Saturday, December 31, 2011
A Dream Come True and A New Year Message
Well, lookee what we have here. The end of another year and the beginning of what will surely be another spectacular twelve months. What I experienced last night was a dream come true, and I'm so happy it happened in 2011, such a breakthrough year for me.
Last evening from 4-8pm, I sat at a table inside a bookstore while a steady stream of wonderful people flowed through to have me sign their copy of my book. The night was filled with emotions and somehow, I made it through without melting down into a puddle of joyful tears.
And it wasn't just joyful tears, also--compassionate emotions for the people described in the stories of loved ones who were there, buying my book as a gift to someone special, hoping that person might be inspired--praying their loved one might find themselves in my story, and through my experiences and eventual triumph, maybe--just maybe, their perspective might be shifted just enough, just enough, so they might find their own "click" within. Because it isn't found in my book. It's always from deep within each of us.
And hearing the stories and seeing the pain and fear in the eyes of these wonderful people wasn't the end. I had to then, process what I just heard, and write a personal message inside the book for that person. Several times, my bottom lip was quivering with emotion as I penned the message. Once or twice, I could feel my eyes growing moist with fluid emotion. I was there in the middle of my 500 pound self-imposed misery, I get it. I've felt exactly like what they're describing to me about the ones they love. And now, it's the greatest honor for me, to be asked to write them something personal, in hopes it will make a positive impression.
The truth is, it might. The truth also says, it might not make a shred of difference. And it's this element, this undeniable truth that will always bring out the most emotion in me. As people who generally love and appreciate those closest to us, we want them to "get it," and shoot, if we could, we would just do it for them. At my heaviest, I really wanted someone to do it for me too. But as I've learned, it can never come from anyone, any product or book, any magazine article or blog post, or anything other than from what you see in the mirror.
The only way for me to write my book and make the impact I was hoping to make, was to simply tell the story from the beginning and let each reader take from it what they will. And it's sometimes common, the reactions I'm hearing, and sometimes unique perspectives were gained. It all depends on where the reader is along their own road.
It might just be enough to shift their perspective, giving them a brand new way to look at what this journey is all about. There's peace, joy, reclamation, redemption, and many other wonderful elements. And, there's some not so wonderful elements. I'm sure you already know, change isn't exclusively unicorns and rainbows.
It can be painful looking in the mirror and realizing you're looking at the one person who can be your biggest enemy or your greatest ally. And once you start digging into your own experience, you suddenly see things you didn't before, and it can be emotionally overwhelming.
Now, nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams and goals. You've decided. Iron-Clad decision--CHECK Steel Curtain Zone--CHECK Calorie Budget--CHECK Simple exercise plan: CHECK.
My hope is, everyone who reads my book will see some of themselves and their experiences, and they'll recognize--acknowledge the power they have within. Because we all have it inside. The only difference is, some acknowledge and use the power they have to choose positive change and some find themselves buried in their condition and circumstance so much, they can't see it...like, it's covered up on top of a messy table. But it's there, underneath, always. And some of us have to dig a little deeper and go a little further down the road to find it, but we will find it if we want. And once you realize this power you possess, to choose change before change chooses you, suddenly weight loss will be one of the many things on a very long list of good things for you, made better, because you chose it for yourself.
Have a happy New Year, my friends. Thank you for reading this blog and thank you for buying my book! Your support is such a major blessing to me.
My New Years Resolution thought is a very simple one:
I never kept my New Years Resolutions in the past because I was fully expecting to go to sleep on New Years Eve and wake up on January 1st a completely opposite version of what I was. The struggle to maintain this different version of me would last for different lengths of time each year and it would eventually crash and burn, like I knew it would, but still hoped it wouldn't. Why did I think it was a good idea to magically change a lifetime of bad habits overnight, simply because the calendar changed to a new year?
Because that's what I always did.
But now I know. Now I know, these changes must be a gradual evolution of good choices, where limits are maintained, yet my focus and attention are strongest on the person in the mirror. And it doesn't wait until the calendar switches, or next Monday, or until after the holidays, or after the big party, or "someday," or after anything other than now.
It starts now, this second. It's not scary. It's living--finally living free from the self-imposed misery I called home for so long. A simplified, consistent approach to change...nothing complicated and nothing crazy. Real, honest, change.
Happy New Year and,
In promotion of the book signing, I scored an interview with some radio guy named "Sean In The Morning," and it was a blast, although he really was irritating me. This fun little concept was born in the brain of Team Radio owner Bill Coleman and fine tuned by Dave May and Me. I post it here for your listening pleasure.
My name in lights! What an awesome thing to see. Thank you Brace Books and More! Sorry to have driven by 173 times. I wasn't being strange, I promise. Okay, maybe a little...and perhaps it wasn't that many times, more like 16. That's still too many, huh?
I was happily surprised by the appearance of my mom, grandma, Aunt Kelli, and Uncle Keith!!! I didn't know they were coming to the signing, I swear...but I should have realized, the chance of them missing it was about the same as me missing it. Zero percent. Kelli took some wonderful photos! Cathy Cole did too--and I'll be getting those back from her very soon! Great shots, thank you both, Kelli and Cathy, for your photo talents!
With Mom and Amber
My daughters--so precious---wow. So happy they could both be with me for this monumental moment!
My girlfriend Kelly and Me. We absolutely dig one another. ;)
A wonderful woman buys a copy--me signing hers. Thank you, my friend!
Grandma and me. Grandma, my dear sweet grandmother--It's another dream come true having you with me at this event--I love you!
With Kelli Dee, or as I called her when I was a toddler, "Kelgee." She may be my mom's sister, my aunt, but we were very much raised like siblings.
Kelly and my girls by my side on this big night!
You can order the book from any bookseller (if they don't have it in stock), or Amazon.com, or directly from my website www.transformationroad.com and Brace Books and More still has signed copies available from their site or store: www.bracebooks.com
If you haven't sent me a friend request on facebook, please do! My personal FB page is:
My facebook page for the book is:
More exciting events are coming in 2012--Including a book tour (dates will be announced), more speaking events and book signings at YMCA's and other locations, and some exciting updates from my website---as we transform www.transformationroad.com into a must bookmark internet destination!
Friday, December 23, 2011
The Way We Were and What's Changed: Christmas Weekend Eve
Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas were always days where my abusive relationship with food faded from obvious and into "normal," or "accepted" behavior. Like a free pass to come out of the corner and just be me, in the name of whatever special date was on the calendar. I didn't have to hide my excess on these special dates because it was/is the norm in our society, and that's why I loved these red letter dates so much. My life revolved around food, so a day where everyone accepted this culinary "celebration" of sorts, was delightful to me. I could just be me--Eating, drinking, and being merry--and then, eating some more, and some more, and...wow, "Sean sure loves those cookies!" Yes, yes I do...and eating a half dozen at a time wasn't anything to hide on this day, because it's what we do. We're celebrating. Pass the pie, please.
I lived for days like this. Pecan pie with whipped cream for breakfast, why not? And the snacks, oh my goodness, the snacks were everywhere! And let's go get more! Can someone say "Cheese ball!!!" Say it with me, "cheeeeeese ball!!!" The port wine or sharp...just get both, and an extra just in case. Give me a sleeve of crackers, a knife, and a cheese ball and watch me delicately spread the joy all over the Ritz...This was living. Egg nog!!! Did we forget the egg nog?? I don't want to hear how insanely ridiculous the calorie count of egg nog is--I can taste every glorious calorie in this thick holiday concoction--ooh, and nutmeg...wow, that's amazingly delicious.
It was normal for me to fantasize about what and how much I would consume. I was planning. My day was: Eat, eat, nap, eat, eat, eat, watch TV, nap, eat some more and pile it high...and hey, who wants this last piece of pecan pie? Too late, it's on my plate now.
I was loaded with holiday cheer, sporting a big smile as I would dollop a giant mound of Cool Whip on my third piece. Okay, my fourth...but seriously, who's counting today? You know what I want? Gravy!!!! Give me a bowl of potatoes and gravy, I'll sip it like a fine wine---wow, love it!!!
