Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 259 Someday I Will Be That Confident and No More "Pass The Zantac"

Day 259

Someday I Will Be That Confident and No More “Pass The Zantac”

You get what you give. When it comes to workouts, this couldn't be more true. I remember early on saying that I couldn't match the intensity of my Y workouts with Sweatin' To The Oldies, well you get what you give. When I do the Sweatin' workout now and I get into it heavy...Yes, it kicks my rear! You get what you give. We swam twice this weekend, both times in a lake. I prefer pool swimming, much cleaner, but it was still an amazing workout. We've added swimming to the regular schedule of our workouts.

I'm still very self-conscious, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to overcome that. Probably so, but not until after I reach my ultimate goal, get really far along in weight training, and have had a surgery to remove stubborn excess skin. I always knew that I couldn't abuse my body to over 500 pounds without causing some pretty good damage to my skin. I hate that. So if you see me swimming and I'm completely covered, you'll know why. Someday I'll be ready to “expose” a bathing suit body, but for now I'm still dealing with a lifetime of self-image discomfort. The mind can be a very stubborn thing. I guess it's just like getting my mind ready for this journey. I finally did that, thank God. But I'm just not able to go out there and take my shirt off yet. I wish I didn't care. I want to not care, after all, I've made some amazing strides, I've changed my appearance dramatically. Why should I care what others think of how I look? I know of people larger than me who couldn't care less and I see them and I think I wish I could be that confident. All in time, all in time.

I'm so proud of the girls for getting in there and watching those calorie budgets and exercising so hard. These girls want it so bad. And I want it for them. Courtney has slimmed from a size 20 to size 14, and today she made it into some size 13's for the first time in a really long time! The look on her face, the sheer joy she's experiencing, it's all so wonderful. Amber has really opened up to me and shown that she too is committed and focused on this critical mission. It was so hard when she was away at college. It's such a wonderful thing to have her home for the summer. The next 10 weeks is going to be a wonderful experience for all of us. We're making everyday count.

My beautiful wife is also getting smaller and smaller. She also fit into the size 13's today. She's gone from size 26 to 13/14! Isn't that amazing? I'm so very lucky to have her by my side, giving me support every step of the way. The wonderful benefits of our family slim-down are so numerous and new benefits make themselves known all the time. It just keeps getting better and better.

The amazing differences in our family dinner table are quite a contrast. We buy less, we prepare much less food, we set the table with just enough for everyone to have a serving, and guess what? Everybody is satisfied! Nobody gets stuffed, none of us gorge on anything, there isn't enough food set on the table for seconds, it works really nice. After we all prepare our plates, we go through the calorie counts of each one. It's hard to imagine eating like we did before. I can remember preparing enough pasta to feed eight hungry people, and the four of us would eat until we needed medication. At our dinner tables of past, you could just as easily hear “Pass The Zantac” as “Pass the potatoes.” No joke. After a giant meal it was a normal thing to pass around the Zantac bottle. Isn't that horrible? I can remember preparing two trays of enchiladas for the four of us. Twenty enchiladas for four people! We usually had left overs, but still, those would be gone within twenty-four hours easy. We make really good enchiladas! It's really wonderful to be over that way of eating. We're finished stuffing and gorging. We're finished being completely out of control. We're all learning how wonderful eating responsible normal portions can be. It's really a refreshing change that we've needed for a very long time. And I honestly can't remember the last time we all sat around after a giant meal, hurting from the gorge, and passing around the Zantac. That just doesn't happen anymore.

It's really been a fabulous weekend. I didn't get the lawn mowed like I planned, but I'm ready to do that tomorrow evening. I haven't gone out and mowed since I weighed over 500. I remember how hard it was then. I doubt it will be that much of a challenge now. We're getting ready for a movie tonight, so I'll wrap up tonight's blog. Thank you so much for your continued support. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Day 258 French Fries For Breakfast and They're Not All Bad

Day 258

French Fries For Breakfast and They're Not All Bad

I awoke to an empty house at 9:30am. The girls were out searching for garage sale bargains. The evidence of their early Saturday breakfast was still on the dining room table. I decided to have a cup of coffee and fix a solo breakfast. I felt like some potatoes, so I baked a serving, I mean a serving of crinkle cut french fries and a two egg and cheese omelet. I prepared the omelet with a non-stick surface without any added fat. I can't remember the last time I used butter to cook eggs. I always used real butter to cook eggs, because it worked so well. But I don't want the extra calories! Two large eggs, according to the carton, is 140, plus a slice of American cheese for 60 and there you have it! A 200 calorie cheese omelet! How's that for a hearty breakfast, cheese omelet and french fries! By the way, the fries were 120 calories for 15 two inch fries. I had about 12 and not all of them were two inches, but I still counted it as 120. 320 calories for breakfast isn't bad at all. It was real good! Some people might be completely shocked at some of the things I've had over the course of the last 258 days. Having french fries for breakfast is a first, but I've certainly had fries many, many times. It sounds crazy, like a fantastic title for one of my future books, “The Amazing French Fries For Breakfast Diet.” Subtitled “How one man lost nearly 300 pounds eating pizza, burgers, fries, ice cream, fried mushrooms, cake, and more!” Anything is acceptable in normal portions, and it goes right along with my philosophy: If you make anything permissible, watching your portions of course, then it's really impossible to feel deprived. And the feeling of deprivation is a leading factor in many a failed attempts at weight loss. Eliminate that factor and you gain a serious advantage in the attempt. All of a sudden an attempt turns into an accomplishment.

The title of last nights blog indicated that I felt anything that makes money in the weight loss field is a waste. And I wanted to say, that isn't completely correct. I plan on making a living someday speaking and inspiring large groups of people about weight loss and writing books, and I guarantee they'll be worth every penny. There are many companies and products that are wonderful assets to the weight loss industry. Richard Simmons has made a fortune in the weight loss field and I highly recommend anything he puts out. His “Deal A Meal” and “Food Mover” products are simply more structured versions of what I do already. His “Sweatin'” DVD's and Videos are first class fitness tools. But the best part about Simmons, he's completely sincere. You would have a hard time finding someone more compassionate and devoted to showing obese people the way out of the prison. He's certainly apart of the 33 billion dollar a year industry and his stuff isn't a waste of money. Weight Watchers is a wonderful program. Again, very similar to what I'm doing, just more structured. But for every good product or program, there are 500 others that are completely worthless. I'm not going to mention any by name, but you know what I'm talking about. The ones that infuriate me the most are often advertised as some kind of weight loss miracle. I get so upset when I catch one of these infomercials that prey on desperately obese people that are willing to pay whatever price they're charging if it works. I'd like to buy an infomercial that airs right after those that says... “You know that infomercial you just watched? You don't need 'em at all. Here's what can be done without sending them your $99.95 a month for the next six months!” I might have to hire body guards to protect me from the weight loss mafia thugs if I did that. Here's something to think about: Have you ever watched a “get rich quick” infomercial? Have you ever wondered who's working for them? You know, the people that answer phones and pack orders. Why don't those people use the program for instant wealth? Kind of off topic, but I always wondered about that.

We worked out at the YMCA today. I spent the entire time inside the racquetball court fine tuning my skills. I use to just play against the wall, now I'm practicing serving and return shots that are almost impossible to hit before the second bounce. I'm looking forward to more racquetball competition soon. There may even be a video of one of these matches coming soon, we're working on that! I had a tremendous workout in the court.

For dinner I grilled some lemon pepper marinated chicken breast, baked some potatoes, and warmed up some green beans. It was good and very calorie friendly. After dinner we sat at the table and discussed our workout plans for the evening. Irene had to go to work, so she'll get a workout all night long, she's constantly on her feet with her job. The rest of us decided we would either do a 5K at the trail or we would go swimming somewhere. We don't have a pool, but we have friends who do. One of those friends will have their pool ready next week, the other was out of town. The out of town friend has told me that I was welcomed to use his pool anytime, but I wouldn't just go over there without his prior knowledge. We wouldn't want the neighbors to call the police on us! So we decided to go swimming at the lake. A friend of mine has a private dock at the lake and he was happy to allow us to swim there tonight. It was deep water! I jumped in, went way, way down, didn't touch bottom, and it felt like it took forever to surface. Probably 20 feet or deeper we're thinking. Just treading water is incredible exercise, but all out swimming is the most amazing exercise. It's exercise that creeps up on you. It's so easy to do while you're doing it, but shortly after you get out of the water you feel incredibly tired. I knew I had a great water workout in that lake tonight because I felt completely drained afterwards.

Today was filled with great food and wonderful workouts. Another successful day along this journey. I'm going to grab a 70 calorie Dream Bar and head for bed. Thank you for reading and I sincerely appreciate your comments. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 257 Dizzy Spells Worth Celebrating and Wasting 33 Billion Dollars

Day 257

Dizzy Spells Worth Celebrating and Wasting 33 Billion Dollars

For the past few days I've had occasional dizzy spells. I haven't made a big deal out of them, but today I had a couple of really good ones. I really thought I was going to pass out completely, and that would be a first. After sharing this information with the family, they insisted I go to the doctor this evening. So I did. After a bunch of questions and checking my blood pressure in a variety of positions, it was concluded that 112/75 was too low for my size. Imagine that, me, the guy who at 505 lbs had scary, deadly high blood pressure just last year, is now experiencing blood pressure that's not high enough to sufficiently supply my 335 pound body. They told me that 112/75 was great, but maybe too low for me right now. The nurse, who probably weighed 125, said that was about what her blood pressure registered. The doctor concluded that my blood pressure prescription needed to be cut in half. So it was a good kind of dizzy! I should be celebrating the dizzy spells! Within the next 60 to 100 pounds they'll probably have to take me off the blood pressure pill completely! I'm thrilled at this development. The nurse asked me when I had my surgery. Was she talking about the tonsillectomy I had at 10? That's the only surgery I've ever had. She meant weight loss surgery. I realized what she meant and quickly replied, “Oh no, I haven't had surgery.” And she asked, “How have you lost 170 pounds?” At this point I had a decision to make. Do I give her the long answer or the short answer. Just saying “Oh, I eat less and exercise,” doesn't really fully explain the mental and physical depths of this journey. I was pretty sure that she didn't have a half an hour for me to describe and explain everything, so I opted for the short answer. “I eat 1,500 calories a day and I exercise.” Of course you and I know that's only about 20% of the formula that has transformed my mind and body. The mental changes have been a way bigger part than the food and exercise, but when I don't have time to fully explain, I just go with the short answer, “I eat less and exercise.”

