Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31st, 2016 I Took The Poison

January 31st, 2016 I Took The Poison

I've made today tough because I violated the 2nd agreement. I know better, but still--I took the poison and allowed it to course through me. It awakened all kinds of things; memories, emotional and psychological dynamics, all relating to my transformation, my relationship history and right down to the heart of what I'm all about.

I spent a lot of time today in bed, under the covers. When I wasn't sleeping, I spent time in communication with several support friends. I'll explain the specific poison I ingested, after this...

In case you're not familiar with the 2nd Agreement:

The 2nd Agreement:
Don’t take anything personally.

Dr. Don Miguel Ruiz’s book “The Four Agreements-A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom” is a powerful read. You can order it from Amazon here.

Agreement #1: Be Impeccable With Your Word
Agreement #2: Don't Take Anything Personally
Agreement #3: Don't Make Assumptions
Agreement #4: Always Do Your Best

About the 2nd Agreement, Dr. Ruiz writes:
Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.

Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds…Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up….

But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.

Since its release in November, 1997, Dr. Ruiz's book has sold over five million copies in the US alone. It's powerful and applicable to anyone and in my opinion, should be required reading for anyone choosing to share large parts of their life in a public way, in an effort to help themselves and others, for instance, on a blog--like this one.

I don't look for anything people say about me, good or bad. I just don't. Until today, I didn't realize how many people think so horribly of me--largely based on a couple of relationships I was in over five years ago. 

I was simply starting my day by stopping by some blogs to offer support. One blogger, who has quite a large following, mentioned how part of the plan in her turnaround from relapse/regain was being a member of the comprehensive teleconference support group I co-facilitate with Life Coach Gerri Helms. It was a very powerful, honest and open post from start to finish--and this mention of the group was a small point near the end.

I scrolled down through the comments to add my encouragement when I discovered this comment from someone else:

"Please watch out for Sean. He has had multiple failed relationships with a few women, all of whom I believe he met online. Please be careful and good luck on your weight loss journey."  

Seven years along this road, writing straight from my heart-- doing my best to do my best and sharing things that have helped transform my life, and as many have told me--things that have helped them, too--and that is all this person took from it?

In that moment, I forgot all about the 2nd Agreement. I eagerly grabbed the poison and it was bottoms up.

I went straight back to bed and slept until noon, hoping I could somehow cleanse this garbage from my brain. It didn't work. The poison created a mixture of anger and hurt. And mostly hurt.

I spoke with one support friend who shared with me how they once ran across an online forum where they love to bash weight loss bloggers--and yep, several in there also had horrible things to say about me. I also spoke with the author of the blog where this comment appeared and she shared with me how she deleted two two other similar type comments on that same blog post, but accidentally missed this one.

"Let it go." "Let it roll off your back like water on a duck." "You're ingesting poison, stop it." "You know the truth, you know what's in your heart, you know how passionate you are in what you do--that's all that matters." ----just some of the things I was reminded of today.

And they're right. And still, it hurts and bothers me. I'm trying to let it go. I really am. I need to write this post and get it out of my system. Forgive me while I purge this nonsense. You're so kind to still be reading this post, thank you.

Can we talk, here? Look...

Going through a divorce after twenty-one years of marriage, right in the middle of the last year or so of my initial 275 pound weight loss, was difficult. Facing the prospect of dating--something I hadn't experienced since my teen years, was also difficult. Now add this...

I was completely transformed physically and receiving attention in ways I never expected. My brain still thought of me in 500 pound terms and whenever someone would compliment to the contrary, I wanted to believe it, but still couldn't. But even still, I was attracted to it, because maybe if I heard positive things enough, I'd start believing it myself. This led to many poor decisions. Many poor decisions were made much easier because of an almost non-existent set of boundaries.

I'm not going to get into specifics of each one, but there were two relationships (one lasted only 4 days) with women whom I met online, who were also weight loss bloggers and readers of my blog. Both of those relationships ended horribly in ways many wouldn't believe. Both of these happened over five years ago.

