Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 790-797 Thanksgiving Eve Post, Thank You, and The Lonnnnggg Answer To: How?

Day 790-797

Thanksgiving Eve Post, Thank You, and The Lonnnnggg Answer To: How?

I'm writing this on the evening before Thanksgiving, having enjoyed a solid week after hitting goal last Tuesday. The overwhelming support and constant flow of congrats over the last week have been pleasantly intoxicating. I'm thankful for all of the support--and yes, this blog continues. I say that to answer a few people who have asked recently and anyone curious. This journey isn't about a final number where everything is perfect. This road is about redefining a relationship with food and exercise, overcoming food addiction, and embracing life along the way. The weight loss becomes a side effect of our good choices. So, as this blog continues and gradually transforms into a weight maintenance blog, I remind myself to not get too stuck on a number--because a number on a scale doesn't make me happy. It was important for me to have a stated goal, sure---but living life to the fullest as a normal sized man with a normal food relationship--who's healthy, comfortable, confident, full of energy, and for once in his life--has a very honest understanding of himself and his behaviors--that's the real goal, that's happiness. And I'm living that happiness everyday. And why did I switch to talking about myself in third person?---That's so annoying.

I received some amazing messages on facebook and email recently that just absolutely make me smile from ear to ear. Some of them have brought me to tears of happiness. I'm happy for their success--and I'm thrilled that my story, my writing, my transformation road has resonated within them--awakening the power that was always within them to begin with---the power to choose change before change chose them. Sometimes, I want to post those messages here--and I have--either anonymously or by permission, but I wont tonight. But when I do, please understand--it's not about me. It's about showing you the immense power and joy that some people exhibit along this road. It's inspiring--it's powerful--it's real--and I'm thankful for each one received.

My plan for Thanksgiving will be identical to the last two. Twenty-five hundred calories afforded me plenty of food the last two Thanksgivings--so I can't think of a good reason to increase that number for the holiday. I'll be very relaxed and confident--and as always, the focus is on the family and friends around me--the closeness, the blessings we share--these are the important things. The food? Oh sure--it's going to be amazing! But it isn't the main focus. And for the third Thanksgiving in a row, I will not need some kind of antacid afterward. I will not feel sick from eating too much. I will be cooking, visiting with the ones I love, eating, smiling, and loving life.

Along the way and especially after big milestones, the number of people asking "the question," increases. It's the first question that comes when someone learns of my weight loss success...It's human nature for most of us. The question is simple: How did you do it?

I know I've posted and re-published this many times--and here, I'll do it again. The following is the long answer to "How?" with "The Wrong Battle" analogy at the end:

Readers of this blog know that I've struggled my entire life with obesity. So why am I having so much success now?

Because I've decided. I've written before about making that “Iron-Clad Decision,” and it's that decision to succeed, that rock-solid commitment to consistency that has given me these incredible results. I found out that you have to give this journey an amazingly high priority. You have to make it one of the most important things you do. You have to defend your journey from anything and everything that might try to derail it. You have to protect it from yourself. I was always my own worst enemy, I understand that.

When you make it this important, it really makes it hard to rationalize bad choices, you know what I mean? As dramatic as it might sound, this is life and death stuff my friend. And no matter if you have 30 pounds or 300 pounds to lose, if you give it that “do or die” level of importance in your life, you're less likely to fail. But is it that easy? Just decide? Really?? Make it important? What?? No.

Along with my “Iron-Clad” decision, I decided to throw away every single misconception I had about weight loss. I knew I wanted long term results, I really wanted to change. So I eliminated any plan that wasn't completely natural. I needed something I could do that would keep me thin the rest of my life. I needed to learn what a normal portion looked like. I didn't want a 'meal replacement” type plan, or a pre-packaged food “weight loss center” type of plan. I knew those type of plans were simply a means to lose weight temporarily. I needed to confront my behaviors with food in everyday situations, and it had to be head on with real food like everybody else eats.

