Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 31st, 2014 No Restaurant Day

August 31st, 2014 No Restaurant Day

I slept well this morning and felt rested enough to skip taking a nap mid-afternoon. It's almost 11pm and I'm yawning but okay. I'm sleeping good quality sleep these days. I'm usually not getting enough sleep time, but the sleep I am getting is quality. This is good news. It is because I've gone from what seemed like severe sleep apnea to feeling tired for the right reasons, you know--because I'm not getting enough sleep.

I feel like I've been eating out way too often. I would need to go back and review the twitter feed, but I think I had a streak of three or four lunches and dinners out in a row.  I've made what I feel to be the best choices possible (except for chili Thursday night) but still, I wonder if I'm getting too much sodium. Today I decided on a no-restaurant day. I took extra care and attention at every turn today. I feel really good about the meals.

I had a great workout at the YMCA, came home and enjoyed an amazing lunch, then made the trip back to the music festival to do the outro-announcements following Big SMO. Google him if you like, he's very talented!  I wasn't scheduled for this, it was a last minute fill in for an injured colleague.

I made the trip to see Heather tonight. She prepared some amazing shredded chicken soft corn tacos. It was perfect and it helped me complete my no restaurant day!

My food Tweets today:
















Thank you for reading and your support,
Strength,
Sean

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30th, 2014 In Harmony With How I Feel

August 30th, 2014 In Harmony With How I Feel

Today started with a big cleaning of my apartment. It was a deep cleaning, the kind that doesn't get done often enough! It was a wonderful opportunity for me to clear some things out. I made several trips to the trash dumpster downstairs! I didn't realize how wonderful the exercise was until this evening when I felt it in every move made! It was absolutely a workout!

I realized a connection between the condition of the environment we keep and how we truly feel about ourselves when I experienced some serious depression last year. As I cleaned today, I kept thinking--wow, I've come along way from when "this" was acceptable. Cleaning isn't fun. I don't like it. I'm not good at it. But I'm willing to get better, because I want to get better--because I'm feeling better about me. Having a cleaner apartment feels good. It's more in harmony with how I feel about me. It correctly reflects this. It always has. And I truly believe this dynamic is universal.

I was genuinely tired after today's cleaning project. I knew a nap was in my future as soon as I opened my eyes this morning. By the time I was at a point to take one, it was late in the afternoon. I set the alarm for an hour and a half, laid down and I was out for 2.5 hours. It was some of the most restful naps I've experienced in a very long time. Oversleeping a nap happens. This evening it almost cost me big!

I was scheduled to pick up my daughter Amber for the concert this evening, by 6pm. I was set to arrive at the music festival around 7pm and be on stage by 8:15pm. I woke at 6:38pm to Amber's voice asking, "are you coming?" My first thought wasn't, oh no, I'm late! My first thought was that was a premium nap!

My arrival at 7pm wasn't mandatory, thank goodness. The plan to arrive that early was purely for my benefit, so we could arrive and I could relax a little before my brief MC duties. Still, this extended nap wreaked havoc on my plans to be prepared food wise.

I had a late breakfast and late lunch, which is typical for me on a weekend day. I knew I wouldn't be ready for dinner before the event tonight, so my plan was to prepare and pack a good meal for Amber and me to enjoy in the broadcast vehicle prior to settling into the evenings festivities. I knew there would be a big free hospitality buffet for VIP's and sponsors, but not knowing what that might include didn't set well with me. I really didn't want to leave my food choices up to whomever planned this part of the festival.

I left my apartment without a dinner plan of any sort. I was so rushed I didn't even have time to blend a Shakeology to help get me through. I picked up the station vehicle, picked up Amber and we headed North to the festival 25 minutes away. I was cutting it very close. About ten minutes out, I called the promoter and informed her I was indeed en route and would be arriving shortly. I'm glad I made the call. The promoter was waiting for me as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. We were handed our VIP parking pass and all access badges and lanyards, then escorted to where we needed to go. Within minutes I was on stage making announcements and getting the crowd ready for Pat Green and the night's headliners, The Little River Band.

The promoter wasn't the least bit phased by how closely I cut the schedule. She graciously offered, "You're not late, you're right on time! But you did miss the free buffet." Awe, darn. Our food choices outside were worse than the infamous chili and omelet fiasco of Thursday night. The choices were hotdogs, snocones, other various concession stand food, liquor and beer. Uh, no thank you to all of the above. After my early announcements, we had a couple hours before I needed to do it again, so this gave us time to make our way from the outdoor festival grounds and into the restaurant located inside the host casino.

Once again I asked for some menu modifications and was met with a most helpful server, ready to go above and beyond. The grilled squash and zucchini in the below dinner tweet photo? That particular side dish isn't found on their menu. My sincerely polite queries and obvious important concern inspired the server and kitchen staff to get creative and the result was a meal I could feel great about. Amber and I tipped our server extra for this extraordinary service.

When I look at the below photo of me on stage tonight, my first thought doesn't immediately focus on the fact that as of last weigh in, I'm still ninety-five pounds from my previous healthiest weight. Not at all. My first thought was, I need smaller shirts! I felt confident on stage tonight and it showed. And showed very well, according to my daughter!
 photo f69a5681-f888-429b-8a73-0b4533bcf4b4_zps8b4da643.png
My Food Tweets today:












Thank you for reading and for your absolutely incredible support,
Strength,
Sean

Friday, August 29, 2014

August 29th, 2014 Road Improvements

August 29th, 2014 Road Improvements

The chili last night created an upset stomach feeling throughout the night and morning. It was easily the most "unclean" thing I've consumed since mid-April. My body noticed the difference immediately. It's interesting to me how I was able to clearly identify the effects of this stuff. It might have been 320 calories a cup and sugar-free, the two mandatory requirements for me, but it was loaded with something isn't right. I will not make the same mistake again. My new policy on chili: It must be homemade, so I know the ingredients. If I can eat it without feeling horrible afterward, then okay! 

