Rule 3: Clear Demonstrative Goals

“No discussion of weight; I’m showing wins. A certain shirt is too snug? Un-snugging it is a win. Struggling with a bike ride? No long struggling will be a win. Less heartburn, less anxiety, better sleep….all are wins.”

Last week was simply a tough week. Work was busy, life was going on, all is fine it was just busy. No progress pics, no real work towards goals.

I have a lot of goals; build muscle, lose weight, fit better in certain clothes…the usual. Tackle heartburn because I couldn’t put the feedbag down. Maybe get running again. The big goal is to be healthy for the last 30-40 years of my life. (I expect a couple towards the end to be less than healthy…ok, I’ll accept that)

That doesn’t meant there weren’t wins. I got to work on some “good” eating habits (less snacking, less takeout) and there were even more vegetables of the green, orange and red varieties. Shirt I planned to wear was also looser than before. Solid wins that I’ll take.

Goals for this week:
Find a workout plan. Kicking around some 4 day workouts I’ve had luck with in the past, plus 3 sessions of up to 30 minutes on the Peloton.
No takeout this week.
Pay attention to my macro needs; don’t live and die by them, but make sure there’s more protein, carbs from veggies and ‘healthy’ fats.

I want to keep it simple. This is a change for life, not just a few months. I reserve the right to tweak anything; add a long walk, substitute a yoga session, enjoy some french fries if they’re from a place with really good ones.

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The Rules: Part Two

No discussion of good vs bad foods and no ‘Disordered Eating.’

I followed a program, with coaches who are good people, that based itself on macronutrient calculations. They have a very active, private Facebook group and people support one another, discuss recipes, strategies and everything else that makes for a successful ‘diet’. I was able to see great results on this. But its not really a diet, it’s a way of living.

Think about that; a way of living. Many of us think of Diets (capital D) as a brand or formal title; WW, Paleo, Keto, etc. Then there’s diets; lowercase d and the way you eat; Vegan, Mediterranean or just whatever you want. I think any one of us who’s tried to lose weight has embraces a Capital D diet. Anyone who’s concerned about their health has likely looked into or followed a lower d diet. One is focused on losing fat while the other is about living your life.

SO back to this group. My goal was to make the Macro diet my lower d diet way of living. I wanted to get to a point where I wasn’t tracking, but knew about how much protein, carbs and fat I needed and make adjustments if I was trying to get stronger, lose fat, whatever. On it’s own, I don’t think it’s bad at all. There are no bad foods, there’s just a tradeoff. Eat those wings; but you’re going to go the rest of day without much more fat. Something about that never felt right. I get the reasoning; you have a budget, but is living your whole life on a strict, unbreakable budget really that fun?

Someone was ill. Just a cold and cough, and someone in the FB group reminded them how many carbs were in their cough medicine. That did it for me…that isolated what I felt wasn’t quite right. I get griping that bacon has so much fat, and anyone would agree it’s best in moderation, but to worry about how medicine will affect your diet plan??? That’s disordered eating.

It came into focus so fast. I love food. I love to eat. I stress eat. Thinking about food all the time; when’s my next meal or snack, can I have a protein drink, what about dinner? That’s not something I need to be doing! I need to forget about food! I looked through the group and there were so many people simply obsessed with what and how much they were eating. People who’d worry about attending a party where there would be cake. People going on vacation hoping there would be lean protein options. People who had a handful of carbs but no protein or fat, left wanting to know the best kind of cracker for them! I couldn’t leave that group fast enough!

Are there ‘sometimes’ foods? Absolutely. Is it the end of the world if I’m on vacation and have bacon with breakfast every day? Absolutely not. Should I eat bacon every day? Probably not. That doesn’t make it good or bad; just something that’s best enjoyed in moderation. That’s how I’m approaching all of this. If there are 2 birthday parties this weekend, I’m going to have the cake because I probably won’t have any until the next birthday.

I know what’s wrong with the way I’m eating and living. I know what types of foods need to appear more often, and which ones need to appear less. I’m not cutting myself off from any of them. There’s no 12 step program for buffalo wings. It’s simply better to make them a treat and enjoy what can be done with broccoli or arugula.

And isn’t arugula the glitter of the food world? It’s a license to charge more for whatever it is. Pizza: $5.50. Pizza with arugula: $9.50

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The Rules: Part One

No discussion of weight as a bad thing

The scale…oh the dreaded scale. Weigh in day; don’t eat, don’t drink, make sure you empty everything you can, and hope for the best. Your whole day hinges on that number. How crazy is that????

Visit the doc, weighs you, measures your height, you’re over such and such a number and are obese.

