Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30th, 2016 All The Time

November 30th, 2016 All The Time

The last day of November, really?? I'm not going to argue the calendar with my internal seasons, but I must say, it doesn't feel like December should be tomorrow morning. Time moves quickly.

I've spent a lot of time writing about time--and how it passes and how it does what it does regardless of what we do. The passage of time can bring pleasant surprise or crippling regret. I've worked to maintain a perspective that doesn't worry too much about time. I'd rather not give time too much power over my emotions. There was a time I did--oh yeah, all the time--I was worried about time.

One of the first questions I obsessed over years and years ago, before finding this road, was, "How long is this going to take?" It was a loaded thought because maybe I was looking for reasons I couldn't do this--and some genuine frustration with an equal measure of discouragement was all I needed to jump into the "poor me-I've got it too hard--it's too overwhelming--look away, I'm hideous and hopeless" thought process.

The only way I was able to let go of this discouragement disguised as a motivator, was by bringing the focus back to the here and NOW. And in focusing on maintaining the integrity of my plan each day, I was able to find something I could immediately feel great about. If I maintain the integrity of my plan--and I hit the pillow knowing I nailed a great day-I feel calm and confident. When the challenge and reward share the same 24 hour period, I end up feeling great. Back when I would set the challenge and reward a year apart, I never made it too far. I need positive reinforcement. Like a dog in training, I need little "brain treats" daily.

This reminds me of a term I started writing about six years ago or more. I found the following excerpt from the archives:

Do you proceed along this road with a “confident patience?” Our physical transformation doesn't happen overnight. It takes weeks, months and for many of us, years. Finding confidence happens easier when the main focus is taken away from wanting immediate results and placed on the daily fundamentals of our extraordinary care.

If we center our focus on what we can do today, we can find confidence. And this confidence gives birth to patience.

When you proceed with a confident patience, you'll experience a peace and calm over the process. Results may come euphorically fast or frustratingly slow, either way, adjustments can be made. Releasing ourselves from the frustration and often times derailing “fast and furious” results based focus and focusing instead on the smaller goals of today, gives us the best chance at waking up someday to incredible results.

I've lived this "confident patience" and I'm telling you, it all comes down to the age-old philosophy of one day at a time.

I can remember weight loss attempts where I mapped out my weigh days for an entire year, complete with a goal weight for each and a place to write my actual weight. On the surface, it seemed like a great idea for me. I'd proudly gaze at the calendar and say things like, "See that date? I'll weigh 100 pounds less by then. Isn't that amazing?" It was such a matter of fact tone--not at all considering the different variables I would encounter along the way.

How could I have known? I'd never experienced long range success. And keep in mind this "projection calendar" would typically be created in advance of actually starting anything. I had to wait until a predetermined start day and that meant I was free to gorge as much as I wanted in the meantime. In fact, I'm pretty sure I made several of these projection calendars while eating a giant bowl of ice cream at midnight.

The problem with this was, as soon as I didn't meet or best the written goal on the calendar, I'd become severely discouraged because now I was behind!! And after a couple of less than expected weigh-ins, another marked up calendar would find its way into the junk drawer only to be found months or years later, prompting a wave of "calendar regret," as I realized aloud to anyone within earshot "Wow, you know that failed weight loss attempt? Yeah--had I stuck with it I'd weigh 250 by now." 

Sticking with it was almost impossible because of my enormous impatience and high expectations. I was setting myself up to be disappointed. And personal disappointment breeds all kinds of negative self-talk. Learning to relax into a day by day approach and allowing a natural evolution of good choices has been a very difficult perspective to adopt--and critical to my success. Not once have I recently sat down to "map out" where I'll be by a particular date in the near future.

I'll be wherever I am and it will be okay. If this was a race or a competition, perhaps a results now focus would be useful, but it's not a race--it's life. And I'm confident in my day to day practices and the results they'll bring.

This isn't what I'm doing for the duration of a calendar--taking extraordinary care is what I'm making important for the rest of my life. Losing my previously narrow focus has made a monumental difference for me in successfully losing weight.

Today, I maintained the integrity of my maintenance-mode calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded my daily water goal. And I stayed well connected throughout a very long workday.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 29th, 2016 All Of Us

November 29th, 2016 All Of Us

I was trucking along just fine until sometime after 2pm and then, I was done. I just completely ran out of steam. I finished my production work--and before leaving the studio for a trip to Stillwater for mom's medical appointment, I took a 20-minute power nap. That helped. The coffee helped, too.

Mom is doing well. It's been a little while since updating on her in these writings. She's still on oxygen, and that may or may not be a long-term thing, but all things considered, she's doing well. And that's wonderful. After her short medical test, we made our way to The Garage just off the campus of Oklahoma State. We love this place. When I discovered their fresh cut sweet potato fries, I was sold. I enjoyed a lean bison burger without a bun and sweet potato fries.















I enjoyed a fantastic support call on the way to Stillwater. One of the most valuable things I've learned along this road is centered around the power of connection. Aside from the accountability and support good connections create, it's the "I'm not alone" dynamic that resonates in the most comforting way. And then it goes beyond the "I'm not alone" dynamic and expands to include the "I can do this, too" dynamic. I love the way Dr. Lerner expressed it on episode 7 of Transformation Planet when he spoke of connecting with people in "the same lifeboat."

If you're walking through a forest all alone--it's dark, you hear animals--it's scary out there, right? Or maybe you're alone--walking downtown in a big city, it's late and you feel slightly uneasy about your path. What happens when you insert someone else in those scenarios? I know for me, I'm not as afraid when I'm with someone else. In fact, I'm brave. Things aren't as scary when we're in it together.

When it comes to recovery from morbid obesity, I'm not alone and you're not alone. All of us are in it together.

Unless we choose to isolate. Ooh, I've been there a few times or ten. But that's another blog page for another night!

