Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 46 Bad Mood Glares and Mini-Snicker Fares

Day 46

Bad Mood Glares and Mini-Snicker Fares

There are some days that, for whatever reason, you're just not “in the mood”. Being in a bad mood can make things much harder than they need to be. This is when the challenge to stay focused and on track is the greatest. When you're “not feeling it”, you're making yourself vulnerable to temptation. One of the many things I've analyzed about myself is how mood effects my calorie intake and commitment. When starting this journey, I knew that in order to see this mission all the way to the ultimate goal, I would need to gain a much better understanding of my past attempts and behaviors. When you go about breaking down your personality and habits, it takes some real straight forward honesty with yourself. Being completely honest, admitting complete responsibility, and flat out confronting horrible habits and tendencies within your own personality can be a very tough pill to swallow. My past experiences have showed me that the best way for me to go on an all out binge is to get in a real bad mood. The strategy is simple: I'm in a bad mood, so a double decker cheeseburger with bacon and mayo will taste good, and make me feel better. And it does, for about twenty minutes. After that my bad mood would actually get worse when I realized how bad I had just wrecked my day. Then comes the “ah, the heck with it” attitude. Then it really gets bad. I've ended so many weight loss attempts using this pattern, now I know what to watch out for. Everybody gets in a bad mood once in a while. It's normal! I've heard people say that we “choose” to be in a bad mood, and we can just as easily “choose” to be in a good mood. And I understand that way of thinking, but I also know that sometimes despite our attempts to avoid it, a bad mood can strike. When it does my defenses have to be really high. I decided on September 15th that nothing was going to keep me from being totally 100% on track every minute of every day. And that means no matter what happens, good or bad, my calorie budget and commitment can not be compromised, it's simply not an option. Some might say... “Well Sean, that's easy to say, but when I'm in a bad mood, I eat, that's how I deal.” ME TOO! That's what I've been talking about here. If you choose to accept your behaviors as “just the way it is” then you'll do exactly as I've done for the last twenty some years. I've had to recognize this and flat out battle this habit many times in the last 46 days. I had to deal with it today! That's why I'm writing about it tonight! If I give myself a little bit of time to think before I react, I can avoid making a horrible choice. That last sentence can cover a lot of things, much more than just food! I may look like a complete nut, but I'll even talk out loud to myself if I have to. “Get out of my head you crazy “pig out” thoughts! You're not winning this one.” Hey, whatever keeps me on the straight and narrow is perfectly fine with me. If we find it almost impossible to “choose” to be in a good mood, then we have to control the consequences of the mood we choose. I take great pride in being in control of myself, and when that pride and confidence is higher than the threatening mood I'm in, then I win every time. And after twenty plus years of losing, it feels good to win!

Amber came home for the weekend today. We love having her home for a few days. I'm going to dress up my two daughters for Halloween and take them out to collect candy bars for daddy. Oh, wait...That's what I use to do. I can remember driving them around to trick-or-treat and “charging” them for the ride. “Girls, if you want this car to go to the next block of houses, then I'm going to need two Snickers and a Kit-Kat.” The longer they kept the chocolate coming, the longer we would trick-or-treat! Irene would finally have to step in and ban me from their bags, after all they were doing all the work, and I really didn't need 4000 calories worth of chocolate in one night. My girls would actually hide their bags from me! Isn't that horrible? No, no, not horrible that they were hiding the bags, horrible that they felt they needed to. I guess the days of trick-or-treating is over for us now. In about ten or fifteen years I can look forward to charging my grandkids for trick-or-treat driving. Wouldn't want to break tradition would we? I'm kidding! No, I'm not. Snack size Snickers, man those things are little morsels of heaven. Hey, some things are harder to quit than others.

Have a fantastic day and thank you for reading Day 46. I'm still on top of the world over my 50 pound loss in 44 days. I feel like this is the beginning of a whole new life. Day 47 is just hours away, until then—Good night and...

Good Choices,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 45 Untied Shoes and No More Blues

Day 45

Untied Shoes and No More Blues

I stopped long enough to notice some things today. Sometimes we just get busy in our day to day routine and we don't stop and give ourselves an assessment. Today I gave myself an assessment. First thing I noticed? I can breath so much better. At 505 pounds even a simple walk down the hall would leave me out of breath. Friends would call and I'd answer all out of breath. They would voice immediate concern: “Are you gonna be alright?” And I would say (in between big gasp of air): “Yeah, yes, I just uh, ya know, uh, tried to tie my shoes.” Tyeing shoes at 505 pounds is impossible for some, for me, well—I could do it, but I'd need some recovery time afterward. I always hated it when my shoes would come untied in public and someone would say: “Hey, your shoe is untied”. Because that's when I would have to make a critical decision. Do I try to tie the shoe in front of people and risk humiliation over the breathless struggle? Do I put my foot up on something and ask “Do you mind?” Do I pretend that I didn't hear them? What I would normally do in that situation is acknowledge the untied shoe, then do nothing, remaining untied until I was alone and could fix it. The person who pointed it out would never point it out a second time. They knew there was a reason I didn't jump to it. I would just act like it was no big deal. Like it was cool to have your shoes untied. Like it was a fashion statement. I would leave 'em untied to send a message that I wasn't giving in to societal norms, just a small way to get back at “the man”, and claim my individuality. At one point I even switched to Velcro. I just did away with the shoelace problem all together. I realized I had a serious problem when I had trouble keeping them fastened. A completely unfastened Velcro strip looks much worse than an untied lace. Either I needed to buy bigger/wider shoes or lose weight. I would just buy another pair. Maybe some slip-ons. Yeah, slip-ons would be perfect. I know that people just wanted to prevent me from tripping on my laces, but trust me, the best thing to do when you see a morbidly obese person with an untied shoe? Ignore it. Don't say a word. They know it's untied, and they'll get to it when the time is right, just let it go. In my assessment I noticed that it's no longer hard to tie my shoes. I can do it quickly without almost passing out! I also noticed how deep and full I can breath. It was always so scary to feel like I couldn't take a full breath. I noticed how much room I have while driving. The dash looks further away, I'm serious, especially when I drive Irene's little car. I still have a ways to go to be completely comfortable in it, but it's much easier to fit and look somewhat normal, instead of stuck. When people roll down their windows and ask if you're OK, you're too big for the car. Alright, so they never did that, but they were thinking it! I guarantee! In the shower I've noticed there's a little less real estate to cover. The valley's are a little easier to navigate. That may be TMI for you, but if you're morbidly obese like me, you know exactly what I'm talking about. And this positive assessment of my progress comes after losing the first 50 pounds! What will it be like at 100? Or 150 and 200? It's a really fun and exciting thing to think about!

Today, for the first time, I went back and read some early days of this blog. It was making me smile from ear to ear. It was making me incredibly proud of my progress so far. The integrity of this mission hasn't been sacrificed one time. And that's critical to my success. You get the straight talk every time you read this blog. I'll tell you like it is, like it was, like it's going to be, and like it should be. If you've followed every one of these blogs so far, then you know not every post is humorous. Some are deeply personal reflections of how I feel as I struggle with the psychological and emotional excuses that have held me back for so long. Going back and reading the first ten days really gave me another boost today. If you're struggling with your personal mission, go back and read some of these. I hope you can relate to some of the things we talk about and maybe you too can get a burst of motivation. I've had so many “burst of motivation” lately it's unreal! That's what happens when it starts coming off and you see the results. It's the results/motivation snowball effect. Success breeds success!

Our workout at the Y tonight was off the chart! I start with a mile on the treadmill, and trust me, this isn't an ordinary mile at the old walking trail, this is a mile that gets my heart rate above 160. This is a mile that leaves my hair wet. This mile challenges me like a leisurely stroll around the park never did. Then I slowly stop and regain my composure just long enough to get a drink of water and climb into that racquetball court. And let me tell ya, tonight I was on fire! At one point I must have hit 25 to 30 in a row without stopping. My game is simple: Keep the ball moving at all times. It doesn't take long to know you've had an amazing workout.

I'm really behind at replying to comments on these blogs. I sincerely apologize! I want you to know how much your continued support and readership means to me during this journey. If you take the time to leave a comment, you can bet I'll be taking the time to send you a private message real soon! Today was a fantastic day. I can't say enough how much I appreciate everyone who congratulated me today on the 50 pound loss. It feels really good. I've already started on the next 50! And for everyone that is going through the daily experiences trying to lose weight, like My wife Irene, Daughters-Courtney and Amber, My mom, Kelli, Debbie, Dana, Candi, Rachel, Russell, Taylor, Brandon, and anyone else that reads these writings, please know this: You can do it. I know it sounds cliché, but seriously...If I can do this, you can do this. And as you do, please leave comments with your updates! We all want to know how you're doing! And if you start blogging too like a few have, I'll be one of the first to subscribe and I'll read every
blog you post! Take care, Good Night and...

Good Choices,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 44 Weigh Day Number Three Finds A Smaller Me

Day 44

Weigh Day Number Three Finds A Smaller Me

Today I felt a little nervous about weighing. I knew I had remained true to my calories and I even went through a self-imposed calorie reduction during the four days I was in bed getting my leg back in health. I also knew that because of my leg situation I'd missed five workouts over the last two weeks. After a nice nine pound loss the previous weigh day, I just wasn't real sure of what the scales would report this time. Prior to the last weigh day, I didn't miss a workout, and I never went over my fifteen hundred calories. So I was really guessing five to eight pounds for this weigh day. Like I said yesterday, I know I've lost, the question was how much? I remember Irene suggesting two weeks ago that she thought I may have been retaining fluid and well, how do I say this without sounding gross...Uh, she thought I was also full of crap. Literally full of...Anyway...Without getting too specific here, I have become much more normal over the past couple of weeks. I'm not a doctor, but it seems completely logical to me because my body was use to larger amounts of food, and I disrupted that pattern. It's bound to cause a temporary change in regularity. Whatever, everything is fine. Enough of this topic.

