Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 622 Mother Nature Had Other Plans and Some Very Special Pictures

Day 622

Mother Nature Had Other Plans and Some Very Special Pictures

I slept late today, I did. I even tried to sleep longer, but my body wouldn't let me. We had a Sunday in front of us---so it was up and to the coffee pot. I would really like to cut way down on my coffee dependency, because it is a dependency---one of those things that I choose to enjoy out of pleasure, and as much as I hate to admit it...out of addiction. I'm addicted to coffee! You know how I am with my calorie budget, and yet---some days, I might spend as much as 150 to 200 calories on creaming that coffee. Usually, most of the time, less than 100 calories are allotted, but some days---oh, some need more coffee than others!

I enjoyed my coffee with a 200 calorie egg white, cheese, and veggie breakfast wrap. It was so good, so filling---and a great calorie value. I spent some time writing and then started making plans for a good workout and dinner with my daughters later. I talked with Courtney and she invited me for a pre-dinner workout with her and her boyfriend. It was set: We would meet at the trail for a good two mile walk/jog, followed by swimming in the big pool at the home of one of her friends. This was going to be a great workout day! I know that I was trying to make Sunday a rest day---but with my crazy schedule, the best plan is to make a rest day fall on a busy workday. I have no idea why I didn't think of that before.

After writing yesterday's post, my mind was in need of rest and relaxation. I took a little break, knowing that a great workout and evening was ahead. And then the storms started brewing. Oh wow, I didn't plan on that! I'm on call for severe weather coverage, so I checked the radar image, and sure enough---I had to head to the studio. I called and canceled my workout plans with Court and Brad, and headed for the studio.

These were slow moving storms. We're talking ten, fifteen miles per hour---in some parts of the storm, five miles per hour---slowly drifting toward our listening area. This is a very recreational area...tons of people are around these parts for this holiday weekend, and many have their radios tuned for coverage, just in case. We had to be on the air with the latest storm information. It was a four hour detour of my evening plans, but it's my job, so I can't complain---or feel bad about missing a great workout. This can happen.

Tomorrow we're traveling to Stillwater for Memorial Day. We'll visit with family and spend some time at the cemetery where my little brother, grandpa, Irene's grandparents Oliver and Bertha, and so many other family members are laid to rest. We'll leave flowers on the granite markers and remember them with love, before heading back into town for a Memorial day dinner.

Everyone in Stillwater is planning on going to the big buffet, The Sirloin Stockade, but I'm trying to influence them in another direction. I'm not afraid of the big hot buffet, not at all. I just have no use for it anymore. Nutritionally and economically---it doesn't make much sense to this 250 pound version of me. Now, 505 pound Sean? Oh yeah, a food addicts dream---because when you're a raging food addict, sometimes...quality doesn't matter. It's quantity over quality---and I'm pretty sure that's in this buffet's and most other buffet's mission statement. The only thing I like about the big buffet is all of the family memories we've shared while dining. I can't count the number of family get-togethers we've enjoyed at this place...it's like a tradition. Time to start some new traditions!

I found some excerpts I wanted to feature from a year ago yesterday, but saved them for today:

One of the things I've learned about losing weight is, sometimes what you perceive to be correct isn't. Some people think that in order to lose weight you have to starve yourself. It's very difficult to convince them that eating more will actually help them lose more weight. I use to think that whatever “works” was good. It depends on your definition of “works.” Most everything works. If you follow any of the “system” plans, you'll lose weight. Even fad diets work, if losing weight is the only goal, sure they can work. But until you wipe the slate clean, until you throw away all of your pre-conceived notions about losing weight and break it down, opening your mind while getting really honest and simple , until then, every weight loss success is temporary. There isn't a need for any special plans or pills. Losing weight doesn't have to cost a penny, in fact you can actually save money on the grocery bill. But this way of thinking goes completely against what many of us have been conditioned to believe our entire lives, that's why the weight loss industry is a 33 billion dollar a year business, because if it doesn't have a price tag then it mustn't work. This perception regulates that the higher the cost, the better the plan or pill. That's why some people will pay upwards of five thousand dollars to lose 30 pounds. Try telling someone that just wrote a five thousand dollar check for the “Zone” plan that they could have saved every penny of that money and lost the weight forever, instead of temporarily. Because when the pre-packaged meals stop coming everyday, then what? Have we learned anything about handling food responsibly in everyday life situations? Have we dug deep and honest enough to really address our bad behaviors with food? Or have we just followed the directions and opened packages to another attempt yielding temporary results? There's a reason why so many people have lost and gained over and over in pure yo-yo fashion. They were only focused on changing the scale and not their mind.

You might think, huh, pretty bold words for someone that hasn't even reached his ultimate goal. If you feel that way, then go back and read this daily blog from the beginning, every single post in the archives, then come back here and see what you think. When I say “another 6 pounds gone forever,” I mean forever! It doesn't hurt my feelings to have doubters, I realize that some people might secretly believe that I'll eventually trip into a giant vat of ice cream and it will all be over. The saddest thing isn't that some people are just naturally cynical, no, the saddest thing is that sometimes the most cynical are the ones you hope will understand this simple and honest approach the best.

Oh my---most of the weight loss industry isn't going to like me someday. I can't help but to be vocal about the understanding and clarity I've gained along this road. There are only a few organizations, people, or companies in the industry that impress me: Weight Watchers, Richard Simmons, and TOPS. Maybe I haven't met them all, so there could possibly be others---but I know those three are the real deal, absolutely. I don't use Weight Watchers, I rarely use Richard's DVD's, and I haven't attended a TOPS meeting since I was 12 years old...but I have tremendous respect and admiration for all three and what they do for people.

Speaking of tremendous respect and admiration---I've posted below some very special pictures in honor of this special weekend of remembrance. I'm a proud son and grandson to veterans of World War 2 and Vietnam. Both of my grandpas--on each side, served in WW2, and my Dad in Vietnam. Their bravery in battle amazes me and fills me with the utmost respect and pride.

My little brother Shane passed away at 24. I remember some wonderful times with Shane---and I sincerely wish I could have had more time with him. I've included a picture of him and mom below.

Today was good on several different levels. Tomorrow will be even better. My dad called and informed me that he'll be here earlier than expected, arriving around 6pm Memorial Day evening. He's staying a week with me and I'm so excited for this time together! Get ready for some amazing pictures. I've never had my mom and dad in the same room together, ever---and it's going to happen. I can't wait!!

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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My grandpa, mom's dad---World War 2

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Grandpa enjoying some free time with his shipmates during the war. I love this picture! Grandpa is the one on the right, closest to the camera.

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My dad in Vietnam. He served two tours of duty, the second---in an effort to keep his younger brother safe at home in the States. That's amazing brotherly love.

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One of my most prized possessions. My dad's Vietnam Veteran hat with the pins and patches that were attached to his uniform in battle.

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Here are some random pictures of dad all on one scanned sheet. The bottom picture is Irene, a three year old Amber, and me---above 500 pounds---visiting Dad in my early twenties. It was the last time I saw him. And that's about to change---he'll be here by 6pm tomorrow for a visit! Can you tell I'm excited?

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My little brother Shane and Mom. We lost Shane in 2001 at the age of 24. I miss him horribly and love him always.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 621 What Is Willpower? and Everyday, We Write The Book

Day 621

What Is Willpower? and Everyday, We Write The Book

Yesterday at my Oklahoma Blood Institute broadcast, a regular listener said to me, “you must have amazing willpower, I don't know how you do it.” I smiled and replied, “Thank you, but it took many years of having zero willpower to get to where I am today.” But what is willpower? To me, it's that “iron-clad” decision to change, it's letting everything that life can throw at you along the way, bounce off of that “steel curtain zone.” But how do we install this imaginary curtain? What do I believe that makes this decision and zone so powerful?

I've thought about that a bunch over the last 24 hours. It's strange how, when you're thinking of something with intensity, confirmations and examples of your beliefs make themselves very clear. During this philosophical dip below the surface, into the “how and why,” I chatted with a friend that has a most amazingly triumphant story---a powerful path, that would leave 99.9% of everyone else waiving the white flag of surrender. She refused to surrender—and took control, navigating a recovery still unfolding. She's making her way forward and free, without hesitation, without fear---just the pure raw power of an iron-clad decision to live, survive, and take back what was taken. She's demanding the best, and refusing to settle, refusing to give up. She's fighting for herself and winning. It's a beautiful thing to witness, it really is amazing. The full scope of her story and victory, when told, will ultimately inspire and give countless others hope.

When I noticed a facebook friend had posted a video of Elvis Costello singing “Everyday I Write The Book,” I listened, and it brought me back into this intense study. It's a cleverly written love song, but it was the title that struck me in a deeper way.

I've written before about how we're all authors of our own story. And let me say this before I go any further: I fully understand and believe that we're at the mercy of a most divine and powerful editor—who ultimately decides when and how our story ends. But at the same time, if we're fortunate, we're given the freedom to take control of our story and rise to the challenge of making it whatever we want it to be.