I then determined that nothing was off limits. I could eat anything I wanted, and I mean anything! That element of my journey has been one of the keys to success, because if nothing is off limits, then I'll never feel deprived...and I'll never feel defeated because I enjoyed something that conventional weight loss wisdom says you can't have if you want to lose weight. It's not the food, it's the portions. Counting calories was a natural choice for me. It's taught me about proper portions and it's forced me to make better choices along the way. I opened the “Calorie Bank and Trust” in my mind, treating my calories like cash. Every morning I would be issued 1500 new calories that I could use however I wanted, but beware! I quickly learned that good choices meant making wise calorie “investment” decisions. I had to spread those calories out all day long, or run short as a consequence. The “Calorie Bank and Trust” doesn't have an ATM. When the calories are gone, they're gone until the bank “opens” the next morning. It might sound silly, it's not---look what it's done for me.

But those urges to binge, how do I control those nasty things? Those crazy thoughts that sometime come from out of nowhere, stealing away my resolve, making me fantasize about eating large quantities of anything that I love, yes they existed for me just like everyone else. How have I handled that? Motivating thoughts plus accountability plus writing out my thoughts every night in this daily blog. That's how I've handled those journey breaking meltdowns. I tell people: Cling tight to those motivating thoughts, defend your journey like your life depends on it, in most cases it does. Decide that nothing...no emotion, no circumstance, no person, place or thing is allowed to steal this away from you. I deserve this success. You deserve this success. It's too important my friend.

One of the biggest elements is self honesty. This means calling yourself on all those excuses and rationalizations that we tell ourselves in order to feel better about bad choices. Honesty, 100%---at all times. And exercise? Anything...just move. All I could do in the beginning was walk and I could barely do that for very long. But I was moving. And the more you move, the easier it gets. All of a sudden my 505 pound near deadly quarter mile walks became a mile...then two, then three, and so on. In the beginning it doesn't have to be anything special. There's no machine to buy or membership required. Just movement. After a while you can get fancy. But set a solid foundation of success first by mastering the basics.

I've discovered something that many have discovered before me, and that is this: It's really 20% about food and exercise and 80% about the mental aspects. Someone who has really helped my mental development is Ralph Marston. I've read very little of Mr. Marston's writing, but this one life changing work from him is something I've read countless times:

“Set Yourself Free” by Ralph Marston---"There is no outside force holding you back. You are holding you back and you are blaming it on someone or something else. The way you are able to continue holding yourself back is by maintaining the illusion that you're a victim. Once you realize that illusion, you will naturally and easily move forward. In fact, it is easier to fulfill your best possibilities than it is to avoid them. So let go of the blame and watch the limitations drop away. Certainly there will always be challenges that hold you back. For each challenge provides you with a pathway through which you can move toward fulfillment. It is your very nature to accomplish. Lovingly accept your destiny, and allow that accomplishment to be manifest through you. Set yourself free to follow your purpose. Set yourself free to truly live." Visit Mr. Marston at http://www.greatday.com/

This food relationship understanding, the clarity involved--in analogy form, was one of the the topics of discussion with mom the next morning at breakfast. Over an egg-white veggie omelet with hashbrowns, we talked about the battles of weight loss--and more specifically, the enemy we're battling. Let me explain:

When I look back at my many failed weight loss attempts, I can clearly see a crucial error in my battle plan. This mistake was the reason for my yo-yo dieting. This mistake was why it was always a struggle every single day as I lost weight in the past. This flaw is one that is made by millions of others everyday along this road...it's the reason for the madness, it's the reason why we're conditioned to believe that weight loss is hard. What is it? Please read...

I was always fighting the wrong battle. I didn't know who or what was the real enemy. How can you effectively battle, if you haven't identified the real enemy? I made food my enemy, that was the battle. I was always determined to put the food in its place---I would try to defeat food at every turn. Food wasn't going to win. That was my battle. The perceived enemy: food. But while I was busy battling food, the real enemy would sneak in from the side and defeat me every time in a battle that I didn't even realize I should be fighting. The real enemy?: ME.