In the blur of my accepted, "normal" holiday feasting...I rarely noticed or cared about anything else. Visiting with family and friends...sure, as long as it includes more food! Hey...Uh, You think mom has some more of her prescription Zantac? I hope so! We should pass it around the table--better, let's put out a little Zantac bowl next to the stuffing. Hey--we don't want to feel any pain today--Thank you Zantac 150, we love you!
On the eve of my fourth Christmas after choosing change, I have to ask...What's changed?
What hasn't? I guess I should be more specific.
Q: Will I still enjoy my favorite holiday foods?
A: Yes. But I will, in reasonable portions at appropriate times.
Q: Will I pay more attention to the people or my plate?
A: The people I love. The food on my plate will be good and enough. But I can never get enough of the people I love and cherish. I want to know how they feel, what they're doing these days, what excites them, what troubles them---how do they feel about the changes in their life. These are the important conversations, far greater than, "Who wants to do Redi-Whip shots??" And "Anyone gonna take the leftover gravy? because seriously, that's some heavenly gravy don't ya think? Heck yeah it is...wow, and on those homemade mashed..."
Q: Will I exercise?
A: You know, it's funny. Had you asked that question five years ago or prior, you would have received a puzzled look followed by laughter, followed by a joke or two about how..."the only exercise I'm getting is from walking back and forth to the buffet line!" Now--It's a crucial element of a day like Christmas. A walk. A very simple walk. Something, anything will help aid digestion and make me feel incredible...and if I can recruit other family members to join me---well, that's awesome!!! This Christmas--The Anderson Family Holiday 5K at Boomer Lake in Stillwater is on!!! I wouldn't dream of missing it. Like a tradition---eating, napping, football, and a 5K...
So what's changed?
The focus. The perspective has shifted to the most important joys of the season. I'll still enjoy the tastes I love in a reasonable and portioned way--But above all else, I'll enjoy the people I love in a most wonderful and joyful way. Wow...I can't believe I was missing the most joyful part of past holidays. I didn't know what I was missing, I guess. Family, friends, love, and laughter...Yeah, I'll take three extra helpings, please.
Merry Christmas and,
I recently released a couple of videos from the Sikeston, Missouri YMCA speaking event---If you didn't have a chance to watch them on my facebook page--here they are:
My book "Transformation Road" will start shipping on the 30th! I'm thrilled to finally have the book in hand. Well--I'll actually experience that on Wednesday the 28th--having it physically in my hand. I might need tissues...It's been a long time coming, my friend.
Signed first edition copies are available from me directly on my site:
My first big book signing is scheduled for December 30th from 4-8pm at Brace Books and More in Ponca City, Oklahoma! Very cool!!!
If you haven't sent me a friend request on facebook yet--please do! We have lively discussions nearly everyday concerning various dynamics along this road many of us travel. You can find me here: www.facebook.com/seananderson505
And the special facebook page exclusively for the book is: www.facebook.com/transformationroad
By the way---I just went "live" on Amazon.com!! Yes--very cool---I think I'm officially an author now---because my book is setting in the top 100,000!! Nice start, very nice!
Amazon has it listed as "in stock," so theoretically, you might be able to hold it in your hands before I get the chance.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Truest of My Goals Revealed in Less Than 1.8 Million Minutes
The question comes in varied forms and often: "What was the catalyst for your change?"
A very good argument could be made that this catalyst wasn't actually one event in time, but the culmination of thousands built over thirty-six years and held together by time and fear of what it meant to really, honestly, for once--truly change in a dramatic transformation. But to answer more directly, I offer the following.
I'm only able to identify the date and time of this, because its occurrence marks the only time in my life where everything was still. In that moment, I died and was reborn, if you will.
The "moment" is sandwiched between two very different versions of me. There's an entire life of food addiction/compulsive/emotional eating and resulting morbid obesity before it and a profoundly changed existence after.
Here's the moment, in an excerpt from "Transformation Road-My Trip to Over 500 Pounds and Back," scheduled for release right before Christmas:
“I'm done.” Two simple little words. That's what she said. I didn't know what she meant, I thought she was just exhausted from the day, ready for bed. I had no idea of what was about to come from her lips.
“I'm done watching you kill yourself. I love you, I do, but I can't stand by and witness your slow suicide any longer, I want a divorce.” Her words were filled with several different emotions. Anger, love, hopelessness, fear, desperation, and she was serious, I could see it in her eyes. Never before do I remember seeing such a look from her. This was serious and it didn't matter that we were a guest in someone's home that night.
I immediately tried to make her feel bad about what she was saying. “So, we get one off to college and you can't hold it together long enough for us to get the other one out of high school? How could you do this to Courtney? Can't we talk about this later, why now, why here?” And as she collapsed on the bed, crying, I knew that she had reached her limit. It didn't matter where we were or what we were doing. It was like she had no control over this release of emotion. Maybe it was her last ditch effort to snap me back into reality. Maybe she loved me enough to walk away, thinking that it might spark the changes I needed to save my own life.
It didn't take me long to realize that I was wrong in what I was saying and doing in that moment. This wasn't her fault, she couldn't help it, she had reached her emotional capacity. That's when I started to negotiate with her, begging for one more chance to turn it all around. She had heard it all before, why should she believe me now? But just as I had never witnessed that look in her eyes, she must have noticed the same difference in my frantic proposal. Because she was listening to me. This was my chance to promise her one last time. I owed it to her, my daughters, and I really owed it to myself to make a change once and for all. This was it.
I asked for a day to get my plan together and figure out how I was going to make this happen, and on Monday September 15th, 2008—I would start. “This time is going to be very different,” I pleaded. “It's got to be, buddy, it's got to be.” And with those words from her, we embraced and cried, cleansing our emotions and sending us to sleep with a relief, different for each of us. Her rest was made better because she released all of the emotions that had been building for so long and I rested because I dodged a bullet that night. But now, the real challenge would start and I didn't have any room for failure. I had to get it right. Sunday the fourteenth was spent contemplating how I was going to make this time different from every other weight loss attempt. My family depended on it, and so did my life, but obviously I was more scared of losing my family than I was my life. I know that doesn't really make sense, but it does when you really think about the mental dynamics.
Dying young was something tragic that happened to other people. I was a survivor, remember? Every time my obesity would make me fear for my life, I would cling to something that would make me feel better about it all. Oh, so it's not a heart attack, just indigestion? Or, it's out of control blood pressure, but that can be treated, right? I always found the outs, I always found the thoughts or the solutions that would let me off the hook and make me feel better about my inaction in confronting the real issues. My weight was killing me and now it was killing my family. And there wasn't anything I could do or say that would make it all better, unless it was exactly what I needed, and that meant getting to the bottom of my issues with food and once and for all, losing the weight.
Waking up on Monday September 15th, 2008, was very different. This was my day 1. As I laid there staring up at the ceiling, I thought about how this was the day. It was very different, because many times I would start by completely forgetting that I had planned to “start.” It was typical for me to realize what I was supposed to do, only after the sugar of my morning Coke hit my tongue. Another false start, because I would have already “ruined” the attempt. Oh well, maybe next time, bring on the fried cinnamon roll! Not this time. It was so powerful, on the top of my brain, it was an all consuming thought as soon as my eyes opened that morning.
I honestly felt like this was my last chance. The changes that would come if I failed were too horrible. I would lose my family as I knew it and die young. I had to grab control and choose the change. I had to keep it together and be consistent like never before. But how? How would this time be different? I honestly didn't know the answer, but I decided that it would work itself out along the way. I knew that I had to constantly remind myself to stay on track and if I could successfully keep myself from blowing it, then maybe I could finally break free. The focus wasn't on the food, it was squarely on the mental dynamics, I was walking a tight rope, where it didn't matter how I stayed balanced—as long as I didn't fall. It was the beginning of, what I would later realize and appropriately name, my “Steel Curtain Zone.”
Many things have come to pass since my last blog post. I've celebrated my three year anniversary of Day 1, my one year anniversary of maintaining my weight loss, I turned forty years young on October 23rd, enjoyed my fourth Thanksgiving holiday since choosing change, and have brought the dream of my first book to the brink of release, where a new chapter surely starts.