Will our story be tragic or triumphant? Will we take control of the plot, accepting 100% responsibility for our actions, complete with a self-honesty level that clearly stares down what has held us back? We write the book everyday along this road. My life, or book, was headed for a very sad and tragic end at over 500 pounds. My “character” was depressed over his obesity. He was sad and out of control, feeling hopeless for change---playing and fully accepting the role of victim in so many circumstances, slowly drowning in the sinkhole of life, holding on to all that was good and right—the family, the friends, the blessings---but still sinking, almost giving up and letting go of himself, everything, and everyone. Almost surrendering in a way that would surely leave his family and friends heartbroken.

But wait! I'm the author of this story, you're the author of yours! Is it going to end this way? Nobody can write it for us. We have to be the one to turn it all around for the record. If it's ever going to change, we have to accept the challenge and rise above our circumstances. We make that iron-clad decision, we put up that steel-curtain zone, and we do it because we've decided that tragedy sucks. Our story can be a happy tale, full of triumphant victory---that happy ending where everything seems right with the world. And should our most divine and powerful editor feel the need to give it a tragic and sudden twist, for reasons unknown to you and me, then we can still feel good about and appreciate that we made a difference with our individual vision of how our story could be and what we did to make it that way.

That's what drives my willpower. It's much deeper than just being able to say no to overeating. That kind of control is just the surface. What's below the surface is the driving force toward freedom, a freedom I never knew and always believed was out of reach. Until now. Reach for it, realize that you're the author of your own story and write it with your actions. From someone who spent nearly two decades near, at, or above 500 pounds---I know you can really do it. It's in you--so grab it, write it, and live it!

Ok, this is the Daily Diary---so what about today you ask?

I overslept this morning. I really wanted to hit the 9:30am spinning class, but if you want a cycle, you have to be there by 9am. I chose to stay out a little late last night and I chose to sleep a little long this morning---so getting there by 9am, unfortunately wasn't happening today. I made it a great day by not dwelling on that misstep---and moving forward. I prepared breakfast, spent some time writing, and went out to buy a few much needed things for this apartment. By the time I returned, it was time to workout and think about lunch.

I grabbed the bike and made my way to that old familiar trail. The bike ride is always good---and my walk/jog, well---it wasn't really a jog at all. Just a good brisk walk. It didn't take long for the sweat to start pouring down in this 90 degree weather. I walked and rode to the tunes that inspire me---that speak to me, that empower me. I only did 1.7 miles, two times around, then hit the bike back home. I was actually feeling hungry by then.

I prepared a chicken breast on the Foreman Grill, opened a can of green beans, and baked a serving of fries with ketchup. I thought about making the chicken a sandwich, but I didn't want the extra calories. Yeah, it was a great lunch----I loved it! And at just under 400 calories, my calorie budget loved it too!

I had so much more to write today, complete with an excerpt from a year ago, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow. I had a wonderful evening that started with my oldest daughter and ended with a late night shopping trip at Wal-Mart. I have mushrooms again! I feel complete! Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 620 A Long and Rewarding Friday, A Year Ago, And Look at My Ears!

Day 620

A Long and Rewarding Friday, A Year Ago, And Look at My Ears!

I knew good and well this day would be busy, by work obligations mostly, then by choice later. I didn't hit the snooze button this morning, even though I set it for 3:50am, knowing that a one snooze would take me to 3:59...I had to jump up, because this day was going to need me making all the right moves in a timely fashion.

I started with making the coffee before hitting the floor for a quick morning warm-up routine. I must admit, even as simple as it is to just drop in the floor and do these movements, I sometimes just don't really feel like giving it my all. Today was like that. Why? Hmmm, don't know---because it's the most convenient part of my workout plan on any given day. Squats, sit-ups, push-ups---and I usually kick myself with a solid--- come on Sean, this will take 15 minutes tops, let's get it done! Unless I wake up late and need to rush to the studio, there really isn't a good reason to ever miss these non-weighted strength exercises. I did 'em good and hit the kitchen.

Breakfast was a couple of eggs in a low-cal whole wheat tortilla wrap. I'm out of mushrooms!!! How did I let that happen? I swear---I hardly ever run out---I grab some almost every time I'm at the store...but not the last time, and that was a mistake! Oh well...scrambled eggs with salsa---wrapped up with an 81 calorie edible container, made it 231 calories. I chose the wrap over the cheese today. I'm also out of pears---wow, I need to grocery shop. This wrap and a sliced pear on the side is right at or just a tad over 300 calories---and it's one of my favorite breakfast combos.

The schedule today was simple and full. My show from 6 to 9am, production from 9 to around 10:35 or 10:40, then racing to pay my electric bill (I need to learn to do these things online---geez) and off to my first remote at 11am. I ran into the city hall office to pay that bill today. Literally ran in and out---I mean running. Not a light “I'm in a hurry jog,” but a “let's see how fast this body can move,” kind of run. Being able to do that when needed---oh wow, and not be out of breath and almost dead after? That my friend is an amazing feeling.

My first broadcast of the day was at The Oklahoma Blood Institute. We were co-sponsoring a big blood drive with OBI and the Oklahoma Pork Council. Yes, pork. Each donor was given a pulled pork sandwich---including me. I made it myself---I wanted to be in control of the size. The bun was 120 calories, and I was very careful about the meat---guesstimating the sandwich at 250. It was a fair guesstimate, it actually was probably a little less.

I haven't donated blood in a while, so it was time---and today was the perfect opportunity. They took my vitals and I was thrilled with the numbers. My pulse was 60 and my blood pressure checked in at 120/78 ---I said, “That's pretty good, huh?” and the nurse replied, “It's perfect.” I haven't needed blood pressure medication in a very long time---I can't even begin to express how wonderful it feels to see numbers like this...120/78---a pulse of 60....I told a friend of mine about the numbers today and the reply was simply, “you've added years to your life.” Yes sir—absolutely! They'll be checking my cholesterol too, I'll get that in the mail in a couple of weeks or so.

I had a chance to see many listeners of my show at this broadcast---and the “wow” reactions started coming fast and furious. Every single one makes me beam with pride and confidence. My favorite was from a guy I haven't seen in well over a year: “My wife said you had lost some more weight, but I didn't expect you to look like a completely different person, good thing your voice hasn't changed.” Yeah, good thing! My voice and my heart of hearts---two things that remain the same, everything else is Sean 2.0!

I traveled back in time to a year ago today and found the following excerpts:

This morning was a little more routine. I woke up at 4:45 and felt the base of my sternum. I love feeling that. I never knew it existed before I lost the first 100 pounds! I mean I knew it was down there somewhere, but to see it stick out of my chest and feel the bump, that's really cool. It's amazing how many wonderful things like this I'm experiencing. When I look down I can actually see my feet! It's the most wonderful thing! After a few minutes marveling at my smaller body, I jumped up to greet the day. I know I only did it once, yesterday, but I kind of missed not walking this morning. I may try to do that at least a couple of times a week. I think I'll skip the iPod too for these early pre-dawn walks. I'll just soak up the sounds of the early morning scene. It'll give me time to think about where I've been and where I'm headed. I love working out to music, you may have read what I've written about that, but there's room for calm reflection and future gazing without the tunes every once in a while. Spending alone time with your thoughts can be very therapeutic.

Irene prepared a fantastic breakfast. I had a high fiber tortilla with a scrambled egg and salsa. Not bad for 150. I also had a serving of Cheerios with a quarter cup of 2% milk for 130. We're out of our steel cut oats, and I miss them horribly! I must buy some more tomorrow! If you're wondering what's so special about steel cut oats, Google it, and you'll see! Courtney calls them “Horse Oats,” because I told her it's what they feed race horses, and you've never seen a fat race horse, right? Horse oats are definitely on the shopping list tomorrow!

When I arrived at the studio, I was greeted by the morning personality at the country station down the hall. Him: “Hey, I had a horrible dream about you last night.” Me: “Really?” Him: “We were doing a broadcast from an elementary school and you died on the sidewalk.” Me: “Thanks for that.” Him: “You were all stiff and everything.” Me: “How long was I out there?” Him: “I don't know, I woke up.” Me: “Did somebody kill me?” Him: “Uh, I don't know how it happened, you were just dead.” Me: “I need a cup of coffee.” What a wonderful greeting to my workday. I haven't worried about dying in a very long time. I use to worry about it daily at over 500 pounds, but now I'm too focused on living and doing the things that will keep me living as long as I'm allowed. So all day long I had that lingering thought in my head. I tried to laugh it off, but it still bothered me a little. He didn't mean any harm by telling me about the dream, he was probably just happy to see me standing up, and not stiff on a sidewalk in front of a bunch of elementary school kids. I'm over it now. But really, it bothered me all day. On the way to the YMCA for my workout I thought about it again. Of course it didn't help that I had a voice mail from the friend meeting me for a heated racquetball match that said “I got a new racket, new balls, and you're gonna die in there.” Maybe that isn't an exact quote, but it was something to that effect. It was hardcore trash talking indeed. Now I was really worried. What if I exert myself a little too hard and collapse? OK enough! I had to wipe it from my mind. I did a little bit.

