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: : “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,

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



Henny and Hank. Isaac Cervantis is Henny.

Hank and Miss Logan. Carol Harris is Miss Logan.


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


  1. The secret to your success is so simple. Why is it still the hardest thing for us to do? It's the mental part that is hard. Love the stills! Look at what you can do now that you couldn't do a year ago--only a year ago. You should make a list. I bet its huge!

  2. Let me start by saying you are amazing... an inspiration... all that stuff. Seriously.

    But if you really feel like you are weak, and have horrible muscle tone... you should get yourself a few weights/sculpting sessions with a personal trainer. (Once your play's done, for heaven's sake!)

    I'm guessing, based on a few of your remarks over the months that you feel like you have a lot to learn in terms of weights, etc. at the gym. So... just like you did with the caloric content of foods, you just need to educate yourself (and what better way to be educated than to get a knowledgeable instructor?) and you'll be on your way. I have no doubt!

    Considering your dedication to your own personal transformation, once you knew what you needed to do for your desired muscle tone, then I would bet gobs of money that you would "just do it"! :-)

  3. Opens on the 8th Oct? 8TH OCT?? So soon! ::faints::

  4. I totally concur, anything will work if you follow it.

    I think what most folks don't think about is beyond the goal, and realize they are going to have to make it a lifestyle. I almost got depressed at a recent WW when that thought finally hit home. Wow, I thought to myself - I'm going to have to do this forever. But you know what, I shook that ole negative sadness away because of all the positives that I will gain from my new way of living.

    I also totally concur that one should not deprive themselves of any food group, including the "deep fried oreo" variety, lol. If you factor it in, there is nothing wrong with enjoying it.

    Have a great day...great photos!

  5. To me it's not just will it work, because yes, anything that reduces calories will work to some degree. The real question is, can you sustain it?

    And that's where learning to change our behaviors, attitudes, and habits related to food comes in. If we can really change the parts of our relationships to food that were unhealthy, then we can sustain the weight loss.

    And for me, that's the whole goal of weight loss!

  6. Excellent Post!

    You are absolutely right. Three times in my life I've lost a substantial amount of weight but you'd never know it today as I'm at my heaviest. I lost eating out of a Jenny Craig box and I've lost by avoiding carbs for over a year (imagine?) but I haven't been able to sustain the loss because who can give up bread and pizza for their entire life? Not this Italian girl.

    I read an article that said to eat whatever you want but if it is a high calorie/high fat food/treat, just have 3 bites. How much damage can 3 bites do?

    You are such an inspiration and I think you look great in the pictures. Irene is a lucky lady.

  7. Love this post and love that we seem to share the same wave legnth! Hope others make it there some day! Also...congrats on your stunnnnninf weight-loss. :)

  8. I've heard that one of the reasons we gain weight back is that our brain doesn't catch up with the reality of the body. If you need counseling go get it and think of it as just another part of your budget! And Sean, I LOVE the fact that you do not have forbidden foods. I think that puts you way ahead of a lot of folks trying to lose weight.

  9. Sean.....I don't think having ONE Oreo or even two is cheating. I have been at this for 10 months. 10 very long months. I think the fact that you can STOP at one is a huge deal. You proved to yourself that you can have a reasonable amount of something decadent and stop within your calorie budget. That's what I do too. If I want a chip I have one if I HAVE the calories.....I don't see that as a failure at all. If I ate a whole bag of chips that would be a failure.....

  10. How fun! I wish I lived in OK and then I would come cheer you on. I think you look fine...and really into your roll! Furthermore, I enjoyed your whole post today. I have a bad habit of eating one bad thing and then feeling that I've blown my whole day so I keep eating bad. You've addressed this issue well.

  11. dream of carrying your wife...and I dream of being small enough to be carried!!!!

