Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 434 Visualizing The Puzzle and My Long Reply To The Question "How?"

Day 434

Visualizing The Puzzle and My Long Reply To The Question “How?”

It seemed that everywhere I went today, I ran into someone that was pleasantly shocked by my progress. It’s very fun to be where I am along this road. And you know what? I don’t care how many times I have to answer the question “So how have you done it?” It never gets old, and I respond with equal enthusiasm every time because this is exciting stuff. It’s a new life, a new existence, the old me repackaged and reprogrammed for optimal performance. These are the times and happenings I’ve always dreamed of, with people I’ve known looking and walking right past me because I’m completely unrecognizable from what they remember. I love stopping them and saying, hey how’s it going? And then I wait for them to figure out the solution to the picture puzzle before their very eyes. And although I don’t have all the pieces together just yet, I can see where they fit—I got this!

Before Amber returned to school for a short week, we all got together for dinner out. Can we afford this? My goodness, we’re eating out wayyy too much I tell ya! Come Thursday morning, I’ll have forgotten how to cook. But anyway, we all gathered at the Hut, Pizza Hut that is. Pizza Hut can be a minefield of calorie bombs, you have to be very mindful of your approach. The only way to go for me is thin n crispy crust. It’s the least calories of anything they have; well---except salads, and who wants that stuff? Not me! I’ve lost 227 pounds so far without eating a single salad, I’m not starting now. Even though my mom, Irene, and my kids are convinced I’d like ‘em if I gave them a chance. Maybe someday, in the meantime---I’m a meat and potato kind of guy, a pizza loving, French fry eating, nacho craving kind of guy. We ordered the thin crust and a stuffed crust. You can eat two slices of the thin for one slice of the stuffed. As a rule, I try not to eat anything described as “stuffed,” unless it’s stuffed with salad. I’ll eat a salad if it’s stuffed into a taco or stuffed between a hamburger bun. It was a pleasant dinner, all of us together, and feeling good---and maybe a little uneasy about the future.

Change always seems hard, even if it’s not, I can make it seem that way. Making things harder than they have to be, wow---I’ve been doing that my entire life. That is, until I started losing weight. It was then I realized that making it hard would surely derail my efforts—so I made it simple. And then clung for dear life as I learned the mental ropes along the way.

It’s always hard to see Amber go back. I hate the highway she must travel and we’re a worrying kind of family---so we don’t rest until we get the call that she’s arrived back safe and sound. She’s forgotten to call before…Oh, that’s not a good thing. We freak out in a major way. She certainly knows she’s loved dearly. I wish I could hold her hand and guide her all the way through this weight loss journey, but I can’t do that for anyone. I’m here to offer support and guidance, but ultimately these choices can only be made by her for her, me for me, and you for you. I’ll just continue trying to set a positive example. It’s not always a perfect example, that’s for sure, but it’s much better than any other example I’ve ever set.

I didn’t workout today. No I didn’t. I’m not proud of that, but I must admit it…not even a quick two-mile walk. My dear mother walked a couple of miles today. You know, my mom, the one that started out barely being able to make it to her mailbox without hurting---yeah, that momma---Two miles! I’m so proud of her. And I’m planning a nice workout for Monday. Perhaps some weight training followed by a treadmill 5K…that would be the thing! A friend who has taken the lead in organizing our marathon relay team for the OKC Memorial Marathon Relay Race in April had a run scheduled for two pm today---I was in the middle of work and then family stuff, so I excused myself. But trust, I’ll be training for my 5K leg hard and heavy. It’ll be much different doing a 5K and realizing that my time affects my entire team---not just me. No time for walking in April, no sir. I can’t wait really, it’ll be fun.

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts along the way. I had a wonderful e-mail exchange with a reader yesterday. Her and her significant other are geared up to lose the weight together. I gave them the best advice I know how to give. I’ve omitted the names for privacy consideration, but here’s the exchange:

Reader: “I have been a reader of your blog for quite some time now, congrats on the weight loss. How did you lose your weight and what are some of your favorite recipes…Myself and bf are hoping to lose some weight, he is close too 500 and i too 200 pounds i love him with all my heart and hate to think about ever losing him, due to his weight, he has a hard time walking and exercising. What are your suggestions ? And what diet plan did you follow? Congrats also on the 10 k .. .Hope too hear back soon.”

My reply: “I took a very simple approach. I ate and continue to eat anything I want as long as I don't exceed 1500 calories a day. I treat my calories like cash. I'm "issued" 1500 to spend each I spend them is up to me. Nothing is off limits, and I mean nothing. But when the 1500 calories is gone, they're gone until the next mornings allotment. So it forces you to make good choices. Or, "good calorie value" choices. The exercise---wow, it was very tough for me at 505 when I started. I could barely walk a quarter mile, it hurt so bad, I was breathing so hard---my chest hurt. So I just did what I could. Slowly and consistently---everyday. The consistency is very important. Everyday. Even when you don't feel like it. (hmm, maybe I should read my own advice--;) If you do this---it gets easier and easier. Soon I was up to a mile, then two, and by Thanksgiving of last year I was able to walk a 5K. Now, a year later and 227 pounds later---I just completed a 10K walk/jog---with jogging being about half of it. It was brutal, but I did it and I made it!

