Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22nd, 2015 Yes It Is

May 22nd, 2015 Yes It Is

I did a location broadcast today where two tables full of free food was one of the draws. Free hotdogs, cookies, chips and soda filled the tables and for twelve on-air breaks I offered the free lunch to anyone and everyone who made the effort to stop by. I declined the invitation to eat. Surprisingly, I only had to say no once. Usually it's several times and many different variations of "no, thank you."

My lunch was waiting two blocks away, back at the studio. I keep a supply of food at work and sometimes I share with my colleagues. I ran across an extra apple today, cut it up and announced its availability to those still within earshot of the employee kitchen. One of them took me up on it and then added, "I have something I want you to try, it would go perfectly with the apple."

Before I type another word, let me point out--this colleague is one of the sweetest, nicest and well meaning co-workers I've ever worked with in my career. I was about to find out that she hasn't really grasped what I'm all about and what I do here. And that's totally cool. I'm truly the only one who must fully grasp it as it applies to me and my recovery.

I immediately knew, without her saying another word--she was about to offer me something with sugar. She approached the conference/lunch table with what she described as the smoothest, best tasting imported chocolate, ever. She was holding a tiny square just for me.

Me: "Thank you, but I don't eat sugar."
Colleague: "It's okay, it's really small."
Me: "I don't eat sugar, not even a small dose. Haven't in over a year. Thank you, though."
Colleague: "You can have just a little bit, can't you?"
Me: "It would be like asking an alcoholic in successful recovery if they could have just a tiny bit of vodka--just a taste, because this is the best Russian vodka in the world."
Colleague: "Oh no, it's not the same!"
Me: (matter of fact tone) "Yes it is."

She left the small piece of chocolate next to the remaining pieces of the extra apple and added, "maybe someone else will want to try it."

I don't believe she was intentionally trying to push or disregard my boundaries, she just doesn't know. Her experiences have informed her in a different way. She was just honestly blown away and passionately excited about the taste of this amazing chocolate! She wanted to share it with everyone, especially someone offering her a slice of apple, which, as it turns out, apple is a perfect compliment to this imported treat. I bet she gave away a bunch of it yesterday!

A big reason I've been able to find focus and consistency over the last 13 months, is because I give my abstinence from sugar and the integrity of my food plan the same kind of reverence an alcoholic in recovery gives their sobriety. It's non-negotiable. And when I'm feeling tested or weak, I immediately reach out to a support buddy in order to talk or "text it out," and it's there where I find renewed strength, a better perspective and a fresh load of resolve.

This level of reverence is one of the things I found common in those who have long term maintenance and successful recovery.

It all comes down to importance level and where we decide to set that level.

---------
DDWL Flashback Excerpt--Day 348--August 2009:

The importance level we set for things isn't something we just say. It's easy to say, “my weight loss efforts will be of utmost importance from this point forward.” It's ultimately set by our actions, not our words. If you find yourself making excuses and coming up with rationalizations that make bad choices seem alright, then maybe you need to check the importance level. 

Check it often, because it can deplete without you realizing. How do you check it? 

With complete honesty, that's your dipstick. 

Richard Simmons tweeted this today: “There is only one way to lose weight and keep it off. And it's by being truthful with yourself about the food...” 

100% self-honesty is crucial to your success. I've written about this many times because it's something that I never did before with past failed attempts. Since day one nearly a year ago, this self-honesty policy has been firmly in place, and you know what kind of results I've had. 

The self-honesty component is vital to the mental changes required on this road to permanent success. Make this one of the most important things you've ever done. Give it the highest important level. Get completely honest with yourself about the habits you know are holding you back---and then get ready for an almost magically transformation of mind and body. Forget “almost,” it is magical.

Author note: You can read a little cocky self-assured attitude in the part about "...road to permanent success." I had a book of lessons and a beautiful humbling ahead of me....boy, did I ever.
---------

I made it to the YMCA this evening for a nice elliptical workout. It was a long day and I was feeling fatigued, so I opted to skip the weight machines and head straight for the cardio of the elliptical ride. Instead of music, I listened to NPR's Fresh Air podcast. I rarely do this. Usually it's music for me. This time the topic was David Letterman's career, and since he's one of my broadcasting/comedy heroes, I made a rare exception. I enjoyed it!

I'm looking forward to a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. I hope yours is fantastic, too!

