Not so long ago, I was 625 pounds. I took cholesterol and blood pressure medication, walked with a cane, and hated life and myself. As many of you know, I've been on an amazing journey, a journey to take back my life. I'm not a teacher, a doctor, nor do I have a degree or any plaques on my wall. What I do have is the experience, a plan, that helped me to regain control of my life, and I want to help you to do the same. Let's do it together. Dan Hawthorne

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Food Food and More Food--Fa, La, La, La, La, La.

Tis the season and it all starts with the candy corn and the snickers! We go from those Reese's cup snack packs in October to that amazing feast in November (Gobble Gobble Gobble). Then its HO-HO-HO, fried shrimp and baked ham. 

Yup friends, its all around us and like everyone else, I love to eat! I love all those bad foods. But I also love feeling good and looking even better. So, when those days do come around, I allow myself to have that chocolate for Halloween, and in fact, I have more than one. But I don't do it everyday.  

We've talked about temptations before, and trust me, they still call to me. They say; "Here I am, Dan. I'm chocolaty goodness with loads of caramel in my middle and I taste so good, so, come and get me (wink)."  

I've come to expect those weak moments, but I've also learned how to properly respond to it. And I can assure you, its a powerful thing when you take back that control. I want you to take back your control. I know what it feels like to have none, as for years, and several hundred pounds ago, I didn't have any.  And when New Years day rolled around, I was hating myself--and life, for that matter--for having had no self control and eating far too much over the passing few weeks. 

Not this year! This year, I was ready, and when the holidays rolled around, I prepared myself. I anticipated those cheat days. I knew that dinner at my sisters house was gong to be great! I knew that the pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes were going to be calling my name, so I planned ahead. I worked out extra hard the week before. I spent more time in the weight room, pulled longer and harder on that rower machine. I worked hard so that I could eat guilt free for that one day. And because I'd worked my butt off for those wonderful stuffing balls and mac-n-cheese, I ate well, and for the first time, enjoyed that pumpkin pie--guilt free. When I got up the next morning, I went right back to the gym, back to doing the right thing.  

The biggest questions I receive from people with a relationship with food is: How do you control it?  My answer--I want it bad enough.  I want to live a long healthy life. I want to look and feel like a million dollars (well maybe a thousand and a half dollars). That's my best and honest answer. Yes, I still enjoy bad foods. Yes, I still allow myself to have them, from time to time, but my desire to live and my desire to be a better me helps me control it. 

So, the next time you hear that hot fudge sundae calling your name, ask your self: How bad do I want it? 

I am still on my journey. I'm still learning what works for me. Two months ago, I didn't have the hindsight to be able to share with you how I was going to to tackle the holiday season. I wasn't 100% sure myself. But know this; if this was not the year for you to conquer those holiday foods, if you have not yet taken back your control, there's always next year. 

The holidays are meant to be fun! Its all about family, friends, and eating. You deserve to eat what you like and enjoy the season, just remember--I've said it before but I'll say it again--"Nothing tastes as good as losing weight feels." 

If this was your year to finally beat those food demons, I wanna hear all about it. Email me or post a comment here and let me celebrate with you. If you're still struggling, and or have questions, I'm here to help. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Resolving to lose weight- Fox News Tampa

Resolving to lose weight (Click for Tampa Fox News report).

Have you made your New Year's resolution? How about making a resolution that will change your life--forever? Join the journey and get your life back, not because it's 2013 in just two weeks but because you deserve to be healthy and happy. Because you are worth it!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Shedding a 600 pound stigma

I once lived, what would be considered, the human equivalent of a 600 pound gorilla. I was instinctive when it came to food.  I planned every meal, in detail.  If a big night of eating was at hand, I'd spend the day preparing.  I'd eat at home first, so that I could graze like normal people do and not be seen with five plates of food stacked all around me.  I was used to that life.  And I knew how to live it.

I'm not that man anymore,  yet my mind still tries to tell me that I'm 600 hundred plus pounds; that I walk with a cane and cannot use the stairs.  My reality is blurred. Often, I feel like I'm walking in a dense fog.  I look back and I can see the outline of the old me, hobbling not far behind. I walk faster; my forward march a far steadier gate that ever before,longing to put as much space between me and him as possible. I rely on every day events to help teach me how to leave him further behind, teach me to how to love the new me more, and understand those old instincts cannot be trusted.

