Monday, April 30, 2018

April 30th, 2018 A Freaky Thing If You Ask Me

April 30th, 2018 A Freaky Thing If You Ask Me

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 good support.

It was a long and at times stressful day. I reached for the rails of my plan and made it through one more day! Had I not reached for my rails, I could have ended up face first in a take-out pizza. You see...

A new convenience store opened a half-mile from my apartment. It's a place that is widely acclaimed for their takeout pizza. Their radio commercial makes it the main focus--and that's a great idea, I mean, I understand broadcast marketing after being in this business for thirty years. The radio commercials don't bother me. Even today, my voice is on Dominos commercials around here--it's my job! I know, I know--it does seem strange if you know me really really well. But most people don't and a radio commercial isn't about me, it's about the product. I've had several conversations in the last few days with people mentioning this new amazing source for pizza. Apparently, that is more powerful to me--hearing over and over how good it is from people I know personally--and knowing full well it isn't on my food plan--not today and not any of my tomorrows if I plan to remain well. And that works for me.

I'll trade all the take-out pizza in the world for the benefits of maintaining a daily plan practice that supports a healthy body weight. I'm getting the best end of the deal. And occasionally, I still eat pizza--the requirement is: It must fit within my food plan. And usually, that means I make it at home.

Tonight, I made pita pizzas for dinner with Joseph's flax-oat bran-whole wheat pitas, refined sugar-free tomato basil, lean ground beef, red onions, and shredded mozzarella. It was fantastic!!!


What's interesting is this: When I sat down to write tonight's blog, I went back in time a year to April 30th, 2017, just to see what I was up to one year ago today. What did I find??? A post that goes in-depth on my personal pizza issues.

Excerpt from April 30th, 2017:
I had fun with dinner tonight. I made pita pizzas. Let me be clear--pizza, like the kind from a pizza place, is certainly on my list of trigger foods. I do not, under any circumstances, eat take-out pizza, not because there's something wrong with it--rather, it's my brain--If I eat a slice, my brain wants 8 more. That's how I'm wired. It just is. And that's precisely why I must make my plan important each day--otherwise, I know what happens--I've lived what happens when I don't make a daily plan important.

Is it the refined sugar in the crust and sauce? Is it the prominence of take-out pizza in hundreds of binges from my past? Maybe all of those combined. Pizza from a "pizza place" isn't my food and it will not be my food for as long as I live with continued recovery. That's just me. Maybe you can do it and be perfectly fine. I know myself well enough to know, I can't.

But for whatever reason, when I take the time, consideration, and care in making certain all ingredients are refined sugar-free, and I take the time to meticulously chop and weigh, to the gram and ounce, each ingredient, then I log it all in MyFitnessPal--it changes it for me. Now, instead of my brain categorizing it as an "indulgence," it's simply categorized as an on-plan dinner--weighed, measured, logged, refined sugar-free--and enjoyed.

Kind of a freaky thing if you ask me. Maybe I should make every April 30th Pita Pizza Day for my food plan. The last two have worked out well.

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

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 29th, 2018 Quickly

April 29th, 2018 Quickly

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

This weekend has been a good one. I finished out today with mom. We made it to the store, out for chicken tacos, and managed to visit two grandkids, plus Amber and Courtney. It was a busy few hours!

I'm hitting the pillow quickly. The best thing I can do to start my week off well is getting to bed at a reasonable time on Sunday night!

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

Saturday, April 28, 2018

April 28th, 2018 Locked In

April 28th, 2018 Locked In

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

I tried to sleep in later than I did, but I'm pretty certain my body has an internal timer that doesn't seem to let me get too far past seven hours in a stretch.

I was able to get some work done at the studio before enjoying a good visit with mom this afternoon. Cindy and I had a date night in my hometown. I showed her around Stillwater before we enjoyed a simple dinner out and several games of pool. It was needed. We hadn't had a date night in quite some time.



















Waiting for a table selfie at Eskimo Joes. That place was packed! We both have our individual food plans and I think Cindy would agree, the menu was slightly challenging for both of us--but we made it work!

I asked for what I needed and how I needed it! It's interesting to me how I once felt "locked in" to whatever the menu presented or however it was prepared. I was totally surprised the first time I asked for something ala carte or slightly modified and it wasn't a problem at all. I'm someone who never wanted to "be a problem" or "stand out" or "make a scene," so realizing how asking for what I need wasn't doing those things and didn't make me those things, and realizing how 99.9% of servers want to help, totally changed my approach to eating in restaurants. 

I think that it starts with a willingness and wanting to maintain the boundaries of the plan. I can remember many times when I'd use restaurant plans as an excuse to obliterate my plan. Once I realized it didn't have to be that way, I couldn't pretend like I didn't know. I could willfully ignore the truth, which I've done a lot of that over the years, too! But honestly, it kinda forced me to better accept responsibility for my own choices rather than playing the restaurant "victim card," which I gladly did for years and years.

Cindy beat me on the pool table. My goodness, she's good at pool. She won several games. I managed to take a couple (don't ask me how!)



















It was a good night!

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

Friday, April 27, 2018

April 27th, 2018 Early For Me

April 27th, 2018 Early For Me

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 good support.

I'm doing well tonight. After an exceptionally long day, I'm going to bed unusually early for a Friday night, early for me! In fact, this might be some kind of Friday night record! I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning!

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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

April 26th, 2018 Immune

April 26th, 2018 Immune

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 good support.

My post last night about "The S Word," struggle, alarmed a couple of my dear support friends. It's a topic and experience I'm very familiar with, but no, by the grace of God, I'm not struggling today nor was I yesterday. I was simply sharing a perspective on struggle that's helped me in tremendous ways.

Here's the thing: I may not be struggling at the moment and I don't live in fear of the struggle, but I certainly maintain a healthy respect for the fragility of it all. I understand and appreciate how critically important it is for me to maintain the daily practice that keeps me well. And still, no matter how much appreciation and understanding is involved, I'm not immune to struggle and relapse. None of us are immune.

Keeping it fairly short tonight. It was a successful day!

Featured Tweets from today:


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

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April 25th, 2018 The S-Word

April 25th, 2018 The S-Word

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 good support.

