Monday, January 16, 2017

January 16th, 2017 I Go Back

January 16th, 2017 I Go Back

I left work a 1/2 hour early. I started feeling horrible midmorning. Almost everyone at the studio has gone through a round of this stuff and a couple have had a couple rounds. I hardly ever get sick like this. And it isn't full blown just yet. I hope and pray it doesn't develop further. I got home, climbed into bed and slept for a couple hours. I woke with the same symptoms: Heavy, congested head, sneezing, coughing, constant tickling in the throat and a mild nauseous feeling. I had a vitamin C-packed orange for my last food of day. I also ran out to get Nyquil. I'm glad I checked the ingredients! Liquid Nyquil contains high fructose corn syrup! The caplets do not. I grabbed the caplets.

I'm cutting today's update short in favor of more rest. Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with great support--both giving and receiving. It was a solid on-plan day.

I thought it might be interesting to go back in time to three different January posts from the archives. The first is an excerpt titled "Ending The Detour" from January 11th, 2014. The following two excerpts come from January 16th, 2015 and January 16th, 2016.

Sometimes I go back a year or two to the day and read what was happening at that moment in time. This occasional practice helps me identify areas of growth, re-examine learning experiences, and many times, it reaffirms the importance level of certain elements I embrace each day.

Let's dive into the archives:

From January 11th, 2014:
If you had approached me two years ago and asked, "Where will you be two years from now?" I would have replied in a matter of fact fashion, offering the most confident of answers full of my hopes, dreams, desires and rigid beliefs. There wasn't any going back, ever. I was out promoting my book and sharing this incredible feeling of freedom a 275 pound weight loss afforded me. It was more than that though, my mission was to spread hope, to help reignite dreams of freedom in others. To simply say, if I can do it, I know you can do it too. "Look at those size 64+ jeans, look at that 500 pound man in the picture and understand, truly believe, it doesn't have to be this way anymore. I'm living proof."

Regardless of the confidence level projected, the underlying fear of regaining was always present. I had successfully maintained for over a year because I maintained a schedule of writing, exercising and eating within a reasonable limit.  I made these things a priority. But as the Fall of 2012 approached and realities far undershot my own lofty expectations, I started slipping.  I became depressed and slowly, I started to retreat into self-destructive behavior.  I stopped writing as much, I stopped working out, and I started eating for comfort and escape. And I withdrew from those who cared about me, brushing off their inquiries of concern with, "I'm fine, no really, I'm okay."  I wasn't okay.

I had written about "knowing too much to ever go back," but it isn't that simple. I was mistakenly discounting the power and science of addiction; forgetting about the ability to ignore the truth, to ignore what's right and good in order to proceed with reckless abandon. In the forward to my book, Ralph Marston wrote about how the more you ignore the truth, the more the truth asserts itself.  He nailed it, didn't he?

Every now and again, I would try my best to grab control and right myself "before my descent is exposed!" I was thinking it was as simple as writing more, as exhibited in January 2013 when I authored fourteen blog posts. Or perhaps it was as easy as being more available on facebook. Or maybe it was as easy as attending more private one on one therapy sessions. Perhaps I needed more prayer and meditations...like, really mean it this time stuff. 

I even partnered with a good friend, starting a weekly call support group, where I could offer support via phone, complete with goals, challenges and a fantastic group chemistry that was full of positive in so many ways. And I believe many of the group members knew that I was hoping and praying it would be just as good for me as it was for them.  And it was good. Several of the participants, to this day, have nothing but positive words about the group.  But I still felt pulled away from good.  Eventually I stopped co-moderating the calls because I couldn't, in good conscious, offer support and advice that I clearly wasn't following.

As the weight gain became more apparent, I faced a whole different dynamic. Suddenly it became difficult to be in public because it seemed I would run into people familiar with my story everywhere, many who had purchased and read my book. Some made mention, even lightly with a "So, how are you doing?" Others were more direct, "how much have you gained?" And most didn't bring it up at all, but they still knew I wasn't doing well. I don't easily hide behind a false smile or clothing several sizes bigger.