Recently, I had a cheat day (that one day a week when I visit with old friends--a.k.a the fast food family down the street) and I was at this really good Chinese restaurant--the new buffet that everyone's been talking about it.  This was a planned outing, however I did not graze before hand. I held off, really wanting to enjoy my one night of over eating.

Upon arriving, my eyes took in the endless supply of mouthwatering goodness; table after table of American standards like homemade meatloaf, fried chicken and macaroni n cheese. There was a full sushi bar, but I'd had Salmon earlier and was in no mood for anything healthy. This was my day to eat! Mentally, I was ready for General So's chicken, egg rolls, shrimp low mien--oh, you know the list. My tummy was ready to chow down. Emotionally, I was going to eat guilt free. I'd earned it. While standing in that food line, I could feel the old me closing in.

In the old days, I could have eaten at least three full plates of food and still had room for ice cream. And because this was my day to chow, I took my seat and prepared to do battle. I went to the first table; my pallet already anticipating the great taste that went with the wonderful smell.  I grab me some shrimp fried rice, chicken on a stick, and crab meat in that buttery sauce--I even did the egg foo young. My plate was full.

My mind said: When you finish this up, Dan, you're going back for the meatloaf and ribs next. What a great plan, the old me agreed!  

About halfway through, my belly started to buck the old system. What the heck? This can't be, I thought. There was no way I could be full after only a half a plate of food. 

I took a few more bites, lifting one more loaded fork to my mouth, before suddenly, I just stopped. The fork was hovering before my lips, and for a moment, I stared at the mounds of rice, trying to decide if it was my savor or my condemnation. A moment passed and then I just dropped the fork to the plate.  I was done. I couldn't eat anymore, didn't want to eat anymore.

Where was that six hundred pound eating champion now?

He was gone--he'd left the building, to coin a phrase.

You thought it was your day to indulge, Dan, the old me lectured. Jokes on you! You didn't even eat your money's worth!

I knew better. The joke was on the old Dan. I don't need three plates of food to have fun anymore. I don't need food for anything other than basic nutritional needs. It's not my emotional crutch. My belly's full on a normal sized portion of food. Can you believe that? Dan Hawthorne can go to an all you can eat buffet and eat only one plate of food--and not even a full plate at that.

That felt great and I was so thankful for that experience. If anything, this event drove home the reality of exactly how much food I was eating in one sitting.

I love the changes going on in my body. I love feeling in control; finally free from the ever circling cycle of addiction. I'm choosing my destiny now. I'm choosing what goes into this body and I don't care if it is "All you can eat." All I can eat never changes. It's always the same no matter the content. Trust me brothers and sisters, this kind of power feels good--real good.

However, let me give you just one helpful piece of advice: Stay away from the all you can eat buffets until you're sure your immune to their kind of kryptonite.


Monday, November 26, 2012

I Have Not Been 100% Me--Until Now.

