Friday, July 30, 2010
The First Double Day Post and Plenty of Pictures
Thursday was the start of a really busy weekend for me, I mean seriously--I'm literally booked through Sunday night. The madness starts today! I love it, so don't get me wrong---this is living, maybe a little too much, but living like I never could before.
Back in the stand-up days, I had this bit---it totally relied on my 500 pound plus size to be funny, and some other morbidly obese people never laughed---because they knew that I was hurting myself for the laughter that made me feel loved, respected, and totally valued. The bit was about me walking into a Mazda dealership and asking to test drive a Mazda Miata. The bit worked about 97% of the time---it was a guaranteed laugh, and sometimes it became an applause break---it just depending on my delivery and the mood of the audience. Why do I bring this up? Because I took a test drive in a used Mazda Miata today. It was a convertible, but the top was up---and I fit perfectly. It was amazing. I was driving a Miata!!!! This little car is so me right now---I've always wanted to drive a little car, own one, because it would be such an amazing thing. And if you're remotely familiar with my old stand-up material, then you know exactly how meaningful this is to me. It's huge!
I had a full workday today, capped with a five to seven pm remote broadcast from The Ranch Chiropractic Wellness Center. The Ranch grilled homemade authentic German brats. These bratwurst were the absolute leanest brats I've ever enjoyed! Yes, I had a half with a bun and plain yellow mustard--and later had another half a brat minus the bun. I was so impressed with the flavor, despite the lack of fat. It was amazing! But a little hard to calculate the calories...I decided on 225 per. This isn't your typical bratwurst! 225 was an honest guesstimate, yeah---I'm pretty sure.
Dr. Amy commissioned miniature cupcakes with the Ranch Chiropractic Wellness Center logo in icing. These tiny things were the cutest---and seriously, each one had to be about 60 calories. I finally decided on 80, but really---I think that's an over estimate. 60 looks and feels so reasonable.
Kenz is flying into OKC tonight. I plan on meeting her at the airport, although she doesn't know that part. I'm surprising her at the terminal exit. I'm so excited to see her!
I'll add more to this post as I can. In the meantime---I must run! More soon---please, enjoy the pictures!
OK--it's soon...and as promised...
This morning was met with a nervous energy that refused to stop until late afternoon. It was performance day at the OCTA festival. I'm very happy we had such a wonderful performance on Monday night in front of the Poncan Theatre audience. If we can just do that again, we'll be absolutely fine!
The hotel breakfast was premium stuff. Real scrambled eggs, yeah...you could tell. And a bunch of other things like biscuits and gravy, sausage, and bacon. It's almost boring to write about, you know, how I waltz in and completely, confidently handled that breakfast buffet. I'm really happy where I find my very natural habits. I was hungry, absolutely--but I was picky...some fruit and corn flakes, a little bit of scrambled eggs--even a slice of bacon. I naturally avoided the breads, the gravy, the sausage, the bagels, the cream cheese, the peanut butter...naturally avoided. It isn't a struggle to make these choices. I'm not missing out on anything. I do not feel deprived. I enjoyed what I wanted and nothing I didn't. I love the feeling I get after making good choices so naturally. I often remind myself later, hey--you didn't even have to think about those choices, way to go!
The festival this afternoon was a very interesting experience. Everything is timed. You have ten minutes to set up, an hour to perform, and ten minutes to strike the set. Any violation of these limits and you're disqualified from the competition. We had a bunch of extra time to play around with--we even considered positioning the set in slow motion, for sheer entertainment value. We didn't, but I think we should have.
Before we took the stage, I gazed one last minute into the dressing room mirror. My thoughts go to my 505 pound days, where something like what I was about to do would have been completely unthinkable. Oh, I'd secretly dream about it, but actually doing it? Not as a 505 pound man--no way. But here I was...in a dressing room, with a lead role in a comedy, waiting for my moment under the lights. This is living.
Kenz and her dad Wayne made the performance too! I was so happy they could be there, and really---it didn't make me any more nervous than normal. I was confidently cool by the time we took our places. I'm so glad I couldn't see the audience very well through the lights, but they were there---the laughter and applause let us know.
After the performance, Kenz, her dad, and I enjoyed the Golden Palace Mongolian BBQ and Chinese Buffet. Wow, this place was crazy good. And it wasn't bad at all. It sounds horrible, and I guess it could be if you made it that way, but really---the choices are there for the choosing. I picked my veggies and meat and then a cook takes those ingredients and cooks them on a large rotating platform. It's a site to see really...and it ended up being a plate that wasn't too much at all.
I grabbed a few things from the chinese buffet, an egg roll and a few other favorites, and enjoyed my meal. An experience like this isn't about being exact on the calorie count, because really---it would drive you crazy if you tried to be exact, because you just couldn't. It's about trusting yourself, it's intuitive, it's normal portions, it's smart choices. It's looking at the options and making responsible decisions you can be proud to own. It's drinking the water, it's pushing the plate away and realizing that you're satisfied--not stuffed. It's walking out of that place knowing that it was handled in the best possible way--and feeling absolutely incredible for the experience.
I've really allowed this trip to change my writing dicipline---and that really bugs me, but it shouldn't. This blog is so important to me, and what it's done for me over the last 683 days is nothing short of incredible---so missing a post, or catching up later by having this "double post" day, really bothers me. Then I remind myself that it's OK because I'm living the fruits of my consistent dicipline...and wasn't this the goal from the beginning? To live to the fullest? And sometimes that means not being able to post the page on my regular schedule. I'm fine. Everything is absolutely fine!
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
The dash of the Miata--with me behind the wheel...It felt amazing to fit in that little car! And it was so much fun to drive! Zoom Zoom Zoom!
Authentic German Bratwurst at The Ranch Chiropractic Wellness Center
Miniature cupcakes...so cute!!
We Rock the water challenge all day and night!
Hurry, take the picture---I can't flex for too long here....wow---this tattoo makes me feel tough, and VERY accomplished!
Still from "Wanda's Visit." Morgan Ham plays Marsha!
Another picture from the play during festival...
Kenz made it!
We're having a blast together!
With Stephanie Williams as "Wanda" and Morgan Ham as "Marsha"
With Director Chris Williams
With Andrea Storm--a PEWC member, Lose To Win Member, and now 30 pounds lighter!!! Way to go Andrea!! Andrea plays the waiter in "Wanda's Visit," and has one of the most memorable lines in the entire play!
With Stage Manager Amanda Lyons!
With Tom Cowley, founder of ReAct. Tom's in costume for a fantastic walk-on role in "Wanda."
With Bobbie Carson--President of The Ponca Playhouse
With Morgan Ham
Thursday, July 29, 2010
The Mental Part Is The Biggest
Out of every single day along this road, one stands out for me above all of the rest. Lately I've been getting a bunch of email asking about the mental aspects of this journey. So today, a day that I have very little time to write, I've decided to re-post that one special day. From August 7th, 2009 here's Day 327:
The Emotion Ocean and The Mix Tape of Our Mind
Since crossing the 200 pounds lost milestone on Wednesday, I've talked about the major elements of my success. It's been an amazing journey so far. But in talking with a struggling friend today, I realized something. I realized that talking about the mental changes being 80% of this battle, and talking about all of the little and big psychological gymnastics I've done to stay consistent, well, it just doesn't go deep enough. So take a big breath and let's go diving into the deep waters of our emotion ocean.
