Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 652 It's The Small Things, Confronting Issues, and The Only Photo-Shopped Picture of Me You'll Find

Day 652

It's The Small Things, Confronting Issues, and The Only Photo-Shopped Picture of Me You'll Find

There really isn't much time for error in my schedule and routine on any given Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday for the next four weeks. With an increased summer load of radio responsibilities and play rehearsal at 7pm each of these nights, I'm loaded right now. But--I'm staying in a very positive place mentally. This hectic schedule is my own doing, and more important to remember---it's temporary.

As long as I get to sleep at a decent hour, eat well, and exercise as much as I can---especially from Thursday to Sunday, I'm cool. I also make sure to stop and notice the little wonderful things a transformation like yours and mine reveals. I was reminded about some of these things from my writings a year and nearly 90 pounds ago:

I notice the small things a bunch these days. Like the bones in my hands. I can see them! Even the tendons in my feet are starting to show. Well, I don't actually see them, I just see the outline of them. My biceps, as puny as they are right now, they show through. If I hold my leg just right, I can see the outline of my leg muscles. I'm easily entertained. The girls like to watch movies for entertainment, I just need a bathroom with a big mirror. That's entertainment enough for me right now. Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not full of myself or anything, I'm not...far from it, but I love marveling at the physical changes in me.

I love my dimples that have been hidden since I was a kid. I love looking straight ahead at a mirror and actually seeing both of my ears. My eyes look bigger. Not freaky bigger, just bigger...more prominent a feature of my face. Less face, same eyes...makes sense. I like sitting on the couch and folding one of my legs up. I couldn't do that before. I'm still not at the point where I can cross my legs, but you just wait, I'll be a leg crosser someday. I'll sit there and rest my hand on my shoe, as a way to say, “check this out, I'm a leg crosser.” I'm still not a tucker. I've never been a shirt tucker. If a job required my shirt to be tucked, I would walk. Lucky for me I haven't ever worked somewhere like that. I know the owner of our radio stations reads this blog, I'm sure we'll get a memo tomorrow mandating that all shirts be tucked in at all times. He has a fun sense of humor. As much as I've developed and evolved along this journey, it's still hard to imagine a shirt tucking-leg crossing version of me. But that's where I'm headed. A leg crossing, shirt tucking, slim trim, neat, well groomed kind of a guy. I'm so impatient. I wanna see those “after” pictures! Those pictures are going to blow all the previous “in progress” pics out of the water!

That was a fun little trip back in time. And speaking of pictures...My photos are never photo shopped in any way, shape, or form. Seriously? I opened an e-mail today from a guy who suggested that I doctored my shots. I think he was being funny--his way of complimenting my transformation, by questioning the possibility of it all. Very funny. There's only been one picture that has appeared on this blog that may have been trimmed up a little, and it wasn't one that I had any control over. It was my program photo for the play "Call Me Henry" last year. But what's cool is this: The last nearly 50 pounds lost has caught up and in my opinion, passed whatever touch-ups the graphic artist may have given me. You know how cool that is? I sincerely hope I'm not coming off as full of myself---I'm not anywhere close to being that way, I'm way too insecure for that attitude to survive very long. I'm just saying, (thanks Kenz--I can't help it)...anyway, just saying...Isn't it cool to have the power to transform to better than photo-shopped? You have it too, so do I---we have the power to transform. We choose, we decide. I love this.

Play rehearsal tonight was a real challenge for me. I put on a single pull over collared Golf shirt, khakis, and casual dress shoes. I kept looking in the mirror, unsure if I could handle what my brain was telling me---and trying to believe my eyes instead. The truth is simple, I looked fine--maybe good even. But I still felt horribly out of my comfort zone. But this is exactly why I put on the outfit. I'm trying desperately to change these crazy self-image hang-ups---it's ridiculous for me to torture myself. WHO CARES. So what, I'm not perfect---I don't have to be!!!! I'm absolutely amazing just the way I am!!!! Don't erase that last sentence Sean---come on, leave it---and even better, believe it Mr. Anderson! OK--now I'm writing to myself. Oh dear...

One thing I've learned among the many things, is really simple---but imperative. You can't beat something by ignoring it. You can't win at this losing game if you choose to ignore your real issues with food. You can't change your self-image problems if you don't face them head-on. And that's what I did tonight, and the other day in Stillwater---and any day I leave the house without an over-shirt and jeans that fit a little too loose. Does it matter what I wear? Not really, honestly---it doesn't. But overcoming my negative perception of myself is absolutely necessary along this transformation road. Without it, I can't fully appreciate and enjoy my success.

Once again, I squeezed in a nap before play rehearsal tonight---and I finally made it home around 10pm. And once again I didn't workout. But like I said earlier---I'm OK, and you better believe---Thursday to Sundays for the next four weeks will be my workout days. I'm not even going to attempt anything else. I'll do what I can, when I can---and I'll be happy, healthy, and better. Everything is better these days. Better...I like that word.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

The program page for "Call Me Henry." Nearly 50 pounds ago. This is the only picture that may have been photo shopped on this blog.

Recent, with Uncle Keith--my mom's brother

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 651 To Nap Or Not To Nap and Rockin' a 159 Cholesterol Reading

Day 651

To Nap Or Not To Nap and Rockin' a 159 Cholesterol Reading

This morning was well paced and on track for a wonderful Monday. My calorie budget was in excellent shape by mid-afternoon, but I was tired. I had play rehearsal at 7pm, so a decision had to be made. Do I take an afternoon nap before play rehearsal or do I skip the nap, go to spinning class, then race over to play rehearsal? This is where I realize that I must take a nap. Getting up at 4am would leave me tired, even without potential sleep apnea complications, and I needed to be alert for play rehearsal. I made the decision to nap instead of spin. I would love to report that I did it all, but I just can't. I have before, pushed myself into a crazy schedule, but no---there's no reason to push that hard. I really had zero business taking on an acting project right now, and I know this, but I did---and I will give it my all. This part of my schedule is only active until July 30th. Then, no more acting for awhile!

Don't get me wrong, I love acting, it's just that there's so much I want and need to do personally and professionally, and these are also things very important to me. There's just not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

I'll be going to the doctor on Wednesday for counsel on my sleep apnea question. I must find out if I'm really still affected. If so, I'll refuse to sleep without my CPAP machine. I'm OK with it either way. Yes, I was hoping that I could truly be done with sleep apnea, thanks to this dramatic weight loss, but if that's not the case--it's fine, completely.

I received my cholesterol numbers from my last blood donation visit and the number is even better than before. My non-fasting overall cholesterol was 170 a few months ago, now--it's 159! Just to re-cap--my blood pressure on my last donation day was 120/78, and my cholesterol was 159. I'm beside myself thrilled with those numbers. So this is what it feels like? Awesome, absolutely.

Play rehearsal tonight was really good. I have a much more confident stage presence now, even more than last years production of "Call Me Henry." I'm more than 50 pounds lighter than when I started that play---and it shows in my movements and overall feel on stage. It's a very good feeling indeed. I was so completely consumed with insecurities while doing that first play. Now, I may still be slightly insecure, but I'm way ahead of where I was back then. Just like everything else along this transformation road, it becomes easier.

I had a few errands with Amber to accomplish after rehearsal. It put me back home really late, and despite my resolution to be headed for sleepy town by 11pm, I didn't quite make it. But despite the late night, I was so happy and feeling just incredible. It was a good evening indeed.

July 8th is the tentative date for the AOL story release. If that changes, I'll let you know of course! I'm excited! It's a first for me. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 650 Morbidly Obese Dreams, Envy--Gone and A 5K With Jeff

Day 650

Morbidly Obese Dreams, Envy--Gone and A 5K With Jeff

I wasn't able to find my old CPAP mask last night. I found everything else, but no mask. I slept really well anyway. A full nights sleep, more than 8 hours! I felt rested and alive. I didn't notice any sleep apnea symptoms, but I'll be watching---and making a doctors appointment this week for a professional opinion. Really, that's the smartest thing to do. Losing my extra pillow really seemed to help.

I was up and drinking coffee, then I started writing. I wasn't the least bit hungry for whatever reason, but I decided to help out my metabolism with a very nice three egg-white, leftover barbecue chicken, and mushroom omelet. I enjoyed a banana not long after, and my day was off and running.