Food never wanted to fight me, food was my friend, my ally...but I was convinced otherwise. It was food that made me fat, right? NO. I made me fat by using and abusing my friend in food. But I could never admit that before. So the battle with my perceived enemy of food would continue...I'd make special list, set portion sizes, count those calories---resist temptation at every turn---battle it, fight with everything I had---but in the end I would always lose the fight. Why? How? It kind of sounds like what I've done this time...but wait...it wasn't and isn't the same.

What ended my past weight loss battles? It wasn't food. It was the real enemy: ME. Armed with excuses, rationalizations, and slinging blame wherever I could---the real enemy would show up on the scene and completely stop me in my tracks. Even if I had lost 115 pounds like I did in 2004---the real enemy would step in and take it all back, plus some...and it happened time and time again. And it happened because I was fighting the wrong enemy. I was waging war on an ally, whose only desire was to be my friend---nourish me, keep me healthy, provide my body what it needs to live. No wonder I failed so many times at losing weight! It wasn't until this time, when I discovered the power of self-honesty and 100% self-responsibility in my behaviors with food, that the real battle became clear.

And now I know the real enemy. But the goal isn't and never has been to pummel this enemy---the goal has always been to turn this enemy into an ally. It's about becoming friends with yourself---and that's what's happened over the course of this transformation road. I realized the enemy wasn't really food and that food was always my friend and I realized that although I had always been my own worst enemy, I had the power to call a truce---with a self-honesty/responsibility pact that would leave me good friends with this former enemy. Friends with food and friends with myself.

The needless battles are over...there's no peace in those battles. But here---oh my, there's all kinds of wonderful peace and freedom. Freedom to live, breathe, eat, and continue down this road without the frustrations that always plagued my past weight loss attempts. When someone asks "So, you worried about gaining all that weight back?" I smile and say "no, not at all." It might sound over-confident to them...but when you haven't an enemy to battle--the fight is over and all that's left is gentle understanding and warm peace.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving with family in Stillwater. Amber is home this year, something we didn't have last year!! ;) I'm thrilled in so many amazing ways. I'll wrap this post with a bunch of pictures--and I'm looking forward to another post real soon!! Hopefully sooner than a week--It's been crazy busy lately.

Thank you for reading, my friend. I sincerely appreciate your support. I'm continuing along this road in a confident fashion. Some challenges I'll be facing in the coming days, weeks, and months: Finishing my manuscript for the book. Getting more exercise. Increasing my calories. Lifting weights. Maintaining and shaping what I have, into what I desire--with compassionate understanding of my imperfections and a self-honesty in my march forward that leaves no other option, except success...in every way. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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With Courtney last week after hitting goal! Courtney is an amazing kid!! I'm so blessed, thank you Court!

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With Nancy New in Alabama. Nancy is a family friend who was at the birthday celebration for my grandfather. She had recently discovered this blog, had been reading through--and I was thrilled to snap this with her!!

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Illene O, helping me with my bowtie at the Team Radio private party open house last Friday night.

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With Dave May, on stage Friday night at the party...

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With Amber, Wednesday morning in studio! Amber did an incredible job co-hosting my morning show. It was very nice!

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With our studio monitors on---yeah, rockin' the country!

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With KPNC winner Angie Adkins. Angie won a Thanksgiving Feast and $200 dollars cash on my show this morning. She's sharing the dinner with her family--and with the cash---she's buying Christmas toys for less fortunate children. Very nice Angie!!

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Big before picture---oooohhhh---side view, ouch.

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At Amber's High School Graduation--May 2008

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 787-789 Goooaaaaallllll!!!!!!! 275 Pounds Lost in Two Years, Two Months, and A Day

Day 787-789

Goooaaaaallllll!!!!!!! 275 Pounds Lost in Two Years, Two Months, and A Day

From Day 2--A comment from my daughter Amber: "Not only does this motivate me, but I sense a little humor in there too. I seriously love reading this ... keep it up Daddy! I can't even tell you how proud I am of you. You will do this. We all will."