You join a new gym, take classes and find yourself lifting weights you never thought you would. You feel better, stronger, more confident; you’re getting compliments about how specific body parts look in specific clothes. You step on the scale and see you’re 10 lbs heavier than you’ve ever been!!!!

I’m going to make a bold statement: Assuming fitness of some sort isn’t your ‘job’, what the scale says is meaningless for most people. There are so many variables; muscle mass, bone density, water retention, fat; How do you trust that number is reflective of health? It’s one of several metrics, and if you’re at a ‘dangerous’ weight; your doctor has already discussed that with you.

Me? I gotta lose some fat. What will that mean in weight change? No idea. 50lb of fat is probably a good fuzzy metric, but it’s not a goal. My health goals are more specific: I have some shirts and shortsI want to fit into. I want to get that 500lb deadlift. I’d like to run a 5k again. I’d like to think that I haven’t hit my last max on ANYTHING.

What part will the scale play for me? Surprisingly little; as it should. I’ll weigh in every week or two; see how things are going. The only takeaway from that number is “stay the course” or “make some kind of adjustment.” That gets added into the mix with “how’s that shirt fitting and how’re the workouts going?”

A final, big part of this is being kind to yourself. That number is not indicative of your worth. Great people come in all shapes and sizes, and so do jerks. You’re human and you have human engagements, activities and expectations. Is winding yourself up over whether or not you should have a piece of birthday cake really worth it? It’s cake. One slice isn’t going to hurt you or set you back. Savor it.

Weight is neither good or bad; it’s one of several factors that indicate overall health. I like to think of it as the check engine light in your car. There might be a problem, or your gas cap may be loose; talk to an expert and address it. Don’t beat yourself, or the car up.


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Putting my Shovel Down

3 years away and all new Seannannigans are coming.

Look at this guy. He survived a pandemic, a kidney stone (I’d take lockdown over a stone ANY DAY), 2 strongman competitions, and way too much time not focusing on his physical and mental health. As I write this, I need to make changes, and fast. I need to do the things that fuel me, so I can do the things I need to do for others.

Baseline: I’m generally ok. Usual depression/anxiety stuff; nothing worrisome. Clinically obese, but my numbers are in range. I’m digging a hole, and realize I can still get out if I stop digging. So here’s me doing just that.

My rules:

No discussion of weight as a bad thing. 35 years of being in the gym, and the ONLY weight that should matter is what’s on the bar; not the scale. I’m not gonna tell you how much a weigh. It doesn’t matter.
No discussion of good vs bad foods and no ‘Disordered Eating.’ No Keto, no Paleo, no nothing. Ideally, I’m getting about 200 grams of protein a day, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Pasta? Sure. Wings? If they come down in price. Wine? In moderation. This is about making changes that last for my next 50 years; not 3 months till the beach.
Clear, demonstrative goals. No discussion of weight; I’m showing wins. A certain shirt is too snug? Un-snugging it is a win. Struggling with a bike ride? No long struggling will be a win. Less heartburn, less anxiety, better sleep….all are wins. Also, progress pics are a must.
No Blame: Yeah, I control every piece of food that goes in my mouth and every moment I spent watching YouTube instead of painting or working out or reading or doing things with the family. I’m 100% to blame. Where does that get me?

This week, I’m putting the shovel down. I’m not expecting total success in everything. But I’m prioritizing it; something I haven’t been doing. Here’s where I start.


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Quick one for the new year…

Came across this tweet and started thinking what my list would be.  In no particular order:

Miller Lite:  Admit it beer geeks, we all need a mass market beer.  We’re going to end up in a fire hall, kegger or townie bar and this is my go to.   I don’t enjoy Bud or Coors so Miller it is.

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout:  The first beer that showed me dark and heavy could taste amazing AND at room temp.  Are there better Imperial stouts?  Sure.  Are they as consistent, available and affordable?  Nope.

Magic Hat No.9:   Outstanding session beer in my opinion.

The Alchemist Heady Topper:  Good God in Heaven….there’s nothing else like this.   Juicy, citrusy, refreshing and an ABV that will get you where you’re going.  Tough to get but so worth the effort.

Troeg’s Mad Elf (aged):  Available once a year and sometimes tough to find, it’s worth buying a few to enjoy now and a few to put away for a year or two.  Christmas just isn’t the same without one around here.

There’s my list, what’s yours???  Comment below!




And here’s a picture of me in a duck costume just to make you click on the post . #clickbait

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Facebook Challenge: Doing it my Way

Recently my good friend and film critic Alan challenged me on Facebook to list my top 10 most personally influential films and to pass the challenge onto 10 others.