I've written recently how I've finally discovered me, embraced me---the Sean I always knew I was, completely accepting and loving myself, dropping the self-defense mechanism that meant not being myself. I was constantly pretending to love 505 Sean, and constantly looking for acceptance and love in return--despite what my mind told me I was: An un-lovable mountain of a morbidly obese man. I do realize now that I was loved and loveable, even at my heaviest. I didn't need to spend so much time chasing acceptance from the masses. I go back to my stand-up days to find the biggest example of this pursuit. In reading the following, I've concluded that I owe Jimmy Kimmel a big thank you for making me realize that I was tired of being "the funny fat guy." That wasn't me. The real me was trapped inside that miserable existence. From June 29th, 2009--almost a year ago--Here's another excerpt within an excerpt:

When I think about how my dreams have evolved over the years, I think about how I used to make my dreams revolve around me being morbidly obese. I couldn't really imagine losing the weight, so if I was still going to dream, it had to be as a morbidly obese person. I pursued my comedy dreams as a morbidly obese funny guy, and surprisingly found a certain level of professional acceptance. But I wasn't comfortable being that guy. I didn't want to be the funny fat guy. Most of my material was self-deprecating. I remember several shows where an overweight person would come up to me and ask me to stop being so mean to myself. But I was hooked by the laughter of 399 others in the room that night. It was acceptance. It was a feeling of being loved despite my appearance, and actually loved because of it! I was addicted. It was a powerful thing.

When I started, I would drive four and a half hours to Dallas for five minutes of unpaid stage time. I drove to Tulsa and Oklahoma City twice a week for unpaid stage time. I wanted the rush of making those people laugh. I didn't care if I wasn't getting paid...I was paying my dues, even if it was at the expense of my family. If we could barely afford groceries that week, I would still take the money to get me to that next comedy show. I craved that love from audiences while ignoring the love from my family.

When I started getting paid to perform, it was never enough to justify the extreme cost. But I was always dreaming of that big break on the horizon. That's what would save everything. When I “made it” to Hollywood and was asked to be a host comic at the Hollywood Improv, you would think that would have been the big time. It wasn't. I was sharing the stage with big name comics, I felt real important, but you see, The Hollywood Improv is a showcase club. When you're on that stage, anything can happen. It's like you owe them for allowing you to perform there. As a host comic I was paid $35.00 per show. It was a showcase club, I was lucky to get that. It does pay off for some. But usually for the ones who are truly comfortable with who they are as a person and a comic.

BJ Novak was a relatively unknown comic at the Improv around the same time as me, eventually the executive producer of a new NBC show caught his act there and offered him a part on a show. That show was “The Office.” BJ was very comfortable, very natural, and himself on stage. I was forcing myself to be something I really didn't want to be. I was addicted to being mean to myself, being a bully to myself, for the sake of laughs and acceptance. The breakthrough for me in realizing this unhealthy addiction came while filming a segment for Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The following is an excerpt from Day 18 of this blog:

The bit was produced about an hour before the “live” broadcast, and it wasn't long into the shoot when the director told me that Jimmy wanted me to really put on some womens undergarments so they could photograph it and then make it look like an x-ray image during the bit. This was never mentioned beforehand, and despite the fact that I was so excited to get to hang out and be a part of this show, I told them flat out NO! I said “If that's what I have to do here than I'll just leave now”. The director and segment producer left to consult with Jimmy somewhere backstage, and after what seemed like 10 minutes, they came back and told me that they would use one of their overweight production assistants as a stand-in. I would still be in the bit, but this poor guy would have to be the one they take the fake x-ray picture of in panties and a bra. He was happy to do it, and I was happy to still be in the bit. But I certainly realized that I wasn't one bit comfortable as the “big fat guy”.

I didn't want to be that guy. I never have wanted to be that guy. After that initial appearance they called me several times to do other “let's laugh at the fat guy” type bits. One was a take off of the TV show “The Bachelor” called “The Fatchelor”...and I wasn't in town to do it. I'm glad I wasn't. They ended up using that same overweight production assistant...and I bet he was thrilled!

I want to be that slim, neat looking, in shape, well dressed guy. That's what I dream of being, even if Jimmy Kimmel doesn't think it's as funny! I wasn't in town to do anything else for the Kimmel show, because I packed up and headed back home just a few days after that appearance. I was done trying to make myself feel accepted and loved as the fat guy. My addiction to that rush was over. I had my family's love waiting back in Oklahoma. It was there the entire time. My days of making my obesity a part of my dreams ended on that hot June day in 2003.

When the clarity of this journey started coming about, all of a sudden I started dreaming as a thin and healthy individual. It's so much better. I don't have to be anything I don't want to be ever again. I can be my true self once and for all.

A foot-note to all of that. BJ recently starred alongside Brad Pitt in the Tarantino film "Inglorious Basterds." I'm pretty sure he doesn't complain about the $35 per show check at the Hollywood Improv. Honestly, I used to see the success enjoyed by BJ and a few others in my comedy "class," and I would feel a very real envy---a quiet jealously masked with a smile and a few proud words of "I knew them when." But the more I think about it, the more I realize something very important: Good thing I didn't get that massive break that most comics look for on that stage, not like I was. I wasn't the real me, but I was a good enough actor to fool the audiences---but I never fooled myself, not really. Today, when I see an old comedy buddy on TV or the big screen--I feel genuine happiness for them, gone are the green tinted emotions...because they're being who they really are. And I'm finally being who I really am...and it's an amazingly beautiful feeling.

Before leaving for Stillwater this afternoon, I updated my status on facebook, inviting any of my Stillwater facebook friends to join me for an evening 5K at Boomer Lake. I was pleasantly surprised to have a message not long after, from my childhood best friend Jeff. Jeff was a next door neighbor to my grandparents on Walnut Street. I met Jeff at four years old and we grew up together on that street. Isn't facebook amazing like that? I called Jeff and told him I would be visiting with family first, but would love to do the 5K with him later.

My Aunt Jean and Uncle Sig traveled down from their home in Michigan, on their way to California to visit their son. They're staying at mom's for a week. They haven't laid eyes on me, except maybe for blog photos, since early last fall. I walked in this afternoon and was greeted with hugs from Aunt Jean and "Oh, you're much smaller." Uncle Sig just looked at me and smiled. He was convinced I would never do this. I spent years telling him "the next time you see me I'll look drastically different," so it feels incredibly amazing to finally make good on that proclamation. His smile said it all. Look at you, look amazing---he didn't say it, he just smiled it. And that was good enough for me. I know that his concern was always for my health, and he looked genuinely proud. We visited, enjoyed some of Uncle Sig's bean soup and some ham sandwiches, plus I brought some extra fruit. It was good, fantastic really, a nice laid back visit. At 7pm, I changed into my 5K clothes and said my goodbyes for the evening. I'll go back sometime this week before they resume their travels West.

I normally don't visit while I walk/jog, but I asked for it tonight---and I enjoyed every minute of my time with Jeff. We actually kept a decent pace, although I didn't officially jog. We talked about the old days the entire time. It was very cool. By the time it was over---we were both covered in sweat. It had rained earlier and the humidy was really really, it was a decent workout and a great visit.

I'm really getting back into the swing of things in the workout department. Spinning class on Friday and two 5K's over the weekend---now if I can get a spinning class complete on Monday evening, we'll really be on a roll!!

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

My dinner tonight. Not pictured: My 3/4 cup of Uncle Sig's Incredible Bean Soup

With my childhood best friend Jeff---right after our 5K at Boomer Lake

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 649 Feeling Good About Me and Courtney Knew From The Very Start

Day 649

Feeling Good About Me and Courtney Knew From The Very Start

This has been a much needed day of total rest and relaxation. I've cooked, visited with a friend, spent some time with Amber tonight, napped, worked out with a nice 5K in the park. Yeah, it's been nice.

I've done a bunch of thinking today, and I'm very happy where I am and where I'm headed. I'm very comfortable and confident, like never before. It's a relaxed feeling, free of "what if?" and "wish I would have done that." I know there's a lot of work to do to get where I dream of being, but now---it doesn't seem impossible or even the slightest bit difficult. It's just me. And maybe this transformation has finally allowed me to accept me, and understand me, and feel good about me. I like me, scratch that, love me--for maybe the first time in my life. Deep, I know...but these are things I think about when I make time to just relax and think about my life.

After a banana and a bowl of fresh strawberries for breakfast, I decided on trying something different for lunch. I found a bag of frozen veggies and some shrimp, and even though the veggies were of a variety I normally don't eat (zucchini and some similar plant), I gave it all a whirl in the pan with some butter. Yes, real butter. Without the butter it would have been 100 calories at the most, but since I sauteed everything in pure butter, even though I drained the butter before putting anything on my plate, I counted it as 300 calories. It was good, very good...and those veggies I normally don't eat, yeah---not bad at all. Good, actually. I need to try this dish again with just a dab of olive oil in a wok, instead of a frying pan. I need to buy a wok first.

