Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 266 Forgetting Time and A Passionate Response To Expert Advice

Day 266

Forgetting Time and A Passionate Response To Expert Advice

I failed to even notice that yesterday was exactly 100 days shy of one year on this journey. Wow, we're moving right along! One thing that helps me is not worrying about time. I've written about this many times. I use to worry about how long it would take me to lose down to my ultimate goal, just thinking about the time commitment needed was always enough to discourage me. And when I would become discouraged I would fail. More time would pass, then I would notice a calendar months later and feel bad because I knew that if I would have just stuck with it back then, I would have made some amazing progress. Not worrying about time is something I knew I needed to embrace on this journey. At the same time, I've had to be very careful not to allow myself to rationalize bad choices because, “hey I'm not worried about how long this takes!” My goal everyday is to make good choices with my food consumption and exercise. So far I've done just that. And all along the pages of the calendar have been turning. I'm pleased with the amazing progress in a relatively short period of time.

Recently while reading another weight loss blog, I noticed a couple of different experts giving advice to a young man who is on a mission to lose even more weight than me. First of all let me say this: I'm not an expert, I've said this many times. I also respect the opinions of people who have studied nutrition and fitness. However, I found it really hard to read some of the advice that was being given on that blog. And here's why: As a nutrition expert you may know exactly the best foods to recommend. But telling someone like me at 505 and this young man at nearly 600 pounds (he was over 630 when he started) to get rid of most everything we've enjoyed eating and immediately go out and buy only certain foods, in my opinion, is a recipe for failure. You're proving the science of it if they stick with it, but you're forgetting about the psychological element. Sure, if he eats only what you recommend he will lose weight and be healthier. But, what happens later? What happens when he realizes that he never learned how to eat anything else in a responsible way? I read a comment on this young man's blog that ordered: “the waffles and cream cheese have got to go.” Really? Completely? Never eat another waffle again? And cream cheese? I've enjoyed both on several occasions along this journey and I'm doing fantastic. Eating better and making healthier choices must evolve along the way. It's something that happens naturally. You shouldn't force it. You shouldn't throw away everything in your kitchen and go out and buy a bunch of stuff you wouldn't normally eat. That's the fastest way to feel deprived and that's a feeling that leads so many off the wagon. That's why I always say, keep it simple! Eat less and exercise more. Eat what you like, but do it with knowledge about calories, and limit your intake to a certain level, I've chosen 1,500. My choices often hinge on one question: Is this a good calorie value for me right now? The better choices come naturally. Early on this journey a typical snack for me was often a little 110 calorie bag of Funyuns. Now, it's apple slices marinated in lemon juice or a banana. I just had some turkey with mustard on a slice of light sourdough. That's a little better than a typical snack I might have had early on. The thing is, many people ask for this kind of food advice. I have no idea, the young man may have done that. “Just tell me what to eat and I'll eat it.” Listen, I'm pretty passionate about this as you can tell. I've been there, I know the pitfalls that exist in trying to lose weight, this is not my first ride down this road. I've analyzed my past failures and scrutinized my periods of success. I've taken those periods of success and analyzed why they were not permanent. What I'm doing and have been doing the last 266 days is the result. This is important to remember: You can't change a lifetime of horrible eating behaviors by cleaning out the pantry and fridge and replacing everything with healthy stuff. If you do that, you're deciding not to deal with those behaviors, rather just forget about them and hope they never come back. There isn't a favorite food of mine that I can't enjoy in a new responsible way. My behaviors with food have changed dramatically and without ever making a special trip for a cart full of recommended items. Keep it simple. Eat less and exercise more. Then, as you lose weight successfully, your eating habits and choices will naturally improve. Perhaps you decide at a certain point to incorporate certain recommended foods to optimize your performance. But it should never be a “all at once, here's what you're eating now” type of deal. A friend of mine, Melissa Walden, is a fitness and life coach. She studied at The Cooper Institute in Dallas. I keep remembering her response to a question at a “Lose To Win” seminar. The question was from someone just starting out and it was all about the carbs and fat grams and other food stats. Melissa told her the best thing for her to do at this point was “keep it simple,” by focusing on calories only and getting that exercise! Melissa went on to say exactly what I've said all along: When you have been doing wonderful for awhile, that's when you can decide to focus on fine tuning your daily intake. For me, I plan on getting into some really intense weight training. I want muscles! I know that I will need to give my body more than 1,500 calories a day while I'm weight training. My plan will adjust accordingly at that time. I've been shedding the excess fat very successfully so far, I've still a hundred pounds to go, and now I can start fine tuning my routine.

The preceding was simply my opinion. If I were still sitting at 505, you might not take it too seriously, but I'm at 332 at last check and the next weigh day is this Wednesday on Day 269. I really want to see this young man I mentioned above succeed. I'm rooting for him all the way. I just couldn't help myself. I had to say something. If he reads it or not, I may never know, but at least I said it. Take it for what it's worth. I don't know what these nutrition experts will think of this advice, because like I've said before, it's hard to teach someone something when they already know it all. But I feel like it would be hard for anyone with common sense to not understand the message I'm communicating. I don't know it all, but through my success and failures at losing weight, these are the truths I've learned. I feel like I've been taught through experience and I've discovered the reasons why I could never get it right before. It's like finding a large diamond that was never really hidden in the first place. I just wasn't looking until now.

