Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 424 The Big Thing "Experts" Miss and The Biggest Breast of Chicken

Day 424

The Big Thing “Experts” Miss and The Biggest Breast of Chicken

My attention was recently drawn to a comment left on a friends blog. Tammy at received the comment from a weight loss “expert” type person. Here’s an excerpt of the comment: The Law of Energy Conservation in the body isn't clear-cut as in the physics text book, given the complex interrelationship of the neuroendocrine system. This simply means that the body adjusts for the energy balance in order to maintain homeostasis, or the needs of the body in its current state. This adjustment is accomplished through hormonal signaling between the cells and the brain. If the cells are starved, they eventually send a hormonal signals to the brain for more energy intake -- and this may be what you're experiencing when you suddenly (and often uncontrollably) consume an increase in calories. It's not you, but your body's way of survival. This has been implicated as the reason a reduced-calorie diet (or one that requires the user to count calories) invariably fails in the long-term. Many people experience initial weight loss from a calorie-focused diet, but in most of those people, the weight eventually returns. Until the overweight body can partition the calories it stores and the calories it consumes, almost any conventional diet is only temporary, and exercise, no matter how intense, aren't likely to help.

It’s always so scientific with these people. I take issue with this comment because it completely fails to take in to account the mental aspects of this journey. I’ve written before about how anything and everything will work. You can lose weight doing any number of plans and programs, but if you’re doing it solely as a means to lose weight---then it’s temporary. Too many times I lost weight and gained it back because I was simply going through the motions needed to lose weight. I ate less and I exercised more, never considering the mental aspects, the educational aspects, the real change part of this process. This person that commented made mention of “weight loss clients,” wow---can you imagine being consulted with the fancy scientific explanation of everything? Why do most people fail? My opinion? They fail to simplify. They over-complicate this process. Why do people lose successfully, only to gain back what they’ve lost and then some? My opinion? Because they were only going through the motions needed to lose. This is why meal replacement plans, programs with special food you buy, and any other plan that isn’t completely natural---eating everyday foods you would normally eat in everyday food situations---that’s why they ultimately don’t work!

The biggest difference between this time and every other attempt I’ve ever had at weight loss rest in the mental aspects. The learning part of the program is vital. Learning what a proper portion looks like is important, but also slowing down and realizing that a normal portion can be good and filling is vital. Learning to take the focus off the food and onto people around us at special events and gatherings is also important. Learning how to eat responsibly---handle food responsibly, and I’m talking about portions here---this stuff is hardly ever talked about by the “experts” I’ve witnessed. And I just love how the reader comment on her blog scientifically rationalizes meltdowns as “your body’s way of survival.” Well that’s just perfect! My body made me do it! It needed that half gallon of ice cream, it really did. What about self-honesty? What about personal responsibility? Wait a second---hold on---

Geez. Let me stop right here and say this: I’m not an expert. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a molecular biologist. I’m not a psychiatrist. BUT---I am a guy who spent nearly two decades at or above 500 pounds. I am a guy who has tried it all, lost weight, and then gained it all back. I’m a guy who would lay in bed at night crying because I didn’t understand why I couldn’t grab control before it killed me. I’m a guy who finally decided to dissect every weight loss attempt I’d ever experienced---and really get to the heart of why it didn’t work---or why the results were only temporary. This journey and this blog and the 227 pounds I’ve lost in the last 424 days is the result of my self-study, self-analysis, or as I’ve simply put it before: The education of me about me. The decreased calories and the increased exercise drops the weight, but the mental aspects---the learning how to eat like a normal person with normal food, in real---everyday situations---that’s what will keep it off for the rest of my life. Perhaps my argument will have more power in five years or ten, when I’ve kept the weight off successfully. I’ve just had too many solid epiphanies along this road to ever believe it’s not real or just temporary. Go back and read the archives from Day 1---follow along as I make these wonderful discoveries about myself and this journey. Read mine—or a number of my friends blogs before you ever hire an “expert” to coach you.