Since then, I've had a few relationships with people whom I met in person, only one was a blogger--and I didn't meet her online, I met her at a speaking event of mine. And I've dated, even recently, and who knows where that might lead. One thing's for sure, the next serious relationship I enter, will be the healthiest by far, because of the personal growth I've experienced.

I share quite a bit, but I don't share every detail of my private life, anymore. I've learned some tough lessons along the way.

The powerful impact May 15th and May 19th, 2014 made on me (I refer to those as my epiphany days) has changed my life forever. Those days are in the archives if you care to read those.

Those were the days I finally discovered how to be okay with me. I discovered how to love me. I discovered a path to my personal happiness regardless of circumstances. I discovered things that would forever free me from looking for validation or adoration from others, in an effort to somehow prop up how I felt about myself.

Don't get me wrong, I still appreciate compliments--but they're no longer put to work against my deep seeded insecurities...because I'm okay with me, regardless. I've traded in several insecurities for guaranteed security come what may.

And that's what I needed most along this road. I needed to learn how to accept and love me. I needed to learn how to find happiness from within. I needed a spiritual cleansing. And these things I needed--things I'm eternally grateful for today, was never and will never be anything I could possibly find from an external provider. These things--the lock boxes within my heart, mind and soul--needed the keys of perspective, ones I truly believe were divinely dropped on me on the above mentioned dates.

I take what I do in helping others very seriously and very professionally. When someone tries to turn an online correspondence to an inappropriate/off topic place, I remind them once to keep it weight loss related. If they push, I simply withdraw from the conversation and I don't respond again. If they still persist, I block them from whatever social media I can.

The fantastic successes happening in the support groups I co-facilitate are incredible blessings to me. I'm lucky to be a very small part of our group member's success. I'm passionate about what I do each day. I'm passionate about maintaining my food sobriety, including my abstinence from refined sugar and I'm passionate about sharing my experiences on this long and winding road that can lead many different places. I know, through experience, it ultimately can lead to a freedom that's constantly evolving, growing and defining itself.

It's all about learning and growing. And in that, there are no failures, only opportunities to learn and grow.

This isn't exactly the post I set out to write. But it says enough. And I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read it all.

Oh--by the funky day set me way off balance in my food schedule, as you'll clearly see in the Live-Tweet times on each food tweet below. But, I made it through. I feel better now.

And most importantly, I must remember to refrain from ingesting the poison offered by anyone, especially those who know little to none about who I really am and what I'm really about.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 30th, 2016 Outside Of Our Fog

January 30th, 2016 Outside Of Our Fog

I slept in this morning really well. A few hours later, I took an awesome nap. Today was a good rest day. It was well rounded, too. I had some really solid support connections, prepared some great meals and picked up and brought home my grandson.

I had a friend watch Noah while I made my way to the gym for a quality workout, then came home for dinner and playing with the Noah Monster (a game he loves to play where he pretends to be a monster and I pretend to be frightened). I wasn't planning on getting Noah today, but it worked out well. And he's always so much fun!
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Getting down in the floor and wrestling or running after him is very easy at my current weight. At my heaviest, most of this wouldn't have happened. I can say that with certainty considering I was once that 500 pound father of two kids his age. I did a lot of recliner lounging and sofa sleeping when my girls were young. I can't go back two decades and change my lack of activity. But I can sure take extraordinary care now and be very active with my grandson and future grandchildren. I guess it's easy to not fully realize what you missed until you start experiencing life unencumbered by morbid obesity. It's a whole new world.

This full appreciation of where I am is more profound than before. Making the connection between this freedom and these blessings and how what I do each day in support of my continued recovery directly affects all of it, is a daily awareness. I don't take any of this for granted.

The acceptance and full embrace of what I do (my fundamental elements of recovery) and the desire to do these things well is made much easier when I'm most aware of what they support in my life. And what they support is a life worth living to the fullest.