We were having a traditional summer time cookout a year ago today. It was the day I discovered the 40 calorie hot dog. From June 26th, 2009:

Food and calorie budgeting were really good today. I found some all beef fat free hot dogs that check in at only 40 calories each! Now just to be clear, my philosophy has been clearly explained before in these writings, about how I feel when it comes to fat free products: I'd rather have a little of the full fat version than a bunch of the fat free version. Let's be honest, fat taste great! But when it comes to grilling dogs and burgers, the less fat the lower the calories, and that works better for our calorie budgets. The leanest hamburger still taste great off the grill, but hot dogs---well, I just didn't know. But I was willing to give them a fair shake. A regular hot dog with bun, depending on brands, can have anywhere from 230 to a whopping 320 calories! But a fat free dog on a bun with mustard checks in at a very nice 150. Big difference. I had a lean burger with onions and mustard and a hot dog with mustard and stayed within my calorie budget easily. It was a whole lot more bread than I normally eat, but hey, we were cooking out dogs and burgers, there's going to be buns! We have cut down tremendously on bread.

Of course, with our philosophy, nothing is off limits...however, we decide on our choices based on calorie values, if it's not a good value, we choose something else, or a lighter version, or a considerably smaller portion. With this way of thinking and deciding, we've naturally cut out most breads, sweets, and a variety of empty calories that we always consumed before without a care. We also consume much less cheese. I've split one cheese slice four ways before...yep, 15 calorie squares of American, and nobody complained. I even had enough calories remaining to enjoy a junior frozen yogurt soft serve from Braums Ice Cream and Dairy Store. It was a wonderful day!

That excerpt gives you an idea of the kind of calorie budget maneuvers that have made this journey of learning so natural to handle. By the way---I've since concluded that fat free hot dogs are great, but not on the grill---they must get the hot water treatment, and then they taste absolutely amazing!

After finishing the AOL interview last night, I sat and wondered if I communicated effectively---I always do this to myself. I know I did, so why do I stress? I have to accept that it's impossible to convey every thought, philosophy, emotion, and action that goes into a complete transformation. It'll be fine--and I'm not doing it over. It's done. One of the questions sent me racing back into the archives---even into the myspace version (I stopped posting this blog on myspace after Day 378) to find the best comments ever. I found one from Amber on Day 2 and one from Courtney on Day 3. Both were wonderful and mean the world to me. Part of Courtney's comment revealed to me that the differences between this weight loss attempt and every other were very noticeable from the very beginning. Courtney said: "... you seem to be in the total right mind set. And I'm VERY proud of you daddy, I know we've been saying we need to lose weight for quite sometime, but this time it's just different..." She recognized the difference on Day 3---she knew, there was something special about this time. This time, it was for real and for keeps.

Dinner tonight was amazing. The menu: Oven baked barbecue chicken breast, cheesy potatoes, and green beans. It was delightful, full of flavor, and a very nice way to spend 450 calories. See the picture below!

I completed a 5K walk/jog tonight, mostly walking fast. With the humidity, it felt like a really good workout. I was sweating heavily even before the first mile was complete. Once again I didn't take my iPod. Just the sounds of nature, people playing tennis (something I've talked about doing---and really plan on doing someday), and the crowd watching the fire dancers in the park. The what? Yeah, fire dancers! It looked like something you would see in Hawaii...two people twirling flaming torches in what appeared to be a very choreographed display. It was interesting indeed.

I wasn't able to find my old CPAP mask for tonight's experiment. I found an old machine, the tubing, the power supply---everything but the mask. Hmmmm...I was so sure I'd never need it again--I may have thrown the mask away. As of this writing--I can tell you: I ditched a big pillow, opting instead to go with a single pillow---and it made an amazing difference. I slept beautifully, waking without any sleep apnea symptoms. But I'm still going to the doctor. I have too much knowledge about the horrible consequences of untreated sleep apnea to not visit a doctor for a professional evaluation.

I'll be headed to Stillwater tomorrow to visit with the family. Aunt Kelli's birthday was today. I called and wished her a happy birthday and told her I would see her Sunday. Aunt Jean and Uncle Sig are in town for a week long visit, so I'll get to see them too! That will be fun. They've never seen me this small, well--since I was a kid at least.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Shrimp and veggies lunch dish. Too much butter! Next time, a touch of olive oil---it was very good!

This was dinner---oh so good! No cheese on the green beans---would have been too much. I already had cheese on the potatoes!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 648 Getting Back To Me, Reader Questions, and A Long But Necessary Excerpt

Day 648

Getting Back To Me, Reader Questions, and A Long But Necessary Excerpt

Finally, a better night's sleep followed by a morning where I get up on time! I still feel a sleep deficit and I plan to rectify that this weekend, but seriously---today had every reason to be a good day. I'm so happy the weekend is here and the schedule is basically clear. I need that.

I'm over the one pound gain thing, really--I was over it yesterday, but I just wanted to clarify: These changes in me are so much bigger than a single negative weigh-in experience. I've made the kind of changes that stick. So, as unsettling as a gain, any gain can be, after such dramatic weight's fine. Because I'm a different person in so many ways. I'll never see 300, 400, or 500 pounds again. And I think that even knowing that, the emotions run high and in the direction of oh no, I'm going in the wrong direction. But I know the truth, and the truth is I've been going in the right direction for 648 days, and I'll continue in the right direction the rest of my life.

I wanted to take a moment and address some comments left on yesterday's post. Lisa offered:

I wonder if you feel the same kind of pressure a celebrity feels at times. With your life being an open book? The pressure not to fail with all eyes on you. I certainly hope not, because I will tell you with 100% certainty, this is the best book I have ever read...and it just gets better:)

Lisa, thank you for the compliment! I don't feel pressure really, but I do feel a certain responsibility, that goes a few notches above the standard accountability factor. I've received numerous e-mails and comments from people over the course of this journey, who say they look up to me, some have even patterned the fundamentals of their journey after mine. That's an incredible honor, especially when they too have tremendous success, but it's a responsibility to be fair and clear about every aspect along the way. I've been an open book, and the strangest thing is running into someone, a stranger, at the grocery store and they say "I've read every single day," and I walk away thinking... wow, they know everything about me and I know nothing about them. But I remind myself how much this diary has changed my life and I think about how people have said it's helped them too, and I realize---OK, maybe it's worth it all. Even the embarrassing parts, and we've had a few of those too... As far as pressure to be "perfect," and I don't think you meant that---but really, I've never been perfect, never will be---so there's no pressure to be anything but what I am. And that's easy.

Carol brought up the excess skin issue:

I haven't been reading all the comments on your posts, so someone else may have already asked this. Have you ever estimated the weight of your excess skin? I mean, suppose you get to your goal weight, then have surgery, and suddenly weigh 15 lbs less? I think you look pretty good at your current weight!

Thank you Carol. Who knows? I'm sure a plastic surgeon could examine me and make a pretty good estimate, but it really doesn't matter at this point. I'm going to be happy and healthy regardless. I'll probably have the skin removal surgery at some point in the future, but it's not something I'm overly concerned about. It would make me feel better about my appearance, absolutely, but I'm slowly trying to accept my smaller size and appreciate my body despite the flaws that remain. How much will the excess skin weigh? I'm guessing between 15 and 20 pounds.

Kimberely offered her experience and concern about my sleep apnea situation:

I have had my machine for over a year now and my life has changed. I could barely make it through the day at work, I was too tired to cook when I got home, I had no energy for exercising. This has all changed for the better and I am no longer on beta blockers for my heart....I sincerely hope you don't experiment with your health and that you go to see a professional.

Kimberely, I'm so happy for you! It is a different world with proper rest. I missed so much of my daughters very young years, because if I wasn't working---I was sleeping. I was always tired and cranky too. Then I had the sleep study and found a new life with my first CPAP machine. I know exactly what you mean---It was a night and day experience. Suddenly I felt awake and well rested. Not at first, it took me a few months to get used to using it and really getting past the contraption part---and into the restful part. I've spent years singing the praises of my CPAP and encouraging others to get tested. When my weight loss seemed to "cure" the need---I started sleeping without it and felt completely rested. I didn't snore at all anymore---I didn't wake with severe oxygen deprivation headaches, I was sleeping like normal for the first time since my teenage years. So I'm puzzled by the sudden onset of sleep apnea symptoms. You give sound advice---this isn't something to mess with, and I will be seeing a doctor soon and we'll go from there. In the meantime, I will try using the machine again---just to see what kind of difference it makes.

I enjoyed a mozzarella cheese omelet this morning, made with two egg whites and one whole egg. The entire thing was 154 calories. I grabbed a banana, pear, and an orange for the rest of the morning, and I was set!

I grabbed my wind pants on the way out the door today, I was planning on hitting the Friday mid-day spinning class and I had to be ready. I wasn't completely positive that my work schedule would allow, but I was able to successfully work it out with my co-worker---and it was on!