Is your past in complete command of your future? Have you given it control of your life? What are you afraid of? What is your biggest fear? Whatever your answer to the last question is, that's what's holding you back. I've always had a fear of not living up to my potential. Never following through. Never becoming what my teachers, family, co-workers, coaches, and comedy colleagues just knew I could be. Potential. Do I fear my potential? Or do I fear not living up to that potential that everyone is so certain I hold within? I've never had a problem convincing people to believe in me, but I've had a devil of a time convincing me to believe in myself. It's like I've had a mix tape playing over and over in my head for so many years. That mix tape would say horrible things to me, and it made me believe them. You'll never live up to your potential. You'll always be fat and ugly. You'll never realize any professional success in broadcasting beyond a small market level. You'll pass your horrible behaviors with food onto your children. You're worthless and not worthy of success. Who do you really think you are? You're just a poor kid from the projects that will never amount to anything special. And you're stupid, an uneducated buffoon just faking his way through life, trying to convince everyone that you really have a clue. What does the mix tape in your brain say everyday to you? I guess what I've done is this: I've hit the eject button on that old mix tape. Then, I destroyed it. It will never play in my mind again. Never. I've made a new mix tape. What I hear in my head everyday now is this: You will exceed your potential in ways you can't even fathom at this point. You will be healthy, thin, and handsome. Your success in broadcasting, motivational/inspirational speaking, and anything you decide you want to do is only limited by your imagination. Your example and guidance for your family is exemplary. You're worth is immeasurable and success is yours for the taking, go ahead, you deserve it. You are a man of integrity with amazing abilities of communication. You're a kid that was raised through humble beginnings completely surrounded by love and acceptance. You're a self-educated intelligent human being who doesn't have to convince anyone of anything. Big difference huh? What we tell ourselves everyday is what we become. It's true my friend. So why after a lifetime of fighting obesity am I breaking free so wonderfully now? Because I destroyed that old tape and replaced it with something worth listening to. How do you make a new mix tape for your brain? Write it out, memorize it, burn it into your brain, and most importantly...Believe it. Maybe it's too much to replace everything all at once. Replace one at a time...transform how you think about yourself at whatever pace you're comfortable. This is what Mr. Ralph Marston is speaking of when he talks about no outside force holding you back. You're holding you back.
Your old mix tape was made over time. It is the product of your past. And if you continue allowing the past to determine your future, then you'll always get the same result. Don't allow your past to own you, OWN IT. Put it in it's place. Let the past know that it's effects on your future are over right now. Don't try to completely forget about the past. A good friend of mine told me, very recently in fact, that you can't amputate your past and walk freely into the future. Your past is your story. It's made you who you are today, good or bad. But you can immediately decide that it will no longer control your future. And someday, that complete story that is you can and will shine as a light of hope to others. Letting them know that anything is possible, anything at all.
I honestly didn't know what I was doing when I started. But I was doing these things, accidentally stumbling upon epiphanies that would prove to be life changing for me. It wasn't until recently that a couple of good friends clarified exactly what I've done by sharing “the mix tape” analogy. Something else that they shared was something I've done without realizing for the last 327 days: I've been “acting as if...”
I've acted as if I was a normal responsible eating individual. I've acted as if I was someone who cared about exercising. I've acted as if I was someone that could share my story and help others along the way. Three very powerful words: “Acting as if.” Why are they so powerful? Because you become whatever you put into your brain. When you're “acting as if,” you're training your brain to accept and transform to what you desire to become. And you will.
So now you know where my resolve comes from. Now you know why my consistency level is unwavering. Now you know why I'm so passionate about sharing my story, my triumphs, and my struggles. Is it perfect? No. I've said that many times along this road. It doesn't have to be perfect my friend. Striving for perfection is the quickest detour to disappointment. But if we continue with a positive consistent effort, and we change the way we think about ourselves...then our success is practically guaranteed my friend. You will not be able to stop it from happening. And don't be afraid of success. Go ahead, you deserve it. And the great thing about weight loss success? It happens slowly over time, allowing you to adjust to the new you. You're going to absolutely love it.
After meeting with the cast and crew of "Wanda's Visit" and "Proof" tonight, most everyone decided to enjoy El Patio Mexican Restaurant. My strategy is simple--water, no ice--and a straw--Easy on the chips, I avoid the rice and beans, and I go straight for the "side" menu. I ordered a small guacamole and a crunchy chicken taco. With the chips, we're still talking 500 calories minimum. I guesstimate at a local place like this, but it's educated---I compare to national brand restaurants that have listed calorie values. It may not be exact, but it's close for sure.
Oh--I almost forgot! For lunch I prepared a 220 calorie pizza that was a little different than the norm around here. I used another Joseph's product---it's the big rectangular shape lavish flat bread. The entire thing is two servings, 50 calories per, so 100 calories total. With the sauce, a scattering of mozzarella, and some mushrooms---it was amazing! I actually rolled it up into a huge mushroom pizza burrito. I couldn't believe it was only 220 calories, just amazing! i regret not taking a picture---I'll make another soon--and post it here of course!
I'm rushed! Better run now. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
My dinner at the restaurant tonight.
A blurry still from "Wanda's Visit" I'll try to get some better real soon! Stephanie Williams Center and Morgan Ham on the right!
The latest picture of me with Kenz. She's flying in tomorrow night! Yay!!!!!!!! ;)
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Not The Same Guy and This Isn't A Plan, It's Living
A friend of mine brought it to my attention that someone leaving a comment on the AOL article suggested that the story was a fake. I'll be honest, I haven't read all of those comments. Why? I guess I need a little thicker skin. After reading the comment from some guy who was trying to calculate the calories I must have consumed to reach 505, I decided that it was best not to continue reading. I can't help it sometimes, I'm sensitive. That's just me. But this yahoo who was arguing the authenticity of the before and current pictures, saying that you can tell that it isn't the same person if you look at the eyes...this guy, wow...I guess I shouldn't be offended, because in a way it was a compliment, and in another way...he's right.
I'm not the same person as 505 pound Sean and you can see a difference in my eyes, absolutely, that's called joy my friend...pure joy. But seriously, how crazy funny is that? Someone arguing the authenticity of my transformation. Well, I've lived it every single day. It's real--that's me--and there are many like me with equally dramatic transformations. Some people just have to be negative...it must be a very miserable existence in their world. Poor guy...
I started the day with my normal routine of non-weighted strength training exercises. I just couldn't bare another day without these very simple, yet effective exercises--all of them, not just the squats. And perhaps they do just as much good for me mentally as they do physically. I enjoyed my coffee and a scrambled egg pita wrap with mushrooms. I really love this breakfast. I think I was getting burned out on omelets. I'll fix omelets again next week!
I received two different emails today, both talking about my "plan," and both mentioning the Atkins Diet. For one, my "plan" is simply called living, eating, and moving like a normal healthy person. It reminded me of a day early on this journey---and it took a little while to find the exact day, but I did. The following excerpt is from Day 54:
A listener of my morning radio show came up to me today at the store and congratulated me on my weight loss. Then came the question. “So, how are you doing it?” I told him “1500 calories a day and exercise.” Then he asked me “What plan is it?” I told him “oh, it's my plan”, This really confused him. “So like Atkins?” This guy wouldn't quit. “No, it's just 1500 calories a day and exercise—no special pills or plans or crazy strict food list.” He then suggested I try the Atkins diet, because “who can live on 1500 calories?” I was very polite and thanked him for the suggestion then I told him that 1500 calories was working just fine for me. He then proceeded to tell me how he lost 30 pounds on the Atkins plan. He was a very nice man and a loyal listener. And I appreciate that! But man, he was convinced that I had to be doing some kind of special plan or book or service or pills or something!
He's not alone, many people are convinced that you need to buy the solution. The multi-billion dollar weight loss product industry thrives because of this way of thinking. So many people struggle with obesity and have for so many years, all the while waiting for that perfect plan or drug to save them. Many of the “plans” will help you lose the weight, but do they really teach you how to eat after the plan?
That's my biggest problem with the Atkins diet. I actually gave it a try back in 1995, but the grocery bill was just too much! And I quickly realized how fast you remember how much you love bread and other carbohydrates when you're filling up on meat, eggs, cheese, and more meat. But my love for carbs isn't the reason I will not do the Atkins plan. It wasn't teaching me anything about portion control. I wasn't learning anything except the science of why it works. That came in real handy when I would explain why I could eat two pounds of hamburger meat, a half pound of bacon, and a block of cheese and still lose weight.
I'm in this for the life change, the long haul, the permanent results. I'm learning how to handle food in every day life and enjoy real portions, instead of monster size portions. And because I can eat whatever I want within my calorie budget, there isn't a situation or special circumstance that can trip me up.