From Day 3--A comment from my daughter Courtney: "Daddy, your blogs are amazing! You have such a talent to write, I really hope this blog does motivate you in every way possible ... I'm very proud of you daddy, I know we've been saying we need to lose weight for quite sometime, but this time it's just different. All together as a family, we will lose weight. No doubt about it. Keep up the good work Daddy. I love you with all my heart."

Courtney couldn't have been more right with her words, "this time it's just different." She could tell on Day 3. She knew that this day was coming.

Today--789 days along Transformation Road--and 275 pounds lighter...I hit goal. I stepped onto the same scale where more than a dozen of my past weight loss attempts started--the same scale that weighed me 505 on Day 2. Now it shows me 230.4 OK--If you know me from these writings--you know that the .4 is messing with me!!! But I've always rounded up or down. Had it been .5---I would be at 231. I feel like I've lost a good four or five since last time, judging by how my clothes and body feels...so I'm not sure how to accept a two pound loss. That sounds so silly to say--and crazy to write, given the monumental weigh-in it was---so I'll stop that line of thinking and celebrate. The bottom line is simple: I'm 230 pounds. I did it.

Happy tears are so beautiful and cleansing. They felt good on my face--and I couldn't help it, I'm so happy and emotional. It's just a number that I picked out of the blue when I started, but it's turned out to be a pretty good guess.

Amber left a comment tonight on my facebook status update--and I immediately called her, I needed to hear her voice. She writes:

"I LOVE YOU DADDY! I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT! Your amazing. I'm so proud of you. You are such an inspiration to me and so many other people. I don't think I ever told you this...but I always use to worry about you not being here anymore...about... you passing away...and you missing out on so many things me and sissy graduating, getting married...grand kids....and stuff...you have no idea how much your journey means to me. I love you so much...and I always knew you could and would do it. I know now that you will be here...cheering me on in the stands as I walk on graduation day....you will be there to walk me down the aisle when I get married...and you will see my kids one day. And now I'm crying...but it is good tears daddy...good tears. I love you so much. I'm so happy for you daddy! You are wonderful....the best daddy in the world."

This is what it's all about: Family---and Living, loving, laughing, caring, and sharing.

My favorite post isn't Day 327, or Day 1---those are big ones to me, no doubt. But Day 135 is a way of thinking I'll never forget. It's a great thing I was morbidly obese for all of those years. I was lucky and blessed that it didn't kill me when it had the chance--And I was also blessed, because it made me the person I am today.

From Day 135--Here's my "Thank You Letter To Morbid Obesity:" (note--I've re-formatted the letter for easier reading--the content is identical to Day 135)

Every now and then I challenge myself to really think on a deep level. I strive for a better understanding of behavior. I try to dissect things on a psychological level, and since I have no formal education in psychology, I can come to some pretty far out reasoning. It doesn't really matter if I'm right or wrong because these are studies within myself. Today I started thinking about how it's good to find the positive side of all things. Even things that can't possibly have a good side, if you look hard enough, maybe it does. I hit a wall when I thought about applying this positive philosophy to being morbidly obese. By the way, I use the term “morbidly obese” because I hate that term. I don't like the way it sounds at all, and the first time a doctor used that term I thought he was making fun of me! To me, it was the same as him saying I was “disgustingly obese,” and when the term used is “grotesquely obese,” well that's even worse. If the doctor would have said “Sean, you are “making me want to throw up obese” it would have felt the same. Isn't “gross” short for grotesque? I've had both terms used on me by medical professionals and they were perfectly in line with medical terms. How could I find the good in my life long career of being “morbidly grotesque?” Ooh, combining the two is even worse. Anyway, I thought long and hard and finally came up with this: My “thank you” letter to “morbid obesity.”

Dear Morbid Obesity,

You suck. Sorry about that, it just popped out. Let me start again.

Dear Morbid Obesity,

Thank you for teaching me how to be compassionate toward others. By making me different and the subject of so much weight related bullying as a kid, you taught me to always care about other peoples feelings.

