Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 754-758 Busy Days, Different Focus, and Living In This New "Normal"

Day 754-758
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Busy Days, Different Focus, and Living In This New "Normal"

Life seems to be busier than I'd like it to be right now. My focus needs to be on writing, but it seems that I'm allowing myself to get consumed with a busy schedule. When I do find time to write, it's usually without much time to disconnect and wind down, leaving my mind on things that need to be shoved aside for reflection and clarity. With that said, I'm not complaining, I'm loving life completely, and when I do have a productive writing session, it feels amazing. I've had to do something lately that I've never been good at doing, and that's saying "no."

I've said "no" at least four times in the last week. And it's especially tough when the "no" is given to a really worthwhile cause or function. But right now, I must focus and keep a tight schedule. In a perfect world, I'd disappear for several weeks, then emerge with a manuscript complete...turn off everything, and just write about this journey. As wonderfully fluffy and romantic as it would be, life and responsibilities don't yield for my writing schedule. But really, when I think about it, that's the only way it should be--just as I've lost this weight in the middle of a regular life, full of stress and ups and downs, and work schedules, and sadness, and craziness, and every emotion--good and bad.

This has never been a retreat to a ranch somewhere with specialist and trainers, this is real life. And I take pride in that fact. So I guess I should naturally embrace the evolution of my wonderful new existence and projects, while navigating everything that life as I know it, requires of me. It's all wonderful, really. I never forget how blessed I am, to be where I am...this is incredible. It's a dream come true, this new man staring back at me in the mirror...so wonderfully different in so many ways, yet still the same in many others. I'm navigating this transformation the best way I know how---trying hard to understand that I can do it all, just not all at once.

I had to say no to an opportunity to repel off the side of a skyscraper in downtown Oklahoma City with Special Olympics. That would have made for an incredible experience, but the event was a two day commitment. I'm so deathly afraid of heights, I'm not sure I could have handled it really, without getting sick and panic stricken, but either way--it was a wonderful cause for Special Olympics Oklahoma and it would have been an amazing photo opportunity for me. My word, I must overcome my fear and do that sometime...or go hot air ballooning or skydiving, two things on my "when I lose this weight" list of things I want to do. Well, here we are, at a size without restrictions--but, oh yeah---I'm busy...but not busy forever. The day will come. All in good time, right?

I'm never done learning, I have much to learn, but my journey is very different now. Eating like a normal person and being a normal size, is becoming me--naturally. In other words, a bunch of the things I've written about, just come automatic to me now. So this blog is increasingly difficult to write...because I'm not constantly trying to right the ship anymore. That's the main reason I always suggest to people new to this blog, to go back and read from day 1. I get a bunch of feedback concerning the sporadic posting schedule of late, but you must understand--I posted everyday for twenty-two months straight---and it's all there, when and if you're ready to read. You don't get the full story or get to share in the life changing epiphanies I've experienced, unless you do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not quitting this blog at all...couldn't, wouldn't...but, I guess...I'm struggling with the changing schedule--and these sporadic post, well--honestly, I hate it. I'd rather write every single night, just like in the beginning. Everything from THAT DAY is so fresh and easy to write about, but there's no time for that kind of commitment anymore. That schedule has served its purpose very well, I'm a transformed person as a result of this blog and all of the choices that have brought me here. Just bare with me, please.

I go back into the archives everyday, now two years back...and I find some really fun stuff sometimes, like today's excerpt. I say "fun," but it's also very revealing of an out of control food addict, while showing how it can be overcome. Irene, my ex-wife (and just so you know, we get along wonderfully now, we're at peace with one another--it's a good place), remembers the following very well. From the middle of October 2008:

I've written in these blogs how I've never been a stereotypical 500 pound eater. I've never consumed unimaginable amounts of food in one sitting. But I have been an “impulse” eater. I was reminded of that today when paying for gas at a convenience store with a deli case full of fried everything. I'm immediately drawn to that deli case like a bee to a picnic area trash can. The egg rolls are better than any I've ever tasted at an actual Chinese restaurant. The burritos are crispy on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside, and the corn dogs were on sale two for a dollar! There is absolutely no way the old Sean could have gone in there without at least buying two corndogs for a dollar! That's just being a smart shopper...and an impulse eater.

Because it wouldn't have mattered that I just had dinner or was about to have dinner. If I wanted that taste, I was going to have it. It got so bad at one point that I would “sneak” eat. For example, I'd be leaving work, I'd call Irene and she would describe a wonderful meal that was almost ready. My plate would be waiting as soon as I arrived, and still on the way home I would “sneak” eat a bean burrito...or a bag of chips...or a couple of egg rolls. Irene would ask me questions like, “so, what have you had to eat today?” And I would do my best to lie to her, but after you've been together nearly two decades, it gets really hard to get away with a lie. She knows all my tells. She's also a great detective.