Forgive me friends, for I have not been truthful. But I will be now.
Changes are always coming, and coming fast, in my life. Everyday my body seems to transform itself. And though I was a very sexy dude at 600 pounds (cough-wink), I feel like George-freekin-Clooney now! 
It's amazing what three hundred pounds can do for ones sense of self and confidence.  All kidding aside, I feel so much better about myself, and finally, I know who I am. (No not Pluto! I don't know how he got into this photo!) 
However, as good as I may have felt, over this past year, I haven't actually been 100% me.  I know, I know, you're asking: What is this Dan character talking about? Well sit back, have a seat in my confessional booth, and I'll tell you my dirty little secrets--one of them anyway.
You see, I've been  a prisoner to vanity for some time now. And since some of you may also be struggling with captivity, I decided to officially come clean. 
So, what I'm talking about? I'm talking about giving up trying to be someone you're not and accepting your true self; about having the confidence to be the real you, as I'm now being for the first time in years. It took me some time to come to terms with myself, and honestly, it felt like some little angel whispered in my ear and gave me permission because I simply woke up one day and made that change that so needed to be made. 
Have you figured it out yet? (Hint: The photos might help.)
OK, yes, photos don't lie, I am thinning (a.k.a bald or just flat bald). There's no denying the hair situation, though I'm thankful for hats. And since hair transplants and wigs just won't work, I've accepted my barren head for what is it--bare and often cold. But that's just a small confession, not the one I'm really talking about here. I know, I know, out with it already.  I'm trying. It's a tough one to admit, but for the longest time, I simply found it impossible to accept the loss of hair pigmentation (a.k.a going gray). And as I'm over forty, and getting closer to that fifty mark, it seems to only get worse. First you see one then you see another--pretty soon you're counting them! It's insane. I still can't believe it!
So, yes boys and girls, children of all ages, my beard has almost completely gray and I've been hiding it for some time now.  There! Now you have it.
 Wow, that actually felt good! I had to get it off my chest, you see, because recently a buddy of mine actually said, "I can't believe your beard hasn't gone gray by now." So, Dave, if you're reading this--Thank you, man!
Yes. I have been supporting a certain hair dye company--that shall remain nameless--for some time now and I just wanted to blog today, write a special thank to a certain little angel for challenging me to be me. 
It's funny, but I'm actually OK with gray in my goatee, and in fact, I kind of like it.  Now I can spend those dollars on something better, like a hair plug savings fund (Wink Wink).
The moral of this story: Be you, be your own best friend. Change what's in your control and accept the rest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why listen to me?

I'm not a doctor, not a trainer or an athlete. I carry no certificates nor do I have any plaques on the wall. All I can offer is my story.

While others went to college, I was living a life. A life I would never wish on my worst enemy, a life that only a select few can fully understand. My life at 600 plus pounds was not a life I was proud of, but it was a life that allowed me to learn and grow.  And now I believe that I, as well as others, have another job, and that's to share our experiences and help others.

So why listen to Dan? 

My story is real and it can happen to anybody. I have lived in some dark and ugly places; places I willingly share with you now in hopes that you never visit. I was in prison. I was in Hell. And without a wonderful family and a great group of friends to rely on, I'm not sure I would have gotten out alive. 

I realize, not everybody has that. When joy is gone, people stronger than me end their life, willingly. They feel useless and unimportant.  In fact, the one question I get most, whenever I talk to a class or group, is whether I've contemplated taking my own life. Tough topic. Very dark stuff.

My answer is always the same, "NO." 

I do not claim to know what happens when we leave this plane, but I know enough to not want to test it out. I believe in a higher power/source, whatever you want to call it, God or something else. I believe in a creator. And my life span is up to him. I don't want to make any decision for him, as I'm thinking he wont like that too much.

Though, in truth, I knew every time I was taking a bite of pizza or grabbing a hand full of greasy fries that I was killing myself. I knew but those addictions were calling me. They made me feel good.  When I was eating, it wasn't like a fun time at the circus, but it gave me some pleasure. It took my mind away from the pain and the stress. I wasn't thinking "Just keep eating Dan, this is a great way to end it all." It was nothing like that. I didn't want to die, but I didn't care enough to stop either.  Some nights, as I'd be sitting on the couch (my bed) trying to drift off, I would think contemplate not waking up tomorrow. It scared me, but the next morning it was, "Where and what's for breakfast?"

Some wake up and want a cigarette. Some take a narcotic and some need a drink. My drug was food and it was calling me all the time. But it wasn't the only thing killing me. My lack of movement aided quite a bit. I spent everyday either on the couch or in my car seat, driving B.J (my wife) to and from work. I did my late night grocery shopping sitting in an my electric cart. 

So, again, why listen to Dan? Because I've been there. I've gone to the college of self hate and shame. I competed in the Olympic sport of uncontrollable eating and I've won a million medals. 

But most importantly: I beat death by choosing to live.

When it comes to living with somebody you despise everyday, I have a life time of knowledge. I can help. I know how to live with a monster. If you want your life back, if you want to be inspired to make changes and control of your life--if you can relate to anything I just said--then maybe you should listen to this not-so-fat-anymore man, Dan.

