Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 380 A World of Support

Day 380

A World of Support

Tonight will be a short blog for a few reasons. First off, let me say that I sincerely appreciate all of the wonderful comments, e-mails, and messages sent my way today. Thank you for your support. I will return that support, even if I haven’t yet, I’m coming!

Our computer is infected and under quarantine at a location other than our house. I’m writing tonight’s blog from the radio station. Gayle is working on getting rid of the fake security program that has infiltrated our system, demanding that we pay 39.95 so we can be “protected.” It’s called “total security,” and it’s a scam pure and simple. I’m glad Gayle is a whiz at these things, because I haven’t a clue. This isn’t the first time she’s fixed our system. If not for her, we would just have to buy a new computer every four or five months, and that could get rather expensive.

My sister in law was told today that she has cancer. They found it in the thyroid tissue they removed the other day. The results of the cat scan confirmed it’s spread to her brain. She has a doctors appointment first thing in the morning in Oklahoma City. I’ll be taking a personal day to drive Irene and JoEllen to that doctor in the morning. Gayle will be doing my show.

I really hope the doctor gives her some kind of hope to hold onto. We’ll be there for her no matter the prognosis and treatment plan. She may need to move in with us for a while since she has become completely blind over the past several days, a result of the pressure on her brain. She’s younger than us, just too young to be experiencing this.

I need to get some rest. I’ve been consumed with this situation all evening. It just isn’t right. Thank you for the continued prayers. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,
Sean

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 379 The Candy Store of Non-Scale Victories

Day 379

The Candy Store of Non-Scale Victories

I've been doing a lot of celebrating lately. That doesn't mean 'food' like it did once upon a time, but I think some of my focus, OK, I know that some of my focus has suffered. This transformation has allowed me to experience things I once only dreamed of, and that's cool, but I mustn't forget, we've got work to do! As dramatic of a change I've had over the last 379 days, there's more to come, so I need not get too caught up where I am now.

It's like I hit the 200 pounds lost mark and went nuts! Think about it: I hit the 200 lost mark and then totally scrambled my schedule. I can't remember the last time I was at the YMCA. What about that consistent routine that brought me here? It's been replaced by a hectic routine of wearing size 40 pants, riding roller-coasters, and performing on stage. And don't get me wrong, all of this is good, more than good really...it's great! But I need to get back to the routine that brought me here because we've still got work to do.

I love the play I'm in. It is definitely something I needed to do. I'm so happy to be a part of it, but after the curtain falls on that final performance October 17th, you can bet that Sean here is getting back to basics. Through it all, my food and calorie budget has remained rock solid. At this point, that's a very easy part for me. And yes, I'm getting exercise in my current activities, but nothing like I need. The great thing about this? Time is my friend. And I'm able to recognize when I'm getting carried away with this newfound freedom. It's time to recognize that and make the adjustments necessary to proceed.

If I stopped losing weight and trying to get in shape today, just settled on the success I've found thus far, it would still be an amazing change. But I deserve more. I want more. This isn't the body I've always dreamed of, and I understand that perfection is a destination just past crazy, so I'm not trying to be perfect. I just know what this body is capable of---and this isn't all there is my friend. I can completely understand how some people can reach a point like this and completely settle. I feel great. I can sleep like a baby without the help of a CPAP machine. I can fit in a small car. I can wear jeans I haven't been able to wear since I was a kid. I can run up stairs. I can fit on any amusement ride you can show me. I can do all of that and more! Shoot, I can even take a picture, look at it, and think...wow, that's pretty good huh? So yes, I can see how easy it would be to settle. I will not settle. I need to leave the candy store of non-scale victories and head down this road with the same determined spirit and consistent routine that has given me all of these rewards.

I did something today that I haven't done in a while. I read several blogs and commented many of them. I sincerely miss staying up with my blogging friends and it was wonderful to check in and see how many of them are doing. It's awesome to see that everyone seems to be doing great! If I missed you, please forgive and understand. I've always cherished the support you've given me and I'm grateful for the understanding that many have extended me during this crazy time in my life, when there just hasn't been the time to read and comment like I use to. But still, once again...it's a schedule I created. It's a schedule that will be returning to normal soon. And I can't wait.

New Me has given me the “Honest Scrap” award! This award requires me to reveal ten things about me that I haven't already shared. Hmmm...what have I not shared? OK, I'm sure there are ten, but man, they're going to be personal---and really hard to write and release into the world. So, I'm going to ponder those ten items and write them soon. I'll also reveal the ten that I will pass the award to when that post is written. It will be good, I'm sure. Thank you New Me!

Thank you for reading and following my success along this most amazing journey. I've included a picture below of me in a school desk. This desk was at rehearsal tonight and from the moment I laid eyes on it, I wanted to try it out. Even in 8th or 9th grade I couldn't fit in this kind of a desk, but tonight it was easy. It was amazing. I fit in a school desk with space between my stomach and the desk, can you believe that? Unbelievable. Just wonderful, amazing! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 378 We Have The Power To Change What We Don't Like

Day 378

We Have The Power To Change What We Don't Like

I have no idea how many calories are burned taking in an amusement park for five hours, but it must be a bunch. We were completely drained from the experience. Even after sleeping ten hours straight, we were still tired all day today. Irene mentioned that the adrenaline that we tapped every time we climbed aboard one of those rides must have zapped our strength. I bet she's right. Wow, overcoming a lifetime of fears and restrictions from obesity can really wear you out! Day 377 was a really fun blog to write. If you haven't had the chance to read it and see all the pictures and video, I encourage you to scroll down the page and discover Day 377---it was incredible.

We did take a bunch of pictures Saturday and some of them were not the best while others were incredible. I started thinking about pictures and how much I use to hate them. I still do occasionally when one reminds me of how far I still have to go, but thank goodness these days they usually just show me how far I've come. In the Diane interview, she talks about going to the photo-mat and destroying or hiding the pictures she didn't like before anyone else had a chance to see them. I guess we do the same thing when we decide what pictures to post. Irene picked some for her blog that I didn't care for particularly, but again, I'm some kind of messed up when it comes to being self-critical. What do I have to do to satisfy myself? Become a body builder? Geez. That's not a bad idea really. Anyway, there is my point. And my point is: If we don't like what we see in a picture, we have the power to change that image. I never liked what was staring back at me when I weighed over 500 pounds, but that picture on Day 377 that I said was my favorite of Irene and I together...I love that picture! LOVE IT! We look so blasted young and thin in that one! So I'm not going to complain about pictures or how they sometimes expose the work we still have left to do, I'm just going to continue the journey and soon there will not be a picture I don't love.

Irene fixed a traditional Sunday dinner today. She put down a beef roast from the freezer for thawing while we were gone Saturday. It was an awesome meal. We enjoyed roast, mashed potatoes—no gravy, and corn on the cob! It wasn't the biggest roast, but it was just enough for the four of us to enjoy a responsible portion. It was perfect. I use to stress over the size of the roast. Will it feed us all? I wanted big portions for everyone. I can remember cooking two roast just to be sure we had enough. It's such a dramatic change that we can sit down to a small roast and each enjoy a 4 ounce portion without second helpings, and everybody leaves the table feeling 100% satisfied. It's awesome my friend. To finally reach a point where we no longer stress about “will we have enough?” Because there was always enough to be satisfied, that wasn't the concern of the past. Did we have enough to be stuffed? How about leftovers? That was our old mindset. Shoot, if I was the one cooking, I'd usually eat at least a serving before whatever we were having hit the table. I was testing the food of course. See, we just don't think like that anymore. It's one of the many elements of our mental changes that will keep our weight off forever.

We've really enjoyed having Amber home this weekend. It's been a wonderful weekend indeed. I hate to see her go back, but I'm so proud of where she's headed, that I have to give her a hug and send her off. She's going back to school in the morning. She's going to make the best special education teacher in the world. Her compassion and understanding for students with developmental disabilities is heart warming. She's got what it takes to make a significant difference in many lives. I'm so proud.

Irene ran lines with me again today. We went through the entire script. I'm ready for a week of rehearsals that will have us doing the entire production from start to finish every night. I'm ready! Opening night is less than two weeks away. Ooh, that makes me a little nervous just typing that. Anyway, it'll be fine, no...it will be grand!

JoEllen, my sister in law is still in the hospital and is expected to be released Monday or Tuesday. Thank you to everyone who has included her in their prayers. Her diagnosis is one that I don't know if I could handle with as much grace and spirit as her. If ever anyone deserved a miracle, it would be her. She's had a rough life, and then this. It just doesn't seem right at all. But we're going to be there for her all the way. Again, thank you for your prayers.

If you haven't had a chance to listen to the Diane—Fit To The Finish interview, I encourage you to press play. You'll also see Jack and Tony's interview along the left hand side of this page. Everytime I add another, I'll just move one down into the “Audio archives.” And if you haven't checked out Day 377, yesterday's post, please do. It's loaded with a bunch of pictures and On The Go videos of our adventures to Frontier City.