One of the things I've learned about losing weight is, sometimes what you perceive to be correct isn't. Some people think that in order to lose weight you have to starve yourself. It's very difficult to convince them that eating more will actually help them lose more weight. I use to think that whatever “works” was good. It depends on your definition of “works.” Most everything works. If you follow any of the “system” plans, you'll lose weight. Even fad diets work, if losing weight is the only goal, sure they can work. But until you wipe the slate clean, until you throw away all of your pre-conceived notions about losing weight and break it down, opening your mind while getting really honest and simple , until then, every weight loss success is temporary. There isn't a need for any special plans or pills. Losing weight doesn't have to cost a penny, in fact you can actually save money on the grocery bill. But this way of thinking goes completely against what many of us have been conditioned to believe our entire lives, that's why the weight loss industry is a 33 billion dollar a year business, because if it doesn't have a price tag then it mustn't work. This perception regulates that the higher the cost, the better the plan or pill. That's why some people will pay upwards of five thousand dollars to lose 30 pounds. Try telling someone that just wrote a five thousand dollar check for the “Zone” plan that they could have saved every penny of that money and lost the weight forever, instead of temporarily. Because when the pre-packaged meals stop coming everyday, then what? Have we learned anything about handling food responsibly in everyday life situations? Have we dug deep and honest enough to really address our bad behaviors with food? Or have we just followed the directions and opened packages to another attempt yielding temporary results? There's a reason why so many people have lost and gained over and over in pure yo-yo fashion. They were only focused on changing the scale and not their mind.

You might think, huh, pretty bold words for someone that hasn't even reached his ultimate goal. If you feel that way, then go back and read this daily blog from the beginning, every single post in the archives, then come back here and see what you think. When I say “another 6 pounds gone forever,” I mean forever! It doesn't hurt my feelings to have doubters, I realize that some people might secretly believe that I'll eventually trip into a giant vat of ice cream and it will all be over. The saddest thing isn't that some people are just naturally cynical, no, the saddest thing is that sometimes the most cynical are the ones you hope will understand this simple and honest approach the best.

Thank you for reading and giving me your support along this wonderful journey. I sincerely appreciate you cheering me on to victory! It is sweet. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 256 A Good Early Start, Dead In His Dream, and A Wonderful Question

Day 256

A Good Early Start, Dead In His Dream, and A Wonderful Question

This morning was a little more routine. I woke up at 4:45 and felt the base of my sternum. I love feeling that. I never knew it existed before I lost the first 100 pounds! I mean I knew it was down there somewhere, but to see it stick out of my chest and feel the bump, that's really cool. It's amazing how many wonderful things like this I'm experiencing. When I look down I can actually see my feet! It's the most wonderful thing! After a few minutes marveling at my smaller body, I jumped up to greet the day. I know I only did it once, yesterday, but I kind of missed not walking this morning. I may try to do that at least a couple of times a week. I think I'll skip the iPod too for these early pre-dawn walks. I'll just soak up the sounds of the early morning scene. It'll give me time to think about where I've been and where I'm headed. I love working out to music, you may have read what I've written about that, but there's room for calm reflection and future gazing without the tunes every once in a while. Spending alone time with your thoughts can be very therapeutic.

Irene prepared a fantastic breakfast. I had a high fiber tortilla with a scrambled egg and salsa. Not bad for 150. I also had a serving of Cheerios with a quarter cup of 2% milk for 130. We're out of our steel cut oats, and I miss them horribly! I must buy some more tomorrow! If you're wondering what's so special about steel cut oats, Google it, and you'll see! Courtney calls them “Horse Oats,” because I told her it's what they feed race horses, and you've never seen a fat race horse, right? Horse oats are definitely on the shopping list tomorrow!

When I arrived at the studio, I was greeted by the morning personality at the country station down the hall. Him: “Hey, I had a horrible dream about you last night.” Me: “Really?” Him: “We were doing a broadcast from an elementary school and you died on the sidewalk.” Me: “Thanks for that.” Him: “You were all stiff and everything.” Me: “How long was I out there?” Him: “I don't know, I woke up.” Me: “Did somebody kill me?” Him: “Uh, I don't know how it happened, you were just dead.” Me: “I need a cup of coffee.” What a wonderful greeting to my workday. I haven't worried about dying in a very long time. I use to worry about it daily at over 500 pounds, but now I'm too focused on living and doing the things that will keep me living as long as I'm allowed. So all day long I had that lingering thought in my head. I tried to laugh it off, but it still bothered me a little. He didn't mean any harm by telling me about the dream, he was probably just happy to see me standing up, and not stiff on a sidewalk in front of a bunch of elementary school kids. I'm over it now. But really, it bothered me all day. On the way to the YMCA for my workout I thought about it again. Of course it didn't help that I had a voice mail from the friend meeting me for a heated racquetball match that said “I got a new racket, new balls, and you're gonna die in there.” Maybe that isn't an exact quote, but it was something to that effect. It was hardcore trash talking indeed. Now I was really worried. What if I exert myself a little too hard and collapse? OK enough! I had to wipe it from my mind. I did a little bit.

This afternoon I met the above mentioned friend at the YMCA for what may just be the best 45 minute workout I've ever had. I played hard, I hustled, if it's my time to go, I was helping by giving it everything I had! It wasn't my time to go, and it wasn't my time to win either. My racquetball partner beat me three games in a row. I don't mean to sound like I'm making excuses here, but I think he's like 100 pounds smaller than me, or at least 70 pounds smaller! I'm trying to remember his weight but I can't, oh well. He beat me real good. But I think he'll tell you, I did put in an amazing effort and hustle. Go ahead racquetball pro, leave a comment! Make it anonymous, I know you're reading this just to make sure I tell it like it was. Come on, tell how I gave it a good fight, tell 'em how my speed and agility is mind blowing, especially after seeing me at over 500 pounds, go ahead Mr. Blue Blazes, click the comments link at the bottom! Oh, and don't forget about the 11 points I scored on you. It will not be long before I beat you real good. Your defeat at the hands of a former 505 pound man is coming and you know that news will be triumphantly broadcast all over the world!

For snacks today I had lemon marinated apple slices and a banana, and more recently a Dream Bar before my workout and a banana a little while after. Dinner tonight was grilled top sirloin, Irene found an amazing deal, and's not everyday you can feed an entire family top sirloin steak for a little over five bucks. The grill is something we use at least three or four times a week. We even used it frequently in the winter! I love cooking out on that thing. The food taste great and since it's grilled, it's better in the calorie department. We added a baked potato and a small ear of corn and salad to round out the meal. My 4 ounce portion of steak with a couple of teaspoons steak sauce, small baked potato with sour cream and corn checked in at only 410 calories. I was very satisfied and I still have a couple hundred calories remaining. I washed it down with my homemade zero calorie lemonade! I love that stuff! Ice, Water, 100% Real lemon juice, and a little Splenda, and walla! Lemonade! It's really good, so please don't tell me that Splenda is bad for me too! It's derived from sugar isn't it? Anyway, it was a good day calorie and exercise wise.

Irene, Courtney, and Amber all weighed today with wonderful results! Amber lost two pounds, Courtney lost five pounds, and Irene lost five pounds! Amber wasn't happy with her results and feels that she may be underestimating calorie values of some things. The girls have decided to log their food from here on out this summer and allow me to review it for them everyday. The important thing is to not have to guess very often. Study the label and if it doesn't have the calories marked clearly on the package, then go to the Internet for or any number of other calorie counting websites. The information is out there. Find it before you eat it. I hardly ever put myself in the position of guesstimating early on, I didn't start doing too much of that until I was really familiar with foods and calories enough to make accurate guesses. I once had a fellow employee describe her dinner on the air and I guessed the calorie content within 20 calories. It takes time and practice.

A question from a daily reader: Hey Sean--great loss! Funny you should mention plateau. I was just thinking about that. You started at 1500 calories, well below what you could have eaten and still lost weight. Will you adjust your calories? Is that the minimum. I mean that is even low for a skinny man, much less one as tall as you. If a plateau hits or when you are in the 200's can you see yourself eating less? Also--have you thought about how many calories you will eat to maintain your weight when you reach your goal? Just curious... Good question Bonnie! You're right, I could have started with a little higher calorie limit and still lost weight. I will need to adjust my calories a little higher for more intense workouts in my very near future, especially weight training, but for now 1,500 seems to be doing me well. I've had several fitness and dietary professionals tell me that it's OK for now. Yes it is the minimum. I'm not eating less than 1,500 a day ever. Oh, I might occasionally leave a hundred calories on the table, but rarely. If a plateau hits I'll eat more and I'll exercise more. That's the plateau buster recipe they use on the “Biggest Loser.” And I've heard it from many others, including my cousin Dana who spent a while counseling people as they lost weight on a popular weight loss plan. I've said many times that I don't plan on counting calories forever. What I've learned along this journey will keep me within reasonable boundaries without doing the math. I've learned what a portion is. I've learned to overcome my stressful triggers. I've learned to be honest with myself when it comes to consumption. I've given myself a very nice education on calorie values. I know what's good and bad, and I know what appears to be good, but is bad, and vice versa. After I reach my goal, I see myself eating pretty much like I do now, perhaps a little more to maintain the new weight. I know that I'll always eat breakfast. I'll always make sure to have some good snacks ready to go. I'll always make better choices at restaurants. I'll always be more active and make physical fitness a part of my life. I'll always enjoy the foods I love. You see my friend, the mental breakthroughs I've accomplished along the way have been unique to this attempt. I don't want to cut loose and eat giant portions of anything anymore! I've tried to lose the weight many times and failed. I've never made these mental changes before, not even a little. And these mental changes I've written about along the way will be what keeps the weight off the rest of my life! The changes in me are so much greater than just appearances, that's for sure! For once in my life I have a healthy understanding and relationship with food.

