Thursday, August 25, 2016

August 25th, 2016 A Nice Groove

August 25th, 2016 A Nice Groove

I really felt a nice groove today. I took exceptional care with my food and exercise and had an accomplished day at the studio. I took care of my daily disciplines and I feel a sense of stability as a result.

This is a nice example of a solid maintenance day.

I'm up keeping an eye on the weather again tonight. I must wrap this short.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded my daily water goal. I stayed connected with good support and I took a nap in preparation for what I'm doing as I write this post!

A big announcement is coming soon about my upcoming podcast! I'm super excited to finally be on the brink of making this project happen!!

Oh--it is Throwback Thursday, isn't it? Here's a few throwbacks:
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With mom, circa 2007 We've both lost weight since this one!
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Wearing my "dogbite" jeans at Radio City! I miss New York! Hope to go back someday, soon!
#tbt

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 24th, 2016 Yes, I Ate It

August 24th, 2016 Yes, I Ate It

It was her first day on the job, a new colleague at the studio--and her first time to sit down with some of us around the conference table at lunch. "You take pictures of your food?" before I could reply, another colleague offered, "He takes pictures of everything he consumes and has for a very long time." Another joked, "he's obsessive about it." My long-time studio mates might tease me occasionally, but they also express a lot of support. They're proud of me and it shows. They remember my 500 pound days very well--including specific moments, like the time I retrieved a piece of pie from the trash can. Yes, I ate it. No, I'll never live it down!

Normally, in a situation like this, I'd launch into a big explanation of why I do what I do, complete with the quick version of the 500-pound back-story and why I make accountability and support a super high priority every single day. Instead, I didn't. I just smiled and offered, very simply, "It's an accountability measure for my food plan." And that was that.

If you're a regular reader of this blog--you know why I do what I do!

Today was another day like yesterday. I had a plan--and something occurred, requiring me to modify my plan. That something was tonight's on-air severe weather coverage. It happens. It's part of my job. I maintained all stated goals of the day except being in bed by 10pm. I finished dinner early in preparation--at least this prevented a super late dinner.

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

Irene (known as NaNa to our little Noah) and Allan, brought my grandson Noah by the studio this afternoon. He loved putting the headphones on and speaking into the microphone. He might be a natural! Thanks to my job, I have tickets for Jurassic Quest this weekend in Wichita and I can't wait to take him! He's going to absolutely flip!! It'll be like his toy dinosaurs have come to life!

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 23rd, 2016 The Fountain Of My Freedom

August 23rd, 2016 The Fountain Of My Freedom

I had a solid set of goals today. I really did. And I accomplished a lot, just not in the order I needed. And honestly, it's okay. I'm making tremendous strides and truly feeling extraordinarily well with my progress.

I said it/wrote it many times during weight loss mode: "Maintenance will look very similar to what I'm doing now." In fact, aside from 600 extra calories in the daily budget, it's identical. I'm proud of this fact.

Is what we're doing sustainable long term?

Answering that question each day really helped me define and refine my approach along the way. And still, it's always evolving. The me that sits here tonight will certainly have marked changes this time next year. The key, I believe, for me--is making sure I always keep the plan in alignment with my authentic self--and as long as I do that, it'll be an easy embrace each day.

I have a few ideas for changes I'd like to make and who knows what else will come of this constantly evolving transformation?

I don't know.

I do know one thing, I pray that I always make the fundamental elements of my recovery just as important tomorrow as I do today. Because for me, it's the fountain of my freedom. I don't resist it, I embrace it. If ever I lose it, it'll be because I released my embrace. And if I ever release this embrace, it'll likely be because I wasn't being true to my authentic self. And that would be tragic.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained abstinent from refined sugar, I exceeded my daily water goal, I interacted with solid support connections and I had a great workout tonight.

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

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22nd, 2016 Powerful

August 22nd, 2016 Powerful

I came across this while searching through the archives this evening. It is powerful!

"The Awakening"
By Sonny Carroll

A time comes in your life when you finally get it. When, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks, and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out… ENOUGH! Enough fighting, crying, blaming, and struggling to hold on. Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears, and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change. Or, for happiness, safety, and security to appear over the next horizon as if by magic.

You realize that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. And, in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will always love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are, and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

Your stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you, or didn’t do for you. You learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don’t always say what they mean, or mean what they say. That not everyone will always be there for you, and everything isn’t always about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own. You learn to take care of yourself, and in the process, a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers. You begin to accept people as they are. To overlook their shortcomings and human frailties, and in the process peace and contentment are born of forgiveness.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing. You begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with.

You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing. You stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for you next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don’t know everything. It’s not your job to save the world, and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry, and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are, not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not mean lonely.

