Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22nd, 2015 Weigh Day Edition-One Year

April 22nd, 2015 Weigh Day Edition-One Year

Today was my 52 week weigh-in. Before we get to that, I thought I would go back in time to April 19th, 2014. That date was ten days after I stepped on the scale to see 394 staring back at me. It was happening. My worst fears were manifesting, quickly, with the encouragement of regular binge episodes, I was heading back to 500 pounds.

I was regularly trying to get a handle on it, but it was as if my hands were covered in grease. I couldn't get a solid grip. I would be okay, do well for a few days, even log my food, then crash, binge and give up, again, until something grabbed my attention, again.

This turnaround from relapse and regain over the last year has proven to be the most transforming for me, mentally and emotionally. Physically, too, sure, however--aside from the internal health benefits, the outward physical transformation in appearance is truly the least of it all. 

Let's go back to April 19th, last year...

There's an interesting psychological dynamic that unfolds when you lose a dramatic amount of weight and then gain some of it back, or a lot of it back.  I'm convinced this dynamic is exactly what makes successfully losing again seem more difficult. Suddenly, it becomes much more than controlling our calorie budgets, exercising and paying attention to our emotional state and the accompanying triggers. 

Now, we must do a little more "mental work" as we do our best to get past the guilt, shame and embarrassment associated with weight gain and put our focus squarely where it's most benefiting. This dynamic is powerful no matter if you blogged about your weight loss and wrote a book or not. 

I was in line at the grocery store the other day, fighting the urge to grab a dose of sugar, when a man came up behind me in line and said, "Sean Anderson, I read your book. You've gained some back."  

Two things happened in that moment: 1. I immediately lost any desire to grab a Snickers bar and 2. I felt a rush of guilt, shame and embarrassment.  Now, most people operate with a better set of filters. This scenario has played out more than a few times, but usually the other person doesn't vocalize the obvious.  Even when the obvious isn't stated, I'm real good at deciding exactly what they're thinking. The silent-mental conclusion is always much more harsh and unforgiving and likely inaccurate.

How will I ultimately overcome this added obstacle? Perspective. Shifting my perspective is paramount to my success today. 

Inventory time!  This is where I make a list of good and not as good, qualities...and you know what? I'll spare you the self-indulgent list and cut to the chase: Turns out I'm a pretty decent guy. Yay for that! 

I'm human. I'm real. I don't know everything. I'm always open to learning.  And the things I'm learning now are things crucial to my long term success.  I'm not saying weight gain after a dramatic loss was a good thing, but if I shift my perspective around I can clearly see where I can learn from and benefit from this experience.

As this blog moves forward, I'm going to get into more of a "diary" type mode, much like in the beginning. Less "here's what I think" and more "Here's what I did and am doing." I'm excited at the idea of getting back to the roots of this blog.  Back to a diary in the purest sense. 

You see, I tend to suffer from paralysis by analysis. I try to understand things from every angle, take it apart, dissect the elements, reach conclusions, maybe write about my personal philosophical conclusions and then when I struggle, it's back to the drawing board.  We can study ourselves and learn, learn, learn--the applying part is the critical step that's often times hindered by the exhaustive analysis. 

Much like advice I've given a hundred times to others: It's time to stop trying to figuring everything out and just do. Just be. And be okay. And move forward.
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I'm incredibly grateful for this entire experience, even the relapse and regain. Without this path, I would have missed out on the good stuff. The stuff I needed to learn, the stuff I needed to appreciate.

And there's still more stuff to learn along the way as I proceed toward maintenance mode, quickly, with the encouragement of the fundamental elements I hold sacred each day.
 photo One20Year20Weigh20Day_zpsyanatql9.jpg
Another 5 pounds down for this three week period, bringing the 52 week total to 152 pounds.

Days like today send me into a heightened sense of focus and determination. I do better at my job, I reach out more, offering and receiving support, I eat well and exercise in a crazy fun lip syncing zone where I block out anyone and anything around me and I just get deep into the music. I swear, the regulars at the Y probably think I'm crazy. And that's okay. I'll be the crazy guy who lip syncs on the elliptical and takes pictures while refilling his bottle of water, all day long.  

I'm also aware that not every day will be like this day. It's never been a constant string of great days. And when the blues come a callin' again and everything seems off center and on tilt, it'll be up to me to lean on my fellow travelers for the critical support I need to make it to another great day.