Irene is off to work all night and the girls just got back from their workout. I'm headed to bed really early tonight, before 9:15pm! Maybe in the morning I'll walk with the tweeting birds at the trail. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 255 Walking Before The Break of Dawn and Weigh Day Success

Day 255

Walking Before The Break of Dawn and Weigh Day Success!

Starting my day at 2:55am wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. I actually liked it a little. Of course it probably helped that I had eight hours of solid sleep. I normally only get that on weekends, but not this past weekend, there was just too much to do. I was up and eating breakfast and writing this blog and before long I found myself at the walking trail for an early morning 5K before reporting to work. It made for a better show this morning. I really felt alive! By the way, the surest sign that I've posted my blog after midnight, is if the time at the bottom says 11:59pm. If it's past midnight I have to back date the blog, or else it will show the wrong date for that posting. I still haven't fixed the date on the first 2 ½ weeks of this blog. (The “global” blogspot version) All of those days say October 4th, 2008. That's the day I transferred the blog to Blogspot from Myspace. It's still on Myspace as well, identical in fact. I know how to fix the date thing, I just haven't yet. I will soon, not that it really matters. Where was I? Oh yeah, this morning... I set out to do a 5K this morning and didn't make it. I realized I was quickly running out of time, I had to be on the air at six am, plus I needed to be there a little before, so I cut it short after a hard two miles. I mean a hard two. I was pushing myself almost to a soft jog. I just didn't get there in enough time to do the full 3.2 miles I wanted. But that's alright, because we did Melissa Walden's “Extreme Energy” class this afternoon, and oh my. I'm beat silly! It was an amazing workout for sure!

Today was weigh day. Last time I weighed in at 341. I have to stop putting numbers in my head that are unrealistic. Before I stepped on the scale, I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to lose twelve pounds, completely skipping over the 330's and straight into the 320's. That's crazy thinking! Instead I stepped on the scale and found myself right in the middle of the 330's. I weighed 335 today, for a two week loss of 6 pounds. My total loss so far: 170 pounds! I'm thrilled to be in the 330's! Did I want to lose more? Of course. But am I extremely happy and proud of the six? YES! It's the consistency that will get me to where I'm headed. And so far I haven't posted anything less than a 5 pound loss for a two week period, so I'm completely happy with 6 pounds this time. My goal for next weigh day is to be in the 320's. And I can't wait to cross over into the 200's! Oh that day is coming my friend, oh yes it is!

It was a wonderful weigh day. After the official weigh-in, Cathy Cole in the “Lose To Win” Club headquarters warned me of the dreaded plateau. I've been very lucky so far. She described to me how when she lost 90 pounds a few years ago, she hit a three week plateau that almost broke her, but the 4th week she pulled out of it and posted a nice loss. She stayed the course for three weeks with the scale acting like it was frozen. That's determination. I can only pray that I will be that patient if and when it happens to me. I've had some people say “Oh, it'll happen!” Really? Does it have to happen? Can I change up my approach to trick my metabolism into skipping the plateau? I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing and I'll deal with whatever comes my way. Because this isn't a temporary thing. The changes I've made in the last 255 days are changes that will carry me for the rest of my life.

We enjoyed homemade beef tacos for dinner tonight. They were amazing! Since they were much smaller than what you would buy at Taco Bell, I counted each as 140 calories. It was a nice dinner before Irene jetted off to work. Our family meal time has been something that has really made our relationships with each other so solid. I can't remember the last time we all just grabbed something and went our separate ways around the house. It's been years and years.

I was so proud of the girls for the effort they displayed at the “Extreme Energy” workout class today. We were all feeling it in a very deep way. My arms felt like spaghetti noodles at one point and they're still sore, and I'm sure they'll still be sore in the morning and probably all day tomorrow!

What started out as a frustrating day, turned out to be a wonderful day indeed! Six more pounds is gone forever and I'm thrilled at where it put me. I'm even more thrilled when I think about the giant milestones that are directly ahead. The 200 pounds lost mark and then BAM, under 300 for the first time since I was 15 years old! I use to think that I was about 275 at 17, but my mom has vivid memories of the 16 year old doctor visit I had where we realized I had ballooned to over 300 pounds. She'll never forget that day because it scared her horribly. I guess it didn't really scare me for some reason. I guess when you're 16, you feel like you're invincible, and 300 and something wasn't as big a deal to me at the time. I'd like to go back into my doctors records and chart my childhood weight gain. It was pretty dramatic between twelve and sixteen.

Well, it's time to get to bed at a reasonable hour! It's getting close to 9:30, in fact it will be 9:30 by the time I get this posted. Thank you for reading! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Day 254 Not The Best Choice and "Do I Want Fries With That?"

Day 254

Not The Best Choice and “Do I Want Fries With That?”

Some days, oh some days. Some days start out great and go well, then for whatever reason a decision is made that totally upsets my rhythm. Instead of working out last night I slept. Yep, that's right, Mr. Good Choices, Mr. Do the right thing slept from 6:45pm to 2:45 am. The plan was simple: take a refresher nap for an hour and then head to the YMCA for a good workout. I know that maybe I needed the sleep, OK, I'm being too hard on myself...I needed the sleep. But at the expense of my workout? It was the day before weigh day! I can't miss a workout the day before weigh day! I'm really upset with myself right now. Not for getting a solid eight hours of sleep, how can I be upset about that? I'm upset because if I wanted to go to bed early, fine. I just needed to get my responsibilities finished before hand. Instead I just threw them out the window and slept. Was I rebelling? Who knows. I'm happy to report that Amber still worked out without me, I'm very happy about that. Courtney is staying the night at a friends house, and she had planned to recruit her friends for a good walk, I bet she did too! And Irene was at work all evening. I can't get last night back and I can't get too down about it. It's over, lesson learned. What was the lesson? Manage my time better so that I'm not compelled to go to sleep for the night at 6:45 before my workout and nightly blog. If I managed my time correctly, there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to drop in bed by 9:45pm every night. I could get a wonderful seven hours a night that way. I should make that a goal. OK, it's official. My goal is to get in a workout, finish writing, and be in bed by 9:45pm on weeknights.

I'm always ready for weigh day and even though I know that missing my workout the night before probably will not make that much of a difference physically, it sure does mentally. Today (Tuesday) I enjoyed McDonald's for lunch. There are so many people that know about the journey I'm on and I always wonder if they'll see me in the drive-thru and get the wrong idea. “Would you look at that Mabel, Sean is going off the deep end, he's in the McDonald's drive-thru!” Just in case anyone could hear, I made sure to shout my order a little louder to prevent any confusion...Me: “I'LL HAVE A GRILLED CHICKEN WRAP WITHOUT SAUCE AND A FRUIT AND YOGURT PARFAIT.” McDonald's employee: “Could you please repeat that sir?” Me: “A 270 CALORIE GRILLED CHICKEN WRAP WITHOUT THE EXTRA 70 CALORIES WORTH OF RANCH, MAKING IT ONLY 200 CALORIES AND A 160 CALORIE FRUIT AND YOGURT PARFAIT.” McDonald's employee: “Would you like any fries or a hot apple pie with that today?” Me: “Are you serious?” Now don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed McDonald's fries on a few occasions along this journey, but not today. I have yet to have an apple pie, or have I? They are baked instead of fried. I don't think I have, anyway...McDonald's does deserve some kudos for putting the nutrition information on most of the wrappers and packages of items. I think they should do what they are required to do in New York and put the calorie counts on the menu next to each item. I think all restaurants should be required to do this! We had an early dinner Tuesday evening. I grilled some lean beef outside and prepared some mashed potatoes and some boiled okra with stewed tomatoes. The entire dinner plate checked in at 400 calories.

Cravings are something that I deal with on a regular basis. Cravings by themselves are not a bad thing. After all, I've lost weight using a philosophy that anything is permitted within reason, but when the cravings are coupled with crazy “pig out” ideas, that's when they're bad. I'm telling you right now, I could pick any fast food place with a fish sandwich, and easily eat two, maybe three of them. I love fish sandwiches! I almost ordered a fish for lunch, easy on the sauce, but didn't. If I had, I would have dropped the parfait from the calorie budget for sure. When we're talking about cravings and crazy “pig out” thoughts, we're really talking about two very different things. If I'm craving something, I'll eat it in a portion size that doesn't wreck my calorie budget. If I'm having crazy out of control thoughts about gorging, well, that takes a more aggressive approach. I have to stop myself, but how? By getting really serious with myself really fast. I've come too far and accomplished too much to throw it all away. My reasons for losing this weight are not small reasons, they're life or death reasons. I guess you could say that I bring out the hardcore dramatic motivating thoughts. I have a bunch of motivating thoughts, but when I need to shut down some crazy urges, I have to go to the big guns, the dying young scenarios always snap me back into reality. I've fallen victim too many times by submitting to these urges. And trust me, the feeling afterward is a hundred times worse than the feeling I had when I awoke and realized that I had slept right through my workout and writing time.

I'm headed out now at 4:45am to get in a quick 5K before my morning radio show. I have to hurry! I've never walked this early before, but I owe it to myself! I think it'll be fun and I know it will make me feel so much better about myself. Wish me luck on the scales today! Good morning and...

