Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 15th, 2015 With A Little Help From My Friends

July 15th, 2015 With A Little Help From My Friends

At least I was already aware of the potential challenges of today. It didn't surprise me at all. I've been voluntarily and intentionally burning the candle at both ends, but today wasn't a good day to approach without enough rest. A colleague of mine is on vacation and just as her responsibilities increase when I'm gone, my responsibilities increase when she's gone. Add to that a midday four hour location broadcast. Add to that a weigh day...and it quickly became unstable.

I don't eat breakfast before weighing at the doctor's office. It probably makes a minuscule difference and perhaps I'm slightly obsessive, but I just will not eat before weigh-in. I'll drink my coffee, that's it. I did prepare some food for immediately after the scale.

My location broadcast was set to start at 10am and I didn't get away from the studio and after-show duties until 9:35am. I had to drive to where we store the station vehicle, pick it up and get into the doctor's office (luckily they're very fast about allowing me in and out quickly on weigh day), then to the broadcast by at least 9:55am. I pulled in at 9:57am. The stress of this time crunch was a little much. I probably should have postponed weigh day until tomorrow. In hindsight, it would have been completely appropriate, considering the circumstances. I certainly wasn't going to wait until after 2pm to weigh-in. I was hungry!

I set up, greeted the client and was met with jaws dropped over my transformation. I regularly voice and produce their radio commercials and I talent their location broadcasts, but I rarely see them in person. It had been awhile, obviously. The client, with a big smile, asked, "Where did you go?" I replied with a simple, "Thank you, I feel better than ever." "You look great." "I feel great, thank you." 

I made my way back to the broadcast truck and prepared my makeshift breakfast. It wasn't my usual omelet and fruit, but it worked in a pinch. The rest of the broadcast went well. It was a busy one, broadcasting on two separate radio stations--switching back and forth throughout the four hours, with eight on-air breaks per hour.

When the client unveiled the lunch for staff and crew, I opted for some watermelon and a thick slice of homegrown-fresh from the garden tomato. It was an amazing tomato.

The broadcast concluded and it was off to the races. A few necessary errands and some urgent production work back at the studio took precedence over lunch time. I was incensed at a request by a colleague that I voice and produce something with a start date of next week, today--when it clearly could be done tomorrow, when my schedule will be much easier to navigate. It was bad timing. I was hungry, tired and uncharacteristically angry.

"Not happening today" was my short reply to this request. I was a mess at this point.

For many of us in recovery, we make a conscious effort to remain aware of our emotions as well as our physical condition at any given moment. There's even an acronym to help recognize these elements: H.A.L.T.

It stands for: Don't get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired...and if you do, recognize what's happening and by all means, seek support quickly!! When any of these four things are in play, it's very easy to lose the resolve that's carried us so far along this road. I had three of the four letters in full effect.

I typically will text a support buddy first and inquire whether or not they have time for a quick support call. I skipped that considerate formality and immediately hit Life Coach Gerri's number. When she answered, I asked, "Is this a bad time? Do you have a couple minutes?" Luckily for me, it wasn't a bad time and she did.

I explained to her what was going on and how I was feeling. I told her I needed food and sleep as soon as possible. We discussed some options in a very calm and collected way and suddenly, I felt better. 

We talked as I drove to the repair shop to have my front drivers side headlight bulb replaced. I couldn't allow another night to come without it. Three warnings from officers is likely my limit before the faulty headlight starts costing me fines--and I've had three warnings in the last week. I just haven't made time to get it done.

It was fixed. I stopped at the Mexican place close to my house, picked up my inexpensive lunch--or by this time, you could call it dinner--and finally headed home.

I prepared the steak fajita tacos the way I like them and enjoyed every bite. I allowed them to settle for about a half hour, then grabbed what turned out to be an hour nap before heading out for invited dress rehearsal for the play I'm doing. Sleeping after a meal might not be the best strategy--but for me, today--uh, was happening.

The support call, the food, the nap--it all came together, and by the time I made it to the theater, I felt really well. On the fifteen minute drive over, I participated on a support call with a private one-on-one client of mine who is doing incredible things--and that felt good, too.

I made it into the theater and upstairs to the green room--and suddenly, I was able to take a deep breath--relax and get into character. This schedule is a little much. BUT--I'm loving it for all the joy it brings. It truly makes me happy to be a part of such a wonderful production.

