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, July 25, 2016

35 Pound Roadblock

 The slow regaining of weight; a possibility we all dread and most experience. We hear others speak of it; how sad, they say. Did you know he/she lost all that weight only to regain it back? I feel so bad for so-and-so, and they worked so hard too. And so goes the hushed conversations, spoken in tones suggesting both sadness and curiosity. 

 It's something everyone fears and most have lived. To this day, the science and the health communities scratch their heads, analyzing how and why some folks--numbers upwards of 95%--regain the weight they've worked so hard to shed.  Are they returning to old habits, is it something in the genes, in their heads?  Nobody really knows.

 I say, the why doesn't really matter. It's better to expect it, on some level, and have a plan. For it's the "what now?" that is far more important. Your next move will decide the outcome of your journey.

 Make the right one!  

 Eight months back, I had ankle surgery, repairing damage that only 625 pounds can do on a body. When it was over, I thought I would jump off that operating table and go for a nice long walk; expecting a fix-all to the damage I'd done to my body, my life.  What I got was months of casts, inactivity, boredom and finally, slowly--I repeat, slowly--therapy. 

 At the time, I was so excited to finally get up on my feet, and walk into a place that resembled a gym, that I would have happily performed ballet pirouettes--can you just see it?--as long as it lifted my spirits. Simply put, my fantasy was that I would be grunting up a sweat, pounding that treadmill, riding that bike, and throwing around some weights like a real man! I was ready! The reality was that day one produced stretching, which lead to day two of more stretching, and well, you get the picture. The pace was not to my liking. 

 This inactivity was making me feel FAT, worthless and lazy. All the momentum I'd gain in four years was waning, and to add insult to injury, the weight was slowly returning, upwards of 35 pounds and growing by the day. Looking back now, I wish I would have recognized the signs, like me resorting to my old habit of comforting myself with food, or my usual uplifting spirit plunging back into a I-Hate-Myself mode. 

 Bottom line, I had not felt this down since my last night as a 625 pound monster! I was canceling speaking engagements, not wanting folks to see me.  And to think it only took one unexpected set back to send me trucking down that road of no return!  Granted it was more than a mere hiccup in life, but reality is, left unchecked, I was marching towards the OLD Dan again, and I feared that 625 pound giant as much as I did death! 

 This was not happening!

 For all my blogging about courage, and loving one's self enough to make it all happen, expecting and overcoming hurdles, and yet I felt lost. I have all the tools, I've lived and survived the struggle and still I'm being pulled back. How? What is it? Why can't it just be over?

 Why indeed. I can't clearly answer that my friends, not even for myself.

 Maybe it's just meant to be my (our) challenge, the Achilles heel of life. Whatever it is, I can tell you this, that for every day of success, no matter the year, we must wake up every day and put on our armor! For those of us that have food addictions, suffering or recovering from obesity, our fight is never over. We must stay on guard! The Bible speaks of it; putting on your armor for God every day, to better prepare for the evil of the day. This suggests we must expect an attack! Well, I say, much like a spiritual battle, we must be prepared for that which will come against us physically, preying on our weaknesses--hopelessness that somehow leads us to food! Whatever it is that holds you back from your best, be it alcohol, drugs, you name it, we must gear up for it.  

 Friends, we have to change our way of thinking, expecting this to be over at some point is clearly a mistake. And when the threat comes, as it will, and we find our self backsliding we must have faith in our goals as hopelessness is the start of the end for anyone. We have to keep believing in our success.
 A few days ago, as I was typing a blog for TL to edit, still battling the Old me, I got an email from a young man at a local news channel in my hometown. He wanted me to come in and be part of a story on weight loss. 

 For all that I've shared with you above, I was horrified! I did NOT want to do it and I was trying to talk myself out of it; "I'm the guy who lost all that weight, and now WHAG TV wants me to appear on the screen looking like this?"  I texted Trish right away, sharing my worry, and she said, "People like you Daniel because you're real, you share truth with them, and your current situation is a huge part of the weight loss journey. People need to hear this from you, hear your struggles and successes."

 (Note: God always seems to know when to have someone speak on his behalf, doesn't he?)

 I  knew she was right, but I was still not convinced, so being the angel that she is, she challenged me to pray about it.  I did. And two hours later, I was in front of the cameras sharing my journey and the struggle. Afterwards, I had no doubt that someone needed to hear what I shared that day, and that someone might have been me! I found myself pondering my own words long after, feeling the talk the talk, and walk the walk chant all the way home. 

 It was time to man up and prove what I blog about is true and that it works; you can inspire yourself to a new beginning, be your own champion.  

 (Let's be clear: I did not say, you can do it alone. I said you alone can begin.)

 A few days ago, I had my first real workout in many months. I worked hard, as I safely as I could, on the bike and then the treadmill, even hitting the weights on my way out.  It felt good!  This space in time shall go down as yet another roadblock in my journey, one that almost took me out but did not win! It came with pins and bolts, weighing in at about thirty five pounds--but thanks be to God, I have the right people in my life and the faith to never give up on ME. 

 It takes a personal desire, a drive, and a positive village to succeed in all challenges. And I've said it over and over, and life keeps proving it to be true so it's worth repeating; it's with support and faith that we ultimately get over the bad we bring to our life. We are far more successful if we aren't alone in the struggle.  

 So what about that extra weight I've gained? 

 It will come off, as it has before, with effort and time. I'm never more aware of what it takes to endure, and to quote an Elvis tune, "I've got a lot of living to do." There is never a time to give up! Life is too precious. I want to live it healthy. And I want you to live healthy with me!

 Are you facing a roadblock or speed bump right now? If so, fine your way around it, you can do it, I will be that support system if needed. Email me, write here on the blog, I will answer. And guess what?  The Camera is on you now; it's your turn..."ACTION"