It was good to sleep in this morning! Even if I did wake feeling like I had poisoned myself the night before. It took me over three hours to feel like eating anything and by then it was lunch time. I had a business meeting at a restaurant scheduled for noon. I picked the place to meet for what would be my brunch. I picked my favorite little Mexican restaurant, the one that serves Hawaiian fajitas! I also ordered a couple of eggs on the side in order for it to feel more like a breakfast/lunch combination.  I stuffed the eggs down in the taco shells first and topped with the onion/peppers, pineapple, steak, chicken and shrimp. It might sound gross but I loved it!

My new jeans are already getting baggy and in need of an occasional pulling up. It's nice to feel my body getting smaller. I honestly wasn't sure if I would ever experience this again. It is refreshing to feel this way--and it's unique from my previous weight loss success because I'm doing things a little differently. I have stronger accountability tools, a reinforced support system and I'm abstinent from sugar. And a big difference maker this go around: I'm open to change, I'm humble, I'm more grateful and I have the benefit of my previous experience to draw upon along the way. These differences are like road improvements.

I made a fast trip to Stillwater to run an errand, see mom and also take advantage of some 50% off vouchers at one of the best places for steak in my hometown. 50% off!! It was a delicious bargain. The meal came with a salad bar trip to what is widely known as one of the best salad bars in town. I tend to turn into a finicky little kid when facing a salad bar. I don't like things touching on my plate, so naturally I don't like them piled on top of one another either! Oh, and no matter how good the salad bar, I don't like 90% of salad bar items. The only salad bar I've ever loved was one that came complete with a variety of non-salad type foods, like cheese and meats and breads, mac and cheese and cottage cheese. They didn't have any of these things--and honestly, my resolve wouldn't have allowed me to select them even if they were available. I ended up with a small bit of watermelon and several grape tomatoes.

I ordered a plain baked sweet potato for the first time ever. I've enjoyed sweet potatoes as fries and in a stir fry, but never just one big plain sweet potato. I specifically ordered it dry with cinnamon on the side for sprinkling. It was very good! I asked the server how the steak was to be prepared and was told they coat it in oil prior to cooking. Some places brush it with butter. I'm glad I asked! I requested mine be cooked without the oil and it was still one of the better steaks I've had in some time. The chef actually came over to the table to introduce himself. He explained how they're really big into the farm to table movement and how their steaks come straight from a ranch just miles away. He described the aging process and detailed how they cut the steaks fresh to order. This is good intelligence in case I ever get another 50% off deal (seriously, it would need to be a VERY special occasion at regular prices!) This fresh cut practice means I could have requested a smaller portion, instead of the big 8 ounces listed on the menu. I had plenty of room in the budget today for the full 8 ounces, but good to know for times when I don't!

By the time I made it home it was raining the most gentle beautiful rain ever. No lightening, just a nice cool shower. I decided right then and there, I was walking in the rain. I LOVE walking in the rain. I wanted to get wet without a care. I wanted to let the rain run down my face as I briskly walked a determined stride as if I was in some kind of inspirational sports drink commercial. You know, how they sometimes feature wet and sweaty people--and I'm always thinking, do they not have a towel? Sadly, by the time I arrived for my 5K tonight, the rain had stopped pouring. It was a slight sprinkle as I embarked and completely dry throughout except for my perspiration. It felt good to get the 5K done tonight. It felt real good.

Sometimes the choices we make along this road are not simply about benefiting us physically. For instance, the choices I made in the circumstances of last night were purely for my mental/emotional benefit. I understood that I was in a situation that could have easily gone awry quickly. Had I gone off the rails I would have blamed the circumstances and myself for not being prepared. The physical damage would have been minimal, the emotional/mental damage would have been significant. I made the decisions I did last night in an effort to protect my head space. Even though the dinner was horrible, it was still better than the alternatives--and even though the walk last night was short, I felt good about insisting on its completion. Hitting the pillow knowing I did the best I could do in the situation had a monumentally positive effect on how I felt mentally and emotionally. Physically--uhg...that chili--whoa, never again! The biggest parts of this journey are the mental/emotional parts, so it makes sense to protect them like a mommy bear protects her cubs.

Tomorrow night I'll be doing something I'm not sure I could have several months ago, prior to the epiphanies of May 15th and this dramatic turnaround since late April. I'll be standing on a big stage in front of what the promoters hope to be thousands of people, introducing The Little River Band. These guys are one of my favorite bands from Australia. Oh, the hits!! I did this very thing 18 years ago at another radio station--same band, big stage--and a much bigger 500 pound me. My ability to do it back then and now being unsure if I could have done it today without the liberating elements in place--is a psychological study and conversation for another night. I'm looking forward to meeting them again and firing up the audience prior to their performance! It will be a late night again tomorrow. LRB takes the stage at this music festival somewhere around 10:30pm.

My food Tweets today:
















Thank you for reading and for your continued support!
Strength,
Sean

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 28th, 2014 Making The Best from A Bad Menu

August 28th, 2014 Making The Best from A Bad Menu

Today just wouldn't stop! I have the day off tomorrow and typically, the previous day is spent preparing for the planned absence. I didn't leave work until 6:45pm. I was able to take some time midday and ship all outstanding orders from my website store http://www.transformationroad.com/505store.html

Several delays kept orders from being shipped immediately and let me tell you, I do not like having outstanding orders! It felt wonderful to watch the post office take them away today! If you've been waiting on a shipment from me, purchased or won, it's on the way! For your patience, I've included a bonus item in each package, enjoy! If you're interested in ordering a personalized signed paperback copy of Transformation Road, the seven disc CD audio book with bonus MP3 disc or one of my "I'm Choosing Change" adjustable leather bracelets, simply click the link above and I'll ship the items to you anywhere in the world!

I finally met with a local wine bar owner down the street from our studios. We've schedule what I hope to be the first of many comedy nights for Wednesday October 22nd, one day before my birthday! I'm thrilled about this opportunity to work out new material that doesn't seem to stop coming.

