Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 16 Results!

Day 16

Results!

There's always a little anxiety on weigh day. I was anxious all day long. What if I didn't lose that much? What if I'm not working out hard enough? I'm really pushing myself when I walk that mile every evening. It's not easy at all...not at this weight! Deep down I knew that I would see big results on that scale, so why the worry? I guess it's natural. I don't think I could've done any better than what I've done these first 16 days. We loaded up and headed to Stillwater where a scale that would accurately weigh me was waiting. Irene and Courtney weighed first. Irene has lost 10 pounds in two weeks. Awesome job baby! She's well on her way of shattering her goal by Christmas. We really don't know how much Courtney has lost because we didn't have a starting weight for her, but we have one now! And we know she's down nearly 10 pounds from what she weighed a while back. Keep it up girl! You can do this!! Then it was my turn. I was so excited that I didn't really notice if any strangers were around watching or not...I really didn't care. I stepped on and BAM! 484 popped up. 484! A loss of 21 pounds so far! Irene was right on! She said at least 20 maybe more and I predicted 10 to 15. I was being conservative just in case. 21 pounds have melted away, and you've read some of the things I've enjoyed over the last 16 days. It proves once again that losing weight doesn't have to cost a fortune, you don't have to join a program, or buy special food, or invest in the latest wonder pill. It's real simple: Eat less + Exercise more. This 21 pound loss is really a tremendous boost forward. I'm below a quarter ton!!! I'm so happy. After I stepped off the scale, Irene, Courtney, and I hugged, and I gave Irene a big kiss! This is an exciting beginning. When we exited the building Rach and Jordan pulled up, got out, and ran over to ask the big question...How much? We told them our numbers and we all hugged. That's the kind of support that keeps us all on track!

Before we left Stillwater we met up with my Mom, Grandma, and Aunt Kelli at Wendy's for some low-cal fast food! We told them about our weigh in and they were very happy for us! Wendy's is by far my favorite calorie counting fast food restaurant. They have many items that are low in calories and very tasty! A small chili is only 190, a baked potato WITH sour cream is only 330, and I also like the grilled chicken go wrap...I order it with regular mustard instead of the calorie laden honey mustard, and it checks in at 230 that way, if you have to have the honey mustard, it's still only 260. If you like salads, they have fantastic salads...or so I've heard. I can't stand salad. Someone once asked me... “Sean, how do you ever expect to lose weight if you refuse to eat a salad?” I guess I'm proving wrong the “must eat salads to lose weight” theory. I'm really a strange eater. I'll eat lettuce all day long on tacos or subs or in that grilled chicken wrap tonight, but if it's all by it's self, I will not touch it! Oh yeah, and the lettuce I do eat on foods must be finely shredded. I don't do leaf lettuce. I know! I'm a little weirdo. Where was I, oh yeah...fast food...Very few fast food places are completely off limits with a little preparation. I like to know what I'm getting into and thanks to the world wide web I can find out the calorie count of just about every fast food item you can think of. Remember when I mentioned craving a Quarter Pounder with Cheese? I had a half of one earlier! I'm serious! I still had over 400 calories left and so did Irene, so we split one. 255 calories each...and it was good. We really do eat at home most of the time. This blog post is beginning to read like “The amazing fast food diet”...I assure you it's not. But it is nice to know that when you're very busy and on the go, there's a calorie friendly value menu waiting.

I really have to give thanks to God that I've been able to exceed 500 pounds for so long without too many health complications. My blood pressure did get out of control before I finally got put on a pill, and I do have sleep apnea (I use a CPAP machine every time I sleep) And my lymphatic system in my right leg doesn't work properly (which requires regular wrapping with low-stretch compression bandages to keep the lymphatic fluid moving---This is something Irene has devoted countless hours helping me with, and something that will drastically improve with my weight loss and someday I can relieve Irene of this and handle it myself without assistance---With my weight off--it'll be like putting on socks) BUT I have awesome cholesterol levels (well below 200) and my blood sugar is as normal as can be. Of course I've been warned that the last two things I mentioned could turn really bad real fast as I get older, if I don't lose the weight now. All of the above mentioned health problems will be drastically reduced, maybe even eliminated with weight loss, and that's certainly a motivating thought. The mile walk tonight felt good. I'm serious, it really felt good! I think it felt better because I had a chance to see the results of my effort. The great thing about doing this is: It gets easier everyday.

Good Choices,
Sean

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 15 Ice Cream Dreams and Serious Decisions

Day 15

Ice Cream Dreams and Serious Decisions

Today on my lunch break I drove to the bank. On the way to the bank I noticed the Blue Bell Ice Cream Truck at the grocery store. I couldn't see the driver real clearly, but I think he was sitting in the cab eating some Moollenium Crunch...It's ok, they get to do that. He'll sell the rest! Then I arrived at the bank to do my business. As I sat in the drive through lane the Blue Bell truck appeared again, this time I think the driver gave me a shout...”hey, Sean...we miss ya man!” Or maybe that was all in my head. After the bank I had to go to the convenience store to get gas. And guess who was there? The Blue Bell truck! Was this guy chasing me around town? Was this some kind of payback for all the ice cream trucks I chased as a kid? Leave me alone Blue Bell man! One pint of that Moollenium Crunch is more than half my calories for an entire day! I can't do it! Sorry, go peddle your creamy, delicious, naughty deserts somewhere else! I'm not saying I'll never enjoy a little Blue Bell again...I will, as a matter of fact Blue Bell has a line of mini-sized ice cream sandwiches and ice cream bars that are really low in calories, and would take care of any ice cream craving. Ice Cream is one of my biggest weaknesses, just ask my family. They have discovered many failed past weight loss attempts of mine because I gave in and bought a half-gallon. They always knew that if I bought a half-gallon, daddy was off the wagon again. Nothing else said “giving up” like a big bowl of ice cream in front of the TV at midnight. You might be thinking... “what about a serving size?” “that wouldn't be so bad, would it?” On an ice cream bender a serving size to me was nearly a quarter gallon...That's a big bowl of ice cream, and clearly not on my calorie counting list. I don't even know how many calories it must have been. If I were really going to town on the stuff, I could put away a half gallon by myself in a 24 hour period. It's a big addiction. I can't think of any other food that I devote as much passion. If I do have Blue Bell anytime in the near future it will have to be in a very controlled form. Like one of those mini-ice cream sandwiches, maybe. I haven't been without ice cream during this first 15 days of this life change, I've had a 150 calorie soft serve cone from McDonalds probably five times. Usually at the same time in the evening when I have enough calories leftover. And it's usually the same people handing it to me through the drive through window. They must think... “man, that guy really loves his ice cream”...and they would be right. What would shock them is that I'm dropping weight everyday at the same time! I really hate pulling up next to vehicles at the red light while I lick my ice cream cone. I look like a monster sized little kid enjoying every little lick nice and slow. Maybe I should have Irene drive next time and I can sit in the back! Enough ice cream talk...I mean I'm strong and determined and all, but I'm only human!

Tomorrow is a very exciting day for me. It's weigh day! I can't wait to hop on those scales! How much will I have lost? I don't know! But If I had to guess, I'd say at least 10 pounds and maybe as high as 15. Irene is guessing at least 20 pounds. I don't know...I know it's something good, because I can feel the difference already. And before anyone says “that's too much to lose so fast!”...Remember, I started at 505 pounds...It's going to come off much quicker in the beginning, and then it will come off at a little slower pace as I get smaller and smaller. It's all relative to your size. If I only had 40 pounds to lose I might expect to lose only 4 to 6 pounds. But I have well over 200 pounds to lose...so it's going to fall off quickly at first. I'm definitely not starving myself! 1500 calories a day is only 500 less than the “recommended daily allowance 2000 calorie diet”. That's right, look at a nutrition label, all of those daily percentages on the back are based on a 2000 calorie diet! It says it right there! So 1500 a day and exercise is good, real good for me.

What I like most about this way of losing weight? It's completely natural. I'm not taking any “magic” pills or taking any kind of drugs to help me fend off the cravings. It's just me and my decisions. That's it. Everyday I decide to enjoy 1500 calories. Everyday I decide to exercise. Everyday I decide to drink enough water. Everyday I decide to write about my daily progress and this helps me get up the next day and make the right decisions all over again. You see, I've always known how to lose weight, but I kept letting my head get in the way. I kept making excuses. I kept gravitating to the line of least resistance. And at that line anything goes. It's real easy to make bad decisions. How many times have I been told by a doctor that I was flirting with death at this weight? Many. But it didn't make me cry until a doctors visit on June 10th of this year. And still, after my flood of emotions that day, after a family group hug where all of us were crying our eyes out...still I made bad decisions. What clicked three months later? What made September 15th the day? Let's just say that there comes a time when enough is enough. The family is tired of hearing “someday” and enough is enough. There comes a time when you realize that you might have waited too long to save yourself, but never go there, don't believe it. That road is a dead end my friend. Because if you get started right now, this minute, maybe you still have a chance to make the right decisions. The decisions that can save your life, your family, and everything that's important to you. That's what I decided on September 15th.

