Monday, July 16, 2018

July 16th, 2018 At Some Point

July 16th, 2018 At Some Point

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 exceptional support.

I eat at least one and sometimes two apples a day. I change varieties depending on what's on sale and what isn't. Right now I have ambrosia and New Zealand Koru apples. It's interesting to me that as a kid, I didn't eat a lot of apples. It wasn't that they weren't available, they were. And it wasn't because I didn't have a good example, I did. I watched my grandfather eat at least one and sometimes two apples a day. It wasn't that I didn't like apples--I think they just didn't compare to my other options. What's even more fascinating to me is how even a deeply ingrained perspective we've held since childhood can be "dislodged," so to speak, because now I look forward to eating my apples. As an adult, I suppose I'm able to evaluate my options with a clearer understanding of how those different options affect me. The change in perception only made possible through trial and error, or better--experience. The experiences repeated over and over must, at some point, meet resistance in order to change the pattern. Intentional resistance changed the pattern. I sometimes refer to it as "acting instead of reacting."

What are we willing to do to change the patterns that can lead to a different path? If our experiences repeated over and over are because of a deeply ingrained set of reactions developed over years and years, what intentional actions can we establish in order to have the best chance of finding a pathway out of insanity?

I'm not going to "hard-sell" you on joining the support group I facilitate.  I'll simply say, we have space available on the late call option. The early call time is full. We're all in the same secret Facebook group every day, we just divide the once-weekly group conference call coaching/mentoring sessions into two calls every Wednesday night. The late call is an hour long and starts at 8:15pm Central/9:15pm Eastern/6:15pm Pacific. If you're interested in details, email me soon. transformation.road@gmail.com We're less than 48 hours away from the start of this 8-week session! 

I had a good day made better by getting more rest last night! I see how that works! I need to do that intentional action more often!

I also had a few wonderful support interactions today. Those are always appreciated!

It was a good evening. I participated in a book discussion group covering chapter 2 of Dr. Marty Lerner's free e-book (available at www.milestonesprogram.org), I prepared a wonderful dinner, and I enjoyed a short visit with mom. It's time to hit the pillow!

Today's Featured Tweet:


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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

July 15th, 2018 Early For Me

July 15th, 2018 Early For Me

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 exceptional support.

After falling asleep on the couch while watching Netflix last night--then blogging and getting to bed super-late, I was surprised to be able to sleep in so well, but I did! I slept late today. It tilted my food schedule some and I'm almost 300 below maintenance budget--but I'm okay with it. I'm not going to eat more food purely for the sake of hitting my budget. I don't need anything else today.

Mom and I made our way to our hometown for a fast afternoon visit with family. It was a good trip. We laugh quite a bit on those road trips. We enjoyed a meal together at our favorite little Mexican restaurant before calling it an evening. Mom is doing well after her fall earlier last week. She's still a little sore but she's okay.

I'm doing something tonight I rarely do--going to bed early!! Early for me, at least!

Thank you for the wonderful feedback about last night's blog post!

Today's featured Tweet:


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

Saturday, July 14, 2018

July 14th, 2018 Being Me

July 14th, 2018 Being Me

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 exceptional support.

I'm not sure when the switch occurred. Looking back, I suppose you could say it happened after my initial weight loss, and right as I started the turnaround from my 164-pound relapse/regain. The switch arrived at just the right time. I'm talking about the switch from DIEting to LIVing. Yeah, I don't "diet." I didn't "diet" while losing that 164-pound regain and I don't "diet" in maintenance mode. I live each day with a plan, a style of eating that fits me--and one that's conducive for a healthy body weight.

Diets don't work because it's a means to an end. Have you ever attempted a diet that was so restrictive and gross--but you did it anyway because you knew it would succeed in dropping the weight? But you hated it the whole time--dreaded it each day, white-knuckled through it--and fantasized about the day when you'd reach the pre-determined goal so you could be done with the diet, whatever it is/was? Me too.

I remember doing a plan that included all the food I'd need-- and hating it--every meal of it, just horrible, and then going on the air and essentially lying to my audience because I was contractually obligated to speak favorably about the diet's food during my show. I was looking forward to the day the contract ended--and was secretly hoping they'd cancel early, so I'd be off the hook and get back to being me. And right there, the last five words of the previous sentence--that's why diets don't work. Because...

If what we're doing is a temporary diversion from who we are in the behavioral patterns that brought us to our heaviest in the first place, then as soon as we return to "being ourselves," with the internal patterns, experiences, actions, and coping mechanisms on which we've grown dependent, the weight comes back--every time, with rarely an exception.

