So Many Choices, NSV's, More Lost Before Pictures, and The Wrong Battle
Friday was a busy day at work, it always is right before a three-day holiday weekend. But it was a good day and an even better night. I enjoyed an at-home prepared dinner that was amazing! Pork tenderloin, garlic/basil roasted red potatoes, asparagus, and tomato slices. The calorie value of the pork tenderloin was amazing! 130 calories for the 4 ounce portion...sign me up! My entire plate was under 400 calories, easy, and I was extremely satisfied! Amber came in Friday evening with her boyfriend KL and a new friend from school, Nicki. They had alternate dinner and entertainment plans, including staying the night with Irene. So, what did I do on a Friday night?
I dropped into a little place that does karaoke and I sang. Two songs. Country. Although my musical taste is extremely diverse, I was quick to pick these and this place is busy--you pick one or two, and that's probably all you're going to have time to perform. I did John Conlee's "Rose Colored Glasses" and John Anderson's "Straight Tequila Night." But honestly, it wasn't about the song selection at all. I wasn't singing these for reflection or to give insight into my personal thoughts. I was singing these because it was once again, an exercise in personal confidence. I would have never had the confidence at 505 pounds to stand anywhere and sing in public. The confidence I carry, although shaky sometimes--even now, is a product of my nearly 270 pound weight loss and something I enjoy experiencing in different situations. I sipped water with lemon, no ice--and waited my turn while I people watched. People are so interesting. And uh, I totally rocked those two songs.
Saturday was destined to be epic in so many ways. It was college football kick-off weekend and the plan called for it all to start by noon at a friends house in Ponca City. By 12:20 we were headed South--destination: Stillwater, OK and Boone Picken's Stadium, home of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. It's an event like this where I end up having one NSV (non-scale victory) after another. It actually started before I left my apartment.
I have two orange OSU emblazoned shirts and one white. One's a 2XL, one is an XL, and I have one that's simply an L. Guess which one I proudly wore to Stillwater? I was X-less. That's right, I tried on the size Large OSU/Team Radio polo pullover and loved it completely. The shirt fit my shoulders perfectly, it wasn't the least bit tight, it was perfectly wonderful. BUT--what about my crazy over-shirt hang-up that stems from being a kid and man with large man-boobs? Well, those are much smaller now. When I lay down, they completely go away---in fact, now--they're so small (my man chest fat), it hardly breaches my insecure zone---even with a pull-over shirt. That's exciting progress my friend! It's so true, the chest becomes smaller with weight loss, and I'll never complain about that, because these man-boobs have plagued my psyche since childhood...and now, at 38--I'm finally finding freedom. That's a pretty big deal to me.
The tailgate party was amazing. Good people, electric atmosphere, good food and drink, and fun. I enjoyed less than a serving of Tostitos chips with some homemade bean dip (very little) made with whole beans, salsa, and cheese. I brought a fresh peach and a banana too--and the tailgaters were grilling up sliders, little mini burgers--so I enjoyed a couple of mini patties, minus the bread and cheese. I was being kind of conservative, because I knew that the club level buffet lines were waiting for me at the top of the stadium---and I remember how impressed I was last year, I knew--this was going to be good. Talk about choices, oh my.
I often think about Old Sean, and how I would have handled the food in every situation...and I know that I would have been stuffed beyond misery with everything. The club level buffet lines are always full and ready---and everything except alcohol is included with your ticket. They have a hot dinner line, a "stadium favorites" line, an ice cream freezer full of king size ice cream novelties, and a salty snack and candy counter where whatever you want is available. Want a Snickers? How about two or three? Oh--and the cookies and brownies---this is an out of control food addict's dream come true. And it's confirmation of the solid foundation of good choices in a recovering food addict like me. Like wearing that size large shirt is further proof of my dramatic physical transformation, having this many choices and navigating it all with good choices and zero anxiety, that's proof positive of my new friendship with food. What I mean by "zero anxiety" is, I wasn't constantly wanting anything---I wasn't fighting. I was just being...normal. I had a great meal--see the picture below, oh my...it was incredible, and I was happy--perfectly happy, satisfied with my food selection all day--and absolutely proud and happy that I have this understanding of my food addiction and the mental dynamics of it all, from way back to right here today. I've come a very long way in this understanding.
After being the official post-game DD, I dropped everyone off at their hotel and headed to mom's house for a brief stay-over and some quality mother-son time the next morning. This food relationship understanding, the clarity involved--in analogy form, was one of the the topics of discussion with mom the next morning at breakfast. Over an egg-white veggie omelet with hashbrowns, we talked about the battles of weight loss--and more specifically, the enemy we're battling. Let me explain:
When I look back at my many failed weight loss attempts, I can clearly see a crucial error in my battle plan. This mistake was the reason for my yo-yo dieting. This mistake was why it was always a struggle every single day as I lost weight in the past. This flaw is one that is made by millions of others everyday along this road...it's the reason for the madness, it's the reason why we're conditioned to believe that weight loss is hard. What is it? Please read...
