January 16th, 2017 I Go Back
I left work a 1/2 hour early. I started feeling horrible midmorning. Almost everyone at the studio has gone through a round of this stuff and a couple have had a couple rounds. I hardly ever get sick like this. And it isn't full blown just yet. I hope and pray it doesn't develop further. I got home, climbed into bed and slept for a couple hours. I woke with the same symptoms: Heavy, congested head, sneezing, coughing, constant tickling in the throat and a mild nauseous feeling. I had a vitamin C-packed orange for my last food of day. I also ran out to get Nyquil. I'm glad I checked the ingredients! Liquid Nyquil contains high fructose corn syrup! The caplets do not. I grabbed the caplets.
I'm cutting today's update short in favor of more rest. Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with great support--both giving and receiving. It was a solid on-plan day.
I thought it might be interesting to go back in time to three different January posts from the archives. The first is an excerpt titled "Ending The Detour" from January 11th, 2014. The following two excerpts come from January 16th, 2015 and January 16th, 2016.
Sometimes I go back a year or two to the day and read what was happening at that moment in time. This occasional practice helps me identify areas of growth, re-examine learning experiences, and many times, it reaffirms the importance level of certain elements I embrace each day.
Let's dive into the archives:
From January 11th, 2014:
If you had approached me two years ago and asked, "Where will you be two years from now?" I would have replied in a matter of fact fashion, offering the most confident of answers full of my hopes, dreams, desires and rigid beliefs. There wasn't any going back, ever. I was out promoting my book and sharing this incredible feeling of freedom a 275 pound weight loss afforded me. It was more than that though, my mission was to spread hope, to help reignite dreams of freedom in others. To simply say, if I can do it, I know you can do it too. "Look at those size 64+ jeans, look at that 500 pound man in the picture and understand, truly believe, it doesn't have to be this way anymore. I'm living proof."
Regardless of the confidence level projected, the underlying fear of regaining was always present. I had successfully maintained for over a year because I maintained a schedule of writing, exercising and eating within a reasonable limit. I made these things a priority. But as the Fall of 2012 approached and realities far undershot my own lofty expectations, I started slipping. I became depressed and slowly, I started to retreat into self-destructive behavior. I stopped writing as much, I stopped working out, and I started eating for comfort and escape. And I withdrew from those who cared about me, brushing off their inquiries of concern with, "I'm fine, no really, I'm okay." I wasn't okay.
I had written about "knowing too much to ever go back," but it isn't that simple. I was mistakenly discounting the power and science of addiction; forgetting about the ability to ignore the truth, to ignore what's right and good in order to proceed with reckless abandon. In the forward to my book, Ralph Marston wrote about how the more you ignore the truth, the more the truth asserts itself. He nailed it, didn't he?
Every now and again, I would try my best to grab control and right myself "before my descent is exposed!" I was thinking it was as simple as writing more, as exhibited in January 2013 when I authored fourteen blog posts. Or perhaps it was as easy as being more available on facebook. Or maybe it was as easy as attending more private one on one therapy sessions. Perhaps I needed more prayer and meditations...like, really mean it this time stuff.
I even partnered with a good friend, starting a weekly call support group, where I could offer support via phone, complete with goals, challenges and a fantastic group chemistry that was full of positive in so many ways. And I believe many of the group members knew that I was hoping and praying it would be just as good for me as it was for them. And it was good. Several of the participants, to this day, have nothing but positive words about the group. But I still felt pulled away from good. Eventually I stopped co-moderating the calls because I couldn't, in good conscious, offer support and advice that I clearly wasn't following.
As the weight gain became more apparent, I faced a whole different dynamic. Suddenly it became difficult to be in public because it seemed I would run into people familiar with my story everywhere, many who had purchased and read my book. Some made mention, even lightly with a "So, how are you doing?" Others were more direct, "how much have you gained?" And most didn't bring it up at all, but they still knew I wasn't doing well. I don't easily hide behind a false smile or clothing several sizes bigger.
I've had little compassion for myself. And that is something that only digs the hole deeper. Self-loathing, guilt, shame--all of the negative emotions of regaining, magnified by my sincere desire to share, to make a positive impact in some small way, became too much to handle. Those negatives kept the cycle going because the more I felt bad about myself, the more I felt paralyzed and stuck in a downward spiral.
Letting go of the above mentioned negatives is, I believe, the first step to ending the detour. Having real self-compassion and embracing all that is good in me and understanding I am human, I am good, I have a huge heart and I'm a success, is paramount. No more lies about me from me...Oh, my friend, how horribly abusive I've been to me...That stuff stops. I'm Sean Allen Anderson, by golly. And I'm good. I'm a fantastic human.
Ending this detour takes a level of prayer and meditation the likes of which I've never fully embraced. It takes a willingness to offer support and accept support. I've had to stop and pray a few times while writing this post because it's so hard to write. But it's so necessary for me.
And this is for me. I'm asking for your encouragement and support. I'm asking for the same dynamics that made my blog a key element in my initial weight loss. I'm asking, in prayer, for the strength and guidance to show me the way, to give me a hand back onto the road.
It will require differences in my approach. And I'm prepared to meet the challenges along the way.
What has prompted this sudden stop, this surrender and reclamation? A doctors visit. A scale. A prescription for high blood pressure medicine. A mirror. A belief. A hope. A dream.
From January 16th, 2015:
I experienced some stress today and instead of ignoring it, I met it head on and handled it. This is a learned thing for me. It's not my natural way, I promise. The perspective I try my best to embrace is one of a mama bear protecting her cubs. The elements of my recovery and success, are my cubs. If something stands a chance at threatening my cubs, then I must face it down, handling the situation before it handles me. Again, a learned thing.
One of the major benefits of losing 275 pounds then gaining back over half, and now losing most of the regain weight to date, are the numerous lessons and experiences along the way. It's enriched my trek in some fairly powerful ways. I'm very grateful! Maintaining balance with my food and exercise despite stressful and emotional things is imperative, because life happens. Stress and emotions come into play occasionally. What is the wise saying? It isn't what happens to you, it's how you react that matters most. It's a very important thing to remember. Those cubs, protect 'em!
From January 16th, 2016:
Mostly, I was immensely grateful today. Because it's challenging days where we discover it's truly all on the line. All of it. And all of the confidence that builds with our success and consistency is revealed to be surprisingly fragile.
When we make it through by doing the things we must--and we get to the next day intact, it's like...whoa, that was close.
I believe days like that are very important to experience because they quickly expose the reality of life's natural ups and downs. Life is going to happen. And no matter what we do, it's not always going to be easy. If what we're doing each day is what we hope and pray we'll be doing for the rest of our lives--then we must prepare ourselves to ride the waves.
I don't want to give it all back. I don't want to sacrifice the freedom I enjoy each and every day at this maintenance weight. And as long as I maintain the integrity of my recovery plan, I feel like I have the best chance. Never guaranteed, but the best chance.
Okay--back to January 16th, 2017:
I don't know if I'll request a sick day tomorrow or not. I'll make that call at 4:30am. We've been very short staffed lately--so if anyone else is out, it may be a case of going in--getting through the minimum requirements and leaving early. If I have fever--it's a no go, regardless. I'll see what the morning brings.
Thank you for reading and your continued support,