All of these things, each and every one, would have once earned a spot within their very own blog posting. The daily writing for over twenty-two months was exhausting at times, but in the most wonderful way possible. I was learning, from Day 1, things about myself I never before considered because I wasn't willing to step outside of my self-imposed chaos long enough to appreciate or in any way understand what was ultimately happening. And what was happening was tragic: I was slowly fading away--headed to an early death, oblivious to the power within and completely void of the tiniest shred of self-responsibility and honesty.
This self-imposed chaos isn't always a thing of the past and with that said, it's understood how easy it can be to become occupied with many things, some very important, and others not as much. But regardless of their importance level, none of these "occupants of my energy" have had even a handful of the power this little old blog has gifted me.
If you haven't, I encourage you to read the blog archives from Day 1--every day, like a super long book of sorts. In doing so, you'll have a unique perspective into my thoughts, emotions, fundamentals, and the crucial mental dynamics along the way, as they were discovered--day by day, hour by hour, and often--minute by minute. My hope is, you may find similarities in our unique, yet surprisingly similar existence. And in seeing yourself, you might discover a shift in your perspective.
This "shift in perspective" is crucial to each of us finding our own "click." Because as I've learned--the moment of clarity, the "click," must come from deep within each of us. It can't be given to us by anyone or anything, and for me, every time I foolishly thought it could exist outside of myself--I was systematically slammed back to reality--over and over, time and time again, like a violently possessed yo-yo with really sharp spikes.
It wasn't enough to just take me up and down in an endless insane emotional game, it occasionally would poke me in painful fashion. Instead of it getting my attention, I would just hold it further out from my body--keeping a safe distance between me and the truth dripping all over the floor.
One million, seven hundred and two thousand, and eighty minutes have passed since I opened my eyes on the morning of September 15th, 2008.
I will proceed with loving devotion to my dear blog and I certainly appreciate your incredible support along the way. In fact, if you're a regular reader of these writings, you're rightfully appreciated and acknowledged in the opening pages of my book, "Transformation Road." Your support has been nothing less than a precious gift and I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my much healthier heart.
--Sean A. Anderson
"What are your goals?" A simple question, to be sure, but the answer given isn't always accurate.
"I want to fit into normal size clothes--wear a size 36 or smaller jeans, wear a single XL instead of a 6 or 7XL."
"I just want my health to improve, yeah--that's it, my goal is better health."
"I want to show up at the reunion and stun everyone in the room!"
"I want to lose enough to look good in a bathing suit this coming summer."
"I want to fit into and be able to buy a small economy car."
"I want to run and play with my kids/grand kids."
"I want to lose XXX pounds."
"I want to set a better example for my children, family, and friends."
"I just want to love what I see in the mirror, once and for all, finally."
"I want to be considered cute, instead of hideous--not by others, (I have no control over what others think of me or how they see me--and it is of no consequence, nor should it ever be)--but considered cute, not hideously beast-like...by me."
And every single one of these are valid and wonderful goals. But oh my--I had no idea of the power time and perspective would/could have on my truest goals. Not the goals I stated in the beginning, but the ones having developed slowly, gradually over time---right along with the rest of this transformation of mind, body, and soul. A gradual evolution of good choices. That's it, yeah--that's what I'm talking about.
My truest goals are revealed by the awesome experience and wisdom of time:
"My goal is to improve my relationship skills with all people--including and most importantly, me."
Our whole lives are built on relationships along the road of life. And often, when these relationships aren't perfect, the resulting detours end up teaching us about life as we develop good and bad habits, dependencies, and shelters from it all along the way. (and lets face it--relationships rarely are perfect, or expected to be--and shouldn't be, honestly. But there's a difference between perfect and healthy, and healthy is just fine, desired actually, in my opinion.)
"My goal is to redefine my behaviors with all food one choice at a time."
For me, understanding food wasn't the enemy after all, was a life changing epiphany. Food's only job is to nourish my body, giving me nutrients I need to live. I can still appreciate food, love food, cook food, dine out on food, bring food to an occasion, and pull up a chair to a holiday table full of traditional favorites spread across an entire room---and still exhibit reasonable and sane behaviors. I can eat a portion and appreciate the experience and the nourishment.
What I could no longer do is use and abuse food. I could no longer try to make food do something it was never supposed to do. Food wasn't responsible for fixing me or anything broken inside of me. It couldn't do it if it tried--food wasn't/isn't capable of doing these highly complicated things--it already had the complicated task of providing nutrients to every cell in my body--a task it always makes look easy...and it does, because that's what food does, it's a natural thing for food to nourish us.
And on a lessor scale, but monumental still: Food wasn't an appropriate shelter from the issues I was trying to soothe, forget, or simply avoid.
Every failed weight loss attempt of my past had a common thread: It was simply a means to an end. A temporary diversion from who I was--just long enough to satisfy the first set of goals listed above. Ignoring my truest goals--the important acknowledgements crucial to change, meant--as soon as the temporary detour ended--I would return to the old familiar and foolishly trusted--"being me road." And since my goals along the detour were simply to change my size in a pursuit of shallow expectations and not my brain---and since what we think of ourselves is really is what we become--then, I was destined to naturally return to my previous level of obesity, even bigger--every. single. time.
You can squeeze a Nerf ball all you want, but toss it back onto the toy pile and you'll watch it quickly assume its natural shape.
"My goal is to share my experiences along the way in hopes of inspiring someone like me (Just kind of like me--Not Exactly like me--because we're all one of a kind) ...to do something courageous--Choose change before change chooses them."
It doesn't matter if you have ten pounds to lose or a hundred--twenty or forty, or three or four hundred. It's all relative--Unique to you and your experiences--and the road out cannot be exactly the same for any two people, because of our unique affected life experience. But we all can find common ground and similar truth in these experiences--and I believe it's where hope can be transferred from one person's success to another person's seemingly impossible dream. Because it is possible, for every single one of us.
"My goal is to become a best friend to me instead of a deadly enemy."
"I'm my own worst enemy." I said it so much in the past, I actually accepted it as rule. That's just the way it had to be--because it's human nature, of course!!! You can't change human nature!! Although there's some truth in that last statement--When the "human nature" excuses horrible choices and behaviors--relieving me from the responsibility of change, that's when it becomes nonsense.
Day 1 didn't find me contemplating this dynamic--it was too soon. My goals were stated but not defined completely. And that's okay, because, in my experience, the only way to define our truest goals is to add the element of time and perspective.
And for me--It was about time... time to change my perspective. Thank goodness.
Thank you for reading and your support along this road. Please friend me on facebook--because I'm there nearly everyday--and we have lively discussions about the topics explored in this blog and more. You can friend me on facebook here: www.facebook.com/seananderson505
And please--Visit and "like" my facebook page for the book. If you need--you could wait until you read the book before you give me the gift of your "like." The page dedicated to the book is: www.facebook.com/transformationroad
Also--On my website www.transformationroad.com You can pre-order a first edition signed copy of "Transformation Road-My Trip to Over 500 Pounds and Back," and I'll personally ship it your way upon release!
The cover for the book has a bunch of cool symbolism, some obvious, some not so much. Christina Rich-Splawn is an amazing graphic artist!!
Some pictures from the recent Sikeston, MO speaking event:
At a recent speaking even in Sikeston, MO
This headline certainly attracted some attention. The story is correct--just the headline has it off by a couple hundred pounds. ;)
Back cover author photo credit: Darryl Cox
Posing with a promotional piece of the book cover.
Pink Heals Tour came to town---and the emotional power of it all, was just incredible. If you ever have a chance to see and experience Pink Heals, please do.
