Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 537 Even If Just One Sentence Can Help, It's Worth Writing This Epic Post

Day 537

Even If Just One Sentence Can Help, It's Worth Writing This Epic Post

I started this Friday morning early. It was 3:50am, and the plan was to get up—exercise, cook breakfast, write, shower, dress, and get to the studio in time for a little show prep before air. Finally---my plan went off without a hitch, certainly because I was up so early. And that's because I was asleep early enough to do it. My crazy schedule coupled with my horrible time management skills can be a disastrous combination for sure. But it's not impossible, not at all. I do have time for me---and if I ever think I don't, then I must bulldoze something and make the time. ME is important. Or uh...”I'm important.”

Breakfast this morning was a twist on an old favorite of mine. A classic egg-white omelet with mushrooms, but instead of cheese---I used chunky salsa! That was a very good calorie value maneuver...all of a sudden that omelet dropped from 170 calories to 100 calories! And it was big and filling with four egg whites, a bunch of fresh mushrooms, and a heaping tablespoon of salsa. I wanted to bump my calories up to at least 300 for breakfast, so I added some steel cut oats with blueberries and a half a banana. This is the real breakfast of champions my friend! Seriously, almost too much, but still such a low calorie value. Hmmm, choices...yes, good choices.

Ann recently gifted me a stainless steel water bottle. It's really helping me drink more water throughout the day. Aside from being wonderful for the environment, I love this bottle because of the cool feeling of the steel when it's full of cold water. Sometimes, it's all in the approach. I'm drinking more water just because it's in a different container? That sounds crazy, but it's true. I'm a strange one sometimes, I swear.

I'm really getting excited about a big event coming up on the 25th. I'm speaking twice in one day at an event for a major oil company. I think it's limited to their employees, but they asked if they could video one or both of the sessions for those that can't make it. I plan on requesting a copy and perhaps I'll be able to share one of the talks that day on this blog. I'll see what I can do! It will be grand, I know it will!

Every now and then, something I've discovered along this road and then written about jumps out at someone reading and fills them with concern. Some, as you'll read---nearly spew tea on their computer screen as they read the familiar experiences and concerns.
“Blue,” from writes:

“Hi Sean, I have glanced over your blog when I have clicked on one of those names at the side of others blogs -- you know the thing....'those I like to follow' things, and have been slowly working my way up the long list of posts and never commented -- there are many far with far more constructive and erudite things to say than lil ol me...but I nearly spat my tea at the computer just now, when I read the following:~

"On the way out of town we discussed our strategy on vacation eating. Our strategy? Oh, uh, well....we didn't really have one. We all agreed that calorie counting and watching what we were eating was not going to be a part of our trip. That entire trip we ate whatever, whenever, and how much ever we wanted without regard to calories or the potential effects on our amazing progress. When the week was over, we never could find our “plan.” I think we left it somewhere between the concession stands at Kaufman (Royals) Stadium and the endless, hot, breakfast buffet at our hotel. Wherever we lost it, it was gone. Actually, I think it blew out of the window of our vehicle a few miles from home, somewhere along Highway 60, before we ever even reached I-35. "

I am off for a weeks break in a couple of weeks time, and the last few days on my blog I have been torturing myself with how to manage it...for exactly the reasons you spoke about lol....Plans -- what plans? This time I am determined...there are no short-cuts this time..

"Do you find holidays and such scary? I do. The fear is around my consummate ability to convince myself that I can do things I know are not in my best interest. You know the sort of thing, ‘its half fat so it doesn’t count’ or ‘one more meal out wont make a lot of difference’ or ‘I can eat the skin this time’ …you know – all that nutty thinking that we are so expert at. The opposite side of that coin, is that I am really quite determined not to go there…(my black and white thing) and in doing so, make life miserable for all those trying to have a fun break too. Somewhere there has to be a livable – workable alternative, and I guess if anyone has to bend it should really be me. There is also another fear I have. You will all recognize it. The fear is that I have seen many really strong, determined women – and men, whose weight loss efforts come to grief as a result of a holiday.

Seems there are some things to think about — I might examine them all over the next few days and see where my thinking takes me. If you see any glaring boo-boo’s in my thinking you have absolute permission to shove them under my nose, because I can convince myself of anything if I talk to me long enough."......