Does it mean I'm not tempted or occasionally lured into old ways of thinking more food will somehow fix things? No. Those thoughts creep in every now and again and always will for the rest of my life. I don't believe those lies anymore. Still, I'm never above getting lost in the deception. And this is exactly why maintaining a strong accountability and support system is critically important. More often than not, the perspective of another who's residing outside of our fog, and who's experienced in navigating this course, can help us see and guide us through.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Friday, January 29, 2016

January 29th, 2016 Bring Joy

January 29th, 2016 Bring Joy

Today was a long day. It was highlighted by finishing up a big project at work and a nice visit from Noah, mid-afternoon. I put some headphones on him and gave him a microphone and he immediately started talking... "love you," and " do you do?" (See Tweet-Pic below) That kid sure knows how to bring joy into a room.

I made it home late and decided a nap was a great idea. I was really tired. And since I'm off tomorrow, it was too easy to justify. I must say, it was some great sleep. I'm glad I rested well this evening.

The challenge now is to get back to bed and get some more--because I'm way behind on quality sleep. My body knows it and needs it.

I sacrificed my workout tonight in exchange for sleep. On one hand this was good, on the other, I honestly must make a better commitment to my exercise schedule. The non-negotiable stance I apply to certain things obviously doesn't apply to my workouts. That fact could catch up with me if I'm not careful. I'm starting to consider ideas to help me get a little more consistency in my schedule. It's an area deserving of my serious attention. 

I'm severely behind on email and blog comment replies. I will catch up tomorrow. I sincerely appreciate your feedback and questions!

Allowing the Tweets to take it the rest of the way tonight.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January 28th, 2016 What It Takes For Me

January 28th, 2016 What It Takes For Me

Today was packed from start to finish. A full work day followed by a banquet tonight. I'll spare you the workday details and skip right to my main focus this evening.

I'm in control of my choices. I will not sacrifice the integrity of my plan. Those two statements are never up for debate in my mind.

I'm rarely in a situation where a meal isn't my choosing. The banquet tonight was one of these rare circumstances.  My inquiries about this meal started this morning. I spoke with the person who actually set the menu and ordered the catering. I was told steak, mashed potatoes, a vegetable of some kind and cheesecake for dessert.

I decided to arrive in time to speak with the chef, same as I did last year at this same event. I needed to know if refined sugar was a part of anything on tonight's plate. It took less than four minutes to locate the chef, ask her a couple of questions--and get the answers I needed. Was refined sugar a part of the meal (besides the obvious cheesecake)? The answer was yes!

A special sauce was prepared for topping what turned out to be a beef chuck roast. It did indeed contain sugar. My next question was: Can I get the roast without the sauce? She assured me that wasn't a problem at all. I asked how many ounces of chuck roast per plate? Seven ounces. Okay... I was set. 

I was prepared no matter what she said. I picked up some cheese, almonds and brought a banana--all ready to go, in my bag, if needed. It wasn't needed. I ended up eating half the almonds and the banana with some pineapple as my #lastfoodofday.

The meal was really good. And I felt great about taking extraordinary care of me by maintaining the integrity of my plan.

This is what it takes for me. 

Applying this level of importance is critical to my continued weight maintenance success.

For many years, I wouldn't have even thought to inquire about the food or ask for a special modification. I simply would have thought, oh well--what can I do? I'm clearly at the mercy of what's being catered. But that thought process is pure rubbish.

I'm in control of my choices. I will not sacrifice the integrity of my plan.

It's very important to me. I'm very important to me.

And I deserve this importance level.

Letting the Tweets take it the rest of the way...

