Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 138 An Undeniable Difference

Day 138

An Undeniable Difference

Thanks to everyone that expressed their condolences for the passing of my dear Aunt Violet.

Today was a very busy day at work. I worked right through lunch and didn't consume any calories at all from 8am until after 5pm. That's not good really. I always try to eat something every few hours. But this was not a typical day, so I'm not going to let it bother me in the least. I ran errands today and it seemed every where I stopped people noticed the weight loss. Even people I don't know very well and haven't really been around that much at all. It's fun when people notice, I guess it really is getting undeniably noticeable, and that's cool. One nice lady noticed the weight loss, congratulated me, then asked what I was doing to get it done. After I told her it was the basic approach of eating less and exercising, she said she could do the calorie counting, but she was out on the exercise portion. I then explained to her how I could barely make it a quarter mile when I started and now I can walk a 5K easily. It's funny how surprised people are when I reveal that I started at 505 pounds. I guess I never really looked like I weighed 505, judging from the surprised looks I encounter. By the time we finished our conversation she was talking about walking short distances and slowly working her way up. I had a visit with one of my daughters teachers today. It wasn't about Courtney, it was about losing weight and exercising. She told me that my success had inspired her husband to get busy, and in turn that inspired her to get busy too. Now that really feels good. When you really start doing these things it can have a profound effect on people around you, and it has a snowball effect. It doesn't have to be hard, it just has to start somewhere. I could barely walk through a parking lot in the beginning, and look at me now! That's the key, just doing what you can. I've really looked forward to getting back to this point on the journey. Just wait a little while and get ready for a much more dramatic change in the next 100 pounds. It's always something to look forward to.

Every weekend presents challenges I never go through during the week. It's the change of schedule and the large amount of extra free time available. Last weekend was such a breeze, but I know this weekend I'll have to up my self-security a few times. Amber and KL came in tonight and they're here for the weekend, plus we're going to Stillwater Sunday to spend some time with family. In order to be successful this weekend I know I'll have to watch my “guesstimations,” and get into the YMCA before they close at 5pm each day. I also have to monitor and adjust my water consumption. Weigh day is coming up quick, So I have to stay focused every minute of every day.

I'm not really worried. I'm in a zone and have been for a while now. I'm cutting tonights blog a little short. It's been a long day and I must rest now. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 137 Losing a Loved One and Gaining Strength

Day 137

Losing a Loved One and Gaining Strength

As a kid I had some very good adults around me that set wonderful examples. My mom made our home wholesome. There were never any drugs or alcohol, no smoking, no serious cursing, and a steady schedule of “The Honeymooners, “I Love Lucy,” and “Leave It To Beaver.” I was very lucky to grow up in a very nice, loving environment. As I got older, my mom allowed me to become a fan of Johnny Carson and David Letterman, even though Letterman came on incredibly late back then. At the risk of sounding like Loretta Lynn, what we didn't have financially, we made up for in love. My grandfather was the most honest man I've ever known. His integrity and work ethic was never compromised in any way. My uncle Keith was always there to guide me through the years and tell me what was right. Aunt Kelli is only three years older than me, and she was always like a big sister. And grandma always made sure I had what I needed and always showed how much she loved and cared for me. So as much as I talk about what a tough time it was as a fat kid being bullied in school, I wanted to counter with these blessings I was so fortunate to enjoy growing up. Several family members were successful at losing weight too. My mom lost 100 pounds when I was little, my uncle Keith lost 100 pounds, my grandma lost weight too, and so did my dear Aunt Violet. Aunt Violet not only lost weight, she kicked the smoking habit cold turkey, and never went back, ever. She set an example that she hoped many family members would follow, and some did, including her brother Bob and sister Connie. Aunt Violet was always fun to be around growing up and was always there to help when she could. You would be hard pressed to find someone with a bigger heart than my Aunt Violet. I was so happy to be able to prepare dinner for her and her daughter Debbie on Day 99 of this journey. After dinner that evening, I took them on a tour of Christmas lights around Ponca City's Festival of Angels. My mom later told me that she often talked about what a beautiful experience that was. I'm so happy that we had a chance to do that, because this morning Aunt Violet passed away in Stillwater at the age of 67. She will be deeply missed by all of us.

Upon getting that news this morning I was saddened and depressed, as one would expect, and normally when I feel down, I eat. At least that's what I always did before. But Aunt Violet was so proud of me for losing weight and getting healthier, there was no way I could let the news of her passing effect me in a negative way calorie wise. This is a part of life and the new habits and behaviors I'm developing are becoming a way of life. I can't expect everyday to be rosy. Learning to adapt to emotional ups and downs is a critical part of this journey.

I had a good day calorie wise and the workout tonight was a real good one. I'm on my way to some exciting goals and who knows what else down the line. I'll tell you this, losing a close family member really can make you think about things. I'm certain many of my readers can relate easily to that. It really makes me grateful to have each and every day I've been given, and it pushes me to waste not one of them. The bottom line of this entire journey is to get healthy and fit so I can live as long as I have left to the fullest. None of us know how long that is really, but I do know one thing, if not for this important journey it would be much shorter.

This blog is a reflection of my daily experiences and feelings as I go from over 500 pounds down to a normal weight. I sincerely thank you for reading and until tomorrow, good night and...

Good Choices,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 136 Walking On Sunshine and Riding The Waves of Positive Momentum

Day 136

Walking On Sunshine and Riding The Waves of Positive Momentum

It was so nice to see the sunshine today. The weather can certainly have an effect on our emotions. Yesterday, being a cloudy and cold day, made me huddle down and do some deep inward thinking exercises. I really enjoyed writing yesterdays blog. It was a wonderful experience for me. It flowed so fast that at first I didn't realize how powerful it was to my emotions. Then I finished and tried to read it to Irene and Courtney and couldn't. I had to stop reading. It was an emotional overload. You know what I mean? When something just hits you square and you have no choice but to surrender to the truth and emotion it contains, it can be a tremendous weight lifted. It caught me by surprise, because my intent was to be more humorous, but you know the comedy equation right? Tragedy plus time equals comedy. Well, if you delve into it before too much time has passed, you get something very real and emotional. After I reach my goal and keep it off for some time, I'll be able to write volumes of comedy about these kind of experiences and laugh all the way.

I felt great today. I visited the friend I ran into at the buffet Sunday. He's doing just fine. I planned on visiting with him on Monday, but the weather and a couple of projects really changed my schedule. Today worked, and although it was a very short visit, and he had a couple of friends in his office, I still felt good about it. He mentioned this blog and recalled The McSeatbelt (Day 25). I told that story and we all had a good laugh. Although I didn't have any personal one-on-one time with him, he knew why I was there. He's extremely smart and is the type of guy that knows how to be successful in whatever he does. When I heard that he even occasionally rode his bike to work for exercise, it was a boost for me! How bad do I want it? He obviously wants it really bad to climb up on a bike and pedal all the way to work. But my visit today was about giving him encouragement, the kind his actions have given me. You know that I've learned along this journey that you can't make someone do this just because you want them to, all you can do is set an example and offer encouragement. He's done that for me before without even realizing it, and I'm trying to do that for him too.

We're one week away from weigh day and I'm already getting excited about passing two milestones in one weigh day. I'm sure I've already passed the 100 pound lost mark, but I can't say that officially until I step on that scale next Wednesday. At the same time I should be below 400! I remember how that felt in 2004, but it's going to be much more sweet this time. OK, enough about weigh day! It's too far away to talk about!

I watched a little of the “Biggest Loser” yesterday? Or the day before, I can't remember. Anyway, the trainer was having this 406 pound, 5'8” guy jog on a treadmill. My first inclination was to feel sorry for the guy, but then I thought about it for a second and realized that the trainer was pushing him hard and making him achieve something he didn't think was possible. My workouts are not even close to that intense, maybe they should be. But wow, that kind of intense is a few levels above what I would call intense. This guy is 7 inches shorter than me and I weighed 406 at my last weigh in, same as him, and I haven't been brave enough to start jogging on the treadmill just yet. Oh, I'll get there for sure, but it's hard to imagine right now. I did try a little jogging for a short distance during the start of the Christmas Day 5K, but I quickly realized it was a little much for me right now. One thing is for sure. This journey is constantly changing my “limits.” From barely getting through a quarter mile walk to doing a 5K walk with little to no trouble, that's real progress. I just need to make sure that as my limits increase, I push myself to reach them. I guess that's what the trainer on the show was trying to do with that guy.

Courtney took a quick look at her weight while at the YMCA tonight. It's not an official weigh day, but she can be a little impatient sometimes, I have too before! She's was thrilled to find a loss of another five pounds! I'm telling you this, more than me, I want this for my family. I want Amber and Courtney both to arrive in adulthood free of obesity. After setting a horrible example for their entire lives, it feels great to see them follow along and feed off the success that Irene and I have accomplished so far. We're becoming the incredibly shrinking family! And that's awesome!

I did absolutely horrible today on my water consumption. It's just crazy to me. How I can be so focused and doing the things I know I need to do, and then for whatever reason it's been Diet Mt. Dew and zero calorie ice tea all day? I stopped buying the zero calorie water flavor packets. It got to where I would use four to six packets a day. I just thought it was too much. I plan on buying some again, but I have to limit myself, that stuff can get expensive! And I'm still not convinced it's just as good as plain water...I hope it is! But it taste so good! And you know we've been conditioned to believe that if it taste too good, then it must not be good for us. Speaking of things that taste too good to be good, I had a 100 calorie cheesecake bar today at another friends office. I hadn't discovered these tasty little things yet, but wow, it really tasted amazing, and it's one of those labeled “100 calorie pack” items. That one might just be worth it for a nice sweet calorie friendly treat. Thank you for your support. Until next time, good night and...

