Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 676 Thirteen Pounds To Goal and An Email Exchange With A Friend

Day 676

Thirteen Pounds To Goal and An Email Exchange With A Friend

I absolutely let yesterday's schedule throw me off a little. I should never be so busy/exhausted that I miss my bi-weekly weigh-in. But I did, and really--it's not that big of a deal, so I'll refrain from beating myself up. I made my way into the doctors office today, fully expecting four or five pounds lost. I know that might seem like a little too much, but honestly, I feel it in the way my clothing fits. The pants I started wearing for the play "Wanda's Visit" have been replaced with some a little more snug fitting. I can tell you exactly where the last chunk of weight came from, not only because of my clothes, but I can actually see the difference in the size of my hips.

I walked into the doctors office and was immediately greeted by one of the nurses. He remembers me from my heaviest days. He remembers very well. He smiled and told me that he runs into people all the time who mention my weight loss, and it kills him that he's not legally able to tell them more of the story, because of confidentiality laws...but he does smile big inside, knowing that he has intimate knowledge of 505 pound Sean. Boy, does he ever...I had some very embarrassing moments in this office...all from complications of my morbid obesity.

I approached the scale with confidence today. My workout schedule of late has been horrible, I've let it get that that was the only worry I had. Still, I could just feel and see the loss this time, so I was confident regardless. I love it at this point! Every pound can make such a big difference. I stepped on the scale and found 243! It was good for a three pound loss, and now we're only 13 pounds to goal! It was simply amazing! Sure, I was predicting four or five, but really---I couldn't be happier right now. I can clearly see 230 on the very near horizon, it will not be long...and that weigh-in will be something very, very special.

When I reach that point, when we're super close---my weigh days will be spent traveling to Stillwater, just like in the beginning, so I can weigh on the scales where it all started. Those are the scales (at the Payne County Health Department) where I always started on the countless weight loss attempts in my past. I imagine it will be a weigh-in filled with a range of emotions. I get excited just writing about it---so excited!

I treated myself to a 150 calorie serving of guacamole and chips this afternoon, after a most unusual lunch. I've never been big on frozen meals, never---and I can count on one hand how many I've consumed in the last 676 days. But today I tried something from the Weight Watchers line of "Smart Ones." The Shrimp Marinara checks in at 190 calories (3 points for WW members) and it looked so wonderfully delicious. Although I've always concerned myself exclusively with calories, I can't help but note the sodium in a frozen entree. This selection has 650mg, or 27% of the recommended daily allowance. I don't even know if that's good or bad. All I know is, the calories rock...and so did the dish! Wow, I honestly enjoyed this frozen meal. I prepared it in the oven instead of the microwave, because I think it makes it better---and I was impressed totally. At 190 calories, this absolutely qualifies as a "good calorie value." See the picture below...of course I emptied the tray into a nice bowl, in an effort to forget that I was eating a frozen meal. I have zero complaints--it was good. I probably will not make it a habit, but in a pinch--I could totally rock one of those from time to time.

I had an interesting e-mail exchange with a regular reader and someone I absolutely consider a friend. After receiving my weigh day mass e-mail, he replied with this:

If you can ever get around to responding to this one, I do have a question (you can include it to all of us in post, if it's easier). I am still focused on the long term goal and still show progress on a monthly basis. But you seem to show progress almost daily or at least weekly. Did you ever have times when you went for days or a week or two by going off your calorie bank? Again, congrats my friend.

I did reply to his e-mail with this:

Never. It's too important to just "go off." That's the pattern that kept me losing and gaining it all back for so many years. This time HAD TO BE DIFFERENT.
We have to evaluate our importance level along this road. It must be serious, life or death stuff---or else it's too easy to just "go off." The attitude of "Oh well---I'll do better tomorrow, or next week, or soon" is exactly the kind of excuses and rationalizations I write so much about....they're deadly.