You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility, the importance of setting boundaries, and learning to say NO.

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over, and ignoring your needs.

You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drinking more water, and take more time to exercise.

You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty, so you take more time to rest. You learn that just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So, you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for. That wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline, and perseverance. You learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it’s OK to risk asking for help.

You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into, and through your fears because you know that whatever may happen, you can handle it. You learn that to give in to fear is to give away your right to live life on your own terms.

You learn to fight for your life. Not to squander it by living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn’t always fair. You don’t always get what you think you deserve. That sometimes, bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. You learn not to always take it personally.

You learn that nobody’s punishing you, and everything isn’t always somebody’s fault. It’s just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong, and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy, and resentment must be understood and redirected. If not, they will suffocate the life out of you. They will poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to be thankful, and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted. The things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Then, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself. You make yourself a promise to never betray yourself. To never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire.

You make it a point to keep smiling. To keep trusting. To stay open to every wonderful possibility.

You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind.

Finally, with courage in your heart, you take a stand. You take a deep breath. You begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.
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Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded my daily water goal and I remained connected with incredible support.

It's past my bedtime!

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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21st, 2016 Totally Alive

August 21st, 2016 Totally Alive

Waking after a solid nine hours sleep, I felt completely energized. In fact, so much, the thought of a nap never crossed my mind, not once. And that's a rare thing for me.

Today was a slow paced day all the way around. I made a little extra time for cooking, I switched up my workout today at the Y and I accomplished some key strides toward the debut of my podcast!!

Yes, a Podcast is coming! I'm super excited. I've only talked about starting a podcast for the last two years--and finally, it's all coming together. I've developed an action plan to get it started (thank you Life Coach Gerri Helms for "coaching me unstuck.") and I've followed through. I'm still a few weeks away from its debut, but everything is in place! I'll let you know when it's up and running, of course!

Speaking of podcasts. I'm thrilled to be a guest on an upcoming episode of the Half Size Me podcast with Heather Robertson! I have no idea when it will be available, all I know is we're doing the interview middle of next month. Thank you to those who suggested me as a guest for Heather's fantastic podcast. I've had a chance to listen to Half Size Me and my goodness, it's great! I'm a subscriber!

I experienced some powerful support interactions today. The kind of conversation that challenges us to go deeper--oh my, it was that, for sure. Staying open and connected with solid support is critically important for me.

My workout this afternoon was a little different. I did 20 minutes of cardio and another 20 minutes or so of strength training. It was a nice combination. I left the Y feeling totally alive.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I stayed well connected with great support. I exceeded my daily water goal. And I had a wonderful workout this afternoon.

I'm hitting the pillow feeling very well, blessed and grateful.

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

Saturday, August 20, 2016

August 20th, 2016 Flexible Enough

August 20th, 2016 Flexible Enough

Yesterday morning (Friday), I had a location broadcast from a new chicken franchise located inside a convenience store. As soon as I walked in, I couldn't help being reminded of all the convenience store hot food deli cases I've raided over the years. And there I was, in a situation where I was being paid to be there for three hours straight, constantly describing the incredible quality and value of this new fried chicken counter.

My awareness level required me to have a plan. I decided when it was time to eat, I'd buy some cheese, almonds, and fruit. Within the first sixty seconds, I was being offered samples. "Uh, no thank you." 

Keep in mind, the person offering me the sample is from the corporate office of this new fast food chicken place and he knows I'm there to be on-air, telling anyone and everyone how wonderful this new product tastes--and I'm saying, "Uh, no thank you" to a sample. I was on the air three minutes later describing everything.

The guy from corporate offered, "let me know when you're ready to eat, and I'll fix you up." So now what?

Could I be flexible enough within my plan to eat something out of this hot food case? 

I decided, if I changed my plan to try some of this food, I had to have precise information--not only from MyFitnessPal, I also wanted a few questions answered about ingredients used. I was able to find MFP entries for each thing. Good deal. I then approached the corporate guy with refined sugar questions. I asked about each thing and he assured me it was refined sugar-free. He even double checked in the kitchen, just to be certain.

Okay then, I can do this. I properly logged the fried fish, the mac and cheese and the green beans--added some watermelon and cantaloupe--and I was set.

Had it not been for the MFP entries and my questions being answered and even double checked, I would have stayed with the original plan. Being flexible doesn't mean I sacrifice the boundaries I honor each day. If I can find a way to make it fit within my plan--then okay, I can be flexible enough to try something I don't normally or wouldn't normally eat.

I make the elements of my plan that important. Because if I don't, even once, it could be the beginning of something horrible.

