Friday, November 30, 2018

November 30th, 2018 The Grooves

November 30th, 2018 The Grooves

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

The added focus on gratitude during my morning foundation routine has made an exceptional difference. Feeling and expressing gratitude has always had its place along this road, but in a way where I would make and take an occasional pause for gratitude, usually, these were in the moment type acknowledgments. Giving gratitude reflection its own "time slot" in my personal morning routine, first thing upon waking is different--and much better for me.

The willingness to do things differently is sometimes a hard thing to find. It is, in my opinion, because I have a strong tendency to get set in my ways. I must be mindful of this dynamic. The roots of this setting seem to be firmly grounded in my deeply ingrained, yet counterproductive desire to go it alone--or figure it out--or the thoughts of, I know what to do, I just got to do it. These mental settings are all about the need to control. Letting go of this isn't and never has been easy for me. At the same time--when I have let go; closed my mouth and opened my eyes and ears, what I've received has helped shape and change things in dramatic ways.

In the areas of my life that have undergone a dramatic and positive transformation, it's almost exclusively a product of what I've learned from others who have what I want. Still, in other areas, I continue to hold the reigns tightly. Isn't that an interesting dynamic? It is to me. These patterns and grooves of our lives are not easy to give up. The grooves are created early and made stronger with each passing year and decade. Like many of us, it started young for me.

I crossed the three hundred pound mark by age thirteen. By the time I turned nineteen, I topped the scales at over five hundred pounds. I was a functional five hundred pound family man with a wife and two children by the time I turned twenty-one. My career as a radio personality made it easier for me to stay employed despite my physical limitations, however, the struggle with morbid obesity took its toll throughout my twenties and up to my mid-thirties. It wasn't long before raging high blood pressure, sleep apnea, lymphatic system damage and swelling in my legs to the extreme of skin breakage, and more undesirable consequences started making life much harder to navigate. With each serious health concern came a new wake up call and the bold declaration, “this is it, now's the time.” I made that identical declaration many times.

I cannot count the number of weight loss plans, diets, pills, shakes, and special programs I tried over the years. My dieting career included many different methods, all with the same result. If I lost anything at all, the weight always came back, and usually with a little more. The plans didn't work, I didn't work them—or a combination of those two, but ultimately my perspective didn't work.

I wanted a quick fix. I wanted something or someone to do it for me. Every weight loss attempt was simply a means to an end. If I did have any measure of success, I was constantly waiting for it to be done so I could return to my previous behaviors with food.

Things didn't start changing for me until I stopped trying to figure it all out on my own. I started listening to and watching others who had what I wanted and once and for all, I finally installed some things missing from nearly every other weight loss attempt: The willingness to be open, honest, and embrace solid accountability and support. These were game changers. I believe there's more to come for me in various other areas along this road as I utilize these same tools.

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Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Peace,
Sean

Thursday, November 29, 2018

November 29th, 2018 What Is?

November 29th, 2018 What Is?

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

I didn't oversleep this morning! I'm so glad! Yesterday's mad rush through the morning wasn't a pleasant experience. The morning foundation routine was rushed too, just the minimum--the basics, the things I can't live without for my daily practice. If getting those done mean facing the consequences of being late for work, so be it. I'd rather face those than the consequences ready and waiting for me if I don't make time to center and prepare for the day. 

When someone is consistent in their daily practice there's often an illusion of determination, willpower, and/or a level of strength and grit beyond average levels. Writing from experience, I can assure you--it isn't any of those things. Those things can certainly work for a short period of time, but they're easily weakened by the natural ups and downs of life. 

For years and years, I hoped and prayed for--wanted it so badly, envied those who "had it" and vowed that someday I might find it too. Having found it, lost it, found it, lost it, and finally accepting and embracing a different approach and perspective took time, practice, and an open mind. 

It can be kind of disappointing and relieving at the same time when you discover that the very things you've been searching for aren't really the things of sustainable consistency. 

So what is?

Creating a daily practice of intentional actions, a multifaceted approach that goes deeper than the food and exercise, is the best I've found so far. One day at a time. Building a personal plan of pillars or as I like to call them, "rails," give us something to support the structure of our daily practice and provides something to hold onto as we make our way.
I've written it and said it many times, I don't "got this" and I don't use willpower. The be all/end all lone ranger attitude of "I got this" and desperately trying to harness the elusive and mysterious willpower never brought me progress of any lasting value. It only brought struggle and disappointment.

This daily practice continues to bring me a measure of peace, calm, and clarity. If I don't give it the importance level it deserves each day, I'll quickly lose my way. If I do give it the reverence it deserves each day, then all of the things I once thought would only come as a result of a determination, willpower, and/or a level of strength and grit beyond average levels, seem to happen without those things. I don't "got" those things. I just have this practice for today. Let's do one more.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

November 28th, 2018 Interrupted

November 28th, 2018 Interrupted

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. For whatever reason, I slept right through my 4:15am alarm this morning. I woke up with just enough time to do an abbreviated version of my morning foundation routine, make coffee to-go, shower, shave, dress, pack my planned food for the day, and hit the door to be at the studio on time. When my blog writing routine is postponed---uhg---it creates some serious anxiety!! But I did my best to set it aside and be okay. It helped having a busy morning show schedule today. I didn't have too much time to stress.

Time, and more specifically, time management has been a running issue over the last ten years of this blog. I can honestly say I'm a little better--but not where I need it to be for best results. I'm reminded of my need for better time management when someone asks me about book #2 or more podcast episodes. I'll continue working toward those things.

Attitude and daily focus plays a big role for me each day. I found an excerpt from 2010 that mentions these things--and look--it also mentions the time thing...Obviously, this is a lifelong pattern we're talking about here. Well-- I believe lifelong patterns can be interrupted because I continue to practice it each and every day and I've witnessed it in others. Lifelong patterns can be interrupted!! I use the word "interrupted" instead of "broken" because "broken" suggests a "mission accomplished" type thought in my brain--and I've learned along this road: I'm only as well as what I'm willing to do today. The daily practice keeps patterns interrupted.

From May 2010:
Time management has been a constant issue for me over the course of this journey. Finding time to get everything done that I want to do isn't really the issue, because there's time. The issue is using that time wisely and that means applying good choices to more than just my food and exercise. 

Good schedule choices are paramount to me and my situation. It's the key to me getting more sleep and it's the key to me being more productive. Those two things together help shape my attitude and daily focus. 

Attitude really is everything---it's what we feed our brains, and our actions and choices live and die by the attitude we carry. I've figured out that this attitude must be constantly adjusted in a positive direction to keep everything consistent. When my attitude is bad---that's when I struggle along this road. That's when I battle the part of me that tries to revert to old ways and choices. 

Keeping a better schedule and using my time wisely takes a little effort, but the effect it has on my performance means it takes less effort to stay focused.