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Animated! #FBF Far Back Friday, since I didn't post a #TBT picture. Screen grab from a corporate speaking event. The graphics person didn't get the title of the book correct. It wasn't a big deal, in fact, that title would have worked well, too. :) I almost backed out of doing this one because it was early in my regain period. All I wanted to do was hide far far away. I remember telling my therapist I couldn't do the engagement because I had gained back some weight. She quickly offered some perspective adjustments. It ended up being one of my best speaking experiences, despite the regain. I followed her advice, acknowledged the regain and made it a small part of my message.

Headed to bed relatively early for a Friday night. It's time to sleep until I can't. No alarm tonight

My Tweets Today:






























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

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21st, 2015 So Adorable

May 21st, 2015 So Adorable

I'm looking forward to more writing time over the weekend. Today has been a busy one. The highlight of my day was taking my grandson Noah for his tuxedo fitting. He's so adorable!















I made today a rest day from exercise. I came home after a really long day and took a fairly short nap. I delayed my dinner until late, I just wasn't ready to eat. I was too busy relaxing.

We're 8 days from my oldest daughter's wedding. 8 days!! It's all coming together nicely. It'll be a fantastic experience.

I'm ready to drop in bed. Goodnight!

My Tweets Today:




















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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 20th, 2015 Thank You, Gwen!

May 20th, 2015 Thank You, Gwen!

Earlier this week, I was honored to be featured by Gwen on her blog "The Sunny Coconut." I'm a fan of Gwen, what she's all about and how she is so supportive of so many people. Gwen was reading some of my archived posts when she came across one from late May, 2014 entitled "What It Takes." Her feature republishes the post and then she follows up with a wonderful analysis of the elements most resonating within her. Again, very honored. Thank you, Gwen! 

Here's a link to that post:
https://thesunnycoconut.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/what-does-it-take/  Clicking the link will open her blog in a separate tab within your browser.

I've experienced a fantastic day in every way. It's been long and I'm exhausted, so I'll skip the details and let the Tweets tell the tale tonight.

I hope you'll check out the link to Gwen's blog above! She's a fantastic writer, thinker and philosopher!

My Tweets Today:
























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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 19th, 2015 Just A Heads Up

May 19th, 2015 Just A Heads Up

In my morning email:

"Sean 
A friend of mine told me you have lost over 400 pounds in the last year. I want to congratulate you but also wanted to ask if you think this is a healthy amount of weight to loose in one year? I will start reading thru your blog to see what your doing. It looks like you have people who look to you for inspiration. My friend Cassie does. I also things that she has a crush on you. just a heads up shes crazy. She lives a thousand miles from you so don't worry. Anyhoozle, hope your doingit in heelthy way.
Becca"

I loved "just a heads up she's crazy." I literally laughed out loud. I gave Becca a very fast reply, telling her that her friend had the numbers wrong and how I hope she enjoyed the blog.

If she reads the archives over the last year, she'll quickly deduce, this isn't an extreme approach. It's a consistent approach. I'm very proud of this.

And just in case you two are reading this: Cassie and Becca, I thank you both for reading or skimming, or just looking at the pictures, whatever you're doing here, that's cool. :) I hope you both find something within these pages that resonates deeply with your experience.

It's not the first time my weight loss has been misquoted. Remember this?
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I swear, I just knew someone was going to get up and walk out while shouting, "Hey, he didn't lose 500 pounds! He only lost 275 pounds!! We've all been misled!!! I'm outta here!" Turns out, everyone stayed on that snowy night in Sikeston, Missouri.

Today was unusually busy for a Tuesday. It wasn't necessarily stressful, just busy and on schedule. My plan and schedule pretty much made itself for me, based on production priorities. I did make time to pause for a nice lunch midday. I got home in time to grab a nap and start preparing dinner before my weekly weight loss support group conference call. The call was wonderful. Life Coach Gerri and I take turns moderating the group each week. Tonight was her turn to lead. I really enjoy learning from her in so many ways. Gerri just celebrated 22 years of maintenance. I'm paying attention.

My mom's blood specialist was doing his elliptical workout at the Y tonight. We both finished our workouts at the same time. It was the perfect opportunity to ask a fast medical question. As much as I was thrilled with my resting heart rate yesterday, in a way--it kind of freaks me out, just a little. I made the mistake of reading all kinds of things online about slow heart rate and what it may or may not mean--and oh my...Why did I do that to myself?

I workout. I'm very fortunate and grateful, My heart is in good shape. I don't know why I couldn't just accept that as the case and be okay. 

I asked the doctor if he minded a quick medical question. He was very gracious. I'm sure doctors get inundated with casual questions everywhere they go. It's probably not good form for me to add to this, but I wanted to hear him say it was likely okay. And basically, he did. I felt much better.