An example of her expert work---Irene: “So, what have you had to eat today?” Me: “Uh, nothing I'm starving.” Irene: “Really, are you sure about that?” Me: “Of course I'm sure, don't you think I would remember what I put in my own mouth?” Irene: “I see the crumbs on your shirt Sean.” Me: “What crumbs?” Irene: “The convenience store deli burrito crumbs, come over here and kiss me.” Me: “But, why are you...” (we kiss) Irene: “So, you had an eggroll too?” Me: “What are you...” Irene: “I can smell it on your breath.” Me: “You got me, I give up, you figured me out.”

Or, she would find the bag in the car and within seconds of inspection, she could tell me how old it was. Irene: “So, when did you have Braums?” Me: “uh, like, I don't know, maybe a week or two ago.” Irene: “that's the story you wanna go with?” Me: “It's been a while, OK, just drop it!” Irene: “If it's been a while, why are the crumbs still soft and the tomato is still moist?” Me: “OK, OK, OK...I had that this afternoon.” Irene: “After we had lunch together?” Me: “yes.”

So as you can see, it's not necessarily gigantic portions in one sitting that has made me this big, it's impulse eating throughout the day and into the night. Let's call it “over nibbling”, Ok---Let's call it what it is: Food addiction. There, I admitted it! They always say that admitting the problem is the first step to recovery right? I'm a food addict pure and simple. I very rarely eat because I'm hungry, I eat because I want it! You can tell that over the years I've become well acquainted with me and my dysfunctional eating habits. I've dug deep to understand my bad habits, but even armed with this information, knowing how I am, and the negative effects of my behavior, I'd still do it. I'd probably have to undergo professional psychiatry to go deeper into understanding why I developed these eating patterns, but I've gone deep enough on my own to identify them, and I think getting any deeper would just reveal “excuses”.

I'm finished with excuses. I'm changing my deadly habits now. And it feels good! Every time I easily click that seatbelt, I'm reminded of my success so far. Remember me talking about the “results snowball effect”. It's very true. Positive results are a powerful motivator to continue doing the right things. And the more right things I do, the more results I get, the more motivated I get.

I spent the majority of my writing time over the weekend, staring blankly at the computer screen, at a loss for words. And that's too bad, because starting with Sunday evening--my schedule was mapped out for the next several days. I had a very nice dinner out with Courtney, my youngest, and her boyfriend Brad on Sunday, before heading to the campus of NOC for rehearsal of an event that was scheduled for Monday night.

The event was something I agreed to do a while back and I must say, I'm glad I did. It was an evening of Broadway with ReAct, Regional Actors Community Theater. The entire event served as a fundraiser for the music theater scholarship fund at NOC. I'm so impressed with the amazing talent we have around here...wow, it's really incredible. The event was an opportunity to work with Eddie Dixon, a music professor, and fellow weight loss champion. Eddie has lost 165 pounds and kept it off for several years now. In talking with Eddie, we share many of the same weight loss philosophies. We've both lost the weight naturally and he really understands my excitement over being a normal size. He's been there too, he knows.

Tuesday was a full day at the studio and a full night at the Marland Mansion for an annual event hosted by Team Radio. As the KPNC morning personality, I was at this event called "Ladies Night Out," greeting the ladies as they made their way into the mansion for a night of free wine, food, shopping, and registering for thousands of dollars in prizes. I've been required to attend this event every year for the last five years. I was over 500 pounds at the first two, and over the course of the last three events, dropped the weight. The "wow" reactions were numerous last year at this event, but this year---oh my, it was over the top. The compliments came fast and often all night long, everywhere I was, here came another...and it was so much fun!!! Listen, after being as big as I was for as long as I was...it feels amazing to no longer feel like I'm the least attractive person at an event like this...I'll stay perfectly grounded, but wow--my self-esteem and confidence was boosted all night. Thank you to everyone that contributed to this indulgence. I enjoyed the tuxedo and the attention, who wouldn't?--and coming from where I do, I refuse to feel bad about that enjoyment.

Wednesday was another full workday followed by a four hour broadcast from a casino. My day started before 4:30am and ended around 7:30, with a wonderful baked cod dinner. The cod is new to my lineup of choices...Talapia isn't...I believe I have a picture of a recent talapia dinner I prepared. I was so tired and hungry Wednesday night, I was half-way finished with my baked cod meal before I realized tat I hadn't snapped a picture. Oh well...that's cool. Normal people don't take a picture of everything, right? Trust me, it was an amazing dinner.

