Monday, August 31, 2009

Clear Out a Guest Room…

You’re having problems losing this weight, maybe.

Teeter-tottering back and forth on the scale. Small gain this week, small loss next.

Three good days, one bad weekend.

Nothing that allows you to get any traction.

I feel for you; I really do. I read blogs by people who can’t seem to get going with their weight loss efforts, can’t seem to make that spark happen, and it makes me want to go to their house and bang on the flint with ‘em. It makes me want to drop everything and make it my mission to push them… push you… up that hard-to-climb hill.

You know what I’d do?

  • I’d drag you, kicking and screaming if I had to, to the gym every day. “How about an ‘off” day?” you’d cry. “How about a ‘Fat Off’ Day?” I’d respond. I’d find whatever it is that motivates you… kind words, gentle prodding or harsh taunting… and I’d coax a good half hour to 45 minutes out of you. You’d hate me at the end of it, but you’d hate me with a smile on your sweaty mug.
  • I’d fix you stay-at-home dinners that would both intrigue you and fill you up, enough so that you might not have the urge to sneak back to the pantry before bedtime (not that it would matter, since I would have filled a Hefty bag with every processed snack product I could find). I’d insist that we eat slowly and drink lots of water during dinner. I’d remind you that you don’t have to scrape the plate clean. With my cooking, you probably won’t need that much urging.
  • I’d unplug your TV and computer at 10 p.m. or so and shoo you to bed. F*ck the beauty sleep; you need energy sleep.
  • I’d get you up bright and early and feed you a hearty breakfast. “I can’t lose weight eating like this,” you’d protest, and I’d just smile a knowing smile. “Don’t forget the lunch I packed you.” Before you left, I’d take the money out of your wallet because… well, let’s just say I don’t quite trust you yet.
  • We’d go on long walks, you and I. Long, brisk walks. We’d talk about our hopes and dreams, our goals and aspirations, my endless collection of really stupid jokes. Whatever. Important stuff or not. The walking’s the important thing.
  • If you hate your job, I mean really and truly despise it, then I’d plot and plan with you to figure out some way to either make it better for yourself or help you find a new one. You hate your body… that’s enough things to hate for one person at one time.
  • I’d make you so many smoothies you’d start to cringe when you heard the blender fire up, and there’s one question I’d refuse to answer: “What’s in this anyway?”
  • Don’t think I’d be doing this for completely selfless reasons either. One of the reasons I spend so much time on these blogs is that I feed off the spirit of others who are facing (and overcoming) the same hurdles and challenges that I am. We’re all on our own, at the end of the day, but we’re all in this together, too. I draw energy from that idea.
  • And speaking of energy, I’d do everything I could to instill some focus and extra drive in you and we’d attack this problem… and make no mistake about it, my friend, this is a problem that needs to be owned up to and solved. We’d make a plan about eating and we'd make a plan about exercise, and then we'd start doing the hard part: we’d stick to it. This wouldn’t be just about burning calories; it’d be about incinerating them.
  • And then there’s the fun part: I’d walk you up to that weigh-in with certainty and confidence, and I’d high-five you when you rock that scale and console you when it cheated us out of that loss that we so richly deserved.
We could do this, you and I. I’m certain that we could. I have not a doubt in this world.

But I can’t do it with you, right now. There’s too much on my plate at the moment (well, not literally… but you know what I mean). I can’t do it with you right now, but everything I’d do with you, you can do for yourself if you put your mind to it.

I hope you will do it. If you will, I promise you two things: (1) you’ll see results and (2) somewhere, be it just down the street, across the country or around the world, there’s at least one person right there with you, trying their best, working hard at doing what’s right and getting ready to face whatever it is tomorrow will bring.

Let’s do this.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

That's The Weigh It Goes Sometimes...

Weekly weigh-in: 227.1
Loss: +1.5 lbs
Total loss: 64.4 lbs.
Emotion: Achey-Breaky


I popped a rubberband in my back while playing basketball early in the week and I’ve been pretty much shut down all week. I did manage a half-ass workout on Friday, but other than that, it’s been all quiet in Sweatsville.

It ticks me off that my appetite seems to increase when I’m not exercising (the exact opposite conclusion that TIME magazine came to with its controversial story about exercise not helping people lose weight which I would link to here if I wasn’t just so damn lazy. I found myself eating a little more than usual, despite not burning as many calories as usual. Not a recipe for success, let me tell you.

Still… I’ll give myself credit for realizing what was what and at least making a good-hearted effort to rein in my wanton eating, but I knew that I’d have to readjust my goals to simply maintaining this week (and I came up short there as well).

The worst part of being down is that I really want to get my sweat on, really want to revel in that good feeling of pushing myself a little harder than I did the day before. It’s amazing how much this stuff gets into your blood and how easy it is to lose that good momentum you’ve built up.

I’m not going to fret about this slight up-tick on the scale. I’m healing up and heading back to the gym this week. It does go to show that the “eat less, exercise more” principle doesn’t work so well when you ignore one side of the equation.

A few housekeeping notes…

* Back in the good ol’ days (last month), I was pretty good about paying back anyone who chose to follow JSGF, with special attention to those who took the time to leave comments on my posts. I’m woefully behind on that, but I’m making an effort to correct it.

* Several commenters suggested that I incorporate a “Thumbs Up” feature on the site, so I’ve added a link to StumbleUpon’s “Thumbs Up” feature over on the right-hand side. If you’re not familiar with StumbleUpon, it’s a really handy way to suck up whatever remaining free time you have during the day with aimless internet meandering. Anyway, if you like what you see here, a “thumbs up” is always appreciated.

* Several alert readers have detected a Southern “twang” in my voice from the audio interview with Sean Anderson at The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser. I truly appreciate your concern; I’ve already scheduled an appointment with a doctor to have it looked into. Let’s pray that we caught it in time…

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Games for the Weight Loss Crowd

Been in my “Weird Al” mode all week it seems and hadn’t farted out a stupid list. Shame on me!
  • Fatgammon
  • Crazy 8 Too Much
  • Weightzee
  • Gobbleoboly
  • Hungry, Hungry Me-O
  • Buttership
  • Cribbinge
  • Pai Chow
  • Scrabbled Egg Whites
  • Sorry (I Ate That Can of Frosting)
  • Chutes and Ladles
  • Sugar-Free Candyland
  • Chinese Chicken Checkers
  • Munch Trap
  • Lap-Band Operation
  • Twistler
  • Hi Ho! Chubby-O
  • Bloggerdash
  • Jenga with Jillian
  • Old Fat Maid
  • Trouble (with Chocolate)
  • No Clue
  • SwallOthello
  • Weighty Pursuit
  • Carb-nect Four
  • Pigtionary
  • Scale-agories
  • Lite Life
  • Macaroni & Parcheesi
  • Belly Boggle
  • Stratego Get Something to Eat

Friday, August 28, 2009

How Do You Eat A Whale?

I started working on this post about taking a one-bite-at-a-time attitude to your weight loss efforts, but then I realized that the title of the post was a bit misleading. I remembered that many of my Eskimo readers (Hi, Nyako, Tapenga and Dadgayadoh) would take the title literally and would be expecting whale-preparation tips. Once I get going with one of these blog entries, I really hate to change directions, so I suppose this post should actually be titled “How Do You Eat A Whale, Both Literally and Figuratively?”

Well, obviously… first you need to catch a whale. Lucky for you, I have some experience with this. I went on a whale-watching boat trip a couple of summers ago down in Sayulita, Mexico. Our boat came in nice and tight on several of the buggers, and I can tell you this from first-hand experience: they’re big. I’m just not sure that your average rod-and-reel is going to be able to handle one of these mothers. I’m certainly no fishing expert, but I’d go with a Shimano Spheros 18000FB with the Paladin gear-enhancement, higher line capacity and cold-forged spools with improved drag-systems. And don’t forget the worms!

Let’s just assume, for a minute, that you can’t catch a whale. Don’t feel too bad; I couldn’t either (I didn’t have my fishing gear with me; what’s your excuse?). There’s a simple solution, my friend. Just go over to Japan where they sell fresh whale, frozen whale, canned whale, cubed whale, dried whale, pickled whale and whale-on-a-stick. Can’t get to Japan? Geez, don’t you know how to use MapQuest yet, stupid?

So now you’ve got yourself a nice hunk of juicy whale meat. Now what?