Good Choices,
Sean

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 14 Cookouts And Workouts

Day 14

Cookouts and Workouts

We have a bunch of family members on Irene's side that live within a very short distance from our house. It had been a while since we had a cookout with everyone, so it was decided that this evening would be the night, and our house was the place. The food started arriving this afternoon and it was my job to get it going on the grill. Everybody brought something to throw on. It was a a big spread of meats: Ribs, country style ribs, hot links, hamburgers, hot dogs, and polish sausage. I must have had twenty five thousand calories worth of meat on that grill. It was loaded up real good! It's family get-togethers like this that can really trip a calorie counter. I had a small lunch in anticipation of the cookout, so I knew I had over 800 calories ready for the meat. I forgot about the temptation of “picking” while preparing large quantities of food. Those ribs were begging me to cut a piece and enjoy their juicy goodness. I was so focused. I kept telling myself that I would have a plate when everyone was ready to eat and that was good enough to keep me at bay. I noticed something I had never noticed before. Every other cookout I've ever attended, it was all about the food. What are we having? When are we eating? How much will I get to eat? I've always been so focused on the food...but not tonight. I focused on conversation, I focused on visiting, I focused on enjoying the nice breeze on the patio, I focused on my iced tea and how good it was. And I enjoyed myself. Even after carefully preparing the ribs and all of the other meats on that grill, I wasn't that concerned with eating. I was enjoying myself visiting with family. For once in my life the food wasn't the most important thing to me. Come to thank of it, I was the one that finally said...”let's eat everybody”...But hey! The food was losing heat at that point! I made my plate very carefully. A hot link, a hamburger and a rib...No it's not the Atkins diet, but it sure looked like it. No bun for the burger, instead I dipped my burger and hot link in regular yellow mustard (yellow mustard is almost free by the way---very low in calories, but beware of honey mustard---Remember, not all mustards are created equal!). The rib had enough seasoning and sauce while cooking, so I didn't feel the need to add extra calories with barbecue sauce. I enjoyed my grilled meats at a very slow pace and it was good and all for about 650 calories! I survived a cookout, and one where I cooked all the meats! After everyone left, Irene, Courtney, and I headed for the walking trail. That mile is such a good workout for me at this weight. I sweat, my heart rate gets really high, and my legs burn. By the time I get back to the van I know I've worked out. As the weight drops it'll get easier and I'll increase my distance.

I'm really looking forward to getting back into the racquetball court with my racquetball partner, you might know him...his name is the wall. The wall never misses. The wall always returns my balls as quickly as I hit them. The wall never gets tired either. I don't follow the rules of racquetball, but I get the best workout ever just playing with the wall. The wall isn't even going to recognize me when we reunite soon. The last time I played with the wall was in August of 2004 when I was over 100 pounds lighter.

I was always apprehensive about working out in public. I finally have made myself get over it. After all, why am I embarrassed? At least I'm out here working on it! When I first started playing racquetball back in '04 I couldn't help but feel like a zoo animal on exhibit. The courts have a glass wall and people can see you in there as they walk by. They can even just stand there and watch you if they want. I would imagine parents walking by with their kids and saying things like...”Wow, check this one out...see Timmy, that's the unnaturally obese male couch potato in there...” I would imagine them reading a little info card in the bottom corner of the glass...”Hey dad, it says here that his natural habitat is a sofa, with a bag of chips, a remote, and a big glass of Coke Classic”...And the father would caution: “Don't get too close to the glass Timmy, if he misses the ball and comes back to hit that glass, it might break and he could get loose”. I know this is all in my head, I'm almost positive this never happened, and probably never will. If it does happen, I'll put on a good show...I'll make all kinds of noise! It'll be fun! Everybody has to start somewhere...ya know? Those people at the YMCA that look like they've been in fitness magazine shape their whole life, probably haven't...They started one day too. Just like me. Maybe not just like me, but still...They had to start somewhere! And so I refuse to allow myself to feel one bit of embarrassment when I start going to the YMCA to workout...I'll be there to do one thing and that's sweat baby, sweat!

I know there are big people like me that really don't care what anyone thinks of them. I was roommates during my comedy stay in Los Angeles with a guy who was as big or bigger than me, and he didn't care one bit. He would disrobe in front of everyone, it didn't matter to him one bit. He once took off everything and jumped onto a pool on TV. He didn't care about what the other people on the show thought of him and he didn't care about what people watching the show on TV thought of him. He was comfortable with himself no matter the size. I've never been comfortable with my size. I've always been aware of myself in public places. I never wanted to be “that fat guy”. That roommate by the way has lost a considerable amount of weight since then and is slowly getting it all off. And I'm sure that we are both losing the weight for similar reasons, the obvious health reasons are the biggest, but I'm also losing the weight because I don't want to be the fat guy everywhere I go. He didn't care. I admired that about him. Day 14 is history and I'm only two days away from stepping on the scale! I'm really looking forward to this weigh-in! If you too are losing weight—update us here! Comment with your progress! Thanks for reading and while you're here, click subscribe so you'll be notified with each new post.

Good Choices,
Sean

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 13 Big Fat Memories

Day 13

Big Fat Memories

The first time I remember being made fun of for being overweight was in the fourth grade. We were all made to weigh in PE class and I weighed the most. 186 Pounds. I was so embarrassed and Mr. Hayes made no attempt to keep our weight confidential. The name calling I started to receive was very painful. Mr. Hayes didn't seem to notice, in fact he would make things difficult most of the time. I didn't like taking my shirt off in front of people, and Mr. Hayes knew it! But during basketball practice for the 3rd and 4th grade basketball team he decided that we would play shirts Vs. skins. Skins had to play without a shirt. I remember hoping and praying that he would put me on the shirts team, but of course Mr. Sensitive said...”Anderson! Skins”. There was absolutely no way I was playing without my shirt. Already the kids teased me by saying that I needed to wear a bra, and now I have to show them my big boy breast? Uh, no...not happening. I made a decision at that point to walk away from practice. I left the building without saying a word, walked home, made myself a sandwich, and watched TV. I was no longer on the team. This was the first of many instances throughout my childhood where my weight made things bad. I eventually became a class clown and pretended that the teasing didn't bother me. If I made the class laugh, even if it was at my expense, I was being accepted and liked I thought. But when the teasing turned into bullying, I decided I didn't want to be there. I gave my mom so much trouble about going to school it's a wonder how I ever made it out of my elementary years on schedule. Back then I was the only fat kid in school. Seriously, I was the one and only. Sadly, that's not the case these days. Every time I drive by a school playground I wonder how many kids are out there going through what I did as an overweight kid.

As a young adult I used my sense of humor to shield my true feelings about my weight. My heroes were John Candy and John Goodman, and they were pretty cool characters. Everybody likes the funny fat guy! So I became one. I think this self-acceptance as the big funny guy has contributed significantly to me stay fat all these years. I'll always have my sense of humor and I don't have to rely on my weight to have it! I can always be just the funny guy, instead of the big funny guy. I can't wait to get to know the trim and fit Sean, the Sean that is more outgoing and energetic, the Sean that's been hiding inside me all these years.

As an adult the bullying has stopped and aside from the occasional friendly fun-loving jab here and there, the teasing has stopped. But the social effects and occasional discrimination that comes from being overweight never cease. The following is probably the worst example of fat discrimination I've ever been through. Back in 1994 I was sending out air-check tapes to stations around the region . First off let me say, in radio—a good air-check can trump anything on your resume. The bottom line: How do you sound on the air? I was very excited when a program director of a big station in a decent sized city called after listening to my tape. We talked for ten or fifteen minutes and right there on the phone, without ever meeting me face to face, I was hired. We loaded up the station wagon and a u-haul trailer and I was moving the family to Ft. Smith where a full time salaried position waited my arrival. I remember listening to the station as we got closer and getting so excited. It was a great sounding station and I was on my way to be a part of it. When we got to town we checked into a motel and immediately started looking for a place to live in the classifieds. The next day I left Irene and the girls in the motel room and drove to the studios. When I met the PD face to face I knew something was wrong. He acted very strange...certainly not the same guy I talked to on the phone. He didn't seem real excited to see me and I didn't understand why at first. Then he started introducing me to the air-staff. This was a big country station and everyone on the air had one thing in common: They looked good in Wranglers and boots. I couldn't believe it, everyone looked like they were aspiring country artist. Everyone played the part and I felt so out of place. I was a big fan of country music and could be a good country disc jockey, but I didn't own a pair of Wranglers, and if I did they weren't going to look good, I promise! I trained that night with my replacement knowing that the very next night I would be on my own. Everything went fine until the next day. When I showed up I was immediately approached by the PD, he said he needed to talk to me in his office. He told me that the guy that was leaving had changed his mind. I thought to myself, “Really? You mean the guy that told me last night that he couldn't be happier that he was leaving?”. Wow, I wonder what changed his mind? He went on to tell me that he was very sorry, but he would be more than happy to keep me on as a part-time weekend announcer for an hourly wage. I was horrified. My wife and kids were sitting in a motel room that we couldn't afford and we were searching for a place to live, that I suddenly wouldn't be able to pay for on a part time weekend announcer wage. I couldn't believe my ears. I sat outside in the car for a long time before I drove back to the motel in downtown Ft. Smith. I knew exactly what had happened. I didn't fit the image of the station. I was too fat. I certainly wasn't the Wranglers, boots, and cowboy hat wearin' type they wanted. I guess my tape must have sounded like I was a real cowboy. If I had been thin, I could've dressed the part, but I wasn't...it wasn't me. And I bet that PD has never hired anyone site un-seen since.

