Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July 31st, 2018 A Little Patience

July 31st, 2018 A Little Patience

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.

There's a list of things populating my mind every morning. Deciding what's important, what's urgent, and what isn't, is a process. What needs to be done immediately? What needs a little patience and time? What needs cut from the list altogether? I mean, really--we only have so much energy each day, right? I guess it's about prioritizing. I calmly put together my list in its proper order this morning and I ended up having a much better day. Where can I create positive momentum and by doing so, create a measure of certainty for some things?

As I study the work of Dr. Marty Lerner, the practice of putting behavior and actions before feelings is one that really resonates deeply within me. If we put feelings first, they often (almost always) determine the actions that follow. You know what I mean? In the feelings before actions/behavior model: If we're feeling great we often do great (doesn't mean perfect-just better). If we're feeling horrible we often don't do as well.

Something wonderful happens when we practice putting behaviors and actions before feelings: Just as feelings often determine actions, actions often help shape feelings. If we can find a set of daily actions-- a pattern involving some non-negotiable elements that come first, then we're setting ourselves up to have a more solid foundation for dealing with the feelings.

The positive consequences of our intentional actions will no doubt offer a compounded effect--because number one: We're not beating ourselves up over inaction and number two: We're actually allowing ourselves to feel those feelings without a huge portion of self-loathing.

I enjoyed a busy day at work. Yes, I said enjoyed. I'm grateful. I made time for a good workout at the Y, a nice visit with mom, a quick trip to the store, and I prepared one of my favorite dinners at home.

Today's Featured Tweets:




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

Monday, July 30, 2018

July 30th, 2018 Past Time

July 30th, 2018 Past Time

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.

After a very rough night last night, I decided I really needed to take a sick day from work. It's never an easy decision to make. One of my biggest challenges is learning how to better manage stress. I've known this about me for some time. When it starts affecting me physically, as it has at times recently--it's past time to make changes.

I needed today. It'll be back to work in the morning and I'll be more than ready for whatever the day brings.

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

Sunday, July 29, 2018

July 29th, 2018 So It Goes

July 29th, 2018 So It Goes

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 4am weather alert didn't thrill me! I didn't get back to bed and asleep until almost 8am. No complaints, it's part of my job and I'm grateful to be employed, but wow--it really flips my schedule. I had only eaten one meal today by the time I was sitting down to dinner with mom this evening. I'm leaving more than 400 calories on the table tonight because I'm not hungry and it's bedtime. And--

I'm expecting more storms after midnight. Mother Nature!!!! What's your deal?

And so it goes!

Mom and I stopped by Amber's place for a brief visit before getting her back to her room. I'm getting in bed relatively early in anticipation of being jolted awake by the blaring weather radio! Let's hope not.

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

Saturday, July 28, 2018

July 28th, 2018 A List

July 28th, 2018 A List

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 accomplished quite a lot today--I was happy about that! I plan on continuing this trend tomorrow! I have a list of things I'd like to get done. We all have a list, right? It feels good to start working on it!

I enjoyed a visit with my oldest daughter and granddaughter tonight. Then, had a good visit with mom. I turned on Netflix earlier and found the original Twilight Zone episodes are there!! I watched old Twilight Zone episodes as a kid-- I watched four of 'em tonight. Rod Serling was a genius!

I'm really tired tonight. Keeping tonight's edition super short.

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

July 27th, 2018 That Was Fast

July 27th, 2018 That Was Fast

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, I completed a 20-minute stair climbing routine (sorry neighbors!), and I stayed well connected with exceptional support. Actually, I don't think my neighbors noticed the stair routine. If they did, I imagine them thinking, oh, he must have forgotten something in his car, no wait--maybe not, oh, there he goes again--well, that was fast, and he's back and going again--has he lost his mind? He doesn't know if he's coming or going. "Harold, come and look at this, he's been going back and forth for twenty minutes straight."

I bought a honeydew melon tonight. I like them but I don't buy them very often because they remind me of all the things I need to do around my apartment. I wish they would change its name to "cantaloupes cousin," or something, anything that doesn't trigger a list of things I'd rather not be doing.

Today was a good day. I enjoyed some wonderful support exchanges and those always help me, too.