I found this recipe for Whale Stew on the internet. Have you ever started making something and you didn’t check the ingredient list to make sure your cupboard was stocked with everything you need to make the dish? That’s exactly what happened to me on this one. Don’t be a dumbass like me: check and make sure that you have all the ingredients you need before you start cooking.

Whale Stew


1 (105 ton) Whale
1,896 lbs Onions
7,326 lbs Potatoes
1,908 gallons Tomato Sauce
2,276 lbs Carrots
927 lbs Celery
104 lbs Salt
76 lbs Black Pepper
52 gallons Tabasco Sauce

Directions: Place whale in pot with tomato sauce. Cook at 300 degrees for 4 hours. Add onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Simmer 36 hours. Serves 347,161 people.

Truthfully, this recipe is just “okay.” If I make it again, I’m gonna add a pinch of oregano.

Let’s say that you’re just trying to learn more about figuratively eating a whale, you know, like losing a whole lot of weight. Well, in that case you should just take it “one bite at a time.” Sorry, I was going to write a lot more about the subject, but I used up too much space for the Eskimos (Message to Nyako, Tapenga and Dadgayadoh: “Inuktitut (goodbye) and have an ‘ice’ weekend!”.

Next time, I’ll try to put the weight loss stuff first.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Raven-ous (A Repeat)

During my recent audio interview with Sean Anderson, he threw out a question about what post I'd written had been my personal favorite.

This was it, and unfortunately it ran on a Saturday (before I came to realize that Saturdays were where blogs go to die). Because I mentioned it in the interview, here it is one more time:

Once upon a morning fleeting, I was pondering what I was eating,
Logging in my early meal’s caloric score
I was finally able to finagle, how many carbs were in that bagel,
When suddenly there came a rapping, rapping on my kitchen door.
“'Tis my wife,” I softly muttered. “Returning from the grocery store.
Only this, and nothing more.”

I put down my bread (unbuttered), “Honey, is that you?” I uttered,
“Do you need some help with the groceries that you purchased at the store?”
Then a awful chill shot through me, when it suddenly came to me
That this rapping wasn’t from my spouse returning from the store.
In the window was the blackest, fattest bird I’ve seen before,
And he chirped out: “Eat some more.”

I gazed down at my morning spread, which had not left me well-fed.
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I’m on a diet, (and it appears that you should try it),
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my kitchen door.
Are you some mysterious beast that came from mythological lore?”
Quoth the raven: “Eat some more.”

So I flung open the pantry wide, to find the delicious food inside,
I grabbed cookies, cakes and crackers, then I scoured the shelves for more
Pop-Tarts, pretzels filled my arms: half a box of Lucky Charms,
I laid it all out on the table, rich and tasty snacks galore.
And perched at the window, just beside the kitchen door,
Laughed the raven: “Eat some more.”

Then this ebony bird beguiling (I could swear that he was smiling),
As he stared upon the table laden down with foodstuffs by the score
How did my morning meal turn into something so surreal?
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me why you want me eating, why do you put my will to war?
Quoth the raven, “Eat some more.”

Well, that devil, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
Sitting patiently and waiting right beside my kitchen door;
And he wants to see me cheating, only happy when I’m eating
And he’ll always be beside me no matter how much I ignore.
But my heart and soul are stronger than they’ve ever been before
And I shall be tempted - Nevermore!

apologies to Edgar Allen Poe (damn, I'm having to apologize to everybody this week)

I’m Sorry, Tammy Wynette…

Sometimes it's hard to be at weigh-in.
Giving all you can to lose some weight.
You'll have bad times,
And you’ll have worse times,
Eatin’ things you know you shouldn’t have ate.
But you can diet,
I mean, really try it,
Though it’s been hard since you began.
And if you love ham,
Just please don’t eat ham
Cause, after all, it’s not on your plan.

Stand on your scale.
Write down the weight it says to.
Hope it gives you something warm to cling to
When meals are cold and pointless.

Stand on your scale,
And tell your blog what you weigh.
Keep giving it all, you’re doing swell.
Stand on your scale.

Ba bum bummm bummmmm

Stand on your scale,
And show the world you’re tryin’.
Keep giving all, keep giving hell.
Stand on your scale.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Dog, Dip

I haven’t written about Dip before, because, frankly, I don’t want you getting too attached to her. After all, if (I take that back… when, definitely when) I lose 90 pounds, somebody’s got a date with the fire pit in the back yard.

I’ve been doing some research on sacrificial rites and Brazillian demi-gods and have narrowed it down to Aiomun-Kondi or Huitaca (Sorry, Saracura, Bochica and El-Dorado–better luck next time).

Before you go feeling sorry for this horrid flea-trap, understand this: she isn’t even a U.S. citizen. My wife Anita and daughter Pisa were on a month-long trip down in Mexico last year, studying Spanish, seeing the sights and volunteering at an animal shelter. They befriended a tiny puppy there and called me repeatedly, pleading to bring it back home with them.

“Absolutely not,” I told them. “Under no circumstances are you to bring that dog back with you.”

Imagine my surprise at the airport to see a tiny canine head peeking out of a travel carrier.

“Ummmmm,” said Pisa, sheepishly. “We thought you said it was okay. Look… she’s got two different colored eyes!”

I glared at Anita.

“I forgot,” she shrugged, leaving me to get the luggage while she and Pisa carried the doggy bag.

After a 15-minute non-stop cuss-fest, I relented and took the three of them home, but on the way back, I laid down the law: “The dog is not allowed in the house.”

The next day, I returned home from work to see the pup, now christened Dip, lying in the middle of the living room floor gnawing on one of my best sneakers. I got pretty angry, so I immediately made a new rule: “Okay,” I said. “The dog can come in the house, but she can only go in certain rooms.”

The next day, I came home to find Dip relaxing on the sofa, leisurely chewing on the remote control. I was furious, so I outlined the new canine no-no’s: “All righty, the puppy can go anywhere in the house she wants, but I demand that she stay off the furniture!”

That night, I woke up with hot dog breath in my face and a wagging tail thumping against my privates. Livid, the next morning I issued a proclamation: “The dog is now allowed on furniture, but she is definitely not allowed to sleep with people on the bed.”

The next night, there was a thunderous storm and the pup was whining like crazy. Anita, feeling sorry for her, picked her up and put her between us in the bed. The next morning, I declared a new mandate for the Sh*t household: “The dog is allowed on the bed, but only by invitation.”

The next night, I stumbled from the shower after a particularly intense workout and threw back the covers to climb into bed. I almost laid down right on the wretched creature, who was woozy-snoozing on my side. On my side! The next morning I pounded the breakfast table and made a solemn declaration: “Fine! The dog can sleep on the bed whenever she wants, but not under the covers.”

Things got worse. Me: “The dog can sleep under the covers by invitation only.”

And worse. Me: “The dog can sleep under the covers every night.”

And even worse. “All humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the dog.”

People ask me what my motivation to lose weight truly is. Is it the health benefits? The compliments? The possibility of living longer? The increased energy or the fact that you can wear your skinnier clothes?

No, no, no, no and no.

There is a beautiful Sunday morning somewhere in my future, a morning when I step on that scale and see the magic number pop up. I think Dip knows too, because she’s started watching my weigh-ins with a hang-dog expression on her face.

Dip needs to go, and I’m sure that everybody who comments is going to agree with me 100%.

It’s great to know that I’ve always got your support.

Does This Interview Make Me Sound Fat?

Sean Anderson of The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser interviewed me the other day for his internet radio doodad, which wasn't entirely fair because he sounds like a radio talk dude and I sound like a doofus (thanks for using your engineering magic to give me a hillbilly accent, Sean!). Anyway, it's up and running here. While you're there, check out his story (if you haven't already). He's definitely one of a kind.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm Sorry, Elton John...

Goodbye Normal Jeans,
Though I hardly knew you at all,
You had the grace to hold your fit
Even when you got too small.
You crawled back in the closet,
And hid up on the top shelf.
You knew it was time to go,
Though I didn't know it myself.

And it seems to me I've lived my life
In some pants that were extra wide.
Never knowing not to eat more
When the food gets fried.
And I would have like to have worn you,
But I was just too fat.
Your seams would just have ripped out
Every time I sat.

