Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 708 and 709 It's All About Perspective

Day 708 and 709

It's All About Perspective

The spinning class Monday evening felt so wonderful. Deanna, the instructor, incorporated fitness bands...as if pedaling for an hour straight at different resistance levels wasn't enough of a workout! But I must say, it was a great addition to the spinning, brilliant actually. Oh, and the hour---yeah, that's another issue. I didn't get that memo until 42 minutes into what I thought was a 45 minute class. I was beat and so looking forward to stepping off that cycle. When we were on gear 18 and standing up "running" at minute 42, I knew we still had a way to go, and when the classmate on cycle 13 noticed my confusion, they confirmed through ragged breath: "It's an hour today." Really? All of a sudden, I was faced with the thought...17 more minutes instead of a little more than two. But I couldn't bring myself to stop. These people know me...what would they think? I dishonestly felt like I had already achieved an amazing workout at minute 5, it's just gruelling--but in a positive workout kind of way...and look where we were...Hey, I know, I thought...Maybe I have somewhere to be!?! But I didn't, and they would see right through that excuse...not because it would be so hard to believe that I would have somewhere else to be, but because I would have probably climbed off of the bike in dramatic fashion, spilling my water, and announcing over the loud music in an animated fashion, "I have a passion for Putt-Putt meeting to attend, and I wouldn't want to be late..." --But really, I couldn't be happy with myself had I made up something like that. But wow, I was so disappointed. My disappointment was replaced 17 minutes later with an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. I climbed off the cycle along with all of the other sweaty spinning people and did my best to look all confident too, as if to say, "I was actually hoping it was an hour today, wow--how lucky for me!"

Perspective is an interesting study. It's all in our perspective, and sometimes---well, most every time, the difference between us accepting, I mean really understanding or at least appreciating something and being totally foreign to the concept...comes down to a slight shift in our perspective. Or sometimes a major shift is what it takes. Whatever, a shift--you know what I mean. An example I experienced yesterday was very interesting. I was broadcasting on location and communicating with the studios, when this amazing voice came on the line. It was a new board operator who was training to operate my broadcast. The voice I heard would make James Earl Jones seem like Peter Brady. Ok, really---probably not that good--but still, I made him say..."This is CNN." I'm kidding, I really didn't. I did however ask him his age. He told me 17. And then, I asked him how old he was when his voice dropped, and what he said reminded me all about the importance of perspective. With a serious tone he said: "It started when I was eleven years old, and just got worse as I got older." Worse? "Did it hurt?" I asked, "No, it just got deeper...everyone made fun of me starting in 7th grade, when they would call me the voice."

Wow...wow, wow. He was made to feel different because of a gift that he couldn't fully realize as a gift at the time. What an amazing revelation it will be when he fully realizes that his voice wasn't a curse or a problem at all, and could potentially give him a career in broadcasting and voice-overs. I'm excited to see how he develops as he realizes and appreciates his "unexpected" gift. Perspective, wow...very powerful. It's powerful because we believe whatever others tell us, or even worse, whatever we tell ourselves---for me it goes back to the "mix-tape" analogy from Day 327.

I couldn't help but to draw parallels between this kid and me. My obesity made me the target of cruelty as a child, like it did for so many of us. And I hated being fat. There was nothing positive, or so I thought. It wasn't until I flipped my perspective on Day 135 with my "Thank You Letter To Morbid Obesity" that I fully understood the power of perspective. And now, it's becoming very clear that, the very thing I thought would be the death of me---has led me to where I am now...and that's a wonderful place. And maybe someday, if he puts in the effort---this kid will realize and enjoy the same unexpected flip in perspective. It's beautiful my friend, it really is beautifully amazing.

Speaking of perspective, I had a nice exchange with a reader of this blog through facebook. I'll keep the readers name private because this is a personal subject. But I wanted to share the thoughts with you too because it's an issue many of us face.

Facebook friend: Hi...I have a question for ya...since you've lost so much weight, have you had a problem with hanging skin? That's what I'm afraid of...I have about 100 lbs. to lose, have lost 40 so far since last October...kinda wasted my whole summer not working at it. I know I'll more than likely need a tummy tuck, etc. after I lose it all....but would never be able to afford it...so, is there any certain exercises that help? Thanks...and you are an inspiration.

Me: It's something that I deal with, absolutely. I knew it would be an issue--how could it not? BUT--I'm healthier now than I've ever been as an adult...so it's still a nice trade. And as hard as it is to accept, I'll never have the underwear model body I dream of having--just too much damage done. And even with surgery someday, the truth is, it still will not be perfect.Here's the deal---I had to lovingly accept my imperfections---and I'm not all the way there, not by a long shot---But I'm working on these issues....and when I look in the mirror these days---I still like what I see, because it's so vastly different and better than where I was for so long.I once used that worry about loose skin to deter my efforts...I'm so glad I identified the craziness of that mental dynamic.

Facebook friend: Thank you so much for your response and insight...I think I'll never be extremely happy with what I see in the mirror, but won't let it deter me from working day in and day out to make this change in my life...again, thank you. I have to say, this is the hardest thing to do...getting the weight off and keeping it off...finding the will and strength every day to make it through.