It was a busy day at the studio but it didn't stop me from pausing long enough to eat well throughout the day. I typically plan my breakfasts and lunches really well and then leave my dinner up to whatever I can create from what I have on hand or, if inspired, I'll run to the store and pick up the needed ingredients. Tonight wasn't one of those nights.

I didn't plan on my workday running into my evening. My original plan was to get to the YMCA for the elliptical and swimming before my evening plans to be the designated driver for a friend. Instead, my workday left me without separation between work and my evening--and this created an interesting situation.

I found myself without a plan, stuck at a place with a horrible menu. I had a choice, either wait until much later to eat at home or navigate the selections in front of me. Since it was already almost 9pm when I came to this conclusion, I decided to make the best of their menu.  The menu was full of deep fried things, burgers and giant sandwiches, french fries and onion rings. I noticed a breakfast menu too. I asked, "Is your breakfast menu available?" Yes, it was. "Can I order a customized omelet?" Yes, I could. Perfect!

I ordered a three egg omelet with grilled peppers and onions they normally use for the Philly sandwich, plus tomatoes and a side of beef chili. The chili was questionable, so I asked for a nutrition guide. They didn't have one. I asked if the container the chili comes in had a nutrition label. The nice employee said he didn't think so because it came in a large bag made for boiling. I asked him to check anyway and he did. Within a minute I had the calorie count and serving size. He peeled the sticker right off the box holding these boil N bags of beef chili. I also confirmed it was free of sugar. A veggie omelet with peppers, onions and tomatoes and a serving of chili wasn't exactly what I wanted for dinner, but considering the circumstances and the horrid choices, it was the best way to navigate this one.

My backup exercise plan was to walk a 5K at the trail immediately after this crazy night concluded. And that was a wonderful plan except, when we exited the building it was pouring rain. Instead of going straight to the trail, I ran into the grocery store for a few items. By the time I came out it had stopped raining enough for me to get to the trail. I was still tired, so I knew it wasn't going to be a 5K. I made it two times around for a total of  1.7 miles. It was something, at least.

There will occasionally be days like this. Thank goodness they're few and far between. The important thing to me is, I didn't sacrifice the integrity of my calorie budget, even when doing so seemed like the only option. I made other options!

My food Tweets:










Thank you for reading and for your support,
Strength,
Sean

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27th, 2014 No BP Meds

August 27th, 2014 No BP Meds

I completely forgot about my six month checkup doctors appointment last week. I missed it bigger than Dallas. The office staff at my doctor's office have had a front row seat for this "comeback" of sorts and they're always thrilled for me at each weigh-in, so my rescheduling was peppered with multiple apologies. I felt horrible for the miss for obvious reasons and also because I know my doctor seems to block out thirty minutes for an important appointment like this checkup. Dr. Wilcox is easily the best primary care physician I've ever known. He asks good questions then spends an enormous amount of time listening and typing notes on his laptop. My rescheduled appointment was this morning at 10:45am.

My doctor was impressed. I've officially been taken off blood pressure medicine! What a difference 69 pounds makes.  I insisted on skipping the standard weigh in today, explaining to the nurse how my weigh day would be next Wednesday instead.

I took a vacation day from radio so I could tend to some important book related business in Tulsa. I'll not share the details of the private meeting, but suffice to say that my previous partnership came to a mutually rewarding conclusion complete with hugs and plenty of well wishes! I've already started some foundation/outlining work on book number two and I will commit to a dedicated writing schedule very soon. It'll likely only be a session or two a week, but it will be concrete--at a time that's not typically threatened by a sometimes busy schedule. I'm incredibly excited for the next chapter, so to speak!

Getting to bed earlier this evening.

My food Tweets:














Thank you for reading,
Strength,
Sean

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 26th, 2014 Late Day

August 26th, 2014 Late Day

My day started late. It was very alarming to wake at 5:50am this morning when I must be on the air at precisely 5:59:50am in order to hit ABC News in New York live at 6am. I had overslept and now I was starting my day in a panic. I quickly picked up the phone to call a colleague to step in and cover my show until I could arrive. I threw a few eggs in my non-stick pan and set the heat on low so I could cook breakfast and get ready for work at the same time. Eggs were in the pan as I was rushing toward the shower when I heard the swoosh sound of a new text message. It was the owner of the broadcasting company I call home. The owner! His text let me know that he was listening and had noticed I wasn't the one on the air, you know--the one he pays to do the show.

My stress level shot through the roof after that text. Now, I had the general stress of being late with the added stress of knowing the man who's signature is on everyone of my paychecks isn't necessarily thrilled that his morning personality isn't on the air at the regularly scheduled time. It was a high stress-high rush start. Where was the trigger? You know, that trigger to eat more or eat crazy things as a reaction to stress. Certainly it's coming!! It didn't come. I wasn't racing to a drive-through like the days of old or crumbling under the stress by driving through the donut shop drive through. Those thoughts never crossed my mind. And that's a real blessing. I wasn't reacting to stress the same as I had for years prior. There was a distinct change in my reaction. I was in a kind of "focused rush."

I decided on a rugged look-Translation: I skipped shaving, instead doing the absolute minimum I could to get out the door as quickly as possible. Part of the absolute minimum was ripping through the eggs, rendering them scrambled--plating them, wrapping them--and grabbing a bag of fruit and some other assorted items for a later lunch. No time for a pretty little omelet. Thank goodness my Bunn Velocity Brew coffee maker makes an entire pot of coffee in three minutes flat. I appreciated the speed of my java this morning. I was going loose and rugged. This wasn't the best way to start my day. I didn't take time for prayer and meditation, I didn't take time to cut up my fruit, I didn't take time to sip a cup while going through my emails while I wake up. It was very different. I didn't eat breakfast during the first hour of my show, which is what I normally do, and after 7am my show gets too busy to eat.

