Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Gym

Seriously, who needs to be able to walk up a flight of stairs?

I sure don't! Now that I go to the gym and my body has decided on mutiny, I've come to realize that there are a lot of really "extra" things I was accustomed to in my pre-gym days that are completely unnecessary in day-to-day life. Like lifting my computer bag. Or carrying my children. Or typing without my hands shaking. Or today, walking. This is why if you see me walking today, you'll note that I resemble a hobbled horse that should probably be shot in the head to cut down on food expenses.

(Note: please, nobody shoot me in the face. It's one of my deepest fears. Along with getting my face ripped off by an orangutan and ever having to open the hood of my car in public for any reason. (Obviously I'm the most rational person you've ever met online. (A very rational person who is addicted to parentheses.)))

Yeah, it's true. I'm an official gym-rat. Or, probably more accurately, a gym hamster. I'm more accustomed to living in a cage on the dresser of a 10-year-old girl who plays with me daily and hand feeds me carrots and sunflower seeds and has affectionately named me Snowflake than living on the streets and eating scraps and carrying plague-inducing viruses like a rat. But whatever. Now I'm transitioning into a gnarly rat who works out like a beast instead of prissily running on a hamster wheel, and most days it makes me want to suck my thumb and cry like the little sissy hamster I am.

Somebody didn't get the memo that adorable rodents shouldn't HAVE to do squats.
(Photo attribution: here)

It's been a rough couple of weeks. But, I'm happy to report: I haven't died yet. I'm also happy to report: I have lost fat and gained muscle. And I'm also happy to report: I get to eat for the first time in my life.

Let me explain.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I went in for my first personal training session with an actual personal trainer. (Seeing an actual personal trainer does not, by default, absolve you, yes you, from the responsibility of being my personal trainer just so we're clear. And by the way, thank you very much for all the amazing feedback on that post. A lot of that stuff really helped me, if for no other reason than to feel that there were people out there, people I didn't know, supporting me on my journey.)

Anyway, for our first training session, I was envisioning something a little bit like this:

Me: (Makes a grunt resembling a mix between the cry of a dying hyena and the high-pitched yelp of a wounded baby) There! (Breathless) I did it!

Brandon: Excellent job picking that 5lb. weight off the rack. Now what you're gonna wanna do is lift the weight high above your head in an exercise called...

Me: Do you have any smelling salts?

Brandon: ....

Me: You know, to revive me with when I pass out. Or, oh! I know, how about adrenaline to syringe into my heart like they did in Pulp Fiction? Ya got any of that?

Brandon:  Josh, you're not actually going to die here. Just try lifting the weight... up. At all.

Me: (strains with all his might) I can't. (slumps in defeat)

Brandon: Nice try. Next time we'll just have you do the motion while holding a piece of paper. Unless that ends up being too heavy, in which case we'll locate a single bacterium for you to try. If that doesn't work, we'll isolate an atom.

Me: (timidly) Can you split the atom in half if it's too heavy?

Brandon: Um, that would be nuclear fission, or the process by which bombs are made that have the capacity to kill off all of humanity in a fiery apocalypse.

Me: that's a yes?

 "I lifted it! I lifted half of the a..." (the earth explodes in a fiery holocaust)
(Photo attribution: here )

Instead, though, something different happened, and I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what is going on.

When I got to the gym, one of the trainers there was like "oh, are you here for the biggest gainer?" Turns out, they were having a contest for the "biggest loser" and the "biggest gainer." And a trainer looked at me, and assumed that I would be coming to the gym for the sole purpose of gaining weight.


I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around this concept, but apparently I have a build that's well suited for... muscle. Because when I met with Brandon, he was like, "I think, before anything else, you need to focus on gaining muscle."

Again. WHAT?

"Sure," I said to him, my mind spinning. At this point I was verging a psychological melt-down. I am at the gym to lose weight because I am overweight and I am working with a trainer to make sure I am able to really lose that weight and he is looking me in the eyes and saying, "All right little hamster. Time to gain some weight" and I have no idea how to process this and it feels like math or something hard.

Me: But what about my excess body fat?

