My Birthday, A Facebook Message, The Salty Snacks, and Pictures!
Saturday the 23rd was my thirty-ninth birthday. And even though I don't necessarily like the idea of quickly approaching forty, I couldn't be more thrilled about a birthday. Age thirty-nine is poised to be the most rewarding, personally and professionally, than any other year in my life. As much as I like to kid around about being "upset" over growing older, deep down--it's contrary. I'm still young and since losing all of this weight, I feel like my entire life has been redefined, opened up to a fresh new start where anything is possible. My weight loss makes me feel like a kid again, with unlimited potential--unaffected by the turmoils of life and the restrictions we grow to believe exist. This freedom, well--it's amazing really, so thirty-nine? No problem. It will be what we make it, because if I've learned anything in the last 771 days, it's this: The outlook for the future is determined by the attitude I apply and the choices I make along the way.
Saturday was busy from start to finish. So busy, in fact, that I postponed the Anderson family birthday dinner for me, until Sunday. By 10am, I was making my way South to Stillwater for the OSU Homecoming game tailgate party, then I enjoyed the afternoon game (not really--Nebraska won), and then headed back to Ponca City for an REO Speedwagon concert with Courtney. The day started early and ended after midnight!
Whitney and her friend Julie showed up at the tailgate! Whitney has been reading this blog since Day 1. And I mean, on Day 1--she was reading, and kept reading every single day. I ran into her and her husband a while back and Jim commented, "I know everything about you, because she reads it and then tells me." Whitney and Jim have had weight loss success too! Whitney has lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 pounds, and she absolutely loves it, of course! You see--Whitney has known me since 2003, she remembers 500 pound Sean really well...so my success just thrills her to pieces. Thank you Whitney, and thanks for the pictures! (pics below)
Sunday was Day four of my birthday celebration. Amber, her boyfriend KL, and Courtney made the trip to Stillwater with me and we met my mom, aunt Kelli, grandma, and Keith at one of our favorite little places, Charlies Chicken. On the way down to Stillwater, I called the Hideaway--another favorite restaurant of mine, and ordered their famous fried mushrooms. I love their fried mushrooms, they're the best I've ever enjoyed. And boy, I have seriously enjoyed them in the past. A whole order to myself was what the Old Sean would have wanted--not Sunday, I wanted an order because I love them, but I wanted to share them with everyone at my birthday dinner. Instead of gorging on them, I shared with nine other people. That's all I needed and wanted. I still spent about 100 calories on those incredibly tasty little things...oh my, they're the best! My calories would be spent on the best chicken breast "chunks" known to man, some mashed potatoes with a little brown gravy, and some green beans. Again, I told them to keep the roll. Rolls are good, but it was simply a calorie value decision--and it always is, when it comes to bread. We took some fun pictures at this dinner--see them below!
I've spent some calories lately that I'm really not proud of, but it certainly reminds me--I'm no superman. We have a kitchen at the new studios inside the Poncan Theatre and it is frequently stocked with salty snacks. Snack mix, nuts, pita chips, pretzels, and more. Lately, I've found myself "investing" a little more calories in these items than I know I should. My confidence tells me, "you're Sean "flippin" Anderson, you can eat a little of this stuff, you can handle it within your calorie budget." And that's true, but two or three hundred mindless calories just isn't smart calorie management, for anyone. And just telling myself, Well--you're aware, and that's the important part, isn't good enough. Because at a certain point, that type of thinking quickly becomes a rationalization for bad choices. "At least I know what I'm doing isn't good." What kind of craziness is that thought process? Knowing right from wrong doesn't excuse bad choices. And a couple of hundred calories of snack mix, to me--at this point in my evolution of good choices, isn't acceptable. Wow--OK, that helped me to write it out...thank you blog!!