When I looked for an external solution to my internal issues, it always ended in a bad way. I still like my disgusting analogy for diet mentality: It's like calling a cleanup crew to the sewer line break instead of calling a plumber to repair the sewer line.

It's interesting, our whole lives, people often tell us to "just be yourself," yet, when it comes to losing weight, the advice or plan is often: "Here's the latest fancy diet plan, product, or procedure, do it. It works," with little consideration for the divide between who we are and what it requires us to be. Basically, don't be yourself...be something you perceive as "better than" yourself...and here we go into another direction promoting self-loathing as soon as we don't somehow conform or live up to this "better plan."

Binge eating, compulsive overeating, and resulting morbid obesity ARE NOT MORAL issues. But the old diet mentality would have us believe it's so. I refuse to share some of the most brutal things I've told me about myself over the years--all because I couldn't "get it together," somehow. The least of it involved the word "failure," the worst--well, you can imagine, I'm sure. I would never speak to someone or treat someone the way I've spoken to and treated me...ever.

But--the search continued for the next thing--the key to my weight loss success--the next best diet plan--something, anything that would work--and I was desperate---and as long as that search continued, I felt justified with my food behaviors. Maybe the solution I needed hadn't been invented yet. What could I do?

This search for the next best thing is what fuels a 100-Billion dollar weight loss industry.

When our personal truth is finally recognized, acknowledged, and embraced, the search can abruptly end. It's like an exhausting search for a missing car key that comes to an end when you realize the key was in your coat pocket the entire time. I've witnessed this happen with numerous people who reach in, grab the key--insert the key--and head in a direction with a consistency they've never known... and they do it without the next best-latest-greatest-wonderful-sure-fire, straight off the shelf, tv, or some other plan. These people stop DIEting and start LIVing.

I don't know what your personal truth is. I can only speak of and write about mine. I'm a compulsive overeater. I'm an emotional eater. I'm a stress eater. I'm a celebratory eater. I'm an addict whose substance of choice isn't served at a bar and it isn't secretly sold in the back alleyways. It's food. And that doesn't make me any better of an addict than anyone else--not to compare, but my addiction is just as lethal as others--the only difference is the speed it proceeds.

My food addiction, more specifically, is about certain food substances--for me, clearly refined sugar--and my personal list of trigger foods--some of which do not contain refined sugar--but they dance for me if I let them. My dealer is the unwitting individual working the drive-through.

So what's the key?? Well, in my experience--and again, that's all I can draw from--there are several different cuts to the key.

As Jordan Burgess referred to it on episode 13 of Transformation Planet, "an unwavering commitment to self-honesty." That right there is the pivotal cut--without it, nothing works.

Another cut--is extending love, self-compassion, and a healing level of forgiveness to ourselves for where this road has led us--and all of the things we did or didn't do along the way. The struggles and successes have a common denominator: They're all opportunities to learn. That's it. What went well? What didn't go well? It's a study every single day. It's not good or bad. It's not shameful or admirable--it's just an opportunity to learn how to proceed in a groove that fits us well and keeps us well. Because really--

It's okay. I'm okay. You're okay. We're human. We're fallible. We're conditioned. We're experienced. We're lovely. We're beautiful. We're good people with great intentions, We have overflowing love and compassion for others--and now, for once, we can start cupping some of that overflowing love and compassion for ourselves.

When we have those two cuts on the key--and we add spiritual support (whatever that is to you), accountability, and support from others who understand--who've lived it--as Dr. Marty Lerner puts it, we surround ourselves "with others in the same lifeboat," this is when this time becomes like no other time in our history.

Add another cut--a style of eating--a plan that considers very personal elements of our individual truth--with boundaries in place and held with a sacred importance level--and suddenly something almost magical happens. Things start changing.

And a few other things that are critically important to remember: It's about progress, not perfection. Consistency beats intensity--in other words, it's better to embrace a plan that's not only doable, it's one that's sustainable long-term instead of doing something dependent on short-lived bursts of extreme intensity. It's important to look for ways to feel good about what we're doing instead of feeling horrible because we're focused on things we think we should be doing. And one of the most important things--- oh my, it's big:

Always remember--our continued peace and calm isn't guaranteed and it isn't found on the scale. It's found within the plan we embrace each day, one day at a time. If I forget this--or willfully deny it--or throw it all out the window tomorrow, I'll return to over 500 pounds without question. And I'm very capable of doing that. I'm capable of not doing it too.

