Over five years ago on August 28th, 2010, I found myself struggling a little bit with the dramatic transformation of appearance. The following is an excerpt. And it comes with its own excerpt... It's an excerpt within an excerpt:
I've looked at the pictures over and over, and it's strange, but I really do kind of miss that guy. I "get it." That guy was affected in so many different ways. Ok, I need to stop talking about my previous physical appearance like it was someone who passed away. But, in many ways it is just like that.
I was that big for so long and my personal appearance, the morbid obesity, helped shape my personality and social behaviors. What has remained the same are my thoughts, beliefs, fears, and personal values--the stuff I know inside, when I'm all alone---just me. That guy is exactly the same. I love that guy too. It all reminds me of the reaction of my now ex-sister in law, when she laid eyes on me for the first time in a long time. It was almost a year ago:
Wait-- I need to interrupt this excerpt--because I noticed something noteworthy. That was written over five years ago. I listed the things remaining after dramatic weight loss--- Important things, for sure--thoughts, beliefs, fears and personal values. Knowing what I know now--some critical things were missing from the list. The core elements of me go far deeper. I didn't mention my likes, dislikes, passions, talents and core qualities--all of the things that contribute to personal happiness. No wonder I hit goal a few months after that was written--and still wasn't truly happy. I couldn't even acknowledge them--forget about nurturing these core elements. Okay--now, let's go to the excerpt within the excerpt---this goes back to 2009:
My sister-in-law is staying the night with us. Irene has several sisters, and this one hasn't seen me in a really long time. I really don't know how to take her reaction to the much smaller me. She was shocked, I mean in total disbelief. She told me I looked great and that she was happy that I was healthier for the effort and then she did something unexpected.
She started crying. It wasn't tears of happiness, these were grieving tears.
She was grieving the loss of the old me. She said “My entire life you've looked the same and now that person is gone.”
I assured her that I was still me inside. I still have all of the memories, all of the feelings, all of the humor, I'm Sean Anderson, that will never change! She kept wiping away her tears and we hugged, to which she replied “you don't even hug the same.”
I guess I didn't realize how much she loved me. It really touched me deeply. I love her too. Judging from her reaction, you would have thought I had died. And I explained to her that I would have died in the next five or ten years more than likely, had I stayed at over 500 pounds.
She just kept going on about it. She'll never see the old Sean again, and that just devastated her completely. It wasn't the reaction I expected at all.
It's really a swim through a giant pool of emotions when I look at my before pictures. I can absolutely relate to the feelings my sister-in-law expressed. I look at those old pictures and I feel sorry for that guy. He's gone. He'll never be back. He'll never walk into the room. He'll never walk onto that stage. That guy died a long time ago.
I must correct my 2010 self. I didn't die.
That guy is me. That guy didn't die, he came alive.
I love that guy.
He's alive and living. Not dead and gone. The opposite of dead!
My perspective has been transformed. I don't look at before pictures the same as I once did. I also don't look at "now" pictures the same.
I look at "Before" and "Now" pictures with a perspective focused on the innate, common qualities of the individual. I see one person. Not two.
It feels great to be transformed and live life at a healthier weight, for sure. And I hold my recovery tight because I value the benefits of the healthier weight. But...
My happiness is no longer found in external sources. My happiness is found and was always available for discovery, in the core elements of me. 505 pound me, then and 214 pound me, today--same person, same core elements and the same opportunity for happiness.
It was a busy day. I was productive at work. I made time for excellent support interactions. I made time to prepare some good food and I made time for a great workout. My goals for today were met.
My Tweets Today:
Up a little earlier today. Dark roast with 2 tablespoons half & half X 3 cups. 120 cal. pic.twitter.com/nHOg9vkHYZ— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
Breakfast in MFP... pic.twitter.com/omRpDDExqn— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
Avocado omelet w/3 egg whites-1 whole egg & 104g avocado. 158g Honeycrisp apple, 3.8oz banana. 430 cal. pic.twitter.com/X2wtU88mWT— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
FF/SF Bean (65g) & Provolone (1 slice) Tostada w/16g Brazil nuts and 4.2oz orange. 310 cal. pic.twitter.com/IEeYf094DL— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
Lunch in MFP... pic.twitter.com/26S50ZvBsM— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
Turkey & Cheese w/4oz turkey breast, 28g marble-jack & mustard on sprouted grain Ezekial bun. 157g apple. 526 cal. pic.twitter.com/1eP95Zllce— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
This was earlier, after lunch. Afternoon coffee. Forgot to post! 2 tablespoons half & half. 40 cal. pic.twitter.com/2id3LYgM0r— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
This is now. About to launch workout. Climbing aboard the elliptical ship for my ride. 3 cups water. #watertracking pic.twitter.com/HjjKmmhmU3— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
A solid 20-30. Level 20, 30 minutes. #endorphinrelease #naturalhigh #moodlifter #sweatmachine That was good. pic.twitter.com/aHlAPw5z7L— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
A little beverage while preparing dinner. With two tablespoons half & half. 40 cal. pic.twitter.com/w3vAXDjVmY— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 19, 2015
Feelin' a little whole grain... pic.twitter.com/8zhID97uOk— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 19, 2015
Going on the whole grain linguine... pic.twitter.com/JsFuEqwi53— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 19, 2015
Dinner in MFP... pic.twitter.com/j7v2aMJQUz— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 19, 2015
3oz whole grain linguine w/186g low cal sf alfredo, 3oz mushrooms, 4oz 96% lean beef, 90g mixed veggies. 616 cal. pic.twitter.com/DJCOgrSXIr— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 19, 2015
159g golden delicious apple, 3.65oz banana & 11g Brazil nuts. #lastfoodofday 217 cal. pic.twitter.com/ppFk0o0tli— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 19, 2015
Thank you for reading and your continued support,