I'll let the Tweets take it the rest of the way tonight. I'm hitting the pillow feeling really well..

My Tweets Today:






























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

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18th, 2015 An Athletic Heart

May 18th, 2015 An Athletic Heart

Several years ago, I remember trying to give blood and being rejected because my blood pressure was out of control. It feels amazing to donate without fear of blood pressure excluding me.
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Today's donation brings me super close to two gallons over the last four years or so.
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My blood pressure was perfect. My resting heart rate= 48...It created a pause from the nurse. "Do you workout?" I told her I did and then she asked another person to come over and override the computer that says you can't donate under 50 beats per minute. The asterisk to that is: Unless you're an athlete.

I've never thought of myself as "athletic." BUT-- According to this chart I found, I have the athletic heart of an 18 to 25 year old.
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I'm not getting too hung up on it. 48 bpm seems really low. Weight loss has made my heart's job much easier, apparently!

It seems like just yesterday when Amber would come to me requesting help with a paper or project for school. I just finished working on a project with her tonight, except this time, instead of a school project, it was her wedding programs. I folded and she ink stamped each by hand.
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I still can't believe I'll be walking her down the aisle in less than two weeks. It doesn't seem possible. Surely this was a homework project for her family living class. She'll turn it in and get an A, easy. I'm in father of the bride denial, I know. But the reminiscing is a fun mental place to cling to, as tight as I can.

My Tweets Today:
























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

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17th, 2015 A Relaxed Day

May 17th, 2015 A Relaxed Day

I drove a friend and their car home last night after the party. An added bonus of this was keeping and driving their car today, in order to retrieve mine. I really enjoy driving small cars because it wasn't too long ago when fitting in a small convertible BMW wouldn't have been an option. Today, I fit into that ultimate driving machine just fine. I got into it, too. The weather was absolutely perfect for putting the top down, the sunglasses on and driving an incredible vehicle. I didn't want to take it back!

I made this a relaxed day. I didn't do too much at all. A day like that is essential every once in a while, don't you think? It felt good, that's for sure!

I dined out for lunch at a place I was familiar with except they've completely revamped their menu, so I wasn't familiar anymore. I opted for one of the few things on the menu I felt okay about. I'll say this--I truly prefer cooking my own meals. At the risk of coming off like a braggart, I prepare more appealing meals at home than most of my meals out. It wasn't always this way. I take special care and pride in preparing my meals. The tracking in MFP and accountability Tweets have encouraged me to eat well and better. I feel like I'm doing that in what has become a pretty solid set of habits.

Headed to bed now, after a good 3.44 mile walk. I normally don't necessarily Live-Tweet my walks--but I did tonight, sharing pictures along the way. Those tweets are below. I'm ready for a great week. I hope you are, too!

My Tweets Today:


































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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

May 16th, 2015 Happiness: Part Two of Yesterday's Post

May 16th, 2015 Happiness: Part Two of Yesterday's Post

After celebrating and exploring my Epiphany Day Anniversary yesterday, I thought it would be good to share a broader perception. When May 15th, last year, hit--I couldn't stop thinking about it. Four days later, after 96 hours of examining this entire thing, I shared a follow-up post titled "The Secret to Happiness" on May 19th, 2014.

The title sounds grandiose, I know--and really, might even be considered an eye roller to some. But I believe, with 100% conviction, that this thing is exactly that, the secret to happiness.

There is one question you can ask yourself that, in answering, will help you apply this perspective along your own path. That question is at the end of this DDWL excerpt from May 19th, last year:  

The thing I've focused on the most the last several days has proven to be a wonderful exploration.  It is, in short, the secret to happiness. Millions have figured it out already and they live it every day. Millions struggle with understanding it and they spend years, sometimes a lifetime in pursuit of it. The thing about loving and caring for the constants within us, the things that can't ever be taken from us, the elements making us who we are deep down no matter what comes or goes in this life is a key to emotional freedom.

I think about the man in India who lives with his wife and kids in what can best be described as a tent.  He gets up everyday and walks for miles into the city where he pulls a rickshaw, transporting tourist and business people for 8-12 hours a day. Then he walks home and has dinner (usually white rice and anything else they can afford) with the family he loves. He's one of the happiest people you'll ever meet.

I think about the person who was able bodied their entire life before a drunk driver rendered them a quadriplegic. Yet, some of these people who have had so much taken away from them, are transformed into some of the most inspirational, positive and fascinatingly happy people in this world.

