An airplane seat belt prompted Pastor David Boyd of Gothenburg to lose 85 pounds and turn his life in a healthier direction.

Pastor Boyd, minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Gothenburg, said he flew to Washington, D.C., for a conference in May of 2018. When he boarded the plane, he struggled to fasten the seatbelt.

“I did finally get the thing buckled, but I decided that day that I no longer wanted to experience that sort of thing again,” he said.

Pastor Boyd said his weight had been rising steadily for several years.

“I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable in my own skin, but not enough to actually do much about it,” he said.

When he returned home from D.C., he saw 270 pounds on the scale and decided it was time to make a change.

He gave up pop, started eating healthier and began a consistent exercise routine at the Gothenburg YMCA in June 2018.

“It is a wonderfully low-pressure place,” Pastor Boyd said about the YMCA. “And, even though I was embarrassed to be exercising with all that weight, I felt comfortable very quickly.”

His workout typically consists of 60 minutes on the treadmill walking hard at a bit of an incline, followed by a cool down with a few laps on the track and then 20 minutes of resistance training on the weights. He tries to exercise four to five days a week.

After one year of eating healthier and exercising at the YMCA, Pastor Boyd has lost 85 pounds. His waist size dropped from a 44 to a 34.

“Normal everyday tasks have become so much easier; climbing stairs, mowing the lawn,” he said. “Oh, and I no longer have to worry about those pesky airline seatbelts.”

Pastor Boyd said the YMCA was a huge motivator for him to stay on course with his journey to better health.

“Just having a facility of the quality of our YMCA within walking distance was a motivator,” he said. “What excuse could I possibly give for not being more active when I can do everything I want and need to do at a beautiful facility that is just four blocks from home?”

Pastor Boyd joked that the Y has actually cost him a lot of money.

“I’m not talking about the membership fees, but when you lose as much weight as I have, there is a substantial cost in buying an entirely new wardrobe!” he said.

The next challenge, Pastor Boyd said, is to keep the weight off.

“I have lost weight before and then gained it back, but I think there are two things working to my benefit this time,” he said. “First, is that I have not tied myself to a particular diet. The only thing that I have completely given up is pop. And, I haven’t starved myself, so I feel like I can continue to eat the way I have without too much of a problem. Second, I have the YMCA so close and available. I know that I am supported by the wonderful staff and the other folks who work out each morning. I not only enjoy my workout, but I love visiting with the other folks who are there.

“For the first time in many years, I feel like I am in control of my weight and my health rather than the other way around. I know that a large part of that is due to the fact that I joined the Y.”

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