Brandon: We'll focus on burning that off after you've bulked up and your metabolism is more effective.

Me: ... So what you're saying is, if I gain muscle, then a Magical Unicorn of Weightloss will come visit me, deem me muscular enough, and poke me with its horn in such a way that my tummy disappears?

Brandon: What I'm saying is that muscle will burn more calories than no muscle. And if you're wanting to lose fat, having more muscle will help you do it.

Me: That makes sense I guess?  So... what should I eat?

Brandon:Well, you're gonna want to eat clean calories, and you'll be wanting to hit between 3 and 4.

Me: (determined look) I've never scaled back that much before. The lowest I've ever done in a day is 500 but that was a starvation diet that was supposed to use pregnancy hormones which didn't work--it was a bad idea. I think I can do 400 though...

Brandon: No, between 3 and 4 thousand calories.

Me: *wets himself*

Brandon: You're gonna be eating a lot. 

Me: (Flabbergasted) But... how will I not become Jabba the Hut huge again?

  "I don't want to become Jabba the Hut again, Brandon."

Brandon: You won't become Jabba the Hut huge because I'm going to be working you out hard. Probably harder than you've ever worked out before. I'm going to be working you out so hard you'll have trouble gaining weight even though you're eating 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day.

Me: *wets himself again*

Brandon: But when we get done, you'll be surprised at how your body processes food. Just trust me. I won't lead you astray.

Me: I... don't trust you. But I will do it because I'm desperate. And also I want to trust you.

Brandon: Well, that's as good a place to start as any.

And thus, our hero has begun working out in ways that leave him feeling  maimed or perhaps mauled by a bear or perhaps run over by a semi-truck or perhaps like his legs are on fire or perhaps like he was spun in the clothes-dryer overnight (depending on the workout) and has also begun eating more food than a menstruating elephant. 

And like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, my hamster soul is being transformed into a beastly, gnarly, gym-loving rat that is starting to look muscular and can also eat thousands of calories a day and not gain any weight at all.  So, in other words, all of my dreams are coming true. Huzzah!  (Of course those calories are not always fun calories, like ice cream, donuts, and french fries. They're more like salmon and chicken and vegetables and chicken and cottage cheese and rice and beans and chicken and protein shakes and chicken and hard boiled eggs and chicken. But still. 3,000 calories!)

Stay tuned to see the transformation! Unless Brandon is wrong or lying. In which case, stay tuned to personally meet Jabba the Hut!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A post about drugs and a bathroom

Part One

The following are photos of the posters I have up on my wall in my office. Take a look.

Do you notice a problem here?

Look at them again, and then review in your mind what I do for a living. And what my last name is.

Yes, that's right. my friend Jennie, a teacher at the school I work at as a therapist and drug and alcohol specialist, recently pointed out to me that the posters on my wall which I thought were completely innocuous and indeed maybe a little bit inspiring were, in fact, encouraging drug use.

So, yeah, apparently the thoughts going through kids' minds as I talk to them about positive coping behaviors and self-esteem? A little different than what I was hoping for.

"So what you're saying is that I can continue down this road of 'heroin use' all I want, and then when I'm done I can turn back and everything will be better again? Sick."

"Best advice EVER!"  *lights up*

At lunch one day, Jennie shared her observation with others, and Dana, another teacher, had a light bulb go off in her head. "I have the perfect poster for you!" she exclaimed.

Soon, I found this in my box.

Sometimes having the last name Weed is pretty priceless...

Part II

I've wanted to post pictures of the view from my desk all year because it is completely ridiculous. Here is what I look at every single day.

I realize this might not be very clear because it was taken on an iPhone (not MY iPhone, silly, I still am approximately one decade behind on technology, as this post clearly illustrated) but what you are looking at is a hallway leading to a bathroom on the right. I would label the photo but I'm too lazy to switch computers to use the ever handy MSpaint. (No Photoshop for me. Decade behind. Remember?)

