Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 18th, 2015 The Extended Reply

July 18th, 2015 The Extended Reply

One of my main goals today was to get into the YMCA for a good workout. I did that. I'll tell you, having dramatically decreased the frequency of my workouts in the last two weeks, I felt the consequence. Level 19 on the elliptical felt more challenging than before. I powered through it and made it, but wow--it wasn't easy.

I'm absolutely loving the play I'm in, but as much as I hate to see it end Sunday night, I'm looking forward to getting back into my consistent exercise routine. Could I have done more than I have over the course of this schedule? Probably. But I'm okay with it all--it's fine. I'm fine. 

I didn't manage my food very well today, as you'll see in the Tweets. I left 141 calories on the table, finishing the day with 1,651...and that was with a very, VERY late dinner. I'm also staying up excessively late, so it's not as bad as it seems. Having dinner at midnight and going to bed at 3am is the equivalent of having dinner at 8pm and going to bed at 11pm. Still, I don't recommend it at all. I just got home too late. I almost opted to eat dinner out, again--but I had a dinner in mind at home, a good one, it just took some time to prepare and cook.

I'll sleep in tomorrow (or today) and I'll do my best to find the right space between meals. It helps that we have two performances of the play tomorrow, at 2 and 8pm. That means two bananas and two servings of almonds during the performances. I may up the almonds to 43 grams and add some cheese and make the late show cafeteria scene my evening meal. I've certainly done that before (the banana, almonds and cheese thing as a meal), in a pinch.

Sometimes the comments and replies section becomes longer than the actual blog post to which it's attached. I can't seem to help myself, sometimes. I'm passionate about sharing these things and brevity has never been my strong suit.

I am also blessed to have some very loyal readers and when someone who has given me so much support in their readership and thoughtful comments, expresses words of struggle within their own trek, I want to give them a thorough reply. I'm just not a short and sweet "well, hang in there" kind of guy, I suppose.

And when I take the time to write an extended reply to a comment, I sometimes wonder if the person I'm replying to will even see it. Sometimes the comment reply is longer than a typical blog post. I'm sharing this exchange from last night's blog comments section:

Comment from a loyal reader:

"I have never been able to not go off the wagon with food choices when I'm out of my routine. Say like a birthday, holiday, etc....and the much bigger problem for me is it's an opportunity to go nuts for a few days after that too. It takes that long for me to reel myself back in. Or another one is something happens to me that upsets me and I've always used food to numb myself. I can't figure out how not to. So what I'm saying in the long version is how do I gain those tools? It's just not happening for me."

My reply:

Thank you for sharing your struggle. You're not alone.

One thing that's helped me is making sure my plan is something I enjoy--in other words, I'm loving the foods I "get" to eat, everyday. It isn't something I dread. What happens is, when my perception and expectation of what it means for me to be "on plan," is something I can easily live with, I'm less likely inclined to take a vacation or holiday, from it. There's no desire to flee from deprivation into an anything goes type situation--because I don't feel deprived.

Now-- here's the rub:

Even with this "I'm loving it" plan in place, what you described still happens... 

My abstinence from refined sugar may have very well turned off the "binge switch," those biochemical reactions in the addictive part of my brain--but what it doesn't stop is, my natural inclination to seek comfort in excess food when times get stressful and emotional. It takes a separate action plan to deal with that.

And it doesn't stop it to simply say, "excess food doesn't solve anything--it doesn't help resolve issues--it isn't a fixer--it's simply a temporary diversion--a distraction from our real experiences..." Does it help? The only help it provides is that temporary distraction from whatever is weighing heavy on our minds at any given moment. BUT AGAIN-- saying that, processing it, agreeing with it 100%, still doesn't stop the tendency to dive in when we're feeling those things.

One thing to remember: Feelings have a beginning and an end. Whatever it is, will come and go--weigh heavy, then subside--be on the forefront of your consciousness and then fade back into your sub-consciousness. When you're feeling like buffering your emotions with food--remember that this will pass...the moment will evolve and change...and in the meantime, while it's pressing: Find support asap!!!!

This is the most critical element I've discovered along my path: Building your support and accountability structure is imperative to your success. Find someone to be a support text buddy/friend. When those feelings start welling up and the obsessive food thoughts come flowing into your head--tell on 'em!!! Don't keep them exclusively in your head--because if you do, they'll typically win, almost every time. 

Share what you're thinking--get it out in the open...When you "tell on 'em," it has a powerful effect.

What happens when a playground bully is exposed to authority figures? They typically turn into little angels. Same dynamic. When we expose those thoughts by bringing in our "support team," something powerful happens---suddenly we're not facing it alone...suddenly our resolve to maintain the integrity of our plan is strengthened--often times, just in the nick of time.