Thank you for making me unique in an age when I was often the only fat kid in class, because it gave me added attention that I may have felt was lacking in other parts of my life.

Thank you for giving me a very strong opinion against discrimination in all it's forms. By showing me the pain of being discriminated against based solely on my looks, you taught me to never judge a person based on appearance.

Thank you for giving me the defense mechanism of a good sense of humor. Although it was sometimes masking emotional pain, laughter and making others laugh has always carried me through.

Thank you for protecting me from every dangerous thing I would have tried had I been able to fit on that ride, or into that harness, or on that horse, or in that sports car, or whatever the dangerous situation could have been, you were there keeping me safe inside your embrace.

Thank you for giving me a fashion sense born from complete insecurity. I know you don't give this fashion sense to every morbidly obese person, but it kept me from further ridicule because I never wore things too small, ever. You saved me from the spandex revolution, how can I properly thank you for that? To make me want to wear a big jacket when it was ninety degrees outside just to cover my boy boobs, well I have no choice but to conclude that you must love me more than other fat people, because if I had a dollar for every morbidly obese person I've witnessed in spandex and a shirt three sizes too small, I'd be wealthy.

Thank you for giving me the ability to spot shallowness in others. I'll never forget the first time I was completely rejected by a girl who said out loud, in class “eeewwww, I would never go out with you.” She didn't take the time to see the good guy I was inside, to look into my heart and see the eighth grader that would have cherished her and respected her in a most grateful 8th grader way. She was shallow and without you I may not of recognized that side of humanity for many years.

Without this “shallowness radar,” I may never have recognized the pure spirit in the eyes and heart of Irene Brake, my high school sweetheart and wife of nearly twenty years.

Most of all, thank you for my life. Without you I don't know if my path would have been the same. Would I have my family that I hold so dear? Would I have found a career that felt so perfect for me, a career that allowed me to hide behind a microphone and communicate with people without them being able to see me?

Without you, maybe, just maybe I would have become a complete jerk.

Thank you for bringing me to this point in my life and keeping me in one piece along the way. But despite the flood of gratitude in this letter, you know your days are numbered here. We can't continue our relationship. Morbid obesity, I'm slowly shrinking out of you. I'm moving on to a life free of all the dangerous effects of our relationship. But I'll never forget all of the wonderful things you taught me, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my overworked heart.


Sincerely,
Sean

Thank you so much for reading. I had planned on writing more about my trip to Alabama on this post, but hitting goal took over. I will say this: Getting to know my family in Alabama has been good for my soul. It was a very positive experience in many ways and I look forward to many more wonderful times with my 'Bama family in the future. Below, you'll see a picture of me with my grandpa Haynes at his 88th birthday party. I absolutely cherish that picture.

On the way home from Alabama, I stopped and met Shane Griffin. His incredible success is wonderful to witness. See our picture below! In fact--we have a bunch of pictures and memories to look back on...

Again, thank you for reading and cheering, and for just---all of your support. I wish I knew the words to say that would properly express my gratitude. I don't. But I'm forever grateful. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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The scale today.

Before pictures--all over 500 pounds:
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Pictures from along the way:
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And there's hundreds more...

Here and now:
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With Shane Griffin from www.losingitforthefamily.blogspot.com

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With my Grandpa Haynes--Celebrating his 88th birthday!!!

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Recent--with my two beautiful, smart, mature beyond their years, talented, compassionate, creative, and amazing daughters---Amber and Courtney. Love you girls!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 784-786 Living In A Dream and Meeting Family and Friends--The Bama Trip Pt.1

Day 784-786

Living In A Dream and Meeting Family and Friends--The Bama Trip Pt.1

The beautiful reminders of my smaller size come often and try to convince my brain that I'm no longer a five hundred pound man. Renting a car on Tuesday was one of these incredible NSV's. I wanted something with excellent fuel economy, and that means something little. The little red Chevy Aveo I rented wouldn't have been an option at 505, but now--oh wow, I fit beautifully, perfectly, buckled in and with plenty of room. The contours of the seat fit me...and that's something so wonderful. I never get tired of these big reminders. It's like living in a dream. Let me pinch myself...nope, not a dream. This is my life.

