Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23rd, 2014 Weigh Day Edition

July 23rd, 2014 Weigh Day Edition

Today was interesting. I gave in to the very way of thinking I've encouraged others against. I weighed today and found a seven pound loss for the last three weeks. This brings the total to 58 pounds in the last thirteen weeks, an average of almost four and half pounds a week. How in the world could I ever complain about this?? I did my best to be positive as I shared the number on social media, but inside I was struggling with misaligned expectations. I know better than this way of thinking!! I should be grateful. I'm headed in a wonderful direction. I'm doing well. Why would I choose to be anything but elated?

It happens when expectations are bigger than reality. I know better than to play this game. Life Coach Gerri says "expectations are premeditated resentments," and she's right. What could it have registered for me to feel justly rewarded for my efforts? Ten or twelve pounds? I don't even know. All I know is, I stepped on the scale and found 336.2 staring back at me and it didn't feel right. Gerri countered with a short and sweet reply, "Get your euphoria from a healthy lifestyle, not from a number on the scale."

Here's where I am: My reaction was ridiculous. Not only did I have the reaction, I then proceeded to beat myself up for having the reaction in the first place. Seriously?? How dare I get upset with a seven pound loss! Then it was, how dare I get upset with me for getting upset about what I was upset about? It didn't help that today was an exceptionally long work day. It started at 6am and ended at 8:15pm.  And I likely wasn't as rested as I needed to be for a day like today.

I realized my plans to attend spin class wasn't even an option with two location broadcasts scheduled from 4pm-8:15pm. I was also giving myself a mental beat down for not being as attentive to my schedule and missing all three spinning class opportunities this week.

I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to go to bed and allow this day to be done. I did okay with food today and made the last minute decision tonight to take a day off from the Y.  My plan was to have dinner and then workout. It really should have been the other way around. After dinner, I was effectively done.
 photo 40234db6-cd98-453e-b654-a3ae3343afec_zps65a5070b.jpg

Patience and consistency are two things crucial to this journey. I'll check mine thoroughly, regroup and be okay.

My meal tweets today:


Today was a day for lessons about patience, consistency and gratitude.
Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 22nd, 2014 Why Resist This?

July 22nd, 2014 Why Resist This?

The effects of my weekend schedule on yesterday seeped into today, however I resisted the urge to continue the disruption of my sleep pattern. Of course, my workday wasn't allowing a break anyway. I had every intention of getting into spinning class at 4:45pm today. As the workday kept going and going with more and more production deadlines marked "today," I knew by 4:20pm spinning wasn't happening. I finally left the studio at 4:50pm. I was tired. It was a long day. My first inclination was to hurry home and grab a nap before my 7pm weight loss support group conference call. Then, I imagined oversleeping again and immediately nixed the plan. Instead I whipped out the Starbucks card a colleague recently gifted and headed toward the caffeine.

I'm probably not using the lingo of a seasoned Starbucks pro, because I'm not, but I ordered a venti dark roast pour over with a shot of espresso and 1/4 cup of steamed skim milk. I took it home and added some stevia and POW...it had me alert in a flash.

The conference call was powerful tonight. Life Coach Gerri Helms and I have a small group that is on fire! I'm inspired by the wonderful things the group members are doing. I wrapped the call, then had to get out to finish some work duties before heading off to the YMCA for a good workout.

Here's the deal: I didn't want to workout tonight. Even after missing the spin class for the second consecutive day--still, I wasn't feeling it tonight. Perhaps the caffeine rush was over and I was starting to crash. As much as I wanted to stand down, I just couldn't rationalize not even trying. I made my way in, reluctantly and once again the power of a good workout transformed my attitude. The music was awesome, the movement felt good--the sweat and heart rate confirmed my effort, I was doing this deal. I walked away from the workout feeling incredible. Not tired--Incredible, like I had even more energy. I'm sure any second now I'll collapse, but that feeling right after a good workout is insanely powerful. I thought, why resist this?

Apparently I need to do some more grocery shopping because my selection tonight just didn't seem very appealing. I settled on what could only be described as a salad. The meal tweet is below.

Tomorrow morning is my 13 week weigh-in. I feel great about it and I can't wait to share the number on Facebook, Twitter and right here tomorrow night. This is where I must be very careful not to get too wrapped up in the number. If it isn't what I want, then I might make some adjustments, perhaps add some good calories as I suggested not too long ago. I have a feeling it will be fine. No matter the number, my job is to practice what I encourage and be okay. I'm in this for life. I'm doing what I'm doing as a way to develop lasting changes that give me the best opportunity to return to my healthiest weight and live a life where taking extraordinary care is always important. If I make taking this level of care important then I'm confident maintaining a healthy weight will be something I can do and not just something I do when everything is peachy. This is the life I choose. I pray I'll never again sacrifice that choice no matter the future circumstances.

