Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 616 The Changing Line of Least Resistance and Exploring My Mentality

Day 616

The Changing Line of Least Resistance and Exploring My Mentality

Monday morning came quickly. Ok, really, that doesn't make sense. It came just as fast as any other Monday. I guess the perception is an indicator of the enjoyment level. I really enjoyed the weekend with Amber and Courtney, the wild horses, the bike ride, all of it was good—and it could have lasted another day, and it probably still wouldn't have been enough.

The bike ride last night gave me the kind of workout that makes a nights rest a little deeper. And when you need to be up by 4am, that's not a good thing, unless you go to bed at a decent hour---and you know me, I always need to work on that. I ended up sleeping past my alarm and waking up in a huge hurry at almost 5am. My routine changes dramatically when I get up late. Two things are a must: breakfast and a shower. And sometimes, that's all I have time to do. No writing, no non-weighted strength training exercises, no returning e-mails or reading blogs when the clock isn't in my favor.

Starting a Monday like this, I have to concentrate on righting the day---not getting too concerned about the disruption in my routine, just making it the best I can after a rocky and rushed start. Too many times in the past, a little disruption in routine, and bam---I would be done. Looking back, it doesn't make sense---and maybe I was always looking for an out, looking for an excuse to retreat to old habits—the line of least resistance where everything is super easy, because nothing matters anymore. I matter now, so that line isn't very attractive. And now it's different, because even doing the right things by my calorie budget and workouts---doesn't feel too far from that line. It does get easier, becoming habit---becoming me, becoming my lifestyle. The definition of that line changes along this road. Now—the line of least resistance doesn't mean my journey goes up in flames---it means I skip a workout or not work out as hard as I know I can. I believe that the changing of what that line is all about indicates the real changes in me. These are reassuring changes unlike any I've ever experienced in past weight loss attempts. This is the difference---this is the real deal, this is what it feels like to make that change, that real change.

I've been super protective of my mental state along this road. The idea of a “free day” or even a “free meal” is something that I knew couldn't be for me. It's truly different for everyone. For me, a raging food addict, it didn't make sense. But as I read and even hear others speak of an occasional meal where a little indulgence is allowed, I think...Hmmm, that's normal behavior---we occasionally indulge and part of my development at some point will be accepting and handling those occasions without the mental damage I always feared. What brought this up? I dived into this topic exactly one year ago today:

Recently the topic of allowing a “free day” came up. The only time I've done that was Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I still only allowed an additional 1,000 calories. Some people can handle a free day and then pretend that it didn't happen, I can't. That's just me. And now that I'm so far along on this journey, I seriously don't think I could make myself take advantage of one. I eat everything I like anyway! I've really been analyzing the concept of a “free day,” and I've come to the conclusion that fits me. Every other weight loss attempt found me just waiting for the day I could cut loose. I wasn't learning anything about portion control and eating responsibly. I was simply going through the motions needed to lose weight. I wasn't changing my brain. Back then, one day of eating whatever, whenever, and howmuchever I wanted, and it was over every time, completely off the wagon. I know experts say that an occasional free day is actually good for firing up your metabolism, I eat every three hours, that too will keep your metabolism running hot! If my long term goal is eating responsibly, then why would I want one day to eat whatever? It's something that really depends on the person. My opinion really only fits me because I know me. I know me very well. For some, a free day might mean one meal where they go out and just order whatever without regard to calories. That's not too bad. I guess it depends on what you consider a free day. To me it always meant a half-gallon of ice cream just for starters! I wrote about this on Day 34. On the topic of allowing a “cheat day”: I know that if I do it a little it will lead to a lot. Then the next thing you know I'm buying candy bars and half gallons of ice cream. I'm all about eating whatever you want and still losing weight, I'm proof it can be done, but I do have some boundaries. My wife and kids know that if daddy brings home a half gallon, it's all over.