All year long I have had the privilege of watching people pass my office, often with a nod of salutation, go into a bathroom that rests about ten feet outside of my office, and then throw down a deuce with sounds so loud that I worried nearby livestock might mistake it for mating call.  Then they'd walk out looking at me sheepishly while I stared them down with a look that said "I know, for sure, what you just did in there. I heard every. single. detail." Except that's a lie. Usually I just looked down on my desk and pretended I had no idea what had just come out of their colon. Or bladder for that matter.

It was a very entertaining year.

I tried to get my friend Annemarie (the psych in the office next door) to pose as if she had just come out of the bathroom. For reasons inexplicable to me, she refused. Why would a working professional not want to be featured in a photo of a post-deuce-dropping walk of shame on the internet? I just don't get it...

So, I decided to take one for the team and walk out of there myself for this very grainy, horrible photo.

No, this is not a ghost. This is me coming out of the bathroom. And I just went potty in there. (Just kidding. This was totally posed. Which makes the shot's horrible quality even more mystifying.)

Goals for next year based on this post: 1. Find more awesome inspirational posters. 2. Invest in ear-plugs. 3. Get an iPhone of my very own so I can have such fantastic photo-taking abilities at my disposal at all times.

Next year's gonna be a great year!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Song

I forgot my razor in Utah. Because that's how I roll. (Did I ever explain that after taking the train to Portland I drove 14 hours in the car with my brothers and parents to Utah and that's where I visited my grandma?)

Wife ran and bought me one (thus breaking the Sabbath, but the ox was in the mire, people. Or my face looked ridiculous. One of those two things) and brought it back for me.

When she handed it to me, she came in close to whisper something about potty training Viva (it's time... pre-school is imminent)(also, there's really nothing more tantalizing than the whisperings of your lover about teaching your almost-three-year-old how to put her poopoo in the potty) and in the middle of her discussion of the purchase of diapers and not wanting to change any more poopy diapers, she stopped short.

Wife: Oh, holy crap, you have a gray hair.

Me: Another one?

Wife: (screams) You have a crop of them! There's a whole section of gray hairs.

Me: Really? Are you serious?

Wife: (picking at my head) I'm totally serious! One, two, three, four...(counts up to fourteen)

Me: Stop. I've gotta see this. (walks to the bathroom.) I can't believe I have a patch of gray hair.

Anna who recently looked at our gray-haired doctor and said "your hair is white. That means you're really old": You have gray hair, Daddy? That means you're old. (starts getting upset) I don't want you to get old!

Me: I'm not that old, sweetie. I'm just a little bit old.

Wife: (pointing at my head in the mirror) See? It's a patch.

Me: I have a patch of gray hair. A patch.

Anna: You're going to die soon.

Me and wife: ....?

Anna: (Starts singing) You're going to die soon, you're going to die soon...

I don't think there's any better way to celebrate father's day than to have your eldest daughter sing a song about how "you're going to die soon" upon hearing about your first patch of gray hair.

Happy father's day, guys!

Also, gratuitous photo time. These are from Anna's violin recital yesterday.

Anna and I at her violin recital yesterday. (This really was an awesome "Daddy" moment And yes, I really am rocking a yellow "music note" tie.)

"I'd like to begin my performance by singing a song. (sings) 'My daddy's gonna die soon, my daddy's gonna die soon'"

Anna did a fantastic job.

All right. It's time to go get ready for church. And prepare myself to die. 

Oh also, my dad is awesome, and I want to send him a shout out

(sings) You're gonna die soon, you're gonna die soon. (Is that joke getting old? Too much?)

No, but really my dad is amazing, and I want him to know that I love him and he's my role model. And he's doing an amazing job taking care of my mom, and also taking care of his mom. Happy Father's Day, dad. I love you. 

Man, two cheesy posts in a row. What's getting into me? Oh, wait,  I know what it is... (sings) I'm gonna die soon I'm gonna die soon. (Who doesn't love a joke that is so overdone it gets funny again? Wait what's that you say? Not funny? Trust me, if you were with me right now, it would be funny. *crickets*)

I am awesome. 

Happy Father's day.

Photos taken by Jason at

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Musings on a Great Lady

I’m sitting in an airport now. In Phoenix. Because nothing makes more sense when flying from Salt Lake City, Utah to Seattle, Washington than to take a quick pit stop in Arizona, which is precisely the opposite direction of my destination.