Wow---I’ve really rambled here…Oh my, look at the time. I haven’t talked at all about Thursday! OK---enough of this, here we go…

I found out today that the number “505” isn’t available for Saturday’s Turkey Trot 10K, but 227 is available, that’s how much I’ve lost to date---am I proud of that or what? That’s like the 7th time I’ve mentioned that, how annoying. OK—maybe only the 2nd time---Anyway---I will proudly wear number 227 as I make it through that 6.2 mile road course Saturday morning! I can’t wait, and yes…we’ll have plenty of pictures and “On The Go Videos” for posting. I’m so excited!

I decided to train tonight. I set out to do an un-official 10K, and ended up doing a 5K instead. It was just getting late---my fault for not getting out there sooner! They key for me surviving Saturday morning will be my pace. I can’t get crazy---wanting to show off, if I do it will surely lead to humiliation, and we don’t need that! I will have periods of jogging and I think I’ll summon the strength to sprint across the finish line, or well, let’s say I’ll certainly try to sprint across that finish line. Can you tell how excited I am about this? They’re gonna have a time keeper and I get to wear one of those official numbers!!!

Dinner tonight was on the road with my sister in law. Billie Sue is the SIL that cried when she saw my dramatic transformation for the first time. She needed a ride to a town about an hour away, so I picked her up and off we went. We talked about weight loss and food and exercise, and we talked about this blog and what it means to me. We also talked about the issues of late in our lives. It was a good conversation. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich, with regular mustard—no mayo, hold the bacon. Why do some restaurants insist on taking a good healthy item and turning it into something loaded, just dripping with fat and calories? As soon as I had the sandwich in my hands, I knew this was no ordinary chicken breast sandwich. It was some kind of super bird, because this thing was huge and heavy, I mean---it was like a brick. The bun was giant, I swear I should have snapped a picture with something like my hand or head---something for perspective, crazy! I immediately decided that my strategy had to shift with this one. I threw away the 300 calorie bun---it had to be 300…and I enjoyed the gigantic breast of chicken. The chicken breast was about double what I normally would fix at home. I safely counted 400 calories for this unnaturally big piece of grilled chicken. No sides, nope---I was full and completely satisfied after tackling that bird.

Saturday night at midnight I’ll be going back into the haunted Poncan Theatre. This time I’ll be alongside professional TAPS affiliated paranormal investigators with all of their fancy cool equipment! We’ll be broadcasting the entire investigation from midnight until 2am CST on KLOR 99.3FM and we’ll even have a webcast at Just click on KLOR when you get there Saturday night. It’ll be fun!

Thank you for reading! Goodnight and…

Good Choices,


  1. Well, I AM a molecular biologist and I completely agree with what you're saying.

  2. Jack's a molecular biologist? Now I'm scared. Have you read his blog lately?

    From my own perspective I've lost lots of weight - several times - fast. Why am I trying again? Because the changes I have previously put in place could not be permanent. Simply put, if you like spaghetti why would you totally eliminate that from your diet?

    Seriously, Sean, biology schmiology - you've found what works and if it's a permanent change, that's all that counts.

  3. Hi Sean. Sounds like you have a lot lined up for Saturday! Just remember to get some recovery time in.

    I think your body does try to make it difficult for you to lose weight. We are set up biologically to hold on to body fat for surival reasons.

    But this just makes losing weight all the more a mental game. That comment Tammy received points out that you have to be strong and consistent mentally to be able to do this thing - because you are setting yourself up against your body's natural reactions to calorie restriction.

    Once you're through the weight loss, the reason most people put the weight back on is not physical but mental. Often mental exhaustion with holding yourself back from eating what you want all the time.

    Maybe this is where you will succeed Sean because you are still allowing yourself foods you enjoy. Everyday eating is still a "treat" for you. I know many people think you should be eating "better" but it sounds like you eat "healthy" more than empty (nutritionwise) calories. And it's much much much better to put something in place that can last the rest of your life. Also, when you get to maintenance you will be able to increase your calories with healthy foods. You'll have more room in your calorie allowance to do that.

    Best wishes,
    Bearfriend xx

  4. Good luck tomorrow Sean. I'll be rooting for you from wayyyy far away! I just love how you are still filled with wonder and joy about losing weight. It really comes through in your writing. Everything you wrote was spot on. I don't want to go through life never having another hotdog or piece of wedding cake. I want to be able to eat normal foods not icky diet stuff. The best day of my journey was finding your blog. I want everyone to know who I pattern myself after. Still waiting for a book announcement from you. Hugs!