Irene is so good at recognizing when I've fallen off the wagon that she'll let me know she knows long before anyone else has a clue. If you see me drinking regular pop...I'm off the wagon. If you see me loading up a plate at a get together, I'm probably off the wagon. If you see me in the back alley behind the convenience store with a pint of Blue Bell and a plastic spoon, I'm off the wagon. But you will not see me doing any of those things, because I'm not only on the wagon, I'm strapped onto the wagon. If the wagon tipped over, I'd still be on the wagon. If the wagon started rolling down a mountain side, I'd be screaming in terror, but I'd still be on the wagon. What I'm trying to say is...I'm doing this now. And I imagine that some might be wondering when these blogs will stop. I've had so many great starts before, surely I'll mess up and go back to doing whatever sooner or later. Nope. If you stopped reading this blog and came back in two months, you would find Day 94 ready and waiting for you to read.

That first sentence sums up why I wouldn't dare allow myself a free day early on this journey. And now after 252 days, I've learned too much about portion control and eating responsibly to ever wrap my mind around the free day concept. It just goes against the mental changes that I've developed, the ones that will keep my weight off for the rest of my life. These changes are the number one difference between this time and all the others.

And here we are at Day 616 with 251 pounds gone. And I'm still learning—still developing and understanding this journey away from morbid obesity, but always being mindful of the boundaries I must maintain as a recovering food addict. Will I ever be completely normal? Maybe not. But close to normal is so far from where I was, it's still really good. Am I even making sense? You know what I mean, right?

I met up with Courtney and her boyfriend Bradley at the YMCA. Today was their Day 1 of a new attitude and approach. Courtney was on the elliptical and Bradley was doing the stationary sit-down bike while I lifted the weights before spinning class. It was such a pleasure to see Courtney in there and working out hard.

The spinning class was incredible. And guess who showed up? Melissa Walden, fitness and life coach! There she was---on a cycle, right along with the rest of us. It was very cool to see here there. I remember how not too long ago, I absolutely feared the spinning class, now I look forward to the amazing workout. I absolutely love spinning. And the differences have been noticeable---I can feel it, and even see it in the mirror.

After our workout, Courtney met me at the grocery store for some shopping before I headed back to the apartment for a relaxing evening with Amber and KL. I had a huge craving for chips and salsa tonight---so I grabbed some salsa and some white corn tortilla chips. I counted out a serving and a half of chips, grabbed a bowl of salsa---and enjoyed every bite---all 240 calories worth. It was very good. I also enjoyed some baked pepper shrimp and a banana. It was kind of a strange dinner, but it's what I wanted tonight.

Thank you for reading! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Courtney at the YMCA this evening! She's ready and on her way! Let's do this! I love that girl!


  1. I eat weird dinners like that too sometimes when I'm alone. You probably do a better job staying in your calorie range eating exactly what you want rather than forcing yourself to eat something else.

  2. Her hair color changed! I like! Go Courtney!

  3. WTG Sean!

    As I was reading though, I understand the caution because a change up in lifestyle can happen on a dime. I also am realizing as I read your blog how true it is when people say weight loss is more mental.

    Good post! Keep up the good work! And WTG Courtney and BF!

  4. Shawn, DON'T DO IT!!! I'm talking about the free day/free meal. Like me, you are an addict. We always will be. Every free meal/day will weaken your steel curtain.

    Stick to what you know works!!!


  5. P.S. Tell Courtney that her new hair color rocks!! It makes her look so much softer/approachable!


  6. Courtney looks intelligent and brave!

  7. Yay Courtney!! How cool to be able to work out with your daughter at the YMCA...and now that Amber's home for the summer...maybe she'd like to join you guys???? :)

  8. love the title "changing line of least resistance"

  9. Working out with your kids feels great, doesn't it? You are setting such a great example for them (now) and it seems to be bringing you closer together.

    Glad to hear about the bike ride, Sean. Sounds fun, but grueling!

  10. She is sooo cute! I was worried because you haven't really mentioned Courtney much over the last couple of months. I thought maybe she had totally fallen off the wagon, but she looks great. Good for her starting again! First day of Senior year will be even better than Junior year.

  11. She looks like you:)

  12. I got tears in my eyes when I read the comment from Jack on the last post. He pointed out that probably your biggest accomplishment is passing your new lifestyle onto your kids. Such a profound thing to point out. I totally agree! You love your kids so much and you are giving them the gift of health.. teaching by doing and being an amazing role model.

    And by the way... I also love to hear you say that you love spinning. Woo hoo!!! It is so awesome!

    You are constantly progressing in your approach. You just keep aiming higher and higher and you are accomplishing SOO much!

    I love it!


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