Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 718-721 So Many Choices, NSV's, More Lost Before Pictures, and The Wrong Battle

Day 718-721

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...

Good Choices,
Sean

The newly discovered "Lost" before pictures:
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Some of these shots are painful to see---in excess of 500, every last one.

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Friday night meal---Oh, this pork tenderloin is amazing! 130 calories per four ounces!!!

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This is so wonderful to me. Being "X-less" here---so amazing to me.

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Feeling incredible---up in da club! Thank you Mr. Gecko for the ticket!!!

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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!!!!

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Give me a profile shot...

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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!

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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.

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Out of all of the wonderfully ridiculous choices available, I made this incredibly wonderful plate!

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The goatee is back!! Oh yeah...I'm really digging it!!!

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My egg white veggie omelet and hashbrowns with mom on Sunday morning.

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Mom and me at breakfast!

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Sunday night dinner with Amber---Her favorite. This was my plate: Using a half-bun--burger and baked fries with ketchup. It was delicious!

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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...

39 comments:

  1. glad you have won your battle with yourself! happiness is good isn't it?

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  2. great pics...man, when I was 262 I had a big ole melon head too.
    it's amazing how much fat can get packed on your head. Your after shots are great as usua.

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  3. Excellent post, Sean! I love the pics too - they really speak to the amazing jounrey that you have been on!

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  4. Mr Anderson you are Amazingly Gorgeous, you are looking sooooooooooooooo Good. Your girls are beautiful too and they now know they have their dad for a long long time now.

    Love and hugs to you and yours

    Sheilagh xxx

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  5. Your girls a gorgeous Sean look how differetn they look in their faces. I think your bond with them is fantastic, HAve a fantatsic Daddy in a girls life is so important.

    would love to know how you make a hash brown looks good.

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  6. Wow! What an AMAZING transformation Sean!You should be SO proud of yourself!:)It's like looking at a different person when the slim version of you suddenly pops up after the 'before' shots.

    I start today with a new determination. I took my eye off the ball at the weekend, knowingly, and I really do have to stop fighting battles. Yes, food has been 'my enemy' as you so clearly explain. Food isn't preventing my progress. I am. Thank you for a great start to my day! :)

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  7. Great post!

    Love this:

    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.

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  8. Sweet. Glad you're having fun and doing well. Keep up the good work!

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  9. Sean you look terrific! And I'm loving the goatee!

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  10. My daughter Pisa once got a fish-hook stuck in her lip, too. You just gotta snip that little thing with wire cutters and then it'll slip out...

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  11. Sean,

    I loved your entire post! Butttt, is that a cigarette in your hand? Say it ain't so?

    I loved all the pics! Esp your OSU ones...you are so dang handsome, and your girls are precious!

    I love to sing and have always wanted to do karaoke, I love the 2 song choices you selected. I do an awesome impersonation of John Anderson at every family reunion:) Straight Tequila Night is my favorite. So happy you feel confident enough to get up and do that!

    As sick as I have been through the night, all of your food pics look wonderful! I am actually getting hungry now.

    Take Care and God Bless!

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  12. The goattee looks great! I want to get to "normal." Lately it has been a struggle.

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  13. What a great tailgate profile photo, and such a contrast to the other two proflies in that same shot. I thought your comments on the "true" enemy were insightful (food is the ally). I suppose I can say that about the scale too. IT isn't the problem. :P Fantastic NSVs too, especially the NO-x shirt and the folding chair. Oh, I avoid those chairs like crazy ... for now.

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  14. I never tire of reading your insightful posts!!

    I thought when I lost my weight before (160 lbs) that I had done it by ditching the "diet" mentality. Now...having regained half....I realize I didn't.

    This time is going to be different. It has to be.

    Thank you for the continued inside look into the mental side of this battle....

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  15. You are such an inspiration and look amazing. Congrats on everything in that wonderfully epic post :)

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  16. Looking good, Sean. Those old pictures are sad, but you were still surrounded by family. I am sure you are much happier now.

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  17. Thanks for sharing the clarity of vision that has come to you. It is amazing that part of the journey is learning to become friends with ourselves, but SO true!

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  18. Love all your insight in this post. You have, and are going to, help so many people have a happier and healthier life. Love all the pics too!

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  19. Sean the tailgating pics were great...I can't wait to wear clothes with one letter...M...lol. I agree the gotee is the way to go. Your daughters look great...I know you are so proud of them. Keep up the good work.

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  20. Sean you are looking great! Glad you had a great day at the game and an awesome ending to your weekend with your girls.

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  21. The "wrong battle" mentality is really interesting. It wasn't about weight loss, but I ended up coming to a very similar conclusion about "magic pill" solutions in general. The reason "magic pills" fail is that, when you go looking for one, you aren't looking to SOLVE the problem. You're looking to AVOID solving the problem. And hey, what problem DOESN'T get worse when you try to avoid dealing with it?

    Magic pills fail because people use them to try to avoid doing the work. And avoiding work never got anyone anywhere.

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  22. I absolutely love your before shots when compared to your now shots, my housemate tends to hover around me when I update my blog as she likes seeing how I'm doing and she just came in and saw me looking at this post - she was in absolute shock that the person in those two pictures is the same person, and from the way you speak in your posts they may as well not be!

    I think the battle you speak about is an excellent point and in spite of the sites I read about weight loss, the diet attempts I've made in the past and the uncountable conversations I've had with people about losing weight, I've never ever heard that idea - as I was reading it alarm bells were going off in my head "THIS is the answer. He's cracked it" - Thanks so much for sharing, I hope I always remember that food is trying to be my friend!