Remember the crazy boiled eggs/bananas/hot dog diet? I think that was the “special” combination. One day you ate just boiled eggs, the next bananas, and the third day hot dogs. Then on day 4 you started over with the boiled eggs. Oh, it works! Sure it works! But I'll tell ya, I don't plan on eating those three things exclusively for the rest of my life! Maybe it wasn't bananas...I'm pretty sure about the boiled eggs and hot dogs, but that third item may have been something else. Anyway, it doesn't matter, that's nuts! And really it's just another form of calorie counting, the only difference is you don't have the choices. The unlimited choices are what makes calorie counting so great!
I don't spend too much time explaining or defending my "plan" these days. It's all documented right here in these writings. And it's not something you can buy, it's something you live. It's real change, the kind that sticks. And when you fully embrace this change, it's a joyous experience. Are there tough days when the Steel Curtain Zone must be activated? Yes, of course. But seriously, let me tell you something...the taste of triumph, of overcoming a tough day with your resolve and calorie budget in tact, taste much better than any binge or trigger food.
I prepared a fantastic meal tonight. Chicken breast, green beans with cheese, and a serving of hash browns. It was 460 calories of incredible.
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
Jodi--Proud member of the PEWC--drinking the water at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Jodi writes: I drank two of these at dinner which equates to 40oz! How cool is that? Literally. LOL! We were out at Cheeseburger In Paradise where I made good choices! I had a grilled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun with one slice of cheese with broccoli on the side instead of their fries. Also, I wound up only eating half of the roll. Too much bread. Instead of any sauces I asked for lettuce, red onion & pickles. Great choices Jodi, and thank you for the picture! Very nice!! You can check out Jodi's blog at: http://www.elvismoodyblue.blogspot.com
Me--using the "straw-no ice" strategy for rapid water consumption!
This message was in my email:
I plan to keep drinking long after the deadline, thank you!! An avid reader--Tami
I don't have a water drinking picture of Tami, but her decision to keep drinking the 64 ounces a day long after this coming Sunday, is something I'm hearing from others too. I know I plan on continuing---and really, that was the idea of the PEWC anyway...Kind of like the challenge that never ends! The healthy benefits are simply undeniable.
A big before picture with Courtney, my youngest...
With Courtney---almost a year and nearly a hundred pounds ago--not sure when exactly--anyway, pictured with my size 64 jeans. These jeans were the biggest the big and tall store carried---and when I first bought them, they were tight!!!!!!!! Scary, to be that close to special ordering or custom sewn clothing...
Before picture with my cousin Debbie--this might have been shortly after I started along this road.
Recent with mom
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Confidence In Me and Double Pita Pizza Calorie Value--Rocks!
The alarm sounded at 4am, so I reached over, turned it off, and just laid there awake. This is Monday, the first workday of a busy week, and the first day of week three in the Positive Effect Water Challenge. So many things were going through my head. My radio show, production projects at work, a business trip Tuesday in Tulsa, "Wanda's Visit" tonight and again on Friday at festival, working out, Kenz arriving Thursday night. Yes, this...this is going to be a big week.
But still, I just laid there, as if to say give me a minute here! I'm so happy these days, like genuinely happy...and it's not like everything is perfect, it's certainly not. I just have this incredibly positive vibe I carry, a place mentally where anything is possible and obstacles are only speed bumps along the road, positioned perfectly to keep my feet on the ground while giving me a nod to move forward with confidence. This is a very nice place to be, and it's not about being 13 pounds from goal. It's about being happy and confident in who I am and what I do, something that hasn't always been as clear in my life as it is right now. Ok, enough of this introspective feel goody stuff, Monday is waiting!
I made my way from the bed to the bathroom, then to the coffee pot, and then to my chair. I decided that before my email was opened or my blog was checked, I'd do a minimum of 60 non-weighted squats. Wow, I can tell that I've allowed myself to fall out of the habit lately---the burn starts way too soon.
I enjoyed a banana early, then I prepared breakfast to go: Two whole eggs with mushrooms in a Joseph's 60 calorie pita, the whole thing was 210 calories and I was set for a good morning! I also found some time to make a couple of pita pizzas for dinner! I love those things, I do...and they're so easy. I love mac and cheese too. I didn't have any today, but I read about it today. From July 25th, 2009:
I spent 400 calories today on mac and cheese. This is very unusual. I can count on one hand how many times I've had mac and cheese in the last 315 days. I love it too much! I started out with a very small portion, then decided to “invest” a little more. It tasted amazing! So, nearly a third of my calorie budget in mac and cheese---then I tossed the leftovers in the trash. There wasn't that much left, and it sounds wasteful. I can't add the amount of calories I've consumed before in the name of “don't waste it!---here, let me put it on my waist!” We actually have changed the way we cook around here. We simply cook less. Much less actually. We're saving money and saving calories. We've had several meals that look like it's not enough, but then everyone gets a serving of this and a little of that, it's all gone, and everyone is satisfied. No seconds, no leftovers, and no picking while it's cooking---because, hey...there's just enough! It's taken some getting adjusted—because we always cooked so much! But our perspective has changed, our focus has changed, our lives have changed.
Getting in front of an audience tonight with this production was a wonderful experience. Last year's "Call Me Henry" was so dramatic, and it was a wonderful experience--but the laughter I heard tonight took me back to my stand-up days. The audience was amazing, so in tune with our every word and expression, that they were laughing in places I hadn't expected. That feedback from an audience is something you just can't get in rehearsals, and it felt incredible. It put any doubt to rest for me, and I think the rest of the cast and crew feel the same way. We have a serious contender at the theater festival. The performance will be Friday afternoon at the Nancy O'Brien Performing Arts Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Can't wait!
Dinner tonight was late. I had over 600 calories coming, probably a little too much by this time of night, but I was actually hungry--and I'm hardly ever hungry. I could have had dinner before the performance, but I've never been a pre-show eater. I'm too consumed with the performance to relax and eat. I prefer eating when the show is in the books. A couple of ham, mushroom, and mozzarella pita pizzas sounded perfect.
I used two of the Joseph's 60 calorie flax, oat bran, and whole wheat flour pitas, 30 calories worth of pizza sauce (1/4 cup) total, one thin slice of black forest ham between the two for 25 calories total, an ounce of mozzarella on each for 160 total, and 15 calories worth of fresh mushrooms. Look at that picture below...wow, looks like more than 350 calories for sure, but no---that's it! 350 total for both together! That's an amazing calorie value! I added a banana and a little peanut butter to reach my calorie goal tonight, and everything was wonderful!
The PEWC is becoming almost effortless for me these days. At first, it wasn't easy, I'll admit. But now, I haven't a problem hitting at least 64 ounces--often getting the first 40 down relatively quick. The benefits are incredible--I feel it in so many ways. A bunch of people are participating---and if you're a proud member, let us know how you're doing! I had really hoped to post more water drinking pictures---and I'll post some more soon, I've just been moving so fast lately. I'm excited to post yours, so email them--please! We're on the last week of this challenge, but the hope is--that this three week challenge will develop a healthy water consumption habit that will continue to benefit long after this Sunday. I know it will for me.
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
Breakfast at the studio
350 calories of pita pizza goodness!
I couldn't find this PEWC member's name on her blog...so I'll refrain from using the name from the email...but---I love her strategy for effortless water consumption: She uses a straw! Very nice my friend. I also love her blog name and address, visit her today at www.immyfavorite.blogspot.com
Monday, July 26, 2010
Far From Perfect, Learning Everyday, and The Evolution of Good Choices
I started my Sunday morning with a big mushroom, ham and Swiss omelet. I say "big," and it was, with two 17 calorie egg whites and one 70 calorie whole large egg, extra mushrooms, 65 calories worth of Swiss, and a thin slice of Black Forest ham. The entire omelet checked in at 200 calories, certainly not big in the calorie department. Enjoying a big hearty and filling omelet like this for only 200 calories is the very thing I mean by "good calorie value." We're talking the most bang for my calorie buck!
I've received so many wonderful e-mails lately in response to some of my writing about over-coming food addiction and my methods and philosophy that have made this transformation road a joyous adventure. But you need to know, and if you've read the archives you do, I'm far from perfect. I'm learning everyday just like you. I feel without a doubt that the mental and food parts of the equation are certainly my strong suits. I'm not scared of food anymore. I control food, it doesn't control me...and those changes in me will last the rest of my life. It's one of those things that once you fully embrace, it sticks. We know too much to ever go back. But...