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Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

November 27th, 2018 Important and Urgent

November 27th, 2018 Important and Urgent

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

Getting into a zone of focus at work has been very helpful lately. It certainly helped make yesterday better when we were short staffed at the studio. This ability to focus is an interesting thing because I seem to compartmentalize and apply it mainly when my back is against the wall. It's as if my brain is constantly checking the importance and urgency level of whatever it is in front of me. If something is important but not urgent, it's much harder to apply the focus it needs for change.

Obviously, I'm not writing exclusively about my work duties--this dynamic has informed most everything in my life. On things deemed important and urgent, it's helped me do wonderful things. On things that are clearly important but not urgently required, it's helped me procrastinate. I'm an eternal optimist, so I think this is a good self-study with the potential to change patterns. Patterns, those deeply ingrained grooves work like a toy slot-car track. Laying new tracks and creating new grooves for new patterns is an important and urgent thing along this road. I must remember this each new day.

I wanted to share an excerpt I've likely shared before. It was originally published in 2015. The thing about it is, the dynamics it describes have played over and over along the way. The tools we choose to use can help change things along this road. Opening ourselves to create accountability and receive support goes against the pattern of isolation. Isolation deteriorates. Support builds: 

From June 10th, 2015's "Eat My Way Out"

It could have been a disaster.

My stress level was exceptionally high today. I started fielding errant thoughts mid-afternoon that excessive food might be the best option. Isn't that strange?

Not really.

If you add up all the years of experience I have in handling stress that way, it makes perfect sense. I'm really good at it.

I decided it was best for me to take a nap. Perhaps I'm just really tired, maybe that's why I'm feeling this way, I thought. I snoozed for nearly two hours. It was a solid nap. I woke up and viola...

I still wanted to eat my way out of the stress.

Of course, you and I both know it doesn't work that way. Shoveling in massive quantities of food only serves as a temporary distraction--a pleasurable one for a little while, at least, until the flood of guilt, shame, disgust and more start cascading in, on top of whatever was stressful in the first place. Excess food isn't a fixer. 

My awareness level is high, thank goodness. I immediately realized my lifestream and fundamental elements stream were becoming dangerously close to crossing. I must never let the streams cross!

Now what? Uhg...part of my brain was screaming feeeeed meeeeee!!! And another part was trying to rationally dissect what was happening.

Through my experience in support, I realized quickly that I needed to get this out of my head. When these thoughts are exclusive to our head, they're powerful and controlling. When we tell on them, shining a light on them by sharing with good support friends, suddenly they're called out--like a bully that gets caught and is suddenly on their best behavior after being exposed.

I texted several of my friends in support, explaining what was happening; how I was feeling. I felt relieved as soon as I hit the send button. It wasn't exclusive to my brain anymore. It was out there.

The text support replies started coming and by this time, I felt empowered to overcome.

And I did.

I enjoyed some coffee, planned, prepared and precisely weighed an amazing meal and made it to the YMCA for an elliptical workout. I even bumped it up to level 19. By the end of the workout, the episode this afternoon seemed very far away.

It could have been a disaster. But it wasn't. It was a solid reminder that I'm not ever immune to those old reactions. The coping mechanisms providing the perfect recipe for morbid obesity are like old tools I don't need anymore. I've learned how to use better tools.

I must always hold the elements of my recovery sacred. And good support is one of the pillars of the plan helping make that happen consistently. It's a tool I can't live without.

Thank goodness.

Like my coffee cup says, I get by with a little help from my friends.

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Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Monday, November 26, 2018

November 26th, 2018 Not So Simple

November 26th, 2018 Not So Simple

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

I'm grateful for the time I've had over the extended holiday weekend. I didn't accomplish everything I set my sights on, but all in all, it was good. Yesterday was a slow day and honestly, I needed that. The high winds, blowing light snow, and frigid temperatures encouraged me to stay inside, however--I had to go to the store and studio for just a little while, so I bundled up! Our cold snap is nothing compared to the winter storm in other parts of the country. We got lucky here in the weather department!

I tried chickpea pasta last night. This lentil based pasta was recommended by an Italian friend of mine and if he gives it a thumbs up--that's good enough for me. It was a great alternative to whole wheat based options. Combined with 96% lean beef and refined sugar-free marinara, it's been added to my list of meal options. Very satisfying and so far, no triggers for more more more.

The food plan is always evolving. I must give special consideration to everything I add or take away from my list of options. Fortunately, after this long--the list of options is more than enough and as long as I continue honoring my food plan in the way of prepping, weighing, measuring, and preparing, I feel good about it. My trigger list is firm and is always ready for additions. Making additions to that list requires a large measure of self-honesty. Usually, it's fairly simple and obvious what must be on my personal trigger list, other times--not so simple. The important thing, in my opinion, is keeping the food plan under consideration at all times and be open to changes that accomplish one of two things: Add to my day to day variety or add to my personal trigger list.

I just received word that we're short-handed at the studio today. That doesn't always translate to a busier day, but it certainly can. It'll mean doing two different morning shows on two different stations at the same time--which, on the surface sounds daunting--but thanks to the technology of our studios--and that fact that they're across the hall from one another, really isn't. It's a challenge--but in a way, it's kind of fun. Okay--I'll go have fun now.

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This portion worked for my food plan last night. Adjustments could be made to make it smaller. 4oz of mini-beef meatballs instead of 5oz, one serving of the chickpea pasta instead of 1.5, and one serving of the marinara instead of two--and suddenly this meal checks in between 400 and 500 calories. Oh-- and the 55 calories of shredded cheese--really not needed! That would make it even lower. I think it makes a nice, adjustable, tasty addition to my list of available options.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Sunday, November 25, 2018

November 25th, 2018 I'm The Same

November 25th, 2018 I'm The Same

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

Creating the plan for yesterday, sharing it with support friends and on this blog, and then, once the accountability measures were set, doing the intended plan of action, worked well. I decided to eat a late lunch ahead of the family gathering instead of waiting until after. That decision was a good move but set me up for some challenges later in the night. More on that later...

I was asked to assemble the plates for a couple of family members, who, due to obesity--were physically unable to do it themselves. The ironic circumstance was something I didn't plan for or expect. I was fine doing the action--but horribly sad and conflicted at the same time. It was a strange mental/emotional dynamic. I love my family so much. One of the things I'm grateful for is the amount of love, compassion, and understanding I have for anyone along this road. I don't pass judgment or shame, ever, because I'm right there with them. I get it. I'm the same. With family, even more so because we share DNA.

One thing that's really hard to accept is how we can't do it for anyone else. There are certain places along this road that can only be found within the individual. And we're all at different places. I don't push, ever, because you can't carry someone forward to a place that skips the personal experiences and epiphanies needed to embrace a different way that effectively interrupts their pattern of experience, and informing, in a positive way, their trajectory from that place forward.