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  23. Oh, side note - Once I'm nearing my goal I hope I've learnt enough to just naturally make the right decisions and eat healthily, but to motivate me in getting there I find it easier to use a diet I'm familiar with - On the diet I'm doing at the moment there's a lot of focus on eggs as you can eat as many as you like (which means a lot of omlettes generally) - thanks a lot of specifying in your post that you recently ate an "Egg WHITE Omlette" - I wondered why and googled the benefits and I'm shocked to see the unnecessary calories and cholesterol I've been pumping into my body - egg whites only now with immediate effect!

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  24. Sean!! You are so right about the battle being with ourselves! Back in 2000 I lost 104 pounds which I found really fast. But back then I made excuses. It was the food's fault. Nope it was all mine! I am proud to say that this time I completely held myself a countable and know it was all my doing. I eat now to live instead of living to eat. I make good choices and know that I have total control of my life. I used to make myself a victim when I was actually the culprit.

    Sean I really love the goatee! Very handsome. I apologize if there is writing below this. I'm posting from my iPhone and it wont let me scroll.
    May I tell you that I love the v

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  25. Two more things! Congrats on the L shirt. So proud of you. One other thing I wanted to share with you is the wrist thing. Someone said to me last week that I bad such a "tiny wrist". It took me awhile for me to absorb me and the word tiny in he same sentence!! LOL but each day is filled with new NSVs and amazements that this is really the new me. Wow.

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  26. I am learning to be a "Peacemaker" too. We can use all the allies we can get. Thanks for featuring new bloggers. I began my journey a few months back and wanted to follow someone starting their journey around the same point. I discovered Karyn here and she's been my motivator ... along with you, of course. I'll be looking for your next post. Like I said, he can use all the allies we can get.

    ~Sheilah

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  27. I'm learning how to be a "Peacemaker" within myself too. Like you said we need all the allies we can get. I'm new on this journey, starting a few month's back and my success has been slow but constant ... so, I'm good. I'm so happy that you feature new bloggers. I need someone to follow that is running along the same stride as I am. I found Karyn by your suggestion and she has been good motivation ... as well as you, of course. I'll be waiting on your next post because as we've said before, you can use all the allies you can get.

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  28. Sean, you are so awesome! Thank you so much for what you are doing! You are helping me and so many people! To look and see how far you have come is amazing! Nobody knows exactly how overweight people really feel! It's so nice to realize that we are not alone. If you can do it we all can! God bless you for doing this!

    Bernice

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  29. Oh crud Sean. Had to tell you two more things. Third times a charm. 1) Love the new pics. Your girls are beautiful. 2) forgot to tell you - I'm at 198 lost now! 2 pounds from 200 lost!! I have never felt better in my whole adult life. (we are the same age. Sorry posts have skips. Darn iPhone.

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  30. Those pics. . . WOW! What a great feeling to be able to look back and know that is no longer your reality :)

    Also-Your awesome food pics have inspired me to a different way eating!! For reals!! We used to have a lot of combo dinners like enchiladas or casseroles. After seeing your plates, it is SOOO much easier to just have some lean protein, whole grains (hopefully) and some veggies. So easy to count calories!! So thank you :)

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  31. I didn't consider myself to be a food addict at the beginning of my journey, but I did come to that realization over time. I still enjoy food, but I've learned to treat it as a friend rather than an enemy just as you said. And that has had a tremendous impact on my life.

    The goatee is amazing...you look great both ways, but excellent call bringing it back. You look so happy and so handsome...just saying.

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  32. You know what I see in your face Sean? Pure JOY! And THAT is priceless!

    Congrats on your NSV's. They make this journey so exciting. I'm not sure I would have had your strength to maneuver around the food choices you made this past weekend, but I certainly admire you're enthusiasm and determination to change your life. Thanks for a touching post.

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  33. Great post and photos Sean. I too saw the cigarette photo and it reminded me - how is the no smoking going??? or not???
    Keep up the weight loss inspiration
    Lisa in NZ

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  34. It is so fun reading about the continuing NSV's. I never tire of the before and after photos, either.

    The Return of the Goatee: thumbs up!
    Loretta
    =^..^=

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  35. Hi Sean,
    I have read your blog from start to finish severl times now. You are such an inspiration to me and so many others. I am a long way away in Melbourne, Australia, but would sooo love to give you a huge Aussie hug! You have such a beautiful family and they must be so grateful to have you happy and healthy. If you are ever looking for somewhere to stay in Oz please email me at Karen.Skinner@Southernhealth.org.au xo

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  36. Dear Sean,
    I have heard about your blog through other bloggers, especially Shane, but never dug into it until now. I went back from the beginning and have so far read only your first two months worth of posts (I am at the end of November 2008 now). I can not tell you how many of your posts resonated with me. You use your blog to describe many of the common aspects that we all encounter as we regain our health. I find your posts to be authentic and wise. I will continue to read all the past posts because you are inspiring until I read all. I love this section in the post you wrote above:
    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.

    Being friends with myself is one of the greatest self discoveries I have made so far.
    Michele at
    http://ruminationsasiuncoverthewomanwithin.blogspot.com/

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  37. Don't you ever get tired of looking at yourself? I guess all the compliments on your appearance are pretty addicting.

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  38. as for the anonymous comment above...don't be a hater. He's an inspiration and should be proud of himself. We love the pics! You must love them too or you wouldn't be looking.

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