When it comes to discipline in the workout part of the equation---uh, yeah---I need serious help. Maybe after this water challenge ends in a week, Kenz and I can start working on an exercise challenge. Up until the start of this water challenge, I'd never consumed more than 64 ounces of straight water in one single day--at least that I can remember. I've been horrible with two very important elements: Water and workouts. So before you start doing exactly what I've done, just remember---the mental gymnastics to stay consistent and the food philosophy---yes, but when it comes to water and exercise---you can show me a thing or two.
I've said it over and over along this road...If I'm ever to realize the fitness level I dream about, I must change my lax approach to working out. I'm capable, I have zero good excuses for not giving 100% effort with exercise. I could rationalize that I've spent so much valuable time navigating and untangling a lifetime of food addiction and yo-yo dieting, that no wonder I haven't focused on the exercise as much as I should have, especially lately. Whatever...it will not make me feel better, because I know the truth. Here's that self-honesty mechanism kicking in: The truth is, I've become very comfortable with my transformation---and it gives me an out. I could also say that I've loaded my schedule to the point of exhaustion---but really, how long does it take to do a Richard Simmons DVD or my morning non-weighted strength training exercises? It was vitally important for me to get in that walk every single day in the beginning, it was absolutely necessary--but now, that urgency isn't the same.
You can go back 3 months, 6 months, and even a year and read this same kind of personal disgust in my workout discipline. So remember, I'm perfectly imperfect---and I've been that way this entire journey---and we're still 13 pounds from goal. I say that for a reason...Not to make me feel better about my lack of performance in the gym--but for a very important psychological reason:
Because we don't have to be perfect. If you're trying to be perfect, you're probably driving yourself mad. I can remember past failed attempts where I would allow myself to get discouraged if I thought I slipped up even in the slightest--it's all of the self-imposed rules we put on ourselves along this road that cause us unnecessary frustration. Where do they come from, these rules? They come from the conditioning we've had our entire lives on how weight loss is supposed to work. At the risk of sounding grandiose and boastful, the weight loss industry should get ready, because my success flies in the face of most conventional weight loss industry wisdom while making perfect sense. I've changed the way I look at weight loss and the entire industry, and I will keep writing and walking the talk everyday. Now, if I can just get a good workout...
I wasn't prepared food wise for a long rehearsal today. I had my water bottle and that's it. I really didn't plan on being there that long, so when an opportunity came about--I made my way to a convenience store for something good.
My good choices have evolved naturally and so wonderfully along this road. It makes it sometimes difficult to find something to eat in a convenience store. But I lucked out and found a banana and an all natural Clif Bar. It was more than just a snack really, at 350 total calories--it was lunch. I could have had some chips and maybe some beef jerky--but that would have been a good choice from early on this journey. Do you see how the definition of good choices must evolve naturally? And it's different for each of us. My taste have changed, improved really---it's one of the vital mental dynamics of my "nothing is off limits" philosophy. It's gradual positive changes in our choices that I believe have the best chance of sticking...and the only chance of delivering me from a lifetime of food addiction. No right or wrong foods, just right or wrong quantities---and that's where we have to be honest with ourselves.
Alan at Fools Fitness is a proud member of the PEWC. I was delighted to open this email from him today:
Foolsfitness is giving a thumbs up to the whole water idea in general. Fools Fitness even got the picture to prove it!!! We try to drink some daily… We even shower with the stuff ! A great story that came with this shot (see picture below), is immediately after a friend took the picture it started to sprinkle, then it started raining harder and harder. My impulse was to get back to the car, not that I cared much about being wet but I wanted my camera dry.
In the car I asked “Where’s the water jug?“ In my haste picking up my shoes I had forgotten the 5 gallon jug on the beach. It was down pour raining, but I shrugged to my fate and ran to get it. Look closely at that last sentence… see the word *RAN*? I had this weird epiphany half way through ,”Wait? I’m running…a distance?!” I got back to the car and gleefully giggle, “Did you see it… I *RAN*!” to the friend almost like a little kid says “Look momma! Look what I can do!” Let’s just say maybe it’s not a big deal for some folk…(and apparently not that person from that look of “so what?“ I got back) But if you can not remember the last time that you really sprinted, at least not vividly that feeling of flying, almost like there just be that slightest chance that you take one more step and just might float into the air… it’s like a little kid who finally takes those training wheels off their bicycle. I can run! Well, at least for a little bit…
It’s surreal… I guess I had this mental block telling myself “I don’t run” (which was very likely true for a very long time) but somehow I finally forgot to remind myself. I didn’t plan it and didn’t think about it and then it was almost like looking in as third person… hey, you know your running here, right? At Foolsfitness We are all about the water... we even swim in the stuff- Alan
Thank you Alan, very nice my friend! You win the award for the most water in your PEWC picture! Wow, a five gallon jug and a lake? You're rocking this thing like crazy! The sprinting--yes, I love it...let me clarify---I LOVE IT! When I go to the trail for a walk/jog 5K--I always do short burst of sprinting, because of that feeling Alan just described. After years of not being able to even imagine what it might feel like, it's the coolest thing to do. I'm right there with you Alan, maybe someday when we meet, we'll have a foot race. You game? ;)
I spent a bunch of time writing tonight and some other work in front of the computer. Some of my friends and family say I spend too much time writing, but seriously---what it's done for me is well worth the energy I've invested. This blog has, without a doubt, helped me change my life. It means a bunch to me. It's my record, it's my therapy, it's my escape from the prison of morbid obesity--it's my blueprint for change. A nice, comfortable evolution of good choices and a transformation that often leaves me in disbelief--and then I pinch myself, and yep---that's me and this is my life. I'm so very blessed. I give thanks everyday.
I'll be performing Monday night at the historic Poncan Theatre in downtown Ponca City. I play "Jim" in the ReAct production of "Wanda's Visit." If you're within driving distance, you're invited! I'll leave your tickets at the box office. Ok, actually it's a free performance--as we get ready for the state theater festival in Norman this coming weekend. I'm so excited that Kenz and her dad will be there in Norman for that big performance. I can't wait to post some stills from the play...And you know I will!
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
My 200 calorie omelet with mushrooms, ham, and swiss! It tasted much better than it looked!
Alan from www.foolsfitness.blogspot.com with a 5 gallon jug and standing in a lake. He's really serious about getting enough water! There's one week left in the PEWC, so email your pictures today!! Send the picture to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Not Exactly "Never" and Food Worries Behind--Free To Dream
Yesterday's blog was very special to me. I often times read what I've written, just to make sure I've written it in the best way possible. Effective communication is very important to me, and sorting out these thoughts, this philosophy, in a way that I can understand--has been crucial for my development along this road. I found an e-mail from Julie this morning, that made me wonder if I should have clarified a little better. Julie writes:
"...in today’s post you said you never went over the 1500 – I’m trying to read one day at a time to use your journey as my stepping stones along the way (I already have 8 pages of “Resolves” from your blog! – those mind blowing comments that hit me with YEA – THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT!) – but can’t resist to read some of the current stuff too!"
Not exactly "never" Julie! The question from the gentleman was "Have you ever exceeded your calorie bank for days or weeks on end..." that may not be an accurate quote...but that was the question....
For days or weeks?...Never. For a day? Yes. I've written about it! ;)
I decided that Thanksgiving and Christmas were holidays where food seemed to be such a big part---that, yes---I would go over by 1000 on those days only. It had to be a planned thing for me. Had I just woke up and said---"everything out the window today," It would have had devastating psychological effects on me---and I probably wouldn't be where I am today. I decided to stick with my 1500 on my birthday and any other special day---because really, the food is awesome, but it should never be the number 1 focus---the family and friends around us, the experiences, the sites, the smells---the fellowship---that should be the focus. It was ALWAYS the food with me. I still love food, and food is still a part of celebrations, of course...But I don't make it my main focus. I gave food wayyyyy too much attention before this road.
I'm so happy for you my friend. You're the one changing your life, and that's a beautiful thing.
There have been other days when I exceeded the 1500. The Cracker Barrel meltdown from February 2010 comes to mind. The deliberate excess of cheese and crackers on a very early day along this journey also comes to mind. And I'm sure there have been days where I guesstimated something at a restaurant totally wrong. I hope you understand, we don't have to be perfect. But we do need to be careful not to let the "we don't have to be perfect" thinking become an excuse or rationalization for going off the wagon completely.