Good food day!








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

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21st, 2014 I Clearly See A Pattern

July 21st, 2014 I Clearly See A Pattern

I overslept my alarm this morning. I literally had ten minutes to throw myself together and rush out the door. I did take a minute to cut a fresh peach, grab some Laughing Cow wedges and some rice chips to get me through until lunch. Not how I wanted to start the day. But I made the best of it.

I've noticed a pattern. Over weekends, I tend to turn my schedule upside down. This forces me to try to correct immediately. It's no surprise that I haven't slept well the past few Sunday nights into Monday morning. I've been sleeping better than I have in a very long time. Until last night. I slept horribly. Overslept, then was still tired this afternoon. I took a nap and once again, overslept. Just like last Monday, I missed my spin class at the YMCA. I clearly see the pattern.

The one thing I don't do too much of anymore is beat myself up for small hiccups along the way. Letting go of a rigid, no mistakes attitude is a good thing because I'm far from perfect. I got up this afternoon, realized I had slept too long and would once again miss the Monday spin class, and I adjusted my plan.  That's it. I simply adjusted the plan. Four things were happening this evening regardless of whether or not I made it to spin class: Workout, grocery shop, cooking dinner and writing this blog. I did all four. I win. :)

My elliptical workout is really good. I'm dripping by the end and there's no question to the effectiveness. Just like last week, I'll do my best to make it to the Tuesday and Wednesday spin classes. I did last week and I bet I do it again.

Food was good today despite the rough start.








If you're using MyFitnessPal, friend request me! My user name is: SeanAAnderson

My Twitter page (@SeanAAnderson) is really a live-tweet feed with pictures of everything I eat daily, complete with calorie counts. I also tweet when I'm exercising (not while I'm exercising) and what I'm doing for exercise. And of course, I can't help but to occasionally exercise some humor. It's fun! I use Twitter as an accountability tool. If it also gives you some ideas too, bonus!

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

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 20th, 2014 I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World

July 20th, 2014 I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World

Arriving home from my class reunion in the middle of the night didn't leave me much energy to write about too much before collapsing in bed. It was a short post for Saturday. Today was eventful too. My youngest daughter turned twenty-one years old today! We celebrated with a birthday lunch at one of her favorite restaurants. First, let's explore a recap of my class reunion experience.

Prior to May 15th, 2014, if you had asked me, "Are you going to the Class of '89 SHS 25th reunion in July?" I would have given a quick, "probably not, but I'll be at the 30th reunion." Never before has an epiphany rocked me to my core like it did on May 15th. I can't shake its effects and I don't want to. To be gifted a powerful mind expanding epiphany focused on the very thing I've allowed to limit me my entire life, was easily one of the greatest gifts I've received along this fantastic road of life. Saying, "my worth and identity does not depend on the shape of my face, the size of my pants or the number on a scale," is something, if not explored, could be easily said but still not applied. Truly believing it, embracing--and wrapping my mind around the epitome of self-love, cemented something inside me. Still, like most everything, it isn't perfect. But it's powerful enough, that instead of avoiding the reunion, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Flipping a lifetime perspective upside down doesn't happen without a little spillage of the marinade that seasoned me, as I discovered last night.

I turned up the radio super loud as I drove the forty-two miles to my destination. I was listening to the "Big 80's Weekend" on Tulsa'a Mix 96. The 80's groove was taking me back in time and I knew, in less than an hour I would be experiencing real life encounters with people who were back there with me. I was fine right up until I pulled into the parking lot, mere steps from people I haven't seen in what felt like forever. I turned the radio down, scanned the parking lot, thought to myself: this is it and then I froze.

I sat in the car staring blankly ahead for what must have been five minutes. What was I waiting for? Is it too late to back out now? It took exchanging some supportive text messages with a friend and some serious self-talk to get me out of the car. What was it? Body image/weight issues again? No, not at all, really.

