Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 562 Not My Best and I Thought I Had This, Silly Me

Day 562

Not My Best and I Thought I Had This, Silly Me

I was laying in bed today, just staring at the ceiling and thinking. I feel so wonderful physically, yet I feel so undone. Does that make sense? It's a part of this mental game for which I never planned. When you feel good and you're liking what you see in the mirror, not because it's perfect, but because it's light years from where you were---it becomes very easy to be easy in the workout department. I guess not for everybody, but for me---amping up my workouts has been a constant struggle of the last six months. It's old and annoying. Food habits, got it. Mentally prepared to handle my food behavior in a responsible way for the rest of my life? Not worried. Willing to exercise to really achieve what I want? Uh--yeah, well uh, sure. See? Do I not want it bad enough?? Or maybe I am allowing my emotions and circumstances to affect me. They're not affecting my consumption, but everything else? Yeah, I think so. Maybe I've been lax on myself mentally and physically, allowing myself to get too comfortable with my smaller size. I need to have a good long look at myself and really evaluate what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. The great thing about this? Really, in all honesty...it's all good. I've lost 245 pounds so far, I'm slowly approaching a wonderful goal---that I truly believe is possible, so I need to recognize that and feel great about it all. BUT---I need to do that without it becoming a convenient rationalization for bad choices in my workout schedule. Tricky, this mental stuff certainly is tricky...and somehow I thought I had it all figured out. Silly me.

In reading the post from last year on this date, I was reminded of a very simple and effective analogy on metabolism, the wood burning stove! From March 30th, 2009:

I've really been concentrating on spreading out my calories more evenly throughout the day, you know, to keep the fire in my “wood burning stove” burning hot. The metabolism is a tricky thing. I use to think that the metabolism was something you were just born with and completely unable to change. I thought that some of us were blessed with a really fast metabolism and some were unfortunately “blessed” with a slow metabolism. While you'll find some truth in that, a slow metabolism doesn't have to remain slow. I've learned that exercise, water consumption, and eating frequently all have the power to act like a “metabolism dial” that you can adjust up several notches. It just so happens that all of my former bad behaviors with food and lack of movement was a perfect recipe for a sluggish metabolism. Oh how much time I wasted being depressed and negative about losing weight because I had a naturally slow metabolism, and all the while my metabolism was yelling “Hey, help me help you!” and “It's called H2O, look it up.” and “If you would eat smaller portions maybe I wouldn't feel so smothered down here.” and “How long has it been since you really exercised...well that's too long.” That's right, my metabolism was a heckler that I refused to acknowledge for many years. Instead I would sit and be jealous of the naturally thin people with super-human metabolisms, looking out the window as they would run by with their workout pants and water bottle. “Crazy over-achievers,” I thought. I now pride myself on slowly becoming one of them. I don't even necessarily have to be an over-achiever, just an achiever, that'd be just fine with me. I'm fitting the description of an “achiever” everyday, one day at a time right?

This evening I looked out at a beautiful sunset and decided that I needed to walk/jog at the trail, outside in the elements, it was so nice. I wish I could tell you that I gleefully skipped out of my apartment and danced my way to the vehicle, but no. That would be dishonest. I forced myself to go. I wasn't in the mood. I just wasn't and I feel so guilty for feeling that way. I'm not suppose to feel that way! But you wanna know something? I do feel that way these days (see paragraph #1). And it scares the heck fire out of me. I ended up only doing 1.66 miles. My dear mother walked further than me today! (I'm so proud of her--I just smiled, thank you momma!) And yes I mean walked...I didn't run, jog, or anything other than brisk walking.

I'm not a failure, quiet the opposite actually, I'm a winner! I'm a very successful loser. I'm strong mentally and improving physically. But somedays, especially lately---I get in this funk, and I don't fully understand why. I'm working on that part.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 561 If Everyday Was Like Monday and Getting My Picture With Grandma

Day 561

If Everyday Was Like Monday and Getting My Picture With Grandma

Mondays are special. Monday was always the day. The day it would all turn around. I would convince myself that Monday, all would be right. My resolve, my consistency, everything would be perfect or as near to perfect as possible. If I could have put all of my Mondays together, I would have lost this weight a long time ago. I had some good ones! What would happen when Tuesday rolled around? Well, it wasn't Monday anymore, but no problem! Another Monday was always less than a week away! And since I was waiting for another great Monday start next week, let's eat like we're never going to eat again! This inconsistent pattern left me scared, feeling hopeless, and over 500 pounds. I guess you could say that I've had an unstated goal this entire time: Give everyday that fresh start Monday feeling. It's not always easy and it's never perfect, but it doesn't have to be for success.

I started my Monday with three whole eggs, over easy--my favorite! I didn't have mushrooms or cheese, just eggs. It was simple and good, and 210 calories. I had a banana for desert, checked in with some blogging friends and then dropped onto the floor for some non-weighted strength training exercises. Yes, desert for breakfast, it was a banana! Anyway, I didn't do my squats this morning. I don't have a good reason really, I mean---I usually do the squats first. For some reason I decided to give my quads and gluts a break this morning. I quickly ran out of time and had to jump in the shower, brush, and dress for this day, all in about fifteen minutes! I cut it a little too close much of the time, I do...it's a bad habit really.

I felt horrible all day today about something I didn't do yesterday. I didn't realize it until I was looking through the pictures from our 83rd birthday get together with grandma. Did I not take a picture with my dear grandmother? What? Kelli is always snapping pictures. It's nothing for her to fire off fifty to a hundred or more at one gathering. How did I not take one with grandma? Some may not like all of the pictures all of the time, but I've always had an appreciation for what she's doing. Even though I kind of don't like not having control over what pictures she chooses for her blog. I want to say, "use that one, and toss this one, and don't dare post that one, and..." But I don't and I wouldn't. She's giving us plenty of pictures that we'll cherish someday. I wouldn't have near the catalogue of before pictures if it were not for Kelli's love of pictures. I always hated those 500 pound-plus pictures back then, but I love them now...the bigger the better! Oh grandma...I'm getting a picture with you today!

I decided, I was making a special trip for my picture with grandma! I had a nice little visit with everyone and we took some good pictures! Kelli and my mom are doing so wonderfully with their food and exercise--and they're both making some mental breakthroughs that will carry them along this road. I couldn't be happier for them!

I made it back home and headed straight to Wal-Mart for some "Sean staples." You know...mushrooms, eggs, cheese, apples, bananas, flatbread wraps, chicken breast, and coffee. I'm such a creature of habit huh? I guess! Oh well...it is all good! I ran into an old co-worker in the store. You can always count on running into people at that place, something I always dreaded at my heaviest. I look forward to running into old friends now.

I hurried home and decided that I was getting to bed relatively early, well, actually it ended up being just after 10:30, not too early afterall. But it was a good Monday, it was. I feel good. And I love the pictures below. Grandma is so sweet, happy 83rd grandma! I love you!

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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I also took some pictures with Kelli and Keith. I'll post those tomorrow!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 560 When Mood Isn't Make or Break Anymore and Visiting With Grandma

Day 560

When Mood Isn't Make or Break Anymore and Visiting With Grandma

I was up rather early for a Sunday today. By 8am I was on the floor, preparing the coffee and breakfast, and getting ready to write. It feels good to be at this place along the road. I can remember past attempts where, I never knew what mood I'd wake up feeling. Would I be strong or would I feel that scary instability in my resolve? I don't worry about that anymore. We're far enough along now, that instability has transformed right along with me. That occasional instability once meant all or nothing, success or failure. Now, it simply means the difference between a decent day or a great day. It just takes time and consistency to reach this place. Understanding the mental twist and turns, or at least trying to understand these--is a critical element.

After writing Saturday's blog page, I decided the best thing for me to do was hit the trail. It was early and the Y wasn't open yet. I'm glad I did! It was a beautiful morning to be outside and I wasn't there very long when I ran into a longtime reader who remembers seeing me out there early on this journey. Even though Rod sees the pictures on this blog, he was even more surprised in person. "Your pictures don't do you justice, wow, you're looking incredible." Rod, thank you my friend! Rod is doing very well and looking great too! He's lost nearly 70 pounds, no longer needs his blood pressure medicine and feels better than he did at 50 (he's 60). Isn't that incredible? He's taking charge and doing his very best to seriously extend his life...giving himself some wonderful years of looking and feeling great!

I did a quick 5K. I say "quick" because aside from walking to talk with Rod, I was mostly jogging. I don't jog really fast, just a slow and steady pace. It's mainly just a different motion than walking, picking up the feet a bit. And it's not constant, but I can honestly say I did more jogging than walking today. It was nice out there, and running into Rod was an unexpected joy!

I returned home and took a shower and nap before picking up Irene and Courtney for our trip to Stillwater. Irene and I understand each other perfectly. We get along great and I like to make my girls laugh and smile. It's very nice to get along so well even through difficult times and complicated situations. We've really reached a nice place along this undesirable part of our lives. We both must attend a three hour parenting through divorce class on the 16th. It's very ironic that the 16th is our 21st anniversary. Hmmm....

I knew we were eating out with the family this evening, but I wasn't thrilled that the plan was a pizza buffet. I could have handled it easily, but still. I wanted something better. I suggested a favorite chicken place of ours and everyone easily agreed. No buffet, good!

