Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15th, 2014 My Six Year Blogging Anniversary

September 15th, 2014 My Six Year Blogging Anniversary

It was exactly six years ago today when I started my journey along this road. I'll never forget September 15th, 2008 for as long as I live. It was that very night, six years ago, that I started this weight loss blog. I wasn't writing to gain followers, or for attention--or because I wanted a writing career or to write a book someday.

My intent was purely to help me stay on track--to keep me accountable. If anyone read it or not, it didn't matter. I was writing for me. It was helping me understand myself better--I was learning, I was discovering incredible things about me--and for once, I found consistency in weight loss.

For the first 200 days or so, about a dozen or so people would read on a regular basis. And that was fine. The first 200 days were some of the most powerful to me, so they served their purpose--and yet, they're some of the least read entries in the archives. Readers, comments and all of that--didn't matter. I was writing from the heart, regardless.

In fact, if you have gone back and read the archives, you can't help but notice the lack of comments and activity. This blog was a year and a half old, over 500 days in, when AOL featured it on their homepage--and that's when it started gaining readers.

This is something I try to emphasize to bloggers just starting out. Do it for you. Write from the heart. Even if you feel like not another person is reading your words, do it anyway. Because the most important person is reading every single entry, and that's you. Your writing can have the most profound impact on you, a seriously therapeutic experience, if you allow yourself to achieve a level of realness like no one is watching. Free yourself, my friend.

If you're writing your blog to gain an audience or to collect followers and comments or any other motive, it will affect what you write. Be real. Be genuine and authentic--just be yourself and let all that other stuff unfold as it will.

I can't tell you how many times someone has said to me, "I wrote my blog for a while but then I stopped because it didn't seem like anyone was reading, I felt like I was just talking to myself." And I say, exactly!!! Why stop?? Breakthroughs were coming!! Epiphanies were inevitable--if you just kept writing!

I'm very grateful for the tremendous support I gain from readers today. I'm touched and often times overwhelmed by the sincere outpouring of support. And even though some have stated how this blog has helped them in some way--I must always remember my original mission to be real and to write for me. Do I sometimes write something other than that? Of course I do. But at the end of the day--when it gets down to the nitty gritty, I'm focused on me and trying to dissect the elements contributing to my success AND the elements contributing to my stumbles along this road.

Happy Six Year Blogging Anniversary To Me!!!! Okay, enough of that-- On to today: 

I can recall numerous doctor visits in my past where I would go in with an overwhelming feeling of dread. I would only go if absolutely necessary because I knew I would likely get a very negative report. My doctors appointment today was very different. My doc and I laughed, joked--and we were both very happy with the blood pressure reading. He took me off all BP meds three weeks ago and today it was 120/74. He commented, "Perfect. You couldn't have scripted it any better."

What a beautiful relief. As I was approaching my top regain weight, I knew my blood pressure was once again getting out of control. I could literally feel it and that's saying something, since high blood pressure is commonly referred to as the "silent killer." It was getting super bad. Part of my initial stand in starting the turn around was my appointment where we addressed the sleep apnea issue and the blood pressure issue in the same visit.

Speaking of sleep apnea--I realize I'm long overdue for an update. I stopped using my machine well over a month ago. I don't actually remember exactly when, but it was at a point where it was disrupting my sleep, not helping me rest. I tried it without and slept beautifully. Here's the rub: This could be a very temporary reprieve from the sleep apnea. My body is changing--and where I am now seems to be an optimal place for my apnea situation to dramatically improve. Experience tells me it could very well come roaring back sometime within the next 50-80 pounds of weight loss. That's what happened during my initial weight loss.

I had lost the first 100 pounds and my apnea went away--suddenly I could sleep normally, without assistance from any device. And I celebrated!!! Then, I was profoundly disappointed when I realized it was back with a vengeance as I approached goal weight. It didn't make any sense to me at all. The sleep specialist explained it to me several months back--and it has everything to do with body composition.

Perhaps this time, I can get leaner--and maybe, just maybe--I'll continue resting well. It feels amazing to just lay down, get comfy and fall asleep without the machine. But rest assured (pun intended), if I start needing it again, I will be the first to recognize the effects and do something about it. When I'm tired these days, I can tell the difference--it's not a "sleep apnea kind of tired," it's a "I'm choosing not to get enough sleep kind of tired." Why I continue to make that choice is an exhausting debate that is truly pointless to ponder. I'll either start making it important or not. There will be consequences either way. I'd rather not complain about it anymore. I know what I need to do.

