Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 673 Courtney's Birthday and The Chinese Buffet Showdown Number Three

Day 673

Courtney's Birthday and The Chinese Buffet Showdown Number Three

My youngest is 17 today. Wow, really? Is that even possible? Time constantly moves and it doesn't care if we notice or not. Time doesn't care if we waste it away or make the very most of every day. Time's job is simple, it moves...and quickly. I missed a bunch of Courtney and Amber's early years because I was always tired, either working or sleeping. The raging sleep apnea back then kept me tired constantly and my 500 pound body seemed to constantly restrict me from the most rewarding pleasures in life, like being active with my children.

We can't get those early years back, and as bad as it was---I know they both understand how much I loved them back then and how much I love them today. I will not spend too much time regretting the past--there's nothing positive about doing that...But I will look forward to a future with my kids and in about, say ten years--maybe grandkids (please don't make me a grandpa any sooner--if you don't mind, thanks sweety). When I accompany my daughters to their ultimate weight loss goal weigh-in---that's when my ultimate dream will be realized. To inspire them and help them break free from the habits and behaviors I taught them, along with the ones they developed all on their own---That's everything to me. I love these girls. Courtney, you're an amazing 17 year old, happy birthday have an absolutely incredible future ahead of you.

This morning started with my non-weighted strength exercises. These are very simple movements. Non-weighted squats are the easiest, well--that is until you try to do sixty in a row. You simply find a chair and sit down, then get up, then sit down--and repeat. Feel the burn? Oh, you will, trust me. The sit ups are also called "getoutofbeds," a name coined by fitness and life coach Melissa Walden, because it's a very similar motion, perhaps not your traditional sit-up---but very effective, I can feel those abs underneath. And the push ups, well--I haven't posted a video of them for a reason, I might get embarrassed. I'm not the strongest in the upper body department, so I do what I can...if you were to see me doing these in public, you would probably ask, "are you ok?" Yeah--that...but, this little 10-15 minute me time workout makes me feel unstoppable first thing, most mornings. I say "most," because I don't always get them done. Sometimes ten minutes is the difference between being late or not.

I interviewed Oklahoma Congresswoman Mary Fallin today. She's campaigning for the governors office and we were one of her stops. I used a small recorder in the newly constructed-yet to be finished KPNC/KLOR studios at the historic Poncan Theatre. I met the congresswoman and her handlers with complete confidence. I can remember interviewing high profile candidates at my heaviest, and it never felt like this. I was consumed with insecurities back in those days--tugging at my shirt and constantly wondering what the interview subject was thinking about me. Chances were good that they were never thinking ill thoughts of me, even the 505 pound version of me, but our brains try really hard to convince us otherwise, huh? In fact, they were probably consumed with making sure they represented their ideas and plans effectively--like any other candidate for a major political office. Yeah---it felt really good to interview someone like this today while being completely confident--it was very different. It was so nice and so was Mary Fallin.

We headed South toward Stillwater tonight, meeting up with everyone for Courtney's birthday dinner. Courtney decided on New China Super Buffet. Hmmmm. If you've read everyday of this blog, then you're familiar with this place. It was the site of Day 49's Chinese Buffet Showdown number one, and showdown number two---for Courtney's 16th birthday last year. Tonight would be Chinese Buffet Showdown number three. But before I recount the happenings of tonight's battle (really--it wasn't a battle this time---but for the sake of drama...), let's go back into the archives for a look at how we handled the confrontations of buffet past. The following excerpt is from Day 49:

I knew someday I would face-off against a buffet like two gunslingers standing on Main Street in the middle of Dodge. The showdown was set. As we approached the scene of the dual I kept remembering all of our previous trips to this same locale. This was the place that made me like Chinese, mostly because they have a bunch of non-Chinese items. Did that even make sense? Anyway...They have amazing food! Their coconut shrimp is the best ever, I've had an entire plate before. The little stuffed mushrooms are incredible, the deep fried everything is amazing, and they have a nice big selection of fruit and deserts. I knew going in what I was up against. I was armed with my desire to stay true to my mission and a 49 day perfect record. I knew they would beat me financially, because there was no way I was eating the $7.95 worth, but they had a really tough opponent as far as will power was concerned. As we arrived I made some game time mental adjustments.

I reminded myself of what I had to do and what I couldn't do. I had a cocky confidence walking in and then it was like everything was in slow motion. I made eye contact with the man at the register and he glared back. His stare told me that he's seen my kind through those doors many times. Really big guys like me that go in and pay $7.95 for $30.00 worth of food. I don't know for sure, but he probably alerted the kitchen of my arrival.

But my opponent wasn't any one individual in that restaurant. My opponent was five hot lines, two cold lines, a desert line, and a sushi line. My first strategy was ordering a big tall glass of ice water. Then, without hesitation, I gave one last pre-showdown look at my family and headed straight for the battle. Like an old west gunfight, we (The buffet lines and me) stared each other down. I had my plate ready in my trembling hand. Then I started evaluating everything in front of me. It never took this long to decide before. Usually I would load up pretty quick, and head back to my chair, knowing that I would go back for more later. But this time was so different. There would be no going back this time. To win this fight I had to get in and get out as fast as possible, and never return.