I've had little compassion for myself. And that is something that only digs the hole deeper. Self-loathing, guilt, shame--all of the negative emotions of regaining, magnified by my sincere desire to share, to make a positive impact in some small way, became too much to handle. Those negatives kept the cycle going because the more I felt bad about myself, the more I felt paralyzed and stuck in a downward spiral.

Letting go of the above mentioned negatives is, I believe, the first step to ending the detour. Having real self-compassion and embracing all that is good in me and understanding I am human, I am good, I have a huge heart and I'm a success, is paramount.  No more lies about me from me...Oh, my friend, how horribly abusive I've been to me...That stuff stops.  I'm Sean Allen Anderson, by golly.  And I'm good. I'm a fantastic human.

Ending this detour takes a level of prayer and meditation the likes of which I've never fully embraced. It takes a willingness to offer support and accept support. I've had to stop and pray a few times while writing this post because it's so hard to write.  But it's so necessary for me.

And this is for me.  I'm asking for your encouragement and support. I'm asking for the same dynamics that made my blog a key element in my initial weight loss.  I'm asking, in prayer, for the strength and guidance to show me the way, to give me a hand back onto the road. 

It will require differences in my approach. And I'm prepared to meet the challenges along the way.

What has prompted this sudden stop, this surrender and reclamation? A doctors visit. A scale. A prescription for high blood pressure medicine. A mirror. A belief.  A hope. A dream.

A prayer.

From January 16th, 2015:
I experienced some stress today and instead of ignoring it, I met it head on and handled it. This is a learned thing for me. It's not my natural way, I promise. The perspective I try my best to embrace is one of a mama bear protecting her cubs. The elements of my recovery and success, are my cubs. If something stands a chance at threatening my cubs, then I must face it down, handling the situation before it handles me. Again, a learned thing.

One of the major benefits of losing 275 pounds then gaining back over half, and now losing most of the regain weight to date, are the numerous lessons and experiences along the way. It's enriched my trek in some fairly powerful ways. I'm very grateful! Maintaining balance with my food and exercise despite stressful and emotional things is imperative, because life happens. Stress and emotions come into play occasionally. What is the wise saying? It isn't what happens to you, it's how you react that matters most. It's a very important thing to remember. Those cubs, protect 'em!


From January 16th, 2016:
Mostly, I was immensely grateful today. Because it's challenging days where we discover it's truly all on the line. All of it. And all of the confidence that builds with our success and consistency is revealed to be surprisingly fragile.

When we make it through by doing the things we must--and we get to the next day intact, it's like...whoa, that was close.  

I believe days like that are very important to experience because they quickly expose the reality of life's natural ups and downs. Life is going to happen. And no matter what we do, it's not always going to be easy. If what we're doing each day is what we hope and pray we'll be doing for the rest of our lives--then we must prepare ourselves to ride the waves. 

I don't want to give it all back. I don't want to sacrifice the freedom I enjoy each and every day at this maintenance weight. And as long as I maintain the integrity of my recovery plan, I feel like I have the best chance. Never guaranteed, but the best chance.

Okay--back to January 16th, 2017:

I don't know if I'll request a sick day tomorrow or not. I'll make that call at 4:30am. We've been very short staffed lately--so if anyone else is out, it may be a case of going in--getting through the minimum requirements and leaving early. If I have fever--it's a no go, regardless. I'll see what the morning brings.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 15th, 2017 Like This

January 15th, 2017 Like This

The more I openly share this entire experience, the stronger I feel. Sharing some of the things in last night's edition, fueled a very strong day, today. When you're connected with support, connected with your plan, and you're making time for life, family, and other interests that bring you joy, too--it just feels amazing.

Today was like that.

Not every day is like that. But when it is like that--oh my, yes-- it actually inspires toward more of the same. It doesn't always, and certain choices can interrupt the positive momentum--but I'd love every day to be like this.