I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget today. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded my daily water goal. And I stayed well connected with great support!

Pillow landing within minutes.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Monday, November 28, 2016

November 28th, 2016 Five Times Better

November 28th, 2016 Five Times Better

Tonight's blog page is brought to you by Sean & Kathleen's December Speaker Series.















Every Wednesday Night, Four weeks, one powerful speaker each week--with perspectives for life! It starts December 7th. The $60 fee includes membership in an exclusive Facebook support group for December Speaker Series members only--and all throughout the month of December, we'll interact on the group page in various ways-Plus you'll have an opportunity to submit questions for our guest experts! All speakers will be on a private teleconference line--so if you have a phone, you can listen LIVE. Each call will be presented as a recorded online clickable play-back link available exclusively to speaker series members within minutes after the presentation, just in case you miss this exclusive Wednesday night event. If you're looking for your "click," you might just experience it during this powerhouse lineup of speaking events!!
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Getting back to work today was rather challenging. It wasn't abnormal, I mean really, I think many people experience this same dynamic after holiday weekends, it was just challenging. I made sure I had what I needed, when I needed and where I needed it--and I was fine.

I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded today's water goal, I experienced a wonderful 30-minute elliptical ride at the gym and I stayed nicely connected with good support. It was a solid plan kind of day. I love days like today. Even if the rest of it was slightly challenging. Having a rough day and still hitting the marks of your personal plan, to me, feels five times better than hitting the marks on a fairly simple day. You dig?

I loved being a guest on Heather Robertson's Half-Size Me Podcast. The interview was released today! She's truly in a league all her own. If you haven't already, I highly recommend subscribing to her podcast wherever you find your podcasts. I've asked Heather to be a guest on an upcoming episode of Transformation Planet and she said yes-I'm very excited about that! Find out more about Half-Size Me at HalfSizeMe.com

One of the many things we discussed was the topic of self-worth/identity. I talked some about my epiphany day--so with that, I thought it would be a perfect time to revisit the archives. It's hard to believe it's been two and a half years since that experience.

Let's finish off tonight's post by revisiting "Epiphany Day" May 15th, 2014 and a follow-up post a few days later on May 19th, 2014:

What you're about to read has changed me in very meaningful ways. I hope you'll enjoy.

May 15th, 2014

Why in the world should I ever allow the shape of my face or the size of my pants determine my self-worth? This isn't how I treat others, so why would I treat me that way? 

And then I started thinking about the differences between how I felt about me at 505 and how I felt at 230 and that's when I experienced a breakthrough in my thinking. In that moment I imagined the scales of justice. On one side was my love for the non-physical parts (my mind, my sense of humor, my talents, my heart, my natural compassion for others, my ability to communicate, etc.) and the other side of the scale was my love for things physical about me. 

The personal injustice has been the obvious imbalance and distribution of my love for self.  

At my heaviest, I had nearly zero love for the physical and what little love I had for the non-physical was small, barely existent and unacknowledged because I was too busy hating the way I looked. 

At my healthiest weight, I still paid little attention to the non-physical attributes because I was too busy loving the way I looked.  

Throughout my entire life, I've largely ignored the important things that make me who I am. My most intense focus was either hating the way I looked or loving the way I looked. With this narrow-minded perspective, the only source of identity and self-worth remaining relied almost exclusively on my appearance. 

It isn't any wonder why I've limited myself over the years.  Even worse is the natural tendency to project this fluctuating self-perspective onto others, as in, if I feel this way about me, surely they do too. 

When I think about my closest loved ones, I realize their perspective of me is never conditional based on appearance. When I spend time with mom, she doesn't even notice the weight gain, she just sees her son. When I pick up my grandson and he looks at me and smiles, it's an innate understanding that I'm someone who loves him deeply and will protect and care for him no matter what. When I spend time with my daughters, it's clear their love for me isn't placed on a scale, ever.

And then I realized: This is what they mean when they say you must love yourself first before you can fully experience and appreciate the love and richness of life. Oh my goodness, I feel like shedding tears just writing these words. 

If I was confused before, it was very clear now. I'm a great person worthy of love regardless of my size and appearance. 

I have my mind, sense of humor, talents, a big heart, loads of compassion for others and so very much more. 

And none of it is diminished with weight gain or increased with weight loss. 

I am me, always.

And my journey will continue toward a healthier weight because I want to live, I want to move easier, I want to experience the freedom a healthy body weight provides. Regardless of how this journey goes, I believe I just discovered one of my greatest personal freedoms of all.

May 19th, 2014

The thing I've focused on the most the last several days has proven to be a wonderful exploration.  It is, in short, the secret to happiness. Millions have figured it out already and they live it every day. Millions struggle with understanding it and they spend years, sometimes a lifetime in pursuit of it. The thing about loving and caring for the constants within us, the things that can't ever be taken from us, the elements making us who we are deep down no matter what comes or goes in this life, is a key to emotional freedom.

I think about the documentary HAPPY and the man in India who lives with his wife and kids in what can best be described as a tent.  He gets up every day and walks for miles into the city where he pulls a rickshaw, transporting tourist and business people for 8-12 hours a day. Then he walks home and has dinner (usually white rice and anything else they can afford) with the family he loves. He's one of the happiest people you'll ever meet.

I think about the person who was able bodied their entire life before a drunk driver rendered them a quadriplegic. Yet, some of these people who have had so much taken away from them, are transformed into some of the most inspirational, positive and fascinatingly happy people in this world.

I believe that people who find and live their happiness are doing so because they're connected to the core qualities within them that can never be taken away. 

Whoever first said "happiness must come from within," this is what they meant. 

If we tether our identity, self-worth, definition of success and happiness to anything that naturally fluctuates or can change dramatically, then we're in for a roller coaster ride of emotional unrest.