But--I'm much more experienced in the chaotic stream of the struggle than I am in the softer flow of peace and calm.

My continued success doesn't come from the words I speak, the words I write, or the personal truths I've discovered about me. It's the things I do each day in service of the mental, spiritual, and emotional transformations, that give me the best shot at another day like today.

I don't "diet." And I don't have to diet.

My body weight will follow and reflect where I am within my daily plan. I don't have to chase it anymore because it follows me wherever I go. My body weight isn't the focus, my daily plan must be the focus--because body weight is a side effect of my continued recovery or lack of recovery.

Peace.

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

July 13th, 2018 The Best Chance

July 13th, 2018 The Best Chance

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 exceptional support.

The next 8-week session of my private accountability and support group starts next Wednesday, July 18th. Registration only opens once every two months and this is that time!! I was thrilled to announce to our team members today that every current member is continuing on into the next session. That says something wonderful about this small and powerful team we're on! The good news: We have a couple of spots available! If you're interested in discovering the difference good accountability, support, and being surrounded by a team of people "in the same lifeboat," can make, then join us!

It is a weight loss group but it isn't a "diet group." Each one of us works on our individual plan practices--practices that can help lead to a healthy body weight--practices that have the best chance of becoming something sustainable long-term. Each one of us is different. Our team includes people who are in maintenance mode, people more than 100 pounds from a healthy body weight, and everywhere in between. Our members are spread out across the country with different backgrounds, different lives, different challenges, and different goals--but still, when it comes to our behaviors with food, we all relate with one another in a remarkable way.

The group is a "secret" Facebook support group with a once a week one hour group mentoring/coaching conference call. We have an early call and a late call each Wednesday night. The early call starts at 7pm Central/8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific and the late call starts at 8:15pm Central/9:15pm Eastern/6:15pm Pacific. The daily support interactions on the group Facebook page plus the contact information exchange between all of us add to this incredible opportunity.

If you're ready, email me right away with questions or to request a registration invoice: transformation.road@gmail.com The 8-week session is $120. International lines are available as well so if you're anywhere else in the world, you can join us too! If the time difference can work for you, we can make it work on this end!

Breaking away from a diet mentality and transitioning into more of a sustainable food plan perspective is what's helped me. It's very much a mindset grounded in recovery, not dieting. Diets don't work or are temporary at best. Jumping off the diet mentality merry-go-round was the best thing for me--and it wasn't my idea. I had to be willing to open my mind, eyes, and ears to actually absorb what I witnessed others doing. It was great because suddenly I didn't need to know it all. I thought I did at one point--but clearly, I didn't and I never will. But I do know if we're willing to work on a plan that fits us in a very unique way and if it's a plan that we can practice daily for the rest of our lives, then we have a really good chance at achieving and maintaining whatever a healthy body weight is for us, individually.




















I enjoyed dinner while visiting with mom tonight. After finishing up some work at the studio, I made it home to discover we're expecting thunderstorms around 3am. When thunderstorms move in, I have to report to the studio for coverage. Maybe they won't be severe. We'll see! Otherwise, I'm off this weekend and that's a wonderful thing!

I better hit the pillow!

Today's Featured Tweet:


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

Thursday, July 12, 2018

July 12th, 2018 Interrupting

July 12th, 2018 Interrupting

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 exceptional support.

Today was interesting. I hit a truck with my car while pulling out of my parking space at work. Not long after this incident, the nursing home called to tell me mom fell. The good news: Mom is fine. She fell but wasn't hurt. She'll likely be very sore tomorrow, I'd imagine!

The car will be fine. Thank goodness for insurance.

Despite those two things, it was a fairly good day! I met my goals today and that's a wonderful thing.

Not using the stressful happenings as an excuse to compulsively over-eat is a blessing I'm extremely grateful to have today. It certainly requires effort, practice, and first, a willingness to do things differently.

It's interrupting the deeply ingrained reactions with intentional actions.

I visited with mom for a little while and she is doing okay. It's comforting to know that she gets really good care where she lives.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July 11th, 2018 Worth It

July 11th, 2018 Worth 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 well connected with exceptional support.

Wednesday night is my favorite night of the week because it's group conference call support night! I facilitate a small and exclusive accountability and support group. We all share a "secret" Facebook page for daily interactions and meet once a week on the conference line for group mentoring/support. Some of the most inspiring stories are shared, struggles are worked through, and perspective shifting breakthroughs happen on that line. It's something very special to me.