I've got some time this weekend to rest well, get caught up on some personal projects, and continue this daily practice that helps keep me well. 

Today's Featured Tweet:


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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

July 26th, 2018 Consistency

July 26th, 2018 Consistency

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 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 daily practice a big priority in my life each day 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 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!!

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 audiobook, 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, July 25, 2018

July 25th, 2018 One More Time

July 25th, 2018 One More Time

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.

Keeping tonight's blog post short on this end. This evening's group support conference calls were wonderful. It's such a blessing to facilitate these incredible groups. I'm extremely grateful! It's truly something special.

The following is an edited republish from the archives. Edited because many times when I reread a post I can clearly see how I could have communicated better using fewer words, also, my plan and perspective evolves and sometimes learning new things changes my approach and philosophy. I've written some things over the last ten years that makes me cringe, like every time I've written the phrase, "I'm never going back." Oh, I've learned I'm perfectly capable of going back if I decide I no longer need a daily practice of intentional actions and boundaries. 

It isn't easy sometimes because life isn't easy sometimes. 

The parallel streams was a way for me to better understand my own path and a way to communicate a practice in perspective that helps keep me well.

The following never makes me cringe. I've republished this a few times. If you've read it before-- here it is one more time!

The Parallel Streams

The "Lifestream" is everything happening in our day to day lives. The Lifestream includes the ups and downs, the challenges, the victories, the disappointments, The hectic schedules, the family dynamics, the workplace dynamics, the bills, the stress, the joys, the blessings, the expected and the unexpected, the good, the bad...It's life.

The "Fundamental Elements Stream" contain the daily actions of my personal plan. I say "my" because our plans might be very different. Mine is customized to fit my personality, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and sensitivities.

I've also referred to my fundamental elements as my "rails of support." I've set my accountability and support measures on high. When someone makes a comment in the direction of, "you're so strong" or "you must have amazing willpower," I typically thank them and smile, but I know, truly, I'm not that strong and I don't have giant amounts of willpower. What I have are solid rails of accountability and support--and I'm holding onto those rails, each day. They guide me, step by step.

The fundamental elements stream runs parallel, just below the lifestream. The lifestream is running in the foreground and the fundamental elements stream is running in the background--like a computer's anti-virus program.

I've written countless paragraphs within the archives of this blog all about the "lifestream" and the "fundamental elements stream" and how they must run parallel to one another without crossing. And based on my experiences, here's why:

If we allow life and all of the energy it takes to maneuver, to negatively affect our ability to maintain consistency in the daily elements of our extraordinary care, then it always will. The frustration of inconsistency will be a common theme if the lifestream is allowed to dip down into the fundamental elements stream on a regular basis.

And if we get too carried away, making the fundamental elements all-consuming, then we run the risk of it crossing up into our lifestream. And that's when it isn't any fun and we dread what we're doing every day.

When life demands more attention, we don't have to let go of the elements giving us our positive progress, but we can scale back the amount of energy it uses to operate.

We don't sacrifice the integrity of the elements, we just do what we can do. For me--on super busy days, I have some non-negotiables: 1. Stay within my maintenance calorie budget  2. Hold my abstinence from sugar sacred 3. Write this blog--even if it's super short and/or includes a republished blog post. 4. Stay connected with people "in the same lifeboat."

Today's Featured Tweet:


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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

July 24th, 2018 The Walk

July 24th, 2018 The Walk

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, I enjoyed a good, brisk, 30-minute walk, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

Two good walks, two nights in a row--I'm feeling good about that. I give advice all the time about how to get started... start small, consistency beats intensity, what are you willing to do? I'm perfectly capable of ignoring this for me. Getting back into a consistent exercise schedule starts with simply walking. The gym will be there, patiently waiting for me, very soon. First things first. This is the same approach I used to get started on Day 1, nearly ten years ago. 

I had a good visit with mom tonight. We talked about perspective, happiness, sadness, and intentional actions we can do even when we don't feel like it, simply because those actions can help us feel better. We have some pretty deep conversations sometimes. 

And then, the walk. 

I prepared extra food at dinner tonight to use for lunch tomorrow. It's prepared, packed, and ready to go. I usually prepare lunch fresh--and most of the time it's something I'm very familiar with, enjoy, and is super nutritious. Tomorrow's lunch will be a departure from my usual lunch choices. It'll be a nice change. I believe a change-up is in order.