My advice would be to take your focus off the long term goal and focus on each day---redefining your relationship with food...fully embracing the "nothing is off limits" philosophy, because it's that philosophy I credit with many of my breakthroughs along this road. It's eliminated any feelings of deprivation, I never feel like I'm cheating, and it's taught me to handle all foods in a responsible way---because I must stay within my calorie budget. And that calorie budget is giving me the training I need to someday, take off those training wheels and eat like a normal person, with normal portions---without counting anything...Just being me---a new relationship with food---that's what it's all about. I love food, I do---and I always will...and there's nothing I can't enjoy---But it will be enjoyed in a normal way, with a normal portion---do you see what I'm saying? There is no substitute for changing our behaviors with food. If this journey is a challenge every day---a struggle, where you're trying desperately to stay within your budget--focusing on the rewards of your transformation---while suppressing or avoiding the issues you have with food...then you're not in the proper frame of mind for the long term. Sounds harsh, but really---I'm just being honest. You don't want this to be temporary, you know that.

Understand that you can eat like a normal, responsible person...and food is your friend. It is! treat it that way. Control it---don't let it have so much power over you.

Putting food in its place is very important.

I wish you nothing but the best my friend...Sean

And he replied to that with this:

Thanks, Sean. I appreciate your honesty and wisdom, gained from your successes and hard work. I'll consider it carefully going forward.

I think what I have felt is that time like this past week for me, should allow some exceptions without feelings of failure. My family was away, except me and my 9-year-old. After a few days of healthy eating, he wanted things like waffles and some treats. He is super skinny and I thought it was a decent compromise. I guess I still think that I have room on this journey for a few pauses or stumbles. If it really is a fatal flaw, then I need to know. Is this what you are saying? Thanks, my friend, for your response whenever your time allows.

I decided to share this exchange and make this reply a part of the blog. Here we go:

My friend, when you said "After a few days of healthy eating," it showed me that you're still separating "healthy eating," or unnatural eating habits, from "whatever eating." It's all the same my friend. You're eating. And eating while living a normal healthy life isn't always perfect, and it shouldn't be perfect. The idea that we must eat only "healthy foods" to lose weight, completely by-passes the most important element of this transformation road, and that is, learning to eat anything and everything in a very normal, responsible fashion. Waffles are awesome! I love waffles too! "Treats" are absolutely necessary--I have treats all the time. But here's the difference:

If you have convinced yourself that these foods are forbidden for successful weight loss, and then you have them--you're making yourself feel unnecessarily defeated. You're over-complicating this process. You must be a very intelligent person. I say that, because I've discovered that really intelligent people are usually the first ones to over-complicate this entire philosophy. There can't be any "bad" foods, only bad quantity choices. And that's where your "calorie value" decisions come into play. Will I occasionally enjoy a waffle?--Sure, I could...but I would evaluate the calories--with butter and syrup, and then decide if it's worth it at that moment. Perhaps I would split a waffle if I found the calories a little too high.

I'm just saying--In my opinion, you mustn't separate "healthy eating" from "whatever eating," it's all just eating, period. As far as breaking the "Calorie Bank and Trust," I wanted consistent positive results, and that's exactly what I've enjoyed---and maintaining the integrity of my "Calorie Bank and Trust" is a huge part of that. When we start making the excuses and rationalizations that make us feel better about robbing that bank, that's the beginning of the end. That's when we start getting super inconsistent, that's when we gain weight back. At least it always was for me.

You understand, I hope, that my advice comes from years and years of trial and error. I've analyzed my past failures to determine the how and why they went wrong. And it always comes back to self-honesty. Because ultimately--that's what keeps us on the straight and narrow. When we start making excuses for ourselves and rationalizing bad choices---that's when we start telling ourselves the lies that keep us fat. We're the ones in charge of our choices, we're responsible, we have to decide our importance level.

Are we ready to really lose the weight once and for all---and this time make it forever? If the answer is yes, then stop complicating the process. Keep it incredibly simple. If your goal is to be a super healthy eater, great---you'll get there with a natural evolution of good choices. But remember--it must be natural, not forced. And what's natural is different for each of us. That's what I meant when I said "I eat what I like and nothing I don't." And even with that attitude--my choices have naturally and dramatically improved over the last 676 days---and now look where we are...thirteen pounds from goal.

