This post is super long. It's full of excerpts and photos from one of the best years of my life, as documented in the daily pages of this blog.
January 2nd, 2015:
I feel like a man on a mission. I'm aiming for a healthy weight, better physical fitness and strength and I'm committed to maintaining the integrity of my plan and holding my continued recovery sacred, always, once I transition into maintenance mode. In other words, my 'weight loss mode' will look very similar to my upcoming 'maintenance mode.' I'm not there yet, but it's coming quick!
January 7th Weigh Day
January 29th at a big banquet
February 20th, 2015:
When I sit and ponder the many benefits of this journey, near the top of the list, just below the health benefits, is the confidence issue. I walked into the event tonight with complete confidence. I wasn't self-conscious. I wasn't worried if my outfit fit properly. I wasn't compelled to be self-deprecating because of my size--in order to satisfy some mental issue within me. Because the truth is, I believe I was a very likable guy at 500 pounds. The self-deprecating humor of old was a defense mechanism against imaginary criticism I might receive from others--when in reality, I was truly my biggest judge and critic all along.
Emceeing an awards presentation event on February 20th, 2015
February 18th Weigh Day
March 12th, 2015:
Instead of a number, my goal is to keep it steady in all aspects of my recovery. My goal is to maintain my abstinence from sugar. My goal is to continue being active in seeking and offering support. My goal is to continue to exercise regularly and eat well. My goal is to write more. My goal is to continue taking good care of me, physically, mentally and emotionally. I have a number of professional and personal goals. Those are the ones getting my attention instead of a number. Those are the goals that matter. I don't want to proclaim "I did it!" I want to say with confidence, "I'm doing it, every day."
March 11th Weigh Day
April 8th, 2015:
Sometimes, when I catch my reflection in a window, I pause and stare. It's not a vanity thing, it's a "that's me in there, that's what I look like now, even if my brain doesn't fully agree--there is reality, staring back at me." And it's great. But it's different than before. It's truly different.
When I see my reflection, it might take a few seconds to adjust my perception of the physical--but then I can see the other stuff inside me. Instead of getting caught up in the dang, I look thin mindset, I immediately go into the this is what recovery, food sobriety, abstinence from sugar, giving and receiving strong support and taking extraordinary care looks like and feels like, mindset. I've learned a bunch of powerful lessons along this road and one of the biggest is all about the difference between what's fun and slightly important and what's most meaningful and critically important.
April 22nd Weigh Day
May 15th, 2015 (Describing the impact of "Epiphany Day" on its one year anniversary):
Some epiphanies are like tiny pebbles tossed into a pond, creating small ripples on the surface. Although their size is small, the addition to the pond still raises the water level ever so slightly. Then there are epiphanies that come crashing down into the water like a boulder falling from a mountain top. The impact splashes everything near and the waves are monumental. After the surface returns to calm, the rise in water level can't be ignored; the epic impact can't be forgotten. With the crater in what's now the deepest part of the pond and the top of the boulder always protruding above the surface, there's absolutely no doubt, this pond is forever changed.
May 15th, 2015:
The first step in reclaiming my life didn't have anything to do with a calorie budget, a workout, a blog post, a facebook update or anything else. The first step was forgiveness. I had to extend inward, the same level of compassion, understanding, love and forgiveness I would freely give anyone else. Several steps followed, but that was the first, for me. And I pray I'll keep stepping forward, each day--one day at a time. If I hold the elements of my recovery forever sacred, my chances are good.
Dancing with mom at Amber's wedding reception.
The day of my daughter's wedding, May 30th, 2015.
May 31st, 2015:
Okay, I get it now. I turned around and went from, this is silly--just let me see her already, to a mess of emotions in about a quarter second flat. I couldn't help myself. As soon as I laid eyes on my stunning young lady, I melted right then and there. I didn't hear the clicks of the camera. Time, sound and everyone and everything froze in that moment. My face started utilizing muscles I didn't realize I had as it instantaneously started quivering all over; a brief prelude to tears. If I was distracted before, with all of the preparations and helping organize the events--this reveal suddenly brought me back to full attention. I could have looked into her eyes and exchanged tears and "I love yous" all night long.
May 13th Weigh Day
June 21st, 2015:
...And in all honesty, I might come off as cool and collected--balanced and ready for maintenance mode--and I truly believe I'm better prepared than ever before---but still, I'm fearful.
I don't want to ever go back, but I know better than to ever expect that as a given...so I pay close attention to my emotions--I make sure I'm doing the things in my recovery that I must do in order to be successful--and still, even with the peace and calm it all brings, I'm fearful.
Maybe I need to re-frame this fearfulness into "reverence," "respect" and "sacred consideration."
I honestly feel like I'm there--seriously, my commitment to abstinence from sugar and my overall food sobriety is super strong. What do I fear?
And for me, maybe a small portion of fear is a good thing. I'm certainly in a better place mentally and emotionally than I was before, at this point.
Maybe the absence of fear was one of my biggest problems when I hit goal in November 2010. I was too busy declaring how much "I got this" and "I'm never going back," and yeah... Famous last words, huh? The recklessness of that train of thought has been seared into my brain.