Today's Featured Tweets:


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

Monday, July 23, 2018

July 23rd, 2018 Practice

July 23rd, 2018 Practice

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, I enjoyed a good, brisk, 30-minute walk, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

The daily practice continues! I decided today would be a good Monday and I proceeded to make it that way! Making tonight's edition super short. Time to sleep!

Today's Featured Tweets:


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

Sunday, July 22, 2018

July 22, 2018 Needed

July 22, 2018 Needed

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 slept in well today and that was good. I needed the rest! I accomplished a good deal of cleaning today and that was good, too! My apartment needed it!

A little work at the studio and another broadcasting client marketing/production meeting at a local restaurant was part of my afternoon activities. It was a productive day.

Mom and I had our Sunday evening outing to the store and even though we dined at Los Portalis Friday night for Courtney's birthday dinner, we did again this evening. I keep the same set of boundaries at the Mexican restaurant that I've used for some time: I separate my chips from the bowl, counted and logged--no beans, no rice--corn taco shells instead of flour, grilled chicken or steak, veggies and some sour cream and a little bit of cheese. It works for me. When I do this I never leave the restaurant feeling stuffed. I leave feeling simply satisfied. It's a big difference from the periods in my life when a trip to a Mexican restaurant was basically a binge fest.

I enjoyed some really solid support exchanges today. Engaging in these helps keep me focused and well.

One of the conversations today brought up standup. I miss standup. I haven't performed in a while. I was challenged to do one simple thing this week in that direction--so, I committed to working on a setlist for an upcoming performance yet to be scheduled!
 


















That was a fun show at the Poncan Theatre. The next time I do an extended set, I'll make sure I record a video of it and I'll share it with you here. Cameras weren't in the palm of our hands back when I was actively pursuing stand-up. I wish I had more pictures and video of those days. Once upon a time, I had a website with "audio clips from the stage," but that's long since gone. Anyway--I occasionally get a little nostalgic and longing for it-- I certainly don't plan on relaunching a stand-up career--but it certainly tells me that if it's on my mind so much, perhaps I need to make an effort to do more shows more often--just for fun.

Today's featured Tweet:


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

Saturday, July 21, 2018

July 21st, 2018 Bargains

July 21st, 2018 Bargains

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.

My broadcast from a grocery store today was a good one. There's one store that loves to book our station and me for monthly sales events and it's great because it's like getting paid to shop! I picked up some bargains! $4.99 per pound top sirloin was awesome!! I grabbed a watermelon and four pounds of strawberries!! There will be plenty of watermelon and strawberries in my food plan for the next several days!

I'm keeping it short tonight. I just got back from a visit with mom. We watched Saturday Night Live. Kind of reminded me of my childhood. I grew up watching that show almost every Saturday night.

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

Friday, July 20, 2018

July 20th, 2018 Just Like Yesterday

July 20th, 2018 Just Like Yesterday

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 was activated for weather coverage shortly after posting last night's blog. I dropped in bed shortly after 1:30am. A colleague covered my 6am hour but still, it was a short night of rest.

Today was non-stop! It was a good day, actually. My youngest daughter, Courtney, turned 25 today. It seems just like yesterday when my kids were young...
 












Time moves quickly. We turn around and two decades have passed. As much as I regret how my obsession with food and other issues and pursuits often kept me from being fully present in their younger years, I cherish the opportunity I've been given to be a positive, loving, and supportive part of their lives today. I'm immensely grateful to have four grandkids--oh my, so much love and gratitude here.



















The birthday girl with my youngest granddaughter, Phoebe.





















The dinner party was wonderful! As far as my food plan goes, it was a simple choice since it was a Mexican restaurant--beef fajita tacos for me! I shattered my water goal today thanks to a midday production meeting with a client at their restaurant--finished a big three cup glass and they brought another. Good water day! Great day all around.

I'm tired now!

Today's Featured Tweets:


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

Thursday, July 19, 2018

July 19th, 2018 How's That For Timing?

July 19th, 2018 How's That For Timing?

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.