It was a busy day--I say that a lot, I suppose, and not every day qualifies for the label, but today did. Thank you for everyone extended warm thoughts and prayers for mom's continued recovery. I'm intentionally being slightly vague about her condition because it probably isn't completely considerate of me to share every detail of her medical challenges. The good news is she's on the right medication and she's in good spirits. With good care, it's a minor and temporary thing.

I just finished a fabulous dinner with Cindy--and now, time to blog and get more sleep than last night!

But before I go, I wanted to share something...

So much of this journey we're all on requires a willingness to embrace different perspectives. The act of taking something we've always known- patterns and practices we've done, and changing our approach and the way we look at them...changes things. This taking what we've known and flipping it on its side or turning it upside down can be super challenging. In this challenge, we often run straight into "The S Word."

Not that S word. :)

I'm talking about Struggle.

Struggle isn't a moral issue, that's important because it isn't. The mental and emotional effects of struggle will try to convince us it is some kind of failure- a flaw within us... how many of us have thrown our hands up and said, "why can't I just get this right?"

I encourage you in those moments to be patient and I challenge you to change what struggle means to you. If we can change the way we look at struggle, and how we react to it, it can change everything.

Struggle is a key component in our success when we use its information to create a positive action plan.

If we didn't have struggle, we wouldn't evolve.  Struggle becomes an opportunity.

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

April 24th, 2018 Take The Photo

April 24th, 2018 Take The Photo

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 good support.



















It was back to work for me today. I took yesterday off to accompany mom to doctor appointments. She's going through a rough time. The good news is, the nursing staff is on top of her care and she'll be fine.

Dallas from Arkansas writes: "Hey, no more food Tweets, what's up-you okay?"

Yes, Dallas, I'm doing very well! Thank you for asking. I stopped doing the daily food tweets several weeks back. It's strange, I still take the photo--(some habits are really hard to break!) I just don't Tweet it with the description.
Meals from 4/24/2018




















I do continue to log everything in MyFitnessPal. If you're on MyFitnessPal, too, send me a friend request! My MFP username is SeanAAnderson and my food diary is always set on "public."

I'm hoping we dodge the severe weather tonight. There's a chance overnight and if so, I'll be headed to work super early. I better drop in bed now while I have the opportunity!

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

Monday, April 23, 2018

April 23rd, 2018 One Person Not Two

April 23rd, 2018 One Person Not Two

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

Almost eight 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 from an excerpt:

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














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.

Wait-- I need to interrupt this excerpt--because I noticed something noteworthy. That was written nearly eight 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.” 

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. 



















I love that guy. (and the little guy pictured here!)

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

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.

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 back then, and healthy body-weight me, today--same person, same core elements and the same opportunity for happiness.

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

Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 22nd, 2018 If I Do

April 22nd, 2018 If I Do

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

My grandson Oliver turned one year old last Wednesday. Today was the day we all gathered to celebrate his birthday! It was a very special day spent with both my daughters and all four grandkids. I picked up mom on the way to the party, too--and she had a great time as well.

It's special days like today that serve as reminders for so many blessings. I'm grateful!

I picked up the birthday cake at the bakery. It was on my way and saved Courtney a trip, so I was happy to do it. Walking into a bakery area surrounded by things that are in no way, shape, or form on my food plan might sound challenging. First, my abstinence from refined sugar comes with a deep understanding of the reasons why it's important for me to continue my refined sugar-free embrace. Instead of challenging, I'd call it affirming because part of my defense mechanism is to immediately think about the good that has come from the last four years without refined sugar. I don't live in fear of relapse, I live with enormous respect for the knowledge that relapse is always one choice away-- and plenty of those choices were all around me in that bakery area of the store. What's helped most for me, is a shift in perspective-- a reframing, so instead of looking at these as things I can't have, these are things I choose not to eat because I'm thoroughly convinced of what happens next if I do. If I hadn't lived through proof of what happens next, I'm not sure I'd be so convinced. For me, the effects of eating refined sugar aren't a theory, it's fact.

If my brain ever needs reconvincing, I have plenty of support connections to help me reconnect and realign my thinking.

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

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April 21st, 2018 Super Short

April 21st, 2018 Super Short

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 good support.

Tweets only tonight...Oh wait, I don't do that anymore!! Still... Taking a little break.

Keeping it super short tonight. It's been a good day.

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

Friday, April 20, 2018

April 20th, 2018 Unless You're Training For The Olympics

April 20th, 2018 Unless You're Training For The Olympics

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

Some notes from a good day- It was a very short night of rest before a longer than expected work day. I made sure to make a late afternoon nap important. My two grandsons, Noah and Oliver stopped by on their way to the carnival. Noah was super excited! Noah's enthusiasm for life is incredibly inspiring--everything is exciting to him! I attended and made the opening announcements for a concert hosted by our local arts and humanities board of directors, of which I'm a member. I dined out alone this evening--it was chicken tacos at my favorite Mexican place, grabbed a few things at Walmart and enjoyed a nice visit with mom. Actor James Marsden was on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Mom was super excited because Mr. Marsden's hometown is ours--and Colbert made the segment all about Stillwater. It was very cool!

One of the questions I'm asked quite often: Should I add extra calories to my daily budget in consideration for exercise calories burned?

I don't recommend adding calories to your budget for exercise unless you're training for the Olympics or for a marathon or something else that requires intensive training.

The most important thing is maintaining the integrity of your calorie budget. If you violate your budget in exchange for exercise, then you run the risk of stunting the growth and evolution of your food plan. You also set yourself up for a constant tug of war between food and exercise. Adding calories in exchange for exercise calories burned is a recipe for making this process miserable. 

The only exception is if your exercise calories burned brings your net calories below 1,200-- in that case, it's a good idea to add at least enough to bring you to 1,200 net. If you're eating a generous 1,800 calorie budget and you burned 700 calories, your net calories check in at 1,100. Instead of adding back hundreds of extra calories, add 100 to bring your net to a minimum of 1,200.

By the way, this isn't my formula or creation--I learned this from several different nutrition and fitness experts. The opinion isn't just mine. MFP does calorie budget calculations that ultimately confuse many people. My best advice: Ignore the suggested "adjustments" and maintain your budget.

