Let Us Eat Cake! and Sweet Freedom
Some days start with the greatest feeling ever. Today was one of those days. I slept long and good, woke up feeling rested and confident, and was ready for this to be a wonderful day. It didn't disappoint.
I've really fallen out of my normal routine in the last few weeks, but today—there wasn't a good reason (excuse) to skip past my morning non-weighted strength exercises. Wow—I could really tell that I've missed these of late. The squats burned a little bit quicker, the sit-ups felt a little harder, the push-ups were a little more comical. But it was good, and just what I needed to reinforce the good feelings I had upon waking.
Some days, I'm just not hungry first thing. But I know how important it is to eat something, anything, in an effort to kick start the metabolism. I decided to scramble two eggs with mushrooms and onions, topped with a couple squirts of ketchup—and it was good.
It wasn't long before my phone started ringing. It was my cousin Candi. She was in town and wanted to stop by for a visit after she finished visiting with Irene. Very cool! I haven't been around Candi since last year, yeah—it was last 4th of July weekend in fact. My transformation was dramatic then, and even more so now---so I was excited to see her for that reason and many others. We had some catching up to do! It was a little while before she arrived, in perfect time for lunch. I prepared some very lean burgers and we enjoyed them over conversation and laughter. I can't believe I let her get away without snapping a picture to share. Candi—you owe me a picture!!
In my daily time travels back into the archives of this record, I often discover the same issues and insecurities that I still deal with today. In my post from July 3rd last year, I was so excited to be wearing a 3XL t-shirt—a shirt that would look ridiculously big on me now—but it fit so perfectly on that day. Still, I was stressing over wearing just the shirt, without an over-shirt---and I eventually gave in as you'll read. If you had told me on that day---that a year later, less than 20 pounds to goal, that I'd still be having these issues---I would have said “no way!” But I do. The difference is, now---I'm working on it. And it's not about the clothes really. It's about my confidence level. It's about my perception of me and perception of how people see me. It's not accurate at all. I know that, at 248---I'm completely different than the 505 pound version of me, and with or without an over-shirt---the transformation is undeniably good and overwhelmingly obvious. The last thing someone might be thinking is Uh...that shirt makes him look fat. All they're thinking is wow, what a transformation, he looks good. Isn't the brain cruel sometimes?
It isn't about the clothes. I will still wear over-shirts in the name of fashion. Of course, people who know me will automatically think it's still a security blanket---but seriously, I like the fashion of the over-shirt, you know? Seriously...it doesn't really matter one way or the other. As long as my brain understands that I have nothing to be insecure about. I can just confidently be me. Here's that excerpt from July 3rd, 2009:
When I arrived at the event I was immediately issued an event t-shirt. Since they're paying me to be there, mine said “casino staff” below the logo. It was a 3xl by the way. I made my way to the bathroom to change. I know some guys would just change right outside in front of everyone without giving it a second thought, but I'm not like most guys. The insecurities that have smothered me my entire life are still present and obvious in my clothing selection and styling. I put on the t-shirt, checked myself in the mirror, took notice of my considerably smaller size, and then made my way out to the festivities. Irene was on duty and right after I changed, I passed her on the casino floor. She said the shirt looked great, but she says that about anything that fits me correctly—meaning it's not two or three sizes too big just for the sake of baggy comfort. I guess I should just trust her compliment, but it's hard. I walked out into the sunshine knowing that I looked like a completely different person, but still worried that I didn't look right in the t-shirt. My sister in law came up to me with a shocked look on her face, she was blown away by my dramatic changes. She only lives twenty-five minutes from us, but our schedules and lives keep us from ever seeing each other. She just stood there giving me this wide eyed look of total dis-belief. I just smiled from ear to ear.
But even still, I was constantly obsessing over wearing just the t-shirt. I needed an “over-shirt.” A button down that I could leave unbuttoned that would completely restore my confidence and get me through the day. I knew I had one in the van, I'd just changed out of it, but I really didn't want to give in to this. I wish I could say that this was a story of triumph over my insecurities, but it isn't. I did give in, made my way to the vehicle, and put on my security blanket in the form of a very nice over-shirt. Never mind that the amazing artwork on the back of the shirt was now completely covered. The front upper left logo was still visible, as was the words “casino staff.” Good thing I'm not an actual employee, because I would have been breaking the dress code. But I was a guest, the MC, I was hired for my personality and professional announcing abilities...I was allowed to be different. Good thing, because my brain isn't completely caught up with my dramatic changes in appearance just yet. It will get there. I will. Over the course of losing the last 92 pounds, plus the eventual definition and benefits of weight training, well...there will come a time when I'll be completely free from appearance insecurities. I've actually come a long way already. I mean a really long way!