I spent time with my grandson Noah, both of my daughters, Irene, Allen and mom today. Some of the visits were short--but still quality. I made certain to get a great workout, and I had a wonderful support call this afternoon.

I made some really good kabobs for dinner--spent time prepping, got 'em fixed on the skewers, took 'em outside to the grill and uhg...ran out of propane! I broiled instead. It worked!



















Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my water goal, I stayed well connected with exceptional support, and I had a much-needed workout. I'll try for another day like this, again tomorrow.

Have you listened to the latest episode of Transformation Planet? You can use this player from PodBean--just click play! If you subscribe for free in iTunes or Google Play for Android, new episodes will automatically show up on your device upon release! Upcoming episodes include Nathaniel Williams, Winifred Morris, and Joy Bauer!

Hope Williams Church shares how she made it to almost 300 pounds, tried to lose weight in different ways, many times, plus how and why this time was different. She's lost over 150 pounds. Now, in maintenance mode, her plan requires extraordinary care each and every day--and it's a plan she loves! She's a proud member of the Today Show's JoyFit Club. Stay up to date with Hope when you follow her Facebook blog Healthy Happy Hope.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 14th, 2017 It Isn't

January 14th, 2017 It Isn't

I think sometimes it's very easy for someone to look at what I do and how I'm maintaining my plan and get the impression that it's somehow easy for me. It isn't. I think it's also easy for someone to forget the nearly two decades of struggle near, at, or above 500 pounds... it's certainly not easy for me to forget. The failed attempts, time and time again--sabotaging myself over and over--lose, gain, lose, gain--on plan, off plan--and so on...for nearly two decades. When I started writing this blog over eight years ago, I started turning those nearly two decades into my own personal study of what worked and mostly what didn't. Suddenly, what I perceived to be a collection of worthless past failures became very valuable lessons.

The things I do each day are not for show. The logging, the accountability picture tweets, the strong connections to giving and receiving support, the writing of this blog, the production of my podcast, the planning, preparing, cooking, weighing and measuring everything, the daily prayer and meditation--these things and more are my rails of support. And without them, I can't promise you the same steady maintenance mode.

Is it all solid? Not by a long shot. The only thing that's solid is my food plan and a willingness to do the work necessary to maintain its integrity. I eat what I like and nothing I don't within the boundaries of a generous maintenance budget. And I feel like, in a way, I've earned that calorie budget--like a reward of sorts from my metabolism for getting this far and giving it what I do. The food plan has evolved, of course, but it's still been "what I like and nothing I don't" from Day 1. That's it--I have a solid food plan.

I'm lacking in every other area. Rest, exercise, spiritual--every other area needs increased attention. And I know--if I continue lacking in these other areas, it'll eventually infect the strongest areas of my personal plan.

This here thing isn't easy. It might come off that way with day after day of "hey--today was great!" But trust, I work at it each day. I focus. I learn. I take extraordinary care. I understand that this is never a given. It's never automatic. And it's never guaranteed. I start fresh each day and try to add one more to the streak.    

The latest episode of Transformation Planet released tonight. Hope Williams Church is my special guest! I first met Hope and her husband Jeremy at the Today Show in New York City.





















Hope Williams Church shares how she made it to almost 300 pounds, tried to lose weight in different ways, many times, plus how and why this time was different. She's lost over 150 pounds. Now, in maintenance mode, her plan requires extraordinary care each and every day--and it's a plan she loves! She's a proud member of the Today Show's JoyFit Club. Stay up to date with Hope when you follow her Facebook blog Healthy Happy Hope.




















Hope has a wonderful story. I know she would totally get the first part of tonight's blog post because she also applies the same level of extraordinary care to her maintenance mode as she did while she was in weight loss mode.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained refined sugar-free. I met my daily water goal. And I stayed well connected with great support.