Me: You must remember that this is one of the most important things you've ever done. It's about so much more than the physical benefits---you know this, the physical transformation is the least of it...the super important part is our health--physically---and most important--mentally. This freedom from the chains of obesity--that prison, is so incredible to experience. It's like a whole new world---and this loose skin issue is just a scar from my extended sentence. It's all about our perspective. Some call 'em stretch marks, I call 'em battle scars...I'm rather proud of mine.

Perspective, it's absolutely life changing.

I ended up not completing a 5K Tuesday night. And I honestly didn't feel like it Wednesday night, but I did it anyway. It was a long day on Wednesday. My show started at 6am---and with my live on location broadcast from 3 to 7pm, I wasn't back at the apartment until just after 8pm. I decided to eat dinner and then, as much as I would have rather just collapsed onto my big comfy bed--I put on my jogging pants, grabbed the iPod, and laced up the shoes. Had I not, I could have felt completely justified. After all, it had been an exceptionally long day and I was exhausted. But I'm too important. I stated a personal goal in my last post, and I know: If I'm going to hit that goal, I must return to the same attitude and workout consistency level I had in the very beginning of my long trek down this road. I had to make time for me and that trail. It was a top priority, my "importance level" is set super high---I mustn't forget, ever.

Chrissy sent this: Okay Mr. Anderson, since you make this look sooooo easy, question for you. How the heck do you motivate yourself?!? I am a mom, parent club president, work full time, have a house to keep clean and a family to shop and feed. I have a gym membership that sits idle. I am their best client, I pay and do not ever go! How does one make it all work because in my "spare" time I just wanna collapse NOT hit the gym LOL. I need motivation!!!! How did you start yourself off? What jumpstarted you?

Chrissy, you must make time for you a priority. It's all about that importance level of yours. I started off knowing that I had to do something now. I knew that I had never been consistent before and further--I knew that this was the reason I always failed. But how? With a very busy schedule--it can seem impossible...back to the perspective issue. I had to decide that this was, I was, important enough to make time---regardless of anything and everything. If I was being totally honest with myself--and I knew I had to be---then I couldn't use my busy schedule as an excuse or permission to fail because, "I'm just so busy." My desire to make this the last weight loss attempt of my life jump started me real good---I honestly felt like I had but one chance remaining...so this time had to be different, because my life--and more importantly---my family, depended on it.

I've been looking at a bunch of before pictures lately. It reminds me of where I've been and keeps me in touch with the emotions behind the eyes of the former five hundred pound version of me. I've posted some below. Thank you for reading! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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One of my old stand-up comedy head shots

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With Louie Anderson

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With Sinbad...and he is so genuinely nice by the way, full of wonderful wisdom that guy...Much respect for Sinbad...This was the only time I had a chance to work with and meet him---but he spent nearly an hour talking to me at the after party...telling me everything I needed to know about the business, and by doing that---he was telling me everything I needed to know about him. He's top shelf. What isn't top shelf is the mullet I'm sporting. Wow...that's an impressive mullet if I do say so myself.

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The dreaded stage profile shot, with the head shot inset. Thanks Tulsa World! ;)

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Not so dreaded recent profile shot

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Eating lasagna. Man, I have to tell you---I LOVE lasagna!

19 comments:

  1. I have to say Thank you for sharing your story. I am really glad that I came across your blog. I am just at the beginning of this journey. and sometimes get really frustrated. But when I read your words it makes me realize that I just need to take it day by day and bite by bite and I'll make it!
    Lisa
    lisat0618@gmail.com

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  2. I hear you with the perspective, Sean. I feel like such a Negative Nelly sometimes! "I'm never going to lose all this weight," or "I'm short, so I'll never look like a model, so why even try to lose weight/do my hair/put on makeup?"

    Instead, the glass needs to be half full. "I may not look like a supermodel but I have more energy than I ever did at 20 because of my weight loss!" or "I may be too tired to go to the gym, but the sense of accomplishment I'll get afterwards will be worth the effort" or "I may not look like a supermodel, but *I* think I look nice today."

    Accepting isn't about pretending to be someone different than you are. I mean, for instance, I'm short. There's no talking my way out of that one, regardless of the high heels I wear. It is what it is.

    That being said, I think that acceptance needs to be mixed with some Vision, too. "This is who I am today, and that's okay" needs to be mixed with a little "Here's who I want to be tomorrow, so I will work hard to achieve that goal." I think a lot of people find that balance hard; I know I do! Where does self-acceptance and setting goals for yourself/having a daydream of who you want to be...what's the healthy mix to have? What Visionary goals that you set for yourself...what are realistic goals and what aren't? Is it realistic to want to be 125 pounds? What about 115 pounds? What's the line between acceptance and complacency?

    Sorry, that's a lot of questions in one little blog reply!! Eep!

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  3. Dude, are you a lefty?

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  4. Wow. I found you from Starting at 500 pounds blog. Awesome story. It seems lately I've seen more on my journey type blogs not I've MADE IT type blogs!!!!! Fun to see. I'll be back to read more.