So I am planning what to eat, so that I can eat what I plan....But I will keep the car windows shut - just in case. Blue--

I detailed that trip and it's aftermath on my Day 6 post titled “Learning From The Past.” Here's a short excerpt:

Of course we told ourselves that when the trip was over, it was back to counting calories. But, here's where we messed up. The practice of counting calories is not something I plan on doing for the rest of my life. It's not really hard or anything like that, but I just wouldn't want to do it forever. Counting calories now is a way to lose the weight, but it also teaches us lessons on portion control. Sometimes we don't realize how many calories are in what we eat, but counting calories lets us know, not only the calories but the size. Counting calories teaches us how to make healthy choices while budgeting our calories. We didn't understand that part of the journey. We didn't understand that counting calories was suppose to teach us how to eat better, control portions, and not eat just for the sake of pigging out. It was suppose to teach us lessons in eating that we could carry on for the rest of our lives. Instead of recognizing these lessons, we acted like we had just been rescued from a deserted island and we were going to make up for all the food we didn't get before. When we got back home it was like we completely forgot about the plan. We stopped working out on a regular basis and started being dishonest about our calorie intake (I know I did) And once you start being dishonest with yourself, then it's all over. One day led to another and before you know it we were right back to eating whatever we wanted, as much as we wanted, and we didn't exercise. We would say...”hey, we have to get back on the wagon”...”yeah, let's start Monday”...and Monday we would continue our old ways. We have a plan now. We have goals. We have watched the film so to speak of our past failure...We are determined. We are learning how to eat again.

The concerns of Blue about this part of the journey goes straight to the heart of a very serious question: Are you just going through the motions needed to lose weight? Or are you seriously addressing your food behaviors? How can you tell the difference? Let's discuss this tricky dynamic:

The entire time I was losing weight back in 2004, I was struggling. I was looking forward to cutting loose and eating as much as I could hold. That's why when I crossed the 100 pounds lost milestone in July of 2004, I celebrated with thousands of calories at a party held just minutes after the celebrated weigh-in. I didn't realize it at that moment, but it was the beginning of the end. The vacation meltdown described above, came just a week later. We were done. Our weight loss success was over and the return to where we started was imminent. But why did it have to be that way every time?

It had to be that way because our lust for large amounts of food and our denial of addiction overpowered, and really, completely eliminated our desires to lose weight. We had been forcing ourselves to eat smaller portions and exercise, while fantasizing the entire time about going back to our old ways. This wasn't the change we needed or really wanted. So what's different about this time? And how can it be different for you and Blue?

This time is different, because we decided to let go of the rules and limitations we always thought were required to lose weight. We adopted the “nothing is off limits” approach as a way to eliminate any feelings of deprivation while still focusing on portion control. The hope was, that our choices would gradually and naturally improve with this approach, and they have, dramatically. We also decided to take the focus off the food and put it on the people and circumstances of the occasion. It's all about eating what we like in normal portions. And better---it's eating like a normal person, not a food addict.

It's a “confident patience.” I love ice cream, and I will eat ice cream again, and I do—but I can slow down and enjoy a responsible portion without feeling the need to devour a half a gallon. A confident patience means that if I don't have room in my calorie budget for something I really want to try today, then I'll have it soon...I'll enjoy it and make it fit into my good choices.

I no longer depend on food to make me happy. That's a powerful point to all of this. So if I'm on vacation, just because I eat responsible portions---it doesn't mean that I'm going to ruin everyone's fun! The vacation itself and the people I'm sharing the experiences with...these are the things that make me happy. It's taking the focus off of the food and putting it on the people and enjoyable circumstances surrounding you. I'm still enjoying what I like in responsible portions, and I'm not ruining anyone's fun by not fact, nobody really notices or cares.

They were right. “They” being all of those people that always told me that it had to be a lifestyle change. It had to be a mindset change. I had to start thinking about food in a normal way. And if I'm seriously wanting to keep this weight off for the rest of my life, and ultimately win the battle against morbid obesity---I had to learn how to become a normal eater. And if I'm a normal eater, then my eating patterns shouldn't change dramatically just because I'm enjoying special occasions or time off. I still love food, and I still enjoy food. But now, I treat food responsibly---I don't abuse myself with food. And I don't lose weight because I just suppress the urges to abuse myself with food, I lose weight because I've been learning what it's like to become someone who eats to live and doesn't live to eat. And it doesn't ever change because of special occasions. This is my lifestyle now. This is my confident patience.

And Blue, about the thoughts you have had in the past: “its half fat so it doesn’t count’ or ‘one more meal out wont make a lot of difference’ or ‘I can eat the skin this time’ …you know – all that nutty thinking that we are so expert at.” These my friend are rationalizations that make us feel better about ourselves when we cut loose and start abusing. Self-honesty is the most critical element on this road. And the fact that you've recognized that is paramount to your success! When our importance level is set super high---and we decide that we're going to change for real this time, and we start having this level of honesty about our eating habits and the excuses and rationalizations that get in our way...that when those excuses and rationalizations hit the floor. They completely disappear. And we're free to do what we know is right. And it feels good.

I've completely annoyed people before, I know I have, when I talk about how this entire journey has been a pleasure---with very little struggle. But don't get me wrong...I have struggled---I didn't realize many of the powerful dynamics in play until I started writing and sorting out everything.