That was Day 49. The following is from 259 days later--Courtney's sweet sixteen dinner:

The strategy tonight was nearly identical to the strategy used 259 days ago. A taste of this, a little of that—and one plate! OK, I had two plates, but one was for fruit. I didn't want the fruit juices to mix with my dinner selections. I avoided breads, like those little deep fried-sugar coated biscuits. I also avoided the fried rice. But the biggest strategy at 'Chinese Buffet Showdown #2,': No piling. One plate with zero piling. You know what I'm talking about. Piling: The art of putting as much food as scientifically possible on a single plate, resulting in what appears to be a mini-mountain of mixed edibles. I made sure to grab some of my favorites like mini-stuffed mushrooms and the creamy coconut shrimp. Instead of the fried potatoes, I chose the small baked potato slice topped with cheese and bacon. A single layer of food was the rule. The calories wouldn't be exact here, and I'm OK with that. As long as I'm completely honest with the guesstimate---I'll be alright. I guesstimated my plate, including the fruit---at 700 calories. It may have been less, but I seriously doubt it was a calorie over 700. This violated my personal guideline of keeping meals at or below 500 calories, but still I was well within my calorie budget for the day.

I enjoyed every bite, but I enjoyed the company and celebration of Courtney's sixteenth birthday even more, that was the main focus. Not the food. Courtney's not big on cake, so we didn't have a traditional birthday cake. She's a cheesecake kid. We'll probably split a slice of cheesecake tomorrow. I might even splurge for a Cheesecake Factory slice. When the dust had settled---We were once again victorious at the Chinese buffet, and I'm sure the restaurant staff was relieved that our “victory” didn't mean eating up their profits.

The next day, I clarified my position on "piling:"

“Piling” is acceptable depending on what you're piling. I would've mentioned this last night, just forgot. If you're piling fresh veggies and things you know are really low in calorie, that's one thing. But you could clearly see the kind of stuff I go for. It wasn't really Chinese food at all...but it's what I like. And what I like cannot be piled and still be within a calorie budget. I know this about me. I'm not a veggie kind of guy if you haven't noticed.

Showdown number three found a very different Sean tonight. Now, only 16 pounds to goal, I wasn't the same big guy this place remembers. They didn't see me coming. For once, I was just a normal sized guy, enjoying a normal sized meal, and thoroughly cherishing the birthday celebration of my daughter. There wasn't a need for the staff to watch me, I was harmless--they knew they were making money off of me tonight, they had no doubt. And neither did I. I stuck to the fundamentals that carried me away victorious the last two times. I enjoyed my dinner, comfortably guesstimated at 600 calories, maybe less actually---but just to be safe, we'll call it 600...and I did it.

On the way into the restaurant, my phone alerted me to a text message from Kenz. She was giving me an immediate challenge to drink an entire glass of water prior to grabbing my plate. It was a water challenge within our water challenge. I did just that, and it worked beautifully. I even tried sushi again (I didn't like it from a fancy place in L.A., so I have no idea why I thought I would like it here), and I have the video to prove it! All in all, it was an amazing night of control---a normalcy found, because I've learned how to enjoy good food, while enjoying the people around me even more. The focus has shifted. I'll eat Chinese again soon, I'm sure...I didn't need to eat it all in one night. It's an approach that leaves you feeling amazing. Because trust me--I wouldn't trade the way I feel and look now for any amount of coconut shrimp or fried rice. This really living stuff feels too good my friend...and I still get to enjoy coconut shrimp? How awesome is that?

I enjoyed the nice ride back to Ponca City, just like the ride down...with Courtney driving. Nothing cements in my mind that she's growing up, like riding shotgun with her behind the wheel. That's my Courtney Nayster...

I absolutely rocked the water challenge today, with just over 90 ounces by the time I dropped in bed. After sharing with her some of the benefits that many of us have experienced on this challenge, Courtney decided to join too!

If you live around the Tulsa area, or close enough to drive---I'll be speaking about weight loss and this journey at the Broken Arrow Business Womens Association's monthly luncheon on August 17th. You can get all the details and RSVP by clicking here. Tickets are $15.00 for non-members. I would love to meet you there! Kenz will be in attendence too!

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Ann from is a proud member of the P.E.W.C. !!

Interviewing Congresswoman Mary Fallin today. She's running for the Oklahoma Governor's office

Going in...and not even looking worried. I got this.

My empty cup of water---before I ever picked up a plate. Thank you Kenz---what a great "spot challenge."

With the birthday girl. Amber was being camera shy tonight...we all had a good time together!

With Mom tonight

With Courtney and Aunt Kelli

With Uncle Keith and Grandma

My plate tonight. 600 calories? Probably not, maybe somewhere between 500 and 600--as long as I'm confident in my guesstimate, we're good!


