Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 28th, 2015 A Promise Made On Day One

February 28th, 2015 A Promise Made On Day One

It's hard to believe almost six and a half years have elapsed since Day 1 on September 15th, 2008. I hadn't a clue how important to me this blog would become. I didn't know it on Day 1, but I was embarking on a very deep and personal self-study. This study has taken me far beyond the basics of weight loss and into the mental/emotional side of all things affecting such a journey. I didn't know it all then and I don't know it all now. What I do know well is, me.  And on Day 1, at over 500 pounds, I was scared.

A few excerpts from Day 1:
"How important is it that I lose the weight now? Well...every now and then I day dream a nightmare where I envision my family at my funeral. I's dark! And very scary. But every time I have a little pain I wonder, is this it? Am I about to collapse? Will my funeral be Thursday??"

"This is all about making choices. Every choice we make has a consequence...some good, some bad...Some real good, Some very, very bad. Choices and consequences, that's what it's all about."

"Tomorrow I weigh. I'm really scared at what I might weigh. I guarantee it'll be more than you think. But one thing I promise in this blog...I'll put it all out there...As much as it might be embarrassing to announce my weight tomorrow night, I will. I have to...because I must make myself accountable. I know it will be over 500 pounds...It will for sure. I'll report on my weigh in tomorrow night."

"I'll put it all out there." I feel like I've kept that promise fairly well, in this blog and my book.

The dramatic before and after pictures are certainly a fun part of any transformation.
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I learned along the way that the most dramatic parts of this whole transformation business isn't captured in photos.

The entries on May 15th, 2014 and May 19th, 2014, in my opinion, best epitomize the unseen parts of this transformation.

From the archived blog post on May 15th, 2014:

"And then I realized: This is what they mean when they say you must love yourself first before you can fully experience and appreciate the love and richness of life. Oh my goodness, I feel like shedding tears just writing these words. 

If I was confused before, it was very clear now. I'm a great person worthy of love regardless of my size and appearance. I have my mind, sense of humor, talents, a big heart, loads of compassion for others and so very much more. And none of it is diminished with weight gain or increased with weight loss. 

I am me, always."

From the archived blog post on May 19th, 2014:

"If we tether our identity, self-worth, definition of success and happiness to anything that naturally fluctuates or can change dramatically, then we're in for a roller coaster ride of emotional unrest.

I've always attached my self-worth to my weight. Well, until now of course. I've often talked about potential and not living up to potential. But here's the thing: Potential is tied directly to the constant qualities within us and if our focus is on the pursuit of happiness in every direction except within, then those qualities aren't allowed to flourish, to grow--to give life to the potential within us all.

This whole thing makes me want to take the best care I can. I've never felt more determined to return to a healthy weight. It's what I need physically. What I need emotionally isn't affected by weight loss. And making that distinction provides a nice inner calm, a peace.

The question to determine these inner qualities needing attention and love is: What are the qualities in me that remain regardless of my weight, regardless of my financial situation, regardless of my relationship status, regardless of my professional success--what about me stays the same when all of these other things can and do change?  My heart, soul, sense of humor, natural compassion for others, likes and dislikes, pride in parenting, artistic talents, selflessness, humility, etc. Have you made your list?  And when these constants are cared for and loved, watered, so to speak--they grow, they flourish--and they give us what we need to experience emotional freedom, the freedom and ability to claim our happiness come what may."

I've learned a lot along the way. I've learned about the cleansing of forgiveness and the power of love. I've learned about what finding happiness requires and what it doesn't.  Most importantly, I've learned that the learning never stops. If ever I close my mind to learning more, it'll be the beginning of the end.

If you've read this entire post and you're thinking, get to the HOW part already, okay... 

I eat well and I exercise regularly. When it comes to food, my philosophy has always been "I eat what I like and nothing I don't." When it comes to exercise, it's all about consistency--not perfection.

