At one time, the Rev. Conner Reed weighed up to 430 pounds.
It helped that those pounds were distributed over his 6-foot-7-inch frame, but the pastor of youth and college at Macedonia Baptist Church didn’t feel well physically, emotionally or mentally.
“I wanted to be a better me, and I wanted a better lifestyle,” the 23-year-old former offensive line player said.
About a year ago — at about 400 pounds — Reed relied on his relationship with God and the support of family and friends to lose weight.
His goal was to reach 280 pounds.
On Wednesday, Reed tipped the scale at 278. He’s lost more than 120 pounds during the past year.
“I had to rely on the Lord a lot,” he said.
When hunger pangs hit, Reed often prayed. Sometimes, he would read Scripture to get him through until mealtime.
“I replace a meal with Scripture. In a sense, I’m still being fed,” Reed said.
During the early days of COVID-19, he worked from home, which presented new temptations. The pantry and fridge were nearby and hard to resist.
“Lord, I need you to help me not eat that,” he would pray.
Many people have asked Reed how he lost so much weight. Here’s his story:
Reed’s weight gain started as a senior in high school. He played football in high school and at Kentucky Wesleyan College, so being large had merit.
He remembers his blood pressure was 220/120 in high school. The American Heart Association recommends readings less than 120/80.
Then, Reed left KWC, where he studied from 2015 to 2017, and went to work at Crossings Ministries.
He later enrolled at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Pineville, Kentucky. He hopes to graduate from seminary within a year.
Besides working as a full-time youth pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church, Reed is a part-time graduate intern at KWC, working with campus ministries.
At the beginning of his weight-loss journey, Reed ate three meals a day. Because of his hectic work and school life, he thought he could cut out two meals a day without being famished, so he eats the evening meal only with his wife, Michaela.
Reed knows dietitians will frown when they hear he limits himself to one meal per day; however, he feels that plan was inspired by God and fits him well.
For the first five months, the young couple used Hello Fresh, a meal kit delivery service that helped them manage portion control. Over time, they acquired the discipline on their own and quit using Hello Fresh. The Reeds now plan and cook meals on their own.
Reed also walks, jogs or rides a bike between five and seven miles daily, and he drinks lots of water.
The couple eats about 5 p.m. Sometimes, by 9 p.m., he gets hungry again.
When that happens, Reed tells himself: “If I can just make it two more hours, I can go to sleep and start over tomorrow.”
He has never felt the need for a weight-loss program. God, family and friends provide the strength to succeed, Reed said.
“The rewards have been much greater than the weight itself was,” he said.
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, firstname.lastname@example.org