I enjoyed three chicken breast "chunks," mashed potatoes without gravy, and green beans. I told them to keep the roll. I could have had the gravy and the roll and still been ok with my calorie budget, but I knew we had some birthday cake coming, and I planned on a small piece of cake with grandma. And the cake had buttercream frosting...oooh. I had a very small piece that I was comfortable calling 100 calories. My meal checked in at 400 plus the 100 calorie cake, 500 here, not bad really. It was an enjoyable meal and so good to see grandma so happy and vibrant at 83! I'm so happy that Uncle Keith, Aunt Kelli, and my mom take such good care of her, they really do!

I dropped Irene and Courtney off at Irene's place and headed back to the apartment fairly early. Then I realized something upsetting. I didn't get a picture with grandma!!!! What?? Everyone else did, and I was in the group shot, but I wanted one with just the two of us! I may drive down tomorrow afternoon for a picture!! I just might! Nope, I will. It's decided.

I was in bed before 10pm tonight, unusual for me, but needed! Six hours sleep may not sound like enough, but for me---that's pretty decent. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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Courtney with grandma

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Irene and grandma

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Courtney, Irene, and Me

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I was just looking normal and then Kelli said, "do something, pose, something different." So I did this silly little look.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 559 Missing Part of The "Old" Sean and A Salty Night

Day 559

Missing Part of The “Old” Sean and A Salty Night

Every now and then I have a day where I miss the “old” Sean. I don't miss the out of control food addict Sean, I miss the comedian Sean. Usually it takes something to remind me of my stand-up days and today I had a couple of things that took me back. A friend of mine pointed to a TV and said, “hey is that your roommate from Los Angeles?” Yep, that's him doing one of his Comedy Central Specials. Ralphie and I binged together, we did. His comedy career was much further advanced than mine, but our eating? Oh, we were together on that for sure. He was fun and completely understood my love of food. When he would say, “you fly, I'll buy,” I knew we were about to feast. Popeye's Fried Chicken was the most common stop. Yeah...good times, good times. I'm so happy for Ralphie. Not only is his career going fabulous, he ended up married to fellow comic Lana, our roommate and his girlfriend during my stay. They have two beautiful children and Ralphie has lost a considerable amount of weight. I can't wait to see the two of them again someday. They're not going to recognize me at all!

Then---as if seeing Ralphie on TV wasn't enough, I went back in the archives to exactly a year ago and found a post all about those days. From March 27th, 2009, Day 194:

A big thanks goes out to my friend Cruz for posting on my behalf last night. Very rarely do computer problems hamper my schedule with this blog, but when it does, oh man, you talk about frustrating! After pulling my hair out for over two hours and deciding that driving to the studio to write and post in the middle of a sleet storm was a bad idea, I decided to call Cruz. I gave him my login information and what I wanted him to post and how to post and he took care of the update. Cruz is a wonderful friend of mine.

We both started in stand-up together and he was the biggest believer in me. Cruz is a fantastic comedian who was with me at every crucial turning point of my stand-up career until I decided to head west. When I moved to Los Angeles, Cruz was back here in Oklahoma, but promised to join me within months. My job then was to get out there and lay a foundation for our future success. Our future hopes and dreams depended on it! I say “our,” like we were a comedy team of sorts, not at all. Our styles couldn’t have been more different. What we had was an understanding, whoever “made it” first, would open doors for the other. My rapid progress in L.A. gave Cruz big time hopes and dreams. All of a sudden what seemed so out of reach to a young Oklahoma comic from Peru was within sight. He listened close as I relayed stories of sharing the Hollywood Improv stage with the likes of Damon Wayons, George Wallace, Dave Chappelle, Harland Williams, and so many others. He knew our time was coming soon. Then his belief reached a peak as he watched me perform in a bit on Jimmy Kimmel Live. We were gonna make it! Cruz immediately packed his Honda for a trip west and the bright lights and big city.

While Cruz was thrilled at the idea of being out there with me, I was discovering some important lessons on priorities. My family needed me back home and Cruz needed L.A. A few days after the Kimmel appearance I decided that L.A. could wait and my family couldn’t. When I called Cruz to give him the news he was already on I-40 headed west. The next day we met up at a truck stop in the middle of New Mexico. I was on the way home and Cruz was on his way to L.A. He couldn’t believe what was happening. He wasn’t turning back no matter what and he just knew I was missing opportunities of a lifetime by going home. I can’t type all of the heated expletives I heard that day while standing outside that truck stop on that warm July afternoon. I knew that the most important opportunities I was missing were back in Stillwater. The fear of ripping my family apart motivated me to make the right decision, much the same way I’ve been motivated in making the decision to lose weight and get healthy.

Cruz and I rarely talked for the next couple of years. We finally re-connected upon hearing the news that fellow comic Mitch Hedburg had died of an overdose. These days, we rarely talk about comedy. Cruz is still in L.A. doing stand-up at night at some of the hottest clubs around and being a real life private investigator the rest of the time. I think Cruz now understands that my dreams didn’t die when I left L.A., my priorities changed, and with it changed my dreams. Being a successful father to my children and husband to my wife, and losing weight while sharing the experience with these writings, in hopes of inspiring others, those are my dreams now. That dream is coming true every day. I can’t wait for Cruz to read this post, I can hear it now Wow, could you have been a little more dramatic? A simple thank you would have worked just fine. I love that guy.

I do have fond memories of my stand-up days, along with painful ones, but when you add it all up—I made the right decision to come home and I have zero regrets about that. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Every now and then somebody asks me “So, you gonna do stand-up again?” Well, maybe. I really would like to do it again, even for just one show. One night. I would have to re-write 80% of my set, because I'm not over 500 pounds anymore. So much of my material relied on my size back then, and I never liked that, but whatever got the laughs, I did it. A stand-up routine from me today would be drastically different. I'd like to do some crazy stuff too, maybe convince Jack Sh*t to be my writer---He wouldn't have to write anything new, just give me permission to take his tweets to the stage for one night. I've been bugging him about this for some time with zero luck. And really, with me, it was always a very personal relationship with the audience, a very real connection. I always understood that the best comedy came from a very real place. But part of me would love to just do some really fun stuff on stage that wasn't personal, just quirky crazy, and funny. Oh Jack, you reading? ;)

My Saturday involved a little work, not much, but enough to keep me in town. I managed my time fairly well today. I cooked a good breakfast this morning too. No surprise here, it was an omelet...but I prepared it a little differently. No cheese this time and I mixed the salsa into the eggs before cooking. It cooked different and tasted different. Not as pretty on the plate, but very tasty---and the calories were the same. I cooked the mushrooms a little longer too before adding the egg mixture. It was wonderful!

I went overboard on the sodium today. Good thing weigh day is still four days away. Wow...I knew it when I was doing it, but I did it anyway. This evening with friends, I enjoyed a 230 calorie package of mini pretzels and then---after looking over the menu where we were---and seeing “fried this” and “batter dipped” that, and not much else...I simply asked for tomato slices with salt. Yep. I took perfectly healthy tomato slices and enjoyed them with a salt shaker. And this crazy salt binge was only about an hour after the salty pretzels! This isn't typical for me. I usually don't eat too much added salt. For some reason tonight, I don't know...maybe I was craving salt? Hmmm...well...You see, I'm not a salty snacker---never have been, so it's strange. I'm a cool and creamy snacker, a melted cheese snacker, a chocolate snacker...a salty little binge is out of character, but it only cost me 250 calories and some temporary water weight I'm sure...good thing I don't weigh everyday!

I talked with my mom today and she reported that she's down to 202! When she drops below 200, it'll be the first time she's been in "onederland" in a very long time, I mean---a very long time! I'm thrilled for her, absolutely thrilled!

I also talked with my oldest Amber tonight. She spent the day volunteering at a Special Olympics event. My conversation with her tonight reminded me about how important our attitude is in determining how we feel over-all. Amber told me that she was urinated on, had ketchup smeared all over her shirt, and had to dig in a nasty trash can to find a medal that an athlete had accidentally thrown away...and she had a blast! She recognized and enjoyed the humor in her constant messy misfortune. She was laughing as she recounted the details. Attitude is everything, you know that. Thank you my dear daughter for this wonderful reminder!

I did 100 non-weighted squats, 40 push-ups (not all at once), 60 sit-ups (again, in 3 sets of 20), and I stretched really good. It was a really good workout. The best indoor workout I've had in a very long time. It was at least three times as strenuous as I normally do in the mornings. It wasn't a Y trip or a 5K at the trail, but it was a great workout. I was proud of myself!

And so another day along this road comes to a close. Tomorrow I'm headed to Stillwater with Courtney and Irene to visit grandma and celebrate her 83rd birthday. Irene is so loved by everyone in the family. I'll never forget the day I told grandma that Irene and I were divorcing, she just sit there and cried so tenderly. Her tears that day just broke my heart. She's going to light up when she sees Irene tomorrow! It'll be good for everyone.

Thank you for reading! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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A couple of tiny little pictures from my stand-up days. Look at that giant face...oh my. At my heaviest for sure!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 558 With A Little Help From My Friends and I Was Standing RIGHT THERE!

Day 558

With A Little Help From My Friends and I Was Standing RIGHT THERE!