I'm not gluten free, although I do eat some gluten free products occasionally. I now eat 1,700 calories per day, mostly whole foods--and I don't eat sugar. My abstinence from sugar started almost 11 months ago and it's proven to be the best nutritional decision I've ever made. Even better, it's the best recovery decision I've ever made. I avoid refined sugar the same way an alcoholic avoids alcohol. When I gave it up, the binge switch in my brain flipped to the off position.

I don't isolate. I'm active in reaching out for support when I need it and offering support when it's needed from me. Building your support system is critically important. Crucial elements of the support system are your accountability tools.

This blog is one of my biggest accountability tools. I also use Twitter as an accountability tool. I share pictures, descriptions and calorie counts via Twitter of everything I eat, every day and I use MyFitnessPal to log and track my consumption.

You certainly don't have to do any of this to be successful. My initial 275 pound weight loss didn't include the live tweets, in fact, I didn't log or track anything. I simply kept a running calorie count in my head throughout each day. My goal was to simplify the process as best I could. Then, after maintaining goal weight for a year and a half, I started a giant relapse and regain period. What I do now--all of my personal fundamental elements are based on what I needed to turn the slide around in a positive direction.

One last thing... If you're about to start your own weight loss journey, please read this:

What's this all about? It's about progress, not perfection. It's about how you feel, not a number. It's about you and for you, not about or for anyone else. It's about living, not dying. It's about dreaming, not dreading. It's about freedom, not imprisonment. It's about opening your mind to the possibilities, not closing it to the changes. It's about acceptance, not rejection. It's about nourishing, not depriving. It's about a broadly consistent importance level, not short bursts of narrow focus. It's about wanting, not forcing. It's about doing your best, not trying to do another's best. It's about today, not tomorrow, or next week or the first of the month or January 1st. It's about committing to consistency with all your heart and holding on tight, not a halfhearted commitment easily released with the slightest breeze. It's about you deserving better, because you do. It's about you being important, because you are important.

As far as today's recap goes, it was excellent. I'm feeling nearly 100%, finally! I ate well and enjoyed an amazing workout this morning. I made my way to the department store after my workout for a new pair of smaller jeans. It was time. It feels good to once again be out of the Big and Tall section.

For more details about today, I'll let the Tweets tell the story:

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Friday, February 27, 2015

February 27th, 2015 It Was A Good Test

February 27th, 2015 It Was A Good Test

I missed my usual breakfast routine this morning! I was doing an 'after midnight' fast until after my blood lab work. The plain black coffee--uhg, yeah--no. By the time I returned to the studio post-lab, I was ready to cook some breakfast! I keep several grocery items in the studio kitchen, but it doesn't include my sugar free hazelnut creamer. I suppose it's a way for me to limit my coffee. Although, lately, I've been on an evening coffee kick, it seems.

I must wait all the way until Thursday morning March 5th for my lab work follow up appointment with my doctor. I can't wait to get the results and see how they've changed over the last 136 pounds. I've always been fairly blessed with good numbers, even at my heaviest. Good genetics, I suppose. But still, I am getting older, so who knows? 

It was decided this morning that I would ride out whatever this has been over the last week, without seeking a prescription. I've felt remarkably better today, so I'm fairly certain I'm on the positive side of this deal. I've determined my regular workout schedule will resume tomorrow at the YMCA. It'll feel good to get back into that groove. I have many options to choose from when it comes to exercise and a couple I would like to revisit are swimming and spinning class. I also plan to resume Yoga. I haven't been even remotely consistent with anything except the elliptical. It might be time for me to actually plan my workout schedule. Perfectly, imperfect...yeah, that.

I sincerely appreciate the positive feedback and encouragement last night's post generated. It was certainly something I needed to express. Thank you, very much.

Sharon, a blogger from just outside of Toronto, sent me a message about how she enjoyed the post and how it reminded her of one she had written over six years ago. I clicked the link she provided and was incredibly impressed with her ability to foresee this multifaceted issue from the very beginning of her journey.

