Thursday, March 5, 2015

March 5th, 2015 Means To An End?

March 5th, 2015 Means To An End?

Making sure I'm eating things I naturally enjoy has been a constant since Day 1. My initial weight loss trek involved sugar in moderation. This significant recovery from regain/relapse doesn't involve sugar. Still, I eat what I like and nothing I don't. As long as it doesn't contain sugar.

I avoid other things, too. Just because I like chicken fried steak doesn't mean I eat it. I love fried things, always have. Aside from my sugar abstinence, I choose differently now based on calorie budgeting. It doesn't mean I won't occasionally eat something deep fried, or regular bread or a roll of some sort or a starchy vegetable, It's just rare because I don't like trying to fit it in my budget.

I enjoy what I eat. That's an important element for me. If I didn't, this would get real bad, quickly.

I tried a popular 'Nutritional System' over twenty years ago. I remember filling out this long questionnaire about my preferences before my in-office counselor filled a bag with my pre-boxed and dehydrated food supply. It was determined I had what they called a "high flavor set-point." I'm not sure if I know what that means, other than, I like my food rich, tasty and delicious. But doesn't everybody?

In hindsight, it seems a little crazy to make this "high flavor set-point" determination and then hand me a bag of what I considered barely edible items. Was it doable? Yes. Edible? Of course--I ate it all. But was it truly enjoyable? Not even close. It was a means to an end. In the portions handed me, I could absolutely lose weight. However, I wasn't learning anything about how to handle real world-real food situations.  

I remember my dear, sweet mom losing 100 pounds in her mid 30's by eating one can of tuna and one salad each day, every day around the same time. She'll tell you, it got old real fast. It was a means to an end. She stuck with it and it worked. But what it didn't do was prepare her for a return to eating with a broader variety, after the success.

I'm in awe of what mom accomplished. It was long before tracking apps, blogs, Twitter and all the other conveniences available today. She was operating on pure will power. It was solid determination to reach a goal using a simplified approach. And she did it with little to no support. To me, that's incredible.

I'm looking at what I do and asking, are there things I'm doing that might be considered a means to an end? I do believe I can eat the way I eat for the rest of my life with few issues. The parts I question have more to do with the structure of my support and accountability system. Do I plan to Tweet every meal the rest of my life? Is writing this blog something I'll do every night, as long as I live? 

I have zero intention of stopping these things anytime soon. But the question concerns me every now and then. Developing a sustainable approach is important. These things are critical to my success but are they sustainable for life in their current form?

And that's the key phrase: "...in their current form."

To me, this is all about making my recovery a top priority each and every day for the rest of my life. Some of the fundamental elements I choose may modify slightly or completely change along the way, but what I pray I never change is the importance level I place on my continued recovery. It's a non-negotiable commitment.  However the individual elements evolve over time, is fine, as long as my non-negotiable commitment to taking care, remains.
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Today was a great food day. Exercise was weight training and elliptical. I'm in contact each and every day with support buddies. Today was a fairly busy support day. The great thing about active support is, it's always a win-win. If I'm giving the support or receiving the support, doesn't matter, it's strengthening my resolve each and every time.

The weekend is upon us. I hope to spend some time with my daughters and grandson Noah, and hopefully make a trip to see mom before the weekend is finished. I did stop by and see Noah briefly, late this afternoon. He blew me kisses, waved bye bye and when asked, gave me a five slap on the palm of my hand! It was the cutest thing! He knows exactly what "give me five," means. I am long over-due for some quality time with that little man!

 photo ddfbf105-9b0d-47c7-8071-06a6be469caf_zps7axlynff.jpg
#throwbackthursday Oh, wow. Okay, then! Showing off some birthday cash in a wild and wacky way.

My Tweets Today:


























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

14 comments:

  1. Interesting post Sean. I think your in good hands regarding your eating habits in absence of sugar. We are similar in many ways with distinct differences, especially regarding social media. If I were to tweet all the food I eat and blog daily I would be embarrassed showing all the food I ate loosing my 140 pounds these past 14 1/2 months.