Obesity is tough,
The toughest thing you'll ever know.
My weight created an obstacle,
Every day a brand new low.
Then you called to me.
You said, "I'm waiting here for you."
And I somehow found the strength
To begin my life anew.

And it seems to me I've changed my life,
I don't have to be so wide.
Never knowing how to connect to
The healthy person inside.
And I'm proud to get to wear you
Like I used to do.
There's still a lot of wear left.
We're both practically brand new.

Hello Normal Jeans
Though it's been so very long.
You had the grace to keep yourself
Now you're back where you belong.
Hello Normal Jeans
From the man at that 225 weight.
It's nice to be wearing you again
Looking fine and feeling great.

And it seems to me that gettting fit is
Like a candle in the wind.
You can lose it in a heartbeat,
Everything can end.
But I won't let that happen this time.
I won't take that spill.
That candle will burn out long before
My persistence ever will.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gazing Into the Abyss

My good friend and arch-nemesis Tony Posnanski (The Anti-Jared) made an interesting observation yesterday about the way this space seems to be evolving, unfolding into a more serious tone much of the time.

I don't know how such a circumstance could have occured, unless I've simply exhausted every lame fat joke in my book and grew tired of making scales and stalks of celery converse.

I guess I blame you for this subtle shift. Yes you... you laughed at my ha-ha's, left gleeful remarks when I made things rhyme and even indulged me a few knock-knock jokes (well, some of you anyway...). Writing those kinds of goofy things make me happier than a puppy playing with a slightly smaller puppy. As long as I'm producing this blog, you can be certain there will always be a certain amount of silly nonsensical nonsense. Like the Underdog tattoo on my ass, it's part of who I am.


It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the more serious posts I put out there seemed to generate more buzz, more comments, more raw emotion (and now I feel really stupid for hiring that rocket scientist who figured it out for me... thanks for nothing, Doctor Rodmonivich).

I noticed something else as well. While I could pound out two or three silly posts in a surprising short amount of time, the serious ones took quite a bit longer. And they took considerably more out of me. Sometimes I feel drained after writing one, like a lemon wrung of its juice.

A famous Nietzsche quote goes something to the effect of, "When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."

What does that mean? It's a warning that when you seek to understand the "abyss," or the darker elements of life or truth (or weight loss), you can end up getting swallowed by that emptiness. The binge eater swallowed by seeking understanding about why he eats like he does... how appropriate.

So Tony might be right (but please don't tell him I said so). The balance seems to be shifting and this space seems to be undergoing changes, growing up just a tad. It's turning into something that it wasn't a few months ago.

Funny, so am I.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Scared of Success

Weekly weigh-in: 225.6
Loss: -3.1 lbs
Total loss: 65.9 lbs.
Emotion: Skeered

I'll admit it: I'm scared of doing too well on this weight loss adventure.

I know, I know... there's lots of better, more interesting things to be frightened of, like spiders, darkness, garlic, choking, crowds, bowling shoes, clowns, tornados, weathermen, plaid, heights, widths, being alone, microbes, Bolsheviks, newts, nosebleeds, hospitals, random violence and powdered milk (and I'll admit, I'm frightened–to varying degrees–of all of those).

But I'm scared nonetheless.

When you're approaching rock bottom, when you're at your heaviest and most unhealthy, it's a miserable, crippling feeling. However, you know deep down in your heart that if you can somehow muster up the strength, the determination and the drive, you can start on the journey to climbing out of that pit. There's nowhere to go, it would seem, but up.

When you've enjoyed some success and are suddenly within eyesight of your goals, it's easy to glance down and freeze up, to suddenly see how far you have to fall and just how easy it would be to fail... again. Anyone who's yo-yo'd with their weight might understand the pressure I find myself feeling.

I thrive with a challenge in front of me, a goal that needs to be met. Something I can attack with a single-minded fury. Sustaining? Maintaining? Keeping on keeping on? Those are foreign concepts to me, and truthfully, I thought it would be a long time before I would need to start considering the idea.

The last time I had a personal assessment at the gym was a little over five years ago, and I weighed 225 lbs. I was coming off months and months of manic workout sessions, sometimes three a day. I had actually gotten down to 215 lbs, but had felt so freakin' weak at that weight that it scared me... and I purposefully packed on 10 more pounds. Read that again (because I had to even as I was writing it): I purposefully packed on ten more pounds.

During that assessment, the trainer expressed wonder at my fitness level. I was off the charts for my age range. It took her 20 minutes to get me to break a sweat and that was with my long-time nemesis, the push-up. She declared me at "the ideal weight" for me, and we devised a new workout regimen for me.

I left the gym that day and promptly went ape-sh*t crazy. The details are still fuzzy, but I began a slow (but quickly snowballing) descent back to obesity (and then some). Why would I do such a thing? What possible reason could I have had? I can't even begin to fathom it.

So here I am, back where I was, with not much left to lose and yet... with everything to lose.

So I'll stay here, using this blog and your unbelievable encouragement and support as lifelines against the choppy waters. This time, I hope the dizzying heights won't mess with my brain, won't make me light-headed and weak-willed. I believe success doesn't automatically have to be followed with an inevitable fall.

I guess it's time to prove it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Twings

Honestly, I can't decide if I like Twitter or not. These blog posts seem to live and breathe in their own little bloggy world, but the little twitterlings... they're like tossing tufts of fluff up into the air on a windy day. They hang around less time than a toot in an elevator (hey, don't look at me... remember the first law of fartage: he who smelt it, dealt it).

I have the attention span of a gnat, and Twitter's the perfect stage for some of the random thoughts and goofball ideas I have that are barely coherent enough to make a sentence out of, much less an entire blog post.

But it's a beautiful Saturday and neither one of us really needs to be spending too much time sitting in front of a computer. Let's get out and do something today!

Anyway, here are some of my favorite tweets, twats and twitterlings...

  • "This is a terrible Farmer's Market," I told the lady. "It's a garage sale, dumbass," she replied.
  • Dammit. Got halfway finished with a post for my site: "Crochet a Bit with Jack Sh*t," then realized that's one of my imaginary blogs.
  • I don't know about my personal trainer; she told me to do jumping jacks for an hour in the parking lot.
  • Just finished 45-mile bike ride in 12 and a half minutes. Waitaminute... I may have that turned around backwards.
  • FYI: When somebody hits you in the forehead with a fire extinguisher at the gym, it means quit singing along so loud to Foghat on your iPod.
  • I eat a lot of spinach because (a) it's good for me and (b) I secretly believe some of that Popeye stuff is real.
  • I think it's time for you to take a good hard look in the mirror. BTW, did I mention I'm a door-to-door mirror salesman?
  • You know what I bet's good on carrot sticks? Buttercream frosting (and the carrot sticks have been shredded up and put in carrot cake).
  • I just went to Subway and asked 'em to give me what that Jared guy got: a million dollar endorsement contract.
  • Having a handful of almonds as a snack, but picking 'em out of the Almond Joy bars is a real b*tch.
  • I've invented this brand new kind of push-up where you lie on your back, and... well, I haven't worked out all the details yet.
  • Went to new restaurant last night called Hillbillies' Chili's. Shouldn't have ordered the "Awesome Possum."
  • My "Rock all the time" strategy was kicking ass, but now I'm on a losing streak like you wouldn't believe in "Rock Paper Scissors."
  • I tried lighting a candle at both ends, and guess what: TWICE AS MUCH LIGHT. Don't listen to what people say...
  • I could have been rich if my mom hadn't thrown out my old baseball cards. And my trunk full of Krugerrands.
  • Give a man a fish, he eats for a day; give him a fish restaurant, he eats for a lifetime.
  • I don't know why I'm still afraid of my dentist, but I suspect it has something to do with his Hitler mustache.
  • "I sure look good in these home movies," I told my wife, Anita. "That's a Bowflex commercial, dumbass," she replied.
  • Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, double shame on you! (I just don't see why I should accept any shame in this situation)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Inside My Head at Last Night's Party

I hate parties.

I mean, I really hate these stupid little get-togethers. I don't know half these people and don't like half of the half I do know.

What is that dude's name. John? Jeff? Jake? Josh? yeah, yeah. What's up, JohnJeffJakeJosh? Yeah, you're looking really good, too, Chrome-Dome. Good thing you shaved your head so now nobody can see your bald spot. Ingenious!