This post is way too long. A former co-worker of mine, after reading one of my blog post, had one thing to say about it: “It's way too long, you should make them shorter.” That co-worker has never had a problem with obesity, they just didn't “get it.” I know you do. You get it. And although I know there must be a way to condense my thoughts and examples---a self editing if you will, I will not apologize for the extremely long post. The hope is that by sharing what I've discovered for myself along the way, others will discover it too. It may be one sentence that strikes you in all of the above text. But if that one sentence offers you some clarity in your journey---then it was worth writing the entire thing.

Now---Where were we about Friday?--- Oh---well, I spent the evening driving friends around to various functions. Part of the night I spent as the driver for a bachelorette party. That was interesting. While they were partying, I found the time to play some poker with a friend. I delivered the party goers home and returned to my apartment for a late dinner. I prepared the grilled chicken wrap and sit down to eat it---and then...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I fell asleep. I was done. I woke up at 7am Saturday morning with an ache in my neck from the recliner. My food was still sitting there---all cold and unappealing. I made my way back to the bedroom and slept a little longer. I knew better than to stay up. I should have just grabbed a banana on my way to the bedroom. I ended up leaving 400 calories on the table last night---and that's not good. But I'm all right. I'm doing just fine.

Tomorrow night (Saturday night) I'll return to the Poncan Theatre stage to host the Poncan Opry. I can't wait! Being on stage at 263 is so different than at 505. It's amazing...but more on that in tomorrow's Saturday edition. Thank you for reading! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,


  1. Sean this post was awesome. Some deep and insightful thinking on your part. And in my opinion not a bit too long = ) You are helping so many people in so many ways. Keep up the great work in all the areas of your life. Thank you!

  2. I love your super long posts!! All of the info that you provide for us is imperative to our success, so keep on writing!! (And it is a very rare occasion that I am too tired to eat). :)

  3. I always read your entire post. They are never too long for me and are always filled with honesty and great advice!

  4. I love your posts. Very motivating.

  5. Yes, it was long.
    But not "too" long. It was full of insight, truth and practical ideas. For anyone serious about this journey, it will be helpful. For someone not ready, or who doesn't "get it", it will seem too long.

    The one sentence that jumped out at me was: "I no longer depend on food to make me happy."

    Now says it all in a nutshell!


  6. Have fun tonight Sean. Love ya!

  7. Well - darn it - you are right...I am learning...never seen it like that. I have for instance learnt the difference between a 250g and 300g potato -- I dont have to weigh them -- I do once in a while because I like to reassure myself I still have it - but routinely I dont. I also recognise 100g of raw chicken, and 150g of yoghurt..I can spoon it out accurately without weighing it -- lol I never thought of it as learning portion control. There is much I dont recognise, but then I am just starting out (again) but will start keeping my eyes open ..the old hidden curriculum thing - always said it was the best way to learn. I am prepared to count calories - weigh meausre whatever it takes for now, but for many of us, the thought of doing this for life is a real downer...if we can see it as a tool to learn how to cope and not as a life sentence, then it wont seem quite so much of a pain to do -- nice one!


  8. I love this post! As usual you have delivered a post that i needed to read at this time :) Thank you!

  9. good one sean.
    and yup.
    It's a lifestyle choice.
    The blogging pit viper,

  10. hey sean..i read it thought it was a good post..keep it up brother..

  11. hey Sean.. I really enjoy reading your posts. I don't think you should condense your thoughts. trust me the people such as me that are reading your blog can relate and appreciate your experience and great advice..

    I don't count calories its just not my thing, but everyone has to find what works for them.

    I think your thought about abusing yourself with food and not living to eat and eating to live really resonated with me.

    food is for nourishing our body not pacifying our emotions.I had a off day today, but I caught myself and got back on track.. its all about choices.

    keep writing and inspiring.. I know I will be reading your blog and drawing inspiration as we finish our transformations together.

  12. Oh how I've needed to read this! I'm back from a trip to the 2010 Olympics. My first few days I was so careful about what we ate, making sandwiches for lunches so we could avoid any of the bad foods out there. Then I got lazy, I started to eat things I shouldn't have. I walked miles thinking that it was enough, but it wasn't. It's been well over a week since I'm home and I've avoided the calorie counter, I've continued my lazy eating habits and of course I have gained. It's frustrating to see the hard work of losing weight thrown out the window after a few days of carelessness. I see now that it's going to always be hard work. Yes I can indulge every now and then but I need to think about what I'm doing and more than anything I can't let it get the best of me.

    So today, my counter is out, I'm about to work out and I'm back on track.



  13. Congratulations. I have just given you the Sunshine Award because you are so inspiring and add a lot to the blogosphere. You can see the link on my site at

    The rules say you must pass this on to 12 bloggers who bring Sunshine to your day.


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