I tell these stories not because I want sympathy, I don't. In fact I've laughed about the Ft. Smith situation many times since. I remember and share these stories because it helps me “want it” even more. I want it now more than ever. I believe you have to want it really bad to make it through. Recalling these memories isn't really painful, they just add fuel to my desire to end my battle with obesity once and for all, and I'm doing that now one day at a time.
We had a fantastic meal tonight. Marinated and grilled lemon pepper chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. It had some amazing flavor with an entire plate calorie count of only 460. That's awesome! Now we're off to the walking trail for another mile. A very nice Day 13 in the books.

Good Choices,
Sean

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 12 Cravings And Calendars

Day 12

Cravings and Calendars

I’ve already noticed subtle differences after 12 days. I have to tighten my belt a couple of notches before I walk at night or my pants will fall down! Only 12 days and I’m starting to feel better and my pants are getting a noticeably loose. The first couple of weeks can be a really tough time. Staying focused and on track 100% is absolutely necessary. When Tuesday rolls around and I get to weigh, that will be a positive boost to carry me through to the next weigh day. It is a daily struggle. Even with all that is on the line, it can still be extremely challenging every day. Someone said to me today “You make it sound so easy!” Well, I can assure you it’s not easy. If you’ve made the choice to do this too, then you know about the difficulty I’m talking about. Changing bad eating habits that I’ve had for my entire adult life isn’t something that just changes over night. I still have stray thoughts about food. Yes, stray thoughts! You know what I mean about stray thoughts…cravings. Most people call them cravings. Every now and then I get cravings for all kinds of things. I’m not hungry, I just long for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese out of the clear blue. And one of these evenings when I have 740 calories left for dinner I may have a Quarter Pounder with Cheese (510 calories) and a small McDonalds French Fry (230 calories). But cravings normally don’t come around meal times. They come whenever they want regardless of the time of day or where you are. The good news is: They usually pass within minutes. That’s what I’ve noticed anyway. The more ammunition you have to fight the “stray thoughts” the better and the quicker they pass. My ammunition is in the form of my motivating thoughts and my calorie count for the day. Can I afford a 260 calorie candy bar? Maybe, but do I want to sacrifice a bigger dinner later to have it? No, probably not. Usually that’s all I need to overcome these cravings. Having some low calorie alternatives on hand is always a good idea. Occasionally I like a nice big dill pickle. And guess what? It’s like 15 or 20 calories for a decent sized pickle! I’m buying a big jar of these pronto! The good news is this does get easier the longer I do it.

I get excited when I think about the future. I like to look at the calendar and think about where I should be by certain dates. I can remember filling out a calendar with goal weights marked all the way through an entire year and I remember how depressing it was when I would fall off the wagon, then be stuck staring at those un-met goals on the calendar. “Wow, I would be 150 pounds lighter if I would have stayed on track”…And that brings me to another good point. The clock is always ticking, slowly counting each day, and eventually it will be late September 2009. And it’ll be late September 2009 no matter if I stay on track or not. Time doesn’t care if I do this or not, it’ll keep going regardless. I don’t ever want to have that sick feeling again of looking at a weight loss goal calendar of a failed attempt. I just have to remember…One day at a time…put one foot in front of the other…baby steps.

It really thrills me that so many people are reading this blog and finding personal strength to jump on board and make a difference in their lives. The reason I started this blog in the first place was to keep myself on track and 100% accountable to family, my friends, and me every single day. It’s doing that very well, but it’s also inspiring others to do the same, and that is awesome. I feel so guilty that I didn’t get busy and do this while my oldest daughter was still at home. I could’ve helped her lose her excess weight everyday at home. But she’s reading this blog everyday from her new home at SWOSU, and she’s committed herself to working out and eating less. She’s already lost a good amount of weight and will continue doing great! I’m very proud of you Amber! Keep it up, and if you ever need reinforcement strength you just call me! So I can still help her even if she’s away at school. That’s very nice. If you’re doing this too, I invite you to talk about your personal progress when you comment this blog entry. Let us know how it’s going!

Day 12 has been a fairly good day. I still have nearly 250 calories left and I think I’ll enjoy a soft serve ice cream cone from McDonalds as a guiltless treat. It’s only 150 calories and that works great! If that sounds good to you too, just remember this: Not all soft serve cones are created equal. A small vanilla soft serve cone from Braums weighs in at 230 calories, and one of those small single dip frozen custard cones (made with 10% milk fat) can run anywhere from 300 to 400 calories, depending on scoop size! A double or triple dip custard: 600 to 1000 calories! My goodness…that’s crazy. A junior custard cone is at least 275! That’s still a bunch of calories.
I’m getting ready to head out to the walking trail and log another mile. I’ve made it a full mile three nights in a row. Soon I plan on making daily trips to the YMCA part of my schedule. Right now, walking is about all I feel comfortable with. I’m afraid if I get into that racquetball court right now I might over do it and hurt myself. It will not be long before I’m in the proper condition to get into that court and get my game on! Plus I plan on doing weight machine conditioning. They (YMCA) explained to me back in 2004 that low weight plus high reps will help burn fat and condition. Stephanie, please correct me if I’m wrong here! Then as I get closer to my goal I can start really lifting to gain muscle mass and form. Imagine that, me thinking about “form”. Very cool my friends.

Good Choices,
Sean

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 11 Footlongs and Daydreams

Day 11

Footlongs and Daydreams

I had Subway for dinner tonight. I felt just like Jared walking into the Subway and ordering that footlong black forest ham with no cheese and a very, very small strip of light mayo. I could've had the cheese, but I saved the calories for that small strip of light mayo. I actually had enough calories left to eat the whole thing, but I just couldn't do it. It's almost as if I don't trust the nutritional information at subway dot com. I know what it says, but man...that's a lot of sandwich for 600 calories! I did eat 2/3 of it and I still have 190 calories left for the day. What's funny about this Subway trip is that I've always had stand-up material on Jared and Subway. How thanks to Jared, every time I go to Subway, everyone looks at me like I'm next! I would go on to say that Jared has made it perfectly acceptable to eat a loaf of bread and a pound of cold cuts and still lose weight...”Hey Sean, is that another footlong? Good to see you're finally cutting down”. I would talk about my plan: The Pizza Hut diet. A large Pizza Hut pizza everyday and a two liter of Pepsi, and I bet I would still lose weight...And everyone would ask...”Sean, what's your secret?....”duh, THIN crust”. Big laugh, and goodnight, I'll be here all week. This tired old stand-up routine of mine has a lot of truth in it. You can lose weight on just about anything, BUT...is a diet with a limited variety of food or all of one food really teaching you to eat right? That's my biggest problem with Jared's plan. Eating a sub for lunch and dinner everyday helped him lose weight, and after USA Today broke the story, it made Jared a millionaire as a Subway spokesperson. But I don't think eating the same food everyday would teach me how to eat right once I had reached my goal. Of course Jared has had plenty of financial incentive to keep the weight off but I bet he really had to get a crash course on eating normal once his daily Subway trips were over.

Every now and then someone will ask me...”so, what diet are you on?” or “what are you doing to lose the weight?” I tell them I'm counting 1500 calories a day and exercising. And they accept that. But if I told them I'm on the “hamburger, fries, sour cream chicken enchilada, deep fried chicken nugget, footlong ham sandwich, oatmeal, taco, tostada, burrito, steak, baked potato with sour cream, mashed potato, corn, rice, ice cream, and birthday cake with butter cream frosting diet” they would think I was crazy. But I've had everything I just mentioned at some point during the last eleven days. That's the beauty of counting calories. Counting calories allows you to eat whatever you want while forcing you to make wise choices and having controlled portions. It's really helped me understand the definition of a serving. If I were eating a pre-packaged bar for breakfast and a couple of shakes a day I wouldn't be getting the same nutritional education and real world eating experience. I still have a lot to learn, and it's never boring! And I can't wait to weigh on Tuesday.