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27th, 2016 Emotional Flow

January 27th, 2016 Emotional Flow

I really enjoy public speaking. My experience in stand-up makes speaking in a non-comedy setting, much easier. I had a short speaking event this morning after my radio show. It was another talk in support of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. There's no set list, but there is an intentional emotional flow. They laughed, several shed some tears--laughed again, then all smiled and felt good about pledging their support to this critically important program. All I did was share my experience as a ten year old boy and how my big brother Clarke influenced and affected me in the most positive ways. Clarke passed away a couple of years ago, but I think he would have been proud to know that our story is helping, in a small way, encourage support of the program--and that, in turn, will potentially impact kids in a life changing fashion.

By the time I finished work this afternoon, I was really tired. I had a choice-- power through or divide my day in two parts with a nap. It's so easy to justify a nap. I opted for the nap. The fourth quarter of my day was dedicated to a visit at my oldest daughter's place with her and her hubby, running a couple of errands and picking up a late dinner from the Mexican restaurant near my apartment (I decided it was too late to cook). The owners of this restaurant are so good to me. They not only accommodate my special and very specific order, they charge me very little for it. And they know me well. When I call, they simply ask--"beef or chicken?" Usually it's chicken and zucchini, tonight I opted for beef without zucchini.

I'm popping a couple melatonin tablets, doing some deep breathing exercises and hitting the pillow.

Tomorrow night will present a challenge. I have a big banquet to attend where I haven't a clue what will be served or how it's prepared. I plan on doing the same thing I did a year ago at this same annual event. I'll arrive about ten minutes early and find the executive chef. I'll quiz him or her on the menu and ingredients, impressing the critical nature of my abstinence from refined sugar, and then, based on the answers, I'll request special modifications, if needed. If all else fails, I'll have a go-to "on the go" meal in my man-bag: Almonds, fruit and cheese. I'm sure the meal will be fine.  But I will be prepared to call an audible just in case. My food plan, food sobriety and abstinence from refined sugar are things I protect in a variety of ways, mentally-emotionally & physically. It's applying this level of reverence to my plan that's key in my continued recovery and weight loss maintenance.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26th, 2016 Time Traveling

January 26th, 2016 Time Traveling

Tonight's blog post is time traveling. We're going back to January 21st, 2009, seven years ago. While you're taking this trip back in time, I'll be hitting the pillow after a fairly decent day. I took extraordinary care today. Unfortunately, that involved canceling a couple of things I really wanted to do this afternoon. It was necessary.

I managed my afternoon/evening time a little better, but not as well as I must. I'll continue improving this approach. I did have dinner at a decent time, before the group call--then hit the Y for a great workout.

Okay--Are you ready to climb aboard the DDWL time machine? The following is a post from just over seven years ago. I think I was being a touch too hard on myself that night. I do enjoy reading the excitement of breaking free. It was something very important to do--getting excited about where things were headed instead of getting overwhelmed with what it takes to get there. It was a simplistic approach that allowed the mental and emotional capacity to dream it and believe it. It was happening, this time different from any other attempt in my life.

January 21st, 2009 Day 129

I don't know, maybe I was stressing over it a little too much. I had a goal to meet and I came up just short. I really felt like I'd done enough to hit the goal, but like I've said, I admit I haven't done everything I could have to get it done, and that makes me a little disappointed in myself. Not overly disappointed, but disappointed never the less. 

I weighed in at 406 today! Exactly 99 pounds down from my starting weight of 505.

My two week total this time came in at 9 pounds, just a pound shy of that 10 pound goal I set two weeks ago. In my weigh day text update I put “I feel like a runner-up,” So close to the prize I was seeking, but just short. I will be happy with 9 pounds and move on. Like I said, I have no one to blame but me.

This entire mission is up to me to follow through everyday, and if I don't give it my all, then I can't complain when the results aren't exactly what I wanted. I'm the captain of this flight and it all depends on me and my choices.

I'm obviously making some good choices to average 4 ½ pounds a week over the last two, but could I have pushed just a tad harder and hit the 100 pound mark? I'm 100% sure of it. 

