Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 867-874 A Slight Gain and The Video: Ten Minutes To Transformation Road

Day 867-874

A Slight Gain and The Video: Ten Minutes To Transformation Road

Weigh day was always an event. It was a special day designated to collect the positive proof of a strong and consistent effort. The excitement leading up to weigh day was at times, overwhelming in a giddy-positive way, because I knew what was coming. I could feel it in my clothes and all over my body. The scale would give me what I came for and I wouldn't make it out of the parking lot before sending out a mass text of the latest number, complete with a day count and total that was consistently impressive. The contacts in my cell phone remember these updates very well.

The sting of a weigh day that didn't give me what I felt I rightly deserved, would make me slightly depressed for a few minutes, or--OK, let's be honest, several hours. But at a certain point I realized that time didn't matter. I'm in this for the long haul, for the rest of my life, forever. So why did I choose to discourage myself when the results were less than desirable? Because it's normal to get impatient when we're doing everything we know we must to achieve what we desire. I don't get that way anymore. Time doesn't matter. What does matter, is my changed relationship with food. What does matter is that I realized I wasn't in a race with anyone. I realized that I wasn't competing with anyone or comparing my weight loss with anyone's track record.

I recently walked into the urgent care clinic and asked if I could use the scale. I hadn't weighed in over six weeks and it was time. I stepped on and found 233 staring back at me. I didn't send out an update, I didn't cry foul, I didn't blame the scale. I didn't worry about it at all. Why? Because I'm in control of my behaviors with food. I've experimented with my calorie budget, I've slightly increased my consumption, and my workouts haven't been as consistent as they should. My size 36 jeans still fit, but still--I could feel this four pound gain. It is a slight gain, compared to what I've lost. And it's temporary. A few more workouts, and just like that--I'm back under 230. And honestly, I may dip even lower. It's a healthy-normal to fluctuate slightly. As long as my relationship with food is solid, I have nothing to worry over. And solid is a wonderful word to describe it, because these changes in perspective are not of the temporary kind. My immediate plan includes adjusting my calorie bank to 1,700 per day and increasing my workout schedule.

I tried out a new machine at the YMCA and I absolutely fell in love! It's like an elliptical, OK--It is an elliptical--just slightly different than the others. I'll find out what it's called and get back with you. Oh my, it was killer. After twenty minutes, my muscles were sent twitching all the way home!

I finally have a new CPAP machine! Yay!!! I can finally rest again. I must say--constantly feeling like a wreck has wreaked havoc on my schedule and my productivity, as anyone might expect. The good news: After the first night on my new machine with the proper setting, I can tell--this is going to be very good. This machine is going to be life changing!

The Girls Scouts dropped off a bunch of cookies at our studios the other day. They leave a sampling every year and every year, we talk about the cookies on the air. I immediately compared all of the calorie counts and determined that the shortbread Trefoils were the best, at 34 calories each. I enjoyed two right then and there. Lucky for me, shortbread cookies have always been my favorite, followed by Thinmints--(40 calories each) If my co-workers only knew how many of these boxes were hidden away in years past, saved for my own private analysis and review. I had to talk about them on the air, so it was justified, right? Isn't it amazing, the stories we tell ourselves!

I recently received an email from a gentleman asking me about possibly advertising something on my blog. When I declined without asking for further details, he told me that I was "missing the boat." I referred him to day 165. We've covered this before! Here's an excerpt:

"My Integrity Isn't For Sale" I originally accepted these advertisers as a way to earn extra income from my blog. But I've learned a lesson in the process. You see, Google would automatically scan my blog and then place ads that somewhat related to my topic. Since my topic is always losing weight and getting healthy, of course they placed ads about a variety of products. The revenue generated was based on per click and per order numbers. It never really added up to too much, but tonight I proudly tell you that I recently told Google to keep that money and go away!

My reputation and integrity is worth more than random checks in the mail from Google, no matter the amount. If you ever noticed these, most of them were advertising crazy products with claims like “Lose 18 Pounds in 4 Days!” or “How I Lost 45 Pounds In Three Weeks-order Now,” or “Oprah Approved Product Will Melt Your Fat Away.” For one thing, Oprah doesn't endorse, let alone approve the Acai Berry product---it says that on her website. And neither do I. Nor do I endorse losing 18 pounds in 4 days, or 45 pounds in 3 weeks...or any product that makes such claims.

