Friday, December 5, 2014

December 5th, 2014 It's About All We're Gaining

December 5th, 2014 It's About All We're Gaining

Before I started losing weight in September, 2008, I remember having some separation anxiety with food. So many times, this anxiety would serve as the catalyst for "one last binge" before I "really got serious" once and for all. My focus was clearly on what I would be giving up. When I started back then, I decided to have a nothing is off limits approach, as long as I could fit it into my calorie budget. This approach helped curb the feeling of forced deprivation, but I still felt separated from the bigger portions.

In retrospect, it wasn't separation anxiety over any specific food, it was the perception of losing my coping mechanism; my drug, in the amounts I was accustomed. Eating to excess, sneak eating, binge eating, stress eating, emotional eating, eating for sport--all of it was a way of life. It's all I knew. I was really good at it, too.

I've communicated with a lot of people about this very topic and I discovered it's a very common thing to experience. What I quickly discovered was, my perception was faulty. My focus was driven by my addictive brain that felt its supply was threatened. Once I came out of the fog a little bit and I started losing enough to see and feel the difference, my perspective started to change.

Instead of focusing on what I had to give up, I started focusing on all of the wonderful things I could now enjoy along the way. All of these wonderful things, made possible by my decreasing size.

I remember them all. The first time I sat in a chair with arms without discomfort. It was actually at one of my daughter's school functions. Normally I would just stand or look for a folding chair without arms in the back of the auditorium, or not go altogether. I remember when the seat belt in my vehicle finally fit. I remember when my wife's arms could finally go all the way around me and actually touch! I remember the first time the doctor looked at me and said "your numbers look great, keep doing what you're doing!" I remember enjoying an amusement park with my family for the first time since childhood, and even though I was scared of the big rides, I rode 'em all--simply because I could...fit. I remember the first time I had a foot race with my daughters. Yeah, they still won--but I was running like the wind blows. 

I wasn't focusing on all of these positive things when I first started because I didn't know them. All I knew was, things would be very different at buffets, and that really bothered me.

At some point, with consistency and hard earned results, a shift is made. Suddenly it isn't about all of the things we're giving up, it's about all we're gaining. My friend, Life Coach Gerri says it best: "I traded an abundance on my plate for abundance in my life."

And we still get to eat. We just don't get to abuse food to cover, comfort, buffer and smother us away from dealing with life. It's difficult. Life is hard sometimes, especially when you're morbidly obese. I noticed the emotional eating compounding issue at a very young age. I would eat to feel better and the resulting weight gain would leave me feeling worse, so I had to eat even more--because now it was a compounding problem. My coping mechanism was giving me even more reasons to use the coping mechanism.

The biggest challenge becomes learning to deal with things we avoided. This is where writing comes in very handy. Good therapy is another tool, if you can get it. Once the shift in perspective is made, and we're no longer fretting or downright grieving over the perceived loss of food, that's when we can really start enjoying our transformation. That's when we start making it much more than just a physical one, it becomes a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual transformation.

What's really scary is, once these transformations start happening, it can all be surrendered if we lose our grip on the proper perspective.

I lost 275 pounds. I decided I had figured it out. I experienced all kinds of transformations--all of the above. The discovery of true forgiveness was life changing. The physical change was mind blowing, the improved health was miraculous...then...Just when I thought I had a lock on this for the rest of my life, I started giving it all back. I traded in my new perspective for the old ones and the resulting weight gain came fast.

With each additional pound, it became harder and harder to find my way back. I thank God I didn't go all the way back to 505 pounds. Stopping the slide wasn't something I did on my own, that's for sure.

The fundamentals I practice today, including the highly accountable elements, like the daily Twitter feed and this daily blog, are critical to my continued weight loss. The support I seek and give and the perspective I hold and know to be good and true are things deserving of my constant devotion.

Do I eat far less and differently than I once did? Yes. And I still eat well. I don't eat sugar, no matter what--it's off limits for me and that's okay, too. In fact, it's an absolutely wonderful thing to be able to say without any shred of loss, whatsoever.

I live a satisfied life with food. I hope and pray I don't ever again trade the abundance in my life for abundance on my plate.
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I had a full day of work. A co-worker brought donuts and upon announcing their availability, apologized to me for bringing them, as if they were a temptation. I said, "no apology necessary!" My perspective is shifted and fully engaged. There isn't a donut in the world worth losing my fortunate blessings.

My workout at the YMCA was really, really good. Level 13 continues to challenge me every time.

I spent a good part of the evening with my grandson, Noah. We enjoyed dinner together. He even let me feed him some fruit and sugar free Cool Whip!
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This is unusual. Normally he insists on feeding himself. I love this little guy, so much. 

My Tweets Today:


















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

18 comments:

  1. Loved this. Timing is perfect.

    Turning one's eyes away from what you're giving up and onto what you are gaining. That focus shift is exactly what I need to hear--and am trying to do--right now. Thank you.

    A perfect execution of Paul's instruction in Philippians 4. :D Makes me smile.

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    1. Deb, thank you very much for this. It's a perspective that changes everything!! Happy for you!

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  2. This is one of my favorite posts you've written, Sean. The accountability of posting at night obvious helps you stay on track and focused but please know that the effect of this nightly routine is far-reaching, and helps so many others who read it every morning. I have come to count on it. Thank you. When I saw the beautiful picture of Noah you posted, it encompassed in one photo every reason you need to keep making good choices and moving forward with this journey. He is, and will continue to learn from his grandpa, how to face what life brings in healthy way, without having to count on too much food to get him through. What a gift to him, Sean. You are deeply blessed, friend. Shirley from TN

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    1. OMGoodness, Shirley-- Yes, indeed. When I hold him, I'm overwhelmed with love. And it does add to my resolve, immensely.
      It warms my heart that you look forward to this daily blog like this--and that level of support, gives me incredible strength to carry on. I can't thank you enough for your support. So many blessings to be thankful for along this journey.

