Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 28th, 2018 Last Day

February 28th, 2018 Last Day

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

Today's was the last day of the food tweet pics and descriptions. A lot of people have mentioned how much time it might save me to only log once in MyFitnessPal instead of both places--and really, they've got a great point. I sincerely appreciate the wonderful support on this major change to the daily structure of my maintenance practice.

Diane writes: "I think it will be interesting to see how this affects your time management, taking pictures of your food and then tweeting everything is very time-consuming." 

Gerri writes: "Bravo."

Eileen writes: "I marvel that you have photographed every single thing you ate for four years and tweeted it. Truly a commitment which probably became tedious. The Avocado Council (if there is such a thing) will miss your daily endorsements."

JustWrite80 shares: "Haha Love this comment ^^ 
And kudos to you for doing what's right for you, though we will truly miss your daily tweets in the blog."

Nikki writes: "Awesome milestone (not millstone) Sean!"

Again, thank you for the fantastic support! I will always have my MyFitnessPal food diary set to public and I welcome all friend requests on the MFP platform. My MFP username: SeanAAnderson The daily logging continues. And I'm excited to use my Twitter feed in new and different ways!

Today's Accountability Tweets:


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

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February 27th, 2018 It's The End Of The Tweets As We Know It

February 27th, 2018 It's The End Of The Tweets As We Know It

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed connected with good support.

It was just over a year ago when after taking the tweets off the blog, then added them back. I still did the Tweets each day-I just stopped adding them to the end of this blog-- it was a short period. One of the messages I received back then about the Tweets was from Suzanna in Maine. She wrote:

I miss the tweets on your blog! I don't do twitter, so unless you highlight one like the onion rings a few days ago (I must try these!), I don't see them anymore. You mentioned the tweets on your blog sidebar, but I don't see those when I read from my phone's browser. Please bring back the tweets. Your calorie budget is 800 bigger than mine but I still got a lot of great ideas from seeing what you were eating. It also, as you've suggested many times, told a narrative of the day. The consistency of your weighing, measuring and just all of it--restaurant visits too, inspired me. Even though I can't stand sweet potatoes, catfish, and a few other things you seem to include quite often, it still helps me somehow. Thank you, Suzanna-faithful reader, in Maine.

My reply: 
Suzanna, thank you so much for this wonderful message. After careful consideration, I'm adding them back to the end of the blog. I certainly can't please everyone, but I must say--I have missed the Tweets on each day's post--because it did help "tell the tale" of the day. It's just important to remember: These tweets are simply an accountability tool for me. They're not a food plan, or a recommendation, not an endorsement of any particular product or anything other than a way for me to be accountable. It's been a very powerful tool. It's reflective of what I enjoy eating. It's reflective of where I am along this road--in maintenance mode. I'm two months shy of three years straight. I'm proud of the streak. But I'm open to someday phasing out the tweets. I do not ever plan on phasing out the MyFitnessPal logging, the planning, the weighing and measuring food--the abstinence from refined sugar and everything else I do each day... But someday, I may stop the twitter feed in its current form. Until then--I like the idea of bringing them back. Thanks for reading, Suzanna!

Here we are, one year later and that "someday" I mentioned in that reply is here. Tomorrow is the final day of the Tweets. I'll still be logging everything, every day in MyFitnessPal--that never changes, but as I wrote above, I'm only stopping the Twitter feed in its current form. I'll use Twitter to feature special dishes and recipes--and certain occasions, but the picture and description of every single thing, every day, ends after tomorrow. Nearly four years of tweeting every single thing was a wonderful experience, but it's time for me to evolve. I think there are better ways to use my Twitter account.

It's the end of the tweets as we know it and I feel fine.

Today's Accountability Tweets:


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

Monday, February 26, 2018

February 26th, 2018 The Bedside Light

February 26th, 2018 The Bedside Light

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

I had a wonderful on-plan day. Good support exchanges, too! And I've promised myself an earlier bedtime--I'm honoring that one tonight! But before I turn off the bedside light...

I've successfully worked with amazing people via one on one and group mentoring from all over the United States, Canada, and as far away as Australia, and now I'm bringing it home for a special 3-hour workshop event. If you're within driving distance of Ponca City, Oklahoma, I want to see you at my first LIVE workshop!

What obstacles get in the way of your consistent positive progress? Why is getting to and maintaining a healthy weight important to you? What positive consequences might come from your success? Can you visualize what that might look and feel like? In what ways can your past experience help shape the plan you'll create? What is sustainable, long-term, for you? What accountability and support measures do you need--what are you willing to embrace?

I want to work with you!

Let's work together in developing a "You Plan" that rises above the diets and gets real, long-term results! This is exciting!! Are you excited???

If you're geographically close, I can't wait to see you March 24th.

Simply click the Eventbrite link below to register today. Space is limited, so don't wait! For questions or alternative ways to register, text or call/voicemail to 580-491-2228, and I'll personally respond as soon as possible!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-you-plan-workshop-tickets-42971201019

Today's Accountability Tweets:


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

Sunday, February 25, 2018

February 25th, 2018 There To Experience

February 25th, 2018 There To Experience

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed connected with good support.

