Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28th, 2015 Awash With Tremendous Happiness

June 28th, 2015 Awash With Tremendous Happiness

I slept. And I slept some more. I enjoyed over eleven hours of sleep last night. It's a very rare treat for me! One of the greatest blessings of this turnaround from relapse/regain has been the disappearance of my sleep apnea symptoms. I was worried because as I approached my healthiest weight during my initial 275 pound loss, those sleep apnea symptoms came roaring back and it left me incredibly frustrated and eventually led to another sleep study. It helped, until my body underwent massive changes during regain and suddenly that therapy wasn't working. I'm very lucky that the symptoms haven't returned. I'm not sure why. But I'm grateful and I pray they'll stay away.

Even when I post a "Tweets Only" blog post, like last night--chances are good I've spent a fair amount of time writing in active support, throughout the day. Sometimes it's one on one via email or within the small, private weekly conference call group Life Coach Gerri and I co-moderate/facilitate. And other times it might be a reply to a blog comment or maybe a comment to another's blog post.

For tonight's post, I thought I would share a sampling of today's communications. I've edited out specific names of who I'm communicating with in two of them (one is a publicly posted blog page, so it's okay)--simply for privacy and anonymity purposes--especially the last part--because it's from the "secret" Facebook page for our conference call group.

I'm sharing these because maybe some of it might be helpful to someone and these are things that are very important for me to remember each and every day

This one started as a blog comment from a longtime reader and supporter who has had a really tough time the last six months and is now getting back on track:

From longtime blog supporter:
"I am on Day 4 of no binging/being back on track with my eating. Feeling good about myself again, and that is nice, after being ashamed of my behavior for the last 6 months."

Reply:
And truly, that is key-- reaching an accord within, a forgiveness, and letting go of the guilt, shame and every other negative emotion-- isn't easy, but it's critically important for moving forward in a stable way.

Something that can help further solidify this: Make "a list of you." This list should contain the answers to this question: 

What are the things about me that do not change if I'm heavy or at a healthy weight, or for richer or poorer-- what are the core qualities of me that are constant, regardless of everything else?

The list should be populated with your likes, dislikes, things that bring you joy, things you're passionate about, things you're good at doing!!! Also, the things that make you a loving and compassionate person. These wonderful things we posses often get ignored when we're preoccupied with all of the negative thoughts and feelings surrounding relapse/regain. 

For many of us, these are things we've ignored for years because we've been too busy, either focused on how good we feel about our success or how bad we feel about where we are at any given point along the way.

Embrace your core-- wrap it in a level of love and compassion you normally reserve for others...gift yourself that love, compassion and acceptance-- and realize: Heavier, thinner-- successfully losing or struggling with relapse/regain--it truly never, EVER, changed any of these core qualities in you. 

You've always been an amazing person worthy of love and worthy of extending yourself the gift of extraordinary care and the improved health and vitality that comes with it.

I wish you all the best. I'm so happy you're here, where you are, moving forward with a resolve reserved for the most important things in your life. I'm honored by your sharing here, and I'm absolutely appreciative and grateful for your incredible support over the years and to come!

Kirsten at www.deardietmonster.com included me in her latest blog post today. I was absolutely honored! She's thrilled about discovering her own list of fundamental elements. I'm truly overjoyed for her!

In response to her blog post:

Identifying your unique set of fundamental elements is crucial. We often hear "you've got to find what works for you," and it's very true. Still, many times before, I tried to move forward using someone else's normal. I'm thankful for my regain/relapse period, even as brutal and big as it was (could have been worse)--because in making a stand and turning it around, I discovered my truest--most personal, fundamental elements. 

If I give these elements the same level of reverence as an alcoholic in successful recovery gives their sobriety, each day, then I have the greatest chance of continued weight maintenance. If I let them slide and try to live someone else's normal, I'll relapse again and quickly lose myself in the return to an unhealthy weight. 

Is it for life? Yes. 

The thought depresses some. It once did me, too. 

But if we identify our elements, accepting them as our normal--and embrace them in every way, it can be a happy and positive experience. A test question to apply during this self-discovery: When you wake up each day, do you dread the things you're doing in order to take extraordinary care? Or are you excited and happy to do them, because they're soooo you?? 

Oh--the food-- my goodness, K, I don't eat the same things every day! LOL Many people get that impression. And I no doubt have my staples, but I do mix it up regularly. The key for me with food: I eat what I like and nothing I don't. I will not force myself to eat something simply because it might be good for me or is understood to be a "good diet food." Every single thing I've consumed over the last 14 months of this turnaround from relapse/regain, including pictures, descriptions and calorie counts can be found on my Twitter feed: @SeanAAnderson 

I'm honored to be included in your blog post! Thank you! And mostly--I'm overjoyed for you!! You're fired up--I can tell!! You're ready to do this!

I look forward to witnessing your transformation! You're about to show yourself exactly what you and your body are capable of accomplishing. You deserve the best, my friend.