I'm simply open and available to answer questions and/or offer ideas and suggestions if asked. Willingness can't be transferred from one person to another. And lack of willingness isn't a measure of strength or a negative at all. It's just a place--a mental space, and it isn't always permanent. I get it. 

You never know what might spark inspiration in someone. You never know how that spark might ignite a fire within that burns and yearns for change. You just never know. You can hope for it. You can pray for it. You can meditate and marinate on it. But you can't create it for anyone else, ever. 

You simply love and understand. Extending love, understanding, and compassion might contribute to a place within someone, where finding their way starts to feel possible.

The disease of compulsive overeating and food addiction is a complicated thing. Not everyone has it. But for those of us (like me) who do, it isn't simply cured. But it can be managed with a plan of recovery that essentially puts it in remission as long as the daily practice is held with the highest regard--the kind of reverence that someone in long-term recovery from alcohol or drugs applies to their sobriety. This is why I'm big on developing a plan practice that is enjoyable and doable. A lot of what can make it something to look forward to, instead of something to dread--doesn't involve the food and exercise portion of our daily actions--no--it involves our own personal practice of spirituality (whatever that might be for you) and the practice of developing other "pillars," like meditation, planning, logging, accountability and support measures--and mainly, being open-minded enough in order to learn along the way. 

Anyway-- so, last night...  

I sipped water and engaged in wonderful conversation with family members at the gathering. I had eaten earlier. This helped keep me focused on the plan. I did see some selections that could have worked for me--but few, and I wasn't spending twelve bucks for a plate of mushrooms and veggies. I could have--but that wasn't the plan.

It was an enjoyable experience. My cousin Debbie and my Aunt Margaret showed up and several other family members I rarely see were there. It was the last get-together for my Aunt Jean and Uncle Sig's annual visit from Michigan. We were there for nearly three hours. It was great!

Mom and I made the 42-mile trip back to Ponca City last night while discussing how the visit and Thanksgiving week festivities were wonderful.

Here's the "more on that later" part:

When I arrived back at my apartment, I was physically hungry and just plain spent physically and in some ways, emotionally. My late lunch and no dinner left some calories in my budget, so preparing something to eat wasn't a bad idea. But my brain--my goodness...

Here's the deal: If I'm tired, hungry, and feeling spent in a variety of ways--I'm vulnerable, period. This was the perfect opportunity for compulsive thoughts to creep in, taking advantage of my weakened state. In those moments, recognizing and acknowledging what's happening isn't always an easy thing to do. It takes considerable pause and intentional actions. I took action, thank God.

I texted a plan for the following forty-five minutes to a support friend--because hey--sometimes it's one hour at a time, right? Then I proceeded to do the plan declared.

I made the simplest thing I could think of--scrambled eggs with cheese and black olives on top. It fit into my budget, I completed the day in MyFitnessPal, I enjoyed the food--it satisfied the physical need, and I started watching a docu-series on Netflix. I made it twenty minutes in before realizing I was likely to fall asleep on the couch if I didn't move to the bed--so that's what I did. I was done thinking about the day and contemplating the experiences. I set the sleep timer for fifteen minutes on an episode of the Hidden Brain podcast and I might have made it five minutes before I fell asleep.

I slept-in wonderfully this morning. It felt great. I needed it.

Today will include getting some things done at the studio, catching up with members of my support group, doing some intentional exercise--possibly at the YMCA, and a little more relaxing on this final day of the Thanksgiving break.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Saturday, November 24, 2018

November 24th, 2018 Finding Solutions

November 24th, 2018 Finding Solutions

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

The visit with family has gone exceptionally well this week. Another big gathering today at a Chinese buffet place in our hometown will bring together even more family. Mom isn't accustomed to being on the go this much, but she's loving it! She's been coming and going so much lately, the nurses' joke with her, "leaving us again, Miss Beverly?"  Today's excursion to Stillwater will be another wonderful opportunity to connect and visit with family we don't see very often.

I can navigate most restaurants. I go in knowing the boundaries of my food plan and knowing, without question, what I need and what is off limits for me in order for it to be an on-plan meal. I'm not afraid to ask specifically for what I need. I don't mind ordering items separately, assembling a meal that works for me, in fact, I did that yesterday at the Mexican restaurant, assembling a fajita chicken salad with only on-plan ingredients--that was fairly simple and I've done it countless times. However, not all restaurants are created equal--and today's restaurant gathering is a completely different story.

I've tried to make this Chinese buffet place work for my food plan. I've scanned the offerings and I've asked detailed questions about the ingredients used. The answers were not in line with my food plan--at all. Now, to be fair, if I were a salad lover, I could certainly make this place work. I'm not. I've never been a salad lover. Yes--the chicken fajita salad thing yesterday worked well and was thoroughly enjoyed--but it's different. That salad used shredded lettuce and contained a nice combination of on-plan ingredients I truly enjoy. A salad bar typically doesn't contain those things--and it typically uses leafy lettuce--and I'm strangely picky about the cut of my lettuce. Those that know me well would laugh at that last sentence because they know my "lettuce issues." I tell ya what--let's not call them "issues." I prefer "preferences." But anyway--I veered off point. My point is...

A Chinese buffet place simply doesn't work for me. Aside from the issues of refined sugar and/or deep fried most everything, there's a psychological element involving my 164-pound relapse/regain period. One of my biggest binge foods involved a dish from a local Chinese restaurant (I'll spare you the glorified food porn description) containing every possible trigger known to me at this point in time: High fat, high refined sugar, refined flour, deep fried, loads of carbs---and somewhere hiding underneath all those trigger ingredients, chicken. I remember ordering that time and time again--and every time, feeling a billion miles away from any semblance of a plan--and truly, feeling scared, hopeless, sad, depressed---and really hoping that this time, the magic trigger dish might take me away from all of those emotions and worry, if not permanently-- maybe for a little while...just let me dive into that illusion of comfort and forget about things. In that pattern, the temporary reprieve became shorter and shorter and I needed more and more to keep on living in the chaos of my addiction.

Why don't you simply request a change in location for the family dinner? Because I'm putting food in its proper place. I will eat before or after the get-together. It's seriously not a big deal. I will focus on visiting (which is the main purpose of the event in the first place), and I'll drink water. The last time (a year ago) we held a family gathering there, I did the same thing and honestly, I don't think very many noticed I wasn't eating. I was engaged and enjoying the conversations. Those that might have noticed know me well enough to know, I'm fine, I've got a food plan, and I'll take care of me.

That's the thing. Maintaining the boundaries of my food plan is my responsibility, not anyone else's. There was a time in my life when I would put that responsibility on other people and circumstances, conveniently playing the victim in an effort to enable my compulsive eating behaviors. "Everyone picked that place, what could I do? I had to eat--I didn't want to offend anybody or be rude! Oh well, I'll do better next time." In that old line of thinking, I made everyone else and the circumstances surrounding every event, responsible for keeping the integrity of my food plan. I could easily rationalize my wildly off-plan choices by pointing to the variables in play and in that, I was off the hook. The bottom line is, when we stop looking for outs we start finding solutions.