Last night was truly a wonderful experience. Cindy and I attended an "Adult Prom." It was a special night of dressing up and thoroughly enjoying one another's company. When she walked out in her dress, oh my--I became a touch emotional, I mean, yeah--you know, I'm a sensitive guy--and uh, so, yeah-- I was moved by her beauty. I think her two youngest daughters and their friend also became slightly teary eyed. So I wasn't alone!

An experience like last night tends to flood my mind with comparisons to life as a 500-pound person.  Forget the mental and emotional blocks that kept me from enjoying things like this, the physical limitations alone always seemed to exclude me from even thinking about a night like that. A long evening of dancing, smiling, and laughing was a needed break.

Although I've never been a dancer, ever, and she's a pro on the dance floor, I danced and she graciously met me right where I was. She even tried to teach me a few moves. I'm sure mine was one of the most awkward attempts at dancing, but I didn't care. It was fun. And that's what we were there to experience.

If you ever get a chance to go to an "adult prom," I hope you'll put on that tux or dress and go live a little! Smile, laugh and sing--and dance!! It's important to do these things every now and then!

Some pics from last night:
























































































Today's Accountability Tweets:


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

Saturday, February 24, 2018

February 24th, 2018 Magical

February 24th, 2018 Magical

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

It was a magical night. I had a date night with Cindy--and it wasn't your typical date night. We attended an adult prom! 1,250 people were there, all decked out in prom attire and so were we! I'm completely exhausted-- it's 2:25am, so instead of recapping today and tonight, I'll wait until tomorrow night's edition. Oh, there will be pictures from this weekend! We danced.

Letting the Tweets take it the rest of the way...

Today's Accountability Tweets:


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

Friday, February 23, 2018

February 23rd, 2018 It Isn't, Of Course

February 23rd, 2018 It Isn't, Of Course

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

This day has been on the calendar for a long time. I knew it might be challenging--and it was, but it was also really good. After work and running a few errands, I made it home for a very short refresher nap. It was actually less than 30 minutes. I had to be up and ready for emceeing two back to back events, an awards ceremony hosted at four different locations and a concert at the theatre.

I was at the formal wear place this afternoon when a very nice lady complimented me on my weight loss and continued maintenance. She asked, "do you just not eat?" I said, "I actually eat quite a lot in maintenance mode." She then added, "probably not good stuff, right?" I quickly added, "Oh no, plenty of good stuff, I don't eat anything I don't like." Then I realized it wasn't the time or place--and I didn't have time to launch into an explanation of my personal plan perspective and practice. Her perception is common-- I hear it a bunch. Just recently from another, "so what do you eat, just salads?"

I recognize the perceptions because I once held those kinds of beliefs too. It's classic diet mentality type thinking that says getting to a healthy weight requires deprivation, hunger, and eating things we don't like because that's what we gotta do to lose weight. And it isn't, of course. It took a big shift in perspective for me to realize how wrong I once was.

Getting dressed up and being a big part of two events tonight was a wonderful experience. I received several compliments on my weight loss and maintenance. Almost everyone I had a personal interaction with tonight mentioned it--and maybe because I was dressed well, I don't know-- but now, I handle those much much better. I simply say, "thank you." There was a time when I'd try to talk them out of their compliment. "Awe, well, I'm getting there" or "Yeah, I could do much better with (insert whatever I was feeling insecure about in my plan.)"  A simple "thank you" is enough.

If I had simply been an attendee of the awards banquet, I likely would have eaten at the event. I could have made it work--It's called living life on life's terms. I could have done it. I would have called ahead and inquired about the menu just to make sure the food fit the boundaries of my plan. I reserved the idea that I'd survey the offerings and make a decision on dinner with the information I could gather. After surveying the wonderful options, I chose to wait for a late dinner at home because each thing looked like multiple ingredients--and all good, but it wasn't obvious what it was--and I could have asked, but I was working....and that's the other thing. When I'm "working," I always like to wait until the event is over before eating a meal.

My first event ended with five minutes to spare before I needed to be a block away on the stage of the Poncan Theatre for the arts and humanities council concert. It was raining, too. I literally ran down the street in the rain.  I can't do something like that without immediately being flooded with thoughts of how at my heaviest, it would have been impossible to move as quickly. I made it just in time. I walked into the theatre, was handed the announcements from a fellow arts and humanities board member and a microphone from the sound tech--then I made my way backstage to the band to get their intro and a plan for starting the show. 

After a quick store run and a super quick visit with mom, I made it home to prepare a late dinner.

Now it's time to drop in bed! What a day!

Today's Accountability Tweets:


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

Thursday, February 22, 2018

February 22nd, 2018 Turnaround

February 22nd, 2018 Turnaround

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed connected with excellent support.

One of the most common questions I receive involves the turnaround from relapse/regain. I've had a couple of busy days, so I'm doing a rerun tonight all about that topic.