I was so caught up in my schedule yesterday, I didn't manage my calorie budget very well. It was after nine pm and I still had over 600 calories remaining last night. So what did I do? I prepared a big heavy omelet---loaded with whole eggs, chicken breast, mushrooms, and salsa. It was good, very good. Then I found my way to the recliner and with the TV off, I enjoyed my late dinner. I finished every bite of this monster omelet, stopping momentarily to contemplate if it really was a good idea to eat this heavy right before bed. Oh, I've done this before---emptying my calorie bank right before bed, and I've still had wonderful success along this road. But I know it's not ideal, and really---I don't recommend doing this. I should have made time to eat more throughout the day! I'm so imperfect, always have been. I mean, yes, it was within my calorie budget for the day, but still---so heavy, so late. I should have had a chicken breast with mushrooms and an ice cream bar for desert and called it good, but I didn't.

I ended up sitting there alone with my thoughts, and that was a very nice thing. At some point, I drifted off and ended up sleeping all night long. No alarm set, nothing. It could have been horrible! Luckily, I snapped awake at 4:30am and realized what I had done. I was disgusted with myself, but I didn't have time to be, I was already thirty minutes behind schedule and felt very unrested.

This wasn't a good day to feel unrested. Today was very busy! I immediately grabbed a banana and started hurrying through my morning routine. I sat down to write, answer a couple of e-mails, showered, brushed my teeth, dressed—-and then realized: I was out of time! No morning exercises today, no hot breakfast either. This was not how I like to start my day! And look what suffered: Two fundamentals of my success—-the exercise and the good breakfast! I grabbed an apple on the way downstairs—so I guess an apple and a banana will count as breakfast, not too bad, but still.

As I started to get into my radio show, I realized that I didn't plan at all for food later in the day. My show ended at 9am and then it was off to the races, with a quick production session from 9am to 9:40am, then straight to a remote broadcast from 10 to 2pm and one from 3 to 6pm. I knew there would be food at these broadcasts, most usually, but it wasn't going to be the kind of choices I wanted to make. I updated my facebook profile, kicking myself for not planning better—but assuring myself that I would make the best choices possible regardless.

The menu at broadcast number one was very simple: Popcorn (popped in calorie dense Coco-Pop oil), hot dogs, potato chips, and soda pop. It was perfect fare for a big grand opening event with a bunch of people, it was very nice! However, I wasn't sure of my strategy. I knew I had to stay away from that popcorn, even though the alluring smell of fresh popped corn filled the store, tickling my nostrils with a wink that said “Come on Sean, just a little will be ok!” And ok, a little would have been ok, but no...I had only a banana and an apple at this point, I wanted something more. I made my way into the concession truck outside to do a live break. I wrapped the spot and then asked the person handling the hotdogs if I could see some nutrition labels. She looked at me as if I were crazy and then grabbed the packages. A bun was 100 and one of these hot dogs, oh my, 160! I could have a hotdog with yellow mustard for 260 calories. But still...oh my, it was so small---and you know how quickly I could put away a hotdog? Old Sean would have showed you, two bites my friend, two bites. Old Sean would have had at least three of these things.

I passed and made my way to the remote vehicle. I have friends, I could call someone to bring me something, but I didn't want to inconvenience anyone because I failed to plan, you know? That thought barely made it out of my head when I turned and found Linda, a friend and a longtime local reader of this blog. Linda is on my facebook too, she had noticed my update about the poor food planning---and Linda decided to help me out. She handed me a bag full of good stuff to last me throughout this long day of broadcasting. Wow---I didn't know what to say! I jumped out of the vehicle and gave her a hug! Thank you Linda! I found a couple of bananas and some homemade chicken breast wraps with mozzarella, lettuce, and tomatoes. These things were amazing! She threw in a couple of bottles of zero calorie flavored sparkling water and a big pack of sugar free gum. And then I found the note attached, detailing the calorie count of everything in the bag!!! Oh Linda, you are incredible! We talked for a few minutes about her husbands painting too. Her husband has been doing a bunch of work on our new studios and he is incredible! I had to send my compliments to him. What a wonderful friend, thank you again Linda---you made “good choices” so much easier for me today!

In between broadcasts, I had to run to the bank, the post office, and back to my apartment to grab my phone charger. Before I knew it—It was time to start the car dealer broadcast.

Surprisingly, there wasn't any food at all here. Just some cold soft drinks on the showroom floor, along with a 2010 Camaro—oh wow...that thing is hot! I walked in and made my way to the tower where the GM sits. He was amazed at my transformation. I've done their radio commercials for years, but I hardly ever see him. It had been well over a year since my last broadcast here and the difference in my appearance is dramatic. The GM was all smiles and complimentary. It felt so good.

As I made my way around the showroom floor, I overheard a salesperson whisper to another “have you seen Sean?” And I'm not sure what to think about the reply. He replied “Where is that fat *ss?” I was standing RIGHT THERE! It didn't sting like it would have at over 500 pounds, but then again---he would have never said it in front of me if I still weighed 505. The guy that said it isn't a bad person, he's a great guy...Just older (60's probably), and is the type that doesn't sugar coat anything, he just tells it like it is, even if it's hurtful. But it's not like it is, or was for me---anymore. The other sales staff immediately told him it was me, right there in front of him---I wish I would have been recording his reaction. His eyes got big, his face lit up, and he proclaimed “I don't believe it!” He wouldn't stop. He must have complimented me for an hour straight, even suggesting that maybe I was someone who killed the old Sean and took his place. Well, ok---yeah...kinda I guess. He took a break from this constant shower of amazement and “wow,” long enough to call an obese friend of his and tell him all about my weight loss and how he should look me up. He must have told me how proud he was of me thirty times. He felt horrible about the “fat *ss” comment. It was OK, I forgave him. I was just thrilled to be at the point in this transformation where someone could make that horrible mistake, simply because I was unrecognizable as my former image.

What a wonderful day really. What started out as an unrested, unprepared-for mess, turned out to be nice and kind of entertaining.

I know this is long already, but yesterday while reading my post from a year ago---I was struck by the following. This excerpt is from March 25th, 2009, a year and a day ago:

Every now and then I write a blog, post it, then the next day I'll think of something I wanted to mention but didn't. Last night after the “Lose To Win” seminar, I was approached by a nice lady who expressed concern for a loved one. She told me that the loved one that had her concerned was where I was when I started. Just in case she convinced that loved one to read this blog, here's what I hope he reads:

I don't know your name, what you look like, or anything about you other than a couple of clues I've been given. I know that you're right around 500 pounds and I know that you have loved ones that care deeply about you. That's all I know for certain about you. But I'll take it a little deeper. I was over 500 pounds for years, so I can safely assume that perhaps you're feeling some of the emotions that became a fixed part of my life for so long. You might feel completely hopeless, I did. You might feel like you're out of control, I did. You probably turn to food when you're stressed, scared, sad, happy, it doesn't matter the occasion or emotion huh? Yep, me too. It's hard to get around isn't it? A short walk can feel suffocating, I know. Maybe you feel like your weight has started chipping away at your personal relationships, I know I did.

Are you scared of dying like I was every single day? Be honest, when a little twinge of pain crosses your chest do you start praying it's anything but what you fear the most? I sure did. Is your wardrobe severely limited because of your size? Mine was. I once wore the same pair of pants every day for six months straight, washing it every couple of days, just because it was the only pair that fit, and driving to OKC or Tulsa to buy more was too inconvenient. When you get scared for your life, do you feel like you're in a non-stop self-destructive cycle? Please say you haven't given up. I never did. Listen, I knew that if I kept going I would die very soon. Only God knows how soon, but soon for certain. I also knew that I had to be the one to stop the endless cycle. I had to get very honest and very serious with myself. You're not hopeless and you can do this. I'm not special, I don't have any kind of secret potion, I'm not perfect in any way. I'm just a guy who knew that if I really wanted to live, and I mean really live, I had to do something now. I'd argue that I'm no different than you my friend. 192 days ago I reached my limit. My world was becoming unraveled, my weight was doing it's best to crush me and any sliver of hope I may have had for the future.

Can you relate? I bet you can. I'm here to tell you that you can reclaim your life. You have the power within you to do amazing things, and grabbing control of your weight is just the beginning. But how? I'm not going to say that my way is right or wrong, bad or good. It's what I did. I immediately started eating 1,500 calories a day and exercising however I could, and trust me, it wasn't much, but remember, anything is better than nothing. And you'll be amazed at how far you'll progress along the way if you stay consistent. Read the labels, buy a calorie book, look calories up on the internet. All the information you need is out there. Even before you do that, it's very important to sit down and have a long internal discussion with yourself. Write down what you want out of life. Dream a little! Get it on paper or on a computer screen, whatever, just write. Form your motivating thoughts and hold onto them tight, you're gonna need them to get through this. Make your motivating thoughts one of the most important things you think about daily. Then DECIDE that you will defend the pursuit of those desires every waking minute. DECIDE to live, DECIDE to change, DECIDE to once and for all take a stand for yourself. Stand up and demand respect from the one that has given you the least, and that's you.