Thursday morning started with 1/2 a Joseph's Lavash bread wrapped around three egg-whites, fresh mushrooms, mozzarella, and a small talapia filet. I know!! Fish for breakfast??? Yes, yes, YES!! It was amazing, and only 210 calories for the entire thing! I loved it--and along with my lemon marinated apple slices and a banana, plus coffee--I was set for a good day. I left the studio early today, headed for Stillwater--to weigh-in and write this blog post, and...shhhh...Uh, surprise mom with a visit!!! She doesn't know I'm coming!! I'm not sure what to expect at weigh-in. Given my weight loss in the last few months, I seriously doubt I've dropped five pounds, hitting 230 today. But one thing is for sure...it will happen, if not today...next time. And I'd really love to have Irene and my daughters there for that one...and I don't even mind if they all bring their boyfriends...I just want them there. If it happens today, and I guess it could---I may have to rally the staff at the health department. They should at least be warned about the potential craziness that would come directly from the scale, should I see 230 today.

OK--I must wrap--Thank you so much for reading and following my progress and life. There are wonderful things on the horizon...not sure it's even imaginable at this point---but it will be, incredible. I hope you'll facebook friend request me and also, I'm trying to get back in the Tweeting habit. You can find me on facebook by searching it using my email seanboy105@hotmail.com On Twitter, I'm @SeanAAnderson --The middle "A" stands for Allen, my middle name.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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A recent breakfast---a nice big low cal veggie omelet, this one with chicken--if I remember right.

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A recent dinner...I love my meat and potatoes!! And tomatoes, love them too!

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With Eddie Dixon...He's lost 165 pounds! And even better, he's kept it off for five years!

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Talapia, baked crinkle cut fries, and French cut green beans...Oh my, delicious---all of it!!!

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Big "before" picture...With Irene and Amber

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Professional picture--courtesy of Cope Photography...at Ladies Night. The pink tie was in honor of breast cancer awareness month...Dave May from KLOR, and I both proudly put on the pink!

18 comments:

  1. I was wondering where you were. Glad to see a post from you. The picture of you in a tux with the pink tie is awesome. I will send you a facebook friend request. You have come so far and you give us beginners hope.

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  2. It really is okay for you to stop apologizing for blogging less often. Your archive is a treasure trove of updates, experiences and lessons all ready and waiting for those of us willing to do that small effort of reading them!
    I am so glad you enjoying the positive attention! You always were nice looking. It is great that you might be able to see it, too.
    Rawbel

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  3. great job sean. It's weird trying to settle into what your new normal is.
    I am trying to figure out what to do as well. It is bizarre.
    can't write it all here now, think I will post on this later.

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  4. "They always say that admitting the problem is the first step to recovery right?"

    You are as only as sick as your secrets. It is hard to admit when you have any addiction, but I just bet you we all have something we do too much of:)

    I was cracking up at Irene catching you "sneak" eating! She is hilarious!

    I loved every one of your pictures, as always. Can't wait to see if you hit 230 today. Of course I will be happy you reached your goal finally, but will be happier you won't lose anymore..haha!

    Love ya Sean,

    Take Care and God Bless friend!

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  5. Dear Sean,

    I stumbled onto your blog about a month ago and had written a comment on one of your previous posts = )

    You sound to be a very sweet and caring person. I am glad to have gone back and read your older posts. It's great to see you have accomplished such an amazing feat!!!! I love to look at your before and after pictures. You are incredibly handsome! I don't even know you, but I am thrilled for you and your new life.

    May God grant you much health and happiness.

    xoxo,

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  6. oh and how did I miss wishing you well at weigh in...goofy me.
    Good luck..

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  7. Sean, I just listened to your interview on Joy 102.5. It was so nice to hear your voice. No wonder you're in radio, what a nice calming voice you have! I wish I could hear you on my radio in the mornings. The responses in the interview are very powerful.

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  8. oh wow.. you were in ReAct? A friend I went to school with was in that too!-- Shannon Brooke Bradford. Cool!

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  9. Sean.....hope you don't mind but getting a chuckle out of your corn dog and egg roll story there kept my mind occupied while running this morning. Awesome story! What a change! I can so related! Eating fast food breakfast and lunch (probably 1500+ cals a piece) and then grabbing "a little something" on the way home....a DQ Blizzard (750 cals) or a Sonic slush (600 cals)...maybe a candy bar and a small bag of chips (you know 2-3 servings only). Its amazing how easy it was to keep my calorie count so high! God bless you as you continue to figure this next phase of the journey!

