Thursday, February 26, 2015

February 26th, 2015 Your Superpower Comes With An Awesome Responsibility

February 26th, 2015 Your Superpower Comes With An Awesome Responsibility

It's as if we possess a very real superpower. We have the ability to completely transform our appearance without cosmetic surgery and without a Hollywood make-up/special effects artist. This is real. The transformation can be so dramatic, people who have known us our entire lives walk right past, not knowing who we are, only the image of who we were.

Until we speak. 

Then, the mind-blowing, jaw on the floor reaction erupts and it feels good. It's like a novelty; a trick few possess, a guaranteed show stopper--the "final reveal," so to speak. If your life was a realty tv show, you would cut to commercial right before this encounter.
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For any of us who have chosen or choose to use this superpower, it's important to consider and pursue a deeper understanding of the effect and how it can affect us in profound ways. Yes, it's the big "Remember, your superpower comes with an awesome responsibility" type thing.

It's important, because who we were and who we are; the core elements of our being, remain the same. 

My favorite color is blue. It has been my entire life. At 505 pounds and at 230 pounds, didn't matter, it's my favorite color. Blue, all shades. My deep seeded likes and dislikes, the things that bring me the most joy, my special talents, my heart, my compassion and empathy for others, my intelligence, my sense of humor; I possessed all of it at 505 pounds and at 230 pounds. 

The superficial changes are dramatic and it's very tempting to believe we are, indeed, a completely different person. If we attach our identity too much to this notion, we quickly lose ourselves along the way.

I remember the unusual reaction of a family member I hadn't seen in a very long time, upon seeing me for the first time at 230 pounds. She cried. And it wasn't tears of joy and celebration. I quickly identified how she was seriously having a moment. I asked her, "what's wrong?" Her reply affected me deeply, changing my perspective and nudging me in a self-exploratory direction I wasn't necessarily prepared to go.

"It's like the Sean I knew and loved, died."  

Suddenly, I couldn't look at before pictures without feeling a separation of identity. I felt sorry for that guy. I missed him. I was grieving his loss.

It's interesting how, on Day 1 of this blog I wrote about the scary vision of my own funeral. It was one of the thoughts compelling me toward my iron-clad/non-negotiable decision to choose change, before change chose me. My goal was to avoid this dark scenario. And yet, upon reaching a drastically different body weight, it's as if I still held a funeral in my mind. 

The more I accepted my new superficial reality and the more I separated from my old existence, the further away I became from the core of my being.

The trouble is, the brain doesn't really forget. My reflection in the mirror had changed. Photographs were no longer avoided, they were embraced. But still, my brain kept a big file of everything that made me who I am. This file contained the deep stuff; the experiences and feelings of my past and the behavioral reactions to these things, too. I couldn't escape myself.

Accessing this deeply embedded file within my brain helped me regain 164 pounds of my initial 275 pound weight loss. It makes sense. My natural, deep seeded behaviors, followed by my physical appearance was merely harmonizing with my brain's original image and experience of me.

Now, having lost 136 pounds of the 164 pound regain, what's different?

I no longer identify as "old Sean" and/or "new Sean" I'm just, Sean. 

My self-worth and identity doesn't change with the number on the scale or the reflection in the mirror. Losing weight helps me become healthier but it doesn't make me a better person. Gaining weight has negative effects on my health, but it doesn't make me any less of a person.

The core qualities of who I am, who I've always been, will be celebrated and nurtured--allowing them to grow, to blossom in their intended and natural path. The affected levels of my life and the resulting behaviors will be closely monitored, better understood and helped with intentional support and positive actions. They will not be ignored as if they no longer exist.

As Ralph Marston so eloquently expressed in the foreword of my book: "Truth is powerful. The more you seek to hide from it, the more forcefully it asserts itself, until you eventually cannot deny it."  

So, go ahead, use your incredible superpower to transform. Just, please--be true to yourself along the way. Don't forget who you are. Don't ignore the qualities that make you incredibly special. Enjoy your transformation and believe me when I say, the most powerful transformation, the one giving you gifts to last a lifetime, isn't the physical, it's the mental/emotional transformation.

The physical freedom is great. The emotional/mental freedom can become something beyond your wildest imagination, far exceeding whatever expectation you brought into this experience.

I was still in recovery mode today. I feel somewhat better, but still guarded and taking it a little easier. Everyone at the studio was avoiding my like I carried their demise. "You can't use my pen," "Please don't come any closer."  I wasn't verbalizing my discomfort, they could simply see it all over me. I washed my hands a little more than usual and tried not to cough or sneeze in anyone's direction. I came home a touch early, enjoyed lunch, took a nap and got up feeling okay.