To better understand my mentality you must know the rest of the story. I never walked across the stage with any of these people. I trashed my high school academic career. I'm self-educated, blessed with a divine gift of natural intelligence I've had my entire life. I've lived my life choosing and not choosing things on which to apply myself. School never received my focus, except when Mr. West challenged me to apply myself during an upcoming nine week grading period. Mr. West offered: "I know you're smarter than the F you're making in my class. You're not trying. What would happen if you did?" I immediately started acing everything in his class and with extra credit, I turned what was once a low F, into an A+ in excess of 100%. The following nine week grading period, I went back to not caring.

I enjoy taking things that seem negative and finding the positive, so here's this: I likely wouldn't be as studious along this road; as willing to dive into the deep dynamics of every facet affecting this journey, if not for carrying around a giant inferiority complex surrounding my academic career. When I go deeper in my introspective study and I unlock epiphanies stored like treasure, it serves as another confirmation of my intelligence.

Despite my reluctance and mental noise outside the venue, I truly wanted to see these people tonight. And they wanted to see me. I was invited and the fact that I purposely obliterated my academic career didn't matter one iota to these classmates. From their perspective, I'm a wonderful success from the class of '89. And you know what, they're right. I am.

I chose to hold my head high and walk into the reunion with nothing but pure confidence. The confidence and peace in self I projected came back to me in the form of the warmest receptions from my fellow classmates. That's the thing about what we choose to carry and project: It comes back to us. And if we're not aware of this dynamic, we can easily mistake where we should place the blame when we suddenly feel less than good enough. How we feel about ourselves has an energy all its own. If we wear it like a force field surrounding us, then everything we communicate and everything others communicate toward us is filtered through it, altering our perception in either direction, good or bad. In understanding this, assumptions and worry about what others think of us or what they might think of us, are revealed as the products of our fear and imagination and in effect, renders them powerless. 

I was free to enjoy just being myself. I was fascinated by my classmates and their experiences. I asked questions about their life and I listened and appreciated what they had to say. It was beautiful. We recalled stories, laughed and remembered the good times. Some of the conversations were so good, we had to "break" in order to make sure we made the rounds to everyone else.

In the opening paragraph of chapter three in my book, I wrote about the guys with the cool names in our school: Rob Lorenzo, Mike Van Pelt and Chris Holt. Movie star names, I tell ya! They were all there and what a treat it was to converse with them once again.

Many of my former classmates commented on my writings and how much they enjoyed occasionally peeking into my world via Facebook and this blog. It felt amazing to me. I was overwhelmed, wrapped in their sincere words and appreciation for what I do. I had a wonderful conversation with Lydia Morton and Sheryl Arthur, (whom I had a HUGE crush on in Junior High--I didn't mention that. :) And I enjoyed a profound discussion with Steve Troxel, whom I believe is one of the most talented, funny and artistic people I've ever known. I recalled how he would sit in drama class and draw the most amazing caricatures of the people around him. I told him how much his artistic ability fascinated me and how I didn't know how he did it. My brain doesn't work that way, it's incomprehensible. His reply gave me some perspective. He told me the same thing about what I do, saying: "I couldn't do what you did in your stand-up comedy or what you do on the radio. I would immediately freeze up. No way I could do what you do." The room was ripe with mutual love and respect.

Then, out of nowhere came Martha. My conversation with Martha was likely the highlight of my evening. You never know of the potential impact you can have on someone, simply by being honest and real in what you share, unless they come right up to you at your twenty-fifth high school reunion and tell you. Martha opened the conversation with "I just wanted to tell you how much your blog has meant to me." I remember that first line enough to quote her, but I'll need to paraphrase most of the rest. She related how when she discovered my blog it was at one of the lowest points in her life. She thanked me for having an impact on her in what she described as one of the "pivotal moments" in her life. What?? Are you talking to me? I hadn't a clue. I asked, "have we ever communicated via blog comments, email or facebook messages?" She said no. She was just quietly reading, relating and applying some of the explorations into her own life and wanted to express what a difference it had made for her. I was so touched, it took everything in me to keep from melting down into a pile of tears right there on the spot. Instead I held it together, simply hugged her and thanked her for the kind words and for sharing with me. As if that wasn't enough, before the night ended, she expressed how she felt like I was building and leaving a legacy that will live on forever, much like fellow classmate, Dr. Bob Wetteman, a professor at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. I thanked her, then became immediately speechless.