I actually found a scale today that said it had a capacity of 800 pounds. My wife had a doctors appointment today and I accompanied her back to the room. On the way back they stopped at the scale to weigh her. I noticed the scale said “800 pound capacity”...then the nurse said, “oh, it weighs everyone heavy”. What? This is a doctors office! Shouldn't you demand accuracy in just about everything? What does “weighs everyone heavy” mean? She said it adds about five pounds to everyone. Is it a video camera too? Well, forget that! I'm not weighing on a dishonest scale. I was still tempted to step on. But I didn't. I'll weigh on Day 16, this coming Tuesday as planned...And I'll be weighing on the same scales that weighed me on 09/16/08. Irene did have a good idea. She suggested I weigh on the “heavy” scales first, then weigh on the old reliable scales in Stillwater and see the difference. I'll do that. But I'd rather just find a scale that has a little more integrity. An honest scale, one that I don't have to subtract pounds from because it likes to “weigh heavy”. And the good news is, in not long, I'll be at a weight where I can easily weigh just about anywhere...and the YMCA has some good, honest scales!

I always carry with me my motivating thoughts. And if you're trying to lose weight too, you should always have a daydream ready to go. I daydream about what I will see when I look in the mirror someday. I daydream about buying clothes that look good, fit perfectly, and don't cost a bunch extra. I daydream about seeing people I haven't run into in years and them walking right by, not recognizing me. Maybe I didn't want to talk to them anyway...how convenient that will be! I daydream about flying on an airplane without any worry about the size of the seat, flying without hoping that they put me next to a really slender person, so I can bully away a third of their seat. Flying with my wife without her giving up all of her comfort because my elbow is embedded in her ribs (we've only flown together once in our lives, and that poor girl was squished most of the way—yet I don't remember her ever complaining about it---she loves me so much!) I day dream about getting into any vehicle without worrying if I'm going to fit. I daydream about going to an amusement park---and I don't even like rides---But I still daydream about going and riding on rides without being embarrassed because the bar can't “click”. But you know what daydreams motivate me most? Daydreams about growing old with my wonderful wife, daydreams about watching my kids grow into successful adults, daydreams about walking my daughters down the isle, daydreams about being there for my grandchildren, daydreams about seeing my family and friends getting in shape, being healthy, and living longer too. These are the daydreams and motivating thoughts that keep me going strong everyday. Soon those daydreams will become reality because I've decided they will. What do you daydream?

Good Choices,
Sean

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 10 Maintaining Focus

Day 10

Maintaining Focus

Early this afternoon I spoke with a friend of mine who was a tremendous positive influence on me as a child. He had shared with me that he'd been very sick recently. He informed me that his kidneys were failing and he's been on dialysis treatments for the last week and a half and will continue on dialysis three days a week, every week. I honestly didn't know what to say. “I'm very sorry to hear that”, just doesn't feel like enough. Although I had fell out of touch with my friend over the last fifteen years or so, I still felt a sadness as if I had been as close as possible all these years. Recently we did get to see each other and he watched me for the first time do stand-up. It meant so much to me that he and his wife made the trip and enjoyed the evening. I know that he will face this circumstance with the positive attitude and humor that I remember so fondly as a child. I told him that I would pray, and I have and will. I think the world of him.

After I got home from work I found out more upsetting news. My Aunt Violet is in intensive care at Stillwater Medical Center. Her heart is enlarged, she's on a ventilator, and the last I heard she's in a coma. I love her very much and this news was also very upsetting. I'm saying prayers for Aunt Violet tonight as well.

In the last ten days I've had a lot of fun with this blog. And there will be much more fun in the coming days, weeks, and months. But I couldn't write this blog tonight without mentioning these two very important people and the struggles they face this evening. My day to day struggles and experiences in losing weight are so minuscule in the overall big picture, however I believe that both my friend and Aunt Violet would want me to write tonight and keep it up. So I will. Because maintaining focus and staying on track during times like these is paramount to the overall success of this journey. I know that everyday will not be perfect. I know that facing everything that life throws our way and still maintaining our focus is crucial. It's crucial because I'm not doing this just to lose the weight. I'm doing this to change the way I handle food and exercise everyday for the rest of my life. I'm not saying that I'll count calories forever, but I'm teaching myself along the way how to eat...how to exercise...how to be healthier. I'm changing old habits into new positive habits, positive habits that will be with me through many days like today. And I will continue to learn these new ways of living. For me, depressing news can and often is as big of an eating trigger than anything. For some it has the opposite effect. I just know how I normally handle things. And I've always turned to food. Not today.

This morning I forgot to take my clean oatmeal bowl to work. I searched the radio station high and low for a Styrofoam replacement, but to no avail. So I figured that a disposable 16oz coffee cup would work just as well. Oatmeal in a cup. That was the plan. It appeared to be working, after a minute or two in the microwave I took it out and gave it a stir, then I put it back in. Then it erupted like a volcano. Hot strawberries and cream oatmeal blew up all over the inside of the microwave. So much for breakfast. I didn't like not giving my metabolism something to do this morning, so I gave it plenty of coffee and water. Then came the birthday cake. Ryan, the morning guy at the country station down the hall turned 35 today. And the company is very good in recognizing everyone's birthday with a card and a cake...So I knew, more than likely I would be faced with some celebratory eating. Since my breakfast blew up, I wasn't completely opposed to a very small piece, and when the cake arrived it appeared to be the whipped topping variety, still high in calories, but not as bad as butter cream frosting. Ryan started cutting the cake and I asked for a one inch by one inch piece. Not a corner piece, don't want all the icing...Just a very small couple of bites kinda piece. Maybe 100 calories worth I thought. I took one bite and realized it was the butter cream frosting after all! I took one more nibble (just to be sure), and threw the rest in the trash. I wished Ryan a happy birthday and removed myself from the cake area. I had lunch a short time later, so I knew I wasn't going to be hungry for too long. And I made it through the cake incident.

Last night was a very important night for me. Remember back on day 1 or 2, I talked about not being able to make it even a half a mile on the walking trail? Last night I walked an entire mile. It was not easy at all, but i did it! I had to stop a couple of times and breath, I had to slow down and pace myself, but I made it. I know I must have looked horrible trying to make it, because even Irene and Courtney told me it wouldn't be a bad thing if I took a short cut back to the van. But I just couldn't give up. I knew I could do it. And I did. Now, I'm going to go do it again. It gets easier right? Yes? Good. I know it will.

Good Choices,
Sean

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 9 Fat Free

Day 9

Fat Free

Wow, we’re almost in the double digits here! Very nice! Day 9 is coming to a close and I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going. Despite obstacles that normally send me spiraling out of control, I’m going strong! I’ve heard from so many friends and family that are doing the same thing and reading this blog everyday. Congratulations! That’s what this blog is all about. In one week I weigh in and I can’t wait! I already feel better and can already tell that I’m losing weight.
This morning I shared the web address of this blog with my morning show listeners. I’ve always been real personal on the air, but this was a new level of personal. And it was good! I started by saying that I wasn’t trying to sell anything or endorse any product. I simply wanted to share my daily progress on my weight loss. Usually when someone on the radio starts talking about losing weight and feeling great, you can be pretty sure that credit cards are accepted and an operator is waiting on the other end of a toll free number. But not this morning. Just me being very honest and real. It was a good thing.

Yesterday I shared a story about breaking a chair when sitting down for a big job interview. I just want to tell you, although it wasn’t very funny to me that day, it made me laugh out loud last night recalling the details. Two people have mentioned that story to me today and both friends expressed sympathy and sorrow for such a horrible experience, and I told them…”yes, it was horrible that day, but now---I laugh out loud remembering that interview”. I sincerely appreciate their feelings about it, but come on friends---That’s comedy gold! You know the old equation: Tragedy plus time equals comedy! It’s so very true.

I’m getting more and more calorie conscious as the days go by. What I mean is, I’m starting to remember the calorie counts of most things I like to eat. If I can’t find it on a label, I can find it on the web! I don’t like guessing! Accuracy is important to me, not only to make sure I don’t go over my limit, but to also make sure I don’t go under! Eat those calories! They don’t roll over to the next day! They’re yours for today and today only! Why is it important? Well, first of all, I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor, but I’ve studied enough information on metabolism to know that the metabolism needs fuel to work. If you don’t eat enough you might be slowing down your metabolism and that makes it harder to lose weight. Skipping breakfast is not a good idea. Giving the metabolism a wake up call every morning is something I do with real fruit flavored oatmeal. It’s real good and it’s real cheap! I can buy two workweeks worth of breakfast for two bucks. Twenty cents a day! That’s affordable! Somebody mentioned my consumption of non-dairy coffee creamer today. And yes, I use it every morning in my coffee. And I’ve never worried about those ten calories per teaspoon. Some things you shouldn’t give up! That’s the beauty of counting calories and exercising. You don’t have to sacrifice the things you love---You can have anything within reason. I don’t buy or consume fat-free stuff. Yuck! Are you kidding me? Fat free cheese should be against the law. The Fat Free boom in the United States has made billions for companies all over the world. I’ve never understood how something that taste so horrible can still sell! My philosophy on the whole Fat-Free subject is real simple: In most cases, I would rather have a small portion of the real thing, then a big portion of the fat-free version. I think it’s funny when companies put Fat-Free on the label of foods that have always been fat free! Marketing, marketing, marketing!