I finally watched the movie I've attempted to watch twice! Sully starring Tom Hanks and directed by Clint Eastwood, was fabulous. I stayed awake through the whole thing! In honor of Hope, I enjoyed some air-popped popcorn and apple slices as my #lastfoodofday.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Friday, January 13, 2017

January 13th, 2017 Not The Same

January 13th, 2017 Not The Same

Today's radio duties included preparing for this ice storm. The brunt of it hasn't hit just yet, but I'm on call if and when it does. We're still short staffed at the studio with people out sick--so it took some time and effort to figure out the most reasonable way to cover everything with less people. I have the studio lines forwarded to my cell phone--oh my--I just took a call from a man listening to our classic hits station--he was very upset because we played the single of Purple Rain and not the full-length album cut with the longer guitar solo. I was polite, assured him I'd check on the album cut and thanked him and his wife for listening. You do not mess with the music of passionate Prince fans--you just don't. It reminded me of the time I almost got fired for cutting off Hotel California 30 seconds too soon. The program director was a huge Eagles fan--and he was seriously upset. I was trying to back-time into news!!

I stopped at the store on my way home. I needed to grab a few things--and refined sugar-free marinara was on my list. I picked up a few other things--grabbed a jar and headed to the checkout. I'm glad there was a line. I scanned the label of the marinara while standing in line--and I was shocked to find "sugar" in the ingredients. Did I grab the wrong one??? I know this is the same brand I always depend on for a good refined sugar-free marinara--but there it was, plain as day-- "sugar." I forfeited my place in line and went straight back to the shelf. I started reading labels--and wow--there it was...the refined sugar-free version right next to this very different version--but only subtle differences in packaging and no mention of the altered recipe. 
Not the same!!! I couldn't believe it! The bottle on the right has refined sugar--the other one doesn't. The label is slightly bigger--but no mention of the changed recipe. The calories are actually less in the sugared version. They basically reduced the fat by moving the olive oil from the 2nd ingredient to the 7th ingredient--and added the sugar for flavor, I'm sure. Two different products--both on the same shelf--both with the same label. This was a good lesson for me-- even with foods I regularly buy--I must always read the ingredients list just in case something has changed! I found a few refined sugar-free jars and bought 'em all.

I know what a few of my friends will ask, why don't you make your own? That's a great question--maybe I perceive it taking way too long. And if I can use a jar with minimal ingredients and no refined sugar, it saves time and money!!!

I'm waiting for this ice storm to kick in. I honestly hope it doesn't happen the way some forecasters are predicting. If it does get bad, I'll be at work early tomorrow.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my daily water goal and I stayed well connected with awesome support.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Thursday, January 12, 2017

January 12th, 2017 All Right There

January 12th, 2017 All Right There

I'm very grateful to be where I am along this road. Today would have been much more challenging without the plan and perspective I embrace each day.

My abstinence is my responsibility. And I don't need anyone else to take care of it--that's my job. Still, relentless food pushers are annoying, especially when I've politely explained my plan and why it's important a bunch of times over the last few years. I told the same person "no" three times today over the same cookies they were convinced I needed to "try just a little--they're really low in sugar."

The theatre where our studios are located, hosted a specialty donut company today at noon. Hundreds lined up for these things. It was a fundraiser--and a good one. They sold out in less than two hours. We promoted it heavy this morning because it was an important fundraiser. I interviewed the owner of the donut company on my show--and all of that doesn't bother me at all. Again, grateful.

I made it to the taping of the school system TV show I host with the superintendent--it was fine, I didn't worry about my smile--I just did the job. When I returned to the studio, the line for donuts was long--and the "Emergency Donut Vehicle" was parked in my usual parking space. No big deal-- then I made my way inside and found a very nice gift from another guest I featured this morning: A cup full of miniature candy bars. I immediately took it upstairs to the offices and found a colleague who was eager to claim this cup of chocolate.

It was an unusual day. Cookies, donuts and candy bars--all right there. And I made it out with my abstinence intact. I'm proud of this.

I texted a few support friends about these happenings--just to say, here's what's going on--I'm doing well!