I walked out of the reunion with a euphoric feeling created by nearly six hours of connecting with people I didn't realize I cared so much about, but I do. I wrapped the night by having a brief conversation with Chris Holt. He was the star quarterback and one of the most popular, if not THE most popular guy in school. Back then, he was everything I wished I could be. I wanted to be just like him. He was smart, funny, athletic and never at a loss for attention from the girls. In our moments tonight, he, without much effort it seemed, revealed a most loving and compassionate humanness rarely experienced these days. His calm spirituality came through without saying a word in that direction. He was at peace and it showed as he, his wife and I stood outside after midnight on Main Street, in the cool night air of our hometown. He expressed how happy he was to see me, said "I love you brother" and gave me a hug. In that moment, I realized I was just like him after all.  

---------------------------------------

My youngest daughter Courtney turned twenty-one years old today. She has blossomed into one of the most attentive and caring moms I've ever seen. I beam with pride when I see her and my grandson together. We all got together at one of her favorite restaurants for a birthday lunch. The special today was their big lunch buffet complete with fried chicken, catfish, meatloaf, fried okra, mashed potatoes, gravy and more. I didn't even give it a second thought or try to rationalize a decision in that direction, well, I could make some good choices there, uh--NO. I took a menu and chose what I felt was the best combination in the moment. I ended up with a meal I could feel good about (see tweet below) and I focused my attention on the loved ones around the table, not the complimentary bread basket. Noah has transitioned to regular food and he's loving every bite, except for broccoli!!! Everyone but me had broccoli on their plate. When Noah clearly rejected the broccoli, I shared with the table how he "is just like his grandpa." Awe yes, the joy of being a grandparent!

I'm feeling incredible as I close in on the 13 week weigh-in coming up on Wednesday. I've eaten out four times this week, which is very rare. All except Thursday night, were special occasions: The Boston concert, class reunion and Courtney's 21st birthday lunch. Tomorrow resumes my Monday through Wednesday spinning class schedule, considering this, it was an easy decision to make today my off day.

My meal tweets today:
I slept in today. This first meal counted as "breakfast."






Thank you for reading and your support,
Strength,
Sean

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 19th, 2014 This Is A Short Post

July 19th, 2014 This Is A Short Post

I just got home from my twenty-fifth high school reunion. It's three am. I'll absolutely make this a quick post!

I spent the first part of the day preparing for the reunion tonight. I had some shopping to do and I was determined to get my workout in the books. I did both before returning home to shower and change for the big night. It was amazing. You know how when you walk into a place and you see someone who looks familiar and you're pretty sure you know them, yet you can't be one hundred percent sure? It was like that times fifty. A few old classmates were immediately recognizable, a few hadn't changed much at all and several had changed dramatically. Reconnecting after twenty-five years turned out to be a wonderful thing.
I'm glad I decided to go. I do have some thoughts I wanted to share about this reunion experience and I'll share them in my Sunday night edition.

My meal tweets from today:






Thank you for reading and your support,
Strength,
Sean

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18th, 2014 Off The Merry-Go-Round

July 18th, 2014 Off The Merry-Go-Round

I sat down for lunch right next to the box of donuts someone brought to work. They were left on the table for anyone to grab for a quick sugar fix. I didn't. Not only did I not, I sat there enjoying my lunch without the slightest compulsion in the direction of the donuts. After lunch, I contemplated a good question: What keeps me from indulging the most? Is it my abstinence from sugar, keeping the addictive pleasure sensors in check? Or is it the accountability and support system I have in place? Or is it a combination of both? 

All I know is, it was a short four or five months ago when a similar box of donuts was left on the table and I patiently waited for everyone to leave the studios before privately stuffing two of them into my face. But today, not even an inkling, not the slightest itch? It was as if the box didn't even exist. The donuts no longer possessed a power over me. I wasn't looking for the pleasure they provide, instead I was focused on the pleasure I get when I'm remaining true to myself and taking extraordinary care. There isn't any deprivation or feelings of deprivation in my food plan. I eat well. I also know the truth about the pleasure of donuts for me...

It's a very temporary pleasure to partake, requiring a temporary suspension of all things important to me in exchange for a few sugary moments. Then, when the temporary suspension is over, the pleasure is replaced by a flood of negative emotions and self-abusive thoughts about what just took place. At the same time the negative emotions are taking hold, the bio-chemical reactions created by the ingestion of sugar are screaming: "Must have more and more!!" And since this reaction is coming in the moments I'm feeling horrible about myself, my defenses are considerably weakened or non-existent. The quickest (and most temporary) way to feel better in this situation is to follow the brain's command and eat more donuts...and the cycle repeats itself over and over. 

