Strengths, Weaknesses and Weigh Day A Day Late
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…” This opening from the Charles Dickens classic “A Tale of Two Cities,” best describes how I’ve felt this week. Sound familiar? I’ve quoted this before. The incredible high from delivering the kick-off speech at “Lose To Win 2010” and the incredible low of completely wrecking my workout schedule this week has me in a spiral. Is it correctable? Of course it is, but still, I feel like I’ve let Shannon, Tammy, Big Clyde, you, and myself down. I’m supposed to set a better example!
My strength along this road is battling and controlling food addiction. I know my strengths well, and I know my weaknesses very well. When it comes to understanding the psychological dynamic of why I always stuffed my emotions with food, I’m educated, thanks to this 591-day experience. Understanding what makes me put in less than 100% effort working out? Still working on that one. Do I not realize how lucky I am? There are people reading this right now, perhaps it’s you, who are physically unable to fully workout their body in a conventional manner. Perhaps it’s a birth defect or serious injury that challenges them. They would love to move like this, and yet---I squander my blessings and ability, and then have the audacity to complain when I don’t get the results? Ridiculous.
I’ve allowed my super-busy schedule to rule me, instead of me properly managing the schedule. I’ve used my busy schedule as an excuse so many times, and people buy it—they do, they tell me “Oh Sean, don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re busy!” You know what? I was just as busy on Day 1 through Day 365, and I rarely missed workouts---especially early on this road. I made time---it held an unbendable importance level. Hey---there’s that phrase!! “Importance level,” yeah---maybe I need to re-evaluate mine.
Today was stressful and I let that stress get to me a little too much. I had personal issues. Welcome to the club, right? Throw in a pending divorce---and the available excuses and triggers are ripe for the picking. I can separate my food behavior from these stressful and emotional factors, but the first chance I get---the workout goes. I allowed myself to once again miss spinning class. I must do the Friday mid-day class, but still---that’s it. There’s no making up that second missed class. “But Sean, working out releases endorphins and it makes you feel better naturally!” Uhhhg…perky endorphin cheerleaders, Seanboy isn’t in the mood today, but thank you! “That’s because you need to release some endorphins!!!! Set them free---floating through your body, lifting you up!!! Let’s go!” Uh---please, stop…go away…there we go, thank you.
I felt so bad about my choices today, I actually made the decision to postpone weigh day until Thursday. I just wasn’t in the mood to step on a scale. And although this post is officially Wednesday---it’s actually Thursday, and I just weighed. I’m good. It’s OK. There are a variety of valid reasons why I would only show a 1-pound loss. I’m cool. Really. Maybe it’s the positive effects of weight training? Maybe I’m retaining fluid? Maybe my body is just being a stubborn gus, wrestling around in some kind of self-preservation mode, whatever. I know I haven’t been drinking enough water lately---my bad choice. You know what? It’s cool. I now weigh 257, and that’s a very nice thing!!! Moving on!
I signed on for and failed two challenges this month. With Tammy’s challenge and Big Clyde’s challenge, I had a goal of 10 pounds in April. I’m at 4 pounds. But I'm still a winner.
I’m human, I’m flawed, I don’t know everything, I’m perfectly imperfect, this isn’t always as easy as I might make it look---but you knew that already, right? Maybe I’m miscalculating my coffee creamer calories? Nah…that really wouldn’t make THAT big of a difference. I’m just going to keep doing what I do and I’ll get to where I’m headed. Haven’t I written about that before? I believe so…How, how---you know, how “time doesn’t matter” along this road. I must remember. I’ve changed habits that were developed and honed for 36 years---I’ve completely changed my life. And no matter how slow the development continues….it CONTINUES. And we’re not going backwards---so what do I have to complain about? Nothing.