I arrived at the YMCA a little later than I wanted. It was ten minutes before class and usually, you need to show up thirty minutes prior to ensure a bike. I was really nervous about missing out, but I had a plan to workout solo, just in case. I walked up to the counter and they know me so well---They know my favorite cycle is number 12, it's in the back corner, and it comforts my silly insecurities. Somehow, by sheer luck, it was available. With a big smile on her face, the young lady at the front desk asked "Do you want number twelve?" She knows it's my favorite. I couldn't believe my good fortune. I quickly changed and made my way to number 12 cycle. I needed this today. It's been way too long since my last class. Frank worked us hard. It was a very different experience and very challenging---and it didn't take long to realize that it had been a while since I last did this. At the half-way point, I fought off a stray thought of cutting it short. I haven't had a thought like that since my very first spinning class. But seriously, that thought passed and I pushed harder, sweating better, and feeling so incredibly good all along the way.

I finally finished my AOL interview! The writer requesting the interview said to "be as detailed as possible," and you know what that means to me. We'll see how much of it ends up on the cutting room floor. I'm just honored to be featured. I'm really excited! Check out the one and only Jack Sh*t, currently featured on AOL's, and be looking for me coming soon! Jack, my friend, very nice job--congrats!

I stayed in tonight. Usually I have something to do on a Friday night, but tonight--nope. I finished that interview, attached the before and current pictures (btw--I used before #1), and spent some time running lines for my role in "Wanda's Visit." It was a nice quiet evening at home that found me in bed relatively early for a Friday night.

Before I wrap this edition, I wanted to post an excerpt from a year ago today. I thought about not posting it, because really---this is long already and this isn't a short excerpt, but I think it's an important excerpt. I hope you feel the same. From June 25th, 2009:

I can't tell you how many times I've heard: “I don't know how you do it,” or “I wish I had will power like that,” and several variations of the same. When somebody says something like that, I completely understand where they are mentally. I lived in that place. I also think to myself oh my, if they could only have seen me at my absolute most out of control state, perhaps they would understand that this isn't a club where they can't join.

I can't go back, so I have to rely on telling stories about how bad it became. I knew that I had some seriously bad food behaviors, but the scary thing wasn't necessarily those things, it was the feeling of I may never be able to control this and survive, I just can't do it. Or so I thought. I not only thought it, I convinced myself that my inability to “get with it” was incurable. I was so lost my friend. I didn't want to hear “it's a lifestyle change.” Because the word “change” meant I might actually have to put forth some effort. I was right at home at the line of least resistance. I lived there.

Oh it was fabulous! The line of least resistance was so easy. You get to eat as much as your body can physically hold and if you have to move, you're either on your way to bed, on the way to the fridge, on the way to a fast food drive thru, or somebody is chasing you. The fear of letting that indulgent lifestyle go was often too much to handle. So I would make excuses, rationalizations to make myself feel better. “Well, I'm addicted, what can I do?” I just wrote a long comment on another blog about the topic of “food addiction.” It is real. But it is beatable.

How? I had to let go of the idea that I was a “victim.” I had to get super honest about my excuses and rationalizations that kept me fat. Have you ever known someone who's been on a plan for years or a member of a support group for years, but still they're significantly overweight? Why? Why isn't it working? Based on my own experience, I would say it's because they haven't completely let go of their addiction to making themselves feel better about their addiction. Make sense?

I was always way too easy on myself. “I'm too stressed,” “I'm too busy,” “I've worked hard, I deserve to cut loose,” “I actually like being fat,” (I recently heard that last one from a friend and co-worker of my wife) “I'll eat all this tonight, but tomorrow I'm right back on track,”---all of these are invalid excuses and rationalizations. Saying things like that will keep us firmly at the line of least resistance. The 100% honesty within me had to identify anything and everything that threatened my success. If it's a thought or action that is counterproductive or potentially damaging to my weight loss goals, I have to stop for a second and evaluate it, then kick it to the curb as I call it what it is...nonsense!

I'm completely finished with excuses and rationalizations that kept me at over 500 pounds for so long. Those days are over. I no longer drink a soda pop because “I haven't had one in so long,” and I no longer eat my weight in fried mushrooms and pizza because “I've done so well, I deserve a reward.” I no longer lie to myself about my motives with food, “I can't start in doing good until after the birthday party next week, you know they'll have cake and ice cream.” What that really means is “I just found another reason to allow myself to continue eating whatever and how-much-ever I want for another week!”

The frustration and the years of tears and struggles are over, all because I decided to empower myself to change, and I did it with a radar continually watching for excuses that make me feel better about making bad choices. Do I still have stress? Yes! Do I still have an extremely busy schedule? Yes! Once these two big excuses were rendered unacceptable, I started moving toward these dramatic changes. You can't say, “Oh Sean—you make it sound so easy---you're just a different breed.” (that's a quote that somebody said to me the other day) NO I'M NOT!

I'm just a guy that had to break this down into a very simple approach. I had to get very real and very honest with myself. I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. I had to stop being the victim. It's not an impossible thing for anyone. You have to believe me, I'm proof.

Told you it was long. Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 647 Weigh Day Gain and Sleep Apnea, Really?

Day 647

Weigh Day Gain and Sleep Apnea, Really?

I often give encouraging words to people who just experienced a weigh-in they didn't like. I tell them about the scale and how our bodies can fluctuate with fluid, “there's no way you gained three pounds of fat overnight!” I've written numerous paragraphs about the mental dynamics of the scale and how it can needlessly frustrate if used too much, how weighing should be an event every two weeks or even less often perhaps, not something that we do obsessively, allowing to frustrate, making this journey harder than it needs to be. I write about it, I speak about it to groups, I offer encouraging words one on one to struggling friends and loved ones, but then...I step on the scale for my bi-monthly weigh-in and find: A one pound gain.

Really? But, uh...really? Yeah but---seriously, let me try again, this time with my socks off. I asked the nurse if it would be OK to strip down right there in the middle of the doctors office, and uh---no, apparently it wasn't. People dis-robe at the doctors all the time, this isn't inappropriate, it's medical science. I would gladly swallow my insecurities, weighing naked, if the scale would show me a loss of some kind. But really, that wouldn't be fair—I always weigh with my clothes on. And just so you know that I'm slightly crazy on weigh day, just like 90% of every other person on this road---I always wear the lightest outfit I can find.

Somehow, my advice about weigh day—and all of that stuff, is much easier to understand when I'm offering it to someone else. When I'm the one needing it, oh well---I feel all of the same negative emotions and really feel like telling myself to stick a sock in it. The truth is simple: For whatever reason, it happens. The list of available excuses is long and valid. Too much sodium, missed too many workouts, not enough sleep, blah, blah, blah...Instead of diving into a discussion of why the scale showed 248 today---I'll simply move forward, doing what I know is right and good. I'll re-focus my workout schedule, because really---wow, I've REALLY let it suffer lately.

I'll continue doing well in the food department—perhaps tweaking my approach a little, maybe adding some calories---buying a digital food scale in the name of accuracy, and simply tightening up my approach. I'll increase my water consumption. Wow—How many times have I said that? What is it with me and water? Water is clearly one of the most important elements in a sound weight loss approach and yet, it's been one of my weak spots. Sure, I've lost nearly 260 pounds anyway—but I know my body would seriously appreciate a little more hydration. Anyway, I'm rambling now...

Bottom line: It's all good. Really, you'll find zero complaints here. I'm so dog-gone fortunate that complaining would be sickening to hear or read. But you must allow me to vent every once in a while, after all, I'm only human---and we do that from time to time. It's healthy, right? I mean, as long as we keep a gentle understanding of where we stand in the big picture, and always appreciate and give thanks for the blessings we enjoy...then, yeah...Hey---a year ago today we had a great weigh day, here's an excerpt from June 23rd, 2009:

Today was weigh day! And everybody here lost weight again! It was a wonderful weigh day indeed! Amber lost 4 pounds, Courtney 6 pounds, Irene lost 3 more pounds, and I lost 7 pounds! I weighed in at 322! 322!!! We're just 17 pounds from the 200 pounds lost mark. I've officially lost a total of 183 pounds so far. 183 pounds gone! No wonder Dylan's grandmother asked me “who are you?” I know who I am...I'm that guy I always knew I could be!

We totally rocked the scales that day. That was fun to remember! OK—moving on...

Oh, and about the reference to Dylan's grandmother not recognizing me---It was the most genuine case of an unrecognizable "wow" reaction. Here's an excerpt about that reaction:

I received one of the best compliments so far on this journey tonight. You see, the last time Dylan's grandmother laid eyes on me, I was over 500 pounds. Tonight we made our way into the back yard and before we could get in, she came out to greet us. She was on the phone, so I stood there and waited for her to finish her conversation. She kept looking at me strangely, like something was wrong. It was dusk, maybe she didn't get a good look at me, even though I was right before her eyes. She asked me “who are you?” and I replied “I'm Courtney's Dad, Sean” She just couldn't believe it! She thought I was some stray friend that Courtney and Amber brought over I guess. “Who are you?” I love it! She was expecting that 500 pound guy, not this. That made my day and night!

Another year has passed since then, perhaps I should visit for another swim sometime soon!