A brand new 8-week session of my support group starts next Wednesday, July 18th. I have three or four available spots on the team. If you're ready to discover the power of creating good accountability and support measures, this might just be for you!

The 8-week membership is $120. That's $15 per week or $2.14 a day. If you were able to engage, participate, and create a personal plan that changed everything, would it be worth it? If suddenly barriers of the past no longer keep you from moving forward-- would it be worth it? 

I'm right there with you through the entire experience. I work my daily practice each day just like everyone else. I would love the opportunity to personally work with you.

If you're interested or have questions, please text: 580-491-2228 or email: transformation.road@gmail.com I'll get back with you quickly!

The mission statement of my support group says it all: "Creating and practicing a personal and unique plan enabling each of us to achieve "as a side effect," a body weight conducive to the best possible health benefits."

This isn't a diet. It's something different!

If you're ready, contact me soon!

Today's Featured Tweet:


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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

July 10th, 2018 Tweet Only

July 10th, 2018 Tweet Only

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 exceptional support.

Tweet only tonight!

Today's featured Tweet:


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

Monday, July 9, 2018

July 9th, 2018 Freedom

July 9th, 2018 Freedom

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 exceptional support.

Yesterday's excursion with Noah in celebration of his birthday was so much fun! Noah truly had the time of his life.

Pictures from yesterday and this evening's birthday outing with mom (she turned 73 today) later in this edition. But first...

Spending time with Noah yesterday was a good reminder for me of why I'm doing what I'm doing each day. Being alive and well for him and Oliver, Phoebe, and Raegan is super important to me. It reminds me of how I must remain diligent.

Another reminder--actually a source of numerous reminders have been found in rereading Dr. Lerner's book (offered for free at www.milestonesprogram.org). The disease of food addiction/compulsive overeating is one that hasn't a cure. The only hope is found in developing a daily practice that keeps us well. I'll spare you the details and instead encourage you to read his free book. It's eye-opening.

When Noah was born five years ago, I was right in the middle of my epic relapse/regain period. I tried to find a blog post from the day of his birth but couldn't. Back then postings to this blog were sporadic at best and most of the time it was trying to write me right, so to speak. Perhaps a post would occasionally come during one of my two or three-day stretches of "doing well." Maybe it explains the following--found in the archives in July 2013. It still applies. Although certain phrasing, to me, now, in hindsight, seems lacking a full respect for the elements of addiction and how it works. But this process is a learning process, forever. The learning never stops. I've written it and spoken it many times--if I ever reach the point where I think I'm done learning, that's the beginning of the end, my friends.

"What Kind Of Freedom:"
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 from the consequences of our efforts far outweigh the freedoms of inaction.  

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

We were stopped, by the way! On our way!

























Noah is much better at video games than me!



















One of his favorites!

























Intense!! He was moving super-fast!!















Yesterday was a day Noah and I will not soon forget. I spoke with Courtney this evening and she told me he's been talking about it a lot. We made some memories, for sure!

Today was mom's actual birthday. I wasn't feeling great this morning and today--and actually took a sick day from work, but I felt better by late afternoon in time to honor my promise to mom for a birthday trip to the store. She wanted to do some shopping with birthday money she received from family and have a birthday dinner out. We dined at our favorite Mexican place. I kept it simple with my trusty sour cream and chicken tacos.
Mom is all smiles as we waited in the checkout line!

























We always laugh a lot when we're out and about. It took
several tries to get this pic because we were
laughing.





















We made our way over to Amber's place after dinner for a visit with Amber, KL, and Raegan. Courtney stopped by too for a little bit. It was a good visit! Amber gave her grandma a framed picture of Raegan for her room. Raegan was mesmerized by it--kept looking at it and smiling!! I'm not sure if she knew that was her in the picture or if she just thought she was looking at another baby or what...but whatever it was, she was loving it, and we did too.

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

Sunday, July 8, 2018

July 8th, 2018 Day Off

July 8th, 2018 Day Off

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 exceptional support.

I took a day off today. I spent it with my oldest grandson, Noah. It was amazing. That little guy is so full of joy. His spirit inspires me!

I did not take a day off from my daily practice. I scanned the menu at lunch and found a few options to fit my food plan. I picked the chicken breast, grilled plain without the fancy shmancy sauce that I'm pretty sure contained refined sugar. It wasn't my favorite pick--but it's one of 21 meals I'll eat this week--one less than desirable meal isn't a big deal!

