North Suffolk’s ‘weight loss pastor’

Published 10:37 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pastor Steve Bellavia lost 100 pounds in one year, and writes a blog to motivate others in their goals.

Encouragement from family and friends often helps people lose weight, but a North Suffolk pastor also credits a watchful congregation and God after shedding and keeping off about 100 pounds.

Steve Bellavia, 35, executive pastor at 3n1 Church, which meets in the movie theater at Harbour View, said he was at 278 pounds when he decided to slim down.

One year later, not only did he tip the scales at a svelte 174 pounds, but he and his family were leading more healthy lives overall, and Bellavia had motivated countless others to follow suit.

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Two months on from that point, he says he is keeping it off.

Bellavia said he has struggled with weight most of his adult life. He was at a low point when he committed to losing the excess pounds for good.

“At first, I think something happened when I felt a hopeless feeling,” he said. “I needed to do something. I started to assume I’m going to lose this weight really fast; that’s when I started to realize that it was going to be like other times … if I didn’t make a lifestyle change.”

Bellavia established a 1,000-calorie deficit in his daily calorie intake, which he said translates to losing two pounds a week.

“It really doesn’t matter where your calories are coming from,” he said. “It started going to the gym and also just monitoring what I put into my body — nothing goes into my body without writing it down and taking account of it. It’s similar to a bank account. I just decided to not live in debt.”

The results of Bellavia’s weight loss reach beyond his own life. To start with, he says his family is now “just an active family. We went from spending lots of time watching TV to walking around Ghent and jogging around Mt. Trashmore.”

He’s started a fitness club at his church, whose congregants have monitored his weight loss every step of the way, and blogs about his weight-loss journey, inspiring others to follow his path.

“Through my blog (www.theweightlosspastor.com), I’m working with people across the country through emails, helping them understand the science behind it,” he said. “Creating a blog was not only to inspire, but also (it created) a certain amount of accountability.”

Bellavia said he had to change his mind before he started changing his body. “I was already making the decision that this is something people should do before my body caught up,” he said.

“In the beginning, people who generally needed to lose quite a bit of weight found inspiration … (but) now people who only need to lose 20 pounds or 10 pounds have been able to find inspiration.”