  12. Hi ya baby...Love you sooo much...Love the post and the pics...Baby you look wonderful, and you know what you are going to do to look better!! You are GREAT baby!! Love you soooo much look foward to the 3 days off with you!!
    Miss you soooo very much!!
    love alwayss and forever xoxoxoxo

  13. I think there does need to be a balance between food and exercise. I think to truly be healthy we need both food and exercise in healthy quantities. I must say though that my husband did lose 60+ lbs just by starting to move his body. He still struggles with the food part though and we both realize exercise alone won't get us where we want to be. I still look for that right balance for myself everyday.

    As for the body image, I sometimes wonder if I will ever conquer that part of this journey. I can tell you that going from a large size to where I am now I have skin issues that no amount of weight training/exercise is going to fix. I have been exercising since the very beginning of my journey (2+ yrs) and though I know I have plenty of muscle under it all, on the surface there is still the loose skin to deal with.

    As for therapy, I'm all for it. I've been going through my weight loss journey and it has made a huge difference in all areas of my life.

    I think you've done amazing and have to start looking at where you came from and all you've accomplished. I think you look teriffic in your pictures.

    Something I read on a blog once really hit home with me and I try to do it everyday now. I look myself in the mirror and I tell myself "I approve of you". It always makes me smile back at myself and think I look pretty good these days *smile*.

    This journey really is about learning to love ourselves inside and out. I know I sure didn't love myself at 378 lbs or I wouldn't have let myself get there. So just being less of me doesn't make me magically love myself fully that is something I have to try to work on everyday.

    Just keep reminding yourself how amazing you are. Not just in all you've accomplished by losing 213 lbs but by the terrific wonderful person you have always been.

  14. Deciding that one must stay away from forbidden foods is the first step towards disaster...even if you've lost a huge amount of weight.

    I so agree with everything you said Sean.

    Eat. Everything. In moderate quantities. Move your body. Enjoy life!

  15. The play pics are very cool. I have a lot of respect and admiration for you for that project.

    And yea, I completely agree with you regarding the lifestyle change that this is. That was playing in my head, but ultimately died in the unspoken ether, during my uncomfortable convo with my friend about her weight loss "success".

    I could lose a lot of weight fasting...and I havee. I could lose a lot of weight eating a strict atkins ketosis-style diet w/o exercising..and I have. I could do it just drinking isagenix shakes and yes, maybe a "meal replacement" bar or two...and I have.

    But this time it is real, and amazing, and I'm in awe of it. Because this time it's about real change; true change. For life.

    Because, for me, despite my immense weight and crucial need to lose weight, it is NOT just about losing weight. It's about creating real, healthy, positive, lasting change in my life.

    And I love it.

  16. Oh my gosh! I just found your blog! I totally love it! (sorry for all the "!"...but I'm just so happy to have found you).

    What a fantastic post, exactly what I needed today. I can't thank you enough.

    I've seen your name around and people mention you in their blogs but for some reason I never came here before. I can't wait to catch up on your past posts. I'm adding you to my blog list right now.

    Fantastic job on the weight loss, and fantastic insight as well.

    Thank you!

  17. Sean, you are my personal cheerleader! I firmly believe that the reason I am so successful is the there are no bad foods mindset. So then there is no guilt when I have a brownie, or chips, or a chili dog with fries (I had that for dinner last night) because they fit into my 1500 calorie limit. And I eat all day! I always make sure I have low calorie snacks. 40 calorie fudgesicles are pure heaven. When I started, I had no idea how I would lose weight, what 'diet' I would use, and then I found your blog. I immediately started patterning myself after you. I know I'm not the only one you have influenced for the better. This is what I wrote on Day 11:

    Found another blog yesterday about a man who started at 505 pounds and has lost 170. Of course I had to go back to the beginning and read through. How encouraging! And he's doing it the way I am: eating less and exercising!

    I'm so glad to have a friend on this journey Sean. I agree with everyone else, you look great in your pics and I'm sure Irene is loving it all. We are always hardest on ourselves.
    Big hugs to you Sean.