Breakfast time came much later than normal. I was feeling it too. It was almost 10am when I made my way into the studio kitchen to finally cut my fruit and nourish my stressed out body. Of course, this schedule made everything late today. I was very busy. Too busy to listen to my body when the cues to eat something naturally fired. I didn't stop for a snack, then had a late lunch sometime around 4pm. I had work duties until late and ended up signing on to the support group call tonight, horribly late. Good thing Life Coach Gerri was handling things tonight. I had a few errands to run after the support group and that's when I decided to give myself a break by picking up some shrimp fajitas to go. It was after 9:30pm when I was finally eating dinner and a workout? That was in my living room floor in front of the Beachbody PiYo Hardcore On The Floor DVD.

I did this workout the other night for the first time and I was still feeling it today, two days later. It wasn't a bad feeling at all. It was a very good feeling. It was a feeling of, hey, I have muscles there?? Wow, neato! I gave my big treadmill to a friend--paying it forward by giving it to someone I know will get a lot of good use from it. It wasn't being used in the "spare bedroom gym," because I didn't want to disturb the very nice older lady who lives in the apartment directly below.  It took me and two other guys to help get it down and out of the apartment. I still have my NordicFlex and I plan on adding a few other non-vibration forms of exercise to my apartment friendly list of workout options.

I'm taking a vacation day tomorrow and tending to some important business in Tulsa. Perhaps I need a day off to get everything back in the groove it needs to be. I'm very proud of having a high stress day and not reacting like the typical stress/emotional eater I've been all these years. My food was good today. I was just under budget and my net calories after exercise was above 1300. That is a wonderful thing for me.

When it came down to my resolve and instinctual twists and turns, despite the stress level, everything seemed to be right on time. 

Tweets from today:










Thank you very much for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25th, 2014 Wearing The Tags

August 25th, 2014 Wearing The Tags

Shopping for clothes on the bad side of a regain is a miserable experience. Nothing fits, nothing feels right--and as the gain progresses, you graduate from the normal section to the bigger sizes and eventually to a different store. I experienced this painful progression during my regain. At one point, I simply found one sweater jacket that fit and I wore it everyday from October to April. I washed it regularly, of course, but it was everyday--same thing. Nothing else fit. A closet full of clothes and literally not one thing fit, except a few big t-shirts and the zip up sweater jacket. I found a pair of black workout stretch pants and I added those to the daily wear, simply because I didn't want to experience trying to find jeans or shirts that fit my rapidly growing body. The only time I would squeeze into a pair of jeans was when I had a location broadcast or special event I had to attend, where black stretchy sweat pants wouldn't be appropriate.

My heaviest regain point was 394. A full 164 pound regain. I was very lucky to have stopped at 394. The jeans I had to wear back at 394 were size 52's and they still cut into me like a dull knife, leaving me bruised and slightly bloodied on the worst days. I easily needed 54's but I was too stubborn to buy 54's--and also because buying 54's would have required a special trip out of town to a big and tall store. If I could just endure the pain long enough to get home and change into the big stretchy workout pants, I'd be just fine, even if fine meant hurting in the meantime.

Shopping for clothes during an awakening and total positive revolution is pleasurable even if the clothes are still much bigger than what I once wore. It doesn't matter. I know where I am headed, so I proudly wear what I must to be comfortable as my body cooperates with my positive behaviors and the weight drops. When I bought the pair of 46 waist jeans I couldn't get them on. But it didn't matter, I knew I would eventually. I just needed my confident patience. I laid them aside and kept on doing the things best for me. Finally a few weeks to a month later, they fit. And today I retired them.

Two weeks ago I bought two pair of size 44's. Same thing happened--they didn't fit. So I laid them aside. Confident patience told me they would fit in not long. I tried them again today and the fit was perfect. I was so happy for this non-scale victory, I didn't take them off. I was celebrating! The baggy 46's will be cleaned and donated to someone who can get some good from them again. They no longer serve my needs! My excitement was so, that I forgot to take off the tags. A colleague noticed the tags and offered to do the honors. It was a wonderful feeling. She handed me the tags and I tweeted a picture with my NSV announcement.


In a couple of weeks I'll buy some 42's. They'll probably not fit and I'll lay them aside. They will fit soon according to my confident patience. Oh yes indeed, they will.

I had some fun with foods today--creating some different dishes with some variety! I took to the elliptical and experienced a big sweat for 30 minutes. I kept thinking about these new jeans and how my perspective has changed. It's a 180 degree turn, just like the direction of my personal momentum.

My food tweets today:












Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24th, 2014 Big Difference

August 24th, 2014 Big Difference

I opened last night's blog with a tongue in cheek paragraph about my jar of pickles on the fridge and our Oklahoma earthquakes. Then, Northern California was heavily damaged by a large quake hours later. First of all--my thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by what experts are calling the worst in over 20 years. Secondly-- I wanted to clarify how countless experts agree our Oklahoma quakes are typically "inspired" by the energy industry practice of fracking. Oklahoma quakes are rarely anything creating damage (unless your property is right on top of the epicenter). Our relatively small "inspired by industry" quakes seem to be a novelty, usually met with enthusiasm and excited Facebook posts instead of real, genuine concern. The earthquakes we experience here in Oklahoma are nothing at all like the kind of earthquake our friends in Northern California experienced, which are rarely anything to joke about. If you were affected by the California quake, my sincere thoughts and concern are with you tonight.

In an effort to get some much needed rest, I'm cutting tonight's post short. I had a great food day that included spending time with Heather, then traveling to Stillwater for dinner and conversation with mom. I came home and completed a PiYo workout in my living room floor. PiYo is a combination of Pilates and Yoga--and since I've never experienced either of these disciplines, I was slightly concerned. It was fantastic! I had to do a modified version, but still, it was a very easy decision to make this a part of my workout options. My exercise plan tomorrow includes spinning class, maybe swimming and definitely another round of PiYo "Hardcore On The Floor."