I get many questions and comments from regular readers and facebook friends all the time. And I wish I could respond in detailed fashion to every single one. I do my best, and I respond frequently on my facebook wall--But I'm talking about individual, one-on-one communications via messages. I just don't have enough time to respond in detail--and that kills me, because my goal in life is to help people understand weight loss in the terms and epiphanies that have changed my life forever...and not responding in detail feels horrible to me, but there just isn't enough time. However, occasionally, I just can't help myself--and since some of these things are things I would want to share beyond a one-on-one message, with anyone that cares to read--I've decided to share a recent facebook exchange:
Christi: Just so you know where im at w/ this journey..not sure i ever told u but....I am 58 yrs old , 5'3", weighed 225lbs & had gastric bypass 3 yrs ago and lost almost 70 lbs and am gaining it back and already getting the old aches and pains associated w/ OBESITY back and Im SICK OVER IT... am trying so hard to start over and make it work this time & i get so determined then weaken and go thru the cycle over and over and over and WHY cant i make it stick and be consistent like I know i HAVE to be to do this? anyway thank you for your inspiration.. i will NEVER give up until i whip this prob...you have a beautiful family Sean and i see you are a wonderful father and son!! =0) I admire you greatly & wish my husband & I could meet you all someday!
Me: Awesome my friend, and thank you for your very kind words!! I'm sure I'll be in your neck of the woods someday for a book signing, somehwere--or a weight loss seminar someday...I'd love to meet you and your hubby!! Christi--You CAN do this. Set that "importance level" super high---Open that "Calorie Bank and Trust" account, and put up your "Steel Curtain Zone." Redefine that relationship with food...realize that food isn't the enemy---we are...and then realize that simplicity wins here...Never eat something you don't like, just to lose weight...Eat what you love---Portion control, nothing is off limits---simple, simple, simple--My friend...Make it that way. Decide that's how it's going to be---and never feel deprived, as you naturally--through your good choices, evolve an amazing relationship where food is your friend and you are your best friend...and that's when it gets really good---because we're not fighting anything at that point. It's sweet freedom Christi! My best always, Sean
Christi: Oh my ... Well im sittin at my desk at work (Upper Ia University) and I got this and BOOM..MADE ME CRY!!! HAD TO SHUT MY DOOR!! But it will help me more than I can tell you.. I will read this and reread it!! Such good advice and great words, thank you Sean. In your upcoming book, I hope you touch a lot on how you sooo persevered during the TOUGH TIMES!!! THIS TRULY MAKES YOU DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF US....THE HOLIDAYS, THE SOCIAL ENGAGEMENTS ECT..this is my killer!!! I can do sooo damn good then boom lose that determination & drive during a tough food & drink tests! I am getting it tho that YOU DO HAVE TO WANT THIS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD....THAT STEEL CURTAIN HAS TO ALWAYS BE THERE...plus your fabulous concept of the CALORIE BANK & TRUST..I LOVE THAT!! I also beleive being prepared is everything too..being a food ADDICT I will die when I walk in here each morning & theres homemade cream cheese frosted carrot bars or CHOC brownies in the break room..& I would sell my soul for one.. but if i have "something" diet smart to get thru that I do well... this is the kind of things I MARVEL AT YOU FOR...HOW YOU GET THRU THEM... I KNOW YOU WERE A FOOD ADDICT TOO AT 500 LBS SO HOW DID U CONSTANTLY GET THRU GIVING UP THESE FOODS... oh i know you say "dont give em up..have a lilttle..bank on them..." But Sean how did u get to point where you could do that THEN STOP W/ A LITTLE?????? HOW DOES AN ADDICT EVER DO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????