The first broadcast was 11am to 2pm, the second---from Wal-Mart, was 2 to 6pm---and after that I had some choices to make. I ended up accepting a poker playing invitation from friends. I know, it was crazy---because I was tired after a long day, but maybe I needed to wind down and enjoy some cards. I was the DD---and we played until just after 11pm. The better choice may have been---stay home, eat dinner, workout, and go to bed early. But I don't always make the better choice. But I do make it enough of the time to get the job done, and really---who's to say that relaxing with some friends and playing cards isn't the best choice after a long work day?
I've been feeling good the last couple of days. Staying busy and really appreciating the journey traveled and the lessons learned along the way. My goals are in sight. I'm strong, capable, smart, and very thankful for so many wonderful blessings.

I took a picture during my second broadcast from the drivers seat of our remote broadcast vehicle. You know what I look for in a good picture? My ears. I love seeing my ears---not hidden anymore behind my giant face. I look at those ears---and, well---I smile from ear to ear. A good day indeed. Not the best in some regards, but sometimes good is good enough. I'm happy.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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Where are my ears? One of my biggest before shots! 505 or maybe more!

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There they are! I like my ears showing...I'm strange, I know---but it's the little things that are so huge along this road.

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Kind of blurry---but very cool. Vitals: Pulse—60, BP—120/78!!! That's what I'm talking about!!! Not a little thing at all, these numbers. It's life my friend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 619 Welcome To The "Crossing Point," Next Stop: Goal!

Day 619 Welcome To The "Crossing Point," Next Stop: Goal!

I started today not really knowing how everything would work out. It was weigh day for me, but my schedule would have me in the studio until nearly noon and then on the way to Stillwater for the rest of the afternoon. I honestly thought that weigh day would need to be postponed until Friday, I wasn't sure what the schedule would allow, after all, tomorrow is actually busier than today.

I was headed to Stillwater, invited on an afternoon golf outing with a couple of clients, but I gracefully declined. Oh, I would still make the trip—as a designated driver, but I had my own agenda in Stillwater. I decided to drop everyone at the golf course and make my way to the YMCA for an amazing workout in the pool, followed by a semi-surprise visit with Mom, Grandma, and Aunt Kelli. I was in the locker room at the YMCA when it hit me, why not have what will surely be a major milestone weigh day, on the very scales that started it all? I'm right here in Stillwater! The Payne County Health Department isn't that far away, and those old familiar scales are in the same place they've been for the last decade. I would certainly miss the smiling faces at the doctors office and their congrats that come with every weigh-in, but how could I not do this at the PCHD? It was decided—after my swim, it was weigh day! Now, I needed to overcome some insecurities and change in front of these people and get in that pool.

I couldn't do it. I'm shy or modest or whatever I want to call it---insecure, embarrassed, whatever...Changing in front of anyone is still a hang-up for me. It doesn't matter how much weight I've lost or the fact that these people couldn't care less and are in their own worlds and probably not even noticing me. It's all in my head. But still, I changed inside a stall just like I did as a fat kid, and made my way into a pool I haven't been in since I was a fat pre-teen. Oh the memories of this place!

I quickly made my way to the far end of this Olympic sized pool, away from people and into my very own lane. The pool wasn't crowded, but I was warned that the swim team would be coming in an hour. I had plenty of time. I did laps. Doggy paddle laps, backstroke laps, really bad form straight swimming laps, --make that last one “lap.” I need to learn the proper breathing technique while swimming a traditional lap. I felt better with my head out of the water and the backstroke and doggy paddle worked really well. It was exactly what I wanted today. It was, without a doubt, an amazing workout! The only thing that could have made it better was maybe some water proof headphones for my iPod---I might look into those. It would be cool to swim with my tunes! I cut my swim workout at about the 45 minute mark and was hoping I could get back into the locker room and change before the place filled up with swim team members. I changed quickly, out in the open-empty locker room. I was risking somebody walking in and having to face my crazy insecurities. I've never undressed and dressed so quickly in all my life! And just as I finished---here they came...wow, perfect timing.

The Payne County Health department hasn't changed a bit, and neither has my pre-weigh in ritual of using the restroom right before stepping on the scale. Like that is going to help in some major way. I guess it does a little, but really, I'm just strange sometimes---or normal, I haven't decided. It was just like old times. I made so many 500 pound treks back to this scale---every time I would try to start losing weight, it always started right here. This was my moment of truth spot so many times. The moment and the place where I would face the scale. Unlike the first weigh-in along this road on Day 2, not a soul was back there to sneak a peak at the big guy's number. Not that they really did back then, nor would they really care today, after all, I'm no longer the walking-talking-smiling side show of an obese man like before...I look relatively normal sized. I'm not so sure the staff up front even recognized me as I walked past on my way back.

Here I stood---right back where I started, but light years from where I was. I knew I was only 1.5 pounds away from the “Crossing Point,” that wonderful milestone where I've lost more than I weigh. This was going to be so anti-climatic if I don't at least lose two pounds---that's what I was thinking. I climbed on the scale and immediately realized that today was going to be a good one. It almost touched 251---and then it couldn't decide between 249.6, 249.8, and 250 on the nose...it was constantly moving. I decided to try snapping a picture of the scale---and somehow lucked out, as it showed 249.6 pounds. I round up anyway...so regardless, I was taking 250---but really, it mostly was saying 249.8 and 250.0...for a loss of four more pounds---and completely powering past the wonderful “Crossing Point.” I was so happy, I swear...and nobody back there to share it with---uhg! The first one I told was Irene. We had discussed this magical place from the very early stages of this journey, and here I am! I've lost 255 pounds and really, this was the last major milestone before hitting goal. I'm extremely confident that 230 is reachable---and pretty accurate, despite pulling that number out of the air on Day 1. I still have the fat, enough of it to lose and get there...oh yeah, I'm getting there alright!

I was on my way to grandmas house when I discovered everyone sitting at one of our favorite Stillwater restaurants, Charlie's Chicken. My visit was a semi-secret surprise. I mentioned it in my blog yesterday, but wasn't sure if mom would read before I made it down. Turns out, Kelli had read it and knew I was coming. Mom just watched the video and decided to read the blog later this evening...perfect. Kelli didn't tell anyone either---when I pressed myself against the window of the restaurant, the genuine surprise on my mom and grandma was wonderful to see. We visited, took pictures, and grandma warned me for the 300th time--"don't you lose another pound!" I smile everytime she says it, I love that beautiful lady! I remember, and so does she---the concerned conversations about my weight for so many years. It's nice to be here, it really is special.

Irene read Day 617 today. She knew it was there but avioded reading it on purpose, just too many emotions wrapped up in that post. She texted me and asked, "Is it going to make me cry?" Writing it made me, so yeah, good chance buddy! Irene commented:

"That day was a tough day for me too buddy...all the memories all the times good and bad that we have shared came flooding back in. and as we walked the last walk as a married couple down that hall to the judges chamber there was nothing there but love...you have always completed me, you have been my best friend forever since I was 15 I have relied on you to make me laugh to comfort me to hold my hand and reassure me everything was going to be alright...We are not over buddy you will always be a part of me in everything I do. I will always comfort you and I will always be here for you through anything and everything...I will always love you buddy and I will always be your buddy."

Thank you buddy, thank you. I feel the same, absolutely!

OK---I was going to post an excerpt from a year ago, but I'm running out of time here. I had some good food today. A quick re-cap: A homemade breakfast burrito, banana, orange, a serving of Triple Greens, small chicken breast, two chicken chunks at Charlies and a small order of mashed potatoes. Some smoked turkey with barbeque sauce and a few fried mushrooms after picking up the guys at the golf course, and I also enjoyed a junior sized frozen yogurt cone from Braums with mom....and a late night banana---and I think that's it.

What an amazing day! Tomorrow is set to be a little crazy. I have my radio show from 6 to 9am, some production and remote broadcast prep---then two location broadcasts starting at 11am and ending at 6pm. I'll be running around like crazy. No mid-day spinning---uhggg---I love my spinning! And make no mistake---the spinning has helped me tremendously, as well as the improved over-all consistency of my workout schedule---that's how I nailed this 4 pound weigh day and huge milestone. 250 feels incredible!

Thank you for reading! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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The scale couldn't decide. It changed over and over from 249.6 to 249.8 and 250.0, then back to 249.6...changing fast---I was just lucky to snap this at the very second it was on 249.6--but really, officially it's 250. Now if it would have hit 249.4, I would have rounded down. I've always rounded...I never liked using "point" anything.

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With mom at the restaurant---surprise!

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With grandma and mom, very nice!

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With Aunt Kelli

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 618 Tight Schedule, Working With Courtney, and A Green Drink Video

Day 618

Tight Schedule, Working With Courtney, and A Green Drink Video

Wednesdays in May have left little room for error when it comes to my routine in schedule. It's a packed day from the start and doesn't end until nearly 8pm. When the alarm clock sounds, it's time to get up. No snooze alarm today, it's just too risky. Four AM found me making coffee and in the floor for my quick morning non-weighted strength training exercises. I get down and do the push-ups and sit-ups first, then I finish off in the living room with the non-weighted squats. It's not the biggest and best workout, but it makes me feel good first thing---setting a positive tone for the rest of the morning.