Thank you Expedia.

Grand Canyon, Arizona
 Why hello, Grand Canyon. Certainly didn't expect to see you on this trip... (photo found here)

My trip was good. Family was visited, CafĂ© Rio was eaten, and I pretty much felt like I was a teenager again because I was completely at the mercy of my parents for getting around. It was actually kind of nice. For me. Not so much for the parentals, as they shuttled around a 31-year-old manchild who forgot his ADD medication and therefore left crap everywhere. On second thought, maybe it was nice for them? A nice trot down memory lane to the days when I left my lunchbox at school approximately daily and I never, not one time, got a permission slip home to be signed successfully and they heard encouraging words from teachers like “your child is the laziest student I’ve ever met” and “Josh forgot his math homework for the 20th time” and “YOU PEOPLE MUST BE STUPID. Why can’t your child remember his backpack?” Ah, the sweet, sweet memories of undiagnosed mental disorders.  *wistful sigh*

As I told you before, I was in Utah to see my Grandma The Weed because she’s not doing too hot. Well, as it turns out, she’s really really not doing too hot.

To put it mildly, she’s having plumbing problems. To put it bluntly, she’s pooping out of her vagina.

Yes. Apparently that happens. 

Shhh. Don’t tell her I told the internet. She might be embarrassed. Except, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know what the internet is yet. She barely has a grasp on “computer.” To her, a computer is a giant, awkward gift she received nearly two decades ago from a family down the street that, if she were brave enough to turn it on, could be used to type letters that would print on her fancy dot-matrix printer, but she’s too worried she’ll break something to even turn it on, so there it sits, in mint condition, a relic from a different age. The age of the early 90’s. When computing was all about word processing. And solitaire. And MS Paint before MS Paint became cool.

Anyone want a t300 (or something with 300 in it...) vintage computer? Includes reams and reams of dot-matrix paper that you have to rip the sides off of. (That was a particularly gratifying dangling participle. (That's what she said.))

Quick technical question, how do I get my iTunes on this baby? (photo here)

No, but it was really good to be with Grandma. All of my siblings were there, and we had the chance to do some things that we haven't done in years. We had her mother's famous Swedish Meatballs, a recipe brought straight from the motherland. We shot the breeze. She had enough energy to say things like "Is that a tie on that chair? Remove it." and "I certainly do love Mountain Dew," and "Shave, Joshua. Your face looks ridiculous."

I'm not joking at all when I say that it was good to have her making feisty, curmudgeonly, sometimes racially insensitive comments. She's a great lady. It's that same feistiness that allowed her to raise my dad to be a great man. And it was the same feistiness that gave her the strength to, when she realized she had married a man who was physically abusive early in her marriage, leave him behind even though it was the '50's, a time when doing so was unheard of, and he was scary and she had no marketable skills to speak of. She did a marvelous job, and worked hard, and raised her boy, and never complained, and then he raised a great family, and now she's finally nearing the timberline, and it is time to help her make the Great Transition in as much comfort as possible. And it was nice to have a week to be with her while she is still herself.

And for the record, I did shave. And she really appreciated it. And then we went and ate Chinese food which was "just delicious, except for the worst egg-roll [she'd] ever eaten."

Love ya Grandma Weed.


Items of bizness:

1. I recently wrote a guest post for a newish blog called Modern Mormon Men. It's a post about couple dating which is the process by which couples become bff's. I wasn't sure if this was a Mormon phenomenon or just a married phenomenon, but it seems to be more the latter. Anyway, it's satirical, and if I know you, this post is officially not about you. Unless it is about you, in which case, you know who you are. (I'm just kidding. It really is fiction. Cross my heart hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.) You can read the post here.

2. I could have sworn there was more stuff for this list, but I forgot it.

3. I'm going to go take my Ritalin now.

UPDATE: I forgot to take it before walking out the door. Isn't it kind of hilarious to have a disorder that distracts you from taking the antidote for the disorder?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The "Train"

I’m on my way to Portland because my grandma’s not doing too hot and my family’s getting together to be with her.