DECIDE that it isn't going to end this way, obesity is no longer in charge of your destiny, you are. BELIEVE you have the power to render powerless every hang up that stopped you before, because YOU DO. DECIDE that no matter the struggles in your day to day life, one thing will never be compromised, and that's your commitment to this journey. Don't do what I did for years, I don't know you , maybe you've done it for years too...Don't lie to yourself. Don't assume you have time to worry about it later. DECIDE to do it NOW and leave the worry behind. I'm right at about half way through my journey, and I've never been happier. That happiness I speak of comes from hope that I never had before. That happiness exist regardless of my current circumstances. Regardless of the stress level from whatever it is that's stressing us out, that happiness and hope remains and carries us through. DECIDE that you're worth it, because YOU ARE. DECIDE to LOVE YOURSELF enough to make the changes that will set you free.

Listen, I've never been one for dramatics, and I know this page is full of dramatics, but please know that it comes from a very sincere place. I wish you could take my place and feel what I'm feeling. Please go back in the archives and read from day 1. Every day is indexed on the left hand side of the page. And if you want, send me an e-mail and we'll communicate directly. Whoever you are, best wishes.

Ok—this was a long post, even by my standards. I'll tell you right now, I didn't get an organized workout today. By the time I walked into my apartment tonight, I was toast. I was completely drained from the day. Oh and Loretta? The tucking question from yesterday? Uh...no. No tucking. I'll get there, I will. Baby steps my friend. Baby steps. ;) Thank you for taking the time to read. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 557 Speaking Engagement Day and A Happy Emotion

Day 557

Speaking Engagement Day and A Happy Emotion

I arrived at the Conoco-Phillips complex about forty minutes before I was to speak today. I met Amy, my contact there, and she showed me to the auditorium and introduced me to the audio/video guy. This event was open to employees on the complex, so not everyone attending was interested in losing weight, but some were. It was a nice experience. After my talk, I opened up the floor for questions and a nice man shared the story of when he first saw me years ago. He said he had been listening to me on the radio for years, when one day he drove by a remote broadcast and noticed the voice he had heard all this time was coming from a most unexpected person. He didn't expect to see such a huge guy behind the voice he was hearing. I don't remember his exact words, but it was something to the effect of: You had to have been one of the biggest guys in Ponca City. He complimented me on the drastic change and then approached me afterward to tell me that when I walked in the room, he didn't know it was me. He was still looking for one of the biggest guys in town. That's certainly not me anymore, thank goodness!

I started by going all the way back to my birth. I was a really big baby, a ten pounder, easily the biggest baby in the nursery. This trend of being the biggest continued into pre-school, kindergarten, elementary, junior high, high school, and right into my adult years. I talked about hitting the snooze button on wake up calls, like my devastating doctors visit June 10th, 2008---the one that convinced me of my imminent death, yet still wasn't enough to make me really do something. I talked about what finally motivated me to start and how strange it was that the fear of death wasn't enough. I talked about the simplistic approach from Day 1 and how it differed from my past failed attempts. And I focused heavy on the mental aspects and since I noticed many people in attendance that may have not been interested in weight loss, I mentioned how these mental "gymnastics" can be applied to other areas of life. I used my favorite little words and phrases. The Calorie Bank and Trust, Steel Curtain Zone, Motivating Thoughts, Iron-Clad Decision, Importance Level, and several others. Words and phrases that mean so much to me and my journey. And although my self-critical nature found so many ways I could have communicated better today, Amy--and several others told me it was wonderful. And it was, I sincerely appreciated the opportunity to share my story.

After the talks, it was back to the studio for some work---and then home for a much deserved nap! My workout tonight included the Hutchins Trail, where it all began on September 15th, 2008. I guess that's why I like going back there so much. It is a strong reminder of how far I've come. I completed a 5K tonight, and although it may not have been my best workout performance, it was highly satisfying and enjoyable.

By the time I returned home and returned a few phone calls and text, it was almost 9pm and I still had 600 calories on the table. I needed dinner! A late dinner. I prepared a large chicken breast on the Foreman grill, sliced it up and put it inside a big three whole egg omelet with mushrooms and salsa. I was out of cheese, time to go to the store! It was really good and still fell a little short of the 600 calories, but it was close enough.

I sat in my recliner tonight, turned the TV off, and just reflected on this entire journey amid the quiet of my apartment. Alone with my thoughts, I started to get a little emotional, and then I realized---it wasn't a bad thing. It was a happy emotion. Because despite the challenges and setbacks along this road, the ups and downs, the stressful situations, the marital issues, despite everything...life is good. I feel great. I didn't wear an over-shirt today or an over-sized sport coat to cover me up...I just put on a collared shirt, and I still received "wow" reactions of "you look great!" Not once did I focus on those clothing insecurities today. I was calm, cool, and confident. It felt amazing.

Tomorrow is very busy. I have my show to do from 6-9am and then two remote broadcasts all day long until 6pm. It's going to be crazy busy! But we'll be fine and probably ready to go to bed way early again on a Friday night.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 556 This Isn't A "Show" and Letting Go of Insecurities

Day 556

This Isn't A "Show" and Letting Go of Insecurities

I've been thinking about tomorrow all day today. I have two speaking engagements at Conoco-Phillips. It's a private engagement for their employees. I'll be talking about my weight loss experiences. It's very important for you and anyone that will hear me speak to understand something. I'm not a weight loss guru or an expert of any kind. I don't know everything and I'm far from perfect. But I do have a story to share! And it's a story that will identify the keys to my success along this road. I have a nervous excitement building about this event and this energy is a good thing. My stage experience is primarily stand-up comedy, and some of my most memorable and enjoyable performances included this pre-show nervous energy. It's normal. And the great thing about this? This isn't a "show," this is as real as it gets. And that realness makes it a thousand times better than any stand-up performance I've ever given.

My best days are the ones that start with a solid foundation, a routine of what I know is right and good. For me, it means getting up shortly before 4am, and I really don't like that---but it's imperative for a great start. And a great start makes all the difference in the world. I woke up, did my morning non-weighted strength training exercises, prepared coffee and a good breakfast, wrote my blog page, showered and dressed and was on the air by 6am. When I take the time for this routine, I have a better show and a better attitude that carries me throughout the day. It doesn't happen everyday, but it should. I like the powerful confidence I felt today. Good choices indeed. I need to make those choices on a more regular basis! I've heard consistency is a vital element along this road...hmmm, where have I heard that? ;)

I toured our new broadcasting studios today. The construction crews are very busy and far from finished, but oh boy---it's looking incredible. I wouldn't be as excited about this change if I were still over 500 pounds. Why? Because these new studios are window front studios, kind of like the Today Show. People will be able to stand on the sidewalk and watch us work. I'm not uncomfortable with that idea anymore. I would have hated it before this transformation. I look forward to it now. They've even painted the window with my name and the name of the KLOR morning personality. Very cool, very cool my friend. We'll be like zoo animals on display. We'll try to behave in our exhibit, I mean studios.

I've decided to NOT wear my too big sport coat to the speaking event tomorrow. I'm not even going to wear an over-shirt. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know all about my psychological hang-ups and body image issues. I've written about them many times, and perhaps you understand too, maybe you have the same issues. I spent my entire life trying to dress in a fashion that would best present my 500 pound self. That's a very hard habit to break, even though I'm lightyears from that old appearance. I still want to put on that over shirt, or wear a shirt that's just a little too big and baggy. But no---I'm not letting myself off the hook on this event. I'm dressing casual and comfortable in normal fitting clothes that, despite what my crazy imagination conjures up, best showcase my transformation. There self, take that!

They will be video taping the event and I've requested a copy. I also hope to have pictures to post from the event. I'll of course share as much as I can right here in these pages.

A reader yesterday asked if I was still doing 1500 calories a day. I'm actually doing 1800 now. Every now and then I fall below that number, but never below 1500. Thank you for asking!

Thank you for reading. Your support is so wonderful to me. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 555 How I Feel Is Most Important and A Friend Notices A Pattern

Day 555

How I Feel Is Most Important and A Friend Notices A Pattern

When the alarm sounded this morning, I was ready to go. I stumbled my way to the kitchen and started the coffee, and before my first sip—I was doing my non-weighted squats. My endurance on these has gradually improved. Twenty in a row was once killer, now twenty is a nice warm-up. I know these squats are helping my glutes (rear), but I mainly see it in my legs. I can now flex and see the outline of my quad muscles. That's a first! We'll call it a non-scale victory! Maybe they're helping my rear too, but it might be awhile before I see that definition. I have three “problem areas” for loose skin, and the rear is one of those areas. I say “problem,” really, it's not a problem. I'm reaching some serious peace with the skin issues. I knew it would be an issue after losing this much weight, but really...as good as I feel these days? It just doesn't matter as much as I thought it did. Feeling stronger and healthier with a confidence level I've never known, that's what really matters. Surgery? Oh...maybe someday, if finances allow, but I'm not as adamant as I once was on the issue.

A friend of mine, after reading yesterday's post, said to me “every time someone has a problem with something you write, you address it and try to smooth it over. Why? Are you afraid that someone isn't going to like you?”