Oh--and what about that weigh-in this morning? 
 photo aa20gain20weigh20day_zpshat1fggl.jpg
A two pound gain. Well, actually a 1.6 pound gain to be exact. I don't think it would be honest to say this didn't contribute to my chaos of today. It did affect me. I've been spoiled with consistent losses from the very beginning of my turnaround from relapse/regain--so this wasn't expected. I'm in maintenance mode--so the goal isn't to lose more weight, right? I need to remember this. My support group members were quick to offer me some proper perspective--and I quickly got over myself. 

The fact of the matter is, I've only had about four intentional workouts in the last two weeks. I've allowed that out of consideration of my temporarily self-imposed schedule. And I've increased my calories by 100 per day--and I'm obviously not getting enough sleep (thank goodness for naps--couldn't do this without them). I believe all of these things combined to give me the number I found staring back at me today. And what a nice number it was: 230.0 on the nose! 

My plan moving forward for the next three weeks is to leave the calorie budget at 1800 and get back to my usual six intentional workouts per week, and get more sleep. Basically--the fundamental elements will not change.

I made it today, with a little help from my friends. I maintained the integrity of my calorie budget and my abstinence from refined sugar is as solid as ever. I didn't eat my feelings and frustrations. I stayed the course and found the light by the end of the day.

I suppose I need a day like today, every now and then...if only to exercise the kind of actions required for the long term recovery and maintenance I hope and pray for each day.

My Tweets Today:

By the way--if you're local to my area, Dog Sees God-Confessions of A Teenage Blockhead opens Thursday night July 16th at 8pm in the Wilkin Theater, Wilkin Hall on the campus of Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. Weekend performances will be 8pm Friday, 8pm Saturday and two performances on Sunday--2pm and 8pm. I hope you'll make it to this powerful production! It's the Peanuts gang as seniors in high school, facing all of the issues that many teens and young adults face in today's world. It's rated NC-17 for mature content and language. I play the character of Van, a teenage version of Linus, CB's best friend.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,


  1. As soon as you said you took a nap after eating I thought you were going to say you then slept through four alarms and missed something! But luckily no.

    You are so right about HALT. Hungry = cranky and confused, for me. And the other three = ill-considered food choices!

    1. Oh Natalie--don't you know that fear was on my mind! I set two alarms, just in case! Yes--HALT--Very very true!!

  2. Well two things I think you did well not cracking and going through a drive thru for food under such pressure and demands of your day. Number two and this is just an observation from an outsider, it seems like you need a strict routine concerning food .like it has to be spot on. I'm not judging I'm just noticing. Any thoughts?

    1. Good observation. I would like to think I'm flexible to a degree. As long as I'm not sacrificing the integrity of my calorie budget and my abstinence from refined sugar--I could be a little more flexible. If I look at it closely, I'm not sure I would call it perfectionism--(I'm not that!)--but certainly I value the structure of routine--especially when it comes to things I truly enjoy eating. In a situation like this particular day--the threat of veering away from what's routine and known, and comfortable---creates anxiety!!! Good planning ahead usually keeps this at bay--but unfortunately, some days--it's hard to avoid! Thank you for the kudos on not cracking...It wasn't easy. I had to call in the troops! :)

  3. Sean, I hadn't heard of H.A.L.T.. That is a great reminder that I shall use to help me. I should be in a support group too, (feeling lonely and tired, I went to a movie last night and bought a tall bag of movie popcorn). I think you did great! 230.0 represents a of consistent self loving behavior. Next month I want to tryout for a new community stage play to come out in the fall months. I am a very good reading-voice actor, but I have never done physical stage acting. Your experiences are giving me food for thought. At least there are no scenes with food in our local play.
    Megan in Texas
    P.S. Now I'm hungry. I just went through proving I am not a robot to publish this comment. I identified all of the pictures of steak and now my mind can "smell" a sizzling steak; funny!

    1. Megan, awesome!! The HALT acronym was first introduced to me by Life Coach Gerri Helms and it immediately made sense--it was an ah-ha moment of sorts...
      A good support group can be very helpful! There are many options available, too-- from free options found at to numerous free support facebook groups and other online communities--And of course, the more structured group coaching environment support groups like the ones Gerri and I co-facilitate. Seeking these out and getting connected can help you not feel so alone. You're really never alone. I don't know of anyone who hasn't done exactly what you did at the movies, including me. When urges like that strike--reaching out to someone who truly understands and can offer a different perspective, can really make a difference.
      Oh Megan--please try out!!! The joy performing brings to me makes this insane schedule of late worth every bit of effort...The show closes Sunday night after the 8pm performance--so between now and then, I'm soaking up as much joy as I can! I highly recommend and encourage you to try out... Ooh...did you say steak? Hmmmm.... I'm thinking dinner!!! :)

  4. The gain. I know that getting weighed every three weeks works for you and this comment is NOT an effort to change that. Having said that, tho, one problem with going that long between weights is that you don't know whether or not the gain is a momentary blip or an actual gain.