Micheal Phelps eats 10,000 calories a day when he's training. But he's in the pool 8-10 hours swimming.

Can you see how, if you're allowed to violate your budget by adding more exercise, then the way to keep eating compulsively is to simply exercise more and more? When we do that, we're trying to find an out- a way to justify eating more than we need... and again, the result is, the perspective gets wonky- and the food plan never develops- never evolves, because it doesn't have to. It's here where we run the risk of falling into an over-exercising routine--and the biggest: We end up stunting our growth in the non-food/non-exercise areas because if we're able to constantly and consistently violate our calorie budget, we haven't a reason to develop accountability and support measures that are designed to help us practice a plan that doesn't involve compulsively over-eating.

This process is about changing perspectives and patterns of the past.

If the old perspectives and patterns brought us here, then clearly we must be willing to shift them if we want different results.

Today's featured Tweet:




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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 19th, 2018 Don't Be Afraid To Ask

April 19th, 2018 Don't Be Afraid To Ask

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

I attended the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters welcome dinner last night in Tulsa. I didn't know what would be served but I do know my boundaries. I made sure I had a backup plan in the car--some apple slices, a banana, almonds, and cheese.  I visited with several acquaintances, a few people I worked with a very long time ago, and other people I see at this event each year I've attended. About twenty minutes before dinner was to be served, I made my way over to the hotel ballroom buffet line to check out the offerings. I could tell right away--the entrees contained refined sugar. It's a non-negotiable of mine, I don't do it, period. I asked the person preparing the display and he checked and confirmed, yes--I was correct. I asked if it was possible to get something else--and it was without hesitation, "no problem at all."

The chef prepared a simple top sirloin for me. It was perfect. And not one single person around me noticed. Bill (owner of the company I work for) knew because he knows me and asked about it, but nobody else. I share this because it's an example of something important when dining out or at special events like this: Don't be afraid to ask for what you need! 

I can't count the number of times I've said, "Oh well, this is what I have to choose from, so I'll make the best of it--" even if it went against my food plan. If the food tonight would have fit the boundaries of my plan-- in this case, prepared without sugar, then I could have and would have made the meal work. It didn't so I made the special request and it wasn't a problem at all. If it wouldn't have been possible, I would have waited for plan B in the car.

I must always give my plan this level of importance. It's up to me to practice it each day. Tonight's event was good practice.

The almonds, cheese stick, and some apple slices became my "last food of day/drive home snack" food, finishing off today's maintenance calorie budget.

I'm upset with myself for not taking a day off tomorrow.

I'm up way too late for work in the morning. Hopefully I can take some time off early tomorrow-- certainly hoping it works out that way!

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April 18th, 2018 This Blog

April 18th, 2018 This Blog

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 good support.

Tonight, we're taking a time-traveling trip back to July 2010, right after the AOL feature came out:

Over the last week, I've received hundreds of messages from all over the world. Some simply say "congratulations," others tell me about their success story, and then there are some that hit me hard---right in the heart. Every message, every e-mail, every comment---they're very important to me, and I want you to know that. I've had to forgive myself for not being able to personally respond to every single one in a timely manner like I've done throughout this journey. I've never had to worry about this, and trust me--I'm not complaining, I'm just stressing out...filled with anxiety because I feel like I owe you for all the wonderful support you give me. Please don't ever stop sending them, just give me your patience---and I'll do my best. That's all I can do.

The main purpose of this blog was and still is, to keep me accountable and on track, to help me fully understand my addiction to food, and to help me dig deep--in a quest to unravel the secret of successful weight loss. The job of this blog was and still is, to help me understand the mental aspects and help me uncover the emotional and deeply personal issues that I've allowed to hold me back.

This blog has also taught me where I always went wrong in my repeated attempts to lose weight over the years. This blog is extremely important to me. Yes, I've invested a bunch of time in writing...anywhere from one to three hours a day, every day of this journey---but really...think about the transformation---and I'm not talking about the physical, I'm talking about the "inside" stuff. When I think about the positive effect these writings have had on me---there's no question, it's been worth every minute of my time.

As I write this Wednesday edition, it's actually late Thursday night. This is officially the latest I've ever posted, but I got busy...it happens, especially these days. I feel anxiety when I'm late with a post, I do. I think of the people that tell me they read every day and how much they look forward to reading---and I imagine what they're thinking...Sean's late! What's the deal? The reality is far different than my anxiety filled perception would have me believe---and then I calm myself by remembering...As much as I love it when someone tells me how this blog has helped them, it's still for me. I write for me---it's what I need, and I hope you write that way as well.

It's self-therapy, my friend. Even if you don't publish it on the world wide web---just write it out, get it out of you---and learn from what you find. This blog had less than 10 followers well past day 200---and I'm proud to say, the content and intent hasn't changed---and it will never change.
---------------------
Nearly ten years in and this blog is still serving its original purpose. It helps keep me well--even on a night like this when it's late and I republish from the archives.

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April 17th, 2018 Just Information

April 17th, 2018 Just Information

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 good support.

That first "today" part is something I take very seriously. I put it first because everything I do starts with the daily practice that keeps me well. 

Where you are is providing valuable information you can use in the development of your plan. If things are going well, what's working? If you're struggling, what are your biggest barriers? 

Answering these questions challenge us to give the elements of our plan the focus they need to thrive. And sometimes it's half & half (and I'm not talking about coffee- although that sounds good right about now).

Take me, for example: What's working well: My food plan and commitment to staying connected with support, my daily practice, and the willingness to maintain a hold on these rails I've created in my plan. 

Where I struggle: Getting enough rest and creating a doable exercise schedule/routine. No shame around here- just information. Now, I have a choice. I can either beat myself up for the elements challenging me, I can rationalize them into oblivion until I feel justified for my inaction, or I can create an action plan that isn't afraid to start as small and simple as it needs, with the goal being consistency, not intensity.

I'm choosing the latter.

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

Monday, April 16, 2018

April 16th, 2018 Human Element

April 16th, 2018 Human Element

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 good support.

I can't tell you what to eat. I believe we must create that list based on our own preferences.

I eat what I like and nothing I don't. And the choices I'm making are made because it's where I am, now.

