Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 668 It's Non-Negotiable and A Second (chance at) Life

Day 668

It's Non-Negotiable and A Second (chance at) Life

I started this morning in a rush, with little time to do anything other than shower and dress. I can skip some things if I absolutely must. Checking email and facebook? I didn't have time. Morning non-weighted strength training exercises? They'll have to wait until later. Breakfast? No time for that stuff, right? Uh...the biggest NO in the world. It's a must no matter how late I oversleep. Breakfast might be grabbing some fruit and cheese as I fly for the door, but it's never missed. And remember, I was always a "no breakfast" or a "junk breakfast" kind of guy. By "junk breakfast," I mean convenience store fare---Doritos, snack cakes, real Coke, maybe a deep fried cinnamon roll or two. My breakfast choices have dramatically improved, and what has improved even more is my absolute insistence on something good to wake my metabolism. It's a non-negotiable part of my morning routine.

This morning I rushed into the kitchen, turned a pan on low, sprayed it with olive oil cooking spray, dumped some fresh mushrooms in the pan--along with three egg whites. It slowly cooked as I showered and dressed. By the time I returned to the kitchen, I had just enough time to heat a Joseph's 60 calorie flax seed, oat bran, and whole wheat flour pita in the microwave for 15 seconds with a 50 calorie slice of mozzarella. I poured the mushroom and egg white mixture on top and rolled it up burrito style. This incredibly filling breakfast checks in at a low 180 calories---and seriously, it took me less than 5 minutes to prepare. I had some fruit at the studio, a banana and an orange, so I was good until mid-morning---easy.

It happened after the Tulsa World feature article several months ago and it's happening now with this AOL story. People get the wrong idea about my approach based solely on the headline of the story. The World article listed my "Fast Food Tips and Tricks," and the AOL headline mentions my weight loss "without eating salad." I can't blame the media, it's all information I've supplied them. And it's all true. I don't like salads. But---don't get the wrong idea, because I eat fruits and vegetables--and I'm not on some crazy "fast food diet." I eat what I like and nothing I don't. But what does that mean?

My choices had to gradually improve over time. I just knew that if I started forcing myself to eat foods I really didn't like, I would lose weight. What? Yes, I would lose weight, but I would be miserable the entire time, and eventually I would revert to my old habits, my food addiction couldn't tolerate salads or pre-packaged foods too long before I had a meltdown---and I knew that about myself. It was one of the crucial errors I had made in past weight loss attempts. Maybe you're familiar with making that special grocery list, "because tomorrow we're starting!" I decided on Day 1 that I didn't need a special list of foods. I wanted to beat my food addiction---and I knew the only way to do that was face real food, in real everyday real-life situations. That's the reason for my "nothing is off limits" philosophy.

This philosophy completely eliminated a couple of things: Feelings of deprivation and feeling like I was cheating. OK---I might be able to do this! I've never felt deprived and I can't feel bad about myself if I eat a serving of potato chips. Here's what happened: My choices started to gradually improve throughout this journey. A mid-day snack in the beginning may have been a 110 calorie pack of Funyuns. Somewhere along the way, that mid-day snack evolved into fresh fruit. My calorie budget is all about eating normal portions of anything. And since I'm on a budget, I have to make what I call "calorie value" decisions. People still freak out if they see me eating something like a piece of pizza, candy, or even a soft-serve lowfat ice cream cone---because hey, aren't you that weight loss guy? Uh, yeah sure---but what I am more than anything is a normal person. A normal person, eating normal portions of normal food, in normal everyday food situations. If I'm having dinner at your house, there's no need to prepare something special "because we know you're on a diet." I'll navigate my choices in a very normal, very responsible way---with self-honesty about portion sizes and an eye for the best calorie values available at the moment. When I end every blog with "good choices," I'm not saying perfect choices...just good choices. And what that meant on day 1 and what it means today is a little different. The choices evolve in a natural fashion, based on what I like. So my good choices may be different from yours. I like and often enjoy vegetables. I love fruit. I rarely eat fast food these days...all gradual evolutions of my "nothing is off limits" approach. A big salad? Never...and that's ok.

A year ago today is when I visited with a home-bound gentleman who had called the radio station in an attempt to get my advice on losing weight. He was reaching out to me--and I happily traveled to him for a meeting on July 15th, 2009:

I visited the gentleman with the heart condition today. I shared my story with him, I explained where I was emotionally and physically before and on Day 1. I explained to him what I've done and how I've done it...with the food and exercise fundamentals---and a bigger focus on the biggest element: the mental part. I talked about my “Calorie Bank and Trust,” I spoke of the “Steel Curtain Zone.” I talked about the power of a decision. I gave him a weight loss seminar in his living room. And I suggested he consult his doctor about all of this first and foremost. But I don't know if he was listening, really listening. I hope and pray he was, but I got the feeling he wasn't. I've done all I can do. I hope he gets the help he really needs.

I really thought I could make a difference for that guy. Sadly, he wasn't ready to listen. It was a big reminder to me that the spark, the thing that happens that makes you realize that this time it's different---that feeling you get when you're really ready---cannot come from anyone. You can be inspired all day long, but inspiration without action and a strong, internal-personal motivation to change, is absolutely useless in this pursuit. I knew the gentleman wasn't listening back then, because when I finished talking---his first question was "have you ever played the game Second Life?" I've never played a video game called Second Life, but I'm very much living a life that I could only dream of living as a 500 pound man. He couldn't take his nose out of a virtual life game long enough to take control of his real life. I left knowing that there wasn't anything more I could do. I hope and pray that man is still alive today and I hope he's found that life saving epiphany. It just tore me up inside to walk away from him.