I left Ponca City early Wednesday morning, bound for Alabama and family on my dad's side--many that I've never known, or only met briefly seventeen years ago. This was going to be an amazing trip and I knew it as I pulled out of my apartment drive.

I also planned on meeting some of the wonderful people in the weight loss blogging community. I feel like many of these people are family too. The first stop: Exit 5 on I-40 into Arkansas to meet Shane Griffin. Shane found this blog when AOL featured me on their welcome page in July. Since that time, Shane has blogged, walked, redefined his relationship with all foods, kept the integrity of his "Calorie Bank and Trust" account in tact, and put up his "Steel Curtain Zone," and he's joyfully lost an amazing amount of weight. And it isn't this blog that's done it for him. It's him. He had this desire deep inside, mixed with the fears of what the future might bring or not bring, had he remained morbidly obese. It's all him. But it warms my heart to think that my transformation helped inspire him to bring those feelings to the surface and choose change before change chose him. Shane inspires me. He reminds me of the enthusiasm, joy, and commitment to consistency that has made my road successful. And most wonderful of all: He reminds me what's really important along this road---the people we love. Thank you Shane! And it will be an honor to meet him! Oh yeah--I was too late to meet him Wednesday morning, so I'll have that wonderful opportunity on the way home Sunday evening. You can find Shane's amazing blog at http://www.losingitforthefamily.blogspot.com/

Driving toward Memphis, I started getting really excited. I was planning on meeting Jack at some super secret location. OK, actually it was a Starbucks on Poplar Avenue. You know the Jack I'm talking about, right? Jack Sh*t!! The man, the legend, the weight loss comedy genius with a heart of gold. (You can use that Jack--You're welcome) Jack reminds us to smile more often than not--and if that doesn't make us feel better--his blog often inspires full body laughter. Is that even a term? Full-body laughter. Yes--reading Jack's blog is almost like a workout some days. And just when you think you can't take another FBL (full-body laugh), he hits us with something deep and sincere--reminding us that he's very real, honest, and open to the sometimes emotional ride that is this transformation road.

I got lost in Memphis traffic--it was rush hour when I arrived...bad timing...and once again, I missed the window of opportunity to meet Jack. We agreed to someday meet--perhaps next Spring. He'll be out of town on my drive back. I did take a coffee break at the very Starbucks where Jack waited, until his wife was ready to be picked up from the doctor--and he had to get her home. I was in a hurry to proceed to Alabama anyway...But I felt his presence...He had been here just an hour before. Or maybe that was the presence of Elvis I was feeling. Whatever...it's all good. The day will come when Jack and I get together!! You can read Jack's blog at http://www.jackfit.blogspot.com/

On Saturday morning, I'm meeting Stephen from Birmingham and Tammy from Atlanta! We're having a mini-weight loss blogging conference at the Cracker Barrel off the Fieldstown exit on I-65 in Gardendale--just North of Birmingham. Stephen started at well over six-hundred pounds and is now down over 200!! I'm so excited to meet him!!! And Tammy--she has been reading my blog for over a year and a half and often refers to me as her "weight loss mentor." I'm not sure how comfy I am with that title--but I'm honored she thinks of me like that!!! We really thought the drive would be too long for her, but she's not letting a three hour drive stand in her way! I'm thrilled--and what a wonderful blessing it is to have made such incredible friends! Stephen's blog can be found at http://www.whoatemyblog.com/ and Tammy's blog home is http://www.foodaddict-fromfattofab.blogspot.com/

The main point of this trip to Alabama is to re-connect with loved ones I've only briefly met seventeen years ago and meet some family members I've never known. My grandfather Haynes is turning eighty-eight on the 18th, so we're celebrating early, on Saturday afternoon. A bunch of people will be there--and I'm so excited!! I'll be meeting my flesh and blood.