I previously lost 275 pounds eating much differently. It wasn't right or wrong then and my eating habits are not right or wrong now. They're simply reflective of where I am today. I like what I'm doing. It's working for me.

And that's key, in my opinion--finding what works for you. Discovering what you can do, what you like and how you like it, is imperative.

I don't like labeling anything "right or wrong/good or bad." Food is food. Eat what you like, just set a budget and consistently stay within the budget. Trust that your choices will evolve in time.

If you've ever been handed a pre-set food plan and told to follow it to the letter--and you didn't like everything on the list, but you choked it down anyway--that's a means to an end.

The experts creating the perfect food plans are not wrong, necessarily, they're just not taking into account the human element.

If whatever we're doing isn't something we can do forever--if it isn't sustainable, then it's temporary. We can white knuckle it and adhere to a food plan in the name of "I can do anything for a short time," and we'll see those results, but as soon as it's over--it's back to what we prefer, and that's why, in my opinion--we should just start with what we prefer in the first place, allowing our plan to evolve as we maneuver our budget and boundaries.

If you've been a regular reader of this blog for the last nine and a half years, you might remember days where a Snickers Bar, Ice cream, cake, fast food cheeseburgers and Taco Bell all made their way into my budget. I don't look back on that time and think, wow--I didn't eat very well. I look back and think, that's where I was and needed to be at that time. I'm not saying it's a good idea to rush out and stock up on these things. I'm just saying...

Having been 500 pounds for so long, I instinctively knew that I wasn't going to change a lifetime of habits overnight. And I felt like if I tried, it would end up another failed attempt. In my opinion, the "nothing is off limits" philosophy is still valid and important, because it allows us to be where we are, be ourselves--growing and developing in a natural organic way.

We learn about ourselves along the way. I've learned that I can't do refined sugar. It's by far the single most important recovery decision I've made along the way. It took a 164-pound relapse/regain to arrive at that conclusion. Some things, for me, are harder to learn. And that's ok.

But not everybody is a food addict like me, addicted to refined sugar with over three decades experience in stuffing emotions and stress with food. Abstaining from certain food substances may not be what's right for you.

The main reason why I've always been a proponent of simplicity when it comes to food is because along this road it's about so much more than food and exercise. The mental/emotional/psychological elements in play are all bigger and more challenging than "what should I eat?"

In my opinion, if the greater focus is placed on the food and exercise instead of the mental/emotional/psychological dynamics--then we end up facing the biggest elements unprepared. It becomes "diet mentality." A focus on a simplistic food plan based on our personal preferences and backed up with solid accountability and support has a really good chance of working well for the long haul.

There are no right or wrong foods. Eat what you like and allow yourself a natural evolution of good choices along the way. The practice of maintaining the integrity of a calorie budget can have a powerful impact on this evolution because we're trying to get the most value for our calories. The evolution only occurs with a sacred level of self-honesty and a willingness to reach out for support when we recognize a breach coming on, otherwise, there isn't a reason to navigate the calorie budget for the best calorie values if we're constantly violating the budget.

And please, never compare what you're eating to someone else's food. Remember, we're all different. I'm in maintenance mode with a generous calorie budget and a food plan evolved over the last nearly ten years. I don't eat refined sugar because for me, once I start, I can't stop. You may not share that addiction with me.

Sometimes, the biggest mental hurdles come when we compare what we're eating to our own expectations or what we perceive to be what we should be eating or what we've heard is best or the healthier choice. Take what fits you and leave the rest. Don't harshly judge your well-fitting food plan. 

My best advice is to let it go. Just be you and give yourself room to grow and develop. Ultimately, we're wanting to arrive at our healthiest weight--and if we arrive at a healthy weight range for our body--and along the way our health improves dramatically--and we do it in a way that fits us, individually--then we've successfully shifted the focus away from the old diet mentality--we've accepted and embraced the plan we've created specifically for us--and now, how does it all compare to the pre-planned diets of old?? The ones that were nutritionally sound but lacked a human consideration--the ones difficult to sustain--the ones challenging our ability to remain consistent??

Simple is sustainable, sustainable encourages consistency and consistency beats intensity, every single time.

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

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April 15th, 2018 Abundance

April 15th, 2018 Abundance

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

Today was a day of rest, recovery, and putting in a little work on a personal project of mine. This evening was mom and Raegan time! My first little granddaughter turned one month old today. Mom and I stopped by for a visit with her after our Sunday evening dinner out.



























































































It's during special evenings like this when I often remember what my mentor and friend, Gerri Helms has said on many occasions, "I traded an abundance on my plate for abundance in my life." Because back in my 500 pound days my number one pursuit was the food. Now, I do my best to practice a plan each day that places food in its proper place and perspective, and if I continue to make that practice important each day, I'll continue noticing and fully experiencing the blessings all around. I'm grateful.

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

Saturday, April 14, 2018

April 14th, 2018 Real Heroes

April 14th, 2018 Real Heroes

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

It was a long day. A good day, but long and busy. I had two back to back location broadcasts and I emceed a fundraiser for our area autism support center tonight.

The event tonight was the third annual Heroes For Autism Silent and LIVE Auction and I've had the privilege of being the emcee each year. It's a very very small contribution from me to show up and do what I do. The real heroes are the volunteers who dedicate countless hours, the staff that makes this more than their job, it's clearly their passion, and the families affected by autism and also those who showed up and wrote large checks tonight in support of this center; a place that provides life-changing services every single day.

Annual events, for me, also serve as reminders of where I am along this road. I thought I'd share photos from each of the last three years. I've been roughly the same size, give or take a few pounds, each of the last three years. Maintenance continues to go well. It's a daily practice, for sure, and one I take very seriously. I feel very blessed and immensely grateful.
2016

























2017

























2018




















I decided to plan dinner after getting a chance to evaluate the buffet spread at the venue. It was an impressive buffet--all of the highest quality, unfortunately for me, every entree included refined sugar. I almost went with the chicken but inquired with Donavan first (Donavan knows me very well--and knew exactly what I was asking and why I was asking), he's the lead host/server for a bunch of events I've attended. He's amazing. He checked with the chef, and sure enough, the rub on the chicken contained sugar. Not a worry! My backup dinner plan was super simple: I'd wait until a late dinner. As soon as the event ended, dinner was offered and I accepted! I ordered the salmon, grilled and seasoned simply with salt & pepper--and no lemon caper sauce, baked potato with sour cream only, and grilled asparagus. It was an amazing dinner. After a long day, it was perfect because it meant no late night cooking!
I love salmon. This was perfect!