We're headed out for a Sunday night 10K walk. Earlier we were at the lake for a picnic and swim. I chose to avoid the sun and not swim. I can't stand sunburns. But I did miss the exercise. Our late night swim last night was a fantastic workout. I'll be pacing myself on this 10K tonight, but maybe on that last mile I'll open it up again for an all out forty yard sprint! I loved the way it felt. I'm sure it was really slow, but to me it felt like I was flying. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,


  1. I couldn't agree more! For me... the key to succeeding at my weight loss this time is moderation... not deprivation. I'm learning how to eat for the first time in my life. I'm practicing portion control... and no food is off limits.

    That being said... I'm finding that the longer I'm on this "journey," the less I want my old favorite, not-so-healthy foods. I'm eating more fruits and veggies than ever... and less junk than ever... and I'm loving every minute of it!

    This really is a lifestyle change for me this time. And that's making all the difference in the world.

  2. While reading your blog, I kept thinking about I Corinthians 10:23, which says "all things are allowed but all things are not profitable". Now I know that the scripture wasn't necessarily talking about *food* but I think it applies. I CAN eat anything I choose and work it into my day. But I find that I am making better choices, finding foods that are more "profitable" along the way, just like you said in today's post. Anyway, just thought I'd share that. Great post, as always! I agree with you 100%.

  3. Great post Sean. You are so right. I really don't believe there is a "diet program" out there that deals with the emotional and psychological changes necessary for successful weight loss. WW tries, but there is still too much emphasis (if you ask me) on eating "diet" food. Tonight I refused a bourbon and coke from my father-in-law. I had to refuse twice and finally say "I am not drinking alcohol, thanks anyway." I'm not drinking because it messes with my blood sugar, which I am desperately trying to control without medication. And because I wasn't going to waste calories on that. It's all about the choices we make and learning to stand up for ourselves. You are just an awesome example and I pray for your success everyday--not just for your benefit, or Irene or the girls, but for all of the people you will impact (and already do) when you reach your goal and stay there forever.

  4. Hey Sean,

    I read your post. :-)

    It's true, different strokes for different folks. We are all unique. We have to figure out what works for us. I'm happy if I'm losing weight and I have good stats at my yearly checkup (cholesterol levels, bp, etc.)

    Here's a good video (from about food psycology that, in a way, covers what your talking about. The person in the video basically says to slowly integrate healthier items in your diet. Here's the link:

    You may have to copy and paste the above link for it to work.

    I've decided that slowly integrating healthier items in my diet is what I'm going to do. But, if I get tired of let's say oatmeal every morning, I will go back to eating waffles with cream cheese and honey.

    I hope you have a great week.

    Thank you for the post.

    Stephen Vinson

  5. I agree with Bonnie agreeing with you and I agree with you Sean! Perhaps Overeaters Anonymous deals with the psychologicals of being overweight but obesity, underweight, overweight, weight issues in general aren't their focus so it's a bit short-handed for most of us. I hope to one day be one of those people who can eat the desired foods in moderation...a taste or one serving...two TOPS and that's it, instead of the entire bag or half the package! I know I can't do it now because even as I was typing that last sentence the visual image of bags of chips or nachos or a package of cookies popped into my head and I had a sudden mini-urge to tell myself ooooo, you can stop by the store on the way home and get that and have it finished before you pick up Yo'! Mine is truly a Battle of the Mind (eventually I'm gonna read that book by Joyce Meyers "Battlefied of the Mind)! I have to fight back an urge at least 4 times a day, especially if I'm already out and about and a poor food choice is just a left or right turn away!

    Your statement, " ...just thinking about the time commitment needed was always enough to discourage me. And when I would become discouraged I would fail. More time would pass, then I would notice a calendar months later and feel bad because I knew that if I would have just stuck with it back then, I would have made some amazing progress" seems like an exact twin of statements I've made or thought myself! Even during this new journey, I find myself thinking what life might be life had I stuck it out with one of the last attempts. Some things being changed or different would be fabulous, but others would be a disaster. So I say, c'est la vie, move on, and look forward to being abou 8 sizes smaller by November. I know I can do it...just need to add the DOG GONE EXERCISE!!!! I know I keep saying it but by the time I get home from work and my son gets his 10 cylinders going it's like..uuuugh.

    While my shopping lists are a lot different than they used to be I find it exciting to purchase healthier foods only and leave the junk and poor choices behind. It's not for everyone, but for me, it's what I have to do to stay the course. Otherwise, I'll have to start justifying why I didn't stop at 10 or 17 chips or crisps or 5 cookies. I don't want to justify anymore.

    Congrats on your continued success and looking forward to your weigh-in on Wednesday! Mine will be Saturday evening.

  6. Great always :)

    I love the attitude of not worrying about time. The results will come in time, and beating yourself up about what could have bee is a waste of time.

    I have tried cutting every food I thought I shouldn't be eating, and of course it did not work! All I could think about was that food. Moderation is the key.

    Have a great workout!

  7. Brilliant post - and so true, I like what Stephen says about slowly integrating healthier foods into the diet, that seems to have worked for me too.

    An all-or-nothing approach may work for some people, but not for many of us, especially for the long haul.


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