Of course, if it was simply one or two people meeting me for dinner, I might request we pick a different place. But I'm not asking a dozen or more people to change their plans so I can order some chicken tacos!  
--------------
I rarely include a guest post of sorts--but today, I want to share some powerful words from Michael Funaro in Las Vegas. He was very gracious and open in approving my share request. Thank you, Michael! I first met Michael in 2014. Along with my friend Jon from Wisconsin, the three of us enjoyed a dinner and visit.

Michael's story and path is similar to many of us along this road--actually, very similar to most of us. The ups and downs, the losing and regaining--the old diet mentality type stuff--he's been there/done that, too. Michael is a member of the support group I facilitate where he stays connected and shares regularly. He practices his plan each day--and he does it amid incredible challenges. He's incredibly humble and has a beautiful respect for the fragility of it all along this road. Michael inspires me. The following is a post he shared exclusively with our group--and now, with his permission, I'm sharing it with you. 

From Michael Funaro:

What a difference a year makes! Happy Black Friday to all of you that will partake. Me, I stay as far away from stores today as possible.

One year ago my life was so different. When I was writing in my journal last night, the entry above it for 2017 on this day stated, "I wonder what the box below will hold on this day next year? I hope and pray that it will be better than today."

I think back to last Black Friday. I had a huge food hangover from probably 10,000 calories of sugar and carbs. I know my blood sugar was well North of 300 on that morning. I was miserable, my attitude sucked and I was at least 120 lbs heavier (probably closer to 150).

I know our ultimate goal is the weight, but the journey can be so rewarding too. We have all those great NSV's along the way. Little ones to big ones. For me, I'm so thankful for the biggest one today. I took my blood sugar this morning and it was 108. So thankful for that. Some of you are either directly or indirectly affected by diabetes and it's such a devastating disease. It affects so much of our body and it's silent for a long time until it strikes. For me, it's so nice to have this NSV this morning that shows me that what I am doing isn't always about just the scale moving. But what happens along that journey to the ultimate goal.

Don't look back next year on this day and think, "IF only I would have started my healthy lifestyle a year ago, where would I be today?" Take it from me. What a difference one year can make. Do it today!

Do you have any NSV's today you are happy about? I'd love to hear them if you do. Mine are too long to list, but the blood sugar is my tops of the day! Have a great day everyone!
-----
Thank you, again, Michael! You can email Michael at mfunaro28@gmail.com

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Friday, November 23, 2018

November 23rd, 2018 Keep Me In The Joy

November 23rd, 2018 Keep Me In The Joy

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

Thanksgiving was a wonderful experience. It was a great visit with family, a good meal, and I met my goals yesterday.

For someone like me, not compulsively overeating on a day like Thanksgiving takes a plan and some structure, just like any other day--but certainly a little more on a holiday. It always starts with meditation and prayer--and a humble acknowledging of the facts: The same behaviors, patterns, obsessions, and focus that kept me at over 500 pounds for almost two decades- are all there, they're just in dormancy. It's not like I'm somehow magically cured. I wish it worked that way. In order to remain in recovery and doing well, it takes a daily practice of intentional actions. There isn't a day when I can casually "play" with those old behaviors and expect to be well. For those who truly do not live with food addiction/compulsive overeating, they can "go all out and off the rails" and still be okay. I'm not one of those people! 

Aside from the regular plan structure of any day--the morning routine, the food plan, the staying connected with support, a day like yesterday featured some added strategies designed to keep me in the joy.

My specific plan for Thanksgiving dinner was: No refined sugar and a one plate limit. My plate looked pretty much the same as it has every holiday over the last several years.

The added measures--or intentional actions, or whatever you want to call them-- things designed to keep me in the joy... I like that... were: I gave myself things to focus on during the festivities. I focused on the people, on the visiting/togetherness--and I had two "missions" to focus on. I decided to take as many pictures as I could--finding good moments to snap 'em. I also had a secret challenge to accomplish: Find out something interesting that I didn't know about someone I've known my entire life. That's really an easy thing to do--it just takes a genuine interest, questions, listening, and a conversation. Focusing on these two things further helped take me "out of myself" and fully into the best parts of the get-together. By the end of the experience, I had maintained the boundaries of my food plan, snapped a bunch of pictures, and I learned some very interesting things about my Uncle Sig's 1960's experience as a soldier going through basic training in the US Army.

Shifting the focus changes things. I enjoyed my meal, of course, and I also fully enjoyed the things that made the day extra special. I suppose for some, that all comes naturally--it doesn't for me, hence the practice of intentional actions.

I'm enjoying some time off today! I slept in very well! It was wonderful! I'll be having lunch out today with my aunt, uncle, and mom. It'll be great!

Okay--picture time!!!

Mom and Me
















































Noah was in fine form! That kid--my goodness!!
























With Mom's sister

























Uncle Sig









































































My little grandson, Oliver!



















Courtney and my granddaughter Phoebe

























Amber and granddaughter Raegan

























I love this photo of Amber and Irene!

























Rae Rae

























The end of the night-with mom




















Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Thursday, November 22, 2018

November 22nd, 2018 Center Stage-Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2018 Center Stage-Thanksgiving

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving! I'm full of gratitude this morning for a very long list of things. My goodness, I must tell you--when I include my gratitude list in my morning routine, it helps everything that follows.

Yesterday was an exceptionally long day for me. I started super early and wasn't done with the day until after 1am. But, there was a positive perspective and spring in my stride--and on days where the schedule is unrelenting, that's a challenging perspective to maintain. It all goes back to gratitude.

I've outlined my plan for today. My morning foundational routine is finished, the turkey is in the oven, and there's more cooking to get done. By popular family request, I'm preparing my old-school mac and cheese---it's rich, rich, rich...I typically don't chew gum, but it's an important strategy for me as I prepare this dish: Chewing gum and not licking, tasting, and flat out eating!!

I'm making support contacts very important today too--being available, open, giving and receiving...very important for me. As far as the food--I'm committed to doing the one plate plan with the proper consideration of my non-negotiable elements.

Here's the thing: The structure of my plan, the support, the tips and tricks, the boundaries---all of these things are no match for my disease of food addiction and compulsive overeating. These things can help me have a good on-plan day-- but I must be willing to do the actions for each thing. And above all--I must always remember the importance of maintaining the daily practice. I don't "got this" and I'm never beyond relapse. I humble myself each morning when I acknowledge this fact and ask for help.

I will make the people, the conversations, my grandkids, daughters, mom, and other family members--the stars of the show. The food will be great but it will not be the star of today. Gratitude and family will take center stage.

I can't believe this is my eleventh Thanksgiving along this road!! I'm very grateful to be here--and to you for reading these writings each day.

I found a Thanksgiving VLog video! A good reminder--I need to do more videos--so much fun!


