this goal or plan, whatever you want to call it, was not enough. It was at that time that I set a specific plan. My new goal was to consume between 1200 and 1500 calories a day and to get a minimum of 50 miles of walking in a week. It was the specific plan that has helped me lose the majority of the weight.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

I cannot that enough two important organizations that have helped me lose the weight so far.

My Fitness Pal

is an app that tracks your weight, food consumption, and exercise all in one place. I think of it as my personal eating trainer. As I lose weight, it gives me less calories that I am able to consume. I’m glad that it does, it trains me to realize that I don’t need as much food to be happy. I only need enough food to meet my needs, not enough food to meet my wants.

Stock iOS Health app

was included in iOS 8 has been a tremendous help to me. I find it to almost be a game. I enjoy pushing myself to work harder. Included in the app is a step counter and mileage tracker. In mid-December, I walked 15 miles one Sunday. I knew that I had the energy to do it and I enjoyed it. The weight loss the next day was another great moment of joy. I set a goal after that to walk 15 miles every Sunday.

Those 15 miles of walking when I weighed 295 pounds burned 2350 calories, now that I weight 240, I only burn 1910 calories. That’s a big difference. So if I want to keep losing weight, I must push myself harder in order to get the results that I want.

Another nice thing about the app is its other tracking features. I can input my blood pressure, my pulse, so on into the app to see that progress. After loosing 100 pounds, my vitals have come into a much more acceptable range.

These two apps, used together, have helped me personally lose a bunch of weight.


Before you hit up the comments thread below and say that this didn’t work, please remember that there as many different diet plans as there are people in this world. If you take anything away from this article, remember that when you want to lose weight, remember to rely on the Lord. That is the best advice I can give you.

You’ll have to find what works best for you, not works best for me. Set a plan, stick to it, change it when necessary, then you’ll be successful.


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