The Most Important Year of Our Life
Where do I begin? I started this journey on September 15th, 2008, and although tomorrow is officially my one year anniversary—today was Day 365: The last day of the most important year of my life. My firm answer to the question, “is it ever going to change?” “Will I ever get a handle on this weight that's killing me?” Yes!, YES!, YESSSS! I was really scared when I started on Day 1. I honestly believed my time was running out and it was. Either an early death or the complete collapse of my family, one or the other, or both was inevitable without serious change. It took me 443 months of life to arrive at this desperate crossroads.
I arrived at this place as a 505 pound man with raging high blood pressure, deadly sleep apnea, and swelling so bad in my right leg that painful open sores would develop when the skin refused to stretch any further. I arrived at this place with a wife and two daughters that would often sit and cry together because they were scared to death that I would leave them too soon. I arrived at this place with a mother that would stay up all night worrying about me, sometimes calling just to ask through the tears, “When are you really going to get busy?” I arrived at this place scared to death of myself, my habits, my behaviors that had me cornered, beating me into submission with zero hope for survival. The more my family cried for me, the more scared I became. I can't do this, I thought. But I must---But I don't really know how---on and on the mental battle within me raged. Was this it? Did I reach a point of wanting to give up the fight? Yes I did. However, a couple of problems, let's call them character traits, stood in the way of me giving up: I'm a survivor and I'm a dreamer. A dream can't survive forever without positive action, so action had to start, even if I hadn't a clue where to begin. After 443 months, 12 months has changed it all, turned it completely around. But how? What has made the last 12 months different from any other 12 month period in my life?
I found self-honesty. I found personal responsibility. I let go of the blame and I stopped feeling sorry for the victim I played so well. I became the one in charge of my choices with a completely honest understanding of the consequences, good or bad. Was I going to die a miserable fat man? Or would I completely change my family's life for the better? The choice was mine to make. I made the good choice. It wasn't easy fighting a lifetime of addiction, but it was a fight that I was determined to win because my family was worth the fight. I was worth the fight.
An excerpt from Day 1 titled “Calorie Wars:” “I've allowed my weight to hold me back in my career, and more importantly: It's held my family back from fully enjoying life. That's pretty big stuff. I'm writing this blog as a self-motivation tool. I need to write, I need to express my feelings and experiences, I need to continually remind myself of what I need to do and keep doing. That's what this blog is all about. If you read this blog and have a laugh or feel inspired to lose weight too, then it's all the better! But I'm doing it for me. And by doing it for me, I'm also doing it for my beautiful wife and two daughters. How important is it that I lose the weight now? Well...every now and then I day dream a nightmare where I envision my family at my funeral. I know...it's dark! And very scary. But every time I have a little pain I wonder, is this it? Am I about to collapse? Will my funeral be Thursday?? That's very depressing and scary stuff. But when you're as big as I am, it's something that you have to think about all the time.” ...This is all about making choices. Every choice we make has a consequence...some good, some bad...Some real good, Some very, very bad. Choices and consequences, that's what it's all about." I honestly had no idea what this blog would become to me. It has become my therapist. It has taught me so much about myself, good and bad. It has become a window where I can look at the real me, without excuses, without rationalizations that try to justify bad choices, and with 100% self honesty and personal responsibility. It's not a war now. Morbid obesity continues it's retreat everyday. And I'm standing tall surrounded by those who love and support me every step of the way. I'm winning. I'm changing a pattern of defeat into a pattern of triumph.
This simplistic approach flies in the face of complications. It can be easy, if you decide it can. Mental gymnastics aside, it's super simple: Eat 1500 calories a day, doesn't matter what, anything you like. And move. Have some form of physical movement---doesn't matter what, anything you like, just move. Your choices with food and exercise will improve with time. Don't worry about getting fancy at first.
The mental part? Well, it is the most important. Make this one of the most important things you've ever done. Be over-dramatic about this, make it a life or death decision. Commit to a consistent effort and discover what 365 days can do for you. It'll change your life my friend.
Irene had work tonight, Courtney had math tutoring, and I had play rehearsal. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
At this point I woke up and realized that I had slept sitting up at the computer for nearly two hours. It was almost 2am. I decided I better go to bed. I just deleted nine pages of 8's. It's a little after 5am Tuesday and I'm getting ready for work.
I'm also getting ready to use a wonderful gift given to me by a regular reader of this blog. I received a call earlier in the day telling me that someone had dropped off something for me at the Team Radio offices, a blog reader, and it was a gift. I was so excited! Whoever, whatever...they didn't have to do that! But I sure was excited still to find out what waited inside the bag. I picked it up and found a hand written letter inside. It read in part: Sean, I'm a daily reader of your blog. I so admire what you and your family are doing. You have helped me put my own food addiction to rest. I have, in the past years, lost to 108 pounds twice, but would resume my old eating habits within months, only to gain it all back and more. You have given me strength to do what is right for myself. Thank you, and your family for that. A while back, you made comment that there had to be an easier way to separate an egg---well, here are 2 of them---egg separators. Thank you my friend! Thank you! You see, this is the unexpected gift of this entire journey. I share this letter because, wow...It's letters like this that make it all a little more sweet. The thought of me or my family inspiring anybody to do anything productive this time last year would have been absurd. What a wonderful feeling. This is why I will spend the rest of my life writing and speaking about weight loss. Isn't it funny really...the one thing that held me back and nearly killed me all of those years, it's actually making it possible for me to realize my dreams now. It's a complete turnaround, a 180 degree turn. And it's all happened in a short 365 days.
I'm going to use one of my new egg separators and prepare breakfast now. Look for the pictures on Tuesday night's edition, I've run out of time. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...