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

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!