Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 734-737 Sailing Into Positive Reflection and The Stressful Triggers of Day 8--The Two Year-Old Excerpt

Day 734-737

Sailing Into Positive Reflection and The Stressful Triggers of Day 8--The Two-Year Old Excerpt

I grabbed a laptop Sunday evening and headed for a peaceful place to clear my mind. I'm lucky that there are several wonderful locations around here that would qualify. I stopped at Subway and grabbed a six inch Black Forest ham on Italian with half the cheese they normally use, loads of veggies, the "thinnest strip of light mayo you've ever put on a sandwich," (that's what I tell them every time), and salt and pepper, not a bad dinner for 350! I didn't need chips and a drink, I packed a banana and some water. I was set. I decided to call a friend who has a private dock at Lake Ponca and request permission to use the setting for an evening of reflection and writing.

I arrived and just sat there, staring at the water, listening to nature and thinking about what an incredible two years it's been. I finally decided on a little mood music, so I put on the iPod and turned up the soothing sound of Christopher Cross's "Sailing." When I want to get reflective, that song just stirs me deep. It's beautiful...just like the last two years. It hasn't been perfect and we've certainly experienced life changing non-weight related issues, but really--this journey out of morbid obesity has been, for the most part, a thing of beauty. The water out there was so calm and it was so quiet, not a soul around me, it just opens me up in so many ways. I look forward to spending more time like Sunday evening...it was so perfect.

I normally go back a year into the archives everyday. Since I've broken away from daily posting (which isn't easy by the way), I just go back and skim through several days from a year ago. It's a reminder of where I've been and sometimes it reminds me of the very fundamentals that have made this time the last time. Today I realized that I don't have to limit myself to just a year, i can go back two years!! So that's what I've done today. Going back two years takes us all the way back to Day 8, when everyday was a fight to stay focused. I was constantly reminding myself of my motivating thoughts and activating that "steel curtain zone," although I hadn't given the SCZ a name at that point in time:

Staying focused is sometimes a very difficult thing to do. Most of us know what our triggers are. Triggers are situations and circumstances that put us at our weakest point in terms of staying on track. My trigger is stress. Any and all stress. Job stress, financial stress, family stress. It all adds up to a big mess of stress. And I'm sure you've heard people say...”I'm an emotional eater”...aren't most of us? I'm not just an emotional eater, I'm also a celebratory eater and a spur of the moment craving eater, I'm a “ah, the heck with it, give me the double decker with extra cheese and bacon” eater. Identifying your triggers is important. What makes me feel the urge to eat a couple thousand calories in double cheeseburgers and ice cream? Stress. I identified this trigger several years ago. And for the longest time I've used that as an excuse not to get busy with this mission. “I'm just too stressed out to get started right now”...Or, after a successful couple of days, totally going nuts on a half gallon of tin roof sundae, then thinking...”I can't do this right now because things are just too stressful. So recently I had to ask myself: If I'm waiting to have a stress free life before I start losing this weight, will I ever start?

The answer was no. We all have stress in some form. Stress is part of daily life for most people. Stress can be so many different things. So I realized that if I were waiting for my world to be completely perfect and stress free, then I would never, ever, ever start this. We have to adjust our strategy in the face of our triggers. We have to stop long enough to ask ourselves, will eating this really improve my situation? What can I do besides over-eat that will help me deal with this issue? I've turned to food for comfort for so long, that I know how incredibly difficult this can be. My smart and beautiful wife mentioned taking one day at a time in a comment she left on yesterdays blog, and you know what? She's so right. One day at a time I deal with cravings, one day at a time I deal with triggers, one day at a time I succeed. Eventually all of those “one day at a times” will add up to an amazing result.

It certainly has added up to results I could have never imagined on Day 8. And where I'm now headed is beyond my wildest dreams. When I originally wrote that Day 8 post, I hadn't arrived at certain key points of understanding. The epiphanies about the imperative role of self-honesty, self-responsibility, letting go of the blame, and letting go of all the excuses and rationalizations--was still a ways away, not too far, but...I was discovering these things naturally through practice, and the mind blowing and extremely comforting epiphanies about these, were like bulldozers clearing a path ahead of me.

The radio station I work for moved its studios into the historic Poncan Theatre. My first morning in the new place was Monday. KLOR and KPNC are within a few feet of each other in twin studios, and everything is the latest and greatest. It's a playground of technological wonders! As in, I'm wondering if I'll ever know how to work it all or know exactly what all of the displays mean. I think maybe if I had a pilot's license, I could understand all of the displays a little better. It's beautiful!

To celebrate the new studios, the morning guy at KLOR and I, will be wearing tuxedos everyday this week. Wednesday morning I decided to ride my bike to the studios, in the tuxedo. It's only a five mile round-trip bike ride, but in the tuxedo it felt much longer. While riding to work in the peaceful 5am hour, I thought about how at my heaviest, these two things seemed like activities I would never do in my life, ever. Ride a bike and wear a tux---two things that don't happen often, or at all when you're in excess of 500 pounds...and here I was, doing them both at the same time. I rode with a triumphant spirit! I actually had three offers to give me and my bike a ride back home, but I couldn't accept those offers. I said I would ride to work, now I must ride back---and so I did, the back roads all the way to my apartment. Several people did double takes at the sight of a man in a full tuxedo riding a bicycle. It was great exercise on my single speed classic beach cruiser. I miss the gears of my old bike, but I still absolutely love riding this cruiser...it's classic.