Good Choices,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 135 A Thank You Letter to Morbid Obesity

Day 135

A Thank You Letter to Morbid Obesity

Every now and then I challenge myself to really think on a deep level. I strive for a better understanding of behavior. I try to dissect things on a psychological level, and since I have no formal education in psychology, I can come to some pretty far out reasonings. It doesn't really matter if I'm right or wrong because these are studies within myself. Today I started thinking about how it's good to find the positive side of all things. Even things that can't possibly have a good side, if you look hard enough, maybe it does. I hit a wall when I thought about applying this positive philosophy to being morbidly obese. By the way, I use the term “morbidly obese” because I hate that term. I don't like the way it sounds at all, and the first time a doctor used that term I thought he was making fun of me! To me, it was the same as him saying I was “disgustingly obese,” and when the term used is “grotesquely obese,” well that's even worse. If the doctor would have said “Sean, you are “making me want to throw up obese” it would have felt the same. Isn't “gross” short for grotesque? I've had both terms used on me by medical professionals and they were perfectly in line with medical terms. How could I find the good in my life long career of being “morbidly grotesque?” Ooh, combining the two is even worse. Anyway, I thought long and hard and finally came up with this: My “thank you” letter to “morbid obesity.”

Dear Morbid Obesity,

You suck. Sorry about that, it just popped out. Let me start again.

Dear Morbid Obesity,

Thank you for teaching me how to be compassionate toward others. By making me different and the subject of so much weight related bullying as a kid, you taught me to always care about other peoples feelings. Thank you for making me unique in an age when I was often the only fat kid in class, because it gave me added attention that I may have felt was lacking in other parts of my life. Thank you for giving me a very strong opinion against discrimination in all it's forms. By showing me the pain of being discriminated against based solely on my looks, you taught me to never judge a person based on appearance. Thank you for giving me the defense mechanism of a good sense of humor. Although it was sometimes masking emotional pain, laughter and making others laugh has always carried me through. Thank you for protecting me from every dangerous thing I would have tried had I been able to fit on that ride, or into that harness, or on that horse, or in that sports car, or whatever the dangerous situation could have been, you were there keeping me safe inside your embrace. Thank you for giving me a fashion sense born from complete insecurity. I know you don't give this fashion sense to every morbidly obese person, but it kept me from further ridicule because I never wore things too small, ever. You saved me from the spandex revolution, how can I properly thank you for that? To make me want to wear a big jacket when it was ninety degrees outside just to cover my boy boobs, well I have no choice but to conclude that you must love me more than other fat people, because if I had a dollar for every morbidly obese person I've witnessed in spandex and a shirt three sizes too small, I'd be wealthy. Thank you for giving me the ability to spot shallowness in others. I'll never forget the first time I was completely rejected by a girl who said out loud, in class “eeewwww, I would never go out with you.” She didn't take the time to see the good guy I was inside, to look into my heart and see the eighth grader that would have cherished her and respected her in a most grateful 8th grader way. She was shallow and without you I may not of recognized that side of humanity for many years. Without this “shallowness radar,” I may never have recognized the pure spirit in the eyes and heart of Irene Brake, my high school sweetheart and wife of nearly twenty years. Most of all, thank you for my life. Without you I don't know if my path would have been the same. Would I have my family that I hold so dear? Would I have found a career that felt so perfect for me, a career that allowed me to hide behind a microphone and communicate with people without them being able to see me? Without you, maybe, just maybe I would have become a complete jerk. Thank you for bringing me to this point in my life and keeping me in one piece along the way. But despite the flood of gratitude in this letter, you know your days are numbered here. We can't continue our relationship. Morbid obesity, I'm slowly shrinking out of you. I'm moving on to a life free of all the dangerous effects of our relationship. But I'll never forget all of the wonderful things you taught me, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my overworked heart.


Wow, that felt good. He needed to hear that! Speaking of being positive, today was a great day. My focus and attention to the task at hand is sharp and I'm completely poised for more success. Thank you for reading and allowing me to share. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 134 The Last Days of This Belt and A Very Different Path This Time

Day 134

The Last Days of This Belt and A Very Different Path This Time

We have a habit of going to the YMCA in the evenings. Tonight our plans were changed by a thin glaze of ice everywhere. I didn't really think about the possibility of the Y closing early until about 7pm when we called, and they were just closing. I've been here before, no problem! We'll just do “house” exercises tonight. We might just enlist the help of Richard Simmons “Sweatin' To The Oldies!” We'll do our best to replicate the intensity and heart rate we achieve at the Y.

I'm finally on the final hole of that belt I've written about before. When I first started this journey that belt was a good two to three inches from going all the way around me. Then I tried it one day and was able to use the very first hole. I remember what a victory that was. And now I'm down to the very last hole position. This belt is about ready to be retired! What a fantastic way to track progress, hole by hole! It's amazing how good this makes me feel. When I first bought that belt a year and a half ago. I really needed a belt and a few other items, so we drove all the way to Tulsa to the big and tall store. I bought a leather belt two-pack in the largest size they carried and when I tried it on it didn't even come close to fitting. I knew before I even tried that there was no way it would work. Lucky for me the other was a stretchable woven leather design and even though it was technically the same size as the first belt, I was able to stretch it to barely fit. So the little belt made it's way into the closet with the only hope of rescue resting on the possibility that I would someday lose enough weight to use it. I'm on the last hole of that little belt now baby! I get really excited sometimes! You can always tell because my use of exclamation points go through the roof!!!!

This is what it feels like to take a successful stand. Losing weight is such a rewarding experience with so many little victories along the way to that ultimate goal. It seems that I'm celebrating something new all the time. In fact, I think it's time for another Levi's shopping trip to Oklahoma City. I'm going to go for 48's this time. In case you're keeping track, that would be 14 sizes below my largest! I also need some smaller shirts and smaller everything else. There's nothing in my closet I can't wear now. The “someday I'll be able to wear that” items use to outnumber the big stuff two to one. I haven't really thought about buying new clothes just yet because I've still got a ways to go and I don't want to buy new stuff and then be too little for them in a month or two. But I'm going to have to buy some along the way, that's all there is to it! Clothes shopping was always a dreaded idea for me as long as I can remember. Now I look forward to the trip.

This blog has made me really evaluate the differences between the failed attempt in 2004 and the present. The differences are pretty big. In 2004 I was just going through the motions I knew would work. I was still dreaming about pigging out on everything in sight. That's why I celebrated so heavily when I hit the 100 pound mark back then. I wasn't trying to learn anything about portions, and I certainly didn't try to dig deep in my brain for answers to why I became so big. I was simply counting the calories and exercising while I waited for my next big celebratory bowl of fried mushrooms and Hideaway pizza. That's what's different about this time. As I approach the 115 mark I totaled last time, I'm thinking about those differences more and more. I'm not obsessed with food like I was before. I'm more aware of my “triggers” and I refuse to let them be an excuse to eat. Before I was only concerned about getting the weight off, now I'm more concerned about developing the habits and behaviors that will keep it off as long as I live. It's been a real psychological adventure. If you've been a regular reader for some time, then you've been with me through the meltdowns, like the night I attacked cheese and crackers, even though I knew I didn't have any calories left for the day. You've read about my weakest days and my strongest days. I knew in order to do this I had to learn how to separate my emotions from my eating habits. And that's much easier to say than do. But making sure that my eating and exercise habits remain the same regardless of my mood, my stress level of any particular day, and any special plans is key to my success. And it's what makes this time a completely different journey.

Richard Simmons is calling from the other room, so I better get in there and start sweatin' to that DVD. Oh, by the way, we enjoyed lasagna for dinner! And I still have enough calories left for an ice cream bar if I so desire. It certainly doesn't sound like the menu of someone losing weight does it? Correct portions, calorie management, and some simple math enable me to never feel like I can't have something. Thanks for reading. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 133 A Very Un-Lazy Sunday

Day 133

A Very Un-Lazy Sunday

Today we decided to treat ourselves to Sunday dinner out. One of our favorite places is a little country down home cooking kind of place called J.W. Cobbs. I knew what Sunday at noon meant at J.W.'s, it meant a big steaming all you can eat buffet of old fashioned country foods. The place was packed and there was about a 15 minute wait for a table, so we just stood up front near the buffet line and waited. I couldn't help but look over at the feast of buffet selections. They had fried chicken, meatloaf, salisbury steak, fried catfish, fried okra, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, extra cheesy mac and cheese, and made from scratch dinner rolls, plus a salad bar and who knows what else I didn't notice. I certainly knew what I was getting! Not that!! Could I have navigated that buffet without going crazy? Probably, but with a menu available, why would I? I ordered the chicken breast. That's it, a big juicy grilled chicken breast. I ate it with a knife and fork and a tablespoon of A-1 Sauce. It was very satisfying and I got out of there under 350 calories! Irene and Courtney opted for the buffet, but neither one of them finished their plate or went back for seconds or desert. Oh yeah, they had all you can eat apple pie like stuff for desert. I usually have at least half of a dinner roll when we go there, but not today, I wasn't tempted in the least. This “in the zone” feeling makes it so easy sometimes. I did see a couple of people I knew there. I wonder if when they see me in a restaurant with a buffet, do they at first question silently... “Mmmm, is Sean off the wagon?” One look at my plate tells you exactly where I am. I did see a friend there that had been losing weight very nicely, but he informed me, as he loaded a plate, that he was on “vacation” from that at the moment. I remember saying things like that before. I completely understand where he is. I've been there many times. It can be easy to lose focus and slowly go back to old behaviors, I've held the championship belt for doing that before. I plan on calling him tomorrow and welcomed or not, I'm giving him a pep talk...I may even go see him in person. I think I will drop in and see him.

After dinner we did something we haven't done in a very long time. We went bowling! It was $1 bowling day today at the alley, so we did it! I always would shoot down the screams of “let's go bowling!” from the backseat because I'm fat, and it's a chore to put my shoes on and take them off once a day, now you want me to take off my shoes, put on another pair of special shoes, then take them off after the game, and put back on my shoes? At over 500 pounds it was exhausting just thinking about that idea. Plus, it involved moving, and moving is something I always avoided at over 500. I'd usually suggest something a little easier...“Let's go to a movie!” At the movies I can squeeze into a seat in a dark theater and stuff myself with 2000 calories worth of movie popcorn while I enjoy the show, or if the show is bad, I can stuff myself full of popcorn and take a nap while Irene nudges me awake every few minutes because I'm snoring. Today the bowling was great. When we first arrived Courtney made short work out of beating the snot out of her daddy on the air hockey table while we waited for a lane. When we were ready to bowl, the shoe ordeal wasn't a big deal anymore. It was a great game, by the way Irene won with a 96, I had a 93, and Courtney did fantastic too! The only way it could have been better is if Amber could have been there!