A beer? Great! What's I'd really like is a nice frosty cold Shiner Bock or maybe even a big thick Guinness, but I'll settle for that crappy Bud Light you're handing to me. Thanks, bro. Please go bother somebody else now. Fantastic!

Let's check out this chow table... oh my sweet Lord. Crab cakes? Hot spinach and artichoke dip... oh sh*t, I think I just drooled on myself. Oh, that Bud Light definitely does not hit the spot. What else have we got here? Great... seventeen kinds of cheese, and seventeen additional reasons this party's got FAIL written all over it. Hmmmmm, maybe if I did a quintuple workout tomorrow...

Okay, grab a little plate and let's find something that won't wreck your next weigh-in. BINGO! Baby carrots. Load up on them things, Bunnicula. Ranch dressing, hmmm? Low-fat? I seriously doubt that. Grab some celery, too, and roll some of them baby tamatoes on the plate so there's no room for those delish-smelling egg rolls over them. Ayyyyyyy, snatch the egg roll from my hand, grasshopper. Geez, hold it together, son. Waitaminute... grab some of them pepperoncinis. Oh hell yeah. Love biting something that bites back.

Oh, hey, what's-your-face? How's your daughter liking whatever college she wound up going to? Great! Sure, tell me all about your fantasy football team. I'll just be nibbling this carrot stick into a sharp point and having my own fantasy: about jabbing it repeatedly in your neck.

Hey, weird guy with the mole! How's it hanging? Have you heard about what's-his-face's sweet-ass fantasy football team? You gotta get you some of this. Excuse me, I've got to go stand over there.

Oh, hell no... the life insurance guy that I told I'd call right after the last one of these parties. Why do I always tell 'em I'll call 'em? Oh, hi, Carl or Ken. Pete? Yeah, I knew that. Life insurance, right? Right! Yeah, I was gonna call you but I lost your business card. Oh, you have another one? Sweet. I'll give you a call next week. Now excuse me... I'm going to get a little something to nibble on.

Hey, that broccoli salad looks pretty fresh. Mmmmmmm... that's semi-tolerable. And a couple of pieces of cheese won't sink the Titanic, I guess. Waitaminute... are they talking about me? Act all nonchalant and jack up your Six-Million-Dollar-Man bionic hearing to max. Do do do do do do do do do do do. Hmmmm, talking about how good you look. Nice. Very nice.

Oh, hey there, Nancy. Of course, I meant Linda. Yes, I'm terrible with names and yes, I have lost a lot of weight. Oh, just eating better, exercising more. Oh, hey there, Tom & Ginger. Yes, I've lost a few pounds here lately. Oh, I don't know how many. I'm not really a "scale" guy. Well, I've probably lost a little more than that. Just eating less, exercising more. No, it's probably a few pounds more than that.

Another beer? No thanks... I'm doing fine. I'm doing just fine.

I love parties.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Too Far Gone? I Don't Think So...

On my rant the other day, I did say one regrettable thing (and Amber at The Long Hard Road Out of Hell... was the first of several who called me out on it): I suggested that the couple I was writing about that day might be too far gone to change things for themselves.

Here's the thing: I don't really believe that.

There are folks out there who are absolutely up against it, who seem to be faced with an insurmountable challenge against unfathomable odds, but I don't truly believe they're too far gone.

There are people who look in the mirror and convince themselves that all hope is lost, that the mountain they must scale is just too high and too treacherous. They may be far from their goals, but they're definitely not too far gone.

Too far gone is stretched out in a casket or mixed up in an ashy urn. I'll even accept a doctor's note that proclaims you unfit for fitness, but barring that, I'm going to assume otherwise.

If you're up and on your own two feet, you're miles away from too far gone, my friend. If you're willing to work, willing to make a sacrifice or two, willing to take a leap of faith, then you're definitely not too far gone.

Because that's what it takes, you know.

A leap of faith.

A belief that there's a better life out there for you and that this is your time to engage and pursue it. I think that's what thwarts a lot of people, and I know it's tripped me up on more than one occasion. I wanted what I wanted, but I wasn't willing to do what it takes to make it happen. It wasn't like I didn't know perfectly well exactly what it takes to make it happen either. I just didn't do it... didn't take that leap.

A diet without true commitment is a promise made with your fingers crossed. To me, that commitment... that concept of buying in and owning your actions and your expectations... that's the key to the kingdom, the glue that holds all the other parts and pieces in place.

You may not have the wind to run a mile today.

You may not have the resources to join a gym or the free time to plot and plan each meal to the most healthful specifications.

You may not want to push yourself so far outside your comfort zone that you're... well... uncomfortable.

But make no mistake about it, inside each of us... whether it's just below the surface or deep within our souls... each of us has the drive and determination to make this magic happen for ourselves. It's within us all.

Too far gone? Not even close...

Thanks for the reminder, Amber.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ways Losing Weight is Like Poker

My buddy Sean at The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser dealt me an interesting challenge the other day: write a post detailing the similarities of poker and weight loss.

I’m a pretty good poker player, but I have what they call in the poker lingo a “tell”: I urinate wildly in my pants whenever I get a really good hand. I also have a bad habit of making my face cards talk to each other in a high, falsetto British accent (“Oh heeeeelloooo Miss Queenie, how is every little thing in Clubland?”) It’s just something I like to do to lighten the mood of the table and get everyone’s mind off the smell of urine in the air.

Anyways… let’s shuffle up and deal.
  • Both involve overweight people that are used to sitting around the table for way too long.
  • You feel a sense of sadness and regret when all your chips are gone.
  • It takes a lot of strategy in order to be successful.
  • It’s really embarrassing to bust out.
  • Along the way, you’ll find yourself swearing a great deal.
  • Sometimes good things are just not in the cards.
  • Some folks make it look easy.
  • Anyone can participate, but it definitely takes skill to be effective.
  • You have to know when to leave the table.
  • It's a good way to lose your shirt.
  • You learn quite a bit when you’re losing.
  • Every once in a while, you’re going to be dealt a bad beat.
  • It helps to think long term.
  • There are times when you simply need to up the ante.
  • Everyone thinks they know what they’re doing, but few actually do.
  • Nobody wants to quit when they’re losing.
  • It takes a lifetime to master.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Post-Vacation Weigh-In

Weekly weigh-in: 228.7
Loss: -2.6 lbs
Total loss: 62.8 lbs.
Emotion: Not so mad

Once I got the sodium flushed out of my system and everyone off my back about skipping my weigh-in on Sunday, I managed to actually carve out a nice little loss.

I could probably dissect this loss and explain how I think I managed it, but I believe I’ll spend this space talking about yesterday’s post, which seemed to punch a lot of people’s buttons in one way or another.

I spent half my day defending my rant against people who thought I went too far and the other half accepting compliments and atta-boys about it. I took both the admonishments and the admiration with a grain of salt, which probably explains the bloated feeling I had all day.

Truthfully, I wrote that piece while I was still mad, and it certainly shows. I generally spend more time on posts than I did on that one as well. But there’s a certain satisfaction (and catharsis, I guess) of getting something out of your system like that.

I do get mad about this situation that many if not most of us have found ourselves in. I get mad that it’s such hard work, and that so much of the world seems set up to hamper our success. I get mad because I understand so little of it, why we do the things we do to ourselves. I get mad because I want it all to change. For me. For you. For everyone.

And you know what? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting a little angry about this stuff. I’m glad I make you laugh from time to time. I’m happy I inspire some of you every so often. For some people, laughs and a little lofty talk may be enough.

If you’re like me though, you may have to get truly good and angry to get this ball really rolling. Anyone who’s ever split their pants in public knows the power of harnessing that blood-boiling anger to get going in the right direction. Getting good and angry gives you an edge, a power that is sometimes hard to deny.

I’m not so mad today though. I guess I’ve got the scale to thank for that.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dear Morbidly Obese Couple That Followed Me Around St. Louis

Hey you two,

I was doing a pretty good job of not doing my regular obsessing about weight losing while on my vacation. Between walking all over downtown and horsing around in the pool with Pisa, I was feeling pretty good. Outside the zone, so to speak. I wasn’t stressing about eating, wasn’t micro-managing my meals or oozing sweat out of myself on highly complicated fitness equipment.

Then there we all were, at the hotel’s Carb-alooza breakfast buffet. I was enjoying some oatmeal, yogurt and fruit, and I spotted you two and your family again, sitting down to a Ponderosa-sized breakfast at the table next to me and my family. You two had to be tipping the scale at over 800 lbs (hell, that breakfast looked like it came in at 25 lbs all by itself). The boy seems to be a chip off the old block, the way he was digging in to those waffles and smoked sausages.