Please join this blog so that I can reach out to you and you can feel me do so. Because I do care.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Embracing the Truth

My Promise

When I decided to make my story public, I knew I had to go all the way and hold nothing back. If I was going to tell the story, share the journey, I had to be 100% honest. No man likes to admit weakness. It's not in our nature. We'd much rather believe we're ruling this darn jungle! Whether we really are or not--matters not. So, to be this honest has been a challenge for me. I have never been this open with others, nor even myself.

In the past, it was nothing to lie about myself. If I went to renew my driver's license, I would say I weighed three hundred pounds, knowing full well I was six hundred. It was hard at first to talk about all the foods and my eating, the way it controlled me. It's not easy telling the world I hate myself. I'm not at all proud of where I have been, but I'm darn proud of where I am now and where I'm going.

If there is one promise I can give you, it's that I will not color coat the truth. I won't tell you that making a lifestyle change is easy; I won't tell you that it won't hurt sometimes, and I'm not going to tell you that every day will be wonderful when I know it will be painful. However, I will tell you that all the hard work, all the hours of sweating and working hard, are worth it.  Nothing in life comes easy. Most of us aren't superhuman. We have to work for the things we want.

If there was a magic pill and we could live to be a hundred, look and feel like a million dollars, we would all take it. But it just isn't that easy. It's tough to love ourselves when were in that dark sad place, when we feel like a loser and a waist of human life.

So, what will I tell you? I can tell you that you can and will love yourself again, soon--if you're willing to make the changes and do the right things. I can tell you to expect to always have the cravings and thoughts of food every day. Why would you not? You've had a relationship with it for a long-long time! Food will always be there but you can control it. 
I can tell you, it's OK to enjoy the foods you love. And I promise, when you are controlling your food, your attitude about life will change.

What I won't tell you: You can do it alone. We can't. We need help. We need support and friendship. This fight is as much a mental war as it is a physical one.  I won't tell you: There will be no roadblocks or obstacles. There will be many.

I promise to always share the truth, all of it--the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And bottom line: If you really want your health back, if you really have the desire to take back your life and be in control, you have to ability to make the change. You just have to have the desire to step out of your comfort zone. When you do that--success is yours!

I hate to disagree with a favorite actors of mine, but, "You. Can. Handle. The. Truth," because I just gave it to you.


Friday, November 2, 2012


Saturday October 27th: Most people are getting ready for the annual Mummers Halloween Parade. I'm on my porch, sitting in my chair, enjoying what's known as an "Indian Summer". The sun is still peeking through a patchy sky. I can hear the birds chirping; my neighbors voices raised in conversation as they to enjoy the pleasant weather. I'm in a quite peaceful place, both mentally and physically.
As you know, that wasn't always true. Not long ago, I was in constant physical pain. I was exhausted, worn out from my everyday fight to live. I was defeated. And on the inside, I was a beaten man; a man without dignity.  I saw no joy. I felt nothing good--neither in fellow man nor life. The God I believed in, I questioned.  I thought he'd given up on me, that he didn't care. And the way I saw it, few people did. I was in a horrible and ugly place; a place I never want to be again, a place I don't want anybody to experience.
Of course, that was then and this is now. Now--I'm alive! I'm free from the horror that was once my life.  I'm free to hear the birds and appreciate the neighbors friendly banter. I enjoy the feel of the warm sun on my skin. I no longer see the ugliness, I see love and beauty. I have not been defeated, I have found joy again. What a difference the passing of time can make. I have many new and wonderful people in my life--some very special--and I love them all. I can honestly say, I love life.
Can losing weight take all of the credit? Of course not. But gaining control and caring about yourself can.  And because I know it can, I want to grab every human being struggling to like his or herself, and tell them they have the right to live. Tell them, life is awesome! They can be happy.
I know there are so many out there just like me, who believe there's no end to their emotional and physical pain. I want to help you see your value and purpose. I want you to have your own mirror moment, as I did, talk with your reflection, and above all, fight for your life.
There is no way for me to make that happen for you. You have to dig deep, deeper than ever before, and look further into your soul. You have to want it. You have to be ready to fight.  You have to expect roadblocks and obstacles and commit yourself to over come them.  Passion and desire must live within you as it will keep you going.
It's not easy. My fight continues. I'm continually stumbling into roadblocks and obstacles of my own. But we have to keep going, look where we were and then look back at how far we've come. The final goal is within our reach. 
And a long with the physical success, comes so much more! The positive attitudes of other's I met drives me now. I feed off of their energy. When I step out, I strive to be that good-force for someone else. I want to show kindness and love. I want to give others good energy and get some back. I no longer question the God that I once hated and cursed. I thank him everyday for giving me a second chance to live again. And to honor him, I'm committed to follow and allow him to do with me as he pleases.
What a amazing journey that's going to be. I never ever thought life could be this wonderful. But I'm here to tell you--it can!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Getting Caught: I'm Good with That!!!

