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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Defeating the Shoulder-Devil

It's been two years and many months since I first stepped foot in to the fitness center at Hagertstown Community College. HCC, the start of my rebirth, was the place where I finally took control and learned to believe in myself again. 

Occasionally, I look back and remember that first day, and that long walk from the parking lot to the front door step. I was scared to death, sitting in my car, physically shaking while just staring at the larger than life building.

What was I getting myself in to? Would there be a load of college students just waiting to laugh at the first 625 man that dared enter those front doors? Could I even make the walk from the car to the building or would I pass out before I got there? 

There was a battle going on inside my head that day, for sure, a real shoulder angel happening. You're familiar with the scene, the famous angel on the right and that little guy in red on the left mouthing: "Don't you go in there, you fat loser! There's no way you're going to lose weight, you're too far gone. Look at you; you can't even walk ten feet before you have to sit and rest. You have a cane. These kids are going to laugh at you. Nobody will take you serious. You're wasting your time."  And on the left, I was hearing: "Go in there! This man (Thomas Burge aka The Boss) wants to help you. You may never get another opportunity, and, if you don't go in, you could very well be pushing up daises at anytime."

As I sat there, nerves rattling, the white noise escalated. I was listening intently. Though not sold on either pitch, the little guy in white made far more sense. Course there was one looming problem--the effort alone MIGHT just kill me. Then again, no effort WAS killing me! 

To die or to die--now that's some dilemma.

The way I saw it, I could either go home, order me another pizza, and take my spot back on the couch, waiting to die, or I could fight-- for my life.

I chose life.

It wasn't easy. I managed only a few steps, from the car towards the building, before I had to take a seat at the first available bench.  It was hot. My joints hurt. My shirt was soaked with sweat and I hadn't even worked out yet--or had I?

Once inside, there were two flights of stairs facing me. You've got to be kidding, I thought, and once again the white noise chimed in: "I told you it would be a big waste of your time. You can't possibly make it up those stairs fatty; you might as well bag it!" Then I heard my own voice mumble: "Are you going to do this ass-hole or not?"  

This is now what I refer to as being trapped inside my own head, doing far too much thinking and not enough feeling. I was existing solely from the neck up, and nobody, not even me, wants to hang out in there for too long--trust me! And really, why would any of us want to hang out in there when everything wonderful comes from the heart?

 We (YOU) Don't!  And thus, brothers and sisters, the point of this blog: To beg you to switch your focus! Stop listening to the shoulder-angels, good or bad. In order to succeed, we must turn off the white noise arguing with our success and turn to our hearts--the place where anything good in our life has always emanated.

When we do this, we hear; "give it a try," "take a chance." This voice is always subtle, easily missed, but soothing and beautiful. It will cheer for you, help you as it helped me to take that much needed next step forward. It will help you to climb the mountain(s) in front of you.
On that first day, my mountain came in the form of an elevator and a distance that felt long and tedious. But I did it one tiny step at a time, not by listening to the white noise inside my head, which by the way was arguing it out the entire way, but by listening to my heart. And make no mistake, for some of you reading this, it will be an uphill trek, but fight you must!

Death is not an option!  

And though it's hard to believe, what basically amounts to a short walk around a neighborhood block, that day, changed my life. I believed in myself long enough to walk in to that gym and it was not the thoughts swirling inside my mind that got me there! It was the cheering I could FINALLY hear in my heart.

That first day led to other first days.

There was no going back to a life of canes and electric carts. I was tired of not being able to go to the movies because I couldn't fit in the theater seats. I was tired of feeling sorry for myself and always wishing for a healthier better me. It was time to finally take control and I was no longer willing to just accept my self-made HELL.

I wanted to be happy. I deserved to be Dan again. I wanted my life back.

So friends, please hear me when I tell you, with love and respect, get out of your own head! Get into your heart! Listen to the subtle voice inside--a voice I choose to believe is God--encouraging you to make that change. Maybe you can't hear it this very second, but trust me it's there, waiting for you to discover it's power--your untapped inner power--to be a healthier better you.

It's your decision. It's your life. It's your turn.