Getting Back To Me, Reader Questions, and A Long But Necessary Excerpt
Finally, a better night's sleep followed by a morning where I get up on time! I still feel a sleep deficit and I plan to rectify that this weekend, but seriously---today had every reason to be a good day. I'm so happy the weekend is here and the schedule is basically clear. I need that.
I'm over the one pound gain thing, really--I was over it yesterday, but I just wanted to clarify: These changes in me are so much bigger than a single negative weigh-in experience. I've made the kind of changes that stick. So, as unsettling as a gain, any gain can be, after such dramatic weight loss...it's fine. Because I'm a different person in so many ways. I'll never see 300, 400, or 500 pounds again. And I think that even knowing that, the emotions run high and in the direction of oh no, I'm going in the wrong direction. But I know the truth, and the truth is I've been going in the right direction for 648 days, and I'll continue in the right direction the rest of my life.
I wanted to take a moment and address some comments left on yesterday's post. Lisa offered:
I wonder if you feel the same kind of pressure a celebrity feels at times. With your life being an open book? The pressure not to fail with all eyes on you. I certainly hope not, because I will tell you with 100% certainty, this is the best book I have ever read...and it just gets better:)
Lisa, thank you for the compliment! I don't feel pressure really, but I do feel a certain responsibility, that goes a few notches above the standard accountability factor. I've received numerous e-mails and comments from people over the course of this journey, who say they look up to me, some have even patterned the fundamentals of their journey after mine. That's an incredible honor, especially when they too have tremendous success, but it's a responsibility to be fair and clear about every aspect along the way. I've been an open book, and the strangest thing is running into someone, a stranger, at the grocery store and they say "I've read every single day," and I walk away thinking... wow, they know everything about me and I know nothing about them. But I remind myself how much this diary has changed my life and I think about how people have said it's helped them too, and I realize---OK, maybe it's worth it all. Even the embarrassing parts, and we've had a few of those too... As far as pressure to be "perfect," and I don't think you meant that---but really, I've never been perfect, never will be---so there's no pressure to be anything but what I am. And that's easy.
Carol brought up the excess skin issue:
I haven't been reading all the comments on your posts, so someone else may have already asked this. Have you ever estimated the weight of your excess skin? I mean, suppose you get to your goal weight, then have surgery, and suddenly weigh 15 lbs less? I think you look pretty good at your current weight!
Thank you Carol. Who knows? I'm sure a plastic surgeon could examine me and make a pretty good estimate, but it really doesn't matter at this point. I'm going to be happy and healthy regardless. I'll probably have the skin removal surgery at some point in the future, but it's not something I'm overly concerned about. It would make me feel better about my appearance, absolutely, but I'm slowly trying to accept my smaller size and appreciate my body despite the flaws that remain. How much will the excess skin weigh? I'm guessing between 15 and 20 pounds.
Kimberely offered her experience and concern about my sleep apnea situation:
I have had my machine for over a year now and my life has changed. I could barely make it through the day at work, I was too tired to cook when I got home, I had no energy for exercising. This has all changed for the better and I am no longer on beta blockers for my heart....I sincerely hope you don't experiment with your health and that you go to see a professional.
Kimberely, I'm so happy for you! It is a different world with proper rest. I missed so much of my daughters very young years, because if I wasn't working---I was sleeping. I was always tired and cranky too. Then I had the sleep study and found a new life with my first CPAP machine. I know exactly what you mean---It was a night and day experience. Suddenly I felt awake and well rested. Not at first, it took me a few months to get used to using it and really getting past the contraption part---and into the restful part. I've spent years singing the praises of my CPAP and encouraging others to get tested. When my weight loss seemed to "cure" the need---I started sleeping without it and felt completely rested. I didn't snore at all anymore---I didn't wake with severe oxygen deprivation headaches, I was sleeping like normal for the first time since my teenage years. So I'm puzzled by the sudden onset of sleep apnea symptoms. You give sound advice---this isn't something to mess with, and I will be seeing a doctor soon and we'll go from there. In the meantime, I will try using the machine again---just to see what kind of difference it makes.
I enjoyed a mozzarella cheese omelet this morning, made with two egg whites and one whole egg. The entire thing was 154 calories. I grabbed a banana, pear, and an orange for the rest of the morning, and I was set!
I grabbed my wind pants on the way out the door today, I was planning on hitting the Friday mid-day spinning class and I had to be ready. I wasn't completely positive that my work schedule would allow, but I was able to successfully work it out with my co-worker---and it was on!