Excuse me while I go take a long look in the mirror. No---not at my cheekbones that I never realized I had---or that dimple that was hidden for years…NO, I’m looking at Sean---deep, beyond the eyes---and into my soul. Call me crazy---but I occasionally give myself good self-talk sessions. And I mean out loud, by myself---right at my bedroom side lavatory. What do I say? It varies really---but a good example: “Sean buddy, get it together my friend. Look at how far you’ve come. What do you want? Where are you headed? What are you going to do to get it? Look at you man, seriously---do you even realize how far you’ve come along this road? Do you even appreciate the incredible power of the road you’ve been on? Cut out the whiney baby crap---get over it---and let’s move! Smile dog gone it! Right now! (big smile) There you go---look at you, you’re gonna make it my friend. I’m proud of you…and maybe I don’t say this enough, but…uh, you know…I love you.”
I do love myself more than I ever have. And that’s so very important.
I was reading this date from exactly a year ago, Day 226, and found this:
Today I was thinking about all of the times I attempted to lose weight, and back then, almost from the very beginning, I just knew that I would fail every time. I convinced myself that failure was a part of the process. I had also convinced myself that there was no way to maintain focus amid extreme stress. Back then I really wasn't wanting to change my attitudes and approach to food. I just wanted to lose weight. Forget the mumbo jumbo psychological talk. I was forcing myself to eat less and exercise more and it would work until I'd had enough and that's when I'd snap right back into my old habits. I was way more than in love with food back then, I was completely obsessed. My day revolved around eating, thinking about eating, and making plans to eat. Any weight loss attempt back then was a serious downer to this constant obsession. It wasn't until I fully admitted to myself that I had a real addiction to food, that I was able to step back, make an honest assessment of my habits and really explore a different approach. It's so true when they say that the first step to overcoming an addiction is to admit there's a problem in the first place. I had a serious problem with food. I remember staying up real late one Saturday night about fifteen years ago eating a giant bowl of mashed potatoes and homemade white gravy made with sausage grease. It was about two am, the little ones were in bed and Irene was working an overnight shift. I remember a Richard Simmons infomercial catching my attention as I sat there stuffing my face. The testimonials were so wonderful and inspiring, they made me cry. They didn't make me put down the potatoes and gravy, but they made me cry a couple of kinds of tears. I cried tears of happiness for the people being featured on the infomercial and I cried tears of hopelessness for my own struggle. I was feeling really sorry for myself that night. Instead of allowing myself to feel inspired to change, I thought it was just too difficult and overwhelming to even try. I completely understand what it's like to see and hear about someone else's weight loss success while feeling a million miles away from ever being in that position mentally and physically. On Day 1 of this journey I really didn't know how I was going to pull this off. All I knew was that I had to do it. I had to make my way through and learn along the way. I was out of time. I was scared, really scared. This frightened state did something to me that hadn't been done before. It made me let go of my defenses, my old habits that kept me content. I was completely open and vulnerable to change. I let go of the excuses and blame game because I knew they had no place on this road. I let go of my pre-conceived notions of failure, deciding this time, failure wasn't an option. I decided that no amount of stress would rock me to the point of failure, no matter what happened along the way, I decided I would stay on course.
On Day 1 I didn't have a clue about what I would discover along the way. My mind wasn't changed about food and exercise on day 1, not at all. I was walking on faith my friend. I was feeling my way through each day. I really don't know what day it started to really click. But somewhere along this journey I learned a different way of treating food and exercise. All of a sudden I had a revelation I'd never experienced. I could still enjoy potatoes and gravy while losing weight. I could still eat ice cream and lose weight. I could still love and enjoy food without being obsessed. I could slow down long enough to recognize and enjoy a regular portion. When I realized this, that's when I completely let go of the desire to devour giant portions of potatoes and gravy at 2am. I no longer felt deprived in any way. The exercise I always dreaded and feared became easier with every workout and the results started to happen quickly. I was no longer hopeless, I was empowered. Now on Day 226, I feel even more in control with a much better understanding of what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. But I started without any of that knowledge. I just decided and then started. I kept it really simple: calories in-calories out, period. It was an iron clad promise to me from me. I decided.
Thank you for reading. I’m tempted to post a current “in-progress” picture, just to play along with Cilley Girl, but I’ll refrain. OK, I can’t resist…here we go, yeah…this one will work!!! Oh---and how about a big before for contrast! ;) Goodnight and…
Before and “In-Progress”