I’ve been drinking more and more water and flavored water. I still enjoy a diet soft drink from time to time, in fact Coke Zero is in our fridge right now. I don’t drink real pop anymore. That may sound contradictory to my last paragraph, but let me explain. Pop is just pure sugar. It’s empty calories that add way up over the course of a day. Does it taste better? Yes, yes it does. But it’s not worth the investment of my calories…ever. That’s just me. If you’re counting calories too and at the end of the day you have a couple of hundred calories left and you want to drink a can of Coke, that’s fine. I just can’t. I seriously would like to stop drinking even the diet sodas…Maybe I will in time. I always remember--one day at a time, and this was Day 9. Another successful day of losing weight and feeling great is in the books. Day 10, here we come!

Good Choices,
Sean

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 8 Stressful Triggers

Day 8

Stressful Triggers

Staying focused is sometimes a very difficult thing to do. Most of us know what our triggers are. Triggers are situations and circumstances that put us at our weakest point in terms of staying on track. My trigger is stress. Any and all stress. Job stress, financial stress, family stress. It all adds up to a big mess of stress. And I'm sure you've heard people say...”I'm an emotional eater”...aren't most of us? I'm not just an emotional eater, I'm also a celebratory eater and a spur of the moment craving eater, I'm a “ah, the heck with it, give me the double decker with extra cheese and bacon” eater. Identifying your triggers is important. What makes me feel the urge to eat a couple thousand calories in double cheeseburgers and ice cream? Stress. I identified this trigger several years ago. And for the longest time I've used that as an excuse not to get busy with this mission. “I'm just too stressed out to get started right now”...Or, after a successful couple of days, totally going nuts on a half gallon of tin roof sundae, then thinking...”I can't do this right now because things are just too stressful. So recently I had to ask myself: If I'm waiting to have a stress free life before I start losing this weight, will I ever start? The answer was no. We all have stress in some form. Stress is part of daily life for most people. Stress can be so many different things. So I realized that if I were waiting for my world to be completely perfect and stress free, then I would never, ever, ever start this. We have to adjust our strategy in the face of our triggers. We have to stop long enough to ask ourselves, will eating this really improve my situation? What can I do besides over-eat that will help me deal with this issue? I've turned to food for comfort for so long, that I know how incredibly difficult this can be. My smart and beautiful wife mentioned taking one day at a time in a comment she left on yesterdays blog, and you know what? She's so right. One day at a time I deal with cravings, one day at a time I deal with triggers, one day at a time I succeed. Eventually all of those “one day at a times” will add up to an amazing result.

I've talked about this tonight, because I've faced some pretty big triggers today. It was a very stressful Monday. The most stressful day out of the eight days so far. And you know what? I won. I identified the triggers, I knew I was staring them down, and I didn't blink. The right mindset can be a very tough opponent for stressful triggers. I keep remembering my motivating thoughts. It's always good to keep those motivators handy just in case you need them. I've stayed within my calorie allotment, I'm getting ready to work out, and tonight I will go to bed knowing that despite my challenges and stress today, I made it one more day. One day at a time! And seven more “one day at a times” and I get to weigh!! I can't wait!

One of the things I look forward to is being able to sit down anywhere I want without worrying about the stability of the chair underneath. I've mentioned before that my job has me sitting down most of the day, and over the years the stress has been just too much...on the chairs. I'm being completely honest with you when I say that I've broken or contributed to the destruction of at least six chairs in the several years I've been with Team Radio. I say “contributed to” because a couple actually broke when another employee (who was the lightest of everyone) sat in them. I was the first to say...”well, it's good to know that I'm not the only one that breaks chairs”...But I knew it was me that brought those chairs to the point of giving up.
There's nothing like the humiliation of sitting in a chair, feeling it give, and before you know it, you're on the floor in front of everyone. The company even paid a welder to come out and reinforce a couple of chairs. Oh, that's not embarrassing at all! I have to say that my current studio chair is the best I've ever had. The owner of Team Radio paid a bunch of money for it. It is rated to handle 500 pounds on a 24 hour a day schedule. It is a heavy duty chair! And it has a warranty guarantee...The deal is, if I break it, I have to be the one that takes it to the store for repairs. I think I could jump up and down on it and it would still hold. It's real nice. But it's not just the sturdiness of the chair that's important. It's the size. Chairs with narrow arms are horrible. I would really like to know the name of the company that manufactures those metal chairs with the extremely narrow armrest. You see them in many offices, along with me standing in the corner, because I know better than to even attempt to sit down. These chairs are a snug fit for normal size people! I have sat on the very edge of one before and boy is that uncomfortable! One of the worst sitting challenges I will not miss: fixed booths at restaurants. If you're of normal size you may not realize what I'm talking about, but if you're heavy, then you know that nothing spoils a fun night out like a restaurant with un-fat-friendly seating. I've squeezed into many a booth, and the whole time worried about the possible internal injuries I was causing. I've also walked into a restaurant, surveyed the dining room, and walked right back out. Formica lined row-a-booths are fat people traps and they should be outlawed!! There, I feel much better now. My worst chair story happened in the spring of 2003. I was living in Los Angeles at the time doing stand-up 100%. One day I ran across a part time on-air opening at Westwood One Radio Networks. A part-time job there would pay about or a little more than full time salaries anywhere else I had ever worked. So needless to say I was excited about winning over this network program director! I sent in my material and what do you know, he called me! He was seriously considering hiring me! Or he wouldn't have called right? I was thrilled. I would be on the air all over the nation! “This could be big”, I thought. The PD called me in for an interview the very next day. I drove to Valencia early to beat whatever traffic might get in the way, then after arriving an hour and a half early I took a long lunch at the Burger King down the road from Magic Mountain. When I finally arrived at Westwood One I was immediately given the grand tour of the facilities. Very nice. I mean, extremely nice studios. I was so impressed. The PD seemed very cool and I felt very comfortable, that is until I walked into his office for the interview. I noticed right away his guest chairs were not “fat friendly”. Extremely narrow arms and that wood and hot glued look. The PD took his chair behind his desk and told me to have a seat. I was afraid he was going to expect me to sit down! So I did...as lightly as I could on the very edge of the chair...and about point 2 seconds later the chair crumbled under my weight. I quickly caught myself from falling by grabbing his desk, but the chair wasn't so lucky. And niether were my chances of getting that job. After I broke one of his chairs, he invited me to sit in the other chair that WAS IDENTICAL to the one I just broke!!! I did, the same way as before, but this time with as much weight on my feet against the floor. Lucky for me the second chair somehow survived. My interview didn't. He never called me back. And I bet he tells that story to this day around the halls and studios of Westwood One Radio. Glad I could add some humor to their work place.

It will be so nice not to worry about where I'm going to rest my little behind. Yes, little. We're headed to the walking trail and then it's off to bed! Another successful day!

Good Choices,
Sean

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 7 Weekend Conquered

Day 7

Weekend Conquered

Today was a lazy Sunday around the Anderson household. I grilled lunch outside. Small hamburgers—about 250 calories each—plus a bun—110. With mustard and pickles it was well below 400 calories, and for an extra 120 calories---a serving of baked crinkle cut french fries. See, this calorie counting thing isn't that bad! It gets better...For dinner I made sour cream chicken enchiladas with chicken rice and southwestern corn. I know---two starches. Whatever—It's the calories that concern me. And it was good. We each had one enchilada on our plate, and the entire plate was only 460 calories! Normally I would have had at least three of those things, plus maybe chips and salsa. No chips, and two less enchiladas, and guess what? We were all fully satisfied. Portion control is so important and this meal proves that again. I have nearly 300 calories left for the day, Irene has at least that much, and Courtney has 200 left. So guess what were having after our vigorous walk? A Junior Banana Split from Sonic!
That's right, I said it! I looked it up at sonicdrivein.com, those little taste of paradise are only 180 calories!! And they're only 99 cents. See for yourself...just go there and click on nutrition at the bottom of the page. I love counting calories.

