Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 9th, 2015 Where The Focus Shifts

August 9th, 2015 Where The Focus Shifts

There are many differences between then and now. I've been here before, well, actually--I don't think I dropped to 220 before--but numbers aside, I've been here-where the focus shifts to maintenance.

I didn't have what I have now, in November 2010. I didn't have the tools. I didn't have the experience. I didn't have the proper perspective. I had no fear of relapse/regain because I had simply declared, "I'm never going back." A declaration made with absolutely zero clue of how to back it up. 

I felt great. And naturally, I expected to maintain good choices and exercise regularly, but it wasn't supported with structure. The accountability/support system I've structured today didn't exist. I was walking a tight rope without a net.

Today, I've made sure I have a net and a safety harness and plenty of support all around. I'm not alone. One of the big things I've learned (there are several) is the importance of building our individual accountability/support structure.

Another big thing I've learned is, I don't know it all. I don't have all the answers. And my continued success in maintenance isn't guaranteed.

In this understanding comes the greatest possibility of continued recovery. There's a healthy amount of fear, because unlike before, I now know how quickly things can change.

There's no surprises lurking. If I stop holding sacred the fundamental elements of my recovery, then I'm effectively giving back the peace and freedom I've come to enjoy these days.

I hope and pray I don't stop, ever. I didn't today. I'm not planning on stopping tomorrow.

I prepared some good meals today. I maintained the integrity of my plan. I exercised well. I jogged for FIVE MINUTES STRAIGHT!!! That wasn't easy. And I was active in direct one on one support with several others along this road. For me, that's a solid day.

I'll let the Tweets share the rest...While I go get some rest. Goodnight, my friend.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,


  1. As always your food looks nurturing, delicious, healthy. Ok so with that being said never a glass of wine or a piece of birthday cake? I know you have said would people say these things to an alcoholic trying to abstain.? I gave that some thought and with an alcoholic you can never have it again. But food you have to have it daily. I know it's all about the sugar for you. You do not feel there's ever a time when you can indulge ? I don't ask any of this from a judgemental mindset but rather a curious one.

    1. I am going to save Sean a little time and answer this for you Robin. No added sugar needs to be non negotiable for life concerning individuals like Sean and myself who are greatly affected by added sugar. Just as important as alcohol needs to be non no negotiable for an alcoholic or he or she will go back to being an alcoholic. Unless you try a no sugar challenge your self it's almost impossible to believe how manageable it is to avoid cake, wine and ice cream. By completely avoiding added sweetness you do not crave it. For us to occasionally enjoy that piece of cake or glass of a couple of times of month would have the same consequences as an alcoholic having a beer and shot of liqueur twice a month. Once your free of the sugar addiction like Sean & I understand anything like a piece of cake or bowl of ice cream is no longer an indulgence. Our taste buds have changed and there is honestly no appeal no temptation or feelings of being deprived thanks to our non negotiable stance of sugar. Recovered food addicts have to eat just as recovered alcoholics. Just a matter of consuming the right food and drink.

    2. Thank you for sharing . I so believe I would benefit from this myself that's why the questions. I will try it. It's just so hard for me to wrap my brain around. The thought of no wine a couple times a week is hard it's my soother. And I guess sugar is also if I'm being honest, now to get on the band wagon. To make the leap.