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  10. Hey. Good job on the saying "No".

    My suggestion regarding your changing life as it relates to this blog is to change it. In the beginning it was a tool for you to stay focussed. You need to figure out what sort of tool you need it to be now...if you even need it at all.

    I know from previous experience, I wrote my blog every single day during my significant weight loss....and there came a moment when I realized that, just like the weight, I had to shed the blog. It was keeping me back from living the life I had worked so hard to achieve. It was, in a way, linking me, every day, to a past that I was no longer living in.

    I'm not saying that you should give up your website...but if you are consistently trying to cram a square peg in a round hole, perhaps it's time to rethink the activity?

    It's alright. It's OK to have grown beyond needing to talk and write and think about the food and the choices and the epiphanies all the time. That was the point, was it not? It's alright to just live your normal life. That's what you did this all for.

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  11. My mom is a cancer survivor, a breast cancer survivor.

    Good for Eddie, he is more healthy now without the extra pounds.

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  12. "You are as only as sick as your secrets."

    Wow. This is an AMAZINGLY wise comment.

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  13. Sean, you look fabulous in that tux. Enjoy living your new normal!! When I was 200+ pounds heavier, I would just stay home and mope and now I'm going out and doing things. I want to do things on my bucket list. I want to live and not watch life pass me by. I wasted so many of my 38 years.

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  14. Sean, every time I come to your site, I never stop smiling. You're the poster child for fearlessness, determination, and pure success.

    Please come by Coach Your Mind and check out my latest post, SHARE YOUR STORY. You're the reason I added this feature!

    Dayne

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  15. Posting 'normal' is exactly what people need to hear, Sean. After I lost 100 lbs, in about a year, I wondered, is that all there is? I think that the journey is exciting but then the day comes when we're ... normal!

    I'm at a healthy body weight now for seventeen years and settled into a normal life. I no longer am inhibited by morbid obesity. Now I seek life's excitement and it's a great ride. Thanks to people like you who talk about their transition too!

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  16. You know, I've been thinking about something you said in an earlier post about whether you should change your daily allotment or not, and I think I may have hit on something that might be useful. Take it with a grain of salt; it's coming from someone who has never fought her weight so it may be worth exactly what you paid for it.

    Don't change your allotment up to 1800. Stick with something like 1600 period until you plateau. Like you said, your weight is just a number, and as long as you're feeling healthy and mobile and enjoying life and going to bed satisfied with what you've had that day, who cares?

    The reason for this is that you still don't know what a 1600-a-day calorie allotment will get you in the end. You don't know where the endpoint is yet. I think this is part of why people have trouble maintaining once they've lost. They don't let themselves coast to a stop before trying to adjust things and so don't know how hard they have to hit the brakes. They slam them too hard, and bounce back, so gun the engine and surge forward ... and have trouble maintaining because they haven't "calibrated" themselves, for want of a better word.

    If you stick with something like 1600 -- which leaves you happy and satisfied at the end of the day -- just stick with it until your weight holds steady for something like three months. If you end up leveling out below your goal weight at 190 or 210, so what? You're still healthy, satisfied, and full at the end of the day, so who cares?

    And now you know what 1600 calories will get you. You've calibrated yourself. You have a point of reference that you can use to either stick at that weight, or adjust upwards and downwards from that point in tiny increments to move your weight back to 230 should you choose to do so.

    Do NOT aim for a moving target. Set a calorie-per-day goal, and stick to that until you find out what that will get you. THEN, adjust from there. Do not change your daily allotment until then, and if you do find yourself coasting to a stop at 190 and would rather be at 230, you can get there with some confidence by just bumping up your allotment verrrrry slowly in something like 50-calorie increments until you creep gently upward and pause at 230.

    But until you find out what 1600 a day will get you, you're shooting in the dark at a moving target. That may be at least part of why maintenance is so hard for people.

    And again, even if you coast and stop at 190, who cares as long as you're happy and satisfied at the end of the day anyway?

    Again, grain of salt ... but you may find it useful.

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  17. Saying no... Getting along well with Irene... Carving out time to write... Keeping the portion sizes small... Not relaxing and giving in to food temptations... It always was about making choices. I'm so pleased for you that you remember the power of good choices and are still basing your "new life" on that power. Adelante! (Keep moving forward!) You continue to inspire.
    Best regards.

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  18. Dear Friend,
    I seriously wish you would devote one post a week or biweekly "Ask Sean"..My head is filled with ten-thousand questions as I sit back and try to re-evaluate my life and how to take control of it again.

    By the way..The pink tie rocks.

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