I traveled to Stillwater this evening to have dinner with family. We were celebrating mom and Kelli's birthday. I had zero control over the restaurant selection, and that was OK. I can handle whatever they decided. It was Sirloin Stockade, a big buffet style restaurant. OK---we've been here so many times....this will be fine. I talked to mom just prior to arriving and they were picking up a special cake from the bakery, en route to the restaurant. Yes—cake! It's a birthday party, we eat cake...doesn't everybody? I knew good and well, cake was going to be a part of my calorie budget today. And it was so good!
My plate here was right at about 500 calories. After a small piece of cake, a small soft serve cone, and a tiny little one inch square of a rice crispy treat, I was sitting at 900 for this celebration. No problem! This isn't the first time I've enjoyed cake along this road. I hardly ever say no to a good cake, and I don't have to say no. People eat cake. It's a normal part of life. And I can eat a small piece (about 1.5 by 1.5 inch square—middle piece, less icing), enjoy it immensely, and move on. The old Sean would have devoured at least 5 times this much. I don't have to do that now in order to appreciate the goodness that is cake. One of the things I've really taken pride in along this road, is proving that you can still eat what you enjoy and lose weight. I've had it all and I've lost nearly 260 pounds so far. There's no such thing as deprivation for me---and there shouldn't be for anyone. The pursuit for me, couldn't be about avoiding my weakness foods---it had to be about learning how to eat anything—weakness foods included, like a normal—responsible eating person. Dealing with those food issues directly with my “nothing is off limits in moderation” philosophy, has been key in making this journey so enjoyable.
I had a great visit with mom. A little short really, but good. Mom took a fall on her way inside the restaurant, but she's fine, just sore. Aunt Connie was at the party too, and her “wow” reaction was very nice. “I almost didn't recognize you!” It was late last year when I saw her last. It just goes to show the big difference the last 50 or 60 pounds have made.
In a comment on yesterday's blog, Lisa asked what I use to keep such a white smile. I owe it all to Tyndall Family Dentistry in Ponca City. Phillip and Nancy Tyndall are amazing. They have a variety of ways to give you the smile makeover of your dreams. And I can honestly say---they make going to the dentist an enjoyable experience. When you realize the confidence that a good smile brings you---and after you've worked so hard at transforming every other part of your body---it's worth it to have Tyndall transform your smile. You deserve it. I can't thank them enough for the wonderful confidence they've given me.
I finished the night by being the designated driver for some friends. As we drove, we watched a big fireworks display in the distance. The display was a celebration of freedom. My thoughts immediately turn to the men and women who have fought and died for our freedom as a country. But on a smaller, more personal level---I can't help but also smile when I think of all the things the word freedom means to me now. Freedom, it's a very powerful word.
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
Right after my last spinning class—I was a mess, but felt amazing!
Mark Sanders cooking the catfish yesterday. Oh dear...that's good eatin' my friend!
My plate at Sirloin Stockade. A small, very lean sirloin steak covered in mushrooms, some green beans flavored with bacon, a small serving of potatoes, some baked fish, and a thin piece of fried fish. No gravy, no bread (although I did tear off a bite of a roll from my mom's plate), and no problem! Could I have had more bread and gravy? Sure, but it was a calorie value decision. I make calculated cuts in my selections along the way—and I get the most bang for my calorie buck.
Caught with the cake! I love cake. But cake and I have an understanding these days. I enjoy a small portion and it promises me that the rest of it taste exactly the same. I don't need to confirm that be eating more. Thanks to Kenz for giving me that perspective. Besides, it's not the cake that made this birthday party so special---it was the time spent with family.
With Uncle Sig. He doesn't like pictures as much as we do---but he was very gracious in letting me get this shot. It feels so good to finally “show” him that I could do this weight loss thing. And his pride in my accomplishments shines in his smile and eyes when he looks at me. His number one concern was my health---and although he's very laid back and reserved at all times---I can tell he's jumping up and down for me on the inside.
With my dear Aunt Kelli. I'm so proud of how far she's come along this road. Her amazing transformation will not only change her life, but inspire countless others, as she too documents the entire process on her weight loss blog. You can read her blog at www.snoconegirl.blogspot.com
There she is! My beautiful momma! Happy birthday mom! I love you so very much! And I know I tell you often, but still not nearly enough: You're the greatest mom a son could have. And by the way---mom is on her own weight loss journey—and doing quite well. I'm so happy and proud of her!