I'm so happy to be able to keep up with Noah! It's another reason I'm incredibly grateful to be here.

I planned on writing much more tonight, but it got too late, too quickly--and the 4:30am alarm comes too early! More tomorrow!

Today's Featured Tweet:


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

Saturday, July 7, 2018

July 7th, 2018 Celebrations

July 7th, 2018 Celebrations

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 exceptional support.

We celebrated mom's birthday today. Her brother, sister, and brother-in-law made the trip up from our hometown for a late lunch out and a great visit. Mom turns seventy-three on Monday!

I'm headed to bed relatively early for me on a Saturday night. I'm picking up my grandson tomorrow morning for a day of fun in celebration of his 5th birthday.

Keeping tonight's edition short (especially after last night's exceptionally long post)--and dropping in bed.

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

Friday, July 6, 2018

July 6th, 2018 Q&A

July 6th, 2018 Q&A

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 exceptional support.

Having a holiday mid-week really disrupted my rhythm. I know I'm not alone in this--I've heard from many others with the same experience. I had a productive day at the studio before coming home and napping way too long. Perhaps my body was demanding more and took it, I don't know, but I don't think it was the best move toward aligning a more balanced schedule...but my goodness, that's been a running challenge for me for ages.

I prepared some good meals today, accomplished some good work, visited mom tonight, and worked on some of my personal projects. It was a good day.

One thing I make time for on a regular basis is responding to emails about my blog, book, or simply questions, in general, involving this entire process. Occasionally, I'll share an exchange or a few. It sometimes takes me awhile to catch up, especially after an article is released like the recent NBC article that apparently made its way all around the world and even into a Spanish newspaper according to a few readers who contacted me from Spain. I've included a couple of these below.

Q&A:

Reader in Tennessee:

Hi Sean. I have a question. I have read your book soon after it came out and followed your Journey and I have a question. My husband and I wonder how you manage meals off, etc and if you did them along the way this time. I haven't been reading the blog all the time. We have a discussion about whether most people have a line where they stay on all the time etc no flour, no sugar, nothing white or if they are more successful in taking occasional moderate meals off. Thanks for your input.
I've been reading the blog as I have time ( I care for my mother) and I'm assuming now you never have a planned meal off.

Reply:
I don't have meals I would classify as "off," and the key for that to work is making sure the foods that are within my plan are things I enjoy eating.

Something I wrote about in the book is how in past weight loss attempts, I would restrict while looking forward to the day or meal where I could "cut loose." In hindsight, as discussed in the book, this is classic means to an end diet mentality.

The difference now is, and has been- this isn't a diet, it's a style of eating based on my likes, dislikes, and most importantly, designed around my personal list of trigger substances and trigger foods.
With that list (no refined sugar being the biggest), I can stay within the boundaries that keep me well each day.

My addict brain couldn't handle having an occasional meal that violated these personal boundaries. One is too many, and a thousand wouldn't be enough... and this is something I've learned about myself over the course of the last almost ten years.

For me to experience long-term stability and successful maintenance, it requires a daily practice that honors these personal boundaries. Instead of a "diet" approach, it's a recovery approach. And that is something far beyond a diet. 

The bottom line is this: A plan that is focused on developing a daily practice and style of eating that doesn't include binge episodes and compulsive eating is one that "as a side effect," results in weight loss and maintenance. In that, we're not chasing the scale and making decisions to try to control the scale. We're making decisions based on what kind of daily plan we can embrace long-term.

The idea that this approach will somehow take joy away from our lives is not true. Creating a plan that is enjoyable, that we're able to embrace each day, and that brings us peace, and consistent positive results- brings more joy than anything before.

When I think of the patterns of my weight loss past, it was full of starts and stops, struggle and frustration. Those descriptions no longer apply because I'm not dancing with the binge and compulsive eating behaviors of my past.

And aside from developing that plan- it takes remaining accountable and staying in contact with support friends who "get it." Because there are still days and moments where "more food" seems like a fixer. It isn't- and never was.

The great thing is, it is possible to develop our personal plan and feel satisfied; content. It's a process. One worth exploring!

Dear Sean:
I write from Spain. Excuses for my English. I read something about you in a newspaper and I decided to investigate. I read some articles in your blog and decided to buy your book. It took me three days to read even when I don't have much time... 

I read that somedays you feel not so secure about the blog and so because you may have so many visits... so I decided to write right now to tell you how much your book impressed me. Hope I get to touch you. I need some time to write a long “critic” but it was urgent to “Give you strength”. 