Another work week calls. I must run now. Thank you so much for reading what I write. Thank you sincerely. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 377 A Whole New Frontier City: A Dream Realized.

Day 377

A Whole New Frontier City: Dream Realized

One of the things I wrote about in the early days of this journey was how I wanted to take my kids to an amusement park and really enjoy the experience. It was a goal, a dream really, to become one of those people, you know the ones, the people having the time of their lives completely free of the restrictions of morbid obesity. I was over 500 pounds for so long, the only thing I could do at this kind of a place was carry our stuff and watch other people have fun. I was miserable. I was that fat guy standing off to the side, knowing that I couldn't fit, and not even trying, because it would be too embarrassing to be told the obvious by the ride operator...in front of everybody. I took my family to the amusement park several times over the years, we're no stranger to Frontier City, but I never looked forward to the experience like I did today. I'm now 213 pounds thinner and Frontier City has never known me like this, and I've never looked at Frontier City the way I did today.

I've never been an amusement park kind of person, or at least I didn't think I was. Maybe I was always an amusement park person deep down, but the weight was holding me back. You can't really enjoy a place like this at over 500 pounds. You get through it, you watch others have fun, you're happy for them. You carry stuff for everybody and you look for food. Our trip to Frontier City today was monumental. It was the first time I've ever really enjoyed a theme park with my family. It was a goal attained, a dream realized, a reward for finally grabbing a hold of a life that I let slip away for far too long. At over 500 pounds, just the walk up the parking lot hill would have had me stopping to rest. Not today. Today was going to be unlike any experience at Frontier City we've ever had. It was going to be amazing. And it was.

We started with the log flume. The log flume doesn't have a bar that must click, no seat belt to fasten. We were simply 'testing the waters' so to speak. What we did next was amazing on a couple of different levels. We went straight from the log flume to the Wildcat Roller Coaster. The Wildcat is a wooden roller coaster with seats that are really small. Even at 350 or 400 I couldn't have fit on this thing, forget about over 500. It was a snug fit today, but I fit, and the good times? They were rollin'! I say it was amazing on a couple of different levels because riding a roller coaster at any size was always something Irene and I swore we would never do. I never had a desire to get on a roller coaster. They look scary and really dangerous. So the fact that I was always too big for one really worked for me, because I was terrified of them. The weight became a perfect excuse...I'm scared of them, but I couldn't fit on one even if I wanted. Irene and I have experienced many “first” together in the last 22 years, this added to that list. We were side by side on the Wildcat and we both clicked the restraints in place without any trouble at all. We were ready. Amber and Courtney were in the two seats directly in front of us, we were ready to scream together! The ride was fast and furious, simply incredible really. Thank goodness we all chewed motion sickness pills before embarking on this experience!! We were flying.

We loved the roller coaster, no kidding. It was complete freedom to let loose and have a blast. And it made me think about something. Losing weight has allowed me to fit on a ride like this, certainly, but more importantly—it has given me the confidence to face down deep seeded fears I've always had. Riding that roller coaster today and two others before the day ended, wasn't just about fitting in the restraints, it was about overcoming my fears with complete confidence. That's pretty big stuff. It's like I've said many times in these writings, the physical transformation is amazing, but the mental transformation is the biggest change. The physical gets all the glory, but remember—when you see me smile, I'm not smiling because I look better than I ever have, I'm smiling because of the miraculous changes on the inside. So powerful are these changes, that I climbed on to three roller coasters today without a hint of hesitation. Losing weight is so much more than just looking better and being healthier. Losing weight is a key that unlocks the jail cell door, setting free a me that I didn't even know existed.

We truly enjoyed the entire experience. All of our worries and stress, we left that stuff in the car. This day was a long time coming. This day was one to remember. Frontier City never looked and felt so good. A special thanks goes out to Andrea in the Six Flags/Frontier City Marketing department for providing us with “special guest” passes. I can't thank you enough Andrea! We put them to good use as you can read and see! Below you'll find a collection of photos and On The Go videos from this monumental day.

So how did we handle the food? Easy. Our focus clearly wasn't on the food today. But we did get hungry about four hours into the experience. We enjoyed cheese nachos. One order for all of us to share. We each sampled the nachos and took a little break. We had our water with us and the nachos did exactly what we needed it to do, it held us over until dinner. So how did we resist the funnel cakes, dippin' dots, footlong hot dogs, giant slices of pizza, giant soft pretzels with cheese, deep fried Snickers, and every other kind of amusement park food? We simply were not interested. Food wasn't our motivation today. It wasn't our focus. Our mindset was on having fun, and we don't eat for fun anymore. Sure, we enjoy good food on a regular basis. But on the drive down, it was never I can't wait to get one of those footlong corndogs, it was I can't wait to ride a roller coaster! If this journey had never started, and we were still at our heaviest, the expectations and excitement would have been focused elsewhere, perhaps on the food.

We did enjoy Cracker Barrel for dinner. Now how in the world did we do that? Let me tell you: We shared. Irene and I shared the chicken fried chicken meal and Amber and Courtney shared a cheeseburger and steak fries. And you know what? We were satisfied and completely full! The portions are so big at that place, it really made it easy. We just asked for a couple of empty plates and a knife. Easy. I even allowed for a corn muffin and a couple of bites of a biscuit, it was very good. We left Cracker Barrel feeling good, not feeling stuffed and miserable. Big difference over past visits, huge difference.

On the way home we stopped in Stillwater and waded our way through the football game night traffic. Oklahoma State beat Grambling State soundly and many were leaving the game early. We stopped for a visit with mom, grandma, aunt Kelli, and uncle Keith. Irene drove from Oklahoma City to Stillwater while I slept. After we visited a little, I drove us home to Ponca City. We were exhausted. Completely exhausted. There's no question about if we had a workout today, not at all. Walking all around Frontier City was serious exercise. I had planned on writing this blog posting as soon as we got home, but I couldn't, I was just too tired. So we dropped in bed before midnight, on a Saturday night! We slept what had to be the best sleep ever. I can't remember the last time I slept better. A solid, uninterrupted ten hours of sleep, it was amazing.

So here we are on Sunday, publishing Saturday's post—it was absolutely necessary. I can't imagine what kind of nonsense I would have written had I tried to do it when we got home.
Thank you for reading! And I hope you enjoy the pictures and videos posted below. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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At over 500 pounds, I never needed a sign to tell me I couldn't ride. But they have them everywhere, just in case you forget.

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My favorite picture of us. Ever.

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Amber and Me, having fun!

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Courtney and Me, having fun!

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The four of us.

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Lookin' good baby!

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On top of the world!! Did I mention that I'm normally afraid of heights? Not today...hmm.

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Amber, Courtney, and Courtney's best friend Dylan—strapped into the “Mind Bender.”


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The Wildcat roller coaster history. As it turns out, this was also the first roller coaster Amber and Courtney ever climbed on years ago. Irene and I did today for our first time. Pretty cool stuff.


Another First!


Just a quick video before this ride and my phone get out of hand!


Ahoy Mates...on the giant ship ride.


Bumper cars! Don't look Dr. Amy!!


On top of the world, or uh, really close!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 376 A Crazy Dream and Praying For Jodi

Day 376

A Crazy Dream and Praying For Jodi

This time it's for real. Nothing can convince me otherwise. Not even a nightmare. I had a dream last night that I had gained back over a hundred pounds. It was a vivid dream, but I wasn't buying it. Have you ever done this? Where right in the middle of your dream you remind yourself that it's just a meaningless dream? Just a collection of your subconscious thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, and experiences---all blended into one crazy late night movie playing inside your brain. It didn't startle me at all, not even a little. In my dream I had a third person thought of yeah right. I guess even my dreams don't quite realize just how different this time is from all the others. Dreaming about gaining a large amount of weight back and binging on ice cream and pizza didn't scare me, but it does make me wonder if deep down---like seriously deep down, do I really worry about that stuff? The mental changes I've made make it nearly impossible to go crazy on anything. I feel too good these days. I love the way I'm starting to look. More than all that, I love the way I have a clear perception of my success that includes a profound understanding of why I never had it before and why I'm having it now. This time it's for real. That crazy dream did nothing to shake my confidence, it simply gave me something to think about, and a paragraph for this blog. Because when it's for real, it's just too solid to ever believe we could go back. There is no gear for reverse on this happy train. So there! Take that crazy dream weaver!