My facebook status update reflected my thoughts on this before the evening started:
"Too many times, I allowed my morbid obesity to hold me back, imprisoning me into an existence where certain things couldn't be enjoyed, simply because I foolishly decided these things were not for people “like me.” I never made it to the prom, or a formal of any kind, ever. Tonight, that changes. Suddenly experiencing the richness of life and all of its precious gifts, because now I can see: I was worth it all along, but I didn't believe it until now. Putting on a tuxedo and headed to The Winter Ball at the Marland Mansion. Pinch me, wow, what a dream." The beautiful woman pictured is my date, Ms. Kelly Rains.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Still The Same...Almost and That's OK
I'm constantly recognizing and positively identifying signs of these changes I've made. The pants, size 36, still fit--and at times, especially with increased workouts, are noticeably loose. My behaviors with food haven't been extreme in almost three years, since the start of this blog on September 15th, 2008. I'm mindful of calories and portions in a very intuitive way, something I once thought impossible, has become nearly second nature. I rarely eat fast food anymore, when before, especially the first several months, this could have been called the "amazing fast food diet." When I dine out, I always share and I always navigate the menu with an eye for great calorie values. If not sharing at a restaurant, I often order kid or senior portions.
These changes, they don't stop there. No, not at all. When I race up a flight of stairs, I'm always thinking about the past struggles of weighing over five hundred pounds and how good it feels to be free. The other day I realized something huge: In the last couple of years, the only times I've ever become winded, was during a workout. Running up a flight of stairs doesn't do it. Jogging through a downpour into a store doesn't even challenge.
While I'm packing my "man-purse" or, as I like to call it, my "European Shoulder Bag," with fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt, cheese, and other healthy snacks, I'm reminded again...This isn't like I once behaved.
I guess it's a comfort I find, in pausing for just a second to notice every difference between me, now and then. It's like I constantly need reassured I'm a free man.
And then something happens, circumstances, stress--let's call it what it is, life---and if it's stressful enough, I find myself face to face with the negative reactions that kept me over five hundred pounds for nearly two decades.
I thought I was free. I thought I was immune. I thought I would never again feel like foolishly running for comfort and shelter inside a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos or a half gallon of ice cream. I no longer run for comfort, I run for exercise....so, why do these emotions occasionally try to disprove that statement?
First, let me tell you about last Monday.
Without revealing intimate details of my personal and business relations--let's just say, I felt like everything was falling apart. I was filled with fear (both real and imagined), stress, and uncertainty. The possibility of missing yet another deadline intensified all of the above. So what did I do?
First--I drove to Braum's Ice Cream and Diary Store and ordered a junior kid sized low-fat frozen yogurt on a cake style cone (despite the name "cake," it's actually the lowest calorie option) This little eighty-nine cent treat was the start of something. Only about 130-150 calories, it was, but...regardless of the calorie value, I was comforting myself with food.
Ok, OK---maybe a little is normal...Normal, until I arrived home and immediately opened the fridge door like I had done a million times in my former existence, just looking for something more. Cottage cheese--yeah, there it is...I can't trust myself around this stuff and that's why I don't normally keep it around, but I'm in control, right? I can have a carton in the fridge and not abuse it, can't I? My daughters love it too, and so does Karen, the wonderful woman I'm dating. But as I plunged the spoon directly into the carton and up to my mouth, without the detour or portion control of a small bowl, I had a terrifying emotion.
Like--"here we go, hmmmm, I was just wondering when it would all come crashing down." I was abusing myself with thoughts of self-destruction--and possibly gorging myself silly on something, anything. What else is there? Bananas, mushrooms, apples, yogurt, eggs, chicken breast---Where's the junk???? Who is this guy anyway??? Geez--is it too much to ask for a little ice cream up in here? Or how about some frozen pizzas or burritos?
It was like an invasion of my mind and body by the Sean I left behind. Just then, I had a realization, a few actually. I'm not perfect and I never will be. I'm changed, deeply changed, but I should never underestimate the power of addiction. I must stop thinking that "Old Sean" is dead and gone, because he still lives within me, he's still capable of assuming control, should I allow my defenses down, even a little. I'm very human. And even through this gradual evolution of good choices, the incredible network of support from people near and far, and a system of accountability and example I take pride in everyday---even with all things considered---I was still on the brink of a meltdown. And it's OK.
It's OK, because something different happens now, when I'm standing on the edge. This difference was present early on this journey too---and it is this:
The honesty and willingness to recognize the dynamic in play...look over the edge, and take a few steps back, evaluating the circumstances, choices, and consequences of my decisions...and making the right choice to deal directly and decisively with the issues pressing.
Now--here's the kicker---In dealing "directly and decisively" with issues, instead of running to food for comfort and shelter, I run the risk of not handling myself in the best fashion, while dealing with others. As someone who's always avoided dealing with tough emotions directly, until I didn't have a choice, at least---it's just new to me...so...I guess I'm learning even more, about dealing with life in a normal healthy way--much like I'm learning more and more about this wonderful new friend I have in food, and the relationship we're developing...a normal, healthy relationship.
This blog has always been about educating me, all about me...the real me, in search of the new information, the epiphanies, the lessons I had to learn the hard way in my quest for freedom. And the education never stops. I'll always learn and grow. And that's OK. That's normal and healthy.
If you haven't sent me a friend request on facebook, I hope you will. It's really become an outlet for me to communicate and gain perspective on a variety of "micro-blog" topics. Yeah, some call them status updates, I call them "micro-blogs." I hereby invite you to the regular discussions! You can find my facebook page by clicking here.
I love getting emails from wonderful people who have started reading my blog pages from Day 1...Your support helps me more than you'll ever know. Going to the mailbag--I found a wonderful email like this just the other day...
I recently jumped back on the healthy eating bandwagon and discovered your blog when someone posted somewhere that they started from day 1 and read all the way through. I read day 1 and I thought they were crazy. No way was I going to read 600+ posts. Next thing you know, I'm through day 12.
Currently, I'm caught up through day 200 and I can't wait to read how this story ends! (Actually, I know how it ends as I couldn't help but notice the titles of the more recent posts.) Glad to see you discovered strength training exercises...and protein...and nutritional aspects of foods from your allotted calories... Was a little worried about the lack of these through the first 150ish days.
And it isn't even like I can relate to your story. Oh, I mean, I can empathize, but only somewhat. I'm one of those "high metabolism" guys you used to "hate"...or more accurately, I used to be. Now I guess I'm more of a "normal metabolism" guy. In the past couple of years, my waist to inseam length ratio has crossed into the forbidden ">1 zone", but still, not exactly a problem I'm going to whine about (too much). (If only I could figure out how to persuade my wife to read your story...but I know, I know, you can't drag people to that place where they need to be to start their own journeys.)
Anyhow, the point of my rambling email is to say, way to go. I'm really enjoying the read through so far...(despite an occasional cringe from a misused affect/effect =P )...and I definitely will be ordering your book as soon as it's available.
Back to work...and then back to reading...I'm just a few posts away from another weigh-in day...(and I predict this one will far surpass the previous two of "only" six pounds each)...
Thank you "J" and thank goodness for editors!!! The great thing--you have the power to have an amazing impact on the ones around you--and I bet, with your enthusiasm for change, you'll be seeing some wonderful participation and change in others! I'm not sure I would be as disciplined. I would probably skip ahead. Of course, those of us who know--know that you're in for some surprises along the way. Some good, some not so good...Thank you again for your support and happy reading--and transforming!!!
The book is very different from the blog and I must say, I feel so blessed to be receiving such wonderful reviews and endorsements. A friend of mine suggested I might be a little insecure--and perhaps I need the constant reassurance the reviews give me. Huh...probably true. I mean, really---I have a huge insecure side of me--but I also have an equally confident side. It's like a tug of war...
I also realize how important it is to share early reviews in an effort to generate interest. And speaking of---it will not be long before pre-ordering starts!!
