Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What It's Like

What It's Like

I'm very happy to be back. I'm contributing to this blog, maintaining a calorie budget and staying fairly active with Facebook and Twitter. I'm logging food, exercise and water consumption everyday on My Fitness Pal. I'm also staying closely connected to friends far and near, staying accountable and reaching out via text whenever a counterproductive food thought passes through my brain. Oh yeah, Gerri Helms has taught me, the best way to shut those crazy obsessive food thoughts down is to tell on 'em to someone, anyone. I'm getting more and more in touch with my own personal spirituality throughout this process. I'm realizing the truth, and that is: This isn't a solo battle. I'm not alone. You're here. I'm here. We're all here and we're doing this thing. And this thing is worth every ounce of effort. It's about life and freedom, clarity and peace. And it's about love and taking personal care. Choosing change is about all of these things and more. It's not effortless. It's work. But it's good work. It's not always fair, but some things just aren't and that's okay.

I'm wholly committed, my friend. And it feels phenomenal. It does because it wasn't that long ago when I wondered if it was even remotely possible to feel this way again. I was at the point of completely giving up. Struggling harder than I ever imagined possible, isolating in a place full of shame, guilt and regret...filling up on self-pity, self loathing and a general disgust--completely choosing a perspective void of even a shred of hope. And still occasionally trying to get it together only to fall again and again. As the weight gain continued, old issues started resurfacing.

I haven't shared this with anyone, but why not? A couple of months ago I sat on the edge of my bed and noticed a scab on my lower right leg. The weight gain had brought back swelling and since the skin on my lower right leg is forever damaged from my 500 pound days, it doesn't take much abuse for a tear to happen.  And there it was. The first sign of something horrific returning.  I'll never forget the pain of having a dozen or more sores after the constant swelling would rip my skin apart. I never want to get to that place ever again...but here it was, the start...and there I was feeling hopelessly doomed, almost attracted to the decline as if it had some insanely strong gravitational pull. What other freedoms will I lose?  How could this be happening?? Why????

All kinds of questions pelted me during this decline: What did I learn while losing 275 pounds?  And why did the strength I felt back then feel a million miles away? It was like being fluent in a language and suddenly losing even the most basic elements of communication. Was I really going to work that hard, get to a healthy body weight, work through emotions and get to a place where I was healthier than ever...and then turn around and go the other way???  Did I somehow subconsciously decide I wasn't worthy?   

Oooh... That's it, isn't it? I didn't deserve it. Okay, wow. That's heavy stuff. I wasn't worthy. How did I reach that ridiculous conclusion?

I suppose it happens over time. It's like we have a constant checks and balances happening with our perception of the good and the bad of our life. Every negatively perceived thing makes a mark, an impression, a scarring on our brain and then it sits and waits for other negative things to join in and these things grow.  Most of the time these negative perceptions aren't even our fault, but in a desperate effort to explain and understand, it becomes easier to just take the blame.  And maybe some aren't even bad, but compared to the standards and beliefs we hold, they're perceived that way.  And so it goes, our self-esteem, self-worth. And the other side, the positive happenings? They are wonderful, and they keep us going, but eventually they're diminished by the overwhelming darker, more negative perceptions, a bad apple if you will, spoiling the bunch.

As powerful as these dynamics seem, there's a serious problem. They're not true. I'm a good person, no--check that, I'm a great person. And I am worthy of feeling good. I am worthy of my success.

I'm going to take care of me with the positive care and love I've always deserved but was too caught up in false negatives to fully recognize. I want it for others, so why not offer the same love and compassion for me to enjoy?

This is a new day. This is a new perception. This is happening like no other time I've ever known.

This is the moment when "I'm Choosing Change" becomes even more powerful.  And it does because it's uninhibited by the deep seeded belief of unworthiness.

Let's do this.

Thank you for reading,
Goodnight and...


  1. Sean ... yes, you are a great person. You have given so many people hope and inspiration. You support us as we like to support you. You are so worthy of feeling good about yourself and the way you're living it. You will get back to where you once were and this backslide will be history. You will be better for it! You will have learned more about yourself. You are doing a great job. I'm so glad that you are sticking close to your calorie goal and blogging again. It holds you accountable and that you are. :D

    I, on the other hand have had a few bad days. How can one gain 7 pounds from 2 1/2 days of bad eating. :( Oh well, hopefully, tomorrow I can pull in the reins.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi again Sean, I'm so glad you're back and feeling better. You are so worthy, please don't ever forget that! We are on the right track now that is certain. I have been wanting to start a blog now for many years but starting it is the hard part. You've been such an inspiration to so many. You know, so many times I traveled across the country to New York and back then Arizona and back again home to good old Ponca City and your voice was like a beacon every time. You probably have no idea how many people just love you. There were many trips I had to take that were so sad but again I would get close to the listening area and there you were. Well my friend I for one will not let you down, I want to be here to cheer you on with your new found success as well as share mine too for added motivation. As of today I've lost 41 lbs and it's been a long road getting to this point. I have about the same to lose as you so I'm really happy to be on the same team! We can do this! I know it! ~ Jules

  3. Thanks Sean. That resonates in several areas of my life.

  4. Sean you SO deserve it. i think this realization is key. Well done as always! You are a superstar. Keep treating yourself like your best friend not an enemy- self compassion is the key. Im writing this to us both by the way!! :) have a great dayxo

  5. Love your post.. because.. I get it.. it was me just before christmas. Even though my weight loss is incredibly slow. Its coming off, BUT and its a huge BUT I am getting fitter and working on my mental strength and challenging myself.