As you know, my story went public many months ago. As I walk around Hagerstown, people reach out to me. "Are you that man that lost all that weight?" It's heartwarming and I appreciate that people are listening. I want to help. Helping others is my purpose in life. It's what I believe I was put on this earth to do. But, I admit, being in the public eye does have one drawback-- It's hard to successfully cheat!

The pressure I feel to eat right, especially when dining out, is huge. I'm aware that people are watching me. And I'm good with that, however, enjoying a cheat meal or a reward snack seems to require covert operations. I've yet to figure out how to cheat guilt free.

For instance, several months ago, the family and I were having a little party at a local restaurant. Everybody was ordering from a menu full of comfort foods. There wasn't a healthy dish in the joint and I could not wait to try a few. So I whispered to BJ,"I think I'll have a little cheat meal today," scanning the menu and spotting the special; meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy. Man-oh-man, my tummy went to growling, just anticipating that awesome, fattening, calorie engorged goodness. I was salivating, as the waitress rounded the table.

When she got closer to me, I noticed an older couple, sitting across from me. The man was reading the local newspaper. What do you think was on the back of that paper, facing me? My story, the whole shebang; complete with bold inspirational headlines and a photo of me at 600 plus pounds. What a view. What a buzz-kill.

When I refocused, the couple had spotted me. And I could tell by the way they were tossing sideways glances back and forth--first man to wife, then to me, and then back again. They're read the article. They knew exactly who was sitting across from them.  And I could see only one question forming in their eyes: What will he eat?

No way was I going to order Meatloaf!  So I quickly opened the menu and opted for the grilled chicken and broccoli, my stomach protesting the entire time.

That's when I knew; I seriously needed a new game plan. So, days later, I regrouped and tried again. I hit a quick burger joint--a popular Hagerstown joint (Hint: A couple of guys run it, five of them I think) on my way to a Batman movie. This time, my splurge went off without a hitch. So I thought.  Until I went to the gym the next day and my buddy/trainer Thomas asked me what foods I'd eaten over the weekend.

Are you kidding me, I thought. There's no way he knows. Yup, he knew! Someone had spotted me and spilled the proverbial beans. I was busted--again!

Cheating, in moderation, is essential to your success. I don't have to tell ya, I like food. I get emails all the time from other food loving people, all asking me if they must give up all their favorite foods. It weighs heavy on their minds. And in the beginning, it did mine too. Good news! NO. You don't have to stop eating your favorite dishes. YES! You can have those cheat days. But you must work hard for it before hand and indulge carefully.

And above all else--make sure you have an escape route in place. You just never know who is watching! It may even be me.



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Your Mirror Moment

When I talk to people dealing with weight loss issues, one of the first things they share is their inability to like themselves. Hating yourself is a big problem--the hardest hurdle to overcome. Sadly, I understand the crippling effect of such an emotion first hand.

See, not so long ago, I hated myself too. In fact, it's probably more accurate to state that I despised myself. I was ashamed at who and what I had become. I felt like a complete failure. I believed I let myself and everyone I cared about down.

I would avoid mirrors, but if I had to look at one, I saw only a monster.  Truth be told, I saw nothing good in anything or anybody. Yes, friends, I was bitter and angry. And it wasn't until I looked beyond that monster in the mirror, and forced myself peer into his soul, that I caught a glimpse of the old me.  Now, that guy, he was full of fun and happiness. That guy wanted to be somebody. He had dreams.  But he was stuck in there, buried under pounds and pounds of flesh, desperate to get out.

I'm telling you this because I want you to understand you aren't alone. I've been in your shoes. And I can honestly tell you, only you can change what you see and feel about that person looking back at you.  But until you can look deep inside, and find something to like about yourself, your journey will not fully mature into all it can be.

