Fear is a good thing. If you've ever been described as a "survivor," (I have my entire life) you likely have a healthy amount of fear. Fear keeps us alive. Without this measure of fear, we would quickly put ourselves in harms way. A healthy amount of fear is a good thing. Too much fear, or, an unhealthy amount--and it not only keeps us alive, it keeps us from evolving.
What we choose to fear is dependent on our imaginations. It is, because fear encourages the development of stories, our stories of what might happen if we bravely proceed, despite the fear. And those stories in our mind are powerful. We pick the stories we believe the most--and those create the boundaries in which we live.
Living as a five hundred pound man for nearly twenty years, I had plenty of reasons to fear an early death caused by crushing high blood pressure, an over-worked heart or a number of other believable stories capable of becoming my tragic reality.
The fear of a change far removed from the habits and behaviors keeping me over five hundred pounds was very strong--stronger than my fear of an early death. A more believable story developed in my brain, centered around the fears of change and seemingly oblivious to the very real dangers of morbid obesity. And so, there I was.
Too little fear can kill. Too much fear keeps us from evolving.
I placed too little fear on the deadly possibilities and too much fear on my perception of the changes needed for dramatic results.
The fearful stories of a possible early death were mostly discounted in my mental creative. Dying young happens to other people. Sure it does, until it doesn't. Then it's too late.
The stories I chose to believe the most, were the ones centered around the changes. How will these changes affect me socially? How will people treat me differently if I lost the weight once and for all? How will I handle the differences? How will I treat myself differently? How will I cope without the binge? And in that line of thinking--how in the world can I make it through this sometimes extremely stressful life I'm leading--and still focus on what I need to do--what I must do to lose weight? And speaking of that--what's required? I'm not eating salad, ever, so let's just establish that right now. But what will I eat? What will people think of me when they see me out exercising? Will they make fun of me when they see a five hundred pound mess of a man or will they see an image of inspiration, against the odds--out there, moving--trying his best for something better? My brain told me they'll probably laugh at me and focus on the five hundred pound-mess of a man, part.
These stories, given the most development and exploration, exploit our vulnerabilities and multiply insecurities times ten. They become big. And the bigger the stories--the bigger the fear--the bigger the challenge--and suddenly, it feels much safer if we don't proceed in that harrowing direction.
But what about that other fear, you know--the early death thing?
Would you stop, already???
I feel fine! Sure, I'm out of breath and my resting heart rate is anything but--- and my right leg is swollen to unnatural proportions and breaking out in multiple sores--any one of which could easily get infected and result in an amputation. Another blood clot--another ER trip, another ultrasound revealing a superficial clot--not the deadly kind. See! I'm fine! Sure, I can't walk from my car to the Walmart entrance without feeling like I need to take a rest stop--and all of these things without even a mere mention of how this depressed state feeds my low self-esteem, self worth and identity. I probably didn't deserve anything good coming my way--and anything negative coming my way, I probably deserved it--I mean really, look at me!
But these changes--oh my, all of what's required is too overwhelming--it's too much. I was fearful of what I perceived these changes might require--and the consequences of the changes, never mind the consequences of avoiding the changes.
I thought I needed to figure it all out prior to starting. I felt the need to explore every possible lead fear so conveniently provided. I needed to know how it would all turn out.
But that's not how life works. And even if we did have a crystal ball, maybe we wouldn't like some of the things revealed. Removed from the idea of developing and adapting--the changes revealed just might be too much to handle without the perspective time adds to the equation.
So now what?
What if we decided to have faith? What if we added action to that faith? What if the results of our faith in action, generated hope for something better?
What if we decided we didn't have to figure it all out at once? What if we could keep it as simple as possible, accepting the progress and changes in doses along the way? What if we could overcome our fear of the unknown with the trust of its reveal in manageable pieces instead of all at once? What if we could embrace progress instead of perfection? What if we could focus on consistency instead of intensity? What if we developed close support connections to those who've walked the path before us and continue down this road?
Oh wow...what would happen?
I've been answering that question, in manageable pieces, for almost seven and a half years.
One of the biggest things I've discovered from my own fear is this: The self-produced stories we fear the most, in reality, are almost never as threatening as our perception. And the fearful stories we often choose to discount or dismiss, in the end, are the ones most likely to get us.
Fear Facing The Possibilities-Profile-Before & After dramatic change
Today was a fantastic day. I ate well, I worked out. I maintained the integrity of my calorie budget, I remained abstinent from refined sugar, I exceeded my daily 64oz water goal and I maintained good support connections.