I'll tell ya, I wanted that scale to read 405 so bad! I stood there for a good minute waiting for it to readjust down to 405, but no matter how I stood or moved, it wasn't budging from 406. If I hadn't feared arrest, I might have started shedding clothes and I would have made it to 405 before I got in too much trouble.

Several people sent me back a text that said to use the bathroom, then weigh again. But I didn't feel the need, or else I would've I promise you. And so it goes, 9 more pounds gone, and a big weigh day coming up. The next weigh day should find me well past the 100 pound mark and into the 300's!!! Now that's exciting! So I'm all good. I'm thrilled to be consistently losing the weight. 

I feel incredible.

Weak moments still make their way into my daily routine. I wonder if they'll ever go away. Not too long ago, in this last two week period as a matter of fact, I had one of these moments. 

I didn't go over my calories at all, but I really cut my dinner short that day. I didn't make it that big of a deal because it didn't break me, it just let me know that I'm not some kind of calorie counting super hero. 

I had to run to the dollar store to pick up a few things late in the afternoon. As I waited in line to pay I stared down the candy shelf. There it was. My favorite, heck Americas favorite candy bar looking right back at me. I knew I had the calories for it, but still I knew that it would run me really short for dinner.

I don't understand what kind of mad rebellion made me grab that Snickers Bar, but I did. When the cashier handed me the receipt, I quickly tossed it back, telling her I didn't need the evidence. I guess I was disappointed in the way I had that Snickers.

If I would've simply decided to eat it, subtracted from my calorie allotment, and moved on, it would have been better than what I did. Instead, I opened it immediately when I got to my vehicle and I devoured it like it was some big secret.

I knew the calories wouldn't put me over, in fact I still had 360 calories left for dinner, but it was the way I did it that bothered me. It reminded me of the times I use to “sneak eat” on the way home from work, and then pretend like it never happened. 

I didn't allow it to go that far. I made myself count the calories and I suffered with a much lighter dinner later. But it served as a reminder to always be on guard. I didn't need that Snickers Bar at all, if I wanted something sweet I could've had an ice cream bar for 110 when I got home. But I made the decision and I suffered the consequences later. 

Really, it just boiled down to a bad calorie management decision. I've mismanaged my calories many times in the last 129 days, and had to skimp on my dinner calories as a result. But the way I went about this really bugged me. I should have blogged about that incident that night, but since I didn't go over, I couldn't call it a true meltdown. I think I just wanted to put it behind me and move on. But I realize that it's important to share these moments.

Losing 99 pounds so far is tremendous, but it isn't always perfect. I understand that these moments are little tests along the way. I didn't fail that test really, but I barely passed with a D.

I'm not going to make any short term goals for the next two weeks. I'm just going to do the best I can and see what the scales say in two weeks. I'm not really worried about it at all. I know that I can easily surpass the 100 pound mark, shoot, I could do that by tomorrow, I may have already! And I know that I'm in a position to cruise into the 300's. That will be so awesome! I really can't wait to say “I weigh three hundred and X pounds”...This is progress my friend, progress I can only feel good about.

That was fun. :)

Now--Back to the future!

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Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25th, 2016 Ran Out Of Time

January 25th, 2016 Ran Out Of Time

Today has been a pretty solid day all the way around. I've allowed it to get away from me late, so I'm making this one a quick post, mainly tweets with a few photos.

One thing I'm looking forward to elaborating on later this week is the emotional/stress eating dynamics many of us face along the way.  I have some thoughts I'm eager to share. Ran out of time tonight.

Professional photographer Tera Leiter sent some pictures this morning from Saturday night.
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Photo Credits: Tera Leiter

I took a picture with Smokey Robinson before the show and that one should be arriving in my email, soon. I'll share it when it arrives!

 photo ENB Christmas 2015-69_zpspoflfriy.jpg
Received this photo today, too! This was taken after the private stand-up gig December 12th with my friend, singer and fellow comedian, Wade Tower.

Letting the Tweets take it the rest of the way...

