I had a wonderful blog planned. But I can't keep my eyes open to write. Very busy day and I'm beat silly. Day 293 will be written and posted after I grab some rest. I can't wait to write about some wonderful stories from today.
Several hours of sleep later:
Let Freedom Ring and “Wow” Reaction Overload
After hearing from many people concerning their dependence on over-shirts, I don't feel too strange in postponing my independence from them. Thank you for the support my friend! I felt very confident this morning getting dressed for the event, including a belt on these size 46 Levis! I'll never forget the horror of barely squeezing into size 64 on one shopping trip. There we were at the Big and Tall store, and those jeans were tight, real tight...in the largest size they carried! I remember thinking I'm just a few pounds from needing custom made clothing. It's so fun to realize that without a belt, I'd constantly be pulling up size 46 jeans! Could I wear a 44? Maybe, not sure, but I have some ready to go thanks to a friend of mine who no longer needed them because of his own weight loss success. I may try on the 44's tomorrow, no, I will try them on tomorrow! Before heading out, I checked myself in the mirror and was pleased with my appearance. Even more pleased when I put on a pair of sharp sunglasses given to me the day before. Yesterday, the sunglasses vendor came up to me and told me that he'd won so many prizes on my radio show, that he wanted to give me something for a change. He told me to come over and pick out any pair I wanted free of charge! I've never been a sunglasses kind of guy and I'll tell you why. They always looked funny on my fat face. Too much face always made the glasses look too small, like they were being stretched to fit my head. And when the only feature I liked on my 505 pound body was my eyes, why would I want to cover them up? They're all I got! Anyway, those days are over. I immediately made my way to the sunglasses tent like an excited child on Christmas morning. He had some really nice sunglasses! The pair I picked felt good on my face, and when he held up the mirror it was like I was looking at a stranger. For the first time in my adult life, I think I looked good in a pair of sunglasses, forget thinking, at the risk of sounding full of myself (you know I'm not), they looked really good. They fit my face wonderfully. This confident stride I'm walking feels amazing, just don't take away my over-shirt, not yet anyway.
The rain was falling at a constant-heavy pace when I arrived for day 2 of this big weekend event. I did a light jog/hurried walk from the parking lot to the covered entrance. Everyone was gathered there. I may have set a new record for “wow” reactions with four in a matter of ten minutes. My pharmacist was in line registering his classic car in the car show when he noticed me approaching. He sees me once a month usually, and usually it's from his pharmacy drive through window. He was really surprised at the difference. Then I made my way into the crowd gathered and ran into some more people I haven't ran into since weighing over 500 pounds. This nice lady struck up a conversation with me about my weight loss and as I talked her husband realized who I was. His face was priceless and what he said was very genuine and very cool. “I had no idea that was you until you started talking, wow you look incredible.” I replied “you were looking for that really big guy huh? Thank you, it feels incredible.” Completely unrecognizable, maybe not to everyone, but to this guy, who would normally see me once or twice a year, I was a stranger. These kind of encounters are a huge boost to my confidence and at an event like this, where I'm seeing and interacting with people I rarely see, they seem to happen over and over, and sometimes back to back. I literally turned around and heard “Oh my, look at you!” It was a very nice lady that is a regular listener of my show. The last time I saw her was at a car show a year ago. She couldn't believe the difference, and when I told her I still had 90 or so pounds to go, she said “you look great right now, you could just stay right where you are.” I thanked her for the compliment and told her that if I stopped now, it would be like running eighteen miles of a marathon and stopping without a good reason. She agreed and just kept giving the compliments...I must have said “thank you,” eight times.
Being an announcer is normally an extremely sedentary profession. Today would challenge that norm. With the rain, everything on the sound stage was covered and unusable until things had a chance to dry. So the casino gave me a bull horn just like Ty Pennington uses and asked that I walk the entire area making my announcements throughout at least the first part of the day. I don't know if I would have survived this at over 500 pounds. Seriously, this place is huge, and there were over 400 vehicles in the show stretched out over a gigantic parking lot. The walking required for the first half of the day was tiring to me in my present condition, I can't imagine what it would have been like in my old condition, but I'm pretty sure it would have involved an ambulance.
I enjoyed another buffalo burger for lunch, with one 5 ounce patty coming in at 280, I once again decided to leave off the bread for the sake of calorie management. A little later I ordered a roasted turkey leg. I had no idea how many calories it had, but it's turkey, couldn't be too bad. The turkey legs were huge. I enjoyed a quarter of it and offered the rest to a friend, they declined, and I tossed it. I later found out that 4 ounces weighs in at 180 calories. I counted it as 180, but I don't really think I even had that much. This food selection makes me sound like I'm on Atkins, and you know how I feel about that. I was just making the best calorie choices I could given the selection. I certainly wasn't going to spend nearly 500 calories on a super jumbo hot dog, or 1,500 to 2,000 on a giant fry bread creation known as the Indian Taco. I was happy with my protein rich/good calorie choice selections.
