Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 525 Sunday Morning, What I've Learned, and The Cracker Barrel Meltdown

Day 525

Sunday Morning, What I've Learned, and The Cracker Barrel Meltdown

Sunday morning came fast and early. My fellow blogger friend Ann and I both understand the very important role breakfast plays with our metabolism. So what did we do? Had breakfast of course! Ann decided she was going to get me to eat spinach one way or another---and she accomplished that goal this morning. She prepared a wonderful spinach, mushroom, and feta cheese whole two-egg omelet that was really good and under 300 calories. It was filling and loaded with flavor and uh, spinach...yeah. Yay for spinach! It was delicious, seriously, and I'm sincerely appreciative of the breakfast---But honestly...I'm still not a huge fan of this green leafy super food. The feta cheese and mushrooms? Bring those on all day long! It was very nice Ann, thank you!

Today was the last day of Ann's visit from Boston. We talked about what I've learned the past four days, and really, I've learned a bunch. Watching the documentary “Food Inc.” was seriously eye opening. It didn't turn me into an instant vegetarian, but it did educate me on how the food industry works. I really didn't have a clue before watching. A bunch of the food philosophy, ok...98% of it at least, I've heard Dr. Amy echo. Ann and Dr. Amy think exactly the same way about good food. They're both very educated on the subject. It's important to remember---I'm simply learning about better choices and about what makes them better choices. My choices along this 525 day journey haven't been wrong, the opposite actually, they've been exactly the simplistic approach and pace I needed to finally be successful at losing weight. But striving for better choices and evolving the overall health of my “good choices,” is paramount to my growth. I don't regret a thing I've done food wise. If you're a long time regular reader of this blog, then you know my philosophy and why my “nothing is off limits” approach from Day 1 has been key to my success. The best changes are the ones that naturally and gradually occur.

Ann and I also discussed my workout and fitness structure, or lack of structure, and what I can do to optimize my results. The bottom line? Consistency. As you might already know, I have serious “calendar regret” when it comes to weight training. I should have been doing it on a consistent basis from early on this road. But I didn't. I focused heavy on the cardio and fat loss. But it's not too late to claim that part of the transformation I've severely neglected.

Ann showed me around the weight room and helped me with my form today. It was slightly embarrassing to say the least. My arm strength is ridiculously weak and my form is horribly uncoordinated. But you have to start somewhere. Melissa Walden has recognized this about me too. That's why she has me doing the non-weighted strength exercises. A big deterrent to proper form, for me---is my right arm problem. I've written about this birth defect before. But it's not something that can hold me back. It simply makes the beginning a little more challenging, that's all. And I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses---but I think Ann could see how intimidated I feel in the weight room and why. She also knows that it's a mind thing within my own brain---and not a real obstacle to my development. Look at Tony “The Anti-Jared's” arms. He didn't just lose over 200 pounds and somehow magically have those guns he sports. No, he's worked his tail off in the gym lifting and building those things with consistency.

Lunch was just amazing. I enjoyed a roasted vegetable and mozzarella Flat-Out pizza and Ann enjoyed a big salad with a foundation of leafy spinach. The 'On The Go' Video is below. My pizza was only 220 calories and it was chock full of incredible flavor!

What I'm about to write about may shock and disappoint you. I really shocked and disappointed myself tonight. We were in Oklahoma City because Ann has the first flight out in the morning. We were looking for a place to have dinner. Ann told me to pick something—and so I did. I've never been afraid of any restaurant. I've often bragged about there not being a “restaurant I can't navigate” with good choices. My first pick was Panera Bread, but they were closed. My second pick was Subway---again, closed. My third pick was Cracker Barrel (cue the music of doom) unfortunately, they were open.

I walked into that Cracker Barrel with a swagger and confidence that losing 240 pounds has given me. I can beat this place and I knew it. I was also confident that Ann could maintain her clean eating standards within the confines of this American restaurant institution. I was so wrong on all counts.

