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

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.'s all good. The day will come when Jack and I get together!! You can read Jack's blog at

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 and Tammy's blog home is

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, 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,

With Kayla--Daughter of my late brother Danny.

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

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!!

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

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

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!!!!

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.

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!

With my Aunt Gina!

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

With Tammy!! See the blog address above!

With Stephen!!! See the blog address above!

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

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

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


  1. Looks like you had a wonderful time on your trip. You have done amazing and you are a mentor to a lot of people. You have inspired me to lose 49 lb so far and I hope to make it 60 by Christmas. Love the pictures...

  2. Sean your trip looks amazing. enjoy your time with family. What a beautiful gift to have..FAMILY

  3. Dear Sean,

    Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you are having a fantastic trip!

    I so appreciate your writing ability and talent. I'm very happy for you. I always leave your blog with a great big smile ; D You must be very enthusiastic by the fact that your "505" tattoo is sandwiched between very toned biceps and triceps!!!!

    May you continue to enjoy your visit with friends and family.

    Many more blessings to you.


  4. Had soooo much fun today! Did you notice all the people staring at us 3 from laughing too loud? lol Can't wait to do it again in the spring....longer trip next time! :)

  5. You have a beautiful family and it looks like you had an amazing time. You and your blog are so inspirational :)

  6. Ha! I didn't even notice. I try to avoid looking at people sitting around me anyways! We did have fun!!

    It was a pleasure meeting you both, Sean and Tammy, and I hope we get together again soon. :)

  7. Sean, I just found your blog and it is a great inspiration. I was discouraged about gaining back some of what I have lost but I went back to your day one and started reading and now I feel like I can move on and get going again. I love reading about how much you enjoy the NSVs. I remember my first airplane trip after losing about 50 pounds - I had to adjust the belt to make it smaller instead of bigger, it was such a joy! Congratulations!

  8. So so so so so so happy for you!:) I wish you could have met Jack Chit...but things happen for a reason and you felt his presence, not Elvis' So all is good, or should I say great! I love all the pictures of your family on your dad's side. Your dad looks like such a character, someone so easy to talk to! And the food pics, what can I say?

    Glad you had a safe trip there and back, with so many special memories to cherish.

    Take Care and God Bless friend!

  9. dear sean, i just googled for weight loss blogs, n got a list of good ones, i was going thru and i didnt strike a chord with many, everyone blogging about doing something but they keep it for the next day and again dat day passes and dey wait for another new day,, its pretty much similar to mine story i find some or the other excuse to postpone my gym or my diet, but i must admit dat u have inspired me with just the change wat i saw in ur driving license pics,, m yet to go thru day 1 have a long 786 days of inspiration stored for me, i am a medical graduate and pretty well know the side effects of obesity i weigh 89kgs dat is 195lb and my goal is 60kgs dat is 132, in a year span, i will stick to u regularly i wish u pep me up for the goal.
    keep loosing :)


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