Good Choices,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 253 A Memorial Day To Remember

Day 253

A Memorial Day To Remember

On this Memorial Day we paused to remember our loved ones who have passed, the ones who have lost their life in battle, and we salute the ones who put their life on the line and made it back home, and the ones still out there. We made a trip to Stillwater and Sunset Memorial Gardens to visit the graves of several loved ones. My grandpa was part of an amazing generation. He fought in World War 2, and lived his life with a solid work ethic and an uncompromising integrity. My brother Shane left us way to soon at the age of 24. It's always tough to go out and see his grave, it just doesn't seem right, even after eight years. My aunt Violet left us in January, not long after I had the pleasure of entertaining her around the holidays, I remember writing about that night in this blog. I visited Uncle Jimmy's grave too. He was the one that always told me that I had to “eat to live” instead of “live to eat.” He would be so proud watching this transformation of mine and so many of our loved ones. I also thought about my Dad today. He fought in Vietnam and made it home. He gave me his Vietnam veteran hat with all of the pins he earned in the military. I have that hat proudly displayed in my living room. I thought about my brother Danny, whom I never had the chance to know, the long term effects of high blood pressure claimed his life at 42 in February. I also thought about all of the people who have lost their battle with obesity. The ones that could never get it together and lose the weight. The ones that felt helpless and hopeless. The ones that thought they had time to do it someday, but didn't. Time runs out. When I'm feeling weak, and even my motivating thoughts are having trouble strengthening my resolve, I just think about how my time could run out if I don't continue on this very important journey. I use to worry about death by obesity all the time, I haven't in some time and that feels real good.

We spent the day in Stillwater with family and friends. Had lunch with everyone at KFC too. KFC use to be a place I had little use for...too many calories, but now the Kentucky Grilled Chicken has brought them back into my occasional pleasure and within my good calorie value list. After the visit to KFC and the cemetery, we made our way out to Rachel and Neal's house for a “cook-in” on the George Foreman Grill. Burgers, potato chips, and Doritos were on the menu and it was excellent! I had a burger on a bun with mustard, pickles, tomato, and onion for 330 and I counted out ½ serving of potato chips and a ½ serving of Ranch Doritos for a total chip count of 150. I enjoyed the burger and chips real slow. It was very nice, and we always love the conversation and fun with Rachel and Neal.

Weigh day is just a couple away and I couldn't be more excited. I'll definitely be into the 330's this time and I'm so happy about that! Oh, I almost forgot to mention running into Aunt Connie tonight as we were leaving grandmas house. She noticed the dramatic difference right away. When I told her that I planned on getting down to 230, she told me that I might be too skinny at 230, and maybe 250 would better suit my six foot three frame. We'll see about that when we get there. I've said it many times, I have no idea what I should get down to because I've never been there as an adult! I haven't been below 300 since I was 15 years old. Talk about a wonderful weigh day to come. The day I cross over into the 290's will be a monumental day! It's coming in not long!

I'm cutting tonight's blog a little shorter than normal. I planned to talk about cravings and a few different things. I'll talk about those things tomorrow night. Day 253 is over and I have exactly 3 calories left. I think I'll leave them on the table! I sincerely appreciate you reading, thank you for your support! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 252 A Free Day For Me Could Be Too Costly and The Sunday Night 10K

Day 252

A Free Day For Me Could Be Too Costly and The Sunday Night 10K

Recently the topic of allowing a “free day” came up. The only time I've done that was Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I still only allowed an additional 1,000 calories. Some people can handle a free day and then pretend that it didn't happen, I can't. That's just me. And now that I'm so far along on this journey, I seriously don't think I could make myself take advantage of one. I eat everything I like anyway! I've really been analyzing the concept of a “free day,” and I've come to the conclusion that fits me. Every other weight loss attempt found me just waiting for the day I could cut loose. I wasn't learning anything about portion control and eating responsibly. I was simply going through the motions needed to lose weight. I wasn't changing my brain. Back then, one day of eating whatever, whenever, and howmuchever I wanted, and it was over every time, completely off the wagon. I know experts say that an occasional free day is actually good for firing up your metabolism, I eat every three hours, that too will keep your metabolism running hot! If my long term goal is eating responsibly, then why would I want one day to eat whatever? It's something that really depends on the person. My opinion really only fits me because I know me. I know me very well. For some, a free day might mean one meal where they go out and just order whatever without regard to calories. That's not too bad. I guess it depends on what you consider a free day. To me it always meant a half-gallon of ice cream just for starters! I wrote about this on Day 34. On the topic of allowing a “cheat day”: I know that if I do it a little it will lead to a lot. Then the next thing you know I'm buying candy bars and half gallons of ice cream. I'm all about eating whatever you want and still losing weight, I'm proof it can be done, but I do have some boundaries. My wife and kids know that if daddy brings home a half gallon, it's all over. Irene is so good at recognizing when I've fallen off the wagon that she'll let me know she knows long before anyone else has a clue. If you see me drinking regular pop...I'm off the wagon. If you see me loading up a plate at a get together, I'm probably off the wagon. If you see me in the back alley behind the convenience store with a pint of Blue Bell and a plastic spoon, I'm off the wagon. But you will not see me doing any of those things, because I'm not only on the wagon, I'm strapped onto the wagon. If the wagon tipped over, I'd still be on the wagon. If the wagon started rolling down a mountain side, I'd be screaming in terror, but I'd still be on the wagon. What I'm trying to say is...I'm doing this now. And I imagine that some might be wondering when these blogs will stop. I've had so many great starts before, surely I'll mess up and go back to doing whatever sooner or later. Nope. If you stopped reading this blog and came back in two months, you would find Day 94 ready and waiting for you to read. That first sentence sums up why I wouldn't dare allow myself a free day early on this journey. And now after 252 days, I've learned too much about portion control and eating responsibly to ever wrap my mind around the free day concept. It just goes against the mental changes that I've developed, the ones that will keep my weight off for the rest of my life. These changes are the number one difference between this time and all the others.

The decision to walk a 10K today was made a few days ago. We decided to make it to the trail after night fall to avoid the sun, we burn too easily! I was joined by Courtney and her best friend Dylan. I'm sure Amber would have joined us too, but she's visiting at her boyfriends parents house three hours away. And a couple of friends that had planned on joining us had some changes to their holiday weekend plans that kept them away. Dylan is new to the workout scene and he did very good, making it two miles before heading home. Courtney and I decided we were not stopping until we hit 6.2 miles. I have to say it was a little more challenging tonight because of the humidity. We had to stop for water at two and four miles, very unusual, but a good thing never the less. I was really getting beat during the fourth mile, I was ready to call it a night, but just couldn't bring myself to stop. We said we would do it and we were going to get it done. It was a new endurance record for Courtney. I'm very proud of her, even after developing a nasty sore on her pinky toe, she stuck it out. It felt good to cross that imaginary finish line!

My mom is celebrating a big accomplishment. She just finished her first full week of walking everyday. She's already up to a mile too! She's progressing very nicely. I'm incredibly proud of her!

Tomorrow we're heading to Stillwater for Memorial Day. We'll visit family and friends all day and early evening, and I'm sure we'll go out for a Memorial Day dinner. We don't get down to Stillwater enough, so we're going to cram as much visiting in as possible. I better hit the pillow. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 251 Switching Up The Breakfast and Another "Extreme Wow" Reaction

Day 251

Switching Up The Breakfast and Another “Extreme Wow” Reaction

This morning I enjoyed the traditional American breakfast of bacon and eggs. And would you believe it checked in at only 175 calories? Very true. We buy pre-cooked bacon, that way we don't get all the grease from frying bacon, we just throw it in the microwave and it gets nice and crispy. The calories are less...four slices are only 70 calories, as opposed to who knows what kind of calories if we soaked the bacon in hot grease. I had two eggs prepared without additional fat calories, on a non-stick surface of course and two slices of the bacon. The best breakfast I know of for losing weight and firing your metabolism up real good is actually steel cut oats. We eat them too, lightly sweetened and sometimes with a little milk, but today was different. I like switching it up every now and then. Keeps it very interesting.

I had an early broadcast from the Memorial Day weekend frenzy at Wal-Mart. My broadcast started at 9am and by 11am I needed some food. I found some prepackaged apple slices with a caramel and nuts dipping sauce for 140 calories. It was wonderful and the caramel and nuts made it seem like a sweet treat, it wasn't until the caramel was gone that I realized the apples tasted strange. Then I read the ingredients. Those apples had been treated with several chemicals and additives to keep them fresh. It really made them taste horrible alone. I should have grabbed a fresh apple or peach or maybe a banana. It would have been a better choice for sure. An old friend from way back showed up at the broadcast this morning. He asked me if I had seen a really big guy roaming around anywhere, I told him that guy is gone and never coming back! He was joking of course, but all he kept saying was “look at you man,” “look at you!” OK! I'm looking! I know! Isn't that great! He was amazed at the transformation so far. He knew me at my heaviest, somewhere around 510 or so...really, it may have been higher, it's not like I weighed regularly back then! Had I not run into him today, instead in about six more months, I doubt he would have recognized me at all. The changes are wonderful so far, but I'm still a big man...Just wait! The difference the next 111 pounds will make is going to be mind blowing! Especially for those who knew me back in my quarter ton days. For those who didn't know me back then, get ready for the pictures!

When I got home I had a decision to make. Get into the YMCA for a workout or make alternate workout plans for later and rest. I chose to rest. I took a nap this afternoon and it was good! Naps. They're not just for toddlers and senior citizens anymore! I good nap revitalizes me incredibly. I jumped up after an hour and a half and started planning dinner. We enjoyed grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and baked beans! It was right at 460 for the entire plate, perfect! Our workout consisted of power walking at the trail and Sweatin' To The Oldies with Richard Simmons! I look up to Richard Simmons. That guy is the real deal. You will not find many people that are as famous as him that have maintained a very real, sincere, down to earth, caring attitude. He's done amazing things for people fighting this battle and he still does everyday. I recruited Courtney and a friend of hers to do it with me and it was awesome! They loved it too, it was a nice addition to our routine today.