Me: Remember, I'm still a food addict, always will be. I'm recovered, but aware. How does it work? If you want this to be the very last time you ever need to lose weight---If you want to make this THE TIME when you really do it, for real...You must realize the vital element of dropping the excuses and rationalizations that make us feel better about bad choices. You must remind yourself how important this entire journey is---you must embrace 100% self honesty and self responsibility in your choices and circumstances. When you do that---you realize, it's not someone's fault if they brought something yummy or the restaurant's fault or the holiday's fault...or anything or anyone else. It's us and our choices. We have the comfort in knowing that we can still have anything we want---there's no deprivation, but we also know that we have a Calorie Bank and Trust account that must remain intact--the integrity of that calorie budget is and must be maintained, because when we start making rationalizations to "break it," or "have just a little more, or just this time," those thoughts and actions are the beginning of the end. And the end, well--that's a very sad place. "Oh well, we'll start again some other time," right? NO--this is the time, now--today---we must embrace consistency---that's how I lost 212 pounds the first 365 days---It was consistency....maintain it, take pride in it, defend it from your emotions and circumstances at every turn, and get ready---because amazing results are coming your way. And those incredible goodies...make sure you eat some every now and then...because that's what normal people with normal, healthy relationships with food, do.
Vital elements of success: Importance level, plus self-honesty, plus consistency, protected by our steel curtain zone, and staying true to ourselves and our calorie bank---and doing some kind of movement, exercise of some kind---anything---simply walking...and the weight flys off. It really doesn't matter what you eat---remember, keep it simple---and as the weight drops and your good choices naturally evolve, then you can get fancy with nutrition if you desire...right now, if you want to overcome food addiction---embrace food as your friend, all food---and do the things I've talked about here...Christi---I'm telling you---sweet success, sweet freedom from obesity and all of the negatives it embodies. You're on your way my friend--congratulations on your good choices!!! Get ready to fly!
Christi: OMG WOW IS ALL I CAN SAY... WOW... Sean that is unreal, that is sooo powerful..soo sooooo true... hit me where i need it...yep that is it & i will now reduce that msg and put in my wallet then i will blow that msg up and post on my mirrors and in my car and poster it to my bedroom door!!! ha... you are amazing..soo soo good... yep you're right , i have to be accountable and stop crying about what im giving up!! WOW SEAN!! OMG ... WOW!!!!!!!!!
Me: You must give up the idea that you're giving up something. You're not giving up anything...You're gaining a control, a relationship, an understanding and clarity that will forever change you, inside and out. A relationship with food and yourself--and they're relationships without struggle, because the insane war is over!! Food is your friend and you are your friend---and the circumstances of life---sure, they come and we survive because we realize the answer to us feeling better isn't in any kind of food we seek for comfort. We recognize that emotional eating creates a horrible vicious cycle---where the comfort creates more problems and the problems send us running for more comfort. You have the power to stop it with your good choices.
Christi: OMG SEAN... please know that that was the most profound piece of intelligent, awesome, mind blowing...information this voracious reader has ever everrrrrr read!! So well put... soo sooo well!! I cherish it...& I don't know how to tell you how much it HIT ME ..your response was everything & more that I needed to answer my HUGE MOST IMPORTANT questions that I slung to you!! I guess all I can do is to prove to you how much those words impacted my thinking BY SHOWING YOU W/ MY SOON TO BE LIFE CHANGING, PERMANENT, WEIGHT LOSS!!! Thank you again ...thank you Sean for your time...& wisdom & well just everything...THANK YOU!! *& hugs******* !!
Thank you Christi!!