On Veterans Day, I had the pleasure of spending time with grandpa Haynes and my dad. Grandpa is a World War 2 Vet and my dad is a Vietnam Vet. We visited for a little while--and the whole time, I'm focused on listening and noticing things. Our ears are the same...those eyes, my grandfathers hands are mine too...wow, this is an amazing gift to me. Veterans Day with these two, was such a comforting reminder of how blessed I really am.

I'm staying with my Aunt Beverly. She's been a wonderful host in so many ways! She knows so much of the family history--it's been educational! We enjoyed breakfast at the Waffle House the other morning. I was so impressed with their menu. I had an egg-white veggie omelet with steamed hashbrowns and a dry toast. I saved a bunch of calories because I chose the egg-whites, I chose the steamed potatoes--instead of the oil laden fried, and I chose the toast without butter. And I loved it! I was full, I was happy, and I was thoroughly enjoying the company!! Aunt Beverly is astonished at the fact that I've never had a salad. We've had a wonderful visit so far!!

I met Kayla yesterday! Kayla is the oldest daughter of my late brother Danny. I never had a chance to meet Danny before he tragically and suddenly died at the age of 42 from aortic disection (a result of prolonged untreated high blood pressure). Meeting Kayla and getting to know her is very special to me, like meeting a part of my brother I never knew. Our ears are similar, our eyes...the similarities go on and on...and our personalities are very much alike. It was so incredible to sit across from her and just talk. We really bonded, and honestly--I think we could have talked all day and night, but we had dinner plans at my aunt Gina's house in Huntsville. Aunt Bev and Kayla joined me for our trip up North.

Gina and her husband Shawn (he spells it the right way) prepared a wonderful italian dinner. Spaghetti marinara with beef, garlic toast, salad, and peach cobbler for desert. I enjoyed a serving of most everything, except the salad. Aunt Bev and Gina just can't seem to figure out how I've lost so much weight without ever eating a salad. I think I'm changing the way they look at weight loss! We looked at old pictures, including pictures of Danny and even some of Irene, Amber, and me from eighteen years ago. Those things...oh my, I was so gigantic...and my hair!!!! What was I thinking? ;) It was a wonderful visit and dinner--and this whole trip has just been an awesome blessing in so many wonderful ways.

Saturday Afternoon, we're celebrating Grandpa Haynes 88th birthday. Plenty of family will be there and plenty more pictures are coming soon!!! Thank you for reading! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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With Kayla--Daughter of my late brother Danny.

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On the walking/jogging trail in a beautiful Arab, Alabama park...wonderful scenery here!

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Waffle House breakfast Thursday morning with Aunt Beverly. Three key strategic calorie value
choices here: No butter on the toast--egg whites for the veggie omelet--and those potato hashbrowns have onions and are steamed, instead of being drenched in oil and fried. Perfect 400 calorie breakfast for me! Loved it!!

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With dad over at Grandpa Haynes's house. Grandpa Haynes will be taking pictures on Saturday afternoon!

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With Aunt Beverly! Her hospitality has just been over the top wonderful!!

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This was my brother Danny Haynes. He was a singer and all around entertainer--this picture is so cool--him on stage, rocking out!!! I LOVE IT!!!!

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If you have high blood pressure--please--get it checked, get it under control--because it was aortic disection (same thing that killed John Ritter), caused by prolonged-untreated high blood pressure that killed my brother at 42. It's certainly a reminder to me to always keep it in check.

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Kayla Haynes--Danny's daughter. Look at her--so beautiful!! See the ears--she has mine---and the eyes---and the list goes on and on. Very cool!

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With my Aunt Gina!

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With Kayla at Gina's house---after dinner, looking at pictures and taking some new pics!!

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With Tammy!! See the blog address above!

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With Stephen!!! See the blog address above!

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In that little Chevy Aveo--fitting perfectly, and showing off my "505" tattoo!!!

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With Stephen--inside the Cracker Barrel where we all met.

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Breakfast with Stephen and Tammy---An egg white veggie omelet with American cheese, dry whole wheat toast, orange slices, and diced pineapple--very nice!!





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The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser. All rights reserved.