Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 296 Driving A Smaller Car and My Losing Philosophies That Win

Day 296

Driving A Smaller Car and My Losing Philosophies That Win

Today started horribly. I was sick really bad. Food poisoning I'm sure. I had to have Gayle Williams do my morning show. I hated to miss a show, but really, I don't think anyone would have wanted me there in that condition. I was not presentable in any way, and I had so many guest scheduled for in studio interviews---including the cast of Grease! As the day progressed I started feeling much better and eventually I made my way to the studio to produce some commercials. I ended up working a few hours. I feel nearly 100% now, I think I've cleared my system of what ever it was that was wreaking the havoc.

We had good news and bad news today. The good news? The van just had a bad battery and that bad battery was still under a free replacement warranty. The van is fine now! Bad news? Our fridge needs a new compressor, it's on order, but still the fridge is out of commission until Friday. It's expensive enough of a repair that the repair people said “most people just buy another fridge.” We love our fridge, we've got to fix it!

With the van out of commission until this evening, I've been using Irene's old car, the little Pontiac Grand Am GT. It's been so sad and lonely in the back yard drive, never getting to go anywhere, so it was good that I gave it a workout. The best thing about it was I fit so wonderfully inside. I mean, I fit perfectly! I can click the seatbelt easily, there's plenty of room between me and the steering wheel, and I look normal behind that wheel, not crammed in and stuck like I did before. I hated trying to drive that thing at 505 pounds. It was so uncomfortable back then. I would only drive it if I had to because it was such a chore to even get in. And forget about the seatbelt. It was actually hazardous for me to drive it back then with my belly pressing hard against the steering wheel. It's actually fun to drive now. I like the sporty get up and go and being lower to the ground and feeling like I have so much's so roomy now, it's like a whole new car...but I know it's the same car, I'm just a whole new person! I wanted a van to accommodate my 500 pound plus size. Well, now that those days are behind me forever, I'm seriously wanting to sell the van and Irene's old Pontiac and get me into something small and fuel efficient. Maybe a little Honda or something, I don't know. Something I noticed today was how I get in the vehicle has changed. At 500 plus pounds, I would have to sit down on the edge of the seat with both legs out of the vehicle and then turn to get one leg at a time in and straightened out while trying to adjust and squeeze myself inside. Today I can put one leg in, sit down, and bring the other leg in...Just like normal people do! I'm becoming normal!

After blogging about eating the Hershey Bar last night, several e-mails and comments came in mentioning how it would be tough for them to eat just one. How it would be a trigger for some. And I just wanted to say I completely understand that! I've been the guy who buys and consumes a six pack of chocolate bars in one sitting. I know what you mean. So what keeps me from doing that now? What's different? Well, I've decided that nothing---no emotion, no circumstance, no favorite food, no celebration, not anything will make me overeat again. Do I crave things? Of course. But I allow myself to enjoy some things occasionally, so it's not like I'm telling myself “you can never have that.” I can have anything I want...but---it must fit into my calorie budget that day. If it does, then I have to decide whether or not to “invest” the calories. If it doesn't, then maybe tomorrow it will. But what really keeps me from going nuts and eating a half gallon of ice cream like the old Sean is this: I know that straying from this road means certain death at a young age. If I throw it all away and get back up to 500 pounds, I'll be dead for sure before I'm 45. But in order to control my love of ice cream, I allow it, in a sensible-responsible portion. Usually in the form of a low fat vanilla soft serve cone. I know that might sound over the top dramatic, but that's exactly what it takes for me to transform. I have to take it that seriously. Not taking it so seriously in my past attempts is why I always failed. It was too easy to just say “oh well...just this one time.” And then the next thing you know, it's over...another failed attempt. The great thing about changing the way I think about eating and exercising is, I no longer crave or look forward to some kind of future binge. I couldn't imagine doing that now. Every other time I tried to lose weight, I always looked forward to having a good reason to cut loose and eat whatever and how much ever. I don't have those fantasies anymore. That's a real good sign. That's the sign of real mental change. Because let me tell you something, I was bad...I was real bad. These mental changes are bigger and more dramatic than any physical change you can see, believe me. I understand that we're all at different stages of our developing transformations. Maybe you're already at this point too, but if not...just hang in're going to get here, and when you do you'll now what I mean. Counting calories isn't something I'll do forever. But I needed it to show me what a portion was. I needed it as a way to see exactly what 1,500 calories a day looked like. That's why I count calories. Someday, when I'm completely at goal, when I spend time everyday sculpting my new body with weight training...I will not need calorie counting. I'll be able to enjoy a responsible meal, healthy snacks, normal portions. The mental changes made will insure that.