Debbie recently asked about what George Foreman grill she should buy. Debbie--You can't go wrong with the big grill. Any size is good, but if you have the bigger version, (and the prices are so low, why not?) then even if you're not cooking for a bunch of people, you can cook extra--and keep the cooked chicken, beef, or whatever, in your fridge. I love mine---and it's the big one, maybe not the biggest actually, but big enough to cook four chicken breast at a time.

I'm starting to come to terms with the idea that my dramatic weight loss may not have been the sleep apnea cure that I thought it was. I've received several e-mails and a comment or two on this topic---and it's really bothering me.

I will sleep a full night without a machine tonight and tomorrow night I'll do the same with an old CPAP machine of mine. If there is a difference, I'll be making a doctors appointment and scheduling a new sleep study. Sleep Apnea isn't something to mess with---it's a killer, and it effects more than just morbidly obese people. I've personally known people who have never been morbidly obese who must use a CPAP every night.

I just really thought I was free of that nightly tether. And maybe I am---but judging from the way I feel lately, I fear I may not be. This is tough to accept. But we'll's OK, if I need it, fine---no big deal. I'd rather feel rested everyday and NOT die young from the potential damage of oxygen depriving sleep apnea. Being tied to a machine every night for the rest of my life doesn't sound too bad when you consider the benefits.

It just felt so good to sleep all night without it---and it was such a major difference from my heaviest, I honestly thought my sleep apnea was 100% weight, I'm not so sure. Hmmm...

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

From my recent trip--Me holding a real live alligator!

Cooking Kenz an omelet!

Perfectly beautiful, and the omelet isn't too bad either.... ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 646 Re-Claiming Routine and Refusing To Slip

Day 646

Re-Claiming Routine and Refusing To Slip

After a busy start of the week, I was really hoping Wednesday would be kind and gentle. Once again, for the third morning in a row—I woke up late in a panic, rushing and grabbing—just trying to get to the studio. This isn't good. This is not where I want to be. So instead of complaining another sentence about my horrible schedule and sleeping habits, I will simply say this: I love myself too much to allow this craziness to continue. My workouts and sleep are the first things to suffer, and I can't allow that any longer. I'm going to devise a list of priorities and iron-clad rules, and we'll see how that effects my daily feel. I love where I'm headed and what I'm doing, but like many have offered---I can still do it all, just not at the same time.

I grabbed a banana on the way out and that ended up being breakfast. It wasn't enough, not at all, but it was something. I had such a wonderful routine going---4am alarm, morning non-weighted strength training, breakfast, coffee, writing---and then I allowed myself to break that somehow. I'm re-claiming that today. That's it.

I've had tremendous success and it feels incredible, it does, and I certainly do not need to get away from the fundamentals that brought me here. When I break routine, I feel like I'm slipping...and I refuse to slip. But the truth is, I have. I haven't worked out since Sunday. Sunday!!! That's slipping.

I was working on a special project all afternoon and into the night. I'm the official arena announcer for the Ranch Sorting National Championships, but I will not be attending the RSNC, no---They hired me to pre-record everything in advance. I didn't realize what a huge project it would become, but it is done---thank goodness! It was fun, absolutely, but I didn't plan food-wise very well at all for a long production session. When I left the studio shortly after 9pm tonight, I did with just slightly over 500 calories consumed for the entire day. And only 80 between 2pm and 9pm. That's not cool. My metabolism deserves better!

Tomorrow is weigh day—not sure what I'll find, but it will be OK regardless. I'm all good...and the best part? I'm clearing out my schedule for a weekend of rest, I need to catch up on some rest, and with zero commitments on the calendar---this weekend is the time, my time.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 645 Thank You My Friend and A Confident Patience Along Transformation Road

Day 645

Thank You My Friend and A Confident Patience Along Transformation Road

I sincerely appreciate the comments and concerned e-mails about my poor sleeping habits and crazy schedule I sometimes try to keep. I honestly feel so incredibly blessed from the outpouring of blog love, understanding, and unconditional support. I really must look within and think about what I want and where I'm headed, then confidently move toward those aspirations one normal-healthy day at a time. This is very much a "choose change before change chooses you" type of thing. If you don't agree, just read Lisa Love's story in the comment section of yesterday's Day 644 post. Thank you for sharing that Lisa, and Wendy from New Me, my friend--Your "listen to your mother" style in your comment was very welcomed and appreciated. Do you know the source of my challenge? Let me tell you exactly what it is:

I'm free. I'm finally free, and like a prisoner seeing daylight for the first time after years of being locked up, I want to do it all! I'm like a kid in a candy store. I'm a shopper without limits. I'm a dreamer, always have been---and after being limited in those dreams, or anchored in the reality of a 500 pound body for so long---I'm free to dream without limits. Suddenly, I have the confidence and the vision that tells me, hey--you know something? Anything's possible. And it isn't all great big things, some of them are small but powerful goals and desires. Freedom to fly, to live, to confidently march toward a future where my weight isn't holding me hostage. So I commit to acting projects, I give my blog the kind of effort one would give a part-time job, I spend precious time with my girls, I work a sometimes hectic schedule in radio, I commit to outside jobs--MC'ing events, hosting stage productions, speaking to groups about this transformation and all of the wonderful aspects involved along the way. I watch maybe 15 minutes worth of television a week, because I have everything else to do---And I love every single minute of it all. This isn't a complaint list--this is a can you believe this is me? list. And this is just the beginning. So really--this is a good time to get my thoughts, dreams, and plans sorted out---organized and prioritized, so I can effectively do it all---in good time.

That's the deal, it's time. And you know how I feel about the clock on the wall and the calendar that hangs close by. Time doesn't matter, unless we do absolutely nothing---then it can destroy us mentally--full of regret over lost time. But really...time will do it's thing and I'll do mine, and eventually we'll catch up and marvel about how far we've come in such a relatively short time.

I found the following excerpt from a year ago today:

I received a spam e-mail today touting a miracle weight loss “cure.” Just out of curiosity I clicked on the link to the web page. Their big thing was “it curbs your hunger—so you don't eat.” I don't know about you, but I rarely would gorge because I was hungry. In fact I was never hungry. I wouldn't go long enough without food to ever become hungry. At my heaviest, I didn't need to be hungry to eat, I just needed the food to look good and be tasty. The bogus pitches spread by these ridiculous product manufacturers really make me upset. They prey on the people that are desperate and hopeless, the ones that are still looking for an easy way out. They do it with grandiose promises that can be all yours for only $49.95US! It's sickening really.

My disgust with companies like this---it burns in me, oh how I want to expose these greedy manipulating con-artist.

A friend recently asked me about my past weight loss attempts. I told them about the 2004 attempt--and they asked if I feared the same thing happening this time. No way--this time is very different. If you haven't read about it already---let's go deep into the archives for this, from the first two weeks of this journey:

My determination is so rock solid at this point that I truly believe you could take me to a buffet restaurant and I would still eat within my calories. I had this same determination in 2004, but this time it's different. It's different because I've learned from the mistakes of 2004. I understand myself much better, and that understanding makes me stronger. It's like a football coach watching film of a game his team lost, then adjusting his strategy to win the next game. This is my next game, I've watched the film of the last one and I know exactly what went wrong.

In case you're not familiar with the story, I'll tell ya: In March of 2004 we all got busy. Irene, Me, Courtney, and Amber were all on the wagon, supporting each other and exercising together everyday. We had family weigh-ins every two weeks. After a little over four months we had lost over 200 pounds collectively. I had lost 115. Then we went on vacation to Kansas City. We hadn't really discussed our strategy for calories during the trip until we were in the vehicle on the way out of town. We decided that calorie counting had no place on our little before school getaway. We decided for that four day period we would eat whatever we wanted. Well, we immediately found a bag full of goodies. Little Debbie snack cakes, Nutty Bars (my favorite), and high calorie soft drinks and chips filled us as we drove. When we arrived in KC, we immediately looked for a restaurant to really cut loose. We found one, I don't remember what the place was called, but I bet they remember me! We were on a tear. At the hotel they had a very nice complimentary breakfast full of all the bagels and cream cheese and donuts you could ever want. Our first night in the room, we ordered pizza as a fourth meal, or was it a fifth? Who was counting? Not me!

We were livin' large and eating way too much every chance we had. Of course we told ourselves that when the trip was over, it was back to counting calories. But, here's where we messed up. The practice of counting calories is not something I plan on doing for the rest of my life. It's not really hard or anything like that, but I just wouldn't want to do it forever. Counting calories now is a way to lose the weight, but it also teaches us lessons on portion control. Sometimes we don't realize how many calories are in what we eat, but counting calories lets us know, not only the calories but the size. Counting calories teaches us how to make healthy choices while budgeting our calories. We didn't understand that part of the journey. We didn't understand that counting calories was suppose to teach us how to eat better, control portions, and not eat just for the sake of pigging out. It was suppose to teach us lessons in eating that we could carry on for the rest of our lives.