While I have described some Sundays as “lazy Sundays” around here, today was anything but lazy. Bowling was some decent exercise, but as soon as we got home we “suited up” for the YMCA. I discovered that 3.6 mph on one machine, doesn't always mean the same on another. After waiting for a treadmill to open up and riding a stationary bike for 15 minutes, I was ready for my walk...My power walk. I don't know if the treadmill I used was going faster than it should, or if the treadmill I normally use is slower than it registers. All I know is at 3.6 mph I was getting a very good workout almost immediately. By the time I passed the mile point I was dripping and exhausted. It normally takes at least two miles for me to feel like I've had a good workout, but not today. I knew I had one without a doubt. As soon as we got back home we had to get ready to go to Stillwater for a visit with family. It was a nice drive and visit and an unusually busy Sunday around here.

On the way home, Courtney and Irene slept while I drove. It gave me time to think about this journey. I have to say that this has been one of the easiest weekends I've had in a while. When the weekend comes I usually have to up my self-security and keep a closer watch. But this weekend I felt so good and in a very solid mindset. It's weekends like these that show me how I can go all the way. I can make these lifestyle changes permanent. Where I am right now is just the beginning of this wondrous journey. I plan on posting more pictures soon, especially a pic that Courtney took Friday night of me standing in the kitchen surrounded by food for our party. I see such a huge difference in that picture. I like it! Do you know how long it's been since I liked any picture of me? I can't remember and that's way too long. I also thought about the important role this blog is playing in my success. I invest a lot of time writing this blog. It's an every night thing and my family knows it. It's just become a vital part, a must-do part of my schedule. When I first decided to do this blog I told Irene that even if the only reader was Amber in her dorm room, that was OK by me. But it's grown so much since I started and I'm thrilled that so many make a point to read it everyday. I thank you for reading and following along on this journey from 505 pounds. If I was slowly killing myself with morbid obesity before, I'm now saving myself one day at a time. Until tomorrow evening, good night and...

Good Choices,

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 132 The Wal-Mart Social Scene and My Incredibly Shrinking Face

Day 132

The Wal-Mart Social Scene and My Incredibly Shrinking Face

I never thought that a trip to Wal-Mart would be something I actually enjoyed. At over 500 pounds, it was a chore indeed, and I only made the trip inside if I absolutely didn't have a choice. Only once when I had excruciating sciatic nerve pain did I use the motorized cart. Amber went along to help daddy out on that trip and take a few really embarrassing “way before” pictures. I'll post one below. Now, it's a completely different attitude and feeling when I go to Wal-Mart. I don't look for the closest parking, I walk strong and straight into the store. I don't waddle anymore. 100 pounds less makes a world of difference. This evening I actually enjoyed running into people I know. First was Whitney, she reads this blog everyday, but we never see each other anymore since she changed jobs. I met up with her in front of the potatoes. It was funny because we both had the same reaction to each others appearance. She was amazed at what a difference she could see in me and I was amazed at the transformation she's accomplished. Whit has lost 40 pounds, and let me tell you, on her, that's like me losing 150. It was a dramatic difference since I last saw her. She looked fabulous and she said the same about me. Her husband has also lost 40 pounds! They've really got it together! Then I ran into a former business associate of mine, she also noticed the big change in me. She congratulated me and gave me a very nice “keep up the good work.” Finally, in the frozen foods section a young woman said... “are you Sean Anderson?” “yes, yes I am”... It was Dr. Amy Cox from the Ranch Wellness Center. I've been writing and producing radio commercials for her and her husband, Dr. Jeremy Cox, for a long time. Dr. Amy is an authority on wellness in all it's forms. She does free weekly health seminars over a variety of topics, including losing weight and getting in shape. So I was excited to tell her about my success so far, and to give her the web address for this blog. She was very complimentary on some of the philosophies I shared with her and the simple “eat less-exercise more” approach I've taken. And that felt great coming from a doctor, you know what I mean? At this point I was doing more visiting than shopping, but I was enjoying myself. I went into the store with a pasta-salad-garlic bread dinner in mind, but I quickly changed the plans in the middle of the store. Although I'm prepared to count the calories in pasta and I know exactly what a portion means, I'm still a little apprehensive and suspicious of pasta. I guess it's because of the giant portions I use to eat and the extremely loaded way I'd prepare the stuff. I use to load it up with high fat ground beef, then sometimes, I'd prepare it with loads of cheese baked on top. Hey, wait a minute, that sounds like my lasagna...But really it's the portions I'd consume that were really scary. I'd load a plate with spaghetti (at least four normal portions), then I'd go back for more right after. Then I'd heat up leftovers for a late night snack. And those 150 calorie pieces of garlic toast? If I didn't have at least two of them, something was wrong. So my defenses are way up when it comes to pasta dishes. I noticed a great deal on some very lean and small center cut pork chops. And immediately the dinner plans changed. At only 130 calories per 4 ounce portion, I felt much better about the pork over the pasta. I prepared a very nice 400 calorie dinner: Baked pork chops with a light honey glaze, scalloped potatoes, corn on the cob and salad. It was a a good looking plate and a very satisfying meal. I even have enough calories left over for a nice late night snack. Oh wow, that picture below is horrible.

Courtney and I had a wonderful workout today at the YMCA. It was kind of rushed because we were short on time, but I upped my speed to 3.6 and boy, just .2 miles per hour faster and I was sweatin' and a breathin' and really working it! I may try to keep that pace for a while. I noticed a very different group of people there early afternoon on a Saturday. We normally see a lot of familiar faces when we go, but today was a completely different set of faces. Speaking of faces, I had the YMCA front desk person show me my headshot ID picture they made when we first started what a fat face! Huge difference now!

I just had a call from my father in law. He was asking me if I had some kind of a calorie book. I asked him if he's wanting to lose weight and he said yes. He needed to know the calories in things like eggs and apples. I was very surprised about this, because he's never really been concerned with counting calories or losing weight. He's driven a truck his entire life and consumed some of the biggest, greasiest, truck stop fare you can imagine. But now he realizes that something must change. He told me that his heart rate is over 100 at rest, and at 150 pounds overweight, it's hard for him to breathe laying down, even with a CPAP machine. I'm taking him a calorie count book tomorrow. I'm so proud of him for confronting this challenge too! It could add years to his life.

I have a nice evening planned with my wife. Courtney's staying at a friends and Amber's away at college, so we have the whole house with just the two of us! Take care and until next time, good night and...

Good Choices,

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Me with severe sciatica pain-September 2006 505 to 510 pounds

Day 131 The Clear Boundaries of The Zone

Day 131

The Clear Boundaries of The Zone

Today was a good day. We had Rachel and Neil and two of their kids up for the evening. The company was great, there was plenty of food, and good times. And I still stayed within my calorie limit with ease. I feel like I'm in the zone again. Well, actually I haven't been out of the zone since I started, but during the first 100 pounds there have been many times when the boundaries of the zone were a little blurred. When I'm tested and weak, it's blurred. When I guesstimate most of my calories in a single day, it's blurred. When I reach for a Snickers and then devour it alone in a parking lot like an addict getting a fix, it's really blurred. But as I said yesterday, my resolve is reinforced, I'm ready to take on the second 100 pounds with passion. I'm focusing on how good it feels to be a successful loser, and I have to say it feels so good, I can't imagine throwing it all away at this point. But as confident as these words may sound, I know myself better than anyone. I know that I must always be on guard, I must police my own actions with firm authority. I can't get soft on myself. It's time to work and move along on this journey. Like an alcoholic can't have a drink, I can't allow myself to ever resort to my old behaviors and habits, not even for a little bit. I always lived to eat. That's the one thing I looked forward to all the time. What are we eating? When are we eating? And How much can I eat? And oh boy, it taste so good. But these new habits are teaching me how to properly eat to live, instead of the other way around. I've let my addiction to food steer my entire life and career. Now, I'm back at the wheel, I'm in control now. And I have to say, I didn't realize how bad I was until I started doing good. God willing, there are some great things in my family's future. I don't know what exactly, but I'll tell you this for sure: These positive changes would have never happened had I remained at 505 pounds. I would have died a young man, probably mid to late 40's, maybe sooner. You see, this is more than about any food or exercise. This is much more than trying to look good in an outfit. This is my life. And I know there's nothing that can be done to change the past. But the future isn't written yet, and I'm the commissioned author...It can be a tragedy, or a feel good success story, it's all up to me and my choices. I prefer feel good stories.

A listener of my radio show and reader of this blog e-mailed me today. It was a very nice e-mail asking for my method of losing weight. How was I doing it? She was no stranger to losing weight, she shared that she'd lost 88 pounds before. She lost it by planning out her menus in advance with all of the numbers calculated. The fat grams, the fiber, and many more numbers. I have to say that my hat's off to her. Because that's a lot of work, and it worked for her. And that's all that mattered. My response was the same as it is every time someone ask me that question. And it sounds too simple. I just eat less, staying at 1,500 calories a day, and I exercise. I eat whatever my calorie budget can afford. I don't concern myself with any other numbers, only calories. Now like I told her, my approach might be a little different if I had a serious blood sugar problem or high cholesterol, but thank goodness I don't. I don't know how I don't, it's really a remarkable blessing. But there isn't anything that stands out as extraordinary about my method. It's eating less and moving my body. That's it. That's one of the reasons I refuse any and all weight loss products and expensive plans. I'm proving that they're just not necessary. I'm certainly not the first, thousands of people have gone along this journey before me doing exactly this, but still the diet product industry is a multi-billion dollar business. Millions of people are looking, as I once did, for that easy way out, the magic pill, something to do it for me. I didn't care what it was, if it promised effortless results I was ready to stay up all night watching the infomercial. But like the listener and reader that e-mailed me today, I finally figured out 131 days ago that it was really up to me, it's all up in my head. If a person can get his or her head on straight and really confront their own behaviors and habits head on, then losing weight and transforming into the healthiest, happiest version they can be becomes possible. I've learned there's no room for excuses or blame. It's all on me. I make the decisions for me. I make all the choices that will decide my success or failure. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 130 Reinforced Resolve and Excuses Never Had A Chance