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 overwhelming, 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. (now 1,395 days ago) I haven't missed one since. (still haven't--and don't plan to!) 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.

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."

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 treats their sobriety.

--------
One thing I'll add-- I do believe it's time to evolve the plan enough to stop tweeting everything, every day. I don't ever plan to stop logging in MyFitnessPal, but the Tweets, although serving a wonderful purpose four years ago, is likely something I don't need to do anymore. I can use my Twitter account in other ways. When I do stop the Tweet stream, I'll still occasionally tweet a meal idea with a description or a recipe or two. I'm still contemplating when I'll stop the tweet stream. Very soon, for sure.

Today's Accountability Tweets:


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

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

February 21st, 2018 My First

February 21st, 2018 My First

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed connected with excellent support.

Today's been an extra long one. I returned to work this afternoon and worked until evening on weather coverage. We're having a winter event, although it doesn't seem to be too bad--although schools are closed all over the area. I'm still working to update the closings and cancelations list at this hour.

I navigated the day well. I paused when I needed to pause. I ate when I needed to eat. And I had some exceptional support exchanges. I love working with people in support of their plan! It's always one of the highlights of my day.

If you're within driving distance of Ponca City, Oklahoma, I'm presenting a special 3-hour workshop March 24th. This will be my first workshop and I couldn't be more excited! Again--if you're close enough to drive, I'd love to meet you at this very special event. Here's the link:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-you-plan-workshop-tickets-42971201019

The morning alarm comes quickly! Goodnight!

Today's Accountability Tweets:


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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

February 20th, 2018 Certain Freedoms

February 20th, 2018 Certain Freedoms

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed connected with good support.

I mention the word "freedom" quite a lot in the more than 2,200 archived blog pages. I've discovered many definitions and descriptions of that word over the last nine years. Tonight, I'm sharing a post written in the middle of my greatest season of struggle. It was 2013--in the middle of a relapse/regain period that often times felt hopeless, depressing, and neverending. I suppose it was an attempt to understand why I was choosing certain "freedoms."

I believe we're on our way to an imaginary line, where suddenly we're not eating less and exercising more solely as a means to lose weight--we're doing it because it's what we do, it's how we live---and suddenly it becomes much less of a burden or deliberate action, it just IS. 

And we discover that it doesn't take anything away from the richness of our lives--or the joy we experience, as our struggling thoughts might have convinced us--contrary, it enriches us, empowers us---breaks us free into a new perspective where we realize our greater truth, our truest reality about our relationship with food and exercise. Like coming out of a dense fog, we clearly see food for what it is, not what our old behaviors and habits tried to make it.

Now, I look at the earlier, deliberate phase as practice for what's ahead--because I know the biggest obstacle to crossing this line and keeping this new perspective is our own thoughts, emotional and spiritual health. This, without question, is the most powerful element. 

I've discovered, our thoughts and emotions can effectively render our breakthroughs powerless, pulling us back over the line, as if a gravitational pull exists between our old perspectives and the freedoms we've enjoyed in the new. At this place we find ourselves in a position where we know the truth, we've experienced the freedom--and we have to decide: Do we surrender?  Do we give back all of the power it had over us for years?  Do we walk back into our cell and close the door?

Or do we stand up, declare our freedom and break free toward progress once again?  It's a powerful choice we have and our most definitive answer isn't in what we say, it's what we do. 

It's so much easier to give it all back.

In that cell, we simply exist--surrounded by the same old behaviors and habits that have consistently given us our reality.

It's easy because we don't have to think about anything--we just do whatever--despite the consequences. There's a freedom in that choice. It's the freedom from personal responsibility--freedom from caring---freedom from the uncertainties of positive change and a deliberate disconnect from the impending and most certain negative changes our inaction fosters. 

That kind of freedom comes at a much greater cost. It costs us our health, it cuts short our life, it dramatically decreases the richness/fullness of our existence...and it's so easy to do, effortless to accept because it doesn't require us to change our actions or perspective. 

Our quickest exit relies heavily on our self-awareness and honesty about what we're doing and why.  The positive effort we exert repays us exponentially in ways we haven't even realized until we're there; living, breathing and benefiting from our good choices.  The freedoms we enjoy because of the consequences our positive efforts bring, far outweigh the freedoms of inaction.  

It honestly comes down to this: What kind of freedoms do we truly want?

Today's Accountability Tweets:


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

Monday, February 19, 2018

February 19th, 2018 Wonderful Place To Start

February 19th, 2018 Wonderful Place To Start

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

It started out as a fairly tame Monday, then suddenly got busy on me. I rode the wave and made it home this afternoon before my Monday night group support call. My original plan was to prepare dinner after the group--then I received an invitation to share a meal from Cindy, and that sounded like a better plan! The portion size of the single order fajitas is perfect for the two of us.  It's funny-- we both order using very similar modifications and that makes it very easy to share!

I've been getting to bed much earlier lately--and tonight, I'll be in bed earlier than what's become my "too late normal." That might not be as early as I need on a work night, but it's a wonderful place to start.

Today's Accountability Tweets:


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





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