I believe that people who find and live their happiness are doing so, because they're connected to the core qualities within them that can never be taken away. Whoever first said "happiness must come from within," this is what they meant. 

If we tether our identity, self-worth, definition of success and happiness to anything that naturally fluctuates or can change dramatically, then we're in for a roller coaster ride of emotional unrest.

I've always attached my self-worth to my weight. Well, until now of course. I've often talked about potential and not living up to potential. But here's the thing: Potential is tied directly to the constant qualities within us and if our focus is on the pursuit of happiness in every direction except within, then those qualities aren't allowed to flourish, to grow--to give life to the potential within us all.

This whole thing makes me want to take the best care I can. I've never felt more determined to return to a healthy weight. It's what I need physically. What I need emotionally isn't affected by weight loss. And making that distinction provides a nice inner calm, a peace.

The question to determine these inner qualities needing attention and love is: What are the qualities in me that remain regardless of my weight, regardless of my financial situation, regardless of my relationship status, regardless of my professional success--what about me stays the same when all of these other things can and do change?  My heart, soul, sense of humor, natural compassion for others, likes and dislikes, pride in parenting, artistic talents, selflessness, humility, etc. Have you made your list?  And when these constants are cared for and loved, watered, so to speak--they grow, they flourish--and they give us what we need to experience emotional freedom, the freedom and ability to claim our happiness come what may.

The list should be things that existed at your heaviest and healthiest weight. These things have been within you throughout your most prosperous times and your times of financial struggle. These things have lived in you when you were single, in a relationship or married. These things are what make you, you.

Simply acknowledging these things doesn't mean "we're fixed." It's a daily practice in perspective.
-------------------------------------------------------

Today was a long and very busy day. I was on location doing broadcasts from 7am until after noon. After we wrapped the broadcasts, I had just enough time to return the station vehicle, drop by the studios for a few things--then home to prepare lunch and grab a short nap before departing for a special VIP party hosted by a really good client of the radio station.

I didn't do an intentional workout today, however my Fitbit says I burned almost 550 calories--and that's more than I typically get from 30 minutes on the elliptical.  

My Tweets Today:
























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

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 15th, 2015 Epiphany Day Anniversary

May 15th, 2015 Epiphany Day Anniversary

Some epiphanies are like tiny pebbles tossed into a pond, creating small ripples on the surface. Although their size is small, the addition to the pond still raises the water level ever so slightly. Then there are epiphanies that come crashing down into the water like a boulder falling from a mountain top. The impact splashes everything near and the waves are monumental. After the surface returns to calm, the rise in water level can't be ignored; the epic impact can't be forgotten. With the crater in what's now the deepest part of the pond and the top of the boulder always protruding above the surface, there's absolutely no doubt, this pond is forever changed.

It came out of nowhere on May 15th, 2014. One year ago today, as I got in my car to drive to the YMCA, and was hit with a series of thoughts, one clarifying the previous, making certain I couldn't forget.

My self-worth/identity mustn't ever be tethered to something that naturally fluctuates.

DDWL excerpt from May 15th, 2014:

Why in the world should I ever allow the shape of my face or the size of my pants to determine my self worth? This isn't how I treat others, so why would I treat me that way? 

And then I started thinking about the differences between how I felt about me at 505 and how I felt at 230 and that's when I experienced a breakthrough in my thinking. In that moment I imagined the scales of justice. On one side was my love for the non-physical parts (my mind, my sense of humor, my talents, my heart, my natural compassion for others, my ability to communicate, etc.) and the other side of the scale was my love for things physical about me. 

The personal injustice has been the obvious imbalance and distribution of my love for self.  At my heaviest, I had nearly zero love for the physical and what little love I had for the non-physical was small, barely existent and unacknowledged because I was too busy hating the way I looked. At my healthiest weight, I still paid little attention to the non-physical attributes because I was too busy loving the way I looked.  Throughout my entire life I've largely ignored the important things that make me who I am. My most intense focus was either hating the way I looked or loving the way I looked. With this narrow minded perspective, the only source of identity and self-worth remaining relied almost exclusively on my appearance. It isn't any wonder why I've limited myself over the years.  Even worse is the natural tendency to project this fluctuating self-perspective onto others, as in, if I feel this way about me, surely they do too. 

When I think about my closest loved ones, I realize their perspective of me is never conditional based on appearance. When I spend time with mom, she doesn't even notice the weight gain, she just sees her son. When I pick up my grandson and he looks at me and smiles, it's an innate understanding that I'm someone who loves him deeply and will protect and care for him no matter what. When I spend time with my daughters, it's clear their love for me isn't placed on a scale, ever.