    Really, for all you know, you may have actually lost a pound, but had an overnight water weight gain due to stress/lack of sleep/extra salt...whatever. We all have had those days in which we wake up 3 pounds heavier than when we went to bed--and two days later it's gone.

    That may not be the case with you right now, of course, but because of the 3 week space in weighing and the fact that your body has lost most of its extra fat so any little blip will show, you just don't know. Again, not saying to change what's worked for you, just suggesting that you can't use this particular gain to draw conclusions r/t what yo have done or need to do.

    Just my two cents worth...


    1. I completely agree with you, Deb. Your two cents is always appreciated around here, you know that! Thank you!! I'm going to keep on keeping on... I'll enjoy the play and make it through the schedule--then back to a more consistent and targeted workout routine. And I may, at some point--seriously consider changing the frequency of weigh day.

  5. driving thru the bumper to bumper traffic in DC this week I was reminded how insane our American work schedules are. I exited the craziness years ago thru a layoff and its the best thing that ever happened with working. now that you have figured out what works for you diet and exercise maybe you would want to consider work style that is better for your health? just a thought.

    1. Bonnie-- you said it. I know the work style I would prefer at this stage in my life. It's now up to me to fashion it in such a way where I can still pay the bills! I'm blessed to love what I do and get paid for it-- and it's been good to me...and I still have hopes and dreams of a day where what I'm most passionate about becomes my lively hood as well... I likely need less hopes and dreams and more structured thoughts and actions in that direction! Great thought!

  6. Hey, Sean — you didn't regain 100lbs by eating 1800 net calories per day and exercising less than six days a week. I'd be surprised if your weigh-in represented a true gain given that to gain 1.6lbs of fat in 21 days you would have to be eating a 250 calorie per day surplus, but you were still losing weight on 1700 net calories per day, so that's not possible.

    The increase in measured weight could be down to any one of a million factors which have nothing to do with your actual weight: water retention due to sodium (the last thing you ate before weigh-in was tortilla chips the night before), or due to increased muscle glycogen since you hadn't depleted it through exercise the day before, wearing heavier clothes, not passing waste recently, or just one of those random fluctuations that bedevil us all. This is why they say goal is a weight and maintenance is a range. The only thing that matters at this point is the trend — so don't sweat it!

    I also want to gently encourage you to make at least three of the six workouts per week dedicated strength workouts. Cardio is important because it has many health benefits but there's a tendency among those of us who have lost weight or are in the process of losing weight to overemphasise cardio and make strength an "eh, maybe, if I can be bothered" thing — because psychologically we know that cardio exercises and especially running burn many more calories than strength training during the exercise itself. But the reality is that in maintenance you need to be eating all of those calories back (and frankly you should be doing this while losing too) so the benefits of doing cardiovascular exercise become purely about health and fitness and by doing cardio alone you're undercutting yourself in that arena — especially as someone who has lost a lot of weight. Unless you have athletic goals which require more intensive cardio training, you can reap the rewards in terms of improved heart and lung health from three sessions per week. It's not necessary and can be counterproductive to do more. And you're shortchanging yourself of all the potential benefits of committed strength training: improved metabolic function, improved bone density, better mobility, insurance against future injuries (including those sustained during cardio exercise!), building muscle and safeguarding against muscle wastage in the future, and a general feeling of being stronger and more able. These are also benefits which will carry over to your cardio training (all professional runners lift weights to improve their running). I'd suggest a serious strength programme with heavy compound movements like Starting Strength or Stronglifts to build strength all over your body and even out muscular imbalances. :)

    1. M, wow. Thank you. Your perspective and analysis here is absolutely golden. I agree. The strength training must be a priority now.
      I actually thought about those salty tortilla chips and the fact that I seemed to have an issue (at the risk of tmi) with "movement," if you know what I mean...weigh day morning.
      The one thing I keep going back to in my mind is the fact that I'm maintaining the elements of my recovery. Yes--I've really slipped in the workout department the last two weeks with this temporary schedule--but my food, calorie budget and refined sugar abstinence has been wonderfully solid.
      The weight training-- so well written, M...Your words are resonating with me deeply. Thank you.

    2. "...goal is a weight and maintenance is a range." LOVE this.


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