  18. The pics make me want to go see the OK...where you will be performing.

    You know, even if you weren't having body image issues, counseling from time to time is not a bad idea. Shoot, you have completely transformed your body in 12 months time...that has to take some go for it!

    the rest? agreed.

  19. Hey don't forget that "hamming it up" in theature is low cal!

    I'm totally with you in the oreo thing. People need to eat real food. if they are afraid of it they haven't mastered it. I shutter when people mention "diets" because the weight thing isn't just something to be fixed and then left alone... while also like you said eating food within your caloric limits- isn't that sane? People eat. That's how they survive!

    They also need to realize that they are doing life and if they jump the wall the weight athorities will find them eventually.

    The exersize part of the quote I think you should modify a bit. "you can loose more weight in the start with exersize and eating well... in the end you just might gain a little weight in muscle"

    Let them shutter about me too. I just hit the 25 pound loss mark and I just had a chimichunga for lunch and a muffin for breakfast!

    At foolsfitness it's all about the chimichungas!- Alan

  20. I actually lost about 40 pounds just exercising, so it is possible. You just have to burn more calories than you take in, which does translate to exercising a lot. Though there are a lot of factors that determine how many calories you burn when you exercise (your weight and the intensity of the activity being the main two), a good median value is that running a mile burns about 100 calories. So, you could lose a pound a week by running about 35 miles a week with no diet change (which is basically what I did). You may think this is a drastic amount of exercise and would take way too much time and is unsustainable for you, but I may think that only eating 1500 calories a day is drastic and unsustainable for me. So it's just a personal choice. But to say you can't lose weight just exercising isn't correct.

  21. Almost forgot... I think you should talk to someone, maybe a priest or rev if not a full blown "counseling" thing.

    I'm not saying anything bad! Again, I am in no way saying you are "nuts" but this transformation is vastly changed your whole being. I just mean you're major MAJOR changing you, your whole life... If 200 pounds isn't a life change what is? While you are still you the fact is you are a different you as well.

    I've been thinking about this Idea too back a few blog posts in the "humpty dumpty NSV" like is the big me a less valid me or the lighter me a more valid me?

    No silly Foolsfitness sign off here. Just Prayers that you can find inner peace at any weight. Then think about the "healthier" you weight stuff. -Alan

  22. You are just ...I am lost for words.



  23. I think a lot of us share the problem of not seeing our bodies in an accurate fashion.
    It might be because we're so used to seeing *perfection* in the media and we're constantly comparing.
    I know that's what my problem is anyway ... I mean from when I was thin oh so many years ago.

    It's nice to see you enjoying the play.

    Irene's work schedule sounds nuts ... Irene! I don't know how you do it!

  24. son i think you look great! i really like your pictures. love mom

  25. @Zaababy I'm really sorry if I sounded mean or like I was biting your head off. The comment seemed innocuous this afternoon, but now seems like I was snapping at somebody. I read a couple entries in your blog, and we have nothing in common. It totally makes sense that the lifestyle change I can make and the one you can make are totally different. Anyway, sorry again if it seemed like I was mean.

  26. Hey Buddy, I need to ask you a massive favour. Myself and my partner Robert have entered a competition to win a trip to Thailand to help them with their tourism growth. We had to submit a 1 minute video about ourselves. Our video has been viewed around 600 times but some people who have not been on for as long have had around 10000 hits, i see cheating is obviously on their agendas, the first stage is supposed to be based on what the judges think of you but i suspect it has to do with how many views you get. So i am asking you since you have a large followers base if you would be willing to write a wee blog to your followers and ask them to follow the link at the bottom and view the video of myself and Robert, feel free to view it as many times as you want as it increases the viewage, i have noticed you only need to watch the first couple of seconds and then you change page and go back and woola another 1 view :) Cheating? maybe, but it seems thats what everyone else is doing. I know that your friends and families don't know me and Robert but it would be totally appreciated.

    Thank You In Advance.

    Caley & Robert

  27. I'm glad I'm not the only one contemplating therapy. :)


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