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

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Believe in You!


 In order to achieve our goals, we must trust that we have the ability and strength to accomplish what we want.  Faith is the key. But how does one capture what has eluded us for the better part of lives?

When I began my journey towards a healthier me, I did not start out believing in myself.  When I walked into Hagerstown Community College fitness center for the first time, and I saw all the weights and equipment, I was scared to death.  This was a new world to me, a world that looked forbidding and painful.  I had just come from a chain gym and I had failed miserably.  I was that guy who just couldn't get anything right,so I thought.  I didn't have what it took to tackle the task at hand  nor the dedication needed to see it through.  I gave up easily.  I had very little faith in Dan Hawthorne,  after all, he couldn't even manage the stationary bike.  He wouldn't put up a good fight, I told myself.  He was a quitter.

All of this was going through my head at the time. To say I was lacking self esteem is putting it mildly  My low opinion of myself hindered my faith, yet deep down, I wanted to achieve success.  I wanted a purpose and I knew this fight would be the challenge of my life, as it was for my life. However, looking back, the toughest task was addressing the man in that mirror first.  I knew I had to do that and he was angry. He was peeved off. And when I finally stood eye to eye with that six hundred pound monster, I was a tad bit shaky.  He was intimidating.  He was inflexible, challenging even. But if I couldn't convince him to walk back into that gym, I would die. It was just that simple.

Winning over that big man in the mirror was my fresh start. That's when I realized how strong Dan really was. And I'm here to tell you, friends, you have that same power. You can change. You're brave. You can take that first step to reclaiming your life too.  Did taking those first steps allow me to believe in me, just a tad? Of course it did!  Each successful baby-step allowed my faith to grow--granted slowly.

A spark of faith can go a long way. That following week, I was working out and doing things I didn't think I could do.  I was throwing medicine balls. I was doing lat pull downs and bench presses. I was swinging those heavy ropes and actually moving again. I was controlling my destiny.  And after a few weeks, when I weighed in on that loading dock (still too heavy for an average scale)  I realized I'd dropped a hundred pounds! I became a believer in me! All it took was that one successful step forward and my faith rose up a notch, enough to take another step and yet another.  Soon, I understood that my fight was never really with that monster, that image I saw in the mirror.  My fight went much deeper.  I had to face the sadness I felt inside, my disappointment in me. I had to face my fears and allow myself to believe.

 Recently, I was asked in an interview, what I wanted people to take away from my story? My answer: We are much stronger than we realize.

Guys, we have it in us, and if we want something, we can have it. But we have to know what we want and we have to believe we can get it.  Every journey begins with a desire, a direction. You must take that first step and address what it is you really want. Then ask yourself, what's keeping you from it? Whatever "it" is, kick it to the curb. Roll up your sleeves and find your strength. Find that desire to regain control and get your life back. You can do it.

I've asked you this in the past but it's a good question: How Bad Do You Want It? Do you want to live longer, feel better, enjoy life and be happier? Do you have the desire to do what it takes to get that? If you're reading this blog then you do.

Know that it's possible. Know that you have every bit of what it takes to get your life back. Know that you are stronger than you think you are, and know that with hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything you want.

Most important, BELIEVE in you as I believe in you. We're on the same team here and I want my teammates to trust me, and vice-verse.

So, let's do this thang!!!!!!!! 
PEACE
Dan.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We've reached 3000--Thank you!

Hey All! How you doing today?

I thought I'd do something a little different, as it's been awhile since I did a video. I do like to be a bit more personable sometimes, and it's hard to do that in writing, so let's do it like this for a change.

What I really wanted to say today was--thank you! I'm a very lucky man. I've got some wonderful friends and support out there.

It's been an amazing 21 months. The journey continues. I've lost about 315 pounds now and this last 75 is proving to be a challenge, but hey, after 315 what's 75 more?

As I always say, we've got this!

PEACE. Dan.

(Watch the video to hear Dan's entire message, made especially for you.)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

David Goliath--Fighting the good fight!

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you're familiar with my silly and fun blogging style. That's me, that's my personality. But now it's time to get serious. It's time to tell it like it is, so brace yourself and get ready for some tough love--Dan style. 