Let me back up a second and say something. Thank you for the incredible outpouring of sincere support yesterday. The emails and blog/facebook comments were so heartfelt---very sincere, and they absolutely lifted me up and through a major turning point along this road. It not only helped me, but I know the incredible support touched Irene, Courtney, and Amber too. Thank you doesn't seem like enough, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I prepared a two-whole egg breakfast burrito this morning with peppers, onions, salsa---no cheese, on an 81 calorie tortilla wrap. The total calorie count for this incredibly filling breakfast was only 235 calories. I grabbed a banana on the way to the studio and I was set for a busy Wednesday.

I had my show from 6am to 9am, production until 1pm, then some errands, and a quick lunch at the apartment before headed West for a 3pm to 7pm broadcast from the casino. No nappy time for Seanboy today!

I did have a late morning guest at the studio who brought a little booster to help me get through. Karen is a facebook friend and local reader of my blog. She just recently started reading and one of the things she noticed was that I sometimes lack in the green veggie department. Karen sent me a facebook message recently all about this product she was completely passionate about called Triple Greens. It's helped her tremendously and she thought it might be something I could consider for some added nutritional benefit. She assured me the calories were low, but more importantly---it was loaded with a bunch of good stuff. I told her that I would try it, sure---I'm open to something like that, as long as it doesn't make me want to throw up first thing everyday. I know it sounds short sighted of me, but the first thing I checked on the label was the calorie count. 45 calories for a whole scoop. Karen recommended a half a scoop to start---ok, cool. She actually gave me some of this last week---and I hadn't tried it yet, so I agreed that we would meet and lift a glass of this stuff today. I'm stubborn---and that canister might have stayed on my counter for a very long time without me trying, so I agreed, today I would try it. And you know what? It wasn't bad at all! It wasn't anything like I thought it would be, and even though I've never made something like this a regular part of my routine, I'm seriously considering it now. Thanks Karen! The video is below!

My remote broadcast this afternoon was engineered and produced back in the studio by my favorite broadcast board operator---Courtney! It's very cool to work with her on a broadcast and funny too sometimes. I've had more than a few strange looks from clients when I'm communicating with the studio during a broadcast and they hear me say “I love you sweety.” Did Sean just tell someone back at the station he loved them? Is that appropriate workplace behavior? It is when the person in studio is your sixteen year old daughter! And no---Courtney has no intentions of following in dad's footsteps, this is just a job to her...and I like it that way. Courtney wants to be a pediatrician someday. I like that idea, and of course I'll be happy and proud no matter what she does...even if she has a morning radio show someday. Love you Court!

My Wednesday afternoon broadcast from the casino meant I would have a chance to see Nathaniel again today. I wasn't there too long before Nathaniel came out of the back. He listens to the broadcast while he does whatever he does back there. He might be in surveillance, I'm not sure. Anyway, we had a nice conversation and he shared that he was down about 18 pounds already and feeling good, yet finding it very tough---a constant struggle most of the time. We talked about that and the idea of him starting a blog. He's actually working on that! I told him to call me and I would help him get it up and running. I have a good feeling about Nathaniel. He's a smart young man who feels so trapped---just like I always did. Keep that importance level high my friend and fight yourself at every turn to stay consistent---it'll get easier and the results will absolutely thrill you.

By the time I got back to the apartment tonight, I was exhausted. I had planned on a YMCA trip, but elected to rest instead. I do however have big plans for a Y trip tomorrow afternoon---and it involves swimming! Shhhh! Don't tell mom, I want it to be a surprise. We'll see how soon she reads this. You see, I'm going down to Stillwater, driving a friend to a golf course. I was invited to enjoy the golf course, but seriously, this is a perfect opportunity to swim and visit mom and family while my friends play a round of 18. And she has no idea I'm coming! Well, until now. See ya later mom!

In the archives from one year ago today, I found this humorous excerpt:

Today (Tuesday) I enjoyed McDonald's for lunch. There are so many people that know about the journey I'm on and I always wonder if they'll see me in the drive-thru and get the wrong idea. “Would you look at that Mabel, Sean is going off the deep end, he's in the McDonald's drive-thru!” Just in case anyone could hear, I made sure to shout my order a little louder to prevent any confusion...Me: “I'LL HAVE A GRILLED CHICKEN WRAP WITHOUT SAUCE AND A FRUIT AND YOGURT PARFAIT.” McDonald's employee: “Could you please repeat that sir?” Me: “A 270 CALORIE GRILLED CHICKEN WRAP WITHOUT THE EXTRA 70 CALORIES WORTH OF RANCH, MAKING IT ONLY 200 CALORIES AND A 160 CALORIE FRUIT AND YOGURT PARFAIT.” McDonald's employee: “Would you like any fries or a hot apple pie with that today?” Me: “Are you serious?”

And right below that, I found this:

Cravings are something that I deal with on a regular basis. Cravings by themselves are not a bad thing. After all, I've lost weight using a philosophy that anything is permitted within reason, but when the cravings are coupled with crazy “pig out” ideas, that's when they're bad. I'm telling you right now, I could pick any fast food place with a fish sandwich, and easily eat two, maybe three of them. I love fish sandwiches! I almost ordered a fish for lunch, easy on the sauce, but didn't. If I had, I would have dropped the parfait from the calorie budget for sure. When we're talking about cravings and crazy “pig out” thoughts, we're really talking about two very different things. If I'm craving something, I'll eat it in a portion size that doesn't wreck my calorie budget. If I'm having crazy out of control thoughts about gorging, well, that takes a more aggressive approach. I have to stop myself, but how? By getting really serious with myself really fast. I've come too far and accomplished too much to throw it all away. My reasons for losing this weight are not small reasons, they're life or death reasons. I guess you could say that I bring out the hardcore dramatic motivating thoughts. I have a bunch of motivating thoughts, but when I need to shut down some crazy urges, I have to go to the big guns, the dying young scenarios always snap me back into reality. I've fallen victim too many times by submitting to these urges.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy the latest “On The Go” Video below. I need to do more of these, they're so much fun! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean


Thanks again Karen!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 617 It's All A Part of This Deeply Personal Transformation

Day 617

It's All A Part of This Deeply Personal Transformation

I've stared at this blank screen for the last half hour, deep in thought, wondering how to put this in words. Today was tough. It had nothing to do with food and exercise, or cravings and temptation. It was an emotional end to a twenty-one year marriage. It was a quiet little signing ceremony with Irene, me, a lawyer and a judge. I've made wonderful strides over the last several months in keeping this kind of stuff out of this blog, but I can't tonight. I've been consumed with reflection all day long. I tried to just walk out of the judges chambers, hug Irene, get in my vehicle and go back to the studio---but I didn't make it. I pulled into a park and just sat there in thought. My mom called and asked how I was doing---and I just lost it. I needed her to call at that moment and she did, isn't that amazing? I swear, moms are psychic. I was slowly eating my lunch and watching the birds. This was it. The biggest motivator for me to seriously start along this weight loss road was the fear of my family falling apart. And it did anyway, today was D day. But you know what?

We're still a family of four, the living arrangements may have changed, but we're still and always will be a family. And further...

Irene and I will always love one another and we'll always be supportive of each other. When we wrote BFF on all of those little high school notes, we meant it! She's an awesome person. She's beautiful, talented, smart, loving, and has done an amazing job raising two fantastic daughters with me. There is no animosity between us now---the blame game is long past, and the tenderness we shared in the hugs immediately after todays formalities really showed how far we've matured along this road of life.

If the preceding was a little too mushy, personal, and non-weight loss related for you, then you're probably new to this blog. This has always been a family journey and truly a daily diary of my travels from 505 pounds. I've dared to explore every facet along the way, knowing that the answers I seek might be found in the sum of everything that has made me who I am today. I knew that this time, this weight loss attempt---it had to be different from any other I'd ever tried, I had to dig deep and write it out if I was ever to understand my morbid obesity. I still don't understand it all, but what I've learned along the way gives me incredible confidence for a future free from the threats of this killer.

I did end up taking longer to get back to work today, with my detour in the park---but before that I was really in a hurry to get back to work. I ran into a convenience store to grab something for lunch and had a really hard time choosing something I could feel good about. I finally emerged with an orange, a banana, and a Cliff Bar. I'm normally not a "bar person," but these choices were probably the best 400 calorie lunch combination I was finding in there. The Cliff Bar was all natural---and really, it was amazingly good! When mom called, one of the things she asked was "what are you eating?" I told her a Cliff Bar and she was shocked I think. She told me she was having a bar too. Neither one of us use them exclusively to lose weight, you know that. Today it was convenient and very wholesome.