My food Tweets today:
 










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Thank you for your readership and support,
Strength,
Sean

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August 23rd, 2014 My Peter Pan Food Attitude

August 23rd, 2014 My Peter Pan Food Attitude

I have a giant jar of dill pickles on top of my fridge. Considering the amount of earthquakes we have in Oklahoma, this is likely not the best location for my giant jar of pickles to live. I bought this giant jar of pickles mainly because an entire, big--giant, enormous pickle checks in at a measly 5 calories, give or take a few depending on size, of course. The only problem is, it's one of those foods I must be in the mood to eat and the mood strikes me about twice a year. I don't care for pickles most of the time, obviously, because there the jar sits just waiting for a minute long 4.0 to send it crashing to the floor in a flood of pungent pickle juice. Aside from cleaning up the mess, it wouldn't break my heart, only the jar.

I have a few other foods like this, celery is one, lettuce another. I've never subscribed to the "I'm trying to lose weight so I must eat things I don't like simply because they're low calorie and maybe I'll learn to like them" style of thinking. This doesn't mean I'm opposed to trying new things! After all, many of the things I claim to not like are things that have never actually crossed my lips. I've never tried cauliflower, not once--not even a bite, ever!!! It looks like a little white brain...not interested. Brussels sprouts--nope, they look like miniature heads of cabbage and I despise cabbage (unless it's shredded, stuffed inside an egg roll and deep fried--then it's perfectly delicious).

If you placed my list of food dislikes next to a list from a seven year old, you would likely have a hard time picking which one belongs to the forty-two year old man. My food maturity level never really matured, mainly because I didn't want it to mature. I have a very "Peter Pan" type attitude when it comes to food selection. I never grew up in this area. I didn't want to grow up, really. And when I try something for the first time and I actually like it (asparagus), I get wide eyed and excited like a kid.

My point is, I eat what I like. The challenges before us along this road are far greater than food selection. The mental and emotional dynamics we're dealing with are the biggest we'll face. These "biggies" might have similar surface dynamics, but are often very personal and unique for each of us. Considering this, why would we ever want to complicate things by forcing ourselves to eat things we cannot stand simply as a means to lose weight? It doesn't mean we don't try to eat better along the way, of course we do--this isn't about holding onto the addictive junk--it's about allowing our good choices to naturally evolve over time within the boundaries of our likes-dislikes and the occasional "okay, I could try that."

This journey can be difficult enough without self-imposed rules and guidelines in place solely because we think they belong or are required for success. Being ourselves is required. Self-honesty is required. An open mind for changes and adjustments is required. 

I still like to experiment in the kitchen and soon I'd love to try a cauliflower based pizza crust, but I'll be sure to have a good backup plan ready to go in case I'm repulsed after the first bite.
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I ran out of time this morning to eat before my broadcast, so I plated the food--wrapped it up and took it with me. Making sure I get what I need is critically important to me.

Tonight was all mine and Heather's. We enjoyed a beautiful evening out together, a nice dinner we both felt good about and the Woody Allen film "Magic In The Moonlight" starring Colin Firth at an indie art-house movie theater. I'm a huge fan of Colin Firth since his turn in "The Kings Speech," and Heather is too! Plus, Heather, aside from being an accountant for a major corporation, is a professional actress too, so naturally she would enjoy a good film like this one! Beautiful fit! Great evening. I'm a lucky man.

Today's food Tweets:








Thank you for reading,
Strength,
Sean

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22nd, 2014 These Days

August 22nd, 2014 These Days

I started my day exactly like I started yesterday and it was refreshing. I finished my morning routine, poured my first cup of coffee and opened an email from a reader who is experiencing some severe anxiety about the time this journey is taking for her. I requested permission to anonymously use the text of her email in tonight's blog, but she hasn't replied as of this writing. I replied to her in the best way I knew how, trying to give her my perspective and experience when it comes to confidence and patience along this road. It's something I've written about many times, I call it a "confident patience." This reader inspired me to share a micro-blog on Facebook before leaving home this morning to do my radio show.

"Do you proceed along this road with a “confident patience?” Our physical transformation doesn't happen overnight. It takes weeks, months and for many of us, years. Finding confidence happens easier when the main focus is taken away from wanting immediate results and placed on the daily fundamentals of our extraordinary care. If we center our focus on what we can do today, we can find confidence. And this confidence gives birth to patience. When you proceed with a confident patience, you'll experience a peace and calm over the process. Results may come euphorically fast or frustratingly slow, either way, adjustments can be made. Releasing ourselves from the frustration and often times derailing “fast and furious” results based focus and focusing instead on the smaller goals of today, gives us the best chance at waking up someday to incredible results."

I've lived this "confident patience" and I'm telling you, it all comes down to the age old philosophy of one day at a time. I can remember weight loss attempts where I mapped out my weigh days for an entire year, complete with a goal weight for each and a place to write my actual weight. On the surface it seemed like a great idea for me. I'd proudly gaze at the calendar and say things like, "See that date? I'll weigh 100 pounds less by then. Isn't that amazing?" It was such a matter of fact tone--not at all considering the different variables I would encounter along the way. How could I have known? I'd never experienced long range success. And keep in mind this "projection calendar" would typically be created in advance of actually starting anything. I had to wait until a predetermined start day and that meant I was free to gorge as much as I wanted in the meantime. In fact, I'm pretty sure I made several of these projection calendars while eating a giant bowl of ice cream at midnight.

The problem with this was, as soon as I didn't meet or best the written goal on the calendar, I'd become severely discouraged because now I was behind!! And after a couple of less than expected weigh-ins, another marked up calendar would find its way into the junk drawer only to be found months or years later, prompting a wave of "calendar regret," as I realized aloud to anyone within earshot "Wow, you know that failed weight loss attempt? Yeah--had I stuck with it I'd weigh 250 by now."

Sticking with it was almost impossible because of my enormous impatience and high expectations. I was setting myself up to be disappointed. And personal disappointment breeds all kinds of negative self-talk. Learning to relax into a day by day approach and allowing a natural evolution of good choices has been a very difficult perspective to adopt--and critical to my success. Not once have I recently sat down to "map out" where I'll be by a particular date in the near future. I'll be wherever I am and it will be okay. If this was a race or a competition, perhaps a results now focus would be useful, but it's not a race--it's life. And I'm confident in my day to day practices and the results they'll bring. This isn't what I'm doing for the duration of a calendar--taking extraordinary care is what I'm making important for the rest of my life. Losing my previously narrow focus has made a monumental difference for me in successfully losing weight.