Instead of recognizing these lessons, we acted like we had just been rescued from a deserted island and we were going to make up for all the food we didn't get before. When we got back home it was like we completely forgot about the plan. We stopped working out on a regular basis and started being dishonest about our calorie intake (I know I did) And once you start being dishonest with yourself, then it's all over. One day led to another and before you know it we were right back to eating whatever we wanted, as much as we wanted, and we didn't exercise. We would say...”hey, we have to get back on the wagon”...”yeah, let's start Monday”...and Monday we would continue our old ways.

We have a plan now. We have goals. We have watched the film so to speak of our past failure...We are determined. We are learning how to eat again.

I really haven't talked about today specifically here and I'm running out of time. It was busy again with plenty of work and little time and room for error, but I'm getting there. Play rehearsal was very good too, and as much as I love acting---this will probably be my last project for a good long while. My food was on target but my workout was non-existent. My schedule today had me going from 6am to 10pm. But I'm aware, and I'm working on this schedule thing. It will improve dramatically, because I'll make it a priority to improve. I'll be fine, I will---I'm getting to where I'm headed---I just sometimes need to remember my own words---confident patience...all in time...confident patience. I love that phrase almost as much as transformation road. Wow---I should combine the two: I'll continue walking with a confident patience down this transformation road. Yeah, yeah---that's what I'm talking about.

Thanks for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 644 It Is But A Moment---Good Choices On A Day Like Today

Day 644

It Is But A Moment—Good Choices On A Day Like Today

I wasn’t ready for Monday morning, in fact—I wasn’t really ready for a Monday at all. At the risk of saying the same thing I’ve said many times, I was rushed this morning—woke up late, barely had time for breakfast—I did squeeze in some fruit and scrambled eggs. Wow, this isn’t setting a solid foundation for a good day. But these days do happen occasionally, and understanding that I must amp up my awareness during a perceived weakened state, I’m very calculated and careful with my choices. I’ve had these kind of busy days before, full of stress and more work than I can possibly do in one day, but I refuse to let them shake my resolve. I control my choices at all times---good, plain bad, or just stressful bad---my good choices must remain a constant without influence from the circumstances of the moment.

Because it is just a moment. And that’s important to remember. Good times come and go, bad times come and go---if I allowed the uneven flow of emotional energy to effect my performance along this transformation road, then this blog would have stopped before Day 10 and I would still be a 500 pound man, miserable and quite possibly dead.

Sometimes it’s just something that we convince ourselves is beyond our control, “well, I can’t help it, I eat when I’m stressed.” Yeah, me too…But guess what? I knew I had to change the pre-set notions about myself---I had to re-invent and re-train myself with food. I had to be honest with myself. Just because stress makes me want to eat everything in sight, doesn’t mean I have to do exactly that. What do I want? Where am I headed? I’ve got to battle this food addiction with unconventional thinking---setting new notions about myself that say, you’re in control Sean, this will pass---we’re going to make it, and making it through the storms without gorging---that makes the sweet sunshine after the storm much more enjoyable.

I found an excerpt from a year and a day ago that talks about the self-honesty component of this journey. I’ve since adopted a different attitude and approach with very close loved ones. I no longer talk to anyone about integrity issues within their personal calorie budget, rather---I set an example, talk the talk---and I walk it everyday. My results have proven the effectiveness of my approach---and those very close to me know exactly what I’m all about. Still, I believe this excerpt has some value:

The honesty part of this journey is so crucial. Without being completely honest with ourselves and others, we're simply wasting our time. I can remember past weight loss attempts where I would lie about how many calories I had remaining for the day, just so I could eat more later in front of everyone without them thinking I was going over. I knew I was going over, but I didn't want them to know. The problem is simple: It shows up on weigh day. And it gradually gets worse. I would continue doing it so regularly that eventually I stopped weighing in all together, refusing to see the damage I'd done.

The gradual breakdown of so many of my past weight loss attempts always started with “fudging” on my calories. Being completely honest about my caloric intake everyday has been a crucial part of my success thus far. I noticed a loved one doing this very thing recently. I knew they had consumed more than what they were saying, but I didn't call them on it, I'll wait until weigh day. When the results are not what they wanted and not even close, we'll sit down and have a very serious and private conversation about the importance of calorie budget integrity. It's vital, because often times that kind of behavior is the beginning of the end of a weight loss attempt, OK, not “often times,” every time. And I care way too much about this person to allow it to go completely unchecked and ignored.

My workout plan today was incredible. I would meet Courtney and Brad at the YMCA for spinning class at 5:30pm. Courtney and Brad really want to give it a try, and that’s very cool—they’ll love it! Only one problem: With production and writing duties, I wasn’t able to get out of the studio until after 4pm---I was running on an embarrassing low amount of sleep, and I had play rehearsal at 7pm. I called Courtney and informed her that it would be a really bad idea for me to do spinning today. We re-scheduled their introduction to spinning for Wednesday night. I had to get some kind of nap before rehearsal, just wasn’t any other way…I was a zombie by this point, so tired, my head actually hurt. This isn’t healthy at all.

Getting proper rest has been a constant struggle for me from Day 1. I try to do so much---but sometimes, I just have to accept the fact that I can’t do it all, at least—not at the same time. Because believe me, I can and will do it all! Watch me!

No less than three people tried to wake me from my nap before play rehearsal. When 7pm found me still sleeping, my phone also started ringing courtesy of the director and stage manager of the production. This is bad. Real bad. Being late to something like this shows a complete disregard and lack of respect for others. I’m not at all like that…but try telling that to the other actors and crew waiting an hour for me to stroll onto the stage. I apologized over and over, not making excuses, just apologizing. This will not happen again, I assured them. So—Seanboy is going to be a little more responsible in the sleeping department. There’s just no other option.

Have I mentioned how much I love acting? It is something I always knew I could do, but my weight held me back. Not a bunch of lead roles for a 500-pound man. But now? Yeah---it’s all good. Unfortunately, I must limit my acting projects because of the time it requires. I need to treat my time budget like I do my calorie budget. Hmmm…

It turned out to be a good rehearsal despite my extended nappy time. I arrived home after 10pm, hungry and ready for a really late dinner. I grilled some chicken breast on the Foreman Grill and enjoyed some guacamole, just a little with my chicken. When I realized I still needed some calories, I had several cheese squares and crackers. It doesn’t take much of that to add a couple hundred calories.

I don’t like eating this late, but today---oh my, a day that started and ended like this? I’ll quietly lay my head on the pillow knowing that in the big scope of things, I did just fine. Not perfect, but if you’ve read this blog, you already know---I’m far from perfect. I’m just me---and being just me is working out pretty well.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 643 Anderson Family Fathers Day and A Bunch of Pictures!

Day 643

Anderson Family Fathers Day and A Bunch of Pictures!

Fathers Day, yes…here we are! Having my dad here for several days earlier this month, felt like fathers day everyday. We really did our best to do as much as we could in the short time we had together. It was a very special week with dad, a week I remembered fondly this morning as I stumbled to the coffee pot. I tried to call dad, reached his voicemail instead---and left a very heartfelt message for him. It was a good way to start the day.

Courtney arrived this afternoon, ready for our trip south to Stillwater for our big Fathers Day get together with mom, grandma, Kelli, and Keith. I was under the impression that Courtney would bring Bradley along, but she didn’t---with Amber away on a fathers day weekend camping trip with KL and his parents, It was just my youngest and me. Courtney had a great idea: We would head over to Boomer Lake after dinner for a nice 5K in the heat. The drive to Stillwater was fantastic. We talked about so many important issues, education being the biggest. I’m so proud of both of my girls, they really understand the value of a good education. It makes me so happy to know that they “get it,” you know? They really do.

We decided on Charlie’s Chicken for dinner. Everybody loves Charlie’s Chicken in the Anderson family! I had a small breakfast, just a banana and an 80-calorie low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese snack---not enough really at all. With my coffee, I was sitting at a low 250 by the time we hit Charlie’s. I didn’t mind exceeding my usual 500-calorie per meal rule here---but just by a little, say 100 extra. The basics of my strategy never change in a place like this: Water to drink—no bread, or very light on the bread, and normal-completely responsible portions on the rest. I picked the three-chunk dinner. A “chunk” is a super lean cut of chicken breast. It is breaded and fried—and is so incredibly delicious, but the coating isn’t too much and the chicken doesn’t soak up any of the grease. It's one of my favorites! I’ve had this same meal at least a dozen times over the course of this journey. Normally, I can keep the calories at or just below 450, but I was splurging today---I ordered mac and cheese on the side! I told the server, “don’t heap it, just give me a normal scoop.” She gave me a look that suggested I was the first to request less food for my money---surely not. I was willing to invest roughly 200 calories in mac and cheese, not 300 or 350. The server shot me the same look when I told her to leave off the roll.