I wasn’t going to read the part of your book that was the story of your life but I started... and... I could find an analogy of every single story in my own life¡ This was disappointing, sad, great and revealing at the same time. 

I already new y was carb addict but, as you did, I had hope in been able to eat them as a normal person. But your thought gave me new prespective!
I found inspiration in “thinking in the best version of myself”.

6 months ago I was in this times when you only think about food and feel completely sad for being fat and disgraced about food. A new gym opened 3 min from my home and I thought: this is my last chance! Next would be surgery or slowly dying.... and I started exercising, getting better and feeling better..... But I still needed take charge in my mind about the future and myself. I think your book helped me! I need some time to process it and tell you a little long story of my life and how it is similar to yours.

I think you are a great communicator. You are wise and getting to where you are coming from where you have been makes you even greater. These kinds of personal trajectories deserve to be told!
Sorry for my English, spelling, and grammar!
Sincerely yours.

Reply:
Thank you for taking the time to write me. I sincerely appreciate you. I'm glad the book touched you in a deeply personal way.

Much of the process goes far beyond and much deeper than another diet. It sounds like you're discovering some things that could very well help you create a daily practice that gives you what you need to feel better and live better.

Your message lifts me up and for that, I'm grateful. I'm glad you ran across that article in your newspaper.

Thank you for reading my blog, buying the book, and reaching out to me.

I hope you'll let me know how you're doing along the way.

There's hope. Don't give up, ever. You're worth it.

My best,
Sean

My name is Roberto and I am in Madrid Spain.

I am writing you because I just got an article today about the story of Sean Anderson.  And I just wonder if this email is still valid?

I have been fighting with overweight for several years and seems that I have lost the battle.  I went to weight 150 kilos and after going under surgery I lost weight til 107 but again I am on 120 kilos even though I am doing much more exercise than ever. 

I am 52 years old and I read that after 40 is really hard to lose weight and I am just to give up.

I have been looking for a diet to follow for 1.200 or at most 1.500 calories a day but I am unable to find it.

So far I cannot afford to go to a specialist to control my diet I just know that I need to do something about my weight. It makes me unhappy and unable to search for a relationship. 

I don't have problems with my pressure but I had problems with diabetes and high cholesterol.  I started to go twice a week to the gym and I am riding a bicycle as much as I can.  I see that my resistance day by day is getting better but I don't lose even a gram.

I had really high sugar in my blood but I controlled with the exercise but I guess I am not having the correct diet so i would like if you can help me giving me at least some idea. 

I am not sure if this email address is the right one for this kind of questions.  Since now I apologize for any misspellings or grammatical mistakes with my English. 

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon

Kind regards

Roberto

Reply:
Roberto,

Thank you for writing to me. I'm grateful for your message and support.

My best advice is to give yourself the time and focus you need to take care of you. When you do this, perhaps the other things you desire in life will eventually work in your favor.

Taking care of you is important.

As far as "finding the right diet," I must share with you something that might be hard to embrace at first: The "right" diet is the one designed with you, from you, within you.

Let me explain:
Instead of "diet" let's use the term "food plan."

If you'll set a budget, for you, I'm simply guessing- 1700 or 1800 calories per day, if honored, will likely support consistent weight loss.

I encourage you to use a higher budget than what you mentioned (1200 or 1500) because if you go too low, your metabolism will start working against you. Your metabolism is like a wood burning stove, in order to burn consistently and efficiently, it needs fuel.

This is a good time to point out that I'm not a dietician or nutritionist- far from it, all I have is my personal experience and what I've learned from studying the work of and listening to experts in these fields of study.

Once you decide on the boundaries of your calorie budget, create a list of foods you enjoy eating. Also, create a list of foods that you do not enjoy. Also, create a list of your personal trigger foods. These are foods that once you start eating, you can't seem to stop, or it quickly leads to binge episodes.

When designing your personal food plan, eat what you like, nothing you don't, and avoid your personal trigger foods as best you can.

Your main goal through this process is maintaining the integrity of your calorie budget. If you do this, your food plan will naturally evolve along the way.

Roberto, if you're an emotional and compulsive eater, I urge you to develop your accountability and support system. Seek out support groups either online or in person with members that relate to your challenges. Please don't try to go it alone.

What you're doing for yourself is something special and wonderful.