It's easy to just complain about being overweight, make excuses about why we cant find the time to exercise. I know, I did it!  I sat dormant on the couch for a long time, bubbling over with anger.  I was unhappy but I did nothing to change it. I just kept eating and making excuses for why I was well over six hundred pounds. 


I thought it was me against the world. Poor Dan was being forced to live as a monster and I was furious with the God who had put me here. 


Screw it, I thought, and screw the world. I'm gonna sit here and rot away; be angry with everybody and everything. That was my mindset. That was how I felt while living in my man made prison. 


You all know the story. I had my mirror moment, or my moment of Zen if you will, and when the day of awakening came, I began to thank God not curse him. I quit making excuses. I realized I wanted to live.  It was time for me to take responsibility for my life, for my situation.  And when we do that, we move on and we move up. We gain the control we need to take back our life. 


I've met so many people a long this journey and one such man has not only been an inspiration to me but I also like to call him friend. His name is David Lyon's. Some time ago, David was told that his life would undergo a huge change. That one day he may very well find himself in a wheelchair.  According to these medical professionals Multiple Sclerosis would now be a very real part of David's life. 


Now most people would have just given up.  David could have gotten angry, like I did, and blamed God as well as everybody else but David didn't do that. He decided to thank God. He decided he wasn't going to sit down and give up--take the easy way out. He made a decision to fight and share his journey. 


(Man-oh-man, can I relate!) 


David refuses to let MS win. He wakes up everyday with a positive and determined attitude. He uses his faith to fight, to live and to help others. He is showing the world that we have so much inside of us; so much strength  so much power. He is a man with a strong desire to live. 


Shame on me--for taking my health for granted all those years. There is not a cure for MS but there is something that can be done about obesity  If you're fighting your weight, you must ask yourself: Don't you deserve a better life? If so, what are you going to do about it? Have you given up those unhealthy habits that are killing you (cigarettes and or that daily liter of coke)? Is it really life's fault that we stopped caring about our health? Is it God's? No!!!!!! Life is what we bring to it. We control the choices we make. God is the designer, the writer of our life but he has given us a chance to co-write the story with him. 


I was once a 600 plus pound man but I chose to live. I chose to take control of Dan. Thank you David, for inspiring me, and for showing the world that we have the power inside of us. With determination and help from the big man upstairs we can get back our life. 


Friends, get off the couch. Make a decision to be the best YOU you can be. Please don't sit and rot away, blaming everybody but yourself. Take control. Don't let petty excuses and roadblocks stop you from living. Put on your armor, polish off that faith, and find the inner strength you need. If you would like further inspiration just watch David's video (above). 


Life is wonderful. You're wonderful. Feel that and know it's true, but most importantly, make the choice.

YES YOU CAN!!!!!! 
PEACE
Dan

(David Lyon's book is available for pre order now on Amazon.com)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Circle of Love



(Photo Left: South Point Gym's biggest loser competition.) 

Lisa Downie, trainer at South Point and teacher at Hagerstown Community College, invited me to speak to her class yesterday evening. What a great group of folks! 

When speaking to the Class (a.k.a Team Lisa) I shared my story, addressing those concerns most have when beginning a healthier  lifestyle. What food's can I eat? Do I  have to give up my favorite foods forever? Everyone has their own connection to food, and for many reading this, you know what it means to have more than a connection but rather a relationship. Nothing comforts us more, nothing feels better than those comfort foods we rely on. That relationship never fully goes away, as it always there tempting us. It's like that old friend from high school, the one you've been close to for years. They can move away but you still think about them, miss them. Food is much the same, as its been part of your life for a long time. You can't just snap your finger and make those emotions disappear.  In stead, you have to deal with them, look into the mirror everyday and talk to that beautiful person looking back at you. 

You are in control, you make the decisions, not the food. 