What really got my attention was when you were getting on to the daughter, telling her that that banana wasn’t enough to fill her up. Eat up, you were encouraging her. Go back and grab some more of that fabulous free chow.

I know I’m supposed to “live and let live,” but man, it was hard watching you both go to town on that big plate of biscuits and gravy before you made that waffle run. I wanted to go over and shake you both, not for what you’re doing to yourselves but for what you’re passing on to those kids.

You weren’t always like this, were you? I mean, the kids look like you so I presume they came from the two of you having sex, but when I tried to imagine it, my brain locked up like I’d just super-sucked a 56 oz. cherry Slurpee.

You can’t enjoy living this way… I mean, besides the breakfast buffet part, which I’d say you’re getting considerable enjoyment out of by the looks of things. I saw you all over at the Arch yesterday, getting ready to take the ride to the top. As I rode up with my crew in that little washing machine pod that carries you up 700 or so feet, I again tried to imagine you guys cramming yourselves in to that tiny cramped space. Sometimes I wish my imagination wasn’t quite so vivid…

Anyway, I think you’re both too far gone… and the slack-jawed expression on your son gives me little reason to hope he’s going to pull out of his nutritional nosedive. Most teenage boys I know can eat like pigs and stay rain-thin. I see him over there playing on a cell phone or Game Boy or whatever the hell it is, so I suspect most of his activity is of the virtual variety.

Which leaves the daughter, and my one hope for your family. Those bright eyes and that banana make me think she’s got half a chance if she can somehow get through the next few years without slipping on a heavy overcoat of indifference and self-loathing thanks to the poor guidance you’re giving her.

I really wanted to pull her aside and tell her there’s another way, another path. I wanted to impart to her that there’s nothing “free” about that “free buffet” and that we don’t all have to grow up to be the folks who raised us. The cards you’re dealt is part of it, to be sure, but there’s also the way you play them.

Of course I didn’t do it. It would have scared her, and not in the way I wanted to scare her. I sat back, pushed away my three-quarter’s finished oatmeal (you don’t have to scrape the plate clean, y’know), and offered a silent prayer for your not-so-little girl.

Maybe she’s doomed, maybe not. There’re those bright eyes… and that banana. Hold on to that banana, young lady.

Hold on tight.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hopping Back Into It

Back from my little mini-vacation, and I was halfway done with a post about a morbidly obese couple and their family that seemed to be stalking me in St. Louis, but it occurred to me that I was writing about them to avoid writing about myself.

Sundays are my traditional weigh-in day, but I’m steering clear this week. Nine or ten straight restaurant meals, topped by some salty car snacking can’t spell good news on the losing front. Next Sunday will be soon enough to settle up with SeƱor Scale.

The troubling thing though, is how time away from my everyday routine seems to chip away at my resolve and the good habits I’ve been working so hard to build up. I didn’t have any major setbacks while I was away, but each day seemed to be a little further off plan than the day before. It was as if I was testing the water in a pool, going a little deeper, a little farther out each time.

“But you’re on vacation,” you’ll say. “Enjoy yourself.”

I did enjoy myself, and that enjoyment isn’t what’s troubling me, per se. It’s the idea that bad habits can creep back up on you so quickly. You can turn around twice and be doing things that you wouldn’t have even considered a short while back.

Do you know how to boil a live frog? (and no, this isn’t a low-fat recipe I’m sharing with you, thank you very much). If you throw Mister Toad in a pot of boiling water, he’ll just jump right out, hopping indignantly across the stovetop and kitchen counter. However, if you put him in and slowly heat the pan up, he’ll just sit there and cook, never realizing the serious trouble he’s hopped into.

I have an active imagination, and I can easily conjure up how this deal would go for me if I just dropped this blog and decided I was at my goal weight right now. I’d go for a bit thinking that I was on top of things, working out three times a week and snacking a little more than before.

Then the exercise would slack off and the eating would pick up.

The skinny jeans I’m so proud of now would quietly get folded away onto a higher shelf.

The snowball would start rolling.

The water would start boiling, and I wouldn’t even notice...

I don’t know what you see when you look at this blog. I don’t know if you see a funhouse mirror, an abstract sketch or a window into your own soul. I don’t know if you see me as a clown, a kook, a fellow traveler or a kindred spirit. While some may view this blog as a hodgepodge of quirky oddities and oddball sensibilities, I see it was a life-saving raft in a sea of boiling water.

And I’m glad to be back.

The water was gettin’ a bit warm.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Things I’ve Said to My Scale

I seem to have a love/hate relationship with my scale. Some weeks she's my BFF; other weeks she's an SOB. Come to think of it, that's the same relationship I have with just about everybody...

Here's some of the sh*t I either lovingly croon or crudely bark at my scale when I weight in...
  • “Good morning, b*tchface.”
  • “THAT’s what I’m TALKIN’ about!”
  • “You have got to be sh*ttin’ me.”
  • “Who’s your daddy?”
  • “F*ck a duck!”
  • “Wild Thing, I think I love you…”
  • “Kiss my fat *ss!”
  • “You’ve just made me the happiest man in the whole wide world.”
  • “Oh, you f*ckin’ wh*re!”
  • “You are my Lovey Baby Bubby Boo. Yes you are…”
  • “Rat b*stard!”
  • “You're my love monkey!”
  • “I can't believe you just did that to me, f*cktard!”
  • “I can't believe you just did that to me, beautiful!”
  • “Sh*t on a stick!”
  • “I’m King of the World!”
  • “What the f*ck?”
  • “I’ve got sunshine…on a cloudy day… when it’s cold outside…”
  • “Dingleberries!”
What did you say to your scale this week?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mo’ Mottos

I’m still on a never-ending quest (what part of never-ending do you not understand?) for the perfect weight loss rallying cry. Still not there, but getting warmer…
  • “I am the Master of my Density, I am the Captain of my Scale.”
  • “Rise & Starve!”
  • “Meet the Day with a Rowwwwwrrrr (in Your Tummy)”
  • “No Lard Feelings”
  • “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Good Travel Agent.”
  • “Fat, Fat, Go Away–Give it all to Robert Goulet.”
  • “I Am At My Width’s End.”
  • “Anything is Possible, I Suppose.”
  • "Get your Wobbly Butt Off the Sofa, Cake-Eater!"
  • “Move Your Keister, Meister!”
  • “Two, Four, Six, Eight… Let’s Do Something ‘Bout This Weight.”
  • “I’m Gettin’ It Done Come Scale or High Weigh-in!”
  • “There’s No Time Like A Week From Next Monday…”
  • “I May Try Stopping, But I’ll Never Stop Trying (waitaminute, that doesn’t make a lick of sense…)
  • “Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scaled.”
  • “We Seal Our Fat With the Choices We Make.”
  • “God Grant Me the Sensibility to Eat the Things I Should, the Courage to Not Eat the Things I Shouldn’t, and the Wisdom to Know the Difference.”

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fun, Fun, Fun ('Til My Daddy Takes the T-Bone Away)

I read quite a few weight loss blogs, and a familiar song on quite a few of them seems to be “I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to quit living my life.”

What does that mean? That means they want to continue going out to eat when they want. It means they want to have a few drinks with their friends when they want. It means they want to have a slice of birthday cake and maybe a bit of ice cream on the side without stressing out about it. They want to have fun.

I like restaurant meals a great deal, and I’ve thrown back more than my share at the bar with buddies. I generally have a good time in those instances, but can I tell you what’s really fun?
  • Fun is slipping on a pair of pants you couldn’t get into two months ago.
  • Fun is seeing an old friend and having them on and on about your weight loss.
  • Fun is playing with your kids without losing your breath.
  • Fun is overhearing co-workers marvel over how good you’re doing.
  • Fun is watching the scale dip past another 10-lb. mark... and then another one...
  • Fun is looking in the mirror and admiring the simple beauty of a sweat-soaked t-shirt.
  • Fun is going to the doctor and having him or her pat you on the back over your progress.
  • Fun is reading older blog entries and seeing just how far you’ve come.
  • Fun is succeeding on this journey and knowing that it was you... all you... that got it done.
A good meal at a fine restaurant is nice. There’s nothing wrong with having drinks with friends. And that slice of cake… it’s okay.