I sincerely hope that none of my readers bought this junk. It feels so good to be free from the spying eyes of Google Ads. I couldn't say what I just typed, had I still been using Google Ads. They would have been upset! It says so in the contract. Any derogatory comments about the products or services advertised is grounds for immediate termination of my Google Ads account. Now that I think about it, I should have tested how closely they monitored my blog by exposing the outright scandalous rip-offs as they popped up. Might have been fun to see how long it would take them to dump me. They're gone, and I no longer have to cringe every time I open the page and see “I Lost 9 pounds in 5 minutes...” OK, I made that one up. I think the claim was in 1 day actually.

The people that buy this kind of advertising do it for one reason, to take advantage of people with desperate emotions, who are looking for anything that works and are willing to spend whatever it takes to get it done. I'm ashamed they ever appeared on this blog in the first place. Lesson learned: You can't put a price on your integrity, never, ever, ever!

On that same day--I found an excerpt all about how the exercise becomes easier. I know this is a long blog post already, but:

Tonight at the YMCA I was feeling adventurous! My plan was to do a “hard” two miles. For me, a hard two consist of simply setting the speed at 3.6 mph. I immediately get my heart rate amped up at 3.6, but tonight I wanted to see what I could handle, because soon 3.6 mph will no longer qualify as a “hard” anything. So I tried 3.8 mph. Ok, I can do this...a little different, but doable. Then at about seven minutes in I decided to get crazy. Why not? What's the worst that could happen? Maybe I have to pull the emergency stop plug? I reached down and pressed the button twice taking me to an impressive 4.0 mph! I not only handled it, I stayed there for the rest of the two miles! I've posted an “On The Go” video straight from the treadmill below! What an amazing workout! When I first climbed on that thing months ago, I couldn't even think about getting past 2.9 fact many times I did 2.7 mph! I know I've said it often, but I'm showing you proof of this everyday: It gets easier and easier! Just keep that in mind if you too are doing this, and perhaps just getting started. When you feel like it's “impossible,” it's not. When you can't imagine ever doing more, you can, and when you're “just not feeling it” Do It ANYWAY! Remember...consistent, positive effort gets results every time. You just have to be patient and trust that the results will come, because believe me, they do!

Let's visit the mailbag, shall we? I opened up my inbox this morning and found the most wonderful message:

I've been reading your blog from start to finish and am in AWE of your writing ability... and I'm a tough critic. Your words have cut through 26 years of my "analysis paralysis". I was constantly revising my approach to weight loss (do mental gymnastics burn calories? I wish!) Needless to say, I just kept getting fatter. Simple is BEST. This time I am making sure I have nothing to rebel against, or as you said, "What if you couldn't cheat?" I could not do it any other way. I'm down 50 pounds, 120-130 more to go, and for the first time, I'm totally confident that I'll get there, and that is due in large part to you being down the road, holding a lantern, yelling, "This way! Just keep walking!" You are just the best, and I'm so very impressed with your devotion, conviction, humility, sense of humor, and graciousness. Tired of people putting you on a pedestal yet? : ) Get used to it, my friend, there are great things in your future, and the world needs your insights as never before. Just wanted to add one more thing... of all the qualities that you possess as a leader, the one that stands out most of all is that you genuinely seem to care about people, and not just people in general, but people as individuals. You remind me very much of Richard Simmons in this way. Also, you have the kind of warmth that makes people really care about YOU. It is something more than charisma... it is WARMTH (and that will make you always more handsome than Tom Cruise). HUGS- Becky

I absolutely love the phrase "analysis paralysis!" It is such an on-target phrase. When you read message like this, you can feel the excitement, the joy, the absolute life changing attitude. It's a wonderful thing in so many ways. I share it, in the hopes that their words might help someone else find that spark within--that epiphany that brings it all together, for the first time in years. We all have the power to inspire.

Shane had this to say about the last post:

Sean, I love the beginning story! That is too cool dude! I got a little reminiscent reading the e mail from that lady. I too remember getting started reading your blog from beginning and gaining inspiration that this way of losing weight, really does work! I have to tell you, my changes have been many over the past 6 plus months have been amazing. My body, my attitude, my perception of portions of food, and my fitness level.... and I know you will try to deflect this, but I do owe it in large part to you being brave enough to take your journey, and to put your story out there for all to see and be inspired by. Thank you my friend, from the bottom of my heart. --Shane in Arkansas

And this comes from April in Alabama:

Sean I began reading your blog mid July 2010, I read one(and of course all the new ones)a day, I think about each day and really try to recall your advice! I love your message I began my weight lost journey with a whole new approach when I started to read this blog!! I am down 45 pounds and have 55 more to go!!:) You are such an inspiration!! I wish you all the best on maintaining and spreading your enthusiasm for Healthy Lives to all!!! --April in Alabama

Isn't that exciting! But as wonderful as it is--something still bugs me horribly.

