Over the last few days, I have been interviewed. Photographs were taken. Now the day has come and I am published.
Pastor publicly battling the bulge
By Abe Levy
Updated 01:11 a.m., Saturday, February 11, 2012
Dr Pepper used to haunt Pastor Danny Price.
For two decades, he downed six to eight cans a day.
That’s about 1,200 needless daily calories for the 6-foot-2, 251-pound shepherd of Hope Community Church on the West Side.
He vowed last year to get fit on his own — but only lost 10 pounds.
Now, he’s taken the quest public.
Price, 35, is among 79 contestants in a two-month weight-loss competition sponsored by Genghis Grill that started Feb. 1.
The Dallas-based Mongolian stir fry restaurant is offering one free meal a day to them and a prize of $10,000 to the winner.
Besides dropping the most weight, contestants are trying to get the most online votes and pen the best blogs along the way.
Even if fame and fortune elude him, Price hopes to be 51 pounds lighter and push his high blood pressure into normal parameters.
Good-natured doubting Thomases have bet against him, given the two-month timeframe. But the process creates an appealing platform combining personal fitness and faith, Price said.
“One of the biggest sins that Christians commit is gluttony,” said Price, whose year-old congregation has 45 people and worships at the Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes.
“We’re Baptist, and so we bring casseroles to everything and don’t pay attention to our bodies. That’s been one of the things I learned,” he said. “Food is fuel for our body and not a luxury, yet we indulge in it a lot, instead of striving to use it to do something great.”
His blog entries touch on Bible verses and spiritual musings about his past cravings: chorizo-and-egg breakfast tacos, homemade buttered tortillas and double Egg McMuffin orders.
He’s brutally honest on purpose.
No room to cheat now. His congregation is watching. His three young children, too.
His wife, a marathon enthusiast, cleaned out the pantry and filled three trash bags with foods such as chips and dip.
And his workout routine is hellish.
For three hours most nights, he trains at a Gold’s Gym with Sherman Youngblood, a muscle-bound church member whose passion for mixed martial arts comes through in his interval-based regimen.
The minister plays mind tricks to stay on the treadmill. He dedicates 30-second segments to each of his three children, his wife and trainer.
“These are people who love me and care about me enough to allow this to happen,” Price said. “I’m doing this for me and for them. I want to see my kids graduate from high school.”
The physical reforms have produced spiritual lessons. He figures he’s been overweight so many years because of misplaced priorities.
“I’ve had to question myself: Am I producing with my time or am I just being a consumer of my time?” he said.
This year, he hopes to do the once-unimaginable: Join his wife on a half-marathon. Or try his luck at a “Warrior Dash,” a mud-and-fire-infused running course he never would have considered before.
He’s lost seven pounds so far.
And he’s drinking water like it was Dr Pepper.