Do you ever have moments of self-doubt? It's amazing to me how I sometimes have the ability to take a small amount of self-doubt and turn it into an elaborate story. I suppose I have a great imagination. There, that's positive, right? Yes, it is, unless that imagination concocts elaborate untruths about me or what happened with a particular thing and what I did to mess it up? Today was a good example. Let me explain...

I was asked to do an interview for Health Monitor Magazine back in January. I was so excited! One of mom's favorite things is to read weight loss stories in magazines--and now she'll have one with her son! Joy joy!!

Health Monitor is distributed to hospitals and doctor's offices all over North America. Chances are good you've found one in a waiting room near you. It was an honor to be asked! The interview was great. It went very well. Photos were requested and sent, the article was written and submitted to the editors and then... nothing. In the stand-up comedy world, we call this "crickets."

I sent an email two or three weeks ago just to check on the status of the article. I didn't get a reply.

So today, it crossed my mind again. Whatever happened to that article? I thought about it and then I thought some more.  Then, as if my brain was hijacked, I started thinking... Was there something about my story the editor didn't like? Maybe the medical community decided it wasn't the type of story they wanted to feature? Crazy stuff.

Then, to battle back against the wave of ridiculous thoughts, I decided it was okay, whatever the reason. I know what I've built here. I'm proud of where I've been, where I am, and where I'm headed. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me. But what if I'm not and people don't--even if it's just the people at Health Monitor Magazine-- oh yeah, that negative head chatter loves to argue. 

I try to ask myself reasonable questions in these moments. Is this true or is this full of creative assumptions and conclusions created by and living exclusively in my head? Nine times out of ten it's the latter.

Finally, I dismissed it all by getting into my work and later by engaging in support exchanges. By the time I arrived back at my apartment, I'd pretty much forgotten all about this mental detour in my day. Then--and this is nuts!!!!! Then... the most amazing thing happened.

I checked my email and found:

Hi Sean: 

FINALLY!!! Your issue is attached—page 15-17. When you have a moment, feel free to send me your mailing address and I will have customer service send you a bunch of issues. 

Thank you for checking in and I hope you've been enjoying the summer. 

All my best,

Amy

Well, how's that for timing?

The article features me and David Garcia (from the blog "Keep It Up David!) It was very well done! Maybe you'll run across it one of these days in a waiting room! Very cool.
----------------------------------
My evening plans were changed with an off-air situation at our station's transmitter site. An engineer and two other colleagues who are more adept at dealing with technical issues weren't available tonight, so I made it to the tower site to see what I could do. The air conditioners were not working. I arrived at this conclusion after discovering the inside of the building to be somewhere around 150 degrees. To make a long story short, I kept the door open, turned the transmitter back on to low power and waited for the ac person to show up. I left, enjoyed dinner, and came back as the ac guy was finishing up the job. All is well.

My youngest daughter turns 25 tomorrow. Time moves quickly! Now, she's a young mom of three!! And I'm 46 (although I sometimes feel like I'm supposed to be about 56)-- everyone: Courtney, (the birthday girl), Lucas, Amber, KL, mom, my ex-wife Irene, Allen, and all four of my grandkids will gather at our favorite Mexican restaurant tomorrow evening for the celebration. It'll be a wonderful experience. I already know what I'm ordering for dinner. 

Today's Featured Tweet:
 
Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

July 18th, 2018 Intention and Expectation

July 18th, 2018 Intention and Expectation

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 really exceptional. Days like today feel connected; connected with my daily practice, connected with support, connected with people "in the same lifeboat," as Dr. Lerner says.

I did a quick grocery run tonight after my group support calls. I really enjoy the act of making sure I have what I need when I need it. I feel most connected with my food plan when I'm in the store doing the shopping. I'm the same guy that many times carried a very different perspective into the store and I'm still capable of going into a store with a completely different perspective if I relent on the daily practice that helps keep me well.

I think a positive trip depends on the intention and expectation I carry through those automatic doors. If my intention is to buy things supportive of my plan with the expectation that it will provide what I need in order to maintain the integrity of my food plan in the coming days, then it's a completely different experience. If my intention is driven by the gravitational pull of compulsive over-eating and my expectation is that it'll somehow "fix" something or fill a void of some kind, then I'm off the rails and to the races, straight into a depressive cycle where the expectations are never met. Food is not a fixer.  