This afternoon refused to end until just after 9pm tonight. I left the studio exhausted and ready for bed. A workout today just wasn't happening. I would love to say that I traveled straight to the trail for a 5K, but no---I was tired and hungry tonight. I barely made my calorie budget---because I was just too tired. I enjoyed some fresh guacamole and chips, 400 calories worth, to get me there...oh, it was amazingly good!

I love this water challenge. I spoke with Kenz about the dramatic increase in participants and we both concluded that the number is too high to collect every name for a master list along the sidebar. But make no mistake, if you've accepted the challenge--you're in just like the rest of us. Keep drinking at least 64 ounces a day and pop in with an update comment on Kenz's blog or here--at least once a week. We want to hear how you're feeling!

I feel amazing. This is Day 4 of at least 64 ounces a day and it's easily the most water I've ever consumed in a four day period. My stream is almost perfectly clear. I'm flushing out the impurities like crazy!! Sorry for the visual.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

My Aunt Kelli drinking water! Her blog can be found at

Jessie at

You can do it! 64 ounces a day of pure clean, unadulterated water...The challenge ends August 1st, but the change in water drinking habits might stick around a little longer! I'm excited about the differences I've already noticed---and all of the yet-to-be realized benefits!

Todays featured before picture. Hurts for me to see this...

With Courtney, my youngest...recent.


  1. I love that your approach to weight loss is so simple. Well, the IDEA and THEORY behind the weight loss is so simple: keep a "calorie bank" and just try to make the smartest food decisions that you can, in every-day situations. However, I know that willpower is an entirely different element in the weight-loss "game." Not everyone is as dedicated, clear-sighted, and strong as you. I think that's why so many people admire you: not so much for the easy weight loss theory so much as your capacity to keep going even when obstacles are put in your way. Keep it up! You rock.

  2. Second Life can be extremely addictive to some folks -- there's an ability there to be whoever you want to be, look however you want to look, that can really suck some people in at the expense of their actual flesh-and-blood lives. It's enjoyable, certainly; but like anything, it's all about balance.

    Just one more glass of water and I'm clear for the day -- Monday through Thursday I hit 64 ounces minimum each day and I'll hit that again today for sure. Now the real trick is the weekend, which is almost upon me. Gulp!! This is where I historically have dropped the ball...

  3. Okay, first...I just want to say that life's not fair. ;) I know you get ready fast, but fast enough to slowly cook breakfast while showering is just insane. I also know you smell good so it's not like you're taking any shortcuts..I'm just envious because it takes me, what? 10 times longer than you to get ready? Boys....

    Secondly, I love the new water photos! I'll be posting a few more on my blog in a few minutes too. :)

    Amanda - you can rock the weekend! Just remember what your goals are, and start early. You've got this.

    Lastly, I kind of want some guacamole and chips..maybe I'll have some soon too. :)

  4. Hey Sean, I been making better food choices because of PEWC

  5. I found your blog through that aol story and it's amazing how timely it was. I started a half azzed journey about a year ago and I have lost about 50 lbs. I relate to what you said about your choices getting better over time because I feel like I've evolved in to that same pattern. I prefer fruit as a snack now instead of the 100 calorie packs of sweets I used to choose. I haven't really gotten serious about exercise yet. I keep saying the dreaded "tomorrow" and there is always an excuse. I am kind of worried that with the heat being over 100 degrees here, I may pass out or something if I try to walk. I say I will go in the evenings after the sun begins to go down but that hasn't seemed to work out either. I always find some excuse.
    I enjoy reading about your journey! Thank you so much for sharing with the world. It's so inspirational!


  6. Remind me to ask you about the before photo when we talk later...I've been meaning to ask all afternoon then forgetting...just saying. <3

  7. I had a conversation with a lady in walmart two days ago...I gave her my blog address...she said how much she wanted to lose weight, to change. But I haven't heard from her. You can't give someone that spark. They have to want it.
    But never know when a seed you plant will sprout.

  8. "It was a big reminder to me that the spark, the thing that happens that makes you realize that this time it's different---that feeling you get when you're really ready---cannot come from anyone. You can be inspired all day long, but inspiration without action and a strong, internal-personal motivation to change, is absolutely useless in this pursuit."

    Sorry for quoting such a big chunk - but JUST BRILLIANT advice and SO needed. Jack Sh*t strangely said more or less the same thing in his most recent post! This must be an omen. I have to find my spark and I have to take this on board instead of 'playing at getting thin.'

    Thank you Sean for a great post about realism and dieting without deprivation - one I'll copy and keep, to remind myself that I CAN do this. *waves to Kelli*

  9. I found you on AOL and have joined the challenge! I washed out a half gallon milk jug. I nightly fill it 2/3 with water, fridge it, then slip cresent shaped ice through the opening filling it to the top while breakfast cooks. It sits on the counter or follows me around the house all day, empty by 6pm. I even googled Joseph's and ordered the pitas. They arrived yesterday, hot and steamy from a day on the UPS could smell their goodness through the box! They are DELISH, and like no other pita I've had! I found egg whites by the pint and quart at the grocery store; I'd rather pay a little extra than have the guilt and goo of throwing out the yolk. So, three solid days "on", and just as many good solid changes for the better. I feel fantastic, and just wanted to say "thanks" to you and your entire family of success stories for the gift of encouragement. I read you daily now for that injection. Congrats one and all on your success!

  10. Congratulations. You are literally half and figuatively twice the man you used to be. Keep up the good work.

  11. I love the simplicity of your plan. After years of low carb or low fat diets I ended up weighing more than ever. I appreciate your honesty. It has inspired me.

  12. Your stream? OMG I cannot even believe you just said that, lol....good grief Sean. :)

  13. I want guac and chips now:)


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