I'm looking forward to sleeping in well tomorrow morning.

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

Friday, April 13, 2018

April 13th, 2018 That's Great Too

April 13th, 2018 That's Great Too

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 good support.

I haven't gone anywhere today. I slept well, that's for sure!

Tomorrow will be a very different story. I have two back to back location broadcasts scheduled before serving as emcee tomorrow evening at a big fundraiser event for Positive Impact of Oklahoma's autism support center. It will be a full day! I have a good plan in place to help me through. I may or may not eat at tomorrow night's event--depends on the selection. I'm certainly no stranger to late after-event dinners. I'm not real worried about it. The bottom line is I will not sacrifice the boundaries of my food plan. If I can make it work, great, if I need to wait, that's great too.

I'm headed back to bed.

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

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April 12th, 2018 Consistency

April 12th, 2018 Consistency

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

Taking a couple days off, resting and relaxing after a minor medical procedure today. Instead of writing a long post, I'm republishing a post from the archives.

Original publish date: September 23rd, 2014

The topic of consistency has come up a few times of late. Consistency is key, for sure. This road isn't about perfection. Striving for perfection is the quickest detour to disappointment. Consistency is the goal along this road. If we can be consistent, we can accomplish amazing things. But how do we remain consistent?

In my opinion, it starts with narrowing our focus. Not once have I sat down with a calendar to try to figure out when I'll arrive at some predetermined number. I haven't even stated a particular goal weight, opting instead for a "healthy weight." Who knows what that will be? It doesn't matter how long it takes or when I'll get there because my focus is on today. My goal is to make it through this day with the integrity of my food plan intact and if it's an exercise day, that too. Today is the day. I'm not obsessing about how much time it will take. It will take however long it takes. If I focus on how long it will take to "arrive," I'm suggesting that my efforts will end at some point. And making my food and fitness a big priority in my life is something I do not plan on ending, ever. 

Keeping it simple is important in keeping us consistent. It's super easy to make this really difficult. You can quickly overwhelm yourself with a multitude of numbers, rules, self-imposed requirements and rock solid expectations. Keep it as simple as you need, to fit where you are. If you're planning on waking up tomorrow as a completely different person with completely different habits and behaviors--it could become very difficult, really fast.

I recommend setting a calorie budget or points budget, whatever you prefer, and making the limit you set, sacred. Sacrificing the integrity of this budget shouldn't be something taken lightly. Treat it with the highest importance level. Then, find an exercise of some sort that works for you and your body and do it. Worry less about content and more about maintaining the integrity of your budget and exercise schedule. As you progress and you become more comfortable, you can get fancy all you want!! Allow your food to become a natural evolution of good choices. My choices today look very different than when I first started losing weight six years ago. I wouldn't categorize myself as a "clean eater," but I'm at least 80% clean and that's a big difference for me.  Had I tried eating like this on Day 1, September 15th, 2008, it likely wouldn't have gone very well.

And that brings me to the "joy factor." I believe we must enjoy what we're doing in order to maintain consistency. If we don't enjoy--and I mean truly enjoy what we're eating, how do we expect to keep doing it? I eat what I like and nothing I don't. This doesn't mean I'm not willing to try new things. It simply means if I don't like it, it will not be on my regular "foods I enjoy" list. Somewhere over the years, someone decided that losing weight had to be about eating things you choked down as a means to an end. And as soon as the weight loss goal was reached, you could go back to eating what you like. I say nonsense!! Why not eat what you like and enjoy from day 1? Then, if they're not the best for you, gradually and naturally improve upon your choices. But never sacrifice by eating things you can't stand!!

My first food question isn't "Will this help me lose weight?" My first question about any particular food is: "Do I enjoy eating this?" If the answer is yes, then the second question is, "Will this food help me lose weight as a regular part of my day to day selections?" If the answer to that question is "No," then like it or not, it goes. An automatic "no" for me is sugar. I enjoy eating deep fried egg rolls, fried anything, really, and plenty of other things that if consumed regularly, would have a negative effect on my efforts. The key is finding foods that give you a "yes" to both questions.

The same "joy factor" applies to exercise. Find what you enjoy! If all you can do is walk slowly for short distances, do that. But make it enjoyable. Listen to music, an audio book, or carry on a conversation with someone--whatever you got to do to make it fun and enjoyable. When you're ready to make it something more intense--again, make sure it's something you truly enjoy doing.

Narrow the focus to one day at a time, set your limits and maintain the integrity of your limits, enjoy what you're eating and love what you're choosing to do for exercise. And a big one: Develop a support system that focuses on accountability. Don't remain all hush about your efforts--share it, tell your friends and family--make some declarations and ask for support from those you're confident will give it. Keep a MyFitnessPal food diary or something similar and make it accessible by the friends you accept.

And another big one: Write, write, write--how you're feeling, what you're doing, describe your challenges, write about what you plan on doing to overcome these challenges, and write about how determined you are to succeed once and for all. Get it out on paper, in your personal diary--or on a blog, on your facebook--somewhere, anywhere--just write for you and your own personal clarity. There is no right or wrong. It doesn't matter if you fancy yourself a good writer or not--that isn't the point. If the only person who understands what you're writing is you, mission accomplished.

Consistency brings results. If the results aren't to your liking, change the elements of your consistent efforts until you find the balance you desire.

It's important to find what works for you. We're all different. What works for me may not work for you.
------------
Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

April 11th, 2018 Bare Minimum

April 11th, 2018 Bare Minimum

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

I'm taking a couple of days off tomorrow and Friday. Today was a long one, but I made it through well. I'll get to rest in the morning!

Keeping tonight's edition bare minimum.

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

April 10th, 2018 Each Brand New Day

April 10th, 2018 Each Brand New 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 well connected with good support.

It was a good day today--a busy one, but structured and nice. I enjoyed some wonderful support calls tonight and rather than cooking late after my calls, Cindy kindly treated me to dinner.