Love yourself at all times, this is a must. We must love ourselves in order to say no to the bad foods and yes to the good. Most start their journey thinking about all the things they cant have, but I say, forget about what you can't have and see all the wonderful things you can. You can still enjoy that wonderful burger you crave or that piece of cake, from time to time, as long as it all comes back to that man/woman in the mirror, back to you retaining control. It may seem hard at first--in fact, count on it--but as I said, don't dwell on what you're not supposed to eat, rather think about that deliciously sweet fruit that you can. Think about all those pretty colors in the vegetable garden and how tasty they will be, and more importantly, how much better you're going to feel after eating them. Consider how all these changes will benefit your over all health. How you will look better, fit into that smaller shirt and or skirt, and how all this benefits your life experiences, making this journey on earth so much happier. 

You must see your value. If your reading this blog, you're already thinking about making these changes and that's key. Your new life starts with you, that man/woman in the mirror. You are the boss. You have complete control. You have purpose. I found mine. I knew I had the gift for gab.  I liked connecting with people and believed I was supposed to be doing something that reaches out to others. Once I began to live again, my purpose became clear. 

How does one find their purpose? We all have things we like and are good at, so, start there. If your a hugger, hug often. If you like to laugh, tell jokes. Make others happy, whatever, but do what makes you tick and put a smile on a face that may need it. When we do things to make others happy, we in turn are happy. We feel better about ourselves, and when we feel better about ourselves, we learn to love ourselves more. Loving ourselves helps us to make better and healthier decisions that benefit us. 

Can you see how all this kinda works together? This circle of love?

Guy's I'm no doctor. I'm not a professional, as I have said before, but I'm learning to love myself all over again and I can tell you, it does work together.  I knew when I first looked into that mirror that deep down that 625 pound monster was a nice guy.  People did love him and he loved connecting with people. You have to do the same thing, you have to look beyond that image and see that inner beauty. Find that soul that you know is in there and pull him or her out, let them shine. You have it in you. Its your job to help that image find it's soul again. And when you do this, you'll be ready to become the best you that you can be. 

Your reading this blog, which means--I pray--that you want to change your life. Good. That's a start. The term "soul searching" resonates here. So, what are you waiting for? Go look in that mirror, look deep--real deep. Do you see yourself in there, fighting to get out. You got it. Let him/her out. You can do it. I have faith in you. 

PEACE
Dan

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What's Your Motivation?

Many people ask what motivates me, what has me going to the gym 5 days a week--sometimes 6-- just to work my body far beyond, what some might call, the pooped-out point?

LIVING!!! That's right, I'm living again. I can breathe. I can do things I haven't been able to do in fifteen years. For instance, 12 months ago, crossing my legs was difficult. Well, let me tell you friends, I'm now a leg crossing foo1.  I cross my legs in restaurants.  I sit in the mall, legs crossed, watching the world passing me by. I will cross my legs for no good reason at all, just because I can.  It's the small changes in my body that motivate me.  I see and feel these changes, celebrating each improvement with great enthusiasm.

Six months ago, it was painful to walk up a flight of stairs. I calculated each footstep one step at a time. Now, I can walk up those same steps like other folks do. Sure, I may not be running them, like Rocky Balboa, but give me another couple of months and I will be.   

And speaking of Mr. Balboa; movies motivate me, especially when they leave me feeling like I can conquer the world. Hand's down--The Italian Stallion gets my vote every time.  No matter what time of day, if that movie is playing, I will stop to watch. Just the rumbling of that winner-take-all theme song gets me going. I'm ready to whip me up a glass of raw eggs, hit the gym or better yet, step into the ring with Apollo Creed!

Can I get a "Yo-Adrain?"

Music is another motivator--not to mention an enthusiastic work out buddy.  The beat gets me excited, gets me moving, and I anticipate when the next occasion may arise when I can share the musical talents of Mr. Elvis Presley (an addiction of mine second only to Chocolate milk) in a such a public fashion.

Yes-sir-e-bob, a little Hunka-Hunka-Burning -Love isn't half-bad when your busting a sweat in the gym.

If Rocky's not your bag, that's ok. My point is merely to encourage you to find an outside element, one that can help you focus on your goals and not the effort.  If you like to read, take a good book! Like puzzles? Why not work a crossword while you're riding that stationary bike?  Whatever it is, find it and use it.

The path to getting health is difficult. Motivational aids have helped me.  I believe they can help you too.    

PEACE!
Dan