Her simple question to family and friends reminded me of something you might see posted to Facebook, a "describe me using one word" post, BUT--Her conclusion--the determination she made after collecting the 'data,' was profound and beautiful. 

She writes, "...perhaps just the realization that my fat does not define me will make my journey to a thin person a little less bumpy."

What impresses me most about this post was her ability to dissect an incredibly complex issue before it became an even bigger one for her, down the road. That's incredible foresight, Sharon.

With Sharon's permission, here's the direct link to her blog post from January, 2009:

I'm very happy with where I find my mental/emotional state these days. Not that I would describe the demise of my last relationship as a good thing, but it was a good test for me because I didn't react the same way I did in previously similar circumstances. I remained consistent and I continued holding sacred the fundamental elements of my recovery. I'm a stronger person than I once was, clearly.

I might pick up a new pair of jeans this weekend. I think it's time for a smaller size.  

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February 26th, 2015 Your Superpower Comes With An Awesome Responsibility

February 26th, 2015 Your Superpower Comes With An Awesome Responsibility

It's as if we possess a very real superpower. We have the ability to completely transform our appearance without cosmetic surgery and without a Hollywood make-up/special effects artist. This is real. The transformation can be so dramatic, people who have known us our entire lives walk right past, not knowing who we are, only the image of who we were.

Until we speak. 

Then, the mind-blowing, jaw on the floor reaction erupts and it feels good. It's like a novelty; a trick few possess, a guaranteed show stopper--the "final reveal," so to speak. If your life was a realty tv show, you would cut to commercial right before this encounter.
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For any of us who have chosen or choose to use this superpower, it's important to consider and pursue a deeper understanding of the effect and how it can affect us in profound ways. Yes, it's the big "Remember, your superpower comes with an awesome responsibility" type thing.

It's important, because who we were and who we are; the core elements of our being, remain the same. 

My favorite color is blue. It has been my entire life. At 505 pounds and at 230 pounds, didn't matter, it's my favorite color. Blue, all shades. My deep seeded likes and dislikes, the things that bring me the most joy, my special talents, my heart, my compassion and empathy for others, my intelligence, my sense of humor; I possessed all of it at 505 pounds and at 230 pounds. 

The superficial changes are dramatic and it's very tempting to believe we are, indeed, a completely different person. If we attach our identity too much to this notion, we quickly lose ourselves along the way.

I remember the unusual reaction of a family member I hadn't seen in a very long time, upon seeing me for the first time at 230 pounds. She cried. And it wasn't tears of joy and celebration. I quickly identified how she was seriously having a moment. I asked her, "what's wrong?" Her reply affected me deeply, changing my perspective and nudging me in a self-exploratory direction I wasn't necessarily prepared to go.

"It's like the Sean I knew and loved, died."  

Suddenly, I couldn't look at before pictures without feeling a separation of identity. I felt sorry for that guy. I missed him. I was grieving his loss.

It's interesting how, on Day 1 of this blog I wrote about the scary vision of my own funeral. It was one of the thoughts compelling me toward my iron-clad/non-negotiable decision to choose change, before change chose me. My goal was to avoid this dark scenario. And yet, upon reaching a drastically different body weight, it's as if I still held a funeral in my mind. 

The more I accepted my new superficial reality and the more I separated from my old existence, the further away I became from the core of my being.

The trouble is, the brain doesn't really forget. My reflection in the mirror had changed. Photographs were no longer avoided, they were embraced. But still, my brain kept a big file of everything that made me who I am. This file contained the deep stuff; the experiences and feelings of my past and the behavioral reactions to these things, too. I couldn't escape myself.

Accessing this deeply embedded file within my brain helped me regain 164 pounds of my initial 275 pound weight loss. It makes sense. My natural, deep seeded behaviors, followed by my physical appearance was merely harmonizing with my brain's original image and experience of me.

Now, having lost 136 pounds of the 164 pound regain, what's different?

I no longer identify as "old Sean" and/or "new Sean" I'm just, Sean. 

