Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 501 Special Thanks and A Thorough Explanation of My Approach

Day 501

Special Thanks and A Thorough Explanation of My Approach

First of all, thank you for the many wonderful compliments concerning the Tulsa World article. I appreciate the Tulsa World and Matt Gleason for giving me that honor. It was and still is my sincerest hope that my story will help inspire someone where I was for so many years. Maybe reading of my weight loss success will spark something in someone, just enough for them to rekindle the desire within to change their life and escape the prison of morbid obesity. At one time, I honestly didn’t think I would ever get it together. I couldn’t do it, or so I thought. I thought I was hopeless and I knew I was dying a little everyday. But over the course of the last 501 days, I’ve proven that I can do it, and I know that they/you can too. So, for that exposure that might spark something for even one morbidly obese person, I say thank you to the Tulsa World from the bottom of my heart.

With that said, I must address something that has bothered me since the story was released early yesterday morning. I was honestly mortified when under the heading “How He Did It…” we found “Sean’s fast food tips and tricks.” That is NOT how I’ve done it. I rarely eat fast food these days. My choices have naturally evolved. My goal is to be a fairly clean eater someday. Just coming as far as I have in my eating habits is a complete 180, but as my archives show, fast food has been part of my “nothing is off limits” approach. There’s a valid reason for that, and I’ll explain in a moment. I was asked to provide some tips for navigating fast food while losing weight, so I did. But make no mistake, fast food was a very small part of “how I did it.”

From Day 494: My “nothing is off limits” approach was the only way for me at the start of this road. I believe it was for me and is a critical element to success for anyone trying to lose weight and change a lifetime of bad food habits. I knew that if I tried to change them all overnight, I was setting myself up for another failed attempt or temporary success at best. It was important for me to start with the simplest approach possible. I was considering my mental development, avoiding feelings of deprivation, and having a blast enjoying my favorites in responsible portions while dropping over thirty years of accumulated fat. Along the way I promised myself to eventually explore and remain open to better choices.

To fully understand the psychological benefits of my approach you have to understand just how lost I was. I was addicted to fast food and processed everything. I was a complete raging food addict. And if you took me and shook me back then and said “OK Sean, here’s what we’re going to do…you’re going to start eating good and clean right now. Your fast food days are over starting right now. Your junk food habits end this minute. You’re done, I’m cleaning out your pantry and fridge. I’ll tell you what you can and can’t eat. Just trust me, you’re going to feel better than you ever have.” I’m not disagreeing with the dietary recommendations, I’m just saying---this kind of an approach was something I had tried before, and it was so unnatural to my bad habits at that time, I couldn’t adjust and I quickly fell back. I knew that this time my approach must be a natural evolution of good choices. That’s what I’ve meant by saying that the meaning of “Good Choices” changes over time. As I proceed, my choices become better, I become more educated about all the crud I shoved in for so long. I evolve, naturally and permanently. Sometimes “experts” and doctors fail to recognize this psychological dynamic. I’m not some kind of a weight loss genius, I’m not a doctor or expert. But like I’ve said many times---this weight loss journey you’re reading about has been wildly successful because I’ve analyzed my past failures and tweaked my approach to fix my behaviors and patterns. My “nothing is off limits” philosophy has been vital to my success, and especially applies early on a journey of someone like me, or…someone like I used to be.

What I wish that article would have said under the heading of “How He Did It”---would have been: Sean’s Tips and tricks for Weight Loss Success:

Forget every rule you thought was iron clad about losing weight.

Admit to yourself that you don't know it all, because someone who knows it all can't learn effectively. Have you ever heard someone say “you can't change him, he's set in his ways.” Be open to a “new,” simple approach to weight loss that really isn't new at all.

Wipe from your mind the idea that some foods are forbidden.

Do some really deep internal self-counseling to discover your “motivating thoughts.” Why do you want to lose weight and feel great? Develop that list and defend it from your old habits at all cost.

Realize that food is not the enemy, you have been your own worst enemy.

Let go of any blame for your obesity that you have ever placed on someone or something.
Admit that you are the one in charge of you. And since that is true, you're completely responsible for your habits, good and bad.

Stop being the victim. Empower yourself to rise above your circumstances instead of allowing yourself to stay chained to them in a depressing existence.

Here's a BIG one: Be 100% completely HONEST with yourself. Stop telling yourself lies. Lies come in the form of excuses and rationalizations. Be honest about them and you'll start to recognize them every time they pop out of your mouth or brain. Stop rationalizing bad choices.

Defeat excuses at every turn. Stop thinking of all the reasons why you'll never be able to do this, instead think of all the wonderful reasons to do this and never give up.

Don't “let yourself off the hook.” Don't say “I have time to do this later, I'll start next week, or next month, or after the holidays, or after we get past all of the birthdays coming up...right now, let's eat!” Maybe you don't have time. I let myself off the hook for over twenty years. If your transformation is important to you, don't let yourself off the hook.

Understand that every action has a consequence, good or bad. Shoot for the good ones.
When you're alone, that's when you have to police yourself extra. Almost every weight loss attempt in my past has ended with me binging alone. Don't let yourself down like that. Take pride in your resolve.

Make sure to remind yourself that there isn't a food you can't enjoy at one time or another. You may not have the calories for that cheesecake today, but find a way to work it in sometime soon.

Understand that it will get easier if you put forth a consistent positive effort.