Catherine had nothing less than an epiphany. She writes:
I see it now; you surrendered to food, Sean. I don't mean that you gave up and relinquished your power to it, in the conventional definition of "surrender".....no, you took a big sigh and made the decision to stop fighting against it. To accept that food was there to stay, and like any other reality, it had to be accepted and dealt with, collaboratively. If you couldn't beat it (and yourself) into submission, conquer it, then you had to find a way to co-exist with it, in a way that allowed you both to flourish. That way, you're still you, in charge of you, enjoying and living with food which is free to be whatever it is.
Absolutely Catherine!!! "That way, you're still you, in charge of you, enjoying and living with food which is free to be whatever it is." Yes, yes, YES! We've been conditioned by a million different magazine articles and books over the years to believe that there's a proper way to eat to lose weight. These are the foods you need to eat, and here's how much...And it separates our food into categories---there's the "good list" and the "bad list." Can you lose weight by eating from only the good list? Yes. But by excluding some foods, or making some forbidden, especially the ones that played a major role in the lifestyle that promoted your obesity, you're setting yourself up for a needless struggle between right and wrong, where a "slip" leaves us feeling defeated and a retreat to those "bad" foods often means the end of another weight loss attempt---because "we messed up." When I fully embraced that food was just food, and my choices where dictated by calorie values and calorie management only, that's exactly when I was really set free along this road.
Once you've let go of your preconceived notions about food and weight loss, and this new positive attitude, friendship, and peace with food is firmly in place--then you start dreaming again, envisioning a future free of obesity. And that my friend can be a very fun-positive place! I found myself in that place exactly one year ago today as I sailed across the water on a jet-ski for the very first time in my life. Here's an excerpt from Day 313--July 24th, 2009:
Doing things like this that were once nearly impossible is one of the quickest ways for me to get really emotional about how far I've come in the last 313 days. This is what it's all about. It's living my friend. Really living. You know what I mean? Feeling that jet ski lift up and skimming across the water as the wind hurried through my hair was simply amazing. I felt like I could fly. As I rode atop the surface I thought about how things have changed for me and continue to change.
It would have been so easy to never have started on September 15th of last year. I did that my entire life. You know, think about starting, even plan starting, get excited about starting and then, when the day would come (always a Monday for me), nothing but fear and giant overwhelming feelings of I can't, it's going to take too long, how am I going to do this under so much daily stress?
It certainly wasn't that I didn't want it---Oh I did...but I was so busy trying to complicate the process, I couldn't get a handle on figuring out how to really do it. I always claimed “Oh, I know how to lose weight---just eat less and exercise more.” But there's more to it than that. Until I really analyzed the psychological part of the equation, I couldn't solve the problem no matter how bad I wanted. This time is certainly like no other for me. It's the real deal my friend. The way out was found because I completely surrendered the dishonesty within, the excuses, and the rationalizations that always gave me reasons to fail. I decided to give this mission the importance level it deserves, so it wouldn't be easy to rationalize bad choices---because it's just too important. And here I am 313 days later, flying across the top of a lake, viewing a perspective reserved only for those who choose to live.
I told myself that I would sleep-in this morning. Oh yeah, I was going to sleep until I couldn't sleep anymore. 8:15am...yep...not exactly my best effort in that direction. I needed more rest, so after a couple of hours, I returned for a little more. It felt good, except I turned my neck--or slept on it weird, something. I hurt myself! My neck has been bothering me all day and night. I called a chiropractor, a good friend of mine actually, and she directed me to ice it for twenty minutes at a time--and try to sleep without a pillow, or with the thinnest pillow possible.
Stormy weather settled in tonight and that meant work at the studio. I'm on call this weekend for anchoring weather coverage, so as soon as the storms started brewing--I was out the door and on the air--hurt neck and all. I filled my water bottle twice during the coverage, and still only made it slightly past the required 64 ounces of the PEWC.
The positive effects of this water challenge have been phenomenal to me. I'm more regular than ever, I feel less "puffy," and I just carry an over-all better feeling about me. I'm finally properly hydrating my body, and I'm confident that the benefits go far beyond what I've noticed. If you're participating in the challenge, I hope you're also feeling the positive effects!
I spent some time watching a movie with Amber tonight. It was so late, and she was so understanding when I gently fell asleep in my Lazy-Boy. I couldn't help it really. When the movie finished, she encouraged me to retreat to the bedroom--and I did, after going another round with an ice pack on this blasted neck. But really---considering the physical condition of my former 505 pound self---this neck thing is nothing. It will pass quickly. It's all good...ouch! seriously...everything is wonderful! ;)
Don't forget! If you're anywhere close to Ponca City, Oklahoma on Monday evening the 26th, you're invited for a free evening of live theater at The Poncan Theatre. Doors open at 7pm, with "Wanda's Visit" starting at 7:30pm, followed by the Pulitzer Prize winning "Proof." These are both festival pieces we're taking to the state competition next weekend. I play the male lead in "Wanda's Visit." It would be very cool to see you there!
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
One of my biggest before shots...probably in excess of 505, who knows?
Another recent tuxedo picture.
The most recent jet-ski video! I'm feeling all of those same emotions from a year ago. No words needed, just flight.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Thirteen Pounds To Goal and An Email Exchange With A Friend
I absolutely let yesterday's schedule throw me off a little. I should never be so busy/exhausted that I miss my bi-weekly weigh-in. But I did, and really--it's not that big of a deal, so I'll refrain from beating myself up. I made my way into the doctors office today, fully expecting four or five pounds lost. I know that might seem like a little too much, but honestly, I feel it in the way my clothing fits. The pants I started wearing for the play "Wanda's Visit" have been replaced with some a little more snug fitting. I can tell you exactly where the last chunk of weight came from, not only because of my clothes, but I can actually see the difference in the size of my hips.
I walked into the doctors office and was immediately greeted by one of the nurses. He remembers me from my heaviest days. He remembers very well. He smiled and told me that he runs into people all the time who mention my weight loss, and it kills him that he's not legally able to tell them more of the story, because of confidentiality laws...but he does smile big inside, knowing that he has intimate knowledge of 505 pound Sean. Boy, does he ever...I had some very embarrassing moments in this office...all from complications of my morbid obesity.
I approached the scale with confidence today. My workout schedule of late has been horrible, I've let it get that way...so that was the only worry I had. Still, I could just feel and see the loss this time, so I was confident regardless. I love it at this point! Every pound can make such a big difference. I stepped on the scale and found 243! It was good for a three pound loss, and now we're only 13 pounds to goal! It was simply amazing! Sure, I was predicting four or five, but really---I couldn't be happier right now. I can clearly see 230 on the very near horizon, it will not be long...and that weigh-in will be something very, very special.
When I reach that point, when we're super close---my weigh days will be spent traveling to Stillwater, just like in the beginning, so I can weigh on the scales where it all started. Those are the scales (at the Payne County Health Department) where I always started on the countless weight loss attempts in my past. I imagine it will be a weigh-in filled with a range of emotions. I get excited just writing about it---so excited!
I treated myself to a 150 calorie serving of guacamole and chips this afternoon, after a most unusual lunch. I've never been big on frozen meals, never---and I can count on one hand how many I've consumed in the last 676 days. But today I tried something from the Weight Watchers line of "Smart Ones." The Shrimp Marinara checks in at 190 calories (3 points for WW members) and it looked so wonderfully delicious. Although I've always concerned myself exclusively with calories, I can't help but note the sodium in a frozen entree. This selection has 650mg, or 27% of the recommended daily allowance. I don't even know if that's good or bad. All I know is, the calories rock...and so did the dish! Wow, I honestly enjoyed this frozen meal. I prepared it in the oven instead of the microwave, because I think it makes it better---and I was impressed totally. At 190 calories, this absolutely qualifies as a "good calorie value." See the picture below...of course I emptied the tray into a nice bowl, in an effort to forget that I was eating a frozen meal. I have zero complaints--it was good. I probably will not make it a habit, but in a pinch--I could totally rock one of those from time to time.
