With the support of his family, friends and church congregation, he changed his diet and lost 158 pounds. After making the pledge to change his lifestyle, he’s remained on his diet for more than three years and is within 6 pounds of his target weight of 215 pounds.
While Turner had no physical problems, but he was concerned about his health because his father died of a heart attack at age 53.
“I’ve been overweight most of my life,” he said. “It was inevitable with my weight and family history.”
He would lose a few pounds through trying different diets, then gain all the weight back. In October 2006, Turner tried to tell his daughter what she should be eating. One night, he realized the extra helpings she wanted mirrored his own habits. In the morning, he told his wife he was joining Weight Watchers.
“I made a commitment to go and keep going,” Turner said. “I lost most of my weight in the first two years.”
He said he did not talk about his lifestyle change at first, but people began to notice his weight loss. Members of the church supported his decision and friends gave him clothing as he dropped weight. Without the support of family and friends, he said, he would not have lost the weight.
Since losing eight pants sizes, he no longer has to use seat belt extenders and he can walk up the stairs without panting.
“More importantly, I can focus on how much I’ve gained: a sense of control, a livable nutrition plan ... and my daughter’s trust that I can teach her how to live a healthy life,” he said.
He was an active overweight person, but his endurance has improved. The weight loss allowed him to increase his vocal range, a benefit to his position as minister of music and administration at Roopville Road Baptist Church.
His diet is based on making better choices and eating smaller portions of the food he should not eat often. Many area restaurants have menus and nutritional information available online. If it is not online, he requests the information when he goes to the restaurant. He also decides what he wants to eat before he goes to the restaurant. If something is cooked in butter, he asks for it cooked in a healthier manner.
“People think you can’t go out to eat if you’re on a diet,” he said. “I go out to lunch almost every day.”
Claire Monroe, with Weight Watchers International, said Turner’s story is both amazing and ordinary because he lost the weight but faces the same struggle many people face.
“Turner has fought a lifelong battle with weight, failed with diets many times, and has persevered to find success and embrace a healthy lifestyle,” she said.
Turner said he drinks water frequently to clean his body and increase his metabolism. He also began walking for exercise, an activity he does two or three times each day. He also continues to pray for help.
“Every day I’m thinking about what I should be doing. ... Every day I have to ask the Lord for the strength and control to make the right decisions,” Turner said. “You can’t just pray for help and not do anything.”