My self-worth and identity doesn't change with the number on the scale or the reflection in the mirror. Losing weight helps me become healthier but it doesn't make me a better person. Gaining weight has negative effects on my health, but it doesn't make me any less of a person.

The core qualities of who I am, who I've always been, will be celebrated and nurtured--allowing them to grow, to blossom in their intended and natural path. The affected levels of my life and the resulting behaviors will be closely monitored, better understood and helped with intentional support and positive actions. They will not be ignored as if they no longer exist.

As Ralph Marston so eloquently expressed in the foreword of my book: "Truth is powerful. The more you seek to hide from it, the more forcefully it asserts itself, until you eventually cannot deny it."  

So, go ahead, use your incredible superpower to transform. Just, please--be true to yourself along the way. Don't forget who you are. Don't ignore the qualities that make you incredibly special. Enjoy your transformation and believe me when I say, the most powerful transformation, the one giving you gifts to last a lifetime, isn't the physical, it's the mental/emotional transformation.

The physical freedom is great. The emotional/mental freedom can become something beyond your wildest imagination, far exceeding whatever expectation you brought into this experience.

I was still in recovery mode today. I feel somewhat better, but still guarded and taking it a little easier. Everyone at the studio was avoiding my like I carried their demise. "You can't use my pen," "Please don't come any closer."  I wasn't verbalizing my discomfort, they could simply see it all over me. I washed my hands a little more than usual and tried not to cough or sneeze in anyone's direction. I came home a touch early, enjoyed lunch, took a nap and got up feeling okay.

My interview with Rachel Martin of NPR's Weekend Edition-Sunday went very well. Much of what I've written above was inspired by the conversation we shared. I'm sometimes too self-critical for my own good. There were so many things I wanted to say and didn't, and some I did that wasn't necessary. But Ravenna, one of the writer/producers, assured me it was good. The segment isn't with me exclusively. Rachel interviewed several people with like experiences. So I'm not certain how much or how little my voice will be featured. We'll find out this Sunday March 1st on NPR's Weekend Edition! From the direction of the questions and knowing how incredibly talented NPR's talent and production staff is, it's sure to be an interesting segment, however it's assembled.

I decided to stay in tonight. I prepared a good dinner and did a short 30 minute PiYo workout in my living room floor. I modify quite a bit with this, still--it is a workout, make no mistake.

I'll visit the doctor's office in the morning for a fasting blood lab. Up until this point, I've resisted the urge to get a prescription for this crud I've experienced at varying levels over the last seven days. I've decided I'll call ahead and let the nurse know of my desire to quickly see the doctor, instead of just the lab personnel, for a prescription of something to once and for all kick this stuff.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 25th, 2015 Rough Start, Strong Finish

February 25th, 2015 Rough Start, Strong Finish

I was in bed last night not long after 9pm. I needed good rest. I didn't get good rest. Instead, I tossed and turned, felt worse and finally was able to rest sometime after 1am. The bug--or whatever this has been, is responsible for my sleeplessness. I'm a fast sleeper. I can lay down and typically be asleep within ten minutes. In fact, I regularly play one of my favorite podcasts with a ten minute sleep timer and I'm usually asleep first.

After taking a sick day Monday, then feeling good enough to go on Tuesday--it was strange needing another sick day today, but I took it. I stayed in bed until nearly 10am. I'm glad I did. I wouldn't have had the energy to get through this long day, otherwise.

I didn't feel like eating breakfast, either. I can count on one hand how many times I've skipped breakfast in the last ten months. It's a very rare thing. But honestly, I wasn't feeling like anything, first thing, today.

Once I started getting hungry, I enjoyed an apple and some cheese. Then felt good enough to enjoy lunch out with mom. Our plans today changed. We were to go to her eye doctor appointment, but it's been rescheduled/delayed for a few weeks. We enjoyed a good visit and lunch instead.

My schedule included a pickup at the airport in Oklahoma City at 8pm. After my visit with mom, I left early enough to get my workout in at the Edmond Rankin YMCA. Nice facility! I used this Y one other time, several months ago, but now--everything has changed. All of the old equipment has been replaced or was in the process of being replaced.