I have close friends and loved ones that struggle so very hard along this road, and I wish I could take their hand and do it for them. I can't, only they can. But what's so hard to understand is--how two people can read the same blog, word for word, and one person is completely ready to "see" it and the other isn't. And when the other is someone very close to me, it makes it especially hard. I've thought about this a bunch lately and here's what I've concluded:

We're all at different points along our road. Just as it took me nearly twenty years to finally "see," it takes some longer than others. Some never get there. And it makes me sad. I wonder if my close personal loved ones have a harder time because it's me writing this blog. They've known the "Old" Sean much longer than this new version and maybe that somehow discounts my message. All I can do is hope and pray that like so many others, they too will arrive at that point within themselves someday soon. I know that it can't be hurried along unnaturally. And it can't be done for them. I so wish it could, because I a heartbeat.

Thank you for reading. The following video is a ten minute presentation edited from my Lose To Win Seminar on January 13th at the Poncan Theatre. Deke Media, handled the footage and post production. They did a wonderful job! Thank you Deke Media!

I hope you'll friend me on facebook! Just search for me using my email:

Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 854-866 The Man In The Next Booth, Living and Learning, and Re-Focusing The Fundamentals

Day 854-866

The Man In The Next Booth, Living and Learning, and Re-Focusing The Fundamentals

I walked into the restaurant with a beautiful date on my arm and a plan. I always have a strategy ready when I dine out and it's always very simple. I order water with lemon. If I want a "lemonade," I ask for extra lemons, then I use sweetener to taste. Since most restaurant portions are enough to feed two or three people, sharing is most always practiced. I avoid the appetizers and I avoid the bread, pre-meal, knowing that I'll enjoy one when the meal arrives. At Texas Roadhouse, they'll bring you as many rolls as you can handle. And they're incredible little things, really. Perfectly baked to perfection--hot, buttery, with a taste that makes you want to know what exactly it is they put in these things. I'm not sure what it is, but it's something very hard to resist, especially for a bread lover like me. But I calmly remind myself that I'll have one soon, as quickly as the meal arrives.

I love fried catfish, I think we've established that before. And this place does it so well. And the portion they put on a plate just absolutely begs a reasonably sane person to do one of two things: Either share or get a box and take half of it home. I always opt to share. 1/2 a baked potato and a couple of catfish fillets, plus a roll--makes for a wonderful meal. It's not too much or too little, it's just perfect. This is the plan and it works, every time.

I always remember "Old Sean," in these situations. I remember how foreign it would have been to even suggest sharing a meal like this. Instead of being nearly appalled at the enormous serving sizes, I would have applauded them for the value and the feast that I most certainly would have joyously stuffed in every last bite--along with extra rolls and butter--and more peanuts please! I always needed an antacid after a big meal. I never need one now. And I'm still satisfied and happy. Hmmm...This is nice.

The best part of this restaurant visit wasn't the different attitude and approach that my new relationship with food provides. It was the company in the next booth. Let me explain: As we were being seated, I thought I recognized the gentleman in the booth up ahead. When he loudly exclaimed, "Sean Anderson," I immediately knew who it was. He looked so different from the last time I saw him. It was the tattoo artist that gave me my "505" tattoo. When he gave me my tattoo, he weighed 460 pounds--Now, he's 156 pounds lighter--looks completely different, and in his words, "I feel twenty years younger!"

We talked about his journey and the questions people ask him about his "plan." When he describes how he eats less and exercises all the time, most people are less than thrilled. I've experienced that same thing!!! He mentioned how he can't wait for summer, because he'll be able to do things that he hasn't in years. His eyes were lighting up at the thought. It was genuine happiness. The beautiful lady across from him was smiling from ear to ear too. She surely sees an amazing difference in this former 460 pound man that goes way beyond the obvious physical changes. It was an amazing little visit. And as he walked away, I couldn't help but stare--and smile. He thanked me for inspiring him. And now--he's going to inspire so many more with his brilliant enthusiasm for life. The chance encounter of it all, made this night out extra special. I experienced over-whelming joy for him and his success that he's worked so hard to achieve. The guy is amazing--and it thrills me to know him.

It's always interesting that we have similar experiences when trying to answer the question, "How are you doing it?" It's so natural to look for the easy way out along this road. I did for so many years. And if someone told me that it was a lifestyle change (and they did many times), and that I had to eat less and exercise more, and battle myself to stay true to the mission of change--well, I was always disappointed. This thought is exactly what inspired a blog posting from February 2009. let's go back in the archives, shall we?

