A food addict's travels on the road to recovery.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sean's Letter

Here's the long post I promised you this morning.

I have a lot to get out...to say....to purge from myself. I usually try my best to write a coherent, well-put-together post, but there's a good chance that tonight's post may come out sounding like jumbled ramblings. However it comes out, I hope that you are able to take something from it that will help you in your travels.

Without getting into details about things other than food, the last couple of days have been pretty rough for me. Regarding the battle with the weight loss...and make no mistake, this is a battle, it's been even rougher.

In order for me to do well with my calorie intake for the day, I really need to stay at home. Indoors. Away from other people's houses....away from the ridiculously numerous restaurants and fast food places. I really start to get in trouble when I'm away from home. I know how ridiculous this sounds. It's absurd, really. I mean, people leave their houses every day...to go to work, to take the kids to school, to run errands, to do extracurricular activities...you can't live like a hermit. Why is it so hard for me to stay on track when I leave my apartment? I really don't know. I ask myself that question every time I venture out. I hate it. I resent it. I wish I could be normal. But this is the way life is for me right now.

Today I had to go to Mom's for a few hours. I knew last night I was going so why I didn't plan better ahead of time is beyond me. I'm getting incredibly low on groceries so my choices are getting really limited. I thawed out some ground turkey breast last night for this morning's breakfast. That was my first mistake of the day....having a big, fat turkey burger for breakfast w/ my 2 cups of coffee. Way too many calories to use up at 6:30am. Secondly, I was at Mom's when lunch time rolled around. Second mistake of the day...I didn't bring any food with me, not that I had a lot to choose from. When I get stuck at someone's house when it's time to eat, it stresses me to no end. At home, I have the lite mayo, I have the whole wheat sandwich thins, I have vegetable soup in the frig. I know all of the calories by heart, and if I don't, I get on the computer right in the next room and look it up on my nutrition website. Having the right foods, planning out stuff, budgeting calories....these are tools to the success of staying on track and not straying. I have none of these when I leave the house. None.

While I was out running errands for Mom, in the uttermost depths of fast food Hell, I decided to go to Publix to get a turkey sub for lunch. I knew about what the calories were....too many when I'd already eaten too many at breakfast, but it was either that, or the Taco Bell, Arby's, Burger King, McDonald's, KFC, Krystals, Wendy's, Captain D's, Chinese or Mexican. I think I made the better choice. While I was there I spotted the buffalo chicken tenders. The fried potato wedges. The mojo wings. I made a bad situation even worse and besides my 6" turkey on whole wheat w/ no mayo and no cheese....I gave into the Mojo wings and got 4 of them.

When I got home from Mom's I was stressed (for a lot of reasons)...one of them being this constant, unrelenting hunger I've been having for the last 2-3 days. I want to say that I don't think it's emotional or stress eating I've wanted to do because of the physicial characteristic of my stomach growling. It's loudly audible. But maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Can stress and whacked out emotions cause your stomach to growl? I really have no idea. But I've been hungry a LOT lately and with the calorie limit I set for myself at 1550...I can't seem to get a handle on it. It's like I'm just not eating enough.

I hate feeling hungry. It stresses me out, it raises my anxiety level, and I can't seem to concentrate on anything I'm trying to do when my stomach is barking, "FEED ME!!!". When I got home I had a couple of snacks here and there....just trying to make it til dinnertime. That was a long wait. I sat down at the computer right before time to cook dinner and logged every single one of my calories for the day. Now that I had suffered through and made it to dinner time and could finally eat something substantial, I found out I had exactly enough calories left for the day to have 3 oz. of fish. That's it. Nothing else. 3 oz. of fish.

I lost my resolve right then. Gone. Out the door. Poof. I was sick of being hungry and I was going to eat. I thought about how I've made the decision to lose the weight for good this time and there's no turning back. I thought about weigh day being only a day and a half away. I thought about how dilligent I've been at being consistent with my calories this week, and walking/jogging on the treadmill every single day this week since I weighed last Friday...steadily increasing my speed every single day...pushing my body to the absolute max.

Was I fixing to undo all the hard work I had put in this week? Was I fixing to betray my decision to get it right this time? Was I fixing to surrender to the addiction?

Yes I was. Yes, I surely was. Dwayne called me right about that time, said he was coming over in about an hour or so and did I need anything....any food or anything, he asked. Oh I wish he hadn't of specifically asked me if I needed any food. I told him to bring me 3 Krystal's (knowing in my head I was at my limit for the day and was fixing to add another 460 or so calories to it with the Krystal's). He said ok and we hung up.