Getting back home exceptionally late isn't the best for me right now. However, I did end up feeling remarkably better today--as you can tell by my food and workout accountability tweets.

I'm excited to announce I'll be interviewed by Rachel Martin tomorrow for an upcoming segment on NPR's Weekend Edition. I'll write more tomorrow evening about the topic to be explored. It's something I've written about extensively on this blog. One of their writers found my blog during her research. I was honored to be contacted and asked to share my perspective and experience.

Thank you for the wonderful get well wishes. I have a fasting blood lab scheduled for Friday morning. I'm hoping this feeling better trend continues. I'm also looking forward to the lab results early next week!

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February 24th, 2015 Very Unusual

February 24th, 2015 Very Unusual

I felt better this morning. I really did. Afternoon came and I started feeling worse than the previous two days. I decided to come home, prepare a good meal despite how I'm feeling, participate in the weekly teleconference support group I co-facilitate with Life Coach Gerri--and then determine if a Y trip was something I needed to do or felt like doing this evening.

Psychologically, the workout would be a great thing. Physically, not so much. I didn't finish all of my dinner, it was too much. I didn't feel like eating. Officially, from what I've logged and served, I'm leaving 114 calories unused from my budget--actually it's more like 350. The way I'm feeling, I'm okay with this tonight. I did eat an orange a few minutes ago. I may need to get into the doctor if I haven't kicked whatever this is by Thursday. It's very rare for me to get sick. But lately, I've had a couple bouts with the cruds. Very unusual for me.

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Some recent photos capable of putting a smile on my face regardless of how I feel.

I'm hitting the pillow early tonight. I do not have time to be sick tomorrow. It's a packed day that includes work, then traveling with mom to an eye doctors appointment, picking up colleagues flying in from DC and a good workout at a Y facility about 90 miles from my own. It's all doable, but I'll need to rest up and feel better to make it all happen. Goodnight.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23rd, 2015 The Best Stuff

February 23rd, 2015 The Best Stuff

Feeling 100% well again has been the goal of the last couple days. I've rested very well. I took a sick day from the studio and instead of spending this time like yesterday, reminiscing among old relationships, I made time for reading inspiring stories about people who overcame great odds and achieved incredible success. It was good food for my brain.

Understanding the connection of what I put into my brain influences what I get out, is easier to embrace when I apply the same understanding I have with the food I put into my body--and the stuff I don't.

I sincerely appreciate the feedback and encouragement I received today after last night's blog post. Every single piece of advice was excellent.

I'm very careful when it comes to handling self-compassion. I know, from experience, if I give myself too much, it turns into something else entirely. Keeping the level of self-compassion at a healthy place instead of one ripe with rationalizations, excuses and convenient outs, is the goal.

I've struggled a little tonight with my decision to not go to the YMCA for my workout. Allowing myself some compassion and understanding, I decided it was okay to stay home, stay warm and rest. I'm looking forward to being back in form and in stride tomorrow.

And what harm is it? Physically, it's microscopic. Mentally, it could go either way--depending on my approach. I'm choosing to accept another day off as something truly needed. I love to get in there and get it done like a champ, but sometimes it's okay to not.

I'll tell you what I love about this road. I love the balance. I love the mental/emotional exploration. This road we're traveling is about much more than food and exercise. The mental and emotional side of things, born from our experience, guided by our perspective, is by far the most critical element.

After spending my adolescent years obese, then almost twenty years near, at or above five hundred pounds and then experiencing life at a healthier weight, then gaining over half of it back, and now approaching a healthier weight again--I must say, the number one thing I've learned is, the biggest transformation has little to do with the physical.