Day 130

Reinforced Resolve and Excuses Never Had A Chance

I just know I pushed myself past the 100 pounds lost point today. I dramatically increased my water consumption, my calorie budget still has a couple hundred left, and I worked out extra hard tonight. This is the kind of effort I need to demand from within everyday. Something really kicked in today. I'm finished with beating myself up over not hitting the ten pound two week goal. It was nine, that's more than enough to be proud of. I talked to a friend today who reminded me how fortunate I am to lose so consistently. Of course I haven't hit a plateau yet. I keep hearing people say that one may come along one of these days soon, but I hope it waits a little while, because this rocks! I ran into a semi-stranger today too. A semi-stranger is someone you see quite often at your favorite store, or the bank, or anywhere out in public, but you've never actually met them. You recognize them, they recognize you, but that's as far as it goes. I don't even know his name, but he asked me if I'd been losing weight. I told him about my 99 pounds in 129 days and he practically gave me a counseling session about how this was way too fast to lose weight. “You're putting your body in shock!” What? If this is what shock feels like, turn up the juice! Really, I appreciate this gentleman's concern, I do, but let me explain something. I started at over a QUARTER TON. At 505 pounds my body had reached it's limit. I was out of breath at the slightest hint of exercise, I mean just walking down the hall to answer a phone, that was it...I could barely breathe. I have no idea how many calories I was consuming everyday at 505 pounds, but it had to be a bunch. Anyway, then I went to 1,500 calories a day and exercising, and my body reacted like I expected. I started dropping weight quickly. I remember hearing about an 800 pound man that was hospitalized in an emergency effort to save his life from the clutches of morbid obesity. On a hospital supervised plan he dropped over 80 pounds in the first month. Nobody said “hey, you're losing it too fast!” He was under twenty four hour medical supervision. It's just a fact, the more you need to lose, the faster it will come off at first. If all I needed to lose was 100 pounds, then yes, that would have been a little fast. But I still have nearly twice that amount to go. I'm sure I'll be grinding out that last 60 pounds at a much slower pace just like anyone else. But that's alright by me because that means I'll be below 300 pounds for the first time since I was sixteen. It made me feel great that he noticed.

I have to tell you, I feel so much stronger now. I'm really energized for a big push. I haven't had any weak moments today at all. I'm telling you, you could put a case of candy bars in front of me right now and I would pass it by. I haven't had to give myself a talk all day long. I'm ready for some big changes on the horizon and I'm really looking forward to how it'll make me feel. Why the sudden reinforcement of resolve? I think it really helped me to relate the Snickers story in yesterdays edition. Recounting that experience made me confront the emotions and behaviors that I allowed to put me in that situation. I use to grab candy bars and ice cream all the time, I just didn't care, but things are different now. Now I care more than ever, and my days of secretly scarfing hundreds of calories while running errands are over. There is nothing I can't eat on this very simple plan. I'll have a candy bar again someday, I'll eat fried mushrooms from the Hideaway again, I'll even enjoy a McDonald's Fillet-O-Fish at some point. I'm not deprived at all. I'm simply understanding normal portions and the importance of water and exercise. So when I have a craving for something really loaded, and I can't afford the calories that day, I just tell myself “Hey, not today, maybe soon, maybe later, but definitely someday.” And then when I do enjoy that indulgence, I'll share it with someone and we'll both enjoy a sensible portion.

This journey is often times more mental workouts than physical ones. It is a mindset, it is a decision, and the rewards are the good consequences of those decisions. I was always too busy coming up with excuses for why I couldn't do this. But you know what? Once you really decide to do it 100%, the excuses lose their power completely. If you're facing this same struggle then embrace yourself and decide to live! Because this is living my friend. I may still be slightly over 400 pounds, but I can move again! I can go to Wal-Mart and walk the entire store with a positive-effortless stride instead of a labored waddle. I can breathe again, I can hurry if I need to, I can do things that 100 pounds ago was completely unthinkable. When the results are that dramatic, it makes you want more. I have no idea what I'll feel like a hundred pounds lighter from now, but if it's as dramatic a change as the first hundred, then I can't wait! Thank you for reading this daily blog. Until tomorrow evening, good night and...

Good Choices,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 129 Weigh Day Number Eight Oh So Close

Day 129

Weigh Day Number Eight Oh So Close!

I don't know, maybe I was stressing over it a little too much. I had a goal to meet and I came up just short. I really felt like I'd done enough to hit the goal, but like I've said, I admit I haven't done everything I could have to get it done, and that makes me a little disappointed in myself. Not overly disappointed, but disappointed never the less. I weighed in at 406 today! Exactly 99 pounds down from my starting weight of 505. My two week total this time came in at 9 pounds, just a pound shy of that 10 pound goal I set two weeks ago. In my weigh day text update I put “I feel like a runner-up,” So close to the prize I was seeking, but just short. I will be happy with 9 pounds and move on. Like I said, I have no one to blame but me. This entire mission is up to me to follow through everyday, and if I don't give it my all, then I can't complain when the results aren't exactly what I wanted. I'm the captain of this flight and it all depends on me and my choices. I'm obviously making some good choices to average 4 ½ pounds a week over the last two, but could I have pushed just a tad harder and hit the 100 pound mark? I'm 100% sure of it. I'll tell ya, I wanted that scale to read 405 so bad! I stood there for a good minute waiting for it to readjust down to 405, but no matter how I stood or moved, it wasn't budging from 406. If I hadn't feared arrest, I might have started shedding clothes and I would have made it to 405 before I got in too much trouble. Several people sent me back a text that said to use the bathroom, then weigh again. But I didn't feel the need, or else I would've I promise you. And so it goes, 9 more pounds gone, and a big weigh day coming up. The next weigh day should find me well past the 100 pound mark and into the 300's!!! Now that's exciting! So I'm all good. I'm thrilled to be consistently losing the weight. I feel incredible.

Weak moments still make their way into my daily routine. I wonder if they'll ever go away. Not too long ago, in this last two week period as a matter of fact, I had one of these moments. I didn't go over my calories at all, but I really cut my dinner short that day. I didn't make it that big of a deal because it didn't break me, it just let me know that I'm not some kind of calorie counting super hero. I had to run to the dollar store to pick up a few things late in the afternoon. As I waited in line to pay I stared down the candy shelfs. There it was. My favorite, heck Americas favorite candy bar looking right back at me. I knew I had the calories for it, but still I knew that it would run me really short for dinner. I don't understand what kind of mad rebellion made me grab that Snickers Bar, but I did. When the cashier handed me the receipt, I quickly tossed it back, telling her I didn't need the evidence. I guess I was disappointed in the way I had that Snickers. If I would've simply decided to eat it, subtracted from my calorie allotment, and moved on, it would have been better than what I did. Instead, I opened it immediately when I got to my vehicle and I devoured it like it was some big secret. I knew that the calories wouldn't put me over, in fact I still had 360 calories left for dinner, but it was the way I did it that bothered me. It reminded me of the times I use to “sneak eat” on the way home from work, and then pretend like it never happened. I didn't allow it to go that far. I made myself count the calories and I suffered with a much lighter dinner later. But it served as a reminder to always be on guard. I didn't need that Snickers Bar at all, if I wanted something sweet I could've had an ice cream bar for 110 when I got home. But I made the decision and I suffered the consequences later. Really, it just boiled down to a bad calorie management decision. I've mis-managed my calories many times in the last 129 days, and had to skimp on my dinner calories as a result. But the way I went about this really bugged me. I should have blogged about that incident that night, but since I didn't go over, I couldn't call it a true meltdown. I think I just wanted to put it behind me and move on. But I realize that it's important to share these moments. Losing 99 pounds so far is tremendous, but it isn't always perfect. I understand that these moments are little test along the way. I didn't fail that test really, but I barely passed with a D.

I'm not going to make any short term goals for the next two weeks. I'm just going to do the best I can and see what the scales say in two weeks. I'm not really worried about it at all. I know that I can easily surpass the 100 pound mark, shoot, I could do that by tomorrow, I may have already! And I know that I'm in a position to cruise into the 300's. That will be so awesome! I really can't wait to say “I weigh three hundred and X pounds”...This is progress my friend, progress I can only feel good about. Thank you for reading! Until tomorrow evening, good night and...

Good Choices

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 128 Becoming The "Jared" of Blue Bunny and Re-Affirming The Mindset

Day 128

Becoming The “Jared” of Blue Bunny and Re-Affirming The Mindset

On this eve to a monumental weigh day, I did drink more water, I did keep my calories perfect, and I did get a great workout in at the Y. I'm going to try to get a workout in on my lunch hour tomorrow too. It's one last chance to boost my results on the scale come tomorrow afternoon. I'm looking forward to it, but at the same time I'm full of anxiety. But I've decided, whatever happens, whatever it says, I'll be happy and thrilled to be further along this journey and I'll dig in and keep going strong. It's all about attitude and mindset. I know this. I'm going to be fine, real fine no matter what.

Remember my day 124 blog about my unhealthy relationship with cereal and ice cream. I wrote about how I use Blue Bunny Ice Cream Star Bars and Dream Bars to satisfy that obsession, without breaking my calorie budget. Well it caught the attention of someone at the advertising agency for Blue Bunny Ice Cream. I received a message on the “global” version of this blog. The Blue Bunny advertising rep congratulated me on my weight loss so far and recommended I join the iScream Team to get valuable coupons on Blue Bunny products. I sent a reply thanking him for the comment and I reminded him that anytime Blue Bunny was ready to make me their “Jared,” just let me know! It's really not a bad angle to take with an ad campaign. So many people are convinced that in order to lose weight you have to give up the things you love the most. I'm proof positive that you can still enjoy your favorite Blue Bunny Ice Cream treats and lose weight! While our country is facing obesity issues in epidemic proportions, more people are trying to lose weight, and many are doing it without some of their favorite treats. Reminding them that Blue Bunny is something you don't have to give up is a great idea. OK, my pitch is over, hope he reads that. How's that for thinking outside the box? The idea of an ice cream company promoting ice cream products as an acceptable addition to a weight loss plan, crazy huh. Crazy enough to send Blue Bunny sales through the roof! OK, I'm really done now. Back to reality...

