Sunday, January 26, 2014

An Exercise In Perspective

An Exercise In Perspective

I've heard from many people in the last few weeks who have found themselves in the same situation as me: Losing a large amount of weight, maintaining for a while, then gaining back a considerable amount or in some cases, all of it and more. I wish I could fashion the words to accurately describe my gratitude for this level of sharing and support, it's simply overwhelming in the most wonderful way. Your support and sharing inspires and strengthens me. Just saying "thank you" seems grossly inadequate. Sincerely, thank you.

I've tried different "perspective exercises" before and the one I'm about to share is good. Gaining back 143 pounds of a 275 pound weight loss hasn't been easy to stomach for me.  At the same time, I realize how fortunate I am, breaking out of the hiding and secrecy and confronting this now instead of waiting until much later and much heavier. Stopping the breach has been difficult. Stopping, or properly handling my negative emotions surrounding this gain has certainly been an opportunity for spiritual growth to say the least. Because considering how "thoughtfully abusive" I've been to me, it's a miracle for me to break away from the nose dive of self-loathing, pity, regret, shame and guilt. There's nothing positive in that camp. A different perspective is paramount for a turnaround.

In an effort to find a different perspective, I delved into the archives of this blog and found a day where I weighed what I weigh now. The day was 182. I was on the way down the scale and feeling nothing but excitement for the trip. Here's an excerpt:   

As we approach another weigh day on Wednesday, I'm confident I'll have lost another 7 or 8 pounds. That'll put me over the 130 pounds lost mark, and that feels great. It will not be long before it's 150, then in not long we'll hit the 200 pounds lost mark. I'm excited, but I mustn't get too far ahead of myself. One day at a time Sean. I can't help but get excited because of how wonderful I feel now. I'm really curious how it will feel to get below 300. If I feel this good in the 370's, what will it feel like at 270? I think about this often, did you notice? I can't help it! Talk about a motivating thought, huh?

"How wonderful I feel now...If I feel this good in the 370's..." Perspective, indeed. Pure positive spirit unencumbered by anything even remotely negative. This is where I am and I'm excited to be pointed and headed in a wonderful direction. If you have your own personal blog or journal, diary, notes, old facebook status updates or anything from the past that will give you the essence of this exercise, I highly recommend trying this for yourself. In reading the old blog post, I couldn't help but smile and feel incredible.

Also on Day 182, I found something that caught my attention, so I'll include it too. Of course, as I read it I realize some of the most destructive "negative encouragement" has come from my own brain.  

One thing that doesn't motivate anyone is “negative encouragement.” Sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it? Negative encouragement is when a person uses negatives in hopes that they'll sting enough to make that person do something about their weight problem. “You're lazy,” “You'll never lose your weight,” “You're a slob,” these negatives do nothing to motivate, they just hurt peoples feelings and reinforce negative perceptions they may already have about themselves. These kind of negative comments can come from great people that really love the target of their remarks. They really do, they would love to see positive changes in the person they're firing these hurtful words toward, and if confronted about the negative comments and relentless negative out loud observations, they would no doubt be hurt themselves, because “hey, I love them, I just want them to do something about their obesity.” I've personally witnessed this kind of “encouragement” and since I have a tremendous amount of experience being morbidly obese, I can ensure you that it has absolutely zero positive value. It just doesn't serve a purpose, at all, not even a little bit. And again, the person dealing the remarks can be a very caring, smart, and loving individual, with nothing but positive hopes and dreams for the subject of their ridicule. Perhaps they've never been morbidly obese, they've never had a serious weight problem, so they don't fully understand the mental perplexities of obesity. If you're the one dealing the remarks, stop it! If you're the one receiving the remarks, don't believe them for one second! You can do this, you have the power within to dramatically change your life forever. Once you truly decide to make the changes, and you make it the most important thing you do, and you work on changing your mind about food, eating, and exercise habits, and you do it everyday with 100% consistency, then nothing can stop you from reaching your goal. Not stress, not emotions, not a single thing can get in your way. How do I know? Because I spent my entire life stuck in the prison of morbid obesity. After countless attempts to break free, I'm just now doing it everyday.

It's a beautiful day in Oklahoma and I'll be getting out in it this afternoon for a much needed walk. I hope your Sunday is going well too.

My best always--and thank you for reading,


  1. Great post! I can relate for sure.

  2. I am so sorry that you have experience "negative encouragement" but I am glad you know how to dismiss those lies. Your post helped me put where I am into perspective today, so I thank you.

  3. The more you ignore those negative voices, the quieter they are. They thrive on attention, so don't give them any.

    Enjoy the beautiful weather!

  4. Hi Sean, I appreciate your depth. You say things that uncomfortable, which is necessary. Sometimes, I want to just write about my happy feelings about weight loss. But growth is hard, awkward, maddening, tear-filled. There are so many mind games, as you explain. We have to keep discussing this hard stuff. :D

  5. Hello again Sean, Wow, I can so identify with the "negative" encouragement. When I was in my twenties I was in an extremely abusive relationship to where I was told I was getting fat, I weighed 120 lbs and I am 5'5". I started believing the words, and I became anorexic and my weight got down to 115 lbs. I didn't realize how thin I was getting until I was looking at some photos I was about to send to my parents at the time and I was so thin you could see all the bones in my biceps to where there was little muscle tone, just bones... yeah that bad. Hard to believe an educated, successful girl could be convinced she was fat at such a small weight but the person who was telling me was cruel and very ill. I finally had the courage to leave and I would never let anyone's abuse make me feel that bad ever again. I was thin my whole life till started working a desk job in 2000 and eating the wrong types of food. But the years of abuse still echoed once I started to gain weight. I finally had to put it in the past and move on. I am good now, I have learned over the years that I have to love myself enough to be healthy for me, not to prove anything to anyone else because there will always be critics no matter what. But now I am finally losing weight instead of yo yo dieting I'm on a steady decline and it feels wonderful. It's slow but it's working. The big difference is that now I am doing it because I have so much I want to live for and do. I know you can do it too! You are an amazing fellow.


  6. I have started to think that good attitude and squashing the negative thoughts mostly help us keep a healthy routine. So my thoughts now are "good morning, bad morning, whatever... I am going to stick to my routine: coffee; light breakfast; walk... then everything else that is on my "to do" list".
    That good start seems to help me make good decisions throughout the rest of the day.
    I love it that you are back, writing here, and sharing your experiences with us and building your resolve that this is a lifestyle that never ends; reasonable eating every day and forever. You make a difference in my life too!


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