It's about discovering ourselves on unexplored levels. Who we are, at our core, doesn't transform with each weigh-in. Losing the weight and improving our physical health, increasing our confidence and feeling that boost of energy, it's all just clearing the clutter, promoting deeper discoveries of the best stuff.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February 22nd, 2015 I'm Okay

February 22nd, 2015 I'm Okay

I needed today. It's been all about rest. I caught up on some reading and although I would have preferred to not go anywhere, I did run to the store. Had it not been for the short store run, I would have made it through this day without uttering a single word, except for my phone call with mom.

I slept in well this morning, then took a mid-afternoon nap, too. I thought about getting into the Y for an elliptical workout, then decided to sleep a little more. I can afford a day off. That's what today felt like.

My calorie budget is solid. My water consumption today was low. Below my goal, actually. With the extra sleeping, I'm going to allow myself a pass on it today. Although I might very well get another two cups in before bed.

I took some time to assess where I am, today. Physically, I feel fantastic. Mentally, I feel strong. Emotionally, not as strong, but better. This personal inventory is an important analysis for me along this road. How I feel plays an important role in what I do. And what I do has an effect on how I feel. I suppose having plenty of alone time today has brought me to an introspective place.

Looking through old photos and seeing the smiling faces of once vibrant relationships that are no longer, can be a tough thing to do. I might have done that today, a little. Okay--I did do that, some. 

It's complicated, really. But honestly, it's for the better. I have so much to focus on, personally and professionally--things that need my attention. And someday, the time in my life will be right. It's not right now and I know it. When I spend too much time alone, I start thinking like this. Hold on, I'll snap out if it...

There, I'm better now. This is a diary, you know--occasionally you're going to read some deeply personal thoughts. The truth is, the only love I need to focus on at this point is the love I have for myself in taking extraordinary care and also, focusing on the things I dream of accomplishing along the way. Shifting my focus onto anything else, is a convenient distraction from where I need to be focused. I certainly have a pattern in this department. If you've read every entry, and some have told me they have--then you've probably recognized the pattern.

Sometimes, giving ourselves the love and attention we need and deserve, is just foreign enough, that spending the emotional energy elsewhere seems like a very attractive alternative. Raising the awareness in all of this and putting it in perspective, is imperative to my success. Reigning in the detours of my emotional energy is an important practice. And realizing, it's going to be okay regardless, is critical.

I'm going to be okay. I am okay.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February 21st, 2015 A Short Saturday Re-Cap

February 21st, 2015 A Short Saturday Re-Cap

I really haven't given myself the rest I've needed this weekend. I'm still not feeling 100%, yet I stubbornly refused to slow down today. I did a location broadcast at a western wear store, I cooked well and had a great workout. I didn't want to miss the Bill Engvall show--so I hurried home from my workout and readied myself.

My plan was to dine out at the venue. There wasn't a way to get in and out of the restaurant quick enough before the show, so I decided to wait until after. Bad idea. The place was packed. So I headed home and prepared a late dinner in my own kitchen.

Now, I'm exhausted--still not feeling completely well, and ready to drop in bed for some good rest.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Friday, February 20, 2015

February 20th, 2015 Worth The Exploration

February 20th, 2015 Worth The Exploration

The chills yesterday turned out to be somewhat of a precursor to not feeling well today. The chills weren't necessarily because of the cold outside (I mean really--it's not that cold compared to other parts of the country and world). I was having a hard time getting warm even in a well heated building. I woke up this morning feeling sick, but not feverish, so I sucked it up and made my way to the studio for my radio show.

I did take a partial sick day, an extended split shift, actually. I made my way home shortly after my show and fell back into bed for some more rest. My neck was especially tense for some reason. I could barely turn it. Maybe I slept on it wrong, I don't know. I do know there seemed to be a connection between the pain in the neck and the general nausea I felt. I returned to the studio mid-afternoon to complete some work stuff and prepare for my emcee duties at a big awards presentation event for our city's Main Street downtown revitalization program.

I planned to make dinner out of whatever was being served at this event. I asked a couple of people ahead of time if they knew what the menu included and they didn't. It didn't bother me, really. I was prepared to navigate the choices regardless of what I found available. I knew there would be fruits and veggies--and of course, cheese! Oh boy--how I love cheese! 

