Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ending The Detour

Ending The Detour

If you had approached me two years ago and asked, "Where will you be two years from now?" I would have replied in a matter of fact fashion, offering the most confident of answers full of my hopes, dreams, desires and rigid beliefs. There wasn't any going back, ever. I was out promoting my book and sharing this incredible feeling of freedom a 275 pound weight loss afforded me. It was more than that though, my mission was to spread hope, to help reignite dreams of freedom in others. To simply say, if I can do it, I know you can do it too. "Look at those size 64+ jeans, look at that 500 pound man in the picture and understand, truly believe, it doesn't have to be this way anymore. I'm living proof."

Regardless of the confidence level projected, the underlying fear of regaining was always present. I had successfully maintained for over a year because I maintained a schedule of writing, exercising and eating within a reasonable limit.  I made these things a priority. But as the Fall of 2012 approached and realities far undershot my own lofty expectations, I started slipping.  I became depressed and slowly, I started to retreat into self-destructive behavior.  I stopped writing as much, I stopped working out, and I started eating for comfort and escape. And I withdrew from those who cared about me, brushing off their inquiries of concern with, "I'm fine, no really, I'm okay."  I wasn't okay.

I had written about "knowing too much to ever go back," but it isn't that simple. I was mistakenly discounting the power and science of addiction; forgetting about the ability to ignore the truth, to ignore what's right and good in order to proceed with reckless abandon. In the forward to my book, Ralph Marston wrote about how the more you ignore the truth, the more the truth asserts itself.  He nailed it, didn't he?

Every now and again, I would try my best to grab control and right myself "before my descent is exposed!" I was thinking it was as simple as writing more, as exhibited in January 2013 when I authored fourteen blog posts. Or perhaps it was as easy as being more available on facebook. Or maybe it was as easy as attending more private one on one therapy sessions. Perhaps I needed more prayer and meditations...like, really mean it this time stuff.

I even partnered with a good friend, starting a weekly call support group, where I could offer support via phone, complete with goals, challenges and a fantastic group chemistry that was full of positive in so many ways. And I believe many of the group members knew that I was hoping and praying it would be just as good for me as it was for them.  And it was good. Several of the participants, to this day, have nothing but positive words about the group.  But I still felt pulled away from good.  Eventually I stopped co-moderating the calls because I couldn't, in good conscious, offer support and advice that I clearly wasn't following.

As the weight gain became more apparent, I faced a whole different dynamic. Suddenly it became difficult to be in public because it seemed I would run into people familiar with my story everywhere, many who had purchased and read my book. Some made mention, even lightly with a "So, how are you doing?" Others were more direct, "how much have you gained?" And most didn't bring it up at all, but they still knew I wasn't doing well. I don't easily hide behind a false smile or clothing several sizes bigger.

I've had little compassion for myself. And that is something that only digs the hole deeper. Self-loathing, guilt, shame--all of the negative emotions of regaining, magnified by my sincere desire to share, to make a positive impact in some small way, became too much to handle. Those negatives kept the cycle going because the more I felt bad about myself, the more I felt paralyzed and stuck in a downward spiral.

Letting go of the above mentioned negatives is, I believe, the first step to ending the detour. Having real self-compassion and embracing all that is good in me and understanding I am human, I am good, I have a huge heart and I'm a success, is paramount.  No more lies about me from me...Oh, my friend, how horribly abusive I've been to me...That stuff stops.  I'm Sean Allen Anderson, by golly.  And I'm good. I'm a fantastic human.

Ending this detour takes a level of prayer and meditation the likes of which I've never fully embraced. It takes a willingness to offer support and accept support. I've had to stop and pray a few times while writing this post because it's so hard to write.  But it's so necessary for me.

And this is for me.  I'm asking for your encouragement and support. I'm asking for the same dynamics that made my blog a key element in my initial weight loss.  I'm asking, in prayer, for the strength and guidance to show me the way, to give me a hand back onto the road.

It will require differences in my approach. And I'm prepared to meet the challenges along the way.

What has prompted this sudden stop, this surrender and reclamation? A doctors visit. A scale. A prescription for high blood pressure medicine. A mirror. A belief.  A hope. A dream.

A prayer.

Thank you for your support,
Strength,
Sean Anderson

    


46 comments:

  1. Happy to see you posting again and I wish you all the success in the world!!!

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  2. I've been missing you.

    You've done it before, I believe you can do it again.

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  3. You're gonna do it...you've got this!

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  4. Sean, you've been missed! I will pray for you.