And then I realized: This is what they mean when they say you must love yourself first before you can fully experience and appreciate the love and richness of life. Oh my goodness, I feel like shedding tears just writing these words. 

If I was confused before, it was very clear now. I'm a great person worthy of love regardless of my size and appearance. I have my mind, sense of humor, talents, a big heart, loads of compassion for others and so very much more. And none of it is diminished with weight gain or increased with weight loss. 

I am me, always. 

And my journey will continue toward a healthier weight because I want to live, I want to move easier, I want to experience the freedom a healthy body weight provides. Regardless of how this journey goes, I believe I just discovered one of my greatest personal freedoms of all.  

All of this was processed over a ten minute period as I drove to my workout tonight, as if by divine placement in my brain, an answer to my unspoken, silent plea, why do I feel this way??

The impact of my Epiphany Day is something I'll never forget. May 15th will hold a special significance for me as long as I live.

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(2014-- Regain high point) I don't even know what compelled me to snap this depressed selfie. Perhaps it was an attempt at self-motivating, or a way of documenting a darker place in time, in hopes of turning it all around, then looking back and appreciating how things have changed. I honestly never dreamed I would actually show anyone this photo. It was for my eyes only. The depressed, hopeless feeling was being dog piled; held down by a mountain of guilt, shame and embarrassment.

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The first step in reclaiming my life didn't have anything to do with a calorie budget, a workout, a blog post, a facebook update or anything else. The first step was forgiveness. I had to extend inward, the same level of compassion, understanding, love and forgiveness I would freely give anyone else. Several steps followed, but that was the first, for me.

And I pray I'll keep stepping forward, each day--one day at a time. If I hold the elements of my recovery forever sacred, my chances are good.
------------------------------------------------------------------
I made today exceptional. Work was great. I enjoyed good communication with my mom, both daughters, Irene (my awesome ex-wife) and several support friends. I took the time to prepare some incredibly delicious food, and about the same time it was exactly one year ago today, I got in my car and headed to the YMCA for a fantastic workout.

I didn't experience any major epiphanies today. But I'll keep my mind open and my eyes looking above, watching for the next boulder to come splashing down.

My Tweets Today:


























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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May 14th, 2015 Throw Back Thursday

May 14th, 2015 Throw Back Thursday

Today started in a bad way, waking not feeling well at all. I was nauseous, dizzy and generally out of it. I decided to get up anyway and see if I could feel better--and as it turned out, I did feel better as the day progressed. Good enough, in fact, to get my workout in early at the Y. It's a completely different crowd in different day parts, very busy 6pm hour at the YMCA!

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#TBT I truly wish my grandfather would have lived to see me do so well. He was always supportive, loving and hardworking. Roy T. Anderson was a wonderful example of how to live and enjoy life. He worked two and three jobs to make ends meet, but he always made time for a good western movie, an apple a day, usually in the evenings (familiar?) and baseball. He loved baseball, so much, it didn't matter who was playing. And John Wayne--he was a HUGE fan of the Duke!

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#TBT Doing a 10K during my initial weight loss. Jogging alongside me is friend and theatrical director Chris Williams. He wouldn't let me quit that day! Glad he was with me. My bib number was 278--the same as my weight on that particular day.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my "Epiphany Day." The effects of that day are still strong and always on my mind. I can't wait to write about this important 1st anniversary in tomorrow evening's edition!

My Tweets Today:


























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

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 13th, 2015 Weigh Day Edition

May 13th, 2015 Weigh Day Edition

I couldn't have been more pleased with today's weigh-in:
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5 more pounds down over the previous three week period. The fifty-five week total weight loss sits at 157 pounds. After a monumental relapse period with a regain of 164 pounds, I can't seem to properly express how wonderful it feels to be within 7 pounds of zeroing the regain amount.

Maintenance mode is on my mind all of the time these days. I'm too tired to get detailed tonight, but as I've written before, it'll look remarkably similar to everything I've been doing for the last year-plus. I'll write more about the plan in the coming days.

When I woke this morning, I didn't realize I would be spending the afternoon and evening with my grandson. It was an unexpected treat. Irene and I divided Noah time today.
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We snacked, watched Ellen and SpongeBob, made funny faces and marveled at one another until very late, when Irene was able to relieve me.

I hadn't planned on it, but making today a rest day seemed like the obvious choice considering the circumstances.

Letting the Tweets take it the rest of the way tonight. It's insanely late for me.

My Tweets Today:
















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





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