Cast Blog: #THINTERVENTION

Letting Go

Moderation Is Key

Everyone Deserves a Thintervention

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, But Not Goodbye

Just the Beginning

Goodbye and Good Luck!

Week 8

Week 8

Week 8

Week 8

Week 8

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Week 8

Week 8: Loving the New Me

Week 8: Stay on Track!

Helipad Workout

Leaving the Nest

Mr. and Mrs. Craig Ramsay

A Sad Goodbye

Week 7

Week 7

Week 7

Week 7

Week 7

Week 7

Week 7

Week 7: Eat Out Without Cheating

Week 7: Team Work Conquers All

Week 7: Flipping the Switch

Training Pool Workout

Teamwork Can Make a Dream Work

Just Dance

Don't Cha Wish Bryan Would Join PCD?

Moaning Instead of Meatloaf

Dance Your Ass Off

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Week 6

Letting Go

Bryan opens up about opening up at this week's group therapy session. 

 

This week was incredibly cathartic, emotional, rewarding, and life changing to say the very least.  We had our second week of basic training at the gym with Jackie and it was extremely tough.  Stacy had a fantastic breathing episode, which I found highly entertaining.  I’ll admit I was worried at first, but twenty minutes later when she was shouting in the gym at the top of her lungs like Ethel Merman on closing night of Gypsy, I knew she would be fine (Yes, I made a Broadway reference – I’m a former show queen for god’s sake). Anyway, I am truly happy to see that Stacy’s degree in theatre is really paying off. 

This week Jackie decided to pair us in groups of two to get to know each other and learn to lean on one another as a support system.  I was paired with Kim who is slightly conservative and very religious.  My initial fear was that Kim and I would get into a conversation about homosexuality, and it would turn deadly.  I pictured her trying to dunk my head in holy water while shouting, “The power of Christ compels you,” over and over attempting to exorcise the devil out of me for my sinful lifestyle. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.  Kim is actually amazing, and very open-minded.  She is a fighter and a survivor.  A true inspiration on so many levels and I was honored to have been paired up with her and get to know her on a more personal level. 

The next morning, Kim and I were tethered together, draped in weight vests and forced to hike up a mountainside as a team.  We were told that this was not only a workout, but also a competition.  Dinner at Jackie’s was the reward for the first team to reach the finish line. Now I am not trying to be cocky, but I knew that Kim and I had this in the bag.  Kim fought cancer for god’s sake, and I once fought a flock of seagulls that were reeking havoc in a sleepy town called Bodega Bay in Northern California…oh wait, that was Tippi Hedren in The Birds, but I am sure I fought something, somewhere, somehow once…anyway, there was NO way we were going to lose this battle.  Needless to say, Kim and I persevered and won the challenge. Hooray! Unfortunately, Kim had some medical issues with her hand swelling after the workout and had to go to the hospital, but I was once again amazed at her determination and hard work. 

I ended up flying solo to Jackie’s house for the reward dinner.  Jackie has an amazing crib and a foxy chef.  And when I say chef, I mean someone that has actually gone to culinary school and knows the difference between say, a frying pan and a tomato, unlike someone else that might be employed as a “chef” in Orange County...I’m not naming names.  But once again I digress.  Dinner was great thanks to Jonathan Rollo of Greenleaf Chop Shop in Los Angeles, which has the best salads EVER!  During dinner Jackie tried to get me drunk and flip me, but I would not let her use her “Jedi” mind tricks on me.  I stood my ground.  Thankfully Craig showed up and I got to listen to the two of them compliment each other on their various muscle groups and then we took turns guessing how many abs were actually visible on Jackie’s stomach.  Good times.  All in all, it was a lovely, informative evening.  The next morning was therapy and weigh in. 

We learned that due to medical reasons Kim would not be continuing on with the program and it broke my heart, but her health is much more important.  I believe Kim now has the strength and tools to make a life style change in her own way and on her own terms. I already miss my newfound friend, and I wish her all the best. I am grateful, however that we at least have a little part of Kim still in this program – her daughter, Shay.

The big break through that I had this week in therapy was learning to open up and freeing myself from years of excess baggage, both emotionally and physically.  I also realized that there is so much truth to the phrase, “We are only as sick as our secrets.”  So, why did I feel the need to share my story of abuse?  I am not quite sure.  But perhaps by sharing I can set myself free, and hopefully help someone else along the way. I have never really had a healthy relationship with either of my parents.  My father left when I was young and floated in and out of my life, throughout my childhood, on his terms.  He was an alcoholic and battled with the bottle until it eventually took his life in 1995.  Being the only son, I felt as though I was a major disappointment to my father.  I know that he dreamed of having a son that he could take to baseball games or teach how to change a carburetor.  I imagined that he secretly relished in the thought of one day giving me advice on how to approach a girl, or explain the difference between a cross-over dribble and a double dribble, but instead I was dying to know the secrets of Farrah’s perfectly feathered hair or just how “Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty” could possibly remember all those dance steps. We lived in two different worlds and unfortunately we were never able to make any type of connection, until it was much to late. 