I've read about a few people doing the Atkins approach lately. Then I read someone comment to them “whatever works for you.” Does Atkins or low carb work? Yes! It works. It's science. You'll lose weight. It “works” for everybody. I tried it before, lost weight...gained it all back. Why? Because I wasn't learning how to handle my cravings for carbs---I simply ignored it, while consuming large quantities of meat and cheese. I wasn't teaching myself to eat like a normal person at all. I wasn't addressing my food addiction. I was practicing my addiction while manipulating the weight loss through science. Then, when that approach got old, I went back to eating carbs, and then since I never worked on my behaviors---I gained everything back and then some. My best advice to someone just starting as far as food goes is to eat whatever you want, just limit yourself to 1500 calories a day. The lower calorie intake will force you to make better choices throughout the day to fit your calorie budget. Anything goes. And after a while---you start realizing what a portion really start noticing that you can eat a 500 calorie meal and be completely satisfied. As you progress, your choices improve naturally. You'll start eating foods that are considerably better for you. But just starting out?---Eat anything and everything---just know the calories---keep them under 1500 a day---and you will lose weight, even eating carbs. If you say “well Sean, that might work for you, but that's you,” Let me tell you this: It works for anybody and everybody. It's simply living and eating like a normal person for a change. But if you're trying to lose weight and you set rules that “I can't have this and I can never eat that,” you're setting yourself up to feel're making it harder than it has to be. Just eat regular food and get ready to do it in a completely normal, responsible way—with a budget of 1500 calories, you'll be forced to eat responsibly in terms of portion control. As the weight falls off and you become mentally adjusted, then bring on the better choices! Just my opinion, I think it has some serious validity. This isn't a “plan.” This isn't a “system.” This is real life, real food, and real exercise---I believe I need all three for this to be a long term permanent weight loss attempt.

We got into the YMCA this evening for a wonderful workout. I did a treadmill 5K alternating between 4 mph and 5.7 mph. It was nice. I remember when 2.9mph was a super big challenge to me. Progress comes with consistent effort...boy does it ever! 5.7mph for extended periods is a major step up for me. I feel so good.

Thank you so much for reading and offering your thoughts. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,


  1. amazing how much i get your post. my prior attempts to lose weight were akin to starving and eating stuff i didnt like. i feel so strongly that you cant eliminate food you love from your life. its like, once youve actually taught yourself what is the correct amount of food to eat to be satisfied, its so much easier to make the right choices and the right times to have a treat that you would have normally binged on in the past. im not sure i can articulate what i mean here, but i think you might know what i mean. anyway, keep it up!

  2. Yeah, I have tried all the fad diets and the best one so far has been the same as you. Reduced calorie and a few treats to keep sane!

    Love that you fit in the small car so well - every day there is something new to appreciate these days!

    Oooh, look, you are just 4 days from day 300 - and what a difference those 300 days have made!

  3. I am glad you are feeling better. Sickness sucks, especially food poisoning.

    I have a rule for my Hershey bars: I have to walk to the store to buy it (about 1/2 mile one way) and I can only take enough money to buy one. Seems to work so far, but of course it's over 100 degrees out... Of course, I follow that rule for Cheetos and Doritos too :)

    Don't get me started on Atkins. Worked for me for about a week, but then I would have killed someone for a noodle or a piece of fruit.

  4. Hey Sean--hope you are feeling better. You know I think that most people have to try and fail a number of times before they get to the place you have. I am thinking of one blog friend in particular. I noticed a difference today and that was she is starting with Atkins and then plans to change to a calorie based plan--I hope that works for her. I hope she will read your blog and see how it can and should be done. The reality is, like you say, until we take responsibility for eating in the real world we will never be truly successful in losing weight or keeping it off.

    Please thank the girls for the sweet comments. I felt so much better after reading everyone's positive comments.


    PS--Congratulations on be normal--that's so cool!

  5. As someone just starting out on my weight loss journey, I find you very inspiring! Thanks for blogging about your journey and giving hope and inspiration to folks like me! I have started to go back and read your enteries from day one, it will take me a while but I will eventually get caught up. Thanks again!

  6. "Well, I've decided that nothing---no emotion, no circumstance, no favorite food, no celebration, not anything will make me overeat again."

    This is EXACTLY where I want my relationship with food to be, exactly.

  7. Wow! You were moving on with that walking speed! yay! That's some major calorie burning!!!!!

  8. Nothing like a little food poisoning to aid in weight loss efforts, huh?

    Great story about the car, just one of the many benefits of dropping the pounds. More to come, I'm certain.

  9. Congratulations on getting into that smaller car! As I am working on trying to adopt a new lifestyle and mentality about food--I really foudn your statement: "Well, I've decided that nothing---no emotion, no circumstance, no favorite food, no celebration, not anything will make me overeat again." to be an accurate description of where I want to be.

    Question for you: how did you decide on 1500 calsories? I have read articles in varying calorie amounts for weight loss. I am currently following WW points--but am interested in switching to counting calories but not sure how many I should eat a day.