Alan and I share so many friends who’d actually do this that it would be a race to challenge.   Plus, I hate chain emails/posts, so I’m doing this a bit different.  Without further delay, here are 10 films (in no specific order) that have had a significant impact on me, and why.

1:  The Star Wars Trilogy.  C’mon, this goes without saying.   This dominated my childhood and made me the nerd I am today.

2: LA Confidential:  This is where I learned how perfectly executed a film can be.  The puzzle pieces of writing, acting, directing, set, pace, wardrobe….all of it came together here.  I simply love every aspect of this film.

3: Aliens:  I think this was the first R-rated film I saw, and led to many great summer nights catching a late movie with my dad.  This still goes on today, but the showtimes are earlier.

4: Jaws:  I have no particular love for this film, but it showed me how film can speak to people.  I have met many people from the hardcore geek to the exceptionally casual moviegoer who adore Jaws, know the theme, know the jokes and think twice before going in the water.

5: The Lion King:   God in Heaven I loathe this film.   I appreciate the craft, just hate the songs, the characters, the story….all of it.  This taught me that it’s ok to go against public opinion and there’s not something wrong with me for not liking what everyone else does.

6: Tangled:  (Spoiler Alert) Sitting in the theater with my barely 4 year old daughter, seeing her sit up straight as Flynn was dying, then cover her mouth and gasp when he cut Rapunzel’s hair…wow.  That’s what loving film is all about.   Fun movie, better experience that I’ll keep with me forever.

7: Superman:  I didn’t believe a man could fly but I learned who we could strive to emulate.  Als o, I can’t hear those first few notes from a french horn and NOT be 6 years old again.

8: The Karate Kid: I think I watched this 100 times on grainy 3rd generation VHS and rented it many more when that wore out.  As a kid, this pressed my buttons of wanting to be cool and belong.  As an adult, I can’t get over how John Avildsen directed the crap out of this!    This is another film I was excited the share with the girl and overjoyed that they loved it too.

9: Poltergeist:  This is a very different film that you remember.  The goldfish is the only death, the really creepy stuff doesn’t happen till the last 30 minutes when you think everyone is safe, and according to the rules stated by a main character, it’s not even a Poltergeist!   Of course, looking back on it now, it’s not the nightmare fuel of my childhood and didn’t scare my kids at all.  You can see the influence it had on Stranger Things (and that’s good) and can play “Who directed this scene?  Spielberg or Hooper?”   The first film to terrify me, then make me wonder what was wrong with me, and still make me want to analyze.

10: Mulholland Drive:  This is a puzzle.  This demands analysis, discussion and spirited debate.  This is not for a casual viewer, make no mistake here.   Knowing the backstory and why the film is structured the way it is and the fact they pulled it off still shocks me.   The answers are onscreen but you will not be spoonfed.  You have to work at it.   Other films have taken this puzzle route, but few (in my opinion) are worth the effort this is.



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Happy Parade day

The Saturday before St. Pats means one thing in Scranton.

It’s also makes me happy to have

Play safe kids!

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Innovation in Fitness. Where is it?

It’s no secret I’m a Disney geek.  The draw is that they have their act together on levels you didn’t even know there was an act.  Everything they do is designed, carefully, to reinforce something else.  I couldn’t find the image, but there’s one out there from Walt Disney himself that shows how tv shows feed a park ride, and a park ride feeds merchandise, and merchandise on the street feeds the tv show, and so on.    Their planning and thinking is so well respected that every other ‘amusement park’ company tries to mimic them!   There would be no Wizarding World of Harry Potter without Tomorrowland, Frontierland or Fantasyland.  They’re not selling you a ticket to a bunch of rides, they’re selling you an experience.  The uber-geek in me would say they’re making you a LARPer for the day.  Before Disney, amusement parks were a bunch of individual rides….the ride was the fun part and that’s it.

Topic switch:  I have experience to prove this, and you can look it up for yourself if you wish, but on an average day in the Disney parks, you can walk 7-10 miles.  Adding in the heat, a stroller, backpack and/or souvenir bags, you’re looking at 700-1000+ calories burned.   And you’re probably loving every minute of it and can’t wait to get back there tomorrow!!!

What about a beach vacation?  If you’re simply playing in the waves, jumping, swimming, treading water, you can burn 200-300 calories in an hour.  I tend to be lazy on the beach, but even I spent 2+ hours a day in the water with family and friends.