We took so many wonderful pictures after dinner---continuing the Anderson family tradition of restaurant setting photos. I have a bunch of before shots snapped at restaurants, but we’ve evolved---at least now we try to clear off the table first.

I changed out of my jeans and into my wind pants for our after dinner 5K, and we were off! It was a scorcher out there, so we stopped for some SPF 85 sun block lotion. I was concerned for Courtney, she was still healing from a sunburn on her back—but nothing could stop her from doing this 5K with me this evening. We were excited to get out there and sweat!

I was really hoping Amber could make it back in time to join us, but hey—I’m not complaining, it was a very cool thing to do on Fathers Day. Amber has been out there with me many times and she will again soon, for sure!

I swear, Courtney is so in tune with every aspect of my transformation and hers…I swell with pride when she speaks about her “calorie budget,” “calorie values,” and “motivating thoughts.” If I never accomplish another thing in my life—this example I’ve set for my kids is absolutely enough to leave me very satisfied, because I’ve made a difference in their lives. It warms me and It’s the greatest source of my pride in accomplishment.

It was hot out there. Oh my, was it ever. The sun was beating down on us horribly as we set out on our 5K walk/jog. We decided to not push too hard, out in this kind of heat could be dangerous---we weren’t really concerned, we knew we were in for a great big sweaty workout. Kelli, mom, and grandma caught up with us as we started---they just drove around until they found us on the trail, long enough for Kelli to snap a few pictures. Thank you Kelli, I love them!

Courtney and I needed this. I’m not talking about the workout, I’m talking about the time, the conversation, the understanding---the clarity in everything current in our lives. I made sure to keep pace with her, occasionally jogging to catch up—so we could talk, laugh, and dream. It was beautiful.

Amber called right as we finished---she was driving by the Stillwater exit off I-35 soon, and was wondering if we wanted her to cruise on in to Stillwater. Of course! Mom had requested we all go out for coffee late---so we returned to grandmas house, picked up mom, and met Amber and KL at Shortcakes Diner. With plenty of calories remaining, we decided to slightly indulge by each ordering one single pancake. The pancake, comparable to Denny’s—checked in at 170—with the slightest touch of butter and literally a teaspoon of syrup---I comfortably counted it as 250. It was a wonderful accompaniment to the coffee. The five of us visited for a good hour before it was time to take mom home and get back to Ponca City.

As you read about my above food choices, you might think I’m crazy---fried chicken breast chunks, mac and cheese, a pancake---but none of it would be considered over-eating. There wasn’t a need for antacid products at the dinner table, because none of us were stuffing ourselves silly like so many times in the past. This is simply living and eating like a normal person---responsibly, within normal portions—and feeling good about it all afterward. The food was enjoyable, yes, but the wonderful feeling of being in control---focusing more on the visit and less on the food---and being completely satisfied and happy—that’s what it’s all about.

I enjoyed this Fathers Day experience immensely. I have so many wonderful blessings in which to be thankful. Life is so good.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,

Courtney and Me—I love this one! She’s so beautiful!

Mom and me---Just arrived at Charlies

With my dear Aunt Kelli

This just might be my favorite picture with grandma

Kelli, Courtney, and Grandma

Another good father/daughter picture

Four generations

With my Uncle Keith. Uncle Keith was always a positive male role model for me growing up. He’s my uncle, but I always thank him on Fathers Day.

I like. A lot.

We’re so happy!

On the 5K trail at Boomer Lake in Stillwater!

Sweaty post-5K picture, not sure Courtney approved this shot. You’re glowingly beautiful young lady!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 642 Smaller Shirts, Self-Image, and The Chair Breaking Incident

Day 642

Smaller Shirts, Self-Image, and The Chair-Breaking Incident

I woke up this morning feeling good about the day and where I've arrived along this road. I tried on some new shirts and really had to look a few times for a few minutes in the mirror. I'm truly size XL. This is such a big deal for me. 2X is too big? Really? Yes, really. The days of 5 and 6XL---and even flirting with 7XL are over. To be so comfortably into an XL and even fitting into a simple “L,” just blows me away. It's like I have to look in the mirror, take it off and check the tag, put it back on, look in the mirror---and repeat this insane process until my brain fully understands where we are. I smiled big when I found out that Kenz experienced the very same sensation today while shopping with her sister. These are the wonderful rewards of our consistent positive effort. The fruits of our labor, the NSV's that make this transformation road so much fun. Transformation Road---I like that.

I jumped up, had some coffee and a banana---and planned on cooking an omelet, when I realized there was a pressing issue waiting for me at the studio. I quickly made my way south to the radio station and fixed what needed fixing, then hurried home to fix an omelet that would serve as brunch.

My omelets are totally adjustable. I can make them as heavy or as low-cal as I desire and my calorie budget demands. It was approaching lunch time and all I had put in my body was coffee and a banana---so I decided to make this a 280 calorie omelet. I used two whole eggs and an egg white, 100 calories of mozzarella, mushrooms, tomatoes, green pepper, and avocado. It was an amazingly good omelet! I swear---I loved omelets before I ever started losing weight, but those omelets back then---oh my---loaded! I like the way I make them now, so much better because they don't hit my stomach like a ton of bricks.

I enjoyed my brunch and started thinking about my schedule. I needed to write and then get ready to MC the Juneteenth parade downtown at 4pm.

I started to wear a t-shirt/overshirt combo, but then I stopped and thought...hmmmm, what if I just put on this over-shirt and buttoned it up? It's scorching hot outside, why wear two shirts? And I'll look perfectly fine with one shirt---I will, dog-gone-it brain---you must get over this crazy irrational hang-up! I put on the shirt, buttoned it up and gazed into the mirror. It looks fine. Better than fine, at the risk of sounding boastful, it looked perfectly me. Not perfect, but perfectly me. Do you get it? I'm trying.

I arrived at the Juneteenth parade location to find a big stage in the middle of downtown with a single microphone in the center. That was my place. Behind the mic, on stage, in front of the parade participants and parade watchers. Any insecurities I might have felt, completely washed away when I noticed my reflection on the back wall of this elaborate city-owned stage. I looked completely thin and normal in that reflection. I didn't look fat. But wait---I'm still me, surely I must be looking at this reflection all wrong---nope, that was me. A few minutes later, a police officer on a bike rode up, smiled and said: “Sean Anderson, you're still looking incredible man.” Wow---such a nice thing for him to say, and I bet he has no idea how it gave me the added confidence to forget about the single shirt---embrace my new reflection, and do the best job I was there to do. It was a fantastic experience.

My constant self-image struggles may sound crazy after you look at my current “in-progress” pictures. But I hope you understand, these self-image struggles---I believe, are normal. I look nothing like I did at 505. I was near, at, or above 500 pounds for so long—it was me, and now---and now, well...I'm still me—but in a completely new and different body. OK—Maybe not completely new, but you know what I mean, right? There isn't a plastic surgery in the world that can give someone a transformation like this. But we have the power---you have the power to direct and own your very special transformation. And the brain---well, it takes some time to shift it's program. It's a powerful thing, the brain, but it slowly comes around, it does...and it's all good. Very good.

I traveled back in time to this date a year ago. I do this everyday---and sometimes I find helpful things and sometimes, like today---I find painful memories, that somehow make me smile now more than they make me want to cry. This is really an excerpt within an excerpt. From June 19th, 2009:

I've probably destroyed nearly a dozen or more chairs over the last twenty years. I'm lucky I never seriously hurt myself through all of the destruction! Out of all the chairs I've busted, this memory stands out as the worst chair breaking story I've ever experienced: From Day 8--- My worst chair story happened in the spring of 2003.

I was living in Los Angeles at the time doing stand-up 100%. One day I ran across a part time on-air opening at Westwood One Radio Networks. A part-time job there would pay about or a little more than full time salaries anywhere else I had ever worked. So needless to say I was excited about winning over this network program director! I sent in my material and what do you know, he called me! He was seriously considering hiring me! Or he wouldn't have called right? I was thrilled. I would be on the air all over the nation! “This could be big”, I thought.

The PD called me in for an interview the very next day. I drove to Valencia early to beat whatever traffic might get in the way, then after arriving an hour and a half early I took a long lunch at the Burger King down the road from Magic Mountain. When I finally arrived at Westwood One I was immediately given the grand tour of the facilities. Very nice. I mean, extremely nice studios. I was so impressed. The PD seemed very cool and I felt very comfortable, that is until I walked into his office for the interview.

I noticed right away his guest chairs were not “fat friendly”. Extremely narrow arms and that wood and hot glued look. The PD took his chair behind his desk and told me to have a seat. I was afraid he was going to expect me to sit down! So I lightly as I could on the very edge of the chair...and about point 2 seconds later the chair crumbled under my weight. I quickly caught myself from falling by grabbing his desk, but the chair wasn't so lucky. And neither were my chances of getting that job. After I broke one of his chairs, he invited me to sit in the other chair that WAS IDENTICAL to the one I just broke!!! I did, the same way as before, but this time with as much weight on my feet against the floor. Lucky for me the second chair somehow survived. My interview didn't.