Part of what I need to do is stop taking the naps midday. I've enjoyed the naps--and in a way, they're great because when I need the sleep, I really need the sleep!! But I also need to go to bed at a decent hour. When I nap, it keeps me up late, because the quality is so good, I'm rested. And then the cycle repeats itself. The only way to break it is to stop the naps, get stuff done instead and then go to bed like someone who gets up at 4:30am, not like a school kid out for the summer without a care in the world.

I totally napped today. I rocked that nap for all it was worth. I slept soundly for one and half hours. And here it is, after midnight and I'm wide awake and sharp. No complaints--I'm just saying. It doesn't fix the problem simply because it's acknowledged--there must be action. So far I've done a whole lot of acknowledging and very little action in the sleep schedule department.

There was more I wanted to write about--but after all of the sleep talk, I probably should call it a night. Before I do...

If you're reading this blog, perhaps for the first time--please go back and read some of the archives. Things are going great right now and have for some time, but it hasn't always been this way. Diving into the archives on the left hand side bar of this blog will give you some perspective. I want you to know that you can do it too. This can truly be the time you take a stand and experience the transformation of your life. You deserve it. You're worth it. And I promise, no matter how lost you're feeling, there's hope. Please believe this. I've been in that hopeless state along this road--and I remember how it felt. I felt doomed and out of control. I truly believed it wasn't possible to pull out of the dive. And I believed it...until I didn't. I wasn't doomed, and you're not either.

I recently made it very important to reply to all comments made on each post. If you have a question, feel free to share it in the comments. We often have lively discussions in the comments section of this blog. If you want a more private place to send a message or question, you can email me: Transformation.road@gmail.com

My Tweets today:
















Okay--seriously?? It's time for an eyebrow trim again!! I'm starting to look like the late Andy Rooney.


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

28 comments:

  1. Love the Hercules plate. ; ) Hey, GREAT NEWS about your blood pressure!! That must feel so good. Also great news that you haven't needed the CPAP for awhile-- hope you can stay off it!

    To all the other readers who haven't gone back-- as someone who went back and read the archives from the beginning, I highly recommend that you do the same-- it was addictive reading, and I'm thinking I may go back, now that a few years have passed, and read them all again. I remember Sean quickly began to feel almost like a long-lost little brother. : ) SO well written. Go! You can thank me later for telling you to go back.

    Speaking of your earlier blogging days, Sean, I have a question. I know that your blog has always been a personal tool that you use to explore many of the inner issues involved with achieving good physical and emotional health. I can understand the benefit of that, no question, and certainly all of your readers are blessed by what you're willing to share (and missed you so much when you went away for awhile!) But I wonder sometimes... is it hard to have to censor yourself during that exploration process, in an effort to maintain a certain amount of privacy? Do you ever feel hindered, feel like you can't explore things as deeply as you'd like or be as honest and open as you'd like? Not that you don't do an amazing job of sharing your life, I'm just thinking more of the potential frustration for a blog writer.

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    1. Becky, awe, yes--I love the Hercules plate too!! It's been in the family since my kids were much younger! I cherish it--reminds me of wonderful family times!
      Thank you, Becky for the wonderful words about the blog. It's a lot of reading with well over 900 posts--several books worth, likely!! I sincerely appreciate your recommendation to others!
      Becky--I've learned a lot of lessons about boundaries. I had very few early on--and through experience, I've redefined some and I'm better for it. There are several topics I haven't explored because I just don't feel comfortable sharing them--namely, the relationship dynamics and how dramatic weight loss can affect it--I over shared in several instances about my divorce and about subsequent relationships along the way... some I had zero business getting into, but again--it goes back to boundaries...
      I feel a certain responsibility to keep what I write and explore, appropriate and tasteful... I've been tempted to write about a few very adult topics and how they work within the dynamics of weight loss---and even though I know some of what I could share on those topics might help others--as it helps me, I don't go there--because it just doesn't feel comfortable for me to share those things.
      Perhaps it's a time thing--maybe someday I'll open up about topics I didn't want to explore publicly. I have explored these topics privately, to a certain degree.
      So much of it has to do with how we feel about ourselves and where we choose to mine our confidence from---it can be a very dangerous thing if we go looking for validation and self-worth outside of ourselves...where suddenly, every compliment seems like an invitation for something more.
      Getting to know myself on a deeper level and especially after the epiphanies of May 15th--I seem to have done a 180 in my thinking and how I respond or react emotionally to things--and it's the most amazing feeling ever...To finally, truly and completely feel okay--to be happy, to really love myself regardless of what anyone else thinks of me--to find that kind of peace has been a miracle or sorts.