I discovered something at the grocery store I wasn't too thrilled about! I discuss it in the Tweets below. You see, I planned on preparing a mushroom pizza mid to late afternoon. First, I needed some 90 calorie Fit & Active sugar free wraps, some Simply Organic sugar free marinara and a package of mozzarella slices. I buy all of these things from Aldi, just a couple of blocks from my apartment.
The jar for the marinara was different. And for some reason, it prompted me to glance at the ingredients--and I was shocked to find, although still considered organic--the recipe had changed. It was incredibly simple before. Now it contained refined sugar. Luckily, I found the Priano brand right next to it and it was sugar free, however the ingredients are different. The Simply Organic old recipe didn't contain olive oil. This Priano stuff lists extra virgin olive oil as its second ingredient. This isn't a bad thing, really--it is a much richer sauce as a result, but the calories are slightly more than double. Eighty calories per serving instead of thirty-five. I only use half a serving on a flatbread pizza, so it still works well--but anyway... That was my frustration this afternoon.
How blessed am I? If that's the only source of frustration today, I'd say I better be immensely grateful. And I am, very blessed and immensely grateful.
I get to sleep in as late as I desire in the morning. I'm going to do my best to reclaim the sleeping in talents of my youth, when sleeping until almost noon seemed so easy. These days, even when I have the opportunity to sleep as long as I want, I'll wake up at a fairly reasonable time--and then, that's it...I'm up. If it's way too early, I'll scan my mental schedule for the possibility of a nap time later in the day. Rarely can I just turn over and go back to sleep a little longer.
My Tweets Today:
It's Friday! Coffee with three tablespoons half & half X 2 cups. 120 cal. pic.twitter.com/ReyMPNpr6e— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 11, 2016
Breakfast in MFP... pic.twitter.com/AjciiHBlpz— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 11, 2016
Avocado omelet w/2 egg whites & 2 whole, 90g avocado & 1 slice swiss. 8.3oz pear & 6.6oz orange. 618 cal. pic.twitter.com/BVeAho6n7w— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 11, 2016
Lunch in MFP... pic.twitter.com/65iGjN493h— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 11, 2016
Fast & Simple. 4.3oz banana, 4.6oz apple, 32g nat.peanut butter & two tablespoons half&half in the coffee. 383 cal. pic.twitter.com/BfEB9d4yyX— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 11, 2016
Two cups water with late afternoon "holdover" until dinner, food... pic.twitter.com/hNmbaIhkHa— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 11, 2016
Holdover until a later dinner, in MFP... pic.twitter.com/SHuoY1AcM3— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 11, 2016
Pizza. 62g sugar free marinara, 3oz baby portobello mushrooms & 4 slices Mozz on 90 cal SF flatbread. 351 cal. pic.twitter.com/GkUFlaaLCo— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 11, 2016
Friday night cup of delicious Colombian medium roast w/3 tablespoons half & half. 60 cal. pic.twitter.com/eObdVp0NyD— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 12, 2016
About every two or three weeks, I enjoy some fried catfish. ❤️it! Simple dinner in MFP... pic.twitter.com/KVHaTHPWci— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 12, 2016
Approx. 1.3 filet of catfish with cornmeal coating, 285g fresh cut & baked sweet potato fries w/4secOOSpray. 614 cal pic.twitter.com/Z3D8sbaNzj— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 12, 2016
It might take me all night to finish this 4 cup bottle refill of water, but when I do, it'll exceed #watergoal pic.twitter.com/25S3TtUwSW— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 12, 2016
Changes have been made to Simply Organic tomato basil SF marinara @AldiUSA It's no longer sugar free. Priano is SF. pic.twitter.com/SipxglEw7v— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 12, 2016
Was grabbing a few things today when I noticed a different style jar. That prompted me to scan the ingredients--suddenly it wasn't simple.— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 12, 2016
The Priano marinara brand is all natural and sugar free-but not all Priano varieties can claim this SF status. Read ingredients lists 2Bsure— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 12, 2016
Biggest difference between Priano & Simply Organic's old recipe? The ingredients & calories. Priano's second ingredient is EV olive oil.— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 12, 2016
This isn't a bad thing; tastes great. It does take the calories to 80 per full serving instead of 35 found in old recipe of Simply Organic.— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 12, 2016
8.6oz fresh cut pineapple & 1/2 a small banana (1.9oz). #lastfoodofday 150 cal. pic.twitter.com/0roR6zoPqD— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) March 12, 2016
Thank you for reading and your continued support,