    3. Robin, your question is a very natural one! I didn't eat a piece or even a bite of my daughter's wedding cake!
      And it was still one of the most wonderful and memorable days of my life.
      There is a common misunderstanding about food addiction when compared to other addictions. It's not necessarily all foods. It's specific substances within the foods we eat. For me, it's sugar. For some, abstaining from flour, sugar and all grains is what helps them.
      I've never had a binge on carrots. So the common phrase, "it's different with food addiction because you have to eat," really doesn't apply 100%. Yes, there is another side when we start talking about emotional and stress eating...but if we're talking about the addictive reaction, for me, it's sugar.
      And knowing this about myself is wonderful information to possess. I still get to eat well. I still enjoy my food. I get a bunch of natural fruit sugar in my daily nutrition--so I still have sweetness... I just can't do refined sugar.
      Because when I do, it sets my brain off like a pinball machine--and suddenly I don't want to stop.
      And as I successfully abstain, I enjoy a peace and calm--like the binge switch is turned off... I feel a calmness I didn't have before and in that, I'm able to navigate my choices without too much instability.
      I was very apprehensive about trying this. But now, nearly 500 days into it--I wouldn't trade this feeling for all the cake in the world. And that's what it would be. If I choose to eat cake or consume refined sugar in whatever form--It would require me to sacrifice my peace and calm. And that's too important to me to give up.
      The amazing thing that happened for me was, once I gave it an honest try for 10 days or so---I was completely convinced of the benefits... and to this day it is without a doubt the single most important nutritional decision and recovery decision I've ever made.
      With all of that written-- not everyone responds to sugar the same way. Some people can eat a a piece of cake occasionally and they're fine.
      It's like me and alcohol. I can totally have an alcoholic drink if I want-- it doesn't affect me in the slightest, beyond whatever buzz it might create in the moment--- but friends of mine who are in recovery and hold their sobriety in the highest regard--they dare not do what I can do with alcohol...because they know, it would devastate them...and so they cling tight to their elements of recovery--because letting go would mean sacrificing the peace, calm, freedom and stability their sobriety provides.
      When this level of importance is placed on something-- a sacred level--it becomes a very transformative experience-- mentally, spiritually and emotionally--- and in the case with sugar, for me, there's obvious physical benefits!
      I hope that helps, Robin!
      And thank you Jon for sharing what you've shared here!! I agree, 100%.
      If you think sugar might be your substance--there's a list of questions to ask yourself at to help identify it in you. Also--giving it (abstinence from sugar) an honest try for 10 days might be all the convincing you need! Thank you Robin!

  2. Sean, I think you are in a ticklish situation right now. Are you going to try to maintain your weight at the unexpected 220 or would you be content with gains that took you back up to 230? This could be the slippery slope everyone talks about. Eileen

    1. Eileen--I like the way you put that--- a ticklish situation. I'm fine anywhere between 220 and 230... and eventually, I must let go of a number.. especially someday with skin removal surgery... when that day comes, I'll likely drop at least 20 pounds immediately.
      Also-- If i give strength training the kind of importance level I intend, I'll be adding muscle--and I honestly haven't a clue what that will mean to my weight...
      So really, for me--I think it's a matter of maintaining the fundamental elements of my recovery--focusing on those heavily--and being okay if the scale goes up and down a little.
      With that said--if it shoots up or goes down dramatically--obviously I'll need to make adjustments.
      But for me--avoiding the slippery slope so many speak and write about--means staying connected in recovery, accountability and support--maintaining my abstinence from refined sugar and always reaching out when life gets super stressful and emotional...If I do those things, essentially applying a sacred level of importance to this recovery, then I have the best chance at continued stability.
      If I start letting those elements fall to the wayside...I'll be slipping and sliding in record time with devastating consequences. I hope and pray I don't, ever.

  3. I know from many years of maintenance that it is hard, but I hope you don't let the "never a piece of birthday cake" questions get into your head. It will never hurt the person asking the question, but if it could hurt you then abstaining is the best way. :)

    1. Caron, my strength and resolve in abstaining is very strong. I've experienced too much peace and calm--so much so, that there isn't any doubt about the effects it has on the addictive side of my brain.
      If i want to throw it all away, all I need to do is sacrifice the integrity of my abstinence--and that's it... Like letting go of the rope on the side of a would be tragic---and horrible to experience and witness. You know exactly what I mean!! You have the experience, Caron. I look up to you. Thank you very much for setting a wonderful example, being one of the leaders up ahead--and for your loyal support!!

  4. I have no doubt your going to do awesome forever at weight maintenance. There was obvious reasons why you relapsed last time which I see has little or no chance to occur moving forward. I honestly believe these safety nets you have in place are ones you will follow through for life. No one understands more than I do how important and powerful it is that you continue no added sugar being non negotiable for life. Just knowing that I know your going to do just fine in the beginning stages of weight maintenance. You are a rookie, beginner, know very little about weight maintenance. That does not matter because its just the first month of many years and I guarantee you will have all the answer's 10 years from now to questions like what weight do you think you will be at or how excess skin or weight training plays a role. It's going to be a great learning experience one I look forward to myself in another year or two. For now I suggest you answer weight maintenance questions like, I don't know, I am a rookie never done this before at this level of accountability. Just think what level of expertise you will have 20 years from now?