Doing a DDWL flashback tonight from over two years ago-- written in February 2016:

I try my best to learn from everything I can along this road. I found some interesting parallels between what happened yesterday and maintaining my recovery each day. It was about the dangers of over-confidence.

Confidence is a great thing. Over-confidence can derail quickly because it encourages a loosened grip on even the most basic elements needed for continued success.

My relapse/regain period really taught me some valuable lessons. That's why, in relation to my continued recovery and weight loss maintenance, you'll never again hear me say "I got this" or any variation of the phrase.

I've learned the hard way, as soon as an over-confidence is embraced, it immediately starts chipping away at important foundation elements. My continued recovery and maintenance are never guaranteed. I don't have it down. What I do have is a daily practice of elements, disciplines--that I make important each brand new day. If I become loose with these, it's the beginning of the end. 

And they're specifically designed to suit me well. I enjoy these elements. I enjoy the structure they provide. And I enjoy the continued recovery and maintenance they encourage.

You'll find many examples of this anti over-confidence philosophy in the world of sports. Some of the best athletes are often the ones who always show up early for practice and stay late. Why would Kobe do so much practice on his own time? Why would Pete Rose, back in his day, take extra batting practice after team practice? 

In my high school days, I remember Todd Wright, one of the best high school kickers in the state of Oklahoma, out there--after practice, every day--kicking field goals over and over and over. 40 and even 50 yard-plus attempts happened throughout his senior season and he almost always got the points. Todd went on to kick on scholarship for Arkansas.

I'm not comparing myself to these athletes, don't get me wrong--I'm just drawing a parallel. If any of the above-mentioned athletes had started embracing an "I got this" style of over-confidence, their game would have suffered. Their success was due in large part, to the daily practices they continued to embrace.

Some of the most successful comedians make it look so easy, right? But what you don't see are all the guest sets and special "workout" shows they're doing in preparation. Chris Rock just hosted the Oscars. You may have laughed, cringed or a little of both, but what you may not know is, he was at The Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard opening for Louis CK the night before. He was working on his material for the Oscars telecast. And he was there the night before that. And the night before that. 

I'm not good at losing weight and maintaining weight loss because I'm some kind of exception. I'm NOT. I'm as human, flawed and fallible as can be, most days. 

I'm currently experiencing exceptional recovery and maintenance because I've been good at embracing, practicing, and maintaining the fundamental elements of my recovery, each brand new day. 
---------------------



















Hitting the pillow a touch later than I wanted to tonight, but still, it's an improvement. Progress not perfection, right? Thank goodness!

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

Monday, April 9, 2018

April 9th, 2018 Looks The Same

April 9th, 2018 Looks The Same

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 good support.

The extra rest last night made a positive impact on my Monday! I know, interesting how that works, huh?

I may not Tweet pics of everything I eat each day anymore, but I still snap pics. Old habits die hard, I suppose. My food still looks the same!



















One thing that does continue each day is my logging in MyFitnessPal. If you're also on MyFitnessPal, I invite you to send a friend request! My MFP Username is SeanAAnderson and my food diary is set to public.

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

Sunday, April 8, 2018

April 8th, 2018 How Long?

April 8th, 2018 How Long?

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 good support.

How long will this take?

That's a question a lot of people ask when getting started.

I get it. I did too.

At over 500 pounds it was very easy for me to get discouraged about the answer to that question. I allowed my impatience to ruin many weight loss attempts because I wanted the results now and if we’re not getting what we want we get frustrated, and when we’re frustrated it makes it unnecessarily difficult to stay focused.

But what I’ve learned has proven to me that time doesn’t matter.

If you allow yourself to get discouraged about the task at hand and more specifically, the time it will take to accomplish your goal, the energy and focus needed for your action steps might be in the wrong place. My best advice?

Forget about time and just start making the changes. Start as small as you need. Ease into it. Above all, be consistent.

Before you know it you’ll have made amazing strides toward your goal in surprisingly little time.

Because guess what?

Time doesn’t care if you do this or not. Time will keep moving with or without you.

So how long is this going to take? As long as it needs.

Because, ideally, this isn’t something you’re doing for a couple of months. The changes in perspective and the action steps you're building into positive and supportive habits will be with you the rest of your life. These kinds of changes--these shifts, give us the best chance for a long life in maintenance at a healthy body weight. It's a daily practice. It's never perfect and it's never guaranteed, but it gives us the best chance.

So how do we forget about time and still get results in a timely manner?

One word: Consistency.

It’s consistency.

In the past, I would do well three days, followed by off plan for four. Pick it up on Monday and do well until Friday, then eat like a madman on the weekend. This inconsistency severely crippled my results and it seemed like it was taking forever to get anywhere.

If you would have asked how I was doing during one of those countless attempts, I would have replied “doing great, it’s a slow process, but I’m getting there.” It wasn’t until I became completely honest about the consistency issues that I was able to realize such dramatic results. Cheating myself became truly exhausting.

Forget about time, embrace your unique plan and be consistent in your efforts and you’ll enjoy the most amazing transformation of mind, body, and spirit--in hardly any time at all.

As you make your way, look for things that continually threaten consistency. Staying connected with those in the "same lifeboat" can have a dramatically positive effect. Good accountability and support go a long way. At the same time, developing ways to act instead of reacting to stress and emotions, is imperative to keeping a consistent embrace of your plan. And speaking of the plan-- making it reasonable is important. If it seems impossible to remain consistent, it isn't a failure, it's a learning opportunity--an opportunity to make adjustments and proceed. This is often the place where an honest personal evaluation might reveal addiction issues with certain foods/substances.

This thing we're doing is a process. But we must allow the process to process. I can think of several times when my impatience discarded the process--then, I'd beat myself up for another perceived failure. Be kind to you, please. You're not a failure. You're a student. Not of me and what I do or anyone else--no...you're a student studying you.

Once you find your YOU PLAN, the one you can embrace consistently, then you can really let time do it's thing while you do yours. Suddenly you'll feel a confident patience. And in that place, it's much easier to dream a little as you envision the life-changing positive consequences of your actions.
---
Mom was so disappointed earlier in the week when she wasn't able to be there for Phoebe's arrival. She met Phoebe this evening!



