But compared to those other things, I’ll take my “fun” list any day of the week.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Comments You Really Don’t Want to See on Your Weight Loss Blog

  • “Your math’s wrong. You actually gained 6 lbs.”
  • “So… do they allow conjugal visits?”
  • “Your lunch looks like barf.”
  • “Maybe the homeless shelter will have wireless internet access…”
  • “What does ‘incurable’ really mean anyway?”
  • “Nice pic, Muffin Top.”
  • “Your blog kinda reminds me of that other writer. Y’know, the UnaBomber.”
  • “So, who hasn’t eaten a whole pan of brownies?”
  • “How interesting! I’ve never actually heard of somebody falling for one of those Nigerian email scams.”
  • “Hi, I’m Dr. Geoff, and I’d like to invite you to be a part of the Wellsphere HealthBlogger Network…”
  • “Give up already, Cranky McBlubberpants!”
  • “Your father and I are really disappointed in your blog.”
  • “Your blog design make my eyes throw up.”
  • “Are you sure you weren’t carrying a set of golf clubs when you weighed in?”
  • “Try putting ointment on it.”
  • “So, what did the Weight Watchers leader do after you slapped that woman?”
  • “Wow, that sounds like the binge to end all binges.”
  • “Is that really a pic of your spouse? My pregnant sister’s been dating him for six months…”

Actually, let’s be absolutely honest here: any comment is better than no comments at all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesdays with Doctor Geoff...

That, Doctor Geoff. He loves him some Jack Sh*t, Gettin’ Fit, and he’s back trying to get me to join his Wellsphere HealthBlogger Network. He’s a persistant devil, I’ll give him that.

Geoffrey Rutledge, MD, PhD
to me

Hi ,

I just wanted to follow up on the invitation I sent you to be a featured blogger on I was impressed with your blog at, and invited you to be a featured blogger in the new Weight Loss community. We would republish from your blog the articles you are already posting, so there is nothing you have to do but say yes. We will also promote your blog in our new dynamic, magazine-like WellPages (with no extra work for you)! If you're interested in being featured and promoting your blog to the Wellsphere audience (now nearly 6 million visitors per month, and growing), please drop me an email, or you can begin right away by signing up at

Good Health!

My reply:

Hey Doctor Geoff,

Congratulations! Apparently your HealthBloggy network has gained an even 1,000,000 visitors per month since our last conversation last week. That’s super-duper impressive. Hey, did you know I just hit 300 Followers? That’s impressive, too, don’t you think? What a team we make!

You know how I know you’re a real doctor, Doctor Geoff? You didn’t answer any of my questions from my previous letter. My regular doc doesn’t listen either. I’ll be like “What’s this big thing growing on my foot?” and he’ll be like “Your bad cholesterol is too bad.” Of course it’s too bad… it’s bad cholesterol. “Bad” is in it’s name, dumbass.

I’m intrigued by the fact that you’re willing to promote JSGF in your new dynamic, magazine-like WellPages (especially since it’s no extra work for me… how well you know me, Doctor Geoff!). I would ask you if WellPages is a magazine or is just magazine-like, but I know now that you don’t do so great with questions.

So anyway, I’m about ready to switch over from the newly formed Wellsh*t BlogHealther Network to the Wellsphere HealthBlogger Network. All I need now is your personal assurance that the following demands will be met…

  • Whenever I come for a visit at Wellsphere HealthBlogger Network world headquarters, I must get a private office with a small refrigerator stocked with ice-cold guava juice and I must be allowed to make as many long-distance prank phone calls as I like.
  • My followers must each be given $10 and a gift certificate for a free movie rental at Blockbuster to ease their frustration during what is sure to be a difficult transition period.
  • While we’re on tour, I get to ride shotgun at all times (even when I’m driving).
  • Whenever you refer to me among friends, family and business associates, it must be as “Jack Sh*t, my BFF.”
  • I reserve the right to “drunk blog” at least once a week.
  • I’m going to need that Wellsphere HealthBlogger Network t-shirt (sized XL) ASAP.
  • I also want you to sign up my good friend Poppy Love and his blog (“The Anti-Tony”) before I’ll even consider moving forward with this venture.
  • The toy motorcycle for the “Jack Sh*t” action figure must include a sidecar for the optional “Pisa Sh*t” figure (if possible, please put a tree frog on Pisa’s t-shirt).

Doctor Geoff, you know that you’re a personal hero of mine, and I can’t wait to get rolling on the HealthBlogger Network. As soon as I hear back on my demands, we can start giving your readership the sh*t they want, need and truly deserve!

Your BFF,

Jack Sh*t
Jack Sh*t, Gettin’ Fit
Proud Member of the WellSh*t BlogHealther Network

A Threat to My Future Self

Hello Future Self,

This may sound like a hollow threat, since I’m technically you at an earlier point in your life, but listen to me and listen good: if you f*ck up this nice loss I’ve managed to provide for you, I will hunt you down and I will kill you.

Just how will I accomplish such a seemingly impossible task, you ask. Look here, you older, more jaded version of myself with your fancy cell phone the size of my thumbnail. I have faced insurmountable odds before and managed to get the job done. Remember way back, when you used to swill coffee all morning and diet sodas all afternoon? I was the one that shut that sh*t down. I was the one who brought all this eating-too-much and exercising-too-little business to a crashing halt. I did it.

Not you. Me.

I don’t really know what Future Me is up to these days, but Right Now Me has lost 60 lbs. and has made some pretty tremendous changes in his life. If I were you (and let’s not get into that old argument about whether or not I “am” you… let’s just agree to disagree, shall we?), I wouldn’t bet against me accomplishing anything I set my mind to.

Which gets me back to my threat. I know you, Future Me. You have a bad history of taking the hard work of those who have come before you and squandering it for no apparent rhyme or reason. I can name at least three occasions where a Past Me has lost a tremendous amount of weight only to have one of your brothers (the Future Me’s) thoughtlessly gain it right back.

Not this time. I repeat: NOT. THIS. TIME.

Here’s the thing, Future Me. Every time you do that… every time you gain the weight back, you make it that much harder for the Next Me to do anything about it. You make it hard to care about the Future Me’s, since they have so little regard for the Future “Future Me’s.”

I have done the heavy lifting, my future-dwelling friend. I have packed up and left Obese City, and I’m passing on to you all the tools you’ll ever need to continue on with the good work I’ve started. I want you to read this letter regularly, because it’s vitally important that you’re aware of what’s at stake… and just what the consequences are.

Your life is on the line, brother. Gain the pounds back and it won’t be your body that kills you.

It’ll be me.

Speaking of time-travel: it’s time for me to travel. Me, Anita and Pisa are taking our show on the road to St. Louis. Pisa wants to visit the Arch but I want to go see that giant thing that looks like an upside down “U”; we’ll see who wins…

Through the magic of internet magic, I’ll still have a post up everyday, but I probably shan’t be commenting and may be spotty on the email. I’ll be too busy having fun, worrying about the work piling up on my desk and trying not to indulge say “Ah, what the hell?” more than a couple of times.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ways Back to School is Like Weight Loss

  • Carefree days are over.
  • Getting into new clothes soon.
  • People noticing you’ve changed a lot since they last saw you.
  • Kind of scary and exciting at the same time.
  • Causes big change in your routine.
  • It’s important to learn subtraction.
  • You know the weeks to come are gonna bring plenty of tests.
  • You’re just not sure where all the time went.
  • It’s easier to get started if you have a plan.
  • This year, you know it’s going to be harder than last year.
  • Success comes when you do all your work and assignments.
  • Chance to make new friends.
  • Endless new possibilities.
  • Hate that you have to get up to the same old thing every day.
  • It’ll be better if you get organized.
  • It’s a small comfort to know lots of others are going through same thing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gaining Perspective (Among Other Things)

Weekly weigh-in: 231.3
Loss: +2.0 lbs
Total loss: 60.2 lbs.
Emotion: Un-monkish

This was the week that Life decided to interrupt my crazy double-time march to my goal weight. After a week of *perfect*, things took a turn for the decidedly un-perfect.

On Sunday, I took my first day off from exercising in three weeks. I knew I needed it, but it made me restless and semi-irritable. Then I had a beer at supper because my wife Anita accused me of being a monk, and not one of those fun-loving party monks you hear about all the time with their wild parties at the monastery. No, she meant a boring, no-fun monk. So… to prove that I’m no stick-in-the-mud, I knocked down a cold one.