One thing that is so important is eating slow. I'm not normally the fastest eater, but I'm not the slowest either. A recent study showed that it takes twenty minutes for the stomach to realize it's full, I heard it on Paul Harvey News Saturday. Eating slower and enjoying every bite makes for a much more enjoyable meal and before you know it, a much smaller portion has made you full.
I'm going to try to stop mentioning 2004 in this blog. I think I did that enough yesterday. We can't change our past, but we can learn from the mistakes of the past and improve our lives now. That's what yesterdays blog was all about. So instead of 2004, I want to talk about 1985. It was bedlam in Stillwater,
I was 14 years old. OU and OSU were playing the Ice Bowl that night at Lewis Stadium, and the Anderson family was ready to go out for dinner while the entire town watched the game. I had been on a real good calorie counting diet. I had lost probably 20 pounds up until that point. Even at 14 I was trying to lose the weight. And I ate slow back then too! I remember eating a bean burrito from Taco Bell with a knife and fork! I also remember the night of the Ice Bowl in Stillwater, because it was that night that derailed me from losing weight at 14. We went to “Yer Mothers” restaurant on the strip in Stillwater. They had an unbelievable special: 99 cent Chicken Fried Steak Dinner. It was a big chicken fry, gravy, potatoes, toast...The whole deal for 99 cents. I couldn't resist. None of us could. I had one. And instead of getting back up and getting after it the next day, I just gave up. I had blew it completely. I threw away all that hard work over a 99 cent chicken fried steak dinner. The reality of it was, I went over my calories, but not enough to gain any weight...I probably wouldn't have lost any either that day, but it didn't have to end it all.

I'm really not worried about that now and you shouldn't either. But I learned a valuable lesson: If you happen to over-eat one day, don't throw all your hard work down the drain. Give yourself a good talkin' to, and get back on immediately. Not tomorrow...NOW. And perhaps go out and exercise extra. I haven't experienced an over-eating situation in these 7 days, and when you're completely focused and determined, you shouldn't have these instances, but...We all have holiday parties, family get-togethers, cook-outs, etc. And it can get very easy to over do it, especially when someone else is planning the menu. I'll keep thinking about my motivating thoughts and it will not be be a problem. You too, ok?

I made a trip to Wal-Mart this evening. Normally I drive around the parking lot until a space opens up as close as possible to the front doors. I've driven around that lot for ten minutes or more before, just to save a few extra steps. That's crazy! Today I found myself doing that exact same thing again! Old habits die hard huh? When I realized what I was doing, I immediately drove out to almost the Murphy Oil station and easily found a space. It was a nice little hike to the store, but really it wasn't that bad. We all have those moments when we know that it's time to really do something about losing weight and getting in shape. It's funny because one of mine happened just a couple of months ago in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I found a space not too far from the front doors that day, I got out at the same time a nice, little old lady was getting out of her vehicle. We were almost side by side. As we walked I noticed she was starting to get ahead of me! I was walking as fast as I could, and she was beating me!!! She was at least 80 years old and she had more spring in her step than me, a 36 year old man. I tried to catch her, and almost did, but as if she knew of the race I had created in my head, she accelerated as she approached the door, leaving me in her dust. “Wow”, I thought...”Did I just get beat by her?” Yes, yes I did. I don't remember what I was going to Wal-Mart for that day, but I'll never forget the realization that I really needed to do something soon. Oh, yeah, I remember...Ice cream and Coke-A-Cola. That's what I was after, and yes, even after getting beat by the nice older women, I still bought what I was after. Well, I did say “do something soon”. I've used the word soon way too much in my life. “I'm going to do that soon”...What is “soon”...How much time is “soon”. When does “soon” end? Not soon enough, I know that! My “soon” ended a week ago. Soon is here and NOW my friend.

Good Choices,
Sean

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 6 Learning From The Past

Day 6

Learning from the past

Today being the first Saturday of this mission, I knew it would be slightly more difficult. It really wasn't that bad at all. My determination is so rock solid at this point that I truly believe you could take me to a buffet restaurant and I would still eat within my calories. I had this same determination in 2004, but this time it's different. It's different because I've learned from the mistakes of 2004. I understand myself much better, and that understanding makes me stronger. It's like a football coach watching film of a game his team lost, then adjusting his strategy to win the next game. This is my next game, I've watched the film of the last one and I know exactly what went wrong. In case you're not familiar with the story, I'll tell ya: In March of 2004 we all got busy. Irene, Me, Courtney, and Amber were all on the wagon, supporting each other and exercising together everyday. We had family weigh-ins every two weeks. After a little over four months we had lost over 200 pounds collectively. I had lost 115. Then we went on vacation to Kansas City. We hadn't really discussed our strategy for calories during the trip until we were in the vehicle on the way out of town. We decided that calorie counting had no place on our little before school getaway. We decided for that four day period we would eat whatever we wanted. Well, we immediately found a bag full of goodies. Little Debbie snack cakes, Nutty Bars (my favorite), and high calorie soft drinks and chips filled us as we drove. When we arrived in KC, we immediately looked for a restaurant to really cut loose. We found one, I don't remember what the place was called, but I bet they remember me! We were on a tear. At the hotel they had a very nice complimentary breakfast full of all the bagels and cream cheese and donuts you could ever want. Our first night in the room, we ordered pizza as a fourth meal, or was it a fifth? Who was counting? Not me! We were livin' large and eating way too much every chance we had. Of course we told ourselves that when the trip was over, it was back to counting calories. But, here's where we messed up. The practice of counting calories is not something I plan on doing for the rest of my life. It's not really hard or anything like that, but I just wouldn't want to do it forever. Counting calories now is a way to lose the weight, but it also teaches us lessons on portion control. Sometimes we don't realize how many calories are in what we eat, but counting calories lets us know, not only the calories but the size. Counting calories teaches us how to make healthy choices while budgeting our calories. We didn't understand that part of the journey. We didn't understand that counting calories was suppose to teach us how to eat better, control portions, and not eat just for the sake of pigging out. It was suppose to teach us lessons in eating that we could carry on for the rest of our lives. Instead of recognizing these lessons, we acted like we had just been rescued from a deserted island and we were going to make up for all the food we didn't get before. When we got back home it was like we completely forgot about the plan. We stopped working out on a regular basis and started being dishonest about our calorie intake (I know I did) And once you start being dishonest with yourself, then it's all over. One day led to another and before you know it we were right back to eating whatever we wanted, as much as we wanted, and we didn't exercise. We would say...”hey, we have to get back on the wagon”...”yeah, let's start Monday”...and Monday we would continue our old ways.
We have a plan now. We have goals. We have watched the film so to speak of our past failure...We are determined. We are learning how to eat again.

My late Uncle Jimmy never had a weight problem that I know of. He was always very slim and he was never obsessed with food in the least. He use to say...”I eat to live, I don't live to eat”...I've always remembered that. I haven't really followed that way of thinking, but I remember!

Two people asked me today if I was going to share this blog with the listeners of my morning radio show. Wow, should I? I think I will. It is very personal though, but I've always been very personal, sincere, and real with my listeners. However, I've never revealed how much I weigh. Hmmm. I think I will share the address of this blog with them. If it helps one person with their struggle, then it will have been worth it.

Today was interesting. I had a couple of remote broadcast, the second being from noon to three pm. They were cooking out at this one...Hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, and everything to go with them. It was lunch time and I was ready to eat something, but I knew that I didn't want to spend too many calories. I decided I would check the calorie count on the packages they were using. I settled on a Bratwurst without the bun and mustard. 315 calories, and it was good and juicy. I ate it slow and enjoyed every bite. That's another thing we'll talk about soon. Eating slow is so important!

I'm going to go walk! Have a great day and thank you for your support!

Good Choices,
Sean

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 5 Goals

Day 5

Goals

I can't tell you how many times I've failed to set goals. And I say set goals, as in more than one. It would be too easy to just say I want to lose 300 pounds. But doesn't that sound a bit overwhelming? So, my goals are divided into 100 pound increments. Some would say make it 25 pound increments, but I like 100. It took me four months to lose 115 pounds back in 2004, and I was pretty much doing the same thing I am now, perhaps a little more intense exercise back then to start...as I've mentioned, it's much harder now than it was back then. But the key is to keep moving, and gradually building into a bigger better workout. If it takes me five or six months to lose the first 100 pounds, that's perfectly fine with me. My goal is 100 pounds every six months. If you need to lose only 100 pounds total, then perhaps four 25 pound goals would work best for you. I have to be careful when I reach the first 100 pound goal. In 2004 when I weighed in and realized that I had crossed the 100 pounds lost point, we all got together for a big meal at a nice restaurant. I bet you can guess the restaurant...Yep, Hideaway. We were celebrating Courtney's birthday, but I took full advantage of that occasion to gorge myself on mushrooms and pizza in some kind of food binge victory dance. You never see a marathon runner stopping after thirteen miles for cake and ice cream in the middle of the street! No way, they still have work to do. So I will celebrate my accomplishments when the time comes, but perhaps by buying some new clothes instead of a giant feast.

