Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September 3rd, 2014 It's Not Easy-Weigh Day Edition

September 3rd, 2014 It's Not Easy-Weigh Day Edition

Today's weigh-in was honestly the first time I've approached the scale with a true sense of, whatever it says, I'm good! I realized this on the way to the doctors office. I was stuck at a red light pondering what was about to happen and then it hit me: It is simply a statistic. It's information I can use to make adjustments, if needed. As I've said before, my identity and self-worth isn't tethered to the number on a scale. My self-worth doesn't increase with weight loss and it doesn't decline with weight gain. I am a good human being, regardless. I love me, regardless.

Do I want to get in the best shape of my life? Yes, indeed. Will it make me feel better? Physically, sure. Mentally and emotionally? I seriously doubt there's any improving on how I feel about me in this moment. And it certainly isn't dependent on the scale. I've never felt more whole in my entire life. On the surface, the previous sentence sounds good, sure--but if you've read about how dark things became not too long ago, the "informed perspective" reveals nothing short of a miracle turn-around. I'm grateful. I'm blessed. I'm so happy.

I stepped on the scale today and found:
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A nine pound loss since my last weigh-in three weeks ago! This brings my nineteen week total to seventy-eight pounds gone! After a big 164 pound regain of my initial 275 pound loss, to now be only 86 pounds away from my previous low and what I believe to be my healthiest weight, is--it just wonderful, I can't even find the words to express how wonderful.

I need to preface the following with this: I've studied and learned many valuable things along this road. Don Miguel Ruiz's book "The Four Agreements" taught me never to take anything personal. What others say or do in my direction, good or bad--isn't a reflection of me, it's a reflection of them. In other words, don't take criticism too hard and don't get wrapped up in praise from others. Staying grounded and balanced requires an inner peace and love, that when truly embraced, cannot be affected by the opinions of others one way or the other.

Okay, with that written, I was slightly irritated with a few well meaning comments after my weigh-in today. Two of these came in person from people I see on a regular basis. I'm okay. They're okay. It's all good. But I wanted to clarify a BIG misconception. The comments, each a variation of the same thing, said: "Losing weight is easy for you!"

Are you talking to me? It's easy? Really??? After the first one, I smiled and offered: "Thank you, but I must say, it isn't ever easy. It's a lot of work, a big commitment." I didn't respond to the other two because I was too busy intentionally breathing for calm and perspective. I know these comments came with the best of intentions and happiness for me and my successful turnaround, there wasn't any ill will or intent. But some things to remember:

It isn't easy to take pictures of everything I eat, log each item in MyFitnessPal, then describe the picture complete with calorie count in a 140 characters or less Tweet. Try doing it for a week. I've done it for almost five months straight.

It isn't easy to maintain my abstinence from sugar in a world where sugar is everywhere, even in places we wouldn't expect to find sugar--it's there. And it's a drug to me. It's a drug I can no longer deny my addiction to or the bio-chemical effects it has on me.

It isn't easy to commit anywhere from an hour to two and a half hours a night of writing in order to maintain this blog. I do it because it's therapeutic. I do it because it brings me joy. I do it because it gives me clarity and perspective. I do it because it's an important part of who I am. I also do it because I've discovered how it can help others along this road. But mainly, I do it for me. Still, it's hard work. It's important work to me and the support it attracts plays a huge role in my success, but it isn't easy. I'm profoundly grateful for what this blog provides me each and every day. It's nothing short of a blessing to me in many ways.

It isn't easy to plan, prepare and pack my food each day.

It isn't always easy to navigate menus at restaurants.

It isn't easy to push myself toward a good workout six days a week (some workouts are better than others, of course!).

It isn't easy to maintain the consistency I've enjoyed because life still happens. Stress is all around me--job stress, financial stress--general life stress,'s all there, and always will be, it's life for goodness sake! And through it all, I'm maintaining an importance level, perspective and a high degree of accountability that helps me maintain a balanced level of consistency. Again, this isn't easy to do day in and day out.

It isn't always easy to make these things enjoyable and truly fun, but it's important for me to find the joy in what I do, because if this is something I'm not enjoying, there's no way to maintain it for the rest of my life--and that of course is a big hope and prayer of mine. I make sure to have fun and genuinely enjoy what I'm doing, what I'm eating and what I'm experiencing throughout this process. If it's something I don't enjoy or can't stand, I'm not doing it...not even a little bit, never mind forever.