When I climbed on the scales today I was prepared for whatever it said. At least I thought I was. It registered 455. Another 20 pounds lost and a grand total of exactly 50 pounds in 44 days. Twenty pounds? Really? How in the world? I didn't believe it for one second. I even stepped off and reset the scale, waited for it to go to zero, then climbed back on and watched as it went all the way to 455 again. I stood there motionless for about 30 seconds, just waiting for it to jump up five or ten pounds, but it didn't. It stayed right there at 455.0 –That's right .0---exactly 455. There is no way I believe that I lost 20 pounds of fat. Maybe ten pounds fat-ten pounds water? That's fine...A big man like me can retain a bunch of fluid...Whatever the case...I'm celebrating! Because the bottom line is this: 44 Days ago I weighed 505lbs on the same scale that weighed me 455 today. I'm thrilled with this news. And I fully understand that after a while it's going to get slower and harder to lose, But I also know that'll I'll be able to work out much faster and harder when I get off the first 100 to 150.

Irene was unable to weigh today because of her schedule, but she'll weigh tomorrow. Courtney weighed today and has lost another six pounds! I'm so proud of her! Courtney is my youngest, and she has always been a very sensitive young woman. She will not like it that I've mentioned her here...and I'm sure she'll see to it that her friends never read this blog posting. She's a wonderful fifteen year old! During my years of eating whatever-whenever, she would often times confide in her mom that she was scared for her daddy's life. I had no idea how much me sitting on the couch with a giant bowl of ice cream broke her heart. She knew I needed to make serious life or death decisions long before I would admit and accept it. When Irene or Amber would tell me of her concern, I would say something like... “sweety, Dad's going to get busy, I'll do it girl! Don't you worry, OK? We'll all do it together!” Her tears would dry and after a couple of days I'd be right back to my old self. I know that my three angles have sat around the table without me and discussed my deadly weight. It scares them. I've had calls in the wee hours of the morning from my mom asking me... “Son, are you really going to get serious?” Like most addictions, food addiction is a selfish one. I cringe to think of all of the years of worry and tears I've created, while I acted oblivious to their concern. I have so much fun writing this blog every evening, and I much prefer the humorous ones, but I have to occasionally remind myself of the seriousness of this mission. Remembering things like these are some of the most powerful motivating thoughts I keep fresh in mind.

I had macaroni and cheese and a big grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. I told you yesterday, the Food Network really got to me. I need to block that channel! I wonder how the cable company would respond if I called to have them block the Food Network? That could be funny. Me: “I want that filthy-dirty-tempting-sinful channel off my service!” Cable Company: “No problem sir, we can take the adult pay per view choices away, we're very sorry you were offended.” Me: “No, you don't understand, the Food Network is my vice.” I bet they've never had a call and request like that! I should do it just for fun. By the way, my mac and cheese dinner with a grilled cheese sandwich weighed in at a very appealing 530 calories. It was wonderful and well within my calorie budget for the day. I even enjoyed a Blue Bell Dream Bar after our incredibly intense workout. That's the thing that some people have the hardest time understanding. How can you eat Dream Bars? And mac and cheese? And mashed potatoes with gravy? And pizza? And fried mushrooms? And Snickers Ice Cream Bars? And Lasagna? And fried catfish? And so many other non-diet sounding things and still lose weight? Well, I'm also eating more vegetables than I ever have before, and I'm really appreciating well balanced meals, and I'm learning what a portion is suppose to be. I'm counting calories and budgeting those calories to last all day long. I'm giving my metabolism something to chew on several times a day and into the evening. I'm drinking a lot of water and water based zero calorie drinks. And I'm getting the heart rate up with a cardio event like walking and racquetball play. So it's not all Dream Bars and pizzas...But it's the beauty of this plan that I can enjoy them anytime I want...if my daily calorie budget allows, of course! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 43 Food Show Watchin' and Calorie Botchin'

Day 43

Food Show Watchin' and Calorie Botchin'

Usually watching the Food Network doesn't tempt me. Most of the time they're using ingredients that I wouldn't want anywhere near my food. Unless it's that one show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”, Now that show can really get your mouth to water. Today I got stuck on “Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals”. And I learned how to make homemade cheese dip! Flour and butter, then milk...then two cups of shredded cheddar...low heat, melty goodness, then enjoy! Add some salsa to give it a little spicy kick and then really enjoy! I wanted to make some so bad after watching that show. It looked so good and so creamy and soooo fattening! I mean loaded! Come on, flour and butter? Milk? Then cheese? The added salsa is the lowest calorie thing in it...I'd be much better off just eating the salsa. But with what? I would need chips! But chips are loaded too. At this point I had to change the channel...I can only handle so much. I'll enjoy chips and hot melty cheese again someday, maybe soon, just not today. I didn't have the calories. I did a horrible job of managing my calories today. At only 1000, it doesn't take long to get top heavy. By the time dinner rolled around I only had 400 left. I haven't gone over at all, I just can't have another anything, unless it's a pickle. And I have to be in the mood for a pickle, you know what I mean? Ya know what did it? A ham and cream cheese english muffin. It was only 250, but when you're only doing 1000 that's a quarter of 'em in one small little english muffin. So-so choice. Not a bad choice, just something I wouldn't ordinarily eat, especially on a restricted calorie limit of 1000. Now I've sacrificed my nightly snack. I would have much rather enjoyed a Blue Bell Dream Bar (I could have had 3 ½ Dream Bars for the calories in that stupid cream cheese and ham muffin), or some kettle style popcorn, or some pudding...But no, I just had to allow myself to be seduced by an english muffin earlier in the day. I've talked about it before, calorie management is extremely important. Just like money, you have to think ahead, then decide if you can really afford it. And just because you have enough calories for it at the moment, doesn't mean you can afford it. You have to think about what you'll be sacrificing 70 calorie Blue Bell Dream Bars and sweet and salty kettle style popcorn. If I really would have thought about it, I would have never chosen that stupid muffin, with it's creamy cream cheese and deli thin ham...stupid muffin. Hey, I never said I was an expert. I'm still learning too!

My right leg is nearly healed. I'd say about 80 to 85%. We've made a bunch of progress since Thursday night, but we're still not quite there. I feel like I can get back into the daily routine, and with a few minor adjustments, we can get it to 100% within a week or so. I can't say for sure that one more day off of it would get me there. So the best plan is to wrap well, medicate well, get back to work and try to not be so hard on it. I'm still working out though! I miss that racquetball court at the Y. We'll monitor it every day and make sure we aren't going backwards, and if we are, I'll have to cease the workouts until it's 100%. I really don't want to have to do that. I don't think I'll have to either.

Tomorrow is weigh day, and I have to tell you, I don't know what to expect. It'll be alright no matter what. I know I've lost. The question is how much? Will it be a little or a lot? How will my inactivity over the last four days effect the numbers? I even thought about skipping this weigh day and just doing it in two weeks for one really big weigh day, but no...that's not the plan. I'm sticking with the plan.

Speaking of the plan...The plan was for me to make these really short over this four day period. This is way too long, I need to get back down and get the leg back up! Thank you for reading and your continued support on this daily journey. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 42 Grilled Cheese Please

Day 42

Grilled Cheese Please

Today was a lazy Sunday indeed. The leg keeps getting better and I can't wait to hit the YMCA again on Tuesday. I seriously wonder how this down time will effect my weight loss. Shouldn't, after all I have decreased my calories for this period and I have visited the imaginary gym a few times. So, really, I should be just fine. I'll tell you something, when you're cooped up inside, the cravings do occasionally come out. I actually contemplated fixing a low cal grilled cheese sandwich earlier. With our light wheat and the George Foreman Grill, I can fix one for a measly 140 calories. But I only have 50 left before I hit 1000 for the day. So I'll have a little bit of peaches instead for 33 calories, then maybe a pickle later! Part of me says... “Sean, quit being so silly, go ahead and fix the grilled cheese sandwich...You'll end up at 1,090 calories...big deal.” I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, but sticking to what I've planned is paramount to my continued success. So I will not give in and go over my down time calorie plan.

I look forward to getting back in the Y and writing these blogs in their “full” version. I really can't stay up too long at one time, it would be counterproductive. I've made some really nice progress and I only have one more day left. A few of the smaller sores are completely gone...just two little ones left to heal. Should be no problem at all!

Thank you to all who have read this blog and continue to offer support! I sincerely appreciate you! I better get off here and back in bed. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Day 41 Nightmare On Buffet Street

Day 41

Nightmare On Buffet Street

The idea of being able to sleep as much as you want isn't all it's cracked up to be. It only sounds good when you can't. But I'll tell you, after several hours in bed, you really want to move around and do something! I did transfer to the couch at 2:30, put my leg up, and turned on the Cowboys and Longhorns. The Cowboys proved they could hang with the very best, but in the end we all know what happened. Still, as much as that loss depressed me, I didn't eat the entire house down. And that's a good change. Maybe there's a direct correlation between the Cowboys winning and me staying on this plan! No, no! Couldn't be! See, there's some of that crazy talk I warned you about. Being couped up at home all day and night will do that to ya!

I had a horrible nightmare a little bit ago. It seemed so real and I was so relieved that it wasn't. I was at a buffet restaurant, I really didn't recognize the place, but I was there and I was eating gigantic amounts of food. The entire time I was paranoid that someone would “catch” me. I would scan the dining room and then take a bite, scan, then eat...scan then eat. It was horrible! In the dream I remember feeling awful, feeling defeated, wondering how I would face you, the reader of this blog. I knew I had to come clean and let it be known that I destroyed a buffet. And then just in the nick of time, as I reached for another heaping helping of mac and cheese, I woke up. Wow. That was so real. Scary! I immediately asked myself “How many calories have I had today?”...900...good, very good. What does a crazy dream like that mean? I sincerely don't want to do that! Maybe I was thinking back to the story I told about Day 40—1996...When I threw it all away upon a mountain of stuffing and down a river of gravy. Yesterday being Day 40—2008, maybe I had just been thinking about what a wonderful milestone it is to break the 40 day mark. Whatever it was, it sure wasn't fun. Inside that dream was depressing kinda like the OSU loss to Texas today. I know! Let it go! But they so could have won that game! Just one or two mistakes corrected, and bam...the Cowboys upset number 1. I'm OK now. Breath...breath.

We had a fantastic meal tonight. Grilled chicken breast with loaded baked potato mashed potatoes (relax—only 110 calories per serving—I had 1 serving.) and broccoli with cheese. Irene and Courtney made me try the broccoli. It was alright, but I still didn't want a serving anywhere near my meat and potatoes. And besides, if I ate a big bite of those little trees, I bet I would get sick. I honestly don't know how I survived the little morsel I did eat. I still can't believe I did it. What were they thinking? That one nibble would somehow turn around an entire lifetime of broccoli hating? My family loves it, although I think Amber is more like me, but at least she'll eat it. But Irene and Courtney, well that's another story. They LOVE broccoli. They speak of it the way I speak of pizza and fried mushrooms. If we're not having broccoli they're disappointed. It's really crazy. Or maybe I'm the crazy one. Maybe broccoli is awesome! Maybe I just haven't given it a fair chance. Maybe I will. NOT!