    If I raised myself to the accountability to having to tweet everything I eat and write a blog every day like you do I would have forced myself to do much better than I have done and probably have lost another 50 or more pounds at this moment in my transformation. The point is, having much less accountability in comparison I have still shown in absence of sugar, a very consistent, steady, but slower process. Which is just fine.

    The tweeting and blogging everyday is a very powerful tool. Because you blog and tweet every day, this helps me considerably at times regarding my own transformation. Some days they impact me at a level as if I was talking about myself. If you were to suddenly stop tweeting and blogging I would need to adjust my own accountability higher than it is now. But probably not ever to the level your at right now. With that in mind, Your always going to need some level of accountability & can say with confidence, when the time is right. You will do just fine at times of less accountability as long as it is in absence of sugar.

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    1. Jon, thank you. I'm glad you're here. The point I was making is how important it is to do something that works well for your tastes. You're so right about the benefits of abstinence and how it affects everything else. I agree 100%!!
      I'm glad my blog and tweets help you, Jon! They certainly do wonders for me. Yeah-- I don't see standing down my levels anytime in the foreseeable future. The last time I stopped doing what works for me, we know what happened!

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  2. You say you rarely eat starchy vegetables but you eat sweet potatoes very regularly, which although better for your insulin levels and lower in calories than regular potatoes, are starchy vegetables. Also in regard to your comment about only occasionally willing to eat regular bread or rolls, if you check the calories of gluten free products they are often higher than regular wheat and flour products. Additionally, some of the bread products made from non-wheat flour, such as corn or tapioca flour effect your insulin levels more severely than ordinary flour.

    And of course fruit, which you eat loads of, is full of sugar even if it is much healthier than white processed sugar,

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    1. Excellent analysis, Anonymous! You're absolutely right--I wasn't even thinking of the sweet potatoes. Isn't that interesting!
      I don't eat bread very often--not because I don't like it--more because of the calorie value. And as I've stated many times--I'm not 100% gluten free, but I occasionally buy and eat gluten free products.
      I'm not into all the macros as one might assume. I navigate on a few simple rules: Do I like it? Is it refined sugar free? And does it fit into my calorie budget?
      Before I decided to go sugar free, I interviewed Phil Werdell of foodaddiction.com. He has 27 years abstinence from sugar and has as many years in weight maintenance--one of my questions and to me, the most important question was, what about fruit?? Phil confirmed, fruit was good. And he went on to explain the difference between natural fruit sugars and refined white sugar. Luckily for me, I don't seem to have blood sugar issues, so the fruit isn't a big concern. The point on the fruit it, my brain doesn't react the same way with those type sugars. When I say I'm sugar free, it's refined sugar. Big difference.
      The message I was attempting to convey was the importance of eating what you like/enjoy along the way.
      I don't claim to be an expert on nutrition or anything other than me and what I like.
      Thank you for your support, A! Great points!

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  3. Interesting post Sean.
    I'm not an addict...at least I don't think I am. But what I've heard is AA is about destroying the ego....step one there is a greater power "What, I am ego all revolves around me!!!!!! There is nothing but me me me"

    Okay, one day at a time, right? Let's say your ego is crushed and put away somewhere and then all you are left with is a simple rational choice. Spend the rest of your life at 230lbs, staying completely accountable to the systems you have set up, twiter, blog, your group. Every blessed days for the rest of your life....and you are at 230lbs. Or, stop those things and change and experience and relapse. Those two choices. Your ego must be completely destroyed and put away to keep doing what you are doing...cause if not it IS IN CHARGE. Okay cut your ego some slack, experiment, change, experience, relapse.

    That's the choice live at 230 or live free and relapse.

    I know what the ego wants.. free free me me I AM IN CHARGE.
    I know what the blood and organs and bones of Sean want...stay at 230, exercise and get good sleep, and have a deeply satisfying high quality resolve to be physically healthy.