As I trucked along on the treadmill tonight, I looked to the mirrored wall and noticed my profile. Wow, it's not too bad, I've really come a long way baby! I usually try to block out that entire “wall of reality,” because I just naturally have avoided mirrors for so long. But I was very happy with the difference I noticed in my profile. It was just another positive confirmation of my hard work. I'm really happy with what I'm seeing and doing. And every time I easily click my seatbelt, I think of that motorcycle cop that pulled me over when it wouldn't fit (read Day 25 “Mentally Ready and The McSeatbelt”). I want to find that officer and show him, “see, it fits! I told you I was working on it!” Of course I wasn't really when that happened, but I got busy a short time later! I'm finally in the habit of clicking it every time I drive now. I can't count how many family trips we've made that started with me requesting all seatbelts be fastened when I knew I couldn't do mine. Every one was protected but me, because mine wouldn't fit. It's such a great feeling to be able to click it too!

I've talked many times on the importance of mindset. But occasionally I have to remind myself of the powerful effects of a mindset decision. As I approach some major milestones on this journey, I have my mind set to power past them. I will not stop and celebrate. I will pause for just a second and acknowledge the accomplishment, and then cruise right on to the next one. I will not use my accomplishments to justify a binge as I've done in the past. I will not go over my alloted calorie limit in the name of “I'm doing so great.” How crazy is that anyway? But it's something many people do. “When I lose X amount of weight, I'm gonna eat two fully loaded nachos, a whole order of fried mushrooms, and a gallon of ice cream.” “It'll be OK, because I'll be celebrating!” No, it's not OK! But I use to do that all the time. And it would completely derail me every time.

Wish me the best for tomorrow's weigh-in. I'll once again be sending out the mass text update shortly after the results. If you've received these before, then you're on the list, if not, and you would like to receive the update, just let me know and I'll send one your way. It's been a great day on many different levels. I feel like I might be pleasantly surprised at tomorrow's results, I certainly hope so! Until tomorrow evening, good night and...

Good Choices,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 127 A Chat About "Doing Just Enough" and "Doing Everything I Can"

Day 127

A Chat About “Doing Just Enough” and “Doing Everything I Can”

I was talking to a friend today who is also losing weight. He expressed frustration at only losing a few pounds in two weeks. He's about ten years older than me, and he's convinced it's his age that is slowing down his progress. It may be the age thing, but it also may be other factors. Like me, he admitted that his water consumption wasn't the greatest. And since water can help boost your metabolism, then that's one thing. He also suggested that he wasn't completely satisfied with his workout, and that's another. He's also learning about calories and how some things that seem harmless enough, are horrible and can wreck your calorie limit if you're not careful. Like my friend, I use to be convinced that salad dressing, since it had the word salad in it's name, couldn't be that bad. But as you probably already know, putting full blown ranch dressing on a salad can multiply the calories in your meal by numerous times. It's loaded, and so are many other salad dressings. Who knew that the harmless looking saltine cracker was full of evil calories. Just one little saltine is 12 calories, and my friend is like me, when I eat soup I like a bunch of crackers. I use to have more cracker calories in my soup than soup calories. Tonight I didn't have a single cracker in my soup, and it was still good! Staying under 1,500 calories is completely doable if you can educate yourself before you take a bite. Never assume something is completely harmless, unless it's lettuce or celery, or pickles, in that case knock yourself out. I have a very short list of things I refuse to eat: Real mayo, butter, peanut butter, ranch dressing, and any liquid other than milk that has calories. There's a little longer list of foods I rarely eat, but I think I put that on another blog already. You can find the calorie count of almost anything, just look on the label, or google it with the word calories. Any progress is good progress. Could my friend do a little more to boost his results? Sure, and so could I.

I have to admit, that even with the ten pound goal time limit less than 48 hours away, I still can't say I'm doing everything I could possibly do to get there. And that's really disappointing. My water consumption has been horrible lately, I've had a lot of times where I had to guesstimate the calories in my meal, and I'm still not where I know I could be in the exercise department. Why is this? Why is it that “Mr. Good Choices” can't seem to turn in a 100% effort in a two week period? It's the “line of least resistance” I tell ya! It's like a little devil standing at the line and saying... “come on Sean, you know you'll still lose weight over here, and it won't be so much work.” “You don't even have to drink too much water, or exercise every single day, and calories? Just guesstimate 'em, come on man...this is easy.” “Here, have some crackers in your soup.” This is what happens when I'm a little off focus. Don't get me wrong, I'm completely on the wagon, but I feel horrible because I can't honestly say I'm doing everything I know how to do to get it done. I may look into a trainer at the YMCA to develop a workout routine for me. As for the rest of my issues, I only have one person to blame and one person that can change my performance, and that's the guy in the mirror. One thing you can always count on in these writings is 100% honesty, I'll tell you when I'm screwing up, I'll straight up admit it, and I'm telling you now...If I come short of my 10 pound goal on Wednesday then I have no one to blame but me. Because I know I'm capable of more. Aren't we all? There's just a big gap between what we're comfortable with and what we're capable of doing. I know I've got to push myself to achieve greater things and that requires better discipline and harder work. Some might read this and think I'm nuts, because I've lost nearly 100 pounds so far, but those of you that follow this blog know what I'm talking about. The same principles apply to my professional life too. I know that extremely successful people have worked really hard to get where they are in life (except for Ryan Seacrest—wow, did I just write that? OK, I'm being jealous and completely wrong in writing that—You go Ryan, congrats!). Anyway, they don't just settle somewhere near the bottom. They reach for the stars, they strive for something greater than their current station, and they don't make excuses, they make plans to succeed, set goals, and they follow through on whatever it takes to reach those goals. When it comes to weight loss and fitness, I believe I have what it takes to be a phenomenal success. In my career, same thing. If I don't do everything I can to get there, then I'm settling for something less. Man, I'm firing myself up!

Our workout tonight at the YMCA was a great one. Once again I did at least two miles on the treadmill, and although I needed to do the weights, I ran out of time, we should have arrived earlier. My calories were on target today, and best of all: No guesstimates today. I even enjoyed my favorite kind of cereal for breakfast and had an ice cream bar for a treat this afternoon. I feel good about all of the big milestones a short ways up the road. It'll be so nice to break on through to the other side of this journey. By that I mean past 125 or 130 pounds lost...into the “second half” so to speak. When I get there I hope to have that personal trainer ready to give me a good half time locker room speech! Until next time, good night and...

Good Choices,

Day 126 The Importance Of Exercise and Doing What The Expert Says

Day 126

The Importance Of Exercise and Doing What The Expert Says

I gave it my best shot, I really did. But at 2.3 miles I started feeling some kind of pain in my right leg. I decided that I better call it good rather than injuring myself. I was close! I'll get it, no problem. I'm very careful with my right leg. Had it been my left leg, I would've kept on truckin', but with the history of problems with my right leg, I felt that maybe I should stop the treadmill. It was still a great workout regardless. I feel really good about it. I also feel really good about Wednesday's weigh-in. This 100 pound goal is going to feel really good to hit.

I talked to my mom earlier and she told me that she went walking for a little bit tonight. That's how to do it! Just start, just go out and start. You have to remember how slow I started. A ¼ mile was all I could take. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to up the distance. If I remember correctly, it was less than a month when I made it a full mile. So it will get easier, and that's what I've told my mom. I'm very proud of her for getting out there and doing what she did. Exercise is vital to the success of this journey. Without it, I could lose weight, but very slowly, and I wouldn't be as toned at the finish for sure. So it's vital to get a good workout of some kind everyday.

I've had a decent weekend as far as calories and exercise go, I can't complain. Some weekends are tougher than others. I remember how much I feared weekends in the beginning, because my schedule changes, and I worried about the risk of getting out of sync. I don't even know how many weekends this makes so far, but it's been a bunch, and so far I'm very happy with my performance. I still get weak occasionally. I do, I'll admit it, this isn't always as easy as I make it sound sometimes. It can get really difficult, especially when I'm in a bad mood, or make a poor decision. Just as great results can springboard me to even more great results, bad moods or poor decisions can lead to more of the same. So I have to be very careful sometimes with how I feel and what I do. I think that concentrating on making healthy decisions and creating and maintaining healthy habits is something I need to improve on. Just because I'm on the brink of my first 100 pound loss, I'm still not doing things absolutely 100% the way I should. I'm still not drinking enough water, I'm still not exercising enough every week, and some days I need to be better at managing my calories. You might think I'm being hard on myself here, but I'm not. Like I said in yesterdays edition, I've guessed way too much lately. I'm creeping out of my comfort zone of knowing exactly how many calories are in everything I consume. I can't get too far out of that zone, or I'll start making bad guesstimates. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, I need to buckle down and get back to the strict style zone I was grooving in. Am I doing bad? Not at all. I'm doing great. Could I be doing better? Of course.

I read an US Weekly article on one of the “Biggest Losers” today. She said that she's cut her workout back to two hours a day. What?!?!? I've never even worked out two hours in one day. Now she's cut back to two? Wow, that made me feel severely inadequate. They had a side article with the female trainer on that show and it was to cool to read some of her suggestions and realize that these are the same conclusions that I've drawn along the way. She talked about special events and family get-togethers, and how putting the focus on visiting and enjoying the company, instead of focusing on the food, was the way to go. I was talking about that strategy within the first month. She had other things in that article that went right along with what I've been doing, so I felt really good about that. Of course she'd probably kick my butt for not working out as hard as I should. And maybe I need that. I also was watching CNN not too long ago while on the treadmill. They had another winner from another season on the show and he had gained back a considerable amount of weight. It just goes to show you that if you go through the motions, you can lose weight for sure. But if you don't learn about yourself and how to properly handle food and exercise, then you run the risk of gaining back. They kept showing a clip of him looking absolutely incredible at his final weigh-in, I can't imagine transforming into that and still letting it all go back. Of course this is coming from someone who lost 115 in 2004 and gained it all back plus 5 pounds, so I guess I understand a little.

I do look forward to winter being over. I can't really complain about the weather when I have relatives who read this blog and they're under two feet of snow right now. I'm just looking forward to the changing seasons. I want spring to hurry up and get here. It's normal to get a boost of energy when the seasons change and the sun is warmer. I don't know why, but a doctor told me that, and I've noticed it in my actions. I started my 2004 effort on March 15th, pretty much the beginning of spring around here. And I started this time on September 15th, the beginning of fall around here. So I'm looking forward to the changing seasons once again, it can only help me!