Then on Monday, my office celebrated a big anniversary with champagne and donuts (WTF?) at a breakfast meeting. Even though I’d had my normal breakfast, I went ahead and had a pastry and a glass of bubbly, so I wouldn’t be thought of as the office monk. Later that afternoon, we had a little ice cream celebration continuation with a mini-station from Ben & Jerry’s. Maybe there’s a sorbet or low-fat option? Of course not. So most of a small cup of Chocolate Fudge Brownie goes down the gullet, but at least I’m back on the exercise track.

Tuesday was looking good until supper. Anita had made a fresh apple crumble for dessert, and I just couldn’t be rude now, could I? Ice cream on top? But of course.

Wednesday was an all-day meeting that included lunch (a deli sammich and some chips and salsa… though I did lay off the cookies and brownies). Three days in and this week is looking like an absolute train wreck. I go to the gym after work, but now I'm just trying to minimize the damages.

Thursday was supposed to be another lunch meeting (and more deli food), but it was cancelled, so I got in my regular workout and things started getting a little more back to abnormal.

Another beer on Saturday and a can retire both the monk robe and the title of “Most Biggest Loser-Like.” I’m looking forward to weighing in about as much as I am the proctologist’s gentle probings. Last week I hopped on the scale with reckless abandon; this week I stepped on like it was covered with hot coals.

Though I can’t call it an absolute success, this is the kind of week I’m probably going to have to deal with more often than not as I go forward on this journey. Moments to savor, tough-it-out days to try and settle back up.

And I did learn this at least: *perfect* is a tough act to follow.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Sh*t House Rules

One of the great things about this weight loss adventure is that you learn so much along the way. So much about health and fitness, so much about your body, so much about yourself. These are the things that I try to keep in front of me as I make my way through the day…
  • A little bit of crap is still crap.
  • Shake your “salt it first” habit.
  • Accidents happen, but good meals are planned.
  • S-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-w down with that fork, bubba. No need to create sparks.
  • Small plate works great.
  • Drink your watah like you oughta.
  • Fresh beats canned by a country mile.
  • Fill up on fiber.
  • Make your momma proud: eat your veggies.
  • If you pack a gym pack the night before, you’re roughly 75,000% more likely to work out the next day
  • Push… your body can take it.
  • It’s a scale, not a trampoline. You don’t need to hop on it every five minutes.
  • Fresh fruit… eat some everyday.
  • Find what works and work it.
  • Sweat like you mean it.
  • Blogging every day keeps the focus on what you’re doing.
  • Don’t eat on the run.
  • The more ingredients, the less you wanna eat it.
  • This is your future; make it a big priority in your life.
  • Careful with that salad dressing; it can be a Trojan horse full of fat and calories.
  • Less chewin’, more doin’.
  • Put an ending to the vending machine.
  • Understand that your brain doesn’t always have your body’s back.
  • Say bye-bye to all the refined sugar you can.
  • Buy gas at a gas station… not food.
  • Variety is the spice of life.
  • Some people lose weight eating out a lot… you won’t.
  • Beware of BLTs (bites, licks and tastes).
  • Sometimes a free meal isn’t free at all.
  • Jogging’s better than walking, but walking’s better than nothing.
  • Just because it’s low-cal/low-fat doesn’t mean you can go crazy.
  • Get plenty of rest…this sh*t is hard work.
  • Chew on nuts (your own, not mine).
  • If you keep junk around, you’ll eat junk.
  • Work out time for exercise.
  • Why you’re eating is just as important as what you’re eating.
  • Build up your “No thanks” muscle.
  • If you just can’t do it on your own, it’s okay to seek some help.
  • Write down what you eat. Everything you eat. Read it occasionally.
  • Don’t let the world drag you down.
  • Kick yourself… in the seat of the pants.

You don’t have to follow all of these rules, but if you stick to enough of them, chances are you’ll make some good progress on your path to a fitter, better you.

Friday, August 7, 2009

More Weight Loss Nursery Rhymes

Jack Jacob Jingleblogger Sh*t
Jack Jacob Jingleblogger Sh*t,
His blog name is my name too.
Whenever he drops a pound,
The people make this sound,
They say “Congrats, Jack Jacob Jingleblogger Sh*t!”

Mix a Shake, Mix a Shake
Mix a shake, Mix a shake, Smoothie man.
Mix me a smoothie as fast as you can;
Frozen fruit, OJ and some extra flax seed.
And put it in the blender for Baby and me.

Three Blimp Mice
Three blimp mice, three blimp mice,
See how they eat, see how they eat.
They all ran after the farmer's chow,
The food from his wife and his pig and his cow.
They’re thinking of joining Weight Watchers now.
These three blimp mice.

Mary Had a Little Limb
Mary had a little limb,
It was as weak as water.
That’s because she wouldn’t work out
The way that Mary oughta.

Mary went to the gym one day
To see what weights would gain her.
She didn’t know just what to do,
So she hired a personal trainer.

Six months later, things have changed,
And you should see Mary flex.
No one who’s been around her now,
Calls her the “weaker sex.”

Little No Sleep
Little Bo Peep has lost her sleep,
And doesn't know where to find it.
She’ll stay online hours at a time,
Maybe that’s the cause behind it.

Old King Carb
Old King Carb was a meaty old dude,
And a meaty old dude was he.
He called for his beef,
And he called for his ham,
And he called for his boiled eggs three.

“By my curly feet, that’s a whole lotta meat,”
Proclaimed the king’s small jester Paul.
“It’s not great for your heart, so if you’re smart,
You’ll start watching your cholesterol.”

Hickory Dickory Hog
Hickory dickory hog,
The mouse wrote a weight loss blog.
In his weigh-in post,
He lost an ounce (at most)
Maybe that’s why he doesn’t have any followers.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How do you stay so thin?
You eat like a pig, drink like a fish
And you’re the size of a violin.

Little Miss Tooter
Little Miss Tooter, sat at her ‘puter
Researching “curds and whey.”
Google said that,
They are really hi-fat,
And that scared Miss Tooter away.

Fattycat, Fattycat
“Fattycat, Fattycat, where have you been?”
“I've been up to London to visit the Queen.”
“Fattycat, Fattycat, why back so soon?”
“She made me do Zumba each afternoon!”

Star Light, Star Bright
Star light, star bright,
First comment I see tonight.
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Get ten more comments tonight.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Selfish is the New Selfless

I am notorious for giving you advice that you already know, but today I’m going to let you in on a weight loss secret that may have eluded you thus far on your journey, and it is this: you need to be more selfish.

I know, I know. Last week, I was telling you to be more giving and more caring. What can I say? I’m a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, engulfed in a riddle, stuffed inside a taffy wrapper.

But I do have a point: to achieve any meaningful success on this fretful weight loss adventure, sometimes you just have to make yourself THE top priority.

You have to grocery shop for what you need, not what the kids like. My kids wailed like little banshees when I quit buying cookies, chips and sodas. They can get away with having some of that stuff… but I can’t. And here’s the thing: why not help them understand now nutritionally poor those choices are now instead of making them learn it like we have… the hard way?

You need to carve out time in your too-busy schedule to exercise, even if it comes at the expense of helping a neighbor or running a load of laundry.

If you’re working 12-hour days, something’s gotta give. Ask for assistance, beg for help. We–your blogging companions–can give you support, we can give you advice. Sometimes we can even give you inspiration, but the one thing none of us can give you is more time. You’ve got to make that for yourself.

If I know you (and though we’ve never met, I feel like I know you like a sibling), you spend a lot of your day doing for others. That’s important, to be sure, but please make sure you don’t do for others at the expense of doing for yourself. Especially in this, your hour of need.

You need to do this for yourself, because nobody else can do it for you.

And here’s the thing (and it’s a pretty evil twist when you stop to think about it): you have been selfish in all the wrong ways.

Selfishly letting lethargy and convenience sap your energy and drive, making your life less than it could be, less than it should be.

Selfishly ignoring your body’s needs and your heart’s desires.

Selfishly putting off what you knew you needed to do.

You know it, and you know how to do it. There are a lot of reasons why you haven’t done it already, but selfishness has to be included in that list.