Leave me alone Cruz! Honestly, I just want to communicate effectively. I don't like mis-understandings, especially if I feel responsible for them, having not communicated effectively. And yes—I guess I can't stand the thought of someone not liking me. It's a psychological thing. I spent my entire life thinking (incorrectly) that I had to try extra hard for people to like me, because I had to overcome my hideous size. I didn't have to try so hard. And I need to start realizing that not everyone likes me, and that's OK. It really is. To each his own. Whatever floats your boat. I am who I am and that's all that I am. Thank you Popeye for burning that into my memory. I guess I finally understand what that spinach lover was talking about. And Cruz...why do you have to be so brutally honest with me? Oh...because you're a good friend, that's right. Love ya man.

A year ago today I was staring down a Mexican buffet with ease and complete confidence. From March 23rd, 2009:

Today a client asked me to lunch. The place? El Patio Mexican Restaurant. Guess who suggested it? I did, even though the place is known for their lunch buffet. I'm confident enough now to walk in, walk right past that buffet, sit down in a booth that I couldn't think about sitting in six months ago, and order ala carte. I had two crunchy chicken tacos and a few chips and salsa. Easy as anything, and I got out of there for under 450 calories. I originally estimated those tacos at 240 a piece, but after comparing the calories of the same thing at several large mexican restaurants around the country, I had to count them as 170. Had I left the mounds of cheese on them, both tacos total would have been 600 easily. But I just left enough cheese to taste, a wise calorie budgeting decision indeed. We had four of us at the table, and not one ordered the buffet. This losing weight and feeling great stuff is contagious! The biggest difference I noticed in my behavior was the fact that I didn't miss the buffet. I didn't sit there and salivate over the endless supply of enchiladas and cheese dip. It wasn't a big deal. I was there on business and the chicken tacos were very satisfying. That change in mindset is huge for me. I can honestly say I had zero desire for that buffet today. The coolest thing about the meeting today at the restaurant was the greeting I received. I've worked with this particular client a few times, but not at all in the last six months. I was met at the front doors of the place with a big “wow, what have you been doing? You've lost a bunch of weight!” And that reaction came from someone who's been around me maybe sixteen hours total over the last couple of years. When someone has that reaction it feels absolutely amazing! The difference physically is dramatic. The difference mentally is even greater.

The physical difference is dramatically better now and the mental difference is still better. Very nice. I've enjoyed that restaurant a few times since that day, and every time---I make sure to leave feeling good about my choices. I guess my biggest concern isn't disappointing others, it's disappointing myself. I can handle it if someone doesn't like me...but I want to like me. And good choices make me feel that way.

I enjoyed a small serving of sweet and sour chicken with rice for dinner. I was having dinner with a friend and they wanted Chinese. I was flying blind and eating small, because I just wasn't sure about the calories. It's a hesitant instinct that is usually right on the money. I found some comparable dishes online and my jaw hit the floor. It didn't make me go over budget, but I was left with a whopping 23 calories for the day. Ouch. I don't even care for Chinese that much. Certainly not enough to invest 760 calories in a small portion of sweet and sour chicken and fried rice. And don't even start with the sodium talk...I know! It was a meal. And a meal that I very rarely eat. Moving on now!

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 554 Come Monday It'll Be All Right, Seating Arrangements, and Time Revisited

Day 554

Come Monday It’ll Be All Right, Seating Arrangements, and Time Revisited

Monday mornings…hmmm. They can really set the tone for our week. It’s the beginning, a fresh start, “starting Monday, things are going to be different!” I must have used that phrase a hundred times before it stuck on Monday September 15th, 2008. I know that my Monday morning attitude is crucial to the success of my week. It’s time to buckle down, it’s time to finish strong, it’s time to feel good about where we’re headed. It’s time to get organized in that direction! It’s Monday. It’s time to make it a good one.

Yesterday I talked about the importance of a sense of humor and then I used a long excerpt from Day 8, talking about chair breaking---and my worst experience in chair breaking. I honestly don’t think breaking chairs is funny, it’s not. Chad sent me an e-mail last night, a rather disgusted tone of an e-mail:

Sean, I’m sorry but I can’t find a single thing funny about breaking chairs. In an interview, at an event with family and friends, or alone. It’s never funny, only humiliating and sad. I normally agree with everything you write, but not today. I’m disappointed. --Chad

Chad my friend, I’ve destroyed over a dozen chairs in my life. Some in public, and I fully understand what you’re saying. It’s always embarrassing, humiliating, and extremely sad. I don’t find it funny. What I found funny was the circumstances surrounding that job interview chair breaking incident. It was the worst possible time for me to have a chair give, and that wasn’t the funny part. The funny part was something I can’t describe well. It was the program director’s reaction and his offering me an identical chair instead. It’s been seven years since that happened, so maybe time has made it easier for me to laugh. But I certainly understand how you wouldn’t find it the least bit funny. I’ve dreamed of sitting in chairs without worry my entire life. And after losing the first 245 pounds, I can sit basically anywhere I need—It’s a dream come true. Chad, you’re on your way to this place too, and I can’t wait to welcome you!

It’s amazing how much I would stress over seating arrangements. At over 500 pounds, it totally consumed me. If we were headed to a get together of some sort---it was on my mind. If someone suggested a restaurant we had never tried—Oh my…I would ask Irene “what do I do if the seating is too small?” “We’ll ask for a chair, don’t worry.” “Yeah but, what if the chair has arms?” “What if all they have are fixed booths and no chairs?” “I can’t fit in a booth without doing internal damage!” It was a horrible routine that I repeated over and over---for more than twenty years. It quickly became an unspoken dilemma---it was just understood among family and friends: Don’t pick a place where Sean will be uncomfortable. Restaurants with easy and sturdy seating became our favorite places. Imagine that, a restaurant becoming your favorite---not because of the food, but because of their seating arrangement. I give thanks that those days are over for me. But I’ll never forget how horribly consuming and painful those experiences were to my family and me. They were anything but funny.

I decided to be more aware of my water consumption today. I consumed more than enough! It’s one thing to say “Oh, I know I need to drink more water,” and another to actually do it. I did today, now---we’ll try it again tomorrow. It’s amazing to me, that after a year and a half on this road, I still struggle with the basic fundamentals of weight loss success. It certainly proves that you don’t have to be perfect to have success. I’ve been far from perfect this entire trip!

I also decided that I would workout today in a fashion that would make me feel good about my performance. I’ve had way too many workouts recently that were less than good. Anything is better than nothing, but it’s also easy to let that statement become a rationale for not giving it my all. My workout tonight at the YMCA was fantastic! I did the weight machines and the treadmill afterward. I control the level of my workout---when I want to push it, I can by simply making myself jog a little more. I can walk all day long, I can’t jog all day long. Nothing gets my heart rate up like a good jog. The sweat confirmed---I was working it good and hard tonight. I needed that.

I was reading Day 189 today, and once again---I needed to read it. It was all about time---and it’s role in this weight loss journey. Time has the easiest job…it just keeps on keeping on. That’s it. Here’s an excerpt from exactly one year ago today:

I've always been rather impatient. I'm a “I want it now” kind of guy. This naturally impatient attitude has discouraged me during past weight loss attempts because the time that's required to get down to a normal weight seems so overwhelming. I guess until now I never really thought about the multitude of rewards and victories along the way. I always focused on the total amount I needed to lose, then I would look at the calendar and get discouraged. 'This is going to take forever,' I thought. Then someone would chime in with the popular “you didn't grow to over 500 pounds overnight, you can't lose it overnight either.” Of course then I would day dream for twenty minutes about how cool that would be, if we could actually lose it over night. On second thought that might be kind of scary. Too much too soon kind of thing. It's crazy that I let myself get discouraged over the time it takes to lose weight naturally. Because a year later I'd still be over 500 pounds. And that's exactly the point I had to convince myself. Time doesn't really care what we do. Time keeps moving right along like clockwork, uh, it is clockwork. No matter what we do in the next twelve months, good or bad, it's still going to be March 22, 2010 in one year.

Time is a constant, that's a pretty simple statement. But it's one I really had to wrap myself around. I had to dig deep to battle my impatient personality. I finally realized that I really needed to forget about time. Time doesn't need me to worry about it, it'll keep moving right along without any help or hindrance. Instead of focusing on how much time it's going to take, I had to focus on what I needed to do each day to succeed. And then when I do take the time to notice the time, I'm happy with the progress I've made and continue to make. It's day 189 by golly, 189! I've lost over 131 pounds! That's almost three quarters of a pound a day! You can tell that I don't really pay much attention to time because on March 15th's blog I didn't mention the fact that it was exactly the sixth month mark of this journey. It totally escaped me.

Will it take a year total to reach my goal? Maybe it takes another year from now? Who cares! I'll be there when I get there, then I'll look at the clock and marvel at how far I've come in such a relatively short time. I didn't grow to over 500 pounds in a year or a year and a half, but I can get to my ideal weight in that time? I guess time really is on my side huh? We've all been in a situation where we were watching the seconds tick by on a clock conveniently positioned near our face. Maybe you were in class, or in a doctors office, or at work. When you constantly focus on the clock it can feel like forever! That's why I don't. Time will do it's thing, and I'll do mine, we'll meet up later in a triumphant celebration of accomplishment.

I was alone tonight for dinner. I prepared a chicken breast and a can of Progresso Light French Onion soup. I enjoyed a 110-calorie Blue Bunny low-fat ice cream bar for desert. It was good! When I realized I still had over 150 calories remaining for the day, I whipped up a couple of scrambled eggs with mushrooms and salsa.