My mother, on the other hand, did the best that she could raising three children on her own.  I cannot imagine the pressures and the struggles that she endured. I am grateful and appreciative for all that she gave me growing up. But I have held on to this guilt and blame for 36 years of not feeling protected enough and for growing up alone, and it is not fair to me, not fair to my mother, not fair to my father.  I want to release this albatross around my neck once and for all.  I cannot go on living with blaming others anymore.  At the end of the day, no one made me gain this weight but myself.  Yes, I was sexually abused. Yes, I felt alone and confused and afraid as a child.  Yes, there are times where I find myself eating my pain. But if I truly want to take the pounds off, I have to stop this cycle of abuse.  I have to hold myself accountable and I have to figure out how to truly love myself.  I believe we are all dealt different cards in this life.  Some are lucky enough to be dealt a royal flush while others spend their whole lives wishing for a better hand. Well I am tired of feeling sorry for myself. I am tired of living in the past.  I want to live in the moment, in the here and now. From this day forward, I am letting go.

 

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, But Not Goodbye

Bryan thanks the many people involved in his 'Thintervention' experience.

What an incredible journey this has been. There are so many words that come to mind when I reflect on the past 13 weeks. At times the process was overwhelming, frustrating, challenging, inspiring, hilarious, painful, intense, sweaty, but at the end of the day, the experience for me was life changing. I got to learn so much about myself along the way and made some amazing friends throughout the process. It was interesting to watch everyone's journey package on the finale and see how we all dealt with our time away from Jackie.

I found Shay's honesty in coming clean with Jackie and Dr. Ramani incredibly brave, I think Joe turned a major corner, Jeana found the strength to stand up for herself, Stacy fought like a champion, Nikki figured out a way to incorporate Jackie's program into her lifestyle, and Mandy knocked it out of the park. I was tremendously proud of everyone at the finale for all of the hard work and hurdles we each had to overcome. And Jackie was right; it wasn't just about a number on the scale but how each of us now relates to food, and how we have been able to incorporate exercise into our daily lives.

However, none of this would have been possible to achieve had it not been for the following kindhearted, motivational, and inspiring teachers: 

I really gained a lot of respect for Dr. Ramani when she first opened up and told us that she also struggled with food. I appreciated her courage and I quickly came to realize that she could honestly relate to our battle. We could not have asked for a better role model than this articulate, intelligent, and beautiful woman. To be able to talk to someone on a weekly basis that has walked a mile in my shoes was immensely valuable to me. Dr. Ramani truly understood food addiction and was instrumental in helping me turn my life around. She taught me that it was okay to express my pain and not hold on to my secrets. She taught me that honesty could really be rewarding. She taught me how to view food as a friend not an enemy. I am humbled by her story and blessed by her wisdom.

Craig might be one of the kindest, foxiest, and most knowledgeable trainers for men that I have ever met. In those 6 weeks away from Jackie, Craig pushed me harder then anyone I have ever met. There were days when I just wanted to say, "ENOUGH ALREADY," and throw in the towel. Thankfully, Craig taught me how to push myself to intensity. He taught me "the ropes of the gym" and how to workout in the future on my own. He also taught me about self worth and self esteem. Craig talked me off the ledge many a day, and I will forever be indebted to this man. He is not only beautiful on the outside but also just as beautiful on the inside.

Then we have the woman who made it all possible: Jackie, or Herr Warner as I affectionately like to call her. My first impression of Jackie was that she was going to be incredibly tough and that I was going to have some type of screaming match with her, where only one of us would walk away alive. (*Note, never mess with a hungry, cranky queen.) I did loose my cool with her once, but it wasn't because of something she did, it was more with me just being uncomfortable and in pain and just wanting to "finish the f------ workout." Jackie is an AMAZING teacher. She is the Mrs. Miyagi of the fitness world. She taught me how to dig deep and push through the burn. She taught me that cookies were pain. She taught me how to connect mind, body, and spirit. She taught me how to call on Ethel when I truly needed her. She taught me how to wax on and wax off … oh wait, scratch that. Most of all she taught me how to take responsibility and live a better, healthier lifestyle. Jackie not only changed my life, she SAVED my life. I will never be able to truly thank her enough for allowing me to go on this journey. It was the most rewarding experience of my life so far. 

Then there is the love of my life, Miguel. He has been a thoughtful, generous, selfless, benevolent, caring, beautiful, loving and most importantly, the best teacher that I have ever met. He taught me to love myself in spite of my faults. He taught me the importance of standing by someone's side through the good and the bad no matter what. He taught me the importance of self worth. He taught me about patience. He taught me about love. I feel the same way now as I did those 7 ½ years ago when I first laid eyes on him, incredibly blessed and fortunate to have found my soul mate. I appreciate that he never gave up on me, and I am honored to spend the rest of my days growing old with him.

Last but not least, there are the fans. "You" who read the blogs and have taught me encouragement. "You" who watch the show and have taught me that I am not alone in this journey. "You" who have taught me that one person can make a small difference in someone else's life. "You" who have made me want to become a better person. I thank all of "you" for your constant words of motivation and support. While this might be my last blog for Thintervention and Bravo, this will not be the last you hear or see of me. 

1) Follow me on TWITTER @BRYANTDONOVAN. Everyday I will be tweeting about my journey after the show, what I continue to learn, what challenges me, and just life in general. And if you like my humor, this is where you want to be!

2) Become a fan of BRYAN T DONOVAN - THINTERVENTION WITH JACKIE WARNER on FACEBOOK. I use this fan page to connect with everyone and engage in all sorts of conversations, share my reflections and lessons, answer your questions, share ideas, and really just have a forum for all of us to support each other and stay connected! I love sharing pictures as well! 

 3) Check out my website at www.bryantdonovan.com.

With a humbled heart and immense gratitude-

Xoxo Bryan