Perhaps I make it look easy. Maybe so. Trust me, it's not easy for me to lose weight. It takes a monumental effort each and every day, one day at a time. You know what is easy for me?

Despite appearing very difficult, it was easy to be a 500 pound man for nearly twenty years. It took hardly any effort at all to maintain my 500 pounds of life sucking weight. It was easy!!! I never exercised and I basically ate whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted. If I was sad, hurting or angry--food seemed to be my "easy fix." Of course we now know that additional food doesn't "fix" anything, unless it's an effort to maintain a 500 pound body. It fixes that real well, at least for me--totally easy!!

It was shockingly easy for me to gain back 164 pounds. I mean, it was a breeze! Had I not worked hard at grabbing the reigns of this runaway coach, I'd likely be back at 500 pounds by now--because it was so easy! 
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This isn't the "serious face" (trying hard not to smile) of someone who loses weight easily. This is the serious and determined face of someone who is working hard everyday to be consistent and to maintain integrity in my resolve and mission. It's the serious face of someone who is very passionate about this journey and all of its many incredibly fascinating facets. It's the seriously determined face of someone who wants to share and help others, simply by doing what I'm doing. It's the determined face of someone who can be as serious as needed in the moment, but still enjoy the humor in it all, along the way. This is the face of someone who doesn't give up, ever. This isn't the face of "easy."

I enjoyed a great food day today--oh my--look at the below tweets! Yummy! I made it home mid-afternoon and enjoyed a very restful 1.5 hour nap before jumping up and making it into the YMCA for the 5:30pm spin class. I followed that very challenging 45 minute workout with a nice swim in the Y lap pool.

I decided to order Hawaiian Fajitas for dinner. My favorite little Mexican restaurant sits three blocks from the YMCA, so it was very convenient to place a take out order. Usually I would dine inside, but tonight I wanted to do something different. I ordered them to go, so I could take the ingredients home and precisely weigh each ingredient in an effort to get the most accurate calorie count possible. I even asked the restaurant how much oil they use in preparing an order--and I included that in the count. I order them special every time--and what I accept and don't accept varies depending on a few factors, namely the amount of calories left in my calorie bank for the day. Tonight I declined: Chips, guacamole, beans and rice.

I measured out the steak, chicken, shrimp and pineapple--found the precise counts in MFP, then mixed them all back together and poured them into a big bowl of lettuce for what I'll call "Hawaiian fajita salad." Yes, I'm calling this a salad--complete with a simple homemade dressing made from salsa blended with a serving of light sour cream.

I'm very happy to be where I am along this road. I feel incredibly blessed and tremendously grateful.

If you're interested in taking part in the 10-week teleconference weight loss support group facilitated and moderated by Life Coach Gerri Helms and me, then click this link to register and pay the fee via a secure PayPal checkout page (You do not need a PayPal account to register and pay, you can simply pay with your card): Unfortunately, this option is currently only available in the U.S. and Canada.  

My Tweets today:

Thank you for reading and your amazing support,


  1. This is the second post I am reading today on the hard work that goes into loosing and maintaining weight. I think the universe is telling me something! One of my biggest challenges with my weight loss journey is that I *want* easy. I don't want the hard work. Yet once I accept that it takes a lot of effort and energy then it actually becomes easier. Mind you, I am still working on that one because you are right, getting off track and losing ourselves in our old comfortable habits is very easy. Much easier than saying no to the four oat cakes with cheese and Nutella that I had this morning. Sigh. I loved this post on so many levels, it has a wonderful energy. Such a shame that your weight loss support group is not available over here in the UK, I would have love to join it. But at least I can come back here for inspiration, thank you, Sean!

    1. Kerstin,
      It is work, for sure! For me, the key is making it enjoyable at the same time. It can't be miserable or we will likely not stick it out for any length of time. You nailed it--once we reach a point of acceptance it suddenly becomes much less of a chore! The resistance is what creates the negative. If we can find ways to drop the resistance, embrace and accept-- we can enjoy this journey and truly find ways we can do this indefinitely! Thank you for your support, Kerstin. I'll keep developing ideas for how we could someday offer the support group on a global level...perhaps a Skype type thing...then the only minor hurdle might be the time difference. Would love to have you in a group with us someday!