We received some horrible news about JoEllen, my oldest sister in law. She has a cyst on the back of her brain. It's effecting her vision and giving her severe headaches. Many more doctors visits and maybe some kind of surgery is in her very near future. She just found out right before going in for surgery to remove her thyroid. She's still in the hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are with her always and even more so now. I keep reassuring Irene that it is possible for this to turn out alright. She could survive this and have a normal life again. It's too soon to try to convince JoEllen of this. While visiting her hospital bed tonight, she made mention of her hopelessness to survive this situation. I can't hear someone say something like “it's all over,” without offering positive words of encouragement and hope. That's just me. Old Sean-New Sean, doesn't matter---I have to hold onto something positive, always have. JoEllen politely snapped at me when I offered something positive. She has the right, she's the one facing this situation, I never have. It's easy for me to say. I understand. My prayer for her includes that she will be given as much hope as possible. Even just enough for her to grab a hold and pull herself up a little. It was heartbreaking in that room tonight. She's been through enough, why this? Why now? She did offer a smile and a laugh a couple of times. They were short and not super convincing, but it was a nice break from the constant sadness. Her next appointment with the doctor that discovered the cyst is on the seventh of October. I wonder if he'll move that date up?

Irene and I ran lines for a few hours last night. We worked on a very powerful scene and finally, I feel like I completely have it down. We're also planning on running lines on our trip to Frontier City tomorrow. I don't need a script to do this, so both hands will still be on the wheel and both eyes will be on the road. The other drivers along I-35 South will probably think I'm crazy, that's alright by me.

I've reached a point along this journey where the serious fun begins. Where everywhere I turn I'm experiencing things I could never do before. Tomorrow will be one of those days. I've written about my desire to go to a theme park with my family and actually fit on the rides. Well, tomorrow is the day that dream becomes reality. It'll be a completely different perspective from any theme park experience I've ever had. I can't wait to share the stories and the pictures of tomorrow's visit to Frontier City.

The Diane—Fit To The Finish interview is posted and ready for listening. Just click play on the player you see in the upper left hand corner of this blog page. It's very interesting. Anyone that's struggled with weight can relate and appreciate, and gain inspiration from her success. I've also posted archived interviews from Jack Sh*t and Tony “The Anti-Jared” Posnanski. You'll find those previous interviews further down the page on the left hand side. I hope you're able to listen to Diane's interview, I really enjoyed the conversation!

My calories and food choices were wonderful today. Irene and I worked out right here at home. We have so many wonderful workout choices at home thanks to Richard Simmons, the jump rope we purchased, the fitness trampoline, and a new DVD I won from Ang in her summer weight loss challenge! There's never really a good excuse for not working out when all you need to do is move, right? The other day Chris Williams, the director of the play I'm a part of, commented on this blog. I had talked about not working out as much lately because of my crazy schedule. He reminded me what a workout rehearsals can be, and they are. Movement of any kind. “Just move,” I need to remember my own words sometime!

Thank you for reading and following along on this most incredible journey. Wow, that sounded kind of boastful, and I'm not even apologizing about that. It is incredible. This has been everything and more than I ever thought it could be. And to think, I'm not even at my goal yet! This is pre-goal stuff! I still have a ways to go, but there's no denying---We've all come a very long way in very little time! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 375 A Vital Element To Long Term Success

Day 375

A Vital Element To Long Term Success

I think I first wrote about my father on Day 106. I did it because I realized that I had a lot of emotional baggage that I needed to get rid of completely. If I was going to fly, I thought, I needed to ease the weight on my mind. So I put it all out there. And again on Day 280, Fathers Day...It was all about him. You can find that fathers day post in the archives or just click this link: http://losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com/2009/06/day-280-fathers-day-reflection-and-nice.html

Writing about my relationship with him has given me a clear understanding of the emotions I carried for so long. Why do I love him so much? After all, I've only been around him physically for two weeks out of my entire life. But somehow, I now feel like I know him. I couldn't reach this clarity before this journey, I was too busy resenting him and blaming him for everything I could. Through our communications over the last ten months, I've discovered the liberating sensation that real forgiveness provides everyone involved. I never knew the deep meaning of forgiveness until we wiped the slate clean and decided to start our relationship over.

My dad's comment on yesterday's blog was such a wonderful gift: “Son I have mixed tears when I think of you. They are tears of sorrow for not being there when you were growing up. To give you a shoulder to lean on when you needed one. To be your sounding board when the teasing got to much. To go with you at your school functions, and doing so with my head held high, because I was with my son. I know you went through a lot, and I cry inside because I was not there to be your rock. Now I allso have tears of joy and pride for what you have done, how you have turned self hate to self love. Even more then the pride I have in you, my pride for your mother is so great for what she has done to make you the man you are today. My admiration for Irene goes beyond words, for standing by your side and with you through it all. There can never be words that can fully say what I want to say. So the words I LOVE YOU and I AM PROUD OF YOU, will have to do. Take good care of your famley, and allways tell them how much they mean to you, because they tell you every day by their support of you. your dad” I'm going to see him someday again soon, I will. This comment today completely hit me in my emotional gut.

Sweet success yet another day. Is this really me? Is this the same guy that could never get it right before? Thamk you for following along. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 374 A Day In The Life and The Letter

Day 374

A Day In The Life and The Letter

Wednesday was another crazy day in the life of the “new” Sean. Some days are busier than others at work, today was one of the busier ones. After running errands in the afternoon, I headed straight for the bed. It had been my goal all day long and nothing was going to keep me from a nice nap. Except my phone. It kept ringing and ringing. Finally, as much as I hated to do it, I switched it to 'silent' and fell asleep. Irene had to go to work early today. I started cooking dinner on my lunch hour, well, I wasn't really cooking, I just turned the oven on and put in a turkey roast. I was just planning ahead. Then Irene reminded me, “I'm leaving at 2:00pm!” And Courtney had after school plans into the evening. So much for dinner, right? That roast is sitting in the fridge, fully cooked.

I enjoyed a mushroom and pepper jack egg white omelet for my “dinner for one.” I can have the heartiest mushroom and melted cheese omelet for a measly 140 calories, it's so good and incredibly filling.

Today was so busy in fact, I couldn't get it all done in the course of a normal workday. I returned to the station after play rehearsal and produced a commercial that had to start just after midnight. I completed the task at 11:40pm.

I sincerely appreciate the concern many have expressed over the craziness of my schedule of late. Let me assure you, I know when enough is enough, I really do. I also know when a nap is critical. And after things slow down in mid-October, my schedule will all of a sudden become much easier to handle...and the theory is I'll be able to manage it so much easier than before. I'm learning something from all of this, I really am. I'm not enduring this extreme schedule without learning some valuable lessons along the way. So it's all good.

Since I'm critically crunched for time and sleep is far too important, allow me to re-post one of my favorite blogs from the past 374 days. The following excerpt was from Day 135 titled “ A Thank You Letter To Morbid Obesity.” It was an exercise in positive thinking and I didn't realize how powerful it was to me until I had posted the thing on that cold January night. I couldn't even read it without bursting into tears. This blog has been such wonderful therapy for me. Here we go:

Every now and then I challenge myself to really think on a deep level. I strive for a better understanding of behavior. I try to dissect things on a psychological level, and since I have no formal education in psychology, I can come to some pretty far out reasonings. It doesn't really matter if I'm right or wrong because these are studies within myself. Today I started thinking about how it's good to find the positive side of all things. Even things that can't possibly have a good side, if you look hard enough, maybe it does. I hit a wall when I thought about applying this positive philosophy to being morbidly obese. By the way, I use the term “morbidly obese” because I hate that term. I don't like the way it sounds at all, and the first time a doctor used that term I thought he was making fun of me! To me, it was the same as him saying I was “disgustingly obese,” and when the term used is “grotesquely obese,” well that's even worse. If the doctor would have said “Sean, you are “making me want to throw up obese” it would have felt the same. Isn't “gross” short for grotesque? I've had both terms used on me by medical professionals and they were perfectly in line with medical terms. How could I find the good in my life long career of being “morbidly grotesque?” Ooh, combining the two is even worse. Anyway, I thought long and hard and finally came up with this: My “thank you” letter to morbid obesity.

Dear Morbid Obesity,

You suck. Sorry about that, it just popped out. Let me start again.