I am a compulsive overeater/food addict. I was before and I still am, the only difference is, today, I'm in successful recovery. I've been in this turnaround from relapse/regain for nearly 2.5 years--losing the regain weight plus another twenty-five to twenty-eight pounds and I've maintained this healthy body weight for quite awhile. But none of that success matters. I'm still capable of relapse/regain if I don't embrace my life plan each and every day.

Embracing this life plan isn't a chore. It's not a hassle. It's not a burden. It isn't any of these things because I've developed a plan that works very well--specifically for me. My likes, dislikes--personality, schedule--all of these things contribute to the plan I can sustain, long-term.

I slept a solid eight hours last night and today was amazing. I prepared some wonderful meals, I enjoyed a great workout early afternoon, I stayed connected with support, I exceeded my water goal, I maintained the integrity of my calorie budget and I remained abstinent from refined sugar.

I'm ready for another great day tomorrow!

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

Friday, August 19, 2016

August 19th, 2016 From Start To Finish

August 19th, 2016 From Start To Finish

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 connected with good support!

It was a busy day from start to finish. I'm exhausted!

Letting the Tweets handle it tonight!

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

Thursday, August 18, 2016

August 18th, 2016 Make It Another Day

August 18th, 2016 Make It Another Day

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar for the 841st day straight. I exceeded my daily water goal. I remained connected with solid support. And I enjoyed a great workout.

I sincerely appreciate the very positive feedback from last night's blog post. Sincerely, thank you.

We're all learning along the way and finding what works for us.

I've had people tell me I shouldn't eat past a certain time-- okay, whatever--I've never worried about the clock and I think I'm doing just fine. 

In my humble opinion, our plan must evolve naturally from within--and the more that plan is in harmony with our most authentic selves, the easier it is to maintain consistency---a place where it feels right, instead of forced. 

I'm open to learning more--I don't know it all and I must always open my mind, ears and eyes, and occasionally stop talking or trying to figure it out--and simply be willing to learn.

I've learned that I'm a compulsive eater, an emotional eater, a stress eater and a food addict deluxe, addicted to refined sugar (and that doesn't mean sugary items exclusively. The refined sugar triggers my "binge switch"--and then it's more-more-more--carbs, sweet, savory--sugar, fat, deep fried--whatever) and once I start, it's on. 

And so, I had to reach a point of understanding, acceptance, and embrace of a plan that requires me to weigh and measure, log my food, adhere to certain boundaries and remain connected with good support. Because without those things, I'm out of control. And for my body type, that means I return to 500 pounds or bigger--and likely die young. 

Reaching that place where the focus in on acceptance instead of resistance, is a matter of perspective. I had to look at it from both sides. I could either resist the path I needed to develop a better relationship with my deeply ingrained food behaviors and just accept a short, morbidly obese life, or I could admit that I'm truly powerless over this and develop a plan I could truly accept and embrace. And with a focus toward the positive freedoms this plan brings and a tight grip of the rails I've installed to hold onto, I miraculously make it another day.

Because here's the bottom line: I don't have will-power. I can't do this alone. And I'm not superman, nor is any of us superhuman. I hold onto rails of support--these rails include my daily spiritual and meditation time, the time I spend reaching for and giving support to others, setting up accountability measures, the weighing, measuring and logging of my food, the planning and the exercise--and the reflections in my daily writing discipline.

Believe me, if I ever appear to have this "all figured out," just know, I don't and I never will. 

All I know is, I had to stop trying to be someone else's normal (the type that never needs to worry about food or set boundaries--the type that goes for a run when they're stressed or instinctively calls a friend when they're emotional, the kind that can eat just one cinnamon roll--and it actually stops right there--those people are blessed). But, am I not blessed beyond measure as well, just in different ways?

I had to embrace my normal. I had to extend myself love and compassion, the same as I would freely give to a loved one or friend. I had to declare, "I'm not broken, I'm perfectly me. And I deserve this level of extraordinary care each and every day." These things I do, are my normal. And it's ok. In fact, it's more than ok.

What's interesting is how the things that I do within my plan might appear to be restrictive and oppressive, but collectively, they're actually liberating in countless ways. 

If you're feeling defeated, hopeless, stressed and generally full of anxiety over where you are, right here, today. I just want you to know, you're not alone. I get it. I really do. Please, be kind to you.

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Throwback Thursday. This photo was taken October 23rd, 2007, eleven months before Day 1 of this blog on September 15th, 2008.

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Photo taken at speaking event from earlier this year.

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August 17th, 2016 Every Single Time

August 17th, 2016 Every Single Time

DDWL Q & A night!

Rebecca writes: "I'm just starting. What should I eat? How did you develop your food plan?"