I've enjoyed a wonderful day. I spent some time this evening with my oldest daughter. We had a fabulous conversation over dinner about the challenges she's facing in this, her first year as a special education teacher. It's all brand new to her. And she's going to make it. I love the conversations with my daughters. I'm so proud of both--their ability to meet challenges and how they overcome, is a source of incredible fatherly pride. If ever I look back on my life and I start focusing on my perceived failures, I must immediately remember, My ex-wife Irene and I did right by our girls. We absolutely did and we can always be proud of this fact. And really, does anything else matter as much? 

I made sure to get a good elliptical workout tonight at the YMCA. I ate well and exercised very well today. I feel fantastic. I'm doing a location broadcast tomorrow morning and getting a workout in tomorrow afternoon before spending some time with Heather.

I think back to where I was not too long ago and I'm astonished at how quickly things have turned around in my life. I must pause and give abundant thanks for this personal revolution. I'm very happy, very confident and very patient these days.

My food Tweets today:

 












Thank you for reading and for your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21st, 2014 Simply Noticing Things

August 21st, 2014 Simply Noticing Things

I've been skipping my morning meditation time too much of late. I did do it this morning and it absolutely made a positive difference. I don't do a specific practice or type of meditation, although I'm sure it has a name. I simply close my eyes and go back to sleep. I'm kidding. I close my eyes, inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth and I envision how I would like the day to unfold. I also acknowledge and give thanks for the blessings I've received. I try to stay in this positive mental state for at least five minutes, preferably ten. I rarely mention this for a couple of reasons. It's my personal spiritual prayer/meditation time and I keep these things fairly private and also because I'm wildly inconsistent in the practice. I mention it tonight because I did notice a marked difference in the quality of my day because of this five minute practice.

The more I thought about the difference it made, the more I thought about how many times I've resisted doing something consistently that I knew would help me feel better. Exercise is a big one. The positive emotional and mental benefits of exercise are solid and proven. Nobody argues about it--it's fact: When we workout we end up feeling better. Yet, I know I could do more and I'm capable of a more intense workout. Drinking more water is enormously beneficial, but I sometimes struggle to hit the minimum I should be drinking. Water helps everything, the metabolism is just the beginning--it has a positive effect on our entire body on all levels, from digestion to a very deep cellular level and still, I resist, not giving it the importance level it deserves. I don't mention these things as a way to beat up on myself or to be overly critical of what I'm doing, I'm simply noticing things. The quick meditation time today helped. Why wouldn't I do it every single day if it makes this much of a positive impact? 

I had a lunch meeting today that was much shorter than expected. It's a monthly meeting where everyone is encouraged to bring their lunch. I brought mine prepared on a real plate, using a real fork. This gets some looks sometimes. I just enjoy making it special. I'm not opposed to occasionally using paper plates, but when I can, I like to use things I have to wash afterward. I don't know--I guess it adds some kind of extra something to what I'm doing. Or maybe I'm just weird...which I'm okay with that, it's a good thing! ;)

I roasted a turkey breast all afternoon and prepared homemade baked sweet potato fries for a dinner I was eating shortly after 6pm! This is a big deal. I'm the guy who sometimes eats dinner after 9pm, or dare I admit, even later (ouch--truth..) This was one of the things I meditated about this morning. I don't want to continue eating big meals super late for obvious reasons.

I enjoyed a fabulous swim followed by the elliptical--workout this evening. It was solid. Could I do more or something more intense? Yes, honestly--yes. For me, today--it was perfect. The challenge will be to add more intense elements to my workout routine along the way. It's an important consideration because the body adapts and gets accustomed to repetition quickly!  

My food Tweets today:












Good food day!!

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday or as the hip crowd calls it #tbt--I decided to share the YouTube videos of my very first speaking event about this journey. It was February 19th, 2009 (over 5 years ago!!!) in the cafeteria of our local hospital. I was the featured speaker for the kickoff of the "Lose To Win" weight loss challenge program. I was only 5 months into my initial weight loss. I would have to watch it again or dig into this blog's archives to remember how much I had lost by the night of this talk but I'm pretty sure it was somewhere around 120-130 pounds. It was a fun night. It takes some time to watch all four--almost 40 minutes. I watched some. Great memories.








Thank you for reading and watching! Your continued support is cherished,
Strength,
Sean

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 20th, 2014 The Kids Menu

August 20th, 2014 The Kids Menu

My clothes are getting very baggy-loose. This is a very nice "problem" to experience. Two people in the last three days have commented on this, with one adding "time to buy some new clothes!" I may wait a little bit longer, opting instead to have a "baggy clothes period" instead of rushing out and buying more clothes I'll only be able to wear a month or two. My body is getting smaller everyday. I feel very healthy, very happy.

I had an unexpected trip to Oklahoma City come up this afternoon. I wasn't expecting this trip until tomorrow and tomorrow's trip was to be for a different reason. Now, tomorrow's trip for me has been cancelled (yay!). I found myself in Edmond, just North of Oklahoma City, looking for somewhere to grab dinner. I had bean and cheese tacos for lunch and believe it or not, I really preferred something different for dinner. When a fried chicken place was suggested by one of my traveling partners, and Chipotle by another, I quickly announced to the vehicle: "Chipotle, brilliant idea!"  I didn't necessarily want tacos two meals in a row but I also didn't want to navigate the menu of a Golden Chick fried chicken place. Chipotle was safe and familiar.

I ordered the Kids Taco Kit. Yes, I'm a grown man ordering from the kids menu! Look at the Tweet below and the calorie count and tell me that isn't enough! It was plenty and perfect. I passed on the beans, rice, cheese and sour cream. I chose two crispy chicken tacos, kids chips and their standard 3.5 ounce cup of fresh guacamole. Imagine the calorie count had I accepted the beans, rice, sour cream and cheese! It would have easily registered close to 1,000. I made it out with a slightly high, but doable 603 calorie investment.

