Monday, July 28, 2008

For The Want of a Hot Dog …

For the want of a hot dog, I have given up so much and to be honest I totally do not understand it! I know that by my overeating it has caused loss of quality of my life; it has caused pain in the life of my loved ones, yet in the past I tried but had many backslides. Do I know entirely why this happens, absolutely not! I do not believe anyone on this earth entirely understands why ….yet! It is not a fun thing to live with! Yet…

I openly admit that I was am and always will be addicted to food and I have had major problems controlling the amount of food that I can consume. An example of that would be “Hot Dogs”. In the past, I have been known to eat a great number of hot dogs (frankfurters). You may ask (out of curiosity) how many would that be, well the number is not important but 20 to 30 at a sitting would not be unheard of. Surprised? Well do not be. I was a man who could be over 1,000 pounds at times and I am not one of those overweight people who you hear say, “I don’t know how I got to this weight because I do not really eat”! No that is not I. “I admit, I can eat, and eat a lot”! I am not proud of this fact; it just is what it is. When I am not doing well, I eat tremendous amounts of foods and it is for this reason, I have paid an expensive price. You know what it has cost me? Well, let me tell you by telling you where my life is now, compared to where it was five summers ago, or even two summers ago.

Five summers ago I was literally stuck in bed, well over 800 pounds and not being out of the house in years (other than to be removed to be taken to hospitals). Two summers ago, I was spending each day in a Rehabilitation Center in Queens New York, working on getting physically better. I came home last June 30th and let me tell you where my life is physically right now (minus a short intermission, due to my little heart problem, which is doing much better now).

First as many of you know (I posted about it) in the beginning of June I attended a Christening of a beautiful little girl, who I had the privilege of being her Godfather. I was able to attend the church and participate in the ceremony including climbing the alter steps (that had no railings) with a little help of my son. Afterwards, I attended the party, which was miles from my home, and if I may say so, I had a great time. In contrast, my baby (my grandson) who was Christened a little less than three years ago, was done so without his grandpa, (me) being there … physically at least.

Since June, I have traveled to Downingtown, Pa. to the 60th wedding anniversary of my Aunt and Uncle, what a beautiful couple they are. Aunt Eva and Uncle Steve are the kindest, warmest, most generous people you would ever want to know. At my sickest moments throughout the years, it did not matter how they were feeling or how far they were from me. They would get in their car, (most of the time alone, some times with my cousins) and come all the way to New York to see me. I missed their 50th anniversary (my family attended); I also missed my aunts 80th birthday (my family attended). Therefore, when I received the invitation for this party a couple of months ago I said if I had to go on a stretcher, I was going. Well no stretcher was needed, I was able to get into an auto (a minivan, I sat upfront, with a seatbelt, no extension belt!) and my wife drove for 2 ½ hours down to Pennsylvania and I was able to visit them for a change. I also got to see my cousins and their families and I got to see cousins whom I haven’t seen for a while and their children who I never had the pleasure of meeting (boy am I getting old but thank God for that). It was a great experience.

We drove back that night and were able to attend Mass and just be thankful for a great day. The next day was another memorable day. Once again, we got into the car and we drove over an hour and half into Long Island (Suffolk County) where I was able to go visit the gravesites of my mom and dad. Now I have not been there in over 20 years, my mom has been there first (she passed away over 30 years ago and my dad joined her 12 years ago). I have never been to the cemetery since my dad died. As a matter, of fact when my dad past away and the funeral home was a half a bloc k from my home and I could not attend his funeral, I could not leave the house. Unfortunately, there were many events that I could not attend, both sad and joyous ones.

I think some of the hardest ones I missed were the ones that involved my son’s life. Is school plays, is little league baseball games, parent teachers conference and his High School Graduation was a rough one. Not to mention I could not be there when my son went through open-heart surgery! When he became a daddy! Why?

All because of my relationship with food. Yet it seems to be changing at this moment. All of a sudden, there are these events and I do not have to wait home anymore and ask everyone “how was it”? Who was there, what were they wearing and did anyone ask about me”? These kinds of questions are not asked anymore. All of a sudden, I look around and I am part of it. I am a player, instead of a spectator. Wow, how much fun is that? Who would have ever thought it could happen again …another chance

My life is so different now. Instead of watching Mass every Sunday morning on the television, I am now in Church every Sunday morning or Saturday evening. I go out with my wife to a restaurant now sometimes. We go shopping; we go for drives and just look at the world around us. We get to visit her mom, family, and friends. Yesterday once again I was able to be a guest again at a beautiful Christening of the grand-daughter of my very close and dear cousin. It was a lovely day with lovely people. I was not able to be at the Christening of her first grand-daughter but I am thankful and grateful for being part of this one.

