Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 534 That Picture Is Almost Too Much and Don't Be One That Doesn't Make It--Revisited

Day 534

That Picture Is Almost Too Much and Don't Be One That Doesn't Make It--Revisited

Oh my---that before picture from yesterday was almost too much. What a horrible shot. Jack Sh*t cracked me up with his comment: “I'm afraid of that "before" pic. Pls keep it away from me...” I'm afraid of it too Jack! I found it and immediately cringed, which means it had to go on the blog. Any before shot with a “cringe factor,” is immediately uploaded around here. And really, they all make me cringe to a certain degree. But that before shot---oh my, that really bothered me. I looked sick. I was so lost.

I hopped up this morning and greeted my Tuesday with a can-do attitude. I had a good breakfast (I always make sure of that), a good morning show, and an afternoon dentist visit. I had consumed 700 calories going into my 2pm dentist visit. I had planned on having a little more by then because I wasn't sure how much I'd feel like eating afterward.

I want to give a very special thank you to Dr. and Nancy Tyndall and their incredible staff at Tyndall Family Dentistry in Ponca City, Oklahoma. They've really taken good care of me over the last year or so. In the spirit of, “you took care of your body, now let us take care of your smile,” they've given me so much. Many of these things because, in Nancy Tyndall's words, “you've been such a huge inspiration to so many around here.” I almost don't know what to say---what an amazing bunch of people over there. Thank you! And when you see me smiling proudly in my “in-progress” pictures posted on this blog, or at a weight loss seminar, or any other future outlet---now you'll know the story behind the smile. And if you've read every single day, then you'll know the whole story! ;)

After the dentist today, I ran into Wal-Mart for a few items. I grabbed some cottage cheese and a few necessities (mushrooms and eggs)---then I hurried home and devoured the entire container of cottage cheese. It was a small container, but still 330 calories---it was soft and good, and my mouth was sore! I love cottage cheese, I do...almost too much. I don't keep the larger size containers around because I guess I don't trust myself. I can remember too many times in the past when an entire large carton of cottage cheese---complete with crackers, would be devoured in one sitting by yours truly. Buying the smaller containers---with 330 calories total in the whole thing, is like damage control. I know I'm strong enough to handle the larger carton, but some things---some foods are symbols of my past failed attempts and I limit them automatically.

Cottage cheese is limited, along with ice cream, peanut butter, potato chips, and nuts of any kind. Oh, and trail mix, extra sharp cheddar cheese, snack crackers, granola bars, and dips (except salsa—I can eat that all day long). I'll still enjoy these foods from time to time, but I don't keep them stocked around the house. I know what foods make me weak, and I naturally avoid having large amounts readily available. Small amounts? That's fine—large amounts? Not so much! Why would I want to make this journey harder than it needs to be? I'm all about keeping it simple. Knowing my trigger foods and controlling my exposure to those foods has been a relatively quiet, but key component to my success.

I went back into the archives and read Day 169 today. It was titled “Don't Be One That Doesn't Make It.” It was the start of the “Lose To Win” seminars, and over 700 people in this town of 25,000 signed up to lose weight. The program here had an astonishing retention rate of nearly 75%, compared to less than 25% in other parts of the United States. Still, one in four who signed up didn't make it for the many reasons we're all familiar. The other three out of four lost a combined nearly 5000 pounds in two short months. Some lost a bunch, some a little---it all added up to the most successful “Lose To Win” program in the history of the eighty hospital CHS medical group. Here's an excerpt from exactly one year and over 120 pounds ago:

Some of the things that kept me going: My motivating thoughts were key in the beginning, they're still key everyday. I constantly thought about the importance of what I was doing. To me, at over 500 pounds, it was a life or early death decision. Maybe it isn't that dramatic for you, perhaps you need to lose 20 to 30 pounds. Even with smaller amounts, you have to make the importance level and the motivation almost over-dramatic. If you don't, it's too easy to say “Oh well, it's not that big of a deal.” You need to make it a big deal. Since I decided that I would change my entire outlook and approach to food, I knew there was nothing that I couldn't have if I wanted it, as long as it fit in my calorie budget for that day. This dynamic made it impossible for me to feel deprived. If I didn't have enough calories to enjoy that chili dog today, perhaps I can work it in tomorrow. If I really wanted a candy bar, or some kind of chocolate, then I could eat it, as long as the calories were added to that days total. Using my calories “like cash” forces me to think about my choices. Everyday I get 1,500 brand new calories to spend. I have to make good “calorie value” choices throughout the day to make sure my allotment for that day is enough to tuck me in at night without wanting of any kind.

This approach was a revolutionary change for me from past attempts at losing weight. I was talking to Brandon, one of my teammates for this challenge, during our team meeting tonight. He describes eating habits exactly like I had for so many years. He mentioned how no matter how good he was on track, he was always just one double cheeseburger or stressful day away from wrecking the whole thing. Just one. I was like that too! One taste of what I was missing, or the slightest hint of stress and bam! It would be like a shark tasting blood in the water, I would immediately be done, no matter the progress I'd worked so hard to achieve, I was eating everything in sight after a taste of my old cravings, ways, and emotional habits.