I've always attached my self-worth to my weight. 

I've often talked about potential and not living up to potential. But here's the thing: Potential is tied directly to the constant qualities within us and if our focus is on the pursuit of happiness in every direction except within, then those qualities aren't allowed to flourish, to grow--to give life to the potential within us all.

This whole thing makes me want to take the best care I can. I've never felt more determined to return to a healthy weight. 

It's what I need physically. 

What I need emotionally isn't affected by weight loss. 

And making that distinction provides a nice inner calm, a peace.

The question to determine these inner qualities needing attention and love is: 

What are the qualities in me that remain regardless of my weight, regardless of my financial situation, regardless of my relationship status, regardless of my professional success--what are the things about me that stay the same when all of these other things can and do change?  

My heart, soul, sense of humor, natural compassion for others, likes and dislikes, pride in parenting, artistic talents, selflessness, humility, etc. Have you made your list?  

And when these constants are cared for and loved, watered, so to speak--they grow, they flourish--and they give us what we need to experience emotional freedom, the freedom, and ability to claim our happiness come what may.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 27th, 2016 Boulder In The Stream

November 27th, 2016 Boulder In The Stream

I love opening my messages and finding fantastic questions. If you have a question, please--don't hesitate: transformation.road@gmail.com

Caryl writes: Hi Sean. Need a bit of insight. How did you determine your non-negotiables and how did you stick to them when things got hard?

First of all, you determine what's reasonable. Once you define the most critical elements of your plan boundaries- and you've determined they're doable on a typical day- then you make what I call an iron-clad decision. It's a promise to you from you, to give this element a non-negotiable stance come what may. 

Think of it as a boulder in a stream. Life is the rushing water. No matter how fast that water rushes, the boulder isn't moving. The boulder isn't sacrificed or compromised. The water has no choice, but to make its way around it- and it does. And the boulder in the stream stands strong.

On a deeper level, this creates growth/development in other areas, like coping skills- it develops growth in learning what good accountability and support skills are about. The more consistency you gain, the more you'll prove to yourself that it is possible to maintain your plan in the toughest of times. 

And that's the idea, a plan, not a diet. 

You're developing a plan that takes care of what you need. In honoring your plan, you'll notice the side effect of consistent weight loss. This is what Dr. Lerner (Transformation Planet Podcast Episode 7) means when he speaks of the focus NOT being a diet, but rather, a food plan you can live with indefinitely. And it can still have the boundaries you need to feel satisfied. Especially when you reach maintenance mode and increase your calories. But again, it's all about the daily plan--and not all about the numbers on the scale. If you take care of your daily plan-the weight loss will come.

How important are your non-negotiable elements? 

It is the consistent maintenance of what you're willing to define as non-negotiable that creates growth, and in that--a natural evolution of you unfolds.

Think once more about the boulder in the stream. The boulder stands strong against the current and because it does, the stream evolves--changes course, grows and with the gift of time, develops different paths and canyons. If the boulder simply moved out of the way every time the water came rushing--the stream would have an easier path--one of least resistance. In the path of least resistance, nothing changes. No growth, no canyons.

I've often written about the effects of maintaining non-negotiables. The only way our food plan develops/evolves over time, is by maintaining the integrity of the plan. All growth, all of our positive progress--it all depends on our willingness to create, accept and embrace certain non-negotiable elements of our plan. Determining what's reasonable is VERY important. If your non-negotiable is extreme, doesn't fit what you naturally like--is overly restrictive and monumentally demanding, it'll be a horrible experience.
Make it doable for you.

If we sacrifice our plan for whatever reason, the boundaries are broken and growth is stunted. If we develop a habit of consistently sacrificing the integrity of the non-negotiable elements of our plan, we literally become stuck--and often this "stuck" place becomes the very definition of insanity.

Life keeps coming. And there's no such thing as a "perfect time." There's only here and now and with it, a forever fluctuating rhythm to life. Let life flow around the boulders of your non-negotiables... and with the passage of time, you'll experience growth--you'll see and feel the changes, mentally, spiritually, and physically.

Developing your plan for accountability and support is important. When we decide to create non-negotiable elements of our plan, we lose a coping option. Excess food was always my number one coping tool, albeit not a good one. It lied to me every time--because it never fixed anything. When I developed my non-negotiables, it strongly encouraged me to either seek positive ways to cope or find other destructive ways to do it. We gotta cope one way or another. My skills haven't been and still aren't perfect, but it's a practice each and every day. Staying connected with good support and seeking out those connections in whatever way you can is critically important. There are many options available!

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded my daily water goal. And I stayed well connected with fantastic support.

I'm super excited to announce: I'm the next guest on the Half-Size Me Podcast with Heather Robertson! It releases tomorrow (Monday)! It's available in iTunes, Google Play and wherever you find your favorite podcasts. You can also find out more at www.halfsizeme.com

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Saturday, November 26, 2016

November 26th, 2016 Me Day

November 26th, 2016 Me Day
















Sign up here: http://totalkathy.com/?event=why-weight
The December Speaker Series is a weekly teleconference presentation of Sean & Coach Kathleen Support Groups! If you want perspectives for sustainable weight loss, this weekly speaker series might be just the thing for you! And just in time--right before 2017!

I've taken a day off today. It's a ME day. No work, no place to be--just enjoying my time. After some crazy schedules of late, I needed a day like today. I treated myself to a night out and a meal out this evening and I'm relaxing wonderfully. Disconnecting, not 100%, but enough to feel like I'm doing myself a huge favor. I've been way too busy--mentally, emotionally and physically.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded my daily water goal. And I stayed nicely connected to great support. I enjoyed two fantastic conversations centered on the topic of maintaining a plan.

Tonight, I've decided to share a "rerun." The following excerpt is from July 25th, 2015. Well over a year later, it still applies.

