Thursday, October 30, 2008


There is no better time than NOW! Does that sound cliché’, it might but sometimes the simplest. the obvious… is the best!

People have emailed me and often have asked, “Mike, how did you know, when the time was right”? “When do you start? I think I will start tomorrow”? They will say.

Well in my experience, those tomorrows rarely start 24 hours from then. Usually they start a week later, a month later, several months later and often 20, 50 or 100 pounds later. Therefore, the battle is that much more difficult, the guilt is that much deeper and our health is that much more at risk.

When is the time for change? Well when the change that one is thinking about is taking care of themselves, eating healthier, doing more physical activity for the betterment of their lives, then what better time is there than NOW!

What is the delay? Oh, I have said it all and rationalized it all to myself, and others. Things such as, “I have been eating terrible all day, so I will start tomorrow. Before I begin I have to first eat some of my favorite cake, or pizza etc”. What about this one, “oh the holidays are coming (next month), I will start after them”.

Do I have to tell anyone how much damage I can do to myself from now until the holidays, do not even ask! These are just excuses that I have used. What I should have said in the past was, “I am not ready yet. I am scared! I do not have the faith in myself. I do not have the strength right now to try again”! At least these would have been more honest. At least with those answers there would be a little less guilt attached.

When is the right time for the battle of your lifetime? Well, if we wait, for every “duck” to be in line, and for “the moon to be in the seventh house”, then for Jupiter to align with Mars. If we wait, for the sun to be shinning, and for everything to be just “perfect”, before we begin dieting, well, and then guess what? We might as well take those first three letters in the word “Diet” …because that is what is going to happen a lot sooner. We cannot wait no longer! NOW is the time!

The truth is we can take this philosophy of “NOW” and apply to many things in our lives and not just eating healthier. Sometimes as human beings, we think things out tooooo long!

Do not get me wrong, the thought process is a good one, it is healthy and necessary but we have to know when we have to stop thinking and begin doing!

When, it comes to our health and making changes in our life, our lifestyle, and our eating habits, etc: The time when we are thinking about the question, “When is it a good time? Then the answer is ….NOW is a great time!!
I have become a NOW person over the past few years, when it comes to me. I remember back about three years ago, I had already been out of rehab, for a few months and having problems (with food). I said to me, “self, you are in trouble”.
I thought for a second, “I should be back in rehab.”, and with the support of my wife and family, I went back.

I believe that decision then, is responsible for my current quality of life, which I have Now. Even though, overall my life, is a conglomerate of positive attitudes, decisions, luck, support and blessings, that particular decision then, has been a key one for me Now!

I know if I would have procrastinated and thought about going back into rehab over a period of time. I would have had many more months pass under my belt along with many more pounds, added on my waist and who knows if I would have even lived throughout that “thought process”.

The things I would have missed. This renewed time with my wife (who is my best life-long friend and soul mate) has been enchanting. I wait each day for her to come home from work, even if it is to just to look in her eyes for a few moments, share some words of each of our day’s events and then watch a little television together. The things we are able to do together once again. If I did react to my thoughts then at the moment, I may not have gotten to enjoy my grandson as “Captain Hook”, “Dracula”, “Woody” or “Peter Pan” whom ever he may finally decide to be for this Halloween. My daughter in law is so good with him, she is so clever, and when it comes to these costumes, she puts her personal touch, he looks so authentic, and needless to say, so adorable, I could just “eat him up”!

I laugh, when I was a kid, if I was lucky enough to have an official costume, it was one of those “Ben Cooper” brand skeleton, devil, super hero costumes and we only had one. I hated them, oh, man! I was too big and the seams would rip usually as soon as I put them on. Then the elastic band around the mask would always snap because my head was too big. Yet I loved trick or treating ….free candy. In the fifties and sixties our parents did not have to screen our candy, we were allowed it all, and the pennies went to UNICEF!

If I procrastinated my decision to return to rehabilitation, I would have missed so much life, so much love, and so much fun. There would have been no Disney, this past month. No holidays, I would have missed my grandson’s birthday or my son reaching his 30th birthday and then some.

No, I spent many hours, many days, many months and years, thinking about it!

The thing that changed my life was my thought process and that was …

When the thought came to me, it was the time to react!

So when is the time for change in your life?… HOW ABOUT NOW!?
Change is good ….for the most part.

Good luck and have a great day and never stay in one place….


Share some of your thoughts and experiences on change with us; we would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Whole New World

There is that beautiful Disney song from Aladdin that goes “I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder, over, sideways and under, on a Magic Carpet Ride …..”