I'm going to proceed carefully. I'm going to take the best care I can. I'm going to stay active and committed to these writings. I'm going to stay connected in recovery and support. And I'm going to do all of these things, as best I can.
By God's grace and the tremendous power of support, accountability and a completely different perspective on what recovery means, for me, along this road... Maybe I'll be just fine, after all.
I hope and pray so.
June 24th Weigh Day
July 16th, 2015:
For me, taking care each day means far more than minding a calorie budget, exercising and abstaining from sugar. It also means making a conscious effort to feel good about me, as a person. This kindness we extend to ourselves is needed regardless of our weight. We can lose incredible amounts of weight and still not like ourselves. Treating ourselves with self-loathing and contempt and wondering why the weight loss didn't magically fix that, too, is a very common thing. I've been there, my friend. My worth, your worth--it isn't something determined by the size we see in pictures. Our worth is determined by all the unseen things in our hearts and minds. Just as I challenge myself each day to find and nourish the constant, inherent good, I challenge you to do the same.
July 31st, 2015
I work with funny people. Rumor quickly spread that Johnny Depp was in town and it went absolutely viral in this area. My colleagues photo-shopped this picture and added this made up story to the rumor mill: "Johnny Depp sightings in Ponca City swirled throughout Facebook today. Finally it's revealed why he was here. Rumor has it that Johnny is slated to portray our own Sean In The Morning in the big screen adaption of Sean's book Transformation Road. Filming is slated to begin in 2019 as soon as Johnny gains 300 pounds for the role."
July 15th Weigh Day
August 26th, 2015:
It's the strangest feeling to approach a scale without the desire for a loss. I find myself in this situation for the first time in my life. It's taking some intentional thought and meditation to really embrace this perspective. I've said it before--written it within these pages several times: It's not about the scale. Especially now. It will always be about my recovery, overall food sobriety and abstinence from refined sugar. Those must be handled with loving care each and every day in order for me to thrive. It takes practicing proven recovery techniques and daily intentional actions for the maintenance of these critically important elements. Unlike my initial loss and first time at a healthy weight, I take these things very seriously.
August 26th Weigh Day
August 10th, 2015-Doing freelance voice-over work
After working "closely" with Life Coach Gerri for years, we finally met in person on August 29th, 2015
September 3rd, 2015-- I arrived at my appointment and was greeted in the exam room by Dr. Rebik holding his copy of my book. It turns out, Dr. Rebik attended the January 19th, 2013 Oklahoma Osteopath Winter Conference with over three hundred other doctors and medical professionals. I was one of the featured speakers that day and Dr. Rebik was one of the doctors who purchased my book after the presentation. This was a very cool surprise. He showed me where I signed it to him and we had a nice time recalling that special day at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tulsa. It also served as a nice reminder of how much I desire reviving my schedule of speaking engagements.
September 12th, 2015:
Something magical can happen when we stop trying to figure it all out and we accept and embrace the idea that if we just start doing--- even if it's something that doesn't feel like anything we've done before... things can and usually work themselves into a groove where our individual elements become clear.
And the weight starts going...and we start losing....and wow... wasn't that what we wanted to begin with? Our health improves from the weight loss in dramatic ways--and it does without taking a massive detour from our authentic self.
As you gain your footing--and focus on maintaining the integrity of your budget through your accountability and support system you have in place--you'll naturally evolve your choices to fit into that budget--- and eventually, you may even try different things as you modify your approach. It's important to just get started moving in the right direction--away from self-sabotage and negative inward thoughts-- and straight toward consistency.
September 30th Weigh Day
October 13th, 2015:
It feels strangely fantastic to receive so many compliments at once. In other words, it can feel strange and fantastic at the same time. An annual event like this has found me at every physical condition along my trek: At my heaviest, during weight loss mode, during relapse/regain, during weight loss mode part two and now, during maintenance. Many of the people at this event are ones I rarely see but once a year, at this event.
Simply saying thank you isn't always easy. I did say a simple, "thank you, I feel great," most of the time and simply "thank you." But a couple of times I also caught myself saying, "you're too kind."
The key for me, is not getting caught up in these. Does it feel good? Yes. Do I have loads more confidence? Yes. But I continuously remind myself, it's still me--I'm the same guy--The 500 pound Sean, the 220 pound Sean--same person underneath. And it's in these thoughts where I find comfort and peace.
The realization that my self-worth and identity isn't attached to a number has easily been the most profound epiphany I've experienced along the way. In this embrace, I'm no longer dividing myself in two, with a bad and good version. I'm good, period. I was good then and I'm good now. I'm simply at a healthier weight. And that's a wonderful thing.
October 13th, 2015
October 28th Weigh Day
My 44th Birthday--October 23rd, 2015 With family.