I was supposed to take the train. I love the train. It’s serene, and they play a movie, and it’s beautiful to watch the Great Northwest through your window, and there’s an entire car filled with food you can buy and then go back to your seat and eat while you sit and watch a movie and watch beautiful scenery and stuff.

When I got to the train station, there was devastating news. The train was two hours behind. But there was a bus! A bus that was leaving on time! And so I took it.

This story feels like it’s leading up to some incredible climax of comedic hilarity (as opposed to all the other types of hilarity out there), but it’s not. It’s just me complaining.

Ready? Let’s go!

1. I ended up choosing the worst seat possible on this entire bus. I thought it was the right seat because it was positioned below the monitor in a way that seemed optimal for movie viewing. However, there is no movie, because I think our bus driver might be a little bit drunk. Not full-on drunk. But a little tipsy. (Confession: I’ve never drunk alcohol, so I don’t even know how to talk about alcohol consumption in such a way that I can accurately describe the period between "just a sip that has virtually no effect" and "enough sips to feel something but not enough to be legally drunk." Wait, is that even a thing? Is there such a point?)

2. Correction: my bus driver is actually drunk.

3. The reason my seat is the worst possible seat is because I accidentally sat directly across the aisle from the one and only person talking on this bus. The rest of us just want to get to Porland quickly and quietly and not dead. Conversely, this woman will not shut up. I knew I was in trouble when I sat down and she started in on how “the trees were green these days, especially in the summer…” and continued talking for five minutes straight… to nobody. The elderly gentleman next to her whom I assume is her husband but might actually be her father because he looks old and decrepit did not say a single word. For five entire minutes. She rambled. He sat. And I tried to read, but my ADD addled brain can’t filter out people’s voices so I can’t help but listen to every single thing she says.

4. Like a typical person with the inattentive subtype of ADHD (or ADD, for all you who are not neurotically fixated on using the correct DSM-IV terminology), I forgot to bring my Ritalin on my week-long trip. Awesome.

5. Why am I the type of person that feels like the act of getting up and changing seats so as to not be across the aisle from a gasbag lady who won't stop talking to herself is a little bit too rude to actually do?

6. I was not concerned about appearing rude when, while waiting for the "train" in the train station, I got up and changed seats when some giant woman across from me took out a syringe, filled it with liquid, then accidentally sprayed the liquid on the wall behind to me getting some on the computer of the guy next to me, and then, after that, slowly removed her sock in some disgusting strip-tease. I was like... oh no, what is happening... please don't be gangrenous, please don't be gangrenous... and then she got to the bandage. And the bandage was purple because of some nasty goop oozing out of her toes. And I got up and switched seats. And felt no guilt. (Yes, that actually happened.)

 "Maybe if I dress my nasty purple-pus covered foot-wound really slowly and methodically nobody will notice in the entire train station filled with people sitting within ten feet of me..."(This photo is a picnic compared to what I actually saw. I think it's pretty telling that there wasn't even a photo on Google as gross as her amputation-waiting-to-happen.)

(Wait. Side note. I was on "labeled for re-use." Word to the wise: never ever ever search for the terms "gangrene foot" on a regular Google images search. I might have traumatic stress disorder now. *shudders violently*)

7. Is drunk driving in the rain more hazardous than plain old drunk driving? Because it’s raining now.

8. 45 minutes into our ride, our inebriated bus driver pulled into the parking lot of a KFC. “Five minutes!” he bellowed. Nobody got up. Nobody got up because we just want to get to Portland. On an Amtrak train. But instead we’re on a bus that smells like urine and pot. And instead of a meal car, we just got dropped off at a KFC like we're high school kids on some tour or sporting event or something. Eventually Chatty Kathy got up and said “I'm gonna get some chicken.” When the driver got back, she hadn’t returned. He started to leave saying “I think that’s everybody.” Because I’m a freaking hero I yelled “There’s one more!” We sat and waited for her.

"Get off the bus boys and girls! It's time for some finger-licking fun!"