My Tweets Today:


























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

34 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Sean! Another great weigh-in, and an amazing year!!! You deserve every accolade that comes your way. :)

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    1. Gwen, I appreciate you, thank you so much. I feel like I gave the last year my best effort. And that feels good to be able to say.

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  2. Well Sean, I've been on both your weight loss trips with you since that first AOL article and I thank you for the ride. The things I've learned along the way through you have and continue to encourage me even though I've not succeeded as you have to no fault but my own. Here I am still waffling over the no sugar but I'll eventually sort that out. What I have learned has helped and has improved my health both physically and mentally. With continued work I will lose to the point of maintenance too. I look forward to the day I can share that with you but for the time being I'll continue hitching a ride with you regardless of what your blog or diary looks like. I am a fan now! I feel the kinship :)

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    1. Leah, I'm very grateful for your support over the years. You're very welcome--it's been wonderful having you along for the ride!
      The no sugar thing--it's truly one of those things, when the time is right, it'll be right. If you do it, I wish you the very same experience I've had. I waffled a bunch with the concept--for a long time. It's normal!
      It really warms my heart to read your words about how this blog has helped you. Thank you, Leah.
      You will get to maintenance mode!! Your loyal support is a tremendous blessing. :)

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  3. You have such a great attitude! It seems quite common with bloggers who have lost large amounts of weight to relapse a bit and put on about half what they lost. But you turned it around and lost (nearly all of) it again, all due to doing the "mental work"!

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    1. Natalie, thank you. It has been a lot of mental work, for sure! The attitude and spirit has taken time to develop over the years, that's for sure. It takes practicing perspectives...it's a practice, never perfect, always critical for continued growth.

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  4. Huh! My first comment disappeared into the ether, so if this is a duplicate, sorry.

    Brilliant job, Sean. I've been following your blog for years, then one day you disappeared. I kept checking back occasionally, then you returned, better than ever. I'm so glad for your success, you're such an inspiration. You encouraged me to get back on track with MFP, and if there's one thing you've taught me, it's that you can't do this alone. I'm happy with my progress. It's slow, but it's in the right direction. Again, thank you, Sean. I look forward to many more posts.
    Lesley in Spain. :D

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    1. Lesley, I'm honored by your words and sincerely appreciative of your support over the years.
      We really can't and don't do this alone, so true.
      The tracking on MFP, in my opinion, is a critical element.
      I'm very happy for your positive progress! You're so welcome, Lesley and I look forward to sharing many more posts to come!
      My best always!

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  5. Good job!!!! I hope to be there one day. You brought up $8 on produce if you don't mind me asking what is your grocery bill like? It's got to be pretty reasonable with what and how you eat on a daily basis.

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    1. Robin, Thank you! Keep coming and never give up!! My weekly grocery bill checks in somewhere between $35 and $55 a week, rarely more and usually on the lower end of that range. It is very reasonable.
      Comparing it to the binge behavior days--I can remember spending $25 in one day on fast food, alone--many times.

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  6. Your cover is great but your heart is awesome! Congratulations on a fantastic year and amazing achievement...I'm so very happy for you. Your hard work and dedication is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your trials and tribulations.

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    1. You're so welcome. Thank you for your tremendous support. It's been an unbelievably rewarding experience!

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  7. Congratulations 1 year
    I am so proud of you
    Thank you for being so transparent and thru that helping me
    Xx

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    1. TR, Thank you. I'm so glad what I share and the level of sharing I go to, resonates with you and helps. This blog has been a major blessing in my life. Even more rewarding when I read words like yours.

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  8. Congrats on your 1 yr! And super , sonic congrats on your WI! You have done incredible ! WTG Sean!
    Rosie

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    1. Rosie, I was very pleased with the weigh in. Honestly, I would have been pleased with whatever it said. The greatest feeling to me is knowing in my heart and mind that I'm okay and what I'm doing is true to me and my authentic self--and the specific needs I must take care of along the way--having those things in place, for seriously, the first time in my life, feels incredible. Thank you so much, Rosie!

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  9. Your comment comparing fast food to produce purchases reminded me of a realization I had last summer. My need for cash in my pocket is minimal as I can use my card just about everywhere. But I always paid cash for fast food and I ate a lot of fast food. I still need a little cash in my pocket especially in summer, but now it's for stops at Produce Stands. That's progress.

