Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 528 The Pursuit of What Works---Have You Checked Your Pockets?

Day 528

The Pursuit of What Works---Have You Checked Your Pockets?

I had an interesting conversation this morning with a woman desperate to lose weight. She told me that she’s tried everything under the sun to do it without any measurable success. A friend of hers told her about me and this blog, and since she’s local to my area---it was easy for her to reach me. After a long conversation about self-honesty and the “Calorie Bank and Trust” and the “Steel Curtain Zone,” I finally just referred her to the blog, asking her to please read from Day 1. It’s hard to explain in a quick conversation, but make no mistake---it’s not really complicated, unless you make it that way. I read the post from a year ago later in the day and I thought of her again. The first part of that post from February 24th, 2009 was all about the pursuit of anything that “works.” From Day 163:

I searched for years, well, not really actively searching everyday, but curious always at least, wondering what really works? I was conditioned by our culture and society from an early age to believe in order to lose weight, you had to have a plan. Not your own sensible plan, because that would be too simple and free, and we know that if it's free it can't work, no, no, no...we gotta pay to lose weight if we expect results. We need someone else's plan! A plan or product someone else designed and now charges large amounts of money for. Now if this plan is all about learning portion control, self-analysis, and exercising, then great...sounds good, but kinda boring...and boring doesn't sell. I want amazing success claims! I want you to tell me that I can basically sleep and gorge all day long and still lose weight. I always thought that the secret must be in a product or system somewhere on a store shelf near me. When I would run into someone who had lost weight, my first question was always: “How did you do it?” This is often the first question that comes to mind for anyone. I always wanted to hear about a miraculous new product that would magically melt away my fat in the middle of the night while I slept regardless of my food intake or lack of exercise. As crazy as that idea sounds, that's exactly the message I've watched before on an infomercial in the middle of the night. Perhaps you've watched the same one. Did you notice the fine print too? “Product to be used in conjunction with a regular diet and exercise regimen.” Really? I have to make an effort? Then why would I want to take these again? Do they even contain anything other than a placebo and a slick marketing campaign that targets the desperate and dangerously overweight at 2am? But for years I had an open mind and a willing ear to listen to anyone that had any information on what worked. As long as that solution didn't involve certain things, like personal responsibility, educating myself on portion control, understanding, analyzing, and reconstructing my behaviors and please don't say exercise! Noooo! I can't move! What? You want me to kill myself? Listen, I understand the hopeless feelings that consume grotesquely obese people. I've been one for years.

The dream is a miracle cure, that never comes along. Oh sure, people lose weight on all kinds of products and systems. I'm not saying you can't lose weight on some of these things. People do everyday, but it's like spending money on cleaning up the mess from a broken sewer line, but not fixing the broken sewer line. Sorry, that's a gross but effective example...but you see what I mean, right? That's why so many people gain back everything they lost and more! They cleaned up the mess caused by the real problem, but they didn't address the real problem. When they repeat the process over and over they call it...”Yo-Yo Dieting.” I've always heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result...that's yo-yo dieting! What has driven me to get down to the honest bare truth behind my lifelong battle with obesity? I don't have time to yo-yo any-mo-mo.

That was kind of lame, but it made me laugh, so I'm good. I'm learning everyday about food and how to properly handle it, I'm learning about exercise and how to properly do it, and most importantly, I'm learning about me on a level I didn't know existed. For the first time in my life I'm finally finding what I was looking for, and the strangest thing is, it was inside me all along, but I wasn't looking there. It's like searching for your lost car keys for 30 years, then one day finding them in your pocket where they've always been.

I prepared the most wonderful egg white omelet this morning. I filled it up with mushrooms and an ounce of mozzarella (oh how I love my cheese!)---Then I poured on some tomato sauce. I folded over what I call the Pizza Omelet! It was 200 calories of cheesy-saucy-goodness. I loved it! I enjoy my food more these days. That might sound strange, but really, it’s true. I eat slower---I appreciate the flavor---I’m often proud of the calorie value…eating is a new experience. Before, I was just stuffing it in my mouth---it tasted good and I wanted more, and my friends would say “wow, you’re really eating fast!” I don’t hear that anymore. And it’s not something I decided to do, it’s something that has just happened naturally as I navigate my daily calorie budget and the choices that make up that calorie allotment.

My evening consisted of playing in a poker tournament with a buddy of mine. I enjoy an occasional live poker tournament, I do. The arrangement was a simple one. I drive so they can drink and they buy me into the tournament. Everyone is good with that---and it’s a fun time. I ran into a couple of people at the poker tournament that I haven’t been around in well over a year. The stunned looks I get are priceless and they usually come after I approach them. If I don’t say something to them, they’ll usually just walk on by like I’m a stranger. It’s a strange feeling really. It’s good, don’t get me wrong---but it’s strange. It’s like I’m disguised as a normal person. And normal isn’t what most old acquaintances expect when they see me. I didn’t cash in the poker tournament tonight, but my buddy did. Oh, I still won tonight---Yes indeed…I win every time I have experiences like this. I always dreamed of having these experiences, long before I finally put some action into making those dreams come true. And just when I thought these “wow” reactions were over for the night, this happened:

I was going slightly over the speed limit on the way home when a trooper, cloaked in darkness, flipped his light bar on full blast and pulled me over. I haven’t had a ticket of any kind since 2003, but I have been given a few warnings over the last several years. The trooper that pulled me over tonight took me back to his vehicle and the first thing he asked was “How much weight have you lost?” And I answered: “Uh, 240 pounds…” How did he know? He quickly revealed the answer: “I pulled you over along this same stretch about a year ago and if I hadn’t recognized your voice, I wouldn’t have known it was you!” “You look incredible man, congratulations!” “When I pulled you over last, I listed your weight as 392, what is it now?” I proudly told him 265 followed by my sincere regret and apology for going seven over the posted limit. He told me that he was just writing a warning, no need to worry. That was another very cool experience.