You're giving yourself a loving gift. Giving yourself this time and attention now and making it the most important thing has the potential to dramatically change things in your future in wonderful ways.

Never give up, Roberto. Don't stop dreaming. But even better than dreaming, don't stop doing these intentional actions bringing you freedom in so many beautiful ways.

My best,
Sean

If you have questions for me, feel free to write me an email: transformation.road@gmail.com

Today's Featured Tweets:


Today was my grandson Noah's actual birthday!
I still can't believe he's 5!





















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



Thursday, July 5, 2018

July 5th, 2018 Cantaloupe

July 5th, 2018 Cantaloupe

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 exceptional support.

Mom and Me at the Fireworks broadcast last night

























Cantaloupe!





















Today's Featured Tweet:


Keeping tonight's edition short. It's too late for me! I made it home this afternoon for a nap after the short night last night--and yeah, it's keeping me awake tonight. One of these days I'll get my sleep schedule in better shape. 

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

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4th, 2018 Worked Well

July 4th, 2018 Worked Well

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 exceptional support.

I slept in very well today! I needed the rest.

Mom joined me for my broadcast from the lake this evening. I prepared crunchy beef tacos and cantaloupe for dinner--not your typical 4th of July at the lake kind of food, but it worked well for my food plan and mom loves tacos too, so it was perfect.

It took over an hour to get through the traffic after the event--and oh my, it's put me up way too late! I have work in the morning!

Thanks for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 3rd, 2018 Noah's 5th

July 3rd, 2018 Noah's 5th

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 exceptional support.

Mom and I made it to Noah's 5th birthday party this evening. That little guy is pure joy to be around. Little Oliver, Raegan, and Phoebe too--all four grandkids, just amazing to me. I have lots to be grateful for around here.

Keeping tonight's edition short. Mom and I didn't get her back to her place until after 10pm--then I needed to finish up some work at the studio--and now it's super late!

It was a wonderful evening. A few pics from the party:
Noah with his new drum kit!



















He was beyond excited!!

























We're always goofy we when take selfies together!




















I can't believe he's 5 years old. Time moves quickly!

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

Monday, July 2, 2018

July 2nd, 2018 Steady Treading

July 2nd, 2018 Steady Treading

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 exceptional support.

The following was originally written on this blog in September 2014. It's interesting to me because there are elements of it that I haven't maintained. "A committed exercise schedule," uh--yeah--I've fallen into a pattern of minimal commitment in that area--and it's something that needs work, sooner rather than later.

The other thing that sticks out is my tendency to self-sabotage good things in my life. I suppose the lesson for me here is that the daily practice I often talk and write about requires a broad approach for it to be the most balanced and complete.

I don't like how I wrote the following in the tone of, "it's done--it's locked in, this is how it is now," because clearly, I've learned nothing is automatic along this road. It takes intentional actions each and every day. Still, I like the message and there are some things in the following that I needed to read and absorb once again.

September 16th, 2014:
It's an incredibly good feeling to be at peace with something. I'm in a position along this road where my acceptance has allowed me the most sincere peace. It's acceptance of my abstinence from sugar, it's acceptance of a committed exercise schedule, it's acceptance for not using food to buffer emotions--it's an acceptance of good things and this, coming from me--someone who has had what seems like an inability to accept good things in my life. To finally feel worthy of good things--and to not immediately try to self-sabotage my way back into chaos, is truly the most wonderful transformation within me.

I'm an affected individual, there's no doubt, all of us are to a certain extent--some more than others. To finally be able to feel some space between me and those deeply ingrained reactions fueled by an inaccurate perception of self, is incredibly liberating.

When I allow my brain to explore the dynamics of it all, I quickly realize the magnitude and how this is about one thousand times more than just weight loss. It goes much deeper than dropping pounds and all the euphoria surrounding weight loss success.  To feel worthy of good things, to once and for all embrace and love me as I am, regardless of anything or anyone else and to view myself without judgment and condemnation...oh my-- My friend, this is what it's all about. To get here, to this mental and emotional place where obstacles are swiped away from our path to freedom, is the most beautiful experience.

Discussing the fundamentals and surface issues along the way is important, of course-- because the commitment to these--a steady treading of sorts, gives us the balance to go deeper along the way.

When I get excited about this journey, it's not always about the most obvious things, like smaller clothes and slimmer profiles. It's about the deep stuff. It's about the transformation of the inside, not the outside that most excites me. Because it's this transformation that lays the foundation for all other transformative experiences to happen and stay that way.
-------------------------
A steady treading. I forget that sometimes.