It started off with Ann noticing that even the Cracker Barrel's healthiest vegetables are cooked with animal fat, it says so right on the menu. Kind of like Cracker Barrel is saying these might sound healthy, but wait---we found a way to make them taste better with animal fat, enjoy! I looked over the menu, trying to find the items that would jump out at me as the best choice, and I seriously was struggling. That's when Ann mentioned the idea of ordering from the kids menu. Brilliant! I still had a thousand calories remaining from my 1800 daily allotment---and even though I don't like to exceed 500 in any one meal, I really wasn't worried too much---as long as I didn't go over my limit for the day. It's real easy to exceed a thousand calories at Cracker Barrel, too easy really.

Ann decided on the kids grilled cheese with cinnamon apples and a side cup of vegetable soup. That really sounded good and harmless. Ann told me that the meal did violate her standards—and it was something she hasn't done at all in two years. She was willing to bend enough for us to make it through dinner before her flight home, but she feared getting sick. The soup was suppose to come with a corn muffin, when ours didn't, we asked for a couple. The server brought out two corn muffins and two buttermilk biscuits. Oh problem. In looking at the plate, I figured (incorrectly—we found out later) the corn muffins would have a better calorie value than the biscuits. So I allowed for one corn muffin. Then, knowing that I had plenty of calories in my budget---I decided that ½ a biscuit couldn't hurt. After all, it was 180 total calories at worst if I compared it to a KFC biscuit, and these were a little smaller---and I was only having half. What started out as acceptable choices within my calorie budget was about to turn into something else.

I don't know what possessed us really. I guess we decided that a desert, split between the two of us, could be an acceptable thing. But that was a big giant lie we told ourselves. Considering what we had just consumed, a polite “no thank you” would have been a perfect response to “Did you save room for desert?” We looked over the desert menu and decided to share a Frozen Mug Ice Cream Sundae with roasted almonds and hot fudge. What in the world were we thinking? I'll tell you what I was thinking. A few bites, ok—maybe 200 calories worth of this little treat, I can live with that. But what we discovered later in regard to calorie counts was rather sobering.

After our nice little kids menu dinner at Cracker Barrel, I couldn't get back to the hotel quick enough. I wanted to get online and obtain accurate calorie counts. I had my guesstimates---but I had a horrible feeling that I was wrong, very wrong. And wrong in a very deliberate way. I didn't “accidentally” shove that corn muffin, biscuit, and half a sundae in my mouth. Those were my poor choices. I had a sinking feeling of regret as we walked to the car.

You have to understand. I've gone over my calorie budget only once before in all of these 525 days. I've been wildly successful at losing this 240 pounds so far because of this consistent calorie budget track record. But here I was---realizing that I may have just robbed the bank. The security and integrity of the “Calorie Bank and Trust” was breached tonight.

Trust...hmmm, yeah---I trusted myself to navigate Cracker Barrel with ease. I waltz in all confident and walked out scared and defeated, a victim of my own bad choices.

I checked online and found the sobering truth. The grilled cheese—350. The cup of soup---49. The cinnamon apples---180. Now---Had I stopped right there, I would have felt wonderful. Nope, didn't do it. The corn muffin?---you ready for this?? That tiny little, surprisingly dense corn muffin---just one of them? 270 calories. I didn't believe it at first, but check after check of different sources confirmed my fear. To Ann's credit, she warned of the danger after one bite, saying she “tasted the fat” in them. I still couldn't place a value higher than 120 on that little muffin. 270. wow. And the biscuit---133--not bad in comparison, and thank goodness I only had a half a biscuit—then added 35 calories worth of apple jelly. The real kicker to the whole experience was the worst choice of all. That sundae checked in at 600 calories, yep---300 each for half. Are you doing the math too? Let me save you the time: I'm ashamed to say that I consumed 1249 calories tonight. 249 over budget.

It just sickens me. But listen...lesson learned. It goes to show you, even someone like me can't let their guard down too much in situations like this. Some of my choices tonight were downright crazy. I was clearly not thinking straight. Some might say the two of us negatively influenced the other, or maybe our two positive approaches created a negative...but whatever. We are both responsible for our individual choices...and they were bad tonight. I'm embarrassed and ashamed to have to share it with you---but that's the deal. You get it all right here. And you better believe: This kind of performance will not be repeated anytime soon. I could have stopped at 579 calories, but didn't. I chose to keep going. I kind of wish I hadn't gone in with so many calories left in my budget for the day. If I'd only had 600 left---it wouldn't have been an issue, none of this—because I wouldn't have had room to guesstimate the extras. Oh well. It's done. Lesson learned. We'll move forward now. I'm ok---you're ok. It's all ok. In a place like Cracker Barrel—you have to walk delicately---your choices have to be precise and well thought's just too easy to make the kind of mistakes I did tonight.

