Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day 472 On Second Thought, It Is The Same

Day 472

On Second Thought, It Is The Same

Thank you to everyone who shared concerned and support over yesterday’s post. The heartbreaking stories of the loved ones lost too soon because of smoking really made an impact on me. I know for some of my friends, sharing the stories brought back powerful emotions. I sincerely appreciate the sharing and the understanding you’ve gifted me. The title of yesterday’s post wasn’t necessarily correct. “Often Times Avoided…” Should have been “Avoided At All Cost…” Because other than a few post from Day 96 to a few days, maybe a week later, I haven’t mentioned it until yesterday.

That anonymous comment came out of nowhere on Day 470. I don’t moderate my comments and I never will. If something is obscene or if it is clearly advertising spam, I do have the power to delete it, and I would. I’ll admit that my first instinct told me that it was a backhanded comment, perhaps someone that knows me, trying to knock me down a notch or two. Like they had secret information about this “good choices” guy---and just wait until his readers see this! But that’s the completely wrong attitude from me. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it was someone experiencing the same struggle and contradiction in lifestyle, and having read about my smoking habit, they were sincerely asking a legitimate question. They were looking for an honest opinion; an assessment and maybe some hope that it does get easier to lay the smokes down as we near our weight loss goals.

Regardless of their motive, which I now honestly believe was pure in spirit; I must thank them for forcing me to confront the issue. Thank you anonymous commenter. This is a subject I’ve been ignoring too long. It is a contradiction in lifestyle and let’s face it---it’s deadly. I’ve spent the last 472 days completely changing my life by losing and continuing to lose a massive amount of weight---with the overall goal of better health and a longer life, all the while smoking? That’s absolutely ridiculous. BUT---That nicotine is so addictive, it’s so hard to quit, I feel hopeless and stuck. And then it hit me.

I’ve spent so much time defending my habit by saying “Oh, its two different, completely different addictions!” If so, then why do I feel exactly like I did when I was hopelessly out of control with my eating habits and weight? I wasn’t hopeless in regard to weight loss, obviously, and I’m not hopeless when it comes to quitting the cigarettes. It might be two different addictions, but the same mental gymnastics and philosophies that I’ve used to lose so much weight---they can and will apply to me quitting. The only reason I’ve said they don’t apply is because I didn’t want them to apply.

You see, it’s real easy to start believing our own stories about anything. We can convince ourselves that we’re powerless to something. We’re not. But it feels like it if we believe we are. I convinced myself that I would never be able to lose weight. I convinced myself that I would die young, a morbidly obese young man---buried in a specially built coffin that cost way more than my grieving loved ones could have imagined. I was scared and hopeless over my obesity.

It was too hard---I wanted to lose weight, I did. I dreamed of losing weight! And oh how it was such a pleasant dream. Being healthy, fitting into places, things, and situations I always felt restricted from. That dream felt sadly out of reach my entire life until now. Why can’t I be normal? Why can’t I be one of the lucky ones? Why do I have to be a 500 pound man? Why??? I use to drive myself crazy with these internal questions. When I realized that I had to set my importance level to do or die---and I had to really believe my demise, not to mention the complete destruction of my family unit was imminent—It dawned on me: Am I my own worst enemy? Is what I want being kept from me by none other than ME? It was a revelation in personal responsibility, accountability. I decided that I had the power to do this losing weight thing the right way. I had the power to change. I wasn’t being held back by anyone. I wasn’t a victim of society and a fat gene! I was a willing acceptor of my bad choices and me, only me. I did have the power to change, I did have the power to grab control.

I had to fight my food addict thoughts from derailing me---I had to set up that steel curtain zone and power forward—making the best choices I could despite any emotion, circumstance, person, place, or thing. This was a mission of utmost importance. Life or death. I didn’t want to die, I still don’t. I have too much to live for! I had to take baby steps in the exercise department, because I feared any bigger steps might kill me from the strain. I’m still too easy on myself to this day because of that irrational fear. But---I’ve proved that I’m not hopeless. I refused to accept it another day past September 14th of 2008. And there is no reason, not one good reason for me to think I can’t do the exact same thing with cigarettes. I have the power. I can do anything in which I assign this kind of importance level.

Do you understand now why I’m so attached to Ralph Marston’s “Set Yourself Free” and how it was like reading my thoughts exactly? I’ve reprinted it several times in these writings---being sure to give Ralph Marston and his www.greatday.com website credit, and Here it is again:

“Set Yourself Free” by Ralph Marston---"There is no outside force holding you back. You are holding you back and you are blaming it on someone or something else. The way you are able to continue holding yourself back is by maintaining the illusion that you're a victim. Once you realize that illusion, you will naturally and easily move forward. In fact, it is easier to fulfill your best possibilities than it is to avoid them. So let go of the blame and watch the limitations drop away. Certainly there will always be challenges that hold you back. For each challenge provides you with a pathway through which you can move toward fulfillment. It is your very nature to accomplish. Lovingly accept your destiny, and allow that accomplishment to be manifest through you. Set yourself free to follow your purpose. Set yourself free to truly live."