    I know you've had so many people already tell you this, but you have been such an inspiration to me. About a year ago, I started on my own journey (again!!) to better health, and lost 85lbs. I've been stuck since last March, though, and just haven't been able to push past this plateau. I KNOW what I need to do, but I just haven't DONE it. Truthfully, I've been happy just to maintain all this time, as the past year has been one of the roughest of my life. In the past, I would have eaten through the stress, and gained all 85 lbs back, plus probably another 20, at least. So, I'm proud that didn't happen, but I'm not finished. I need to get back on the horse, and finish. I kinda like that we'll be doing it together. =)

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  6. Man I can relate. This really hits home. I was 503 lbs in Nov 2009. Lost 254 lbs and was 247 in April of 2012. Like yourself , no gimmiks or pills. On New Years Day this year I was 354.. Trying to turn it around and im 347 now.
    Having more good days then bad right now, but its a constant struggle as you know.
    Keep your head up man.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your struggle. It is one I know all too well…the losing, the gaining and the road to recovery. I always know regain is possible…daily steps have to be taken to guard against it. It is a life long struggle. You make me feel less alone. I appreciate you telling every part of the story.

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  8. The negative thinking and eating happens in isolation. I'm so glad that you've owned where you are, and can head back our way again, Sean.

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  9. Regain is always possible, and I can state from personal experience that losing pounds you've already lost before is ANNOYING... but do-able.

    And you can do it. You've done it before, you know the mechanics, you've just got to find your mojo and kick it into gear.

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    1. thank you amada...my mojo is lost...but im looking...and ill find her...love

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  10. Best of luck to you Sean! I believe in you.

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  11. Sean,
    This sounds so familiar. I'm ending my detour as well. We can do this again.

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  12. You can do it again, life happens. We're all rooting for you.

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  13. I'm right there with you. I had RNY surgery 5 years ago and lost 109 pounds. I never got below 200lbs. In the last three years, I have gained back 45 pounds. I, too, am attempting to turn it around. It doesn't matter how we lose the weight-addiction is addiction and requires a constant level of conscience that we have allowed to slip by. We'll get back though. I have complete faith in that fact!

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  14. Hi Sean. I've come here via Tony Posnanski's facebook post. He's been an amazing inspiration for me over the past year. You see, I was once 143kgs (315 lbs). Five years ago, I said "enough" as many of us have, and through sheer bloody hard work, I got down to 83 kgs (183 lbs) - I lost 60 kgs (132 lbs) !! I was so proud of myself. I bought myself "skinny" clothes, I was BLOODY AMAZING!! But, as they say "Pride goeth before the fall". I had surgery on my foot last year. "It's only a few months, I'll get back to it". Yeah, well, that few month has turned into nearly a year, and 22kgs. And for the last month, I was trying to find that place within, that place that you hit and go (again) "Enough". It hit me in BigW (a department store here in Australia). It hit me with a pair of big arse shorts that were the only ones I fit into. It hit me with the tag. It didn't lie. The tag said "size 22". 22. And, all of a sudden, that size "22" represented the weight that I'd put back on. All 22 kgs of it. Yes, I put the weight back on. But it doesn't have to end there, in defeat. As you say, "ending the detour" - well, we both took the detour, and you know, the scenery just wasn't worth it. We've been there, and taken the wrong road - but we KNOW the road to health is sometimes packed with taking the wrong way. We just need to learn where the dodgy paths are. And sometimes, we can only learn that by experience. And then, because we care, we can point these detours out to others. That is what you have done for me, my friend (and I call you that, because YOU have made a difference to my life). You have shown me that my wrong road is just a detour, and I am now finding the right roads back. Thank you.

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  15. This was ever my concern for you. I feel relief and hope for you and for me as I read your honesty, humility, honor and hope! The Journey is part of life, and "with faith in every footstep" you will be victorious. You will be in my prayers. You have given much, and have even more to give. Thank you for not giving up.

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  16. Prayers, courage , and strength to you Sean. You are worth the work to get to a place where you are healthy and feeling great again. It took me 40 years to figure it out for myself. It's never too late. Karen P

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  17. Looks like you've taken a BIG first step on the right path. I'm cheering!

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  18. Good luck! I will be praying and hoping for you. I lost my excess weight (lost 145.5 lbs), found myself in papers, morning tv shows, magazines and more. Gaining back a large chunk of the weight I lost was heartbreaking, and I found myself feeling the way you described - wanting to hide out so those who knew my story wouldn't see me. The weight is on its way off again, but it is so much more difficult this time. Those food addictions can be so difficult to shake. I have to keep telling myself that I've shaken them before so I can do it again.

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  19. I have read almost every word you have written. I have hurt for you and with you. I struggle daily. My hopes and prayers are with you.

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  20. Perhaps the road to permanent change is shaped like a roller coaster ride? If you've back slid some into old addictions and are now re-fighting the good fight--well, I'm more inspired than ever!! Thank you for all you continue to share. I'm glad you're back in blog-land. You're a continual blessing in my life. You can do it!