9. Is it bad that I genuinely kind of regret that act of heroism?

10. She took a long time.

11. Does this post even sound like me? I have this thing where my writing sometimes starts to mimic what I’m reading and right now I’m reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants (which is very funny, btw) so I feel like maybe I’m being a bit too Tina Fey. (There was a time where I was reading a lot of Gerard Manley Hopkins, so my poetry sounded exactly like Hopkins, minus the genius, and with a dash of too-lazy-to-edit. It was not my poetry’s finest moment.)

12. See? I am being Tina Fey right now. I just used a vague reference. About 40% of her similes involve pop culture references that are so obscure to me that I have to Google them to even have the slightest whiff of what she’s getting at, and similarly (yet tragically more nerdy) I have the feeling that unless you’re an English dork like me you won’t have read the poetry of some random fiercely closeted gay Jesuit poetic genius from the 19th century named Gerard Manley Hopkins. Or maybe you have and I totally underestimated your knowledge of English literature and now you’re offended. Either way: sorry.

13. The fact that Tina Fey does that random reference thing is another reason why I’m hating this bus ride. I’ve found myself about 4,000x go “who the crap is Robert Wuhl?” or whoever else only to reach for my laptop and realize that I am not on a train like I paid for, I am on a bus. A bus that smells of pot and urine mixed with KFC. Next to a woman whose voice is so familiar to me now I could probably pick her out if she was a voice-over actor in the next Toy Story.

14. Oh no…. OH. NO. Chatty Kathy next to me has, you will not believe this, started narrating her completion of a crossword puzzle. I am not joking. This is me directly transcribing:

“I still think this one’s corporation.” (Pause)

“Craze. CRAZE! C-r-a-z-e.” (Pause)

“How do you spell ‘usually’? Is it u-s-u-a-l-l-y?” (Me In my head: “Usually!”)

“Oh, I spotted a C!” (Pause)

“Blank guitar: an instrument that’s easily played… wait? What? Isn’t it just supposed to be guitar?” (pause)

“Blank blank mayonnaise blank?” (Pause)

“I think big chunks of hungry are slabs.” (What does that even MEAN?)

“Another word for ‘zest.’(pauses) Gusto!”

“A faux pas is a… is it g-a-f-e? Or g-a-f-f?” (Yes. Your faux pas is both. I’m not sure what that is supposed to imply, but it sure felt snarky and a little sassy to say. In my head. To myself. Because I can’t focus on my book. Because YOU WON’T SHUT UP.)

“This might be ‘smart’ though. S-e-a....(trails off)”

I have no idea how to make sense of half of what she’s saying. Also, again, note that this is not an interactive conversation. Her father?/husband?/pimp?/kidnapped mental ward patient?/mental ward escort? is not talking at all. Zero words.

Chatty Kathy loves crosswords. And KFC. And talking to herself.

15. I just realized something disturbing. I have been laughing out loud somewhat regularly during my reading of Bossypants and writing of this post (is it lame that I laugh at my own posts? Confession: 97% of my objective here is to entertain myself. The other 3% is to be first under Josh Weed on Google.) If the guy in front of me were writing a blog post listing his asinine complaints during his bus-trip to Portland, I would likely appear as number two or three. “A weird guy behind me keeps laughing a creepy laugh. And he’s by himself. On a computer. With no Wifi. He will not stop. It is creepy.”

16. Guess what I just realized I’ve read about 20,000 of today. Numbered lists. That’s right folks, it’s official. I’m accidentally Tina Feying it up, and it’s so extreme that one of her main literary devices slipped in and I didn’t even realize it. This post is exactly like her, except with a little less cool pop-culture and actual humor, and a little more discussion of some hag who talks a lot.

17. Lucky you.

18. I’m in Portland. And the only people still sitting with me waiting for a ride? Chatty Kathy and silent side-kick. And she's still talking.

It's been a fun trip!

Photo attributions here and here and here

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

You just became my personal trainer. (FAT PICTURES!!!)

Oh wow.

My size 34 slacks are groaning in discomfort right now. And that's because they're being ruthlessly strangled by my growing fat rolls.

This is not pretty.