    THanks so much!

  10. Great post as always. Glad you are feeling better.
    There is no greater feeling than 'getting it'. I enjoy everything I did before, only changing my portion sizes. I was able to go to Pizza Hut and walk out with eating only 610 calories. That was half a breadstick and 2 pieces of thin pepperoni pizza. And I was stuffed! With that and breakfast I still had 500 calories for the rest of the day. 1500 cal is really a lot of food! Thanks for being such an inspiration and motivator in my life Sean.

  11. I think what I enjoy most about your writing is the fact that you are so honest with your readers & you genuinely want to help others along the way by documenting everyday of your transformation into a very healthier & smarter person. You don't just tell readers that you ate cauliflower for months & have lost almost 200 pounds. You tell us how your brain is changing, also. How you allow yourself to eat whatever; within your alloted calorie budget. No one wants to feel deprived. That is a sure way to fail. You surely have the tools to succeed. We appreciate you & your daily posts. Thanks Sean!

  12. Congratulations on your "non-scale victory!" I bet it feels good! I can see it now... you driving in that little Pontiac GT with your new shades on. Living the good life, lol.

    I agree that a 1500-calorie diet will work for anyone. When I first decided to give it a shot, I thought it might be too many calories for me since I'm so short, but the weight started coming right off when I tried it!

    I am glad that you are feeling better. I have been sick as well. Not food poisoning, just a head cold. It's been awful! And I don't think it was good for my weight loss efforts. Not because I overate, but because I did nothing but lay in bed for the past two days. Oh, well.

  13. You have nailed my philosophy as well here. While I do Weight Watchers, perhaps for the novelty of it, I have the same thoughts: Start out by eating in the points range, and then naturally you will progress toward healthier foods, etc.

    You commented about Atkins on my blog recently. My husband is weird. He's not a carb eater. He eats them, but he's not like me at all--I love the carbs. He can and does go days without eating starches or eating very few. It's just the way he is. For him, and people like him, I see how Atkins works well. For me? Not a chance. I tried it once for two weeks and hated it. It goes to...

    if you feel deprived, it doesn't work. That's why what you do (and me!) by eating one candy bar or one portion of ice cream works. No all or nothing thinking.

    I have said time and time again this is mostly a mental journey. That's why I put it all out there on my blog. All that mental stuff going on in my mind influences what I put in my mouth. When I get the mental stuff healthy, my body becomes healthier.

    We're both treating the whole person. And that works!

    Congrats about the car! That's wonderful. I can see you zipping around in a sporty little thing. =)

  14. First of all, CONGRATS on fitting in the car with room to spare!! That's awesome and must have felt so great! Good on you!!

    I must tell you that I sincerely appreciate your candidness and the honest manner in which you express your feelings/journey/experiences in your writing.

    You are an amazing inspiration..keep it up and thanks.

  15. Sean, I'm in the middle of writing a post somewhat along the same lines as yours. Dare I say, great minds think alike?

    As always, I really appreciate your thoughts.

    Be well.

  16. Wow! Sounds like your day started out rough! I'm glad you're feeling better now! :)

    I practice moderation and not deprivation, too. And so far it's working for me. And I find that the healthier I eat... the less I want to eat junk. I rarely have "treats," and I don't even miss them.

  17. Sean, your advice tonight on sticking to the 1500 calorie limit is spot on. That's the amount I set for myself too. I too believe that Atkins is a bad idea. Everything in moderation. If you stick to the calorie limits, you're forced to eat in moderation. And you're right, you can eat anything you want as long as you obey that one simple rule. It's when we tell ourselves we can never have a certain food again that we really set ourselves up for failure. I'm glad I finally learned that for myself. Keep that good advice coming!

    Tammy :)

  18. Wow Sean, some people put on a pair of great fitting jeans to wear to help keep them on track with their weight. . . but you, you put on a car!! :) I'm so proud of you.

  19. I just started reading your blog yesterday, and I love it:-) However, after reading this blog you might have stirred up something in me I subconsciously was avoiding!:) I've always been a "truck girl" and now I have an SUV b/c better gas mileage--etc. I still love our 2 trucks though. I wonder if it's because I fit in them better? hmmm.
    I'm at about 314 currently...just started last monday and was down 3 1/2 yesterday.
    God laid that 1500cals on my heart and led me to your blog the next day which just confirmed it for me. Honestly, if I wasn't still up at 1am, I wouldn't have gone to bed hungry!:) And I only used about 1340 today. It's almost hard to use them all sometimes. But we had an event to go to and I didn't get to the Y...just some crunches and stretches today.
    Anyhoo...I digress.
    Thank you for your blog! I've found it at just the right time and hope to parallel your journey the rest of the way downward!:) Well...until about 160/170ish:) or whatever feels right.


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