Big time kudos go out to so many people who read this blog. My mom made it a mile in one stretch yesterday! That's a big accomplishment for her and I couldn't be more proud. My aunt Kelli (three years older than me---like a sister growing up---my moms sister), she's walked on numerous occasions this week and even survived an attack by a cat during one of them! Rachel read yesterdays blog, then put on her shoes and also walked a mile, That TOPS Lady, aka Amy, she finished a walk-a-thon this week by completing 30 one week! And Bonnie and her family in New Zealand walked to church and back! Remember, we're all at different levels along this journey. If you do what you can do and you do it with consistency, what you can do will turn into something you wouldn't even believe right now. I told my mom that she'll be doing a 5K before the year is over, and if she keeps it up, it will not even be a challenge! If you don't believe me, go back and read about my workout routine from Day 1. A quarter mile was absolutely all my 505 pound body could handle. Tomorrow we're doing a 10K, that's 6.2 miles! So, yeah, see! It gets easier, our endurance goes higher, and our body gets healthier!

I love where I'm headed. It feels so good to have come so far in the last 251 days. My life has changed dramatically and instead of reacting negatively to change, I've embraced it and I now love it! I've never felt better in my entire life! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 250 Trusting Myself With Pasta and Let Me Tell You All About It!

Day 250

Trusting Myself With Pasta and Let Me Tell You All About It!

Any Friday can be one of the longest days of the week for me. Today was a long day. It was good, but long. I started the day at 4:45am and didn't get home for the night until 11:30pm. I did come home for a couple of hours in the late afternoon/early evening, long enough to prepare a wonderful dinner of salad, spaghetti with a beef and mushroom marinara, and garlic toast. Wow that dinner sounds dangerous huh? It wasn't. It's funny, because if you've read some of the early post in this blog, you might remember me talking about how “I avoid pasta because it's too much of a wild card in the calorie department.” I was straight up scared of pasta. Because I love it and I have a history with it. A history of eating wayyyy too much, way too often. It's very different now. For one, I have a food scale, so when a package of pasta says so many calories for this many ounces, I can measure it and see the amount I'm consuming without guessing at the calories. But the biggest difference for me has nothing to do with accurate calorie counts and everything to do with complete portion control over my plate. Yes I avoided pasta dishes before because I was afraid of what the calorie count might be and unsure of an exact number, but mainly I was afraid of my portion control abilities. I use to completely fill a normal size plate at least a couple of times and you can bet I was going to have at least two slices of bread, maybe three. This evening I enjoyed a normal portion of spaghetti and one slice of bread, and I was very satisfied. I did not reach for more. My plate checked in at 450 calories, and I needed to keep it under 500, so I was done! This whole eating responsibly thing is becoming habit, it's like I'm a completely different person, it feels great!

Dr. Amy Cox of the Ranch Wellness Center was my co-host this morning on my radio show. It was a great show and a lot of fun. Dr. Amy has asked me to speak at her 2nd Annual Optimal Health Challenge seminars, especially the first one. The first meeting focuses on the mental aspects of making positive changes for your health. I'm thrilled and honored to be a part of this exciting program. It's so hard to believe that 250 days ago I was a 505 pound mess of a man, and now I'm being asked to speak at seminars focusing on Optimal Health. It's a testament to how far we can come in a relatively short time when we make an iron-clad decision to change and we pursue that change with passion and an honest, consistent effort.

I had an opportunity to give a private “mini-seminar” to a couple of teenagers today. I stopped by a friends dock at the lake and found a co-workers kids and one of their friends swimming. One of the kids and the friend are overweight and have been for some time. The great thing is, they're both very active and into football, so they're planning a summer of weight training and working out. They were shocked at the difference in me and I was more than happy to explain some of the fundamentals I've learned along this journey. After talking to their mom and talking with them for a few minutes, I gathered that their biggest challenge was the food part. They've got the physical exercise part. So I gave them a quick little overview on metabolism, utilizing the wood burning stove analogy and the art of portion control. I also talked about the mental aspects when it comes to food. They listened intently and even asked questions, so I know they were genuinely interested. These kids have the opportunity to put obesity behind them at an early age. With the proper knowledge and understanding, they can do it and be free for the rest of their lives.

I just can't help talking about the changes and the simple steps I've taken to get to where I am now. If you ask me to tell you, get ready, because we're going to be chatting for a little bit! I recently jogged into Wal-Mart for a few quick items, and ended up running into an acquaintance who quizzed me about what I'm doing, and I stood there by the potatoes for 45 minutes as they listened close to just about every facet of this journey. Sometimes I have to remind myself to be brief, sometimes a condensed version is the best version for the circumstance, but as long as they're really interested and listening with the look that says “tell me more,” I just have to do it. I can tell when someone is interested or just being polite and could really care less. I have a pretty good filter for that. If I sense they're only interested in small talk, I don't spend the energy, but if I sense that they could really benefit and want to benefit from what I might say, then we're going to talk my friend.

I spent some time with a friend this evening and didn't get home until 11:30pm. I still needed to hit the trail for a good walk and write this blog. Irene and I switched vehicles this evening, so I had to workout without my iPod! I hate that! I know I endured the first three months worth of workouts without any musical accompaniment, but I'm hooked on it now. It was very different not getting into the rhythm of my favorite songs out on the trail. I was forced to hear every strange sound the midnight hour offers on a dark lonely walking trail. I spook myself too easily sometimes. It's really funny. I sometimes look like Curly from the three stooges out there...But only when I'm alone. When I'm with someone else, I'm not scared of anything. Makes perfect sense. When we're alone we feel the most vulnerable. It's natural. How we stay focused and on track, even when no one is watching, that's a real indicator of where we are mentally on this journey. Getting real and honest with myself about my behaviors has been a wonderful experience.

I have a remote broadcast at Wal-Mart in the morning from 9am to 1pm. Every time I do one of these, I'm hoping that guy comes back that made the rude comment to me about the rice krispy treat. Remember that one? “Are you gonna sit there all day and eat those...?” Some people. I've lost a bunch more weight since then. Come on back Mr. Inappropriate talker! Let me enlighten you...No, probably wouldn't be worth my time.

Thank you for reading my daily blog. We're on a wonderful journey here, thanks for coming along! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 249 Epiphany: A sudden insight into the reality or essential meaning of something.

Day 249

Epiphany: A sudden insight into the reality or essential meaning of something.

You never know who you might inspire when you share your struggle and triumphs with others. That has been the real unexpected blessing for me in writing this blog every day. I'm very proud of all the wonderful people that read every post and have been inspired to start their own journey to better health and fitness. I mentioned Bonnie the other day, remember, she's the one who read every single posting from this blog in one single day. I recently ran across her blog post titled “It Was An Epiphany!” I smiled from ear to ear as I read what she had written about this blog and the effect on her and her husband. I think they're from New Zealand or Australia, I just asked and haven't heard back just yet. I've deduced this because in her writings she's a day ahead of us and it's really cold where they are. For someone like me who has never traveled outside the United States, I think that's really cool to have a positive effect on people on the other side of the world. Here's the deal: I sincerely care about people who are struggling with morbid obesity. And since I do, I naturally want to share with as many people as I can what I've discovered along this road. When I suggest to someone to go back and read from Day 1, I'm hoping they do, so they can gain the full perspective of this journey. The ups and downs, the good days, the bad days and every big and small revelation that has brightened the path. It's all apart of successfully defeating this life long fight against obesity. The reaction that Bonnie and her husband had to this blog is exactly what I hope you have. An epiphany! I remember when I had mine, in fact I've had several of these epiphanies throughout this journey and I'm still learning every day. With Bonnie's permission, here's an excerpt from her blog: Today, while lying in bed still sick with whatever this is, I read the entire blog of a guy named Sean who is working his way towards losing almost 300 lbs. He is about half-way there. Click here to read his blog (also on the side bar), start with Day 1 and read the whole thing. It is awesome!
Anyway, after reading Sean's blog it suddenly occurred to me, like an epiphany, that if I eat less I will lose weight. What a minute...let me say it again. If I eat less I will lose weight. Oh my goodness. Why didn't anyone ever tell me that before? Okay, I am being sarcastic now. But it was one of those moments when the heaven's opened up and the angels sang. Suddenly I understood what I need to do. I don't need Weight Watchers meetings or surgery or even fancy diet food. I just need to count my calories, stick to a plan, drink water, and exercise as much as I can. So, tonight I made DH read Sean's blog as well. I thought maybe reading about another guy (a bigger guy) would motivate my hubby to get on this journey as well. He was stunned. It helps to know that someone else who is big, as big as we are, bigger even (when he started) can do it.
You too can read her daily blog at This was such a delight to read. They completely get it! I mean they got it good. One of the main messages that I've tried to convey in this blog is that you really don't need a special system or special product or anything else. In fact you have a better chance at succeeding long term if you don't use a special system or product. The wonderful things I've learned along this journey will be with me forever and they are things that you just can't buy at the store. You see, I spent years thinking that my weight loss solution hadn't been invented yet, never stopping to think that I might have the power within to change. I was waiting for something or someone to do it for me. I knew that if I kept waiting, my life would surely end at a very young age. Once I decided to steamroll every excuse or rationalization that came along, and decided to make this journey a top priority, and once I decided to stop lying to myself and get 100% honest about my bad food behaviors, once I did all of that, everything just fell into place. You add to it the concept that it's impossible to cheat because nothing is off limits in proper portions, thus eliminating the deprivation factor, and how could I not lose weight successfully? No special foods, no special “meal replacement” products, just real food consumed in real everyday life, just like the food I'll consume the rest of my life! Can you even imagine carrying around over 500 pounds for nearly two decades? I can't believe I did! But I've pulled it all together and I'm on my way toward an amazing transformation of mind and body. It's my duty, my pleasure, and my mission to share what I've learned along the way, and to tell you: You can do this too.