Jean Brace is a bookstore owner and longtime sponsor of my morning radio show. It's absolutely fitting to have the very first book release signing in her store. I'm looking forward to that day--and Jean will be a good one to ask about the book, because she's already read the entire thing....You knew this was coming---I'm so predictable sometimes:
"Reading Sean's story has given me a window on the day-to-day realities of a life ruled by food. I admire the courage he shows by revealing intimate details of his life, not sparing himself, not blaming others, and respecting the dignity of others. With the creation of his simple yet profound "Calorie Bank and Trust" concept, Sean provided himself a means to accomplish genuine, sustainable weight loss when all his previous attempts had failed. I am eager to introduce my customers to the inspiring story of this man of extraordinary insight, determination and compassion."---Jean Brace, Brace Books & More
Dr. Marty Lerner PhD is a World renowned authority on eating disorders and addiction recovery. His endorsement means so much to me:
“Transformation Road” takes the reader on the long and often tragic journey of Sean Anderson’s battle with food and morbid obesity spanning just about his entire life. His experience with declaring war with himself graphically depicts the tortured soul of most of us who face an addictive and pathological relationship with food. Having won many a battle but inevitably losing his war, Sean offers us some insight as to who the real enemy has been.
To be sure, compulsive eating, binge eating, and the many “flavors” of related forms of food addiction and eating disorders [e.g. bulimia, anorexia] do not all lend themselves to a “one size fits all” solution. However, there does seem to be a common thread among those, like Sean, who find their way to recovery- namely rigorous self-honesty, an open mind, and, as Sean would remind us, an “iron-clad” willingness to change.
“Transformation Road” takes the reader away from the typical weight loss fixes and asks the reader to consider the nature of emotional eating and the “symptom” of obesity. The author reveals his “moment of clarity” and the resultant decision to declare a truce with his war with food. What follows is Sean’s recipe for food addiction recovery. Although incorporating some suggestions that run contrary to some recovered food addicts, Sean’s experiences are worth learning about and considering.
As someone who has worked with patients suffering with all forms of eating disorders for more than three decades, I think Sean’s book is a must read for anyone touched by the effects of food addiction and obesity. More important than his weight loss is his ability to testify to the basic tenets of recovery from any addiction- namely honesty, open mindedness, and willingness. In some recovery circles this is known by an acronym H.O.W.
Marty Lerner, PhD.
CEO, Milestones In Recovery
Eating Disorders Program
A couple of my fellow weight loss blogging buddies have recently contributed their reviews too...
Including the one and only Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit: click for Jack's review.
And the incredible Anti-Jared, Tony Posnanski: click for Tony's review.
Basically---Instead of releasing the book, it'll just be personally distributed to each person, one by one---and we'll just read their reviews here. I'm kidding! Actually--that's it for reviews, I believe--until it's released, of course---then I hope you'll review it for your friends and family too!
By the way---I plan on starting something I've talked about over the last couple of years--and I'm just now getting around to actually committing to it in a big way. A C25K program!! Jack has done it---and so have many others around these parts---
Well, here's the deal---There are two 5k runs coming up in October--and I would really enjoy NOT coming in last. I've participated in several "runs," but honestly---I mostly walk fast/jog---and then walk fast some more, followed by more walking. I must keep you updated on the progress!! I will, right here! Have you done a C25K program? How was the experience?
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
Gerri Helms, Author of "Trust God and Buy Broccoli" introduced me to Peter Murphy of WMEL AM 1300 in Florida. Peter invited me on his show as a special guest--and the above player is the entire 42 minute extended interview. Thank you Gerri and Peter!!!
Photo Credit: Kelli Anderson--Kellidee Photography Mom and me.
Celebrating Courtney's 18th Birthday!
With Amber and Courtney. I can't believe both of my daughters are in college!!!! I'm so proud of them, in so many ways. They're the greatest!
My recent grocery shopping basket. A gradual evolution of good choices, indeed.
Big Before picture of me and the girls
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Day To Day Is Different, Micro-Blogging on Facebook, and Reviews Are In!!!
Every now and then I flashback to how it once was for me. The food addiction, the compulsive/emotional eating binges---and the thoughts and dynamics I allowed. It's just a distant, somewhat foreign thought process now, yet extremely familiar. It's always out there, reminding me, keeping me grounded, making sure I never forget from where I came and serving as a constant reminder of dynamics and choices that kept me there for so many years.
My day to day life is very different in regard to my behaviors with food and exercise. I never skip breakfast and I'm naturally aware of calorie values of everything I consume. My choices reflect the last three years of being "calorie aware." This training, so to speak, has become a very natural guardian of my weight loss.
Is it always a breeze? NO! Do I still have moments of weakness, where the best choice isn't made--OF Course. I've never been perfect and I'll never be. I'm not an expert on anything, except me--I am an expert on Sean, absolutely. Just as you're an expert on you.
My exercise routine these days is challenging and at the end of the day, rewarding. I attend spinning class for one hour on Monday's and for forty-five minutes on Wednesday's. I attend a bootcamp workout on Tuesday and Thursday's. The weekend finds me occasionally walking in the park or doing the weight machines at the YMCA.
Many of my blogging friends have expressed concern over my lack of posting---and have even called me on my own words from the last two post, where I proclaim: "I'm going to write this blog more often!" Thank you, my friends---and yes--My intention is to return to a more normal posting schedule sooner rather than later.
I've finally finished the manuscript for my book. It's done, finally!! "Transformation Road--My Trip To Over 500 Pounds and Back" will be released in the fall. I'll post some early reviews below, plus an excerpt of the foreword by Ralph Marston. I'm so excited that Ralph has written the foreword. If you know this blog---and how much I admire the writings of Mr. Marston, you can imagine my excitement over his contribution.
As I've taken a break from writing the blog--I'm comforted by the whole--and not the latest post. The twenty-two months straight of daily writing was an almost insane commitment--but it has proven to be worth every hour invested. I may not have realized what I was doing at the time---but as the blog proceeded and the weight dropped, I was learning all kinds of invaluable information about me. I hope you're friends with me on Facebook---and if not, I hope you'll add me.
I don't have a "fan page" you can "like." I just maintain a personal facebook account---and I welcome you to become my friend. Just as I've slowed my contributions to this blog, I've increased my activity on facebook. Let's call it, "Micro-Blogging." Not every post on facebook is a micro-blog---sometimes it's just a "good morning---and this is what I'm enjoying for breakfast"--type status update. But other times---a very nice dialogue develops on my facebook wall---where we discuss all elements of weight loss and transformation.
Here's a sampling of recent micro-blog post on my facebook page:
"My transformation has taught me about truth. It can hurt to accept because it threatens our comfort zone, everything we believe about ourselves, but as the truth reveals the sometimes painful pitfalls of our past, it shines on the road ahead—giving us clarity in its embrace. Truth is the instruction manual for the tools we already own and have always possessed. Truth is the key to freedom."
"When you start adding up all of the incredible benefits of weight loss success, you began to realize something vitally important: The physical transformation is one of the least. The transformation inside touches every fiber of who you are and what you do, say, and feel. That's real, my friend."
"Managing calories like cash shifts the focus to where it must be the strongest. Our energy to stay consistently within budget, naturally promotes better choices, or "investment decisions.""
"An "Iron-Clad" decision is non-negotiable. The commitment and consistency needed for success is protected by our "Steel Curtain Zone." Iron and steel, nearly impossible to break. Mindset...it's everything."
"Time keeps on moving regardless of what we do. A year from now, you could look back on the biggest transformation of your life and realize, you no longer have "calendar regret." Because this time will be different in every way. This time, is THE time. Grab it, own it, and decide to be ahead of your time."
"Emotional eating was a major contributor to my morbid obesity. A vicious cycle was born, when seeking comfort in food resulted in more weight, and more weight created the need for more comfort. Breaking the bondage of this dynamic meant facing issues instead of running for shelter under the umbrella of all things tasty and good."
"Food, unlike most other addictions, can be enjoyed in normal-healthy portions. For me, an occasional treat is imperative, but a binge is unacceptable. Exercise can physically repair the damage of excess, but psychologically, the damage is often overwhelming, as it discounts our pursuit, suggesting our life changing choices are temporary at best. And “temporary” isn't good enough for us."
"If Day 1 is one of the hardest, then why did I make so many “Day 1's?” Getting Day 1 behind—and moving consistently forward to Day 21, 60, 100, and 365 is the goal. It becomes easier, the results thrill and naturally propel you to new levels of motivation, inspiration, and excitement. You're really doing it this time, like no other."