I'm planning on taking plenty of pictures today. I'll share some in the morning!

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

November 21st, 2018 On Plan

November 21st, 2018 On Plan

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

Good Thanksgiving Eve! This morning started without internet service. This rarely happens. I did the 'unplug the modem, wait ten seconds, plug it back in' routine a few times to nothing... just as I was starting to write this blog post from my phone (something I've only done once or twice), it came back up. Thank goodness! Well, there we go--something else worthy of gratitude!

My Aunt and Uncle arrived yesterday afternoon. We had a really good visit before and during dinner. Aunt Jean and I whipped up some 96% lean beef tacos--it was wonderful.

Today is poised to be a very busy day in radioland. The great news is, once past--I can enjoy Thursday through Sunday off work! I haven't had a full Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend off in more than a decade. With family in town for a visit, this rare occurrence comes at a good time!

Being here for my eleventh Thanksgiving since starting this entire experience in the fall of 2008 is not only a blessing, it's a miracle. Thanksgiving was always the holiday my food addiction and compulsive overeating behaviors loved because I didn't need to hide what I was eating. Binge eating in the name of the holiday, especially this one, was not only accepted--it was always celebrated! For my deeply ingrained disease, it was perfect.

One of the things I realized early on was the importance of maintaining boundaries of a plan no matter the day.  The plan could be modified, expanded some, or adjusted--but in order to maintain the psychological consistency I needed--I had to declare a plan and embrace it--the goal being to hit the pillow knowing I stayed on plan.

The non-negotiables of my personal daily practice will be honored again this year: No refined sugar, giving my morning foundational time the energy and focus it needs, logging all of my food in MyFitnessPal, and staying connected with support friends, among a few other critically important elements. A few other strategies I'll employ:
-Gratitude list must take center stage in my brain
-One plate, no return trip
-Focusing on the people around me--the conversations, the moments
-Assign a certain task or two for me to focus on-- maybe I don't even announce I'm doing it, I just simply fancy myself the event photographer--or one of my favorites things: Engage in meaningful conversation that leads to learning something interesting I didn't know about someone I've known all my life! The idea here is to make the event about much more than the food. If I make it all about the food, I can get into trouble quickly!
-In years past, I've added calories to my budget for this day. The past few years, I haven't used the extra calories. I'll allow myself a few hundred calories beyond my current budget--but I will not use them for sport or deliberate excess.

I plan on spending more time on tomorrow morning's Thanksgiving edition. I plan on pulling out Thanksgiving pics of the past and more. It'll be a fun composing that post!

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

November 20th, 2018 Time For Work

November 20th, 2018 Time For Work

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

The company's coming! My aunt (mom's sister) and uncle from Michigan are spending Thanksgiving with me this year and they'll be here today. I stayed up late last night (too late, really) cleaning and preparing. I also had some scripts to write last night at the studio. I did get most everything done I needed to get done and that was good. The little sleep, not good!

I had planned to write a little more this morning on this edition--about Thanksgiving perspectives--and I certainly will in tomorrow's and the Thanksgiving morning edition. For now, it's time for work! 

I'm really looking forward to the time off later this week. I'll be off Thursday through Sunday. It'll be a really nice break! In the meantime, there's work to do in preparation for that time off!

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Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Monday, November 19, 2018

November 19th, 2018 Ready To Go

November 19th, 2018 Ready To Go

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

I worked a little more than I wanted to or planned yesterday. Accomplishing a bunch yesterday should make today go very well.

The changing of the seasons from summer to fall was always a popular time for me to start weight loss attempts. Thanksgiving was never far away and it almost always signaled the beginning of the end. The only time it didn't stop my efforts cold, was when I started losing weight in the fall of 2008. My approach to that Thanksgiving was structured with a plan. I fully believed if I could maintain the integrity of that plan I could accomplish two things: I could enjoy Thanksgiving and stay on track beyond the special day. I made my plan important. I made me important. And for once in my life, Thanksgiving didn't signal the beginning of the end, it was the beginning of a new weight loss perspective.

This Thanksgiving will be my 11th along this road. As in years past, I'll have a plan and a set of non-negotiable elements ready to go.

I'll go a little more in-depth over the next couple of days.

Staying connected with support buddies throughout the day is certainly a big part of the plan.
Indulging in conversation, taking pictures, giving hugs and catching up with loved ones will also be major elements. Truly focusing on gratitude, giving thanks for my many blessings and expressing to people how much I appreciate them will also be important. My focus will not be fixed on the buffet line. I will enjoy a nice Thanksgiving meal, sure, but in order for me to maintain extraordinary care that day, I must keep my focus right where it needs to be in order to have the most wonderful day possible. For someone like me, it takes intentional actions.

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Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Sunday, November 18, 2018

November 18th, 2018 Star Of The Show

November 18th, 2018 Star Of The Show

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

Yesterday evening's family get-together in Stillwater turned out very well. My aunt (mom's sister) prepared chili for everyone--so it was chili and conversation on a night with a cold front moving in, so it seemed exceptionally appropriate.

My Aunt understands my vigilance when it comes to no refined sugar, so she wasn't surprised or bothered by me asking her to scan the ingredients lists of items used. Two of the ingredients lists contained sugar, one being the third ingredient--and that was okay. I don't ask others to change how they prepare things for a crowd in order to fit into my food plan. Maintaining the boundaries of my food plan is my responsibility. The solution was picking up a backup plan for me.

I found a canned chili without refined sugar. That's not an easy task! I must have gone through seven different labels before finding one with the simplest refined sugar-free ingredients list. It was a little pricey, as you might imagine, but it worked well. We all enjoyed chili and conversation and I maintained my abstinence from refined sugar. Whatever it takes, right? Yep!

I brought a pie for everyone to enjoy with coffee after the meal. It was a refined sugar-free wildberry pie. The pie, even without the refined sugar, isn't on my food plan. I can't do "look-a-likes." My brain lights up just the same, it's interesting really. I brought plenty of fresh Zestar apple slices for me and anyone else wanting some--and that was my dessert. It was an enjoyable meal.

On occasions like this, I must make the "star of the show" the people and things around me--not the food. I spent years and years making food the star in every circumstance. The food was good, certainly, but being able to enjoy a visit without an overwhelming food obsession stealing my attention was best. 

Understand, maintaining this perspective isn't easy. It takes intentional actions. It takes pause. I bookended the visit and plan with good support. So, if you're reading this and you're thinking--wow, he makes it sound so matter-of-fact and simple---uh, no-- I must make sure I've "installed" some accountability and support "pillars" around the plan.

It was a good visit. I was glad. The bonus was the extra time mom and I had to visit during the drive time to and from the get-together.

I slept for almost nine hours last night! A good rest felt great--and now I'm ready for a good Sunday. Oh, and my Oklahoma State Cowboys won a thriller last night against top 10 ranked West Virginia. That game, in Stillwater, played a role in our decision to enjoy chili and conversation at my Aunt and Uncles place--because finding a restaurant to enjoy a visit amid the post-game rush of fans wouldn't have been a very good plan.