Speaking of feast, you know that in not long we will be right in the middle of holiday season. Before you know it Thanksgiving will be here. Ok, I'm not going to panic, I have a plan. Many times in the past I've allowed the holidays to derail me completely. Not anymore. On holidays and special celebrations I'll do two things: Add one thousand calories for that day AND double my workout. Walk two times instead of once that day. I'll still count the calories and keep a running total, but it will not be a pie and gravy free for all. An extra one thousand calories is plenty to enjoy the many taste of the season without losing control. Unlike years and decades, yes decades past, I'm not going to let the holidays trip me up this time. A smart and sensible controlled approach is all it takes.

I use to think about what I'm going to eat later, now I like to think about all of the things I will be able to wear and all the things I'll be able to do when the weight is off. It's really amazing at just how powerful a decision can be. Amber commented my Day 3 blog with some very real truths. If you can, go back and read it. She talked about mindset, and how it controls us, how our mindset can cause us to develop bad habits over time, but we can change those bad habits into good habits with the right mindset. It also talks about setting goals and pursuing these goals with passion. Complete determination is what it's all about. Getting into the proper mindset to finally do this is very tough sometimes if you let it be. I have a million excuses I could use to put this off for a while. I could say, “hey, I think after the holidays would be a better starting point”. I've actually said that before...Just last year in fact. The mindset I'm in now doesn't buy that baloney. The time is now.

I'm really looking forward to the clothes. I hate clothes shopping because I've never been able to do it without a trip to Oklahoma City or Tulsa to the Big and Tall store. Oh, and by the way---Why do all the big and tall catalogs use trim and neat looking models? The shirt “Fabio” is modeling is not going to look the same in 6XL I guarantee it! Every time I try on a shirt I think...”hmm, this doesn't look like the picture”...It never does. I can't wait to walk into a regular store, just a couple of minutes from my house and buy a pair of jeans. That will be amazing! These are my motivating thoughts. What are your motivating thoughts? I can't wait to tuck in! I've never been a tucker, because fat people don't like to tuck. In most cases it's just not flattering. If I have to tuck for something, it could be a deal breaker. I couldn't imagine actually wanting to tuck in my shirt. That would be so neat. Get it...neat. Cause I'm tucking...anyway.
I'm also looking forward to seeing people I haven't seen in years and watching as they do a quadruple take at the new me. On Day 1 I said “this is going to be fun”...and it really will be!

Today was another good day. Walked late afternoon, had a nice dinner at home with my wife and daughter, and I still have a couple of hundred calories left. There's a couple of Popsicles in the freezer with my name on them. And they're not sugar free!! They're the real McCoy...100% regular Popsicles---And they're still only 50 calories each! I thought they were 70, but I just read the package---50. Now that's a good choice.! Tomorrow will be Day 6 and the first weekend of this journey. Weekends can be a little challenging at times, because we get out of our weekday routines, but it will be great. I know there will be some will power test tomorrow and I'm prepared to face those test head on. Congratulations and thank you to everyone that has written and called me to tell me they are doing this with me! That means so much to me. We can do it! We will this time!!! Until tomorrow night,

Good Choices,
Sean

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 4 Fried Mushrooms And Ice Cream, Oh My!

Day 4

Fried Mushrooms and Ice Cream, Oh my!

Day 4 is coming to an end and with it another successful day of counting calories. Somebody asked me today if I write down everything I eat. No I don't. It's easy to remember, I have a running calorie count in my head all day. If you're trying to lose weight too, maybe writing everything down is good for you. I just prefer to cut down on the paperwork. After all, it's 1500 calories...three meals and a couple of snacks a day...Now if I were keeping track of my old eating habits I might want to carry a computer around to organize all the data, but not on 1500 calories. I'm kidding! I've never really consumed unnaturally large portions. Ok, there was that time at the Golden Corral that I ate enough for a small community, but they had just swiped nearly fifty bucks from me for the four of us to eat and I was determined to get our moneys worth in fried shrimp and steak. Contrary to what some might think, I don't always eat a big bunch of food. That's a common misconception about extremely obese people. Most fat people don't consume a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, a half dozen biscuits, and a half gallon of gravy for breakfast. Most of us just eat too much-too often, and lead a very inactive lifestyle. That's me! I'm sitting down most of the day trying to figure out what I'm going to eat later, and if I do get a workout it's usually a trip to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart and I have a love-hate relationship. I love the low prices everyday, but could they put the cheese and the ibuprofen a little closer together, and if I need something in automotive too, I'm gonna need to rest...that's a workout. So it's not record setting amounts of food in one sitting that has made me this big, it's consistently eating more than I need, more often, with very little physical activity.

Temptation is a very dangerous thing. If someone put an order of deep fried mushrooms from the Hideaway in front of me right now, wow...that would be a big temptation. I love those things. If a Braums Banana Split was offered I would have to fight the temptation really hard. But I firmly believe I could say no at this point. It doesn't mean I'll never have fried mushrooms or ice cream again, In fact I had ice cream just last night, it wasn't a banana split, it was a soft serve cone from McDonalds. I just can't allow myself to cut loose and pig out on anything, unless it's lettuce or celery or pickles. Yummy. I'm being sarcastic. The thing I love about calorie counting is: I can have just about anything in small portions.

When I'm faced with temptation I have to remember my long term goals. I have to remember what's at stake. And there isn't a food that's worth dying young over. Some might say...”Sean, just because you have an entire bowl of mushrooms and a banana split doesn't mean you've blown the entire thing”. I understand that way of thinking, but I also know myself. One bad decision leads to another, one bad choice can make me feel completely defeated, and oh well...I'll just start again Monday. Never mind that it might be Wednesday. I have to start on a Monday! Isn't that a weird way of thinking, but I don't think it's uncommon among people like me. I'm dealing with temptation by focusing on the future and all of the changes that will come with being healthier.

The walk tonight was noticeably easier. I know this is only day 4, but my pace was a little quicker. I didn't really walk any longer than before, just a little more brisk. My heart rate was coming up real good. Courtney agreed it felt better and easier. We had an early dinner today because Irene had to leave early, so by 4:45pm we were done with dinner. I just moved the afternoon snack to 9:15 and had a granola bar for 170 calories.

Another important element of this journey is drinking more water. I must increase my water intake. I drink coffee in the morning, then ice tea or diet soft drinks. But water is something special and we all know it! It increases your metabolism. It cleanses your body. It taste great! Ok, two out of three isn't bad. And good bottled water is mighty tasty when you want a nice cool drink. It's amazing, at work I have access to all the bottled water I can handle and it doesn't cost me a dime, but I'll still dig in my change tray to get enough together for a soda. That's changing. And with a flavor packet mixed in, it's like having kool-aid...so I can drink up!

I love it that my wife and daughters, and my mom, and other family members, and Rachel are all working on this together. If you are too, then great! Leave a comment or message and let me know how it's going. We can do this. We must do this. We will do this.

Good Choices,
Sean

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 3 Calorie Budgeting

Day 3

Calorie Budgeting

Day number 3 is almost in the books and there's no slowing down! There are so many diets out there that sometimes it's hard to decide what's best. This multi-billion dollar weight loss industry hopes that most people never figure out that it's really not that hard and their products are not at all necessary. Now I understand that some people have medical conditions that make them gain weight, or take medicine that make it almost impossible to lose weight. But for most people the solution doesn't cost anything other than your food budget, your time to exercise, and a choice to commit. We'll actually save money on our food budget. And yes we'll still eat out occasionally. I know someone who has spent hundreds of dollars on everything from Nutri-System to Alli to Slim Fast even some other really expensive pills they found on the shelves at Wal-Mart. They're still struggling with weight. For me it all comes down to calorie management. I get 1500 calories a day. I can use them in any way I want, but once they're gone, that's it. It really forces wise choices. I look at it like money. Every morning I have 1500 to spend and I need to make sure I have enough to make it through the day without running out before dinner.
If I have enough left over I'll treat myself to something I love. For instance: After Courtney and I finish our walk tonight I plan on having a soft serve cone from McDonalds. YES, McDonalds! After dinner I still have 300 calories remaining, and a soft serve cone from McDonalds is on average only 150 calories (McDonalds nutrition facts). I get to have ice cream and not feel guilty about it! That's the beauty of counting calories and exercising.

Today I had bananas and cream instant oatmeal for breakfast---140 calories, for lunch I went through the drive through...YES, Drive-through!!! At Wendy's I chose a small Chili (no cheese—I could have had cheese, but I decided not to spend the extra 40 calories) for 190 calories and a 5 piece chicken nugget—230 Calories. For two bucks I had a very satisfying meal, and it brought my total for the day to 560. At around 3:00pm I had a snack of a chocolate chip granola bar—170 calories. So heading into dinner I had consumed 730 calories. I still had 770 left. And I hadn't been hungry all day! For dinner I cooked a chicken breast, a half ear of corn, and a small baked potato with sour cream! Yes—Sour Cream! The Chicken was 250, the corn 70, and the small potato with sour cream was only 150. 470 calories for dinner is not bad. I was very satisfied, not stuffed, but full. So, 770 minus 470 is 300 and that's where I am right now. After a soft serve ice cream cone from McDonalds I'll still have 150 left, and I probably wont use them before bed. I could have had a mid-morning snack for 150 and it would have been perfect! For those that don't think a diet that includes the words sour cream and ice cream and drive-through don't work, just wait for my weigh-in updates. It's such a liberating way to lose weight. As with all weight loss plans, physical activity really speeds up the process, and right now all I can do is walk. But soon I'll be getting back to the YMCA and into a racquetball court! And back on those treadmills and bikes and back on those weight machines! I'm taking it real slow. I feel much worse now than four years ago, even though I'm only five pounds heavier than when I started in March 2004. Back then I immediately started working out at the YMCA and walking at least a mile. Last night I could barely make it a quarter mile. It just takes some time.