I was always fighting the wrong battle. I didn't know who or what was the real enemy. How can you effectively battle, if you haven't identified the real enemy? I made food my enemy, that was the battle. I was always determined to put the food in its place---I would try to defeat food at every turn. Food wasn't going to win. That was my battle. The perceived enemy: food. But while I was busy battling food, the real enemy would sneak in from the side and defeat me every time in a battle that I didn't even realize I should be fighting. The real enemy?: ME.
Food never wanted to fight me, food was my friend, my ally...but I was convinced otherwise. It was food that made me fat, right? NO. I made me fat by using and abusing my friend in food. But I could never admit that before. So the battle with my perceived enemy of food would continue...I'd make special list, set portion sizes, count those calories---resist temptation at every turn---battle it, fight with everything I had---but in the end I would always lose the fight. Why? How? It kind of sounds like what I've done this time...but wait...it wasn't and isn't the same.
What ended my past weight loss battles? It wasn't food. It was the real enemy: ME. Armed with excuses, rationalizations, and slinging blame wherever I could---the real enemy would show up on the scene and completely stop me in my tracks. Even if I had lost 115 pounds like I did in 2004---the real enemy would step in and take it all back, plus some...and it happened time and time again. And it happened because I was fighting the wrong enemy. I was waging war on an ally, whose only desire was to be my friend---nourish me, keep me healthy, provide my body what it needs to live. No wonder I failed so many times at losing weight! It wasn't until this time, when I discovered the power of self-honesty and 100% self-responsibility in my behaviors with food, that the real battle became clear.
And now I know the real enemy. But the goal isn't and never has been to pummel this enemy---the goal has always been to turn this enemy into an ally. It's about becoming friends with yourself---and that's what's happened over the course of this transformation road. I realized the enemy wasn't really food and that food was always my friend and I realized that although I had always been my own worst enemy, I had the power to call a truce---with a self-honesty/responsibility pact that would leave me good friends with this former enemy. Friends with food and friends with myself.
The needless battles are over...there's no peace in those battles. But here---oh my, there's all kinds of wonderful peace and freedom. Freedom to live, breathe, eat, and continue down this road without the frustrations that always plagued my past weight loss attempts. When someone asks "So, you worried about gaining all that weight back?" I smile and say "no, not at all." It might sound over-confident to them...but when you haven't an enemy to battle--the fight is over and all that's left is gentle understanding and warm peace.
I enjoyed a Sunday night/Monday visit with Amber---complete with her favorite meal: Home cooked burgers and fries! We spent time watching a good movie and visiting before turning in Sunday night.
Labor Day found me off work, but still getting up early. I was up shortly after 7am, and considering I normally get up around 4am through the week---I guess this was sleeping in late. I hit the trail for a good morning 5K, then I went shopping for some new shirts---and I also exchanged my 36/30 Levis for 36/32's. I made a Wal-Mart shopping trip too, before heading home and taking Amber to lunch...just the two of us. We had a bunch of catching up to do---oh my, did we ever. We talked about a variety of things. I'm so proud of how she handles herself, she's so smart and level headed...Just a really good kid all the way around. After lunch, we met Courtney at the store and I snapped a wonderful picture with my phone---and it immediately became my new wallpaper. I'm so blessed...and I couldn't be happier in so many ways.
And to think...it wasn't really that long ago that I was this 505 pound mess of a miserable man. Amber was digging through old computer files when she discovered a lost treasure file of "before" pictures. I couldn't believe my eyes...some of the most unflattering shots---but now some of the best before pictures. I LOVE them now...hated them back then...I'm so excited to post these pictures. I better get right to it...
Oh--by the way, I have a couple of new bloggers to feature, but I didn't want them to get lost in this epic post---so I'll include them in my next post. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
The newly discovered "Lost" before pictures:
Some of these shots are painful to see---in excess of 500, every last one.
Friday night meal---Oh, this pork tenderloin is amazing! 130 calories per four ounces!!!
This is so wonderful to me. Being "X-less" here---so amazing to me.
Feeling incredible---up in da club! Thank you Mr. Gecko for the ticket!!!
I'm actually sitting in one of those light-weight folding lawn chairs...the kind made of aluminum and nylon straps. The chairs that morbidly obese people just naturally avoid---It was a wonderful NSV...Not only did I sit there...I crossed my legs in that chair. Yes!!!!
Give me a profile shot...
After years of never wearing anything on my fat-puffy wrists---it feels so good to finally have the wrists to wear whatever I want---a watch, a bracelet, or a plastic bracelet like this---yeah, this is a fun one to wear--no doubt. Is it crazy to like my wrists so much? They can't get any smaller...This is it---their physical transformation is over. I love it!
With Pat O. Pat has lost an incredible amount of weight as well! Combined, we've shed over 400 pounds---and both of us have no doubt, prolonged our lives. Pat and I work for the same broadcasting group.
Out of all of the wonderfully ridiculous choices available, I made this incredibly wonderful plate!
The goatee is back!! Oh yeah...I'm really digging it!!!
My egg white veggie omelet and hashbrowns with mom on Sunday morning.
Mom and me at breakfast!
Sunday night dinner with Amber---Her favorite. This was my plate: Using a half-bun--burger and baked fries with ketchup. It was delicious!
My two beautiful daughters, Courtney and Amber...at the store Monday afternoon...This picture is my new wallpaper on my cell phone. Love it!!! Love them dearly...