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 24th, 2016 Not A Joke

January 24th, 2016 Not A Joke

Clothes shopping has never been a favorite activity for me. Not at my heaviest and not now, certainly for different reasons, of course. I usually wait until I can't wait any longer. I was long over-due for a pair of jeans, so I decided to buy one before last night's event.

I wanted a pair of black jeans. I grabbed a pair of Levi's 34/32 and headed for the fitting room. They fit. Really??? Size 34 fit??? Yes. I wasn't happy with the price and the fact that "promotional discounts don't apply on Levi's," so I grabbed a pair of 34/32 Lee Jeans... and headed to the fitting room. Keep in mind, with each trip in and out--I'm changing twice, once to try them on--and again to go back out and grab something else.  I know, I know---I should have grabbed a handful going in, but if I didn't need them, I didn't want to cause people more work. The Lee Jeans size 34 didn't fit. So back out--size 36/32 Lee--- yes, fit perfectly. Different brand, different cut, I suppose. Size 34 Levi's fit but 34 Lees didn't. Anyway--the Lee Jeans, after discounts, was nearly $25 less than the Levi's... Such a hassle, clothes shopping, but occasionally necessary. I don't think I've been in this size since I was a ten year old boy. That's not a joke.

It does feel great to be at this place, physically--but I'm not too caught up with it, other than it freaks me out a touch because my brain doesn't compute when I hold them up. My brain says, "oh, those are clearly someone else's pants. There's no way you could possibly fit into these. Oh, really--you're gonna try 'em on anyway? Go ahead, good luck...Oh, wow, they fit...okay, I stand corrected."

I spent some good time with Noah today. I prepared him breakfast, including his absolute favorite food in the whole world--bacon!! I enjoyed some bacon this weekend, too!

A visit and dinner with mom tonight capped off an eventful weekend.

I didn't really maneuver my calorie budget well today. I maintained its integrity, I just didn't pace myself as well. This maintenance budget isn't anything you'll hear me complain about, for sure, because it's generous. And I've found a decent groove where I'm typically at certain calorie levels by about the same times each day. I'm very grateful for the difference in my metabolism. I promise you, there was a time when 2300 per day meant weight gain.

The fact that it might not be enough to maintain is a blessing. But I'm not even considering that possibility right now. I do know that I don't need to lose anymore weight.

When I have the excess abdomen skin removed, my weight will likely be somewhere in the low 190's. I'm still waiting for word from OU Plastic Surgery in Oklahoma City when this can be done. It's the only procedure covered by insurance because of the potential issues the excess skin can create. I don't really care about the rest of it...the arms, thighs and buttocks--those things are purely cosmetic and don't affect breathing like the excess abdomen skin can and does.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 23rd, 2016 I Was Doing It

January 23rd, 2016 I Was Doing It

My focus and attention today was squarely on this short opening stand-up set for the big Smokey Robinson concert. This was the big deal in my life stream today. I made sure to take good care of my fundamental elements stream, too, although I waited until super-late to eat dinner at home.

I'm my biggest critic. I can come up with a dozen ways my set could have been stronger, but you know what? It wasn't bad. It was decent. I had some high points and some not so high points. When you're doing a short stand-up set for a large crowd who's there to see a living legend and NOT to see a comic do stand-up--and you get a decent set out of the experience--then, it's a good thing.

The important thing is, I was doing it. I was nurturing a core element of me. And doing it brings me joy. If I get another shot at a big concert opening set, great. If not--I'll be blessed with my occasional sets at the comedy club in my hometown and perhaps a few other clubs.

Tonight's performance must have been decent. Afterward, Smokey's road manager asked for my name and phone number. I'm not sure what that means. But I do know, had I bombed--he probably wouldn't have asked.
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Photo credit: K.C. Wright

I should be receiving a copy of a picture taken with Smokey Robinson before the show. I'll share it here when it comes through.

I'll let the Tweets take it the rest of the way tonight. Hitting the pillow!

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