So there you go. And again, I sincerely thank the Tulsa World for a wonderful article and giving me a wonderful honor within their pages. It was a fantastic thing. I just had to clear up any misconceptions before someone took the wrong impression, thinking that I was on some crazy fast food diet. That couldn’t be further from reality. Today I eat more fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains in one day than I ever did in a whole week. I have evolved in a very natural progression of good choices and lost 234 pounds so far. I think there may be something to my “unconventional” approach.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,
Sean

21 comments:

  1. This is probably one of the best... if not THE best... post on the topic I've read in the last 3 years!

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  2. Sean, This is one of the best posts you have written! Congratulations on your wonderful success and on figuring it all out. You are wonderful!

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  3. This was wonderful and I am so glad that you cleared it up for anyone that hasn't read your blog. I know that fast food is something that you might have once and in awhile. Is it possible the news paper might be able to add this. I mean sometimes when they type something wrong they make changes later. Just a thought. I think what you wrote would help a lot of people!

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  4. I think you should send these tips as a Letter to the Editor of the Tulsa World.

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  5. Great post somehow we have to get it across to Doctors and other health professionals that people that are morbidly obese need time to assimilate and adjust to new habits and ways of doing things and losing weight is not a race but a journey of discovery Thanks Sean

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  6. I too believe in the "no rules" approach to losing this weight for good. Following the rules for decades hasn't seem to work!!! It's so great to see someone else succeed with a similar mindset.

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  7. I guess we have rules, but the no food is off limits, I mean. Knowing that I can fit a food in that I'm craving helps me get through.

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  8. Very cool post. I love how you laid it all out here. :)

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  9. Thank You! I love your "Tips and Tricks" list.

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  10. Beautifully said, Sean. I, too, love the picture with your article! Hope you don't mind that I felt compelled to comment to the Tulsa World's article, to steer folks back to your day 501 blog to clear up any possible misconceptions of this being a "fast food diet."

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  11. The newspaper was just catering for its audience. That's what they do.

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  12. Look where you are and all the influence on you and others all those good choices, each one of them added up to. We know you didn't get there on fast food.

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  13. In my opinion, that was a shameful mistake - or lie? - on the part of the magazine. Why have a negative impact on your readers who are seriously interested in how you lose weight?

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  14. Hi Sean. It's pretty obvious that YOU should have written the article. Then the piece could have given GENUINE advice rather than just a list of fast food dos and don'ts.

    Well, there's an idea. Write some articles for mags/ newpapers yourself. Then they will be getting the full picture.

    Bearfriend xx

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  15. That's so weird... somehow I missed that segment of the article. Was it on a different page? Maybe I didn't see the link. At any rate, I think it's great that you cleared up your stance on that because, yeah, if I had seen it I would have wondered at that was I not a regular reader of your blog.

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  16. I think your approach is and should be the conventional way of losing weight expecially if you are doing it on your own. You changed a little at a time and that is the secret that isn't a secret. We can't all be on the "biggest loser" and you have proven that it can be done at home! I love it!

    Mo

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  17. I actually think that having that section on fast food might get a few people started on their journey that were too scared to try a diet of rabbit food. Knowing you CAN do it with the food you love is important when starting out. (I am not saying it is the best way, just a way!)
    And those people who start losing weight because your article made them believe it was possible without lettuce, well that is a lot better than them sitting there knowing they 'should' lose weight but being too scared to start. They may or may not evolve to healthier options, but any start is better than none!

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  18. (Sorry, I feel quite strongly about how helpful that article is to someone like my husband who won't start any lifestyle changes because he doesn't enjoy fruit and vegetables)

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  19. Sean, I loved the article. You must be so thrilled! Congrats!!

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  20. "It was important for me to start with the simplest approach possible."

    A lot of what I've just read here is resonating with me, but this one sentence is beautiful. For years I've tried to make it complicated: eliminating foods, trying to work out six times weekly from day one, etc. Now I think simplicity is in order. And I love how you talk about your choices being gradual...I think I've tried too many times to make drastic and confining changes, and end up throwing up my hands in despair.

    I'm also interested to read your blog from a writing standpoint: I just began, this week, blogging my weight loss experience at ttownmoms.com. In fact, today was my first weigh-in and I haven't yet posted my (good, thankfully) results. I'm scared to death about it, really. It's like I'm putting it out there for the world to see and what if I fail?? But, I told my husband: no one I know doesn't know that I need to lose weight. Why not let them into the process with me and maybe provide some inspiration should I succeed? Or a good "wow, I'm glad that's not me" if I fail.

    I'll be catching up on the rest of your 500+ days in the coming weeks. But for now, congratulations and keep up your amazing work.

    Christine
    (hometeamwins at ttownmoms.com and personal blog at www.hometeamwins.com)

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  21. Dear Sean, I felt compelled to write to you after I read this post. I thought you summed up every fear I have when I start a weight loss plan. I have to get into the "swing of things" and I have to tell myself that I can do it and nothing is held back, just count the portions. Even if it is "fast food" As time goes by and my thought process takes root. I make conscious choices to eat healthier. I have done this enough times. It always takes me about a week to get into the "mind set" Then I'm good for awhile and once I hit my weight, I forget my mindset, only to slowly start gaining weight again.

    I read your blogs and they serve as reminders and inspirations to resume healthy eating habits.

    Thanks for keeping this blog, it has been a real help to me and many others.

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