I had an interesting e-mail exchange with a regular reader and someone I absolutely consider a friend. After receiving my weigh day mass e-mail, he replied with this:
If you can ever get around to responding to this one, I do have a question (you can include it to all of us in post, if it's easier). I am still focused on the long term goal and still show progress on a monthly basis. But you seem to show progress almost daily or at least weekly. Did you ever have times when you went for days or a week or two by going off your calorie bank? Again, congrats my friend.
I did reply to his e-mail with this:
Never. It's too important to just "go off." That's the pattern that kept me losing and gaining it all back for so many years. This time HAD TO BE DIFFERENT.
We have to evaluate our importance level along this road. It must be serious, life or death stuff---or else it's too easy to just "go off." The attitude of "Oh well---I'll do better tomorrow, or next week, or soon" is exactly the kind of excuses and rationalizations I write so much about....they're deadly.
My advice would be to take your focus off the long term goal and focus on each day---redefining your relationship with food...fully embracing the "nothing is off limits" philosophy, because it's that philosophy I credit with many of my breakthroughs along this road. It's eliminated any feelings of deprivation, I never feel like I'm cheating, and it's taught me to handle all foods in a responsible way---because I must stay within my calorie budget. And that calorie budget is giving me the training I need to someday, take off those training wheels and eat like a normal person, with normal portions---without counting anything...Just being me---a new relationship with food---that's what it's all about. I love food, I do---and I always will...and there's nothing I can't enjoy---But it will be enjoyed in a normal way, with a normal portion---do you see what I'm saying? There is no substitute for changing our behaviors with food. If this journey is a challenge every day---a struggle, where you're trying desperately to stay within your budget--focusing on the rewards of your transformation---while suppressing or avoiding the issues you have with food...then you're not in the proper frame of mind for the long term. Sounds harsh, but really---I'm just being honest. You don't want this to be temporary, you know that.
Understand that you can eat like a normal, responsible person...and food is your friend. It is! treat it that way. Control it---don't let it have so much power over you.
Putting food in its place is very important.
I wish you nothing but the best my friend...Sean
And he replied to that with this:
Thanks, Sean. I appreciate your honesty and wisdom, gained from your successes and hard work. I'll consider it carefully going forward.
I think what I have felt is that time like this past week for me, should allow some exceptions without feelings of failure. My family was away, except me and my 9-year-old. After a few days of healthy eating, he wanted things like waffles and some treats. He is super skinny and I thought it was a decent compromise. I guess I still think that I have room on this journey for a few pauses or stumbles. If it really is a fatal flaw, then I need to know. Is this what you are saying? Thanks, my friend, for your response whenever your time allows.
I decided to share this exchange and make this reply a part of the blog. Here we go:
My friend, when you said "After a few days of healthy eating," it showed me that you're still separating "healthy eating," or unnatural eating habits, from "whatever eating." It's all the same my friend. You're eating. And eating while living a normal healthy life isn't always perfect, and it shouldn't be perfect. The idea that we must eat only "healthy foods" to lose weight, completely by-passes the most important element of this transformation road, and that is, learning to eat anything and everything in a very normal, responsible fashion. Waffles are awesome! I love waffles too! "Treats" are absolutely necessary--I have treats all the time. But here's the difference:
If you have convinced yourself that these foods are forbidden for successful weight loss, and then you have them--you're making yourself feel unnecessarily defeated. You're over-complicating this process. You must be a very intelligent person. I say that, because I've discovered that really intelligent people are usually the first ones to over-complicate this entire philosophy. There can't be any "bad" foods, only bad quantity choices. And that's where your "calorie value" decisions come into play. Will I occasionally enjoy a waffle?--Sure, I could...but I would evaluate the calories--with butter and syrup, and then decide if it's worth it at that moment. Perhaps I would split a waffle if I found the calories a little too high.
I'm just saying--In my opinion, you mustn't separate "healthy eating" from "whatever eating," it's all just eating, period. As far as breaking the "Calorie Bank and Trust," I wanted consistent positive results, and that's exactly what I've enjoyed---and maintaining the integrity of my "Calorie Bank and Trust" is a huge part of that. When we start making the excuses and rationalizations that make us feel better about robbing that bank, that's the beginning of the end. That's when we start getting super inconsistent, that's when we gain weight back. At least it always was for me.
You understand, I hope, that my advice comes from years and years of trial and error. I've analyzed my past failures to determine the how and why they went wrong. And it always comes back to self-honesty. Because ultimately--that's what keeps us on the straight and narrow. When we start making excuses for ourselves and rationalizing bad choices---that's when we start telling ourselves the lies that keep us fat. We're the ones in charge of our choices, we're responsible, we have to decide our importance level.
Are we ready to really lose the weight once and for all---and this time make it forever? If the answer is yes, then stop complicating the process. Keep it incredibly simple. If your goal is to be a super healthy eater, great---you'll get there with a natural evolution of good choices. But remember--it must be natural, not forced. And what's natural is different for each of us. That's what I meant when I said "I eat what I like and nothing I don't." And even with that attitude--my choices have naturally and dramatically improved over the last 676 days---and now look where we are...thirteen pounds from goal.
How can this not be a constant struggle? Because we embrace a confidence that there isn't a food we can't enjoy at one time or another. We don't have to feel a sense of loss because "we can never eat that again," because we can and will eat that again. We can drop the resentment toward this process, that feeling of it all being unfair because we have to "watch it" constantly. We're learning how to handle food responsibly, and for me--it's the first time in my life. I'm eating like a normal person and not like an out of control 500 pound food addict. It's a new attitude toward food. It's a friendship, a peace with food that I've never known before now. It's a confident patience...and it all makes sense, unless you decide to over-complicate. Then it must be more difficult. And it can be, complicated or struggle free, either way--your choice.
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
My incredible guacamole snack. I picked up the guacamole from a local Mexican restaurant.
190 calories...and very good! The Weight Watchers Smart Ones Shrimp Marinara
Huge before picture, on the streets of Guthrie for the centennial celebration--November 2007
Friday, July 23, 2010
Almost Oversleeping The LTW Awards Ceremony and Even Better Than The Dream
It wasn't that long ago, when getting out of bed was a chore. I remember in painful detail. I would sit on the side of the bed, sometimes for a few minutes, maybe longer---and summon the strength to raise my 505 pound body to my feet. I was actually afraid of trying to do it too fast, afraid I might strain something, or worse...something much worse. I can't believe how much fear I carried around back then. It doesn't make sense to me now. Why did I ever allow myself to live in that constant fear of an early death? Like a little kid, lost and scared, looking for a way out of this scary place. I was surrounded by supportive family, yet I felt so alone inside, with a self-destructive internal struggle that seemed determined to get me sooner or later. I thought about this many times while sitting on the side of the very bed I jumped out of this morning.
Getting up is a pleasure now. It's effortless, it feels incredible...so amazing, that it's really hard to start the day in a bad mood, simply because of the constant reminder of how different things are these days. I just have to look in the mirror right away, give myself a pinch, smile---and proceed to the coffee pot. I was a little short on time this morning, so I picked up a 170 calorie order of scrambled eggs--grabbed a banana on the way to the door, plus I had a Cliff bar stashed away for mid-morning. I was set in the food department for sure!
By the time mid-day rolled around, I quickly realized that my production duties in radio land would absolutely keep me from writing during my lunch hour. I had plans this evening. Ponca City Medical Center has once again asked me to host the "Lose To Win" awards, and I really needed to be there a little before 6pm---decked out in the tuxedo from Sprays Jewelry. I decided to get as much done as possible, then race home and write, then sneak in a little nap before showering and changing for the awards program.
At some point on my trip home, I realized how tired I was becoming. My body was telling me, better---My body was ordering me to take a nap. But wait---today is weigh day! No problem, I thought...I'll just sleep for an hour and fifteen minutes, get up at 4pm--write this blog, go to the doctors office for my official weigh-in, shower and dress---and be perfectly on time. It was a nice thought while it lasted. I over-slept my alarm, waking just in time to jump up quickly, get cleaned up, dressed, and drive straight to the theatre. Weigh day would have to be postponed until tomorrow--and the blog? Uh, it would have to wait. I had a job to do tonight.