My workout plans were scrapped this afternoon because of this trip and although I planned on getting it done upon my return, I'm just too tired. I'm taking a day off and opting to get in bed an hour and a half earlier than normal.

Making adjustments on the fly and being okay with these adjustments is critical to my success. I didn't allow negative thoughts to plague me after a day that didn't turn out like I had planned. It's okay. Tomorrow is a new day and I will have the opportunity to ride the elliptical and swim. This change of schedule today made one decision very easy: Dinner was my #lastfoodofday.

My food Tweets today:










Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19th, 2014 The Here and Now

August 19th, 2014 The Here and Now

What a beautiful day. The outpouring of support for my big announcement in last night's post was a breath of fresh air. My friend and talented writer Tony Posnanski at theantijared.com even wrote a story about this coming together of "The Fitness Instructor and The Man Who Never Ate A Salad."  After reading what Heather wrote in her blog and the piece from Heather included in Tony's story, I immediately sent her a text asking if I had some of the facts wrong. Apparently my memory of how the events unfolded, ultimately bringing us together, was a little off from how they actually unfolded. I trust Heather's memory 100%. As she put it in her text reply, "You were pretty distracted." Apparently, I combined two different speaking event experiences into one. The details of our meeting were largely the same, I just placed them in a different order based on my slightly flawed memory of the events. I almost forgot that I did two speaking events for that company within months of one another. A small one and a big one. It was an exciting time. Still, not quite as exciting as the reality of the here and now!

I decided to try something different for lunch today (see tweet below). I had a few options ready to go in the employee kitchen, but for whatever reason I wasn't in the mood for anything normal. I decided to try something new and different. I have a digital food scale at work too! I accurately measured 1.5 servings of all natural sugar free peanut butter and 2 servings of 100% all fruit sugar free strawberry spread. I topped a couple of corn tostada shells with these two ingredients and added some thinly sliced apple on each. I named this new idea "PB&J Flats" ("New," unless I'm not the first to think of this simple combination). It was sugar free but my taste buds didn't know the difference. My brain did know the difference, because again--no effects, no compulsions to binge, no extra spoonfuls. I'm in awe of how different my behavior is around this former "trigger food." It wasn't the peanut butter triggering me, it was the sugar in the peanut butter, obviously. I've measured every single bite I've taken from the jar and I've done it without struggle or concern to the contrary.

I normally do not mention my private and personal therapy sessions or the details in each. But I must mention how today was the very last one scheduled. Not by my choosing, mind you! My beloved therapist is moving to the Pacific Northwest. For the sake of confidentiality, I will not mention her name. But I will say her incredible expertise has been an invaluable gift. The timing of how so many of her brilliant and truthful concepts planted in my brain started blooming at the same time, is beyond words in its perfection. Her counsel has helped lead me to where I am today with the emotional and mental dynamics of my life. It was a slightly emotional goodbye. Given the circumstances of today's realities, you couldn't have scripted a better ending to our client/therapist relationship. 

Today's food has been all about trying new things! Variety is good, right? I cooked an incredible dinner this evening before my conference call. I picked up a brand of gluten free/wheat free pasta, a brand my girlfriend Heather recommended for how wonderful it cooks and taste. I topped it with an incredibly delicious homemade sugar free marinara Heather had slow cooked for over twelve hours. She cooked it all day Saturday and sent some home with me. With a side of asparagus, the meal immediately became one of my new favorites! The love of cooking and creating in the kitchen is just one of the many things Heather and I have in common.

I felt like a good walk at the trail tonight. Sometimes it's good to just get out there in the fresh air and feel the breeze through your hair, you know? I didn't quite hit the 5K mark, but close, doing 2.5 miles before heading for the vehicle. It was a walk of reflection on a beautiful day.

My food tweets today:








Don't think I didn't notice the 505 calorie total of my dinner!


Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18th, 2014 Never Give Up

August 18th, 2014 Never Give Up

I felt myself slipping in the summer of 2012. It felt as if I was slowly turning back into 505 pound Sean. What happened? I had successfully maintained for a year and a half since hitting 230 pounds in November 2010. Something had changed. I lost my grip. It started affecting me in the most depressive ways. Suddenly what seemed easy was the hardest thing to do and where I had become cocky-confident, I was being shown I wasn't so invincible after-all. I was falling fast. A victim of my own pride and perspective.

I had a big corporate speaking event on the schedule for late September 2012. As it approached, I kept trying to right my wrongs so I could somehow stand tall and confident in front of what would be the largest audience to ever hear me speak. Part of me was excited for this event, with its three camera shoot, big stage--big auditorium and a company wide live webcast. Speaking for this Fortune 500 company could help me launch the speaking career I dreamed of having. The circumstances and bigness seemed to match the confidence level I had, the one that was quickly slipping away. And this lack of confidence had the other part of me completely terrified.

I sat across from my therapist two days before the event. I had gained back a little over twenty pounds. Seems crazy now when I think about how broken up I was over that twenty pounds. It wasn't necessarily the twenty pounds, it was feeling like all of what I had inside was gone and I couldn't get it back. I told my therapist I couldn't stand in front of any audience and I was going to cancel my appearance at the event. The counsel she offered me that day shot straight to the heart of who I was and what I was about. I was struggling and humans struggle and I needed to express this, not hide from it or pretend it didn't exist. She suggested just enough spark for me to ignite just enough confidence to do the job I was hired to do. I left her office determined to speak at the event two days later.

The event arrived and so did I, but only after an intensive self-talk confidence boosting session in the mirror. Even if I wasn't fully convinced, I needed to make it through this event somehow. And it wasn't one session, it was two sessions. I was scheduled to deliver the same talk twice in the same day with one being web-streamed live throughout the company.