From Day 163 "The Insane Search for Anything that Works and An Unlikely Dinner"

I searched for years, well, not really actively searching everyday, but curious always at least, wondering what really works? I was conditioned by our culture and society from an early age to believe in order to lose weight, you had to have a plan. Not your own sensible plan, because that would be too simple and free, and we know that if it's free it can't work, no, no, no...we gotta pay to lose weight if we expect results. We need someone else's plan!

A plan or product someone else designed and now charges large amounts of money for. Now if this plan is all about learning portion control, self-analysis, and exercising, then great...sounds good, but kinda boring...and boring doesn't sell. I want amazing success claims! I want you to tell me that I can basically sleep and gorge all day long and still lose weight.

I always thought that the secret must be in a product or system somewhere on a store shelf near me. When I would run into someone who had lost weight, my first question was always: “How did you do it?” This is often the first question that comes to mind for anyone. I always wanted to hear about a miraculous new product that would magically melt away my fat in the middle of the night while I slept regardless of my food intake or lack of exercise. As crazy as that idea sounds, that's exactly the message I've watched before on an infomercial in the middle of the night. Perhaps you've watched the same one. Did you notice the fine print too?

“Product to be used in conjunction with a regular diet and exercise regimen.” Really? I have to make an effort? Then why would I want to take these again? Do they even contain anything other than a placebo and a slick marketing campaign that targets the desperate and dangerously overweight at 2am?

But for years I had an open mind and a willing ear to listen to anyone that had any information on what worked. As long as that solution didn't involve certain things, like personal responsibility, educating myself on portion control, understanding, analyzing, and reconstructing my behaviors and please don't say exercise! Noooo! I can't move! What? You want me to kill myself?

Listen, I understand the hopeless feelings that consume grotesquely obese people. I've been one for years. The dream is a miracle cure, that never comes along. Oh sure, people lose weight on all kinds of products and systems. I'm not saying you can't lose weight on some of these things. People do everyday, but it's like spending money on cleaning up the mess from a broken sewer line, but not fixing the broken sewer line. Sorry, that's a gross but effective example...but you see what I mean, right? That's why so many people gain back everything they lost and more! They cleaned up the mess caused by the real problem, but they didn't address the real problem.

When they repeat the process over and over they call it...”Yo-Yo Dieting.” I've always heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result...that's yo-yo dieting! What has driven me to get down to the honest bare truth behind my lifelong battle with obesity? I don't have time to yo-yo any-mo-mo. That was kind of lame, but it made me laugh, so I'm good. I'm learning everyday about food and how to properly handle it, I'm learning about exercise and how to properly do it, and most importantly, I'm learning about me on a level I didn't know existed.

For the first time in my life I'm finally finding what I was looking for, and the strangest thing is, it was inside me all along, but I wasn't looking there. It's like searching for your lost car keys for 30 years, then one day finding them in your pocket where they'd always been.

It's time to read some wonderful mail! I absolutely love opening messages like the following. it's like a gift someone is giving me. It's feedback. It feels good to feel like we're making a difference. And I can't thank this reader enough for the wonderful time and energy they put into this email gift. In consideration of their privacy, I've taken out the name. This feels good:

"Hi Sean,

I just finished reading every day of your journey from the very beginning and I’m truly sad that I’m now all caught up and just waiting for you to write again. I started my journey on Oct 25 and by some miracle found your blog and started reading. As many people have stated, you are one hell of an inspiration and I truly am grateful that you wrote your journey down for the world to read. I too am counting calories and exercising and am proud to say that I now have dropped 30 pounds as of this morning and on the road to another 30 and then 30 more. Like you I love food and found it funny that you used Velveeta cheese in your last seminar to signify the weight loss as Velveeta is one of my weaknesses and that’s one food I haven’t touched since Oct 24. I too started with the “anything goes” philosophy but have found that the longer I go the more I don’t seem to care if I eat chocolate, Velveeta or KD. Weird how the mind set changes over time. I’m loving that I am down 2 sizes and can’t wait to be able to walk into any store and buy anything I want, right now I have to go to a “special” store that caters to us heavier people. I too just recently started to get the “have you lost weight” comments and man, does it feel good. I really was starting to wonder why nobody was commenting on it but now it seems every day I get at least one person and it thrills me every time.