Day 41 is quickly running into Day 42, I better get back down and get this leg back up! Thanks for all of your support by reading this blog. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 40 My Imaginary Gym

Day 40

My Imaginary Gym

For me Day 40 is a real nice milestone. A few days ago I described a Day 40 Thanksgiving meltdown from 1996. I never made it to day 41 back then, but I am now! No meltdowns to report. I've kept my calories down as planned with zero trouble. It's been fairly easy. I couldn't imagine being totally incapacitated and stuck in bed 24 hours a day. After 10 or 12 hours, even our big comfy bed gets a little irritating. It's nice to grab a little time on here and write a little. I know I've got to get back in there and elevate! But there's no way I'm missing a day of this blog. Even if I couldn't, I think I would have someone write it for me as I spoke it. It's just that important to me.

I'm really looking forward to the OSU-Texas game tomorrow. Both teams are undefeated and Texas is #1 in the nation, with OSU not far behind. That's what I'll be doing tomorrow afternoon. Elevating and watching football! I'm a very lucky man! Go Cowboys!

I did some exercises tonight while laying down. Some leg lifts and some arm whirls. If you do it long enough, it really gets tiresome and feels like a workout. I felt the burn! I also lifted some imaginary weights. Stay with me here...Imaginary weights. A local chiropractor showed me a technique where you simulate the resistance without using actual weights. You simply use your muscles against themselves. It's really hard to explain, but it works! I'm pretty sure it works. It feels like it might work. Of course it works. I just don't know if I could do it in front of anyone, I might look a bit silly. I better get back into bed. I miss the Y and the trail! I'll be back at that Tuesday! Day 40 has been a success despite my downtime. I'm healing though, and that's the most important thing during these four days! So good night and...

Good Choices,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 39 Birthday Living and Necessary Healing

Day 39

Birthday Living and Necessary Healing

As I write this tonight I'm preparing for four straight days of being in bed and healing. It's going to drive me crazy to be down so long, but it's absolutely necessary to my continued success. And right before a big weigh day! That's Ok! Like many have said to me, this isn't a race, it's a marathon. I'm cutting my calories down to 1000 for the next four days because I can't exercise 100%. Deb did give me some tips on exercising while being immobile and I plan to do them! I will still write a blog post the next few nights, but like tonight it will be an abbreviated version. The only time I plan on being up is to use the bathroom and write the blog. I'm curious to what I'll write about after hours of down time, infomercials, and TV Land marathons. It just might be interesting! Or reallllyyyy boring. Let me just apologize in advance in case I start describing imagined images in the ceiling crusties. I plan to read a book while I'm down and I plan to do some household paperwork too. I picked up my prescriptions today. Augmentin XR is an amazing drug. It speeds healing like nothing I've ever tried. I can't wait to get back into the groove at the Y come Tuesday! I'll be able to go at it much harder!

I talked to Amber tonight. When she answered the phone she was out of breath. I asked if she was at the University Wellness Center, and she said no, but she had been there and worked out earlier. She was out of breath because she was doing additional exercises in her dorm room! That's focus and dedication my friend! When I finish a workout I'm usually done 'till the next day, but Amber---You baby have set the bar higher! Very nice job! I'm a very proud father, can you tell? She has a very bright and successful future ahead of her...a future that will find her in her best shape and wellness! People tell Irene and me what a wonderful job we've done in raising our girls, but I have to say--#1. Their mom deserves a lions share of the credit...and #2. They have made it extremely easy on us, because they listen and learn. They never have had the typical “I know everything” teen attitude. They seek council, they appreciate guidance, they understand the far reaching meaning of the word “consequences”, understanding that every decision has one, good or bad, and they heed good advice at every turn. They have their heads on straight! And that makes it so easy to parent. We're very blessed.

As I get ready to go to bed for four days, I have to give some big thanks. Thanks Bill for giving me the time off to get healed...once more. At least this time I'm moving in the direction of never having to take time off to do this again! And a big thanks to Gayle for filling in on my morning show. Have fun with it Gayle! And to Ryan and Gayle both for picking up the extra production work in my absence. Thank you to all that wished me a happy birthday today. And of course I would be totally out of line if I didn't thank Irene and Courtney for taking care of me over the next four days. I'll try not to be a too over-demanding pain in the butt. Speaking of, my tea here is getting kind of low. I'm kidding! I kid because I love!

Thank you for all of your comments and messages! I sincerely appreciate your support. I better get horizontal. I missed seeing so many loved ones today. I don't think I've ever missed seeing my mom or Amber or a lot of people on my birthday...But it's OK! We're actually celebrating on November 2nd instead! Good Night and...

Good Choices,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 38 Groggy Talk and An Iron-Clad Promise

(This blog started and continues everyday on --- It's identical to this, so by reading here the only thing you're missing is all the comments that are made by readers. So far the Myspace version has been read nearly 2,000 times. Thank you for reading and please become a follower of this blog! I really haven't promoted this address like I have the myspace version, but I'm changing that every day!)

Day 38

Groggy Talk and An Iron-Clad Promise

Today I accompanied my beautiful wife to Stillwater for a colonoscopy. It was a relief to find out that everything up in there was in perfect health! I know she's been really worried about it, and she was really worried about being drugged up and put under, it was her first time for that—And she did great! She's so cute when she's all groggy and talking out of her head! All I could do when she started doing that was say... “Ok, sweety—That's right, you're in line...very good.” We have no idea what kind of line she thought she was in, but it was very funny. I so should have made a video on my phone. After we got out of there about three hours later than we thought, it was time to EAT! Irene had to have a liquid diet yesterday in preparation for the intrusion, I mean violation, I mean procedure, so she was ready for something good! I enticed her with Subway, and she agreed...I was happy because it's so easy to count calories there! Thanks to her prep yesterday we re-discovered the wonders of Jello! What a fantastic low calorie sensation. Ok, maybe “sensation” isn't the right word, but hey---it's good stuff, and way cheap on the calorie budget! Mix some Cool Whip into it and it's STILL a low calorie treat.

I was delighted to discover that my Aunt Kelli is climbing on the wagon with us! We're only three years apart, and we were raised really close, so she's like a big sister to me. I'm very happy that she's made this life changing decision. And, since she's around my mom way more than me, she can help her stay on track too! Kelli and I have faced some of the same struggles with weight over the years, so Kelli, believe me when I say, I know exactly what you're going through! Just take it one day at a time, and before you know it, it will add up to big time results! For anyone facing Day 1, I recommend having a long and honest talk with yourself. Think about what you want, think about what you will do to get it, and think about all of the wonderful things you can do when you reach your goal...and all the new things you can do on the way to your goal. I call them “motivating thoughts”...always have them ready to go, because you never know when you might need to pull 'em out and help prevent a breakdown. Also, make an iron-clad promise to yourself not to cheat. Not ever. Every know and then when stress levels go way up and your mood gets way down, it might seem difficult maintaining focus. This is when you really have to be on guard. You have to remember your iron-clad promise you've made to be true to yourself on this mission. Get out those motivating thoughts and get through it! You can do it! I don't have to tell you how important it is, you already know that. Once you get to the point where you feel like nothing can shake you, that's when you're in the zone. The zone is a nice place to be. Get in it and stay there, and before you know it some amazing changes will start to happen! And as those changes start to make themselves known, it gets much easier to stay in the zone, because then you'll want more changes! Some people describe their favorite foods as “it's to die for”...I know they don't mean it literally, but NOT doing this will end in an early death, so in a twisted way that double fudge brownie sundae IS “to die for.” Perhaps that's the origin of that phrase. Huh, interesting. You can do this and all you have to do is decide. Decide to get healthy and live life to the fullest!

I'm facing a real obstacle this weekend. It's my right leg. If you've read all of my blog post, then you know I have lymphadema in my right leg. Lymphadema is a common problem among morbidly obese people. If left untreated it can lead to horrific swelling and extremely painful sores. Sometimes, even if you wrap everyday like I do, sores can still form. On September 14th I had a couple of small sores on the lower portion of my right leg, I really thought that a good wrap everyday and constant care would eventually heal them. And then I started really working them hard. On September 15th I started this journey, and as you know, exercising is a big part of it. The walking everyday and now racquetball running has honestly made the sores worse. There are about three small painful sores that need healed. And it will take 3 to 4 days of being immobile, on my back, legs elevated, prescription ointment and a heavy duty antibiotic to get it done. So the bad news is I will not be able to workout this Friday through Monday, the good news is, once the sores are completely healed by Monday night...I will probably never have another sore again. I say this with complete confidence because I remember what a positive effect losing 115 pounds back in 2004 had. When I got down to 385 back then, my leg was in great shape...minor swelling was about it...No sores or anything...And we weren't even wrapping everyday! The health of my leg is a big motivating thought for me. I know that losing this weight will dramatically improve the condition. During this down time, I will only get up to use the restroom and write very short blogs each evening. I also plan on reducing my calories during this four day period. It's just a minor speed bump, but a necessary one. And I'll emerge ready to hit the racquetball court and the treadmills even harder!

Tomorrow is my 37th birthday. Another year older is much easier to take when you realize that you're doing something positive everyday. Bring it on 37! I'm ready for ya! I hope you truly understand how much I sincerely appreciate your support and readership here. I try to respond to all who comment, I get behind sometimes, but I will respond! And if you're traveling this same road let us know! I'll support you 100%. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 37 Busy Days and Learning Ways

Day 37

Busy Days and Learning Ways

I've found the easiest way to stay within your calorie budget: Stay busy. Today has been a really busy day. A full day at the radio station, then a big station sponsored public event this evening. All I had to do after a 1 ½ hour pre-event broadcast was greet listeners at the door, make sure they signed in, and give them tickets for free wine. Very easy-- and the bonus? I could sit down to do it. But still, after a really full day like today, I did not feel like working out. I felt like I already worked out. Thanks to Courtney's pushing, we did go straight to the YMCA to get in nearly a half hour of intense racquetball action right before they closed. Now I'm really tired. I thought I was tired before, but now I know I still had a little left inside. I feel so good that we went ahead and exercised hard. I would have felt so bad to have missed. Oh we would've walked at least a mile if we hadn't gone to the Y, but the time we spent in those courts was much more intense than a walk. It was a good choice Courtney! Thanks for making your dear old Dad, “Mr. Good Choices” make the right one! I saved some calories for the station event and did very well on calories during, and that's saying something, because the catering was incredible! So I learned a couple of things, that really, I already knew. But it doesn't hurt to be reminded of every know and then. 1. Staying busy makes counting calories super easy. 2. When you don't feel like exercising, that's when you need to do it the most! Let's face it, exercising has never been a part of my daily intentional routine, so doing it everyday on purpose is sometimes a challenge. But it's nights like this when it's the most rewarding.