I was pleasantly sore last night and this morning from my “Extreme Energy” experience. It felt real good. I can go out and walk a 10K without ever stopping, even at about a 4 mph pace, and still not feel the effects like I did from that class. It was all good. Allowing myself to get settled into a routine of doing the same workout day in and day out is something that had to change. And the recent addition of racquetball play, this class I plan on doing every week, weight training, and the soon to be added swimming, oh my! It'll be fantastic! I'm even thinking about investing in some tennis rackets and balls. I think tennis would be a blast.

I talked to Brandon, The “Lose To Win” Biggest Loser yesterday. We're planning a Sunday 10K this weekend. If you're close to these parts and would like to join us, just send a message and we'll coordinate the start time later. Brandon has lost a whopping 80 pounds so far and continues to run neck and neck with me on the scale. That's a fun and friendly little competition! Brandon's a fierce competitor and to be honest, this is one competition I wouldn't mind losing. I'm just happy to be in the running with such good company.

Tomorrow morning I'm having a guest host on my radio show. Dr. Amy will once again join me from 7am to 9am. Dr. Amy has some exciting news to share about what's coming up at The Ranch Wellness Center. Dr. Amy has devoted her life to wellness and teaching what she has learned about a variety of things that have changed her life for the better and can do the same for you! And she does it without regard for her own personal gain. If you're within listening range, I hope you tune in!

I'm feeling so wonderful these days about my shrinking size. My 48's are loose and getting real baggy. Remember when they were too tight to wear comfortably? And those 54's? I don't even wear them anymore at all...They're just way too big. Coming from a size 62-64, that sounds so wonderful to say! Thank you for reading. I try to reply to most everyone that sends an e-mail about or comments this blog. If I haven't responded in awhile, please forgive me! I have to get caught up on the weekends because my schedule during the week is often over-loaded. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 248 Better Choices Come Naturally and An "Extreme Energy" Challenge

Day 248

Better Choices Come Naturally and An “Extreme Energy” Challenge

I most always have apple slices marinated in lemon juice for a snack at some point during the day, usually around three hours after breakfast, about 8am. Irene is like a master at slicing those things so perfectly, so she sliced up several baggies full, poured in the lemon juice, and put 'em in the fridge. This morning I enjoyed apple slices marinated in lemon for over 24 hours! It was amazing. The lemon juice had started taking off some of the color, making the lemon juice pink. The apples were a tad softer than normal and the combination of sweet and sour exploded with every bite! This is really a perfect example of how my eating habits have naturally evolved over the last 248 days. Not too long ago, say even as close as 120 days ago, a typical snack for me might be 110 calories worth of Funyuns, now it's lemon marinated apple slices. It wasn't forced, I didn't make myself do anything that I didn't want. Oh and just to show you that I'm not finished occasionally enjoying Funyuns, I had a 110 calorie pack of 'em this afternoon. But overall my choices have naturally improved without any feelings of deprivation.

If you haven't subscribed to my Twitter, then I invite you to do that! I was extremely reluctant to join the Twitter craze, but I do see some value or I wouldn't still be Tweeting. I often send Tweets that tell what I'm eating, when I'm exercising, and I try to offer some little motivational blurbs here and there. Some days I Tweet a bunch and others not so much. If you feel inclined my Twitter profile is

I had the opportunity last night to have a little more rest than I normally do, and I have to say, it makes an amazing difference! I know, big news flash huh? Proper rest makes you feel better? Really Sean? Of course it does. I plan on getting some more tonight! I sincerely appreciate all of the wonderful comments and e-mails I received about last night's blog. One anonymous comment from someone who lives close by I'm sure, suggested I try a workout class called “Extreme Energy” with fitness and life coach Melissa Walden. I sent a text to Melissa asking the when, where, and how much? She replied with a wonderful answer! She teaches the class every Wednesday at 5:30 at the YMCA, and it's open and free to members of the YMCA! That's us! She told me to be there and I said I would try. I thought seriously about going to this class all day. Then I would think, well, maybe I should just stick with the tried and true for now. But what am I afraid of? Getting my behind kicked? I love the feeling of a great workout and this “Extreme Energy” sounds like it would be an amazing thing! I made the decision to go and give it a try. I recruited Amber to go, because I can't get Courtney away from her school books today with tomorrow being the last day of finals and Irene had to get some rest before working all night at a job where she's constantly moving. Amber enthusiastically accepted the challenge and soon we were on our way to the YMCA with a little bit of nervous anticipation.

I think at 505 pounds I would have died at the Y had I attempted this class. They probably wouldn't have allowed me to even make the attempt at 505. Of course at 505 I avoided the YMCA at every turn. I wouldn't even drive by the YMCA at 505 pounds, I didn't want to be reminded that I really needed to be in there doing something. Melissa told me it was a combination of kick boxing and Tae Bo, wow, really? Both? Maybe I should just start at kicking, then see where it takes me from there. The combination kind of sounded a little too advanced at my current weight, but Melissa assured me that I would be fine. I could do it at my level and to just “keep moving.” Oh my, did we ever keep moving. In the first five minutes I discovered muscles I didn't know existed. My legs haven't kicked like I was a street fighting Rockett since I was...wait a minute, they've never kicked like anything. Suddenly my legs felt like they weighed a thousand pounds each. Burn baby burn! I did my best to keep up, but as expected I fell behind a few times. I looked over at Amber a few times and we gave each other the look of oh my, what have we got ourselves into here? But we couldn't quit. We had to keep moving. Melissa is a wonderful teacher, she wasn't putting any unreasonable demands on me or Amber, she said “just keep moving.” I can do that. We were staying for the duration! I noticed the padded mats hanging on the wall and I hoped that Melissa was about to announce “Nap Time!” Maybe a break with a little snack? No. OK then, let's do this! And I couldn't stop in front of Amber! She looks up to me, she's following my lead. The leader can't quit! After a half hour I looked over at Amber and she was really giving it her best, so by golly I was going to give it mine too! Who's the leader here? I'm very proud of her, she's going to have an amazing transformation and story to share someday! She's already come a long way. As we got into the stretching and mat exercises late in the class, I could clearly see that I was going to make it just fine. I'm still shocked by the burn I felt from muscles that have been silent for years. It was exactly what the name suggest, pure energy. It was truly an amazing workout. I'm so happy we did it and I'm positive that it will not be the last time. A very nice lady came up to me after the class and told me that she reads this blog everyday. That made me feel even better. I thanked her for reading and asked if she was the one who suggested the class in that anonymous comment this morning, she said she wasn't. Thank you Melissa for a wonderful experience for my daughter and me!

After the class we hurried home and had an amazing dinner. I grilled some chicken breast on the backyard grill in between errands and appointments this afternoon, I almost over cooked them, but really they were perfect. We warmed them up, added a baked potato, and a bunch of green beans and it was a fantastic meal! I enjoyed sour cream on my potato and I mixed a couple of cheese slices with the green beans, allowing it to melt, then mixing right before serving. The entire meal checked in at 440 calories and it was very satisfying! After dinner I still had nearly 300 calories left for the day, so I enjoyed a 60 calorie Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Fudge bar, the Popsicle brand. I just enjoyed some more apples and a 40 calorie Bomb Pop. That's right, 40 calories in a Bomb Pop! It's my favorite popsicle treat of all time. As a kid I would run down the ice cream truck to get one of these sweet creations, totally unaware that I was making possibly the best choice on the old ice cream truck. I do think the Bomb Pops of old were a little bigger in size. But hey, the 40 calorie version is totally wonderful!

Day 248 was a fantastic success. Another day, another page, another stride toward my ultimate goal is in the books. Thank you for reading. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 247 Not Feeling It and Role Reversal Saves The Day

Day 247

Not Feeling It and Role Reversal Saves The Day

I have to admit, some days I just don't feel like working out. I've said it before. Other days, you couldn't keep me from working out, and working out hard! Today was a stressful day. I've figured out that when I get stressed I no longer turn to food for comfort, instead I turn to my bed. I need to modify that behavior to make me want to go work out. Thank goodness the girls are so fired up, they wouldn't let me miss working out tonight! I'm very thankful to them for that. It's a wonderful thing to have a support system like this. I hope you have one too. If not, recruit a friend or maybe befriend someone at the trail or at the gym, and try to gain a workout buddy. I swear, if the girls wouldn't have pushed, I would have decided to take it easy tonight. And you know that isn't like me. I'm driven, I'm focused, I'm changing my life for the better and cheering on my friends and family to do the same. I most always play the role of the motivator, but tonight that role shifted. The girls, my workout buddies, they were the motivators. And you know what? Once I started working out tonight at the YMCA, I felt much better. I needed that big time today. And this role reversal, it isn't the first time it's happened, and it will not be the last. I'm not perfect, never claimed to be, but I continually strive to understand what I do and why I do it. That's something I never paid much attention to before this journey. And it's one of the many keys to my success so far. I was never honest enough with myself to ever recognize the true motivations of my past bad behaviors. I was too busy eating and not exercising to really pay attention. Not anymore. Oh no, not anymore.

I had a dentist appointment today for a couple of fillings. That was the least of my stress. In fact, Dr. Tyndall makes it very easy. He's really good and so is his staff. I've never felt more comfortable in a dentist chair. After the appointment I drove to the house and relaxed for a little while so the feeling could come back in my face. It did and then I realized how sore my jaw was from opening wide! I wasn't voicing any commercials the rest of the day! I did go back to the studio for a little while in the afternoon to look over production I need to do tomorrow. After leaving the studio I realized that I like using my armrest in the mini-van. I know, it seems so small and not a real big deal, but you see...I never used the armrest before. I just noticed how wonderfully comfortable using the armrest can be! I was always too wide to use the armrest! Not anymore. Oh no, not anymore.

I'm putting today behind me and feeling good about the outcome. My calorie budget was just right, my workout was awesome, and I'm going to bed a little earlier than I normally do. It makes me feel good to be at the point where even the bad days are good when it comes to eating right and working out. I never imagined I would find this place, but it's a nice place to be! Thank you for reading, good night and...