After dinner, I organized my thoughts for the speaking event I’m doing on Thursday. I can talk all day long about weight loss, but these people deserve a clear beginning, middle, and end. It’s a lot like organizing a stand-up routine, just less scripted---and a thousand times more real and satisfying for me. I’ll be sure to include the size 64 jeans too! Those always get “wow” reactions. Glad I kept that one pair.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,
Sean

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 553 Laughter Is Critical and Hey, Sometimes Life Is Funny!

Day 553

Laughter is Critical and Hey, Sometimes Life Is Funny!

This morning started like a normal workday. It was Sunday, but I was up by 5am, eating breakfast and getting ready to report to the studio. We received some snow yesterday and there was a chance that we might need to announce closings and cancellations. Lucky for us around here, it wasn’t as bad as the forecasters had predicted. I was home by 9:30am, and I found my way back to bed by 10am. I was up late Saturday night and we were headed to Stillwater later today, so I needed a nap!

After the seriousness of yesterday’s post, I thought I would clarify something. A great sense of humor is needed along the way. Laughter is critical in our lives! When I said that I would never “lighten up,” I simply meant---never compromise our mission. If something---anything threatens your resolve; you’ve got to beat it down in the most serious of ways. This is that important. But you can’t walk around all serious and frowning all the time. Smile! Look at what you’re doing for yourself!! Smiling and laughing, looking back and remembering once painful situations---softened and lightened up by time and distance, and never losing that ability to laugh.

This is serious business, but it’s life too. And sometimes life is funny.
Here’s an excerpt from Day 8. It was humiliating at the time it occurred, flat out embarrassing, but now---It’s hilarious to me:

One of the things I look forward to is being able to sit down anywhere I want without worrying about the stability of the chair underneath. I've mentioned before that my job has me sitting down most of the day, and over the years the stress has been just too much...on the chairs. I'm being completely honest with you when I say that I've broken or contributed to the destruction of at least six chairs in the several years I've been with Team Radio. I say “contributed to” because a couple actually broke when another employee (who was the lightest of everyone) sat in them. I was the first to say...”well, it's good to know that I'm not the only one that breaks chairs”...But I knew it was me that brought those chairs to the point of giving up.

There's nothing like the humiliation of sitting in a chair, feeling it give, and before you know it, you're on the floor in front of everyone. The company even paid a welder to come out and reinforce a couple of chairs. Oh, that's not embarrassing at all! I have to say that my current studio chair is the best I've ever had. The owner of Team Radio paid a bunch of money for it. It is rated to handle 500 pounds on a 24 hour a day schedule. It is a heavy duty chair! And it has a warranty guarantee...The deal is, if I break it, I have to be the one that takes it to the store for repairs. I think I could jump up and down on it and it would still hold. It's real nice. But it's not just the sturdiness of the chair that's important. It's the size. Chairs with narrow arms are horrible. I would really like to know the name of the company that manufactures those metal chairs with the extremely narrow armrest. You see them in many offices, along with me standing in the corner, because I know better than to even attempt to sit down. These chairs are a snug fit for normal size people! I have sat on the very edge of one before and boy is that uncomfortable!

One of the worst sitting challenges I will not miss: fixed booths at restaurants. If you're of normal size you may not realize what I'm talking about, but if you're heavy, then you know that nothing spoils a fun night out like a restaurant with un-fat-friendly seating. I've squeezed into many a booth, and the whole time worried about the possible internal injuries I was causing. I've also walked into a restaurant, surveyed the dining room, and walked right back out. Formica lined row-a-booths are fat people traps and they should be outlawed!! There, I feel much better now.

My worst chair story happened in the spring of 2003. I was living in Los Angeles at the time doing stand-up 100%. One day I ran across a part time on-air opening at Westwood One Radio Networks. A part-time job there would pay about or a little more than full time salaries anywhere else I had ever worked. So needless to say I was excited about winning over this network program director! I sent in my material and what do you know, he called me! He was seriously considering hiring me! Or he wouldn't have called right? I was thrilled. I would be on the air all over the nation! “This could be big”, I thought. The PD called me in for an interview the very next day. I drove to Valencia early to beat whatever traffic might get in the way, then after arriving an hour and a half early I took a long lunch at the Burger King down the road from Magic Mountain. When I finally arrived at Westwood One I was immediately given the grand tour of the facilities. Very nice. I mean, extremely nice studios. I was so impressed. The PD seemed very cool and I felt very comfortable, that is until I walked into his office for the interview. I noticed right away his guest chairs were not “fat friendly”. Extremely narrow arms and that wood and hot glued look. The PD took his chair behind his desk and told me to have a seat. I was afraid he was going to expect me to sit down! So I did...as lightly as I could on the very edge of the chair...and about point 2 seconds later the chair crumbled under my weight. I quickly caught myself from falling by grabbing his desk, but the chair wasn't so lucky. And neither were my chances of getting that job. After I broke one of his chairs, he invited me to sit in the other chair that WAS IDENTICAL to the one I just broke!!! I did, the same way as before, but this time with as much weight on my feet against the floor. Lucky for me the second chair somehow survived. My interview didn't. He never called me back. And I bet he tells that story to this day around the halls and studios of Westwood One Radio. Glad I could add some humor to their work place.


The biggest interview of my life and I completely destroy a chair at the start. Horrible then, but it makes me smile now. And if I think about it too much, I laugh out loud. Strange how that works.

One of my daily reads is a blog that has grown in popularity over the last 11 ½ months. Not only has Jack been amazingly successful at losing weight---he writes a must read weight loss blog on my list. I read Jack for a smile, for a laugh…and occasionally—he hits me with a serious post that is right on target. Even if I didn’t realize that I was the perfect target. I can’t imagine that you haven’t discovered his blog yet, but if not---here it is: www.jackfit.blogspot.com Thanks Jack for reminding me that it’s important to have fun and laugh along the way! They say that laughter can add years to your life. If that’s true, I may live to 120 after reading Jack’s blog. Thank you Jack!

My daughters and I traveled South to Stillwater late this afternoon to have dinner out with mom and then visit with grandma, Aunt Kelli, and mom back at grandmas house. Grandma is convinced that I should be done losing weight, she kept telling me---the same thing she tells me every time she sees me “don’t lose another pound!” It’s her way of saying “you look great!” Thank you again grandma—it makes me feel great every time you say it!

We dined at Taco Mayo tonight. I’ve written about this place many times. 163 calorie tacos. I had two loaded up with veggies. I probably should have had three, because I was short by 400 calories by the time I got back home. I used a little over three hundred on an omelet when I arrived back home.

My mom and Kelli are doing absolutely wonderful. They’re both exercising, both sticking to their calorie budgets, and they’re both losing weight successfully! Sounds great! I’m thrilled for them like you wouldn’t believe.

It wasn’t long before we had to see Amber drive away, back to school. They really should consider making Spring Break a two week event. I’d really enjoy that.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,
Sean

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 552 Tragedy In Tulsa and This Journey Is Critically Important

Day 552

Tragedy In Tulsa and This Journey Is Critically Important

This isn’t how I planned on starting out this Saturday post. But as I sat down to write early on this Sunday morning, I was made aware of something that just zapped me. I didn’t know Bethany, I didn’t read her blog, even though she lived and blogged not even 100 miles from my doorstep. We just never found each other in this worldwide weight loss blogging community, I wish I had known her. I’ve learned this morning that her desire to lose weight was fueled by many reasons, but most pressing was a heart condition. She was only 33 when she passed away late Friday night of a heart attack while shopping in Tulsa. I read her post this morning from Thursday and had chills overcome me, because I knew it was her last post before this tragedy. Normally when I feature someone’s blog address, it’s a positive happy thing. Not today. It’s so sad. Bethany leaves behind a family, including a husband and two young boys. You can visit her blog and if you have the time, leave your condolences. I’m sure her family will read your words. http://bethanymcdonald.blogspot.com Rest in peace Bethany. Your family is in my prayers.

This journey is life or death. It’s serious business. I remember about a year ago, a friend of mine commented “wow, you’re so over-dramatic, lighten up a little!” No, no, no! This is too important to lighten up a little! If you’re struggling to keep a hold of this weight loss road you’re on---don’t ever give up. You’re too important. Bethany wasn’t giving up either; she was working hard and moving forward. This whole tragic situation makes me thank God for the blessings in my life—and it reinforces the importance level of this mission. Call me over-dramatic if you wish, but where is your importance level? The time is now my friend. Live, learn, laugh, love, lose weight, get in shape---do it all like you’ll live to be 100. This journey is about living. But never minimize the importance level of what you’re doing in your pursuit, because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow.

Now what do I say? You know what? I’ll give you a quick re-cap and close it down for today. I woke up early, I blogged, had a good breakfast, and a decent indoor workout. I went back to bed and slept for several hours as the blizzard raged outside. I reported to the studio shortly after 4pm for announcing duties during the storm. Met a friend for dinner, and then retired back to my place for a goodnights rest before having to return to the studio at 6am Sunday morning.