That is so powerful and so true---it gives me chills. Had I not experienced the revelation I had, it probably wouldn’t have struck me the same. I would have just had an attitude--yeah, yeah, yeah---whatever---positive speaking mumbo jumbo. But no---that’s real stuff. I’ve experienced it first hand. It’s so wonderfully true.

And so quitting smoking is now a priority for me. The time is now, not someday soon, but now. I will not buy another pack. I refuse. I still have three packs remaining. I’d be lying if I said I was throwing them away. I’m sure I’ll smoke ‘em gone. But I can tell---as I smoke each one my disgust will grow stronger. This nasty habit will no longer control me. I will control it- I will kill it before it kills me. I’ve always said I’m a survivor. I will survive. This sounds exactly like my attitude going into Day 1 of this weight loss journey.

This post was supposed to be about Wednesday. We’re nearly two pages in and I haven’t even talked about Wednesday in relation to weight loss. I’ll give you the scoped version and we’ll wrap this edition up.

I started the day realizing that we were out of breakfast items, except steel cut oats, and I didn’t think I had the time to prepare the oats. I ended up eating two whole-wheat toasts with homemade strawberry preserves. A little sweet for my taste in the mornings, but it was 250 calories of something. I wasn’t happy about it, but I failed to plan ahead. I grabbed a grilled chicken wrap for lunch, ordered without the loaded dressing---yellow mustard instead. It was good, low calorie, and as soon as the last bite of chicken was gone, I threw the rest of the tortilla away. I enjoyed a couple of hamburger patties for dinner and even allowed for a serving of french fries. It was a good food day. I snacked on a banana, some cheese, and some sliced turkey breast.

I had originally planned to meet a friend for racquetball today, but when work went way long and personal business after work took too much time, we had to cancel. I was beat. I went home and napped for a little while before jumping up and hitting the fitness room. But wait---I still needed to go to the store! I did that first, visited with a friend on the phone, talked with my mom---and before you knew it---I was deciding to workout at 4am when my alarm clock blares. I dropped in bed and realized that my nap was making it seriously tough to go to sleep. So I pulled myself up and quietly made my way into the fitness room for a workout. I didn’t do 30 minutes on the elliptical like a friend of mine challenged me to do---nice, but I’ll get there, I will. I did do 15 minutes and then two miles on the treadmill. I returned to bed at almost 1am and quickly fell asleep. I didn’t get up until 5:10am, not enough sleep for the night---but I did have a nap, so anyway. I’ll tell you---I really messed up my sleeping schedule on those vacation days! I’ll get it back, no problem.

So here we are. Day 472. We’ve come such a long way in a very short time. It’s truly amazing what we can do when we finally decide we can. It will shock you, the power we have to change when we choose change before change chooses us. 2010 is going to be an amazing year, I’m thrilled at the possibilities!

Look for Day 473---New Years Eve Year In Review coming soon right here. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,
Sean

10 comments:

  1. Good for you for gathering the resolve to quit the smoking now. Very proud of your choice! :)

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  2. I am so pleased you are going to tackle it - just think how happy you will be this time next year, having accomplished your weight goals AND having given up smoking too!

    Looking forward to Day 473.

    Happy Hogmanay!

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  3. Everyday it will be a choice, just exactly like your weight loss. You can do it for sure!

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  4. Dude, if you can throw away a tortilla after finishing the chicken...you can so quit smoking. I mean, really, that takes some determination.

    Looking forward to reading your post tomorrow :)

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  5. I'm sure you can quit smoking, if I can, you can!

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  6. Sean, congratulations on the decision to quit smoking. And, again, thanks for your honesty and transparency in this blog!

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  7. I'm so glad you've decided to quit... You have proven by your weight loss that if you make the commitment to something, it's a done deal. So...HURRAY!

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  8. Just read your last two posts...looks like something I would have done to my mom to get her to quit.
    I once flushed her cigs down the toilet.
    terrible I know.
    It looks like a concerned individual in any case.
    I had no idea you smoked....
    but then again, I am not the smoking police lol.
    I am an open book on my blog.
    I don't think anyone could come up with something that I HAVEN'T said lol.
    I am a live and let live type.
    You have done great with your weight.
    you have got a Good year behind you and a good year ahead.
    You can make of it whatever you want.
    And If I am reading the tea leaves correctly...
    you will make a lot out of it.
    Great job sean...Happy New Year bud.

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  9. Hi Sean I noticed in your pictures that you have lovely teeth. This might help you to give up the dreaded cigarettes all my brothers were big smokers (3) and my sister they now all have false teeth because giving up smoking created a gum disease, smoking keeps your mouth dry, when you give it up, it creates a lovely moist environment for breeding bacteria and other lovely stuff. Make sure you have regular trips to the dentist and be extra careful with you oral hygiene, mouth washes really help and please give up the cigarettes for no other reason than they stink.

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