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  5. The Power of Perspective. That's a great reminder, Sean, thank you. Hey... what a great seminar topic for you. :-)

    Loretta
    =^..^=

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  6. I had kind of a same realization today but in a different context. I went to Lauren's cheerleading practice today and it is held at the high school track. There was the girls there practicing, two football teams in the in field having practice, parent and kids running around, and folks out walking to get exercise, which was the group I was in. I had been in this setting many times, not a new one, but I usually was not "in" that setting, I was thinking about something else, just spaced out, putting on my schtick with the folks around. But tonight, I was THERE. It was a great environment. The sun was out, we finally were down in the high 80's for our temperature, and all these folks, out living life, and so was I. I just took it all in and it was great. I don't think we as americans do that nearly enough.

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  7. My perspective... In my mind I'm already the normal-sized, healthy person that I see as my goal, but then I realize I'm still fat and have a long way to go. It's sobering yet also powerful. This is who I am going to be! And I like me! Thank you for bringing up this issue. You always serve up a nice buffet of food for thought.

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  8. perspective, interesting topic....pretty thought provoking.

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  9. Sean,

    I loved the exchange between you and your facebook friend. Especially the part about learning to accept your imperfections. Reminded me of a quote I posted the other day...

    "Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation." If you don't know adversity, you have no way to measure happiness.

    I love all of your pictures. I used to watch Louie Anderson when he hosted Family Feud. You looked like you were studying the lasagna, and my guess is you didn't eat the entire plate...:)

    Take Care and God Bless!

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  10. yeah.
    you know, in your before pic I just realized something.
    YOu look like john goodman.
    oh
    btw
    you look like a completely different person now.

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  11. I wrote an article on perspective once. It's a funny thing. How we look at things, I mean.

    In counseling, we call that "reframing". Putting a situation (picture) in a different context (frame). We can reframe a situation into feeling completely different than it once did.

    That is an invaluable skill that allows us to create postives from difficult situations and, then, move forward creatively and productively.

    Sometimes it allows us to lie to ourselves, tho. Then, I guess, we wouldn't call it "reframing" we'd call it "spin".

    The trick is to know the difference. Perspective isn't everything, but it is a powerful thing.

    May your perspective always be grounded in truth.

    Deb

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  12. I love that you post pictures that show such a great transformation Sean. I think those are just as encouraging as your words sometimes.

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  13. Sean -

    I don't normally comment on your blog, since I comment to you in person at work, but it's been a little busy for us this week and we haven't seen each other much. We've worked together for almost a decade, and I think I know you pretty well. We've shared things that normal co-workers don't, since we're not just co-workers, but good friends, and we've watched each other grow and change.

    Perspective is an interesting subject. The dictionary says that perspective is the state of one's ideas, a mental view. I tell people that I'm normal within my own frame of reference, and it's true. I decide what my normal is. Just like you've decided what your normal is. For most of your life, normal for you was using food to hide from your feelings, and your weight ran your life. Your normal was paying attention to what chair was available for you to sit in (didn't want something flimsy, don't cha know!), knowing that you would be out of breath if you walked more than a few steps, not being able to find clothes that fit, the list could go on and on. You didn't have to think about it, it was your normal. You reacted to every situation in the ways that had become habit. Now, your perspective has changed. Your normal has changed. Now, you react differently. You've created new, healthier habits. And I don't mean just your eating and working out habits. I mean your perspective about your life. You started by demanding honesty from yourself about eating, about why you ate the way you did, but that honesty has permeated your entire life. I was told one time by a recovered alcoholic that recovery is easy, you just have to change everything about you. You just don't have to do it all at once! And that seems to me what you've done, as you've recovered from your obesity. You've changed how and what you eat, you've changed exercise, and you've changed how you think, the state of your ideas, your mental view. And the change of thinking, of perspective, is the most important. You've become a positive thinker. You know that each of us has the power to choose how we will live each day, either positively or negatively. And you choose to surround yourself with positives. Your food choices, exercise, the activities you choose to do, and the people who surround you. You've separated the wheat from the chaff in your life, and you allow nothing that could be a negative influence. You have goals that are positive, and you make progress towards those goals because you are honest with yourself as you work toward achieving those goals.

    I don't think I tell you this enough, but I am very proud of you. Your positive attitude, or perspective, is a joy to be around. Just keep being honest with yourself, even if sometimes it takes awhile, and you can achieve anything. And I'll be around to call you on it when you aren't being as honest as you could be, because that's what friends are for!

    Gayle

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  14. And once I get moved into my new house, I'll make lasagna again!

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  15. OMG did you break up with Kenz? I see neither of you are on each other's favorite blog rolls anymore and it seems like she's heartbroken right now too. I know you may not answer but I am curious.

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  16. Are you related to Louie Anderson?

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  17. Gayle! I loved your post, is all I can say.

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  18. Battle scars. Oh my God Sean...that really is what they are! You always have a different way of looking at things that I like!

    Keep rocking that goal my friend. You are so going to do it!

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  19. Very sad to see you and Kenz are not together anymore. What a wonderful story that was to follow. My thoughts are with both of you as you heal from this.

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