We’re headed to Stillwater Sunday. Amber and Courtney will accompany me as we visit and catch up with the family. We don’t make that 45 mile trip enough. Thank you so much for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,
Sean

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 551 Where's My SCZ? and Retreating To Dreamland

Day 551

Where's My SCZ? and Retreating To Dreamland

Sometimes it's a good idea to pause long enough to reflect on all of the good instead of focusing on a small amount of the bad. I spent a good part of today stressing out over temporary problems. It completely affected my mood and did it's very best to tackle my resolve. The things I've conquered in the last 551 days have been monumental and nothing short of life changing, so why would I let relatively small, temporary circumstances cast clouds of depression over my day? I'm a winner. I'm winning. Even the grandest of champions have a bad day every once in a while. I didn't achieve this clarity until tonight sometime, long after I spent the day in a cloudy funk.

I dealt with some serious food issues today. At one point, I even considered buying two deep fried corn dogs for a dollar at the local convenience store deli case. I tried hard to rationalize that choice. I was trying to come up with a decent guesstimate of calories and everything. I quickly and soundly defeated that crazy idea. I knew that I was being influenced by my emotions of the moment. I don't do deep fried corn dogs anymore, I just don't. Did I have the calories available? Yes. But I knew that my desire for those batter dipped and fried hot dogs had zero to do with calories, hunger, and nourishment, and everything to do with my stress level and emotions. I even thought about the extra calories for the ketchup. But plain yellow mustard is nearly calorie free--yeah but ketchup is what I want! I decided that giving into this impulse was something I just couldn't allow, so I drove right past the “two corn dogs for a dollar” sign. Still, I didn't get through this day unscathed.

I had a 110 calorie low-fat ice cream bar shortly after I arrived home. Then, I grabbed another. And another. I was abusing those things! The same ideas and thoughts I defeated about the corn dogs, I allowed with the ice cream bars. This meltdown was still within my calorie budget for the day, but it was still a meltdown. There is a difference now. And that difference is the ability to recognize and admit what I'm doing when I'm doing it. It doesn't make it right. Those 110 calorie ice cream bars are meant to be occasional calorie friendly treats, not mini-binge items.

When I opened the fridge again, looking for more food to make me feel better, I stopped myself. I decided I needed to go to sleep, just take a nap. I needed to remove myself from this situation. My calorie budget was still intact, but I had the crazy feeling and look that screamed to hell with it all! That feeling scares me to death. Doesn't this feeling know who I am? I'm Sean Anderson darn it! I've figured this stuff out! What the hell did I do with my steel curtain zone? I'm above this crap! Or am I? No, no...not even I am above this crap. I'd like to think so. I've convinced myself of it pretty good. But today proved to me that I'm not that far, as scary as it is to type these words, oh man...very tough and scary---Today proved that with some serious stress and a bad attitude---I can be derailed. I can be defeated. If I choose to be defeated. I had to retreat to dreamland.

I remember Day 60. It was a horrible day. And as I wrote this blog that night---I was constantly pestered by the thoughts of going on an out of control binge. I had to escape---and I knew that if I just made myself go to sleep, I might wake with a renewed attitude and resolve.
Here's an excerpt from Day 60 “Convincing Myself To Be Strong” written November 13th, 2008---actually, except for "goodnight and good choices," this is pretty much the entire post:

Sometimes it's easy to forget the very important reasons why I'm doing this. For me it's a desire to have a better life. I want to have a longer, healthier life. I want to feel freedom from obesity. I want to experience the things in life that being extremely overweight prohibits. I don't ever want to be scared about a little twinge in my chest, wondering if I'm about to have a heart attack. I want to be active with my family, do things that we've never done, because it wasn't what fat people do. I want to swim. I want to run. I want to free my family and my mind of worry over my weight. These are the reasons I must continue this mission faithfully, honestly, and with a determined spirit.

Today has been real tough. The toughest so far. I have somehow dodged every urge to cheat today. But I swear, it's taking every bit of will power I can muster. I've allowed a few different personal issues to weaken my resolve this evening. I feel defeated even though I'm not defeated. I'm having horrendous cravings right now that I can't satisfy. I honestly feel the best thing for me to do at this very moment is to go to bed and sleep. I need to renew my spirit with a good nights rest. Tomorrow will be a new and better day. It will find me stronger. My commitment to myself, my family, this mission, and this blog is too strong to give in to temporary frustrations and desires. But I'll tell ya, I really need Day 60 to be over now. I'm going to go sleep.

So here we are, nearly 500 days and over 200 pounds later---and we still had to employ this self-defense mechanism. And that's exactly it. It's self-defense. When all else fails, it's time to go nighty-night. When the steel curtain zone is drooping and the motivating thoughts are being over-run by the stressful situation of the moment, and I stress of the moment, that's when I must go to sleep. And I did for almost three hours.

I woke with the same issues over me, but with a different attitude. It's all about the attitude isn't it? I needed to exercise and I knew it. I needed to turn this day around. I headed to the trail and while I was there the winds shifted with a cold front barreling in on us. It was nearly 70 degrees today, but a blizzard is imminent tomorrow...this blast of cold wind in my face was just the start. It was enough for me to cut short my planned 5K, sending me back into the warmth of my apartment. And it was enough to remind me just how wonderful this journey has been.

As I walked, I looked over at the Hutchins Memorial Auditorium---and in my mind, I was back on Day 1. That building isn't that big around, but one revolution was all my 505 pound body could take that first night. I remember the fear that I would have a heart attack from my slow waddle around that building, but I knew I had to move, I had to do this now. I had to be free and this was the only way out. I took it slow, and I still do---and I've made it to a wonderful place on this road. I get emotional when I realize how far I've really traveled. And you know something? There isn't a temporary circumstance that can steal it away from me. Not happening.

I talked with mom tonight. I needed to hear her enthusiasm. I try to not let mom know when I'm having a hard time, because mom is a big worrier. But mom can sense things, I know she can. I kept the focus on her, trying to sneak my bad day around our conversation. She's recently claimed a three pound loss and she's thrilled! I'm so happy for her too. Her weight hasn't been this low since she was 50 years old, and she said “it's because of the walking!” And, I gently reminded her, it's also because of her commitment to her calorie budget. We talked about the blizzard coming and her response was very simple: “I guess I'll be walking indoors.” That's the kind of commitment that will get her to her “20 something” weight! We're talking pre-Seanboy weight---yeah, she's on her way my friend. She's really going to do it. And “it” is adding years to her life. I love that, and I love her dearly. Thank you mom for lifting my spirits tonight. You may not have realized just how much you helped me, but you did.

I enjoyed a can of soup tonight, loaded with 150 calories worth of crackers—it was good, hot, and filling. This day is over. Thank goodness. And thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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Recent picture of Mom and Me

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Mom and me--Before

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 550 A Nice Simple Day and Dreams Of All Sizes

Day 550

A Nice Simple Day and Dreams Of All Sizes

Thank you for all of the wonderful comments and e-mails regarding the tattoo. Several have said that once you start, you just want more. Not me, no---this is all I need. “505” reminds me of everything. I could have had “good choices,” or something else important to me, but really, “505” says it all.

I started the day with scrambled eggs and salsa. I was mixing it up a bit! Amber joined me for breakfast and my radio show. She sounds really good on the air. We had a great time and surprisingly, Amber actually likes some of the songs I play. She’s growing up and her taste in music is becoming more diverse. It’s very cool to witness. I’m so proud of her!

After the show I took her back to the apartment so she could go back to bed. Our schedules are completely different! I grabbed a snack and returned to the studio.

It was a long day and by the time 5pm rolled around, I seriously had to have a nap. My plan was simple: Nap for an hour and jump up for my workout. Well, I napped a little longer than that. But I still got my workout in tonight. I visited the Y for the weight machines and then hit the trail for some cardio. I didn’t do a 10K, not even a 5K. I just did a nice two-mile walk/jog. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it got my heart rate up.

This transformation has been a dream come true on so many levels. Big dreams and little dreams---a bunch of them have been fulfilled, and many more are on the horizon. I try to stay focused on those dreams not yet realized, and sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do…and then moments like right now, it’s clear. I know where I’m headed. And I plan on arriving in grand style!

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,
Sean

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 549 Weigh Day and The Tattoo

Day 549

Weigh Day and The Tattoo

Weigh day has been a pleasure every two weeks. And even as it’s slowed dramatically over the last several months, we’re still headed in the right direction. A friend made the comment today “you shouldn’t have that much left to lose.” Actually, I do…and I could show you the pictures to prove it, but uh…yeah, no…I can’t. Not brave enough to show those “exposed” pictures just yet. Maybe someday when my fitness level is more defined, I’ll be able to let go and post them. I applaud the brave people that have posted “exposed” pictures on their blog, I just can’t do it yet. Trust me. It’s best for all of us that I wait, even though that kind of goes against the proud spirit of the “exposed” movement.

I don’t have a scale in my home. I just don’t. If I did, I might be tempted to jump on it everyday---and if you are a regular reader, then you know how I feel about weighing too often and the negative effects it can have on our brains. So I opt to weigh at the doctors office. The only problem with that arrangement? I can’t weigh first thing in the morning. I could change that though, I’ve thought about weighing at the YMCA at 5:30am every weigh day. That might be a good idea actually. I may do that!

