Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 554 Come Monday It'll Be All Right, Seating Arrangements, and Time Revisited

Day 554

Come Monday It’ll Be All Right, Seating Arrangements, and Time Revisited

Monday mornings…hmmm. They can really set the tone for our week. It’s the beginning, a fresh start, “starting Monday, things are going to be different!” I must have used that phrase a hundred times before it stuck on Monday September 15th, 2008. I know that my Monday morning attitude is crucial to the success of my week. It’s time to buckle down, it’s time to finish strong, it’s time to feel good about where we’re headed. It’s time to get organized in that direction! It’s Monday. It’s time to make it a good one.

Yesterday I talked about the importance of a sense of humor and then I used a long excerpt from Day 8, talking about chair breaking---and my worst experience in chair breaking. I honestly don’t think breaking chairs is funny, it’s not. Chad sent me an e-mail last night, a rather disgusted tone of an e-mail:

Sean, I’m sorry but I can’t find a single thing funny about breaking chairs. In an interview, at an event with family and friends, or alone. It’s never funny, only humiliating and sad. I normally agree with everything you write, but not today. I’m disappointed. --Chad

Chad my friend, I’ve destroyed over a dozen chairs in my life. Some in public, and I fully understand what you’re saying. It’s always embarrassing, humiliating, and extremely sad. I don’t find it funny. What I found funny was the circumstances surrounding that job interview chair breaking incident. It was the worst possible time for me to have a chair give, and that wasn’t the funny part. The funny part was something I can’t describe well. It was the program director’s reaction and his offering me an identical chair instead. It’s been seven years since that happened, so maybe time has made it easier for me to laugh. But I certainly understand how you wouldn’t find it the least bit funny. I’ve dreamed of sitting in chairs without worry my entire life. And after losing the first 245 pounds, I can sit basically anywhere I need—It’s a dream come true. Chad, you’re on your way to this place too, and I can’t wait to welcome you!

It’s amazing how much I would stress over seating arrangements. At over 500 pounds, it totally consumed me. If we were headed to a get together of some sort---it was on my mind. If someone suggested a restaurant we had never tried—Oh my…I would ask Irene “what do I do if the seating is too small?” “We’ll ask for a chair, don’t worry.” “Yeah but, what if the chair has arms?” “What if all they have are fixed booths and no chairs?” “I can’t fit in a booth without doing internal damage!” It was a horrible routine that I repeated over and over---for more than twenty years. It quickly became an unspoken dilemma---it was just understood among family and friends: Don’t pick a place where Sean will be uncomfortable. Restaurants with easy and sturdy seating became our favorite places. Imagine that, a restaurant becoming your favorite---not because of the food, but because of their seating arrangement. I give thanks that those days are over for me. But I’ll never forget how horribly consuming and painful those experiences were to my family and me. They were anything but funny.

I decided to be more aware of my water consumption today. I consumed more than enough! It’s one thing to say “Oh, I know I need to drink more water,” and another to actually do it. I did today, now---we’ll try it again tomorrow. It’s amazing to me, that after a year and a half on this road, I still struggle with the basic fundamentals of weight loss success. It certainly proves that you don’t have to be perfect to have success. I’ve been far from perfect this entire trip!

I also decided that I would workout today in a fashion that would make me feel good about my performance. I’ve had way too many workouts recently that were less than good. Anything is better than nothing, but it’s also easy to let that statement become a rationale for not giving it my all. My workout tonight at the YMCA was fantastic! I did the weight machines and the treadmill afterward. I control the level of my workout---when I want to push it, I can by simply making myself jog a little more. I can walk all day long, I can’t jog all day long. Nothing gets my heart rate up like a good jog. The sweat confirmed---I was working it good and hard tonight. I needed that.

I was reading Day 189 today, and once again---I needed to read it. It was all about time---and it’s role in this weight loss journey. Time has the easiest job…it just keeps on keeping on. That’s it. Here’s an excerpt from exactly one year ago today:

I've always been rather impatient. I'm a “I want it now” kind of guy. This naturally impatient attitude has discouraged me during past weight loss attempts because the time that's required to get down to a normal weight seems so overwhelming. I guess until now I never really thought about the multitude of rewards and victories along the way. I always focused on the total amount I needed to lose, then I would look at the calendar and get discouraged. 'This is going to take forever,' I thought. Then someone would chime in with the popular “you didn't grow to over 500 pounds overnight, you can't lose it overnight either.” Of course then I would day dream for twenty minutes about how cool that would be, if we could actually lose it over night. On second thought that might be kind of scary. Too much too soon kind of thing. It's crazy that I let myself get discouraged over the time it takes to lose weight naturally. Because a year later I'd still be over 500 pounds. And that's exactly the point I had to convince myself. Time doesn't really care what we do. Time keeps moving right along like clockwork, uh, it is clockwork. No matter what we do in the next twelve months, good or bad, it's still going to be March 22, 2010 in one year.