I'll turn 37 on Thursday and I've decided NOT to allow extra calories. I will allow 2500 calories with a double workout on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but not my birthday. I was thinking about this today. We've always made food such a centerpiece of every special occasion, most of us do. But I don't have to over-eat to enjoy the company and family and new shoes I'm expecting! I concluded that if I allow myself to go over 1000 calories on my birthday, then it wouldn't be long before I started making exceptions for other days. Soon it might become “extra calorie day” on every close family members birthday, then non-federal holidays, then it might lead to “extra calorie” day—every other Sunday...then eventually I'd be right back to 505. Because each time I added an “extra calorie” day, I would probably be less motivated to do a double workout. Because making excuses to over-eat leads straight into making excuses to not exercise. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be the only two “extra calorie” days I allow myself during this journey. The reason? Because food is such a big part of the holidays, and not because of dysfunctional habits, but because it just is for everybody. I bet Richard Simmons even has a piece of pecan pie at Christmas! And would it be Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie and Cool Whip? Or that leftover turkey sandwich while you watch the big game? I think not! And I may try to avoid them now because I view them as a “bad calorie value” choice, but you can bet on Thanksgiving I'm having a big buttery dinner roll. If I have to, I'll drive all the way to Lucille's in Mulhall to get 'em. I've never tasted a roll that came so close to the ones my late grandmother-in-law Bertha Brake made. I want Irene to try them! It'll take her back to her childhood for sure. But you can bet your bottom dollar I'm working out double on those days. No excuses! I'm sure I'll hear... “Now, Sean...relax! It's Thanksgiving! And it's sleeting...Get back out there tomorrow.” I'm not predicting who will say something like this, but I almost guarantee it will be said. And then I'll bundle up and get after it! It might sound crazy to plan ahead like this, but let me tell you, good preparation equals good results. I remember one notable attempt in the fall of 1996. I was walking every day on the trail at Exchange Park in Perry, I was counting calories, I was even having a professional photographer take my picture every weigh day. I made it exactly 40 days that time. Day 41 was Thanksgiving, and I woke up that day and thought “I'm going to eat until I explode, and I'm not walking today”... I'm pretty sure I had pecan pie ala mode for breakfast. And gravy! Good gravy I had a bunch! The plan was that Day 42 would find me right back on track. Nope. Not even a little bit. I had tasted what I'd been missing, I hadn't learned anything about proper portions or eating to live instead of the other way around. The only thing I learned during that attempt was that if I consumed less and exercised I would definitely lose weight, what I failed to learn was how to approach food responsibly, how to recognize a portion, how to properly treat food in my everyday life. All I knew was, if one piece of pie tasted good, then three with ice cream was even better! I've tried to learn from these failed attempts and perhaps this time I've found all the pieces to the puzzle. It's like one of those brainteaser puzzles that you try and try and try again to solve, and you can't...until one day it just clicks, and you solve it. Then you can't imagine not being able to do it. This time it's clicked and I'm now solving this puzzle one day at a time. Good Night and...

Good Choices,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 36 Marquee Conspiracy

Day 36

Marquee Conspiracy

Some days it seems like there's an elaborate conspiracy to get me to come down off the wagon. It's like all of the restaurants and convenience store delis got together and decided to tempt me all at the same time. Like my abstinence from high calorie foods is driving their business into the ground. I can just imagine all of them getting together for an emergency meeting: (insert dream sequence harp music here) The meeting is just getting started when the leader of the conspiracy—The Blue Bell Delivery guy says “All right people, let's keep it together, he's on day 36 now, and we all know that if he gets to Day 100, some of us are going to start going under”... “But what do we do?” Screams a nervous restaurant manager “He seems so determined! Just the other day he was offered a toasted 800 calorie sub for free and he turned it down!!” (Crowd Gasp)... The King from BK then chimes in with “We've got to work together, we need to know his exact driving route, then we'll put all of the high calorie foods he loves on our marquees.” Then Bill Braum stands up and ask “Do you think it will work?” Ronald McDonald tries to make a serious face to say “It may be the only chance we have to break him, now get out there kids and start putting up those signs, and if you can show him pictures, that's even better.” Hey, it's a dream sequence, and dreams get crazy! They were really giving it their best shot today. In just a few mile stretch, I drove past several different signs all just begging me to come in and forget about this little journey. The first sign read “half price ice cream and drinks 2-4pm”...No Sean, keep it together...Then-- “two corn dogs 4 a dollar” ...nice try!---then “Try a Banana Pudding Shake” Stop it!...the next sign was “Try our new oven baked sandwiches” It didn't work last Thursday, and it's not working today! ...then it was “Large Frozen Yogurt Waffle Cone $1.79”...Then a big banner with the most delicious picture of a big, gigantic, king sized Mushroom and Swiss burger, with the invite-- “Try a Mushroom and Swiss Steakhouse Burger.” No King! Leave me be! Before I could get to the safety of my garage I drove by a banner picture of a foot-long chili cheese coney...It was the size of my van! Have mercy! I can't help it, I'm a sign reader! I've always been a sign reader... I wonder what their strategy will be tomorrow? Whatever it is I know I'll survive, cause I'm determined my friend. They would have to come out into traffic and stuff the food in my mouth by force at the stoplight, and if that happens, well...we'd have to reach some kind of low calorie peace accord with these nuts. I'm done now. That was fun.

Irene asked me for a favor tonight and I was happy to do it for her. She wanted me to gas up her car while she got ready for work. Only one problem...her car is little. I'm not little. I've driven her little red Grand-Am GT before and it's not fun, and I really don't think it's safe to steer a car with your belly. But, it had been a while since I stuffed myself into her matchbox car, so I thought I'd give it a try. After all, She does so much for me how could I possibly say no? Well, I'm happy to report that I fit a little better! Noticeably better! I still looked like a circus act behind the wheel, but at least my belly wasn't touching it! I can't believe what a difference losing 30 plus pounds has made for me. I'm so excited about losing more, I mean really, if 30 plus pounds does all this, then what will 150 do? Or 250? I don't understand what has kept me from doing something so fun! This is really fun! And every day gets a little easier. It's just an automatic thing at this point. Oh, by the way...I gassed up her car at 2.19 a gallon. I never thought we would see it that low again.

We've discovered something at the YMCA. When we first started going, we'd get into the court together and take turns hitting the bouncy blue ball. Then it hit us! Not the ball, an idea! As much as we enjoy playing “run after the ball” together, we could get a much more intense workout going solo! So that's what we did tonight. Courtney in one court and me in another. When you're the only one to keep the ball moving, it gets really big and sweaty in there fast! A tremendous workout. After a solid 20 minutes I thought i would try one of the bicycles, and NO. I'm not quite ready for the bicycles, or should I say the seats aren't quite ready for me! I'll get there! Then I tried some kind of strange contraption that looks like it could really give me an amazing workout someday...just not today. So I went back into the racquetball court and worked some more until I was zapped.

Day 36 is history and 37 is waiting! Tomorrow evening I'll be faced with free wine and hors devours at a big promotion the radio station is hosting. I don't care for wine but I do love cheese! And crackers...and those little sandwiches...and cookies...and I think I'll save my calories for after that event. Irene is on a liquid diet tomorrow, as she prepares for a very invasive medical procedure on Wednesday, so maybe I'll join her as we gorge on Jello, popsicles, and broth! I'm headed for bed...Good night and...

Good Choices,

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 35 My Broken Baby Arm and Self-Control Freak

Day 35

My Broken Baby Arm and Self-Control Freak

I posted a picture blog today on my myspace page ( and I must say it wasn't an easy thing to do. The picture of me putting a cake on the table was the hardest to see. Oh, and the one where you can't see my ears...hated that one too. In fact, the only pictures I cared for was the baby picture and the picture of me slightly older. We just don't see ourselves as others do. That is until we're shown a picture, look in the mirror, or walk past a plate glass window. Pictures are the worst because they are brutally honest. You can jump away from a mirror or reflection, but a picture just keeps on showing you what everyone else sees. Have you ever been in a room where one wall is just a big mirror? I hate those rooms! Those rooms make the room AND me look bigger. And you'll find them mostly at gyms and other workout facilities. I know those mirrored walls are suppose to say... “hey, look at you! You're doing great! Keep it up!”...All they say to me right now is “look at you, oh, you're really big, ya...why don't you not look at me anymore.” I've talked about this before in these pages. It's all about perspective. If I really looked the way I think I look I'd only have about 100 pounds to go. Stinkin' reality!

A really good motivator I've found is to always think about the possibilities once I get down to my goal. It's exciting to do, especially when you can see progress in that direction. I plan on getting my right arm broken and re-set. You read me right, I'm going to elect to have my right arm broken and then re-set. Why? Well, the story has been told many times to people around me, to the point of becoming a punch line. “I was born with a broken arm” was a realization I didn't discover until I was 19 or 20. I knew it effected me my entire childhood, but I didn't know why. To fully understand we have to go back to my delivery and first few days in the world. When I was born I was a big baby and my mother has always been small framed. At 4'11” her ideal weight is slightly more than 100 pounds. So, perhaps it was a difficult delivery, maybe. All I know is my right arm wouldn't move, something was wrong with it, and the doctors decided it was lame. They decided that the muscles in my right arm were not developed enough to enable movement, so they sent me home with mom and the instructions to exercise my little arm everyday. She didn't realize at the time that my arm was actually broken. So don't feel bad at all about this mom! You were just doing what the doctor told you to do! Anyway, I doubt it was that painful anyway, because a baby's bones are soft, cartilage like at birth, or so I've been told. It took six months for me to finally move my little right arm, and eventually the bones fused together. They just didn't heal right. So, I can't turn my right arm over all the way. I carry my plate on top of my hand, I'm ambidextrous, I do most things with my left hand. Too bad I don't throw left handed, because throwing right handed always was a bad thing. In little league baseball the coaches made everybody try out for pitcher. When it was my turn I barely got the ball to home plate. When I was in the 8th grade I can remember trying to bench press for the first time and having the bar and weights completely tilt to the right because I didn't have any right arm strength. It's really weird, but most times I don't even miss it. It's still there hanging by my side, but that's all it does most times. My cousin Steve probably remembers playing catch with me and wondering why I was so weak. Broken arm—healed wrong. We're going to get that fixed! Maybe when I get it fixed, it'll become super powerful, and I'll be able to throw accurate 100 mile per hour fastballs, then at 37 I'll sign a Major League contract, and then...Oh wait, that sounds like a Disney movie. Sorry, I was dreaming for a second. I do feel it's important to fix so I can truly maximize my fitness someday.