I arrived at the YMCA a little later than I wanted. It was ten minutes before class and usually, you need to show up thirty minutes prior to ensure a bike. I was really nervous about missing out, but I had a plan to workout solo, just in case. I walked up to the counter and they know me so well---They know my favorite cycle is number 12, it's in the back corner, and it comforts my silly insecurities. Somehow, by sheer luck, it was available. With a big smile on her face, the young lady at the front desk asked "Do you want number twelve?" She knows it's my favorite. I couldn't believe my good fortune. I quickly changed and made my way to number 12 cycle. I needed this today. It's been way too long since my last class. Frank worked us hard. It was a very different experience and very challenging---and it didn't take long to realize that it had been a while since I last did this. At the half-way point, I fought off a stray thought of cutting it short. I haven't had a thought like that since my very first spinning class. But seriously, that thought passed and I pushed harder, sweating better, and feeling so incredibly good all along the way.
I finally finished my AOL www.Thatsfit.com interview! The writer requesting the interview said to "be as detailed as possible," and you know what that means to me. We'll see how much of it ends up on the cutting room floor. I'm just honored to be featured. I'm really excited! Check out the one and only Jack Sh*t, currently featured on AOL's www.thatsfit.com, and be looking for me coming soon! Jack, my friend, very nice job--congrats!
I stayed in tonight. Usually I have something to do on a Friday night, but tonight--nope. I finished that interview, attached the before and current pictures (btw--I used before #1), and spent some time running lines for my role in "Wanda's Visit." It was a nice quiet evening at home that found me in bed relatively early for a Friday night.
Before I wrap this edition, I wanted to post an excerpt from a year ago today. I thought about not posting it, because really---this is long already and this isn't a short excerpt, but I think it's an important excerpt. I hope you feel the same. From June 25th, 2009:
I can't tell you how many times I've heard: “I don't know how you do it,” or “I wish I had will power like that,” and several variations of the same. When somebody says something like that, I completely understand where they are mentally. I lived in that place. I also think to myself oh my, if they could only have seen me at my absolute most out of control state, perhaps they would understand that this isn't a club where they can't join.
I can't go back, so I have to rely on telling stories about how bad it became. I knew that I had some seriously bad food behaviors, but the scary thing wasn't necessarily those things, it was the feeling of I may never be able to control this and survive, I just can't do it. Or so I thought. I not only thought it, I convinced myself that my inability to “get with it” was incurable. I was so lost my friend. I didn't want to hear “it's a lifestyle change.” Because the word “change” meant I might actually have to put forth some effort. I was right at home at the line of least resistance. I lived there.
Oh it was fabulous! The line of least resistance was so easy. You get to eat as much as your body can physically hold and if you have to move, you're either on your way to bed, on the way to the fridge, on the way to a fast food drive thru, or somebody is chasing you. The fear of letting that indulgent lifestyle go was often too much to handle. So I would make excuses, rationalizations to make myself feel better. “Well, I'm addicted, what can I do?” I just wrote a long comment on another blog about the topic of “food addiction.” It is real. But it is beatable.
How? I had to let go of the idea that I was a “victim.” I had to get super honest about my excuses and rationalizations that kept me fat. Have you ever known someone who's been on a plan for years or a member of a support group for years, but still they're significantly overweight? Why? Why isn't it working? Based on my own experience, I would say it's because they haven't completely let go of their addiction to making themselves feel better about their addiction. Make sense?
I was always way too easy on myself. “I'm too stressed,” “I'm too busy,” “I've worked hard, I deserve to cut loose,” “I actually like being fat,” (I recently heard that last one from a friend and co-worker of my wife) “I'll eat all this tonight, but tomorrow I'm right back on track,”---all of these are invalid excuses and rationalizations. Saying things like that will keep us firmly at the line of least resistance. The 100% honesty within me had to identify anything and everything that threatened my success. If it's a thought or action that is counterproductive or potentially damaging to my weight loss goals, I have to stop for a second and evaluate it, then kick it to the curb as I call it what it is...nonsense!
I'm completely finished with excuses and rationalizations that kept me at over 500 pounds for so long. Those days are over. I no longer drink a soda pop because “I haven't had one in so long,” and I no longer eat my weight in fried mushrooms and pizza because “I've done so well, I deserve a reward.” I no longer lie to myself about my motives with food, “I can't start in doing good until after the birthday party next week, you know they'll have cake and ice cream.” What that really means is “I just found another reason to allow myself to continue eating whatever and how-much-ever I want for another week!”
The frustration and the years of tears and struggles are over, all because I decided to empower myself to change, and I did it with a radar continually watching for excuses that make me feel better about making bad choices. Do I still have stress? Yes! Do I still have an extremely busy schedule? Yes! Once these two big excuses were rendered unacceptable, I started moving toward these dramatic changes. You can't say, “Oh Sean—you make it sound so easy---you're just a different breed.” (that's a quote that somebody said to me the other day) NO I'M NOT!
I'm just a guy that had to break this down into a very simple approach. I had to get very real and very honest with myself. I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. I had to stop being the victim. It's not an impossible thing for anyone. You have to believe me, I'm proof.
Told you it was long. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...