Here’s a confession: I sometimes abuse my metabolism on weigh day, by eating just a bare minimum of calories before the weigh-in. I feel like, if I eat normally before I weigh---then I might be negatively affecting my results. Weighing early at the YMCA is the solution to that craziness. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of doing that before now. Hmmm. It’s very strange for me to accept the idea that I can weigh anywhere now. There isn’t a scale that I can’t use. So different from when I was entertaining the idea of weighing at the farmers co-op where they weigh hogs and truckloads of grain. Very different.

I was crossing my fingers and hoping to see 259 on the scale today. I envisioned it, I focused hard, I wished and hoped and wished some more. But no amount of wishing and re-weighing would make the scale go down another pound. Nope…only good workouts and choices can get me there, and it will. I weighed 260 today. That’s 3 more pounds down, and a total of 245 lost!

I can’t help asking myself what might happen if I put two solid weeks of super focused and serious workouts back to back to back? I bet the results would shock my britches off. Seriously, 3 more pounds is wonderful, that’s great---but you know I’m capable of more…and most importantly, I know I’m capable of more. As I walked back to the vehicle after my weigh-in, I had the crazy thought: Maybe if I go home and change out of these jeans and into some really light-weight wind pants and a super thin shirt, I bet the scale would show 259, heck for, maybe even 258! But no…I’m 260. And that’s a wonderful thing.

I’ve talked before about my desire to get a tattoo. I wanted a simple “505” somewhere on my body where I can see it as a reminder of how far I’ve come. The original plan was cool: Backwards and right over the heart, so in a mirror, it would look right to me. I decided that was too complicated. Give me a simple “505” on my upper left arm! That’ll do me just fine. Amber wanted one too, not “505,” but a crescent moon with stars on her upper right shoulder blade. She’s 20, an adult, ok! So we made our way to the tattoo place this evening.

We were both a little nervous. OK—honestly, we were scared horribly. I joked with Amber about walking out right before. I wasn’t really joking. She thought I was. But had she said “let’s go dad,” I would have bolted. I’m not a tattoo person. I never dreamed I’d ever get one either. But this one is special to me. It’s small, simple, and full of powerful emotions and meaning for me. Just a simple “505.” But the story behind that number, oh my…that story is all here in these 549 blog pages.

The tattoo artist was really good too. His name is Mike Springer and he works for Skinsations in Arkansas City, Kansas. Mike is an amazing artist. Our simple tattoos didn’t come close to challenging his artistic excellence. He was very cool and even expressed interest in reading this blog. When I explained the reason for “505,” his first question was “how? Tell me!” I shared the blog address and he shared his desire to lose weight too. It was nice. I hope he comes around these pages sometime.

We were faced with dinner out in Ark City while we waited for our tattoo times. We picked a very simple Mexican fast food place. We both agreed that we just couldn’t handle the big nationally known chain, so we decided on a small regional favorite instead. I enjoyed three small beef tacos. They were really good and not too greasy. I compared these tacos with other taco chain calorie counts and concluded that each taco had approximately 150 calories. We didn’t count on being there so long. We didn’t get out of the tattoo place until just after 10pm. Then we had to wait until midnight to take off the bandages and doctor the tats. It was too late to be up, considering that the alarm was set for 4am—with Amber joining me for my show Thursday morning. We are both going to need a nap tomorrow!

Thank you for reading. I guess there’s no turning back. I have ink now. I’m officially a bad *ss. I’m kidding. I’m so not a bad *ss. I’m just Sean. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,
Sean

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Amber’s tattoo!


Getting the “505” ink.

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Trying really hard to look tough. Can I stop flexing my poor little bicep already? It’s been through enough tonight! I like it! I guess I better, huh? I mean—it’s with me for life, that’s how these things work. We did have a good laugh when we heard a “Tattoo Regret” commercial for a local Laser Center…a commercial that I voiced, how funny. No regrets!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 548 Two Breakfasts and No More Ulcer Pain

Day 548

Two Breakfasts and No More Ulcer Pain

I’m going to buy a bike and a jump rope. Those were two of my earliest thoughts this morning. I’ve been talking about the bike for sometime. I had a jump rope at one time, but it’s one of the things that ended up in Irene’s stuff. No big deal…seven bucks and I’m back in the jump rope business. I have to set a time limit for the acquisition of these items, or I’ll just keep saying “I’m gonna get me one of those.” The bike—by the end of the month. The jump rope---by the end of the week. There…it’s decided.

You know tomorrow is weigh day again, and If I don’t like the numbers, I have no one to blame but me and my casual workout performances. What happened to finishing strong? And by finish, I mean---getting to where I want to be. If you’re a regular reader you must be nauseous from hearing about this by now. But seriously---No beating myself up. Just know---Sean is great on food and the mental understandings involved in overcoming his food addiction, but Sean is sometimes really lazy when it comes time to lace up and get after it! Sean needs to suck it up and get busy. And Sean needs to stop referring to himself in third person.

I enjoyed a two whole egg breakfast pita with a ½ ounce of swiss cheese. It was wonderful, filling, and 250 calories. I also enjoyed a banana---taking my morning food calories to 350. I was set and ready to cruise to mid-morning before enjoying some apple slices. And then a wonderful guest came bearing gifts! Kat Long was a special guest on my show this morning. She is with the Ponca City Development Authority and is promoting Census 2010. Kat is really into good wholesome foods. She brought me a jar of fresh raw milk, straight from the cow and a container of real butter. Real butter. Plus a wholesome homemade cookie and a special fresh fruit and avocado smoothie she made in her own kitchen. It was all really good stuff. I had already enjoyed breakfast, but today I would enjoy two breakfasts. I drank the smoothie and enjoyed the cookie with about a quarter cup of the milk. I had just enough to enjoy that amazingly fresh, straight-from-the-cow taste. It was absolutely incredible. I was doing my best at calculating the calories while asking Kat about the ingredients…I guessed too low. After readjusting the count, we agreed that I had consumed approximately 300 calories during my show. But it was good stuff. And the one thing I’ve learned about really good stuff is this: It typically has more calories.

It’s a trade, not a bad thing, just a trade. Better ingredients, nothing artificial, good for your body stuff---and you add a little more calories. Kat knows I’m interested in my ever-evolving good choices, she reads here everyday, and I sincerely appreciated her wonderful gifts! Thank you Kat!

I recently talked all about the mental aspects of losing weight. Today I read Day 183 and once again the mental aspects of this journey were front and center. From March 16th, 2009:

I'm feeling very upbeat these days. It seems no matter what is thrown my way, it doesn't shake my resolve to become what I desire and arrive exactly where I'm headed. That's a key difference between this journey and past attempts. In the past I would allow the slightest tilt of my “comfort zone” to throw me completely off track. It's a nice place to be. Basically, it's like I've finally figured out how to separate my emotions from my actions. I always permitted my emotions to completely control me. Turning to food for comfort was always the easiest thing. Often times, Ok, more like every time something didn't go like I wanted, or I had a bad day, or I was upset about anything at all...I'd use it as an excuse to cut loose and devour as much food as I could.

And it wasn't exclusive to negative emotions. When I would experience positive emotions, I'd celebrate, or enhance my good mood with plenty of food and couch time. This pattern of excess no matter the emotions is what led to my weight soaring to over 500 pounds. Reversing this life long pattern and instinct has been a real-life exercise in better understanding of my personal psychology. I look at food very differently now. Where before I could quit and go back to my old eating habits at the drop of a hat, I honestly don't think I could now. If you told me I had to eat a quarter gallon of Blue Bell, as crazy as this might sound coming from me, I seriously don't think I could make myself. I haven't “stuffed” myself in 183 days and you know what? I don't miss it and I haven't the slightest desire for it. I'm rarely hungry, if at all it's first thing in the morning. One thing I've noticed, I haven't had an ulcer attack at all in the last six months. Before, when I'd get stressed, I'd eat of course, and not just a little, a bunch. The combination of stress and being stuffed would occasionally cause me to be up most of the night with my stomach burning like fire and me throwing up until my throat was raked with stomach acid and I could barely talk, not good for someone who talks for a living. Needless to say, I missed many a morning show because of my ulcer attacks. I think it's strange I haven't had one since I started this journey, because there's still stress in my life, I've just cut out the excessive eating and now I actually exercise on purpose.

It's amazing what pain will make us promise ourselves. I can remember being in the middle of an attack with my mid section burning and my throat raw from throwing up, and my lips crusty from chugging Maalox, and saying out loud--- “this is it, I'm done, I'm losing this weight, I never want to feel this way again!” But then the pain would go away right along with my promise to change. The next day I'd act like it never happened. I'm sure my employer has noticed I haven't used as many sick days as I did before starting this journey.

Update: Make that 548 days without an ulcer attack! I fully understand that different people have different stomach ulcers, but for me---just eating reduced portions was enough to rid me of these painful episodes. The stress still exist in my life---now more than ever, but still---ulcer pain free. Joy!

Tomorrow is weigh day. I don’t know what I’ll find waiting for me on the scale, but whatever it is---I’ll be thrilled. I’ll tell you what I’d love to see… 259! Yeah---I’d give anything to finally be done with the 260’s. Oh wait---I have the power to give the effort in my workouts that can help get me there…so, uh…yeah. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. I’m going to use some of that fresh raw milk in my steel cut oats tomorrow morning, just a little bit…just enough.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,
Sean





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