  2. That is weird and amazing that not one but several people suggested that weight loss is easy for you! Um? I'm not sure how to phrase this without sounding rude myself, but I think if it was easy for you, you wouldn't have been overweight for so long or repeatedly! You are fighting hard, keep it up.

    1. Yeah, I thought so too. A colleague whom I've worked with for more than a decade, a person whom I was once in a relationship with, and someone via social media...all saying slightly different things--but all with the same point.
      I agree--and you're not rude--it's true!! If it were easy for me, I would have stayed at 230 pounds come what may, or never had a reason to lose weight in the first place! ;) Natalie, thank you!

  3. That losing weight is easy for you thing. I, of course, have no idea what the people who inferred that were thinking, so this is just my take on it.

    Losing weight is easy for you. It has been, and I hope still is, easy for me, too.

    Doing what is necessary to lose weight is what's hard.

    Let me explain. When I follow any reasonable weight loss food plan, I will lose weight. I just don't follow the plan. As you have been following your food plan, you've lost LOTS of weight in a fairly short time. Your body loses weight easily--given the right conditions.

    I have a friend who is 5' 2" tall and weighs 286 pounds. She's been coming down to my house every week to weigh in (Her scale no longer gives her an accurate weight.) We've bee following a very easy diet (Three reasonable meals a day with nothing in between. No sugar. Two rules, that's it.)

    Even tho there are only two rules, I have broken them regularly until this past week, when I stuck to it with just one slip.. My weigh-in this week? I, starting at 219, lost three pounds. She, at 285, gained a half of a pound. She insists that she's only eating 3 reasonable meals a day and nothing else.

    I lose weight easily--when I do the hard work. It's hard for her to lose no matter what she does.

    Who knows, maybe your friends were just telling you that your fortunate in how well your body responds to your hard work.

    Congrats on the wight loss. You worked hard--your body rewarded you nicely.

    1. Deb, you expressed this perfectly. Thank you for the clarity in perspective! (You're really good at that!)

    2. I was thinking along the same lines as Deb. Maybe they didn't mean it the way it came out. I, too, am impressed by how *quickly* you lose weight and how easy you make it *seem*-- partly because you always seem so positive and upbeat.

      But the consistency and devotion you put into your weight loss and health gain efforts are truly remarkable, especially considering your wacky schedule and the fact that you are often sleep-deprived. PLUS the fact that you want to have time to spend with your mom, your daughters, your grandson, your girlfriend. Not easy to fit it all in, not by a long shot.

      I have said more than once how much I appreciate your consistency, and I know there is value in it for you as well, but I also hope that you never feel boxed in, never feel as if you're not entitled to a night off from blogging or a day off from tweeting sometimes. This is a long road trip and we need to pull over and fill up the tank and stretch from time to time, my friend.

      Finally, may I just say CONGRATS on a wonderful weigh-in! I really love that you've freed yourself from scale slavery, but still... it has to feel good to see a loss like that!

    3. Thanks, Sean. :)

  4. I've been told that before myself. People have indicated that because I'm so big it's somehow easier for me to lose weight. I think what they really mean is that I can lose a larger amount of pounds than someone half my size. While that's true, it doesn't translate into "easy". Like you said, it's not intentionally mean, it just comes out wrong. There's nothing easy about maintaining the mental fortitude day in and day out.

    Good job sticking to your plan, regardless of what the scale reads (of course seeing a smaller number doesn't hurt).

    1. Yeah, for those of us who are bigger--the weight, especially when it comes off faster in the beginning, can really turn some heads and perspectives--but it's all relative. One person's 30 is another's 150 pounds. We're all different. It is work. I truly believe the secret is to find what works for you--what's comfortable and enjoyable, making modifications until you find that balance--then sticking with it with all you got!!
      I agree--seeing a smaller number does feel slightly intoxicating--even as much as I try to stay grounded and aware of the dynamics in play--I can't help but feel amazing after a nice weigh-in.

  5. What a great post Sean and yes you do work hard and I'm so glad you laid that all out for people. I know the first day of seeing you food pictures I thought wow he's working hard and how I surely know all your doing isn't easy. I also appreciated you reminding me about the four agreement and not taking things personally. I need to remind myself of that more often. I would love to give mike the gift of your 10 weeks of calls with Gerri but not sure he would be willing, will talk to him about it. I'm sure you would be very inspiring to him since he's had some regain himself.