In the mail-box today I found two magazines. Living XL and King Size. King Size is a clothing catalog and Living XL is something a little different. Living XL is a specialty catalog featuring devices that help make an obese persons life a little easier. They have heavy duty chairs, scales that go to 1000 pounds, patio furniture guaranteed not to break, all kinds of extenders, and even a device that helps one clean their behind. I'm not kidding. Everything an overweight person could use to make day to day life easier. I've never ordered anything from them, and I never will. If I did I would feel like I was settling on this size. Anyone that knows me might think I've settled already, having been over 400 pounds almost my entire adult life, but I haven't. I've always wanted to lose the weight, I've always dreamed of what it would be like to sit in any chair without fear of it breaking, to go to an amusement park with my kids and fit on every ride, or to just go to a restaurant without worrying if they'll have “fat friendly” seating. So why haven't I done it? I'm hoping my psychology major daughter will figure that out for me, because it is deeply psychological. But I know one thing, a decision can be a very powerful thing. A solid “enough” decision can trump psychological road blocks any day. And excuses don't stand a chance. Let's make this the time we did something special, let's make this a stand once and for all...And this time there's no stopping half way...We're driving this bus without a reverse gear!

This blog is my way of keeping myself motivated, holding myself accountable, and staying on track all the way. I believe it will make a difference for me, my beautiful daughters, and my amazing wife. It if it helps you in any way, then that's a bonus! Thank you for reading and giving me your support.

Good Choices,
Sean

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 2 Weigh Day

Day 2

Weigh Day

Today I faced the scale. I normally avoid scales. I don't run away from them, I just avoid them. You know how some people get all excited when they see a scale at a theme park or in a bank lobby? I'm not one of those. Some people will even dig for a quarter just to see what they weigh. Pay to weigh? That's crazy talk. Even at the doctors office I'll refuse to weigh, well, not refuse really, but you see most scales can't weigh me at my present weight. So I always just tell the nurse my weight. And I always guess, and I always guess low. Ok, I lie. Who hasn't ever told a little white one about their weight? Seriously! But in order to be true to myself I had to travel to Stillwater and climb onto the heavy duty scales at the Payne County Health Department. Believe it or not, I can't find a scale to weigh me anywhere around here. Someone once suggested that I weigh at the farmers co-op! The co-op! Where they weigh truck loads of grain and large animals!! You don't even get to go inside to weigh at the co-op. You just walk onto the platform built into the ground outside, where everyone can see you standing there getting weighed while a truck load of pigs wait their turn. No way will I ever do that. I was even told some time ago that the post-office might be able to weigh me, because “they weigh tons of mail down there”. Facing the truth on a highly precise heavy duty digital scale is a tough but absolute necessary thing for me. I need to know where I'm starting. Some people say they don't need to know, I do. I don't want to guess how much I've lost, I want to know for sure.
So I made the forty minute drive to Stillwater, walked in, and quietly walked back to the scale in the hallway. People were down there. I guarantee they'll try to glance at my weight. It's a big digital readout and most people are naturally curious. I guess it really doesn't bother me, as long as they don't start placing bets before I step on. I ignored them and stepped onto the scale. On March 15th, 2004 I weighed exactly 500 pounds, then in four months I lost 115, down to 385. Today, more than four years later, I've gained every bit of that loss back plus five pounds. Today I weighed 505. More than a quarter ton. How do I walk around? I must have a bone structure and muscle build of a world class athlete underneath all of this. I'm very blessed to still be able to function normally while carrying around 505 pounds. It is much harder than four years ago. Now at 36 I need to get it done, get it off, and start living.

Calorie counting was very easy today, I think I still have a hundred or so left, but it's way too late to eat anything. We also walked tonight. Irene, Courtney, and I walked at the trail. They walked a mile, I walked as far as I could in one stretch...maybe a half a mile, perhaps even less. Probably less. A quarter mile? Wow...After I lost that 115 pounds four years ago, I could easily walk three miles without stopping to rest, now after a quarter mile I'm hurting and breathing really hard. I'll get it back, it'll just take some time.

Day 2 was a success. I'm very happy about this. This blog is my way of staying motivated and holding myself accountable. I always thought that it was best to NOT say anything when you tried to do something like this, because if you failed no one would be the wiser, but I was wrong. I think it's best to get it out there, because it forces accountability. I can't afford to fail this time. At 505 pounds and 36 years old I could seriously drop dead any minute. That's exactly what the doctor told me not too long ago, saying “if you left this office and collapsed on the pavement, we wouldn't be one bit surprised”. That's pretty powerful words from a doctor, but even then, I'm just now on Day 2. The doctor told me that on June 10th. That's how hard it is to get mentally “right” to do this. It's all about choices. Choosing to do this will have tremendously positive consequences, choosing to ignore the problem will have tragic consequences. I'm writing this for me, for my wife and daughters, and for anyone else that may be facing a similar journey. If you are and you're the least bit inspired to keep it up, then that's awesome. If you're not facing the battle of losing weight, but you smiled or laughed at any point along the way, well that's awesome too.

Good choices,
Sean

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 1 Calorie Wars

Day 1

Calorie Wars

Today was the all important day #1 of a long hard battle. Losing weight is something that I've always known how to do, but just didn't do. Oh yeah, I did lose 115 pounds back in 2004--But I gained it all back and then some. And honestly, I think my family is tired of hearing "someday". I know I am.

I also know that losing weight and being healthy and looking good will have tremendously positive effects on every aspect of my life. I've always known that. I firmly believe that I've allowed my weight to hold me back in my career, and more importantly: It's held my family back from fully enjoying life. That's pretty big stuff.
I'm writing this blog as a self-motivation tool. I need to write, I need to express my feelings and experiences, I need to continually remind myself of what I need to do and keep doing. That's what this blog is all about. If you read this blog and have a laugh or feel inspired to lose weight too, then it's all the better! But I'm doing it for me. And by doing it for me, I'm also doing it for my beautiful wife and two daughters. How important is it that I lose the weight now? Well...every now and then I day dream a nightmare where I envision my family at my funeral. I know...it's dark! And very scary. But every time I have a little pain I wonder, is this it? Am I about to collapse? Will my funeral be Thursday?? That's very depressing and scary stuff. But when you're as big as I am, it's something that you have to think about all the time. Again, the question comes: Then why is it so hard to lose the weight? Well, it's hard because there are so many psychological factors that play a part in our daily choices. I eat because it taste good...I eat because I'm stressed out over something...I eat because "we're celebrating"...I eat because it's much easier to eat whatever you want than count calories and make healthy choices. I never exercise on purpose because it's way easier to not. But all of this must change. I convinced myself that my eating and lack of exercise was controlled by my stress level and emotions. So surely I can convince myself that despite a high stress life, I can still eat less and workout. And that's exactly how to lose weight. Eat less and work out. I don't want a surgery or a lapband or anything other than complete control of myself.

This is all about making choices. Every choice we make has a consequence...some good, some bad...Some real good, Some very, very bad. Choices and consequences, that's what it's all about.
So what am I doing? I'm choosing 1500 calories a day and exercise. I've proven this combination works for me (see 2004 reference above). Tomorrow I weigh. I'm really scared at what I might weigh. I guarantee it'll be more than you think. But one thing I promise in this blog...I'll put it all out there...As much as it might be embarrassing to announce my weight tomorrow night, I will. I have to...because I must make myself accountable. I know it will be over 500 pounds...It will for sure. I'll report on my weigh in tomorrow night.

Today was day 1. A successful day 1. I even turned down fresh baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies! Ya see my bank has cookie days every Monday and Friday...so naturally I do all my banking on those days, because even though you're suppose to come inside to get the free cookies, they know me so well, that they will send them through the tube in the drive-through. Today was cookie day, and without my asking, they sent me some cookies with my cash. It was a test! I politely declined the cookies and pushed the button jetting them back to the teller. I explained to a shocked panel of tellers that I was trying to count calories, and although I can have 1500 a day, I couldn't waste 250 on that delicious little cookie. Day 1 and already a test of will power. This is gonna be fun.

I look forward to this blog. I believe it will help me stay on track and maybe along the way it will inspire someone else to stay on track.

Good choices,
Sean





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