Have I mentioned that I used to be fat? And when I say fat, I don't mean like, oh, look at that guy's root-beer belly, he better watch out next time he's served dessert fat. I'm talking fat like if I were caught sunbathing on a beach there might be wild-life rescue teams literally trying to shove me into the depths of the ocean because they've confused me for a beached orca fat.

300lbs. THAT fat.

You want pictures, don't you? I can just hear the cynics now "if there's no pic, it never happened" and "yeah, anybody can claim to have weighed as much as a new-born elephant, but where's the proof?" and "please, for the love of all that's good in the world, don't post your fat pics, especially if they really are of you sunbathing your pasty white skin on a beach."

All right all right naysayers, here you go:

Is that t-shirt tucked in? Yes. Is it stained with some white powdered substance? Yes. (Me shaking pre-Wife's hand (arm's-length away!)before leaving on my LDS mission to Venezuela where, after losing over 100lbs from walking and eating beans and rice, I was hit on by gross women constantly.)

Same day. Less grainy. More crooked. 

  Me and Grandma The Weed. (If this were a grandmother/grandson look-alike contest, we'd totally bring home the blue ribbon.)

The one thing freakier than having a deformed eye? Having a deformed eye while making this face.

  Is my childhood friend Heather (Boyack) Nuesmeyer laughing or screaming in terror at the monster to her right? Hard to say...

So yeah. As you can see, things weren't pretty. Not just attractiveness-wise, but otherwise as well. I did not feel good about myself. I did not like how I looked. I wanted to punch myself in the face repeatedly. I felt trapped inside a fat-suit, and then when I touched the fat-suit, I realized it had nerves because it was my skin. And I was getting stretch marks and I wasn't even pregnant.

I just looked a little pregnant from the side. And a little bit like a duplex resting on legs from the front.

(Man, it's amazing how the "make fun of yourself" habit just re-ignites when talking about the fat days. I actually have great sympathy for those who struggle with weight (for obvious reasons) and I hope my taking jabs at my former self isn't offensive.)

So, why am I busting out the fat pics? It's because when I stepped on the scale this morning, it said something terrifying. 201.2

That might look like a tolerable weight to some. But for somebody like me who views food as a form of digestible entertainment and can therefore gain 10lbs in about a week if I'm not careful, this is not okay. Today it's 201.2. Next week it's 210. Next month it's 230. Six months from now it's 320. (Sadly, that sequence is not an exaggeration. That's about how fast I went up to 300lbs when I was 19.)  Then, the next step after that would be me having to be hoisted out of my bed by a team of 12 men who carry me to a flat-bed truck so I can be transported to the hospital for my gastro-bypass which would start working for several months right before my heart gave out and I died leaving my wife and three daughters to fend for themselves. And that would just be uncomfortable for everybody.

Here are a couple more pics for comparative purposes.

This is me a couple of years ago when I weighed about 185. (We're with our good friends Anni and Dan Beecher.)

 And this is me right now. At 201.2ish. On my way to 500.

To circumvent that eventuality I've decided to be real with all of you about my weight. Accountability to both strangers and friends is an amazing thing. It can really motivate. And we all know how well it's worked for Oprah.

(Wait, what am I doing?)

No, but seriously, I've decided to come here to the World Wide Web of Shame and announce that I have been eating too many nachos and drinking a little too much sweetened condensed milk from the can (don't hate. It's delicious) and it has got to stop immediately.

I'm gonna get back in shape. And it's gonna start tomorrow. And I need your help. I need you to tell me that I can do this, because truth be told, I'm slightly freaking out right now. (Once you've been the size I was in those pictures, it always feels just a few Red Robin cheeseburgers away.) And also I need you to congratulate me heartily when I get on here a month from today, June 1st, (so, on the 1st of July) and tell you how much weight I've lost. Because I need to have something to work towards. And being able to tell you, yes you with the hair, that I made progress is a powerful tool.

So, in other words, you just became my personal trainer.


Can you go get me some water and a towel to wipe down this treadmill? Thanks.

PS, in all seriousness how much weight do you think I should lose this month? And do you have any weight-loss tips or suggestions for me? I'm all ears... ears and excess body-fat...