Oh, and one thing-- as you know, this road isn't perfect. The recent banana-gate and cracker-controversy is certainly proof of that-- but it isn't about perfection, it's truly about positive, consistent progress. And that's what I've experienced. I'm blessed and I'm thoroughly grateful.

We were celebrating. Everyone was gathered at the restaurant in good spirits, drinks and food ordered, conversations circulating and plenty of laughter frequently breaking out. I was at the end of the table looking over the menu, checking my calorie budget and deciding on what would become my dinner. I already decided water-no ice, with lemon and lime, would be my drink choice. After I ordered the 7oz sirloin with double asparagus, the question came from a friend across the table.

"Do you ever cheat?"

"I haven't in almost sixteen months."

First of all, let me make it very clear--this isn't a boast. This is simply a fact. Further--let me stress how incredibly surprised I am that I can honestly say that.

How in the world could I do an about-face, a 180--a total turnaround from where I found myself sixteen months ago? The answer isn't a simple sentence or source. It's a bunch of things working together on several different levels. Spiritual, emotional and mental work, and different levels of support--from group support to one on one support, to the accountability measures put into place to help guide me along--keeping my awareness level high and my routine consistent.

This turnaround from relapse/regain wasn't a simple declaration of "starting tomorrow things will be different." I tried that approach several times without a shred of success. I wasn't creating an action plan and then, when things remained the same the next day, I'd sit around feeling hopeless and doomed. It was like throwing the same thing against a wall and hoping it would somehow stick this time. It didn't, several times.

I needed an action plan. Once an action plan was created, that's when things started changing dramatically.

The list was long: Return to writing this blog daily, as the name suggests. Weigh and measure my food as much and as often as possible. Log every single thing in MyFitnessPal. Tweet a picture, description and calorie count of every bite, every day. Make sure what I do eat, I enjoy, 100%. Commit to a regular exercise plan. Re-commit to giving and receiving more support via group and one on one interactions. Abstain from refined sugar. And treat all of these elements with an importance level in the highest, most non-negotiable way.

Honestly, the list felt a little over-whelming, at first. The very first thing I did was try to figure out reasons why it wasn't possible for me to do this thing. I remember one session with Life Coach Gerri, that mirrored almost word for word what was asked by my therapist at the time. I was talking about how I was way too busy to return to daily blog posts. Gerri immediately challenged me with some good questions: When you experienced so much success before--and you were blogging daily, were you not just as busy? Very true. Good point. I was just as busy. And she didn't stop at making a good point: So, what you were doing was working well until you stopped doing it, right? Well, when you put it that way, but...

I kept throwing out objections and Gerri kept persisting with questions designed to challenge me into changing my perspective. Suddenly I stopped coming up with reasons why I couldn't do it and I started coming up with ideas and solutions proving I could.

Besides, I thought you said that writing brings you immense joy. Why would you stop something that not only contributes in positive ways to your success--but does it at the same time it's bringing immense joy into your life? Damn it. She's good.

Okay, okay--from this moment forward, I'm blogging every day. That was over 450 days ago. I haven't missed one since. Sure, occasionally time constraints require a short one--and sometimes a "tweets only" one...but it's done, each and every night. And it's made a profound difference.

The MFP and Tweets really bothered me, mainly because I knew that if I committed 100%, the only way it would work is if I applied a very strict code of honesty. The first time I eat something without logging and tweeting it--it's all over. I knew that going in--and it seemed extreme and beyond necessary to tweet everything. Turns out, it's helped me in monumental ways. The Tweets inspire me to eat well. I eat much better now than I ever did before. The Tweets and MFP logging have encouraged me to slow down and enjoy the process of planning, preparing and enjoying my food. I make the time to take good care--and in this care, I'm honoring my commitments.

In my book, Transformation Road, I wrote about my philosophy on cheat days or cheat meals--or cheating, period. If what I'm doing is so restrictive and against the grain of what I can do for the rest of my life, then perhaps I need to change what I'm doing. For me to accept a "cheat day," suggests that what I'm doing the rest of the time is just a means to an end. If I'm constantly looking forward to the day when I can cut loose--then I might want to inspect the daily restraints. This isn't about defining restrictions, it's about refining solutions--making this something enjoyable, doable--workable, delicious--satisfying...and if we can make it all that, then why would we feel the need to deviate into old behaviors for a day or a meal? If what I'm doing is a temporary means to an end--and I'm forcing myself to do something unnatural to me and what I like--then I'm setting myself up for a monumental problem down the line.

The abstinence from refined sugar has made a profound impact bio-chemically--effectively turning off the "binge switch" and ushering in a peace and calm I never knew. But as I've discussed before--it doesn't stop the other side of things--the deeply ingrained pattern of seeking comfort with food in times of extreme emotion and high stress. I've had three very close calls in the last fifteen plus months--one of those three happened recently, on Wednesday July 15th. Each time, reaching out for support--texting it or talking it out, has made a HUGE difference. It's not as easy as simply agreeing that excess food doesn't fix anything--or that food isn't a therapist. It doesn't matter how long or how much success we're experiencing, I've learned that unless I reach out for support, I'm perfectly capable of talking myself into the comfort food dynamic.

Do I ever cheat?

Why would I want to cheat myself out of the tremendous blessings this road brings? I don't, so I won't.

My success isn't a guarantee. I'm not entitled. It's not automatic. If I stop doing the things I'm doing, I'll quickly fall hard.

This here thing, is a daily practice--a one day at a time practice of uniquely crafted fundamental elements. I just want one more day feeling as good as I feel when I'm honoring my commitment and maintaining the integrity of my plan. I'd like a whole bunch of one more days . 

If this were a blog about sobriety and abstinence from alcohol, would the "Do you ever cheat?" question even come up? Likely not. This is why it's crucial for me to treat my continued recovery from food addiction with the same reverence as someone in successful recovery from other things.