This dysfunctional pattern is what wrecked my impressive run in 2004 when I lost 115 pounds. Maybe you've read about it in the early archives of this blog. We had lost well over 200 pounds as a family, I had lost 115 before we decided on a little “before school starts” vacation to Kansas City. On the way out of town we discussed our strategy on vacation eating. Our strategy? Oh, uh, well....we didn't really have one. We all agreed that calorie counting and watching what we were eating was not going to be a part of our trip. That entire trip we ate whatever, whenever, and how much ever we wanted without regard to calories or the potential effects on our amazing progress. When the week was over, we never could find our “plan.” I think we left it somewhere between the concession stands at Kaufman (Royals) Stadium and the endless, hot, breakfast buffet at our hotel. Wherever we lost it, it was gone. Actually, I think it blew out of the window of our vehicle a few miles from home, somewhere along Highway 60, before we ever even reached I-35.

And quickly, without exercise and portion control, the weight we had worked so hard to lose came back, and then some. You see, we weren't learning along the way. We didn't realize how important it was to really change the way we look at portions and food choices. All we were doing back then was what we knew would make us lose weight: We were eating less and exercising, but doing it without changing our minds and bad food habits. We were just suppressing those excessive bad habits long enough to achieve short term results. I don't know about you, but for me, I never want to see 400 pounds again, and 500? Forget it, never my friend, never, ever again will I abuse myself like that. That's why it's paramount to your long term success to really take advantage of the information and resources made available during this program. Don't just go through the motions needed for a temporary change, get into your brain, and re-program the way you approach food choices and portions.

Read the information provided in the “Lose To Win” folder, make attending the seminars vitally important, and while you're there, listen like you're getting all the correct answers to the most important exam of your life. Develop and hold tight to your “motivating thoughts.” Is it “I want to lose 20 pounds so I can fit into my skinny jeans?” or maybe “I want to lower my blood pressure and dramatically improve my cholesterol and overall health,” or maybe you're like me... “I want to live long enough to grow old,” “I want to influence my future grandkids,” “I want to dramatically improve my marriage,” “I want to be able to enjoy life.” “I just want to be alive.” I know it sounds dramatic, but dog-gone-it, it is! And no matter the level of your motivating thoughts, they all have equal importance. Make them your passion. Embrace them at the risk of eye rolls from your friends and associates. Make this the most important thing you've ever done in life, no matter if it's 20 pounds or two hundred pounds.

If you do that, and you embrace your motivators, and you realize that these mental exercises are just as important as the physical, then I guess I'll be seeing you at the “Lose To Win” awards ceremony in May. As a winner or just another participant cheering you to the podium, I'll be there...You can count on that. Remember, until you commit to the mental workouts that keep you from tripping, along side the physical ones, you're just going through the motions...and that can be completely destroyed, sometimes by something as small as a single solitary double cheeseburger. You can do this.

OK, uh...that was really long. But the message is vitally important for our success. Anyway---where were we?

I did take a nap---this time it was controlled! I bounced up this evening and headed to the YMCA for a round of upper body weight training and cardio. It felt so good to lift those weights and feel the burn of muscle failure. This is where they get the term “getting ripped,” I'm pretty sure. I did my circuit training on the machines and then found an available treadmill. I was so entranced in my music that I hardly noticed the Biggest Loser on the TV or all of the people working out around me. It was packed, I know that, but I was in my own little world. It's that place where I close my eyes and envision victory in so many different ways.

I came home and enjoyed a late supper, some whole wheat spaghetti with all natural marinara, just a serving. Then it was a little TV, some phone calls to friends and family, and not long after—I was dropping in bed.

My mom told me about her mile walk and her perfect calorie budget today. I'm so happy for her. Finally, after years of struggling, she's understanding the very real simplicity of this road. It doesn't have to be a struggle anymore. It really doesn't!

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,


  1. Sean,
    It is as if you were speaking to me and only me in every one of your posts including today's.
    And of course I am certain that you make every single one of us reading your posts feel that way. That is your talent, your magic, your gift. You make us all feel understood and accepted as we are, yet invited and challenged to do so much better for ourselves. And I believe that you truly are speaking to each one of us individually, in your heart ... from your heart to ours.
    I don't know if any of that even makes any sense, the way that I said it. But that is just the feeling I get from reading everything you write, explained as best as I was able to just now.
    Diet Buddy Girl
    P.S. Thank you for your comments on our blog. It means so much to both Tina and me.

  2. Awesome post babe....I'm running out the door to the gym but I'll call you later tonight...I've got to update you on "the situation". :)

  3. "Don't be the one that doesn't make it". In October, I searched out 270 active weight loss blogs. 99 Posted their weight in November. By the end of February, only 19 were left who had posted a loss each month. Today, it's down to 16. You're one of them.

  4. Nearly cried when I read:
    "We were just suppressing those excessive bad habits long enough to achieve short term results."
    "Don't just go through the motions needed for a temporary change, get into your brain, and re-program the way you approach food choices and portions. "

    Thank you for your insight and sharing.

  5. What a really great post!!! I learn so much from reading here.

  6. Sean,

    What Jana said is so true. You truly have the gift of "speaking" to everyone. I love it!

    Wish I could comment on every single sentence you wrote.. hey that would be a great blog idea... "comments about Seans blog!" Seriously though.. it's so thought provoking!

    Everything: the fat (sad) pics, the trigger foods, actually MAKING changes, regained weight... these are all such important issues in this journey of health.

    Thanks again!

    I see you walking alongside me everyday.

    Diet Buddy Girl

    ps. I've also found it super inspiring how you manage to fit in exercise even when it seems like there is no time.

  7. i so luuuv your writing!! it's what i call potenta :)

    do you have any other blogs??

  8. I do all this hard work figuring out stuff only to find there are gems like you who have already figured it out and are making it work. Thanks for the "common but often forgotten sense "recap, great reading!


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