March 1, 2020

Sandra and I started our family when we were way too young.  Our first child was born when I was just 19 years old and Sandra was just 18 years old.

The next year after Spencer Jr. was born, an insurance agent friend of mine had made an appointment to visit Sandra and me one night. He wanted to sell me a whole life insurance policy that built up cash value.
He told me that my insurance premium was very small as young as I was and that this was an ideal time in my life to buy insurance for my family’s protection and for my financial future.
Then he told me something I never forget.  He said, “Always remember this: people don’t plan to fail – they fail to plan.”

Well, after two trips to my house and explaining all the numbers and projections of that particular insurance policy, I bought it.  And I am so proud I did.  I have never been without life insurance since then to protect my family.

But, I learned that the quote my insurance agent friend gave me about people failing to plan, applied to many things in life.  I have seen many people fail at important things because they didn’t properly plan ahead – including myself.  We didn’t look far enough ahead into the future.

A good illustration of people failing to plan was made very real to me in a newspaper article published in my local paper in December 2019.It was an Associated Press article written my Marilynn Marchione, with the headline, “Study: Nearly half of adults in U.S. will be obese by 2030.” I read the article and clipped it out to put in my health notes for the book I am currently writing on getting healthy.

The article cited a study that was published by The New England Journal of Medicine.  One nutrition expert, who had no role in the study said, “It’s alarming. We’re going to have some pretty awful problems medically and financially because so many people weigh so much.”

Obesity raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and many other health issues.  Obesity is gauged by body mass index, a measure of weight relative to height and age.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 40% of U.S. adults are currently obese and that the problem will worsen over the next decade.

When I read that article, I could identify with all those who are obese. I had been obese myself a year and a half earlier.

I remembered what my insurance friend had said about failing to plan. I looked back at my life and realized that from the time I got married, I had averaged gaining two pounds a year.  That may not sound too bad for awhile, but after fifty years, I was 100 pounds overweight.  Obese by anyone’s standard.

My obesity had really affected my health in many ways.  My right hip went out on me and I had to have a hip replacement, my knees were hurting all the time, and my rheumatologist said that obesity was also why I came down with gout.

I realized my obesity was my own fault. I had nobody to blame but myself.  So my question was, “What do I do about this problem?”  My rheumatologist told me my gout was so bad that I would be dead in a year if I didn’t lose my excess weight. I had started many diets in the past.  I used to joke with people and tell them I had lost a thousand pounds.  It’s called yo yo dieting.  Lose weight, put it back on and lose it and put it back on.  A terrible cycle.  I knew that a diet wouldn’t work in my case.  I needed a life-style change.

To effect that change, I had to motivate myself with many thoughts.  One, my family needs me.  Two, this bad health is not pleasing to God, because my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  And there were many other factors that reasoned in as to why I had to get healthy if I wanted to live.
I knew what I had to do, but I knew, too, that I couldn’t do it by myself.  I needed help from God and family.  And I got that help.

I started eating healthily and exercising.  I did everything my doctor told me to do.  I planned each day.  It was not easy, but a year later I had lost 100 pounds.  And it was worth it.

Being overweight is just one reason people become unhealthy.  But it can lead to many other problems – not just physical.

So if you are overweight, start now to lose that excess weight.  Remember the Chinese proverb, “A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu.

You can do it!

God Bless You,
Spencer Plumley