--------------
Thank you for reading and your continued support,
And I hope you'll sign up for the December Speaker Series.
I think you'll be super-impressed!
Strength,
Sean

Friday, November 25, 2016

November 25th, 2016 Long Day

November 25th, 2016 Long Day

Today was loaded. We had a Black Friday location broadcast from 9 to 1--then another event this evening keeping me out until after 1am. The late event was a broadcast followed by a $15,000 karaoke contest I was asked to judge. 18 finalist, 3 rounds--All were exceptional singers

Long day. The good news: No work the rest of the weekend. I plan to catch up on some much-needed rest.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar, I stayed connected with support. And I exceeded my daily water goal.

I'm thoroughly exhausted. More tomorrow night!

Transformation Planet Episode 7 features Dr. Marty Lerner!

Dr. Lerner's experience with eating disorders started long before he became known for his research and published articles. He shares his personal story with disordered eating behaviors in this episode. He also shares how a research project using ice cream forever changed the direction of his career. In the decades since, he's been featured on numerous national television and radio shows including The NPR Report, 20/20, ABC's Nightline and Discovery Health. Dr. Lerner's research has been published in many different professional publications and featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today and several newspapers and national magazines. He is the CEO of Milestones In Recovery Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Florida.

Dr. Lerner is also the first special guest speaker in the Sean and Coach Kathleen December Speaker Series via private teleconference. Members of the December Speaker Series receive entrance into the secret Facebook group for speaker series members. Being a part of this December group will give you several bonus benefits throughout the month!
Sign up here: http://totalkathy.com/?event=why-weight

Thursday, November 24, 2016

November, 24th, 2016 Thanksgiving

November, 24th, 2016 Thanksgiving

This was my 9th Thanksgiving since I started along this road in September 2008. I've had a plan for each one--not the same, of course, it's evolved into what it is today. A plan for me, on any day--and especially on a day like today, is critically important.















My strategy is centered on shifting the main focus from the food to the experience with family--and of course, giving extra thought, thanks-gratitude, for the blessings in my life. I had a great Thanksgiving without over-indulging and I'm proud of that. If you would have told me ten years ago that it was possible to enjoy Thanksgiving without diving into a food coma, I would have argued with your position. I would have defended the acceptable nature of holiday indulgence--and I would have done it while being completely disconnected from my own truth.

Some people can make today their Superbowl of eating and it's okay for them because it comes without long-term consequences. I'm not them. I never was one of those people, although I did my best impression for a very long time.

Since I'm no longer including the day's food Tweets on this blog, I put together a collage of pictures representing today's consumption. It was satisfying, on plan and perfect, for me.















I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I can't complain. Mine was blessed. Noah was in prime form today. That little guy is something extra special.

I've consumed approximately 15 to 20 crackers in the last year. I only have crackers if I'm at a restaurant and I've ordered cottage cheese. These two things--crackers and cottage cheese, are things I don't keep in my apartment--and I don't, because I have a history with both and it isn't a healthy history. I only enjoy them on rare occasion while dining out. That's just one of the boundaries of my food plan.

A long time ago--probably two and half years ago, when I decided to abstain from refined sugar, I checked out the ingredients of plain saltine crackers, Zesta brand to be exact--and this is what I found:

Zesta Saltine Crackers-
Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Soybean Oil with TBHQ for Freshness, Salt, Contains Two Percent or Less of: Corn Syrup, Yeast, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin.

I didn't see "sugar" and the synonym for sugar, "corn syrup" is at least the 6th ingredient or less--so it's not even a concern.

Many people who maintain abstinent eating plans will often accept a product even if sugar is listed as the 5th ingredient or less. This is very common. I normally don't anyway--just because, except in the case of my rare crackers and cottage cheese.

Apparently, not all crackers are equal. Several days ago, while dining out with my oldest daughter, I enjoyed some crackers with my cottage cheese. Instead of regular saltines, they served Lance brand's Captain's Wafers. I didn't check to make sure, I just assumed if Zesta is okay, why wouldn't these be okay? As it turns out, these contain refined sugar as the third ingredient--followed by HFCS and malt syrup as the 4th and 5th ingredients.

Lance Captians Wafers-
Ingredients: Enriched Wheat Flour (Containing Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Shortening (Contains One or More of the Following Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils: Soybean, Cottonseed, Sunflower, Canola), Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Malt Syrup, Salt, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate)

No more Captain's Wafers for me. I do not, nor should I count this as a willful/intentional violation of my abstinence from refined sugar.

My food plan has served me very well. And I'm going to keep on allowing it to serve me well as I proceed in maintenance mode.

I certainly hope that clears up the cracker issue. Zesta, yes. Captain's Wafers, no.

As my friend Geri Helms would say--I just pole vaulted over a mouse turd, but hey--in the name of transparency, it needed to be addressed.

And to the anonymous commenter who zeroed in on this breach, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I met my daily water goal. I stayed well connected with great support. And I exercised with a good late afternoon walk.

The next episode of Transformation Planet is available on iTunes, Google Play and wherever you get your podcasts. Episode 7 features Dr. Marty Lerner PhD!


Dr. Lerner's experience with eating disorders started long before he became known for his research and published articles. He shares his personal story with disordered eating behaviors in this episode. He also shares how a research project using ice cream forever changed the direction of his career. In the decades since, he's been featured on numerous national television and radio shows including The NPR Report, 20/20, ABC's Nightline and Discovery Health. Dr. Lerner's research has been published in many different professional publications and featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today and several newspapers and national magazines. He is the CEO of Milestones In Recovery Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Florida.

