Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12th, 2016 DDWL Time Machine

September 12th, 2016 DDWL Time Machine

On a busy evening like this, it's really nice to access something from the archives in order to do a little more than a "Tweets Only" edition. And maybe you didn't read the September 12th, 2015 post--if not, this will be a brand new post for you! 

Before we get into the archive, let's take care of some daily business: Today I maintained the integrity of my calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded my daily water goal. I stayed connected with solid support and I had a nice full body elliptical workout.

Sometimes I'll republish something I've written over the course of the last eight years--and I'll read things that could be written better, explained in a different way--or even deleted--or added to. And although I never edit archived posts, I always reserve the right to make present day edits to a republished post.

Let's climb aboard the DDWL time machine and go back a year--

Tonight's rerun from September 12th, 2015:

Whenever we decide to start choosing change before change chooses us, we run the risk of some inner resistance. We need a plan, first, right? Maybe a liquid fast of some sort, or perhaps we cut out certain food groups--or we assemble a list of our "new" diet foods, head to the store and load our kitchen with only the best. Oh wait--what about a diet center type program where they already have the food ready to go? That would save a bunch of time spent shopping and preparing. Maybe we compare our hopes and dreams to someone else's success and try to do whatever they did, in hopes of the same results, I mean seriously--aunt so and so lost 50 pounds on that cabbage soup diet. Or maybe it's the latest and greatest available surgery. The process of deciding what we'll do is labored over until we realize we're not making any progress.

It's called paralysis by analysis.

I understand this process because I've lived it. 

Often, the plan we assemble doesn't reflect our authentic selves in any way at all. In fact, it might be a polar opposite of what we're accustomed to eating and doing. But isn't that the idea?? What we've been doing has brought us here and it seems to make sense that in order to lose weight, we need to do something opposite of what we've been doing. Right? Not so fast!

From my experience, here's what happens: We get set. We get everything in place. Then-- we go to bed and decide that tomorrow we're waking up and becoming a completely different person. And it can certainly bring some initial success and maybe even some extended success, until it becomes too much, too different, too fast and it becomes too easy to simply revert back to our authentic self we abandoned in order to do this new plan.

When I started at 505 pounds, it was the simplest approach possible. It had to be for me to stick with it. 1500 calories per day and a short walk each night. That's it. (In hindsight, this budget may have been too low. I likely would have lost weight just fine on a metabolism friendly 1700 or even a little more.)

I ate whatever fit into that budget. I didn't stress over the macro-nutrients or the fat grams or the anything, except the calories. I let go of every preconceived notion I had about what I had to do to lose weight, food wise--and just minded my budget. The consistency brought about by this simplified approach was supported by keeping the blog updated each and every night for a handful of readers whom I knew were paying attention...that was my accountability measure and it was support.

Some meals flew in the face of what anyone would consider "diet" food... fast food, convenience foods--it all made it's way in there early... but as I went along, my choices improved naturally---simply because I was trying to get the most value for my calorie "dollar." This is the "natural evolution of good choices" I've written and talked about many times.

Liberating myself from the worry of "what's best" and what foods would be best for weight loss---and sticking with the mantra "I eat what I like and nothing I don't," enabled me to liberate myself from 275 pounds.

Now, I ask you. What would have been better? Me coming up with a complicated diet plan with a bunch of self-imposed rules---all of which I would have felt horrible about breaking--but would have had they been too restrictive.... Or.... changing my perspective and just eating and moving every night?

This simplified approach forced me to focus LESS on the food and exercise details and MORE on the accountability and support needed to stay CONSISTENT.

And this brought success like I had never known. As you know, it also enabled me to learn a great deal about myself along the way---especially after hitting goal weight of 230 and actually maintaining for awhile before letting go of the elements all together...basically, I stopped doing what was working---and without the accountability and support structure that carried me so far, I was left with just me... and then it was on---like a race back to 500 pounds.

But it was good, because for me, it highlighted an element I needed to understand better---and that was my addiction to refined sugar and its effects on me.

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 who we are.

As you gain your footing--and focus on maintaining the integrity of your budget by leaning on your accountability and support system you have in place (what I now refer to as "rails") 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.

Counting calories is never an exact science. The closest we can get is when we weigh things with a digital scale. I do that at home and at work--but I don't go out to restaurants with one. And since it's best to weigh meats, especially prior to cooking-- It wouldn't really help. But-- the more we do it, the better we get at giving something an honest guesstimate.

Keep in mind-- during my initial 275 loss--I never logged, weighed or even wrote down my food. I used if I wasn't confident about something--and nutrition labels, of course... But I kept it all in my head---a running total each day. My budget was 1500-- and I'm sure it fluctuated give or take a 100 on any given day...but it didn't matter at the end of the day. It was close enough.

What would happen if we stopped looking for the perfect plan to focus on and instead, focused on the non-food elements, like setting up our accountability and support structure, in essence, building our individual rails of support? What if we gave ourselves time to see what consistency within a simplified approach could accomplish? What if we embraced our authentic selves, starting there and working our way toward our transformation that goes far beyond the physical? What would happen? It might be very interesting to find out.

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Thank you for reading and your continued support,


  1. Sean, I have read your book, "Transformation Road" and truly loved it! It is amazing how far you have traveled.

    I have been reading your post for over a year now and it has been very helpful to me. I have never commented but felt that I want to thank you today. I have been enjoying reading about your ideas on having "rails". I think that is such a great analogy. The information you shared that you based your journey on being simple to start out is so true. I have lost 65 pounds since October 20, 2015 and I still have another 200 pounds to lose. I am currently a member of Weight Watchers and find that it works well for me. I lost 245 pounds on their program in 1985 - 1987. I slowly gained the weight back over a number of years. This time I started out like you are describing. I had the attitude that I was going to go slow and easy in this change. I would stay true to the program guidelines and relax. I wouldn't stress over the food or the weight loss really. It has been good so far. And I wanted to let you know that you are a great inspiration. I appreciate that you are willing to share this with the public so I was able to find it and learn the things I have learned here.

    I also wanted to reply to send you well wishes for your mother. I pray that she continues to grow stronger each day.

    Carla (from Alabama)

    1. Carla, thank you sincerely, for commenting and sharing your story! I'm so glad you're finding some peace and calm within your plan. When we shift our perspective to a centered focus on our extraordinary care--those things, the food and the results, truly can fall into alignment, in harmony with our goals.
      Thank you for the well wishes and prayer for mom. She's improving wonderfully. I'm so grateful!
      My best Carla--and thank you for your wonderful support!

  2. As always, I've really enjoyed your simple insight. I'm one of those people who have always looked for some complicated system that becomes odious in a short time and soon abandoned. Over the summer I became involved with a food addiction group that has gotten ridiculous with all the sub groups, etc. I am vegan and they decided to start a vegan chat group that is anything but and I've actually found it distressing. I didn't want to unsubscribe from the group but it's just become a source of annoyance rather than a help. After reading today's post I've decided some things just are more of a deterrent than a help so I'm off to try a more simple approach. Thank you again for sharing your clarity of thought.


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