Good Choices,

Day 246 New Exercise Options and I Guess It Can Be Too Late

Day 246

New Exercise Options and I Guess It Can Be Too Late

This is going to be a great summer for losing weight! Yesterday I was giving myself a hard time about my exercise of late, and today I realized that I needed to stop being so down on myself. I've come a very long way in a relatively short time. I can move, breathe, and live like never before now. So what do I have to be down about? Nothing. Weight training? OK, maybe I can be down on myself about that. I haven't given my best effort, and I admit 100% responsibility for that. Do I want it? Yes. Will I do it? Yes. I want an upper body like Superman! I do! And I know that it's going to take some work, a lot of work. But so has losing 164 pounds so far. I say this is going to be a great summer for losing weight because now that I'm much smaller, it opens up so many more exercise options that I can enjoy. I really want to get a bike soon. Not like a professional 10 speed type thing, but an old fashioned cruiser type bicycle, like the kind Mr. Brady would ride on the “Brady Bunch.” Yes indeed, I have very “Brady” visions of my entire family riding around town on our bikes. I could easily ride one at this weight and below! One of Irene's benefits at her job is a $5.00 per month family membership to an indoor recreation center with pool about twenty minutes from our house. We recently discovered this perk, and we plan on taking full advantage of it this summer. We also have a couple of friends who have given us open invitation to swim at their backyard pools anytime we want all summer long. So swimming will be a big part of the plan. Another big part? Competitive racquetball and basketball! This afternoon I finally ducked into the court with my boss. Now I'll tell you, I can get a workout inside that court solo, just playing against the wall, but oh boy, nothing like playing someone for real. I had one of the best racquetball court workouts ever this afternoon. The first thing I asked the boss was “How do you play?” He gave me a “you can't be serious” look, and then he quickly realized I was. He explained the simple rules and we started our games after a few practice serves and returns. We were playing the best two out of three, and ended up only playing two. I don't remember, I may have scored a point or two the first game, maybe not. But the second? I scored eight or nine points! I was hustling in there for sure. I could tell the boss was surprised at how well I could move. He's witnessed me at my very biggest. He's listened to me gasp for breath when answering the phone because I had to walk a few steps down the hall. He's called me into his office before out of concern for my health, so no doubt today showed him a completely different Sean. And I think he knows that with a little practice, I just might be able to beat him someday soon! Yeah, that's right! So just like my boxing record, the racquetball record is 0 and 2. That's alright my friend, you just wait and see, hide and watch, I'm coming for ya!

Several times during the last 246 days I may have mentioned that “it's never too late” to get started. I was wrong. A friend of mine just informed me today that his brother-in-law passed away. The primary cause of his decline: morbid obesity. At over 400 pounds, his brother in law just wasn't built to handle the strain. I don't know all the details, but it sounds like most of the possible complications and horrible effects of prolonged morbid obesity finally caught up with him. When the brother-in-law told the doctor last week to let him die, it was too late. Morbid obesity had claimed another victim. Of course my reaction was “can't they put him on a medically supervised fast?” Too late, the damage to the heart and other vital organs was irreparable, his fate was decided no matter what they did. It's a very sad story and a dark warning to anyone that is struggling with morbid obesity. There will come a time when it's too late to have that “someday.” I said “Oh, I'll do it someday” for so long. I'm very lucky that I didn't run out of time. But everyone's fuse is different. I'm very fortunate and I thank God that I didn't take it to the point of no return. I guess the correct thing to say from now on is “it's almost never too late.”

As you read this blog and you begin to understand how my journey has developed day to day, I hope you understand that as easy as I make it sound sometimes, it has been a challenge. For years I weighed in excess of 500 pounds and I was at a very scary place in my mind. I honestly didn't know if I could ever lose the weight. I think my wife started to believe I would never lose the weight, and she's always believed in me, so that's an example of how exhausted she was at wishing and hoping. I was way too busy pretending that I had all the time in the world, rationalizing bad choices at every turn, because “Oh, I have time.” It's way too easy to just not do this. But I've discovered that if you keep it very simple, calories and exercise, and you decide to become 100% honest with yourself about your behaviors with food, then it becomes just as easy to do this. You have to decide. That's it. Just decide to live.

Wow, OK, for someone that's not a big fan of dramatic tones, the last two paragraphs were pretty dramatic. But sometimes you have to get dramatic about things. Because one of the problems that kept me big for so long was not taking it as seriously as I needed. I was Mr. Funny, Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky, Mr. Let's Don't Talk About My Little Weight Problem...and now I know: If you don't take the time to get dramatic with yourself about this journey, then it will eventually get dramatic for you.

I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday! Thanks for reading my daily blog. I sincerely appreciate your comments along the way. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 245 Weighing Anywhere I Want and The Most Vital Component of Weight Loss Success

Day 245

Weighing Anywhere I Want and The Most Vital Component of Weight Loss Success

I have to admit that I've not been real happy with my workouts in the last week or so. I've really got to get all “Jillian” on myself and move! An anonymous comment the other day hit the nail on the head when they mentioned how a 5K wasn't going to do much for me eventually. Very true. And not eventually, now. I want to get more active, get competitive, and really work myself! Today we had planned for a 10K, and those are wonderful, I do plan on many more of those things, but we opted instead to workout hard at the YMCA. I hit the racquetball court hard today! It was terrific! I haven't been inside that court in a while and it's so much easier now! I fly in there! After a while I went downstairs to the weight room for a complete upper body workout. I had the whole place to myself, it was nice. Then back upstairs for a little basketball. I just shot around a little, dribbled a little, chased the ball some, but I didn't stay very long because I just wasn't getting the kind of workout I wanted. So I jumped into the fitness center and onto the treadmill for a brisk walk. By the time we were ready to leave, the three of us were spent. It was a great workout. I stopped at the front desk to show the girls the difference between the photo they have on file and me now...and oh my, it is drastically different. I took that 500 pound plus photo back in March of 2004. Sometimes it's hard for me to see the dramatic difference that others do, but in looking at this Y member profile pic, oh yeah...I see a completely different face. Totally different. One way I will intensify my workout is to get in the racquetball court with someone and really play them. Had I been playing one on one today on the basketball court, it may have been a much better workout too. Getting competitive is a wonderful way I can increase the intensity, I may get my behind kicked all over the court, but at least I'll reap the rewards of a wonderful workout along the way!

One thing that hit me today was the realization that I can weigh myself on pretty much any scale now. I remember what a big problem that use to be, and now at 341, it's not a problem at all. That's nice! Here's another blog flashback to Day 2 of this journey: Believe it or not, I can't find a scale to weigh me anywhere around here. Someone once suggested that I weigh at the farmers co-op! The co-op! Where they weigh truck loads of grain and large animals!! You don't even get to go inside to weigh at the co-op. You just walk onto the platform built into the ground outside, where everyone can see you standing there getting weighed while a truck load of pigs wait their turn. No way will I ever do that. I was even told some time ago that the post-office might be able to weigh me, because “they weigh tons of mail down there”. Facing the truth on a highly precise heavy duty digital scale is a tough but absolute necessary thing for me. I need to know where I'm starting. Some people say they don't need to know, I do. I don't want to guess how much I've lost, I want to know for sure. So I made the forty minute drive to Stillwater, walked in, and quietly walked back to the scale in the hallway. People were down there. I guarantee they'll try to glance at my weight. It's a big digital readout and most people are naturally curious. I guess it really doesn't bother me, as long as they don't start placing bets before I step on. I ignored them and stepped onto the scale. I weighed 505 pounds that day, and 341 sounded like forever away. I remember thinking as I drove away from the Payne County Health Department that day, someday I'll be able to weigh anywhere! That someday is now.

I'm very proud of so many people I know that are getting busy and really making positive strides on their road to losing weight and feeling great. To hear my dear mother and aunt Kelli talk about counting calories and walking, I tell you what, it makes me smile from ear to ear. What a wonderful answer to a prayer! My mom and Kelli will tell you, they've been influenced by every “diet” out there. Almost every book ever published about losing weight, you'll find in my mom's house. She has mountains of magazines too and all of them have some kind of story about losing weight on the cover. They've put themselves in information overload from so many different opinions, that it's really hard to see that the best long term solution isn't a fad or hot new book. It doesn't cost a thing to do, because there's nothing to buy other than what you normally would buy for groceries. It's getting honest about consumption and how we've treated food for many years, it's reorganizing how we think about food and exercise. It's eating normal everyday food in a responsible way and exercising. Sounds easy right? No, no it isn't. Because the mind is a very difficult thing to change when it comes to lifelong behaviors. And since the mental part is the biggest part of this journey, well...It can really take some time to get it in the right place to see past all of the information we've tried to process. We have to let it all go and get back to the very basics. If the mental part is the biggest part, then what is the biggest component of the mental part? Honesty. When we stop lying to ourselves, when we stop using rationalizations to make ourselves feel better, to prolong and put off getting serious, when we stop allowing excuses and self-imposed roadblocks to hold us back, wow...there's just no stopping us then huh? But it certainly requires 100% honesty about our past behaviors, our addiction, our habits that sometimes can be very embarrassing to admit, even when we're only admitting them to ourselves.