I sincerely appreciate your support by reading my blog everyday. It has been the source of great strength and understanding for me. I'm proud of the progress so far and the written record I've kept. I'm headed to bed. Just two and a half days until weigh day! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 125 Where's The Blog? Oh, Sorry, Here It Is

Day 125

Where's The Blog? Oh, Sorry, Here It Is

Only one other time have I waited until the next day to post my blog entry. I was simply too tired last night to properly convey any sort of anything. So I cut myself some slack, just a little, and allowed myself to do it today. It feels really strange writing with the sun out. I had a decent day yesterday. The calories were in check, the workout was good, and overall it was a success.

When I picked up Courtney from her friends house this morning, one of the first questions was: “Did you write your blog last night?” I told her that I was posting it today,and her reaction was unexpected. She had a wide eyed look of concern. I guess she equates a daily blog entry to “daddy's on track,” and daddy is on track! I reassured her that everything was fine. There was no meltdown or anything like that. I just didn't manage my time well yesterday, and by the time I sat down at the computer I was in a semi-zombie state. I felt like I could write a better blog if I waited until today. It's something that has only happened one other time in the history of this blog, so don't worry about it! I do have to say, I don't like the way it made me feel this morning. I don't plan on missing another nights blog anytime soon. I hope I didn't alarm you when it wasn't there when you first checked. I apologize if it did.

I came to the realization that I need to take more pictures along the way. When I hit that first 100 pound goal I plan on an extensive photo session. While there is a big difference in my appearance, I still have a ways to go. I've recently looked at pictures of people who lost 100 pounds and they look so completely different, but for most of them, that's all they needed to lose. I'm still over 400 pounds, not for long of course, but still, I can't expect as dramatic of a change just yet. When I hit the 200 pounds lost mark, wow, now that should be an amazing change. I've noticed my wife noticing my thinner look lately, and I can tell that she likes what she sees. I don't say that in a conceited way, I'm just saying she's very happy about the changes she's noticed. It always takes a little longer to really notice when you're around someone everyday. It's much more dramatic of a difference when you haven't been around them in a while. I love to see her smile and hear her laugh. She knows that after all of these years by my side, I'm finally doing something about my biggest problem, and that makes her happy. And that makes me happy to see her happy.

I'm excited about the future and I'm diligent in defining the areas where I can improve my performance. We've talked about the exercise areas. But I could use some tweaking in the food and calories department too. Lately it seems, I've been guesstimating calories way too much. It's a gamble at times. I always make sure that I'm fair about it, and often times I'll ask Irene if she thinks it's fair. I don't like not knowing for sure what the exact count is in an item, but usually I can compare it to something similar that I know, and then make a pretty good guesstimate. We'll see what the scales say on Wednesday! I'm really pushing for a big finish during this two week weigh period. It will be too disappointing to come just short of my 10pound goal. I think I'll be fine, but I'm sprinting to Wednesday with everything I've got.

This afternoon I'll climb aboard a treadmill at the YMCA and put in 3.1 miles, a 5K! It's not going to be easy I guarantee, because two miles is a real challenge at 3.4 mph on that thing. But I can do it! I'll turn up the tunes and hit it hard! I'll let you know how that goes with tonights entry. Have a great day and until this evening....

Good Choices,

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 124 An Unhealthy Relationship With Cereal---Can I Make It Work?

Day 124

An Unhealthy Relationship With Cereal--Can I Make It Work?

I have to say that my oatmeal in the mornings is getting really old. So today I switched it up with cold cereal. Understand that cold cereal and I have had a very bad relationship. There was a time when I would eat a couple of big bowls shortly before bed. I love Cheerios, so I haven't trusted myself with cereal until this morning. I didn't buy the name brand, I kind of wish I would've, but I saved a dollar. After my cereal today I think I have to put cereal in the same category as toilet paper and cotton swabs, as in things you shouldn't skimp on. A one cup serving is only 110, plus a half a cup of 2% milk made it 170 total. Only 40 calories more than my hot instant oatmeal. The cold cereal was still good, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't Cheerios quality. I tend to over do it on the cereal, but this time I brought a measuring cup along to keep myself in check. After a busy errand-running lunch hour, I decided to have another bowl for lunch...and since that was only 340 calories total for the day, I decided on another cup of cereal and a ¼ cup of milk. By the time I got home for the day I had only consumed cereal and milk...480 calories worth. I told you I over do it on that stuff. I love it, and as long as I keep it controlled, I guess I'll be alright, besides I usually have between 500 and 700 calories by the time I pull into the garage of an afternoon. And they are my calories to consume, I guess if I wanted to eat nothing but cereal all day I could, I wouldn't of course, but I could if I wanted. This was really a bold move on my part. You see, cereal has been right up there with ice cream as far as weight loss breakers. My family would always know if I had fallen off the wagon if I was eating a big bowl of ice cream or a big bowl of cereal. So naturally I've avoided certain foods that I haven't been able to control before. I don't buy half gallons of ice cream, shoot, I don't even buy pints or quarts of ice cream anymore. Could I? Sure I could, and I could dip out a measured portion, and count the calories, but I just don't trust myself around the stuff. I don't feel as strongly about cereal, but real close. I'm mean really, three bowls today? Good thing I'm keeping it at work and not here.

One of my favorite calorie conscious alternatives to bowls of ice cream has been individual frozen treats and soft serve cones. My favorite ice cream novelty has always been Eskimo Pies. I love ice cream bars, but until recently I couldn't find any that fit my criteria. I want full taste and low calories and I don't want to spend a bundle. During the past 124 days I've settled for Dream Bars for 70 calories, and I even bought some small ice cream “bullets” that checked in at 130. But last night I discovered something that made me very happy. Blue Bunny has reduced the calories in their 'Star Bars', I think they were either 160 or 170 before, a little pricey for me, but now they come in at 110! These are full size ice cream bars, not the “bullet” size. It's a bigger bar, and still 20 calories less than the “bullet” off brand variety. Plus they come 20 in a box. I love Blue Bunny! But seriously, it's little strategies like these that keep me on track without any feeling of deprivation.

The YMCA provided a great workout tonight. They told me to only do the weight machines every other day, not every day. So I stuck with cardio in the form of two miles on the treadmill and 20 minutes in the racquetball court! It had been a while since I really pushed myself in that court, and let me tell ya, it's a workout full of big burst, followed by catching my breath, followed by big burst of energy. I wasn't as sore this morning as I thought I would be after last nights weight training. I was sore last night, but this morning, when I really expected to feel it, I didn't really. It was strange. Once again our schedule has prevented a nap in the afternoon, so I probably will go to bed early on a Friday night. I'm really whipped! Can't wait to attempt that treadmill 5K this weekend, wish me luck! Until next time, good night and...

Good Choices,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 123 Enough With The Mexican Food and Waking Up My Muscles

Day 123

Enough With The Mexican Food and Waking Up My Muscles

Maybe I eat too much Mexican food. Is that possible? Mexican food is awesome. But last night my bean tostado and taco supreme did a number on me like no other. It was obvious that it was food poisoning. It made me so sick that I wasn't able to get up and do my radio show this morning. It really has to be bad for me to miss my show. I've gone on the air before sick, no problem, but I was too much of a mess this morning to handle anything but bed rest. So my day was a little different, in that it started much later than normal. And I did go in to the studio for a special project that was scheduled today, so I didn't have the entire day off! Irene's birthday was today, so I was really careful with my calorie consumption before dinner. I knew we were planning a trip to a popular Mexican restaurant. I know, I never learn. But Irene picked the place, so what could I do? It was fine, and since I had 1,100 calories to use, I was fine. I even had a, brace yourself, a sopapia! I did! With honey too! After my two enchiladas and chips and dip, I have about 30 calories left. No problem! If I really want something later I'll have a pickle. I do think I'll intentionally avoid Mexican food for a little while. It's so dog gone tasty and fairly simple to calculate calorie wise, I'm just getting tired of it.

I'm really getting excited for the coming months of losing weight. By the time summer rolls around, I'll be in a completely new category weight wise. If I'm looking slimmer now, just wait till then, because we're talking a completely different looking person. I'm getting ready to pick up Courtney early from her tutoring class and we're headed to the YMCA for a great workout. I'll finish this after that!

We're back! I think I'm going to be sore in the morning. Those weight machines really know what they're doing. There was a guy in front of me making me feel like a weakling. Every time I would get on I would have to adjust the weights down. He was doing between 90 and 120 pounds, I was doing 30 to 50. I'll get there! It's a really great workout that you can feel immediately, afterward I really wanted to find a spot to crash, but instead I hopped on the treadmill for some first class cardio. Debbie asked if I still do the racquetball workout, and yes I still do occasionally. It's still a great workout, but lately I've been getting everything I can out of the treadmill.

A few big milestones are coming up. The 100 pounds lost mark, the “into the 300's” mark, and the 115 lost mark. These are big time boosters for me. And all of the other little surprises along the way are awesome too. Those new Levis I bought a while back...even with a belt I'm continuously pulling them up, without a belt, forget it! I'm really proud of this accomplishment. And this is only the beginning my friend.

I've finally been doing this long enough to recognize some vital changes in my natural reaction to stressful situations. I use to eat when I dealt with stress. Stressful triggers would stop me cold every time. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to do this, because there's always going to be some kind of stress, right? But I've noticed lately that when stressful situations pop up, I'm not driven to food. I'm not really driven to anything, OK, maybe cigarettes. But before I embarked on this journey, stress would have me doing a two handed workout. One hand with a cigarette and the other with a large pizza. I remember Whit commenting early that if I could just go 21 days straight, I could break these old habits for good. It may have taken me a little more than 21 days to completely stop the automatic response to stress, but I can honestly say I haven't had a problem controlling it lately, not one bit.

Another weekend is upon us and with it comes a little warmer weather I hope! Geez it's been cold. Not cold compared to what Dixie Chic Dana, Steve, and Sashia are dealing with, but still cold! I can't wait for warmer weather. Before the weekend is over I want to accomplish a treadmill 5K. The constant speed of the treadmill is what makes it harder than a normal walk in the park. I know I can do it! And I will! Why the sudden increase in my workouts? 10 pounds in two weeks. I've got to hit it, and I'm not giving up one calorie of my 1,500 a day, so I've got to get it done with good old fashioned sweatin'. Then once I do it, I need to maintain that level of workout commitment. Because this isn't “Sean's leisurely stroll” weight loss plan, this is the “Get in there and get it done-no excuses” plan.