Well over the last eight days’ I was taken on a “Magic Carpet” ride! I experienced a phenomenal, magical, miraculous event. Let me put it this way in one word ….”Disney”! Me, Mike Hebranko, talk about dreams, all things possible. I went onto a jet plane and flew two and a half hours to the “Disney World”.

Imagine, just a little over 12 years ago I was being lifted (by forklift) out of the “cut out front” of my home in Brooklyn, being rushed to a hospital to save my life. At over 900 pounds then was there even a thought of a future vacation in my mind…….I am not sure of vacation was on my mind but a future was definitely in my heart. No matter what 12 years later I was now, being lifted once again (only this time with 150 other people) on a jet and heading to Florida.

It was so special and delightful. My emotions were on overtime from the get go! I was experiencing joy, happiness, pleasure, love, fun, some fear, anxiety and much thankfulness! My wife and I were blessed enough to accompany my son, his dear wife, some other family and friends and “My Grandson”!!! Oh even in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined (12 years ago or 12 months ago) that I would be at “Disney” with my grandson!

What better pleasure could there be than to see the “love of your life’s” face, light up with every new turn, with every attraction, or every character they came across. To go to “Disney” at 55 years old is a youthful, invigorating time but then to go with your grandchild is heavenly. To see his eyes, his face, to know his heart is filled with just joy is very soothing and euphoric.

If I would have given up in 1996, or not re-entered rehab in 2006 or not picked myself up each time I have fallen. If I would have gotten so fed up with myself to say “the heck” with it all and just “throw in the towel” and had given up…well just look at what I would have missed.

It was not easy for me to have this vacation happen. I am still over 350 pounds and limited in my physical movement. As many of you know, I am a very lucky and a very blessed man! I have a great support team around me.
There was a group of us on this vacation ranging in age from three to 83 years old.

The logistics of planning and arranging for everything and in particular for my special needs was gigantic and an almost an impossible task. That is why I want to publicly (I have privately already) thank my wife, and family, for all their help and assistance. A special mention, to my son, for all of his attention and help that he gave to me. Then to my sister-in-law, who was key in making this trip happen and for all her kindness and a very warm heart. Then to a very special friend who has gone beyond for all of us and especially for me. Susan along with Andrea, spent months planning, making calls, reservations, arranging for my special scooter, handicap room, plane accommodations and so many other details, I personally will always and forever be thankful for them being such an intricate part of my “dream come true”. Neither of these two young people are my blood relatives but they did so much for me and put up with so much from me. They give so much and get so little in return ….Andrea thanks ……Susan, what can I say but that I am grateful and if I at anytime might have seemed unappreciative please forgive me!

The world has changed and it has been a long time since I was out there and part of this “Whole New World”. It is different. I am not use to all of it. Sometimes I literally feel as if I came from a different planet. Sometimes it is a little overwhelming. Sometimes it can be a little scary. Things are done differently, faster. There are times as if I felt I was “Rip Van Winkle” ….well all I can do, all I will do is rub my eyes, stretch my arms, wake up and be thankful that I am getting the opportunity to be part of this world!

I played with my grandson, I went on rides, and I saw Mickey, kissed Minnie, hugged Pluto and took a million pictures. We ate at different restaurants and I ate normally. I did not binge, I did not stuff, I made many healthy choices for example 99% of my dessert choices were fresh fruit, I ate a lot of turkey and chicken but I was relaxed. I was not crazy about what I was gong to eat or not gong to eat. “Where would I cheat”, how would I do it, etc? In the past while I was away this would always a big part of my time. This time I went with the crowd.

Oh, I will not be true to you or myself, if I do not tell you that I fought many internal battles while away and yes, I noticed every food stand along the way… but it was okay. I allowed my feelings to surface, the battles I took on and I was victorious. At times, there might have been a few casualties along the way (for example: my friends and family). I realize when I am fighting one of these internal battles, if sometimes a poor, innocent person crosses my path, they can unknowingly fall victim to my internal rage. I know this is wrong behavior and I am working at changing it. I am getting better at it; in the meantime, all I can do is be very sorry for it!

Recovery involves all kinds of experiences both external and internal. Some may be a little ugly but most are glorious and beautiful.

My Disney Magical Experience was full of pleasure. To be with great people and people that I love, to be able to get this chance once again to live again! To see inside the eyes of my grandbaby, while he was hypnotized with fantasy … well I am limited in words to describe how I felt. All I can do is to quote the song from a Disney movie song that says it best …

“Unbelievable sights, indescribable feeling, soaring, tumbling, freewheelingthrough an endless diamond sky. A whole new world. Don't I dare close my eyes. A hundred thousand things to see…

Hold your breath - it gets better.

I'm like a shooting star. I've come so far. I can't go back to where I used to be.

A Whole New World”
My friends join me on my magic carpet ride …

Have a great day!