The spread of food was incredible. Upon arriving early, before the pre-awards mixer, I made my way into the serving room and did a once over. The customary fruit and veggie trays, of course, were prominently displayed. The entree selection included mini sandwiches of all kinds and the most amazing looking prime rib. I'm not a fan of the prime rib calorie value--and I didn't want the bread of the sandwiches, so I opted for a good plan B.

I decided on a 'holdover' until I could enjoy dinner later, after the event. I grabbed some fruit and veggies--and some cheese, made my way over to the podium while everyone else mingled--and without anyone even noticing what I was doing, I took my digital food scale from my man bag and quickly weighed the cheese and fruit.

Yes, I took the scale with me! I knew there would be giant trays of cheese--and I wanted the added certainty of knowing precisely how much I was consuming. In all honesty, I have a slight trust issue when it comes to me and block type cheese--or in this case, cubed chunks. At home and work, I enjoy pre-sliced and calorie counted portions. In a setting like this, tonight, with the cheese cubes--it was better to take along some structure. The digital food scale gave me the certainty I wanted and needed. Could I have eye balled it? Sure--and I have before. But if it isn't a big deal (and it wasn't), then why not? It was a way for me to give myself a firm boundary. And when it comes to me and cheese cubes, boundaries are a really good thing.

I took a rest day yesterday. And once again today, not feeling well and as busy as my afternoon and evening turned out to be, I took another. But wait!! Despite my mid-morning nap, I was very active today. A lot of walking, stair climbing and table carrying later-- and Fitbit awarded me a 332 calorie burn. I'll claim every one of those activity calories burned! And, I'll make a return trip to the YMCA tomorrow!

I was approached by a gentleman tonight who was unaware of my relapse and regain period along this road--and he complimented me on my ability to "keep the weight off after all these years." I didn't offer any perspective to the contrary, I simply thanked him for the compliment then added something to the effect of, it's a daily intentional practice, for sure. You and I know what happened, but sometimes--depending on the circumstance, I opt to not explain--instead, deciding to just graciously accept the compliment and move forward.

This isn't the first person to mistake my appearance for long term weight maintenance success. I've explained what happened more than a few times and I always add: "I really appreciate the relapse and regain period for giving me some needed perspective, to teach me things I needed to learn and re-learn--to show me what I must always appreciate and to prove to me personal truths I needed to fully understand for the road ahead."

When I sit and ponder the many benefits of this journey, near the top of the list, just below the health benefits, is the confidence issue. I walked into the event tonight with complete confidence. I wasn't self-conscious. I wasn't worried if my outfit fit properly. I wasn't compelled to be self-deprecating because of my size--in order to satisfy some mental issue within me. Because the truth is, I believe I was a very likable guy at 500 pounds. The self-deprecating humor of old was a defense mechanism against imaginary criticism I might receive from others--when in reality, I was truly my biggest judge and critic all along.

The self-deprecating stuff wasn't necessary, ever. I was a good person, worthy of acceptance and love from others long before I lost the first pound. This road has brought many lessons my way about extending love and acceptance to myself. The real issue wasn't what I needed from others, it has always been what I needed from me, to me. That's a deep and powerful introspective thing to consider, but it's worth the exploration.  

There was an opportunity for a few pictures tonight.

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At the podium ready to emcee!

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Meeting for the first time and visiting with Jeremy McConnell before the awards ceremony. Jeremy is the husband of Chelsea McConnell, the Ponca City Mainstreet Program Director.

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The serious 'I'm not looking at the camera--I'm looking at the activities over there,' picture.

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It wasn't too long ago, things were very different. I was in a lot of pain in this photo. I couldn't walk upright that night. I don't know how much I weighed here--but it's safe to say it was in excess of 500 pounds. My daughter, Amber, snapped the picture, illustrating how I could smile convincingly, even in pain and feeling miserable. 

My Tweets Today:

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 19th, 2015 Is It Cold In Here Or Is It Just Me?