Dear Morbid Obesity,

Thank you for teaching me how to be compassionate toward others. By making me different and the subject of so much weight related bullying as a kid, you taught me to always care about other peoples feelings. Thank you for making me unique in an age when I was often the only fat kid in class, because it gave me added attention that I may have felt was lacking in other parts of my life. Thank you for giving me a very strong opinion against discrimination in all it's forms. By showing me the pain of being discriminated against based solely on my looks, you taught me to never judge a person based on appearance. Thank you for giving me the defense mechanism of a good sense of humor. Although it was sometimes masking emotional pain, laughter and making others laugh has always carried me through. Thank you for protecting me from every dangerous thing I would have tried had I been able to fit on that ride, or into that harness, or on that horse, or in that sports car, or whatever the dangerous situation could have been, you were there keeping me safe inside your embrace. Thank you for giving me a fashion sense born from complete insecurity. I know you don't give this fashion sense to every morbidly obese person, but it kept me from further ridicule because I never wore things too small, ever. You saved me from the spandex revolution, how can I properly thank you for that? To make me want to wear a big jacket when it was ninety degrees outside just to cover my boy boobs, well I have no choice but to conclude that you must love me more than other fat people, because if I had a dollar for every morbidly obese person I've witnessed in spandex and a shirt three sizes too small, I'd be wealthy. Thank you for giving me the ability to spot shallowness in others. I'll never forget the first time I was completely rejected by a girl who said out loud, in class “eeewwww, I would never go out with you.” She didn't take the time to see the good guy I was inside, to look into my heart and see the eighth grader that would have cherished her and respected her in a most grateful 8th grader way. She was shallow and without you I may not of recognized that side of humanity for many years. Without this “shallowness radar,” I may never have recognized the pure spirit in the eyes and heart of Irene Brake, my high school sweetheart and wife of nearly twenty years. Most of all, thank you for my life. Without you I don't know if my path would have been the same. Would I have my family that I hold so dear? Would I have found a career that felt so perfect for me, a career that allowed me to hide behind a microphone and communicate with people without them being able to see me? Without you, maybe, just maybe I would have become a complete jerk. Thank you for bringing me to this point in my life and keeping me in one piece along the way. But despite the flood of gratitude in this letter, you know your days are numbered here. We can't continue our relationship. Morbid obesity, I'm slowly shrinking out of you. I'm moving on to a life free of all the dangerous effects of our relationship. But I'll never forget all of the wonderful things you taught me, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my overworked heart.

Sincerely,
Sean

Nearly two hundred and forty days later, I still have a hard time reading that without getting seriously emotional. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 373 Never Forget and The Missed Workouts

Day 373

Never Forget and The Missed Workouts

I ran into an acquaintance at Wal-Mart this afternoon who hadn't seen me in a while. I guess it's been a few months. This transformation has really taken dramatic strides in the last ninety days, so her reaction was “look at you—still doing great I see!” We exchanged pleasantries and as I walked away she said “Have you forgotten what you use to feel like?” I turned and smiled, then replied, “Oh no, I'll never forget.” I never will forget what it felt like to be and live at over 500 pounds. I was there too long, I became a pro at navigating the restrictions. I had just accepted the role. With it came a long list of things I couldn't do, places I wouldn't fit, feelings of self-hatred, and scary feelings of uncertainty concerning my own mortality. I was miserable all the time, even though I could put on a smile and pretend I was comfortable in most any situation. I wasn't happy with myself at all, ever. I was just existing, getting by, surviving. I would go long stretches where losing weight was the absolute furthest thing from my mind. However, my misery was always on my mind and still I couldn't have cared less about the behaviors that kept me in that state, a tragic combination indeed. So, no...I'll never forget. Just can't.

Always remembering where I've been makes me extremely understanding and compassionate to those who are still imprisoning themselves. And yes, we do it to ourselves. It doesn't matter our circumstances, our behaviors, our emotions...it's our own doing. And we're the only ones that can change it.

I've once again missed my workout today. That makes about seven, maybe eight in the last couple of weeks. It's not good at all. I feel like I'm losing still, and that's great, but I know how important a consistent workout effort is when it comes to my ultimate goal. I'm really embarrassed by this major discrepancy in my performance lately. I'm not proud of this at all. But, (look out, here comes a good excuse, right?) BUT---I've made my schedule too tight, and when it's this crunched, things can't help but suffer. My workouts have been the hardest hit.
So as we approach the 280's, I must make a promise to myself right now to always get in some kind of exercise. Nothing crazy, just some kind of movement. Just like I tell people who are starting out, move! Anything helps the process, and it feels really good!

Courtney prepared dinner tonight. She made us a lean hamburger patty with baked crinkle cut fries. The beef was that 93/7 blend I've talked about before—only 160 calories per serving. The entire plate came in at under 400 calories.

The goatee is gone. I have to shave it for the play and now was the time. As much as I complained about it at first, I kind of miss the thing. It'll be back in early November, no problem. I'll have to post a “below 300 without a goatee” picture soon. Maybe along with the “Lost” before picture I re-discovered today. This “before” picture is a big full-body shot standing next to a 210 pound 5'10” ---and i still make him look tiny. I'll get it posted soon.

The Diane—Fit To The Finish interview is still in need of editing, but will be posted in the next couple of days.

I'm headed to bed. Thank you for reading! And welcome to all of the new readers, including my cousin Debbie. She's been a Myspace reader from Day 1. Today was her first visit to this blog! Welcome Debbie! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 372 Lost Monday and The "Call Me Henry" Audio Trailer

Day 372

Lost Monday and The “Call Me Henry” Audio Trailer

I can't complain about my schedule, it's my own doing. It doesn't really give much room for error and I really need room for error! Anyway, we're managing. It might be busy, but it's certainly rewarding. Last year at this time I couldn't imagine doing the things I'm getting to do now. This is living, perhaps at a little faster pace than is healthy, but it's living. It's like I'm a little kid on a candy store shopping spree and I'm in the biggest hurry to grab as much and do as much as I can. I have to remember, I'm not under a timer. I can still do everything I want to do in time, just not all at once.

I'm really getting excited about the play. It's a time commitment that I probably shouldn't have made, but I did, and I'll commit 110% till the very end. The play is so rewarding for me and it's something I would have never done at over 500 pounds, so it really means a lot to me. Last night at rehearsal, we spent our time away from the stage—and into the studio producing an audio trailer for the production. This kind of production is becoming a trend in theatre around this part of the country. It was very fun, but very time consuming. The two minute twenty-four second trailer took five hours to fully produce. Recording each actor, selecting the music, making sure that my “announcer” part sounded different from “Hank,” and then putting it all together under the direction of Chris Williams was a task for sure, but now that it's done, well worth the effort. Very dramatic, very effective. You can listen to the trailer, just click play on the divShare mp3 player located directly under the list of “Weight Loss Superheroes” on the left hand side of this blog page.

By the time my Monday turned into Tuesday, it became an easy decision to get sleep before attempting to write anything. The plan was to jump up early and write before leaving this morning, but I was too tired to even hear the alarm until I had just enough time to get to the studio.

We have had a “Flat-Out” and Joseph's Pita crisis lately. Wal-Mart hasn't had them in stock! There's still a place for them on the shelf, but they haven't had any for over a week. We grabbed a low cal-whole wheat tortilla to substitute, but it's not the same! I spoke with a manager and he told me they would probably get them back in not long, I certainly hope so!
I recently discovered the tastiness of a mushroom and pepper jack omelet. Wonderful flavor and only 150 calories total! Had one yesterday and today!

It feels so good on this long and winding road out of morbid obesity. By the way, I found another “Lost” before picture, I'll post that one real soon. Good day and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 371 Maintaining The Original Purpose and Mirror Therapy

Day 371

Maintaining The Original Purpose and Mirror Therapy

I've been getting congratulations lately from many friends concerning the fact that I officially crossed the 200 followers mark. (Warning: Ego talking next!) Of course I know that many more people read this blog than 200. Why, just around Oklahoma locally, I'm sure that hundreds, no thousands---make this blog a part of their daily routine. A dose of weight loss inspiration to keep them going, or perhaps get them back on track. OK, maybe not “thousands,” But hundreds? OK, maybe tens of readers read without ever clicking the follow button. But officially, it's over 200, we know that for sure. Very nice, but...

It's very important to always maintain a level head about that number. The writing of the blog is the most important thing. The readership of the blog is great, but it's not the most important thing. I encourage people to write everyday about their weight loss journey. If you can really open up and be completely honest with yourself about this road you're on, about where you've been, and where you want to go, then it can really be therapeutic. This self-honesty should never be altered or compromised for the sake of satisfying readers. This blog is for me. That's how it started and that's how it is to this day. The fact that many say that they find inspiration within these writings is a wonderful bonus reward. It really fills me with joy.

You might be surprised to know that up until somewhere around day 200, This blog had less than 10 “official” followers. I didn't have a follow button displayed prominently on the page at all. I posted day in and day out, often times going ten, twenty, even thirty days without a comment on the “global” version. I have to distinguish between the myspace version and the content-identical blogspot version, because my cousin Debbie has commented almost every single day of this journey. You don't see her comments very often because it's always on myspace. Proof of this can be found by going back in the archives and reading from Day 1. Notice how many posts have zero comments, there's a bunch. Some of the most critical days on this road, some of the biggest epiphanies in the last 371 Days have come and gone without a comment one. But those comment-less days still did exactly what was intended. They taught me something, sometimes ground-breaking---that's right, earth shattering things about myself. I'm overjoyed that my experiences might inspire someone else too. But you know what? If I lost every single reader tomorrow, I'd still write the same blog everyday. That's important.