    Last but not least a story. An alcoholic that is not ready to quit say "I want to quit, and be strong, and walk into bars with my friends, and have a drink in my hand, and hold it up to my nose, and tilt it back, and at the last minute because I AM IN CHARGE I will not drink it..Then I'll know I am cured." Whereas the alcoholic who wants to be in recovery says. "You know, I'm just not going to go into bars, why risk it"

    Either way has a big cost, and you get to choose. Good luck making your decision.

    --Chris

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    1. That's deep stuff, Chris! Very true, stuff. I don't want to risk another relapse. I've already chosen!

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  4. Well Sean, one of the many things I appreciate about you is your generosity in sharing your recovery journey. It definitely is part of my journey, and I hope you will continue to share in whatever form is helpful to you as long as the sharing continues to be part of the process and part of who you are. For me, recovery looks to be a lifelong process, and that's OK. My refined sugar addiction probably began when I was very young, and I accept that like I accept being nearsighted or allergic. My life is good -- it just involves a few steps that help maintain that goodness. Your recovery helps mine, but only I am responsible for mine. Just know that I am one of many who is cheering you on, and will do so even if you come to the point where you don't choose to share your progress every day anymore!

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    1. I agree with you, Amy. It's a lifelong deal. I embrace this and fully accept it. Love what you've written here, "My life is good, it just involves a few steps that help maintain the goodness." 1000% agree. Thank you for your amazing support, Amy. I truly appreciate you.

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  5. You being generous, Sean, sharing your journey, sure brings out the self-righteous preachers, doesn't it? There just are so many others that seem to have to criticize a chosen path! OK Just had to say that.
    Is the Dr who is reading your blood report the same as the one you see for being weighed? Just wondering.
    Noah sure is lucky to have you as his grandpa! How many kids today even have a grandpa around let alone one who loves them and makes time for them as you do. I applaud you GPA Sean!!!

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    1. Very true, Nancy. I'm mentally and emotionally developed enough to realize, when someone wants to pick apart what I do and how I do it--it isn't about me--so I can't take it personal.
      The point of this post was the importance of developing a food plan you can truly enjoy long term. Thank you for saying that, Nancy. Appreciated!
      Yes--same doctor! Monday at 1:15pm, I'll be in his office for the blood lab results... Then back in his office Wednesday for my tri-weekly weigh-in!
      Awe--thank you for saying that. I don't see him near enough, actually. He's growing and developing very fast. I couldn't believe he knew what it meant when I said, "Give me five!" I can't wait to spend some time with him this weekend!

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  6. This is so interesting to me because a coworker and I were just talking about this very thing this morning. She has a quite overweight friend who called to say she'd started another program and had lost 11 lbs. in the first week. This friend of hers has been on and off diets for her entire life. My coworker asked me if I'd heard of it (I had) and asked me what I thought. My reply was that as soon as her friend tried to work the things she liked back into her diet would be a better indicator of how well this very structed, very strict program worked. Too many people go at things so strictly and gung eliminating the very foods they like. That's not maintainable, it's just not. If you like eggs and don't have a medical reason not to eat them, you're eventually going to partake. It's why I refuse to give up pasta. I don't even eat it very often, but on the occasion that we have it, I know I'm going to eat it. So why have the mentality that it's "forbidden?" I'd rather approach it as I like pasta, I am going to have pasta even though it means I have to measure out a portion. Because in the end, once weight loss is accomplished and maintenance begins, I want to be able to eat pasta. Good for you for eating only the things you like!

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    1. Thank you Helen! You're so spot on. My only exception is sugar, but the difference is--after living the effects on and off it, I truly don't want it...not to say I don't have my moments--I'm human, and when a craving comes around (and it did not too long ago), I maintain my abstinence from sugar by leaning heavy on support--If it were a 12 step program, it would have been a call to my sponsor! I'm thankful those thoughts and feelings are few and far between. And so far, they've been triggered by emotional situations.

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  7. I wouldn't say three or so pieces of fruit is a "load" of fruit, by any means...just sayin', ha.

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    1. I wouldn't either, JMT! :)
      I do enjoy fruit on a regular basis, obviously. I love it. And it's perfectly good for me!
      Thank you!

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