Time is a constant, that's a pretty simple statement. But it's one I really had to wrap myself around. I had to dig deep to battle my impatient personality. I finally realized that I really needed to forget about time. Time doesn't need me to worry about it, it'll keep moving right along without any help or hindrance. Instead of focusing on how much time it's going to take, I had to focus on what I needed to do each day to succeed. And then when I do take the time to notice the time, I'm happy with the progress I've made and continue to make. It's day 189 by golly, 189! I've lost over 131 pounds! That's almost three quarters of a pound a day! You can tell that I don't really pay much attention to time because on March 15th's blog I didn't mention the fact that it was exactly the sixth month mark of this journey. It totally escaped me.

Will it take a year total to reach my goal? Maybe it takes another year from now? Who cares! I'll be there when I get there, then I'll look at the clock and marvel at how far I've come in such a relatively short time. I didn't grow to over 500 pounds in a year or a year and a half, but I can get to my ideal weight in that time? I guess time really is on my side huh? We've all been in a situation where we were watching the seconds tick by on a clock conveniently positioned near our face. Maybe you were in class, or in a doctors office, or at work. When you constantly focus on the clock it can feel like forever! That's why I don't. Time will do it's thing, and I'll do mine, we'll meet up later in a triumphant celebration of accomplishment.

I was alone tonight for dinner. I prepared a chicken breast and a can of Progresso Light French Onion soup. I enjoyed a 110-calorie Blue Bunny low-fat ice cream bar for desert. It was good! When I realized I still had over 150 calories remaining for the day, I whipped up a couple of scrambled eggs with mushrooms and salsa.

After dinner, I organized my thoughts for the speaking event I’m doing on Thursday. I can talk all day long about weight loss, but these people deserve a clear beginning, middle, and end. It’s a lot like organizing a stand-up routine, just less scripted---and a thousand times more real and satisfying for me. I’ll be sure to include the size 64 jeans too! Those always get “wow” reactions. Glad I kept that one pair.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,


  1. Good choice on increasing the water consumption today! Keep on keeping on. I have chosen to bring my gym bag with me tonight and I'm going to act as if I belong in the gym again! LOL

  2. About finding humor around painful situations: I think it depends upon your perspective. Whether or not we are looking at it from BEFORE, while we are still struggling and haven't made progress... or from AFTER that turning point, when we know we will make it, and are changing and have that hope and excitement.

    As you know, our perspective colors everything we look at... I can look back NOW and find the humor surrounding some events that happened to me, whereas before all I could see and feel was just the painful part.

    Yes, when we are still in the midst of it, it is deeply painful, and it's hard to believe that someday we would find humor around that event... but it's true. Finally making progress on this journey has a healing effect on our past, the way we interpret it. At least it has for me... and I hope Chad has wonderful success, too, on his journey.


  3. Interesting how you said you stressed over seating arrangements. I have a brother who is probably 150-200 lbs. overweight and lives out of the area. Whenever he visits, my family stresses over where and how to seat him. Not because we care about anything other than wanting him to be comfortable. We want him to lose weight, of course, but most of all we love him and want him to not be so uncomfortable that he won't come visit. Would I like him to be uncomfortable enough to lose weight? Yes!! But as you've said over and over it has to be his decision.

  4. Everyone belongs in the gym. And breaking chairs *is* funny. Keep up the good work Sean.

  5. I can see the humor in what you were talking about...

  6. The chair thing is funny, unless you own the chair.

  7. I can see it both ways...like loretta said...
    I can almost see the guys face when you broke the chair, and quite frankly the stupidity of offering you an identical chair is hysterical.
    On the other hand, I watched my brother in law break a chair once.
    He was humiliated.
    I was at least one hundred pounds overweight at the time and at that moment, felt glad that it wasn't me while feeling horrible for him.
    You don't know if you should make a joke to lighten the mood, pretend you didn't see it..or what.
    You have to deal with life in your own way.
    Laughter has always worked for me too.
    Keep laughing sean, you'll live longer.


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