Did I feel guilty after I cemented the fact that I was going to fail tonight? That I had ordered food and had it on the way? Absolutely I did....the guilt was immediate. Did I feel defeat? Immeasurable defeat. Did I still intend on eating those Krystal's when they got to me? You better believe it.

While waiting on Dwayne, I sat down at the computer to catch up on my favorite blogs. I really wanted to read some more of Sean's archives, http://www.losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com/. He's been fighting, and winning, his battle for over 300 days now and I just haven't had the time to get it all read yet. I randomly selected Day 139. In this post, he referenced something about a letter he'd written on Day 135, and was thanking his followers for their response to it. Curious, I scrolled down to Day 135 and found the letter.

Wow. Someone......Sean.... had written a letter about me. It was like someone had followed me around my entire fat life and chronicled every bad, sad, and cruel "fat" thing that had ever happened to me. Someone knew my pain....I mean really knew it. I was laid bare for the entire world to see. My secrets were out. All the pain I'd been hiding for the better part of 36 years was exposed. He knew it all, and he actually wrote it down for anyone that was interested to see. It brought me to my knees. I sobbed. The flood gates had opened and there was no shutting them. I cried for me. I cried for Sean. I cried for all of us that have been through these same things. I cried at the knowledge that I'm not alone. I cried because someone else had suffered in the same way I had.

Obviously, Sean was writing about his own pain. He was surveying his own scars and chronicling them. It was the most horrible letter that could have ever been written. Horrible, and beautiful.

Why beautiful? Because Sean did something I could never have done. He found a way to find the good in the bad. He took all of the wretched daggers that have been driven into his sweet, sweet heart, and he cast a positive light on them. He took all the bad and found a way to make it sound good. I mean, almost like a blessing. They are the most life-changing words I've ever read, and dare to say will ever read, in my life. Life-changing for me.

I haven't had a chance to talk to Sean yet tonight to ask his permission, but I'm betting that he won't mind if I post that letter here for all of you to read. If you haven't read his blog yet...please, please do. It is so apparent to me that Sean's destiny is to share his story with others, in hopes of guiding them down the road to freedom.

I realize that the letter may not affect some of you at all....some might say, "Aww...how sweet", or maybe some might have the same reaction to it that I did. Some might find it beautiful, just like me. An inspiration. A knowledge that you're not alone...and that no matter HOW hard things get despite your best efforts....it's all going to be worth it one day if we just stay the course. Keep our eyes on our goals and push through the rough times.

Wanna' know what happened to the Krystal's that Dwayne brought me? Let's just say that Momma's going to bed hungry tonight, and my puppy Scarlette will be slipping off into slumber with a full tummy and a content smile on her little puppy lips. :)

A word to Sean.........Sean, I don't even have the words for what you've done for me tonight. Thank you, my friend, for being the open, brutally honest, caring soul that you are. We are simpatico in this battle. We are soldiers. We will defeat the demons. We will win. And the world is a better place because you're in it. Onward.

Here's the letter.....

Dear Morbid Obesity,

Thank you for teaching me how to be compassionate toward others. By making me different and the subject of so much weight related bullying as a kid, you taught me to always care about other peoples feelings. Thank you for making me unique in an age when I was often the only fat kid in class, because it gave me added attention that I may have felt was lacking in other parts of my life. Thank you for giving me a very strong opinion against discrimination in all it's forms. By showing me the pain of being discriminated against based solely on my looks, you taught me to never judge a person based on appearance. Thank you for giving me the defense mechanism of a good sense of humor. Although it was sometimes masking emotional pain, laughter and making others laugh has always carried me through. Thank you for protecting me from every dangerous thing I would have tried had I been able to fit on that ride, or into that harness, or on that horse, or in that sports car, or whatever the dangerous situation could have been, you were there keeping me safe inside your embrace. Thank you for giving me a fashion sense born from complete insecurity. I know you don't give this fashion sense to every morbidly obese person, but it kept me from further ridicule because I never wore things too small, ever. You saved me from the spandex revolution, how can I properly thank you for that? To make me want to wear a big jacket when it was ninety degrees outside just to cover my boy boobs, well I have no choice but to conclude that you must love me more than other fat people, because if I had a dollar for every morbidly obese person I've witnessed in spandex and a shirt three sizes too small, I'd be wealthy. Thank you for giving me the ability to spot shallowness in others. I'll never forget the first time I was completely rejected by a girl who said out loud, in class “eeewwww, I would never go out with you.” She didn't take the time to see the good guy I was inside, to look into my heart and see the eighth grader that would have cherished her and respected her in a most grateful 8th grader way. She was shallow and without you I may not of recognized that side of humanity for many years. Without this “shallowness radar,” I may never have recognized the pure spirit in the eyes and heart of Irene Brake, my high school sweetheart and wife of nearly twenty years. Most of all, thank you for my life. Without you I don't know if my path would have been the same. Would I have my family that I hold so dear? Would I have found a career that felt so perfect for me, a career that allowed me to hide behind a microphone and communicate with people without them being able to see me? Without you, maybe, just maybe I would have become a complete jerk. Thank you for bringing me to this point in my life and keeping me in one piece along the way. But despite the flood of gratitude in this letter, you know your days are numbered here. We can't continue our relationship. Morbid obesity, I'm slowly shrinking out of you. I'm moving on to a life free of all the dangerous effects of our relationship. But I'll never forget all of the wonderful things you taught me, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my overworked heart.



