The Most Important Part: The Gaining and Putting The Solution Ahead of The Problem
I was moving as fast as my legs could spin that cycle and I was hurting. It was minute eleven of a sixty minute spinning class. It had been a while since I braved the spinning class and my body was not real thrilled with me. I started thinking about how I could make an exit without looking like I had just wimped out and then it hit me: Quitting isn't an option. It's one hour of my otherwise busy but still, easy day--a few more classes, and I'll be conditioned to endure without these meltdown thoughts of failure.
One of my favorite things about working out at the YMCA is seeing so many people taking control and choosing change. It's so inspiring. The membership at our YMCA has exploded since they opened the new facility. New faces of hope, strength, and triumph are everywhere!! It's beautiful.
I recently accepted and performed a stand-up routine at a benefit fundraiser for the Cherokee Strip Museum in Arkansas City, Kansas. It was the first time in a very long time that I was speaking before a crowd about anything other than weight loss. And it was fine, but it wasn't passionate. It was OK, but it wasn't life changing to me. It was familiar, until I looked at the images afterward.
My stand-up always centered around my size and now, well---I couldn't take that easy way out. And the man I was seeing on that stage certainly wasn't what I remember. Sometimes, even after awhile--I get taken aback by my smaller size. It's a friendly reminder of how far I've come--and it feels so amazing. Do I still have some work to do physically? Absolutely--but I'm thin compared to what I was at over five hundred pounds.
When I casually mentioned that I once weighed that much, there was a collective gasp throughout the room. I don't know why I mentioned it really, because it didn't have anything to do with my set--I didn't have any jokes about my weight or previous weight, so I don't know. Maybe I somehow missed that big guy up there, trying to make people laugh no matter the personal expense, and this awkward mention was just an uncontrollable blurt from where my mind was lingering...on old Sean.
I have zero desire to do anymore straight stand-up gigs in the future. This one was for charity and that's cool, but no more stand-up. The passion I feel when I'm talking about losing weight is like stand-up times a thousand. I'll stick with my true passion.
The speaking engagements are starting to come more frequently. I have three scheduled for the first two weeks of April, one in May, and I just MC'd the Lose To Win Awards for Ponca City Medical Center. Participants lost over 2,500 pounds in eight weeks. The program had a 75% retention and completion rate--compared with 32-35% at other programs around the country. That's HUGE!!! I had the pleasure of handing out $5,500 in checks on behalf of the program, to the biggest losers. And it was my pleasure to deliver a brief keynote.
I talked about how losing was wonderful, but what's really important is the gaining. What did you gain from the experience? I've gained so much from my personal transformation. I've gained freedom, life, confidence, self-acceptance and love, I've gained better health, I've gained years, and so much more.
I also talked about something that has been kind of an unwritten theme of this entire journey. Sometimes, you must work on the solution before you can correctly identify the problem.
Day one on this blog was fairly simple in terms of what I was going to do. I was going to stay within the bounds of my calorie budget and walk a little bit. All of the epiphanies came as I progressed down the road. I was working the solution first and really understanding the problem later. It sounds completely backwards...Don't we usually identify the problem and then try to figure out the solution? But how can we fully see the problem when we're right in the middle? You've heard the expression "from the outside looking in...," I had to get outside of my problems---work the solution, then reflect back in order to see a very clear picture of where I was and why I was.
Really--this goes back to something I've talked about many times---and that's simplifying the process...don't over-complicate. Keep it simple, work the solution, then clearly see the issues when you get far enough away from the storm.
This thought process---along with the "wrong battle" analogy, are the type of outside the box thinking that has helped me really break through.
I've been eating really well lately--and I've included some pictures of recent meals below. I think a cookbook might be in order someday--perhaps a collaborative effort with me and my friends!! Seriously--that might be something to discuss someday soon. I guess I better finish the first book, ...first. ;)
My new website is up in a very simple "under construction" mode. You can visit www.transformationroad.com ---You'll find a link to my Twitter and Facebook accounts there---and I hope you'll add me as a friend. You'll also see a "contact" link with my transformationroad email account. This new site will eventually be the home base website of all of my endeavors. I plan on expanding the site in many different and exciting ways---so please stay connected via facebook, twitter, and right here on this blog. I'll keep you posted!!
I get a bunch of wonderful emails and messages---and I try to respond, even if it takes me a few days sometimes. I sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding. I occasionally like to share some of these exchanges--because I feel like they might help someone else. Here's one:
Hi Sean……I was just wondering in the beginning of your journey how did you cope with falling back into your old eating habits?? I started my “new life” Oct 30, 2010 and stuck to it all through the holidays and have lost 30 pounds but when I started to plateau and I started getting discouraged and started slipping up. I still want to lose about 50 more pounds but have found myself stuck. I was wondering if you had any words of encouragement……actually I know you will! I must be a stress eater because I’ve had a lot lately. I am not really a bored eater because I stay pretty busy all the time. For me it is just making the wrong food choices, I am usually on the go and need quick meals. I need to get out of that bad habit, I know, but it just not knowing how! Well, I was just needing some encouragement and hoping you could help!