From a Sunday post in our private weekly support group:

Member:
Sunday morning.. We usually go out for breakfast.. My favorite meal.. I know this is a difficult call for me. I'll really need to focus, calculate, and plan. Ask for egg whites.. Do veggie omelet. Not my normal choice... But my better choice. 
Suggestions?

My response:
Aside from the food suggestions from other members, above-- all good... I wanted to offer a slightly different perspective. Just a few questions, if you don't mind... 

Question #1: What do you love about this Sunday morning routine aside from the food? Do you love the family time--the togetherness, the conversation, the beauty of the Sunday morning sky...or maybe it's a cute older couple that's always sitting a couple of tables away--as you gaze their way and think, wow--how wonderful to be so in love after all of those years? Maybe you're grateful to be in a position to afford, enjoy and experience this weekly event or perhaps it's the welcoming of the warm smile and attentiveness you're given by a familiar and favorite server.

Question #2: Does ordering your usual breakfast enhance any of these elements? Another way, same question-- If you don't order what you're accustomed to ordering, does it take away from the enjoyment and the elements described above? 

Question #3: If you navigate your choices with an awareness enabling you to maintain the integrity of your plan, thereby honoring your commitment to self--and you do it in such a way, where you're making certain to order things that are pleasing to your palette-taste buds--while remaining in harmony with your plan...Does it take away from the non-food elements described above? 

Is the family time, conversation, Sunday morning bird songs and sky, cute older couples, a familiar and smiling, friendly server and the peace and joy of this weekly outing, compromised? 

I can remember times in my past when my focus was squarely on the food at these family outings. I missed so much of my life and family because my attention was on the plate in front of me instead of the love and beauty all around me. When we shift our focus and perspective, just a touch, we have the opportunity to rediscover and appreciate our many blessings. Add to this experience, the wonderful feeling of knowing you're taking extraordinary care and staying true to you and what you need for continued weight loss/better health--and I would be shocked if you're not awash with tremendous happiness.

Sometimes I can't help myself. Communicating about these things is something I'm incredibly passionate about. And the thing about it is--these things are not a given for any of us. As I've written many times-- If I stop holding sacred the fundamental elements of my recovery, I'll quickly relapse and regain, again.

I don't want that to happen. All I can do is take it one day at a time, make my elements extremely important and always keep my eyes and mind open to learning and appreciating new things along the way.

None of us have all the answers.

We only have our experiences and the thoughts, opinions and beliefs born from those experiences. Some of them we share, others we may not--and it's okay... because we can support one another regardless of the differences in our personalized list, of fundamental elements.

My Tweets Today:






































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

12 comments:

  1. Thanks Sean for including your response to my post on your blog from yesterday (I was the first responder you mentioned). I re-read your advice this morning, and tears came to my eyes. I AM a good person, I am compassionate, caring, loving, forgiving and very open-minded, wanting more than anything, for everyone to have the right to pursue their own happiness. And those qualities have been totally foreshadowed (at least in my own mind) over my 30 years of morbid obesity. All I ever felt was shame, even though I still possessed all those qualities. It didn't matter. All that mattered was what I looked like, I knew that because of what I had allowed my body to become, that my opinions weren't important, my self value was zilch and I mostly just kept quiet around others, trying to disappear into the woodwork, which is impossible at 328 lbs. As I lost the weight, I found my self-esteem again. I felt so great for those two and a half years I maintained that 178-lb. loss, before losing my way twice in the last two years. My regain last year wasn't as bad, I only gained 35 pounds. I lost it all again! But this year I did the same thing, regaining 47 pounds this time. I have a lot of stress in my life, terminally ill husband, son splitting with his wife (they seem to be reconciling now). I could blame the stress, it is enormous, but I won't. I am the one responsible for my choices and I know what it takes to make the right choices. I have been doing this for so long, starting this journey back in 2009. I think more than anything I grew weary of staying diligent, but I know now it is the way I have to live in order to keep the weight off. Keeping it off is crucial to maintaining my health, especially at my age (64). With my husband's illness, it has really become important to try to save my own health. When you have that--you truly have everything!

    You addressed how some view the fact that THIS IS FOR LIFE, as depressing. I used to wake up dreading another day of having to deprive myself and stay in control. But as you said, now I embrace this lifestyle, because I know what it gives me--self-esteem, happiness, and most importantly, MY HEALTH.

    I have talked about you a lot on my own blog over at Spark People.com. I am so proud of your turn-around Sean, in not only your weight, but in how you now realize what fueled your recovery, and how important it is to stay true to all that you do to STAY in recovery. We are all working to get there, and we will never be done will we?

    But I am AMAZING, and not just because I lost a shit-ton of weight.I was always amazing. I won't lie, however, losing weight made me feel so much better about myself, and I want to get back to that state of mind (and body)!