Amber left this evening to go back to school. Fall break flew by way too fast! We enjoyed the time we had with her and her boyfriend KL. It was a very different visit food wise. Normally we would have gone to a restaurant at least twice in the five days. A Chinese buffet and J.W. Cobbs Family Restaurant would have been a good bet. But we didn't do either place. I feel like we took the focus off of food for once. Oh sure, we had the lasagna meal and the big cookout, but none of us over did it. And we were still happy and satisfied! It's amazing how wonderful it feels to know that you are in control. Deep down I'm really a self-control freak. I know that sounds absurd coming from someone who's tipped the scales above 500 pounds, but it's really true. That's why I rarely drink (if I do it better have whipped cream and a cherry on top—yes, I prefer the “girly drinks”) and I've never done drugs (tried them once or twice-hated them). I don't like the feeling of being out of control. Some might say, “really? What do you call your eating habits for the last two decades?” Good point. But that's food, and it's real easy to blur the line between “a healthy appetite” and “a serious addiction.” Some people pride themselves on being a “big eater”. The statement “I once ate two large pizzas by myself” isn't a food addict admitting a problem, it's someone proudly proclaiming the feat. What's crazy is that sometimes those same proud “big eaters” are the slimmest and trimmest people we know. And we hate them. Not really. Envy maybe, not hate, that's a strong word. I'm applying the same self-control that's always come natural with alcohol and drugs and I'm applying it to food. Because I've treated food like a drug. That line I wrote in a previous blog about being in an alley behind a convenience store with a pint of Blue Bell and a plastic spoon, I've really done that! Every time I would buy one and they would put it in a brown paper bag, I couldn't help but notice the similarities to buying liquor. Hello, my name is Sean, and I'm a food-a-holic. Recovered alcoholics don't drink, not even one sip. But everyone has to eat to live. And as I've said before, we just have to not live to eat. I think the more we understand our behaviors and the more we understand normal portions, the easier it becomes. I've armed myself with two decades of trial and error. I'm ready to beat this addiction like a three egg omelet with onions and peppers and melted cheese and ham and...Oh, sorry about that. I better get some rest. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 34 Losing Weight-Gaining Freedom

Day 34

Losing Weight-Gaining Freedom

As the pounds come off I find myself thinking of more things I'd like to do someday, that I couldn't do at my top weight. I've talked about these things before, but I just thought of two additions today. I want to go to a big go-cart track and race! Even as a teen I could barely fit on a go-cart. It was actually hazardous for me to even be on one, because my weight made it difficult to drive. I remember how fun it was and I don't care if it sounds like a kid thing to do, I want to do it! I want to fit on one easily and race! Ok, the second thing is something really scary. I'm deathly afraid of heights. I remember when I was a kid climbing a ladder to get on top of my grandparents car-port, then being paralyzed by the fear. I must have sat up there an hour frozen with fear and trying to figure out how in the world I was going to get back down. I honestly thought I would have to be rescued, but I somehow pulled it together and made it down the ladder. I'm so afraid of heights, that if you are standing next to a railing on a balcony, and I'm not, I will still get scared just watching you. So, knowing how afraid of heights I am, it may be a surprise to discover that I want to jump out of a plane! Sky dive! I don't think fat people are allowed to sky dive. Are they? I've never watched video of a fat person skydiving. I will do it! I'll be conquering my fear of heights and I will experience flying through the air. I know someone who tried it once and shattered both ankles when he flared the chute too early. That would be horrible. But I've got to try it! I'll think of others as we progress along this journey. There are so many things that are nearly impossible to enjoy as a morbidly obese person, so I'm sure the list will be a long one!

It's a tremendous feeling to be so honestly on track. I've failed so many times at losing weight that I've really become a pro at cheating on my calories. But not this time. I'm so fanatical about my calorie limit that I will not tolerate even 50 calories over. I guess I'm this strict because I know myself. I know that if I do it a little it will lead to a lot. Then the next thing you know I'm buying candy bars and half gallons of ice cream. I'm all about eating whatever you want and still losing weight, I'm proof it can be done, but I do have some boundaries. My wife and kids know that if daddy brings home a half gallon, it's all over. Irene is so good at recognizing when I've fallen off the wagon that she'll let me know she knows long before anyone else has a clue. If you see me drinking regular pop...I'm off the wagon. If you see me loading up a plate at a get together, I'm probably off the wagon. If you see me in the back alley behind the convenience store with a pint of Blue Bell and a plastic spoon, I'm off the wagon. But you will not see me doing any of those things, because I'm not only on the wagon, I'm strapped onto the wagon. If the wagon tipped over, I'd still be on the wagon. If the wagon started rolling down a mountain side, I'd be screaming in terror, but I'd still be on the wagon. What I'm trying to say is...I'm doing this now. And I imagine that some might be wondering when these blogs will stop. I've had so many great starts before, surely I'll mess up and go back to doing whatever sooner or later. Nope. If you stopped reading this blog and came back in two months, you would find Day 94 ready and waiting for you to read. I wouldn't want you to do that! I'm just trying to illustrate my commitment to the journey. It's become interesting at times. It's been very challenging at times! It's also been very easy and kinda boring at times. But isn't everyday life like that? You know, highs and lows, peaks and valleys...It has it all. As the days go by it just becomes a part of me and my way of conducting myself, a normal part of my day regardless of circumstances and stresses. That's when you know you're on track 100%. When you know that there isn't a situation or problem that can derail you. I see my Uncle Sig maybe four or five days a year tops, and for the last twenty he's heard me say “the next time you see me I'll look completely different.” So he's going to take some convincing. Uncle Sig can be brutally honest, and sometimes just plain old crude and inappropriate...But I understand him, he wants nothing more than to see us do it for real. Me, my mom, my Aunt Kelli, my family...He loves us all, and it would make him so happy to see us get healthy and thin. But he'll have to see it to believe it. That's fine. We're getting there one day at a time! Love you Uncle Sig! And really... “The next time you see me, I'll look completely different.”

Speaking of Uncle Sig and Aunt Jean, they were up tonight for the big cookout. My mom, Uncle Keith, Aunt Kelli, and Grandma too! It was a great little party! I loaded up that grill once again with brats, hamburgers and hot dogs. It was really good! We had chips, potato salad, and baked beans too. Nothing sweet though...did you notice that? No desert...Oh well, I had a Popsicle earlier to round out my calories for the day. I should have made something sweet. I love jello with non-dairy whipped topping, and guess what? It's calorie friendly! Maybe next time we'll do that. I made sure I had 800 calories going into the cookout, and after a brat on a bun with mustard and onions, and a hamburger patty with pickles, onions, mustard and tomatoes I had exactly 70 calories left. A Popsicle is 50. And I'm good...unless I want a pickle when I'm done with this blog. A big dill pickle sounds good actually. It was a good cookout, and guess what? We have another cookout tomorrow at Elaina and Davids house! Ribs this time, oh my.

I just thought of something hilarious. If Vegas were to put odds on me losing this weight all the way to the final goal, given my past record, it would probably be like a 500 to 1 long shot. They would take those bets all day long and just wait for me to have a meltdown and throw it all away. And if I were you, I'd bet the farm. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 33 Go Ahead Make Your Best Guess

Day 33

Go Ahead Make Your Best Guess!

First of all let me say thank you to all that responded by leaving a comment on the version of this blog or calling me today about last night's blog. I sincerely appreciate all of the kudos and kind words for Irene, because she really deserves it! Rach made a good point that really sums up the first part of last night's blog. She said (and I'm paraphrasing) that you have to know who or what is your enemy before you can battle that enemy. Understanding what makes us over-eat is a vital part of conquering the problem. Understanding and admitting our bad habits is key. I've been in denial for many years. I've said so many times before “when I'm ready, I'll do it, no problem.” I wasn't admitting my addiction. That would be admitting I was out of control. And “out of control” isn't easy to admit. Without fully being honest with myself and opening my mind to understanding my bad habits, I was making it much harder to stay with the plan. I remember when I started falling off the wagon in 2004, we would still go weigh, and when the scales didn't go down, or would even go up, I would act all disappointed. But I knew why, deep down I knew exactly why the results were not happening, I was 100% off the plan, but still pretending to be in control. Not only was it deceptive to everyone around me, I was seriously lying to myself. After a few weeks of keeping up the charade, I faded into all of the old habits that made me 500 pounds to begin with. And the weight came back all over again. If you've ever lost a considerable amount of weight, then gained it know that the weight doesn't go back exactly where it was. My wrist and my ring finger are still the size they were when I got down to 385. My belly came back bigger and better. “Better” isn't the right word. You know what I mean. It probably sounds like I'm over analyzing myself, but really it's crucial to my success. Understanding and identifying the enemy is critical to winning the battle. We'll call it Weight Loss Intelligence. My W.L.I. is helping me police my habits and change them.

Last night after writing my blog I caught part of a show called “Super Obese” on Discovery Health. I really think the title is all wrong. There's nothing “super” about obesity. I've caught these kind of programs before and they serve to remind me how lucky I am. There are people that weigh 500 pounds and they are completely bed ridden. There was a guy on there with lymphedema so horribly bad that his lower left leg was just a giant mass. He couldn't wear pants at all, he couldn't walk, he couldn't do much of anything. And he weighed just over 500 pounds. My problems are so minor in comparison and my blessings are so many. I've been given every opportunity and ability to change before I ever become bed ridden. It's a scary thought, and I'm guessing it would happen to me somewhere between 600 and 700 pounds. I'm going the other way! I don't want to ever be in that unimaginable condition.