"“Someday” can't be found on a calendar. When we release the excuses and rationalizations keeping us where we are, we immediately start making “someday,” today. “I'm doing it” and “I did it” feels a million times better than “I will...someday.”"
"The Yo-Yo goes down, then up...down again, then up. The Yo-Yo is under our control and direction. When we sharpen the tools of self-honesty, responsibility, and consistency—and we diligently protect the integrity of our journey from emotional and circumstantial influences, we're finally able to break free and...cut the string."
"I was shopping Brace Books over the weekend, when they informed me someone had already reserved a copy of "Transformation Road." Without a set release date or price--didn't matter, they wanted a copy reserved! That's cool...very."
You'll find some interesting and powerfully insightful reader comments on some of the above "micro-blogs," and all can be found on my facebook page.
I've learned so much from so many wonderful people---and I'll never stop learning. This mutually benefiting relationship with family, friends, blog readers, other weight loss bloggers, and many people whom I've never met face to face---has been one of the most unexpected blessings of the past three years.
The early reviews for "Transformation Road" have been flowing in from those that have read the raw unedited manuscript. I'm excited to share some here:
Dave May has acted as an invaluable consultant in the final stages of putting the manuscript together. Before any changes were made, Dave read the entire book and offered the following:
"Don't think of this as a weight loss book. This book is for anyone who has ever battled themselves, in other words, it's for all of us. I believe we are all born broken and the only thing separating us is the individual routes we take away from, or toward wholeness. Sean's journey is laid out for you here with all of it's twists, turns, false starts, dead ends, and breakthroughs. Although the paths you and I travel may be different, I am certain that you, like me, will recognize many of the stops and ultimately gain insight into yourself through Sean's journey. I enthusiastically recommend this book, not for Sean's miraculous outer changes, but for his ability to take you on the inside, where real transformation must always happen."
Director Poncan Theatre
"Mayday In The Morning"-KLOR Radio
Dr. Amy Cox also reviewed the book---and before she officially finished the review, she sent me a wonderful email: "I started reading the manuscript this morning...I hoped to get it read by the weekend. I just finished - I literally couldn't stop! It is AWESOME!"
This was followed by an awesome review:
"Sean Anderson provides a strong dose of hope in recounting his captivating journey to self-acceptance and health. His road to transformation was not easy, but few things in life are that are worth it. Sean reminds us that your biggest bully is often yourself and that you can change your “mix tape in your head” by becoming your own “captain”. This book demonstrates that the only thing that can make us feel good about ourselves is to realize our own self-worth, and to finally love ourselves. I constantly see patients struggling to make the mental shift required to commit to change and make good choices for their health. Whether you are struggling with weight loss, addiction, and self-acceptance or whether you are just looking to be inspired to finally commit to change and making good choices – this is the book for you."
Yours In Health,
Amy Cox, DC
The Ranch Chiropractic Wellness Center
Mary Anne Waymire offered her review:
"The Book is wonderful … I felt like I knew you after reading the book (even if I had never met you). The expression of your various feelings and the tug overweight people (like myself) have was awesome. I was a very skinny child and did not start having my weight problems until I was an adult. Children can be awfully mean spirited and I certainly hope I never was that way to anyone. You are a wonderful person, shining example of downright decency in a human being and just all around great guy! I predict this book will be an inspiration to many people as it is to me."
Mary Anne Waymire
And Gerri Helms---Author and Life Coach offered this very nice paragraph:
"With Transformation Road, Sean Anderson delivers a riveting story of a man who faced death and won. Amazingly, this isn't your typical murder mystery - it's Sean's true battle against a lethal killer - morbid obesity. For the millions who have lost faith in ever beating their own war with food, Transformation Road offers hope and inspiration."
Gerri Helms, MCC, CSC
Author, Trust God and Buy Broccoli, a Spiritual Approach to Weight Loss
Sending the raw manuscript to some of my writing heroes was tough. What if they didn't like it? I mean, really--seriously---if they don't, then OK---it would be a very tough thing to accept. I was so relieved when Ralph Marston finished the manuscript and replied with this wonderful message:
"I loved the book! It's an amazing story that's very well told."
That's a relief--because I had asked Ralph to write the foreword--and he did, brilliantly!!! Below is a small excerpt of his foreword:
"...Sean’s life up to this point has been an amazing journey, and he has now created an even brighter future for himself by virtue of the choices he has made. In recounting this story, he very generously and openly acknowledges a long list of shortcomings and insecurities, some of them quite intimate. That makes it all the more powerful and inspiring. After all, we each have worries, doubts and vulnerabilities that we often try to hide even from ourselves. And just as with most political scandals, the cover-up does more damage than the underlying issue. It’s wonderfully refreshing and inspiring to see what can happen when someone steps away from the excuses, lets go of the rationalizations, stops choosing to be a victim, and makes the commitment to make a positive difference.
Truth is powerful. The more you seek to hide from it, the more forcefully it asserts itself, until you eventually cannot deny it. The moment you put truth on your side, all sorts of positive possibilities open up to you. That’s what Sean Anderson chose to do, and it’s a choice that has turned his life around in a dramatic and inspiring way."
The Daily Motivator
Ralph has a truly timeless way with words--speaking such recognizable truths...wow, I'm so thrilled and honored to have him provide the foreword!! Thank you Mr. Marston!
I'm moving forward with a confident spring in my step. I will contribute on a more regular basis to this blog---I know I've said it before, but seriously---You'll see.
I'm looking forward to the development of my website www.transformationroad.com It will be a destination featuring many others---not just me---but YOU. I look forward to featuring so many wonderful people who have transformed so wonderfully. I'm excited about providing audio/video content and so much more. It will be the home of many more things--not just the book!
I'm posting some photos from the last couple of months---plus, as I like to do--a couple of before pictures!!
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
A scary post-boot camp workout pic I look dangerously unstable in this one!!!
Smiling always makes it better!! Boot camp is BRUTAL!!! ;) But soooo Good!!!
On May 20th--My youngest, Courtney--graduated from Ponca City High School! I'm so proud of her!!! She'll be attending Oklahoma State in the fall--in a month!!! Oh my---that's quick!
With Courtney and Amber at the after-graduation party!
They're such wonderful sisters!!! They love each other so much!
My Aunt Kelli snapped this photo from across the arena at the graduation. It's a perspective I rarely get to see---and a wonderful reminder: I'm not the 500 pound man anymore.
With Courtney recently
At a birthday party/stand-up gig with singer Wade Tower. I was opening for Wade! I rarely do stand-up anymore---but this was a blast. It really was nice.
From the stage--performing stand-up.
A recent lunch. I have discovered many new foods I would have never given the time of day before---Squash and Zucchini--I love it!!! Who would have ever imagined??
Sometimes---Actually, most of the time, My calorie budget decisions are based on what I'm planning on later in the day or evening. This super-low cal breakfast checked in at 150--But I knew I was having a slightly bigger lunch not long after---and a dinner party in the evening. I adjust accordingly!
I cringe every time I see this picture.
With Courtney--a "before" for both of us! ;)
Big before. Wow...
Sunday, May 15, 2011
The Twilight Zone of Obesity and The Awakening
Thank you for the incredible patience that many of you have given me over the last few months. As I further prioritize my life and pursuits, I realize that this blog must be a part of my life, probably forever. Yeah, pretty sure, forever.
It has given me so much strength, power, insight, wisdom---all about the dynamics that I allowed to keep my over five hundred pounds for so long, and most importantly, the power to never go back to that existence. The choice was made on Day 1. This would be different than any other weight loss attempt in my past. It has been, in every way.
In my last post, I talked about making an effort to write this blog more often---and that is still the plan. For the next three days I'll be sequestered in a suburb of Tulsa finishing War and Peace. Ok--that was a joke. But you might think it'll be that long after the time I've allowed to get it finished. I will be officially finished with "Finding Transformation Road" on Thursday evening of this week. I have rolled right past every deadline to get this manuscript finished---and although I believe certain excuses are not excuses, rather, circumstances---I'm not a fan of delivering a long list of reasons why I haven't finished---But oh, what a glorious day it will be, to turn it over to the editors! Anyway---enough of that.