Thanks for reading my daily thoughts and experiences along this transforming journey. I really appreciate your support. I'm gonna go help a kid with homework, then drop in bed! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Day 122 High Reps and Low Weight Equals A Fat Burning Machine

Day 122

High Reps and Low Weight Equals A Fat Burning Machine

My appointment for the weight machine orientation was awesome. Those machines are not near as complicated as they look. Had I looked a little closer I would have noticed the instructions on each machine. They even tell you what muscles will benefit. I've decided to focus for now on upper body strength. I'll tell you why. My lower body is already well developed I'm pretty sure. It's carried around over 500 pounds for years. My upper body, well, it's kind of embarrassing how weak I am. You wouldn't believe it. My upper body needs some serious work on the weights. I have to admit, some of the lower body machines didn't look like I could fit anyway. The high reps and low weight is a combination recommended for burning fat and toning, and I need that for my upper body. As for the lower body machines, I'll get to that point, but right now, it's cardio and upper body weight training. After the orientation I climbed on board the treadmill, turned on my music, and cut loose for two miles. I was really feeling the workout, and that's a good thing.

I have discovered one thing today. I like my slimmer look as long as I'm standing up. If I'm sitting down, I still don't like what I see. All of the upper body machines face a mirrored wall at the YMCA, so as I'm working out I can see what I really don't want to see. I asked them if it was necessary to keep the mirrored wall and they just laughed. They said you need to be able to tell if you're using the proper form. Whatever! Standing up, just great....Sitting down, not so much. I guess I had no idea how big I looked at 505. We've discussed this before, we never look like what we think we look like, it's the law of self perception.

Tomorrow is Irene's birthday and I plan to either fix a really nice dinner or take her out somewhere nice. I haven't decided yet. I'm also getting her some kind of cake for desert. I'm sure I'll have plenty to blog about that tomorrow night.

I'm still stuck on yesterdays blog. It was really deep there for a while. A lot of truth and heart in those words. Tonight I'm in a bit of a hurry to get to bed, so I'm going to cut todays edition a little short. Oh, I can't forget to mention I had a Whopper for lunch. Not the Jr. kind...a big Whopper from Burger King. But of course I ordered it special. No mayo or ketchup. Mustard instead. I was convinced this would run 410, and since I only finished half my oatmeal this morning, I figured I had the calories coming. But I was wrong on the Whopper calories! I had it confused with a Quarter Pounder without cheese, that's 410. A mustard Whopper still weighs in at just over 500 calories. I did take off the ketchup, so I could safely call it 490, but still that was a little more than I bargained for. So I took off the top bun and subtracted 100 calories. For 390 I enjoyed my Whopper Roll Up! It was very good!

I love counting calories, can you tell? I'll write more in tomorrow's edition. Until then, thank you for reading! Good night and...

Good Luck,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 121 I'm Not Trapped Anymore

Day 121

I'm Not Trapped Anymore

I examined myself in the mirror today for a little longer than normal. I know that I'm feeling lighter and looking much better, but I don't make a habit of really looking. After all, I've avoided my reflection in anything and everything that reflects my image for years and years. So making myself look for an extended period was different. I like what I'm seeing. The weight is coming off nicely. I do wish we had complete control over where it comes off first. I noticed my face, neck, and shoulders are much thinner than they were at 505, I'm gonna have to add some muscle to my shoulders and neck! I'm pleased with the visual progress over the rest of this abused body too. I felt really good after posing, I mean, uh, looking at myself in the mirror. It gave me an extra boost of confidence I occasionally need.

We traveled to Stillwater this evening to celebrate Irene's birthday a couple of days early with the family. I think this may have been the first birthday get together without a cake. I do plan on getting a cake of some kind for Irene on Thursday, but she's not real big on cake, so she didn't seem to mind the absence of cake tonight. We dined at Charlie's Chicken. They have what's called chicken chunks. These whole breast chunks are lightly breaded and fried to a golden brown. I had three chunks, a portion of mashed potatoes with a just a little gravy, and green beans. I didn't eat the roll. I had to draw on my experience with counting fried chicken calories to determine the calories. Each of my chunks were different in size. I had a big one, a medium one, and a small one. I safely determined the big chunk of breast meat was 100, the middle-80, and the small chunk-60. For a total of 240 in breast meat. The mashed potatoes were comparable to other restaurant portions that have calorie counts, and since these tasted slightly better, I added 30 calories to the normal 120 you get down the street, making the potatoes 150, and the green beans were 60. Normally a portion of green beans wouldn't be that high, but these were flavored with bacon and onions, and oh boy they tasted good. For the record I didn't find any bacon pieces in them. I had water to drink and a complete meal calorie count of 450. I enjoyed the dinner, the family, and I was very satisfied. It's funny because eating out always gets blamed for weight gain. “Well, we just eat out too much.” I use to say that all the time, but I've learned, it's not the restaurant or the food, it's the choices we make. You can make any visit to any restaurant a good visit if you make the right choices. I feel like I could call this journey “The Amazing Eating Out Diet” sometimes, because we have had more than our share of restaurant meals in the last 121 days.

The one thing I don't feel anymore is trapped. I often times have felt trapped by my weight. Powerless to the addiction and hopeless for a solution. This is a really bad place to be. If you've ever shed tears over your weight while eating a pint of ice cream or whatever your favorite food may be, then you know what I'm talking about. I know what that feels like. I've had suspicious chest pains right before tearing up a buffet. The pains were probably gas, but I didn't know that for sure, and still I ate it all. It's a horrible feeling to be so addicted and out of control. I don't feel that way now. I feel free from that self-imposed prison sentence. So how did I escape? I decided that I had to do it or die young. But even after that realization, I still wasn't ready. Like Patrice O'Neal says “death isn't enough motivation.” That isn't necessarily true. It is enough motivation, but if you can't figure out where to start, or how to start, then all the motivation in the world isn't going to do it for you. I had to get a plan together. I knew the basic principle of eating less and exercising would work, so I started there. I set a 1,500 calorie per day limit and made myself walk as much as I could. I knew that this would require strict policing of my hand to mouth motions. If you go back and read some of the early entries, like the first two weeks, then you will see that the calorie limit is a constant, the exercise keeps evolving as it gets easier. It's hard to believe that 121 days ago I could barely make it through a quarter mile of walking really slow. I'm finally loving myself enough to do it. I'm worth it and if you're struggling then you need to realize that you're worth it too. Love yourself enough to live. I really want to live, ya know? I want to see what my life could be like as a slim and fit person. I think it could be whatever I want it to be. And I know the only way for me to get there is to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm learning about portions, I'm discovering how exercise makes me feel, I'm changing habits I've had my entire life, and I'm doing it by keeping it very simple. As I approach the first 100 pound goal, I realize that I've got a ways to go. But I'm truly excited about what lies ahead. It's a whole new world of freedom that not long ago seemed so far away.

Saying “you have to love yourself enough to live” is something different for everyone. I'm not a psychiatrist, and I probably don't even know what it is or was deep in my brain that made me so abusive to my body for so long. But I'll tell you something I decided. I decided to focus on the future and how I want it to be. I decided to embrace myself and love me enough to change for the better. This whole “loving yourself” thing is very real. And when that's in place and the changes are beginning to take shape, then everything and everyone around you benefits. How much? I don't know yet, I'm not done. And maybe someday I will lay on a couch and spill everything out and get to the bottom of my past self-destructive nature, but until then I have a strangle hold on anything that attempts to break my stride. And I'm not letting go, it's just too important.

We received a very nice gift this evening from Rachel and Neil. They stopped by the party and dropped off the Richard Simmons “Sweatin' To The Oldies” 20th Anniversary DVD. That was my workout tonight. I can see where this is going to be a real nice thing to have when our schedule prevents a YMCA trip and it's brutally cold outside. After getting past my own macho “I feel goofy” attitude, it really started to make me sweat. I was sweatin' to the oldies by golly! It was a little hard to keep up, because I wasn't familiar with it, but I was moving, and that's what it's all about. We're going to use that DVD often, I gaurantee.

Speaking of exercise, I have an appointment at the YMCA tomorrow at 4:30 for a complete tutorial of the weight training machines. I will not allow anything to crash my schedule this time. I will be there with bells on. Because I have to burn fat and tone! Thank you for reading along this daily journey. Your support is invaluable to me. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 120 Being That "Fat Guy" For A Limited Time Only

Day 120

Being That “Fat Guy” For A Limited Time Only

Well, well, well...So this is how the “towel users” feel after a workout. Now don't get me wrong, I sweat during my workouts, but I never look completely “wring out the shirt” drenched. And I still didn't today, but I did use a towel because I was workin' it! I still didn't have my private lesson with the trainer over the machines, but that will work out later this week. What I did do is something I've stayed away from in an effort to avoid embarrassment. As a lifetime “fat guy”, I've understood the role I sometimes unknowingly play in certain situations. I'm the fat guy trying to tie my shoes, or the fat guy trying to squeeze through the turnstile, or hey look! I'm the fat guy stuffed into that little car at the light, or the fat guy trying desperately to fit on an amusement park ride so I can experience it with my kids. “The fat guy” provides some humor to strangers around him in these situations, and although most make sure the “fat guy” doesn't know they're getting a kick out of watching him try to pick up the change he just dropped, the “fat guy” knows he's providing entertainment on some low level. Some “fat guys” really don't care what anyone thinks, the evidence: they like to wear clothes four sizes too small. Me? I've always been aware. Until recently, not enough to do anything about it, but aware nonetheless. I've spent my entire “fat guy” career trying to avoid situations where I'm the spontaneous circus side show. So when I decided to get on that exercise bike at the YMCA, I was really out of my comfort zone. A “fat guy” on a bike is unscripted comedy waiting to happen. I stopped riding bikes of any kind somewhere around 14 years old and 275 pounds. But I decided there wasn't a person in that place that wouldn't applaud my effort. Everyone there is doing the same thing, trying to get a good workout, and I felt like the bike could kick it up a notch for me and I was right. Oh boy was I right. After a hard two miles on the treadmill I jumped on the bike, ok, maybe “jumped” isn't the right word. I slowly adjusted the seat and scanned the room to make sure everybody was in their own little world, then I put one foot in the stirrup and mounted up. After struggling for a few seconds with the other foot I was ready to ride. I really don't think the seat was designed with me in mind, but it wasn't too bad, although I'm pretty sure I can't have anymore children...I'm OK with that. Within five minutes of pedaling I was feeling the burn in my legs. I couldn't quit though, I was in a rhythm. The Chili Peppers were blasting through my earphones and I my legs felt like they just chewed a mouth full of jalapeƱos. But I kept going, right through the burn. I envisioned fat being melted away from that burn, magically dissolving ounce by ounce. After what felt like forever, I slowly got off the bike and realized it was OK. There wasn't a crowd gathered around laughing, parents weren't hushing hurtful comments from their children, no, everyone was still going about their workout the same as before I started cycling. Then I realized something. I'm not saying that people don't get a laugh at a struggling fat guy every now and then, but maybe, just maybe I have always magnified it in my own mind, making it feel ten times worse than it ever was. I guess what we perceive to be the most embarrassing circumstances, often times are blown way out of proportion after they're filtered through our insecurities. I hope I'm making some sense here.