Thank you for all that you have written and the knowledge you have passed along. I am forever grateful that I could read you any day when I thought I just couldn’t do this anymore. You have kept me on the right path and for that I am eternally grateful. I was talking to a friend this morning and she is starting her journey and I told her about your blog and that she should start from the very beginning, she plans on doing that right away and I hope she pays it forward and so on. I am so excited for you and all the wonderful things that have happened in your life. When you’re sad I’m sad for you, when you got the divorce I cried for you and when you’re happy I’m happy for you. I don’t know why some people have to be cruel and say things like “get over yourself” but damnit, those are the people that are either jealous or sick in some way and aren’t worth the worry. How anybody could not be amazed and inspired by you is something I do not understand. I totally get why you have to sometimes just stare at yourself in the mirror and marvel at what you’ve done as I too in the privacy of the bathroom have to do that myself. People that haven’t had a bad body image or have never had to fight with weight will never understand why we have to “admire” ourselves every once in awhile. The feeling of accomplishment is something we have to force our brain to see.

We’ve had 2 quick exchanges in the last couple of months but this is the biggest writing I’ve done to you as I know you are so very busy and trying to get the book done so I don’t like to bother you. I’ll probably never meet you in person but that’s okay, I still think of you as my weight loss buddy and will forever remember you and your amazing transformation and look forward to more writing on the blog.

CONGRATULATIONS on reaching your goal, I was thrilled when you got there, way to go!!! And I hope your sleep apnea gets fixed and that you can finally rest and get a good nights sleep, you deserve it. And I’ll be added to the long list of people that exclaim that you are one handsome man and I hope you find a wonderful lady that deserves you, or perhaps you already have with Karen, but that’s none of my business, I’ll shut up now.

Take care of yourself...a Canadian fan…"

What a blessing! Thank you, my friend! I'm so thrilled for your success!! You're absolutely doing it--and this time is different from any other!!

Sleep apnea. Oh my--yes, it's wreaked havoc on me in the last several months. I've now completed two sleep lab studies in the last month and I'm currently awaiting the final results and will soon be receiving a new prescription and setting for a CPAP machine. It has absolutely hurt my productivity in many ways. I'm always tired it seems and no matter how well I think I've slept, I'm always ready for a nap, even if I've only been up for a few hours. I'm really looking forward to experiencing real good rest again--The kind of sleep I remember from nearly ten years of sleeping successfully on a CPAP at my heaviest.

A couple of my blogging buddies stopped by the blog and commented recently. Tony "The Anti-Jared" Posnanski is truly an inspiration to me in so many ways. He has an amazing sense of humor too. I love his arms and he loves my voice, apparently:

"I want your smooth voice. You are listening to WRQZ in Orrrrlando. Coming up, Hall and Oates, but now, Hit me with your Best Shot, it's Pat Benetar. See, not even close to your voice."

You absolutely crack me up, Tony! Thank you, friend!!

Jack Sh*t, the king of weight loss blog comedy, but also someone with a very serious and caring heart--with a keen observant eye, and a genuine concern--writes:

"Boy, that not weighing in for a month scares me, Sean. The problem when you get out of that tightly focused losing mode is that it's a lot harder to shift it into gear than it was before (or at least that's what I've found). But you're right... it's still FANTASTIC, but the key is to keep it that way!"

Jack--thank you for this! You're absolutely right. And now, I still haven't weighed. I've been trying to trust myself at every turn, keeping myself in check, eating like a normal person--and seeing what happens. It will be interesting to see what the scale says. I didn't really set out to try this scale free six week period, but it certainly has become an interesting study within myself. And what have I found?

I'm not ready. I'm just not ready to be "normal." What is "normal" anyway? I need the structure that has brought me this far, I do. I need to lose a little more. And finding that balance that will maintain me for life--well, that is something I'll gradually and very naturally evolve into. For now--I'm tightening up the fundamentals that have delivered me from 505 pounds. And that tightening--includes weighing this week.

I have some amazing friends in this weight loss blogging community--and these two guys are very special to me. Thank you both, again!!!

After a friend gifted me with Truvia and Agave Nectar, I've been giving it a try instead of Splenda. I even purchased some Sun Crystals, the stevia/sugar hybrid stuff--at 5 calories per packet. I'll be honest--I prefer the taste of Splenda. But I'm giving this natural alternative a wonderful try---and I know it's better for me. But you know me--I don't always consume something just because it's better for me! After all---I've never had a salad. Ever.

I hope that you'll friend me on facebook. Just search for me by my email: I update facebook almost daily and we have some pretty lively, sometimes helpful and informative discussions on my facebook wall.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,

My oldest daughter Amber. I love her so much! She was in town last weekend and we had such a wonderful time at the Liverpool Legends concert!

From the upcoming Lose To Win Youtube video segment--available soon, right here and on facebook!

I always include a giant before picture every time. I've included this one a couple of times--and it always shocks me to see it again.

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