I'm off the merry-go-round. I've jumped off the cycle. I've given up on insanity. I no longer expect a different result, because I know what happens next, without fail, if I make that choice. So what keeps me? I think it's a combination of both, my abstinence from sugar and my support/accountability system. These two things are critical elements of my recovery and they must be embraced forever with the highest importance level.

I left the studio shortly after 4pm and headed straight for the YMCA for a solid elliptical workout. I had just enough time to workout, race home, shower, change and pick up some friends for the big Boston concert tonight. I thought about preparing a dinner to go, but I didn't allow enough time. Instead, I decided to go to the concert "without a net," fully trusting my instincts in selecting a good dinner from the unknown offerings available at the venue. I decided that if I couldn't find anything acceptable, then I would just need to wait for dinner until I got home.

After a quick scan of the menu, I quickly concluded there was only one choice for me: The sirloin steak. I asked the server to skip the bread, potato and seasonal veggies (the veggies at this venue are not very appealing to me)--instead I wanted cottage cheese and fruit with my steak. I also requested the steak be grilled without brushes of butter or other fat, a technique many restaurants employ. The server assured me the steak was 10 ounces. I cut it in half, kept one and gave the other half away to the person sitting next to me. I don't keep cottage cheese at home because of my track record of routinely eating the entire container in one or two sittings, so this was an opportunity to enjoy a favorite food in a controlled portion.

My ex-wife Irene, her steady Alen, my daughter Amber and her boyfriend KL also made it to the Boston concert. I'm so glad they all came up together for the show. I'm telling you, it's wonderful to have such a good relationship post-divorce. There's a lot of mutual love, respect and genuine happiness for one another.

The concert was amazing. Free concert tickets is a wonderful perk of my broadcasting career! If you get a chance to see Boston on their "Heaven On Earth" tour, I highly recommend! I was also very happy that everyone riding with me agreed to leave shortly after, because that's exactly what I preferred. I dropped off my passengers and made my way to the store for a few items, then home for a late night #lastfoodofday snack and some alone-time reflection on another successful day.

My meal Tweets today:






Thank you for reading,
Strength,
Sean

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 17th, 2014 An Attempt At A Short Recap

July 17th, 2014 An Attempt At A Short Recap

I only have time for a quick post tonight. I have a nightly ritual before I write this blog. I sit still, almost in a meditative state, and I think about the day. What happened, what stood out, what were the challenges, the triumphs, the ironies, any lessons along this road reconfirmed, did I learn any new lessons, what made today's experience invaluable to my trek? Some days it's obvious and easy, other days I draw a blank. I need to be okay with occasionally not having too much to explore.

I'm naturally curious. I'm naturally studious. I'm naturally relentless in my pursuit of further understanding the dynamics along this road. I don't want to just recover to my healthiest weight and fitness level, I want to go deeper and truly understand the critical differences between then and now, not just surface clutter--I crave mind blowing epiphanies like I once craved ice cream. I've had some pretty tasty epiphanies since September 2008 and some of the biggest have come in the last three months.

I'm a communicator, a writer who isn't satisfied with what's on the virtual page until it's communicated in crystal clear fashion, easily understood and hard to misinterpret. At times, I'm an editor/proofreader's nightmare. But that's okay, because I'm the editor and proof reader around these pages. The grammar isn't always the best, the paragraph structure could occasionally use improvement--and, my insistence on using dashes, commas, periods and italics to communicate as I would speak, creates a style that is my own. Letting all of this go and occasionally writing a short recap of the day takes discipline. Because I want to write. I need to write. It's therapeutic. And these writings will continue, of course, but tonight--in the name of getting more sleep, I'll give a short recap a try.

I had a great day. My food was good. I packed a lunch to enjoy during a lunch meeting. Everyone there seemed to be eating well too. I could save myself a lot of dish washing by using paper plates, but I like to eat on real plates. I'm not opposed to the occasional paper plate in the right setting--it's just, I don't know--it feels a little more special if I use a real plate. Of course, sometimes eating on a napkin is called for, especially with snacks--but I'm getting too far into this. Let's just say it's not uncommon for my man bag to be overloaded with porcelain and ceramic dishes.

I grabbed a nap, enjoyed a home cooked dinner and worked out intensely on the elliptical at the YMCA. Twitter is often times humorous. I posted my dinner tweet that included grilled zucchini squash and it immediately gained me a new twitter follower: Squash Rackets. I wonder how long it will take these chaps to figure out I know absolutely nothing about the sport of squash? To me, squash rackets look like strange shaped rackets of the tennis variety.

