Our conversation with Sean Anderson, author of Transformation Road.
Sean, first congratulations to you both on your personal transformation and the book. Let's start the conversation with where you are now. What is it like to know that a personal decision that you made has inspired so many people when it comes to their own lives?
It certainly wasn't the plan in the beginning. It was something that happened naturally and gradually over time. The self-honesty required made the blog very real to people – relatable. I guess that's why people started seeing themselves in what I was doing and what I was writing day by day. Really, I'm often perplexed by it. It has been the most unexpected blessing of this entire transformation. And it happened in the best way that it could have: naturally and gradually.
What was unintentional in the beginning has become very intentional. When I hear from someone and I hear them tell me that my words have inspired them, it fuels my passion even more. This is truly all I want to do for the rest of my life – Write and speak about the dynamics involved. And I know from experience you can't do it for anyone so that's not what I try to do because it's impossible. Everyone must find their own "click" within. But what I can do is I can communicate with them in such a way that it can possibly shift their perspective just enough to help them finally, once in for all, facilitate their own "click." My message is very simple: You can choose change before change chooses you and I'm living proof.
Not to sound dramatic, but yours was a life or death decision. What was it for you that helped to put it all in perspective and know that you had to make real change in your life?
Naturally you would think it was the fear of death but it wasn't, because dying young is something that happens to other people. I could find the outs – If my blood pressure was too high there was a pill that would make it better. If I thought I was having a heart attack, and then discovered it was just indigestion, it would buy me more time. So it wasn't death, Cyrus, but it was everything else falling apart. I was on the brink of losing my job, losing my family and possibly losing a leg. At over 500 pounds my body was slowly deteriorating at about the same rate as everything else in my life that was important to me. So when I started, I wasn't afraid I would die, I was afraid I would lose everything else which doesn't make sense because when you die, you lose everything anyway. But again, dying young is something that happens to other people. But losing everything else is something that I could see happening to me and quickly if I didn't grab control.
Love is something we discuss a lot in this publication, especially when it comes to one loving oneself. Was loving yourself part of the transformation and how has it changed the way you look at yourself and your purpose?
If you were to ask me if I loved myself at over 500 pounds I would have said "Yes, of course I love myself," but I know now that real, genuine love isn't communicated verbally but in our actions. At over 500 pounds, I was and had been my own worst enemy my entire life. My actions would later be described by my wife at the time as a slow suicide by food. So if loving yourself means making the choices that turn everything around then yes I can honestly say I love myself and without that genuine love for self this transformation wouldn't have been possible.
Your book, Transformation Road, is more than just about losing weight. It is about changing the way you look at life. Why is that just as important as the way you look at food?
The most important shift in perspective isn't about food or life. It's all about what we think about ourselves. And if we think better of ourselves we naturally think better about the world and life and at that point it's much easier to make good choices when it comes to food. Without this internal shift, the fundamental changes we're making with food will be temporary; at least it always was with me. Because if we put our most intense focus on the food we run the risk of over-complicating and frustrating ourselves and while we're busy doing that, we're completely ignoring, refusing to acknowledge the behaviors within us that led to our obesity in the first place. It's a temporary diversion of who we are, and Cyrus, that's why we've always heard how hard it is to lose weight. It's not hard to lose weight. It's harder to force ourselves to be something we're not. And with some of these temporary diversions, the pounds will fall off while putting all of our focus on the food and the plan – the pounds will go away, and it all sounds like exactly what we dream. But without this truly internal investigation and change, losing weight will be a struggle the entire time. And the weight will come roaring back as soon as we revert to the behaviors we refused to acknowledge in the first place. I'm not the first to discover this dynamic, but I could never see it or believe it, until now.
Sean, what do you hope people take away from this road that you have traveled?
If I could design and market the best weight loss product in the world it would simply be a box. And on the outside of the box it would say, "Inside this box you will discover the secret to lasting weight loss once and for all." Then people would open the box and find a mirror. I want people to discover what I've discovered. They already own everything they need for real change. It's not something that can be purchased at the grocery store or the pharmacy. You don't have to have surgery and you don't have to deprive yourself. You don't have to have the latest plan or fad. You simply have to look in the mirror and get very real with yourself. There just isn't a substitute. This self-exploration and honesty is imperative. Without it, everything else is temporary. Cyrus, I've never spent a dime to lose this weight. I've never taken a pill, I haven't had a surgery and I've never been selected for a special weight-loss television show. And there's a large portion of the population who, just like the Old Sean, wonders, "Then how did he do it?" I simply looked in the mirror.
Any advice for individuals who are reading this conversation and want to start making changes in their lives beginning today?
Keep it very simple. If this process is hard, you're the one making it that way. Simplify, simplify, simplify. I finally realized that I wasn't going to wake up and change a lifetime of food addiction, compulsive emotional eating overnight. Although my old actions and past weight loss attempts would suggest that's what I thought. It was always "out with the old and in with the new." But these real changes we desire must be a gradual evolution of good choices. So many times we want to be perfect from day one. And striving for perfection is the quickest detour to insanity. I've never been perfect and I don't want to be. And I've still lost nearly 300 pounds and dramatically changed my life in every single way. I want them to realize if I can struggle near, at, or above 500 pounds for nearly two decades and then once and for all really do it, so can they. They'll realize they are the only ones that can do it for them. And then they might choose change before change chooses them, because change is coming. We're always changing. God willing, it might as well be on our terms.
Thanks for your time, Sean. How can our readers find out more information about you and your book?My website is www.transformationroad.com The home for my book and eventually it will be much more, as its developed into my internet home covering every aspect of my future hopes and dreams. I also maintain a very open line of communication on my facebook page, www.facebook.com/seananderson505 I also have a facebook account for the book, www.facebook.com/transformationroad And of course, my blog The Daily Diary of A Winner Loser can be found at www.losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com or by simply clicking the "blog" link at transformationroad.com I can also be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cyrus, thank you for the chat!