An exchange with a reader from the archives:

"I have never been able to not go off the wagon with food choices when I'm out of my routine. Say like a birthday, holiday, etc....and the much bigger problem for me is it's an opportunity to go nuts for a few days after that too. It takes that long for me to reel myself back in. Or another one is something happens to me that upsets me and I've always used food to numb myself. I can't figure out how not to. So what I'm saying in the long version is how do I gain those tools? It's just not happening for me."

My reply:

Thank you for sharing your struggle. You're not alone.

One thing that's helped me is making sure my plan is something I enjoy--in other words, I'm loving the foods I "get" to eat, every day. It isn't something I dread. What happens is, when my perception and expectation of what it means for me to be "on plan," is something I can easily live with, I'm less likely inclined to take a vacation or holiday from it. There's no desire to flee from deprivation into an anything goes type situation--because I don't feel deprived.

Now-- here's the rub:

Even with this "I'm loving it" plan in place, what you described still happens...

My abstinence from refined sugar may have very well turned off the "binge switch," those biochemical reactions in the addictive part of my brain--but what it doesn't stop is, my natural inclination to seek comfort in excess food when times get stressful and emotional. It takes a separate action plan to deal with that.

And it doesn't stop it to simply say, "excess food doesn't solve anything--it doesn't help resolve issues--it isn't a fixer--it's simply a temporary diversion--a distraction from our real experiences..." Does it help? The only help it provides is that temporary distraction from whatever is weighing heavy on our minds at any given moment. BUT AGAIN-- saying that, processing it, agreeing with it 100%, still doesn't stop the tendency to dive in when we're feeling those things.


One thing to remember: Feelings have a beginning and an end. Whatever it is, will come and go--weigh heavy, then subside--be on the forefront of your consciousness and then fade back into your sub-consciousness. When you're feeling like buffering your emotions with food--remember that this will pass...the moment will evolve and change...and in the meantime, while it's pressing: Find support asap!!!!

This is the most critical element I've discovered along my path: Building your support and accountability structure is imperative to your success. Find someone to be a support text buddy/friend. When those feelings start welling up and the obsessive food thoughts come flowing into your head--tell on 'em!!! Don't keep them exclusively in your head--because if you do, they'll typically win, almost every time. 

Share what you're thinking--get it out in the open...When you "tell on 'em," it has a powerful effect.

What happens when a playground bully is exposed to authority figures? They typically turn into little angels. Same dynamic. When we expose those thoughts by bringing in our "support team," something powerful happens---suddenly we're not facing it alone...suddenly our resolve to maintain the integrity of our plan is strengthened--often times, just in the nick of time.

Today's Featured Tweet:


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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

July 17th, 2018 It Was The Opposite

July 17th, 2018 It Was The Opposite

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 I went shopping tonight. She got her ears pierced (something she's been wanting to do for a very long time) and a couple other things. I needed a new pair of workout pants.

I picked up a pair of size large workout pants and automatically had second thoughts. Will these be big enough? I held them up. I don't think they'll fit right. Then I grabbed a pair of size XL and held them up--okay, those look about right, I think. But I still wasn't certain. Mom suggested I try them on--and so I made my way to the changing rooms and did just that. The XL pair was loose and excessively baggy. The size large pair was perfect. My self-size-perception has long been faulty. At a healthy weight, I think I'm bigger than I am. At my heaviest, it was the opposite.



















Back in the 500 pound days, I always thought I was much smaller than I was. It always took a picture or mirror, or reflection in a window to snap me into, oh my--am I really that big??

It's interesting how that has shifted in the opposite way. Now I'm convinced I'm bigger than I really am until I see a picture, or mirror, or reflection---or I'm trying on clothes in a changing room.
Station photo from
a recent broadcast




















The next 8-week session of the accountability and support group I facilitate starts tomorrow night! If you're interested in joining us, I still have a spot remaining on the late Wednesday night group call. If you're ready to try something different, I encourage you to discover the power of group coaching/mentoring, good accountability, and wonderful support measures! The fee is $120. It's a small but mighty team of people!! Are you ready? Email questions and/or to request a registration email right away: transformation.road@gmail.com

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

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

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