I talked with Courtney tonight and she said she was being bombarded with temptation. There's a Starbucks inside the store where she works and they were clearing out some of the leftover treats. They offered her a bunch of incredibly delicious and loaded goodies and she accepted. BUT---she distributed them to some of her friends and didn't touch them at all, saying "Dad--I only have 200 calories left in my budget today, I'll be alright." Yes she will. Absolutely, she's got this under control in a very solid way. Maybe we'll split a rice krispy treat tomorrow.

The girls were both spending the evening and night with their mom. It gave me some time to sit in this quiet apartment and meditate about everything. We have some wonderful times ahead, and when I think about how far we've come---despite the ups and downs of life, I can't help but smile. We're extremely fortunate, very blessed, and incredibly lucky. It was the positive thought I needed to push myself out the door and onto the bike.

The plan was to ride to the trail and do a 5K, but I didn't. I just enjoyed the ride. Somedays are just emotionally exhausting, and this was one. Call it an excuse, I prefer "circumstance." This was more than I'd normally ask of myself on a day like today. The ride made me feel good, the air, and the movement was needed.

I enjoyed a grilled chicken, cheese, and veggie omelet this evening--it was big and heavy, checking in at 400 calories. I sliced a green apple and spread a teaspoon of peanut butter on the slices for a nice indulgent sweet taste. How daring is that? Nope, they never hid the jar, and I haven't had a meltdown with the peanut butter since I made that semi-serious request. I was in control and feeling good. There's a lot to feel good about around here.

Thanks for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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Love this pic. We'll always be a fabulous foursome!

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Easily my favorite photo of the two of us. This was snapped on a triumphant day last fall---remember our incredible trip to the amusement park? We rode rollercoasters together---and fit perfectly on anything and everything that park had to offer. It was a dream realized that day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 616 The Changing Line of Least Resistance and Exploring My Mentality

Day 616

The Changing Line of Least Resistance and Exploring My Mentality

Monday morning came quickly. Ok, really, that doesn't make sense. It came just as fast as any other Monday. I guess the perception is an indicator of the enjoyment level. I really enjoyed the weekend with Amber and Courtney, the wild horses, the bike ride, all of it was good—and it could have lasted another day, and it probably still wouldn't have been enough.

The bike ride last night gave me the kind of workout that makes a nights rest a little deeper. And when you need to be up by 4am, that's not a good thing, unless you go to bed at a decent hour---and you know me, I always need to work on that. I ended up sleeping past my alarm and waking up in a huge hurry at almost 5am. My routine changes dramatically when I get up late. Two things are a must: breakfast and a shower. And sometimes, that's all I have time to do. No writing, no non-weighted strength training exercises, no returning e-mails or reading blogs when the clock isn't in my favor.

Starting a Monday like this, I have to concentrate on righting the day---not getting too concerned about the disruption in my routine, just making it the best I can after a rocky and rushed start. Too many times in the past, a little disruption in routine, and bam---I would be done. Looking back, it doesn't make sense---and maybe I was always looking for an out, looking for an excuse to retreat to old habits—the line of least resistance where everything is super easy, because nothing matters anymore. I matter now, so that line isn't very attractive. And now it's different, because even doing the right things by my calorie budget and workouts---doesn't feel too far from that line. It does get easier, becoming habit---becoming me, becoming my lifestyle. The definition of that line changes along this road. Now—the line of least resistance doesn't mean my journey goes up in flames---it means I skip a workout or not work out as hard as I know I can. I believe that the changing of what that line is all about indicates the real changes in me. These are reassuring changes unlike any I've ever experienced in past weight loss attempts. This is the difference---this is the real deal, this is what it feels like to make that change, that real change.

I've been super protective of my mental state along this road. The idea of a “free day” or even a “free meal” is something that I knew couldn't be for me. It's truly different for everyone. For me, a raging food addict, it didn't make sense. But as I read and even hear others speak of an occasional meal where a little indulgence is allowed, I think...Hmmm, that's normal behavior---we occasionally indulge and part of my development at some point will be accepting and handling those occasions without the mental damage I always feared. What brought this up? I dived into this topic exactly one year ago today:

Recently the topic of allowing a “free day” came up. The only time I've done that was Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I still only allowed an additional 1,000 calories. Some people can handle a free day and then pretend that it didn't happen, I can't. That's just me. And now that I'm so far along on this journey, I seriously don't think I could make myself take advantage of one. I eat everything I like anyway! I've really been analyzing the concept of a “free day,” and I've come to the conclusion that fits me. Every other weight loss attempt found me just waiting for the day I could cut loose. I wasn't learning anything about portion control and eating responsibly. I was simply going through the motions needed to lose weight. I wasn't changing my brain. Back then, one day of eating whatever, whenever, and howmuchever I wanted, and it was over every time, completely off the wagon. I know experts say that an occasional free day is actually good for firing up your metabolism, I eat every three hours, that too will keep your metabolism running hot! If my long term goal is eating responsibly, then why would I want one day to eat whatever? It's something that really depends on the person. My opinion really only fits me because I know me. I know me very well. For some, a free day might mean one meal where they go out and just order whatever without regard to calories. That's not too bad. I guess it depends on what you consider a free day. To me it always meant a half-gallon of ice cream just for starters! I wrote about this on Day 34. On the topic of allowing a “cheat day”: I know that if I do it a little it will lead to a lot. Then the next thing you know I'm buying candy bars and half gallons of ice cream. I'm all about eating whatever you want and still losing weight, I'm proof it can be done, but I do have some boundaries. My wife and kids know that if daddy brings home a half gallon, it's all over.

Irene is so good at recognizing when I've fallen off the wagon that she'll let me know she knows long before anyone else has a clue. If you see me drinking regular pop...I'm off the wagon. If you see me loading up a plate at a get together, I'm probably off the wagon. If you see me in the back alley behind the convenience store with a pint of Blue Bell and a plastic spoon, I'm off the wagon. But you will not see me doing any of those things, because I'm not only on the wagon, I'm strapped onto the wagon. If the wagon tipped over, I'd still be on the wagon. If the wagon started rolling down a mountain side, I'd be screaming in terror, but I'd still be on the wagon. What I'm trying to say is...I'm doing this now. And I imagine that some might be wondering when these blogs will stop. I've had so many great starts before, surely I'll mess up and go back to doing whatever sooner or later. Nope. If you stopped reading this blog and came back in two months, you would find Day 94 ready and waiting for you to read.

That first sentence sums up why I wouldn't dare allow myself a free day early on this journey. And now after 252 days, I've learned too much about portion control and eating responsibly to ever wrap my mind around the free day concept. It just goes against the mental changes that I've developed, the ones that will keep my weight off for the rest of my life. These changes are the number one difference between this time and all the others.

And here we are at Day 616 with 251 pounds gone. And I'm still learning—still developing and understanding this journey away from morbid obesity, but always being mindful of the boundaries I must maintain as a recovering food addict. Will I ever be completely normal? Maybe not. But close to normal is so far from where I was, it's still really good. Am I even making sense? You know what I mean, right?

I met up with Courtney and her boyfriend Bradley at the YMCA. Today was their Day 1 of a new attitude and approach. Courtney was on the elliptical and Bradley was doing the stationary sit-down bike while I lifted the weights before spinning class. It was such a pleasure to see Courtney in there and working out hard.

The spinning class was incredible. And guess who showed up? Melissa Walden, fitness and life coach! There she was---on a cycle, right along with the rest of us. It was very cool to see here there. I remember how not too long ago, I absolutely feared the spinning class, now I look forward to the amazing workout. I absolutely love spinning. And the differences have been noticeable---I can feel it, and even see it in the mirror.

After our workout, Courtney met me at the grocery store for some shopping before I headed back to the apartment for a relaxing evening with Amber and KL. I had a huge craving for chips and salsa tonight---so I grabbed some salsa and some white corn tortilla chips. I counted out a serving and a half of chips, grabbed a bowl of salsa---and enjoyed every bite---all 240 calories worth. It was very good. I also enjoyed some baked pepper shrimp and a banana. It was kind of a strange dinner, but it's what I wanted tonight.

Thank you for reading! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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Courtney at the YMCA this evening! She's ready and on her way! Let's do this! I love that girl!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 615 Low-Cal Mini-Burgers All Around and Courtney's Journey is About To Hit High Gear!

Day 615

Low-Cal Mini-Burgers All Around and Courtney’s Journey is About To Hit High Gear!

I have a habit of waking up after six hours of sleep, but this morning I said NO! I made myself sleep in a little while longer. I hardly ever get to sleep late these days, I was taking more this time. It felt good really, but it did kind of tilt my day. Not “tilt” in a bad way, just slightly off center. Breakfast was late, lunch was later---and dinner wasn’t clearly defined really. I spent the afternoon with Amber and KL, and even prepared a mini-hamburger lunch---making them super low-cal (as hamburgers go) at just 180 for each. We each had two. Courtney and her friend Bradley made their way over too, so I prepared some for them as well. I had an apartment full, it was very nice!