So, it’s ‘New Year, New Me!” time and a lot of us are joining gyms.  We’re strapping on our tracking devices and taking classes, feeling the burn and digging deep for those last few reps/minutes/quarter miles.  We’re energized now and that will last for a few more weeks.  Then most of us will slip back into our old habits.  There’s got to be something better out there.  There’s got to be something that harnesses the distraction of 10 miles in Disney or 2 hours in the ocean.   Why does going to a gym have to be rows of machines and weights?  Where’s the experience?  Where’s the excitement?   I see Ninja Warrior gyms trying new things and being pretty successful.  Rock climbing gyms do this as well, but other than difference uses of existing gym equipment, who’s really innovating?

Who’s creating an experience in fitness?  Who’s making the gym someplace you look forward to going to AND spending time there?   Some are trying to encourage friendship and community (like Crossfit) and that’s awesome.  It’s a proven method to keep people going.  Some are creating more social areas of their facilities for people to hang out, work, socialize.  Again, I applaud that.   But who’s making the work part of the workout less visible?

Where I’m going is looking at a gym as a place isn’t isn’t purely functional.  Make it FUN!  Make it that integrated experience where you can’t wait to hit the weights again because each weight has an RFID chip in and each rep is tracked and every million pounds lifted triggers  a 90 second party instead of a lunk-alarm.  And, those weights are big metal or rubber discs….they’re shaped like tires and donuts and manhole covers.    That treadmill has Call of Duty hooked up to it so your movement in-game is tied to your movement on the treadmill.

I see hints and pieces of this….but can’t find anyone who’s really cracking it.   Google ‘innovation in fitness’ and it’s all about tracking and technology.  That’s great and can solve problems for existing athletes (anyone want to carry a tape deck on a run anymore?   Exactly.)   Who’s trying to disrupt the whole thing and make it an experience?  Who’s really showing us how taking care of our health can be fun?

I’d love to see examples in the comments.

Me during a 7 mile + walk.  Look how happy!

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A Geek looks at 50


I’m going to just say it.  Loopy as he is sometimes, Matthew McConaughey has a pretty solid personal philosophy that resonates with me.  It first came to light in this Men’s Health article years ago and this one a few years later., and I was recently reminded of its simply wisdom while rewatching his Oscar acceptance speech.

Me in 5 years….what’s he like?   I know me today.   Not a bad guy at all; I’d like to think a good dad, husband, son, brother, friend.  Still have some wild dreams and some not so wild; gotta keep it interesting.  Still have some work to do; manage my health and stress much better.   So, if I’m fortunate enough to have another 5 years, what does 50 year old Sean look like?

He doesn’t post about new workout programs; he’s stuck to one and found the results he wants.

If he is posting about working out; he’s getting paid very well for it.  That means he’s ruminating on it for a purpose.

He’s just as passionate about Star Wars as he’s ever been.  The 3rd trilogy will be complete and he’s excited for the next story.

He’s still wearing Hawaiian shirts.

He’s gone to ComicCon in costume.

He’s taken time for himself and his friends.  He’s recaptured the vibe of that night at Rocky’s with the guys.

He’s got the power and courage to put things into perspective.

He’s enjoying every sandwich.

He’s no longer learning how the play this game; he’s well on his way to mastering it.

He’s followed through on several of those goals/dreams.

He’s set new goals and has new dreams.

He’s been a good role model and dad to the girls.

He’s made Heidi very, very happy.

He’s been a good son and brother.

50 year old Sean is happy.



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An Anniversary, of Sorts…

I’ve been working on my ‘reset’ this week with adequate results.  Life is life and doesn’t get in the way, as much as it simply exists and our reactions to it get in the way of us.  One thing I’m trying to do is look less at what’s wrong, and instead look at what’s right and good.  Part of this is realizing what you have and finding joy in that, and part is accepting places where you don’t have control and grasping whatever control you can.

8 years ago today a completely uncontrolled series of events came to an end for us, but we didn’t know it yet.  Sept 15, 2009 was the day after our last miscarriage and the first day we’d begin preparing for Evie.  Looking back on that day, through all the pain we had amazing examples of what’s right, and good in our lives.  From the calls and support of our families, to the incredible care of my wife’s doctor and the over and above service from Disney, to the in person support and distraction (especially for Giada) offered by our friend Deneen and her family;  Heidi and I were inundated with proof that our lives were full, despite the path we were on being pretty brutal.  These people, working together (without realizing it) gave us a sense of control and paved the way for us to continue completing our family.

I’m collecting the full story below.  This isn’t for attention or hits, but the hope that it will help someone; whether giving hope, support, or simply knowing it’s not their fault.

Thank you,



Wandering the Wilds of Miscarriage:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7


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