Do you want to live again? I know you do. I urge you to have that mirror moment, look beyond the image and see the real you, the beauty within yourself. I want you to tell yourself that you have value and purpose. Then I want you to--FORGIVE YOURSELF.

Set. Yourself. Free. 

Do that and everything else will follow. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I'd like to talk about the changes we see as our weight loss becomes a reality. The little things, the everyday happenings that healthy people don't even think twice about. For instance, for years, I couldn't sit in a chair and cross my legs. I couldn't tie my own shoes. So, when the time came, and I could enjoy something as mundane as sitting in one spot without fidgeting for an entire movie, re-adjusting due to the pain, that was an exciting moment for me.  In fact, one of my most memorable moments happened several months and many pounds ago. It took place in the most private room of any household--the bathroom.
Now for the fellas reading this, I know, we're manly men. We don't take baths, we "SHOWER". Baths are for sissy boys and don't even get me started on bubble baths. We'll, I'm man enough to admit, I like a bubble bath. Nothing is more relaxing after a long day-- well, other maybe an ice cold glass of chocolate milk, but we've already covered that.

One evening, after a very stressful day, BJ (my wife) and I were getting on each others nerves. If you're married, you understand what I'm talking about. It happens. It's normal. Nobody dies--normally. So, I told her I was going to go take a shower. (That's married talk for, I'm getting out of here before one of us goes out back to look for a shovel.) Anyway, I was still in the four hundred pound range and still felt like a giant.

As I reached into the cabinet, for a towel, I saw a container of bubble bath. I looked at the tub and then glanced at the man in the mirror. I remember once--OK, maybe twice--enjoying a bubble bath, here or there. But it had been years since I'd had one.  The last attempt was not a pleasant one. Let's just say, that the tub and I became one in the same.  But this time,  I thought, Dan, you have lost nearly two hundred pounds. You're stressed. A bubble bath would do you wonders.  So, I decided to give it a try. After all, who was going to see me? (I know, no visuals please).

I poured in that Mr Bubble and loaded that baby up. Well, as much as I dared, as I was still four hundred pounds. I didn't want to over flow the tub. I turned on some cool Elvis tunes and took the plunge. Got in position, and it was freaking unbelievable--I FIT!!!!!!!  I was sitting in a mound of suds, relaxing my butt off. 

 I grabbed a towel, put it behind my head, cocked my legs and feet up on the sides. I was a happy fella. About a half hour or so into this, BJ knocked on the door (Minus the shovel) and yelled "Are you Ok, what are you doing in there?" I yelled back, "Go away, I'm having a rip roaring good time. I'll see ya in a hour" 

I loved it! The only thing missing was my Rubber Ducky (If you repeat that, I'll deny it). Rub A Dub, Just Relaxin' In My Tub!!!!!!!


Monday, October 1, 2012

"Oh Sh*t!!!!"

When I first began this journey, back in the college fitness center, I worked hard at being invisible, as if a six hundred pound giant could actually go unnoticed.  The last thing I wanted was to drawn unwanted attention to myself. So, if I was lifting weights, or tossing a medicine ball around like a wild man, I'd hold in my feelings of exhaustion and pain. I did my best to keep a low profile.

(Gym tip number one: Do not eat tuna or hard boiled eggs before a workout unless you'd like to experience a rather unpleasant bodily reaction guaranteed to make you famous.)

So on the second or third week into this new adventure, Thomas (Friend and Trainer) gave me some new challenges on the dumbbell bench press. I don't remember how heavy it was, but I was going for a PR--that's "Personal Record" (I'm hip with the gym lingo now). When I got into position, I pushed those heavy buggers up, and felt what seemed like the weight of the Titanic over me.  My face flushed red. The sweat was rolling down. My cheeks were blown out like some kind of a deranged chipmunk.  And as my arms were locked in that position, I realized the odds of me sustaining were dwindling with every passing second. Finally, I lowered the weights and I let out a really loud, "OH SH*T!!!!!!". 

Over me, Thomas just grinned and then said, "Finally, after weeks, I  got an "Oh Shi%#" out of you."