I attended a dance workshop today. It was a workshop sponsored by ReAct, the same organization producing “Call Me Henry,” the play I'm doing right now. I walked into the class and discovered that the wall was just one big mirror. Great! It's like seeing yourself as someone across the room. I don't think I could've handled this at 505 pounds, but today I did. Despite my success, it was still hard. But the more I looked at that guy across the room today, the more I realized how happy I am with him. I do like what I see in that mirror. That guy is really getting there. That guy has completely changed his appearance, and it's wonderful. With a picture, you can just put it away, or scroll-click your way away from it, but in that dance workshop today---I couldn't escape myself. There I was. That's what I really look like now. The mirror doesn't lie, well...at least this one doesn't. That was really me over there dancing to Huey Lewis and The News music. Me? Dancing? The new experiences never stop it seems. “Mirror therapy,” that's what I call what I did today. And it was good. Real good. I needed to see myself like that. I needed to put to rest my impatient expectations and realize and enjoy the incredible progress I've achieved. That wonderful transformation was staring back at me for over two hours.

I packed a lunch to eat between the workshop and play rehearsal tonight. It was a 400 calorie pack of cantaloupe, a Nutri-Grain bar, and a ham and cheese wrap on a whole wheat tortilla. It was really good stuff. By the time play rehearsal was over I still had 680 calories remaining for the day. Lauren brought some of her birthday cake to play practice to share with everyone. And when she proclaimed that she didn't want to take the last piece of chocolate cake home, so somebody better eat it...I knew that it was time for me to step up! It was a really small piece. I had half of it. The half with icing, yes...chocolate icing. It was small enough that counting it as 100 calories is probably an over-estimate, but that's alright. It was very good. Happy birthday Lauren.

I better wrap this edition now. I've got to get my Monday started! Thanks for reading! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 370 Transformation of Confidence and A Legendary Saturday Evening

Day 370

Transformation of Confidence and A Legendary Saturday Evening

My Saturday morning started with preparing omelets for our guest. I love doing this. It's funny, I use to pride myself on making the biggest, fluffiest, most calorie laden omelets you ever put a fork into, now---well, it's the complete opposite. Oh don't get me wrong, my omelets are still filling and incredibly awesome, they just have an amazingly low calorie value! I can make a 161 calorie omelet that will trick your brain into thinking it's at least three or four hundred. We enjoyed Southwestern Omelets this morning. Each one contained three egg whites (51 calories), a veggie blend of mushrooms, onions, and green bell pepper (15 calories), ½ ounce of thinly sliced low-fat part skim mozzarella (35 calories), and a few strips of Southwestern marinated chicken breast (60 calories). Salt and pepper to taste and there you have it...a 161 calorie feast of a breakfast that leaves you full and completely satisfied. The tricks? I use zero calorie non-stick cooking spray instead of real butter. I didn't use any milk this time. And the biggest difference: Seventeen calorie egg whites instead of seventy calorie whole eggs! Thanks again Linda S. for the egg separators, I use them everyday! Instead of getting “oohs and ahs” over the massiveness and cheesy oozeiness of my omelets, I get even more “oohs and ahs” now over the incredibly delicious, perfectly filling, and unbelievably low calorie count. I like that much better!

After breakfast we conducted a table reading of a screenplay Irene and I authored back in 2003-2004. It's called “Harlem To The Hills,” and it's a wonderful comedy with an awesome message. We forgot how funny it was until we had Rachel and Neal's reaction. They loved it! Seriously, they really did. We really didn't plan on reading the whole thing, but Rachel and Neil were emotionally involved with the characters, they had to know how it ended! So we did it all.

I mention that screenplay for one reason. You see, that screenplay has collected dust for nearly six years. We spent countless hours writing, rewriting, and rewriting a few times more over a period of a year to get that thing finished, and then we just let it sit in a drawer. Why? Why wouldn't we at least put some kind of effort into pitching this work? The answer: Zero self-confidence. Zero. Losing weight and feeling great makes us want to live, it gives us a confidence we've never known, it's shows us how we have limited ourselves in the past and how anything is possible in the future. When you're carrying around so much excess weight, it can completely strip your self-confidence and negatively effects anything and everything you do. The rewards of losing weight and finally feeling good about ourselves, positively effects everything we do, touch, see, feel, and think. There's no guarantee that this screenplay will ever see the silver screen, the reality is: very few do, even really good ones and that's not being negative—that's just the challenging reality screenwriters face, but you can bet it will not be for lack of trying. And someday, when time affords us the luxury, we'll write more. There's plenty to write about in the idea drawer of our minds.

Speaking of self-confidence, Courtney just got home from her friends house and proudly and confidently announced her break-up with her boyfriend. It wasn't a hard thing for her to do. The boy is a good kid, and she said he took it well. She's focusing on her right now. Her weight loss and fitness journey, her school work, it's all prioritized above a boyfriend right now. This is Courtney time. She's a smart girl. I don't know how we did it, raising these smart, level headed kids, but I give Irene the biggest share of the credit. We're very proud of them both. I hope Courtney's ex-boyfriend is really taking this well. I'm confident he doesn't read these writings, but just in case: It wasn't you, it was her. (by the way---I didn't care for the picture I found of you kissing her—eyes closed, really? What were you thinking about? Never mind---don't answer that.) Listen, Courtney is sailing my friend, sailing with a confidence she's never known. Through good choices, she's navigating toward the Courtney she wants to become, one day at a time, one good choice at a time. And right now that sail boat is just big enough for her and all of her hopes and dreams. Someday she'll get a bigger boat.

Irene and I spent the evening enjoying a couple of musical stars. The radio station I work for was sponsoring a concert at the Poncan Theatre tonight and I was asked to MC the show. Becky Hobbs was the opening act. Becky enjoyed tremendous success as a solo artist on the country charts, and superstar success as a writer of hit songs for the likes of Conway Twitty, George Jones, and Alabama. She's the writer of Alabama's touching song “Angels Among Us.” The headlining act was Wanda Jackson. She was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. She dated Elvis! It was so amazing to watch her perform. Even in her older years, she hasn't lost her voice---not even a little. She was a pleasure to work with last night and was as nice as can be. It was fun to introduce Irene to her and Becky. We took pictures, they're posted below!

I've included a head shot of me on stage at the Poncan Theatre at over 500 pounds. I tried to find some full body before pictures of me on stage there, and I know they exist, but the closest I came was a shot of me with dear momma in front of the marquee with my name “in lights.”

The director of the theatre introduced me to the audience and prior to this, he insisted on talking about my weight loss. I told him no. I didn't want him to mention it because this show wasn't about me, it was about these talented performers. I'm there to talk about and introduce the artist, not talk about my weight loss success. I wasn't performing, I was announcing. But still, Dave insisted. He strolled out in front of the hundreds in attendance and dropped the “he's lost 213 pounds.” Even though I didn't want him to do it, I must admit—The collective reaction from a crowd of that size is something very cool indeed. The thundering ovation was just short of standing. It was an amazing feeling.

During intermission I was approached by a nice lady who introduced herself as a doctor. She's a retired Psychiatrist. I hadn't met her before, and it was an honor to meet her tonight. She told me that she came to my stand-up performance in June of 2008 when I was at my heaviest and she just couldn't believe the difference in me tonight. She was heavy too, and shared with me that she could tell that I was never comfortable using so much weight related material. She was full of praise, and then shared with me some delightful news. She's lost forty pounds and is losing sixty more! I'm so happy for her. She really made me feel like a million bucks with her compliments. Thank you doctor!

Irene and I absolutely loved the show! After hanging out to chat and take pictures, we headed home for a late dinner and a night of running lines for “Call Me Henry.” We ended up hitting the hay at four in the morning.

I know that my weekends have developed a habit of posting the next day for the day before instead of the night of. I hope you'll forgive me. It's a product of this crazy schedule I've created. The wonderful thing is this: It's a temporary time crunch, seriously. After the schedule returns to a more manageable one, I'll be able to re-prioritize everything important to me, putting it all back in it's proper place and perspective.

The Diane—Fit To The Finish Interview is waiting to be edited and ready for “air” around Tuesday or Wednesday. It was a wonderful interview and I can't wait for you to listen! The promotional announcement is loaded into the divShare player in the upper left hand side of this page. I hope you give it a listen.

My mom asked me, “so—how was Frontier City?” Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that we changed the date for that amusement park adventure. We're now shooting for the 26th instead. I completely forgot that I had mentioned the 19th as the day of our trip. We postponed it about a week ago when we realized some serious scheduling conflicts, like M.C.ing the concert tonight. I'm so looking forward to that trip. You talk about freedom to live, freedom to fit in, freedom to enjoy ourselves. Oh my, this transformation thing is all about freedom! Thanks for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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Before—On stage head shot at over 500 pounds.