One of the benefits of the studio move is we now have a full kitchen. You know what that means, right? Pita pizza lunch time at Team Radio! I love making them and have for me and a couple of my colleagues everyday this week. They've looked at the pita pizza pictures on this blog for so long, and now they know what all the fuss is about. With a Joseph's 60 calorie pita, some mushrooms, pizza sauce, and a pre-portioned slice of mozzarella, you can have a personal pita pizza for under 140 calories...and with a calorie value like that, why not have two for lunch? I opted for one and a banana today. I also snacked my way to approximately 150 calories worth of a salty snack mix. Those little bite sized hand-fulls add up, and I grabbed a few throughout the day...little pretzels and Chex looking cereal pieces. Tomorrow I'm taking lemon marinated apple slices and bananas.

I've been eating at home nearly every night (except for the Subway sandwich at the lake) and staying comfortably within my calorie range. I recently decided that I need to raise it up to 1800 per day, but since saying that, I've still been doing the 1500. I honestly think I would be doing my metabolism a favor by bumping it up. I'm not an expert of any kind, but I'm pretty sure that my body is VERY accustomed to what I'm doing. The pound a week weight loss, although steady and nice, is very revealing. I honestly believe that given my current weight and calorie budget, plus my workouts--I should be dropping a little more. But whatever...I mean that in a good way. I may not be at goal officially, but I feel like I'm already there everyday. I feel good, very good. And when I wash and dry my size 36 100% cotton jeans and they still fit comfortably, well--that's all the proof I need to know that things are going wonderfully around here.

I just received my cholesterol numbers in the mail from the test results of my latest blood donation. Drum roll please....152! It's cool, because not only are the numbers good, but beside each line on the report it says "normal." After being abnormal for so long, "normal" feels really good!

I plan on doing an organized 5K this Saturday morning for Autism Speaks. It's called "Carter's Run," and then the following Saturday, I'll be doing another organized 5K with the Ponca City YMCA on the grounds of the brand new Y facility. I can't wait for this new YMCA to open, oh my---it's going to be absolutely incredible!

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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My hair is shorter, making for a big "lost" before picture that looks a little different. We were at a big buffet style restaurant in Stillwater. My late grandpa and late Uncle Gayle Hadley are pictured in this one.

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This is what I'm talking about...peaceful, mind clearing beauty...

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In the production studio upstairs from the on-air studio...The whole place is amazing!!

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Dinner the other night. Smoked chicken...and yes, that's 60 calories worth of sour cream on the baked potato...I stay away from the butter, simply because it's such a horrible calorie value---just give me a little sour cream with salt and pepper and my potato is good!! The French style green beans have 35 calories worth of pepper jack cheese melted into them and mixed up real good...Incredible dinner for under 450 calories.

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Nice low calorie breakfast! A one egg white and one whole egg and mushroom on a pita breakfast, folded over like a big taco....can you believe, only 150 calories total? Yep, it's true!

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Wednesday evening meal. I grilled a small chicken breast---sliced it up and put it on a Joseph's Pita...topped with 50 calories of mozzarella and 35 calories of pepper jack underneath, then baked it at 375 for 7 or 8 minutes. It was a chicken and cheese fajita with a decent serving of fresh guacamole and chips. With 150 calories of guac, 140 calories of chips, and the 250 for the fajita---the entire plate was 540---filling and delicious, very good!

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Another low-cal breakfast creation, this one with mozzarella cheese...mmmm, that's good stuff right there!!

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In the new studio wearing the golden vested tuxedo...

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On the bike outside the window-front studios in Downtown Ponca City, Oklahoma...getting ready to ride it back home---tuxedo and all, in broad daylight. I took the back roads through neighborhoods until I reached the main street North to my apartment...It was a once in a lifetime experience...and two things that, at one time, I wasn't sure if I would ever do...ride a bike and wear a tuxedo. Doing them both at the same time was really cool to me.

18 comments:

  1. Dare I say that you look quite "dapper" on the bike in your tux? You need a top hat and cane and you'll be set!

    I have enjoyed scrolling through your blog this evening. Your story and amazing success has been very inspirational. I rarely follow a blog on the first visit but yours was an exception.

    Your daughters are gorgeous! Your pride comes through loud and clear.

    All the best to you!

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  2. Sean,

    First off, I want to say that "Never Be the Same" is the BEST song ever by Christopher Cross:) I owned the 8 track...how sad is that?

    I love Lake Ponca, or any lake for that matter. Don't get me wrong. But when I saw the picture you posted, on the lake with your Subway sandwhich, the sandwhich caught my eye. That was all she wrote, minus the top bun:)

    I entered the "Carter's Run" and thinking I shouldn't have. I may just donate the $25.00:) Autism is such a wonderful charity to donate to.