Today has been a wonderful Sunday. I grilled a very nice dinner that included some beef and fish, baked potato and corn, plus salad. It was amazing and all for comfortably under 500 calories per plate! Thank you for reading and God bless you and yours. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 244 The Low Calorie Omelet and The Best Sleep of My Life

Day 244

The Low Calorie Omelet and The Best Sleep of My Life

I've developed a knack for preparing some of our favorite foods in scaled down calorie friendly versions. There are so many ways to cut calories without sacrificing flavor. The omelet is a perfect example. This morning we had the high school graduation of my niece Mary to attend, so to get everyone up and going, I fixed ham and cheese omelets. My uncle Jimmy taught me how to cook an omelet when I was ten years old. Uncle Jimmy loved a good omelet. It was Uncle Jimmy who always told me that I needed to “eat to live, not live to eat.” Uncle Jimmy never had a weight problem. He understood the balance between loving food and eating responsibly. He thoroughly understood the difference between loving food and being obsessed with food. He loved his omelets, and so did I. I think of him every time I prepare one. The old Sean started every omelet with real butter. Now I prepare them without any butter at all. The key is using a non-stick surface or a zero calorie non-stick spray of some kind. I use to include three eggs, mounds of cheese and loads of ham. Now I use two eggs, a half slice of American cheese, and a couple of very thin slices of shaved ham. I never added the calories of my old style omelets, but I can safely guesstimate at least five or six hundred calories, easy. Now I can make and enjoy a full size ham and cheese omelet for 200. 140 for the eggs, 10 calories for a teaspoon of milk, 30 for the cheese, and a half ounce of ham for 15 calories and 5 calories for salsa. Start with cracking two eggs in a small bowl, add a teaspoon of milk, salt and pepper, then beat until smooth. Put medium heat on the non-stick pan and pour the egg in the middle. Let it spread out nicely covering the bottom of the pan. Put a lid on it to help cook the entire surface, then add the cheese and ham slices to one side. Fold the omelet into a half moon shape over the ham and cheese and plate! Add salsa on top and enjoy!
With Salsa on top-200 calories!

I've always enjoyed cooking for my family and I still do, and with a little calorie awareness, everyone enjoys while staying well inside our calorie budget. The omelet breakfast was a wonderful start to a good morning. The Newkirk Class of 2009 Ceremony was wonderful. We had to park more than a block and a half away from the gymnasium, but now that's not a real big deal. We briskly walked toward the gym and arrived without being even the slightest out of breath. That walk at 505 would have been horrible and I would have made it inside the gym looking half-dead. This is one of many incredible changes that keep me excited about this journey.

I haven't used my C-PAP machine in almost a month. I know I said that I would continue using it until a professional told me otherwise, but really, I sleep better without it! I do not recommend anyone to quit using their machine without first being tested, I really don't, but for me it's been a completely natural change. I honestly do not need it anymore. There are many causes of sleep apnea and some effect people who are perfectly thin, but for me it was an obvious side effect of being super obese. I sleep incredibly well now. I know what it's like to need the c-pap machine and sleep without it. I did for several years. It was horrible back then. Sleep apnea was ruining my life in the 90's. Most of the girls memories of me during their early childhood involved me sleeping in my chair all evening most nights and snoring loudly. My relationship with my children was horrible and my marriage was taken to the brink of divorce in part because of the horrible effects of the disorder. I would wake up with severe oxygen deprivation headaches every day and I was always completely exhausted and irritable. I was constantly fighting the urge to sleep. I fell asleep at the wheel while driving one time because of it, and was blessed that I didn't get killed or kill anyone else that night. The accident woke me up fast and scared me silly, then instead of getting out of the wreckage and getting help, I just reclined my seat and slept for several hours. I almost lost my job over sleep apnea on a few occasions. Falling asleep during a live radio show is not a good thing, and when doing it results in several minutes of dead air, well, you can understand why one station owner was ready to send me on my way. I actually ran into the respiratory therapist who set me up with my new C-PAP machine just last year. I told her that I didn't think I needed the machine anymore and she suggested having some test to confirm. I know she's right, but I also know how I feel. Believe me, if I needed it I'd be using it! When I first started using the machine it was so hard to get use to, but after learning how to breathe through my nose (I've always been a mouth breather) I became hooked! It dramatically changed my life overnight! I wouldn't, I couldn't even take a nap without my machine. After becoming extremely dependent on the life giving change this machine gave me, imagine how terrified I was when something caused me not to be able to use it. Like a power outage, or if it broke! That's why I had to get a new machine last year, my trusty old C-PAP stopped working. The respiratory therapist recalled how frantic I was at the prospect of trying to sleep without the continuous air pressure. I was scared to death at the thought of being without it. Thankfully, they were able to set me up quickly with a new machine back then. To not even need it at all anymore is such a wonderful freedom. I can sleep anywhere! I can go on a trip and not have to take it with me, I can sleep on the couch, I can sleep while holding my wife without the contraption getting in the way. Irene tells me that I don't snore at all now. I'm breathing normally all night and sleeping comfortably in a healthy and sound way. I'm very blessed. What a wonderful benefit of losing weight. I'm slowly becoming free and it feels incredible! If you're constantly exhausted no matter how many hours you're getting at night and you often wake up with headaches, you need to get a sleep study done as soon as possible. Sleep apnea slowly kills you by depriving your vital organs of oxygen for several hours at a time every night. Go to the doctor and get help! Once you do get a machine, you'll be amazed at how it can completely change your life for the better. Sleep apnea is common in morbidly obese people, however it also effects people of normal body weight. I'm very lucky that my apnea was created by my obesity.

Day 244 is in the books! I'm looking forward to tackling a 10K on Sunday with the girls and I'd also like to get into a racquetball court at the YMCA before 5pm. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend! Thank you for reading. Good night and...

Good Choices,

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 243 Self-Image Repairs In Progress and Don't Make Simple Complicated

Day 243

Self-Image Repairs In Progress and Don't Make Simple Complicated

I sincerely appreciate all of the wonderful compliments on the tuxedo pictures! I've never been good at taking compliments. I've found that it's a common problem among morbidly obese people. When we're convinced we don't look good and someone comes along and says we do, it doesn't convince us otherwise, it just makes us think you're being nice, because we feel that us looking good is impossible. But you know what? I'm starting to see the Sean that's been hiding underneath, and although I'm still highly critical of myself, I like what I'm seeing. I still have a ways to go, and if this is a teaser to what I can expect to see someday in the mirror, I'm thrilled. I've never like my appearance. Seeing shades that are appealing to me is a giant psychological breakthrough. These are the major rewards along the way that keep the fire burning for more!

A comment question on last night's blog came from a reader named Bonnie. Her question: Can you explain what you eat? You say normal food and normal portions, but what does that mean? I completely understand that question. For years I wanted to know the magic combination of foods and exactly how much I could have and still lose weight. We're conditioned from an early age to believe that losing weight is a complicated process. So when someone comes along (and I'm not the first-thousands before me) and says “you can eat pretty much anything,” it comes off sounding like a late night weight loss infomercial. I've heard “It can't be that simple,” uh, yes it can! I can remember many of my past weight loss attempts that started by going to the store and buying all kinds of “diet” foods. I'd buy canned chicken chunks, celery, carrots, a huge bag of grapefruits, cottage cheese, and anything else I had heard was good for losing weight. Then, surrounded by stuff I didn't normally eat, or even like, I would get completely discouraged. Keep it simple. Don't make a special trip to the store. Eat what's normal for you, just discover calorie contents and adjust your portion sizes to fit in a reasonable calorie budget. I remember during a “Lose To Win” seminar, someone asked Melissa Walden about counting carbs and fat grams too, and Melissa responded by telling her that she didn't need to worry about that stuff right now. Keep it simple, count calories, and when you're far enough along you can start getting specific about certain things in an effort to meet particular nutritional goals. That's exactly what's happened to me naturally over the last 243 days. I eat way better than I did in the beginning. I eat more fruits and vegetables and I now make a point to get enough fiber grams (24-26 grams daily!). I didn't make a conscience decision to start making a few healthier choices everyday, it just happened naturally. Let it come to you naturally as you progress. The first thing I thought of when I read Bonnie's question was, I hope she goes back into the archives and reads throughout this journey, because then she'll discover what I mean by “normal” foods and “normal” portions. I was shocked to discover another comment from Bonnie, nearly 24 hours later---here's what she said: Hi--I have just finished reading your blog from day one. So, I know the answer to my earlier question. I am totally inspired and totally intimidated at the same time. Thank you for doing this and telling the world that it is possible for a real person. I am so very impressed with you Bonnie! The whole blog, all 242 post, every single day---you read it all in less than 24 hours? That's very cool! And it makes me feel so honored and proud. Thank you so much Bonnie! Don't let it intimidate you. It's strange I know, because some of the foods I've enjoyed along the way really fly in the face of what we've been taught our entire lives. I knew that the only way to teach myself how to handle food responsibly was to eat regular, everyday, normal foods. You can't learn how to handle food responsibly if you not handling regular food, right? What do meal replacement diets teach us about handling food in everyday life? Nothing! How are we going to react when the shipments of pre-packaged and portioned foods stop showing up on the doorstep and we're forced to face real world food decisions on our own? Lost. Take that inspiration Bonnie and turn it up! Let it flow from you to your husband, and both of you are going to be on your way to an amazing side of life! You two can do it!

The “Lose To Win” award pictures were in the paper today. It's always fun to “make the paper!” I was going to scan the pictures onto this blog post, but I thought I might be violating a copyright, so I decided against it. You might be able to find them at The Lessert family left everyone in the dust! They lost over 137 pounds and an average of 16.2% of their body weight in eight weeks! They deserve every penny of that two thousand dollar prize. The second place team lost like 9.8%. By the way, my team came in 8th. We lost 125 pounds combined, but the percentage lost just wasn't as high. Brandon's 69 pound loss for the overall biggest loser prize bested everyone by at least 20 pounds! Isn't that amazing? He worked extremely hard for that. It's really fun to be neck and neck with Brandon as we lose our excess weight and completely transform our appearances. On the 4th he was a pound lighter than me, and now I'm one pound lighter than him. He doesn't like that! I bet he worked out twice today!

We have a high school graduation to attend in the morning and I've promised to get up early and fix everyone ham and cheese two-egg omelets. I make them at just under 200 calories each and they're cheesy and filling! I'll take a picture and list the recipe tomorrow evening, I may even get fancy and add some veggies too. Thank you again for reading! Good night and...

Good Choices,

Here are some more “before” and “In progress” pictures:

Grandpa and Me at over 500 pounds

Last Night

Before really big with my lovely wife Irene!

Several pounds ago--Much smaller!

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