  6. Sean, I know my problem was I treated my weight loss like a temporary thing. I would "temporarily" eat like that and then I could go back to eating like I used to. Well, to maintain, there is never any "going back". What made me fat before will always make me fat. It has to be a lifestyle change. It's like quitting drinking. We have to "put the plug in the jug", and be responsible for what we do. ~ We're here for you, Sean. One day at a time, one meal at a time, you will climb out of this. Reach out. Call someone when you get tempted. We're all here for you. Never give up. Your life is worth fighting for. ~ Love, Linda

  7. The other day, I was wondering some of the same things you record here. Yo know, how did I go from full speed ahead ad 20 pounds short of my goal and gaining it all back. I recalled that part of it was the fact that I had surgery 2 days before Thanksgiving that went badly, forcing me to have two months with very limited activity and an abundance of discomfort. Over the holidlays. Yeah. I think 30 pounds came back over that 2 months.

    But, I had been struggling before then, barely holding my own. One hit was when I looked in the mirror and saw my elderly mother'r's face. :o That is w2hen I began to struggle.

    But it was more than that, too.

    It wasn't that I felt like I didn't deserve it. No. I realized the other day that I regained because I didn't feel that I was up to it. I wasn't strong enough to live life out loud. the increased social interactions. The increased speaking engagements w/out my fat. You see, when an audience sees an obese woman take the podium, they dont' expect much. That makes what I deliver a pleasant surprise to them.

    I didn't feel up to facing life as a normal, unencumbered adult. I only knew how to work from a deficit, proving to others that I was more than I looked to be. I felt safe in giving them more than they expected. After all, if I failed to deliver a top-notch job, they would only get what they expected, anyway. No disappointment there.

    Turns out, being fat was both a safety net guarding me from other's disappointment, while giving me the opportunity--over and over again--to see faces light up with surprise and appreciation over what the fat lady actually delivered.

    How convoluted is that? :}


    1. I loved reading this. I can relate.

  8. It is amazing to me how these little things work. When I weighed 100 pounds more than I do today, I isolated, ate in shame and prayed no one would ever find out. As if my ever-expanding girth wasn't evidence that I was doing something with food when no one was watching.

    Thank God I learned that I could recover in community. I have built an army of support for myself. Even after 20 years of this new, healthy lifestyle, I will have the occasional moments where I think that food is some sort of solution. Hey, if the house is on fire, the right thing to do is call 9-1-1, not head to the fridge. After a while, my thinking became so skewed that food seemed the only solution to life's challenges.

    Today, if I get the first inkling of eating instead of dealing with life, I grab my trusty little iPhone, and I either call or text someone. In essence, I tell on myself. It works every time. I'm maintaining a healthy body weight for 20 years, using this fool-proof trick. It takes the power out of that momentary compulsion where it feels like I'll die if I don't eat something. Food is a liar!

    I'm so glad you are 'back' Sean. Let's do this together. I'm glad we are in each other's army!

  9. I think you've caught hold of something fundamental and true. Thank you for being so perceptive and sharing that. I think the thing that's so devastating about feeling unworthy is that in a way it's true! ALL of us, when compared to the perfection of God and even our own potential fall far far far short and somewhere deep inside, we know it. I think Satan is as real as God and he hammers mercilessly on that theme--we don't deserve it, we blew it, why should we have this good thing when others, who are better than us don't get to have it? etc etc etc etc. And it's hard to argue with those negative thoughts because we know they're true! But the other much more important truth is that IT DOESN'T MATTER!! None of us are anywhere close to perfect, but God (who knows this full well), blesses us and loves us anyway. He sent His Son to save us. He wants us to keep trying and to be happy. That fact that we're undeserving is completely irrelevant--we all live in this amazing world with blessings all around us anyway. Why? Because we're His children and of infinite and unimaginable worth. We're like little children who don't contribute anything to the family income, and spend our days making messes and mistakes but still get to have a birthday party. Do children deserve to be treated well? Of course!! Because they're precious in and of themselves. So are we. I think it's important to recognize where feelings of being undeserving come from so we can throw those feelings joyfully away and fully enjoy the party of life. Because we're worth it no matter what.
    God Bless!

  10. Rick Hanson, PhD. says “It’s the law of little things: a small thing repeated each day adds up over time to produce big results. A small thing that is in your power to do – in a world in which so many things are not.” Our journey to wellness isn't necessarily a straight line, and that's okay. The detours are where many answers can be found.

  11. I am convinced that who have struggled with overeating have to learn how to live in the "skinny" culture. We're there, we've lost the weight, but we don't quite think or feel like them. We still struggle with the overeater's mind battles and emotions in a skinny body. I am convinced it's culture shock. I have lived abroad and I am exploring apply cross cultural coping techniques to maintaining large weight losses. I think I'm on to something...It would be easiest if everyone who once was obese and maintaining and thin body could move to the same Island and all live together! :)

  12. I am just healing from those sores you are talking about - they have been absolutely awful and taken over a year to heal. I am so ready to move forward, applaud you for all you have already done, and hope to get to the finish line right there with you...on to the next phase of a new healthy life for both of us....for everyone who reads your blog and seeking inspiration. I'm proud of you and your honesty on here!

  13. Getting and staying honest is such a key, it seems. Sometimes our actions get ahead of our emotional healing and we end up taking a pause in some form or another. It's how we deal with the moments when we're not totally 'on' that will probably determine our long term success- that's what I'm thinking at this point anyway. Sharing what we've learned along the way is really the only way to go!

  14. You're definitely back, Sean -- it's good to see :)


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