I can’t tell you the specific steps you, as an individual, need to take to set your journey on the track for success. I will just say that prioritizing it, focusing on it and, yes, getting a little big selfish with it can help get you there sooner.

Speaking of selfish, I almost went this entire post without providing your obligatory joke. My bad...

A Mom is driving her little girl to her friend's house for a play date.

“Mommy,” the little girl asks, “how old are you?”

“Honey, you're not supposed to ask a lady her age,” the mother scolds. “It's just not polite.”

“OK,” the little girl says. “How much do you weigh?”

“Now really,” the mother replies. “These are personal questions and are really none of your business.”

Undaunted, the little girl asks, “Why did you and daddy get a divorce?”

“Honestly! That's enough questions!” The exasperated mother walks away as the two friends begin to play.

“My Mom wouldn't tell me anything,” the little girl says to her friend.

“Well,” the friend tells her. “All you need to do is look at her drivers license. It is like a report card–it's got everything on it.”

Later that night the little girl approachesher mother, “I know how old you are: you're 32.”

Surprised, the mom asks, “How'd you find that out?”

“I also know you weigh 140 pounds.”

The mother is past surprise and shock now. "How in heavens name did you find that out?"”

“And,” the little girl says triumphantly, “I know why you and daddy got a divorce.”

“Oh really?" the mother asks. “Why?”

“Because you got an F in sex.”

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moving On Up

“My name is Dr. Geoff Rutledge, and I am delighted to invite you to join Wellsphere's HealthBlogger Network, the world's premier network of health writers, which now includes over 2,000 of the Web's leading health bloggers! We reviewed your blog, and based on the high quality of your writing, the frequency of your posts, and your passion for helping others, we think you would be a great addition to the Network. It is easy and free to join the HealthBlogger Network, all you have to do is reply to this message and let us know you would like to participate.”

The email, which I received yesterday, went on and on with a bunch of details regarding this incredible blogging deal, and the whole thing looks pretty sugar-sweet, so I’m going for it. Here’s my reply:

Dear Doctor Geoff,

As the kids say: “OMG!”

I was surprised, delighted, overwhelmed, amazed, enchanted, jubilant and made slightly woozy by your offer to bring Jack Sh*t, Gettin’ Fit into the Wellsphere’s HealthBlogger Network. Was it my love letter to my skinny jeans that did the trick? The fitness center conversation starters? Confush*t says? No matter; all I can say is that it is quite an honor, and I promise to be the HealthBloggiest HealthBlogger that ever HealthBlogged!

However, in the spirit of openness and complete honesty, I do feel compelled to inform you that I was never actually awarded the “Really Sh*tty Weight Loss Blog” award that is displayed on my blog. As hard to believe as this may be, I made that award up in order to make myself more attractive to your organization.

If you still want JSGF after that startling revelation, I just have a few questions that will need to be answered before I’m ready to sign on…

  1. Will being a part of the Wellsphere’s HealthBlogger network allow me to call myself “Doctor”? Will I be able to write prescriptions?
  2. You say you have 5 million monthly visitors. Well, according to my records, I also have 5 million monthly visitors. If they’re all different people, that’s all well and good, but what if they’re all the same folks? Shouldn’t we check this out before hopping in bed with one another?
  3. Occasionally, I will give extremely bad weight loss advice, such as “Make sure you drink at least a quart of YooHoo each day” or “There's no appetite suppressant quite as effective as bacon.” Will I need to run these kinds of tips past a panel of your health experts from now on?
  4. Will my morbid fascination with taffy disqualify me from participating?
  5. What if I write a parody that parodies another better-known parody?
  6. How does this affect my other blogs, including (but not limited to) Learn to Knit with Jack Sh*t, Whittle a Bit with Jack Sh*t, and Jack Sh*t’s Guide to Go-Go Boot Collecting?
  7. Will you help me figure out a way to add a feature that will make viewers’ computers freeze up if they leave a negative comment?
  8. If this venture is a huge success and we develop a “Jack Sh*t” action figure, can we please make certain that he’s not hung like Ken?
  9. Do I get a free t-shirt for joining like I did at the gym?
  10. Is there any possibility of changing the name to the “Wellsh*t HealthBlogger Network”? That’s not a deal-breaker, but you’ve got to admit that it does have a nice ring to it.

Again, thanks so much for considering JSGF for inclusion in Wellsphere’s HealthBlogger Network. Together, we’re going to make people so healthy they can’t stand it!

Respectfully yours,

Jack Sh*t
Jack Sh*t, Gettin’ Fit

I really feel like this association with the HealthBlogger network is going to give my blog the credibility that it has thus far been lacking. I'll keep you posted on the progress...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Making My Move On My Skinny Jeans

Hey, baby. I haven’t seen you around in forever. You’re still looking fine. Look at that sweet ass on you. I can’t believe it’s been so long since we’ve been together, baby. You shouldn’t have been in hiding away, sweetheart; you look so good you should be strutting your stuff out on the street. Man, I’d love to take you to my office and show you off to all my co-workers. I told ‘em all about you, but they think you don’t really exist. They think I just made you up.

We had some good times didn’t we? I remember the first time I laid eyes on you, baby. Remember? It was at that store in the mall, you hanging out in the corner with all your friends. You didn't even know I existed, am I right? Well, I wasn’t sure you were right for me, either, but we got together and…well, it was magic. All I remember is that I couldn't keep my hands off of you. Remember what that sales clerk said to me: “Why don't you two get a dressing room?” We were so crazy. And remember what I said to you later that right when I was gettin' it on with you? “I can’t believe this sh*t!”

It’s true: I couldn’t believe that sh*t. I just couldn’t believe that we were so right for each other, because just a few months earlier I wouldn’t have had the nerve to even try to get together with you. Even if I'd screwed up the courage to try, it wouldn't have worked out. Not then anyway...

But we did get together, didn't we? I still have pictures of the two of us, and while it may sound a tad vain, man, we looked good together.

That whole year we were inseparable, you and I. Where I went, you were sure to go as well. We had some good times… parties, concerts, staying out with friends, spending time just the two of us. And then… well…

Look, baby. I can’t explain why I left… or why I was gone for so long. It don’t make no sense, me leaving you the way I did. Yes, there were others but they were so big and ugly, not svelte and fine like you. I promise you, baby, I was thinking about you the whole time I was with those others. I was thinking of how good the two of us were for each other, how right it was when we were together. Of course, I mean that, baby. I mean it with all my heart. I threw those others outta my house as soon as I could, and now I’ve come back to you. Only you.

And this time, I promise I won’t ever leave you again.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My *Perfect* Month

Thinking about it, I really do believe I could have extended my *perfect* week and built up a *perfect* month pretty easily. I could keep losing 7 or 8 pounds a week. I could really do it. I just need a few things to happen…
  • The elevator at work must break down and I must forget which floor I work on so I spend a half hour or so going up and down stairs looking for my office.
  • I must get a wild, insatiable craving for lettuce.
  • President Obama must bring back Prohibition for a one-month trial.
  • All bread products in my house must spontaneously become caked in unsightly mold (even ones in the freezer).
  • I must make a new best friend who just happens to be a personal chef, whose apartment building has just burned down so he needs a place to crash while he works on testing his new line of low-fat recipes.
  • When I’m out jogging, a pack of mean, nearly rabid dogs must chase me, but they can only run slightly slower than I can and they must give up and go home a block from my house.
  • I must contract that disease where you kind of zone out on the treadmill and go a really long time without realizing it and you kind of wake up and go “Whoa, wha' happened?”
  • I must start “sleep-jogging.”
  • I must develop a severe allergy to taffy.
  • Elliptical machine at the gym must go berserk and do crazy hour-long bucking in which I can’t get off, and my shrieky cries for help must go unnoticed by the other gym patrons.
  • Spa must call and say they’ve just drawn my business card out of the fishbowl and that I’ve won free massages for a month.
  • My regular personal trainer must go out on maternity leave and I get stuck with the really mean one that has the Hitler mustache. Oh, I hate her! Oh yeah, and my personal trainer must get pregnant.
  • I must go in for emergency appendectomy and doctor must misread the chart and accidentally go to town with the lipo machine.
  • While shaving, I must accidentally slice part of my cheek off (and then have to slice off the other side to even things up).
  • I must be chosen to be a month-long test-driver for the new Chevy Grunt, the first automobile that runs on Bowflex technology.


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