I made the most wonderful “on the run” lunch today. I fixed myself two turkey and cheese roll ups. It was real simple: some wafer thin turkey and a half a slice of American on a tortilla, rolled up and microwaved for about 20 seconds. Not enough to bubble the cheese, just enough to be smooth and slightly warm. I could've been really gourmet and added veggies, but I was in a hurry! Each roll up checked in at 160 calories, and 320 for lunch isn't bad at all. I was very satisfied indeed. I have to try some different things because I tend to get into a habit of the same old tried and true stuff. I can't tell you how many value menu orders of Wendy's Chili I've consumed in the last 120 days for lunch. It's good chili, and only 190 calories, but I'm getting really bored with it. I bet I've had 25 or 30 of those things since I started. I can't make chili for three at home for three bucks and some change, so it's definitely a good value price wise and calorie wise.

I feel great about today. I really got in there and worked it out. Oh, I've been in there many times in the last 120 days, but today was even better because it seems I've been really lazy lately. I'm not doing just enough to get by, I want to do what I know I can do. It's real easy to do just what's needed for so-so results, but I have a 10 pound goal to meet in 9 short days, and by golly I'm going to do it! Maybe that's a facet of this journey I need to re-examine. The benefits of setting two week goals. You know I have a 100 pound goal, and a 115 pound goal, then 200, then 250, and on and on...But maybe I need to break those down. You know what I mean? I tell you one thing I will not be doing when I hit the first 100 pound goal. I'm not celebrating with a gorge fest like I did in 2004. You might remember reading about this early on in this blog series. After I hit the 100 pound mark in 2004, we celebrated Courtney's birthday and my 100 pound goal at the Hideaway. I had all kinds of pizza and fried mushrooms and didn't count a single calorie. I was celebrating! But there are better ways to celebrate, especially when the journey isn't finished! Maybe I'll celebrate with another 5K! That's the spirit!

Thank you for taking the time to read and follow my daily journey toward no longer being the “fat guy.” I'm getting there one day at a time. Your support is greatly appreciated! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 119 Smaller Man Breast and Other Positive Results

Day 119

Smaller Man Breast and Other Positive Results

Today was completely different than yesterday. I slept through breakfast time, and went straight for lunch when I woke up. Courtney was staying at a friends house, so I fixed Irene and me lunch in bed. I found only one chicken breast in the freezer. I put that on the Foreman Grill while I chopped some onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. The dish? Soft chicken tacos for two! I grabbed some small soft flour tortillas and spread a thin layer of sour cream on four of them. I sprinkled the veggies and some finely shredded cheddar on them and waited for the chicken to finish cooking. It normally doesn't take so long, but this one was frozen to start. After I was convinced it was completely cooked, I sliced it into small strips and divided the chicken among four soft tacos. I brought the salsa bottle to the bedside and we were set! The highest calorie ingredient was the tortillas at 85 each, and each taco had a total count of 180. So 360 calories for lunch isn't bad at all, and the calories I skipped for breakfast opened up a little more snack calories for later. Counting calories doesn't have to be boring or depriving at all. This lunch was delicious and filling, anything but boring and depriving.

It was a lazy Sunday around here for sure. As I watched TV this afternoon I noticed something cool. I can sit on the couch with my legs up and one leg bent and tucked in. I could kind of do it before, but nothing like today. It was easy, not quite like crossing my legs, but really close. It was a big difference indeed. Then as I was laying in bed trying to gently wake Irene, I gave myself an examination. My man boobs are smaller! I kid you not!! They have shrunk considerably. This made me feel really good. I can almost sit like a slim person and my chest fat is slowly shrinking away. It's easy to just go about my daily routine and not notice these things specifically. But when I do take the time to notice, it reinforces my dedication to the mission. So many times in the past I've started on this journey, but didn't make it to the results portion of the show. Results are progress points that do wonders for the forward momentum of our journey. Feeling and seeing the fruits of our labor is a big part of success. I've referred to it in these writings as the “success snowball effect, or positive results snowball effect.” Positive results are addictive, and make me want more, and getting more means continuing to do the things that have led to this success. Instead of watching TV this afternoon I should have been at the YMCA working out...I'm gonna need another paragraph for this.

Even with the pressure of a solid 10 pound goal for next weigh day, I still didn't drag my lazy butt off the couch and get into the Y today. Do I walk in the cold again tonight? Or do I try some inside exercises like I've done before? I'll go for the indoor exercises tonight. The problem with those is, it's really hard to duplicate the intensity of a workout at the fitness center. Rachel is giving us a “Sweatin' To The Oldies” DVD on Tuesday, and I plan on using it on a regular basis! My biggest challenge by far is getting enough exercise time. There's no good excuse for not. So when I ask myself the question: Am I doing everything I can do to make me lose the most weight possible? The answer is no. I've got to change that very quickly. As I approach the 100 pound lost mark, I realize that the next 100 pounds may be a little more challenging. This is no time to take a relaxed approach to exercise. This is the time to kick myself into high gear and get it done. Instead of waiting until 8pm, Courtney and I will go to the YMCA at 4pm tomorrow. Perhaps I can finally get that tutorial on the weight machines that I've been talking about getting since the Monday after Thanksgiving. Geez, I mean, the results are great so far, but is it what I'm capable of? No, not at all. I've got the calorie thing down 100%, the self analysis and psychological understanding is great, but the exercise thing needs work. I'm going to need a towel at the Y tomorrow I guarantee.

By the way, I enjoyed a molten chocolate cake today! It was one of those Warm Delights Mini bowls. It's only 150 calories and a taste of chocolate indulgence for sure! They're so easy to make and we're definitely making them a part of our grocery budget from here on out!

Irene has a birthday coming up on Thursday. She's turning 29 again. I have no idea how she's turned back the hands of time, but she has! She still gets asked for her ID everywhere. She has always looked young and sometimes is mistaken for Amber and Courtney's sister! That's cool. So I'm not going to say how old she'll really be, because like they say...You're only as old as you feel! That number has nothing to do with it! I better hit the floor, I feel some mean jumping jacks coming on. Thank goodness we don't live above anyone! And we have a concrete slab foundation. 'Cause I'm about to bring it! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 118 Big Breakfast and The Shadow Boxing Defense

Day 118

Big Breakfast and The Shadow Boxing Defense

Today I started the day by eating more breakfast calories than I have in the last 118 days. Irene and I had a breakfast date. Sometimes our schedules are so opposite each other that we have to get creative to spend time together. I had a whopping 750 calories for breakfast. Half my calories consumed before 8am, oh boy, what was my plan for this? I knew I was intentionally skipping lunch, so I just combined the calories for breakfast. I still was second guessing the decision, thinking of ways I could have done better. I did send the butter drenched toast back. I forgot to order them dry. Good thing I sent them back, because I bet there was 200 calories worth of real butter on those things. I avoid real butter because it's just so loaded, besides I like to use the toast on the eggs, or uh, the eggs on the toast. I have to admit I took a sip of Irene's coffee. I haven't had a taste of coffee in a long time, but it looked so good! It wasn't really, and you know how I am about using calories for drinks. That's why I gave up coffee. It wasn't the caffeine I was concerned about, it was the calories in the creamer. Those calories are not that bad in a cup, but I use to drink several cups a day sometimes, and that starts to add up fast. It was a very nice breakfast with my wife and well worth the calories!

I walked two miles tonight in the cold, by myself, in the dark. Irene's at work and Courtney is staying at a friends house tonight. I didn't like it at all. Part of the trail is really dark, and I may be a big grown man, but I'll admit, I get a little freaked out in the darkest parts of that trail. It's funny, when I see someone out there that looks a little scary, I just add shadow boxing to my walk. I try to look as tough as I can. Surely this “crazy” isn't going to mess with a 6'3 415 pound man shadow boxing...then I realize they're not crazy, just exercising like me. I was probably scaring them by punching into the air. Sorry mysterious looking older man at the trail! I'm a little weirdo sometimes for sure! Oh, and did I mention I forgot my iPod? I would've made the trip back for it, but I was already out of the car. I missed it a bunch.

I'm really thrilled about hitting the 100 pound mark by the 21st. I know I can do it. I also know I really need to do a little more than I've been doing in the exercise department. I find it very difficult to break out of the same old routine. I'm so use to walking now, that unless I do a 5K, I don't feel like I've done enough, ya know? Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. But that's just it...I'm not being hard enough! A more intense workout is something I've been talking about for how long? At least a month and a half, that's the answer. And I have walked several 5K's since, but I'm talking about at the Y. I want to need a towel when I'm done. They have towels, I see people using them, but me? No, I just get in my workout and then wipe off the machine with paper towels and disinfectant spray like everyone else, except the towel users. Towel users are the ones really working hard. So hard in fact, they need a towel for all the perspiration. When I start needing a towel, then I'll be satisfied with my workout level.

I'm really tired tonight. I'm heading to bed early for a Saturday night. I hope you and yours are doing great. Thanks for reading! Good night and...

Good Choices,

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