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  21. Hello my friend, all he way from New Zealand, you can do this.. I know you, because I to took a detour, but I am back again ready to go. Gaols, ambitions and most of all finally ready to address the issues I have with again. Being someone who has a bad unhealthy relationship with food is not something that you can simply ignore it needs worked on constantly. its hard and it will always be there, addiction is always open to accepting you back no matter how long you manage to control it. I too am blogging again, http://theblossomingrunner.blogspot.co.nz . Looking forward to seeing you "around" a lot more xxxx Kia Kaha ( Maori proverb means " stand strong") my friend, you can do this. xxxx

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  22. I'm struggling too Sean. Maybe if you get back to blogging daily, it will serve as motivation. It's a hard journey, with lots of detours and even some backtracking, but when we have to get back on meds we thought were in our past, it's time to get back on track. I'm heading there quickly, so trying to turn it around. I wish us both much luck and may God bless our journeys back to health.

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  23. I wish you all the success on your journey. I have followed you during your transformation. I hope you go back to writing that will inspire so many...including myself who has been on a very long detour. I, too, have to stop the negativity and get back to the road of transformation. Please continue your blog. You can do it!!!

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  24. This happened to me, I lost about 100 lbs., still had a long way to go but felt GREAT. I got complacent, maintained and then lost it and gained it all back. I swore that would never happen because I knew too much now to let that happen. Here is am struggling beyond belief now trying to get back on track. Having knowledge of HOW to do it clearly isn't enough. Hope to see you writing more and somehow flip the switch back on. I will pray for you. Hugs!

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  25. We lost our weight at about the same time. I lost 100 lbs and over the last year and half I gained it all back. Struggling along with you. Let's detour together

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  26. Thank you for writing this. You know, ALL of us who have lost weight have a time of gaining it back and struggling with all of those things we need to do to lose weight and be healthy. There is a season for all things, and unfortunately for those of us who struggle with food, there seem to be seasons for being in control and seasons when we are out of control. I think the end goal is to make those in-control stretches longer, and those out-of-control stretches hopefully shorter and less severe. When I pray for myself, I will also be praying for you, my internet friend. Best to you...

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  27. Sean,
    The old saying is "We are only as sick as our secrets." I think we are only as Well as our Honesty. Well done my friend. Honesty is the first step. I know I can only stay well today because I am honest in all things. It is not always easy but it is so much more than the house of cards I built in secret. I hope to talk to you soon.

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  28. Sean,
    I went on a weight loss journey when I turned 30 ~ for the last 17 years I have kept it below 200. I too gain back every winter due to depression and inactivity but come spring it is so much easier to be out and walk . Winters are depressing but I am back on the treadmill until spring arrives ~ I believe in you and you will get back on track. This weight gain too shall pass and you will be lean & mean again :) Faith in yourself and Faith in God to help. Clean out your cabinets of all the junk and go buy healthy. No it doesn't taste as good as that double cheeseburger but being able to do the things you enjoy does so time to get back on track :) Faith in you and Faith in God and CLEAN OUT THOSE CABINETS & REFRIGERATOR :) I always think I can control it but the junk controls us so get it gone :)

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  29. One day at a time, Sean. Walk this walk with God and ask Him only for today.
    So glad to see you back. Wishing you well and praying with you.

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  30. Sean, you were the inspiration for my weight loss of about 80 pounds. Over the past three years or so I've been up and down. I've regained about 30 of the pounds I lost and am currently back on track to losing again. I know you can do this again and will take your tack on thinking and feeling positively about myself. I'll keep you in my prayers.

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  31. So good to read your words Sean and with all these comments you know you are supported and cared about in a BIG way :) I'm here rooting for you big time. I think you have to throw guilt out the window :) I wrote a few thoughts tonight on regain, it's a complex subject for sure, so many aspects to it. Bottom line though you have the power and you can do whatever you decide to do :) You aren't your weight and you're great right this minute. Sending you a big hug :) We are all here for you.

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  32. Glad to see you back. One foot in front of the other, dude.

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  33. Hey bro I be live in you . You gave me so much inspiration to lose the weight I lost my whole life I struggle with being over weight .my top weight 2 years ago almost 700 pounds after my brother Allen died it got out of control. Now I'm down to 232 bro and plan on never going back .its always helps when you have people in your corner who support you . I love you bro keep your eye on the prize I know you can't defeat them demons...

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  34. You are a beautiful person! So proud of you for taking the difficult steps you know you need to take to get back on track. I'm here for you any day, any time my friend!

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  35. As one who has lost and regained weight multiple times in my life, I can say without hesitation that we are never "cured." Maintaining our weight loss takes work, but it is good to be in control. I am so happy to see you writing again. I hope you will continue.