Now when I workout, I don't worry about drawing attention to myself. I let out every earned grunt and groan. I never hold back, however, I'm thankful my mother wasn't in the gym that day, as I'm pretty sure there's unwanted carbs in a bar of soap!!!!!

Working out is war! Never be afraid and take no prisoners.

Battle on!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Battling The Lazboy Recliner Days!

There are day's when I don't feel like going to the gym. Days when I wake up, grab me a cuppa-of-Joe, and melt into my big guy chair. Outside, it's cold and crisp and I think; "No, I'm taking the day off. No gym today. I'm going to sit here and watch TV--do nothing."
 Then a hour or so into it, I start to get hungry. Before I know it, I'm eating things I shouldn't. I feel bad. The guilt sets in. I realise how terrible TV is during the day, and I think, "Why didn't I just go to the gym in the first place?"

I had such a day just this past week. I woke up in one of those moods and was just not feeling it. Then I started to think about the success I have achieved over the past sixteen months. I thought about how important exercises is to my success. So, I went to the gym. And as I was peddling that stationary bike, and pushing up those sixty pound dumbbells, I began to get motivated. I felt good--no, I felt great! By the end of the workout, I was a new man.

That workout helped me feel good about me. Afterwords, when I walked into the locker room, I wanted to high five that awesome dude in the mirror. Sure, it's tough some days. I won't lie about it. But once we get the sweet popping and the muscles moving, it does something for us, not only physically but mentally. We know that we're doing something good, something that's making us healthier and better. It builds our confidence and makes us stronger.

So the next time you feel like sitting on the sidelines, content to watch the game instead of call the plays. Remember, you're the quarterback to your world (forgive the pun, it is football season! Can I get an Amen!)
Hit the gym!!!!

And that's exactly what I'm going to do now!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chocolate Milk and I: A love story

I love chocolate milk. If you should ask me what my biggest food addiction is, I'd say chocolate milk, hands down.  I crave it. I think about it--a lot. Sometimes when I walk into a store and I see a new brand, my mouth starts to water. My mind tells me, "Dan, you have to have it, you have to try it. It may not be here next time you come in!" It's crazy I tell ya, but it truly is an addiction. I know it. I've accepted it.
When I do allow myself an ice cold one, I always reach way into the back and get the coldest freshest one. I can honestly say, there is no such thing as bad chocolate milk. There is only awesome chocolate milk and good chocolate milk. I haven't found one I didn't like, yet.
Now that've confessed my guilty pleasure, what's yours? What's the one food item that you crave and love most?

Diary entry: 10/25/07

                                      Ode To Chocolate Milk

                           I dont know what I'd do if you went away.
                                   I think about you all the time,
                                   you help me start each day.
                                  I enjoy your creamy goodness,
                                  you go down smooth and quick,
                                 my knees get loose and wobble,
                                       with every hearty sip.
                               A day without you would be painful.
                                       I dont think I could last,
                                without your creamy goodness,
                                     shining in my frosted glass.
                               Some need their soda for comfort,
                                        some even hug a quilt,
                                    but as for me, Daniel Wayne,
                                     I'll take my chocolatemilk
                                      By: Daniel Hawthorne


Monday, September 10, 2012

Dan, what do you eat?

 The question I'm asked the most: What do you eat? My answer is always, "FOOD".  I still enjoy it, heck, I'm human.  It's normal to love and enjoy food.  It's also normal to embark on a new lifestyle change and over think it. We worry too much about what we can't have, forgetting about all that we can.  We tend to narrow our minds and ignore the horizon, never giving new foods a chance. There was a time when I thought I would never like broccoli or salmon. I experimented in the kitchen, cooking them many different ways until I learned to love them.

  Now, I realize this may not sound real to you, but trust me friends, it is. I was a professional "bad food" eater. If it was sure to clog my arteries, I loved it. Heck--I lived on it for a long time! It's what put me well over six hundred pounds.  And I must be honest here, from time to time, I still enjoy these "bad" foods. However, the difference is, I control them now. For instance, I had some really good peanut oil fries at a local festival recently. They were darn good too, but that was a treat, a reward. Remember, this is a journey about making new choices and practicing moderation not about torturing yourself.   