Dr. Lerner is also the first special guest speaker in the Sean and Coach Kathleen December Speaker Series via private teleconference. Members of the December Speaker Series receive entrance into the secret Facebook group for speaker series members. Being a part of this December group will give you several bonus benefits throughout the month!
Sign up here: http://totalkathy.com/?event=why-weight


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November 23rd, 2016 Zapped

November 23rd, 2016 Zapped

This was the longest work day for me in the last decade. After nearly thirteen hours straight, I grabbed some dinner, enjoyed it (all food was consumed at work today--everything, all meals--Never before been able to say that) and proceeded to work on getting episode 7 of Transformation Planet finished and released. I was absolutely determined to get it released Thanksgiving eve--but no--after several technical difficulties--namely a computer that wouldn't or couldn't cooperate, I had to throw in the towel. I'll finish that tomorrow evening. It was foolish of me to try to do that too, tonight. I knew better. But again-- Thanksgiving eve. It was important to me--but after spending a considerable amount of time and then not being able to save my work, then being forced to restart the computer--I said enough is enough. And I must be okay with the circumstance.

This is one of the busiest times of the year in my industry. Right before Thanksgiving and right before Christmas--and after producing twenty-five commercials today--I'm zapped.

By the way--I don't have time to write about it tonight, but there's apparently something bigger than accurate bananas logging in MyFitnessPal. It involves crackers, refined sugar, and my abstinence from refined sugar.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained abstinent from refined sugar I exceeded my daily water goal and I stayed connected with great support.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November 22nd, 2016 Banana-Gate

November 22nd, 2016 Banana-Gate

I just found out today that just about any day where I've eaten a banana in the last two and a half years, I've likely exceeded my calorie budget. 

This was at first, very disturbing to me. I didn't realize it. It wasn't intentional.

I've been using a MyFitnessPal entry labeled "Bananas (raw) by the ounce" for the longest time. I've found entries that include "by the ounce" or "by the gram" tend to be the most accurate. EXCEPT in the case of the banana, obviously.

This is banana-gate.

Twitter follower Tony Pakeltis (@tonypakeltis) noticed the discrepancy. Once he called it to my attention, I found an entry "by the gram," and sure enough, Tony was on to something. 

The good news: Clearly this inaccurate entry hasn't had negative effects on my weight loss and now, for the last year, maintenance mode. But--for someone like me who takes pride in maintaining the integrity of a calorie budget, it's challenging. I know, I know--it's bananas, literally!!! 

The challenge for me is to let it go. It's okay. It's not a big deal. I didn't know. And really, I've said it time and time again--this isn't perfect nor is it meant to be perfect. When I guesstimate amounts at a restaurant, there's no way it's spot-on accurate. I know it's very close--but it's never to the gram or to the single calorie precise. And it's okay. I make the best, most honest assessment--log it and accept it as logged. 

The difference between it being okay and not okay is found in the honest intention. I spent many many years in denial about the amounts of food I was eating. It was enough to maintain a 500 pound-plus body weight--but had you asked me back then, I would have said something like, "Yeah--I don't know, I really don't eat that much." Had I added the words "...in front of other people," it would have been more accurate. My food plan today and the boundaries I've created keep my consumption in line with reality.

This isn't exclusively about maintaining an accurate calorie count. It's about maintaining a consistent certainty that I'm maintaining the integrity of my budget, to the best of my ability and honest belief. So much of this comes back to how we feel about ourselves and what we're doing-- and when I'm hitting the pillow and I know I've maintained my plan for the day, it provides a nice measure of confidence, calm, and certainty. And as long as I can honestly believe I did the best I could possibly do and I was as accurate as I could be--with consumption logged in line with reality...then I'm okay even if every banana I've consumed in the last two and a half years was actually 20-30 calories more than logged.

It reminds me of when I first started losing weight over eight years ago. I walked this trail every single night. I started super small--only 5 minutes, but kept going a little further and further and after a short time, I was up to what I thought was one mile. I walked this "mile" for nearly a year before the city posted a sign stating the actual length of the walking trail was .86 mile. Did it matter? Not really. I still lost over 200 pounds that first year. I was still super-consistent with my plan. And even though I wasn't, I honestly believed I was walking one mile every single time. And when I made it to my first 5K walk sometime in the first year--I truly believed with all my heart and soul that it was 3.1 miles-- but it wasn't--and it didn't matter, because my perception, although statistically inaccurate, was my reality--and all of the positive benefits of accomplishment danced in my head, regardless.

Our perception is our reality. And when our perception gets realigned, our reality gets adjusted. And we move on with new information.

This will be the first time in nearly two and half years that I haven't included the tweet stream on my blog post. I do not plan on stopping the Live-Tweeting anytime soon--but in an effort to freshen my approach on this blog, they're gone from these nightly posts. The Tweets are featured in real time along the left-hand side of the desktop version of this blog. And of course, you don't need a Twitter account to visit www.twitter.com/SeanAAnderson

Today was long, very busy and very stressful. I finally got home a little before 5pm. This happens before every major holiday---it's about getting everything normally accomplished in a week, crammed into two or three days.

I'm behind on so many projects. And that's stressful, too. I'll take a deep breath, get some rest, and do the best I can do, tomorrow.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I met my daily water goal. And I stayed well connected with great support.

I did well. And I didn't slip on the banana peel.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Monday, November 21, 2016

November 21st, 2016 Rested and Ready

November 21st, 2016 Rested and Ready

The schedule was tight today. I woke rested and ready to handle it well. I did radio until 11:45am, then hosted the TV show thing I do for the school system Monday's at noon--and then it was off to Stillwater for my Aunt Wilma's funeral. I skipped the family meal afterward in order to get back home in time for the Monday night conference call support groups.

My food was planned without an organized lunch--some almonds, a Quest protein bar--some water, and some coffee for the drive back--and I was fine.