    1. Thank you, Dawn. It is work that we do. But it's a labor of love, you know? Finding the balance and joyful spot in the middle of it all is key, in my opinion. I'm not doing anything I don't enjoy. I'm having fun along the way--and this is what's giving me success once again. Still, it's work. But I love my work!
      The Four Agreements are powerful teachings--if absorbed and genuinely applied, life changing. I'm not perfect at the application of this, either. I often must remind myself of the agreements in certain situations. At least we're aware--and awareness is the first component to any successful transformation, because how can we transform what we don't recognize?
      I truly believe if Mike would get involved with our group, it would have a positive impact. It might be one of those things where it's better if he's the one who draws this conclusion first, before joining. We currently have one other guy in the group besides me--and we've had up to two others and me in any one particular group session period. The impact of the elements we explore transcend gender and truly applies to all of us. It's a very welcoming, warm and inviting group--It's never judgmental, one sided or demanding. The success one gains from the group is largely dependent on how involved they're willing to be within the group. If all of the resources provided during the ten weeks is utilized to the fullest--it can be a transformative experience, if not--it can leave a person feeling like it "didn't work." Which brings me back to our original point-- we all must be willing to do the work. And if we do it in a way that is enjoyable and fits our needs and personality, then it can sometimes not feel like work at all--even appear effortless!! :)
      Dawn, I must say--you, my friend are one of the best out there. I have enormous respect and consideration for you. Always, my best!

  6. Thanks for this great, great post putting everything in prospective as I am in awe each day considering everything you put into the overall process. You work incredibly hard, more than any person I know when it comes to the overall process doing what is needed, allowing yourself to make this transformation. This incredible daily effort does makes this transformation possible, but like you said it's not easy! It's a good reminder of my own journey, sure sometimes I will say how easy it is for me to loose weight now, but that is in comparison to every failed weight loss attempt during all those times it was impossible for me to loose weight. Reading your post I realize how much hard work, continued dedication I put into my own transformation. This constant daily 24/7 effort is not easy by any means. I have to remember this when I tell complete strangers weight loss is very easy now, that would not representing the whole story.

    1. Jon, thank you for this. I get what you're saying and I totally understand where you're coming from when you tell people it is easy--because you're right, compared to the struggles of our past, this is very easy!! But we're dedicated enough--all in, so to speak, that we have the ability to make it look easy, when the truth is, we're doing things--disciplines we didn't in previous attempts. You and I share much in common--like, a whole bunch--and we're both sugar free now and we both have and continue to experience the mental clarity that comes from a body free from the effects of sugar consumption. The freedom from binges and the incredible freedom from even the urges to binge have been monumental to me--and I know you've stated the same thing...So in this, we're able to focus on the strides we want to hit, the things and the goals we're after. And through it all, we get there--one day at a time---and although we have found our groove, so to speak-- and this can sometimes make things appear very easy for us, it's still work.
      Again, though-- I do get from where your perspective is based--compared to previous weight loss attempts, even successful ones--the changes we both have made make the trek much easier than I ever imagined possible.

  7. Your dedication and hard work is much appreciated! Great job on the weight loss and as always I loved

    1. Alati--thank you!! Your support is absolutely appreciated. So wonderful!! My best!

  8. Congrats on the loss. I know it's super hard to put in the time and effort to lose weight. Watching those numbers move on on the scale is a big motivator, though!

    1. Oh my, Connie--yes it is, you're right. After feeling stuck in a trap of regain and honestly wondering if it would ever be possible to lose weight again--it's even more refreshing to experience. Big motivator, indeed!! Thank you Connie C!

  9. I have heard constantly 'it was easy for you to give up grains and most sugar and processed foods. I could NEVER do that." or instead of that last sentence, replace it with 'I don't want to live that way.'

    Oh, so you'd rather continue to live unhealthy? Work your way into diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's? mmmkaaaayyyyy.

    :: rolls eyes ::

    Yes, some days, when you are grain and sugar free, it IS easy. Because the brain biochemical reaction is missing and therefore so are the cravings. But any time stress hits, we have our knee-jerk reactions and desires for the junk food. Getting past that, learning new knee-jerk reactions to stress, that is NOT easy.

    I loved that you said, " It's a drug I can no longer deny my addiction to or the bio-chemical effects it has on me."