My meal Tweets of the day:










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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16th, 2014 Unless I Was Willing To Let It All Go

July 16th, 2014 Unless I Was Willing To Let It All Go

I really feel like I'm into a solid groove these days. I've found a balance. I've had more than 80 days without eating straight sugar, I've written eighty-four consecutive daily blog posts, I'm approaching 100 days binge free, I've exercised regularly and I'm eating better than I have in my entire life. I must pause occasionally and express incredible gratitude for this dramatic turnaround. I say a prayer every day that this balance maintains and everyday it feels like it's here forever. Yet, I know better than to ever settle or relax my stance with an attitude of "I got this."

I was in a very dark place with all of this not too long before and on more than one occasion entertained the thought that I should possibly just let it all go. The weight, my health, my hopes and dreams--all of it, just let it go. I gave it serious thought. Delete the blog, get off Facebook and convince Amazon and every other book seller to stop selling my book. I was losing the fight and about to throw in the towel...but I couldn't do it. I kept getting messages from people, some just discovering my book and/or blog--and the messages were overwhelmingly positive about how my story was helping them with theirs. When an in-patient food addiction treatment center replied to my inquiry about rates and a possible stay, I grew even more depressed. It was going to cost $14,000 for a 30 day stay. I couldn't afford it, but I couldn't afford to stay out of control, unless I was willing to let it all go.

People would still love me, my kids, my mom--family and friends, they would hurt for me, but their love and support would never go away. Perhaps I wanted too much, to be free? Maybe living at a healthy weight wasn't meant to be? Simply not caring would possibly be easier, I thought, but I was wrong. Not caring would be easier in the day to day actions but impossible for me to accept in the bigger picture.

What was most damaging to my psyche was the misalignment between my actions and the public persona I felt I needed to maintain during my deepest and darkest struggles. I wouldn't allow myself a shred of self-compassion over this, brutalizing myself constantly with negative thoughts and actions. Through it all, surprisingly, I never lost the ability to genuinely encourage, support and give fantastic advice to others, but at the same time, finding my balance personally felt a million miles away.

To be where I am today is miraculous to me. It's been a very quick turnaround complete with epiphanies that will forever affect my life in positive ways. My hopes and dreams are alive and well. I'm comfortably on my way back to my healthiest weight. And most importantly, I've learned valuable lessons I needed to experience in order to live my best life, for the rest of my life. I'm still learning. Had I never faced the struggle of the regain and all of the emotions and negative energy in that direction, I wouldn't have felt as prepared as I feel I am today.

I didn't give up. I almost did. But I didn't. I could have closed the curtain on that deal a long time ago, but I was constantly being shown the light peeking through, calling me toward it. I have so many blessings to be thankful for these days. There's always light. Even on the darkest day the sun is shining on the other side.

My spinning class today was only 45 minutes instead of an hour like I thought. When the instructor said "seven more minutes," I felt such a relief. The spinning classes are some serious work, especially at this weight. I feel good after. Making it all the way to the end of the class leaves me with an incredible sense of accomplishment. I plan on continuing with spinning every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

I visited Courtney and Noah after my workout. Noah and I played with my phone and had a wonderful time before his dinner time. He's eating regular food now and he's naturally doing very well with the transition from formula and baby food. His smile fills me with an indescribable joy.

I stopped by Amber's apartment on my way to dinner for a quick visit. She updated me on her preparations for her new job as an elementary special education teacher. She's excited and I'm thrilled and excited for her too!

I decided to have some fajitas out instead of cooking tonight. I have a few solid strategies for getting in and out of the restaurant within my calorie budget. I employed them tonight with much success. Details in the tweets below.

Good food day!












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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15th, 2014 Not So Impossible After All

July 15th, 2014 Not So Impossible After All

Embracing a flipped perspective like I did yesterday made today even better. Everything seemed to go as planned, even the not so desirable things, like needing four, yes--four new tires and a four wheel alignment, didn't seem to be as bad as they should have been. My grateful perspective overpowered whatever negative I could have pulled from the circumstances.

My food has been wonderful today. I utilized the Three P's, planning, preparing and packing my way to another successful food day. The most wonderful thing about this is, it's not a chore--it's a pleasure. I'm honoring me by taking extraordinary care. I'm taking pride in my commitment to good choices. And something interesting--I'm making it a source of fun and creativity. When I whip up something in the kitchen, I'm often relying on my creativity. I've never been one to use recipes. Sometimes it fails horribly (remember my attempt to "bake and fake" fried mushrooms a couple of months ago?) but most times it turns out to be something I take great pride and care in creating and enjoying.

