Live Chat with Sean Mulroney About Obesity Myths
For this week’s HealthYeah interview, we sat down Sean Mulroney, creator of The Obesity Revolution. During the interview we discuss obesity myths, presumptions, and facts surrounding obesity. We get into the topics of nutrition, lymphedema, and the need for empathy by trying to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. We also get into the important role of exercise as medicine, how one trainer took a chance on Sean after many turned him down, and why the obesity epidemic is among the most critical health issues facing the United States.
Another important topic we get into is how the ‘Eat Less, Move More” mentality actually perpetuates obesity myths. And in fact, minimizes the extreme complexities of obesity as it relates to other factors like psychological, physiological, and environmental challenges.
Jump into the interview with Sean anytime by clicking on the below video. We have also included a summary below.
Background on Sean and His Struggles with Obesity
Sean had a difficult childhood and began his involvement with drugs and alcohol at 6 years old. At 13, he was a full-fledged addict, but by 21 he had turned his life around by giving up drugs and alcohol. To fill the void, Sean turned to comfort food, beginning his spiral to obesity. Through his journey, Sean founded Teens of America, where he travelled to schools across the country and spoke to students about drug and alcohol addiction. In 2000, Sean suffered his first cellulitis infection. Over the next 4 years, he gained over 300 pounds. He had 19 infections, 13 hospitalizations, and 2 near-death experiences. At his heaviest, Sean was depressed and overwhelmed at 687 pounds.
How The Obesity Revolution Started
When Sean’s first daughter was born, he felt his “why” begin to manifest. He wanted to be there for his children in person, not just in pictures, so he began a journey to accountability and responsibility for his health. Sean cut the word diet from his vernacular, and instead focused on lifestyle changes. After his third daughter was born, Sean called up a gym close to his house. Although he was turned away by 35 other trainers, Brandon Glore agreed to take him on as a client, and the two have been learning from each other ever since. During the first year of their training, Sean’s videos went viral and his story eventually started the movement that is now The Obesity Revolution.
Personal Trainers Can Help Every Body
We have heard similar patterns of personal trainers willing to take on clients that others have turned down, with a positive impact resulting for both the personal trainer and the client. See our interview with Karl Sterling, who does personal training for Parkinson’s disease and is pushing for a new standard of helping people exercise with Parkinson’s disease. Another great interview is with Tara Morgan, who started Seize the Oar in 2013 when a local man with a spinal cord injury wanted to learn to row, but she had never worked with adaptive athletes before.
Sean’s Journey to Squash Obesity Myths
Since he began training with Brandon, Sean is down 110 pounds. Although he still struggles to talk himself into going to the gym, he loves the feeling of accomplishment after each workout. Now, he goes to the gym one or two times a week, and supplements gym time by working out at home. Brandon has taught Sean that his body is his greatest gym, and he can get a workout in anywhere, not just on gym equipment designed for lighter people. Now, Sean understands that any movement is good movement, and his workout routine with Brandon has changed his life for the healthier. Through The Obesity Revolution, Sean has created the at-home workout program he wished he had when he was struggling with obesity years ago. This includes multiple home exercise moves, like hand pedaling Excy as a standing upper body ergometer.
Exercise and Movement at Home Critical. Manufactures Must Design for Every Body
At Excy, we understand the need for exercise equipment that is designed to be both inclusive and fit into our busy schedules. 80% of Americans are failing to get the exercise they need, which means we need better solutions! Excy offers a convenient full-body exercise cycling solution for people who are too busy, intimidated, or simply don’t enjoy going to the gym. We also offer a portable upper body ergometer that works with squat racks, which allow gyms to open up the benefits of hand cycling to accommodate every body.
Health and Nutrition
One of Brandon’s main lessons for Sean is that 90% of weight loss is in the kitchen. Sean has not eaten fast food for seven years, he’s cut back significantly on soda, and he now logs his food and exercise into MyFitnessPal daily. Along with proper nutrition, Sean works hard to maintain his health through regular doctor’s visits. Sean has seen first-hand the lack of empathy many medical professionals have for obese patients. After feeling sub-human at numerous doctor’s visits, Sean found a team of empathetic doctors who now help him with his nutrition, overall health, and lymphoedema.
The primary reason there are so many obesity myths is that many people lack empathy for the obese community. Obese people are often seen as their disease first. Instead of considering all the factors that led to someone becoming obese, some assume it was and remains an individual choice. However, Sean states that obese people want to lose weight; it is just an incredibly overwhelming process. Curing obesity is not as simple as “eat more, move less.” Genetics, upbringing, and metabolism all play a huge role. Sean squashes the myth that obese people are unhealthy every day by focusing on his nutrition and exercise.
Sean believes the obese community, more than anything else, wants support and acceptance. The Obesity Revolution provides a support group that gives the obese community a voice. If you or a loved one is struggling with obesity, reach out to Sean for support and advice. Sean admits he does not have all the answers – he is still struggling with his own journey – but he can offer a supportive and accepting community to teach you how to love yourself where you are at now.
Obesity Does Not Define You!
Many people prejudge Sean because of his weight, but what others think about Sean does not bother him: he is not his disease. What defines Sean is his heart and compassion for others. Sean finds motivation from his haters; they can say hateful things and make assumptions, but they cannot take his heart and compassion. Sean has spent a lifetime learning how to love and accept himself, and he found a way to turn his pain into a platform. His vulnerability is his greatest strength, and he learned he does not have to be perfect to inspire others. The best thing Sean can do to help his community is show others how to deal with their imperfections. Sean remains true to himself and does not compare himself to others: his only competition is the person looking back at him in the mirror every day. Sean’s advice for anyone struggling with self-love: “You will not do anything good for yourself if you don’t feel worthy enough.”
Find your “Why” to Stay Inspired During the Obesity Fight
Sean believes everything that manifests itself must start externally. After all, you are the only one who can motivate yourself! Sean does not have a goal weight, but instead works towards achieving small goals and takes his journey one step at a time. He has created a routine that fits best for him. After all, there is no “one size fits all!”
Sean’s O.B.E.S.I.T.Y. Acronym
If you are struggling with obesity, Sean recommends following his helpful acronym.
O: Own yourself. Own who you are, what you’ve done, and where you’re at.
B: Become a better version of yourself. Start eating right and take advantage of whatever movement you are capable of doing.
E: Embrace your situation. Wherever you are currently at, embrace it!
S: Stabilize and simplify your environment. Stabilize the foods you are bringing into your home and the people you surround yourself with.
I: Intrinsic motivation is crucial. If you’re not doing it for the inside, it won’t work.
T: Transform your habits. Stick to new habits, replace soda and fast food, and add movement into your routine.
Y: You are accountable and responsible for yourself. If you don’t take responsibility and make yourself accountable, you will not get there.
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