I was putting on the tuxedo shirt when I noticed something crazy. The shirt wasn't an extra-large. I put it on the bed and I started to feel a little nervous. What if it doesn't fit? Will I have to wear a plain black casual shirt underneath the jacket, like I opted for last weekend? No, no, NO! It had to fit, I must have a full tuxedo for this event. So I tried on the size large shirt, and...it fit. It actually fit rather well. I could even sit down without popping the buttons off. I didn't have much time to enjoy this NSV, I had to leave for the theatre...like, now! Can you believe it? A Large...that's nuts in a very good way.
The awards were amazing. 77% of those that participated, finished the challenge---well over 3000 pounds were lost in nine weeks, and checks totaling over five-thousand dollars were handed to the winners, with the top ten in each category being recognized and awarded. It was an event that was such a pleasure to MC---and the audience was outstanding, full of people feeling great about themselves in so many new ways. You want an amazing energy in a room? Just fill the room with people who have lost weight and are feeling better and in more control of their lives than perhaps ever before. You'll feel it, trust me!
Several new tuxedo pictures were taken tonight. I love these, because---well, I feel like a million bucks in that thing. You know? And when I think about how horrible and ugly I felt at my heaviest---and how opposite I feel now...it's just...hard to find words. I once dreamed of this transformation and now the differences in me are even better than those dreams. And of course, those dreams always focused on the physical transformation---oh what a surprise to discover that the most important changes, the most dramatic, the life changing forever stuff---are the changes you can't see in a picture.
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
Before with my daughters!
A year ago at the first LTW Awards--in the tux--May 19th, 2009 Over 100 more pounds lost since that night.
I hate this before picture. OK--really, it's a love/hate thing---Because I'm no longer that guy putting the cake on the table. Speaking of cake---I almost forgot---Cake and punch was served after the awards. Yes, I asked for a middle piece, easy on the icing--cut in half. 150, 200 calories tops...and so very good!
On the phone afterward. Talking with Kenz!
Light was kind of strange--But I love this dog---Scooby is the best!
Nice outdoor shot. Courtney said it was her favorite...so, it's mine too!
On stage at the Poncan Theatre--after the ceremony, posing---completely. ;)
Tipping my new pink stainless steel water bottle given to me by Ponca City Medical Center's Healthy Woman program
A large...wow, really? A Large---I swear, I bet it's been since age 11. I still can't believe it---but there's the tag...you see that? I was comfortably wearing a large!!!!!! I just want to shout it!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Every Message Is Important and Let's Have A Talk My Friend
Over the last week, I've received hundreds of messages from all over the world. Some simply say "congratulations," others tell me about their success story, and then there are some that hit me hard---right in the heart. Every message, every e-mail, every comment---they're very important to me, and I want you to know that. I've had to forgive myself for not being able to personally respond to every single one in a timely manner, like I've done throughout this journey. I've never had to worry about this, and trust me--I'm not complaining, I'm just stressing out...filled with anxiety, because I feel like I owe you for all the wonderful support you give me. Please don't ever stop sending them, just give me your patience---and I'll do my best. That's all I can do.
The main purpose of this blog was and still is, to keep me accountable and on track, to help me fully understand my addiction to food, and to help me dig deep--in a quest to unravel the secret of successful weight loss. It's job, this blog, was and still is, to help me understand the mental aspects and help me uncover the emotional and deeply personal issues that I've allowed to hold me back. This blog has also taught me where I always went wrong in my repeated attempts to lose weight over the years. This blog is extremely important to me. Yes, I've invested a bunch of time in writing...anywhere from one to three hours a day, everyday of this journey---but really...think about the transformation---and I'm not talking about the physical, I'm talking about the "inside" stuff. When I think about the positive effect these writings have had on me---there's no question, it's been worth every minute of my time.
As I write this Wednesday edition, it's actually late Thursday night. This is officially the latest I've ever posted, but I got busy...it happens, especially these days. I feel anxiety when I'm late with a post, I do. I think of the people that tell me they read everyday and how much they look forward to reading---and I imagine what they're thinking...Sean's late! What's the deal? The reality is far different than my anxiety filled perception would have me believe---and then I calm myself by remembering...As much as I love it when someone tells me how this blog has helped them, it's still for me. I write for me---it's what I need, and I hope you write that way as well. It's self-therapy my friend. Even if you don't publish it on the world wide web---just write it out, get it out of you---and learn from what you find. This blog had less than 10 followers well past day 200---and I'm proud to say, the content and intent hasn't changed---and it will never change. Well--maybe it will change a little when we get into maintenance mode---maybe every other day, like three times a week...so I can focus on writing another project. ;)
I mentioned that I've received some heartbreaking emails sent to my personal inbox --firstname.lastname@example.org and messages via facebook from people who are feeling horribly lost along this road. If that's you, I want you to allow me to talk directly to you for a moment. I know, I know---I write a paragraph about how this blog is written for me---then I address you directly like that...well, I can't help but share...it's just me. But realize---it also helps me.
And sharing and trying to help makes me feel incredible, so again---it's for me in that way too. Are you ready my friend? Ok...here we go---The following is an excerpt from Day 192 in March of 2009. It was inspired by a nice lady who approached me about a loved one of hers that she was hoping I could reach. We all know that ultimately it must come from within each of us---but when she told me about sharing this blog address with him---I decided to write this. You may not weigh 500 pounds, but that doesn't matter--it's all relative...the same ideas and fundamental principals apply regardless of your starting weight:
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.
A long post--and I haven't recounted a single happening from today. I'll make it quick...My food was excellent today. I packed the ingredients needed to make the best chicken pita pizza ever--and for only 220 calories, it was an amazingly great calorie value---perfect lunch really.
My long day segued right into a wonderful evening of play rehearsal for "Wanda's Visit." I hope to be able to post some stills from this production real soon. If you're in the Oklahoma area, you can see this production on Monday evening the 26th of July at 7:30pm at the historic Poncan Theatre. We'll also have a performance at the state theater festival in Norman on the 30th. Both performances are open and available to the public. The Poncan performance is free---the state festival performance is fifteen bucks, I'm pretty sure.
The water challenge has been amazing for me. I feel better than I have in a very long time! And wow, I must say---I feel smaller. Less water retention? Increased weight loss? Who knows---drinking enough water can do amazing things. And it is! Kenz and I welcome your PEWC story---tell us how it's helped you and send in your water picture---we want to share it here and on Kenz's blog.
Thank you for reading. No pictures this time--but look for a bunch, and I mean---a bunch with tomorrow's edition. Goodnight and...
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Courtney's Birthday and The Chinese Buffet Showdown Number Three
My youngest is 17 today. Wow, really? Is that even possible? Time constantly moves and it doesn't care if we notice or not. Time doesn't care if we waste it away or make the very most of every day. Time's job is simple, it moves...and quickly. I missed a bunch of Courtney and Amber's early years because I was always tired, either working or sleeping. The raging sleep apnea back then kept me tired constantly and my 500 pound body seemed to constantly restrict me from the most rewarding pleasures in life, like being active with my children.
We can't get those early years back, and as bad as it was---I know they both understand how much I loved them back then and how much I love them today. I will not spend too much time regretting the past--there's nothing positive about doing that...But I will look forward to a future with my kids and in about, say ten years--maybe grandkids (please don't make me a grandpa any sooner--if you don't mind, thanks sweety). When I accompany my daughters to their ultimate weight loss goal weigh-in---that's when my ultimate dream will be realized. To inspire them and help them break free from the habits and behaviors I taught them, along with the ones they developed all on their own---That's everything to me. I love these girls. Courtney, you're an amazing 17 year old, happy birthday baby...you have an absolutely incredible future ahead of you.
This morning started with my non-weighted strength exercises. These are very simple movements. Non-weighted squats are the easiest, well--that is until you try to do sixty in a row. You simply find a chair and sit down, then get up, then sit down--and repeat. Feel the burn? Oh, you will, trust me. The sit ups are also called "getoutofbeds," a name coined by fitness and life coach Melissa Walden, because it's a very similar motion, perhaps not your traditional sit-up---but very effective, I can feel those abs underneath. And the push ups, well--I haven't posted a video of them for a reason, I might get embarrassed. I'm not the strongest in the upper body department, so I do what I can...if you were to see me doing these in public, you would probably ask, "are you ok?" Yeah--that...but, this little 10-15 minute me time workout makes me feel unstoppable first thing, most mornings. I say "most," because I don't always get them done. Sometimes ten minutes is the difference between being late or not.