I have work to get done today. I'll do some production work at the studio and then a client production meeting at 1:30pm with a local restaurant. My plan today includes some housekeeping and exercise too.

I'm set and ready for a good Sunday.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Saturday, November 17, 2018

November 17th, 2018 Framework

November 17th, 2018 Framework

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

A daily practice; a framework of pillars holding up each day, for me, is imperative for my continued stability. The first thing I do each day involves humbly admitting I don't "got this" and I need help if I'm to have another on-plan day. The activities of the day can be wildly different than the day before or the next, but if I make sure the framework is assembled at the start of the day, then my chances of making it through are greatly increased. The days where I rush through my morning routine, cutting corners, are the most challenging days for me.

I stayed busy at work yesterday--then completed an afternoon location broadcast from a small car dealer. I made it home with plenty of time to prepare dinner before heading out to a concert where I was set to make the opening announcements and introduce the artists. I didn't stay for the entire concert, I rarely do (one of these days I should), but I needed to get a few other things done before calling it a night.

I don't have any location broadcasts today--and that's rare this time of year, so the schedule will be mine. I'm still working-playing catch-up, really, with my production work at the studio, plus some laundry and cleaning to do before picking up mom for an evening trip to our hometown in order to visit with family in from Michigan for their annual visit.

I plan on carefully navigating today's experience with a firm embrace of the non-negotiable elements serving to strengthen the framework of this daily practice.   

Maintaining the boundaries of our non-negotiable elements fosters growth in every other area of this process. When we disregard those boundaries, it stunts our growth and the result is often: We feel stuck and feel like we're doing the same thing over and over.

If consistently maintaining the boundaries of our plan is what brings growth and a natural evolution of the plan--and that consistency is what brings about positive progress, then we must first look at the plan--and make sure it's something we can maintain.

If it's too extreme, we're setting ourselves up for disappointment.

But if we start small and with simplicity, and it's something we can work with inside the boundaries of the plan--that's when something magical starts happening. The challenge becomes the action of releasing judgment for what we might perceive to be an imperfect or incomplete plan--when all we're trying to do is get started from a place where consistency is the focus--and trusting that this approach will allow for a natural evolution of our plan. On the opposite side: If we decide we can't move forward unless everything is perfect within some elaborate "ideal" plan, we're setting ourselves up for a serious struggle with starts and stops.

One of the biggest threats to my consistency is emotion/stress levels.

One thing that's really helped me in this area is to examine not only my current state of mind and emotion but also my expectations for food at any particular moment.

Do I expect it to take me away from and improve emotional/stressful circumstances?

Or Do I expect it to simply provide energy and nourish me physically?

Looking at my own expectations pushes me in the direction I need to make more progress toward handling things in ways that truly work, instead of me constantly relying on and believing that escaping into the food will help.

The food does provide a temporary reprieve from the circumstances at hand, but it's never improved the things I avoid, ever. In fact, when I turn to food for these things, it compounds my issues. I try to remember that often.

My continued recovery depends on the daily practice of my plan. I often refer to the different elements of my plan as my "rails of support." I hold onto those rails every day. If ever I wake and say, "look, no hands," get ready to witness a hard fall.

Framework set, rails gripped, let's do Saturday!

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Friday, November 16, 2018

November 16th, 2018 Opportunities To Practice

November 16th, 2018 Opportunities To Practice

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

Yesterday was spent playing catch-up at work after Wednesday's day off. It certainly kept me busy, everyone was busy-it's just getting into that time of year. I made it to the Thanksgiving dinner at mom's place later in the afternoon. I enjoyed a little turkey at this late afternoon event but mainly focused on visiting with mom. I normally don't mind making special requests to accommodate what I need and don't need for my personal food plan, but having experienced this event last year, I decided this wasn't the time for me to make special requests. The staff was doing everything they could to serve the residents and families as quickly as possible with each plate identical, prepared in the kitchen and delivered to the lobby that had been transformed into a dining room. The adjustments needed were made on my end-- some turkey (approximately 2oz) and a good visit with mom--and that's what I did, and it was good. I went from the event with mom to the elementary school PTM fundraiser where I was set to be the bingo caller.

The event at the school was dubbed "Nachos and Numbers." I declined the nachos offered, opting instead to make my dinner at home later. I include corn tortillas and cheese in my food plan, so technically I could have made this work, but for something like this I'd rather focus on the task at hand, drink water, do well--and be well. I've often referred to my lunch tostadas as "portion controlled nachos," and that's true, but for me and my brain--there's a difference. I can't explain it very well, there just is-- maybe it's the weighing and measuring part of the process. The event worked well--and ended just in time for me to make the trip back across town to my apartment for my scheduled 8pm Thursday night group conference call. That went well, too.

By the time 9pm rolled around, it was finally time to prepare a late dinner. Honestly, I could have planned better and brought what I needed to either mom's event or the school event--and that action could have prevented the late dinner (something I'm working to cut down on), but I didn't this time. I'll certainly have more opportunities to practice a better plan.

My morning routine was wonderful this morning. I'm fresh first thing and it's the perfect time for me to set the foundation for the day in that "first thing" routine. Practicing gratitude with a specific prompt has been a powerful addition to this routine.

I'm prepared and ready for a fabulous Friday. My food is planned, packed and ready for work-- I've created my list of things to accomplish today and I'm about to launch toward the door.

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Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Thursday, November 15, 2018

November 15th, 2018 Hence The Name

November 15th, 2018 Hence The Name

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

I got some good rest yesterday. I felt much better later in the day. I was still not feeling 100%, but good enough to believe I'm not coming down with anything--and that's a good thing. I don't need that right now! I feel well rested and ready for my Thursday.

I stayed in all day and evening, too. No exercise for me yesterday and that was okay. I got what I needed.

I picked the URL to this blog on the night of September 15th, 2008. I'm not a big fan of it now, years later, and I cringe a little while typing it out when someone asks for the address. "losingweighteveryday dot blogspot dot com" doesn't reflect what this blog has become for me. Had I known, I would have selected something different--but I couldn't have known at the time. I was on a mission to lose weight and I was committed to posting about it every day, hence the name.

What can I do about it? Well--I know it can't be changed, I've checked. But--I can use another domain name (I have a couple parked--that I've never used) to host this blog. I may do that soon. That might be a Christmas gift from me to me. I'll let you know!

I'm tempted to write much more this morning as a follow up to yesterday's post but I simply don't have the time this morning. I will, soon. It'll be more about how this thing here is more about a daily practice in recovery instead of a diet.

I'm planned, packed, and ready for a good Thursday. I'm the "local celebrity" bingo caller this evening at an elementary school fundraiser. This will be the fourth school to request my bingo calling services. It's for a good cause, so I don't mind at all. It'll be fun! I give it my all when I do these--and I think word spreads--"hey, let's get Sean!"