Aunt Wilma had a very nice funeral. There's a lot of family members we only see at funerals and that's too bad. When I was a kid, we all got together about once a month for music, food, and laughter. It seriously was like a family reunion once a month and it was special. I miss those days. Now, often times, the ones who pass are those I wish I would have made more time to know in the later years. At the graveside, after the funeral, Keith Cox--who was married into the family when I was a kid, played a song--and it reminded me of my childhood when he (must have been in his 20's back then) would join my great uncles for jam sessions.

I spent some time with mom today and we'll spend more time together tomorrow when I take her to her doctor's appointment mid-afternoon.

It was a solid day, plan-wise--I ate well, maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar, I exceeded my daily water goal and I stayed well connected with fantastic support.

Coach Kathleen and I launched our first public "like" page on Facebook. Up until now, we've only had the private group page (that page remains exclusive to group members) This "like" page will serve as a public way to communicate upcoming openings in our group sessions. Plus we plan on exploring others ways for the page to be informative, inspirational and fun! We would love you to give it your "like!"
https://www.facebook.com/anotherweigh/?pnref=story

When/If you like the page, you'll find a post about our December Speaker Series. We've invited a powerhouse lineup of speakers (and they all said yes!!!!) If you're tired of dieting and you're ready for some powerful perspectives on developing the plan that you can maintain the rest of your life--this speaker series might be just the thing! Each week's talk is recorded and available for playback exclusively for our December Speaker Series members. Plus, as a member of this series, you'll have an opportunity to submit questions for our experts!















Sign-ups are in progress. This special series starts Wednesday December 7th at 8pm Eastern.
Sign-up here: http://totalkathy.com/?event=why-weight

Today's Accountability Live-Tweet Stream:


























Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20th, 2016 Whatever It Is

November 20th, 2016 Whatever It Is

Some days are more challenging than others. And sometimes, I'm not sure why. Today was one of those days for me. I just wasn't feeling well. Maybe I didn't sleep well enough or long enough last night--or maybe it was just the general blahs. Whatever it is, I'm okay. And I know, the best move for me is to get in touch with my gratitude list right away. I'll do that before bed.

I canceled my plan trip to see mom this evening. My Aunt Wilma's funeral is tomorrow and mom has a doctor's appointment Tuesday, so I'll see her over the next couple days. I did keep my planned visit with my grandson Noah. We had dinner together, although he didn't eat a thing. Turns out, he also wasn't feeling his best today. We stopped at the Walmart toy department on the way back to his house--and nothing brings him out of whatever has him down, like toy shopping!  He has a new Nerf football, a giant bouncy ball and a squishy fake spider.

It didn't take him long to remember how cruddy he felt. And on the drive home, I was feeling it too. The most important thing for me to remember, aside from my gratitude list, is that there will be days like this and I can have my fair share and still take extraordinary care of my daily plan.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded my daily water goal. And I stayed well connected with great support.

Whatever it is, it isn't something worth sacrificing the integrity of my maintenance plan.

I reeled it in, scaling back to the non-negotiable elements and accomplished the basic fundamentals of my plan. I'll call today a success. I'm ready to be in bed by 9:30pm.

Today's Accountability Live-Tweet Stream:




























Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Saturday, November 19, 2016

November 19th, 2016 We Laugh

November 19th, 2016 We Laugh

The day started early. And aside from a small nap, I've been going all day. I did a two station, four-hour location broadcast this morning from a big Holiday Hot Tub Sales Event!! It was a busy broadcast--32 breaks in four hours, and normally I pack some food, but today, I didn't. I decided it would be too involved to eat until after the event. But then...

The owner of the company, who knows me well--informs me of his plan to cook a turkey and some fantastic sides as a demo and sample for anyone interested. And since he's familiar with what I do, he assured me--no refined sugar. Oh my--it was great! The Big Green Egg smoker/grill cooked the turkey perfectly--and the Holland Grill took care of the rest. I tried acorn squash for the first time today and it was fantastic! I also tried grilled apples. Everything was wonderful. I sincerely appreciated the food!
















I enjoyed an evening meal and visit tonight with my oldest daughter. We have a strikingly similar sense of humor--same with my youngest daughter, so whenever we're together, we laugh--a lot. We originally planned to see Carrie The Musical, but scrapped those plans in favor of more conversation.
















I didn't do all the things I wanted to accomplish today, but there's tomorrow. And I wouldn't trade today. It was a good one.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded my daily water goal. And I stayed well connected with great support.

The Sean & Coach Kathleen December Speaker Series via private LIVE conference call line starts December 7th at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central/5pm Pacific with Dr. Marty Lerner. Dr. Lerner is a world renowned authority on eating disorders, food addiction and recovery. When he speaks, it's powerful. Dr. Lerner has a way of communicating complex ideas in ways many of us can immediately grasp.

If you're interested in breaking away from the merry-go-round of diet mentality and moving toward something sustainable for the rest of your life, this speaker series is for you!
















This 4-week December event includes membership in our special speaker series Facebook group. The teleconference speaking events will happen every Wednesday night in December at 8pm Eastern. Aside from those incredible calls (members of the speaker series will also have access to the recording of each talk in case you miss one), this is a great way to find like-minded people to help build your own accountability and support team. And in that, it's a great introduction to the weekly group coaching nights we regularly offer. December is quickly approaching!

The four-week Sean & Kathleen December Speaker Series is only $60--and it could prove to be an invaluable life-changing experience for you as you head into 2017! This is a fantastic gift from you to you!!

Sign-Up Here: http://totalkathy.com/?event=why-weight
Once you sign up, you'll receive an email welcome letter, you'll be added to the speaker series "secret" Facebook group and you'll have access to the conference line phone number and access code.