I did my first play-by-play of an eating competition! The hot wing eating contest was a bunch of fun. I thought it would be jaw dropping if they based the competition on “calories consumed” instead of total weight consumed in five minutes, but it was still stomach turning. The winner won a thousand dollars after consuming nearly five pounds of wings in five minutes. And these were habanero pepper sauced wings, super hot! It was fun describing the approach each contestant was taking and how they were so determined to ignore the pain involved in their pursuit of the prize money. I talked to one contestant afterward about his casual approach. Seriously, he looked as if he was savoring each and every one while the others were tearing through them like animals. He told me “I wasn't wanting to win, I was just hungry and I love hot wings.” I laughed hard. I was just happy that the EMT's didn't have to respond to anyone. And I had to announce “If you throw up anytime during or within one minute following the competition you will be disqualified.” Everyone survived without spewing, thank goodness!
It was during this competition that I was approached by someone in the crowd who said “I just wanted to tell you congratulations and you look amazing!” I don't know if one man deserves this many compliments in one day...but I wasn't stopping them. Imagine that: “Uh, are you about to give me a very nice compliment, I'm actually at my limit for the day, how does next Wednesday sound?” She didn't identify herself and I had no idea who she was, just a random “wow” reaction, and I was very appreciative. This could get addictive.
When the festivities ended and my job was finished, I knew I had completed a workout. I gave myself permission to not worry about an “official” workout at the trail or in the pool. My body was telling me that I'd been working out all day in what quickly became another 100 degree Oklahoma summer afternoon, and the day was far from over.
I left the casino and headed straight to Courtney. I had to pick her up and deliver her to the radio station so she could produce the remote broadcast our station was doing at the lake. I'm usually out there for this broadcast every year, but not this time. It was the perfect opportunity to attend the Fourth of July celebration in my hometown 45 miles south of here. As soon as Courtney wrapped up her job duties at 8pm, we were headed south. While she worked I tried to get an hour nap, but couldn't wind down enough to drift off. I was beat but unable to relax enough to sleep, and it's probably a good thing. Had I fell into a deep sleep, I don't think any amount of alarms could have woke me. Stillwater has an annual event called “Boomer Blast,” held at the lake, the event draws thousands every year for a fantastic fireworks display. We were early and hungry, so we stopped at Taco Mayo for some food. As we pulled in, another van pulled in behind us. It was my Uncle Keith, my mom, grandmother, and Aunt Kelli. I later learned of the conversation they were having as they pulled in. My mom asked “is that them?” and Keith, after spotting me in the drivers seat, declared “No, that's not them.” With the goatee and my dramatic weight loss, combined with the fact that I was wearing clothes that actually fit my new size, his first glance completely fooled him into thinking I was a stranger. Nice, very nice. After a quick greeting, they drove ahead to get a good parking space at the lake while we enjoyed our 160 calorie tacos. Keith asked me earlier on the phone if I was worried about not getting a good space if we dined first, and I told him we wouldn't have a problem walking a distance if needed. That's a big change from before, I guarantee!
We arrived at the event at the same time a thunderstorm was starting to postpone the event. With lightning striking all around, the civil defense was making announcements telling people to take shelter in their vehicles until the storm passed. When the rain started to come down in sheets, we had to run to the van. That's right, run. It felt good being able to do that. At over 500 pounds I just would have accepted the fact that I was going to get soaked. But I can run short distances now without any trouble. The display finally got underway forty-five minutes late and by 10:40pm it was over. But our Saturday wasn't over yet.
After the display we visited my cousin Rick and his family. I've known Rick's wife Kristen since we were in freshman algebra together. She's the web designer that has kept my seanboy.net site up all these years . They have a very nice property in the country with a private lake and plenty of room for blowing up fireworks. That's exactly what they were doing, just like they do every year on the fourth. They had a very nice private display and we enjoyed the brief visit. Their young daughter looked at me and said “you look very different.” And Rick was very surprised and impressed with the transformation so far. Uncle Bob was there too, and he said “you're almost looking as good as me.” And I told him “that's been my goal since day 1...to look as good as Uncle Bob.” We all laughed and enjoyed the moment. It was classic Uncle Bob, he's the greatest!
We arrived back in Ponca City at nearly 1 am. My plan was to go straight to the computer and write this very blog. My body had other plans. I started falling asleep after a couple of sentences and then made a decision I always hate to make. I decided my best plan was to sleep and then catch up the blog on Sunday. The consistency in my daily postings on this blog mirrors the consistency in my daily weight loss efforts. It's vitally important to my success, so I don't make the decision to just “do it later” unless I've left myself without the necessary energy to complete the task. That was the case. By the way, I know this is a long account of a busy Fourth of July, and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read. I thought a lot about the word “freedom” today. Freedom is a wonderful word with a wonderful meaning for those that are lucky enough to experience it. I give thanks to the ones we've lost in the name of freedom and I fully get the deeper meaning on that level. And now, as the weight comes off and my personal transformation continues to develop, I'm understanding a new kind of freedom. Freedom from obesity.
This is officially the longest post in this blog's history. Thanks for reading it all! Good Day and...
In the garage on the way to Stillwater. Giving the “cool” sunglasses look... ;) whatever!
Very different from the guy pictured here...