I give my abstinence from refined sugar a very high importance level. I know how refined sugar affects me. And so, in order to remain stable within my food plan--I don't go there. I don't entertain going there. There's no guessing what happens if I were to somehow justify that jump. No guessing, because I know exactly what happens. It's not worth the trade. And so, I'll continue giving my abstinence from refined sugar the same level of reverence as someone in successful recovery from alcohol gives their sobriety.

I'm food sober. And grateful.

I worked late today--finally got home, was exhausted--and once again, opted for a nap. This pattern is not the best thing for me, but I keep doing it--and I keep getting what I'm getting. I'm aware.

I opted for a meal out this evening--one of my usuals, before stopping by mom's for a visit and the store to grab a few things.

Work starts a little earlier in the morning. We're getting set for an ice storm. It's not looking good. Tomorrow may be a very long work day. I've made sure I have planned what I need--and I have what I need where I need it. I'll be okay. I hope you're staying safe and warm!!

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained abstinent from refined sugar, I met my daily water goal and I stayed connected with good support contacts.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January 11th, 2017 A Big Deal

January 11th, 2017 A Big Deal

The downtown area is very active in this community. I get to see the other side of it each morning, when I'm one of a few downtown, right before the day gets moving. I love the stillness of it--it's a strange calm, a peace--and the music the city plays on outdoor speakers echoes throughout the empty streets, adding a soundtrack to the early morning isolation. I was back at work this morning, appreciating this experience and feeling great about today.

I didn't cancel anything, I didn't avoid anything or anyone--I just carried on like normal. The challenges to my speech were minimal--so minimal in fact, I doubt anyone noticed the difference. The missing crown issue really wasn't an issue after all. I even showed up for the TV show taping--and the coach scheduled for our interview, didn't show--so we'll try again tomorrow, and I'll be there. It's not going to be a big deal.

I'm discovering it's only a big deal if I make it a big deal. And doesn't that perspective apply to every single thing in life? 

Figuring out what deserves "big deal" status and what doesn't seems to be something automatic in the absence of mindfulness. If I don't pause long enough to sort out the particulars of any given circumstance, then the importance level is set based on constantly running things, like fear, values, pride and ego. And often it takes on an irrational slant. Everything becomes a really big deal! And here's the real deal:

I don't have a lot of experience with mindfulness in this area. And that's because my first solution to anything and everything, for years and years was: EAT.

These days, I don't use food like that. So I'm challenged to actually process things, feel feelings and arrive at previously unknown places--and there, I can accurately and reasonably decide if something is in fact, a big deal.

This temporary circumstance isn't.

We're short staffed at the studio with people sick--so it was busy at work, but not too bad.

I simply enjoyed today. I took extraordinary care. I made an incredible dinner this evening, at a normal dinner time--and that was great. I stopped by the nursing facility for a visit with mom before heading into the studio for podcast work. I accepted that the next episode will be done at some point in the next day or so--instead of pushing myself too late tonight. I'm ridiculously behind on editing interviews.

I'm really excited about upcoming Transformation Planet episodes with Hope Williams Church, Winifred Morris, Joy Bauer, and a friend of mine named Nathaniel, whom, if you listen, you'll meet soon. Nathaniel is embarking on his own transformation from a starting weight of 671 pounds.

Today's featured tweet:
 

Weighing and Measuring ingredients gives me certainty and helps maintain the integrity of my weight loss maintenance calorie budget. It's a very important element of my personal plan.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I met my daily water goal. And I stayed well connected with great support.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 10th, 2017 Minimum

January 10th, 2017 Minimum

I stayed home one more day this morning. I hadn't planned on it. It was a last minute necessary decision early this morning.

I had a dentist appointment this afternoon. It wasn't the best news. Working on processing it all. It's one of those situations where what's needed is much more than I expected. But I'm an eternal optimist. And I have much to be grateful for--so I'll keep it all in perspective. Still...

This day has been a long one.

Keeping it super-short tonight.