I participated in a book discussion group tonight. A bunch of the team members from the conference call support group I facilitate each week are embarking on reading and discussing Dr. Marty Lerner's free e-book, "A Guide To Eating Disorder Recovery." It's a powerful book written and offered for free by one of the world's leading authorities on these issues. You can request your free copy at www.milestonesprogram.org It was a great discussion tonight!

I made it out to mom's tonight for a short visit. Tomorrow evening, mom and I will travel the twenty minutes to the next town for Noah's birthday celebration. He turns 5 on Friday, but we're having his party early. He's super excited about turning 5!! I can't believe it's been five years.

Today's Featured Tweets:


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

Sunday, July 1, 2018

July 1st, 2018 Critical Elements

July 1st, 2018 Critical Elements

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 exceptional support.

This weekend has been challenging to say the least. But I'm here, I'm well, and I'm ready for a good 4th of July week. We learn things about ourselves when things get tough. This weekend has reinforced some things for me in the areas of staying connected with support. I'm the first to preach its importance but then find myself not doing it when I need to do it. If you've ever heard me say it's sometimes not easy to reach out, uh, yeah---that's from experience.

I enjoyed eleven hours of sleep last night. I can't remember the last time I slept that much at one time. It was needed. It tilted my food schedule today, but that's just fine. I'm under budget by a few hundred calories today and that's not a bad thing.

I picked up mom this evening for dinner out and a shopping trip to Walmart. She walked and pushed a cart the whole time rather than use a wheelchair. She made it just fine, although she's really tired tonight!

I wanted to share something from the archives tonight. The best part is Dave's reply below-- I hope it resonates with you.

From my Facebook page in May 2014:

I've been trying to identify and best articulate the most critical element transforming extreme struggle into harmonious consistency. Having experienced both, it's a fascinating study.

Sure, it's a combination of elements, but what is the one, that without, all the others become ineffective?

Is it acceptance, where suddenly we embrace instead of reject? That's fine, but how do we get to a place of acceptance?

I keep coming back to perspective. Dr. Wayne Dyer says it so perfectly: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” The perspective we choose is paramount to our success, of course. Sometimes, finding the perspective that engages the gear you're looking for isn't as easy as someone saying, “change your perspective.”

In my opinion, we first must identify, one by one—the mind noise and clutter that keeps our perspective in a locked position. It's mental work that's worth the effort. Because if we can get past these things and truly shift our perspective, suddenly what once seemed impossible becomes not only possible, it becomes our new everyday reality, a non-physical transformation where we can finally experience the seemingly elusive, harmonious consistency."

Dave May, A good friend of mine, who's very familiar with me and with the elements of lasting recovery, added this:

"Want. Want is first. If we don't want to change, nothing happens. Belief is second. If we don't believe we can change, nothing happens. Self-awareness comes third. If we don't become aware of the inner self, the baggage of the past, the self-conscious "facts" we already have in place that are working to defeat us and keep us locked into our old behavior, they will, eventually and assuredly derail any attempt to change and again, nothing happens. 

Change, you see is a process and there is ALWAYS a most important element. We move from one most important to the next, and sometimes we must move back to the previous most important element, which brings me to one more "most important" element: Faith. 

If we don't have faith, we are sure to fail. Faith that I CAN change. Faith that the mistake I just made doesn't doom me. Faith that if I get on track, or get back on track, change will come. If we lose faith, none of the other elements will matter, because we won't believe they can work. 

We, of course, could debate the order of these elements or which is the MOST important, but after years of struggle, growth, setbacks, and triumphs, I believe that is a pretty good BASE list of the "most critical elements" of transformation. 

Oh, and let me add one more, lest I forget it and lose all of my progress: HUMILITY. If I ever think "I've got this figured out" I will surely fail. I must remain teachable, and the first element of being teachable is a realization that I do NOT already know all that I need to know. 

So the list I have shared with you here is Want, Belief, Self Awareness, Faith, Humility. 

Odd that I should have almost forgotten humility, and then placed it last on the list. As I sit here typing, the thought occurs to me that perhaps HUMILITY should be FIRST. Perhaps that I almost didn't even think of it is the real root of my problem? Without humility, NONE of the other elements could exist. 

I guess I don't know which is first. All I know is there are a LOT of elements to change and they are ALL the most critical. 

Thank you, Sean, for starting my day off with a good think. Now I will add a prayer to it, and I should be off to a good start."

Thank you, Dave!

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





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