Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 20th, 2014 Always Learning and Doing What Works

May 20th, 2014 Always Learning and Doing What Works

If you're just now tuning in, reading only the latest entries, then you might think: Wow, this Sean guy has it all figured out! That would be a very incorrect assumption. I don't have it all figured out but I'm doing my best everyday. I've established support and an ultra high level of accountability. I'm doing what works for me.

The thought of committing to a writing schedule and tweeting pictures of every single bite might seem excessive and unnecessary to some. For me, it's the reason why I'm actually looking forward to getting on the scale tomorrow. After twenty years of being near, at or above 500 pounds, I tasted the freedom a healthy body weight provides and it lasted for about a year and a half before I fell into the same patterns of my past. Emotional circumstances, life changes and so many variables accompanied the weight gain that has brought me back today. The biggest lesson I've learned is all about denial of addiction and how just when you start thinking you've got it all figured out, you must check yourself, and check yourself fast.

The emotional epiphanies of late have been nothing short of ground breaking for me.  I'm re-building a foundation for myself. A foundation that will support a lifetime of recovery and all of the wonderful freedom it and a healthy body weight affords. And this will be a life work. There isn't a finish line. Why would there be? So I can turn around and go back the other way? Acceptance and peace with the knowledge of what I must do to remain successfully in recovery is what it's all about. Instead of dread, I feel relief. I feel relieved because I've found hope and promise for a better life when I was seriously starting to doubt I could ever recover.

At my darkest points along the way, I came real close to shutting everything off.  Deleting this blog entirely, deleting my Facebook account and doing my best to put this part of my life behind me. I was that close to giving up.  But time and time again, just as I was about to hit "delete all," an email would come from Jon in Wisconsin with a link to his Spark People blog where he had written about how my journey had inspired him. Days would go by and I'd reach a point of desperation again--just wanting to isolate, be alone--shut everything down and accept that this seemingly hopeless trek was determined to take me out, then I'd open my email and find this:

Hello sean
I hope you still pick up your emails on this account.
I picked up your blog on day 1 and I have not put it down since.  I'm currently on day 142.  I have followed your methods every step of the way and I'm achieving some fantastic results.
The main thing I wanted to email you about was to say
Thank you for saving my life
All the way from the UK
The moment I opened Nick's email on my phone, I was sitting in the drive through line at Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Store waiting on a thousand calorie dose of my preferred drug and hoping nobody in line or any of the employees recognized me as "that guy who lost all that weight and wrote that book and wow, he's put on some weight." If Nick only knew where I am right now, not just physically--in this drive through--but mentally and emotionally--he would likely be shocked, I thought. 
Realizing that I had no idea who or how many might be reading some of the over 820 postings in the archive of this blog, there's no way I could just delete everything. I couldn't do it. And I'm glad I didn't. My hope is, someone like Nick might keep reading and learn from not only my success, but my relapse and recovery.  
We all want long term results. None of us start out thinking, hey--I'd like to get down to a healthy weight to see what it's like--just so I'll know--then I'll be back.  What I'm doing now is what I must to take the best care of me and experience not just long term results, I want long term recovery...that's the goal.  
And isn't it poetic that some of the people expressing gratitude toward me, have actually played a key role in my turnaround? I'm enormously grateful for their support.
Today was a fantastic day in several ways. I'm constantly trying new ways to carefully plan and prepare my food.  Something as simple as dry grilling my sandwich on a Foreman Grill at lunch today, adds variety and a little excitement to my food plan. I enjoyed an appetizer before dinner tonight: Mushroom Pizza Cap! I love these things.  I took a large mushroom cap, filled the center with 1/2 a serving of sugar free marinara and a slice of mozzarella--and baked it until the cheese started to brown. It's one of the most delicious 123 calories of recent memory. Of course I LOVE mushrooms! I've found a lot of people don't.
 photo 446dd104-8cc1-40d2-a0b7-829582a10c1e_zps3e3c6a57.jpg
It's like a mushroom pizza without the crust! I eat it with a knife and fork...and napkins.
My workouts on the orange trimmed elliptical at the YMCA have been progressively better.
The biggest victory for me has been walking into the Y with complete confidence and not a shred of the emotions I wrote about not too long ago.  Those fears and emotions were a big hurdle to get over and I just said a prayer, walked in and did what I needed to do. I've since ran into several people I know--many whom I exercised alongside during my initial weight loss--and NOT ONE has given me anything but the most supportive words and sometimes it's just a smile. I'm happy to see them again too.
Thank you for reading and being so wonderfully supportive. If something I've written in these pages has helped you in some way, that's such a wonderful thing to me. It's precious to me, really. I'm just learning. I'll never stop learning along this road.
For the complete food picture tweet stream, follow me on Twitter @SeanAAnderson  I keep a food and exercise journal on MyFitnessPal and you're welcome to join me there too. My username is: SeanAAnderson
I'm looking forward to weighing tomorrow and sharing it with you on my next post.
Thank you for reading,


  1. Fabulous! I applaud you Sean! I am so thankful you decided to keep this blog going and FB too! Though I may not be posting a blog you know I'm working on my "first" book. But you give me hope too, I know I'm not alone. But too you need support too. I'm sure you get a lot of support from your family and close friends but people like me are cheering you on from the sidelines of life too. I'm right there with you taking each day working towards my goal too and trying the great recipe ideas you post which I love your taste in food, no pun intended. I thank you for keeping this going. You are not alone in this! *HUGS* ~ Jules

  2. Good for you - you've done an awesome job of sharing your journey! As I'm learning as well, this process is for life. And really it's not the big things, it's all the little things that add up. Every time I think about throwing in the towel, I just remind myself that failure isn't falling; it's not getting back up! The support I get from others and the support I want to give to others does keep me going.

    And folks who don't like mushrooms? Well - they're just not right. ;-) The mushroom and mozzarella looked scrumptious!

  3. There is no finish line. Helpful words for me today.

  4. Food IS our "drug of choice," isn't it Sean? It's as real an addiction as any others. And every day is a challenge to stay away from it, made even harder by the fact that we can't just entirely eliminate it from our lives. The mushroom pizza appetizer looks delicious--I'm going to have to try that!


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