Courtney and Bradley were on their way to the urgent care clinic to weigh. They’re both gearing up for a summer challenge of good choices. Courtney made a date with me for the YMCA tomorrow at 5pm. She’ll be on the elliptical and treadmills while I’m in spinning class. I love it that she’s so excited about really ramping up her journey. She really hasn’t been doing badly. She let me know the results when she weighed-in, and she’s pretty well maintained. The past several months have been a huge stressful transition for everyone, and probably the toughest for Courtney, considering she’s still at home---and now she has two homes, and she’s 16 with all the pressures of maintaining her high GPA and working her part-time jobs (yes “jobs,” she has three). Now it’s summer time, so she can finally breathe a little.

I stopped by and talked with Courtney at her mom’s house while out riding my bike tonight. She thought it was strange to see her dad ride up on a bike---but I wasn’t going to pedal on past without stopping and checking on her. We had a wonderful conversation wherein Courtney identified a common psychological obstacle we all can fall into. After she lost the first 80 pounds, the compliments and “wow” reactions came fast and furious. The first day of her junior year was the best first day she's ever had---everyone was amazed at her transformation. So she got rather comfortable, she was feeling good, looking great, and her confidence shot through the roof! I’ll never forget the night she burned the girdle on the patio---that was one of my favorite days along this journey, I was so proud---still am. That newfound confidence made it easier to take it easy in the workout department---and soon Courtney fell into maintaining mode before reaching goal. It’s easy to do---I’ve done it too with my incredibly inconsistent workout schedule over the past several months.

The great thing I’ve noticed? Courtney has got it. The things we’ve learned along this road, together as a family, are emblazoned on her brain. She understands all about good choices. She understands the mental aspects involved. She understands that nobody is perfect, not even her dear old dad. And most importantly, she also knows what she wants---and that’s another 60 pounds gone. She’s going to do it, just watch! There will be some pictures taken today, I guarantee.

I traveled back into the archives 365 days to one year ago and found a nice “wow” reaction. I guess I’ve been experiencing these wonderful things for over a year now. I never get tired of them, not at all. I don’t think I’ve laid eyes on the friend in this excerpt since that day---if I ran into him today---he’d probably give me another! Here’s that excerpt:

An old friend from way back showed up at the broadcast this morning. He asked me if I had seen a really big guy roaming around anywhere, I told him that guy is gone and never coming back! He was joking of course, but all he kept saying was “look at you man,” “look at you!” OK! I'm looking! I know! Isn't that great! He was amazed at the transformation so far. He knew me at my heaviest, somewhere around 510 or so...really, it may have been higher, it's not like I weighed regularly back then! Had I not run into him today, instead in about six more months, I doubt he would have recognized me at all. The changes are wonderful so far, but I'm still a big man...Just wait! The difference the next 111 pounds will make is going to be mind blowing! Especially for those who knew me back in my quarter ton days. For those who didn't know me back then, get ready for the pictures!

The bike ride tonight, a tour of north Ponca City, was my workout today. Before the ride, I watched a documentary with Amber and KL (they love documentary films) and we even enjoyed some frozen yogurt. It was a nice quiet evening at home. That bike ride? Oh my---I discovered some inclines you just don’t notice when you’re driving in a vehicle, but my legs sure noticed! The final mile was straight into a strong south wind on an incline I didn't realize existed until now. I really wanted to swim this weekend, but just wasn’t able to get to Stillwater to get that accomplished. I really long for that incredible swimming workout. I’ll get it, I will. We’re good!

Thank you for reading! Goodnight and…

Good Choices,
Sean

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 614 Wild Horses, Controlling Normal, and Peace With Pasta

Day 614

Wild Horses, Controlling Normal, and Peace With Pasta

I was up early this morning for a Saturday because I had plans to leave town at 11am. I needed to do my morning non-weighted strength training exercises, cook breakfast, drink coffee, eat, and write. After all of that, I hit the shower, got dressed and headed over to a friends house for the trip. I was really hoping to get up early enough to get everything done, then hit the 9:30am spinning class at the YMCA before heading out, but I quickly realized my schedule this morning wouldn't allow. I was up early, but I should have been up a little earlier and then I could have accomplished an amazing spinning workout. But it was all fine. My goal is at least two spinning classes a week and I accomplished that Monday and Friday.

I kept the breakfast light this morning. I enjoyed an egg white scramble without cheese for 85 calories---and seriously, with four egg whites, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and salsa---It's the best calorie value I'll ever enjoy. 85 calories for a mess of deliciousness!! I added an orange for 70 more and 50 calories worth of coffee creamer---and I was set for a bigger lunch at the Ranch.

That's right, The Ranch---it's a huge private place out in Osage County, which by the way, is the largest county in the entire United States. We were headed to the 8th Annual Salt Creek Shoot Out. It's an event where some of the best shooters in the nation compete for shotguns and a very nice trophy. I'm not a gun enthusiast at all, I don't own a gun, but I was mesmerized by the incredible accuracy these shooters displayed. They would shout “Pull,” and the clay pigeons would fly---”kill, kill” was what they wanted the judge to say---and most of the time that's what they heard after obliterating the two clay pucks in flight.

The most fascinating thing to me wasn't the incredible display of marksmanship, it was what greeted us along the trail, a slow four mile drive from the county road to the camp lodge. Wild horses. Real, honest to goodness—wild horses! The kind written about in so many songs---here they are, roaming on this huge ranch---protected and placed here by the United States government. These horses have never felt a saddle or rider of any kind on their backs---they were born in the wild and remain as wild and unbroken as they can be—-within the protected confines of this giant preserve. It was so beautiful and fascinating---I had to take some pictures on the way out. Check them out below!

I enjoyed a big lunch. Seriously---I like to keep my calories at 500 or less for a meal, but didn't today. No I didn't. This was a special event. It didn't mean that I completely threw away the calorie budget, no—never do that. I was just very aware or what I was doing. With the big burger and 150 calories worth of chips—my lunch checked in at 800 calories. Wow...and it was so good. They had a major sponsor providing all of the food for the event---and they went all out, this was a premium burger. Good thing we didn't stick around for the giant fresh cut ribeye steak dinner tonight. I could have cut calorie corners easily. I chose to have the bun, I chose the chips...my choices completely. As long as I felt in control of those choices, and aware of what I was consuming---it was perfectly normal and acceptable behavior. Normal is good. Control is good. Being completely honest about and responsible for my choices...good. I can handle myself at events like this. I can walk confidently and know that I'm very different from the 500 pound man I once was.

Finding a happy place with food control issues is something that feels so wonderful. I'm certainly not perfect, never will be. In my daily time travels to the date a year prior, I found another example of being in control with pasta. Ooooh, Pasta---I was always so afraid!! Here's an excerpt from a year ago today:

Any Friday can be one of the longest days of the week for me. Today was a long day. It was good, but long. I started the day at 4:45am and didn't get home for the night until 11:30pm. I did come home for a couple of hours in the late afternoon/early evening, long enough to prepare a wonderful dinner of salad, spaghetti with a beef and mushroom marinara, and garlic toast. Wow that dinner sounds dangerous huh? It wasn't. It's funny, because if you've read some of the early post in this blog, you might remember me talking about how “I avoid pasta because it's too much of a wild card in the calorie department.” I was straight up scared of pasta. Because I love it and I have a history with it. A history of eating wayyyy too much, way too often. It's very different now. For one, I have a food scale, so when a package of pasta says so many calories for this many ounces, I can measure it and see the amount I'm consuming without guessing at the calories. But the biggest difference for me has nothing to do with accurate calorie counts and everything to do with complete portion control over my plate. Yes I avoided pasta dishes before because I was afraid of what the calorie count might be and unsure of an exact number, but mainly I was afraid of my portion control abilities. I use to completely fill a normal size plate at least a couple of times and you can bet I was going to have at least two slices of bread, maybe three. This evening I enjoyed a normal portion of spaghetti and one slice of bread, and I was very satisfied. I did not reach for more. My plate checked in at 450 calories, and I needed to keep it under 500, so I was done! This whole eating responsibly thing is becoming habit, it's like I'm a completely different person, it feels great!

From that same day:

Dr. Amy Cox of the Ranch Wellness Center was my co-host this morning on my radio show. It was a great show and a lot of fun. Dr. Amy has asked me to speak at her 2nd Annual Optimal Health Challenge seminars, especially the first one. The first meeting focuses on the mental aspects of making positive changes for your health. I'm thrilled and honored to be a part of this exciting program. It's so hard to believe that 250 days ago I was a 505 pound mess of a man, and now I'm being asked to speak at seminars focusing on Optimal Health. It's a testament to how far we can come in a relatively short time when we make an iron-clad decision to change and we pursue that change with passion and an honest, consistent effort.

“...we pursue that change with passion and an honest, consistent effort.” That's it right there. Amazing things can come when you mix passion and self-honesty with consistency. I've come so far since that day—it's a wonderful journey of self-discovery and triumph. Oh, I highly recommend it to everyone!