I'm very fortunate in that I've never looked my weight. My entire life I've heard “you carry it well”. I guess I have, and I've never had someone correctly guess my weight. You know those people that work at the fair guessing peoples weight and age? They never guess right. And you would think they would get close, but I remember one time one of these “professionals” guessing my weight 100 pounds off. Too bad you can't make money on that, because I could just travel the country having people guess my weight and they would lose every time. I know, I could travel around to all the state fairs challenging the guessers and winning in every state, but it only pays in stuffed animals, and cute and cuddly doesn't fill the tank. I think I'll stick with losing weight.

I made a trip to Wal-Mart today. I parked far away from the front doors, and you know what? The walk into the store was so easy! I wasn't hobbling in, I was walking confidently and swiftly. I was there to get all the ingredients I needed to cook beef lasagna. My plan was to use the same tasty ingredients, just scale down the amount, thus trimming the calories per piece. I ended up using 1/3 of the ground beef I normally use, 2/3 the cheese, 1/8 the cream cheese, and half the sauce. I still made a delicious pan of beef lasagna but with a drastically reduced calorie count. Each piece totaled 290.4 calories! The way I use to load it up was probably 450 to 550 a piece, so this was a big change. And everybody agreed it was fantastic! It wasn't as heavy and filling as the original recipe and if you ask me, that makes it even better! Who wants that heavy bloated feeling anyway? After Oatmeal and a banana for breakfast, A grilled cheese sandwich (made without butter on the George Foreman Grill—and with light wheat, it was an awesome sandwich for a measly 130 calories) and a rice crispy treat for lunch I still had 940 calories left for dinner. I normally don't have that much left by dinner time, but I was making sure I was prepared just in case the calorie count for the lasagna came out too high. At 290 a piece, I could afford two pieces of lasagna, a 150 calorie piece of garlic bread, and a good serving of green beans. Look at that picture below, can you believe that's the plate of someone who's serious about losing weight? It is, because that was my plate tonight! The entire plate was 760 calories. I still had enough calories to enjoy a soft serve ice cream cone from McDonalds, and after a 50 minute workout at the YMCA and a mile walk at the trail, I did enjoy that cone! Yes! We did the Y and we walked tonight. I'm very happy about that. Tomorrow we're having family up from Stillwater for a cookout. It'll be a great time. Good night and...

Good Choices,
Sean and Irene's Beef Lasagna with garlic bread and green beans
This entire plate weighs in at 760 calories.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 32 Understanding Me

Day 32

Understanding Me

I've written in these blogs how I've never been a stereotypical 500 pound eater. I've never consumed unimaginable amounts of food in one sitting. But I have been an “impulse” eater. I was reminded of that today when paying for gas at a convenience store with a deli case full of fried everything. I'm immediately drawn to that deli case like a bee to a picnic area trash can. The egg rolls are better than any I've ever tasted at an actual Chinese restaurant. The burritos are crispy on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside, and the corn dogs were on sale two for a dollar! There is absolutely no way the old Sean could have gone in there without at least buying two corndogs for a dollar! That's just being a smart shopper...and an impulse eater. Because it wouldn't have mattered that I just had dinner or was about to have dinner. If I wanted that taste, I was going to have it. It got so bad at one point that I would “sneak” eat. For example, I'd be leaving work, I'd call Irene and she would describe a wonderful meal that was almost ready. My plate would be waiting as soon as I arrived, and still on the way home I would “sneak” eat a bean burrito...or a bag of chips...or a couple of egg rolls. Irene would ask me questions like, “so, what have you had to eat today?” And I would do my best to lie to her, but after you've been together nearly two decades, it gets really hard to get away with a lie. She knows all my tells. She's also a great detective. An example of her expert work---Irene: “So, what have you had to eat today?” Me: “Uh, nothing I'm starving.” Irene: “Really, are you sure about that?” Me: “Of course I'm sure, don't you think I would remember what I put in my own mouth?” Irene: “I see the crumbs on your shirt Sean.” Me: “What crumbs?” Irene: “The convenience store deli burrito crumbs, come over here and kiss me.” Me: “But, why are you...” (we kiss) Irene: “So, you had an eggroll too?” Me: “What are you...” Irene: “I can smell it on your breath.” Me: “You got me, I give up, you figured me out.” Or, she would find the bag in the car and within seconds of inspection, she could tell me how old it was. Irene: “So, when did you have Braums?” Me: “uh, like, I don't know, maybe a week or two ago.” Irene: “that's the story you wanna go with?” Me: “It's been a while, OK, just drop it!” Irene: “If it's been a while, why are the crumbs still soft and the tomato is still moist?” Me: “OK, OK, OK...I had that this afternoon.” Irene: “After we had lunch together?” Me: “yes.” So as you can see, it's not necessarily gigantic portions in one sitting that has made me this big, it's impulse eating throughout the day and into the night. Let's call it “over nibbling”, Ok---Let's call it what it is: Food addiction. There, I admitted it! They always say that admitting the problem is the first step to recovery right? I'm a food addict pure and simple. I very rarely eat because I'm hungry, I eat because I want it! You can tell that over the years I've become well acquainted with me and my dysfunctional eating habits. I've dug deep to understand my bad habits, but even armed with this information, knowing how I am, and the negative effects of my behavior, I'd still do it. I'd probably have to undergo professional psychiatry to go deeper into understanding why I developed these eating patterns, but I've gone deep enough on my own to identify them, and I think getting any deeper would just reveal “excuses”. I'm finished with excuses. I'm changing my deadly habits now. And it feels good! Every time I easily click that seatbelt, I'm reminded of my success so far. Remember me talking about the “results snowball effect”. It's very true. Positive results are a powerful motivator to continue doing the right things. And the more right things I do, the more results I get, the more motivated I get.

I'm so very thankful to have Irene by my side. She has endured two decades of me saying...”someday”. She has always believed in me despite the many false starts and failed attempts. She has watched over the years how my weight has limited me in so many ways. She's so extremely patient and loving to still be by my side. A person can only take so many broken promises, and she's exceeded the maximum amount any spouse should be expected to endure. She's doctored me, nursed me, wrapped my bad right leg because I'm too big to do it myself, and she's done it so long because she loves me. But she knows that I have the power inside to change, she knows that I have the power to make the daily decisions that will eventually “free” her of these nursing duties. She knows that if I stay on track my health will improve to the point of being normal once and for all. Imagine how my past failed attempts have frustrated her. She knows that I know what I need to do, but for so many years I haven't done it. I've flat out taken advantage of her devotion, and that's shameful. It's an indescribable kind of love she has for me, she truly understands “for better or for worse”. She deserves to experience the “better”part ...and that's why I'm so dedicated to going all the way on this journey. So if I sometimes sound obsessive about calorie counts and exercise schedules, there's a reason. People say, “you've got to do it for you”, and that's true, and I am. But I'm also doing it for Irene and my daughters and my future grandkids and my mom. Thank you Irene for holding on and never letting go completely! I love you!

Wow, that was big-heavy-personal stuff! Listen, I'm normally not so “heavy”. I have a tremendous sense of humor, and if this is your first time to read this blog, go back and read some other days. The secret to my family's success has been laughter. We laugh everyday. And if you keep reading I guarantee many laughs within these blog pages. I've always heard that laughter is a key ingredient to longevity! Thanks for reading and subscribing, your comments and support are sincerely appreciated every day. Another successful day comes to an end and it's time to rest! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 31 Tough Start-Good Finish

Day 31

Tough Start-Good Finish

Today was one of those days. You know what I'm talking about. I got up later than I needed to, I didn't sleep well or enough, and overall I just felt “off”. I got to work and discovered we were out of coffee creamer and I forgot to bring a bowl for my oatmeal. I wasn't in the mood to skip breakfast. We all know how important it is to give your metabolism something to chew on in the mornings, and I remember what happened the last time I tried to cook oatmeal in a disposable cup. So there I was: Tired, grumpy, hungry, and no coffee at 6am. Oh, I could have had plain black coffee I guess, but I don't like it that much. I'm a coffee with non-dairy creamer user, and some might say abuser. It's one of those habits I've spoke of before. I'll get to it when I'm ready. Right now, I want my coffee! And I want it with creamer. To those that listen to my morning radio show it may come as a surprise to know that I'm not a natural morning person. My natural inclination is to be a mid-morning-noon-ish kind of guy. I've adapted to a morning schedule because my career demanded it...and coffee has helped me make that transition over the years. I was not in a great mood this morning, you can't hear that on the air because I'm a professional, and I can do my job separate from how I feel. But I was looking forward to an early lunch, and then I didn't time my lunch or communicate my intentions very well and ended up eating alone, instead of with family as planned. So by the time noon rolled around I was lacking all kinds of motivation and positive energy. This was probably the most vulnerable I've been to temptation the entire 31 days. When we're not in the best mood it makes it more challenging to care about good choices. But I know from experience that this is when I have to be the toughest. I have to remember that things change, and moods change, and this “tilted” feeling I had this morning and today would go away, and it did. It took a refreshing afternoon nap to get it done. I woke up feeling great and re-energized. I didn't give in to my bad attitude this morning. I didn't make a bad choice. I stayed on track, because really, after 31 days I'm on a roll here. This is the time for me to get this job done. And it doesn't matter what mood I'm in or what the day brings my way, nothing is going to keep me from making good decisions when it comes to food and exercise. It would've been real easy to leave the station after my show and devour a days worth of calories to comfort my bad morning. But after all of this self-discovery and progress and support from readers like you, that would have had the most negative effect of anything. It wouldn't have made me feel better, it would have made me feel much worse. Stopping long enough to recognize my dietary motivations and analyzing the consequences is a new way of conducting myself. I can't count how many pints of ice cream I've consumed in the past because I was feeling down and wanted to make myself feel better. It's a really old habit rooted in complicated psychology. But it's real easy to understand it when you break it down to “good choice vs. bad choice”. You just have to delay your decision long enough for the sun to shine again and the fog to clear, then you can clearly see the right choice, the good choice.