    BINGO BONGO. Chocolate and grains have those affects on me, and potato chips. They are just non negotiable now for me, except a few onion rings once or twice a month, same with BBQ sauce in extremely small doses, the occasional commercial salad dressing. But that is IT. Anything else is a mere trigger to start the whole cravings problem again. Good for you for knowing this (and accepting it.)

    Congrats again!

    1. Your sense of humor and straight forwardness is so wonderful to experience, Gwen. I truly appreciate you.
      Yes, the knowing is one part, the accepting is the other piece!
      There's an interesting mental dynamic in play--and that's what makes this so fascinating to me... If you would have challenged me to go sugar free even 6 months ago, I would have balked--and probably said something similar to "I don't want to live that way." Now, after accepting and applying this way of living and eating--I couldn't imagine ever going back--and I pray I never do. It's (abstinence from sugar) clearly the single best dietary decision I've ever made.
      The biggest element is knowing yourself well enough to honestly identify our personal triggers. You clearly have demonstrated this in that last paragraph.
      Thank you so much for your support, Gwen!

    2. aww Sean!!! Thank YOU! And I totally appreciate you, and count you amongst my most favorite bloggers, and I've only been reading you a couple of weeks! You make me smile.

    3. Gwen, I'm honored to be one of your favs! :)

  10. Congratulations Sean. And those of us who are on this same journey, especially taken over a long period of time all know how NOT easy it takes a lot of work, time and commitment to do everything consistently over a long period of time, especially when results come slowly. But it is totally worth it! BTW, love the idea of Hawaiian fajita salad, or any fajita salad!


    1. Totally worth it, Dede--Yes!!! I'm notoriously anti-salad, but I must admit, dinner was amazing!! Two things helped me: The lettuce was shredded instead of leafy and it was a bowl chock full of meat. The salsa/sour cream mixture-dressing is also delish. It's as if this salad found a way of disguising itself just enough to make it past the "no-salad" boundaries of my palette. Thank you Dede, so much!

  11. Olympic figure skaters make quadruple axles look easy too. It's called practice, training, and commitment. Not to mention innumerable falls and occasional sliding crashes.

    And you know what kills me is that it always seems easier when I'm doing it. I think, geez, what took me so long? But when I'm not doing it, it feels like I don't know where the "on" switch is.

    People want to say it's easy for you so they have an excuse for themselves--"it's too hard for ME."

    Crud, I find just choosing to be conscious all the time is hard, instead of being in the zombie zone and that unconscious easy eating that has kept me obese.

    I've just recently come back to your blog and every time I see a tweet or FB post I think--how does he have time for all this? It took me hours to write blog posts when I did them, and I didn't have a bunch of comments to give a personal, thoughtful response to.

    Yeah, it's "easy" for you, Sean, because you redesigned each part of your life--your eating, exercise, environment at home and away, your emotional responses, your take on the past and your belief about the future. It's easy for you because you publicly eviscerated yourself with long, personal posts and thereby gained a following of people who both count on you and keep you afloat, so you've kept it easy on yourself by publicizing your weight, each bite of food you eat, and spreading the "word" in a book, with nationwide motivational talks, and coaching in small groups. Next time someone says that to you, say, yes, I spend every minute of every day focused on emotional freedom and healthy living so I can make it easy to lose weight.

    One of my favorite inspirational quotes is from author Annie Dillard, "because how we spend our days is how we spend our lives."

    1. Wow--this comment---just SPOT ON. Exactly!!

      You nailed it:
      "Olympic figure skaters make quadruple axles look easy too. It's called practice, training, and commitment. Not to mention innumerable falls and occasional sliding crashes.

      And you know what kills me is that it always seems easier when I'm doing it. I think, geez, what took me so long? But when I'm not doing it, it feels like I don't know where the "on" switch is."

      So true... When I'm making this my life, it can sometimes, in fact--come easy, it just is, you know? But it's work, for sure.
      Totally relate to the feeling of hopelessness when I'm not making these things my life--in that state of mind, it's a million miles away.
      I agree with the motivation behind people's "easy" comments--exactly! You get it, my friend. You totally understand the dynamic. I couldn't have written a better summary explanation--Perfect: "People want to say it's easy for you so they have an excuse for themselves--"it's too hard for ME.""
      Thank you!


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