I have many things deserving of my gratitude this morning. Working through those things and focusing on gratitude prompts each day has been a big plus for me lately.

I better run.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November 14th, 2018 Best Option

November 14th, 2018 Best Option

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

I wasn't feeling my best yesterday morning but I ignored it and felt better throughout the day. I had a good evening last night complete with an earlier dinner and another 5K walk on the indoor track at the YMCA. This morning, however, I'm not feeling well at all. I was awake a lot during the night and as I made it upright this morning, realized why. I haven't taken a sick day from work in a while and I don't like to do that, but it's the best option for me this morning. I'll stay home and take care of me today.

January 2011-YMCA
Speaking for the hospital's Lose To Win kick-off event














The indoor walking track at the YMCA overlooks the gym floor. As I exercised last night and the night before, I couldn't keep from looking down at the gym and remembering one of my favorite speaking opportunities from years ago. It's hard to believe it's been seven years since that special night. I used some visual aids for that event. I came out wearing an outfit from my 505 pound days. I had two assistants, one on each side, holding up my pants as I pushed a grocery cart containing a representation of the pounds lost; 275 pounds of Velveeta. I made it to the microphone and dropped the big clothing before launching into my speech. It was memorable for me and many of those attending. To this day, I still run into people who bring it up in conversation. 

I look at that gym floor and the pictures and I'm reminded of how fun that was, but it also reminds me of how much I had to learn and experience well after that night. 2011 contained several big and small speaking engagements, including several for YMCA of Oklahoma, Kansas, and a big one for YMCA USA at their big mid-states conference in Kansas City. That year concluded with the release of my book, Transformation Road--and honestly, I believe my mindset was there's no turning back now. 

Of course, we both know how things unfolded. I did turn back. It was an important turn, too. I'm truly grateful for the entire experience. I needed it in so many ways. A good and powerful humbling clears away a lot of things, opening up opportunities for the most transformative kind of growth process. 

To this day, I stand 100% behind every perspective, tip, trick, and experience shared in those speaking engagements and in my book. Those things are still valid. Things I discovered about me along the way involved a better understanding of my personal truth of food addiction and compulsive over-eating. There will be another, very different book one day- I assure you.

The truth helped shift me away from a good diet plan of action into a plan of recovery. It's still a work in progress--and it always will be, because no matter who we are, who we think we are, or what we've experienced or think we know, we're all at the same place with a personal daily plan of action. A practice to help us through one more day. There's always more to learn along this road.  

In the foreword to my book, philosopher Ralph Marston wrote, "Truth is powerful. The more you seek to hide from it, the more forcefully it asserts itself, until you eventually cannot deny it. The moment you put truth on your side, all sorts of possibilities open up to you." 

Yes, sir. That's powerful stuff right there.

I'm sitting here in bed, using my laptop to put this post together and feeling absolutely crummy. I'll use this day to rest and recuperate from whatever is going on. I'm grateful for my colleague Gayle this morning, she's filling in for me today.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

November 13th, 2018 Worthy Of Enthusiasm

November 13th, 2018 Worthy Of Enthusiasm

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

When we're "in it" we're not "out of it." My prayer each morning is for the willingness and strength to remain "in it." It, being, my personal plan of recovery. It's always a work in progress but if I remain willing to be in it instead of out of it, there's progress.

A support friend of mine recently mentioned how I don't post as many pictures as I once did. We were talking about the recent decline in the number of people reading this daily diary. I immediately rattled off a few reasons for posting fewer pictures, the big one being: If I focus too heavy on pictures it might take away from the message I'm trying to share. More pictures, to me, seemed to lean toward more of a diet mentality with all the food pics and side by side comparison photos and such. I'm deeply passionate about this not being a diet. The key for me over the years hasn't been dieting--the key for me has been a perspective based on an imperfect but still mostly effective, perspective of recovery. A diet is temporary. Recovery, one day at a time, is something that can last, long-term. Breaking or cheating on a diet is accepted--it happens. Breaking or relapsing from recovery carries a much greater sense of consequence. The importance is in creating a personal and unique plan that fits well enough to actually enjoy, a plan worthy of enthusiasm.

And that's what he mentioned, "enthusiasm." I'm not quoting because it was a phone conversation and I can't remember his exact words--but he mentioned how my enthusiasm for the process each day was something that brought him "along for the ride" and ultimately helped inspire him. The pictures help show that enthusiasm for the process--for the day to day road we're traveling.

He made an excellent point. I am enthused!! When I have a good day, I feel great. When I'm staying connected with support and with my plan, I feel better. I'll share more photos.

I had planned on attending a support meeting last night but it was canceled because of the wintery weather we received yesterday. I shifted into an alternate plan for yesterday evening-- the store for some fish, a workout, a short visit with mom, and home to prepare a good dinner. The workout was a 5K walk inside the warm YMCA on their indoor track. I listened to some inspiring stories while I walked--it was a really good experience. In the name of enthusiasm, I even snapped a bathroom mirror selfie.



















Yeah... that was my primal, "let's do this" roar!! It was a fantastic, brisk, and thanks to the material I was listening to, inspiring walk.

I experienced some really good support exchanges yesterday, too. It was nice! A good day, indeed.



















Today, as a broadcaster, I'll host a local bakery in-studio. They're bringing a bunch of food--every single thing, not on my food plan. And that's okay. This isn't the first time. It's an annual event right before Thanksgiving. I'm comfortable and enthused about what my plan brings me each day. I wouldn't trade my continued recovery for any of their offerings. As a broadcaster, I'll do my job well and promote their amazing creations. And they are amazing. For a lot of people, it's not a big deal to occasionally indulge in these things, especially at holiday time. For me, however, remaining abstinent and true to my daily practice is imperative for the peace, stability, and continued maintenance I live each day.

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Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Monday, November 12, 2018

November 12th, 2018 Overflows

November 12th, 2018 Overflows

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

The weekend was a good one! What made it good was a balance. I made time for things important for my self-care, I made time for others in support, and I made time for family. I did a little work, too, but not as much as other busier weekend schedules--and that was a good thing.

Mom and I made our way over for a visit last evening with my youngest daughter, Noah, Oliver, and Phoebe. My goodness, it was cuteness overload! There's no better reminder of why I do what I do each day than spending time with my grandkids. My daily practice helps keep me well so I can have the best chance of being in their lives for many years to come.

My disease is a selfish one. All the years I was "in the food," I wasn't thinking of the long-term consequences. I wasn't thinking about how much the food-focus was slowly killing me and how it was taking away from the ones I loved each day. I was simply serving my food addiction and compulsive overeating behaviors. For me, the daily practice I now make important frees the mental space I need in order to consider very important people and things in my life. Food is part of my life but it isn't my life. 



