I traveled back two years, all the way to October 28th, 2008--and I found an excerpt that talks about my food choices. It's important to always remember, that my food choices today reflect the gradual and natural evolution of my good choices along the way. I believe, through my experience, that this natural progression is key to overcoming food addiction and really breaking free from obesity. It's why I say "nothing is off limits" and "I eat what I like and nothing I don't." I don't want you to get the impression that it's all egg-white omelets, oatmeal, fruit, and pita pizzas...oh, and the occasional handfuls of snack mix...Remember, it's really not about the food. But sometimes I worry that I put too much attention on my current food choices, and that might give the wrong impression. Of course, if you've read every single day of this blog--you already know and understand from where I'm coming:
"I had macaroni and cheese and a big grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. I told you yesterday, the Food Network really got to me. I need to block that channel! I wonder how the cable company would respond if I called to have them block the Food Network? That could be funny. Me: “I want that filthy-dirty-tempting-sinful channel off my service!” Cable Company: “No problem sir, we can take the adult pay per view choices away, we're very sorry you were offended.” Me: “No, you don't understand, the Food Network is my vice.” I bet they've never had a call and request like that! I should do it just for fun. By the way, my mac and cheese dinner with a grilled cheese sandwich weighed in at a very appealing 530 calories. It was wonderful and well within my calorie budget for the day. I even enjoyed a Blue Bell Dream Bar after our incredibly intense workout. That's the thing that some people have the hardest time understanding. How can you eat Dream Bars? And mac and cheese? And mashed potatoes with gravy? And pizza? And fried mushrooms? And Snickers Ice Cream Bars? And Lasagna? And fried catfish? And so many other non-diet sounding things and still lose weight? Well, I'm also eating more vegetables than I ever have before, and I'm really appreciating well balanced meals, and I'm learning what a portion is suppose to be. I'm counting calories and budgeting those calories to last all day long. I'm giving my metabolism something to chew on several times a day and into the evening. I'm drinking a lot of water and water based zero calorie drinks. And I'm getting the heart rate up with a cardio event like walking and racquetball play. So it's not all Dream Bars and pizzas...But it's the beauty of this plan that I can enjoy them anytime I want...if my daily calorie budget allows, of course!"
A single comment came to that early post in February of 2009, from Ginger in Canada. She writes: "Reading about your progress and determination is very inspiring. I'm trying to develop the mindset to start this journey myself and start making better choices...consistently. Unfortunately I still undermine my own efforts and end up with false starts. I did feel inspired enough today to go for a walk in spite of the cold temperature."
And in that comment from Ginger, she's identified "The Wrong Battle," long before I fully realized the freedom of that thought process. Her words, "Unfortunately I still undermine my own efforts and end up with false starts," is powerful and so common, to me, to you perhaps. The Wrong Battle is a portion of a blog page I posted in September--and I believe it's vitally important to understand. Here's the link to that post:
I better wrap this post. I have two weight loss speaking engagements on the horizon. Monday evening for a small church weight loss group in Ponca City and Thursday the 4th of November at the Ponca City Country Club. I'm so excited!
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
With Whitney, outside a chilly Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday.
With Courtney after the REO Speedwagon concert
A recent breakfast: Egg-white omelet with mushrooms, mozzarella, and tomatoes---all wrapped in part of a Joseph's Lavash flat bread.
Sometimes, we don't see eye to eye. ;) We were having so much fun!!
The two most important people in my life.
We are so, not tough. But we're silly sometimes and that's a little more fun!
It was supposed to be the "Two Boxers" pose, but KL couldn't stop smiling.
I worry about him sometimes. Kidding...ok, not really...OK--really KL, just kidding... ;)
My youngest daughter!! So beautiful, so smart--incredibly talented, this girl---wow, I'm so lucky!!
Can you tell we love to have fun? The girls and me with mom!
My birthday dinner. Loved it! Not pictured: The 100 calories worth of Hideaway mushrooms.
Two breakfast pita pizzas. 320 calories total--for BOTH, together....Uh yeah, incredible calorie value!!
My Amber girl!
With My Courtney Nayster!
With my dear sweet grandmother...She's so precious to me.
Mom and me
Before at this same restaurant--nearly the same spot...over 500 pounds.
Somewhere, there is an old before shot that shows me in this same exact pose with grandma and mom along side of me--but for some reason, I can't find it right now. Trust me, HUGE difference. ;)
Found it! Thank you to my sweet daughter Amber for putting these two shots together. These photos were snapped in the same spot, a few years apart, obviously!