Nathaniel checked in on yesterday's blog with a wonderful update on his progress:

Well I Did It 2 nights in a row, I'm on a roll now. I haven't had anything since about 7:15 P.M., and I feel great. I decided to have a taco salad tonight for dinner, and boy did it hit the spot. Usually I don't eat until I get to work, but If I get up at a decent time I make sure to eat something. Today I fixed a couple eggs and bacon. It hit the spot, plus I didn't get hungry until dinner. They were selling meat pies tonight and I turned them down, and those rock. One thing for sure is that today was easier than yesterday. Every one keep up the good work, and before you know it, you'll be at the finish line, I'm rooting for all of ya. :)

I'm so happy for Nathaniel. To start in excess of 600 pounds---wow, I get excited thinking about the power of his transformation. And the power he's finding in his choices. “One thing for sure is that today was easier than yesterday.”---that's it my friend. It does get easier with a consistent effort and a passionate importance level. Make this one of the most important things you've ever done---and the incredible blessing of it all will rain down on you in ways you can't even imagine right now. Get ready to live Nathaniel. You may not fully understand the mental aspects of this entire journey, but you will pick up some major epiphanies along the way. You can read about mine all day long---and that's good, but when you truly experience them for yourself---that's when the wind fills your sails and there's no stopping you.

I spent the evening with Amber and KL. Courtney was working this evening, so no Court—but we talked on the phone, and she's excited for the summer and workout opportunities we'll have together. I'm really looking forward to that. Tomorrow is scheduled as a rest day on the workout schedule---so I flipped it, making today that day and tomorrow a regular workout day. Spending the evening with Amber was what I wanted to do tonight. It was wonderful.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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Wild horses!

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 613 Fear Can Ruin Funny, Mid-Day Spinning, and Nathaniel's Response

Day 613

Fear Can Ruin Funny, Mid-Day Spinning, and Nathaniel's Response

I hit the floor running shortly before 4am and...wait a second, not literally running, you know what I mean. Today was going to be a good Friday, I decided. But just because I decide to have a great day, it doesn't mean everything is suddenly roses and perfection. The challenges presented themselves, temptation was strong, and I had to ratchet my self-defense mode up a few notches to survive. I learned that simply deciding to have a great day means greeting every challenge with a positive attitude and if needed, a ferocious fight to get, or simply keep what's yours.

It started perfectly on schedule---the morning routine I've written about a hundred times---beat for beat, we were on today. And then something happened at work that upset me a little, even though I really didn't let it show at the time. I was paid back for a little prank I pulled yesterday on a co-worker who had left their facebook account open and up for anyone to see...and update. I had it coming I guess, and I should be a better sport. If you noticed the “binge” status update this morning on my facebook, that was my co-worker...funny guy...yeah. I kept my prank cutesy when I hijacked his yesterday---I didn't make light of the addictions he's successfully overcome for the past two decades plus. Perhaps I need to lighten up a little (no pun intended). I have a tendency to get super serious about this journey, I guess because it's so important to me, and it never was before---and that was always a part of the problem. So joking about throwing it all away on an all out binge fest is where my sense of humor hits the wall. I have a hard time joking about this stuff. This co-worker and I have tremendous respect for each others talents and there isn't any kind of riff between us, it's all good. I guess we all have our “hot buttons,” and maybe I have a problem laughing at that kind of stuff---because deep down---like a lot of successful losers I've met---no matter how successful and for how long, there's still a fear inside of going back to that place. Fear ruins a good laugh every time.

I requested and was granted permission for a longer lunch today. I wanted to hit the mid-day spinning class at the YMCA and lift some weights too. I needed an hour and a half at least. Before class, I hurried home and prepared a couple of scrambled whole eggs. It was a quick and light lunch, nothing too heavy right before spinning! The spinning class was nearly empty today! We were all on the back row if I remember right. So obviously, I'm not the only one who prefers the back row. I wonder if their reasons are the same as mine? Probably! Frank was the instructor, and his instructions were relentless---and just perfect for a really good workout. There seems to be a method to this spinning madness---because each workout might be slightly different, but every single one delivers an amazing feeling of oh my, I just worked really hard. And just when you think it's easier than the time before---Frank instructs us to sprint the entire theme of “Bonanza.” My first time out, I didn't realize just how fond I would become of these workouts. The attraction to me is the structure. If you gave me a spinning cycle and said, “here ya go Sean, have a good workout!” There's no way I would push myself this hard. The structure of the class with other people and an instructor, makes all the difference for me.

Nathaniel really appreciates the wonderful support everyone has given him. He left this comment on yesterday's post:

I DID IT !!! My goal for today was to not eat anything after 8:00 P.M. It is now 1:45 A.M. and I haven't eaten anything since 7:30 P.M., when I finished up a salad, and I don't feel hungry. I can't believe I did it. I've worked nights for 2 years, and evenings for the last 10 months. I can't remember the last time that I didn't munch on something over the entire shift. I remember times that I would eat 3 meals while at work.Tonight I drank lots of tea, water, and some lemonade. One of the major things that has helped me is I've finally figured out how to eat slowly and actually enjoy the meal. I also take more drinks during my meal and use the liquid as a filler, not just as a beverage. My goal for tomorrow is to not eat after 8:00 P.M. I think I will try to take Just my veggie snacks and a banana. I have some Fiber-1 bars,one of those works good to calm a sweet tooth. Plus I've satisfied my mind with the sweet taste, but also fooled it with only 150 calories. Thanks again to Sean and everyone else who left the supportive comments. It really means a lot to have the support of so many people, and people who are walking down the same path that I am. Maybe we all will catch up to each other and cross the finish line together. I think that I'm going to start a blog as soon as I figure out how to, this is kind of fun. Good luck to everyone. :)

I'm thrilled for Nathaniel and thank you again for the tremendous outpouring of support for him. You're doing great Nathaniel---keep it up and call or e-mail if you feel the need, ok?

Often times when I suggest to someone to go back and read from Day 1—it's met with an “Oh my, that's a lot of reading!” And it is, but it's the only way to get the complete perspective of this journey. I can't just tell somebody in a quick conversation all of the epiphanies I've experienced along the way---and I communicate better when I write, much better than when I speak. I traveled back to May 21st, 2009 and found this excerpt:

You never know who you might inspire when you share your struggle and triumphs with others. That has been the real unexpected blessing for me in writing this blog every day. I'm very proud of all the wonderful people that read every post and have been inspired to start their own journey to better health and fitness. I mentioned Bonnie the other day, remember, she's the one who read every single posting from this blog in one single day. I recently ran across her blog post titled “It Was An Epiphany!” I smiled from ear to ear as I read what she had written about this blog and the effect on her and her husband. I think they're from New Zealand or Australia, I just asked and haven't heard back just yet. I've deduced this because in her writings she's a day ahead of us and it's really cold where they are. For someone like me who has never traveled outside the United States, I think that's really cool to have a positive effect on people on the other side of the world. Here's the deal: I sincerely care about people who are struggling with morbid obesity. And since I do, I naturally want to share with as many people as I can what I've discovered along this road. When I suggest to someone to go back and read from Day 1, I'm hoping they do, so they can gain the full perspective of this journey. The ups and downs, the good days, the bad days and every big and small revelation that has brightened the path. It's all apart of successfully defeating this life long fight against obesity. The reaction that Bonnie and her husband had to this blog is exactly what I hope you have. An epiphany! I remember when I had mine, in fact I've had several of these epiphanies throughout this journey and I'm still learning every day. With Bonnie's permission, here's an excerpt from her blog:

Today, while lying in bed still sick with whatever this is, I read the entire blog of a guy named Sean who is working his way towards losing almost 300 lbs. He is about half-way there. Click here to read his blog (also on the side bar), start with Day 1 and read the whole thing. It is awesome! Anyway, after reading Sean's blog it suddenly occurred to me, like an epiphany, that if I eat less I will lose weight. What a minute...let me say it again. If I eat less I will lose weight. Oh my goodness. Why didn't anyone ever tell me that before? Okay, I am being sarcastic now. But it was one of those moments when the heaven's opened up and the angels sang. Suddenly I understood what I need to do. I don't need Weight Watchers meetings or surgery or even fancy diet food. I just need to count my calories, stick to a plan, drink water, and exercise as much as I can. So, tonight I made DH read Sean's blog as well. I thought maybe reading about another guy (a bigger guy) would motivate my hubby to get on this journey as well. He was stunned. It helps to know that someone else who is big, as big as we are, bigger even (when he started) can do it.

Bonnie is no longer blogging, but I have a feeling that her, her husband, and their beautiful family are doing fantastic down under in New Zealand.

It's been a challenging Friday and a successful Friday. I have yet to try the green drink that I planned on trying. I'm sure I'll love it---and it's packed with a bunch of good things. I'll do it---give me a day, I'll get there. I overcame the temptation and cravings of ice cream today. I shut it down with a junior sized soft frozen yogurt cone from Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Store. I was so close to pulling the trigger on that craving and urge to order whatever. I just couldn't do it. So I did what I've done from Day 1---and I thoroughly enjoyed that cone. It was really good, made better by the tremendous triumphant power of a good choice.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 612 Wonderful Support and Speaking Twice Today

Day 612

Wonderful Support and Speaking Twice Today

Thank you so much for the outpouring of encouragement for my friend Nathaniel! I know that he's read every single word you've written. Nathaniel, these people are real and their blogs offer wonderful insight and inspiration---and I guarantee you will find strength in the common struggles and triumphs we all share. The weight loss blogging community is an amazing support system. I know several people encouraged you to start a blog, and if you decide to—let me know if I can help, it's easy, and the accountability factor coupled with the tremendous support can be the added boost you need each day. You certainly don't have to blog to get the best benefit of all. You can simply keep a journal. Writing something everyday, about how you're feeling and what you're experiencing will lead to a better understanding of you. You'll have epiphanies along the way that happen because of this self-discovery writing. So blog or not, at the very least grab a pen and paper and write out how you feel, what you're doing, what you've done, why you've done it, and don't forget to dream about where you're headed!