I've always been a fast eater. I read a study once about food addicts and one of the findings was how most food addicts in the cycle of active addiction eat really fast. Yes, that was me--and has been me for years. Even when there wasn't a reason to hurry, I would often be the first one finished. This hurried eating, as if the food would be taken away if not consumed quickly, continued even as I started losing weight and eating within a set calorie budget. I've slowed down considerably since I started logging everything in MyFitnessPal, taking a photo and composing a meal description and calorie count Tweet in 140 characters or less (that takes some talent sometimes). Slowing down has allowed me to enjoy the process and experience. I no longer dread cooking something that takes a little more time to prepare. I'm not hurried when it comes to food preparation. I've chosen a different attitude: I'm creating something wonderful, especially for me. Because I'm worth the effort. 

Today was the day I've been talking about: The day I made my triumphant return to the spin studio. Okay--you know what? Let's not use the term triumphant. Yeah-- I mean, it was good, don't get me wrong--but it was tough, very tough. I weigh at least 50 pounds more than when I started spin class during my initial weight loss and slightly more than a hundred pounds heavier than when I rocked the spin class at my healthiest and lowest weight. I knew getting back in there would be a challenge and it was, but not too much. It proved to me that I can do it, even at this higher weight. My backside didn't seem to mind the tiny seat, as if it had muscle memory from all of the spin classes I did back in the day. It wasn't an issue like it seemed to be when I initially started spinning some four years ago. It was an intense workout, as expected--easily the best workout I've experienced lately. Today's class was an intense 30 minutes. Tomorrow afternoon's class will be an hour, but perhaps less intense. The spin class schedule only works for me on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. That's the plan. Spin class three times a week and elliptical other days. At least this works for me right now. I'll revisit this plan often and make modifications along the way. I have a giant strength training machine in my spare bedroom and I must get in there and see what it's all about. All in time, all in time.

Life Coach Gerri Helms and I had a wonderful weight loss support group conference call tonight. Occasionally (actually quite often) Gerri challenges me to think long and hard about certain elements I would like to enhance along this road. The biggest thing standing out for me at this point is time management and getting enough sleep. I mentioned how I struggled with getting enough sleep. That's when she challenged me to re-frame this point. How could I turn struggle into harmony? There was a little silence on the line as I contemplated the challenge. Then, suddenly it occurred to me--the solution to bring my actions into harmonious existence with my truest desires. The answer was: Instead of focusing on trying to solve the bigger issue of getting to bed earlier, I needed to focus on the smaller choices I make leading up to my evening. What can I do differently to position myself in a way that is helpful to attaining this goal? I can make sure I get my workouts in earlier, prepare dinner earlier--not wait until late to write this blog, after all--sometimes inspiration happens in the middle of the day, why not seize the moments I can to start a post, instead of book marking the thoughts for a late night writing session? The struggle doesn't need to be focused on "how do I get to bed earlier?" My focus should be "What small, positive steps can I take earlier in the day that will ultimately make getting to bed at a reasonable time easier?" If you think about it, isn't this the way we accomplish all seemingly impossible things? Suddenly we discover they're not so impossible after all.

There will be late nights again, I'm sure. Weekends and unexpected late night work related duties happen from time to time. But most of the time they don't. I must seize most of the time.

I received my total non-fasting cholesterol reading in the mail today. It's one of the many benefits of being a regular blood donor. The picture tweet is below after today's meal Tweets:








Both my blood pressure and total non-fasting cholesterol was categorized as "desirable" according to the Oklahoma Blood Institute. Yes, indeed. I couldn't be happier with these numbers.

Thank you for reading,
Strength,
Sean

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14th, 2014 Not Exactly What I Planned

July 14th, 2014 Not Exactly What I Planned

I'm usually well prepared. I woke up this morning to not a single egg in the fridge. I enjoy starting my day with eggs of some kind and fruit. My breakfasts are nearly the same most mornings, with slight variations. If it's an omelet, what's inside might change. The eggs seem to keep me satisfied longer. My back up plan this morning was steel cut oats with diced apple and cinnamon. It was good, but not exactly what I planned. And that seemed to be the theme of the day.

It was mid-morning when I realized I was out of lunch items in the employee fridge, so I ran home and prepared a good lunch. On the way back I had a front end blowout just as I was pulling into a parking space at the downtown studios. My back up plan was the station remote vehicle because I couldn't use my spare. I called the tire place and made arrangements to get my car fixed tomorrow. This wasn't exactly what I planned.