I had a scare with my mom last month. If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you must know how much I love my mother--and how she, for years, worried herself sick over my morbid obesity, and how I worry about her the same way, now. Mom was taken to the hospital with alarmingly high blood sugar, so high in fact, they immediately admitted her, so they could battle it back down. They stabilized mom and assured her that she wasn't "there" yet, instead---she had 90 days to lose weight and remove herself from the edge of needing daily insulin shots. They gave her counseling from a diabetic nurse and showed her exactly how to properly check her blood. They also sent in a clinical dietitian to assist mom with proper eating choices. I was in the room during her initial consultation with the dietitian---and I was trying so hard to remain quiet. I was showing respect--after all, she was obviously a college educated expert of sorts, so of course, everything she was saying was exactly what mom needed to do. She was explaining all of the proper foods and portions, and explaining the benefit of each---and suggesting ways to prepare certain things. And mom was nodding and agreeing, and when asked if she was understanding everything--mom replied "yes," And that's when I couldn't contain myself another second. But first---let me explain something.
Just because you have text book knowledge of proper nutrition and how the body responds to certain foods and portions, it doesn't give you immunity from morbid obesity. The proof of that statement, surrounded my mother. I'm not mentioning any names--I wouldn't do that--but my mom's doctor is morbidly obese, so was the clinical dietitian, so was the diabetic nurse, and so was 80% of the nursing staff on the floor where my mom was staying. Everyone involved in my mothers wake up call--was more than 100 pounds over weight--and a few, even more. I felt like we were in an episode of the Twilight Zone.
As the dietitian tried to explain to mom what she must do from now on--point by point, pausing to ask if she understood--and mom saying she did--I had to interject.
I'm not an expert at anything, other than being a 500 pound man. I'm pretty much an expert based on my experience, in that department. I know, that telling someone what they must do, or desperately need to do---and giving them portions, recipes, ideas, and a special menu plan---most of which is opposite the habits and lifestyle they're accustomed---can be overwhelming and very unnatural. If they stay with it to the letter--positive results will come. But will it be permanent? What good is a temporary suppression of our habits? To me--because I did it for years--It's like a trade off---I'll do exactly what they're telling me I need to do--while I suppress the issues and behaviors that have brought me to my present physical condition. That way is the biggest struggle---that way is hard---because it's unnatural. I've said it before---many times---Telling someone what they need to do or must do---is like calling a cleaning service to clean up the mess of a broken sewer line--but not fixing the sewer line.
I had to speak up---I could see it on mom's face--so much information, so much urgency--it was starting to overwhelm her...and I know---I was there many times. It gets scary--and confusing, and complicated. I couldn't keep my mouth shut another second.
Me: "Don't you think--that---if losing weight is the goal, and losing weight is what will save her from becoming an insulin dependent diabetic--that maybe she should keep it as simple as possible? Maybe do a set calorie budget and exercise everyday. She'll learn about portion control as she stays within the bounds of her budget. The weight will come off--and she'll realize that the battle doesn't have to be with the food, but it does have to be with ourselves---The mental battle to maintain the integrity of that calorie budget--That's where she should focus, don't you agree?"
Dietitian: "Well, I don't want her eating 1200 calories worth of sugar everyday."
Me: "She knows better than that! She doesn't do that now--it's portion control, she eats well--just too well, too often."
Mom: (to the dietitian) "He's lost a bunch of weight, over 275 pounds, and he's done it like this. He writes a blog all about it."
Dietitian: "Really? Wow, congratulations!"
Me: "Thank you, really, you understand what I'm trying to say...what I hear you telling her is not in tune with her natural lifestyle and behaviors. This lifestyle and these behaviors can change---gradually evolving over time, but in my experience---it doesn't change as soon as I'm handed a special diet. You see what I'm saying?"
Dietitian: "You're right--portion control and exercise is exactly what she needs, but she also needs to be aware of what to avoid."
It was a very pleasant and positive exchange. Later, after I left, the dietitian returned. This time, she was inquiring about my weight loss blog.
Mom is going to make it. She still struggles--and I know she doesn't mind me writing about her, because I have so much. It's all based in love and understanding. I love her dearly and I understand her struggles. I wish I could do it for her, or for my Aunt Kelli, or for other loved ones...but I can't. Each and every one of us must have our own Day 1, when it's just different than any other attempt before. We must all have our own unique awakening. And although the circumstances of that awaking might be different for each one of us--The mental clarity, the philosophies, the epiphanies that set us free, are nearly identical---across all addictions, not just food addiction.
Gayle Williams is a long time friend and co-worker--who has read every single day of this blog. She understands what drives me, she understands the thoughts, philosophies, and epiphanies that I hold very dear. So when she runs across a written word that she knows I'll appreciate, she points it out. The other day, she found the following. It's called "The Awakening." It's by "anonymous" or "author unknown," and if you know the author's name---please share it with me. It describes the awakening in such a wonderful way. I write about "Choosing change before change chooses you," and this is what I'm talking about. This is how---this time is different from any other weight loss attempt, ever. Enjoy this---I know I did!! Thank you for sharing this with me, Gayle!!
A time comes in your life when you finally get it. When, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks, and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out… ENOUGH! Enough fighting, crying, blaming, and struggling to hold on. Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears, and begin to look at the world through new eyes.
This is your awakening.
You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change. Or, for happiness, safety, and security to appear over the next horizon as if by magic.
You realize that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. And, in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will always love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are, and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.
You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.
Your stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you, or didn’t do for you. You learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.
You learn that people don’t always say what they mean, or mean what they say. That not everyone will always be there for you, and everything isn’t always about you.
So, you learn to stand on your own. You learn to take care of yourself, and in the process, a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.
You stop judging and pointing fingers. You begin to accept people as they are. To overlook their shortcomings and human frailties, and in the process peace and contentment are born of forgiveness.
You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.
You learn the difference between wanting and needing. You begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with.
You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing. You stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for you next fix.
You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.
You learn that you don’t know everything. It’s not your job to save the world, and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry, and that martyrs get burned at the stake.
Then you learn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are, not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not mean lonely.
You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility, the importance of setting boundaries, and learning to say NO.
You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over, and ignoring your needs.
You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drinking more water, and take more time to exercise.
You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty, so you take more time to rest. You learn that just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So, you take more time to laugh and to play.
You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for. That wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.
More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline, and perseverance. You learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it’s OK to risk asking for help.
You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into, and through your fears because you know that whatever may happen, you can handle it. You learn that to give in to fear is to give away your right to live life on your own terms.
You learn to fight for your life. Not to squander it by living under a cloud of impending doom.
You learn that life isn’t always fair. You don’t always get what you think you deserve. That sometimes, bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. You learn not to always take it personally.
You learn that nobody’s punishing you, and everything isn’t always somebody’s fault. It’s just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong, and to build bridges instead of walls.
You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy, and resentment must be understood and redirected. If not, they will suffocate the life out of you. They will poison the universe that surrounds you.
You learn to be thankful, and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted. The things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.
Then, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself. You make yourself a promise to never betray yourself. To never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire.
You make it a point to keep smiling. To keep trusting. To stay open to every wonderful possibility.
You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind.
Finally, with courage in your heart, you take a stand. You take a deep breath. You begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.
Beautiful, isn't it? Gayle has worked with me for over a decade--she knew 500 pound Sean well, and now she knows me even better. She knew this would be right up my alley. Thank you again Gayle. And thank you again for hosting my radio show over the next three days while I finish the book. Don't laugh Gayle---seriously, it will be finished! ;)
It's time to visit the mailbag:
"Sean I have read and enjoyed all of your blogs..I don't even need to lose much weight at 156 and 75 yeats of age but just love the way you inspire others. I come on now and then to see if you are still so handsome:-) You haven't mentioned your girl friend Hope that is Ok.
God Bless You & your girls and your Mom"
Rita, thank you, my friend!! Since you've read every single day--you know that I've learned some very hard lessons on keeping some things a little more private than others. Karen is a wonderful woman--and I have chosen to be very guarded about my relationship with her. But it is very good.