Today's Accountability Live-Tweet Stream:






































Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Friday, November 18, 2016

November 18th, 2016 I See One Person

November 18th, 2016 I See One Person

Over six years ago on August 28th, 2010, I found myself struggling a little bit with the dramatic transformation of appearance. The following is an excerpt. And it comes with its own excerpt... It's an excerpt within an excerpt:

I've looked at the pictures over and over, and it's strange, but I really do kind of miss that guy. 

 photo l_6ed5279928b8b743c301f6beb6c282c6.jpg

I "get it." That guy was affected in so many different ways. Ok, I need to stop talking about my previous physical appearance like it was someone who passed away. But, in many ways, it is just like that.

I was that big for so long and my personal appearance, the morbid obesity, helped shape my personality and social behaviors. What has remained the same are my thoughts, beliefs, fears, and personal values--the stuff I know inside, when I'm all alone---just me. That guy is exactly the same. I love that guy too. It all reminds me of the reaction of my now ex-sister in law, when she laid eyes on me for the first time in a long time. It was almost a year ago:

Wait-- I need to interrupt this excerpt--because I noticed something noteworthy. That was written over six years ago. I listed the things remaining after dramatic weight loss--- Important things, for sure--thoughts, beliefs, fears and personal values. Knowing what I know now--some critical things were missing from the list. The core elements of me go far deeper. I didn't mention my likes, dislikes, passions, talents and core qualities--all of the things that contribute to personal happiness. 

No wonder I hit goal a few months after that was written--and still wasn't truly happy. I couldn't even acknowledge them--forget about nurturing these core elements.

Okay--now, let's go to the excerpt within the excerpt---this goes back to 2009:

My sister-in-law is staying the night with us. Irene has several sisters, and this one hasn't seen me in a really long time. I really don't know how to take her reaction to the much smaller me. She was shocked, I mean in total disbelief. She told me I looked great and that she was happy that I was healthier for the effort and then she did something unexpected.

She started crying. It wasn't tears of happiness, these were grieving tears. 

She was grieving the loss of the old me. She said “My entire life you've looked the same and now that person is gone.” 

 photo RyansIphonepicofme.jpg

I assured her that I was still me inside. I still have all of the memories, all of the feelings, all of the humor, I'm Sean Anderson, that will never change! She kept wiping away her tears and we hugged, to which she replied “you don't even hug the same.” 

I guess I didn't realize how much she loved me. It really touched me deeply. I love her too. Judging from her reaction, you would have thought I had died. And I explained to her that I would have died in the next five or ten years more than likely, had I stayed at over 500 pounds.

She just kept going on about it. She'll never see the old Sean again, and that just devastated her completely. It wasn't the reaction I expected at all.

It's really a swim through a giant pool of emotions when I look at my before pictures. I can absolutely relate to the feelings my sister-in-law expressed. I look at those old pictures and I feel sorry for that guy. He's gone. He'll never be back. He'll never walk into the room. He'll never walk onto that stage. That guy died a long time ago.

WAIT JUST A SECOND....

I must correct my 2010 self. I didn't die.

That guy is me. That guy didn't die, he came alive. 

 photo cff3741e-8bed-4f88-8f66-ad2e7636b45d_zpsqhyqysod.jpg

I love that guy.

He's alive and living. Not dead and gone. The opposite of dead!

 photo IMG_2877_zpsatqxkxzs.jpg

My perspective has been transformed. I don't look at before pictures the same as I once did. I also don't look at "now" pictures the same.

 photo Selfie night_zpsk0fsvnqm.jpg

I look at "Before" and "Now" pictures with a perspective focused on the core elements of me. I see one person. Not two.

It feels great to be transformed and live life at a healthier weight, for sure. And I hold my recovery tight because I value the benefits of the healthier weight. But...

My happiness is no longer found in external sources. My happiness is found and was always available for discovery, in the core elements of me. 505-pound me, then and 204-pound me, today--same person, same core elements and the same opportunity for happiness.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I met my daily water goal. And I stayed well connected with great support. I'm aiming for another day like today, tomorrow.

Today's Accountability Live-Tweet Stream:


























Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Thursday, November 17, 2016

November 17th, 2016 Every Day

November 17th, 2016 Every Day

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I exceeded my daily water goal. I stayed well connected with excellent support. And I completed a wonderful workout at the gym.

A Facebook Memory from five years ago:
"I was discovering truths that I had never given thought. I was discovering that I wasn't a victim, this morbid obesity wasn't a hopeless situation, and that I had a power that had been untapped my entire life. I had the power to throw away every excuse that ever held me back. I could completely let go and live happily, while I consumed less and exercised. Instead of greeting each day with dread, I was actually thrilled to be so wonderfully alive. It was quite possibly the most powerful thing I had ever experienced."

It was a powerful message, albeit a little thin on substance--I mean, there's much more to it than just letting go, consuming less and exercising. A whole lot of inner work takes place in reaching a point of acceptance and as my friend Coach Kathleen calls it, "bare-naked honesty" plays a big role in getting to that point of embrace instead of resistance. Accepting the responsibility involved shedding the victim mentality that had played a convenient role in keeping me over 500 pounds for nearly two decades. Convenient, because if it wasn't my fault--if I could embrace twenty reasons why I couldn't change or why this was much harder for me than anyone else, then I could somehow feel justified in my continued deliberate and destructive oblivion.

I believe we each have a personal truth inside and for many of us, it's buried under layers and layers of mental/emotional trauma--held down by our experiences--and further secured by our need to be okay despite it all. The truth, regardless of what's blanketing it, is something I believe we can mine, breaking through to as real as it gets--then pull it out, accepting and embracing a perspective that brings us certainty and peace in at least this one area.

And in taking that exceptional care, we're in a position to sort through the "stuff" along the way. The brick wall is rubble now and I don't have to understand exactly how it was built--I don't--all I know is, I'm free. And that freedom isn't guaranteed. Maintaining freedom from morbid obesity requires me to maintain the consistency of my embrace of what's true each and every day.

Today's Accountability Live-Tweet Stream:
















































Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean





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