For the longest time I've had a very limited wardrobe because of my size. I actually have several clothes waiting patiently in the closet until I get small enough to wear them again. Today, after losing 30 pounds, I put on a shirt that just 31 days ago was too tight for comfort. It now fits just fine. I put it on and then got in the van and easily clicked my seatbelt. These are exciting results that keep me going! With well over 200 pounds to lose, 30 doesn't seem like it would make that big of a difference, but it has. It is fun to realize that it will just keep getting better and better. With each day, one day at a time, I'll get there. I still have shirts that I opened for Christmas that are ready to wear, in fact I'm wearing one of them right now! I'm really looking forward to walking into a regular store and knowing, not hoping, knowing that they will have a size that fits me. For the longest time my wardrobe has been dictated by my size. It happens with a lot of obese people. I haven't been wearing what I really would like to wear my entire adult life. Because on most occasions, the decision to buy a piece of clothing wasn't based on fashion, it has always been based on what fits, and since the bigger sizes are far more expensive, what we could afford. When I get to my goal weight, I'll finally look in the mirror and see what I want to wear instead of what I have to wear.

Tonight was the second night for our YMCA workouts. It was a real good workout too! The walking trail is a very steady workout. The racquetball court provides a series of short high energy burst of workout. And I'm here to tell you, it can get very intense, very quick. It's also really fun! Amber went with us tonight and before her workout we had her make a digital video of us in the court. She'll show me how to transfer it to the computer and I'll post it in a separate blog sub-post in the next couple of days. We all had a real good work out, and it was very cool to have Amber with us!

I hope you know how much I appreciate your blog comments and support! Please keep them coming! I will always make an effort to return my support to you! If you're on this journey too, then let us know how you're doing! Day 31 is history, it wasn't the easiest day, but it was a day that will make future “rough start” days much easier.

Good Choices,

Day 30 Weigh Day and Racquetball Play

Day 30

Weigh Day and Racquetball Play

Today was the big weigh in! The guesses were in and every single one of them were too high. The guesses were based on the first two week loss of 21 pounds, and that number was great, but it probably represented some water weight too. I lost another 9 pounds. 9 pounds! I started at 505 and now I'm 475. A 30 day total of 30 pounds! That's great! But I'll be honest, I wanted another 20, I really wanted another 20, but after much thought and consideration, I'm very happy about the 9 pounds. I know that I did everything right. I never cheated, not once, I can't! I never missed a workout, I did it straight up 100% and lost 9 pounds. And that was good! That was real good. I'm ahead of schedule for my first 100 pound goal, and I'll get there in less than four months! Irene weighed and lost 3 pounds and Courtney added 5 pounds to her total. So far the three of us have lost 58 pounds in 30 days, and when we add Amber's weight loss later this week, the family total will be more. We all lost a little less than we expected, but when you're confident in your daily choices and actions, then you have to feel good about it. What could have brought the numbers up a little? Perhaps more strenuous workouts. When we first started, a quarter mile walk was all I could possibly handle, within a week I was doing a half a mile, and just days after that I started walking a mile every night. At first the mile walk was a real good workout, but lately, while still getting the heart rate up and sweating, it's just become too easy. We can finish the walk in less than 20 minutes, and honestly I feel like I need more than a twenty minute workout. It was perfect that we chose tonight to move our workout indoors to the YMCA. It felt real good to duck into that racquetball court again. Courtney and I played against the wall for a solid half hour and within the first ten minutes we could tell that the workout was on a new level. I'm really looking forward to the weigh in on the 28th. We'll see what a racquetball court can do! As I remember back to 2004 and that 115 pound loss, I clearly remember the amazing results the good workouts at the YMCA gave us. 30 pounds in 30 days has a nice ring to it. I'm proud of myself! The plan now is to continue exactly what we've been doing calorie/food wise and the YMCA workout instead of the walking. Along with the racquetball court, I plan on adding some treadmill action, and some weight machines with low weight and high reps. This is getting fun!

When we left the Health Department scales, Amber called for an update, and we visited on the phone all the way to grandmas house. Then we were visiting with family and eating some incredible vegetable beef soup my Aunt Jean made. It was a wonderful afternoon! It feels real good to be on this journey, it's a feeling of freedom I haven't felt in a very long time. After 30 days I'm locked in real tight! And speaking of being locked in real tight...I was able to fasten my seat belt on my own! And I still had room! It wasn't cutting off my circulation or anything! I didn't get a nasty cramp in my side or anything! That's real results. My pants almost falling down, that's real results. My breathing is so much easier now, that's real results. My ears showing up from behind my fat face cheeks, that's real results! I'm completely grateful that I've been blessed with the opportunity to change before it became too late. Because I was headed there real fast.

When we arrived home Courtney was the first through the door. Before Irene and I could make it inside from the garage, Courtney was screaming the most blood curdling scream I've ever heard from her. My adrenaline immediately shot through the roof, Irene's did too, and we were pretty sure that we had an intruder in our house. I was ready to unleash a 475 pound fury on whoever we encountered. Our terror was turned into elation when we discovered the intruder was Amber and KL. They arrived 24 hours early for fall break and were waiting on us. Surprise! I think that scare qualified as a second workout.

It was a great weigh day and a really good workout at the YMCA tonight, all topped off with Amber and KL's homecoming from school. I'll start Day 31 soon, and as I bring this day to a close, I have to remind myself...One day at a time will add up to amazing results. By the way, thank you to Courtney for coming up with the title for tonights blog, very nice girl!

Good Choices,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 29 Cold Rain and Hot Buffets

Day 29

Cold Rain and Hot Buffets

We just got back from our mile hike on the trail, actually it's just a brisk walk, a “hike” sounds a little more strenuous and impressive. Tonight was the second time we've walked in the rain in the last 29 days. The first time it was a fairly warm rain, like a late summer kind of rain, like a “it feels good to be alive” kind of rain. Tonight was like a cold November rain, like a “I hope we don't get sick and die” kinda rain. The rain wasn't falling very hard, but under all of the trees it was pouring! Silly me thought that the trees would provide some sort of protection from the rain, I was wrong. We did bundle up real good and it felt good to walk hard in the rain. I think I actually get a better workout in the rain because I'm trying to hurry it along. Come to think of it we didn't stop one time. And with our hair soaked and the rain running down our determined faces in slow motion like a Gatorade commercial, we walked, and we walked real good. Several cars drove by and I'm sure they were giving us crazy looks, but we didn't care. We had a job to do, and a little cold rain wasn't going to stop us! After the walk Courtney warmed herself with a hot chocolate, she had enough calories for it, and how could I say no after she so willingly walked in the freezing rain with me?

I've proven to myself that I can handle most restaurants with relative ease. But there is one challenge I haven't encountered yet. The Buffet (insert scary music here). I've always had a love/hate relationship with buffets. I always loved the idea of going but then hated the way I felt leaving. Despite what some might think, I've never really been a big threat to a buffet restaurants profit margin. I've watched in awe as guys much smaller than me put away plate after plate. I just can't do that. Now don't get me wrong, I've consumed large quantities at buffets before, but I'm a sucker for the potatoes and breads, you know the stuff they want you to fill up on before you eat all the shrimp. I always go in with a game plan to go straight for the expensive meats and seafood, but I'm always sidetracked by the best looking macaroni and cheese in the world! I love me some mac and cheese. And those hot rolls! So soft and buttery and melty in my mouthy. With all this said you might be surprised at this statement: I no longer have any use for buffet restaurants. Why would I? Oh, I'm sure we'll have some sort of family get-together at one someday, and I'll go, and it'll be a test of my newly learned skills and self control. Because there really is a way to eat responsibly at the buffet, it just takes some blinders and common sense. I just can't let myself get hypnotized by that gallon of cream gravy and the crazy thought “man, I could drink it all!” A buffet begs you to make poor choices, but I'm certain if I faced one today, I would make good choices. I'd just rather not face one, ever...unless I have to for some kind of family event. Did you know The United States is one of only a few countries in the entire world with buffet restaurants. The concept is completely ridiculous to people of some countries. “You mean for the price of a regular meal, I can have several meals in one sitting? And I can't share? Why would I want to do that?” It's really nuts if you think about it. I'm sure one of these days I'll be blogging about a buffet showdown, and I'll win that thing. But winning won't mean eating thirty-eight bucks worth of food like it used to, winning will mean eating a normal size portion and a well balanced meal.

I made myself a ham and cheese omelet for lunch today and it made me sick. Had the ham gone bad? Did I under cook the eggs? Or did I just use way to much of that buttery flavored zero calorie cooking spray? Whatever it was, it didn't agree with my stomach at all! I think I'll lay off the eggs for awhile, and that's too bad, because it probably wasn't the eggs fault. I'm getting really sharp at calculating calories. That omelet had exactly 315 calories. I enjoy cooking and I look forward to cooking later this week when my daughter and KL are in for fall break. I'm looking forward to the challenge of calculating the calories in my recipes. I did that once for our enchiladas back in 2004 and it came out to about 275 per enchilada, but I bet I can get it down to 225 easy. 275 was without making any effort to decrease the calories. My goal is to decrease the calorie content of each enchilada without sacrificing any of the cheesy-spicy-meaty goodness. I know it sounds tough, but it shouldn't be that hard. Some might suggest using plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream and using fat free cheese instead of the real thing and using ground turkey instead of ground beef and using pureed tomatoes instead of the traditional enchilada sauce, and to those people I say: I appreciate the suggestions! BUT...You see, I haven't felt deprived one single time during the last 29 days and part of the reason is, I don't compromise flavor. I know where the line is, and pardon me while I creep up to it and lean over! When you feel deprived, you're not as enthused to continue. I've said it four or five times in these blogs so far, give me a small, satisfying portion of the real deal, instead of a big nasty portion of “yogurt topped-fat free-turkey enchiladas with tomato puree and fat-free mozzarella”. If you just thought to yourself “you know, that really doesn't sound too bad”, then you've never tasted the Anderson Enchiladas. We should invite you over sometime!