  1. No, Tammy--thank you. I needed to read that again.

    After writing that on the night of day 135, I tried to read it to my family but I couldn't without bursting into tears. I tried to inject some humor because I think I felt threatened by how deeply moving the writing process of that letter was---it was from my heart and experiences---and it made me cry like a baby. I don't think Courtney had ever witnessed me cry like that.
    And it just did again, but mainly I'm crying because of your words about it's effect on you.

    I made an audio version of that letter and included it in one of my Lose To Win Seminars. I sat down at a table with a pad and pen and started "writing" as my "thoughts" were audible to the audience. As I finished with the last line of the letter, the song "Freedom' by George Micheal started playing. It might sound over the top dramatic, but it had a profound effect on many that night. after that seminar, a young man came up and told me that he wept all the way through the presentation and dramatization.

    It's truly an honor and a blessing to me that my journey and past experiences can help someone else break free from obesity.

    Bless you and again---thank you for posting this.

    My best always

  2. Tammy, that was so inspiring. Thank you for your wonderful post, and for sharing that letter that I probably wouldn't have read otherwise. It's so great that you decided to take control tonight, and not give in to the bad food. :)

    But about you being hungry all the time, maybe you're not eating enough filling foods. If you try to eat some protein and some fiber (vegetables, whole grains, fruits, etc.) at every meal, this will really help to keep you full longer you. You might already be doing this, I can't remember what all your days look like, but that's what I always read is the best way to stay full while eating fewer calories.

  3. Tammy, thank you and Sean. The pain you suffer causes me pain. I pray the Lord will continue to hold you close as you travel this journey. You're my beautiful girl and I love you so much!
    Love, Mom O.

  4. I agree with Rebecca about the filling foods that make the most of the calories you are consuming, but I would like to add that you need to LISTEN to your body, Tammy.

    If you are hungry - there is a reason (like sped up metabolism from hauling a moving man's day's full of boxes for days on end).

    I know you are H@ll-bent on your calories, but on these days, maybe you could ease the grip and little and go over them a little, but with lean meat and veggies instead of Krystals?

    Just a thought....

  5. I loved that letter, and it made me remember how I felt when I too was morbidly obese. If you haven't been there you may empathize, but you just don't know how it feels.

    On another note, don't let yourself get too hungry. For me, it always set me up for a cycle of overeating.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. moved me to tears this morning too, your post and rereading Sean's letter. Back when I found Sean, I went to Day 1 and read all the way to the present day. I had already decided to change my life, his blog was exactly what I needed. I have patterned myself after him, 1500 cal and exercise daily, and in 6 weeks I've lost 22 pounds.
    I'm just thankful that it finally 'clicked' for me, as I hope it has for you. Good luck!

  7. Thank you for sharing, I was very moved by both your thoughts and Sean's letter. I do follow Sean's blog, but have not yet had the chance to read from the begining and as such had not read this letter yet. Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention.

  8. wow. wow... wow...

    thank you Tammy. I will read Sean's blog now too, and add you both to my blog roll. I wasn't morbidly obese as a child or as a teen, but I always saw myself that way... even tho i was a size 9 all thru high school. it wasn't til I was in my 20's that I gained...and gained, and gained... and here I sit tonite, a crying morbidly obese woman, who totally relates to every word in this post... (well, except for the "man boobs") :)

    thank you, thank you, thank you...