The other day--Wednesday, did you read that post? When I called Gerri for spot support--I was on the brink of a meltdown. It doesn't matter how much success I've had--I am NEVER immune to relapse.

I fully believe, had I not reached out when I did, I could have and would have easily tried to fix things with food. The damage would have been minimal on a physical level--and crushing on a mental/emotional level (edit: And that could have very well led to physical damage during the struggle of trying to get back on track).

I was walking a tightrope--and the support call was the platform and rail I needed to restore my stability.

If you don't have a support system, make a point to create one. If you do not have anyone close to you who would appreciate this kind of mutual support--then explore other support/accountability options. OA has free meetings via phone, where you can connect with people who understand exactly what you're experiencing.

Also, explore your accountability measures. As you know--my accountability level is set super high. My tweets and this blog might be considered "extreme" accountability--but you know what? Its level of accountability is as high as I needed and continue to need in order to maintain my positive progress.

What's interesting to me is when someone comments on how strong and consistent I am---because trust me, if you stripped away my support system network and my accountability measures, I'd likely be eating my way back to 500 pounds. That's no joke. 

And if this is how I maintain a healthy body weight for the rest of my life, then I must make sure I'm making it something I enjoy doing...the food and exercise--I can make it things I love and thoroughly enjoy, sure. Those two things are the least of it along this road.

The toughest issues are the ones you've shared. I hope what I've shared with you here, helps.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and for your continued support,


  1. Wow Sean, It helped me! Your words to your loyal reader in Australia were one's I needed to hear. Thank you! Now I must get to bed myself. Stayed up way too late but like you I can sleep in.

  2. Thank you for the reply Sean. If I'm going to be honest I would not reach out for support from anyone other than here on this blog. Not sure why other than I don't think people would get me. I self sabotage myself and until I come to terms why I'm doing this to myself I will not get the weight off. Period! There is some kind of barricade I'm putting up and I've got to find out why. Thank you for such a wonderful reply:)

  3. Echoing you are not alone. I did the same thing with birthday cake, frosting, cookies.

    It took me about 3 years for me to work every day on changing my habits, to get my binge urges to go to the background. Replaced with better coping skills, abstaining from grains and sugar (grains for me also trigger).

    I still occasionally have a binge urge, but I don't take action on it. I taught myself to recognize it and deal with non food actions. And get to root causes: tired, stressed, angry, sad.

    Here's to ID-ing your false food fixes. Not easy, but you can build habits around not grabbing food- much like Sean does. Great post, Sean! False food fixes are the progressive part of food addiction that kept me overweight for 40 years. You can always start over, with the next meal. Onward.

  4. Do blogs give you a notice that there is a new reply to your reply on a previous day's blog? I don't have a blog and wondered how that works.
    THANKS for the advice! I did call OA and got on a couple of tele-meetings that I enjoyed and I even called a few volunteers who were great. I respect your advice and I take it to heart. I am so afraid of regaining my weight. (*nibbles on fingernails*).
    I am going to try out for the local play! The drive time is short and I can do it if they want me... It was a lot of fun in college, but that was just one class called "Readers Theatre". I met the most fun people in that class, just as you have enjoyed the cast of your play!
    Megan in Texas

  5. I have begun seeing it as my "new normal" to need to urgently call for support for and from others from time to time.
    I would take your call, Sean. It is totally okay to need others.
    Megan in Texas

  6. Hi Sean,
    Thanks for your "reply" as it spoke to me. I am working with a therapist in the Lifestyle program I'm in and in addition to the healthy lifestyle am working through the 12 Steps of OA. I need to get involved with a support group, but tried a couple times and felt overwhelmed and lost, they were not a good fit. Making much more sense understanding food addiction with his help. I so appreciate your posts. You have been there. I am great a losing weight having lost 150# and 211# but put it back on. Because I never addressed the underlying cause - the old behaviors reared their head. This time is so different. Some things like fast food, eating in my car, sugar and flour have been realtively easy to give up - but the darn compulsion to overeat - even on "good" food. I overate on watermelon last night - downing 1/2 a melon by the time I finished. Then comes the self loathing. I try to tell myself it's not a cake or packages of cookies, but it's still more than my body needs and the darn behavior that I'm trying to change. I have lost 91# in nearly 18 months, hoping for 100# on my 18 month anniversary. Regardless of the number, I know I have learned so much. Thanks again for your input. I read your blog daily.
    Lori Ann

  7. Just looking at the pictures of your food- it's neat that you only eat what you like. I have decided if something isn't made from scratch or really not that 'good tasting' I won't waste the calories. I was wondering how much you spend on groceries a week. I'm thinking not much! Also, did you ever drink alcohol or is that something you never did, even when you were overweight?


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