    1. Jon, thank you. I would certainly never say never or the word forever. I hope and pray so--but I know, as do you-- it's only as solid as my willingness to hold sacred the fundamental elements of my recovery. If I do that today, like i did yesterday and like I plan on doing tomorrow--then I have the best chance for continued recovery. If I start sacrificing elements--then I'll get in trouble very quickly. And that wouldn't be pretty--I promise.
      And you're so right--with experience comes an education. I've often written about being a willing student--keeping an open mind--and that's what I must do each day. In ten, twenty years--yes... the questions will be much easier to answer... But at the same time, the interesting thing about that is--only the general principles apply--the more specific things I'll learn will be exclusive to my experience and body. Either way---I'm excited for each new day. Thank you for being a good friend, Jon!!

  5. Well, I can’t comment on maintenance as I’ve never lost a lot of weight and kept it off. I’m still only at the beginning of this weight loss journey.

    But I nonetheless want to comment because you mention your fundamental elements and I just wanted to tell you how much they have blown my mind ever since I first started reading about them on your blog. And I realized, I wanted my own fundamental elements. I call them fundamental elements of AWAKENING rather than recovery because for me, this is all about waking up.

    Anyway, you’ve just inspired me (again) to write a post on the subject and what my own elements are :) If you want you can read it here

    I am sure that having your elements in place and honoring their integrity every day now that you are starting maintenance will make all the difference!

    1. Oh my goodness, Kerstin. I just read and commented on your post. Wow. I love your fundamental elements!!
      I'm honored that this exploration has made a significant impact on you! Thank you so much, Kerstin, for your support.
      So wonderful.
      About your blog post--When you stopped on your bike--and you were experiencing those breakthrough epiphanies-- goosebumps. Absolutely, positively--LOVE IT.

  6. Hey, it's me again! I just wanted to say thanks for taking my comments in the spirit they were intended and for responding to me in your post. I also wanted to explain why I said I felt that you needed to eat back all your exercise calories — it's not so much that I think the calorie burns from MFP or FitBit are accurate but because I think that 2000 calories is still probably slightly below maintenance for you. Obviously there are a couple of different approaches, the thing which works best for me is eating roughly the same number of total calories every day regardless of whether I worked out or not so that it averages out at my maintenance level across the week. It's less of a headache personally than trying to figure out what proportion of exercise calories to eat back and helps with food planning and prep because I always know in advance roughly how much I'm going to be eating. This might be a good approach for you since you said that the volume of food you're eating feels about right and you probably don't want days where you're eating significantly more, but obviously you'll find your own personal groove.

    I also wanted to link this tool I stumbled on today which estimates your TDEE based on the average number of hours and minutes you spend engaging in various forms of activity in a single day. When I tried it for myself I got an estimate which was several hundred calories than I've got from sites like MFP in the past and a lot closer to what I've found to be my maintenance level through experimentation. I'm not saying go straight to whatever calorie intake is suggested by this tool but it might be worth having in your back pocket if you find that you still need to increase daily calories above 2000 as a way of reassuring yourself that it's all right and won't result in sudden regain. :)

    I also wanted to offer some food for thought, which is that I think maybe I seem overzealous to other commenters about this because when you've had to lose weight and I guess especially a relatively large amount of weight inadvertent/unplanned weight loss just doesn't feel like a real problem, even when you know it's not what you want intellectually you still sort of feel good about it (at least I did, I really associated seeing a lower number on the scale with a sense of victory even when things in my everyday life were getting harder because I was losing all my strength). But ... for me a large unplanned swing in either direction is just as serious and just as worthy of course-correction, I guess because of my experiences, and because it was a big struggle for me psychologically to accept that I needed to regain some weight and change my eating and exercise habits. So that's where I'm coming from. It's genuinely really hard to find that balance, it's a totally different struggle in a lot of ways, so if I come off like a know-it-all or whatever it's just because I wish someone had said all of this to me a year ago.

    1. Anonymous, thank you very much. I can spot genuineness a mile away. You're anonymous--and that's perfectly fine, but i can tell, you're also genuine in sharing your experiences, your concern and your suggestions.
      Thank you for offering a little more insight into your trek along this road. You're living it every day.
      I'll visit that link and see what it says.
      It's certainly an occasional mental hurdle or two at this juncture. You're right. I'm going to try my best at finding the balance for me. It's going to be challenging, for sure.
      Worth the effort, though.
      Congratulations on your success and continued recovery! And again, thank you.


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