    Keep on keepin' on.

    Take Care and God Bless,

    Lisa

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  3. I love the picture of you on your bike. You look so happy. I love the fact that you aren't as self conscious as you were before. I rememberyou saying you thought everyone was staring at you and saying "why is that fat guy on a bike' even though you knew you weren't fat.
    Congratulations. do with your calories what you feel comfortable doing.

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  4. and u've started smiling too, whilst wearing shades ... great going Sean!!
    cheers!

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  5. Love where you found your moments of peace :)

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  6. I have a question Sean. I've been thinking about it for a couple of weeks, then you sort of bring it up today. First I'm really not sure how vigorously you exercise each week. Let's assume it is just what is a normal recommended amount, :30 mins or so 4 or 5 times a week.
    If you keep up 4 or 5 times a week, and you stay at 1500 cal/day for two more years. Do you suppose at some weight your body would just find its balance?

    Let's say you did this and in three months you were down to 215 then you continued on just living and working out as recommended and staying at 1500/day. Can you image your body just finding its place at 215 and staying there, healthy and stable? (or where ever your body stopped dropping)

    Or, do you think at some point your going to have to "quit" what you've been doing and change it so you stabilize at some place of your choosing (like 230)

    Will your mind choose where to stop, or will your body tell you where it wants to be at 1500/day?

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  7. I love the bike/tuxedo pic Sean!!! Awesome!

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  8. I love the image of you on your bike in a tux!

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  9. Sean: YOU are very inspiring. YOU have done something quite incredible. I don't know you and have never commented on a blog before but I've been reading and keeping up with you sharing your life with us, I feel like I know you. I love hearing how you are now reaping the rewards from all your hard work. You deserve it, my friend. Connie in California

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  10. I agree with Chris Collins. Years ago in a hospital weight loss program -- the kind where you fast and your body thinks you are starving and you gain it all back in about a minute after you go off of it -- I did get a course in the "math" of weight loss. The reason that the weight loss slows down is simple math. It takes
    fewer calories to maintain weight -- so the lower you go, the more you have to exercise, or the more you have to reduce your calories. So just take your current weight and multiply it by 11 -- that's your maintenance number -- if you stay below that number, you will loss a pound when you accumulate 3500 calories of deficit. So
    currently you are losing a steady 1 lb a week which is fabulously healthy. If you stay at 1500 calories (which is my magic number) and stop losing, then you have to increase the exercise to create the deficit. Those math-facts are why
    people have so much trouble with the last few pounds. And the idea of finding your level makes sense to me -- staying on 1500 and doing what you are doing will eventually lead to a level
    which at which you won't lose more until you exercise more or drop your calorie allowance. It's nothing more than that.

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  11. You look so handsome in your tuxedo! I've been enjoying reading your blog -- so much inspiration and words of wisdom and experience. Thanks for the food pics, too. Gives me some good ideas for new things to try.

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  12. Chris,

    That was deep. I would imagine anyone would continue losing, as long as they are burning off more than they are taking in, calories that is. When you reach your goal weight, and maintain it, your intake and output are on an even keel.

    Lisa

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  13. What awesome pictures.....I love the water, so that lake view is just perfect. The food looks great as usual....and how awesome of you to ride around town on your bike wearing a tux!! Awesome post babe...very cool. :)

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  14. I love the new pix! It is always so much more personal to see pictures of your befores and afters - and to see what you're eating. Thank you for sharing those! You have also contributed to my new love of guacamole. I have always been embarrassed that as a Greek, I didn't think I like avocado. I was wrong! Especially since I found Margaritaville guac - about 50 calories for 2 Tbls. That's a great calorie value!

    Thanks again for sharing. I'll get around to adding pix to my blog eventually. ;-)

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  15. HOT! I just noticed you grew the goatee back. Good move. :)

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  16. On my own non-weight-related quests, that whole attitude of "if you wait until your life is perfect, you'll never get started" has been tremendously helpful, and I've needed to hear it for different reason lately, so thanks for saying it.

    Also ... um, okay there's no way to say this that isn't blunt: if people were staring at you on the bike, I can guarantee they weren't staring because "there's a fat guy on a bike" nor because of the tuxedo. I grasp how much of a mental shift you have to make, but dude! You're hot, okay? Jeez. :-) You're a great-looking guy who's comfortable with public speaking and has an inspirational story to tell. You WILL be a millionaire at some point because of all this, you know that?

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  17. Loved this post. Congrats on your blood work. I've lost 82 pounds (so far) and a few months ago I took a blood test. EVERY aspect of my blood work fell into the normal range. This has not been the case in YEARS. Those of us on a weight loss path often focus on the external ("do these jeans make my butt look fat?") but there are other indicators, such as blood work, that are so much more important.

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  18. Love the tux pics and the lake picture. What a beautiful place to clear your mind! All your meals look good. Sean I had tho Joseph pita egg white omelettes 4 times this week. Weighed in this morning at 203 pounds lost!! I hope you enjoy your weekend!

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