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.