  If I could offer any advice, to help you get started, it would be to widen your food horizons right now. Spend some time researching and learning about all the healthy foods we have available to us and keep an open mind. 

 It's something even I continue to work at.  I remember, in the beginning, I was shocked to learn that all the things I thought were good for me, like low fat this and that or fat free, no sugar etc, were actually not. And that the foods I thought were bad, like eggs, peanut butters , bacon, dark chocolate and coffee, had many healthy benefits.

My second piece of advice: Do not expect your love of food to completely go away. Your relationship with food will live on and that's OK.  But what you need to understand now is how to build yourself new boundaries within that relationship.  I still love pizza.  I still have a burger once in a while, but man oh man, that fresh salmon I had for dinner yesterday was DA bomb!!!!!!
I love chocolate milk.  In fact, if you ask me, it's hands down my biggest food addiction. I crave it. I think about it more than I should. Sometimes, when I walk into a store, and I see a new brand I've never had before, my mouth begins to water. My mind tells me, "Dan, you have to have it. You have to try it because it may not be here next time you come in."  I know it sounds crazy, but it truly is an addiction. The difference is, now, I know it's my weak point. Sure, sometimes I indulge. Why? Because allowing myself to have that relationship, on my terms, is far healthier emotionally then trying to never have what I know I love!  What I know I cannot say no to forever. So, once in a while, I reach way into the back of the freezer and get the coldest freshest one. And I can honestly say, there is no such thing as bad chocolate milk! There is only awesome chocolate milk and good chocolate milk but never bad chocolate milk.  I haven't found one I didn't like, yet.  (Reality check--can you hear my addiction in the words I'm writing? I can.)
So, now that I've confessed my guilty pleasure, what's yours? What is the one food item that you crave and love the most? Let's build some new boundaries--together!
Email me at or post a comment to this blog. Lets chat.
Dan Hawthorne


Monday, September 3, 2012

The power of choice!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Welcome Greeting!

 "I've got 300 pounds worth of proof that say's you too can get your life back! Yes you can!"
~ Dan Hawthorne

Friday, August 31, 2012

Doing it--one day at a time!

I am very human. I have days of doubt. Day's when I want to say: "Screw this work out crap, I want to sleep in and forget about it." I don't feel like eating a salad for lunch. I want a big fat greasy burger with fries and a chocolate shake.

There was a time in my life when I would have been too embarrassed to talk about my life as a 600+ pound man. I didn't want to talk about how much food I ate in a day or how difficult it was to get off the couch. Those are very personal things and most people dealing with weight/food issues never divulge their secrets. However, since taking my journey public, more than a year ago, my life has become an open book. By sharing my struggle, I have found my purpose--my truth.

When I was at my largest, I did whatever was necessary to hide from the truth. The weight on my drivers license said 325 (I was 625). People would ask me what I had for lunch, and I would say, "Tuna fish sandwich, chips and tea," and skip the details of my extra large value meal and 20 piece nuggets with sweet and sour sauce.

Yup--I was a professional at telling those little white lies. And I know there are many people out there--right now, reading this--who can relate. They also tell those little fibs and that's OK. I understand. And that's why I'm talking you today--to let you know that I was in your shoes once, that I beat it and you can too! 

Somebody said to me not long ago, "Dan, you are the ambassador for people fighting that weight battle." That is fine with me. I will take that title and use it to help anybody who wants or needs it. I understand how much it helps when I get that little message on Facebook cheering me on. That goes a long way. I know everybody doesn't have that, so I try to be that support to others. I want people to know, I'm in their corner. I want them to be happy and healthy. We all need a support system. Athlete's need that crowd cheering them on, musicians feed off the crowd, and people taking on a new journey to get their life back, need a friend. I want to be that friend.

If you'd like to share your story or ask a question on my blog, email me at Together we can find the answers and celebrate your journey to getting your life back!

God Bless
Dan Hawthorne
Follow Dan's journey on Facebook!

"For a moment, I forget the veracity of my life. I almost believe that I can go for a morning run along the beach, or put on a pair of slacks I haven't worn in fifteen years and take my wife out dancing. Then I move and the sting of reality hits me. I'm still me." ~ Dan Hawthorne.

Getting My Life Back..The Man In The Mirror. The book--it's happening. Coming soon!!!!!