I share these experiences because, well---it was part of this day, but mainly because if you’re on this road too---I want to give you a glimpse of what’s ahead for you. You’re going to succeed and you’re going to experience these kinds of situations. You might be like I was for years; only dreaming about it, but it is going to happen for you now…and I can’t wait for you to feel this. I wish I could touch you and transfer the feeling magically, but you just have to get here to feel this. You can do it. I know you can.

I arrived home with a few hundred calories left in the budget. I quickly prepared a Flat-Out flat bread chicken and mushroom wrap with mozzarella and feta. I skipped the tomato sauce, just rolling it up instead like a burrito. It was so good! I consumed a bottle of water and all of a sudden I felt incredibly full. Bloated is a better word to describe what I felt. I was bloated, completely. But---I was just under budget and ready to call it a night.

Thank you for reading and offering your support and thoughts. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,


  1. How about Pizomlett instead?? Keep making good choices Sean.

  2. yeah....
    those moments ARE priceless.

  3. "I share these experiences because, well---it was part of this day, but mainly because if you’re on this road too---I want to give you a glimpse of what’s ahead for you..."

    I can't tell you how much I look forward to reading of these kinds of experiences. I am on my way, yes, but not far enough to have these kinds of things happen yet. Sort of like in no-mans-land on the journey.

    So I appreciate the reminders that this is REAL, and someday I will get to experience the payoff for all the hard work.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. I've had the same experience regarding people seeing me after a long time and being shocked. It's a good feeling.

    They also all ask how I did it with this excited, expectant look in their eyes. "You lost 98 pounds in 7 months, how on earth did you do it?". And when I tell them that I quit eating crap and got some exercise, it's like the light goes out in their eyes and they give me the ya-ya, sure-sure and then don't want to talk about it anymore.

    Sucks for them since besides being healthy and NORMAL, you get an incredible sense of accomplishment and self respect too. You don't need someone else's expensive, unhealthy, illogical crap to do the right thing, you just go out and DO THE RIGHT THING!

  5. I think it's great that you keep getting these affirmations of all your hard work. Well deserved. You know what else you like. A lot? Mushrooms.

  6. Sean, you are so special. Your post really hits home and is so enlightening. Thank you for sharing your insights with us. Oh, by the way - slow down on the roads, we don't want to lose you!

  7. Sean,

    I love you!
    No, I'm not nuts... Didn't mean it in a crazy stalker kinda way either. Although I know, and have read a thousand times over the past months, how much you help others to stay focused on what their goal is... I feel as though you are talking ONLY TO ME. Much the same as if I were in a one on one conversation with Richard Simmons. I love that mans sincerity, and I see you in much the same way.

    I stumbled upon your blog by accident in September of '09'... and haven't missed reading it a day! I have,(same as everyone else) gone back and read from the beginning. I think you are a wonderful writer, and you never fail to give me something I'm needing that day.

    Last September I started back to a healthy lifestyle after probably... a year of irresponsible eating. I had gained back the same 40 lbs. that I have lost and regained at least 20 times. It's a sick cycle! I am now down 30 lbs... and plan to add another 30 to it. Like you, I am not really sure of my goal..I'll know when i get there I guess. I just want to be healthy and enjoy life!!

    Thank you Sean, so much for your passion. Thank you for taking the time to open up and share some of your deepest feelings. Thank you for being my 'go-to' blogger when I need to remember I'm not alone on this journey.

  8. I can't wait until someone notices a change in me... You are such an inspiration!!!

  9. I was smiling at the cop story because I had a very cool experience yesterday, too. I went to the salon to get my nails done and when it came time to pay I handed the little Asian guy my debit card, which has my picture on it. He said, "Who this woman on card??" I told him it was me. He said, "No, No! Can't be you! You beautiful and skinny now....don't recognize this woman on card! How many year ago you take this picture??" I told him about 4 years ago. (I've been going to him for many years, so he knew me when I was REALLY fat)....he kept teasing me saying, "Don't know this person! so BEAUTIFUL now...hee hee hee hee" lol It was a good day. :)

  10. Love your trooper story! I can really relate.

    Kind of bittersweet, though, that I get treated soooooooo much nicer when I'm thin than when fat. I'm really not 2 different people!

    Keep writing, Sean, and keep smiling! (You've got a great smile.) :-)

  11. I can't WAIT for those sort of experiences!!!

  12. Really needed to hear this today--I really appreciate the positive affirmation. I'm looking forward to getting those kind of comments and having those feelings. Now if I can manage to find those happy thoughts today...working on it!

  13. How unreal that the State Trooper would remember you from that long cool...way to go on your huge the post and totally agree. It is all about us making the decision to lose the weight and taking control of it. We can do this without it costing us a fortune. We can do so much research online these days. The tools are all here at our fingertips...we just need to get off our butts and do it....Khris

  14. What I want to know is why in the world does the State Trooper need to know your weight when citing you? It's not like Driving While Fat is illegal! The question, to me, is a violation of your civil rights.

    The Paris Reader

  15. Evidently if you lose only 40 pounds you can't get out of a TOC ticket. Allegedlllllly

  16. My dad has lost about 80 pounds over the past year. He is 69 years old and has been overweight his entire life. He doesn't even really know how his motivation seemed to change, but he just started eating much smaller portions and walking a little bit. That led to eating better foods. He still doesn't even exercise, just a bit of walking, but he is a different man.

    He must have feelings like you do, Sean!


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