I interviewed Oklahoma Congresswoman Mary Fallin today. She's campaigning for the governors office and we were one of her stops. I used a small recorder in the newly constructed-yet to be finished KPNC/KLOR studios at the historic Poncan Theatre. I met the congresswoman and her handlers with complete confidence. I can remember interviewing high profile candidates at my heaviest, and it never felt like this. I was consumed with insecurities back in those days--tugging at my shirt and constantly wondering what the interview subject was thinking about me. Chances were good that they were never thinking ill thoughts of me, even the 505 pound version of me, but our brains try really hard to convince us otherwise, huh? In fact, they were probably consumed with making sure they represented their ideas and plans effectively--like any other candidate for a major political office. Yeah---it felt really good to interview someone like this today while being completely confident--it was very different. It was so nice and so was Mary Fallin.
We headed South toward Stillwater tonight, meeting up with everyone for Courtney's birthday dinner. Courtney decided on New China Super Buffet. Hmmmm. If you've read everyday of this blog, then you're familiar with this place. It was the site of Day 49's Chinese Buffet Showdown number one, and showdown number two---for Courtney's 16th birthday last year. Tonight would be Chinese Buffet Showdown number three. But before I recount the happenings of tonight's battle (really--it wasn't a battle this time---but for the sake of drama...), let's go back into the archives for a look at how we handled the confrontations of buffet past. The following excerpt is from Day 49:
I knew someday I would face-off against a buffet like two gunslingers standing on Main Street in the middle of Dodge. The showdown was set. As we approached the scene of the dual I kept remembering all of our previous trips to this same locale. This was the place that made me like Chinese, mostly because they have a bunch of non-Chinese items. Did that even make sense? Anyway...They have amazing food! Their coconut shrimp is the best ever, I've had an entire plate before. The little stuffed mushrooms are incredible, the deep fried everything is amazing, and they have a nice big selection of fruit and deserts. I knew going in what I was up against. I was armed with my desire to stay true to my mission and a 49 day perfect record. I knew they would beat me financially, because there was no way I was eating the $7.95 worth, but they had a really tough opponent as far as will power was concerned. As we arrived I made some game time mental adjustments.
I reminded myself of what I had to do and what I couldn't do. I had a cocky confidence walking in and then it was like everything was in slow motion. I made eye contact with the man at the register and he glared back. His stare told me that he's seen my kind through those doors many times. Really big guys like me that go in and pay $7.95 for $30.00 worth of food. I don't know for sure, but he probably alerted the kitchen of my arrival.
But my opponent wasn't any one individual in that restaurant. My opponent was five hot lines, two cold lines, a desert line, and a sushi line. My first strategy was ordering a big tall glass of ice water. Then, without hesitation, I gave one last pre-showdown look at my family and headed straight for the battle. Like an old west gunfight, we (The buffet lines and me) stared each other down. I had my plate ready in my trembling hand. Then I started evaluating everything in front of me. It never took this long to decide before. Usually I would load up pretty quick, and head back to my chair, knowing that I would go back for more later. But this time was so different. There would be no going back this time. To win this fight I had to get in and get out as fast as possible, and never return.
That was Day 49. The following is from 259 days later--Courtney's sweet sixteen dinner:
The strategy tonight was nearly identical to the strategy used 259 days ago. A taste of this, a little of that—and one plate! OK, I had two plates, but one was for fruit. I didn't want the fruit juices to mix with my dinner selections. I avoided breads, like those little deep fried-sugar coated biscuits. I also avoided the fried rice. But the biggest strategy at 'Chinese Buffet Showdown #2,': No piling. One plate with zero piling. You know what I'm talking about. Piling: The art of putting as much food as scientifically possible on a single plate, resulting in what appears to be a mini-mountain of mixed edibles. I made sure to grab some of my favorites like mini-stuffed mushrooms and the creamy coconut shrimp. Instead of the fried potatoes, I chose the small baked potato slice topped with cheese and bacon. A single layer of food was the rule. The calories wouldn't be exact here, and I'm OK with that. As long as I'm completely honest with the guesstimate---I'll be alright. I guesstimated my plate, including the fruit---at 700 calories. It may have been less, but I seriously doubt it was a calorie over 700. This violated my personal guideline of keeping meals at or below 500 calories, but still I was well within my calorie budget for the day.
I enjoyed every bite, but I enjoyed the company and celebration of Courtney's sixteenth birthday even more, that was the main focus. Not the food. Courtney's not big on cake, so we didn't have a traditional birthday cake. She's a cheesecake kid. We'll probably split a slice of cheesecake tomorrow. I might even splurge for a Cheesecake Factory slice. When the dust had settled---We were once again victorious at the Chinese buffet, and I'm sure the restaurant staff was relieved that our “victory” didn't mean eating up their profits.
The next day, I clarified my position on "piling:"
“Piling” is acceptable depending on what you're piling. I would've mentioned this last night, just forgot. If you're piling fresh veggies and things you know are really low in calorie, that's one thing. But you could clearly see the kind of stuff I go for. It wasn't really Chinese food at all...but it's what I like. And what I like cannot be piled and still be within a calorie budget. I know this about me. I'm not a veggie kind of guy if you haven't noticed.
Showdown number three found a very different Sean tonight. Now, only 16 pounds to goal, I wasn't the same big guy this place remembers. They didn't see me coming. For once, I was just a normal sized guy, enjoying a normal sized meal, and thoroughly cherishing the birthday celebration of my daughter. There wasn't a need for the staff to watch me, I was harmless--they knew they were making money off of me tonight, they had no doubt. And neither did I. I stuck to the fundamentals that carried me away victorious the last two times. I enjoyed my dinner, comfortably guesstimated at 600 calories, maybe less actually---but just to be safe, we'll call it 600...and I did it.
On the way into the restaurant, my phone alerted me to a text message from Kenz. She was giving me an immediate challenge to drink an entire glass of water prior to grabbing my plate. It was a water challenge within our water challenge. I did just that, and it worked beautifully. I even tried sushi again (I didn't like it from a fancy place in L.A., so I have no idea why I thought I would like it here), and I have the video to prove it! All in all, it was an amazing night of control---a normalcy found, because I've learned how to enjoy good food, while enjoying the people around me even more. The focus has shifted. I'll eat Chinese again soon, I'm sure...I didn't need to eat it all in one night. It's an approach that leaves you feeling amazing. Because trust me--I wouldn't trade the way I feel and look now for any amount of coconut shrimp or fried rice. This really living stuff feels too good my friend...and I still get to enjoy coconut shrimp? How awesome is that?
I enjoyed the nice ride back to Ponca City, just like the ride down...with Courtney driving. Nothing cements in my mind that she's growing up, like riding shotgun with her behind the wheel. That's my Courtney Nayster...
I absolutely rocked the water challenge today, with just over 90 ounces by the time I dropped in bed. After sharing with her some of the benefits that many of us have experienced on this challenge, Courtney decided to join too!
If you live around the Tulsa area, or close enough to drive---I'll be speaking about weight loss and this journey at the Broken Arrow Business Womens Association's monthly luncheon on August 17th. You can get all the details and RSVP by clicking here. Tickets are $15.00 for non-members. I would love to meet you there! Kenz will be in attendence too!
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
Ann from http://www.annstersdomain.blogspot.com/ is a proud member of the P.E.W.C. !!
Interviewing Congresswoman Mary Fallin today. She's running for the Oklahoma Governor's office
Going in...and not even looking worried. I got this.
My empty cup of water---before I ever picked up a plate. Thank you Kenz---what a great "spot challenge."
With the birthday girl. Amber was being camera shy tonight...we all had a good time together!
With Mom tonight
With Courtney and Aunt Kelli
With Uncle Keith and Grandma
My plate tonight. 600 calories? Probably not, maybe somewhere between 500 and 600--as long as I'm confident in my guesstimate, we're good!
The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser. All rights reserved.