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    1. Isn't it awesome how things can change in such a powerful way? That's wonderful progress, Dup! I totally relate. Completely.

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  10. Congratulations Sean, on the weight loss and all the lessons learned this go around. Keep strong.

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    1. I will, LTR, I promise! Thank you for the congrats. These lessons over the last year have been monumental for my growth on many different levels.

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  11. sometimes those shortcomings of things like shame turn out to be our best asset, when they become a catalyst to change.

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    1. Well said, Gerri. A big catalyst. Although, I give you a bunch of credit for nudging me frequently and never giving up on me, even when I was about to give up on myself.

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  12. I tend to be long winded on my comments, but only one word comes to mind at the moment... INSPIRING

    I only hope I can be as successfull in my year as you have been in yours. Thank you!

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    1. FogDog, Thank you.
      You've got all the tools, sir. I believe in you. And I sincerely appreciate your support.

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  13. Congrats on a great year my friend. When someone looked at you and commented about the book... I guess there was an uncomfortable accountability. But now there is also a wonderful extra element... the fact that you fell, dusted yourself off and got back up and kept going!!! YOU DIDN'T GIVE UP!

    I too gained weight back, even over the start of my blog numbers but somehow up and back we don't give up, we learn, we move on... For me its about where I started now... about 50 pounds down from my top.

    I also like your way of thinking its a thing not cured but managed. Its more of an inspiration I think that your doing this again and that after years you are still working this. Because in the end it's not a quick fix and in fact it does take work, the magic diet and gizmo people want people to think otherwise but your searching for the real truth...

    Good for you! and thank you for showing people this can be fought well.

    Alan at foolsfitness

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    1. Alan, thank you, very much for this. You're very right. It is different now, has been--and I'm grateful for the experience. I truly needed it.
      That real truth is, we can succeed. Is it work? Yes. Is it worth it, 1000 X yes.
      You're very welcome.
      You didn't give me a fun FoolsFitness quote at the end! :) I always look forward to those when you stop by here.
      Again, Alan, thank you.

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  14. What a ride, Sean. I have been around for the first journey and learned so much but this second time has been the real teacher, for me. I know SO many folks who have lost a lot of weight but most gained it back. I know 2 who haven't gained it back, 5 years later. But I only know 1 who lost a lot, gained most back and lost it all a second time. Now I know 2. Your insight into why it's so hard is so important and I'm glad you included that in this post. To work so hard, and make that goal, only to give up and return to overeating and gaining again, robs you of so much. Thank you for persevering and thank you for being so transparent with your journey. I really think you have helped change and save a lot of lives, probably a lot more than you know. Shirley from TN

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    1. You're so very welcome, Shirley. The sharing I do here and the transparency it requires has been a saving grace for me.
      I honestly can't thank you enough for your incredible support over the years. It's been invaluable to me.
      When someone writes and tells me that what I share has helped them, I sometimes get very emotional. It's the most wonderful feeling. I'm blessed beyond measure.
      Your loyal support has been an amazing gift.
      This second time around, in my opinion--given the powerful perspective required by the circumstance, has helped me in ways my initial weight loss experience couldn't begin to accomplish. Both experiences needed, couldn't have one without the other, and that's why when I look back at the struggle--the relapse--the gaining, I can't be anything other than grateful.

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  15. Amazing. You beat all the odds but getting back on track. God's grace right there!

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    1. Divad, God's grace, indeed. I'm blessed beyond measure in so many ways. And very grateful. It's been and continues to be an experience. Thank you for your tremendous support for so very long.

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  16. Happy for you! Not only one year of WL perseverance, but still having a steady loss as you have your finish line in sight. Looks like it actually CAN be ddne. :)

    Deb

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    1. It can be done, Deb, with a lot of help along the way, that's for sure. You know, we're never alone. There's peace to be found and it's a clearing where our blessings grow in a most fantastic way.
      Heading into maintenance mode, I'll keep many of these elements identical to the losing phase. The maintaining portion of the program is forever...the losing part, very short in comparison. Almost ready to start the next chapter, the longest, most rewarding one.
      I sincerely appreciate your support, Deb. Thank you.

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