How can this not be a constant struggle? Because we embrace a confidence that there isn't a food we can't enjoy at one time or another. We don't have to feel a sense of loss because "we can never eat that again," because we can and will eat that again. We can drop the resentment toward this process, that feeling of it all being unfair because we have to "watch it" constantly. We're learning how to handle food responsibly, and for me--it's the first time in my life. I'm eating like a normal person and not like an out of control 500 pound food addict. It's a new attitude toward food. It's a friendship, a peace with food that I've never known before now. It's a confident patience...and it all makes sense, unless you decide to over-complicate. Then it must be more difficult. And it can be, complicated or struggle free, either way--your choice.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

My incredible guacamole snack. I picked up the guacamole from a local Mexican restaurant.

190 calories...and very good! The Weight Watchers Smart Ones Shrimp Marinara

Huge before picture, on the streets of Guthrie for the centennial celebration--November 2007

Big difference.


  1. Sean,

    Are you trying to torture me with guac and chips and stuff that looks like spaghetti(shrimp marinara)lol? I am still thinking about joining weight watchers to lose my last 15 lbs just so you know:) And for your information, there will never be any better tasting guac than Enriques!

    Take Care and God Bless!

  2. Good advice, Sean. I thank you.

    Big Clyde

  3. Yea, good post sean.
    I have been fiddling with my; calorie bank and trust...allowing way too many 'maintenance days' when I am not at maintenance.
    I will be taking your iron curtian for the next 100 days in regards to my 1500 calorie limit.
    I will also be taking your calorie value ideas to heart.
    Thanks for all the inspiration.

  4. I am new to this site and I have really been inspired by not only your weight loss but your motivating words. I have so much to lose myself and I am starting to prepare for my own journey. Thank you.

  5. Oh Sean, thank you so much for yet another excellent post.

  6. Excellent post! Congrats on the 3 pound loss too! You are SO close to goal!

    I've tried the WW Smart Ones. I'll give that one a try. I like the Lean Cuisine Spa Cuisine selections. All under 300 calories. Give them a "look-see".

    Good choices
    Jodi :)

  7. Congrats, Sean, on your loss and getting closer to that goal! Great advice to the person who e-mailed you. I am going to print it out for my "Health Notebook."

    The sodium in those little frozen thingies is too much for me, but I do occasionally have one, just because they are so tasty and so easy. So I just try to drink the water to wash it on through. Oh, and the water? I believe you know all about that by now.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. I am new to your blog and I find myself turning to it frequently. After losing 85 lbs, I reverted to old behaviors under stress -- after thinking it would never happen. So I'm putting together a new blog to track my return to healthy eating and the joy that brings. Your daily honesty is inspiring. You look terrific.

    Returning to the joyful journey.

    Virginia in Connecticut

  9. Sean:
    Wow, not sure how I happened upon your blog, but what an amazing thing you've done for yourself and your daughters.
    You were handsome then, but now you're "movie star" gorgeous!

    Love and Light,

  10. 13 lbs from goal??? Holy moly...that is so awesome!!

    Your blog is one of the most honest and informative I've ever read.

    I know I overthink this whole weight loss thing. I lost 160lbs 2 years ago. I have regained half. UGH!!! I know I can't lose it the way I did last time....duh...obviously you can't drink a protein shake everyday for breakfast....blah blah blah.

    Anyhow...sorry to gab too much in your comment section...

    Thank you for sharing your common sense approach to what seems like an impossible task....keeping it off and learning how to eat.

  11. Yay! Thanks, Sean. Just like going to church and you grin because it feels like your minister is speaking TO you? This is the same. It's uncanny. Today is going to be another great day - with good choices - simple ones, really, because I can see where it gets me! It's gotten you to 13 from goal. Amazing. Kudos, hugs and cheers... (and many thanks)


  12. It's like you were talking straight to ME. Yeah, I look out to the long term..I see me at goal..sometime, down the road. I spend TOO MUCH focus on "long term" and not enough on "today". Thanks for this post!