My best advice to you Nathaniel is to keep it simple by focusing on two things: Your calorie budget and some kind of extra movement everyday. Stay consistent with these two elements everyday---and the third element---battle yourself to stay true to them. You're in a very critical stage of this journey, the toughest, but trust me, it gets easier as you go. Never stop dreaming Nathaniel, remember the things we talked about the other night, those events and goals you mentioned---hold tight to them and believe in yourself. I believe in you. And listen, you have my number. Use it anytime if you need, I'm here for you my friend.

Today was a busy Thursday. It seems everyday is busy lately. I started with a solid morning routine and I really needed that after yesterday's frantic start. The foundation was set for a great day. I had a full work day and two speaking engagements scheduled. Very nice!

A friend of mine offered to let me try something called Triple Greens today. It's a drink mix full of everything good and she naturally and enthusiastically shared it with me. I'll be honest, I haven't tried it yet, but I will—and it may become something I include everyday. Some good stuff in that green drink mix! It might be just the boost I need! I plan on trying it for the first time later today---and I'll be sure to record the experience and share it with an “On The Go” Video. I haven't done one of those in a long while. Look for that tomorrow!

I was scheduled to speak to an after-school care youth group at 4:15 today. I really should have asked a few more questions about the ages prior to my arrival. I was expecting pre-teen through teens---and what I found was a delightful group ranging in age from kindergarten to 8th or 9th grade. I was asked to speak to them about making better choices this summer and that's exactly what I did. We talked about choices and consequences in general and how we're responsible for our choices. I spoke to them about my childhood and how my choices led to morbid obesity. They all about fell over when I held up the size 64 jeans. I could have had three or four of them jump into those things and fit! I explained that good choices didn't mean perfect choices, it just meant better choices along the way. Being aware of our activity levels and occasionally choosing a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar was the spirit of this talk. These kids really had some good questions too, they were a great group of kids, really engaging, very smart. It was a wonderful experience indeed.

Tonight's “Lose To Win” seminar featured the lead dietitian from Ponca City Medical Center. She put together some wonderful hand outs that were full of great information. After her presentation, I was asked to speak for a few minutes. My message was: Keep it simple. So many times we get caught up in over analyzing everything---fat grams, sodium, calories burned---weighing constantly—it can easily become overwhelming. Keep it simple and allow yourself to naturally evolve along this road. Part of battling ourselves to stay on track is trying to keep ourselves from making things unnecessarily difficult and confusing. On Day 1 I was focused on three things only. Staying within my calorie budget, exercising, and talking myself out of self-destructing. Consistency is paramount---and it was so much easier this way. Eat, move, and battle myself to stay on track, the rest would come naturally as I progressed.

I arrived home and consulted my workout schedule. It was easy---a bike ride. I can do that! I prepared a nice dinner with grilled shrimp, cinnamon chicken, and green beans---enjoyed it, then set out on what probably was a five mile bike ride. It didn't take that long really---and it was so cool outside, it felt amazing. It was just a wonderful day. Busy, but rewarding.

Thank you for reading! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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When I drive, I just can't get over my skinny wrist. I never wore bracelets or watches because they didn't look right on my extremely puffy wrist---but now I look at it, and I'm thrilled. I know---something so small---but it is a big deal to me.

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This little darling is Jo Jo, my niece. This was from my visit with company last night. She's so precious!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 611 A "Fasten Your Seatbelt" Kind of Day and Meet Nathaniel

Day 611

A “Fasten Your Seatbelt” Kind of Day and Meet Nathaniel

Some mornings casually unfold in a very relaxed way. I get up, start coffee, do my non-weighted strength training exercises, cook breakfast—you know, the normal routine. Then there are mornings like this---I wake up late to a flashing alarm clock (must get a battery for backup), a raging thunderstorm, and a phone call telling me that two stations are off the air. Ten seconds ago I was dreaming and now I'm instructing a newbie on how to get one of the stations back on while I'm calling the remote control computer of the other transmitter in an effort to get it back up and on. Thank goodness it all worked quickly and within a few minutes I was dressed and racing for the door. I hate starting my day like this. I don't like the rush, I miss breakfast, and my coffee---I want my coffee! I did grab a bag of fresh fruit before opening the door to a torrential downpour. I park about fifty yards away. I paused for just a moment, then reminded myself that I now have the option of running, this could be fun. I flew down the stairs and ran to my vehicle, splashing all the way. I was still soaked—but it felt so good to be able to run through a rain storm, I didn't care. I needed a shower anyway.

No time for a quick drive-thru coffee and scrambled eggs---it was straight to the studio and into the chair---pull the microphone close, key it as I'm handed the latest details of the severe storm---and there I am---not a drop of coffee in me---awake for mere minutes, and somehow we're on the air advising people of the storm. Many of our listeners are probably in the same rush I was just minutes ago, as they listen to the reports of flash flooding and large hail. I have no idea how I did this at 505 pounds. I guess I did, but probably not as well. It was a team effort for sure and I'm just happy to be a more productive member. 251 pounds ago, I probably would have just called in sick...because I was.

It was a very busy morning and it was going to be a packed day. I found time to run home not long after my show for a shower and change of clothes, oh, and some protein! I prepared a big hearty breakfast burrito. With two whole eggs, mushrooms, green peppers, and fifty calories worth of mozzarella. The entire burrito was 285 calories, and worth every single one.

The plan for this afternoon was simple really. I was scheduled for my Wednesday afternoon 3 to 7pm broadcast from the casino. Working out today would have to wait until after. I picked up the remote broadcast vehicle and immediately noticed I needed to fill up. I never know when I'm going to experience something really cool these days. Some of the best unexpected experiences happen when I run into someone I haven't seen in forever. I walked into the convenience store to sign for the gas, started talking to the cashier, when all of a sudden the guy behind me starts freaking out. “Sean Anderson? Is that you? Oh my gosh---my wife said she saw you the other day and you looked completely different, and you do, like a completely different person!” It was a guy who had worked on our central air unit at our old house a few years ago. “How did you do it?” I told him the quick answer, “I just eat responsibly with smaller portions, count the calories and exercise.” Of course, you and I know the long answer has less to do with food and exercise and everything to do with our brains. But in line at the convenience store isn't the time to start talking about motivating thoughts, “iron-clad decisions,” and the “Steel Curtain Zone.” It was a delightful “wow” reaction to experience and it really lifted my spirits. What a wonderful boost!

I quickly drove to the apartment for a bite to eat before hurrying off to my afternoon broadcast. I look forward to this really, because I know I'll get to see Nathaniel. Nathaniel is the young man I've recently talked about here. He's in the beginning days of his journey and any words of encouragement you could offer him would be well received I'm sure. I talk to him and I see the old me looking back. The same kind of hopes and dreams, the same fears, and the same struggles I battled for so many years---he's right there where I was. I understand him and he understands me on that level. He's doing well, but admitted that it is a very tough struggle some days. I told him to meditate on those motivating thoughts and battle that inner voice that says it can't be done. You've got to fight Nathaniel! We are our own worst enemy—battle yourself and win my friend! Keep it as simple as possible. Protect your calorie budget and do whatever you can in terms of extra movement for exercise. I tell him of the freedom that awaits down this road---and it's so hard to describe sometimes. And maybe it sounds so far away for you my friend. But it's not that far. Just keep it simple and honest---and consistent. You're on the way and I'm so happy for you! We snapped a picture together---I really wish we would have had someone snap it for us. We will another time for sure. Nathaniel is super excited about the “Lose To Win” Challenge---and he's even trying to re-arrange his schedule to make some of the seminars. I'll be seeing you there my friend!

Storms were raging not far away by the time I finished the broadcast. Gayle was on the air and handling it when I called to check in. She was watching it and advised that I could monitor later for a possible activation tonight. So now I had to decide. Do I skip the workout, hurry home, eat something---then go to bed for a few hours before getting up to check the radar? Luckily it didn't come to that. The storms were moving further away without further development. I decided to hurry home, change clothes, and get my behind to the YMCA for a quick weight training session. But then something unexpected happened. Company came knocking. It was my sister in law, her husband, and their little darling Jo Jo. I hardly ever see them anymore---so a snap decision was made. I would visit, put this hectic day behind me, get some rest tonight, and workout tomorrow. It was all good.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

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I was holding the camera. Next time we'll have someone snap it for us! If you have time---please offer some encouraging words for Nathaniel!





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