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    1. "You addressed how some view the fact that THIS IS FOR LIFE, as depressing. I used to wake up dreading another day of having to deprive myself and stay in control. But as you said, now I embrace this lifestyle, because I know what it gives me--self-esteem, happiness, and most importantly, MY HEALTH.” Thank you for this, dubster! I am still at that stage where I feel that dread every morning when I think about what I need to do to loose the weight etc, but you and Sean really give me hope that I can change my lifestyle and not hate it, and even love it. As someone who gets so easily derailed by stress and change I can’t tell you how encouraging this comment is. Thank you! Kerstin

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    2. Dupster, I'm so glad it resonated deeply within you! The challenges you and your husband are facing, I can't even imagine. You're in my thoughts and prayers.
      Recognizing your amazing-ness is very important. And when you make that list--read it over, again and again--and then ask yourself, how could you possibly continue being mad at this wonderful person? Extending yourself the love, compassion and forgiveness you deserve is truly one of the first and biggest steps in turning things around. Certainly was for me.
      I appreciate you, thank you!

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    3. Kerstin, Yes, yes, YES!! Changing this perception of dread into one of acceptance, peace and harmony--is a real thing, and it's the most calm, beautiful thing. Truly.

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  2. I am happy for you, handsome. I've read your lovely comments and I thank you. :) Stay well...
    Anonymous Coward

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    1. AC, you, my anonymous friend--thank you! You're so very welcome. I'm so glad to see your comment here. I will do my best each day to do just that!

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  3. Sean, I appreciated this post as a reminder to think well of myself and recognize my strengths. I'd like to read some about how to deal with the sorrows and stresses that Duper noted and we all deal with. Things that we can't or don't want to change but need skills to deal with without resorting to overeating and not exercising.

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    1. Bonnie, I'm very glad this post served as that reminder. It is critically important because you're important. We're important! The biggest element, I've found, to help with emotional eating is good support--someone to chat it all out, via text--via phone--even via email... Sometimes, simply getting the thoughts and compulsions out of our head and into the open, can be the "exposing" they needed in order to deflate their power.

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  4. Sean, I am going to repeat what I already said in response to your amazing comment on my blog and on Facebook - thank you so much for taking the time to write it!! Can’t tell you how much that means to me, especially your confidence in me being able to do this! After reading your comment I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time and will be focusing on what ‘my normal’ actually looks like and work on identifying those fundamental elements for myself. Thank you! Kerstin xo

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    1. Kerstin,
      I do have confidence you can do this. It makes me smile from ear to ear when I read your empowering words: "I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time..."
      And I don't know you personally. But I know me. And I remember how dark it was not too long ago--and how lost I felt--and how I wasn't feeling any hope at all--and still, things changed--it wasn't hopeless after all...and I know if I can do it, you can too, Kerstin. YOU CAN TOO. You're very welcome. And thank you for your tremendous support!!

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  5. Knowing these changes in food choices has to be forever can be daunting. That used to throw me - until I started using the mantra "this has to be for life not just the moment" when tempted to cut back on calories to lose MORE weight this week. It is going slower than I'd like but by choosing what my food plan is, has to be "for life". That way I intend to have THIS loss of fat be permanent. I've lost and regained 5 times. Won't do that again. It was by gritting my teeth, never venturing away from the amounts and of course what was good for me food (not necessarily what I liked) and rules ..... etc. I was told "you are like a Russian Soldier standing guard!" Also had looked at goal weight as "the end of all that restriction" and maintenance slowly went back to the old way of eating. Bob Greene ("Make the Connection") and Oprah's trainer, said don't start something you won't/can't do for life. We get fired up and go whole hog and then in 3 weeks drop everything. Also there seems to be something I do and wonder why... when the numbers of the scale are going down nicely - all of a sudden the urge to have some food that is way off the path, like ice cream or cake etc. comes to mind strongly. What causes this sabotage to set in Sean? Am I afraid of the lower weights? That is the goal I'm working for, why would I throw in the "monkey wrench" against that?
    N~

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    1. I love your mantra. It's spot on!!!! All of those mindsets you mentioned from previous attempts--- Me too!!! Been there, thought that!!!!
      The urge to self-destruct...awe yes-- it's sometimes the toughest thing to battle. And it's not easily understood because of the thousand different and unique reasons someone might have deep down...Born from their life experience...It doesn't take long to get very deep... It's something a counselor might be able to identify.
      In my "non-counselor" opinion-- I believe it's not just the experiences we've had--it's how we feel about ourselves on the deepest level after all we've been through... it's so tough to pinpoint--and it's different for everyone. Do we have a deep seeded belief that we somehow don't deserve it? Do we fear how others will react to our smaller body? Have we worn the excess weight like a shield and in losing it we feel exposed and unprotected?
      The combination of elements creating these thoughts and beliefs within us are as unique as snowflakes...yet, we often feel a connection, because from a distance they look and feel the same...it isn't until closer inspection, we realize the differences can be profound.
      How do we handle it? Therapy helped me tremendously. Good support helps too. Self-awareness and the willingness to dig a little deeper and gain a better understanding, is a big BIG positive!!!
      Nancy, you so awesome, you know that?

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