  13. First of all...13 pounds to goal is just phenomenal. There's just no word to describe how awesome this is.

    And I agree with you about not falling back into old habits for weeks at a time. Foods should not/cannot be separated into categories that change when "dieting" and not "dieting." I despise that word because it breeds failure. Instead, I feel the way you do..nothing is off limits. I control the food that I put in my mouth.

    That being said..there have been days on my own journey in which I've eaten more than I should have. But I think the key to my success so far has been to look at myself in the mirror, reminding myself that I will not let that turn into two days.

    This journey is not about perfection or failure. It's moving forward even with our imperfections...period. I hope that the person who sent the e-mail will understand that because I believe it will make him successful in the short term as well as long term. :)

  14. I won a little award and wanted to pass it on to you because I really love your blog, and in a way, my success is your success.

    The award is:

    The 3 rules for it are
    1) thank the person that gave it to you
    2) describe in 10 words your blogging philosophy, motivation, experience, etc..
    3) Pass it on to 10 blogs you love

    I know these things can be a little bothersome to do, so if you don't want to display it or pass it on, no hard feelings... just wanted you to know you were in my top 10, and whether you do it or not, you deserve it.


  15. Still reading, up to July 19, 2009 but am also reading the current entries at the same time. 13 lbs to goal is amazing! I can't even imagine such a thing. But I'm still making good choices every day and had a 4 lb loss this week. Thank you for the blog, Sean. You really help keep me encouraged and motivated!

  16. Hi don't know me as I've never posted a comment before but I did email you to get my name on the list to the side but I think because I hadn't registered on your site it might not have worked. Anyway I've been reading your blog from the beginning and you have (as I know you have been told thousands of times before) been a huge inspiration to me. I have a minimum of 65 lbs to lose and I'm going into my third week of eating 1200 calories/day. I'm very impressed with what I've learned about myself with reading your blog. Thank you for sharing such personal details of your life with us. I'm only on day 71 of your blog but it's what helps get me through each day. I also wanted to mention that those WW frozen meals are good but don't do what I did. I was eating them regularly along with drinking V8 juice and the sodium was over the top as went my Blood pressure. Took 3 weeks of meds and low sodium diet to get my blood pressure back to normal.

  17. Sean, great post! I am only on day 7 but have come to realize, thanks to your blog, that eating is JUST THAT, eating. I never ever thought of it like that until I read your blog. Keep on trucking and I can't wait to see that post when goal is hit!!

  18. Sean,

    I love to read your blog not only because you are so successful in your weight loss but also because you strike me as a truly loving, caring person. Continue to spread the love.

    As far as the sodium in the WW meal goes, personally, it's way, way too high for me. There's certainly nothing wrong in eating a meal like that from time to time, but I would consider it a "bad food" choice for eating on a regular basis, just because of the sodium. Unfortunately, too much salt is often added into processed, lo-cal foods in order to make them more flavourful.

  19. Wow - nice tux. I have to say you've done an amazing job and a big congratulations on your success. You look positively hot in that suit. I'm happy for you!

  20. PS...the only thing about this post that bothered me was the sodium content in your frozen dinner. But I will say, I NEVER add any salt to my food. It's kind of like sugar...I never miss either one.

  21. Hi Sean,
    I am so thankful that I found your blog through the AOL story. You and Kenz have inspired me so much over these past two weeks. I've joined the water challenge and have been doing great with that. Kenz challenged me to start a blog and I've done that as well. It's all so exciting.
    I can only imagine how happy and excited you are to be almost at your goal weight. Your and Kenz's blogs are required reading for me each day. So I, too, am looking forward to the day I read that you've done it!
    I rely on frozen meals quite a lot during the school year. I am a teacher and it's so easy to just toss one in a bag for lunch. One of my favorites is tortilla encrusted fish. I forget who makes it (the box is green and white) and calorie count, but it is sooo good. It has a good serving of fish and some rice on the side.
    Take care. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  22. wao look what i found>>>>>>>>> a crown jewel in the history of weigh loss.


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