My interview with Rachel Martin of NPR's Weekend Edition-Sunday went very well. Much of what I've written above was inspired by the conversation we shared. I'm sometimes too self-critical for my own good. There were so many things I wanted to say and didn't, and some I did that wasn't necessary. But Ravenna, one of the writer/producers, assured me it was good. The segment isn't with me exclusively. Rachel interviewed several people with like experiences. So I'm not certain how much or how little my voice will be featured. We'll find out this Sunday March 1st on NPR's Weekend Edition! From the direction of the questions and knowing how incredibly talented NPR's talent and production staff is, it's sure to be an interesting segment, however it's assembled.

I decided to stay in tonight. I prepared a good dinner and did a short 30 minute PiYo workout in my living room floor. I modify quite a bit with this, still--it is a workout, make no mistake.

I'll visit the doctor's office in the morning for a fasting blood lab. Up until this point, I've resisted the urge to get a prescription for this crud I've experienced at varying levels over the last seven days. I've decided I'll call ahead and let the nurse know of my desire to quickly see the doctor, instead of just the lab personnel, for a prescription of something to once and for all kick this stuff.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,


  1. Great post, Sean.

    Keep in mind, re the doctor though, if it's viral, at this stage, there is nothing he can give you to stop it. Perhaps cough medicine if you are coughing, but antibiotics only help bacterial infections.

    That said, I hope he can clear it up for you what he thinks you have.

    and I'm glad you took it a little easier tonight.

    1. Very true, Gwen, good point. I'm feeling much better today/tonight--and I feel like I'm on the way to feeling 100%. I made it to the doctor's office for my lab--but didn't get a prescription. I'm kicking whatever it was, pretty well. Thank you!

  2. Yay he's going to the dr's....

    Can't wait to hear about the blood results soon

    1. I wish my lab follow up appointment was sooner than Thursday of next week!! I can't wait to see how the numbers shape up. They're doing a comprehensive we'll see! Ended up not getting a prescription. I seem to be kicking this fairly well, on my own.

  3. Interesting post, really interesting.

    I see it as someone that won the lottery. When you won the "big one" it doesn't change you mentally... I met someone that had won and received a check for 14 millions, the most depress and unhappy man I ever met. He was explaining how his win was a hassle for him.

    However looking at my daughter who lost 100 pounds, what she really gain was self-confidence.

    One more thing your post remind me, is the power of how we see ourself. When I was fit and thin, I was seeing myself as too fat, but today when I look at those pictures, I can't believe how thin I was. It's all in the mental! I can't wait to grieves my over-size me :)

    1. Very true, Richard. The perspective and philosophy is universal, really. Money, weight issues, relationship status, professional success--all of it can get attached to our identity/self worth, with miserable consequences. Doesn't surprise me the lottery winner was unhappy. True happiness doesn't come from anywhere outside of us. It always comes from inside, always--without exception.
      Increased self-confidence is a big bonus along this road, that's for sure!! Congrats to your daughter, that's so wonderful!
      One thing is certain--the body image issue is deep and super complex, and different for each of us. It is definitely a mental thing. Thank you!

  4. Good to be aware of the mental files/ old tapes that will undo us if we let them. It IS the mental challenge of losing and keeping off the weight. These tapes go WAY back, also - and we need to be aware of that.
    Will be waiting to hear what the results of your Dr visit is......

    1. Those tapes do go way back, Nancy--indeed! It was decided I'm on the downhill slope of this thing--feeling remarkably better as I write this reply Friday night... The lab results will be revealed and discussed at my follow up appointment next Thursday! I'm looking forward to seeing how the numbers are fairing these days.

  5. When I lost weight a few years ago, I actually found it scary sometimes getting the attention and compliments. I also got the "oh you'll probably gain it back" comments too. Obviously, I wasn't in the right mindset as I gained quite a bit of my weight back (not all). Now I am still trying to get into the same mindset it took me to lose in the first place. I will never give up!

    Very exciting about your interview!

    1. Katrin, I know exactly what you're talking about...The increased attention is sometimes difficult to process. Oooh...those people who have nothing to offer but a negative perspective---uhg...I don't have much tolerance for those personality types. I don't stay in their vicinity too long.
      Do statistics suggest most regain, yes. Are there exceptions to the rule?? Of course. I know a BUNCH of them! :)
      I'll tell you, from my experience--I had to change my mindset--make a few modifications to my original mindset, before I was able to turn this thing around. The first thing was forgiving myself and letting most of those negative feelings about the weight best I could. Until I could get past constantly beating myself up over it, I couldn't move forward.
      Never give up, is so right, Katrin--never!!
      I'm excited to hear the final segment Sunday morning. It'll be good, I'm sure! Thank you, Katrin!

  6. I struggled with that in 2011... When I lost the weight I wasn't "different" I was just me with all the same anxieties, fears and problems.... I was like what the heck???!!! It has taken me a long time to understand this (so silly) I am just Karla.... big or small and food and size doesn't define me... my actions and my life do that


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