Mom is doing much better. Her two falls last Monday prompted extra care and attention and it seems that what they're doing is working. It also seems that it wasn't the new infection I feared. Courtney reports that Phoebe is sleeping well, eating well, and doing other things that babies do, very well.  She only lets out the cutest tiny cry in the history of tiny cries when she's hungry. Or, when I mess with her hair, which happened this evening. She was less than thrilled with Po Po. Less than a week old and she's all about the hair, already!

I really enjoyed having Noah this weekend. Courtney is adjusting to having three little ones at the same time, so this helped her--was fun for Noah, and a blessing to this Po Po.
Noah gave me the "not another picture" face!




















Noah insisted I move my chair from the far side of the table to right next to him. "Sit by me, Po Po!" I was like, "Uh, we're three feet away from one another." And he gave me a look that reminded me how important the "sit next to me" thing is at that age. So I happily moved my chair and plate next to his. He's a great kid!

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

Saturday, April 7, 2018

April 7th, 2018 Here and Active

April 7th, 2018 Here and Active

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 good support.

It's been an exceptional Saturday. After a location broadcast earlier, Noah came over to spend some time with his Po Po! It's been a challenging week for him too, with little brother and now little sister at home. We watched a movie, played air hockey (he beat me several games in a row), and enjoyed a late dinner together. He's staying overnight and he's excited about that!

Being able to be here and active with grandkids is one of the best things. If things wouldn't have changed, I'm not certain I'd still be around.

We're in the middle of playing with his toys. I better get back in there!

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

Friday, April 6, 2018

April 6th, 2018 If We Can

April 6th, 2018 If We Can

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 good support.

This week has been an interesting combination of blessings and challenges. If I have gratitude for the blessings and an action plan for the challenges, I'm okay. The gratitude part has certainly evolved over the last nearly ten years. There was a time when I'd rarely visit a place of gratitude in my heart and mind. It was a time when I was too focused on the challenges, and that focus without a plan, or even the willingness to create one, kept me in a constant state of hopelessness. The declarations of "I know what to do" really translated to, "I have an idea of what I want but honestly, I have no idea how to get there or even how to create a plan, because if I did know what to do, I'd have done it already."

I believe we must start without knowing what to do. I didn't know what I was doing on Day 1, September 15th, 2008. In fact, even if we think we know what to do or what we're doing, I believe we should suspend that process as quickly as possible and simply start from scratch in the most simplistic ways possible. Can we do that? Can we get out of our own way? If suddenly the boulders of pride and ego were set aside, how might it clear the way? If we can get out of our own way, then we can proceed in ways unencumbered by our past experience, expectations, and old trials. If we can, perhaps we're putting ourselves on a new path of discovery where new perspectives are embraced and a simplistic plan evolves naturally into the plan uniquely fit to our needs.

If we can start from the humble place of not knowing, we dramatically improve our chances of accomplishing what once felt impossible and hopeless. 

It's possible. There's hope.
------
Today was an exceptionally long workday for me. I left the studio at 5pm and headed home. I was too tired and at the same time, I was feeling a twinge of real hunger. I had some peanut butter on a pita as a holdover until a late dinner, then proceeded to get a plan together. First order of business, a short nap. Somehow I was able to keep it relatively short. I made a store trip for an avocado, coffee, fresh catfish, pears, and a Woman's World Magazine (for mom--it's her favorite)--then proceeded to mom's place for a good visit.

Mom is doing fair the past couple of days. The indicators I remember from past infections are not quite as clear, so we're waiting on word from the doctor. Maybe she was simply exhausted on Monday when she fell twice. She's back in rehab therapy three days a week to help with her strength and they're constantly monitoring her in order to make the proper adjustments in her care plan. Mom's bruises are healing quickly, too.

I had a good one-on-one session with a private client of mine before preparing one of my favorite dinners: Oven fried catfish! I watched the last twenty minutes of Scorsese's George Harrison documentary (I've watched the entire thing in 15-20 minute chunks over the last several months--it's over three hours long) and finished the dinner and post-dinner portion of the evening with some powerful mental floss courtesy of Tony Robbins.

I'm ready to get some rest. I'll be sleeping in well tomorrow morning--and trust, I'm looking forward to it immensely!

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

Thursday, April 5, 2018

April 5th, 2018 Little More

April 5th, 2018 Little More

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 good support.

I'm keeping tonight's edition super short. This week has challenged me in several ways. I'm staying connected with people and the daily practice of my plan. I'm getting a little more sleep tonight than I've been getting lately--and that's a very positive thing.

On a night like this, I miss the Tweets Only posts!

Goodnight!

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


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April 4th, 2018 Thanks, Brain!

April 4th, 2018 Thanks, Brain!

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 good support.

I've learned that every good thing along this road requires a plan of action. A plan of action requires a willingness to act. I have several areas where my willingness isn't syncing up with the actions needed for change. Oh, you know--same issues I've written about for literally years--sleep schedule, workout schedule, personal project schedule (my podcast!!), and others. 

If I don't have a committed willingness, my perspective will always focus on finding outs--and my brain will agree with the perspective in an effort to relieve responsibility--placing it anywhere but smack dab in the middle of me. The brain is simply trying to make me feel better about myself. Awe--thanks, brain! 

If I have a committed willingness, my perspective will focus on finding solutions. Because I truly believe solutions exist. We all have the same amount of time. It's not like I'm getting short-changed in the time department. Here's the thing-- I feel better when I'm seeking solutions instead of outs. The outs come free and easy. The solutions take work. 

I enjoyed a visit with Courtney, Lucas, and Phoebe this evening before a visit with mom. Phoebe is doing very well. Mom is doing okay, although we're still waiting for test results. In the meantime, she's receiving exceptional care.

I'm hitting the pillow.

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

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April 3rd, 2018 Phoebe's Arrival

April 3rd, 2018 Phoebe's Arrival

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 good support.

This morning was a challenge in the stress department! A colleague was out with illness, so I did two morning shows simultaneously while handling in-studio guests for both--while getting regular text and phone updates from Irene at the hospital with Courtney and updates via phone from mom's nurses concerning her condition and immediate care plan. If it all worked, I'd have time after the morning shows to make it out to mom to check on her before heading to the hospital to be with Courtney before Phoebe's arrival. Luckily, it all worked out very well. But again--I was feeling the super-stress.