As soon as I hit the stage, I felt a burst of energy--like my confidence had returned. I spoke with passion, straight from the heart and afterward the question and answer session confirmed how I felt. I had made a powerful connection with my audience. 

As I signed books afterward, I was approached by a very nice woman who didn't say too much, but I do remember her saying that she was watching the webcast from her desk and had to come over from her office to meet me. She bought a book, I signed it to "Heather..."--and she walked away. There was something about her that made an impact on me. I can't explain it. All I know is, something was different about her from all the others I met that day.

It wasn't long before Heather Cates and I started exchanging messages via Facebook. Although the power of the speaking event sparked something in me to turn things around, it only lasted a few days before I felt pulled back into the spiral. When she suggested we get together just as friends for her birthday in early 2013, I was really in no place to oblige--but for some reason, I couldn't say no. We enjoyed a nice evening and visit that I couldn't forget. I was attracted to her story, her experience--she was a survivor who overcame incredible odds and she was so beautifully passionate about it all and what she was all about. It didn't matter though, because the darkness I felt surrounding wouldn't let me continue seeing her.

Several days after that first evening, I told her via Facebook message "it's not a good time for me," and that was that. I still didn't forget her, I couldn't. I felt like I was missing something very special. But I had to miss it because I didn't feel worthy of anything good in any way.  When she started seeing someone else a while later, she didn't know it--but I felt a genuine sense of loss. By that time I was well on my way to a 164 pound regain. I was feeling more lost than ever before. I felt like I had missed a turn somewhere--taking a nightmare detour where all of my worst fears were unfolding right in front of me. Nobody but me knew how dark it was getting because I kept it to myself, isolating and feeling horribly alone. Occasionally I would break free for a couple days but then it was right back into this horrible place.

2014 started with an awakening of sorts. It was late January when I started really taking the steps to pull out of this horrible place. I made doctors appointments to help me with my raging sleep apnea and I resolved to turn this ship around once and for all. It still wasn't enough. It was mid to late April of this year when I finally reached a point of true surrender. I couldn't continue on like I was and I wasn't giving up. I redefined my approach, recommitted myself to daily writing, set up new and powerful accountability tools and set out on an often wobbly stride toward feeling better. Finally, I was losing weight again and feeling fantastic.

The darkness was lifting quickly and then May 15th came along and completely changed me in the deepest, most profound way. It was a simple ten minute drive to the YMCA for my workout. I wasn't trying to think about any of this stuff when these incredible thoughts started firing in my head. In that short ten minute drive, I was given what it meant to and how to really love myself. I never knew how before May 15th. I was doing it wrong my entire life. Suddenly, this shift in perspective was so clear, so real and powerful, I couldn't stop marveling at what it was doing for me on the inside. This is when things turned dramatically better in my life.

A month later, Heather crossed my mind again. Was I too late? Had the ship sailed? I couldn't tell from her Facebook account because of her privacy settings--so I messaged her and asked if she would consider seeing me again. She said yes. I couldn't believe it. She said yes. Maybe I wasn't too late! Maybe the time was right. Maybe I had to experience what I did before I could ever experience what I dreamed.

We took some time to simply reacquaint with one another. Then, Saturday August 16th, we acknowledged our mutual feelings and it felt as right and as peaceful and harmonious as it possibly could feel.

We made it "Facebook Official" today. If it seemed sudden, it wasn't. It was a long and broken road that eventually brought us back together.

I highly recommend reading her blog for some insight into her incredible story and what she's all about. Simply click: www.motivateyouwhynotyou.blogspot.com/ 

The common theme among it all--all of this, is never give up. Never give up. It's not too late to turn things around. The weight isn't even the main issue, it's how we feel about ourselves--and when we start shifting this crucial perspective, incredible things can happen and some of the most powerful transformations occur in the most natural and beautiful way.

--------------------------------------
I had a great workout tonight, even though it was my backup plan. My workday was exceptionally long and I ended up missing my planned spin and swim combo. I opted for the elliptical instead. I'll spin and swim again another day.

My food tweets today:










Thank you for reading and for your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17th, 2014 A Confirming Balance

August 17th, 2014 A Confirming Balance

My blog post last night alluded to something I wasn't quite sure how to approach. I'm probably making it a bigger deal than it needs to be at this time, considering one reader read into it to the point of congratulating me on my engagement!! I laughed big and seriously, to that reader-- no worries, my friend. Honest mistake! No, no engagement. But I am now officially and exclusively dating someone. Why the apprehension and why is this important for me to write about?

If you're a regular reader or someone who has read every post along the way (a few have, I think), all 900 and something of them, then you're well aware of how open I've been in the past. Too much so for my own good at times! The thing I must remember is, even though this is very much a daily diary--I still must be respectful and considerate of the people close to me and not infringe on their privacy as I recount the elements that make up this sometimes very personal journey. I also know that dating is a big thing for me and the elements of my transformation. How I feel about myself contributes heavily in this direction. Tomorrow night I plan on elaborating more on this subject because I feel like it's an important one to explore.

Today was excellent. I feel absolutely wonderful these days. It's truly not exclusively because I'm losing weight--it's a lot of things combining for this to happen. It's my regular exercise, it's the food I'm eating, it's the support system I'm making important, it's the accountability I take very seriously and several other things. It's a balance I'm looking for--a balance that confirms I can take extraordinary care of me daily and not be so intensely focused that I lose sight of important people and things in my life.

I had dinner with my daughter Amber and her boyfriend KL tonight. We decided to have a nacho dinner. Yes--nachos! With my food scale ready to go, I step by step built an amazing plate of nachos that worked for me. I used a surprisingly affordable bag of organic white corn tortilla chips and a bunch of other really good ingredients.

After dinner we three visited and discussed things and we laughed, laughed so good--like, "therapeutic good." If laughter is good medicine, we're thoroughly medicated. It was a pleasure.

My food tweets today:










I fell short on my calorie budget today. I must watch and be careful to not make it a habit. Thank you for reading and your continued support.
Strength,
Sean





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