It can be extremely easy to allow a combination of success+comfort in your smaller body+stress+plateau= Returning to your old behaviors. I've experienced that too along the way.
This is the time when you really have to look at yourself in the mirror and realize that it's "crunch time." Dig deep and stir up the emotions tied to your motivating thoughts---and feel it, Katie. Where do you want to go with your transformation? How much weight do you want to lose? Is it a true plateau or is it the results of inconsistency? Answer these questions--not to me, but to yourself.
Get that fight back---and know, that you have the power to accomplish this goal. You're not stopping half way--You're going all the way, my friend. Realize who/what you're really fighting. It's not food---it's you. When you fully embrace the real fight---then, the food issues will work themselves out. Does that make sense?
I knew that I had to maintain the integrity of my calorie budget at all cost---so, when I was running behind---or in a "bad choices" environment, I still understood that I had a set limit....and the choices I made in that moment, would determine if I was going to feel satisfied or cheated. If I blew 500 or 600 calories on something crazy--that I would consider a "bad" calorie value---it still didn't give me permission to break the bank and go over. Treating those calories like cash was so very vital. When the money is gone, it's gone. It really forces the issue of fighting ourselves in moments of weakness.
The stressful triggers---oh my---so many---BUT...I knew going in that I was an emotional eater. Stress would send me running to food everytime...so when life would start raining down, that;s when I had to fight the hardest. No more was the circumstances used as permission to eat as much or whatever...because it is a destructive cycle. Eating to forget---finding that temporary escape to something good. I had to replace that "good" with feeling good, about winning the battle within me to deviate from my plan.
When you hit the pillow at night--you want to be confident that you've done everything you needed to do to be successful that day. It's a peace that comes over you...you know when you're "on," and how good that feels. Make that the goal every night---hit the pillow knowing that you're doing it this time---and NOTHING will stand in the way of you hitting goal.
Stay true to yourself---exercise---eat enough---and drink plenty of water---and don't worry, you'll break away from that nasty plateau. But the biggest thing---battle yourself--and after a while, you'll become the most amazing friend to yourself. It's a wonderful place to be---where the battles are over. Don't get me wrong, we always have to check ourselves every now and again--but seriously, you can find that groove. It's very peaceful.
My best always, Katie---Rock this thing---because, seriously---YOU DESERVE TO FEEL AMAZING ABOUT YOURSELF. YOU DESERVE TO BE AS HEALTHY AS YOU CAN BE. YOU DESERVE TO FEEL THIS GOOD!!!!
And if you think you might be too old to worry about getting serious about all of this weight loss stuff,
Let me introduce you to Ron Hall--age 77--and busy adding years to his life!!!! This email made my day:
Just wanted to share with you my little journey. I discovered you page
about 226 days ago and I said to myself, "Maybe" and so I began by
reading at page 1 and now I am at page 500. I am 77 years old and when
I started reading your blog, I had just about given up at 296 lbs but I
thought, "well maybe" and I started. I have tried and lost all of my
life, I have tried most all the fad and quick diets and I always had
stopped short of counting calories as when I began to check out the
meals, I thought surely I will starve on that. But when you said treat
them like money, I caught on and after all this time I have lost about
50 lbs and I have learned to make good choices now instead of just
giving in. I had been asking the Lord for guidance in this weight loss
try as I thought it will be my last. I just couldn't navigate all this
weight anymore. My old joints and frame was beginning to complain more
every day. Now I am doing much better. I am still reading your blog and
still getting insight to what makes me tick sometimes like I do. I
wanted to thank you for your helping me do this. My wife also is
getting inspired again also.
God Bless you and keep you in all your endeavors,
Thank you Ron for your spirit and showing us all--that NOW IS THE TIME!!!
My font changed--I think, or is it just me? Well, anyway...
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog from Day 1--
That's a bunch of reading, my friend. I'm honored--thank you again.
I'll try to post a little more frequently---I miss it when I don't!!! Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
Cathy Cole was the Biggest Female Loser--41.3 pounds!! I'm presenting her with the check!! She's doing so amazing!!! I'm thrilled for her---wow!!
Giant before picture--Over 500 Pounds
Some food pictures---
I love omelets--Especially when I cut the calories way down by using some egg whites mixed in with a whole.
Good food, great calorie value!
Pita pizza--carrots and apples---Nice lunch--or was this a snack? I can't remember...
I love fish. Talapia with green beans and a small baked potato--side of apple sauce--with cinnamon---I love it!!!
Recent lunch...Oh my---so good!!!