I was very tired by the time I got home mid-afternoon. I decided a good nap before spinning class was a great idea. I had been looking forward to spinning class all day long, even though it will likely be the toughest workout I've endured to date. I'm genuinely excited to climb back on the cycle because I know what it does to my body. It's good. I set my excessively loud radio alarm clock for 4pm. This would be a solid hour and fifteen minute nap. I turned on the NPR Fresh Air podcast and set the sleep timer for ten minutes. I don't think I lasted three minutes. I was out and sleeping deep, as sound as I possibly could. I was sleeping well. So much so, that when the alarm started blaring (loud enough to likely be heard in adjacent apartments), I didn't budge.

With the radio volume blaring as loud as it goes, filling my entire apartment with noise, Mother Nature decided to lend a hand with a big thunderstorm...still, I peacefully slept. When I finally opened my eyes at 5:08pm, I was disoriented and frantic. The alarm had automatically shut itself off after an hour of rockin' my pad and the thunderstorm was still rolling. The immediate urgency of the weather (which I should have been covering live in-studio) and the list of warning notifications on my phone had me frantically dialing a colleague, hoping and praying she was on the air in my place. And she was. Thank goodness. At 5:11pm I sat on the side of my bed and realized there wasn't any way I could make the 5:30 pm spinning class. Had I been awake, I still wouldn't have made it to the class because I would have been on the air covering this pop up thunderstorm. I decided to pull myself together and get into the YMCA for my regular elliptical workout. I grabbed some turkey and cheese for a pre-workout snack and headed out. It was good, but not exactly what I planned.

The entire day wasn't exactly what I had planned and yet it was still a great day. I had moments of frustration. I experienced potential temptation when a co-worker generously and innocently gave me a small Italian pastry she picked up from Starbucks (I re-gifted it to the break room where it's anyone's treat--anyone but me). I now know I must get new tires tomorrow--that's an unexpected expense--slightly stressful and I had genuine disappointment in missing the spinning class. And of course the incredible stress of waking up in the middle of an unexpected summer time thunderstorm when I was supposed to be in studio and on the air covering it, instead of sleeping through it. 

Through it all, I somehow maintained the integrity of my calorie budget, had a great workout on the elliptical and enjoyed a fantastic home cooked dinner before making my way to the store for a long overdue grocery shopping trip.

I'll have my favorite eggs in the morning. I'll get tires tomorrow. I'll climb aboard the spin cycle for an intense workout tomorrow (unless Mother Nature calls me into work). It's all good. And then, as a nice punctuation to an otherwise out of sync day, this happened:

As I made my way out of the YMCA a very nice lady spoke to me. I was still firmly in the grip of an 80's music party in my head, but I could tell she was speaking to me, so I removed an ear bud. She told me she reads my blog everyday and that she's proud of me. She said that what I do was inspiring to her. She expressed how she sincerely appreciates the decision to include the meal tweets in this daily blog because she doesn't do Twitter. She told me we had a mutual friend in Cathy at the hospital. She also said she's already lost 25 pounds. I congratulated her and thanked her for the kind words, then we wished each other well as we continued on toward the parking lot. An encounter like that lights me up like hardly anything else. It inspires me even more and reconfirms that what I'm doing is important, not just to me, but to others. And that's a feeling so good, it's hard to describe. I sat in the big station vehicle for a moment, turned off Billy Idol and gathered my thoughts. This was exactly the way my day needed to go. It was perfect, really. You see...

Having steel cut oats and fruit as a backup breakfast reminded me how fortunate I am to have good food ready to go. Having a blowout at 5 mph as I pulled into a parking space at work was a blessing. If that tire had decided to give way on Highway 177 last night, it could have resulted in a tragic accident. And if I hadn't over-slept my nap and the storm wouldn't have happened, I would have been in that spinning class today and I wouldn't have met the nice lady on my way out of the Y tonight. Oh--and I forgot to mention how I ran into Andy, the spin class instructor at the grocery store. I had a wonderful conversation with him about the class and weight loss. It was perfect and had my day been aligned differently, this delightful grocery store visit wouldn't have happened.

A good or bad day isn't necessarily dependent on the things that happen, it's decided by the perspective and attitude I choose. Today was a great day even though it wasn't exactly what I planned.

Thank you for reading,
Strength,
Sean

Today's meal tweets:






Bonus Tweet: The grocery shopping trip...








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