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  2. And CONGRATS on SIX YEARS!!!

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  3. Happy Blogiversary! Getting off your bp meds is fantastic news. Sure we all want to lose weight to look better but our health comes first.

    You are so right about blogging being therapeutic. I just get nervous about it sometimes when I realize someone I know might be reading.

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    1. Thank you, Katrin!! It can be a tricky balance, for sure-- because of this dynamic...and I've always used my real name--my real identity. It can get awkward sometimes. I've met complete strangers who come up to me and say things like, "I've read you blog and your book," and I stand there realizing that they know almost everything about me and I know nothing about them--it feels strange sometimes. And yes--the people we already know-- for them to have a glimpse into our most sincere emotions and thoughts, feels very vulnerable 99% of the time. Ultimately, I ask myself--is what I'm sharing and writing helping me or hurting me--and although it's not for everybody to be as transparent as I get sometimes-- it's doing amazingly positive things for me, mentally, emotionally--and ultimately--physically.
      So I try to get over the worry that someone I know will read and know me better than I want them to know me... Because the good of what's happening to me outweighs the vulnerable feelings that creep up when things get really personal.

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  4. Happy Anniversary Sean! I did start reading through the archives and hope to get through all of them someday. I LOVE your blog (and also your book) because I resonate with the way you think and have taken this journey! Great news on the blood pressure, too.

    Dede

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    1. Awe, Dede--that makes me so happy!! This type of reaction--and effect has been such an unexpected blessing along this road. I didn't set out thinking this could be possible. It absolutely warms my heart that my writings have resonated with you in a wonderful way.
      Yes--the BP-- so awesome!!! Feeling great!!

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  5. Sleep apnea. I wonder if the difference in your eating this time compared to last time will make a difference. It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that you're doing much better with the protein this time round.

    Happy Anniversary!

    Deb

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    1. That's a good point--it might be making a difference. The disappearance of the apnea symptoms are certainly things I hope I can keep away for the rest of my life... It would be so nice. I think I'll always be aware and watching for their return. Thank you!!

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  6. 6 years! Really.....6 years? I doesn't seem that long ago. Congrats on the great med report and being off your CPAP for a month. Congrats on all the great things going on in your life today. :)

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    1. Yes--can you believe it, Toby?? You were one of the very first readers, If I remember correctly. You've been around here since day 1!! Thank you for the congrats, Toby!! I sincerely hope all is well in your world!!

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  7. Happy Blogiversary! Another great doc appt? What better present is that :)

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    1. Nikki--thank you--a wonderful present indeed!!

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  8. 6 years! Steady! CONGRATULATIONS SEAN! Consistency seems to be the common denominator for success. That is my downfall..... I can manage to make the right food choices for a while and then get off track by eating out or friendly persuasion etc. You are helping me see I can request special subtractions or additions when eating out. Panera and Olive Garden are two I eat at regularly. What would YOU have there?

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    1. I've only dined at Panera once--and i doubt what I ordered then would be what I might order today. Now, Olive Garden--that's another story. They have a wonderful low calorie menu--but you typically need to ask your server for it... My go to order there is a lunch portion of pasta (gluten free if they have it) with marinara--I ordered it the first time and it came out--a big plate of pasta for under 350 calories--and I had to call the manager over and ask if it was the correct portion--he confirmed it was, indeed. Then I asked how that could be? And he said the sauce has minimal ingredients--it's basically pureed tomatoes and spices... then it made sense. The minestrone soup was super low in calories and splitting the stuffed mushroom appetizer worked well. Last time I dined there, I was out the door for less then 600 calories.
      My strategies at Olive Garden include: Avoiding the added cheese, the cream based sauces, the 140 cal breadsticks--and the sauces with large amounts of fatty meat included... I was still able to enjoy a good meal without breaking the bank and without feeling bad about my choices. I felt great about them, actually! Thank you, Nancy!!