Chrissy added me on facebook, where I update nearly every day. She writes a very short facebook message here....and sometimes I get carried away with my reply, as you'll see.
"You are doing so well. I am still envious!! I have all the power to "fire myself" up....just don't have the motivation to stay that way!! HOWEVER do you do it?!?"
My facebook reply:
"Fire up your "Steel Curtain Zone" and decide that this is of life or death importance!! ;) We must decide that nothing will derail our efforts. We must DECIDE that this time, it's different...this time--nothing---No person, place, thing, circumstance, or emotion will become an excuse or rationalization for failure. We will not allow the same patterns of our past to dictate and determine our future.
Chrissy--You can make this powerful decision---a decision that puts the choices and consequences squarely where they should be---on us.
It's the same if you have 20 pounds to lose or 200---it's a mental attitude that nearly ensures your success.
You have the power, my friend!!! I didn't think I did for over twenty years near, at, or above 500 pounds...But I did have it the entire time---it was just too easy to ignore---and gravitate to the line of least resistance.
It's so easy at that line....But it can be a very hopeless and depressing place to hang out. Rise above that line and realize that you're worth the effort. Make that "iron-clad decision" to succeed. And get ready---success like you've never known, awaits!!!
You're incredible, my friend---Thank you for the support!!!"
"Sean, I began reading your blogs in September 2010 as I was beginning to get serious about losing weight. As of yesterday I am off Metforim-which I have been on for three years- for insulin resistance and down over 40lbs. Your blogs helped me get back on track when I fell. I would click on one and then read for while. Always found something that would inspire me. With your blogs and the encouragemnet of good friends, I know I keep my healthier lifestyle
Thank you anonymous!!! I'm absolutely thrilled for you!!! Actually, this person is a facebook friend, who would rather be anonymous, and that's very cool.
"I just wanted to stop by this morning and tell you that you have been such an inspiration on my journey! I love reading your blog (I was turned on by a friend) and have used your lessons to guide my steps on this path! Since mid November I have lost over 50 lbs and I continue to work on those last 50 with the help of wonderful people like you! Thank you! God Bless and keep on moving forward!"
Andrea--wow!!! You absolutely rock, my friend!!! Thank you so very much!!
"Sean, having read thru your blog and looking at your photos here on facebook, I hope that you include in your book all the amazing meals that you have made or combined."
Lyn, a collaborative cookbook project is in the very beginning "talking" stages. It would be one that would include many other winning losers--not just me. Besides---I'm not sure I could fill a cook book on my own!!!! Could you imagine?-- "The Amazing Pita Pizza and Omelet Cookbook!" But I certainly appreciate your confidence!! Thank you!!
"I am reading your blog and have found it to be extremely motivating! I'm getting back on track again. Thank you! Thank you! Your blog is awesome!"
Betty--Thank you very much. Even when I don't post very often these days---I feel like the heart of this blog is the stuff that really counts. The latest stuff is important as far as maintaining--and I sincerely plan on being more active with this blog in that direction--But going back to day one and reading forward---is the best way to get the full perspective. Sometimes I feel like I've written everything I believe---and to keep saying it, only in a different way, is sometimes the challenge.
Laura Ward--AKA "Zaa Baby," from www.zaaisshrinking.blogspot.com writes:
"May of 2008....and May of 2011 everything is so different! What exciting times you and I live in Sean! How wonderful that things are different for not just you and me but hundreds of others whose lives you have affected! I will always hold you first in my heart as the one who made the most impact on my weight loss. Waiting patiently for my SIGNED COPY of your book. I predicted it, didn't I, oh so long ago?! Much hugs to you and yours."
Laura--Yes you did, my friend...Yes you did!!! Your success warms my heart, Laura. You're amazing my friend!!! And thank you for sticking with me---even when I wait a little too long to post something new!!! You will absolutely get a signed copy--right in your mailbox. You've been such a wonderful supporter!!! Thank you again!!!
What have I learned in the last few months? I've learned that in all the changes I've made--My changes in behavior with food is pretty solid. I don't look at food the same and I never will. I still love food, I still enjoy food, I'm still a food addict--only "recovering," always recovering---And that's OK. Because a new friendship with food is what it's all about--and that friendship will never be abusive again.
When ice cream "Dream Bars," get freezer burn because they've been in there for months---or an entire bag of 45 calorie Snickers minis (A gift) are completely forgotten about in a kitchen drawer...That's a major change. And I love it. It's a sweet freedom that I once thought was impossible to capture. But it's not impossible. It's very real, and very possible---because if someone like me can make it out--after twenty years near, at, or above 500 pounds--I believe anyone can.
I've also learned that I'm not naturally into exercise. That was really supposed to be a part of my lifestyle change--it was, and is---but I'm extremely flawed and faulty when it comes to keeping a set schedule for workouts. It is imperative for me to naturally evolve into a more consistent workout schedule. It's strange--when I started--nothing kept me from walking---it didn't matter--my schedule, the weather, stressed, tired---whatever---It was non-negotiable---But now---so far from the urgency of "do or die," I find it a little too easy to claim-- "I'm really tired," or "My schedule is just too crazy today," or whatever the circumstance might be---when really, I could and should make the time, every time.
Thank you for reading---This would be an epic post like no other if I took the time and space to catch up on everything that has transpired in the last month--so I'll wrap with some photos instead.
I sincerely appreciate your patience and readership--thank you again. Goodnight and...
My grandfather on my dad's side---Silas Haynes--passed away on Mothers Day. I wasn't able to make the trip to Alabama to be with everyone, but I sincerely cherish my trip from last November, even more. Here we are together. I'll have this photo forever. He was an amazing man.
This amazing dessert is just under 100 calories---and totally incredible!! Picture blurry---I use my phone---I really should buy a camera---Geez!!
Hosting The Poncan Opry. Photo credit: Rick Logan
Uh, yeah---I don't really "do" cowboy hats well. Not my style, I guess. But I still love country music!! I love all music---You know that!!!
In my cabin at Camp Wood--getting ready to speak to the Kansas State Alliance YMCA Gathering. Thank you Kansas YMCA's for having me!!! It was awesome!
I love this breakfast--The 60 calorie Joseph's Pita is perfect--the cheese---the egg, oh my--great breakfast!!! With a whole egg and two egg whites--still under 220 and VERY filling!!
Recent lunch. I'm in a habit of taking all kinds of good stuff to work. When I do---I grab less of the little snacks that live in the kitchen at work. Pretzels are awesome---but three hundred calories worth isn't always a good idea!!!
Karen prepared this amazing dinner for me. I wasn't that big on salmon before--but wow, she adjusted my perspective with a perfect grilling and a squeeze of lemon. It was divine. I actually insisted on the small sirloin, because I was convinced I wouldn't like the salmon. I liked both!!
Amber received two scholarships at the SWOSU Education department Awards Ceremony. I am so blessed to have such amazing kids. Wow---I'm a very proud dad!!! We're acting silly here--because that's what we like to do!!!
My beautiful momma--wearing my sunglasses. I love this picture of her--In fact, it's the picture that pops up when she calls my phone!!! ;) Love you momma!!!
OK--Enough with the cowboy hat pictures. We've already established---not my look.
I had a sinus infection gone wild in this photo. I missed work and everything. Very painful infection---I know it looks like something is in my cheek---But nope--nothing--well actually, something was---but we don't want to go there---It was full of infection. Thank you antibiotic shots and medicine!!! Wow---it was getting scary, real fast.
Again this year--I put on the heels for the "Walk A Mile" campaign to raise money and awareness for the Domestic Violence Program of North Central Oklahoma. You can visit their website and find out more: www.dvpnco.org A wonderful organization and cause---and what an amazing event!!!
Another scrumptious meal!!!
Momma and Me. I love her so much. We were at KFC--eating grilled chicken!! I love that stuff--because I can enjoy an entire meal for under 400 calories--at KFC, never would have thought that possible before KGC. Maybe too much sodium--but calorie wise, it's really nice.
I love this photo of her.
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