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My dear Mom and Me—Under the marquee with my name. Both at our highest weight a couple of years ago.

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A random before picture-- Age 14—with Aunt Kelli. I couldn't have been too much smaller than I am now. That's my Vespa. No wonder I was a fat kid. All the other kids had bicycles, I had a motorized bike. Pedaling was for sissys...slim and trim sissys.

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On stage tonight. Side view---I love it! I can't believe that's me up there!

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Another stage shot from tonight.

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Out of focus—but still revealing of my slimmer appearance.

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Irene and me with recording artist and hit songwriter Becky Hobbs.

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The two of us with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson!

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Wanda Jackson's autographed picture.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 369 Good Friends, Good Food, and A Good Friday

Day 369

Good Friends, Good Food, and A Good Friday

Once again I noticed something strange at work today. The other morning a sales rep showed up with a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The box said 190 calories for one. I passed. And so did a bunch of other people at the studio. Four days later, that box of a dozen Krispy Kremes still contained seven. Wow, somebody throw them in the trash already! It's delightful to see this kind of change around the studio, it's a much different environment these days. There was a time when it was all about the food. We would spend a half hour deciding what we would eat for lunch, somebody would “fly,” and sometimes the boss would buy. We would sit around the conference table and stuff ourselves with all kinds of calories. And if we had a new restaurant on the air, we had to try out the food, and a bunch of it by golly! Doughnuts never stood a chance in that building before. A box would last maybe a couple of hours, three or four at the most, or even as little as thirty minutes. Now a box of doughnuts spoils before even half of them are gone and I can't remember the last we all gathered for a lunchtime feast at the conference table. It just doesn't happen anymore. I'm not taking complete credit for this change in behaviors around me, it's not just me, it's everyone being more aware of what they consume. It's a wonderful thing.

In Thursday night's edition I quoted Zaababy's blog (www.zaaisshrinking.blogspot.com). She mentioned how a good friend of hers has exercised without changing her eating habits and hasn't lost an ounce. While she has stuck to 1500 calories a day and done the same exercise and lost nearly fifty pounds. She deduced that you can't lose weight by exercise alone. I know what she meant, and I'm sure you did too, but I certainly wanted to address the particulars briefly. If you have the kind of eating habits that made you morbidly obese, the kind that took me to over 500 pounds, and you simply add a little walking to the day, I seriously doubt it will be enough to lose weight. But if your food is under control already and you exercise without the need to cut down in the food department, then yes, you can lose weight with exercise alone. Another reader sounded as if she was offended at the proclamation that you can't lose weight with exercise alone. That other reader talked about how she lost 40 pounds with exercise alone. And that's completely possible, absolutely---Hey, she's done it! But you must remember, we're talking apples and oranges here. Everybody is different. The person who loses weight without changing their eating habits, relying solely on exercise to burn the fat, is obviously already eating responsibly to a degree. They must be, one would think! The bottom line is: Both of them deserve congratulations. So congrats to you both! When I noticed the comments the two left for each other on my blog, I wanted to say “Ladies, ladies, please...you're both right. You're both right for the individuals you're talking about.” Zaa's friend can exercise all day long, but with horrible food behaviors, she'll never see the scale budge. While Ashley's workouts are enough to drop the weight without changing what I would assume are pretty decent eating habits. (with a big Sean smile) Can't we all just get along? ;)

I was busy at the station this afternoon until shortly after 5pm. No play rehearsal tonight, but we had friends scheduled to arrive at 6:30pm. I called them and requested they arrive around 7:30pm because I wanted, no check that, I had to have a nap. And that's exactly what I did, Irene too. We napped until nearly 8pm. Our company was left outside for a while ringing the doorbell and knocking on our doors and windows trying to wake us from our required slumber. We felt bad about them having trouble getting inside, but Rachel and Neal understand what our schedules demand, and they were completely understanding about the situation.

Usually we grill on the patio when they come over, but this time they insisted on taking Irene and me to dinner out, their treat. Courtney was working at the radio station so it was just the four of us. We enjoyed JW Cobbs, and it was the first time Rachel and Neil had ever been there. They love it too! They both could see how the place is loaded with good and bad choices. I explained to them our strategy at a restaurant. My drink order is always water with extra lemons. We order from the senior menu or the kids menu if it's allowed. If not, we'll order a regular meal and split it in half. Gravy is always on the side and low calorie veggies are always picked as a side. Well, I guess it depends on how many calories we want to “invest,” we've picked corn or fried okra before—but it's always a small serving and it's always counted. We stay clear of the bread, and if we do enjoy a roll---it's always half or a quarter, not the whole thing. We don't usually do desert either, at least not at the restaurant. Rachel and I did have a junior frozen yogurt twist on a cake cone (“cake” cone sounds horrible, it's not---in fact it's the lowest calorie cone you can use) from Braum's ice cream and dairy store. The desert was under 150, small, cute, tasty, and completely satisfying without breaking the calorie budget.

Thank you for all the wonderful comments and suggestions offered after I revealed my insecurities about my appearance now. I'm very fine with it, and I realize that I have work to do, BUT---I would have to be completely blind not to realize that I look light years better than I did at 505. And all of the things I don't like about my appearance right now are things that I control through weight training and continued success. I'm getting there!

I put on some slacks and tucked in a shirt and guess what? It really doesn't look bad! I was surprised. My fears and all that anxiety about tucking during the play just melted away like my fat. I just might become a “tucker” after all, hmm...very different outlook on everything!

After our dinner (oh by the way, I had the senior portion fried catfish!---I've had it several times in the last year.) we returned home to play cards at the dining room table. Our guest brought some adult beverages and we chose to imbibe a little. I was sitting at 1100 calories for the day, so with 400 left I enjoyed a few zero calorie ice teas flavored with 100 calories worth of vodka. We're typically not drinkers, never have been, we don't keep a bar or any alcohol in the house, ever, but occasionally we cut loose a little and enjoy a drink. My addictions have luckily never been alcohol or drugs, just nicotine and ice cream. All of it can be deadly when abused. And all of it can be enjoyed (except maybe nicotine) in responsible portions. We had fun. I still don't care for drinking my calories, just don't like it at all. But for special occasions with friends, I'm flexible in a reasonable way.

I read a comment left on my wife's blog (www.livinlarge09.blogspot.com) from a wonderful blogger who admitted that he sometimes waits until 12:01am to eat anything extra so he can use calories from the next days budget. I use to do this during past weight loss attempts, not this one...Anyway, it made me think of Day 24's blog posting titled “Calories On Credit” and “The List.” You guessed it, here comes another excerpt: I know it might sound harsh and a little extreme, but it goes back to my calorie/money analogy. If you have 1500 dollars to spend everyday (wouldn't that be nice) and you spend it all, but then you really want something, you just can't. The money is gone for the day. Could you have managed it better throughout the day? Perhaps, but the choices have been made already and you'll get another load of cash, er calories in the morning! I have to be that strict, because when you start making deals with yourself, and you start buying calories on credit, it can signal the beginning of the end. Buying “calories on credit” is when you say to yourself...”I know that I'm out of calories today, but I'm just gonna eat 200 more, then I'll eat 200 less tomorrow”...OR... “I'll go ahead and eat an extra piece, but I'll exercise 15 minutes longer to make up for it”. I've always been a pro at rationalizing bad choices. I can convince myself that the worst choice possible is a fantastic idea! And that can be very dangerous, because at a certain point it just becomes lying to yourself, and when that starts, it's really over unless you regain total control that very minute, I mean NOW. Blogger friend, there are many things that have gone into my success over the last year, and rock-solid calorie budget integrity is a vital component. Hope you don't mind me sharing my opinion. I didn't mention you by name, but you're no “fool.” You're doing an amazing job and I love reading your blog. I just read what you wrote and it reminded me of me from way back.

I'm taking Irene to a concert at the Poncan Theatre Saturday night. KLOR is sponsoring the “Pioneering Women of Rock and Roll” concert with Wanda Jackson and Becky Hobbs. I'm getting on stage and introducing the artist. It should be a blast! After the show, we plan on running script lines again most of the night. Have a wonderful Saturday! Thanks for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 368 Truly A Change? Or Just A Means To A Temporary End?

Day 368

Truly A Change? Or Just A Means To A Temporary End?

I thought I would start tonight's blog by clarifying a couple of things. I received an e-mail from a reader who acted shocked that I ate a deep fried Oreo the other night. They were very nice about it and concluded the e-mail with “as one of your other readers said, I guess you've earned that break.” First of all, thank you for reading, secondly---it wasn't a “break,” or a “treat,” or a “celebratory” deep fried Oreo. It was simply a deep fried Oreo. I made room for it in the calorie budget and enjoyed it immensely, perhaps you watched the video I posted, that was a genuine reaction! I wasn't “off-plan,” there is no “plan” here, you know that, right? The only thing that might resemble a plan is making good choices in terms of portion size and overall consumption.