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  9. I don't want to upstage you or anything, but THIS IS MY ONE MILLIONTH BLOG COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. You make me literally laugh out loud. Congrats on your millionth!! :) I'm honored it came while you were visiting mine! Thank you Jack! You're a very busy man.

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  10. Sean, The first part of your post caught my eye and gave me a ton of inspiration about why we blog. I started writing up a comment about it, but then noticed it was getting way to long so Instead I'm going to post about this topic on my blog. I'll be sure to give you some credit for the inspiration. look for it sometime this week.

    You do inspire others with your writing. I discovered your blog back in 2009 and it was clear from reading even back then that you are genuine and authentic when you write.

    Congratulations on 6 year! I hope you make it back to where you once were, but more importantly, I hope when you get there, you keep on blogging.

    - FogDogWeightloss.blogspot.com

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    1. FogDog-- Thank you!! I'll look for that post. And I do plan on continuing to write after I get back to my healthiest weight-- Before--I reached a certain point and then stopped doing all the things that, A--brought me great joy and fulfillment along this road--and B--I stopped doing what was working for me. I do not plan to--and I pray I don't ever make that same mistake again!!

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  11. Congrats! I went from 2 different medications, still uncontrolled, to 1/3 of one pill, now normally around 106/72. At 63, I might never be off them totally, but VERY happy with where I sit now. YAY YOU!

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    1. Oh Gwen, thank you!! Wow--Nice numbers!! You should be very proud!

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  12. Congrats on 6 years and a great BP! I have told you before but I'll say it again, I always take away something om every blog and feel like it was just written for me.

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    1. Alati--that means so much to me. Thank you. I'm so glad you relate in a profound way.

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  13. So nice to see asparagus on your plate! :)

    You know that sleep apnea can be caused by things other than being overweight, right? The NHLBI lists these causes:

    * Throat muscles and tongue relax more than normal
    * Tongue and tonsils are large compared to windpipe
    * Overweight
    * Shape of head and neck may cause smaller airway in mouth and throat
    * Aging limits brain's ability to keep throat muscles stiff during sleep.

    Why not get tested to make sure your apnea is gone? Then you can celebrate with your sleep doc like you did with your doc about BP meds. Maybe you just need a new type of mask or machine.

    Also, The Sleep Foundation says this about timing exercise for good sleep: "Sleep experts recommend exercising at least three hours before bedtime, and the best time is usually late afternoon. Exercising at this time is beneficial because body temperature is related to sleep. Body temperatures rise during exercise and take as long as 6 hours to begin to drop. Because cooler body temperatures are associated with sleep onset, it’s important to allow the body time to cool off before sleep."

    Finally, having just listened to your book, have you considered that maybe you have issues with sleep because oversleeping was so connected with overeating? Maybe some part of your subconscious is afraid to give in to sleep...

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    1. Oh yes-- I once was on a trip with a broadcasting colleague and we were paired into a room together. He was very thin--I was the opposite--and we each had our sleep apnea machines plugged in and setting on the nightstand.
      I'm monitoring how I feel very closely. If it starts to affect me again--I will likely need another test, because my setting of 13 will likely not benefit me more than 100 pounds lighter then when the original study was conducted.
      That's an interesting study/quote about exercise and sleep. Makes perfect sense!
      You may be onto a deep psychological dynamic--I never really considered that possibility. Perhaps my brain is keeping me a little too alert sometimes--as a defense mechanism. Hmmmm...interesting theory!! Thank you!

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  14. Looking back to your September 15 2008 it's amazing how far you have transformed within your own blogs. Especially these past few months. Thanks for sharing your prospective and benefits from blogging. Congratulations!

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    1. Jon-- Thank you, sir. Absolutely--you're very welcome! I occasionally go back and read those early days...it's always interesting to me...and sometimes chilling. for whatever reason--almost like time traveling back to my former self--where I climb into my old perspective at that moment in time.

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