Small Goals, Big Results

Feb 24, 2023

Small Goals, Big Results

After heavy drug use, pressed charges, and jail time served, Steph Shaffer encountered a miracle. He received the break of his life and it changed everything for him. Since then, he has dedicated his life to God, he is taking an active role in his church as a Chaplin, he’s leading a prison outreach, continuing to be head of his household, and all the while losing weight and getting healthy.

“I used to be a criminal; a methamphetamine addict,” he said. “That was almost 17 years ago now. I was arrested for some big charges. I should have spent a significant amount of time in prison. I deserved that but I was spared on a technicality of which I didn’t deserve. It was a total glitch in the system. It showed God’s power absolutely to me.”

Over time, Steph’s transformation looked like different things. It started with the spiritual; the soul, then the relational; being a good husband to his wife and kids, and third; the physical, which Steph is learning pours into all other aspects of his life.

In the summer of 2022, Steph weighed 600lbs. He has lost over 180lbs since he started working out. It all started when Steph’s church had a revival meeting. Every night for a week, Steph’s church had two or three sermons from a visiting preacher.

“It was at this time that I was convicted,” he said. “I needed to take better care of my body. I wasn’t setting a good example for my family. The stain on my testimony was the conviction I received.”

From barely moving and walking about, to making exercise a priority in his daily life, Steph said that he couldn’t go back to the way things were as the spiritual leader of his household.

“I needed to treat my body as a holy temple for the Holy Spirit,” he said. “And with that conviction, I started to take my personal fitness seriously. I started coming to The Kroc and picked up the Activetrax system right away.”

Steph had never really been to a gym before. He didn’t know how to use the equipment, but with the support he received from The Kroc Trainers and access to fitness tracking software, Steph was able to know exactly what to do, while also receiving alternative exercises that would keep him on track and keep him motivated. 

“When I first came to The Kroc, I had never used resistance training before,” he said. “I had a vague familiarity from friends who had. I was familiar with body weight routines. At that size, body weight routines are not much of an option. Having the staff to support me and help me learn about which machines to use and when helps me. It provides me with alternative workouts.”

With the diverse range of programming, available childcare, and attentive staff who offer numerous ways to workout, The Kroc Center has eliminated all the excuses for Steph.

“The Kroc Center has truly eliminated all excuses for me,” he said. “My kids love coming here, so that eliminates childcare as an excuse. My daughter loves the knitting club and all of them love to climb the rock wall. My goal is to climb the rock wall faster than my kids. That’s a big motivator for me.”

Another motivator for Steph is the small achievable goals that he sets for himself. When starting out, Steph’s body dysmorphia prevented him from seeing himself as anything but a 600-pound man. So, not only being able to do the workouts properly, but something as simple as not breathing heavily while talking on the phone is a giant step forward.

“I want to be able to keep up with my kids,” he said. “Another goal that I have, and I’m getting very close, is being able to find a full set of clothes at a regular store. Whether that’s Wal-Mart or any department store, I like being able to find clothes in my size. And I’m getting closer.”

While seeing the weight fall off and getting his body healthy, through his journey, Steph has learned that he needed to do more than just workout to see the kind of results he was looking for.

“I first said to myself that I wasn’t going to diet,” he said. “As I went along on my journey towards a healthier life, I found out that I was really fighting an uphill battle. I was actively working against myself, and as soon as I started watching what I ate, that’s when the weight started falling off. I don’t even miss the foods that I used to eat. Plus, it feels good to have to create another notch in my belt.”

 Everything that Steph does points to his greater mission, the mission of living for Jesus Christ and sharing that love with everyone he meets is

“My main goal is to get more new commitments to follow Christ,” he said. “For those who have done that before and have backslid and aren’t hearing the Holy Spirit anymore, my goal is to guide them back to that, so they are living a spirit-filled life, which is better for their families and keep them out of jail.”

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