While I was out to Long Island last week, my wife and I got to spend some time with friends who we knew from the rehabilitation center. We had a beautiful day by his pool with his family and some mutual friends. It was great to just sit out there and socialize instead of wondering (as I would have in the past) what was everyone was doing while I was at home …probably eating in darkness.

This next weekend I am going on a short vacation for a couple of days.
I have plans for every weekend for the month of August (look at me Mr. Social Butterfly). Then if God willing we are planning a fall vacation to Disney World with my grandson (who has been there twice already, bless him). I get to watch his face light up while he sees his hero’s like Mickey and Captain Hook. A dream of mine, which will come true.

Can I still eat 20 hot dogs? In a heartbeat! I am very well aware of that and must never forget it or let my guard down. Are there some days I go a little overboard? In all honesty not “days” at least not in a long while. There may be moments, a meal, and a situation where I may over indulge and that is when I am reminded that I am still an addict. I know I cannot let that moment or meal turn into a day anymore. Not anymore!

Not for the “want of a hot dog” am I willing to give it al up! I love my renewed life. It is so much better than the bed. The bed is good for 6 to 8 hours a day (for sleep and rest) but that is it (unless for some unfortunate reason you find yourself having to be there).
If you do not have to be in bed then get up! The world, the wonderful world is passing us buy. It may have its bumps, but it is still a beautiful world, bumps and all.

Do not let the want of a hot dog or extra piece of cake or cookies, (or anything like that) ever hold you back again! Now is the time to make the right choice!

I personally enjoy being included and part of life. Next year I want to be even more involved with maybe a little less effort on the part of my family (to help me). I know if little by little I keep trying, working at it, doing my best and willing to be patient with myself and if necessary pick myself up and keep on going forward…then I know I will make it!

What a gift we all have today, and that gift is, today itself! Make the rest of today a great one. Give someone a call, tell someone you love them, smile, and laugh a little and most of all ….

Do something good for you.



Friday, July 18, 2008

Not such good choices …

Often people ask me (or write me) “Mike I had a bad day, what do I do”, “Mike, I have been cheating, and I can not stop”, or “Mike, I “screwed” up and I can not believe it, how do I get back on track’?

What can I say? In life, in general there will be choices that we make sometimes that will not always turn out to be the smartest choices, especially when we get the chance to look back at them. So, what do we do?

We are not going to shoot ourselves, jump out windows, life is too precious, too beautiful, too valuable to do harm to ourselves. Whether it be something as drastic as physical harm or as painful as emotional harm, we cannot look back at our mistakes with the purpose to punish ourselves in anyway.

Mistakes will happen, and then these become opportunities to learn… healthy lessons and then … go on from there. I think the sooner most of us realize that we are human (and being human we will make mistakes) the sooner we will all be better off. Some of us are too hard on ourselves and we raise the bar to levels that at times are unreachable.

It is nice to set goals but along that journey, we need to plan for the bumps in the road!

In my life, I am an addict when it comes to food. I have been an addicted to food for more years than I am even conscious of. I do not have to tell anyone that I have made many “not so good choices”. Ones that have almost cost me my life both literally and certainly lifestyle wise. I have “dieted” off more pounds probably than any living human being on this planet has. I have also made some of the worse choices than many poor souls, choices that have cost me and set me back thousands of steps.

Yet I stand (sit) here today and tell you that I am a happy, grateful man. A man, who loves life, loves his family and friends and even more so, loves himself. I cannot (I will not) allow myself to “punish” me, beat myself up for all the times that I attempted (successfully at times) to do the correct thing.

No, I have to deal with today. Today I have to do it for me. I have K.I.S.T. (Keep It Simple Today)! I am enjoying this day, loving my experience, dealing with the moment.

I had a friend recently get in touch with me in despair. They had been taking care of themselves with some good results (those stupid numbers on the scale were falling). Suddenly they had a “Bad Day” and were eating all day. They told me nothing was going on in their life (negatively) at the time, actually, they were happy. Yet they were surprised (or annoyed) that they still had the “disease”, even after all their success.