  1. PLEASE quit making me cry. :) We blinked...and those kiddos grew up. Thank you, Sean. THANK YOU. Day 7 nearly in the books. Gotta run to go see my lil guy (well my 6', and built, 19 year old guy!)


  2. I love the tip about handling the buffet, it is like a mine field for me as well, great post!

  3. You're so handsome! :D

  4. Sean, I swear we could be twins as far as our battles. I too am a competitive buffet eater that is determined to get my moneys worth. I can put away some chinese buffet food buddy. So I foresee this showdown for me at some point in the future. I will try that water thing too. I have also noticed even though I am on day 3, that I have not been starving either for the last few days. Last diet I was on was meal planning and I would be starving before I 2 o clock and then spend the rest of the day dreaming about dinner. Now, not so much on either. This was a great idea you conceived Sean and I appreciate it.

  5. That was good one you guys...I'm getting back to the water. Been away for two days from it..going back..your momma is rockin it..already got most hers you kelli

  6. Sean, You'll see my PEWC update on my blog tomorrow.

    Beautiful kid you've got there!

  7. I'm glad to know that you liked my on the spot challenge. I figured it could be a good thing, you know? :)

    The picture was too small to tell last night, but the sushi roll looks awful. bad. I'm going to post sushi on Facebook later so you can clearly see the difference. ;) I'm coming to terms with you not liking it though, and I think I'll be okay. LOL

    The ladies in your family are beautiful. Amber is too even if a little camera shy sometimes.

    Way to get back to it Kelli! That's what's most important anyway...<3

  8. I'm so with Kenz on this one. That is NOT real sushi. Seriously - you need Kenz to take you out for proper sushi.

    Awesome control! Chinese buffets are difficult for all of us and the extra water will wash the sodium away!

  9. Unfortunately Dawne, he has totally had proper sushi in the past. Maybe he'll taste again at some point..not the rolls? Though I'll accept him whether he loves sushi or not as long as he loves the important stuff. :)

  10. Great post, it's relatively 'easy' to stay on track when you know the exact calories in everything and can measure portions, but buffets are my nemesis! I just act like I've been starved for 10 years and will never eat again. I think this is something that will require constant work, but good tips and showing you CAN do it!

  11. You have a beautiful family !!! Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Too bad you took up space with that sushi! The same amount of rice would have been better...just my sushi-disliking opinion! Congrats on the successful buffet visit!

  13. If you want the good sushi in Stillwater you need to try Kyoto. I suggest making reservations for the hibatchi grill. Two people can eat from one meal because you get so much food and you get sushi. My husband is not a sushi eater but he loves Kyoto's sushi.

    Glad you all had a great time celebrating Courtney's birthday.

  14. You look fantastic! You're looking SO THIN these days. I *LOVE* the pic of you with the congress're giving her killer eyes, like you're saying, "Don't mess with me, woman. choose your words carefully because I can see through your BS!" NICELY DONE!

  15. oldest son is 17... You are so right about time just slipping by no matter how we choose to use it. I have a lot of regret for the things I didn't do..due to my 290 lb body at one point. It is not productive to dwell on, but hard not to think about sometimes.

    I'm with you on the sushi....ick. I think my roots are to deeply rooted in the south to like

  16. Sean,

    You have inspired me. I have started my own blog and I read yours everyday to add to my motivation. I totally get many of the things you have struggled with and it is nice to know your not alone. Today I gave you kudos on my blog for being the evil genius that you are!

    Keep on winning man!

    Sean Z.

  17. Hi Sean,

    I've been reading your archives, starting at Day 1 and I'm hooked! I started my own weight loss journey 41 days ago and am only (sob) down 10 lbs. But I'm old (57) and it really IS true that it's slower and harder, the older you get. Believe me, this isn't the first time I've lost weight. I've got a long way to go. But I'm doing everything right and I'm doing the best I can do. Your journal is an inspiration to me. I may start one (another one) of my own! Keep on writing and keep on making "Good Choices" (love how you end your posts with that!

  18. Just wanted to drop in and let you know that I left you an award on my page...the Versatile blogger award. Go by and pick it up when you have a min.

  19. You have a beautiful family Sean.

    Your plate of food from the Chinese Buffet looks so good. I love the stuffed mushrooms! Oh and all you needed was a little soy sauce and wasabi for the roll. There are so many varieties of rolls, I am thinking there are some you will love! You just got a bad one perhaps?

    Sean said "I was consumed with insecurities back in those days--tugging at my shirt and constantly wondering what the interview subject was thinking about me. Chances were good that they were never thinking ill thoughts of me, even the 505 pound version of me, but our brains try really hard to convince us otherwise, huh?"

    Sean, I can honestly say that when you weighed 505 lbs. all I ever saw in you was the sweet person you were. You were always so genuine. The extra weight was never an obstacle for me as to who were were. Your heart was the same then as it is today and no one can take that away no matter what you look like on the outside. Sometimes I feel like crying, this is one of those times.

    Take Care and God Bless!


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