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  3. When we move from just coping with food consumption to what is behind our food choices - we have true growth that hopefully will lead to permanent weight loss. When the "AHA" moments hit - hard to explain the great feeling and super understanding that is felt. Had one hit yesterday. The day before (Thursday) although I had a list a mile long of things to do, just sat and watched TV, played solitaire and ate. In writing how I "felt" about the day to a friend - re-read it yesterday and realized I was having a tantrum! A sit-down strike. Had a LOT of stressful happenings in my life the last 2 weeks (car breaking down in traffic, money stolen etc) above and beyond the usual daily stresses - and I just pulled a sit down strike. I laughed out loud when I realized it! Will check now anytime I want to "binge" - to see if it is a form of "sit down strike" to what is going on in my life.
    N~

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    1. "sit down strike," Yes--I get it!! Nancy--this level of self-awareness is exactly the kind that has incredible effects on your progress. Oh, the years and years I couldn't get outside of myself long enough to acknowledge the absurdity of my behavior-- replaced with a self-awareness that doesn't excuse or rationalize the behavior anymore, instead it's acknowledged and the plans are developed to correct as best I can. It's growth, it's how success happens. Those perceived failures along the way are not failures, they're lessons--it's an education, it's enlightenment. and it carries us forward in wonderful ways, Nancy!! Thank you so very much for your support!

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  4. Again, spot on with everything you blogged about. Things I love that have happened to me since losing. The very first time I saw my cheek bones again, how small my neck and shoulders actually were! I thought I was big boned, nope, just fat! ha... Oh and the big one for me? Crossing my legs for the first time in years! Holy crap, I felt like I was a women again! I felt on top of the world and funny how in most any chair/couch /folding chair I'm in , I cross my legs! I NEVER want to lose that again as small as it is!
    Your grandson is pure sunshine!
    Welcome to Saturday!
    Rosie

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    1. Rosie--your comment here resonates with me in a big way! I always thought I was big boned, too. Nope! I'm a medium build in every way. When I met my friend Jon in Vegas in October, I was meeting someone who is truly big boned. We compared hand and wrist sizes--and wow, no comparison...his made mine look super small. It helped cement my perspective--although since losing weight initially, I've long since discovered that I wasn't big boned after all, I was just morbidly obese--and "big boned" was a wonderful way for me to feel slightly better about it.
      Wow-- the crossing the legs thing---yes, I should have included that in the list above...I remember when I first did it, too... It felt incredible. And bending over to tie my own shoes---and wow...so many things...If I sit and think about it long enough, I can develop a long list, I'm sure.
      Your "I felt like a woman again," wow--what a powerful thing, Rosie. It's HUGE, Rosie...So good, my friend.
      Thank you!! Noah is a big light in my life. That little guy is so wonderful, so precious..I'm blessed to be his grandpa.

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  5. Great post Sean as always, you give so many hope :)

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    1. Dawn, thank you!! I'm really glad I took the time to get that out of me and onto the blog page. :)

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  6. After losing fifty pounds and gaining it all back, I recognize myself right back in the thick of your first paragraph. I'm trying so hard to regain the mindset and feelings of eating lots of good food and not feeling deprived and feeling great in my jeans, but the little comfort devil is still perched on my left shoulder and I find myself swinging between juicing and sausage biscuits. Ugh. Stopping the gain and maintaining was great, but is no longer enough for me so I came here this morning looking for inspiration. Thank you for being spot on in this entry. Just what I needed for support this morning. I wish you could perch on my left shoulder.

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    1. Vail-- welcome back!! I'm so glad you picked this morning to check back here!!
      Come back often--Perhaps it'll be like a left shoulder perch. :)
      Stopping the regain and finding that groove we held for so long, isn't easy. In some cases it takes an increased level of diligence.
      I know it has for me. The re-commitment to daily blogging for the last almost 8 months--the sugar abstinence and the tweeting of every bite, every day, plus increased activity in support with like minded people along this road--is how extreme I needed to take it to find recovery.
      Had I not incorporated these elements, I'm not very confident in where I would be right now.
      It's all about finding your elements. Not everyone needs to go to such levels--but each of us does have the level we need...we find it, we set it, the boundaries--then we live within them and thrive within them, adjusting as needed along the way.
      You can do it again, Vail, I know you can--and this time with a different perspective--and the benefit of your experience.
      I don't look at my relapse and regain as a bad thing. I needed the experience to learn the things I needed to learn in order to be where I am today--and where I hope and pray to stay and grow, the rest of my life.

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  7. food's a big liar, tells me that it will make me feel good and does the exact opposite, when I'm eating it for comfort, sport or any other emotion. Thanks for quoting one of my favorites, Sean. I also traded abundance in my mouth for abundance in my life. I'm maintaining a 100 lb weight loss for 20+ years.

    Today when I want comfort, I call or text you, instead of heading toward the fridge or opening a rattly bag. it works!

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    1. Gerri--You're so correct!! I'm here for you, anytime. And it is a major blessing to me that you're ready and willing to return that support when I'm in need! It does work...wonders!!!

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  8. What a great post Sean. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Alati, Thank you very much! And you're so welcome! :)

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  9. Thank you for your faithfulness to writing your post daily Sean! My first action of each day as I have my morning coffee is pull up your blog. You set the tone for my day - and it is good! You are a blessing in my life. Thank you for being there!!!
    N~

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    1. Nancy, I'm honored that you start your day with this blog! I sincerely appreciate your support, always!
      Keeping this blog daily has given me incredible support, wonderful epiphanies and countless blessings! You're awesome, Nancy!

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