He never called me back. And I bet he tells that story to this day around the halls and studios of Westwood One Radio. Glad I could add some humor to their work place. There isn't a chair I can't sit in now, even the plastic patio white chairs are fine, I tried one not that long ago and it was a wonderful experience!

I wonder if Rick Santos is still the PD at Westwood One? Hmmm, interesting thought. I guarantee he'll never forget that interview. I'd like to see him again someday. He wouldn't believe the changes. Oh, and Rick---if by some crazy chance you're reading this---I would have been one of your best Oldies jocks ever...even at 500 pounds. Oh...and I hope Westwood One has finally given you the type of office furniture a network program director deserves! Seriously? You must admit, the chair was really low quality before I ever had a seat. ;)

I found myself trying to weasel out of a workout today. I caught myself rationalizing---trying to make myself feel better about just relaxing---and I stopped it. I hit the trail and pounded out a nice two miles this evening. It wasn't the greatest, but it was something. And tomorrow I'm doing a Fathers Day 5K at Boomer Lake in Stillwater with Courtney, Bradley, and maybe Amber and KL. That will be so awesome!

Thank you for reading! Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

I need to buy a camera with image stabilization...a blurry picture of my omelet brunch.

The microphone at today's Juneteenth Parade

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 641 What Suffers In A Whirlwind Week? And The Positive Epiphany Found In Childhood Bullies

Day 641

What Suffers In A Whirlwind Week? And The Positive Epiphany Found In Childhood Bullies

This has been a wonderful whirlwind week filled with so many different emotions and changes in scenery. It's times like these when I know I must be careful with my daily choices. The biggest thing that I've allowed to slip this week has been my workout schedule. My food? It's all good. I just can't imagine going back to the place where food was my constant escape. And so these changes for me, simply mean—that no matter what the schedule brings—I'm in control of my choices. It doesn't matter where, when, or what I'm doing. There's never a good enough reason, excuse, or rationalization to return to those old food addict behaviors. Now, the exercise department? That's another issue all together for me.

I must remember how I felt after completing the YMCA Turkey Trot 10K last November. It was the toughest workout I've ever experienced. And it felt so incredibly good. I want to feel that way again and often! I've included a picture and the “On The Go” Video from that day---just as a reminder for me. I'll never forget the exhilaration, the absolute sheer pleasure in accomplishment that engulfed me in that moment. That's my personal project...getting my mind right with my workout schedule---getting that mindset in the same comfortable place as my food mentality. Allowing nothing to change my commitment to exercise. I know that if I ever want to fully realize my fitness goals, I must choose change in the workout department like I've done on the food side.

After mentioning Day 53 “Childhood Bullies and Me,” I decided to go back and read. These early post really show how my writing style and structure has improved over time. NewMe in Canada has spent a great deal of time as an editor and she once told me that she enjoyed my content, but my structure was a mess. I was asking for her opinion and she gave it, and it was sincerely appreciated---I so see it now. In the early days---I would just write, write, write---new paragraph? Who needs it? Let it all run together! I say this, because when I re-post---I often re-structure. I don't change the words—unless it means fixing a glaring grammatical or spelling error, I just change the structure and layout of the writing. I try to make it easier to understand. So, with that said....Here's the writing from Day 53 that really helped me today:

I've always had an internal “hope mechanism” that automatically kicks in when I need it most. I first noticed it when I was eight or nine years old. I was always picked on, made fun of, and bullied in elementary school. I was targeted because of my weight, and I now know that it continued because I allowed it.

I never stood up to the bullies, I just tried to avoid them. When the bullying became too much to handle I would pretend to be sick and stay home. I missed so much school in elementary, it's a wonder I made it through without being held back. I drove my mom nuts with the constant excuses and flat-out refusal to go to school. I gave her so much trouble! At home I felt safe. I was surrounded by love and acceptance. At school I felt intimidated and different.

My two biggest bullies were Edwin and Frankie. They knew exactly how to intimidate. They loved the way that they could control me in every way. Edwin would extort pop and food from me in exchange for “protection” from him! Frankie would show up at my home and demand that I come outside so he could beat me up. I remember one time Frankie showed up at the door and quietly demanded me to come outside. I told him that I was grounded. When my mom heard this she said...”Sean, you're not grounded, go out and play.” My mom didn't know how bad it was because I didn't tell her until much later.

When I eventually told her how bad things were, she took me directly to Mr. McEwan's office. Mr. McEwan was the principal, and after mom and I explained all that I was going through he asked me a very important question. “Sean, why don't you fight back?” My reply: “Because I don't want to get suspended.” And that was true to a point, but I also didn't mention that I was terrified of fighting. More specifically, I was terrified of losing a fight. I remember thinking “What if I become defenseless on the ground and they beat me to death?” Mr. McEwan immediately erased the reason I gave by giving me 100% approval to attack the next time I was bullied. He told me that he would look the other way. He was a very smart man. He knew that if I stood up for myself just once, if I threw just one punch, I'd never get picked on again. He wasn't advocating violence, he was encouraging me to demand respect and stand up for myself just once. But even then I was always too afraid to fight.

I never did punch Edwin or Frankie. When I had missed too much school and I was at the limit, and I had to go no matter what, I would make the walk to school with fear in my heart. But I remember thinking to myself “No matter what happens today, at 3:30 I'm going to be back home safe and sound eating an after school snack and watching TV.” It was my internal “hope mechanism”. I still use that same thought process as an adult. If I'm facing something really stressful, I always remind myself, “hey, it's not going to kill me, I'll make it through, and everything will be alright.”

My mom took me to a professional counselor back then, and after one visit they told her that I was going to be just fine because I was a “survivor.” As I grew older and got into junior high the bullying stopped. I became the class clown, and as long as everybody was laughing, then nobody was picking on me. But really, I was picking on me! As I try to better understand the reasons and behaviors that put me over 500 pounds to begin with, I've come up with some pretty deep thoughts about it all. Stay with me here....

As an adult I became the bully and the bullied. The abuse I've inflicted on my body has gone uncontested for over twenty years. Just like I never stood up for myself against Edwin and Frankie, I didn't stand up for myself against myself for over twenty years. You've heard the phrase “I am my own worst enemy”, well this is what I'm talking about! And standing up for yourself against yourself is sometimes a very difficult thing to completely understand, let alone accomplish.

I'm finally doing what Mr. McEwan wanted me to do, I'm demanding respect, self-respect that is, and I'm standing up to the one person who has done the most damage to me...and that's me. To stay on this journey rock solid for 53 days I've had to battle myself daily. But I knew that I was at my limit, I couldn't keep getting bigger, and that no matter what, I have the love and support of my family and friends, and with that loving support and hope the worst days are really not that bad. I was never a fighter, and to this day I've never thrown a punch at any person, but I'm still a fighter, because I'm “punching” down the excuses and walls that have held me back so long.

By the way, Edwin and Frankie are both in prison now. The same prison! I kid you not! I'll try to put their mugshots at the bottom of this page. I sometimes think it would be tremendous therapy for me to take a trip to the Lawton Correctional Center where they live and visit them both at the same time. I have no idea what I would say to them or how exactly that would go, but it would be a tremendous positive thing for me. And maybe for them too. I'm putting that on my list of things to do when I reach my goal. Getting to know myself completely really helps me understand people like Edwin and Frankie a little better.

Gaining control and taking responsibility over your own self-destructive tendencies can save yourself from yourself. Unfortunately for Edwin and Frankie they never gained control and it cost them their freedom. For me, gaining control over myself was and is all about gaining freedom, gaining life, and making the kind of decisions everyday that will make me a stronger, healthier man, a better role model for my amazing kids, and a better husband to my wonderful wife.

I've decided not to re-post their mugshots. You can still see them on Day 53's post archived in the November 2008 folder. I wonder if they have any clue or care about the effect they've had on me. I was affected negatively at first, but through a deeper understanding---coming out and experiencing some positive epiphanies was the end result. There are positives in most everything, sometimes they just take longer to find.

I took a nap late afternoon and I really needed the rest. I enjoyed an amazing dinner at home and then was called out by a friend who needed a driver and poker playing friend. I can do that. I'm enjoying life like I've never felt. And no---this journey isn't perfect, but it is exactly what I needed to be free. I never needed perfection, none of us do---I just needed positive direction. And that's where I'm headed, in a positive direction with a confident patience---knowing that all I desire will come in time with a continuous positive effort, a smile, and my good choices.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

That feeling---Oh my, it was amazing. I must remember how it felt—and strive for that feeling in my workouts.

I was overwhelmed with emotion---I tried so hard not to show, but sometimes---yeah...

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