  5. I am so glad you wrote this today. I honestly believe this is why it has taken me so long to lose weight, the 12 pounds that I have lost. I am trying to make the permanent and life-long changes in my eating and behavior so that I never have to go through being obese again. I really enjoy your posts, Sean & I am very thankful for your honest words.

  6. Good luck with the 10K tomorrow! I'm glad you got the 227 number since 505 wasn't available! I don't think anyone could argue with your success and how you've achieved it! I agree...the pro's definately need to simplify! Hey...I just came from my 1 month weigh-in at Curves. I only lost 1 lb but I lost 8 inches!!!! I couldn't believe it! 4" off my waist, 2" off my abdomin, 1" off my hips, 1" off my thighs and 2.10% body fat!!! I knew there were changes in my body but I never dreamed 8" and half of that off my waist!!! I was so excited!!! I'm looking forward to Saturday night! Be sure to put on your big boy shorts!!! LOL Love ya, Cuz

  7. I do agree with you that anything will work. I also agree that for long term weight loss there definitely needs to be nutritional changes, exercise and the biggest thing, mental changes have to be made. I don't think everyone needs a shrink (like me) but I do think that can help immensely especially when someone has been morbidly obese since childhood.

    I think it's about learning to love ourselves bottom line and to sort through our long time habits and thoughts about ourselves. I think depression plays a factor too. I had a psychiatrist once tell me every obese person suffers from depression. I just didn't want to believe that but now I think back and I'm thinking maybe she was right.

    I will confess that I'm one for eating more calories. I think I've been able to do this because of weekly weight training since almost the beginning of starting my journey. I think it has increased my metabolism greatly too. But I also think more calories has slowed my scale progress more than most.

    I have also seen that your approach to weight loss can work perfectly fine too. It really is all about we all need to find our own way in this. I think we all need accountability on a daily/weekly basis too which blogging does. There are just so many factors to weight loss and maintenance and it is such a personal journey.

    I wish us all great luck on each of our journeys. I know reading all these blogs have opened my eyes to realize that my way isn't the best or only way.

    Well said Sean and I'm so happy you got number 227, good luck with your 10K. I need to get myself entered in one soon.

    Here's to a great journey and reaching maintenance and staying there FOREVER.

  8. Could it be the protection money they have to pay?

  9. I think it's right about where your head is your body is likely to follow... I don't think it makes any sense to get weird packages of food or eat only X, or even lots of food you wouldn't normally eat... it's just not really something someone is going to do in the long term. If they just go back to the "old" ways after the 30 days what's going to stop the old them from coming back right?

    Well I'm off to uh... balance my hormonal homostatious of cell membranes with my complex interrelationship of the neuroendocrine system... by digesting a pint of ice cream.

    At Foolsfitness we just bought a 5 pound squash! Sure we don't have a clue how to cook it and it's just sitting in the fridge, but we actually can say we have fresh produce in the house now!-Alan

  10. I’ve been neglecting my blog reading for a while, but I’ve finally caught up. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad’s health issues; I am sure he will be successful in fighting them though. I am glad Irene’s sister is doing all right at the moment too. And, of course, I am terribly sorry to hear about your marriage coming to an end; I am sure that you are both making the right decision and I wish you both the best of luck as you begin walking separate paths. You will all be in my thoughts during these hard times.

    Do me one favour, please, and congratulate Irene for me on getting below 200 pounds. I know that she hasn’t updated her blog in quite a while and I want to make sure that she knows how great I think that accomplishment is. I am working under the assumption that you and she are still communicating as openly as I suspect, but if not forgive my odd request.

    To you I offer a hearty congrats also for slipping from a 42 to a 40 sized jean – great job! Excellent weigh-ins too, of course! Love your posts, as usual... I especially enjoyed hearing about the girl in the convenience store who lost the 50 pounds – it’s great that you were able to do a sort of role reversal there. Good luck going back into the theatre; not sure you could convince me to go in a second time after what sounds like a very frightening first experience. Great to know that your Corvette experience was everything you had hoped too! Keep up the fabulous work and good luck on your 10K on Saturday!!!


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