February 19th, 2015 Is It Cold In Here Or Is It Just Me?

I've been shivering all day. I hope I'm not trying to come down with something. I made sure to eat a couple doses (oranges) of vitamin C today, so maybe that'll help. It was an exceptionally long day. I'm exhausted. It's a day like this when I have zero issues in taking a rest day from my workouts. I just wanted to get home and get warm. And I did get home, a little after 8pm. And I've turned up the heater.

I prepared a good dinner, made sure I hit my water goal--and I'm about to drop to the pillow. I haven't had a chance to reply to emails and comments today. I will, early tomorrow. I sincerely appreciate the time you take and the thoughts you give, in sending them. Your readership and support is an enormous blessing to me. Thank you!

Normally I would just power through today and this evening, but I have a feeling the best thing for me at this moment, is rest. I need a good sleep. Have you ever had one of those days where you feel you just can't get warm? 

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#TBT With my late grandmother. She loved me so very much and she was incredibly proud in this photo at my very first book signing. I miss her, dearly.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 18th, 2015 Weigh Day Edition

February 18th, 2015 Weigh Day Edition

The phrase "You get what you give" applies to most everything. Except the scale. Body weight fluctuates with fluid retention, wastes, biochemical, physical, medicinal reasons and a variety of other variables I'll not pretend to understand.

Six weeks ago, when I stepped on the scale and it showed a two pound loss in three weeks--it took support friends offering perspective that made sense, for me to be okay. It's a normal reaction because what we're doing takes effort. And we naturally want to be rewarded in a way we feel matches the effort. But the scale does what it does. And sometimes all we can do is take comfort in knowing we're doing the right things. If we're not doing the right things, then we can make adjustments.

The next weigh-in showed a four pound loss. I naturally expected a slow down, so four pounds was a very nice number. Today, I was ready for whatever the scale threw my way. I had attitude, baby. I'm confident in what I'm doing and how I'm doing it, so--bring it on!! Small loss, no loss, a gain-- whatever. Let's do this thing!! Last weigh-in was 265, today's:
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Well, if that doesn't beat all, as my grandpa used to say. My 43 week weigh-in showed a 7 pound loss, bringing the total to 136 pounds since the beginning of this big turnaround from relapse and regain. I was thrilled with the number, obviously. But...

I must remember, just as I try my best to accept a low number in stride--understanding the body fluctuates--I must not get too hyped up over this very nice loss. I strive to stay centered and focused. And I'm doing my best to focus on how my body feels, how my clothes are fitting and things like this--the non-scale victory type things--instead of putting too much stock in today's current weight. It's a challenge, for sure. 

With this said--I already know, nothing will stop my big happy dance the day I once again see 230 on the scale. It's been awhile, my friend. I suppose it's okay to have fun with the numbers as long as we keep a level perspective about what they mean and don't mean. And we do our best to not let the fun turn to discouragement when the numbers come up less than we wanted or expected.

As Life Coach Gerri always says, "expectations are premeditated resentments."

The bottom line is, this losing phase is relatively short compared to my upcoming lifestyle in maintenance. The maintenance will be the truest test for all of my fundamental elements. I'm looking forward to my second chance at doing it right--physically, emotionally and mentally.

Today was excellent in the food and exercise department. I made it to Yoga class today, thank goodness! A Yoga practice takes practice and effective practice requires consistency!! Two days a week--that's all I'm asking of myself. I plan to make two times a week, work.

Last night, I tried to make my calories hit exactly 1,700, just for fun. I tried to determine precisely how much natural peanut butter it would take and after breaking it down by the gram on the digital food scale, I did it. Tonight, I hit exactly 1,700 again. It was a lucky accident this time. 

Of course, the reality is, it's never truly exact. When we weigh and measure carefully, it's super close and that's close enough. Actually, even without weighing and measuring we can get close enough. My initial 275 pound loss never included a food scale that I remember. Now, it's different for me. I need and actually prefer the structure.

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