It gets easier---but only if you give it a consistent effort. Consistency is key.
The food and exercise is really only 20% of this journey. Eating less and exercising more is the means or the "plan" to lose weight---BUT, the mental part is the key to long-term success.

You two have got to decide that this is one of the most important things you've ever done. You must set the importance level high. You must be completely honest with yourself at every move. When you are completely honest, it becomes easier to spot the excuses and rationalizations that try to steal this away from you. Don't let them. Develop your motivating thoughts and hold them tight. My number one motivating thought was NOT dying young. I knew that was what I was headed early grave. It seems overdramatic---but you have to protect your journey like it was someone--an intruder or stranger trying to kill you or one of your kids. You have to set the importance level that high. It's much harder to rationalize bad choices when your life is on the line. And it really is.

Make sure that absolutely nothing is off limits in your mind. Don't go out and buy a bunch of "special food,"---Just eat what you like in responsible portions. Eat slower---Learn to focus on the people around you and not the food. Realize that if you're out of calories for the day---you can always enjoy that piece of chocolate---or whatever it is you're craving tomorrow---You must eliminate the deprivation factor. Feeling deprived is one of the biggest reasons people fail at losing weight. I haven't felt deprived ever during this journey. It’s amazing just how key this is. It's hard for people to understand. It sounds crazy. But it is the key to natural and easy weight loss. You don't need a plan. You need:

---A calorie budget
---some kind of exercise plan (anything--just walking as far as you can in one stretch---I don't care if it's just to the end of your driveway and back---anything---just do it everyday---and try to go a little further every few times. You'll be shocked how quickly you will develop)
---Set your importance level to a super high level---Life or death---it must be done now.
---Make this an "Iron Clad Decision"
---Hold tight to your motivating thoughts

And read my blog from Day 1---every single day---like a book. You'll discover wonderful epiphanies along the way like I did. Do it and you'll see what I’m talking about.”

I share this exchange because I think it might help someone else. Again, thank you for your wonderful support. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,


  1. As you get closer and closer to your goal weight, I believe you're going to discover that your margin for error is going to diminish down to a sliver's width. The basic problem I have with eating out too much is a fundamental loss of control over the process of what goes in my mouth. I like having that control over the process and the end result. When I do splurge and go out, I want it to be for something I either truly enjoy or something that I can't prepare myself.

    Happy T-Day to you and your clan, Sean. Here's to a great holiday for all of us.

  2. I am not sure that most people take you literally, Sean, when you suggest that they go back and read from Day 1. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING they want to know from you is right there, free for the taking.

    The more desperate one is, the more one is willing to do... and one of the best things that someone serious and READY can do is to go back and read from Day 1. It takes time, but it is full of stuff that anyone can adapt and use to fuel their own journey. We all have to "pay our dues"... and no one can do this for us, or make it easier, other than share their hard-won lessons learned along the way.
    Thank you for keeping a record!

  3. I love your reply... especially the part about setting your importance level to super high. How true!

  4. Sometimes I forget that it's a life or death situation. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. That's awesome news about your mom!
    Whenever I need a boost I go back to your early days. It gets me back on track!

  6. I am in the middle of "starting from day 1"! So far, the calorie budget is working for me! Being diabetic its taking some getting used to slowing up on carbs and sweets.. but its doable. Not so much "diet" just changing who I am :)

  7. Everything you wrote works so nicely. I just do what you do and I've lost 68 pounds in 6 months. Only difference is I'm completely embarrassed for anyone to find out exactly how much I weighed when I began. They ask me 'How much do you want to lose?' and okay there is no way I will tell them because any idiot can do math and find out my starting weight, I just tell them I want to be a size 12. I just hate the fact that I weighed 356 pounds!!! I feel like folks are looking at me and thinking hmmmm she lost 68 pounds----from where she still looks huge! I just wish I had never gotten that big in the first place.
    Love you tons Sean. Keep up the good work that you are doing for people like me.

  8. That is an awesome reply, very motivational. I have always like the calorie budget idea, and it has helped me get as far as I am today (70 pounds down from 269.)

    But, I REALLY like the fact that you told them to realize it is a life or death situation.

    (I am a big Sci-Fi dork, so please excuse the following...)

    Whenever I look in the mirror and suck in to try and see what I'm going to look like when I reach my goal, well, I realize that there is a person inside of the fat. Like there is an alien inhabiting my body...but in fact, the alien is the REAL me. The REAL me is not the enemy, the fat is. It is like a parasite choking the life out of the real me, it won't even let the real me see the light of day. I HATE that! And what is even scarier is to think I invited that alien/parasite/whatever you want to call it to come live ON me. It is like CHOOSING cancer! Why would I, and why do I sometimes still, choose to shorten my life? It is disgusting.

    #1 thing to remember...It is all a choice...and an easy choice at that.

    Thanks for posting. Really motivated me today :)


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