I've written about it many times: I am a first-class emotional/stress eater. It isn't "I used to be..." It's straight up, "I am!" The saving grace for me on a day like today is the structure of the plan. Me not stress eating or eating over an emotional response isn't because I have some kind of incredible willpower because I don't. If I keep the pillars of my plan in place, those support beams will hold me together.

The plan actions that helped today be great: I allowed a little more time for my morning meditation, prayer, and positive visualizations of today. I planned, packed, and prepared a good breakfast and I made two important direct support reach outs, sharing the challenges of the day and declaring the things I was doing or was willing to do to stay peaceful, stable, and calm. I made sure to log all of my food throughout the day and I made it important to pause in gratitude multiple times today. Simply stopping long enough to appreciate and be grateful for the blessings all around, makes a huge difference.

Phoebe arrived quickly today. She came into this world a happy, healthy 6 pounds 4 ounces and was 19.25 inches long. Courtney made it through beautifully. Talk about blessings deserving of immense gratitude!

Cindy worked late today before joining me for a late dinner and visit to check on mom. Mom is actually doing much better tonight than she was last night. The nursing staff took x-rays this morning and they're doing other tests to determine what's creating the issues. The x-rays turned out all clear--nothing broke between the two falls, so that's good news. She's getting extra care from the nursing staff right now--and she certainly needs it. She was clearly disappointed about not being able to join everyone at the hospital today, but she understood. Taking her up there would have been too risky with her lack of balance and strength. She did speak with Courtney on the phone this morning and that helped her be okay with not being there for delivery.

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

Some pictures from this beautiful day!!
Mother and Daughter not long after delivery!

Auntie Amber with a wide-eyed Phoebe!

Cindy adoring little Phoebe

Phoebe and Me--just the most precious little girl!

Proud grandpa X 4!! Very blessed & grateful!

Noah meeting his sister for the first time!

That little tiny hand resting on her cheek--oh my, adorable!

Phoebe Rose Ellen Ethridge









































































































































































Monday, April 2, 2018

April 2nd, 2018 Uncertainty

April 2nd, 2018 Uncertainty

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 good support.

Mom has fallen twice today. She's okay, just banged up some and sore. I'm sure she'll be even sorer tomorrow. She might be developing another infection. I'm grateful she's getting the care she needs. The nursing staff where she lives is on top of this situation.

Tomorrow is the day my fourth grandchild comes into the world! Phoebe will join Raegan, Oliver, and Noah!

I'll be taking either a full or partial day off for Phoebe's arrival day!

------------------

When I've struggled hardest it's usually something, not even food-related that's bothering me. My disease makes it all about food. If I sit down and think about it, it's usually either job, relationship, family, or some other kind of stressor or it's frustration for what I perceive to be my own shortcomings. Also, it's often fear over things ahead even if I don't have good reason to fear- which is basically the emptiness of uncertainty. Uncertainty is a horrible one.

Something I try to frame: Whatever it is pressing on my brain, emotionally and/or mentally: It will work out better IF I maintain the integrity of my plan. In that perspective, it's difficult to believe the lie my head is trying to sell me. My head says that I need to eat off-plan and that'll help-- if I don't pause, that's what I'll go with. 

If I allow a little space between the thought and the reaction, I can find the right perspective needed for a positive action. We pause to act instead of reacting.

If you're like me, this is our normal- and it's why we must practice a plan each day. One of the biggest barriers to that trek, in my experience, is resentment for this fact. That resentment didn't start fading for me until I stopped doing something I didn't even realize I was doing: I was comparing myself to everyone else. I wanted to live their normal. I was constantly telling myself I wasn't normal- as if something was horribly wrong or flawed with me. I was pissed off, quite frankly, because I couldn't live with any peace and stability when I tried to assume the normal of "those people."

But... when I decided to embrace MY normal... when I decided I wasn't abnormal, I was just me, and me was okay... suddenly I felt better. I cannot live my life constantly believing there's something wrong with me. My normal requires a daily practice. And that doesn't make me bad. Much like someone with a potentially deadly disease takes their daily course of medications and/or treatments in order to maintain their wellness. Some people in a situation like that might curse to the heavens asking "why me??" But then, there's also some of the most serene and peaceful people practicing their self-care with an embrace free of that frustration and resentment. I once asked a studio guest who was in the process of going through intensive cancer treatments, "with all your health challenges, how do you smile so much and stay so positive?" Her reply: "Because I tried the alternative and it was miserable."

We have a beautiful opportunity to embrace our individual normals and dramatically change the course of struggle into something much less powerful. We will certainly have challenging days, everyone's "normal" does, but we practice a plan to help us through, another day.

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

Sunday, April 1, 2018

April 1st, 2018 Proper Place

April 1st, 2018 Proper Place

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

Today started with a church service, included a dinner out with loved ones, and a shopping trip with mom and Noah. Noah had a choice today: Easter candy or a toy. He picked a toy! He's definitely my grandson, so we're left head scratching at that choice! Oh, and when did my grandson turn into a teenager? The headphones on and device in his hands makes him seem so much older!



















A holiday like today can certainly present some challenges, especially if a plan isn't in place. My food plan today was set and within the boundaries of my maintenance budget. One of the many things I'm grateful for is reaching a point where the focus isn't squarely on the food, it's on the people and experiences around me. These things were once ignored when I was "in the food," but now, the food is still good--it just takes its proper place in my life. Reaching this point isn't set in stone. I can lose this place quickly if I don't maintain my daily practice. When I feel vulnerable on any particular day, aside from reaching for support and a few other things, I do my best to pause and remember how this proper perspective feels.

If you're new to this blog, welcome! The archives contain posts dating back to Day 1, September 15th, 2008. I invite you to read along from 505 pounds, to goal, back up the scale, then finally an approach and practice over the last four years that brought me back from the brink of gaining it all back, to a healthy body weight, and now continues to keep me well one day at a time.

I hope you had a fantastic Easter!

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





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The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser. All rights reserved.