Getting To That Place Where “Can't” Doesn't Exist
This morning I took a call from a listener off the air. She sounded upset and sad. She had read my blog and told me that she didn't think she could do it. I wish I would have had more time to talk with her, but I was in the middle of my show. I hope it's from the same person that left an anonymous comment at losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com, that simply said...”I don't know if I can Sean.” I have no way to reply to an anonymous comment, and I'd love to talk with her personally about finding strength, and I'm sure I'll have the chance, as she did say that she's signed up for the “Lose To Win” Challenge, I told her that was a wonderful start. What can I say about finding strength from within? It's something that you have to find inside the deepest parts of your soul. It doesn't come from a product, infomercial, a pep talk, a prescription, doctors orders, or reading this blog. The power to change is inside everyone of us. Getting to that place inside isn't something that came easy for me. I can remember many nights when I would literally cry myself to sleep because I felt so out of control with my weight. At over 500 pounds, I knew that I was slowly and surely killing myself everyday, but I felt completely powerless. On June 10th, 2008, at over 500 pounds and with my blood pressure raging at 220/118, the doctor looked at me and very bluntly told me that if I collapsed in the parking lot on the way to my vehicle, it wouldn't surprise anyone in that office. She explained what my weight and blood pressure were doing to my internal organs in graphic detail. She wasn't speaking long before I was sobbing. That day I really felt my time was up. I really thought that I had waited too long. I knew that all I could do was start and start right now. Not tomorrow, or next Monday. Really, when you call for an ambulance, they don't set an appointment, they start coming immediately. This was an emergency in every sense of the word. When I arrived home that day, Irene and Courtney could see that I was shaken, and they knew it wasn't good. I told them about the blood pressure, and I couldn't speak without breaking down. We all hugged and cried right there in the driveway. To hear those words from the doctor and then to come home to my family's desperate tear filled pleas for me to save myself, how could I not be able to do it? I know I've written about this experience before, but tonight I felt it worth repeating. That day was June 10th, 2008...I didn't start until September 15th, 2008. Why? Because I didn't think I could do it. I was too addicted to food, I was too dependent on the way it made me feel when I was scared, stressed, sad, and even happy. So when I hear someone say, “I don't think I can,” I know exactly where you are. I understand your pain. I couldn't start until I became completely honest with myself. Oh, I could've forced myself to go through the motions again, like in 2004, and I would have lost weight for a little while, but I knew that it was going to take something deeper for me to break free and do it right. I decided that I had to make this a physical and mental battle. I had to confront myself head on. I had to stop rationalizing bad choices. I had to demand self-respect and that meant 100% honesty to that fat guy in the mirror. I concluded that food wasn't the enemy I always thought it was, I admitted that I was in fact the enemy. I was sleeping and living with the enemy everyday. Food was always my friend, a friend that I took advantage of and used in the worst ways. I decided that I would question every emotion before I turned to food for comfort. I decided that I was the gatekeeper to my mouth, I make the choices on what gets in. I decided that if I was being completely honest with myself, then excuses of why I couldn't do it had to go. The years of excuses why I couldn't do it were over for good on September 15th, 2008 simply because I decided they were no longer valid. I had to think long and hard about all of the positive consequences of losing the weight, from that I formed my “motivating thoughts,” From there I had to hold on tight to those motivating thoughts to help pull me through, I still do. I had to admit that I don't know everything. I had to be open to learn new things. I had to break down the facade of confidence and control that kept me in constant denial. Don't you ever give up. Because you can do this, you really honestly can do this too. The most important exercises I've accomplished thus far have been mental. Isn't it amazing that after years of searching for the right plan, the right pill, the right book, the right miracle cure, the right system...it was with me the whole time? I just had to open my eyes and mind long enough to see and embrace it. Listen, I'm always the first to say that I'm not a doctor, or a dietitian, a nutritionist, or a psychiatrist. And everything I've done and am doing along the way may not be 100% right, but I'm learning more and more about this journey and myself everyday. I'm just a really big guy that has nearly three decades of obesity experience and a longing for a longer healthier life. You can do this.
Tonight we were invited out to dinner by our friends Gayle and Anne. They treated Irene and me to Zino's Italian Restaurant. We'd never enjoyed Zino's before, I mean really, where's the drive through? Gayle knows that there isn't a restaurant that I haven't been able to navigate so far, so why would Zino's be any different? The endless bread and heavy sauces over loads of perfect pasta can sound pretty overwhelming, and downright defeating, but it's all in the strategy. For starters, I always focus on the people around me, not the food. I want to enjoy the company first, the food second. At an Italian restaurant I know that the bread is probably going to be really tempting. I decided that if I had the room in my calorie budget I'd enjoy some, and I did break off a piece, and yes it was amazing. I also wanted to try the calamari. I hadn't enjoyed fried calamari since my Los Angeles days. I know that anything battered and deep fried runs the risk of being off the chart loaded, so I did my research. Earlier today I compared calamari calorie counts from several different sources online. The average was 300 a cup, or 6 ounce portion. And since I didn't have to eat it all, I could share and did, I knew that I could safely enjoy the stuff. I also planned to avoid any sauces based in cream or cheese. I was sticking to a tomato based sauce. I still enjoyed a few spoons of the best cream of mushroom soup ever, but I just knew it was way more calories than any nutrition label I'd ever laid eyes on. It was that good. For the main course I chose the meat ravioli with a chunky tomato sauce. Just a small taste of bread, a normal serving of calamari, no cream or cheese based pasta sauce, no melted cheese on the main course, and ice water with lemon...That's how I navigated this place. And I'll do it again by golly. It was fantastic and a wonderful meal with friends.
Tomorrow is weigh day and I couldn't be more excited. The bar has been raised, the resolve has been tightened, the effort has been consistent. I'm looking forward to an all time personal weight loss record! It's late, I must rest...Good night and...