“Good choices” certainly doesn't mean never eating something we feel is forbidden. These are real life eating situations, and if a deep fried Oreo or something else equally as sinful shows up at the “party,” then it's great to know that I can handle it in a perfectly responsible way. Adherence to a strict 1500 calorie budget has taught me to make wise “investment” choices regarding portions, and sometimes that means having a deep fried Oreo, or splitting a piece of cheesecake with Courtney, or enjoying an ice cream cone. You really must throw away your list of “forbidden” foods. The “forbidden” part shouldn't exist. It only serves to discourage us if we choose to enjoy even a small portion. The thought of, oh my, I just blew it is a powerful thought that can lead to complete destruction of the changes you're aiming to make. Nothing is off limits. If you think I'm nuts, I've got the track record to prove I'm not.

Here's an excerpt from Day 229 titled “What If It Was Impossible To Cheat:” My number one rule from the beginning has been to keep it simple. And I do, completely! It almost sounds too good to be true. I've lost 156 pounds so far because I've kept everything simple, there's absolutely zero deprivation, and I have the freedom to adapt to any food situation. Nothing is off limits. I've decided that there are no “right” or “wrong” foods, only good and bad calorie values. This makes a huge difference to me psychologically. In the past, one wrong food choice and I was done until next time. Next time might be a week or a month away, in some cases a year or two away. Why I ever allowed one meal or one food item to completely derail my efforts in the past, I have no idea. But I'm not the only one! I've talked with several people who have said the same thing. One double cheeseburger and, “Well, I failed again. Maybe next time I can keep it together, let's go get a banana split!” Not anymore, and that's a major difference in my approach this time. Could you lose weight if it was impossible to cheat? That's why it's so effective. Now of course you have to watch the serving size. You have to be honest about the portions and the calories, but for me there isn't a food that simply eating would be considered cheating. Really, it all comes down to being honest with yourself. Complete 100% honesty is paramount to my success. The rationalizations and excuses that made me feel better about overeating were completely eliminated as soon as I made myself get honest about my habits. Suddenly I was free to excel.

The other issue I felt compelled to address came from my mentioning of how the weight loss industry loves the fact that most people have decided that losing weight is extremely hard. I then mentioned weight loss pill commercials that also, in fine print or a hushed tone, recommend “regular diet and exercise.” A good blogging friend mentioned a friend of theirs that was taking some pills to aid in weight loss efforts, and without starting any kind of exercise program, she's still lost weight with the pills and eating twice a day. Let me say this: Anything works. Whatever works, BUT---You have to consider something vitally important. It's something I never considered until this current journey, and it's exactly why I never lost weight successfully before now. Is what we're doing or taking just a means to lose weight? Or is it truly a change in our deep seeded behaviors and addiction with food? Are we simply going through the motions needed to drop weight without really changing the way we think? Because anything will work. I could have had a shake for breakfast and lunch, followed by a balanced meal in the evenings---I could have done that religiously for that last 368 days, and I would have more than likely lost just as much weight. BUT---and here's the BIG BUT... Using the meal replacement method or taking special pills to help lose weight is avoiding the real issues that brought me to over 500 pounds in the first place. To better explain, here's an excerpt from Day 170: You can lose weight on just about every product and plan out there. But if it doesn't address and include real world everyday food choices, how to make better choices, and really teaches about portion control, then it's just a temporary thing. If it doesn't require a person to gain a deeper understanding of their habits and personal psychology that made them fat in the first place, then it's just a temporary thing. Whenever I hear the words “meal replacement,” as in bars or shakes, I just have to “shake” my head and “pound” the bar. It's amazing to me that billion dollar companies have been built on plans that include “meal replacement” products. I don't know about you, but I like real food. I wouldn't want to eat a bar for breakfast and a shake for lunch everyday for the rest of my life. But I do plan on eating real food for the rest of my life. When the goal is met, and a person becomes another “meal replacement success,” Their success inspires others to try it, and the cycle and money machine continues to roll along. In the meantime, the first person who met their goal weight is facing real food again, and since they didn't address their old habits, they just replaced them, they go back to the same old behaviors and gain back the weight and often times more. Some might say “Sean, are you being a weight loss snob?” No way! What's right is right. And when a person stops searching for a quick fix or magic solution, or something to do it for them, and they start doing the mental exercises, confronting their habits and emotions, they start eating better and smaller portions, and they start moving again, they end up discovering that they can have success without spending a fortune on special plans or products.

And when it comes to losing weight simply by eating less—without exercise, ZaaBaby said it best recently on her blog: www.zaaisshrinking.blogspot.com : “I told HER how much I lost and she said 'from the walking?' and I said no, from eating no more than 1500 calories a day. The walking is just icing on the cake, so to speak. I explained this incredibly complex deduction that I deduced ALL ON MY OWN:
You can lose weight by eating less
You can lose weight by eating less and exercising
You can NOT lose weight by exercising alone
See how complicated that is? I told her how my friend and I walked everyday together and I limited my food intake and she didn't change one thing and I've lost almost 50 pounds and my friend has lost NOTHING NADA NOT ONE TINY OUNCE.”
Zaa, I certainly hope you don't mind me posting this excerpt! You can lose weight without exercise, but you can't lose weight without cutting down your consumption.

Today was a wonderful day. Busy, but wonderful. And wonderful doesn't mean perfect. I actually fell asleep for a short nap on my lunch break. I ended up sleeping an hour and a half instead of forty-five minutes and that put me horribly late on my return to the studio. Employers frown on this type of thing, and for good reason. I ended up staying till after 5pm trying to make up for it, actually I was just getting done what had to be done. Despite the crazy schedule, I still managed to get a workout in by walking a quick, or “hard” two miles and utilizing the jump rope.

Courtney and I shared a foot long ham sandwich from Subway for dinner. Irene was away on business tonight. With her twelve hour shift and the all day business trip to Oklahoma City with her colleagues---she just wrapped a twenty-seven hour shift. 27 hours straight. How is that even possible without collapsing? She did it alright. So if you ever wonder why she hasn't posted a new entry in the last day or two, now you know. The good news? Irene now has three full days off before she returns on Monday.

Play rehearsal was fantastic tonight. We completely ran through Act 1 of the production. It's going to be awesome! Last night at rehearsal, I brought a camera and had Producer Stephanie Williams take some rehearsal stills. I was going to post them last night, but I just couldn't. I wanted Irene to have a chance to see them first, but I also had another reason for not posting. It was too late and I was too tired. OK, there was still another reason, I'll get to the honest bare truth about the biggest reason why I didn't post them. It's true I much preferred sharing them with Irene before posting, it's true that it was late and I was tired, but I just didn't like the way I looked in them. I obviously have some serious self-image issues. I'm looking better than i ever have in my entire life, but I'm still able to look at a picture and find reasons to hate it. I tell myself, “Sean, just keep working out---get in there and get the weight training in and your body will transform to your liking, it's all good.” But even still---I look at these pictures and think, my head, shoulders, and upper body are much thinner than my lower body! And I thought I looked better than that! I have horrible muscle tone. Why do I insist being so critical of myself? After all my success, isn't that nuts? Completely nuts. I may need counseling, I'm being completely serious about that. I'm posting the pictures tonight anyway. I'm not “fishing” for compliments, so don't think that. I just thought it might be interesting to see some behind the scenes rehearsal pics, and I'm making a point to force myself to get over this ridiculous hang-up on my personal appearance—I must post them for that reason.

I better wrap this up and carry Irene to her bed. She's preciously sleeping in her recliner with the TV blasting. OK, I'm not really strong enough to even carry a small child, let alone Irene or any other adult---but I meant that figuratively, not literally. I will be strong enough some day, I really will! And then Irene is going to get sick of me picking her up! I can just imagine her saying... “Sean, seriously—put me down already! You Incredible Hulk of a man!” Shhh, I'm dreaming. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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Doris and Hank dreaming of their future. Lauren Donahue is Doris.

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Henny and Hank. Isaac Cervantis is Henny.

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Hank and Miss Logan. Carol Harris is Miss Logan.

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Another Doris and Hank picture

“Call Me Henry” is a ReAct production and opens October 8th with additional performances the ninth, tenth, eleventh, sixteenth, and seventeenth in the beautiful Wilken Theatre on the campus of Northern Oklahoma College in historic Tonkawa, Oklahoma. For more information visit www.reactatnoc.com

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 367 Another Pound and Is It Hard?

Day 367

Another Pound and Is It Hard?