Noah loves reading. That makes me smile big! He took me to his room where I asked about his favorite toys and he told me, "video games, books, and dinosaurs." Books? I don't remember those being in my top three as a five-year-old. He asked, "next time will you take me to the library?" Uh, yeah, of course!! My goodness, my heart overflows for this little man.

I don't think I had a picture with Courtney and all three of her children until last night. It's hard to wrangle them all together at one moment sometimes.



















Oh my, these precious babies! Po Po is wearing Noah's Pikachu stocking cap because I'm cool like that.

Mom and I enjoyed a good dinner out after the visit and finished our evening with a fast run around Walmart. Yesterday evening was a nice finish to a good weekend.

Today should be a decent Monday. My food is planned, my morning foundational routine is done, and I'm visualizing a good one.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 11th, 2018 Respect And Honor

November 11th, 2018 Respect And Honor

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

This is a special day. Veterans Day to me is met with enormous gratitude for all who have served our country. My dad and both my grandfathers served in wartime. They witnessed their friends perish on the battlefields and in the Pacific--and somehow, they survived against the odds of fate. They bravely fought and survived. I think about how their actions in battle very likely saved others. All who served deserve exceptional respect and honor, today and always.



















I remember watching war movies as a kid and not being able to process the level of bravery it must take to face the circumstances these men faced. When I grew older and learned of my dad's and my grandfather's service, I was immediately filled with a sense of gratitude, respect, and also enormous pride to be the son and grandson of these brave men. It meant a lot to me because I didn't feel brave at all, ever, but knowing that somewhere deep in my DNA there might be this level of courage and bravery, somehow gives me a measure of hope for challenges in my life. My challenges will never be on the level they faced during wartime. I'm grateful. I'm proud of these men close to me--and proud of--and quite honestly, in awe of all those who served. Again, if that's you, thank you.

I'm enjoying my food plan lately. I've made changes, as you know if you're a regular reader, and it seems to be going well. I've made changes to my list of trigger foods and I've discovered how I can be satisfied with smaller meal portions. The ongoing struggle in the exercise department continues, however, I'm focusing on the long-term and this enables me to not be so self-critical in the moment. As long as that perspective doesn't enable me to not change, I'll be okay. I am making changes, action plans, and looking at things differently--and I'm listening to, watching, and learning from others. Keeping an open mind, fresh for a change, is a big plus along this road.

I do not know it all. I've never known it all. My daily practice isn't and has never been perfect--and that's okay. One of the biggest positive things is admitting that fact--because then, I'm/we're in a position to grow and evolve. And isn't that what this road is all about? Progress, not perfection?

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Saturday, November 10, 2018

November 10th, 2018 Best Decision

November 10th, 2018 Best Decision

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

Yesterday's funeral service for our friend and long-time broadcasting colleague, Illene, was beautiful. I think there were things many of us discovered about her that we didn't know. Fascinating things about her life experience and how her remarkable brain worked on a unique artistic frequency. She was an exceptional human full of love and compassion for everyone she met. When she asked, How are you doing? She really wanted to know. I think that's a rare quality in this world. She had "it," beautifully.

The spread of food available afterward was beautifully presented in the fellowship hall of St. Andrews. I surveyed the choices and made the decision to wait and eat later. I certainly could have enjoyed some veggies, cheese, and a few other things--but having checked my production work prior to making the trip, I was more interested in getting back to the studio and focusing on finishing the day. Gayle (She's the morning show host and program director of the station across the hall from mine) did the driving (I was so grateful) and in-turn, I grabbed the two of us some coffee for the return trip.

It's weird really. Upon our return, my focus wasn't on food. Instead, I organized my production work in a neat little stack--mentally prepared the order of importance, and methodically went about getting things done. I kept reminding myself to break for a late lunch-- but I just kept working until it was done. Maybe it was the Starbucks coffee--not sure, but I was neither hungry or the least bit concerned about food. I don't recommend this, by the way. It was an unusual schedule circumstance for me. Keeping a good meal schedule helps keep me balanced. If I get too hungry, it can become a trigger for not so great choices. But occasionally, when the schedule calls for it, I seem to be able to adjust my perspective enough to be okay. I did send a text to my primary support contact as a way to "bookend" my plan of action. That always helps!

I made a store trip on the way home to grab what I needed, arriving at my apartment a little before 6pm. I prepared "lunch for dinner," some tostadas (big surprise, I know!). At this point, I basically just relaxed--took a mental break if you will. I enjoyed my on-plan meal while watching part of a documentary on Netflix. I canceled my dinner and Bohemian Rhapsody plans and informed Mom that I would not see her until Saturday afternoon. I still wasn't completely convinced of a plan for the rest of the night, but I was certainly preparing myself to make the best decision for me. Normally, even late like this, I'd grab a short nap in the name of "doing things later tonight," but really, I didn't want to do anything last night. I decided my bed looked really inviting. I ended up in bed by 7:30 and fell asleep quickly. It was the best decision. It also might be a record early bedtime for me on a Friday night.

I was awake at 4:30 this morning, feeling well rested and ready for a good Saturday. I completed my morning routine without the rush from the thought of I got to get ready for work- it was great.

I have a two-station "dual" location broadcast today from 11am-1pm from the grocery store that books us on a regular basis. I like these broadcasts because they work very well for the client, first of all--and for me personally, it provides the opportunity to shop while I work!! Basically, I'm getting paid to grocery shop the best deals around--and they give me the employee discount at checkout as a nice little "thank you" bonus! I'm hoping they have more Zestar apples in stock. I'll tell you, those recently became my absolute favorite apples!!

I'm preparing a good on-plan breakfast soon, getting some things done for me this morning, and organizing my thoughts and schedule for today. I'm planning on making it a good one. 

One thing that's really bugged me lately is how something has changed in the way this blog is visibly distributed. I think Facebook has changed something, I'm not sure-- all I know is, the readership of late has dramatically dropped by several hundred a day. Since you're reading this-- you found it--that's good, I'm glad. I'm not too worried because I must always, first and foremost, write this blog for me--regardless of who else does or doesn't read what I share. This is something I've made important from the Day 1 post over ten years ago when I wrote:  "I look forward to this blog. I believe it will help me stay on track and maybe along the way it will inspire someone else to stay on track." It certainly helps accomplish that for me. And occasionally, I hear from folks who share with me how it's helped them--and that's a beautiful thing. It's a gift returned to me and I don't ever take it for granted or lightly in any way, shape, or form.

When I see others referred to as "weight-loss influencers," people with a couple years in, enormous personal progress, and a million followers--first of all, I check myself--and realize, I'm truly happy for them--but also, it makes me question my social media savvy. I do feel like I have a voice and an important point of view along this road and naturally, I'd like to share it with more people. I've just never been technically savvy on the approach. I'll think about that. In the meantime, I'm well. And truly, for me, that's all that matters. One day at a time, right?

Sincerely,
Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean





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