Tomorrow is Day 30 and weigh day! I can't wait to weigh. How much will I have lost? I don't know. The guesses are in: Irene thinks I'll be down to 466 for another 18 pound loss, Courtney says 465 for a 19 pound loss, I say 469 for a 15 pound loss and a 30 day total of 36 pounds. For my size that wouldn't be completely out of the norm. The first 100 pounds or so will come off quickly, the second 100 and beyond will be much slower, but steady I'm sure. I look forward to giving you the update tomorrow night! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 28 Good Food Choices

Day 28

Good Food Choices

Today is a real milestone. Four weeks, four full weekends, twenty-eight days, and going strong. The week ahead will present some challenges, but nothing we can't handle! Amber is coming home from school for fall break on Wednesday evening and we can't wait to give her a big hug. Usually with a homecoming like this, we would plan some pretty elaborate meals. Lasagna, enchiladas, ramen noodles loaded with beef and homemade fries, these are the type of things we've always looked forward to having. And we'll probably still have some of those things, but this time I'll put some thought into the planning and preparation, along with a calculator. Every piece of lasagna will have an accurate calorie count, every enchilada too. I'll scale down the recipes to decrease the calories, but I won't buy fat free! I've said it before, I'd rather have a little serving of the real stuff than a big serving of the fat free variety. It's so important to understand that counting calories is just a way of measuring food amounts. The big lesson is learning to eat normal portions and getting away from the table when you're satisfied, not stuffed. I've never been a big believer in diets that tell you to eat a certain food or foods to lose weight. This is the real world, and situations change, menus change, when you're invited to someones house for dinner you have to be able to adapt, and make wise decisions on what you're eating and portion size. A diet that makes you eat a pre-set schedule of foods, in some cases food that has been shipped to you, will help you lose weight, but is it teaching how to handle food for the rest of your life once the weight is off? That's why I plan on having lasagna when Amber comes home, and yes maybe enchiladas too! I can't wait to see how they turn out calorie wise, I'll be sure to give an update!

Last night while Courtney was at work at the radio station, Irene and I enjoyed dinner out at one of our favorite little Mexican restaurants. It's not the fanciest place, but they have awesome food and really low prices, and that's enough to sell me! When the complimentary chips and salsa arrived I immediately counted out ten chips. Irene had about the same, so there was still a pretty big amount of chips left in the basket. The staff there is probably curious why we weren't going to town on the chips, they're use to us finishing the first basket before our food arrives, then ordering another basket! They probably had another basket on stand-by expecting me to ask for them at any minute. I ordered two tacos and a beef tostada. Now a beef taco at Taco Bell is 170, a beef taco at Taco Bueno is 200, a beef taco at this place is safely estimated to be 200. But the tostada, well that's a different story. A tostada at Taco Bell is 250, but remember at Taco Bell it's foundation is a thin layer of beans, this one is a big pile of ground beef. This tostada was loaded with a bunch of meat, lettuce, and a hefty portion of sour cream. I would be lying to myself had I counted it at anything less than 450. So, I only had one taco and the tostada. I had enough calories for everything, but I wanted to save some calories for a snack or treat later. It was a very enjoyable dinner. I was satisfied, and even felt a little “overly full”, Irene reminded me that the water I was drinking and the chips too was contributing to the feeling of “over fullness”. At a mom and pop restaurant like this you just have to make educated guesses on calorie counts. Calorie lab analysis of menu items is a very expensive process, and unless it's a chain of some kind, they probably haven't had them done. So you take what you know and make honest educated guesses. I could've just called the tostada 250, but after one look I knew it was much more. Irene and I had about the same amount of calories, and a nice dinner for two at a great restaurant, at a great price calorie wise and money wise!

I hate to make this days blog all about food but there are some tricks and secrets that make eating almost anything a good calorie choice. Tonight we had company and served thin crust pizza. “Thin crust” is the punchline to my “Amazing Pizza Hut Diet” stand-up bit, and it's so true. A decent sized piece of thin crust pizza can be as low as 150 to 200 calories depending on your topping choices. A decent sized piece of deep dish pizza or “pan” pizza can range anywhere from 375 to 500 or more---per piece! You should see all of the oil that is squirted into the bottom of each pan pizza at Pizza Hut. It's a bunch and it taste real good, but if you're wanting to stretch your calories, thin is the way to go! I had three slices for 600 calories tonight and I was perfectly satisfied. The changes we've been making over the last 28 days have been changes that we can use for the rest of our lives. And really that's what it's all about, a lifestyle change. Weight loss without truly learning how to handle food in everyday life situations is temporary. But if you lose the weight while learning how to change the way you approach food and exercise, then you can achieve permanent results. I've lost 115 pounds before and it feels horrible when the weight comes back so quickly. But it did come back because I didn't learn anything along that journey. As soon as I fell off the wagon I went right back to eating huge portions of whatever I wanted, and I didn't exercise anymore. What did I expect would happen? It's a terrible feeling of defeat when you realize that all that hard work has been erased by your old habits. I never want to feel that feeling again. I'm a student to a new way of thinking. I'm changing really bad habits into good habits. Oh, I still have plenty of bad habits, but they know I'm coming for 'em and I'm bringing hell with me!

Good Choices,

Day 27 Non-Stick Spray and Two-A-Days

Day 27

Non-Stick Spray and Two-A-Days

Last night I divided up all the snack crackers into neat little plastic bags with 100 calories in each. It took some very simple math and all of about twenty minutes. I ended up with about twelve bucks worth of 100 calorie packs for under five bucks! Take that Mr. Nabisco! During the week I usually have fruit and cream oatmeal for breakfast. It's good for cholesterol and I'm very lucky my number is well below 200. Don't get me wrong, I didn't get that number on purpose. It was a complete accident. Let's chalk it up to genetics or possibly a lab error. Because I've had everything they say you should cut down on, and I've obviously had it in excess, and I still have a low number. Every time I've had it checked it surprises me and the doctor. A doctor of mine once said in a puzzled tone, “your cholesterol is better than mine”. Very blessed indeed. If there was such a thing as a cholesterol competition I would be a champion and all the other competitors would be dumbfounded how such a large out-of-shape man could beat them. Waking up this morning, I decided I would try something different for breakfast. The very cholesterol challenging fried egg sandwich! Oh yeah! I recently purchased some butter flavor cooking spray and I have to say, it's amazing! The egg didn't stick to the pan, the spray is calorie free, and I enjoyed every last bite. I had my fried egg on toasted light wheat with white american cheese and a teaspoon of Miracle Whip. The cheese was all melty, the Miracle Whip was all zippy, and the calorie count was nifty, coming in at 235! Well worth it indeed. I can't believe I haven't used the cooking spray in the past. We normally would use some kind of calorie laden oil or just straight up real butter. I use to think that real butter was the only way to go when cooking eggs, but now I know that butter flavored cooking spray is better because it's zero calories! I remember my mom using Pam cooking spray when I was a kid, same thing, but for some reason I just never did until now. A little variety is good sometimes. When you're counting calories it's real easy to rely on the same foods again and again. A little variety adds to your overall calorie value, so be adventurous and enjoy.

In all fairness to the King of flame broiled burgers, I wanted to correct some info about the calories at BK that I talked about yesterday. The Quad Stacker has just over 1,000 calories, not 1,100. The Triple Whopper with Cheese however has 1,250. Both are what I consider to be very poor calorie value choices. If I have it my way neither will ever cross my lips.

We all have turning points in our life. Some good and some bad. This journey I'm on is definitely a good turning point. But when I look back and analyze major turning points in my life I can't help but think walking away from football two-a-days in my sophomore year of high school was one of the biggest in terms of contributing to my size and health as an adult. My entire childhood I always heard people say, “you should play football”. Some might say, “Sean, don't focus on the bad and beat yourself up”, but keep in mind I'm not doing this to focus on the negative, I'm just trying to understand the behaviors and habits that made me this big over the years. By understanding my past decisions, maybe I can prevent some bad ones later. Because I don't want to ever see 505 pounds again! Here's the football story: I had never played organized football on a team in my life, but after getting hassled by my friends at school to give it a shot, I decided to go out my sophomore year. Two-a-days started in early August and on that first day it must have been 100 degrees or more. I was severely out of shape and the coaches knew it. I needed some heavy duty work and they were gonna give it to me. And did they ever. I remember trying to run around that track over and over again. And since I was the slowest I would hear “Anderson, another lap!”. I never understood why I needed to run the extra lap, after all it was clear that I was having the hardest time. Shouldn't the guys that made it look easy run the extra lap? After two extra laps I was just about dead. I was so happy to finish that second extra lap, I just knew it had to be break time soon, “where's the kool-aid?” And then I heard the devil again, “Anderson, another lap!”. Were they trying to kill me? Some might say what I did next was quitting. I like to call it surviving. I started that third extra lap at a pace just slightly faster than walking slow on sand. Somewhere between the start of the lap and the first turn I made a critical life changing decision. I was done. That was it, they broke me, I couldn't take it anymore. When the track turned I didn't. I just kept on going straight...down the hill and into a shopping center across the street. I felt like a fugitive on the run and I still had on my prison issued clothes, I mean my team issued shirt and shorts. The shirt said “Pioneer Pride”, but there was no pride in what I had just done. I ducked into a Boot shop and was immediately asked by the shopkeeper, “so, practice already over?” “Uh, for some of us” was my weak reply. The guy was clearly suspicious of me, after all how many kids leave practice all sweaty and beat to hurry into a boot store? He went on to tell me that his son Todd was on the team too. Great! Out of all the places I could have ducked into, I pick a place where the owners son is one of the stars on the team! That's right, stars! Turns out that boot store owner had two sons that would go down as a couple of the best kickers Stillwater High ever had, maybe not as good as my late Uncle “Golden Toe” Hadley, but good enough that they both went on to kick on the college level, Todd Wright at Arkansas and Tate Wright at Kansas State. When he told me who his son was I remember thinking how funny it was that the kickers' family owned a boot store. I was trying to think of anything to take my mind off what I had just done. When I went outside I didn't see any coaches chasing after me, they were probably too busy shaking their heads and thinking, “wow, some kids just can't be helped”. I realize now that they were trying to help me, but I was still twenty-one years away from being in the right mindset. I can't help but wonder what would have happened had I allowed them to mold me into a football player. At over six foot and nearly 300 pounds as a sophomore, I could've been transformed into a real college prospect by my senior year, you never know. I did survive that day, but I survived by quiting, and I've always been ashamed of that. It all comes down to gravitating to the line of least resistance. I've used that phrase in these blogs before. It's much easier to quit. It's much easier to not work out. It's much easier to eat whatever and however much you want. The line of least resistance is a line filled with quitters and slackers. I refuse to be either this time. I will make this journey the greatest turning point of my entire life, and although I've said “it's easy”, at times it isn't. But like they say, nothing worth having is easy. A longer, healthier, more rewarding life is definitely worth having. And I'm going to do everything I can to get there.

Good Choices,

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