Today was weigh day and I completely forgot to send out the weigh day update! Well, it's not too bad because I sent one on Monday. I wasn't expecting too much more than the three pound loss from Monday's Day 365 weigh-in. I added another pound! I'm down to 292. Total lost: 213 pounds! I'm very happy about that. The extra pound lost today makes this two week period end with a four pound loss, and I'm thrilled with that! I think my days of being upset about “small” losses are over. My anxiety over my weight is gone now. If I lose a couple of pounds a week all the way down to my ultimate goal, then fine by me!

I'm already needing a belt with the latest jean size of 42. I think a 40 would fit just fine! That really feels good to say. It'll be so magical to hit the 30's. You know that as soon as I can wear 38's, I'll be writing about it! I'm already writing about the anticipation. It'll be great.

I'm very lucky to have such an amazingly supportive wife. Not only does she support my weight loss efforts, she's also lost over 140 pounds! It's a mutual support thing, really! Irene posted a wonderful blog the other day that she dedicated to me in honor of my one year anniversary. If you haven't already, you can read it at www.livinlarge09.blogspot.com She's a very special woman. My beautiful buddy of twenty-two years! I love you girl!

I've heard several people lately express “how hard” it is to lose weight. It reminded me of an early post, so I thought I would post this excerpt from Day 18 titled “It's Hard! Or Is It?” My entire life I've always thought of weight loss as something that's really hard to do. I've convinced myself that it is so difficult, the mere thought of it makes me want to eat a Twinkie out of complete terror. But isn't that what most of us think? I can't count how many times I've heard someone say “it's so hard to lose weight!”...And I agree, if that's what we decide it is, then it is hard. The big multi-billion dollar weight loss industry loves this perception, because it's a perfect mindset for them to drop in and say... “hey, we have an easy solution for you to try!”. I always get a big kick out of weight loss product commercials that tout an amazing solution, only to include the disclaimer... “with regular diet and exercise”. Ok, so we eat less and exercise more and we take these expensive little pills too, and like magic, wallah! We're slim and fit! So many people fail to listen closely to this, or they'd realize that if you eat less and exercise more, you're more than likely going to lose weight---whether you're taking some expensive pills or not! It's all about your mindset. I've talked about this before in this blog. This journey to lose weight and get in shape is hard if I say it is. But I say it's not. It's not hard! There, I said it! All I am doing is eating normal portions, I'm not over eating, and I'm exercising...and everyday I feel better than the day before. And along the way I'm learning how to eat better and how to exercise right, and these are skills that will keep me fit forever. When you're completely focused and determined it is easy. And once you're in this mode it's very difficult for something to shake you away from it. I knew I had to find this mode, this gear if you will, I knew that if I didn't find this attitude, then I would forever be a victim continually suffering from the consequences of my size and bad habits. I've encountered extremely stressful situations during this first 18 days, yet one thing that hasn't changed is my calorie counting and exercise plan. It doesn't change, no matter the circumstances. Circumstances that would normally send me to the nearest convenience store for a pint of “comfort” food (ice cream), don't stand a chance against this rock solid determination. If I lost my job and became homeless tomorrow I believe I would still be counting calories and probably be walking much more than I do know. It's that important that I lose this weight. The effects of losing this weight and getting in shape are really exciting to think about! I truly believe that my excessive weight has held me back for many years. I often wonder where my family would be had I done this years ago...What could all that confidence have done for us? At the risk of sounding boastful, I know I have the talent to be in a big market, with a big station and a big salary...So after 20 years in radio, why haven't I made it there? Lack of confidence? Breaking chairs during big interviews? I've been way to busy gravitating to the line of least resistance! It's too easy to settle at that line and get by and accept the current situations that make up our daily lives. It's way too easy to NOT take control and do this. But once I made a real committed decision to change it became easy to do this. I'm excited to dream of what the future may hold for my family and friends at the end of this journey and the beginning of the rest of our wonderful lives! By the way, a Twinkie is 150 calories.

Oh, and that's a regular Twinkie without being deep fried!
Thank you for reading, goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 366 Anniversary Reflections and Fair Happenings--The Deep Fried Oreo

Day 366

Anniversary Reflections and Fair Happenings—The Deep Fried Oreo

Today was the official one year anniversary of this walk of freedom, September 15th, 2009. The comments and e-mails, the messages and phone calls, it was all such a wonderful experience. “Thank you” doesn't seem to be enough really. Your kindness, your compliments, your support, it's all a very rich blessing to me.

I completely forgot to share my Day 365 weigh-in from Monday. I meant to share it in last night's blog. I did send it out via text, Facebook, e-mail, and a few personal calls, but totally forgot to mention it in these writings. I normally will not weigh outside of of an official bi-weekly weigh-in. You normally couldn't make me weigh any other time. But Day 365 was an exception. I wanted to see the number for one year. I walked into the doctors office ready for anything, ready to put a nice bow on a wonderfully transforming year, and knowing that no matter what the scale showed, I was a success. I stepped on and it quickly registered 293.4---I stood there for several seconds, then stepped down to repeat the process. Again the scale gave me 293.4---To say I was thrilled would be a giant understatement. I was beyond thrilled. I was on a level of thrilled I didn't even know existed until now. One year: 212 pounds lost. An average of .58 pounds per day and 4 pounds per week. Consistency has rewarded me with an almost unimaginable accomplishment.

Today quickly got out of control. I'm speaking of time management. I was on the air from 6am to 9am, then into production until 11:10am before I had to rush home and meet Irene for our trip to an appointment we had at 11:30am. I was back at work by 1:20pm for more production work, with the plan being that I would interview Diane, Fit To The Finish at 2:15pm. I did have a wonderful chat with Diane and we both agreed to postpone our interview until a better day. Thank you Diane for being so incredibly understanding. I want that interview to be a good one and I was afraid that had we gone ahead and recorded the piece, it would have been rushed and disorganized. That wouldn't have been fair to you the reader/listener, and especially unfair to Diane. I edited a couple of commercials and headed out the door by 2:45pm. I had to stop by the bank and make a few other stops before rushing to the house for a quick shave and shower before my 4pm-7pm broadcast at the Kay County Free Fair. Directly after the fair broadcast I had to drive straight to play rehearsal. Lucky for me we ended rehearsal a little early, at 9:15pm. What a crazy schedule I've created. As soon as this play closes on October 17th, it's rest time! In the meantime it is imperative that I manage my time better, allowing for more precious and renewing sleep. I'm not proud of the horrible example I've set in the sleep and time management area. I'm completely flattered and honored when someone says they've patterned their journey after mine---but remember to never spread yourself this thin, this is an obvious flaw in my performance.

The deeper we get into this play, the more excited I get about playing the part I've been given. Tonight's rehearsal left me completely drained emotionally. We worked on a very dramatic scene before we wrapped tonight and it wouldn't let go of me until after I arrived back home. This production is going to be something special, I just feel it. I wish you could be in the audience for this one, I really do. I do promise pictures, real soon!

I enjoyed a rare treat tonight. In honor of the largest county fair in the entire state of Oklahoma, I enjoyed a deep fried Oreo. I invested 150 calories in this little thing, certainly a rarity, but my curiosity and love for Oreo cookies got the best of me! I actually found a calorie count at daily plate for a deep fried Oreo: 80. I'm not so sure I trust that number. I know a regular Oreo is 53 calories. Oh my, when I think about all of my past Oreo and milk binges, oh the calories---wow! I think I'll take my guesstimate of 150 and stick to that. A deep fried Oreo isn't a bad choice. Several of them would have been a horrible choice, one I wouldn't even think of making. And wouldn't you know it, they gave me four or five to sample, I only wanted one---So a few friends at the ReAct fair booth finished them off for me. I even marked the occasion with another “On The Go Video,” it's posted below---just click play!

I arrived home ready to eat something and to write this post. It is the one year anniversary, so let's go back and remember this excerpt from Day 2 when I faced the scale for the first time along this road: 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.

I had a rather later dinner. I prepared a Flat-Out pizza with triple the mozzarella I normally enjoy. I was trying to boost the calories of the thing to 300 and I almost did. I added mushrooms and green peppers too. It was amazing. So perfect, I had to take a picture and show you. With my coffee creamer calories and this pizza---my calorie budget just jumped over the 1400 mark, not bad really. It's all good. I posted several “In-Progress” pictures below and a few “before” re-runs just for comparison. Thank you so much for reading! Tomorrow is my official weigh-in, we'll see if we can add to that already wonderful total. Irene and Courtney should be weighing in as well! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean


Remember, one's not bad. Sneaking off and devouring a bunch of them? That's bad.

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Posted this “lost” before picture the other day. Use for comparison here!

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Amber and Courtney “before”

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Amber Anderson---Very beautiful!!!

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The two of us.

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A most awesome personal pizza!

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“In-Progress”

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I weigh 293 pounds here!

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My beautiful girl!

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Courtney “In-Progress”

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My Mom looks so young and pretty!





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