Met some family members out at mom's room tonight. It was a good visit.

Today was one of those days where I just did the minimum requirements of my daily plan.

I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained abstinent from refined sugar, I met my daily water goal and I stayed well connected with great support.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9th, 2017 A Difference

January 9th, 2017 A Difference

What a difference pure gratitude makes. I shifted focus away from me and onto others, and the result was a very good day.

As far as my crown situation, I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, I can get something done quickly. I had to cancel today's scheduled taping of the weekly TV show I host for the school system. I have another two tapings set for Wednesday. I suppose I could do the TV without a crown--but I don't want to--and I think that's reasonable to postpone.

I also took today off from radio, but I'm back on the air in the morning, and it'll be fine. As long as I don't have to pronounce too many F sounds, I'm alright!

I took mom to her doctor's appointment in Stillwater today. She was very happy to get out and see the world again! Her appointment was fantastic. She's doing well on all fronts. Her primary care doctor was very very pleased with her progress.

We dined at our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch.


I made it home this afternoon in plenty of time to grab a much needed nap and get ready for a wonderful group support teleconference call.

I enjoyed an amazing meal tonight--fired up the grill for a sirloin kabob and made a mess of pan prepared sweet potato, red onion and asparagus. That's good eatin'.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained abstinent from refined sugar, I exceeded my daily water goal and I stayed well connected with great support.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Sunday, January 8, 2017

January 8th, 2017 Not Too Proud Of Me

January 8th, 2017 Not Too Proud Of Me

I've been really self-involved today. I've been physically ill over what happened during breakfast. I swallowed a crown! My reaction was one of panic--immediately trying to make it come back up, if you know what I mean--and then transitioned to needing to go back to bed, pull the covers up and hope it was just a bad dream.

Eventually, after talking with a few family members and friends--I made it to the point of being able to smile and laugh at the circumstance. I had a good conversation tonight with a fantastic support friend--and she reminded me once again--this wasn't the end of the world. This can be and will be fixed.

I went grocery shopping this evening. I said a little prayer on the way in--please don't let me run into anyone--just once, not this time. I rarely go anywhere around here without seeing someone I know. And this trip would be no exception. Yep--face to face, an old friend of mine. Uhg... Oh well-- I need to get over myself.

So--that's been me today. Self-involved, pity party, sad-- vain... all those things... I'm human.

I didn't react to this the way I wish I would have. I really retreated into myself. I kept very minimal contact with support, giving or receiving--and basically, I just did the minimum I could do today.

I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I met my daily water goal. And I stayed connected with good support--but not as well as I do on a normal day.

I'll just be honest with you--I'm straight up embarrassed and ashamed of how I reacted to this situation. I'm not too proud of me. Is there a hole in my smile?? Yes. Am I concerned about how this gets fixed? Of course. Is it the end of the world? No. Am I blessed beyond measure? Yes.

There are people--some in my own circle, who are dealing with much greater issues--and handling it much better than anyone could possibly expect.

I need to revisit my gratitude list tonight. I lost touch with it for much of today. Again, human.

I've taken off work tomorrow--only partly because of this crown situation. I'm also taking mom to a doctor's appointment in Stillwater. I pick up mom at 10am for her 11:15am appointment.

One thing is certain: Sacrificing the integrity of my food plan wasn't the answer today. And that's a wonderful thing.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Saturday, January 7, 2017

January 7th, 2017 Like A Champ

January 7th, 2017 Like A Champ

I slept in like a champ. I rested very well--and I really needed it. Noah is visiting and staying the night tonight. We stopped by for a visit with grandma this evening. Noah brought along his doctor bag toys and took our temperatures, gave us shots, and checked our reflexes. Dr. Noah was making the rounds! It was fun.

He's not wanting to go to sleep, I don't think. Even though he's been going all day and certainly should be totally spent.

I'm keeping tonight's edition short. It was a solid on-plan day!

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I met my water goal. And I stayed well connected with great support!

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean





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