I can't tell you what to eat. I believe we must create that list based on our own preferences.

I eat what I like and nothing I don't. And the choices I'm making are made because it's where I am, now. 

I previously lost 275 pounds eating much differently. It wasn't right or wrong then and my eating habits are not right or wrong now. They're simply reflective of where I am today. I like what I'm doing. It's working for me.

And that's key, in my opinion--finding what works for you. Discovering what you can do, what you like and how you like it, is imperative. 

I don't like labeling anything "right or wrong/good or bad." Food is food. Eat what you like, just set a budget and consistently stay within the budget. Trust that your choices will evolve in time.

If you've ever been handed a pre-set food plan and told to follow it to the letter--and you didn't like everything on the list, but you choked it down anyway--that's a means to an end. 

The experts creating the perfect food plans are not wrong, necessarily, they're just not taking into account the human element.

If whatever we're doing isn't something we can do forever--if it isn't sustainable, then it's temporary. We can white knuckle it and adhere to a food plan in the name of "I can do anything for a short time," and we'll see those results, but as soon as it's over--it's back to what we prefer, and that's why, in my opinion--we should just start with what we prefer in the first place, allowing our plan to evolve as we maneuver our budget and boundaries.

If you've been a regular reader of this blog for the last eight years, you might remember days where a Snickers Bar, Ice cream, cake, fast food cheeseburgers and Taco Bell all made their way into my budget. I don't look back on that time and think, wow--I didn't eat very well. I look back and think, that's where I was and needed to be at that time. I'm not saying it's a good idea to rush out and stock up on these things. I'm just saying...

Having been 500 pounds for so long, I instinctively knew that I wasn't going to change a lifetime of habits overnight. And I felt like if I tried, it would end up another failed attempt. In my opinion, the "nothing is off limits" philosophy is still valid and important, because it allows us to be where we are, be ourselves--growing and developing in a naturally organic way.

We learn about ourselves along the way. I've learned that I can't do refined sugar. My 840 days of abstinence so far has made a profound difference in many different areas of my life. It's by far the single most important recovery decision I've made along the way. It took a 164-pound relapse/regain to arrive at that conclusion. Some things, for me, are harder to learn. And that's ok.

But not everybody is a food addict like me, addicted to refined sugar with over three decades experience in stuffing emotions and stress with food. Abstaining from certain food substances may not be what's right for you.

The main reason why I've always been a proponent of simplicity when it comes to food is because along this road it's about so much more than food and exercise. The mental/emotional/psychological elements in play are all bigger and more challenging than "what should I eat?"

In my opinion, if the greater focus is placed on the food and exercise instead of the mental/emotional/psychological dynamics--then we end up facing the biggest elements unprepared. It becomes "diet mentality." A focus on a simplistic food plan based on our personal preferences and backed up with solid accountability and support has a really good chance of working well for the long haul.

There are no right or wrong foods. Eat what you like and allow yourself a natural evolution of good choices along the way. The practice of maintaining the integrity of a calorie budget can have a powerful impact on this evolution because we're trying to get the most value for our calories. The evolution only occurs with a sacred level of self-honesty and a willingness to reach out for support when we recognize a breach coming on, otherwise, there isn't a reason to navigate the calorie budget for the best calorie values if we're constantly violating the budget.

And please, never compare what you're eating to someone else's food. Remember, we're all different. I'm in maintenance mode with a generous calorie budget and a food plan evolved over the last eight years. My food tweets can certainly provide ideas--but it is never meant as a recommended food plan for anyone but me. The tweets provide a wonderful accountability measure for me--and this was one of the things I had to do in order to find my way back from relapse/regain.

Sometimes, the biggest mental hurdles come when we compare what we're eating to our own expectations or what we perceive to be what we should be eating or what we've heard is best or the healthier choice. Take what fits you and leave the rest. Don't harshly judge your well fitting food plan.  

My best advice is to let it go. Just be you and give yourself room to grow and develop. Ultimately, we're wanting to arrive at our healthiest weight--and if we arrive at a healthy weight range for our body--and along the way our health improves dramatically--and we do it in a way that fits us, individually--then we've successfully shifted the focus away from the old diet mentality--we've accepted and embraced the plan we've created specifically for us--and now, how does it all compare to the pre-planned diets of old?? The ones that were nutritionally sound but lacked a human consideration--the ones difficult to sustain--the ones challenging our ability to remain consistent??

Simple is sustainable, sustainable encourages consistency and consistency beats intensity, every single time.

Today, I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained abstinent from refined sugar, I met my daily water goal, I stayed connected in support--giving and receiving, and I completed a body weight strength training routine from the comfort of my apartment.

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





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