November 5th, 2015:
What's interesting is how I once, years ago, claimed I was just too busy to take care of myself in the way of losing weight. Making a life to love, making time to experience happiness cultivated from the core elements within and keeping the life stream running in the foreground while the fundamental elements stream of my recovery and maintenance run just below, has proved to me something powerful. The belief I once held about not having time to take extraordinary care with weight loss was a convenient out--and one that few would counter, and that made it perfect. It seemed completely justifiable. I was comfortable being a victim of my circumstance because it enabled me to continue denying a pattern of self-destruction. Now I know... We're capable of taking extraordinary care, come what may.
November 25th Weigh Day
November 29th, 2015:
But--this feeling...how can I put it?
It's more about knowing that this dream--this monumental thing that seemed so impossible for so very long-- wasn't and isn't impossible. There's a peace and calm in my recovery and although never guaranteed, there's still a certainty that, if I continue this warm embrace of me, I'm going to be okay.
December 12th, 2015 Performing stand-up at a private event
December 12th, 2015:
I was hired to do at least 40 minutes. I was on stage for a solid hour-plus. It couldn't have turned out any better. The standing ovation at the end was the most unexpected gift. I'm so incredibly grateful. And not simply because the audience clearly loved the show...but because it was a wonderful example of loving myself and nurturing something in me that must be nurtured.
When I write or speak about the physical transformation being the least of it, trust I mean it with all my heart. The spiritual/mental/emotional transformation, this is the good stuff.
December 9th Weigh Day
Christmas Day 2015 with my wonderful daughters
December 22nd, 2015:
When we have some success, even when it's far from the goals we're working toward, and we're feeling better than we have in a long time, we can be tempted to let our guard down.
This is a normal dynamic. Success often breeds complacency. Suddenly, occasionally sacrificing our plan doesn't seem to be a big deal. Complacency runs amok without a plan.
Complacency breeds negative results.
An expansion on these thoughts goes back to the heart of why self-awareness is critically important. It's why when we reach certain milestones we mustn't stop, we remain aware--we keep our plan--maybe we make some slight modifications, but we're not becoming complacent.
In this thought process, I find the important reasons why I don't "got this," and how it isn't about "arriving" at some magical destination.
It also confirms why developing a plan I can enjoy for life is critically important. And if I give my plan the reverence it deserves and I remain aware, then I have the best chance at avoiding complacency.
And in this, I'm giving myself a gift of continued freedom, the likes of which go far beyond the physical.
Happy New Year!! I can think of several things I didn't include in the above recap--and not because they weren't important--they were very important, it's just too much stuff!!
I gave away my daughter's hand in marriage, I was bit by a dog, I revived my love of acting in the play Dog Sees God, I revitalized my love of standup, I started doing the Winning Loser Video Blogs (more coming very soon!), for the first time ever, the support groups I co-facilitate with Life Coach Gerri filled up to capacity, twice! And I could go on and on.
It was an amazing year. I'm incredibly blessed and immensely grateful.
I sincerely appreciate your support through it all. I'm looking forward to amazing things in 2016!!
I had two location broadcasts today. I enjoyed a late dinner and then returned to the big party before finally getting home super late. I've been working on this post for a few hours. It's 5am! My goodness, I haven't stayed up this late since--well, I can't remember!
I'll be sleeping in, of course. Goodnight--or should I say, Good morning!
My Tweets Today:
Good NYE morning! Dark roast with three tablespoons half & half X 2 cups. 120 cal. pic.twitter.com/dRpj8Skhme— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) December 31, 2015
NYE brunch in MFP... pic.twitter.com/HK4UEKc889— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) December 31, 2015
Three whole eggs over-medium, 3.7oz sirloin, two slices Ezekiel toast w/7g butter & 2.6oz apple slices. 624 cal. pic.twitter.com/Ou3tj2FV4L— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) December 31, 2015
Lunch in MFP... pic.twitter.com/tveJFsuipM— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) December 31, 2015
Lunch on location: 42g smoked almonds, string cheese, approx.5oz banana & 3.5oz apple slices. 459 cal. pic.twitter.com/AgCfUsbUXB— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) December 31, 2015
Dark roast coffee with three tablespoons half & half. I want to stay up tonight! #nye 60 cal. pic.twitter.com/cK9OdA8HeO— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) January 1, 2016
Late dinner coming. Until then, something. Colby-Jack cheese stick. 90 cal. pic.twitter.com/X4Z2yLuWEK— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) January 1, 2016
Dinner in MFP... pic.twitter.com/QHAuwQEDCH— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) January 1, 2016
3 cups water bottle refill with dinner. #watergoal #happynewyeartome #wateraccountability pic.twitter.com/8Ptk3zua8N— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) January 1, 2016
5.5oz baked salmon, 242g swt pot., 20g red onion, 2oz mshrms. 3secOOSpray, green beans, 72g stuffed mshrms. 656 cal. pic.twitter.com/VR40q8VboU— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) January 1, 2016
Dark roast with three tablespoons half & half. I plan on being up late! #nye 60 cal. pic.twitter.com/4bX6QHRtve— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) January 1, 2016
Latest #lastfoodofday ever. 5.7oz apple & 6.7oz pear. Happy New Year! 187 cal. pic.twitter.com/hFNjny4KlB— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) January 1, 2016
Thank you for reading and your continued support,