The fact is our disease (of addiction) is not going anywhere. It is here to stay and the best we can hope for is to have it under control some times (most times hopefully). Okay, that is it. It took me a long time to realize this, that "I will never be cured"!
I am not going to go around feeling sorry for myself because the fact is out of all the diseases in the world, I (we) could have worse!

My main concern with my friend was that the one day was not going to be permission to beat themselves up and have another bad day and another and another etc! That is often what we do! Remember, no one meal, no one day puts on thirty pounds, or a hundred pounds, or three hundred pounds. That takes time and choice after choice!

Stop! Catch yourself! Brush yourself off! Most importantly is “Forgive” yourself! Go on to the next healthy choice!

I was in sales for many years and they use to say, “You were as only good as your last sale”. Well your last choice you made in life, whether it was a good one or a “not so good” one was in the past.
The choice that counts now, is the one you make right now!

Let us make the rest of this day count and mark it off in our books as a great finish to a wonderful day!

You my friends have a special day, may it be filled with the joy of nature and the well-being of you working on you!

Remember you are perfect and sometimes you might make a mistake …so what …. Go on!

Take care, smile and be well ….


Thursday, July 3, 2008


I write this on the third day of July and in our country, that is the day before “Independence Day”! Independence, a very interesting word and an even stronger concept. I do not want to talk (although appropriate) about political Independence. What I do want to talk about is “Personal Independence”.

Personal independence is so powerful! It comes to all of us on so many different levels. Two levels that I will mention right now is “Physical and Emotional”

Physical Independence can be obvious sometimes. You might be able to run a full marathon, go earn a living, and build a house. Your physical independence may be a limited on different levels. This can be rough, trust me I know. Although I never ways at the marathon level (I almost was) but I have been at the level of total dependence on others for everything. Even today, I am far from totally “Physically” Independent but I stride each day in every way to get better and better and better! For me I am lucky, my physical world can get better. 100% better? Not sure! Yet better than today is certainly better than it was yesterday! For some of us the Physical Situation might not get better due to some serious illness. Those ones have to fight hard to hold on to whatever physical independence is theirs.

What we all have and all have complete control of is our “Emotional Independence”. Now that is some powerful stuff! No one can give it to you and no one can take it away from you. It can be developed, improved, and made stronger. It takes working at it!
You and I are in charge of our emotions and the sooner we get it the sooner life works a little better.

Emotional independence means freedom from all things! Yes things, we all become part of our worldly things. What we have, what we do not have! “He has a car, they have a flat screen TV”, and “I have two Computers”, things, things, things, things. We become all about our things! Well I have had so many things and I was all about things. Guess what? I lost them all at one time or another. What is important to me is Health, Family and relationships.

My emotional independence helps me to be a stronger person and compensates for any physical limitations I do have. My emotional independence allows me to put things into perspective. A great example is I have been very sick over the last four months. There were days that I could not find the strength to get a glass of water. When you are sick, your spirit is one of the things that get attack quickly. You better make sure you are prepared for it (like a storm). Lucky I am positive enough that I was able to hang on and get through this crisis. If I was not emotionally independent, it might not have happened.

Hey, there were moments I was down in spirit, frightened, outright scared but always deep down in side of me there was a light that burned bright. One that I knew was my hope, my emotional independence. You have to work on it, it has to be fed both emotionally and spiritually all the time, it just does not burn on its own forever.

I have now passed this crisis for the time being (hopefully forever on this one) and it has helped make me even a stronger person, as should every experience do. Yet you have to allow yourself to get the “positive” out of each and every experience...

My friends, life is great!

Even at sometimes the darkest moments, it is still a great thing.

Life is a wonderful gift given to all of us!

If we allow ourselves to be burdened with everything that is wrong with life and all the things, you do not have or lost ….well then fiddle faddle, blah, blah! NO! It is not going to work or be any fun!

Celebrate Independence! Enjoy the little things. Feed into the positive. Hang with Joy!

Fill your heart with love!

It will help when the rough times come and you need that light burning … it will be there for you too!

Happy Independence!

Love to all



Thanks for all of you who sent along your kind wishes, thoughts, and prayers …it helped!