Thank you for reading. Day 525 is in the books and I will not soon forget the lessons learned. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Look mom! I'm eating spinach!! For a second... This was breakfast. It was really good!!

Lunch is good. Look at all those veggies I'm eating! Where's the “On The Go” Video from the Cracker Barrel Meltdown? Yeah---gotta get past that.


  1. Sounds like your friend Ann was a good influence on you, except for the dessert at Cracker Barrel. The lunch was OK but dessert too? Hmmm....

    All in all, though, you should be proud of yourself. You are doing a great job!

  2. I swear you're amazing, lately, you've been blogging EXACTLY what I need to hear. Busted my calorie budget this weekend, too. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off and keep going!

  3. Leave it to me to point out that you recorded your calories wrong in your post, 1249? lol We all make mistakes, including you babe. I know it irritates you, and especially having to blog about it, but your honesty is what so many of us love. And if you only screw up once every 400 days or so??? I'd say you're still pretty amazing. :)

  4. okay...whoops and that is it.
    everyone has done it, it's over...your good.
    back otk.

  5. No Tammy he didn't record those calories wrong. 1249 was just his supper at Cracker Barrel. He had 1000 left for the day and then went over 249. Boy can you just imagine only going over calories twice in over 400 days. I go over every day ... unfortunately!

    Glad you had a great visit with your friend.

  6. I guess its a lesson for the books. If anything it will keep you on your toes and remind you about the calories they like to sneak in... You will be back on track tomorrow...

  7. Ummm Sean, I accept NO responsibility for last night!!! You corrupted me and you last night! :-P

    Oh, and I just finished a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich at Graceland. See? See what you did to me? My standards have gone straight to hell after one long weekend with you!!! :)

    Miss ya already! I booked trip #2 :)

  8. Hi Sean. A very minor slip. But it's because you're so strict that you've achieved so much, so I understand why you're disappointed. An extra motivation to do a really good workout today?

    But really great that you had some spinach. I used to not like it when I was a child. But as an adult I love it. Baby spinach leaves are just so tender and not bitter like the ones I used to have when I was younger. Keep exploring those healthy choices!

    Bearfriend xx

  9. Nice to know you're actually human and can screw up while making the best choices possible Sean. It has happened to most of us at one time or another. The key is that you made what you thought were the best choices. You could have easily consumed 3-4000 calories in the blink of an eye - but you didn't. Dust yourself off and move along now.

  10. What I appreciate is the self-honesty. And now you are learning from it, and moving on. I can respect that. :-)

  11. Just goes to show--a meal doesn't have to LOOK Flinstonian to whack the heck out of your calorie budget! I have no doubt you'll take the lesson in stride and get right back in your groove.

    Love your blog!!!

  12. Just get back up on that horse, right? Move forward with intention, my friend.

  13. 2 slip ups in 525 days is pretty awesome Sean.
    As is eating spinach! Though I actually quite like baby spinach in my salad, I cannot imagine eating it cooked!

  14. I love spinach! Sounds like you had a good time.

  15. Cracker barrel will do that to you. I only go a few times a year and I plan for it. I usually eat the one meal there , but skip a meal that day to make up for the calorie expenditure. Think of all the times you have been under calories for the day(I know you have had them.) It seems like you are beating up on yourself all through this post for not being perfect. You are one heck of a weight loss success story, a motivator , and a normal and imperfect human. It was one goodbye meal with a friend . ..and hang in there with the weight training. It gets better.

  16. hi!

    constant diligence is the bottom line of losing weight . the moment you lose faith on yourself're gone . but , you have showed us that a man with a strong will and determination can be consistent with his efforts and CAN MAINTAIN A CALORIE LIMIT FOR MORE THAN 500 days !!! its a big feat in itself ,dude.

    hope that you maintain your calorie count for the next 500 days !! ( by the time you'd ripped :) ,so u could splurge a little after that! )


  17. OMG Sean is HUMAN!! :) I'm so sorry about the calorie disaster but it seems to me you really learned from it and that's what counts.


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