    I'd like to recommend a book that I am currently reading by David A. Kessler, MD called The End of Overeating. Your library probably has it on the shelf.

    Here's to great success in all aspects of your life, Sean. :)

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  36. You are not alone!
    Went down to a size 10 and the 14's are tight and still I eat and eat and eat...all the stuff that isn't good for me.
    It's always tomorrow that I will be good to myself and THAT tomorrow hasn't come yet.
    Why we do this to ourselves I will never understand.
    Sending (((hugs)))

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  37. I am a food addict. I get it. I understand. I support you. And I also have a long road ahead of me. I want to lose 100 pounds. Looked into the sleeve and other invasive surgeries and told myself if I can quit eating to do that... I can quit eating and not do that. It's still me that does it in the end. But the surgery would FORCE me to do it... Still not for me. I gave up sweets the first of the year... Except sweet tea... I know, I know.... But what I gave up was eating sweets... Candy bars, donuts, little Debbie's,etc.... EVERY DAY! That is huge... Over the withdrawal... No longer want them but know if I take that first bite of chocolate it's ON! I wrote this to tell you that you are not alone.... We are addicts... We are addicted to something that is not only legal but needed for us to survive. It is a daily struggle that is forever. People without weight problems don't get it.... We get it. You can do this.... So can I. Reach deep inside of yourself... Get your head in a good place because that it what controls us and our over eating for whatever reason we have to overeat. Take a deep breath and move forward. Don't fret about your relapse. We are human... It happens. It's not our failures that define us it's how many times we get back up and win.

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  38. OK, Sean, I'm not going to go all "rah rah, you can do it again" on you. The sad fact of the matter is that 95% of people gain the weight back...and many go on to gain even more. Is this because 95% of people who lose weight are lazy gluttons? No. There are very, very powerful hormonal impulses that the body sends out that can completely override all the good intentions we have in our conscious mind. Even seven years (seven years!!) after significant weight loss, the body still considers it is in starvation mode and seeks every way possible to regain the lost weight. Not only that, but you don't even have to "overeat" to gain the weight back. As we lose weight, our body, in its desire to maintain what it considers its "normal" weight, will become better and better at extracting calories from the food we eat. Someone who has dieted down to a given weight, will never be able to eat the same number of calories per day as someone who has always been at that weight. A "weight-reduced" person wil always have to eat significantly less and exercisesignificantly more than someone who has never dieted to maintain the new, lower weight.

    Although it could be seen as very depressing, I highly suggest people watch the TED talk by neuroscientist, Dr. Sandra Aamodt, on weight loss and mindful eating. The truth of the matter is that, aside from a tiny group of outliers, dieting just does not work and in fact, can make us less healthy in the long run.

    Does this mean we should all throw up our hands in despair and just eat until we drop? Not at all. But rather than focusing on the number on the scale, we need to focus on healthy habits: regular exercise, not smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, good sleep hygiene, eating a well-balanced healthy diet (without falling into the trap of the many fad diets that exist, i.e. if you totally eliminate THIS or THAT, the weight will just fall off...), listening carefully to our body's hunger signals and respecting both hunger and satiety. This last point, mindful eating, is not easy at all. But it should not be discounted as (pardon the pun) pie in the sky idealism. It is an on-going process that must be cultivated every day. It is much more difficult, though much more profound, than setting a number of calories to eat per day. It is just a dangerous to refuse to eat when you are truly hungry as it is to eat mindlessly for comfort or to suppress emotional pain.

    Sean, you are a good, courageous man. Bravo to you for all that you have done and for your unflinching honesty. I am glad that you have decided to write again and I wish you the best of luck with whatever road you decide to take.

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  39. It's my belief that this is why we regain: we haven't truly learned that our worth isn't dependent on the scale. You are so much more than your weight...so much more than whether you are losing or gaining. Practice compassion and acceptance for yourself no matter what the number.

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  40. Hey, stranger. Sounds like we're in the same boat (good lord, man... this boat's gonna sink!)

    Here's to 2014 being the (re)start of something special.

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  41. Oh Sean, I have been wondering about you. You and I were fight the same battle at the same time - you had more of a victory over yours for longer - I fell faster and stayed with all of mine gained back until this December, when I ended up at the doc's and am on high BP meds too and being tested for CHF. So, I am on the road again myself, and as sad as I am that you backslid, I am glad to see a familair face in the fight with me again. I am blogging mine again too, just on a new blog, and not as frequently. I'll be stopping in to check on you and cheering you on!

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  42. Humility to seek and do God's plan. Gratitude that you know the way out. Hope for the future because whatever is happening now, this too shall pass.

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  43. I'm so very happy to see you back on the road to good health. After losing 101 pounds and regaining most of it, I find myself struggling with similar issues. Looking forward to getting back to that healthy living. See you back on the right road.... Let's do it!

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